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The Wall Street Journal: Intel delays groundbreaking ceremony for Ohio plant amid uncertainty over chips legislation

Intel Corp. has told lawmakers and officials that it is delaying indefinitely the groundbreaking ceremony for a planned multibillion-dollar chip-manufacturing facility in Ohio, signaling frustration over uncertainty in Congress about legislation that would provide support for the U.S. chip industry......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchJun 23rd, 2022

Futures Rise As ECB Panics And Fed Looms

Futures Rise As ECB Panics And Fed Looms After five days of non-stop losses, US index futures finally bounced modestly along with stocks in Europe as the ECB announced it would hold an emergency meeting to undo the damage done by its meeting from last week, and ahead of the Fed which today will hike by 75bps, the most since 1994, and will then scramble to undo the damage from pushing the US into a recession in coming days and weeks. Contracts on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 posted modest gains, rising 0.8% and 1% respectively, ahead of the Fed, with markets fully pricing in the biggest rate hike since 1994 amid worries about the outlook for the economy. Europe's Stoxx Europe 600 index jumped more than 1%, snapping a six-day losing streak, while the euro strengthened and the region’s bonds advanced as the European Central Bank’s Governing Council started an emergency meeting. Treasury yields dipped and the dollar retreated from a two-year high. In premarket trading, major technology and internet stocks are higher in premarket trading along with US stock futures ahead of Wednesday’s Federal Reserve announcement, with investors expecting a 75 basis-point increase in rates. Bank stocks were also higher in premarket trading. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Spotify (SPOT US) shares gain 2.2% in premarket trading as Wells Fargo upgraded the stock to equal-weight, saying the music streaming firm’s recent investor day laid out a more profitable company than the brokerage has modeled historically. Chinese tech stocks are mostly higher in US premarket trading, with education shares continuing their winning streak since peer Koolearn’s livestreaming hit went viral. Alibaba (BABA US) +1.9%, Baidu (BIDU US) +3.6%, Pinduoduo (PDD US) +2.3%, New Oriental Education (EDU US) +8.4%, TAL Education (TAL US) +4.5%. iQIYI (IQ US) shares decline 3.9% in US premarket trading as Baidu is in talks to sell its majority stake in the streaming service in a deal that could value all of iQIYI at $7 billion, Reuters reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. Cryptocurrency-related stocks fell in premarket trading on Wednesday as Bitcoin and Ethereum tumbled. MicroStrategy (MSTR US) -7.6%, Marathon Digital Holdings (MARA US) -7.6%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) -7%, Coinbase (COIN US) -6.6%. Apple (AAPL US) and other consumer computer-hardware stocks may be in focus today as Morgan Stanley cut its price targets for such shares due to risks related to a potential slowdown in consumer spending. Moderna’s (MRNA US) shares rose 1.2% in US after-hours trading on Tuesday, while analysts said that the unanimous verdict from an FDA panel, which supported the biotech firm’s Covid vaccine for children, came as no surprise. Qualcomm (QCOM US) stocks could be in focus after the company won a European Union court bid to topple a 997 million-euro antitrust fine for allegedly pressuring Apple to only buy its 4G chips. Fears of stagflation have driven stocks into a bear market and triggered a stunning selloff in bonds in recent days. Uncertainty is elevated heading into the Fed decision: increments of 50 basis points, 75 basis points and even 100 basis points have all been chewed over by commentators. Parts of the US yield curve remain inverted, signaling concerns that restrictive monetary policy will lead to an economic downturn. Today's main event is of course the Fed decision which is expected to include a 75bp rate hike, with latest forecasts released at the same time. Swaps market is currently pricing in around 70bp of rate hikes for the meeting with a combined 202bp of additional hikes priced for the June, July and September meetings. From the forecasts, focus will be on revisions to the Fed’s long-term rate; swaps market is currently pricing a rate peak at around 3.90% by the middle of next year (full preview here). “Markets are poised for aggressive rate hikes, but what of US economic growth?” said Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana, an economist at Rand Merchant Bank in Johannesburg. “It might not be in recessionary territory just yet, but the landing is not going to be as soft as the Fed predicates. Anything less than 75 basis points or at least a strong willingness to make more significant adjustments will likely turn the market on its head, eroding total returns of global bonds and equities even further.” European equities trade well but off session highs. FTSE MIB outperforms, rallying as much as 3.3% before stalling. Stoxx 600 rises as much as 1.2% with travel, banks and insurance names doing much of the heavy lifting, while the euro strengthened and the region’s bonds advanced as the European Central Bank’s Governing Council started an emergency meeting. While new stimulus may not be on the agenda, officials will discuss a crisis strategy and the reinvestment of bond purchases conducted under the now-halted pandemic emergency program, Bloomberg reported. Here are the biggest European movers: Rate-sensitive sectors such as financials and technology gained in Europe as the ECB holds an ad hoc meeting to discuss market conditions and the Fed concludes its two-day policy meeting. Finecobank shares rise as much as 8.4%, Intesa Sanpaolo +7.5%, Assicurazioni Generali +5.3%. Europe auto stocks are among outperforming sectors in the wider equity gauge, led by French part suppliers Faurecia and Valeo, and carmaker Renault. Faurecia shares gain as much as 8.7%, Valeo +6.5%, Renault +5.6% Whitbread shares rise as much as 6.4% after the hotel operator reported quarterly sales, with Barclays noting the company’s “upbeat tone.” Gerresheimer shares rise as much as 17% after a Bloomberg report that the German maker of packaging for drugs and cosmetics rejected an informal takeover approach from Bain Capital in recent weeks. Nordic and European forestry and paper mill companies’ shares rebound, breaking sharp declines triggered after brokers cut their  respective outlooks for the sector in the past week. Smurfit Kappa stock rises as much as 5.3%, BillerudKorsnas +4.8%, Huhtamaki +5.6% H&M shares drop as much as 6.4% with uncertainty about the margin outlook and ongoing cost pressures overshadowing the apparel retailer’s 2Q sales beat. Getinge shares fall as much as 18% after the medical technology firm lowered guidance, projecting flat organic sales growth for the year. Nordea and JPMorgan downgraded their recommendations. Elia Group shares fell as much as 12% after the electricity transmission company laid out plans for a rights offering. Autoneum shares drop as much as 5.2% after the car- parts maker warned on profits. Vontobel analyst Arben Hasanaj noted the firm’s difficulty in passing on higher costs, along with further likely delays in car production recovery. Voltalia slumps as much as 9.1% after Oddo downgrades to neutral in note as it questions what level of growth is possible after 2023. “The ECB is between rock and a hard place, like most other central banks,” said Marija Veitmane, a senior strategist at State Street Global Markets. “Inflation is very high and shows little signs of quickly declining, while the economy is increasingly fragile, particularly with the war in Europe and ever-rising energy costs. So anything the ECB can announce to reduce systemic risk is very welcome.” Earlier in the session, Asian stocks posted modest declines as sentiment improved from earlier in the week, with Chinese shares rising after domestic economic data showed pockets of recovery. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was down 0.4% as of 6:07 p.m. in Singapore, as losses in regional tech hardware shares offset advances in China’s internet giants. South Korea and the Philippines led declines, while Japanese stocks fell ahead of a central bank policy meeting this week. Gains in China and Hong Kong helped offset losses elsewhere as data showed the country’s industrial production unexpectedly increased in May. Meanwhile the nation’s central bank kept a key policy rate unchanged, avoiding further policy divergence as the Federal Reserve tightens. “A more accommodative policy and fiscal environment together with stronger corporate fundamentals should be positive for Chinese equity assets,” said Jessica Tea, an investment specialist at BNP Paribas Asset Management. The MSCI Asia gauge dropped almost 4% over the previous two sessions as inflation data from the US fueled bets of a 75-basis-point rate hike by the Fed at Wednesday’s meeting. Still, the index has outperformed a measure of global peers this year, with the latter now in a bear market. Japanese stocks dropped ahead of a Federal Reserve rate decision. A Bank of Japan review on Friday is also on the radar.  The Topix Index fell 1.2% to close at 1,855.93 while the Nikkei gauge declined 1.1% to 26,326.16. Keyence Corp. contributed the most to the Topix Index’s decline, decreasing 3.9%. Out of 2,170 shares in the index, 288 rose and 1,829 fell, while 53 were unchanged. “The sharp decline in JGBs is also contributing to the drop in stock prices as uncertainty mounts ahead of the BOJ meeting,” said Hajime Sakai, chief fund manager at Mito Securities Co Indian stocks fell after swinging between gains and losses for the most part of the session, as concerns over higher inflation and likely tighter monetary policy measures weighed on sentiment.   The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 0.3% to close at 52,541.39 in Mumbai to its lowest level since July 28. The NSE Nifty 50 Index also slipped by a similar magnitude. Reliance Industries Ltd. posted its longest run of losses in more than a month and was the biggest drag on the Sensex, which had 17 of 30 member stocks trading lower. Ten of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd fell, led by a gauge of power stocks. Retail inflation in India held above the central bank’s target in May, while wholesale prices accelerated for a third-straight month as input costs continue to rise, hurting company earnings.  “Commodity prices continue to remain elevated and despite passing on the costs to consumers, India Inc. is still facing margin pressures,” Mitul Shah, head of research at Reliance Securities wrote in a note.   Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.3% to close at 6,601.00, the fourth straight day of declines. All sectors finished lower, with mining stocks and banks the biggest drags on the index. During early trade, Australia’s industrial relations umpire raised the minimum wage by 5.2% from July 1, a larger-than-expected increase, affirming speculation of faster tightening by the central bank.  Meanwhile, in New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index was little changed at 10,635.92., after entering a bear market Tuesday. The gauge has shed more than 20% from its January 2021 peak. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell as the greenback weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the Canadian dollar. Risk-sensitive Scandinavian currencies and the Aussie dollar lead gains. The euro rose by as much as 0.9% to 1.0508, and the yield on 10-year Italian bonds fell as much as 30bps after the ECB announced the Governing Council would hold an ad-hoc meeting on Wednesday “to discuss current market conditions.” ECB officials will be invited to sign off on the reinvestment of bond purchases conducted under the now-halted pandemic emergency program, a crisis response that they flagged in their decision last week, according to people familiar with the matter. Three-month euribor fixes higher by the most in more than two years, climbing to the highest since April 2020 as funding rates seek to mirror ECB rate hike expectations. Japanese bond futures drop most since 2013 as traders ramp up bets BOJ will give in to tweak policy. Australian bonds slumped with three-year yields posting steepest two-day climb since 1994. The Aussie extended an advance after the Fair Work Commission said the minimum wage will be increased by 5.2%. Earlier, the RBA said it “will do what’s necessary” to bring inflation back down to its 2-3% target as Goldman sees three more half-point hikes. In rates, Treasuries pared a recent drop, with yields falling up to 8bps led by shorter maturities amid a TSY rally in Asia and early European sessions, leaving yields richer by as much as 12.5bp across front-end leading into US session.  Markets are pricing in 73bps worth of hikes from the Fed today. US 10-year yields around 3.36%, richer by 10bp on the day while front-end outperformance steepens 2s10s, 5s30s spreads by 3bp and 6.5bp respectively. Curve steepens as long-end lags front-end rally and some rate hike premium eases out the swaps market ahead of 2pm ET Fed policy decision. European bonds rallied after ECB announces emergency meeting to discuss market conditions, with French and UK outperforming along with Italy and other peripherals. In commodities, crude futures drop back toward the lows for the week. WTI falls 1.2% near $117.50. Most base metals trade in the green; LME tin rises 2.3%, outperforming peers. Spot gold rises roughly $16 to trade near $1,825/oz Looking to the day ahead, the main highlight will likely be the aforementioned FOMC decision and Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. There’s also an array of ECB speakers, including President Lagarde, as well as the ECB’s Holzmann, Nagel, Centeno, Muller, De Cos, Panetta and Knot. Otherwise, data releases include Euro Area industrial production for April, US retail sales for May, the NAHB housing market index for June and the Empire State manufacturing survey for June. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.8% to 3,768.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.2% to 412.15 MXAP down 0.4% to 159.27 MXAPJ little changed at 529.71 Nikkei down 1.1% to 26,326.16 Topix down 1.2% to 1,855.93 Hang Seng Index up 1.1% to 21,308.21 Shanghai Composite up 0.5% to 3,305.41 Sensex up 0.2% to 52,797.58 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.3% to 6,601.03 Kospi down 1.8% to 2,447.38 Brent Futures down 0.2% to $120.90/bbl Gold spot up 0.6% to $1,818.80 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.56% to 104.93 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.77% Euro up 0.6% to $1.0479 Brent Futures down 0.2% to $120.90/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who’s carefully telegraphed interest rate hikes over four years, looks likely to abandon gradualism and move more forcefully to stamp out inflation along with growing concerns that it will persist The European Central Bank’s Governing Council is ready to step in if it considers moves in government bond markets to be unjustified, according to Belgium’s Pierre Wunsch, as the ECB prepared for an emergency meeting on recent euro-zone bond turbulence The European Union is restarting infringement proceedings against the UK and will launch two new legal actions after London proposed legislation to override part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, according to an EU official The first batch of a Chinese offshore yuan sovereign bond sale saw the strongest demand in nearly two years, defying a recent stream of outflows at a time when the global debt market is showing deepening levels of stress Even after central banks recognized they got their inflation calls wrong last year, they’ve continued to flub their policy guidance, threatening greater damage to their credibility, roiling markets and undermining the pandemic recovery A more detailed look at markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed amid cautiousness heading into the FOMC with markets pricing in a more than 90% chance of a 75bps rate hike, while the region also digested better-than-expected Chinese activity data. ASX 200 was led lower by energy, resources and tech, despite a 5.2% national minimum wage increase. Nikkei 225 failed to benefit from strong Machinery Orders data amid the ongoing currency-related jitters. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. were positive with encouragement from the latest activity data that showed surprise growth in Industrial Production and a narrower than feared contraction in Retail Sales, while attention was also on the PBoC which rolled over CNY 200bln through its 1-year MLF with the rate unchanged. Top Asian News PBoC injected CNY 200bln via 1-year MLF vs. CNY 200bln maturing with the rate kept at 2.85%, as expected. China's stats bureau said the main indicators show marginal improvement and the economy shows good recovery momentum, but added that the economic recovery still faces many difficulties and challenges. Furthermore, it said policies to stabilise economic growth gained traction and it expects economic performance to improve further in June due to policy support, but noted recovery is still at an initial stage and main indicators are at low levels, according to Reuters. Hong Kong reports 1047 new COVID cases. Appears to be the first time since early April that cases have surpassed the 1k mark. European equities are firmer across the board ahead of the impromptu ECB meeting, Euro Stoxx 50 +1.0%; unsurprisingly,  periphery-nation indexes are outperforming, FTSE MIB +3.0%, given upside in banking names. As such, the Banking sector outperforms with most of its peers also in the green, though the Energy sector lags amid benchmark pricing. Stateside, futures are firmer across the board deriving impetus from European performance, but with overall action somewhat more contained ahead of the Fed and uncertainty around 75bp, ES +0.3%. Baidu (BIDU) is in discussions with potential suitors to offload its 53% stake in video-streaming name Iqiyi, according to Reuters sources. +3.8% in the pre-market. Top European News UK PM Johnson is reportedly determined to reverse Chancellor Sunak's planned GBP 15bln tax raid on business as he tries to firm up support following last week's confidence vote, according to The Times. UK PM Johnson is understood to have told his cabinet to 'de-escalate' the Northern Ireland Protocol stand-off with the EU, according to The Telegraph. UK exports to the EU during H1 of last year fell by 15.6% amid Brexit frictions, according to a study by Aston University cited by FT. Swiss SECO Forecasts (summer): Inflation: 2022 2.5% (prev. 1.9%), 2023 1.4% (prev. 0.7%). GDP: 2022 2.8% (prev. 3.0%), 1.6% (prev. 1.7%) Central Banks BoJ offers an additional emergency bond buying operation; to buy unlimited amounts of 10yr JGBs on June 16th & 17th at 0.25%. Fall in JGB futures has triggered a circuit breaker at the Tokyo stock exchange, via Japan Exchange Group. Japan's Securities Dealer Association's Morita says the JPY may have weakened too much, via Reuters. 8/9 members (vs. 3/9 at the May meeting) of the Times' shadow MPC believe that the BoE should raise rates by 50bps at its policy meeting tomorrow, according to the Times. FX Buck backs off from best levels into FOMC and US data awaiting confirmation of the hawkish hype or half point hike signalled pre-hot CPI; DXY slips from 105.650 peak on Tuesday into 105.380-104.700 range. Aussie rebounds on risk grounds and more aggressive RBA tightening calls, AUD/USD reclaims 0.6900+ status. Yen takes note of latest verbal intervention and Hong Kong Dollar supported by more physical HKMA buying to keep it pegged; USD/JPY sub-134.50 vs 135.50+ overnight. Euro extends recovery rally as ECB holds ad hoc meeting to discuss fragmenting debt markets and Wunsch contends that gradualism does not rule out larger than 25 bp moves; EUR/USD pops over 1.0500 from just below 1.0400 yesterday. Yuan gleans impetus from better than expected or feared Chinese industrial production and retail sales, USD/CNH nearer 6.7200 than 6.7600, USD/CNY close to 6.7100 and not far from 21 DMA at 6.6965 today. Fixed Income Decent bear market retracement in debt approaching the FOMC. Bunds up to 143.79 at best vs new 143.25 cycle low, Gilts towards top of 112.48-111.88 band and 10 year T-note closer to 115-06 than 114-10. BTPs markedly outperform after near 3 full point bounce from Tuesday close in anticipation of an anti-fragmentation tool from the ECB as GC meets for crisis talks. Commodities Currently, WTI and Brent are lower by circa. USD 1.00bbl but reside within comparably narrow ranges of around USD 2.00bbl vs, for instance, yesterday’s USD +6.00/bbl parameters. Curtailed amid COVID updates from China and Hong Kong alongside Biden's reported push for an explanation from producers over why supply isn't increasing. US President Biden has demanded an explanation from oil companies over why they are refraining from putting additional gasoline on the market and wants concrete ideas as to how they can increase supplied, according to a letter seen by Reuters. US Energy Inventory Data (bbls): Crude +0.7mln (exp. -1.3mln), Cushing -1.1mln, Gasoline -2.2mln (exp. +1.1mln), Distillates +0.2mln (exp. +0.3mln) US DoE announced contract awards and issued the fourth emergency sale of crude oil from SPR (as previously announced), in which contracts were awarded to nine including Chevron (CVX), Exxon (XOM) and Marathon Petroleum (MPC). Kazakhstan has capped wheat exports at 550k tonnes and wheat flour at 370k tonnes until September 30th, according to the Agriculture Ministry, via Reuters. Spot gold derives impetus from the USD’s retreat and is now back above USD 1820/oz but still shy of yesterday’s USD 1831/oz best and the subsequent 200-, 10- & 21-DMAs ahead at USD 1842, 1843 & 1845 respectively. US Event Calendar 07:00: June MBA Mortgage Applications +6.6%, prior -6.5% 08:30: May Import Price Index YoY, est. 11.9%, prior 12.0%;  MoM, est. 1.1%, prior 0% May Export Price Index YoY, prior 18.0%; MoM, est. 1.3%, prior 0.6% 08:30: May Retail Sales Advance MoM, est. 0.1%, prior 0.9% May Retail Sales Ex Auto MoM, est. 0.7%, prior 0.6% May Retail Sales Control Group, est. 0.3%, prior 1.0% 08:30: June Empire Manufacturing, est. 2.2, prior -11.6 10:00: April Business Inventories, est. 1.2%, prior 2.0% 10:00: June NAHB Housing Market Index, est. 67, prior 69 14:00: June FOMC Rate Decision 16:00: April Total Net TIC Flows, prior $149.2b DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap In these crazy days for markets, I'm willing to stake my reputation that I've done something in the last 24 hours that no-one else reading this did. Yes, after a business trip to Europe yesterday, I watched the original Top Gun on my iPad on the plane ride home for the very first time, some 36 years after it came out. My wife wants to watch the sequel, so I thought I ought to see what all the fuss was about. She's seen it around 20 times and always asks what I was doing in my teenage years that's made me miss all the films of her youth. The truth is I was either studying or playing cricket or golf. Not much else. My review is that it was a decent film, but Mavericks' courting technique doesn't really age very well. I'm not sure Maverick and Goose would have been able to get out of the tight spot that the Fed are in at the moment very easily. After the astonishing price action over the previous 2 business days, markets have settled somewhat over the last 24 hours, but overall have continued to struggle as they await today’s all-important Federal Reserve decision. Up until the CPI report last Friday, that decision seemed like a lock in favour of a second consecutive 50bp hike, not because that was the right move, but because the Fed had firmly guided us to such an outcome. The CPI report raised doubts as to whether they could hold that line over the summer, but the WSJ article on Monday night broke the levee as a 75bps move tonight is now suddenly pretty much consensus. Our economics team agrees and have now updated their previously street leading view to have a +75bp hike tonight followed by another +75bp increase in July. The team believes fed funds will reach 3.5% by the end of the year, and hit a terminal rate of 4.1% in Q1 2023, sooner than they thought before the WSJ story. See their full updated call, available here. As we hit this big day, markets now fully price in a 75bps hike today. Indeed, 76.3bps is priced, so that actually incorporates a small risk of 100bps, something former New York Fed President Bill Dudley was openly considering yesterday, which may have contributed to the sentiment that drove the next leg of the selloff in the New York afternoon. A total of 289bps worth of rate hikes by year-end is now priced. So quite the turnaround from a few weeks back when some were even floating the strange idea of a “pause” in September. Clearly the 75bp call is mostly based on a WSJ article so we can't be certain but you would have thought the Fed would have tried to leak out a rebuttal if that wasn't what they wanted to guide the market towards. We will see. Whilst the size of any rate hike will be the focal point, today also brings the latest dot plot from the FOMC and offers an insight into the potential pace of rate hikes over the months ahead. Our US economists expect that to undergo substantial revisions, with the median dot likely rising to 3.5% and 3.8% for 2022 and 2023 respectively. Meanwhile on the economic projections, they think they’ll also show further movements towards a “softish landing”, with growth revised lower throughout the forecast, albeit stopping short of anticipating a recession. Ahead of all that, US equities slipped to fresh lows yesterday with the S&P 500 (-0.37%) falling to its lowest closing level since January 2021. Tech stocks outperformed, in contrast to the recent trend, with the NASDAQ (+0.18%) and the FANG+ Index (+1.97%) bouncing off of recent lows. Small-caps fared less well today and the Russell 2000 (-0.39%) fell to its lowest closing level since November 2020. Over in Europe, equities similarly fell to fresh lows and the STOXX 600 (-1.26%) likewise fell to levels unseen since March 2021. Rates sold off by a smaller magnitude than the previous two sessions (low bar to clear), but an initial rally gave way to a selloff in the European afternoon that continued to gather pace into the New York close. Yields on 10yr Treasuries were up +11.3bps to a fresh post-2011 high of 3.47%, supported by a further rise in the 10yr real yield (+13.7bps) that took it up to a 3-year high of 0.82 The 2s10s curve just about clambered out of inversion territory where it’d closed on Monday, steepening by +3.8bps to end the day at just 3.6bps. But even the Fed’s preferred yield curve measure of the near-term forward spread fell to its flattest level in 3 months, even if it’s still well out of inversion territory for now. This spread will likely collapse in the months ahead. As we go to press, yields on 10yr USTs (-4.63 bps) are moving lower to 3.42% with 2yrs -5.6bps. Today’s focus may be on the Fed, but over at the ECB we had Isabel Schnabel of the Executive Board give a significant speech last night about policy fragmentation. Recall, one of the key takeaways from last week’s ECB meeting was the apparent lack of progress on anti-fragmentation tools, shining a spotlight on Schnabel’s remarks last night. As our European economists emphasised last week, Schnabel argued that any tool would be reactionary, that is in response to more spread widening. She did not offer new details of any potential tool last night, instead echoing President Lagarde that PEPP purchase flexibility would be used to ensure smooth policy transmission in the interim. However, Schnabel also re-emphasised the ECB’s commitment to ensure smooth policy transmission. That Schnabel, a relative hawk on the committee and one that has expressed trepidation about a new facility in the past, so willingly supported the idea of doing what was needed to support policy implementation was an important shift for the ECB. The language Schnabel used last night may support the notion that the spread widening seen to date may already be approaching levels inconsistent with smooth policy transmission. It may not take much more pressure for the ECB to act but we are still in the dark on how they will. Earlier in the day, Dutch central bank governor Knot made some incredibly hawkish comments, saying that if “conditions remain the same as today, we will have to raise rates by more than 0.25 points” in September, and that “our options are not necessarily limited” to a 50bps move, so openly floating the potential to move by even more, which hasn’t been something discussed by the ECB to date. European sovereign bonds sold off significantly against that backdrop, with fresh multi-year highs seen for yields on 10yr bunds (+11.9bps), OATs (+13.7bps) and BTPs (+14.9bps). Peripheral spreads hit new post-Covid highs too, with the gap between Italian and German 10yr yields widening to 241bps. And there were some significant milestones on the credit side as well, with iTraxx Crossover widening +10.4bps to a fresh 10 year high of 544bps outside of 2-months around peak covid, and in North America we saw the CDX IG spread move above 100bps in trading for the first time since April 2020, before settling back at 99.0bps. In Asia markets are mixed with the Hang Seng (+1.44%) trading up boosted by technology stocks following the Nasdaq's overnight gain. Likewise, stocks in mainland China are also higher in early trade with the Shanghai Composite (+1.41%) and CSI (+1.57%) edging higher as the economy showed a slightly better than expected recovery in May (see below). However, the Nikkei (-0.73%) and the Kospi (-1.54%) are trading lower, extending earlier session losses. Outside of Asia, US equity futures are reversing losses this morning with contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.38%) and NASDAQ 100 (+0.59%) trading up. Early this morning, data released showed that China’s industrial production unexpectedly rebounded +0.7% y/y in May (v/s -0.9% expected), against a drop of -2.9% in April, whilst retail sales slid -6.7% in the period, less than -7.1% projected decline and slightly better than April’s -11.1% plunge. Meanwhile, Fixed-asset investment grew +6.2% in the first 5 months of the year (v/s +6.0% expected). Elsewhere, Japan’s core machinery orders strongly beat at +10.8% m/m in April, its fastest pace in 18 months (v/s -1.3% market consensus and +7.1% in March). Yesterday we also heard that the Bank of Japan had bought a record ¥2.2tn in government notes through its fixed-rate operation as they seek to defend their yield curve target and keep 10-year JGB yields beneath their stated limit of 0.25%. This has continued to put pressure on the Yen however, which fell to a closing level of 135.47 per dollar yesterday, thus moving beneath its 2002 closing low of 134.71 and leaving it at levels unseen since 1998. We're at just above 135 this morning after a small rally back. Speaking of currencies under pressure, Bitcoin fell to a 17-month low of $21,966 yesterday, having been trading around $30,000 just prior to the CPI release on Friday. This morning it's at $21,100. Elsewhere, brent crude and WTI futures reversed mid-day gains of near 2% to close -0.90% and -1.65% lower, respectively, following reports that the Biden Administration may pose a surtax on oil company profit margins, as another sign Biden is looking high and low for potential actions to curb oil gains into this year’s mid-terms. The big moves were seen in natural gas however, where US futures were down -16.5% and European futures were up +16.12% after the operator Freeport LNG said that they aiming for a partial resumption of operations at one of their Texas export terminals in 90 days, and that full operations wouldn’t return until late 2022. That’s a longer delay than was expected, and by keeping gas in the US led to that decline in US futures and the rise in European ones. Looking at yesterday’s data, the Fed got a fresh reminder about inflation pressures from the PPI release for May, where the monthly headline gain in prices rose to +0.8% in line with expectations, up from +0.4% in April. That left the year-on-year measure at +10.8% (vs. +10.9% expected), which does mark a second consecutive decline in that measure from its peak of +11.5% in March. One positive for the Fed ahead of today’s meeting is that elements that comprise a larger share of core PCE, such as healthcare, showed some softness, but time will tell. Separately, the UK employment data saw the number of payrolled employees in May grow by +90k (vs. +70k expected), but unemployment ticked up to 3.8% in the three months to April (vs. 3.6% expected). Finally, the ZEW survey from Germany saw an improvement relative to May’s readings, with expectations up to -28.0 (vs. -26.8 expected), and the current situation up to -27.6 (vs. -31.0 expected). To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will likely be the aforementioned FOMC decision and Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. There’s also an array of ECB speakers, including President Lagarde, as well as the ECB’s Holzmann, Nagel, Centeno, Muller, De Cos, Panetta and Knot. Otherwise, data releases include Euro Area industrial production for April, US retail sales for May, the NAHB housing market index for June and the Empire State manufacturing survey for June. Tyler Durden Wed, 06/15/2022 - 07:53.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJun 15th, 2022

Sen. Paul Details $52 Billion Federal "Waste" In Annual "Festivus Report"

Sen. Paul Details $52 Billion Federal "Waste" In Annual 'Festivus Report' Authored by Joseph Lord via The Epoch Times, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has unveiled his annual “Festivus Report,” which tracks what he sees as “waste” spending by the federal government. According to the libertarian-leaning Kentuckian, that waste topped over $52 billion in 2021. Since arriving in the Senate amid the Tea Party wave of 2010, Paul had made the federal budget one of his foremost concerns. Like his father, 2008 and 2012 presidential candidate and former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the younger Paul has decried U.S. military adventurism, the excesses of the post-9/11 surveillance state, and the perpetually unbalanced budget of the federal government. The Festivus Report has been a staple for Paul since 2015, when he released his first edition of the report. In the 2021 report, Paul calculated that federal boondoggles added up to a total of $52,598,515,585 - an amount Paul says could have been used to give everyone on Earth around $6.78, build 13,149 miles of four-lane highway, operate Veterans’ Affairs facilities for 4.5 months, or to fund the Department of Energy for nearly two years. From ground-up ferrets to border walls for Middle Eastern countries to a federally-funded dinosaur film, these are some of the most striking examples of bizarre spending revealed by Paul. Misappropriation of COVID-19 Funds Cost $40 Billion Since January 2020, the U.S. government has spent more on relief packages for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus than it spent on World War II. And these relief packages have cost taxpayers tens billions in waste and misappropriated funds, Paul argues. By far the largest expense listed was a $36 billion loss to “improper CARES Act unemployment payments.” The CARES Act, signed into law in March 2020, was the first major pandemic stimulus bill. At the time, when uncertainty about the disease was at its peak, the bill expanded eligibility opportunities for unemployment, allowing those who normally would not qualify to receive unemployment payments. Though it has since become clear that most healthy adults under 50 years old are at little risk of severe disease, federal expenditures authorized by the CARES Act have lagged behind the science. While employers across the nation are desperate for more employees, many not-at-risk Americans have continued to collect unemployment checks under CARES Act guidelines despite being able to work at workplaces enforcing their own COVID-19 safety measures. The second largest expense detailed by Paul was also the result of COVID stimulus legislation. In total, Paul claims that the federal government spent around $4.3 billion on duplicate or ineligible Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, another relief policy that allowed employers to take loans from the federal government to ensure that their employees got paid. DoD Spends Billions on Scrapped Planes, Abandoned Buildings, and Middle Eastern Border Walls The next largest expenses come from the Department of Defense (DoD). According to Paul, the DoD has invested $3.4 billion into replacing the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, one of the military’s go-to tank-like assault vehicles that are used in part as troop transports. Efforts to replace the Bradley began in 2003, but the DoD has still not managed to build a viable replacement. The DoD also lost quite a bit of taxpayer money during the chaotic and controversial withdrawal from Afghanistan. Ordered to leave immediately by President Joe Biden, the military left behind not only hundreds of American citizens and billions of dollars in military equipment, but also billions of dollars of U.S.-financed infrastructure and buildings. The evacuation has left around $2.4 billion of buildings sitting unused. “Why are we spending all this money to build them in the first place?” Paul wrote. “What was once a mission to seek out and destroy the people who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks has become an exercise in—well, it’s unclear exactly what.” Additionally, $549 million was spent by the DoD on military aircraft for the faraway desert nation, but these were “later thrown away” and sold as scrap for $40,257, Paul found. Since 2017, the DoD has lost $773 million on uncollected debts for allies’ use of U.S. aircraft. “DoD is responsible for billing and tracking countries’ usage of these goods and services,” Paul said of the discovery, noting that these aircraft were not supposed to be offered for free. “However, DoD apparently forgot about that part,” Paul quipped. One of the DoD’s most bizarre expenditures involves a $250 million investment into building border walls around several Middle Eastern and North African countries. At the same time, the Biden administration has left the U.S. southern border de facto open. Upon taking office, Biden canceled several non-refundable U.S.-Mexico border wall contracts negotiated by Trump, leaving the wall’s materials sitting unused along the border. Since then, illegal crossings at the southern border have reached unprecedented levels. One Million Trees for NYC, Solar Panels for Africa, and Other Climate Initiatives Still, these expenditures are relatively tame compared to others on Paul’s list. Paul also exposed how federal money has been used for several odd climate initiatives, both in the United States and abroad. For example, the federal government offered a staggering sum of $400 million to plant one million trees in New York City between 2007 and 2017, which comes out to around $400 per tree. Proponents said that the project would “make New York City more sustainable” and “protect our planet.” MillionTreesNYC Director Morgan Monaco said that there was an additional goal: “to have New Yorkers form an emotional connection to trees.” Some African nations also made off with a windfall in U.S. taxpayer funding. The Department of State, Paul says, devoted $179 million to funding green energy programs in Africa. Paul argued that this investment will actually hurt African nations more than help them. “Operating renewable energy sources like solar and hydroelectric remain more costly to [African] citizens,” Paul said. “So, by … providing $179 million for renewable energy, we’re actually going to be sticking Sub-Saharan African consumers with hefty electricity bills.” The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has also advanced some questionably costly climate programs. According to Paul’s findings, USAID has spent $11.3 million on “telling people [in Vietnam] not to burn their trash.” Another $88 million USAID went to efforts to build irrigation systems in Afghanistan. Despite the nearly $100 million investment, these have gone mostly unused by Afghan farmers. Ground-Up Ferrets for COVID Vaccines and Other Government-Funded Research Projects The federal government has also been busy in the domain of scientific research. While some federally-financed research involves things like military technology, health care innovations, and space travel, some of its projects push the frontiers of human knowledge much less than others. One of the most bizarre research projects highlighted by Paul involves $4.5 million in funding for a vaccine facility that ground up ferrets, among other inhumane tests. “Since 2010, the American taxpayer has given Triple F Farms $4.5 million [to breed and transport ferrets] to COVID-19 and influenza vaccine testing laboratories,” Paul explained. A 2011 investigation into their facility included “video recordings of ferrets dying in feces, run over by carts, thrown alive into incinerators, hanging from wire.” After these abuses became public, Triple F Farms received a $44,000 fine from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which Paul called “a minor slap on the wrist compared to the millions of dollars of your taxpayer funds they received before and after the investigation.” Recent USDA inspections have shown that these problems are ongoing. But Triple F Farms still receives federal funding despite its inhumane and illegal treatment of animals. Another federally-funded study by the National Institute on Aging, at a cost to taxpayers of $1.3 million, found that “hearing bad news decreases happiness levels.” In the same vein, the federal government financed a $352,000 experiment which concluded that “kids crave junk food and gain weight if they’re exposed to it.” Finally, the National Institutes of Health spent $465,000 on an experiment involving pigeons playing slot machines, while the Food and Drug Administration spent $337,500 on an effort to fatten eels for human consumption. Translating Books Into Georgian and Other Cultural Initiatives A slew of odd cultural initiatives are also on the federal government’s bloated checkbook. For example, the Department of State has spent $182,741 on an initiative to translate classic American books into Georgian, the language of a small central-Asian state with a population of around 3.7 million people—less than the population of Los Angeles alone. “The books used are not objectionable,” Paul emphasized, “some economics textbooks, children’s books, and American classics like All the King’s Men and Invisible Man.” “But,” he asked, “when did this become the federal government’s job?” “In the United States, nearly one third of fourth-graders are not proficient in reading,” Paul noted. “‘Some 36 million adults in the U.S. don’t have basic reading … skills above a third-grade level,’ according to estimates,” the report reads. “In case the bureaucrats have forgotten: your constituents are the American people, not foreign citizens,” Paul wrote. Similarly, the State Department has spent $200,000 on an initiative to teach French people about American culture, despite the fact that U.S. culture already has an outsized effect on French culture and language. USAID, in the same vein, has also spent $150,000 on funding free field trips to Washington for Korean children. But Paul notes that not all of the federal government’s cultural spending has been international. New York City, for instance, got a grant of $25 million as part of a COVID-19 relief program to display art projects across the city. With the money, then-Mayor Bill DeBlasio introduced the “City Arts Corps,” which paid around 3,000 artists to publicly display creative works in an effort to “resurge the cultural scene,” DeBlasio said. Another $14 million went to funding the Wilson Center, an upscale venue that’s often the scene of what Paul described as “swanky parties” for members of Congress. “If you’ve not heard of the Wilson Center, it’s a small nonpartisan foreign policy think tank in Washington D.C.,” Paul wrote. “It’s the same as a private think tank, like the Heritage Foundation or the Center for American Progress, except it receives about $14 million a year from the Federal government.” And the Wilson Center has gotten a lot of taxpayer money over the past several decades. According to Paul, this congressional party hub has received $300 million since 1976, while its aforementioned peers have received none. Finally, the National Science Foundation spent $2.5 million on “a film about dinosaurs to inspire middle schoolers.” “Yes, the government used $2-million taxpayer dollars to create a dinosaur-centric film in 2D and 3D, a 3-episode TV series, a fictional book and museum exhibits to ‘inspire’ middle schoolers to build interest in STEM,” Paul wrote. Paul’s Plan to Balance the Budget In his report, Paul also detailed what could be done to balance the budget. A few years ago, Paul introduced his “Penny Plan Balanced Budget.” According to Paul, the plan would have cut “only one penny off every dollar spent by the Federal government.” But amid record spending by the Democratic Congress, that plan will no longer be enough to balance the budget, Paul said. Now, the federal government is spending so much money that it would need to cut five pennies off of each dollar it spends to balance the budget. During early debates on democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) $3.5 trillion budget draft, Paul introduced an amendment to the bill that would have done just that. However, the amendment was defeated by a supermajority, with several Republicans joining with Democrats to strike down the proposal. Still, Paul said he would keep doing what he could to fight the problem. “The speed in which our debt is growing means we need ever more vigorous solutions to solve this growing problem,” he wrote. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/23/2021 - 15:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 23rd, 2021

Live updates: Biden to nominate anti-abortion judge days after SCOTUS ruling, congressman says

The Supreme Court has overturned the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that granted a nationwide, constitutional right to an abortion. Abortion rights and anti-abortion rights activists fill the street in front of the U.S. Supreme Court during a protest in the wake of the decision overturning Roe v. Wade outside on June 25, 2022, in Washington, DC.Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images) The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last week. The 1973 landmark ruling established the constitutional right to an abortion. Over a dozen states have "trigger" laws meant to immediately outlaw abortion upon a reversal of Roe. The Supreme Court last week overturned the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that established the constitutional right to an abortion. The opinion in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization threw out the ruling as the nation's highest court sided with Mississippi and other states, which passed restrictive anti-abortion laws.Immediately after last week's ruling, politicians on both sides of the aisle issued statements — with Republicans praising the Supreme Court and Democrats slamming the decision. Over a dozen states have "trigger laws" meant to ban abortion immediately upon the overturning of Roe, as the legality of abortion is now left up to state legislatures. Biden to appoint anti-abortion judge to lifetime federal post: reportPresident Joe Biden addresses the Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization to overturn Roe v. Wade June 24, 2022 in Cross Hall at the White House in Washington, DC. The Court's decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health overturns the landmark 50-year-old Roe v Wade case and erases a federal right to an abortion.Photo by Alex Wong/Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden will reportedly nominate an anti-abortion judge to a lifetime position in federal court — days after he vowed to protect abortion rights.Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth and other unnamed officials told the Louisville Courier-Journal that Biden planned to nominate lawyer Chad Meredith, who has defended Kentucky's anti-abortion legislation.Yarmuth said it was "clear" that the pending nomination was "part of some larger deal" with Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell.On the day the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe was handed down, Biden vowed to do "all in my power to protect a woman's right in states where they will face the consequences of today's decision." The White House and McConnell's office did not respond to requests for comment.Read MoreMissouri health system restarts emergency contraception amid abortion ban fearsState laws banning abortion "from the moment of fertilization" could interfere with access to emergency contraception.Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty ImagesA Missouri health system announced it would stop providing emergency contraception over concerns that its patients and staff could be prosecuted under the state's strict new abortion ban — then reversed course hours later.Missouri was the first state to make abortion illegal after the US Supreme Court on Friday overturned the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade ruling. Advocates fear that sweeping and vague abortion bans could also impede access to contraception or fertility treatment.Saint Luke's Health System referenced those concerns in their announcement, saying they would stop giving emergency contraception "until the law in this area becomes better defined."The medical system later said they would resume giving out the contraception. The sudden shift shows the confusion and uncertainty over how far state-level abortion bans apply.Read Full StoryHere's what Biden can do to help Americans retain abortion access now that Roe v. Wade is overturned, advocates sayAbortion advocates from across the political spectrum have called for sweeping measures from President Joe Biden.Stefani Reynolds/Getty ImagesAs the nation reels from the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, abortion advocates from across the political spectrum have called for sweeping measures from President Joe Biden. The suggestions raised by these advocates include expanding the Supreme Court, declaring a "public health and national emergency," establishing abortion clinics on federal land, and providing easier access to abortion medication.Read Full StoryHillary Clinton, who has known Clarence Thomas since law school, says he is a person of 'resentment, grievance, anger'Hillary Clinton has known Clarence Thomas since their days at Yale Law School in the '60s.Left: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue. Right: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Clarence Thomas, who she's known since they were at Yale Law School together in the '60s, has always been a "person of grievance.""I went to law school with him. He's been a person of grievance for as long as I have known him," Clinton said Tuesday during an interview on "CBS This Morning" with Gayle King. "Resentment, grievance, anger," she added.In a concurring opinion released when the Court overturned Roe v. Wade last week, Thomas wrote "we should reconsider all of this Court's substantive due process precedents" for rulings that granted individuals the right to birth control access, intimate gay relationships, and same-sex marriage."He may be on his own, but he's signaling," Clinton said of Thomas. "He has signaled in the past to lower courts, to state legislatures to find cases, pass laws, get them up," she added.Read Full StoryNevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed an executive order strengthening protections for those seeking abortions and reproductive health services in the stateFILE: Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a news conference in March 2020.Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesNevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed an executive order strengthening protections for out-of-state abortion patients and medical providers in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning the 1973 landmark ruling Roe v. Wade.The executive order is among a number of countermeasures being taken by Democratic state leaders after the fall of Roe."Today, I signed an Executive Order to strengthen protections for reproductive freedom in Nevada. Reproductive health care is a basic human right," Sisolak wrote in a tweet announcing the executive order. "We are committed to ensuring safe access to abortions for women seeking refuge from the restrictive laws in their state."Abortion rights in Nevada are enshrined in the state's law, making it immune to the impact of a reversal of Roe.—Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) June 29, 2022 Judges in Utah, Louisiana, and Texas have temporarily blocked state laws that would restrict or ban abortionsAttendees hold up signs during a Texas Rally for Abortion Rights at Discovery Green in Houston, Texas, on May 7, 2022.Mark Felix/AFP via Getty ImagesThe Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade on Friday sent abortion back to each individual state to decide — and state judges are emerging as key players in the new abortion fight.Before the Supreme Court decision, 13 states had enacted "trigger" laws designed to ban abortion as soon as Roe fell, others had passed abortion bans or restrictions in earlier years designed to challenge Roe, and still others had pre-Roe abortion bans on their books that courts are now tasked with ruling whether to uphold. Abortion rights litigants are now turning to state courts and arguing under state laws and constitutions to block those trigger laws and other restrictions, with judges in two states temporarily blocking trigger laws that went into effect on Friday.Read Full StoryThe Biden administration will make abortion pills more widely available following Roe's 'despicable' demise, top health official saysHealth and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra speaks about actions the Biden administration plans to take in response to the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Tuesday, June 28, 2022, in Washington.Patrick Semansky/AP PhotoThe federal government will make abortion pills more readily available to patients now that states have moved to ban abortion following the Supreme Court overturning its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said Tuesday.Becerra vowed his office will work with federal law enforcement agencies to ensure that states cannot ban abortion pills, as some Republican-led states have tried to do — though it's unclear how the laws would be enforced given that pills are sent through the mail. "Increasing access to this drug is a national imperative and in the public interest," Becerra said during a 30-minute press conference at the agency's headquarters in Washington, DC.Read MoreWhat 'packing the court' means — and why it's unlikely to happen to save Roe v. WadeActivists For Expanding The Supreme Court Rally Outside the Supreme Court on June 22, 2022.Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Demand JusticeThe Supreme Court's historic decision to end federal abortion rights in the United States has triggered calls to add more justices to the bench to offset its conservative majority.But with President Joe Biden against the reform and a lack of congressional support, it's unlikely to happen.The nation's highest court voted 5-4 on Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that legalized abortion almost 50 years ago. The consequential decision has led some Democrats and abortion-rights activists to demand for the Supreme Court to be expanded in size — a change that aims to counteract the current conservative majority and its rulings by establishing an ideologically balanced court.Read Full StoryWhat the Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade said during their confirmation hearingsWhat Justices Who Overturned Roe Said About Abortion During Confirmation HearingsGetty ImagesThe conservative Supreme Court justices who voted against Roe v. Wade and stripped away the constitutional right to an abortion had spoken about the importance of legal precedent during their confirmation hearings.But they had hedged when pressed on how they'd rule in abortion cases.Video compiled by Insider shows how Justices Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett responded when asked if they'd overturn Roe v. Wade.Keep ReadingUS military will continue to provide abortions when a woman's health is at riskUS Military membersBo Zaunders/Getty ImagesA memo to Department of Defense leaders said the military will not stop offering abortions to service members following the Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade.The US military will continue to provide abortions when the health of the woman is at risk, the memo stated."Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our Service members, the civilian workforce, and DoD families, and we are committed to taking care of all of our people and ensuring that the entire Force remains ready and resilient," the memo said.Read Full StoryRestricting abortion rights will cause severe economic impacts for womenStates where abortion is restricted or banned will place a harsh burden on women seeking abortions — one that'll likely cause severe economic impacts.Women in these states may also lose out on earnings now that they may have to travel far to get abortion access, C. Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Institute for Women's Policy Research, previously told Insider.Mason said women "who are already economically vulnerable" — including women of color, hourly workers, and those without paid or sick leave —  will be most impacted by abortion bans. Read Full StoryFacebook, Instagram reportedly removed posts about abortion pillsRafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesFacebook and Instagram removed posts about abortion pills immediately after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, according to the Associated Press and Vice.The AP reported that posts about how to obtain the pills — which refer to two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol — were pulled off the platforms moments after the nation's highest court stripped away the constitutional right to an abortion.When reached for comment by Insider, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, pointed to Meta spokesperson Andy Stone's Monday tweet."Content that attempts to buy, sell, trade, gift, request or donate pharmaceuticals is not allowed," Stone said.Read Full StoryRoe's daughter slams Supreme Court ruling throwing out abortion rightsAbortion rights are under threat in the US.TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty ImagesThe biological daughter of the woman at the center of the historic Roe v. Wade court case ripped the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the historic ruling — removing the constitutional right to an abortion."I believe that the decision to have an abortion is a private, medical choice that should be between a woman, her family, and her doctor," Shelley Lynn Thornton told ABC News. "We have lived in times of uncertainty and insecurity before, but to have such a fundamental right taken away and this ruling be overturned concerns me of what lies ahead."Read MoreWisconsin's Democratic governor vows to grant clemency to any doctors charged under the state's near-total abortion ban following fall of Roe v. WadeWisconsin Gov. Tony Evers addresses a joint session of the Legislature in the Assembly chambers at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis. on Feb. 15, 2022.AP Photo/Andy Manis, FileWisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said this weekend that he would offer clemency to any doctors charged under the state's antiquated law banning nearly all abortions, which dates back more than a century.The 1849 law was enacted long before Roe v. Wade was instated and remained a Wisconsin statute even after the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case rendered it moot. But after the nation's top court overturned Roe on Friday in a 5-4 majority decision, Wisconsin's 173-year-old abortion ban triggered back into effect. The state's ban makes performing abortions a felony and doctors charged under the statute face up to six years in prison, as well as fines up to $10,000. The law's only exception allows for abortion if it is needed to save the life of the mother. The law does not offer exceptions in instances of rape, incest, or the mother's general health. Read Full StoryUtah judge blocks state's abortion 'trigger law' ban for 14 days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. WadeProtesters hold up hand-written signs in Salt Lake City, Utah.Niki Chan WylieA Utah judge granted a restraining order that will temporarily block the state's abortion ban from immediately going into effect, allowing doctors to provide abortions for the next 14 days.The ruling comes after the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision that granted women the constitutional right to an abortion.Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union chapter in Utah filed a lawsuit over the weekend in a bid to block the state's "trigger law," which was set to immediately ban abortion in the state following the SCOTUS ruling, which was leaked last month.Read Full StoryAfter Roe v. Wade: Doug Mastriano, GOP nominee for Pennsylvania governor, now says abortion is a 'distraction'State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, a Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, takes part in a primary night election gathering in Chambersburg, Pa., Tuesday, May 17, 2022.Carolyn Kaster/AP PhotoDoug Mastriano won the Republican nomination for governor in Pennsylvania by leaning into the culture war, using his Facebook live streams to rail against vaccine requirements, "Critical Race Theory," and members of his own party who failed to embrace conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.But this avowed opponent of abortion — who welcomed last week's Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade — is now trying to pivot conversations away from the question of reproductive rights, admitting that the issue is a boon to Democrats.In an interview with Newsmax on Monday, Mastriano was asked to comment on footage of pro-choice protesters who were dispersed by police with tear gas outside the state capitol in Arizona. Mastriano, who himself was on the front lines between police and protesters at the US Capitol on January 6, per video from the day, praised law enforcement for quelling the civil unrest.But the state senator also didn't reall.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider3 min. ago

2 Electronics Stocks With Bright Industry Prospects to Watch

Accelerating 5G deployments, solid EV momentum and the rapid adoption of wearables benefit the Zacks Electronics - Measuring Instruments industry players like KEYS and CAMT. The Zacks Electronics – Measuring Instruments industry has been benefiting from the increasing 5G deployment and the rising user penetration of electric vehicles (EVs). In addition to this, the solid adoption of consumer-oriented smart IoT devices such as smart speakers, wearables and home security equipment has been aiding industry participants like Keysight Technologies KEYS and Camtek CAMT. The strengthening demand for security and surveillance system has been another boon for the industry players.Industry DescriptionThe Zacks Electronics – Measuring Instruments industry comprises companies, which offer wearables, test solutions and equipment, electronic design, test instrumentation systems, metrology solutions, and thermo management products. The industry players are increasing their spend on research and development, as well as sales and marketing, in order to stay afloat in an era of technological advancements and changing industry standards. The major end-markets served by the underlined industry are consumer, automotive, industrial, aerospace & defense, semiconductor, healthcare, and communications, to name a few. Further, rising spending by manufacturers of semiconductors, automobiles, machinery, mobile phones and LED displays worldwide bodes well for the industry.4 Trends Shaping the Future of Electronics - Measuring Instruments IndustryEV Proliferation – a Growth Driver: The growing momentum across EVs, including hybrid and self-driving vehicles, remains a key catalyst. Increasing investment in advanced automotive technology and the strengthening demand for EV test solutions have been driving the prospects of the industry participants, who are making efforts to capitalize on the EV-related growth opportunities. Continuous innovations in EV infrastructure, which have been bolstering the demand for simulation software, radars and other electronic measuring instruments, remain other positives. In addition to this, the growing proliferation of advanced driver-assistance systems has boosted the demand for electronics testing solutions. The above-mentioned factors are expected to continue to benefit the industry in the near term.5G – Key Catalyst: The growing deployment of 5G holds near-term promise for the industry participants. A demand uptick for 5G test solutions, which are required for 5G deployment, is a major positive. The growing number of high-speed data centers worldwide is a tailwind. The current coronavirus-triggered work-from-home wave globally, which has been bolstering the demand for high-speed Internet services, bodes well for electronic companies, which are enhancing their 5G efforts. Given the upbeat scenario, the industry is anticipated to remain on the growth trajectory, backed by strong efforts to bolster 5G strength.Fitness Tracker Adoption Solid: The increased focus on personal fitness, health and wellness amid the pandemic has emphasized the importance of fitness and wellness trackers and smartwatches, which help in monitoring personal health. The growing proliferation of the devices has fuelled the use of the flat-panel display (“FPD”) technology. Further, the rising demand for Augmented Reality (“AR”)/Virtual Reality (“VR”) devices, and OLED displays have been playing a significant role in driving the requirement for FPDs. The factors are creating an extremely conducive growth environment for the industry players.Coronavirus-Led Uncertainties Hurt: Due to the coronavirus-led uncertainty regarding global economic and business activities, industry participants are witnessing supply constraints, softness in demand, and delays in customer acceptance, in turn, resulting in high levels of backlog. Moreover, volatility in foreign exchange (primarily due to the current macroeconomic scenario and headwinds in the emerging markets) does not bode well for the industry.Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bright ProspectsThe Zacks Electronics - Measuring Instruments industry is housed within the broader Zacks Computer and Technology sector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank #21, which places it in the top 8% of more than 250 Zacks industries.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates solid near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.The industry’s positioning in the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of the positive earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are optimistic about this group’s earnings growth potential. Since Jul 31, 2021, the industry’s earnings estimates for the current year have moved up by 2.3%.Before we present a few stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.Industry Beats S&P 500 & SectorThe Zacks Electronics – Measuring Instruments industry has outperformed the Zacks S&P 500 composite and the broader Zacks Computer and Technology sector in the past year.The stocks in the industry have collectively lost 8.7% against the S&P 500 and the Zacks Computer and Technology sector’s declines of 9.8% and 25.4%, respectively.One-Year Price PerformanceIndustry's Current ValuationOn the basis of the forward 12-month price-to-sales ratio (P/S), which is a commonly used multiple for valuing Electronics – Measuring Instruments stocks, the industry is currently trading at 3.12X, lower than the S&P 500’s 3.28X and the sector’s 3.35X.Over the past five years, the industry has traded as high as 4.57X and as low as 1.54X, with a median of 2.66X, as the charts below show.Forward 12-Month Price-to-Sales (P/S) Ratio 2 Measuring Instrument Stocks to Keep a Close Eye onKeysight Technologies: The Santa Rosa, CA-based company is well-poised to capitalize on the accelerating 5G deployment, courtesy of the rising demand for 5G test solutions. The company is benefiting from higher investments in 400G/ 800G ethernet for data centers. Keysight Technologies is also riding on the solid demand for its semiconductor measurement solutions, as semiconductor companies are increasingly developing chips based on next-generation process technologies.Additionally, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company, which is a provider of electronic design and test instrumentation systems, is likely to gain from high government spending and the momentum in investments aimed at technology advancements. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Notably, Keysight Technologies has lost 11.1% over a year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for KEYS’ fiscal 2022 earnings has been revised upward by 0.3% over the past 30 days to $7.07 per share.Price & Consensus: KEYS Camtek: The Israel-based manufacturer of metrology and inspection equipment benefits from the growing share in the 2D inspection market. The company is benefiting from its robust system performance across 2D applications. Additionally, the increasing demand for 5G-related applications remains a tailwind.This Zacks Rank #2 company is well-positioned to capitalize on the rising demand for semiconductor devices on the back of its software solutions utilized in advanced packaging, memory and sensors.Notably, Camtek has lost 34.8% in the past year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CAMT’s 2022 earnings has been unchanged at $1.78 per share over the past 30 days.Price & Consensus: CAMT Free: Top Stocks for the $30 Trillion Metaverse Boom The metaverse is a quantum leap for the internet as we currently know it - and it will make some investors rich. Just like the internet, the metaverse is expected to transform how we live, work and play. Zacks has put together a new special report to help readers like you target big profits. The Metaverse - What is it? And How to Profit with These 5 Pioneering Stocks reveals specific stocks set to skyrocket as this emerging technology develops and expands.Download Zacks’ Metaverse Report now >>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 Keysight Technologies Inc. (KEYS): Free Stock Analysis Report Camtek Ltd. (CAMT): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 17th, 2022

Oklahoma lawmakers passed 5 contradictory abortion bans. No one knows which laws will be enforced.

Oklahoma lawmakers have passed contradictory bills to ban abortion. They don't know which law will prevail if Roe v. Wade is overturned. State of Oklahoma; IStock Photo; Vicky Leta/Insider In the past year, Gov. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma has signed five contradictory abortion bans into law. Few of the 42 lawmakers who sponsored the bills could agree on which exemptions will prevail. District attorneys and the attorney general couldn't say which laws would be enforced post-Roe. Oklahoma's Republican governor, Kevin Stitt, signed into law the country's most restrictive abortion measure last Wednesday, banning nearly all abortions in the state.House Bill 4327 took effect immediately, even as Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision enshrining abortion access, remains the law of the land. It's a so-called vigilante law that empowers private citizens to sue anyone who "aids or abets" an abortion — whether that's doctors, friends, or family members — for up to $10,000 in damages. A law piloting that enforcement mechanism has been in effect in Texas since last fall."I promised Oklahomans that as governor I would sign every piece of pro-life legislation that came across my desk," Stitt said after signing the bill, "and I am proud to keep that promise."These laws have made Stitt a darling in anti-abortion circles. But his commitment to signing every abortion ban the Legislature sends him threatens to create chaos in Oklahoma. HB 4327 is the fifth ban he's signed into law in a little more than a year.The laws at times contradict each other, offering starkly different rules for when doctors are permitted to provide care — and raising high-stakes questions about what enforcement will actually look like in Oklahoma. Lawmakers contacted by Insider were in disagreement about what the law in Oklahoma will be.The newest law, which bans abortion starting at fertilization, has exemptions for pregnancies that result from rape or incest that are reported to law enforcement. But a bill Stitt signed less than a month ago, Senate Bill 1503, a vigilante-style law that bans all abortions after six weeks, has no exemptions for rape or incest.Stitt has also signed two slightly different "trigger laws," Senate Bill 918 and Senate Bill 1555, that criminalize abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned, as a leaked Supreme Court draft decision suggests is likely.Yet another law — Senate Bill 612, which Stitt signed in April — makes providing an abortion a criminal offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a $100,000 fine. It has no exemptions for rape or incest.Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt after signing SB 612 into law in April, making it a felony to perform an abortion punishable by up to 10 years in prison.Sue Ogrocki/APThe incoherence has already had real-world effects. Andrea Gallegos, the executive administrator of the Tulsa Women's Clinic, described in an affidavit what happened the day SB 1503 took effect in early May. A patient who was seven or eight weeks pregnant called to say she was running late."She told me that she had been raped and asked me if there was an exception for people who had been raped. I had to tell her that S.B. 1503 has no exception for rape," Gallegos said. "I said that we would marshal any resources we could to help her, but she did not come to the clinic. We were unable to help her."Three weeks later, Stitt signed the bill with the rape exemption.During a press call, Rabia Muqaddam, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, described Oklahoma legislators as "extraordinarily sloppy."The Legislature "repeatedly enacts overlapping laws in an insane way that makes no sense," Muqaddam said. "There's really no rhyme or reason other than a radical attempt to just confuse people, create chaos, and wreak as much havoc as they can possibly do on people who are seeking abortion and the providers who provide it."'We do realize some of these may conflict'Insider contacted all 42 lead sponsors and cosponsors of the five statutes, asking the legislators what will happen in the state if Roe is overturned as expected. Insider asked how the laws contradict each other, whether exemptions for rape and incest will be honored, and whether the state plans to offer guidance to physicians so they know how to provide lawful care.Oklahoma passed 5 abortion bans in 13 months.Shayanne Gal/Annie Fu/Alex Ford/Insider"In a meeting. Please text," Republican state Sen. Greg Treat, the primary sponsor of the state's two trigger laws, wrote to Insider after ignoring repeated calls and messages. He never responded again. Dozens of others did not respond at all.Insider also reached out to Stitt's office and to the state's two dozen district attorneys, who will be responsible for enforcing the pileup of contradictory laws. The few who responded couldn't answer basic questions about enforcement. "I am certainly not the correct person to talk to about this issue," Laura Austin Thomas, the district attorney for Payne County, which has a population of about 80,000, told Insider. "I currently know nothing. I'm sorry."Few of the legislators who responded to Insider were able to provide detailed answers about how these contradictory laws would be enforced. Some offered conflicting interpretations about Oklahoma's post-Roe landscape. None said they had provided guidance to physicians or prosecutors about what exactly these laws mean, even though these professionals could be expected to grapple with life-or-death situations in a matter of weeks.As Insider previously reported, health and law-enforcement agencies in the 13 states with trigger laws that take effect if the Supreme Court strikes down Roe — Oklahoma is joined by Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Texas, and Wyoming — have created no plans for how to implement those laws."I apologize for not knowing specifically which bills are which and right now, we are in the middle of the final week of session," Republican Sen. Jessica Garvin, a cosponsor of HB 4327, told Insider by email in response to a question about how that statute intersects with the other measures. "What I can say is that we do realize some of these may conflict if/when the Courts overturn Roe v. Wade, so again, we will decide how to move forward once the final ruling is released."A few legislators told Insider they intend to leave interpretation of the laws up to individual doctors, county prosecutors, and the state's attorney general.Madelyn Hague, a spokesperson for Attorney General John O'Connor, declined to answer Insider's questions about which law or laws will prevail and be enforced in Oklahoma if Roe is overturned, saying the office "will not offer public speculation." But the spokesperson noted that O'Connor "has called for the Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey," adding that "Oklahoma will be prepared should the Court do so.""It seems like it's probably best and wisest to just kind of let it play out, let's see how it goes," said Republican Rep. Jim Olsen, a primary sponsor of SB 612, the law that Stitt signed in April that makes providing an abortion a criminal offense.'Got so many bills'Many Oklahoma legislators Insider contacted were unable to provide even basic information about what will happen if Roe is overturned — or what the text of their bill said.Republican Rep. Todd Russ, the lead sponsor of SB 1503, struggled to remember whether his bill had yet been signed by the governor. (Stitt signed it two weeks before Russ spoke with Insider.) "Got so many bills," he said. "We're right in the middle of all the activities. And I can't just tell you exactly which one right off the top of my head."When Insider called the office of Rep. Sean Roberts, a Republican cosponsor of HB 4327, his assistant inaccurately said the law had no exemptions for rape or incest. In fact, the text contains exemptions for both.Abortion-rights supporters rally at the Oklahoma Capitol on May 3.AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, FileSimilarly, Rep. Kevin McDugle, a Republican cosponsor of HB 4327 and SB 612, said he made sure the bills he helped pass contained exemptions for rape and incest and "if the mother is in danger of losing her life."While HB 4327 has exemptions for rape and incest, SB 612 does not.As McDugle tried to explain which laws could be in effect if Roe is overturned, he paused and said he was having a hard time keeping track of which law did what."Honestly, I'd have to go back and even look, because I don't know which ones are on the books prior," McDugle said. "We need to go back and look at all that to say, 'OK, this part of this bill is included, it's now law. But the second bill has overwritten this part of the other bill.' So it can be confusing."McDugle had his team prepare a memo detailing the different abortion laws. The memo, which was shared with Insider, clarifies which statutes include which exemptions but fails to lay out the implications for enforcement. It also lists an incorrect date that one law will go into effect."We don't have detailed answers on all of it," Olsen told Insider. "We've never done this. It's been legal since 1973."When Insider asked McDugle why Oklahoma has so many conflicting abortion bans on the books, he had a simple answer: "There's no real strategy there."Disagreement, confusion about which laws will take effectThough the Oklahoma legislators who spoke with Insider helped write and pass these bills, they disagreed about what will happen if Roe is struck down in June. Some said they're waiting for the final ruling from the Supreme Court to determine how to act.Republican Sen. Nathan Dahm, the primary sponsor of SB 612 and a cosponsor of HB 4327, said that whichever statute was signed into law most recently would take precedence and supersede similar bills, a view shared by McDugle. Muqaddam, the reproductive-rights legal expert, likewise said her understanding is that most restrictive law that takes effect last would take precedence."But it is extraordinarily bizarre and we really don't know how it's all going to shake out," she said.Dahm, who is currently running for US Senate, speculated that local district attorneys could even try to prosecute using the abortion ban passed before Roe v. Wade — without waiting for the Supreme Court to act.Oklahoma state Rep. Jim Olsen, left, with Oklahoma state Sen. Nathan Dahm, right, after a signing ceremony for the abortion ban they sponsored, SB 612.AP Photo/Sue OgrockiSB 612, the law Stitt signed in April that criminalizes all abortions except in medical emergencies, won't take effect until August. When Insider asked what would happen between June, when the court may strike down Roe, and August, Dahm said that the most recent trigger law, SB 1555, may temporarily go into effect. He said his goal is for the state to eventually pass two new bills — one civil, one criminal — and remove the other "conflicting" state laws from the books.He couldn't say which exemptions, if any, would be included in those hypothetical bills.Republican Rep. Wendi Stearman, the lead sponsor of HB 4327 and a cosponsor of SB 612, offered a conflicting view. She told Insider that all the laws would go into effect, including a pre-Roe ban enacted in 1910, even though they clash.Difficult for patients to know their optionsEmily Wales, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said the Oklahoma legislators appeared to be throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks."At this point, on an operations side, we are preparing for the most restrictions, which would be a complete loss of services with likely no exceptions," she told Insider.Dana Stone, an OB-GYN in Oklahoma City who has practiced medicine in the state for over 25 years, was taught to always give patients all their options, guiding them through the risks and benefits as they decide what's best for their health.Now she's unsure whether she can provide even basic information about how to safely terminate a pregnancy."For somebody else to tell me that I cannot put my patient first is just incredibly wrong to me," she said. "It's going to be difficult to know how I can even counsel her without one of these laws applying."As a resident in the 1980s, Stone learned from older physicians who'd practiced medicine prior to Roe v. Wade. They described how pregnant women had seriously harmed themselves after performing illegal abortions, or even died of infections.With the onslaught of recent laws in Oklahoma, she's fearful of returning to that time."It's going to make it difficult for patients to know all of their options if they're having an unwanted pregnancy or a medically dangerous pregnancy or an abnormal pregnancy," Stone said. "This just is very intimidating to look at all these new laws and not quite be sure how to navigate taking care of patients now."No clarity on exemptions for rape, incest, medical emergenciesInsider pressed legislators on whether physicians would be able to legally provide abortions for victims of rape and incest, since these exemptions are included in only one of the statutes, HB 4327, the recent civil law. "Constituents reach out and want to make sure there are exemptions," McDugle said. "The reason that the exemptions are in there is because that's the only way that bill would pass."All the others — SB 612, the criminal ban; SB 1503, the six-week ban with civil penalties; the trigger laws SB 918 and SB 1555 and the 1910 ban they reactivate — contain exemptions only for medical emergencies or to save the pregnant person's life.Abortion rights advocates gather outside the Oklahoma Capitol on April 5.AP Photo/Sean MurphyDahm said that under HB 4327, a doctor who performed an abortion on a victim of rape or incest could avoid a civil suit but not a criminal prosecution. "They could still potentially be criminally liable" for the same abortion, he said, if a district attorney pursued charges under SB 612.When questioned about why the exemptions aren't consistent across bills, he said, "It's multiple different versions at different stages to try to protect even more lives of the unborn."Dahm said he personally doesn't support an exemption for rape or incest. And Stitt told Fox News that while he has daughters and couldn't imagine them facing "that hardship" of a pregnancy that resulted from rape, "we don't think that killing one to protect another is the right thing to do."Even Stearman, who sponsored HB 4327, which ultimately included exceptions for rape and incest, took a hardline stance during floor debate. A child of rape or incest, she said, "would have a chance at life."As for the medical-emergency exemption, Dahm said that since the Supreme Court draft decision leaked in early May, his colleagues have discussed what they should do during their next legislative session to create clarity, such as how to define a medical emergency and whether that decision should be left to a single doctor or require sign-off from two or more physicians.The next legislative session doesn't convene until 2023.Olsen said that if down the road doctors are found to be abusing the exemption, lawmakers would need to consider additional legislation."We just have to see how those situations arise," he said. "We don't want to overregulate, but we do want to do what's necessary to do all that we can to preserve the life of the baby."When Insider asked McDugle, whose team prepared the memo, whether a pregnant person's being suicidal qualifies as a medical emergency under the laws, he said that would be up to the courts."My personal opinion would be that no, that would not qualify as a medical emergency," he said. "By simply stating it, that's not medical, that's mental."Physicians fear confusion, delaysThe uncertainty surrounding the exemptions could make it difficult for providers to quickly care for their patients, said Elizabeth Nash, the interim associate director of state issues at the Guttmacher Institute, the reproductive-health think tank. A patient facing a health crisis might have to wait for care until the doctor could consult with a hospital's general counsel.Stone is already grappling with those questions. She said she's contacted the attorneys at her hospital system to seek guidance on the kinds of communication she can have with her patients without being accused of breaking the law."If I decide that she needs an intervention that can terminate a pregnancy to save her life, will the anesthesiologist be OK with getting on board? Will the nurses be OK assisting with it? There's a whole lot of people who have to work to keep the patient safe during her hospitalization who might be afraid to take care of her," she told Insider. "We're going to have to lean very hard on attorneys to help us try and interpret these laws. I have not seen any of the legislators or the governor willing to give specific advice on how we're supposed to navigate this."After more than two decades of practicing medicine, Stone is getting ready to partially retire from her practice. But she worries that people may be dissuaded from entering the field she loves. She said the idea of facing jail time, significant fines, and legal fees simply for treating patients is daunting."We have one of the highest rates of maternal mortality. We have some of the highest child-poverty rates," she said. "I don't know why we're passing laws like this that require women to take on all of these physical and financial and social risks with no safety net. I just can't imagine why we're doing this."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJun 2nd, 2022

Armstrong World (AWI) Banks on Digitization, High Costs Ail

Armstrong World (AWI) benefits from strategic acquisitions and timely investments in new products and digitization. Yet, inflationary pressure ail. Armstrong World Industries, Inc. AWI has been benefiting from digitization, strong demand from housing market, inorganic growth and investment in new products. Also, a strong liquidity position helps it mitigate uncertainty.However, higher costs and supply chain issues are ailing the company. Also, project delays and oil price volatility add to the woes.Although shares of global producer of ceiling systems have underperformed the Zacks Building Products – Miscellaneous industry in the year-to-date period, earnings estimates for 2022 reflect 16.7% year-over-year growth. The company also has solid earnings surprise history. Its earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the eight out of the trailing 13 quarters. In the next five years, the company is likely to generate 13.2% earnings growth. Moreover, it currently has a Value Score of B.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThis positive trend signifies bullish analysts’ sentiments, indicating robust fundamentals and the expectation of outperformance in the near term. Let’s delve into this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company’s driving factors. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Factors Building StrengthDigital Investments Bode Well: Armstrong World has remained focused on its digitalization initiative. The company is continuously investing in Healthy Spaces and digital initiatives and is optimistic about its contribution to its growth. In 2021, the company continued with additional digital investments, with several initiatives focusing on speed and cost benefits for customers. Armstrong World’s digital advancement and product innovation amidst COVID challenges place it as the only ceiling and specialty walls company across the country.Solid Housing: Robust U.S. housing market fundamentals and repair & remodeling activities have been benefiting AWI. With the solid economic backdrop, demand for housing and building material products has been robust in the past few quarters, given the increasing trend of consumers to invest more in homes amid the pandemic. Apart from the remarkable recovery in single-family housing construction, repair/remodel activity also has been robust.Acquisitions Boosting Product Offerings: Armstrong World’s growth strategy is largely dependent on acquisitions that expand access to additional markets. The company follows a systematic strategy for portfolio diversification. In December 2020, Armstrong World acquired Arktura, LLC, a designer and fabricator of ceilings, walls, partitions and facades.On Aug 24, 2020, the company announced the acquisition of Moz Designs, Inc., a Northern California-based designer and fabricator of custom architectural metal ceilings, walls, dividers and column covers for the interior and exterior applications. On Jun 28, 2020, Armstrong World announced the acquisition of Turf Design, Inc., a Chicago, IL-based commercial interiors design house and maker of custom felt ceilings as well as wall solutions.During first-quarter 2022, these acquisitions contributed to sales growth of 25.6% in Architectural Specialties unit.Investments in New Products: Armstrong has been strategically investing in new products, sales and support services since its separation from the flooring business in 2016. It launched 35 products in 2020. In November 2020, it launched the AirAssure family of ceiling tiles. AirAssure is designed to reduce air leaks through the ceiling plane by up to four times over standard ceilings. Last November, the company paired the patented Vidashield ultraviolet air purification system with Armstrong ceiling panels to provide cleaner and safer air in pretty much any commercial space.Superior ROE: Armstrong World’s superior return on equity (ROE) is also indicative of growth potential. The company’s ROE currently stands at 40.9%. This compares favorably with ROE of 11.6% for the industry it belongs to. This indicates efficiency in using its shareholders’ funds and Armstrong World’s ability to generate profit with minimum capital usage.Causes of ConcernHigher Costs: Higher raw material costs owing to persistent inflationary pressure are hurting the company. To address this, the company introduced a continuous price increase in the past year.This apart, it has been investing regularly in healthy spaces and digitization, which is ultimately increasing selling, general and administrative or SG&A expenses. In first-quarter 2022, its SG&A expenses rose 5.4% year over year due to increased spending on digital growth initiatives. Also, incremental costs relating to manufacturing, freight, labor and energy put pressure on the bottom line.Project Delays: Armstrong World is likely to witness short-term project delays within the Architectural Specialties business, similar to new construction and major renovation Mineral Fiber projects, due to material and labor shortages that are impacting upstream building activity. The company is expected to generate a lower backlog in the near term.During second-half 2021, the company witnessed project delays in both Mineral Fiber and Architectural Specialties segments. Although new construction and major renovation activity improved, it was uneven due to commercial construction labor disruptions and supply chain challenges, resulting in project delays. Although the condition is improving, the impact of these project delays is likely to remain a headwind and may put pressure on the bottom line.Geopolitical Uncertainty: Prices for oil and natural gas are subject to fluctuations in response to relatively minor changes in the supply and demand for oil and natural gas, market uncertainty, and a variety of other economic factors. International markets that are closely linked to oil, such as the Middle East, will be impacted by oil price volatility and continued geopolitical uncertainty in the region.Some Better-Ranked Stocks in the Broader Construction SectorBeazer Homes USA, Inc. BZH currently sports a Zacks Rank #1. This Atlanta-based homebuilder continues to gain from solid operational execution and the continued strength of the housing market.Beazer Homes’ earnings are expected to grow 48.9% in fiscal 2022.NVR, Inc. NVR currently sports a Zacks Rank #1. The company is engaged in the construction and sale of single-family detached homes, townhomes and condominium buildings, all of which are primarily constructed on a pre-sold basis. To serve homebuilding customers, NVR operates a mortgage banking and title services business. NVR operates in two business segments: Homebuilding and Mortgage Banking.NVR’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 68.4%.TRI Pointe Group Inc. TPH currently sports a Zacks Rank #1. This Irvine, CA-based homebuilder designs, constructs, and sells single-family detached and attached homes in the United States. Robust demand and pricing and improved operating leverage have been driving TRI Pointe's performance. Cost-cutting initiatives implemented earlier this year and focus on entry-level buyers have been adding to the positives.TRI Pointe’s earnings for 2022 are expected to grow 29.6%. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Beazer Homes USA, Inc. (BZH): Free Stock Analysis Report NVR, Inc. (NVR): Free Stock Analysis Report Armstrong World Industries, Inc. (AWI): Free Stock Analysis Report Tri Pointe Homes Inc. (TPH): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 31st, 2022

The Tucker Carlson origin story

Tucker Carlson's journey from prep school provocateur to Fox News flamethrower, according to his friends and former classmates. Tucker Carlson during a CNN National Town Meeting on coverage of the White House sex scandal, on January 28, 1998.Richard Ellis/Getty Images Tucker Carlson is remembered as a provocateur and gleeful contrarian by those who knew him in his early days. His bohemian artist mother abandoned her young family and cut Tucker and his brother out of her will. At a Rhode Island prep school and at Trinity College, classmates remember him as a skilled debater who could both amuse and infuriate his audiences. On Oct. 29, 1984, New York police killed an elderly Black woman named Eleanor Bumpurs in her own home. Bumpers, who lived in a public housing complex in the Bronx, had fallen four months behind on her rent. When officials from the city housing authority tried to evict her, she refused, and they called the police. Five officers responded by storming into her apartment. Bumpurs, who had a history of mental illness, grabbed a butcher knife as two officers pushed her against a wall with their plastic shields and a metal pole. A third officer fired two shots from his 12-gauge shotgun, striking Bumpurs in her hand and chest.Eleanor Bumpurs' death dominated the city's news for two months and led the NYPD to revise its guidelines for responding to emotionally disturbed individuals.At St. George's prep school, some 175 miles away in Rhode Island, the incident deeply haunted Richard Wayner. He was one of the school's few Black students and had grown up in a residential tower not far from where Bumpurs had lived. He earned straight As and was so admired that in 1984 his peers elected him senior prefect, the prep equivalent of student body president, making him the first Black class leader in the school's 125-year history. Harvard soon beckoned.Wayner was frustrated with how the St. George's community seemed to ignore the conversations about racial justice that were happening outside the cloistered confines of Aquidneck Island. It bothered Wayne that almost no one at St. George's seemed to know anything about Bumpurs' killing. "You had your crew, you put your head down, and you tried to get through three or four years of prep school with your psyche intact," Wayner said of those days.As senior prefect, one of the duties was to deliver an address each week at the mandatory Sunday chapel service. One Sunday, perched from the chapel podium, Wayner described the shooting as a sea of white faces stared back at him. He concluded with the words: "Does anyone think that woman deserved to die?"Near the front of the chapel, a single hand went up for a few brief seconds. It was Tucker Carlson.Eleanor Bumpurs was shot and killed by the New York Police Department on October 29, 1984APThen a sophomore, Tucker had a reputation as a gleeful contrarian – an indefatigable debater and verbal jouster who, according to some, could also be a bit of a jerk. "Tucker was just sort of fearless," said Ian Toll, a St. George's alumnus who would go on to be a military historian. "Whether it was a legitimate shooting may have been a point of debate but the fact was that Tucker was an underclassmen and the culture was to defer to the seniors." Wayner himself never saw Tucker's hand go up, and the two kept in touch over the years. (Note on style: Tucker Carlson and the members of his family are referred to here by their first names to avoid confusion.)  Four decades later, glimmers of that prep school provocateur appear on Tucker's Prime Time show on Fox, which garners an average of between 3 to 4 million viewers a night. His furrowed visage and spoiling-for-a-fight demeanor are all too familiar to those who have known him for decades. In the words of Roger Stone, a Republican political operative, frequent guest, and longtime friend of Tucker's: "Tucker Carlson is the single most influential conservative journalist in America… It is his courage and his willingness to talk about issues that no one else is willing to cover that has led to this development."Tucker's name has even been floated as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2024. "I mean, I guess if, like, I was the last person on earth, I could do it. But, I mean, it seems pretty unlikely that I would be that guy." he said on the "Ruthless" podcast in June, dismissing this possibility.Tucker's four decades in Washington, and his transition from conservative magazine writer to right-wing television pundit, have been well documented. But less well known are his early years and how they shaped him: his bohemian artist mother, who abandoned her young family and cut Tucker and his brother out of her will; the Rhode Island prep school where he met his future spouse; and his formation into a contrarian debater who could both amuse and infuriate his audience with his attention-getting tactics.Tucker declined to participate in an interview with Insider, saying in a statement. "Your level of interest in the boring details of my life is creepy as hell, and also pathetic," he wrote. "You owe it to yourself and the country to do something useful with your talents. Please reassess."California roots Tucker Carlson's West Coast roots burrow as deep as a giant redwood. He was born in San Francisco in May 1969 as the excesses of the Sixties peaked and the conservative backlash to the counterculture and the Civil Rights movement started to take shape. Tucker's mother, Lisa McNear Lombardi, born in San Francisco in 1945, came from one of the state's storied frontier families. Lisa's mother, Mary Nickel James, was a cattle baron heiress. Her great-great-grandfather had owned 3 million acres of ranchland, making him among the largest landowners west of the Mississippi. Her father Oliver Lombardi was an insurance broker and descendant of Italian-speaking Swiss immigrants. Lisa enrolled at UC Berkeley, where she majored in architecture. She met Richard Carlson, a San Francisco TV journalist from a considerably less prosperous background, while still in college. Lisa and Richard eloped in Reno, Nevada in 1967. The couple didn't notify Lisa's mother, who was traveling in Europe with her new husband at the time. "Family members have been unable to locate them to reveal the nuptials," a gossip item published in the San Francisco Examiner dished.Tucker arrived two years later. A second son, Buckley, was born two years after that. As Richard's career began to flourish, the family moved first to Los Angeles and then, in 1975, to La Jolla, a moneyed, beach-front enclave about 12 miles north of San Diego. When Lisa and Richard divorced a year later, in 1976, Richard got full custody of their sons, then 6 and 4. According to three of Tucker's childhood classmates, Lisa disappeared from her sons' lives. They don't recall Tucker talking about her, or seeing her at school events. Marc Sterne, Tucker's boarding school roommate who went on to be executive producer of the Tony Kornheiser Show, says the two didn't talk much about Tucker's relationship with his mother and he got the impression that Tucker and Richard were exceptionally close. When Sterne's own parents split up that year, he said Tucker was supportive and understanding. Lisa spent the next two decades as an artist – moving first to Los Angeles, where she befriended the painter David Hockney, and later split her time between France and South Carolina with her husband, British painter Michael Vaughan. In 1979, Richard Carlson married Patricia Swanson, heiress to the Swanson frozen foods empire that perfected the frozen Salisbury steak for hassle-free dinners. She soon legally adopted Tucker and Buckley.  When Lisa died in 2011, her estate was initially divided equally between Tucker, his brother Buckley, and Vaughan. But in 2013, Vaughan's daughter from another marriage found a one-page handwritten document in Lisa's art studio in France that left her assets to her surviving husband with an addendum that stated, "I leave my sons Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson and Buckley Swanson Peck Carlson one dollar each." A protracted battle over Lombardi's estate involving Vaughan and the Carlson brothers wound up in probate court. The Carlsons asserted the will was forged but a forensic witness determined that Lisa had written the note. The case eventually went to the California Appellate Court, which allowed the Carlson brothers to keep their shares in 2019."Lisa was basically sort of a hippie and a free spirit," said one attorney who  represented the Vaughan family and recalled having conversations about the case. "She was very liberal and she did not agree with Tucker's politics. But she stuck the will in the book, everyone forgot about it, and then she passed away."In a 2017 interview with The New Yorker, Tucker described the dissolution of his family as a "totally bizarre situation — which I never talk about, because it was actually not really part of my life at all." Several pieces of art produced by Tucker's mother, Lisa Lombardi, and her then-partner Mo Mcdermott in the home of a California collector.Ted Soqui for InsiderLisa When Lisa left her husband and two young sons, she was escaping suburban family life in favor of the more bohemian existence as an artist. One of Tucker and Buckley's former teachers said their mother's absence "left some sour grapes." "I felt they sided with the father," Rusty Rushton, a former St. George's English teacher said. After the divorce, Lisa returned to Los Angeles and tried to break into the city's thriving contemporary art scene. She befriended Mo McDermott, an LA-based British sculptor, model, and longtime assistant to David Hockney, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. A few years before he met Lisa, the scene was captured in Jack Hazan's 1974 groundbreaking documentary "A Bigger Splash," which followed Hockney and his coterie of gay male friends idly lounging around the pool in his Hollywood Hills home."When love goes wrong, there's more than two people who suffer," said McDermott, playing a slightly exaggerated version of himself, in a voiceover in the documentary.Lisa and McDermott became a couple and Lisa won admission into Hockney's entourage. Hockney lived a far more reclusive lifestyle than his pop art compatriot Andy Warhol but some four dozen or so artists, photographers, and writers regularly passed through his properties."She was more like a hippie, arty kind of person. I couldn't ever imagine her being a mother," said Joan Quinn, the then-West Coast editor of Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine, who knew Lisa during those years and still owns several of her works. "She was very nervous all the time… She was ill-content."The pair were often seen at Hockney's Hollywood Hills home and at Friday night gallery openings on La Cienega Boulevard. They collaborated on playful, large-scale wood sculptures of animals, vegetables, and trees. A handful of their pieces could be seen around Hockney's hillside ranch."Hockney had me over to meet them. He wanted a gallery to handle their work," said Molly Barnes, who owns a gallery in West Hollywood and gave the pair shows in 1983 and 1984. "They were brilliant and David loved Mo. He thought they were the best artists around.""She was quiet and intellectual and somewhat withdrawn," Barnes said. "She had come from a lot of money and that reflected on her personality. She wasn't a snob in any way but she had the manners of a private school girl and someone who was fighting the establishment."A sculpture by Tucker's mother, Lisa Lombardi, and her then-partner Mo Mcdermott in the home of a California collector.Ted Soqui for InsiderNone of them recall Lisa discussing her two sons. McDermott died in 1988. After his death, Hockney discovered that McDermott had been stealing drawings from him and selling them. Hockney said the betrayal helped bring on a heart attack. "I believe I had a broken heart," Hockney told The Guardian in 1995. (Hockney did not answer multiple inquiries about Lisa or McDermott.)In 1987, Lisa met Vaughan, one of Hockney's peers in the British art scene known as the "Bradford Mafia." They married in February 1989 and for years afterward they lived in homes in the Pyrenees of southwest France and South Carolina's Sea Islands.Lisa continued to make art, primarily oversized, wooden sculptures of everyday household items like peeled lemons and dice, but she exhibited her work infrequently. She died of cancer in 2011, at which point Carlson was a decade into his media career and a regular contributor on Fox News. Richard In contrast to Lisa's privileged upbringing, Richard's childhood was full of loss. Richard's mother was a 15-year-old high school girl who had starved herself during her pregnancy, and he was born with a condition called rickets. Six weeks later, his mother left him at an orphanage in Boston called The Home for Little Wanderers. Richard's father, who was 18, tried to convince her to kidnap the infant and marry him, but she refused. He shot and killed himself two blocks from her home.A Massachusetts couple fostered Richard for two years until he was adopted by a wool broker and his wife, which he described in a 2009 reflection for the Washington Post. His adoptive parents died when he was still a teenager and Richard was sent to the Naval Academy Preparatory School. He later enlisted in the Marines and enrolled in an ROTC program at the University of Mississippi to pay for college.In 1962, Richard developed an itch for journalism while working as a cop in Ocean City, Maryland at the age of 21, and the future NBC political correspondent Catherine Mackin, helped him get a copy boy job at the Los Angeles Times. Richard moved to San Francisco three years later and his career blossomed. He started producing television news features with his friend, Lance Brisson, the son of actress Rosalind Russell. They filmed migrant farm workers in the Imperial Valley living in cardboard abodes in 110 degree weather, traipsed the Sierra Nevada mountains to visit a hermit, and covered the Zodiac Killer and Bay Area riots (during one demonstration in 1966, they sent television feeds from their car where they trapped for four hours  and a crowd roughed up Brisson, which required four stitches under his left eye). Another time, they rented a helicopter in search of a Soviet trawler but they had to jump into the Pacific Ocean when the chopper ran low on fuel near the shore and crashed.In 1969, Richard and Brisson co-wrote an article for Look Magazine that claimed San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto had mafia ties. Alioto sued the magazine's owner for libel and won a $350,000 judgment when a judge determined the article's allegations were made with "actual malice" and "reckless disregard for whether they were true or not." (Richard was not a defendant in the case and has stood by his story. Brisson declined an interview.)Richard moved back to Los Angeles to join KABC's investigative team two years later. One series of stories that delved into a three-wheeled sports car called the Dale and the fraudulent marketing practices of its founder, Geraldine Elizabeth Carmichael, won a Peabody award in 1975. The series also outed Carmichael as a transgender woman. (Richard's role in Carmichael's downfall was explored in the HBO documentary "The Lady and the Dale.") Soon after arriving as an anchor for KFMB-TV, San Diego's CBS affiliate, Richard ran a story revealing that tennis pro Renee Richards, who had just won a tournament at the La Jolla Tennis Club, was a transgender woman."I said, 'You can't do this. I am a private person,'" Richards, who years later would advise Caitlyn Jenner about her transition, urged the television journalist to drop his story, according to a 2015 interview. "His reply? 'Dr. Richards, you were a private person until you won that tournament yesterday.'" By the time he left the anchor chair in 1977 to take a public relations job with San Diego Savings and Loan, Richard had soured on journalism. "I have seen a lot of arrogance and hypocrisy in the press and I don't like it," he told San Diego Magazine in 1977. "Television news is insipid, sophomoric, and superficial… There are so many things I think are important and interesting but the media can be counted on to do handstands on that kind of scandal and sexual sensation."Years later, Richard said that he never tried to encourage his eldest son in politics or journalism, but that Tucker had a clear interest in both from an early age. "I never thought he was going to be a reporter or a writer. I never encouraged him to do that," Richard told CSPAN of his eldest son in 2006. "I actually attempted not to encourage him politically, either. I decided those are the things that should be left up to them."A LaJolla, California post card.Found Image Holdings/Corbis via Getty ImagesA La Jolla childhoodAfter the divorce, Richard and his boys stayed in La Jolla in a house overlooking the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. Friends of Tucker's would later say that the trauma of their mother's absence brought the three of them closer together.  "They both really admired their dad. He was a great source of wisdom. He's one of the great raconteurs you'll ever meet. They loved that glow that came from him," said Sterne, Tucker's boarding school roommate. "They both looked up to him, it was clear from my eyes."In an essay included in his book "The Long Slide: Thirty Years in American Journalism," Tucker described Richard as a kind parent who imbued family outings with a deeper message.One of Tucker's earliest memories, he writes, was from just after the divorce, when Tucker was seven and Buckley was five: the brothers gripping the edge of a luggage rack on the roof of his family's 1976 Ford Country Squire station wagon, while their father gunned the engine down a dirt road."I've sometimes wondered what car surfing was meant to teach us," Tucker wrote. "Was he trying to instill in us a proper sense of fatalism, the acknowledgement that there is only so much in life you can control? Or was it a lesson about the importance of risk?... Unless you're willing to ride the roof of a speeding station wagon, in other words, you're probably not going to leave your mark on the world."More often, the boys were left unsupervised and found their own trouble. Tucker once took a supermarket shopping cart and raced it down a hill in front of their house with Buckley in its basket. The cart tipped over, leaving Buckley with a bloody nose. He also recalled building makeshift hand grenades with hydrochloric acid and aluminum foil – using a recipe from their father's copy of "The Anarchist Cookbook"  and tossing them onto a nearby golf course."No one I know had a father like mine," Tucker wrote. "My father was funnier and more outrageous, more creative  and less willing to conform, than anyone I knew or have known since. My brother and I had the best time growing up."Richard sent Tucker to La Jolla Country Day, an upscale, largely white private school with a reputation as one of the best in Southern California, for elementary and middle school. In his book, "Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution," Tucker described his first grade teacher Marianna Raymond as "a living parody of earth-mother liberalism" who "wore long Indian-print skirts," and sobbed at her desk over the world's unfairness. "As a conservative, I had contempt for the whiny mawkishness of liberals. Stop blubbering and teach us to read. That was my position," he wrote. "Mrs. Raymond never did teach us; my father had to hire a tutor to get me through phonics.""I beg to differ," Raymond countered in an interview, saying that she was also Tucker's tutor during the summer after first grade and was even hired again. "I'm a great teacher. I'm sure he liked me." For her part, she remembered Tucker as a fair-haired tot who was "very sweet" and "very polite." (When The Washington Post reached out her her, she said Carlson's characterization had been "shocking.")  Friends from La Jolla remember that Tucker loved swimming the mile-and-a-half distance between La Jolla Shores Park and La Jolla Cove, jumping off cliffs that jut out into the Pacific Ocean, riffing on the drums, and playing Atari and BB gun games at the mall with his friends. "He was a happy kid. We were young, so we used to go to the beach. We did normal kid stuff," said Richard Borkum, a friend who is now a San Diego-based attorney. When they weren't at the beach or the mall, Borkum and another friend, Javier Susteata, would hang out at the Carlson home listening to The Who, AC/DC, and other classic rock bands. Borkum said the adults at the Carlson household largely left them alone. "I'm Jewish and Javier was Mexican and I'm not sure they were too happy we were going to their house," Borkum said.Another friend, Warren Barrett, remembers jamming with Tucker and going snow camping at Big Bear and snorkeling off Catalina Island with him in middle school."Tucker and I literally ate lunch together every day for two years," Barrett said. "He was completely the opposite of now. He was a cool southern California surfer kid. He was the nicest guy, played drums, and had a bunch of friends. And then something must have happened in his life that turned him into this evil diabolical shithead he is today."LaJolla is a upscale beach community outside of San Diego. Carlson and his family moved their in 1975.Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesSan Diego's next mayorRichard, meanwhile, was exploring a second career in public service. By 1980, he had risen to vice president of a bank headed by Gordon Luce, a California Republican power broker and former Reagan cabinet official. The following year, Richard's public profile got a boost when he tangled with another veteran television journalist, CBS's Mike Wallace. The 60 Minutes star had interviewed Richard for a story about low-income Californians who faced foreclosures from the bank after borrowing money to buy air conditioners without realizing they put their homes up for collateral. Richard had his own film crew tape the interview, and caught Wallace saying that people who had been defrauded were "probably too busy eating their watermelon and tacos." The remark made national headlines and Wallace was forced to apologize.Pete Wilson, the U.S. Senator and former San Diego mayor, encouraged Richard to run for office. In 1984, Richard entered the race to challenge San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock's re-election. "He was a very well-regarded guy," Hedgecock told Insider. "He had an almost Walter Cronkite-like appearance, but because he was in local news he was all about not offending anybody. He didn't have particularly strong views. He was nice looking, articulate, and made good appearances, but what he had to say was not particularly memorable other than he wanted me out of office."Sometimes Tucker tagged along for campaign events. "He would always show up in a sport coat, slacks and a bowtie and I thought that's really nice clothing for someone who is a kid," Hedgecock remembers. He was a very polite young man who didn't say much."Five days before voters went to the polls, Hedgecock went on trial for 15 counts of conspiracy and perjury, an issue that Richard highlighted in his television campaign ads. Richard still lost to Hedgecock 58 to 42 percent despite pouring nearly $800,000 into the race and outspending Hedgecock two to one. (Hedgecock was found guilty of violating campaign finance laws and resigned from office in 1985 but his convictions were overturned on appeal five years later.)People are seen near a beach in La Jolla, California, on April 15, 2020.Gregory Bull/AP PhotoPrep school In the fall of 1983, a teenaged Tucker traded one idyllic beachfront community for another.At 14, Tucker moved across the country to Middletown, Rhode Island, to attend St. George's School. (Buckley would follow him two years later.) The 125-year-old boarding school sits atop a hill overlooking the majestic Atlantic Ocean, and is on the other side of Aquidneck Island where Richard Carlson went to naval school. The private school was known as a repository for children of wealthy East Coast families who were not as academically inclined as those who attended Exeter or Andover. Its campus had dorms named after titans of industry, verdant athletic fields, and a white-sand beach.Senators Claiborne Pell and Prescott Bush graduated, as did Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, and poet Ogden Nash. Tucker's class included "Modern Family" actor Julie Bowen; Dede Gardner, the two-time Oscar-winning producer of "12 Years a Slave" and "Moonlight"; and former DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson. Billy Bush – "Extra" host, and cousin to George W. Bush – was three years behind him.Tuition at St. George's cost $13,000 per year in the 1980s (it's now up to $67,000 for boarding school students) and student schedules were tightly regimented with breakfast, classes, athletics, dinner, and study hall encompassing each day. Students were required to take religion classes, and attend chapel twice a week. Faculty and staff would canvass the dorms on Thursdays and Sundays to ensure no one skipped the Episcopal service. Tucker impressed his new chums as an hyper-articulate merrymaker who frequently challenged upperclassmen who enforced dorm rules and the school's liberal faculty members."He was kind of a California surfer kid. He was funny, very intelligent, and genuinely well-liked," said Bryce Traister, who was one year ahead of Tucker and is now a professor at the University of British Columbia. "There were people who didn't like Tucker because they thought he was a bullshitter but he was very charming. He was a rascal and a fast-talker, as full of shit as he is today."Back then Tucker was an iconoclast more in the mold of Ferris Bueller than preppy neocon Alex P. Keaton, even if his wardrobe resembled the "Family Ties" star. Students were required to wear jackets, ties, and khakis, although most came to class disheveled. Tucker wore well-tailored coats and chinos, pairing his outfit with a ribbon-banded watch and colorful bowtie which would later become his signature. "He was always a very sharp dresser. He had a great rack of ties. He always knew how to tie a bowtie but he didn't exclusively wear a bowtie," said Sterne, Tucker's freshman year roommate. "He always had great clothes. It was a lot of Brooks Brothers." Their crew crew held court in each others' dorm rooms at Auchincloss, the freshman hall, kicking around a Hacky Sack and playing soccer, talking about Adolph Huxley, George Orwell, and Hemingway, and dancing to Tom Petty, the Grateful Dead, and U2 on the campus lawn. Televisions weren't allowed so students listened to their Sony Walkman swapping cassette recordings of live concerts. Tucker introduced several bands to his friends."He loved classic rock and he was and still is a big fan of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead," said Sterne, who saw a Dead show with Tucker at RFK Stadium in 1986.Sometimes the clique got slices at Aquidneck Pizza and played arcade games in town, hung out in history instructor William Schenck's office, and smoked pot and Marlborough Red cigarettes on a porch in the main building's common room that faced the ocean, according to multiple sources. When the school administrators banned smoking indoors the following year so they congregated behind the dumpster behind the dining hall. Vodka (often the brand Popov) mixed with Kool-Aid was the drink of choice and students stockpiled bottles under their beds.Tucker was an enthusiastic drinker, half a dozen classmates recall. In his book, "The Long Slide," Tucker credits Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" for enticing him to try drugs in 10th grade, The experience gave him "double vision and a headache." By the time he got to college, Tucker writes, "I switched to beer."By the late 1990s Tucker stopped smoking. He eventually cut alcohol too in 2002 after drinking so much while covering George W. Bush in New Hampshire during the 2000 primary that he accidentally got on the wrong plane, according to a friend.Most of Tucker's fellow students remember him best as a skilled speaker."He was always eager to take the less palatable side of the argument and argue that side," said Mahlon Stewart, who attended prep school and college with Tucker and is now a geriatric specialist at Columbia University. "Back then it was comedic. I thought it was an act.""His confidence was just amazing. He could just put out some positions and be willing to argue anything no matter how outlandish," Keller Kimbrough, a former classmate who's now a professor at the University of Colorado. "We were talking about politics and religion one time Tucker pulled this card out of his wallet and said, 'Well actually I'm an ordained minister, I'm an authority on the subject.' This was a stunt. He could literally play the religion card." "When he got the job at Fox I just thought 'Wow that's perfect for him, that's exactly what he can do.'"Their dorm room discourses were never serious. Tucker would pick a side in a debate between whether the color red or blue were better, and the crowd would erupt whenever he made a good point, friends said.  "Even at age 15 he was verbally dexterous and a great debater," Ian Toll said. "His conservative politics was fully formed even back then. He believed in strong defense and minimal government."His teachers saw a pupil who was primed for law school."Language and speaking came naturally to him. He took pleasure in it," said Rusty Rushton, Tucker's former English teacher. Tucker's politics, though, "seemed fluid to me," Rushton said. "I don't think of him as a deeply ensconced ideologue."He ditched soccer after sophomore year to act in a school theater production of Ayn Rand's courtroom thriller "Night of January 16th" (Julie Bowen starred as the prosecuting attorney. Tucker played a juror). But Tucker found his voice in competitive debate when he eventually joined the school's debate club. The team traveled to other private school campuses to compete against schools like Andover, Exeter, and Roxbury Latin in tournaments."He won some debate and basically did a victory lap afterward and got in the face of all the faculty there," one alum from a rival school who debated against Tucker said. "After defeating the student team, he started challenging the faculty, and said, 'Do any of you want to take me on? Are any of you capable of debating me?'"SusieIn the fall of Tucker's sophomore year, a new headmaster arrived at St. George's, Rev. George Andrews II. Andrews' daughter, Susie – who Tucker would eventually marry – was in Tucker's class. According to school tradition, a rotating group of underclassmen was charged with serving their classmates dinner and, one night in late September, Tucker and Susie had the shift at the same time. "They were sitting at a table at the far end of Queen Hall just leaning in, talking to each other," Sterne recalled. "You could see the sparks flying, which was cool."Susie floated between the school's friend groups easily. When she was seen mingling with Tucker, some questioned what she saw in him."People were saying, 'Come on Susie, why are you dating Tucker?' He's such a loser slacker and she was so sweet," Traister said. The pair started dating at the age of 15 and quickly became inseparable. Tucker gained notoriety on campus for repeatedly sneaking into Susie's room on the second floor of Memorial Schoolhouse, the school's stately administrative office that housed the headmaster's quarters. He had less time for his dumpster buddies now that the couple hung out on the campus lawn, attended chapel and an interdenominational campus ministry organization called FOCUS. His senior yearbook included a photo of Tucker squinting in concern to a classmate, with the caption "What do you mean you told Susie?While Susie was universally liked within the St. George's community, her father was polarizing.Andrews led the school during a turbulent period – it was later revealed – when its choirmaster Franklin Coleman was accused of abusing or having inappropriate conduct with at least 10 male students, according to an independent investigation by the law firm Foley Hoag in 2016. (Two attorneys representing several victims said 40 alumni contacted them with credible accounts of molestation and rape accusations at the hands of St. George's employees between 1974 and 2004 after a 2015 school-issued report detailed 26 accounts of abuse in the 1970s and 1980s. (Coleman was never criminally charged and he has not responded to Insider's attempts to reach him.) Over his eight-year tenure as school music director, from 1980 to 1988, Coleman invited groups of boys to his apartment for private parties. Sometimes he shared alcohol and pot with some of them, gave them back and neck rubs, showed pornographic videos, traveled with them on choral trips and stayed in their hotel rooms, and appeared nude around some of them, the report found. Several of Tucker's classmates and former faculty said they had no reason to believe he would have been aware of the accusations. "There were rumors circulating wildly that Coleman was bad news. The idea was he would cultivate relationships with young men," Ian Toll, a St. George's alum, said. "Anyone who was there at that time would have likely been aware of those rumors."Andrews told Foley Hoag investigators he was not aware of any complaints about Coleman until May 1988 (by then, Tucker had finished his freshman year in college) when school psychiatrist Peter Kosseff wrote a report detailing a firsthand account of misconduct. But Andrews acknowledged to investigators the school could have been aware of "prior questionable conduct" before then, the report said. Andrews fired Coleman in May 1988 after the school confronted Coleman with allegations of misconduct and he did not deny them. According to the investigation, Andrews told students Coleman resigned due to "emotional stress" and that he had the "highest regard and respect for him." On the advice of a school attorney, Andrews did not report the music teacher to child protective services. He also knew that his faculty dean wrote Coleman a letter of recommendation for a job at another school, according to investigators. Andrews left the school a few weeks after Coleman departed. By September 1989, he was named headmaster at St. Andrew's School in Boca Raton, Florida which he led for 18 years. (Andrews declined to speak about Tucker or his tenure at either school.) St. George's, meanwhile, reached an undisclosed settlement with up to 30 abuse survivors in 2016. Coleman found work as a choir director at Tampa Preparatory School in Tampa Bay, Florida before he retired in 2008. Tucker Carlson attended St. George’s School, a boarding school starting at age 14.Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesTrinity In the fall of 1987, Tucker enrolled at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where Rev. Andrews had also attended.Nearly two-thirds of Trinity's student body back then originated from private schools and many came from wealthy backgrounds. Tuition in 1987 cost $11,700 plus an additional $3,720 for room and board—around $27,839 in today's dollars."When the Gulf War broke out" in 1990, one Trinity alum who knew Tucker recalled, "there was a big plywood sign in front of the student center that read, 'Blood for Oil,' and someone else threw a bucket of paint on it."The posh campus was situated in the middle of Hartford, Connecticut, the state's capital and one of its poorest cities. Discussions about race and inequality were sometimes at the forefront of campus politics, but many students avoided engaging in them entirely."There were issues about whether black students should only date other black students, that kind of thing," said Kathleen Werthman, a classmate of Tucker's who now works at a Florida nonprofit for people with disabilities. "My sophomore year, for new students, they had a speaker talking about racism, and one of the students said, 'I never met a black student, how are you supposed to talk to them?' And the idea that only white people can be racist was challenged too."Susie was at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. His brother remained in Rhode Island and other prep school friends had fanned out across the East Coast. Tucker moved into a four-bedroom dormitory overlooking the main quad. One suitemate, Neil Patel, was an economics major from Massachusetts who played intramural softball. (They would co-found the Daily Caller together two decades years later.) Other roommates played on the varsity soccer team and they formed a tight-knit group."I remember being struck by him. He was the same way he is now," said Rev. Billy Cerveny, a college friend of Tucker's who's now a pastor at Redbird Nashville. "He was a force of nature. He had a sense of presence and gravitas. You might get into an argument with him, but you end up loving the guy."Tucker often went out of his way to amuse his friends. Once during the spring semester, several activists set up a podium and microphone beneath his dorm window to protest the CIA's on-campus recruitment visits. The demonstration was open-mic so Tucker went up to the stage and told the crowd of about 15 people, "I think you're all a bunch of greasy chicken fuckers.""I think people laughed. He did," Cerveny said. "There was always a small collection of people any time there was an issue who tried to stir the pot in that way. Some people were dismissive and other people loved it, thinking 'Oh we're getting a fight here.'"As a sophomore, Tucker and his friends moved into a dingy three-story house on Crescent Street on the edge of the campus. He ditched his tailored jackets, khakis, and bowties for oversized Levi jeans, t-shirts, and untucked oxford shirts. Tucker commandeered a low-ceilinged room above the front porch with so many windows he had to hang up tapestries to keep out the sun. The tiny alcove had barely enough space for an eight-foot futon and several bookshelves Tucker built himself stacked with books he collected. Friends remember Tucker receiving an 8-by-10 manilla envelope that his father sent through the mail once or twice a month containing dozens of articles from newspapers and magazines.One of Tucker's friends, Cerveny, remembered stopping by Richard's home in Washington, D.C. and finding evidence of his hobbies, including the world's second largest collection of walking sticks."His house was filled with rare canes he collected from all over the world," Cerveny said. "The hallways had really amazing rows of canes hung on hooks that were specially made to mount these things on the house. One used to be a functional shotgun, another one was made out of a giraffe. His dad would pull out newspaper clippings of WWII Navy aircraft carriers. It changed the way I thought about a lot of things. I had never seen anything like that. Who collects canes?"During sophomore year, Tucker's friends decided to rush Delta Phi, a well-to-do fraternity also known as St. Elmo's. The Greek scene had a large presence on campus — about 20 percent of men joined them even though Trinity was a liberal arts school — and St. Elmo's had a reputation as freewheeling scamps. Once a year, a St. Elmo's brother would ride his motorcycle naked through the campus cafeteria. (Faculty voted in 1992 to abolish Greek life saying they were sexist and racist, and school administrators instead forced fraternities to become co-ed.)But Tucker refused to come aboard. Some classmates thought it was because he didn't want to be hazed."Tucker was not a joiner like that," Mahlon Stewart said. "He wouldn't have set himself up for whatever humiliation would have been involved. He would not have put up with that." But Cerveny, who pledged the fraternity, said it was a matter of faith."I remember explicitly him saying 'Look, I want to focus on what my faith is about and I thought this would be a big distraction,'" Cerveny said. "But he was very much in the mix with us. When we moved to a fraternity house [on Broad Street], we asked him to live with us."Tucker occasionally dropped in on his friends' fraternity events and occasionally brought Susie when she visited or Buckley when he drifted into town. Other times they hung out at Baker's Cafe on New Britain Avenue. Mostly Tucker stayed in his room."He was basically a hermit. It wasn't like he was going to a ton of parties" one Trinity St. Elmo's brother said. "He was not a part of the organizational effort of throwing big parties, or encouraging me to join the fraternity." Susie, who didn't drink or smoke, was a moderating influence. "Tucker and Susie had their moral compass pointing north even back then," Sterne said. "Tucker's faith was not something he was focused on in his early years but when he met Susie and he became close to her family, that started to blossom and grow in him. Now it's a huge part of his life."By the time his crew moved to another house on Broad Street, they each acquired vintage motorcycles and tinkered with them in their garage. Tucker owned a 1968 flathead Harley Davidson that barely ran and relied on a red Jeep 4X4 to transport friends around town (the Volkswagen van he had freshman year blew up). He smoked Camel unfiltered cigarettes, sipped bourbon, and occasionally brewed beer in the basement, including a batch he named "Coal Porter," according to GQ.When he wasn't reading outside of his courses or tinkering with his carburetor, Tucker took classes in the humanities and ultimately majored in history. Tucker dabbled in other fields including Russian history, Jewish history, Women's Studies, and Religious Studies, sitting in the back of lecture halls with his friends. Ron Kiener, who taught an introductory level course in Judaism, recalled Tucker performing "poorly" but earning a credit. "He did not get a stellar grade from me," Kiener said. "Based on what he says now he surely didn't get very much out of my courses."But Leslie Desmangles, who led courses in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Myth, Rite, and Sacrament, said Tucker was engaged and likely did just enough to pass his courses even if he wasn't very studious or vocal in class discussions."He was interested in understanding the nature of religious belief and studying different cultures and religions but I'm not sure if he had an interest in diversity," Desmangles said. "He was genuinely interested in ritual since a lot of the Episcopal church is highly ritualistic."Tucker's fascination with religion extended to his extracurricular activities too. He and several friends joined Christian Fellowship, a Bible study group that met weekly and helped the school chaplain lead Sunday services. Some members even volunteered with ConnPIRG, a student advocacy group on hunger and environmental issues, and traveled to Washington D.C. to protest the Gulf War. But Tucker steered clear of campus activism. He spent his free time reading and seeing Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic, and Sting perform when they came through Connecticut. Sometimes he skipped school to follow his favorite band, the Grateful Dead, on tour.He took an interest in Central American politics too. At the end of freshman year, Tucker and Patel traveled to Nicaragua. "We did not have a place to stay or any set plans," Tucker told the Trinity Tripod, his college paper, in March 1990. "It was very spontaneous. We are both extremely political and we felt that getting to know the country and some of its citizens would give us a better perspective on the situation." In February 1990, Tucker returned with three friends to Managua for 10 days to observe Nicaragua's elections. The National Opposition Union's Violetta Chamoro, which was backed by the U.S. government, defeated the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front Daniel Ortega who had been in power since 1979. A month later Tucker and his classmate Jennifer Barr, who was separately in Nicaragua to observe elections and distribute medical supplies to the Sandinistas, shared their perspectives about their visits to a small crowd at the Faculty Club for the school's Latin America Week. Tucker thought press coverage of the election was too left-leaning and criticized the media for skewing a conservative victory, according to Barr."I don't think it was necessarily true," Barr said. "He was dismissive [about my views]. I did get a sense that he believed in what he was saying, and it was very different from my experience and my understanding of the race."Tucker's stance on U.S. politics at the time was less didactic. As the 1992 presidential election loomed his senior year, Tucker touted the independent candidacy of Ross Perot, a Texas business magnate, to his friends although it did not appear that Tucker was an ardent supporter."Tucker would go on and on about how Ross Perot was the answer to this or that, as a joke, and every one would participate" one St. Elmo's brother said. "He liked the way Ross Perot was basically throwing a wrench into the system. He wasn't a serious Ross Perot proponent. He was cheering on somebody who was screwing up the system."In Tucker's college yearbook, below his tousle-haired, bowtie wearing thumbnail photo, was a list of his extra-curricular activities: "History; Christian Fellowship 1 2 3 4, Jesse Helms Foundation, Dan White Society." Neither of the latter two – named, respectively, after the ultra-conservative North Carolina Senator, and a San Francisco supervisor who assassinated Harvey Milk in 1978 – ever existed. Tucker admired Helms for being a "bull in the china shop" of Congress, one classmate said. Some friends believed Tucker slipped in the off-color references as a lark."It's like a joke you and a friend would put in a series of anagrams that only you and two friends would remember and no one else would," the St. Elmo's friend said. "It's so niche that only someone like Tucker is thinking things like that or would even know the name of the person who killed Harvey Milk. He paid attention to things like that."Others claimed Tucker was the victim of a prank."It would not at all surprise me if one of the other guys in the [fraternity] house filled it in for him, and not just an inside joke, but pegging him with something that he got grief for," another close friend said. Protesters rally against Fox News outside the Fox News headquarters at the News Corporation building, March 13, 2019 in New York City.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesAn outsider among insidersBy the spring of 1991, Tucker's academic performance had caught up with him. He had accumulated a 1.9 grade point average and may have finished with a 2.1 GPA, according to one faculty member who viewed a copy of his transcript. Tucker would eventually graduate from Trinity a year late. Falling behind was not uncommon. About 80 percent of Trinity students completed their degrees in four years, according to Trinity College records. (A Trinity spokeswoman would not comment on Tucker's transcript due to FERPA laws, which protect student privacy.Tucker's post-collegiate plans fell through too. Tucker applied to the CIA that spring. The spy agency passed."He mentioned that he had applied and they rejected him because of his drug use," another college friend said, while declining to be named. "He was too honest on his application. I also probably should say I don't know whether he was telling the truth or not." Once the school year was over, Tucker and Neil Patel hit the road on a cross-country motorcycle ride. After that: Washington DC.  Tucker's family left Southern California for Georgetown after President Reagan named his father head of Voice of America. In June 1991, President George H.W. Bush appointed Richard ambassador to the Seychelles and the Carlson family upgraded to a nicer house in Georgetown with a pool in the basement. That summer, with Tucker's father and stepmother often out of town, the Carlson household was the center of Tucker's social lives, the place they retired to after a night drinking at Georgetown college dive bars like Charing Cross and Third Edition, and pubs like Martin's Tavern and The Tombs, immortalized in St. Elmo's Fire. In August, Tucker and Susie got married in St. George's chapel and held a reception at the Clambake Club of Newport, overlooking the Narragansett Bay. Back in Washington, Tucker's prep school, college, and his father's Washington-based networks began to mesh. Tucker took a $14,000-a-year job as an assistant editor and fact checker of Policy Review, a quarterly journal published at the time by the Heritage Foundation, the nation's leading conservative think tank. For the next three decades, Tucker thrived in the Beltway: He joined The Weekly Standard and wrote for several magazines before appearing on cable news networks as a right-of-center analyst and host at CNN, PBS, and MSNBC. His father embarked on a third career as a television executive where he ran the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and his brother became a political operative and a pollster. By the time Tucker reached the core of the conservative media sphere, a slot on Fox News's primetime opinion lineup, he shed friends from his youth who couldn't grapple with the hard-right turn he veered once he became the face of the network.One friend was not surprised with Tucker's act. In the spring of 2016, during the heat of Donald Trump's presidential campaign against Hilary Clinton and a few months before "Tucker Carlson Tonight" premiered on Fox, Tucker had lunch with his old prep school classmate Richard Wayner who made the speech about Eleanor Bumpurs all those years ago. Wayner believed Tucker's gesture from his pew was never serious. "As a 9th or 10th grader in a chapel full of people in a conversation, he was trying to get attention," Wayner said.The two stayed in touch over the years and Tucker at one point suggested he write a handful of pieces for the Daily Caller, the conservative news and opinion site that Tucker co-founded and ran in the 2010s. As they settled into their table at a Midtown Manhattan steakhouse, the two chatted about Wayner's experience on the board of St. George's (which Susie was about to join) and their respective careers. Tucker was floating around at Fox, and Wayner, now an investor and former Goldman Sachs investment banker, said the conversation drifted toward salaries."He was asking, 'How much do you make on Wall Street' and was like, 'Wow, Wall Street guys make a lot.'" Wayner said. When they left the restaurant and headed back toward the Fox News headquarters, several people recognized Tucker on the street even though he had jettisoned his trademark bowtie years ago. Wayner saw Tucker making the pragmatic decision to follow a business model that has made his conservative media counterparts a lot of money."I don't think he has a mission. I don't think he has a plan," Wayner said. "Where he is right now is about as great as whatever he thought he could be.""Tucker knows better. He does. He can get some attention, money, or both." he added. "To me, that's a shame. Because he knows better." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 5th, 2022

I ate like Warren Buffett for a week — and it was miserable

Coca-Cola galore, ice cream for breakfast, steak, and no vegetables. Here's what it's like to diet like Warren Buffett. Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren BuffettRick Wilking/Reuters I ate like Warren Buffett for a week. Buffett does not eat very healthy. My body felt terrible by the end of the week. See more stories on Insider's business page. Warren Buffett is one of the most successful investors in history.He also has a really weird diet.Buffett's diet of sugary soda, junk food, and limited vegetables has reached legendary status.The Berkshire Hathaway CEO drinks about five cans of Coca-Cola products a day, constantly munches on See's Candies, and pours so much salt on his food that John Stumpf, the former Wells Fargo CEO, said watching Buffett dole it out was like a "snowstorm."Business Insider has tried various people's diets — from Elon Musk's to Tom Brady's — so back in 2017 I decided to take on Buffett's strange food tastes for one workweek to see what it was like.There were some basic ground rules — eat three meals a day, don't drink alcohol, and avoid vegetables.Overall, I just tried to maintain the general attitude by which the man himself defines his diet."I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among 6-year-olds, so I decided to eat like a 6-year-old," Buffett told Fortune. "It's the safest course I can take."So in honor of the 2022 edition of the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, here's a look at what it's like to eat like the man himself.The cornerstone of the Buffett diet: Cherry Coke.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderIn 2015, Buffett told Fortune he was "one-quarter Coca-Cola."Buffett said he favored either Diet Coke or Cherry Coke and had at least five cans of the soda a day.I decided to opt for exclusively Cherry Coke throughout the week, as I'm not the biggest fan of the taste of plain Coke. I am, however, a fan of cherry and cherry-adjacent soda products like Dr. Pepper and Cheerwine (it's a North Carolina thing — Google it).I also couldn't purchase cans of the stuff at my local grocery store, but a two-liter works out to 5.6 cans a day, within the ballpark of Buffett's consumption. Thus, I decided to go with one of these each day.If you're wondering, that works out to 252 grams, or 0.56 pounds, of sugar a day from the Cherry Coke alone. That's right — I got 84% of my recommended daily carbohydrate intake from just the sugar in the Cherry Coke.I didn't initially do the math on the sugar content of the Cherry Coke, believing it was better to go into the week with a bit of blissful ignorance. While I had assumed it would be rough consuming all of the syrupy-sweet drink, I couldn't anticipate the full devastation the Coke would have on my mood.On the first breakfast of the week, I was nervous but had a supply of foolish confidence in my ability to handle what was ahead.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderIn the HBO documentary "Becoming Warren Buffett," the legendary investor said his breakfast each day came from McDonald's and was dictated by the stock market.Typically, Buffett gets breakfast once the market is open. If stocks are up, he gets a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. If they're down, he opts for a cheaper breakfast of two sausage patties. If the market is flat, as it was Monday morning before the open, he goes for the sausage McMuffin.I get to work around 7:30 a.m. ET every day, meaning I had to base my McDonald's selection on the premarket futures, which tend to be a bit harder to gauge. Regardless, I decided to try to factor in a bit of qualitative analysis based on the overseas markets and the previous day's close (and, by the end of the week, what I could tolerate).The first breakfast wasn't too challenging. The biggest issue was the lack of coffee, as Buffett doesn't drink the stuff.I decided to front-load the Cherry Coke to get the caffeine I usually got from my coffee while also preventing myself from drinking soda well into the night.Additionally, I'd decided to keep track of my weight each morning and night. For the calorie counts, the Cherry Coke totals are added to the count at dinner, since they were dispersed throughout the day.Breakfast, Day 1: McDonald's sausage, egg, and cheese McMuffin; Cherry CokeBreakfast calories: 470Monday-morning weight: 168.4 poundsThe Cherry Coke hit me like a ton of bricks.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderI don't drink much soda — I drink mostly water and coffee at work — so the sudden increase in the amount of corn syrup in my diet made me feel incredibly sluggish. Plus, the sugar high was so off the charts that I almost felt the tingle of the carbonation in my fingers as I was typing.Then again, I also put down half of the two-liter before 11 a.m. in an attempt to front-load the caffeine.My inner child was excited to have ice cream in the middle of the day. The chili-cheese dog excited me less.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderThe bun on the Dairy Queen dog was spongy, but not like an angel food cake — like an actual kitchen sponge. The hot dog tasted very salty.The sundae was delightful. Buffett says he typically gets cherry syrup on his DQ sundaes, which was not an option at my Manhattan location. I did get his preferred chopped nuts on top.I was feeling pretty weighed down at this point. I don't have a big lunch most days — a salad at most — so the extra calories and copious sugar made me feel bloated.Lunch, Day 1: Dairy Queen chili-cheese dog; strawberry sundae with chopped nuts; Cherry CokeLunch calories: 650I cheated a bit on dinner for the evening, getting chicken parmigiana — which Buffett usually has as a side. (!)Bob Bryan/Business InsiderBy the evening I was feeling a bit better, possibly because I finished the coke around 2 p.m.The big test was running. I typically try to run four to five miles a day after work, and I was dreading how I would feel. I imagined keeling over and puking into the East River.To my surprise, it was fine. I was probably a step slower than normal, but I didn't feel too awful.Dinner was heavy — I couldn't finish the whole serving — but at the end of Day 1, I was doing half decent.Dinner, Day 1: Chicken parmigiana with penne from Famous Calabria PizzaDinner calories: about 1,500Total daily calories: 3,520Monday-evening weight: 171.2 poundsThe second day started much better.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderI lost sleep on Sunday night worrying about the challenge ahead, but after feeling decent at the end of the day, I got a good night's sleep.Stock futures were up on Tuesday, so I decided it would be fair to get a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. Coming from the South, I preferred this option over the semi-soggy McMuffin from the day before, and I felt confident as I tucked into breakfast and the second giant bottle of Cherry Coke.Breakfast, Day 2: McDonald's bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit; Cherry CokeBreakfast calories: 450Tuesday-morning weight: 170.4 poundsFor lunch, I went for a burger — another Buffett favorite.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderNow, many of my coworkers said I cheated by going with Shake Shack instead of some local restaurant, but you know what? I was the one suffering, and I deserved a slight luxury.Another signature Buffett trait is an excess of salt, as John Stumpf, the former Wells Fargo CEO, once described."When the food comes, Warren grabs a salt shaker in his left hand and one in his right, and it's a snowstorm," Stumpf told Bloomberg in 2014.So I threw a little extra sodium on the french fries before dipping them in the chocolate shake.Lunch, Day 2: Shake Shack ShackBurger; french fries; chocolate milkshake; Cherry CokeLunch calories: 1,710By Tuesday afternoon, I was ... not feeling well.Andy Kiersz/Business InsiderDear God did I make a mistake.Again, I attempted to front-load the Cherry Coke, and by 2 p.m. I was more than two-thirds of the way done with the two-liter. Not only that, but the heavy meal — especially the milkshake — was crushing my will to live.I was jittery, grumpy, exhausted, unfocused, and downright distraught. The sugar from the Coke (roughly a half-pound a day) was causing surges and drop-offs in energy.The increase in meat consumption was making me sweat more than usual (weirdly enough, from my kneecaps, of all places). The bloating was making my back hurt. I was a wreck after less than 48 hours.Tuesday night might have been my low point, as evidenced by my sad dinner spread.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderIn the middle of my run that evening, I texted a coworker expressing my dismay at my physical state. I was going noticeably slower than I had the day before, and I couldn't make myself run faster. My legs simply wouldn't move as I wanted.Upon getting back to my apartment from the run, I was, as my notes say, "**WRECKED**" by stomach cramps. My roommate walked in as I was sitting on our couch doubled over and asked me whether I was sure I wanted to keep going.I finally got myself together, and, unable to muster the strength to figure out a proper meal, I just made two hot dogs and ate some Utz chips — another brand Buffett loves.I went to bed Tuesday night feeling much less enthused about the prospects for the rest of the week.Dinner, Day 2: Two Hebrew National kosher hot dogs; Utz kettle chips; See's Candies peanut brittleDinner calories: about 650Total daily calories: 3,710Tuesday-evening weight: 171 poundsAnother day, another bacon, egg, and cheese.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderHonestly, given the recent rise in the stock market, Buffett must be getting sick of these biscuits by now.I decided to try to space out the Cokes more evenly to avoid the crashes. (Spoiler: It didn't work.)Breakfast, Day 3: McDonald's bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit; Cherry CokeBreakfast calories: 450Wednesday-morning weight: 169.2 poundsFor lunch, I went back and found one of Buffett's go-to lunch orders at Gorat's, an Omaha, Nebraska, institution.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderI ordered an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and Thousand Island dressing from Eisenberg's, a local sandwich shop.I was served a closed-faced, sliced turkey sandwich with bacon and Thousand Island dressing. I wasn't going to split hairs, so I took it back to the office as it was.The meal was finished off by fries and some Cherry Coke.You may ask: "Bob, did you put extra salt on the fries like you said Buffett always does?"My answer? Yes, I did. Hope you're enjoying my suffering so far.Lunch, Day 3: Turkey sandwich with bacon and Thousand Island dressing from Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop; french fries; Cherry CokeLunch calories: about 900Dinner on Wednesday was veal parmigiana with an indulgence: a Hawaiian Punch. I can't prove Buffett likes fruit punch, but, hey, it was my favorite when I was 6.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderI walked home on Wednesday and then went for a run.I felt as if the sugar, syrup, and grease leaked from my belly to my legs. Children were passing me on the street during my walk home, and I'm usually a fast walker. Imagine having maple syrup in your joints and muscles — that's what I felt like.Dinner, Day 3: Veal parmigiana from Nonna's LES Pizzeria; waterDinner calories: 1,060Total daily calories: 3,310Wednesday-evening weight: 172.4 poundsFutures were down, so I ordered two sausage patties for breakfast. But upon arriving at work, I realized the McDonald's workers gave me only one.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderI'm still not sure whether the single patty was a good or a bad thing, but it did give me a bit of a break from heavy meals.Also, it made me realize that McDonald's sausage by itself is not very good. Who could've guessed?Breakfast, Day 4: McDonald's sausage patty; Cherry CokeBreakfast calories: 174Thursday-morning weight: 169.8 poundsThis may be the point to mention that I've done terrible things to my body before — and this was the worst.Left: me in April 2011, about 125 pounds. Right: me in April 2014, about 205 pounds.Kedar Bryan; Bob Bryan/Business Insider compositeI'm no stranger to massive dietary changes — I gained 80 pounds in college and then lost 45 pounds in three to four months after I graduated. (I overestimated my pay as an intern and underestimated NYC rents.)That is to say: I've done some terrible things to my body via my diet before.Even at my heaviest, I never felt this run-down. The weird thing though was that I was still hungry at every meal.Maybe it was the chemicals from the processed food?I was running out of idea at this point on Thursday, and honestly, I was busy with work, so I just gave up and got McDonald's.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderFun fact: Buffett once used coupons to buy Bill Gates lunch at McDonald's.Oh, another reason this was such a terrible idea: I cover policy here at Business Insider, including healthcare and taxes — and, of course, I decided to try the Buffett diet on the week that Republicans again attempted to repeal Obamacare (no, the irony did not escape me) and rolled out their most detailed tax-reform framework yet.This meant that amid my midafternoon sugar crash, I was typically forced to pull myself out of the fog and write something of substance.To be fair to myself, I did write a considerable amount over the five days. You'd have to ask my editor Brett whether my diet hurt the quality of my writing, but I stand by everything I published.Lunch, Day 4: McDonald's Quarter Pounder with cheese; french fries; Cherry CokeLunch calories: 870Buffett once ordered a country- (or chicken-) fried steak with Jay-Z, so I had to get it for a meal.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderI really like country-fried steak (see my previous comment about being from the South). This one was from Cowgirl in the West Village.Buffett isn't a big fan of broccoli, much less collard greens, so I did cheat a bit. But, c'mon, actual collard greens at a restaurant in the North? I had to try them.Alas, they were bad.I went with a coworker and couldn't finish the steak and mashed potatoes — not to worry, salt was added in extreme amounts — prompting her to call me "weak." I replied I would take the leftovers home and finish them later (we were eating fairly early), but I happened to "forget" the bag as I left.In a surprise to probably no one, the gravy sat heavy in my stomach. Walking to the subway, I was happy there was only one day left, but I felt terrible.Dinner, Day 4: Country-fried steak with mashed potatoes, gravy, and collard greens from Cowgirl; waterDinner calories: 1,540Total daily calories: 3,484Thursday-evening weight: 172.4 poundsOf course Buffett eats ice cream for breakfast. Of course I was the idiot who saved it for the last day.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderRemember what I said about getting used to it? Not so much on Friday morning.I have never enjoyed ice cream less. That's really all I have to say about this meal.Breakfast, Day 5: Ben and Jerry's Phish Food ice cream; Cherry CokeBreakfast calories: 870Friday-morning weight: 170.4 poundsWhat if Buffett just says he eats all of this food to make other people like me buy it and boost his investments' sales?Bob Bryan/Business InsiderBuffett owns Dairy Queen and holds considerable stock in McDonald's and Coca-Cola. Sitting down for my final lunch, I realized I probably made the guy a lot of money that week.The thought struck me mid-bite of an M&Ms Blizzard: I was a sucker.Buffett is a self-mythologizer — a folk hero who presents himself as a kind grandfather but has made it in the vicious investment world. He's a ball of contradictions and social oddities.I couldn't put it past him to deceive the few interviewers he trusts to cast the glow of the cult of Buffett.On the other hand, surely people see him at these restaurants. He wouldn't lie about his diet just to get a few suckers to boost his sales, would he?Lunch, Day 5: Dairy Queen chili-cheese dog; french fries; M&M Blizzard; Cherry CokeLunch calories: 1,400Here's all the Cherry Coke I consumed during the week.Thanks to my former colleague Myles for giving me this Berkshire hat from the annual meeting in Omaha.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderThe sugar-and-caffeine crash came easier by Friday. I had learned how to manage the timing and frequency of the Coke intake to make sure I had a solid energy reserve all day.But I still felt awful after I finished a bottle.Here's some fun math on the amount of Cherry Coke I consumed in the week:• Total amount: 338 fluid ounces, or 2.64 gallons.• Calories: 4,500.• Sugar: 1,260 grams, or 2.78 pounds.• Caffeine: 1,020 milligrams, or 204 a day. (An average cup of coffee, 8 fluid ounces, has 95 to 165 milligrams.)For dinner, I went with a few coworkers to Smith & Wollensky, Buffett's favorite New York City restaurant.The plaque at the restaurant bearing Buffett's name.Dennis Green/Business InsiderBuffett comes here once a year for a dinner, at which a lucky bidder joins the Oracle of Omaha himself. In 2016, the meal went for $3.4 million. All the proceeds are given to charity.I was joined by four of my coworkers to bask in the final meal of my epic run.I contacted the restaurant earlier in the week to say what we would be there for, and the staffers did everything to make my experience as authentic as possible.We sat in the private alcove where Buffett sits when he visits, with a full glass wall looking into the kitchen. There was a plaque with Buffett's name on it and a letter from him framed on the wall.I asked our waiter, Baci, who had served Buffett on his trip to NYC in August, to bring me what the man ate. This was a mistake.Dennis Green/Business InsiderWe started with something off-menu called the "seafood bouquet." It featured lobster, shrimp, and lump crab meat. The seafood was divine — though it was chilled, and I typically enjoy seafood hot.I began to feel a bit uneasy as I dined on the appetizer, thinking back to everything I had put down that week. I wanted to have an authentic meal at a favorite location of Buffett's, but could I survive to the end?Also, I must admit here that I broke the Buffett rules by having a bit of wine. But it was the end of the week, and can you really blame me?Next, the steak: a 32-ounce Colorado rib-eye.Go ahead, judge my utensil manner. Just remember my physical and emotional state.Dennis Green/Business InsiderIn what can only be compared to the primitive tomahawk of a caveman, the mighty Colorado rib-eye emerged on a plate still sizzling. At that point, a glorious, freeing sense of debauchery overtook me, and I laid all of the terrible meals of the last week to the side.The steak was a knockout.For the first three-quarters of a pound, I consumed it with reckless abandon, ignoring the inevitable food hangover that was surely coming. The rib-eye was cooked to perfection and cut beautifully, and it contained just the right amount of fat.When I hit the wall — and I hit it hard — there was an overriding sense of disappointment that I simply couldn't finish the meal.The final tallies for dinner were, in a word, monumental."Oh my God, what have I done to myself?" Bob thought as he descended into a food-induced coma.Dennis Green/Business InsiderI wasn't even drunk from the wine, but the meal knocked me out. I was struggling to form coherent thoughts as all the blood ran from my brain to my stomach, attempting to handle the influx of fat, protein, and sugar.My coworkers and I ambled toward Grand Central Station, and I felt dazed. We decided against a post-dinner drink, and wandering off from the rest of the group, I felt unsure on my feet.I huffed and puffed my way back to my apartment near Chinatown, sweating pure steak grease.Upon making it back, I collapsed on the floor of my living room. I dozed off for a little over an hour, trying to pretend my stomach wasn't bursting at the seams.Dinner, Day 5: Seafood bouquet, 32-ounce Colorado rib-eye steak, hash browns, creamed spinach, and coconut cake from Smith & Wollensky; red wine; waterDinner calories: 3,343Total daily calories: 6,513Friday-evening weight: 175.2 poundsWhat did I learn?Me from Monday to Friday, reflecting my emotional state. If you look closely, you can see the happiness and joy for the world drain from my eyes.Elena Holodny/Business InsiderLet's get this out of the way: Don't eat like Warren Buffett unless you are Warren Buffett.The man himself says to be yourself instead of copying him. This applies not only to investing, but to dieting as well.My experience was miserable, and I realized why I committed myself to eating healthy when I moved to New York. Being sluggish and moody during the day just isn't fun.It's also a good lesson in recognizing limits. Buffett apparently has none; I very much do.And, finally, I now understand Buffett's investing strategy perfectly!Just kidding.I just have a few extra pounds to work off and a good story.Average calories a day: 4,107.4Total calories over five days: 20,537Weight gain, Monday morning to Saturday morning: 2.4 poundsWeight gain, Monday evening to Friday evening: 4 poundsRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytApr 30th, 2022

11 Closing Gift Ideas for Spring

Even amid what’s been an ongoing busy market over the last couple of years, Spring is still widely considered the best season to sell a house—May especially. The warmer, longer days and spring-bloom boost in curb appeal, offers real estate professionals the opportunity to make clients feel extra sunny with a gift that speaks to… The post 11 Closing Gift Ideas for Spring appeared first on RISMedia. Even amid what’s been an ongoing busy market over the last couple of years, Spring is still widely considered the best season to sell a house—May especially. The warmer, longer days and spring-bloom boost in curb appeal, offers real estate professionals the opportunity to make clients feel extra sunny with a gift that speaks to their season of growth as a new homeowner. What better way to make your client feel appreciated than with a personalized closing gift? Closing gifts are more than just a kind gesture. Like handing off the keys, this celebratory transaction signifies a job well-done for all parties, and that the relationship hopefully continues after all the paperwork is signed, sealed and delivered. Selecting which closing gift to purchase may seem straightforward for most agents, but there’s a lot of factors that you should consider before making any gift purchase. Gratitude over gains Though you will hopefully benefit from future referrals and a five-star review at the end of this process, that should not be your priority. The art of gift giving entails you expect nothing in return. A closing gift should maximize on the unique journey between buyer and seller, and reflect your attention to the finer details. Giving a personalized gift is a kindness that conveys the importance of building connections in this industry—which is a principle every agent should carry with them throughout their career. Dollars to deductions  Before you determine your spending amount, consider what market you work in and your gross commission income from the sale. If you work in luxury real estate, you may think about spending a little more for a closing gift than you would for a middle- or low-tier market. Typically, agent’s spend between 1-5% of their gross commission on closing gifts. A middle of the road, 2-3% percent is usually the best amount to spend. Also, you are allowed to write off $25 per gift per individual as a tax deductible, if you so choose. Get to know them Between all the phone calls and house tours and weekly sit-downs, you must’ve gotten to know your client by closing time. Maybe you know they really love the color sage green, or they’re big on coffee, or that they have a fur baby that winds down to classical music. Bring their personality and interests into consideration when choosing a personalized closing gift. If there are still some gray areas, send a friend request on social media and see what lights their fire outside the prized mantel that was the home’s selling point. Gifts that keep on giving When thinking of gift ideas, think of items and experiences that might stick with them long after you’ve given the last handshake. A pretty plant might be nice at the hand-off, but wilts after just a week. Think of gifts that have a longer life cycle or will create a lasting impression. Whether that’s an item they can reuse over and over again, or an experience that they’ll never forget. Here are some closing gift ideas to get you going, and who knows what other ideas might spring up after giving this a read! Closing gift ideas for spring: Smart garden: Do your homeowners have a green thumb? Or, do they love the idea of having a garden, but aren’t very good at maintaining one? No worries. Gift them an indoor smart garden that acts like a capsule coffee machine. Plant pods are inserted into the compartment and have features like automatic watering, pro-glow HD lighting and apps to teach you how your herbs, fruits, vegetables and plants are growing. Picnic set: After the long, cold winter months, people are dying to get outside. Treat your client to a picnic basket and picnic blanket so they can break in their new backyard the right way. Online woven picnic baskets can come with silverware and plates built into them, with places to neatly store all your charcuterie, snacks and refreshments. Custom embroider a Pendleton blanket or other designer style with the sold-date or special couple detail to really make them feel all warm and fuzzy. Engraved party cooler: Backyard soirees and family cookouts are not complete without a large cooler filled with all your preferred drink selections. Get a stainless steel one engraved for your new homeowners so they always have a place to chill…the drinks we mean. Smart speaker: Let’s face it—they’re going to want to dance around the bare room floors before the furniture arrives. Give your clients a bluetooth speaker so they can have their Risky Business moment in their brand new home. Invest in a smart speaker, which allows you to not just play music, but also ask questions, control your smart tech like light switches and adjust thermostat settings and set alarms. Pizza stone: Air fryers are so last year. If your client loves to cook, consider gifting them a pizza stone that can be used on both an ovens and the grill. Not only can they impress their guests at the housewarming party, but they will appreciate the fun activity of make-your-own for years to come. Pet cam: When the weather gets nice, your client might want to spend more time outside the home where our pets can’t always go. Let’s take a paws to appreciate them. Give your new homeowners with pets an interactive pet camera. Smart pet cams allow you to see, talk, toss treats and get barking alerts connected to your phone. Market tote: If a local farmer’s market or walk about town is on your client’s spring weekend itinerary, gift them with an upgraded market tote they can carry the goods back home in. Most market totes come with separated compartments so you can store eggs or fruit without damage, and can be customized to show off your client’s spiffy sensibilities. Cold brew maker: Iced coffee season is upon us. Your client will be obsessed with the idea of making your own cold brew at home, and saving some money in the process. Some cold brew makers are as simple as pouring grounds in the filter, filling the carafe with water and letting it sit in the fridge, but if your client prefers to experiment a bit, there’s a ton of different options to choose from.   Mini projector: Make outdoor movie nights a thing by giving your client a mini projector that can display your favorite TV shows and movies on. Most mini projectors have features like built in speakers and can connect to most of your tech easily. They’ll love the convenience of not having to go out to get that movie theater experience that they might ditch the living room TV entirely. Polaroid camera: For your photography-loving clients, help them make memories everyday with a polaroid instant camera that shoots crisp but vintage looking photos they can cherish forever. Complete the gift with a polaroid album they can store all their polaroids in. Or, gift them with a clothespin board that will accessorize any space with mementos from their happy new chapter. A custom house history poster or book: If your buyer purchased a historic home or they reside on a historic street, offer them a little piece of that history with a house history book or poster that provides details and historic photographs of the home they can display as wall art or a cherished, coffee table book. Investigative research teams like Brownstone Detectives can be commissioned to uncover and present secrets and facts of the home, the people who lived there and other details as an artful and aesthetically pleasing keepsake. Joey Macari is RISMedia’s associate editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at jmacari@rismedia.com. The post 11 Closing Gift Ideas for Spring appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaApr 22nd, 2022

Black Bear Value Partners 1Q22 Commentary

Black Bear Value Partners commentary for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022. “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” – Yogi Berra To My Partners and Friends: Black Bear Value Fund, LP (the “Fund”) returned +1.6% in March and +1.9% YTD. The S&P 500 returned +3.7% in March and -4.6% YTD. The HFRI Index […] Black Bear Value Partners commentary for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022. “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” – Yogi Berra To My Partners and Friends: Black Bear Value Fund, LP (the “Fund”) returned +1.6% in March and +1.9% YTD. The S&P 500 returned +3.7% in March and -4.6% YTD. The HFRI Index returned +0.2% in March and -2.6% YTD. We do not seek to mimic the returns of the S&P 500 and there will be variances in our performance. Note: 2022 returns reflect our reduced 10% incentive fee. .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q4 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Note: Additional historical performance can be found on our tear-sheet. I write to you amidst a volatile market with a good dose of geopolitical and global economic uncertainty. While Black Bear is up on the year, I want to caution everyone that in this environment, markets can act irrationally, and I would not expect our partnership to always be immune. That said, as I will discuss below, we are positioned to do well in this environment both in terms of the investments we have and our ability to deploy capital when others are retreating. From time to time I am asked the following question: “What’s the market telling you?” It can be disappointing or even offensive when I say, “seems like more sellers than buyers” or “the market tells me people haven’t changed too much.” Stocks SHOULD be viewed as proportional shares of businesses no different than the dentist down the street or your local bank. However, due to the auction-driven stock market, stocks serve as an extension of people’s emotions which can be quite volatile. On their own, stocks wouldn’t do anything…PEOPLE do things and people can be extreme in their opinions and behaviors. As a result, stocks just tell me how people may be feeling in the moment independent of the business. This is the opportunity for the fundamental investor. Often when people get scared, they sell to avoid future mark to market losses independent of business fundamentals. We are invested based on what the business is telling us…not the stock…and utilize opportune discounts in the market to our advantage. Brief Discussion on Homebuilding/Housing Frequently people seem intent on fighting yesterday’s battles. Housing led the last multi-year downdraft causing many today to try and paint parallels. The valuations in homebuilding and homebuilding-adjacent businesses are extremely cheap and incorporate a lot of bad news. This theme is a meaningful portion of our portfolio. While mortgages are more expensive today than they were 3 months ago, they are still cheap in absolute and historical terms. While higher mortgages rate reduce affordability increased wages can help mitigate that issue. Underwriting standards have improved since the financial crisis. In fact, it isn’t that easy to get a mortgage with all your documentation in order. The industry is healthier both in terms of operating efficiencies/scale and healthy balance sheets. If business slows down, it will not be 2008 redux. Right now, there is 1.7 months of supply of existing homes. That is not a lot. People have a choice to rent or buy. Current rental vacancies are ~5.6% which matches the multi-decade lows and contrasts with ~10% vacancies in the lead up to the GFC. Additionally, the 0.9% homeowner vacancy rate ties the lowest level on record and is below the 1.6% long-term average and peak of 2.9% in 2008 (Thanks to the team at Credit Suisse for this info.) Home prices are up because people need places to live and we have had chronic underbuilding for a decade. We need more homes, and we need them in the locations people are moving. National averages are not helpful as we own a builder in specific areas of the country. Additionally, averages obfuscate the economics to each mover. For example…homes in Florida may be more expensive relative to past homes in Florida…but not to homes in New York/New Jersey/Connecticut. Affordability is relative. Inflation/Credit Shorts/Pricing Power As a reminder we are short ~ 57% of the fund in various credit instruments. The investment is predominantly but not solely in options so 57% of our portfolio is not at risk. With inflation rearing its head and proving not to be a temporary guest, the cost of money, AKA interest rates, has become an en vogue discussion topic. Is inflation transitory? No clue. But you generally do not roll back wages when you have increased them. Some of the inflation will remain here and set a new baseline for the future. As supply chains normalize inflationary pressures should decrease. However, the world is one big chain reaction and if wheat is not flowing from Ukraine and natural gas/oil is not flowing from Russia to the EU, the dominoes can hit in unpredictable ways both in magnitude and duration. While credit instruments have widened it still does not make sense that a fair price for credit is in the low-mid single digits. Additionally, there seems to be a big push domestically for increased compensation for labor. This will hurt operating margins for many companies and impair their credit profile. In a less accommodating interest rate environment we may see something that we have not in a while…companies defaulting! People are accepting a lousy return considering inflation and default risks. The real return of these investments is negative. As a result, we remain short credit instruments that range from US Junk to Investment Grade to Emerging Markets. I am still dubious that ETF’s can orderly handle a massive sell-off in credit. If the government had not stepped into the market in March 2020 these instruments would have had liquidity issues. We own businesses that have pricing power and limited/no dependance on the need for external funding. This is important because as input and wage costs pressure profitability of many companies, our businesses should be able to weather the storm and capitalize thru both organic market share gains and/or acquisitions of companies that may not have had a healthy balance sheet or operating structure. In a vertical market, where money losing companies can seize on the markets imagination and raise endless funds, the staid and true businesses seem a lot less interesting. Times may be changing and those businesses that can endure will benefit those who own them. Top 5 Businesses We Own Asbury Automotive Group Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG) has many similar qualities to AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN), which we held for the last 5+ years. I don’t typically discuss portfolio activity but given the long-holding and likely questions, I figured I’d address the change in our holdings here. While I admire the AutoNation business there has been a management change and an accompanying change in strategic and capital allocation priorities. It was painful to sell the business as it had been one of our core investments and I believed they were on a great track. Management’s strategy may wind up being successful, but it is different than what I underwrote and as a result a change was needed for our portfolio. I express my thanks to the team at AutoNation as our Partnership has benefited from your stewardship. Asbury had been in the portfolio before. Entering COVID, I decided to concentrate our auto dealer investments into AutoNation. ABG is run by highly capable management who have made 2 accretive and sizeable acquisitions in the past 18 months. The fundamentals of both businesses are similar though there are some differences of note. First a couple negatives. AutoNation has a name brand, whereas Asbury does not. While it’s hard to value what a brand is worth there is value attached to the AutoNation name that we will not have at a corporate level with Asbury. However, at the dealership/consumer level I am not sure there is much of a difference. Second, Asbury has a fair amount of debt (2.8x proforma for acquisitions). I would expect this number to decline both as the operating business performs and debt is reduced. One of the positives of Asbury is their recent acquisition of the Larry H. Miller Group. Typically, most auto dealers receive a commission when a service or warranty plan is sold with the purchase of the vehicle. The Miller Group has built an internal business that operates those plans which are both high margin (20+%) and sticky throughout the lifetime of a customer. As ABG rolls these plans out to their existing dealerships there is an opportunity for meaningful increases in cashflow for every customer transaction. Inventories for cars remain tight and the unit profitability is still unusually high. I underwrite the business on a “steady-state” basis removing the benefits from reduced inventory. Two changes from this pandemic will likely remain in the industry. First, OEM’s and dealers have historically been in a PUSH model where OEM’s send lots of inventory that sits on dealers’ lots. Both have witnessed that with reduced inventory, everyone wins (well maybe not the customer as much.) Working capital needed for inventory is lower and returns on capital and absolute profitability have increased dramatically. It stands to reason that dealer lots will not be stuck with 60-90 days of inventory when supply chains normalize. Second, as digital business continues to grow, the need for headcount at the dealership declines. Most dealerships have managed to grow their businesses without much growth in employees. This operating leverage should continue to increase as dealerships become more fulfillment centers than showrooms/selling spaces. ABG should be able to generate steady-state free-cash per share of $20-$30 implying we own the business at a 12-20% free-cash flow yield on quarter-end pricing. We should do well with or without much growth in the business. Berkshire Hathaway Below is the rough Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) on-a-napkin valuation I like to do periodically. Recently BRK acquired Alleghany for $11.6BB. I assume a reduction in cash for this amount and an increase of $550MM in operating income. I do not give benefit to the increased float nor any synergies. Again, this is a rough exercise to sanity check our assumptions. Cash of ~$103,000 per class A Share (vs. $104k 1 year ago) Down/Base/Up marks cash at book value to an 8% premium (vs. to 10% a year ago) Investments based on December prices ~$248,000 per class A share (vs. $194k a year ago) Presume a range of stock prices that result in: Down = $149,000 per class A share (-40%- assumes portfolio is overpriced) Base = $211,000 per class A share (-15% - assumes portfolio is overpriced) Up = $285,000 per class A share (+15%) Operating businesses that should generate ~$17,000 of pre-tax income per Class A share (vs. $15k) Down = 9x = $153,000 per share – equates to ~8% FCF yield Base = 12x = $204,000 – equates to ~6% FCF yield Up = 12x = $204,000 – equates to ~6% FCF yield Overall (vs. $529,000 at quarter end) Down = $413,000 (-28%) Base = $526,000 (fairly priced) Up = $600,000 (13% underpriced) Going forward I expect Berkshire to compound at good, not great returns. The likely question is why own it at all if we expect modest returns… BRK is a collection of high-quality businesses, excellent management, and a good amount of optionality in their cash position. If the cash were to be deployed accretively the true value would be greater than an 8% premium (as mentioned above). The combination of a pie that is growing, an increasing share of said pie due to stock buybacks, upside optionality from cash and a tight range of likely business outcomes that span a variety of economic futures gives me comfort in continuing to own Berkshire. Builders FirstSource Builders FirstSource, Inc. (NYSE:BLDR) is a supplier and manufacturer of building materials for professional homebuilders, subcontractors, remodelers, and consumers. Their products include factory-built roof and floor trusses, wall panels and stairs, vinyl windows and custom millwork. The fundamental discussion about homebuilders applies to BLDR. As more homes are built across the country, there will be an increased need for scaled sourcing of products to homebuilders. There is a large amount of fragmentation in the supply chain which provides BLDR a long runway for acquisitions and realistic synergies. The management team has been using their prodigious free cash flow to both acquire new businesses and buy in their stock. While I historically always liked their business, their historic high-debt levels gave me pause. They have right sized their balance sheet and are taking a very thoughtful view on capital allocation on behalf of shareholders. BLDR should be able to generate $7-$10 a share in cash in the medium term with significant upside if they can scale through acquisition and/or further penetrate existing markets. We own it at a 11-15% free-cash flow yield so little growth is needed for us to compound value at high rates. Green Brick Partners Green Brick Partners Inc (NYSE:GRBK) is a residential land developer and homebuilder. Most of their operations are in Texas, Georgia, and Florida. GRBK was formerly a private partnership between Jim Brickman and entities related to Greenlight Capital (managed by David Einhorn). David is currently the Chairman of the Board. As discussed earlier, there is a long-term fundamental supply/demand imbalance in housing inventory. This is a direct result of underproduction of new homes amid a challenging mortgage financing environment over the last 10+ years since the Great Financial Crisis. Looking forward we should have increased housing demand from millennials as they enter the family-phase of life and desire more space. It is rare to be able to partner with an excellent operator and an excellent capital allocator. As evidenced by our investment in AutoNation, when you marry those 2 concepts you can wind up with a wonderful result. GRBK has been reinvesting their cashflow in additional lots/land inventory. This masks the earnings power of the company. The company is valued somewhere between 5-8x steady-state earnings and potentially even cheaper than that. I tend to be more conservative given the potential for rate rises and inflationary increases in development costs. We have high-quality stewards at both the operating and Board level. Texas Pacific Land Texas Pacific Land Corp (NYSE:TPL) had fallen out of our top 5 in our past letter due to the increase in value of other investments and a modest reduction in our holdings. Additionally, I was cautious as there were some corporate governance issues to be addressed. We appreciate and express our thanks to management as well as some of our fellow shareholders for resolving one of the matters and having the unqualified Board Member exit the Board of Directors. As a reminder, TPL is a royalty company with 100% of their acreage located in the Texas Permian Basin. In a nutshell they make money when drilling activity occurs but DO NOT have the capital needs as they simply provide access to land. The incremental amount of work on TPL’s part is minimal as the extraction and movement of the oil/natural gas is undertaken by others. They are merely a toll collector with Returns on Capital of 80+%. In an inflationary environment, businesses that have lower capital intensity both in capital assets and people stand to benefit. In other words, if oil goes up a lot, the incremental cost to TPL is close to 0 so it’s all incremental profit. This is a business that should benefit in a massive way if we have energy inflation. In the meantime, we likely own it at a 3-4% free cash flow yield with massive upside. Ukraine Part of this job is constantly reading the news and staying abreast of both national and world events. Every day I read the tragic stories about the unneeded bloodshed in Ukraine. As hard as it might be for us all to read it, it’s important to bury our nose in it and consider how we would feel if it was our family and friends. It is in that light that I decided to donate our February management fees to various Ukrainian efforts to help children. I would implore you to not ignore bad news. During our good days we need to remain sober and empathize with those less fortunate. Thank you to our partners who have both contributed thru their management fees and on their own to these causes. I hope that as our business grows, we can collectively do more. Fund Updates As the Fund has grown, we have had to make additional filings with various regulatory agencies. During Q1 we filed with the SEC to become an exempt reporting advisor. 2021 K-1’s should have been received. If you are not in receipt, please let me know. This was a higher-tax year than the previous 4. It seemed like there was a possibility for higher capital-gain rates in 2022 so I made the determination to realize some gains in 2021. Our portfolio and business structure are set up to thrive in rocky waters. I am finding high-quality/inexpensive businesses to own and feel that we have some downside insurance protection from our equity and credit shorts. We will not chase or use our imagination when investing our capital. If we can stay sane when others are acting reckless, we can protect capital during tough times and take advantage of dislocations. Over the last 5-10 years there has been a lot of foolishness and creative investing which provides us a competitive advantage over the coming years. Thank you for your trust and support. Black Bear Value Partners, LP Adam@BlackBearFund.Com www.blackbearfund.com Updated on Apr 8, 2022, 12:30 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkApr 8th, 2022

Malthusianism, Prometheanism, & The Hyper-Bitcoinized World To Come

Malthusianism, Prometheanism, & The Hyper-Bitcoinized World To Come Via Cathedra.com, 2021 Letter to Shareholders Dear Fellow Shareholders of Cathedra Bitcoin Inc: In 1798, a British economist was concerned that the incessant increase in population would cause humanity to run out of food. As a solution, he supported a variety of measures aimed at curbing the rate of population growth (e.g., taxes on food) to improve the living standards for those humans who did survive. The economist in question, Thomas Malthus, was raised in a country house in Surrey, was educated at Jesus College Cambridge, became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1818, and–in simple terms–championed policies designed to limit (or end) human life to prevent this population bomb. “Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague.” – Thomas Malthus, “An Essay on the Principle of Population” (1798) Looking back, we can see that such predictions have (fortunately) not come to fruition. The human population has grown ninefold since Malthus penned his infamous piece, “An Essay on the Principle of Population.” Meanwhile, technology has given humanity the ability to channel energy in ways unimaginable to Malthus, allowing us to enjoy levels of prosperity that make the elitist Malthus look like a serf in comparison. Yet we are not without our troubles. In response to COVID-19, the last two years have seen an unprecedented degree of government intervention around the world, through mandates as well as record-breaking fiscal and monetary stimulus. Meanwhile, food shortages have visited the developed and developing worlds alike. Housing, asset, and commodity prices are soaring, with even the dubious Consumer Price Index reaching its highest level in four decades in the U.S. And around the world, civil unrest is on the rise. We believe the root causes of these issues are quite simple: unsound money and unsound energy infrastructure. In this first annual letter to Cathedra Bitcoin shareholders, we examine the current state of both and discuss how they inform our vision for the future of the company. Macro Update: Energy The European Energy Crisis For the last six months, headlines have been filled with a “European Energy Crisis.” As the global economy surged back to life after 18 months of lockdowns, a perfect storm of events unfolded: over the summer, China increased natural gas imports following a coal shortage, causing power prices to rise in Europe; in September, a wind shortage beset northern Europe, resulting in enormous sums being paid to dispatch other (“dirtier”) forms of generation; reduced natural gas imports from Russia left Europe with historically low natural gas reserves; in December, unusually cold temperatures hit the continent, sending shockwaves through energy markets (even serving as a catalyst for the civil unrest in Kazakhstan); and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in recent weeks has sent oil and gas prices surging, bringing calls for increased domestic energy production. These events have conspired to cause a sharp increase in energy prices around the continent. One is tempted to point to any one of the above as a “black swan event” driven by unforeseeable forces beyond our control (in hindsight, it will be even more tempting to blame this crisis on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine). But in reality, Europe has been systematically dismantling its stable energy infrastructure for over a decade. And unfortunately, they are not alone. Take California, for example: over the last decade, the state has seen energy prices rise 7x more than those in the rest of the U.S., and blackouts have become “almost daily events.” If one looks deeper, a far subtler cause reveals itself: misguided policies that subsidize intermittent renewables and shutter stable forms of generation, the net effects of which are energy insecurity and higher energy costs. The Real “Energy Transition” Beginning in the early 2000s, governments around the world began reorienting energy policy around climate change. These “net-zero” policies push for an “energy transition” away from CO2-emitting energy sources toward 100% “renewable” energy, primarily via subsidies to intermittent wind and solar generation. On the surface, these policies seem to have worked. EU power generation from renewables has increased 157% in the last ten years. As a result, in 2020, renewable generation in Europe surpassed that of fossil fuels for the first time, providing 38% of the region’s electricity (vs. fossil fuels’ 37%). And these policies are only accelerating: in July 2021, the EU announced its even more ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, requiring an estimated tripling of wind and solar generation from 547 TWh in 2020 to ~1,500 TWh in 2030. These pro-renewables policies have been paired with the abandonment of more stable forms of generation. Coal continues to be pushed out of the generation stack due to its heavy carbon footprint and the rising cost of carbon credits. Additionally, despite the seemingly obvious importance of nuclear energy in a “net-zero” carbon future, regulators have been shutting down nuclear reactors around the world in response to environmentalist movements[1] (a trend that accelerated in the wake of the Fukushima disaster). Germany alone shut down 16 GW of nuclear power since 2011, and plans to retire its last three nuclear power plants this year. With hydro being geography-dependent and long-term energy storage unsolved, natural gas is left as the main  viable form of dispatchable generation. Given self-imposed fracking bans, Europe has no choice but to import natural gas via LNG or pipelines (largely from Russia). Returning to California, we see the same dangerous combination of policies. Despite the aforementioned rising electricity costs and grid fragility, the state is decommissioning its last nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon–responsible for ~10% of the state’s electricity–while reasserting goals to achieve “net-zero” by 2045. Unfortunately, even if stable forms of generation are not discarded by mandates, renewables subsidies distort market signals. This auxiliary revenue stream of carbon or renewable energy credits allows wind and solar farms to sell power to the grid at negative prices, often driving unsubsidized, baseload generation out of business. The net result? The hollowing out of sound energy infrastructure, which increases both the costs and fragility of the energy system. In her book Shorting the Grid, Meredith Angwin warns of a “fatal trifecta” affecting grids around the world: (1) overreliance on renewables, (2) overreliance on natural gas, often used to load-follow renewables, and (3) overreliance on energy imports. When demand outpaces supply, either due to diminished output from renewables or heightened demand (e.g., during a cold snap), grid operators seek to dispatch additional generation. But natural gas and energy imports are both vulnerable to disruptions, as natural gas is typically delivered just-in-time via pipelines and neighboring regions are likely to experience correlated supply or demand shocks (read: weather). This results in more expensive energy (increased demand chasing limited supply) or enforced blackouts (e.g., Texas in February 2021). “Grid fragility” may sound like a highly abstract concept, but its real-world consequences are severe. It means industry halting, hospitals losing power, and even access to clean water being threatened. Such effects are so severe that energy-insecure countries tend to rely on more rudimentary forms of energy, including expensive backup diesel generators, to keep the lights on. Robert Bryce has termed this phenomenon the “Iron Law of Electricity”: people, businesses, and governments will do whatever they must to get the electricity they need[2]. We fear these confused policies are causing an energy transition of the wrong kind–one toward energy insecurity. Its effects are clear in the U.S., where “major electric disturbances and unusual occurrences” on the grid have increased 13x over the last 20 years. Meanwhile, Generac, a leading gas-powered backup generator company, saw 50% growth in sales in 2021 (it's worth highlighting the contradiction between the stated aims of these “net-zero” policies and their downstream effects). A Malthusian Approach to Energy Energy insecurity is also expensive. Dependence on intermittent renewables often results in paying top-dollar for energy when it’s needed most. During its September wind shortage, the UK paid GBP 4,000 per MWh to turn on a coal power plant–a clear demonstration that not all megawatt hours are created equal. The quality of energy matters. With renewables, humanity is once again at the mercy of the weather. This is the underlying logic of these “net-zero” policies: make energy more expensive so that we use less of it. In fact, economists advising the European Central Bank view rising energy costs (“greenflation”) as a feature, not a bug–a necessary consequence of the energy transition. Rising energy prices are a regressive tax on the least well-off in society. We all require energy to survive (heating/cooling, food, water, etc.), regardless of our wealth. These requirements are effectively a fixed cost; the lower one’s income, the greater the percentage of it one spends on energy. There is a point beyond which rising energy costs become unsustainable, sending people to the streets to fight for their survival–as we saw in Kazakhstan after the spike in LPG prices. Researchers estimate that each 1% increase in heating prices causes a 0.06% increase in winter-related deaths, with disproportionate effects in low-income areas. “If energy is life, then the lack of energy is death.” – Doomberg, “Shooting Oil in a Barrel” (2021) Energy is the key input for every other good and service in the economy, and over time accounts for all wealth in an economy. To the extent energy gets more expensive, so does everything else (including and especially food), making society poorer. This is the Malthusian approach to energy. Expensive “green” energy that the elites can afford, while the unwashed masses bear the brunt of those rising costs. Energy for me, but not for thee. We question the political and social sustainability of such an approach. Enter Entropy Energy’s role is even more fundamental to the economy and human well-being than most understand. As we’ve discussed elsewhere, what is commonly understood as “energy generation” is really just the conversion of energy into a more highly ordered form; it is the reduction of entropy locally by shedding even greater amounts of entropy elsewhere. Despite the universality of this entropy reduction, some energy resources are inherently lower-entropy than others (highly dense nuclear fission vs. low-density wind power). We depend on this entropy reduction to sustain us through the food and energy we need to maintain the order of civilization. This entropy reduction is cumulative; without sufficient entropy-reducing energy infrastructure, we cannot maintain our existing order. We cannot create entropy-reducing energy infrastructure without adequate pre-existing infrastructure. And we cannot advance further as a civilization (i.e., create more order) unless we develop even more entropy-reducing infrastructure. “We never escape from the need for energy. Whatever the short-term variations might look like, the trend over time is for greater energy use, to deliver and crucially to maintain and replace a human sphere that is progressively further away from thermodynamic equilibrium. There is no point at which you sit down and have a rest.” – John Constable, “Energy, Entropy and the Theory of Wealth” (2016) There is no free lunch when it comes to energy. If a country’s economy grows while reducing energy consumption, it is only through de-industrialization, exporting its energy footprint to other countries (the same often holds true for carbon emissions). The second law of thermodynamics is indeed a law, the best attested regularity in natural science, not a tentative suggestion: the entropy must go somewhere. Unfortunately, distortions caused by our current monetary system have convinced many otherwise, a deception that has had dire consequences. Macro Update: Money For the last 50 years the world has participated in an unprecedented experiment: a global fiat monetary standard. In 1974, a few years after “Tricky Dick” Nixon rug-pulled the other governments of the world by severing convertibility of the U.S. dollar into gold, the U.S. struck a deal with Saudi Arabia to cement the dollar’s status as the global reserve currency: the OPEC nations would agree to sell oil exclusively for U.S. dollars, and the Saudis would receive the protection of the U.S. military in return. This arrangement, which survives to this day, became known as the “Petrodollar system,” and it has had enduring economic, social, and political consequences: securing the dollar’s status as the reserve currency of the world; bidding up U.S. asset prices via petrodollar “recycling;” displacing U.S. manufacturing capabilities and increasing economic inequality between American wage-earners and asset-owners; and contributing to the secular decline in interest rates, causing an accumulation of public- and private-sector debts and distortions in the pricing mechanism for all other assets (typically viewed in relation to the “risk-free rate” of interest on Treasuries). In recent years, cracks in the foundation of this system have begun to show. A half-century of irresponsible fiscal and monetary policy has pushed sovereign and private sector debt to the brink of unsustainability and fragilized financial markets. The once steady foreign demand for Treasuries is evaporating, forcing the Fed to begin monetizing U.S. deficits at an increasing rate. The U.S.’s share of global GDP is waning, and the role of the dollar in key trading relationships is diminishing. Even the once-mighty U.S. military—on whose supremacy the entire Petrodollar system was predicated—shows signs of degeneration. The U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many of these trends. Through a series of legislative and executive actions in 2020 and 2021, Congress and the Trump and Biden administrations approved nearly $7 trillion of spending on COVID relief, a large majority of which increased the federal deficit. Not to be outdone, the Fed authorized its own emergency measures to the tune of $7 trillion. In the nearly two years since these extraordinary actions, the U.S. and the global economy has been defined by record-low interest rates (which is part of the explanation for the interest in subsidized renewables); acute supply chain disruptions (read: shortages) across critical markets; a continuation of the asset price inflation of prior decades; and the highest levels of consumer price inflation in 40 years. This last development—“not-so-transitory” CPI inflation—is perhaps most significant given it represents a departure from economic conditions since the Great Financial Crisis. The Fed now faces a predicament. With mounting cries from the public and political officials over the runaway CPI, the pressure is on Jay Powell & Co. to arrest inflation by raising interest rates. But the current state of public and private sector balance sheets complicates matters. As the Fed increases rates, so too does it increase the federal government’s borrowing cost, not to mention that of a private sector which is also saddled with dollar-denominated debt. If corporates are unable to service or refinance their debt, they will be forced to reduce costs, resulting in higher unemployment. Rest assured; rates aren’t going higher for long. Global balance sheets will not allow it. This suggests to us that we may be entering a period of financial repression, whereby inflation is allowed to run hot while interest rates remain pinned near zero, producing negative real returns and deleveraging balance sheets over several years. We also find it likely that the Fed will be forced to implement some version of a yield curve control program. Under such a policy, the central bank commits to purchasing as many bonds as necessary to cap the yields of various maturities of Treasuries at certain predetermined levels. There is precedent for a maneuver of this sort: the Fed implemented a version of the policy throughout the 1940s to inflate away the national debt during and after WWII. At the end of the long-term debt cycle, the only option is to inflate away the debt and debase the currency. But unlike in the 1940s, citizens, businesses, and governments now have several monetary alternatives available to them. We therefore believe the coming period of structural inflation will hasten a transition to a new monetary standard. The Currency Wars Cometh The writing is on the wall; the post-Bretton Woods monetary system is in its death throes. The question is not if we will see a paradigm shift away from the present dollar-based monetary order, but when. And the far more interesting question, in our view, is: what will replace it? We believe the next global monetary system will be built atop Bitcoin—with bitcoin the asset and Bitcoin the network working together to offer final settlement in a digitally native, fixed-supply reserve currency on politically neutral rails. Bitcoin uniquely enables this value proposition, and game theory and economic incentives will compel nation-states to take notice amid the collapsing monetary order. But it is not without competition. Central Bank Digital Currencies Bitcoin is the ideological and economic foil to another candidate for heir to the petrodollar: the central bank digital currency (“CBDC”). The retail CBDC—which is the variety most often discussed in policy circles—is a natively digital form of fiat money that is issued, managed, and controlled by the central bank. Their proponents claim CBDCs would enable many of the same benefits as cryptocurrencies—near-instant final settlement, programmability, high availability, etc.—without many of the attendant “disadvantages”—decentralization, untraceability, etc. CBDCs open up a whole new design space for monetary authorities, empowering them to implement creative and fine-grained policies which heretofore have been confined to masturbatory thought-experiments in BIS papers (e.g., negative interest rates). They would also allow for all manner of fiscal policies which today are operationally or technically infeasible; one can imagine government-imposed parameters around how and when a given sum of CBDC money is spent, digitally programmed into one’s Fed wallet. A universal basic income program could be effected with a single keystroke. In many ways, the CBDC is the perfect Malthusian implement. Their inherent programmability allows for granular, top-down rationing of resources for whatever “greater good” suits the politically powerful. “I’m sorry, sir. Your card has been declined, as you have already exceeded your weekly beef quota. Might we suggest a more environmentally friendly alternative, such as a Bill Gates pea protein patty?” Such a system amounts to highly efficient regulatory capture; citizens are only permitted to spend money on those goods and services favored by The Powers That Be (or the corporate interests that fund them). Expect CBDCs to further distort the pricing mechanism, leading to a variety of market failures (such as the current energy crises). Skeptics of such claims need only be reminded of the U.S. government’s recent history of abusing its power to restrict politically undesirable financial activities. It should come as no surprise that the CBDC model is being pioneered by the Chinese Communist Party in the form of a “digital renminbi.” Make no mistake—wherever a CBDC is implemented, it will be weaponized by the State for political ends. In the West, such a system would be readily abused to create a Chinese-style social credit system—but one cloaked in the neo-liberal parlance of “financial inclusion,” “climate justice,” and “anti-money laundering.” CBDCs: Coming to A Country Near You? We remain cautiously optimistic that the U.S. will forgo implementing this dystopian technology. The U.S. remains among the freest nations in the world, both politically and culturally. A CBDC is wholly incompatible with American values, and we expect millions of Americans would resist the complete usurpation of their financial lives by the State. Additionally, a retail CBDC implemented by the Fed would transfer power from the commercial banks whose interests the Fed was conceived to protect to the federal bureaucracy[3]. And is there any doubt that the U.S. now lacks the state capacity to implement a CBDC, a feat which would require a high degree of technical and operational competence? Figure 1: Which Way, Western Man? BTC vs. CBDC Bitcoin for America So, how can the U.S. extend its financial leadership of the 20th century amid the decaying Petrodollar system? The U.S. is already the frontrunner in nearly all things Bitcoin—trading volumes, mining activity, number of hodlers, entrepreneurial and business activity, capital markets activity, etc. We submit that the path of least resistance would be for America to lean into its leadership in the Bitcoin industry and embrace the technology as a privacy-respecting, open-source, free-market, and fundamentally American alternative to the totalitarian CBDC. What does “adopting Bitcoin” look like for a country like the U.S.? It is likely some combination of: (i) authorizing bitcoin as legal tender, (ii) removing onerous capital gains tax treatment, (iii) subsidizing or sponsoring mining operations (which could support domestic energy infrastructure, in turn), (iv) purchasing bitcoin as a reserve asset by the Fed and/or Treasury, or (v) making the dollar convertible into bitcoin at a fixed exchange rate. We see early signs that such a move by the U.S. may not be so far-fetched. Notably, major American policymakers have already signaled support for bitcoin as an important monetary asset and nascent industry. The “crypto” sector has grown into an important lobby in D.C. and represents a highly engaged, motivated constituency—politicians are taking notice. In our estimation, Bitcoin’s economic incentives and congruence with American values make it the leading candidate for U.S. adoption as a successor to the present monetary order. As the current dollar-based system continues to deteriorate, we are excited by the potential for a U.S.-led coalition of freedom loving nations moving to a Bitcoin Standard. Money, Energy, and Entropy Energy is the fundamental means to reduce entropy in the human sphere, and money is our tool for the direction of energy towards this end. We use money to communicate information about economic production, resolving uncertainty about how scarce resources ought to be employed. And we seek out highly ordered sources of energy to resist the influence of entropy on our bodies and societies. In his lecture, “Energy, Entropy and the Theory of Wealth,” John Constable of the Renewable Energy Foundation observes that all goods and services—and indeed, civilizations—are alike in that they are thermodynamically improbable. All require energy as an input and necessarily create order (i.e., reduce entropy) in the human domain, shifting the local state further away from thermodynamic equilibrium. So then, wealth can be understood as a thermodynamically improbable state made possible through human entropy reduction. If material wealth is measured by the goods and services one has at one’s disposal, then wealth creation on a sound monetary standard is the reduction of entropy for others, and one’s wealth is a record of one’s ability to reduce entropy for fellow man. Unsound money (of the sort the Malthusians celebrate) increases uncertainty—and therefore, entropy—in economic systems. Active management of the money supply confuses the price signal, reducing the information contained therein and erecting an economic Tower of Babel. Fiat money therefore contributes to malinvestment—entrepreneurial miscalculations which produce the wrong goods and services and increase societal entropy. Nowhere is this more apparent than in our energy infrastructure: unsound money has caused malinvestment in unsound sources of generation. As noted above, a half-century of government subsidies and declining interest rates made possible by the Petrodollar system has steered capital towards unreliable renewables that invite greater entropy into the fragile human sphere, dragging us ever closer toward thermodynamic equilibrium (read: civilizational collapse). Cathedra Bitcoin Update Our macro views on energy and money inform everything we’re doing at Cathedra. Chief among them is the belief that sound money and cheap, abundant, highly ordered energy are the fundamental ingredients to human flourishing. Our company mission is to bring both to humanity, and so lead mankind into a new Renaissance—one led by Bitcoin and the energy revolution we believe it will galvanize. Accordingly, with Cathedra we’ve set out to build a category-defining company at the intersection of bitcoin mining and energy. One which is designed to thrive in the turbulent years of the present energy and monetary transition and in the hyperbitcoinized world we believe is to come. In December we announced a change of the company’s name from Fortress Technologies to Cathedra Bitcoin. Our new name reflects our aspirations for the company and for Bitcoin more broadly. The gothic cathedral is a symbol of bold, ambitious, long-term projects; indeed, any single contributor to the monument would likely die before its completion, but contributed nonetheless—because it was a project worth undertaking. So it is with Cathedra, and so it is with Bitcoin. The religious connotations of the name “Cathedra” are not lost on us. Rather, they’re an indication of the seriousness with which we regard this mission. Ours is a quest of civilizational importance. Our new name also hints at another distinguishing feature of our business: we focus our efforts on Bitcoin, and Bitcoin only. The difference between Bitcoin and other “crypto” networks is one of kind, not degree. Bitcoin is the only meaningfully decentralized network in the “crypto” space, which is why bitcoin the asset will continue to win adoption as the preferred form of digitally native money by the world’s eight billion inhabitants. Bitcoin seeks to destroy the institution of seigniorage once and for all. Your favorite shitcoin creator just wants to capture the seigniorage himself. We feel strongly that our long-term mission of delivering sound money and cheap, abundant energy to humanity can be best achieved through a vertically integrated model. In the long-term, Cathedra will develop and/or acquire a portfolio of energy generation assets that leverages the synergies between energy production and bitcoin mining to the advantage of both businesses. In a decade, Cathedra may be as much an energy company as a bitcoin miner. Vertical integration will allow us to control our supply chain and rate of expansion to a greater degree, in addition to giving us a cost advantage over our competitors. As a low-cost producer of bitcoin, we will also be positioned to deliver a suite of ancillary products and services to customers in the Bitcoin and energy sectors. And we’ve begun making strides toward this goal. Earlier this year, the Cathedra team expanded by three with the hires of Isaac Fithian (Chief Field Operations and Manufacturing Officer), Rete Browning (Chief Technology Officer), and Tom Masiero (Head of Business Development). Each of these gentlemen brings years of experience in developing and deploying mobile bitcoin mining infrastructure in off-grid environments. With this expanded team, we recently began production of proprietary modular datacenters to house the 5,100 bitcoin mining machines we have scheduled for delivery throughout 2022. We’re calling these datacenters “rovers,” a nod to their mobility, embedded automation, and capacity to operate under harsh environmental conditions in remote geographies. The modularity and modest footprint of our rovers will allow us to produce them at a rapid pace and deploy them wherever the cheapest power is found, in both on- and off-grid environments. We are proud to be manufacturing our fleet of rovers entirely in New Hampshire, working with the local business community to bring heavy industry back to the U.S. As bitcoin miners, we view ourselves as managers of a portfolio of hash rate. As in the traditional asset management business, diversification can be a powerful asset. Whereas most of the large, publicly traded bitcoin miners are pursuing a similar strategy to one another—developing and/or renting space at hyperscale, on-grid datacenters in which to operate their mining machines—we have optimized our approach to minimize regulatory, market, environmental, or other idiosyncratic risk within our portfolio of hash rate. If one has 90% of one’s hash rate portfolio concentrated in a single on-grid site, 90% of one’s revenue can be shut off by a grid failure or other catastrophic event—an occurrence which is sadly becoming more common, as highlighted in our Energy Update. To our knowledge, Cathedra is the only publicly traded bitcoin miner with both on- and off-grid operations today. We increasingly believe that the future of bitcoin mining is off-grid. On-grid deployments are already vulnerable to myriad unique risks today, and we believe their economic proposition will become less attractive over time. As power producers continue to integrate bitcoin mining at the site of generation themselves, large on-grid miners positioned “downstream” in the energy value chain will see their electricity rates rise. Today, “off-grid” describes any arrangement in which a bitcoin miner procures power directly from an energy producer. Popular implementations include stranded and flared natural gas and behind-the-meter hydro and nuclear. In the long-term, we believe the only way to remain competitive will be to vertically integrate down to the energy generation asset. Mining bitcoin is a capital-intensive business. To ensure we have access to the capital we’ll require to execute on our vision, we’ve embarked on several capital markets initiatives. In February, Cathedra commenced trading on the OTCQX Best Market under the symbol “CBTTF.” This milestone represents a significant upgrade from our prior listing on the OTC Pink Market and should enhance our stock’s accessibility and liquidity for U.S. investors. We intend to list on a U.S. stock exchange in 2022 to further increase the visibility, liquidity, and trading volume in our stock. We recently announced that Cathedra secured US$17m in debt financing from NYDIG, a loan secured by bitcoin mining equipment. When it comes to borrowing in fiat to finance assets that produce bitcoin—an asset which appreciates 150%+ per year on average—almost any cost of debt makes sense. We intend to continue using non-dilutive financing in a responsible manner where possible, with a sober appreciation for the risks debt service presents as an additional fixed cost. Accumulating a formidable war chest of bitcoin on our corporate balance sheet is a priority for us. If one believes, as we do, that the next global monetary order will be built with Bitcoin at its center, then those companies with the largest bitcoin treasuries will thrive. We will continue to hold as much of our mined bitcoin as possible and may even supplement our mining activities with opportunistic bitcoin purchases on occasion. At time of writing, Cathedra has 187 PH/s of hash rate active, and another 534 PH/s of hash rate contracted via purchases of mining machines we expect to be delivered from April through December of this year. Since we replaced the prior management team in September, we have grown Cathedra’s contracted hash rate by more than 300%. And we’re just getting started. Conclusion We stand today at a crossroads between two divergent movements defined by conflicting visions for the future: Malthusianism and Prometheanism. The Malthusians believe progress is zero (or even negative) sum; resources are finite and “degrowth” is the only viable path forward; we ought to judge human action first and foremost by whether it disturbs the natural world. This movement is characterized by totalitarian CBDCs and a desire to make energy more scarce and expensive, so that earth’s resources can be appropriately rationed. On the other hand, the Prometheans carry with them a more optimistic vision: progress is positive-sum; human creativity allows us to liberate and employ resources in novel ways, in turn preserving the natural world for our own benefit; and that human flourishing is the moral standard by which we should evaluate human action. These are social, cultural, and spiritual choices we are all called to confront. “The century will be fought between Malthusians (“resources are finite”; obsessed with overpopulation; scarcity mindset; zero-sum, finite games) and Prometheans (“human imagination is the most valuable natural resource”; abundance mindset; positive sum, infinite games).” – Alpha Barry (2020) The Malthusian camp wants top-down, centralized management of resources via CBDCs and energy rationing policies. They believe our energy resources are fixed; the only path forward is backward, farming for energy using huge swaths of land controlled by the privileged few. “Industrialization for me but not for thee.” “You’ll own nothing and be happy.” These are the slogans of the Malthusian movement. This is not the path that took us to space and lifted billions out of poverty. We, Cathedra, choose the other path. That of Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods to benefit humankind. We believe in a future of sound money that brings property rights to eight billion humans around the world. A world of beautiful, free cities powered by dense and highly ordered forms of energy generation. Small modular nuclear reactors with load-balancing bitcoin miners (and no seed oils). A future in which technology is employed to improve the human condition–not only for those who walk the earth today, but for generations to come. Bitcoin mining is a powerful ally to the Promethean cause. As the energy buyer of last resort, Bitcoin promotes sound money and sound energy infrastructure. No two forces are more fundamental to keeping disorder at bay and advancing human civilization. We at Cathedra are not alone; there are other Prometheans working tirelessly to further this vision of a freer, more prosperous tomorrow. Human flourishing is earned, not given. Together, we win. Drew Armstrong President & Chief Operating Officer AJ Scalia Chief Executive Officer Tyler Durden Mon, 03/14/2022 - 19:40.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMar 14th, 2022

Futures Recover Overnight Losses After Torrid Thursday Rally As Uneasy Calm Returns

Futures Recover Overnight Losses After Torrid Thursday Rally As Uneasy Calm Returns After yesterday's furious gamma-squeeze rally, U.S. stock futures were slightly lower on the day, although near the overnight session highs as the ongoing Ukraine conflict and impact of Western sanctions continue to drive risk; sentiment was boosted after the Kremlin said that Ukraine’s neutrality offer is a move “toward positive” and following reports that China's president Xi held a phone call with Putin who said Russia is willing to conduct high-level negotiations with Ukraine. S&P futures were down 10 points to 0.25% at 7:30am, after paring earlier declines of more than 1%, with Nasdaq futures down -0.15% and Dow futures down 0.4%. Europe's Stoxx Europe 600 was in the green, and oil was steady after Bloomberg reported that oil importers in China are briefly pausing new seaborne purchases as they assess the potential implications of handling the shipments following the Ukraine invasion. Gold was steady, while Brent crude reached $100 a barrel and Treasuries rose. In the latest developments, Ukraine’s president Zelensky said Moscow-led forces were continuing attacks on military and civilian targets on the second day of their invasion. Leaders from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will hold virtual talks on the alliance’s next steps starting at 3 p.m. in Brussels. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden imposed stiffer sanctions on Russia, promising to inflict a “severe cost on the Russian economy” that will hamper its ability to do business in foreign currencies after Moscow-led forces attacked military targets in Ukraine, triggering the worst security crisis in Europe since World War II. China urged Russia and Ukraine to negotiate to address problems, according to Chinese state TV.  Here is a full recap of the latest Ukraine developments: There were reports of heavy explosions rocking the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and US Senator Rubio tweeted it appeared that at least three dozen missiles were fired at the Kyiv are in 40 minutes, while Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba confirmed Russian rockets fired at Kyiv and President Zelensky also noted Russia resumed missile strikes at 04:00 local time/02:00GMT. Russia has not undertaken missile strikes on Kyiv, according to Russian press citing a source in the Defence Ministry. There is currently gunfire in Kyiv with Russians in the City, according to a reporter (08:45GMT/03:45EST) Gunfire has been heard near the government quarter of Kyiv, Ukraine, via LBC News (09:09GMT/04:09EST) Ukrainian military vehicles seized by Russian troops wearing Ukrainian uniforms, heading for Kyiv, defense official says - UNIAN, cited by BNO News. Russian paratroopers take control of Chernobyl nuclear power plant, according to the Ministry of Defence cited by Sputnik. Additionally, Ukraine nuclear agency says it is seeing higher radiation levels in Chernobyl; note, Sky News reports that the increase is insignificant and is due to military vehicles moving around the reactor. Ukraine President adviser says that Ukraine wants peace, if negotiations are still possible, they should be undertaken. Subsequently, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov says that Ukraine President Zelenskiy is "lying" when he says he is prepared to discuss the neutral status of Ukraine; however, the Kremlin says it has taken note of Kyiv's willingness to discuss neutral status; will need to analyze this. Ukraine President Zelensky says the Russian assault is like a repeat of WW2, accuses Europe of an insufficient reaction, Europe can still stop the Russian aggression if they act quickly. Ukrainian President Zelensky has proposed Russian President Putin joins him at the negotiating table, according to Ria. In premarket trading, Block jumped after fourth-quarter sales beat consensus, while Coinbase dropped after warning that trading volume will decline in the first quarter. Zscaler slumped 13% after the security software company’s second-quarter results failed to live up to the most optimistic expectations, even though they beat estimates. Analysts slashed their price targets, including a new Street-low at Barclays. Here are some of the other notable U.S. premarket movers today: Block Inc. (SQ US) shares climb 15% in U.S. premarket trading after the firm posted fourth-quarter sales that beat Street consensus. Analysts say the results are a relief, supported by “impressive” Cash App figures. Coinbase Global Inc. (COIN US) shares were 1.6% lower in premarket trading after the biggest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange cautioned that trading volume will decline in the first quarter. Etsy (ETSY US) shares are up about 18% in premarket trading, after the e- commerce company reported fourth-quarter results that featured better-than-expected revenue and gross merchandise sales. It also gave a forecast. Beyond Meat (BYND US) shares dropped 10% in premarket as analyst questioned its profitability outlook and pricing strategy after the maker of plant-based foods forecast sales that missed market expectations. KAR Auction Services (CVNA US) climbs 50% in U.S. premarket after agreeing to sell its Adesa U.S. physical auction business to Carvana for $2.2 billion in cash. Truist Securities sees positive implications for both stocks. Farfetch (FTCH US) shares rally 27% in premarket trading after co. posted a smaller-than-expected 4Q loss. A prolonged conflict could deliver a major blow to global markets and slow the normalization of central bank policy that’s expected this year. Wall Street strategists cut their forecasts on European equities on concern that the war in Ukraine will hurt economic growth, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. expecting virtually no full-year returns. A the same time, disruptions of raw materials and food could stoke already-high prices and heap pressure on central banks to act faster to curb inflation. Russia remains a commodity powerhouse and Ukraine is a major grain exporter. Markets still see around six quarter-point increases by the Federal Reserve, but bets on other central bank’s hiking cycles have been pared in recent days. “This conflict implies a further deterioration of the already tricky growth-inflation trade-offs central banks have been facing, making the upcoming decisions particularly hard,” Silvia Dall’Angelo, senior economist at the international business of Federated Hermes, wrote in a note to clients. “Downside growth risks from the geopolitical backdrop mean that they are likely to proceed gradually and cautiously.” Penalties by the U.S. and its allies spared Russia’s oil exports and avoided blocking access to the Swift global payment network. With flows of natural gas returning to Europe, prices reversed a record-breaking rally with the benchmark contract down as much as 28%. European stocks climbed as investors bought the dip after a volatile week led by developments on the Ukrainian front. Stocks trade at session highs after the Kremlin says that Ukraine’s neutrality offer is a move “toward positive” while oil slips to session low. U.S. futures decline. Euro Stoxx 50 rallies 1.2%. FTSE 100 outperforms, adding 1.8%, IBEX lags, adding 0.9%. CAC 40 up 1.3%. Utilities, real estate and food & beverages are the strongest sectors. Russia’s MOEX index rebounds, rising ~15%. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: European shares in sectors that were beaten down by Russia risk on Thursday rebound, with travel and basic resource stocks among the top gainers, as well as banks with exposure to eastern Europe. Bank Polska Kasa Opieki +14%, Dino Polska +7.3%, Polymetal International +7.5%, Wizz Air +5.8% The European utility sector leads gains among subindexes on the Stoxx 600, gaining about 5%, after European natural gas prices halted their rally rally, as Russian flows to the continent ramped up. Rightmove shares rise as much as 7.4% after the online property listings firm reported FY revenue growth of 48% from a year earlier. The results show encouraging momentum into 2022, Numis says. Pearson has its biggest gain in almost a year, rising 11% after results. Goldman Sachs notes the education publisher’s adjusted operating profit for FY22 was in line with market expectations. Freenet rises as much as 6.7% after results, the most since May, as analysts see positive profitability updates despite revenue weakness. Vallourec climbs as much as 20% after the French steel-pipe maker gave guidance that Oddo BHF calls “reassuring” in spite of incidents at a Brazil mine. Valeo falls as much as 12% in Paris after the French company set out targets for this year and 2025, with analysts noting 2022 guidance came in below expectations. BASF drops as much as 4.9% in Frankfurt after adjusted Ebit missed consensus and results show a squeeze on margins, Berenberg said. Swiss Re plunges as much as 8.4% after reporting results that missed analyst estimates. The insurer also proposed new targets that “don’t seem supportive enough,” Citi writes. Casino slumps as much as 17% to its lowest level in more than three decades after the French grocer reported FY results that Jefferies says showed “no progress” on deleveraging. An uneasy calm returned to Asia’s stock markets on Friday, as investors assessed the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the outlook for China’s tech sector. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 1.2%, rallying from its worst drop in a year on Thursday. Weaker-than-expected U.S. sanctions on Russia supported market sentiment, helping lift tech and industrial shares. China’s tech stocks advanced even after Alibaba announced the slowest revenue growth since it went public.  Benchmarks in Japan and India were among the top performers. India’s Sensex turned from the biggest loser in Asia to the biggest winner on Friday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped as the city deals with record Covid-19 cases.  Asian equities “showed signs of excessive drops, so today’s rise appears to be a technical rebound,” Seo Jung-hun, a strategist at Samsung Securities, said by phone. “Markets will continue to face volatility as Russia-sparked risks, the Fed’s policy tightening and inflation issues still persist.” Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller said a half percentage-point increase in U.S. interest rates next month could be justified, although the Ukraine conflict has added to uncertainty. The Asian stock benchmark is set for its worst week this month, down almost 4%, and remains close to entering a bear market. Geopolitical risks, regulatory concerns for Chinese private enterprises and a relatively slower pace of earnings growth compared with the rest of the world are all weighing on sentiment Japanese equities climbed, sealing their first gain in six sessions, as blue chips led the charge following a late U.S. rally from the recent selloff in anticipation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Electronics makers and telecoms were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which rose 1%. Tokyo Electron and SoftBank Group were the largest contributors to a 2% rise in the Nikkei 225. The yen retraced some of its 0.5% loss against the dollar overnight. “Expectations are spreading that the pace of rate hikes will be slowed down in the U.S. and Europe, considering the impact the Ukraine situation will have on the economy,” said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a market strategist at Mizuho Securities In rates, treasuries were slightly cheaper across the curve, with yields higher by 1bp to 1.5bp from Thursday’s session close. U.S. 10-year yield around 1.975%, cheaper by 1bp on the day with bunds lagging a further 1bp following data including France CPI beat, while Estoxx rally 1.5%; gilts outperform by around 2bp vs. Treasuries. Treasuries pared an advance after Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller said a half percentage-point rate increase may be justified if economic data remain hot. European benchmark bonds traded steady to slightly lower. Gilts gained, led by the belly of the curve; Bank of England’s Huw Pill speaks later, with the pace of tightening in focus. IG dollar issuance slate empty so far; borrowers stepped away from debt sales Thursday leaving weekly total around $18b vs. $25b expected. German bunds bear-flatten on the back of a stronger-than-expected French CPI print, while money markets price as much as 42bps of ECB tightening in December, an increase of 5bps compared to Thursday. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed as the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers, though most currencies were confined to narrow ranges relative to yesterday’s moves. The Australian and New Zealand dollars led G-10 gains on short covering after Thursday’s plunge; The yen was also higher while the euro fell a third consecutive day to trade below $1.12 and the pound erased an early advance. Hedging costs in the major currencies turned south early Friday, but investors aren’t ready to shift bias into risk-on exposure. French consumer prices rose 4.1% in February from a year earlier versus 3.3% in January. That’s the strongest reading since the data series started in 1997. Economists had forecast a 3.7% advance. Currencies from the European Union’s east weakened against the euro and the dollar, but were far from levels reached Thursday. A gauge of one-week implied volatility in the dollar against the Taiwan dollar jumped to a six-month high on Friday while the Taiwan dollar slid to the weakest since October in the spot market. The conflict in Ukraine may raise the risk premium for China and Taiwan over the medium term, according to Morgan Stanley. In commodities, Brent trades around $99, while WTI slips below $93. Spot gold rises roughly $6 to trade near $1,910/oz.  European natural gas prices halt a record-breaking rally. Benchmark futures fell as much as 28%, after four consecutive days of gains. Most base metals trade in the red; LME aluminum falls 2.5%, underperforming peers. LME lead outperforms Looking at the day ahead, data highlights from the US include the personal income and personal spending data for January, preliminary durable goods orders and core capital goods orders for January, pending home sales for January, and the final University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for February. In Europe, we’ll also get the preliminary French CPI reading for February, and the Euro Area’s economic sentiment indicator for February. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 1.1% to 4,237.75 MXAP up 1.0% to 181.44 MXAPJ up 0.8% to 593.50 Nikkei up 1.9% to 26,476.50 Topix up 1.0% to 1,876.24 Hang Seng Index down 0.6% to 22,767.18 Shanghai Composite up 0.6% to 3,451.41 Sensex up 2.5% to 55,878.05 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.1% to 6,997.81 Kospi up 1.1% to 2,676.76 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.8% to 442.68 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.16% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1172 Brent Futures up 0.9% to $99.98/bbl Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,909.09 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 97.18 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Federal Reserve officials stuck to their resolve to raise interest rates next month despite uncertainty posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with at least one policy maker considering a half-point move Out of 18 potential red flags in Citi’s global Bear Market checklist, only seven are currently waving, far fewer than before bear markets of 2000 and 2007, strategists led by Beata Manthey wrote in a note. In Europe, the number of danger signs is only five, they said China’s Politburo vowed to strengthen macroeconomic policies to stabilize the economy this year, suggesting more support could be on the cards to boost growth ahead of a key leadership meeting later this year Russia still has about $300 billion of foreign currency held offshore - - enough to disrupt money markets if it’s frozen by sanctions or moved suddenly to avoid them China’s central bank ramped up its short-term liquidity injection in the banking system, providing support just as global markets are roiled by geopolitical tension A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pacific stocks mostly gained after the firm rebound on Wall St. ASX 200 was capped amid a slew of earnings and with outperformance in tech offset by weakness in miners and financials. Nikkei 225 outperformed and reclaimed the 26k status with exporters underpinned by a more favourable currency. KOSPI gained with index heavyweight Samsung Electronics underpinned as it launched global sales of its flagship smartphone and latest tablet which have attracted record pre-orders. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. were mixed with the mainland underpinned after the PBoC boosted its daily liquidity operation which resulted in the biggest weekly cash injection in more than two years. although Hong Kong was constrained by losses in the energy majors and with financials subdued amid pressure in HSBC shares and after China Communist Party inspections on financial institutions. Top Asian News China Pledges Stronger Economic Policies to Stabilize Growth China Leaves Russia’s War Off Front Pages as Xi Stays Silent Currency Traders Remain Vigilant Even as Hedging Costs Retreat Asian Stocks Gain as China Tech, India Rebound; Hong Kong Drops European bourses are firmer and back in proximity to initial best levels after losing traction shortly after the cash open, Euro Stoxx 50 +1.3%; FTSE 100 +1.9% outperforms amid Basic Resources strength. US futures are lower across the board, ES -0.9%, after yesterday's significant intra-day reversal to close positive; albeit, action has been rangebound within the European morning. US SEC's EDGAR feed is reportedly down; fillings cannot be made. In Europe, sectors are all in the green featuring noted outperformance in Utilities and  Basic Resources, Energy remains firmer in-spite of the crude benchmarks pullback Top European News Wall Street Cuts European Stock Targets as War Prompts Outflows U.K. Takes Aim at Russia’s Opaque Embrace of London Property UBS Triggers Margin Calls as Russia Bond Values Cut to Zero What to Watch in Commodities: Ukraine Impact Roiling Markets In FX, Aussie regroups alongside broad risk sentiment and rebound in Aud/Nzd cross amidst mixed NZ consumption and trade data - Aud/Usd near 0.7200 vs sub-0.7100 low yesterday. Buck bases after abrupt reversal from new 2022 highs in DXY terms and residual rebalancing may underpin alongside underlying safe haven bid - index above 97.000 again vs 96.770 low and 97.740 y-t-d best. Rouble supported by ongoing CBR intervention via higher repo auction cap - Usd/Rub around 84.000 compared to almost 90.000 record peak. Yen and Gold off best levels, but both retain elements of safety premium - Usd/Jpy circa 115.35 and Xau/ Usd hovering above Usd 1900/oz In commodities, WTI and Brent have continued to pull back after overnight consolidation, Brent April notably below USD 99.00/bbl vs USD 101.99/bbl highs. Focus remains firmly on geopolitics (see section above) while participants are also attentive to next week's OPEC+ meeting. Japan's Industry Minister said they will appropriately deal with an oil release from national reserves in cooperation with relevant countries and the IEA. Spot gold is rangebound after an initial move higher failed to gather steam and hit resistance at USD 1922/oz. Goldman Sachs recently commented that the rally for gold has a lot further to go on the situation in Ukraine and prices and that prices could reach as high at USD 2,350/oz if there is a build in demand for ETF. Geopolitical updates US Senior US administration official said the US still has room to further tighten sanctions if Russian aggression accelerates further and is keeping the option open to impose import-export controls on less advanced mainline chips such as those used in the Russian auto industry. European Commission President von der Leyen said steps agreed by EU leaders include financial sanctions and they are targeting 70% of the Russian banking market, as well as key state owned companies including defence. Furthermore, the export ban will impact Russia's oil sector by making it impossible to upgrade refineries and EU is limiting Russia's access to key technologies such as semiconductors. EU Council President Michel says they are urgently preparing additional sanctions against Russia, via AFP; subsequently, a German gov't spokesperson says a discussion of third sanctions package against Russia is in its early stages. French President Macron said EU sanctions will be followed by French national sanctions on certain people which are to be announced later, while they will offer EUR 300mln of aid to Ukraine and military equipment, as well as target Belarus for penalties. Russian Central Bank said it will provide any support needed for sanctions-hit banks and that banks have been well prepared in advance, while Ukraine's Central Bank banned operations with RUB and BYR, as well as banned banks from making payments to entities in Russia and Belarus. Russia may retaliate for UK ban on Aeroflot flights to Britain, according to Tass citing the aviation authority; subsequently, Russia banned London registered craft from its airspace. Russian Parliamentary Upper Chamber speaker says that Russia has prepared sanctions to hit the weak points of the West, according to Interfax. Australian PM Morrison announced the nation is to impose further sanctions on Russian individuals and said it is unacceptable that China is easing trade restrictions with Russia at this time. Taiwan will join democratic countries to put sanctions on Russia for invasion of Ukraine and Japanese PM Kishida said they will immediately impose sanctions in Russia in three areas including the financial sector and military equipment exports, while Russia's envoy to Japan later said there will be a serious Russian response to Japanese sanctions. UK Defence Minister Wallace says we would like to cut Russia off from SWIFT; French Finance Minister Le Maire says the option of cutting Russia off from SWIFT remains an option, but it a last resort. India is reportedly exploring setting up INR trade accounts with Russia to soften the blow on India from Russian sanctions, according to Reuters sources. Central Banks Fed's Waller (voter) said it is too soon to judge how Ukraine conflict will impact the world or US economy and concerted action to rein in inflation is needed. Waller said rates should be raised by 100bps by mid-year and there is a strong case for a 50bps hike in March if incoming data indicates economy is still exceedingly hot, but added it is possible a more modest tightening is appropriate in wake of Ukraine attack , while he also stated the Fed should start trimming the balance sheet no later than the July meeting, according to Reuters. ECB's Lane said there would be a significant increase to 2022 inflation forecast amid the Ukraine crisis but hinted at inflation below target at end of horizon according to Reuters sources; Lane presented several scenarios: Mild scenario: no impact to EZ GDP; seen as unlikely; Middle scenario: 0.3-0.4ppts shaved off EZ GDP; Severe scenario: EZ hit by almost 1ppt. Note, sources cited by Reuters suggested these were rough calculations. BoE's Mann says all of the MPC agree that UK inflation is way above the BoE's goal; Mann added that domestic demand is strong and UK labour market is tight. BoE agents survey has been fundamental in guiding Mann's view on policy. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Jan. Personal Income, est. -0.3%, prior 0.3% 8:30am: Jan. Personal Spending, est. 1.6%, prior -0.6% 8:30am: Jan. Real Personal Spending, est. 1.2%, prior -1.0% 8:30am: Jan. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.3%, prior 0.3% 8:30am: Jan. Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 1.3% 8:30am: Jan. -Less Transportation, est. 0.4%, prior 0.6% 8:30am: Jan. PCE Deflator MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 0.4%; PCE Deflator YoY, est. 6.0%, prior 5.8% 8:30am: Jan. PCE Core Deflator MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.5%; PCE Core Deflator YoY, est. 5.2%, prior 4.9%; 8:30am: Jan. Durable Goods Orders, est. 1.0%, prior -0.7% 10am: Feb. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 61.7, prior 61.7; Current Conditions, est. 68.5, prior 68.5; Expectations, est. 57.3, prior 57.4 10am: Feb. U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, prior 5.0% 10am: Feb. U. of Mich. 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 3.1% 10am: Jan. Pending Home Sales (MoM), est. 0.2%, prior -3.8%; YoY, est. -1.8%, prior -6.6% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap It's been a pretty seismic 36 hours and at some points yesterday the outlook for markets and economies felt very bleak. However remarkably after an 8 dollar round trip that first sent Brent crude over $105/bbl, oil (+2.31% on the day) eventually closed last night at $99.08 (still the highest since 2014), and only around the levels seen just before Russia launched the invasion just over 24 hours ago. It's edged up again in the Asian session to $100.75 as I type but the fact that oil stopped going parabolically higher helped turn the whole market around yesterday. Indeed markets hit peak pessimism around lunchtime in Europe but Biden not yet putting sanctions on Energy or restricting Russian access to SWIFT seemed to cap off a more positive tone thereafter. Indeed the S&P and Nasdaq rose +4.23% and +7.04% respectively from the opening lows to close up +1.50% and +3.34% on the day. A remarkable turnaround. S&P 500 (-0.53%) and Nasdaq (-0.76%) futures are down again this morning but this is still clearly well off the lows. If this event is going to have a lasting macro and market impact it has to hit energy prices and for much of yesterday it looked like it was on course to aggressively do so, and to be fair still might. European natural gas will be one to watch today as it soared +63.89% at its peak yesterday, only to fade towards the close to be 'only' up +33.31%. On a bigger picture basis the events of this week have to be forcing governments to think of their energy security in much more detail than they have in the past. Will it also impact the green transition? Surely it makes it more urgent in the medium-term but tougher to stick with in the short-term. Much will depend on what happens next for energy prices. Clearly the West may still put sanctions on this Russian supply which will undoubtedly risk a renewed spike in energy. Diving into yesterday. The intraday turnaround in asset prices followed clarity on what the west’s next round of sanctions would look like. The sanctions were expanded to more connected individuals and entities, were designed to cut off high-tech exports crucial to Russian defense and tech industries, impinge Russia’s ability to raise capital on foreign markets by restricting access and freezing assets of some of their largest banks, and restrict Russia’s ability to deal in dollars, yen, and euros. The sanctions not applied, however, drove an intraday turn in risk assets and reversed measures of inflation compensation. Namely, President Biden noted the sanctions package was specifically designed to allow energy payments to continue, and that the US would release strategic oil reserves as needed to help ameliorate price pressures. Further, they did not cut off Russia’s access to the international payments system, SWIFT, though maintained the option of doing so. Before the rally back there was a complete rout in numerous markets yesterday, and when it came to Russian assets there was frankly a capitulation, with the MOEX equity index (-32.28%) shedding more than a third of its value in a single day (-45.06% at the session lows). Bloomberg wrote a piece saying that the worst single day equity loss in their database for any country’s index was Argentina’s -53.1% fall in January 1990. In total, there have been seven worst days in stock market history than -33.3%. For what it’s worth, those equity declines are the sort that would trigger circuit breakers if they happened elsewhere. For example we couldn’t see that for the S&P 500 in a single day, since trading rules stipulate that there’s a complete halt for the day once you get to a -20% loss. On top of that, the Russian Ruble -5.15% hit a record low against the US dollar, after suffering its worst daily performance since the height of the Covid crisis back in March 2020. And yields on 10yr Russian sovereign debt were up by +435.0bps to 15.23%. The STOXX 600 fell -3.28% as it reached its lowest level since last May, with major losses for the other European indices including the FTSE 100 (-3.88%), the CAC 40 (-3.83%) and the DAX (-3.96%). With investors pricing in a less aggressive reaction function from central banks, sovereign bonds saw a decent rally yesterday, having also been supported by the dash for haven assets. However the moves didn’t match the severity of the flight to quality shock, even at the worse point of the day, as the real return consequence of buying government bonds at a yields of 0-2% was all too apparent with inflation rife. There was some big ranges though. 10yr US real yields were -27.7bps lower and breakevens +14.4bps wider as news of the invasion, and commensurate stagflation fears hit. However, the intraday turn around led to much more modest closing levels, with 10yr real yields -4.2bps lower and breakevens +1.5bps higher. 10yr nominal Treasury yields settled -2.8bps lower on the day at 1.96%. At shorter tenors, 5yr breakevens also displayed a remarkable intraday roundtrip, finishing +1.4bps higher after having hit an intraday peak +24.8bps wider at +3.39%, which would have been the highest reading on record. In Europe the breakeven widening was more sustained, and the 10yr German breakeven actually managed to close above 2% for the first time in over a decade yesterday, having climbed +12.9bps to +2.10%. Meanwhile nominal yields on 10yr bunds (-5.8bps), OATs (-7.0bps) and gilts (-3.2bps) all moved lower. Energy prices are going to continue to keep central bankers awake at night, since they can’t do anything about the supply issues directly. More shocks will lead to both lower growth (absent fiscal suppprt) and higher inflation, with the risk being that you start to see second-round effects if higher inflation becomes entrenched. Notably, one of the ECB’s biggest hawks, Robert Holzmann of Austria, said in a Bloomberg interview that the conflict meant “It’s possible however that the speed may now be somewhat delayed.” That was music to the ears of peripheral sovereign debt in particular, which rallied strongly on the news, with the Italian spread over 10yr bunds moving from an intraday high of 178bps to close at 164.5bps. In Asia the Nikkei (+1.63%), Kospi (+1.15%), Shanghai Composite (+0.54%), and the CSI (+0.78%) all are higher in line with the second half rally yesterday. Meanwhile, the Hang Seng (-0.16%) is lower. In economic data, overall inflation for Tokyo rose +1.0% y/y in February, its fastest pace of growth since December 2019, on higher energy prices and after an upwardly revised +0.6% increase in January. Bloomberg estimates were for a +0.7% rise. Excluding fresh food, consumer prices in Japan advanced +0.5% in February y/y, accelerating from a +0.2% increase in January and outpacing a +0.4% gain expected by analysts. In central banks news, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) beefed up liquidity by injecting 300 billion yuan ($47.4 bn) into the financial system via 7-day reverse repos, amid concerns over the Russia-Ukraine conflict. For the week, the PBOC injected a net 760 billion yuan – the biggest weekly cash offering since January 2020. Data releases understandably took a back seat yesterday, but we did get the weekly initial jobless claims from the US for the week through February 19, which fell to 232k (vs. 235k expected). We also saw the continuing claims for the week through February 12 fall to a half-century low of 1.476m, a level unseen since 1970. Otherwise, new home sales in January fell to an annualised rate of 801k (vs. 803k expected), and the second estimate of Q4’s GDP was revised up by a tenth from the initial estimate to an annualised +7.0%. To the day ahead now, and data highlights from the US include the personal income and personal spending data for January, preliminary durable goods orders and core capital goods orders for January, pending home sales for January, and the final University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for February. In Europe, we’ll also get the preliminary French CPI reading for February, and the Euro Area’s economic sentiment indicator for February. Tyler Durden Fri, 02/25/2022 - 07:57.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytFeb 25th, 2022

Exclusive: Intel Reveals Plans for Massive New Ohio Factory, Fighting the Chip Shortage Stateside

As part of an effort to regain its position as a leading maker of semiconductors amidst a global chip shortage, Intel is committing $20 billion to build a manufacturing mega-site in New Albany, on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio, the company exclusively confirmed to TIME. The chip maker says it will build at least two… As part of an effort to regain its position as a leading maker of semiconductors amidst a global chip shortage, Intel is committing $20 billion to build a manufacturing mega-site in New Albany, on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio, the company exclusively confirmed to TIME. The chip maker says it will build at least two semiconductor fabrication plants, or fabs, on the 1,000-acre site, where Intel will research, develop, and manufacture its most cutting-edge computer chips, employing at least 3,000 people. Construction will begin this year and the plant should be operational by 2025, the company said. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Intel’s announcement is the largest private-sector investment in Ohio history and a bright spot in what has been a dismal few decades for manufacturing in Ohio and the Midwest. Big employers like General Motors laid off thousands as factory jobs relocated to the U.S. South and overseas. But as automation drives efficiency in factories, creating technical, rather than assembly-line jobs, Ohio is trying to mount a manufacturing comeback. “Our expectation is that this becomes the largest silicon manufacturing location on the planet,” Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger told TIME; the company has the option to eventually expand to 2,000 acres and up to eight fabs. “We helped to establish the Silicon Valley,” he said. “Now we’re going to do the Silicon Heartland.” Maddie McGarvey—Bloomberg/Getty ImagesA town sign is displayed in New Albany, Ohio, U.S., on Monday, May 6, 2019. The announcement comes amidst a push to increase domestic manufacturing of semiconductors. Partly because of enormous incentives offered by other countries to jumpstart semiconductor manufacturing on their shores, the share of chips made in the U.S. has fallen to 12%, from 37% in 1990, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association(SIA). As booming demand and supply chain woes led to semiconductor shortages over the past year, entire U.S. industries like auto manufacturing were crippled. Read More: From Cars to Toasters, America’s Semiconductor Shortage Is Wreaking Havoc on Our Lives. Can We Fix It? Semiconductor manufacturing has grown at a much slower rate in the U.S. than in other places around the world, particularly East Asia, in part because it costs 30% more to build and operate a fab over 10 years than it does in Taiwan, South Korea, or Singapore, according to the SIA. To create a more reliable supply of chips, the federal government is weighing providing incentives for chip makers in the U.S. The CHIPS for America Act, passed last year, authorized federal investments in chip manufacturing, but it did not provide funding. The Senate passed $52 billion in funding in June, but the House has not passed the legislation. Intel has joined with other leading semiconductor companies, including competitors AMD, Inc., NVIDIA, and GlobalFoundries, to lobby President Biden to fund semiconductor research and manufacturing. Gelsinger has met with various leaders in Washington including the bipartisan Problem Solvers’ Caucus in Congress and the New Democrat Coalition to emphasize the need for bringing more semiconductor manufacturing capability to the U.S. “My first meeting with the Undersecretary of Defense basically scolded her,” he said. “I said, Why am I explaining why this is so important to Congress, and you’re not?’” Why the U.S. needs chip manufacturing The supply chain bottlenecks of the past two years are part of the reason there’s such urgency to create more chip manufacturing capability in the U.S. Unable to get the chips used in manufacturing cars, U.S. automakers such as General Motors idled some North American plants last year and resorted to manufacturing some cars without features that require chips. That’s made it more difficult for U.S. consumers to buy cars, driving the price of used cars up 24% over the course of a year, and slowing national economic growth. Supply chain bottlenecks have motivated big companies to start increasing capacity in the U.S.; Intel itself said last year it would spend $20 billion to build two major factories in Arizona, and in 2020, the global leader in chip manufacturing Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), said it would spend $12 billion to build a semiconductor factory, also in Arizona. Samsung is investing $17 billion in a chip plant in Texas. Read More: Apple Set to Cut iPhone Production Goals Due to Chip Crunch Of course, some of the urgency of having more chip manufacturers in the U.S. is purely political. Locating a chip factory in the United States doesn’t necessarily insure against further supply chain disruptions; Intel’s chips will still be sent to Asia for assembly, packaging, and testing. Chips cross borders dozens of times before they make their way to consumers in phones, computers, and cars, said Dan Hutcheson, vice chair at TechInsights, which follows the semiconductor industry. Three-quarters of the world’s semiconductor manufacturing capability is within the flight path of the Chinese Air Force, Hutcheson said, which could be problematic in an era of growing geopolitical tensions. Intel could bring some packaging, assembly, and testing back to the United States if the CHIPS for America Act is funded, Gelsinger said, which would be beneficial for national security. The sand used to make semiconductors comes from the U.S. South, after all, so it’s not inconceivable that the process of making some chips, from start to finish, could happen domestically. “My objective would be sand to product to services, all on American soil,” he said. So much chip manufacturing ended up in Asia because of the low cost of labor there, in addition to the incentives offered, he said. But now, with increasing automation in chip factories and potential government funding, Intel is able to reshore some of this manufacturing and still be cost-effective. Since there are subsidies for the taking, now is the time to build semiconductor fabs in the U.S., said Stacy Rasgon, senior analyst at Bernstein Research. Subsidies for U.S. manufacturing have bipartisan support, especially in the tech industry. Locating a factory in the political battleground of Ohio could help the legislation gain even more support; on Jan. 14, GOP members of the Ohio congressional delegation asked Congress to fully fund the $52 billion CHIPS for America Act. What the factory means for Ohio Intel’s choice of New Albany for its new facility is a vote of confidence in the Midwest as a manufacturing hub after years of factories decamping from Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana to the U.S. South and overseas. There are 34% fewer manufacturing jobs in Ohio now than there were in 1991; the closure of plants like General Motors’ Lordstown Complex have left whole towns reeling. But some companies have started to move back to Ohio from the coasts. “I truly believe this is our time. This is our time in history,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine told TIME, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and sitting by his home fireplace. The pandemic has helped the state sell its low cost of living and suburban lifestyle, which is coming back into vogue after an era in which tech companies and their employees wanted to be in expensive, coastal cities. Last year, companies including Peloton, First Solar, and Amgen announced plans to establish factories in Ohio. Warren Dillaway—The Star-Beacon/APOhio Gov. Mike DeWine learned that Intel had selected New Albany as the location for its manufacturing mega-site on Christmas Day. The changing nature of manufacturing has helped the state attract new factories. “It used to be assembly line work, now it’s tech work,” Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted told TIME. “It’s a lot more enjoyable kind of manufacturing—clean, tech-oriented, higher-paying. These are the kinds of the manufacturing jobs that are part of the modern economy.” And the past and future of manufacturing in the state is already inextricably tied up in the semiconductor supply chain; last year, Ford cut the production schedule at its Ohio Assembly Plant because of chip shortages. Intel considered 38 different sites “in every major state you can imagine” before choosing New Albany in December, Keyvan Esfarjani, Intel’s senior vice president of manufacturing, supply chains and operations told TIME. DeWine said the state learned that it had won the site on Christmas Day. The state agreed to invest $1 billion in infrastructure improvements, including widening State Route 161, to support the factory and the nearby community. In advance of the Intel factory and other deals, the Ohio General Assembly also expanded its tax incentives, allowing mega projects with more than $1 billion in investment to benefit from job creation tax credits for up to 30 years, rather than the previous 15. Read More: U.S. Taxpayers Bankrolled General Electric. Then It Moved Its Workforce Overseas Gelsinger has spoken of a new mega-fab as “a little city,” which requires a lot of space. The amount of available land in Ohio, in addition to a favorable regulatory environment, were factors in making the decision, Esfarjani told TIME. Although another location offered bigger incentives, Intel chose Ohio because it seemed like the best fit, he said; the company did not want to displace any residents, an increasingly important factor for companies since pushback against a proposed Amazon headquarters in New York City killed the deal. Ohio also seemed willing to move quickly to approve permits and plans, Esfarjani said. “We want to make sure that where we go, the community is going to be happy,” Esfarjani said. “There were states where we were going to go, where we got a sense that people were not going to be happy, so we ruled them out,” he said, though he would not specify which states. Places where potential problems around protected species or land ownership might cause problems were taken off the list. Intel was also drawn to Ohio because of the availability of talent to draw on from local colleges and universities. Making semiconductor chips is a completely different type of work than making cars; much of the work is done by engineers in “bunny suits”—protective clothing that ensures that no dust gets into the microchips. Over the last two years, 60% of Intel’s external hires have had a bachelor’s degree or higher. The company said it will spend $100 million over the next 10 years to establish the Intel Ohio Semiconductor Center for Innovation, a partnership with universities and community colleges to build semiconductor-specific curricula. Ohio State University, with its 10,000 person College of Engineering, will be one partner. In August of 2020, Ohio State named a new president, Kristina M. Johnson, who received bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in engineering from Stanford University and who established partnerships with tech companies like IBM while the head of the State University of New York. Ohio State is in the process of building an Innovation District to establish a health and sciences research space near its West Campus and recently hired a female robotics professor from the Georgia Institute of Technology to be dean of the College of Engineering. Transforming a suburban town The Intel project, the first leading-edge semiconductor fab in the Midwest, will accelerate the transformation of a sleepy rural area outside of Columbus into a diverse city full of tech workers. In recent years, companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon have established data centers in New Albany, a city of 12,000 residents. Much of New Albany today consists of a master-planned community created in the 1990s by Les Wexner, the founder of L Brands—best known for subsidiaries like Victoria Secret—and Ohio developer Jack Kessler. The two wanted to create the type of town that was attractive to companies while still offering an idyllic country lifestyle for residents. New Albany today features white picket fences, Georgian architecture, and walking trails: Drive through and you might mistake it for a Virginia horse farm. The choice of New Albany is a bet that after nearly two years of a global pandemic, Intel’s employees will embrace a suburban environment with reasonable home prices and good schools. (Zillow estimates the typical New Albany home is worth $516,752, about one-third the value of homes in Intel’s home base of Santa Clara, Calif.) The pandemic has hastened a move from urban locations to suburban places with more space. “It’s a place where a new college grad can come with a husband, or wife, or significant other, a kid, and they can build a life,” Esfarjani said. Intel Corporation—Intel CorporationIntel’s Arizona factory, Fab 42, became fully operational in 2020 on the company’s Ocotillo campus in Chandler, Arizona. There is some potential for some pushback from New Albany residents who are already worried that development is fundamentally changing the nature of where they live. “Two years ago, there were cows, now there are houses,” said Andre Vatke, who has lived in New Albany since 1986, about the area around his home. When he moved in, New Albany was essentially a farm town; now it’s known as one of the wealthiest towns in Ohio. Insider named the town America’s No. 1 suburb in 2015 because of the quality of its schools and public parks. Vatke has publicly objected to the tax abatements given to big tech data centers because the projects don’t create a lot of jobs. He consults with small businesses who are seeing costs go up locally but who aren’t offered the same tax incentives as the multinational tech companies, he said. Read More: Senate Overwhelmingly Passes $250 Billion Tech Investment Bill Aimed at Countering China Neighbors of Intel chip factories in other states have raised questions about the environmental impact of fabs, too. In Arizona, residents are also concerned about the amount of water fabs use—millions of gallons a day—in their drought-stricken state. And in Corrales, New Mexico, where Intel has had a factory for decades, residents have complained about air quality issues. “A lot of people have an impression that this is a clean industry—but the chemicals they are using are incredibly dangerous,” said Dennis O’Mara, a member of the Community Environmental Working Group, which advocates for improvements at the New Mexico facility. In the summer, O’Mara and his wife have been overwhelmed by a smell like burnt coffee; once, recently, his wife had difficulty breathing in the fumes. He says that because Intel is categorized as a “minor” source of emissions, creating less than 100 tons per year of pollutants, the company is allowed to hire its own monitoring companies who are not verified by an independent party. He helped create a group, Clean Air for All Now, to advocate for stricter permitting requirements; a Change.org petition requesting that New Mexico require a change to Intel’s air permits has 199 signatures. “Because of how important Intel is to the state’s economy, the 73,000 of us living near this plant have to shoulder the entire risk,” he said. Last year, Intel said it would spend $3.5 billion to enable the New Mexico plant to make advanced semiconductor packaging technologies. Intel said that it has a good neighbor policy that minimizes the impact of its operations on surrounding communities, and that it meets all applicable regulatory and environmental requirements. The New Albany site will be constructed with green building principles, and the company hopes to power the new factories with 100% renewable energy and achieve net positive water use. Inside Intel’s comeback strategy This new facility is part of Intel’s plan to catch up with industry leaders TSMC and Samsung. Though Intel was once at the forefront of semiconductor manufacturing, it has fallen behind in recent years after delays on its 14 nanometer and 10 nanometer chips. Analysts attribute this delay to Intel’s structure; as other leading-edge companies focused on either designing chips and sending them elsewhere to be manufactured, or manufacturing chips for other customers, Intel has continued to try and do both. Courtesy of IntelA rendering of Intel’s planned factory in New Albany, Ohio. CEO Gelsinger, who took the reins of the company almost a year ago, has launched a strategy he calls IDM 2.0 in which Intel will continue to make its own chips, but also establish Intel Foundry Services, which will make chips for other companies. The Ohio site will host Intel Foundry Services and make chips for Intel. Wall Street analysts are skeptical of Gelsinger’s strategy. They say that Intel’s previous attempts to be a foundry have failed, and that it’s fallen too far behind to catch up. Last year, semiconductor industry sales grew 25% while Intel’s sales grew 1%, said Vivek Arya, semiconductor analyst at Bank of America. Read More: Inside the Taiwan Firm That Makes the World’s Tech Run What’s more, analysts say, long-term trends continue to disadvantage Intel. Companies like Apple and Microsoft have begun to replace Intel processors with chips they design themselves. Intel makes the lion’s share of chips used in PCs, but analysts say that PC sales are at a cyclical peak, and that competitors like AMD are wrestling market share from Intel. And Intel doesn’t make chips for the biggest semiconductor market: smartphones. That makes analysts like Arya wonder who Intel’s customers will be as it expands its U.S. fabs, and how it plans to catch up to the technological prowess of TSMC when it is still focusing on both design and manufacturing. “This is not an industry where you just wake up and catch up, “ he said. “It’s like trying to get back to being an Olympic level athlete—it doesn’t happen overnight.” Intel said that subsidies from the U.S. government will help it build more quickly and overtake overseas competitors. It anticipates that increased demand from the automotive industry and from its newly-formed high performance computing business unit will provide more than enough demand. Gelsinger argued that Intel is already catching up, with plans to accelerate the development of new technologies so that it can regain industry leadership by 2025. “It’s going to be unrecognizable” When Intel started manufacturing in Arizona around 1980, Chandler, its hub, was a farm town known for citrus and cotton, with a population of around 24,000. Today, Chandler has around 280,000 residents, nearly a quarter of whom work in high-tech industries. Intel is the city’s biggest employer, with 12,000 workers. Intel has attracted suppliers and partners who have also set up in Chandler, and the influx of high-income residents has led to a bloom of restaurants, shopping, and tax revenue, said Chandler mayor Kevin Hartke. The city’s average household income of $114,000 is 32% higher than that of Arizona. Gelsinger anticipates that New Albany could undergo a similar transition as Intel builds up its presence. Intel hasn’t built a new site from scratch for several decades. But each time it’s done so, the new site has become a magnet for suppliers and talent from around the globe, he said. He wants the New Albany site to be a place where every Ohio State graduate will want to work, but also a place that will attract PhDs and talent from all over. In short, he said, he hopes the tiny town today will soon become the hub of a global manufacturing hotspot more advanced than anything anywhere else, attracting the economic activity that high-tech facilities often do. When asked: will today’s New Albany residents recognize their small-town in what he sees for the future, Gelsinger replied: “New Albany today versus the high-tech mega manufacturing center of the heartland in five years?” he said. “Yea, it’s going to be unrecognizable.”  .....»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 21st, 2022

Babies are increasingly dying of syphilis in the US - but it"s 100% preventable

Babies with syphilis may have deformed bones, damaged brains, and struggle to hear, see, or breathe. A newborn baby rests at the Ana Betancourt de Mora Hospital in Camaguey, Cuba, on June 19, 2015. Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters The number of US babies born with syphilis quadrupled from 2015 to 2019. Babies with syphilis may have deformed bones, damaged brains, and struggle to hear, see, or breathe. Routine testing and penicillin shots for pregnant women could prevent these cases. This story was originally published by ProPublica, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom, in collaboration with NPR News. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.When Mai Yang is looking for a patient, she travels light. She dresses deliberately - not too formal, so she won't be mistaken for a police officer; not too casual, so people will look past her tiny 4-foot-10 stature and youthful face and trust her with sensitive health information. Always, she wears closed-toed shoes, "just in case I need to run."Yang carries a stack of cards issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that show what happens when the Treponema pallidum bacteria invades a patient's body. There's a photo of an angry red sore on a penis. There's one of a tongue, marred by mucus-lined lesions. And there's one of a newborn baby, its belly, torso and thighs dotted in a rash, its mouth open, as if caught midcry.It was because of the prospect of one such baby that Yang found herself walking through a homeless encampment on a blazing July day in Huron, California, an hour's drive southwest of her office at the Fresno County Department of Public Health. She was looking for a pregnant woman named Angelica, whose visit to a community clinic had triggered a report to the health department's sexually transmitted disease program. Angelica had tested positive for syphilis. If she was not treated, her baby could end up like the one in the picture or worse - there was a 40% chance the baby would die.Yang knew, though, that if she helped Angelica get treated with three weekly shots of penicillin at least 30 days before she gave birth, it was likely that the infection would be wiped out and her baby would be born without any symptoms at all. Every case of congenital syphilis, when a baby is born with the disease, is avoidable. Each is considered a "sentinel event," a warning that the public health system is failing.The alarms are now clamoring. In the United States, more than 129,800 syphilis cases were recorded in 2019, double the case count of five years prior. In the same time period, cases of congenital syphilis quadrupled: 1,870 babies were born with the disease; 128 died. Case counts from 2020 are still being finalized, but the CDC has said that reported cases of congenital syphilis have already exceeded the prior year. Black, Hispanic, and Native American babies are disproportionately at risk.There was a time, not too long ago, when CDC officials thought they could eliminate the centuries-old scourge from the United States, for adults and babies. But the effort lost steam and cases soon crept up again. Syphilis is not an outlier. The United States goes through what former CDC director Tom Frieden calls "a deadly cycle of panic and neglect" in which emergencies propel officials to scramble and throw money at a problem - whether that's Ebola, Zika, or COVID-19. Then, as fear ebbs, so does the attention and motivation to finish the task.The last fraction of cases can be the hardest to solve, whether that's eradicating a bug or getting vaccines into arms, yet too often, that's exactly when political attention gets diverted to the next alarm. The result: The hardest to reach and most vulnerable populations are the ones left suffering, after everyone else looks away.Yang first received Angelica's lab report on June 17. The address listed was a P.O. box, and the phone number belonged to her sister, who said Angelica was living in Huron. That was a piece of luck: Huron is tiny; the city spans just 1.6 square miles. On her first visit, a worker at the Alamo Motel said she knew Angelica and directed Yang to a nearby homeless encampment. Angelica wasn't there, so Yang returned a second time, bringing one of the health department nurses who could serve as an interpreter.They made their way to the barren patch of land behind Huron Valley Foods, the local grocery store, where people took shelter in makeshift lean-tos composed of cardboard boxes, scrap wood, and scavenged furniture, draped with sheets that served as ceilings and curtains. Yang stopped outside one of the structures, calling a greeting."Hi, I'm from the health department, I'm looking for Angelica."The nurse echoed her in Spanish.Angelica emerged, squinting in the sunlight. Yang couldn't tell if she was visibly pregnant yet, as her body was obscured by an oversized shirt. The two women were about the same age: Yang 26 and Angelica 27. Yang led her away from the tent, so they could speak privately. Angelica seemed reticent, surprised by the sudden appearance of the two health officers. "You're not in trouble," Yang said, before revealing the results of her blood test.Angelica had never heard of syphilis."Have you been to prenatal care?"Angelica shook her head. The local clinic had referred her to an obstetrician in Hanford, a 30-minute drive away. She had no car. She also mentioned that she didn't intend to raise her baby; her two oldest children lived with her mother, and this one likely would, too.Yang pulled out the CDC cards, showing them to Angelica and asking if she had experienced any of the symptoms illustrated. No, Angelica said, her lips pursed with disgust."Right now you still feel healthy, but this bacteria is still in your body," Yang pressed. "You need to get the infection treated to prevent further health complications to yourself and your baby."The community clinic was just across the street. "Can we walk you over to the clinic and make sure you get seen so we can get this taken care of?"Angelica demurred. She said she hadn't showered for a week and wanted to wash up first. She said she'd go later.Yang tried once more to extract a promise: "What time do you think you'll go?""Today, for sure."The CDC tried and failed to eradicate syphilis - twiceSyphilis is called The Great Imitator: It can look like any number of diseases. In its first stage, the only evidence of infection is a painless sore at the bacteria's point of entry. Weeks later, as the bacteria multiplies, skin rashes bloom on the palms of the hands and bottoms of the feet. Other traits of this stage include fever, headaches, muscle aches, sore throat, and fatigue. These symptoms eventually disappear and the patient progresses into the latent phase, which betrays no external signs. But if left untreated, after a decade or more, syphilis will reemerge in up to 30% of patients, capable of wreaking horror on a wide range of organ systems. Marion Sims, president of the American Medical Association in 1876, called it a "terrible scourge, which begins with lamb-like mildness and ends with lion-like rage that ruthlessly destroys everything in its way."The corkscrew-shaped bacteria can infiltrate the nervous system at any stage of the infection. Yang is haunted by her memory of interviewing a young man whose dementia was so severe that he didn't know why he was in the hospital or how old he was. And regardless of symptoms or stage, the bacteria can penetrate the placenta to infect a fetus. Even in these cases the infection is unpredictable: Many babies are born with normal physical features, but others can have deformed bones or damaged brains, and they can struggle to hear, see, or breathe.From its earliest days, syphilis has been shrouded in stigma. The first recorded outbreak was in the late 15th century, when Charles VIII led the French army to invade Naples. Italian physicians described French soldiers covered with pustules, dying from a sexually transmitted disease. As the affliction spread, Italians called it the French Disease. The French blamed the Neopolitans. It was also called the German, Polish, or Spanish disease, depending on which neighbor one wanted to blame. Even its name bears the taint of divine judgement: It comes from a 16th-century poem that tells of a shepherd, Syphilus, who offended the god Apollo and was punished with a hideous disease.By 1937 in America, when former Surgeon General Thomas Parran wrote the book "Shadow on the Land," he estimated some 680,000 people were under treatment for syphilis; about 60,000 babies were being born annually with congenital syphilis. There was no cure, and the stigma was so strong that public-health officials feared even properly documenting cases.Thanks to Parran's ardent advocacy, Congress in 1938 passed the National Venereal Disease Control Act, which created grants for states to set up clinics and support testing and treatment. Other than a short-lived funding effort during World War I, this was the first coordinated federal push to respond to the disease.Around the same time, the Public Health Service launched an effort to record the natural history of syphilis. Situated in Tuskegee, Alabama, the infamous study recruited 600 black men. By the early 1940s, penicillin became widely available and was found to be a reliable cure, but the treatment was withheld from the study participants. Outrage over the ethical violations would cast a stain across syphilis research for decades to come and fuel generations of mistrust in the medical system among Black Americans that continues to this day. People attend a ceremony near Tuskegee, Alabama, on April 3, 2017, to commemorate the roughly 600 men who were subjects in the Tuskegee syphilis study. Jay Reeves/AP Photo With the introduction of penicillin, cases began to plummet. Twice, the CDC has announced efforts to wipe out the disease - once in the 1960s and again in 1999.In the latest effort, the CDC announced that the United States had "a unique opportunity to eliminate syphilis within its borders," thanks to historically low rates, with 80% of counties reporting zero cases. The concentration of cases in the South "identifies communities in which there is a fundamental failure of public health capacity," the agency noted, adding that elimination - which it defined as fewer than 1,000 cases a year - would "decrease one of our most glaring racial disparities in health."Two years after the campaign began, cases started climbing, first among gay men and, later, heterosexuals. Cases in women started accelerating in 2013, followed shortly by increasing numbers of babies born with syphilis. The reasons for failure are complex: People relaxed safer sex practices after the advent of potent HIV combination therapies, increased methamphetamine use drove riskier behavior, and an explosion of online dating made it hard to track and test sexual partners, according to Ina Park, medical director of the California Prevention Training Center at the University of California San Francisco.But federal and state public-health efforts were hamstrung from the get-go. In 1999, the CDC said it would need about $35 million to $39 million in new federal funds annually for at least five years to eliminate syphilis. The agency got less than half of what it asked for, according to Jo Valentine, former program coordinator of the CDC's Syphilis Elimination Effort. As cases rose, the CDC modified its goals in 2006 from 0.4 primary and secondary syphilis cases per 100,000 in population to 2.2 cases per 100,000. By 2013, as elimination seemed less and less viable, the CDC changed its focus to ending congenital syphilis only.Since then, funding has remained anemic. From 2015 to 2020, the CDC's budget for preventing sexually transmitted infections grew by 2.2%. Taking inflation into account, that's a 7.4% reduction in purchasing power. In the same period, cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia - the three STDs that have federally funded control programs - increased by nearly 30%."We have a long history of nearly eradicating something, then changing our attention, and seeing a resurgence in numbers," David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, said. "We have more congenital syphilis cases today in America than we ever had pediatric AIDS at the height of the AIDS epidemic. It's heartbreaking."Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs at the National Association of County and City Health Officials, warns that the US should not be surprised to see case counts continue to climb."The bugs don't go away," she said. "They're just waiting for the next opportunity, when you're not paying attention."Syphilis has fewer poster children than HIV or cancerYang waited until the end of the day, then called the clinic to see if Angelica had gone for her shot. She had not. Yang would have to block off another half day to visit Huron again, but she had three dozen other cases to deal with.States in the South and West have seen the highest syphilis rates in recent years. In 2017, 64 babies in Fresno County were born with syphilis at a rate of 440 babies per 100,000 live births - about 19 times the national rate. While the county had managed to lower case counts in the two years that followed, the pandemic threatened to unravel that progress, forcing STD staffers to do COVID-19 contact tracing, pausing field visits to find infected people, and scaring patients from seeking care. Yang's colleague handled three cases of stillbirth in 2020; in each, the woman was never diagnosed with syphilis because she feared catching the coronavirus and skipped prenatal care.Yang, whose caseload peaked at 70 during a COVID-19 surge, knew she would not be able handle them all as thoroughly as she'd like to."When I was being mentored by another investigator, he said: 'You're not a superhero. You can't save everybody,'" she said.She prioritizes men who have sex with men, because there's a higher prevalence of syphilis in that population, and pregnant people, because of the horrific consequences for babies.The job of a disease intervention specialist isn't for everyone: It means meeting patients whenever and wherever they are available - in the mop closet of a bus station, in a quiet parking lot - to inform them about the disease, to extract names of sex partners, and to encourage treatment. Patients are often reluctant to talk. They can get belligerent, upset that "the government" has their personal information, or shattered at the thought that a partner is likely cheating on them. Salaries typically start in the low $40,000s.Jena Adams, Yang's supervisor, has eight investigators working on HIV and syphilis. In the middle of 2020, she lost two and replaced them only recently."It's been exhausting," Adams said.She has only one specialist who is trained to take blood samples in the field, crucial for guaranteeing that the partners of those who test positive for syphilis also get tested. Adams wants to get phlebotomy training for the rest of her staff, but it's $2,000 per person. The department also doesn't have anyone who can administer penicillin injections in the field; that would have been key when Yang met Angelica. For a while, a nurse who worked in the tuberculosis program would ride along to give penicillin shots on a volunteer basis. Then he, too, left the health department.Much of the resources in public health trickle down from the CDC, which distributes money to states, which then parcel it out to counties. The CDC gets its budget from Congress, which tells the agency, by line item, exactly how much money it can spend to fight a disease or virus, in an uncommonly specific manner not seen in many other agencies. The decisions are often politically driven and can be detached from actual health needs.When the House and Senate appropriations committees meet to decide how much the CDC will get for each line item, they are barraged by lobbyists for individual disease interests. Stephanie Arnold Pang, senior director of policy and government relations at the National Coalition of STD Directors, can pick out the groups by sight: breast cancer wears pink, Alzheimer's goes in purple, multiple sclerosis comes in orange, HIV in red. STD prevention advocates, like herself, don a green ribbon, but they're far outnumbered.And unlike diseases that might already be familiar to lawmakers, or have patient and family spokespeople who can tell their own powerful stories, syphilis doesn't have many willing poster children. Breast Cancer survivors hold up a check for the amount raised at The Congressional Womens Softball Game at Watkins Recreation Center in Capitol Hill on June 20, 2018. Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call "Congressmen don't wake up one day and say, 'Oh hey, there's congenital syphilis in my jurisdiction.' You have to raise awareness," Arnold Pang said. It can be hard jockeying for a meeting. "Some offices might say, 'I don't have time for you because we've just seen HIV.' ... Sometimes, it feels like you're talking into a void."The consequences of the political nature of public-health funding have become more obvious during the coronavirus pandemic. The 2014 Ebola epidemic was seen as a "global wakeup call" that the world wasn't prepared for a major pandemic, yet in 2018, the CDC scaled back its epidemic prevention work as money ran out."If you've got to choose between Alzheimer's research and stopping an outbreak that may not happen? Stopping an outbreak that might not happen doesn't do well," Frieden, the former CDC director, said. "The CDC needs to have more money and more flexible money. Otherwise, we're going to be in this situation long term."In May 2021, President Joe Biden's administration announced it would set aside $7.4 billion over the next five years to hire and train public health workers, including $1.1 billion for more disease intervention specialists like Yang. Public health officials are thrilled to have the chance to expand their workforce, but some worry the time horizon may be too short."We've seen this movie before, right?" Frieden said. "Everyone gets concerned when there's an outbreak, and when that outbreak stops, the headlines stop, and an economic downturn happens, the budget gets cut."Fresno's STD clinic was shuttered in 2010 amid the Great Recession. Many others have vanished since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.Health leaders thought "by magically beefing up the primary care system, that we would do a better job of catching STIs and treating them," Harvey, the executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, said.That hasn't worked out; people want access to anonymous services, and primary care doctors often don't have STDs top of mind. The coalition is lobbying Congress for funding to support STD clinical services, proposing a three-year demonstration project funded at $600 million.It's one of Adams' dreams to see Fresno's STD clinic restored as it was."You could come in for an HIV test and get other STDs checked," she said. "And if a patient is positive, you can give a first injection on the spot."'I've seen people's families ripped apart and I've seen beautiful babies die'On August 12, Yang set out for Huron again, speeding past groves of almond trees and fields of grapes in the department's white Chevy Cruze. She brought along a colleague, Jorge Sevilla, who had recently transferred to the STD program from COVID-19 contact tracing. Yang was anxious to find Angelica again."She's probably in her second trimester now," she said.They found her outside of a pale yellow house a few blocks from the homeless encampment; the owner was letting her stay in a shed tucked in the corner of the dirt yard. This time, it was evident that she was pregnant. Yang noted that Angelica was wearing a wig; hair loss is a symptom of syphilis."Do you remember me?" Yang asked.Angelica nodded. She didn't seem surprised to see Yang again. (I came along, and Sevilla explained who I was and that I was writing about syphilis and the people affected by it. Angelica signed a release for me to report about her case, and she said she had no problem with me writing about her or even using her full name. ProPublica chose to only print her first name.)"How are you doing? How's the baby?""Bien.""So the last time we talked, we were going to have you go to United Healthcare Center to get treatment. Have you gone since?"Angelica shook her head."We brought some gift cards..." Sevilla started in Spanish. The department uses them as incentives for completing injections. But Angelica was already shaking her head. The nearest Walmart was the next town over.Yang turned to her partner. "Tell her: So the reason why we're coming out here again is because we really need her to go in for treatment. [...] We really are concerned for the baby's health especially since she's had the infection for quite a while."Angelica listened while Sevilla interpreted, her eyes on the ground. Then she looked up. "Orita?" she asked. Right now?"I'll walk with you," Yang offered. Angelica shook her head."She said she wants to shower first before she goes over there," Sevilla said.Yang made a face. "She said that to me last time." Yang offered to wait, but Angelica didn't want the health officers to linger by the house. She said she would meet them by the clinic in 15 minutes.Yang was reluctant to let her go but again had no other option. She and Sevilla drove to the clinic, then stood on the corner of the parking lot, staring down the road.Talk to the pediatricians, obstetricians, and families on the front lines of the congenital syphilis surge and it becomes clear why Yang and others are trying so desperately to prevent cases. J.B. Cantey, associate professor in pediatrics at UT Health San Antonio, remembers a baby girl born at 25 weeks gestation who weighed a pound and a half. Syphilis had spread through her bones and lungs. She spent five months in the neonatal intensive care unit, breathing through a ventilator, and was still eating through a tube when she was discharged.Then, there are the miscarriages, the stillbirths, and the inconsolable parents. Irene Stafford, an associate professor and maternal-fetal medicine specialist at UT Health in Houston, cannot forget a patient who came in at 36 weeks for a routine checkup, pregnant with her first child. Stafford realized that there was no heartbeat."She could see on my face that something was really wrong," Stafford recalled. She had to let the patient know that syphilis had killed her baby."She was hysterical, just bawling," Stafford said. "I've seen people's families ripped apart and I've seen beautiful babies die." Fewer than 10% of patients who experience a stillbirth are tested for syphilis, suggesting that cases are underdiagnosed.A Texas grandmother named Solidad Odunuga offers a glimpse into what the future could hold for Angelica's mother, who may wind up raising her baby.In February of last year, Odunuga got a call from the Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Houston. A nurse told her that her daughter was about to give birth and that child protective services had been called. Odunuga had lost contact with her daughter, who struggled with homelessness and substance abuse. She arrived in time to see her grandson delivered, premature at 30 weeks old, weighing 2.7 pounds. He tested positive for syphilis.When a child protective worker asked Odunuga to take custody of the infant, she felt a wave of dread."I was in denial," she recalled. "I did not plan to be a mom again." The baby's medical problems were daunting: "Global developmental delays [...] concerns for visual impairments [...] high risk of cerebral palsy," read a note from the doctor at the time.Still, Odunuga visited her grandson every day for three months, driving to the NICU from her job at the University of Houston. "I'd put him in my shirt to keep him warm and hold him there." She fell in love. She named him Emmanuel.Once Emmanuel was discharged, Odunuga realized she had no choice but to quit her job. While Medicaid covered the costs of Emmanuel's treatment, it was on her to care for him. From infancy, Emmanuel's life has been a whirlwind of constant therapy. Today, at 20 months old, Odunuga brings him to physical, occupational, speech, and developmental therapy, each a different appointment on a different day of the week.Emmanuel has thrived beyond what his doctors predicted, toddling so fast that Odunuga can't look away for a minute and beaming as he waves his favorite toy phone. Yet he still suffers from gagging issues, which means Odunuga can't feed him any solid foods. Liquid gets into his lungs when he aspirates; it has led to pneumonia three times. Emmanuel has a special stroller that helps keep his head in a position that won't aggravate his persistent reflux, but Odunuga said she still has to pull over on the side of the road sometimes when she hears him projectile vomiting from the backseat.The days are endless. Once she puts Emmanuel to bed, Odunuga starts planning the next day's appointments."I've had to cry alone, scream out alone," she said. "Sometimes I wake up and think, 'Is this real?' And then I hear him in the next room."There's no vaccine for syphilis A health worker tests a migrant from Haiti for HIV and syphilis to in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, on September 25, 2021. Daniel Becerril/Reuters Putting aside the challenge of eliminating syphilis entirely, everyone agrees it's both doable and necessary to prevent newborn cases."There was a crisis in perinatal HIV almost 30 years ago and people stood up and said this is not OK - it's not acceptable for babies to be born in that condition. [...We] brought it down from 1,700 babies born each year with perinatal HIV to less than 40 per year today," Virginia Bowen, an epidemiologist at the CDC, said. "Now here we are with a slightly different condition. We can also stand up and say, 'This is not acceptable.'" Belarus, Bermuda, Cuba, Malaysia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka are among countries recognized by the World Health Organization for eliminating congenital syphilis.Success starts with filling gaps across the health care system.For almost a century, public health experts have advocated for testing pregnant patients more than once for syphilis in order to catch the infection. But policies nationwide still don't reflect this best practice. Six states have no prenatal screening requirement at all. Even in states that require three tests, public-health officials say that many physicians aren't aware of the requirements. Stafford, the maternal-fetal medicine specialist in Houston, says she's tired of hearing her own peers in medicine tell her, "Oh, syphilis is a problem?"It costs public health departments less than 25 cents a dose to buy penicillin, but for a private practice, it's more than $1,000, according to Park of the University of California San Francisco."There's no incentive for a private physician to stock a dose that could expire before it's used, so they often don't have it," she said. "So a woman comes in, they say, 'We'll send you to the emergency department or health department to get it,' then [the patients] don't show up."A vaccine would be invaluable for preventing spread among people at high risk for reinfection. But there is none. Scientists only recently figured out how to grow the bacteria in the lab, prompting grants from the National Institutes of Health to fund research into a vaccine. Justin Radolf, a researcher at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, said he hopes his team will have a vaccine candidate by the end of its five-year grant. But it'll likely take years more to find a manufacturer and run human trials.Public-health agencies also need to recognize that many of the hurdles to getting pregnant people treated involve access to care, economic stability, safe housing, and transportation. In Fresno, Adams has been working on ways her department can collaborate with mental health services. Recently, one of her disease intervention specialists managed to get a pregnant woman treated with penicillin shots and, at the patient's request, connected her with an addiction treatment center.Gaining a patient's cooperation means seeing them as complex humans instead of just a case to solve."There may be past traumas with the healthcare system," Cynthia Deverson, project manager of the Houston Fetal Infant Morbidity Review, said. "There's the fear of being discovered if she's doing something illegal to survive. [...] She may need to be in a certain place at a certain time so she can get something to eat, or maybe it's the only time of the day that's safe for her to sleep. They're not going to tell you that. Yes, they understand there's a problem, but it's not an immediate threat, maybe they don't feel bad yet, so obviously this is not urgent.""What helps to gain trust is consistency," she added. "Literally, it's seeing that [disease specialist] constantly, daily. [...] The woman can see that you're not going to harm her, you're saying, 'I'm here at this time if you need me.'"Yang stood outside the clinic, waiting for Angelica to show up, baking in the 90-degree heat. Her feelings ranged from irritation - Why didn't she just go? I'd have more energy for other cases - to an appreciation for the parts of Angelica's story that she didn't know - She's in survival mode. I need to be more patient.Fifteen minutes ticked by, then 20."OK," Yang announced. "We're going back."She asked Sevilla if he would be OK if they drove Angelica to the clinic; they technically weren't supposed to because of coronavirus precautions, but Yang wasn't sure she could convince Angelica to walk. Sevilla gave her the thumbs up.When they pulled up, they saw Angelica sitting in the backyard, chatting with a friend. She now wore a fresh T-shirt and had shoes on her feet. Angelica sat silently in the back seat as Yang drove to the clinic. A few minutes later, they pulled up to the parking lot.Finally, Yang thought. We got her here.The clinic was packed with people waiting for COVID-19 tests and vaccinations. A worker there had previously told Yang that a walk-in would be fine, but a receptionist now said they were too busy to treat Angelica. She would have to return.Yang felt a surge of frustration, sensing that her hard-fought opportunity was slipping away. She tried to talk to the nurse supervisor, but he wasn't available. She tried to leave the gift cards at the office to reward Angelica if she came, but the receptionist said she couldn't hold them. While Yang negotiated, Sevilla sat with Angelica in the car, waiting.Finally, Yang accepted this was yet another thing she couldn't control.She drove Angelica back to the yellow house. As they arrived, she tried once more to impress on her just how important it was to get treated, asking Sevilla to interpret. "We don't want it to get any more serious, because she can go blind, she could go deaf, she could lose her baby."Angelica already had the door halfway open."So on a scale from one to 10, how important is this to get treated?" Yang asked."Ten," Angelica said. Yang reminded her of the appointment that afternoon. Then Angelica stepped out and returned to the dusty yard.Yang lingered for a moment, watching Angelica go. Then she turned the car back onto the highway and set off toward Fresno, knowing, already, that she'd be back.Postscript: A reporter visited Huron twice more in the months that followed, including once independently to try to interview Angelica, but she wasn't in town. Yang has visited Huron twice more as well - six times in total thus far. In October, a couple of men at the yellow house said Angelica was still in town, still pregnant. Yang and Sevilla spent an hour driving around, talking to residents, hoping to catch Angelica. But she was nowhere to be found.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 2nd, 2021

46 work-appropriate gifts for your boss that"ll make you stand out from the team

From desk accessories and food deliveries to adult coloring books, these gifts will make your boss feel appreciated. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. If you're looking for great work-appropriate gifts, we've listed dozens of good work gift options below, from high-quality olive oil to home office upgrades. Thomas Northcut/Getty Images Show a great boss your appreciation with a thoughtful (but office-friendly) gift. Below, we rounded up some of our favorite work-appropriate gifts, from tech to coloring books. Looking for more gifts from Insider Reviews? Shop gift ideas for everyone in your life here. Whether virtually or in person, you likely spend the majority of your day with your coworkers. If you like them enough, you might even plan on getting them a gift as a thank you for all the good times in and out of the office. Giving a gift to a great boss, someone who makes a big difference in how you approach daily work activities and helps you grow professionally can feel a little trickier. Since they're your manager, it's important that your gift maintains professionalism - but still gets the message across that you appreciate their hard work. Below, we've rounded up 46 great gifts for your boss, from useful desk accessories to beautiful notebooks.The 46 best affordable, work-appropriate gifts for your boss:This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Crowd Cow. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.* A three-month subscription that delivers the best teas or coffees from around the world to their door Atlas Tea Club Atlas Tea Club, Three-Month Subscription, from $60, available at Atlas Tea ClubAtlas Coffee Club, Three-Month Subscription, from $60, available at Atlas Coffee ClubThis subscription sends them delicious, unique single-origin teas or coffees from the best regions in the world for three months. It'll make each day just a little more pleasant. The best socks they'll ever wear Bombas Women's Solids Ankle Sock 4-Pack, from $47.50, available at BombasMen's Solids Ankle 4-Pack, from $47.50, available at BombasBombas makes the best socks in our closets. We've been vocal supporters of the brand for years thanks to its durability, comfort, and superior materials.Another part of Bombas' appeal is that the company donates a specifically designed pair of socks to a homeless shelter for every pair purchased. If you're not sold on those, we also like these $20 tube socks from the Parks Project — which helps fund projects in national parks.  A handmade, plantable card Etsy Plantable Seed Cards With Envelopes, $20, available at EtsySometimes the most thoughtful and appropriate gift is a handwritten card that they know you didn't just pick up in a rush. These beautiful handmade cards on Etsy support a small business and are made of seed paper, so they can plant their card and watch wildflowers grow.If you want to add something extra to show your appreciation, a Starbucks gift card is as safe as it gets.  A towel designed like their favorite city or hometown West Elm Claudia Pearson City Tea Towels, $20, available at West ElmIf they're a big fan of their current home or the town they grew up in, you can pay homage to that aspect of them with a cool, functional, and sentimental tea towel illustrated with city maps.  A small plant or bouquet for their desk The Sill Calathea Vittata, $43, available at The SillEarth & Sky Small Bouquet, $39, available at The Sill  If they've expressed an appreciation for greenery, a small plant for their workspace could help brighten a bit of each day. (Note: If they have pets, you may want to steer towards pet-friendly options).If they're less into caring for plants, The Sill also carries beautiful, unique bouquets.  A beautiful frame for their desk Framebridge The Little Gift, available at Framebridge, from $45Whether it adorns their desk in the office or their WFH station, a small frame filled with an image of their favorite memory, place, people, or pets is always appreciated. If you'd rather let them personalize it — and choose their own photo — go with a gift card. A comfortable travel-sized pillow Casper Nap Pillow, $17.50, available at CasperNot that we're encouraging sleeping on the job, but this mini pillow does make spontaneous naps very tempting. It's the smaller but equally comfortable and supportive version of one of our favorite pillows and even has its own pillowcase and travel bag.  A non-pretentious field guide to good wine Amazon The New Wine Rules: A Genuinely Helpful Guide to Everything You Need to Know, available on Amazon, $14.99If your boss enjoys the finer things (like a nice glass of wine) they'll probably like this book. In lieu of complicated or stuffy tips, "The New Wine Rules" by Jon Bonné is full of beautiful illustrations and useful, digestible tips — like a wine's expensive price tag not necessarily being indicative of its quality. Trendy olive oil that elevates any meal Brightland Alive Olive Oil, $37, available at BrightlandIf they spend a lot of time in the kitchen, they probably already know the merits of high-quality olive oil. A drizzle of Alive from Brightland adds a vibrant, zesty flavor to any dish. Plus, the beautiful bottle will look great on display in their kitchen. A relaxing adult coloring book Amazon The Art of Mandala, $4.99, available at AmazonStudies focused on the benefits of adult coloring books often reveal mandalas are the most effective designs for relaxation and induction of a meditative state. Their complex geometric patterns can be traced back to both ancient Buddhist and Hindu traditions.This affordable book contains 50 mandalas that vary in complexity and detail, so they can slowly work their way up to the most challenging patterns or work on a simple design when time is limited.  A fun desk toy Speks Speks Magnet Balls, $29.95, available at SpeksThe makers of our favorite magnetic desk toy have a new way to reduce stress and keep your boss entertained. These tiny magnetic balls make for a good mental break as well as help us stay concentrate in meetings.  A virtual helper Walmart Google Nest Mini, from $39, available at WalmartThe Google Nest Mini offers a compact, affordable smart speaker with Google Assistant built-in. They'll love being able to dim lights, control the volume on their TV, check the weather, and more, all with just the sound of their voice. Read our full review of the Google nest Mini here.This option is best for people who prefer Google's tech ecosystem. You may also want to consider the Amazon Echo Dot for Amazon users. A debut cookbook from a Michelin-starred chef Amazon "My Korea" by Hooni Kim, $22.49, at AmazonMichelin-starred chef Hooni Kim's debut cookbook is a crash course in the essentials of Korean cuisine. The book's tagline of "traditional flavors, modern recipes" is exactly what you should expect — from its take on Dolsot Bibimbap to Budae Jjigae to Hanjan's Spicy Rice Cakes.  A personalized video message from their favorite celebrity Cameo/Facebook Cameo video, from $1, available on CameoIf your workplace is less formal, you could get them a personalized message from their favorite celebrity. Whether they love a certain musician, reality TV star, comedian, or actor in a show you've both bonded over, there's a good chance you can find them on Cameo. The price will depend on the star, but there are plenty of options. A desk-friendly succulent garden The Sill/Facebook Hoya Heart Plant, $32, available at The SillThis heart-shaped succulent provides the perfect touch of greenery to any space. The miniature plant is pet-friendly and thrives in bright direct light.  Comfortable house slippers Everlane The ReNew Slipper, $65, available at EverlaneMost of us are spending a lot more time at home these days. And it's more enjoyable to do that when you're wearing some of the most comfortable slippers on the planet. We are big fans of the ReNew Slippers from Everlane — and they're relatively inexpensive. A face mask they can work out in Under Armour UA Sportmask, $30, available at Under ArmourUnder Armour's Sportmask was designed with athletes in mind, as reflected in its breathability, water resistance, and UPF 50+ sun protection. Thanks to the Sportsmask, they won't have to sacrifice their workout routine or their comfort. The best pens for their office Amazon Muji Gel Ink Ball Point Pens, $5.98, available at AmazonMuji's fine 0.38mm tip pen is a cult favorite — including among our teammates. According to the company, the water-based ink enables smooth writing, minimal bleeding, and a mechanism that helps keep the ink from drying out. If they write handwritten notes for work, they may have an outsized appreciation for this small but impactful upgrade. They're sold out on Muji, but you can still find them on Amazon. A set of notebooks with a bullet journaling system Amazon Word. 3 Pack Lined Pocket Notebooks, $12.99, available at AmazonThese small books are the perfect size for jotting down quick notes and to-do lists. Each page is printed with circles to help them set up an efficient, organized bullet journal.  A custom book embosser Etsy Custom Stamp, from $15, available at EtsyThis unique, thoughtful gift embosses books with "from the library of [their name]" by pressing down on it like a hole-puncher — it's the kind of thing most people would never buy themselves but will genuinely cherish if they receive it as a gift. They can use it on books as well as envelopes.  Three months of great hardcover books delivered to their door Book of the Month A Book of the Month subscription, from $49.99, available at Book of the MonthBook of the Month has been around for more than 90 years — and it's credited with hand-selecting and helping popularize books that range from Ernest Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises" to J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye." With your gift, your boss will get to choose between five new hardcover options the book club suggests every month. Their favorite food from across the US Goldbelly A meal from Goldbelly, prices varyNo matter where they've spent the year, you can send them their favorite foods from across the US by using Goldbelly — the company will deliver everything from Junior's cheesecake to Lou Malnati pizza to their doorstep. Or, give them a gift card so they can pick out a treat for themselves. A kit built for the work-from-home lifestyle Macy's Pinch Provisions Work From Home Survival Kit, $20, available at Bloomingdale'sIf they're getting tired of their office being in their living room, they'll appreciate this kit that takes a bit of the strain out of working from home. A conference call bingo card, desk yoga guide, and fidget cube are just a few of the quirky (yet useful) items they'll find in this set. A desk sign with a hint of humor Uncommon Goods Desk Name Plates, from $14.99, available at EtsyIf you and your boss have a humorous rapport going, they could get a kick out of this witty take on the everyday office signage. Plus, the sleek wooden and gold design let the sign speak for itself without appearing as overly kitschy.  A healthy snack subscription Love With Food/Instagram Gift a Love With Food subscription, from $7.99/monthLove with Food delivers organic, all-natural, or gluten-free snacks that serial snackers won't feel guilty about eating. The better-for-you chips, candy, and bars come from new and trending food brands, so they'll always be excited to fuel their work day.  A leather business card holder Leatherology Business Card Case, $45, available at LeatherologyFirst impressions matter, which is why they should be pulling out business cards from a handsome leather case. It has a no-fuss, invisible magnetic closure and can hold up to 20 cards. Choose from pebbled or smooth leathers in a variety of colors, or upgrade to premium leather. You can also add a monogram for an additional $10.  A soft throw to fight freezing office temperatures Amazon Eddie Bauer Sherpa Throw, $26.24 available at Kohl'sOwners of this large, cozy throw only have good things to say about it. It's plush and warm, with one side made of micro-fleece and the other made of sherpa fleece. A gift card to a popular women's workwear shop MM.LaFleur Gift Card, from $50, available at MM.LaFleurPopular women's workwear brand MM.LaFleur makes excellent pants and blazers that are definitely an investment, but totally worth the price. Its Bento Box contains these stylish and comfortable wardrobe staples to take the headache out of getting dressed in the morning.  A phone dock that also holds flowers UncommonGoods Bedside Smartphone Vase, $32, available at Uncommon GoodsIt's a pretty vase that pulls double-duty, holding both the fresh bouquet that brightens their day and the electronics that keeps them productive. There's a groove at the bottom of the stand to keep unsightly charging cords out of the way, too.  A lightweight portable keyboard Best Buy Logitech K480 Bluetooth Multidevice Keyboard, $34.99, available at Best BuyWith a slim Bluetooth keyboard, your boss can leave the laptop at home and still get work done while traveling. We like this one because it's quiet and comfortable to type on.  Their new favorite way to make delicious cold brew Blue Bottle Hario Cold Brew Bottle, $35, available at Blue BottleIf there's anything that can power them through a long workday, it's cold brew. Just combine water and ground coffee (not included), and stick the bottle in the fridge for a refreshing caffeinated treat.  A box of Korean sheet masks Facetory/Instagram Seven Lux 1 Month Gift Subscription, $19.90, available at FaceToryThe Korean sheet masks in this box are sure to bring some much-needed relief to any stressed-out boss. The brands, which often use out-of-the-ordinary ingredients, are usually difficult to find outside of Korea, but FaceTory makes them both accessible and affordable.  A delicious and unique food gift Harry & David/Instagram Make-Your-Own Four Preserve and Butter Sampler, $31.99, available at Harry & DavidMix and match jars of fig preserves, triple berry preserves, apple butter, pumpkin butter, and more to create a sweet breakfast starter kit. The size is also perfect for their desk if they ever want a small and sweet afternoon pick-me-up.  A key cable they can bring anywhere Amazon Native Union Key Cable, from $29.99, available at AmazonThis portable cable charges up Apple devices quickly and claims to be six times stronger than the standard lightning cable, boasting a 10,000-bend lifespan. The knotted cable also looks great and makes it easy to fish out the charger from their bag.  A versatile toiletry bag to bring on their travels Dagne Dover Small Hunter Toiletry Bag, $40, available at Dagne DoverDagne Dover's durable and quick-drying neoprene is most notably featured in the brand's popular backpacks and gym bags, but it's also well-suited for this small bag that organizes your boss's life on the go. It includes a removable air mesh pouch and is available in a range of dusky colors and camo patterns.  A durable suitcase Away The Mini, from $45, available at AwayAway's highly popular mini versions of its internet-famous suitcase are back. The light and stylish polycarbonate accessory can store and protect your boss' essentials like jewelry and accessories — and it's nowhere near as expensive as a real suitcase.  A beautiful vase West Elm Barro Vases, available at West Elm, from $36A vase is a pretty foolproof gift — it's just as good for the recently engaged (or recently promoted) person as it is for someone who would always prefer a practical gift over a knick-knack.And if you're looking for something more minimalist, we recommend this version.  Enjoyable, sustainable seafood and meat Crowd Cow Check out Crowd Cow's gift bundlesCrowd Cow specializes in environmentally conscious seafood and meat that doesn't sacrifice quality, all the way down to its 100% carbon-neutral packaging. If you're not sure which gift bundle is best based on your boss' dietary preferences, stocking stuffers like jerky and rubs also make great choices.*Sponsored by Crowd Cow Desk cable clips that keep cords neat and organized Amazon Shintop 6-Piece Cable Clips Set, $4.99, available on AmazonThis small but practical gift will sort out their jumble of cords for good. If you're worried that the set doesn't look significant enough, you can pair a few of these cable clips with a nice card and some candy.  An insulated tumbler Amazon Hydro Flask 32-Ounce Travel Tumbler Cup, $34.95, available at Hydro FlaskThe ergonomic comfort of a classic tall cup plus Hydro Flask's signature double-wall vacuum insulation makes this a coffee or tea vessel they'll always keep on hand. It keeps their beverage hot for up to six hours and includes a press-in lid to prevent spills.  A luxurious candle Otherland Otherland Candles, $36, available at OtherlandWith its beautiful packaging, unique scents, and special matchbox messages, Otherland turns the otherwise ordinary candle into a cherished gift. Take advantage of its limited-edition scents while they last, or find a suitable match in its diverse Core Collection.  A way to celebrate the end of Q1 Harry & David Moose Munch Premium Popcorn Classic Tin, $44.99, available at Harry & DavidSend them this assortment of sweet and savory popcorn to get the new quarter started. This particular edition contains four decadent flavors of Moose Munch: classic caramel, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate s'mores.  A decorative trinket tray Bloomingdale's Jonathan Adler Hollywood Tray, $58, available at Bloomingdale'sA sturdy and stylish stoneware tray from Jonathan Adler comes in handy for holding jewelry, accessories, and stray trinkets.  A protective cover for their AirPods case Amazon PodSkinz AirPods Case Protective Silicone Cover, $4.95, available at AmazonApple AirPods: incredibly convenient, but also incredibly easy to lose and scratch up. A silicone cover is a cheap and attractive way to protect the case protecting their beloved earbuds.  The newest smart home device Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen), $34.99, available at TargetAmazon's newest version of its bestselling smart speaker has an improved sound and look. Whether they want to coordinate a smooth-sailing smart home experience or enjoy music out loud, the Echo Dot can keep up.  A reusable utensil kit that helps them cut down on waste United by Blue Utensil Kit, $24, available at United by BlueWhen they leave the office to grab lunch (or if they're into camping and hiking), they can use these stainless steel utensils instead of plastic or paper options. It folds up conveniently so it can go with them anywhere.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 28th, 2021

Shadow Inflation: Shipping Costs Are Up Way More Than You Think

Shadow Inflation: Shipping Costs Are Up Way More Than You Think By Greg Miller of FreightWaves, Name something that costs far more than it did before the pandemic that simultaneously gives you far less value for your money than it used to. Of all the goods and services in the world, it’s hard to find a better pick than ocean container shipping. As rates have skyrocketed, delivery reliability has collapsed amid historic port congestion. Ocean cargo shippers are paying more than they ever have before for the worst service they’ve ever experienced. The true COVID-era inflation rate for ocean shipping, when adjusted upward to account for lower quality, is much higher than the rise in freight rates. Rates spike, quality plummets For businesses that rely on imports and exports, ocean shipping is a necessity, not a luxury, so pricing rises if demand exceeds supply regardless of how bad the service is. U.K.-based consultancy Drewry recently upped its forecast and now predicts that global container rates will increase by an average 126% this year versus 2020, including both spot and contract rates across all trade lanes. Norway-based data provider Xeneta sees most long-term contract rates in the Asia-West Coast route averaging $4,000-$5,000 per forty-foot equivalent unit, double rates of $2,000-$2,500 per FEU at this time last year. Spot rates have risen much more than that, both in dollar and percentage terms. The Freightos Baltic Daily Index currently assesses the Asia-West Coast spot rate (including premium charges) at $17,377 per FEU, 4.5 times the spot rate a year ago. Daily assessment in $ per FEU. Data: Freightos Baltic Daily Index. Chart: FreightWaves SONAR (To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.) Service metrics have sunk as rates have risen. Denmark-based consultancy Sea-Intelligence reported that global carrier schedule reliability fell to 33.6% in August, an all-time low. In August 2019, pre-COVID, reliability was more than double that. Sea-Intelligence calculated that the global delays for late vessels was 7.57 days, almost double the number of days late in August 2019. Charts: Sea-Intelligence. Data sources: Sea-Intelligence, GLP report issue 121 U.S.-based supply chain visibility platform Project44 highlighted the diverging paths of pricing and quality by contrasting its data on average days delayed with Xeneta’s short-term rate data. Between August 2020 and this August, project44 found that the monthly median of days delayed on voyages from Yantian, China, to Los Angeles increased 425%, from 2.46 days to 12.93. Over the same period, average short-term rates jumped 102%. Chart: p44. Data sources: p44 and Xeneta Shadow inflation Neil Irwin of The New York Times recently wrote about “shadow inflation” — when you pay the same as before for something that’s not as good as it used to be, so you’re effectively paying more. A pre-COVID example of shadow inflation: the infamous Lay’s potato chip incident of 2014. Lay’s intentionally included about five chips less per bag, lowering content from 10 ounces to 9.5, yet still charged $4.29 per bag, meaning customers were paying (and Frito-Lay was making) 5.3% more per ounce of chips. The opposite — and until COVID, far more common — scenario is when product quality rises faster than pricing, decreasing effective inflation, as in the case of computers and other tech products. This downward effect on inflation is incorporated into the Consumer Price Index (CPI) via so-called hedonic adjustments. As recounted by Irwin and Full Stack Economics author Alan Cole, COVID flipped hedonic adjustments in the other direction, toward lower quality per dollar paid, the equivalent of inflation. Pointing to restaurants and hotels, Irwin wrote, “Many types of businesses facing supply disruptions and labor shortages have dealt with those problems not by raising prices (or not only by raising prices), but by taking steps that could give their customers a lesser experience.” According to Cole, “Over the last 18 months … goods and services are getting worse faster than the official statistics acknowledge,” implying that “our inflation problem has actually been bigger than the official statistics suggest.” Shadow inflation and container shipping Ocean container shipping is an extreme example of the “services are getting worse” trend, despite enormous freight-rate inflation. Measuring quality adjustments to inflation is inherently difficult, which is why very few CPI categories have hedonic adjustments. One way to do a back-of-the-envelope estimate of ocean shipping shadow inflation is to focus on time: the longer the delays, the less quality, the higher the cost fallout, the higher the effective inflation above and beyond the rise in freight rates. Jason Miller, associate professor of supply chain management at Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business, suggested using accounting of inventory carrying costs to measure the time effect. “If I already own a product and I took possession of it overseas at the port of departure, and it’s on my balance sheet and it’s just sitting on the water, then in inventory management, there is a charge incurred every day it’s not sold,” he explained. Miller explained, “There is the cost of capital. Every $100 in inventory is $100 that can’t be allocated elsewhere for a more value-producing purpose. There is also the cost due to obsolescence. It’s essentially opportunity costs. The longer the delay, the more additional costs from stockouts [as shelves empty] or the need to buy more safety stock.” Rate rises affect different shippers differently Whether it’s price inflation from rate hikes or indirect shadow inflation from slow service, different shippers are affected very differently. On the rate side of the equation, Xeneta data shows a massive $20,000-per-FEU spread between the lowest price paid by large contract shippers in the trans-Pacific trade and highest price paid by small spot shippers. Erik Devetak, chief data officer of Xeneta, told American Shipper, “We see the very bottom of the bottom of the long-term market at approximately $3,300 per FEU, although there are very few contracts at this price. On the other hand, we see the short-term market high up to $23,000 per FEU, again, in rare situations.” In the latest edition of its Sunday Spotlight report, Sea-Intelligence analyzed how rate hikes affect different shippers and found a huge competitive advantage for larger shippers given this gaping freight spread. Sea-Intelligence, using Xeneta data, estimated that a large importer on contract (in this case, in the Asia-Europe trade) shipping a 40-foot box with $250,000 of high-value cargo would see freight costs rise from 0.5% of the cargo value a year ago to 1.8% currently — an easily digestible increase. A small shipper in the spot market moving the same load would see freight costs jump from 0.7% of cargo value to 6.2%. Sea-Intelligence then ran the same exercise with a low-value cargo worth $25,000. It said that in this case, the large contract shipper’s freight-to-cargo-value ratio rose from 5% last year to 18% currently, while the small spot shipper’s freight-to-cargo-value “exploded” from 7% to 62%. Service delays affect different shippers differently Rising rates affect high-value cargo the least because the freight rise equates to a small proportion of the cargo value. But with shadow inflation from voyage delays, it’s the opposite, according to Miller. Shipments of high-value goods get hit much harder than low-value goods. Accounting carrying costs are derived from cargo value. The higher the cargo value, the higher the carrying costs. “Where these delays especially matter is for high-value imports,” said Miller. “It’s ironic. The importers that are least affected by high spot prices are the ones who are getting really hurt most by the delays.” One example: A large importer pays $4,000 in freight under a contract to ship a high-value cargo of $250,000 worth of electronics in a 40-foot box. There is a 30% annual carrying cost, in part due to high obsolescence risk, thus a carrying cost of $205 per day, so a 10-day delay would equate to an accounting cost of $2,050, adding 51% on top of the freight cost. A contrasting example: A small importer pays $15,000 in the spot market to ship a low-value cargo of $25,000 worth of retail products in a 40-footer, with a 20% annual carrying cost. A 10-day delay would equate to an accounting carrying cost of $137, just 1% more on top of the freight rate. It’s not just high-value cargoes that suffer from delays, Miller continued. Obsolescence risk is key. On the high end of the value spectrum, that relates to goods like electronics; on the low end, to things like holiday items and seasonal fashion. Another major factor: whether the delayed import item is a component in a manufacturing process. In that case, the cost of ocean shipping delays can be enormous, dwarfing the increase in freight rates. American Shipper was recently contacted by a manufacturer that has a vital component of its production process trapped in containers aboard a Chinese container ship that has been at anchor waiting for a berth in Los Angeles/Long Beach since Sept. 13. “When imports are actually inputs into a production process, and if a stockout is going to shut down a plant, you are now facing a huge opportunity cost,” warned Miller. Tyler Durden Sun, 10/24/2021 - 15:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 24th, 2021

20 Asian-American food and drink brands to try today, from fiery chili crisp to toasted rice ice cream

The Asian-American experience is reflected uniquely in each of these 20 AAPI-owned food brands, including Bokksu, Copper Cow, and Sanzo. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Fila Manila You should add these 20 food and drink brands from Asian American founders to your pantry. They draw upon traditional and cultural backgrounds but may also add new twists and flavors. See also: From Here: Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Heritage As the fastest-growing ethnic group in the country, Asian-Americans have a large influence on what we all consume in culture, from music and film to food and drink. In the realm of food and drink, we've been really excited about Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) founders who are drawing upon their cultural heritage to create new snacks, sauces, delivery services, and beverages that both celebrate where they come from and introduce familiar (to them) flavors to new audiences. These brands often represent an intersection of the traditional and modern and can be found in classic Asian grocery stores and millennial-branded online storefronts alike. Another thing that distinguishes them as a uniquely millennial brand is their commitment to sustainable and ethical values, from paying family farms fair, above-market wages to using natural and organic ingredients. As an Asian-American woman, it's exciting for me to see all the ways fellow members of the AAPI community are shedding light on, celebrating, and innovating upon the amazing foods and drinks that I grew up on - and we hope you're just as excited to eat and drink all of them, too. These are the 20 Asian-American food and drink brands you should try: Omsom Omsom Shop Asian starter kits at Omsom Created by Vanessa and Kim Pham, the daughters of Vietnamese refugees, Omsom celebrates authentic east Asian and southeast Asian flavors through its convenient meal starters. The packets include fully prepared sauces for iconic dishes like Vietnamese Lemongrass BBQ, Korean Spicy Bulgogi, and Filipino Sisig. All you have to do is add the suggested proteins and veggies on the included recipe cards or improv with your own ingredients to create your own delicious meal. Omsom partnered with Asian chefs, like Amelie Kang of Mala Project, on a number of the products, further strengthening ties with the AAPI food community.  Eat this:The Try 'Em All Set (medium)Japanese Yuzu Misoyaki 3-Pack (medium) Bokksu Bokksu Shop Japanese snacks at BokksuAfter Danny Taing lived in Japan for four years and returned to the US, he was disappointed that he couldn't enjoy the same unique snacks found in Japan. It's this passion for Japanese snacks that prompted him to start Bokksu, a monthly subscription box that curates treats and tea from local Japanese businesses. Each month revolves around a different theme and includes a culture guide. You can also shop your favorite individual snacks and groceries on the site, with options like mochi cheese puffs, persimmon candy, and spicy tantan instant ramen. Eat this:Monthly Snack Subscription (medium) Sanzo Sanzo Shop sparkling water at SanzoSeeing and drinking the same seltzer flavors gets old, fast. Sandro Roco wanted to drink sparkling waters with flavors that he and many other Asian-Americans grew up with (read: calamansi, lychee, and alphonso mango) and created Sanzo. The drinks are light, crisp, and refreshing and can be found in stores, a number of Asian restaurants in NYC, and online. In summer of 2021, Sanzo released limited-edition printed cans with characters from Marvel's "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" — we're looking forward to cool future collaborations like this. Drink this:Sampler 12-Pack (medium) Fly by Jing Fly by Jing/Instagram Shop Chinese sauces and spices at Fly by Jing Fly by Jing — a name that combines the concept of fly restaurants in Chengdu ("hole-in-the-wall eateries so good they attract people like flies") and founder Jing Gao's name — sells the crunchy, oily, spicy Sichuan chili crisp that everyone on the internet wants to try. And once you do try it, you'll want to put it on everything to give it an extra kick, from fried eggs to sandwiches to congee. The brand has now sold over 1 million jars of sauce and also makes dumpling sauce, mala spice mix, and a hot pot base. Eat this: Sichuan Chili Crisp (medium)Zhong Sauce (medium) Brightland Brightland  Shop oils, vinegar, and honey at BrightlandNot all olive oils are created equal, and when Brightland founder Aishwarya Iyer looked deeper into the industry, she discovered it was rife with lack of production and ingredient transparency. Brightland's olive oils, vinegars, and honey are never made with preservatives or fillers, and you'll know exactly when its ingredients were harvested. The results are pantry staples that taste fresh, bright, and pure. Brightland's beautiful packaging and giftable sets make it even more enticing to use its products every day.  Eat this: The Mini Essentials (medium)The Couplet Honey (medium) Nguyen Coffee Supply Nguyen Coffee Supply/Instagram Shop coffee at Nguyen Coffee SupplyAs the first Vietnamese specialty coffee company in the US, Nguyen Coffee Supply is changing the way we think about specialty coffee. With every cup, founder Sahra Nguyen wants to remind people of the influence of Vietnam on the coffee industry — after all, it is the world's largest producer of robusta beans and second largest producer of all coffee. In addition to a variety of delicious beans, you can get phin filters, which are like a cross between pour over and a French press. Drink this: Vietnamese Coffee Lover's Bundle (medium)Truegrit Coffee (medium) Partake Foods Partake Foods Shop allergen-free snacks at Partake FoodsBuying food when you suffer from major food allergies can feel like navigating a minefield. Partake Foods, founded by Black and Korean entrepreneur Denise Woodard, lets people snack on cookies, brownies, and pizza without worrying about the risks to their health. Though they're free from the top eight allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, wheat, milk, soy, fish, shellfish), they still taste delicious. Partake is the first food startup led by a woman of color to raise over $1 million in funding and is continuing to expand its product offerings and footprint in physical retail stores. Eat this: Crunchy Cookie Variety Pack (medium)Pizza Crust Baking Mix (medium) Diaspora Co. Diaspora Co./Instagram Shop spices at Diaspora CoIf you want fresh single-origin spices, look no further than Diaspora Co, founded by Sana Javeri Kadri. The company launched in 2017 with one spice, Pragati Turmeric, and now sources 30 single-origin spices — including cinnamon, coriander, two types of cardamom, saffron, and kashmiri chili — from 150 farms in India and Sri Lanka. To keep your spices fresh and organized, you'll also want to pick up a masala dabba, a spice box filled with katoris (small bowls). At Diaspora Co, when you build your own masala dabba, you also get access to a quarterly virtual cooking club where you can learn how to make the most of your spices. Eat this:Build Your Own Masala Dabba (medium)Spice Spoon (medium) Umamicart Umamicart/Instagram Shop Asian groceries at UmamicartUmamicart is an online grocer designed with the Asian-American experience in mind by carrying traditional foods and brands that immigrants and their children ate as well as new brands created by Asian-American founders. Founder Andrea Xu, born in Spain to Chinese parents, wanted to build a site that reflected the unique evolving identities of Asian Americans and gave them a convenient, user-friendly place to shop all their favorite foods. At Umamicart, you can shop longan and Korean pears alongside Yakult drinks, Calbee chips, and some of the very brands mentioned in this article. There's free shipping on orders over $49. Eat this:Gochujang Shrimp Crackers (medium)Wonton Wrappers (medium) Brooklyn Delhi Brooklyn Delhi Shop condiments and sauces at Brooklyn DelhiWhenever she came back from visiting family in India, chef and cookbook author Chitra Agrawal always filled her suitcase with achaar, a sweet, sour, and spicy condiment also known as Indian pickle. Unsatisfied with the achaar sold in the US, she began making her own and now sells a variety of achaar at Brooklyn Delhi. It goes great with traditional pairings like rice, daal, and curry, as well as eggs, sandwiches, and pasta. You can also buy various simmer sauces (coconut cashew korma, tomato curry) and hot sauces, all of which are handcrafted in small batches right in NYC. Eat this: Roasted Garlic Achaar (medium)Curry Ketchup (medium) Fila Manila Fila Manila Shop simmer sauces from Fila ManilaThough Filipino Americans are the country's second-largest Asian ancestry group, Filipino food and flavors are still underrepresented in grocery store aisles. Jake Deleon, founder of Fila Manila (a spin on "FilAm," which is short for Filipino American), said "we want to show you the world of Filipino cuisine" in an interview with Food Business News and is starting off with three versatile and flavorful simmer sauces: adobo (tamari soy and garlic), kare kare (peanut), and caldereta (tomato). Expect snacks, desserts, and prepared meals down the line to add even more variety to your pantry. Eat this:Variety Pack (medium) Lunar Lunar/Instagram Shop hard seltzer at LunarSanzo's party counterpart is Lunar, a craft hard seltzer inspired by a night out with founders Sean Ro and Kevin Wong. When the only drink options alongside their late night Korean fried chicken were Heineken and Budweiser, they began brewing ideas for a new generation of Asian alcohol and flavor-testing in their own kitchens. Its flavor lineup currently comprises yuzu, lychee, Korean plum, and makrut lime. But, it's the limited-edition flavors like tamarind rice paddy herb and pineapple cake are where the brand really shines. Drink this: Variety 12-Pack (medium) Copper Cow Coffee Copper Cow Coffee Shop portable pourover coffee packs at Copper Cow CoffeeDebbie Wei Mullin's Vietnamese coffee comes in a highly portable and convenient form: just hang the pre-filled coffee filter over your mug, pour in boiling water, and add as much of the included creamer packet to your liking. In addition to black and classic lattes, the brand offers creative flavors like churro and lavender, blending Mullin's Vietnamese heritage with her Californian upbringing. Copper Cow works directly with farmers in Vietnam, paying them twice the market rate for the flavorful coffee you enjoy every morning. Drink this: Classic Latte Pack (medium)Best Brews Latte Sampler Pack (medium) Dang Foods Dang Foods/Instagram Shop snacks at Dang FoodsDang is named after the mother of Thai-American brothers and founders Vincent and Andrew Kitirattragarn. She's the one who taught them how to make the signature crunchy, slightly sweet coconut chips that we all love snacking on. Dang, a certified B Corp that works directly with family farms in Thailand, has since expanded its delicious, 100% plant-based and non-GMO snack portfolio to include rice cakes (with mouthwatering flavors like toasted sesame, sriracha spice, and aged cheddar) and low carb snack bars. Eat this:Original Coconut Chips (12-count) (medium)Sriracha Thai Rice Chips (12-count) (medium) Noona's Ice Cream Noona’s Ice Cream/Instagram Shop ice cream at Noona's Ice CreamNoona, an ice cream brand whose name means "big sister" in Korean, is the brainchild of pastry chef Hannah Bae. In 2016, her toasted rice flavor won the annual ice cream contest at an NYC street fair, inspiring her to make more flavors using Asian ingredients. In addition to formulating original flavors like golden sesame, turmeric honeycomb, and toasty mochi, Noona collaborates with artists and influencers like singer Japanese Breakfast to make fun ice creams like persimmon jubilee. The brand is also thoughtful about sourcing, working with collective farms to get hormone- and antibiotic-free dairy, and using only whole foods and non-GMO ingredients in all its products.Eat this:Vegan Black Sesame Ice Cream (medium)Toasted Rice Ice Cream (medium) Us Two Tea Us Two Tea Shop tea at Us Two TeaTea, central to many Asian cultures, has always provided an opportunity to gather with friends and family. Us Two Tea, founded by Maggie Xue, specializes in Taiwanese tea and works directly with family-owned farms. Through Us Two, you can expand your horizons past black and jasmine tea and try Baozhong tea and oolong tea in both non-toxic and biodegradable tea sachet or loose leaf varieties. You'll also receive education about how best to enjoy your tea and what kinds of food to pair it with. Drink this:Loose Leaf Tea Set (medium)Baozhong Tea (medium) Makku Makku/Instagram Shop makgeolli at MakkuKorea's oldest drink makgeolli dates all the way back to the 10th century and is still enjoyed today for its smooth, slightly sweet, slightly tart taste. Bringing together her background at ZX Ventures, the innovation and investment group for Anheuser-Busch InBev, and her own love for makgeolli, founder Carol Pak thought it was the perfect time to introduce the Korean beer to American consumers. Makku comes in cans in a variety of flavors that you can enjoy by itself or as part of a cocktail. Drink this:Variety Pack (16-pack) (medium)Lychee (16-pack) (medium) Tea Drops Tea Drops/Instagram Shop tea at Tea DropsThe tea from Tea Drops, founded by Sashee Chandran, immediately stands out from all the other tea you've had because it's neither bagged nor loose leaf — instead, it's made from ground-up organic tea leaves that are packed into fun shapes like hearts and flowers. Add boiling water and the drop dissolves to give you a hot cup of delicious tea. All the tea is kosher-certified and the brand supports fair trade, organic harvesting practices, and female-driven supply chains. And, for every box sold, Tea Drops donates a year's supply of clean water through The Thirst Project. Drink this:Ultimate Tea Sampler (medium)Thai Tea Kit (medium) Mama O's Mama O's/Instagram Shop kimchi at Mama O'sAs with many entrepreneurial ventures, Mama O's, a kimchi brand created by Kheedim Oh, was never intended to be a brand. Oh simply wanted kimchi that tasted as good as his mom's and none of the Asian stores near him could satisfy him. The kimchi that his mom taught him how to make was such a hit among friends and strangers that he eventually launched Mama O's, which today sells kimchi, kimchi paste, "kimchili," and kimchi kits. There's even a vegan variety. Eat this: Super Spicy Kimchi Paste (medium)Premium Homemade Kimchi Kit (medium) Kasama Kasama Shop rum at KasamaRum is often associated with the Caribbean but the Philippines is also one of the top rum producers in the world. Alexandra Dorda is the Polish-Filipino founder behind the small-batch rum Kasama, which means "together" in Tagalog. Aged in American oak barrels, the classic spirit tastes like pineapple with a hint of vanilla and sea salt. Kasama's site also has plenty of creative Filipino-inspired cocktail recipes, from the Pandan Pleaser to the Pinay Colada. Drink this:Rum (medium) Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 8th, 2021

Futures Drift Before Taper-Triggering Jobs Report

Futures Drift Before Taper-Triggering Jobs Report US equity-index drifted in a tight range overnight, in a tight range before key jobs data that could provide clues on the Federal Reserve’s policy. As noted in our preview, unless the jobs report is a disaster, it will virtually assure the Fed launches tapering in one month. Markets drifted higher on Thursday after the Senate averted the risk of an immediate default, pushing global stocks on course for their best week since early September, but a late day selloff wiped away most gains and closed spoos below the critical 4400 level. At 07:30 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 35 points, or 0.10%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 5.00 points, or 0.1%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 10.75 points, or 0.07%. Treasury Yields were 1 point higher after earlier tagging 1.60%, the highest since June. The dollar was flat while Brent topped $83 before paring gains. Bitcoin traded above $55,000. Uncertainty over the debt ceiling negotiations and a run-up in U.S. Treasury yields over elevated inflation were major concerns among investors earlier this week, injecting volatility in equity markets this week. High-growth FAAMG stocks slipped in premarket trading following sharp gains in previous session. Energy firms including Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil gained about 0.8% tracking crude prices, while major U.S. lenders also edged up as the benchmark 10-year yield hit its highest level since June 4. Here are some of the biggest movers and stocks to watch today: Tesla (TSLA US) shares in focus after Elon Musk says a global shortage of chips and ships is the only thing standing in the way of the company maintaining sales growth in excess of 50% Sundial Growers (SNDL US) shares rise as much as 19% in U.S. premarket after the Canadian cannabis producer said it will buy liquor and pot retailer Alcanna for $276m in stock Allogene Therapeutics (ALLO US) plunges 36% in U.S. premarket trading after an early-stage study of its cell therapy was put on hold by U.S. regulators Prelude Therapeutics (PRLD US) fell in U.S. premarket trading, adding to Thursday’s 40% plunge on early- stage data for the company’s experimental cancer treatments that Barclays says came in below expectations Vaxart (VXRT US) rises 8% in U.S. premarket trading after its oral tablet vaccine candidate cut transmission of Covid-19 in animals, according to data from a study led by Duke University Faraday Future (FFIE US) slides 4% in U.S. premarket trading after J Capital says it is short on the stock. The short-seller says they don’t think the company “will ever sell a car” Codiak Biosciences (CDAK US) shares fell 6% in Thursday postmarket trading after disclosing that Sarepta Therapeutics is terminating a research license and option agreement Agile Therapeutics (AGRX US) tumbled Thursday postmarket after the women’s health-care company said that it intends to offer and sell shares of its common stock, as well as warrants to purchase shares of its common stock, in an underwritten public offering Looking to today's main event, economists expect September hiring to have surged by 500,000 jobs as the summer wave of COVID-19 infections began to subside, and as millions of Americans no longer receive jobless benefits, positioning the Fed to start scaling back its monthly bond buying.  “All roads lead to non-farm payrolls data which will decide, in the market’s minds, whether the start of the Fed taper is a done deal for December,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA. “I do not believe that markets have priced in the Fed taper and its implications to any large degree yet. Even a weak number probably only delays the inevitable for another month.” Even “reasonably soft” payrolls and unemployment figures wouldn’t be enough to change the minds of its officials, according to Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote. “Only a shockingly low figure could do that,” she said. “The persistent rise in oil prices can only continue boosting inflation fears and the central bank hawks, limiting the upside potential in case of a further recovery in stocks.” “As soon as you start thinking about tapering it’s really hard to not then think about what that means for the Fed funds rate and when that might start to increase,” Kim Mundy, currency strategist and international economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney, said on Bloomberg Television. “We do see scope that markets can start to price in a more aggressive Fed funds rate hike cycle.” In Europe, tech companies led the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down 0.2%, with energy stocks and carmakers being the only industry groups with meaningful gains. Chip stocks fell, especially Apple suppliers, following a profit warning from Asian peer and fellow supplier AAC Technologies. On the other end, European travel stocks rose after U.K. confirmed the travel “red list” will be cut to just seven countries; British Airways parent IAG and TUI led the advances. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Daimler shares gains as much as 3.2%, outperforming peers, after UBS upgrades stock to buy from neutral, calling it an earnings momentum story that stands to gain from strong demand, electrification trends and its future focus on passenger cars. Adler shares rise as much as 13% after shareholder Aggregate sells a call option to Vonovia for a 13.3% stake in the German real estate investment firm at a strike price of EU14 per share. Cewe Stiftung shares jump as much as 4.2%, their best day in over three months, after the photography services firm gets a new buy rating at Hauck & Aufhaeuser. Weir shares fall as much as 6.3%, to the lowest since Nov. 13, after the U.K. machinery maker announced that a ransomware attack will affect full-year profitability; Jefferies says it’s unlikely that guidance beyond that will be revised. Zur Rose slumps as much as 9.2% after Berenberg downgrades the Swiss online pharmacy to hold from buy, citing the expected negative impact from a delay in the implementation of mandatory e-prescriptions in Germany. Czech digital-payments provider Eurowag shares slide as much as 10% as it starts trading in London, after pricing its IPO below an initial range and making its debut a day later than planned. Asian stocks rose for a second day as China’s market reopened higher and the U.S. Senate approved a short-term increase in the debt ceiling. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced as much as 1% in a rally led by consumer discretionary shares. Alibaba and Tencent were among the biggest contributors to the gauge’s climb. Shares in mainland China surged more than 1% as investors returned from the Golden Week holiday. Chinese property shares fell after a report that more than 90% of China’s top 100 property developers’ sales declined in September by an average of 36% from the same period last year, while investor concerns about developers’ liquidity rose after Fantasia bonds were suspended from trading. In mainland: CSI 300 Real Estate Index drops as much as 2%, Seazen Holdings falls as much as 5%, Poly Developments -4%. Asia’s stock benchmark is slightly down for the week, as rising bond yields weighed on tech-heavy indexes in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. The gauge is down more than 1% this month amid an energy shortage in China and India.  “Markets may not want to commit directionally” given that we have non-farm payrolls data on the docket, making a follow-through of today’s rally suspect, said Ilya Spivak, the head of Greater Asia at DailyFX. Traders are expecting today’s U.S. employment data to provide clues on the direction of the world’s largest economy. On Thursday, the U.S. averted what would have been its first default on a debt payment. Most major benchmarks in Asia climbed, led by Japan, Indonesia and Australia. India’s central bank kept its lending rates at a record low at a policy meeting today. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.9% to close at 7,320.10. All industry groups edged higher. The benchmark rose 1.9% for the week, the biggest weekly gain since early August. Miners led the charge, having the best week since July, banks the best since the start of March. EML Payments tumbled after an update on its Ireland subsidiary from the country’s central bank. Chalice Mining continued its rebound, finishing the session the strongest performer in the mining subgauge.  There is a risk of excessive borrowing due to low interest rates and rising house prices, Reserve Bank of Australia said in its semiannual Financial Stability Review released Friday. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.1% to 13,086.60 In rates, Treasury futures remained under pressure after paring declines that pushed 10-year yield as high as 1.5995% during European morning, highest since June 4; the 1.60% zone is thought to have potential to spur next wave of convexity hedging. U.K. 10-year is higher by 4bp, German by 2.3bp - gilts underperformed, weighing on Treasuries as money markets continue to bring forward BOE rate-hike expectations. During U.S. session, September jobs report may seal case for Fed taper announcement in November.  In FX, the greenback traded in a narrow range versus G10 peers while 10-year Treasury yields approached 1.6%, outperforming Bunds.  Gilt yields rose 5-6bps across the curve; demand for downside protection in the pound eases this week as the U.K. currency moves off cycle lows amid money markets repricing. U.K. wage growth rose at its strongest pace on record in a survey of job recruiters, indicating strains from a shortage of workers are persisting. Turkish lira initially weakens above 8.96/USD before recouping half of its losses In commodities, oil extended a rebound, on track for a seventh weekly gain. Crude futures pushed to the best levels for the week. WTI rises 1.5% near $79.50, Brent pops back on to a $83-handle. Spot gold trades a $5 range near $1,757/oz. Base metals are mostly positive, with LME nickel gaining over 3.5%. Looking at the day ahead, the highlight will be the aforementioned September jobs report. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde and the ECB’s Panetta. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,389.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.3% to 457.18 MXAP up 0.4% to 194.72 MXAPJ up 0.2% to 636.80 Nikkei up 1.3% to 28,048.94 Topix up 1.1% to 1,961.85 Hang Seng Index up 0.6% to 24,837.85 Shanghai Composite up 0.7% to 3,592.17 Sensex up 0.7% to 60,070.61 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.9% to 7,320.09 Kospi down 0.1% to 2,956.30 Brent Futures up 1.4% to $83.09/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,756.25 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.29 German 10Y yield up +3.4 bps to -0.151% Euro little changed at $1.1549 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Global talks to reshape the corporate tax landscape are set to resume on Friday after Ireland’s decision to adhere to the world consensus on a minimum rate removed one hurdle to an agreement that still hangs in the balance Germany’s Social Democrats hailed a positive start in their effort to form a government after their first meeting with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats A U.S. nuclear-powered attack submarine struck an object while submerged in international waters in the Indo- Pacific region last week, the Navy said, adding that no life- threatening injuries were reported China drained the most short- term liquidity from the banking system in a year on a net basis as it reduced support after a week-long holiday. Government bond futures slid by the most since August China’s central bank will continue to push for the reform of its benchmark loan rate and make deposit rates more market-based, according to a senior official India’s central bank surprised markets by suspending its version of quantitative easing, signaling the start of tapering pandemic-era stimulus measures as an economic recovery takes hold U.K. government bond yields have climbed to levels last seen before the Brexit referendum in 2016 relative to German peers, as traders brace for inflation in Britain over the next decade to far outpace the rate in Europe’s largest economy A detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mostly higher as the region conformed to the global upbeat mood after the agreement in Washington to raise the debt ceiling which the Senate approved, with the overnight bourses also invigorated by the return of China and strong Caixin PMI data. The ASX 200 (+0.9%) was led higher by strength in mining names with underlying commodity prices boosted as Chinese buyers flocked back to market which helped the ASX disregard a record increase in daily COVID-19 cases in Victoria state. Nikkei 225 (+1.3%) was the biggest gainer and reclaimed the 28k level as exporters benefitted from a softer currency, while attention turns to PM Kishida who will outline his policy program today and is reportedly planning to present an additional budget after the election. Furthermore, there were recent comments from an ally of the new PM who suggested that capital gains tax could be raised to 25% from the current 20% without affecting stock prices, although this failed to dent the mood in Tokyo and weaker than expected Household Spending was also brushed aside. The gains for the KOSPI (-0.1%) were later reversed alongside the tentative price action in index heavyweight Samsung Electronics after its Q3 prelim. results showed oper. profit likely rose to its highest in three years but missed analysts’ forecasts. Hang Seng (+0.6%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.7%) were mixed with the latter jubilant on reopen from the Golden Week holiday after improved Caixin Services and Composite PMI data which both returned to expansionary territory. This helped mainland stocks overlook the recent developer default fears and largest daily liquidity drain by the PBoC since October last year, although Hong Kong initially lagged amid heavy Northbound Stock Connect trade. Finally, 10yr JGBs declined on spillover selling from T-notes and with havens shunned amid the gains across riskier assets, although downside in JGBs was limited given the BoJ’s presence in the market for nearly JPY 1.5tln of JGBs with up to 10yr maturities. Top Asian News Gold Steadies Ahead of Key U.S. Jobs Report as Yields Climb Investors Fear Tax Talk in Kishida’s ‘New Japanese Capitalism’ China Coal Prices Plunge as Producers Vow to Ease Shortages China Developer Stocks Fall After Report of Monthly Sales Drop An initially contained to marginally-firmer European cash open followed an upbeat APAC handover (ex-Hang Seng) was short-lived with bourses coming under moderate pressure; Euro Stoxx 600 -0.3%. As such, major indices are all in the red, except for of the UK FTSE 100 which is essentially unchanged and bolstered by strength in heavy-weight energy and mining names given broader price action the return of China. Sectors were initially mixed at the open, but in-fitting with the action in indices, has turned to a predominantly negative performance ex-energy. Crossing to the US, futures have directionally been following European peers, but the magnitude has been more contained, with the ES unchanged as we await the September labour market report for any read across to the Fed’s policy path; however, officials have already made it clear that it would have to be a very poor report to spark a deviation from its announced intentions, where it is expected to announce an asset purchase tapering in November. Returning to Europe, Daimler (+2.5%) stands out in the individual stocks space, firmer after a broker upgrade and notable price target lift at UBS; Marks & Spencer (+1.5%) is also supported on broker action. To the downside lies Weir Group (-3.0%) after reports of a ransomware attack. Top European News Adler’s Largest Shareholder Sells Option on Stake to Vonovia; A Controversial Tycoon Sits on Adler’s $9 Billion Pile of Debt Chip Stocks Drag Tech Gauge Lower as Asian Apple Supplier Warns European Gas Rises as Bumpy Ride Continues With Cold Air Coming Lira Weakens to Fresh Low as Rising U.S. Yields Add Pressure In FX, the Dollar is trying to regroup and firm up again after its latest downturn amidst a further rebound in US Treasury yields, more pronounced curve re-steepening, and perhaps some relief that the Senate finally passed the debt ceiling extension bill, albeit by a slender margin and only delaying the issue until early December. Looking at the DXY as a benchmark, a marginally higher low above 94.000 and lower high below 94.500 is keeping the index contained as the clock ticks down to September’s jobs report that is expected to show a recovery in hiring after the prior month’s shortfall, but anecdotal data has been rather mixed to offer little clear pointers for the bias around consensus - full preview of the latest BLS release is available via the Research Suite under the Ad-hoc Economic Analysis section. From a technical perspective, near term support for the DXY resides at 94.077 (vs the current 94.139 base) and resistance sits at 94.448 (compared to a 94.338 intraday high). TRY - A double whammy for the already beleaguered Lira as oil prices come back to the boil and ‘sources’ suggest that Turkish President Erdogan’s patience is wearing thin with the latest CBRT Governor as the Bank waited until September to cut rates. Recall, Erdogan has already ousted a CBRT chief for not loosening monetary policy in his belief that lowering the cost of borrowing will bring inflation down, and although the reports have been by a senior member of his administration there is a distinct feeling of no smoke without fire in the markets as Usd/Try remains bid having only held below 9.0000 by short distance between 8.9707-8.8670 parameters. CHF/JPY - No real surprise that the low yielders and funders are underperforming, even though broadly upbeat risk sentiment during APAC hours has not rolled over to the European session. The Franc has retreated to 0.9300 vs the Buck and Yen is trying to fend off pressure on the 112.00 handle after failing to sustain momentum through 111.50 before weaker than expected Japanese household spending data overnight. However, decent option expiry interest from 111.85-75 (1.4 bn) may weigh on Usd/Jpy pending the aforementioned US payrolls outcome. AUD - Some payback for the Aussie after Thursday’s outperformance, as Aud/Usd loses a bit more momentum following its rebound beyond 0.7300 and with hefty option expiries at 0.7335 (2.7 bn) capping the upside more than smaller size at the round number (1.1 bn) cushions the downside. In commodities, WTI and Brent remain on an upward trajectory after the mid-week pullback; as it stands, crude benchmarks are near fresh highs for the week, with WTI for November eyeing USD 80/bbl once again. Fresh news flow for the complex has been sparse, aside from substantial UK press focus on the domestic energy price cap potentially set to increase next year. More broadly, US officials have largely reiterated commentary from the Energy Department provided on Thursday around not currently intending act on energy costs with a reserve release. The session ahead has just the Baker Hughes rig count specifically for crude scheduled, though the complex may well get dragged into a broader risk move depending on the initial reaction to and analysis on NFP. For metals, spot gold and silver are contained around the unchanged mark and haven’t been affected by any significant amount by the firmer USD or elevated yield space thus far. Elsewhere, base metals are buoyed by China’s return and strong Caixin data from the region, although it is worth highlighting that the likes of LME copper are well off earlier highs. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. Change in Nonfarm Payrolls, est. 500,000, prior 235,000 Change in Private Payrolls, est. 450,000, prior 243,000 Change in Manufact. Payrolls, est. 25,000, prior 37,000 Unemployment Rate, est. 5.1%, prior 5.2% Sept. Underemployment Rate, prior 8.8% Labor Force Participation Rate, est. 61.8%, prior 61.7% Average Weekly Hours All Emplo, est. 34.7, prior 34.7 Average Hourly Earnings MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.6% Average Hourly Earnings YoY, est. 4.6%, prior 4.3% 10am: Aug. Wholesale Trade Sales MoM, est. 0.9%, prior 2.0%; Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 1.2%, prior 1.2% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I’ve never quite understood why you’d go to the cinema if you’ve got a nice telly at home but such has been the nature of life over the last 19 months that I was giddy with excitement last night at booking tickets for James Bond at the local cinema next week. We’ve booked it on the same night as our first ever physical parents evening where I’ll maybe have the first disappointing clues that my three children aren’t going to be child prodigies and that maybe they’ll even have to settle for a career in finance! Markets have been stirred but not completely shaken this week and yesterday they continued to rebound thanks to the near-term resolution on the US debt ceiling alongside subsiding gas prices, which took the sting out of two of the most prominent risks for investors over the last couple of weeks. That provided a significant boost to risk appetite, and by the close of trade, the S&P 500 had recovered +0.83% in its 3rd consecutive move higher, which put it back to just -3.0% beneath its all-time high in early September, whilst Europe’s STOXX 600 was also up +1.60% and closed before a later US sell-off. Attention will today focus squarely on the US jobs report at 13:30 London time, which is the last one before the Fed’s next decision in early November, where a potential tapering announcement is likely bar an extraordinarily poor number today, or an exogenous event in the next few weeks. Starting with the debt ceiling, yesterday saw Democratic and Republican Senators agree to pass legislation to raise the ceiling by enough to get to early December, meaning we won’t have to worry about it for another 8 whole weeks. The Senate voted 50-48 with no Republicans blocking the legislation to increase the debt limit by $480bn, with House Majority leader Hoyer saying that the House would convene on Tuesday to pass the measure as well. To raise it for a longer period, the chatter out of Washington made it clear that Democrats would need to need to raise the debt ceiling in a partisan manner as part of the reconciliation process. As we mentioned in yesterday’s edition, this extension means that a number of deadlines have now been punted into the year end, including the government funding and the debt ceiling (both now expiring the first Friday of December), just as the Democrats are also seeking to pass Biden’s economic agenda through a reconciliation bill containing much of their social proposals, alongside the $550bn bipartisan infrastructure package. And on top of that, we’ve also got the decision on whether Chair Powell will be re-nominated as Fed Chair, with the decision 4 years ago coming at the start of November. So a busy end to the year in DC. The other main story yesterday was the sizeable decline in European natural gas prices, with the benchmark future down -10.73% to post its biggest daily loss since August. Admittedly, they’re still up almost five-fold since the start of the year, but relative to their intraday peak on Wednesday they’ve now shed -37.5%. So nearly a double bear market all of a sudden! The moves follow Wednesday’s signal that Russia could supply more gas to Europe. However, even as energy prices were starting to fall back from their peak, the effects of inflation were being felt elsewhere, with the UN’s world food price index climbing to its highest level in a decade in September. Looking ahead, today’s main focus will be on the US jobs report for September later on. Last month the report significantly underwhelmed expectations, coming in at just +235k, which was well beneath the +733k consensus expectation and the slowest pace since January. That raised questions as to the state of the labour market recovery, and helped to complicate a potential decision on tapering, with nonfarm payrolls still standing over 5m beneath their pre-Covid peak. This month, our US economists are expecting a somewhat stronger +400k increase in nonfarm payrolls, which should see the unemployment rate tick down to a post-pandemic low of 5.1%. On the bright side at least, the ADP’s report of private payrolls for September on Wednesday came in at an above-forecast 568k (vs. 430k expected), while the weekly initial jobless claims out yesterday for the week through October 2 were beneath expectations at 326k (vs. 348k expected). Ahead of that, global equities posted a decent rebound across the board, with cyclicals leading the march higher on both sides of the Atlantic. As mentioned at the top, the S&P 500 advanced +0.83%, which was part of a broad-based advance that saw over 390 companies move higher on the day. That said the index was up as much as +1.5% in early US trading before slipping lower in the US afternoon. The pullback was partly due to new headlines that China’s central bank plans to continue addressing monopolistic actions in internet companies that operate in the payments sector. Nonetheless, Megacap tech stocks were among the big winners yesterday, with the FANG+ index up +2.08%, whilst the small-cap Russell 2000 index was also up +1.58%. In Europe, the STOXX 600 (+1.60%) posted its strongest daily gain since July, and the broader gains helped the STOXX Banks index (+1.61%) surpass its pre-pandemic high, taking it to levels not seen since April 2019, even as sovereign bond yields moved lower. Speaking of sovereign bonds, yesterday saw a divergent set of moves once again, with yields on 10yr Treasuries up +5.2bps to 1.573%, their highest level since June, whereas those across the European continent moved lower. The US increase came against the backdrop of that debt ceiling resolution, and there was a noticeable rise in yields for Treasury bills that mature in December, which is where the debt ceiling deadline has now been kicked to. Elsewhere in North America, the Bank of Canada’s Macklem joined the global central bank chorus and noted inflation pressures were likely to be temporary, even if they’ve been more persistent than previously expected. Meanwhile over in Europe, lower inflation expectations helped yields move lower, with those on 10yr bunds (-0.3bps), OATs (-1.1bps) and BTPs (-3.6bps) all moving back. Overnight in Asia, all markets are trading in the green with the Nikkei (+2.16%) leading the way, along with CSI (+1.34%), Shanghai Composite (+0.60%), KOSPI (+0.22%) and Hang Seng (+0.04%). Chinese markets reopened after a week-long holiday so the focus will again be back on property market debt, and today the PBOC injected just 10bn Yuan with its 7-day reverse repos, resulting in a net liquidity withdrawal of 330bn Yuan. That comes as the services and composite PMIs did see a pickup from August level, with the services PMI up to 53.4 (vs. 49.2 expected), moving back above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction. In Japan however, household spending was down -3.0% year-on-year in August (vs. -1.2% expected) which came amidst a surge in the virus there. There’s also some news on the ESG front, with finance minister Shunichi Suzuki saying that the country would introduce ESG factors when considering the finance ministry’s foreign reserves. Looking forward, S&P 500 futures (+0.06%) are pointing to a small move higher. In Germany, as talks got underway today on a potential traffic-light coalition, it was reported by DPA that CDU leader Armin Laschet had signalled his willingness to stand down, with the report citing unidentified participants from internal discussions. In televised remarks last night, Laschet said that his party needs fresh voices across the board and that new leadership will be in place soon. This moves comes as Germany’s Social Democratic Party held talks with the Greens and the Free Democratic Party to enact a new three-way ruling coalition, which would leave the CDU out of power entirely. There wasn’t a massive amount of data yesterday, though German industrial production fell by -4.0% in August (vs. -0.5% expected), which follows the much weaker than expected data on factory orders the previous day. Elsewhere, the Manheim used car index increased +5.3% in September, its first positive reading in 4 months. Our US economics team points out that there tends to be around a two month lag between wholesale prices and CPI prints, so we aren’t likely to see this impact next week’s CPI print but it will likely prevent a bigger fall towards the end of the year. To the day ahead now, and the highlight will be the aforementioned September jobs report from the US. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde and the ECB’s Panetta. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/08/2021 - 07:50.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 8th, 2021

Top Stories this AM: Stocks rise despite energy crunch, Evergrande; how to make money mining bitcoin - from home; Musk goes nuclear

US stock futures rose on Wednesday, pointing to a rebound at the open after equities suffered their biggest fall since May the previous day. Good morning and welcome to your weekday morning roundup of the top stories you need to know.For more daily and weekly briefings, sign up for our newsletters here.What's going on today: US futures point to stock market rebound after biggest drop since May, but global energy crunch fans fears of inflation. US stocks looked set to climb at the open, but an energy crunch, the US debt ceiling, and China's Evergrande gave investors plenty to think about.The wonders of Weibo. Chinese stock market influencers are helping to quell Evergrande-related protests by pushing positive messages about the company's future. An expert told Insider that these messages might be helping to pacify smaller investors who are less in-the-know about Evergrande.Prank problems. A prominent anti-vaxxer gave out his phone number at a rally claiming "he has nothing to hide." Two days later, he's begging people to stop calling him. Chris Saccoccia, known by the pseudonym Chris Sky, said he's received thousands of calls since giving his phone number out at the rally. Musk goes nuclear. Elon Musk says he's "pro-nuclear" power and is "surprised by some of the public sentiment" against it. Musk pointed to Germany's nuclear power plant phase out, which forced the country to rely on dirtier coal plants. Soccer flop. Beleaguered real-estate giant Evergrande's $1.8 billion lotus-shaped soccer stadium is partially built and in shambles amid the company's impending collapse. The stadium was touted in its 2020 groundbreaking ceremony to have a seating capacity of 100,000, to rival FC Barcelona's Camp Nou.Workin' in the 'coin mines. The CEO of Compass Mining breaks down why bitcoin is 'incredibly profitable' to mine right now - and shares how retail investors can mine the largest cryptocurrency at home. "You really only have four inputs. You've got the cost of your hardware, your monthly expenses, your cost of power, and the price of bitcoin, that's it," CEO Whit Gibbs explained. "If you can line those four metrics up properly, then the economics will work for you."That's all for now. See you tomorrow. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 29th, 2021

Futures Slide Alongside Cryptocurrencies Amid China Crackdown

Futures Slide Alongside Cryptocurrencies Amid China Crackdown US futures and European stocks fell amid ongoing nerves over the Evergrande default, while cryptocurrency-linked stocks tumbled after the Chinese central bank said such transactions are illegal. Sovereign bond yields fluctuated after an earlier selloff fueled by the prospect of tighter monetary policy. At 745am ET, S&P 500 e-minis were down 19.5 points, or 0.43%, Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 88.75 points, or 0.58% and Dow e-minis were down 112 points, or 0.33%. In the biggest overnight news, Evergrande offshore creditors remain in limbo and still haven't received their coupon payment effectively starting the 30-day grace period, while also in China, the State Planner issued a notice on the crackdown of cryptocurrency mining, will strictly prohibit financing for new crypto mining projects and strengthen energy consumption controls of new crypto mining projects. Subsequently, the PBoC issued a notice to further prevent and dispose of the risks from speculating on cryptocurrencies, to strengthen monitoring of risks from crypto trading and such activities are illegal. The news sent the crypto space tumbling as much as 8% while cryptocurrency-exposed stocks slumped in U.S. premarket trading. Marathon Digital (MARA) drops 6.5%, Bit Digital (BTBT) declines 4.7%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT) -5.9%, Coinbase -2.8%. Big banks including JPMorgan, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp slipped about 0.5%, while oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp were down 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively, in premarket trading.Mega-cap FAAMG tech giants fell between 0.5% and 0.6%. Nike shed 4.6% after the sportswear maker cut its fiscal 2022 sales expectations and warned of delays during the holiday shopping season. Several analysts lowered their price targets on the maker of sports apparel and sneakers after the company cut its FY revenue growth guidance to mid-single- digits. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Helbiz (HLBZ) falls 10% after the micromobility company filed with the SEC for the sale of as many as 11m shares by stockholders. Focus Universal (FCUV), an online marketing company that’s been a favorite of retail traders, surged 26% in premarket trading after the stock was cited on Stocktwits in recent days. Vail Resorts (MTN) falls 2.7% in postmarket trading after its full-year forecasts for Ebitda and net income missed at the midpoint. GlycoMimetics (GLYC) jumps 15% postmarket after announcing that efficacy and safety data from a Phase 1/2 study of uproleselan in patients with acute myeloid leukemia were published in the journal Blood on Sept. 16. VTV Therapeutics (VTVT) surges 30% after company says its HPP737 psoriasis treatment showed favorable safety and tolerability profile in a multiple ascending dose study. Fears about a sooner-than-expected tapering amid signs of stalling U.S. economic growth and concerns over a spillover from China Evergrande’s default had rattled investors in September, putting the benchmark S&P 500 index on course to snap a seven-month winning streak. Elaine Stokes, a portfolio manager at Loomis Sayles & Co., told Bloomberg Television, adding that “what they did is tell us that they feel really good about the economy.” While the bond selloff vindicated Treasury bears who argue yields are too low to reflect fundamentals, others see limits to how high they can go. “We’d expected bond yields to go higher, given the macro situation where growth is still very strong,” Sylvia Sheng, global multi-asset strategist with JPMorgan Asset Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “But we do stress that is a modest view, because we think that upside to yields is still limited from here given that central banks including the Fed are still buying bonds.” Still, Wall Street’s main indexes rallied in the past two session and are set for small weekly gains. European equities dipped at the open but trade off worst levels, with the Euro Stoxx 50 sliding as much as 1.1% before climbing off the lows. France's CAC underperformed at the margin. Retail, financial services are the weakest performers. EQT AB, Europe’s biggest listed private equity firm, fell as much as 8.1% after Sweden’s financial watchdog opened an investigation into suspected market abuse. Here are some of the other biggest European movers today: SMCP shares surge as much as 9.9%, advancing for a 9th session in 10, amid continued hopes the financial troubles of its top shareholder will ultimately lead to a sale TeamViewer climbs much as 4.2% after Bankhaus Metzler initiated coverage with a buy rating, citing the company’s above-market growth AstraZeneca gains as much as 3.6% after its Lynparza drug met the primary endpoint in a prostate cancer trial Darktrace drops as much as 9.2%, paring the stock’s rally over the past few weeks, as a technical pattern triggered a sell signal Adidas and Puma fall as much as 4% and 2.9%, respectively, after U.S. rival Nike’s “large cut” to FY sales guidance, which Jefferies said would “likely hurt” shares of European peers Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rose for a second day, led by rallies in Japan and Taiwan, following U.S. peers higher amid optimism over the Federal Reserve’s bullish economic outlook and fading concerns over widespread contagion from Evergrande. Stocks were muted in China and Hong Kong. India’s S&P BSE Sensex topped the 60,000 level for the first time on Friday on optimism that speedier vaccinations will improve demand for businesses in Asia’s third-largest economy. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained as much as 0.7%, with TSMC and Sony the biggest boosts. That trimmed the regional benchmark’s loss for the week to about 1%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 2.1%, reopening after a holiday, pushing its advance for September to 7.7%, the best among major global gauges. The Asian regional benchmark pared its gain as Hong Kong stocks fell sharply in late afternoon trading amid continued uncertainty, with Evergrande giving no sign of making an interest payment that was due Thursday. Among key upcoming events is the leadership election for Japan’s ruling party next week, which will likely determine the country’s next prime minister. “Investor concerns over the Evergrande issue have retreated a bit for now,” said Hajime Sakai, chief fund manager at Mito Securities Co. in Tokyo. “But investors will have to keep downside risk in the corner of their minds.” Indian stocks rose, pushing the Sensex above 60,000 for the first time ever. Key gauges fell in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, while the Thai market was closed for a holiday. Treasuries are higher as U.S. trading day begins after rebounding from weekly lows reached during Asia session, adding to Thursday’s losses. The 10-year yield was down 1bp at ~1.42%, just above the 100-DMA breached on Thursday for the first time in three months; it climbed to 1.449% during Asia session, highest since July 6, and remains 5.2bp higher on the week, its fifth straight weekly increase. Several Fed speakers are slated, first since Wednesday’s FOMC commentary set forth a possible taper timeline.  Bunds and gilts recover off cheapest levels, curves bear steepening. USTs bull steepen, richening 1.5bps from the 10y point out. Peripheral spreads are wider. BTP spreads widen 2-3bps to Bunds. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index climbed back from a one-week low as concern about possible contagion from Evergrande added to buying of the greenback based on the Federal Reserve tapering timeline signaled on Wednesday. NZD, AUD and CAD sit at the bottom of the G-10 scoreboard. ZAR and TRY are the weakest in EM FX. The pound fell after its rally on Thursday as investors looked ahead to BOE Governor Andrew Bailey’s sPeech next week about a possible interest-rate hike. Traders are betting that in a contest to raise borrowing costs first, the Bank of England will be the runaway winner over the Federal Reserve. The New Zealand and Aussie dollars led declines among Group-of-10 peers. The euro was trading flat, with a week full of events failing “to generate any clear directional move,” said ING analysts Francesco Pesole and Chris Turner. German IFO sentiment indeces will “provide extra indications about the area’s sentiment as  businesses faced a combination of delta variant concerns and lingering supply disruptions”. The Norwegian krone is the best performing currency among G10 peers this week, with Thursday’s announcement from the Norges Bank offering support In commodities, crude futures hold a narrow range up around best levels for the week. WTI stalls near $73.40, Brent near $77.50. Spot gold extends Asia’s gains, adding $12 on the session to trade near $1,755/oz. Base metals are mixed, LME nickel and aluminum drop ~1%, LME tin outperforms with a 2.8% rally. Bitcoin dips after the PBOC says all crypto-related transactions are illegal. Looking to the day ahead now, we’ll hear from Fed Chair Powell, Vice Chair Clarida and the Fed’s Mester, Bowman, George and Bostic, as well as the ECB’s Lane and Elderson, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Finally, a summit of the Quad Leaders will be held at the White House, including President Biden, and the Prime Ministers of Australia, India and Japan. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 4,423.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.7% to 464.18 German 10Y yield fell 8.5 bps to -0.236% Euro little changed at $1.1737 MXAP up 0.4% to 201.25 MXAPJ down 0.5% to 643.20 Nikkei up 2.1% to 30,248.81 Topix up 2.3% to 2,090.75 Hang Seng Index down 1.3% to 24,192.16 Shanghai Composite down 0.8% to 3,613.07 Sensex up 0.2% to 60,031.83 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 7,342.60 Kospi little changed at 3,125.24 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $77.57/bbl Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,755.38 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 93.14 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg China Evergrande Group’s unusual silence about a dollar-bond interest payment that was due Thursday has put a focus on what might happen during a 30-day grace period. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s inflation target is increasingly out of step with international counterparts and fails to account for structural changes in the country’s economy over the past 30 years, Westpac Banking Corp.’s Bill Evans said. With central banks from Washington to London this week signaling more alarm over faster inflation, the ultra-stimulative path of the euro zone and some of its neighbors appears lonelier than ever. China’s central bank continued to pump liquidity into the financial system on Friday as policy makers sought to avoid contagion stemming from China Evergrande Group spreading to domestic markets. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mixed with the region failing to fully sustain the impetus from the positive performance across global counterparts after the silence from Evergrande and lack of coupon payments for its offshore bonds, stirred uncertainty for the company. ASX 200 (-0.4%) was negative as underperformance in mining names and real estate overshadowed the advances in tech and resilience in financials from the higher yield environment. Nikkei 225 (+2.1%) was the biggest gainer overnight as it played catch up to the prior day’s recovery on return from the Autumnal Equinox holiday in Japan and with exporters cheering the recent risk-conducive currency flows, while KOSPI (-0.1%) was lacklustre amid the record daily COVID-19 infections and after North Korea deemed that it was premature to declare that the Korean War was over. Hang Seng (-1.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.8%) were indecisive after further liquidity efforts by the PBoC were offset by concerns surrounding Evergrande after the Co. failed to make coupon payments due yesterday for offshore bonds but has a 30-day grace period with the Co. remaining quiet on the issue. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower on spillover selling from global counterparts including the declines in T-notes as the US 10yr yield breached 1.40% for the first time since early-July with the pressure in bonds also stemming from across the Atlantic following a more hawkish BoE, while the presence of the BoJ in the market today for over JPY 1.3tln of government bonds with 1yr-10yr maturities did very little to spur prices. Top Asian News Rivals for Prime Minister Battle on Social Media: Japan Election Asian Stocks Rise for Second Day, Led by Gains in Japan, Taiwan Hong Kong Stocks Still Wagged by Evergrande Tail Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Tech Index Extends Decline to More Than 2% European equities (Stoxx 600 -0.9%) are trading on the back foot in the final trading session of the week amid further advances in global bond yields and a mixed APAC handover. Overnight, saw gains for the Nikkei 225 of 2.1% with the index aided by favourable currency flows, whilst Chinese markets lagged (Shanghai Comp. -0.8%, Hang Seng -1.6%) with further liquidity efforts by the PBoC offset by concerns surrounding Evergrande after the Co. failed to make coupon payments due yesterday for offshore bonds. As context, despite the losses in Europe today, the Stoxx 600 is still higher by some 1.2% on the week. Stateside, futures are also on a softer footing with the ES down by 0.4% ahead of a busy Fed speaker schedule. Back to Europe, sectors are lower across the board with Retail and Personal & Household Goods lagging peers. The former has been hampered by losses in Adidas (-3.0%) following after hours earnings from Nike (-4.2% pre-market) which saw the Co. cut its revenue guidance amid supply chain woes. AstraZeneca (+2.1%) sits at the top of the FTSE 100 after announcing that the Lynparza PROpel trial met its primary endpoint. Daimler’s (+0.1%) Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will take a 33% stake in a battery cell manufacturing JV with Total and Stellantis. EQT (-6.5%) sits at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after the Swedish FSA announced it will open an investigation into the Co. Top European News EQT Investigated by Sweden’s FSA Over Suspected Market Abuse Gazprom Says Claims of Gas Under-supply to Europe Are ‘Absurd’ German Sept. Ifo Business Confidence 98.8; Est. 99 German Business Index at Five-Month Low in Pre-Election Verdict In FX, the rot seems to have stopped for the Buck in terms of its sharp and marked fall from grace amidst post-FOMC reflection and re-positioning in the financial markets on Thursday. Indeed, the Dollar index has regained some poise to hover above the 93.000 level having recoiled from 93.526 to 92.977 over the course of yesterday’s hectic session that saw the DXY register a marginal new w-t-d high and low at either end of the spectrum. Pre-weekend short covering and consolidation may be giving the Greenback a lift, while the risk backdrop is also less upbeat ahead of a raft of Fed speakers flanking US new home sales data. Elsewhere, the Euro remains relatively sidelined and contained against the Buck with little independent inspiration from the latest German Ifo survey as the business climate deteriorated broadly in line with consensus and current conditions were worse than forecast, but business expectations were better than anticipated. Hence, Eur/Usd is still stuck in a rut and only briefly/fractionally outside 1.1750-00 parameters for the entire week, thus far, as hefty option expiry interest continues to keep the headline pair in check. However, there is significantly less support or gravitational pull at the round number today compared to Thursday as ‘only’ 1.3 bn rolls off vs 4.1 bn, and any upside breach could be capped by 1.1 bn between 1.1765-85. CAD/NZD/AUD - Some payback for the non-US Dollars following their revival, with the Loonie waning from 1.2650+ peaks ahead of Canadian budget balances, though still underpinned by crude as WTI hovers around Usd 73.50/brl and not far from decent option expiries (from 1.2655-50 and 1.2625-30 in 1.4 bn each). Similarly, the Kiwi has faded after climbing to within single digits of 0.7100 in wake of NZ trade data overnight revealing a much wider deficit as exports slowed and imports rose, while the Aussie loses grip of the 0.7300 handle and skirts 1.1 bn option expiries at 0.7275. CHF/GBP/JPY - The Franc is fairly flat and restrained following a dovish SNB policy review that left in lagging somewhat yesterday, with Usd/Chf and Eur/Chf straddling 0.9250 and 1.0850 respectively, in contrast to Sterling that is paring some hawkish BoE momentum, as Cable retreats to retest bids circa 1.3700 and Eur/Gbp bounces from sub-0.8550. Elsewhere, the Yen has not been able to fend off further downside through 110.00 even though Japanese participants have returned to the fray after the Autumn Equinox holiday and reports suggest some COVID-19 restrictions may be lifted in 13 prefectures on a trial basis. SCANDI/EM/PM/CRYPTO - A slight change in the pecking order in Scandi-land as the Nok loses some post-Norges Bank hike impetus and the Sek unwinds a bit of its underperformance, but EM currencies are bearing the brunt of the aforementioned downturn in risk sentiment and firmer Usd, with the Zar hit harder than other as Gold is clings to Usd 1750/oz and Try down to deeper post-CBRT rate cut lows after mixed manufacturing sentiment and cap u readings. Meanwhile, Bitcoin is being shackled by the latest Chinese crackdown on mining and efforts to limit risks from what it describes as unlawful speculative crypto currency trading. In commodities, WTI and Brent are set the conclude the week in the green with gains in excess of 2% for WTI at the time of writing; in-spite of the pressure seen in the complex on Monday and the first-half of Tuesday, where a sub USD 69.50/bbl low was printed. Fresh newsflow has, once again, been limited for the complex and continues to focus on the gas situation. More broadly, no update as of yet on the Evergrande interest payment and by all accounts we appear to have entered the 30-day grace period for this and, assuming catalysts remain slim, updates on this will may well dictate the state-of-play. Schedule wise, the session ahead eyes significant amounts of central bank commentary but from a crude perspective the weekly Baker Hughes rig count will draw attention. On the weather front, Storm Sam has been upgraded to a Hurricane and is expected to rapidly intensify but currently remains someway into the mid-Atlantic. Moving to metals, LME copper is pivoting the unchanged mark after a mixed APAC lead while attention is on Glencore’s CSA copper mine, which it has received an offer for; the site in 2020 produced circa. 46k/T of copper which is typically exported to Asia smelters. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver are firmer but have been very contained and remain well-within overnight ranges thus far. Which sees the yellow metal holding just above the USD 1750/oz mark after a brief foray below the level after the US-close. US Event Calendar 10am: Aug. New Home Sales MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 1.0% 10am: Aug. New Home Sales, est. 715,000, prior 708,000 Central Bank Speakers 8:45am: Fed’s Mester Discusses the Economic Outlook 10am: Powell, Clarida and Bowman Host Fed Listens Event 10:05am: Fed’s George Discusses Economic Outlook 12pm: Fed’s Bostic Discusses Equitable Community Development DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap WFH today is a bonus as it’s time for the annual ritual at home where the latest, sleekest, shiniest iPhone model arrives in the post and i sheepishly try to justify to my wife when I get home why I need an incremental upgrade. This year to save me from the Spanish Inquisition I’m going to intercept the courier and keep quiet. Problem is that such speed at intercepting the delivery will be logistically challenging as I remain on crutches (5 weeks to go) and can’t grip properly with my left hand due to an ongoing trapped nerve. I’m very glad I’m not a racehorse. Although hopefully I can be put out to pasture in front of the Ryder Cup this weekend. The big news of the last 24 hours has been a galloping global yield rise worthy of the finest thoroughbred. A hawkish Fed meeting, with the dots increasing and the end of QE potentially accelerated, didn’t quite have the ability to move markets but the global dam finally broke yesterday with Norway being the highest profile developed country to raise rates this cycle (expected), but more importantly a Bank of England meeting that saw the market reappraise rate hikes. Looking at the specific moves, yields on 10yr Treasuries were up +13.0bps to 1.430% in their biggest daily increase since 25 February, as both higher real rates (+7.9bps) and inflation breakevens (+4.9bps) drove the advance. US 10yr yields had been trading in a c.10bp range for the last month before breaking out higher, though they have been trending higher since dropping as far as 1.17% back in early-August. US 30yr yields rose +13.2bps, which was the biggest one day move in long dated yields since March 17 2020, which was at the onset of the pandemic and just days after the Fed announced it would be starting the current round of QE. The large selloff in US bonds saw the yield curve steepen and the long-end give back roughly half of the FOMC flattening from the day before. The 5y30y curve steepened 3.4bps for a two day move of -3.3bps. However the 2y10y curve steepened +10.5bps, completely reversing the prior day’s flattening (-4.2bps) and leaving the spread at 116bp, the steepest level since first week of July. 10yr gilt yields saw nearly as strong a move (+10.8bps) with those on shorter-dated 2yr gilts (+10.7bps) hitting their highest level (0.386%) since the pandemic began.That came on the back of the BoE’s latest policy decision, which pointed in a hawkish direction, building on the comment in the August statement that “some modest tightening of monetary policy over the forecast period is likely to be necessary” by saying that “some developments during the intervening period appear to have strengthened that case”. The statement pointed out that the rise in gas prices since August represented an upside risks to their inflation projections from next April, and the MPC’s vote also saw 2 members (up from 1 in August) vote to dial back QE. See DB’s Sanjay Raja’s revised rate hike forecasts here. We now expect a 15bps hike in February. The generalised move saw yields in other European countries rise as well, with those on 10yr bunds (+6.6bps), OATs (+6.5bps) and BTPs (+5.7bps) all seeing big moves higher with 10yr bunds seeing their biggest climb since late-February and back to early-July levels as -0.258%. The yield rise didn’t stop equity indices recovering further from Monday’s rout, with the S&P 500 up +1.21% as the index marked its best performance in over 2 months, and its best 2-day performance since May. Despite the mood at the end of the weekend, the S&P now starts Friday in positive territory for the week. The rally yesterday was led by cyclicals for a second straight day with higher commodity prices driving outsized gains for energy (+3.41%) and materials (+1.39%) stocks, and the aforementioned higher yields causing banks (+3.37%) and diversified financials (+2.35%) to outperform. The reopening trade was the other main beneficiary as airlines rose +2.99% and consumer services, which include hotel and cruiseline companies, gained +1.92%. In Europe, the STOXX 600 (+0.93%) witnessed a similarly strong performance, with index led by banks (+2.16%). As a testament to the breadth of yesterday’s rally, the travel and leisure sector (+0.04%) was the worst performing sector on this side of the Atlantic even while registering a small gain and lagging its US counterparts. Before we get onto some of yesterday’s other events, it’s worth noting that this is actually the last EMR before the German election on Sunday, which has long been signposted as one of the more interesting macro events on the 2021 calendar, the results of which will play a key role in not just domestic, but also EU policy. And with Chancellor Merkel stepping down after four terms in office, this means that the country will soon be under new management irrespective of who forms a government afterwards. It’s been a volatile campaign in many respects, with Chancellor Merkel’s CDU/CSU, the Greens and the centre-left SPD all having been in the lead at various points over the last six months. But for the last month Politico’s Poll of Polls has shown the SPD consistently ahead, with their tracker currently putting them on 25%, ahead of the CDU/CSU on 22% and the Greens on 16%. However the latest poll from Forschungsgruppe Wahlen yesterday suggested a tighter race with the SPD at 25, the CDU/CSU at 23% and the Greens at 16.5%. If the actual results are in line with the recent averages, it would certainly mark a sea change in German politics, as it would be the first time that the SPD have won the popular vote since the 2002 election. Furthermore, it would be the CDU/CSU’s worst ever result, and mark the first time in post-war Germany that the two main parties have failed to win a majority of the vote between them, which mirrors the erosion of the traditional big parties in the rest of continental Europe. For the Greens, 15% would be their best ever score, and exceed the 9% they got back in 2017 that left them in 6th place, but it would also be a disappointment relative to their high hopes back in the spring, when they were briefly polling in the mid-20s after Annalena Baerbock was selected as their Chancellor candidate. In terms of when to expect results, the polls close at 17:00 London time, with initial exit polls released immediately afterwards. However, unlike the UK, where a new majority government can immediately come to power the day after the election, the use of proportional representation in Germany means that it could potentially be weeks or months before a new government is formed. Indeed, after the last election in September 2017, it wasn’t until March 2018 that the new grand coalition between the CDU/CSU and the SPD took office, after attempts to reach a “Jamaica” coalition between the CDU/CSU, the FDP and the Greens was unsuccessful. In the meantime, the existing government will act as a caretaker administration. On the policy implications, it will of course depend on what sort of government is actually formed, but our research colleagues in Frankfurt have produced a comprehensive slidepack (link here) running through what the different parties want across a range of policies, and what the likely coalitions would mean for Germany. They also put out another note yesterday (link here) where they point out that there’s still much to play for, with the SPD’s lead inside the margin of error and with an unusually high share of yet undecided voters. Moving on to Asia and markets are mostly higher with the Nikkei (+2.04%), CSI (+0.53%) and India’s Nifty (+0.52%) up while the Hang Seng (-0.03%), Shanghai Comp (-0.07%) and Kospi (-0.10%) have all made small moves lower. Meanwhile, the Evergrande group missed its dollar bond coupon payment yesterday and so far there has been no communication from the group on this. They have a 30-day grace period to make the payment before any event of default can be declared. This follows instructions from China’s Financial regulators yesterday in which they urged the group to take all measures possible to avoid a near-term default on dollar bonds while focusing on completing unfinished properties and repaying individual investors. Yields on Australia and New Zealand’s 10y sovereign bonds are up +14.5bps and +11.3bps respectively this morning after yesterday’s move from their western counterparts. Yields on 10y USTs are also up a further +1.1bps to 1.443%. Elsewhere, futures on the S&P 500 are up +0.04% while those on the Stoxx 50 are down -0.10%. In terms of overnight data, Japan’s August CPI printed at -0.4% yoy (vs. -0.3% yoy expected) while core was unchanged in line with expectations. We also received Japan’s flash PMIs with the services reading at 47.4 (vs. 42.9 last month) while the manufacturing reading came in at 51.2 (vs. 52.7 last month). In pandemic related news, Jiji reported that Japan is planning to conduct trials of easing Covid restrictions, with 13 prefectures indicating they’d like to participate. This is likely contributing to the outperformance of the Nikkei this morning. Back to yesterday now, and one of the main highlights came from the flash PMIs, which showed a continued deceleration in growth momentum across Europe and the US, and also underwhelmed relative to expectations. Running through the headline numbers, the Euro Area composite PMI fell to 56.1 (vs. 58.5 expected), which is the lowest figure since April, as both the manufacturing (58.7 vs 60.3 expected) and services (56.3 vs. 58.5 expected) came in beneath expectations. Over in the US, the composite PMI fell to 54.5 in its 4th consecutive decline, as the index hit its lowest level in a year, while the UK’s composite PMI at 54.1 (vs. 54.6 expected) was the lowest since February when the country was still in a nationwide lockdown. Risk assets seemed unperturbed by the readings, and commodities actually took another leg higher as they rebounded from their losses at the start of the week. The Bloomberg Commodity Spot index rose +1.12% as Brent crude oil (+1.39%) closed at $77.25/bbl, which marked its highest closing level since late 2018, while WTI (+1.07%) rose to $73.30/bbl, so still a bit beneath its recent peak in July. However that is a decent rebound of roughly $11/bbl since its recent low just over a month ago. Elsewhere, gold (-1.44%) took a knock amidst the sharp move higher in yields, while European natural gas prices subsidised for a third day running, with futures now down -8.5% from their intraday peak on Tuesday, although they’re still up by +71.3% since the start of August. US negotiations regarding the upcoming funding bill and raising the debt ceiling are ongoing, with House Speaker Pelosi saying that the former, also called a continuing resolution, will pass “both houses by September 30,” and fund the government through the first part of the fiscal year, starting October 1. Treasury Secretary Yellen has said the US will likely breach the debt ceiling sometime in the next month if Congress does not increase the level, and because Republicans are unwilling to vote to raise the ceiling, Democrats will have to use the once-a-fiscal-year tool of budget reconciliation to do so. However Democrats, are also using that process for the $3.5 trillion dollar economic plan that makes up the bulk of the Biden agenda, and have not been able to get full party support yet. During a joint press conference with Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Schumer said that Democrats have a “framework” to pay for the Biden Economic agenda, which would imply that the broad outline of a deal was reached between the House, Senate and the White House. However, no specifics were mentioned yesterday. With Democrats looking to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill early next week, negotiations today and this weekend on the potential reconciliation package will be vital. Looking at yesterday’s other data, the weekly initial jobless claims from the US for the week through September 18 unexpectedly rose to 351k (vs. 320k expected), which is the second week running they’ve come in above expectations. Separately, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index fell to 0.29 in August (vs. 0.50 expected), and the Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing activity index also fell more than expected to 22 in September (vs. 25 expected). To the day ahead now, and data highlights include the Ifo’s business climate indicator from Germany for September, along with Italian consumer confidence for September and US new home sales for August. From central banks, we’ll hear from Fed Chair Powell, Vice Chair Clarida and the Fed’s Mester, Bowman, George and Bostic, as well as the ECB’s Lane and Elderson, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Finally, a summit of the Quad Leaders will be held at the White House, including President Biden, and the Prime Ministers of Australia, India and Japan. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 08:12.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021