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The week in bankruptcies: Whisper Lake Development Inc.

Seattle area bankruptcy courts recorded one business filing with total debt above $1 million during the week that ended Nov. 19. Year to date through Nov. 19, the court recorded 34 Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy filings, a 41% decrease from the same span the prior year. Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection typically provides for the liquidation of a business's assets to satisfy creditor claims, while Chapter 11 protection enables a business to restructure its creditor obligations with the….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 25th, 2021

Is The US Shale Patch Refusing To Pump For Political Reasons?

Is The US Shale Patch Refusing To Pump For Political Reasons? Authored by Irina Slav via OilPrice.com, President Biden’s calls on OPEC to increase production were received rather negatively by the U.S. shale patch which believes it can take care of the supply problem While some observers may see this as the shale patch being political, the reality is that shale drillers are actually reacting to both profit and fear Shale companies are making more profit than ever before and, while they are happy to help Biden bring the price of gasoline down, are eager to avoid another oil price crash When President Joe Biden first called on OPEC to increase production earlier this year, he drew an angry response from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who told Biden to "back off" and let American companies take care of the supply problem that was pushing fuel prices higher. The awkward relationship between the current administration in Washington and the oil industry, which tends to lean to the right politically, has been highlighted repeatedly in the media along with Biden's anti-oil moves such as the killing of the Keystone XL pipeline project and the temporary moratorium on oil and gas drilling on federal lands. Yet political incompatibility alone cannot stand in the way of profiting from higher prices, so it is hardly the only - or even an important - reason for the U.S. oil industry's production restraint amid soaring prices for both crude and products. In fact, there are at least two more important reasons for this restraint. The first is that especially shale drillers are raking in much fatter profits right now at current production levels. According to Deloitte calculations cited by Bloomberg's Kevin Crowley, U.S. shale operators are currently booking the biggest profits since the start of the shale revolution. And that's saying something. The reason the shale play development earned the name revolution was that it happened so quickly, and it happened so quickly because it was profitable, for a time. By booking higher profits, shale drillers - at least the public ones among them - can keep their shareholders happier than they have been in years during the cash-burning phase of the shale revolution when everyone raced to boost output by the most, contributing to the two latest price crashes. Speaking of crashes, the other reason shale drillers are practicing restraint is OPEC. The cartel has already demonstrated twice that it has the power to cause a collapse in prices that may its members but seems to hurt U.S. shale producers more. After several waves of bankruptcies, shale drillers appear to have decided on a different approach to production, betting on fatter profits instead of higher production. Be that as it may, production in the U.S. shale patch is rising. Reuters reported earlier this week that production at the Permian was about to set a record, surpassing its pre-pandemic production levels next month. That's because the Permian has been the darling of the shale industry for years now, sporting some of the lowest production costs in some areas, drawing in more capital than other shale plays. Overall production is also on the rise. According to the Energy Information Administration's latest weekly industry update, the U.S. was producing 11.5 million bpd of crude, which puts it in the first place globally and represents a 1-million-bpd increase on the year. It is lower than the record 13-million-bod production rate right before the pandemic struck, but it is no small potatoes by any means. And, perhaps surprisingly to some, the industry is not averse to working with the federal administration to make gasoline more affordable. The messages coming from shale oil are not all in the same tone but they do tend to be encouraging. The chief executive of Occidental Petroleum, for instance, was quite blunt in telling Biden to "back off" the U.S. oil industry rather than calling on OPEC to increase oil production so U.S. drivers can pay less at the pump. The president, Scott Sheffield, said earlier this month that Biden has "got to back off his rhetoric on federal leases going forward." Occidental's Vicki Hollub was more delicate this week, when she said, in response to a question on whether Biden was wrong to call on OPEC to boost output, "if I were gonna make a call, it wouldn't be long-distance, it would be a local call." "I think first you, you stay home, you ask your friends, and you ask your neighbors to do it. And then if we can't do it, you call some other countries," Hollub told CNBC. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/18/2021 - 15:51.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 18th, 2021

Pamper yourself at these 10 hotel spas in the US, from Arizona"s hot springs to New York"s Finger Lakes

We found the best hotels with spas in the US for self-care, from restorative treatments to guided meditation and holistic wellness. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Aman Resorts A getaway to de-stress sounds more enticing than ever. Many hotels have incredible spas rooted in helping you relax; some of the best are in the US. The best hotels with spas range from $97 to well over $1,000 - no passport required. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyMany of us are looking to finally return to travel with a focus on much-needed wellness. Fortunately, the US offers some of the best destination spas on the planet in hotels housed everywhere from urban oases in major metros to remote retreats nestled on beaches and islands.As a travel writer with an emphasis on luxury, I've experienced hotels with spas that are simply otherworldly. My top picks boast expansive facilities with soothing designs, innovative technologies, and holistic approaches like meditation and acupuncture. If you're ready to invest in some serious self-care, keep reading for the best hotels with spas in the US. Though, if you're looking for something more far-flung while keeping to a budget, we also rounded up the most affordable hotel spas around the world.Browse all the best hotels with spas below, or jump directly to a specific area here:The best hotels with spas in the USFAQ: Hotels with spasHow we selected the best hotels with spasMore of the most incredible hotelsThese are the best hotels with spas in the US, sorted by price from low to high. Resorts World Las Vegas Resorts World Las Vegas opened in June as the first integrated complex to go up on the Strip in over a decade. Tripadvisor Book Resorts World Las VegasCategory: BudgetLocation: Las Vegas, NevadaTypical starting/peak price: $97/$263Best for: Families, couples, groups of friends, solo travelers, business travelersOn-site amenities: An enormous slate of dining, entertainment, nightlife, and retail options, plus pools, spa, fitness center, casinoSpa features: The theatrical Art of Aufguss experience (the first of its kind in the US), Fountain of Youth experience with six vitality pools, foot spa lounge, bodywork, facialsPros: As the newest full-scale resort-casino property on the strip, Resorts World is a buzzy new option with a full suite of amenities in addition to the next-level spa.Cons: Although it's the newest, this isn't the poshest hotel in Vegas compared with pricier, more upscale resorts with tricked-out guest rooms.The Strip's newest integrated resort (that is, a major resort property that includes a hotel, casino, entertainment, convention facilities, retail, and more) comes with a unique and Vegas-worthy spa experience: Awana Spa. The spa offers an experience not available anywhere else in the country, known as the Art of Aufguss. This unique treatment-slash-show within the spa was inspired by European saunas that provide rejuvenation and socializing with the communal goal of wellness. The spa showcases a theater-inspired heated room with aromatherapy, choreographed music, lighting, and dancing towels, and it's as avant garde as it is relaxing. Here, each "sauna meister" curates a 30-minute themed experience.The Fountain of Youth is an experience within the spa that houses a network of six vitality pools, heated crystal laconium room, tepidarium chairs, vapor-filled steam rooms, cool mist showers, and an experiential "rain walk." The huge co-ed facility features LED screens and immersive experiences that change throughout the day; when the projection transports guests to various picturesque destinations, the room's temperature and other details change to match the displayed setting. The spa also offers traditional facials and body work, and has a foot spa lounge. Resorts World is the first complex like it to be built on the Las Vegas Strip in more than a decade. The $4.3 billion property has 3,500 guest rooms and suites, gaming, more than 40 food and beverage options, and nightlife. Through its partnership with Hilton, the development includes the Las Vegas Hilton, Conrad Las Vegas, and Crockfords Las Vegas. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Inns of Aurora Inns of Aurora is a luxury lakeside boutique resort in the Finger Lakes with a 15,000-square-foot spa. Inns of Aurora Book Inns of AuroraCategory: BoutiqueLocation: Aurora, New YorkTypical starting/peak price: $187/$360Best for: Families, couples, groups of friends, business travelersOn-site amenities: Multiple dining options, spa, activity center, meeting and event spaceSpa features: Indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pools, meditation spaces, 10 treatment rooms (4 with fireplaces), inclusive gender-neutral spacesPros: The location is dreamy and remote with stunning lake views, and the spa is new and expansive.Cons: While most reviews are overwhelmingly positive, some critical reviewers noted there were limited food options.Founded in 1789, the Village of Aurora is a tiny, serene village in New York's pristine Finger Lakes region. Set on 350 acres of rolling farmland overlooking the lake, the property has five inns in all. Entry-level accommodations at the Aurora Inn have luxurious Queen beds outfitted in Frette linens, a comfortable seating area, and a writer's desk. Balconies with rocking chairs add charm in warmer months, as do gas fireplaces in the cooler ones.Known for its extensive wellness offerings, the Inns of Aurora has a 15,000-square-foot spa and healing center, The Spa at the Inns of Aurora, which takes a holistic approach to wellness. Indoor and outdoor spaces offer views of Cayuga Lake and there are six indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pools, multiple meditation spaces, 10 treatment rooms (four outfitted with warming fireplaces), and inclusive gender-neutral spaces, along with unobstructed access to lush lavender fields for outdoor massages and relaxing strolls among nature trails. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Carillon Miami Wellness Resort At 70,000 square feet, Carillon Miami Wellness Resort is the largest spa center on the Eastern seaboard. Tripadvisor Book Carillon Miami Wellness ResortCategory: LuxuryLocation: Miami, FloridaTypical starting/peak price: $298/$625Best for: Couples, groups of friendsOn-site amenities: Multiple dining options, spa, wellness activities, fitness classes, beach clubSpa features: 70,000-square-foot Finnish spa and wellness facility with vitality tub, steam room, foot spa, cooling "igloo" room, experiential rain showers, thermal loungers, salt float bathPros: The spa has every treatment you could imagine, including innovative and high-tech approaches. Apartment-style lodgings are large and offer homey comfort.Cons: Critical reviews say the rooms are due for a sprucing.Located on the white sands of Miami Beach, Carillon Miami Wellness Resort is the only fully dedicated wellness resort in South Florida. Indeed, the 70,000-square-foot spa is the largest on the Eastern seaboard.Everything about staying here is plush, starting with well-appointed, apartment-sized accommodations that range from one- to two-bedroom layouts, starting at 720 square feet. They feature floor-to-ceiling windows with ocean views, a separate living room, a fully equipped kitchen, and a spa-like bathroom.Wellness offerings are abundant, including a range of ultra-high-tech services and amenities such as a futuristic cabin with a height-adjustable water bed, heated water mattress, color therapy, steam bath with aromatherapy, Vichy shower with six jets, and Vibro massage.​​Carillon also recently launched a touchless wellness program meant to target a range of issues like sleep health, anxiety, muscle recovery, weight loss, respiratory health, and mental and spiritual wellness.Come here to indulge with a one-of-a-kind thermal therapy experience, or sweat it out in 65 fitness classes held each week. Traditional Chinese medicine and a medical wellness division are also offered. Just note that spa treatments are not included in the room rate.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Peninsula Chicago Peninsula Chicago has 339 guest rooms and a sleek spa with an indoor pool. The Peninsula Chicago Book Peninsula ChicagoCategory: LuxuryLocation: Chicago, IllinoisTypical starting/peak prices: $399/$720Best for: Families, couples, groups of friends, business travelers On-site amenities: Multiple restaurants, rooftop lounge, spa, fitness center, pool, event venuesSpa features: Rejuvenation lounge with fireplace, yoga room, fitness center, half-Olympic poolPros: Peninsula Chicago is known for its top-end service, luxurious accommodations, and supremely walkable location on Chicago's Michigan Mile.Cons: Among mostly glowing reviews, few critical guests expressed higher hopes for the property given other experiences with the Peninsula brand.Located on the Magnificent Mile in the heart of Chicago's premier shopping district, this 339-guest room hotel features three restaurants, a rooftop lounge, and glam rooms. Even the entry-level guest rooms are some of the most spacious accommodations in town. Facing south over Superior Street, the Superior rooms are bright and airy with sophisticated decor in muted earth tones and signature blues alongside rich wood and cream leather accents.The Peninsula Chicago's spa is an exquisite urban retreat, with an indoor half-Olympic length swimming pool surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows for jaw-dropping views of the city from the 19th floor.This Peninsula Chicago spa is the first hotel spa destination in the city to offer ultra-posh treatments using the famously expensive and splurge-worthy Biologique Recherche. There's also a relaxation lounge with a fireplace, a fully-equipped fitness center, and a yoga room. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Lake Austin Spa Resort Lake Austin Spa Resort covers 19 lakefront acres for a wellness getaway that feels a world away. Tripadvisor Book Lake Austin Spa ResortCategory: LuxuryLocation: Austin, TexasTypical starting/peak prices: $525/$1,450Best for: Couples, groups of friends, solo travelersOn-site amenities: Spa, pool, restaurant, boutique, fitness center, water sportsSpa features: Aster Café, private couples suites, more than 100 treatments and services, day passesPros: Room rates are all-inclusive, meaning your overnight price comes with three gourmet meals per day and all the fitness classes you can handle.Cons: The all-inclusive rate isn't totally all-encompassing as spa treatments are not included.Located 30 minutes from downtown Austin and speak on 19 lakefront acres, the Lake Austin Spa Resort feels tucked far away from any urban bustle. As an all-inclusive resort, the majority of offerings are covered by the rate. While it doesn't include spa treatments, it does include three gourmet meals made from ingredients grown on-site each day, as well as morning yoga classes, water sports on the lake, and stargazing sessions with an astrologer. Think of this as an adult version of a summer camp, where the emphasis is on mindfulness and fitness.Overnight guests stay in one of 40 French country-style accommodations, which range from quaint rooms with private meditation gardens to the elaborate Lady Bird Suite with a private hot tub. Each comes with fresh-cut daily flowers, Veuve Clicquot champagne upon arrival, a De'Longhi Lattissima Pro Espresso Machine, and toiletries with the spa's signature lavender scent, created from plants grown on-site.The 25,000-square-foot LakeHouse Spa offers fresh, seasonal dining at Aster Café, private couples suites, and a range of treatments using ancient and modern therapeutic techniques in a serene setting. COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara The Ritz-Carlton Bacara in Santa Barbara has the largest spa of any Ritz-Carlton in the country. Tripadvisor Book The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa BarbaraCategory: LuxuryLocation: Santa Barbara, CaliforniaTypical starting/peak prices: $779/$1,379Best for: Couples, families, groups of friends, business travelersOn-site amenities: Pools, spa, multiple dining options, a 12,000-bottle wine collection and tasting room, event spaceSpa features: 42,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor space with fireside lounges, rooftop terrace, poolPros: The pools, beaches, and gardens here are all spectacular and the views can't be beaten. There is also a full suite of amenities and the service is exceptional.Cons: The large, sprawling property can pose a challenge for travelers with mobility issues.The Spa atThe Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara is a magnificent retreat, sprawling across 78 acres of lush land overlooking the Pacific. It has access to two beaches and offers three infinity-edge pools, two of which have gorgeous ocean views.Guest accommodations also have views of the sea, or the pool or garden from individual patios or balconies, and entry-level rooms start at a generous 450 square feet. The design is coastal, with dark woods and beams, Frette linens, deep soaking tubs, marble showers, and Asprey bath amenities. Newly debuted fireside garden rooms offer patios with private fire pits.The spa, however, is the standout feature, a stunning 42,000-square-foot sanctuary — and the largest out of all the Ritz-Carlton properties in the country. There are abundant indoor and outdoor spaces for relaxation, with fireside lounges, a rooftop terrace, a swimming pool, and more.The spa menu features locally inspired, luxury rituals that pay tribute to the scenic California landscape. For instance, the Hollywood facial is a decadent treatment integrating three of the industry's top-trending technologies: HydraFacialä, Nutraceuticals, and NuFace Microcurrent. Or branch out with the Spirulina Wrap, which uses live spirulina algae to revitalize the skin. Other services include acupuncture, massages, skincare, and hair and nail services.When it's time to eat, on-site restaurants Angel Oak steakhouse and 'O' Bar + Kitchen offer locally sourced cuisine and wines.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Castle Hot Springs Castle Hot Springs dates back to 1896 and was recently renovated. Tripadvisor Book Castle Hot SpringsCategory: LuxuryLocation: Morristown, ArizonaTypical starting/peak prices: $1,500/$2,100Best for: Couples, families, groups of friendsOn-site amenities: Resort pool, hot springs pools, on-property farm, Arizona's first Via Ferrata cable climbing courseSpa features: Multiple mineral pools, spa treatments in alfresco cabanas, yoga, meditationPros: Meals are included at this recently overhauled resort. Deeply steeped in history, it's all about wellness through local, natural means, such as an on-site farm operation and hot springs. Cons: While most reviews are overwhelmingly positive, critical reviewers noted spotty service compared with their expectation for the price point.Castle Hot Springs is Arizona's first luxury resort, originally founded in 1896 as a holistic wellness retreat. Situated 50 miles outside of Phoenix in the Sonoran Desert, the 34-room resort feels a world apart from the demands of urban life and incorporates ancient hot springs and a digital detox philosophy into every stay.Historically, visitors came for the minerals' cures for ailments like rheumatism, gout, arthritis, and general aches and pains, which the pools were said to relieve. More than 200,000 gallons of mineral-rich water still flow through the pools each day.All guest suites (bungalows, cottages, and cabins) feature outdoor stone tubs plumbed with hot springs water, and telescopes outside lodgings encourage stargazing. Wellness features heavily, with a slate of offerings including access to thermal waters, which cascade into three pools ranging from 96 degrees to 86 degrees. The natural waters take on colors that reflect the minerals running through them: Lithium is a deep purple shade, iron looks red, and oxidized copper is in blues and greens. Other wellness spa services, yoga, and meditation are provided in custom cabanas set along the spring water creek under palm trees for a wholly rejuvenating experience.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa Arizona's Miraval is known around the world as a go-to destination for wellness enthusiasts. Tripadvisor Book Miraval Arizona Resort & SpaCategory: LuxuryLocation: Tucson, ArizonaTypical starting/peak price: $1,138/$1,518Best for: Couples, groups of friends, solo travelersOn-site amenities: Spa, pool, fitness and wellness classes, tennis, golf, hiking on Camelback MountainSpa features: Ayurveda, energy work, traditional massage, acupuncture, multiple meditation spaces including two labyrinthsPros: Meals and activities are included, which packs the steep nightly room rate with value.Cons: Not everything is included. Expect to splash out a lot more for spa treatments and other extras. Situated on 400 acres outside Tucson, nestled in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Miraval is a well-established and world-renowned domestic wellness getaway.Guests are asked to unplug and tuck their devices away before checking into spacious suites that come with hot tubs, walk-in showers, fireplaces, dining areas, and private patios. Extra wellness-minded touches include an organic pillow menu, a Tibetan singing bowl, coloring books, a community journal, and an essential oil diffuser, available on request. Room rates also include a nightly credit, all meals, and more than 200 classes and activities. Spa treatments are not included, but shouldn't be missed at the Life in Balance Spa, which features a myriad of services including Ayurveda, energy work, traditional massage, and acupuncture.Many spaces on-site encourage reflection and meditation including two labyrinths, an outdoor kiva, and a designated quiet room with mountain views. Experiences here combine yoga, meditation, and wellness, with spiritual journeys, culinary workshops, and outdoor activities.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Four Seasons Resort Lanai and Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort Four Seasons Resort Lanai and Sensei Lanai offer wellness, activities, and natural beauty on the Hawaiian island. Tripadvisor Book Four Seasons Resort Lanai and Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons ResortCategory: LuxuryLocation: Lanai, HawaiiTypical starting/peak prices: $1,700/$2,585Best for: Families (Four Seasons Resort Lanai only), couples, business travelers, groups of friends, solo travelers (Sensei Lanai)On-site amenities: Pools, gardens, wellness offerings, activities (including archery and shooting range), food and drink from celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa Spa features: Private spa hales with steam and infrared saunas, traditional Japanese soaking tubs, outdoor showers, pools, one-on-one healing sessions like guided meditation or nutrition, couples suites, locally inspired treatmentsPros: Wellness offerings here are unparalleled, especially at Sensei where it's the focus. Airfare from Honolulu on Lanai Air is always included with Sensei Lanai. The natural beauty and service are among the world's most impeccable. Cons: Kids are not permitted at Sensei Lanai, although they are doted upon at Four Seasons Resort Lanai.This secluded 90,000-acre paradise on Hawaii's island of Lanai offers luxe accommodations at the beachfront Four Seasons Resort Lanai or wellness destination, Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort.The Four Seasons Resort Lanai is perfectly luxe with 213 guest rooms, multiple outdoor restaurants (including Nobu Lanai), Four Seasons' Kids for All Seasons kids' club, a beach and pool with seating areas tucked among tropical gardens, luxury boutiques, and an array of included classes and events.But if wellness is on your mind, and you don't have kids in tow, choose the adults-only Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort instead, set on 24 acres where spa where wellness is the top priority.Visitors select a curated well-being experience or design their own a la carte itineraries from options that include guided sessions on mindset or nutrition, as well as spa treatments, salon services, and a range of land and sea activities. Daily small-group yoga, fitness, and meditation, as well as guided hikes and weekly lectures are included.The 96-room resort offers Chef Nobu Matsuhisa's classics as well as menu selections that incorporate Sensei's nutritional philosophy created in partnership with Sensei's co-founder Dr. David Agus. The outdoor facilities include a 24-hour fitness center, movement studios, a yoga pavilion and outdoor yoga spaces, an 18-hole putting course, onsen baths, an oasis pool with lap lanes, and gardens with lush flora as well as sculpture and art. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Amangiri Amangiri is the wellness favorite for celebrities and A-listers looking to recharge in the desert. TripAdvisor/emtrip27 Book AmangiriCategory: LuxuryLocation: Canyon Point, UtahTypical starting/peak prices: $1,931/$3,500Best for: Couples, familiesOn-site amenities: Restaurant, 25,000-square-foot Aman Spa, national park tours, private air toursSpa features: Redwood-paneled treatment rooms, movement and fitness studios, 2 steam rooms, yoga, pilates, holistic Navajo-inspired therapiesPros: Amangiri is surrounded by unparalleled natural beauty and privacy. The design and service are otherworldly, equally indulgent for adventurers and luxury lovers.Cons: Though this property is close to flawless, for the over-the-top price point, guests expect impeccable service and are hyper-aware of even the smallest shortcomings.Amangiri is a celeb-adored Utah property situated on 600 acres in a protected valley, famous for sweeping views over towering mesas and dramatically stratified rock facing Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The resort is built around a spectacular swimming pool defined by a jaw-dropping stone escarpment. There are 34 suites, many with private swimming pools and roof terraces. Suites are large with clean lines and natural materials, reflecting the surrounding Utah desert. Think white stone floors, concrete walls, natural timbers, and blackened steel finishings. Each suite has a fireplace and an outdoor lounge area. The Wellness Center at Amangani is a relaxing retreat with four redwood-paneled treatment rooms, movement and fitness studios and two steam rooms. Book beauty treatments and restorative therapies inspired by the holistic wellbeing traditions of the Navajo, or sign up for a day of wildlife treks, a private yoga, or a pilates session. Nourishing treatments, seasonal rituals, and holistic massages are all designed to help you unwind. In 2021, the resort introduced the Cave Peak Stairway, an installation that rises 400 feet above the ground, for outrageous views of the property. Thrill-seekers can climb the 120 steps leading from the resort's existing Cave Peak Via Ferrata Trail with just open air below.COVID-19 procedures are available here. FAQ: Hotels with spas Can I use a hotel spa without staying overnight?Whether or not you may use a hotel spa without staying overnight depends on the individual hotel and its policies. In some cases, hotels restrict the use of their spas and pool facilities to guests only in order to keep the experience intimate and private. In other cases, non-overnight guests may pay for a day pass to access the facilities, either directly through the hotel or through a third-party platform such as ResortPass, or visit simply by booking a treatment.Does spa access always come with the cost of a room night?Staying at a hotel doesn't always guarantee spa entry. In some cases, such as Awana Spa in Las Vegas, the room night might cost as low as $97 but using the spa is not included in the price, and spa access starts at $100 for hotel guests. Access is included, however, with the purchase of a 50-minute or longer treatment. Most hotels on this list have similar policiesWhere are the best hotels with spas in the US?As demonstrated by this list, there are excellent destination hotel spas throughout the United States, from urban day spas to remote retreats. Many are clustered around destinations known for wellness, such as Arizona and California, or destinations known for healing natural environments, like Hawaii. Others are simply known for providing flat-out luxury to travelers with money to spend, such as in Miami or Las Vegas.Is it safe to stay in a hotel?The CDC advises that fully vaccinated people can safely travel domestically. While hotels do provide opportunities for face-to-face interactions with staff and other guests in common spaces like check-in desks, lobbies, and dining venues, experts say guests who exercise proper precautions can stay safely in hotels. No travel is completely risk-free and we recommend following CDC current guidelines as well as all applicable local protocols at the time of travel. How we selected the best hotels with spas Hotels with spas are located throughout the US only.Each has a Trip Advisor rating of "Very Good" or above with a substantial number of reviews, and is highly rated on other trusted traveler platforms like Booking.com.We focused on amenity-rich properties at a range of price points, starting from just $97 and ranging to well over $1,000 per night for famously posh properties with lavish inclusions.We looked for hotels with spas that had extensive offerings including innovative technologies and holistic wellness approaches. We also sought spas that were large and beautifully designed.In addition to spas, we selected properties with notable amenities like pools, restaurants, and other notable features. And we focused on desirable destinations, from flashy urban to serene natural settings.Each hotel promotes rigorous COVID-19 policies and protocols to reassure and protect guests. More of the most incredible hotels Tripadvisor The best luxury hotels in the USThe most affordable spa hotels in the worldThe best hotel pools in the USThe best hotels with private plunge poolsThe most romantic hotels in the USThe best hotels with affordable overwater bungalowsThe best beach hotels in the USThe best island hotels in the US Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 22nd, 2021

Coronavirus links: the case for boosters

A coronavirus-focused linkfest is a weekly feature here at Abnormal Returns. Please stay safe, get a booster and at a vaccination site... OmicronOmicron is now well-established in the United States. (statnews.com)The risk of reinfection from the omicron seems to be higher than previous variants. (bloomberg.com)Five indicators to watch on Omicron including cases in S. Africa. (vox.com)How to interpret incoming Omicron data. (statnews.com)Moderna's ($MRNA) CEO is worried Omicron will be a challenge for existing vaccines. (ft.com)Vaccine makers are rushing to make Omicron-specific vaccines. (newatlas.com)Four big open questions about Omicron. (vox.com)Viral mutationHow did the Omicron variant get so many variations? (scientificamerican.com)Omicron seems to share some genetic material with the the virus that causes the common cold. (washingtonpost.com)Some researchers believe Omicron could have evolved in an animal host. (statnews.com)VaccinesWalgreens ($WBA) and CVS ($CVS) are struggling to keep up with Covid vaccine demand. (wsj.com)Pfizer's ($PFE) success has given it huge power, maybe too much. (ft.com)The J&J ($JNJ) vaccine may have an advantage in durability. (theatlantic.com)It could be the case that a longer interval between the first and second shots would be better. (wsj.com)Mixing-and-matching vaccine doses is fine. (nytimes.com)ChildrenMany southern states are lagging in child vaccinations. (washingtonpost.com)For children the risk from Covid complications is higher than that of myocarditis. (scientificamerican.com)BoostersThe CDC recommended that everyone 18 and older get a booster shot after completing a first course of Covid-19 vaccination. (wsj.com)A third dose greatly reduces risk vs. a two-dose regime. (newatlas.com)Omicron has turned booster skeptics around. (nytimes.com)Omicron likely won't wreck your booster. (theatlantic.com)What's holding back booster roll outs at nursing homes? (nytimes.com)Third doses trump masks. (marginalrevolution.com)Antibody treatmentsRegeneron ($REGN) Regen-Cov treatment is likely less effective against the Omicron variant. (biopharmadive.com)GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) believes its antibody therapy is effective against Omicron. (biopharmadive.com)AntiviralsWhy the two new antiviral treatments are a bigger deal than made out to be. (theatlantic.com)For antivirals to be effective, we are going to have to test a lot more. (nytimes.com)Virtual care companies are hoping to help those infected get antiviral treatments. (statnews.com)If HIV is the model, the development of antivirals will continue for awhile. (npr.org)How antivirals work to thwart Covid. (scientificamerican.com)Genomic sequencingUp until the last week U.S. labs were exclusively seeing Delta. (nytimes.com)Omicron shows the U.S. isn't doing enough genomic sequencing. (statnews.com)Access to genomic sequencing is uneven across the globe. (ft.com)TransmissionThe highest vaccinated U.S. counties show the lowest rates of death from Covid. (washingtonpost.com)Schools have seen lower transmission of other parts of society. (theatlantic.com)A New York City anime convention has the hallmarks of a superspreader event. (bloomberg.com)ResearchWhy will never eradicate the SARS-CoV2 virus. (quantamagazine.org)Having severe Covid doubles the risk of dying over the next year. (businessinsider.com)CountriesGermany is introducing new restrictions on the unvaccinated. (variety.com)China is sticking with its 'zero Covid' strategy especially in light of Omicron. (washingtonpost.com)Why Peru has the world's highest Covid death rate. (npr.org)Spain has had a successful vaccination campaign. It will be interesting to see how it plays out vs. Omicron. (nytimes.com)Anti-vaxxers are now targeting Australian politicians. (washingtonpost.com)PodcastsAndy Slavitt talks Omicron with epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina. (podcasts.apple.com)Derek Thompson talks Omicron with Dr. Peter Hotez. (theringer.com)PoliticsSome states are now effectively paying people not to get vaccinated. (washingtonpost.com)The state of Missouri found mask mandates worked but did not release the findings. (missouriindependent.com)Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19 prior to a number of events including a debate with Joe Biden. (newyorker.com)Earlier on Abnormal ReturnsCoronavirus links: viral evolution. (abnormalreturns.com)There's only one way through the pandemic tunnel. (abnormalreturns.com)Why we are eventually going to need digital health passes, i.e. vaccine passports. (abnormalreturns.com)The 'Swiss cheese model' and the importance of avoiding single points of failure in pandemic and life. (abnormalreturns.com)On the challenge of holding two competing thoughts on the pandemic in your head a the same time. (abnormalreturns.com)Mixed mediaWHO is still doing China's bidding. (epsilontheory.com)One woman's struggle with long Covid. (nytimes.com)On the joy of a negative Covid test. (williamfleitch.medium.com).....»»

Category: blogSource: abnormalreturnsDec 4th, 2021

The week in bankruptcies: Eatertainment Milwaukee LLC

Milwaukee area bankruptcy courts recorded one business filing - including one with total debt above $1 million - during the week that ended November 5, 2021. Year to date through November 5, 2021, the court recorded 11 Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy filings, a -54 percent decrease from the same span the prior year. Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection typically provides for the liquidation of a business’ assets to satisfy creditor claims, while Chapter 11 protection enables a business to….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsDec 4th, 2021

Stockman: A (Bad) Tale Of Two Inflations

Stockman: A (Bad) Tale Of Two Inflations Authored by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog, Our paint by the numbers central bankers have given the notion of being literalistic a bad name. For years they pumped money like mad all the while insisting that the bogus “lowflation” numbers were making them do it. Now with the lagging measures of inflation north of 5% and the leading edge above 10%, they have insisted loudly that it’s all “transitory”. Well, until today when Powell pulled a U-turn that would have made even Tricky Dick envious. That is, he simply declared “transitory” to be “inoperative”. Or in the context of the Watergate scandal of the time, “This is the operative statement. The others are inoperative.” This 1973 announcement by Richard Nixon’s press secretary, Ron Ziegler, effectively admitted to the mendacity of all previous statements issued by the White House on the Watergate scandal. Still, we won’t believe the Fed heads have given up their lying ways until we see the whites of their eyes. What Powell actually said is they might move forward their taper end from June by a few month, implying that interest rates might then be let up off the mat thereafter. But in the meanwhile, there is at least six month for the Fed to come up with excuses to keep on pumping money at insane rates still longer, while defaulting to one of the stupidest rationalizations for inflation to ever come down the Keynesian pike: Namely, that since the American economy was purportedly harmed badly, and presumably consumers too, with the lowflation between 2012 and 2019, current elevated readings are perforce a “catch-up” boon. That is, more inflation is good for one and all out there on the highways and byways of main street America! You literally can’t make up such rank humbug. Even then, what the hell are they talking about? The shortest inflation measuring stick in town is the Fed’s (naturally) preferred PCE deflator, but here it is since the year 2000. The 21 years gain is 1.93% per annum; and the 9-year gain since inflation targeting became official in January 2012 is 1.73%. Given that the PCE deflator is not a true fixed basket inflation index and that these reading are close enough to target for government work anyway, even the “catch-up” canard fails. That’s especially true because given the virtual certainty of another year or two of 4-6% CPI inflation, even the cumulative measures of inflation will register well above the Fed’s sacrosanct 2.00% target. Moreover, importantly, pray tell what did this really accomplish for the main street economy? On the one hand, savers and fixed income retirees have seen their purchasing power drop by 39% since 2000 and 18% since 2012. At the same time, wage workers in the tradable goods and services sectors got modest wage gains with uniformly bad spill-over effects. To wit, millions lost their jobs to China, India and Mexico etc. because their nominal wages were no longer competitive in the global supply base, while those that hung on to their domestic jobs often lost purchasing ground to domestic inflation. Consequently, the chart below is an unequivocal bad. It is the smoking gun that proves the Fed’s pro-inflation policies and idiotic 2.00% target is wreaking havoc on the main street economy and middle class living standards. Loss of Consumer Purchasing Power, 2000-2021 In short. the group-think intoxicated Fed heads, and their Wall Street and Washington acolytes, are hair-splitting inherently unreliable and misleading numbers as if the BLS inflation data was handed down on stone tablets from financial heaven itself. At the same time, the rampant speculative manias in the financial markets that their oceans of liquidity have actually generated is assiduously ignored or denied. We call this a tale of two inflations because the disaster of today’s rampant financial asset bubbles is rooted in pro-inflation monetary policies which are belied by both theoretical and empirical realities, which we address below. First, however, consider still another aspect of the inflationary asset bubble which is utterly ignored by the Fed. In this case, the group think scribes of the Wall Street Journal inadvertently hit the nail on the head, albeit without the slightest recognition of the financial metastasis they have exposed. We are referring to a recent piece heralding that private-equity firms have announced a record $944.4 billion worth of buyouts in the U.S. so far this year. That 250% of last year’s volume and more than double that of the previous peak in 2007, according to Dealogic. As the WSJ further observed, Driving the urge to go big are the billions of dollars flowing into private-equity coffers as institutions such as pension funds seek higher returns in an era of low interest rates. Buyout firms have raised $314.8 billion in capital to invest in North America so far in 2021, pushing available cash earmarked for the region to a record $755.6 billion, according to data from Preqin. As the end of the year approaches, big buyouts are coming fast and furious. A week ago , private-equity firms Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman LLC agreed to buy healthcare-technology company Athenahealth Inc. for $17 billion including debt. A week earlier, KKR and Global Infrastructure Partners LLC said they would buy data-center operator CyrusOne Inc. for nearly $12 billion. And the week before that, Advent International Corp. and Permira signed an $11.8 billion deal for cybersecurity-software firm McAfee Corp. The recent string of big LBOs followed the $30 billion-plus deal for medicalsupply company Medline Industries Inc. that H&F, Blackstone Inc. and Carlyle struck in June in the largest buyout since the 2007-08 financial crisis. Needless to say, these LBOs were not done on the cheap, as was the case, oh, 40 years ago. In the case of AthenaHealth, in fact, you have a typical instance of over-the-top “sloppy seconds”. That is, it was taken private by Veritas Capital and Elliott Management three years ago at a fulsome price of $5.7 billion, which is now being topped way up by Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman LLC in the form of an LBO of an LBO. According to Fitch, AthenaHealth had EBITDA of about $800 million in 2020, which was offset by about $200 million of CapEx or more.That means that at the $17 billion deal value (total enterprise value or TEV), the transaction was being priced at 28X free cash flow to TEV. That’s insane under any circumstances, but when more than half of the purchase price consists of junk debt ($10 billion out of $17 billion), it’s flat out absurd. The reason it is happening is the Fed’s massive financial market distortion: Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman are so flush with capital that it is burning a hole in their pocket, while the junk debt is notionally so “cheap” that it makes a Hail Mary plausible. But here’s the thing. This is a generic case: the Fed’s radical low interest rate policy is systematically driving the allocation of capital to less and less productive uses. And clearly private equity sponsored LBOs are the poster boy, owing to the inherent double whammy of misallocation described by the WSJ above. On the one hand, capital that should be going to corporate blue chip bonds is ending up on the margin in private equity pools as pension funds, insurance companies and other asset managers struggle to boost returns toward exaggerated benchmarks inherent in their liabilities. At the same time, private equity operators are engaged primarily in the systematic swap of equity for debt in LBO capital structures, such debt taking the form of soaring amounts of junk bonds and loans. The higher coupons on junk debt, in turn, attract more misallocation of capital in the debt markets, while at the same time grinding down the productivity and efficiency of the LBO issuers. That because the hidden truth of LBOs is that on the margin they are nothing more than a financial engineering device that strip-mines cash flows that would ordinarily go into CapEx, R&D, work-force training, marketing, customer development and operational efficiency investments and reallocates these flows to interest payments on onerous levels of the junk debt, instead. That’s the essence of private equity. The underlying false proposition is that 29-year old spread-sheet jockeys at private equity shops tweaking budgets downward for all of these “reinvestment” items—whether on the CapEx or OpEx side of the ledger—know more about these matters than the industry lifetime veterans who typically man either public companies, divested divisions or pre-buyout private companies—before they are treated to the alleged magic of being “LBO’d.” In fact, there is no magic to it, notwithstanding that some LBO’s generate fulsome returns to their private equity owners. But more often than not that’s a function of: Short-term EBITDA gains that are hiding severe underling competitive erosion owing to systematic under-investment; The steady rise of market PE multiples fueled by Fed policies, which policies have drastically inflated LBO “exit” values in the SPAC and IPO markets. So at the end of the day, the Fed’s egregious money-pumping is fueling a massively bloated LBO/junk bond complex that is systematically curtailing productive main street investment and therefore longer-term productivity and economic growth. And, of course, the proceeds of buyouts and junk bonds end up inflating the risk assets, which are mostly held at the tippy top of the economic ladder. And that’s a condition which has gotten far worse since the on-set of Greenspanian “wealth effects” policy in the late 1980s. As shown below, between Q4 1989 and Q2 2021: Top 1%: Share of financial assets rose from 21.0% to 29.2%; Bottom 50%: Share of financial assets fell from 7.2% to 5.6% Meanwhile, the good folks are WSJ saw fit to provide a parallel analysis that further knocks the Fed’s lowflation thesis into a cocked hat. In this case, the authors looked at the average domestic airline ticket price and found that it is about the same today as 25 years ago, $260 today versus $284 in 1996. And that’s before adjusting for cost inflation. So the question recurs: How is it possible that the airline industry hasn’t increased ticket prices in over two decades while its fuel and labor costs, among others, have been marching steadily higher? As the WSJ noted, It isn’t possible really. Most of us are paying a lot more to fly today, thanks to a combination of three covert price increases. First, airlines have unbundled services so that fliers pay extra for checking luggage, boarding early, selecting a seat, having a meal and so on. The charges for these services don’t show up on the ticket price, but they are substantial. Second, the airplane seat’s quality, as measured by its pitch, width, seat material and heft, has declined considerably, meaning customers are getting far less value for the ticket price. And third, many airlines have steadily eroded the value of frequentflier miles, increasing costs for today’s heavy fliers relative to those in 1996. Now, did the hedonics mavens at the BLS capture all these negative quality adjustment in airline ticket prices? They most decidedly did not. As shown below, the BLS says ticket prices have only risen by 5.6% during the same 24 year period or 0.23% per annum. But you wonder with jet fuel costs up by 294% during that period and airline wages higher by 75%—why aren’t they all bankrupt and liquidated? The answer, of course, is that the BLS numbers are a bunch of tommy rot. Adjusted for all the qualitative factors listed above, airline tickets are up by a hell of a lot more than 0.23% per year. Yet the fools in the Eccles Building keep pumping pro-inflation money— so that the private equity game of scalping main street cash flows thrives and middle class living standards continue to fall. CPI for Airline Fares, 1996-2021 Moreover, the backdoor prices increase embedded in airline fares are not unique. These practices are also common in other industries, whether it’s resort fees in hotels, cheaper raw materials in garments and appliances, or more-stringent restaurant and credit-card rewards programs. As the WSJ further queried, Consider the following comparison: Which one is cheaper, a 64-ounce container of mayonnaise at a warehouse club that costs $7.99, or a 48-ounce bottle of the same brand at a supermarket for $5.94? Most people will guess the warehouse club because of its low-price image. If you do the math, the price per ounce is roughly the same. But if you consider that the warehouse club requires a separate mandatory membership fee, the customer is actually paying more per ounce at the warehouse club. Known as two-part pricing, the membership fee camouflages the actual price paid by customers—and is behind the success of Costco,Amazon and likely your neighborhood gym. (A gym’s initiation fee, a landlord’s application or administrative fee, and an online ticket seller’s per-transaction processing fee all serve the same purpose.) Yet this is just a tiny sampling of the complexity of providing apples-to-apples pricing trends at the item level over time—to saying nothing of proper weighting of all the items that go into the index market basket. The implication is crystal clear. As per Powell’s belated recant on the “transitory” matter, the Fed doesn’t know where true inflation has been or have the slightest idea of where it is going. So the idea of inflation targeting against an arbitrary basket of goods and services embodied in the PCE deflator, much of which consists of “imputations” and wildly arbitrary hedonic adjustments, is just plan nuts. They only “inflation” measure that is in the proper remit of the Fed is monetary inflation—-something at least crudely measured by its own balance sheet. On that score the Fed is a infernal inflation machine like no other. And for want of doubt that the resulting massive asset inflation and rampant financial engineering on Wall Street that flows from Fed policies is wreaking havoc on the main street economy, note this insight from the always perceptive Bill Cohan: AT&T bought TimeWarner for a total of $108 billion, including debt assumed, and three years later agreed to spin it off it to Discovery for—what?— $43 billion in stock, cash and assumed debt. By my calculation, that’s a $65 billion destruction of value in three years. That’s not easy to do. He got that right. At the end of the day these massive accounting write-offs are just a proxy for the underlying economic destruction. As we said, a tale of two inflations. And neither of them imply anything good. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/03/2021 - 14:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 3rd, 2021

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Vertex Pharma, Amgen, Blueprint Medicines, Deciphera Pharma and CTI BioPharma

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Vertex Pharma, Amgen, Blueprint Medicines, Deciphera Pharma and CTI BioPharma For Immediate ReleaseChicago, IL – December 3, 2021 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. VRTX, Amgen Inc. AMGN, Blueprint Medicines Corporation BPMC, Deciphera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. DCPH and CTI BioPharma Corp. CTIC.Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:Biotech Stock Roundup: Pipeline Updates, Acquisitions & MoreThe biotech sector has been in focus over the past week with acquisition news, label expansion of existing drugs and other regulatory updates.Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories:Vertex Up on Study Results: Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals gained after it announced positive results from a mid-stage study on VX-147. The phase 2 proof-of-concept (POC) study evaluated the efficacy, safety and pharmacokinetics of VX-147 in patients with APOL1-mediated focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a form of chronic kidney disease.Treatment with VX-147 led to a statistically significant, substantial and clinically meaningful mean reduction in proteinuria of 47.6% at 13 weeks compared to baseline and was well tolerated.  Based on these positive results, Vertex plans to advance VX-147 into pivotal development in APOL1-mediated kidney disease, including FSGS, in the first quarter of 2022.Vertex currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Pipeline Update from Amgen: Amgen announced positive top-line results from the phase III, multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study — DISCREET. The study evaluated the efficacy of Otezla (apremilast) in adults with moderate to severe genital psoriasis and moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.Results showed that oral Otezla 30 mg twice daily achieved a clinically meaningful and statistically significant improvement compared with placebo, in the primary endpoint of the modified static Physician's Global Assessment of Genitalia (sPGA-G) response at week 16. In addition, all secondary endpoints were met.Amgen also announced that the FDA has approved the label expansion of the Kyprolis to include its use in combination with Darzalex Faspro and dexamethasone for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma who have received one to three lines of therapy. Blueprint to Acquire Lengo Therapeutics:  Blueprint Medicines announced that it will acquire Lengo Therapeutics, a privately held precision oncology company, for $250 million in cash. Lengo Therapeutics is also entitled to up to $215 million in milestone payments.The acquisition will add LNG-451, a highly selective brain-penetrant precision therapy targeting EGFR exon 20 insertion mutations, to Blueprint Medicines' lung cancer pipeline. Lengo Therapeutics expects to submit an investigational new drug (IND) application for LNG-451 to the FDA in December 2021.With the addition of LNG-451, Blueprint Medicines will have three investigational compounds that cover the majority of all activating mutations in EGFR, the second most common oncogenic driver in NSCLC. The acquisition is expected to close in the ongoing quarter.Deciphera Gains on Restructuring Program: Shares of Deciphera Pharmaceuticals gained following the announcement of a corporate restructuring program whereby the company will prioritize clinical development of select programs, streamline commercial operations, maintain a focus on discovery research and extend its cash runway. The company will reduce its workforce by approximately 35%, or about 140 positions.Deciphera will focus on the clinical development of its vimseltinib and DCC-3116 programs, discontinuing the development of the rebastinib program. Deciphera will continue to commercialize Qinlock for the treatment of fourth-line GIST in the United States with a reduced commercial team. These changes are expected to significantly reduce operating expenses and extend the company’s cash runway into 2024.CTI BioPharma Plunges on Regulatory Update: Shares of CTI BioPharma plunged after the FDA extended the review period for the new drug application (NDA) for pacritinib for the treatment of adult patients with intermediate or high-risk primary or secondary (post-polycythemia vera or post-essential thrombocythemia) myelofibrosis (MF) with a baseline platelet count of >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 CTI BioPharma Corp. (CTIC): Free Stock Analysis Report Amgen Inc. (AMGN): Free Stock Analysis Report Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX): Free Stock Analysis Report Blueprint Medicines Corporation (BPMC): Free Stock Analysis Report Deciphera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (DCPH): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 3rd, 2021

Pharma Stock Roundup: FDA Panel Vote for MRK COVID Pill, JNJ Omicron Jab Plan

FDA panel votes for Merck's (MRK) COVID-19 antiviral pill. AbbVie (ABBV) seeks approval for Skyrizi for Crohn's disease in Europe This week, an FDA committee voted in favor of authorizing Merck’s MRK antiviral pill, molnupiravir to treat COVID-19. J&J JNJ said it is evaluating the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine against the Omicron variant. AbbVie ABBV filed an application in Europe seeking approval for Skyrizi for Crohn’s disease (“CD”). Glaxo GSK and partner Vir Biotech’s VIR monoclonal antibody drug, sotrovimab proves to be effective against the Omicron variant in preclinical studies.Recap of the Week’s Most Important StoriesFDA Panel Recommends Merck’s COVID Pill: The FDA’s Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee (AMDAC) voted 13-0 to recommend the authorization of Merck and  partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics’ oral antiviral pill, molnupiravir to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in at-risk adults. The committee gave the positive vote as it felt the medicine’s potential benefits outweighed its risks. Though the FDA is not bound by the committee’s recommendation, it usually follows the same.Merck announced final data from a phase III study on molnupiravir. Data from the final analysis of the MOVe-OUT study showed that the medicine reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 30% in non-hospitalized at-risk adult patients with mild or moderate COVID-19, which was less than 50% as previously reported, per interim data announced in October.The FDA accepted and granted priority review to Merck and AstraZeneca’s supplemental new drug application (sNDA) seeking the expanded use of PARP inhibitor Lynparza for BRCA-mutated HER2-negative high-risk early breast cancer. With the FDA granting priority review to the sNDA, a decision is expected in the first quarter of 2022. The sNDA for the expanded indication was based on data from the OlympiA phase III study.The European Commission granted approval to Merck’s Keytruda in combination with Eisai’s Lenvima for two different indications. The first is for the first-line treatment of adult patients with advanced RCC based on data from the CLEAR/KEYNOTE-581 study. The other is for the treatment of certain adult patients with advanced or recurrent endometrial carcinoma (EC) based on data from the KEYNOTE-775/Study 309 study. Keytruda plus Lenvima was approved for both the indications in the United States in mid-2021.The FDA accepted and granted priority review to Merck’s supplemental biologics license application (sBLA) seeking approval of Vaxneuvance, its newly approved pneumococcal 15-valent conjugate vaccine for use in children 6 weeks through 17 years of age. The FDA is expected to give its decision on the sBLA on Apr 1, 2022.J&J Tests Efficacy of Its COVID Vaccine Against Omicron: J&J is testing the effectiveness of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine against the new, rapidly spreading and highly mutated Omicron variant. The company is testing the blood serum from participants of completed and ongoing booster studies for neutralizing activity against the Omicron variant. J&J is also pursuing a new vaccine against Omicron, which will be pushed to clinical development, rapidly, if needed.J&J filed an application with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) seeking expanded use of Imbruvica as a fixed-duration combination with venetoclax (I+V) for the first-line treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The application was based on data from the pivotal phase III GLOW study.Glaxo’s Pre-Clinical Data Shows Sotrovimab Maintains Activity Against Omicron: Glaxo and partner Vir Biotech’s pre-clinical data showed that their monoclonal antibody candidate, sotrovimab, retains activity against key mutations of the Omicron variant. The data was generated through pseudo-virus testing of specific individual mutations found in Omicron, which will be further confirmed by in-vitro pseudo-virus testing being conducted by the companies.Glaxo and Vir Biotech’s sotrovimab is presently authorized by the brand name of Xevudy in several countries including the United States to treat high-risk COVID-19. However, it is not yet authorized in Europe. Xevudy (sotrovimab) was granted conditional marketing authorisation in Great Britain for treating symptomatic adults and adolescents with acute COVID-19 infection who are at increased risk of progressing to severe COVID infection.AbbVie Seeks Approval for Skyrizi in Europe for Crohn’s Disease: AbbVie filed an application with the EMA seeking expanded use of risankizumab both as a 600mg intravenous (“IV”) induction and 360mg subcutaneous (“SC”) maintenance therapy, as a potential treatment for moderate to severe CD. The application was based on data from three pivotal studies, ADVANCE, MOTIVATE and FORTIFY.  Risankizumab is marketed by the brand name of Skyrizi for moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis in some countries including the United States and the European Union. It is also approved to treat active psoriatic arthritis in Europe. An application seeking approval of Skyrizi for CD is also under review in the United States. The NYSE ARCA Pharmaceutical Index declined 1.95% in the last five trading sessions.Large Cap Pharmaceuticals Industry 5YR % Return Large Cap Pharmaceuticals Industry 5YR % ReturnHere’s how the eight major stocks performed in the last five trading sessions.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIn the last five trading sessions, Pfizer rose the most (4.2%) while Merck declined the most (10.2%)In the past six months, Pfizer recorded the maximum gain (35.5%) while Novartis declined the most (10.9%)(See the last pharma stock roundup here: FDA Nod to COVID Jab for All Adults, CHMP Nod to Shot for Kids)What's Next in the Pharma World?Watch out for regular pipeline and regulatory updates next week. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>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 GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK): Free Stock Analysis Report Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): Free Stock Analysis Report Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK): Free Stock Analysis Report AbbVie Inc. (ABBV): Free Stock Analysis Report Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (VIR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 3rd, 2021

Novartis (NVS) Highlights Growth Profile at its R&D Day

Novartis (NVS) throws light on its pipeline progress, key areas of focus and long-term targets at its R&D day. Here, we discuss key highlights from the same. Novartis NVS has provided a comprehensive view of its pipeline progress at its R&D Day held on Dec 2, 2021.With a renewed focus on its core pharmaceutical business, the company is building a pipeline in five core therapeutic areas — cardio-renal, immunology, hepatology & dermatology, neuroscience, oncology and hematology.Novartis expects sales to witness a 4% compounded annual growth rate through 2026, driven by multi-billion dollar sales from Cosentyx (moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, active psoriatic arthritis, active ankylosing spondylitis), cardiovascular drug Entresto,  multiple sclerosis drug Kesimpta, gene therapy Zolgensma, breast cancer drug Kisqali and hypercholesterolemia drug Leqvio.The company is looking to expand the label of its blockbuster drug Cosentyx in moderate to severe hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), a potential new indication.  Two phase III studies (SUNRISE and SUNSHINE) met their primary endpoint, with more patients treated with Cosentyx achieving a HS Clinical Response (HiSCR), compared with placebo, at week 16. The trials are ongoing and are expected to be completed in the second half of 2022 (regulatory filings are planned for 2022).The company expects to get approval for 20 new drugs by 2026 with a sales potential of more than $1 billion, which should fuel further growth through 2030 and beyond.Novartis is developing T-Charge as the foundational platform for a wave of potentially transformative CAR-T cell therapies. Lead candidates YTB323 and PHE885 showed 75% complete response in diffuse large B-Cell lymphoma (DLBCL) at three months and 100% best overall response (BOR) in multiple myeloma, respectively.Concurrently, Novartis announced a global co-development and co-commercialization agreement with UCB for Parkinson’s disease therapies. The agreement covers UCB0599, a potential first-in-class, small molecule, alpha-synuclein misfolding inhibitor currently in phase II. In addition, upon completion of the ongoing phase I program, there is an opt-in to co-develop UCB7853, an anti-alpha-synuclein antibody.Novartis is also pioneering a shift to advanced technology platforms, including Targeted Protein Degradation, Cell Therapy, Gene Therapy, Radioligand Therapy and xRNA.The stock has lost 15.3% in the year so far against the industry’s growth of 11.8%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchNovartis’ third-quarter results were mixed. Most of the key brands continue to maintain momentum. However, the Sandoz business continues to be affected by pricing pressures. Hence, management has commenced a strategic review of Sandoz and might separate the business.In November, Novartis agreed to sell its 33% stake in Roche RHHBY for $20.7 billion. Novartis has been a shareholder of Roche since May 2001. Novartis will report a gain of approximately $14 billion from the sale of the stake. At Roche’s Extraordinary General Meeting held recently, shareholders approved the repurchase of the 53.3 million shares held by Novartis.Zacks Rank & Stocks to ConsiderNovartis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A couple of better-ranked stocks in the healthcare sector are Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc. SRPT  and Viking Therapeutics VKTX, both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Loss per share estimates for Sarepta have narrowed from $6.95 to $4.99 for 2021 and from $4.83 to $3.61 for 2022 in the past 30 days. SRPT delivered an earnings surprise of 11.06%, on average, in the last four quarters.Loss per share estimates for Viking Therapeutics have narrowed to $3.16 from $3.55 for 2021 and to $3.47 from $3.63 for 2022 in the past 30 days. VKTX delivered an earnings surprise of 2.06%, on average, in the last four quarters.  Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>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 Novartis AG (NVS): Free Stock Analysis Report Roche Holding AG (RHHBY): Free Stock Analysis Report Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc. (SRPT): Free Stock Analysis Report Viking Therapeutics, Inc. (VKTX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 3rd, 2021

Public Storage (PSA) Closes All Storage Buyout, Boosts Portfolio

Public Storage's (PSA) latest All Storage buyout comes as part of its efforts to expand the company's portfolio through opportunistic growth strategies. Public Storage PSA recently announced the expansion of its portfolio by closing the All Storage acquisition for $1.5 billion. This transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to funds from operations (FFO) with the accretion speeding up through stabilization.The acquisition expands Public Storage’s platform by bringing in the portfolio of 56 self-storage properties, encompassing 7.5 million net rentable square feet, mainly located in the growing Dallas-Fort Worth market.The move is a strategic fit as the properties are located in regions with solid demand drivers. The 52 properties in Dallas-Fort Worth add major locations to the new, high-growth submarkets along with complementary locations in Public Storage’s current submarkets.According to Mike McGowan, PSA’s senior vice president of acquisitions, “Dallas-Fort Worth’s business, consumer and resident friendly nature drive strong demographic and economic growth that generates outsized demand for self-storage.”With the addition of the portfolio and the additional properties recently closed or under contract, the company’s Dallas-Fort Worth presence now comprises nearly 200 locations and 17 million net rentable square feet.Public Storage has fortified its presence in key cities on acquisitions and expansion efforts. Since 2019, this self-storage REIT has enhanced its portfolio by adding 36 million net rentable square feet, or 22%, through $7.1 billion of acquisitions, development and redevelopment, including the properties under contract.The company has emerged as one of the largest owners and operators of storage facilities in the United States. The Public Storage brand is the most recognized and established name in the self-storage industry, with its presence across all the major metropolitan markets of the nation. Apart from benefiting from brand recognition, PSA is likely to gain from the economies of scale.Public Storage has one of the strongest balance sheets in the sector, with adequate liquidity to withstand any market turbulence and bank on expansion opportunities through acquisitions and developments.The self-storage asset category is basically need-based and recession-resilient in nature. It has low capital expenditure requirements and generates high operating margins. Additionally, the self-storage industry continues to benefit from favorable demographic changes. Specifically, migration and downsizing trend, and an increase in the number of people renting homes have escalated the needs of consumers to rent space at a storage facility to park their possessions.Further, demand for self-storage spaces has shot up amid work from home, study from home, elevated home sales, remodeling and the in-and-out migration in metropolitan markets, while move-outs remain low amid the health crisis, resulting in improved year-over-year occupancy trends and an increased average length of stay. These have supported revenues as more long-term tenants are becoming eligible for rate hikes, and a lesser need to replace the vacating tenants with new tenants that lower promotional expenses and increase pricing leverage.Shares of Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) Public Storage have outperformed its industry in six months. The company’s shares have rallied 16%, while the industry has gained 1.3%.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchOther Stocks to ConsiderSome other key picks from the REIT sector include Extra Space Storage Inc. EXR, CubeSmart CUBE and Rexford Industrial Realty REXR.Extra Space Storage holds a Zacks Rank of 2 at present.  The 2021 FFO per share for Extra Space Storage is expected to increase 28.4% year over year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for EXR’s 2021 FFO per share has been revised marginally upward in a week.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CubeSmart’s ongoing-year FFO per share has moved 2% north to $2.08 over the past month. Its long-term growth rate is projected at 9.8%.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CubeSmart’s 2021 FFO per share suggests an increase of 20.9% year over year. Currently, CUBE carries a Zacks Rank of 2.Rexford Industrial holds a Zacks Rank of 2 at present. The long-term growth rate for Rexford Industrial Realty is projected at 12.8%.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for REXR’s 2021 FFO per share has been revised 1.2% upward in a month to $1.63.Note: Anything related to earnings presented in this write-up represents funds from operations (FFO) — a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>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 Public Storage (PSA): Free Stock Analysis Report Extra Space Storage Inc (EXR): Free Stock Analysis Report CubeSmart (CUBE): Free Stock Analysis Report Rexford Industrial Realty, Inc. (REXR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 3rd, 2021

Futures Flat Ahead Of Taper Accelerating Payrolls

Futures Flat Ahead Of Taper Accelerating Payrolls U.S. equity futures are flat, rebounding from an overnight slide following news that 5 "mild" Omicron cases were found in New York, and European stocks wavered at the end of a volatile week as traders waited for the latest jobs data to assess the likely pace of Federal Reserve tightening and accelerated tapering. Emini S&P futures traded in a narrow range, and were up 2 points or 0.04%, Nasdaq futures were flat,while Dow Jones futures were up 8 points. The dollar edged higher, along with the euro after ECB President Christine Lagarde said inflation will decline in 2022. Crude advanced after OPEC+ left the door open to changing the plan to raise output at short notice. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 contracts fluctuated after dip-buyers Thursday fueled the S&P 500’s best climb since mid-October, a sign that some of the worst fears about the omicron virus strain are dissipating. That said, concerns about omicron are overshadowing economic news for now with “a lot of noise and very little meaningful information,” said Geir Lode, head of global equities at Federated Hermes in London. “The prospect of a faster monetary policy tightening could -- and should probably -- lead to a clear market reaction,” he said. “It is also another argument for why we assume value stocks outperform growth stocks. At the moment, however, investors’ attention is elsewhere.” In the latest U.S. data, jobless claims remained low, suggesting additional progress in the labor market. Traders are awaiting today's big event - the November payrolls numbers, which could shape expectations for the pace of Fed policy tightening (full preview here). Bloomberg Economics expects a strong report, while the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists predicts an increase of 550,000. “Assuming the omicron news remains less end-of-the-world, a print above 550,000 jobs should see the faster Fed-taper trade reassert itself,” Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note. “That may nip the equity rally in the bud, while the dollar and U.S. yields could resume rising.” In premarket trading, Didi Global Inc. jumped more than 14% in U.S. premarket trading before reversing all gains, after the Chinese ride-hailing giant said it began preparations to withdraw from U.S. stock exchanges. U.S. antitrust officials sued to block chipmaker Nvidia’s proposed $40 billion takeover of Arm, saying the deal would hobble innovation and competition. Elon Musk’s offloading of Tesla Inc. shares surpassed the $10 billion mark as he sold stock in the electric-car maker for the fourth consecutive week. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today: DocuSign (DOCU US) plunges 32% in premarket trading as the e-signature company’s quarterly revenue forecast missed analysts’ estimates. JPMorgan and Piper Sandler cut ratings. Marvell Technology (MRVL US) shares rise 18% in premarket after the semiconductor company’s fourth-quarter forecast beat analyst estimates; Morgan Stanley notes “an exceptional quarter” with surprising outperformance from enterprise networking, strength in 5G and in cloud. Asana (ASAN US) shares slump 14% in premarket trading after results, with KeyBanc cutting the software firm’s price target on a reset in the stock’s valuation. Piper Sandler said that slight deceleration in revenue and billings growth could disappoint some investors. Zillow Group (ZG US) shares rise 8.8% in premarket after the online real-estate company announced a $750 million share repurchase program and said it has made “significant progress” on Zillow Offers inventory wind- down. Stitch Fix (SFIX US) jumped in premarket after Morgan Stanley raised its rating to equal-weight from underweight. Smartsheet (SMAR US) rose in postmarket trading after the software company boosted its revenue forecast for the full year; the guidance beat the average analyst estimate. National Beverage Corp. (FIZZ US) gained in postmarket trading after the drinks company announced a special dividend of $3 a share. Ollie’s Bargain (OLLI US) plunged 21% in U.S. premarket trading on Friday, after the company’s quarterly results and forecast disappointed, hurt by supply-chain troubles. Smith & Wesson Brands (SWBI US) stock fell 15% in postmarket trading after adjusted earnings per share for the second quarter missed the average analyst estimate. In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped as much as 0.2% before turning green with mining companies and carmakers underperforming and energy and utility stocks rising. Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB fell as much as 26% after private-equity firm Advent International and Singapore wealth fund GIC abandoned their $7.6 billion bid to buy the drugmaker. Volatility across assets remains elevated, reflecting the Fed’s shift toward tighter monetary settings and uncertainty about how the omicron outbreak will affect global reopening. The hope is that vaccines will remain effective or can be adjusted to cope. New York state identified at least five cases of omicron, which is continuing its worldwide spread, while the latest research shows the risk of reinfection with the new variant is three times higher than for others. “The environment in markets is changing,” Steven Wieting, chief investment strategist at Citigroup Private Bank, said on Bloomberg Television. “Monetary policy, fiscal policy are all losing steam. It doesn’t mean a down market. But it’s not going to be like the rebound, the sharp recovery that we had for almost every asset in the past year.” Earlier in the session, Asian stocks held gains from the past two days as travel and consumer shares rallied after their U.S. peers rebounded and a report said Merck & Co. is seeking to obtain approval of its Covid-19 pill in Japan. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed after climbing as much as 0.3%, with Japan among the region’s best performers. South Korea’s benchmark had its biggest three-day advance since February, boosted by financial shares. Still, Asian stocks headed for a weekly loss as U.S. regulators moved a step closer to boot Chinese firms off American stock exchanges. The Hang Seng Tech Index slid as much as 2.7% to a new all time low, as Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group Holding fell after Didi Global Inc. began preparations to withdraw its U.S. listing.  “While the risks of delisting have already been brought up previously, a step closer towards a final mandate seems to serve as a reminder for the regulatory risks in Chinese stocks,” said Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte. Asian stocks remain stuck near a one-year low, as the delisting issue damped sentiment already hurt by omicron and the Fed’s hawkish pivot. A U.S. payrolls report later today could give further clues on the pace of tightening Japanese equities rose, paring their weekly loss, helped by gains in economically sensitive names. Electronics makers reversed an early loss to become the biggest boost to the Topix, which gained 1.6%. Automakers and banks also gained, while reopening plays tracked a rebound in U.S. peers. Daikin and Recruit were the largest contributors to a 1% gain in the Nikkei 225, which erased a morning decline of as much as 0.6%. The Topix still dropped 1.4% on the week, extending the previous week’s 2.9% slide, amid concerns over the omicron coronavirus variant. Despite some profit-taking in tech stocks in the morning session, “the medium and long-term outlooks for these names continue to be really good,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. “The spread of the omicron variant doesn’t mean an across-the-board selloff for Japanese stocks.” India’s benchmark equity index recorded a weekly advance, partly recovering from a sharp sell-off triggered by uncertainty around the new Covid variant, with investors focusing on the central bank’s monetary policy meeting from Monday.  The S&P BSE Sensex fell 1.3% to 57,696.46, but gained 1% for the week after declining for two weeks. The NSE Nifty 50 Index dropped 1.2%, the biggest one-day decline since Nov. 26. All but three of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. fell, led by a gauge of energy companies. “The focus seems to be shifting from premium Indian equities to relatively cheaper markets,” Shrikant Chouhan, head of retail equity search at Kotak Securities said in a note. The cautious mood in India was heightened by the “unenthusiastic” response to the IPO of Paytm, which was also the biggest public share sale in the country, and a resurgence of Covid concerns across Europe, he added.  Investors also focused on the country’s economic outlook, which is showing signs of improvement. Major data releases this week -- from economic expansion to tax collection -- showed robust growth. “Strong domestic indicators are playing a key role in driving the market amid negative global cues,” said Mohit Nigam, a fund manager with Hem Securities. But any further spread of the omicron strain in India may cap local equity gains, he said. Two cases of the new variant have been detected so far in the country. The market’s attention will shift to the Reserve Bank of India’s policy announcement on Dec. 8, after a three-day meeting from Monday. The panel is expected to leave record low interest rates unchanged as inflation remains within its target range. The economy faces new risks from the omicron variant after expanding 8.4% in the three months through September. Reliance Industries contributed the most to the Sensex’s decline, falling 3%. Out of 30 shares in the index, 26 fell and 4 gained. Australia stocks posted a fourth week of losses amid the Omicron threat even as the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2% to close at 7,241.20, boosted by banks and miners. That trimmed the benchmark’s loss for the week to 0.5%, its fourth-straight weekly decline.  Corporate Travel was among the top performers, rising for a second session. TPG Telecom led the laggards, tumbling after media reports that founder David Teoh entered into an agreement to sell about 53.1 million shares in a block trade.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index was little changed at 12,676.50. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced and the greenback was higher against all of its Group-of-10 peers, with risk-sensitive Scandinavian and Antipodean currencies the worst performers. Turkish lira swings back to gain against the USD after central bank intervention for the 2nd time in 3 days. The pound weakened and gilt yields fell after Bank of England policy maker Michael Saunders urged caution on monetary tightening due to the potential effects of the omicron variant on the economy. The euro fell below $1.13 and some traders are starting to use option plays to express the view that the currency may extend its drop in coming month, yet recover in the latter part of 2022. The Aussie dropped for a fourth day amid concern U.S. payroll data due Friday may add to divergence between RBA and Fed monetary policy. Australia’s sale of 2024 bonds saw yields drop below those in the secondary market by the most on record. The yen weakened for a second day as the prospects for a faster pace of Fed tapering fans speculation of portfolio outflows from Japan. In rates, Treasury yields ticked lower, erasing some of Tuesday jump after Fed officials laid out the case for a faster removal of policy support amid high inflation.  Treasurys followed gilts during European morning, when Bank of England’s Saunders said the omicron variant is a key consideration for the December MPC decision which in turn lowered odds of a December BOE rate hike. Treasury yields are richer by up to 1.5bp across 10-year sector which trades around 1.43%; gilts outperform by ~1bp as BOE rate- hike premium for the December meeting was pared following Saunders comments. Shorter-term Treasury yields inched up, and the 2-year yield touched the highest in a week Friday’s U.S. session features a raft of data headed by the November jobs report due 8:30am ET where the median estimate is 550k while Bloomberg whisper number is 564k; October NFP change was 531k Crude futures extend Asia’s modest gains advanced after OPEC+ proceeded with an output hike but left room for quick adjustments due to a cloudy outlook, making shorting difficult. WTI added on ~2.5% to trade near $68.20, roughly near the middle of the week’s range. Brent recovers near $71.50. Spot gold fades a small push higher to trade near $1,770/oz. Most base metals are well supported with LME aluminum and zinc outperforming.  Looking at the day ahead, and the aforementioned US jobs report for November will be the highlight. Other data releases include the services and composite PMIs for November from around the world, Euro Area retail sales for October, and in addition from the US, there’s October’s factory orders and the November ISM services index. From central banks, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde and chief economist Lane, the Fed’s Bullard and the BoE’s Saunders. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,574.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 466.43 MXAP little changed at 192.06 MXAPJ down 0.5% to 625.64 Nikkei up 1.0% to 28,029.57 Topix up 1.6% to 1,957.86 Hang Seng Index little changed at 23,766.69 Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,607.43 Sensex down 1.3% to 57,692.90 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.2% to 7,241.17 Kospi up 0.8% to 2,968.33 Brent Futures up 3.3% to $71.97/bbl Gold spot down 0.1% to $1,767.28 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.14% to 96.29 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.37% Euro down 0.1% to $1.1286 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg “I see an inflation profile which looks like a hump” and “we know how painful it is,” ECB President Christine Lagarde says at event Friday. She also said that “when the conditions of our forward guidance are satisfied, we won’t be hesitant to act” and that an interest rate increase in 2022 is very unlikely The betting window is open in the fixed-income market as hedge funds and other traders hunt for mispriced risk heading into 2022 -- whether it’s predictions for accelerating inflation or rising interest rates The U.K. Municipal Bonds Agency aims to sell the first ethical bonds on behalf of local governments early next year. The body, set up to help U.K. councils access capital markets, is looking to issue a couple of sustainable bonds in the first quarter of 2022, according to officials advising on the sales. It expects to follow that with a pooled ethical bond to raise money for a group of different local authorities Low- income countries indebted to Chinese commercial and policy banks could buy specially-created Chinese government bonds and then use these as collateral to support the sale of new yuan debt, Zhou Chengjun, head of the People’s Bank of China’s finance research institute, wrote in an article published in the ChinaBond Magazine Chinese tech shares briefly touched their record lows in Hong Kong, as Didi Global Inc.’s announcement to start U.S. delisting and rising scrutiny on mainland firms traded there dealt a further blow to already soured sentiment The yuan is set to weaken for the first time in three years in 2022, as capital inflows are expected to slow amid a shrinking yield gap between China and the U.S., a Bloomberg survey shows Turkish inflation accelerated for a sixth month in November to the highest level in three years, driven by a slump in the lira that continues to cloud consumer price outlook A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equities eventually traded mostly higher following the cyclical-led rebound in the US, but with the mood in the region tentative as Omicron uncertainty lingered after further cases of the new variant were reported stateside and with the latest NFP data drawing near. ASX 200 (+0.2%) lacked direction as resilience in cyclicals was offset by underperformance in defensives and amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns which prompted the Western Australian government to widen its state border closure to include South Australia. Nikkei 225 (+1.0%) was initially subdued amid recent currency inflows and with SoftBank among the worst performers amid several negative headlines including the FTC suing to block the Nvidia acquisition of Arm from SoftBank, while the Japanese conglomerate also suffered from its exposure in “super app” Grab which tumbled 20% in its New York debut and with Didi to start delisting from the NYSE in favour of a Hong Kong listing, although the index eventually recovered losses in latter half of trade. Hang Seng (-0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.9%) were varied with US-listed Chinese companies pressured as the US SEC moved closer to delisting Chinese ADRs for failing to comply with disclosure requirements, while the mood across developers was also glum with Kaisa shares at a record low after its bond exchange offer to avert a default was rejected by bondholders and China Aoyuan Property Group slumped by double-digit percentages following its warning of an inability to repay USD 651.2mln of debt due to a liquidity crunch. Furthermore, participants digested the latest Caixin Services and Composite PMI data which slowed from the prior month, but both remained in expansion territory and with reports that advisors are to recommend lowering China’s economic growth target to 5.0%-5.5% or above 5%, fanning hopes for looser policy. Finally, 10yr JGBs gained and made another incursion above 152.00 with prices supported amid the cautious mood in Japan and with the BoJ also present in the market today for a total of JPY 1.05tln of JGBs heavily concentrated in 1yr-5yr maturities. Top Asian News Astra Said to Sink Advent’s $7.6 Billion Buyout of Biotech Sobi BOJ Is Said to See Omicron as Potential Reason to Keep Covid Aid Kaisa Swap Rejected, Developer Bonds Slide: Evergrande Update Permira Is Said to Near Deal for U.K. Blood Plasma Lab BPL The positivity seen heading into the European open dissipated as the session went underway, with the region seeing more of a mixed configuration in cash markets (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.1%; Stoxx 600 Unch) – with no clear drivers in the run-up to the US jobs report. The release will be carefully watching measures of labour market slack to gauge the progress towards the Fed's 'three tests' for rate hikes, whilst the Fed appears almost certain to announce a quickening in the pace of asset purchase tapering at its December meeting (Full NFP preview available in the Newsquawk Research Suite). The recent downside in Europe also seeps into the US futures, with the RTY (-0.2%), NQ (-0.2%) and ES (-0.3%) posting broad-based losses as things stand. Sectors have shifted from the earlier firm cyclical layout to one of a more defensive nature, with Healthcare, Food & Beverages, and Personal & Household Goods making their way up the ranks. Travel & Leisure still sits in the green but largely owed to sector heavyweight Evolution (+6.3%) as the group is to acquire its own shares in Nasdaq Stockholm. Oil & Gas sits as the current winner as crude markets claw back a bulk of this week's losses. On the flip side, Basic Resources are hit as iron ore tumbled overnight. In terms of individual movers, Dassault Aviation (+8.0%) shares soared after France signed a deal with the UAE worth some EUR 17bln. Allianz (+1.0%) stays in the green after entering a reinsurance agreement with Resolution Life and affiliates of Sixth Street for its US fixed index annuity portfolio, with the transaction to unlock USD 4.1bln in value. Top European News U.K. Nov. Composite PMI 57.6 vs Flash Reading 57.7 The Chance of a BOE Rate Hike This Month Has Fallen: BofA’s Wood AP Moller Holding Agrees to Buy Diagnostics Company Unilabs Permira Is Said to Near Deal for U.K. Blood Plasma Lab BPL In FX, it’s debatable whether this month’s US jobs data will carry as much weight as normal given that Fed rhetoric in the run up to the pre-FOMC blackout period has effectively signalled a faster pace of tapering and the likelihood of more hawkishly aligned dot plots. However, the latest BLS report could be influential in terms of shaping the tightening path once QE has been withdrawn, as markets continue to monitor unfolding COVID-19 developments with the main focus on vaccine efficacy against the new Omicron variant. In the meantime, Buck bulls have resurfaced to lift the index more firmly back above 96.000 and towards loftier levels seen earlier this week within a 96.075-324 range, eyeing Monday’s 96.448 peak ahead of the semi-psychological 96.500 mark and then the w-t-d best at 96.647 set the day after. Back to Friday’s agenda, Fed’s Bullard is due to speak and the services ISM rounds off the week. AUD/NZD - The high betas are bearing the brunt of Greenback gains, but also bearish technical forces as the Aussie and Kiwi both lose sight of key chart and simple round number levels that were keeping them afloat or declines relatively contained at least. Aud/Usd is now probing 0.7050 and a Fib retracement just above, while Nzd/Usd is hovering around 0.6775 as the Aud/Nzd cross holds in the low 1.0400 zone. JPY/CAD/CHF/GBP/EUR - All softer vs their US counterpart, with the Yen looking towards 113.50 for support with added protection from option expiry interest up to 113.60 in 1.1 bn, while the Loonie is relying on WTI to maintain recovery momentum before Canada and the US go head-to-head in the employment stakes. Usd/Cad is meandering in the low 1.2800 area as the crude benchmark regains Usd 68+/brl status from a sub-Usd 66.50 base and even deeper trough below Usd 62.50 in knee-jerk response to OPEC+ sticking to its output plan yesterday. Elsewhere, the Franc continues to straddle 0.9200, Sterling has retreated from 1.3300+ terrain again post-fractionally softer than forecast final UK services and composite PMIs, whilst a less hawkish speech from BoE hawk Saunders took Cable to a session low of 1.3255 and a 15bps Dec hike pricing fell from 51% to 26%. The Euro has also reversed from recent highs beyond 1.1300 amidst rather mixed Eurozone readings and pretty routine ECB rhetoric from President Lagarde plus GC members Knot, de Cos and de Guindos. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures continue to nurse losses seen earlier this week, with the post-OPEC downside completely erased alongside some more. To recap, oil contracts were under pressure from compounding COVID headlines at the start of the week and in the run-up to OPEC+ whereby ministers opted to keep production plans despite the Omicron variant and the recent SPR releases. Delving deeper into these themes, desks suggest that a dominant Omicron variant could actually be positive if the strain turns out to be milder than some of its predecessors – with the jury still out but initial reports from India and South Africa suggesting so. Regarding OPEC+, some oil traders suggest the move to maintain plans was more of a political strategy as opposed to an attempt to balance markets, with journalists also suggesting that tensions with the US have simmered down and the prospect of further SPR releases have significantly declined. Further, it's also worth bearing in mind that due to maintenance and underinvestment, the real output hike from OPEC+ producers will likely be under the 400k BPD. In terms of Iranian developments, updates have been less constructive, with sources suggesting that Iran is holding a tougher stance than during the June talks. Negotiations will break today and resume next week. Crude contracts are modestly lower on the week and well-off worst levels, with Brent Feb now back around USD 71.50/bbl (65.72-77.02 weekly range), while WTI Jan resides around USD north of USD 68/bbl (62.43-72.93/bbl). Elsewhere, spot gold and silver vary, with the former finding some overnight support around USD 1,766/oz as risk sentiment erred lower, whilst the cluster of DMAs remain around the USD 1,790-91/oz region. In terms of base metals, LME copper is flat on either side of USD 9,500/t. Overnight, Dalian iron ore futures fell amid a decline in mill demand, whilst China's steel hub Tangshan city is to launch a second-level pollution alert from December 3-10th, the local government said – providing further headwinds for iron demand. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Nov. Change in Nonfarm Payrolls, est. 550,000, prior 531,000 Nov. Change in Private Payrolls, est. 525,000, prior 604,000 Nov. Change in Manufact. Payrolls, est. 45,000, prior 60,000 8:30am: Nov. Unemployment Rate, est. 4.5%, prior 4.6% Nov. Underemployment Rate, prior 8.3% Nov. Labor Force Participation Rate, est. 61.7%, prior 61.6% 8:30am: Nov. Average Hourly Earnings YoY, est. 5.0%, prior 4.9% Nov. Average Hourly Earnings MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.4% Nov. Average Weekly Hours All Emplo, est. 34.7, prior 34.7 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Composite PMI, prior 56.5 Nov. Markit US Services PMI, est. 57.0, prior 57.0 10am: Oct. Factory Orders, est. 0.5%, prior 0.2% Oct. Factory Orders Ex Trans, est. 0.6%, prior 0.7% Oct. Durable Goods Orders, est. -0.5%, prior -0.5% Oct. Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, prior 0.3% Oct. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, prior 0.6% 10am: Nov. ISM Services Index, est. 65.0, prior 66.7 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I got great news yesterday. It was the school Xmas Fayre last weekend and at one stall we had to guess the weight of the school duck that lives in their pond. I spent a long time analysing it outside and was trying to mentally compare it to the weights of my various dumbbells at home. I learnt yesterday that I’d won. My prize? A rubber duck for the bath. In more trivial news I also learnt I was voted no.1 analyst in four categories of the Global Institutional Investor Fixed Income Analyst awards for 2021. So many thanks for all who voted. It is very much appreciated. However in terms of physical mementoes of my achievements yesterday, all I actually have to show for it is a brown rubber duck. Guessing the weight of a duck is a walk in the park at the moment compared to predicting markets. Indeed it’s been a wild week. If you’ve managed to time all the various swings you can surely only have done it via a time machine. If you have done so without one though I will happily hand over my prized rubber duck. By the close of trade, the S&P 500 (+1.42%) had begun to recover following its worst 2-day performance in over a year. The VIX index of volatility ticked back down beneath the 30 mark again, but finished above 25 for the fourth day in five for the first time since December of last year. Meanwhile Oil plunged and then soared on OPEC+ news and curves continued to flatten as 2yr yields got back close to their pre-Omicron levels after a near 20bps round journey over the last week. I’m glad I’m a research analyst not a day trader, and that’s before we get to today’s payrolls print. We’ll start with Omicron, where yesterday predictably saw a number of new countries report confirmed cases for the first time, as well as a second case in the United States during market hours, this one with roots in New York City, which reported more than 11,300 new cases yesterday, the highest daily count since January. After the market closed, an additional five cases were identified in New York, which sent futures over -0.5% lower at the time. They are back to flat as we type possibly helped by a late deal and vote in Congress to fund the US government through to February 18th and avert a shutdown at midnight tonight. Back to the virus and governments continued to ramp up their defence measures, with Germany yesterday announcing a range of fresh restrictions as they grapple with the latest wave, including a requirement that you must either be vaccinated or have recovered from Covid in order to get into restaurants or non-essential stores. There’s also set to be a parliamentary vote on mandatory vaccinations, and incoming Chancellor Scholz said that he expected it to pass. In the US, President Biden announced new measures to fight the impending winter wave and spreading Omicron variant, including tighter testing guidelines for international visitors, wider availability of at home tests, whilst accelerating efforts to get the rest of the world vaccinated. Over in South Africa, the daily case count rose further yesterday, with 11,535 reported, up from 8,561 the previous day and 4,373 the day before that. So definitely one to keep an eye on as we look for clues about what this could mean for the world more broadly. That said, we’re still yet to get the all-important information on how much less or more deadly this might be, as well as how effective vaccines still are and the extent to which it is more transmissible relative to other variants. Back to markets, and the revival in risk appetite led to a fresh selloff in US Treasuries, with the 2yr yield up +6.7bps, and the 10yr yield up +3.7bps. Nevertheless, as mentioned at the top, the latest round of curve flattening has sent the 2s10s slope to its flattest since before the Georgia Senate seat runoff gave Democrats control of Congress. It’s now at just +82.0bps, whilst the 5s30s slope is now at flattest since March 2020, at +55.0bps. So a warning sign for those who believe in the yield curve as a recessionary indicator, albeit with some way to go before that flashes red. In Europe there was also a modest curve flattening, but yields moved lower across the board, with those on 10yr bunds (-2.6bps), OATs (-3.2bps) and BTPs (-5.6bps) all down by the close. Over in equities, there was a decent rebound in the US following the recent selloff, with the S&P 500 (+1.42%) posting a solid gain. It was a very broad-based advance, with over 90% of the index’s members moving higher for the first time since mid-October. Every S&P sector increased, which was enough to compensate for the noticeable lag in mega-cap shares, with the FANG index gaining just +0.15%. The STOXX 600 decreased -1.15%, though that reflected the fact Europe closed ahead of the big reversal in sentiment the previous session. Aside from Omicron, one of the other biggest stories yesterday was the decision by the OPEC+ group to continue with their production hike, which will add a further +400k barrels/day to global supply in January. The news initially sent oil prices sharply lower, with Brent crude falling to an intraday low beneath $66/bbl, before recovering to end the day back at $69.67/bl in light of the group saying that they could adjust their plans “pending further developments of the pandemic”, with the ability to “make immediate adjustments if required”. Even with the bounceback yesterday however, oil has been one of the worst-performing assets over recent weeks, with Brent hitting an intraday high of $86.7/bbl in late-October, followed by a November that marked its worst monthly performance since the pandemic began. Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mostly higher with the KOSPI (+0.86%), Shanghai Composite (+0.58%), CSI (+0.35%) and the Nikkei (+0.29%) up but with the Hang Seng (-0.74%) under pressure amid the ongoing regulatory clampdown in technology from China as Didi prepares to delist on US markets. Looking forward now, the main highlight on today’s calendar is the US jobs report for November, which comes less than two weeks’ away from the Fed’s meeting where they’ll decide on the pace of tapering. In terms of what to expect, our US economists are looking for nonfarm payrolls to grow by +600k, which would be the fastest pace of job growth since July, and that in turn would take the unemployment rate down to a post-pandemic low of 4.4%. Ahead of that, we had another decent weekly claims report (albeit that took place after the jobs report survey period), with the number for the week through November 26 coming in at a stronger-than-expected 222k (vs. 240k expected). The previous week’s number was also revised down -5k, sending the 4-week moving average down to its own post-pandemic low of 238.75k. Looking at yesterday’s other data releases, the Euro Area unemployment rate fell to a post-pandemic low of 7.3% in October, in line with expectations. However producer price inflation shot up even faster than anticipated to +21.9% (vs. 19.0% expected). To the day ahead now, and the aforementioned US jobs report for November will be the highlight. Other data releases include the services and composite PMIs for November from around the world, Euro Area retail sales for October, and in addition from the US, there’s October’s factory orders and the November ISM services index. From central banks, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde and chief economist Lane, the Fed’s Bullard and the BoE’s Saunders. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/03/2021 - 07:55.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 3rd, 2021

Honolulu City Council approves Oahu General Plan updates

Honolulu City Council this week approved an updated Oahu General Plan for the first time since the plan was last amended in 2002. Updates to the General Plan – a long-range planning document that aims to guide land use and development decisions – were first proposed in 2012 and 2017, but have been changed again to reflect a current perspective, with a focus on quality of life and supporting strong communities and neighborhoods. "Oahu’s future is simply too important to pretend we can keep….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsDec 2nd, 2021

Can Libya Become A Global Oil And Gas Power Once Again?

Can Libya Become A Global Oil And Gas Power Once Again? By Simon Watkins of OilPrices.com The decision last week by Libya’s Government of National Unity to approve the sale of Hess Corporation’s stake in the Waha oil concessions could reignite Libya’s oil boom While there may be a short-term drop off in output from Waha, in the long-term it will likely return to their previous impressive levels Ongoing political struggles could hurt the countries oil industry, but recent proposals from the oil and gas ministry on revenue sharing could help reduce those tensions Given the delicate supply and demand balance at play in the oil market, which, as analyzed in-depth in my new book on the global oil markets, is likely to remain for some time, even relatively incremental additions to that supply on the margin can be significant. Last week, the country’s Minister of Gas and Oil, Mohamed Aoun, stated that it plans to increase oil production to 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) and natural gas production to about 4 million cubic feet per day over the next five years. Such an increase is entirely achievable, particularly considering recent deals and related developments, notably Waha. Last week Libya’s Government of National Unity (GNU) approved the sale of the 8.16 percent stake in the country’s giant Waha oil concessions held by the U.S.’s Hess Corporation to the remaining stakeholders. These are France’s TotalEnergies (with a 16.3 percent share), and ConocoPhillips (also 16.3 percent), each of which, according to legal sources close to the deal exclusively spoken to last week by OilPrice.com, will be offered half of Hess’s stake. Short-term, there may be a drop-off in output from Waha of up to 90,000 bpd, as it is in the process of completing pipeline maintenance operations, and after that, another 100,000 bpd may be lost due to ongoing difficulties at the Es Sider port storage facilities. Longer-term, though, the Waha concessions are expected to return to their previous 286,000 bpd crude oil output levels, according to Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC), and the deeper involvement of TotalEnergies, and other foreign firms, in Libya presage a further output increase from there.  There has been ongoing political in-fighting in Libya’s hydrocarbons sector since an agreement was signed on 18 September 2020 between Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the rebel LNA, and elements of Tripoli’s U.N.-recognised GNA to lift the blockade of Libya’s energy infrastructure. However, TotalEnergies in particular has remained committed to its presence in the country. The French company’s chief executive officer, Patrick Pouyanne, has stated repeatedly that it will continue with its efforts to increase oil production from the giant Waha, Sharara, Mabruk, and Al Jurf oil fields by at least 175,000 bpd. TotalEnergies has also agreed to make the development of the Waha-concession North Gialo and NC-98 oil fields a priority, according to the NOC, and these particular concessions have the capacity to produce at least 350,000 bpd together.  As it stands, Libya is producing around 1.2 million bpd, compared to around 70,000 bpd at the time that the September 2020 blockade was still in force. However, there is ample scope to increase this to the 2.1 million bpd target and to hit the informal interim targets of 1.45 million bpd by the end of 2022, and 1.6 million bpd by the end of 2023. It should be remembered that Libya has around 48 billion barrels of proved crude oil reserves – the largest in Africa – and that before the removal of long-time leader, Muammar Gaddafi, in 2011, the country had been easily able to produce around 1.65 million bpd of mostly high-quality light, sweet crude oil. This comprised most notably the Es Sider and Sharara export crudes that are particularly in demand in the Mediterranean and Northwest Europe for their gasoline and middle distillate yields.  Moreover, production had been on a rising production trajectory, up from about 1.4 million bpd in 2000, albeit well below the peak levels of more than 3 million bpd achieved in the late 1960s. This said, the NOC had plans in place before 2011 to roll out enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques to increase crude oil production at maturing oil fields. As such, the NOC’s predictions of being able to increase capacity by around 775,000 bpd through EOR at existing oil fields looked well-founded.  In terms of broader policy, the oil and gas ministry recently sent a series of proposals to the GNU aimed at improving the sector’s organisation in order to attract more investment from foreign companies. Although the ministry did not publically release the details of these proposals, the legal sources spoken to by OilPrice.com last week highlighted that they are broadly in line with the original ideas underpinning the September 2020 agreement. These were aimed in large part at clarifying how oil revenues would be paid and dispersed. Part of this process would be the creation of technical committees with representatives drawn from all sides of the civil conflict. These separate committees would deal with field awards, in tandem with the oil and gas ministry, and the dispersal of oil and gas revenues, in tandem with the ministry and the Central Bank of Libya (in which the revenues are physically held).  Tyler Durden Thu, 12/02/2021 - 12:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 2nd, 2021

This week in bankruptcies: The Hills SF LLC

San Francisco area bankruptcy courts recorded one business filing - including one with total debt above $1 million - during the week that ended November 26, 2021. Year to date through November 26, 2021, the court recorded 91 Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy filings, a -1 percent decrease from the same span the prior year. Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection typically provides for the liquidation of a business’ assets to satisfy creditor claims, while Chapter 11 protection enables a business….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsDec 2nd, 2021

Kirkland"s Reports Third Quarter 2021 Results

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Kirkland's, Inc. (NASDAQ:KIRK) ("Kirkland's" or the "Company"), a specialty retailer of home décor and furnishings, announced financial results for the 13 and 39-week periods ended October 30, 2021. Third Quarter 2021 Financial Summary vs. Prior Year Quarter Net sales decreased 2.0% to $143.6 million, with 3.1% fewer stores Comparable sales decreased 0.7%, including an e-commerce increase of 7.3% Gross profit margin decreased 140 basis points to 34.7% Earnings per diluted share was $0.51 compared to $0.82 Adjusted earnings per diluted share was $0.51 compared to $0.66 EBITDA was $14.1 million compared to $18.9 million Adjusted EBITDA was $14.8 million compared to $18.7 million Operating income was $9.0 million compared to $13.1 million Cash balance of $26.5 million with no outstanding debt; total liquidity of $100.9 million Share repurchases of $16.5 million in the quarter Store count at quarter end of 369 Management Commentary "While the third quarter had its challenges, we remain confident in our overall position as we continue executing upon our long-term transformation strategy," said Steve "Woody" Woodward, president and CEO of Kirkland's. "We experienced softer than expected sales in the final weeks of the quarter but ended with an 8.4% two-year comparable sales increase. We continue to navigate the broader macro issues related to supply chain and labor constraints, which affected year-over-year profitability. Stripping away the incremental freight costs in our supply chain, we continued to achieve gross margin expansion. "Looking at our results through the end of November, we were impacted by inconsistent traffic patterns and broader supply chain constraints. During Black Friday, we saw in-store traffic remain relatively flat on a year-over-year basis, but there was a meaningful decline in e-commerce traffic, which led to a total sales comp decline for the first month of the fiscal fourth quarter. Given our third quarter results, along with continued supply chain headwinds and choppy sales patterns, we are revising our outlook for the remainder of the year. "Despite these headwinds, we are excited about the progress we've been making as we enter 2022. We've started a brand awareness campaign ahead of our rebranding launch to Kirkland's Home, which we expect to take place in the first quarter of 2022. Additionally, we are working to strengthen our digital capabilities within the e-commerce site to further enhance the omnichannel experience for our customers. We are also prioritizing our in-store floor layouts for new furniture and outdoor product assortments that we are rolling out in the first half of the year. We believe having a strong furniture and outdoor merchandise mix will help mitigate our seasonal reliance on holiday shopping and help drive new customer growth going forward. "Overall, we remain on track to achieve our long-term financial targets and are firmly committed to the strategic initiatives we've set forth. Our commitment to optimizing our merchandising assortment, stabilizing margins and driving profitable growth has not wavered, and we firmly believe we are on track to become a high-performance specialty home furnishing retailer with quality products at affordable price points. Although we don't have a clear indication of when supply chain constraints will subside, we are experiencing strong sell-through with the new product assortments that we are able to get to our floor, which gives us further confidence that our merchandise transformation is working and resonating with consumers. We believe we have the necessary infrastructure and team in place to continue executing upon our strategy, ultimately driving long-term shareholder value." Revised Fourth Quarter 2021 Outlook The Company now expects a mid-to-high-single-digit same-store sales decrease for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 and a mid-single digit same-store sales increase for fiscal 2021. With the expected sales decline and freight impact, the Company anticipates earnings in the fourth quarter to be lower than the prior-year period, while still expecting year-over-year earnings growth of approximately 50% for fiscal 2021. Strategic Initiatives and Financial Targets Kirkland's key strategic initiatives include: Accelerating product development to reinforce quality and relevancy as the Company continues its transformation into a specialty retailer where customers are able to furnish their entire home on a budget; Bolstering its omni-channel strategy via website enhancements, more focused marketing spend, an expanded online assortment, and an improved in-store experience; Improving the customer experience with the Company's re-launched loyalty program, extended credit options and broadened delivery options; and Utilizing its leaner infrastructure to be nimbler to changes in consumer preference and buying behaviors. Kirkland's annual financial targets include: Comparable sales growth, driven by e-commerce, merchandise improvements and brick-and-mortar store productivity. The Company expects e-commerce to continue to grow as a percent of its total business to over 50% of sales. The Company also intends to focus on improving the contribution of its remaining store base, which is an integral part of its omni-channel strategy and supports improved profitability of its e-commerce sales. Increasing gross margin by continuing with the Company's current discipline of limited promotional offers, expanding direct sourcing, improving supply chain efficiency and reducing occupancy costs. With improved merchandise quality and to support a better customer experience, the Company will continue to move towards more targeted promotions. Direct sourcing is expected to increase from approximately 20% of purchases in 2020 to 70% by 2025. With these improvements, continued efficiencies in the Company's supply chain and lower occupancy costs, Kirkland's goal is to improve its annual gross profit margin to a mid-to-high 30% range over the next one-to-two years. Improving profitability by leveraging the leaner infrastructure with comparable sales growth. The Company believes its ideal store count should be approximately 350 stores with additional opportunities for more favorable rent terms during ongoing lease renewals. With approximately $45 million in annualized operating expenses eliminated from the business in 2020, the Company expects annual EBITDA as a percent of sales to be in the low-to-mid double-digit range in the next one-to-two years and annual operating income as a percentage of sales to be in the high-single-digit range in the next one-to-two years. Maintaining adequate liquidity and generating free cash flow while continuing to invest in key strategic initiatives and returning excess cash to Kirkland's shareholders. The key strategic initiatives and financial targets are based on current information as of December 2, 2021, and are dependent on, among other things, consumer preferences, economic conditions and Kirkland's own successful execution of these initiatives. The information on which these initiatives and financial targets is based is subject to change, and investors are cautioned that the Company may update the initiatives and targets, or any portion thereof, at any time for any reason. Investor Conference Call and Web Simulcast Kirkland's management will host a conference call to discuss its financial results for the third quarter ended October 30, 2021, followed by a question and answer period with Steve Woodward, president and CEO, and Nicole Strain, CFO. Date: Thursday, December 2, 2021Time: 9:00 a.m. Eastern timeToll-free dial-in number: (855) 560-2577International dial-in number: (412) 542-4163Conference ID: 10162053 Please call the conference telephone number 10-15 minutes prior to the start time. An operator will register your name and organization. If you have any difficulty connecting with the conference call, please contact Gateway Investor Relations at (949) 574-3860. The conference call will be broadcast live and available for replay here and via the investor relations section of the Company's website at www.kirklands.com. The online replay will follow shortly after the call and continue for one year. A telephonic replay of the conference call will be available after the conference call through December 9, 2021. Toll-free replay number: (877) 344-7529International replay number: (412) 317-0088Replay ID: 10162053 About Kirkland's, Inc. Kirkland's, Inc. is a specialty retailer of home décor in the United States, currently operating 369 stores in 35 states as well as an e-commerce website, www.kirklands.com. The Company's stores present a curated selection of distinctive merchandise, including holiday décor, furniture, textiles, wall décor, decorative accessories, art, mirrors, fragrances, and other home decorating items. The Company's stores offer an extensive assortment of holiday merchandise during seasonal periods. The Company provides its customers an engaging shopping experience characterized by affordable home décor and inspirational design ideas. This combination of quality and stylish merchandise, value pricing and a stimulating online and store experience allows customers to furnish their home on a budget. More information can be found at www.kirklands.com. Forward-Looking Statements  Except for historical information contained herein, the statements in this release, including all statements related to future initiatives, financial goals and expectations or beliefs regarding any future period, are forward-looking and made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and are subject to the finalization of the Company's quarterly financial and accounting procedures. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, which may cause Kirkland's actual results to differ materially from forecasted results. Those risks and uncertainties include, among other things, risks associated with the Company's progress and anticipated progress towards its long-term objective and the success of its plans in response to the novel coronavirus ("COVID-19") pandemic, the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on the Company's revenues and supply chain, risks associated with COVID-19 and the governments responses to it, the impact of store closures, the effectiveness of the Company's marketing campaigns, risks related to changes in U.S. policy related to imported merchandise, particularly with regard to the impact of tariffs on goods imported from China and strategies undertaken to mitigate such impact, the Company's ability to retain its senior management team, continued volatility in the price of the Company's common stock, the competitive environment in the home décor industry in general and in Kirkland's specific market areas, inflation, fluctuations in cost and availability of inventory, interruptions in supply chain and distribution systems, including our e-commerce systems and channels, the ability to control employment and other operating costs, availability of suitable retail locations and other growth opportunities, disruptions in information technology systems including the potential for security breaches of Kirkland's or its customers' information, seasonal fluctuations in consumer spending, and economic conditions in general. Those and other risks are more fully described in Kirkland's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K filed on March 26, 2021 and subsequent reports. Forward-looking statements included in this release are made as of the date of this release. Any changes in assumptions or factors on which such statements are based could produce materially different results. Kirkland's disclaims any obligation to update any such factors or to publicly announce results of any revisions to any of the forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect future events or developments. Contact: Kirkland's Gateway Investor Relations              Nicole Strain Cody Slach and Cody Cree (615) 872-4800 KIRK@gatewayir.com (949) 574-3860   KIRKLAND'S, INC. UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED CONDENSED STATEMENTS OF INCOME (In thousands, except per share data) 13-Week Period Ended October 30, October 31, 2021 2020 Net sales $ 143,630 $ 146,609 Cost of sales 93,817 93,738 Gross profit 49,813 52,871 Operating expenses: Compensation and benefits 19,549 21,343 Other operating expenses 19,145 16,682 Depreciation (exclusive of depreciation included in cost of sales) 1,655 1,613 Asset impairment 444 177 Total operating expenses 40,793 39,815 Operating income 9,020 13,056 Other (income) expense, net (9) 9 Income before income taxes 9,029 13,047 Income tax expense 1,800 691 Net income $ 7,229 $ 12,356 Earnings per share: Basic $ 0.54 $ 0.87 Diluted $ 0.51 $ 0.82 Weighted average shares outstanding: Basic 13,405 14,249 Diluted 14,268 15,075   KIRKLAND'S, INC. UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED CONDENSED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS (In thousands, except per share data) 39-Week Period Ended October 30, October 31, 2021 2020 Net sales $ 381,989 $ 348,578 Cost of sales 252,223 249,751 Gross profit 129,766 98,827 Operating expenses: Compensation and benefits 60,326 60,157 Other operating expenses 52,491 44,843 Depreciation (exclusive of depreciation included in cost of sales).....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaDec 2nd, 2021

Futures Rebound Fizzles On Slowing iPhone Demand, Omicron Fears

Futures Rebound Fizzles On Slowing iPhone Demand, Omicron Fears U.S. index futures regained some ground alongside Asian markets while European stocks slumped to session lows in a delayed response to yesterday's late Omicron-driven US selloff, as markets remained volatile following the biggest two-day plunge in more than a year, spurred by concern about the omicron coronavirus variant and Federal Reserve tightening. Investors await data for unemployment claims, as well as earnings from companies including Dollar General and Kroger. Tech is the weakest sector, dropping in sympathy after Apple warned its suppliers of slowing iPhone demand. Nasdaq futures pared earlier gains of up to 0.8% to trade down 0.1% while S&P futures are only 0.2% higher after rising as much as 0.9%. While the knee-jerk reaction of stock investors may “continue to be to take profits before the end of the year,” there is “plenty of liquidity available to drive stock prices higher as dip-buyers enter the market,” Ed Yardeni wrote in a note. The U.S. economy grew at a modest to moderate pace through mid-November, while price hikes were widespread amid supply-chain disruptions and labor shortages, the Federal Reserve said in its Beige Book survey Tuesday. Cruise-ship operator Carnival jumped 3.8% in premarket trading, while Pfizer and Moderna fell as the World Health Organization said that existing vaccines will likely protect against severe cases of the variant. Boeing contracts gained 3.4% after a report that the flagship 737 Max aircraft has regained airworthiness approval in China. With lots of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and Fed policy, the size of potential market swings is still considerable.  Here are some other notable premarket movers today: Apple (AAPL US) shares fell 1.8% in premarket trading after the iPhone maker was said to tell suppliers that demand for its flagship product has slowed. Wall Street analysts, however, remained bullish. U.S. stocks tied to former President Donald Trump rise in premarket trading following a report his media group is in talks to raise new financing. Digital World Acquisition (DWAC US) +24%, Phunware (PHUN US) +38%. Katapult (KPLT US) shares sink 14% in premarket after the financial technology firm said its gross originations over a two-month period were lower than 2020 levels. Vir (VIR US) shares jump 8.1% in premarket trading after its Covid-19 antibody treatment, co-developed with Glaxo, looked to be effective against the new omicron variant in early testing. Snowflake (SNOW US) is up 17% premarket following quarterly results that impressed analysts, though some raise questions over the data software company’s valuation. CrowdStrike (CRWD US) shares jumped 5.1% in premarket after it boosted its revenue forecast for the full year. Square’s (SQ US) shares are 0.4% higher premarket. Corporate name change to Block Inc. indicates “a symbolic rebirth,” according to Barclays as it shows a broader set of possibilities than those of a pure payments company. Okta’s (OKTA US) shares advanced in postmarket trading. 3Q results show the cybersecurity company is well- positioned to deliver growth, even if some analysts say its guidance looks conservative and that its growth was not as strong as in prior quarters. The Omicron variant also hurt risk appetite, making the safe-haven bonds more attractive to investors, pushing yields down - although yields picked up again in early European trading. Volatility in equity markets as measured by the Vix hit its highest since February on Wednesday, before easing on Thursday, but remained well above this year’s average and almost twice as high as a month ago. Investors are braced for volatility to continue through December, stirred by tightening central-bank policies to fight inflation just as the omicron variant complicates the outlook for the pandemic recovery. The recent market turmoil may offer investors a chance to position for a trend reversal in reopening and commodity trades, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. "Investors will need to maintain their calm during a period of uncertainty until the scientific data give a clearer picture of which scenario we face," said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management in Zurich. “This, in turn, will help shape the reaction of central bankers." Also weighing on stock markets, and flattening the U.S. yield curve, were remarks by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who said that he would consider a faster end to the Fed's bond-buying programme, which could open the door to earlier interest rate hikes. In his second day of testimony in Congress on Wednesday, Powell reiterated that the U.S. central bank needs to be ready to respond to the possibility that inflation does not recede in the second half of next year. read more "In this past what we’ve seen is central banks using COVID as an excuse to remain dovish, and what we're seeing is central banks turn hawkish despite rising concerns around COVID, so it is a bit of a shift in communication," said Mohammed Kazmi, portfolio manager at UBP.  That said, the market is now so oversold, this is where we usually see aggressive dip-buying. In Europe, tech companies were the worst performers after Apple warned its component suppliers of slowing demand for its iPhone 13, the news dragged index heavyweight ASML Holding NV more than 4%. Meanwhile, travel shares were among the worst performers as the omicron variant continued to pop upin countries around the world, including the U.S., Norway, Ireland and South Korea. The Euro Stoxx 50 dropped as much as 1.7% while the Stoxx 600 Index fell 1.5%, extending declines to trade at a session low, with all sectors in the red and led lower by technology and travel stocks. The Stoxx 600 Technology Index slumped as much as 3.9%, the most in two months. Vifor Pharma surged by a record 18% following a report that Australia’s CSL is in advanced talks to acquire Swiss drugmaker. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Vifor Pharma shares rise as much as 18% on a report that Australia’s CSL is in advanced talks to acquire the Swiss-based drug maker and developer while working with BofA on a A$4 billion funding package. Argenx jumps as much as 9.5% after Kepler Cheuvreux upgrades the stock to buy, saying the biotech company is on the brink of launching its first commercial product. Duerr gains as much as 7.2%, most since Aug. 10, after Deutsche Bank upgrades to buy and sets aa Street-high PT of EU60 for the German engineering company, citing the digitalization of the industry. Daily Mail & General Trust rises as much as 3.9% after Rothermere Continuation raised its bid for all DMGT’s Class A shares by 5.9% to 270p a share in cash. Klarabo surges as much as 54% as shares start trading on Nasdaq Stockholm after the Swedish property company raised SEK750m in an IPO. Eurofins Scientific declines for a fourth session, falling as much as 3.2%, as Goldman Sachs downgrades the company to neutral from buy “following strong outperformance YTD.” Deliveroo drops as much as 6.4% after an offering of 17.6m shares by CEO Will Shu and CFO Adam Miller at a price of 278p a share, representing a 4.2% discount to the last close. M&S falls as much as 3.4% after UBS cut its rating to neutral from buy, citing limited upside to its new price target as well as “little room for meaningful upgrades.” Earlier in the session, Asian stocks erased an earlier loss to trade slightly up, as traders continued to assess the potential impact of the omicron virus strain and the Federal Reserve’s efforts to keep inflation in check.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.2% after falling 0.4% in the morning. South Korea led regional gains, helped by large-cap chipmakers, while Japan was among the worst performers after the government dropped a plan for a blanket halt to all new incoming flight reservations. Asia’s equity benchmark is still down about 4% so far this year after rebounding in the past two sessions from a one-year low reached earlier this week. Despite the region’s underperformance against the U.S. and Europe, cheap valuations and foreign-investor positioning have prompted brokerages including Credit Suisse Group AG and Nomura Securities Co. Ltd. to turn bullish on Asia’s prospects next year. “Equity markets continue to play omicron tennis and traders looking for short-term direction should just wait for the next virus headline and then act accordingly,” said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at Oanda Corp. “Volatility, and not market direction, will be the winner this week.” Chinese technology shares including Alibaba Group Holding slid after Beijing was said to be planning to close a loophole used by the sector to go public abroad, fueling concern over existing overseas listings. Japanese equities declined, following U.S. peers lower after the first American case of the omicron coronavirus variant was confirmed. Electronics makers and telecoms were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 0.5%. SoftBank Group and TDK were the largest contributors to a 0.7% loss in the Nikkei 225.  The S&P 500 posted its worst two-day selloff since October 2020 after the first U.S. case of the new strain was reported. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterated that officials should consider a quicker reduction of monetary stimulus amid elevated inflation. “Truth is, there’s probably a lot of people who are wanting to buy stocks at some point,” said Naoki Fujiwara, chief fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management. “But, with omicron still an unknown, people are responding sensitively to news development, and that’s keeping them from buying.” India’s benchmark equity index climbed for a second day, led by software exporters, on an improving economic outlook and as investors grabbed some beaten-down stocks after recent declines. The S&P BSE Sensex Index rose 1.4% to close at 58,461.29 in Mumbai, the biggest advance since Nov. 1. Its two-day gains increased to 2.5%, the most since Aug. 31. The NSE Nifty 50 Index also surged by a similar magnitude. All of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. were up, led by a gauge of utilities companies. “India underperformed the global markets in recent weeks. Investors are now going for value buying in stocks at lower levels,” said A. K. Prabhakar, head of research at IDBI Capital Market Services. The Sensex gained in three of the past four sessions after plunging 2.9% on Friday, the biggest drop since April. The rally, however, is in contrast to most global peers which are witnessing volatility on worries over the spread of the omicron variant. High frequency indicators in India, such as tax collection and manufacturing activities, have shown robust growth in recent months, while the country’s economy expanded 8.4% in the quarter ended in September, according to an official data release on Tuesday. Mortgage lender HDFC contributed the most to the Sensex’s gain, increasing 3.9%. Out of 30 shares in the index, 27 rose and three fell. In rates, trading has been relatively quiet as bunds and gilts bull steepen a touch with risk offered, while cash TSYs bear flatten, cheapening ~5bps across the curve.Treasuries retraced part of yesterday’s rally that sent the benchmark 30-year rate to the lowest since early January. A large buyer of 5-year U.S. Treasury options targets the yield dropping around 17bps. 5s10s, 5s30s spreads flattened by ~1bp and ~2bp to multimonth lows; 10-year yields around 1.43%, cheaper by more than 3bp on the day while bunds and gilt yields are richer by ~1bp. Front-end and belly of the curve underperform vs long-end, while bunds and gilts outperform Treasuries. With little economic data slated, speeches by several Fed officials are main focal points. Peripheral spreads tighten with 10y Spain outperforming after well received auctions, albeit with a small size on offer. U.S. economic data slate includes November Challenger job cuts (7:30am) and initial jobless claims (8:30am) In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell to a day low in the European session and the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers as most crosses consolidated in recent ranges. Two-week implied volatility in the major currencies trades in the green Thursday as it now captures the next policy decisions by the world’s major central banks. Euro- dollar on the tenor rises by as much as 138 basis points to touch 8.22%, highest in a year; the relative premium, however, remains below parity as realized has risen to levels unseen since August 2020. The pound rose along with some other risk- sensitive currencies following the British currency’s three-day slump against the dollar. Long-end gilts underperformed, leading to some steepening of the curve. The yen fell for the first day in three while the Swiss franc fell a second day. The Hungarian forint rose to almost a three-week high after the central bank in Budapest raised the one-week deposit rate by 20 basis points to 3.10%. Economists in a Bloomberg survey were evenly split in predicting a 10 or 20 basis point increase. The Turkish lira resumed its slump after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan abruptly replaced his finance minister amid deepening rifts in the administration over aggressive interest-rate cuts that have undermined the currency and fueled inflation. Poland’s central bank Governor Adam Glapinski sent the zloty to a three-week high against the euro on Thursday with his changed rhetoric on inflation, which he no longer sees as transitory after prices surged at the fastest pace in more than two decades. Currency market volatility also rose, with euro-dollar one-month volatility gauges below Monday's one-year peak but still at elevate levels . "Liquidity in some areas of the market is still quite poor as people grapple with this news and as we head towards year-end, a lot of it is really liquidity driven, which is leading to some volatility," said UBP's Kazmi. "Even in the most liquid market of the U.S. treasury market we've seen some fairly large moves on very little newsflow at times." In commodities, crude futures extend Asia’s gains. WTI adds 2.2% near $67, Brent near $70.50 ahead of today’s OPEC+ meeting. Spot gold finds support near Tuesday’s, recovering somewhat to trade near $1,774/oz. Base metals are mixed: LME aluminum drops as much as 1.1%, nickel, zinc and tin hold in the green Looking at the day ahead now, and central bank speakers include the Fed’s Quarles, Bostic, Daly and Barkin, as well as the ECB’s Panetta. Data releases include the Euro Area unemployment rate and PPI inflation for October, while there’s also the weekly initial jobless claims. Lastly, the OPEC+ group will be meeting. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,540.25 STOXX Europe 600 down 1.0% to 466.37 MXAP up 0.2% to 192.07 MXAPJ up 0.7% to 629.36 Nikkei down 0.7% to 27,753.37 Topix down 0.5% to 1,926.37 Hang Seng Index up 0.5% to 23,788.93 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,573.84 Sensex up 1.3% to 58,436.52 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.1% to 7,225.18 Kospi up 1.6% to 2,945.27 Brent Futures up 2.4% to $70.53/bbl Gold spot down 0.6% to $1,771.73 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.03 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.35% Euro little changed at $1.1320 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester said she’s “very open” to scaling back the Fed’s asset purchases at a faster pace so it can raise interest rates a couple of times next year if needed A United Nations gauge of global food prices rose 1.2% last month, threatening to make it more expensive for households to put a meal on the table. It’s more evidence of inflation soaring in the world’s largest economies and may make it even harder for the poorest nations to import food, worsening a hunger crisis Germany is poised to clamp down on people who aren’t vaccinated against Covid-19 and drastically curtail social contacts to ease pressure on increasingly stretched hospitals Some investors buffeted by concerns about tighter monetary policy are turning their sights to China’s battered junk bonds, given they offer some of the biggest yield buffers anywhere in global credit markets Pfizer Inc. says data on how well its Covid-19 vaccine protects against the omicron variant should be available within two to three weeks, an executive said GlaxoSmithKline Plc said its Covid-19 antibody treatment looks to be effective against the new omicron variant in early testing A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded tentatively following the declines on Wall St where all major indices extended on losses and selling was exacerbated on confirmation of the first Omicron case in the US, while the Asia-Pac region also contended with its own pandemic concerns. ASX 200 (-0.2%) was subdued amid heavy losses in the tech sector and with a surge of infections in Victoria state, although downside in the index was cushioned amid inline Retail Sales and Trade Balance, as well as M&A optimism after Woolworths made a non-binding indicative proposal for Australian Pharmaceutical Industries. Nikkei 225 (-0.7%) weakened after the government instructed airlines to halt inbound flight bookings for a month due to fears of the new variant and with auto names also pressured by declines in monthly sales amid the chip supply crunch. KOSPI (+1.6%) showed resilience amid expectations for lawmakers to pass a record budget today and recouped opening losses despite the record increase in daily infections and confirmation of its first Omicron cases, while the index also shrugged off the highest CPI reading in a decade which effectively supports the case for further rate increases by the BoK. Hang Seng (+0.6%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.1%) were choppy following another liquidity drain by the PBoC and with tech pressured in Hong Kong as Alibaba shares extended on declines after recently slipping to a 4-year low in its US listing. Beijing regulatory tightening also provided a headwind as initial reports suggested China is to crack down on loopholes used by tech firms for foreign IPOs, although this was later refuted by China, and the CBIRC is planning stricter regulations on major shareholders of banks and insurance companies, as well as confirmed it will better regulate connected transactions of banks. Finally, 10yr JGBs were higher as prices tracked gains in global counterparts and amid the risk aversion in Japan, although prices are off intraday highs after hitting resistance during a brief incursion to the 152.00 level and despite the marginally improved metrics from 10yr JGB auction. Top Asian News Asia Stocks Swing as Investors Weigh Omicron Impact, Fed Views Apple Tells Suppliers IPhone Demand Slowing as Holidays Near Moody’s Cuts China Property Sales View on Financing Difficulties Faith in Singapore Leaders Hit by Record Covid Wave, Poll Shows Bourses across Europe have held onto losses seen at the cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 -1.4%; Stoxx -1.2%), as the region plays catchup to the downside seen on Wall Street – seemingly sparked by a concoction of hawkish Fed rhetoric and the discovery of the Omicron variant in the US. Nonetheless, US equity futures are firmer across the board but to varying degrees – with the cyclical RTY (+1.1%) and the NQ (+0.3%) the current laggard. European futures ahead of the cash open saw some mild fleeting impetus on reports GlaxoSmithKline's (-0.3%) COVID treatment Sotrovimab retains its activity against Omicron variant, and the UK MHRA simultaneously approved the use of Sotrovimab – but caveated that it is too early to know whether Omicron has any impact on effectiveness. Conversely, brief risk-off crept into the market following commentary from a South African Scientist who warned the country is seeing an exponential rise in new COVID cases with a predominance of Omicron variant across the country – with the variant causing the fastest ever community transmission - but expects fewer active cases and hospitalisations this wave. Back to Europe, Euro indices see broad-based losses whilst the downside in the FTSE 100 (-0.7%) is less severe amid support from its heavyweight Oil & Gas sector – the outperforming sector in the region. Delving deeper, sectors see no overarching theme nor bias – Food & Beverages, Autos and Banks are towards the top of the bunch, whilst Tech, Telecoms, and Travel &Leisure. Tech is predominantly weighed on by reports that Apple (-2% pre-market) reportedly told iPhone component suppliers that demand slowed down. As such ASML (-5.0%), STMicroelectronics (-4.4%) and Infineon (-3.6%) reside among the biggest losers in the Stoxx 600. Deliveroo (-5.3%) is softer following an offering of almost 18mln at a discount to yesterday's close. In terms of market commentary, Morgan Stanley believes that inflation will remain high over the next few months, in turn supporting commodities, financials and some cyclical sectors. The bank identifies beneficiaries including EDF (-1.5%), Engie (-1.2%), SSE (-0.2%), Legrand (-1.3%), Tesco (-0.5%), BT (-0.8%), Michelin (-1.6%) and Sika (-0.9%). Top European News Shell Kicks Off First Wave of Buybacks From Permian Sale Omicron Threatens to Prolong Pain in Bid to Vaccinate the World Apple, Suppliers Drop Premarket After Report Demand Slowed Valeo, Gestamp Gain After Barclays Raises to Overweight In FX, currency markets are still in a state of flux, or limbo bar a few exceptions, and the Greenback is gyrating against major peers awaiting the next major event that could provide clearer direction and a more decisive range break. Thursday’s agenda offers some scope on that front via US initial jobless claims and a host of Fed speakers, but in truth NFP tomorrow is probably more likely to be influential even though chair Powell has effectively given the green light to fast-track tapering from December. In the interim, the index continues to keep a relatively short leash around 96.000, and is holding within 96.138-95.895 confines so far today. JPY/CHF - Although risk considerations look supportive for the Yen, on paper, UST-JGB/Fed-BoJ differentials coupled with technical impulses are keeping Usd/Jpy buoyant on the 113.00 handle, with additional demand said to have come from Japanese exporters overnight. However, the headline pair may run into offers/resistance circa 113.50 and any breach could be capped by decent option expiry interest spanning 113.60-75 (1.5 bn). Similarly, the Franc has slipped back below 0.9200 on yield and Swiss/US Central Bank policy stances plus near term outlooks, and hardly helped by a slowdown in retail sales. GBP/CAD/NZD - All firmer vs their US counterpart, though again well within recent admittedly wide ranges, and the Pound perhaps more attuned to Eur/Gbp fluctuations as the cross retreats to retest 0.8500 and Cable rebounds to have another look at 1.3300 where a fairly big option expiry resides (850 mn). Indeed, Sterling has largely shrugged off the latest BoE Monthly Decision Maker Panel release that in truth did not deliver any clues on what is set to be another knife-edge MPC gathering in December. Elsewhere, the Loonie is straddling 1.2800 with eyes on WTI crude ahead of Canadian jobs data on Friday and the Kiwi is hovering above 0.6800 after weaker NZ Q3 terms of trade were offset to some extent by favourable Aud/Nzd headwinds. AUD/EUR - Both narrowly mixed against US Dollar, with the Aussie pivoting 0.7100 in wake of roughly in line trade and retail sales data overnight, but wary about the latest virus outbreak in the state of Victoria, while the Euro is sitting somewhat uncomfortably on the 1.1300 handle amidst softer EGB yields and heightened uncertainty about what the ECB might or might not do in December on the QE guidance front. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures are firmer intraday as traders gear up for the JMMC and OPEC+ confabs at 12:00GMT and 13:00GMT, respectively. The jury is still split on what the final decision could be, but the case for OPEC+ to pause the planned monthly relaxation of output curbs by 400k BPD has been strengthening against the backdrop of Omicron coupled with the coordinated SPR releases (an updating Rolling Headline is available on the Newsquawk headline feed). As expected, OPEC sources have been testing the waters in the run-up, whilst yesterday's JTC/OPEC meetings largely surrounded the successor to the Secretary-General position. Oil market price action will likely be centred around OPEC+ today in the absence of any macro shocks. WTI Jan resides around USD 66.50/bbl (vs low USD 65.41/bbl) whilst Brent Feb briefly topped USD 70/bbl (vs low USD 68.73/bbl). Elsewhere, spot gold has eased further from the USD 1,800/oz after failing to sustain a break above the 50, 100 and 200 DMAs which have all converged to USD 1,791/oz today. LME copper is on the backfoot amid the cautious risk sentiment, with the red metal back under USD 9,500/t but off overnight lows. US Event Calendar 7:30am: Nov. Challenger Job Cuts -77.0% YoY, prior -71.7% 8:30am: Nov. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 240,000, prior 199,000; 8:30am: Nov. Continuing Claims, est. 2m, prior 2.05m 9:45am: Nov. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 52.2 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap With investors remaining on tenterhooks to find out some definitive information on the Omicron variant, yesterday saw markets continue to see-saw for a 4th day running. Following one of the biggest sell-offs of the year on Friday, we then had a partial bounceback on Monday, another bout of fears on Tuesday (not helped by the prospect of faster tapering), and yesterday saw another rally back before risk sentiment turned sharply later in the day as an initial case of the Omicron variant was discovered in the US. You can get some idea of this by the fact that Europe’s STOXX 600 (+1.71%) posted its best daily performance since May, whereas the S&P 500 moved from an intraday high where it had been up +1.88%, before shedding all those gains and more to close -1.18% lower. In fact, that decline means the S&P has now lost over -3% in the last two sessions, marking its worst 2-day performance in over a year, and this heightened volatility saw the VIX index close back above 30 for the first time since early February. In terms of developments about Omicron, we’re still in a waiting game for some concrete stats, but there was positive news early on from the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, who said that they think vaccines “will still protect against severe disease as they have against the other variants”. On the other hand, there was further negative news out of South Africa, as the country reported 8,561 infections over the previous day, with a positivity rate of 16.5%. That’s up from 4,373 cases the day before, and 2,273 the day before that, so all eyes will be on whether this trend continues, and also on what that means for hospitalisation and death rates over the days ahead. Against this backdrop, calls for fresh restrictions mounted across a range of countries, particularly on the travel side. In the US, it’s been reported already by the Washington Post that President Biden could today announce stricter testing requirements for arriving travellers. Meanwhile, France is moving to require non-EU arrivals to show a negative test before arrival, irrespective of their vaccination status. The EU Commission further said that member states should conduct daily reviews of essential travel restrictions, and Commission President von der Leyen also said that the EU should discuss the topic of mandatory vaccinations. There was also a Bloomberg report that German Chancellor Merkel would recommend mandatory vaccinations from February 2022, according to a Chancellery paper that they’d obtained. That came as Slovakia sought to incentivise vaccination uptake among older citizens, with the cabinet backing a €500 hospitality voucher for residents over 60 who’ve been vaccinated. As on Tuesday, the other main headlines yesterday were provided by Fed Chair Powell, who re-emphasised his more hawkish rhetoric around inflation before the House Financial Services Committee. Notably he said that “We’ve seen inflation be more persistent. We’ve seen the factors that are causing higher inflation to be more persistent”, though yields on 2yr Treasuries (-1.4bps) already had the shift in stance priced in. New York Fed President Williams echoed that view in an interview, noting it would be germane to discuss and decide whether it was appropriate to accelerate the pace of tapering at the December FOMC. 10yr yields (-4.1bps) continued their decline, predominantly driven by the turn in sentiment following the negative Omicron headlines. That latest round of curve flattening left the 2s10s slope at its flattest level since early January around the time of the Georgia Senate race that ushered in the prospect of much larger fiscal stimulus. In terms of markets elsewhere, strong data releases helped to support risk appetite earlier in yesterday’s session, with investors also looking forward to tomorrow’s US jobs report for November that will be an important one ahead of the Fed’s decision in less than a couple of weeks’ time. The ISM manufacturing release for November saw the headline number come in roughly as expected at 61.1 (vs. 61.2 expected), and also included a rise in both the new orders (61.5) and the employment (53.3) components relative to last month. Separately, the ADP’s report of private payrolls for November likewise came in around expectations, with a +534k gain (vs. +526k expected). Staying on the US, one thing to keep an eye out over the next 24 hours will be any news on a government shutdown, with funding currently set to run out by the weekend as it stands. The headlines yesterday weren’t promising for those hoping for an uneventful, tidy resolution, as Politico indicated that some Congressional Republicans would not agree to an expedited process to fund the government should certain vaccine mandates remain in place. An expedited process is necessary to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the week, so one to watch. After the incredibly divergent equity performances in the US and Europe, we’ve seen a much more mixed performance in Asia overnight, with the KOSPI (+1.09%), Hang Seng (+0.23%), and CSI (+0.23%) all advancing, whereas the Shanghai Composite (-0.05%) and the Nikkei (-0.60%) are trading lower. In terms of the latest on Omicron, authorities in South Korea confirmed five cases, which came as the country also reported that CPI in November rose to its fastest since December 2011, at +3.7% (vs +3.1% expected). Separately in China, 53 local Covid-19 cases were reported in Inner Mongolia, whilst Harbin province reported 3 local cases. Looking forward, futures are indicating a positive start in the US with those on the S&P 500 (+0.64%) pointing higher. Back in Europe, sovereign bonds lost ground yesterday, and yields on 10yr bunds (+0.5bps), OATs (+1.1bps) and BTPs (+4.2bps) continued to move higher. Interestingly, there was a continued widening in peripheral spreads, with the gap between both Italian and Spanish 10yr yields over bunds reaching their biggest level in over a year, at 135bps and 77bps, respectively. Another factor to keep an eye on in Europe is another round of increases in natural gas prices, with futures up +3.42% to their highest level since mid-October yesterday. Lastly on the data front, the main other story was the release of the manufacturing PMIs from around the world. We’d already had the flash readings from a number of the key economies, so they weren’t too surprising, but the Euro Area came in at 58.4 (vs. flash 58.6), Germany came in at 57.4 (vs. flash 57.6), and the UK came in at 58.1 (vs. flash 58.2). One country that saw a decent upward revision was France, with the final number at 55.9 (vs. flash 54.6), which marks an end to 5 successive monthly declines in the French manufacturing PMI. One other release were German retail sales for October, which unexpectedly fell -0.3% (vs. +0.9% expected). To the day ahead now, and central bank speakers include the Fed’s Quarles, Bostic, Daly and Barkin, as well as the ECB’s Panetta. Data releases include the Euro Area unemployment rate and PPI inflation for October, while there’s also the weekly initial jobless claims. Lastly, the OPEC+ group will be meeting. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/02/2021 - 07:57.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 2nd, 2021

Germany Falls Completely To Davos

Germany Falls Completely To Davos Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog, If anyone was under any illusions that Germany wasn’t completely under the control of the Davos Crowd then I think this article from Politico should burn that perception into your retinas. The article details what’s in the new German government’s agreement between the parties. It lays out the goals of the coalition as well as the roadmap for its policy priorities. In short, this is literally a laundry list of everything Davos has been demanding and it ensures the complete neutering or submission of the FDP’s Christian Lindner to the Davos agenda. I’m not going to go through them all point by point, the Politico article does that well enough. What’s important here is that in light of the media release of OmicronVID-9/11 that the new German government is keen on serving its Davos masters agenda fully. Even though OmicronVID-9/11 looks to be the mildest and least interesting strain of COVID-9/11 that isn’t deterring European governments from announcing enforced vaccination programs, including from Germany’s new, fragile coalition. NEW - Designated Minister of Justice, Buschmann (FDP), wants to have the parliament vote on compulsory vaccination for the population in Germany. — Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) November 29, 2021 This tweet confirms that Lindner fully caved here. New Chancellor Olaf Scholz and a majority of state Presidents are pushing this legislation into the Bundestag as I write. Sadly, no one should really be surprised by this. While I hoped Lindner would be the thorn in Davos’ side in Germany, it doesn’t look that way at all. This cave was presaged by the ‘retirement’ of uber monetary hawk, Jens Wiedmann, as President of the Bundesbank ‘to spend time with his family.’ Yeah, pull the other one Jens, it plays “Jingle Bells.” The best Lindner can do under the circumstances is slow the roll out of this but he won’t do it now unless this compulsory vaccination program pushes through the Bundestag and is deeply unpopular with German voters. But, back to the coalition agreement. This is a document that reads like a German takeover of the entire continent. And I guess that was the bribe offered the FDP to go along with this. On the surface it cements the idea that Germany is in charge of the EU’s evolution from a collection of independent states into a full political and fiscal union which supersedes all national government considerations. But, at the same time it will further erode any sovereignty left in Germany, as well as any other EU member state. Davos is clear about what the plan here is, full evolution of the EU into a transnational bureaucratic superstate with zero direct accountability of its leadership to the people. Expecting this coalition to back down, for example, on “Rule-of-Law” issues with Poland and Hungary is a fantasy.  If anything, now Berlin is giving Brussels a blank check to go after these two countries harder than ever. And the clincher to that argument is in these two provisions highlighted below: More broadly, the three parties set the highly ambitious goal of changing the EU’s treaties. The deal says the ongoing Conference on the Future of Europe — a discussion forum for possible EU reforms — “should lead to a constitutional convention and the further development of a federal European state.” That stance won’t go down well in some other EU capitals like Warsaw or Budapest, which would likely veto any such moves. On foreign policy and defense, the treaty demands a reform of the EU’s foreign policy division, the European External Action Service. And it pushes the EU to move away from requiring unanimity for all foreign policy moves — a barrier the bloc has struggled to overcome on basic matters like issuing statements on China’s crackdown in Hong Kong. Moreover, to sell this transformation into a depraved technocracy, the Germans will push for more direct democratic ‘elections’ across the entire bloc to decide on leadership within the European Commission. Look everyone! Democracy! This is simply a stalking horse for getting further political integration as the national governments still control who represents them on the Commission. Since, as we’ve seen time and again, Davos and the EU are in full control of the party apparatuses in each major country and the people’s loyalty so split up across five to seven parties in each of these countries, elections themselves are a complete joke since the coalitions that end up ruling look nothing like what the majority of the people actually voted for, c.f. Italy, Chechia, Austria. Davos controls the governing coalitions in every country other than Hungary and Poland. This is an illusion of more democracy and furthering ‘European values’ while cementing total control within the Brussels bureaucracy. The most insidious thing in the document to me is Germany’s call for ending unanimity within the European Council on foreign policy matters.  This is where both Hungary and Poland have been able to fight off the worst advances by Brussels for years and retain some semblance of independence. By holding EU foreign policy hostage multiple times in recent years, both countries have been able to slow down and/or force course corrections onto Brussels while retaining some semblance of their autonomy. These have been attrition moves by Prime Ministers Orban and Morawiecki hoping to outlast the EU while popular uprisings against Brussels matured. But Poland has repeatedly betrayed its Visigrad neighbors with its virulent Russophobia which the Eurocrats and the British have used time and again to their advantage. The Poles continue to play footsie trying to play the EU off Russia to get what they want, but all that ends up happening is they bind themselves tighter in the EU’s geopolitical Chinese finger trap while alienating the Russians even further. If the Germans are able to push this through, by the complete rewriting of the European Treaties as advocated by this coalition agreement, then during their time in office they will have completed the transformation of the EU into the EUSSR for all intents and purposes. This agreement is worse than any version I could have expected given the FDP’s involvement in this.  The pressure on Lindner must be immense and he likely went along with this, like many, hoping he can at least slow this down by withholding the purse strings. With AfD not rallying into the September elections, there simply wasn’t the political will to oppose what is happening at this point. That may change in 2022 as things progress from here so German polling will bear very close scrutiny. That said, I suspect this agreement will go down very well with German voters as it looks like one in which Germany’s power within the EU, which they are still overwhelmingly in favor of, expands greatly. Notice, however, how quickly Olaf Scholz, the new Chancellor, after rejecting Merkel’s call for new lockdowns over COVID-19 last week and looking surprisingly independent, changed course with the release of OmicronVID-9/11 this week. In the end, this is close to the government Davos wanted.  The FDP can still be a wildcard here depending on how the polls in Germany shift over the next six months. But it looks pretty obvious at this point there is no will to move against the Davos agenda of crashing the European economy and destroying capital formation absent a full takeover of EU institutions first. The dangerous buildup of tensions in Ukraine with Russia over the breakaway republics of the Donbass is inextricably linked to this shift in Germany’s governance. As are the wranglings over the Nordstream 2 pipeline, which the Scholz government is in favor of. As always, the EU and Davos want Russia as their energy supplier but as a vassal not as a partner. If anyone is using Nordstream 2 as a political tool over the rest of Europe it is Germany, not Russia, as they will control the distribution of gas internally after Nordstream 2 is live, not Russia. They will use that as a cudgel to get through many of these policy prescriptions. I am still convinced that Nordstream 2 will be live, delivering gas soon. It may take further negotiations to get it done but it will happen. Don’t discount Germany leaking the letter to the U.S. Congress lobbying them not to further sanction the pipeline because it will do irreparable damage to U.S./German relations. Whether morons like Ted Cruz (R-TX) finally get this or not is still unknown. With the power vacuum at the top of the U.S. political system, where the Neocon Flying Monkeys are being allowed to bring us to the brink of a NATO war with Russia over Ukraine, all bets are off as to what happens next. I still feel a real sovereign debt crisis is on the horizon and with FOMC Chair Jerome Powell putting the final nail in the coffin of the “transitory inflation” narrative, it’s clear that the U.S. political faction hostile to selling the country out to Obama and Davos are winning.   And because of this the new German coalition staking their flag in the ground saying, “if EU integration is going to happen, it’s going to happen somewhat on terms we control,” may actually be too little, too late. Lindner may not be privy to everything going on here either. If he isn’t aware of the nuances at play it may explain why he went along with this insanity. Once he, like Powell and a few others here in the U.S., get a sense of what’s really going on, what the real plan is, he may pull out of this coalition during the height of the debt crisis in2022. In fact, a collapse of this government could be the catalyst for the very debt crisis we’ve been preparing for.  But for now, I’d consider Germany Davos Occupied Territory completely and Germany as an economic powerhouse of any import a thing of the recent past. *  *  * Join My Patreon if you don’t want to fall. BTC: 3GSkAe8PhENyMWQb7orjtnJK9VX8mMf7ZfBCH: qq9pvwq26d8fjfk0f6k5mmnn09vzkmeh3sffxd6rytDCR: DsV2x4kJ4gWCPSpHmS4czbLz2fJNqms78oELTC: MWWdCHbMmn1yuyMSZX55ENJnQo8DXCFg5kDASH: XjWQKXJuxYzaNV6WMC4zhuQ43uBw8mN4VaWAVES: 3PF58yzAghxPJad5rM44ZpH5fUZJug4kBSaETH: 0x1dd2e6cddb02e3839700b33e9dd45859344c9edcDGB: SXygreEdaAWESbgW6mG15dgfH6qVUE5FSE Tyler Durden Thu, 12/02/2021 - 03:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 2nd, 2021

La Nina To Blast Europe With Cold Snap Amid Energy Crisis  

La Nina To Blast Europe With Cold Snap Amid Energy Crisis   Energy prices in Europe are expected to increase as new weather models forecast a plunge in temperatures to begin by the late weekend.  A weather phenomenon known as La Nina will bring below-normal temperatures for continental Europe and the Nordic region by Sunday.  The region is susceptible to cold snaps, with natural gas stockpiles well below average.  On Wednesday, gas prices at the Dutch TTF hub, the benchmark for European gas, are making another attempt at the €100 per MWh mark.  Extra gas supplies by Russia have been mute so far. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline remains in limbo after German energy regulators last week suspended the certification process.  The next round of cold air is going to test energy supplies across Europe. Gas prices are likely to move higher, pushing up power prices. Already, power prices in Finland have jumped five times higher than a year ago.  North West Europe's average temperatures for the next week are expected to slide well below the 30-year mean through the mid-point of the month.  The same with Nordic areas.  North West Europe's heating degree days, a measure of heating demand, will be significantly over the 30-year average. The same is with Nordic areas. On top of the cold, weather observer Electroverse forecasts snow will blanket the continent over the next two weeks. The development of the La Nina weather pattern has meant unseasonably cold weather for Europe, boosting energy prices but declining prices in the US as weather trends stay warmer. The chart below shows US energy prices negatively diverging the UK and EU gas prices.  Soaring energy inflation and rising food prices are the makings of a 'winter of discontent' across Europe. EU politicians beware.  Tyler Durden Thu, 12/02/2021 - 04:15.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 2nd, 2021

The week in bankruptcies: ES1 LLC

Seattle area bankruptcy courts recorded one business filing during the week that ended Nov. 26, 2021. Year to date through Nov. 26, 2021, the court recorded 35 Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy filings, a 42% decrease from the same span the prior year. Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection typically provides for the liquidation of a business’s assets to satisfy creditor claims, while Chapter 11 protection enables a business to restructure its creditor obligations with the goal to remain a going….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsDec 2nd, 2021

O"Farrell developer, church threaten lawsuit after S.F. upholds appeal

The development team says it is open to negotiating a settlement as the city prepares to tell the stay why it rejected the project and another within a three-week span......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsDec 1st, 2021

Jefferies says oil could soar to $150 a barrel in a fully reopened world, despite current Omicron slump

"The only thing that's really gonna knock the oil price down is new lockdowns in the Western world," Jefferies strategist Christopher Wood told CNBC. Oil prices have fallen on fears over the Omicron coronavirus variant.Getty Images Oil prices could rise as high as $150 a barrel in a fully reopened world, according to Jefferies. Strategist Christopher Wood said supply constraints are likely to push prices up, given underinvestment in oil infrastructure. JPMorgan also believes crude could hit $150, if OPEC keeps a tight lid on supply. Jefferies strategist Christopher Wood has said oil could hit $150 if economies return fully to normal from the pandemic, as rising demand for fossil fuels runs into a supply squeeze."In a world that really reopens — which is a big 'if' — the oil price can go significantly higher," Wood told CNBC on Wednesday."In a really fully reopened world, the oil price could go to $150 dollars, because the supply constraints are dramatic."Wood, the investment bank's global head of equity strategy, noted that energy companies have pulled back from investing in production of fossil fuels, even as demand for the likes of oil, gas and coal remains robust. That underinvestment is leading to tighter supply, he argued, which will likely add to upward pressure on crude prices if economies return to normal in the coming years."The oil price is going to go higher in a fully reopened world because nobody's investing in oil. But the world still consumes fossil fuels," he said.He said a "political attack" on fossil fuels has led to falling investment. Institutional investors such as pensions have put pressure on companies, including energy giants, to reduce their involvement in fossil fuel use to help tackle climate change. Meanwhile, regulators are working on measures to achieve the same aim.But that pressure to stop the development of new oil, gas and coal fields has had the effect of keeping demand in place during the transition to greener sources.Oil prices have fallen sharply in recent days, after the discovery of the new Omicron coronavirus variant. Fears it may be resistant to current vaccines have caused some governments to impose travel bans and raised the prospect of tough new lockdowns."To me, the only thing that's really gonna knock the oil price down is new lockdowns in the Western world, which is why oil corrected when we saw the news about the new variant," Wood said.Brent crude was up 2.99% to $68.20 a barrel Wednesday, after falling the prior day, but was well off a recent high of around $85. WTI crude was up 3.23% to $68.32 a barrel.Earlier this week, JPMorgan analysts said oil could hit $150 a barrel by 2023. They said OPEC's control over prices is likely to be a key factor driving up prices in the coming years. OPEC — a group of major oil producing countries — works with the likes of Russia and other non-members to agree on supply flows.The Wall Street bank said it expects OPEC to "defend the oil price with paced volume growth to keep inventories low, markets in balance, and reservoirs well managed."Oil prices crashed in the spring of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic started to shake the global economy. But they have risen sharply in 2021 as demand has recovered, and OPEC has kept a lid on supply.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 1st, 2021