What Are Whales Doing With Meta Platforms

Someone with a lot of money to spend has taken a bearish stance on Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:FB). And retail traders should know. We noticed this today when the big position showed up on publicly available options history that we track here at Benzinga. read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaJan 14th, 2022

SCOTT GALLOWAY: Here are the companies I predict will get acquired - and by whom - in 2022

Tech giants are buying up smaller media firms left and right because of one very valuable asset: their audiences. Peloton is one of the companies Galloway predicts could be acquired next year. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images Scott Galloway is a bestselling author and professor of marketing at NYU Stern. The following is a recent blog post, republished with permission, that originally ran on his blog, "No Mercy / No Malice." In it, Galloway talks about which media and content companies he predicts will get acquired. Three weeks ago, "someone" floated the idea of PayPal buying Pinterest. PYPL plunged 5% the next day (shedding the value of Under Armour) and the company then denied the rumors. Our thesis: PayPal's management leaked the story as a trial balloon, and let it float away when the market threw up on the notion of PinPal (couldn't resist).PayPal should have had the courage of its convictions. Pinterest is a great product with a shitty business model, as evidenced by what feels like a desperate attempt to monetize with ads that pollute the platform. The asset here is not the business model or cash flow, but the 444 million people (nearly the population of the US and Russia combined) who log on to Pinterest every month. The fat lady likely hasn't sung: The asset is now 10% cheaper than it was pre-balloon. Scott Galloway In an attention economy, scaling users solves most economic problems. And problems are solved faster when you have a business model than can monetize each user at a healthy rate. Fintech is good/great at this, and the market cap per user of these two firms reflects this. Scott Galloway The lesson here is that advertising is a shitty business. It's (much) less shitty for companies that have the populations of the Western hemisphere and can construct a digital corpus based on data they capture. But they still don't command the premium of fintech. Social platforms must find more products to spray across their user base, while fintech companies need more users.This is the reason we'll see a flurry of acquisitions of media/content firms whose audiences can be better monetized across a payment platform. Amazon Prime Video and AppleTV+ are validation that media is worth more as part of a non-media company than it is as a standalone business. In sum, media has become featurized.Eyeball acquisitionFirms in every sector are realizing that the best way to reduce their CAC (customer acquisition cost) is to produce proprietary content that keeps customers engaged and increases word of mouth. Media companies cultivate engaged communities that take years, if not decades, to build. While a Gulfstream 500, at $45 million, seems impossible to rationalize economically, it can be justified if you have more money than time (i.e., if you're an old rich person). Fintech firms are about to embark on the mother of all midlife crises and pay huge sums for private jets posing as media firms.It's already started. Hubspot acquired The Hustle, a media company that produces a newsletter and a podcast. JPMorgan acquired The Infatuation, a publisher that provides restaurant recommendations and produces live food events. Square acquired Tidal, a music streaming service. Robinhood acquired MarketSnacks, a financial news company that offers bite-size business updates. Many others are purchasing audiences instead of products.But not all eyeballs are equal. Eyeball value is a function of several factors:AffluenceEngagementLoyaltyThe eyeball market is hierarchical. Big Tech floats atop the food chain. Legacy media whales swim just below. Crawling on the seabed are thousands of microcommunities - newsletters, messaging channels, recommendation sites, influencer followings - that present unique monetization opportunities for the predators above. Scott Galloway Match gameIf you're not buying eyeballs/audiences, you're buying features/products. Big Tech has been bolting on capabilities this way for decades. The iPhone is a Frankenstein of acquired tech, from the touchscreen (FingerWorks, 2005), to the SoC (P.A. Semi, 2008), to Siri (Siri, 2010). Amazon bought robotics (Kiva, 2012), grocery stores (Whole Foods, 2017), and smart doorbells (Ring, 2018). Microsoft launched its empire on a product acquisition (DOS, which it bought way back in 1981).Then there's the unlikely peanut-butter-and-chocolate idea, somewhat out there, best considered when shareholders are under the influence of an edible or a frothy market. In 2005 the founders of a small mobile startup were pitching VCs for financing when they took a meeting with two guys named Larry and Sergey who owned a search company. They wanted to buy the mobile startup, they said, and give the product away for free. Google's decision to acquire Android is obvious in hindsight, but was strategic genius at the time.The hard truth is that most high-profile acquisitions don't pay off. But the ones that do pay off bigly. These are some of the largest bets on the table. An exercise I often do when asked to speak to boards of directors: Imagine it's three years from now and your market cap has trebled. What likely happened to get you there? I find that framing gives board members, who spend a lot of their time being skeptical, worrying about downside, license to think big. And typically, some of the ideas this exercise generates are acquisitions that seem crazy at the time but may prove to be crazy genius.Let's go crazyTesla could buy truck stop company Pilot Flying J. Tesla's been building superchargers at the company's locations for several years, but bringing the entire operation in house would let it upgrade the user experience and extend Tesla's brand and value proposition - think Apple Store. Vertical integration is in Tesla's DNA - it makes more of its own components than traditional auto manufacturers do, and Elon has said that "building the machine that makes the machine" is a critical success factor. The company owns its own sales and service network already.An integrated Tesla experience at the charging station would make its passenger cars more valuable today and a true long-haul variant of the Tesla Semi more viable tomorrow. It might look like a step backward for the EV king to start selling gasoline, but what better way to put itself in front of potential electric vehicle customers? Many long haul truckers own their own rigs. Elon will have to pry Pilot Flying J away from Warren Buffett, but a few billion in Tesla stock should break it loose. Maybe a Twitter poll?Another valuable acquisition target is NFT marketplace OpenSea, which lets users trade tokenized digital assets - usually art - on the blockchain. With a 97% market share, it's already made a name for itself as the premier operating system for NFT trading. Last week it crossed $10 billion in all-time sales volumes. Payment processors including PayPal should be drooling over this firm. It provides immediate entry to a herd of young, highly engaged crypto enthusiasts and could help modernize PayPal's retail footprint. PayPal can alternatively build up its own crypto-trading platform - it's working on this with Venmo - but there's a big difference here between jumping on the bandwagon and owning it. If PayPal had processed the more than $5 billion worth of sales on OpenSea in the last two months, it would have raked in almost $200 million at current rates.But the low-hanging fintech-media buy is for Dorsey's taking. Square has established a strong foothold in payments and acquired a number of other interesting features in the process, such as Tidal (music streaming), Caviar (food delivery), and Afterpay (lending). The most obvious, the purchase that could identify Square as the overnight leader in the race to SuperApp, is social. Fortunately for Square, its cousin twice-removed is a social media giant. Dorsey could unite Square and Twitter and initiate its march toward becoming the next WeChat. He'd also have the luxury of running two mega corporations from the same office.2022My annual predictions are coming up in a few weeks. Some likely M&A-related predictions for 2022:The regulatory big chill around big tech and acquisitions thaws: either the DOJ proves flaccid, or it breaks up companies and oxygenates the marketplace. Both outcomes give clarity, and these companies will begin acquiring again.2022 is the biggest year in M&A in recent history, as the "Race to the SuperApp" inspires leviathans to couple with other leviathans.Fintech and legacy banks go shopping for media and content.Twitter cleans up the fake accounts suppressing its revenue, the stock drops below $40, and Jack unites his sister-wives (Square acquires Twitter).Peloton gets bought. Its likely acquirers? Nike or Apple.An NYU professor acquires the Rangers International Football Club, PLC.Re: the last one, the best way to predict the future is to create it.Life is so rich,ScottRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 12th, 2021

AMC"s Adam Aron is asking his Twitter followers if the theater chain should accept shiba inu coin as payment following the meme token"s massive rally

AMC said earlier that it would accept other cryptocurrencies including bitcoin as payment by year-end. AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi AMC CEO Adam Aron posted a Twitter poll asking his followers if the company should accept shiba inu coin as payment. Shiba inu coin has surged in price thanks to crypto whales and retail traders hyping the meme coin. AMC has already said it will allow payment in other cryptocurrencies. AMC chief Adam Aron is taking to Twitter again to . On Twitter Friday, Aron posted a poll asking his followers if the theater chain should add shiba inu coin to the list of cryptocurrencies the company will soon accept as payment. The poll, which lasts for another five days, had already received more than 70,000 votes four hours after being posted. Adam Aron's Oct. 29 tweet Twitter Aron posted the tweet in a week where the meme coin's price surged thanks to crypto whales and retail traders. The coin, which started as a meme of another meme coin, is now the 10th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, according to CoinMarketCap data. Last month, Aron posted a similar poll asking his crowd of avid followers whether AMC should accept dogecoin - to which more than 100,000 voters responded with a resounding "yes."In August, AMC said it would accept bitcoin as payment by the end of the year and begin exploring other ways it could participate in the crypto economy. A month later, the company said it would also accept ether, litecoin, and bitcoin cash as payment. AMC CEO Adam Aron said on Wednesday that the movie theater operator expects to accept ether, litecoin, and bitcoin cash as payment, in addition to bitcoin, by the end of the year.Retail traders mobilized on social media platforms like Reddit and Twitter have rallied around AMC since the start of the meme stock saga at the beginning of this year. The traders, who call themselves Apes and sometimes refer to Aron as Silverback, have rallied around the AMC CEO as an icon of their movement. Aron has responded by offering movie-theater perks like free popcorn to the fans of his company's stock. AMC shares have surged 1,600% so far this year and were trading at $35.62 at 11:45 a.m. ET on Friday. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 29th, 2021

Technology Super Cycle Redux: How Unicorns Drive Innovation

Software has infinite capabilities because it consumes neither time or space. In 2017 I published one of my most important investment strategy pieces that I called The Technology Super Cycle.You can see a 2018 video and article version via that link, where I answer this burning puzzle: why is inflation absent and productivity "hidden?"The two main solutions to that puzzle are still very relevant to what you see happening in the most important sector of the economy.In the thesis, I said you had to be a buyer of NVIDIA NVDA for the future they were building with GPU platforms and CUDA stacks of software capabilities that digital engineers, data analysts, and scientists had to have.And this was before I'd ever heard of Cathie Wood and her similar takes on long-tail "disruptive innovation."But lately, as I immerse myself in the exploding world of private FinTech companies, I have begun to see another driving force."Where do unicorns come from? Imagine 10,000 VCs chasing twice as many fintech companies."That's what I proposed in my Cook's Kitchen from two weeks ago...Unicorn Stampede: How FinTech Innovation and VC Warchests Fuel MarketsIn the video that accompanies this article, I review the Pinterest PINS and PayPal PYPL unfolding drama we discussed last week.PINS shares today are filling the October 2020 gap up from $45 on the deal rumors getting scuttled. In the video, I tell you who a big seller has been. Meanwhile PYPL continues to plummet into my $220-240 "buy zone."I also reiterate my "buy zone" for Shopify SHOP inside $1240-80, with starter positions recommended under $1350 ahead of their earnings report on Thursday.Call With CookerIf you came here from the YouTube link, I have your code/instructions to enter the "Call with Cooker" drawing: #TechSuperCycleJust go to Twitter and do the following...1. Follow me @KevinBCook2. Like and ReTweet my pinned Tweet with the NVIDIA graphicSpeaking of Twitter TWTR, in a very meta-social event, I attended this morning's Space chat with the CFO, Ned Segal. Dude was super chill under pressure from annoying analysts who kept trying to get him to parse his KPIs for the mDAU metric (monetizable daily active users).Segal is a model for any corporate executive doing media interviews. He just naturally calms the room and the fire-breathers by never getting defensive or frustrated and just explaining his goals while trying to answer the questions.And apparently in his CNBC interview this morning, he said "Bitcoin is going to be a great way for us to facilitate commerce on Twitter." That's very interesting.I was on another Twitter Space last night where a bunch of "new money/digital gold" theorists were debating @Jack's recent post about "hyper-inflation is coming."When you go to my Twitter feed, you'll see those Space posts and you can check out the other things I've posted on Segal and FinTech, including the link to the Plaid report.Thanks for joining me in the Kitchen!Disclosure: I own shares of NVDA, PINS, and SQ for the Zacks TAZR Trader portfolio. Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $2.4 trillion by 2028 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases. Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Recommendations from previous editions of this report have produced gains of +205%, +258% and +477%. The stocks in this report could perform even better.See these 7 breakthrough stocks now>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA): Free Stock Analysis Report Twitter, Inc. (TWTR): Free Stock Analysis Report PayPal Holdings, Inc. (PYPL): Free Stock Analysis Report Shopify Inc. (SHOP): Free Stock Analysis Report Pinterest, Inc. (PINS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 27th, 2021

As the NFT Market Explodes Again, Artists Fend Off Old Art-World Power Structures

NFT sales exploded in August, hitting twice the levels of the first wave back in the spring On Sept. 13, Monica Rizzolli sat in her room in São Paulo and watched her net worth grow by $5.4 million in 48 minutes. Rizzolli is not a day trader or a gambler. She’s an artist whose work consists of sun-kissed petals and wind-whipped blizzards, all created digitally. That day, she was selling a 1,024-piece collection in an auction on the NFT art platform Art Blocks. And despite her relative lack of renown outside of Brazil, the response was emphatic, with collectors shelling out thousands while feverishly discussing color and pattern on the social-messaging app Discord. “Haven’t seen any where the colors don’t blend perfectly,” wrote one. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Rizzolli’s success in that September auction is just one of many examples that disprove the epitaphs written for the NFT market after it receded from its dizzying peak this spring. In March, the artist Beeple sold an NFT collection for $69 million at an auction at Christie’s, provoking astonishment from the outside world. Many were quick to write it off as a blip when the market shrank in May, dropping 90% from its peak. “Who could have seen this coming other than basically anyone?” the website Gizmodo taunted. But the death of NFTs was greatly exaggerated. After lying dormant for a couple of months, NFT sales exploded in August, hitting twice the levels of the first NFT mania back in the spring. Legacy institutions like Visa, Marvel and Major League Baseball jumped into the game, bestowing legitimacy; celebrities like Tom Brady and Doja Cat hypercharged excitement with their own ventures. None of this came as a surprise to those who have been involved in the cryptocurrency space for years. The market, like many others, is inherently choppy, with vicious boom-and-bust cycles that have investors hanging on for dear life, even in boom times. As the NFT art world grows in fits and starts, entrepreneurs, technologists and artists like Rizzolli are taking on the messy work of building a different kind of space: one that prioritizes artists, technological and aesthetic breakthroughs, more resilient systems and community building. NFTs have already spurred the popularity and growth of a fascinating digital art form—generative art—and shifted the discussion around artists’ rights and royalties. This time around, we have an opportunity to flip things around and bring more balance into the systemRead More: Digital NFT Art Is Booming—But at What Cost? But while there has been astonishing innovation, other entrenched frameworks have proved harder to disrupt, with wealth still pooling in the hands of a few, and women and artists of color struggling to find their footing. “White men have the advantage from the very start in crypto; it’s obvious that they’re the first to build up the space,” the Panamanian artist Itzel Yard says. “This time around, we have an opportunity to flip things around and bring more balance into the system.” This fight for balance—between those focused on wealth and those focused on radical change—will continue as the technology hurtles toward mainstream adoption. Courtesy Liam VriesVintage Mozart’s The Children With No Name: Eden sold for about $900 in July At its base level, an NFT, or nonfungible token, is simply a file type. But unlike a traditional PDF or JPEG, NFTs are “minted” on the blockchain—a tamper-resistant, decentralized digital public ledger that also supports cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Dogecoin. And each NFT is unique, with a bit of code that proves its authenticity, making it easier than ever to put a value on digital goods. Over the past year, NFTs have been made out of basketball trading cards (NBA Top Shot has raked in $720 million), music (Kings of Leon made $2 million from NFT sales on an album) and a tweet (Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s first, for $2.9 million). TIME also recently launched an NFT initiative, selling works by selected artists. This spring, art lay at the center of the NFT boom. But much of that art was, frankly, bad: shrines to cryptocurrency champion Elon Musk, 3-D emojis, mimicry of brand signifiers like Gucci or Marvel, conceptual gimmicks like a $1.3 million single pixel. “There are a lot of people for whom the only context they have for NFTs are vulgar displays of wealth,” the technologist Mat Dryhurst said in March. There are still plenty of crude art projects and buyers in it purely for the money. Dozens of cartoonish collectible series, for instance, have been created with the hopes of replicating the fervor surrounding -CryptoPunks, an immensely popular set of pixelated collectible characters. But many others are flocking toward a more ambitious medium: generative art, created by artists who tweak complex bits of code to create dozens or hundreds of works that riff on a theme. Artists use code to create psychedelic patterns, spastic glitchy videos, industrial landscapes and projection mapping. Hundreds of those artists have found a home on Art Blocks. When Erick Calderon launched the platform late last year, he hoped to make crypto-art more financially accessible, showcase artists whose work would match the complexity of anything in the physical modern art world and cater to the cryptocommunity’s desire for scarcity and unpredictability. “I thought people would like the idea of performing part of the art process—and being presented with a tiny piece of the artist’s brain,” he says. There’s a lot of collectors that think about this as a business—and they see white men as the more secure investmentRead More: Teen Artists Are Making Millions on NFTs. How Are They Doing It? Art Blocks has thrived: the platform raked in $243 million in sales in September, making it the most popular NFT art platform and the second most popular NFT platform overall during that time span, according to Crypto-Slam. Ironically, Art Blocks’ runaway success has made its curated auctions way too expensive for most aspiring collectors. But the community has still filled up with rabid devotees who aren’t buying up the art to simply flip it later. One of them, Meredith Schipper, is an interior designer based in Houston with a lively side hustle as an NFT collector and trader with at least 90 artworks to her name. Schipper minted one of Rizzolli’s works for 3.5 ethereum—or roughly $11,900 at the time of auction and far above the auction’s price floor—because she says she loved the artwork and was sick of missing out in the past. “In previous auctions, entire collections have been minted in under two minutes,” she says. Of her experience in the NFT space, Schipper says, “It’s probably the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. Everyone’s so positive; it makes me feel special and awesome.” Nearly 5,000 miles away in her São Paulo home studio, Rizzolli didn’t even realize she was about to make a fortune. “I’m laughing to myself,” she said a couple hours later. “I hope I will be able to dedicate myself much more: to have good equipment and tranquility. I also want to develop something in the educational field here in Brazil—to return some of this to the community.” With increasingly impressive artwork emerging from the NFT space, gallerists and curators have scrambled to create new spaces to display them. Some of them are in the physical world: an early NFT gallery popped up in downtown Manhattan in April, and Art Blocks just staged its first physical open house in Marfa, Texas. Courtesy Meredith SchipperA screenshot of the collector Meredith Schipper’s virtual gallery Others are attempting to coax curious outsiders into their virtual spaces. Schipper recently set up a virtual gallery, and has delighted in meeting other gallery owners on her pixelated block. Another hub for artists, NFT Oasis, can be accessed for free via an app or through a VR headset, and includes art walks through serene pixelated galleries and concerts from artists like Imogen Heap. Across the board, NFT practitioners say that community is an essential draw of the technology: “It’s like a huge neighborhood where we all kind of know each other,” says Yard, who just a couple of years ago was walking dogs to make ends meet; she has since made $216,000 in sales on the platform Foundation. NFT artists like Yard connect on Discord and Clubhouse, and they have flocked to create decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), a relatively new type of organizational structure that many believe will be the Internet age’s answer to the LLC or the corporation. But while some NFT enthusiasts see a vast, unlimited future, others—women and people of color in particular—have already hit familiar walls. Yard’s rise is a rare success story in an upper echelon dominated overwhelmingly by white men. “There’s a lot of collectors that think about this as a business—and they see white men as the more secure investment,” she says. There isn’t ample data documenting race in the NFT art world, but one study indicates the space has failed to live up to the egalitarian economic promise inherent in crypto’s decentralized nature. For the past couple of years, the artist Sparrow Read and the data scientist Massimo Franceschet have been collecting data from the popular NFT platform SuperRare, and found that revenue generated on the platform has flowed toward a very small group of wealthy artists and collectors. As of June 15, 80% of the platform’s sale volume was dominated by 15% of the richest sellers. “Everyone believes that everyone’s intentions were to create more equality, more opportunity for artists,” Read says. “It feels like nobody wants to say that we are not achieving that.” Read More: NFTs Are Shaking Up the Art World—But They Could Change So Much More While the larger NFT world skews very white and male, women and artists of color are forming their own communities to fight bias and create more opportunities. One of Yard’s friends and protégés, 17-year-old Diana Sinclair, co-founded the herstoryDAO in April for Black female crypto artists. For Juneteenth, they partnered with the NFT platform Foundation to put on an exhibit called “Digital Diaspora,” featuring artwork from prominent artists like Yard and Blacksneakers, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. But the auction failed to garner even half of what herstoryDAO had projected based on the previous value of the artists’ works. “It was really shocking: there was so much support on social media, but collectors weren’t keen to support us financially,” Sinclair says. When the “Digital Diaspora” auction took place, the NFT market was close to its nadir: NFT art sales for that week were under $4 million, according to Nonfungible. Since then, however, that figure has increased steadily, hitting $84 million the week of Oct. 5. Virtually every other metric tracked by Nonfungible has also increased, including the number of unique buyers active at one time and the number of primary and secondary sales. A second-quarter study from DappRadar in September showed that mass adoption of NFTs is under way, lessening the reliance on deep-pocketed whales; gaming NFTs and collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club have particularly thrived. Sinclair believes that while the space has agonizing flaws, its communal nature and collaborative spirit could allow for positive change that might have been impossible in the traditional art and finance worlds. Concerns about the immense amount of energy it requires to mint an NFT, for example, have led to the creation of more energy-efficient platforms like Tezos and Palm, which are gaining in popularity. (Ethereum, too, has made its long-awaited conversion to a more energy-efficient system.) Groups that have formed in the past year—like the Mint Fund, Friends With Benefits and the African NFT Community—are using their collective power to create tools and grant funds for underresourced artists. Sinclair is in the NFT world for the long haul, and hopes to learn more about investing so she can have more power in a world that up to now looks a lot like the old one. “The space is too new for anything to be solidified,” she says. “We have more ideas, more plans and a lot more work to do.” —With reporting by Julia Zorthian.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 15th, 2021

Cryptocurrency Evolution: Adoption Rates, Regulatory Approaches and Attitudes Towards Risk

The cryptocurrency market’s rate of adoption is astonishing. With more than 100 million people around the world invested in them and the number of Blockchain wallet users worldwide at an all time high of 76 million in September 2021, this market is indubitably on its way into the mainstream. Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences […] The cryptocurrency market’s rate of adoption is astonishing. With more than 100 million people around the world invested in them and the number of Blockchain wallet users worldwide at an all time high of 76 million in September 2021, this market is indubitably on its way into the mainstream. .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more However, this popularity increase in the asset, based on shifts in general attitudes towards the level of risk associated with them, has steered multiple governments towards applying a greater level of regulatory scrutiny to cryptocurrencies. The ensuing search for a stable framework of regulation and monitoring is important because it gives rise to two salient issues: is regulation needed at all, and if so, what might be the best regulatory approach? According to Statistica, the largest names in the cryptocurrency market are currently: Bitcoin (NASDAQ:BTC) Ethereum (NASDAQ:ETH) Ripple (NASDAQ:XRP) Bitcoin Cash (NASDAQ:BCH) Adoption Rates Cryptocurrencies were first conceptualised in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto with the creation of Bitcoin, the original decentralised currency. This was swiftly followed by the emergence of rival ‘altcoins’ from 2011 (such as Litecoin and Namecoin) which tried to improve on the original design of Bitcoin and offer some advantages over it, such as faster transaction times or enhanced anonymity. Nevertheless, the core ethos endorsing cryptocurrency remains the creation of a safe and anonymous method of currency transfer between users, its initial goal in 2009. Since then, cryptocurrency is finally reaching mainstream adoption globally, with the WEF citing its growing adoption in developing countries. In the last year alone, the African crypto market grew by over 1200% in the value received; it is estimated that around $105.6 billion worth of cryptocurrency was received by African countries between July 2020 and July 2021. Furthermore, a Statista report found Nigeria owned the most out of emerging countries: nearly a third of its population owned some form of crypto. High rates of adoption were also found in: Vietnam, Turkey and South Africa. The main factor contributing to the widespread acceptance in these developing countries is the chance at financial inclusion. According to the World Bank, nearly one-third of the world’s adults don’t have access to traditional banking services, the majority of which are concentrated in these countries. Since a software wallet is all that is needed to make use of cryptocurrency, many facing difficulties with formal financial services are turning to it instead. Moreover, the mass adoption of mobile phones and internet in developing countries (two-thirds of the ‘unbanked’ 2 billion have mobile phones), has indirectly led to the increased adoption of cryptocurrency. Add to this that the exchange of money through cryptocurrencies is easier and cheaper, rendering it more affordable for people living a middle standard of living in developing countries, and it’s no wonder they are so widespread. With that said, this increased interest in cryptocurrency is not limited to these developing countries. Institutional investors are beginning to observe it more closely, and it is coming to be viewed as an increasingly legitimate safeguard against currency instability and the risk of inflation. Managers like Skybridge, Blackrock, and Tudor have all announced the addition of crypto to their portfolio, and even the launch of funds dedicated to it. It is expected that this surging interest will continue to grow, kicked off by the rising number of new uses for crypto, as well as extensive acceptance by traditional banks. Its increased adoption coupled with greater innovation bodes well for the democratisation of the financial system. However, it also means cryptocurrency can no longer be ignored by regulators. Attitudes Towards Risk Cryptocurrency investing is risky because of its frequent episodes of volatility. Despite its often tumultuous journey in price (e.g. Bitcoin fell from $60,000 in April 2021 to $30,000 in May, then rose back to $50,000 by September 2021), mainstream attitudes towards the risk of cryptocurrency are changing. This arises as eyes are opened to its many applications. For example, stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency that can be pegged to other assets (i.e. the U.S. dollar), and in so doing, protect them from drastic devaluations. Anyone living in Nigeria would have lost nearly 50% of their net worth since 2016 as a result of the Nigerian Naira plummeting from 200 N per USD to a record low of 527 N per USD in August 2021. However, had these assets been invested in a stablecoin pegged to the USD no such loss would have been suffered. Alongside the protection of assets, cryptocurrency is also a potent grower of wealth. It grants access to stocks such as Apple, Amazon and Tesla to anyone in the world with tokenised stocks. These tokenised variants of traditional stocks allow users to buy fractional portions of a token, which equates to a portion of a stock. Suddenly, the requirement for a large amount of investable assets in order to access such wealth-building tools has been vanquished and can be invested in with as little as $5. These attitudes towards risk are mirrored by mainstream institutions, who are beginning to recognise cryptocurrency as a credible asset class. Rick Rieder, BlackRock’s chief investment officer of global fixed income has previously gone on record in support of cryptocurrencies by stating that “[he] thinks it could have some real upside [and that] … it’s an asset class [he] thinks is durable”. Other major players from the traditional finance sphere are starting to recognise the shift that is occurring: Morgan Stanley is considering funding bitcoin with its $150 billion investment fund, BNY Mellon and Deutsche Bank are offering crypto custody and JPMorgan has admitted it will have to be involved in bitcoin. This increased participation of financial institutions in cryptocurrency is expected to only lead to greater success and acceptance generally. With the support of these traditional firms, who are comfortable liaising with the red tape and political games of regulation, there is a greater chance of a regulatory framework being established that is tailored and favourable for crypto. Regulatory Approaches Cryptocurrencies are being faced with greater regulatory scrutiny now than ever before. Bitcoin’s volatile price changes are feeding the concerns of financial regulators regarding the absence of a regulatory framework for this swifty developing market. The G7, ECB and UK CFA have all expressed concerns about the unregulated growth of crypto, primarily bitcoin. Regulation of cryptocurrency is still lagging behind in many countries. Many haven’t yet passed specific legislation or regulatory guidance for the sector holistically, while others are biding their time with a step-by-step approach. However, the attitudes of regulators are changing; officials worldwide have expressed worries about the lack of regulation over the growth of cryptocurrencies. Central banks and regulators do not agree that crypto can be described as a currency, but a highly volatile asset. This volatility is caused by small volumes in the market and the influence ‘whales’ possess over its value because of their concentrated holdings. It is almost unanimously agreed that retail investors should be protected against this, and a regulatory framework can achieve this. The broad trend in regulation appears to be more favourable towards cryptocurrency, with governments attempting to package it as a less risky product for consumers. This comes as regulators begin to notice that crypto is here to stay, and adapt their policies accordingly. For example, crypto took a step closer to mainstream exposure when PayPal announced it would allow US customers to hold, buy or sell Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and BitcoinCash. The Next Frontier Considering regulators to date: In the US, the OCC take on interest bearing accounts to date largely focussed on conventional methods excluding cryptocurrency. Other countries are more pro cryptocurrency and are very open about it. Looking to the future, the next frontier of money-making opportunities in crypto appears to have been presented by interest earning platforms. Several businesses (such as Hodlnaut, Nexo or BlockFi) offer interest bearing accounts that remunerate account holders in the cryptocurrency they fund their account with. In fact, platforms like Hodlnaut allow users to earn interest in the cryptocurrency of their choice from the six supported assets including Bitcoin and Ethereum. The interest rates for these accounts will differ based on the selected cryptocurrency, and interest on most accounts should accrue on a weekly basis or shorter. This is optimal for investors since compounding interest allows for much faster account growth. Given the way compounding interest works, this means time is in the user’s favour since the longer money is kept invested, the faster it will grow. Thus a clear benefit of using crypto to earn interest are the competitive rates offered. It is unheard of for a traditional savings account to offer anywhere near to yielding 7% interest, but since a blockchain cuts out overhead costs, higher interest rates are able to be offered. Additionally, there is no minimum lock up time on crypto funds and no minimum account required to open such interest bearing accounts. That being said, there are disadvantages to earning interest on crypto, namely that the floating interest rates don’t guarantee they will stay high in the long-term, and that if the cryptocurrency held by the user depreciates, so too must the earned interest. It has been asserted by Elon Musk (and many other bitcoin critics for years) that another disadvantage of cryptocurrency is that it is bad for the environment as it pollutes the planet. However, research by Cambridge University reflects that the damage is not nearly as bad as suggested. Since large scale miners are competing in an industry with low-margins, where the only cost that can vary is energy, they are motivated to migrate towards the world’s cheapest sources of power in order to be profitable. The first six months of 2021 saw America jump from fifth to second place globally for the region with the most crypto miners. This is likely due to the fact that green energy is on the rise in the U.S, and as illustrated by Lazard’s 2020 report, most renewable energy sources are either equal to or less expensive than conventional sources. Updated on Oct 4, 2021, 10:41 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 4th, 2021

Israeli firm develops an infantry drone that can fire machine guns and sniper rifles at targets while flying

The next-generation fighting drone armed with infantry weapons is called The Smash Dragon and was designed by the Israeli company Smart Shooter. Smart Shooter's SMASH Dragon allows rifles to be mounted on drones.Smart Shooter An Israeli company has developed an armed drone system that can fire infantry weapons while flying. The Smash Dragon can strike static and moving targets while hovering above. The next-generation fighting drone was designed by the company Smart Shooter. An Israeli arms manufacturer has developed a robot weapon that can fire infantry weapons at static and moving targets while flying.The Smash Dragon, designed by Israeli company Smart Shooter, can be mounted on different forms of unmanned aerial platforms, such as drones, and can strike targets while hovering over them.An assault or sniper rifle can be mounted to the system and remotely triggered by an operator.The weapon is "extremely lightweight" and uses a "unique stabilization concept," which allows it to precisely hit targets no matter how fast the drone is traveling, the company said in a press release shared with Insider.The system has sophisticated computer vision capabilities and works during the day and the night.The SMASH Dragon has completed successful live firing tests and is in the advanced stages of development but is not yet operational, the company said.The system will utilize the company's Smash 2000 technology, which uses built-in targeting algorithms to track and strike targets with precision.The technology has been used to take down Hamas drones and incendiary balloons launched from Gaza, The Jerusalem Post previously reported."Smart Shooter's SMASH technology offers precise elimination of threats at ground, air, and sea," Smart Shooter CEO Michal Mor said in a statement shared with Insider."We are now happy to offer the same precise, combat-proven target engagement technology mounted on an unmanned aerial platform that can be controlled from a distance," he said. Mor said it was critical to keep the system lightweight as weight impacts mission endurance and cost when it comes to drones.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 23rd, 2022

Big Tech Forcing MPs To Self-Censor In Australian Parliament: Craig Kelly MP

Big Tech Forcing MPs To Self-Censor In Australian Parliament: Craig Kelly MP Authored by Daniel Y. Teng via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Australian members of Parliament are curating their speeches to avoid triggering censorship from Big Tech platforms like YouTube and Facebook, according to United Australia Party (UAP) leader Craig Kelly MP. In a wide-ranging interview with Emeritus Law Professor David Flint, Kelly, who last year resigned from the Liberal Party to join the UAP, said Big Tech companies had become the “de facto Hansard” in reference to the official transcript of Parliamentary debates used across Commonwealth countries. “On the floor of Parliament, I have to think, ‘If I say these words, will YouTube delete this?’” he told Flint in an episode of Australia Calling, which can be viewed on The Epoch Times website, as well as Rumble and YouTube. “I think we need to enshrine ‘freedom of speech,’ especially in the age of these large tech giants who have so much control of what goes into the media,” he said. “People talk about the Murdoch media having so much control, they have nothing on the control that Facebook and YouTube do.” “It’s also controlling other groups like Sky News Australia and other independent media commentators who use YouTube and Facebook to post their interviews and content,” he added. “They know in certain areas if they talk about something which is contrary to the economic interests of those (Big Tech) companies, they will have their platforms taken down.” Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese and Prime Minister Scott Morrison during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia on May 13, 2021. (Sam Mooy/Getty Images) Kelly called on the platforms to be recognised as publishers saying they could not have it “both ways.” “Facebook and YouTube today have taken the role of the ‘Old Town Square.’ They’ve got the right to say who goes into the Town Square, who’s allowed to stand up on the soapbox, and who’s allowed to speak and who is not allowed to speak,” he said. Big Tech’s moderation of content has become an increasingly contentious issue with concerns platforms are not doing enough to curb online bullying, while at the same time, warnings or suspensions have been handed out in response to discussion on politics or COVID-19. For example, Prof. Nikolai Petrovsky, lead researcher at Vaxine which is behind Spikogen (or COVAX-19)—now being rolled out in Iran—had his LinkedIn account restricted over “multiple violations” of the user agreement. According to an email from LinkedIn posted online by Petrovsky, the social media company took action against the researcher when he wrote comments questioning the efficacy of vaccines, the use of mandates, and the manufacturing safeguards behind the drugs. “Which media channels to trust and have integrity? Does anyone find these comments offensive?” the professor wrote. Part 3 of the interview with Craig Kelly MP coming Thursday, Jan. 27. Watch Next Part 1 – Craig Kelly interview on Rumble Part 2 – Craig Kelly interview on Rumble Tyler Durden Sat, 01/22/2022 - 22:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 22nd, 2022

Wife Stands Off With Hospital To Keep Her Husband Alive, And Wins

Wife Stands Off With Hospital To Keep Her Husband Alive, And Wins Authored by Matt McGregor via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Sentiments expressed in random phone calls for Anne Quiner as her husband Scott lay in a hospital bed breathing through a ventilator ranged from “I hope your husband dies a vegetable” followed by a litter of profanity, to “he should have taken the vaccine; I hope he dies,” before hanging up. Anne and Scott Quiner at Gooseberry Falls State Park in 2018. (Courtesy of Anne Quiner) While not the traditional Hallmark expressions for one to get well soon, Quiner said it was a feeling shared among some of the doctors at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, where Scott had been hospitalized for COVID-19 complications in November. In one recorded phone call with Dr. Linda Soucie in which Quiner was fighting to keep Scott on the ventilator, Soucie told Quiner, “Unfortunately, if we could turn back time and he had gotten the vaccine, then he wouldn’t be here,” just after Soucie had told Quiner, “After three years, I think we’ve gotten pretty good at determining who’s going to make it and who’s not, and unfortunately Scott’s in that range of the group that is not going to make it.” In a recorded conference call, doctors told Quiner that they would be taking Scott off the ventilator on Jan. 13 because he would not recover due to what they said were his “destroyed lungs from COVID pneumonia,” and that their attempts at decreasing sedation only caused him pain. Quiner told The Epoch Times that her petitions for alternative treatments, as well as to keep Scott on the ventilator, had been met with contempt. With doctors determined to take Scott off the ventilator, Quiner sought legal counsel. Making It Out Alive Marjorie Holsten, Quiner’s attorney, told The Epoch Times that she filed a motion for a temporary restraining order that prevented the hospital from taking Scott off the ventilator. Mercy Hospital then hired its own law firm that objected to the temporary restraining order on the basis that Holsten and Quiner’s position isn’t “supported by medical science.” Because of this, the hospital requested that the court issue an order authorizing the hospital to take Scott off the ventilator. The judge sided with Holsten, issuing the order based on the standard that irreparable harm would result if not issued, which Holsten said was easy to establish because if Scott had been taken off, he would have died. On Jan. 15, Scott was transferred out of Mercy Hospital and taken to an undisclosed hospital in Texas, where Holsten said the doctors have reported Scott to be malnourished, having lost 30 pounds underweight, and dehydrated. Both Holsten and Quiner said doctors in Texas were “horrified” by Scott’s condition when he arrived. “One doctor said he didn’t know how Scott made it out of that hospital alive,” Quiner said. “He looked at his chart and said, ‘I can’t believe the heavy, sedating drugs they put him on.’” The hospital was following a rigid late-treatment COVID protocol that has “very likely killed many people,” Holsten said. Mercy Hospital is a part of the Allina Health hospital system. When reached for comment on Scott’s treatment, a spokesperson for Allina Health told The Epoch Times that Allina Health “has great confidence in the exceptional care provided to our patients, which is administered according to evidence-based practices by our talented and compassionate medical teams. Due to patient privacy, we cannot comment on care provided to specific patients,” and that the hospital system wished “the patient and his family well.” Currently, Holsten said Scott is “making tremendous progress.” “Yesterday, Scott started following the doctor’s hands with his eyes, and now he’s blinking in response to questions,” Holsten said. “He was able to nod his head and move his legs for the nurse.” The ordeal became a manifestation of Quiner’s biggest fear in taking Scott to the hospital after his symptoms worsened, Quiner said. Since the beginning of COVID-19, rumors of neglectful treatment of COVID patients in hospitals fueled by financial incentives have circulated. ‘It’s a Bounty on People’s Lives’ Dr. Robert Malone, a virologist and immunologist who has contributed to mRNA vaccine technology, said in a December 2021 interview on The Joe Rogan Experience said that the financial incentives aren’t rumors. “The numbers are quite large,” Malone told Rogan. “There’s something like a $3,000 basically death benefit to a hospital if it can be claimed to be COVID. There’s a financial incentive to call somebody COVID positive.” The hospitals receive a bonus, Malone added, from the government if someone is hospitalized and able to be declared COVID positive. “They also receive a bonus—I think the total is something like $30,000 in incentive—if somebody gets put on the vent,” Malone said. “Then they get a bonus, if somebody is declared dead with COVID.” It was Stew Peters, a podcaster on The Stew Peters Show, that broke Quiner’s story and garnered audience support that facilitated Scott’s release. After sending the two recordings Quiner made of her conversations with her doctors to her patient advocate and Minnesota State Rep. Shane Mekeland, they both then contacted Peters who Quiner said called her “right away.” “He told me, ‘If you don’t get social media involved and get this viral, they will kill your husband and you won’t have any say in it at all,’” Quiner said. “That’s when Stew got me on his show and within moments the hospital got like 300,000 phone calls. They had to shut their phone lines down.” Quiner said it was Peters and his audience that were responsible “for helping me save my husband’s life.” “Without their taking action, Scott would have died,” Quiner said. At one point, there were so many phone calls that Quiner said the hospital began denying that Scott was a patient there. “Our audience flooded the hospital and Frederickson & Byron Law Firm (the firm that represents Mercy Hospital) with calls, making them all aware that the world was watching,” Peters told The Epoch Times. The Stew Peters Show put a team together that included Attorney Thomas Renz and coordinated with a doctor to take Scott’s case and the hospital where Scott was transferred. On the Stew Peters Show, Dr. Lee Vliet, president and chief executive officer for the physician-founded Truth for Health, a nonprofit that has promoted early COVID treatment to keep people out of hospitals, said the CARES Act has documented hospital incentive payments. “Hospital administrators know that they will be extra for doing the PCR tests and positive test results,” Vliet said. “A COVID diagnosis means admission to the hospital. On admission, there is an incentive payment. Use of remdesivir provides a 20 percent bonus payment from our government to the hospital on the entire hospital bill for that COVID patient.” The use of remdesivir gives the hospital a 20 percent bonus payment from Medicare instead of other medicines, such as ivermectin, Vliet said. “It’s a bounty on people’s lives, basically, to use remdesivir and prevent access to other medications such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin,” Vliet said. She echoed Malone’s statement on hospital incentives for putting a patient on a ventilator and declaring a patient deceased from COVID. In addition, she said the coroner gets a financial incentive for a COVID diagnosis. She added that medical practices are paid more under Medicare and Medicaid services based on a higher percentage of their patients being vaccinated. On average, she said, it has been calculated that hospitals receive a bonus of $100,000 minimum for every COVID patient who has the elements of COVID diagnosis with remdesivir and ventilator treatment before a COVID cause of death. Vliet cites her research in an editorial in the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons titled, “Biden’s Bounty on Your Life: Hospitals’ Incentive Payments for COVID-19.” ‘She Just Wants to Keep Her Husband Alive’ Married 35 years with three children, Quiner and Scott have been through much together, she said, and in these last few months, Quiner has faced some of the hardest parts without him. After 14 years, amid fighting to keep her husband alive, Quiner had to put their dog Toby down earlier in January because he could no longer walk. “One morning I got up and he could not get up at all,” Quiner said. Quiner has been verbally attacked not just through phone calls but through news and social media, platforms her children warned she avoid. “My family told me not to even go on to Twitter because I didn’t want to read what they were writing about me,” Quiner said. Still, Holsten said Quiner continues to fight. “She’s a trooper, and she hasn’t sought any of this,” Holsten said. “She just wants to keep her husband alive.” On his transfer to Texas, Quiner said she’s relieved. “That’s the first thing I felt,” Quiner said, “relief that he’s out of that hospital and in safe care.” Tyler Durden Sat, 01/22/2022 - 18:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 22nd, 2022

China is spending $300,000 to get US influencers to share positive social media posts to boost the country"s image ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics

The US and several other countries announced a diplomatic boycott of the games in December over the country's human rights abuses. Beijing will host the Olympic Winter Games in February.Yi Haifei/China News Service via Getty Images Chinese officials have hired a US-based media firm to help promote China and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Vippi Media signed a $300,000 deal to employ influencers to create content across TikTok, Instagram, and Twitch. The contract comes amid complicated bilateral relations between the US and China over human rights issues. The Chinese government is turning to social media influencers to help improve its tarnished image ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games next month in Beijing. Vippi Media, a New Jersey-based firm, signed a $300,000 contract with the Chinese consulate general in New York to organize a social media campaign that promotes positive messaging about China and the Beijing Games on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitch.The agreement, registered with the US Department of Justice, began in November and runs through March 2022, when the Winter Paralympics ends. The contract comes as President Joe Biden and officials in Great Britain, Canada, and Australia declared a "diplomatic boycott" of the games in December to denounce China's record of human rights abuses, including the treatment of its Uyghur population of Turkic Muslims and the handling of tennis star Peng Shuai's accusations of sexual assault against a high-ranking Chinese official. China continues to deny allegations of human rights abuses in its territories and people have expressed concern about the safety of US athletes competing in the games. Human rights organizations warned athletes they could face punishment for speaking out against the government while in China. "There's really not much protection that we believe is going to be afforded to athletes," Rob Koehler, the director general of the Global Athlete group, said in a seminar on Tuesday. "We're advising athletes not to speak up. We want them to compete and use their voice when they get home."China has spent more than a decade on media messaging efforts overseas, spending nearly $60 million in the US in 2020 and $23 million in 2021, according to Open Secrets, a DC-based organization that tracks money in American politics. The Vippi Media agreement lays out a detailed social media strategy in which influencers will be tasked with producing three to five pieces of content for their target audiences. The influencers are divided into three tiers — "macro influencers," "mid-tier influencers," and "social publishers" — based on their number of followers and platform activity.According to the contract, the Chinese government is requesting the posts be divided into 70% culture-related content — highlighting the history, cultural relics, modern life, and current trends in Beijing — 20% diplomatic content related to "cooperation and any good things in China-US relations." The remaining 10% of content will pertain to the news and trends from the consulate general. Vipinder Jaswal, a former Fox News and HSBC executive who runs Vippi Media, told The Guardian he was well-aware of the controversies surrounding the Chinese government ahead of inking the deal. "What we are trying to do is to simply highlight the integrity and dignity of the Olympics", he told The Guardian. "Boycotts don't help mutual understanding … I don't support boycotts. They are ineffective, irrelevant and inconsequential."Jaswal told The Guardian his company has already received up to 50 pitches from influencers, including former Olympic athletes and entrepreneurs. As outlined in the contract, Jaswal plans to deliver a total of 3.4 million impressions across social media platforms frequented by younger demographics.He also received a $210,000 advance after sealing the deal, according to the contract's documents.In a response to request to comment from Insider, Jaswal reiterated and confirmed his statements made to The Guardian. Still, the Vippi Media exec has faced criticism over the deal with the Chinese government. Earlier this month, Florida Senator Rick Scott sent a letter to Newsweek, where Jaswal serves as a contributor, asking the publication to reconsider its working relationship with Jaswal in light of China's human rights problems.Newsweek has not publicly responded to the senator's letter. In a response to the letter, Jaswal called the senator's request an "attempt at seeking senseless sensation.""I find his pretensions of endorsing righteousness quite breathtaking and the arrogance with which he projects his hypocrisies truly entertaining," Jaswal previously said in a statement. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 22nd, 2022

Connecticut mother sues Meta and Snap, alleging they contributed to suicide of 11-year-old daughter who had "extreme addiction" to social media

In the suit, Tammy Rodriguez claims her 11-year-old daughter Selena developed an "extreme addiction" to Instagram and Snapchat that led to her death. BigTunaOnline/Shutterstock A woman in Connecticut is suing Meta and Snap, alleging their platforms played a role in her 11-year-old's suicide. Tammy Rodriguez claims her daughter killed herself in July after "struggling with the harmful effects of social media." In a filing, Rodriguez said her daughter had an "extreme addiction" to Instagram and Snapchat for more than two years. A Connecticut mother is suing Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, and Snap, alleging their "dangerous and defective social media products" played a role in her 11-year-old daughter's suicide.The complaint, filed by Tammy Rodriguez in San Francisco federal court earlier this week, claims Selena Rodriguez suffered from depression, sleep deprivation, eating disorders, and self-harm tied to her use of Instagram and Snapchat.According to the filing, Selena began using social media roughly two years before her death by suicide in July 2021, during which time she developed "an extreme addiction to Instagram and Snapchat." The filing also claims the 11-year-old missed school multiple times because of her social media use and that she was asked to send sexually explicit content by male users on both platforms.Rodriguez wrote in the filing that she attempted to get her daughter mental health treatment several times, with one outpatient therapist saying she had "never seen a patient as addicted to social media as Selena." At one point, Selena was hospitalized for emergency psychiatric care, according to the complaint.In a statement, Snap said it couldn't comment on the specifics of an active case but told Insider "nothing is more important to us than the wellbeing of our community.""We are devastated to hear of Selena's passing and our hearts go out to her family," a Snap spokesperson told Insider. "Snapchat helps people communicate with their real friends, without some of the public pressure and social comparison features of traditional social media platforms, and intentionally makes it hard for strangers to contact young people.The spokesperson continued: "We work closely with many mental health organizations to provide in-app tools and resources for Snapchatters as part of our ongoing work to keep our community safe."Meta and lawyers for Rodriguez did not respond to requests for comment.Internal Facebook documents leaked to The Wall Street Journal last year revealed the company is aware Instagram can be harmful to the mental health of teenagers, with one document stating that "32% of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse."Karina Newton, Instagram's head of public policy, wrote in a September blog post that the Journal's story  "focuses on a limited set of findings and casts them in a negative light."In other documents retrieved by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, the company found 13.5% of teen girls said Instagram makes thoughts of suicide worse, while 17% of teen girls said Instagram exacerbates eating disorders.After Haugen gave an interview with "60 Minutes" about the findings, Facebook previously issued this response: "It is not accurate that leaked internal research demonstrates Instagram is 'toxic' for teen girls. The research actually demonstrated that many teens we heard from feel that using Instagram helps them when they are struggling with the kinds of hard moments and issues teenagers have always faced. This research, like external research on these issues, found teens report having both positive and negative experiences with social media."Earlier this month, Angela Underwood Jacobs, the sister of a federal officer killed last year, sued Meta, alleging the company "knowingly promoting extremist content" that contributed to her brother's death.If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call NEDA's Helpline (1-800-931-2237) on weekdays for support, resources, and information about treatment options. In crisis situations, NEDA offers 24/7 support — just text "NEDA" to 741-741.If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 22nd, 2022

The frantic metaverse land grab is likely to persist in 2022 as investors realize virtual real estate equals cash, predictive analytics firm says

Interest in metaverse land rentals has also surged as businesses look to host major events like Fashion Week virtually, said. Decentraland, one of the most popular metaverses. Decentraland press kitDecentraland press kit Interest in metaverse land sales and rentals is going to continue to surge this year, said. The AI firm said online conversations around metaverse real estate have been robust. "The hype has the numbers to back it up: over $100 million has already been spent on metaverse land plots," NWO said. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. The mad dash for virtual land is likely just beginning.Real estate sales in metaverses like Decentraland and the Sandbox — where plots have sold for millions of dollars — are likely set to continue at a brisk pace before peaking in May, though interest will remain high even after, according to predictive analytics firm"We're really seeing the utility of these properties rising; we're seeing that people can make actual money, that buying these properties equals cash. That is going to drive those sales," said Julia Myers, a machine-learning engineer at NWO.NWO, an artificial intelligence startup that launched almost three years ago, tracks millions of texts like news articles, social media platforms Twitter and Reddit, and Google Search, among other things, in order to predict broader emerging narratives. For example, NWO said its AI foresaw millions of retail traders driving massive gains in meme stock companies like GameStop a year ago, and it predicted troubles for Chinese real estate company Evergrande.Conversations around the metaverse, a virtual world where people can interact, shop, and game as avatars, have been robust. According to Grayscale, the metaverse represents a $1 trillion market opportunity. In a recent newsletter, NWO said, "The hype has the numbers to back it up: over $100 million has already been spent on metaverse land plots."In the last year, there have been eye-popping virtual real-estate sales, like the $4.3 million plot of Sandbox land sold to Republic Realm. Meanwhile, conversations around metaverse land rentals are also skyrocketing as companies like rent space in Decentraland for major events, including the first-ever metaverse Fashion Week — where people can buy the latest fashion trends for their look-alike avatars — as well as the inaugural virtual Australian Open. "Location is really huge," Myers said. "The same with real estate in real life, it's all about where you are."According to NWO, Decentraland has become the leading metaverse and upcoming events like Fashion Week are going to solidify that further. Surging interest in the metaverse has only been cemented by skyrocketing prices in the native tokens for metaverses like Decentraland, which has jumped 2,000% in a year, according to Meanwhile, the Sandbox's underlying cryptocurrency has surged more than 8,000%, and Axie Infinity has risen 11,000%, shows."As people gain trust in these platforms and the fact that the future is here, I predict that we will only see [sales] go up," Myers said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 22nd, 2022

The Actual Impact Of Bitcoin On War

The Actual Impact Of Bitcoin On War Authored by Matthew Pines via, The impact of Bitcoin on war will not simply be the eradication of violence, a problem of humanity since the dawn of time... As bitcoin has appreciated and seen increased global adoption, it has emerged as a macroeconomically relevant phenomenon. This has turned formerly theoretical debates into live, practical questions on how Bitcoin will affect geopolitical relations. The current balance of global power is defined by complex arrangements of military alliances, trade flows, ethnic and religious affinity, cultural influence, linguistic agreement, and, of course, national borders. In this author’s view, it is hubris to expect Bitcoin to singularly override or sweep away the accumulated weight and historical inertia of this tightly-bound matrix of interlinked forces. Of course, it is tempting to smooth over this irreducible complexity and hypothesize a “saved” world, where bitcoin is that “one weird trick” to fix all that’s wrong with human civilization. This temptation to “immanentize the eschaton” is common among totalizing belief systems and becomes an emotionally attractive picture of the future, especially in an era where formerly trusted verities of common belief are losing their stabilizing force. And yet, we can still, and increasingly must, analyze the question of violence – especially state violence – in a future world order where Bitcoin is a major, if not the dominant, economic and political force. Some reason that Bitcoin will positively adjust the calculus of violence by which states decide how and where to project power and secure their respective interests. By shifting a large portion of national wealth from easily seized and vulnerable tangible assets into digital form, the incentives to violent conflict – as a means of confiscating this wealth – are substantially reduced. This moves the locus of inter-state conflict from the battlefield to the global, competitive mining market. Real wars become hash wars, and the negative externalities of the former (death and destruction) are replaced by the positive externalities of the latter (energy efficient computation and power generation). While this is well-reasoned and accords with the likely directional influence of Bitcoin on state competition, it is overly simplistic and incomplete. For human conflict exists on a spectrum: from soft power influence and psychological operations (psyops), gray zone subversion, and deniable covert action or sabotage to more overt forms of military violence via stand-off strikes, large-scale invasion, and (in the escalatory limit) all-out nuclear war. To claim Bitcoin will usher in an era of enduring world peace is to argue that it will eliminate all of these long-enduring sources and methods of human conflict. It is possible it will, but there are contrary forces at play that must not be overlooked. Considering the full set of relevant factors, a more reasonable thesis to hold is one in which Bitcoin may constrain certain forms of large-scale, expensive conventional war, but may not (on net) materially reduce human conflict or substantially constrain state violence. One can argue that all property claims, when it comes down to it, are enforced via violence or the threat thereof. (Bracket off for now the strong anthropological evidence, especially in human prehistory, that it is possible for communal social arrangements to endure with group-rights to “property,” though it remains an open question how durable these arrangements are as populations scale and cultural heterogeneity erodes the informal norms and coherence of group identity which mitigates violent dispute.) If Bitcoin succeeds in transposing most property claims from a vulnerable physical form to a more easily protected digital bearer asset, then one may argue that bitcoin removes one potent locus of physical violence from the world: physical property. However, even if one holds that all physical property claims are inherent or latent sources of violence, this doesn’t imply that all sources of human violence (namely, war) result from conflict over physical property. So even if Bitcoin succeeds in reducing one driver of war, one may not feel confident in the claim that Bitcoin fixes all, or even the dominant, drivers of war. I) Bitcoin reduces the state budget for war … but warfighting technology improvements will give states (and everyone else) “more for less” (partly because of bitcoin). One important, and little remarked-upon, factor is a corollary of Jeff Booth’s thesis (well-articulated in his book, ”The Price Of Tomorrow”) on the deflationary impact of technology. Much recent technological progress – especially in computational hardware, machine learning/artificial intelligence, resilient network communications, quantum computation, robotics/unmanned systems, 3D manufacturing, biological synthesis, propulsion systems, novel energetics, space launch and surveillance , among others – is being driven by and for military applications. The implication of Jeff Booth’s thesis (which has been borne out to date) is that just as technology drives exponential progress in consumer goods and services getting better and cheaper, so will the warfighter get “more for less.” More problematic, however, is that this will likely result in a proliferation of advanced technology that “democratizes” violence and distributes powerful capabilities to a broad range of human actors, with their use increasingly unconstrained by rules of engagement, Geneva Conventions, or deterrence considerations. One can imagine a world that has fully adopted a Bitcoin standard, but in which zero-day exploits in critical enterprise software and industrial control systems are found and deployed by teenage Minecraft players, autonomous drone-swarms are built and launched by hobbyists for a few hundred dollars, a disaffected postdoc cooks up synthetic viruses in his garage laboratory, and AI-bot armies execute continuous psyops campaigns against target populations. Further, as Jeff Booth has argued, Bitcoin’s natural alignment with these deflationary forces may accelerate technological progress, which while certainly positive for civilization at large, will likely have these kinds of spillover effects. At a different scale, once bitcoin becomes a globally-adopted neutral reserve asset, protection of domestic mining operations tightly integrated into energy grids becomes a national security issue. While mining firms within each nation will likely be regulated into coopetitive arrangements that dissuade disorderly sabotage, no such constraints will exist between states. In the zero-sum battle for the next nonce (and assuming the combination block reward and fee reflect the state of global adoption), the incentive to undercut one’s global competition will be large. This will manifest first in sophisticated corporate espionage and sabotage operations, likely involving the same sorts of firms which now hire armies of ex-intelligence and military professionals to conduct all sorts of unsavory activities around the world. As is the case with strategically important industries today, these types of activities tend to fuse with state intelligence services. Bitcoin mining may become a strategically important industry, if not the most important such industry in the most geopolitically powerful and relevant nations. Thus, it should not be surprising if we come to see state intelligence agencies brought into service to protect domestic mining operations and develop offensive capabilities to threaten their global competitors. Given the interconnection of these mining operations with regional energy production and grid networks, this will compound the existing risks states face in protecting against cyberattacks and disruption to critical infrastructure. States (and/or their deniable proxies) will find and exploit vulnerabilities in each other’s mining and national Bitcoin operations, which may range from executing sophisticated supply chain attacks that compromise competitor ASICs, to outright physical or cyber-enabled sabotage. This will set off an increasingly expensive game to relocate and protect one’s domestic mining infrastructure. However, the lessons from the current spate of cyber-incidents is that the offense is inherently advantaged over defense in these types of digital environments. It could be the case that the direct, substantial incentive that Bitcoin provides energy owners to protect their networks will finally focus attention on basic cyber-hygiene, insider-threat mitigation, and effective business continuity activities, but this is more a hope than a rational expectation. While beyond the scope of this essay to fully analyze, it is plausible that bitcoin, if adopted as the primary global neutral reserve asset, will constrain (but not eliminate) most forms of national debt finance. Note that it is likely that before it reaches equilibrium adoption as a unit of account (which could be a very long ways away), bitcoin will spend a substantial period of time as a reserve asset (taking increasingly dominant share of similar assets) in its store of value function and somewhat as a medium of exchange vehicle to settle large balances between institutions and governments and in jurisdictions which have adopted it as legal tender. In such a period, there are reasons to believe that large states will still find willing creditors for their national debt (denominated in local currency or, more likely, USD), subject to collateral conditions relating to that nation’s (provable) bitcoin reserve. Such creditors will assess the default risk of such sovereigns in a similar manner as today (and as throughout history), and will take the nation’s bitcoin reserve, its taxing ability, fiat currency acceptability, and extant geopolitical position as factors to consider when lending out their own bitcoin to help these governments’ finance expenditures beyond their existing fiscal balance. Note that this will likely be a much more constrained form of debt finance than we currently see, though it is hard to estimate this precisely. It most likely would not be sufficient to enable states to debt-finance large-scale, conventional wars involving mass mobilization, extensive heavy armaments, and protracted deployments, let alone decades-long occupations or “nation-building” imperial misadventures. Even if one doubts the above argument and believes that Bitcoin will absolutely bind governments to self-fund entirely via tax arrangements subject to revised social contracts delimiting the scope of such spending, war likely won’t disappear. This is because war (especially in the form near-future technology will enable) may not be that expensive to prosecute. As we saw above, the exponential effect of technological deflation (partly enabled by bitcoin shifting investor time preference and raising the hurdle rate for productive capital investment) will accelerate the trend already underway to radically cheap, but asymmetrically effective weapons. National defense strategies (among the most geopolitically significant states) will plausibly evolve towards a barbell strategy that combines irregular warfare capabilities with nuclear deterrence. The most expensive parts of national defense budgets derive from having to pay, train, equip, supply, transport, and provide medical benefits to human soldiers, and to construct manned platforms (e.g., aircraft carrier battlegroups) to project violent force. The next few decades will see a shift towards autonomous and unmanned weapons systems and cyber-enabled electronic warfare to deny, disrupt, and destroy similar adversary systems. Humans will be reserved for the special operations and irregular warfare activities in the broadening “gray zone” of state conflict that sits just below the threshold of overt peer-on-peer war. One perverse effect of the very power of nuclear weapons is the creation of deterrence voids for non-nuke threshold conflict, especially in deniable or gray-zone domains. As the capabilities to cheaply execute effective operations in these domains increases, the incentive to do so, while knowing the nuclear threshold sits high above, will be strong for many states. One can imagine revanchist regimes or those disposed to take special advantage of newly affordable weapons systems to prosecute long-awaited grievances or secure what they may see as marginal, and increasingly perishable, military superiority. For example, the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war saw Azerbaijan combine drone technology and long-range sensors to direct precision fires that dominated the battlefield and decisively tipped the scales in a decades-long conflict. These capabilities would have been out of reach just a few years ago, but were made affordable to such a small state by the deflationary impact of technological progress. It’s possible that even the relatively minimal costs of sustaining these forms of asymmetric capabilities will outweigh their benefit (priced in bitcoin, even). But this seems unlikely, especially if the technology deflation continues to make them ever cheaper, and while the world remains a contested, finite geography riven by historically embedded lines of division and political heterogeneity. II) States will likely continue to sustain and expand world-ending nuclear capabilities, even under a Bitcoin standard, merely as a result of the locked-in logic of deterrence. The one military technology where states are likely to be less cost sensitive are nuclear weapons. Despite the hopes of disarmament activists decades running, this particular genie isn’t going back in the bottle. The existential consequences of nuclear weapons will continue to hang like a sword of Damocles over humanity until we reach some (as yet unenvisioned) plane of enlightenment that ushers in enduring global accord. Until that time, we will require that states invest whatever is necessary in order to maintain extremely secure and reliable nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3) systems. It isn’t too much of a stretch to call the U.S. government (to take one example) as a form of nuclear monarchy. While our constitution vests the Commander in Chief (CiC) executive powers over the armed forces, it formally remands the authority to declare war with the Congress. While presidents have found various ways around this particular constraint, they still feel compelled to come to Congress to receive the political dispensation offered by “authorizations to use military force.” The time-scales of nuclear war, however, render all of that moot. Given the precious few minutes between launch detection and detonation, the CiC is given sole and unchallenged authority to issue counter-strike orders, able to select from a menu of pre-selected target packages (defined in the Single Integrated Operational Plan). This nuclear SIOP is designed explicitly to convince our nuclear adversaries that a devastating retaliatory strike is guaranteed, a deterrence logic captured by the dictum of mutually assured destruction. The fraught stability of this system courted catastrophe several times during the Cold War, and that era was comparatively simple from a game-theoretic perspective. As more (and less stable) states continue to nuclearize, the dynamics of multi-party deterrence becomes dangerously unpredictable. Further, technology is pushing the capability envelope, from dial-a-yield “tactical” weapons (e.g., the U.S. B61 bomb) to mega-weapons (e.g., Russia's Status-6 unmanned nuclear torpedo with a potentially 100MT payload), as well as novel delivery platforms like hypersonic glide vehicles and fractional orbital bombardment systems (like that recently demonstrated by China). Now, you may be asking why this excursion on nuclear weapons. Well, if the question at issue is the degree to which Bitcoin may constrain state violence, and war in particular, it seems to me absolutely imperative to recognize the deeply embedded present system of nuclear deterrence. Such a structure – which places the power of world-ending violence in the hands of individual political leaders – isn’t likely to change anytime soon (no matter what happens with Bitcoin). Humble Bitcoiners must reconcile themselves to this unfortunate reality, and hope that the enlightened Bitcoiner leaders of the future will dedicate themselves to reinvigorate the failed non-proliferation, denuclearization, and arms-reduction efforts of our current politicians. III) Bitcoin fixes a lot of things, but war is unlikely to be one of them (at least for the foreseeable future). More fundamentally, human conflict isn't always (or even mostly) motivated to directly seize monetary wealth. We fight each other for many reasons, including over scarce assets (e.g., water rights, agricultural land, minerals, rare earth metals, oil, and natural geographic features like ports, navigable waterways, straits, etc.), ethnic, tribal, or religious enmity, national pride or honor, domestic political wagging-of-the-dog, or just because of some individual leader’s mania or even group collective insanity. While humans are capable of some wondrous things, our capacity for violence and destruction (especially against our own self-considered and “rational” interest) is legion. In the "long-run," one can, possibly, envision a utopia of abundance where all conceivable axes of human conflict have been eliminated or mitigated. But this seems so far off as to distract from the more likely practical scenarios we must navigate in the decades ahead. Bitcoin as a bearer asset presents immense benefits as well as security challenges for individual holders. These will scale with the scale of adoption. It will be hard to steal a nation's or a large corporation’s bitcoin, but not impossible, and the incentives to try will be large. Right now, national governments substantially invest in securing domestic critical infrastructure – especially the financial system and its centralized, interconnected digital ledgers – from cyberattack, insider exploitation, theft, sabotage, and natural hazard disruption. Bitcoin’s ledger needs no such protection thanks to the geographic distribution, scale-free self-healing network structure, and endogenous incentives of miners (bracket off the 51% attack arguments here), but our keys do. If you don't believe the combined intelligence and defense capabilities of the world's (remaining, likely most powerful) states will not invest in forms of violence, compellence, theft, sabotage, and manipulation to undercut their rival's economic stability, I encourage more "adversarial thinking." Conclusion The precise outlines of the future state of geopolitical competition in a Bitcoin standard are hard to foresee. Exactly how the incentives of Bitcoin mining and national reserve adoption may affect the calculus of inter-state violence is unknowable. Still, we can reason and explore the parameter space of possibilities given present conditions and projected trends. There are good reasons to believe that Bitcoin may reduce the incentive for large-scale, conventional war and imperial-style occupations. At the same time, such forms of state violence may become outmoded regardless of Bitcoin due to the dramatic improvement in weapons technology to asymptotically project power with relatively little cost. Further, the posture of nuclear forces – and the taught logic of deterrence we rely on to prevent their use – will likely be entirely unchanged by Bitcoin (at least for the foreseeable future). Where does this leave us on the question of Bitcoin and war? Unfortunately, I’m not optimistic that it will fundamentally alter the strategic balance of geopolitical forces in such a way as to substantially reduce the likelihood of destructive state conflict. This is no fault of Bitcoin, which promises a great reformation and improvement in many critical aspects of our civilization. Rather, this is merely a statement that, for all its power, Bitcoin is unlikely to change (in our lifetimes, at least) inherent aspects of the human condition, existing as we are on a finite planet, burdened by the frailties of nature and our fraught history. Bitcoin is a net good for humanity, and especially good for those states that recognize its virtues before others. Bitcoin fixes a lot of things, and these should be explained clearly and proclaimed proudly, to all who wish to hear. For all its promise however, Bitcoin is unlikely to fix war. Until it does, stay humble and stack sats. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/21/2022 - 21:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 21st, 2022

Silicon Valley is split on a new bill aimed at curbing the power of Apple, Google and other Big Tech companies

The American Innovation and Choice Online Act would bar the tech giants from giving their own services a leg up on the platforms they control......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJan 21st, 2022

General Dynamics" (GD) Arm Wins Support Deal for Antennas

General Dynamics' (GD) business unit wins a contract involving services in support of the Tactical Network-On the Move systems and equipment. General Dynamics Corporation’s GD business unit, Missions Systems, recently clinched a contract for providing services to support the Tactical Network-On the Move systems and equipment. The contract has been awarded by the U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD.Valued at $74.9 million, the contract is expected to conclude by Jan 22, 2023.Significance of On-the-Move AntennasGeneral Dynamics’ SATCOM (satellite communication) On-the-Move antennas provide reliable, high data rate satellite communications while on the move, thereby enabling secure, beyond-line-of-sight communications for vehicles in motion.Designed for rugged tactical environments, these antennas can be mounted on wheeled and tracked vehicles, high-speed boats, aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. These antennas provide reliable X, Ku or Ka Mil and commercial band satellite communications whenever and wherever needed.General Dynamics’ Growth Prospects in Military AntennasNations are increasing their defense spending in a bid to modernize their defense structures and include technologically advanced arsenals and equipment. In this context, efficient On-the-Move antennas form an integral part of any defense vehicle whether it be ground vehicles, maritime vessels or aircraft.Amid rising terrorism and tensions worldwide, the hunt for an effective communication system that can enable secure and reliable on-the-move communications during any challenging military mission has propelled demand for a technologically advanced antenna.Consequently, in lieu of such strong demand, defense majors like General Dynamics have been making antennas that could ensure better surveillance and augment the tracking abilities of the military during their mission. The company’s excellence in manufacturing secured and technologically advanced On-the-Move antennas may have increased its prospects of winning multiple contracts. The latest contract win is a testament to that.Per the report from Markets and Markets, the military antenna market is projected to witness a CAGR of 5.9% through 2022. Such strong growth prospects exhibit ample opportunities for companies like GD.Peer ProspectsConsidering strong growth prospects in military antennas, defense primes who are likely to benefit are Lockheed Martin LMT, Raytheon Technologies RTX and Textron TXT.Lockheed Martin’s Wide Angle ESA Fed Reflector antenna is a hybrid of a phased array Electronically Steerable Antenna (ESA) and a parabolic dish. It increases the coverage area by 190% compared with traditional phased array antennas at a much lower cost. It optimizes and securely connects warfighting platforms to enable joint all-domain command and control.The long-term earnings growth rate for Lockheed Martin stands at 3.6%. Shares of LMT have rallied 10.5% in the past year.Raytheon Technologies’ MAGR2K enhances GPS acquisition and performance and provides all-in-view GPS satellite tracking and GPS integrity. The open architecture and modular design allow easy upgrades.Raytheon’s long-term earnings growth rate is pegged at 13.2%. RTX’s shares have appreciated 29.8% in the past year.Textron’s One System Remote Video Terminal delivers full-motion videos, images and critical geospatial data from a variety of sources directly to the warfighter’s fingertips.The long-term earnings growth rate for Textron stands at 28.3%. Shares of TXT have returned 49% to its investors in the past year.Price MovementIn the past year, shares of General Dynamics have rallied 38.4% against the industry’s decline of 27.4%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks RankGeneral Dynamics currently carries a Zacks #4 (Sell).You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT): Free Stock Analysis Report General Dynamics Corporation (GD): Free Stock Analysis Report Textron Inc. (TXT): Free Stock Analysis Report Raytheon Technologies Corporation (RTX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 21st, 2022

Tyson Foods" (TSN) Capacity Expansion Aids, High Costs Persist

Tyson Foods (TSN) is on track with capacity expansion and automation technology investments. Also, it is focused on higher protein production. Tyson Foods, Inc. TSN is benefiting from its focus on protein-packed brands and capacity-expansion efforts. The company continues to gain from robust demand in its retail core business lines. The ongoing recovery in the foodservice channel led by QSRs is a driver. That said, escalated input cost inflation is a headwind.Let’s discuss further.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWhat’s Working for Tyson Foods?Tyson Foods is undertaking a number of operational and supply chain efficiency programs to place itself better for the long run. In this regard, the company is investing in capacity expansion and automation technology investments. In its last earnings call, management highlighted that it is on track to open 12 new plants over the next two years, which will enable it to tackle capacity constraints and growing demand for protein globally. The additional capacities include nine chicken plants, two case-ready beef and pork facilities and one bacon unit. Management anticipates capital expenditures of nearly $2 billion during fiscal 2022 to support global protein demand growth.Certainly, Tyson Foods is focused on higher protein production to cater to the rising demand for protein-packed food. For fiscal 2022, the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) projects domestic protein production (beef, pork, chicken and turkey) to improve slightly from fiscal 2021 levels. For fiscal 2022, Tyson Foods expects to grow its total volumes by 2% to 3%, outpacing the overall protein consumption growth. A significant percentage of the volume growth is likely to come from the chicken segment and optimized product portfolio. Enhanced capacities and initiatives to improve operations are likely to boost performance.Tyson Foods boasts a rich portfolio of protein-packed brands that are growing rapidly across the globe. The company has undertaken the divesture of non-protein businesses (Sara Lee Frozen Bakery, Kettle and Van’s) to focus more on the growing protein-packed food arena. It is steadily expanding fresh prepared foods offering, owing to rising demand for natural fresh meat offerings without any added hormones or antibiotics. Tyson Foods has been venturing into alternative sources for meat and protein products. In this regard, the company’s nationwide launch of Raised & Rooted, including three new products, bodes well amid rising demand for plant-based protein options. In June 2021, Tyson Foods announced that it would roll out a range of plant-based products in chosen retail markets and digital platforms in the Asia Pacific under the First Pride brand.Hurdles on WayDuring fourth-quarter of fiscal 2021, Tyson Foods incurred nearly $65 million as direct incremental expenses associated with COVID-19, which put pressure on results to an extent. These include team member costs, production facility sanitization and testing for coronavirus among others. Apart from these factors, indirect COVID-19 costs included expenses associated with raw materials and transportation among others. Management, in its quarterly earnings call, also highlighted that it foresees tough availability of labor. The company witnessed inflation across the business, in areas such as wages, grain cost, live animal costs and pork, meat cost and prepared foods as well as freight costs across the enterprise.That being said, the aforementioned upsides are likely to help the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company stay afloat amid such hurdles. The stock has increased 27.9% in the past six months compared with the industry’s growth of 9.8%.Hot Consumer Staples BetsSome better-ranked stocks are Medifast, Inc. MED, United Natural Foods UNFI and Sanderson Farms, Inc. SAFM.United Natural Foods, the leading distributor of natural, organic and specialty food and non-food products in the United States and Canada, sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) at present. Shares of UNFI have rallied 20.5% in the past six months. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for United Natural Foods’ current financial year earnings per share (EPS) and sales suggests growth of 8.8% and 4.8%, respectively,from the year-ago reported number. UNFI has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 35.4%, on average.Sanderson Farms, the producer of fresh, frozen and minimally prepared chicken, currently sports a Zacks Rank #1. Shares of SAFM have risen 3.5% in the past six months.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Sanderson Farms’ fiscal 2022’s sales suggests almost 1% growth from the year-ago reported figure. SAFM has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 496.3%, on average.Medifast, the manufacturer and distributor of weight loss, weight management, healthy living products, and other consumable health and nutritional products, currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Shares of Medifast have plunged 28.3% in the past six months.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Medifast’s current financial-year sales and EPS suggests growth of about 63% and 49.3%, respectively, from the year-ago reported figure. MED has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 17.3%, on average. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Tyson Foods, Inc. (TSN): Free Stock Analysis Report United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI): Free Stock Analysis Report Sanderson Farms, Inc. (SAFM): Free Stock Analysis Report MEDIFAST INC (MED): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 21st, 2022

4 Software Stocks to Watch for in a Booming Industry

Computer Software industry participants like Microsoft (MSFT), Salesforce (CRM), Intuit (INTU) and Cadence Design Systems (CDNS) are benefiting from a steady digital transformation environment and strong adoption of cloud computing, despite coronavirus-led disruptions. The Zacks Computer Software industry is benefiting from the pandemic-induced accelerated digital transformation drive across the globe. Software is ubiquitous and has become the focal point of technological innovation. Apart from running devices and applications, its usage has been extended to managing infrastructure. The industry is primarily gaining from the ongoing cloud transition. The role of software is evolving. With the continuation of remote work setup and mainstream adoption of hybrid/flexible work model, the demand for voice and video communication software as well as productivity software is expected to increase exponentially. These trends bode well for industry participants like Microsoft MSFT, Salesforce CRM, Intuit INTU and Cadence Design Systems CDNS. Industry DescriptionThe Zacks Computer Software industry comprises companies that provide software applications related to cloud computing, electronic product designing, digital media and marketing, customer relationship management, on-premises as well as cloud-based database management, accounting and tax purposes, human capital management, cybersecurity and application performance monitoring and cloud-based enterprise communications platform among others. Some of the companies specialize in the development and marketing of simulation software (like the computer-aided design or “CAD”, 3D modelling, product lifecycle management or “PLM”, data orchestration and experience creation), which are widely used by engineers, designers and researchers across a broad spectrum of industries like architecture, engineering and construction; product design and manufacturing; and digital media3 Trends Shaping the Future of the Software IndustryHigher Spending on Software Aids Prospects: The industry’s prospects are bright, given higher spending by the enterprises on software procurement. Continued investment in big data and analytics along with the ongoing adoption of software as a service or SaaS opens up significant opportunities for industry players. Cloud offers a flexible and cost-effective platform to develop and test applications. The deployment time is also much shorter compared with legacy systems. SaaS companies are expected to register strong top-line growth on a higher percentage of recurring revenues, subscription gross margin and a lower churn rate.Cloud Computing Adoption Gaining Traction: The increasing need to secure the cloud platforms, amid growing incidents of cyber-attacks and hacking, is driving demand for cyber security software. Enterprises are focused on rapid migration to cloud and DevOps technologies to achieve scalability and agility for software development as well as IT operations. This helps in delivering a flawless digital experience to clients. This trend has brought immense value to application and infrastructure performance monitoring. It is driving the demand for performance management monitoring tools that are not only scalable but also suitable for cloud-based environments.Remote Work to Drive Demand, Worsening COVID-19 Situation a Concern: The continuation of work-from-home and online-learning set up along with the adoption of distributed workforce model is fueling demand for enterprise communication, workspace management and human capital management software solutions, among others. However, the coronavirus situation is highly evolving with the emergence of a more contagious Omicron variant. Several parts of the world (especially the U.K. and the rest of Europe) are grappling with increasing infection rates, leading to the reimposition of several COVID-19 restrictions. Even the United States is witnessing a surge in the Omicron outbreak. This could affect spending across small- and medium-sized businesses globally. The uncertainty in business visibility could dent the industry’s performance in the near term.Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bright ProspectsThe Zacks Computer Software industry is housed within the broader Zacks Computer And Technology sector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank #99, which places it in the top 39% of more than 254 Zacks industries.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates bright near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are gaining confidence in this group’s earnings growth potential. Since Jan 31, 2021, the industry’s earnings estimate for 2021 has improved 6.1%.Before we present some stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, considering their prospects, let us look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.Industry Outperforms Sector and S&P 500The Zacks Computer Software industry has outperformed the broader Zacks Computer and Technology sector and the S&P 500 Index in the past year.The industry has rallied 25.1% over this period compared with the S&P 500’s rise of 18.4% and the broader sector’s increase of 8%.One-Year Price PerformanceIndustry's Current Valuation On the basis of forward 12-month P/E, which is a commonly used multiple for valuing software companies, we see that the industry is currently trading at 32.9X compared with the S&P 500’s 20.65X. It is also above the sector’s forward-12-month P/E of 26.08X.Over the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 37.26X, as low as 22.60X and at the median of 27.07X, as the chart below shows.Forward 12-Month Price-to-Earnings (P/E) RatioForward 12-Month P/E Ratio4 Software Stocks to Snap Up Right NowSalesforce: Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Salesforce is the leading provider of on-demand Customer Relationship Management software, enabling organizations to manage critical operations, such as sales force automation, customer service and support, marketing automation, document management, analytics and custom application development.Salesforce is benefiting from a robust demand environment as customers are undergoing a major digital transformation. The rapid adoption of its cloud-based solutions is driving demand for its products. Salesforce’s sustained focus on introducing more aligned products per customers’ needs is driving the top line. The recent acquisition of Slack would position the company as a leader in the enterprise team collaboration solution space and compete with Microsoft’s Teams product.Salesforce sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s fiscal 2022 earnings is at $4.68 per share, up 6.4% in the past 60 days.Price and Consensus: CRMMicrosoft: The Redmond, WA-based company is benefiting from momentum in its Azure cloud platform amid accelerated digital transformation around the globe. The company is now one of the two public cloud providers that can deliver a wide variety of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solutions at scale.Microsoft is witnessing growth in the user base of its different applications, including Microsoft 365 suite and Dynamics. Recovery in ad and job market boosted LinkedIn and Search revenues. Teams’ user growth is gaining from the continuation of remote work and the implementation of a flexible work model. The solid uptake of new Xbox consoles is aiding the gaming segment performance.Shares of Microsoft have returned 33.5% in a year’s time. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company’s fiscal 2022 earnings is pegged at $9.14 per share, up 2 cents in the past 60 days.Price and Consensus: MSFT  Intuit: Mountain View, CA-based Intuit is a business and financial software company that develops and sells financial, accounting and tax preparation software and related services for small businesses, consumers and accounting professionals globally.Intuit is benefiting from strong momentum in online ecosystem revenues and solid professional tax revenues. The TurboTax Live offering is also driving growth in the Consumer tax business. Solid momentum in the company’s lending product, QuickBooks Capital, remains a positive factor. Moreover, the company’s strategy of shifting its business to a cloud-based subscription model will help generate stable revenues over the long run.Shares of Intuit have returned 45.3% in a year’s time. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for this Zacks Rank #2 company’s fiscal 2022 earnings is pegged at $11.68 per share.Price and Consensus: INTU Cadence Design Systems: The San Jose, CA-based company is well-positioned to gain from strength across segments like digital & signoff solutions and functional verification suite. Expanding product portfolio and frequent product launches are a key catalyst.Increasing investments on emerging trends like Internet-of-things (IoT), augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) as well as autonomous vehicle sub-systems present significant growth opportunities for the company in the long haul. The recent acquisitions of Pointwise and NUMECA are expected to boost the top line.In the past year, shares of Cadence have returned 9.4%. The consensus mark for this Zacks Rank #2 company’s 2021 earnings is pegged at $3.25 per share, unchanged in the past 60 days.Price and Consensus: CDNS  5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report, inc. (CRM): Free Stock Analysis Report Intuit Inc. (INTU): Free Stock Analysis Report Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (CDNS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 21st, 2022

Dell (DELL) Launches Multi-Cloud Services, Expands Portfolio

Dell Technologies (DELL) launches Apex Data Storage Services to help organizations simplify operations across the multi-cloud. Dell Technologies DELL recently announced the launch of Apex Data Storage Services. The new service comprises a portfolio of scalable and elastic storage resources that simplify the storage process across the multi-cloud.The service gives complete oversight over various storage systems without the hassle of day-to-day maintenance and administrative tasks.The latest offering reflects Dell’s commitment to aid customers in taking control of their data across different multi-cloud platforms.The solution is based on its broad technology portfolio and experience in building open ecosystems, data storage capabilities, and supply chain systems, which simplify operations across the multi-cloud.Services including data protection and storage with simultaneous access to all major public clouds through a single console are offered under Apex Multi Cloud Data Services, Apex Back Up Services, and Project Alpine. Meanwhile, Backup Service will guard SaaS applications. Along with the Backup Service, it will bring Dell’s block and file storage software to leading public clouds, delivering flexibility in managing data between on-premises environments and public clouds. Dell Technologies Inc. Price and Consensus Dell Technologies Inc. price-consensus-chart | Dell Technologies Inc. Quote Portfolio Expansion to Drive Cloud Computing Market Share GainDell recently revealed that 83% of organizations are committed to storing and managing data using a multi-cloud approach within 12 months. Dell is focused on tapping this market to drive top-line growth by providing data storage and protection services to companies extending operations in the cloud.The company is expanding the availability of Apex data Storage Services across 13 countries in Europe and the Asia Pacific to gain access to different organizations and win market share in the Cloud Computing Market. Dells’ Apex Cloud Services is currently available in the United States, the U.K., France, and Germany.However, Dell is a late entrant in the cloud computing business and playing a catch-up game against key competitor Microsoft MSFT.Microsoft has been riding on strong demand for its Azure cloud services. Azure’s increased availability in more than 60 regions globally is expected to have reinforced Microsoft’s competitive position in the cloud computing market.Oracle ORCL is another company making notable strides in the sector. The company has been gaining ground in its cloud business. Its software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solutions are likely to expand robustly over the next few years as enterprises increasingly transition to the cloud.However, even amid strong competition, Dell is gaining traction in the industry as companies like SMC Corporation are seeking the help of Dell to manage and take control of data seamlessly across multi-platforms.Dell is expanding collaborations with key cloud vendors like Alphabet’s GOOGL Google, VMware and other organizations to offer a broad range of its DevOps-ready platforms to customers and accelerate top-line growth.Zacks RankDell currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.In the past year, Dell’s shares have tumbled 25.4% against the Computer and Technology sector’s growth of 8%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 earnings has moved north by 0.35% in the past 60 days to $8.66 per share. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report Dell Technologies Inc. (DELL): Free Stock Analysis Report Oracle Corporation (ORCL): Free Stock Analysis Report Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 21st, 2022

SVB Financial (SIVB) Q4 Earnings Beat, Revenues & Costs Rise

SVB Financial (SIVB) records a rise in revenues in the fourth quarter of 2021. However, higher expenses hurt results to some extent. SVB Financial Group’s SIVB fourth-quarter 2021 adjusted earnings per share of $6.56 comfortably outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $6.29. In the year-ago quarter, the company recorded earnings of $7.40 per share.The reported quarter and 2021 earnings figures exclude merger-related charges in connection with Boston Private Financial Holdings but include the day-one provision on non-purchased credit deteriorated loans and unfunded credit commitments acquired in connection with the merger.Results largely benefited from growth in revenues. Loans and deposit balances witnessed sequential improvement in the quarter. However, a rise in expenses and lower net interest margin (NIM) were the undermining factors.Net income available to common shareholders (GAAP basis) was $371 million, down 4.4% from the prior-year quarter’s level.For 2021, adjusted earnings per share were $32.93, which outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $31.53. In 2020, the company recorded earnings of $22.87 per share. Net income available to common shareholders (GAAP basis) was $1.77 billion, up 48.6% from the previous year.Revenues Improve, Expenses RiseQuarterly net revenues (tax-equivalent) were $1.51 billion, jumping 23.7% year over year. The top line surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.40 billion.Net revenues (tax-equivalent) for 2021 were $5.95 billion, jumping 48.1% year over year. The top line surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5.88 billion.Quarterly net interest income (NII) was $939 million, which grew 58.6% year over year. However, NIM (on a fully-taxable equivalent basis) contracted 49 basis points (bps) to 1.91%.Non-interest income was $561 million, down 9.8% from the prior-year quarter’s figure. The fall resulted from a decline in net gains on investment securities, net gains on equity warrant assets, client investment fees and investment banking revenues.Non-interest expenses increased 35.6% year over year to $902 million. An increase in all expense components, except for net occupancy and other costs, resulted in the rise. Merger-related charges worth $27 million were recorded in the quarter.The operating efficiency ratio was 60.13%, up from 54.79% in the prior-year quarter. A rise in efficiency ratio indicates lower profitability.Loans and Deposit Balances IncreaseAs of Dec 31, 2021, SVB Financial’s total loans amounted to $66.3 billion, increasing 7.8% from the prior quarter’s level. Total deposits jumped 10.5% sequentially to $189.2 billion.Credit Quality: A Mixed BagIn the reported quarter, the company recorded provision for credit losses of $48 million against a reduction for credit losses of $38 million in the prior-year quarter.However, the ratio of allowance for loan losses to total loans was 0.64%, down 35 bps year over year. The ratio of net charge-offs to average loans was 0.01%, down from 0.09% in the year-earlier quarter.Capital Ratios Improve, Profitability Ratios DeteriorateAt the end of the fourth quarter, common equity tier 1 risk-based capital ratio was 12.11% compared with 11.04% at the end of the prior-year quarter. Total risk-based capital ratio was 16.61%, up from 12.64%.Return on average assets on an annualized basis was 0.72%, down from 1.49% recorded in the year-ago quarter. Return on average equity was 11.80%, which decreased from 20.23%.2022 Outlook (Including Boston Private Merger)Average loans are expected to grow in the low-30s. Average deposit balances are projected to grow in the low-40s.NII is anticipated to grow in the high-30s. NIM is projected to be 1.90-2.00%.Core fee income (including client investment fees, foreign-exchange fees, credit card fees, deposit service charges, lending-related fees, wealth management and trust fees, and letters of credit fees) is expected to increase at the mid-20s percentage rate.SVB Leerink revenues are projected to be $625-$675 million.Non-interest expenses (excluding merger-related charges) are projected to increase in the low-20s. A total of $40 million worth of pre-tax merger-related charges are anticipated, of which $30 million will be incurred in the first half of 2022 and the remainder in the second half.Net loan charge-offs are expected to be 0.15-0.35% of average total loans.The effective tax rate is expected to be 25-27%.Our TakeThe buyout of Boston Private has accentuated SVB Financial’s commitment to the wealth management business. The adoption of Boston Private’s digital platforms will further accelerate SVB Financial’s technology development.Given its global diversification efforts, SVB Financial remains well-positioned for growth. However, the continuous increase in expenses and pressure on margins are major near-term concerns.SVB Financial Group Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise  SVB Financial Group price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | SVB Financial Group QuoteSVB Financial currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Performance of Large BanksRobust advisory business, reserve releases and a rise in loan demand drove JPMorgan’s JPM fourth-quarter 2021 earnings of $3.33 per share. The bottom line handily outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.01. Results included net credit reserve releases. Excluding this, earnings were $2.86 per share.JPM’s equity markets revenues and fixed-income markets revenues fell 2% and 16%, respectively, on a year-over-year basis. Total markets revenues of $5.3 billion declined 11%. While lower rates continued to hurt JPMorgan’s interest income, it was more than offset by a rise in loan balances.Bank of New York Mellon Corporation’s BK fourth-quarter 2021 adjusted earnings of $1.04 per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.02. The bottom line represents a rise of 8.3% from the prior-year quarter.BK’s quarterly results were aided by provision benefits and a rise in fee income. Growth in asset balances was another tailwind. However, a marginal fall in net interest income and higher expenses were the undermining factors.Citigroup C delivered an earnings surprise of 5.04% in fourth-quarter 2021. Income from continuing operations per share of $1.46 handily outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.39. However, the reported figure declined 24% from the prior-year quarter.Citigroup’s investment banking revenues jumped in the quarter under review, driven by equity underwriting as well as growth in advisory revenues. However, fixed-income revenues were down due to declining rates and spread products. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM): Free Stock Analysis Report Citigroup Inc. (C): Free Stock Analysis Report The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (BK): Free Stock Analysis Report SVB Financial Group (SIVB): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 21st, 2022

Securities Exchanges Benefitting From Market Volatility

Securities Exchanges Benefitting From Market Volatility The recent trend of increased trading volume continued its ascent last year, as market data provider Statista reported that the total value of global equity trading soared to more than $37 trillion U.S. dollars in Q2 of 2021. Trading volume statistics have consistently hit all-time records, with data from CBOE Global Markets showing that total options volume last year surpassed 3 billion contracts – the highest yearly volume on record and up 19% from 2020. During volatile times in the financial markets, trading volumes tend to rise as sellers dominate the price action. While nerve-wracking for investors, this increased volume can be beneficial for securities exchanges.With the market in turmoil, keeping tabs on which industry groups are outperforming can help guide investors to top individual stocks and ETFs. The Zacks Securities and Exchanges industry group is ranked in the top 24% of all Zacks Ranked Industries. As such, we expect this industry to outperform the market over the next 3-6 months.Quantitative research studies have shown that approximately half of a stock’s future price appreciation is due to its industry grouping. In fact, the top 50% of Zacks Ranked Industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1. By focusing on the top stocks within the top 50% of Zacks Ranked Industries, investors can dramatically improve their stock-picking success.Below we will analyze two securities exchanges that have held up well through the recent market downturn. Both firms are part of the Zacks Securities and Exchanges industry group within the Zacks Finance sector, which ranks #2 out of all 16 Zacks sectors.CBOE Global Markets Inc. (CBOE)CBOE Global Markets operates as an options exchange worldwide. The company offers cutting-edge trading and investment solutions and operates through five segments: Options, North American Equities, European Equities, Futures, and Global FX. CBOE Global Markets was founded in 1973 and is based in Chicago, IL.A Zacks #2 (Buy) stock, CBOE has bolstered its brand through organic means, increasing transaction fees on the back of trading volume growth. The top line increased 1.8% through the first nine months of last year, reflecting higher access and capacity fees. CBOE expects to deliver total net revenue growth of 5-7% annually.CBOE has also benefitted from strategic acquisitions such as BATS Global, which expanded and diversified its product portfolio with the addition of U.S. and European cash equities. The company’s acquisition of Trade Alert enabled it to provide real-time data, market information and alerts. The buyout of MATCHNow also helped CBOE venture into Canada, and the company is further exploring new markets overseas.Over the past twenty quarters, CBOE has beaten earnings estimates in 18 of them. CBOE most recently reported Q3 EPS of $1.45, a 1.4% positive surprise over consensus. The company is averaging a 3.22% beat over the past four quarters, helping push the stock 27.3% higher in the past year.Cboe Global Markets, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise Analysts have increased their projections for last year’s total EPS by 2.08% in the past 60 days. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is now $5.89, reflecting an increase of 11.76% from 2020 levels. We’ll see if CBOE can meet these numbers when the company reports its final quarterly earnings slate from 2021 on February 4th.CME Group Inc. (CME)CME Group is the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace. CME operates contract markets for the trading of futures and options worldwide. The company offers derivatives products based on interest rates, equities, foreign exchange, commodities, and fixed income through its electronic trading platforms. CME also operates one of the world’s leading central counterparty clearing providers through CME Clearing. CME was founded in 1898 and is based in Chicago, IL.CME boasts a strong market position driven by its diverse product line and numerous strategic alliances. Fundamental growth remains a key driver for the company’s operating leverage, as CME leads with about 90% market share of the global futures trading and clearing services. Organic growth has been reflected in the company’s revenues, as CME has witnessed a CAGR of nearly 8% in the five years spanning 2015-2020.CME has exceeded earnings estimates in each of the past four quarters. The company most recently reported Q3 EPS of $1.6, a 3.23% positive surprise over consensus. CME has delivered a trailing four-quarter average surprise of 2.91%, aiding the stock’s 26.32% over the past year. CME Group Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise Analysts covering CME have upped their 2022 EPS estimates by 1.39% in the past 60 days. The Zacks Consensus Estimate now stands at $7.27, translating to growth of 8.89% relative to last year. CME is due to report earnings on February 9th. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report CME Group Inc. (CME): Free Stock Analysis Report Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (CBOE): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 21st, 2022

Why Investors Are Paying Real Money For Virtual Land

A blank square of pixels in a virtual metaverse world like The Sandbox can cost as much as a home in the real world. But investors are buying in A version of this article was published in TIME’s newsletter Into the Metaverse. Subscribe for a weekly guide to the future of the Internet. You can find past issues of the newsletter here. Chris Adamo considers himself late to the game when it comes to investing in NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. He collected his first one in summer 2021. But when it comes to buying up property in the metaverse, Adamo is early. Eight months ago, the Miami-based venture capitalist and a group of associates calling themselves the MetaCollective DAO used a virtual real estate broker to buy 23 parcels in The Sandbox, a user-generated, blockchain-based virtual world, for prices starting at 1ETH (about $3,000). A nearby property sold for about 42ETH, or $130,000. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] The land—pixels, really—borders the compound of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, a buzzy NFT community, and a plot owned by Adidas. They’re calling it Sandbox Hill Road, as a nod to Silicon Valley’s famous Sand Hill Road and The Sandbox, the platform where this “land” exists. Already, the parcels’ value has gone up about ten times in price, making their holdings potentially worth many millions of dollars. “It’s like the New York City of The Sandbox,” Adamo says. “Like the Lower East Side or Soho right now.” Translation: it’s hip—or at least, they are invested in believing it can be. More from TIME If the metaverse is meant to encompass everything that exists virtually, from digital art to virtual worlds, then the real estate parcels that are being snapped up can be seen as just one type of metaversal investment, often listed as NFTs. These virtual worlds—The Sandbox, Decentraland, Cryptovoxels, Earth2, Nifty Island, Superworld, Wilder World—each offer different things to users: hyper-realistic graphics, gaming options, communities of specific types of early adopters. (Snoop Dogg, for instance, staked out a home for himself in The Sandbox; Paris Hilton has an island in Roblox.) Read More: NFT Art Collectors Are Playing a Risky Game—And Winning Right now, if you open The Sandbox on a web browser, all you’ll see is a flat map of brand logos scattered throughout land-shaped masses made up of colorful pixels. (Each of those pixels, or plots, is a property worth real money; in general, the concept of scarcity is a farce online, but in these worlds—as in our physical one—it is often real.) Meanwhile over on Cryptovoxels, things feel more like an early-stage video game populated by blank walking mannequins. (Sometimes, they fly.) Click on a billboard, and you’ll see details of the NFT work and artist you’re viewing, with a link to OpenSea, the NFT marketplace. MetaCollective has big plans for their blank squares. For Drew Austin, managing partner at venture capital syndicate RedBeard Ventures and leader for MetaCollective, it’s all about developing this corner of the future internet into a learning center or “university” for self-education on all things web3. He envisions virtual classes, dormitory rooms that users can rent, and a full social experience. “We can recreate what an educational digital experience is, in this new digital world,” he says. None of this has been built or designed yet. But the money is real. SandboxSandbox view. One way to think about it is like purchasing a domain name, or snagging a good social media handle. If email was our home in Web 1, and social profiles—like a Facebook or Instagram page—were the Web 2 home bases for each of us, then personal property in the form of virtual real estate may be the Web 3 version. The difference is that instead of being beholden to providers or platforms to design, regulate and control the experience, Web 3 property is intended to be something you, the end user, can build yourself. For brands, it could mean something much more interactive and active than their current digital presences. For individuals, it could mean earning income by playing games or selling products. Andrew Steinwold, managing partner at metaverse-native fund Sfermion, calls it “unlimited optionality,” breaking free of the bounds of our profiles and pages. An entire industry of virtual world developers has already popped up. “One of the things that’s so exciting and fascinating about the metaverse is it’s all about cocreation, right?” says Jessica Peltz Zatulove, another MetaCollective member. “So we’re also just seeing this blending between creators and celebrities and communities.” Then again, right now this is all speculation. The big winners—at the moment, at least—are the platforms and developers, who are raking in investment dollars from early buyers. Animoca Brands, the company behind The Sandbox, recently reported it is now worth $5 billion, up from a valuation just over $2 billion in 2021. Roblox, a more established gaming universe, listed on the New York Stock Exchange in March 2021 at a valuation of $42 billion. One research report predicts virtual gaming worlds alone could be worth $400 billion by 2025, with the broader metaverse industry worth over $1 trillion. Read More: NFTs Are Shaking Up the Art World—But They Could Change So Much More Many of the early buyers of virtual real estate are doubly invested—in the platforms themselves and through personal plays like DAOs buying and developing new land—so their bullishness is ultimately self-serving. (Steinwold’s fund, for instance, has its hand in both platform investments and individual properties; Austin runs a fund that invests in five different worlds.) The technology, too, is early—Adamo is the first to admit we’re about a decade out from easy mass adoption, and Austin notes plenty of “room for improvement,” from the interface to the technically complicated process of buying property. But the hunger is there for web3 investors. Virtual property prices have gone up as much as 500% since Facebook’s much-hyped transition to Meta, according to CNBC. Already, plots in some virtual worlds are just as expensive as a real-world house.   DecentralandThe entrance to Decentraland. Decentraland is a 3D virtual world platform. Users may buy virtual plots of land in the platform as NFTs via the MANA cryptocurrency, which is a sidechain of Ethereum. It was opened to the public in February 2020, and is overseen by the nonprofit Decentraland Foundation. Even if the casual user experience leaves much to be desired, however, ways to claim land and plans to develop property are expanding daily. ONE Sotheby’s just announced they will build a virtual replica of a real-world property in The Sandbox, with ownership crossing over. Meanwhile, an anonymous buyer snapped up the neighboring property to Snoop Dogg for a reported $450,000, betting on proximity to a famous neighbor as a value-add, just as MetaCollective is betting on Bored Ape Yacht Club. Over at Cryptovoxels, one developer is planning to build a New York Stock Exchange-style trading center and home for crypto-native companies like defi protocols in their centrally-located Frankfurt property, a spot they purchased because it allows for larger virtual buildings. The dream is for it to become a central hub in this universe, and one with real utility as we migrate into virtual realms. If this all sounds quixotic, that cynicism is warranted. Even investors are maintaining healthy skepticism about the current iterations of virtual worlds. Steinwold has raised over $100 million from investors for his funds, but he sees much of the virtual world speculation as being overvalued so far. In fact, he says, overvaluation in web3 is “true broadly,” from NFT art to crypto tokens. But that still hasn’t stopped him from investing “at the company-building level.” And it hasn’t stopped him from backing the Frankfurt NYSE plan in Cryptovoxels. “We’re kind of in the pre-Napster era. We don’t have Napster yet. We don’t have iTunes, and we don’t have Spotify,” he says, comparing today’s virtual worlds to the early-2000s music-sharing platform and its successors. “That’ll come, but it’s gonna take a pretty long time.” Read More: Teen Artists Are Making Millions on NFTs. How Are They Doing It? For Zatulove, another MetaCollective investor, the draw is in the business potential. As a founding partner of Hannah Grey, an early stage venture firm that specializes in emerging platform potential for brands, Zatulove is focused on finding ways to build commerce into this new landscape. “It’s about having an office space in a prime location, but it’s really about: Can you rent this land?” she says, “Can you have a store? Can you host events? We’re in a gold rush moment with virtual real estate where people don’t know what they’re gonna build or how they’re going to build it, but they’re acquiring land in the best possible locations to create an interesting financial future.” She imagines setting up office space on the MetaCollective campus. “Maybe we have a coffee shop, maybe we have a cool hangout. Maybe we have town hall meetings, maybe we host office hours for founders, maybe we just have a museum that inspires creativity, in collaboration across different builders in this space,” she says, brainstorming. Plus, the market is untapped; Zatulove cites the three billion people worldwide who are gamers, and who are used to spending time in virtual environments. Even if Sandbox hasn’t captured their attention yet, the potential is there. “The delight right now of virtual real estate is that it’s recognizing that there’s opportunity ahead that you’re setting up for yourself,” she says. Adamo has kids and, like any dad, he’s thinking about their future—and about what he can pass down to them. This real estate might not be a brick-and-mortar property, but it’s still something bought with their best interests in mind. “With the rates of this year’s growth, this looks like a really multi-generational plan purchase,” he says. Maybe Sandbox Hill Road will disappear into the ether of the internet in a few years, like Limewire and Kazaa. Maybe he’s bought into a future Spotify. In the meantime, the bubble just gets bigger. Subscribe to Into the Metaverse for a weekly guide to the future of the Internet. Join TIMEPieces on Twitter and Discord.....»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 21st, 2022