Is Masking Kids At School Working?

Is Masking Kids At School Working? Authored by Ian Miller and Michael Betrus via The Brownstone Institute, Kids in California, New York, Illinois and a number of other states are required to wear face masks every day at school. Nearly 40% of school children nationwide are required to do so. Other states leave it up to local rules, which means about half the kids in the country are wearing face masks every day, social distancing, eating lunch outside, and performing athletics in masks.  Close to 30% of all schools are legally prevented from implementing mandates, or face pending legal challenges to restrictions, which means few in those states are imposing restrictions like we saw in 2020-2021. Below are those states with and without face mask requirements in schools. There are two things that would almost assuredly amaze most parents across the country. Many parents in states like California or Illinois with mask mandates would likely be shocked how normal school protocols are in Texas, Florida, Utah, Iowa and other states shown in dark green or orange. Those with school-aged children in the green states would be stunned to learn that those in blue are requiring kids to wear face masks in school, socially distance, and eat outside in the cold or rain. Some universities are requiring students to wear masks while on campus, even outdoors, including the University of Southern California and the University of Arizona. COVID-19 is currently surging all over the country. Fortunately, a combination of a less lethal variant, recovered immunity and vaccinations are preventing many from the highly serious conditions we have seen in the past. You can see below that positive tests have skyrocketed over the past few weeks. Why so many people who aren’t sick are waiting in long lines and panicking to buy at-home tests is the subject for another article, but it’s clear that millions are currently contracting COVID-19: In looking at the grouping of the states (CA/OR/WA/IL/NY/DE/MA/CT/NJ/MD/NV/NM/VA/RI) with required masking in schools compared to those without mask mandates (UT/FL/AZ/TX/OK/MO/IA/AR/TN/SC), where very few students are wearing them, we see nearly identical trends, and those with little to no masking have lower current case rates:  The proportion of pediatric positive tests is similar in all parts of the country right now, about 20% of all positive tests across the three 0-17 age groups shown below. This is about the same regardless of weather (seasonality) or restrictions: It made us wonder. Are the school restrictions in some states working? It’s not about cases; cases are really a product of community spread and how much testing we do. It is about sickness. Are more kids getting hospitalized for or with COVID-19 in the states with normal school protocols than those requiring face masks? We reached out to Josh Stevenson (@ifihadastick on Twitter), who has repeatedly produced amazing data analysis throughout the pandemic. Below is what he uncovered. This is an original compilation you won’t see anywhere else. For the states requiring masks, COVID-19 pediatric hospitalizations are averaging 4.23 per 100,000 kids: For the states not allowing face mask mandates (or close to not requiring), COVID-19 pediatric hospitalizations are averaging 4.90 per 100,000 kids: The hospitalization rate is nearly identical. There is no discernible difference between outcomes of infection or hospitalization for kids in communities where face masks are required in school and those where face coverings are optional. Kids should be in school with normal protocols. They should be in class without masks, without plexiglass dividers, socializing while they eat lunch and participating in sports without face masks. Logic clearly tells us this, and this data overwhelmingly proves there is no health benefit to requiring kids to wear face masks in school. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 17:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

Should You Move While You Can, Or When You Must?

Should You Move While You Can, Or When You Must? Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog, This gives an extreme advantage to those few who move first, long before they must. The financial advantage for first movers is equally extreme. Moving is a difficult decision, so we hesitate. But when the window to do so closes, it's too late. We always think we have all the time in the world to ponder, calculate and explore, and then things change and the options we once had are gone for good. Moving to a new locale is difficult for those of us who are well-established in the place we call home. Add in a house we love, jobs/work, kids in school, a parent living with us and all the emotional attachments to friends, extended family, colleagues and favorite haunts, and for many (and likely most) people, moving is out of the question. Many of us have fond memories of moving when we were in our late teens or early 20s--everything we owned fit in the backseat and trunk of a beaten up old car, and off we went. Once you put down roots in a home, work/enterprise, schools, neighborhood and networks, it's a herculean task to move. Moving to another state or province isn't just a matter of the physical movement of possessions and buying / renting a new dwelling, itself an arduous process; the transfer of medical and auto insurance, finding new dentists and doctors, opening local bank/credit union accounts, obtaining local business licenses and a staggering list of institutions and enterprises that require an address change is complicated and time-consuming. Knowing this, I don't ask this question lightly: Should You Move While You Can, Or When You Must? The question is consequential because the window in which we still have options can slam shut with little warning. The origin of the question will be visible to those who have read my blog posts in 2021 on systemic fragility, our dependence on long, brittle supply chains, the vulnerabilities created by these dependencies and my polite (I hope) suggestions to fashion not just a Plan B for temporary disruptions but a Plan C for permanent disruptions. My new book Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United States is a result of realities few are willing to face: the extreme inequality we now have in the U.S. leads to social collapse. That's the lesson of history. So to believe as if collapse is impossible is to ignore the evidence that social collapse is inevitable when inequality reaches extremes. Human and nature dynamics (HANDY): Modeling inequality and use of resources in the collapse or sustainability of societies. Social collapse has consequences, and so we have to ask: where do we want to be in the vast human herd when social order unravels? My new book also addresses the transition that's obvious but easily denied: we've transitioned from an era of abundance to an era of scarcity. There are many historical examples of what happens as scarcity diminishes living standards and puts increasing stress on individuals, families, communities and nations. There are ways to adapt to scarcity (that's the point of my book) but nation-states and the elites who run them are optimized for abundance, not scarcity, so they lack the means to adapt to scarcity. Their default setting to is keep pursuing a return to higher consumption ("growth") by increasingly extreme means--for example, printing trillions of dollars and giving it to wealthy elites and corporations, and printing additional trillions to give away as bread and circuses (stimulus) to the masses. There is no historical evidence that this vast, endless creation of currency is consequence-free or successful. This delusional pursuit of endless "growth" that is no longer possible due to resource depletion and soaring costs of extraction, transport, etc. also leads to collapse. This is the modern-day equivalent of squandering the last resources available on ever-more elaborate (and completely unproductive) temples in the hopes of appeasing the gods of "growth." As I also detail in the book, the status quo is fantastically wasteful and ineffective. It now takes 20-25 years to build a single bridge or tunnel, and each project is billions of dollars over budget, yet we're assured that the entire nation will seamlessly and painlessly transition away from hydrocarbon fuels to alternative energy in 20-25 years. Never mind that this would require building a new nuclear plant or equivalent every month for the next 20 years; skeptics are just naysayers. While a successful transition to a degrowth economy and society is certainly physically possible, the current status quo lacks the will, structure, leadership or desire to manage such a transition. While no one is entirely independent of long supply chains and energy-intensive industrial economies, the lower one's dependency and one's exposure to the risks of social disorder, the better off one will be. Put another way, the greater one's self-reliance and independence from global supply chains, the lower the impact should things break down. The closer one is to local sources of energy, fresh water, food, etc., the lower the likelihood of losing all access to these essentials. The wealthiest few hedge their risks by having one or more homes they can escape to if urban life breaks down. When risks rise, the wealthy start buying rural homes sight unseen for double the price locals paid a few months earlier. Here's the problem: roughly 81% of Americans live in urban zones (270 million people), and around 19% (60 million people) live in rural areas. About 31% of urban residents live in dense urban cores, about 25% live in suburban counties and the remaining 24% live in urban clusters and metropolitan areas--smaller cities, etc. Rural regions have plenty of land but relatively few dwellings due to the low population density. Much of the land is owned by government agencies, corporations or large landowners, so a relatively small percentage is available for housing. Many rural economies have stagnated for decades, so the housing stock has not grown by much and older homes have deteriorated due to being abandoned or poorly maintained. Few building contractors survived the stagnation and so finding crews to build a new home is also non-trivial. So when the wealthiest few rush out to buy second or third homes in desirable rural areas in Idaho, Montana, Utah, Colorado, North Carolina, etc., they find a very restricted supply of homes available. This generates a bidding war for the relatively few homes considered acceptable and prices skyrocket, pricing out locals who soon resent the wealthy newcomers' financial power and fear the inevitable rise of the political and commercial power their wealth can buy. (Cough, billgates, cough.) At present, few anticipate urban America becoming a dicey place to live and own a home. But inequality and the hollowing out of the economy by globalization and financialization has left cities entirely dependent on diesel fueled trucks to deliver virtually everything. This is also true of rural communities, of course, but some rural areas still produce energy and food, and given the lower population density, these communities are less dependent on global supply chains and are therefore more self-sufficient. Rural households have more opportunities to raise animals, grow vegetables, etc., and more opportunities to have supportive relationships with neighbors who actually produce something tangible and essential. Dependence is a matter of scale: if you can get by on 5 gallons of gasoline a month, you're much more likely to put your hands on enough fuel to get by than if you need a minimum of 50 gallons of fuel to survive. The same is true of food, fresh water and other essentials: the less you need, the more you supply yourself, the lower your vulnerability to supply disruptions. Lower population densities lend themselves to greater self-sufficiency / resilience and to community cohesion. Roving mobs are less likely to form simply because the low density makes such mobs difficult to assemble. As I explain in my book, social cohesion is a combination of civic virtue, shared purpose, agency (having a stake in the local economy and a say in decisions which affect everyone) and moral legitimacy, i.e. a community that isn't divided into a self-serving elite that owns the vast majority of the wealth, capital and political power and a relatively powerless majority (i.e. debt-serfs and tax donkeys). In my analysis, social cohesion in most urban zones has already eroded to the point of no return. The tattered remnants will crumble with one swift kick. The conventional view is the urban populace will continue to grow at the expense of rural regions, a trend that's been in place for hundreds of years. But this trend exactly parallels the rise of hydrocarbon energy. Large cities existed long before hydrocarbon energy, but these cities arose and fell depending on the availability of essential resources within reach. Imperial Rome, for example, likely had 1 million residents at the apex of its power, residents who were largely dependent on grain grown in North African colonies and shipped across the Mediterranean to Rome's port of Ostia. Once those wheat-exporting colonies were lost, Rome's population fell precipitously, reaching a nadir of perhaps 10,000 residents living amidst the ruins of a once great metropolis. More recently, economic and social shifts hollowed out many city cores in the 1970s as residents and jobs moved to the suburbs. A reversal of this trend in favor of small cities/towns and rural areas may already be gathering momentum under the radar. All this is abstract until the attractions of city living fade and economic vitality declines to the point of civic and financial bankruptcy. Cities have cycles of expansion, decay and decline just like societies and economies, and it behooves us to monitor the fragility, dependency and risk of the place we inhabit. At nadirs, homes and buildings that were once worth a fortune are abandoned, or their value drops to a fraction of its former value. Putting these dynamics together, the problem boils down to a systemic scarcity of housing in attractive, productive rural towns and regions and a massive oversupply of urban residents who may decide to move once urban zones unravel. Let's assume that a mere 5% of urban residents decamp for rural regions. Given that there are about 130 million households in the U.S. and 81% of that total is 105 million households, 5% is 5.25 million households. Given that the number of rural communities that have all the desirable characteristics is not that large, we can estimate that it might be difficult for even 500,000 urban households to relocate to their first choice, never mind 5 million. This gives an extreme advantage to those few who move first, long before they must. The financial advantage for first movers is equally extreme, as they can still sell their urban homes for a great deal more money than they will fetch once conditions deteriorate. (The value of homes can drop to zero, as Detroit has shown.) Those few who decide to join the early movers even though the difficulties are many have all the advantages. Those who wait until conditions slip off a cliff may find their once valuable home has lost most or all of its value and the communities they would have chosen are out of reach financially. Most people reckon they have plenty of time to act--decades, or at least many years. The problem with systemic fragility was aptly described by Seneca: "Increases are of sluggish growth but the way to ruin is rapid." My own expectation is a self-reinforcing unraveling that gathers momentum to breaking points by 2024-25, only a few years away. Rather than fix the systemic problems of inequality and scarcity, the status quo's expedient fixes (printing trillions out of thin air and hoping there will be no adverse consequences from distributing free money to financiers and bread and circuses) will only accelerate the unraveling. There may not be as much time as we think. New readers pondering these dynamics may find value in one of the more widely read of my essays, The Art of Survival, Taoism and the Warring States (June 27, 2008) which discusses the importance of being a helpful and productive member of a tight-knit community and the futility of having an isolated "bug-out" cabin as Plan C. The vista of solid ground stretching endlessly to the horizon may turn out to be a mirage, and the cliff edge is closer than we imagine. *  *  * This essay was first published as a weekly Musings Report sent exclusively to subscribers and patrons at the $5/month ($54/year) and higher level. Thank you, patrons and subscribers, for supporting my work and free website.. My new book is now available at a 20% discount this month: Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United States (Kindle $8.95, print $20). If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 11:31.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

Hybrid work has been called a mess, headache, and disaster. Here"s how managers can make it work.

Best hybrid-work advice for managers, Google Cloud's latest compensation changes, and how to make passive income on Airbnb. Welcome back to Insider Weekly! I'm Matt Turner, editor in chief of business at Insider.Maybe the future of work isn't all that complicated.That's the message at the heart of Rebecca Knight and Shana Lebowitz's latest story encouraging managers to stop catastrophizing. Yes, we're two years into a pandemic, and much still seems to be up in the air. This latest Omicron wave has emphasized the state of uncertainty we've been living through. Much has been written about the challenges of retention, of mentorship, and of evolving a company's culture when many of us are communicating via video calls. But as Rebecca and Shana report, to build a successful hybrid workplace, you need trust, boundaries, flexibility — and not much else. Read on for a Q&A with them both.Also in this week's newsletter:Google Cloud just changed how it compensates salespeople for working with partners.An Airbnb "superhost" making $4,000 a month in passive income shares how to get started.A woman says she cofounded the $800 million fintech Petal — and is inching toward a trial.Let me know what you think of all our stories at to Insider for access to all our investigations and features. New to the newsletter? Sign up here.  Download our app for news on the go — click here for iOS and here for Android.How to make hybrid work … actually workAlyssa Powell/InsiderRebecca Knight and Shana Lebowitz share how employees are feeling about hybrid work — and what companies should do to make the model viable.Why are knowledge workers so interested in a hybrid-work format?Shana: In many cases, a hybrid model allows employees to be more productive and effective at their jobs. That's because they can choose the work environment that makes sense for the type of tasks they're doing. For example, they might opt to stay home on days when they're doing focused work and want to minimize distractions. But on days when they have a bunch of internal meetings, they might choose to come into the office to capitalize on opportunities for team bonding.Why are so many companies really struggling when it comes to executing a viable hybrid model?Shana: Many employers are approaching hybrid work as a free-for-all, giving people full discretion over where, when, and how they work. The problem here is that employees who come into the office regularly may benefit from "face time" with their managers and may therefore have an advantage over groups like caregivers and disabled workers, who are more likely to work from home. So the hybrid model winds up threatening inclusion, as opposed to increasing employee autonomy.What's the most interesting piece of advice for managers that you heard when working on this piece?Rebecca: The managers who are having the most success with hybrid, based on our reporting, are the ones who exhibit trust — full stop. They trust their employees' intentions, trust them to get their jobs done, and trust that they're committed to their organizations.What should employees expect next in the world of hybrid work?Rebecca: Expect messiness. Lots of companies are still trying to figure out how to make hybrid work work. There are going to be some false starts. Be willing to experiment and be patient. But don't be bashful about stating your preferences, too. Workers have more leverage today. Use it.Read the full analysis here: Managers, stop catastrophizing. To build a successful hybrid workplace, you need trust, boundaries, flexibility — and not much else.Google Cloud changed how salespeople are compensatedGoogleGoogle Cloud is walking back a key part of its sales-compensation structure, which used to compensate salespeople equally for selling its own products and those from partners. Now, the company has introduced a 30% cap on how much selling a partner's product via the company's marketplace will count toward a salesperson's quota.Here's what insiders told us about the changes.How to start an AirbnbGenesis HinckleyGenesis Hinckley, a policy product specialist at Google, runs an Airbnb with her husband in Colorado. Between cleaning and answering messages, they put in about 10 hours of work a month — and bring home about $4,000 a month, or $35,000 a year, in passive income. Hinckley shared her advice for starting an Airbnb, from choosing the right property to "Airbnb-ifying" the home. Read the rest of her advice.An entrepreneur says she cofounded PetalCassandra Shih, an entrepreneur who claims to have co-created the fintech start-up Petal in 2015.Cassandra ShihThe entrepreneur Cassandra Shih said she cofounded Petal, an $800 million fintech backed by Peter Thiel's Valar Ventures. Shih said she had written evidence to prove her case — including an email in which one cofounder called her "this chick I banged a few months ago who came up with the idea."If the company had been split 50-50, as she claims it should have been, her claim could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.Inside her lawsuit against Petal.More of this week's top reads:It's possible to start with only $5,000 and end up owning 207 cash-flowing properties — just look at Matthew Tortoriello's portfolio.Wall Street banks are gearing up for a massive bonus season. Here's when each of the big players will tell employees how much they made.Amazon's slow vesting period has pushed staffers out of the company. Now, the giant is changing its stock-distribution policies.According to leaked documents, the ghost-kitchen startup Reef is closing down about one-third of its kitchens.Thousands of dollars in tips in a night? This is what it's like to work as a Las Vegas bottle girl.Cannabis startups are drawing the attention of investment firms — and their money. Here are the top 14 putting millions into the sector.Event invite: Join us on January 25 at 12 p.m. ET for "Multi-Cloud Powers the Future of IT," sponsored by Dell Technologies, to learn how innovative businesses are leveraging multicloud technology. Register here.Compiled with help from Jordan Parker Erb and Phil Rosen.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

Hospital System Drops Race-Based COVID Treatment Policy After Lawsuit Threats

Hospital System Drops Race-Based COVID Treatment Policy After Lawsuit Threats Authored by Rick Moran via, One of the largest hospital systems in the country is dropping its policy that counted race as a more important factor in determining COVID-19 treatment options than diabetes, obesity, asthma, and hypertension combined. This silliness was allowed at SSM Health, a nominally Catholic health system that operates 23 hospitals across Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. All hospital patients are “scored” as a means of triage in order to give those most in need priority treatment. SSM Health ignored the severity of a patient’s conditions in order to make race a weightier determining factor. Washington Free Beacon: SSM Health, a Catholic health system that operates 23 hospitals across Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin, began using the scoring system last year to allocate scarce doses of Regeneron, the antibody cocktail that President Donald Trump credited for his recovery from COVID-19. A patient must score at least 20 points to qualify for the drug. The rubric gives three points to patients with diabetes, one for obesity, one for asthma, and one for hypertension, for a total of six points. Identifying as “Non-White or Hispanic” race, on the other hand, nets a patient seven points, regardless of age or underlying conditions. As an ignorant layman, I would ask why in God’s name this isn’t considered radically unethical. But apparently, unequal outcomes between races trumps ethics and common sense when treating illness. SSM Health gave a statement to the Free Beacon that denied using the race-based scoring system (they stopped using it last year). But they defended the practice anyway, stating that “early versions of risk calculators across the nation appropriately included race and gender criteria based on initial outcomes.” The way the scoring system was used in practice was astonishingly stupid. According to an internal memo obtained by the Free Beacon, the SSM scoring system was “based off the Utah Hospital Association and Utah Health Risk Stratification criteria,” which automatically gave two extra points to minority patients—the same amount as diabetes and obesity. The now-defunct rubric is much more radical, prioritizing healthy minorities over white patients with many of the largest risk factors for COVID-19. A 49-year-old white woman with hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and asthma would only get 19 points under the rubric, just shy of the 20 point threshold for antibody therapy. But a 50-year-old black woman with no underlying health conditions would receive 22 points, making her eligible. Was this really necessary? The radical left talking point is that people of color are dying of COVID-19 more often than white people (“racism,” of course), and unequal outcomes must be addressed in the name of “social justice.” Phooey. And while blacks, Hispanics, and Asians are more likely than whites to be hospitalized for COVID, they are less likely to die of it, according to a recent analysis of 4.3 million patients. Other studies have found that racial disparities in COVID outcomes disappear when researchers control for comorbidities and income. “Black race was not associated with higher in-hospital mortality than white race,” an analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded, “after adjustment for differences in sociodemographic and clinical characteristics on admission.” A study of Maryland and District of Columbia hospitals likewise found no relationship between race and severe disease “after adjustment for clinical factors.” Dan Lennington, a lawyer for the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, says, “It’s amazing that we even need to say it, but doctors should treat the individual patient, not the skin color.” Amen to that. Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 20:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 15th, 2022Related News

Malone: "Mass Formation" Deployed On You After Over 200 Years Of Study

Malone: 'Mass Formation' Deployed On You After Over 200 Years Of Study Authored by Robert Malone via "Who Is Robert Malone" Substack, Today in “factchecking the factcheckers”, junior academics cited by Forbes, Associated Press, Reuters and The Independent have just not done their homework concerning the work of Professor Dr. Mattias Desmet of the University of Ghent in Belgum. All I can say about this is that I hope that their naive, ignorant, grandstanding statements to the press are brought up during their future Academic Tenure and Advancement reviews. But there has been an amazingly coordinated effort to shoot the messenger and actively character assassinate (or “defenstrate”) me as a surrogate while avoiding any reference to the highly credentialed academic Professor Dr. Mattias Desmet who actually developed the theory and has documented the extensive evidence in an upcoming academic book. So, what can we learn from this in the short term? Clearly, Google was not the only corporation triggered by Joe Rogan podcast # 1757 which previously reached #1 podcast ranking worldwide, has been referred to as “the most important interview of our time” and has been seen by over 50 million viewers. But what absolutely has been generated by all of the coopted reactionary press and Big Tech titans metaphorically tripping over their shoelaces is a massive trove of real time data validating the brilliant Mass Formation intellectual synthesis developed by Professor Desmet over the last two years. In this coordinated propaganda and censorship response, we can clearly see the hands of the BBC-led Trusted News Initiative, the Scientific Technological Elite, the transnational investment funds and their World Economic Forum allies which control Pfizer and most of Big Pharma, Legacy Media and Big Tech (and many national governments) acting in real time to suppress a growing awareness by the general public of having been actively manipulated using crowd psychology tools to generate clinically significant fear and anxiety of COVID-19 (otherwise known as “Coronaphobia”) to advance their agendas on a global scale. Multiple governments have now admitted to actively using fear and 'Mass Formation'-related theories as a tool for totalitarian population control during this outbreak. This is occurring at the same time that Omicron is destroying the legitimacy of government and WHO propaganda concerning the “Safe and Effective” mRNA vaccines and associated mandates. But what confuses me is why the western press is all following the same narrative as Forbes, which is now owned by a Chinese media holding company. Is this all really just about China wanting to advance a New World Order agenda, and working in a coordinated fashion together with captured western legacy media and their transnational fund overlords? Break out the popcorn, because we have an “approved narrative” dumpster fire in progress. “I don’t see how people could claim that ‘mass-formation’ doesn’t exist or has never been scientifically studied. The term just refers – it goes without saying – to the process of the formation of a mass or a crowd. Mass formation has been studied for over 200 years, beginning with such scholars as Gustave Le Bon, Freud, McDougal, Canetti, Hannah Arendt, etc. In the twentieth century, psychologists such as Ash and Sheriff have studied mass formation experimentally. Some of these scholars did explicitly use the term mass-formation, others didn’t. But what they studied was basically the same: the way in which individual’s mental states is influenced by their tendency to conform to group thinking. I myself have over 100 publications on Web of Science, a large part of them focusing on how individuals’ personality structures is influenced by their relationships with other people. Once you understand the basic mechanisms through which individual’s personality is in the grip of the opinion of other people, you understand the elementary mechanisms at work in this enormous psychological process that is happening when a mass emerges in a society. In my upcoming book: The psychology of totalitarianism, I analyze and describe the way in which the psychological process of mass formation got stronger and stronger throughout the last two centuries and eventually leads to totalitarian thinking and in the end also to the emergence of totalitarian states.” - Mattias Desmet, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Ghent University in Belgium Please follow this link for Professor Dr. Desmet’s Prior Academic Works Abridged from M. Desmet: “The Psychology of Totalitarianism” ‘Mass Formation – brief summary  • Totalitarianism is characterized by processes of large scale mass formation.  • Four conditions are needed for large scale mass formation: 1.       A large amount of people must feel alone and isolated.  2.       Their lives must feel pointless and meaningless.  3.       There must be high levels of free floating anxiety, and  4.       There must be high levels of free-floating frustration and aggression. *If under these conditions a narrative is distributed through the mass media which indicates an object of anxiety and provides a strategy to deal with this object of anxiety, then all the free floating anxiety might be associated to this object and a huge willingness might be observed to participate in the strategy to deal with the object of anxiety. • At the same time, the field of attention gets narrower until it only contains the part of reality that is indicated by the narrative and people lose their capacity to take into account the other aspects of reality (what makes them often utterly irrational). Development of mathematical models to describe this process are currently in progress in a collaboration between Professor Desmet, Dr. rer. nat. habil. Norbert Schwarzer and Dr. Troy Vom Braucke. This work is building upon prior academic modeling work including the following volumes:’ Earlier seminal academic works regarding mass formation upon which Professor Desmet has based his theory include the following Gustave Le Bon (1841-1931) The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, 1895PDF (pp. 157), HTML, Public Domain complete audiobook, Worldcat Overview of The Crowd William McDougall (1871-1938) The Group Mind; A Sketch of the Principles of Collective Psychology, with Some Attempt to Apply Them to the Interpretation of National Life and Character, 1920First Edition 1920 (pp. 419), HTML/ebook format; Second Edition 1927 (pp. 304), Worldcat Elias Canetti (1905-1994) Crowds and Power, 1960PDF (pp. 495), Worldcat Overview of Crowds and Power Classification and Symbols of Masses in the Conception of Elias Canetti (2019) John Ioannidis (1965-) Why Most Published Research Findings Are False, 2005 Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) Eichmann in Jerusalem, A Report on the Banality of Evil, 1963PDF (pp. 401), Worldcat The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951HTML, Second Edition 1958 (pp. 521), Worldcat Solomon Asch (1907-1996) Effects of group pressure upon the modification and distortion of judgments, 1951 Opinions and Social Pressure, 1955PDF Studies of Independence and Conformity: I. A Minority of One Against a Unanimous Majority, 1956 Use of fear to control behavior in Covid crisis was ‘totalitarian’, admit scientists Members of Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviour express regret about ‘unethical’ methods. The Telegraph. By Gordon Rayner, 14 May 2021 A State of Fear by Laura Dodsworth A State of Fear: how the UK government weaponised fear during the Covid-19 pandemic This is a book about fear. Fear of a virus. Fear of death. Fear of losing our jobs, our democracy, our human connections, our health and our minds. It’s also about how the government weaponised our fear against us – supposedly in our best interests – until we were the most frightened country in Europe. Fear is the most powerful emotion. Hardwired into humans, fear is part of our evolutionary success. But that also makes it one of the most powerful tools in the behavioural psychology toolbox and it has been used to manipulate and control people during the pandemic. In one of the most extraordinary documents ever revealed to the British public, the behavioural scientists advising the government said that a substantial number of people did not feel threatened enough by Covid-19 to follow the rules. They advised the government to increase our sense of ‘personal threat’, to scare us into submission. But why did the government deliberately frighten us, and how has this affected us as individuals and as a country? Who is involved in the decision-making that affects our lives? How are behavioural science and nudge theory being used to subliminally manipulate us? How does the media leverage fear? What are the real risks to our wellbeing? Ahead of any official inquiry into the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, Laura Dodsworth explores all these questions and more, in a nuanced and thought-provoking discussion of an extraordinary year in British life and politics. With stories from members of the general public who were impacted by fear, anxiety and isolation, and revealing interviews with psychologists, politicians, scientists, lawyers, Whitehall advisers and journalists, A State of Fear calls for a more hopeful, transparent and effective democracy. More references: The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing by Joost A.M. Meerloo. 1961 In 1933 Meerloo began to study the methods by which systematic mental pressure brings people to abject submission, and by which totalitarians imprint their subjective "truth" on their victims' minds. In "The Rape of the Mind" he goes far beyond the direct military implications of mental torture to describing how our own culture unobtrusively shows symptoms of pressurizing people's minds. He presents a systematic analysis of the methods of brainwashing and mental torture and coercion, and shows how totalitarian strategy, with its use of mass psychology, leads to systematized "rape of the mind." He describes the new age of cold war with its mental terror, verbocracy, and semantic fog, the use of fear as a tool of mass submission and the problem of treason and loyalty, so loaded with dangerous confusion. The "Rape of the Mind" is written for the interested layman, not only for experts and scientists. To end, the book written in 1841 entitled: “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds” is one of the first works on this subject. by Charles MacKay (Author) …originally published in 1841. This includes the preface, which is often omitted from abridged versions.In this book, Charles Mackay discusses the irrational behaviors of crowds in the economy, war and magic. He gives several different examples of market bubbles, such as the Mississippi Scheme and the infamous Tulip Mania in the Netherlands. Ever since it was written, investors have used it as a guide to help identify boom and bust cycles. Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds has had an important influence on economists in understanding of crowd psychology and feedback loops. *  *  * Subscribe to Who is Robert Malone Tyler Durden Fri, 01/14/2022 - 21:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 14th, 2022Related News

China Reveals AI News Anchor, Almost Indistinguishable From Real Human

China Reveals AI News Anchor, Almost Indistinguishable From Real Human By Shawn Lin of The Epoch Times, “Hello everyone, I am the artificial intelligence news anchor on National Business Daily. I am the virtual twin of the original host. I have been running—reporting the news—undetected for 70 days now,” the AI news anchor N Xiaohei revealed itself to its television viewers on Dec. 20, 2021, after 1700 hours of a continuous live news broadcast. (R) A screenshot image of the real-life news anchor on the “N Xiaohei Finance” program (L) N Xiaohei’s AI-rendered virtual twin in a blue background. On the same day, the Chinese state-controlled media National Business Daily (NBD) and the AI company Xiaoice jointly announced the official launch of their collaborative live news broadcasting TV programs run entirely by AI—the first of its kind. The TV program is named “AI Business Daily.” It will broadcast financial news 24 hours a day, seven days a week, hosted by two AI news anchors—named N Xiaohei and N Xiaobai—technically supported by Xiaoice. N Xiaohei and N Xiaobai are virtual replicas of two real-life news anchors—a man and a woman. The Xiaoice Framework uses data collected from the two real-life anchors to train its AI models. Meanwhile, Xiaoice Neural Rendering (XNR) technology makes the virtual humans’ facial expressions and body movements look real and natural. AI anchors have appeared in China’s TV programs in the past, but they could be identified immediately back then. Since the test launch of AI Business Daily on Oct. 11, 2021, N Xiaohei’s Douyin account—the Chinese version of TikTok—has accumulated over 3 million fans despite the real person not appearing on air for 70 days. Xiaoice, in collaboration with NBD, has demonstrated its ability to develop virtual replicas that are almost indistinguishable from real humans through advanced AI learning and rendering technologies, according to the Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency. According to the report, Xiaoice Framework’s small-sample learning technology allowed the two virtual humans to complete their training cycle in one week. Chinese business commentator Zeng Xiangling said that long training cycles were needed to train AIs in the past, whereas short training cycles significantly reduce the high cost of developing AIs. Not only that, the Xiaoice Framework’s technical driver makes the end-to-end automation on AI possible, enabling the AI to collect, edit, and broadcast financial news all by itself. From reading financial information, generating text and graphs, and synchronizing with the pre-trained virtual anchor, the AI could broadcast a complete live video on the network without any human assistance. “The era of an unwearied, safe, and reliable AI Being has arrived,” Xiaoice CEO Li Di said. “It is going to provide a steady news output.” According to an NBD report, AI news anchors are modeled using deep learning neural network technology, enabling them to broadcast in Mandarin, English, and other languages. The advanced AI technology is now being used to upgrade and transform the Chinese media industry as well as its film industry. Since the success of the AI Business Daily program, each NBD news channel will now also fully collaborate with Xiaoice to create AI TV programs. Xiaoice, or “Microsoft Little Ice,” is an AI system developed by Microsoft Asia in 2014. The company was formerly known as the AI Xiaoice Team of Microsoft Software Technology Center Asia. It is Microsoft’s biggest independent AI R&D team. In July 2020, Microsoft spun off its Xiaoice business into a separate company, allowing it to operate as an independent entity in China and other Asian countries. The Xiaoice Framework is one of the world’s complete artificial intelligence frameworks with the largest AI interactions globally. Xiaoice CEO Li Di said in October 2021 that a large number of AI subjects were created in the past two years, and the number will rapidly expand. Li expects AIs to eventually outnumber the human population while incorporating diversity and individual customization. On Oct. 20, 2021, the ninth day after NBD’s AI TV test launch, China’s State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television, released the section of the “14th Five-Year Plan” detailing its strategy for news broadcasting and audiovisual networks. The plan proposes to strengthen AI applications in its news production and broadcasting, such as promoting the widespread use of virtual anchors in TV programs and improving news production and broadcasting efficiency using AIs. AI Risks Artificial intelligence does not need to eat or sleep, nor does it get sick or need overtime pay, and now it can actively generate news content. However, many are also very concerned about the rapid development of AI. Mr. Wang, a 20-year IT industry expert in Japan, told The Epoch Times that artificial intelligence has far surpassed humans in terms of calculation methods, performance, and learning ability. But the biggest problem is that it has no ethics, morals, or personal values. If this AI technology is in the wrong person’s hands, it could be devastating to mankind. The current robotics technology is also very advanced. Some robots can even surpass humans or animals in many physical activities. Once AIs are given the ability to act physically, humans may not have the power to resist, granting the people in control of the AIs the ability to do whatever they desire, Wang added. Senior media professional Shi Shan told The Epoch Times that the Chinese regime has no bottom line for fraud. “[The CCP’s] AI technology can now produce a close-to-perfect virtual news anchor, but what is next? A fake politician? A party leader? Perhaps it has already been done,” Shi said. “The CCP is great at deceit. The international communities now have to pay close attention to the authenticity of China’s audiovisual programs and other media content.” Big Data Big data is the key to AI research and development: the more relevant data, the better the AI is trained. While rapidly developing its own artificial intelligence, the CCP deliberately limits the flow of Chinese data abroad. China uses its massive population for gathering and developing its local AI technology. Tang Bohua, a patent examiner in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, told the Chinese publication of The Epoch Times that the CCP’s lack of regard for human rights and privacy opens up a huge data set for them, while the United States’ respect for these rights keeps data sets incomplete. On Jan. 4, the CCP introduced a new version of its “Cybersecurity Review Measures.” The newly updated rules will require all Chinese network platform companies with data on more than 1 million users to undergo a security review before listing abroad. A law professor at Taiwan’s National Taipei University of Technology, Christy Jiang, told Radio Free Asia on Jan. 4 that she believes the one-million user threshold most likely included all Chinese tech companies that may be seeking listings overseas. A Strategic Priority The CCP has prioritized AI development in recent years, making it a “key national development strategy.” It has mandated AI into many aspects of ordinary life, not only to surveil and control its people but also to use its massive population to spur development. To bolster the rapid development of AI, the CCP has issued a number of supporting policies and regulations, including its “Made in China 2025” and “13th Five-Year Plan.” In 2017, China’s State Council issued the “New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan,” emphasizing the significance of AI in helping the government understand and control society. “Artificial intelligence technology can accurately perceive, predict, and early-warn the major trends of society. [It can] grasp people’s cognition and psychological changes and proactively decide the responses. [This technology] will significantly improve the ability and level of social governance. It is irreplaceable for effectively maintaining social stability,” according to the plan. “It will have a profound impact on government management, economic security, social stability, and global governance.” Hong Kong finance and economics columnist Alexander Liao said the CCP believes the emerging technology revolution—artificial intelligence—can bring new life to the authoritarian system, which was on the verge of collapse. In 2013, the CCP proposed the “Modernization of National Governance System and Governance Capacity” plan and adopted it five years later in its 2019 plenary. According to Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese state-run media, the project is “a series of institutional arrangements aimed to make China’s governance system increasingly complete, scientifically standardized, and operate more effectively.” In 2014, the CCP launched the “Social Credit System,” which linked the social behavior of all ordinary citizens with the large-scale monitoring system in mainland China. It adopted facial recognition and big data analysis technology to carry out large-scale social control with AI. By 2020, the system has been integrated into almost all public service fields, including employment, education, loan services, travel ticket purchases, and more. This control method has been fully popularized in the form of “health codes” during the CCP virus pandemic. “All measures of ‘modernization of governance’ are the basis for strengthening the CCP’s authoritarian rule to ultimately achieving totalitarian control, and everything is rooted in artificial intelligence,” Liao added. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/14/2022 - 21:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 14th, 2022Related News

Denial rate for H-1B visas drops sharply under Biden administration: analysis

The denial rate for H-1B visa petitions dropped sharply under the Biden administration to the lowest record level, according to a new analysis — with Amazon winning the most petitions in FY 2021......»»

Category: topSource: foxnewsJan 14th, 2022Related News

Is Inflation Burning a Hole in Pocket? Bet on Top-Ranked Cheap ETFs

Let's take a look at some top-ranked ETFs with relatively lower expense ratios that can be considered amid the highly inflationary environment. High inflation levels continue to be a serious concern for Americans. Once again, the release of the latest inflation data reports demonstrates the metrics’ touching of record-high levels. It seems like the Federal Reserve is prepared to deal with the high inflation levels this year and will make efforts to bring them to the target range.The December producer price index increased 9.7% year over year by the recently released reports, coming in at the highest level on record since 2010. Meanwhile, the metric was up 0.2% over the prior month, better than the Dow Jones estimate of 0.4% .Per the latest Labor Department report, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in December rose 7% year over year, on par with the Dow Jones estimate, per a CNBC article. The metric came in at the highest level since June 1982 and covers a basket of products, ranging from gasoline and health care to groceries and rents. It also increased 0.5% for the month, surpassing the 0.4% Dow Jones estimate. The soaring food, shelter and used vehicle prices might be primarily responsible for the higher inflation levels.Excluding food and energy prices, the core CPI was up 0.6%, worse than the estimate of 0.5%. Annual core inflation also increased at a 5.5% pace, in comparison with the 5.4% expectation and came in at the highest level since February 1991 (per a CNBC article).Notably, the hot inflation data has compelled investors to look for alternative investment options that may fare better than cash or bonds in an inflationary environment. Moreover, certain companies with compromised pricing power may take a severe hit amid inflation and future earnings may also look less attractive amid high inflation levels.Also, paying high prices for goods is slowly burning a hole in consumers' pockets. Against this backdrop, let’s take a look at some top-ranked ETFs with relatively lower expense ratios that can be considered:JPMorgan BetaBuilders U.S. Equity ETF BBUSInvestors have been upbeat about the accelerated coronavirus vaccine rollout, solid fiscal stimulus support and reopening of the U.S. economy, which may lead to faster U.S. economic recovery from the pandemic-led economic slowdown. Market participants are also seemingly coming in terms with the higher chances of a Fed rate hike in 2022 and seem like having pricing in the phenomenon. Moreover, the emergency use authorization (EUA) for Pfizer Inc.’s (PFE) antiviral COVID-19 pill, PAXLOVID, has relaxed concerns regarding Omicron to some extent. According to the verified sources, Pfizer might introduce the Omicron vaccine in March while Moderna is working on a booster that targets the variant.JPMorgan BetaBuilders U.S. Equity ETF provides simple, affordable access to U.S. large and mid-cap equities. With AUM of $945.8 million, BBUS charges a very nominal fee of 0.02%. JPMorgan BetaBuilders U.S. Equity ETF carries a Zacks ETF Rank #2 (Buy) (read: A Quick Guide to the 25 Cheapest ETFs).SPDR Portfolio S&P 500 ETF SPLGThe SPDR Portfolio S&P 500 ETF seeks to provide investment results that, before fees and expenses, correspond generally to the total return performance of the S&P 500 Index. SPLG has AUM of $13.67 billion and an expense ratio of 0.03%. The SPDR Portfolio S&P 500 ETF sports a Zacks ETF Rank #2.Vanguard MidCap ETF VOConsidering the mixed sentiments, mid-cap funds are gaining attention as they provide both growth and stability compared to their small-cap and large-cap counterparts. As such, investors seeking to capitalize on the strong fundamentals but worried about uncertainty should consider mid-cap ETFs.Vanguard Mid-Cap ETF seeks to track the performance of the CRSP US Mid Cap Index, which measures the investment return of mid-capitalization stocks. VO has AUM of $56.39 billion. Vanguard Mid-Cap ETF charges a fee of 4 basis points (bps). Vanguard MidCap ETF sports a Zacks ETF Rank #2.SPDR Portfolio S&P 500 Value ETF SPYVIt is worth noting here that value investing seems more lucrative, given the rebounding U.S. economy, the expectation of higher inflation and chances of Fed interest rate hikes. Moreover, value stocks seek to capitalize on market inefficiencies. They can deliver higher returns with lower volatility than their growth and blend counterparts. Additionally, value stocks are less exposed to trending markets and their dividend payouts offer a shield against market turbulence.SPDR Portfolio S&P 500 Value ETF seeks to provide investment results that, before fees and expenses, correspond generally to the total return performance of the S&P 500 Value Index. With AUM of $13.46 billion, it charges 4 bps in expense ratio. SPDR Portfolio S&P 500 Value ETF carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).Schwab U.S. LargeCap Value ETF SCHVSchwab U.S. Large-Cap Value ETF’s goal is to track as closely as possible, before fees and expenses, the total return of the Dow Jones U.S. Large-Cap Value Total Stock Market Index. With AUM of $10.68 billion, it charges 4 bps in expense ratio. Schwab U.S. Large-Cap Value ETF has a Zacks Rank #1 (read: ETF Strategies to Profit From a Historically Weak September). Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox? Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week.Get it free >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Schwab U.S. LargeCap Value ETF (SCHV): ETF Research Reports SPDR Portfolio S&P 500 Value ETF (SPYV): ETF Research Reports Vanguard MidCap ETF (VO): ETF Research Reports SPDR Portfolio S&P 500 ETF (SPLG): ETF Research Reports JPMorgan BetaBuilders U.S. Equity ETF (BBUS): ETF Research Reports To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 14th, 2022Related News

ETF Market Outlook & Picks for 2022

We discuss the market outlook and investing ideas for 2022. (1:00) - 2022 Market Outlook: How Should Investors Position Their Portfolios?(10:45) - Will We Get To See A Spot Bitcoin ETF This Year?(15:00) - Top ETF Picks For 2022: Where Should Investors Be Looking(22:30) - Will The Bull Market Stay Alive?(25:10) - How Does Astoria Structure The Top Ten ETF Report?(30:45) - AXS Astoria Inflation Sensitive ETF: PPI(36:40) - Will Oil Continue To Go Up In Price: MLP vs Oil ETFs(42:00) - Which Sectors Will Perform The Best In 2022?(47:15) - BLOK, Fixed Income and International ETFs: Understanding How They Could Fit Into Your Portfolio(54:30) - Breaking Down 2021’s Top Ten Picks   In this episode of ETF Spotlight, we discuss the market outlook and ETF picks for 2022. In the first part, I am joined by Todd Rosenbluth, Head of ETF & Mutual Fund Research at CFRA, and my second guest is John Davi, Founder & CEO of Astoria Portfolio Advisors.2021 was a great year for the stock market and the ETF industry. Major indexes posted double-digit gains for the third consecutive year, thanks to the ultra-accommodative monetary policy and a massive fiscal stimulus.Stocks are off to a rough start this year as investors are concerned about Inflation, rising rates, Fed and Covid. What can they expect from 2022 and how should they position their portfolios?2021 was a great year for the ETF industry with record inflows and a record number of ETF launches. Will this trend continue in 2022?Todd’s top ETF picks for the year include the Global X U.S. Infrastructure Development ETF PAVE, the Fidelity Quality Factor ETF FQAL, the FlexShares Morningstar U.S. Market Factor Tilt Index Fund TILT and the iShares Interest Rate Hedged Corporate Bond ETF LQDH.Astoria is an investment management firm that specializes in ETF managed portfolios. They recently released their 10 ETFs for 2022 report, which recommends increasing exposure to ETF areas like inflation protection, dividend income, homebuilding, blockchain and defensive equity.John’s picks for 2022 include the AXS Astoria Inflation Sensitive ETF PPI, the SPDR S&P Dividend ETF SDY, the Invesco KBW Bank ETF KBWB and the iShares MSCI USA Min Vol Factor ETF USMV.Tune in to the podcast to learn more.Make sure to be on the lookout for the next edition of the ETF Spotlight and remember to subscribe! If you have any comments or questions, please email Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox? Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week.Get it free >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY): ETF Research Reports Invesco KBW Bank ETF (KBWB): ETF Research Reports iShares MSCI USA Min Vol Factor ETF (USMV): ETF Research Reports Fidelity Quality Factor ETF (FQAL): ETF Research Reports FlexShares Morningstar U.S. Market Factor Tilt ETF (TILT): ETF Research Reports Global X U.S. Infrastructure Development ETF (PAVE): ETF Research Reports iShares Interest Rate Hedged Corporate Bond ETF (LQDH): ETF Research Reports AXS Astoria Inflation Sensitive ETF (PPI): ETF Research Reports To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 14th, 2022Related News

5 Defensive ETF Bets for Dealing With Fed Rate Hike Woes

Let's look at some safe ETF plays that investors can consider keeping in mind the rising concerns emanating from the high inflation levels and high chances of a Fed rate hike. Wall Street has been volatile since the beginning of 2022 as 10-year Treasury yields rose. The Federal Reserve has also hinted to take aggressive measures to manage rising inflation levels. It is expected to begin raising its benchmark interest rate in March. In fact, Goldman Sachs is expecting the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates four times this year, according to a CNBC article.There are certain other factors that are clouding the U.S. investment market. Investors are waiting for the fourth-quarter earnings results and the outlook to be presented by corporate America for 2022. Moreover, certain economic data releases like retail sales, industrial production, and U.S. consumer sentiment data may put further light on the U.S. economic recovery.Against this backdrop, let’s take a look at some defensive ETF options that investors can consider likeVanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG), Invesco S&P 500 Low Volatility ETF (SPLV), iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF (QUAL), SPDR S&P MIDCAP 400 ETF Trust (MDY)and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC).According to UBS strategists led by senior economist Brian Rose “We expect the US 10-year yield to move ... to around 2% over the coming months, as investors digest the Fed’s more hawkish stance along with further elevated inflation readings. That said, we don’t expect a sharp rise in yields that will imperil the equity rally. Year-over-year inflation is still likely to peak in the first quarter and recede over the year,” as mentioned in a CNBC article.Defensive ETFs in FocusGiven the current market conditions,we have highlighted some ETFs like:Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF VIGDividend aristocrats are blue-chip dividend-paying companies with a long history of increasing dividend payments year over year. Moreover, dividend aristocrat funds provide investors with dividend growth opportunities compared to other products in the space but might not necessarily have the highest yields. These products also form a strong portfolio, with a higher scope of capital appreciation as against simple dividend-paying stocks or those with high yields. As a result, these products deliver a nice combination of annual dividend growth and capital-appreciation opportunity and are mostly good for risk-averse long-term investors.Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF is the largest and the most popular ETF in the dividend space, with AUM of $68.05 billion. VIG follows the S&P U.S. Dividend Growers Index. Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF charges 6 basis points (bps) in annual fees (read: 5 Top-Ranked ETFs to Add to Your Portfolio for 2022).Invesco S&P 500 Low Volatility ETF SPLVDemand for funds with “low volatility” or “minimum volatility” generally increases during tumultuous times. These seemingly-safe products usually do not surge in bull market conditions but offer more protection than the unpredictable ones. These funds are less cyclical, providing more stable cash flow than the overall market.Invesco S&P 500 Low Volatility ETF provides exposure to stocks with the lowest realized volatility over the past 12 months. The fund is based on the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index and holds 102 securities in its basket. Invesco S&P 500 Low Volatility ETF hasAUM of $9.61 billion and charges an expense ratio of 25 bps, as stated in the prospectus (read: Here's Why it Makes Sense to Invest in Low-Volatility ETFs Now).iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF QUALQuality stocks are rich in value characteristics with a healthy balance sheet, high return on capital, low volatility and high margins. These stocks also have a track record of stable or increasing sales and earnings growth. Compared to plain vanilla funds, these products help lower volatility and perform better during market uncertainty. Further, academic research has proven that high-quality companies constantly provide better risk-adjusted returns than the broader market over the long term.iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF provides exposure to the large- and mid-cap stocks exhibiting positive fundamentals (high return on equity, stable year-over-year earnings growth and low financial leverage) by tracking the MSCI USA Sector Neutral Quality Index. With AUM of $24.23 billion, QUAL charges 0.15% in fees (read: Quality ETFs Appear Attractive as Fed Rate Hike Nears).SPDR S&P MIDCAP 400 ETF Trust MDYConsidering the mixed sentiments, mid-cap funds are gaining attention as they provide both growth and stability compared to their small-cap and large-cap counterparts. As such, investors seeking to capitalize on the strong fundamentals but worried about uncertainty should consider mid-cap ETFs.SPDR S&P MIDCAP 400 ETF Trust seeks to provide investment results that, before expenses, correspond generally to the price and yield performance of the S&P MidCap 400 Index. MDY has AUM of $21.65 billion. SPDR S&P MIDCAP 400 ETF Trust charges a fee of 23 bps (see: all the Mid Cap ETFs here).Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF VDCThe consumer staples sector is known for its non-cyclical nature and acts as a safe haven during unstable market conditions. Moreover, like utility, consumer staples is considered a stable sector for the long term as its players are likely to offer decent returns. During an economic recession, investors can consider parking their money in the non-cyclical consumer staples sector. This high-quality sector, which is largely defensive, has been found to have a low correlation factor with economic cycles.Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF seeks to track the performance of the MSCI US Investable Market Consumer Staples 25/50 Index. With AUM of $6.66 billion, VDC has an expense ratio of 10 bps. Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox? Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week.Get it free >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG): ETF Research Reports SPDR S&P MidCap 400 ETF (MDY): ETF Research Reports iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF (QUAL): ETF Research Reports Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC): ETF Research Reports Invesco S&P 500 Low Volatility ETF (SPLV): ETF Research Reports To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 14th, 2022Related News

Crypto: Crypto job openings surge 395% in a year, with Miami, Austin and Denver emerging as new hubs

Crypto-related job postings in the U.S. surged 395% in 2021 from a year before, a sign of the industry's expansion, according to a recent analysis by LinkedIn......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchJan 14th, 2022Related News

AstraZeneca (AZN) COVID-19 Booster Dose Useful Against Omicron

Data from multiple studies support the use of AstraZeneca's (AZN) COVID vaccine booster against several variants of concern, including Omicron. AstraZeneca AZN announced positive data from a preliminary analysis of an ongoing study, which evaluated the safety and immunogenicity of the third/booster dose of Vaxzevria, AZN’s COVID-19 vaccine.The D7220C00001 study involves administering a third/booster dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine after three months to individuals who had completed the primary two-dose regimen of either AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine or an mRNA-based COVID vaccine developed by Pfizer PFE/BioNTech BNTX or Moderna MRNA.Data from the D7220C00001 study demonstrated that the third dose of Vaxzevria elicited increased antibody responses against the Alpha, Beta, Delta and Gamma variants of concern. In fact, an additional analysis of data also showed that a third dose of Vaxzevria boosted antibody responses against the Omicron variant. AstraZeneca plans to report further analysis from this study in first-half 2022.The data reported by AstraZeneca is in line with the data from a laboratory study conducted by the investigators at the University of Oxford released last month. The study supported Vaxzevria protection against Omicron. We note that Vaxzevria was developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with the University of Oxford.AstraZeneca plans to use data from these studies as a proof, suggesting that the third dose of its COVID vaccine is effective, both as a homologous or heterologous booster against various COVID variants, including Omicron. Data from these studies will be used by AZN to support the submission to the health regulators worldwide, seeking authorization for a booster dose of Vaxzevria. AstraZeneca’s booster dose of COVID vaccine is not yet authorized for use in any country.In the past year, shares of AstraZeneca have risen 13.3% compared with the industry’s 15.7% increase.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWhile AstraZeneca vaccine shots are approved for use in more than 90 countries worldwide, the same is yet to be approved in the United States. In fact, the COVID vaccine market in the United States is dominated by vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and J&J. In fact, the booster doses of the vaccines developed by these three companies are also approved in the United States, both for homologous and heterologous administration.The Omicron variant is rapidly spreading and affecting millions of people, including those who completed the primary vaccine series. With the rise in COVID-19 infection cases worldwide, there is a huge need for COVID vaccines, including booster doses.Both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna demonstrated that the booster doses of their COVID vaccines showed effectiveness against the Omicron variant.Last month, Pfizer and BioNTech announced data from a pseudovirus neutralization test, which demonstrated that the three doses of their COVID vaccine Comirnaty (BNT162b2) neutralize the Omicron variant.Moderna is also evaluating its multivalent booster and Omicron-specific booster candidates in phase II/III studies. Last month, Moderna announced preliminary data from a pseudovirus neutralization titer assay study, demonstrating that its COVID-19 vaccine booster increased neutralizing antibody levels significantly against the Omicron variant.While Pfizer/BioNTech expect to deliver an Omicron-specific booster by March, Modernais planning to advance its Omicron-specific booster into clinical studies in early 2022.In a separate press release, AstraZeneca announced that it entered into a partnership with the privately-held Scorpion Therapeutics wherein it will utilize the latter’s discovery platform to develop and market novel treatments for cancer proteins, which are difficult to target. Per the collaboration terms, Scorpion will receive $75 million as an upfront payment from AstraZeneca and will also be eligible for potential milestones and royalties.AstraZeneca PLC Price AstraZeneca PLC price | AstraZeneca PLC QuoteZacks RankAstraZeneca carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 5 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report AstraZeneca PLC (AZN): Free Stock Analysis Report Pfizer Inc. (PFE): Free Stock Analysis Report Moderna, Inc. (MRNA): Free Stock Analysis Report BioNTech SE Sponsored ADR (BNTX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 14th, 2022Related News

Ohio State Supreme court throws out GOP-led redistricting map: "When the dealer stacks the deck in advance, the house usually wins"

The court's 4-3 ruling could very well benefit Democrats as they try to hang on to their razor-thin US House majority. The US Capitol.Stock photo via Getty Images The Ohio state Supreme Court threw out the state's GOP-biased congressional district map.  The court found that lawmakers violated the state's anti-gerrymandering amendment.  The ruling is a silver lining for House Demcorats as they try to hang on to a razor-thing majority. The Ohio State Supreme Court has thrown out Republican-drawn congressional district maps.Friday's 4-3 ruling marks the first time this redistricting cycle that a court has rejected a state's proposed congressional district maps. The ruling could very well benefit Democrats as they try to hang on to their razor-thin US House majority."When the dealer stacks the deck in advance, the house usually wins," wrote Justice Michael Donnelly in the court's opinion. "That perhaps explains how a party that generally musters no more than 55% of the statewide popular vote is positioned to reliably win anywhere from 75 percent to 80% of the seats in the Ohio congressional delegation. By any rational measure, that skewed result just does not add up."Ohio, currently represented by 12 Republicans and four Democrats in Congress, lost a House seat as a result of the 2020 Census. The map drawn by Ohio Republicans had 13 Republican-leaning districts and two heavily Democratic districts based in Cleveland and Columbus. It eliminated Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan's Youngstown-based district, made Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur's district more Republican, and split Hamilton County, home to Cincinnati, into three different GOP-leaning congressional districts represented by Republicans. Dave Wasserman, the House editor at the Cook Political Report and an expert on congressional districting, said Democrats could end up netting two or three more seats out of a new map.Democrats hold a five-seat House majority, so any ground they can make up or maintain in the once-in-a-decade redrawing of districts is vital to keeping the chamber. Republicans already have the wind of history at their backs given the trend of the president's party typically struggling in a midterm election.—Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) January 14, 2022 In its opinion, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that lawmakers failed to heed the will of voters who passed an anti-gerrymandering constitutional amendment in 2018 which says leaders cannot create maps that "unduly favors or disfavors a political party or its incumbents.""The bill resulted in districts in which undue political bias is—whether viewed through the lens of expert statistical analysis or by application of simple common sense—at least as if not more likely to favor Republican candidates than the 2011 reapportionment that impelled Ohio's constitutional reforms," Donnelly wrote.Friday's ruling comes a few days after the state Supreme Court struck down Ohio's new state legislative district maps for being gerrymandered. The Columbus Dispatch reported that the Ohio Supreme Court's Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor was a key vote in the 4-3 decision to reject the map. Ohio lawmakers now have 30 days to redraw a new map. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 14th, 2022Related News

The 20 best bride-to-be gifts that she"ll cherish before the wedding

Whether bridal shower gifts or a little token to mark the big day, thoughtful bride-to-be gifts can help her de-stress and enjoy the experience more. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.fizkes/Getty Images Getting married is stressful, but these thoughtful gifts for the bride-to-be can help settle nerves. Friends often give a little gift at the bachlorette party, the bridal shower, or on the big day. Practical, cute, or thoughtful items like slippers, a bouquet of flowers, or champagne flutes are great. Before they officially say "I do," there are a few items a bride may need leading up to their big day. Bride-to-be gifts are typically given any time prior to the wedding, whether it's at the bachelorette party, at the bridal shower, or the actual day of itself. They'll particularly appreciate the gifts that pamper and help them de-stress, or ones that aid them in preparation during this typically-stressful time. So from self-care presents to fun gifts, the bride-to-be deserves something special that's made just for them. Here are the 20 best bride-to-be gifts:A satin eye mask for sleeping beautyAmazonBride Sleep Mask, available at Amazon, $13.99What better way to help the bride-to-be get their beauty rest than with this cute sleep mask. Better yet, the satin sleep mask has their title decorated on it to show everyone not to disturb the bride. A portable, insulated champagne fluteWilliams SonomaCorkcicle Stemless Champagne Flute, available at Williams Sonoma, $19.95Cheers to them saying yes to a loving lifelong commitment with this stemless champagne flute. The insulated flute keeps beverages cold for up to nine hours or hot up to three hours, although it's intended for champagne and prosecco.A gel manicure kit for professional nails at homeAmazonSally Hansen Salon Pro Gel Starter Kit, available at Amazon, $59.99This Sally Hansen nail kit is a lifesaver if they're too busy or forget to get their nails done for the wedding day. The gel polish kit provides flawless two-week wear that makes every manicure and pedicure look professional. You can find other spa-themed gifts here.A game-changing exfoliator toolAmazonLuna 3, available at Foreo, $199The Foreo Luna Go softly exfoliates the skin for a beautiful, clean complexion. This portable silicone cleansing device takes care of fine lines, pores, dullness, and uneven texture while also offering an app-enabled skin analysis. You can find our Foreo Luna 2 review here.A fast-drying hair towelVolo BeautyThe Volo Hero Towel, available at Volo Beauty, $39Soon-to-be brides can protect their hair from damage with the plush Volo Hair towel that's ultra-absorbent and cuts dry time in half. There is also a strap to hold the towel so it will never fall off in any situation. A cute tumbler with her engaged statusKate SpadeMiss to Mrs. Tumbler with Straw, available at Kate Spade, $18In addition to the ring, this tumbler lets the bride show off their soon-to-be status as officially "married." No matter the season or time of year, the bride-to-be will always stay hydrated at any time. A notebook to plan the perfect weddingAmazonWedding Planner & Organizer, available at Amazon, $33.99If they've always dreamed of happily ever after, they've surely planned everything for their wedding to the last detail. This interactive wedding planner organizes everything on 132 pages filled with helpful tips, an 18-month countdown calendar, a 12-month checkpoint list, and more.  A supremely soft robeGirlfriend CollectiveDawn Dream Robe, available at Girlfriend Collective, $98A ridiculously soft robe that's also sustainable like the Dawn Dream Robe is a smart choice for when the bride-to-be finds the time to settle down after all the planning. A clever candle to calm her nervesRyan PorterBride Chilla Candle, available at Ryan Porter, $31If the bride-to-be happens to be a bridezilla, hopefully, this cheeky candle will calm the imminent meltdown. There's no nicer way to tell the bride-to-be to chill than with this Bride Chilla candle. Rosé-infused candies for a sweet celebrationSugarfinaRosé All Day 3 Piece Candy Bento Box, available at Sugarfina, $30Treat them to these delightful rosé infused candies as they get ready for the dream day. A pair of personalized bridal slippersEtsyPersonalized Bridal Slippers, available at Etsy, $18.99Make the wedding day feel even sweeter with these fluffy slippers that are personalized with the bride-to-be's new surname. After all the festivities, slide off the heels and slip into these comfy slippers that feel like a dream. A skincare kit with glowing resultsMaeloveFade Scar Spot Kit, available at Maelove, $67.88A glowy, refreshed face is essential on the wedding day. This Maelove skincare kit provides a flawless complexion with faded scars and spots. It includes a hydrating face serum, night cream, and an exfoliator scrub. A fun bridal accessory for beveragesAmazonFetti Bachelorette Party XL Bride Straw, available at Amazon, $6.99Sip and savor every celebratory drink for the bride-to-be with these reusable bridal straws that are a fun party accessory. A fresh flower bouquet delivered to themUrban StemsThe Amethyst, available at Urban Stems, $95Gifting flowers is as easy as it is thoughtful for the bride. The bride-to-be will feel delighted to receive Urban stem's stunning flowers as a congratulatory gift to kick off the days leading up to the wedding. A classic-styled smartwatchFossilHybrid Smartwatch Carlie Blush Leather, available at Fossil, $155Rather than a classic watch, this Fossil smartwatch is a game-changer that's still a timeless piece. The Carlie watch features an activity tracker, notification alerts, music control, and more. A trinket tray for the bride's accessoriesAmazonMrs Jewelry Ring Dish Ceramic Trinket Tray, available at Amazon, $14.99Small but meaningful gifts are always appreciated. Give them this adorable ring tray to keep their cherished accessories safe. A set of soothing skincare treats for nighttimeLushRelax Gift Set, available at Lush, $39.95A self-care gift is always a good idea. This Lush gift set is filled with lavender-infused items to help relax at night, from an aromatic bath bomb to soothing lotion. A chic canvas toteThings RememberedWhite Canvas Mrs Mini Tote Bag, available at Things Remembered, $22.40Whether it's errands or a quick getaway trip, this stylish canvas bag carries every necessity with ease. The gift feels more personal with the option to inscribe name or date on the charming tote. A humorous mug for the bridezillaFrancesca'sKeep Calm BrideZilla Mug, available at Francesca's, $4.98Even if the bride-to-be struggles with staying calm, at least this coffee mug will give them a good laugh. A wedding survival kitPaper SourceWedding Survival Kit, available at Paper Source, $26.95When it comes to wedding preparations, this survival kit helps the bride to navigate their wedding stress. This comfort pack includes a countdown calendar, eye mask, decision dice, a miniature notebook plus pen, and more survival tools. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 14th, 2022Related News

ETF Strategies to Beat Inflation & Follow Warren Buffett

Inflation has been on an uphill ride lately. One may follow these ETF strategies to beat inflation along with following the investment guru Warren Buffett. Inflation has been on an uphill ride lately as economic recovery has picked up on widespread vaccination, business restrictions have been relaxed and demand has jumped. The ongoing supply chain issues have also led to the sky-high inflation.The annual inflation rate in the United States accelerated to 7% in December 2021, marking a fresh high since June of 1982, in line with market expectations and compared with 6.8% in November. Energy led to the jump but the rise was smaller than in November (29.3% versus 33.3%).Against this backdrop, investors can follow a few techniques that Warren Buffett suggested or his company Berkshire believes in. These strategies can be practiced at the time of rising inflation. Below we highlight those investing ideas.Bet on Apple-Heavy ETFsApple AAPL is a key holding of Berkshire’s portfolio, making up more than 40% of Berkshire’s portfolio by market value. There is a set of consumers who always choose to buy Apple products irrespective of inflationary pressure. This gives Apple the leeway to pass on the rising costs to consumers (which won’t hurt sales) due to sheer brand name.Plus, Information Technology business normally does not require recurrent capital investments, which makes it an inflation-friendly investment. CNBC’s Jim Cramer said that big tech stocks are lucrative bets amid rising inflation and chances of higher interest rates (read: Follow Buffett With These Inflation-Friendly ETF Strategies).Hence, one can bet on Apple ETFs like Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund XLK, Fidelity MSCI Information Technology Index ETF FTEC and Vanguard Information Technology ETF (VGT).Banks: Great Bets Amid InflationBank of America is another key holding ofBerkshire. Rising inflation will likely lead the Fed to hike rates in 2022. In anticipation, rates started to rise already. The biggest winner of the rising rate scenario is the banking sector. Decent valuation will add some more gains. As banks seek to borrow money at short-term rates and lend at long-term rates, a steepening yield curve earns more on lending and pay less on deposits, thereby leading to a wider spread. This expands net margins and increase banks’ profits.Hence, Bank of America-heavy ETFs like iShares U.S. Financial Services ETF IYG, Invesco KBW Bank ETF KBWB and Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF) are intriguing picks right now.Bet on American Express-Heavy ETFsThis is yet another Apple story. American Express AXP also displayed its pricing power recently as it hiked the annual fee on its Platinum Card. American Express is the third-largest holding at Berkshire Hathaway, only behind Apple and Bank of America, per a MoneyWise article, quoted on Yahoo. The article explained that American Express’ business model is inflation friendly. Merchants are charged a percentage of every Amex card transaction. As the price of goods and services rises, bill amounts also go up and  companies like AXP get a share of fatter bills. ETFMG Prime Mobile Payments ETF IPAY should stand to gain on this trend as it has solid exposure to companies like AXP, Visa (V) and Mastercard (MA).Real Estate: Another Winning BetBuffett once suggested owning real estate during times of inflation because the purchase is a “one-time outlay” for the investor, does not incur recurring costs and involves resale value. In a rising-inflation environment, real estate stocks act as good bets. Both, resale value of the property and rental income, rise with price inflation.Plus, the latest uptick in home prices is a boon for renters. Along with some analysts, we too believe that fast-rising home prices are likely to keep prospective homebuyers away from the ownership and direct them toward the rental market. Investors can thus play Real Estate Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLRE), which offers outsized yield too.Consumer Staples: Inflation-Proof Sector?Although we know that consumer staples companies like Coca-Cola KO is recession proof, these are kind of inflation-proof too. Consumer staples companies are non-cyclical in nature and buyers can’t do away with it. These companies also offer decent dividend yields. Berkshire has exposure to KO.Sheer size and a great supply chain makes companies like Coca Cola and PepsiCo winners. Hence, one can bet on Coca-Cola & Pepsi-heavy ETFs likeiShares Evolved U.S. Consumer Staples ETF IECS, iShares U.S. Consumer Staples ETF IYK and Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLP).   Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox? Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week.Get it free >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Apple Inc. (AAPL): Free Stock Analysis Report CocaCola Company The (KO): Free Stock Analysis Report American Express Company (AXP): Free Stock Analysis Report Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK): ETF Research Reports Invesco KBW Bank ETF (KBWB): ETF Research Reports iShares U.S. Financial Services ETF (IYG): ETF Research Reports iShares U.S. Consumer Staples ETF (IYK): ETF Research Reports Fidelity MSCI Information Technology Index ETF (FTEC): ETF Research Reports ETFMG Prime Mobile Payments ETF (IPAY): ETF Research Reports iShares Evolved U.S. Consumer Staples ETF (IECS): ETF Research Reports To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 14th, 2022Related News

Rotate to Cyclical Sectors With These Top-Ranked ETFs

As the Federal Reserve turned more hawkish and expectations for interest rates hike rose, investors rotated out of the high-growth technology to cyclical sectors like energy, financials, materials and industrials. Rising yields have gripped Wall Street since the start of 2022, resulting in a sell-off in the tech sector. As the Federal Reserve turned more hawkish and expectations for interest rates hike rose, investors rotated out of the high-growth technology to cyclical sectors like energy, financials, materials and industrials.Investors seeking to tap the current trends could consider the ETFs form the cyclical sectors. While there are many options, Vanguard Energy ETF VDE, iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF ITB, U.S. Global Jets ETF JETS, Materials Select Sector SPDR XLB and SPDR S&P Bank ETF KBE with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) seem excellent choices.Why Cyclical?Prices for almost everything, from raw materials to food prices to shipping costs, soared last year at the fastest pace in nearly four decades. This is especially true as the consumer price index jumped 7% year over year in 2021, marking the largest 12-month gain since June 1982. The red-hot inflation has set the stage for the first interest rate hike as soon as in March (read: 5 ETF Plays to Make the Most of Red-Hot Inflation).The 10-year Treasury yield hit a two-year high on bets that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates as soon as in March. The latest Fed minutes revealed policymakers’ concerns about worsening inflation and early interest rate hikes to combat rising inflation. The policymakers signaled three rate increases this year and three in the following year as inflation concerns deepened. The probabilities of a March interest rate hike of 0.25% surged to 72%, according to fed futures trading contracts.Omicron cases are also surging in the United States, with more than a million new cases in a single-day and hospitalizations hitting new highs.However, a still-improving economy backed by job growth and higher consumer confidence will likely bolster risk-on trade. Increased U.S. consumer confidence, suggests that the economy would continue to expand in 2022. Additionally, President Biden’s administration took steps to eliminate supply-chain bottlenecks, indicating that higher inflation will not last very long. Further, the wider spread of vaccinations, new vaccines as well as solid corporate earnings bode well for the economy. As the cyclical sectors are tied to economic activities, these outperform when economic growth improves.Vanguard Energy ETF (VDE)Vanguard Energy ETF is one of the popular choices in the energy space, having accumulated $6.6 billion in its asset base. It provides exposure to a basket of 104 energy stocks by tracking the MSCI US Investable Market Energy 25/50 Index (read: 5 Energy ETFs Making the Most of Oil Price Surge).Vanguard Energy ETF sees a good volume of about 1.5 million shares and charges 10 bps in annual fees. VDE has a Zacks ETF Rank #2.iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF (ITB)iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF provides exposure to U.S. companies that manufacture residential homes by tracking the Dow Jones U.S. Select Home Construction Index. With AUM of $3 billion, iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF holds a basket of 46 stocks with heavy concentration on the top two firms.iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF charges 41 bps in annual fees and trades in a heavy volume of around 3 million shares a day on average. iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF has a Zacks ETF Rank #2.U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS)U.S. Global Jets ETF provides exposure to the global airline industry, including airline operators and manufacturers from all over the world, by tracking the U.S. Global Jets Index. In total, the product holds 51 securities and charges investors 60 bps in annual fees.U.S. Global Jets ETF has gathered $3.5 billion in its asset base while seeing solid trading volume of nearly 12.1 million shares a day. It has a Zacks ETF Rank #2.Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB)Materials Select Sector SPDR is the most-popular material ETF that follows the Materials Select Sector Index. It manages about $8.6 billion in its asset base and trades in volumes as heavy as around 6 million shares. Materials Select Sector SPDR holds about 28 securities in its basket and charges 12 bps in fees per year from its investors (read: 5 Top-Ranked ETFs to Add to Your Portfolio for 2022).In terms of industrial exposure, chemicals dominates the portfolio with a 68.8% share, while metals & mining, and containers & packaging round off the top three positions. The product has a Zacks ETF Rank #1.SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE)SPDR S&P Bank ETF offers equal-weight exposure to 98 banking stocks by tracking the S&P Banks Select Industry Index. Regional banks dominate the portfolio with 74.8% share while thrifts & mortgage finance, diversified banks, other diversified financial services and asset management & custody banks take the remainder.SPDR S&P Bank ETF has amassed $8.6 billion in its asset base while trading in a heavy volume of 2.8 million shares a day, on average. The product charges 35 bps in annual fees. Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox? Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week.Get it free >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Materials Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLB): ETF Research Reports iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF (ITB): ETF Research Reports SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE): ETF Research Reports Vanguard Energy ETF (VDE): ETF Research Reports U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS): ETF Research Reports To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 14th, 2022Related News

Howard Marks January 2022 Memo: Selling Out

Howard Marks memo to Oaktree clients for the month of January 2022, titled, “Selling Out.” Q4 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more As I’m now in my fourth decade of memo writing, I’m sometimes tempted to conclude I should quit, because I’ve covered all the relevant topics. Then a new idea for a memo […] Howard Marks memo to Oaktree clients for the month of January 2022, titled, “Selling Out.” if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q4 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more As I’m now in my fourth decade of memo writing, I’m sometimes tempted to conclude I should quit, because I’ve covered all the relevant topics. Then a new idea for a memo pops up, delivering a pleasant surprise. My January 2021 memo Something of Value, which chronicled the time I spent in 2020 living and discussing investing with my son Andrew, recounted a semi-real conversation in which we briefly discussed whether and when to sell appreciated assets. It occurred to me that even though selling is an inescapable part of the investment process, I’ve never devoted an entire memo to it. The Basic Idea Everyone is familiar with the old saw that’s supposed to capture investing’s basic proposition: “buy low, sell high.” It’s a hackneyed caricature of the way most people view investing. But few things that are important can be distilled into just four words; thus, “buy low, sell high” is nothing but a starting point for discussion of a very complex process. Will Rogers, an American film star and humorist of the 1920s and ’30s, provided what he may have thought was a more comprehensive roadmap for success in the pursuit of wealth: Don’t gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don’t go up, don’t buy it. The illogicality of his advice makes clear how simplistic this adage – like many others – really is. However, regardless of the details, people may unquestioningly accept that they should sell appreciated investments. But how helpful is that basic concept? Origins Much of what I’ll write here got its start in a 2015 memo called Liquidity. The hot topic in the investment world at that moment was the concern about a perceived decline in the liquidity provided by the market (when I say “the market,” I’m talking specifically about the U.S. stock market, but the statement has broad applicability). This was commonly attributed to a combination of (a) the licking investment banks had taken in the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09 and (b) the Volcker Rule, which prohibited risky activities such as proprietary trading on the part of systemically important financial institutions. The latter constrained banks’ ability to “position” securities, or buy them, when clients wanted to sell. Maybe liquidity in 2015 was less than it had previously been, and maybe it wasn’t. However, looking beyond the events of the day, I closed that memo by stating my conviction that (a) most investors trade too much, to their own detriment, and (b) the best solution for illiquidity is to build portfolios for the long term that don’t rely on liquidity for success. Long-term investors have an advantage over those with short timeframes (and I think the latter describes the majority of market participants these days). Patient investors are able to ignore short-term performance, hold for the long run, and avoid excessive trading costs, while everyone else worries about what’s going to happen in the next month or quarter and therefore trades excessively. In addition, long-term investors can take advantage if illiquid assets become available for purchase at bargain prices. Like so many things in investing, however, just holding is easier said than done. Too many people equate activity with adding value. Here’s how I summed up this idea in Liquidity, inspired by something Andrew had said: When you find an investment with the potential to compound over a long period, one of the hardest things is to be patient and maintain your position as long as doing so is warranted based on the prospective return and risk. Investors can easily be moved to sell by news, emotion, the fact that they’ve made a lot of money to date, or the excitement of a new, seemingly more promising idea. When you look at the chart for something that’s gone up and to the right for 20 years, think about all the times a holder would have had to convince himself not to sell. Everyone wishes they’d bought Amazon at $5 on the first day of 1998, since it’s now up 660x at $3,304. But who would have continued to hold when the stock hit $85 in 1999 – up 17x in less than two years? Who among those who held on would have been able to avoid panicking in 2001, as the price fell 93%, to $6? And who wouldn’t have sold by late 2015 when it hit $600 – up 100x from the 2001 low? Yet anyone who sold at $600 captured only the first 18% of the overall rise from that low. This reminds me of the time I once visited Malibu with a friend and mentioned that the Rindge family is said to have bought the entire area – all 13,330 acres – in 1892 for $300,000, or $22.50 per acre. (It’s clearly worth many billions today.) My friend said, “I’d like to have bought all of Malibu for $300,000.” My response was simple: “you would have sold it when it got to $600,000.” The more I’ve thought about it since writing Liquidity, the more convinced I’ve become that there are two main reasons why people sell investments: because they’re up and because they’re down. You may say that sounds nutty, but what’s really nutty is many investors’ behavior. Selling Because It’s Up “Profit-taking” is the intelligent-sounding term in our business for selling things that have appreciated. To understand why people engage in it, you need insight into human behavior, because a lot of investors’ selling is motivated by psychology. In short, a good deal of selling takes place because people like the fact that their assets show gains, and they’re afraid the profits will go away. Most people invest a lot of time and effort trying to avoid unpleasant feelings like regret and embarrassment. What could cause an investor more self-recrimination than watching a big gain evaporate? And what about the professional investor who reports a big winner to clients one quarter and then has to explain why the holding is at or below cost the next? It’s only human to want to realize profits to avoid these outcomes. If you sell an appreciated asset, that puts the gain “in the books,” and it can never be reversed. Thus, some people consider selling winners extremely desirable – they love realized gains. In fact, at a meeting of a non-profit’s investment committee, a member suggested that they should be leery of increasing endowment spending in response to gains because those gains were unrealized. I was quick to point out that it’s usually a mistake to view realized gains as less transient than unrealized ones (assuming there’s no reason to doubt the veracity of the unrealized carrying values). Yes, the former have been made concrete. However, sales proceeds are generally reinvested, meaning the profits – and the principal – are put back at risk. One might argue that appreciated securities are more vulnerable to declines than new investments in assets currently deemed to be attractively priced, but that’s far from a certainty. I’m not saying investors shouldn’t sell appreciated assets and realize profits. But it certainly doesn’t make sense to sell things just because they’re up. Selling Because It’s Down As wrong as it is to sell appreciated assets solely to crystalize gains, it’s even worse to sell them just because they’re down. Nevertheless, I’m sure many people do it. While the rule is “buy low, sell high,” clearly many people become more motivated to sell assets the more they decline. In fact, just as continued buying of appreciated assets can eventually turn a bull market into a bubble, widespread selling of things that are down has the potential to turn market declines into crashes. Bubbles and crashes do occur, proving that investors contribute to excesses in both directions. In a movie that plays in my head, the typical investor buys something at $100. If it goes to $120, he says, “I think I’m onto something – I should add,” and if it reaches $150, he says, “Now I’m highly confident – I’m going to double up.” On the other hand, if it falls to $90, he says, “I’m going to think about increasing my position to reduce my average cost,” but at $75, he concludes he should reconfirm his thesis before averaging down further. At $50, he says, “I’d better wait for the dust to settle before buying more.” And at $20 he says, “It feels like it’s going to zero; get me out!” Just like those who are afraid of surrendering gains, many investors worry about letting losses compound. They might fear their clients will say (or they’ll say to themselves), “What kind of a lame-brain continues to hold a security after it’s gone from $100 to $50? Everyone knows a decline like that can foreshadow further declines. And look – it happened.” Do investors really make behavioral errors such as those I’ve described? There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence. For example, studies have shown that the average mutual fund investor performs worse than the average mutual fund. How can that be? If she merely held her positions, or if her errors were unsystematic, the average fund investor would, by definition, fare the same as the average fund. For the studies’ findings to occur, investors have to on balance reduce the amount of capital they have in funds that subsequently do better and increase their allocation to funds that go on to do worse. Let me put that another way: on average, mutual fund investors tend to sell the funds with the worst recent performance (missing out on their potential recoveries) in order to chase the funds that have done the best (and thus likely participate in their return to earth). We know that “retail investors” tend to be trend-followers, as described above, and their long-term performance often suffers as a result. What about the pros? Here the evidence is even clearer: the powerful shift in recent decades toward indexing and other forms of passive investing has taken place for the simple reason that active investment decisions are so often wrong. Of course, many forms of error contribute to this reality. Whatever the reason, however, we have to conclude that, on average, active professional investors held more of the things that did less well and less of the things that outperformed, and/or that they bought too much at elevated prices and sold too much at depressed prices. Passive investing hasn’t grown to cover the majority of U.S. equity mutual fund capital because passive results have been so good; I think it’s because active management has been so bad. Back when I worked at First National City Bank 50 years ago, prospective clients used to ask, “What kind of return do you think you can make in an equity portfolio?” The standard answer was 12%. Why? “Well,” we said (so simplistically), “the stock market returns about 10% a year. A little effort should enable us to improve on that by at least 20%.” Of course, as time has shown, there’s no truth in that. “A little effort” didn’t add anything. In fact, in most cases, active investing detracted: most equity funds failed to keep up with the indices, especially after fees. What about the ultimate proof? The essential ingredient in Oaktree’s investments in distressed debt – bargain purchases – has emanated from the great opportunities sellers gave us. Negativity reaches a crescendo during economic and market crises, causing many investors to become depressed or fearful and sell in panic. Results like those we target in distressed debt can only be achieved when holders sell to us at irrationally low prices. Superior investing consists largely of taking advantage of mistakes made by others. Clearly, selling things because they’re down is a mistake that can give the buyers great opportunities. When Should Investors Sell? If you shouldn’t sell things because they’re up, and you shouldn’t sell because they’re down, is it ever right to sell? As I previously mentioned, I described the discussions that took place while Andrew and his family lived with Nancy and me in 2020 in Something of Value. That experience truly was of great value – an unexpected silver lining to the pandemic. That memo evoked the strongest reaction from readers of any of my memos to date. This response was probably attributable to (a) the content, which mostly related to value investing; (b) the personal insights provided, and especially my confession regarding my need to grow with the times; or (c) the recreated conversation that I included as an appendix. The last of these went like this, in part: Howard: Hey, I see XYZ is up xx% this year and selling at a p/e ratio of xx. Are you tempted to take some profits? Andrew: Dad, I’ve told you I’m not a seller. Why would I sell? H: Well, you might sell some here because (a) you’re up so much; (b) you want to put some of the gain “in the books” to make sure you don’t give it all back; and (c) at that valuation, it might be overvalued and precarious. And, of course, (d) no one ever went broke taking a profit. A: Yeah, but on the other hand, (a) I’m a long-term investor, and I don’t think of shares as pieces of paper to trade, but as part ownership in a business; (b) the company still has enormous potential; and (c) I can live with a short-term downward fluctuation, the threat of which is part of what creates opportunities in stocks to begin with. Ultimately, it’s only the long term that matters. (There’s a lot of “a-b-c” in our house. I wonder where Andrew got that.) H: But if it’s potentially overvalued in the short term, shouldn’t you trim your holding and pocket some of the gain? Then if it goes down, (a) you’ve limited your regret and (b) you can buy in lower. A: If I owned a stake in a private company with enormous potential, strong momentum and great management, I would never sell part of it just because someone offered me a full price. Great compounders are extremely hard to find, so it’s usually a mistake to let them go. Also, I think it’s much more straightforward to predict the long-term outcome for a company than short-term price movements, and it doesn’t make sense to trade off a decision in an area of high conviction for one about which you’re limited to low conviction. . . . H: Isn’t there any point where you’d begin to sell? A: In theory there is, but it largely depends on (a) whether the fundamentals are playing out as I hope and (b) how this opportunity compares to the others that are available, taking into account my high level of comfort with this one. Aphorisms like “no one ever went broke taking a profit” may be relevant to people who invest part-time for themselves, but they should have no place in professional investing. There certainly are good reasons for selling, but they have nothing to do with the fear of making mistakes, experiencing regret and looking bad. Rather, these reasons should be based on the outlook for the investment – not the psyche of the investor – and they have to be identified through hardheaded financial analysis, rigor and discipline. Stanford University professor Sidney Cottle was the editor of the later versions of Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd’s Security Analysis, “the bible of value investing,” including the edition I read at Wharton 56 years ago. For that reason, I knew the book as “Graham, Dodd and Cottle.” Sid was a consultant to the investment department at First National City Bank in the 1970s, and I’ve never forgotten his description of investing: “the discipline of relative selection.” In other words, most of the portfolio decisions investors make are relative choices. It’s patently clear that relative considerations should play an enormous part in any decision to sell existing holdings. If your investment thesis seems less valid than it did previously and/or the probability that it will prove accurate has declined, selling some or all of the holding is probably appropriate. Likewise, if another investment comes along that appears to have more promise – to offer a superior risk-adjusted prospective return – it’s reasonable to reduce or eliminate existing holdings to make room for it. Selling an asset is a decision that must not be considered in isolation. Cottle’s concept of “relative selection” highlights the fact that every sale results in proceeds. What will you do with them? Do you have something in mind that you think might produce a superior return? What might you miss by switching to the new investment? And what will you give up if you continue to hold the asset in your portfolio rather than making the change? Or perhaps you don’t plan to reinvest the proceeds. In that case, what’s the likelihood that holding the proceeds in cash will make you better off than you would have been if you had held onto the thing you sold? Questions like these relate to the concept of “opportunity cost,” one of the most important ideas in financial decision-making. Switching gears, what about the idea of selling because you think a temporary dip lies ahead that will affect one of your holdings or the whole market? There are real problems with this approach: Why sell something you think has a positive long-term future to prepare for a dip you expect to be temporary? Doing so introduces one more way to be wrong (of which there are so many), since the decline might not occur. Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, points out that selling for market-timing purposes actually gives an investor two ways to be wrong: the decline may or may not occur, and if it does, you’ll have to figure out when the time is right to go back in. Or maybe it’s three ways, because once you sell, you also have to decide what to do with the proceeds while you wait until the dip occurs and the time comes to get back in. People who avoid declines by selling too often may revel in their brilliance and fail to reinstate their positions at the resulting lows. Thus, even sellers who were right can fail to accomplish anything of lasting value. Lastly, what if you’re wrong and there is no dip? In that case, you’ll miss out on the ensuing gains and either never get back in or do so at higher prices. So it’s generally not a good idea to sell for purposes of market timing. There are very few occasions to do so profitably and very few people who possess the skill needed to take advantage of these opportunities. Before I close on this subject, it’s important to note that decisions to sell aren’t always within an investment manager’s control. Clients can withdraw capital from accounts and funds, necessitating sales, and the limited lifespan of closed-end funds can require managers to liquidate holdings even though they’re not ripe for selling. The choice of what to sell under these conditions can still be based on a manager’s expectations regarding future returns, but deciding not to sell isn’t among the manager’s choices. How Much Is Too Much to Hold? Certainly there are times when it’s right to sell one asset in favor of another based on the idea of relative selection. But we mustn’t do this in a mechanical manner. If we did, at the logical extreme, we would put all of our capital into the one investment we consider the best. Virtually all investors – even the best – diversify their portfolios. We may have a sense for which holding is the absolute best, but I’ve never heard of an investor with a one-asset portfolio. They may overweight favorites to take advantage of what they think they know, but they still diversify to protect against what they don’t know. That means they sub-optimize, potentially trading off some of their chance at a maximal return to increase the likelihood of a merely excellent one. Here’s a related question from my reconstructed conversation with Andrew: H: You run a concentrated portfolio. XYZ was a big position when you invested, and it’s even bigger today, given the appreciation. Intelligent investors concentrate portfolios and hold on to take advantage of what they know, but they diversify holdings and sell as things rise to limit the potential damage from what they don’t know. Hasn’t the growth in this position put our portfolio out of whack in that regard? A: Perhaps that’s true, depending on your goals. But trimming would mean selling something I feel immense comfort with based on my bottom-up assessment and moving into something I feel less good about or know less well (or cash). To me, it’s far better to own a small number of things about which I feel strongly. I’ll only have a few good insights over my lifetime, so I have to maximize the few I have. All professional investors want good investment performance for their clients, but they also want financial success for themselves. And amateurs have to invest within the limits of their risk tolerance. For these reasons, most investors – and certainly most investment managers’ clients – aren’t immune to apprehension regarding portfolio concentration and thus susceptibility to untoward developments. These considerations introduce valid reasons for limiting the size of individual asset purchases and trimming positions as they appreciate. Investors sometimes delegate the decision on how to weight assets in portfolios to a process called portfolio optimization. Inputs regarding asset classes’ return potential, risk and correlation are fed into a computer model, and out comes the portfolio with the optimal expected risk-adjusted return. If an asset appreciates relative to the others, the model can be rerun, and it will tell you what to buy and sell. The main problem with these models lies in the fact that all the data we have regarding those three parameters relates to the past, but to arrive at the ideal portfolio, the model needs data that accurately describes the future. Further, the models need a numerical input for risk, and I absolutely insist that no single number can fully describe an asset’s risk. Thus, optimization models can’t successfully dictate portfolio actions. The bottom line: we should base our investment decisions on our estimates of each asset’s potential, we shouldn’t sell just because the price has risen and the position has swelled, there can be legitimate reasons to limit the size of the positions we hold, but there’s no way to scientifically calculate what those limits should be. In other words, the decision to trim positions or to sell out entirely comes down to judgment . . . like everything else that matters in investing. The Final Word on Selling Most investors try to add value by over- and underweighting specific assets and/or through well-timed buying and selling. While few have demonstrated the ability to consistently do these things correctly (see my comments on active management on page 4), everyone’s free to have a go at it. There is, however, a big “but.” What’s clear to me is that simply being invested is by far “the most important thing.” (Someone should write a book with that title!) Most actively managed portfolios won’t outperform the market as a result of manipulation of portfolio weightings or buying and selling for purposes of market timing. You can try to add to returns by engaging in such machinations, but these actions are unlikely to work at best and can get in the way at worst. Most economies and corporations benefit from positive underlying secular trends, and thus most securities markets rise in most years and certainly over long periods. One of the longest-running U.S. equity indices, the S&P 500, has produced an estimated compound average return over the last 90 years of 10.5% per year. That’s startling performance. It means $1 invested in the S&P 500 90 years ago would have grown to roughly $8,000 today. Many people have remarked on the wonders of compounding. For example, Albert Einstein reportedly called compound interest “the eighth wonder of the world.” If $1 could be invested today at the historic compound return of 10.5% per year, it would grow to $147 in 50 years. One might argue that economic growth will be slower in the years ahead than it was in the past, or that bargain stocks were easier to find in previous periods than they are today. Nevertheless, even if it compounds at just 7%, $1 invested today will grow to over $29 in 50 years. Thus, someone entering adulthood today is practically guaranteed to be well fixed by the time they retire if they merely start investing promptly and avoid tampering with the process by trading. I like the way Bill Miller, one of the great investors of our time, put it in his 3Q 2021 Market Letter: In the post-war period the US stock market has gone up in around 70% of the years... Odds much less favorable than that have made casino owners very rich, yet most investors try to guess the 30% of the time stocks decline, or even worse spend time trying to surf, to no avail, the quarterly up and down waves in the market. Most of the returns in stocks are concentrated in sharp bursts beginning in periods of great pessimism or fear, as we saw most recently in the 2020 pandemic decline. We believe time, not timing, is the key to building wealth in the stock market. (October 18, 2021. Emphasis added) What are the “sharp bursts” Miller talks about? On April 11, 2019, The Motley Fool cited data from JP Morgan Asset Management’s 2019 Retirement Guide showing that in the 20-year period between 1999 and 2018, the annual return on the S&P 500 was 5.6%, but your return would only have been 2.0% if you had sat out the 10 best days (or roughly 0.4% of the trading days), and you wouldn’t have made any money at all if you had missed the 20 best days. In the past, returns have often been similarly concentrated in a small number of days. Nevertheless, overactive investors continue to jump in and out of the market, incurring transactions costs and capital gains taxes and running the risk of missing those “sharp bursts.” As mentioned earlier, investors often engage in selling because they believe a decline is imminent and they have the ability to avoid it. The truth, however, is that buying or holding – even at elevated prices – and experiencing a decline is in itself far from fatal. Usually, every market high is followed by a higher one and, after all, only the long-term return matters. Reducing market exposure through ill-conceived selling – and thus failing to participate fully in the markets’ positive long-term trend – is a cardinal sin in investing. That’s even more true of selling without reason things that have fallen, turning negative fluctuations into permanent losses and missing out on the miracle of long-term compounding. * * * When I meet people for the first time and they find out I’m in the investment business, they often ask (especially in Europe) “what do you trade?” That question makes me bristle. To me, “trading” means jumping in and out of individual assets and whole markets on the basis of guesswork as to what prices will do in the next hour, day, month or quarter. We don’t engage in such activity at Oaktree, and few people have demonstrated the ability to do it well. Rather than traders, we consider ourselves investors. In my view, investing means committing capital to assets based on well-reasoned estimates of their potential and benefitting from the results over the long term. Oaktree does employ people called traders, but their job consists of implementing long-term investment decisions made by portfolio managers based on assets’ fundamentals. No one at Oaktree believes they can make money or advance their career by selling now and buying back after an intervening decline, as opposed to holding for years and letting value lift prices if fundamental expectations prove out. When Oaktree was formed in 1995, the five founders – who at that point had worked together for nine years on average – established an investment philosophy based on what we’d successfully done in that time. One of the six tenets expressed our view on trying to time markets when buying and selling: Because we do not believe in the predictive ability required to correctly time markets, we keep portfolios fully invested whenever attractively priced assets can be bought. Concern about the market climate may cause us to tilt toward more defensive investments, increase selectivity or act more deliberately, but we never move to raise cash. Clients hire us to invest in specific market niches, and we must never fail to do our job. Holding investments that decline in price is unpleasant, but missing out on returns because we failed to buy what we were hired to buy is inexcusable. We’ve never changed any of the six tenets of our investment philosophy – including this one – and we have no plans to do so. January 13, 2022 Updated on Jan 14, 2022, 12:38 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkJan 14th, 2022Related News

FEC unanimously dismisses complaint alleging Ilhan Omar used campaign funds to "facilitate an alleged affair" with campaign official

Omar's legal team said the complaint was "filed purely for political purposes" and was full of "salacious claims" about her personal life. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota at the US Capitol on December 14, 2021.Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters The FEC unanimously rejected a complaint accusing Ilhan Omar of using campaign funds to facilitate an affair. The commission called the allegation "speculative," but said Omar needed to amend some reports. Omar's lawyers said the complaint was "filed purely for political purposes" and contained "salacious claims." The Federal Election Commission has unanimously rejected a complaint accusing Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota of improperly using campaign funds to facilitate an alleged affair, according to documents just made public.The complaint, filed in 2019 by the conservative watchdog National Legal and Policy Center, alleged that Omar had facilitated an affair with Democratic campaign consultant Tim Mynett via a series of payments to his consulting firm that year, pointing to a divorce filing from Mynett's ex-wife that stated that his travel was "more related to his affair with Rep. Omar than his actual work commitments.""If Ilhan for Congress reimbursed Mynett's LLC for travel so that Rep. Omar would have the benefit of Mynett's romantic companionship, the expenditures must be considered personal in nature," said the complaint. It is generally illegal for candidates to use campaign funds for personal purposes. Omar married Mynett in March 2020.But in rejecting the group's complaint, the commission's analysis found that the group's claims of personal use of campaign funds by Omar were only "speculative." "The Complaint does not identify any particular travel that it has reason to believe was improper and instead relies on Ms. Mynett's belief that Mr. Mynett's alleged relationship with Omar was the reason for his travel in support of its personal use allegations," read the analysis.The commission's legal counsel did find that Omar had improperly reported some transactions, and said it would work with her campaign to amend those filings. On December 2, the body voted 6-0 to dismiss the complaint entirely.In their response to the complaint, Omar's designated lawyers said the complaint was "filed purely for political purposes – to create an additional press story against Congresswoman Omar" and contained "salacious claims" about her personal life."This Complaint was in no way filed in good faith, and appears to be nothing more than a veiled attempt to harass the Congresswoman at the expense of the Commission's limited resources," wrote lawyers Neil Reiff and David Mitrani in their response.The response also included a signed affidavit from Mynett's business partner, Will Hailer, which stated under penalty of perjury that payments to their consulting firm "were not made for expenses incurred for non-campaign purposes."Since first being elected to Congress in 2018, Rep. Omar has been the subject of frequent baseless rumors and claims, including unproven claims that she married her own brother. And she's also faced Islamophobic remarks from House colleagues, with far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado insinuating that she was a suicide bomber at a campaign event in November.House progressives called for Boebert to be stripped of her committee assignments over the incident, but that effort appears to have fizzled out.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 14th, 2022Related News

Profit From Higher Oil Price With These Leveraged ETFs

Many investors have turned bullish on the energy sector and are seeking to tap this opportunity. For them, a leveraged play on energy ETFs could be an excellent idea. Oil price has been on a tear to start 2022, with Brent hitting $85 per barrel for the first time in three months and crude oil rising above $83 per barrel. Supply disruptions and unprecedent demand are driving the rally.Amid rising oil prices, the energy sector looks attractive. Many investors have turned bullish on the energy sector and are seeking to tap this opportunity. For them, a leveraged play on energy ETFs could be an excellent idea as these could see huge gains in a very short time frame when compared to the simple products. These are ProShares Ultra Oil & Gas ETF DIG, Direxion Daily Energy Bull 2X Shares ERX, Direxion Daily S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Bull 2X Shares GUSH, MicroSectors U.S. Big Oil Index 3X Leveraged ETN NRGU and MicroSectors Oil & Gas Exploration & Production 3X Leveraged ETN OILU.The solid gains came as the escalating unrest in Kazakhstan has accelerated supply concerns. Kazakhstan is currently producing 1.6 million barrels of oil per day. The supply outages in Libya have added to the chaos. Libyan oil output is down more than 500,000 barrels per day due to pipeline maintenance and oilfield shutdowns. Per the National Oil Corp., Libyan oil output is at 729,000 barrels per day, down from a high of more than 1.3 million bpd last year (read: Grab These ETFs to Ride the Latest Rally in Oil Prices).Meanwhile, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, known as OPEC+, are sticking to their planned output increase by 400,000 barrels per day in February rather than boosting it further. The OPEC+ has been increasing output by the same amount each month since August. Additionally, U.S. inventories have declined for seven straight weeks and are now at the 2018 lows.On the demand side, increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates, loosening pandemic-related restrictions, and a growing economy have bolstered the demand for energy. The bets that rising coronavirus cases and the spread of the Omicron variant will not derail a global demand recovery has further bolstered investors’ confidence in the sector.Added to the strong momentum is the state of backwardation in the oil futures market, where later-dated contracts are cheaper than the near-term contracts. This signals that the oil market is tightening and demand is robust, paving the way for an oil rally. This trend is likely to persist at least in the near term, acting as the biggest catalyst for the commodity.Below, we have highlighted the leveraged ETFs in detail:ProShares Ultra Oil & Gas ETF (DIG)ProShares Ultra Oil & Gas ETF seeks to deliver twice (2X or 200%) the daily performance of the Dow Jones U.S. Oil & Gas Index. The index measures the performance of the energy companies including oil drilling equipment and services, coal, oil companies-major, oil companies-secondary, pipelines, liquid, solid or gaseous fossil fuel producers and service companies.ProShares Ultra Oil & Gas ETF has been able to manage $184.7 million in its asset base and trades in a good volume of about 64,000 shares per day on average. DIG charges 95 bps in fees per year.Direxion Daily Energy Bull 2X Shares (ERX)Direxion Daily Energy Bull 2X Shares creates two times leveraged position in the Energy Select Sector Index, while charging 95 bps in fees a year.Direxion Daily Energy Bull 2X Shares is a popular and liquid option in the energy leveraged space with AUM of $563.6 million and an average trading volume of around 3.2 million shares.Direxion Daily S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Bull 2X Shares (GUSH)Direxion Daily S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Bull 2X Shares offers two times exposure to the daily performance of the S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Select Industry Index.Direxion Daily S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Bull 2X Shares has accumulated $840 million in its asset base and the average daily volume is solid at around 1.7 million shares. The ETF charges 95 bps in annual fees (read: 5 Energy ETFs Making the Most of Oil Price Surge).MicroSectors U.S. Big Oil Index 3X Leveraged ETN (NRGU)MicroSectors U.S. Big Oil Index 3X Leveraged ETN provides three times (3X or 300%) leveraged exposure to the Solactive MicroSectors U.S. Big Oil Index, which is equal-dollar weighted and provides exposure to the 10 largest U.S. energy and oil companies.MicroSectors U.S. Big Oil Index 3X Leveraged ETN has been able to manage $831.4 million in its asset base while trading in an average daily volume of 293,000 shares. Expense ratio comes in at 0.95%.MicroSectors Oil & Gas Exploration & Production 3X Leveraged ETN (OILU)MicroSectors Oil & Gas Exploration & Production 3X Leveraged ETN is linked to three times leveraged performance of the MicroSectors Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Index. The index provides exposure to the large-capitalization companies that are domiciled and listed in the United States and that are active in the exploration and production of oil and gas.MicroSectors Oil & Gas Exploration & Production 3X Leveraged ETN has amassed $4.3 million in its asset base and trades in a lower average volume of 15,000 million shares. It charges investors 95 bps in annual fees and expenses.Bottom LineAs a caveat, investors should note that these products are extremely volatile and suitable only for short-term traders. Additionally, the daily rebalancing — when combined with leverage — may make these products deviate significantly from the expected long-term performance figures (see: all the Leveraged Equity ETFs here).Still, for ETF investors who are bullish on the energy sector for the near term, either of the above products can be an interesting choice. Clearly, a near-term long could be intriguing for those with high-risk tolerance and a belief that the trend is the friend in this corner of the investing world. Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox? Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week.Get it free >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Direxion Daily Energy Bull 2X Shares (ERX): ETF Research Reports Direxion Daily S&P Oil & Gas Exp. & Prod. Bull 2X Shares (GUSH): ETF Research Reports ProShares Ultra Oil & Gas (DIG): ETF Research Reports MicroSectors Oil & Gas E&P 3X Leveraged ETNs (OILU): ETF Research Reports MicroSectors U.S. Big Oil Index 3X Leveraged ETN (NRGU): ETF Research Reports To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 14th, 2022Related News

Mastercard (MA) Inks MOU to Ease Digital Payments in Japan

Mastercard (MA) partners with Wakayama Prefecture to not only ease digital payments in the prefecture's tourism sector but also upgrade the payment operations of SMBs within it. Mastercard Incorporated MA recently inked a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Japan’s Wakayama Prefecture, which is home to globally renowned World Heritage Sites. The five-year strategic collaboration intends to utilize MA’s global standard payment network for driving digital transformation amid the tourism sector, and small and medium-sized businesses (“SMBs”) within the Wakayama Prefecture.This deal marks Mastercard’s first alliance with a Japanese prefecture. Both parties will team up to develop an infrastructure, which paves the way for hassle-free digital payments, in an effort to revive the local tourism industry. This will be of great help to overseas tourists to make payments across regional cities. Additionally, the cash-back program of Mastercard (Mastercard Travel Rewards) will be utilized to offer cash rewards to foreign visitors (holding a Mastercard card), which in turn will serve as an incentive to spend more at Wakayama Prefecture’s stores. The prospects of the program appear bright as it involves numerous overseas banks and card issuers as participants, and is extended to cardholders in over 30 markets.The latest tie-up also intends to digitize payment and settlement operations of SMBs in the prefecture, thereby resulting in increased and secured cashless transactions. Advanced technologies will be utilized to bring about efficiencies in payments operations of SMBs, which in turn, will lead to enhanced accounts payable efficiency, reconciliation processes and data analysis. Thus, the business owners will benefit from streamlined billing operations and greater sales opportunities and will be shielded from headwinds stemming from pending payments.Initiatives similar to the latest one reinforce the solid reputation that Mastercard has earned as a leading international payment technology company over the years. Per Wakayama Prefecture’s management, MA’s sound insights into international travel and consumer trends coupled with its vast network of overseas credit card companies make it a perfect match for bolstering the prefecture’s growth prospects. The recent deal is likely to lead to increased utilization of Mastercard cards in the prefecture, which is anticipated to fetch higher transaction processing fees (one of the significant drivers of MA’s top-line growth) for the company.The latest deal clearly highlights Mastercard’s sincere efforts to revive the tourism sector and SMBs, which were severely hit by the COVID-19 induced volatilities. While severe restrictions on cross-border movement were imposed amid the pandemic that affected the tourism industry, SMBs grappled with inadequate resources and financial uncertainties. With digitization being infused into every sphere of life and the global economy witnessing a recovery phase, MA’s efforts to help the tourism space and SMBs of Wakayama Prefecture out of the pandemic-induced rut and flourish amid an improving digital economy seem to be a well-timed move.Driving digital transformation remains one of the primary motives of Mastercard. In sync with the same, it keeps on partnering with numerous well-established organizations and delivering several innovative digital payment solutions. MA undertakes substantial investments and forays into underserved areas via technological offerings.Similar to Mastercard, other companies such as Visa Inc. V, Global Payments Inc. GPN, and American Express Company AXP have also been pursuing digital transformation efforts and launching several contactless payment solutions from time to time.Visa makes use of advanced technologies for rolling out newer payment solutions. V has been striving hard to integrate blockchain technology within the payments platform. The launch of diversified payment alternatives, including mobile payments through Visa Checkout and Visa payWave, highlights the company’s commitment to ensure enhanced online checkout experiences for consumers.Global Payments is a pure-play payments technology company boasting deep expertise in payments technology. GPN continues to roll out a wide array of payments technology and software solutions for customers on a worldwide basis backed by its expertise. Global Payments has joined forces with several organizations for extending its nationwide reach in the digital payments space.American Express pursues a series of measures focused on technology advancements, the introduction of secure digital solutions and assistance in businesses to regulate payments. AXP unveiled the proprietary automated accounts payable (“AP”) solution in 2020 for automating the accounts payable process with an innovative, end-to-end solution. These initiatives bolstered the digital suite and the global foothold of American Express.Shares of Mastercard have lost 6% in the past six months compared with the industry’s decline of 16.9%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchMA currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.While American Express stock has inched up 1.1% in the past six months, shares of Visa and Global Payments have lost 12.3% and 22.9%, respectively, in the same time frame. Bitcoin, Like the Internet Itself, Could Change Everything Blockchain and cryptocurrency has sparked one of the most exciting discussion topics of a generation. Some call it the “Internet of Money” and predict it could change the way money works forever. If true, it could do to banks what Netflix did to Blockbuster and Amazon did to Sears. Experts agree we’re still in the early stages of this technology, and as it grows, it will create several investing opportunities. Zacks’ has just revealed 3 companies that can help investors capitalize on the explosive profit potential of Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies with significantly less volatility than buying them directly. See 3 crypto-related 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 Mastercard Incorporated (MA): Free Stock Analysis Report Visa Inc. (V): Free Stock Analysis Report American Express Company (AXP): Free Stock Analysis Report Global Payments Inc. (GPN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 14th, 2022Related News