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After 28 Days On Ventilator, Family Loses Legal Battle To Try Ivermectin, Other Alternative Treatments, For Dying Father

After 28 Days On Ventilator, Family Loses Legal Battle To Try Ivermectin, Other Alternative Treatments, For Dying Father Authored by Nanette Holt via The Epoch Times, A Florida family fighting to give their loved one on a ventilator alternative treatments for COVID-19 have lost another battle—this time in Florida’s First District Court of Appeal. The wife and son of Daniel Pisano first squared off against Mayo Clinic Florida at an emergency hearing on Dec. 30 in Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit. Before that, they’d been begging the hospital to allow them to try treating Pisano—who’s been on a ventilator now for 28 days—with the controversial drug ivermectin, along with a mix of other drugs and supplements, part of a protocol recommended by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC). The family’s request for an emergency injunction to force the Mayo Clinic to allow treatments recommended by an outside doctor was denied by Judge Marianne Aho. They appealed the decision. On Jan. 14, Aho’s decision was upheld by Florida’s First District Court of Appeal. The three-judge panel deciding the case included Judge Thomas “Bo” Winokur, appointed by then-Gov. Rick Scott in 2015; Judge M. Kemmerly Thomas, appointed in 2016 by Scott; and Judge Robert E. Long, Jr., appointed in 2020, by Gov. Ron DeSantis. “An opinion of this Court explaining its reasoning will follow,” the judges stated in the order they issued.  “So we wait to see what that looks like, unless it takes too long,” said Jeff Childers, an attorney for the family.  Seventy-year-old Daniel Pisano doesn’t have unlimited time, says Eduardo Balbona, M.D., an independent doctor in Jacksonville who’s been advising the family since they reached out to him while researching other treatments that could potentially help their loved one. Daniel and Claudia Pisano moved to Florida and bought a homesite to be 20 minutes from their only two grandchildren. (Photo courtesy of Chris Pisano) Balbona, who has been monitoring Pisano’s treatment at the Mayo Clinic through an online portal, testified on behalf of the Pisano family in the first hearing. The Mayo Clinic has argued that the treatment plan doesn’t fit with the hospital’s standard protocol for treating COVID-19 patients and they don’t know what the effects of following Balbona’s recommendations would be. The hospital has told the family that Pisano has a less-than-five percent chance of survival, and all that’s left to do is wait and see if he recovers on the ventilator. The Mayo Clinic has not responded to requests for comment. The family has begged the Mayo Clinic to simply step aside and let Balbona try what he thinks could work. But the Mayo Clinic doesn’t allow outside doctors to treat patients. Since media reports mentioned his involvement in the case, particularly his confidence in recommending ivermectin, Balbona has faced a mix of hate-filled criticism and desperate cries for help. He says he’s used ivermectin along with the rest of the FLCCC protocol successfully with minor modifications, on “dozens and dozens” of seriously ill patients suffering the effects of COVID-19. Some of those patients have come to him from as far away as California. He’s not alone in his belief in ivermectin and the mix of drugs and supplements he’s suggesting. Different health care professionals across the country have spoken out over the past two years about the efficacy of using ivermectin and the FLCCC protocol to treat COVID-19. The drug has been used for 40 years and won a Nobel Prize for its creator. While ivermectin is most often used to prevent or kill parasites in animals, it has also been widely and successfully used for years to treat parasites and viruses in humans in the United States and other countries. There is an ever-growing list of peer-reviewed studies showing the drug’s efficacy in treating COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicates there are ongoing clinical trials investigating the use of the drug in the treatment of COVID-19 on a webpage warning people not to self-medicate with ivermectin. The FDA published a tweet in August mocking those who do. And some politicians and media outlets have railed relentlessly against those claiming ivermectin could be an effective and inexpensive way to combat COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shared this tweet on Aug. 21, 2021, mocking the use of the drug ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of FDA via Twitter) “You should be embarrassed to practice medicine, to sue the Mayo Clinic to get horse medicine to a human being, because of Internet garbage,” one person seethed on a voicemail at Balbona’s office after his court testimony was mentioned in an Epoch Times article. “Your license should be revoked, you worthless piece of garbage. You are killing people, not helping them, and to harass the Mayo Clinic, because you are not good enough to be their doctor is disgusting. Disgusting. You and doctors like you should all be banned from society. Shame on you. Disgusting. Goodbye and good riddance. I hope you get COVID. Goodbye.” Balbona says he deletes messages like that and pushes on with his treatment of patients. It’s “just the intolerance and hatred that takes me by surprise,” he said, about his office communications now getting “flooded by hate.” Eduardo Balbona, M.D., completed specialty training in internal medicine at the National Naval Medical Center and served as a physician at the U.S. Capitol, caring for senators, congressmen and Supreme Court justices. (Photo courtesy of Eduardo Balbona, M.D.) “Everything I do treating COVID is directed at lowering the inflammatory response, which is out of control, and improving blood flow to the lungs, and avoiding the complications of clots,” he said. “Perhaps the biggest change I’ve made from protocols in the hospital and with FLCCC is increasing the dose of dexamethasone. The dose of dexamethasone in FLCCC is relatively low at 6 mg, and I generally increase that to 18 mg daily in more serious cases. That’s a logic change, and I realize the study support is at 6 mg.” “There’s a reason for every medicine and everything I do treating COVID with my protocol. I have to be able to defend it since I know it will be attacked. Crazy world we’re in.” Christie DeTrude, of Switzerland, Florida, feels certain that Balbona’s recommendations saved her husband, Dewey. He had just retired last spring at 59 after a long career as a pipe-fitter. At 200 pounds and 6-feet-tall, he was in the peak of health, with strong “country muscles after a lifetime of turning a wrench,” she said. Dewey and Christie DeTrude on vacation in Hawaii, before he fell ill with COVID-19. (Courtesy of the DeTrude Family) When he sought treatment for COVID-19 at an urgent-care clinic in July, he was prescribed ivermectin by a doctor there. “But what we didn’t know at the time was, it wasn’t a high enough dose, because it’s supposed to be weight-based,” Christie DeTrude said. “Theirs was a very low dose, and they discontinued it after five days and said that it would be damaging to his liver and kidneys if they continued, which isn’t true.” On his eighth day of illness, he had developed pneumonia, and the urgent-care clinic told him to go to the hospital for treatment with convalescent plasma and oxygen. The referring doctor promised he wouldn’t be admitted, Christie DeTrude said. When she dropped him off at the Mayo Clinic Florida emergency room, she was told to come back and pick him up in 4-5 hours. “Once he got to Mayo, they just completely took over, and there was no informed consent,” DeTrude said. “There was no giving him information and letting us make a decision. They made all of his decisions for him, and they follow a standard protocol.” “There were no choices, there was no discussion…they just kept upping the oxygen,” DeTrude said. The Mayo Clinic did not return requests for comment by The Epoch Times about DeTrude’s case, Pisano’s case, or COVID-19 treatment protocols, in general. DeTrude said that eventually, her husband had become so weak, he couldn’t get out of the hospital bed. She felt that the hospital’s treatments weren’t working. She wanted to take him home. The hospital wouldn’t agree to discharge him and didn’t allow her to visit, she said. Dewey DeTrude’s wife hired an attorney to help her get her husband out of the intensive care unit at Mayo Clinic Florida, so he could be treated at home with ivermectin. DeTrude, shown here on Aug. 3, 2021, spent 46 days in the hospital. (Courtesy of the DeTrude Family) Days passed. Then, weeks. She says that she could tell from their phone calls that her husband was getting weaker. His 60th birthday came and went. And still, she says the hospital wouldn’t let her visit. “I was able to get a Catholic priest to come give him Last Rites, and the priest said that my husband’s mental state was like that of a prisoner of war, that he was definitely suffering trauma from the isolation from family, from his faith, from not seeing the sun. He’d lost 35 pounds,” she said. Part of the problem was that she wasn’t allowed to bring him vegan meals, she said. “A lot of the food, my husband wasn’t interested in. And when you’re on oxygen, it does affect your appetite, and he needed assistance eating, but they wouldn’t let me be that person,” she said. After 18 days, Christie DeTrude hired an attorney to help her push the hospital to stabilize her husband so she could take him home. Meanwhile, she searched for an outside doctor who could help. With that aim, she attended a medical freedom rally in Jacksonville in August, hoping to find something or someone who could advise her. Several doctors spoke about alternative treatments for COVID-19 that hospitals weren’t using, including ivermectin. The next day, she called them all. Only Dr. Balbona came to the phone to speak with her, she said. At Christie DeTrude’s request, Balbona promised the hospital that he’d take over her husband’s care. He ordered oxygen, medication, and home-health assistance for the family, she said. As she waited for Mayo doctors to agree to discharge him, Christie DeTrude prayed every day that her husband could hang on a little longer. After 46 days at Mayo Clinic, Dewey DeTrude finally was discharged and immediately started following Dr. Balbona’s instructions, taking ivermectin, fluvoxamine to prevent blood clots, and propranolol to treat anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder from his hospital stay. He also took Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and zinc. He ate healthy food and spent time in the sunshine. Within days, it was clear her husband was on the mend, Christie DeTrude said. Now, four months later, “he’s working part-time, going to the gym,” she said. “He’s completed physical therapy and working on rebuilding his stamina and lung capacity. And if it weren’t for Dr. Balbona, I’m quite sure he would have died in the hospital.” Gene Bennett, a 77-year-old retired field engineer for IBM, tells a similar story. He was enjoying life in Bryceville, Florida helping his son clear five acres of land for a homesite when COVID-19 struck in January 2021. An ambulance transported him to Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside Hospital in Jacksonville, where he was treated with remdesivir. “They had to keep getting my oxygen higher and higher,” Bennett said. “I was finally up to the point of seven liters per minute, which is almost pure oxygen. And I knew that I wasn’t getting better. I could tell I was getting weaker and weaker. So when the doctor made his rounds on the Monday morning, I said, ‘This is my last day of remdesivir treatment and I know that I’m not improving. What’s our next step?’ “He looked at me and very calmly said, ‘Mr. Bennett, we don’t have a next step.’ He said, ‘We have done all for you that we can do. There’s nothing else we can do for you.’” Gene Bennett insisted on leaving the hospital, instead of going on a ventilator. (Courtesy of Jane Bennett) Overnight, Bennett thought a lot about the conversation. The next day, he asked the doctor, “Are you serious? There’s nothing else that this hospital can do for me?” “He said, ‘No, sir. The next step is for you to go on a ventilator.’” “Well, I’m not going to do that,” Bennett recalls saying. “I want to be released from this hospital.” He quickly learned that was no longer a decision he could make for himself. Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside Hospital did not respond to a request for comment. “They weren’t going to release me because I was on a high level of oxygen,” he told The Epoch Times. “So finally, after I raised hell with them, to put it mildly, all day, my son picked me up” that evening. The next morning, Bennett’s wife drove him to Dr. Balbona, his physician for many years. Balbona came out to the parking lot of his office to help him out of the car. “I could barely walk with a walker without assistance — that’s how bad off I was,” Bennett said. He says Balbona told him, ” You have the most severe case of COVID that I have seen. But I have a medicine I have been using and I’ve had great success with it.” Bennett needed no convincing. “What is it? I’ll take it,” Bennett recalls saying. “I know I’m dying. I just feel it.” “He told me and my wife, ‘Most people that have COVID as severe as you do not survive. We’re behind the curve, but we’re going to try to get you over the hump. The medicine I’d like to prescribe for you is normally a heartworm medicine for dogs—that’s the most common use.’ “He said, ‘They use it all over the world. It’s been around for 40 years, and it’s dirt cheap, but very effective.’ “He said, ‘I would never, ever give a patient a medicine that I thought would be harmful to them.’ And I totally believed, and just accepted the fact he was doing what he thinks was right. “I thought, I don’t have any options. I know if I don’t take something to stop this, it’s going to kill me.” They picked up a $30 supply of ivermectin from a drug store that day. Bennett was so weak, he could barely feed himself. His wife and son later told him that they thought he was going to die. But after five days on what Dr. Balbona prescribed, including Vitamin C, Vitamin D, zinc, steroids, and a diuretic to get fluid off his lungs, he started to improve. “I’m a firm believer and I’d swear on the Bible, had I not been prescribed ivermectin, I would have died. Had I not stepped out of St. Vincent’s and checked myself out and gone to him and got the ivermectin, I wouldn’t be talking to you today. It saved my life. And for how much money? Thirty dollars!” He has since read a lot of research about the efficacy of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19. Gene Bennett refused to go on a ventilator when he was seriously ill with COVID-19. After leaving the hospital, his doctor treated him with ivermectin. He made a full recovery.  (Courtesy of Jane Bennett) “I can’t tell you if it is 100 percent effective for everyone, but I can tell you it was for me. I personally cannot understand why the government balks at giving these treatments. Why don’t they make the announcement that it’s available and let it be an individual’s choice?” Ivermectin has been approved for the treatment of COVID-19 in all or part of 22 countries. Over the past year, Bennett’s gotten back to full health, almost, regaining about half of the 45 pounds he lost while he was ill. His wife’s brother died in early January of COVID-19. They begged the hospital to try ivermectin. The hospital declined. His daughter-in-law’s mother died of COVID-19, too, in a Jacksonville Beach hospital, after the family begged to try ivermectin, and the hospital refused, Bennett said. An FDA spokeswoman said she would provide the number of reports of patients who had problems after self-medicating with ivermectin. Three days later, that information had not been provided to The Epoch Times. The FDA Office of Media Affairs said a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) would be required to obtain details about when ivermectin might be approved for use in treating COVID-19, and about bonafide injuries to people who’ve used ivermectin to treat the illness. “The most effective ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 include getting a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you and following current CDC guidance,” the FDA’s website advises. The Epoch Times spoke to a dozen people who have used ivermectin formulated for humans to treat COVID-19 at home. Most obtained prescriptions for the drug through online medical services. None reported having any side effects, even those who admitted to using ivermectin formulated for animals. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 20:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt22 hr. 9 min. ago Related News

Walmart Creates Its Own Cryptocurrency, NFTs, Enters Metaverse With Sales Of Virtual Goods

Walmart Creates Its Own Cryptocurrency, NFTs, Enters Metaverse With Sales Of Virtual Goods The last time Walmart was reportedly entering the crypto space, it turned out to be a giant Litecoin-promoting hack, that was quickly reversed, after it became clear that playful hackers had fabricated a press release. But there appears to be nothing fake about the latest news involving Walmart's desire to ride the latest wave of crypto/web 3.0/metaverse/NFT euphoria, and as a result the big box retailer is boldly venturing into the metaverse with plans to create its own cryptocurrency and collection of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. According to CNBC, Walmart filed several new trademarks late last month that indicate its intent to make and sell virtual goods, including electronics, home decorations, toys, sporting goods and personal care products. In a separate filing, the company said it would offer users a virtual currency, as well as NFTs.  In total, seven separate applications have been submitted. The patent applications were among a flurry the company filed on Dec. 30, including three under “Walmart Connect” - the name of the company’s existing digital advertising venture - for a financial exchange for virtual currency and advertising. Applications also were filed for “Verse to Store,” “Verse to Curb” and “Verse to Home” for shopping services. It’s also seeking trademarks to apply the Walmart name and “fireworks” logo to heath-care services and education in virtual and augmented reality. “They’re super intense,” said Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney, quoted by CNBC. “There’s a lot of language in these, which shows that there’s a lot of planning going on behind the scenes about how they’re going to address cryptocurrency, how they’re going to address the metaverse and the virtual world that appears to be coming or that’s already here.” Gerben said that ever since Facebook announced it was changing its company name to Meta, signaling its ambitions beyond social media, businesses have been rushing to figure out how they will fit into a virtual world. The applications represent a significant step for the retail giant as it studies how to participate in the metaverse, a virtual world that blends aspects of digital technologies. Walmart dropped a hint to what was coming, after it advertised in August a position to develop “the digital currency strategy and product roadmap” while identifying “crypto-related investment and partnerships,” according to a job posting on the company’s website. “Walmart is continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences,” the company responded in an emailed statement. “We don’t have anything further to share today, but it’s worth noting we routinely file trademark applications as part of the innovation process.” Walmart’s cryptocurrency plans were the subject of a high-profile hoax in September, when a fake announcement caused a short-lived surge in Litecoin, a relatively obscure cryptocurrency. According to the faked news release, Walmart would start letting its customers pay with Litecoin. In October, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer started a pilot program in which shoppers can buy Bitcoin at Coinstar kiosks in some of its U.S. stores. The test with Coinstar, which is known for the machines that let customers exchange U.S. coins for paper bills or gift cards, includes 200 kiosks in Walmart stores. In early December, Walmart Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs said at an analyst conference that the company was open to allowing shoppers to pay in cryptocurrency if customers demand it, but the company didn’t see a need to rush out any capabilities. Walmart is the latest brand to jump on the bandwagon of selling virtual goods and/or NFTs. In November, Nike filed a slew of trademark applications that previewed its plans to sell virtual branded sneakers and apparel. Later that month, it said it was teaming up with Roblox to create an online world called Nikeland. In December, it bought the virtual sneaker company RTFKT (pronounced “artifact”) for an undisclosed amount. “All of a sudden, everyone is like, ‘This is becoming super real and we need to make sure our IP is protected in the space,’” said Gerben. Others are also piling in: Gap has started selling NFTs of its iconic logo sweatshirts. The apparel maker said its NFTs will be priced in tiers ranging from roughly $8.30 to $415, and come with a physical hoodie. Meantime, both Under Armour’s and Adidas’ NFT debuts sold out last month. They’re now fetching sky-high prices on the NFT marketplace OpenSea. Gerben said that apparel retailers Urban Outfitters, Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie & Fitch have also filed trademarks in recent weeks detailing their intent to open some sort of virtual store. A report from CB Insights outlined some of the reasons why retailers and brands might want to make such ventures, which can potentially offer new revenue streams. Launching NFTs allows for businesses to tokenize physical products and services to help reduce online transaction costs, it said. And for luxury brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, NFTs can serve as a form of authentication for tangible and more expensive goods, CB Insights noted. As the following chart from JPM shows, the NFT space has been red hot in the past year, and the market cap of the NFT universe has never been higher even though crytpocurrencies have tumbled by more than 40% in the past 2 months as institutions dumped the best performing assets of 2021 ahead of widely telegraphed Fed tightening. Launching NFTs allows for businesses to tokenize physical products and services to help reduce online transaction costs, it said. And for luxury brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, NFTs can serve as a form of authentication for tangible and more expensive goods, CB Insights noted. Gerben said that as more consumers familiarize themselves with the metaverse and items stored on the blockchain, more retailers will want to create their own ecosystem around it. And after all, while it is the view of the World Economic Forum that after the Great Reset "you will own nothing, and you will be happy", nobody said that one can't own virtual goods in the coming dystopian future. Quoted by CNBC, Frank Chaparro, director at crypto information services firm The Block, said that many retailers are still reeling from being late to e-commerce, so they don’t want to miss out on any opportunities in the metaverse. “I think it’s a win-win for any company in retail,” Chaparro said. “And even if it just turns out to be a fad there’s not a lot of reputation damage in just trying something weird out like giving some customers an NFT in a sweepstake, for instance.” Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 21:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt22 hr. 9 min. ago Related News

Local execs to share outlook on 2022 economy

The Business Review, in partnership with TD Bank, will reveal the results of a research survey of local executives about their outlook for the 2022 economy. An in-depth panel discussion featuring local executives will follow......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJan 16th, 2022Related News

Morgan Stanley: As The Fed"s Balance Sheet Runoff Begins, The Withdrawal Of Liquidity Will Have Profound Impacts

Morgan Stanley: As The Fed's Balance Sheet Runoff Begins, The Withdrawal Of Liquidity Will Have Profound Impacts By Vishwanath Tirupattur, head of Quantitative Research at Morgan Stanley The Devil Is in the Details The first two weeks of the year have reinforced the key message from our 2022 Strategy Outlook – the policy training wheels are indeed coming off, and fast! The hawkish shift in the minutes of the FOMC’s December meeting, reinforced by the rhetoric from a number of Fed officials, signals policy tightening through more hikes. They are coming sooner than expected, and the timeline between the first rate hike and the beginning of balance sheet runoff will be compressed. Our economists now expect the Fed to deliver four 25bp hikes this year, at its March, June, September,and December meetings, in addition to an August start for the balance sheet runoff announced last July. Market pricing already reflects this hawkish shift, with the March liftoff nearly fully priced in along with 3-4 hikes in the subsequent 12 months. Given the size of the Fed’s balance sheet (US$8.2trillion, consisting of US$5.6 trillion in Treasuries of varying maturities and US$2.6 trillion of agency MBS), the runoff has important market implications. However, quantifying its impact is far from straightforward. One could look to the balance sheet expansion in the post-GFC years with the view that if the buildup lowered interest rates, the runoff should have the opposite effect. A rule of thumb (with a lot of handwaving) suggests a 4-6bp change in the 10-year interest rate from a US$100 billion change in the balance sheet. However, we would argue that the market effects are unlikely to be symmetric and a simple sign reversal between the buildup and the runoff ignores the complexity of the modalities. We expect different impacts for Treasuries and agency MBS, given the different ways they were acquired during the buildup and the share of the Fed’s holdings in their respective markets. During the balance sheet buildup, Treasury securities were predominantly acquired through the US Treasury’s new issue process. The Fed consciously decided how much duration to take out of the market by picking securities with varying maturities. In contrast, we expect the balance sheet runoff to be implemented by allowing securities to mature without reinvestment. That means the impact on the yield curve depends on how the Treasury responds to its increased issuance needs as the Fed decreases its Treasury holdings. Our interest rate strategists estimate that US Treasury issuance needs will rise by ~US$850 billion by the end of 2023and ~US$1,300 billion by the end of 2024. If we assume that the Treasury follows the advice of the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee, the optimal targets for increased issuance would be at the 7-year and 10-year points of the yield curve. Consequently, our strategists now forecast 10-year rates to reach 2.30% by the end of 2022. The story with agency MBS is quite different. Agency MBS were purchased in the secondary market,and we expect their runoff to come through paydowns resulting from prepayments and amortizations of the underlying mortgages. Since the Fed has been a non-price-sensitive and programmatic buyer, the Fed's portfolio of agency MBS would have received faster-prepaying mortgages (cheapest-to-deliver, in mortgage parlance). In addition, Fed holdings constitute a much larger share of the outstanding agency MBS market than of the Treasury market, hence the runoff will have a greater negative impact on agency MBS. In 2021, the Fed bought US$575 billion of agency MBS versus net issuance of US$875 billion, resulting in US$300 billion of MBS that the market absorbed. Our agency MBS strategists project that in 2022 the runoff will remove US$15 billion from the Fed’s balance sheet against projected net issuance of US$550 billion, implying that the market needs to absorb US$565 billion in mortgages, the largest amount of mortgages the private market would ever digest. What’s more, the market will have to find a more price-sensitive buyer for the cheapest-to-deliver mortgages. Putting it all together, the balance sheet runoff clearly will have more impact on agency MBS than other asset classes. Of course, the markets have already begun to price in some of these effects,as mortgage spreads have widened about 20bp in the last two weeks. Still, our agency MBS strategists have advocated being short the mortgage basis for some time,and they think there is still room for modest widening (~10bp) in the mortgage basis from here, with mortgage rates rising towards 4%. Do not underestimate the effects of liquidity withdrawal. The mammoth balance sheet the Fed has built up was a key determinant of liquidity across markets. As balance sheet runoff is put into motion, the withdrawal of liquidity will have profound impacts. Determining how it plays out is far from straightforward and will be determined by a variety of factors. Understanding the details matters. So hold on tight – there’s volatility ahead. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 19:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

P&G"s soaring stock led to $138 million payday for top execs in 2021

Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble's share price soared to record heights in 2021, leading to a large payday for the company's top executives......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJan 16th, 2022Related News

Walmart is the next big company with plans for the metaverse

The big-box retailer filed trademark applications in late December to create its own cryptocurrency and NFTs. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong Walmart has filed several new trademarks hoping to produce and sell virtual goods. Separate filings show the retailer also plans to create its own cryptocurrency and NFTs. The retailer joins a slew of businesses rushing to capitalize on Web3 and the metaverse. Walmart will join Facebook, Nike, Ralph Lauren, Bumble, Disney, and a string of other companies with plans to claim their own corner of the metaverse.The retailer, the largest private employer in the US, quietly filed several trademark applications in late December, which described extensive plans to sell virtual merchandise. CNBC was first to report on the applications.Walmart is directing its attention to the virtual world, like many others, including Facebook, which rebranded itself last year to Meta and publicly announced its goals to invest and expand into the metaverse, a virtual space where people can interact digitally using avatars.According to a filing, Walmart lists a variety of virtual goods it plans to sell, including electronics, appliances, apparel, home goods, toys, and personal care products. A separate filing shows the company's interest in creating its own cryptocurrency payment method and collection of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, Walmart filed seven separate applications on December 30."Walmart is continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences," the company said in an email to Insider. "We don't have anything further to share today, but it's worth noting we routinely file trademark applications as part of the innovation process."Despite many companies' plans for the metaverse, business leaders remain unsure of how to create a fully-fledged metaverse. Analysts at Morgan Stanley have said that the metaverse could be an $8 trillion opportunity, but the challenge would be getting consumers to buy into it. However, Walmart saw its online sales thrive in 2021, with sales at $11.1 billion in its third quarter according to a Digital Commerce 360 report, which could prove useful for Walmart's metaverse ambitions.A number of apparel-based retailers have already begun making their own metaverse experiences. Gap launched its first-ever NFT art collection last week, with digital art pieces starting at around $9 a piece. Nike has spent over three years on patents outlining digital avatars to "cryptokicks," with the company establishing its Metaverse Studio and acquiring digital sneaker company RTFKT in December. Other apparel retailers like Urban Outfitters, Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie & Fitch have also filed trademarks in recent weeks with intent to open their own version of a virtual store, trademark attorney Josh Gerben told CNBC on Sunday.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

Bank, airline earnings, AT&T, Verizon 5G rollout, housing data top week ahead

While the stock market is closed Monday for MLK day, a busy week of bank and airline earnings will follow, along with fresh housing data......»»

Category: topSource: foxnewsJan 16th, 2022Related News

Online sleuths identified a Proud Boy at the Capitol riot by matching his face to an old photo of him modeling underwear, report says

A photo of a Proud Boy modeling underwear helped civilian investigators identify the Capitol rioter they dubbed the "RayBanTerrorist," per HuffPost. Alan Fischer is seen at the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.US District Court for the District of Columbia Online sleuths identified a Capitol rioter they dubbed "RayBanTerrorist," per HuffPost. The facial recognition hit led them to old modeling photos of Alan Fischer, 28, from Florida. Fischer was arrested and charged with assaulting federal police officers, among other offenses. A 28-year-old man who is accused of involvement in the January 6 insurrection with the Proud Boys was identified by social media detectives thanks, in part, to a photo of him modeling underwear on a catwalk, according to HuffPost.Alan Fischer III, also known as AJ Fischer, was arrested in Florida on Friday.He is charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding an officer, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and civil disorder, among other offenses, court records show.According to his arrest warrant affidavit, Fischer was seen in footage marching with the Proud Boys on January 6, 2021. Screenshots of videos included show him throwing traffic cones, chairs, and a pole towards a line of police.—#SeditionHunters (@SeditionHunters) May 20, 2021 Social media detectives dubbed the man in the photos as the "RayBanTerrorist," due to the sunglasses he was wearing and set about trying to identify him by name.According to HuffPost, Fischer was no. 222 on the FBI's list of individuals most wanted in connection with the Capitol riot.Fischer had deleted much of his social media, the media outlet said. The online sleuths used facial recognition software to match an image of the so-called "RayBanTerrorist" to an Instagram post of Fischer featured in a local Tampa Bay newspaper.From there, they found more photos of Fischer, across different social media platforms, from during his days working as a model. A post shared by 3BBM (@threebbm) One image shows Fischer, who has distinctive tattoos on his arm, on a catwalk modeling black underwear with a gold pouch. —#SeditionHunters (@SeditionHunters) January 14, 2022Fischer's arms were covered in photos from the Capitol, but HuffPost reported that his tattoos were identifiable in a photo of him with a group of Proud Boys from December 2020.It is not known whether the work of the civilian investigators led directly to Fischer's arrest but, according to court documents, a witness at the Proud Boys' Florida events also helped identify him to them.Investigators were then able to link Fischer to a flight from Tampa to DC on January 4 by using a phone number believed to belong to a current or former girlfriend.Frank W. McDermott, Fischer's attorney, told Insider he was unable to comment on the case.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

How Safe Are Tesla Vehicles? Elon Musk Reacts To New Data

Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) has had its fair share of quality issues and vehicle recalls in recent times. A recent report released by the company shows that accident statistics of Tesla's vehicles compare favorably to the average number compiled by the U.S. transportation regulator. read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaJan 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 patreon.com. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 11:31.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

EXCLUSIVE: LEX Offers A New Approach To Real Estate Investing With A $250 Entry Price

New York City-based LEX Markets Corp. recently introduced a new platform for investors in commercial real estate by making available equity shares of individual commercial real estate assets. Investors would be able to trade these shares, without fees or required holding periods, on LEX’s fully-licensed securities platform. read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaJan 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 mturner@insider.com.Subscribe 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

Rhodes Scholar who went to a $30k-a-year private school is accused of faking poverty to win a place at Oxford University, report says

A tip-off email included images of Mackenzie Fierceton sky-diving and riding a horse from the yearbook of her expensive private school, per reports. The Radcliffe Camera at Oxford University, England.Getty Images A 24-year-old Rhodes Scholar has left the prestigious program after being accused of lying about growing up poor, reports say. Mackenzie Fierceton described herself as s a "queer, first-generation, low-income" student, per The Times. But according to reports, she attended a $29,875-a-year private school. A 24-year-old Missouri woman who won a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University has left the program following accusations that she misrepresented her life experience on her application form about being poor, according to The Times.Mackenzie Fierceton described herself as a "queer, first generation [to go to college], low-income" student at the University of Pennsylvania, The Times reported. She also claimed to have grown up in the foster care system in an interview published by The Philadelphia Inquirer after she was named as a recipient of the scholarship in November 2020.The prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, which takes on 32 US students a year, is the oldest graduate scholarship in the world. It counts former President Bill Clinton and US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg among its recipients.But an anonymous tip-off to the University of Pennsylvania in response to that glowing Inquirer article led to questions as to whether she deserved to be listed among the distinguished past scholars.The tip-off alleged that Fierceton had, in reality, enjoyed a privileged upbringing. According to an investigative report by Tom Bartlett of The Chronicle of Higher Education, the email said that Fierceton used to go by Mackenzie Morrison and had lived in an affluent suburb in St Louis, Missouri while attending the $29,875-a-year Whitfield private school.It also said that her mother was a college-educated radiologist, per The Chronicle.A similar email to the Rhodes Trust described Fierceton as being "blatantly dishonest in the representation of her childhood," and included images of her in the private school's yearbook of her skydiving and riding a horse, The Chronicle said.An investigation was launched into her application, led by a Rhodes Trust committee, and found that she had spent less than a year in foster care as a 17-year-old, the newspaper reported.Fierceton was placed into foster care in 2014 after she accused her mother of pushing her down the stairs in their $750,000 home, The Times said. According to the Chronicle, she also spent time in hospital after the incident. Charges against her mother, who denies this happened, were dropped due to lack of evidence, according to the newspaper.The committee said that evidence showed that Fierceton had "created and repeatedly shared false narratives about herself" and used these "misrepresentations" to "serve her interests as an applicant for competitive" academic programs, The Chronicle reported. It recommended that her scholarship be rescinded, but Fierceton reportedly withdrew from it herself.University students walking on pedestrian road , near University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USAStock Photo/Getty ImagesThe University of Pennsylvania conducted a follow-up report and also concluded that Fiercton had not been honest about her background. The university is withholding her master's degree pending the final outcome of its disciplinary process, The Chronicle said.According to The Times, Fierceton claims that she did not lie on her application and that the Rhodes Trust is targeting a "survivor" of abuse. She filed a lawsuit last month accusing her university and investigators of the trust of victimizing her, the newspaper reported.Supporters at the University of Pennsylvania say Fierceton is the victim of an injustice. Anne Norton, a professor of political science and comparative literature, allowed the student to live in her house during the pandemic. "The worst you can say about her is that retrospectively she exaggerated her injuries," Norton told The Chronicle. "Injuries that nevertheless kept her in the hospital for a long time and resulted in her being placed in foster care."Norton wrote in a letter to Rhodes: "The idea that she has been dishonest about her experience of foster care or her economic status is not consistent with her character, nor is it in accord with the evidence," per The Chronicle.Fierceton could not be reached for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

Is BoJo Losing His Base?

Is BoJo Losing His Base? The Johnson government has had an uncanny ability to weather political storms since taking power back in 2019. The number of scandals and controversies the prime minister and his party have experienced which would have brought most other leaders tumbling down is quite incredible - especially when considering that up until recently, the tories had been comfortably and consistently ahead in the polls. Signs of this luck beginning to run out have started to show, however. The revelations regarding non-covid regulation conforming gatherings and parties have made their presence felt in the polls, with Labour pulling ahead in a series of voting intention surveys. While these snapshots of public sentiment may not yet concern the prime minister too much, another metric may be of more concern. You will find more infographics at Statista As a YouGov survey shows, the share of those who voted Conservative in 2019 that think Johnson is doing well as prime minister has dropped dramatically since September. Now down at 47 percent, the lowest of Johnson's time in office, the share of tories saying the PM is doing badly is now also higher for the first time, at 50 percent. Another key element of Johnson's base, 'Leave voters', are even more damning - just 38 percent say he is doing a good job, 57 percent are not satisfied. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 07:35.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

Europe"s Spendthrifts Are Stuck In Irreversible Debt-Traps

Europe's Spendthrifts Are Stuck In Irreversible Debt-Traps Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, A Euro Catastrophe Could Collapse It This article looks at the situation in the euro system in the context of rising interest rates. Central to the problem is role of the ECB, which through monetary inflation embarked on a policy of transferring wealth from fiscally responsible member states to the spendthrift PIGS and France. The consequences of these policies are that the spendthrifts are now ensnared in irreversible debt traps. Even in a Keynesian context, the ECB’s monetary policy is no longer to stimulate the economy but to keep the spendthrifts afloat. The situation has deteriorated so that Eurozone commercial banks appear to have credit restricted in New York, evidenced by the reluctance of the US banks to enter into repo transactions with them, leading to the market failure in September 2019 when the Fed had to intervene. An examination of the numbers strongly suggests that even Eurozone banks, insurance companies and pension funds are no longer net buyers of Eurozone government debt. It could be because the terms are unattractive. But if that is the case it is an indictment of the ECB’s asset purchase programmes deliberately suppressing rates to the point where they are unattractive, even to normally compliant investors. Consequently, without any savings offsets, the ECB has gone full Rudolf Havenstein, and is following similar inflationary policies to those that impoverished Germany’s middle classes and starved its labourers and the elderly in 1920-1923. That the German people are tolerating such an obvious destruction of their currency for the third time in a hundred years is simply astounding. Institutionalised Madoff Schemes to pilfer from people without their knowledge always end in disaster for the perpetrators. Central banks using their currency seigniorage are no exception. But instead of covering it up like an institutionalised Madoff they use questionable science to justify their openly fraudulent behaviour. The paradox of thrift is such an example, where penalising savers by suppressing interest rates supposedly for the wider economic benefit conveniently ignores the theft involved. If you can change the way people perceive reality, you can get away with an awful lot. The mass discovery by the people of the fraud perpetrated on the people by those supposedly representing the people is always the reason behind a cycle of crises and wars. It can take a long period of suffering before an otherwise supine population refuses to continue submitting unquestionably to authority. But the longer the condition exists, the more oppressive the methods that the state uses to defer the inevitable crisis become. Until something finally gives. In the case of the euro, we have seen the system give savers no interest since 2012, while the quantity of money and credit in circulation has debased it by 63% (measured by M3 euro money supply). Furthermore, prices can be rigged to create an illusion of price stability. The US Fed increased its buying of inflation-linked Treasury bonds (TIPS) since March 2020 at a faster pace than they were issued by the US Treasury, artificially pushing TIPS prices up and creating an illusion that the market is unconcerned about price inflation. But that is not all. Government statisticians are not above fiddling the figures or presenting figures out of context. We believe the CPI inflation figures are a true reflection of the cost of living, despite the changes over time in the way prices are input. We believe that GDP is economic growth — a questionable concept — and not growth in the quantity of money. We even believe that monetary inflation has nothing to do with prices. Statistics are designed to deceive. As Lord Canning said 200 years ago, “I can prove anything with statistics but the truth”. And that was before computers, which have facilitated an explosion in the quantity of questionable statistics. Can’t work something out? Just look at the stats. A further difference between Madoff and the state is that the state forces everyone to submit to its monetary frauds by law. And since as law-abiding citizens we respect the law, we even despise those with the temerity to question it. But in the process, we hand enormous power to the monetary authorities, so should not be surprised when that power is abused, as is the case with interest rates and the dilution of the state’s currency. And it follows that the deeper the currency fraud, when something gives, the greater is the ensuing crisis. The best measure of market distortions from deliberate actions of the monetary authorities we have is the difference between actual bond yields and an estimate of what they should be. In other words, assessments of the height of negative real yields. But any such assessment is inherently subjective, with markets and statistics either distorted, rigged, or unable to provide the relevant yardstick. But it makes sense to assume that the price impact, that is the adjustment to bond prices as markets normalise, is greatest for those where nominal bond yields are negative. This means our focus should be directed accordingly. And the major jurisdictions where this applies is Japan and the Eurozone. The eurozone’s banking instability A critique of Japan’s monetary policy must be reserved for a later date, in order to concentrate on monetary and economic conditions in the Eurozone. The ECB first reduced its deposit rate to 0% in July 2012. That was followed by its initial introduction of negative deposit rates of -0.1% in June 2014, followed by -0.2% later that year, -0.3% in 2014, -0.4% in 2016 and finally -0.5% in September 2019. The last move coincided with the repo market blow-up in New York, the day that the transfer of Deutsche Bank’s prime dealership to the Paris based BNP was completed. We can assume with reasonable certainty that the coincidence of these events showed a reluctance of major US banks to take on either of these banks as repo counterparties, as hedge and money funds with accounts at Deutsche decided to move their accounts elsewhere, which would have blown substantial holes in Deutsche’s and possibly BNP’s balance sheets as well, thereby requiring repo cover. The reluctance of American banks to get involved would have been a strong signal of their reluctance to increasing their counterparty exposure to Eurozone banks. We cannot know this for sure, but it is the logical explanation for what happened. In which case, the repo crisis in New York was an important advance warning of the fragility of the Eurozone’s monetary and banking system. A look at the condition of the major Eurozone global systemically important banks (G-SIBs) in Table A, explains why. Balance sheet gearing for these banks is roughly double that of the major US banks, and except for Ing Group, deep price-to-book discounts indicate a market assessment of these banks’ credit risk as exceptionally high. Other Eurozone banks with international counterparty business deemed not significant enough to be labelled as G-SIBs but still capable of transmitting systemic risk could be even more highly geared. The reasons for US banks to limit their exposure to the Eurozone banking system on these grounds alone are compelling. And the persistence of price inflation today is a subsequent development, likely to expose these banks as being riskier still because of higher interest rates on their exposure to Eurozone government and commercial bonds, and defaulting borrowers. The euro credit cycle has been suspended When banks buy government paper, it is usually because they see it as the risk-free alternative to expanding credit to non-financial private sector actors. In the normal course of an economic cycle, it is inherently cyclical. Both Basel and national regulations enhance the concept that government debt is risk-free, giving it a safe-haven status in times of heightened risk. In a normal bank credit cycle, banks will tend to hold government bills and bonds with less than one year’s maturity and depending on the yield curve will venture out along the curve to five years at most. These positions are subsequently wound down when the banks become more confident of lending conditions to non-financial borrowers when the economy improves. But when economic conditions become stagnant and the credit cycle is suspended due to lack of recovery, banks can accumulate positions with longer maturities. Other than the lack of alternative uses of bank credit, this is for a variety of reasons. Trading desks increasingly seek the greater price volatility in longer maturities, central banks encourage increased commercial bank participation in government bond markets, and yield curve permitting, generally longer maturities offer better yields. The more time that elapses between investing in government paper and favouring credit expansion in favour of private sector borrowers, the greater this mission creep becomes. As we have seen above, the ECB introduced zero deposit rates nearly 10 years ago, and private sector conditions have not generated much in the way of bank credit funding. Lending from all sources including securitisations and bank credit to a) households and b) non-financial corporations since 2008 are shown in Figure 1. Before the Covid pandemic, total lending to households had declined from $9 trillion equivalent in 2008 to $7.4 trillion in 2019 Q4. And for non-financial corporations, total lending declined marginally over the same period as well. Admittedly, this period included a credit slump and recovery, but on a net basis lending conditions stagnated. But bank credit for these two sectors will have contracted, allowing for net bond issuance of collateralised consumer debt and by corporations securing cheap finance by issuing corporate bonds at near zero interest rates, which are contained in Figure 1. Following the start of the pandemic, lending conditions expanded under government direction and borrowing by both sectors increased substantially. Meanwhile, over the same period bond issuance to governments increased, particularly since the pandemic started, illustrated in Figure 2. The charts in Figures 1 and 2 support the thesis that credit expansion and bond finance had, until recently, disadvantaged the non-financial private sector. The expansion of government borrowing has been entirely through bonds bought by the ECB, as will be demonstrated when we look at the euro system balance sheet. They confirm that zero and negative rates have not stimulated the Eurozone’s economies as Keynesians theorised. And the increased credit during the pandemic reflects financial support and not a renewed attempt at Keynesian stimulation. The purpose of debt expansion is important because the moment the supposed stimulus wears off or interest rates rise, we will see bank credit for households and businesses begin to contract again. Only this time, there will be a heightened risk for banks of collateral failure. And higher interest rates will also undermine mark-to-market values for government and corporate bonds on their balance sheets, which could rapidly erode the capital of Eurozone banks, given their exceptionally high gearing shown in Table A above. Figure 3 charts the euro system’s combined balance sheet since August 2008, the month Lehman failed, when it stood at €1.43 trillion. Greece’s financial crisis ran from 2012-2014, during which time the balance sheet expanded to €3.09 trillion, before partially normalising to €2.01 trillion. In January 2015, the ECB launched its expanded asset purchase programme (APP — otherwise referred to as quantitative easing) to prevent price inflation remaining too low for a prolonged period. The fear was Keynesian deflation, with the HICP measure of price inflation falling to -0.5% at that time, despite the ECB’s deposit rate having been already reduced to -0.2% the previous September. Between March 2015 and September 2016, the combined purchases by the ECB of public and private sector securities amounted to €1.14 trillion, corresponding to 11.3% of euro area nominal GDP. The APP was “recalibrated” in December 2015, extended to March 2017 and beyond, if necessary, at €60bn monthly. And the deposit rate was lowered to -0.3%. Not even that was enough, with a further recalibration to €80bn monthly in March 2016, with it intended to be extended to the end of the year when it would be resumed at the previous rate of €60bn per month. The expansion of the ECB’s balance sheet led to the rate of price inflation recovering to 1% in 2017, as one would expect. With the expansion of credit for the non-financial private sector going nowhere (Figures 1 and 2 above), the Keynesian stimulus simply failed in this objective. But when in March 2020 the US Fed reduced its funds rate to 0% and announced QE of $120bn monthly, the ECB did what it had learned to do when in a monetary hole: continue digging even faster. March 2020 saw the ECB increase purchases under the asset purchase programme (APP) and adopt a new programme, the pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP). These measures are the reason why the volumes of the Eurosystem’s monthly monetary policy net purchases are higher than ever before, driving its balance sheet total to over €8.5 trillion today. The ECB’s bond purchases closely matched the funding requirements of national central banks, both being €4 trillion between January 2015 and June 2021. The counterpart to these purchases is an increase in the amount of circulating cash. In other words, the ECB has gone full Rudolf Havenstein. There is no difference in the ECB’s objectives compared with those of Havenstein when he was President of the Reichsbank following the First World War; a monetary policy that impoverished Germany’s middle classes and pushed the labouring class and elderly into starvation by collapsing the paper-mark. Except that today, German society is paying through the destruction of its savings for the spendthrift behaviour of its Eurozone partners rather than that of its own government. The ECB now has an additional problem with price inflation picking up globally. Producer input prices in Europe are rising strongly with the overall Eurozone HICP rate for November at 4.9% annualised, and doubtless with more rises to come. Oil prices have risen over 50% in a year, and natural gas over 60%, the latter even more on European markets due to a supply crisis of its governments’ own making. Increasingly, the policy purpose of the ECB is no longer to stimulate the economy, but to ensure that spendthrift member state deficits are financed as cheaply as possible. But how can it do that when on the back of soaring consumer prices, interest rates are now going to rise? Clearly, the higher interest rates go, the faster the ECB will increase its balance sheet because it is committed to not just covering every Eurozone member state’s budget deficit but the interest on their borrowings as well. But there’s more. In a speech on 12 October, Christine Lagarde, the President of the ECB indicated that it stands ready to contribute to financing the transition to carbon neutral. And in a joint letter to the FT, the President of France and Italy’s Prime Minister called for a relaxation of the EU’s fiscal rules so that they could spend more on key investments. This is a flavour of what they said: "Just as the rules could not be allowed to stand in the way of our response to the pandemic, so they should not prevent us from making all necessary investments," the two leaders wrote, while noting that "debt raised to finance such investments, which undeniably benefit the welfare of future generations and long-term growth, should be favoured by the fiscal rules, given that public spending of this sort actually contributes to debt sustainability over the long run." The rules under the Stability and Growth Pact have in fact been suspended, and are planned to be reapplied in 2023, But clearly, these two high spenders feel boxed in. The Stability and Growth Pact will almost certainly be eased — being a charade, rather like the US’s debt ceiling. The trouble is Eurozone governments are too accustomed to inflationary finance to abandon it. If the ECB could inflate the currency without the consequences being apparent, there would be no problem. But with prices soaring above the mandated 2% target that is no longer true. Up to now, the ECB has been in denial, claiming that price pressures will subside. But we know, or should know, that a rise in the general level of prices is due to monetary expansion, the excessive plucking of leaves from the magic money tree, particularly at an enhanced rate since March 2020 which is yet to be reflected fully at the consumer level. And in its duty to fund the PIGS government deficits, the ECB’s balance sheet expansion through bond purchases is sure to continue. Furthermore, if bond yields do rise, it will threaten to undermine the balance sheets of the highly geared commercial banks. The commercial banks position With the economies of Eurozone member states stifled by the ECB’s management of monetary affairs since the Lehman crisis in 2008 and by more recent covid lockdowns, the accumulation of bad debts at the commercial banks is a growing threat to the entire financial system. Table A above, of the Eurozone G-SIBs’ operational gearing and their share ratings, gives testament to the problem. So far, bad debts in Italian and other PIGS banks have been reduced, not by their being resolved, but by them being used as collateral for loans from national central banks. Local bank regulators deem non-performing loans to be performing so they can be hidden from sight in the ECB’s TARGET2 settlement system. Together with the ECB’s asset purchases conducted through national central banks, these probably account for most of the imbalances in the TARGET2 cross-border settlement system, which in theory should not exist. The position to last October is shown in Figure 4. Liabilities owed to the Bundesbank are increasing again at record levels, while the amounts owed by the Italian and Spanish central banks are also increasing. These balances were before global pressures for rising interest rates materialised. Given the sharp increase in bank lending to households and non-financial corporations since March last year (see Figure 1), bad debts seem certain to accumulate at the banks in the coming months. This is likely to undermine collateral values in Europe’s repo markets, which are mostly conducted in euros and almost certainly exceed €10 trillion, having been recorded at €8.3 trillion at end-2019.[vi] The extent to which national central banks have taken in repo collateral themselves will then become a major problem. It is against the background of negative Euribor rates that the repo market has grown. It is not clear what role negative rates plays in this growth. While one can see a reason for a bank to borrow at sub-zero rates, it is harder to justify lending at them. And in a repo, the collateral is returned on a pre-agreed basis, so it’s removal from a bank’s books is temporary. Nonetheless, this market has grown to be an integral part of daily transactions between European banks. The variations in collateral quality are shown in Figure 5. This differs materially from repo markets in the US, which is almost exclusively for short-term liquidity purposes and uses high quality collateral only (US Treasury bills and bonds and agency debt). Bonds rated BBB and worse made up 27.7% of the total collateral in December 2019. In Europe and particularly the Eurozone rising interest rates can be expected to undermine collateral ratings, which with increasing Euribor rates will almost certainly contract the size of the market. This heightens the risk of a liquidity-driven systemic failure, as repo liquidity is withdrawn from banks that depend upon it. Government finances are out of control The first column in Table B shows government debt to GDP, which is the conventional yardstick of government debt measurement relative to the economy. The second column shows the proportion of government spending in the total economy relative to GDP, enabling us to derive the third column. The base for government revenue upon which paying down its debt ultimately rests is the private sector, and the third column shows the extent to which and where this true burden lies. It exposes the impossible position of countries such as Greece, Italy, France, and Belgium, Portugal and Spain, where, besides their own private sector debt burdens, citizens earning their livings without being paid by their governments are assumed by markets to be responsible for underwriting their governments’ debts. The hope that these countries can grow their way out of their debt is demolished in the context of the actual tax base. It is now widely recognised that will already high levels of taxation further tax increases will undermine these economies. We can dismiss as hogwash the alterative, the vain hope that yet more stimulus in the form of a further increase in deficits will generate economic recovery, and that higher tax revenues will follow to normalise public finances. It is a populist argument amongst some free marketeers today, citing Ronald Reagan’s and Margaret Thatcher’s successful economic policies. But in those times, the US and UK governments were not nearly so indebted and their economies were able to respond positively to lower taxes. Furthermore, price inflation was declining then while it is increasing today. And as a paper by Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff pointed out, a nation whose government debt exceeds 90% of GDP has great difficulty growing its way out of it.[vii]Seven of the Eurozone nations already exceed this 90% Rubicon, and their debts are still growing considerably faster than their GDP. At 111% the entire Euro area itself is well above it. Taking account of the smaller proportion of private sector activity relative to those of their governments highlights the difference between the current situation and that of nations that managed to pay down even higher debt levels after the Second World War by gently inflating their way out of a debt trap while their economies progressed in the post-war environment. Additionally, we should bear in mind future government liabilities, whose net present values are considerably greater than their current debt. Over time, these must be financed. And with rising price inflation, hard costs such as healthcare escalate them even further. The position gets progressively worse as these mandated costs become realised. There is a solution to it, and that is to cut government spending so that its budget always balances. But for socialising politicians, slashing departmental budgets is the equivalent of eating their own children. It is a reversal of everything they stand for. And it requires welfare legislation to be rescinded to stop the accumulation of future welfare costs. There is no democratic mandate for that. Conclusion Rising interest rates globally will affect all major currencies, and for some of them expose systemic risks. An examination of the existing situation and how higher interest rates will affect it points to the Eurozone as being the most likely global weak spot. The Eurozone’s debt position pitches the entire global financial and economic system further towards a debt crisis than generally realised. Particularly for Greece, Italy, France, Belgium, Portugal, and Spain in that order of indebtedness, the problem is most acute. They only survive because the ECB ensures they can pay their bills by funding them totally through inflation of the quantity of euros in circulation. The ECB’s entire purpose has become to transfer wealth from the more fiscally prudent member states to the spendthrifts by debasing the currency. In the process, based on figures provided by the Bank for International Settlements the banking system is contracting credit to the private sector, and it is not even accumulating government bonds, which is a surprise.  Much like banks in the US, Eurozone banks have become increasingly distracted into financial activities and speculation. The difference is the high level of operational gearing, up to thirty times in the case of one major French bank, while most of the US’s G-SIBs are geared about 11 times on average. This article points to these disparities between US and EU banking risks having been a factor in the US repo market failure in September 2019. And we can assume that the Americans remain wary of counterparty exposure to Eurozone banks to this day. That the ECB is funding net government borrowing in its entirety indicates that even investing institutions such as pension funds and insurance companies, along with the banks are sitting on their hands with respect to government debt. It means that savings are not offsetting the inflationary effects of government bond issues. It represents a vote to stay out of what has become a highly troubling and inflationary situation. The question arises as to how long this extraordinary situation can continue. It must come to an end some time, and by destabilising a highly leveraged banking system the end will be a crisis. With its GDP being similar in size to China’s (which is seeing a more traditional property crisis unfolding at the same time) a banking crisis in the Eurozone could be the trigger for dominoes falling everywhere. As for the euro’s future, it seems unlikely that the ECB has the capability of dealing with the crisis that will unfold. It has cheated the northern states, particularly Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Ireland, the Czech Republic, and Luxembourg to the benefit of spendthrifts, particularly the political heavyweights of France, Italy and Spain. It is a rift likely to end the euro system and the ECB itself. The deconstruction of this shabby arrangement should prove the end of the euro and possibly of the European Union itself. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 07:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

Why Argentina, IMF Are Wrestling Over Bad Debt, Again

The fact that Argentina is in talks with the International Monetary Fund for emergency aid to stave off default might not sound surprising -- if agreed, this would be the 22nd IMF loan for South America’s second largest economy in seven decades. What’s unusual is the size of the IMF package being renegotiated, the speed at which it went sour and the complications posed by the pandemic, which hammered an already staggering economy. More familiar is the clash between a left-leaning government that wants more freedom to spend and IMF officials pushing for budget cuts. The stakes are high for Argentina, as its foreign reserves dwindle and a March deadline for a repayment approaches. They’re also high for the IMF, which has sunk a bigger share of its resources into a single country than ever before.  .....»»

Category: topSource: washpostJan 16th, 2022Related News

Nordstrom Rack was once Nordstrom"s greatest asset, now analysts say it"s dragging the brand down. We visited three Rack stores to find out more.

Nordstrom Rack has become a drag on Nordstrom's earnings, reporting an 8.1% drop in sales over 2019 in the most recent quarter. A Nordstrom Rack branch.Insider/Brittany Chang Once considered the company's greatest asset, sales growth has slowed at Rack in recent years. Analysts say Rack has an inventory problem and suffers by being connected to a full-price brand. We visited three Racks to find out more. Just two years ago, Nordstrom's discount chain, Nordstrom Rack, was considered to be the company's biggest asset, outperforming and outgrowing its full-price business in sales and store locations.A Nordstrom Rack store in Madison, Wisconsin.Insider/Dominick ReuterBut increasingly it has become a lag on the company's earnings, reporting an 8.1% drop in sales over 2019 in the most recent quarter, while its rivals TJ Maxx and Ross Stores continue to thrive.Rack sells discount goods.Insider/Dominick ReuterAnalysts say the store has become chaotic and overrun with inventory. Nordstrom didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.Chaotic shelves in the toy department.Insider/Dominick ReuterWe visited three Nordstrom Rack stores in two parts of the US to find out more about the shopping experience.Handbags galore.Insider/Dominick ReuterOur first impressions of one of its stores in Madison, Wisconsin were good. Clothing racks were neatly organized and employees were actively keeping displays in check.The store was neat and tidy.Insider/Dominick ReuterThere seemed to be a good assortment of recognizable brands and the selection wasn't overwhelming.Kids shoes.Insider/Dominick ReuterStill, some of the clothing seemed to be well out of season. Handy for those hitting hotter climates but less so for locals taking on the cruel midwestern winter.Clothing racks were brimming with summer clothes.Insider/Dominick ReuterNext, we headed to a Nordstrom Rack in Manhattan's Midtown district.Nordstrom Rack in Midtown.Insider/Brittany ChangThe store is close to the busy Herald Square shopping area, key tourist attractions such as the Empire State Building, and a ton of offices, meaning that there are lots of different customers to appeal to.Handbags were neatly arranged.Insider/Brittany ChangOur initial impressions were also positive. Commonly messy parts of the store were kept in good order.Shoes racks looked tidy.Insider/Brittany ChangAnd there seemed to be an appropriate amount of inventory on sale, without racks being overstuffed.The denim section.Insider/Brittany ChangSome of the signage in the store didn't match the clothing on offer, however, possibly indicating that the store is using different items to cover up inventory gaps.Nordstrom executives have been upfront about the challenge of securing inventory right now.Insider/Brittany ChangA ton of winter clothing was on offer.Fleeces and jackets.Insider/Brittany ChangAnd we spotted some well-known designer brands...Rack promises to offer discount prices on premium labels.Insider/Brittany Chang...as well as more generic pieces...A less exciting assortment.Insider/Brittany Chang...and lesser-known labels.We didn't recognize all the brands on offer.Insider/Brittany ChangIt didn't necessarily feel like you were getting the most exciting assortment of designer brands.Women's apparel.Insider/Brittany ChangNext, we headed to Nordstrom Rack's Union Square location. This definitely felt more chaotic.Rammed racks.Insider/Brittany ChangA mismatch of clearance items was jammed onto racks.These items looked to be leftover from last season.Insider/Brittany ChangAnd the displays were more disheveled than in other stores.Designer handbags piled up.Insider/Brittany ChangStill, it was fairly organized for an off-price store where customers are likely to be riffling through the racks to find the best deals.Off-price stores are often messy.Insider/Brittany ChangWe spotted some well-known brands...Nike shoes.Insider/Brittany Chang...along with designer labels...Guess winter jackets.Insider/Brittany Chang...and trendy millennial brands.Ganni is also stocked at Nordstrom.Insider/Brittany ChangGlobalData Retail analyst Neil Saunders has blamed the store's current woes on the lack of discipline in its buying team. "It's almost as if Nordstrom just acquires lots of stuff, which it then shoves into stores," he told Insider.A ton of coats.Insider/Brittany ChangSource: Twitter and Insider.BMO Capital Markets analyst Simeon Siegel told Insider that Nordstrom Rack is also at a disadvantage to its competitors, TJ Maxx and Ross, for example, because the company operates full-price stores too.Madewell basics made an appearance.Insider/Brittany ChangThis means that its Rack locations can be used to sell leftover inventory from full-price stores rather than inventory that's been bought at a discount, which is what TJ Maxx would do. That leads to weaker margins for Nordstrom.Women's tops.Insider/Brittany ChangNordstrom's management team has addressed Rack's weakness in recent earnings calls and partly blamed this on difficulty securing inventory because of current supply chain issues.Insider/Brittany ChangBut Siegel said it's also harder for Rack to attract brands because it has an online store. "Brands prefer the invisible sale done at TJ Maxx," he said. "If you are a brand looking to move product through off-price, seeing it online is a different proposition to believing you can drop boxes off at a TJ Maxx without anyone knowing."Nike products for sale at nordstromrack.com.Nordstrom RackRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

Fast-food chains are finally taking vegan food seriously

Starbucks, KFC, Burger King, and McDonalds keep trialing new plant-based items. Expect to see more popping up on menus. Burger King seems to have doubled down on advertising its UK plant-based options since the McPlant was released.Grace Dean/Insider Fast-food chains are churning out more vegan food as demand rises and the market booms. Restaurants doubling down include Starbucks, KFC, Burger King, and McDonalds.  But only a small chunk of the US and UK are vegan. It's flexitarians who are driving the trend. From Starbucks scrapping its charge for non-dairy milk, to KFC and McDonald's rolling out their vegan burgers nationwide, to Burger King unveiling vegan chicken nuggets, the first week of 2022 brought a whole lot more choice for UK vegan fast-food fans.The big chains are finally taking vegan food seriously – even if some of the new product launches have been timed to coincide with the start of Veganuary – as they race to get a slice of a sector that could be worth more than $160 billion globally within the next ten years.Fast-food chains in the US are rolling out more vegan dishes, too, albeit at a somewhat slower rate. Chipotle has launched its plant-based chorizo nationally while other chains including KFC, Burger King, Carl's Jr., and McDonald's are scrambling to partner with big-name fake-meat brands like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat.These products offer a significant potential prize for the fast-food giants. Bloomberg Intelligence reported that the plant-based foods market was worth $29.4 billion in 2020 and could grow to $162 billion in 2030, making up to 7.7% of the global protein market. The fact that vegans still only represent a small chunk of the population isn't a problem for the sector. And that's because it's not just vegans driving the trend.Instead, non-vegans are helping fuel the plant-based boom by trying to cut down on their meat, fish, and dairy intake.Fast-food chains that have unveiled vegan products have reported huge success. KFC said that its vegan burger sold at six times the average rate for new product launches when it was released in the UK. McDonald's said that early UK sales data for the McPlant was "very encouraging," while Eat Just said its "Everything Plant-Based Sandwich" is the top-selling hot menu item at Peet's Coffee, selling three times more than initially forecast."Our plant-based products have proved to be an important sales driver in the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands and continue to grow as we launch new products," José Cil, CEO of Restaurant Brands International, which owns Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes, said at its last earnings call.Technological innovations mean new plant-based products are becoming available, and the growing number of vegans and flexitarians is creating a bulging market for plant-based meat replicas.Low prices at fast-food chains are also helping tempt customers, including ones who may normally order the meaty option: McDonald's UK charges the same for both its McPlant and its Quarter Pounder with Cheese, and prices at Subway are the same for both its roast chicken and plant-based chicken sandwiches.In the UK, most fast-food chains are now offering at least one vegan dish. But some chains are leading the way by offering something most vegan consumers are yet to see in restaurants: choice.Subway, for example, has four vegan sandwiches on its menu now, plus two limited-release subs it launched for Veganuary. And, because it has the basics covered, it's been able to get more creative, too: one of the new sandwiches is a plant-based alternative to chicken tikka. And Starbucks has launched a plant-based tuna sandwich in the UK.Subway UK has launched a plant-based alternative to chicken tikka.Grace Dean/InsiderIt's a far cry from the limp salads and half-hearted bean burgers vegans have been left with for years.These factors are essentially creating a loop. The more demand there is for plant-based food, the more lucrative the market is for restaurants – and as a result, they're offering more vegan options at lower prices, which in turn tempts more people to try out the meals.So expect to see more and more plant-based dishes popping up on restaurant menus. And expect them to get cheaper and tastier, too.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

Visualizing The $94 Trillion World Economy In One Chart

Visualizing The $94 Trillion World Economy In One Chart Just four countries - the U.S., China, Japan, and Germany - make up over half of the world’s economic output by gross domestic product (GDP) in nominal terms. In fact, as Visual Capitalist's Dorothy Neufeld notes, the GDP of the U.S. alone is greater than the combined GDP of 170 countries. How do the different economies of the world compare? In this visualization we look at GDP by country in 2021, using data and estimates from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). An Overview of GDP GDP serves as a broad indicator for a country’s economic output. It measures the total market value of final goods and services produced in a country in a specific timeframe, such as a quarter or year. In addition, GDP also takes into consideration the output of services provided by the government, such as money spent on defense, healthcare, or education. Generally speaking, when GDP is increasing in a country, it is a sign of greater economic activity that benefits workers and businesses (while the reverse is true for a decline). The World Economy: Top 50 Countries Who are the biggest contributors to the global economy? Here is the ranking of the 50 largest countries by GDP in 2021: *2020 GDP (latest available) used where IMF estimates for 2021 were unavailable. At $22.9 trillion, the U.S. GDP accounts for roughly 25% of the global economy, a share that has actually changed significantly over the last 60 years. The finance, insurance, and real estate ($4.7 trillion) industries add the most to the country’s economy, followed by professional and business services ($2.7 trillion) and government ($2.6 trillion). China’s economy is second in nominal terms, hovering at near $17 trillion in GDP. It remains the largest manufacturer worldwide based on output with extensive production of steel, electronics, and robotics, among others. The largest economy in Europe is Germany, which exports roughly 20% of the world’s motor vehicles. In 2019, overall trade equaled nearly 90% of the country’s GDP. The World Economy: 50 Smallest Countries On the other end of the spectrum are the world’s smallest economies by GDP, primarily developing and island nations. With a GDP of $70 million, Tuvalu is the smallest economy in the world. Situated between Hawaii and Australia, the largest industry of this volcanic archipelago relies on territorial fishing rights. In addition, the country earns significant revenue from its “.tv” web domain. Between 2011 and 2019, it earned $5 million annually from companies—including Amazon-owned Twitch to license the Twitch.tv domain name—equivalent to roughly 7% of the country’s GDP. *2019 GDP (latest available) used where IMF estimates for 2021 were unavailable. Like Tuvalu, many of the world’s smallest economies are in Oceania, including Nauru, Palau, and Kiribati. Additionally, several countries above rely on the tourism industry for over one-third of their employment. The Fastest Growing Economies in the World in 2021 With 123% projected GDP growth, Libya’s economy is estimated to have the sharpest rise. Oil is propelling its growth, with 1.2 million barrels being pumped in the country daily. Along with this, exports and a depressed currency are among the primary factors behind its recovery. Ireland’s economy, with a projected 13% real GDP growth, is being supported by the largest multinational corporations in the world. Facebook, TikTok, Google, Apple, and Pfizer all have their European headquarters in the country, which has a 12.5% corporate tax rate—or about half the global average. But these rates are set to change soon, as Ireland joined the OECD 15% minimum corporate tax rate agreement which was finalized in October 2021. Macao’s economy bounced back after COVID-19 restrictions began to lift, but more storm clouds are on the horizon for the Chinese district. The CCP’s anti-corruption campaign and recent arrests could signal a more strained relationship between Mainland China and the world’s largest gambling hub. Looking Ahead at the World’s GDP The global GDP figure of $94 trillion may seem massive to us today, but such a total might seem much more modest in the future. In 1970, the world economy was only about $3 trillion in GDP—or 30 times smaller than it is today. Over the next thirty years, the global economy is expected to more or less double again. By 2050, global GDP could total close to $180 trillion. Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 23:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

So You Want A Career In Finance?

So You Want A Career In Finance? Corporate finance is a key pillar on which modern markets and economies have been built. And, as Visual Capitalist's Aran Ali details below, this complex ecosystem consists of a number of important sectors, which can lead to lucrative career avenues. From lending to investment banking, and private equity to hedge funds, the graphic above by Wall Street Prep breaks down the key finance careers and paths that people can take. Let’s take a further look at the unique pieces of this finance ecosystem. The Lending Business Lending groups provide much needed capital to corporations, often in the form of term loans or revolvers. These can be part of short and long-term operations or for events less anticipated like the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in companies shoring up $222 billion in revolving lines of credit within the first month. Investment Banking Next, is investment banking, which can split into three main areas: Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A): There’s a lot of preparation and paperwork involved whenever corporations merge or make acquisitions. For that reason, this is a crucial service that investment banks provide, and its importance is reflected in the enormous fees recognized. The top five U.S. investment banks collect $10.2 billion in M&A advisory fees, representing 40% of the $25 billion in global M&A fees per year. Loan Syndications: Some $16 billion in loan syndication fees are collected annually by investment banks. Loan syndications are when multiple lenders fund one borrower, which can occur when the loan amount is too large or risky for one party to take on. The loan syndication agent is the financial institution involved that acts as the third party to oversee the transaction. Capital Markets: Capital markets are financial markets that bring buyers and sellers together to engage in transactions on assets. They split into debt capital markets (DCM) like bonds or fixed income securities and equity capital markets (ECM) (i.e. stocks). Some $41 billion is collected globally for the services associated with structuring and distributing stock and bond offerings. The top investment banks generally all come from the U.S. and Western Europe, and includes the likes of Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. Sell Side vs Buy Side Thousands of analysts in corporate finance represent both the buy and sell-sides of the business, but what are the differences between them? One important difference is in the groups they represent. Buy-side analysts usually work for institutions that buy securities directly, like hedge funds, while sell-side analysts represent institutions that make their money by selling or issuing securities, like investment banks. According to Wall Street Prep, here’s how the assets of buy-side institutions compare:   Also, buy-side jobs appear to be more sought after across financial career forums. Breaking Down The Buy Side Mutual funds, ETFs, and hedge funds all generally invest in public markets. But between them, there are still some differentiating factors. For starters, mutual funds are the largest entity, and have been around since 1924. Hedge funds didn’t come to life until around 1950 and for ETFs, this stretched to the 1990s. Furthermore, hedge funds are strict in the clients they take on, with a preference for high net worth investors, and they often engage in sophisticated investment strategies like short selling. In contrast, ETFs, and mutual funds are widely available to the public and the vast bulk of them only deploy long strategies, which are those that expect the asset to rise in value. Private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) are groups that invest in private companies. Venture capital is technically a form of PE but tends to invest in new startup companies while private equity goes for more stable and mature companies with predictable cash flow patterns. Who funds the buy side? The source of capital roughly breaks down as follows:   Endowment funds are foundations that invest the assets of nonprofit institutions like hospitals or universities. The assets are typically accumulated through donations, and withdrawals are made frequently to fund various parts of operations, including critical ones like research. The largest university endowment belongs to Harvard with some $74 billion in assets under management. However, the largest endowment fund overall belongs to Ensign Peak Advisors. They represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), with some $124 billion in assets. Primary Market vs Secondary Market One of the primary motivations for a company to enter the public markets is to raise capital, where a slice of the company’s ownership is sold via an allotment of shares to new investors. The actual capital itself is raised in the primary market, which represents the first and initial transaction. The secondary market represents transactions after the first. These are considered stocks that are already issued, and shares now fluctuate based on market forces. Tying It All Together As the infographic above shows, corporate finance branches out far and wide, handles trillions of dollars, and plays a key part in making modern markets and economies possible. For those exploring a career in finance, the possibilities and avenues one can take are practically endless. Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 21:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 15th, 2022Related News