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The Fed may release its long-awaited paper on central bank digital currencies as early as next week, report says

Jerome Powell has said CBDCs would negate the need for stablecoins, but other observers say a digital dollar would complement other cryptocurrencies. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images The Fed is planning to release its long-awaited paper on central bank digital currencies as early as next week, The WSJ reported. Powell in the past has said that CBDCs will eliminate the need for cryptocurrencies. But an expert told Insider that CBDCs will complement, rather than compete with private cryptocurrencies. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. The Federal Reserve is planning to release its long-awaited paper on central bank digital currencies as early as next week, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.Fed chair Jerome Powell first noted that the US central bank was researching a digital dollar in April, and again in May adding a discussion paper will be released over the summer.Following those comments, Powell said it was possible that a CBDC issued by the Fed would negate the need for stablecoins, a type of cryptocurrency pegged to an asset such as a fiat currency or a precious metal.Yet while the Fed thinks its digital dollar could eventually replace other crypto, others think it will simply exist alongside current offerings. "It's not in competition. It is just another currency," Peter Jensen, CEO of RocketFuel Blockchain, told Insider. "We have a hundred currencies. The US version of the US dollar is just going to be another currency."Jensen said he doubted that regulators will issue a blanket ban on the sector similar to how China has gone about regulating its crypto market, adding that he would welcome a CBDC. He added a digital currency would ensure more security than paper money. While Powell has expressed some openness towards CBDCs, other Fed officials, such as Vice Chair Randal Quarles, have been more skeptical. In July, Randal said while public interest in a digital dollar has reached "fever pitch," the US dollar is already highly digitized, an arrangement he said, "serves the nation and the economy well."Separately, the Boston Fed teamed up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in August 2020 for a multi-year collaboration to explore digital currencies with the Digital Currency Initiative. The research results will be published and the code will be licensed as open-source software so that anyone can experiment with it.For now, 81 countries are exploring their own CBDCs, and 14, including major economies like Sweden and South Korea, are in the pilot stage, while five have already fully launched them, according to a tracker by the Atlantic Council. China leads the pack by far with its digital yuan. Of the countries with the four largest central banks - the Fed, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan, and the Bank of England - the US is the furthest behind, according to the tracker.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 4th, 2021

El Salvador Is Betting on Bitcoin to Rebrand the Country — and Strengthen the President’s Grip

Will the country's adoption of the digital currency help its people, or just its president? When Roman Martinez was growing up in El Zonte, a small coastal village in El Salvador, the American Dream loomed large. Beyond the local fishing industry, which Martinez’s parents worked in, there weren’t a lot of opportunities. “Young people just wanted to leave, to go to the U.S.,” he says. “But now we have a Salvadoran dream.” It’s a dream about Bitcoin. Two years ago an anonymous American donor sent more than $100,000 in the decentralized digital currency, or cryptocurrency, to an NGO that Martinez works for in El Zonte to pay for social programs. As the team began encouraging families and businesses to use Bitcoin, many of the town’s residents, most of whom had never had a bank account, began saving their money in the currency, making gains as its value surged. Curious tourists flooded into the town and foreign businesses set up shop. The project gave El Zonte the nickname “Bitcoin beach,” simultaneously a philanthropic endeavour and one of the world’s largest experiments in cryptocurrency. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “People with little income, who didn’t have access to a financial system, with $5 worth of Bitcoin they can start building something that can be the legacy they leave to their children,” Martinez says, over video call, wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with Bitcoin’s orange logo. It was partly El Zonte’s experiment that inspired El Salvador last month to become the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender—alongside the U.S. dollar, which El Salvador has used as its currency since 2001. The Bitcoin law, which came into force on Sept. 7, makes taxes payable in Bitcoin, obliges all businesses to accept it, and paves the way for the government to disburse subsidies in it. The government has built a network of 200 Bitcoin ATMs and a digital Bitcoin wallet app, called Chivo, through which it has distributed $30 worth of Bitcoin to every Salvadoran citizen in a bid to kickstart the Bitcoin economy. Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele claims 2.1 million Salvadorans have used Chivo so far, in a country of 6 million people. Bukele is touting Bitcoin as a way for Salvadorans to reduce the fees they pay to send and receive remittances—which make up 22% of El Salvador’s GDP, mostly from the U.S.—and as a way for the 70% of Salvadorans who are unbanked to access financial services. He’s not alone in advocating for cryptocurrencies as a way for developing economies to bypass a global financial system in which access to services and investment are geared towards the world’s richer countries and individuals. Crypto has achieved its highest penetration mostly in countries where banking systems are costly and complicated to use, or where local economies and currencies are unstable. But critics say making Bitcoin—notoriously volatile and not subject to controls by any central bank—into legal tender is an unjustifiable gamble for El Salvador’s already ailing economy. The $200 million of taxpayer money congress has devoted to the project equates to 2.7% of the government’s total budget for 2021, or almost three times the agriculture ministry’s budget for the year. The uncertainty introduced by the Bitcoin policy has sent the price of government bonds tumbling, and halted negotiations for a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the country is seeking to plug a $1.5 billion hole in its public finances. ‘The coolest dictator in the world’ For the President, a 40 year-old with the casual wardrobe and cheeky communication style of a tech entrepreneur, Bitcoin is about more than its immediate economic impact, though. It’s a chance to rebrand El Salvador, from a country known primarily for gang violence and a sluggish economy that drives emigration to the U.S., to an independent, modern crypto pioneer. For young Salvadorans like Martinez, that means creating a Salvadoran dream. For the international community, it’s a rebuke to a world order that casts El Salvador as the backyard to the U.S.—which Bukele has increasingly railed against since taking power in 2019. Instead, he casts El Salvador as an independent hub of innovation, aligned with the anti-establishment crypto community, members of which have flooded and celebrated the country in recent months and will return for a large crypto conference in November. Envisioning the transformation he witnessed in El Zonte taking place across the country, Martinez is excited—despite doubts among the wider population. “We’re used to new things happening in the U.S. or Canada or Europe,” Martinez says. “Now we’ve changed the narrative about El Salvador and started moving forward. Michael Nagle—Bloomberg/Getty ImagesNayib Bukele, El Salvador’s president, speaks in a prerecorded video during the United Nations General Assembly via live stream in New York on Sept. 23, 2021. But there’s another narrative unfolding in El Salvador. Since Bukele’s party, New Ideas, won a landslide victory at parliamentary elections in February, he has moved rapidly to undermine the structures of El Salvador’s democracy. In May, parliament voted to replace opposition-linked judges on the supreme court with Bukele allies, bringing all levers of power under his control. In September—a few days before the Bitcoin launch—the same court ruled that Bukele can run for a second term in 2024, in defiance of El Salvador’s constitution, triggering sanctions from the U.S. He has also stepped up attacks on the media, including launching criminal investigations into news organizations and kicking critical journalists out of the country. Analysts say the Bitcoin experiment is part of Bukele’s proto-strongman trajectory. “He’s fallen in love with his own power and wants to nurture this cool millennial President image through this adventure into the Bitcoin world,” says Tiziano Breda, a Central America analyst at the International Crisis Group, a think tank. It’s working for him, largely. The Bitcoin law has sparked the first major protests of his presidency, with 8,000 people marching in San Salvador on Sept. 15— a significant number of people in a country where street protest is unusual. But the President’s approval ratings still stand above 85%. With that backing, Bukele is deeply dismissive of global concern about his leadership. On Sept 18, he changed his bio on Twitter to “Dictator of El Salvador,” clearly trolling the international press. Then, a couple of days later he changed it again, to “The coolest dictator in the world.” El Salvador’s rapid transformation On the night that Bitcoin launched in El Salvador, Nelson Rauda, a reporter for independent newspaper El Faro, went to a party. At a sleek hotel bar next to an infinity pool overlooking the pacific ocean in the department of La Libertad, crypto enthusiasts and internet celebrities from the U.S., including YouTuber Logan Paul, danced and let off fireworks to celebrate a major moment for the cryptocurrency. Some wore headdresses and carried orange signs featuring Bitcoin’s white B logo. Almost everyone was speaking English. ”The scenery, and the location was a beach in El Salvador, but it could have been anywhere else in the world,” Rauda says. “[The crypto community] want to portray themselves as bringing a future and development to El Salvador through Bitcoin— a kind of white saviorism in that sense. But most of them are not interested in the country, just business.” Bukele’s government welcomes their business. The President claims that if 1% of the world’s Bitcoin were invested in El Salvador, it would raise GDP by 25%. He has offered permanent residency to anyone who spends three Bitcoin (currently around $125,000). He has also highlighted the fact that, since Bitcoin is legal tender, rather than an investment asset, foreigners who move to El Salvador will not have to pay capital gains tax in the country on any profits made if the cryptocurrency’s value increases. To that he adds, in English, “Great weather, world class surfing beaches, beach front properties for sale” as reasons that crypto entrepreneurs should move to El Salvador. This pragmatic, salesman-like tone is something that Salvadorans appear to appreciate from their President. Though he served as mayor of the capital, San Salvador until 2018, Bukele ran for the presidency in 2019 as a political outsider. He used his direct link with millions of followers on social media to pit himself against the right and leftwing parties that had ruled the country since its civil war in the 1980s. That conflict, in which the U.S. played a decisive role by funding opponents of leftist rebels, sowed the seeds of many of El Salvador’s current problems: chronically low economic growth, weak institutions vulnerable to corruption, the world’s worst rates of gang violence and one of the lowest rates of direct foreign investment in Central America. Bukele argued, convincingly, that the postwar governments had failed to meaningfully address those woes over three decades. Since taking office, Bukele has projected an image of ruthless efficiency. In February 2020, he and a group of armed soldiers stormed into parliament in order to pressure lawmakers to pass his budget plan. He has slashed rates of gang violence, with the country’s homicide rate falling from 51 per 100,000 in 2018 to 19 per 100,000 in 2020 (Experts debate whether this is a result of Bukele’s security policy, gang trends independent of him, or a secretive quid pro quo deal he may have struck with gang leaders). He adopted a hardline response to COVID-19, ordering one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns and giving security forces the right to put any rule-breakers in detention centers, a move human rights watchdogs say led to violent repression. The unprecedented popularity Bukele has enjoyed has allowed him to move faster than Latin America observers expected to take anti-democratic steps, such as intervening in the judiciary, Breda says. “For many other sort of authoritarian governments in the region, it took [many] years to do the things that Bukele has done in such a sweeping way. The pace is definitely surprising.” Marvin Recinos—AFP/Getty ImagesIlluminated drones form figures inspired by the Bitcoin logo in El Sunzal Beach, El Salvador, on Sept. 7, 2021. ‘Bitcoin is costing the country dearly’ Those who are most sceptical of Bukele—conservative economists—see his Bitcoin law as new packaging for an old move for populist authoritarian leaders in Latin America. The policy was labelled a “Bitcoin scam” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. “They’re always trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat,” says Steve Hanke, professor of applied economics at the John Hopkins University and director of the Troubled Currencies Project at the libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute. “They say: ‘We’ve had all these financial problems because of all these irresponsible leaders we’ve had in the past. And now here I am riding a white horse and I’ve got some new gimmick that’s going to solve it all. It’s called Bitcoin.’” Hanke helped advise the Salvadoran government on the country’s dollarization, when it adopted the U.S. dollar as its sole currency in 2001. From 1993 the Salvadoran colón had been pegged to the U.S. dollar on a fixed exchange rate, in a successful effort to keep previously rampant inflation under control. After eight years, the government opted to fully replace the colón with the dollar. That made the economy more stable and lowered the cost of borrowing, but limited Salvadoran governments’ freedom to spend money, particularly in times of financial crisis. Hanke and others have speculated that the Bitcoin move is a first step towards scrapping dollarization altogether and issuing a national digital currency. That would both enable looser public spending, and reduce the impact of U.S. sanctions. But for local economists, the immediate concern is how Bitcoin could complicate El Salvador’s path out of a deep pandemic recession. “Public finances in El Salvador are on a knife edge. Public debt stands at close to 90% of GDP and the government needs to find almost $1.5 billion to close the year and pay its obligations,” says Alvaro Trigueros Arguello, director of economic studies at FUSADES, a San Salvador-based development thinktank. Though El Salvador’s economy is growing—with the Central Bank saying Sept. 29 that GDP is on course to surge by 9% this year—Trigueros Arguello says this is mostly due to a temporary factors, including the reopening of businesses after COVID-19 restrictions and a surge in remittances after the disbursement of pandemic aid packages in the U.S. The Bitcoin rollout has complicated El Salvador’s relationship with the IMF, from which it is seeking a $1 billion assistance package. In June the fund denied a request by El Salvador to assist in its Bitcoin rollout. It cited the lack of transparency in cryptocurrencies, arguing that the difficulty of tracing who makes Bitcoin transactions has facilitated criminal activity elsewhere, as well as environmental concerns about widening the use of Btcoin, which requires vasts amount of energy to produce. Fears over the cryptocurrency’s impact on El Salvador’s macroeconomic stability have stalled negotiations between El Salvador and the IMF, Trigueros Arguello says. “The government needs international credit and because of Bitcoin, it’s not getting it,” Trigueros Arguello says. “Bitcoin is costing the country dearly.” Camilo Freedman—Bloomberg/Getty ImagesDemonstrators hold signs during a protest against President Bukele and Bitcoin in San Salvador on Sept. 15, 2021. The backdrop to El Salvador’s experiment hasn’t undermined the excitement for those who want crypto currencies to be more widely used. Bitcoin Twitter has filled with tweets celebrating how easy it is for Salvadorans to use the currency in places like Starbucks, and praising Bukele’s foresight. “I’m totally excited about what’s happening in El Salvador. [Particularly] the fact that it’s happening in Latin America,” says Cristóbal Pereira, CEO of Blockchain Summit LatAm, a regional conference covering the blockchain technology that underlies Bitcoin, which will host events at El Salvador’s own Bitcoin conference in November. “If people end up using it widely, there’s a good chance other countries and people will end up using it more too.” It’s too early to tell if the buzz will be matched by the significant investments Bukele is hoping for. Analysts say businesses will likely wait and see how the bitcoin rollout affects El Salvador’s economic stability before striking any major deals. Mike Petersen, an American who moved to El Zonte in 2005 and helped found the Bitcoin beach, says he’s received a “a huge flood of [enquiries from] businesses that want to set up shop here, because, for the first time they are realizing, hey, Salvador is a forward looking country.” Those include companies in the Bitcoin space, such as exchanges and ATM networks, but also real estate developers, manufacturing companies and “some lighting and architectural companies that are now outsourcing, hiring architectural students here to do design and and put together bids for them. Because they can pay them in Bitcoin.” Peterson says he doubts that concern about the political situation in El Salvador will have any impact on investors. “Elite media circles are the ones that are more focused on that. I think, in the business climate, people are more pragmatic and practical about things. And they see that Bukele is extremely popular.” What’s not necessarily popular, so far, is Bitcoin. Bukele claims that a third of Salvadorans are actively using Chivo, but it is unclear how many are only using the app to access the initial $30 gift from the government. Media outlets in El Salvador reported long queues for the ATMs, where most people were converting their Bitcoin to take dollars home with them. In the first week of the rollout, one of the country’s largest banks told The Financial Times that the cryptocurrency accounted for fewer than 0.0001 % of its daily transactions. Rauda, the El Faro reporter, says he knows “no one” who’s using Bitcoin on a regular basis. Teething troubles The government gave itself just three months after parliament approved its Bitcoin law in June to introduce the currency, leading to a series of technical issues with the Chivo wallet app. Crypto bloggers reported cash taking days to show up in their Chivo accounts after being transferred by other users, bugs making the app unusable, and an initial inability to transfer any sum below $5. Bukele, who took to Twitter throughout the launch to offer emoji-laden tech support messages, claimed most of the technical problems were resolved within a few days. The bumpy rollout helped trigger a 10% fall in the value of Bitcoin against the day it became legal tender, and further falls since. On Sept. 20 Bukele said his government had “bought the dip” and acquired 150 more coins, bringing the country’s total holding to 700 (around $22 million). Chaotic rollouts of new government programs are not unique to El Salvador. But some in the Bitcoin community have concerns about the structure of the country’s experiment, beyond the initial hiccups. Marc Falzon, a New Jersey-based Bitcoin YouTuber who visited San Salvador to document the rollout, says he became concerned about Salvadoran taxpayers footing the bill despite opposition to the policy, and about Article 6 of the Bitcoin law, which says that all economic actors in the country must accept Bitcoin if they have the technical capacity to do so. “Forcing people to accept a decentralized currency from a centralized authority ebbs away at the legitimacy of not just Bitcoin, but cryptocurrency in general,” he says. Supporters of the project point out that Salvadorans don’t have to keep their money in Bitcoin if they don’t want to, with the government guaranteeing their ability to transfer them into U.S. dollars via its national development bank and a range of services allowing businesses to make that transfer automatically. But Falzon says that the positive image of EL Salvador’s rollout generated by Bitcoin influencers on Instagram and Twitter didn’t reflect what he saw. In a health store near his hotel, for example, the shopkeeper said she couldn’t afford to restock because so many Bitcoin payments made by customers had simply never shown up in her Chivo app account. “For people in the Bitcoin and crypto community, El Salvador is a ‘told you so moment,’ proof that this isn’t just a fad. And I think that in that enthusiasm, we can lose sight of both the bigger picture—in how future countries may start to follow suit—and also of the individual experiences of the people that are in these countries.” Some individuals are happy though. Martinez, the community activist who grew up in El Zonte, says the town’s experience suggests hesitancy to use Bitcoin—and opposition to the Bitcoin law—will fade as Salvadorans become more used to the technology, and become widespread within a few years. He’s not concerned, he says, by how Bitcoin may play into Bukele’s larger political project. “As an NGO, we’re apolitical. We support anything that can make a better El Salvador. And I think we’re walking towards a better future.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 1st, 2021

Why "Natural Immunity" Is A Political Problem For The Regime

Why "Natural Immunity" Is A Political Problem For The Regime Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute, Since 2020, public health technocrats and their allies among elected officials have clung to the position that absolutely every person who can possibly get a covid vaccine should get one. Both the Mayo Clinic website and the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, for example, insist that “research has not yet shown” that people who have recovered from covid have any sort of reliable protection. Moreover, the CDC page points to a single study from Kentucky claiming that people with natural immunity are more than twice as likely to contract covid again, compared to people who have been vaccinated. This narrative is reflected in the fact that the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates are a one-size-fits-all policy insisting that virtually all adults, regardless of whether or not they’ve already had the disease, receive a covid vaccine. The official position is apparently this: nothing except the vaccine can provide any sort of resistance or immunity. So get a vaccine. No exceptions! Health technocrats have repeatedly insisted that “the science” points unambiguously toward everyone receiving a vaccine, even to the point of pushing vaccines for children. All this in spite of the fact the risk to children from covid is far less than the risk a dozen common daily risks, such as riding in an automobile. The regime has attached itself closely to a vaccinate-everybody-no-matter-what policy, and a sudden u-turn would be politically problematic. So it's no wonder there's so little interest in the topic. Indeed, in a September 10 interview, senior covid technocrat Anthony Fauci claimed that the matter of natural immunity was not even being discussed at government health agencies. Fauci’s response suggested that the facts of natural immunity warranted discussion at some point in the future. But the comment certainly fit the dominant regime narrative nonetheless: the facts of natural immunity don’t matter for now. Everyone should just get vaccinated: CNN's Sanjay Gupta asked if people who have already recovered from COVID-19 should still be required to get the vaccine."I don't have a really firm answer for you on that," [Fauci] said Thursday on CNN. "I think that is something that we need to sit down and discuss seriously." Maybe someday they’ll get to talking about it. But some physicians aren’t as obsessed with pushing vaccine mandates as Anthony Fauci, and the evidence in favor of natural immunity is becoming so undeniable that even mainstream publications are starting to admit it. In an op-ed for the Washington Post last week, Marty Makary of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine argues that the medical profession has hurt its credibility in pretending that natural immunity is virtually irrelevant to the covid equation. Moreover, the dogmatic "get vaccinated" position constitutes a lack of honesty about the data. Rather, Makary concludes: [W]e can encourage all Americans to get vaccinated while still being honest about the data. In my clinical experience, I have found patients to be extremely forgiving with evolving data if you are honest and transparent with them. Yet, when asked the common question, “I’ve recovered from covid, is it absolutely essential that I get vaccinated?” many public health officials have put aside the data and responded with a synchronized “yes,” even as studies have shown that reinfections are rare and often asymptomatic or mild when they do occur. And what are these studies? Makary continues: More than 15 studies have demonstrated the power of immunity acquired by previously having the virus. A 700,000-person study from Israel two weeks ago found that those who had experienced prior infections were 27 times less likely to get a second symptomatic covid infection than those who were vaccinated. This affirmed a June Cleveland Clinic study of health-care workers (who are often exposed to the virus), in which none who had previously tested positive for the coronavirus got reinfected. The study authors concluded that “individuals who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection are unlikely to benefit from covid-19 vaccination.” And in May, a Washington University study found that even a mild covid infection resulted in long-lasting immunity. The policy bias in favor of vaccines ignores many other facts as well, such as the relative risks of vaccines, especially for the young: The current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention position about vaccinating children also dismisses the benefits of natural immunity. The Los Angeles County School District recently mandated vaccines for students ages 12 and up who want to learn in person. But young people are less likely to suffer severe or long-lasting symptoms from covid-19 than adults, and have experienced rare heart complications from the vaccines. In Israel, heart inflammation has been observed in between 1 in 3,000 and 1 in 6,000 males age 16 to 24; the CDC has confirmed 854 reports nationally in people age 30 and younger who got the vaccine. A second dose of the two-shot mRNA vaccine like that produced by Pfizer and Moderna may not even be necessary in children who had covid. Since February, Israel’s Health Ministry has been recommending that anyone, adult or adolescent, who has recovered from covid-19 receive a only single mRNA vaccine dose, instead of two. Even though the risk of severe illness during a reinfection is exceedingly low, some data has demonstrated a slight benefit to one dose in this situation. Other countries use a similar approach. The United States could adopt this strategy now as a reasonable next step in transitioning from an overly rigid to a more flexible vaccine requirement policy. For comparison, the CDC has long recommended that kids do not get the chickenpox vaccine if they had chickenpox infection in the past. The nonscientific, ideology-induced blind spot for natural immunity also prompted The BMJ  (the journal of the British Medical Association) to note that "[w]hen the vaccine rollout began in mid-December 2020, more than one quarter of Americans—91 million—had been infected with SARS-CoV-2…. As of this May, that proportion had risen to more than a third of the population, including 44% of adults aged 18–59." And yet, the authors note this fact doesn't appear to be a part of any policy discussion at all:  The substantial number of infections, coupled with the increasing scientific evidence that natural immunity was durable, led some medical observers to ask why natural immunity didn’t seem to be factored into decisions about prioritising vaccination. This problem is reflected in the Biden administration’s drive for booster shots—announced in mid-August—even before there was any clinical research on booster shots at all. Even by mid-September, as one hospital’s chief medical officer put it, “the data is not compelling one way or another.” But those sorts of details don’t trouble federal “public health” officials, and the Biden administration quickly moved toward pushing booster shots for everyone.  This Is Why There Should Be No Mandatory Medical Treatment Of course, mandating vaccines—like mandating any medical treatment—would still be immoral even if we could list a dozen studies suggesting boosters are a boon and that natural immunity is no good. What if there were twenty-five studies "proving" vaccines are better than natural immunity, but only twenty studies "proving" natural immunity is better? Would coercive vaccine mandates then suddenly be justified? Unfortunately, that's exactly how many advocates for repressive covid policies think the world should work. For these people, policy is just a matter of adding up the number of studies "proving" their side is right, and then claiming this justifies forcing mandatory medications on millions of human beings.  (It never works in reverse, of course. The fact that there's a lot of evidence—as Makary points out—against vaccines for those who have natural immunity, the dominant narrative is nonetheless that vaccines are “necessary” and “worth it” for everybody, always and everywhere.) In the real world, however, many medications—including these new vaccines—come with risks that must be weighed against potential benefits. These decisions can only be made at the individual level, where patients must make their own decisions about what substances to put into their own bodies. In other words, blanket policies proclaiming "everyone must receive this medical treatment immediately, or else" contradicts the realities of the uncertainties and varying risk levels that affect individuals. The facts of uncertainty and informed consent were once considered a mainstay of medical ethics—and of any political ideology that actually respects self-determination and basic human rights. Unfortunately, the philosophy of "public health" appears to be uninterested in such trivialities. At this point, it would be embarrassing for the regime to admit what actual scientific inquiry has shown: that natural immunity is generally superior to receiving the vaccine. The regime doesn't like to be embarrassed, and neither do the countless doctors and nurses who have long toed the regime's political line. So expect more of the same.  Tyler Durden Wed, 09/29/2021 - 16:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 29th, 2021

3 High-Potential MedTech Stocks With More Than 50% Growth YTD

Stocks like West Pharmaceuticals Services (WST), Maravai LifeSciences (MRVI) and Option Care Health (OPCH) have gained stupendously year to date. The more-than-one-and-a-half year-long COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented mayhem across the United States. Nevertheless, it presented an opportunity for healthcare companies to dig the best out of it. In particular, the MedTech sector has displayed significant strength since the beginning of 2021 by exhibiting recovery based on the mass vaccination mission.Even amid the recent surge in the highly transmissible Delta variant that has thrown a set of new nationwide challenges to the investment world, market watchers are currently focused on the MedTech space, recognized as one of the most stable business sectors.  Not to forget, the sector showed remarkable resilience last year despite the pandemic-induced disruption. Thus, it would be prudent to capitalize on the space now.Let us delve deeper.MedTech Resilience to ContinueThe pandemic has transformed the health care infrastructure, with companies’ receptiveness toward virtualized, remote-operated business models for medical care that, in turn, have helped them recover and attain pre-COVID-19 levels.Rapid developments in artificial intelligence (AI) technology, device connectivity and virtual monitoring have enabled healthcare companies to effectively respond to the growing demand for critical products such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators. By quickly scaling up R&D and manufacturing efforts, the sector has been making significant efforts in reducing the pressure on healthcare systems.Additionally, the President recently released a mandate asking federal employees to ensure vaccination and large and small private sector businesses to get their staff fully vaccinated and regularly tested. This is expected to bode well for MedTech stocks by increasing hospital and patient office visits and motivating people to opt for non-COVID elective Medtech procedures.MedTech Space: Opportunities to GrowIncreasing adoption of telemedicine or the option of digitally availing of medical advice has become a major choice for contactless healthcare services amid surging coronavirus infections. Frost & Sullivan forecasts seven-fold growth in telehealth by 2025 – a five-year compound annual growth rate of 38.2%. This opens up enormous opportunities for the MedTech space.In terms of digital acceleration, during the fiscal third-quarter earnings update, Walgreens Boots Alliance WBA noted that Walgreens Find Care platform usage increased to more than 135 million visits, driven mainly by COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. Also, Walgreens Boots completed the nationwide deployment of its SAP S/4HANA front-of-store technology platform.Also, the longer screen times and the resulting rise in eye fatigue have necessitated the use of vision correction and anti-fatigue glasses. This has enabled optical care companies to capture higher sales of anti-fatigue and blue light canceling lenses, thereby resulting in overall market growth within the MedTech space.Moreover, the President's latest mandate aimed at curtailing the surge in COVID-19 infections signals a sharp rise in testing. This is expected to help diagnostics companies witness significant growth in the coming months.Quest Diagnostics Incorporated DGX recently raised its full-year projection significantly in line with the rise in testing demand. The company also noted that it expects the Delta-driven surge to be stronger than anticipated, with Quest Diagnostics now assuming average volumes of at least 40,000 molecular tests daily for the second half of the year versus the previous guidance of 20,000.Stocks Gaining More Than 50% YTDGoing by the aforementioned discussions, investors can choose to invest in fundamentally-strong stocks that have shown tremendous promise despite challenging market conditions.Here are a few MedTech companies with a Growth Score of A or B. Our research shows that stocks with a Growth Score of A or B, when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy), offer the best upside potential. These stocks scored 50% or more in terms of share price appreciation through 2021. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. WST – The company exited second-quarter 2021 on a strong note with solid organic sales growth in both of its base businesses and improving demand for products related to COVID-19 vaccines. It continues to witness strong uptake of HVP components, including Westar, FluroTec, Envision and NovaPure offerings, and Daikyo’s Crystal Zenith. Moreover, the raised financial outlook for 2021 instills further optimism in the stock.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThis Zacks Rank #2 stock has a Growth Score of B. Year to date, shares of the company have surged 50.9% compared with the industry’s growth of 15.3%.Maravai LifeSciences Holdings, Inc. MRVI – The company had an incredibly strong first half of 2021. Revenues for the second quarter surged 364.3% year over year driven by robust growth across Nucleic Acid Production and Biologic Safety Testing businesses. The company witnessed continued strong demand for the proprietary CleanCap analogs as COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers scale production. The company entered into a definitive agreement to sell Vector Laboratories -- its Protein Detection business segment -- to Thompson Street Capital Partners, a St. Louis-based private equity firm. The company intends to use its net proceeds from the sale for general corporate purposes, including organic growth investments and potential M&A opportunities.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThis Zacks Rank #2 stock has a Growth Score of B. Year to date, shares of the company have surged 68.5% compared with the industry’s 3.2% growth.Option Care Health, Inc. OPCH -- Option Care Health reported a solid second quarter while investing in future growth. During the second quarter of 2021, the company completed the BioCure acquisition. The company also recently announced the technology collaboration with AlayaCare -- one of the existing trusted technology partners to co-develop market-leading patient engagement and clinical management software. The company also invested in an additional infusion suite capacity and is aggressively moving to open 10 to 15 other stand-alone infusion centers by the end of 2021. Moreover, the company has raised its full-year 2021 guidance, which is indicative of the continuation of this bullish trend.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThis Zacks Rank #2 stock has a Growth Score of A. Year to date, shares of the company have surged 54.2% against the industry’s fall of 34.9%. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (DGX): Free Stock Analysis Report West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (WST): Free Stock Analysis Report Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA): Free Stock Analysis Report Option Care Health, Inc. (OPCH): Get Free Report Maravai LifeSciences Holdings, Inc. (MRVI): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 29th, 2021

Central Bank Digital Currencies: A Future of Surveillance And Control

Central Bank Digital Currencies: A Future of Surveillance And Control Submitted by Ronan Manly, BullionStar.com One of the most potentially far-reaching trends in the financial landscape right now is the imminent roll-out of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), and the parallel attacks which central bankers are waging on private digital currencies and tokens as they tee up the launch of their CBDCs. First some clarifications. While the majority of central bank issued currencies (fiat currencies) in existence around the world are already in digital form, a fiat currency held in digital form is not the same as a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). What is a CBDC? A CBDC generally refers to electronic or virtual central bank (fiat) money that is created in the form of digital tokens or account balances which are digital claims on the central bank. CBDCs will be issued by central banks and will be legal tender. Many CBDCs that are being researched and developed employ Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), with the recording of transactions on a blockchain.  However unlike private cryptocurrencies which use a permissionless and open design, CBDCs that use DLT will use permissioned variants (deciding who has access to the network and who can view and update records in the ledger). See here for a discussion of permissionless vs permissioned blockchains. CBDCs - The antithesis to decentralized private cryptocurrencies and tokens Critically, as the name suggests, CBDCs will be centralized and governed by the issuing authority (i.e. a central bank). So, in their design and structure, CBDCs can be viewed as the very antithesis to decentralized private cryptocurrencies and tokens. Central banks have already working on two types of CBDCs, ‘wholesale’ digital tokens that would have access restricted to banks and financial entities to be used for activities like interbank payments and wholesale market transactions, and ‘general purpose’ (retail) CBDC for the general public to be used in retail transactions. It is this ‘general purpose’ CBDC which most people are referring to when they discuss central bank digital currencies, and it is these ‘general purpose’ CBDCs that will be most important to watch when  central banks and governments begin to attempt their roll-outs to distribute CBDCs to billions of people across the world either through account-based CBDCs or ‘digital cash’ tokens. As you can guess, account-based CBDCs will be tied to user identities and Digital IDs, and straight off the bat they allow for total surveillance by the State and torpedo any chance of anonymity. For this reason, they are already a favourite among central banks. Given that CBDCs will be centralized ledgers and can be programmable, the ‘digital cash’ token option is not much better in terms of privacy and freedom. The Bank for International Settlements - The Dark Tower of Basel Many central banks will probably opt for a hybrid model of both account-based and token based digital cash. As an example, Canada, the one time liberal democracy, perhaps illustrates the account-based vs token based choices best, where Canada’s central bank, the Bank of Canada, in it’s design documentation for CBDCs shows that at the end of the day, it's about surveillance and control, saying that: “anonymous token-based options would be allowable for smaller payments, while account-based access would be required for larger purchases.” Central banks are also experimenting with various models for distribution of CBDCs to the masses, including using private commercial banks and payment providers who will intermediate on the central banks’ behalf, and also direct distribution of payments by a central bank to a population. Either way, you can see that CBDCs greatly facilitate the statists to advance their Orwellian plans for Universal Basic Income (UBI) and dependency on the state.    Accelerating rollout CBDCs are not just a buzzword or a hazy innovation that may appear sometime in the distant future. They are actively being developed now, and in widespread fashion. In January 2020, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) issued the results of a survey on CBDCs that it had conducted in the second half of 2019, and to which 66 central banks had responded. Strikingly, 10% of central bank respondents (which represented a fifth of the world’s population) said that they were likely to issue a ‘general purpose’ CBDC (for the general public) in the near future (within the next 3 years). Another 20% of central bank respondents said they would likely issue a ‘general purpose’ CBDC in the medium term (within 6 years). In August 2020, the BIS published a comprehensive working paper on CBDCs titled “Rise of the central bank digital currencies: drivers, approaches and technologies” one part of which analysed the BIS database of central banker speeches and found that between December 2013 and May 2020, there had been 138 central banker speeches mentioning CBDCs, with a dramatic increase in CBDC related speeches since 2016, a timeframe which coincided with central banks launching research projects on CBDCs. The same BIS report also highlighted that, (totally coincidentally) the Covid-19 'pandemic'  "accelerated work on CBDCs in some jurisdictions."  BIS slide on CBDC global project status - August 2021. Source. Fast forward to right now, and on the website of the globalist Atlantic Council (headquartered in Washington D.C.), there is an interesting Central Bank Digital Currency Tracker which lists all the countries that have either launched or piloted a CBDC or are developing or researching a CBDC. Here we find that 5 central banks have already launched a CBDC, 14 have a CBDC in pilot, 16 have a CBDC in development, and another 32 central banks are at the research stage with their CBDC. That makes 67 central banks (countries in total). While the 5 currency areas that have already launched a CBDC are all islands in the Caribbean, the central banks at the pilot stage include heavy weights such as China, South Korea, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Sweden.   Those at the development stage include the central banks of Canada, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, France and Nigeria. Those at the research stage include the central banks of the US, UK, Australia, Norway, India, Pakistan and Indonesia. So as you can see, this is not some theoretical issue. Centrally controlled digital currencies are coming down the pipe in a big way, and some will be appearing, if not imminently, then very soon. And given the ease with which governments have imposed lockdowns and restrictions on their compliant populations during 2020 and 2021, it is not hard to envisage that these same pliable masses will be easily influenced to embrace CBDCs as being in their 'best interests'. BIS Switzerland - The Usual Suspect    In fact, one third of the entire BIS annual report 2021 is focused on CBDCs in a section titled “CBDCs: an opportunity for the monetary system”. Here, the BIS predictably trumpets the benefits of introducing central bank issued centralized digital currencies while at the same time attempting to undermine private cryptocurrencies. The BIS wording reveals the fact that central banks are in panic over the competitive threat of private cryptos and have accelerated the development of CBDCs partially due to this fear, with the BIS stating that: “Central bank interest in CBDCs comes at a critical time. Several recent developments have placed a number of potential innovations involving digital currencies high on the agenda. The first of these is the growing attention received by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies; the second is the debate on stablecoins; and the third is the entry of large technology firms (big techs) into payment services and financial services more generally.” The BIS then attempts to dismiss each of these 3 threats: Cryptocurrencies, claims the BIS “are speculative assets rather than money, and in many cases are used to facilitate money laundering, ransomware attacks and other financial crimes”. Bitcoin comes in for some special mention with the BIS saying that “Bitcoin in particular has few redeeming public interest attributes when also considering its wasteful energy footprint’. Stablecoins, says the BIS “attempt to import credibility by being backed by real currencies” that are “ultimately only an appendage to the conventional monetary system and not a game changer.” The entry of large tech firms that dominate social networks, search, messaging, and e-commerce into the realm of financial services and payments provision infrastructure seems to especially bother the BIS, and it spins it’s criticism into the argument that although these platforms have large network affects, this creates “further concentration” in the market for payments. The irony is not lost on the fact that it’s the BIS, as the central bank of central banks and one of the most concentrated power centres in the world, that is criticizing others’ “concentration” of power.   Throughout this CBDC pitch, the BIS report refers at numerous points that digital currencies should be “in the public interest”, which really means that digital currencies should be controlled by the BIS and its central bank members, as well as perpetuate their centralized monetary power structure. The BIS even has the gall to claim that CBDCs should respect privacy rights, when in fact the whole architecture, rationale and design of central bank digital currencies will allow central banks and national authorities to invade totally on privacy rights.  But sometimes the BIS let's it's guard down, and reveals it's authoritarian plans for CBDCs. A case in point is a recent interview with Agustín Carstens general manager of the BIS, where he chillingly said:  "We don’t know who’s using a $100 bill today and we don’t know who’s using a 1,000 peso bill today. The key difference with the CBDC is the central bank will have absolute control on the rules and regulations that will determine the use of that expression of central bank liability, and also we will have the technology to enforce that.” See video segment below for Carstens' remarks: Singing from the Same Song Sheet With the BIS is Basel Switzerland as the conductor and orchestrator, it's not surprising that central bank governors and country heads are now singing from the same song sheet, the song being ‘private digital currencies bad, central bank digital currencies good’. Earlier this month (September 2021) at a banking conference in Stockholm, the governor of Sweden’s central bank (Riksbank), Stefan Ingves, commented that ‘private money usually collapses sooner or later’, while conveniently failing to mention the hundreds of government and central bank issued paper currencies that have collapsed throughout history due to overprinting, depreciation and hyperinflation. Nor did Ingves mention Voltaire’s famous quote that “Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value - zero”. Ingves, whose country is one of the leaders in promoting a cashless society, also took a derogatory swipe at Bitcoin saying “sure, you can get rich by trading in bitcoin, but it’s comparable to trading in stamps.” All the while the Riksbank is pushing ahead with it’s central bank digital currency, called the e-krona, a CBDC which uses distributed ledger technology, and which the Swedish central bank is currently testing in conjunction with Handelsbanken, one of Sweden’s largest retail banks. In the same week as Ingves’s comments in Sweden, the governor of Mexico’s central bank, Alejandro Diaz de Leon, was also taking a shot at private cryptocurrencies and for good measure he also put the boot into precious metals. Diaz de Leon said that Bitcoin is more like a method of barter than ‘evolved’ fiat money, and continued “in our times, money has evolved to be fiat money issued by central banks. Bitcoin is more like a dimension of precious metals than daily legal tender.” That comment, which attacks two birds with one stone (crypto and precious metals), will definitely please his central bank governor colleagues at thee BIS, and may even earn Diaz de Leon a nomination as the next BIS general manager, to succeed his fellow countryman Agustín Carstens.    Speaking of the BIS, Benoit Coeure, head of the BIS Innovation Hub, also gave a WEF style speech about CBDCs in early September, acknowledging the convenient catalyst of the covid 'pandemic', and the accelerated development of CBDCs by central banks:  "the world is not returning to the old normal. Payments are a case in point. The pandemic has accelerated a longer-running move to digital .... the world's central banks are stepping up efforts to prepare the ground for digital cash – central bank digital currency (CBDC): "A CBDC's goal is ultimately to preserve the best elements of our current systems while still allowing a safe space for tomorrow's innovation. To do so, central banks have to act while the current system is still in place – and to act now." Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, also recently joined in the attack on private digital currencies, while simultaneously promoting Turkey’s CBDC. At an event on 18 September, the Turkish president stated that:  “we have absolutely no intention of embracing cryptocurrencies” “on the contrary, we have a separate war, a separate fight against them. We would never lend support to [cryptocurrencies]. Because we will move forward with our own currency that has its own identity.” PBOC SAYS ALL CRYPTO-RELATED TRANSACTIONS ARE ILLEGAL So the digital yuan is a complete disaster eh? — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 24, 2021 China: Digital Yuan - An Ominous Blueprint  A huge red flag over CBDCs and user privacy is that these central bank digital currencies are programmable, as details on China’s ‘Digital Yuan’ already show. For example, the Digital Yuan can be programmed to be activated on a certain date, programmed to expire on a certain date, programmed to be only valid for certain purchases, and ominously, programmed to be only available to citizens who meet certain pre-conditions. As a potential blueprint for other CBDCs, people across the world need to sit up and take notice, because the issuing authorities of these CBDCs coming down the pipe can therefore decide who gets access to CBDCs, what they can transact using those currencies, and how long the purchasing power remains valid. Central Banks can thus influence and control the behaviour of the recipients of this centralised digital cash,  as well as exclude those who they want to penalize or who don’t comply with the State's rules or parameters. And right on cue as this article was just published, Chinese authorities have now announced (on 24 September)  a total ban on all cryptocurrency transactions. Except of course, it's upcoming authoritarian Digital Yuan.    The future according to WEF's Klaus Schwab and his Elite private banker handlers Conclusion - Slavery or Monetary Freedom Although central banks will claim that they are introducing CBDCs for reasons such as improving payments efficiency, boosting financial inclusion for the unbanked and tackling illicit transactions, their real motivations, as always, are for surveillance and control. Surveillance of a population via complete visibility into financial transaction flow and user identities, and centralized control of the money supply within a cashless financial system. Think China’s social credit system on a global dystopian scale, where vax passes evolve into digital IDs and digital IDs link to CBDC issuance and use. In fact, the entire coercion around implementing vaccine passports and digital IDs looks to be a pre-planned stepping stone for the roll-out of central bank digital currencies and global social credit systems. The timing of the accelerated emergence of CBDCs may partially be an attempt by central banks to outflank the numerous private cryptocurrencies, tokens and decentralized finance ecosystems that have emerged and that are a threat to the power of the centralized banking system at whose apex sits the BIS. But it would be naïve to think that central banks that knew in advance about the initiation of a‘WEF’ global technocratic and corpocratic takeover that would begin in 2020, are not now orchestrating the rollout of CBDCs as part of a long-term global agenda, that agenda being the global socialist Agenda 2030, and a future in which, according to the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) “You’ll own nothing. And you’ll be happy”. BIS and central bank attacks against private cryptocurrencies are to be expected. After all, the same central banks and the BIS have waged a very long war against physical gold and silver. And precious metals have been money since 4000 B.C.. With the launch of CBDCs by central banks and their elitist private banking controllers, that war looks set to intensify. So, do you want a future of monetary freedom, or a future of perpetual slavery to central banker CBDCs?  If you want monetary freedom, then ownership of physical precious metals and private and anonymous digital currencies are now some of the only ways to counter and protect against the ominous CBDC plans which the BIS and its central bank members are intent with imminently rolling out. *  *  * This article originally appeared on the BullionStar.com website under the same title "Central Bank Digital Currencies – A Future of Surveillance and Control" Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 15:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 26th, 2021

Biden Security Adviser Jake Sullivan Tied To Alleged 2016 Clinton Scheme To Co-Opt CIA/FBI To Tar Trump

Biden Security Adviser Jake Sullivan Tied To Alleged 2016 Clinton Scheme To Co-Opt CIA/FBI To Tar Trump Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClearInvestigations.com, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan figures prominently in a grand jury investigation run by Special Counsel John Durham into an alleged 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign scheme to use both the FBI and CIA to tar Donald Trump as a colluder with Russia, according to people familiar with the criminal probe, which they say has broadened into a conspiracy case. Biden National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan as Clinton campaign adviser for the 2016 election. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File Sullivan is facing scrutiny, sources say, over potentially false statements he made about his involvement in the effort, which continued after the election and into 2017. As a senior foreign policy adviser to Clinton, Sullivan spearheaded what was known inside her campaign as a “confidential project” to link Trump to the Kremlin through dubious email-server records provided to the agencies, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Last week, Michael A. Sussmann, a partner in Perkins Coie, a law firm representing the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of making false statements to the FBI about his clients and their motives behind planting the rumor, at the highest levels of the FBI, of a secret Trump-Russia server. After a months-long investigation, the FBI found no merit to the rumor. The grand jury indicated in its lengthy indictment that several people were involved in the alleged conspiracy to mislead the FBI and trigger an investigation of the Republican presidential candidate -- including Sullivan, who was described by his campaign position but not identified by name. The Clinton campaign project, these sources say, also involved compiling a "digital dossier” on several Trump campaign officials – including Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, and Carter Page. This effort exploited highly sensitive, nonpublic Internet data related to their personal email communications and web-browsing, known as Internet Protocol, or IP, addresses. Alleged targets: Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Carter Page. YouTube/CNN/FNC/RCP To mine the data, the Clinton campaign enlisted a team of Beltway computer contractors as well as university researchers with security clearance who often collaborate with the FBI and the intelligence community. They worked from a five-page campaign document called the "Trump Associates List." The tech group also pulled logs purportedly from servers for a Russian bank and Trump Tower, and the campaign provided the data to the FBI on two thumb drives, along with three “white papers” that claimed the data indicated the Trump campaign was secretly communicating with Moscow through a server in Trump Tower and the Alfa Bank in Russia. Based on the material, the FBI opened at least one investigation, adding to several others it had already initiated targeting the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016. Michael Sussmann: Indicted former Clinton campaign lawyer allegedly coordinated with Jake Sullivan on dubious materials provided to the FBI and media. perkinscoie.com The indictment states that Sussmann, as well as the cyber experts recruited for the operation, "coordinated with representatives and agents of the Clinton campaign with regard to the data and written materials that Sussmann gave to the FBI and the media." One of those campaign agents was Sullivan, according to emails Durham obtained. On Sept. 15, 2016 – just four days before Sussmann handed off the materials to the FBI – Marc Elias, his law partner and fellow Democratic Party operative, "exchanged emails with the Clinton campaign’s foreign policy adviser concerning the Russian bank allegations," as well as with other top campaign officials, the indictment states. The sources close to the case confirmed the "foreign policy adviser" referenced by title is Sullivan. They say he was briefed on the development of the opposition-research materials tying Trump to Alfa Bank, and was aware of the participants in the project. These included the Washington opposition-research group Fusion GPS, which worked for the Clinton campaign as a paid agent and helped gather dirt on Alfa Bank and draft the materials Elias discussed with Sullivan, the materials Sussmann would later submit to the FBI. Fusion researchers were in regular contact with both Sussmann and Elias about the project in the summer and fall of 2016. Sullivan also personally met with Elias, who briefed him on Fusion's opposition research, according to the sources. Sullivan maintained in congressional testimony in December 2017 that he didn’t know of Fusion’s involvement in the Alfa Bank opposition research. In the same closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, he also denied knowing anything about Fusion in 2016 or who was conducting the opposition research for the campaign. "Marc [Elias] ... would occasionally give us updates on the opposition research they were conducting, but I didn't know what the nature of that effort was – inside effort, outside effort, who was funding it, who was doing it, anything like that," Sullivan stated under oath. Jake Sullivan's December 2017 House testimony may put him in perjury jeopardy.  House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Sullivan also testified he didn’t know that Perkins Coie, the law firm where Elias and Sussmann were partners, was working for the Clinton campaign until October 2017, when it was reported in the media as part of stories revealing the campaign's contract with Fusion, which also produced the so-called Steele dossier. Sullivan maintained he didn’t even know that the politically prominent Elias worked for Perkins Coie, a well-known Democratic law firm. Major media stories from 2016 routinely identified Elias as "general counsel for the Clinton campaign" and a "partner at Perkins Coie." "To be honest with you, Marc wears a tremendous number of hats, so I wasn’t sure who he was representing," Sullivan testified. "I sort of thought he was, you know, just talking to us as, you know, a fellow traveler in this — in this campaign effort." Although he acknowledged knowing Elias and his partner were marshaling opposition researchers for a campaign project targeting Trump, Sullivan insisted, "They didn’t do something with it." In truth, they used the research to instigate a full-blown investigation at the FBI and seed a number of stories in the Washington media, which Elias discussed in emails. Marc Elias: Prominent Democrat lawyer allegedly also coordinated with Sullivan. Sullivan would later plead ignorance under oath about Elias's role. Perkins Coie Lying to Congress is a felony. Though the offense is rarely prosecuted, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller won convictions of two of Trump’s associates on charges of that very offense. An attorney for Sullivan did not respond to questions, while a spokeswoman for the National Security Council declined comment. After the 2016 election, Sullivan continued to participate in the anti-Trump effort, which enlisted no fewer than three Internet companies and two university computer researchers, who persisted in exploiting nonpublic Internet data to conjure up “derogatory information on Trump" and his associates, according to the indictment.Prosecutors say the operation ran through at least February 2017, when Sullivan met with another central figure in the plot to plant the anti-Trump smear at the FBI. But now the goal was to compel agents to continue investigating the false rumors in the wake of the election, thereby keeping Trump's presidency under an ethical cloud. Daniel Jones: One of the lead figures in helping resurrect the Trump-Russia collusion narrative after Trump's election, Jones coordinated with Sullivan in hatching the effort. McCain Institute/YouTube On Feb. 10, 2017, Sullivan huddled with two Fusion operatives and their partner Daniel Jones, a former FBI analyst and Democratic staffer on the Hill, to hatch the post-election plan to resurrect rumors Trump was a tool of the Kremlin. As RealClearInvestigations first reported, the meeting, which lasted about an hour and took place in a Washington office building, also included former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The group discussed raising money to finance a multimillion-dollar opposition research project headed by Jones to target the new president. In effect, Jones’ operation would replace the Clinton campaign’s operation, continuing the effort to undermine Trump. It’s not clear if Sussmann attended the Feb. 10 meeting, but he was apparently still involved in the operation, along with his crew of data miners. The day before the meeting attended by Sullivan, Sussmann paid a visit to the CIA’s Langley headquarters to peddle the disinformation about the secret server – this time to top officials there, according to the sources familiar with Durham's investigation. During a roughly 90-minute meeting, Sussmann provided two officials at the intelligence headquarters “updated” documents and data he'd provided the FBI before the election, RealClearInvestigations has learned exclusively. Then, on March 28, 2017, Jones met with the FBI to pass on supposedly fresh leads he and the cyber researchers had learned about the Alfa Bank server and Trump, and the FBI looked into the new leads after having closed its investigation a month earlier. That same month, FBI Director James Comey publicly announced the bureau was investigating possible “coordination" between Moscow and the newly sworn-in president's campaign. Despite the renewed push by Jones, the FBI debunked the tip of a nefarious Russian back channel. Agents learned the email server in question wasn’t even controlled by the Trump Organization. "It wasn’t true," Mueller confirmed in 2019 testimony. It turns out that the supposed “secret server" was housed in the small Pennsylvania town of Lititz, and not  Trump Tower in New York City, and it was operated by a marketing firm based in Florida called Cendyn that routinely blasts out emails promoting multiple hotel chains. Simply put, the third-party server sent spam to Alfa Bank employees who used Trump hotels. The bank had maintained a New York office since 2001. “The FBI’s investigation revealed that the email server at issue was not owned or operated by the Trump Organization but, rather, had been administrated by a mass-marketing email company that sent advertisements for Trump hotels and hundreds of other clients,” Durham wrote in his indictment. Nonetheless, Jones and Sullivan kept promoting the canard as true. Democrat Senators Mark Warner and Ron Wyden: Conduits for TDIP's Trump-Russia material. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik With help from Sullivan and Podesta in 2017, Jones launched a nonprofit group called The Democracy Integrity Project, which raised some $7 million mainly from Silicon Valley tech executives. TDIP hired computer researchers, as well as Fusion opposition researchers and Christopher Steele, the British author of the now-discredited Steele dossier, to “prove” the rumors in the dossier. As they sought new dirt on Trump, they fed their information to media outlets, leading Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee (namely Sens. Mark Warner and Ron Wyden), and the FBI. Jones previously worked on the Senate intelligence panel, which had launched a major investigation of Trump and Russia, and he provided a pipeline of information for the committee, according to the sources. As RCI first reported, Jones emailed a daily news bulletin known as "TDIP Research" to prominent Beltway journalists to keep the Trump-Russia “collusion” rumor-mill going, including the debunked rumor about the "secret server." Durham has subpoenaed Jones to testify before his grand jury hearing the case, along with computer experts and researchers recruited by Sussmann for the Clinton campaign project, persons close to the investigation said. Attempts to reach Jones for comment were unsuccessful. In a statement, Durham said his investigation "is ongoing." Special Counsel John Durham: Lengthy single count "speaking" indictment of Sussmann suggests a broader conspiracy case in the works. AP Indictments for a single-count process crime such as making a false statement normally run a page or two. But Durham’s filing charging Sussmann spans 27 pages and is packed with detail. FBI veterans say the 40-year prosecutor used the indictment to outline a broader conspiracy case he’s building that invokes several other federal statutes. "That is what we call a 'speaking indictment,' meaning it is far more detailed than is required for a simple indictment under [federal statute] 1001,” which outlaws making false statements and representations to federal investigators, former assistant FBI Director Chris Swecker said in an interview with RealClearInvestigations. "It is damning,” he added. “And I see it as a placeholder for additional indictments, such as government grant and contract fraud, computer intrusion, the Privacy Act and other laws against dissemination of personally identifiable information, and mail fraud and wire fraud – not to mention conspiracy to commit those offenses." Chris Swecker: The Sussmann indictment "is damning," and "I definitely see more to come," says the ex-top FBI investigator. Miller & Martin "I definitely see more [indictments] to come,” emphasized Swecker, who knows Durham personally and worked with him on prior investigations. The sources close to the case said former FBI general counsel James Baker, who accepted the sketchy materials from Sussmann and passed them on to agents for investigation, is cooperating with Durham’s investigation, along with former FBI counterintelligence chief Bill Priestap, who has provided prosecutors contemporaneous notes about what led the bureau to open an investigation into the allegations Trump used Alfa Bank as a conduit between his campaign and Russian President Vladimir Putin to steal the election. According to the sources, Durham also has found evidence Sussmann misled the CIA, another front in the scandal being reported here for the first time. In December 2016, the sources say Sussmann phoned the general counsel at the agency and told her the same story about the supposed secret server – at the same time the CIA was compiling a national intelligence report that accused Putin of meddling in the election to help Trump win. Sussmann told Caroline Krass, then the agency’s top attorney, that he had information that may help her with a review President Obama had ordered of all intelligence related to the election and Russia, known as the Intelligence Community Assessment. The review ended up including an annex with several unfounded and since-debunked allegations against Trump developed by the Clinton campaign. It’s not clear if the two-page annex, which claimed the allegations were “consistent with the judgments in this assessment,” included the Alfa Bank canard. Before it was made public, several sections had been redacted. But after Sussmann conveyed the information to Krass, an Obama appointee, she told him she would consider it for the intelligence review of Russian interference, which tracks with Sussmann’s 2017 closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. (Krass’ name is blacked out in the declassified transcript, but sources familiar with Sussmann's testimony confirmed that he identified her as his CIA contact.) Caroline Krass: Michael Sussmann also gave  Trump-Russia material to this CIA lawyer. CIA/Wikipedia “We’re interested,” said Krass, who left the agency several months later. "We’re doing this review and I’ll speak to someone here.” It’s not known if Sussmann failed to inform the top CIA lawyer that he was working on behalf of the Clinton campaign, as he’s alleged to have done at the FBI. Attempts to reach Krass, who now serves as Biden’s top lawyer at the Pentagon, were unsuccessful. But in his return trip to the CIA after the election, Sussmann “stated falsely – as he previously had stated to the FBI general counsel – that he was ‘not representing a particular client,’ " according to the Durham indictment, which cites a contemporaneous memo drafted by two agency officials with whom Sussmann met that memorializes their meeting. (The document refers to the CIA by the pseudonym “Agency-2.” Sources confirm Agency-2 is the CIA.) Remarkably, the CIA did not ask for the source of Sussmann’s walk-in tip, including where he got several data files he gave the agency. The FBI exhibited a similar lack of curiosity when Sussmann told it about the false Trump/Alfa Bank connection. Attempts to reach Sussmann to get his side to the additional CIA allegations leveled by Durham were unsuccessful. The 57-year-old attorney pleaded not guilty to a single felony count and was released on a $100,000 bond Friday. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.The prominent Washington lawyer quietly resigned from Perkins Coie, which has scrubbed all references to him from its website. And late last month, as rumors of the indictment swirled, the powerhouse law firm divested its entire Political Law Group formerly headed by Marc Elias – who commissioned the Steele dossier. Elias, who worked closely with Sussmann on the Trump-Alfa Bank project, also is no longer employed by the firm. Jake Sullivan’s Golf Cart Rounds In late July 2016, during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the CIA picked up Russian chatter about a Clinton foreign policy adviser who was trying to develop allegations to “vilify" Trump. The intercepts said Clinton herself had approved a “plan" to “stir up a scandal” against Trump by tying him to Putin. According to hand-written notes, then-CIA chief John Brennan warned President Obama that Moscow had intercepted information about the “alleged approval by Hillary Clinton on July 26, 2016, of a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump.” That summer, Brennan had personally briefed Democrats, including then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, on the Alfa Bank-Trump server rumors, according to congressional reports. Reid fired off a letter to Comey demanding that the FBI do more to investigate Trump's ties to Russia. During that convention, Sullivan drove a golf cart from one TV-network news tent in the parking lot to another, pitching producers and anchors a story that Trump was conspiring with Putin to steal the election. CNN, ABC News, CBS News, and NBC News, as well as Chris Wallace of Fox News, all gave him airtime to spin the Clinton campaign’s unfounded theories. Sullivan also gave off-camera background briefings to reporters. "We were on a mission," Clinton campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri later admitted in a Washington Post column. “We wanted to raise the alarm." Then, on the eve of the election, Sullivan claimed in a written campaign statement that Trump and the Russians had set up a “secret hotline” through Alfa Bank, and he suggested “federal authorities” were investigating “this direct connection between Trump and Russia.” He portrayed the shocking discovery as the work of independent experts — “computer scientists” — without disclosing their attachment to the campaign. “This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow,” Sullivan claimed. Clinton teed up his statement in an Oct. 31, 2016, tweet, which quickly went viral. Also that day, Clinton tweeted, “It’s time for Trump to answer serious questions about his ties to Russia,” while attaching a meme that read: “Donald Trump has a secret server. It was set up to communicate privately with a Putin-tied Russian bank called Alfa Bank.” The Clinton campaign played up the bogus Trump-Alfa Bank story on the eve of the 2016 election. Twitter/@HillaryClinton It’s not immediately apparent if then-Vice President Joe Biden was briefed about the Alfa Bank tale or other Trump-Russia rumors and investigations. Biden has never been questioned about his own role in the investigation of Trump. However, it was the former vice president who introduced the idea of prosecuting Trump’s national security adviser appointee, Gen. Flynn, under the Logan Act of 1799, a dead-letter statute that prohibits private citizens from interfering in U.S. foreign policy and which hasn’t been used to prosecute anyone in modern times. According to notes taken by then-FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok, who attended a Jan. 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting with Obama and Biden, in which Trump, Flynn and Russia were discussed, Biden raised the idea: “VP: Logan Act,” the notes read. Although he’s not an attorney, Sullivan has argued in congressional testimony and elsewhere that Flynn violated the Logan Act, raising suspicions he may have put the idea in Biden’s head. Sullivan had advised the vice president before joining the Clinton campaign. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 22:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 23rd, 2021

Telecom Stock Roundup: AT&T Halves HBO Max Price, Verizon 5G for Air Force & More

While AT&T (T) is presently offering HBO MAX at $7.49 per month for six months in a limited promotional deal till Sep 26, Verizon (VZ) will provide 5G mobility service to seven Air Force Reserve Command installations. Over the past five trading days, U.S. telecom stocks continued to mirror the broader benchmark equity indices in a similar trend as the prior week and witnessed a gradual downtrend due to an apparent policy paralysis despite the best intentions of the government to spur a healthy growth momentum. The final passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill by the House appears to be stuck in a potential stalemate, as several progressive Democrats want the bill to be tied to the larger $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill that is facing massive backlash from both Republicans and Democrats. This even forced President Biden to personally meet the dissident groups to seek an early resolution, although it reportedly failed to broker a compromise despite some ‘productive’ discussions. The infusion of federal funds to improve broadband infrastructure for greater access and deeper penetration in the underserved domestic markets is the need of the hour to bridge the digital divide. However, the uncertainty over the much sought-after infrastructure bill that focuses on affordability and low-cost service option has hard hit the industry.In order to stimulate broadband growth across the country, the U.S. Treasury Department has issued fresh guidelines as to how states should allocate money from the $10 billion Capital Projects Fund created as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The instruction set encourages states to prioritize investments in fiber-optic connectivity and developing related infrastructure for the future broadband needs of the communities. It also urges states to pursue projects involving broadband networks either owned or affiliated to the government, non-profit or co-operatives in order to serve larger communities with less pressure on profit-making initiatives.   Meanwhile, China-based Hytera – a supplier of radio equipment to emergency first responders – said in a submission to the FCC that it has been unfairly targeted by the government and argued that its radio equipment do not pose any security risk as they do not use broadband connectivity. It urged the FCC to specify which of its equipment are deemed to be potential threats in order to avoid being hit across its entire business. The developments assume significance as the government is reportedly aiming to ease diplomatic relations with Beijing that have worsened over recent times to improve bilateral trade, as several restrictions and economic sanctions were hurting operations of domestic firms.    Regarding company-specific news, business tweaks, portfolio enhancements, a strategic tie-up, and product launch primarily took the center stage over the past five trading days.Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories1.    Over the past few months, AT&T Inc. T has taken several strategic decisions to focus more on its customer-centric business model. One of these was the decision to phase out HBO and HBO Max subscriptions through Amazon Prime Video Channels of Amazon.com, Inc., as it aimed to develop direct-to-consumer relationships. As HBO subscriptions officially went off the air from Amazon Prime on Sep 15, AT&T apparently lost about 5 million U.S. subscribers who had signed through Amazon. The company is now aiming to woo back these customers and attract newer ones as well through a discounted price offering as the streaming wars heat up.HBO Max subscription was originally priced at $14.99 per month. AT&T is presently offering this streaming service at $7.49 per month for six months in a limited promotional deal till Sep 26. The disruptive pricing is lower than the Prime video membership of $8.99 per month, plus taxes and is likely to be a lucrative offer for both existing and new customers. The offer, however, is available to only U.S. customers as AT&T expects to register healthy growth in HBO Max subscribers in international markets.      2.     Verizon Communications Inc. VZ recently secured a prime contract from the U.S. Department of Defense for an undisclosed amount to provide 5G mobility service to seven Air Force Reserve Command installations. The deal underscores the trust and reliability enjoyed by the carrier as it continues to support the digital transformation initiatives of the federal government.Verizon Public sector, the unit dedicated to serving various public sector entities, has been entrusted to deliver 5G Ultra Wideband service in California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas Air Force bases. This includes the deployment of c-band radios at outdoor locations at the facilities to improve signal bandwidth at higher speed and lower latency.3.     ADTRAN, Inc. ADTN recently announced that it has secured multiple partnerships with service providers to deploy its highly scalable fiber access network in the rural regions of the U.K. The Huntsville, AL-based company has collaborated with Alncom, Wildanet, and Netomnia.The alliances will bridge the digital divide on the back of a cost-effective fiber-to-the-home network, thereby delivering exceptional broadband experiences to customers, particularly based in the underserved areas of the European country.4.    Viasat, Inc. VSAT has secured two research contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense (“DoD”) to evaluate the potential and feasibility of 5G connectivity in the battlefield. The Carlsbad, CA-based company has been working with DoD to address challenging communications issues across multiple network domains. The research contracts, which will be conducted over a span of three years, were awarded through the Information Warfare Research Project. These contracts are part of the $600 million 5G research program that was announced last year by DoD. The initiative aims to assess how the fifth-generation technology can boost warfighting capabilities.  5.    Viavi Solutions Inc. VIAV recently announced that it has augmented the capabilities of its Xgig 5P16 platform. It now supports multi-user functionality and analyzer bifurcation for multiple users and simultaneous tests on a single platform. The Xgig 5P16 Exerciser platform enables real-time analysis of Peripheral Component Interconnect Express or PCIe 5.0 data traffic at all layers of the stack.VIAVI Xgig 5P16 Analyzer is specifically designed to modernize data traffic analysis while addressing the growing demands of AI and IoT with enhanced capabilities. The device is reckoned to be the first-of-its-kind solution in the market. The latest move highlights Viavi’s commitment to drive the influence of bandwidth-intensive computing services globally on the back of its technology prowess.Price PerformanceThe following table shows the price movement of some of the major telecom stocks over the past week and six months.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIn the past five trading days, T-Mobile was the only stock that gained 0.5%, while Bandwidth declined the most with its stock falling 6.5%.Over the past six months, Motorola has been the best performer with its stock appreciating 24.3%, while Bandwidth declined the most with its stock falling 17.2%.Over the past six months, the Zacks Telecommunications Services industry has gained 7.5% and the S&P 500 has rallied 12.7%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWhat’s Next in the Telecom Space?In addition to 5G deployments and product launches, all eyes will remain glued to how the administration implements key policy changes to safeguard the interests of the industry and address the bottlenecks to spur growth. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report ADTRAN, Inc. (ADTN): Free Stock Analysis Report AT&T Inc. (T): Free Stock Analysis Report Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ): Free Stock Analysis Report Viasat Inc. (VSAT): Free Stock Analysis Report Viavi Solutions Inc. (VIAV): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

ALTCOINS TO BUY: Crypto experts share the best investing opportunities they"re seeing outside of bitcoin

Insider has talked to several experts about which altcoins they like most, why they're bullish, and what they recommend others should be buying now. In this photo illustration of the litecoin, ripple and ethereum cryptocurrency 'altcoins' sit arranged for a photograph Jack Taylor/Getty Image Thousands of cryptocurrencies now exist. It can be difficult to pick winners in such a saturated space. Insider has asked several experts about where they see the biggest opportunities in altcoins. See more stories on Insider's business page. Cryptocurrencies have exploded in popularity over the last several months. Of course, the most popular remains bitcoin.But some other smaller cryptos are gaining serious steam as well, as the concept of digital currencies continues to seep into the public consciousness.However, it can be difficult to know which cryptocurrencies to invest in, or whether you should in the first place. There are currently thousands of different types of coins on the market. And some - like dogecoin, which was founded as a joke - don't appear to be serious. Others, like some built on the Ethereum blockchain, appear to have better use cases. And overall, there are legitimate concerns over whether the altcoin boom is unsustainable and will soon come crashing down.Crypto is an esoteric domain - its intricacies can be difficult to understand, especially for those new to the space.To help cut through the noise, Insider has talked to several experts about which altcoins - cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin - they believe have the best upside. These experts also described the fundamentals and technicals that make these altcoins attractive. Their views are shared in the articles below.imghed with link and appendage blurb Coach JV, crypto investor and founder of 3T Warrior Academy. Coach JV 4 altcoins to buy: A 12-year banking veteran says the biggest generational wealth transfer that's about to take place will trigger a 'parabolic' bull run in crypto. He explains how he's maximizing gains on the cryptos he's holding.John Vasquez quit a 12-year banking career to dive into crypto full-time.He's betting that the massive wealth transfer from baby boomers to their younger heirs will lead to a crypto boom.Vasquez, known as Coach JV on social media, explained what people should know about crypto before investing and the altcoins he's buying. Adrian Zduńczyk. Adrian Zduńczyk 5 altcoins that could surge 10-100x in the coming 'legendary' altcoin season that outshines bitcoin, according to a crypto technical analyst who's holding themCrypto technical analyst Adrian Zduńczyk says some altcoins due to outperform bitcoin in a "legendary" way. Zduńczyk is the founder and CEO of the Birb Nest, a trading platform. He shared five altcoins with us that he thinks could surge 10-100 times. Matthew Sigel is the head of digital assets research at VanEck. VanEck The head of digital assets research at an $81 billion money manager breaks down 3 drivers fueling the $2 trillion crypto market's latest bull run - and shares 3 competing altcoins to ethereum, including one that could nearly double in the next yearEthereum is the second-biggest cryptocurrency at the moment, sitting behind bitcoin. But it has problems like expensive transaction fees. Matthew Sigel, head of digital asset research at VanEck, shares three altcoins to rival ether. Evergrande is China's second-biggest property developer. Noel Celis/Getty Images A trader who warned of the 2017 and 2021 bitcoin bull market tops shares 4 altcoins he's bullish on for the long-term - but breaks down why Evergrande's crisis is keeping him away from crypto at the momentThe looming debt crisis of Chinese real estate developer Evergrande sent shockwaves through global equity markets in September - and crypto was not spared.Given the recent sell-offs, Goodman said he was keeping his money on the sidelines in the crypto space until prices appear to be in an uptrend again. He shared four projects he thinks can do well in the longer-term. STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images Bitcoin is ready for a 'monster run' up to $85,000 if it clears a key resistance level, a crypto evangelist predicts - and shares 7 altcoins he's bullish on nowEthereum's major upgrade in early August led to a 9.6% intraday price spike, and investors haven't yet sold the positive news. That's one reason why David Gokhshtein is bullish. He also told us his theses for six smaller altcoins he owns. A local business in El Salvador that accepts bitcoin payments. Alex Pena/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Why crypto crashed: 4 experts break down what Tuesday's sudden drop might mean for the altcoin season and NFT frenzy - and share 12 high-quality tokens that are likely to continue rallying toward the year's endVarious cryptos tumbled on Tuesday September 7 as El Salvador officially adopted bitcoin as legal tender. By the following morning, more than $3.25 billion in crypto positions had been liquidated over 24 hours, affecting more than 300,000 traders, according to Bybit. We asked experts what was driving the sell-off, and where they recommended buying dips. Dogecoin is a 'meme' cryptocurrency, seemingly created as a joke Yuriko Nakao/Getty The chief economist of a blockchain data firm breaks down why the current dogecoin rally has more legs to run - and lays out why 'anything is possible' for the altcoin, including reaching $1When dogecoin rose over 12,000% to $0.68 earlier this year, it shocked the investing community. It has since cooled off, though its price has picked up in recent weeks. It now sits around $.027. What will it do next? Chainalysis chief economist Philip Gradwell broke down why he think it will go to $1. crypto coins circle Nurphoto WATCH: Crypto analyst David Grider and venture capital investor Ria Bhutoria discuss state of the market, under-the-radar altcoins, and outlook on regulationInsider recently hosted a live webcast featuring two crypto experts. They broke down their views on everything from the recent slump to the possibility of regulation. Lyn Alden is the founder of Lyn Alden Investment Strategy Lyn Alden Investment Strategy Bitcoin to $100,000 and ether to $5,000: Famed investment strategist Lyn Alden explains her bullish predictions for the largest cryptos in 2022, and why there are only 2 altcoins worth watchingLyn Alden says most altcoins are "smoke and mirrors." But there are at least two with interesting technologies that are worth watching. Marnie Griffiths/Getty A crypto evangelist explains why he's going 'all in on altcoins' - and shares why he's worried about bitcoin whales taking over that marketAs some altcoins have shown, there is potential for huge appreciation in crypto outside of bitcoin. David Gokhshtein is one investor that's looking to take advantage of these opportunities. He shared two altcoins he's bullish on. Mack Lorden, left, and Lucas Dimos are TikTok crypto influencers. Mack Lorden and Lucas Dimos 2 crypto traders and TikTok influencers share their 6 go-to altcoins for riding out crypto bear markets - including one that's up more than 11,000% since its launch in 2017The broader crypto space just went through a rough patch after huge gains earlier this year. Like any asset class, it has its bull and bear markets. When crypto bear markets do come, crypto influencers Mack Lorden and Lucas Dimos told us that six altcoins in particular help them hedge losses. Many investors are excited about the Ethereum network's uses. SOPA Images/Getty Images The head of institutional coverage at crypto trading platform FalconX shares 9 Ethereum-tied digital tokens to take advantage of the DeFi revolution - and breaks down why Ethereum still has 'significant' upsideMany altcoins are built on top of the Ethereum blockchain. Aya Kantorovich, the head of institutional coverage at crypto exchange FalconX, shared nine coins built on top of the ethereum blockchain that she thinks have solid use cases."I personally always like coins with application," Kantorovich said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 22nd, 2021

BTFD Arrives: Futures Rebound, Europe Surges While Asia Slumps On Evergrande Fears

BTFD Arrives: Futures Rebound, Europe Surges While Asia Slumps On Evergrande Fears Even though China was closed for a second day, and even though the Evergrande drama is nowhere closer to a resolution with a bond default imminent and with Beijing mute on how it will resolve the potential "Lehman moment" even as rating agency S&P chimed in saying a default is likely and it does not expect China’s government “to provide any direct support” to the privately owned developer, overnight the BTFD crew emerged in full force, and ramped futures amid growing speculation that Beijing will rescue the troubled developer... Algos about to go on a rampage — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 21, 2021 ... pushing spoos almost 100 points higher from their Monday lows, and European stock were solidly in the green - despite Asian stocks hitting a one-month low - as investors tried to shake off fears of contagion from a potential collapse of China’s Evergrande, although gains were capped by concerns the Federal Reserve could set out a timeline to taper its stimulus at its meeting tomorrow. The dollar dropped from a one-month high, Treasury yields rose and cryptos rebounded from yesterday's rout. To be sure, the "this is not a Lehman moment" crowed was out in full force, as indicated by this note from Mizuho analysts who wrote that “while street wisdom is that Evergrande is not a ‘Lehman risk’, it is by no stretch of the imagination any meaningful comfort. It could end up being China’s proverbial house of cards ... with cross-sector headwinds already felt in materials/commodities.” At 7:00 a.m. ET, S&P 500 e-minis were up 34.00 points, or 0.79% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis 110.25 points, or 0.73%, while futures tracking the Dow  jumped 0.97%, a day after the index tumbled 1.8% in its worst day since late-July,  suggesting a rebound in sentiment after concerns about contagion from China Evergrande Group’s upcoming default woes roiled markets Monday. Dip-buyers in the last hour of trading Monday helped the S&P 500 pare some losses, though the index still posted the biggest drop since May. The bounce also came after the S&P 500 dropped substantially below its 50-day moving average - which had served as a resilient floor for the index this year - on Monday, its first major breach in more than six months. Freeport-McMoRan mining stocks higher with a 3% jump, following a 3.2% plunge in the S&P mining index a day earlier as copper prices hit a one-month low. Interest rate-sensitive banking stocks also bounced, tracking a rise in Treasury yields. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: U.S.-listed Chinese stocks start to recover from Monday’s slump in premarket trading as the global selloff moderates. Alibaba (BABA US), Baidu (BIDU US), Nio (NIO US), Tencent Music (TME US)and Bilibili (BILI US) are among the gainers Verrica Pharma (VRCA US) plunges 30% in premarket trading after failing to get FDA approval for VP-102 for the treatment of molluscum contagiosum ReWalk Robotics (RWLK US) shares jump 43% in U.S. premarket trading amid a spike in volume in the stock. Being discussed on StockTwits Aprea Therapeutics gains 21% in U.S. premarket trading after the company reported complete remission in a bladder cancer patient in Phase 1/2 clinical trial of eprenetapopt in combination with pembrolizumab Lennar (LEN US) shares fell 3% in Monday postmarket trading after the homebuilder forecast 4Q new orders below analysts’ consensus hurt by unprecedented supply chain challenges ConocoPhillips (COP US) ticks higher in U.S. premarket trading after it agreed to buy Shell’s  Permian Basin assets for $9.5 billion in cash, accelerating the consolidation of the largest U.S. oil patch SmileDirect (SDC US) slightly higher in premarket trading after it said on Monday that it plans to enter France with an initial location in Paris KAR Global (KAR US) shares fell 4.6% in post-market trading on Monday after the company withdrew is full-year financial outlook citing disruption caused by chip shortage Sportradar (SRAD US) shares jumped 4.5% in Monday postmarket trading, after the company said basketball legend Michael Jordan will serve as a special adviser to its board and also increase his investment in the sports betting and entertainment services provider, effective immediately Orbital Energy Group (OEG US) gained 6% postmarket Monday after a unit won a contract  to construct 1,910 miles of rural broadband network in Virginia. Terms were not disclosed “So much of this information is already known that we don’t think it will necessary set off a wave of problems,” John Bilton, head of global multi-asset strategy at JPMorgan Asset Management, said on Bloomberg TV. “I’m more concerned about knock-on sentiment at a time when investor sentiment is a bit fragile. But when we look at the fundamentals -- the general growth, and direction in the wider economy -- we still feel reasonably confident that the situation will right itself.” Aside from worries over Evergrande’s ability to make good on $300 billion of liabilities, investors are also positioning for the two-day Fed meeting starting Tuesday, where policy makers are expected to start laying the groundwork for paring stimulus.  Europe's Stoxx 600 index climbed more than 1%, rebounding from the biggest slump in two months, with energy companies leading the advance and all industry sectors in the green. Royal Dutch Shell rose after the company offered shareholders a payout from the sale of shale oil fields. Universal Music Group BV shares soared in their stock market debut after being spun off from Vivendi SE. European airlines other travel-related stocks rise for a second day following the U.S. decision to soon allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they’re fully vaccinated against Covid-19; British Airways parent IAG soars as much as 6.9%, extending Monday’s 11% jump. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Stagecoach shares jump as much as 24% after the company confirmed it is in takeover talks with peer National Express. Shell climbs as much as 4.4% after selling its Permian Basin assets to ConocoPhillips for $9.5 billion. Bechtle gains as much as 4.3% after UBS initiated coverage at buy. Husqvarna tumbles as much as 9% after the company said it is suing Briggs & Stratton in the U.S. for failing to deliver sufficient lawn mower engines for the 2022 season. Kingfisher slides as much as 6.4% after the DIY retailer posted 1H results and forecast higher profits this fiscal year. The mood was decidedly more sour earlier in the session, when Asian stocks fell for a second day amid continued concerns over China’s property sector, with Japan leading regional declines as the market reopened after a holiday. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was down 0.5%, headed for its lowest close since Aug. 30, with Alibaba and SoftBank the biggest drags. China Evergrande Group slid deeper in equity and credit markets Tuesday after S&P said the developer is on the brink of default. Markets in China, Taiwan and South Korea were closed for holidays. Worries over contagion risk from the Chinese developer’s debt problems and Beijing’s ongoing crackdowns, combined with concern over Federal Reserve tapering, sent global stocks tumbling Monday. The MSCI All-Country World Index fell 1.6%, the most since July 19. Japan’s stocks joined the selloff Tuesday as investor concerns grew over China’s real-estate sector as well as Federal Reserve tapering, with the Nikkei 225 sliding 2.2% - its biggest drop in three months, catching up with losses in global peers after a holiday - after a four-week rally boosted by expectations for favorable economic policies from a new government. Electronics makers were the biggest drag on the Topix, which declined 1.7%. SoftBank Group and Fast Retailing were the largest contributors to a 2.2% loss in the Nikkei 225. Japanese stocks with high China exposure including Toto and Nippon Paint also dropped. “The outsized reaction in global markets may be a function of having too many uncertainties bunched into this period,” Eugene Leow, a macro strategist at DBS Bank Ltd., wrote in a note. “It probably does not help that risk taking (especially in equities) has gone on for an extended period and may be vulnerable to a correction.” “The proportion of Japan’s exports to China is greater than those to the U.S. or Europe, making it sensitive to any slowdown worries in the Chinese economy,” said Hideyuki Ishiguro, a senior strategist at Nomura Asset Management in Tokyo. “The stock market has yet to fully price in the possibility of a bankruptcy by Evergrande Group.” The Nikkei 225 has been the best-performing major stock gauge in the world this month, up 6.2%, buoyed by expectations for favorable policies from a new government and an inflow of foreign cash. The Topix is up 5.3% so far in September. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index inched lower and the greenback fell versus most of its Group-of-10 peers as a selloff in global stocks over the past two sessions abated; the euro hovered while commodity currencies led by the Norwegian krone were the best performers amid an advance in crude oil prices. Sweden’s krona was little changed after the Riksbank steered clear of signaling any post-pandemic tightening, as it remains unconvinced that a recent surge in inflation will last. The pound bucked a three-day losing streak as global risk appetite revived, while investors look to Thursday’s Bank of England meeting for policy clues. The yen erased earlier gains as signs that risk appetite is stabilizing damped demand for haven assets. At the same time, losses were capped due to uncertainty over China’s handling of the Evergrande debt crisis. In rates, Treasuries were lower, although off worst levels of the day as U.S. stock futures recover around half of Monday’s losses while European equities trade with a strong bid tone. Yields are cheaper by up to 2.5bp across long-end of the curve, steepening 5s30s spread by 1.2bp; 10-year yields around 1.3226%, cheaper by 1.5bp on the day, lagging bunds and gilts by 1bp-2bp. The long-end of the curve lags ahead of $24b 20-year bond reopening. Treasury will auction $24b 20-year bonds in first reopening at 1pm ET; WI yield ~1.82% is below auction stops since January and ~3bp richer than last month’s new-issue result In commodities, crude futures rose, with the front month WTI up 1.5% near $71.50. Brent stalls near $75. Spot gold trades a narrow range near $1,765/oz. Base metals are mostly in the green with LME aluminum the best performer Looking at the day ahead now, and data releases include US housing starts and building permits for August, along with the UK public finances for September. From central banks, we’ll hear from ECB Vice President de Guindos. Otherwise, the General Debate will begin at the UN General Assembly, and the OECD publishes their Interim Economic Outlook. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 1.0% to 4,392.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.1% to 459.10 MXAP down 0.5% to 200.25 MXAPJ up 0.2% to 640.31 Nikkei down 2.2% to 29,839.71 Topix down 1.7% to 2,064.55 Hang Seng Index up 0.5% to 24,221.54 Shanghai Composite up 0.2% to 3,613.97 Sensex up 0.4% to 58,751.30 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.4% to 7,273.83 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,140.51 Brent Futures up 1.6% to $75.13/bbl Gold spot down 0.1% to $1,761.68 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 93.19 German 10Y yield fell 5.0 bps to -0.304% Euro little changed at $1.1729 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Lael Brainard is a leading candidate to be the Federal Reserve’s banking watchdog and is also being discussed for more prominent Biden administration appointments, including to replace Fed chairman Jerome Powell and, potentially, for Treasury secretary if Janet Yellen leaves Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will this week face the challenge of convincing investors that plans to scale back asset purchases aren’t a runway to raising interest rates for the first time since 2018 ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos says there is “good news” with respect to the euro-area recovery after a strong development in the second and third quarter The ECB is likely to continue purchasing junk-rated Greek sovereign debt even after the pandemic crisis has passed, according to Governing Council member and Greek central bank chief Yannis Stournaras U.K. government borrowing was well below official forecasts in the first five months of the fiscal year, providing a fillip for Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak as he prepares for a review of tax and spending next month U.K. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng warned the next few days will be challenging as the energy crisis deepens, and meat producers struggle with a crunch in carbon dioxide supplies The U.K.’s green bond debut broke demand records for the nation’s debt as investors leaped on the long-anticipated sterling asset. The nation is offering a green bond maturing in 2033 via banks on Tuesday at 7.5 basis points over the June 2032 gilt. It has not given an exact size target for the sale, which has attracted a record of more than 90 billion pounds ($123 billion) in orders Germany cut planned debt sales in the fourth quarter by 4 billion euros ($4.7 billion), suggesting the surge in borrowing triggered by the coronavirus pandemic is receding Contagion from China Evergrande Group has started to engulf even safer debt in Asia, sparking the worst sustained selloff of the securities since April. Premiums on Asian investment-grade dollar bonds widened 2-3 basis points Tuesday, according to credit traders, after a jump of 3.4 basis points on Monday Swiss National Bank policy makers watching the effects of negative interest rates on the economy are worrying about the real-estate bubble that their policy is helping to foster Global central banks need to set out clear strategies for coping with inflation risks as the world economy experiences faster-than-expected cost increases amid an uneven recovery from the pandemic, the OECD said A quick look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equities traded cautiously following the recent downbeat global risk appetite due to Evergrande contagion concerns which resulted in the worst day for Wall Street since May, with the region also contending with holiday-thinned conditions due to the ongoing closures in China, South Korea and Taiwan. ASX 200 (+0.2%) was indecisive with a rebound in the mining-related sectors counterbalanced by underperformance in utilities, financials and tech, while there were also reports that the Byron Bay area in New South Wales will be subject to a seven-day lockdown from this evening. Nikkei 225 (-1.8%) was heavily pressured and relinquished the 30k status as it played catch up to the contagion downturn on return from the extended weekend with recent detrimental currency inflows also contributing to the losses for exporters. Hang Seng (-0.3%) was choppy amid the continued absence of mainland participants with markets second-guessing whether Chinese authorities will intervene in the event of an Evergrande collapse, while shares in the world’s most indebted developer fluctuated and wiped out an early rebound, although affiliate Evergrande Property Services and other property names fared better after Sun Hung Kai disputed reports of China pressuring Hong Kong developers and with Guangzhou R&F Properties boosted by reports major shareholders pledged funds in the Co. which is also selling key assets to Country Garden. Finally, 10yr JGBs were higher amid the underperformance in Japanese stocks and with the Japan Securities Dealers Association recently noting that global funds purchased the most ultra-long Japanese bonds since 2014, although upside was limited amid softer demand at the enhanced liquidity auction for 2yr-20yr maturities and with the BoJ kickstarting its two-day policy meeting. Top Asian News Richest Banker Says Evergrande Is China’s ‘Lehman Moment’ Hong Kong Tycoons, Casino Giants Find Respite in Stock Rebound Taliban Add More Male Ministers, Say Will Include Women Later Asian Stocks Drop to Lowest Level This Month; Japan Leads Losses European equities (Stoxx 600 +1.1%) trade on a firmer footing attempting to recoup some of yesterday’s losses with not much in the way of incremental newsflow driving the upside. Despite the attempt to claw back some of the prior session’s lost ground, the Stoxx 600 is still lower by around 1.6% on the week. The Asia-Pac session was one characterised by caution and regional market closures with China remaining away from market. Focus remains on whether Evergrande will meet USD 83mln in interest payments due on Thursday and what actions Chinese authorities could take to limit the contagion from the company in the event of further troubles. Stateside, futures are also on a firmer footing with some slight outperformance in the RTY (+1.2%) vs. peers (ES +0.8%). Again, there is not much in the way of fresh positivity driving the upside and instead gains are likely more a by-product of dip-buying; attention for the US is set to become increasingly geared towards tomorrow’s FOMC policy announcement. Sectors in Europe are firmer across the board with outperformance in Oil & Gas names amid a recovery in the crude complex and gains in Shell (+4.4%) after news that the Co. is to sell its Permian Basin assets to ConocoPhillips (COP) for USD 9.5bln in cash. Other outperforming sectors include Tech, Insurance and Basic Resources. IAG (+4.1%) and Deutsche Lufthansa (+3.8%) both sit at the top of the Stoxx 600 as the Co.’s continue to enjoy the fallout from yesterday’s decision by the US to allow travel from vaccinated EU and UK passengers. Swatch (-0.7%) is lagging in the luxury space following a downgrade at RBC, whilst data showed Swiss watch exports were +11.5% Y/Y in August (prev. 29.1%). Finally, National Express (+7.7%) is reportedly considering a takeover of Stagecoach (+21.4%), which is valued at around GBP 370mln. Top European News U.K. Warns of Challenging Few Days as Energy Crisis Deepens Germany Trims Planned Debt Sales as Pandemic Impact Recedes U.K.’s Green Bond Debut Draws Record Demand of $123 Billion Goldman Plans $1.5 Billion Petershill Partners IPO in London In FX, all the signs are constructive for a classic turnaround Tuesday when it comes to Loonie fortunes as broad risk sentiment improves markedly, WTI consolidates within a firm range around Usd 71/brl compared to yesterday’s sub-Usd 70 low and incoming results from Canada’s general election indicate victory for the incumbent Liberal party that will secure a 3rd term for PM Trudeau. Hence, it’s better the devil you know as such and Usd/Cad retreated further from its stop-induced spike to just pips short of 1.2900 to probe 1.2750 at one stage before bouncing ahead of new house price data for August. Conversely, the Swedish Krona seems somewhat reluctant to get carried away with the much better market mood after the latest Riksbank policy meeting only acknowledged significantly stronger than expected inflation data in passing, and the repo rate path remained rooted to zero percent for the full forecast horizon as a consequence. However, Eur/Sek has slipped back to test 10.1600 bids/support following an initial upturn to almost 10.1800, irrespective of a rise in unemployment. NOK/AUD/NZD - No such qualms for the Norwegian Crown as Brent hovers near the top of a Usd 75.18-74.20/brl band and the Norges Bank is widely, if not universally tipped to become the first major Central Bank to shift into tightening mode on Thursday, with Eur/Nok hugging the base of a 10.1700-10.2430 range. Elsewhere, the Aussie and Kiwi look relieved rather than rejuvenated in their own right given dovish RBA minutes, a deterioration in Westpac’s NZ consumer sentiment and near reversal in credit card spending from 6.9% y/y in July to -6.3% last month. Instead, Aud/Usd and Nzd/Usd have rebounded amidst the recovery in risk appetite that has undermined their US rival to top 0.7380 and 0.7050 respectively at best. GBP/CHF/EUR/JPY/DXY - Sterling is latching on to the ongoing Dollar retracement and more supportive backdrop elsewhere to pare losses under 1.3700, while the Franc continues its revival to 0.9250 or so and almost 1.0850 against the Euro even though the SNB is bound to check its stride at the upcoming policy review, and the single currency is also forming a firmer base above 1.1700 vs the Buck. Indeed, the collective reprieve in all components of the Greenback basket, bar the Yen on diminished safe-haven demand, has pushed the index down to 93.116 from 93.277 at the earlier apex, and Monday’s elevated 93.455 perch, while Usd/Jpy is straddling 109.50 and flanked by decent option expiry interest either side. On that note, 1.4 bn resides at the 109.00 strike and 1.1 bn between 109.60-70, while there is 1.6 bn in Usd/Cad bang on 1.2800. EM - Some respite across the board in wake of yesterday’s mauling at the hands of risk-off positioning in favour of the Usd, while the Czk has also been underpinned by more hawkish CNB commentary as Holub echoes the Governor by advocating a 50 bp hike at the end of September and a further 25-50 bp in November. In commodities, WTI and Brent are firmer in the European morning post gains in excess of 1.0%, though the benchmarks are off highs after an early foray saw Brent Nov’21 eclipse USD 75.00/bbl, for instance. While there has been newsflow for the complex, mainly from various energy ministers, there hasn’t been much explicitly for crude to change the dial; thus, the benchmarks are seemingly moving in tandem with broader risk sentiment (see equities). In terms of the energy commentary, the Qatar minister said they are not thinking of re-joining OPEC+ while the UAE minister spoke on the gas situation. On this, reports in Russian press suggests that Russia might allow Rosneft to supply 10bcm of gas to Europe per year under an agency agreement with Gazprom “as an experiment”, developments to this will be closely eyed for any indication that it could serve to ease the current gas situation. Looking ahead, we have the weekly private inventory report which is expected to post a headline draw of 2.4mln and draws, albeit of a smaller magnitude, are expected for distillate and gasoline as well. Moving to metals, spot gold is marginally firmer while silver outperforms with base-metals picking up across the board from the poor performance seen yesterday that, for instance, saw LME copper below the USD 9k mark. Note, the action is more of a steadying from yesterday’s downside performance than any notable upside, with the likes of copper well within Monday’s parameters. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Aug. Building Permits MoM, est. -1.8%, prior 2.6%, revised 2.3% 8:30am: Aug. Housing Starts MoM, est. 1.0%, prior -7.0% 8:30am: Aug. Building Permits, est. 1.6m, prior 1.64m, revised 1.63m 8:30am: Aug. Housing Starts, est. 1.55m, prior 1.53m 8:30am: 2Q Current Account Balance, est. -$190.8b, prior -$195.7b DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Global markets slumped across the board yesterday in what was one of the worst days of the year as an array of concerns about the outlook gathered pace. The crisis at Evergrande and in the Chinese real estate sector was the catalyst most people were talking about, but truth be told, the market rout we’re seeing is reflecting a wider set of risks than just Chinese property, and comes after increasing questions have been asked about whether current valuations could still be justified, with talk of a potential correction picking up. Remember that 68% of respondents to my survey last week (link here) thought they’d be at least a 5% correction in equity markets before year end. So this has been front and centre of people’s mind even if the catalyst hasn’t been clear. We’ve all known about Evergrande’s woes and how big it was for a while but it wasn’t until Friday’s story of the Chinese regulatory crackdown extending into property that crystallised the story into having wider implications. As I noted in my chart of the day yesterday link here Chinese USD HY had been widening aggressively over the last couple of months but IG has been pretty rock solid. There were still no domestic signs of contagion by close of business Friday. However as it stands, there will likely be by the reopening post holidays tomorrow which reflects how quickly the story has evolved even without much new news. Before we get to the latest on this, note that we’ve still got a bumper couple of weeks on the calendar to get through, including the Fed decision tomorrow, which comes just as a potential government shutdown and debt ceiling fight are coming into view, alongside big debates on how much spending the Democrats will actually manage to pass. There has been some respite overnight with S&P 500 futures +0.58% higher and 10y UST yields up +1.5bps to 1.327%. Crude oil prices are also up c. 1%. On Evergrande, S&P Global Ratings has said that the company is on the brink of default and that it’s failure is unlikely to result in a scenario where China will be compelled to step in. The report added that they see China stepping in only if “there is a far-reaching contagion causing multiple major developers to fail and posing systemic risks to the economy.” The Hang Seng (-0.32%) is lower but the Hang Seng Properties index is up (+1.59%) and bouncing off the 5 plus year lows it hit yesterday. Elsewhere the ASX (+0.30%) and India’s Nifty (+0.35%) have also advanced. Chinese and South Korean markets are closed for a holiday but the Nikkei has reopened and is -1.80% and catching down to yesterday’s global move. Looking at yesterday’s moves in more depth, the gathering storm clouds saw the S&P 500 shed -1.70% in its worst day since May 12, with cyclical industries leading the declines and with just 10% of S&P 500 index members gaining. There was a late rally at the end of the US trading session that saw equity indices bounce off their lows, with the S&P 500 (-2.87%) and NASDAQ (-3.42%) both looking like they were going to register their worst days since October 2020 and late-February 2021 respectively. However, yesterday was still the 5th worst day for the S&P 500 in 2021. Reflecting the risk-off tone, small caps suffered in particular with the Russell 2000 falling -2.44%, whilst tech stocks were another underperformer as the NASDAQ lost -2.19% and the FANG+ index of 10 megacap tech firms saw an even bigger -3.16% decline. For Europe it was much the same story, with the STOXX 600 (-1.67%) and other bourses including the DAX (-2.31%) seeing significant losses amidst the cyclical underperformance. It was the STOXX 600’s worst performance since mid-July and the 6th worst day of the year overall. Unsurprisingly, there was also a significant spike in volatility, with the VIX index climbing +4.9pts to 25.7 – its highest closing level since mid-May – after trading above 28.0pts midday. In line with the broader risk-off move, especially sovereign bonds rallied strongly as investors downgraded their assessment of the economic outlook and moved to price out the chances of near-term rate hikes. By the close of trade, yields on 10yr Treasuries had fallen -5.1bps to 1.311%, with lower inflation breakevens (-4.1bps) leading the bulk of the declines. Meanwhile in Europe, yields on 10yr bunds (-4.0bps), OATs (-2.6bps) and BTPs (-0.9bps) similarly fell back, although there was a widening in spreads between core and periphery as investors turned more cautious. Elsewhere, commodities took a hit as concerns grew about the economic outlook, with Bloomberg’s Commodity Spot Index (-1.53%) losing ground for a third consecutive session. That said, European natural gas prices (+15.69%) were the massive exception once again, with the latest surge taking them above the peak from last Wednesday, and thus bringing the price gains since the start of August to +84.80%. Here in the UK, Business Secretary Kwarteng said that he didn’t expect an emergency regarding the energy supply, but also said that the government wouldn’t bail out failed companies. Meanwhile, EU transport and energy ministers are set to meet from tomorrow for an informal meeting, at which the massive spike in prices are likely to be discussed. Overnight, we have the first projections of the Canadian federal election with CBC News projecting that the Liberals will win enough seats to form a government for the third time albeit likely a minority government. With the counting still underway, Liberals are currently projected to win 156 seats while Conservatives are projected to win 120 seats. Both the parties are currently projected to win a seat less than last time. The Canadian dollar is up +0.44% overnight as the results remove some election uncertainty. Turning to the pandemic, the main news yesterday was that the US is set to relax its travel rules for foreign arrivals. President Biden announced the move yesterday, mandating that all adult visitors show proof of vaccination before entering the country. Airline stocks outperformed strongly in response, with the S&P 500 airlines (+1.55%) being one of the few industry groups that actually advanced yesterday. Otherwise, we heard from Pfizer and BioNTech that their vaccine trials on 5-11 year olds had successfully produced an antibody response among that age group. The dose was just a third of that used in those aged 12 and above, and they said they planned to share the data with regulators “as soon as possible”. Furthermore, they said that trials for the younger cohorts (2-5 and 6m-2) are expected as soon as Q4. In Germany, there are just 5 days left until the election now, and the last Insa poll before the vote showed a slight tightening in the race, with the centre-left SPD down a point to 25%, whilst the CDU/CSU bloc were up 1.5 points to 22%. Noticeably, that would also put the race back within the +/- 2.5% margin of error. The Greens were unchanged in third place on 15%. Staying with politics and shifting back to the US, there was news last night that Congressional Democratic leaders are looking to tie the suspension of the US debt ceiling vote to the spending bill that is due by the end of this month. If the spending bill is not enacted it would trigger a government shutdown, and if the debt ceiling is not raised it would cause defaults on federal payments as soon as October. Senate Majority Leader Schumer said the House will pass a spending bill that will fund the government through December 3rd and that the “legislation to avoid a government shutdown will also include a suspension of the debt limit through December 2022.” Republicans may balk at the second measure, given that it would take the issue off the table until after the 2022 midterm elections in November of that year. There wasn’t a great deal of data out yesterday, though German producer price inflation rose to +12.0% in August (vs. +11.1% expected), marking the fastest pace since December 1974. Separately in the US, the NAHB’s housing market index unexpectedly rose to 76 in September (vs. 75 expected), the first monthly increase since April. To the day ahead now, and data releases include US housing starts and building permits for August, along with the UK public finances for September. From central banks, we’ll hear from ECB Vice President de Guindos. Otherwise, the General Debate will begin at the UN General Assembly, and the OECD will be publishing their Interim Economic Outlook. Tyler Durden Tue, 09/21/2021 - 07:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 21st, 2021

States spent at least $89 million on COVID-19 vaccine lotteries. None of them worked, new research suggests.

'We can't find any evidence that they helped,' researcher says of states' COVID-19 vaccine lotteries. Heidi Russell, of Aurora, Colorado, was the fifth and final $1 million winner in the state's vaccine lottery. David Zalubowski/AP States' vaccine lotteries did not raise COVID-19 vaccination rates, new research suggests. The tens of millions of dollars spent on those lotteries were not a good use of funds, economists say. The finding could inform plans for future public-health emergencies. In the spring, when Ohio announced it was holding a $1 million lottery to encourage residents to get vaccinated for COVID-19, many governors' ears perked up. Could incentivizing people to get shots - rather than mandating them - actually work? At first, the answer seemed to be yes. In Ohio, the vaccination rate spiked 33% in May, with 119,394 people age 16 and up receiving the vaccine in the week after the lottery was announced. That's compared to 89,464 shots given the week prior, an Associated Press analysis found.Before long, more than a dozen states had announced their own versions of Ohio's "Vax-a-Million," including "VaxCash" in Maryland and "Vax and Scratch" in New York.But that early trend didn't seem to hold. Research published in JAMA Health Forum on Friday suggests that none of the states' lotteries were effective at raising vaccination rates. To reach that conclusion, researchers analyzed state-level COVID-19 vaccination data between April and July 2021, when shots were widely available and while 19 states were running vaccine lotteries. Their results indicated that the association between those states' announcements and their respective vaccination rates was "very small in magnitude and statistically indistinguishable from zero.""There's a lot of hype around these programs, and we can't find any evidence that they helped," Andrew Friedson, a coauthor of the research and associate professor of economics at University of Colorado Denver, told Insider.That's despite huge sums spent on these programs."Each state's doing several drawings, and these drawings are around a $1 million a pop, although some of them are less. With 19 states, you're looking at a large amount of money that's been spent on this," Friedson said.The researchers only included cash lotteries in their analysis, leaving out non-cash items like drawings to win a hunting license, which was a vaccine prize in Arkansas. They also didn't take into account private sweepstakes, such as the $1 million cash prizes that Kroger awarded to five people who got vaccinated in Kroger supermarkets. A man walks by signs for Ohio's COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic at Cleveland State University on May 25, 2021. Tony Dejak/AP Nor did the paper calculate exactly how much money states cumulatively spent on lottery programs. So Insider combined Friedman's estimate of lottery spending in 11 states ($50 million) with data provided by six additional state health departments ($39.4 million).The rough grand total: At least $89.4 million.Two states - Massachusetts and Maine - not included in Friedman's estimate did not respond to Insider's request, so that total is likely an underestimation. Additionally, a spokesperson for North Carolina's health department pointed out that the state's lottery money came from federal coronavirus relief funding."No state funds have been used to pay for the prizes," she told Insider. 'This may not be the first innovation we want to reach for'Friedson called the results of the paper disappointing, since many people were rooting for these programs."There's an opportunity cost to spending money. Every dollar that you're spending on a lottery, you could have been spending on something else. That's the really economist-y answer," he said, adding, "so to the extent that we have policies that could have helped people, that we could have been spending money on, these were not a great use of funds."Still, it's a learning opportunity, Friedson said: "Sadly, this is not gonna be the last time we're going to have a national public-health campaign."Whenever the next public-health emergency arrives, whether it's a campaign for COVID-19 booster shots or another pandemic, it's important to know what doesn't work as well as what does. "With regard to policies to try to raise vaccination rates, this may not be the first innovation we want to reach for," Friedson said. Staff Sgt. Travis Snyder receives the Pfizer vaccine at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state on December 16, 2020. Ted S. Warren/AP So which incentives, if any, do work? As an economist, Friedson said, suggesting an alternative approach that would work is beyond his purview. For the scientists focused on that, it's a process of experimentation."The short answer is, we don't know until we try these things," Friedson said. Previous research may hint at an answer. A review of scientific literature about interventions to address vaccine hesitancy, published prior to the pandemic, did not find strong evidence that monetary rewards have much effect on vaccination rates. But those campaigns largely focused on children, not adults.That said, Nichole Lighthall, an assistant psychology professor at the University of Central Florida, told ABC News in May that guaranteed cash rewards, such as the $100 savings bonds that West Virginia offered residents for getting vaccinated, may work better than lotteries. "People like to gamble, but people love to get money for sure even more," she said. There's a possibility, though, that Americans' beliefs about COVID-19 vaccines are too deeply rooted for a reward to be effective, in larger part because of the way some leaders and groups politicized them. "If you buy into the idea that vaccines are dangerous - and I can't stress enough that that this idea is wrong - but if you believe that there's something sinister going on with this vaccine, it's unlikely that a payment is going to convince you, regardless of how big it is," Friedson said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt20 min. ago

Bitcoin breaks $60,000 for the first time since April as crypto ETFs look set for watershed SEC approval

Market sentiment is on the upturn as the SEC appears ready to allow the first US bitcoin futures ETF to start trading next week. Getty Bitcoin broke the $60,000 level on Friday for the first time since April as investors were encouraged by signs a futures ETF will soon be approved. The SEC is set to allow trading of the first US bitcoin futures ETF next week, Bloomberg reported. The digital coin rose as much as 5% to $60,343.07. It's now just 7.5% from a record high. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Bitcoin topped $60,000 for the first time since April on Friday as investors celebrated the prospect of the SEC approving the first US bitcoin futures ETF within days.The digital asset rose as much as 5% to $60,343.07, according to Bloomberg data, bringing it within 7.5% of its record price of $64,869.78. That takes bitcoin's year-to-date gains to roughly 107%.Market sentiment is on the upturn as the SEC is ready to allow the first US bitcoin futures ETF to start trading next week, according to Bloomberg.Anticipation has been further fuelled by the regulator approving Volt Equity's ETF last week, according to Will Hamilton, head of trading and research at digital asset management firm TCM Capital.Volt's ETF specifically tracks companies that have significant exposure to bitcoin, or generate most of their profit from bitcoin-related activities like mining, lending, or manufacturing mining equipment."It's a small step, but a very promising one," Hamilton said. "In essence, the SEC has given the nod, from an investor protection point of view, that investing in these heavily crypto-exposed companies is 'ok'."Separately, a direct update from the SEC seems to have contributed to Friday's moves. The regulator's investor education Twitter account posted a link to a June notice on Thursday, warning about the risks associated with investing in bitcoin."Before investing in a fund that holds Bitcoin futures contracts, make sure you carefully weigh the potential risks and benefits," the tweet said. Investors interpreted it as signalling the regulator will approve those types of funds at some point next week.On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he recognizes cryptocurrencies as a means of payment. And Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman admitted crypto is more than just a fad.Further, Coinbase proposed creating a special regulator as a potential solution to the lack of regulatory clarity and enforcement in crypto markets, as it believes digital assets need to be treated differently to stocks.Crypto traders seem to have brushed off comments from JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon that bitcoin is "worthless," and Bank of England's deputy governor Jon Cunliffe warning that the coin could trigger a 2008-level meltdown."Instead of scaremongering about bitcoin, certain officials should look closer to home," said Paolo Ardoino, chief technology officer at trading platform Bitfinex. "The unsustainable inflationary monetary policies of central banks will inevitably unravel."Read More: 2 ETF veterans-turned crypto investors break down why they think the SEC should approve a bitcoin ETF that invests in the digital currency itself instead of futures contracts - and share the 3 main pitfalls of a futures-based ETFRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nyt20 hr. 48 min. ago

Goldman Blows Away Expectations With Blockbuster Trading, Investment Banking Quarter

Goldman Blows Away Expectations With Blockbuster Trading, Investment Banking Quarter With most big banks reporting solid earnings (with the possible exception of JPM which had some stumbles and the typical exception of Wells Fargo), all eyes were on Goldman Sachs today which was expected to round out the Q3 big bank reporting with solid numbers. What it reported was nothing short of blockbuster, with the company smashing expectations in virtually every segment. Here are the big picture highlights: Net revenue $13.61 billion, smashing estimates of $11.60 billion, and coming above the top end of the estimate range of $10.51 billion to $12.74 billion. Revenues were 26% higher than the third quarter of 2020 and 12% lower than the second quarter of 2021. The increase compared with the third quarter of 2020 reflected significantly higher net revenues in Investment Banking, Global Markets and Consumer & Wealth Management, partially offset by lower net revenues in Asset Management. EPS $14.93, smashing estimates of $9.92, up 66% from the $8.98 a year ago if down 1% from Q2 2021. Remarkably, EPS hit $48.59 for the first nine months of 2021 compared with $12.65 for the first nine months of 2020, an almost 4x increase. Drilling down also showed nothing but beats: Investment banking revenue $3.55 billion, beating estimates of $2.85 billion; this was the second highest quarterly net revenues on record, "reflecting record quarterly net revenues in Financial advisory and continued strength in Underwriting" Trading rev. $5.61 billion, beating estimates of $4.14 billion; The number reflected strong performance in Equities, "including record Equities financing net revenues, and the second highest Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities (FICC) financing net revenues." FICC sales & trading revenue $2.51 billion, beating estimates of $1.95 billion if down 10% Y/Y; driven by revenue from mortgage lending but offset by lower revenues in FICC intermediation "reflecting significantly lower net revenues in interest rate products, credit products and mortgages, partially offset by significantly higher net revenues in commodities and higher net revenues in currencies" Equities sales & trading revenue $3.10 billion, beating estimates $2.21 billion and up 30% Y/Y, "reflecting increased client activity (including higher average client balances), and Equities intermediation, reflecting significantly higher net revenues in both derivatives and cash products" Net interest income $1.56 billion, beating estimates $1.43 billion Compensation expenses $3.17 billion, beating estimates $3.44 billion Commenting on the earnings, CEO David Solomon said that "the third quarter saw strong operating performance and an acceleration of our investment in the growth of Goldman Sachs. We announced two strategic acquisitions in our Asset Management and Consumer businesses which will enhance our scale and ability to drive higher, more durable returns. Looking forward, the opportunity set continues to be attractive across all of our businesses and our focus remains on serving our clients and executing our strategy.” Unlike other major banks, Goldman's provision for credit losses was modest at just $175 million for the third quarter of 2021, compared with $278 million for the third quarter of 2020 and a net benefit of $92 million for the second quarter of 2021. The third quarter of 2021 primarily reflected provisions related to portfolio growth (primarily in credit cards), while the third quarter of 2020 reflected reserve increases from individual impairments related to wholesale loans and growth in credit card loans, partially offset by reserve reductions from paydowns on corporate lines of credit and consumer installment loans. The firm’s allowance for credit losses was $4.17 billion as of September 30, 2021. Taking a closer look at the various segments, we start with... Investment banking, where net revenues were $3.70 billion for the third quarter of 2021, 88% higher than the third quarter of 2020 and 3% higher than the second quarter of 2021. The increase compared with the third quarter of 2020 reflected significantly higher net revenues in Financial advisory, Underwriting and Corporate lending. The $3.70BN in revenue consisted of: Financial Advisory: $1.65BN Underwriting: $1.90BN Corporate Lending: $152MM As with other banks, the increase in Financial advisory net revenues "reflected an increase in completed mergers and acquisitions volumes. The increase in Underwriting net revenues was due to significantly higher net revenues in both Equity underwriting, primarily driven by private placements, convertible offerings and initial public offerings, and Debt underwriting, reflecting an increase in leveraged finance activity. The increase in Corporate lending net revenues primarily reflected net gains related to middle-market lending activities. That said, the firm’s backlog was lower compared with the end of the second quarter of 2021, but remained significantly higher compared with the end of 2020. * * * Global Markets generated net revenue of $5.61 billion for the third quarter of 2021, 23% higher than the third quarter of 2020 and 15% higher than the second quarter of 2021. Net revenues in FICC were $2.51 billion, essentially unchanged compared with the third quarter of 2020. Net revenues in FICC financing were significantly higher, primarily from mortgage lending. Net revenues in FICC intermediation were lower (at $2.00BN), reflecting significantly lower net revenues in interest rate products, credit products and mortgages, partially offset by significantly higher net revenues in commodities and higher net revenues in currencies. Another $513MM in FICC revenue came from financing. Net revenues in Equities were $3.10 billion, 51% higher than the third quarter of 2020, due to significantly higher net revenues in both Equities financing ($1.18BN), reflecting increased client activity (including higher average client balances), and Equities intermediation ($1.92BN), reflecting significantly higher net revenues in both derivatives and cash products. * * * Asset Management (aka Goldman prop) revenues were $2.28 billion for the third quarter of 2021, 18% lower than the third quarter of 2020 and surprisingly 56% lower than a strong second quarter of 2021. The decrease compared with the third quarter of 2020 was primarily driven by significantly lower net revenues in Equity investments ($935MM). In addition, net revenues in Lending and debt investments ($520MM) were lower, while Incentive fees ($100MM) were higher. The decrease in Equity investments net revenues reflected significant net losses from investments in public equities during the quarter compared with net gains in the third quarter of 2020, partially offset by significantly higher net gains from investments in private equities. The decrease in Lending and debt investments net revenues reflected lower net gains from investments in debt instruments. Management and other fees ($724MM) were essentially unchanged, primarily reflecting higher fee waivers on money market funds, offset by the impact of higher average assets under supervision. The increase in Incentive fees was due to harvesting (i.e. selling). Here is a snapshot of Goldman's asset mix: * * * While a far smaller component of the bank's revenues, Consumer & Wealth Management generated revenues of $2.02 billion for the third quarter of 2021, 35% higher than the third quarter of 2020 and 16% higher than the second quarter of 2021. Net revenues in Wealth management were $1.64 billion, 40% higher than the third quarter of 2020. Management and other fees were significantly higher, primarily reflecting the impact of higher average assets under supervision. Incentive fees were significantly higher, due to harvesting, and net revenues in Private banking and lending were higher, primarily reflecting higher loan balances. Net revenues in Consumer banking were $382 million, 17% higher than the third quarter of 2020, reflecting higher credit card and deposit balances. Stepping away from revenues, Goldman reported that total operating expenses were $6.59 billion for the third quarter of 2021, 6% higher  than the third quarter of 2020 and 24% lower than the second quarter of 2021. The firm’s efficiency ratio for the first nine months of 2021 was 52.8%, compared with 70.3% for the first nine months of 2020. The increase in operating expenses compared with the third quarter of 2020 was due to higher technology expenses, professional fees, transaction based expenses and market development expenses. These increases were partially offset by significantly lower net provisions for litigation and regulatory proceedings. Compensation and benefits expenses were also slightly higher. While there was a bit of a mystery surrounding Goldman's disclosure that "Equity investments net revenues reflected significant net losses from investments in public equities during the quarter compared with net gains in the third quarter of 2020", the market was clearly content with the overall performance, and especially the surge in Ibanking advisory fees and equity trading, and as a result, Goldman stock jumped in the premarket, topping $400 and not far from its all time high of $420 hit back in August. Goldman's Q3 presentation pdf can be found here. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 09:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge21 hr. 4 min. ago

Futures Jump On Profit Optimism As Oil Tops $85; Bitcoin Nears $60,000

Futures Jump On Profit Optimism As Oil Tops $85; Bitcoin Nears $60,000 One day after the S&P posted its biggest one-day surge since March, index futures extended this week’s gains, helped by a stellar bank earnings, while the latest labor market data and inflation eased stagflation fears for the time being. . The 10-year Treasury yield rose and the dollar was steady. Goldman Sachs reports on Friday. At 715 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 147 points, or 0.42%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 16.5 points, or 0.37%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 42.75 points, or 0.28%. Oil futures topped $85/bbl, jumping to their highest in three years amid an energy crunch that’s stoking inflationary pressures and prices for raw materials. A gauge of six industrial metals hit a record high on the London Metal Exchange.  Energy firms including Chevron and Exxon gained about half a percent each, tracking Brent crude prices that scaled the 3 year high. Solid earnings in the reporting season are tempering fears that rising costs and supply-chain snarls will hit corporate balance sheets and growth. At the same time, the wider debate about whether a stagflation-like backdrop looms remains unresolved. “We don’t sign up to the stagflation narrative that is doing the rounds,” said Hugh Gimber, global strategist at the perpetually optimistic J.P. Morgan Asset Management. “The economy is being supported by robust consumer balance sheets, rebounding business investment and a healthy labor market.” “After a choppy start to the week, equity markets appear to be leaning towards a narrative that companies can continue to grow profits, despite the combined pressures of higher energy prices and supply chain disruptions,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in London. Bitcoin and the crypto sector jumped after Bloomberg reported late on Thursday that the Securities and Exchange Commission is poised to allow the first U.S. Bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund to begin trading in a watershed moment for the cryptocurrency industry. Bitcoin traded off session highs having tested $60k during Asian hours, but will likely rise to new all time highs shortly. Also overnight, Joe Biden signed a bill providing a short-term increase in the debt limit, averting the imminent threat of a financial calamity. But it only allows the Treasury Department to meets its financial obligations until roughly Dec. 3, so the can has been kicked for less than two months - brace for more bitter partisan battles in the coming weeks. This week’s move into rate-sensitive FAAMG growth names looked set to continue, with their shares inching up. Moderna rose 3.0% after a U.S. FDA panel voted to recommend booster shots of its COVID-19 vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older and high-risk people. Western Digital slipped 2.5% as Goldman Sachs downgraded the storage hardware maker’s stock to “neutral” from “buy”. Here are some of the key premarket movers on Friday morning: Virgin Galactic (SPCE US) shares slump as much as 23% in U.S. premarket trading as the firm is pushing the start of commercial flights further into next year after rescheduling a test flight, disappointing investors with the unexpected delay to its space tourism business plans Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks rise in U.S. premarket trading after a report that the Securities and Exchange Commission is poised to allow the first U.S. Bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund to begin trading.  Bit Digital (BTBT US) +6.7%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) +4.6%, Marathon Digital (MARA US) +3.6% Alcoa (AA US) shares jump 5.6% in thin volumes after co. reported profits that beat the average analyst estimate and said it will be paying a dividend to its shareholders Moderna (MRNA US) extends Thursday’s gains; Piper Sandler recommendation on Moderna Inc. to overweight from neutral, a day after co.’s Covid-19 booster got FDA nod for use in older, high-risk people Duck Creek Technologies (DCT US) shares fell 12% in Thursday postmarket trading after the software company projected 2022 revenue that fell short of the average analyst estimate 23andMe Holdings (ME US) soared 14% in Thursday postmarket trading after EMJ Capital founder Eric Jackson called the genetics testing company “the next Roku” on CNBC Corsair Gaming (CRSR US) shares fell 3.7% in post-market trading after it cut its net revenue forecast for the full year Early on Friday, China's PBOC broke its silence on Evergrande, saying risks to the financial system are controllable and unlikely to spread. Authorities and local governments are resolving the situation, central bank official Zou Lan said. The bank has asked lenders to keep credit to the real estate sector stable and orderly. In Europe, gains for banks, travel companies and carmakers outweighed losses for utilities and telecommunications industries, pushing the Stoxx Europe 600 Index up 0.3%. Telefonica fell 3.3%, the most in more than four months, after Barclays cut the Spanish company to underweight. Temenos and Pearson both slumped more than 10% after their business updates disappointed investors. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Devoteam shares rise as much as 25% after its controlling shareholder, Castillon, increased its stake in the IT consulting group to 85% and launched an offer for the remaining capital. QinetiQ rises as much as 5.4% following a plunge in the defense tech company’s stock on Thursday. Investec upgraded its recommendation to buy and Berenberg said the shares now look oversold. Hugo Boss climbs as much as 4.4% to the highest level since September 2019 after the German apparel maker reported 3Q results that exceeded expectations. Jefferies (hold) noted the FY guidance hike also was bigger than expected. Mediclinic rises as much as 7.7% to highest since May 26 after 1H results, which Morgan Stanley says showed strong underlying operating performance with “solid metrics.” Temenos sinks as much as 14% after the company delivered a “mixed bag” with its 3Q results, according to Baader (sell). Weakness in Europe raises questions about the firm’s outlook for a recovery in the region, the broker said. Pearson declines as much as 12%, with analysts flagging weaker trading in its U.S. higher education courseware business in its in-line results. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks headed for their best week in more than a month amid a list of positive factors including robust U.S. earnings, strong results at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and easing home-loan restrictions in China.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained as much as 1.3%, pushing its advance this week to more than 1.5%, the most since the period ended Sept. 3. Technology shares provided much of the boost after chip giant TSMC announced fourth-quarter guidance that beat analysts’ expectations and said it will build a fabrication facility for specialty chips in Japan. Shares in China rose as people familiar with the matter said the nation loosened restrictions on home loans at some of its largest banks.  Conditions are good for tech and growth shares now long-term U.S. yields have fallen following inflation data this week, Shogo Maekawa, a strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management in Tokyo. “If data going forward are able to provide an impression that demand is strong too -- on top of a sense of relief from easing supply chain worries -- it’ll be a reason for share prices to take another leap higher.”  Asia’s benchmark equity gauge is still 10% below its record-high set in February, as analysts stay on the lookout for higher bond yields and the impact of supply-chain issues on profit margins.  Japanese stocks rose, with the Topix halting a three-week losing streak, after Wall Street rallied on robust corporate earnings. The Topix rose 1.9% to close at 2,023.93, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 1.8% to 29,068.63. Keyence Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s gain, increasing 3.7%. Out of 2,180 shares in the index, 1,986 rose and 155 fell, while 39 were unchanged. For the week, the Topix climbed 3.2% and the Nikkei added 3.6%. Semiconductor equipment and material makers rose after TSMC said it will build a fabrication facility for specialty chips in Japan and plans to begin production there in late 2024.  U.S. index futures held gains during Asia trading hours. The contracts climbed overnight after a report showed applications for state unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest since March 2020.  “U.S. initial jobless claims fell sharply, and have returned to levels seen before the spread of the coronavirus,” said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a market strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo. “The fact that more people are returning to their jobs will help ease supply chain problems caused by the lack of workers.” Australian stocks also advanced, posting a second week of gains. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.7% to close at 7,362.00, with most sectors ending higher.  The benchmark added 0.6% since Monday, climbing for a second week. Miners capped their best week since July 16 with a 3% advance. Hub24 jumped on Friday after Evans & Partners upgraded the stock to positive from neutral. Pendal Group tumbled after it reported net outflows for the fourth quarter of A$2.3 billion. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.3% to 13,012.19 In rates, the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield rose over 3bps to 1.54%. Treasuries traded heavy across long-end of the curve into early U.S. session amid earning-driven gains for U.S. stock futures. Yields are higher by more than 3bp across long-end of the curve, 10- year by 2.8bp at about 1.54%, paring its first weekly decline since August; weekly move has been led by gilts and euro-zone bonds, also under pressure Friday, with U.K. 10-year yields higher by 3.3bp. Today's bear-steepening move pares the weekly bull-flattening trend. U.S. session features a packed economic data slate and speeches by Fed’s Bullard and Williams.   In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed even as the greenback weakened against most of its Group-of-10 peers; the euro hovered around $1.16 while European and U.S. yields rose, led by the long end. Norway’s krone led G-10 gains as oil jumped to $85 a barrel for the first time since late 2018 amid the global energy crunch; the currency rallied by as much as 0.6% to 8.4015 per dollar, the strongest level since June. New Zealand’s dollar advanced to a three-week high as bets on RBNZ’s tightening momentum build ahead of Monday’s inflation data; the currency is outperforming all G-10 peers this week. The yen dropped to a three-year low as rising equities in Asia damped demand for low-yielding haven assets. China’s offshore yuan advanced to its highest in four months while short-term borrowing costs eased after the central bank added enough medium-term funds into the financial system to maintain liquidity at existing levels. In commodities, crude futures trade off best levels. WTI slips back below $82, Brent fades after testing $85. Spot gold slips back through Thursday’s lows near $1,786/oz. Base metals extend the week’s rally with LME nickel and zinc gaining over 2%. Today's retail sales report, due at 08:30 a.m. ET, is expected to show retail sales fell in September amid continued shortages of motor vehicles and other goods. The data will come against the backdrop of climbing oil prices, labor shortages and supply chain disruptions, factors that have rattled investors and have led to recent choppiness in the market. Looking at the day ahead now, and US data releases include September retail sales, the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for October, and the Empire State manufacturing survey for October. Central bank speakers include the Fed’s Bullard and Williams, and earnings releases include Charles Schwab and Goldman Sachs. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,443.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.4% to 467.66 German 10Y yield up 2.4 bps to -0.166% Euro little changed at $1.1608 MXAP up 1.3% to 198.33 MXAPJ up 1.2% to 650.02 Nikkei up 1.8% to 29,068.63 Topix up 1.9% to 2,023.93 Hang Seng Index up 1.5% to 25,330.96 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,572.37 Sensex up 0.9% to 61,305.95 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.7% to 7,361.98 Kospi up 0.9% to 3,015.06 Brent Futures up 1.0% to $84.83/bbl Gold spot down 0.5% to $1,787.54 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 93.92 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg China’s central bank broke its silence on the crisis at China Evergrande Group, saying risks to the financial system stemming from the developer’s struggles are “controllable” and unlikely to spread The ECB has a good track record when it comes to flexibly deploying its monetary instruments and will continue that approach even after the pandemic crisis, according to policy maker Pierre Wunsch Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance says fourth issuance of BTP Futura to start on Nov. 8 until Nov. 12, according to a statement The world’s largest digital currency rose about 3% to more than $59,000 on Friday -- taking this month’s rally to over 35% -- after Bloomberg News reported the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission looks poised to allow the country’s first futures-based cryptocurrency ETF Copper inventories available on the London Metal Exchange hit the lowest level since 1974, in a dramatic escalation of a squeeze on global supplies that’s sent spreads spiking and helped drive prices back above $10,000 a ton A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded higher amid tailwinds from the upbeat mood across global peers including the best day for the S&P 500 since March after strong US bank earnings, encouraging data and a decline in yields spurred risk appetite. The ASX 200 (+0.7%) was positive as the tech and mining sectors continued to spearhead the advances in the index in which the former took impetus from Wall St where the softer yield environment was conducive to the outperformance in tech, although mining giant Rio Tinto was among the laggards following weaker quarterly production results. The Nikkei 225 (+1.8%) was buoyed as exporters benefitted from the JPY-risk dynamic but with Fast Retailing failing to join in on the spoils despite an 88% jump in full-year net as its profit guidance underwhelmed with just 3% growth seen for the year ahead, while Taiwan's TAIEX (+2.2%) surged with the spotlight on TSMC earnings which reached a record high amid the chip crunch and with the Co. to also build a factory in Japan that could receive JPY 500bln of support from the Japanese government. The Hang Seng (+1.5%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) were initially indecisive amid the overhang from lingering developer default concerns although found some mild support from reports that China is to relax banks' mortgage limits through the rest of 2021. Focus was also on the PBoC which announced a CNY 500bln MLF operation, although this just matched the amount maturing this month and there are mixed views regarding prospects of a looming RRR cut with ANZ Bank's senior China strategist recently suggesting the potential for a 50bps cut in RRR or targeted MLF as early as today, although a recent poll showed analysts had pushed back their calls for a RRR cut from Q4 2021 to Q1 2022. Finally, 10yr JGBs marginally pulled back from this week’s advances after hitting resistance at the 151.50 level, with demand hampered amid the firm gains in Japanese stocks and the lack of BoJ purchases in the market today. Top Asian News Hong Kong Probes Going Concern Reporting of Evergrande U.S. Futures Hold Gains as Oil Hits 3-Year High: Markets Wrap Toyota Cuts November Outlook by 15% on Parts Shortage, Covid Yango Group Wires Repayment Fund for Onshore Bond Due Oct. 22 Bourses in Europe have held onto the modest gains seen at the cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.4%; Stoxx 600 +0.3%), but the region is off its best levels with the upside momentum somewhat faded heading into the US open, and amidst a lack of fresh newsflow. US equity futures have remained in positive territory, although the latest leg lower in bonds has further capped the tech-laden NQ (+0.2%), which underperforms vs the ES (+0.3%), YM (+0.3%) and RTY (+0.7%), with traders on the lookout for another set of earnings, headlined by Goldman Sachs at 12:25BST/07:25EDT. Back to Europe, bourses see broad-based gains, whilst sectors are mostly in the green with clear underperformance experienced in defensives, with Telecoms, Utilities, Healthcare and Staples at the foot of the bunch. On the flipside, Banks reap rewards from the uptick in yields, closely followed by Travel & Leisure, Autos & Parts and Retail. Renault (+4%) drives the gains in Autos after unveiling a prototype version of the Renault Master van that will go on sale next year. Travel & Leisure is bolstered by the ongoing reopening trade with potential tailwinds heading into the Christmas period. Retail meanwhile is boosted by Hugo Boss (+1.8%) topping forecasts and upgrading its guidance. Top European News Autumn Heat May Curb European Gas Demand, Prices Next Week Bollore Looking for Buyers for Africa Logistics Ops: Le Monde U.K. Offers Foreign Butchers Visas After 6,000 Pigs Culled Europe’s Car-Sales Crash Points to Worse Year Than Poor 2020 In FX, the Greenback was already losing momentum after a relatively tame bounce on the back of Thursday’s upbeat US initial claims data, and the index failed to sustain its recovery to retest intraday highs or remain above 94.000 on a closing basis. However, the Buck did reclaim some significant and psychological levels against G10, EM currencies and Gold that was relishing the benign yield environment and the last DXY price was marginally better than the 21 DMA from an encouraging technical standpoint. Nevertheless, the Dollar remains weaker vs most majors and in need of further impetus that may come via retail sales, NY Fed manufacturing and/or preliminary Michigan Sentiment before the spotlight switches to today’s Fed speakers featuring arch hawk Bullard and the more neutral Williams. GBP/NZD/NOK - Sterling has refuelled and recharged regardless of the ongoing UK-EU rift over NI Protocol, though perhaps in part due to the fact that concessions from Brussels are believed to have been greeted with welcome surprise by some UK Ministers. Cable has reclaimed 1.3700+ status, breached the 50 DMA (at 1.3716 today) and yesterday’s best to set a marginal new w-t-d peak around 1.3739, while Eur/Gbp is edging closer to 0.8450 having clearly overcome resistance at 1.1800 in the reciprocal cross. Similarly, the Kiwi continues to derive impetus from the softer Greenback and Aud/Nzd flows as Nzd/Usd extends beyond 0.7050 and the Antipodean cross inches nearer 1.0500 from 1.0600+ highs. Elsewhere, the Norwegian Crown is aiming to add 9.7500 to its list of achievements relative to the Euro with a boost from Brent topping Usd 85/brl at one stage and a wider trade surplus. CAD - The Loonie is also profiting from oil as WTI crude rebounds through Usd 82 and pulling further away from 1.5 bn option expiry interest between 1.2415-00 in the process, with Usd/Cad towards the base of 1.2337-82 parameters. EUR/AUD/CHF/SEK - All narrowly mixed and rangy vs the Greenback, or Euro in the case of the latter, as Eur/Usd continues to straddle 1.1600, Aud/Usd churn on the 0.7400 handle, the Franc meander from 0.9219 to 0.9246 and Eur/Sek skirt 10.0000 having dipped below the round number briefly on Thursday. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures remain on a firmer footing, aided up the overall constructive risk appetite coupled with some bullish technical developments, as WTI Nov surpassed USD 82/bbl (vs 81.39/bbl low) and Brent Dec briefly topped USD 85/bbl (vs 84.16/bbl low). There has been little in terms of fresh fundamental catalysts to drive the price action, although Russia's Gazprom Neft CEO hit the wires earlier and suggested that reserve production capacity could meet the increase in oil demand, whilst a seasonal decline in oil consumption is possible and the oil market will stabilise in the nearest future. On the Iranian JCPOA front, Iran said it is finalising steps to completing its negotiating team but they are absolutely decided to go back to Vienna discussions and conclude the negotiations, WSJ's Norman. The crude complex seems to have (for now) overlooked reports that the White House is engaged in diplomacy" with OPEC+ members regarding output. UK nat gas prices were higher as European players entered the fray, but prices have since waned off best levels after Russian Deputy PM Novak suggested that gas production in Russia is running at maximum capacity. Elsewhere, spot gold has been trundling amid yield-play despite lower despite the Buck being on the softer side of today’s range. Spot gold failed to hold onto USD 1,800/oz status yesterday and has subsequently retreated below its 200 DMA (1,794/oz) and makes its way towards the 50 DMA (1,776/oz). LME copper prices are on a firmer footing with prices back above USD 10,000/t – supported by technicals and the overall risk tone, although participants are cognizant of potential Chinese state reserves releases. Conversely, Dalian iron ore futures fell for a third straight session, with Rio Tinto also cutting its 2021 iron ore shipment forecasts due to dampened Chinese demand. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. Retail Sales Advance MoM, est. -0.2%, prior 0.7% 8:30am: Sept. Retail Sales Ex Auto MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 1.8% 8:30am: Sept. Retail Sales Control Group, est. 0.5%, prior 2.5% 8:30am: Sept. Retail Sales Ex Auto and Gas, est. 0.3%, prior 2.0% 8:30am: Oct. Empire Manufacturing, est. 25.0, prior 34.3 8:30am: Sept. Import Price Index MoM, est. 0.6%, prior -0.3%; YoY, est. 9.4%, prior 9.0% 8:30am: Sept. Export Price Index MoM, est. 0.7%, prior 0.4%; YoY, prior 16.8% 10am: Aug. Business Inventories, est. 0.6%, prior 0.5% 10am: Oct. U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, est. 4.7%, prior 4.6%; 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 3.0% 10am: Oct. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 73.1, prior 72.8 10am: Oct. U. of Mich. Current Conditions, est. 81.2, prior 80.1 10am: Oct. U. of Mich. Expectations, est. 69.1, prior 68.1 DB's Jim Ried concludes the overnight wrap A few people asked me what I thought of James Bond. I can’t say without spoilers so if anyone wants my two sentence review I will cut and paste it to all who care and reply! At my age I was just impressed I sat for over three hours (including trailers) without needing a comfort break. By the time you email I will have also listened to the new Adele single which dropped at midnight so happy to include that review as well for free. While we’re on the subject of music, risk assets feel a bit like the most famous Chumbawamba song at the moment. They get knocked down and they get up again. Come to think about it that’s like James Bond too. Yesterday was a strong day with the S&P 500 (+1.71%) moving back to within 2.2% of its all-time closing high from last month. If they can survive all that has been thrown at them of late then one wonders where they’d have been without any of it. The strong session came about thanks to decent corporate earnings releases, a mini-collapse in real yields, positive data on US jobless claims, as well as a further fall in global Covid-19 cases that leaves them on track for an 8th consecutive weekly decline. However, inflation remained very much on investors’ radars, with a range of key commodities taking another leg higher, even as US data on producer prices was weaker than expected. Starting with the good news, the equity strength was across the board with the S&P 500 experiencing its best daily performance since March, whilst Europe’s STOXX 600 (+1.20%) also put in solid gains. It was an incredibly broad-based move higher, with every sector group in both indices rising on the day, with a remarkable 479 gainers in the S&P 500, which is the second-highest number we’ve seen over the last 18 months. Every one of the 24 S&P 500 industry groups rose, led by cyclicals such as semiconductors (+3.12%), transportation (+2.51%) and materials (+2.43%). A positive start to the Q3 earnings season buoyed sentiment, as a number of US banks (+1.45%) reported yesterday, all of whom beat analyst estimates. In fact, of the nine S&P 500 firms to report yesterday, eight outperformed analyst expectations. Weighing in on recent macro themes, Bank of America Chief, Brian Moynihan, noted that the current bout of inflation is “clearly not temporary”, but also that he expects consumer demand to remain robust and that supply chains will have to adjust. I’m sure we’ll hear more from executives as earnings season continues today. Alongside those earnings releases, yesterday saw much better than expected data on the US labour market, which makes a change from last week’s underwhelming jobs report that showed the slowest growth in nonfarm payrolls so far this year. In terms of the details, the weekly initial jobless claims for the week through October 9, which is one of the most timely indicators we get, fell to a post-pandemic low of 293k (vs. 320k expected). That also saw the 4-week moving average hit a post-pandemic low of 334.25k, just as the continuing claims number for the week through October 2 hit a post-pandemic low of 2.593m (vs. 2.670m expected). We should get some more data on the state of the US recovery today, including September retail sales, alongside the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index for October. That optimism has fed through into Asian markets overnight, with the Nikkei (+1.43%), the Hang Seng (+0.86%), the Shanghai Comp (+0.29%) and the KOSPI (+0.93%) all moving higher. That came as Bloomberg reported that China would loosen restrictions on home loans amidst the concerns about Evergrande. And we also got formal confirmation that President Biden had signed the debt-limit increase that the House had passed on Tuesday, which extends the ceiling until around December 3. Equity futures are pointing to further advances in the US and Europe later on, with those on the S&P 500 (+0.30%) and the STOXX 50 (+0.35%) both moving higher. Even with the brighter news, inflation concerns are still very much with us however, and yesterday in fact saw Bloomberg’s Commodity Spot Index (+1.16%) advance to yet another record high, exceeding the previous peak from early last week. That was partly down to the continued rise in oil prices, with WTI (+1.08%) closing at $81.31/bbl, its highest level since 2014, just as Brent Crude (+0.99%) hit a post-2018 high of $84.00/bbl. Both have posted further gains this morning of +0.58% and +0.61% respectively. Those moves went alongside further rises in natural gas prices, which rose for a 3rd consecutive session, albeit they’re still beneath their peak from earlier in the month, as futures in Europe (+9.14%), the US (+1.74%) and the UK (+9.26%) all moved higher. And that rise in Chinese coal futures we’ve been mentioning also continued, with their rise today currently standing at +13.86%, which brings their gains over the week as a whole to +39.02% so far. As well as energy, industrial metals were another segment where the recent rally showed no sign of abating yesterday. On the London metal exchange, a number of multi-year milestones were achieved, with aluminum prices (+1.60%) up to their highest levels since 2008, just as zinc prices (+3.73%) closed at their highest level since 2018. Separately, copper prices (+2.56%) hit a 4-month high, and other winners yesterday included iron ore futures in Singapore (+1.16%), as well as nickel (+1.99%) and lead (+2.43%) prices in London. With all this momentum behind commodities, inflation expectations posted further advances yesterday. Indeed, the 10yr US Breakeven closed +1.0bps higher at 2.536%, which is just 3bps shy of its closing peak back in May that marked its highest level since 2013. And those moves came in spite of US producer price data that came in weaker than expected, with the monthly increase in September at +0.5% (vs. +0.6% expected). That was the smallest rise so far this year, though that still sent the year-on-year number up to +8.6% (vs. +8.7% expected). That rise in inflation expectations was echoed in Europe too, with the 10yr UK breakeven (+5.6bps) closing at its highest level since 2008, whilst its German counterpart also posted a modest +0.7bps rise. In spite of the rise in inflation expectations, sovereign bonds posted gains across the board as the moves were outweighed by the impact of lower real rates. By the end of yesterday’s session, yields on 10yr Treasuries were down -2.6bps to 1.527%, which came as the 10yr real yield moved back beneath -1% for the first time in almost a month. Likewise in Europe, yields pushed lower throughout the session, with those on 10yr bunds (-6.3bps), OATs (-6.2bps) and BTPs (-7.1bps) all moving aggressively lower. To the day ahead now, and US data releases include September retail sales, the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for October, and the Empire State manufacturing survey for October. Central bank speakers include the Fed’s Bullard and Williams, and earnings releases include Charles Schwab and Goldman Sachs. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 07:50.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

Truist reports third quarter 2021 results

GAAP earnings of $1.6 billion, or $1.20 per diluted share Adjusted earnings of $1.9 billion, or $1.42 per diluted share Results reflect diverse business mix, strong fee income, and solid core loan and deposit growth Excellent credit quality and improving economic conditions drive provision benefit Successful conversion of heritage BB&T clients CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Truist Financial Corporation (NYSE:TFC) today reported earnings for the third quarter of 2021. Net income available to common shareholders was $1.6 billion, up 51%, compared to the third quarter last year. Earnings per diluted common share were $1.20, an increase of 52% compared with the same period last year. Results for the third quarter produced an annualized return on average assets (ROA) of 1.28%, an annualized return on average common shareholders' equity (ROCE) of 10.2%, and an annualized return on tangible common shareholders' equity (ROTCE) of 19.3%. Adjusted net income available to common shareholders was $1.9 billion, or $1.42 per diluted share, excluding merger-related and restructuring charges of $172 million ($132 million after-tax), incremental operating expenses related to the merger of $191 million ($147 million after-tax), and a one-time professional fee expense of $30 million ($23 million after-tax). Adjusted results produced an annualized ROA of 1.51%, an annualized ROCE of 12.1%, and an annualized ROTCE of 22.6%. Adjusted earnings per diluted share were up 46% compared to the prior year. "Truist produced solid results in the third quarter, driven by strong fee income from our diverse business mix - including wealth, insurance brokerage, investment banking, and positive trends in a number of other businesses given improving economic conditions," said Chief Executive Officer William H. Rogers Jr. "We also continue to deliver exceptional credit performance with net charge-offs at 19 basis points. The health of our clients remains strong and we delivered average loan growth of 2% annualized compared to the prior quarter, excluding PPP loans. "We continue to make great progress and carefully guide our clients through conversion milestones, including completing our retail mortgage origination conversion and accelerating the roll-out of our Truist digital app. In addition, after months of intense preparation, we migrated approximately 7 million clients to the new Truist technology ecosystem - our most significant milestone to date and the result of the expertise and purposeful commitment from thousands of dedicated teammates. We are excited about these successful milestones in the integration process and are one step closer to the finish line of the merger. "Truist continued fulfilling our purpose—to inspire and build better lives and communities—in the third quarter through a number of unique and creative initiatives. Purpose drove our decision to remain open this past Saturday to ensure a smooth and successful systems conversion. This quarter, we expanded our partnership with EVERFI bringing literacy tools to elementary schools across the nation. We showed leadership as the first top 10 bank to join Blackrock's philanthropic Emergency Savings Initiative, and 64% of our early career hiring in 2021 has been filled by diverse candidates. Our teammates and I are very proud of all the ways we live our purpose at Truist." Third Quarter 2021 Performance Highlights Earnings per diluted common share were $1.20 Adjusted diluted earnings per share were $1.42 up $0.45 per share, or 46%, compared to third quarter 2020 ROA was 1.28%; adjusted ROA was 1.51% ROCE was 10.2%; adjusted ROCE was 12.1% ROTCE was 19.3%; adjusted ROTCE was 22.6% Taxable-equivalent revenue was $5.6 billion Adjusted taxable-equivalent revenue (excluding securities gains) was down 0.9% compared to second quarter 2021 and up 2.3% compared to third quarter 2020 Noninterest income, excluding securities gains, was down 1.7% compared to second quarter 2021 and up 12% compared to third quarter 2020 Strong results from wealth, insurance, investment banking, and residential mortgage banking; traditional fee streams increased from higher economic activity (card, payments, and service charges on deposit accounts) Fee income ratio was 42.2%, compared to 42.6% for second quarter 2021 Net interest income was down 0.4% compared to second quarter 2021 and 3.8% compared to third quarter 2020 Net interest margin was 2.81%, down seven basis points from second quarter 2021 Core net interest margin was 2.58%, down two basis points from second quarter 2021 Noninterest expense was $3.8 billion Adjusted noninterest expense was $3.3 billion, up 2.4% compared to second quarter 2021 and 3.5% compared to third quarter 2020 GAAP efficiency ratio was 67.8%, compared to 71.0% for second quarter 2021 Adjusted efficiency ratio was 57.9%, compared to 56.1% for second quarter 2021 Asset quality remains excellent, reflecting our prudent risk culture, diverse portfolio, improving economic conditions, and the ongoing effects of government stimulus Nonperforming assets were 0.23% of total assets, relatively stable from second quarter 2021 Net charge-offs were 0.19% of average loans and leases, down one basis point compared to second quarter 2021 The ALLL ratio was 1.65% compared to 1.79% for second quarter 2021 Provision for credit losses was a benefit of $324 million for third quarter 2021, primarily reflecting an improving economic outlook The ALLL coverage ratio was 4.35X nonperforming loans and leases held for investment, versus 4.83X in second quarter 2021 Capital and liquidity levels remained strong; deployed capital through increased dividend and acquisitions Common equity tier 1 to risk-weighted assets was 10.1% Consolidated average LCR ratio was 114% Increased common dividend 7% in third quarter 2021 Completed acquisition of Constellation Affiliated Partners Announced acquisition of Service Finance, LLC to expand point-of-sale lending capabilities   EARNINGS HIGHLIGHTS Change 3Q21 vs. (dollars in millions, except per share data) 3Q21 2Q21 3Q20 2Q21 3Q20 Net income available to common shareholders $ 1,616 $ 1,559 $ 1,068 $ 57 $ 548 Diluted earnings per common share 1.20 1.16 0.79 0.04 0.41 Net interest income - taxable equivalent $ 3,261 $ 3,273 $ 3,391 $ (12) $ (130) Noninterest income 2,365 2,405 2,210 (40) 155 Total taxable-equivalent revenue $ 5,626 $ 5,678 $ 5,601 $ (52) $ 25 Less taxable-equivalent adjustment 28 28 29 Total revenue $ 5,598 $ 5,650 $ 5,572 Return on average assets 1.28 % 1.28 % 0.91 % — % 0.37 % Return on average risk-weighted assets (current quarter is preliminary) 1.77 1.76 1.19 0.01 0.58 Return on average common shareholders' equity 10.2 10.1 6.9 0.1 3.3 Return on average tangible common shareholders' equity (1) 19.3 18.9 13.3 0.4 6.0 Net interest margin - taxable equivalent 2.81 2.88 3.10 (0.07) (0.29) (1) Excludes certain items as detailed in the non-GAAP reconciliations in the Quarterly Performance Summary. Third Quarter 2021 compared to Second Quarter 2021 Total taxable-equivalent revenue was $5.6 billion for the third quarter of 2021, a decrease of $52 million, or 0.9%, compared to the prior quarter. Net interest income for the third quarter of 2021 was down $12 million, or 0.4%, compared to the prior quarter due primarily to lower purchase accounting accretion and lower fees from Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, partially offset by growth in the securities portfolio. Average earning assets increased $6.5 billion, or 1.4%, compared to the prior quarter. Average securities available for sale increased $10.6 billion, or 7.8%, while average total loans decreased $2.6 billion, or 0.9%, and average other earning assets (primarily cash at the Federal Reserve) decreased $2.3 billion, or 10.5%. The growth in average earning assets is a result of an increase in investment securities driven by strong deposit growth. Average deposits increased $6.5 billion, or 1.6%, primarily due to the ongoing impacts of fiscal and monetary stimulus. The net interest margin was 2.81% for the third quarter, down seven basis points compared to the prior quarter. The decline in the net interest margin was primarily due to lower purchase accounting accretion. The yield on the total loan portfolio for the third quarter was 3.90%, down 11 basis points compared to the prior quarter primarily due to lower purchase accounting accretion and loan mix changes. The yield on the average securities portfolio for the third quarter was 1.50%, up three basis points compared to the prior quarter. Core net interest margin was 2.58% for the third quarter, down two basis points compared to the prior quarter driven by higher levels of liquidity and lower PPP revenue. The average cost of total deposits was 0.03%, down one basis point compared to the prior quarter. The average rate on long-term debt was 1.61%, up one basis point compared to the prior quarter. The provision for credit losses was a benefit of $324 million and net charge-offs were $135 million for the third quarter, compared to a benefit of $434 million and $142 million, respectively, for the prior quarter. The net charge-off rate for the current quarter of 0.19% was down one basis point compared to second quarter 2021. Noninterest income was $2.4 billion, a decrease of $40 million, or 1.7%, compared to the prior quarter. Commercial real-estate related income decreased $60 million primarily due to client-related structured real estate transactions in the prior quarter. Insurance income decreased $45 million primarily due to seasonality, partially offset by $41 million of revenue from the Constellation Affiliated Partners acquisition. Residential mortgage income increased $62 million primarily due to higher servicing income (due to lower prepayment rates and a bulk purchase of servicing assets). Noninterest expense was $3.8 billion for the third quarter, down $216 million, or 5.4%, compared to the prior quarter. Merger-related and restructuring charges decreased $125 million primarily due to costs in connection with a voluntary separation and retirement program in the prior quarter. Incremental operating expenses related to the merger were relatively flat compared to second quarter 2021. The current quarter also includes a $30 million professional fee to develop an ongoing program to identify, prioritize, and roadmap teammate generated revenue growth and expense savings opportunities beyond the merger. The prior quarter included $200 million of expense associated with charitable contributions to the Truist Foundation and the Truist Charitable Fund. Excluding the aforementioned items and changes in amortization of intangibles, adjusted noninterest expense was up $75 million, or 2.4%, compared to the prior quarter. Equipment expense increased $32 million primarily due to a higher volume of laptop purchases, partially as a result of delays due to supply chain issues. Marketing and customer development expense increased $28 million due to planned advertising campaigns to expand Truist brand awareness. Personnel expense decreased $20 million compared to second quarter 2021 due to lower incentive expenses, partially offset by higher medical insurance claims and personnel costs related to the Constellation Affiliated Partners acquisition. The provision for income taxes was $423 million for the third quarter of 2021, compared to $415 million for the prior quarter. The effective tax rate for the third quarter of 2021 was 19.9%, compared to 20.0% for the prior quarter. Third Quarter 2021 compared to Third Quarter 2020 Total taxable-equivalent revenues were $5.6 billion for the third quarter of 2021, an increase of $25 million, or 0.4%, compared to the earlier quarter. Excluding securities gains of $104 million from the third quarter of 2020, adjusted taxable equivalent revenues increased $129 million, or 2.3%, compared to the earlier quarter. Net interest income for the third quarter of 2021 was down $130 million, or 3.8%, compared to the earlier quarter due to lower purchase accounting accretion, lower rates on earning assets, and a decrease in loans. These decreases were partially offset by growth in the securities portfolio, lower funding costs, higher fees on Payroll Protection Program loans, and fewer interest deferrals on COVID-19 loan accommodations. Average earning assets increased $26.4 billion, or 6.1%, compared to the earlier quarter. The increase in average earning assets reflects a $66.4 billion, or 83%, increase in average securities, while average total loans and leases decreased $25.4 billion, or 8.0%, and average other earning assets decreased $16.5 billion, or 46%. The growth in average earning assets is a result of an increase in investment securities driven by strong deposit growth resulting from fiscal and monetary stimulus. Average deposits increased $30.5 billion, or 8.2%, compared to the earlier quarter, while average long-term debt and short-term borrowings decreased $3.6 billion, or 8.8%, and $849 million, or 14%, respectively. Net interest margin was 2.81%, down 29 basis points compared to the earlier quarter. The yield on the total loan portfolio for the third quarter of 2021 was 3.90%, down 14 basis points compared to the earlier quarter, reflecting the impact of lower purchase accounting accretion and a lower rate environment. The yield on the average securities portfolio was 1.50%, down 47 basis points compared to the earlier quarter primarily due to lower yields on new purchases. The average cost of total deposits was 0.03%, down seven basis points compared to the earlier quarter. The average rate on short-term borrowings was 0.68%, down 17 basis points compared to the earlier quarter. The average rate on long-term debt was 1.61%, up 13 basis points compared to the earlier quarter. The lower rates on deposits and short-term borrowings reflect the lower rate environment. The higher rates on long-term debt was due to the runoff of lower rate FHLB advances. The provision for credit losses was a benefit of $324 million, compared to a cost of $421 million for the earlier quarter. The earlier quarter reflected significant uncertainty related to the economic impacts resulting from the pandemic, whereas the current quarter includes a reserve release due to the improving economic outlook. Net charge-offs for the third quarter of 2021 totaled $135 million compared to $326 million in the earlier quarter. The third quarter of 2020 included $97 million of charge-offs related to the implementation of CECL, which required a gross up of loan carrying values in connection with the establishment of an allowance on PCD loans. The net charge-off ratio for the current quarter of 0.19% was down 23 basis points compared to the third quarter 2020, due primarily to the additional losses on PCD loans taken in the earlier quarter and lower actual net losses in the commercial portfolio. Noninterest income for the third quarter of 2021 increased $155 million, or 7.0%, compared to the earlier quarter. Noninterest income for the third quarter of 2020 included $104 million of securities gains on available-for-sale securities. Excluding securities gains, noninterest income increased $259 million, or 12%, compared to the earlier quarter. Insurance income increased $127 million due to acquisitions, as well as organic growth. Investment banking and trading income increased $57 million due to strong merger and acquisition activity and loan syndications. Wealth management income increased $32 million due to higher valuations of assets under management. Service charges on deposit accounts and card and payment related fees increased $29 million and $25 million, respectively, due to increased economic activity. Residential mortgage banking income ...Full story available on Benzinga.com.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaOct 15th, 2021

Bitcoin briefly hits $60,000 for the 1st time since April as crypto ETFs look set for watershed SEC approval

Market sentiment is on the upturn as the SEC appears ready to allow the first US bitcoin futures ETF to start trading next week. Getty Bitcoin touched $60,000 on Friday as investors awaited approval of a futures ETF tracking its price. The SEC is set to allow trading of the first US bitcoin futures ETF next week, Bloomberg reported. The digital coin hit a 24-hour high of $60,018, taking its year-to-date gains to around 104%. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Bitcoin briefly topped $60,000 for the first time since April on Friday, as investors celebrated the prospect of the SEC approving the first US bitcoin futures ETF within days.The digital asset hit a 24-hour high of $60,018, according to data from CoinGecko, nearing its record price of $64,895. That takes bitcoin's year-to-date gains to about 104%.Market sentiment is on the upturn as the SEC is ready to allow the first US bitcoin futures ETF to start trading next week, according to Bloomberg.Anticipation has been further fuelled by the regulator approving Volt Equity's ETF last week, according to Will Hamilton, head of trading and research at digital asset management firm TCM Capital.Volt's ETF specifically tracks companies that have significant exposure to bitcoin, or generate most of their profit from bitcoin-related activities like mining, lending, or manufacturing mining equipment."It's a small step, but a very promising one," Hamilton said. "In essence, the SEC has given the nod, from an investor protection point of view, that investing in these heavily crypto-exposed companies is 'ok'."Separately, a direct update from the SEC seems to have contributed to Friday's moves. The regulator's investor education Twitter account posted a link to a June notice on Thursday, warning about the risks associated with investing in bitcoin."Before investing in a fund that holds Bitcoin futures contracts, make sure you carefully weigh the potential risks and benefits," the tweet said. Investors interpreted it as signalling the regulator will approve those types of funds at some point next week.On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he recognizes cryptocurrencies as a means of payment. And Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman admitted crypto is more than just a fad.Further, Coinbase proposed creating a special regulator as a potential solution to the lack of regulatory clarity and enforcement in crypto markets, as it believes digital assets need to be treated differently to stocks.Crypto traders seem to have brushed off comments from JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon that bitcoin is "worthless," and Bank of England's deputy governor Jon Cunliffe warning that the coin could trigger a 2008-level meltdown."Instead of scaremongering about bitcoin, certain officials should look closer to home," said Paolo Ardoino, chief technology officer at trading platform Bitfinex. "The unsustainable inflationary monetary policies of central banks will inevitably unravel."Read More: 2 ETF veterans-turned crypto investors break down why they think the SEC should approve a bitcoin ETF that invests in the digital currency itself instead of futures contracts - and share the 3 main pitfalls of a futures-based ETFRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 15th, 2021

Biden"s Supreme Court commission is "divided" on whether expanding the court is a good idea

The commissioners "are divided on whether court expansion would be wise," they wrote in their draft report. The Supreme Court is seen on the first day of the new term, Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite President Biden's commission to study Supreme Court reforms released draft materials on Thursday. Interim findings show the commissioners were divided on a proposal to expand the size of the court. The commission will release its final report next month. President Joe Biden's commission to study Supreme Court reforms released draft materials on Thursday, ahead of its final report due next month. The commissioners wrote they are "divided" on whether a reform proposal that has sparked national debate, adding more justices to the nine-member bench, "would be wise."Biden introduced the idea of a presidential commission to study the court while he was on the 2020 campaign trail, as liberal activists and some Democrats urged him to consider expanding the number of justices to ensure that it's ideologically balanced. Biden has never publicly embraced that idea.It's "likely that a 'balanced bench' would continue to produce a significant number of divided results in contested cases, even on an evenly divided Court, keeping the Court at the center of charged political debates, for better or worse," the draft report said.The commissioners note that the conversation to expand the size of the court stems from 2016, when Senate Republicans, led by then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, blocked Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's court nominee. Garland was going to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died that February, nine months before the upcoming election. But the seat was filled in April 2017 by Trump's nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch. McConnell has said it was the "single most consequential" decision he's made in his decades-long public career.Since then, Democrats have also criticized last year's swift confirmation process of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was added to the bench a little over a month after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death and around a week before the 2020 presidential election. The move went against the wishes of Ginsburg herself, who wanted her successor to be chosen by whoever won the election.The commissioners wrote that "rather than calm the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court, expansion could further degrade the confirmation process. There could be significant battles over any Justice added by a Court expansion measure."However, one court reform proposal that commissioners said has gained "bipartisan support" is setting term limits for justices, who currently serve lifetime appointments."The United States is the only major constitutional democracy in the world that has neither a retirement age nor a fixed term of years for its high court Justices," the draft report said.The draft comes as the new Supreme Court term is underway, with the justices considering a number of explosive cases, including challenges to abortion rights and gun laws.Biden will weigh in on the commission's report once its finalized in mid-November, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday during a press briefing. The commission aims to provide an "assessment" and not a "recommendation" on court reforms, she added.In April, Biden established the 36-member commission made up of a bipartisan group of legal scholars, advocates, former federal judges and practitioners who have appeared before the Supreme Court. The group has engaged in lengthy discussions over the course of three meetings to examine court reform proposals, as well as other areas of the court, including its role in the Constitution and how the justices select cases and review them. They will hold their final meeting on Friday.Critics, mainly Republicans, have blasted the proposal of adding more justices to the bench as "court packing." Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, the oldest member, has also repeatedly cautioned against the reform, warning that such a move could erode public faith in the institution."One party could do it, I guess another party could do it. On the surface, it seems to me that you start changing these things around, and people will lose trust in the court," Breyer told Fox News last month. The commissioners in their draft materials also pointed out the importance of maintaining the legitimacy and independence of the federal judiciary, writing that the court's "standing with the public and government officials have long been regarded as crucial to the institution."The court currently has a 6-3 conservative majority after former President Donald Trump appointed three new justices to the bench. McConnell has signaled that he'll likely block a potential Supreme Court nominee from Biden if Republicans take back control of the Senate in the 2022 midterm elections.The comments prompted liberals to amplify calls for Justice Breyer to retire immediately, so that Biden may choose a replacement while Democrats still hold the Senate. Breyer, 83, has not announced any plans to step down.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

Biden"s Supreme Court commission is "divided" on whether expanding the court is the right move

The commissioners "are divided on whether court expansion would be wise," they wrote in their draft report. The Supreme Court is seen on the first day of the new term, Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite President Biden's commission to study Supreme Court reforms released draft materials on Thursday. Interim findings show the commissioners were divided on a proposal to expand the size of the court. The commission will release its final report next month. President Joe Biden's commission to study Supreme Court reforms released draft materials on Thursday, ahead of its final report due next month. The commissioners wrote they are "divided" on whether a reform proposal that has sparked national debate, adding more justices to the nine-member bench, "would be wise."Biden introduced the idea of a presidential commission to study the court while he was on the 2020 campaign trail, as liberal activists and some Democrats urged him to consider expanding the number of justices to ensure that it's ideologically balanced. Biden has never publicly embraced that idea.It's "likely that a 'balanced bench' would continue to produce a significant number of divided results in contested cases, even on an evenly divided Court, keeping the Court at the center of charged political debates, for better or worse," the draft report said.The commissioners note that the conversation to expand the size of the court stems from 2016, when Senate Republicans, led by then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, blocked Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's court nominee. Garland was going to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died that February, nine months before the upcoming election. But the seat was filled in April 2017 by Trump's nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch. McConnell has said it was the "single most consequential" decision he's made in his decades-long public career.Since then, Democrats have also criticized last year's swift confirmation process of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was added to the bench a little over a month after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death and around a week before the 2020 presidential election. The move went against the wishes of Ginsburg herself, who wanted her successor to be chosen by whoever won the election.The commissioners wrote that "rather than calm the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court, expansion could further degrade the confirmation process. There could be significant battles over any Justice added by a Court expansion measure."However, one court reform proposal that commissioners said has gained "bipartisan support" is setting term limits for justices, who currently serve lifetime appointments."The United States is the only major constitutional democracy in the world that has neither a retirement age nor a fixed term of years for its high court Justices," the draft report said.The draft comes as the new Supreme Court term is underway, with the justices considering a number of explosive cases, including challenges to abortion rights and gun laws.Biden will weigh in on the commission's report once its finalized in mid-November, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday during a press briefing. The commission aims to provide an "assessment" and not a "recommendation" on court reforms, she added.In April, Biden established the 36-member commission made up of a bipartisan group of legal scholars, advocates, former federal judges and practitioners who have appeared before the Supreme Court. The group has engaged in lengthy discussions over the course of three meetings to examine court reform proposals, as well as other areas of the court, including its role in the Constitution and how the justices select cases and review them. They will hold their final meeting on Friday.Critics, mainly Republicans, have blasted the proposal of adding more justices to the bench as "court packing." Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, the oldest member, has also repeatedly cautioned against the reform, warning that such a move could erode public faith in the institution."One party could do it, I guess another party could do it. On the surface, it seems to me that you start changing these things around, and people will lose trust in the court," Breyer told Fox News last month. The commissioners in their draft materials also pointed out the importance of maintaining the legitimacy and independence of the federal judiciary, writing that the court's "standing with the public and government officials have long been regarded as crucial to the institution."The court currently has a 6-3 conservative majority after former President Donald Trump appointed three new justices to the bench. McConnell has signaled that he'll likely block a potential Supreme Court nominee from Biden if Republicans take back control of the Senate in the 2022 midterm elections.The comments prompted liberals to amplify calls for Justice Breyer to retire immediately, so that Biden may choose a replacement while Democrats still hold the Senate. Breyer, 83, has not announced any plans to step down.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

Biden"s commission on Supreme Court reforms examines adding more justices and setting term limits

The commissioners "are divided on whether court expansion would be wise," they wrote in their draft report. The Supreme Court is seen on the first day of the new term, Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite President Biden's commission to study Supreme Court reforms released draft materials on Thursday. Interim findings show the commissioners were divided on a proposal to expand the size of the court. The commission will release its final report next month. President Joe Biden's commission to study Supreme Court reforms released draft materials on Thursday, ahead of its final report due next month. The commissioners wrote they are "divided" on whether a reform proposal that has sparked national debate, adding more justices to the nine-member bench, "would be wise."Biden introduced the idea of a presidential commission to study the court while he was on the 2020 campaign trail, as liberal activists and some Democrats urged him to consider expanding the number of justices to ensure that it's ideologically balanced. Biden has never publicly embraced that idea.It's "likely that a 'balanced bench' would continue to produce a significant number of divided results in contested cases, even on an evenly divided Court, keeping the Court at the center of charged political debates, for better or worse," the draft report said.The commissioners note that the conversation to expand the size of the court stems from 2016, when Senate Republicans, led by then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, blocked Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's court nominee. Garland was going to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died that February, nine months before the upcoming election. But the seat was filled in April 2017 by Trump's nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch. McConnell has said it was the "single most consequential" decision he's made in his decades-long public career.Since then, Democrats have also criticized last year's swift confirmation process of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was added to the bench a little over a month after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death and around a week before the 2020 presidential election. The move went against the wishes of Ginsburg herself, who wanted her successor to be chosen by whoever won the election.The commissioners wrote that "rather than calm the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court, expansion could further degrade the confirmation process. There could be significant battles over any Justice added by a Court expansion measure."However, one court reform proposal that commissioners said has gained "bipartisan support" is setting term limits for justices, who currently serve lifetime appointments."The United States is the only major constitutional democracy in the world that has neither a retirement age nor a fixed term of years for its high court Justices," the draft report said.The draft comes as the new Supreme Court term is underway, with the justices considering a number of explosive cases, including challenges to abortion rights and gun laws.Biden will weigh in on the commission's report once its finalized in mid-November, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday during a press briefing. The commission aims to provide an "assessment" and not a "recommendation" on court reforms, she added.In April, Biden established the 36-member commission made up of a bipartisan group of legal scholars, advocates, former federal judges and practitioners who have appeared before the Supreme Court. The group has engaged in lengthy discussions over the course of three meetings to examine court reform proposals, as well as other areas of the court, including its role in the Constitution and how the justices select cases and review them. They will hold their final meeting on Friday.Critics, mainly Republicans, have blasted the proposal of adding more justices to the bench as "court packing." Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, the oldest member, has also repeatedly cautioned against the reform, warning that such a move could erode public faith in the institution."One party could do it, I guess another party could do it. On the surface, it seems to me that you start changing these things around, and people will lose trust in the court," Breyer told Fox News last month. The commissioners in their draft materials also pointed out the importance of maintaining the legitimacy and independence of the federal judiciary, writing that the court's "standing with the public and government officials have long been regarded as crucial to the institution."The court currently has a 6-3 conservative majority after former President Donald Trump appointed three new justices to the bench. McConnell has signaled that he'll likely block a potential Supreme Court nominee from Biden if Republicans take back control of the Senate in the 2022 midterm elections.The comments prompted liberals to amplify calls for Justice Breyer to retire immediately, so that Biden may choose a replacement while Democrats still hold the Senate. Breyer, 83, has not announced any plans to step down.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

There are 52 companies representing $7 trillion worth of stock exposed to cryptocurrencies

"Creeping" exposure takes place in part when newly listed cryptocurrency companies are added to investment indexes, said MSCI. Cryptocurrencies. Getty Investors are becoming increasingly exposed to cryptocurrencies and risks associated with digital assets, said MSCI. At least 52 companies under coverage at MSCI ESG Research have crypto exposure. And 26 such companies are included in MSCI's flagship ACWI World Index. Investors focused on environmental, social and governance matters are increasingly subject to "creeping" exposure to cryptocurrencies, according to MSCI. The index provider said at least 52 public companies covered by MSCI ESG Research have exposure to cryptocurrencies, representing about $7.1 trillion in market capitalization, or around 6.6% of the market cap covered by the unit, according to the ESG team's podcast. "While most cryptocurrencies are speculative investments with little evident utility, some have seen limited success as genuine currencies, and many have posted eye-popping returns," said MSCI ESG Research. "This growth has contributed both to the rise of cryptocurrency-exposed companies and efforts by established companies to gain cryptocurrency exposure." Exposure comes from a range of companies such as pure-play crypto firm Coinbase, the exchange operator that went public in April. Other names include Facebook, which logs no revenue from digital coins but is exploring ways to monetize the system, and Nvidia, the chipmaker with a dedicated graphics-processing unit for professional cryptocurrency miners. Crypto exposure creeps in when newly listed cryptocurrency companies are added to indexes, or when companies that investors already own - directly or through indexes - venture into activities involving bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, said MSCI. Crypto-exposed companies include 26 constituents of the MSCI ACWI Index, the company's flagship global equity index that gauges the performance some large- and mid-cap stocks in 23 developed and 27 emerging markets. The index includes more than 2,900 constituents across 11 sectors. Meanwhile, investors with crypto exposure may also be running counter to their ESG goals.Environmental risks from cryptocurrencies include greenhouse-gas emissions from energy usage and electronic waste. Governance risks include boards of cryptocurrency-exposed companies needing to adapt risk-management policies to issues such as cybersecurity and anti-money laundering practices.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

Coinbase wants Congress to create a special regulator to oversee the crypto market

The biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the US submitted a regulatory framework proposal that it made public on Thursday. Shannon Stapleton/Reuters Coinbase wants a special regulator to oversee cryptocurrency markets. The biggest crypto exchange in the US proposed the idea in a regulatory framework released on Thursday. Coinbase argued that it shouldn't be regulated by the SEC or CFTC, but instead a single designated entity. Coinbase has suggested Congress create a special regulator just for cryptocurrency markets, according to a new proposal."To avoid fragmented and inconsistent regulatory oversight of these unique and concurrent innovations, responsibility over digital asset markets should be assigned to a single federal regulator," Coinbase said in its "Digital Asset Policy Proposal: Safeguarding America's Financial Leadership" released Wednesday. Coinbase - the cryptocurrency exchange that went public in August - said a single federal regulator should be in charge of oversight. That would mean jurisdiction would rest outside entities like the SEC or CFTC. In addition, the company wants Congress to create a self-regulatory organization in order to "strengthen the oversight regime."The two would create rules dealing with a range of crypto topics such as digital asset trading, transfer, custody, clearing, settlement, money payment, staking, borrowing and lending, and related incidental services, the company said in its policy proposal."This two-tier regulatory structure will ensure efficient and streamlined regulation and oversight, and evolve elements of the existing frameworks to meet the requirements of our new technologically-driven financial system," Coinbase said. The policy proposal comes as the government has struggled with how to approach a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. And some big investors have stayed away from the asset class as they await more clarity from the government. "Regulatory certainty in the United States is urgently needed to maintain our leadership in responsible financial innovation," Michael Piwowar, executive director of the Milken Institute Center for Financial Markets and former Commissioner and acting chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, said in an email. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021