Advertisements


Florida Jobs Grow At Three Times US Rate, Report Shows

Florida Jobs Grow At Three Times US Rate, Report Shows Authored by Jannis Flakenstern via The Epoch Times, Jobs in Florida are growing much faster than the national rate, according to a September employment report. The office of  Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) estimated the job growth at three times that of the nation. Florida has recorded 17 months of continued private-sector job growth. The Sunshine State gained 84,500 jobs in September, with 73,000 of those in the private sector, according to the governor’s office. The figures showed an increase of 5.6 percent compared to the same time last year. In a press release, the governor’s office said: “Florida’s labor force increased by 540,000 over the year, with 423,000 of that increase occurring in the last six months.” Most jobs were created in the leisure and hospitality industry, adding 26,600 positions.  Trade, transportation, and utilities gained 19,200 jobs; professional and business services added 10,400; construction went up 6,900, and education and health services increased by 6,300 jobs. Figures from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO) show there are more than 520,000 jobs listed online, giving Floridians a wide choice of work opportunities. The FDEO secretary Dane Eagle said these figures demonstrate the success of the state’s “Return to Work” initiative, as Florida’s unemployment rate has “lowered over the year, decreasing by 2.3 percentage points.” “Florida continues to provide meaningful job opportunities for individuals moving to our state and entering our labor force,” Eagle said in a written statement. “With our unemployment rate decreasing and labor force increasing, we will work to further this great success by making investments that continue to strengthen our economy and increase our state’s resiliency.” Gov. Ron DeSantis said he is pleased with what he is seeing with growth and added it was not an easy task to achieve considering the national economic climate and inflation. “Despite tremendous national headwinds and economic uncertainty, Florida has reached a level of job growth only seen on four other occasions in the past 30 years,” DeSantis said in a press release. “We will continue to work hard to keep Florida open, free, and built for opportunity.” The department reports that “Florida’s unemployment rate of 4.9 percent for September 2021, dropped 0.1 percentage point from August 2021.” While Florida has seen consistent gains in the labor force, the nation saw a drop in job-growth rates. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 20:50.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 26th, 2021

End Of Year Rally And Multiyear Boom

Stocks are poised to rally out 2021 and reach new heights in 2022 and beyond. Investors shouldn't be afraid to buy stocks making fresh highs. Kevin Matras shows how to capitalize on this historic opportunity. With Q4 GDP expected to accelerate into the end of the year, stocks are poised for a strong end-of-year rally.And with November and December typically being strong months for stocks, it looks like there’s a lot more upside to go.But the gains don’t have to stop there, as we could be on the verge of a multiyear boom.Companies are reporting record earnings, banks are the strongest they’ve been in years, while household income has been on the rise.And with more jobs available than there are unemployed people to fill them, the jobs market is expected to stay hot for a long, long time.Then add in the trillions in economic stimulus already deployed, and another $1.2 trillion in infrastructure spending that will soon be injected into the economy (not to mention the possibility of trillions more in other domestic spending), and you’ve got a recipe for explosive economic growth and stock market gains.As Jamie Dimon said in his annual letter to shareholders earlier this year, “This boom could easily run into 2023 because all the spending could extend well into 2023.”New Highs Beget Higher Highs With stocks trading at or near their all-time highs, I know some people are wary of buying at these levels. For some, there is a reluctance to buy stocks after making new highs. I suppose they may feel like they missed the move, or that now stocks have more room to fall.But statistically, this is just not true.For one, the S&P, for example, has made 70 new highs this year alone.Can you imagine all of the money you would have left on the table if you were afraid to get into stocks making new highs?But second, and more importantly, studies have shown that stocks making new highs have a tendency of making even higher highs.In fact, using S&P price data going all the way back to the 1950’s, it shows that stocks typically go up in the subsequent six months following new all-time highs.This means that stocks making new highs aren’t at any greater risk of going down. Quite the contrary, there’s a higher probability of stocks going up even further! More . . .------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Get Your Free Copy of Finding #1 Stocks – A $49.95 ValueOne single idea changed Kevin Matras’ life as an investor, enabling him to tap into the greatest force driving stock prices. In Finding #1 Stocks, Kevin reveals his top stock-picking secrets and strategies based on this powerful idea. Now you can claim a free copy of the 300-page hardcover book.Over the past five years (2016 through 2020), while the market climbed an impressive +103.9%, these strategies actually produced gains up to +130.5%, +381.1%, and even +580.6%.¹You can take full advantage of them without attending a single class or seminar- in a lot less time than you think. Opportunity ends midnight Saturday, November 20.Get your free book now >>------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Climbing the Wall of Worry Inflation concerns continue to grip the market.And some worry that if inflation gets too hot, the Fed might have to raise interest rates sooner rather than later.But let’s remember that some inflation is good. Not too much, but some. And one person’s cost increase is another person’s profit.It’s also important to know that stocks typically perform well in inflationary environments.Of course, with inflation just hitting a 31-year high, we’re in the ‘too hot’ realm already.But much of these inflationary pressures stem from pandemic-related supply chain disruptions and worker shortages. The inflation readings are also being exacerbated by base effects (comparing current prices to last year’s pandemic-subdued numbers).But these are still considered transitory. And the aforementioned problems should start seeing some relief, as more and more workers rejoin the labor force, and port congestion starts easing as the shipping docks move to a 24/7 workday/workweek until they can clear the backlogs. Not only will this add to economic growth, but it will simultaneously help to ease inflation.In fact, the Fed has reduced inflation expectations for 2022 and 2023, putting it at 2.2%.Let’s also remember that inflation, in and of itself, doesn’t tank economies. High interest rates do.But the prospect of ‘high’ interest rates is literally years and years down the road.Record Low Interest Rates Are Here To Stay For Some Time As you know, the Fed has injected trillions of dollars of monetary stimulus into the economy through their bond buying, various liquidity measures, and record low interest rates.And while they’ve just begun tapering their monthly asset purchases by -$15 billion per month in Treasuries and Mortgage-Backed Securities, suggesting they could fully unwind that by the end of June, they have also constantly reiterated that they plan to keep interest rates near zero for the foreseeable future.That means at least through the rest of this year. And at the earliest, rates aren’t expected to budge until sometime next year (or possibly not until sometime in 2023).But even when they do begin to raise rates, they are essentially starting from zero. And it should be noted that over the last 50 years, there’s never been a recession (aside from last year’s pandemic-induced plunge), when the Fed Funds rate was under 4%.And at quarter-point moves (even half-point moves), it would take years to get to that level.Bullish Economic Growth or History in the Making In the meantime, the market has been focusing on the historic economic growth.With the Fed projecting their full-year GDP forecast at 5.9%, which would be the fastest growth rate in 37 years, it’s easy to see why stocks have been going up.Then add in the unprecedented fiscal stimulus, coupled with falling virus counts, and the reopening of the economy, and we’re about to see a record amount of pent-up economic demand meet a record amount of stimulus money.What we’re seeing right now is history in the making.And historic times typically lead to historic price gains.So you need to make sure you’re taking full advantage of it.And not squandering this opportunity with preventable mistakes.If you ever wished you could have traded historic times in the market differently, now is your chance.Because the next historic run-up could be just around the corner.And the time to get ready for it is now.  Do What Works So how do you fully take advantage of this historic opportunity?By implementing tried and true methods that work to find the best stocks.For example, did you know that stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buy have beaten the market in 26 of the last 32 years with an average annual return of +25.4% per year? That's more than 2x the S&P. But when doing this year after year, that can add up to a lot more than just double the returns.And did you also know that stocks in the top 50% of Zacks Ranked Industries outperform those in the bottom 50% by a factor of 2 to 1? There's a reason why they say that half of a stock's price movement can be attributed to the group that it's in. Because it's true!Those two things will give any investor a huge probability of success and put you well on your way to beating the market. But you’re not there yet, as those two items alone will only narrow down a field of 10,000 stocks to the top 100 or so. Way too many to trade at once.So the next step is to get that list down to the best 5-10 stocks that you can buy. Proven Profitable Strategies  Picking the best stocks is a lot easier when there’s a proven, profitable method to do it.And by concentrating on what has proven to work in the past, you’ll have a better idea as to what your probability of success will be now and in the future.For example, if your strategy did nothing but lose money year after year, trade after trade, over and over again, there’s no way you'd want to use that strategy to pick stocks with. Why? Because it's proven to pick bad stocks.On the other hand, if your strategy did great year after year, trade after trade, over and over again, you'd of course want to use that strategy to pick stocks with. Why? Because it's proven to pick winning stocks.Of course, this won't preclude you from ever having another losing trade. But if your stock picking strategy picks winners more often than losers, you can feel confident that your next trade will have a high probability of success.Here are a few of my favorite strategies that have regularly crushed the market year after year.New Highs: As mentioned earlier, studies have shown that stocks making new highs have a tendency of making even higher highs. And this strategy proves it. The alignment of positive price action and strong fundamentals creates all the necessary conditions to see these stocks soar to even greater heights. Over the last 21 years (2000 through 2020), using a 1-week rebalance, the average annual return has been 45.5% vs. the S&P’s 6.6%, which is nearly 7 x the market.Small-Cap Growth: Small-caps have historically outperformed the market time and time again. Often these are newer companies in the early part of their growth cycle, which is when they grow the fastest. This strategy combines the aggressive growth of small-caps with our special blend of growth and valuation metrics for explosive returns. Over the last 21 years (2000 through 2020), using a 1-week rebalance, the average annual return has been 51.2%, beating the market by 7.6 x the returns.Filtered Zacks Rank 5: This strategy leverages the Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys, and adds two time-tested filters to narrow the list of stocks down to five high probability picks each week. Over the last 21 years (2000 through 2020), using a 1-week rebalance, the average annual return has been 51.3%, which is 7.7 x the market.The best part about these strategies (aside from the returns) is that all of the testing and hard work has already been done. There’s no guesswork involved. Just point and click and start getting into better stocks on your very next trade.Where To Start Now that the economic recovery is in full swing, there's a simple way to add a big performance advantage for your stock-picking success. It's called the Zacks Method for Trading: Home Study Course.With this fun, interactive online program, you can master the Zacks Rank in your own home and at your own pace. You don’t have to attend a single class or seminar.Zacks Method for Trading covers the investment ideas I just shared and guides you to better trading step by step, plus so much more.You'll quickly see how to get the most out of the proven system that has more than doubled the market for over three decades. Discover what kind of trader you are, how to find stocks with the highest probability of success, and how to trade them so you can consistently beat the market no matter where stock prices are headed.You’ll get the formulas behind our top-performing strategies suited for a variety of different trading styles.The best of these strategies produced gains up to +130.5%, +381.1% and even +580.6% over the past five years (2016 through 2020).¹The course will also help you create and test your own stock-picking strategies.Today is the perfect time to get in. I'm giving participants free hardbound copies of my book, Finding #1 Stocks, a $49.95 value. Its 300 pages unfold virtually every trading secret I’ve learned over the last 25 years to beat the market.Please note: Copies of the book are limited and your opportunity to get one free ends midnight Saturday, November 20, unless we run out of books first. If you're interested, I encourage you to check this out now.Find out more about Zacks Method for Trading: Home Study Course >>Thanks and good trading,KevinZacks Executive VP Kevin Matras is responsible for all of our trading and investing services. He developed many of our most powerful market-beating strategies and directs the Zacks Method for Trading: Home Study Course.¹ The results listed above are not (or may not be) representative of the performance of all strategies developed by Zacks Investment Research.  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 To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 18th, 2021

Inflation Vs. Deflation – Which Is The Bigger Threat In 2022?

Inflation Vs. Deflation – Which Is The Bigger Threat In 2022? Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com, Inflation vs. deflation – while headlines get filled with “inflation” concerns, historical data shows “deflation” remains a threat. The Financial Times recently had a great piece on Central Bankers and their stance that inflationary pressures remain transient. However, asFT concluded: “For the first time in many decades, there is the possibility that a significant turning point has arrived, that price rises will be more than a flash in the pan and something more difficult to control.” It is interesting to hear statements such as the above because inflation has been rising steadily since 1974. The chart below shows the long-term history of inflation going back to 1774. What the chart shows is that in 1954 the trajectory of inflation changed. However, the annual rate of change indicates the long-term deflationary trend. Notably, before 1920 the economy was primarily agriculturally based with a dramatically smaller population. Such gave rise to more variability in economic growth. However, the shift to manufacturing and industrialization minimized the big deflationary swings before WWII. Unfortunately, beginning in 1980, the economy made a shift to financialization and services. While service jobs have a low multiplier effect economically, economic financialization led to a debt explosion. As a result, the combination of debt and lower economic output remains a consistent deflationary pressure. The Inflation vs. Deflation Conundrum Currently, the mainstream consensus has latched on the sharp increase in the money supply because a permanent shift to higher inflation is coming. Such was a point we discussed in “Is Hyperinflation A Threat?” “The measure of money in the system, known as M2, is skyrocketing, which certainly supports that concern. Now, with the Biden administration adding another $1.9 trillion into the economy, those concerns have risen.” Furthermore, in a previous Bloomberg interview, Larry Summers stated: “There is a chance that macroeconomic stimulus on a scale closer to World War II levels will set off inflationary pressures of a kind not seen in a generation. I worry that containing an inflationary outbreak without triggering a recession could be even more difficult now than in the past.” The chart below suggests those points are correct. Given it takes about 9-months for increases in money supply to hit the economy, we see the inflationary spike. The sharp decline in money supply suggests deflationary impulses in the economy will become visible around the middle of 2022. Which is roughly when the Federal Reserve plans to hike interest rates. This is significant in the debate of inflation vs. deflation. However, there are still significant headwinds to inflation over the next decade outside of money supply changes. The 3-D’s Here are the 3-D’s of inflation vs. deflation. Over the coming decades, three primary factors are supporting deflationary pressures. Debt Demographics  Deflation These issues are not new. But have been plaguing economic growth for the last 40-years. Given the baby-boomer generation has reached retirement age, they will leave the workforce at an increasing rate, drawing on their accumulated financial assets. As a result, the debts and deficits rose to levels that detracted from economic growth rather than contributed to it. As shown, the surge in debt and deficits coincides with a peak in the 10-year average economic growth rate. The decline in economic prosperity keeps a deflationary pressure on the economy as the government expands its deficit spending to sustain the demands on the welfare system. The negative impact on the economy is clear. There is a significant negative correlation between the size of the government and economic growth. Rather, debt is the problem, not the solution. “Excessive indebtedness acts as a tax on future growth and it is also consistent with Hyman Minsky’s concept of “Ponzi finance,” which is that the size and type of debt being added cannot generate a cash flow to repay principal and interest. While the debt has not resulted in the sustained instability in financial markets envisioned by Minsky, the slow reduction in economic growth and the standard of living is more insidious.” – Dr. Lacy Hunt The most direct evidence of the decline of economic prosperity is the rise in social welfare as a percentage of disposable incomes. Recycling tax dollars is a zero-sum game and increases the deflationary pressures on the economy from debt required to fund it. Debt-Driven Deflation Will Cap Inflation Furthermore, a recent report from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University studied the effective “multiplier” of government spending. “The evidence suggests government purchases reduces the size of the private sector and increases the size of the government sector. On net, incomes grow, but privately produced incomes shrink. There are no realistic scenarios where the short-term benefit of stimulus is so large that government spending pays for itself. In fact, even when government spending crowds in some private-sector activity, the positive impact is small. It is likely much smaller than economic textbooks suggest.”  With households dependent on governmental assistance, the deflationary “psychology” is difficult to break. “In addition to the psychological drivers, there are structural underpinnings of deflation as well. A financial system’s ability to sustain increasing levels of credit rests upon a vibrant economy. A high-debt situation becomes unsustainable when the rate of economic growth falls beneath the prevailing rate of interest owed. As such the slowing economy reduces borrowers’ ability to pay what they owe. In turn, creditors may refuse to underwrite interest payments on the existing debt by extending even more credit. When the burden becomes too great for the economy to support, defaults rise. Moreover, fear of defaults prompts creditors to reduce lending even further.” Consider the role of wages in the inflation vs. deflation question. When wages fail to keep up with inflation, consumption will contract, contributing to the deflationary bias. For the last four decades, when the Fed took action to achieve their goal of “full employment and stable prices,” it led to an economic slowdown, or worse. The relevance of debt versus economic growth is all too evident, requiring an ever-increasing amount of debt to generate $1 of economic growth. In other words, without debt, there is little to no, organic economic growth. Don’t Forget The Demographics The most considerable deflationary pressure will come from the changing demographics. As baby boomers retire and leave the productive workforce, they will cut back on spending and withdraw assets from the financial markets. Most Central Banks are increasingly convinced high inflation rates might not be so transient after all. Such is why the tightening cycle has now begun. Secular demographics will reach maximum deflationary pressures in the decade ahead. Such is in stark contrast to the 1970s when demographic trends underpinned the then inflationary surge. But amid the current inflation panic, Eric Basmajian of @EPBResearch reminds us that the demographic headwinds facing the major economies are intensifying (especially with people dropping out of the workforce). In the long-term, demographics will be a big shock to Central Banks hopes of higher inflation rates.” – Albert Edwards “Demography is destiny.” – Auguste Comte The Fed’s Liquidity Trap Is Deflationary “When injections of cash into the private banking system by a central bank fail to lower interest rates or stimulate economic growth. A liquidity trap occurs when people hoard cash because they expect an adverse event such as deflation, insufficient aggregate demand, or war. Signature characteristics of a liquidity trap are short-term interest rates remain near zero. Furthermore, fluctuations in the monetary base fail to translate into fluctuations in general price levels.” Pay particular attention to the last sentence. Every aspect of a liquidity-trap is in place: Lower interest rates fail to stimulate economic growth People hoard cash because they expect an adverse event. Short-term interest rates near zero. Fluctuations in the monetary base fail to translate into general price levels. Notably, the issue of monetary velocity and saving rates is critical to defining a “liquidity trap.” While many today continue to compare the economic environment to the 1970’s inflationary spike, the impact of demographics and debt are vastly different. The issue of inflation vs. deflation is likely to continue next year. Will the economy experience a short-term inflationary spike as the stimulus runs through the system? Of course. However, once the“Sugar Rush” wears off, the deflationary pressures will quickly reassert themselves. The problem for the Fed is they may well make another policy mistake as they hike interest rates at precisely the wrong time. The 3-D’s continue to suggest that inflation will give way to deflation, economic strength will weaken, and over-zealous investors will once again get left holding the bag. Tyler Durden Sat, 12/04/2021 - 10:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nyt4 hr. 11 min. ago

Futures Rebound Fizzles On Slowing iPhone Demand, Omicron Fears

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

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 2nd, 2021

Transcript: Steve Fradkin

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Steve Fradkin Northern Trust, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This week on the podcast… Read More The post Transcript: Steve Fradkin appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Steve Fradkin Northern Trust, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This week on the podcast I have a special guest. His name is Steve Fradkin, and he runs one of the larger pools of assets that you probably had no idea about. He is the President of Northern Trust Wealth Management. They run over $350 billion in client assets. They serve some of the wealthiest families in America. One in five wealthy families actually has assets with Northern Trust. They have something like 20 percent of the Forbes 400, just a very interesting perspective on how to manage through periods of uncertainty, changing tax laws, rising inflation. Also, it’s really interesting perspectives. It’s less about predicting the future, Steve tells us, then thinking in terms of planning and probabilities. And I think that was really interesting advice. He — he is about as knowledgeable as anybody is going to get in the – both wealth management business and ultra-high net worth management business. I found the conversation really intriguing, and I think you will also. So, with no further ado, my interview of Steve Fradkin of Northern Trust. VOICE-OVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: My special guest this week is Steve Fradkin. He is the President of Northern Trust Wealth Management. Running about $355 billion in assets, they serve about one in five of the wealthiest families in America. Previously, Steve ran the Corporate and Institutional Services. He was Head of International Business for Northern Trust, as well as the firm’s Chief Financial Officer. Steve Fradkin, welcome to Bloomberg. FIRRMA Thank you, Barry. Great to be here. RITHOLTZ: So, you spent your entire career at Northern Trust having joined in — in 1985. How do you make the leap from really CFO to President which, to me, I think of President I think of someone who’s running like a CEO, running a — a division? What were the challenges of that transition? FRADKIN: Well, it’s a great question and, you know, careers are mysterious experiences. The — the bigger mystery really, Barry, was the move to CFO. So I joined Northern Trust as a youngster, didn’t know what I wanted to do, worked my way through a variety of entry-level jobs, ultimately culminating at that point in running our growing international business, and loving it, traveling the world to clients in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America, you know, really fun and interesting stuff, and was asked, at that point, to serve as CFO, which was the unnatural job. Was not a controller, was not a treasurer, and so serving as CFO of a large public company was — shall we say traumatic when they asked. But did that for six years, including through the global financial crisis. And it was, at that point, I went back to doing what I normally do, which is running businesses. I ran our Corporate and Institutional Services business, and then after that Wealth Management. So — so it wasn’t so much going from CFO to wealth management as it was ending up as CFO, if you will, by accident from my point of view. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. So — so you guys had a pretty good year in 2020. How did that carry over to this year? Is it just more of the same? What were the big success stories relative to all those challenges we soar last year? Well, you know, it’s — it’s really an interesting phenomenon, and it shows you the – in some ways, the unpredictability of what can happen. You know, if you think about COVID-19 and its impact in 2020, and if I said to you, you know, look here’s what’s going to happen, we’re — we’re going to go as a society not just Northern Trust from, you know, we all come in and we work and so forth and so on. And one day, on about the same day worldwide, everyone’s going to start working from home facetiously. What — what do you think is going to happen to the markets? I think most people have said, well, first of all, it could never happen that way. It’s not going to be true that people in Sydney, and London, and New York, and Sao Paulo are all going to be, you know, as much as one can working from home. That’s just impossible. And second of all is that where to happen on a sustained basis. Well, gee, you know, the economy is going to crater because no baseball games, no concerts, no – you know, less use of restaurants, et cetera, et cetera. I don’t think people would have said, you know, the markets would do as well as they’ve done. So look, it’s been an incredible journey. Northern Trust has navigated exceptionally well through it last year and continues to perform well today. And there are a variety of factors in that. But each and every day has been a navigation because we’re still not out of the pandemic and we’re still operating in a hybrid mode. And, you know, balancing safety of our partners, our — our employees, and the needs of our clients is a — a daily — a juggling act that we’re still working through and I suspect will be working through for a while longer here. RITHOLTZ: We’re going to talk a little more about how you guys manage doing the pandemic in a bit, but I want to stay with the success of Northern Trust. You’re one of the biggest ultra-high net worth investment managers. But relative to your size, you guys kind of fly under the radar. Why is that? FRADKIN: Well, you know, it’s — it’s an interesting question, Barry. The – so in terms of size, we’re in the top 20 banks in the country as measured by our balance sheet. But really the — the better marker of our size is the assets that we manage and the assets that we administer for clients. And we’re a very quiet company. We don’t do lots of big acquisitions. We do the same thing today that we’ve been doing since 1889, serving the same clientele, and so we’re a very focused institution. A little over half our profits come from the provision of services to wealthy families in America and around the world. And the other half come from essentially providing the same services, but to large global institutional investors, serving wealth funds, pension funds and the like. And so, we’re a quiet company that has been extraordinarily successful and consistently so for many, many years. So, we’re proud of what we’ve got, but we — we — we — we fly under the radar scream — screen intentionally to just keep a low profile and stay focused on our clients. RITHOLTZ: And — and that would make sense given the nature of your clients who are less Instagram stars and more quiet wealth. Is that a — is that a fair way to describe it? FRADKIN: Yeah. Today, we serve little over 30 percent of the Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans and, obviously, many other affluent families. And interestingly, Barry, you know, sometimes people think of Northern Trust in its wealth management business as focusing on — or serving multigenerational well-healed, you know, families. And that’s true, we certainly serve many of those. But there are many entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, in New York, in Miami, in Dallas, in — all over the country and all over the world. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in being here is that wealth is created in a lot of mysterious ways. And so, your — your reference to Instagram and so forth, I would say our clients are definitely low profile, but where they create their wealth emanates from every segment of the economy. It’s really a — a fascinating part of the privilege of being in this — this kind of role. RITHOLTZ: Let’s stay with that because I was just involved in a conversation recently about the amount of wealth that has been created over the past couple of decades. Wherever you look, especially in the United States, it seems that people are coming up with new ideas, new technologies, new just even business processes that if you go back to the 90’s, I don’t think people could have imagined the sort of things that are generating the massive amounts of wealth that we’ve seen. And — and I’m not even talking about NFTs or things like that, I mean, businesses with clients that are just doing tens of millions of dollars of — of revenue a year. FRADKIN: Well, I think the — the fascinating thing that I think we see is that wealth can be created in a lot of different ways. And I — and I think you’re right that as the world has sped up, the wealth creation has sped up, too. You know, to caricature it, it used to be you would start a business in your garage in Louisiana and, overtime, you would, you know, build a vacuum cleaner, whatever it happened to be. And you would start selling it from a store and, you know, it would — you know, you — you’d have a second store. And — and the next thing you know, you have a — a — a big business that you never envisioned having, and you could sell that company and — and create tremendous amount of wealth. Today, that phenomenon still absolutely happens, but it also happens with the power of the Internet that the pace at which companies in some industries can grow and accelerate has — has really multiplied. So, wealth creation, in some instances, is still a slow laborious step-by-step process. But in others, I don’t want to say it’s overnight, but it happens a lot faster with digitalization in the — the pace at which the world moves today. So, we — we see both phenomena, and that’s part of the fun and excitement of the American economy. And this certainly happens elsewhere in the world as well. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. So, let’s talk about how you guys had to operate during the lockdown. You mentioned this earlier. What were you doing when, you know, it became clear the country was shutting down in March of 2020? FRADKIN: It’s a great question, Barry. Well, we started like many other institutions with the safety of our clients and the safety of our employees. And it all happened relatively quickly in terms of shutting down offices to the bare minimum, getting people home, and making sure that they could function effectively from home. And if you go back to — and — and, by the way, we have 20,000 employees worldwide, so we were doing the same thing in Manila, in the Philippines as we were doing in London, as we were doing in Dublin, as we were doing in Houston, as we were doing in Las Vegas. And so I want you to think about the operational, and logistical, and infrastructural needs of pretty much all at the same time trying to get people out of the office, enable them to function effectively from home, still be able to serve our clients, and all the family and other issues that people were wrestling with. So, I would say the beginning of the pandemic was stressful. You know, we were working 24/7 trying to make sure that technology worked and people could still get cash and all those things. It has gotten to a much better, you know, I’ll call it normalcy in a strange sort of way. But the early days of the pandemic were — were challenging. We navigated through well, but it’s certainly not something that anyone had anticipated. RITHOLTZ: Really quite interesting. So, I’m assuming you guys have your offices, more or less, reopened. What are you going to do going forward? Is it going to be a hybrid model or is everyone back in the office or people working from home? FRADKIN: Our offices are open and — and really to different extents in different geographies, you know, which makes sense. The — the infection rates, hospitalization rates, all the metrics that we track are very different in different cities and countries around the globe. You know, in terms of where it goes in the future, I think the future of work and how people work is forever changed. You know, we always had a pretty flexible workforce and the ability to work from home and, you know, people’s — people’s lives and — personal lives and business lives had crossed over long ago that, as an employer, we had to be flexible. I think that’s going to be even more so coming out of the pandemic. People have gotten used to it. The technology has gotten better. Client expectations are different. And so, I think we will be in a — you know, what we — what we think of today as a hybrid model will be a normal model tomorrow. And that doesn’t mean everyone will work from home, but it certainly means a lot more flexibility for employees to inevitably juggle the — the conflicting needs of family and work life. And we’re well prepared for that. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: So as investors, COVID was pretty much an exogenous shock. It — it came out the left field. How did the whole COVID crash and recovery compare to past crises, whether it’s 9/11 or dot-com implosion or the great financial crisis? How do you — how do you wrap your head around this one compared to ones from — from recent past? FRADKIN: You know, it’s — it’s a great question. And I think, Barry, my perspective would be that we often call events like the COVID-19 pandemic tail events or once in a lifetime events. And in some ways, they are and, in some ways, they aren’t. If — if I think about it through the prism of my career experience, we had the crash of October 1987. We’ve seen the collapses of things like Enron and WorldCom. We’ve seen September 11th. We’ve seen Bear Stearns go down. We had the global financial crisis of 2008 and, of course, the pandemic. And each time we call it a tail event, but at some point, we have to admit that there are a lot of tails. So, I want to take you back just to compare and contrast COVID-19 with 2008. I’ll give you this example. I want you to imagine it’s the end of 2007, and you’re presenting the 2008 plan for Northern Trust to our board. And you go to the board and you say, “Look, we expect our revenues to do this and our expenses to do that, and so forth and so on.” And one of the board members raises his or her hand and he says — he or she says, “Barry, that’s — that’s terrific. Sounds like a great plan for 2008.” But I — I — I just want to get your perspective. What happens if Bear Stearns collapses, Freddie, Fannie, Washington Mutual, Wachovia, Merrill Lynch, you know, et cetera, et cetera, Lehman? You know, the whole thing collapses in 2008. How will we perform? I think you’d — you know, I — I think if you had been CFO at that time, you would have said, “Well, you know, that’s just — that’s never going to happen,” but it did. And Northern Trust navigated through that exceptionally well. Not unscarred, but exceptionally well. If you take — if you fast forward from that paradigm to COVID-19, it’s very similar. You know, if — if we had been talking to our board the year before and put forward our plan, I think our board would have said, “Well, okay, you know, that sounds like a great plan. What happens if there’s a global pandemic in every office from which we operate is going to be shut down or substantially shut down? Everyone’s got to work from home on the same day globally.” And, by the way, it’s going to be for a year and a half or more. I’m quite confident you or we would have said, well, that — you know, that’s just not — you know, I don’t know what we’ll do. That’s not going to happen, but it did. And so, I think the — the lesson from these crises is that while they’re different every time, they happen a lot. And so, we have to think about our approach to business, our approach to research, our approach to preparing for the unanticipatable. And as I say, each — each of your examples, September 11th, and COVID, and 2008 are different, but they were all — they all featured substantial disruption, substantial unanticipatable disruption. And at Northern Trust and every other company around the world, you have to be prepared to be agile and adapt quickly. And — and that’s what we’ve been able to do pretty consistently over our 130 plus years of experience. RITHOLTZ: So, given that history and the fact that a big chunk of your clients are ultra-high net worth, how do you think about managing assets compared to what — I don’t know, let’s use the phrase “mass affluent,” that typical approach. Is this more about preserving wealth and it is striking at rich. These folks are, after all, already fairly wealthy. How does this specific demographic change and challenge the way you manage assets for them? FRADKIN: Well, I think, look, wherever one sits on the spectrum of wealth, they generally want to optimize their returns over time. And people have different risk preferences as you would expect. So to caricature it, if you come from nothing and you’ve done exceptionally well financially, you may — not always, but you may have a predisposition to have a stronger defensive component to your portfolio because you don’t want to end up back where you were. You know what it’s like not to have money, you have it, and you want to be defensive. On the other hand, there are people who whether they came from nothing or not, they’ve had tremendous success. They’ve seen the power of capitalism, and they want to not only do as well as they can, but keep going. So, we see things through the eyes of our clients across the continuum. What I would say is people in the ultra net — ultra-high net worth space, at least from my point of view, it’s not so much about they’re more defensive or more offensive. They have more flexibility for choice. They can be defensive because they’ve, you know, so to speak, got more than enough or they can lean in and be more aggressive because they have a bigger cushion than the rest of us. And our clientele is all ends of that spectrum. There’s no — the — the — the notion that some people have, well, once someone’s made a certain amount of money they’re — they’re just trying to preserve it. There are certainly clients that — that exhibit that behavior, but there are an equal number who want to optimize it and aren’t in a completely defensive mindset. So, it depends on the personality type. RITHOLTZ: Very interesting. One of the clichés of the industry is three generations from, you know, short tales to short tales, referring that generational wealth very often gets — I don’t want to say wasted, but frittered away irresponsibly or recklessly. Some people take too much risk. How do you manage around that? Do you — do you ever have families coming to you and say, “Hey, we want to leave money to the next generation, but we want to make sure they get it and that it’s not just, you know, Ferraris and — and weekends in Vegas.” FRADKIN: Yes, all the time. Again, every family is different. Every client is different but, you know, one thing to — one thing that I think is a little bit unfair in — in — not by you, but in the characterization that you refer to is this notion, well, you know, by the third generation it is, you know, frittered away. I think you — you have to remember a couple things. First, when — when we say it’s frittered away, the comparison point is often to someone who did the extraordinary. So if I started from nothing and created $1 billion — $1 billion of wealth, it’s a little unfair to say my kids or my grandkids, you know, they’re not as smart as I am because, you know, they didn’t do it, too. You know, People who have created extraordinary wealth have done so, by definition, it’s — it’s extraordinary, and it’s not reasonable. Even if you have bright, talented, you know, high-functioning kids, it’s not reasonable to assume that each generation is just going to — you know, mom made $1 billion. Mom’s kid made $2 billion and — and mom’s grandkid made — made $4 billion. You know, it’s — mathematically, that’s not a reasonable probability. That’s sad. There is definitely an art to optimizing wealth through the generations. And, of course, it starts in the home and how you raise kids and values and, you know, what you demand of them or not. But a lot of our clients do a great job of trying to steward their wealth, trying to educate their kids, trying to make use of family governance to — to help everyone understand how things work for the family. And so, each client is different, but as with most things, the more you put into it, the more you’re likely to get out of it. And for those who believe it’s an important responsibility to steward that wealth, pass it to future generations, educate those generations, make them or trying to help them be important members of society, they tend to get better outcomes than the rest of us. It’s a — it’s a very — it’s, you know, raising kids and money are two challenging vectors, but we see some great examples of people stewarding wealth through multiple generations not just the — the founder, so to speak. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. Let’s talk a little bit about what you call Goals Driven Wealth Management. Start out with what — what exactly is that. FRADKIN: Sure. Goals Driven Wealth Management at Northern Trust is the framework that — that we’ve devised to build personalized wealth plans for clients and it focuses on helping them achieve their individual goals with confidence. It provides a big picture of their wealth and transparent steps on how to manage and optimize wealth over time. So, Barry, one way to think about it is — and I’m being a little bit facetious, but just to make the point, it used to be in this industry that the starting point for how money might be managed was a function of your outlook on the market. You think equities are going to go up, et cetera, so you allocate more to equities. Goals Driven Wealth Management comes at investing through a different lens. The starting point is not so much our call on the markets though that will be important at some point. Our starting point in Goals Driven is what are you and your family trying to accomplish. Once we understand what you’re trying to accomplish and the assets you need to accomplish it, we can, in effect, back in to how to deploy those assets — in stocks, bonds, other asset classes — to give you the best probability of achieving your life goals over time. So, it’s really just a different starting point for how to think about creating an asset allocation that is most effective for you and your family. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk about that framework. And again, the question comes back, how different is it for the ultra-high net worth than for the merely wealthy or — or is there a lot of overlapping between the two different types of planning? FRADKIN: The process is really the same no matter where you are on the wealth spectrum. You and your family have goals, and whether you have $1 million, $100 million, $1 billion, $10 billion or whatever the number is, you have something you want to achieve over time. You plan to live to age 90 or 100. This is what you need to live in the style to which you want to be accustomed, and we do a variety of work to figure out, first of all, are you asset-sufficient, meaning under reasonable scenarios, do I have enough if I steward it effectively to live my life the way I want to live it over time? And that happens whether you have, you know — again, whatever the number is, $500,000 or $10 million. The difference, Barry, comes in with the flexibility and options that you have as you create more wealth. So, the starting point is the same: understand your goals, understand your needs, and let’s figure out an asset allocation to give you the best chance to get there. What becomes different for people in the ultra-high net worth space relative to the rest of us is that they can take advantage of more planning techniques. They can take advantage of more techniques to optimize philanthropy. They can take advantage of gifting to future generations and so forth, and so the process is the same. But as you accumulate more money, in general, you have more flexibility on some other things you can do. The ultra-high net worth also have more investment optionality. They have the ability to invest in asset classes like private equity hedge fund and so forth where they may have to trade off some liquidity for a period of time. Those of us who are lower on the spectrum may not be able to endure that in a down market. Those who have more wealth can — can oftentimes weather that storm more. So, the process is the same, but you get more flexibility as your wealth grows. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: We’re going to talk more of about alternative investments in a little bit. I want to stick with a couple of interesting things I read in some Northern Trust research. One of the things that I kind of knew, but I didn’t realize it was this intense was the number of clients you see relocating to new states. It’s been a record volume. Some of that is pandemic related, some of it predates the pandemic. How does that challenge the planning process? How different is it from state-to-state when it comes to things like tax planning? You mentioned trust. You mentioned philanthropic issues. What happens when somebody picks up from one state and relocates to another state? FRADKIN: Yeah, it’s an interesting question. Look, clients relocating has always been with us. If you look at Northern Trust history, we are headquartered in Chicago in the middle of the United States. It’s cold here in the winter, lovely city, but it does get rather cold at wintertime. And often times, as people age and, you know, their kids finish school and so forth, they opt for better environments in the wintertime, so they may want to be in Florida or Arizona or Texas or California. So, one phenomenon we’ve always seen is migration from state-to-state. That phenomenon is also impacted by state tax rates, by state tax considerations. And so, both, because of the pandemic and for tax reasons and lifestyle reasons, were continuing to see movement across state lines. And so, you know, I think the — the message to urban planners is taxes do matter to people. It’s not necessarily the only factor, but even affluent people will think through where do they want to be, where do they want to live, what environment to they want to be in, and what’s the tax impact for their clients. And that phenomenon is — is alive and well. It’s always been there, but it — it does seem to be important as different states consider different policies, if you will. People — residents make their choices, and so it’s — it’s — it’s a phenomenon that’s very much at the front of mind for many of our clients. RITHOLTZ: Interesting. You mentioned taxes. There was a new administration came to town this year, and the expectations are there will be some sort of change in tax policy, potentially including increases in capital gains and increases in estate taxes and, in some cases, fairly substantial increases. How do you plan around that? And since nothing is known for certain in advance what an administration is — is going to do, how do you make decisions in — in the face of that uncertainty? FRADKIN: Yeah, I think our starting point on behalf of our clients is to prepare rather than predict. So, let me give you an example that — that you referred to. The newly proposed tax law change would change the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption amount from $11.7 million down to $5 million. And what this means for people that built up substantial wealth is that if the proposal goes forward as — as offered, you have until the end of this year if you want to make a gift to your heirs of — if you can afford to and if you want to, make a gift of $11.7 million. And again, I can’t tell you whether this will happen. But if we just think about the financial impact here, if you have enough capacity to do that and you choose to do it, you can take $11.7 million out of your estate today, get it to your kids, grandkids, whoever it happens to be tax-free as opposed to, on January 1st, if the law goes forward only as — as offered, you can only do $5 million. And what that means is the difference between — sorry to get, you know, numbers all over — but the difference between 11.7 and five, which is $6.7 million will be taxed, you know, when you die at a — at a high rate. And so we have literally thousands of clients all across the country and each one we’re working with individually to evaluate what’s their financial circumstance, what do they want to do, do they want to make the gift. And by the way, this — this — this tax law change may or may not happen, so people have to make a choice without knowing for sure whether it’s going to happen. I think the bottom line though is people are looking at this carefully. They’re studying it and they’re trying to prepare and make judgments about what might happen and what’s best for their individual circumstance. But tax law changes matter and — and we are in the business of helping our clients figure out what’s the best choice for them with the information that we have. RITHOLTZ: Quite, quite interesting. So, we talked a little bit about alternatives earlier. Let’s address that a bit. There seems to be a growing appetite for all manner of — of alternative investments given that stocks and bonds are all a little bit pricey. Let’s start with private equity. What — what sort of demand is there from your clients for private equity. And — and how do you guys respond to the question of potentially better returns in exchange for far less liquidity? FRADKIN: Sure. Look, investment has become much more granular over the decades and again, just to be facetious, you know, large-cap stocks versus high quality bonds, you know, 40 years ago. Today, clients think in terms of small-cap, mid-cap, large-cap, value, international, emerging markets, private equity, and thousands of flavors of private equity; hedge fund the same thing. So, in the quest for optimizing returns, clients and their professional money managers, Northern Trust included, have searched for different asset classes to combine together to give people the best chance to — to achieve their objectives. Private equity clearly has been in the aggregate — there are winners and losers in private equity, but has been a asset class that has done well for many. There are tradeoffs with private equity, particularly in terms of liquidity. But I would say amongst our clientele, the appetite for private equity and private equity, as a more normalized asset class, continues to grow. It’s not the right asset class for every client, but for clients who have the capacity, the risk tolerance and so forth, it — it definitely can play an important role in a client’s portfolio. And increasingly, we’re seeing more use of private equity today than we did say 10 years ago. RITHOLTZ: What about venture capital or hedge funds, two totally different entities from both each other in private equity, what’s the demand like for those products? FRADKIN: Demand exists for venture capital and for hedge funds as well. Again, the devil is in the detail, not all hedge funds are created equally. The — the — the fees that they charge, the performance that they’ve delivered can differ substantially, but there is again this same notion of I want to diversify my portfolio. I want a — a range of options and so-called alternative investments. Whether you call it private equity, venture capital, hedge funds seem to continue to be growing in appeal to our clientele. RITHOLTZ: What about crypto and things like blockchain and Ethereum? There seems to be a lot of real interest in the space. Are — are you finding your client bases crypto-curious? FRADKIN: I would say the demand for crypto is more muted amongst our clientele than some of what you read in the public press. And that doesn’t mean we have examples of clients who have invested in crypto and done exceptionally well in a right time. But I would say, in general, if I had to caricature it, I would say that crypto is still an evolving asset class that is misunderstood by many. And I think most are treating it carefully. And the ones that are making crypto investments are viewing it more as a — more as a roll of the dice than a rational analytical view of what crypto is trading at today and what it’s going to trade it tomorrow. They view it as a bit of a roll the dice. They may jump in a little bit, but they understand that what goes up can also go down. So, I would say amongst our clientele overall, crypto is still not widely in use. RITHOLTZ: So, we mentioned briefly the market is certainly pricier than it was five or 10 years ago. How do you manage around stocks and bonds neither of which are inexpensive? FRADKIN: Yeah, look, I think for many of our clients, the market does go up, the market got does go down. And one of the great features of our — the goals-driven methodology that we use for clients is that we build a portfolio such that after a lot of analytical work to evaluate their goals and so forth that enables them to endure and not have to sell in a down market. We — we create something that’s called a portfolio reserve. I would liken it to the moat around your castle. Some people like a wide deep moat, some people need a narrower and less deep mode, but think of that as a high-quality fixed income. If the stock market goes down, your — your bonds are still fine. You can still pay your mortgage. Life is good. You can wait until the market goes up or — or returns to normal. So, the one thing we know on behalf of our clients is markets go up and down, and so you have to plan and prepare for that. And so, it’s very difficult to know. You know, again using the COVID-19 example, I think they’re a lot of people who might have argued the markets are going to crash, you know, everyone’s working from home and we can’t get the essentials, and people don’t want to go to the grocery store, and yet the market went up dramatically. So, we try and take a long-stewarded view and help our clients plan and prepare themselves so that when the market does go down, they can get through and — and not have to take adverse steps and sell in dire circumstance. And that’s been very helpful for our clients. RITHOLTZ: So, in terms of forward return expectations, does that — and historically low-bond yields, high equity prices tend to suggest low returns going forward, does that work its way into the planning process or is that really more of an academic theory? FRADKIN: No, it absolutely works its way into the planning process because our starting point is what needs does a client have over the near-term for financial resources. We — we got to make sure they can buy their groceries, and pay their mortgage, and we have to deploy assets against those goals. But once, in working with a client, we figured out the right mix of assets to — to enable them to — to afford those goals over a reasonable period of time, we then have to deploy the rest of the portfolio toward so-called risk assets, equities, private equity, hedge funds, venture — whatever the asset class. And in so doing, we have to bring our judgment about risk and return expectations for each of those asset classes. So, our view of asset classes and what they’re likely to bring over the relatively short-term is still an important part of the process. RITHOLTZ: So, what do you tell investors who say, “You know, I’m really not happy with my muni bond portfolio. It’s barely thrown off two or 2.5 percent.” Investors are always seen to be looking for more yield. How do you respond to that group of clients? FRADKIN: Yeah, I think it — my — our response is really you have to remember what you’re trying to do with that muni bond portfolio. No one is saying it’s a great high returning asset class, but that’s not its role. Its role is to be — I’m making this up, Barry, but generally, the role of that muni bond portfolio is to provide you with certainty, security, confidence, and not have to worry about the other part of your portfolio, let’s just call that equities gyrating up and down. So, of course, people want their muni bonds or their high-quality fixed income to return as much as it can, and it’s our job to try and help people achieve that. But I think you always have to come back to what role is this trying to play. And for most clients, it’s trying to play a role of stability, and reliability, and consistency, and that’s the paramount feature. And in providing that consistency and — and stability and predictability, they give up a little bit of return on that asset class, but they’re trying to get that elsewhere with their equities, private equity, and so forth. So, you had — you had discussed previously, hey, you know, it’s up to us to make the most of a low rate environment. What does that mean? Get — how does one make the most of a low rate environment? FRADKIN: Well, I think, you know, low — low rates create — low interest rates create challenges and opportunities. Maybe two simple ways to think about it are, one, on the challenge side, if you’re living on a fixed income as assets reprice to — and you’re reliant on bonds — your bonds to provide income, the lower rates make the yield on those bonds lower, and so that’s bad from, you know, how much cash flow I have to — to fill my needs. The flipside to that is that when rates are very low, if you want to, if it’s appropriate, if it’s thoughtfully done, you can use credit rather than liquidating stocks to — you know, if you want to buy a new toy, so to speak, a boat, whatever it happens to be, one way to do that is to sell stocks in your portfolio and buy the — you know, whatever it is you want to buy. Another way is to let those stocks keep working on your behalf and, because rates are so low, take advantage of credit. Take a loan, buy that boat and — or whatever it happens to be and pay it back over time. So low interest rates, you know, how can have different conflicting phenomenon, opportunities on the credit side and headwinds on the bond investment site. RITHOLTZ: So — so how do you incorporate all this inflation chatter to — to your planning? We’ve started to see rates tick up the 10-year as — as recording this just about 1.5 percent. And I know there’s an irony in saying that rates are all the way up to 1.5 percent, which historically is incredibly low. How do you figure inflation into your modeling and — and thinking about the future? FRADKIN: Yeah, well, we use multi-scenario modeling. The — the reality is no one knows and so you have to, you know, the — the prognosticators will — will have a view. Some — some believe inflation is here and is going to continue. Others argue it’s so-called transitory. And the truth is we don’t know. We’ll — we’ll find that out tomorrow, so to speak. And so as we work through planning with our clients, we generally are running multiple scenarios, low inflation, medium inflation, high inflation. And we’re trying — as we — as we help clients make decisions, we’re trying to make the best judgment we can at a given point in time. But that’s why you — you really have to — be you have to plan for multiple scenarios and bring agility to your process because we don’t know whether the stock market is going up or down. We don’t know whether inflation will be higher or lower. We have a view. We can have probabilities. But as we’ve seen, whether it was with 2008 or COVID, we — everyone can be wrong. And so, you have to plan and adapt and leave yourself a buffer for when you are wrong, and hopefully it’s not — not catastrophic. RITHOLTZ: So, I know I only have you for a little bit of time. Let me jump to my favorite questions that I ask all of my guests, starting with tell us what you’re streaming these days, what’s keeping you entertained at home, either on Netflix or Amazon Prime or — or wherever. FRADKIN: Well, I’ve — I’ve been working hard so I — I can’t say I’ve — I’ve made great use of Netflix. But what I have just started and this will show you, Barry, how far behind I am is I’ve just started Ted Lasso. So I’m behind the rest of the world, but that’s what I’m on right now. RITHOLTZ: All right. Well, well, you’ll — I could tell you this much, you will enjoy it and — and enjoy catching up with us. What about mentors? Who helped to shape your career? FRADKIN: You know, I’ve had a lot of mentors at Northern Trust over the years, people who were senior to me and people who weren’t, but I learned from everyone. I think when I think about mentors, for me, it’s less about people with whom I work and maybe it’s my interest in history. But I try and learn from people who have overcome insurmountable odds, the Mahatma Gandhis, the Martin Luther Kings, the Winston Churchills, the Vaclav Havels, the Abraham Lincoln. And there’s so much wisdom that I see in people like that because they really faced incredible circumstances and worked through them generally to good outcomes. And so there — those great thinkers are probably the people I’ve learned the most from as I wouldn’t call them mentors to me, but I’ve certainly read about all of them and — and learned a lot from each of them. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk about books. What are you reading right now and what — what are some of your favorites? FRADKIN: You know, I think in keeping with that theme of mentors over periods of time that interest me, I’ve really enjoyed “The Splendid and the Vile” by Eric Larson, which is about Churchill and the blitz of World War II. And — and again, it — it helps you — it helps me to see just how dire the circumstances were and what he and others had to navigate through. The other book that I’ve dusted off recently, I read some time ago, but I think in view of the pandemic, it seemed interesting to me was “The Hot Zone” by Richard Preston, which has nothing to do with the pandemic, but there are parallels to what we’re dealing with, and it was sort of a gripping — a gripping book if you have time for a good read. RITHOLTZ: Sounds interesting. What sort of advice would you give to a recent college grad who is interested in a career in either investment management or finance? FRADKIN: Yeah, I think, Barry, I’d offer a — a — a couple of themes on this. And I — I don’t know that I narrowed these themes to an interest in investments or finance, although I think they do overlap. But I’d start by saying, it probably be easiest place to get my view there would be to go to YouTube and I — I gave a commencement address at the University of Illinois Chicago and tried to formulate those themes for — for young people. But a — but a few that come to mind at least through my lens are comfort is the enemy of accomplishment. If you want to be the best you can be, you can never be satisfied with where you are. You’ve got to push, push, push and make yourself better each and every day in everything you touch. I think a couple of the other themes that would come to me would be in — in the same vein, we see this in Northern Trust all the time. Excellence is not a part-time job. For people who want to be excellent, who want to do the best job for our clients and our shareholders, you can’t be excellent only when it’s convenient, only when you want to do it or only when you feel like it. You’ve — you’ve got to — excellence is an all-in phenomenon. And then probably the — the — the last thing that comes to my mind is persevere beyond your accomplishments. It’s not what you did yesterday, it’s — you can be proud of what you’ve accomplished. But again, you want to be better going forward. And so be proud of who you are, be proud of your grades, and your — your school, and your degrees, and all that sort of stuff, but those are what you did, you know, two years ago, five years ago, 10 years ago whatever it happens to be, keep pushing forward to be the best you can be. So, persevere beyond your accomplishments. RITHOLTZ: And our final question, what do you know about the world of investing today you wish you knew 35 years ago when you were first starting with Northern Trust? FRADKIN: That is a long list, Barry, but I think what I would say is you don’t have to be right on everything and sometimes being right is more about luck and timing than it is about specific analytical acumen. Uninspiring choices in a bull market can turn out just fine, and well-reasoned ideas in a down market can turn out to be not so good. So, get the direction right more often than not and you’ll be just fine. RITHOLTZ: Really good advice. Thank you, Steve, for being so generous with your time. We’ve been speaking with Steve Fradkin. He is the President of Northern Trust Wealth Management. If you enjoy this conversation, well, be sure and check out any of the other 388 prior discussions we’ve had over the past seven years. You can find those wherever you normally find your favorite podcast, iTunes, Spotify, wherever. We love your comments, feedback, and suggestions. Write to us at mibpodcast@bloomberg.net. You can sign up for my daily suggested reading list at ritholtz.com. Check out my regular column at bloomberg.com/opinion. Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack that helps put these conversations together each week. Paris Wald is my Producer. Michael Batnick is my Head of Research. Atika Valbrun is our Project Manager. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~   The post Transcript: Steve Fradkin appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureNov 29th, 2021

Why This Dating App Is Paying All Employees an $80,000 Minimum Salary

The decision is similar to that taken by the Dan Price, the CEO of credit card processing startup Gravity Payments Feeld is a dating app that puts being progressive at the heart of what it does. For its chief executive Ana Kirova, that’s an approach she aims to bring to the way the business values its employees. The company, which offers users a range of flexible options and started out as an app for non-monogamous relationships, today announced that it was setting a new minimum annual salary of £60,000 ($80,000) for full-time employees. The new minimum pay means 40% of Feeld’s 55 full-time staff will receive a pay rise starting in January. The remaining employees already earn above this amount. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “We put the human first, both as a company and for our customers,” Kirova tells TIME in an interview over Zoom. Following a wave of new hires, she noticed that paying employees the market rate for certain roles meant that their salaries would not rise beyond a certain level. “It just didn’t make sense for us to take that information and not do anything about it.” she says. “As an organization, being fluid and progressive allows people to do their best work.” The decision is similar to that taken by Gravity Payments, a credit card processing startup, which raised its minimum salary to $70,000 in April 2015. Feeld’s move also comes against the backdrop of a significant shift within the labor market. Dubbed the ‘great resignation,’ workers are quitting their jobs in droves. A record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September, according to a report released Nov. 12 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest level since the agency started tracking such data in 2000. In the same month, there were around 10 job openings for every seven people without a job. Demand for workers is giving employees leverage to demand better pay, perks, and working conditions from potential employers. In the U.K., where Feeld is based—although it allows staff to work remotely from anywhere—resignations and job-to-job moves are at the highest level in 20 years. Nearly 400,000 workers resigned between July and September, compared with 105,000 at the same time last year. While Kirova recognizes the benefit of high starting salaries in attracting talent, she says the reason for the company’s decision was more about its “core value: being human.” Unlike Dan Price, the CEO of Gravity Payments, Kirova will not be taking a pay cut to fund the minimum salary increase. That’s because the raises can be comfortably funded using the company’s profits, she says. “We’ve been profitable for the last few years,” she said without disclosing the company’s profit figures. “We’ve seen a lot of growth and success, and we want to make sure that we reward everyone for it, because it’s not like it’s one person’s success. Everyone’s contributed to it.” Executives will still earn significantly more than other employees. Taking into account the $80,000 base wage and new hires in top roles, employees at executive level will be earning around six times the minimum salary, Kirova says. “We’ve never really had that vast gap between the top paid person and the lowest paid,” she says. “I think that this is to a large degree thanks to our transparent salaries policy, because it just keeps you accountable as a leader.” Kirova declined to disclose the company’s annual revenue or total number of users but a company representative said there had been a 70% year-on-year increase in users from October 2020 to October 2021. The New York Times reported that the app had 1.5 million downloads in 2016. The app, which has users in major cities around the world, is free to use but has a paid membership offering with enhanced features and privacy options. Dimo Trifonov, the app’s founder—and Kirova’s partner—originally came up with the idea for Feeld in 2014, when she asked if him they could experiment with additional people in their relationship. Initially called 3nder, the app was designed for couples to create joint accounts. It has since expanded to include anyone wanting to experiment in dating. There are more than 20 options for gender identity and sexuality on the app. Kirova joined the product side of the business in 2016 and was appointed CEO in April this year. Since then, she has formed a leadership team of 60% female-identifying members. According to the company, increasing the lowest wage to $80,000 will reduce the gender pay gap between men and women at Feeld to 1%, from 6%. “As a leader of an organisation and especially with our transparency, you can see patterns that are systemic,” Kirova says of the pay gap. “They’re not our doing. But if we don’t do something against them, they will just creep in as we grow.” The company aims to one day close the remaining 1% pay gap, but only once it has established the root cause, she says. “Does this 1% also come from the wider market? Or does it come from internal bias that we’ll need to address?” Kirova says she did not discuss the wage increase with the company’s sole investor, whose identity she declined to reveal, but says “he has a lot of faith in and trust in how we work.” “We’ve previously made decisions that could look unpopular from an investor perspective,” she says, such as investing heavily in “design and creative work” and implementing salary transparency. “These are not necessarily popular decisions, because they’re not tested and proven. But Feeld has always been very creative about how we do our work, and what exactly we do,” Kirova says. “And I believe we have the trust of our investor.” In addition to improving equity across different roles and genders within the company, Kirova hopes that the minimum salary increase will set an example to other startups. “It’s very important for us to stay progressive, but also to inspire other companies to think a little bit more creatively about how exactly they conduct their business internally.” Most importantly, Kirova believes that investment in workers is essential in fomenting productivity. “In industries which are trying to reinvent or to innovate how work happens, there needs to be a path for people to see how they can succeed and grow.” She says it is counterproductive to creat gaps between how different roles are valued within an organization. , She gives the example of engineering positions, which are often better paid than other jobs within startups. “It has to be bridged. It can’t stay like this forever.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 24th, 2021

Illinois Pension Shortfall Surpasses $500 Billion, Average Debt Burden Now $110,000 Per Household

Illinois Pension Shortfall Surpasses $500 Billion, Average Debt Burden Now $110,000 Per Household By Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner of Wirepoints (click here for a pdf of the report) Illinois just reached an alarming milestone: each Illinois household is now on the hook for, on average, $110,000 in government-worker retirement debts. That figure is the result of dividing Illinois’ $530 billion in state and local retirement shortfalls among the state’s 4.9 million households. In 2019, the burden was $90,000 per household. Illinois’ retirement debts increased to $530 billion in 2020, according to a Wirepoints analysis of Moody’s Investors Service debt estimates. This is the first year the credit rating agency’s estimates of Illinois’ retirement debts, made up of both pension and retiree health shortfalls at the state and local level, have broken $500 billion. The jump in Illinois’ shortfall, up nearly $100 billion compared to 2019, was due largely to the drop in interest rates as a result of the COVID crisis. Illinois’ shortfall is expected to remain elevated in 2021 despite the market recovery. (See Appendix B.) The growth in Illinois’ retirement debts to half-a-trillion dollars is yet another grim reminder of how lawmakers’ refusal to address the pension crisis does real harm to ordinary residents. These outsized debts have contributed directly to Illinois’ other crises, including the state’s worst-in-the-nation credit rating, the 2nd-highest property taxes and the nation’s 5th-worst decline in real home values. The pension crisis has also contributed indirectly to a record rate of outmigration and the nation’s 2nd-largest population losses since 2010. In addition, the growing debts point to just how much the retirement security of more than a million Illinois government workers and retirees has collapsed. According to Pew Charitable Trusts, Illinois’ state-level pensions are just 39 percent funded, the lowest ratio in the nation. In all, Illinois’ $530 billion state and local retirement shortfall is made up of: Illinois’ five state-run pension funds – $313 billion State retiree health insurance – $55 billion State pension obligation bonds – $9 billion Chicago and Cook County pensions and retiree health – $122 billion Other local government pensions and retiree health – $32 billion Illinois continues to be the nation’s extreme outlier when it comes to pension debts as measured by Moody’s. Comparing state-level pension data alone – there is no like-for-like comparison for all state and local retirement debts across the 50 states – shows Illinois’ debt swamps that of its neighbors and other big states. At $313 billion, Illinois’ state-level pension debt is the nation’s biggest, the 2nd-most on a per household basis, and the highest when measured as a share of state revenues and GDP. Illinois also has the nation’s highest pension costs as a share of revenues, according to Moody’s. Record debts, no matter the source It’s important to note that Moody’s $530 billion calculation is much higher than the official government estimates of $303 billion for Illinois’ state and local retirement debts (don’t confuse this number with Moody’s state-level-only pension debt of $313 billion). Moody’s uses lower discount rates than the state to calculate the present value of what’s owed to retirees, resulting in far larger shortfalls. In contrast, Illinois governments use far more optimistic investment rate assumptions to arrive at lower debt numbers. The full explanation of the difference between Moody’s and the official debt calculations is covered in Appendix A, but what readers should know is that Moody’s discount rates better reflect the guaranteed pension promises that governments make to public sector workers, which taxpayers are on the hook for. Moody’s methodology is broadly in line with the opinions of financial experts ranging from Nobel prize winners like Stanford’s Prof. William F. Sharpe and University of Chicago’s Prof. Eugene Fama, to other academics including Hoover Fellow Joshua Rauh and the late actuary Jeremy Gold. While Wirepoints uses Moody’s debt estimates as the standard in this report, we also report the state’s official numbers for comparison purposes. Illinois’ official calculations also reached a negative milestone of their own this year: state and local retirement debts crossed the $300 billion mark in 2020. Any way you cut the numbers, retirement debts are reaching record levels in Illinois. Illinois’ per household debts are overwhelming Most Illinoisans can’t comprehend the meaning of $530 billion in retirement debts, but they’re increasingly feeling the burden those debts create every day. On average, each of Illinois’ 4.9 million households is on the hook for $110,000 in state and local shortfalls, based on Moody’s pension calculations ($530 billion spread over 4.9 million households). That burden has consistently manifested itself in the higher taxes that residents have been paying, as well as in the reduced services they’ve been receiving. What’s worse, any taxes dedicated to paying down those debts over the next couple of decades won’t go toward new or improved services, but instead toward services already rendered. In other words, the future taxes needed to pay down that debt will be in addition to the taxes needed to pay for schools, transportation, healthcare and more. The $110,000 per household is an average across the entire state, but the precise burden for Illinoisans differs depending on where they live. The debt burden on Chicago’s one million households is larger because of the city’s deeper debt crisis. There, each household is on the hook for $180,000 for their share of state and local retirement debts. Illinoisans living outside of Chicago, meanwhile, face an overall average burden of $90,000 per household. For comparison purposes, the burdens for Chicago and non-Chicago households, based on official state and local retirement debts, are $95,000 and $53,000, respectively. Illinois the outlier Illinois is the nation’s extreme outlier when it comes to retirement debts based on Moody’s calculations, particularly when just state-level pension debts are compared. Illinois’ $313 billion shortfall in its five state-run pension funds, as of June 30, 2020, is the largest in the country, dwarfing that of its neighbors and other big states. California, with more than triple the population of Illinois, has a state-level shortfall of $240 billion – $70 billion less than Illinois. And Texas, with more than double the population of Illinois, has a shortfall of $173 billion – $140 billion less than Illinois. Kentucky, suffering a pension crisis of its own, has a $56 billion state-level shortfall – just a fifth the size of Illinois’. The rest of Illinois’ neighbors have shortfalls valued at just $20 billion or less. When measured on a per household basis, Illinois’ state-level pension debt totals more than $64,200. That’s the nation’s 2nd-largest burden, behind only Connecticut’s $65,400 per household. Illinoisans’ state-level household burden is four times larger than the national average of $15,600, and compared to residents in neighboring Iowa and Wisconsin, Illinoisans’ burdens are 18 to 20 times larger. Iowa and Wisconsin’s per household burdens are $3,500 and $3,200, respectively. Please note the 50-state economic and financial comparisons for June 30, 2020 are not yet available from Moody’s. The following 50-state comparisons are based on state-level pension debts as of June 30, 2019. Illinois’ shortfall totaled $236 billion that year. Illinois’ state-level pension debt also makes the state an extreme outlier when measured against other economic and financial metrics. Illinois’ state level-debts are equivalent to 27 percent of the state’s annual GDP. In most of Illinois’ neighboring states, the debt is equal to just 2 to 6 percent of GDP. Indiana’s debt is at 5 percent, while Iowa and Wisconsin’s debt are both equal to less than 2 percent. Only Kentucky, which is struggling with a pension crisis of its own, comes close to Illinois with debts equal to 23 percent of GDP. Illinois’ debts are also the nation’s-most when compared to state revenues. State-level pension debts are equal to 433 percent of Illinois’ own-source tax revenues, which is nearly four times the national average of 116 percent, and 15 times higher compared to Wisconsin’s 28 percent of revenues. Illinois also has, by far, the highest pension costs as a percentage of state revenues. Moody’s says Illinois’ “tread water” pension cost – the annual state contribution required to ensure the state’s pension shortfall doesn’t grow from one year to the next – equals 21 percent of Illinois’ own-source tax revenues. No other state comes close to that amount. Connecticut’s tread water cost equals 15 percent of revenues, the national average is just 4 percent, and all of Illinois’ neighbors’ costs, except Kentucky, equal just 5 percent or less of revenues. Illinois is also the nation’s extreme outlier when it comes to retirement security for state workers. Illinois state-level pensions were only 39 percent funded in 2019, according to official data collected by the Pew Charitable Trusts. A funded ratio of 60 percent or below is often seen as a “point of no return” for pension funds. In contrast, most of Illinois’ neighbors are far better funded. Indiana’s funded ratio is 69 percent, 30 percentage points higher than Illinois, Iowa’s is 85 percent, and Wisconsin has the healthiest pensions in the nation with a funding ratio of 103 percent. The need for structural reform Lawmakers have done nothing since their failed reform efforts in 2013 to try and stem the growth in Illinois’ debt. That year, a majority of Democratic lawmakers and Gov. Pat Quinn agreed that pension reform was essential to fixing the state’s dire financial problems. Then-Attorney General Lisa Madigan cited the conclusions previously reached by the General Assembly when she defended the reforms in front of Illinois’ Supreme Court: “Having considered other changes that would not involve changes to the retirement system, the General Assembly has determined that the fiscal problems facing the state and its retirement systems cannot be solved without making some changes to the structure of the retirement systems.” Today, most politicians won’t even discuss the possibility of reform, while others declare reform a “fantasy.” But the reasons for structural changes are even more valid today than they were in 2013. The situation for Illinoisans has only gotten worse: state-level pension debts alone have risen by more than 60 percent, hundreds of local public safety funds have fallen closer to insolvency, Illinois’ tax burden remains one of the nation’s highest, and the state’s credit rating was at the brink of junk just a few months ago. The hard truth is that Illinois’ crisis will only worsen over time. As the state’s retirement debts continue to grow, more and more Illinoisans will be motivated to leave the state’s debts behind while fewer migrants will be willing to move in and assume the pension burden. A growing debt burden on an ever-shrinking population will only hasten Illinois’ downward spiral. Pension reform is inevitable. The question is whether Illinois’ legislature will address the crisis now, while Illinois still has assets and dynamism left, or delay until this state is a shadow of its former self. It’s a question of whether those reforms will happen in a controlled, organized fashion, or under the duress of fiscal and political chaos. And it’s a question of whether lawmakers will enact true structural reforms or pass more can-kicks as they have in the past. Wirepoints’ Pension Solutions The first step towards any reform effort is acknowledging that Illinois has a problem. That’s the purpose of this report – to bring attention to an overwhelming crisis that’s being ignored. Only once that crisis has been recognized and properly diagnosed can real solutions be discussed. That said, Wirepoints has developed a baseline reform plan that can help fix the pension crisis. For more information about Illinois’ pension crisis and how it can be solved, see Wirepoints’ Pension Solutions. To view Wirepoints’ detailed, actuarially-scored baseline retirement restructuring plan, read Wirepoints’ Special Report: Solving Illinois’ Pension Problem: Why It’s Legal, Why It’s Necessary, and What It Looks Like. For a breakdown of the state’s official debts and their trend over the past two decades, visit Wirepoints’ Illinois Pension Facts. And for a deeper analysis of Illinois’ local pension crisis, see Wirepoints’ Special Report: Communities in crisis: More than half of Illinois cities get “F” grades for local pensions. Tyler Durden Sun, 11/21/2021 - 13:35.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 21st, 2021

Electric vehicles won"t save us — we need to get rid of cars completely

Electric vehicles aren't as green as you might think, and they can only be part of the equation if we want to solve climate change. Electrifying heavy cars like trucks and SUVs causes other issues like air pollution and traffic deaths.Insider World leaders are focusing on electric vehicles to reduce emissions and combat the climate crisis.  But electrifying vehicles is simply not enough — especially given their large production footprint.  To really make a difference, we need smaller cars, less cars, and more transportation alternatives.  Paris Marx is the host of the Tech Won't Save Us podcast and author of the forthcoming book, Road to Nowhere, about the problems with Silicon Valley's future of transportation. This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.  Climate change is happening now. Wildfires are getting worse, flooding more common, hurricanes more powerful, and heat waves more deadly. Yet when world leaders met in Glasgow earlier this month, their proposals still had the world on track for 2.4 degrees Celsius of warming — far above the 1.5-degree target. Governments aren't doing enough, but they are beginning to take action, and many are focusing on the opportunity offered by electric vehicles.Transportation accounts for 29% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and more than half of that comes from passenger vehicles. Since taking office in January, the Biden administration has taken steps toward electrification, but also failed to sign onto a pledge announced at COP26 to phase out fossil-fuel vehicles by 2040.Electric vehicles are one piece of a strategy to slash transport emissions, but they tend to receive far more attention than proposals to cut car use. The electrification of transportation is essential — there is no doubt about that — but just replacing every personal vehicle with a battery-powered equivalent will produce an environmental disaster of its own. Such a strategy also denies us the opportunity to rethink a near-century of misguided auto-oriented city planning.SUVs make the problem worseSince the 1990s, SUVs have gone from being a niche vehicle segment to nearly half of new vehicle sales in the United States. When you add in vans and pickup trucks, that number rises to more than 70% of the market. These large vehicles now dominate North American roads, despite the fact that they're at least twice as likely to kill pedestrians, have contributed to a 30% increase in pedestrian deaths from 2000 to 2019, and make it harder to cut the carbon emitted from transportation.While fuel economy standards have improved over time, the shift from sedans to SUVs and trucks has partially offset the emissions reductions that should have accompanied those improvements. Plus, when you look at the global picture, SUV sales have also taken off to such a degree that they were the second largest contributor to the increase in global emissions from 2010 to 2018. The commonly stated solution to this problem is not to address the growing size of vehicles or the mass ownership of personal vehicles of any kind, but simply to electrify them. That isn't good enough.The focus on tailpipe emissions misses the bigger picture, and at a moment when we can see the complex, global nature of supply chains in our everyday lives, we need to think beyond such a limited framing of electric vehicles' environmental impact. For example, particulate matter created from tire, brake, and road wear, as well as the dust kicked up by cars on the road, does not fuel climate change, but it does create air pollution that's harmful to human health. In the United States, these pollutants are responsible for about 53,000 premature deaths each year, and heavier electric vehicles like SUVs and trucks could actually generate more particulate matter than lighter, non-electric cars.Yet while health effects are important, the biggest concern is the minerals that are required to make the batteries that power electric vehicles and the mining that has to happen to extract them. It's a reality that seriously dirties their green image, and shows the "zero emissions" branding simply isn't accurate.The mining behind electric vehiclesAhead of COP26, the International Energy Agency released its latest World Energy Outlook that estimated achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 will require six times more minerals by mid-century than is necessary today. Yet the majority of those minerals are required for electric vehicles and storage, whose mineral demand is projected to increase by "well over 50 times by 2050" as the demand for batteries to power them grows substantially. As a result, the United States is assessing its own mineral supply chains and working with Canada to expand mining activities to supply battery makers. But all that mining comes with consequences.In North America, mining activities tend to be located near rural communities or Indigenous lands where the mines face growing opposition over their environmental impacts and the threat they pose to the lives and livelihoods of locals. Canada also isn't free of such concerns; lithium mines in Quebec have already been responsible for environmental accidents, and Indigenous opposition to mining projects is growing. That's because these mines harm the surrounding environment, use excess amounts of water, and create significant amounts of waste, but they also have consequences for workers and nearby communities who often suffer from much higher rates of illness. In some countries, a more organized opposition to mining activities is forming, including groups in Latin America that call it a form of green extractivism where people and ecosystems are sacrificed in the name of the climate crisis. As plans to extract more minerals escalate, the backlash will only grow, both at home and abroad.We need to reduce car useElectric vehicles tend to be more environmentally friendly than those powered by gas or diesel, but they still have a significant footprint of their own that primarily occurs in the production stage rather than during their use. As long as an electric vehicle replaces all the trips a conventional vehicle might take, it will typically produce fewer emissions over its lifetime within a few years. But we need to ensure we're not being misled by industry players that have an incentive to greenwash products that don't do nearly enough to address the problem.On top of the issues with mining and large vehicle pollution, continuing to have communities built around the assumption that everyone will drive simply isn't sustainable. The automotive industry wants us to replace the vehicle fleet with battery-powered alternatives because they'll make a lot of money in the process, but it's not the best path for the environment, nor for our communities.As leaders at COP26 were focused on electric vehicles, a network of mayors and the International Transport Workers' Federation released a report arguing that public transit use needs to double by 2030 in order to meet emissions targets. Making transit available within a 10-minute walk of people's homes would not only encourage its use and create tens of millions of jobs, but could begin to transform our relationship to mobility.There was a moment during the pandemic where it felt that change was not only possible, but was happening in front of our very eyes. Streets were closed to vehicles so people had space to move, and temporary bike lanes were thrown up to encourage cycling. In some cities, those efforts were expanded as the worst of the pandemic lifted so people could leave their cars at home and commit to using bikes or transit. But in other cities, the push to go "back to normal" swept away those spaces, and the SUVs returned.We should seize this opportunity to challenge the past century of auto-oriented planning and emphasize walking, cycling, and transit use over driving. Not only would people's quality of life improve, but if we're serious about taking on the climate crisis, we need to significantly reduce the number of cars and SUVs on the road — regardless of what powers them.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 20th, 2021

SCOTT GALLOWAY: Higher education in the US has become un-American

Kids are still getting into college but are shuffled down to lower-tier schools that charge a top-tier price for a credential worth far less. Galloway says the rising costs of higher education is disastrous for lower- and middle-income Americans.Eva-Katalin/Getty Images Scott Galloway is a bestselling author and professor of marketing at NYU Stern. The following is a recent blog post, republished with permission, that originally ran on his blog, "No Mercy / No Malice." In it, Galloway discussed how inflation impacts access to colleges and universities.  In 1980 a gallon of gasoline cost $1.19. Today it's $3.41, a 2.7% annual increase. But undergraduate tuition has risen nearly three times as fast: 6.7% a year at public colleges, for an increase of nearly 1,400%. The greatest assault on middle-class America's prosperity may be the relentless, four-decade-long inflation in higher education. Student loan debt ($1.7 trillion) is now greater than credit card debt. And that doesn't account for the busted 401(k)s, second mortgages, and general financial oppression me and my colleagues have levied on lower- and middle-income households. The number of Americans who have more than $100,000 in student debt is greater than the population of Utah.(Note: Huge thanks to College101 and Stig Leschlyf for much of the data in this piece.)Scott GallowayThis sustained inflation has been devastating for lower- and middle-income households.Scott GallowayAnd this ability to raise prices faster than inflation is really impressive given the industry is one of the most heavily subsidized in the US. Scott GallowayHow did we get here?Higher education's ability to soak America is a function of limiting the supply of freshman seats at our best universities in concert with the continued fetishization of their brands. We can scale Salesforce, Facebook, and Google by 25% to 60% per annum, but we can't seem to bust above 1% per year at our great public universities. The top 200 schools in America educate only 10% of college attendees. And these universities raise prices in perfect lockstep, miraculously, resulting in millions of kids who get arbitraged to mediocre universities but pay an elite price. It's a cartel, enforced by the accreditation organizations, institutions who are as corrupt as the NCAA … minus the charm. Accreditation has teeth because it determines access to federally guaranteed student loans. And in the last 20 years, these organizations have blessed only 159 new institutions — most of them small and specialized schools — which have collectively grown total enrollment by less than 0.15% per year. The result is an ossified industry near void of real innovation, as … why would we?RejectionismAcceptance rates have plummeted, turning senior spring from a time of optimism and opportunity to one of anguish and sacrifice. Kids are still getting into college (total enrollment has kept pace with the growth in graduating seniors) but more and more are shuffled down to lower-tier schools that charge a top-tier price for a credential worth far less.College deans boast about low admissions rates. But if you accept five of every 100 applications, that's not a 5% admission rate. It's a 95% rejection rate.This is un-American. Despite well-publicized stories of billionaire college dropouts, a college education remains the most powerful tool for upward mobility. In my age cohort, it's common to hear people say of their alma mater, "I never would have gotten in today." Many of the same deans and administrators crowing over their sky-high rejection rates are enjoying lofty six-figure salaries, at 60, from institutions that would reject them if they were 18 today. They're immigrants who, on the day they're sworn in as citizens, vote to militarize the border.Just as we're beginning to sentence the insurrectionists, who didn't believe in democracy and wished to take power by force and deceit, we must also register the threat to America of rejectionists. These are institutions and people that unwittingly sequester upward mobility to the rich and freakishly remarkable … at 17. Elite school alumni who wish to pull up the ladder to prosperity behind them. Higher education decries insurrectionism, but it's ground zero for rejectionism.Rejectionism is cloaked in progressive policies. It's true that the student body at these institutions is more diverse than it was 40 years ago. And that's great. But it's not an excuse for maintaining a rejectionist posture. The mission is to expand opportunity, not reallocate elites. Bigotry is prejudice against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group. Haven't we in higher education become bigoted against unremarkable kids from lower- and middle-income households?BloatToo much money has gone to the establishment of colleges' administrative super state. Virtually every other industry has leveraged technology and volume to create leverage (i.e., decreased the burden of overhead costs).Administration should not grow 1:1 with faculty or 3:1 with students. The Yale Daily News recently reported that, "the number of managerial and professional staff that Yale employs has risen three times faster than the undergraduate student body." Longtime professors described how burdensome and inefficient they found the swelled ranks of administrative functionaries. Elite schools are rife with recently created centers and departments that are noble in mission but have no measurable output. Many provide a way station or rest home for formerly important people or faculty who aren't pulling their weight.There are, to be fair, good reasons for increases in administration in targeted areas that need to be addressed. The greatest need is in mental health: 47% of college students are depressed, up from 23% in 2007; and only 40% of those depressed have received mental health treatment. Between 2007 and 2017, suicidal ideation among college students nearly doubled. Today, roughly 1 in 10 college students report that they've attempted suicide. Black college students are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide as their white peers. Trans students are three times as likely as their cisgender peers. But unchecked bureaucratic power is cancer even with the best intentions. Especially with the best intentions. Nobody wants to criticize a "center for diversity" or "sustainability." But to the extent exorbitant tuition is the product of an increased budget to build stronger support systems for a more diverse body of students, it isn't working.Scott GallowayAnd that's a kind interpretation, because student-directed programs are not where all the flab is to be found. At the Ivies, student services expenses as a share of total expenses have actually gone down since 2000 (from 4.8% to 4.4%). The real bloat at these schools is the inward-looking bureaucracy. Academic administration, executive management, business operations, and the like. Across the Ivy League, the share of total expenses allocated to institutional and academic support has gone from 19% in 2000 to 24% in 2020.At four-year colleges nationwide, it's bloat and more bloat. Between 2010 and 2018, spending on administration far outpaced instructional outlays. And there's one more place the bloat is endemic. Senior leadership salaries.Some examples: In 2018, after being ousted, USC President Max Nikias received a $7.7 million payout. He was one of a dozen university presidents to make more than $2 million that year. Even presidents of relatively unknown schools, including Bryant and Johnson & Wales, enjoy multimillion-dollar salaries. Many public college leaders register enormous paydays: Last year the president of the University of Kentucky made $1.7 million, the presidents of Texas A&M and the University of Florida each made $1.6 million, and another 13 clocked more than a million. Nearly all of the 100 highest-paid civil servants in Massachusetts are employed by (wait for it) the University of Massachusetts.Faculty and leadership should be paid well. But my boss at NYU, President Andrew Hamilton, makes over $2 million dollars per year. He donates $75,000 of it to a scholarship fund. In case you're wondering, I've returned all my NYU compensation for the past decade (#virtuesignalling). This isn't an option for most faculty.  Should Andy be making 16 times the average salary of an NYC school principal? The fiduciary boards of these institutions will claim they're victims of supply/demand and the market. Bullshit. We'd have a line out the door of applicants who would take a modest salary of … a million a year. Anyone who would take the job of university president for $2 million per year, but would turn it down for $1 million probably shouldn't be a university president. That $1 million per year could fund 12 undergrads' full-ride scholarships, or increase the number of freshman seats.What can be done?Private company leadership needs to increase the number of entry-level jobs based on a skills assessment, vs. certification (see above: fetishization of elite colleges). Develop relationships with local public institutions, including two-year schools, that charge modest tuition: That's where you'll find the unremarkables with the potential to become remarkable.State governments also have leverage. We need a Grand Bargain. In a time of scarcity, be bold. Offer to increase state system budgets, but demand that the enrollment grow faster than revenue, not the other way around. Every state should be aiming to increase undergraduate seats by 50% in the next decade.The FTC/DOJ should evaluate the accreditation cartel and the dollar-for-dollar price increases taken by supposedly competing universities over the past 40 years for compliance with antitrust law.Schools of all types should embrace distance learning and other technological tools. These are force multipliers, allowing the institutions to serve more students without building more ivy-covered temples to bloat.Nonprofit should mean public service, not a dragon's hoard of endowment riches. Schools with multibillion-dollar endowments should increase their class sizes or be taxed on endowment gains.The accreditation system should be revamped to encourage the founding of strong, public-service-minded, nonprofit institutions, not protect the incumbents.Dramatically increase student loan forgiveness programs. Canceling all student debt is a bad idea, rife with inequity and moral hazard. But our human capital is over-encumbered by debt incurred under false pretenses.Crimp the firehose of student loan money by putting schools on the hook for a portion of the bad debt; encourage Pell Grant acceptance; and invest in financial literacy for 18-year-olds being asked to make one of the most consequential financial decisions of their lives.74The best things in my life — kids who made headslist this semester, a supportive mate, and financial security that (generally) enables me to do whatever I want, whenever I want — are a function of one thing: 74. Specifically, in the eighties, UCLA had an acceptance rate of 74%. I (no joke) had to apply twice. I was the first person on either side of my family to graduate from high school, must less get to attend amazing institutions for undergraduate and graduate degrees. The cost? $7,000 (total) in tuition for a BA and an MBA.In addition, I was presented this opportunity as a function of being good, not great … much less remarkable. Higher ed catalyzed an upward spiral of prosperity for me and my family that's been good for the commonwealth — we love America and are good citizens.Today the acceptance rate at UCLA is 12%. Since I graduated, the number of graduating high school seniors in California has grown nearly twice as fast as the number of undergraduate seats at UCLA. To its credit, the UC system has announced plans to add 20,000 more seats to the system by 2030.At night, alone with the dogs, I hear voices. (No shit.) Not strange voices like the dogs telling me to head to Kroger's in my underwear. But the voices of millions of kids who have one question: "Boss, you got yours, where is mine? When do I get my shot?"  America is not about making the children of rich people and the remarkable billionaires, but giving everyone a shot at being a millionaire and/or making a contribution.  American higher ed has become un-American. We need to fall back in love with the unremarkables, and return to America.Life is so rich,ScottP.S. Making predictions can be dangerous. It might put you in the Twitter crosshairs of Elon Musk. Yet I carry on. Join my free Predictions livestream on December 7. You probably won't regret it.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 19th, 2021

3 ways to cut $1 trillion in defense spending over the next decade

The CBO came up with three approaches to cutting about $1 trillion from the Pentagon budget over the next decade — a decrease of just 14%. An F-35A Combat Power Exercise at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, January 6, 2020.US Air Force/R. Nial Bradshaw Congress is moving to increase the Pentagon budget above the already astronomical level proposed by the Biden administration. But a new Congressional Budget Office report shows three ways to cut $1 trillion in defense spending over the next decade. Whether US leaders meet the challenges of today or continue to succumb to the power of the arms lobby is an open question. Even as Congress moves to increase the Pentagon budget well beyond the astronomical levels proposed by the Biden administration, a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has outlined three different ways to cut $1 trillion in Department of Defense spending over the next decade.A rational defense policy could yield far more in the way of reductions, but resistance from the Pentagon, weapons contractors, and their many allies in Congress would be fierce.After all, in its consideration of the bill that authorizes such budget levels for next year, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives recently voted to add $25 billion to the already staggering $750 billion the Biden administration requested for the Pentagon and related work on nuclear weapons at the Department of Energy.By any measure, that's an astonishing figure, given that the request itself was already far higher than spending at the peaks of the Korean and Vietnam wars or President Ronald Reagan's military buildup of the 1980s.In any reasonable world, such a military budget should be considered both unaffordable and deeply unsuitable when it comes to addressing the true threats to this country's "defense," including cyberattacks, pandemics, and the devastation already being wrought by climate change.Worst of all, providing a blank check to the military-industrial-congressional complex ensures the continued production of troubled weapon systems like Lockheed Martin's exorbitantly expensive F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is typically behind schedule, far above projected costs, and still not considered effective in combat.Changing course would mean real reform and genuine accountability, starting with serious cuts to a budget for which "bloated" is far too kind an adjective.Three options for reductionsUS Navy aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan, USS Theodore Roosevelt, and USS Nimitz in the western Pacific, November 12, 2017.ReutersAt the request of Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the CBO devised three different approaches to cutting approximately $1 trillion (a decrease of a mere 14%) from the Pentagon budget over the next decade.Historically, it could hardly be a more modest proposal. After all, without any such plan, the Pentagon budget actually did decrease by 30% between 1988 and 1997.Such a CBO-style reduction would still leave the department with about $6.3 trillion to spend over that 10-year period, 80% more than the cost of President Joe Biden's original $3.5 trillion Build Back Better proposal for domestic investments.Of course, that figure, unlike the Pentagon budget, has already been dramatically whittled down to half its original size, thanks to laughable claims by "moderate" Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) that it would break the bank in Washington. Yet such critics of expanded social and economic programs rarely offer similar thoughts when it comes to the Pentagon's far larger bite of the budgetary pie.The options in the budget watchdog's new report are anything but radical:Option one would preserve the "current post-Cold War strategy of deterring aggression through [the] threat of immediate U.S. military response with the objectives of denying an adversary's gains and recapturing lost territory." The proposed cuts would hit each military service equally, with some new weapons programs slowed down and a few, as in the case of the B-21 bomber, cancelled.Option two "adopts a Cold War-like strategy for large nuclear powers of making aggression very costly and recognizing that the size of conventional conflict would be limited by the threat of a nuclear response." That leaves nearly $2 trillion for the Pentagon's planned "modernization" of the US nuclear arsenal untouched, while relying more heavily on working with allies in conventional war situations than current strategy allows for. It would mean that the military might take longer to deploy in large numbers to a conflict.Option three "de-emphasizes use of U.S. military force in regional conflicts in favor of preserving U.S. control of the global commons (sea, air, space, and the Arctic), ensuring open access to the commons for allies and unimpeded global commerce." In other words, Afghan- or Iraq-style boots-on-the-ground US interventions would largely be avoided in favor of the use of long-range and "over-the-horizon" weapons like drones, naval blockades, the enforcement of no-fly zones, and the further arming and training of allies.But looking more broadly at the question of what will make the world a safer place in an era of pandemics, climate change, racial injustice, and economic inequality, reductions well beyond the $1 trillion figure embedded in the CBO's recommendations would be both necessary and possible in a more reasonable American world.The CBO's scenarios remain focused on military methods for solving security problems, assuring an all-too-narrow view of what might be saved by a new approach to security.Nuclear excessFour B-61 nuclear gravity bombs at Barksdale Air Force Base.United States Department of Defense SSGT Phil SchmittenThe CBO, for instance, chose not to look at possible savings from simply scaling back (not even ending) the Pentagon's $2-trillion, three-decades-long plan to build a new generation of nuclear-armed missiles, bombers, and submarines, complete with accompanying new warheads.Scaling back such a buildup, which will only further imperil this planet, could easily save in excess of $100 billion over the next decade.One significant step toward nuclear sanity would be to adopt the alternative nuclear posture proposed by the organization Global Zero. That would involve the elimination of all land-based nuclear missiles and rely instead on a smaller force of ballistic missile submarines and bombers as part of a "deterrence-only" strategy.Land-based, intercontinental ballistic missiles were accurately described by former Secretary of Defense William Perry as "some of the most dangerous weapons in the world."The reason: a president would have only a matter of minutes to decide whether to launch them upon being warned of an oncoming nuclear attack by an enemy power. That would, of course, greatly increase the risk of an accidental nuclear war and the potential destruction of the planet prompted by a false alarm (of which there have been several in the past).Eliminating such missiles would make the world a far safer place, while saving tens of billions of dollars in the process.Capping contractorsIsaac Brekken/Getty ImagesWhile most people think about the Pentagon budget in terms of what it spends on new guns, ships, planes, and missiles, services are about half of what it buys every year.These are the contracts that go to various corporate "Beltway bandits" to consult with the military or perform jobs that could often be done more cheaply by federal employees. Both the Defense Business Board and the Pentagon's own cost estimating office have identified service contracting as an area where there are significant opportunities for large-scale savings.Last year, the Pentagon spent nearly $204 billion on various service contracts. That's more than the budgets for the Departments of Health and Human Services, State, or Homeland Security. Reducing spending on contractors by even 15% would instantly save tens of billions of dollars annually.In the past, Congress and the Pentagon have shown that just such savings could easily be realized. For example, a provision in a 2011 defense law simply capped such spending at 2010 levels. Government spending data shows that, in the end, it was reduced by $42 billion over four years.Closing unneeded basesAn aircraft hangar damaged by Hurricane Michael at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, October 11, 2018.ReutersWhile the Biden administration seeks to expand domestic infrastructure spending, the Pentagon has been desperate to shed costly and unnecessary military facilities.Both the Obama and Trump administrations asked Congress to authorize another round of what's called base realignment and closure to help the Defense Department get rid of its excess capacity. The Pentagon estimates that it could save $2 billion annually that way.The CBO report cited above explicitly excludes any consideration of such cost savings as politically unfeasible, given the present Congress. But considering the ways in which climate change is going to threaten current military basing arrangements domestically and globally, that would be an obvious way to go.Another CBO report warns that the future effects of climate change — from rising sea levels (and flooding coastlines) to ever more powerful storms — will both reduce the government's revenue and increase its mandatory spending, if its base situation remains as it is now.After all, ever fiercer tropical storms and hurricanes, as well as rising levels of flooding, are already resulting in billions of dollars in damage to military bases. Meanwhile, it's estimated that, in the decades to come, more than 1,700 US military installations worldwide may be impacted by sea-level rise.Future rounds of base closings, both domestic and global, should be planned now with the impact of climate change in mind.Turning around Congress, fighting off lobbyistsThe House Armed Services Committee at the start of a hearing on the National Defense Authorization Act, September 1, 2021.Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesSo far, boosting Pentagon spending has been one of the only things a bipartisan majority of this Congress can agree on, as indicated by that House decision to add $25 billion to the Pentagon budget request for Fiscal Year 2022. A similar measure is included in the Senate version, which it will debate soon.There are, however, glimmers of hope on the horizon as the number of members of Congress willing to oppose the longstanding practice of shoveling ever more funds at the Pentagon, no questions asked, is indeed growing.For example, a majority of Democrats and members of the leadership in the House of Representatives supported an ultimately unsuccessful provision to strip some excess funds from the Pentagon this year. A smaller group voted to cut the department's budget across the board by 10%. Still, it was a number that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.That core group is only likely to grow in the years to come as the costs of non-military challenges like pandemics, climate change, and the financial impact of racial and economic injustice supplant traditional military risks as the most urgent threats to American lives and livelihoods.Opposition to increased Pentagon spending is growing outside of Washington as well. An ever wider range of not just progressive but conservative organizations now support substantial reductions in the Pentagon budget.President Donald Trump at the signing of the 2019 NDAA, authorizing $716 billion in defense spending.Carolyn Kaster/APThe challenge, however, is to translate such sentiments into a concerted, multifaceted campaign of public pressure that will move a majority of the members of Congress to stop giving the Pentagon a yearly blank check. A new poll from the Eurasia Group Foundation found that twice as many Americans now support cutting the Pentagon budget as support increasing it.Any attempt to curb Pentagon spending will run up against a strikingly powerful arms industry that deploys campaign contributions, lobbyists, and promises of defense-related employment to keep budgets high. In this century alone, the Pentagon has spent more than $14 trillion, up to one half of which has gone to contractors.During those same years, the arms industry has spent $285 million on campaign contributions and $2.5 billion on lobbying, most of it focused on members of the armed services and defense appropriations committees that take the lead in deciding how much the country spends for military purposes.The arms industry's lobbying efforts are especially insidious. In an average year, it employs around 700 lobbyists, more than one for every member of Congress. The top five corporate weapons makers got a return of $1,909 in taxpayer funds for every dollar they spent on lobbying. Most of their lobbyists once worked in the Pentagon or Congress and arrived in the world of arms contractors via the infamous "revolving door."Of course, they then used their relationships with their former colleagues in government to curry favor for their corporate employers. A 2018 investigation by the Project On Government Oversight found that, in the prior decade, 380 high-ranking Pentagon officials and military officers had become lobbyists, board members, executives, or consultants for weapons contractors within two years of leaving their government jobs.Lloyd Austin at a ceremonial swearing-in at the White House, January 25, 2021. Austin joined the board of Raytheon after retiring from the military.Doug Mills-Pool/Getty ImagesA September 2021 study by the Government Accountability Office found that, as of 2019, the top 14 arms contractors employed more than 1,700 former military or Pentagon civilian employees, including many who had previously been involved in making or enforcing the rules for buying major weapons systems.The revolving door spins both ways, with executives and board members of the major weapons makers moving into powerful senior positions in government where they're well situated to help their former (and, more than likely, future) employers.The process starts at the top. Four of the past five secretaries of defense have also been executives, lobbyists, or board members of Raytheon, Boeing, or General Dynamics, three of the top five weapons makers that split tens of billions of dollars in Pentagon contracts annually.Both the House and Senate versions of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act extend the periods of time in which those entering the government from such industries have to recuse themselves from decisions involving their former companies. Still, as long as the Pentagon continues to pluck officials from the very outfits driving those exploding budgets, we should all know more or less what to expect.So far, the system is working — if you happen to be an arms contractor. The top five weapons companies alone split $166 billion in Pentagon contracts in Fiscal Year 2020, well over one-third of those issued by the Department of Defense that year.To give you some sense of the scale of all this — and our government's twisted priorities — Lockheed Martin alone received $75 billion in Pentagon contracts in Fiscal Year 2020, nearly one and one-half times the $52.5 billion allocated for the State Department and the Agency for International Development combined.Which way forward?More than 1,000 pieces of US Army equipment and vehicles at the port in Gdansk, Poland, September 14, 2017.US Army/Sgt. 1st Class Jacob A. McDonaldThe Congressional Budget Office's new report charts a path toward a more rational approach to Pentagon spending, but the $1 trillion in savings it proposes should only be a starting point.Hundreds of billions more could be saved over the next decade by reassessing our national security strategy, cutting back the Pentagon's nuclear buildup, capping its use of private contractors, and scaling back the colossal sums of waste, fraud, and abuse baked into its budget.All of this could be done while making this country and the world a significantly safer place by shifting such funds to addressing the non-military risks that threaten the future of humanity.Whether our leaders meet the challenges of today or continue to succumb to the power of the arms lobby is an open question.Mandy Smithberger, a TomDispatch regular, is the director of the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO).William D. Hartung, a TomDispatch regular, is the director of the Arms and Security Program at the Center for International Policy and the author of "Profits of War: Corporate Beneficiaries of the Post-9/11 Surge in Pentagon Spending" (Brown University's the Costs of War Project and the Center for International Policy, September 2021).Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 19th, 2021

The Truck Driver Shortage Doesn’t Exist. Saying There Is One Makes Conditions Worse for Drivers

The trucking industry has a retention problem, not a recruitment problem. As the U.S. contends with supply-chain problems that could make holiday shopping harder, one explanation comes up again and again: The country doesn’t have enough truckers. “The Biggest Kink in America’s Supply Chain: Not Enough Truckers,” a New York Times story read this week. Where Are All the Truck Drivers? Shortage Adds to Delivery Delays, cried a Wall Street Journal headline the week before. In reality, there is no shortage of people who want to get into truck driving, nor is there a shortage of people who have obtained commercial driving licenses (CDLs). The stories inevitably cite a report from the American Trucking Association that says the industry is short 80,000 drivers and quote experts who blame the alleged shortage on a lack of people interested in these difficult jobs. Yet, in California alone, there are 640,445 people who hold active Class A and Class B commercial driver’s licenses, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Meanwhile there are only 140,000 “truck transportation” jobs in the state, according to the state Employment Development Department. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Those numbers speak to the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of people who become truck drivers every year—some with their training subsidized by the government—only to find that the job pays much less than they’d been led to believe, and that working conditions in the industry are terrible. A Problem of Too Many Truckers There’s no trucker shortage; there’s a trucker retention problem created by the poor conditions that sprung up in the industry in the wake of 1980s deregulation. Turnover for truck drivers in fleets with more than $30 million of annual revenue was 92% at the end of 2020, meaning roughly 9 out of every 10 drivers will no longer be working for that company in a year. “​​There’s no shortage of workers, that’s the narrative that gets propagated by industry leaders,” says Mike Chavez, the executive director of the Inland Empire Labor Institute, which is working on a partnership to create better recruiting and retention programs for drivers. “We still have a lot of positions that can’t be filled because of the working conditions.” There were 1.5 million people employed in trucking last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 1% fewer than in October 2019, and 15% more than a decade ago. That’s a faster growth rate than overall nonfarm employment, which is still down 2% from October 2019 and up only 12% from a decade ago. In fact, there are so many truck drivers right now that brokers are able to pit them against each other and worsen conditions, says Sunny Grewal, a Fresno, Calif.-based driver. Grewal, 32, has been driving since 2010, and has a refrigerated truck, which he uses to haul fruits and vegetables. It costs him $1.75 to $2 to drive a mile empty, so any job that pays less than $3 a mile isn’t worth it, he says. Yet as brokers see more drivers looking for jobs, they post more loads that pay less and end up requiring a lot of unpaid waiting around. “If they know there are a lot of carriers, they treat you like crap,” Grewal says. He’s recently gotten jobs hauling loads of produce, only to arrive and be told the produce hasn’t even been picked from the field. He has to wait until it’s picked and packaged, and doesn’t get paid for the first four hours he waits. There have been times when he’s waited 27 hours to pick up a load. Truckers get paid per mile driven, so all that waiting means lost money, especially since federal regulations stipulate that he can only drive 11 hours out of every 24. He only gets paid $150 for a “layover day,” which is a day spent waiting. He can’t tell brokers he doesn’t want to wait around, because they’ll find someone who will take the load, especially because rates are high right now. “If I refuse it, someone else will take it,” he told me. There are other frustrations—even when he has to wait for hours outside warehouses, he’s not allowed to use their bathrooms, and he can’t leave or he’ll lose his place in line. Government regulations mandate that he takes a break every 14 hours (and can drive 11 of those 14 hours), there aren’t enough places where he’s allowed to park his truck and sleep. Truckers across the country have long complained that the lack of truck parking creates unsafe conditions; Grewal shudders when he hears stories of truck drivers killed while at remote locations. Deregulation Changed Everything It’s hard to imagine another profession where people don’t get paid for hours they spend at work—unless it’s gig economy jobs where Uber drivers don’t get paid for the time they spend waiting for a passenger to order a car. Some of the problems in trucking arose because the job essentially went from a steady, well-paid job to gig work after the deregulation of the trucking industry in the 1980s, says Steve Viscelli, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of the book The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream. Deregulation essentially changed trucking from a system where a few companies had licenses to take freight on certain routes for certain rates into a system where just about anyone with a motor-carrier authority could move anything anywhere, for whatever the market would pay. As more carriers got into trucking post-deregulation, union rates fell, as did wages. Total employee compensation fell 44% in over-the-road trucking between 1977 and 1987, he says. Today, drivers get paid about 40% less than they did in the late 1970s, Viscelli says, but are twice as productive as they were then. Now that truck drivers are gig workers, the inefficiencies of the supply chain are making the jobs worse and worse, as Grewal has discovered. “So much of this is about the inefficient use of time. Is there a shortage of truck drivers? Probably not. But they are certainly being used less and less efficiently,” Viscelli says. “That’s the long term consequence of not pricing their time.” Ironically, the louder the narrative becomes about the “shortage” of truck drivers, the more resources pop up to funnel people into driving. In 1990, the trucking industry figured it needed about 450,000 new drivers and warned of a shortage; in 2018, before the pandemic, the industry said it was short 60,800 drivers. Read More: How American Shoppers Broke the Supply Chain During the pandemic, government money paid for even more people to attend truck driving school. California paid $11.7 million to truck driving schools in the state in 2020, up from just $2.4 million in 2019, primarily from federal money through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The recently-passed infrastructure bill includes initiatives to grow the trucking workforce, including creating an apprenticeship program for drivers under 21 to work in interstate commerce. But the vast majority of the people who pay for truck driving school don’t end up becoming truck drivers. “Every Monday, they’ve got 100 new people they’re going to put through orientation, and in three months, less than half of them will be in the industry,” says Desiree Wood, the president of REAL Women in Trucking, a network that provides resources and support to female drivers. Driving Up Debt Many people take out debt to get a CDL, or enter into what Viscelli calls “debt peonage”—essentially going to school tuition-free but promising to work for a certain trucking company to pay off their debt. But getting your CDL is just the first step, says Wood. After you get your CDL, most drivers have to get further training, where they team up with another driver and learn how to drive and maneuver a truck, by actually doing it on the road. These other drivers are often not specialized trainers—sometimes they only have a little more experience than the newbie driver. This model is especially detrimental to women, many of whom have filed complaints about being sexually assaulted by their partners, who are responsible for determining whether they get the final okay to drive. Long-haul trucking company CRST settled a lawsuit in May brought by a woman who says she was raped by the lead driver, terminated, and then billed $9,000 for her training. It’s during this stage that many people drop out, either because their trainers aren’t helpful, or they get intimidated by ice on the road, or because they’re not making much money as a team driver. But long-haul trucking companies move a lot of their freight through student-driver partnerships like these. When student drivers quit, the companies just has more trainees to sub in, fed into the industry by the myth of a trucker shortage. “Over-recruiting is the biggest part of the problem,” says Wood. Blaming supply chain problems on trucker shortages enables trucking companies to recruit more people and charge them for school, only for the students to realize that trucking, as it exists today, is not a desirable profession. “We need to find ways to attract, recruit and retain drivers,” said Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, on a call about supply chain backlogs last month. “ We’re gonna have to think about new compensation models, benefits packages, etcetera. We want to make this a profession that folks want to come to.” Luke Sharrett / Bloomberg via Getty ImagesA Summit Trucking LLC advertisment hangs inside a school for students who are earning their commercial driver’s license (CDL) at Truck America Training of Kentucky. Truck driving companies that pay workers well have much fewer problems with retention. Turnover at “less-than-truckload” fleets, where drivers can make $100,000 a year moving loads to local terminals where they are picked up by long-haul truckers, was just 14% in the same period that the overall industry experienced 92% turnover. Many of these drivers are unionized, Viscelli says, and work jobs similar to the ones they would have had before deregulation. Of course, it’s not easy for trucking companies to just pay drivers more. If they tell a major retailer like Walmart that they’re raising the cost to haul a load, Walmart will only find a trucking company that can do it for cheaper. And trucking companies are dealing with many of the hardships of the supply chain backlog—they told me that they can’t get appointments to pick up or drop off containers at the ports of Los Angeles or Long Beach. Any increase in costs will be charged to the cargo owners whose stuff they are hauling—and likely passed onto consumers. California’s landmark AB5, which would reclassify truck drivers from independent contractors to employees could force the system to become more efficient. The Supreme Court is currently deciding whether to hear a challenge to the law, which was vehemently opposed by truck driving companies. In the meantime, says Grewal, there’s another way in which the supply chain shortages are making it harder to be a truck driver. The price of trucks has skyrocketed. He’s seen refrigerated trailers like his go for $100,000, 30% more than a year ago; dry vans—semi trailers enclosed from outside elements—have doubled in price, from $35,000 to $70,000. That means many would-be professionals who buy trucks after hearing that there’s a driver shortage will be hurting even more......»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 12th, 2021

Top 5 High-Flying Small-Cap Stocks to Tap Wall Street Rally

We have narrowed down our search to five small business operators that have popped more than 20% in the past month. These are NOTV, STRL, LEVL, CLFD and BVH. Wall Street has seen an impressive bull run so far this year despite facing intermittent fluctuations related to inflationary pressure. Most of the market participants are concerned about the performance of large-cap stocks. However, small-cap stocks have witnessed a strong rally year to date. The momentum is likely to continue in the rest of 2021.Of the small-cap stocks that have gained significantly so far this year, we believe that the following five, with a favorable Zacks Rank, still have upside left. These are Inotiv Inc. NOTV, Sterling Construction Company Inc. STRL, Level One Bancorp Inc. LEVL, Clearfield Inc. CLFD and Bluegreen Vacations Holding Corp. BVH.Strong Small-Cap Rally in 2021 So FarWall Street has maintained its northbound journey in 2021 so far, after finishing an astonishing 2020 irrespective of the pandemic. The resurgence of the Delta variant of coronavirus, prolonged global supply-chain disruption led by the pandemic and soaring inflationary pressure have failed to derail U.S. stock markets’ upward journey this year.Year to date, the three large-cap-centric indexes – the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite – have rallied 17.4%, 23.8% and 21.9%, respectively. On the other hand, the small-cap-specific Russell 2000 and S&P 600 Indexes have advanced 22% and 30.2%, respectively, in the same time period.Importance of Small BusinessesSmall businesses create a significant number of jobs in the U.S. economy. More than 50% of the newly created jobs in the private sector originate from these businesses. These people constitute a large part of customers for big businesses.Moreover, small companies are a major part of the supply chain management systems of large companies for innovative and technologically superior inputs. Additionally, small businesses more often than not form a vital cog in corporate America's customer base.Given their small-scale of operations, these businesses are generally cash-starved. These organizations operate on a thin profit margin and most new businesses will take time to achieve profitability. Consequently, the reopening of the economy immensely benefited small businesses.Future CatalystsAs new cases of the highly-infectious Delta variant of coronavirus have been subdued since early September, the reopening-oriented small businesses are benefiting extensively. However, a shortage of skilled manpower and prolonged disturbance in the supply-chain system took a toll on the small business operators.Despite supply-side bottlenecks, both business spending and consumer spending remained firm in the third quarter of 2021. Massive pent-up demand for both intermediary and final products ramped up small business activities. Holiday season sales in the fourth quarter are likely to boost small businesses.In its latest projection on Nov 10, the Atlanta Fed stated that the U.S. economy will grow by 8.2% in fourth-quarter 2021. This indicates an improvement from the initial estimate of 6.6% on Oct 29. Better-than-expected nonfarm payrolls in October, record-high manufacturing and services PMIs and soaring consumer confidence have led to a solid start to fourth-quarter U.S. GDP growth. Robust GDP growth will significantly benefit small businesses.Our Top PicksWe have narrowed down our search to five small business operators that have popped more than 20% in the past month with more upside left for the rest of 2021. These stocks have seen positive earnings estimate revisions in the past seven days, indicating that the market is expecting these companies to do solid business in the rest of 2021. Each of our picks sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The chart below shows the price performance of our above-mentioned five picks in the past month.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchInotiv provides drug discovery and development services to the pharmaceutical, chemical, and medical device industries; and sells analytical instruments to the pharmaceutical development and contract research industries. NOTV operates through two segments, Contract Research Services and Research Products.Inotiv has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year (ending September 2022). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 87% over the past seven days. The stock price has soared 47.3% in the past month.Level One Bancorp operates as a bank holding company for Level One Bank that provides business and consumer financial services in Michigan. LEVL’s product portfolio includes lines of credit, term loans, leases, commercial mortgages, SBA loans, export-import financing, treasury management, private banking, personal savings, checking accounts and consumer loans.Level One Bancorp has an expected earnings growth rate of 51.5% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 1% over the past seven days. The stock price has jumped 36% in the past month.Clearfield designs and manufactures the FieldSmart fiber management platform including its latest generation Fiber Distribution System and Fiber Scalability Center. CLFD also provides a complete line of fiber and copper assemblies for controlled and outside plant environments.Clearfield has an expected earnings growth rate of 25.9% for the current year (ending September 2022). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 8.8% over the past seven days. The stock price has climbed 28.9% in the past month.Bluegreen Vacations Holding operates as a vacation ownership company. BVH markets and sells vacation ownership interests and manages resorts in leisure and urban destinations, including Orlando, Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, Charleston and New Orleans, and others.Bluegreen Vacations Holding has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current-year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current year earnings has improved 18.3% over the past seven days. The stock price has appreciated 26.5% in the past month.Sterling Construction is a leading heavy civil construction company that specializes in the building and reconstruction of transportation and water infrastructure projects in the United States. STRL’s transportation infrastructure projects include highways, roads, bridges, airfields, ports and light rail. Its water infrastructure projects include water, wastewater and storm drainage systems.Sterling Construction has an expected earnings growth rate of 41.5% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 7.5% over the past seven days. The stock has rallied 24.9% in the past month. Tech IPOs With Massive Profit Potential In the past few years, many popular platforms and like Uber and Airbnb finally made their way to the public markets. But the biggest paydays came from lesser-known names. For example, electric carmaker X Peng shot up +299.4% in just 2 months. Think of it this way… If you had put $5,000 into XPEV at its IPO in September 2020, you could have cashed out with $19,970 in November. With record amounts of cash flooding into IPOs and a record-setting stock market, this year’s lineup could be even more lucrative.See Zacks Hottest Tech IPOs Now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Sterling Construction Company Inc (STRL): Free Stock Analysis Report Clearfield, Inc. (CLFD): Free Stock Analysis Report Level One Bancorp, Inc. (LEVL): Free Stock Analysis Report Bluegreen Vacations Holding Corporation (BVH): Free Stock Analysis Report Inotiv, Inc. (NOTV): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 12th, 2021

What A Rate-Hike In 2022 Might Mean For "Stonks"

What A Rate-Hike In 2022 Might Mean For "Stonks" Authored by Michael Lebowitz via RealInvestmentAdvice.com, On November 3, 2021, Jerome Powell made it clear the Fed only cares about “stonk” prices – and here’s how we see this as relevant to the possible rate hike in 2022. Employment is just an excuse to keep the monetary pedal to the metal. “We don’t think it’s time yet to raise interest rates. There is still ground to cover to reach maximum employment, both in terms of employment and in terms of participation.” – Jerome Powell While his concern for the labor situation seems legitimate, if you peel back the onion, it appears he might have an ulterior motive for not raising rates. The potential motive lies in the following statement: “The Fed’s policy actions have been guided by our mandate to promote maximum employment and stable prices for the American people along with our responsibilities to promote the stability of the financial system.” As we show in this article, the economy is pretty much at maximum employment. Inflation is running red hot and increasingly showing signs it may be persistent. Having neglected one mandate and largely fulfilled the other, why is the Fed so slow to reduce asset purchases and unwilling to contemplate a rate hike in 2022? Before we answer the question, we share data on the two congressionally chartered Fed mandates, price stability, and maximum employment. Examining the data shows there is something else accounting for recent Fed’s policy actions, or better said, lack of action. Price Stability “The risk is skewed now, and it appears to be skewed toward higher inflation” “Overall inflation is running well above our 2% longer-run goal.” Powell is crystal clear at his November 3, 2021, press conference that inflation is running hot. No one in their right mind can say the Fed is meeting their mandate for “stable prices.” The graph below shows seven indicators of annual inflation rates. We use standard deviation, or sigma, to normalize the seven measures. They are all overextended significantly. In other words, there a very few instances of higher inflation than today in the last 30 years. On the sole basis of prices, the Fed should be aggressively removing crisis-level monetary accommodations and enacting a rate hike in 2022 to make prices “stable.” Senator Rick Scott of Florida, in a letter to Chairman Powell, agrees: “Today, American families are faced with rising prices and inflation not seen in 30 years – this is surely not ‘price stability.’   Maximum Employment Inflation is relatively easy to measure with a single number. While we may question the veracity of any inflation figure, we can all agree prices are rising. Employment is not so easy to measure. “So maximum employment is, we say broad-based and inclusive goal that’s not directly measurable and changes over time due to various factors. You can’t specify a specific goal. So it’s taking into account quite a broad range of things. And of course, levels of employment, participation are part of that.”- Jerome Powell 11/3/2021 The pandemic changed behaviors making some data even more challenging to assess. As such, let’s review traditional and alternative data and see if employment is back to normal. The Unemployment Rate As shown below, the popular U3 Unemployment Rate, at 4.6%, is only 0.2% above the average of the five years preceding the pandemic. One can argue that period was abnormal as it posted the lowest level of unemployment since the 1960s. The U6 Unemployment Rate is not as well followed as the U3 shown above. U6 includes those unemployed in the U3 number but also those underemployed and discouraged from seeking jobs. Jerome Powell thinks the U6 figure is a more credible indicator given the pandemic-related dislocations. As shown below, the U6 rate is 0.4% below the average of the five years leading to the pandemic. Both traditional measures show the Fed has met its employment mandate. Labor Participation Rate Jerome Powell uses the word “participation” seven times in his most recent press conference. The paragraph below has three of them. “The unemployment rate was 4.8% in September. This figure understates the shortfall in employment, particularly as participation in the labor market remains subdued. Some of the softness in participation likely reflects the aging of the population and retirements, but participation for prime-aged individuals also remains well below pre-pandemic levels.” In his mind, a weak labor participation rate is a sign of labor weakness. The BLS calculates the Labor participation rate by dividing the labor force by the total working-age population. The graph below shows the labor participation rate is about 1.5% below pre-pandemic levels. Why? Why are some measures of employment back to normal yet the participation rate slow to recover? People have left jobs for several reasons. In many instances, it appears people are voluntarily leaving their jobs. For example, some parents are now staying at home with their kids. In other cases, those on the cusp of retiring retired from their jobs. More recently, the number of people quitting jobs is increasing, as workers look for a better or higher-paying job. The female labor force participation rates show that women aged 35-44 is still down about 3% from pre-pandemic levels. The participation rate for women aged 25-34 is down about half a percent. Women aged 35-44 are much more likely to have school-aged children than the younger cohort. The Wall Street Journal graph below shows the share of the population that retired since the pandemic rose by about half a percent above its trend. The graph below shows, the Labor Quits rate is up .6% since the pandemic started. While difficult to quantify, when adjusted for voluntary actions, like those above, the participation rate is likely back to where it was before the pandemic. Job Openings Other alternative indicators are telling us the labor market is robust as well. For instance, the graph below shows there are 1.7 jobs available for every person that lost a job during the pandemic. The data lags BLS data but will likely show further improvement in the months ahead.  The labor market is fully recovered for those willing and able to work. The Fed has met its mandate. It’s All About “Stonks” Stonks is a meme that purposely misspells stocks. The term is used on social media to imply many stock traders have a vague understanding of the stock market. The preponderance of amateur “Stonk” investors helps explain why valuations are extreme and disconnected from reality. The Fed, through its operations, fosters such a speculative and, dare we say, reckless environment. For more on this, please read The Fed is Juicing Stocks. Regardless of whether it is direct or indirect, the “Fed put” encourages risk-taking. Why not buy more “stonks” and take on more risk? The Fed has your back in the event of a downdraft. This was true once again in March of 2020.  Let’s revisit a Powell quote: “The Fed’s policy actions have been guided by our mandate to promote maximum employment and stable prices for the American people along with our responsibilities to promote the stability of the financial system.” More specifically, he states: “Our asset purchases have been a critical tool. They helped preserve financial stability early in the pandemic. And since then, have helped foster smooth market functioning and accommodate financial conditions to support the economy.” Financial stability and smooth market functioning translate to higher asset prices. Paradoxically, at current extreme valuations, financial markets are now more unstable than at just about any other time in history. This is not news to the Fed. In their most recent Financial Stability Report, they note – “Asset prices remain vulnerable to significant declines should investor risk sentiment deteriorate.” Investor risk sentiment is very sensitive to Fed’s actions. You do the math, it’s all about “stonks, stonks, and more stonks.”  From The Horses Mouth If you do not believe us listen to them. The following editorial is from the guy that ran QE operations for the Fed. “I can only say: I’m sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed’s first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing. The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I’ve come to recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.” – Andrew Huszar 2013 –LINK Summary on the possibility of a rate hike in 2022 Powell’s rationale for not reducing QE quicker or raising rates is either a lie or poor analysis. Either way, the labor market is nearly as strong as any time in the last thirty years. Prices are far from stable. Inflation is running hot, and the odds of supply-related shortages putting pressure on prices seem to grow by the day. While markets seem calm and healthy, valuations portend they are incredibly risky. Based solely on the two Fed mandates and their “responsibility” to “foster smooth market functioning” they should halt QE immediately and implement a rate hike in 2022 at the latest. They won’t because doing so would harm the financial markets, and that it seems trumps everything at the Fed. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/10/2021 - 14:55.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 10th, 2021

Inflation isn"t one size fits all: some lower-paid workers have actually gotten a raise

Inflation spiked in October, and while it's hurting Americans' wallets across the country, there's one exception: lower-paid workers are better off. A Texas-based restaurant chain has promoted young workers to manager roles amid a labor shortage Getty Images Inflation surged in October, hurting Americans' wallets amid a supply-chain crisis. While most workers are worse off, those in lower-paid industries, like hospitality, have actually seen wage growth. Biden said his Build Back Better agenda will help curb price increases. The data shows that Americans are getting slammed by inflation. The truth is more complicated.This Wednesday's inflation report showed prices climbing at the fastest rate since 1990. Inflation is so high, in other words, that workers' wage gains have been more than canceled out by it.But that's just the average wage. If you look closely at the data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, lower-paid workers have actually gotten a raise in 2021.As Insider's Ben Winck and Andy Kiersz reported, high inflation proved sticky in October due to shipping delays and a supply-chain crisis that's left firms unable to match American spending, which hasn't faltered thanks to pandemic stimulus and pent up demand. Rising prices are mostly hurting American workers.As the Washington Post's Heather Long wrote on Twitter, workers in lower-paid industries like hospitality are seeing wages actually rising and growing faster than inflation. -Heather Long (@byHeatherLong) November 10, 2021 Businesses have been struggling to hire during the pandemic, particularly in lower-paid industries like leisure and hospitality. To counter the labor shortage, some restaurants, like McDonald's, have raised their starting wages during the pandemic to attract more workers. In the October jobs report, hospitality gained the largest share of jobs, at 164,000. Wages and salaries for leisure and hospitality grew by 2.8% from the first to second quarter of 2021, and while lower-wage industries are still 5.5% below pre-pandemic levels, pay in the sector is continuing to grow.Inflation undoubtedly remains a concern. President Joe Biden acknowledged in a Wednesday statement that reversing rising prices in the country is a "top priority" for him, and he believes passing his Build Back Better agenda is key to making that happen."17 Nobel Prize winners in economics have said that my plan will 'ease inflationary pressures,'" Biden said. "And my plan does this without raising taxes on those making less than $400,000 or adding to the federal debt, by requiring the wealthiest and big corporations to start to pay their fair share in taxes."While the White House believes this inflation is temporary, though, Insider reported that price growth is accelerating in nearly every corner of the economy, an ominous sign. Inflation has been higher than expected much of this year, but price rises across the board were a new feature in October, and hint at more pain to come.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 10th, 2021

5 Staffing Stocks to Buy on October"s Impressive Jobs Report

Hiring is finally rebounding after a dull summer, which is likely to benefit staffing companies like KornFerry International (KFY), Cross Country Healthcare (CCRN) and Kforce (KFRC). As the economy continues to reopen, industries are getting back to functioning, and people have started finding new jobs. Those furloughed last year due to the pandemic are also being rehired. This saw hiring at U.S. companies finally rebounding in October to the maximum since July.The rebound comes as more people are now going back to work as they are vaccinated. The jump in new job creations and hiring is thus directly helping staffing companies as they are getting busy helping people find jobs.Hiring Surges in OctoberThe Labor Department said on Nov 5 that U.S. companies added 531,000 jobs in October, the highest since July. Interestingly, hiring jumped at a record pace in July, the fastest in almost a year, as the economy started functioning in full swingbut slowed again during summer.However, things finally seem to be changing, as millions of vaccinated people are now confident about going back to work. Industries,too are getting back to functioning at the optimum level, increasing demand for workers.This has resulted in employers stepping up hiring. Also, the Labor Department report showed that the unemployment rate fell to 4.6% in October from 4.8% in September. Although the rate is higher than the pre-pandemic levels, it is still one of the lowest in recent times.The report further showed that while hiring was on the higher side in October,it wasn’t as weak as initially reported in August and September. The hiring estimate by the government for August and September was revised by a combined 235,000 jobs.Moreover, hiring in October increased across all sectors expect for government employers reporting loss of jobs. Shipping and warehousing companies added 54,000 jobs, while retailers reported a gain of 35,000 new jobs. The leisure and hospitality sector, which includes restaurants, bars, hotels and entertainment venues, added 164,000 jobs.Signs of Economic RecoveryHigher job additions, particularly in the retail, and leisure and hospitality sectors showed signs of economic reopening followed by a steady recovery. Widespread vaccination has made people confident about planning vacations and eating out.Also, consumer confidence, which had taken a hit in the past few months, bounced back in October as fears of the Delta variant of coronavirus eased somewhat. Consumer confidence increased to 113.8 in October from September’s reading of 109.8.The retail sector too has been trying to bounce back, with sales jumping 0.7% in September. Sales at restaurants grew 0.3% month over month in September and 29.5% year over year. This once again shows that the above industries are making a fast recovery, which is helping to drive hiring.Also, average hourly earnings for employees jumped 4.9% in October on a year-over-year basis. The jump in hiring and a decline in unemployment is backed by a steady decline in COVID-19 cases. This is likely to further boost consumer confidence in the coming days and encourage employers to hire more.Our ChoicesHiring will be on the rise as the economy further reopens. This thus makes for an ideal opportunity to invest in staffing stocks.KornFerry International KFY is the world's leading and largest executive recruitment firm with the broadest global presence in the executive recruitment industry.The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 23.8% over the past 60 days. KornFerry International carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Kforce KFRC is a full-service, web-based specialty staffing firm, providing flexible and permanent staffing solutions toorganizations and career management for individuals in the specialty skill areas of information technology, finance & accounting, human resources, engineering, pharmaceutical, health care, legal, e-solutions consulting, scientific and insurance and investments.The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 35.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 10.3% over the past 60 days. Kforce sports a Zacks Rank #1.Robert Half International Inc. RHI is one of the world's largest providers of professional consulting and staffing services. The company's specialized staffing divisions include Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources for temporary, full-time and senior-level project professionals, respectively.The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 95.9% The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 5.4% over the past 60 days. Robert Half International has a Zacks Rank #1.Cross Country Healthcare, Inc. CCRN is a national leader in providing innovative healthcare workforce solutions and staffing services. Their diverse client base includes both clinical and nonclinical settings, servicing acute care hospitals, physician practice groups, outpatient and ambulatory-care centers, nursing facilities, both public schools and charter schools, rehabilitation and sports medicine clinics, government facilities, and homecare.The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 44.9% over the past 60 days. Cross Country Healthcare has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).DLH DLHC serves clients throughout the United States as a full-service provider of healthcare, logistics, and technical support services to DoD and Federal agencies. Its healthcare delivery solutions include professional services, such as case management, health and injury assessment, critical care, medical/surgical, emergency room/trauma center, counseling, behavioral health and trauma brain injury, medical systems analysis, and medical logistics, and allied support services in the areas of MRI technology, diagnostic sonography, phlebotomy, dosimetry, physical therapy and pharmaceuticals. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 28.8%. DLH shares have gained 16.6% in the past 30 days. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #2. Bitcoin, Like the Internet Itself, Could Change Everything Blockchain and cryptocurrency has sparked one of the most exciting discussion topics of a generation. Some call it the “Internet of Money” and predict it could change the way money works forever. If true, it could do to banks what Netflix did to Blockbuster and Amazon did to Sears. Experts agree we’re still in the early stages of this technology, and as it grows, it will create several investing opportunities. Zacks’ has just revealed 3 companies that can help investors capitalize on the explosive profit potential of Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies with significantly less volatility than buying them directly. See 3 crypto-related stocks now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report KornFerry International (KFY): Free Stock Analysis Report Robert Half International Inc. (RHI): Free Stock Analysis Report Kforce, Inc. (KFRC): Free Stock Analysis Report Cross Country Healthcare, Inc. (CCRN): Free Stock Analysis Report DLH Holdings Corp. (DLHC): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 8th, 2021

To-go orders are ruining restaurant workers" lives

Some workers say they can't keep up normal service standards with multiple orders coming in each minute. To-go orders are up across the industry. Getty Workers in fast food and full-service dining say to-go orders are making their jobs harder. Drive-thru and to-go orders exploded during the pandemic as dining rooms closed. Some workers say they can't keep up normal standards with multiple orders coming in each minute. The COVID-19 pandemic closed dining rooms and led to a boom in to-go orders across the restaurant industry - but they're making things unbearable for workers.The chief complaint among workers is that mobile to-go orders overload their kitchen's capacity and lead to overworked, burnt out employees and angry customers. Mobile orders have been key for Starbucks, for example: They drove the coffee chain's recovery and exploded to an "all-time high" in 2021, making up over 25% of all orders. For workers, though, this comes at a cost."The whole mobile order system is really bad," Nat El-Hai, a former barista, previously told Insider's Grace Dean. Dozens of workers told Insider that mobile orders stack up and lead to delays and long lines, angering customers. A New York barista said that her store could get as many as seven mobile orders per minute during busy times.Some Starbucks workers complain that they are not allowed to turn off mobile ordering, despite being "chronically understaffed," while others told Insider that managers would sometimes turn off mobile ordering and say the system was down. The combination of drive-thru, in-store, and mobile orders made it "impossible" to stick to the standards set by corporate, an employee in Texas previously told Insider.The onslaught of digital orders isn't limited to Starbucks. At Chipotle, which has increased digital orders to nearly half of all sales, workers report many of the same issues. The app allows orders to come in at a much faster rate than they can realistically be made, creating a constant backlog, a Chipotle employee in Ohio told Insider. For example, during the chain's Halloween "Boorito" promotion, the store "instantly" got 20 orders at 5 p.m. scheduled for pickup just 10 minutes later, with that pace continuing throughout the night.Digital orders can just keep stacking up, a Chipotle employee in California explained to Insider, leading to prep lines falling 30 minutes to an hour or more behind. Getting behind on digital orders also keeps workers there longer. Another Ohio employee said she didn't get to leave until 1:30 a.m., over three hours after closing. Some customers opt to leave rather than wait for their food, sometimes leading to orders left behind and wasted food.For workers at full-service restaurants, the prominence of to-go orders has changed much of the nature of their jobs. Cheesecake Factory doubled its to-go sales this year, averaging $3 million per restaurant this year."The sheer volume of what you are expected to churn out is unsustainable," Sophia Um, a bakery worker at a California Cheesecake Factory location told The Wall Street Journal. "I have had co-workers run to the breakroom for a mental breakdown."Workers told WSJ that they struggle to maintain high standards while serving dining room customers and keeping up with an unprecedented flow of to-go orders, though Cheesecake Factory managers now have the ability to temporarily close digital orders if needed. To-go orders can hurt full-service restaurant workers through tips, too. According to restaurant workers surveyed by Lightspeed, 60% say that guests are ordering more food, but tipping the same or less than before the pandemic. Loss of tips is especially impacting workers at full-service restaurants, who can make as little as $2.13 per hour before tips. As those businesses continue to grow takeout orders, workers lose out on potential tips. The disastrous effects of growing to-go orders are playing out across the industry, leading to constant understaffing and historically high rates of quitting. Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 6th, 2021

The labor shortage is reshaping the economy, and how people talk about work. Here"s a glossary of all the new phrases that sum up workers" frustration with their deal, from "lying flat" to "antiwork."

Americans are rebelling against work, from strikes to quitting en masse. Here's your guide to all of the terms they're using that you should know. Samantha Lee/Insider The labor shortage has its own language, as American workers exercise newfound power and a vocabulary to explain it. The slang of the Great Resignation captures Americans' emerging new attitude toward work - and it has a Gen Z vibe. Here's your guide to the key terms and tactics that workers are adopting to describe "take this job and shove it." The labor shortage is giving rise to a whole new way of thinking - and talking - about work.The historic number of job openings and quitting employees is coinciding with Gen Z's emergence into the workplace. As is wont to happen, the newest generation of workers is bringing new norms with them. Corporate lingo is out; lols on Slack are in (just not the laughing crying emoji). But beyond surface-level communication, Gen Z is also bringing a new work ethos tied to ongoing labor movements. They want work they care about, that mirrors their values. They question the need for traditional 9-5 days, rather than days that mirror how much time their work takes up.Their older millennial bosses are also scared of them, according to the New York Times.Oh, and strikes are back in full force. But short of this old-school union tactic, workers are finding other ways to express their displeasure with the demands of corporate overlords. Here's our ever-evolving glossary on the key labor terms and tactics you need to know right now. "Labor shortages" abound as businesses can't fill open positions Photo of a help wanted sign along Middle Country Road in Selden on July 20, 2021. Thomas A. Ferrara/Newsday RM/Getty Images You've probably heard about — or experienced the effect of — labor shortages. This is the phenomenon of businesses, especially low wage ones, struggling to hire up. The result: You might see some of your favorite restaurants closing earlier, or service slowing.There's no one reason for labor shortages.Mismatches between the jobs that are open and the skills that workers have are likely partially responsible; workers are also moving, and leaving jobs behind. And, of course, workers have higher expectations and want more out of work after living through a pandemic.Labor Secretary Marty Walsh told Insider that he thinks three things are driving shortages: The mere fact of living through unprecedented times, health concerns, and people rethinking what they want out of work.Importantly, there's a mismatch between between businesses saying they're eager to hire and who's still out of work. For instance, in August, the Black unemployment rate went up, even as businesses said they were scrambling to hire. It's what Dr. William Spriggs — an economics professor at Howard University and the chief economist for the AFL-CIO — said was "the self-evident discrimination in the labor market revealing itself." The Black unemployment rate ticked a bit in September, but still remains elevated. "Antiwork"permeates online culture as people rethink 9-to-5s Snoo, the alien mascot of Reddit. Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images The "antiwork" community on Reddit has exploded in recent months, with the number of followers skyrocketing by hundreds of thousands. It's become the Internet's new home for people who are quitting their jobs and revolting over low-pay and poor work conditions.As Insider's Kat Tenbarge reports, the subreddit has coalesced around ways that work could fundamentally be restructured. Posts ruminate on topics like the length of the work day, the impact of overwork, and ways that workers can build power.The subreddit currently has over 950,000 subscribers. Publicly available Reddit data shows the subscriber count nearly doubling from around 500,000 in early October to over 900,000 by the month's end.  A permanent "slowdown" or "slow-up" could make work life more sustainable FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images A work slowdown is a fairly straightforward term: It's when, according to Collins English Dictionary, workers "deliberately work slowly" — often in an effort to change something about their working condition, from wages to hours. It's one pressure unionized workers can exert.However, Erika Rodriguez argues in The Guardian that the current labor movement calls for a "slow-up": A widespread rethinking of the pace of work.The slow-up, Rodriguez writes, "signals that slowing down can improve workers' quality of life. The objective is not to drive down profits (though that may happen), but to uphold the ideal that everyone deserves a life of dignity, which includes rest and distance from work."Examples of slowing up, per Rodriguez, could include checking your email on just certain days. Or you could practice strategic "time theft" — when you're not working during work hours, but instead doing things like socializing, taking unrecorded breaks, or even just watching some TikToks.   In China, young people are "lying flat" after seeing their peers suffer from overwork Chinese millennials face similar challenges to American millennials, including rising debt and staggeringly high home prices. Dan Porges/Getty Images "Lying flat" is more than just resting. A translation of "tang ping," it's a rebuke of work and hustle culture by Gen Z and millennial Chinese workers, according to the BBC. The outlet said that lying flat has been likened to a spiritual movement.As Insider's Stephen Jones reports, the movement is centered around people finding happiness in their lives as is, and taking the proper time to unwind. The country's younger tech workers have contended with a "996" work schedule — where they work 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week. Insider's Cheryl Teh reports that the concept is seen as a response to what's called "neijuan" — a word that describes "the hyper-competitive lifestyle in China."The movement posits that it's okay — and, in fact, good — to not strive for constant success, jobs, and movement upwards. According to the Brookings Institute, government media has already decried the movement, and discussions across different social media platforms were shut down. The "take this job and shove it" indicator shows that people are quitting in droves richiesd/Getty Images Some economists have latched onto a new phrase to describe the millions of people quitting their jobs en masse: "Take this job and shove it."The phrase was first popularized in a country song by Johnny Paycheck, where the singer croons, "Take this job and shove it/I ain't working here no more," interspersed with verses about his partner leaving, bosses with superiority complexes, and coworkers dying.Economic research group DataTrek Research has created its own "take this job and shove it" indicator. Every month, they track how many job separations came from quits, rather than layoffs or other reasons for people leaving. In August, the "take this job and shove it" indicator rose to a record high of 71.1%.  The "YOLO economy" means some people are quitting to pursue a better life Hawaii's governor has asked tourists to postpone plans to travel to the state. Marko Klaric/EyeEm/Getty Images You Only Live Once (YOLO), and, if you're like some people, you're not going to spend that time in your current job for one minute longer.The New York Times first coined the term the "YOLO economy" to describe the relatively well-off millennial workers who survived a pandemic — and decided to completely overturn their lives. Their priorities shifted; some took their side hustles full time, others moved out of state for a change, and still others are just staying home to spend more time with loved ones.Insider's Phil Rosen profiled Dane Drewis, who left his corporate finance job to become a musician full time. Drewis built up his own savings and financial strategy before taking the plunge from part-time music fanatic to full-time performer."Honestly I'm tired of doing spreadsheets all day," Drewis told Insider. "I'm ready to share as much happiness and love as possible through committing myself to music."Of course, the YOLO economy isn't applicable for everyone. As The Washington Post chronicles, some older workers are still scrambling to find employment; The New York Times notes that many of the YOLO-ers were able to build up a financial cushion to back their new lives. Organized "labor strikes" mean major work stoppages across the country as workers flex newfound power John Deere workers on strike on October 15, 2021 in Davenport, Iowa. Scott Olson/Getty Images You've probably been hearing a lot about strikes in recent months, as more workers take to the picket line. Simply put, a strike is when workers collectively stop working in an effort to change conditions about their work. Collective action by workers has been an effective tool for workplace change for centuries; as Insider's Allana Akhtar and Joey Hadden report, the first recorded labor strike took place in 1156 BC. Egyptian workers participated in a work stoppage over late payment.The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines a "major work stoppage" as a stoppage that involves over 1,000 workers, and lasts at least one shift. Over the past two decades, there have been an average of 16 work stoppages beginning each year.In the US, the National Labor Relations Act gives workers the right to strike, although there are limitations on what's considered a lawful and unlawful strike.  "Striketober" was when several major companies saw work stoppages in the month of October 2021 Kellogg's Cereal plant workers demonstrate in front of the plant on October 7, 2021 in Battle Creek, Michigan. Workers at Kellogg’s cereal plants are striking over the loss of premium health care, holiday and vacation pay, and reduced retirement benefits. Rey Del Rio/Getty Images October 2021 saw an increasingly powerful labor movement take to the streets. Thousands of workers went on strike — or geared up to hit the picket line — over working conditions and contract negotiations. It's what labor activists and politicians called #Striketober.The month saw over 100,000 workers vote to authorize strikes, according to The Hill. Over 1,000 workers at Kellogg's went on strike in early October; contract negotiations are reportedly starting up again for the first time this week."There seems to be a movement sweeping across America with labor right now. People are finally standing up for what they believe and the workers are trying to get what they deserve," Dan Osborn, the president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Works and Grain Millers Union local 50G in Omaha, Nebraska, and one of the striking workers, previously told Insider.Ten thousand John Deere workers also went on strike. They're currently gearing up to vote on tentative agreement that would double the initially proposed wage increase.Tens of thousands of Kaiser Permanente workers are gearing up to strike, while healthcare workers in Buffalo have been striking for over a month. Alabama miners have been on strike since April.  Workers have been quitting in record numbers amidst a "Great Resignation" Anthony Klotz Mays Business School In May, organizational psychologist Anthony Klotz uttered the labor phrase heard around the world: The Great Resignation."I don't know why I used the word 'great' and called it 'the Great Resignation,'" Klotz previously admitted to Insider; he had been colloquially using it at home with his wife to describe what he thought might happen to the workforce.It ended up being ultimately prophetic. For five months, Americans have been quitting at record highs. In August alone — the last month that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has released data for — about 4.3 million people quit their jobs. Some of those people may be part of the group who wanted to quit earlier, but waited during the pandemic. Others may be experiencing the YOLO economy, or leveraging worker movements to find higher wages elsewhere."From organizational research, we know that when human beings come into contact with death and illness in their lives, it causes them to take a step back and ask existential questions," Klotz said. "Like, what gives me purpose and happiness in life, and does that match up with how I'm spending my right now? So, in many cases, those reflections will lead to life pivots." Some experts say workers aren't just quitting for good, but instead switching to better jobs in a "Great Reshuffle" Woman in job centre Peter Dazely The Great Resignation even has its own offshoot. Insider's Hillary Hoffower reported on the "Great Reshuffle," where workers are switching from one job to another — with the youngest members of the workforce driving the trend.LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky told TIME that, year-over-year, job transitions have gone up by 54%. For Gen Z workers, transitions skyrocketed by 80%, with millennials trailing behind at 50%.A reshuffle might help workers do more than just escape from a crappy job: In July, Insider's Aki Ito reported that job switchers are using the red-hot labor market to "supercharge their careers" or land in a different field completely. Employers were getting into bidding wars, upping offers, and even offering hefty bonuses to lure workers to reshuffle with them. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 3rd, 2021

How Long Until Supply Chains Finally Normalize: Three Things To Watch

How Long Until Supply Chains Finally Normalize: Three Things To Watch Earlier today, Morgan Stanley showed that more than inflation, more than concerns about the historic labor crisis, definitely more than covid, one thing has preoccupied the minds of most management teams this quarter: "supply chain issues", a topic which has seen an explosion of mentions on Q3 earnings calls. But while by now everyone is aware that the global supply-chain shock is truly historic and getting worse by the day, with used car prices rising sharply again and over 30 million tons of cargo waiting outside US ports ahead of the holiday season, few have considered what realistically could normalize these frayed supply chains. To address this topic, in a research report published overnight, Goldman's economists assessed the three key drivers of supply chain normalization and their most likely timing: improved chip supply driven by post-Delta factory restarts (4Q21) and eventually by expanded production capacity (2H22 and 2023); improved US labor supply (4Q21 and 1H22); and the wind-down of US port congestion (2H22). And speaking of used car prices, in the first 15 days of October, the Manheim used vehicle index surged 8.3% due to yet another global supply shock: this time due to Delta-variant factory shutdowns in Southeast Asia and elsewhere. Here, in a rare mea culpa, the Goldman economists admit that while previously they had expected improved microchip availability by 1H22 on the back of normalizing Japanese automotive shipments (post-factory fire) and a US supply response, with these catalysts now behind us — the Naka factory in Japan resumed normal shipments activity in July and US semiconductor plant hours jumped to 73 hours per week in the first half of the year vs. 46 in 2019 — Goldman now expects a "more extended timeline." So with that demonstration of how thoroughly unpredictable the non-linear cascading consequences of such s diffuse, global phenomenon as international production pathways and supply chains are, Goldman proceeds to assess the three key drivers of supply chain normalization listed above, their likely timing, and the key indicators to track progress. We start by reviewing one unique aspect of the global semiconductor industry that sets it apart from most other manufacturing and services industries of today’s economy: outside of Southeast Asian plant shutdowns, both output and capacity utilization have already returned to quite elevated levels. So while the supply of dress shirts and haircuts is likely to rise sharply if demand returns, higher utilization of existing semiconductor capacity is not a viable path toward resolving the chip shortage. Additionally, much needed moderation in US and global goods demand has alleviated (and will continue to alleviate) goods-sector imbalances. As shown in the left panel of the next chart, real retail spending has already normalized in major foreign economies. And while it picked back up domestically in August and September, US goods consumption has nonetheless declined by 5% since March. That said, from the perspective of the key bottlenecks contributing to inflation, demand for consumer electronics, business tech, and other semiconductor-intensive products has remained elevated—both globally and in the US (right chart above). Furthermore, one should hardly expect the increased digitization of society and consumer preferences to reverse post-pandemic: Goldman's equity analysts forecast demand for semiconductor-intensive consumer goods to remain strong in 2022 (smartphones +4% after +12% in 2021, autos +5% after +6%, PCs -12% after +28% cumulatively in 2020 and 2021). So returning to supply constraints, here is a summary of the three key resolution channels in turn (global chip production, US labor supply, reduced port congestion). Channel 1, Step 1: Improved Chip Supply from East Asia Reboot Goldman's expected timeline: 4Q21 Key indicators to watch: Effective Lockdown Indices (ELI) particularly in Malaysia, Vietnam, Mainland China, and Taiwan East Asian industrial production and exports of semiconductors, electrical components, and consumer electronics Automaker commentary on near-term chip availability China industrial policy, with respect to power cuts and the Delta variant Early- and mid-month trade reports (Japan, Taiwan, and Korea) As shown in the next chart, three supply shocks weighed heavily on auto production this year, starting in February with severe winter storms and power outages in the southern United States and followed by a March fire at the Renesas automotive chip factory in Naka, Japan. While the plant was fully rebuilt in Q2 and auto production was set to return to near-normal levels in Q3, the arrival of the Delta variant and “zero covid” policies in some East Asian economies combined to produce another sharp drop in US semiconductor supply. The red line in the same exhibit shows the mid-year stepdown in automotive semiconductor units imported from key East Asian suppliers (data derived from granular Census trade records that include unit counts). Looking ahead, there are several key drivers for optimism, starting with the vaccination-led drop in infection rates (chart below, left and center). As a result, lockdown severity is also now approaching pre-Delta levels in both Malaysia and Vietnam (right panel). Going forward, it's important to track the semiconductor output and trade statistics of these key suppliers, as well as closely watch Chinese output and export data to monitor possible disruptions to chip or consumer goods supplies, for example related to power cuts or covid restrictions. For example, imports of integrated circuits from Vietnam and semiconductor devices and diodes from Malaysia declined 34% year-on-year in August, but Chinese production has so far remained firm. These developments coupled with better near-term production commentary from General Motors and Toyota, would argue for some microchip relief in Q4, and Goldman estimates the removal of this supply bottleneck could return US auto production to or near the 10-11mn SAAR range achieved in late 2020 (vs. 7.8mn in September and 8.6mn in Q3). Increases beyond that pace would likely require additional supply improvements, in part because today’s smart cars utilize more and more automotive systems with microchips and in part because of the continued mix shift towards SUVs and electric vehicles (EVs), both of which are relatively chip-intensive. The next chart plots the ratio of global automotive semiconductor shipments to global vehicle production (both on a unit basis.) The secular increase in chip intensity continued in 2021 and suggests demand for automotive semiconductors will continue to rise even with flattish unit vehicle demand. Channel 1, Step 2: Improved Chip Supply from New Capacity Goldman's expected timeline: 2H22, with a more normal environment in 2023 Key indicators to watch: Global semiconductor shipments, particularly automotive: Microcontroller Units (MCUs), power semiconductor, analog devices GS equity research forecasts for semiconductor capacity growth 2022 auto production forecasts (GS equity research, IHS) US industrial production of computers, communication equipment, and semiconductors Foreign production and US imports of auto and consumer electronics A key step towards easing supply constraints and lowering core goods prices is the build out of global microchip production capacity. But despite the dramatic impact of the chip shortages on US economic output and consumer prices, automotive semiconductor capex only rose back above the 2019 pace in Q3 And with 2-3 quarter lags between equipment capex and chip production—and several-year lead times for new foundries—the rise in capex to above-normal levels in Q4 may not meaningfully boost chip supply until the second half of next year. Reasons for the slow and restrained capex response include the long lead times and high fixed costs of new foundries and the likelihood that downstream industries will shift production away from the semis currently in short supply—many of which are older generation products to begin with. High industry concentration is another factor contributing to restrained capital deployment in the face of very strong near-term demand. With Goldman analysts tracking capacity growth of just 5-10% per year in 2021-22 among the semiconductor industries that supply the auto and consumer electronics sectors, and with consumer demand for these products also likely growing at that horizon and given the rising semiconductor content of motor vehicles, Goldman expects chip supply to remain constrained through at least mid-2022. This reduces the scope for automakers to sustain above-normal production, and restock heavily depleted vehicle inventories. Accordingly, Goldman also expects auto dealer inventories to remain very low through mid-2022. Channel 2: Improved US Labor Supply Goldman's expected timeline: Q421 and 1H22 Key indicators to watch: Payrolls, particularly manufacturing and transportation JOLTS, particularly manufacturing and transportation Industrial production of consumer goods, excluding autos and high tech Supplier deliveries components of ISMs and regional Fed surveys Labor force participation rate Labor shortages are another important bottleneck, but labor supply constraints are expected to ease substantially in coming months for several reasons. First, the September expiration of unemployment insurance benefits will boost Q4 job growth by around 1.0 million according to Goldman economists. Second, workers who have left their jobs because of child care concerns to return to work now that schools have reopened. Third, virus concerns will continue to fade as vaccinations increase further and infection rates fall—this would encourage some of the 2-3 million individuals staying away from the workplace because of health concerns to return to the job market. Taken together, Goldman expects total employment to increase by about 4mn workers by end-2022, a 2.7% boost to non-farm payroll employment. As shown in Exhibit 11, labor demand in these industries is 5.1% and 0.9% above pre-pandemic levels in transportation and manufacturing, respectively. With job openings and wages at new highs for factory and transportation jobs, these labor shortages should ease gradually as the sectors draw workers from lower-paid services industries Channel 3: Unwind of Port Congestion Expected timeline: 1H22 Key indicators to watch: Transportation payrolls, particularly in the marine cargo handling, support activities for transportation, couriers and messengers, and warehousing and storage sectors Ships at anchor and inbound container traffic at US ports Shipments component of the Cass Freight Index US ex-auto manufacturing production US imports of cars and consumer goods Real retail inventories, excluding autos Shipping delays and port congestion are also important bottlenecks for seaborne consumer products like furniture and sporting goods—semiconductors and high-value electronics generally arrive via airfreight. Stranded cargo at the Port of Los Angeles has surged to record highs (left panel of Exhibit 12) due to elevated trade volume—container inflows into US ports are 25% above pre-pandemic levels (see right panel)—and ongoing shortages of transportation-sector labor. We don’t expect significant near-term capacity growth in the goods shipping sector because bottlenecks currently constrain multiple modes of transportation. For example, if ports increased their capacity but the truck-driver shortage is not resolved, total shipping times could remain little changed. Moreover, to the extent transportation companies view shipping demand as temporarily elevated, they are unlikely to boost capacity meaningfully in the near-term. We instead see two other drivers behind an expected easing in shipping and transportation constraints in the first half of 2022. First, demand is seasonally weaker in the fall and winter, bottoming out in February after the Chinese New Year when it is typically about 15-20% below August levels. If port throughput maintains the August not-seasonally-adjusted pace, the seasonal moderation in demand would help clear the backlog. Second, and as discussed in more detail here and in Exhibit 3, we expect US import volumes to normalize somewhat due to waning fiscal stimulus and a consumer rotation back toward services consumption. Inflation and Fed Implications As an aside, since any delays in supply chain normalization means higher prices, Goldman has once again boosted its sequential inflation assumptions for Q4 and early 2022 to reflect these continued upward price pressures, having done so already every month since April. The bank now forecasts year-on-year core PCE inflation of 4.3% at year-end, 3.0% in June 2022, and 2.15% in December 2022 (vs. 4.25%, 2.7% and 2.0% previously). This slower resolution of supply constraints means that year-on-year inflation will be higher in the immediate aftermath of tapering than we had previously expected. While we expect inflation to be on a sharp downward trajectory at that point and to continue falling through the end of the year, this higher-for-longer path increases the risk of an earlier hike in 2022. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/27/2021 - 15:27.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 27th, 2021

An Ominous Trend Emerges Below The Surface Of A Blowout Q3 Earnings Season

An Ominous Trend Emerges Below The Surface Of A Blowout Q3 Earnings Season Heading into this week, some 117 S&P 500 companies comprising 33% of S&P earnings had reported results so far. Superficially, the report so far have come in better than expected tracking a 4% beat ($50.91), driven by Financials (+13%) and Energy (+7%) despite mounting concerns ahead of earnings about stagflation and shrinking profit margins. The proportion of beats also remained strong – 79%/72%/62% of companies beat on EPS/sales/both, well above the historical average of 63%/57%/43%, but slightly below last quarter’s 82%/82%/72%. And yet, despite the strong early showing in Q3 earnings season, storm clouds are starting to emerge. According to calculations from Bloomberg, with just under of 30% of the benchmark’s members having announced results, the S&P500 is currently on pace to see its profits grow by less than 1% from the second quarter. That would be the smallest quarterly increase since the height of the Covid-19 pandemic sent corporate earnings plummeting early last year.  (As an aside, stronger-than-expected results from both Microsoft and Alphabet could help widen that margin, Bloomberg's Matt Turner writes, noting that the tech pair’s combined profits are expected to account for about 12% of the S&P 500 remaining profits this quarter, despite having more than 350 other members on the gauge yet to report. Incidentally, analysts are expecting Google to deliver earnings growth of nearly 64% for the period. Meanwhile, forecasts for Microsoft are slightly less bullish, only calling for a jump of about 14% versus last year.) Digging deeper, we go to Morgan Stanley's Michael Wilson who as we noted earlier remains bearish, and pointed to not only the recent flattening out of estimates, but warned that fwd EPS has continued to rise at a slower rate. Perhaps most concerning is that earnings revisions breadth - a key leading indicator - is now falling rapidly for almost all sectors. And since revision breadth is a very good leading indicator for NTM EPS, it's only a matter of time before NTM EPS begin to decline for reasons including higher costs, supply issues and taxes to a payback in demand that should begin in 1Q. The biggest threat, however, remain supply chain constraints which pose a risk not only to 3Q earnings and but also forward-looking earnings revisions breadth. As the chart below shows, corporate transcript mentions of "supply chain issues" are at unprecedented levels, while ISM lead time indices across both manufacturing and services are also historically stretched. As excerpts from recent earnings calls (below) reveals, these issues are being discussed by companies in a wide range of industries. Responding to frequent client questions, where the most prevalent inquiry is "aren't these risks already in consensus estimates and multiples given these issues have been discussed all year" Wilson says that prior to his work over the past several weeks, he would have made the same assumption. However, 3Q EPS expectations remained extremely resilient into the quarter and as the next chart shows, 3Q EPS expectations for this year actually saw their largest upward revision on a YTD basis since 2002. This is a problem because as we showed on Friday when demonstrating the market's panicked selloff on earnings misses, bad news are hardly priced in. Wilson agrees and over the weekend he updated his analysis of EPS surprise, sales surprise and T+1 day price reaction of 3Q reporting companies that discuss supply chain risks on earnings calls. Confirming what we reported, Wilson writes that "relatively lackluster beat rates and outright negative price performance T+1 day continue to be the trend for these companies. As we move into the heart of earnings season over the next 2 weeks, we expect this to continue to be a dominant narrative, especially as we move past the bulk of Financials (where we're overweight) reporting and into the cohorts that are more sensitive to these risks." As the MS strategist further elaborates, "companies that have posted negative 3Q EPS surprises have seen historically poor price performance 3 days after reporting (Exhibit 8). This offers some further confirmation that bad news on the earnings front, isn't already in the price." On the other hand, companies that are beating on earnings have seen less of the positive price reaction above what they typically see (Exhibit 9). Indeed, as we said above, "a lot of good news is priced, while the bad is largely not." Which brings us back to the big question: will supply chain constraints and associated disappointing reports be enough to affect the price level of the overall index? That remains to be seen. At we touched upon earlier when discussing Wilson's broader bearish bias, the MS strategist is leaning more toward the idea that we would "need to see retail activity diminish and higher bond yields in concert with these earnings risks in order to lead to a more meaningful selloff in the index." That said, a key message from Wilson over the next several weeks is "to stay selective and to stay more defensive in terms of positioning." He continues to prefer "relatively reasonably priced" Software over Hardware and Semis in Tech, Services over Goods in Discretionary, Financials and Healthcare. Why? Because "these cohorts offer less direct risk to supply chain issues and in the case of Healthcare and Software (relative to broader Tech), offer a more defensive posture." Which brings us to some some select corporate quotes on supply chain issues from 3Q earnings season so far: SON: "At a high level, we experienced strong volume growth in many of our businesses, but our third quarter operational results continue to be impacted by significant cost inflation and supply chain challenges." FR: "There's so many issues in the supply chain right now and there's strong demand. So we hope that this level's off for our tenants' sake. But the reality is I don't think it will level off. I think it will – the supply chain issues will continue and the rent pressure will continue because the lack of space and increased demand." POOL: "Inflation this year will likely be in the 6% to 7% range, up from our previous estimate of 5% to 6%, and it looks like that will repeat again for next year given the global supply chain issues." GPC: "In our customer discussions, a recent common theme is the supply chain challenges that face all companies." UNP: "We expect international volumes to be constrained as ocean carriers have recently taken additional actions to speed up their container returns as challenges in labor, port capacity, warehouses and dredge persist. And on the domestic side, opportunities will face continued supply chain challenges with limited haul-away capacity and slower chassis turn times." SNAP: "We've been meeting with a lot of advertisers, and had a lot of meetings here, and we're hearing from partners across a wide variety of industries and geographies that they're facing headwinds in their business related to the disruptions in global supply chain as well as labor shortages and labor competition. So when they're talking about the product, putting marketing into the product when there's already low margin, for instance, can erode margin. And furthermore, they don't necessarily want to accelerate the sales of products that they are going to have a hard time getting into the hands of customers. And that is somewhat broad sweeping in terms of the supply chain issues." BKR: "Operating income for the quarter was $26 million, down 44% year-over-year, largely driven by headwinds from mix of volume, supply chain challenges, and higher R&D costs." DOV: "So let's get on the front foot here by providing some color on inflationary inputs, labor and supply chain challenges...Let me start by saying that we're particularly concerned that there have been no discernible policy changes, particularly in the US to deal with these headwinds, and in fact, many proposed policies run the risk of extending their duration." RPM: "Raw material shortages and inflation continue to be serious challenges. In order to protect our margins, we are continuing to implement price increases, where appropriate, across all our segments." Supply chain issues (and the duration of such production bottlenecks) aside, Wilson writes that "it's becoming increasing clear to us that 3Q EPS disappointment (which is largely being attributed to supply and cost issues), has the potential to affect forward looking EPS growth expectations as well." In contrast to the first week of reporting season when the banks posted standout results and revisions breadth ticked higher, last week saw a lot of companies discussing supply issues as a continued and more pervasive risk than initially thought. The result, as Morgan Stanley notes, is plunging earnings revisions breadth for many sectors and the S&P 500 overall. Indeed, bottoms-up analysts are beginning to think that these issues may persist beyond just a quarter or two. The chart below shows earnings revisions breadth for the S&P 500 (which is based on FY2 or 2022 numbers in this case). This series is starting to decelerate and is currently at its lowest level since last summer. This indicator is key because it has a strong positive correlation with index price so further deterioration here is critical to watch. The final chart shows this trend across industry groups and sectors. As Wilson notes, this deceleration is a fairly broad dynamic across these cohorts, which speaks to the reach of these supply chain and cost pressure issues. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 15:32.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 26th, 2021

With Most Consumers Online, The No Code Market Is Heating Up

Digital Consumption has increased by over 30% Share of online retail sales increased by over 200% last year Additional $900 billion was spent at online retailers over the past twelve months E-commerce advertising is growing 30 times more quickly than general online ads Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The No Code Market […] Digital Consumption has increased by over 30% Share of online retail sales increased by over 200% last year Additional $900 billion was spent at online retailers over the past twelve months E-commerce advertising is growing 30 times more quickly than general online ads if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The No Code Market refers to the industry that provides services allowing users without any technical skills to construct websites without any knowledge of coding at all. This industry has been experiencing tremendous growth in response to the huge increase in digital consumption; its ability to provide users with advanced functionality on their website without any programming knowledge democratises the market and removes skill barriers to entry. As the No Code industry’s notoriety develops it is important for users of these products to be aware of which is optimal for them. This editorial will thus provide an analysis of various solutions to respond to the increase in digital consumption. No discussion of this topic would be veritable without an included evaluation of the various engagement boosting products. Pandemic-Induced Online Habits One of the lasting effects of COVID-19 on the population is the change in consumer consumption habits. Physical distancing and lockdowns have compelled 75% of consumers to establish new online purchasing habits that are being retained even as restrictions are lifted. Digital media has proven very desirable to both consumers and producers alike. Furthermore, a PwC report revealed that not only will this shift to digital channels remain after the pandemic, but customer loyalty has all but disappeared - buyers now switch as they please between different brands at a much faster rate than ever before. These habits are expected to stick after quarantine is lifted as many US consumers have reported such an intent to continue to shop online even after the pandemic. Growth Of No Code Approach No Code website builders have since exploded in value. The market size is forecast to reach a peak of $2853.3 million by 2027, up from $1812.2 million in 2020 at a rate of growth equivalent to 6.7% from 2021 onwards. The reason for this is because the new online spending habits of consumers have now rendered a business’s online presence pivotal to their success. This has led to the growth of several key players; the top three of whom occupy about 50% of the shares in the global market. Major giants in the industry of creating websites without coding include Wix, Webflow and Weebly; they have been allowed to grow by the shift in consumer habits towards an online medium. The remarkable comeback of Webflow as discussed in Forbes, shows how it’s founders Sergie Magdalin, CEO Vlad Magdalin and Bryant Chou had managed to launch a no coding solution at the right time where investors acknowledged the importance of this phenomenon. Importance Of Customer Engagement The growth in the number of website-building companies is important to note because where there’s supply, demand must follow. Moreover, an increased supply of these website-building services must be in response to an increased demand by companies to build their own website using such services. As a consequence of this, an ever-increasing number of companies are competing for the budgets of customers through a proxy fight for their attention. Given that attention spans are becoming shorter on average in addition to this, businesses must maintain customer satisfaction and ensure they feel valued in order to be successful; this is customer engagement. This exercise is paramount in the fight for the attention of users. One form of this idea is product engagement - the practice of tracking how interactive users are with a company’s product through the creation of an ‘engagement score’; this includes specific activities of engagement that are tracked over time. Managers can then use this information to develop ways to boost engagement with their product; thus generating profit. Growth of Online Engagement Solutions Many companies have arisen that specialise in specifically producing solutions for generating more engagement for others. Businesses setting up their website to respond to the digital consumer explosion should consider these solutions carefully, as they offer an effective way to win the fight against their competitors for the attention of consumers. One such solution is Storycards, an Israeli startup founded by Gil Rabbi. As an enabler of freedom design, Storycards gives users the ability to create any concept and freedom design as they desire. This company looks to generate engagement with its plethora of products, including quizzes, trivia and eye-catchers. With this technology, website publishers and app owners have the ability to build professional engagement products that are tailored to each individual. Clearly this company moved way beyond typical static engagement such as Youtube and Slideshare to facilitate one of the most interactive experiences on the web at scale. Users can customise their engagement products with the world’s first completely visual canvas; meaning no knowledge of the code is required of the customers to adapt it optimally for their business. Rabbi states his “disappointment with the existing products in the market led [him] to start developing [this] internal platform for creating engagement products”. Zendesk is another engagement solution. This tool allows businesses to provide enhanced support to their customers, regardless of their scale. Support tickets can be easily resolved as they are amalgamated from all sources (i.e. SMS, social media, email, phone and web) and organised in one place. The program then uses AI and automation to route tickets to the correct agent with workflows. LiveChat is another customer service platform that aims to fuel a company’s sales by improving the satisfaction of customers. According to the company’s Co-Founder Syed Balkhi, “a person who chats with us is 11x more likely to convert than an average website visitor”. This service aims to increase engagement with support provided by AI, and does so in particular with three key features: interactive messages, messaging mode, and eye-catchers. Mailchimp is a professional automated email builder that allows for the creation of beautiful, branded emails. Pre-designed templates can be selected in the purely visual builder in order to create engaging and pertinent emails simply. With their automated emails, Mailchimp emails witness a 93% increase in opening rate, and an 174% in click rates. Concluding Statement On balance, in response to the global boom of digital consumerism instigated by COVID-19 the No Code market is heating up as companies seek services that allow them to capitalise on this trend as economically and efficiently as possible. Moreover, No Code website builders remove the need entirely for a professional team to be hired for the creation of a business’s website, whilst No Code engagement services ensure interaction with that site. Updated on Oct 25, 2021, 2:50 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 25th, 2021

85 gifts under $100 for everyone in your life - thoughtful and affordable gift ideas

From a personalized photo book to an educational cooking class, here are 85 gift ideas under $100 for every type of giftee. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Hollis Johnson/Crystal Cox/Alyssa Powell/Business Insider With a $100 budget, you can buy anything from a smart speaker to a fun cooking class. These 80+ gift ideas cover a wide range of interests and needs and are also unique. If your budget changes or you don't have a budget at all, we have guides that hit all price points. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyAlthough gift-giving is a fun way to show the people you care about love and appreciation, it can easily become expensive. Fortunately, with a budget of $100 you can purchase the latest tech accessories; useful kitchen tools; luxury beauty and skincare products; and quirky, just-for-fun goodies. These 80+ gift ideas cover everything your giftee will need and also includes thoughtful, unique finds. We've tested, purchased, and gifted many of these items ourselves, which means they're sure to impress no matter the occasion.We also have guides for gifts under $25 and gifts under $50. If you're not shopping by budget we have gift guides that cover many price points and interests. Shop the 85 best under-$100 gift ideas below:This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Casper. It meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.* An artistic swatch collab with MoMA MoMA Design Store Swatch x MoMa watch, available at Moma Design Store, from $80What better way to show off their love for art than a watch inspired by famous paintings. Swatch collaborates with New York's Museum of Modern Art to create these unique watches that resemble artworks from MoMa's collection. A travel photo album Artifacts Uprising Hardcover Travel Photo Book, available at Artifact Uprising, from $72This customizable photo book takes you back to every travel adventure so you'll never forget it. Whether it's a week trip or an extended stay, the travel photo album captures every excursion with charming designs on up to 210 pages. A fresh flower bouquet Urban Stems Urban Stems bouquets, available at Urban Stems from $45If you don't know what to gift, flowers are always appreciated. A beautiful bouquet delivered right to them is the kindest way to say congrats and show you're thinking of them. A set of multipurpose starter seasonings Omsom The Best Seller Set, available at Omsom, $45Spice up their summer with this fun set of four seasoning starters that can be used on everything from barbecue to savory tofu and chicken. The perfect pillow for side sleepers Casper Original Casper Pillow, available at Casper, $65The Original Casper Pillow will help your favorite side sleeper align their neck with their spine while sleeping. We named this pillow the best for side sleepers in our guide to the best pillows. You can customize the pillow even more by choosing its size and height.*Sponsored by Casper A grow it yourself garden kit Uncommon Goods Vegetable Grow Kit & Garden Cookbook, available at Uncommon Goods, $35With this vegetable grow kit, they'll be able to grow their meals right in their backyard. The kit includes a cookbook, step-by-step gardening instructions, and the seeds to grow 11 different vegetables. A mini fireplace Food52 Personal Concrete Fireplace, available at Food52, $99Keep them warm and entertained this summer with this small personal fireplace, which is safe for use indoors and for cooking fun treats like s'mores.  A gift card from Bookshop Bookshop Bookshop gift card, available at Bookshop, from $10Bookshop allows readers to support small bookstores online. The retailer sells gift cards that your recipient will be able to use to shop online from their favorite indie bookstore. The gift cards never expire and can be bought in increments from $10 to $1000. An interactive pottery kit Sculpd Sculpd Pottery Kit, available at Sculpd, $65This pottery kit offers a unique activity to do with your loved ones. Each kit comes with enough supplies for two people, with add-on supplies also available for purchase so that more can participate. The kit also includes a step-by-step instructional booklet. A set of cocktail mixers that taste like summer Williams Sonoma Casamigos Cocktail Gift Set, available at Williams Sonoma, $49.95Co-founded by actor George Clooney, Casamigos is a favorite brand of many tequila lovers. The company's newest addition is a cocktail gift set of uniquely flavored mixers and rimmers. The mixers are exclusively available at Williams Sonoma and include blackberry basil and citrus flavors. A gift card from Hello Fresh Hello Fresh Gift Card, available at Hello Fresh, from $70The best gifts are for items or services your recipient wouldn't think to purchase for themselves. A gift card from Hello Fresh checks all of these boxes, as it offers a welcome reprieve from grocery shopping and meal planning. Choose from four amounts based on your recipient's household size and needs. We also wrote a full guide to Hello Fresh that includes a breakdown of its special features, how to get started with an account, and more. A bag made for hosting mini picnics Amazon Picnic at Ascot Insulated Wine and Cheese Cooler Bag, available at Amazon, $58Our pick for best picnic basket for carrying bottles, this insulated bag is a great gift for those who want to have a small picnic complete with their favorite drinks and small snacks. A set of sustainable coasters Joanna Buchanan Ruffle Edge Straw Coasters, available at Joanna Buchanan, $48Add a pop of color to their indoor and outdoor eating spaces with these colorful straw coasters. The coasters come in a set of four, are handwoven in the Philippines, and are made of sustainable materials. A savory seasoning starter pack Momofuku Pantry Starter Pack, available at Momofuku, $55Spice up their pantry with this flavorful seasoning set. The starter pack includes spicy seasoned salts, restaurant-grade soy and tamari sauces, and chili crunch. Momofuku's site also includes several recipes to make using the ingredients from the set. A mini travel kit Away The Travel Wellness Kit, available at Away, $55Keep them well stocked with travel essentials by gifting them Away's Travel Wellness Kit. The set comes inside of The Mini which is a smaller version of their popular suitcase and is available in multiple colors. Accompanying The Mini is a hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial hand wipes, dissolvable soap leaves, and a mask with five replacement filters. A pair of cozy slippers Zappos Scuffette II Slippers, available at Zappos, $89.95Help them keep their feet warm while working from home with these fuzzy slippers. These high quality slippers are made of suede and have a sheepskin collar, and are a very useful gift that your recipient may not think to purchase for themselves. A wine gift set Amazon Wine Lovers Set with Opener and Preserver, available at Amazon, $49.99Help elevate your recipient's wine experience by gifting this wine lover's set. The included wine preserver is a great gift for those that live alone or like to take their time with their wines. The sleek charging base and modern design make this a gift your recipient will be proud to display on their kitchen counter. A sturdy wallet Amazon Bellroy Low Slim Leather Wallet, available at Amazon, $75Replace their tired and tattered wallet with this slim leather billfold from Insider Reviews' favorite wallet brand Bellroy. It's made with ethically sourced leather that will age wonderfully and last many years. A Disney+ subscription Alyssa Powell/Business Insider Subscription, available at Disney+, $7.99/month or $79.99/yearIt gives you unlimited access to movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox, and costs just $7.99 a month or $79.99 a year after a free seven-day trial. Read everything there is to know about Disney+ over here.And if you need some binge-spiration, here are all the new movies available to stream. A sleek fitness tracker that includes heart rate monitoring Fitbit Fitbit Inspire 2, available at Best Buy, $99.95Fitbit's affordable Inspire 2 tracker has no shortage of useful features to keep them informed about their physical activity. The heart rate monitor lets them be more strategic about their workouts by tracking calorie burn, resting heart rate, and heart rate zones. A hair towel that cuts drying time in half Amazon Aquis Original Microfiber Hair Turban, available at Amazon, $20.49Aquis' cult-favorite hair towels have inspired a slew of rave reviews online, including one from our own team of product reviewers.The towels are made from a proprietary fabric called Aquitex that's composed of ultra-fine fibers (finer than silk) that work to reduce the amount of friction the hair experiences while in its weakest state.  A memorable date night option Eatwith/Instagram Gift Card, available at Eatwith, from $30Eatwith offers cool dining experiences that bring together delicious menus, professional chefs, and interesting guests. Typically held in person, in major cities like New York, Paris, and London, Eatwith is now offering online classes you can take from anywhere that bring unique cooking experiences right into your kitchen. In addition to experiences led by professional chefs from around the world, Eatwith has recently added classes taught by MasterChef contestants. A pair of comfortable wool shoes Allbirds Wool Runners, available at Allbirds, $98While Allbirds has hinted that it's on track to become more than just a shoe brand, we'll always be partial to its original sneakers made from merino wool. We've been wearing and loving the comfortable style for more than two years, and you can't go wrong gifting a pair of these shoes.  Coffee from a different country, delivered every month Atlas Coffee Club/Instagram 3-Month Gift Subscription, available at Atlas Coffee Club, $60It's a worldwide coffee tour without the expense of airplane tickets. Atlas Coffee Club delivers single origin coffee and always includes a postcard from the country, brewing tips, and flavor notes with each month's shipment.  A small skincare tool that removes 99.5% of dirt, oil, and makeup residue Amazon Foreo Luna Facial Cleansing Brush, available at Amazon, $99Our team swears by these gentle yet effective cleaning brushes. They have hygienic silicone bristles and come in five different models for different skin types. The Luna is small enough to bring on the go, so your recipient can maintain their skincare routine no matter where they are. A digital photo frame Amazon NIX 8-Inch USB Digital Photo Frame, available at Amazon, $69.99Include a USB stick of your favorite photo memories together with this gift. The high-tech photo frame will shuffle through and display crisp photos and videos, and it can also be mounted on a wall. If you can stretch your budget, the more popular WiFi version is the same idea but more convenient to use because it works right from your phone's gallery.  An easy-to-use trimmer Philips Norelco Philips Norelco OneBlade Face + Body Trimmer, available on Amazon, $39.95What separates the Philips Norelco OneBlade from other trimmers and shavers is the unique blade. It uses a fast-moving OneBlade cutter with a protection system on both sides of the blade to prevent knicks. The base of the blade will contour to his face, allowing for a comfortable shave or trim without irritation — and it works for wet or dry shaving. A convenient wireless charging pad Amazon Anker PowerWave Wireless Charging Pad, available on Amazon, $13.99A wireless charger is a great gift for anyone with a glass-backed smartphone that supports the feature. Our reviewer called this one "the perfect wireless charging pad." It charges quickly, looks nice, and can even accommodate thick phone cases. Membership to a popular nationwide book club Book of the Month 6-Month Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $89.99If they prefer the incomparable feel of a hardcover book, set them up with a Book of the Month membership. It offers five curated titles, mainly from up-and-coming authors, to choose from every month.  A solution to their back pain Amazon Upright Go Posture Trainer, available at Best Buy, $79.99This gift is for anyone who is always complaining about their back pain or poor posture. Upright Go is an innovative and discreet device that sticks to the top of their back and helps them improve their posture, day by day.  A fan-favorite cookbook with original illustrations Amazon "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat" by Samin Nosrat, available at Amazon, $16.67This is the perfect cookbook for those just getting into cooking. Chef and New York Times columnist Samin Nosrat outlines the foundations of cooking and presents it in a fun, engaging way alongside original illustrations.  Their favorite specialty meals, no matter where they are Goldbelly Meals, available at Goldbelly, from $25Goldbelly makes it possible to satisfy their most specific and nostalgic cravings no matter where they live in the US — a cheesecake from Junior's, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati, and more. Browse the iconic gifts section for inspiration. Smart bulbs to deck out their home with the best ambiance Amazon Philips Hue White Smart Light Bulb Starter Kit, available at Amazon, $99.99Gift this to a friend who wants to equip a full room or apartment with smart lights. This kit includes four white bulbs, which you can control with Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit, and a Philips Hue Bridge that connects them to your router. You can automate the bulbs with timers and schedules, and create gorgeous lighting effects. With the Philips Hue Sync feature, they can even sync up with the audio of your music, movies, or games. A book about their favorite burger spot Amazon Shake Shack: Recipes & Stories, available at Amazon, $22.03While this book doesn't contain the actual recipes for the burger or the famous sauce, it will get your burger-loving recipient pretty close to the real deal. They can make delicious burgers, fries, and shakes at home, then conduct the classic Shake Shack vs. In-n-Out comparison.  A stylish accessory with a hidden charger Mark & Graham Power Up Lightning to USB Tassel Keychain, available at Mark & Graham, from $44.99The leather keychain is as functional as it is attractive: it has an iPhone lightning input and USB stick so they can charge their phone in their bag. Some colors include free monogramming while others have a $10 monogram fee.  A reusable bag featuring a fun print Baggu Standard Baggu, available on Baggu, $16There are plenty of reusable nylon shopping bag options out there, but where Baggu really stands out from the crowd is its variety of quirky and colorful prints. These useful bags are the perfect gift for everyone in your life. A fun and educational online cooking class Cozymeal/Instagram Gift Card, available at Cozymeal, from $50Gifting experiences is on the rise. With a Cozymeal class, they'll learn how to make anything from fresh pasta to beautiful charcuterie boards. In addition to cooking classes, Cozymeal offers online mixology classes and virtual wine tastings. A set of trackers for the absent-minded Amazon Tile Pro (2-Pack), available at Amazon, $59.99When they can't find their phone, all they have to do is click their Tile button to make their phone ring, even if it's on silent.  An electric toothbrush that you won't want to hide away Goby Moonstone Electric Toothbrush, available at Goby, $85In addition to its sleek design, the Goby Toothbrush stands out for its soft brush head, normal and sensitive brushing speeds, and convenient USB charging shell.  Ready-to-prepare meals that save them time Daily Harvest The 9-Item Gift Card, available at Daily Harvest, $75Your recipient will be able to fill a box with smoothies (including protein smoothies for gym rats), harvest bowls, soup, and more meals that are ready to take on the go. Daily Harvest's healthy offerings are perfect for the busy, wellness-minded people in your life.  A case that sanitizes dirty phones Phone Soap PhoneSoap Smartphone Sanitizer, available at PhoneSoap, $79.95Most of us carry our phones with us everywhere — and we mean, everywhere. PhoneSoap kills 99.9% of common household germs, including bacteria that lead to E.Coli, Salmonella, Staph, the flu, and the common cold. Especially with the pandemic, your recipient will love knowing that their phone is squeaky clean.  A pretty leather wrap for taking chargers and cables on the go Mark & Graham Leather Charger Roll Up, available on Mark & Graham, from $22.99Mark & Graham's Leather Charger Roll Up is made from soft, supple leather and has three separate pockets to stash cables and chargers on the go. Get it monogrammed for free. A delicious and unique hot sauce Truff/Instagram Truff White Truffle Hot Sauce, available at Amazon, $31.49The limited-edition hot sauce is infused with white truffle, packing a sweet heat you'll want to add to burritos, pizza, wings, or any other dish you want to make a little more interesting.  Membership to a huge outdoor co-op Connie Chen/Business Insider REI Membership, available at REI, $20An REI membership offers a lifetime of benefits for a one-time purchase. That includes 10%-back dividends, special offers, access to in-store REI Garage sales, and special pricing on REI classes and events. Find out more here. Extremely comfortable, flattering lounge pants MeUndies MeUndies, Lounge Pants, available at MeUndies, $68These are some of the best lounge pants we've ever tried. If they're spending more time in casual wear, they'll spend an inordinate amount of time in these. We also appreciate that the silky MicroModal and sleek cut make them perfectly acceptable for wearing in public to grab the mail. A bike horn that can go as loud as a car Priority Bicycles Priority High Power Horn, available at Priority Bicycles, $29.99Born out of a research project between Priority Bicycles and Toyota, this bike horn can get as loud as the one in a car. This is an excellent safety accessory for bikers. A silky hand cream La Mer/Instagram La Mer Hand Treatment, available at Nordstrom, $90Of all La Mer's premium skincare products, the Hand Treatment is a brand favorite. This creamy formula is the perfect texture to help heal dry hands. The internet's favorite olive oil Brightland/Instagram Awake Olive Oil, available at Brightland, $37Brightland's olive oils make great gifts for cooks and anyone who loves to entertain. The white bottles protect the EVOO from light damage and look nice displayed on a countertop.  A cool and smooth pajama shirt Ettitude/Instagram Bamboo Lyocell Sleep Shirt, available at Ettitude, from $64.40Luxury sheets will break your budget, but the next best thing to get them a good night's sleep is this comfortable and attractive PJ shirt. It's made from organic bamboo lyocell, which is breathable and moisture-wicking, not to mention more sustainable to produce than traditional cotton.  Premium distilled whiskey Uncle Nearest Whiskey Uncle Nearest Whiskey, available at ReserveBar, starting at $49Founded in Tennessee, Uncle Nearest is an award-winning, Black-owned whiskey brand that was inspired by the first known African-American master distiller, Nathan "Nearest" Green. If you're shopping for someone who enjoys a quality glass of whiskey or a whiskey-based cocktail every now and then, a bottle of Uncle Nearest won't disappoint. A sleek knife block Material Kitchen The Stand, available at Material Kitchen, $90We're big fans of Material Kitchen's minimalist approach to kitchen essentials — like this magnetic, angled knife block made from heavy-duty wood.  Soft and environmentally friendly socks made from hemp United by Blue SoftHemp Sock, available at United by Blue, $16The cozy socks are also sustainably made and made from a hemp yarn that's four times more durable than cotton, a win-win all around.  A simple but luxurious body wash Necessaire Necessaire The Body Wash, available at Sephora, $25New startup Necessaire formulates its body care products with vitamins A, B3, C, E, and omega-6 and omega-9. The subtly scented Body Wash will leave their skin feeling clean, soft, and nourished.  An indoor plant The Nice Plant Blooming Energy Box, available at The Nice Plant, $45.99Indoor plants are much more than an extra responsibility. They help purify the air, have been proven to reduce stress, and look good aesthetically. The Nice Plant's Blooming Energy Box includes a small plant and a few other useful things, like a sage smudge stick, palo santo bundle, and room spray, to make their home more peaceful and relaxing.  A high-quality leather band for an Apple Watch Amazon Bullstrap Full-Grain Italian Leather Watch Band, available at Amazon, $89Bullstrap's Italian Leather Watch Bands are the perfect way to add some elegance to an Apple Watch. They come in several colors of leather and are compatible with all generations of the Apple Watch. A pair of sparkly hoops Mejuri Sapphire Hoops, available at Mejuri, $60Traditional hoops get an embellishment of white sapphire in this affordable piece from Mejuri.  Premium underwear that's worth every penny Tommy John Tommy John Men's Second Skin Boxer Brief 3-Pack, available at Tommy John, $97It's not an exaggeration to say Tommy John could be the most comfortable boxers your recipient has ever worn. The Second Skin, in particular, is a standout — smooth, soft, stretchy, and breathable.  A cool drink accessory worth celebrating Brumate BrüMate 12oz Insulated Champagne Flute, available at BrüMate, from $22.99Brumate's insulated flute prevents the disappointment of bubbly that has gone warm and flat. It holds almost half a bottle of champagne and comes in 30 pretty colors.   A whimsical candle from a new brand Otherland/Instagram 3-Candle Set, available at Otherland, $89As our candle-loving editor points out, "Does the world really need another fancy candle brand?" Otherland's candles are so creative and interesting that you won't be able to resist gifting at least a few.  A travel-friendly vanity case Paravel Mini See All Vanity Case, available at Paravel, $65They can stop using unsightly and wasteful Ziploc bags once they have this stylish and structured case in their possession. The exterior material is resistant to water and stains, and the clear window lets them easily identify the case's contents.  A gold bracelet that displays their zodiac sign Aurate Zodiac Bracelet, available at Aurate, $90The delicate gold vermeil bracelet is a piece they'll want to wear every day. Aurate's beautiful gold jewelry is not only more affordable than traditional fine jewelry, but it's also ethically sourced, representing a new wave of jewelry brands to know about.  A mini duffel crossbody with a distinctive look Dagne Dover Extra Small Landon Carryall, available at Dagne Dover, $110Dagne Dover excels at making functional and versatile bags like work totes and this extra small version of its popular neoprene duffel. Inside, they'll find a compartment just large enough for the day's essentials, pockets to keep them organized, and a detachable key leash.  A streaming stick that gives them access to more than 500,000 movies and TV episodes Amazon Roku Streaming Stick +, available at Amazon, $44.99Roku's Streaming Stick+ is exceptional for its 4K, HDR, and HD streaming, and long-range wireless receiver. Installing it is an easy process and starts by plugging the stick into the TV.  Sweet treats they won't be able to stop eating Milk Bar The Chocolatey Classic, available at Milk Bar, $75Instead of the usual box of chocolates, gift some of the best-known and most delicious treats from NYC institution Milk Bar. The set contains 12 soft and chewy cake truffles, six assorted and an adorable mini birthday cake.  A box that lets them explore the exciting world of sake Tippsy Sake Gift Box, available at Tippsy, $59While online wine clubs abound, Tippsy is quietly cultivating a community of sake lovers. It offers an abundance of knowledge and premium sake options to anyone who's interested in exploring this underrated alcohol further.   A compact and lightweight hand mixer Amazon Kitchenaid 5-Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer, available at Target, $49.99Not all baking tasks require a full stand mixer. KitchenAid's hand mixer doesn't take up a lot of space but gets a variety of jobs done by offering five-speed options. You'll also have fun picking out a unique color for your recipient.  A game that tests their penchant for puns Amazon Pun Intended Game, available at Amazon, $24.99It's a battle of who can devise the most clever puns in this family-friendly card game that requires a quick mind and even faster writing skills. Game on.  A custom map of a special location Grafomap Custom Map Poster, available at Grafomap, $49Grafomap is the site where you can commemorate important places, be it their hometown, college town, or the city where you two met. The custom design function is easy to use and you can choose to get the final map poster framed or printed on canvas.  A waterproof outdoor speaker Amazon Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Speaker, available at Amazon, from $99.99The surprisingly powerful speaker fits in the palm of their hand and can go swimming with them in the pool or ocean. It's also dustproof and therefore suitable for hikes and other outdoor adventures.  A sleep mask made with high-quality mulberry silk Nordstrom Slip Slipsilk Sleep Mask, available at Nordstrom, $50Few things are more luxurious than sleeping with a silk mask. Thanks to its all silk construction, your recipient's face will feel cool all night long.  A plush bathrobe Parachute Classic Bathrobe, available at Parachute, $99It's all too tempting to stay wrapped up in this Turkish cotton bathrobe long after they've stepped out of the shower. The thick robe is our pick for the best bathrobe you can buy.  A chai sampler Amazon Vadham Chai Tea Reserve Set, available at Amazon, $29.99This set of loose-leaf teas made it into Oprah's Favorite Things back in 2018. It's filled with three variations of chai that any tea lover will appreciate.  A cult-favorite fragrance Le Labo/Instagram Le Labo AnOther 13 Eau de Parfum, available at Nordstrom, from $86Le Labo is famous for its distinctive packaging and subtle yet inviting scents. The AnOther is musky and woodsy, but it's balanced out with ingredients like jasmine petals.  The outdoor game you see everyone playing at the park Amazon Spikeball Game Set, available at Dick's Sporting Goods, $69.99It's a gorgeous day out and you can't help but notice a few groups having fun while playing some kind of new ball game. Chances are it's Spikeball, the volleyball-esque game that your recipient can set up in any large outdoor space. It takes just 10 minutes to learn the rules.  A pair of blue light-blocking glasses that look good enough to wear outside of the house MVMT Ingram Crystal Everscroll Glasses, available at MVMT, $62.40Help them protect their eyes from harsh screens with a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses. Their eyes won't feel as strained, and they might be able to drift off to sleep more quickly.  A set of monogrammed hand towels Weezie Stitched Edge Hand Towels, available at Weezie, $30The extra time and thought put into a personalized gift are worth it. You can add custom embroidery (+$15 per towel) to Weezie's fluffy and absorbent towels.  Smart plugs that let them control their appliances with their phone Amazon Kasa Smart WiFi Plug, available at Amazon, $17.68Through the corresponding app, they can schedule when their lights turn on and off, or use voice commands with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Cortana. It's a suitable entry-level smart plug for someone looking to get into home automation.  A personalized photo book Artifact Uprising Color Series Photo Book, available at Artifact Uprising, from $22Photo books are a great gift for anyone in your life and can be used to commemorate vacations, weddings, special events, or even just everyday life. With three book sizes, multiple color and theme options, and the opportunity to choose a cover image, this gift is sure to make your recipient feel special. A flavorful seasoning collection Spicewalla The Grill & Roast Collection, available at Spicewalla, $18.99With grill and BBQ season slowly approaching, a set of tasty seasonings is key to making delicious foods. They can use the spices in this collection to add flavor to meats, seafood, vegetables, and even rice. The coziest moccasins we've ever worn L.L.Bean Women's Wicked Good Moccasins, available at L.L.Bean, $79Can you practically feel the soft fluffiness of these slippers through your screen? L.L.Bean supposedly sells a pair of these cushioned sheepskin shoes every seven seconds during December, proving that they are worth the purchase. An everyday stainless steel frying pan that professional cooks love Made In Frying Pan, available at Made In, $65Pros like Tom Colicchio trust Made In's cookware to perform in some of the country's top kitchens, so rest assured it's good enough for your recipient. The quickly growing startup is behind a couple of our favorite pieces of cookware.  A gorgeous coffee table book that helps cure their travel bug Amazon 1,000 Places to See Before You Die (Deluxe Edition): The World as You've Never Seen It Before, available at Barnes & Noble, $50.99Patricia Schultz's original "1,000 Places" captured imaginations with its compelling curation of experiences all over the world. The newly released deluxe edition features a beautiful gold-embellished cover and more than 1,000 new photographs.  A fun, cult-favorite board game Amazon Settlers of Catan Board Game, available at Walmart, $35.20The Settlers of Catan relies upon strategy and sometimes luck to build civilizations — and it can last for hours.  A beautiful piece of handmade drinkware JFR Glass Antique Silver Glass, available at JFR Glass, $45Each hand blown glass from JFR Glass is unique. The glasses aren't just pretty — they're also functional and sturdy. They're dishwasher-safe and UV-resistant, so your recipient can enjoy the pieces forever.  An interactive state park map UncommonGoods State Parks Explorer Map, available at UncommonGoods, $28This state park map is sure to come in handy this spring and summer as many of us will be venturing into the outdoors. Choose from ten maps that each list over 30 parks in states such as New York, California, and Connecticut. The map includes a sheet of gold stickers so you can mark your progress after each park visit. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 25th, 2021