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Goldman Senior Executives Are Searching For Ways To Quietly Boost Their Own Pay

Goldman Senior Executives Are Searching For Ways To Quietly Boost Their Own Pay What's good for the gander is good for the geese, right? It seems that way at Goldman Sachs. No sooner do we write about how Goldman Sachs is looking to implement additional paid leave for its rank-and-file employees in order to keep morale up than it was revealed that the company's bosses are also looking at ways of improving their own yacht collection quality of life.  In fact, CEO David Solomon and the top brass at the bank are reportedly "searching for ways to juice their own eight-digit pay packages," Bloomberg reported this week.  Solomon's total stake in the company, including unvested stock, is worth about $180 million already the report says. He made $27.5 million his first full year as CEO and the same the next year, in 2020. Solomon also was given a $50 million bonus plan to be split with another employee in October of this year. That off-cycle bonus came as a result of Goldman's skyrocketing stock price, which is up about 80% since Solomon took over as CEO.  Pat Scanlan, a spokesman for the bank, told Bloomberg: "We have offered co-investment opportunities for our senior executives that align interests with investors. That the board of directors would explore additional opportunities is hardly surprising." One way that Solomon is pushing to boost pay is to expand the allocation of founders' shares in SPAC deals that the bank partakes in. These requests have reportedly "irritated members of the SPAC team", as it pins them against Solomon for a share of the projects that they have worked on. Teams at the bank are reportedly "scrambling to figure out how to structure and disclose the SPAC investment for the NEOs while avoiding the appearance of boosting pay." The optics of bonuses when you're already making tens of millions of dollars per year need to be carefully dealt with. While banks want to raise pay commensurate with other banks in order to retain talent, they have to walk a thin line with public perception. Bloomberg says that the key is to "give the board as much elbow room as possible to grant him more, without making it look like an outsized raise". For example, when Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman surprised the market in 2020 by lowering his pay by about 7% due to the pandemic, it caused Goldman to delay its own decision on executive compensation for months. Top brass at Goldman has also reportedly looked at different ways to increase their share of profits from internal investment vehicles, including whether or not private funds operated by the firm’s merchant bank could pay larger bonuses for senior managers.  Recall, days ago we wrote how Goldman was also seeking to offer new incentives to its "burnt out" employees.  The investment bank is going to now be offering "paid leave for pregnancy loss" and is "expanding the amount of time employees can take for bereavement leave," the report says. Goldman will also be offering unpaid sabbatical for its long time employees and removing a one year waiting period before matching employee 401(k) contributions. Goldman's head of human resources, Bentley de Beyer, told the WSJ: "We wanted to offer a compelling value proposition to current and prospective employees, and wanted to make sure we're leading, not just competing." Tyler Durden Sat, 12/04/2021 - 22:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 5th, 2021

Revenue At Goldman"s Commodity Desk Soars To Highest In A Decade, Setting Up Partners For Massive Bonuses

Revenue At Goldman's Commodity Desk Soars To Highest In A Decade, Setting Up Partners For Massive Bonuses It wasn't that long ago that many wondered if Goldman's commodity desk - once among the most powerful and profitable on Wall Street - would be quietly shut down as a result of sliding profits. Indeed, as we reported at the time, after a 75% plunge in commodity revenue at the vampire squid, which hit an all time low of less than $300 million in the year that saw the longest stretch of single-digit VIX prints on record, the future for Goldman's commodity team was bleak. GOLDMAN COMMODITY REVENUE SAID TO DROP 75% TO LOWEST ON RECORD: BBG — zerohedge (@zerohedge) January 16, 2018 So fast forward to today when we once again get a reminder of Goldman's striking ability to reinvent (and reinvigorate) itself, with Bloomberg reporting today that revenue at Goldman's commodity desk shot past $2.2 billion in the final months of 2021, "topping a windfall it generated in 2020 for its strongest performance in a decade" and adding credence to the revival of the trading desk which a decade ago regularly generated more than $3 billion in revenue. As Bloomberg details, Goldman’s energy traders have thrived on the wild ride of the post-covid era: "profiting in the months after outbreaks began as oil prices turned negative for the first time ever, and then benefiting again from power grid failures in the U.S. and the frenzied moves in European markets at the end of last year." The miraculous rebound means that Ed Emerson, the head of the desk who stuck around as peers and supportive bosses left before its turnaround, will be among the highest-paid partners at Goldman with a year end-bonus that could be in the tens of millions in a year of record profits for Goldman when some of the firm’s top performers will surpass $30 million, more than what the bank's CEO has earned in recent years. To be sure, Goldman's favorable view of commodities is hardly a surprise: the bank's in-house analyst Jeff Currie has been pounding the table with his view that dislocations around the world will create a commodities “supercycle” that lasts a decade (he rose to fame after predicting the China-driven boom of the 2000s and that decade’s surge in oil prices above $100 a barrel). Just this morning he published another note predicting that commodities are set for another year of outperformance. Whether he is right or not remains to be seen, but Currie's contagious commodities euphoria underscores a key shift on Wall Street: after years of malaise, commodities are once again drawing interest and investment as prices surge (especially when covered in a nice, fake ESG wrapper). To be sure the commodities unit had played starring roles in Goldman’s ups and downs for decades, ever since as Bloomberg reminds us, a broker in that business - J. Aron & Co. - enlisted the investment bank’s help to sell itself at the start of the 1980s. Goldman, spotting an opportunity to expand, offered to be the buyer, a transaction which paved the way for a group of commodities executives who would eventually run trading, investment management, human resources and even the whole company, with Lloyd Blankfein and Gary Cohn rising to CEO and president and running the bank for decades. Indeed, it was Blankfein’s support for the commodities business that helped spare it from being dismantled during the industry’s long slump in the past decade. Here Bloomberg reports that as Blankfein prepared to hand off his CEO title in 2018, he unsuccessfully tried to persuade Isabelle Ealet to delay her exit as co-head of trading until the commodities desk, which she previously ran. And while other veterans of the group also headed for the exits as well, with Goldman's commodity co-chiefs departing within a matter of months, Ed Emerson, 45, found himself holding the top seat alone in 2019, right before the market’s turn. The Argentina-born, polo-playing Brit is described by colleagues as protective of his staff but also unerringly commercial -- a compliment in some Wall Street circles that emphasizes a focus on profits over niceties. In internal discussions, he’s known to relentlessly argue his views and sometimes butt heads with bosses. As Bloomberg reports, Emerson rose up through oil trading during an era of spectacular profits in the 2000s, a time when Goldman’s name commanded undisputed respect in those markets. His fate of Goldman's commodity desk was far less certain under Blankfein's successor, David Solomon who is a product of Goldman's dealmaking tradition not its trading group. When the veteran dealmaker took over from Blankfein in 2018, the team of colleagues David Solomon elevated sweated over the capital allocated to commodities, the paltry revenue it was generating and the miserable return on equity that might antagonize shareholders. It got so scary that several months in, Goldman's then new President John Waldron tried to reassure the commodities group that the firm wasn’t getting out of the business. Meanwhile, Emerson and senior executives campaigned to keep the core of its operations intact, making the case that its best years came in moments of tumult. Part of the idea was that if activity resumed, Goldman could be better positioned than rivals to capitalize. He was right, and while the ax never swung, the business instead found ways to cut costs and expand electronification, using a service dubbed e-Aron in an ode to the group’s roots. By 2019, the desk was on steadier footing. And then came Covid-19 when the bank thrived amid swings in oil and precious metals, especially with so many of its competitors lacking talent and depth in their own trading groups to satisfy frentic customers. Then last year, Goldman navigated turmoil in gas and power trading, capitalizing on price spikes in Europe that hurt many big energy consumers. And as Goldman's commodity group enjoyed a renaissance, the bank's shares soared 45% last year, their best annual performance since their post-crisis rebound in 2009 as the bank and its investment banks saw their earnings soar in the past two years, driven by flurries of investor trading and corporate dealmaking. Looking ahead, many expect a far more muted environment for Wall Street, but even if markets normalize and revenue from commodities shrinks anew, the Goldman commodity team has once again cemented itself as an integral part of the bank's trading arm. Whether that means that oil will surpass $100/barrell as the bank's clients follow Goldman's research analysts' bullish forecasts, remains to be seen. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/13/2022 - 15:10.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 13th, 2022

13 careers to consider if you"re interested in environmental science and the skills you need to succeed

There are dozens of career options in environmental science. Wildlife biologist, conservation officer, or science editor could be your perfect fit. A career in environmental science can help you make a difference in the world.CasarsaGuru/Getty Images Jobs in environmental science are viable career paths and crucial for the future of our planet.  If you studied environmental science, you probably have more transferable skills than you realize. Consider one option, environmental engineering, where you can make an average of $57,685 a year. You might be the kid who loved being outdoors, exploring the nearby woods, and collecting bugs in a jar or taking samples from the local pond to look at under your most prized possession: a microscope (you know, the one you'd never let your little brother so much as breathe near). Or maybe you were that, umm, let's say spirited, high school volunteer who led an effort to clean up a state park after you realized what all that litter was doing to the poor animals. Perhaps you watched in horror — in person or on TV — as a wildfire consumed a West Coast town or as Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico, killing so many that we still don't have an exact death toll.Whatever drove you to study — or consider studying — environmental science, you're well aware that the world needs you right now. Environmental science majors are prepared to take on our climate crisis, conserve natural resources and environments, lead the charge on renewable energy, and — not to be dramatic — literally save the planet.But as you're sitting in class, doing your labs, and trying to imagine your next steps, you might start to feel overwhelmed. "Can I really make a difference in a world that's burning and melting and only getting worse?" you might wonder. "There's so much to do, where would I even start?" The great thing is: There are so many options open to environmental science majors. But the problem is: There are so many options open to environmental science majors.You don't need a list of 734 possible jobs. But what you probably could use is a tailored list that digs into a few particularly promising career options — and maybe a quick look at some of the skills you've gained that will help you thrive in the workplace and what types of organizations and industries are looking to hire former amateur pond sleuths like you.Skills environmental science grads already haveAnybody who's completed college already has valuable skills for the workplace. And "environmental science degrees specifically provide an abundance of transferable skills," Alaina G. Levine, a STEM career coach, writer covering environmental science topics, and president of Quantum Success Solutions, LLC, a career consultancy focused on engineering and the sciences, said. Your degree has prepared you to work in basically any field you'd like, Levine said, whether you want to pursue a career related to environmental science or go in another direction.Here are a few of the transferable skills you likely gained:Communication and storytelling: Throughout your coursework, you learned to communicate by writing research proposals and reports, essays, and emails; discussing information with others in classes or group projects; and giving presentations. Environmental science majors often need to take complex topics and translate them into a compelling story that convinces people they need to care about something and take action, Levine said. You learn how to "mine data and distill it in a way your 'constituents' will understand," whether your constituents are your classmates, teachers, colleagues, managers, executives, policymakers, or the public.Marketing: Most environmental science programs won't mention that you're learning marketing skills, Levine said, but any time you're explaining the value of a project or even a natural resource, you're using marketing skills. "Marketing" might feel like a dirty word in the context of our planet, but it simply means crafting a message that convinces someone to take action. In environmental science, you might be persuading a company to put money or time into a new process that's more sustainable or writing a grant proposal where you're communicating the value of your research.Leadership: Many employers are looking for leadership skills in employees at all levels. Leadership "isn't just being appointed or anointed a leader," Levine said. It's any time you take ownership or initiative. Individuals have to lead "a team of one every day," and decide how to do their work productively and efficiently, Levine said. You'll also have to lead your own initiatives, programs, and/or research even as an early-career employee. You already got practice with these skills whenever you led a group project, coordinated resources to meet deadlines or budgets, or made decisions based on new information or data. Research: "Environmental science programs turn out students who are excellent in conducting research," Sara Hutchison, a career coach who's advised environmental science majors and has a degree in sustainable development herself, said. Students often have to study primary sources, read through compliance and legal documentation, collect their own data in the field, employ the scientific method, and write about their findings, all of which teach them strong research practices, such as how to select reliable sources and data. Even if you're not working in a research setting, these skills help you collect the information you need to solve problems. Speaking of which...Problem-solving: In addition to gathering the data they need and making autonomous decisions, environmental science students learn how to look at a problem from multiple perspectives, which "is an extremely valuable asset, both in scientific careers and less 'traditional' careers," Dr. Gemma Cassidy, who's hired and advised environmental science majors and is currently the senior journals publishing manager for Wiley, a large scientific-publishing company, said. For example, they may need to look at how an issue with air quality might be affecting different parts of an ecosystem and evaluate the economic costs of various solutions. Or in a very different context, they might consider how proposed upgrades to a software product might affect users.Risk assessment/management: Since environmental science students often need to conduct field research, they're practiced in risk assessment and management, Levine said. They may have to shift priorities or adjust plans either before going out in the field or on the fly due to risks like weather, wildlife, environmental conditions, or even other humans. For example, a dangerous storm may compromise your ability to safely collect water samples, so maybe you have to analyze the nearby soil instead or adjust your research timelines. You may also specifically study the possible risks to a certain population of frogs as the climate changes, for example. Risk assessment and management is useful whenever you're evaluating the best course of action for a given project or initiative.Computer skills: Like most fields, environmental science is increasingly relying on technology. During your coursework, you likely learned the computing skills needed to analyze and visualize data, build models or projections to predict outcomes, and possibly utilize AI and machine learning. These computer skills are highly sought after both inside and outside of the environmental science field."As a final point, graduates from an environmental sciences background likely have a passion for our planet, and how best to protect it," Cassidy said. Employers are always looking for workers who care deeply and are knowledgeable about what they'll be doing — and many organizations are hiring workers to help fight the climate crisis in particular.Where can environmental science majors work?When you're deciding where you'd like to work — whether that's a type of organization or a certain industry — Levine suggests thinking about your values and what drives you. "Do you want to protect the coastlines because you grew up in a seaside area?" Levine asked. Or would you like to help decrease the negative effects big companies have on our environment? Are there certain animals or plant life you want to protect? Are you interested in maintaining and improving public health? Do you want to directly affect policy?Here are some of the common industries and types of organizations where environmental science majors work:Local, city, state, and federal governmentMunicipalities and utilitiesNonprofit organizationsEducationMuseumsEnergy (both renewable energy companies and traditional fossil fuels companies looking to decrease their environmental impact)Manufacturing and safetyFood productionReal estate developmentPublishing and mediaPublic healthZoos, aquariums, national parks, and other conservation centersBut this list is far from exhaustive. More and more organizations are prioritizing sustainability in their day-to-day operations, Cassidy said. As a result, those with environmental science degrees are needed "across the board." Many environmental science careers might feel "hidden," Levine said, but you can find them through networking and environmental professional organizations such as the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP).Even if you don't want a career in environmental science, "​​The degree you pick to complete in college does not define the career you will pursue," Hutchison said. So don't feel boxed in.13 jobs and careers for environmental science majorsBelow you'll find 13 jobs and careers you can pursue with an environmental science degree (and you can click on the links to search for current openings on The Muse). Many of these jobs can be found in multiple or all of the above industries or types of organizations and you can specialize according to your area of focus or interest. For example, you can be an environmental science technician for a real estate company that studies the effects different developments may have on the water in a local ecosystem or you might be an environmental consultant who specializes in helping manufacturers decrease the air pollutants produced by their work.Unless otherwise noted, all salary information is from PayScale.com. (Note that PayScale's database is updated nightly; the numbers below reflect figures as of November 2021.)1. Environmental educator or environmental science teacherAverage educator salary: $51,316Average secondary school teacher salary: $50,038Environmental educators come in multiple forms. You may choose to become a secondary school teacher in either environmental science or a smaller subset of the subject such as oceanography, or you might work for a museum, national park, zoo, or other conservation center or program.Regardless, environmental educators teach others about the environment and issues facing it — plus how they as individuals can help. For example, Hutchison once worked as a tour guide for a local cavern. "Sharing my passion for the environment with children and tourists was amazing," Hutchison said. "I loved how it opened their eyes to why they should clean up their pet waste or not pollute waters because all that goes downstream into a cave like ours."The qualifications you'll need to be an environmental educator depend on exactly where you'd like to work. If you'd like to be a secondary school teacher, you may need to take education classes or obtain a master's degree depending on which state you'd like to teach in.Find environmental educator or teacher jobs on The Muse2. Environmental engineer or environmental engineering technicianAverage environmental engineer salary: $66,621Average engineering technician salary: $57,685Environmental engineers design, plan, and build systems that improve or monitor the environment. They also collect and/or analyze scientific data and conduct quality control tests to inform or adjust their plans. For example an environmental engineer may be responsible for designing a new water treatment center, equipment that reduces the pollution a factory releases, a sustainable recreational attraction, or a building that minimally disrupts the environment. Meanwhile, environmental engineering technicians and technologists carry out the plans that environmental engineers create."If you really like building things, deploying applications, and seeing the work you do transform people's lives directly," you might consider one of these careers, Levine said.If you haven't already completed substantial engineering coursework alongside or as part of your major, you may need to complete a master's in engineering — but it depends where you'd like to work. However, engineering technician jobs often don't require engineering-specific degrees (though you may still need an OSHA certification).Find environmental engineer and environmental engineering technician jobs on The Muse3. Environmental scientist and environmental science and protection techniciansAverage environmental scientist salary: $52,680Average environmental technician salary: $43,485These professionals conduct research, experiments, field work, and tests to monitor or discover more about the environment. Environmental scientists may propose new research and design experiments with the goal of evaluating, preventing, controlling, or fixing environmental problems.Environmental science and protection technicians are often responsible for conducting tests in the field and reporting findings to a scientist, municipality, or any other entity that's monitoring environmental conditions. For example, you may be responsible for gathering and testing water samples to make sure a nearby company is not compromising the ecosystem or you might work for a city government, continuously monitoring air quality.You can focus in a myriad of areas in environmental science such as microbiology, ecology, oceanography, or geology. In order to become an environmental scientist, you'll need a master's degree or PhD in your chosen area of focus, but technicians can often land jobs with bachelor's degrees in environmental science.Find environmental scientist, environmental science technician, and other environmental science jobs on The Muse4. Wildlife biologistAverage salary: $50,186Wildlife biologists are a subset of environmental scientists that focus specifically on animals and other wildlife and how they interact with their environments. They may conduct studies on animals in their natural habitat or in zoo or sanctuary environments and/or monitor threats to populations and come up with ways to mitigate them. Wildlife biologists often focus on specific types of animals or plants.Depending on where you'd like to work, you can often find an entry-level position with a bachelor's degree in environmental science, but to advance and/or conduct independent research you'll need to obtain a PhD.Find wildlife biologist jobs on The Muse5. Environmental health and safety specialistAverage salary: $64,210Environmental health and safety (EHS) specialists study how different environmental conditions affect human health, protect the health and safety of individuals and ecosystems by setting regulations and guidelines, and ensure compliance with these regulations and guidelines. They may work for governments or other oversight organizations to set and enforce safety and environmental standards for geographic areas or industries, or they might work for individual companies to ensure the safety of work processes and the company's overall sustainability.You can often get these jobs with a bachelor's degree, though some employers will require that you obtain relevant safety certifications for their industry.Find environmental health and safety specialist jobs on The Muse6. Conservation officerAverage salary: $44,667Conservation officers, also known as park rangers, manage state and national parks, forests, and other wildlife areas. They are responsible for the safety of guests and wildlife as well as the conservation of the area. Conservation officers may also maintain campgrounds, trails, and other facilities; manage programs for the public; answer questions; and address and correct possible risks to the environment or guests. If you love being outside and interacting with the public, this could be the job for you. You can land a job as a conservation officer with a bachelor's degree in environmental science.Find conservation officer and park ranger jobs on The Muse7. Recycling coordinatorAverage salary: $53,705Recycling coordinators and officers oversee the way recyclables are handled by an organization or municipality. For smaller companies or schools, this might be part of a broader role, but for larger entities, overseeing recycling efforts could be your full-time job."It's no longer about making signs for the recycling cans," Hutchison, who was previously a recycling coordinator for a university, said. "It's about waste trucks, dumpster pulls, procurement of containers, writing [requests for proposals to] vendors, endless spreadsheets on waste to create baselines for reduction goals, and hosting field trips for the local classrooms." Basically, you need to make sure all the recycling gets sorted properly, picked up, and transferred to the appropriate facility so that the material can be reused, all while advocating for the program and encouraging individuals to participate.If you're super organized and want to help decrease the amount of waste going to landfills, this could be a job for you. Hutchison snagged her role right out of college — so there are entry-level opportunities.Find recycling coordinator and other recycling positions on The Muse8. Environmental consultantAverage salary: $58,387In general, consultants evaluate client companies and their departments and processes; analyze their findings; and propose solutions to solve problems, save money, or increase efficiency. Environmental consultants specifically focus on sustainability and environmental impact. For example, they might suggest ways for companies to reduce their carbon footprints or advise them on how to better use and dispose of hazardous materials.Consultants often work for consultancies or as freelancers. If you want to help companies increase their sustainability and curb emissions or waste, this career could be a great fit. You can often get these jobs with a bachelor's degree.Find environmental consultant jobs on The Muse9. Environmental policy analystAverage policy analyst salary: $60,216Environmental policy analysts research, analyze, and evaluate the effects an existing or proposed law, regulation, or program will have on the environment, people, wildlife, or any other facet of society. These jobs involve "packaging research in a way that can be used in policy to make laws and regulations that will make a difference," Levine said. So if you want to have a direct effect on what companies and individuals need to do to curb climate change, for example, a career in environmental policy may be for you.You may be able to find an entry-level position with a bachelor's degree in environmental science (look for federal, state, and local government fellowships and programs specifically designed for this) — but you could need further education to progress in your career.Find environmental policy analyst jobs on The Muse10. Science editorAverage salary: $60,499Science editors put together academic journals or textbooks consisting of science information and new discoveries, research, and studies. Depending on your role and career level, you may be responsible for copyediting and formatting articles, assigning and editing articles or book sections, or assessing original research and coordinating peer reviews of it. Scientific publishing "is a great career for those who feel passionately about the science but want to step away from being the ones doing the research themselves," Cassidy said. "Working on academic journals gives you a front-row seat to new, cutting-edge research, and working with editors and academic societies can be very inspiring."While an environmental science degree will give you the scientific background you need to understand the research, you'll also need strong writing and editing skills to pursue this career.Find science editor and other editing jobs on The Muse11. Science communications specialistAverage communications specialist salary: $54,008While this might sound like a similar role to science editor, science communicators work across industries and mediums. No matter what your focus is, though, all science communications specialists have the same goal: sharing often complex information about science (or the environment) in a way that the intended audience understands it, cares about it, and knows what to do about it. Depending on where you work, you may write press releases, website or social copy, TV, radio, or online video scripts, or reported and researched articles; create infographics, videos, pamphlets, and other presentations; or produce educational materials for schools, museums, and other programs.Your background in environmental science will give you the technical know-how you'll need and lend you credibility, Levine said. You may also need strong writing skills, social media savvy, video production knowledge, or graphic design chops, depending on the roles you'd like to pursue. You may find jobs for science or environmental nonprofits, departments, or organizations labeled "communications specialist," "communications coordinator," or similar, but you should also search for roles that describe the specific work you'd like to do, such as "copywriter," "video editor," or "social media manager" at companies that focus on an area of the environment or science you're passionate about.Find science communications specialist jobs and science communication jobs on The Muse12. Data analystAverage salary: $61,881Data analysts collect, organize, and interpret large amounts of information in order to solve problems or make recommendations. They may also be responsible for creating projections, models, or data visualizations.You can find these roles at companies across many industries, so if you'd like to work for a company focused on some aspect of the environment, you can. For example, you might analyze the data from a large number of water samples taken along a coastline to look for patterns for a clean water–focused nonprofit.But as an environmental science graduate, you likely have the data knowledge you need to seek a position in a different field entirely — particularly if you can demonstrate coding experience, which employers are increasingly looking for in data professionals. You can also take online classes or look into a data science bootcamp to boost your skills. A bachelor's degree is usually the only education requirement for entry-level roles, but you may need a master's degree for more senior roles.Find data analyst and other data jobs on The Muse13. Marketing analystAverage salary: $57,134Marketing analysts evaluate data, prices, markets, strategies, and customer bases to answer marketing questions or solve issues either for the company they work for or for a client company. If you have an environmental science degree but you're interested in something outside of that field, marketing analysts are needed in every industry. For example, you could find a marketing analyst job for a renewable energy company that sells solar panels to individual homes or you can find a position for a tech company working on a productivity app.With the storytelling, data analysis, research, and marketing skills you gained from your coursework, you can likely find an entry-level marketing analyst job right out of undergrad.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 12th, 2021

Netflix is gearing up to spend more than $50 million to make a production studio out of a former New Jersey army base

Large streamers are looking for more studio space amid a surge in demand for entertainment content. Netflix fired three senior executives for airing complaints about their boss on Slack, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Ryan Anson/Getty Images Netflix is among several bidders for a 289-acre former army base in New Jersey, to develop it into a new production studio. The company quietly opened a studio in a former steel factory in Bushwick, Brooklyn, in September. Post-pandemic demand for new content has skyrocketed, leading multiple studios to scramble for production space across the country. In the latest real estate move in the streaming wars, an old military base in New Jersey could find new life as a state-of-the-art film and television production studio.Netflix announced on Tuesday it has put in an offer on the 289-acre, state-owned Fort Monmouth army base in Monmouth county, New Jersey, with the hopes to convert it into additional studio space for its East Coast productions."America's first movie studio was in New Jersey, and today it's home to many talented people working in entertainment," a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement to Insider on Wednesday. "We're excited to submit our bid to transform Fort Monmouth into a state-of-the-art production facility."The Fort Monmouth Revitalization Planning Authority valued the site at $54 million, but has previously received higher offers on the property. Fort Monmouth was recommended for closure by the Pentagon in 2005, and has officially been out-of-operation since 2011. However, the Revitalization Planning Authority has been overseeing to the redevelopment of the land since 2006. The state of New Jersey is taking bids on the Fort Monmouth site for the next ninety days, through January 2022.New Jersey governor Phil Murphy has sought to boost film and television production, as well as digital media production, in the state. The 2018 New Jersey Film & Digital Media Tax credit Program provides a 30-35% tax credit - plus a 2% "diversity bonus" - that runs through 2028. With movie theaters reopening after COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, and demand for streaming content booming, studio space in major US production hubs, like Los Angeles and New York, have become more scarce, fueling an intense real estate grab from major studios. In the face of restrictive voting laws in Georgia, several big shows and movies have been on the search for alternative production sites.Netflix transformed an old steel factory into a production space in Bushwick, an industrialized but gentrifying area of Brooklyn, last month. It has already begun hosting several Netflix productions. The streaming giant also invested $1 billion to expand operations and acquire a studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in late 2020, creating 1,000 jobs in the state. In Spain, the company began to double its studio capacity from five to 10 sound stages, plus new post-production spaces, which is expected to be completed in 2022.Earlier this month, studios narrowly avoided an industry-wide strike from unionized crew members looking for what they say is fairer pay in "new media" and improved working conditions. Netflix is also dealing with the fallout from a controversial comedy special that prompted dozens of its office employees to stage a walkout last week. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 27th, 2021

Transcript: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, 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. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This… Read More The post Transcript: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, 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. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest. Her name is Sukhinder Singh Cassidy and she has had a fascinating career in technology, starting as an analyst in the investment banking group at Merrill Lynch before going west to join a company that ends up getting purchased by Amazon and she stays at Amazon for a while before leaving to join another startup then ends up doing well. She eventually takes a couple of roles at Google, Google Maps, and then running a couple of other projects, Google International Commerce. And from there, ends up launching a couple of more startups, all of which that have done very, very well. She talks about the process of risk-taking and decision-making and why you can’t think about the risk reward calculus in terms of one big win or lose choice. You have to think about a series of smaller incremental steps that all involve risk and eventually determine the path you take. It’s a good framework for both technology and finance. I thought this conversation was quite fascinating and I found her book to be intriguing as well, “Choose Possibility.” With no further ado, my conversation with Sukhinder Singh Cassidy. VOICEOVER: This is Masters in business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. SUKHINDER SINGH CASSIDY, PRESIDENT, STUBHUB: My special guest this week is Sukhinder Singh Cassidy. She is a technology executive and serial entrepreneur. Previously, she was president of StubHub, her new book is “Choose Possibility: Take risks and Thrive (Even When You Fail). Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, welcome to Bloomberg. CASSIDY: Thank you so much for having me. Excited to be here. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk about your career which is really so interesting. It covers everything from finance and investing banking to technology. Let’s begin at the beginning. You started at Merrill Lynch in the early ’90s, a great time to start in investment banking. What motivated that decision to go into finance? CASSIDY: Well, a couple of things. Number one, I’d say the most more intelligently reason was because I wanted, sort of a base in financial literacy and financial analysis which I thought would be great for any career I had. And then the more emotional reason, honestly, I was at a top undergraduate business school in Canada and all my friends were doing it. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: I was like, well, if they’re doing it, I should be doing it too. So, in some ways I call it — I call it a couple cat goal. I’m sure there are many ways I could’ve gotten financial literacy but I was bound and determined to keep pace with my rather competitive colleagues to get a job n Wall Street. RITHOLTZ: So, you head to New York, you start at Merrill Lynch. Any formative experiences stay with you years later, what do you most remember from that era? CASSIDY: Well, the first is, honestly, just the struggle to get the job, believe it or not. And I say that to people because often, when you look back on the careers of others, that they’re — they look so pretty from the outside. But from the inside, it took me a good year plus to get that job. I was rejected by a number of banks. Merrill didn’t even come to Canada to recruit. And they offered me one of those polite informational letters which said something like if you’re ever in New York City, we’d be happy to give you 15 — a 15-minute informational interview. And I remember saying to my father, I’m like, well, look at that. They just rejected me and he said, well, why don’t you take a train to get it, down to New York. You’ll never know. And I was at the end of my rope. I’d been searching for jobs for over a year. I said — as I said, determined to get this job and not successful and I took that train ride and 15 minutes turned into a three-hour interview. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CASSIDY: And then they accelerated me to the final process, which is for investment, it’s very competitive. I came down on a weekend and competed with all the sort of Ivy League American kids who had been through rounds of interviews, undoubtedly. And I got the job. So, it was a pretty sweet — it’s a pretty sweet success after a year and a half of trying. But it was very formative for me because it really informed and, I guess, my view of how often you have to choose keep choosing in order to get to the goal you want. RITHOLTZ: Keep banging away. So, what — what did you do for Merrill when you — when you get the job, what was it that they had you do? What were your responsibilities and what was the job like? CASSIDY: Well, and I think this is probably the second formative experience I had at Merrill. So, my role was financial analyst. Anybody who maybe has studied finance know that that’s really a job where you create pitchbooks. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: The books with facts and details about different industries. I was in the financial services industry. And that was the entry (ph) that I was assigned to and you really create those books or what’s called managing directors who go out and pitch large companies on using their services, M&A services, IPO services, what have you. And so, the average analyst is spending, you know, days and nights, often through the night, toiling to create these perfect pitchbooks. So, I certainly had that experience but I ended up working for a pretty eclectic young managing director called Henry Michaels and Henry was, as detailed as they could get, pipe smoking, definitely capable of driving others crazy but he took a really deep and really interest in just teaching me about, believe it or not, the savings and loan industry. And I think he found me to be maybe a rough (ph) student and, I freely admit, after taking a year to get that job, I was bound and determined to be successful at it. So, I would, very inquisitive, very curious. And as a result, Henry kept stuffing me and putting me, I would say on the — on jobs with increasing responsibility. And so, pretty early on, I was going to meetings with CEOs that he would — he would set up and let me attend. Of course, I was carrying the pitchbook, but that didn’t really matter to me, the exposure did. And as a result, I ended up working on an IPO early, the Long Island Savings Bank. Henry kept giving me more and more responsibility. And in my second year, Merrill sent me to London which was unusual as well to send somebody that early and I got to go work on banking in the — in the European banking industry and had just an amazing experience. So, I give Henry Michaels a lot of credit. Henry, definitely, skipped a bunch of layers to teach me and I, as I said, maybe my best contribution was I was a rough (ph) student but the result was that, an experience where I’ve got a lot of exposure very quickly to kind of senior executive. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. I have a specific recollection of the Long Island Savings Bank going IPO in the early, I want to say mid ’90s and eventually … CASSIDY: That was me. I was the analyst. RITHOLTZ: And eventually, it got acquired and then that company got acquired. And in a certain point, you just lose track. But this leads to an obvious question, all of your background is finance related, how did you transition to tech and what made you decide to leave the East Coast and the world of finance for the West Coast which has more of a technology bend? CASSIDY: Well, I — so, ironically, I made my way to the West Coast, not from the East Coast but via London because if you recall, Merrill sent me to London. And when I was in London, I had spent, maybe two years with the bank and its classic length of each program for two years and then they expect you, actually, to move on. So, analyst programs are two years in investment banks. So, I spent two years. They offered me a third and I really want to be, quote-unquote, “in industry.” Now, I had no idea what that meant but I wanted to work for one company. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: And so, I was able to secure a role with the CFO at a company called British Sky Broadcasting, one of the biggest satellite broadcasters in the world. If you recall, this is part of the News Corporation, its kind of empire. And luckily, for me, I parted with my job in finance to a job in finance inside of a company at BSkyB and then I was promoted to working for the CEO and the COO there. So, actually, it’s probably a more dramatic story. I was promoted. I was working on the top floor for the — one of the two top bosses and I’d been there, I’ve been at BSkyB for only a year and I walked into my bosses’ office and I told them I quit. And he was shocked. And I said, two things are true, David. Number one, I have this epic promotion. I sit down the hallway from you, I get — I get lunch every day, I’m on the — I’m on the executive floor, I’m like but you don’t really use me. It’s true. My boss is very used to sort of operating like lone wolf as that as sort of effectively president of the company. And I said, number two, I think I want to head back to North America. I’ve been there for two and a half years and a girlfriend of mine, a very dear friend from Stanford Business School, I had visited her the year early — earlier and I fell in love with the weather in the Bay Area and this kind of sense of entrepreneurship. That’s true. I mean, for a girl who comes from Ontario, Canada, where it gets pretty darn cold, once you visit California, you sort of realize that it’s possible to live in good weather all year long. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: But the other — but the other truth is I wanted to be an entrepreneur. My father, loves running some business. I had no idea how. I love the Bay Area for the weather and I sense that it was, that there were a lot of people starting companies. So I quit my job, I went skiing for three months and Whistler, and I moved to the — I moved to California and bought a car, drove up the coast from L.A. to San Francisco. Luckily, those friends of mine, their parents put me up at their very nice house in California until I found the job and I started over. RITHOLTZ: And how did you end up at Junglee? CASSIDY: If you can’t tell already, I was a fairly impatient young woman because, I moved a fair amount in that first six years of my career. I, as I said, I was looking for a job in the Valley. I found, what, unfortunately, the job I found was not nearly as positive experience as I’d hope. As you — as we just talked about, I actually had a really good experience with Merrill. I even had a good experience with BSkyB, if you look at the fact that I got responsibility, I was promoted. And I got to this, I found a startup end in Silicon Valley that was in interactive television which is we somewhat related to what I’ve just got in at Sky, which is a TV industry. And on second day on the job, my boss told me I was scaring the secretaries and I was like, what — what do you mean? RITHOLTZ: What does that mean? CASSIDY: What do you mean? Yes, what do you mean? I’m like I just come from two industries that are highly male dominated, nobody ever told me I was scary. And that began a rapid decline in our relationship. I felt like I wasn’t getting a lot of responsibility. He kept telling me I was the rookie that needed to be coached. And I quit six months later. Actually, fairly deflated, because I was, like, if this is what it means to be in Silicon Valley, I must be this meritocracy. I’m supposed to be having the time of my life. Maybe I’m not meant for this place. Luckily for me, I started thinking about getting another job and a recruiter called and pitched this idea of a company started by four Stanford Ph.Ds. in — who have this very cool technology. I took the interview I didn’t really understand fully the technology but I loved that. They were smart, they were thunderous. And so I switched, and luckily for me, I made the switch, Junglee ended up building a whole engine for shopping, for comparing prices across the Internet and Amazon bought the company six months later and that was the really the start of my career in Silicon Valley. Just a great experience. But following a very poor one. RITHOLTZ: Really — well, everything can’t all be wine and roses. Sometimes, they’re going to miss. Tell us a little bit about what it was like working for Amazon in ’98 and how closely did you work with Bezos back then? CASSIDY: Well, believe it or not, back then, it was a pretty small company. There was about 1,200 people. We were public. So, everybody got exposure to Jeff, myself included. And so, what are some of those early year — those early times like at Amazon? Well, first of all, as I said, everybody was — it was a small enough company that you could sit most of Amazon in one or two buildings, so we made a couple of moves where — we were all in the same building. Number two, we all had to work in the warehouse including like the very top executives at Amazon. Jeff and Rick Dalzell, like everybody had shifts over Christmas. You had no day job. You literally all had shifts in the warehouse which was a pretty amazing cultural feel. And by the way, that included, like overnight shifts. You work taking and packing books and music — books, CDs, and videos. That’s true. Jeff had bought the company because he, believe it or not, in 1998 still had this vision of a day where Amazon show you every product on the Internet whether or not they had it in stocks, so this early vision of marketplace. But Amazon at the time was just building out its own verticals. So, what was sit like? He was really the main champion of this acquisition of buying us for our technology. He used it to start version one of Amazon marketplace which he shut down several years later. So, he’s made many attempts at marketplace before he got the one that worked. And by the way, before the world was ready for it. So, it was pretty — it was a pretty neat look into how sort of visionary he was even early on, of course, not nearly as sort of daunting a presence as he might be now. Just like very accessible, pretty goofy, actually pretty quirky sense of humor. And I got to work with him specifically because I was one of the people selling new merchants, like people like Macy’s and others on the idea of putting their products on the Amazon’s website. So, I got to pitch a few different retailers with Jeff which was really cool (ph). VOICEOVER: ESG, it’s not quite as easy as ABC. Environmental, social, and governance factors now influence more than $20 trillion in assets. We’ll tell you how the ESG movement started and where it’s going on the OUTThinking Investor. A new podcast from PGIM. Listen today. RITHOLTZ: So, I know this is going to be a very fanboy question, but I have to ask because there’s a broader component about understanding or not the future, in the late ’90s, in the early 2000s, did you have any indication that Amazon would become the juggernaut that it became or was — that was early days. Hey, we think we’re going to be successful, we could be a real solid company, like, what was the view like from back then? CASSIDY: The view was not that we were going to become the juggernaut we are today as defined by Amazon’s not just a retailer but it’s like a dominant movie studio. It’s not just a movie studio, it owns a grocer. It’s not just a grocer, but it happens to own the largest infrastructure, backbone of the web called Amazon Web Services and other merchants, like no way was that obviously. As I said, like, literally, the days where we’re selling books, music, and video and launching new categories. And, Jeff, as I said, like, he was impressive but he was also a very accessible, funny, young, like, he’s only a few years older than I am, at best. And so no, I don’t, I mean, all the people that you think of now who’s quite famous, there was no indication. As I said, now, you might and I might say, wow, buying a company in 1998 to launch Amazon marketplace, certainly there were early inklings that he has a vision to sell a lot of stuff. As we say, hey, should I see this company becoming one of the larger retailers, sure? But it’s defined by what Amazon is today, yes, no way to connect it. RITHOLTZ: Quite fascinating. That’s quite fascinating. So, let’s talk about your transition from Amazon to your next venture, you co-founded a startup, tell us a little bit about Yodlee and what made you decide to say, well, this Amazon company is kind of fund, but let me see what I can build on my own. CASSIDY: Well, remember we were chatting about that rather restless and impatient young woman. I don’t think any of that dissolved when I was at Amazon, it was a great experience, by the way, and remember, I had never gone intending to be in Amazon, I had gone to a startup, right, which got buy — bought. And while Amazon was a great company, that’s in Seattle, it was now public and so there is me thinking, gosh, when am I going to get the chance to start my own company and I know many people listening to this podcast would be like, really, you left Amazon to start your own company? Is that a really smart decision? But in some ways, Amazon to me, still at the time, felt very big and I want to get there. So, I’m at Amazon, and remember, many of the founders of Junglee, you know, has made a lot of wealth. They’re certainly mentors of mine. They are even today. And they start angel investing in a number of companies in the valley. And knowing that I have this ambition, I’ve been at Amazon about a year and I get into the — I get a call one weekend that sort of said, hey, there’s this professor from UCSD who’s a computer science professor and he built this really cool technology that goes out of across the web and it gets all your financial information behind all of those sites with passwords and it puts them in one place. You can have an aggregated view of your financial life. And by the way, the technology is not the same as Junglee but it has some analogy. And they’re like, and they’re lucky for a business cofounder. They have all these engineers that they need someday to establish but there’s this model, raise the money. And so I got one of those inbound calls and through that network of angel investors who’s — who were the founders of Junglee. I flew down from Seattle to San Francisco for a weekend. I took one look at the technology and I’m suitably impressed. I was like, wow. You just grabbed all my credit balances and my bank balance and my brokerage balance in one place and gave me this aggregated view. Nobody can do that. It’s pretty revolutionary technology at the time. And they offered me the opportunity, at 29 years old, to become what’s called a cofounder of the company and the first business executive. And I just jumped at the chance. I love the technology, I love the fact that I would be with — they were engineers that this company do, again, very similar to Junglee but now, I was going to get a seat at the table as literally one of the executive team at such a young age and get to raise the money for venture capitalists, make the business plan. So, I said yes. RITHOLTZ: So they were really very early stage. CASSIDY: Yes. Yes, yes. I mean, it was 12 engineers in a room and as I said, I was the — I was effectively the first business leader to be hired at the company. RITHOLTZ: And so, I gave my notice at Amazon maybe a month later and moved right into Junglee and we raised $15 million from venture capitalists within a month of that and we were off to the raises. And thus, began kind of the six-year journey to build what today many would consider the pioneer in really aggregate your financial information. I’m really proud of the fact that Yodlee really did create a whole industry of companies that were able to access financial information using our services and our kind of technology backbone and build many of the financial outfit people use today. So, Yodlee, Yodlee had a 15-year run before it became public and I was there for the first five of those years. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s work our way through this chronology a little bit. You ended up at Junglee which gets acquired by Amazon in ’98. From ’98 to … CASSIDY: Ninety-nine, I’m at Amazon. RITHOLTZ: And then when do you leave ’90 — when do you leave Amazon … CASSIDY: Mid ’99. RITHOLTZ: So you were only — OK. Got you. CASSIDY: Yes. I was there a year, I mean. It was a year. RITHOLTZ: And you stayed — did you stay with Yodlee until they were acquired by Envestnet? CASSIDY: No. I stayed with Yodlee for five years and that time, I had every job under the son. I was predominantly responsible for the executives for not just raising the money, we’ve raised about a 100 million in the time I was there in several rounds of financing but I was — I was just responsible for sales and business development, selling our technology to all the banks and brokerage companies. And so, I stayed until in 2004. I (inaudible) our CEO at 2000 and he wasn’t going anywhere, by the way. So I always say the people tapped out of my own startup, like, literally I’d had every job. I’ve done sales, I’ve done marketing, I’ve done PR. I was our spokesperson, I raised money. And I — an in many ways, I was partnered very closed with the CEO and we had a great relationship. And in 2004, I was like, OK, now, what’s my next horizon? Like I’ve been here five years and I’ve done all of these roles but there’s like the company’s not growing fast enough to give me an entirely new career. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: With set of challenges. And so that, I actually, for the first time, did what I call a more studied search, thinking I might start another company but also thinking that I wanted to find the right idea so I was pondering my next move, presuming I would start a company when I got the opportunity to start a new service at Google which, today we would call Local and Maps. RITHOLTZ: And let’s talk a little bit about Google Maps. It’s funny because it’s so ubiquitous today, we don’t even think twice about the miracle that is Google Maps. But back in the mid-2000s, did anybody have any idea of what a massive technological breakthrough G maps were? I remember playing with early versions of it and just head exploding, What was the thoughts like within Google about Google Maps? CASSIDY: Well, it’s — it’s a couple things. So, first of all, when I got the call, Google originally called me to come join them and I actually said no. And I said, gosh, you guys are also quite big. You’re 1,200 people. Remember in my work frame, Amazon is big at 1,2000 people, so is Google. And I says I’m going to start another company. RITHOLTZ: Hard pass. CASSIDY: I know. So funny. And Google called me back seven months later. They said — you said you wanted a startup opportunity. We have it. We have something greenfield called Maps and we said -they said, Yahoo! has a product called Yahoo! Maps, AOL has what they call MapQuest, Google has no product to help you search locally or find — navigate locally. Either you find goods or services locally or business — and navigate, right? Because Google Local is like search for business, Google Maps is search for a place. In fact, today, they’re very merged. Nobody thinks of them as different. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: And I studied the landscape, I went into interview with Google and within two weeks, I said yes to the job because I was like, holy smokes, the yellow page industry, we have the time with those thick yellow books that everybody got to find places was a $23 billion industry in annual advertising. And I was like surely, if Yahoo! has a product and AOL has a product, Google should have a product and look at all the ad dollars available in those category and look at all the usage, it’s pretty antiquated. RITHOLTZ: Yes. CASSIDY: So, I said yes very quickly. And I do … RITHOLTZ: I have to point out that yellow books are $23 billion in revenue, the obvious answer is but not for long. CASSIDY: But not for long. I mean, look, digital really wiped that business over. By the way, there still yellow pages around the country and … RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: … around the globe but nobody would think of that as a juggernaut industry. So, yes, online really changed and transformed the face of local advertising fundamentally. But I would say I knew it would be big. I mean, that’s what lead me to go in that direction. I say what was unknown about Google service and you appreciate this, even by me, is I was paired with a product manager, I was the business person, meaning I had to go license the data for like, roads and businesses to put underneath inside of that service, right? All that data was not online. I had one product manager, Bret Taylor. Ironically, now the president of Salesforce. He was my — he’s my product manager and we had 10 engineers and the 12 of us build that product (ph) effectively. I did the business DLT, he guided the engineers. So, on one hand, the product could have been pretty straightforward like Yahoo!, AOL. But Google made two innovations that I think people will remember to this day. Number one, believe it or not, just putting the name of the road inside of the road, not on top of the road was one innovation. You’re like, the name of the road is like on the road. And visually, it’s just like a prettier experience and it’s — it’s like the map is less crowded that way. But the second innovation, and this I give a lot of credit to Sergei and Larry, early on, a guy named John Hanke showed Google, once we’ve launched local and maps, this cool technology that had satellite imagery called Keyhole and Larry and Sergei were like, we need to buy that. We’re going to overlay that on Maps. And that was the innovation, right? Overlaying satellite technology on top of maps, like hey, you can’t give me any credit as a business p person for seeing that, that was really product vision. And in that case, led by the founders. I mean, Bret like the product too but from what I recall, Larry and Sergei was really gung-ho on buying the compo and overlaying satellite technology on top of Maps. And that’s an example of sort of one of the things I admired about Google. They didn’t really care about how it would make money, it was just a very cool and differentiated in — it turns out, very useful feature to have Google Earth on top of Google Maps. But with no commercial application, just super cool, at least not then. RITHOLTZ: Well, eventually, right? Eventually. CASSIDY: Yes. But not — but like when we laid over — overlaid it, I was like, ok, I guess that this cool. I’m not going to (inaudible) to anybody but what a — what a great kind of product feature and like kind of great vision. So, those are some of the finer experiences about building Maps and then Local as well. RITHOLTZ: You mentioned the integration of Local with Google Maps. I have a suspicion that a lot of people don’t realize how tightly integrated it actually is. What — I was in pre-pandemic, I was in Paris, and we were looking for a specific restaurant and you just punched restaurant in and Google Maps knows where you are and it just shows you on the Maps, it populates all the restaurants of that type in that area. And it’s absolutely seamless and I’ve showed that the people who are much, much younger than me and they’re like, I didn’t know I could do that with Google Maps. It’s almost like a surprise feature, when really, it’s a core part of Google Maps. It’s on an Easter egg. CASSIDY: Yes. Absolutely. And to be honest, when we started the product local in maps with different things, you could type in to the Search Box, like movie theater near me and you would get literally a listing of results. Today, of course, they’ll show you the results on a Google Map as the preferred way for you to see those results. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: I guess you could get a listing if you want but every Google search result has a map embedded and like you, I actually often do all my local searching on Google Maps. I don’t even go to the main Google website. I can, but I just go to, like, Google Maps, and I type in, like restaurants near me, and I get all of them with the reviews and the results. And so, look, very, very, very fun product to have launched into the system (ph). RITHOLTZ: So, what led you to leave Google to start Joyous? CASSIDY: Well, remember, I have one more big chapter at Google that’s probably ironically even bigger than my Local and Maps chapter because I’m — I’m at Google. We’ve launched Local and Maps and what’s happening is people are saying to me, well saying to my boss, he was the cheap business officer at Google, um, hey we have all these products that need us to license data, like we want to have — we want to have a library product, we want to have a solar product, we want to have a shopping product. By the way, we want to have a video product. So, I’ve ended up building a team that is all the licensing for all these other data, types of data that we want to put online. And so, I’m running that team, my team’s gone — I’ve gone from being individ.....»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureOct 25th, 2021

How Facebook Forced a Reckoning by Shutting Down the Team That Put People Ahead of Profits

Facebook's civic-integrity team, where whistle-blower Frances Haugen worked, pledged to put people ahead of profits. Facebook shut it down, but some former members are still honoring their promise. Facebook’s civic-integrity team was always different from all the other teams that the social media company employed to combat misinformation and hate speech. For starters, every team member subscribed to an informal oath, vowing to “serve the people’s interest first, not Facebook’s.” The “civic oath,” according to five former employees, charged team members to understand Facebook’s impact on the world, keep people safe and defuse angry polarization. Samidh Chakrabarti, the team’s leader, regularly referred to this oath—which has not been previously reported—as a set of guiding principles behind the team’s work, according to the sources. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Chakrabarti’s team was effective in fixing some of the problems endemic to the platform, former employees and Facebook itself have said. But, just a month after the 2020 U.S. election, Facebook dissolved the civic-integrity team, and Chakrabarti took a leave of absence. Facebook said employees were assigned to other teams to help share the group’s experience across the company. But for many of the Facebook employees who had worked on the team, including a veteran product manager from Iowa named Frances Haugen, the message was clear: Facebook no longer wanted to concentrate power in a team whose priority was to put people ahead of profits. Illustration by TIME (Source photo: Getty Images) Five weeks later, supporters of Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol—after some of them organized on Facebook and used the platform to spread the lie that the election had been stolen. The civic-integrity team’s dissolution made it harder for the platform to respond effectively to Jan. 6, one former team member, who left Facebook this year, told TIME. “A lot of people left the company. The teams that did remain had significantly less power to implement change, and that loss of focus was a pretty big deal,” said the person. “Facebook did take its eye off the ball in dissolving the team, in terms of being able to actually respond to what happened on Jan. 6.” The former employee, along with several others TIME interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity, for fear that being named would ruin their career. Paul Morris—Bloomberg/Getty ImagesSamidh Chakrabarti, head of Facebook’s civic-integrity team, stands beside Katie Harbath, a Facebook director of public policy, in Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on Oct. 17, 2018.   Enter Frances Haugen Haugen revealed her identity on Oct. 3 as the whistle-blower behind the most significant leak of internal research in the company’s 17-year history. In a bombshell testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security two days later, Haugen said the civic-integrity team’s dissolution was the final event in a long series that convinced her of the need to blow the whistle. “I think the moment which I realized we needed to get help from the outside—that the only way these problems would be solved is by solving them together, not solving them alone—was when civic-integrity was dissolved following the 2020 election,” she said. “It really felt like a betrayal of the promises Facebook had made to people who had sacrificed a great deal to keep the election safe, by basically dissolving our community.” Read more: The Facebook Whistleblower Revealed Herself on 60 Minutes. Here’s What You Need to Know In a statement provided to TIME, Facebook’s vice president for integrity Guy Rosen denied the civic-integrity team had been disbanded. “We did not disband Civic Integrity,” Rosen said. “We integrated it into a larger Central Integrity team so that the incredible work pioneered for elections could be applied even further, for example, across health-related issues. Their work continues to this day.” (Facebook did not make Rosen available for an interview for this story.) Impacts of Civic Technology Conference 2016The defining values of the civic-integrity team, as described in a 2016 presentation given by Samidh Chakrabarti and Winter Mason. Civic-integrity team members were expected to adhere to this list of values, which was referred to internally as the “civic oath”. Haugen left the company in May. Before she departed, she trawled Facebook’s internal employee forum for documents posted by integrity researchers about their work. Much of the research was not related to her job, but was accessible to all Facebook employees. What she found surprised her. Some of the documents detailed an internal study that found that Instagram, its photo-sharing app, made 32% of teen girls feel worse about their bodies. Others showed how a change to Facebook’s algorithm in 2018, touted as a way to increase “meaningful social interactions” on the platform, actually incentivized divisive posts and misinformation. They also revealed that Facebook spends almost all of its budget for keeping the platform safe only on English-language content. In September, the Wall Street Journal published a damning series of articles based on some of the documents that Haugen had leaked to the paper. Haugen also gave copies of the documents to Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The documents, Haugen testified Oct. 5, “prove that Facebook has repeatedly misled the public about what its own research reveals about the safety of children, the efficacy of its artificial intelligence systems, and its role in spreading divisive and extreme messages.” She told Senators that the failings revealed by the documents were all linked by one deep, underlying truth about how the company operates. “This is not simply a matter of certain social media users being angry or unstable, or about one side being radicalized against the other; it is about Facebook choosing to grow at all costs, becoming an almost trillion-dollar company by buying its profits with our safety,” she said. Facebook’s focus on increasing user engagement, which ultimately drives ad revenue and staves off competition, she argued, may keep users coming back to the site day after day—but also systematically boosts content that is polarizing, misinformative and angry, and which can send users down dark rabbit holes of political extremism or, in the case of teen girls, body dysmorphia and eating disorders. “The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer, but won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people,” Haugen said. (In 2020, the company reported $29 billion in net income—up 58% from a year earlier. This year, it briefly surpassed $1 trillion in total market value, though Haugen’s leaks have since knocked the company down to around $940 billion.) Asked if executives adhered to the same set of values as the civic-integrity team, including putting the public’s interests before Facebook’s, a company spokesperson told TIME it was “safe to say everyone at Facebook is committed to understanding our impact, keeping people safe and reducing polarization.” In the same week that an unrelated systems outage took Facebook’s services offline for hours and revealed just how much the world relies on the company’s suite of products—including WhatsApp and Instagram—the revelations sparked a new round of national soul-searching. It led some to question how one company can have such a profound impact on both democracy and the mental health of hundreds of millions of people. Haugen’s documents are the basis for at least eight new SEC investigations into the company for potentially misleading its investors. And they have prompted senior lawmakers from both parties to call for stringent new regulations. Read more: Here’s How to Fix Facebook, According to Former Employees and Leading Critics Haugen urged Congress to pass laws that would make Facebook and other social media platforms legally liable for decisions about how they choose to rank content in users’ feeds, and force companies to make their internal data available to independent researchers. She also urged lawmakers to find ways to loosen CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s iron grip on Facebook; he controls more than half of voting shares on its board, meaning he can veto any proposals for change from within. “I came forward at great personal risk because I believe we still have time to act,” Haugen told lawmakers. “But we must act now.” Potentially even more worryingly for Facebook, other experts it hired to keep the platform safe, now alienated by the company’s actions, are growing increasingly critical of their former employer. They experienced first hand Facebook’s unwillingness to change, and they know where the bodies are buried. Now, on the outside, some of them are still honoring their pledge to put the public’s interests ahead of Facebook’s. Inside Facebook’s civic-integrity team Chakrabarti, the head of the civic-integrity team, was hired by Facebook in 2015 from Google, where he had worked on improving how the search engine communicated information about lawmakers and elections to its users. A polymath described by one person who worked under him as a “Renaissance man,” Chakrabarti holds master’s degrees from MIT, Oxford and Cambridge, in artificial intelligence engineering, modern history and public policy, respectively, according to his LinkedIn profile. Although he was not in charge of Facebook’s company-wide “integrity” efforts (led by Rosen), Chakrabarti, who did not respond to requests to comment for this article, was widely seen by employees as the spiritual leader of the push to make sure the platform had a positive influence on democracy and user safety, according to multiple former employees. “He was a very inspirational figure to us, and he really embodied those values [enshrined in the civic oath] and took them quite seriously,” a former member of the team told TIME. “The team prioritized societal good over Facebook good. It was a team that really cared about the ways to address societal problems first and foremost. It was not a team that was dedicated to contributing to Facebook’s bottom line.” Chakrabarti began work on the team by questioning how Facebook could encourage people to be more engaged with their elected representatives on the platform, several of his former team members said. An early move was to suggest tweaks to Facebook’s “more pages you may like” feature that the team hoped might make users feel more like they could have an impact on politics. After the chaos of the 2016 election, which prompted Zuckerberg himself to admit that Facebook didn’t do enough to stop misinformation, the team evolved. It moved into Facebook’s wider “integrity” product group, which employs thousands of researchers and engineers to focus on fixing Facebook’s problems of misinformation, hate speech, foreign interference and harassment. It changed its name from “civic engagement” to “civic integrity,” and began tackling the platform’s most difficult problems head-on. Shortly before the midterm elections in 2018, Chakrabarti gave a talk at a conference in which he said he had “never been told to sacrifice people’s safety in order to chase a profit.” His team was hard at work making sure the midterm elections did not suffer the same failures as in 2016, in an effort that was generally seen as a success, both inside the company and externally. “To see the way that the company has mobilized to make this happen has made me feel very good about what we’re doing here,” Chakrabarti told reporters at the time. But behind closed doors, integrity employees on Chakrabarti’s team and others were increasingly getting into disagreements with Facebook leadership, former employees said. It was the beginning of the process that would eventually motivate Haugen to blow the whistle. Drew Angerer—Getty ImagesFormer Facebook employee Frances Haugen testifies during a Senate hearing entitled ‘Protecting Kids Online: Testimony from a Facebook Whistleblower’ in Washington, D.C., Oct. 5, 2021. In 2019, the year Haugen joined the company, researchers on the civic-integrity team proposed ending the use of an approved list of thousands of political accounts that were exempt from Facebook’s fact-checking program, according to tech news site The Information. Their research had found that the exemptions worsened the site’s misinformation problem because users were more likely to believe false information if it were shared by a politician. But Facebook executives rejected the proposal. The pattern repeated time and time again, as proposals to tweak the platform to down-rank misinformation or abuse were rejected or watered down by executives concerned with engagement or worried that changes might disproportionately impact one political party more than another, according to multiple reports in the press and several former employees. One cynical joke among members of the civic-integrity team was that they spent 10% of their time coding and the other 90% arguing that the code they wrote should be allowed to run, one former employee told TIME. “You write code that does exactly what it’s supposed to do, and then you had to argue with execs who didn’t want to think about integrity, had no training in it and were mad that you were hurting their product, so they shut you down,” the person said. Sometimes the civic-integrity team would also come into conflict with Facebook’s policy teams, which share the dual role of setting the rules of the platform while also lobbying politicians on Facebook’s behalf. “I found many times that there were tensions [in meetings] because the civic-integrity team was like, ‘We’re operating off this oath; this is our mission and our goal,’” says Katie Harbath, a long-serving public-policy director at the company’s Washington, D.C., office who quit in March 2021. “And then you get into decisionmaking meetings, and all of a sudden things are going another way, because the rest of the company and leadership are not basing their decisions off those principles.” Harbath admitted not always seeing eye to eye with Chakrabarti on matters of company policy, but praised his character. “Samidh is a man of integrity, to use the word,” she told TIME. “I personally saw times when he was like, ‘How can I run an integrity team if I’m not upholding integrity as a person?’” Do you work at Facebook or another social media platform? TIME would love to hear from you. You can reach out to billy.perrigo@time.com Years before the 2020 election, research by integrity teams had shown Facebook’s group recommendations feature was radicalizing users by driving them toward polarizing political groups, according to the Journal. The company declined integrity teams’ requests to turn off the feature, BuzzFeed News reported. Then, just weeks before the vote, Facebook executives changed their minds and agreed to freeze political group recommendations. The company also tweaked its News Feed to make it less likely that users would see content that algorithms flagged as potential misinformation, part of temporary emergency “break glass” measures designed by integrity teams in the run-up to the vote. “Facebook changed those safety defaults in the run-up to the election because they knew they were dangerous,” Haugen testified to Senators on Tuesday. But they didn’t keep those safety measures in place long, she added. “Because they wanted that growth back, they wanted the acceleration on the platform back after the election, they returned to their original defaults. And the fact that they had to break the glass on Jan. 6, and turn them back on, I think that’s deeply problematic.” In a statement, Facebook spokesperson Tom Reynolds rejected the idea that the company’s actions contributed to the events of Jan. 6. “In phasing in and then adjusting additional measures before, during and after the election, we took into account specific on-platforms signals and information from our ongoing, regular engagement with law enforcement,” he said. “When those signals changed, so did the measures. It is wrong to claim that these steps were the reason for Jan. 6—the measures we did need remained in place through February, and some like not recommending new, civic or political groups remain in place to this day. These were all part of a much longer and larger strategy to protect the election on our platform—and we are proud of that work.” Read more: 4 Big Takeaways From the Facebook Whistleblower Congressional Hearing Soon after the civic-integrity team was dissolved in December 2020, Chakrabarti took a leave of absence from Facebook. In August, he announced he was leaving for good. Other employees who had spent years working on platform-safety issues had begun leaving, too. In her testimony, Haugen said that several of her colleagues from civic integrity left Facebook in the same six-week period as her, after losing faith in the company’s pledge to spread their influence around the company. “Six months after the reorganization, we had clearly lost faith that those changes were coming,” she said. After Haugen’s Senate testimony, Facebook’s director of policy communications Lena Pietsch suggested that Haugen’s criticisms were invalid because she “worked at the company for less than two years, had no direct reports, never attended a decision-point meeting with C-level executives—and testified more than six times to not working on the subject matter in question.” On Twitter, Chakrabarti said he was not supportive of company leaks but spoke out in support of the points Haugen raised at the hearing. “I was there for over 6 years, had numerous direct reports, and led many decision meetings with C-level execs, and I find the perspectives shared on the need for algorithmic regulation, research transparency, and independent oversight to be entirely valid for debate,” he wrote. “The public deserves better.” Can Facebook’s latest moves protect the company? Two months after disbanding the civic-integrity team, Facebook announced a sharp directional shift: it would begin testing ways to reduce the amount of political content in users’ News Feeds altogether. In August, the company said early testing of such a change among a small percentage of U.S. users was successful, and that it would expand the tests to several other countries. Facebook declined to provide TIME with further information about how its proposed down-ranking system for political content would work. Many former employees who worked on integrity issues at the company are skeptical of the idea. “You’re saying that you’re going to define for people what political content is, and what it isn’t,” James Barnes, a former product manager on the civic-integrity team, said in an interview. “I cannot even begin to imagine all of the downstream consequences that nobody understands from doing that.” Another former civic-integrity team member said that the amount of work required to design algorithms that could detect any political content in all the languages and countries in the world—and keeping those algorithms updated to accurately map the shifting tides of political debate—would be a task that even Facebook does not have the resources to achieve fairly and equitably. Attempting to do so would almost certainly result in some content deemed political being demoted while other posts thrived, the former employee cautioned. It could also incentivize certain groups to try to game those algorithms by talking about politics in nonpolitical language, creating an arms race for engagement that would privilege the actors with enough resources to work out how to win, the same person added. Graeme Jennings—Bloomberg/Getty ImagesMark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook, speaks via video conference during a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., on, July 29, 2020. When Zuckerberg was hauled to testify in front of lawmakers after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal in 2018, Senators were roundly mocked on social media for asking basic questions such as how Facebook makes money if its services are free to users. (“Senator, we run ads” was Zuckerberg’s reply.) In 2021, that dynamic has changed. “The questions asked are a lot more informed,” says Sophie Zhang, a former Facebook employee who was fired in 2020 after she criticized Facebook for turning a blind eye to platform manipulation by political actors around the world. “The sentiment is increasingly bipartisan” in Congress, Zhang adds. In the past, Facebook hearings have been used by lawmakers to grandstand on polarizing subjects like whether social media platforms are censoring conservatives, but this week they were united in their condemnation of the company. “Facebook has to stop covering up what it knows, and must change its practices, but there has to be government accountability because Facebook can no longer be trusted,” Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, chair of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, told TIME ahead of the hearing. His Republican counterpart Marsha Blackburn agreed, saying during the hearing that regulation was coming “sooner rather than later” and that lawmakers were “close to bipartisan agreement.” As Facebook reels from the revelations of the past few days, it already appears to be reassessing product decisions. It has begun conducting reputational reviews of new products to assess whether the company could be criticized or its features could negatively affect children, the Journal reported Wednesday. It last week paused its Instagram Kids product amid the furor. Whatever the future direction of Facebook, it is clear that discontent has been brewing internally. Haugen’s document leak and testimony have already sparked calls for stricter regulation and improved the quality of public debate about social media’s influence. In a post addressing Facebook staff on Wednesday, Zuckerberg put the onus on lawmakers to update Internet regulations, particularly relating to “elections, harmful content, privacy and competition.” But the real drivers of change may be current and former employees, who have a better understanding of the inner workings of the company than anyone—and the most potential to damage the business. —With reporting by Eloise Barry/London and Chad de Guzman/Hong Kong.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 7th, 2021

How to Invest in Companies That Are Actually Helping the Environment

ESG funds—investment funds that are supposed to include companies that score the highest marks in environmental, social and governance factors—have become increasingly popular as more people look to put their money where their environmental concerns are. When BlackRock debuted a new ESG-aligned fund in April, investors couldn’t get enough. They poured $1.25 billion into the… ESG funds—investment funds that are supposed to include companies that score the highest marks in environmental, social and governance factors—have become increasingly popular as more people look to put their money where their environmental concerns are. When BlackRock debuted a new ESG-aligned fund in April, investors couldn’t get enough. They poured $1.25 billion into the U.S. Carbon Transition Readiness ETF (stock ticker LCTU) on its first day. No ESG fund, or any type of exchange-traded fund (ETF) for that matter, had ever received that much investment so quickly. But this wasn’t entirely a feel good story about investors betting on a more environmentally-sound future. BlackRock’s ETF included the pipeline company Kinder Morgan and oil and gas companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] It wasn’t all that unusual for an ESG. The story of LCTU and the companies within it is representative of both the immense popularity and the confusing and controversial nature of ESG funds. The amount handled by money managers in these funds has risen from roughly $569 billion in 2010 to $16.5 trillion last year, according to the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment. Yet ESG funds have risen to prominence without much regulation or requirements from the SEC, which has only recently started to develop a framework for handling ESG funds. So a company’s presence in an ESG fund does not guarantee it is a top steward of the environment, just as a fund being billed as an ESG does not guarantee it is filled with environmentally sound companies. “There’s a fundamental problem, which is the SEC allows you to name funds that don’t necessarily reflect what’s inside the fund,” said Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow, a nonprofit shareholder advocacy group. So how can you tell whether you’re truly making a sustainable, green investment? TIME spoke with a variety of investment fund managers and presidents to get a sense of how they operate. Here’s a guide to help you learn the different ways various funds define ESG, how companies get vetted, and which companies are reaching the highest standards. The limits of ESG funds ESG generally entails “investing in the best of everything,” according to Leslie Samuelrich, president of Green Century Funds. Asset managers attempt to package a few dozen companies that rate better than their peers in various characteristics, ranging from greenhouse gas emissions to environmental racism, and have trustworthy corporate governance. Many funds use ESG ratings from MSCI to make determinations. ESG does not automatically mean certain types of companies are excluded even if, Samuelrich adds, they are “what you would sort of think of as ‘oh those are dangerous companies.’” That’s why companies like ExxonMobil, which engages in activities like flaring and emits loads of greenhouse gases but is working to reduce its carbon footprint, can be found in BlackRock’s LCTU fund. BlackRock has specific funds that eliminate fossil fuel companies, but its general ESG-aligned funds contain fossil fuel companies it believes will most benefit from a transition to a low carbon economy. Funds with ESG or sustainability in the name from State Street, Fidelity, Vanguard, and other asset managers, also feature fossil fuel companies or utilities powered by fossil fuels. It’s up to the asset managers to determine whether they want to screen out companies involved in fossil fuels, tobacco, guns, or other investment areas generally considered harmful to people or the environment. Green Century Funds, for instance, does not allow any fossil fuel companies in its funds, and Trillium Asset Management and Parnassus Investments have the same prohibition. While ESG funds are based on relativity, Matthew Patsky, CEO and lead portfolio manager of Trillium, doesn’t believe companies like ExxonMobil and Occidental Petroleum should ever be included in funds billed as being good for the environment, regardless of how they stack up against competitors. “The small independent is likely the dirtiest,” Matt said. “ExxonMobil is going to be cleaner than that.” But, he added, “You can see they funded more of the misinformation campaign to declare that climate change was a hoax than any other corporate entity globally. Well, for me, that’s a non-starter. I don’t want to ever see it in a portfolio.” How companies get vetted by ESG fund managers Although standards for environmental care differ across industries, there are a few benchmarks ESG fund managers typically consider when vetting companies for the environment. For carbon emissions, for instance, they seek companies that have science based targets vetted by outside experts. They look for absolute goals because relative goals — such as reducing emissions on a per customer basis — don’t give a full picture. And when it comes to net zero emissions promises, Julie Gorte, senior vice president for sustainable investing at Impax Asset Management, says there is “a ton of fairy dust,” referring to companies that claim they will eliminate carbon based on technologies that don’t exist yet. Gorte says companies that are the most serious about reducing emissions lay out specific plans for cutting not just their own direct and indirect emissions but for emissions created by other companies along its value chain, which are known as Scope 3 emissions. “And if a target doesn’t say that then they’re probably just blowing smoke and hoping no one will notice,” Gorte said. Gorte added that emission reductions were most important for a company trying to reach net zero, before carbon offsets, which can sometimes be used as a cover for keeping harmful environmental practices. Fund managers typically delve deeper than the numbers available on public reports. Before Parnassus invested in Digital Realty Trust, director of research Lori Keith visited some of their data centers with a few of her colleagues. The company, which has around 300 data centers worldwide, has set the goal of reducing its direct and indirect emissions by 68% by 2030 and increased their usage of renewable energy. At the data centers, Keith inspected Digital Realty Trust’s operations for herself and interviewed executives and frontline employees to validate whether the company was truly making progress and came away satisfied. “Those (visits and interviews) are really important for us to make sure that anything that they’re putting out there is of serious intent and that they are genuinely moving towards those targets,” said Keith, who is also portfolio manager of Parnassus’s $8 billion Mid Cap Fund. At Vanguard, Yolanda Courtines, portfolio manager of the Vanguard Global ESG Select Stock Fund, says she tries to meet with the executive team and board of every company on her fund at least once a year and sometimes five or six times. “It’s asking simple questions. ‘Are you working with your supply chain? How are you helping them reduce their environmental footprint? Are you putting solar panels on the roofs of your suppliers?,’” she said. “That’s the sort of questioning level that you kind of really want to get into to understand what’s happening.” Relying purely on data, according to Patsky, does not always provide an adequate portrayal of a company. And he admits that Trillium’s vetting process, which involves everything from talking to current and former employees to checking with NGOs familiar with companies’ labor conditions in China, still can’t uncover everything. “I don’t want to lead you to believe that we have perfect insight, because if we had perfect insight, we’d have the equivalent of inside information that we don’t,” Patsky said. The companies that stand out to fund managers There are no perfect companies in ESG funds, either. Fund managers think of them as leaders and laggards, with plenty of space in the middle. Investors who are conscious about the environment will likely find their best choices in leaders who are making environmental gains beyond most of their peers but still have flaws. Behar, the CEO of As You Sow, gave Kellogg’s as an example of a leader on the food supply chain. Like most companies, it used wheat and oat crops that had been treated with the herbicide glyphosate, a known carcinogen. After being pressured by lawsuits and activists that included As You Sow, Kellogg’s made a plan in 2020 to phase out glyphosate by 2025. Companies like General Mills and PepsiCo have also recently made regenerative agriculture plans. “A company like Kellogg’s is being a leader. General Mills is also being a leader,” Behar said. “And now the whole industry has to follow because of competitive pressure.” Courtines highlights Michelin, the tire company. “That’s a tough industry to be in,” she said, “but they are very, very responsible owners of managing the rubber supply chain and in helping build the tires that are going to be the best tires for electric vehicles that will help reduce carbon footprint on the roads in the future.” Two companies that came up in conversations with multiple fund managers were Microsoft and Google. Both are already carbon neutral. Google has eliminated legacy carbon, and Microsoft has a plan to do the same by 2050. “Their initiative is to remove everything that they’ve emitted since they started, and hopefully that leads to other companies taking a similar approach,” said Iyassu Essayas, director of ESG at Parnassus. But, as Patsky points out, Google is being investigated for anti competitive practices. Still, he believes its environmental record outweighs those concerns enough to include in Trillium’s funds, highlighting Google’s 100% usage of renewable energy and even its purchase of the smart thermostat company Nest. “That’s just one of their many products, but it’s one of the products where I’m like, ‘All right, that’s just brilliant,’” he said. “It’s like a self learning device that’s trying to improve environmental outcomes by moving people toward recognizing that they can be comfortable with the temperature being a little warmer in the summer and colder in the winter.” How to examine companies and ESG funds yourself Retail investors can investigate specific funds by reading through their prospectuses. Of course, that involves lots of fine print. As You Sow has an online tool that provides more digestible information on where dozens of ESG funds stand on fossil fuels, guns, gender equality, and other issues. To study individual companies, fund managers recommend average investors research annual sustainability reports, which you can usually find by searching the internet for a company’s name and “sustainability report.” Companies with legitimate environmental progress will have reports with absolute goals and statistics and not just anecdotes. (Look for concrete numbers with specific deadlines.) Average investors could also check whether the corporate governance structure has enough people concerned with the environment, by searching for whether board members and upper level executives have ever talked about prioritizing the environment or come from previous jobs and companies concerned with the environment. It can get complicated, so Samuelrich, from Green Century, recommends investors first consider a company’s core business. “What is the company sort of set up to do, and is it doing something this harmful? Is it doing something that’s neutral? Or is it doing something that’s inherently positive?” Samuelrich said. From there she said investors should hone in on one or two issues most important to them and search for information in news articles or on companies’ websites and in their sustainability reports. “What you’re looking for is things like, are they trying to reduce their carbon emissions? Do they say that on their website? Are they trying to reduce their plastics use? Are they trying to minimize their water use? Do they have a policy around supply chain labor standards, for example?…Do they have women or people from diverse backgrounds on their board?”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 5th, 2021

Kamala Harris team looking to reboot her political trajectory after first-year stumbles: report

After having a schedule that featured a limited number of interviews, Vice President Harris has had a stronger media presence in recent weeks. Vice President Kamala Harris.SARAHBETH MANEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Advisors to Harris are seeking to reset her political trajectory, per a Washington Post report. Harris, the first female vice president, has endured a wave of reports about office dysfunction. In recent weeks, Harris has been a more visible presence at major events with President Biden. Vice President Kamala Harris' political team has put into place a number of changes in a concerted effort to boost her public reception and political future after hitting some turbulence in her first year in office, according to The Washington Post.Harris, a former California state attorney general and US senator, has had a meteoric rise on the national political scene, moving into the Naval Observatory only four years after she walked into the Senate Chamber in 2017.However, months after taking office last January, she faced a series of media reports about dysfunction in her office, coupled with news of stagnant approval ratings, which advisors and supporters feel have dampened the fortunes of the first female, first Black, and first Indian American vice president in American history.Now — nearly one year after the inauguration — there's a major effort for a successful reset by Harris' team.The vice president has brought on Jamal Simmons, a longtime Democratic analyst who been a staple on cable news programs, to become her communications director at a time when many have said her office has lacked consistent messaging on her duties and accomplishments.After stepping back from attending large events alongside President Joe Biden, Harris has become a more visible presence, as was evidenced at the signing of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill in November and their joint appearance in Atlanta on Tuesday where they both pushed for the passage of voting-rights legislation that has stalled in Congress.And after having a schedule that featured a limited number of interviews with media figures, Harris has had a stronger television presence in recent weeks.As Democrats face political headwinds in maintaining their congressional majorities in 2022, the vice president is also set to become a familiar presence on the campaign trail — a relief to many who want to see her engaged with voters ahead of an expected 2024 Biden reelection campaign and a potential presidential run in 2028.This week's voting-rights speech in Atlanta was a harbinger of what will be a more substantive influence on public policy from Harris, especially for issues that are being closely watched by the American public.Before Biden spoke in support of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — key pieces of legislation that the party hopes to pass in the face of near-certain Republican filibusters in the Senate — Harris remarked on the bills and introduced the president."Years from now, our children and our grandchildren, they will ask us about this moment," she said during her speech. "They will look back on this time, and they will ask us not about how we felt — they will ask us what did we do."She continued: "We cannot tell them that we let a Senate rule stand in the way of our most fundamental freedom.  Instead, let us tell them that we stood together as people of conscience and courage."However, several challenges remain for the vice president as advisors seek to jumpstart her role.Vice President Kamala Harris speaks in front of President Joe Biden advocating for the passage of voting-rights legislation at the Atlanta University Center Consortium, on the grounds of Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University on January 11, 2022.AP Photo/Patrick Semansky'She can't own voting rights'Harris has not yet announced a replacement for Symone Sanders, her former senior advisor and chief spokesperson who left the role in late December and was recently named as the host of a new weekend show on MSNBC.Last year, after Harris was tapped to focus on the causes of migration from Northern Triangle countries, Republicans lodged a series of attacks about the sharp increase in illegal border crossings and repeatedly asked her to visit the US-Mexico border. When the vice president traveled to El Paso, many Republicans still criticized her for not coming to the region sooner.A testy exchange with NBC's Lester Holt over visiting the border led some in the Biden administration to be "quietly perplexed" by her response — in which she also stated that she had not been to Europe as vice president — according to a CNN report.After the NBC interview, Harris reportedly viewed such engagements with caution and is attempting to put aside her previously "defensive posture," according to the Post report.While the vice president granted an interview with NBC's Craig Melvin earlier this week and forcefully advocated for the administration's voting-rights push in a manner that was pleasing to many Democrats, she was also grilled about the timetable for COVID-19 tests, which have been in short supply across the country with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.The Biden administration plans to make 500 million free tests available to Americans in the coming weeks. When asked if the tests could have been distributed sooner, Harris responded: "We are doing it."And some Harris backers are exasperated that Biden has given Harris thorny issues like immigration and voting rights, which will require a Herculean effort and a near-perfect set of circumstances to enact visible progress.Also, unlike Biden, Harris assumed the vice presidency without decades on Capitol Hill, lacking the contacts and deep relationships that her boss cultivated during his 36-year tenure representing Delaware in the Senate.According to the Post report, aides said that it has been hard for Harris to debunk the narrative that she is a difficult employer, especially with articles that have mentioned everything from "soul-destroying criticism" to longtime supporters feeling restricted in their access to the vice president.The New York Times reported last month that Harris privately told allies that she felt as though her media coverage would be "different" if she were a white male, noting her trailblazing status in the role and the high expectations that often come with such a distinction.Donna Brazile, a former chair of the Democratic National Committee and the campaign manager for former Vice President Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, said that the issues tasked to Harris are complicated and can't be fit into a set timetable."She can't own voting rights. No one can own a century-long struggle that has defined the country," Brazile told The Post. "This is a huge assignment. It took a civil war, and then later a civil rights movement, to get us to where we stood prior to 2020. And it's going to take a lot more to get us further."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 15th, 2022

Are You Looking for a Top Momentum Pick? Why Ford Motor Company (F) is a Great Choice

Does Ford Motor Company (F) have what it takes to be a top stock pick for momentum investors? Let's find out. Momentum investing revolves around the idea of following a stock's recent trend in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will be essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." With this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving that way. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.While many investors like to look for momentum in stocks, this can be very tough to define. There is a lot of debate surrounding which metrics are the best to focus on and which are poor quality indicators of future performance. The Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.Below, we take a look at Ford Motor Company (F), a company that currently holds a Momentum Style Score of B. We also talk about price change and earnings estimate revisions, two of the main aspects of the Momentum Style Score.It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. Ford Motor Company currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>Set to Beat the Market?In order to see if F is a promising momentum pick, let's examine some Momentum Style elements to see if this company holds up.A good momentum benchmark for a stock is to look at its short-term price activity, as this can reflect both current interest and if buyers or sellers currently have the upper hand. It's also helpful to compare a security to its industry; this can show investors the best companies in a particular area.For F, shares are up 17.67% over the past week while the Zacks Automotive - Domestic industry is down 2.33% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 22.95% compares favorably with the industry's 1.4% performance as well.Considering longer term price metrics, like performance over the last three months or year, can be advantageous as well. Over the past quarter, shares of Ford Motor Company have risen 51.18%, and are up 146.02% in the last year. On the other hand, the S&P 500 has only moved 7.17% and 23.92%, respectively.Investors should also pay attention to F's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. F is currently averaging 104,483,528 shares for the last 20 days.Earnings OutlookThe Zacks Momentum Style Score also takes into account trends in estimate revisions, in addition to price changes. Please note that estimate revision trends remain at the core of Zacks Rank as well. A nice path here can help show promise, and we have recently been seeing that with F.Over the past two months, 1 earnings estimate moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost F's consensus estimate, increasing from $1.88 to $1.89 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 1 estimate has moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.Bottom LineTaking into account all of these elements, it should come as no surprise that F is a #2 (Buy) stock with a Momentum Score of B. If you've been searching for a fresh pick that's set to rise in the near-term, make sure to keep Ford Motor Company on your short list. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 5 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Ford Motor Company (F): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 14th, 2022

Here"s Why Momentum Investors Will Love Nucor (NUE)

Does Nucor (NUE) have what it takes to be a top stock pick for momentum investors? Let's find out. Momentum investing revolves around the idea of following a stock's recent trend in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will be essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." With this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving that way. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.Even though momentum is a popular stock characteristic, it can be tough to define. Debate surrounding which are the best and worst metrics to focus on is lengthy, but the Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.Below, we take a look at Nucor (NUE), which currently has a Momentum Style Score of B. We also discuss some of the main drivers of the Momentum Style Score, like price change and earnings estimate revisions.It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. Nucor currently has a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>Set to Beat the Market?In order to see if NUE is a promising momentum pick, let's examine some Momentum Style elements to see if this steel company holds up.Looking at a stock's short-term price activity is a great way to gauge if it has momentum, since this can reflect both the current interest in a stock and if buyers or sellers have the upper hand at the moment. It is also useful to compare a security to its industry, as this can help investors pinpoint the top companies in a particular area.For NUE, shares are up 0.25% over the past week while the Zacks Steel - Producers industry is up 0.91% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 6.01% compares favorably with the industry's 11.89% performance as well.Considering longer term price metrics, like performance over the last three months or year, can be advantageous as well. Over the past quarter, shares of Nucor have risen 9.09%, and are up 102.29% in the last year. On the other hand, the S&P 500 has only moved 9.04% and 25.94%, respectively.Investors should also take note of NUE's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. Right now, NUE is averaging 2,907,229 shares for the last 20 days.Earnings OutlookThe Zacks Momentum Style Score encompasses many things, including estimate revisions and a stock's price movement. Investors should note that earnings estimates are also significant to the Zacks Rank, and a nice path here can be promising. We have recently been noticing this with NUE.Over the past two months, 1 earnings estimate moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost NUE's consensus estimate, increasing from $23.16 to $23.30 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 4 estimates have moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.Bottom LineTaking into account all of these elements, it should come as no surprise that NUE is a #1 (Strong Buy) stock with a Momentum Score of B. If you've been searching for a fresh pick that's set to rise in the near-term, make sure to keep Nucor on your short list. 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 Nucor Corporation (NUE): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 14th, 2022

U.S. Food Prices Are Up. Are the Food Corporations to Blame for Taking Advantage?

2021 was a bad year for grocery bills. Shoppers paid 6.4% more for groceries in November 2021 compared to November 2020, according to the consumer price index. All food prices were up a bit more than usual but the most dramatic price increases come from meat, pork cost 14% more than a year ago and… 2021 was a bad year for grocery bills. Shoppers paid 6.4% more for groceries in November 2021 compared to November 2020, according to the consumer price index. All food prices were up a bit more than usual but the most dramatic price increases come from meat, pork cost 14% more than a year ago and beef cost 20% more. These increases are slowing, per consumer price data released January 12th, but show no signs of dropping to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon. Food companies say rising prices are merely free markets at work—extreme weather and pandemic disruptions increased production costs and diminished the supply of food while demand increased in the U.S. and abroad as people started to emerge from the pandemic. But the Biden Administration and politicians such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren allege foul play. They argue that industry consolidation, especially in meat processing, helps a handful of corporations profit off inflation expectations by raising prices even further. In some respects, both sides are right. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Food companies do face legitimate increased costs and unique shortages, but these aren’t eating into their profits as economists might expect. In fact, the largest publicly traded companies have never had higher profit margins. Such record earnings suggest that food companies have sufficient market power to pass all their higher costs, and then some, onto consumers. Basic economic theory tells us that when a business charges too much, competitors will offer lower prices, take sales, and erode excessive profit. Sustained, exceptional corporate profits raise the question: how much are food companies really competing? And if corporate consolidation helps competitors raise prices together, what will it take to tame price gouging? Food markets have been out of whack since the pandemic began. Meat prices first shot up as workers fell sick, plants shuttered, and as much as 40% of processing capacity went offline in spring 2020. Plants are back up and running but after some 86,000 meatpacking workers contracted COVID-19 and 423 died, according to a Congressional report, many meatpackers are struggling to fill openings and raising wages. Across the food supply chain workers are coming back from the pandemic and rejecting excessive hours, unsafe working conditions, and stagnant wages that haven’t kept up with productivity growth for over 40 years. For instance, in 1982 the base pay for meatpacking workers in the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union was $10.69 or $29.14 adjusted for inflation. In May 2020 the average hourly wage across the industry was $15. While food companies focus on growing labor costs as the main source of their woes there are a bevy of other factors driving shortages and new expenses. Cattle and hog herds shrunk a bit last year in hard times. Wheat, corn, and other grain prices are at their highest since 2012 due to drought and high demand from China, raising key food input costs. Other crop prices such as sugar, tomatoes, and melons are also up due to extreme weather events. Even food packaging shortages persist after a cold snap shut down Texas plastic refineries. Throw in gnarled ports and shipping delays and companies are paying more to get food on grocery shelves. All the while demand remains high as restaurants reopen, Americans buy more food than pre-pandemic, and other countries import more U.S. beef and eggs. Companies say that’s the whole story. But there’s evidence that monopolistic market structures are making things worse. Food production has consolidated dramatically since the 1970’s after changes in antitrust policy allowed more companies to buy up their competitors. Depending on who you ask, antitrust practitioners say markets are “oligopolistic” or dangerously concentrated when the top four firms control 40% to 50% of the market, or more. Higher levels of concentration give businesses more power to set prices and increase the likelihood of price-fixing or market manipulation. Today, the top four corporations control more than 60% of the U.S. market for pork, coffee, cookies, beer, and bread. In beef processing, baby food, pasta, and soda the top four companies control more than 80% of the U.S. market. With tight control over production food companies have more power to exploit pandemic disruptions and unfairly raise prices. The White House recently argued as much in a brief published in December and a January roundtable with farmers and ranchers. Monopolistic price gouging is admittedly hard to prove, but the Federal Trade Commission is on the case. In late November the antitrust enforcer requested that Walmart, Kroger, Kraft, and Tyson, among others, hand over information in an investigation into price hikes and food shortages. There is one clear indicator of excessive monopoly power: record corporate profits. If rising food costs only reflected higher production costs, economists wouldn’t expect net profits to rise, yet they are at historic levels. Non-finance corporations are reporting their largest profit margins in 60 years. For some 100 of the largest publicly traded companies these profit margins are 50% higher than in 2019. Net profit margins for top meat companies Tyson Foods, JBS, Marfrig, and Seaboard are up over 300%, according to the White House. Tyson earned $1.36 billion in the 2021 fourth quarter, more than twice as much as last year. McDonald’s, Coca Cola, and Kraft Heinz also reported better than expected fourth quarter profits. With all the media hype about inflation, companies may take advantage of shoppers’ inflation expectations to charge a little extra and pad their pockets. Analysis of corporate earnings calls by Business Insider and More Perfect Union reveal that food corporations such as Pepsi, Kroger, and Kellogg’s are bragging to investors about their ability to increase prices. Tyson told their investors that their “pricing actions … more than offset the higher [cost of goods].” Even Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, acknowledged at a Senate Banking Committee hearing Tuesday, Jan. 11, that companies are “raising prices because they can.” Consolidation makes it easier for companies to raise prices in tandem. When only a handful of companies can see that all their competitors are charging more and making record profits there’s little pressure to aggressively compete. Economists who question this theory argue that food sectors have been concentrated for decades without ever raising prices like this. But economist Hal Singer, managing director of Econ One, notes that colluding businesses usually need some cover, such as generalized inflation, to get away with more jarring price hikes. Further, even before the pandemic food businesses have been charged with conspiring to raise prices in more subtle ways. Since 2016 private plaintiffs have accused meat companies of fixing prices by allegedly coordinating supply cuts in every major meat industry. One case estimated that this conspiracy allegedly cost the average family of four an additional $330 on chicken per year. In the last two years the Justice Department has sent canned tuna executives to prison for price fixing and indicted ten chicken processing executives in an ongoing investigation into industry big-rigging. Corporations such as Tyson and JBS have paid tens of millions to settle private and federal cases. So if corporate power has a role to play in making recent inflation worse, can antitrust action stop it? That depends. In early January the Biden administration rolled out a plan to boost meatpacking competition by investing in new plants, but even if new competitors managed to get off the ground (a big if) it would take years before they made a dent into current pricing dynamics. In the near-term antitrust enforcers could investigate companies for price fixing conspiracies, which might make executives think twice about further price hikes. Indeed, some policy wonks are arguing that, much like President John F. Kennedy’s public attacks on steel companies, President Biden’s pressure on meatpackers contributed to a 2% and 0.8% decrease in beef and pork prices in December, respectively. In this sense fear of antitrust enforcement and the bully pulpit against corporate profiteering could dissuade price hikes. However, this does not change the concentrated market structures that facilitate both explicit or more tacit collusion in the first place. Antitrust enforcers need to bring back merger standards that deem market concentration presumptively harmful past a certain point (say, the four largest firms controlling 40% of the market). Enforcers should also consider unwinding key mergers or breaking up particularly concentrated industries, such as meatpacking. Finally, both the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture should issue stronger fair competition rules to level the playing field going forward. Not only would these actions challenge food corporation’s market power but restructuring industries could help deconcentrate key choke points and make supply chains more resilient overall. A long-term food supply chain resiliency plan should also look beyond just antitrust to reign in corporate recklessness. If the pandemic taught us anything it’s that the food supply is only as secure as its workers are. For all the talk of a labor shortage, food worker surveys suggest the real issue is a shortage of living wages and dignified conditions. And while many food companies announced plans to expand processing capacity this year, these announcements come after years of cutting capacity to please Wall Street. Congress and the Biden administration need to consider regulations that make corporations put workers’ well-being and resiliency above short-term profiteering for investors, such as passing the PRO Act to strengthen unions and give workers a greater say in business decision-making......»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 14th, 2022

Are You Looking for a Top Momentum Pick? Why Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) is a Great Choice

Does Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) have what it takes to be a top stock pick for momentum investors? Let's find out. Momentum investing revolves around the idea of following a stock's recent trend in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will be essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." With this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving that way. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.Even though momentum is a popular stock characteristic, it can be tough to define. Debate surrounding which are the best and worst metrics to focus on is lengthy, but the Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.Below, we take a look at Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV), a company that currently holds a Momentum Style Score of B. We also talk about price change and earnings estimate revisions, two of the main aspects of the Momentum Style Score.It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. Hilton Grand Vacations currently has a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>Set to Beat the Market?Let's discuss some of the components of the Momentum Style Score for HGV that show why this company shows promise as a solid momentum pick.A good momentum benchmark for a stock is to look at its short-term price activity, as this can reflect both current interest and if buyers or sellers currently have the upper hand. It's also helpful to compare a security to its industry; this can show investors the best companies in a particular area.For HGV, shares are up 4.26% over the past week while the Zacks Hotels and Motels industry is flat over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 9.98% compares favorably with the industry's 7.24% performance as well.While any stock can see its price increase, it takes a real winner to consistently beat the market. That is why looking at longer term price metrics -- such as performance over the past three months or year -- can be useful as well. Shares of Hilton Grand Vacations have increased 11.61% over the past quarter, and have gained 60.43% in the last year. On the other hand, the S&P 500 has only moved 8.48% and 25.63%, respectively.Investors should also take note of HGV's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. Right now, HGV is averaging 585,962 shares for the last 20 days.Earnings OutlookThe Zacks Momentum Style Score encompasses many things, including estimate revisions and a stock's price movement. Investors should note that earnings estimates are also significant to the Zacks Rank, and a nice path here can be promising. We have recently been noticing this with HGV.Over the past two months, 2 earnings estimates moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost HGV's consensus estimate, increasing from $1.24 to $1.37 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 2 estimates have moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.Bottom LineTaking into account all of these elements, it should come as no surprise that HGV is a #1 (Strong Buy) stock with a Momentum Score of B. If you've been searching for a fresh pick that's set to rise in the near-term, make sure to keep Hilton Grand Vacations on your short list. Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $2.4 trillion by 2028 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases. Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Recommendations from previous editions of this report have produced gains of +205%, +258% and +477%. The stocks in this report could perform even better.See these 7 breakthrough stocks now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. (HGV): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 13th, 2022

Exxon Mobil (XOM) Is Up 12.57% in One Week: What You Should Know

Does Exxon Mobil (XOM) have what it takes to be a top stock pick for momentum investors? Let's find out. Momentum investing is all about the idea of following a stock's recent trend, which can be in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." And for investors following this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving in that direction. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.While many investors like to look for momentum in stocks, this can be very tough to define. There is a lot of debate surrounding which metrics are the best to focus on and which are poor quality indicators of future performance. The Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.Below, we take a look at Exxon Mobil (XOM), a company that currently holds a Momentum Style Score of A. We also talk about price change and earnings estimate revisions, two of the main aspects of the Momentum Style Score.It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. Exxon Mobil currently has a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>Set to Beat the Market?In order to see if XOM is a promising momentum pick, let's examine some Momentum Style elements to see if this oil and natural gas company holds up.Looking at a stock's short-term price activity is a great way to gauge if it has momentum, since this can reflect both the current interest in a stock and if buyers or sellers have the upper hand at the moment. It is also useful to compare a security to its industry, as this can help investors pinpoint the top companies in a particular area.For XOM, shares are up 12.57% over the past week while the Zacks Oil and Gas - Integrated - International industry is up 2.33% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 15.94% compares favorably with the industry's 8.88% performance as well.While any stock can see its price increase, it takes a real winner to consistently beat the market. That is why looking at longer term price metrics -- such as performance over the past three months or year -- can be useful as well. Shares of Exxon Mobil have increased 12.36% over the past quarter, and have gained 49.02% in the last year. On the other hand, the S&P 500 has only moved 8.48% and 25.63%, respectively.Investors should also pay attention to XOM's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. XOM is currently averaging 21,310,568 shares for the last 20 days.Earnings OutlookThe Zacks Momentum Style Score encompasses many things, including estimate revisions and a stock's price movement. Investors should note that earnings estimates are also significant to the Zacks Rank, and a nice path here can be promising. We have recently been noticing this with XOM.Over the past two months, 5 earnings estimates moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost XOM's consensus estimate, increasing from $4.97 to $5.07 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 6 estimates have moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.Bottom LineTaking into account all of these elements, it should come as no surprise that XOM is a #1 (Strong Buy) stock with a Momentum Score of A. If you've been searching for a fresh pick that's set to rise in the near-term, make sure to keep Exxon Mobil on your short list. Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $2.4 trillion by 2028 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases. Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Recommendations from previous editions of this report have produced gains of +205%, +258% and +477%. The stocks in this report could perform even better.See these 7 breakthrough stocks now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 13th, 2022

Are You Looking for a Top Momentum Pick? Why Accenture (ACN) is a Great Choice

Does Accenture (ACN) have what it takes to be a top stock pick for momentum investors? Let's find out. Momentum investing revolves around the idea of following a stock's recent trend in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will be essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." With this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving that way. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.While many investors like to look for momentum in stocks, this can be very tough to define. There is a lot of debate surrounding which metrics are the best to focus on and which are poor quality indicators of future performance. The Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.Below, we take a look at Accenture (ACN), which currently has a Momentum Style Score of B. We also discuss some of the main drivers of the Momentum Style Score, like price change and earnings estimate revisions.It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. Accenture currently has a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>Set to Beat the Market?Let's discuss some of the components of the Momentum Style Score for ACN that show why this consulting company shows promise as a solid momentum pick.A good momentum benchmark for a stock is to look at its short-term price activity, as this can reflect both current interest and if buyers or sellers currently have the upper hand. It's also helpful to compare a security to its industry; this can show investors the best companies in a particular area.For ACN, shares are up 2.79% over the past week while the Zacks Consulting Services industry is up 1.58% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 6.05% compares favorably with the industry's 0.1% performance as well.Considering longer term price metrics, like performance over the last three months or year, can be advantageous as well. Over the past quarter, shares of Accenture have risen 20.29%, and are up 52.33% in the last year. In comparison, the S&P 500 has only moved 8.52% and 27.74%, respectively.Investors should also take note of ACN's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. Right now, ACN is averaging 2,280,846 shares for the last 20 days.Earnings OutlookThe Zacks Momentum Style Score encompasses many things, including estimate revisions and a stock's price movement. Investors should note that earnings estimates are also significant to the Zacks Rank, and a nice path here can be promising. We have recently been noticing this with ACN.Over the past two months, 11 earnings estimates moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost ACN's consensus estimate, increasing from $10.12 to $10.54 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 9 estimates have moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.Bottom LineTaking into account all of these elements, it should come as no surprise that ACN is a #1 (Strong Buy) stock with a Momentum Score of B. If you've been searching for a fresh pick that's set to rise in the near-term, make sure to keep Accenture on your short list. Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top picks for the entirety of 2022? From inception in 2012 through November, the Zacks Top 10 Stocks gained an impressive +962.5% versus the S&P 500’s +329.4%. Now our Director of Research is combing through 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank to handpick the best 10 tickers to buy and hold. Don’t miss your chance to get in on these stocks when they’re released on January 3.Be First To New Top 10 Stocks >>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 Accenture PLC (ACN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 6th, 2022

Metropolitan Bank Holding Corp. (MCB) is a Great Momentum Stock: Should You Buy?

Does Metropolitan Bank Holding Corp. (MCB) have what it takes to be a top stock pick for momentum investors? Let's find out. Momentum investing is all about the idea of following a stock's recent trend, which can be in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." And for investors following this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving in that direction. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.While many investors like to look for momentum in stocks, this can be very tough to define. There is a lot of debate surrounding which metrics are the best to focus on and which are poor quality indicators of future performance. The Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.Below, we take a look at Metropolitan Bank Holding Corp. (MCB), a company that currently holds a Momentum Style Score of A. We also talk about price change and earnings estimate revisions, two of the main aspects of the Momentum Style Score.It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. Metropolitan Bank Holding Corp. Currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>Set to Beat the Market?Let's discuss some of the components of the Momentum Style Score for MCB that show why this company shows promise as a solid momentum pick.A good momentum benchmark for a stock is to look at its short-term price activity, as this can reflect both current interest and if buyers or sellers currently have the upper hand. It's also helpful to compare a security to its industry; this can show investors the best companies in a particular area.For MCB, shares are up 6.1% over the past week while the Zacks Banks - Northeast industry is up 0.6% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 12.4% compares favorably with the industry's 2.49% performance as well.While any stock can see a spike in price, it takes a real winner to consistently outperform the market. Over the past quarter, shares of Metropolitan Bank Holding Corp. Have risen 22.98%, and are up 181.34% in the last year. On the other hand, the S&P 500 has only moved 8.52% and 27.74%, respectively.Investors should also take note of MCB's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. Right now, MCB is averaging 129,419 shares for the last 20 days.Earnings OutlookThe Zacks Momentum Style Score also takes into account trends in estimate revisions, in addition to price changes. Please note that estimate revision trends remain at the core of Zacks Rank as well. A nice path here can help show promise, and we have recently been seeing that with MCB.Over the past two months, 1 earnings estimate moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost MCB's consensus estimate, increasing from $6.25 to $6.26 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 1 estimate has moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.Bottom LineTaking into account all of these elements, it should come as no surprise that MCB is a #2 (Buy) stock with a Momentum Score of A. If you've been searching for a fresh pick that's set to rise in the near-term, make sure to keep Metropolitan Bank Holding Corp. On your short list. Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top picks for the entirety of 2022? From inception in 2012 through November, the Zacks Top 10 Stocks gained an impressive +962.5% versus the S&P 500’s +329.4%. Now our Director of Research is combing through 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank to handpick the best 10 tickers to buy and hold. Don’t miss your chance to get in on these stocks when they’re released on January 3.Be First To New Top 10 Stocks >>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 Metropolitan Bank Holding Corp. (MCB): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 6th, 2022

Preferred Apartment Communities (APTS) is a Great Momentum Stock: Should You Buy?

Does Preferred Apartment Communities (APTS) have what it takes to be a top stock pick for momentum investors? Let's find out. Momentum investing is all about the idea of following a stock's recent trend, which can be in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." And for investors following this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving in that direction. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.While many investors like to look for momentum in stocks, this can be very tough to define. There is a lot of debate surrounding which metrics are the best to focus on and which are poor quality indicators of future performance. The Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.Below, we take a look at Preferred Apartment Communities (APTS), which currently has a Momentum Style Score of B. We also discuss some of the main drivers of the Momentum Style Score, like price change and earnings estimate revisions.It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. Preferred Apartment Communities currently has a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>Set to Beat the Market?In order to see if APTS is a promising momentum pick, let's examine some Momentum Style elements to see if this real estate investment trust holds up.Looking at a stock's short-term price activity is a great way to gauge if it has momentum, since this can reflect both the current interest in a stock and if buyers or sellers have the upper hand at the moment. It is also useful to compare a security to its industry, as this can help investors pinpoint the top companies in a particular area.For APTS, shares are up 9.65% over the past week while the Zacks REIT and Equity Trust - Residential industry is up 2.69% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 36.15% compares favorably with the industry's 4.19% performance as well.Considering longer term price metrics, like performance over the last three months or year, can be advantageous as well. Over the past quarter, shares of Preferred Apartment Communities have risen 52.37%, and are up 155.89% in the last year. On the other hand, the S&P 500 has only moved 11.83% and 31.11%, respectively.Investors should also pay attention to APTS's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. APTS is currently averaging 815,381 shares for the last 20 days.Earnings OutlookThe Zacks Momentum Style Score encompasses many things, including estimate revisions and a stock's price movement. Investors should note that earnings estimates are also significant to the Zacks Rank, and a nice path here can be promising. We have recently been noticing this with APTS.Over the past two months, 1 earnings estimate moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost APTS's consensus estimate, increasing from $0.98 to $1.08 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 1 estimate has moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.Bottom LineTaking into account all of these elements, it should come as no surprise that APTS is a #1 (Strong Buy) stock with a Momentum Score of B. If you've been searching for a fresh pick that's set to rise in the near-term, make sure to keep Preferred Apartment Communities on your short list. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 5 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Preferred Apartment Communities, Inc. (APTS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 5th, 2022

MP Materials Corp. (MP) is a Great Momentum Stock: Should You Buy?

Does MP Materials Corp. (MP) have what it takes to be a top stock pick for momentum investors? Let's find out. Momentum investing is all about the idea of following a stock's recent trend, which can be in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." And for investors following this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving in that direction. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.While many investors like to look for momentum in stocks, this can be very tough to define. There is a lot of debate surrounding which metrics are the best to focus on and which are poor quality indicators of future performance. The Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.Below, we take a look at MP Materials Corp. (MP), a company that currently holds a Momentum Style Score of B. We also talk about price change and earnings estimate revisions, two of the main aspects of the Momentum Style Score.It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. MP Materials Corp. Currently has a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>Set to Beat the Market?Let's discuss some of the components of the Momentum Style Score for MP that show why this company shows promise as a solid momentum pick.A good momentum benchmark for a stock is to look at its short-term price activity, as this can reflect both current interest and if buyers or sellers currently have the upper hand. It is also useful to compare a security to its industry, as this can help investors pinpoint the top companies in a particular area.For MP, shares are up 5.33% over the past week while the Zacks Mining - Miscellaneous industry is down 0.06% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 18.2% compares favorably with the industry's 1.6% performance as well.Considering longer term price metrics, like performance over the last three months or year, can be advantageous as well. Shares of MP Materials Corp. Have increased 57.55% over the past quarter, and have gained 71.96% in the last year. On the other hand, the S&P 500 has only moved 11.83% and 31.11%, respectively.Investors should also take note of MP's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. Right now, MP is averaging 2,213,117 shares for the last 20 days.Earnings OutlookThe Zacks Momentum Style Score encompasses many things, including estimate revisions and a stock's price movement. Investors should note that earnings estimates are also significant to the Zacks Rank, and a nice path here can be promising. We have recently been noticing this with MP.Over the past two months, 2 earnings estimates moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost MP's consensus estimate, increasing from $0.68 to $0.76 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 3 estimates have moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.Bottom LineTaking into account all of these elements, it should come as no surprise that MP is a #1 (Strong Buy) stock with a Momentum Score of B. If you've been searching for a fresh pick that's set to rise in the near-term, make sure to keep MP Materials Corp. On your short list. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 5 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report MP Materials Corp. (MP): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 5th, 2022

What Makes Builders FirstSource (BLDR) a Strong Momentum Stock: Buy Now?

Does Builders FirstSource (BLDR) have what it takes to be a top stock pick for momentum investors? Let's find out. Momentum investing revolves around the idea of following a stock's recent trend in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will be essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." With this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving that way. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.While many investors like to look for momentum in stocks, this can be very tough to define. There is a lot of debate surrounding which metrics are the best to focus on and which are poor quality indicators of future performance. The Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.Below, we take a look at Builders FirstSource (BLDR), a company that currently holds a Momentum Style Score of B. We also talk about price change and earnings estimate revisions, two of the main aspects of the Momentum Style Score.It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. Builders FirstSource currently has a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>Set to Beat the Market?In order to see if BLDR is a promising momentum pick, let's examine some Momentum Style elements to see if this construction supply company holds up.Looking at a stock's short-term price activity is a great way to gauge if it has momentum, since this can reflect both the current interest in a stock and if buyers or sellers have the upper hand at the moment. It's also helpful to compare a security to its industry; this can show investors the best companies in a particular area.For BLDR, shares are up 4.33% over the past week while the Zacks Building Products - Retail industry is up 2.59% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 13.78% compares favorably with the industry's 0.69% performance as well.While any stock can see a spike in price, it takes a real winner to consistently outperform the market. Shares of Builders FirstSource have increased 51.25% over the past quarter, and have gained 109.62% in the last year. In comparison, the S&P 500 has only moved 10.41% and 29.35%, respectively.Investors should also take note of BLDR's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. Right now, BLDR is averaging 2,916,524 shares for the last 20 days.Earnings OutlookThe Zacks Momentum Style Score also takes into account trends in estimate revisions, in addition to price changes. Please note that estimate revision trends remain at the core of Zacks Rank as well. A nice path here can help show promise, and we have recently been seeing that with BLDR.Over the past two months, 2 earnings estimates moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost BLDR's consensus estimate, increasing from $7.17 to $9.26 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 4 estimates have moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.Bottom LineTaking into account all of these elements, it should come as no surprise that BLDR is a #1 (Strong Buy) stock with a Momentum Score of B. If you've been searching for a fresh pick that's set to rise in the near-term, make sure to keep Builders FirstSource on your short list. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Builders FirstSource, Inc. (BLDR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 4th, 2022

Here"s Why Momentum Investors Will Love Pfizer (PFE)

Does Pfizer (PFE) have what it takes to be a top stock pick for momentum investors? Let's find out. Momentum investing revolves around the idea of following a stock's recent trend in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will be essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." With this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving that way. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.While many investors like to look for momentum in stocks, this can be very tough to define. There is a lot of debate surrounding which metrics are the best to focus on and which are poor quality indicators of future performance. The Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.Below, we take a look at Pfizer (PFE), which currently has a Momentum Style Score of A. We also discuss some of the main drivers of the Momentum Style Score, like price change and earnings estimate revisions.It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. Pfizer currently has a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>Set to Beat the Market?Let's discuss some of the components of the Momentum Style Score for PFE that show why this drugmaker shows promise as a solid momentum pick.A good momentum benchmark for a stock is to look at its short-term price activity, as this can reflect both current interest and if buyers or sellers currently have the upper hand. It's also helpful to compare a security to its industry; this can show investors the best companies in a particular area.For PFE, shares are up 0.58% over the past week while the Zacks Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry is up 0.98% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 10.04% compares favorably with the industry's 5.71% performance as well.Considering longer term price metrics, like performance over the last three months or year, can be advantageous as well. Shares of Pfizer have increased 34.69% over the past quarter, and have gained 53.9% in the last year. In comparison, the S&P 500 has only moved 10.41% and 29.35%, respectively.Investors should also pay attention to PFE's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. PFE is currently averaging 46,196,992 shares for the last 20 days.Earnings OutlookThe Zacks Momentum Style Score also takes into account trends in estimate revisions, in addition to price changes. Please note that estimate revision trends remain at the core of Zacks Rank as well. A nice path here can help show promise, and we have recently been seeing that with PFE.Over the past two months, 4 earnings estimates moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost PFE's consensus estimate, increasing from $4.11 to $4.21 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 7 estimates have moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.Bottom LineTaking into account all of these elements, it should come as no surprise that PFE is a #1 (Strong Buy) stock with a Momentum Score of A. If you've been searching for a fresh pick that's set to rise in the near-term, make sure to keep Pfizer on your short list. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Pfizer Inc. (PFE): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 4th, 2022

What Makes Boise Cascade (BCC) a Strong Momentum Stock: Buy Now?

Does Boise Cascade (BCC) have what it takes to be a top stock pick for momentum investors? Let's find out. Momentum investing revolves around the idea of following a stock's recent trend in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will be essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." With this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving that way. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.While many investors like to look for momentum in stocks, this can be very tough to define. There is a lot of debate surrounding which metrics are the best to focus on and which are poor quality indicators of future performance. The Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.Below, we take a look at Boise Cascade (BCC), which currently has a Momentum Style Score of B. We also discuss some of the main drivers of the Momentum Style Score, like price change and earnings estimate revisions.It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. Boise Cascade currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>Set to Beat the Market?In order to see if BCC is a promising momentum pick, let's examine some Momentum Style elements to see if this engineered wood products and plywood company holds up.Looking at a stock's short-term price activity is a great way to gauge if it has momentum, since this can reflect both the current interest in a stock and if buyers or sellers have the upper hand at the moment. It's also helpful to compare a security to its industry; this can show investors the best companies in a particular area.For BCC, shares are up 4.08% over the past week while the Zacks Building Products - Wood industry is up 3.75% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 6.11% compares favorably with the industry's 3% performance as well.While any stock can see a spike in price, it takes a real winner to consistently outperform the market. Shares of Boise Cascade have increased 25.56% over the past quarter, and have gained 48.53% in the last year. On the other hand, the S&P 500 has only moved 10.41% and 29.35%, respectively.Investors should also pay attention to BCC's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. BCC is currently averaging 296,551 shares for the last 20 days.Earnings OutlookThe Zacks Momentum Style Score encompasses many things, including estimate revisions and a stock's price movement. Investors should note that earnings estimates are also significant to the Zacks Rank, and a nice path here can be promising. We have recently been noticing this with BCC.Over the past two months, 1 earnings estimate moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost BCC's consensus estimate, increasing from $15.75 to $15.88 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 1 estimate has moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.Bottom LineTaking into account all of these elements, it should come as no surprise that BCC is a #2 (Buy) stock with a Momentum Score of B. If you've been searching for a fresh pick that's set to rise in the near-term, make sure to keep Boise Cascade on your short list. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Boise Cascade, L.L.C. (BCC): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 4th, 2022

Byron Wien Releases 10 Surprises For 2022: Stocks Slump, Gold Jumps, "Green New Deal" Goes Nowhere

Byron Wien Releases 10 Surprises For 2022: Stocks Slump, Gold Jumps, 'Green New Deal' Goes Nowhere Having correctly called for wider adoption of crypto, soaring oil prices, and the birth of a Trump media network in 2021, Byron R. Wien, Vice Chairman together with Joe Zidle, Chief Investment Strategist in the Private Wealth Solutions group at Blackstone, today issued their list of the Ten Surprises of 2022. This is the 37th year Byron has given his views on a number of economic, financial market and political surprises for the coming year. Byron defines a “surprise” as an event that the average investor would only assign a one out of three chance of taking place but which Byron believes is “probable,” having a better than 50% likelihood of happening. Byron started the tradition in 1986 when he was the Chief U.S. Investment Strategist at Morgan Stanley. Byron joined Blackstone in September 2009 as a senior advisor to both the firm and its clients in analyzing economic, political, market and social trends. In 2018, Joe Zidle joined Byron Wien in the development of the Ten Surprises. Byron and Joe’s Ten Surprises of 2022 are as follows: The combination of strong earnings clashes with rising interest rates, resulting in the S&P 500 making no progress in 2022. Value outperforms growth. High volatility continues and there is a correction that approaches, but does not exceed, 20%. While the prices of some commodities decline, wages and rents continue to rise and the Consumer Price Index and other widely followed measures of inflation increase by 4.5% for the year. Declines in prices of transportation and energy encourage the die-hard proponents of the view that inflation is “transitory,” but persistent inflation becomes the dominant theme. The bond market begins to respond to rising inflation and tapering by the Federal Reserve, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury rises to 2.75%. The Fed completes its tapering and raises rates four times in 2022. In spite of the Omicron variant, group meetings and convention gatherings return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year. While Covid remains a problem throughout both the developed and the less-developed world, normal conditions are largely restored in the US.  People spend three to four a days a week in offices and return to theaters, concerts, and sports arenas en masse. Chinese policymakers respond to recent turmoil in the country’s property markets by curbing speculative investment in housing. As a result, there is more capital from Chinese households that needs to be invested. A major asset management industry begins to flourish in China, creating opportunities for Western companies. The price of gold rallies by 20% to a new record high. Despite strong growth in the US, investors seek the perceived safety and inflation hedge of gold amidst rising prices and volatility. Gold reclaims its title as a haven for newly minted billionaires, even as cryptocurrencies continue to gain market share. While the major oil-producing countries conclude that high oil prices are speeding up the implementation of alternative energy programs and allowing US shale producers to become profitable again, these countries can’t increase production enough to meet demand. The price of West Texas crude confounds forward curves and analyst forecasts when it rises above $100 per barrel. Suddenly, the nuclear alternative for power generation enters the arena. Enough safety measures have been developed to reduce fears about its dangers, and the viability of nuclear power is widely acknowledged. A major nuclear site is approved for development in the Midwest of the United States. Fusion technology emerges as a possible future source of energy. ESG evolves beyond corporate policy statements. Government agencies develop and enforce new regulatory standards that require public companies in the US to publish information documenting progress on various metrics deemed critical in the new era. Federal Reserve governors spearhead implementation of stress tests to assess financial institutions’ vulnerability to climate change scenarios. In a setback to its green energy program, the United States finds it cannot buy enough lithium batteries to power the electric vehicles planned for production. China controls the lithium market, as well as the markets for the cobalt and nickel used in making the transmission rods, and it opts to reserve most of the supply of these commodities for domestic use. “Also Rans” Every year there are always a few Surprises that do not make the Ten, because we either do not think they are as relevant as those on the basic list or we are not comfortable with the idea that they are “probable.” 11. The FDA approves the first ex vivo gene-editing treatment. This stimulates further research into genomic medicine, and progress is accelerated on developing in vivo gene therapies. Ethical concerns around CRISPR technology inspire heated debate, but also focus investor attention on the pharmaceuticals and health care sectors. 12. The digital economy gets a major boost when Jamie Dimon reverses his position on cryptocurrencies and J.P. Morgan seeks to become a leader in the space. Crypto becomes a major factor in the financial markets. 13. The United States and China both seek to become the global leader in advanced semiconductor capabilities in order to reduce their dependence on offshore manufacturing of the technology. The US government commits major funds to private contractors for semiconductor research, while China focuses on state-owned enterprises to get the job done. 14. Puerto Rico becomes the new retirement destination of choice. People are attracted by the good weather and low tax rates, and they put aside fears of hurricanes. How did Wien and Zidle do last year? 1. Former President Trump starts his own television network and also plans his 2024 campaign... [ZH: Mostly Right. Trump has formed his own media entity and made it clear he is planning to run in 2024] 2. Despite the hostile rhetoric from both sides during the U.S. presidential campaign, President Biden begins to restore a constructive diplomatic and trade relationship with China. China A shares lead emerging markets higher. [ZH: Wrong. US-China relations have deteriorated and China A shares were the worst performers of the majors in 2021] 3. The success of between five and ten vaccines, together with an improvement in therapeutics, allows the U.S. to return to some form of “normal” by Memorial Day 2021. People are generally required to show proof of vaccination before boarding airplanes and attending theaters, movies, sporting events and other large gatherings. The Summer Olympics, postponed last year, are held in July with spectators allowed to physically attend. [ZH: Mostly Wrong. "Normal" was very short-lived for most states (especially blue states) and the Summer Olympics was spectator-less. Wien was right however, that vaxx passports would be required for many activities.] 4. The Justice Department softens its case against Google and Facebook, persuaded by the argument that the consumer actually benefits from the services provided by these companies. [ZH: Wrong. Europe continues to press harder and US Congress holds hearings after hearings urging breakups.] 5. The economy develops momentum on its own because of pent-up demand, and depressed hospitality and airline stocks become strong performers. Fiscal and monetary policy remain historically accommodative. Nominal economic growth for the full year exceeds 6% and the unemployment rate falls to 5%. [ZH: Mostly Wrong. The unemployment rate did tumble but hospitality and airline stocks remain deep in distress as wave after wave of COVID pressures any return to normal.] 6. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury openly embrace Modern Monetary Theory as their accommodative policies continue. As long as growth exceeds the rate of inflation, deficits don’t seem to matter. Because inflation increases modestly, gold rallies and cryptocurrencies gain more respect during the year. [ZH: Mostly Right. While Congress was unable to get BBB through, The Fed continued to buy and fund debt issuance out the wazoo and deficits didn't seem to matter again. Cryptos did gain broader acceptance and had a huge year (though ended on the weaker side) while gold did not participate.] 7. Even as energy company executives cut estimates for long-term growth, near-term opportunities are increasing. The return to “normal” increases both industrial activity and mobility, and the price of West Texas Intermediate oil rises to $65/bbl. Rig counts increase and energy high yield bonds rally soundly. Energy stocks are among the best performers in 2021. [ZH: Right. Wien nailed this perfectly...] 8. The equity market broadens out. Stocks beyond health care and technology participate in the rise in prices. “Risk on” is not without risk and the market corrects almost 20% in the first half, but the S&P 500 trades at 4,500 later in the year. Cyclicals lead defensives, small caps beat large caps and the “K” shaped equity market recovery unwinds. Big cap tech is the source of liquidity, and the stocks are laggards for the year. [ZH: Mixed. The equity market rally did broaden out but large growth/tech performed very well as did small value.] 9. The surge in economic growth causes the 10-year Treasury yield to rise to 2%. The yield curve steepens, but a concomitant increase in inflation keeps real rates near zero. The Fed wants the strength in housing and autos to continue. As a result, it extends the duration of bond purchases in order to prevent higher rates at the long end of the curve from choking off credit to consumers and businesses. [ZH: Completely Wrong. 10Y Yields get nowhere near 2.00%. The yield curve flattened dramatically on Fed policy error fears. The Fed tapered its bond buying.] 10. The slide in the dollar turns around. The post-vaccine strength of the U.S. economy and financial markets attracts investors disenchanted with the rising debt and slower growth of Europe and Japan. Treasurys maintain a positive yield and the carry trade continues. [ZH: Right. The dollar did turnaround mid year as faith in the recovery returned.] So 4 of his predictions were 'right' or 'mostly right'; 5 predictions were 'completely' or 'mostly' wrong; and 1 was mixed. Tyler Durden Mon, 01/03/2022 - 14:55.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 3rd, 2022