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U.S. gave no assurances to Taiwan"s TSMC for a license to sell to Huawei: official

The United States has not given any assurances to Taiwan Semiconduc.....»»

Category: topSource: reutersMay 15th, 2020

What the History of Money Says About Its Future

We may be on the cusp of a currency shift now When Franklin Roosevelt told his economic advisers he was about to take the U.S. off the gold standard, they freaked out. The President was leading the country into “uncontrolled inflation and complete chaos,” one of them said. Another said it was “the end of Western civilization.” Roosevelt’s aides weren’t wild-eyed reactionaries; their view was conventional wisdom. The gold standard, almost everybody agreed, was the natural way to do money. Under its rules, anybody who wanted to could trade in paper money for a fixed amount of gold. In the U.S., $20.67 got you an ounce of gold, year in and year out. That unchanging value was the whole point of the gold standard. Take away the gold, and money would obviously be just worthless paper. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] This worldview turned out to be completely wrong. Clinging to the gold standard was part of what created the Great Depression in the first place. Leaving it in 1933 was an essential step toward economic recovery. So why were Roosevelt’s advisers, and most of the leading economists of the day, blinded by their devotion to gold? There’s this thinking error we almost always make with money. The way money works at any given moment feels like part of the natural order, as with water or gravity. Any alternative to the way money works seems like some absurd game. Paper money not backed by anything? That’s like expecting water to flow uphill! Then some political or technological or financial shock comes along, and suddenly there’s something new: paper money backed by metal, or paper money backed by nothing, or simply numbers on a screen. Pretty soon, we get used to the new money. It comes to seem like the natural state of things, and anything else is foolishness. We may be on the cusp of one of those shifts now. It’s impossible to say for sure how things will play out, but history provides some deep insights into what should make us hopeful about the future of money—and what should scare us. Money Is Technology Around A.D. 100, a Chinese court official ground up a mash of mulberry bark, rags and fishnets, and invented paper. A few centuries later, someone—maybe a Buddhist monk who was tired of writing the same sacred text again and again—carved a sacred text into a block of wood and invented printing. A few centuries after that, a merchant in the capital of Sichuan set out to solve another problem: the money his customers were using was terrible. It was mostly iron coins, and it took a pound and a half of iron to buy a pound of salt. It would be the modern equivalent of going grocery shopping with nothing but pennies. So the merchant told his customers that they could leave their coins with him. In exchange, he gave them a claim check—a piece of paper that could be used to retrieve the coins. People started using the claim checks themselves to buy stuff, and paper money was born. It was a huge hit. Pretty soon, the government took over the business of printing paper money, and it spread throughout China. In an era when there was no mechanized transport, the ability to move value around on a few pieces of paper—rather than a wagon full of metal coins—was a breakthrough. Read More: The U.S. Is Losing the Global Race to Decide the Future of Money Paper money relied on paper and printing, which were a kind of technology. But paper money itself also was a new technology—a tool that made trade easier. This led to an increased exchange of ideas and more economic specialization, which in turn meant people could grow more food and make more stuff. Paper money helped China get richer. At the same time, that new technology came with risks—it meant rulers could print lots of money, which sometimes led to ruinous inflation. Today, new technologies allow us to move money using the supercomputers in our pockets. In the coming years, technology will drive even more dramatic changes in money, as the full impact of crypto-currencies becomes clear. Like paper money, these new technologies will continue to bring new opportunities, efficiencies and risks. Money is both public and private One key dynamic to watch as digital currency evolves is the tension between the government and private firms, a theme that runs like a golden thread through the history of money. Consider the case of America in the mid–19th century, when almost any bank could print its own paper money. The $2 bill from Stonington Bank in Connecticut had a whale on the front; the $5 bill from the St. Nicholas Bank of New York City had a picture of Santa Claus. At one point, private banks were printing more than 8,000 different kinds of money. This was still the era when paper money was a claim check for gold or silver. If a bank went bust, the valuable claim check was suddenly just a piece of paper with a picture of Santa Claus on it. This presented a problem for merchants who faced customers using thousands of kinds of money. How could they know which banks were sound? For that matter, how could they tell real money from counterfeit? Publications called banknote reporters sprang up to solve both problems. They were little magazines that listed bills from all around the country, with brief physical descriptions and recommendations for whether to accept the money at full value or, in the case of shaky banks, at a discount. That world disappeared around the time of the Civil War, when a new federal tax on paper money drove most of the old banknotes out of existence. But even as the variety of paper money declined, money created by private banks persisted. Even today, banks create new money out of thin air every time they make a loan. This money, stored as balances in checking and savings accounts, is not so different from the paper money banks used to print. Well into the 20th century, depositors in the U.S. could lose their money when a bank went bust—just like their ancestors who were left holding worthless pieces of paper. It was only in the 1930s, when the federal government started insuring most bank deposits, that this risk disappeared. In other words, modern banks create money that is in turn guaranteed by the federal government. Is this money public or private? It is both! Read More: Thinking of Investing in a Green Fund? Many Don’t Live Up to Their Promises, a New Report Claims The original dream of cryptocurrency was purely private money—a currency that needed neither governments nor banks. And although this remains a technical possibility, it’s striking that more than a decade after Bitcoin was invented, almost no one uses crypto-currency in the ordinary way people use money—to buy stuff in everyday life. If crypto-currency does become ordinary money, it probably won’t be as some purely private libertarian money, but as the kind of public-private hybrid that money has almost always been. In fact, regulators have started to crack down on so-called stablecoins, a type of crypto-currency designed to substitute for our existing money. Stable money is risky money What should we worry about when we worry about the future of money? Sure, there are plenty of new cryptocurrencies whose values fluctuate wildly from week to week. But if we’re worried about broader risks—to the economy, rather than just to speculators—maybe we should focus on stablecoins. Rather than promising overnight wealth, many stablecoins offer stability with the claim that each virtual coin will be worth exactly $1 today, tomorrow and forever. As more and more people trade a growing number of crypto-currencies, stablecoins such as Tether and USD Coin have exploded in popularity. And in the history of money, we often find the promise of boring stability is ultimately more risky than the promise of quick riches. Money-market mutual funds are a telling example. They were invented in the 1970s, and the idea was to offer something that seemed like a bank account but paid higher interest. As Bruce Bent, the inventor of the money-market fund, said again and again, “The purpose of the money fund is to bore the investor into a sound night’s sleep.” Even the name is dull. Money-market funds worked like banks. Investors put money in. The fund then lent that money out, collected interest and paid some of the interest back to the investors. People and companies put trillions of dollars into money-market funds for safekeeping, and it seemed a lot like money in the bank—put a dollar in, take a dollar out, plus interest. But, unlike bank deposits, money-market fund investments were not guaranteed by the federal government. In September 2008, the investment bank Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. As it happened, a large money-market mutual fund had lent $785 million to Lehman Brothers—and the bankruptcy meant that the fund might not get that money back. Investors in the money-market fund started demanding their money back. But the fund couldn’t deliver. In the parlance of money-market mutual funds, it “broke the buck”—investors could no longer take out a dollar for every dollar they put in. The moment an asset that seemed safe suddenly seems risky can be profoundly destabilizing. Overnight, investors started trying to pull hundreds of billions of dollars out of money-market mutual funds. It was like a bank run, and as often happens in a run, the money-market funds weren’t going to be able to come up with all the money. Within a few days, as part of an effort to prevent a broader economic collapse, the federal government stepped in. The most popular stablecoins work a lot like these funds. When people buy stablecoins, some of the companies that run stablecoins turn around and invest that money. When people want to redeem their stablecoins for dollars, the creators of the coins have to sell off those investments. If the investments lose a lot of money, or if everyone suddenly wants to redeem their stablecoins at once, stablecoins might prove unstable—investors might suddenly be unable to get a dollar out for every dollar they put in. Regulators know this. And over the past few months, some of the most powerful economic officials in the country have suggested that stablecoins may soon come in for stricter regulation. The rise of stablecoins, and the government’s response, is the history of money and the future of money playing out in the present: a new monetary technology that brings new benefits, new risks and new fights between public and private interests......»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 15th, 2021

Is It Time For A Special Counsel On The Hunter Biden Scandal?

Is It Time For A Special Counsel On The Hunter Biden Scandal? Authored by Jonathan Turley, “Come on H this is linked to Celtic’s account.” Those nine words from a retired Secret Service agent to Hunter Biden in recently released emails may prove a nasty complication for some in Washington who have struggled to contain the blowback from the still-unfolding scandal linked to Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop. “Celtic” was the Secret Service code name for Joe Biden, and recent disclosures may puncture the media’s cone-of-silence around the scandal. The emails link President Biden to his son’s accounts and indicate a comingling of funds with money coming from controversial foreign sources.  Even more embarrassing, the shared account many have been used to pay a Russian prostitute named “Yanna.” The comingling of funds is the latest contraction of President Biden’s repeated claims that he was unaware and uninvolved in past dealings by his son. Given these links, there are legitimate questions of why the Justice Department has not sought a special counsel in the ongoing investigation of alleged money-laundering and tax violations linked to the president’s son. More importantly, even if there are no criminal charges, there is now a compelling need for an independent report on the alleged influence peddling operation by Hunter, his uncle James Biden, and potentially his father, President Biden. In the latest disclosures from the laptop, a former secret service agent reportedly texted Hunter on May 24, 2018, when he was holed up with a Russian prostitute in an expensive room at The Jeremy Hotel in Los Angeles. Hunter wired the woman $25,000. That alone was nothing out of the ordinary for Hunter who, while his father served as vice president, seemed to divide his time equally between influence-peddling and personal debaucheries. Hunter clearly only had influence and access to sell. We know now that foreign interests gave Hunter millions at a time that he admits that he was a crack addict and alcoholic — in his words, “Drinking a quart of vodka a day by yourself in a room is absolutely, completely debilitating,” as well as “smoking crack around the clock.” However, the tranche of emails raises a new and disturbing element: the possible mixing of accounts and funds between Hunter and his father. If true, President Biden could be directly implicated in ongoing investigations into his son’s money transfers and dealings. Most notable are the new emails from Eric Schwerin, his business partner at the Rosemont Seneca consultancy, referencing the payment of household bills for both Joe Biden and Hunter Biden. He also notes that he was transferring money from Joe Biden. If true, the communications indicate that some of President Biden’s personal expenses were paid out of shared accounts with Hunter, including accounts that may have been used to pay for prostitutes. Rosemont Seneca is directly involved in the alleged influence peddling schemes and questionable money transfers from Chinese and Russian sources. Schwerin also was involved in President Biden’s taxes and discussions of a book deal for the then-vice president; he popped up in the donation of Biden’s official papers to the University of Delaware, with restrictions on access. President Biden has long insisted that that his son did “nothing wrong.” That is obviously untrue. One can argue over whether Hunter committed any crime, but few would say that there is nothing wrong with raw influence peddling worth millions with foreign entities. The public has a legitimate reason to know whether the President or his family ran an influence peddling operation worth millions. Given this record, there is little reason for the public to trust what it is reading about the scandal. The media has long refused to investigate the allegations or even report on emails contradicting the President. This was most evident when social media like Twitter actually blocked postings on the laptop or its content before the election. Powerful figures then issued false statements about the scandal to the public. Committee Chairman Adam Schiff who assured the pubic that the allegations against “this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin.” Some 50 former intelligence officials, including Obama’s CIA directors John Brennan and Leon Panetta, also insisted the laptop story was likely the work of Russian intelligence. The laptop is now recognized as genuine. This is not the first contradiction for President Biden in his repeated denials of knowing anything about his son’s business dealings. Hunter himself contradicted his father’s repeated denial. Likewise, a key business associate of Hunter Biden, Anthony Bobulinski, confirmed the authenticity of the emails and accused Joe Biden of lying about his involvement. Bobulinski has detailed a meeting with Joe Biden in a hotel to go over the dealings. Past emails included discussions of offering access to then-Vice President Biden. They also include alleged payments to Joe Biden. In one email, there is a discussion of a proposed equity split of “20” for “H” and “10 held by H for the big guy?” Bobulinski confirmed that “H” was used for Hunter Biden and that his father was routinely called “the big guy” in these discussions. Just to make things more concerning is Hunter Biden’s recent acknowledgement that one of his laptops may have been stolen by Russian agents and was likely being used for blackmail purposes. The fact that the president’s son admitted that Russians may have intentionally seized one of his laptops during a drug binge, in order to blackmail him, raises serious potential national security concerns — especially if any of the emails include compromising information about the president direct benefiting from the very same accounts used by his son. That creates a rather nasty problem at the Justice Department. Federal regulations allow the appointment of a special counsel when it is in the public interest and an “investigation or prosecution of that person or matter by a United States Attorney’s Office or litigating Division of the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances.” I do not see direct evidence of criminal conduct by President Biden even if he lied about his past knowledge of this son’s conduct. Indeed, influence peddling is not a per se crime even for Hunter. However, one value of a Special Counsel is the expectation of a report that can address whether the family engaged in influence peddling with foreign powers and whether foreign powers may have acquired compromising material from these laptop files. In 2017, Democratic members activists were adamant that the Justice Department should carry out an investigation involving President Trump and his family.  Then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) insisted that, without a special counsel, “every American will rightfully suspect … a coverup.” There is already a federal criminal investigation into these matters involving Hunter Biden, and the latest emails now link President Biden receiving money and benefits from related accounts as well as key players. Even if one questions a direct conflict of interest, it is hard to deny the towering appearance of a conflict in the ongoing investigation. “The Big Guy” is now president and his administration is handling an investigation that could have political as well as legal implications for him and his family. It may be time for a special counsel. Tyler Durden Thu, 10/14/2021 - 17:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 14th, 2021

Gold Jumps Despite Hawkish FOMC Minutes

The September FOMC minutes were rather hawkish, but gold prices rose yesterday. Did higher inflation finally push the yellow metal up? Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Hawkish FOMC Minutes Yesterday (October 13, 2021), the FOMC published minutes from its last meeting in September. For me, the publication is rather hawkish, as it […] The September FOMC minutes were rather hawkish, but gold prices rose yesterday. Did higher inflation finally push the yellow metal up? if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Hawkish FOMC Minutes Yesterday (October 13, 2021), the FOMC published minutes from its last meeting in September. For me, the publication is rather hawkish, as it signaled that the Fed could begin tapering its asset purchases as soon as mid-November or mid-December. Participants noted that if a decision to begin tapering purchases occurred at the next meeting, the process of tapering could commence with the monthly purchase calendars beginning in either mid-November or mid-December. This is because the FOMC members decided that the “substantial further progress” toward the Committee’s price-stability and maximum-employment goals has almost been met: Many participants noted that although the economic recovery had slowed recently and the August increase in payrolls had fallen short of expectations, the labor market had continued to show improvement since the Committee’s previous meeting. A number of participants assessed that the standard of substantial further progress toward the goal of maximum employment had not yet been attained but that, if the economy proceeded roughly as they anticipated, it may soon be reached. On the basis of the cumulative performance of the labor market since December 2020, a number of other participants indicated that they believed that the test of “substantial further progress” toward maximum employment had been met. The disappointing September nonfarm payrolls triggered some doubts about whether the Fed could announce tapering as soon as in November, but the recent comments from Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida dispelled these doubts. The former official said: “I think that the progress has been made, and the sooner we get moving on that the better,” while the latter declared “I myself believe that the 'substantial further progress' standard has more than been met with regard to our price-stability mandate and has all but been met with regard to our employment mandate”. These remarks cement the expectations that the Fed’s tapering will start soon this year. The Pace Of Tapering The Fed officials also discussed the pace of tapering, which they wouldn’t do if they weren’t convinced that the time was right to go ahead: Participants also expressed their views on how slowing in the pace of purchases might proceed. In particular, participants commented on an illustrative path, developed by the staff and reflecting participants' discussions at the Committee's July meeting, that gave the speed and composition associated with a tapering of asset purchases (…) The path featured monthly reductions in the pace of asset purchases, by $10 billion in the case of Treasury securities and $5 billion in the case of agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Participants generally commented that the illustrative path provided a straightforward and appropriate template that policymakers might follow, and a couple of participants observed that giving advance notice to the general public of a plan along these lines may reduce the risk of an adverse market reaction to a moderation in asset purchases. Given that the Fed continues to purchase Treasury securities by at least $80 billion per month and MBS by at least $40 billion per month, the signaled path of tapering implies that the quantitative easing is going to start in November 2021 and end in June 2022. Such a timeline pleases the Fed, as it will enable it to hike the federal funds rate if inflation turns out to be more persistent than initially thought: No decision to proceed with a moderation of asset purchases was made at the meeting, but participants generally assessed that, provided that the economic recovery remained broadly on track, a gradual tapering process that concluded around the middle of next year would likely be appropriate. Worries About Inflation Indeed, the FOMC members showed stronger worries about inflation, dropping references to the transitory character of inflation, and acknowledging that there were some upside risks: Most participants saw inflation risks as weighted to the upside because of concerns that supply disruptions and labor shortages might last longer and might have larger or more persistent effects on prices and wages than they currently assumed. Oh, really, inflation could last longer than you repeated for months?! You were wrong once again, what a surprise! What’s more, the committee also expressed concerns about the impact of easy monetary policy on elevated asset prices and financial stability: In addition, some participants mentioned the risks associated with high asset valuations in the United States and abroad, and a number of participants commented on the importance of resolving the issues involving the federal government budget and debt ceiling in a timely manner (…) Several participants expressed concern that the high degree of accommodation being provided by monetary policy, including through continued asset purchases, could increase risks to financial stability. Indeed, it’s high time for reducing the monetary stimulus, given the scale of irrational exuberance in the financial markets (investors are now so desperate to seek yields that they even buy non-existent sculptures)! Implications for Gold What do the recent FOMC minutes imply for the gold market? Well, the publication is rather hawkish, so it should be negative for gold prices. At least in theory. But the price of gold increased yesterday, approaching almost $1,800. What happened? The detailed analysis of yesterday’s price movement displayed on the chart below shows that the FOMC minutes didn’t affect the gold market in any meaningful manner. This is probably because this year’s tapering has already been reflected in gold prices. The yellow metal reacted significantly, but to something different: the September CPI report. Inflation rose slightly last month from 5.3% to 5.4% year-over-year, according to the BLS (so, no, inflation is not going away, just as I was warning investors for months). The price of gold declined initially, only to gain later. It seems that, at first, investors decided that higher inflation equals higher interest rates and a more hawkish Fed, so they decided to push gold down (just as they used to in response to higher inflationary readings earlier this year). However, after a while, traders changed their minds. So, although it’s too early to conclude this with certainty, it’s possible that the markets finally started to fear inflation, its persistence, and its impact on economic growth. If this is the case, we could see more safe-haven inflows into gold. Nonetheless, investors shouldn’t expect too much from one trading day, even though yesterday’s gold reaction gives some hope that the yellow metal will ultimately behave as an inflation-hedge and benefit from elevated inflation. We will see – gold has to jump above $1,800 first. If you enjoyed today’s free gold report, we invite you to check out our premium services. We provide much more detailed fundamental analyses of the gold market in our monthly Gold Market Overview reports and we provide daily Gold & Silver Trading Alerts with clear buy and sell signals. In order to enjoy our gold analyses in their full scope, we invite you to subscribe today. If you’re not ready to subscribe yet though and are not on our gold mailing list yet, we urge you to sign up. It’s free and if you don’t like it, you can easily unsubscribe. Sign up today! Arkadiusz Sieron, PhD Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care Updated on Oct 14, 2021, 10:57 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 14th, 2021

Futures Drift Before Taper-Triggering Jobs Report

Futures Drift Before Taper-Triggering Jobs Report US equity-index drifted in a tight range overnight, in a tight range before key jobs data that could provide clues on the Federal Reserve’s policy. As noted in our preview, unless the jobs report is a disaster, it will virtually assure the Fed launches tapering in one month. Markets drifted higher on Thursday after the Senate averted the risk of an immediate default, pushing global stocks on course for their best week since early September, but a late day selloff wiped away most gains and closed spoos below the critical 4400 level. At 07:30 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 35 points, or 0.10%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 5.00 points, or 0.1%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 10.75 points, or 0.07%. Treasury Yields were 1 point higher after earlier tagging 1.60%, the highest since June. The dollar was flat while Brent topped $83 before paring gains. Bitcoin traded above $55,000. Uncertainty over the debt ceiling negotiations and a run-up in U.S. Treasury yields over elevated inflation were major concerns among investors earlier this week, injecting volatility in equity markets this week. High-growth FAAMG stocks slipped in premarket trading following sharp gains in previous session. Energy firms including Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil gained about 0.8% tracking crude prices, while major U.S. lenders also edged up as the benchmark 10-year yield hit its highest level since June 4. Here are some of the biggest movers and stocks to watch today: Tesla (TSLA US) shares in focus after Elon Musk says a global shortage of chips and ships is the only thing standing in the way of the company maintaining sales growth in excess of 50% Sundial Growers (SNDL US) shares rise as much as 19% in U.S. premarket after the Canadian cannabis producer said it will buy liquor and pot retailer Alcanna for $276m in stock Allogene Therapeutics (ALLO US) plunges 36% in U.S. premarket trading after an early-stage study of its cell therapy was put on hold by U.S. regulators Prelude Therapeutics (PRLD US) fell in U.S. premarket trading, adding to Thursday’s 40% plunge on early- stage data for the company’s experimental cancer treatments that Barclays says came in below expectations Vaxart (VXRT US) rises 8% in U.S. premarket trading after its oral tablet vaccine candidate cut transmission of Covid-19 in animals, according to data from a study led by Duke University Faraday Future (FFIE US) slides 4% in U.S. premarket trading after J Capital says it is short on the stock. The short-seller says they don’t think the company “will ever sell a car” Codiak Biosciences (CDAK US) shares fell 6% in Thursday postmarket trading after disclosing that Sarepta Therapeutics is terminating a research license and option agreement Agile Therapeutics (AGRX US) tumbled Thursday postmarket after the women’s health-care company said that it intends to offer and sell shares of its common stock, as well as warrants to purchase shares of its common stock, in an underwritten public offering Looking to today's main event, economists expect September hiring to have surged by 500,000 jobs as the summer wave of COVID-19 infections began to subside, and as millions of Americans no longer receive jobless benefits, positioning the Fed to start scaling back its monthly bond buying.  “All roads lead to non-farm payrolls data which will decide, in the market’s minds, whether the start of the Fed taper is a done deal for December,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA. “I do not believe that markets have priced in the Fed taper and its implications to any large degree yet. Even a weak number probably only delays the inevitable for another month.” Even “reasonably soft” payrolls and unemployment figures wouldn’t be enough to change the minds of its officials, according to Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote. “Only a shockingly low figure could do that,” she said. “The persistent rise in oil prices can only continue boosting inflation fears and the central bank hawks, limiting the upside potential in case of a further recovery in stocks.” “As soon as you start thinking about tapering it’s really hard to not then think about what that means for the Fed funds rate and when that might start to increase,” Kim Mundy, currency strategist and international economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney, said on Bloomberg Television. “We do see scope that markets can start to price in a more aggressive Fed funds rate hike cycle.” In Europe, tech companies led the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down 0.2%, with energy stocks and carmakers being the only industry groups with meaningful gains. Chip stocks fell, especially Apple suppliers, following a profit warning from Asian peer and fellow supplier AAC Technologies. On the other end, European travel stocks rose after U.K. confirmed the travel “red list” will be cut to just seven countries; British Airways parent IAG and TUI led the advances. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Daimler shares gains as much as 3.2%, outperforming peers, after UBS upgrades stock to buy from neutral, calling it an earnings momentum story that stands to gain from strong demand, electrification trends and its future focus on passenger cars. Adler shares rise as much as 13% after shareholder Aggregate sells a call option to Vonovia for a 13.3% stake in the German real estate investment firm at a strike price of EU14 per share. Cewe Stiftung shares jump as much as 4.2%, their best day in over three months, after the photography services firm gets a new buy rating at Hauck & Aufhaeuser. Weir shares fall as much as 6.3%, to the lowest since Nov. 13, after the U.K. machinery maker announced that a ransomware attack will affect full-year profitability; Jefferies says it’s unlikely that guidance beyond that will be revised. Zur Rose slumps as much as 9.2% after Berenberg downgrades the Swiss online pharmacy to hold from buy, citing the expected negative impact from a delay in the implementation of mandatory e-prescriptions in Germany. Czech digital-payments provider Eurowag shares slide as much as 10% as it starts trading in London, after pricing its IPO below an initial range and making its debut a day later than planned. Asian stocks rose for a second day as China’s market reopened higher and the U.S. Senate approved a short-term increase in the debt ceiling. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced as much as 1% in a rally led by consumer discretionary shares. Alibaba and Tencent were among the biggest contributors to the gauge’s climb. Shares in mainland China surged more than 1% as investors returned from the Golden Week holiday. Chinese property shares fell after a report that more than 90% of China’s top 100 property developers’ sales declined in September by an average of 36% from the same period last year, while investor concerns about developers’ liquidity rose after Fantasia bonds were suspended from trading. In mainland: CSI 300 Real Estate Index drops as much as 2%, Seazen Holdings falls as much as 5%, Poly Developments -4%. Asia’s stock benchmark is slightly down for the week, as rising bond yields weighed on tech-heavy indexes in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. The gauge is down more than 1% this month amid an energy shortage in China and India.  “Markets may not want to commit directionally” given that we have non-farm payrolls data on the docket, making a follow-through of today’s rally suspect, said Ilya Spivak, the head of Greater Asia at DailyFX. Traders are expecting today’s U.S. employment data to provide clues on the direction of the world’s largest economy. On Thursday, the U.S. averted what would have been its first default on a debt payment. Most major benchmarks in Asia climbed, led by Japan, Indonesia and Australia. India’s central bank kept its lending rates at a record low at a policy meeting today. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.9% to close at 7,320.10. All industry groups edged higher. The benchmark rose 1.9% for the week, the biggest weekly gain since early August. Miners led the charge, having the best week since July, banks the best since the start of March. EML Payments tumbled after an update on its Ireland subsidiary from the country’s central bank. Chalice Mining continued its rebound, finishing the session the strongest performer in the mining subgauge.  There is a risk of excessive borrowing due to low interest rates and rising house prices, Reserve Bank of Australia said in its semiannual Financial Stability Review released Friday. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.1% to 13,086.60 In rates, Treasury futures remained under pressure after paring declines that pushed 10-year yield as high as 1.5995% during European morning, highest since June 4; the 1.60% zone is thought to have potential to spur next wave of convexity hedging. U.K. 10-year is higher by 4bp, German by 2.3bp - gilts underperformed, weighing on Treasuries as money markets continue to bring forward BOE rate-hike expectations. During U.S. session, September jobs report may seal case for Fed taper announcement in November.  In FX, the greenback traded in a narrow range versus G10 peers while 10-year Treasury yields approached 1.6%, outperforming Bunds.  Gilt yields rose 5-6bps across the curve; demand for downside protection in the pound eases this week as the U.K. currency moves off cycle lows amid money markets repricing. U.K. wage growth rose at its strongest pace on record in a survey of job recruiters, indicating strains from a shortage of workers are persisting. Turkish lira initially weakens above 8.96/USD before recouping half of its losses In commodities, oil extended a rebound, on track for a seventh weekly gain. Crude futures pushed to the best levels for the week. WTI rises 1.5% near $79.50, Brent pops back on to a $83-handle. Spot gold trades a $5 range near $1,757/oz. Base metals are mostly positive, with LME nickel gaining over 3.5%. Looking at the day ahead, the highlight will be the aforementioned September jobs report. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde and the ECB’s Panetta. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,389.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.3% to 457.18 MXAP up 0.4% to 194.72 MXAPJ up 0.2% to 636.80 Nikkei up 1.3% to 28,048.94 Topix up 1.1% to 1,961.85 Hang Seng Index up 0.6% to 24,837.85 Shanghai Composite up 0.7% to 3,592.17 Sensex up 0.7% to 60,070.61 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.9% to 7,320.09 Kospi down 0.1% to 2,956.30 Brent Futures up 1.4% to $83.09/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,756.25 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.29 German 10Y yield up +3.4 bps to -0.151% Euro little changed at $1.1549 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Global talks to reshape the corporate tax landscape are set to resume on Friday after Ireland’s decision to adhere to the world consensus on a minimum rate removed one hurdle to an agreement that still hangs in the balance Germany’s Social Democrats hailed a positive start in their effort to form a government after their first meeting with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats A U.S. nuclear-powered attack submarine struck an object while submerged in international waters in the Indo- Pacific region last week, the Navy said, adding that no life- threatening injuries were reported China drained the most short- term liquidity from the banking system in a year on a net basis as it reduced support after a week-long holiday. Government bond futures slid by the most since August China’s central bank will continue to push for the reform of its benchmark loan rate and make deposit rates more market-based, according to a senior official India’s central bank surprised markets by suspending its version of quantitative easing, signaling the start of tapering pandemic-era stimulus measures as an economic recovery takes hold U.K. government bond yields have climbed to levels last seen before the Brexit referendum in 2016 relative to German peers, as traders brace for inflation in Britain over the next decade to far outpace the rate in Europe’s largest economy A detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mostly higher as the region conformed to the global upbeat mood after the agreement in Washington to raise the debt ceiling which the Senate approved, with the overnight bourses also invigorated by the return of China and strong Caixin PMI data. The ASX 200 (+0.9%) was led higher by strength in mining names with underlying commodity prices boosted as Chinese buyers flocked back to market which helped the ASX disregard a record increase in daily COVID-19 cases in Victoria state. Nikkei 225 (+1.3%) was the biggest gainer and reclaimed the 28k level as exporters benefitted from a softer currency, while attention turns to PM Kishida who will outline his policy program today and is reportedly planning to present an additional budget after the election. Furthermore, there were recent comments from an ally of the new PM who suggested that capital gains tax could be raised to 25% from the current 20% without affecting stock prices, although this failed to dent the mood in Tokyo and weaker than expected Household Spending was also brushed aside. The gains for the KOSPI (-0.1%) were later reversed alongside the tentative price action in index heavyweight Samsung Electronics after its Q3 prelim. results showed oper. profit likely rose to its highest in three years but missed analysts’ forecasts. Hang Seng (+0.6%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.7%) were mixed with the latter jubilant on reopen from the Golden Week holiday after improved Caixin Services and Composite PMI data which both returned to expansionary territory. This helped mainland stocks overlook the recent developer default fears and largest daily liquidity drain by the PBoC since October last year, although Hong Kong initially lagged amid heavy Northbound Stock Connect trade. Finally, 10yr JGBs declined on spillover selling from T-notes and with havens shunned amid the gains across riskier assets, although downside in JGBs was limited given the BoJ’s presence in the market for nearly JPY 1.5tln of JGBs with up to 10yr maturities. Top Asian News Gold Steadies Ahead of Key U.S. Jobs Report as Yields Climb Investors Fear Tax Talk in Kishida’s ‘New Japanese Capitalism’ China Coal Prices Plunge as Producers Vow to Ease Shortages China Developer Stocks Fall After Report of Monthly Sales Drop An initially contained to marginally-firmer European cash open followed an upbeat APAC handover (ex-Hang Seng) was short-lived with bourses coming under moderate pressure; Euro Stoxx 600 -0.3%. As such, major indices are all in the red, except for of the UK FTSE 100 which is essentially unchanged and bolstered by strength in heavy-weight energy and mining names given broader price action the return of China. Sectors were initially mixed at the open, but in-fitting with the action in indices, has turned to a predominantly negative performance ex-energy. Crossing to the US, futures have directionally been following European peers, but the magnitude has been more contained, with the ES unchanged as we await the September labour market report for any read across to the Fed’s policy path; however, officials have already made it clear that it would have to be a very poor report to spark a deviation from its announced intentions, where it is expected to announce an asset purchase tapering in November. Returning to Europe, Daimler (+2.5%) stands out in the individual stocks space, firmer after a broker upgrade and notable price target lift at UBS; Marks & Spencer (+1.5%) is also supported on broker action. To the downside lies Weir Group (-3.0%) after reports of a ransomware attack. Top European News Adler’s Largest Shareholder Sells Option on Stake to Vonovia; A Controversial Tycoon Sits on Adler’s $9 Billion Pile of Debt Chip Stocks Drag Tech Gauge Lower as Asian Apple Supplier Warns European Gas Rises as Bumpy Ride Continues With Cold Air Coming Lira Weakens to Fresh Low as Rising U.S. Yields Add Pressure In FX, the Dollar is trying to regroup and firm up again after its latest downturn amidst a further rebound in US Treasury yields, more pronounced curve re-steepening, and perhaps some relief that the Senate finally passed the debt ceiling extension bill, albeit by a slender margin and only delaying the issue until early December. Looking at the DXY as a benchmark, a marginally higher low above 94.000 and lower high below 94.500 is keeping the index contained as the clock ticks down to September’s jobs report that is expected to show a recovery in hiring after the prior month’s shortfall, but anecdotal data has been rather mixed to offer little clear pointers for the bias around consensus - full preview of the latest BLS release is available via the Research Suite under the Ad-hoc Economic Analysis section. From a technical perspective, near term support for the DXY resides at 94.077 (vs the current 94.139 base) and resistance sits at 94.448 (compared to a 94.338 intraday high). TRY - A double whammy for the already beleaguered Lira as oil prices come back to the boil and ‘sources’ suggest that Turkish President Erdogan’s patience is wearing thin with the latest CBRT Governor as the Bank waited until September to cut rates. Recall, Erdogan has already ousted a CBRT chief for not loosening monetary policy in his belief that lowering the cost of borrowing will bring inflation down, and although the reports have been by a senior member of his administration there is a distinct feeling of no smoke without fire in the markets as Usd/Try remains bid having only held below 9.0000 by short distance between 8.9707-8.8670 parameters. CHF/JPY - No real surprise that the low yielders and funders are underperforming, even though broadly upbeat risk sentiment during APAC hours has not rolled over to the European session. The Franc has retreated to 0.9300 vs the Buck and Yen is trying to fend off pressure on the 112.00 handle after failing to sustain momentum through 111.50 before weaker than expected Japanese household spending data overnight. However, decent option expiry interest from 111.85-75 (1.4 bn) may weigh on Usd/Jpy pending the aforementioned US payrolls outcome. AUD - Some payback for the Aussie after Thursday’s outperformance, as Aud/Usd loses a bit more momentum following its rebound beyond 0.7300 and with hefty option expiries at 0.7335 (2.7 bn) capping the upside more than smaller size at the round number (1.1 bn) cushions the downside. In commodities, WTI and Brent remain on an upward trajectory after the mid-week pullback; as it stands, crude benchmarks are near fresh highs for the week, with WTI for November eyeing USD 80/bbl once again. Fresh news flow for the complex has been sparse, aside from substantial UK press focus on the domestic energy price cap potentially set to increase next year. More broadly, US officials have largely reiterated commentary from the Energy Department provided on Thursday around not currently intending act on energy costs with a reserve release. The session ahead has just the Baker Hughes rig count specifically for crude scheduled, though the complex may well get dragged into a broader risk move depending on the initial reaction to and analysis on NFP. For metals, spot gold and silver are contained around the unchanged mark and haven’t been affected by any significant amount by the firmer USD or elevated yield space thus far. Elsewhere, base metals are buoyed by China’s return and strong Caixin data from the region, although it is worth highlighting that the likes of LME copper are well off earlier highs. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. Change in Nonfarm Payrolls, est. 500,000, prior 235,000 Change in Private Payrolls, est. 450,000, prior 243,000 Change in Manufact. Payrolls, est. 25,000, prior 37,000 Unemployment Rate, est. 5.1%, prior 5.2% Sept. Underemployment Rate, prior 8.8% Labor Force Participation Rate, est. 61.8%, prior 61.7% Average Weekly Hours All Emplo, est. 34.7, prior 34.7 Average Hourly Earnings MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.6% Average Hourly Earnings YoY, est. 4.6%, prior 4.3% 10am: Aug. Wholesale Trade Sales MoM, est. 0.9%, prior 2.0%; Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 1.2%, prior 1.2% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I’ve never quite understood why you’d go to the cinema if you’ve got a nice telly at home but such has been the nature of life over the last 19 months that I was giddy with excitement last night at booking tickets for James Bond at the local cinema next week. We’ve booked it on the same night as our first ever physical parents evening where I’ll maybe have the first disappointing clues that my three children aren’t going to be child prodigies and that maybe they’ll even have to settle for a career in finance! Markets have been stirred but not completely shaken this week and yesterday they continued to rebound thanks to the near-term resolution on the US debt ceiling alongside subsiding gas prices, which took the sting out of two of the most prominent risks for investors over the last couple of weeks. That provided a significant boost to risk appetite, and by the close of trade, the S&P 500 had recovered +0.83% in its 3rd consecutive move higher, which put it back to just -3.0% beneath its all-time high in early September, whilst Europe’s STOXX 600 was also up +1.60% and closed before a later US sell-off. Attention will today focus squarely on the US jobs report at 13:30 London time, which is the last one before the Fed’s next decision in early November, where a potential tapering announcement is likely bar an extraordinarily poor number today, or an exogenous event in the next few weeks. Starting with the debt ceiling, yesterday saw Democratic and Republican Senators agree to pass legislation to raise the ceiling by enough to get to early December, meaning we won’t have to worry about it for another 8 whole weeks. The Senate voted 50-48 with no Republicans blocking the legislation to increase the debt limit by $480bn, with House Majority leader Hoyer saying that the House would convene on Tuesday to pass the measure as well. To raise it for a longer period, the chatter out of Washington made it clear that Democrats would need to need to raise the debt ceiling in a partisan manner as part of the reconciliation process. As we mentioned in yesterday’s edition, this extension means that a number of deadlines have now been punted into the year end, including the government funding and the debt ceiling (both now expiring the first Friday of December), just as the Democrats are also seeking to pass Biden’s economic agenda through a reconciliation bill containing much of their social proposals, alongside the $550bn bipartisan infrastructure package. And on top of that, we’ve also got the decision on whether Chair Powell will be re-nominated as Fed Chair, with the decision 4 years ago coming at the start of November. So a busy end to the year in DC. The other main story yesterday was the sizeable decline in European natural gas prices, with the benchmark future down -10.73% to post its biggest daily loss since August. Admittedly, they’re still up almost five-fold since the start of the year, but relative to their intraday peak on Wednesday they’ve now shed -37.5%. So nearly a double bear market all of a sudden! The moves follow Wednesday’s signal that Russia could supply more gas to Europe. However, even as energy prices were starting to fall back from their peak, the effects of inflation were being felt elsewhere, with the UN’s world food price index climbing to its highest level in a decade in September. Looking ahead, today’s main focus will be on the US jobs report for September later on. Last month the report significantly underwhelmed expectations, coming in at just +235k, which was well beneath the +733k consensus expectation and the slowest pace since January. That raised questions as to the state of the labour market recovery, and helped to complicate a potential decision on tapering, with nonfarm payrolls still standing over 5m beneath their pre-Covid peak. This month, our US economists are expecting a somewhat stronger +400k increase in nonfarm payrolls, which should see the unemployment rate tick down to a post-pandemic low of 5.1%. On the bright side at least, the ADP’s report of private payrolls for September on Wednesday came in at an above-forecast 568k (vs. 430k expected), while the weekly initial jobless claims out yesterday for the week through October 2 were beneath expectations at 326k (vs. 348k expected). Ahead of that, global equities posted a decent rebound across the board, with cyclicals leading the march higher on both sides of the Atlantic. As mentioned at the top, the S&P 500 advanced +0.83%, which was part of a broad-based advance that saw over 390 companies move higher on the day. That said the index was up as much as +1.5% in early US trading before slipping lower in the US afternoon. The pullback was partly due to new headlines that China’s central bank plans to continue addressing monopolistic actions in internet companies that operate in the payments sector. Nonetheless, Megacap tech stocks were among the big winners yesterday, with the FANG+ index up +2.08%, whilst the small-cap Russell 2000 index was also up +1.58%. In Europe, the STOXX 600 (+1.60%) posted its strongest daily gain since July, and the broader gains helped the STOXX Banks index (+1.61%) surpass its pre-pandemic high, taking it to levels not seen since April 2019, even as sovereign bond yields moved lower. Speaking of sovereign bonds, yesterday saw a divergent set of moves once again, with yields on 10yr Treasuries up +5.2bps to 1.573%, their highest level since June, whereas those across the European continent moved lower. The US increase came against the backdrop of that debt ceiling resolution, and there was a noticeable rise in yields for Treasury bills that mature in December, which is where the debt ceiling deadline has now been kicked to. Elsewhere in North America, the Bank of Canada’s Macklem joined the global central bank chorus and noted inflation pressures were likely to be temporary, even if they’ve been more persistent than previously expected. Meanwhile over in Europe, lower inflation expectations helped yields move lower, with those on 10yr bunds (-0.3bps), OATs (-1.1bps) and BTPs (-3.6bps) all moving back. Overnight in Asia, all markets are trading in the green with the Nikkei (+2.16%) leading the way, along with CSI (+1.34%), Shanghai Composite (+0.60%), KOSPI (+0.22%) and Hang Seng (+0.04%). Chinese markets reopened after a week-long holiday so the focus will again be back on property market debt, and today the PBOC injected just 10bn Yuan with its 7-day reverse repos, resulting in a net liquidity withdrawal of 330bn Yuan. That comes as the services and composite PMIs did see a pickup from August level, with the services PMI up to 53.4 (vs. 49.2 expected), moving back above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction. In Japan however, household spending was down -3.0% year-on-year in August (vs. -1.2% expected) which came amidst a surge in the virus there. There’s also some news on the ESG front, with finance minister Shunichi Suzuki saying that the country would introduce ESG factors when considering the finance ministry’s foreign reserves. Looking forward, S&P 500 futures (+0.06%) are pointing to a small move higher. In Germany, as talks got underway today on a potential traffic-light coalition, it was reported by DPA that CDU leader Armin Laschet had signalled his willingness to stand down, with the report citing unidentified participants from internal discussions. In televised remarks last night, Laschet said that his party needs fresh voices across the board and that new leadership will be in place soon. This moves comes as Germany’s Social Democratic Party held talks with the Greens and the Free Democratic Party to enact a new three-way ruling coalition, which would leave the CDU out of power entirely. There wasn’t a massive amount of data yesterday, though German industrial production fell by -4.0% in August (vs. -0.5% expected), which follows the much weaker than expected data on factory orders the previous day. Elsewhere, the Manheim used car index increased +5.3% in September, its first positive reading in 4 months. Our US economics team points out that there tends to be around a two month lag between wholesale prices and CPI prints, so we aren’t likely to see this impact next week’s CPI print but it will likely prevent a bigger fall towards the end of the year. To the day ahead now, and the highlight will be the aforementioned September jobs report from the US. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde and the ECB’s Panetta. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/08/2021 - 07:50.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 8th, 2021

Futures Tumble As Nat Gas Prices Explode, Stagflation Fears Surge

Futures Tumble As Nat Gas Prices Explode, Stagflation Fears Surge In our market comments on Tuesday we were stunned by the resilient surge in tech names and the broader market, even as yields soared on the biggest jump in breakevens since the presidential election, noting that something is very broken with this picture. Well, one day later normalcy is back: US stock index futures tumbled as much as 1.3% on Wednesday before paring some losses, after soaring oil and gas prices (rising as much as 40% in Europe today alone) fed into fears of higher inflation and fueled concerns of sooner-than-expected tapering, which in turn pushed 10Y yields just shy of 1.57%. At 730 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 309 points, or 0.9%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 49 points, or 1.12%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 181 points, or 1.23%, to the lowest level since June 25 on a closing basis, signaling more downside for tech shares after Tuesday’s short reprieve Up to Tuesday’s close, the S&P 500 index logged its fourth straight day of 1% moves in either direction. According to Reuters, the last time the index saw that much volatility was in November 2020, when it rose or fell 1% or more for seven straight sessions. The selloff was much more severe in Europe, with the Stoxx 600 falling as much as 2% to a 2 month low, with every industry sector firmly in the red as the region’s natural gas prices soared to catastrophic levels... ... even as the European Union pledged swift action to ensure the spiking costs don’t stifle the economy (it just didn't explain precisely what it would do). Asian stocks also dropped amid continued China property contagion fears. The 10-year TSY yield touched their highest since June, slamming shares of mega-cap FAAMGs; tech shares led the stocks selloff Apple (AAPL US -1.5%), Facebook (FB US -1.6%), Microsoft (MSFT US -1.6%), Tesla (TSLA US -1.4%) down in U.S. premarket trading. Economy-sensitive parts of the market also came under pressure, with lenders such as Bank of America Corp , JPMorgan Chase & Co and Morgan Stanley shedding more than 1% each. Boeing and industrial conglomerates Caterpillar Inc and 3M Co dropped between 0.8% and 2.0%. Ironically, even though Brent remained well above $82, energy names also slumped with Exxon sliding 1% on what appears to be profit taking to plug margin holes elsewhere. American Airlines’ shares fell 3.7% in U.S. premarket session after Goldman cut its recommendation for the stock to sell. Meanwhile, Palantir Technologies extended its gains to rise 9.3% as the company said it won a U.S. Army contract to supply data and analytics services. Here are some of the other notable market movers: Gogo (GOGO US) drops 5.3% in U.S. premarket trading after Morgan Stanley downgrades to underweight, with competitive landscape expected to pressure valuation and free cash flow over coming year American Airlines (AAL US) slides 3.6% in U.S. premarket trading on Goldman Sachs downgrade, according to Bloomberg data U.S. Steel (X US) down more than 5% in U.S. premarket trading on Goldman Sachs downgrade, according to Bloomberg data Calyxt (CLXT US) shares jump 5.4% premarket after the company said it will focus on engineering synthetic biology solutions for customers across the nutraceutical, cosmeceutical, pharmaceutical, advanced materials, and chemical industries Indus Realty Trust (INDT US) fell postmarket Tuesday after launching a 2 million stock offering Noodles & Co. (NDLS US) shares rose 2% in Tuesday postmarket trading after Stephens started coverage with an overweight rating, saying the restaurant chain is poised for strong growth that should lead to higher multiples Allison Transmission (ALSN US) is accelerating the development of electrification technology for integration into the U.S. Army’s ground combat vehicle fleet Palantir (PLTR US) shares rise 14% in U.S. premarket trading after the the software company said Tuesday it was selected by the U.S. Army to provide data and analytics for the Capability Drop 2 program "Right now you’re seeing inflation risk really start to percolate and I do think that you’re going to see that really eat into margins as we go through the fourth quarter into 2022,” Erin Browne, multi-asset portfolio manager at Pimco, said on Bloomberg Television. “The energy crisis that’s starting to loom in Europe is a real risk that is being underestimated by the market right now." “The spike in energy prices continue fueling expectations of higher inflation for longer. Therefore, central banks will be forced to cool down the overheating in inflation rather than trying to boost recovery,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank. “Any weakness in the jobs figure could send the U.S. equities back below their 100-dma levels, as soft economic data could no longer revive the central bank doves." As such, all eyes will be on the U.S. private payrolls data, due at 8:15 a.m. ET. The numbers come ahead of the more comprehensive non-farm payrolls data on Friday, which is expected to cement the case for the Federal Reserve’s slowing of asset purchases. Meanwhile, a stalemate over Republicans and Democrats about the debt limit showed no sign of abating, with President Joe Biden saying that his Democrats might make an exception to a U.S. Senate rule to allow them to extend the government’s borrowing authority without Republican help. European stocks fell even more, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index plunging 2% to lowest since July 20; Travel, autos and retail names are the weakest sectors although all Stoxx 600 sub-indexes are off at least 1%, tech was also underperforming. As noted above, gas prices remain a focal pressure point with several measures hitting record levels. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Adler shares extend decline to 21% in Frankfurt after Viceroy Research publishes a report saying it is short Adler Group SA and its listed subsidiaries. Deutsche Telekom shares fall 4%, close to the level at which Goldman Sachs offered about EU1.5b worth of shares, as part of a deal to swap some of Softbank’s T- Mobile stake for one in Deutsche Telekom. Ambu shares fall as much as 8.1%, most since Aug. 17, after company cut its FY financial outlook. IP Group shares drop as much as 8.1%, their worst day in nine months, after CEO Alan Aubrey and CIO Mike Townend retire. GN Store Nord shares rise as much as 7.5% as it agrees to buy SteelSeries, a maker of software-enabled gaming gear, from Nordic private equity company Axcel for an enterprise value of DKK8b on a cash and debt-free basis. Tesco shares rise as much as 4.6% to an eight-month high after Britain’s biggest supermarket operator said it will buy back GBP500m of stock and raised its FY profit forecast. HSBC rises as much 2.5% as UBS upgrades the Asia-focused lender to buy from neutral, saying the market is taking a risk by being underweight. PageGroup shares jump as much as 6.9%, most since April, as the staffing firm boosts its profit forecast. Peer Hays also gains. Dustin shares jump as much as 11%, most since April 13, after the IT solutions provider’s Ebit for the fourth quarter beat the average analyst estimate. Atlantic Sapphire gains as much as 15% as Pareto sees improvements ahead. Asian stocks headed for their longest losing streak since August as a selloff in the heavyweight tech sector deepened amid rising Treasury yields. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined as much as 0.8%, in its fourth day of decline, with Samsung and Tencent among the biggest drags. A benchmark tracking Chinese technology stocks in Hong Kong closed at a record low. Japan’s Nikkei 225 and South Korea’s Kospi were the biggest losers, sliding more than 1% each. China Tech Stock Gauge Falls to Test Record Low as Yields Rise Investors have yet to digest issues such as the inflation outlook, among other concerns including gridlock over the U.S. debt ceiling and higher global energy prices. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is approaching year-to-date lows seen in August.  “At the moment, given all the uncertainties regarding the growth, inflation and policy outlooks, we are still in the middle of the tempest, so to speak,” Kyle Rodda, an analyst at IG Markets, said by email.  Indonesian, Malaysian and Philippine stock benchmarks were among the region’s best performers. In Japan, the Topix closed 0.3% lower while the Nikkei225 capped its worst daily losing streak since July 2009 and entered a technical correction, as Japanese equities tumbled while Treasury yields climbed. Fast Retailing Co. and Tokyo Electron Ltd. were the largest contributors to a 1.1% loss in the Nikkei 225, which fell for an eighth-straight day. The gauge, which had risen as much as 1.4% earlier in the day, closed more than 10% down from its September high. The broader Topix dipped 0.3%, erasing an early 1.6% advance, driven by losses in automakers. Banks climbed on the spike in Treasury yields. Japanese stocks had opened the day higher, following a rebound in U.S. shares. Both major gauges fell for a seventh day Tuesday amid market disappointment with the new government and a host of threats to global economic growth. ‘Kishida Shock’ Hits Japan Markets Wary of Redistribution Plan “Technicals such as RSI and Bollinger are showing that these moves may have been overdone in the short term, but Japan is hostage to the continued global concerns regarding inflation, supply chains and Chinese credit along with PM Kishida’s ‘new capitalism’ concept,” said Takeo Kamai, head of execution services at CLSA Securities Japan Co Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.6% to close at 7,206.50, reversing an earlier advance of as much as 0.4%. Banks contributed the most to the benchmark’s decline after Australia’s banking regulator raised loan buffers in a bid to cool the nation’s booming housing market. a2 Milk was the worst performer after a class action lawsuit was filed against the company. Whitehaven was the top performer, rising for a fourth straight day.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.3% to 13,166.44. The nation’s central bank raised interest rates for the first time in seven years and signaled further increases will likely be needed to tame inflation. The RBNZ lifted the official cash rate by a quarter percentage point to 0.5%. In rates, Treasuries were off their worst levels of the day after the 10Y yield rose briefly topped 1.57%, and remained cheaper by more than 2bps across long-end. The 10-year yield was around 1.55%, cheapest since June 17; U.K. 10-year cheapens by further 1.8bp vs U.S., German 10-year by 0.5bp. In the U.K., the 10-year breakeven rate climbed above 4%, twice the Bank of England’s target, spurred by soaring energy costs. Money markets have almost fully priced a rate hike as soon as December, in what would be the central bank’s first increase in over three years. Peripheral spreads widen to core with long-dated BTPs widening ~3bps to Germany. In FX, USD is well bid with risk assets trading poorly. Bloomberg dollar index rises 0.5%, pushing through last Friday’s highs. NZD, NOK and AUD are the weakest in G-10. Crude futures trade a narrow range near Asia’s opening levels. WTI is down 0.4% near $78.60, Brent briefly trades above $83 before dipping into the red. Spot gold extends Asia’s weakness to print fresh lows for the week near $1,745/oz. Base metals are in the red. LME copper the worst performer, dropping 1.9% to trade near the $9k mark. In commodities, crude futures trade a narrow range near Asia’s opening levels. WTI is down 0.4% near $78.60, Brent briefly trades above $83 before dipping into the red. Spot gold extends Asia’s weakness to print fresh lows for the week near $1,745/oz. Base metals are in the red. LME copper the worst performer, dropping 1.9% to trade near the $9k mark Elsewhere, Bitcoin traded around the $51,000 mark. Looking at the day ahead, data releases include German factory orders for August, the German and UK construction PMIs for September, Euro Area retail sales for August, and the ADP’s September report on private payrolls from the US. From central banks, we’ll also hear from the ECB’s Centeno. Market Wrap S&P 500 futures down 0.9% to 4,294.75 STOXX Europe 600 down 1.5% to 449.34 MXAP down 0.7% to 191.25 MXAPJ down 0.8% to 622.40 Nikkei down 1.1% to 27,528.87 Topix down 0.3% to 1,941.91 Hang Seng Index down 0.6% to 23,966.49 Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,568.17 Sensex down 0.2% to 59,596.78 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.6% to 7,206.55 Kospi down 1.8% to 2,908.31 Brent Futures up 0.1% to $82.67/bbl Gold spot down 0.7% to $1,747.69 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.32% to 94.28 German 10Y yield up 2 bps to -0.168% Euro down 0.3% to $1.1560 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Boris Johnson’s insistence that higher pay for U.K. workers is worth the pain of supply chain turmoil is generating buzz among Conservative Party members that he’s planning to raise the minimum wage in a keynote speech on Wednesday European energy prices extend their blistering rally as the supply crunch shows no sign of easing and the European Union pledged a quick response to keep the crisis from damaging the economy Chinese Fantasia Holdings Group Co., which develops high-end apartments and urban renewal projects, failed to repay a $205.7 million bond that came due Monday. That prompted a flurry of rating downgrades late Tuesday to levels signifying default. The stumble stirred broader angst in volatile markets amid public holidays in China and uncertainty about Evergrande President Emmanuel Macron nominated Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau for a second term, opting for stability in one of the most important appointment decisions on European Central Bank policy making for years to come The German Green Party is seeking to start exploratory talks with the SPD and liberal FDP party on forming a governing coalition, Green Party co-leader Annalena Baerbock said Saudi Arabia reduced oil prices for its main buyers, a day after OPEC+ sent crude futures surging by sticking to a plan for slow and steady supply increases A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk: Asia-Pac bourses traded mostly lower after failing to sustain the initial momentum from Wall St, where all major indices gained as investors bought back into tech and with sentiment helped by better-than-expected ISM services PMI, while continued upside in oil prices and a higher yield environment also underpinned energy and financials. This initially lifted the overnight benchmark indices although gains in the ASX 200 (-0.6%) were later reversed as the strength in energy and tech was overshadowed by weakness in the broader market including underperformance in the top-weighted financials sector after the regulator announced a loan curb measure targeting mortgage lending. Nikkei 225 (-1.1%) faded its opening gains and brief foray into 28k territory with auto names among the laggards amid ongoing production disruptions and with PM Kishida’s new cabinet beginning on shaky ground as polls showed his approval rating was at just 55% heading into the upcoming election, which was also the lowest for a new leader in 13 years, while KOSPI (-1.8%) gave up initial spoils with firmer than expected CPI data supporting the case for another hike by the BoK this year. Hang Seng (-0.6%) conformed to the soured mood amid weakness in property and biotech with participants also focusing on Chief Executive Lam’s final policy address of her current term where she proposed measures to address the housing issue, although this failed to lift the property sector as Evergrande concerns lingered after Hong Kong property agencies sued the Co. to recover overdue commissions and with shares in its New Energy Vehicle unit suffering double-digit percentage losses. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower on spillover selling from T-notes and despite the downturn in stocks, while the absence of BoJ purchases in the market today added to the lacklustre demand with the central bank instead offering to buy JPY 125bln in corporate bonds from October 11th with 1yr-3yr maturities. Top Asian News China Tech Stock Gauge Falls to Record Low as Yields Rise Top Glove Says Cooperating in Investigation Over Worker’s Death China Resources Unit Said to Be in Talks for JLL China Business Asian Stocks Drop as Tech Selloff Deepens Amid Rising Yields Stocks in Europe have extended on the losses seen at the cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 -2.4%; Stoxx 600 -1.8%) with risk aversion intensifying from a downbeat APAC session as markets grapple with the prospect of stagflation, the energy crunch, Evergrande woes, and geopolitics. US equity futures have conformed to the losses across stocks with the ES (-1.3%) RTY (-1.5%), NQ (-1.5%) and YM (-1.0%) all softer, whilst the former two dipped under 4,300 and 2,200 respectively. From a news-flow standpoint, fresh catalysts have been light. Euro-bouses see broad-based losses whilst the FTSE 100 (-1.6%) is somewhat cushioned (albeit under 7k) by a softer sterling alongside some heavyweight individual stocks including HSBC (+3.3%) following a broker move, and Tesco (+4.5%) after topping H1 forecasts, raised guidance and a GBP 500mln share buyback scheme. Sectors in Europe are all in the red. Banks are the best of the bunch amid the favourable yield environment. On this note, SocGen suggested that the banking sector should benefit from the rise in yields and limited exposure to China, higher energy and supply-chain bottlenecks, while that market consolidation offers some opportunities in the European tech and industrial sectors. Back to sectors, the downside sees some of the more cyclical sectors including Travel & Leisure and Auto names. In terms of some individual movers, Deutsche Telekom (-5.6%) is hit after a bookrunner noted a share offering of some 90mln shares priced at a discount to yesterday’s close. Top European News German Greens Seek Talks With SPD, FDP on Post-Merkel Government European Industry Buckles Under a Worsening Energy Squeeze Polish Central Bank Unbowed Despite Price Spike: Decision Guide Bayer Shares Turn Lower After Initial Gains on Roundup Win In FX, the Dollar is firmly back in the driving seat and the index is eyeing YTD highs having reclaimed 94.000+ status amidst another sharp downturn in risk appetite just a day after what some pundits were dubbing as a ‘turnaround Tuesday’. Instead, Asia-Pacific bourses were reluctant to pick up the baton from Wall Street and the failure to keep the ball rolling against the backdrop of ongoing strength in gas and oil prices has rattled EU equities to the extent that the Dax has lost grip of the 15k handle and FTSE is down below 7k regardless of the fact that the UK benchmark has some positive impulses beyond the obvious revenue implications for the energy sector. Back to the DXY 94.448 is the best so far ahead of 94.500 for sentimental reasons and the current y-t-d peak just a fraction above at 94.504. In terms of fundamentals, next up for the Greenback is ADP as one of the usual pointers for NFP, while Fed speak comes from Bostic who is down to talk twice today. NZD/AUD - Ironically perhaps, the Kiwi is underperforming even though the RBNZ matched market expectations with a 25 bp OCR hike overnight, and this could well be described as a classic ‘buy rumour, sell fact’ reaction given that the move was all priced in. Moreover, the accompanying statement has not altered expectations for further measured tightening and this could compound the inclination to re-position/take profit/cut longs to the detriment of the Nzd. Indeed, the Kiwi has retreated from around 0.6980 vs its US rival to circa 0.6878 and is struggling to tread water on the 1.0500 mark against the Aussie that is also losing out to its US rival on the aforementioned risk dynamic, as Aud/Usd hovers towards the bottom end of 0.7295-0.7227 parameters ahead of AIG’s services sector index. CAD/GBP - Also somewhat perverse, though a measure of the degree that the market mood has changed since yesterday, the Loonie and Sterling are both struggling to derive much from the latest advances in WTI or Brent. In fact, Usd/Cad approached 1.2650 having breached the 50 DMA (1.2626) and pulling away from a cluster of decent option expiries that start at 1.2520-25 (1 bn) and continue through 1.2550-60 (2.1 bn) to 1.2600 (1 bn) and end between 1.2720-30 (1.5 bn, while Cable has reversed through 1.3600 and the 10 DMA (1.3592) with little assistance from a sub-consensus UK construction PMI. EUR/CHF/JPY - All unable to escape the Buck’s clutches, with the Euro down to a minor new 2021 low and probing barriers at 1.1550, while the Franc is treading water around 0.9300 and the Yen is thriving to keep tabs on 111.50 due to its renowned safe-haven properties, and with the prop of JGB yields reaching multi-month peaks, albeit in catch-up trade with US Treasuries and other global bonds. SCANDI/EM - Little solace for the Nok via Brent almost touching Usd 83.50/brl at one stage, though it is holding a firm line following its ascent beyond 10.0000 vs the Eur, while the Sek has largely taken mixed Swedish data and Riksbank rhetoric from Skingsley in stride (caution warranted and now is not the time to change monetary policy), but EM currencies are all floundering with the Try sliding to yet another record trough and on course to hit 9.0000. Ahead, the Zar will be looking for something supportive from SARB Governor Kganyago via a webinar on the economy, jobs and growth. RBNZ hiked the OCR by 25bps to 0.50% as expected and the committee noted further removal of monetary policy stimulus is expected over time. RBNZ added that it is appropriate to continue reducing the level of stimulus and that future moves are contingent on the medium term outlook for inflation and employment, while policy stimulus will need to be reduced to maintain price stability and maximum sustainable employment over the medium term. Furthermore, it noted that cost pressures are becoming more persistent and capacity pressures are still evident, but added that demand shortfalls are less of an issue than the economy hitting capacity constraints and that economic activity will rebound quickly as alert level restrictions ease. (Newswires) In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are choppy in early European trade with a downside bias amid the risk tone, but ultimately, prices remain near recent highs with the WTI Nov contract north of USD 78.50/bbl (78.25-79.78/bbl) and Brent Dec around 82/bbl (vs USD 81.92-83.47/bbl range) at the time of writing. Nat gas has once again been the focus in the energy complex, with the UK Nat Gas future surging some 40% intraday at one point, although its US counterpart has lost some steam. A lot of attention has been the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to alleviate some of the supply/demand imbalances in the gas market heading into the winter period. Yesterday, an EU lawmaker suggested that the pipeline does not comply with EU rules, although an EU court adviser noted that Nord Stream 2 could challenge the energy rule and the decision is not final. European natural gas futures climbed to a fresh all-time high. Back to crude, it’s worth being cognizant of the underlying demand that could be fed via the higher gas prices as other energy sources are more sought after, including diesel generators for electricity usually produced by Nat Gas. Over to metals, spot gold and silver are pressured by the firmer Buck with the former back under USD 1,750/oz and at session lows at the time of writing. The downbeat tone has also taken a toll on the base metals complex, with LME copper again dipping below the USD 9,000/t from a USD 9,135/t intraday peak. US Event Calendar 7am: Oct. MBA Mortgage Applications, prior -1.1% 8:15am: Sept. ADP Employment Change, est. 430,000, prior 374,000 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Risk appetite returned to markets yesterday, but not without some astonishing moves in commodities and inflation markets alongside a selloff in bonds. On top of that, we also had a fresh round of signals that supply-chain issues and inflation were beginning to have real economic impacts, thanks to the global September PMI readings. The most eye catching stat of the last 24 hours is probably that the UK’s index linked bonds are now implying that the April 2022 YoY UK RPI print will be c.7%. Thanks to DB’s Sanjay Raja for pointing this out to me. That’s the point in time where Ofgem next updates its price cap for utility bills. This comes after further astonishing moves in natural gas. In the UK, gas prices were up +19.54%, marking the biggest daily percentage increase in over a year and a +183.3% move since the start of August. 10 year UK breakevens closed at an incredible 3.979% (+9.6bps on the day). To be fair this is based on RPI not the CPI that other index linked markets are. As of early next year the UK is moving to a CPI-H benchmark so these numbers will come down but it’s still an astonishing reflection on expectations for 10-year average inflation numbers. Benchmark European natural gas futures weren’t much different and were up by +20.04% to a record €116.02 per megawatt hour. That’s also the biggest daily percentage increase in over a year, and the absolute increase of €19.37 is actually more than the level at which natural gas was trading as recently as Q1 this year! That leaves natural gas prices up more than six-fold since the start of the year, and up more than three-fold since the start of July. In comparison the US gas future was “only” up +9.20%, but still reached its highest closing level since December 2008. And oil itself saw another round of gains, with Brent Crude (+1.60%) rising to its highest in almost 3 years, at $82.56/bbl, whilst WTI was up +1.69% to $78.93/bbl, its highest since 2014. This fresh round of price surges has led to another spike in inflation expectations across multiple countries even in 10 year markets, so way beyond the transitory stage. We’ve already highlighted the UK number but the 10yr German breakeven (+7.6bps) saw its biggest daily increase in nearly a year, hitting a fresh 8-year high of 1.796%. Its Italian counterpart (+8.3bps) hit a new high for the decade at 1.715%. Even in the US, where breakevens have been trading in a fairly tight band recently, we saw a +6.8bps rise to 2.460%, which is its highest closing level in 4 months. With breakevens moving sharply higher, this was clearly bad news for sovereign bonds, which sold off on both sides of the Atlantic across different maturities. Yields on 10yr Treasuries were up +4.7bps to 1.53%, with the entirety of that move resulting from higher inflation expectations rather than real rates, which actually fell on the day (-2.0bps). Over in Europe, gilts saw the biggest declines as investors continue to anticipate a potential BoE rate hike in the coming months, with 10yr yields rising by a further +7.3bps, whilst the spread of UK 10yr yields over bunds actually widened to its biggest level since the day of the Brexit referendum in 2016. That said, yields were also moving higher on the continent, with those on 10yr bunds (+2.6bps), OATs (+2.5bps) and BTPs (+3.0bps) all moving to their highest level in 3 months. The case for inflation was given further support by the September PMI releases, which pointed to supply-chain issues across multiple countries. In the Euro Area, the composite PMI was revised up a tenth to 56.2, but the release said that input prices were rising at the joint-fastest on record. Over in the US, the composite PMI was also revised up half a point from the flash reading to 55.0, but the release similarly mentioned labour shortages and capacity constraints holding back growth. The US composite PMI of 55.0 was its lowest level in a year, albeit still above the 50-mark that separates expansion from contraction. The September US ISM services reading rose 0.2 to 61.9 (59.9 expected) with the report suggesting that delta variant concerns are easing as 17 of the 18 industries reported growth over the last month. However, there were still comments in the report highlighting supply chain issues and some inability to retain or hire labour. In spite of the renewed inflation concerns clouding the Q4 outlook, the major equity indices managed to post a decent rebound from Monday’s losses, although it’s worth noting that many were only recouping those declines rather than advancing to new heights. The S&P 500 was up +1.05%, so still just beneath where it started the week after Monday’s -1.30% decline, whilst the NASDAQ was up +1.25% and the FANG+ recovered +2.23%. It was the 4th straight day that the S&P 500 moved more than 1% in either direction, the longest such streak since November 2020. While yesterday saw a broad-based rally with 21 of the 24 S&P 500 industries gaining, financials were the big outperformer thanks to higher yields. The US Financials sectors added +1.78%, whilst in Europe the STOXX Banks index (+3.99%) hit a post-pandemic high, well outpacing the broader STOXX 600 (+1.17%). Overnight in Asia, most markets continued to slide with the Nikkei (-1.00%), Kospi (-1.00%), Hang Seng (-0.71%) and Australia’s ASX (-0.68%) all moving lower on the back of higher energy prices and inflation concerns. In Japan the Nikkei extended losses for an eighth consecutive session on concerns that new PM Fumio Kishida could be outlining a redistribution plan that includes higher taxes, including on capital gains, although he’s yet to outline the specifics of the policy. Separately the Reserve Bank of New Zealand joined the club of central banks raising rates, hiking by 25bps in a move that was the first rate rise in seven years, as they also indicated more hikes might be warranted. In terms of the latest on Evergrande, the firm is still yet to release details of the “major transaction” we mentioned on Monday, with the company’s shares still suspended, whilst Fantasia saw its long-term rating cut to selective default by S&P yesterday, down from CCC. US futures are pointing to further declines later with those on the S&P 500 down -0.39%. Turning to the ongoing debt ceiling saga, the US Senate has a cloture vote scheduled for today to suspend the ceiling, but Republican leadership are confident they can block the measure and force the Democrats to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally using the budget reconciliation process (which only requires a simple majority of votes in the Senate). So this would tie a move on the debt ceiling into the reconciliation bill that includes President Biden’s “Build Back Better” economic plan. However, the Democrats are maintaining that the reconciliation process takes too long, with the Treasury estimating it will run out of funding around October 18, and have made the case that both parties have a duty to raise the ceiling, since it reflects debts racked up under administrations of both parties rather than just the Democrats. Irrespective of the debt ceiling though, it does continue to sound like there’s movement toward a deal amongst Congressional Democrats on the size of the plan, withSenator Manchin (a key Democratic moderate) reportedly not ruling out a $1.9-2.2 trillion spending plan price tag, which is also the level that President Biden had been floating to House Democrats last week. Speaking of the Senate, yesterday Senator Elizabeth Warren had yet more strong words for Fed Chair Powell. Warren has already said she opposes giving Powell a second term as the Fed Chair, and yesterday’s speech criticised him for his lack of oversight of the trading activity of Federal Reserve officials. She said Powell has “failed as a leader” and that there are “legitimate questions about conflicts of interest and insider trading” around the actions of certain Fed Officials. This follows her actions on Monday, when she called the SEC to investigate Federal Reserve officials for insider trading. At the same time, Chair Powell asked its inspector general to conduct a review of trades made by Federal Reserve members to ensure they complied with the law and Fed rules. While a White House spokesperson said yesterday that President Biden continues to have confidence in Chair Powell, Senator Warren may be setting up to float an alternative candidate for Chair in the coming weeks ahead of Powell’s term ending early next year. To the day ahead now, and data releases include German factory orders for August, the German and UK construction PMIs for September, Euro Area retail sales for August, and the ADP’s September report on private payrolls from the US. From central banks, we’ll also hear from the ECB’s Centeno. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/06/2021 - 08:07.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 6th, 2021

Camber Energy: What If They Made a Whole Company Out of Red Flags? – Kerrisdale

Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake […] Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake in Viking Energy Group Inc (OTCMKTS:VKIN), an OTC-traded company with negative book value and a going-concern warning that recently violated the maximum-leverage covenant on one of its loans. (For a time, it also had a fake CFO – long story.) Nonetheless, Camber’s stock price has increased by 6x over the past month; last week, astonishingly, an average of $1.9 billion worth of Camber shares changed hands every day. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Is there any logic to this bizarre frenzy? Camber pumpers have seized upon the notion that the company is now a play on carbon capture and clean energy, citing a license agreement recently entered into by Viking. But the “ESG Clean Energy” technology license is a joke. Not only is it tiny relative to Camber’s market cap (costing only $5 million and granting exclusivity only in Canada), but it has embroiled Camber in the long-running escapades of a western Massachusetts family that once claimed to have created a revolutionary new combustion engine, only to wind up being penalized by the SEC for raising $80 million in unregistered securities offerings, often to unaccredited investors, and spending much of it on themselves. But the most fascinating part of the CEI boondoggle actually has to do with something far more basic: how many shares are there, and why has dilution been spiraling out of control? We believe the market is badly mistaken about Camber’s share count and ignorant of its terrifying capital structure. In fact, we estimate its fully diluted share count is roughly triple the widely reported number, bringing its true, fully diluted market cap, absurdly, to nearly $900 million. Since Camber is delinquent on its financials, investors have failed to fully appreciate the impact of its ongoing issuance of an unusual, highly dilutive class of convertible preferred stock. As a result of this “death spiral” preferred, Camber has already seen its share count increase 50- million-fold from early 2016 to July 2021 – and we believe it isn’t over yet, as preferred holders can and will continue to convert their securities and sell the resulting common shares. Even at the much lower valuation that investors incorrectly think Camber trades for, it’s still overvalued. The core Viking assets are low-quality and dangerously levered, while any near- term benefits from higher commodity prices will be muted by hedges established in 2020. The recent clean-energy license is nearly worthless. It’s ridiculous to have to say this, but Camber isn’t worth $900 million. If it looks like a penny stock, and it acts like a penny stock, it is a penny stock. Camber has been a penny stock before – no more than a month ago, in fact – and we expect that it will be once again. Company Background Founded in 2004, Camber was originally called Lucas Energy Resources. It went public via a reverse merger in 2006 with the plan of “capitaliz[ing] on the increasing availability of opportunistic acquisitions in the energy sector.”1 But after years of bad investments and a nearly 100% decline in its stock price, the company, which renamed itself Camber in 2017, found itself with little economic value left; faced with the prospect of losing its NYSE American listing, it cast about for new acquisitions beginning in early 2019. That’s when Viking entered the picture. Jim Miller, a member of Camber’s board, had served on the board of a micro-cap company called Guardian 8 that was working on “a proprietary new class of enhanced non-lethal weapons”; Guardian 8’s CEO, Steve Cochennet, happened to also be part owner of a Kansas-based company that operated some of Viking’s oil and gas assets and knew that Viking, whose shares traded over the counter, was interested in moving up to a national exchange.2 (In case you’re wondering, under Miller and Cochennet’s watch, Guardian 8’s stock saw its price drop to ~$0; it was delisted in 2019.3) Viking itself also had a checkered past. Previously a shell company, it was repurposed by a corporate lawyer and investment banker named Tom Simeo to create SinoCubate, “an incubator of and investor in privately held companies mainly in P.R. China.” But this business model went nowhere. In 2012, SinoCubate changed its name to Viking Investments but continued to achieve little. In 2014, Simeo brought in James A. Doris, a Canadian lawyer, as a member of the board of directors and then as president and CEO, tasked with executing on Viking’s new strategy of “acquir[ing] income-producing assets throughout North America in various sectors, including energy and real estate.” In a series of transactions, Doris gradually built up a portfolio of oil wells and other energy assets in the United States, relying on large amounts of high-cost debt to get deals done. But Viking has never achieved consistent GAAP profitability; indeed, under Doris’s leadership, from 2015 to the first half of 2021, Viking’s cumulative net income has totaled negative $105 million, and its financial statements warn of “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”4 At first, despite the Guardian 8 crew’s match-making, Camber showed little interest in Viking and pursued another acquisition instead. But, when that deal fell apart, Camber re-engaged with Viking and, in February 2020, announced an all-stock acquisition – effectively a reverse merger in which Viking would end up as the surviving company but transfer some value to incumbent Camber shareholders in exchange for the national listing. For reasons that remain somewhat unclear, this original deal structure was beset with delays, and in December 2020 (after months of insisting that deal closing was just around the corner) Camber announced that it would instead directly purchase a 51% stake in Viking; at the same time, Doris, Viking’s CEO, officially took over Camber as well. Subsequent transactions through July 2021 have brough Camber’s Viking stake up to 69.9 million shares (73% of Viking’s total common shares), in exchange for consideration in the form of a mixture of cash, debt forgiveness,5 and debt assumption, valued in the aggregate by Viking at only $50.7 million: Camber and Viking announced a new merger agreement in February 2021, aiming to take out the remaining Viking shares not owned by Camber and thus fully combine the two companies, but that plan is on hold because Camber has failed to file its last 10-K (as well as two subsequent 10-Qs) and is thus in danger of being delisted unless it catches up by November. Today, then, Camber’s absurd equity valuation rests entirely on its majority stake in a small, unprofitable oil-and-gas roll-up cobbled together by a Canadian lawyer. An Opaque Capital Structure Has Concealed the True Insanity of Camber’s Valuation What actually is Camber’s equity valuation? It sounds like a simple question, and sources like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance supply what looks like a simple answer: 104.2 million shares outstanding times a $3.09 closing price (as of October 4, 2021) equals a market cap of $322 million – absurd enough, given what Camber owns. But these figures only tell part of the story. We estimate that the correct fully diluted market cap is actually a staggering $882 million, including the impact of both Camber’s unusual, highly dilutive Series C convertible preferred stock and its convertible debt. Because Camber is delinquent on its SEC filings, it’s difficult to assemble an up-to-date picture of its balance sheet and capital structure. The widely used 104.2-million-share figure comes from an 8-K filed in July that states, in part: As of July 9, 2021, the Company had 104,195,295 shares of common stock issued and outstanding. The increase in our outstanding shares of common stock from the date of the Company’s February 23, 2021 increase in authorized shares of common stock (from 25 million shares to 250 million shares), is primarily due to conversions of shares of Series C Preferred Stock of the Company into common stock, and conversion premiums due thereon, which are payable in shares of common stock. This bland language belies the stunning magnitude of the dilution that has already taken place. Indeed, we estimate that, of the 104.2 million common shares outstanding on July 9th, 99.7% were created via the conversion of Series C preferred in the past few years – and there’s more where that came from. The terms of Camber’s preferreds are complex but boil down to the following: they accrue non- cash dividends at the sky-high rate of 24.95% per year for a notional seven years but can be converted into common shares at any time. The face value of the preferred shares converts into common shares at a fixed conversion price of $162.50 per share, far higher than the current trading price – so far, so good (from a Camber-shareholder perspective). The problem is the additional “conversion premium,” which is equal to the full seven years’ worth of dividends, or 7 x 24.95% ≈ 175% of face value, all at once, and is converted at a far lower conversion price that “will never be above approximately $0.3985 per share…regardless of the actual trading price of Camber’s common stock” (but could in principle go lower if the price crashes to new lows).6 The upshot of all this is that one share of Series C preferred is now convertible into ~43,885 shares of common stock.7 Historically, all of Camber’s Series C preferred was held by one investor: Discover Growth Fund. The terms of the preferred agreement cap Discover’s ownership of Camber’s common shares at 9.99% of the total, but nothing stops Discover from converting preferred into common up to that cap, selling off the resulting shares, converting additional preferred shares into common up to the cap, selling those common shares, etc., as Camber has stated explicitly (and as Discover has in fact done over the years) (emphasis added): Although Discover may not receive shares of common stock exceeding 9.99% of its outstanding shares of common stock immediately after affecting such conversion, this restriction does not prevent Discover from receiving shares up to the 9.99% limit, selling those shares, and then receiving the rest of the shares it is due, in one or more tranches, while still staying below the 9.99% limit. If Discover chooses to do this, it will cause substantial dilution to the then holders of its common stock. Additionally, the continued sale of shares issuable upon successive conversions will likely create significant downward pressure on the price of its common stock as Discover sells material amounts of Camber’s common stock over time and/or in a short period of time. This could place further downward pressure on the price of its common stock and in turn result in Discover receiving an ever increasing number of additional shares of common stock upon conversion of its securities, and adjustments thereof, which in turn will likely lead to further dilution, reductions in the exercise/conversion price of Discover’s securities and even more downward pressure on its common stock, which could lead to its common stock becoming devalued or worthless.8 In 2017, soon after Discover began to convert some of its first preferred shares, Camber’s then- management claimed to be shocked by the results and sued Discover for fraud, arguing that “[t]he catastrophic effect of the Discover Documents [i.e. the terms of the preferred] is so devastating that the Discover Documents are prima facie unconscionable” because “they will permit Discover to strip Camber of its value and business well beyond the simple repayment of its debt.” Camber called the documents “extremely difficult to understand” and insisted that they “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder. … Only after signing the documents did Camber and [its then CEO]…learn that Discover’s reading of the Discover Documents was that the terms that applied were the strictest and most Camber unfriendly interpretation possible.”9 But the judge wasn’t impressed, suggesting that it was Camber’s own fault for failing to read the fine print, and the case was dismissed. With no better options, Camber then repeatedly came crawling back to Discover for additional tranches of funding via preferred sales. While the recent spike in common share count to 104.2 million as of early July includes some of the impact of ongoing preferred conversion, we believe it fails to include all of it. In addition to Discover’s 2,093 shares of Series C preferred held as of February 2021, Camber issued additional shares to EMC Capital Partners, a creditor of Viking’s, as part of a January agreement to reduce Viking’s debt.10 Then, in July, Camber issued another block of preferred shares – also to Discover, we believe – to help fund Viking’s recent deals.11 We speculate that many of these preferred shares have already been converted into common shares that have subsequently been sold into a frenzied retail bid. Beyond the Series C preferred, there is one additional source of potential dilution: debt issued to Discover in three transactions from December 2020 to April 2021, totaling $20.5 million in face value, and amended in July to be convertible at a fixed price of $1.25 per share.12 We summarize our estimates of all of these sources of potential common share issuance below: Might we be wrong about this math? Absolutely – the mechanics of the Series C preferreds are so convoluted that prior Camber management sued Discover complaining that the legal documents governing them “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder.” Camber management could easily set the record straight by revealing the most up- to-date share count via an SEC filing, along with any additional clarifications about the expected future share count upon conversion of all outstanding convertible securities. But we're confident that the current share count reported in financial databases like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance significantly understates the true, fully diluted figure. An additional indication that Camber expects massive future dilution relates to the total authorized shares of common stock under its official articles of incorporation. It was only a few months ago, in February, that Camber had to hold a special shareholder meeting to increase its maximum authorized share count from 25 million to 250 million in order to accommodate all the shares to be issued because of preferred conversions. But under Camber’s July agreement to sell additional preferred shares to Discover, the company (emphasis added) agreed to include proposals relating to the approval of the July 2021 Purchase Agreement and the issuance of the shares of common stock upon conversion of the Series C Preferred Stock sold pursuant to the July 2021 Purchase Agreement, as well as an increase in authorized common stock to fulfill our obligations to issue such shares, at the Company’s next Annual Meeting, the meeting held to approve the Merger or a separate meeting in the event the Merger is terminated prior to shareholder approval, and to use commercially reasonable best efforts to obtain such approvals as soon as possible and in any event prior to January 1, 2022.13 In other words, Camber can already see that 250 million shares will soon not be enough, consistent with our estimate of ~285 million fully diluted shares above. In sum, Camber’s true overvaluation is dramatically worse than it initially appears because of the massive number of common shares that its preferred and other securities can convert into, leading to a fully diluted share count that is nearly triple the figure found in standard information sources used by investors. This enormous latent dilution, impossible to discern without combing through numerous scattered filings made by a company with no up-to-date financial statements in the public domain, means that the market is – perhaps out of ignorance – attributing close to one billion dollars of value to a very weak business. Camber’s Stake in Viking Has Little Real Value In light of Camber’s gargantuan valuation, it’s worth dwelling on some basic facts about its sole meaningful asset, a 73% stake in Viking Energy. As of 6/30/21: Viking had negative $15 million in shareholder equity/book Its financial statements noted “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going ” Of its $101.3 million in outstanding debt (at face value), nearly half (48%) was scheduled to mature and come due over the following 12 months. Viking noted that it “does not currently maintain controls and procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by the Company in the reports it files or submits under the Exchange Act are recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified by the Commission’s rules and forms.” Viking’s CEO “has concluded that these [disclosure] controls and procedures are not effective in providing reasonable assurance of compliance.” Viking disclosed that a key subsidiary, Elysium Energy, was “in default of the maximum leverage ratio covenant under the term loan agreement at June 30, 2021”; this covenant caps the entity’s total secured debt to EBITDA at 75 to 1.14 This is hardly a healthy operation. Indeed, even according to Viking’s own black-box estimates, the present value of its total proved reserves of oil and gas, using a 10% discount rate (likely generous given the company’s high debt costs), was $120 million as of 12/31/20,15 while its outstanding debt, as stated above, is $101 million – perhaps implying a sliver of residual economic value to equity holders, but not much. And while some market observers have recently gotten excited about how increases in commodity prices could benefit Camber/Viking, any near-term impact will be blunted by hedges put on by Viking in early 2020, which cover, with respect to its Elysium properties, “60% of the estimated production for 2021 and 50% of the estimated production for the period between January, 2022 to July, 2022. Theses hedges have a floor of $45 and a ceiling ranging from $52.70 to $56.00 for oil, and a floor of $2.00 and a ceiling of $2.425 for natural gas” – cutting into the benefit of any price spikes above those ceiling levels.16 Sharing our dreary view of Viking’s prospects is one of Viking’s own financial advisors, a firm called Scalar, LLC, that Viking hired to prepare a fairness opinion under the original all-stock merger agreement with Camber. Combining Viking’s own internal projections with data on comparable-company valuation multiples, Scalar concluded in October 2020 that Viking’s equity was worth somewhere between $0 and $20 million, depending on the methodology used, with the “purest” methodology – a true, full-blown DCF – yielding the lowest estimate of $0-1 million: Camber’s advisor, Mercer Capital, came to a similar conclusion: its “analysis indicated an implied equity value of Viking of $0 to $34.3 million.”17 It’s inconceivable that a majority stake in this company, deemed potentially worthless by multiple experts and clearly experiencing financial strains, could somehow justify a near-billion-dollar valuation. Instead of dwelling on the unpleasant realities of Viking’s oil and gas business, Camber has drawn investor attention to two recent transactions conducted by Viking with Camber funding: a license agreement with “ESG Clean Energy,” discussed in further detail below, and the acquisition of a 60.3% stake in Simson-Maxwell, described as “a leading manufacturer and supplier of industrial engines, power generation products, services and custom energy solutions.” But Viking paid just $8 million for its Simson-Maxwell shares,18 and the company has just 125 employees; it defies belief to think that this purchase was such a bargain as to make a material dent in Camber’s overvaluation. And what does Simson-Maxwell actually do? One of its key officers, Daryl Kruper (identified as its chairman in Camber’s press release), describes the company a bit less grandly and more concretely on his LinkedIn page: Simson Maxwell is a power systems specialist. The company assembles and sells generator sets, industrial engines, power control systems and switchgear. Simson Maxwell has service and parts facilities in Edmonton, Calgary, Prince George, Vancouver, Nanaimo and Terrace. The company has provided its western Canadian customers with exceptional service for over 70 years. In other words, Simson-Maxwell acts as a sort of distributor/consultant, packaging industrial- strength generators and engines manufactured by companies like GE and Mitsubishi into systems that can provide electrical power, often in remote areas in western Canada; Simson- Maxwell employees then drive around in vans maintaining and repairing these systems. There’s nothing obviously wrong with this business, but it’s small, regional (not just Canada – western Canada specifically), likely driven by an unpredictable flow of new large projects, and unlikely to garner a high standalone valuation. Indeed, buried in one of Viking’s agreements with Simson- Maxwell’s selling shareholders (see p. 23) are clauses giving Viking the right to purchase the rest of the company between July 2024 and July 2026 at a price of at least 8x trailing EBITDA and giving the selling shareholders the right to sell the rest of their shares during the same time frame at a price of at least 7x trailing EBITDA – the kind of multiples associated with sleepy industrial distributors, not fast-growing retail darlings. Since Simon-Maxwell has nothing to do with Viking’s pre-existing assets or (alleged) expertise in oil and gas, and Viking and Camber are hardly flush with cash, why did they make the purchase? We speculate that management is concerned about the combined company’s ability to maintain its listing on the NYSE American. For example, when describing its restruck merger agreement with Viking, Camber noted: Additional closing conditions to the Merger include that in the event the NYSE American determines that the Merger constitutes, or will constitute, a “back-door listing”/“reverse merger”, Camber (and its common stock) is required to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American, pursuant to the applicable guidance and requirements of the NYSE as of the Effective Time. What does it take to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American? There are several ways, but three require at least $4 million of positive stockholders’ equity, which Viking, the intended surviving company, doesn’t have today; another requires a market cap of greater than $75 million, which management might (quite reasonably) be concerned about achieving sustainably. That leaves a standard that requires a listed company to have $75 million in assets and revenue. With Viking running at only ~$40 million of annualized revenue, we believe management is attempting to buy up more via acquisition. In fact, if the goal is simply to “buy” GAAP revenue, the most efficient way to do it is by acquiring a stake in a low-margin, slow- growing business – little earnings power, hence a low purchase price, but plenty of revenue. And by buying a majority stake instead of the whole thing, the acquirer can further reduce the capital outlay while still being able to consolidate all of the operation’s revenue under GAAP accounting. Buying 60.3% of Simson-Maxwell seems to fit the bill, but it’s a placeholder, not a real value-creator. Camber’s Partners in the Laughable “ESG Clean Energy” Deal Have a Long History of Broken Promises and Alleged Securities Fraud The “catalyst” most commonly cited by Camber Energy bulls for the recent massive increase in the company’s stock price is an August 24th press release, “Camber Energy Secures Exclusive IP License for Patented Carbon-Capture System,” announcing that the company, via Viking, “entered into an Exclusive Intellectual Property License Agreement with ESG Clean Energy, LLC (‘ESG’) regarding ESG’s patent rights and know-how related to stationary electric power generation, including methods to utilize heat and capture carbon dioxide.” Our research suggests that the “intellectual property” in question amounts to very little: in essence, the concept of collecting the exhaust gases emitted by a natural-gas–fueled electric generator, cooling it down to distill out the water vapor, and isolating the remaining carbon dioxide. But what happens to the carbon dioxide then? The clearest answer ESG Clean Energy has given is that it “can be sold to…cannabis producers”19 to help their plants grow faster, though the vast majority of the carbon dioxide would still end up escaping into the atmosphere over time, and additional greenhouse gases would be generated in compressing and shipping this carbon dioxide to the cannabis producers, likely leading to a net worsening of carbon emissions.20 And what is Viking – which primarily extracts oil and gas from the ground, as opposed to running generators and selling electrical power – supposed to do with this technology anyway? The idea seems to be that the newly acquired Simson-Maxwell business will attempt to sell the “technology” as a value-add to customers who are buying generators in western Canada. Indeed, while Camber’s press-release headline emphasized the “exclusive” nature of the license, the license is only exclusive in Canada plus “up to twenty-five locations in the United States” – making the much vaunted deal even more trivial than it might first appear. Viking paid an upfront royalty of $1.5 million in cash in August, with additional installments of $1.5 and $2 million due by January and April 2022, respectively, for a total of $5 million. In addition, Viking “shall pay to ESG continuing royalties of not more than 15% of the net revenues of Viking generated using the Intellectual Property, with the continuing royalty percentage to be jointly determined by the parties collaboratively based on the parties’ development of realistic cashflow models resulting from initial projects utilizing the Intellectual Property, and with the parties utilizing mediation if they cannot jointly agree to the continuing royalty percentage”21 – a strangely open-ended, perhaps rushed, way of setting a royalty rate. Overall, then, Viking is paying $5 million for roughly 85% of the economics of a technology that might conceivably help “capture” CO2 emitted by electric generators in Canada (and up to 25 locations in the United States!) but then probably just re-emit it again. This is the great advance that has driven Camber to a nearly billion-dollar market cap. It’s with good reason that on ESG Clean Energy’s web site (as of early October), the list of “press releases that show that ESG Clean Energy is making waves in the distributive power industry” is blank: If the ESG Clean Energy license deal were just another trivial bit of vaporware hyped up by a promotional company and its over-eager shareholders, it would be problematic but unremarkable; things like that happen all the time. But it’s the nature and history of Camber/Viking’s counterparty in the ESG deal that truly makes the situation sublime. ESG Clean Energy is in fact an offshoot of the Scuderi Group, a family business in western Massachusetts created to develop the now deceased Carmelo Scuderi’s idea for a revolutionary new type of engine. (In a 2005 AP article entitled “Engine design draws skepticism,” an MIT professor “said the creation is almost certain to fail.”) Two of Carmelo’s children, Nick and Sal, appeared in a recent ESG Clean Energy video with Camber’s CEO, who called Sal “more of the brains behind the operation” but didn’t state his official role – interesting since documents associated with ESG Clean Energy’s recent small-scale capital raises don’t mention Sal at all. Buried in Viking’s contract with ESG Clean Energy is the following section, indicating that the patents and technology underlying the deal actually belong in the first instance to the Scuderi Group, Inc.: 2.6 Demonstration of ESG’s Exclusive License with Scuderi Group and Right to Grant Licenses in this Agreement. ESG shall provide necessary documentation to Viking which demonstrates ESG’s right to grant the licenses in this Section 2 of this Agreement. For the avoidance of doubt, ESG shall provide necessary documentation that verifies the terms and conditions of ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group, Inc., a Delaware USA corporation, having an address of 1111 Elm Street, Suite 33, West Springfield, MA 01089 USA (“Scuderi Group”), and that nothing within ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group is inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement. In fact, the ESG Clean Energy entity itself was originally called Scuderi Clean Energy but changed its name in 2019; its subsidiary ESG-H1, LLC, which presides over a long-delayed power-generation project in the small city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (discussed further below), used to be called Scuderi Holyoke Power LLC but also changed its name in 2019.22 The SEC provided a good summary of the Scuderi Group’s history in a 2013 cease-and-desist order that imposed a $100,000 civil money penalty on Sal Scuderi (emphasis added): Founded in 2002, Scuderi Group has been in the business of developing a new internal combustion engine design. Scuderi Group’s business plan is to develop, patent, and license its engine technology to automobile companies and other large engine manufacturers. Scuderi Group, which considers itself a development stage company, has not generated any revenue… …These proceedings arise out of unregistered, non-exempt stock offerings and misleading disclosures regarding the use of offering proceeds by Scuderi Group and Mr. Scuderi, the company’s president. Between 2004 and 2011, Scuderi Group sold more than $80 million worth of securities through offerings that were not registered with the Commission and did not qualify for any of the exemptions from the Securities Act’s registration requirement. The company’s private placement memoranda informed investors that Scuderi Group intended to use the proceeds from its offerings for “general corporate purposes, including working capital.” In fact, the company was making significant payments to Scuderi family members for non-corporate purposes, including, large, ad hoc bonus payments to Scuderi family employees to cover personal expenses; payments to family members who provided no services to Scuderi; loans to Scuderi family members that were undocumented, with no written interest and repayment terms; large loans to fund $20 million personal insurance policies for six of the Scuderi siblings for which the company has not been, and will not be, repaid; and personal estate planning services for the Scuderi family. Between 2008 and 2011, a period when Scuderi Group sold more than $75 million in securities despite not obtaining any revenue, Mr. Scuderi authorized more than $3.2 million in Scuderi Group spending on such purposes. …In connection with these offerings [of stock], Scuderi Group disseminated more than 3,000 PPMs [private placement memoranda] to potential investors, directly and through third parties. Scuderi Group found these potential investors by, among other things, conducting hundreds of roadshows across the U.S.; hiring a registered broker-dealer to find investors; and paying numerous intermediaries to encourage people to attend meetings that Scuderi Group arranged for potential investors. …Scuderi Group’s own documents reflect that, in total, over 90 of the company’s investors were non-accredited investors… The Scuderi Group and Sal Scuderi neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings but agreed to stop violating securities law. Contemporary local news coverage of the regulatory action added color to the SEC’s description of the Scuderis’ fund-raising tactics (emphasis added): Here on Long Island, folks like HVAC specialist Bill Constantine were early investors, hoping to earn a windfall from Scuderi licensing the idea to every engine manufacturer in the world. Constantine said he was familiar with the Scuderis because he worked at an Islandia company that distributed an oil-less compressor for a refrigerant recovery system designed by the family patriarch. Constantine told [Long Island Business News] he began investing in the engine in 2007, getting many of his friends and family to put their money in, too. The company held an invitation-only sales pitch at the Marriott in Islandia in February 2011. Commercial real estate broker George Tsunis said he was asked to recruit investors for the Scuderi Group, but declined after hearing the pitch. “They were talking about doing business with Volkswagen and Mercedes, but everything was on the come,” Tsunis said. “They were having a party and nobody came.” Hot on the heels of the SEC action, an individual investor who had purchased $197,000 of Scuderi Group preferred units sued the Scuderi Group as well as Sal, Nick, Deborah, Stephen, and Ruth Scuderi individually, alleging, among other things, securities fraud (e.g. “untrue statements of material fact” in offering memoranda). This case was settled out of court in 2016 after the judge reportedly “said from the bench that he was likely to grant summary judgement for [the] plaintiff. … That ruling would have clear the way for other investors in Scuderi to claim at least part of a monetary settlement.” (Two other investors filed a similar lawsuit in 2017 but had it dismissed in 2018 because they ran afoul of the statute of limitations.23) The Scuderi Group put on a brave face, saying publicly, “The company is very pleased to put the SEC matter behind it and return focus to its technology.” In fact, in December 2013, just months after the SEC news broke, the company entered into a “Cooperative Consortium Agreement” with Hino Motors, a Japanese manufacturer, creating an “engineering research group” to further develop the Scuderi engine concept. “Hino paid Scuderi an initial fee of $150,000 to join the Consortium Group, which was to be refunded if Scuderi was unable to raise the funding necessary to start the Project by the Commencement Date,” in the words of Hino’s later lawsuit.24 Sure enough, the Scuderi Group ended up canceling the project in early October 2014 “due to funding and participant issues” – but it didn’t pay back the $150,000. Hino’s lawsuit documents Stephen Scuderi’s long series of emailed excuses: 10/31/14: “I must apologize, but we are going to be a little late in our refund of the Consortium Fee of $150,000. I am sure you have been able to deduce that we have a fair amount of challenging financial problems that we are working through. I am counting on financing for our current backlog of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) projects to provide the capital to refund the Consortium Fee. Though we are very optimistic that the financial package for our PPA projects will be completed successfully, the process is taking a little longer than I originally expected to complete (approximately 3 months longer).” 11/25/14: “I am confident that we can pay Hino back its refund by the end of January. … The reason I have been slow to respond is because I was waiting for feedback from a few large cornerstone investors that we have been negotiating with. The negotiations have been progressing very well and we are close to a comprehensive financing deal, but (as often happens) the back and forth of the negotiating process takes ” 1/12/15: “We have given a proposal to the potential high-end investors that is most interested in investing a large sum of money into Scuderi Group. That investor has done his due-diligence on our company and has communicated to us that he likes our proposal but wants to give us a counter ” 1/31/15: “The individual I spoke of last month is one of several high net worth individuals that are currently evaluating investing a significant amount of equity capital into our That particular individual has not yet responded with a counter proposal, because he wishes to complete a study on the power generation market as part of his due diligence effort first. Though we learned of the study only recently, we believe that his enthusiasm for investing in Scuderi Group remains as strong as ever and steady progress is being made with the other high net worth individuals as well. … I ask only that you be patient for a short while longer as we make every effort possible to raise the monies need[ed] to refund Hino its consortium fee.” Fed up, Hino sued instead of waiting for the next excuse – but ended up discovering that the Scuderi bank account to which it had wired the $150,000 now contained only about $64,000. Hino and the Scuderi Group then entered into a settlement in which that account balance was supposed to be immediately handed over to Hino, with the remainder plus interest to be paid back later – but Scuderi didn’t even comply with its own settlement, forcing Hino to re-initiate its lawsuit and obtain an official court judgment against Scuderi. Pursuant to that judgment, Hino formally requested an array of documents like tax returns and bank statements, but Scuderi simply ignored these requests, using the following brazen logic:25 Though as of this date, the execution has not been satisfied, Scuderi continues to operate in the ordinary course of business and reasonably expects to have money available to satisfy the execution in full in the near future. … Responding to the post- judgment discovery requests, as a practical matter, will not enable Scuderi to pay Hino any faster than can be achieved by Scuderi using all of its resources and efforts to conduct its day-to-day business operations and will only serve to impose additional and unnecessary costs on both parties. Scuderi has offered and is willing to make payments every 30 days to Hino in amounts not less than $10,000 until the execution is satisfied in full. Shortly thereafter, in March 2016, Hino dropped its case, perhaps having chosen to take the $10,000 per month rather than continue to tangle in court with the Scuderis (though we don’t know for sure). With its name tarnished by disgruntled investors and the SEC, and at least one of its bank accounts wiped out by Hino Motors, the Scuderi Group didn’t appear to have a bright future. But then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new business was born: Scuderi Clean Energy, “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group, Inc. … formed in October 2015 to market Scuderi Engine Technology to the power generation industry.” (Over time, references to the troubled “Scuderi Engine Technology” have faded away; today ESG Clean Energy is purportedly planning to use standard, off-the-shelf Caterpillar engines. And while an early press release described Scuderi Clean Energy as “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group,” the current Scuderi/ESG Clean Energy, LLC, appears to have been created later as its own (nominally) independent entity, led by Nick Scuderi.) As the emailed excuses in the Hino dispute suggested, this pivot to “clean energy” and electric power generation had been in the works for some time, enabling Scuderi Clean Energy to hit the ground running by signing a deal with Holyoke Gas and Electric, a small utility company owned by the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (population 38,238) in December 2015. The basic idea was that Scuderi Clean Energy would install a large natural-gas generator and associated equipment on a vacant lot and use it to supply Holyoke Gas and Electric with supplemental electric power, especially during “peak demand periods in the summer.”26 But it appears that, from day one, Holyoke had its doubts. In its 2015 annual report (p. 80), the company wrote (emphasis added): In December 2015, the Department contracted with Scuderi Clean Energy, LLC under a twenty (20) year [power purchase agreement] for a 4.375 MW [megawatt] natural gas generator. Uncertain if this project will move forward; however Department mitigated market and development risk by ensuring interconnection costs are born by other party and that rates under PPA are discounted to full wholesale energy and resulting load reduction cost savings (where and if applicable). Holyoke was right to be uncertain. Though its 2017 annual report optimistically said, “Expected Commercial Operation date is April 1, 2018” (p. 90), the 2018 annual report changed to “Expected Commercial Operation is unknown at this time” – language that had to be repeated verbatim in the 2019 and 2020 annual reports. Six years after the contract was signed, the Scuderi Clean Energy, now ESG Clean Energy, project still hasn’t produced one iota of power, let alone one dollar of revenue. What it has produced, however, is funding from retail investors, though perhaps not as much as the Scuderis could have hoped. Beginning in 2017, Scuderi Clean Energy managed to sell roughly $1.3 million27 in 5-year “TIGRcub” bonds (Top-Line Income Generation Rights Certificates) on the small online Entrex platform by advertising a 12% “minimum yield” and 16.72% “projected IRR” (based on 18.84% “revenue participation”) over a 5-year term. While we don’t know the exact terms of these bonds, we believe that, at least early on, interest payments were covered by some sort of prepaid insurance policy, while later payments depend on (so far nonexistent) revenue from the Holyoke project. But Scuderi Clean Energy had been aiming to raise $6 million to complete the project, not $1 million; indeed, this was only supposed to be the first component of a whole empire of “Scuderi power plants”28 that would require over $100 million to build but were supposedly already under contract.29 So far, however, nothing has come of these other projects, and, seemingly suffering from insufficient funding, the Holyoke effort languished. (Of course, it might have been more investor-friendly if Scuderi Clean Energy had only accepted funding on the condition that there was enough to actually complete construction.) Under the new ESG Clean Energy name, the Scuderis tried in 2019 to raise capital again, this time in the form of $5 million of preferred units marketed as a “5 year tax free Investment with 18% cash-on-cash return,” but, based on an SEC filing, it appears that the offering didn’t go well, raising just $150,000. With funding still limited and the Holyoke project far from finished, the clock is ticking: the $1.3 million of bonds will begin to mature in early 2022. It was thus fortunate that Viking came along when it did to pay ESG Clean Energy a $1.5 million upfront royalty for its incredible technology. Interestingly, ESG Clean Energy began in late 2020 to provide extremely detailed updates on its Holyoke construction progress, including items as prosaic as “Throughout the week, ESG had met with and continued to exchange numerous e-mails with our mechanical engineering firm.” With frequent references to the “very fluid environment,” the tone is unmistakably defensive. Consider the September update (emphasis not added): Reading between the lines, we believe the intended message is this: “We didn’t just take your money and run – honest! We’re working hard!” Nonetheless, someone appears to be unhappy, as indicated by the FINRA BrokerCheck report for one Eric Willer, a former employee of Fusion Analytics, which was listed as a recipient of sales compensation in connection with the Scuderi Clean Energy bond offerings. Willer may now be in hot water: a disclosure notice dated 3/31/2021 reads: “Wells Notice received as a preliminary determination to recommend disciplinary action of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and recommendation without due diligence in the sale of bonds issued by Scuderi Holyoke,” with a further investigation still pending. We wait eagerly for additional updates. Why does the saga of the Scuderis matter? Many Camber investors seem to have convinced themselves that the ESG Clean Energy “carbon capture” IP licensed by Viking has enormous value and can plausibly justify hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental market cap. As we explained above, we find this thoroughly implausible even without getting into Scuderi family history: in the end, the “technology” will at best add a smidgen of value to some generators in Canada. But track records matter too, and the Scuderi track record of failed R&D, delays, excuses, and alleged misuse of funds is worth considering. These people have spent six years trying and failing to sell power to a single municipally owned utility company in a single small city in western Massachusetts. Are they really about to end climate change? The Case of the Fictitious CFO Since Camber is effectively a bet on Viking, and Viking, in its current form, has been assembled by James Doris, it’s important to assess Doris’s probity and good judgment. In that connection, it’s noteworthy that, from December 2014 to July 2016, at the very start of Doris’s reign as Viking’s CEO and president, the company’s CFO, Guangfang “Cecile” Yang, was apparently fictitious. (Covering the case in 2019, Dealbreaker used the headline “Possibly Imaginary CFO Grounds For Very Real Fraud Lawsuit.”) This strange situation was brought to light by an SEC lawsuit against Viking’s founder, Tom Simeo; just last month, a US district court granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC against Simeo, but Simeo’s penalties have yet to be determined.30 The court’s opinion provided a good overview of the facts (references omitted, emphasis added): In 2013, Simeo hired Yang, who lives in Shanghai, China, to be Viking’s CFO. Yang served in that position until she purportedly resigned in July 2016. When Yang joined the company, Simeo fabricated a standing resignation letter, in which Yang purported to “irrevocably” resign her position with Viking “at any time desired by the Company” and “[u]pon notification that the Company accepted [her] resignation”…Simeo forged Yang’s signature on this document. This letter allowed Simeo to remove Yang from the position of CFO whenever he pleased. Simeo also fabricated a power of attorney purportedly signed by Yang that allowed Simeo to “affix Yang’s signature to any and all documents,” including documents that Viking had to file with the SEC. Viking represented to the public that Yang was the company’s CFO and a member of its Board of Directors. But “Yang never actually functioned as Viking’s CFO.” She “was not involved in the financial and strategic decisions” of Viking during the Relevant Period. Nor did she play any role in “preparing Viking’s financial statements or public filings.” Indeed, at least as of April 3, 2015, Yang did not do “any work” on Viking’s financial statements and did not speak with anyone who was preparing them. She also did not “review or evaluate Viking’s internal controls over financial reporting.” Further, during most or all of the Relevant Period, Viking did not compensate Yang despite the fact that she was the company’s highest ranking financial employee. Nevertheless, Simeo says that he personally paid her in cash. Yang’s “sole point of contact” at Viking was Simeo. Indeed Simeo was “the only person at Viking who communicated with Yang.” Thus many people at Viking never interacted with Yang. Despite the fact that Doris has served as Viking’s CEO since December 2014, he “has never met or spoken to Yang either in person or through any other means, and he has never communicated with Yang in writing.” … To think Yang served as CFO during this time, but the CEO and other individuals involved with Viking’s SEC filings never once spoke with her, strains all logical credulity. It remains unclear whether Yang is even a real person. When the SEC asked Simeo directly (“Is it the case that you made up the existence of Ms. Yang?”) he responded by “invoking the Fifth Amendment.”31 While the SEC’s efforts thus far have focused on Simeo, the case clearly raises the question of what Doris knew and when he knew it. Indeed, though many of the required Sarbanes-Oxley certifications of Viking’s financial statements during the Yang period were signed by Simeo in his role as chairman, Doris did personally sign off on an amended 2015 10-K that refers to Yang as CFO through July 2016 and includes her complete, apparently fictitious, biography. Viking has also disclosed the following, which we believe pertains to the Yang affair (emphasis added): In April of 2019, the staff (the “Staff”) of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement notified the Company that the Staff had made a preliminary determination to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action against the Company, as well as against its CEO and its CFO, for alleged violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [laws that pertain to securities fraud] during the period from early 2014 through late 2016. The Staff’s notice is not a formal allegation or a finding of wrongdoing by the Company, and the Company has communicated with the Staff regarding its preliminary determination. The Company believes it has adequate defenses and intends to vigorously defend any enforcement action that may be initiated by the SEC.32 Perhaps the SEC has moved on from this matter and will let Doris and Viking off the hook, but the fact pattern is eyebrow-raising nonetheless. A similarly troubling incident came soon after the time of Yang’s “resignation,” when Viking’s auditing firm resigned, withdrew its recent audit report, and wrote a letter “advising the Company that it believed an illegal act may have occurred” – because of concerns that had nothing to do with Yang. First, Viking accounted for the timing of a grant of shares to a consultant in apparent contradiction of the terms of the written agreement with the consultant – a seemingly minor issue. But, under scrutiny from the auditor, Viking “produced a letter… (the version which was provided to us was unsigned), from the consultant stating that the Agreement was invalidated verbally.” Reading between the lines, the “uncomfortable” auditor suspected that this letter was a fake, created just to get him off Viking’s back. In another incident, the auditor “became aware that seven of the company’s loans…were due to be repaid” in August 2016 but hadn’t been, creating a default that would in turn “trigger[] a cross-default clause contained in 17 additional loans” – but Viking claimed it “had secured an oral extension to the loans from the broker-dealer representing the lenders by September 6, 2016” – after the loans’ maturity dates – “so the Company did not need to disclose ‘the defaults under these loans’ after such time since the loans were not in default.” It’s easy to see why an auditor would object to this attitude toward financial disclosure – no need to mention a default in August as long as you can secure a verbal agreement resolving it by September! Against this backdrop of disturbing behavior, the fact that Camber just dismissed its auditing firm three weeks ago on September 16th, even with delisting looming if the company can’t become current again with its SEC filings by November, seems even more unsettling. Have Camber and Viking management earned investors’ trust? Conclusion It’s not clear why, back in 2017, Lucas Energy changed its name to “Camber” specifically, but we’d like to think the inspiration was England’s Camber Castle. According to Atlas Obscura, the castle was supposed to help defend the English coast, but it took so long to build that its “advanced design was obsolete by the time of its completion,” and changes in the local environment meant that “the sea had receded so far that cannons fired from the fort would no longer be able to reach any invading ships.” Still, the useless castle was “manned and serviced” for nearly a century before being officially decommissioned. Today, Camber “lies derelict and almost unheard of.” But what’s in a name? Article by Kerrisdale Capital Management Updated on Oct 5, 2021, 12:06 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 5th, 2021

Ridgeback Biotherapeutics Co-Founders On Potential Covid Pill Supply

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics Co-Founders Dr. Wayne Holman and Wendy Holman on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET) today, Friday, October 1st. Following are links to video on CNBC.com: Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Ridgeback Biotherapeutics Co-Founders On Potential Covid Pill Supply […] Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics Co-Founders Dr. Wayne Holman and Wendy Holman on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET) today, Friday, October 1st. Following are links to video on CNBC.com: if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Ridgeback Biotherapeutics Co-Founders On Potential Covid Pill Supply Ridgeback Biotherapeutics Co-Founders On How Pill Can Tackle Covid-19 All references must be sourced to CNBC. DAVID FABER: Joining us now are Wendy Holman and Dr. Wayne Holman. They’re of course the co-founders of Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. It's great to see you both. It has been a long road in many ways, Wayne, I mean referring back to our March 2020 conversation. What gave you the confidence then that in fact we would get to this moment today? WAYNE HOLMAN: Hi David, thanks so much for having us back. We're very happy to be here and very exciting day. You know, in drug development, the truth is when you have a molecule that's never been given to a human being before, you know, competence might not be the right word more and more like hope, but we were hopeful. We also thought that it was absolutely essential that we give this drug a chance. We thought it had a chance, we were concerned that the pandemic, this virus might cause a pandemic sadly the way it has unfolded and it would be a big need that was unmet and so, we took that chance. You know, we really started to get confident when we saw the human data, so we went into Phase 1, we were able to give the drug to people at every dose we gave it to people in Phase 1, we saw that it was very well tolerated similar similarly to placebo, and we were getting blood levels that suggested that there was enough drug in, in the people that if we treated people who were sick with COVID that we should be able to replicate what we saw in animals which is prevent people from getting sicker and happily today we're able to show that Phase 3 was stopped early as you mentioned in outpatients, and we're able to reduce hospitalizations by half, death and hospitalization by half, and we're able to reduce death to zero. You know, one out of 50 people sadly on the placebo arm actually died of COVID and, and no one died in the treatment group. DAVID FABER: Wendy, you know, obviously, having been close to the two of you and watch this process I can remember when you were dealing with the US government early on before you even signed the deal with Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) but give us a little background there and your expectations now from your partner, Merck obviously which, which has this drug in terms of their ability to manufacture. How many courses can, can Merck potentially come up with as soon as this thing is approved under emergency usage? WENDY HOLMAN: Thanks David. So, the primary reason that we originally went to the US government was for help with manufacturing. We were, we felt an obligation that if the drug were to work, we wanted to have enough for everyone. We never got government funding so we then turned to Merck, who is a tremendous commercial partner, to help us get this to the people so they have publicly announced that they'll have 10 million treatment courses available by the end of the year, as well as they've also entered into we've entered into voluntary license agreements with different generic manufacturers to allow it to get to sort of other parts of the world that would not be able to afford it. DAVID FABER: And Wendy, what are your expectations then beyond that? You know, we were talking before we came to the two of you about countries where vaccination rates continue to be low where there's certainly the possibility of even other variants perhaps being as devastating as Delta has been. Is Merck going to be able to produce a lot more than 10 million courses into 2022? WENDY HOLMAN: So, the great news about, the great part of the news today related to variants is that 80% of the patients that were valuable had either Gamma, Delta or Mu. So we've seen its power against the variants and the voluntary license agreements that we’ve entered into allow for generic manufacturers to sell it at as close to cost as possible for the rest of the world. DAVID FABER: Wayne, I think it is important to sort of remind people it, you know, and again as you explained to me many times, maybe I finally understand that doesn't work against the, the spike protein the way the vaccines do, it actually works against all the variants because it has a different way of actually knocking down the virus. Can you explain to people why that's the case and why it's important so it may mean that any future variant would be susceptible to the drug? WAYNE HOLMAN: That's right. So, this drug acts on the part of the virus that we could, that the virus uses to reproduce itself and so, it stops the virus from being able to do that or reduces its ability to do that. And that has nothing to do with variants, and in the genetic code of the spike protein, which is what we hear about a lot with variants. So not only does it work against all the variants that we've tested in vitro as Wendy mentioned happily, we've now shown in the human clinical trial, it worked equally well against all the variants that were tested in the Phase 3. And we know from other work that it works against other coronaviruses, as I mentioned back in March in SARS and MERS and it also works against unrelated viruses such as influenza, so it's a, it's a very fundamental mechanism to how viruses replicate themselves and it's very difficult to generate resistance and it's, should work against all variants that that we see hopefully. DAVID FABER: Yeah, well let me come back to that actually I want to come back to, to Molnupiravir specifically and COVID but you just indicated that there might be indications for this drug far beyond even COVID-19? I mean, flu is that really a possibility and or other viruses why? WAYNE HOLMAN: Absolutely. So, basically if it's a RNA virus, it uses a similar enzyme to SARS-CoV-2 which is the virus that causes COVID and to replicate itself. And this medicine tricks the virus into using it as a building block of the chain as it tries to make copies of itself, and it will do so and it has done so successfully in, in vitro as well as in animal studies for influenza, SARS, MERS, as well as other viruses. DAVID FABER: Wendy, all three of us for example at this desk are certainly vaccinated as Jim just indicated he's got three in him already, but if one of us were to get a breakthrough infection, would our doctor advise us if this is available to actually take the five-day course? Would it be your expectation that that would be the case? WENDY HOLMAN: Obviously that would come down to your physician but we've seen with the some of the breakthrough cases is that you still see hospitalization and bad outcomes and so I would imagine your physician would want you to take this to make sure that you stay out of the hospital and obviously avoid that. WAYNE HOLMAN: Right, and we'll see what the FDA label is but ultimately as Wendy pointed out, it's a decision if you're symptomatic, your physician, you know, it's about having that option available to you. WENDY HOLMAN: In addition, we announced in September that Merck and Ridgeback have started a prophylaxis trial, which we'll look at whether or not you've been exposed to somebody with COVID, taking this treatment, does it stop you from getting it? DAVID FABER: Yeah, you know, Wayne and I referenced this of course I can remember a conversation you and I had on March 6th, I remember the date when you indicated to me that I better be very careful out there, stop taking the subway what you basically said, you said some other things too. In your mind, is this day a significant one in terms of our ability to deal with this virus? WAYNE HOLMAN: Absolutely, you know, what we're afraid of with the virus is, is bad outcomes, right. There are four other coronaviruses that have been circulating naturally that give people mostly common cold symptoms and we handle that and we live a normal life. And the idea is that all these innovations that have been coming out of the biopharma industry are designed to help get us back to that normal life. And if you know that your risk of being hospitalized or having a bad illness or obviously death has been dramatically reduced by all of these countermeasures including hopefully Molnupiravir, then you feel more comfortable conducting activities the way we always did so that was the hope when we first spoke in March, and we're super excited and happy that, you know, this drug has worked the way we hoped it would. And that it's so easy to distribute and to manufacturer from, from a logistics standpoint, this can be distributed around the globe. And we can make large quantities available and our partners can as well and Merck’s manufacturing is really incredible. They've done an incredible job and we're super happy with what they've been able to accomplish. And you asked about how much— DAVID FABER: Sorry, let me stop you there because I know Jim Cramer wanted to just get a quick question in. Sorry. JIM CRAMER: It does feel like the polio moment and when we gave it to the sugar cube, Dr. Sabin. Congratulations both Wendy and Wayne. Let me just ask you a question. I do BinaxNOW four or five days. I do it's the Abbott test and I really like it. So, Dr. Holman, let's say it comes out positive. If I take it Monday, it's negative. Tuesday, it’s positive. What should I do how do I change my life the moment I see that that's a positive reaction to BinaxNOW? WAYNE HOLMAN: So hopefully, after if we're fortunate enough to get emergency use or full approval from FDA and it's available, at that point you would very likely want to call your physician. Let your physician know you've tested positive and then your physician in consultation with you would decide if it's the right thing for you to reduce your risk of hospitalization or death based on the data that we've shared today. DAVID FABER: Wendy, you know, this is also a big day obviously not just for Merck, but for Ridgeback Biotherapeutics as well and conceivably given the numbers that we're talking about from Merck, you guys are going to do quite well as well. I just wonder how are you going to change your approach. I mean I know, you know, Wayne, for I know as an investor for so many years, does this change sort of what you guys are doing at Ridgeback given what has been a long process here but ultimately one that does appear to be likely to end in great success? WENDY HOLMAN: Not at all, it strengthens our resolve. When Wayne and I founded Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, our primary goal was to work on global health. We wanted to work on diseases that needed champions and where better to start but there. And we used our knowledge from our investment world and applied it to, looking into the antiviral field and that's how we started our work in Ebola and Ridgeback Bio was one of the few companies that was able to get a viral treatment for an acute illness approved in a pandemic setting and so we use those lessons learned and applied them to COVID and we're certainly going to use our lessons learned from COVID and use it on our pipeline. DAVID FABER: And finally, Wayne, you know, Pfizer's got a therapy that may be out there as well. I think it's a different mechanism, is that something you welcome? Is it seen as a competitor from your perspective and do you think, frankly, from what you know that, that it's likely to work as well? WAYNE HOLMAN: Yeah, great question, David and, you know, the way we look at it and the way I look at it is that we don't really have competitors in this COVID world. We have allies in the fight against this pandemic and we are very close to a lot of people at Pfizer and very happy that they're having a huge success they've had with both the vaccine and happy to see them getting into later stage studies with their antiviral as well. As you pointed out, it's a different mechanism and our compound inhibits the ability of the virus to replicate by stopping and inhibiting its ability to reproduce. There's, it's called a protease inhibitor, and that has an effect on an enzyme that's necessary for the virus to assemble itself and essentially, and so these things, history suggests that combinations and antiviral can be helpful but we welcome all effective therapies that can help this pandemic. DAVID FABER: Well Wayne and Wendy, certainly appreciate you joining us this morning on obviously a big day for you and for the markets and for perhaps hopefully for global health as well. Thank you both. WENDY HOLMAN: Thank you. WAYNE HOLMAN: Thank you David. Thanks everybody. Updated on Oct 1, 2021, 1:12 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 1st, 2021

Futures Fade Rally With Congress Set To Avert Government Shutdown

Futures Fade Rally With Congress Set To Avert Government Shutdown US equity futures faded an overnight rally on the last day of September as lingering global-growth risks underscored by China's official manufacturing PMI contracted for the first time since Feb 2020 as widely expected offset a debt-ceiling deal in Washington and central-bank assurances about transitory inflation. The deal to extend government funding removes one uncertainty from the minds of investors, amid China risks and concerns over Federal Reserve tapering. Comments from Fed Chair Powell and ECB head Christine Lagarde about inflation being transitory rather than permanent also helped sentiment, even if nobody actually believes them any more.In China, authorities told bankers to help local governments support the property market and homebuyers, signaling concern at the economic fallout from the debt crisis at China Evergrande As of 7:15am ET, S&P futures were up 18 points ot 0.44%, trimming an earlier gain of 0.9%. Dow eminis were up 135 or 0.4% and Nasdaq futs rose 0.43%. 10Y TSY yields were higher, rising as high as 1.54% and last seen at 1.5289%; the US Dollar erased earlier losses and was unchanged. All the three major indexes are set for a monthly drop, with the benchmark S&P 500 on track to break its seven-month winning streak as worries about persistent inflation, the fallout from China Evergrande’s potential default and political wrangling over the debt ceiling rattled sentiment. The index was, however, on course to mark its sixth straight quarterly gain, albeit its smallest, since March 2020’s drop. The rate-sensitive FAANG stocks have lost about $415 billion in value this month after the Federal Reserve’s hawkish shift on monetary policy sparked a rally in Treasury yields and prompted investors to move into energy, banks and small-cap sectors that stand to benefit the most from an economic revival. Among individual stocks, oil-and-gas companies APA Corp. and Devon Energy Corp. led premarket gains among S&P 500 members. Virgin Galactic shares surged 9.7% in premarket trading after the U.S. aviation regulator gave the company a green-light to resume flights to the brink of space. Perrigo climbed 14% after reporting a settlement in a tax dispute with Ireland.  U.S.-listed Macau casino operators may get a boost Thursday after Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said the region will strive to resume quarantine-free travel to Zhuhai by Oct. 1, the start of the Golden Week holiday, if the Covid-19 situation in Macau is stable. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today: Retail investor favorites Farmmi (FAMI US) and Camber Energy (CEI US) both rise in U.S. premarket trading, continuing their strong recent runs on high volumes Virgin Galactic (SPCE US) shares rise 8.9% in U.S. premarket trading after the U.S. aviation regulator gave co. a green-light to resume flights to the brink of space Perrigo (PRGO US) rises 15% in U.S. premarket trading after reporting a settlement in a tax dispute with Ireland. The stock was raised to buy from hold at Jefferies over the “very favorable” resolution Landec (LNDC US) shares fell 17% in Wednesday postmarket trading after fiscal 1Q revenue and adjusted loss per share miss consensus estimates Affimed (AFMD US) rises 4.3% in Wednesday postmarket trading after Stifel analyst Bradley Canino initiates at a buy with a $12 price target, implying the stock may more than double over the next year Herman Miller (MLHR US) up ~2.8% in Wednesday postmarket trading after the office furnishings maker posts fiscal 1Q net sales that beat the consensus estimate Orion Group Holdings (ORN US) shares surged as much as 43% in Wednesday extended trading after the company disclosed two contract awards for its Marine segment totaling nearly $200m Kaival Brands (KAVL US) fell 18% Wednesday postmarket after offering shares, warrants via Maxim An agreement among U.S. lawmakers to extend government funding removes one uncertainty from a litany of risks investors are contenting with, ranging from China’s growth slowdown to Federal Reserve tapering. “Republicans and Democrats showed some compromise by averting a government shutdown,” Sebastien Galy, a senior macro strategist at Nordea Investment Funds. “By removing what felt like a significant risk for a retail audience, it helps sentiment in the equity market.” Still, president Joe Biden’s agenda remains at risk of being derailed by divisions among his own Democrats, as moderates voiced anger on Wednesday at the idea of delaying a $1 trillion infrastructure bill ahead of a critical vote to avert a government shutdown. The big overnight economic news came from China whose September NBS manufacturing PMI fell to 49.6 from 50.1 in August, the first contraction since Feb 2020, likely due to the production cuts caused by energy constraints. Both the output sub-index and the new orders sub-index in the NBS manufacturing PMI survey decreased in September. The NBS non-manufacturing PMI rebounded to 53.2 in September from 47.5 in August on a recovery of services activities as COVID restrictions eased. However, the numbers may not capture full impact of energy restrictions as the NBS survey was taken around 22nd-25th of the month: expect far worse number in the months ahead unless China manages to contain its energy crisis. Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index advanced 0.3%, trimming a monthly loss but fading an earlier gain of 0.9%, led by gains in basic resources companies as iron ore climbed, with the CAC and FTSE 100 outperforming at the margin. Technology stocks, battered earlier this week, also extended their rebound.  Miners, oil & gas and media are the strongest sectors; utility and industrial names lag. European natural gas and power markets hit fresh record highs as supply constraints persist. Perrigo jumped 13.8% after the drugmaker agreed to settle with Irish tax authorities over a 2018 issue by paying $1.90 billion in taxes Asian stocks were poised to cap their first quarterly loss since March 2020 as Chinese technology names fell and as investors remained wary over a recent rise in U.S. Treasury yields.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is set to end the September quarter with a loss of more than 5%, snapping a winning streak of five straight quarters. A combination of higher yields, Beijing’s corporate crackdown and worry over slowing economic growth in Asia’s biggest economy have hurt sentiment, bringing the market down following a brief rally in late August.  The Asian benchmark rose less than 0.1% after posting its worst single-day drop in six weeks on Wednesday. Consumer discretionary and communication services groups fell, while financials advanced. The Hang Seng Tech Index ended 1.3% lower as Beijing announced new curbs on the sector, while higher yields hurt sentiment toward growth stocks.  “Because there’s growing worry over U.S. inflation, we need to keep an eye on the potential risks, globally,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management. “Also, there’s the Evergrande issue. The market is in a wait-and-see mode now, with a focus on whether the group will be able to make future interest rate payments.”  Benchmarks in Thailand and Malaysia were the biggest losers, while Indonesia and Australia outperformed. Japan’s Topix and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped for a fourth day as investors weighed Fumio Kishida’s election victory as the new ruling party leader. Global stocks are poised to end the quarter with a small loss, after a five-quarter rally, as investors braced for the Fed to wind down its stimulus. They also remain concerned about slowing growth and elevated inflation, supply-chain bottlenecks, an energy crunch and regulatory risks emanating from China. A majority of participants in a Citigroup survey said a 20% pullback in stocks is more likely than a 20% rally. In rates, Treasuries were slightly cheaper across the curve, off session lows as stock futures pare gains. 10-year TSY yields were around 1.53%, cheaper by 1.2bp on the day vs 2.3bp for U.K. 10-year; MPC-dated OIS rates price in ~65bps of BOE hikes by December 2022. Gilts lead the selloff, with U.K. curve bear-steepening as BOE rate-hike expectations continue to ramp up. Host of Fed speakers are in focus during U.S. session, while month-end extension may serve to underpin long-end of the curve.   A gauge of the dollar’s strength headed for its first drop in five days as Treasury yields steadied after a recent rise, and amid quarter-end flows. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell as the dollar steady or weaker against most of its Group-of-10 peers. The euro hovered around $1.16 and the pound was steady while Gilts inched lower, underperforming Bunds and Treasuries. Money markets now see around 65 basis points of tightening by the BOE’s December 2022 meeting, according to sterling overnight index swaps. That means they’re betting the key rate will rise to 0.75% next year from 0.1% currently. The Australian dollar led gains after it rose off its lowest level since August 23 amid exporter month-end demand and as iron ore buyers locked in purchases ahead of a week-long holiday in China. Norway’s krone was the worst G-10 performer and slipped a fifth day versus the dollar, its longest loosing streak in a year. In commodities, oil surrendered gains, still heading for a monthly gain amid tighter supplies. West Texas Intermediate futures briefly recaptured the level above $75 per barrel, before trading at $74.71. APA and Devon rose at least 1.8% in early New York trading. European gas prices meanwhile hit a new all time high. Looking at the day ahead, one of the highlights will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance at the House Financial Services Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. Other central bank speakers include the Fed’s Williams, Bostic, Harker, Evans, Bullard and Daly, as well as the ECB’s Centeno, Visco and Hernandez de Cos. On the data side, today’s highlights include German, French and Italian CPI for September, while in the US there’s the weekly initial jobless claims, the third estimate of Q2 GDP and the MNI Chicago PMI for September. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,379.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.6% to 457.59 MXAP little changed at 196.85 MXAPJ up 0.3% to 635.71 Nikkei down 0.3% to 29,452.66 Topix down 0.4% to 2,030.16 Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 24,575.64 Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,568.17 Sensex down 0.3% to 59,239.76 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.9% to 7,332.16 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,068.82 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $78.98/bbl Gold spot up 0.4% to $1,732.86 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.27 German 10Y yield fell 0.5 bps to -0.212% Euro little changed at $1.1607 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg U.K. gross domestic product rose 5.5% in the second quarter instead of the 4.8% earlier estimated, official figures published Thursday show. The data, which reflected the reopening of stores and the hospitality industry, mean the economy was still 3.3% smaller than it was before the pandemic struck. China has urged financial institutions to help local governments stabilize the rapidly cooling housing market and ease mortgages for some home buyers, another signal that authorities are worried about fallout from the debt crisis at China Evergrande Group. The U.S. currency’s surge is helping the Chinese yuan record its largest gain in eight months on a trade-weighted basis in September. It adds to headwinds for the world’s second- largest economy already slowing due to a resurgence in Covid cases, a power crisis and regulatory curbs. The Swiss National Bank bought foreign exchange worth 5.44 billion francs ($5.8 billion) in the second quarter, part of its long-running policy to alleviate appreciation pressure on the franc   A few members of the Riksbank’s executive board discussed a rate path that could indicate a rate rise at the end of the forecast period, Sweden’s central bank says in minutes from its Sept. 20 meeting French inflation accelerated in September as households in the euro area’s second-largest economy faced a jump in the costs of energy and services. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded somewhat varied with the region indecisive at quarter-end and as participants digested a slew of data releases including mixed Chinese PMI figures. ASX 200 (+1.7%) was underpinned by broad strength across its industries including the top-weighted financials sector and with the large cap miners lifted as iron ore futures surge by double-digit percentages, while the surprise expansion in Building Approvals also helped markets overlook the 51% spike in daily new infections for Victoria state. Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) was subdued for most of the session after disappointing Industrial Production and Retail Sales data which prompted the government to cut its assessment of industrial output which it stated was stalling. The government also warned that factory output could decline for a third consecutive month in September and that October has large downside risk due to uncertainty from auto manufacturing cuts. However, Nikkei 225 then recovered with the index marginally supported by currency flows. Hang Seng (-1.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) diverged heading into the National Day holidays and week-long closure for the mainland with tech names in Hong Kong pressured by ongoing regulatory concerns as China is to tighten regulation of algorithms related to internet information services. Nonetheless, mainland bourses were kept afloat after a further liquidity injection by the PBoC ahead of the Golden Week celebrations and as markets took the latest PMI figures in their strides whereby the official headline Manufacturing PMI disappointed to print its first contraction since February 2020, although Non-Manufacturing PMI and Composite PMI returned to expansionary territory and Caixin Manufacturing PMI topped estimates to print at the 50-benchmark level. Top Asian News S&P Points to Progress as Bondholders Wait: Evergrande Update Bank Linked to Kazakh Leader Buys Kcell Stake After Share Slump Goldman Sachs Names Andy Tai Head of IBD Southeast Asia: Memo What Japan’s Middle-of-the-Road New Leader Means for Markets The upside momentum seen across US and European equity futures overnight stalled, with European cash also drifting from the best seen at the open (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.1%; Stoxx 600 +0.4%). This follows somewhat mixed APAC handover, and as newsflow remains light on month and quarter-end. US equity futures are firmer across the board, but again off best levels, although the RTY (+0.8%) outperforms the ES (+0.4%), YM (+0.4%) and NQ (+0.5%). Back to Europe, the periphery lags vs core markets, whilst the DAX 40 (-0.3%) underperforms within the core market. Sectors in Europe are mostly in the green but do not portray a particular risk bias. Basic Resources top the chart with aid from overnight action in some base metals, particularly iron, in turn aiding the large iron miners BHP (+2.2%), Rio Tinto (+3.4%) and Anglo American (+2.9%). The bottom of the sectors meanwhile consists of Travel & Leisure, Autos & Parts and Industrial Goods & Services, with the former potentially feeling some headwinds from China’s travel restrictions during its upcoming National Day holiday. In terms of M&A, French press reported that CAC-listed Carrefour (-1.3%) is reportedly looking at options for sector consolidation, and talks are said to have taken place with the chain stores Auchan, with peer Casino (Unch) also initially seeing a leg higher in sympathy amid the prospect of sector consolidation. That being said, Carrefour has now reversed its earlier upside with no particular catalyst for the reversal. It is, however, worth keeping in mind that regulatory/competition hurdles cannot be ruled out – as a reminder, earlier this year, France blocked the takeover of Carrefour by Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard. In the case of a successful deal, Carrefour will likely be the acquirer as the largest supermarket in France. Sticking with M&A, Eutelsat (+14%) was bolstered at the open amid source reports that French billionaire Patrick Drahi is said to have made an unsolicited takeover offer of EUR 12.10/shr for Eutelsat (vs EUR 10.35 close on Wednesday), whilst the FT reported that this offer was rejected. Top European News European Banks Dangle $26 Billion in Payouts as ECB Cap Ends U.K. Economy Emerged From Lockdown Stronger Than Expected In a First, Uber Joins Drivers in Strike Against Brussels Rules EU, U.S. Seek to Avert Chip-Subsidy Race, Float Supply Links In FX, The non-US Dollars are taking advantage of the Greenback’s loss of momentum, and the Aussie in particular given an unexpected boost from building approvals completely confounding expectations for a fall, while a spike in iron ore prices overnight provided additional incentive amidst somewhat mixed external impulses via Chinese PMIs. Hence, Aud/Usd is leading the chasing pack and back up around 0.7200, Usd/Cad is retreating through 1.2750 and away from decent option expiry interest at 1.2755 and between 1.2750-40 (in 1.3 bn and 1 bn respectively) with some assistance from the latest bounce in crude benchmarks and Nzd/Usd is still trying to tag along, but capped into 0.6900 as the Aud/Nzd cross continues to grind higher and hamper the Kiwi. DXY/GBP/JPY/EUR/CHF - It’s far too early to call time on the Buck’s impressive rally and revival from recent lows, but it has stalled following a midweek extension that propelled the index to the brink of 94.500, at 94.435. The DXY subsequently slipped back to 94.233 and is now meandering around 94.300 having topped out at 94.401 awaiting residual rebalancing flows for the final day of September, Q3 and the half fy that Citi is still classifying as Dollar positive, albeit with tweaks to sd hedges for certain Usd/major pairings. Also ahead, the last US data and survey releases for the month including final Q2 GDP, IJC and Chicago PMI before another raft of Fed speakers. Meanwhile, Sterling has gleaned some much needed support from upward revisions to Q2 UK GDP, a much narrower than forecast current account deficit and upbeat Lloyds business barometer rather than sub-consensus Nationwide house prices to bounce from the low 1.3600 area vs the Greenback and unwind more of its underperformance against the Euro within a 0.8643-12 range. However, the latter is keeping tabs on 1.1600 vs its US peer in wake of firmer German state CPI prints and with the aforementioned Citi model flagging a sub-1 standard deviation for Eur/Usd in contrast to Usd/Jpy that has been elevated to 1.85 from a prelim 1.12. Nevertheless, the Yen is deriving some traction from the calmer yield backdrop rather than disappointing Japanese data in the form of ip and retail sales to contain losses under 112.00, and the Franc is trying to do the same around 0.9350. SCANDI/EM - The tables have been turning and fortunes changing for the Nok and Sek, but the former has now given up all and more its post-Norges Bank hike gains and more as Brent consolidates beneath Usd 80/brl and the foreign currency purchases have been set at the same level for October as the current month. Conversely, the latter has taken heed of a hawkish hue to the latest set of Riksbank minutes and the fact that a few Board members discussed a rate path that could indicate a rise at the end of the forecast period. Elsewhere, the Zar looks underpinned by marginally firmer than anticipated SA ppi and private sector credit, while the Mxn is treading cautiously ahead of Banxico and a widely touted 25 bp hike. In commodities, WTI and Brent futures are choppy but trade with modest gains heading into the US open and in the run-up to Monday’s OPEC+ meeting. The European session thus far has been quiet from a news flow standpoint, but the contracts saw some fleeting upside after breaking above overnight ranges, albeit the momentum did not last long. Eyes turn to OPEC+ commentary heading into the meeting, which is expected to be another smooth affair, according to Argus sources. As a reminder, the group is expected to stick to its plan to raise output by 400k BPD despite outside pressure to further open the taps in a bid to control prices. Elsewhere, as a mild proxy for Chinese demand, China’s Sinopec noted that all LNG receiving terminals are to be operated at full capacity. WTI trades on either side of USD 75/bbl (vs low USD 74.54/bbl), while its Brent counterpart remains north of USD 78/bbl (vs low USD 77.66/bbl). Turning to metals, spot gold and silver continue to consolidate after yesterday’s Dollar induced losses, with the former finding some support around the USD 1,725/oz mark and the latter establishing a floor around USD 21.50/oz. Over to base metals, Dalian iron ore futures rose to three-week highs amid pre-holiday Chinese demand and after Fortescue Metals Group halted mining operations at a Pilbara project. Conversely, LME copper is on a softer footing as the Buck holds onto recent gains. US Event Calendar 8:30am: 2Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 6.1%, prior 6.1% 8:30am: 2Q GDP Price Index, est. 6.1%, prior 6.1% 8:30am: 2Q Personal Consumption, est. 11.9%, prior 11.9% 8:30am: Sept. Continuing Claims, est. 2.79m, prior 2.85m 8:30am: 2Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. 6.6%, prior 6.6% 8:30am: Sept. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 330,000, prior 351,000 9:45am: Sept. MNI Chicago PMI, est. 65.0, prior 66.8 Central Bank speakers 10am: Fed’s Williams Discusses the Fed’s Pandemic Response 10am: Powell and Yellen Appear Before House Finance Panel 11am: Fed’s Bostic Discusses Economic Mobility 11:30am: Fed’s Harker Discusses Sustainable Assets and Financial... 12:30pm: Fed’s Evans Discusses Economic Outlook 1:05pm: Fed’s Bullard Makes Opening Remarks at Book Launch 2:30pm: Fed’s Daly Speaks at Women and Leadership Event Government Calendar 10am ET: Treasury Secretary Yellen, Fed Chair Powell appear at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the Treasury, Fed’s pandemic response 10:30am ET: Senate begins voting process for continuing resolution that extends U.S. government funding to December 3 10:30am ET: Senate Commerce subcommittee holds hearing on Facebook, Instagram’s influence on kids with Antigone Davis, Director, Global Head of Safety, Facebook 10:45am ET: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds weekly press briefing DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I’ll be getting my stitches out of my knee today and will have a chance to grill the surgeon who I think told me I’ll probably soon need a knee replacement. I say think as it was all a bit of a medicated blur post the operation 2 weeks ago. These have been a painfully slow 2 weeks of no weight bearing with another 4 to go and perhaps all to no avail. As you can imagine I’ve done no housework, can’t fend much for myself, or been able to control the kids much over this period. I’m not sure if having bad knees are grounds for divorce but I’m going to further put it to the test over the next month. In sickness and in health I plea. Like me, markets are hobbling into the end of Q3 today even if they’ve seen some signs of stabilising over the last 24 hours following their latest selloff, with equities bouncing back a bit and sovereign bond yields taking a breather from their recent relentless climb. It did feel that we hit yield levels on Tuesday that started to hurt risk enough that some flight to quality money recycled back into bonds. So the next leg higher in yields (which I think will happen) might be met with more risk off resistance, and counter rallies. The latest moves came amidst relatively dovish and supportive comments from central bank governors at the ECB’s forum yesterday, but sentiment was dampened somewhat as uncertainty abounds over a potential US government shutdown and breaching of the debt ceiling, after both houses of Congress could not agree on a plan to extend government funding. Overnight, there have been signs of progress on the shutdown question, with Majority Leader Schumer saying that senators had reached agreement on a stopgap funding measure that will fund the government through December 3, with the Senate set to vote on the measure this morning.However, we’re still no closer to resolving the debt ceiling issue (where the latest estimates from the Treasury Department point to October 18 as the deadline), and tensions within the Democratic party between moderates and progressives are threatening to sink both the $550bn bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $3.5tn reconciliation package, which together contain much of President Biden’s economic agenda. We could see some developments on that soon however, as Speaker Pelosi said yesterday that the House was set to vote on the infrastructure bill today. Assuming the vote goes ahead later, this will be very interesting since a number of progressive Democrats have said that they don’t want to pass the infrastructure bill without the reconciliation bill (which contains the administration’s other priorities on social programs). This is because they fear that with the infrastructure bill passed (which moderates are keen on), the moderates could then scale back the spending in the reconciliation bill, and by holding out on passing the infrastructure bill, this gives them leverage on reconciliation. House Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer were in the Oval Office with President Biden yesterday, and a White House statement said that Biden spoke on the phone with lawmakers and engagement would continue into today. So an important day for Biden’s agenda. Against this backdrop, risk assets made a tentative recovery yesterday, with the S&P 500 up +0.16% and Europe’s STOXX 600 up +0.59%. However, unless we get a big surge in either index today, both indices remain on track for their worst monthly performances so far this year, even if they’re still in positive territory for Q3 as a whole. Looking elsewhere, tech stocks had appeared set to pare back some of the previous day’s losses, but a late fade left the NASDAQ down -0.24% and the FANG+ index down a greater -0.72%. Much of the tech weakness was driven by falling semiconductor shares (-1.53%), as producers have offered investors poor revenue guidance on the heels of the ongoing supply chain issues that are driving chip shortages globally. Outside of tech, US equities broadly did better yesterday with 17 of 24 industry groups gaining, led by utilities (+1.30%), biotech (+1.05%) and food & beverages (+1.00%). Similarly, while they initially staged a recovery, small caps in the Russell 2000 (-0.20%) continued to struggle. One asset that remained on trend was the US dollar. The greenback continued its climb yesterday, with the dollar index increasing +0.61% to close at its highest level in over a year, exceeding its closing high from last November. Over in sovereign bond markets, the partial rebound saw yields on 10yr Treasuries down -2.1bps at 1.517%, marking their first move lower in a week. And there was much the same pattern in Europe as well, where yields on 10yr bunds (-1.4bps), OATs (-1.3bps) and BTPs (-3.1bps) all moved lower as well. One continued underperformer were UK gilts (+0.3bps), and yesterday we saw the spread between 10yr gilt and bund yields widen to its biggest gap in over 2 years, at 120bps. Staying on the UK, the pound (-0.81%) continued to slump yesterday, hitting its lowest level against the dollar since last December, which comes as the country has continued to face major issues over its energy supply. Yesterday actually saw natural gas prices take another leg higher in both the UK (+10.09%) and Europe (+10.24%), and the UK regulator said that three smaller suppliers (who supply fewer than 1% of domestic customers between them) had gone out of business. This energy/inflation/BoE conundrum is confusing the life out of Sterling 10 year breakevens. They rose +18bps from Monday morning to Tuesday lunchtime but then entirely reversed the move into last night’s close. This is an exaggerated version of how the world’s financial markets are puzzling over whether breakevens should go up because of energy or go down because of the demand destruction and central bank response. Central bankers were in no mood to panic yesterday though as we saw Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde, BoE Governor Bailey and BoJ Governor Kuroda all appear on a policy panel at the ECB’s forum on central banking. There was much to discuss but the central bank heads all maintained that this current inflation spike will relent with Powell saying that it was “really a consequence of supply constraints meeting very strong demand, and that is all associated with the reopening of the economy -- which is a process that will have a beginning, a middle and an end.” ECB President Lagarde shared that sentiment, adding that “we certainly have no reason to believe that these price increases that we are seeing now will not be largely transitory going forward.” Overnight in Asia, equities have seen a mixed performance, with the Nikkei (-0.40%), and the Hang Seng (-1.08%) both losing ground, whereas the Kospi (+0.41%) and the Shanghai Composite (+0.30%) have posted gains. The moves came amidst weak September PMI data from China, which showed the manufacturing PMI fall to 49.6 (vs. 50.0 expected), marking its lowest level since the height of the Covid crisis in February 2020. The non-manufacturing PMI held up better however, at a stronger 53.2 (vs. 49.8 expected), although new orders were beneath 50 for a 4th consecutive month. Elsewhere, futures on the S&P 500 (+0.50%) and those on European indices are pointing to a higher start later on, as markets continue to stabilise after their slump earlier in the week. Staying on Asia, shortly after we went to press yesterday, former Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida was elected as leader of the governing Liberal Democratic Party, and is set to become the country’s next Prime Minister. The Japanese Diet will hold a vote on Monday to elect Kishida as the new PM, after which he’ll announce a new cabinet, and attention will very soon turn to the upcoming general election, which is due to take place by the end of November. Our Chief Japan economist has written more on Kishida’s victory and his economic policy (link here), but he notes that on fiscal policy, Kishida’s plans to redistribute income echo the shift towards a greater role for government in the US and elsewhere. There wasn’t a massive amount of data yesterday, though Spain’s CPI reading for September rose to an above-expected +4.0% (vs. 3.5% expected), so it will be interesting to see if something similar happens with today’s releases from Germany, France and Italy, ahead of the Euro Area release tomorrow. Otherwise, UK mortgage approvals came in at 74.5k in August (vs. 73.0k expected), and the European Commission’s economic sentiment indicator for the Euro Area rose to 117.8 in September (vs. 117.0 expected). To the day ahead now, and one of the highlights will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance at the House Financial Services Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. Other central bank speakers include the Fed’s Williams, Bostic, Harker, Evans, Bullard and Daly, as well as the ECB’s Centeno, Visco and Hernandez de Cos. On the data side, today’s highlights include German, French and Italian CPI for September, while in the US there’s the weekly initial jobless claims, the third estimate of Q2 GDP and the MNI Chicago PMI for September. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/30/2021 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 30th, 2021

Academia Is Establishing A Permanent Surveillance Bureaucracy That Will Soon Govern The Rest Of The Country

Academia Is Establishing A Permanent Surveillance Bureaucracy That Will Soon Govern The Rest Of The Country Authored by Michael Tracey via Substack, Having now received a tsunami of messages from people across the US (and a few internationally) about the surveillance regimes being permanently installed at their educational institutions — in contravention of earlier assurances that the current academic year would mark a long-awaited “return to normalcy,” thanks to the onset of mass vaccination - there are a few conclusions to draw. First: unless and until COVID “cases” are abandoned as a metric by which policy action is presumptively dictated, these institutions are destined to continue flailing from irrational measure to irrational measure for the foreseeable future. Just turn your gaze over to one of America’s most hallowed pedagogical grounds: As of September 17, Columbia University has newly forbidden students from hosting guests, visiting residence halls other than their own, and gathering with more than ten people. The stated rationale for these restrictions? Administrators have extrapolated from the “contact tracing” data they’ve compulsorily seized that a recent increase in viral transmission is attributable to “students socializing unmasked at gatherings in residence halls and at off-campus apartments, bars, and restaurants.” (Socializing at apartments, bars, and restaurants in the middle of Manhattan — gee, I can’t imagine anything more heinous.) Just like Connecticut College and so many other institutions I’ve been taking flurries of messages about, Columbia has already mandated vaccination for all students, faculty, and staff, and is approaching 100% compliance. But as has now been made abundantly clear, for many people in positions of bureaucratic authority, universal vaccination was never going to be sufficient for a transition away from the “Permanent Emergency” mode of COVID exegetical theology. The perverse incentives are easy to grasp. These administrators have so much invested in the infrastructure of “case” detection they’ve constructed over the past year and a half — not to mention the wider ideological project of “stopping the spread” at all costs — that it’s impossible to imagine conditions under which they’d voluntarily move to dismantle the surveillance systems over which they preside. And not just because the new powers conferred by this infrastructure — the ability to micromanage the private lives of young adults, track and adjudicate the propriety of their movements, etc. — is probably creepily intoxicating on a level these administrators may not be overtly conscious of, and in any event would almost certainly never publicly admit. No, the infrastructure won’t be dismantled any time soon because doing so would also require accepting a major paradigm shift in how COVID is understood. And for certain segments of society, that whole system of thought is just too all-consuming. Benign instances of transmission — i.e. transmission that results in no severe disease, which is almost invariably the case with vaccinated young adults at astronomically low risk from COVID — would have to stop being portrayed as alarming “outbreaks,” necessitating a never-ending stream of frenzied Zoom strategy meetings and swift, all-hands-on-decks interventionist tactics. The very word outbreak would also probably have to be ditched, given its alarmist connotations. I would suggest instead that outbreak be applied to these frantic upswells of bureaucratic overreaction. Perhaps the epidemiological origins of this diseased mentality could be “contact traced.” Why should anyone be alarmed by an alleged “outbreak” of overwhelmingly asymptomatic or mild “cases” among a population of healthy vaccinated undergrads — “cases” which would never have been detected at all if not for the superfluous “surveillance testing” structures that these institutions require students submit to? And before anyone chimes in with the standard “because they can transmit to others” response: the “others” they’re surrounded by have had the opportunity to get vaccinated at no cost for the past eight months. Even the US prestige media is beginning to reject the utility of using “cases” as a benchmark for anything of consequence, so you’d think college administrators would eventually follow suit, but a combination of bureaucratic inertia and weirdly flamboyant zeal appears to be preventing that from happening. Having read way too much administrative jargon recently, there are a number of obnoxious rhetorical strategies they employ to engender acceptance of edicts that more and more people seem to recognize are wildly, overbearingly arbitrary. “We all have to hold each other accountable,” these administrators will often pronounce, or some variation thereof, which ironically shields them from accountability for their own capricious and intrusive actions. Their orders are often cloyingly filled with artificial appeals to “the community,” which raises the question of who elected these surveillers and snoops to be spokespersons for “the community,” and how they even define “communities,” which seem to contain growing segments of unwilling inhabitants. One key thing to know is that despite their pretension of acting at the direction of “expert” epidemiologists and public health officials, the day-to-day decisions about practical implementation at these places often come down to the individual discretion of officials who in no sane world would ever be deferred to on questions of infectious disease protocol, or really anything else of significance. The latest restrictions at Columbia were promulgated by the “Dean of Undergraduate Student Life,” one of those titles which you know must encompass a whole slew of useless, indecipherable makework — and now tends to include a never-ending cycle of COVID monitoring. In her official bio, Dean Cristen Scully Kromm of Columbia is described as having an esteemed background in something called “residence life and leadership oversight.” I don’t know about you, but I can think of few things more unappealing than to have my personal activity surveilled by official busybodies who have dedicated their careers to learning the majesties of “leadership oversight,” which sounds like a field invented specifically for people who actually enjoy receiving LinkedIn emails. Thanks to my trusty network of informants, I was able to listen in on a Zoom meeting held Sunday night by Dean Victor Arcelus, the chief COVID decider at my old stomping grounds of Connecticut College. I apologize again for the unrelenting focus on this obscure liberal arts college in southeastern Connecticut, but it’s just become irresistible. Dean Arcelus convened a panel of all his subordinate Deans involved in the crafting of COVID rules; studying the credentials of these people sure is fascinating.  One member of the ad hoc infectious disease task force, Ariella Rabin Rotramel, currently serves as the College’s “Interim Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion,” and is also Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Intersectionality Studies, with a specialty in “Queer Theory and Activism.” Here is Rotramel answering a Zoom question from an anonymous student: I’m sure they is a lovely person, but it’s unclear why Rotramel should be endowed with authority to issue virology-related policy pronouncements. Either way, they gave some indication that they is perhaps not up for the task, describing the whole situation as “exhausting” — that familiar exasperated rallying cry of activists demanding acquiescence.  Demonstrating his unparalleled leadership abilities, however, Dean Arcelus stated that he was “quite disappointed” at reports that parties had been rudely held this past weekend at an on-campus residential facility. “There will be conduct consequences,” he warned. “Suspension is most definitely on the table.” Though the most extreme variation of the Australia-style lockdown had been lifted just hours after my visit last week, students are still being ordered not to partake in normal social gatherings such as parties (gasp) or going to bars (gasp). “If you have parties, if you go to the bars, you’re not going to be able to have everything else,” the Dean exhorted, threatening that those who misbehave could prompt a return to lockdown for everybody. However, he did leave a glimmer of hope, enticing students that “if we were able to see that you all were actually being really good” about acceding to his prohibitions, then “things could potentially change.” “The power in preventing this from happening again is in you and in holding each other accountable,” Dean Arcelus continued. There’s that ubiquitous feature of the contemporary college administrator jargon — presumably tailored to the sensibilities of “accountability”-minded young adults. Again with the added irony that these invocations of “accountability” serve to deflect scrutiny from those who wield the real decision-making power. In the name of “accountability,” students become scapegoats for the irrational policy choices of the people actually in charge. “Accountability” is usually also demanded on behalf of some imagined “community,” so you are not to comply solely at the behest of Dean Arcelus, but rather at the behest of some diffused assemblage of individuals who are claimed to represent a unified community. There’s always this incredibly annoying pretense that bureaucratic operatives and public health “experts” are alone the most exalted guardians of “community safety,” and if you don’t agree with them on moral, practical, or epidemiological grounds, you are a menace. “Moving forward, none of you should be OK with people not having a mask on inside, or not having it properly worn,” the Dean inveighed, again appealing to the shockingly pervasive snitch culture being fertilized at this and other academic institutions. Deans at Georgetown University and the University of Southern California have also been sending out these imperious injunctions for students to rat out the alleged violators among them, or as USC Law School Andrew T. Guzman put it in that typically manipulative style: “non-compliant members of our community.” What’s a “non-compliant member” of the USC “community,” exactly? Someone who engages in unsanctioned indoor “hydration.” No, I’m not kidding. Do you find any of this arbitrary or ridiculous? Tough luck. Because nowadays all public and private officials apparently have to do is incant the magic word “Delta,” and people whose dictates about proper interpersonal behavior would otherwise be ignored are suddenly imbued with this awesome, unchallengeable power. Their decrees must be obeyed, preferably with effusions of gratitude. Forcing masks on crying two-year-olds? “Delta.” Forbidden to remove your mask for a few seconds in order to take a sip of water at USC, even as a lavish and unmasked Emmys extravaganza just took place right down the road? “Delta.” Shutting down a special needs school in East Harlem less than a week into the academic year? “Delta.” Concerned about the privacy implications of being made to walk around with your health information stored on mandatory smartphone apps, as is the current policy at the University of Michigan, and being made to display this information on command? “Delta.” Also, I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Delta. For all his foibles, at least Dean Arcelus nicely encapsulates the mindset which is now running rampant at major US educational institutions — the same institutions producing the graduates who will soon be governing the rest of the country. At the disciplinary Zoom meeting, the good Dean admitted: “I know all of us thought, going into getting vaccinated in April and May, we thought that we would be able to come back to campus and live campus differently [sic] having been vaccinated… But as I’ve said multiple times now, the Delta Variant just presents a whole new level of challenge to us. And that’s why we can’t do what we thought we were going to be able to do back when we got vaccinated in April and May.” Well, there you have it. Vaccination was never the gateway to normalcy it was presented to be, and the only option is apparently to instate “Permanent Emergency” protocols with no cognizable “off-ramp” in sight, as a Duke University “expert” helpfully conceded this week. Reneging on these prior assurances is portrayed as some inherently unavoidable fait accompli, rather than a conscious policy choice undertaken to the exclusion of other vastly more sensible options. Choosing another option would mean re-assessing the underlying logic of constantly surveilling a 99% vaccinated population of healthy young adults with these increasingly dubious “tests,” and gathering their private data so as to opine about the permissibility of their social activities. College administrators are totally committed — politically, professionally, metaphysically — to that logic. There’s also an entire financial infrastructure that’s been erected to sustain the endless provision of nonsensical testing services. Ultimately, these officials can’t or won’t extricate themselves from the scolding surveillance paradigm — and why would they? That would entail the relinquishment of power.  Tyler Durden Wed, 09/29/2021 - 00:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 29th, 2021

Futures Slide On Growing Stagflation Fears As Treasury Yields Surge

Futures Slide On Growing Stagflation Fears As Treasury Yields Surge US index futures, European markets and Asian stocks all turned negative during the overnight session, surrendering earlier gains as investors turned increasingly concerned about China's looming slowdown - and outright contraction - amid a global stagflationary energy crunch, which sent 10Y TSY yields just shy of 1.50% this morning following a Goldman upgrade in its Brent price target to $90 late on Sunday. At 745 a.m. ET, S&P 500 e-minis were down 4.75 points, or 0.1% after rising as much as 0.6%, Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 83 points, or 0.54% and Dow e-minis were up 80 points, or 0.23%. The euro slipped as Germany looked set for months of complex coalition talks. While the market appears to have moved beyond the Evergrande default, the debt crisis at China's largest developer festers (with Goldman saying it has no idea how it will end), and data due this week will show a manufacturing recovery in the world’s second-largest economy is faltering faster. A developing energy crisis threatens to crimp global growth further at a time markets are preparing for a tapering of Fed stimulus. The week could see volatile moves as traders scrutinize central bankers’ speeches, including Chair Jerome Powell’s meetings with Congressional panels. “Most bad news comes from China these days,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote Group Holdings, wrote in a note. “The Evergrande debt crisis, the Chinese energy crackdown on missed targets and the ban on cryptocurrencies have been shaking the markets, along with the Fed’s more hawkish policy stance last week.” Oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp rose 1.5% and 1.2% in premarket trade, respectively, tracking crude prices, while big lenders including JPMorgan, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp gained about 0.8%.Giga-cap FAAMG growth names such as Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon.com, Facebook and Apple all fell between 0.3% and 0.4%, as 10Y yield surged, continuing their selloff from last week, which saw the 10Y rise as high as 1.4958% and just shy of breaching the psychological 1.50% level. While growth names were hit, value names rebounded as another market rotation appears to be in place: industrials 3M Co and Caterpillar Inc, which tend to benefit the most from an economic rebound, also inched higher (although one should obviously be shorting CAT here for its China exposure). Market participants have moved into value and cyclical stocks from tech-heavy growth names after the Federal Reserve last week indicated it could begin unwinding its bond-buying program by as soon as November, and may raise interest rates in 2022. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Gores Guggenheim (GGPI US) shares rise 7.2% in U.S. premarket trading as Polestar agreed to go public with the special purpose acquisition company, in a deal valued at about $20 billion. Naked Brand (NAKD US), one of the stocks caught up in the first retail trading frenzy earlier this year, rises 11% in U.S. premarket trading, extending Friday’s gains. Among other so-called meme stocks in premarket trading: ReWalk Robotics (RWLK) +6.5%, Vinco Ventures (BBIG) +18%, Camber Energy (CEI) +2.9% Pfizer (PFE US) and Opko Health (OPK US) in focus after they said on Friday that the FDA extended the review period for the biologics license application for somatrogon. Opko fell 3.5% in post-market trading. Aspen Group (ASPU) climbed 10% in Friday postmarket trading after board member Douglas Kass buys $172,415 of shares, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. Seaspine (SPNE US) said spine surgery procedure volumes were curtailed in many areas of the U.S. in 3Q and particularly in August. Tesla (TSLA US) and other electric- vehicle related stocks globally may be active on Monday after Germany’s election, in which the Greens had their best-ever showing and are likely to be part of any governing coalition. Europe likewise drifted lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index erasing earlier gains and turning negative as investors weighed the risk to global growth from the China slowdown and the energy crunch. The benchmark was down 0.1% at last check. Subindexes for technology (-0.9%) and consumer (-0.8%) provide the main drags while value outperformed, with energy +2.4%, banks +2% and insurance +1.3%.  The DAX outperformed up 0.5%, after German election results avoided the worst-case left-wing favorable outcome.  U.S. futures. Rolls-Royce jumped 12% to the highest since March 2020 after the company was selected to provide the powerplant for the B-52 Stratofortress under the Commercial Engine Replacement Program. Here are some of the other biggest European movers today IWG rises as much as 7.5% after a report CEO Mark Dixon is exploring a multibillion-pound breakup of the flexible office-space provider AUTO1 gains as much as 6.1% after JPMorgan analyst Marcus Diebel raised the recommendation to overweight from neutral Cellnex falls as much as 4.3% to a two-month low after the tower firm is cut to sell from neutral at Citi, which says the stock is “priced for perfection in an imperfect industry” European uranium stocks fall with Yellow Cake shares losing as much as 6% and Nac Kazatomprom shares declining as much as 4.7%. Both follow their U.S. peers down following weeks of strong gains as the price of uranium ballooned For those who missed it, Sunday's closely-watched German elections concluded with the race much closer than initially expected: SPD at 25.7%, CDU/CSU at 24.1%, Greens at 14.8%, FDP at 11.5%, AfD at 10.3% Left at 4.9%, the German Federal Returning Officer announced the seat distribution from the preliminary results which were SPD at 206 seats, CDU/CSU at 196. Greens at 118, FDP at 92, AfD at 83, Left at 39 and SSW at 1. As it stands, three potential coalitions are an option, 1) SPD, Greens and FDP (traffic light), 2) CDU/CSU, Greens and FDP (Jamaica), 3) SPD and CDU/CSU (Grand Coalition but led by the SPD). Note, option 3 is seen as the least likely outcome given that the CDU/CSU would be unlikely willing to play the role of a junior partner to the SPD. Therefore, given the importance of the FDP and Greens in forming a coalition for either the SPD or CDU/CSU, leaders of the FDP and Greens have suggested that they might hold their own discussions with each other first before holding talks with either of the two larger parties. Given the political calculus involved in trying to form a coalition, the process is expected to play out over several months. From a markets perspective, the tail risk of the Left party being involved in government has now been removed due to their poor performance and as such, Bunds trade on a firmer footing. Elsewhere, EUR is relatively unfazed due to the inconclusive nature of the result. We will have more on this in a subsequent blog post. Asian stocks fell, reversing an earlier gain, as a drop in the Shanghai Composite spooked investors in the region by stoking concerns about the pace of growth in China’s economy.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index wiped out an advance of as much as 0.7%, on pace to halt a two-day climb. Consumer discretionary names and materials firms were the biggest contributors to the late afternoon drag. Financials outperformed, helping mitigate drops in other sectors.  “Seeing Shanghai shares extending declines, investors’ sentiment has turned weak, leading to profit-taking on individual stocks or sectors that have been gaining recently,” said Shoichi Arisawa, an analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities. “The drop in Chinese equities is reminding investors about a potential slowdown in their economy.”  The Shanghai Composite was among the region’s worst performers along with Vietnam’s VN Index. Shares of China’s electricity-intensive businesses tumbled after Beijing curbed power supplies in the country’s manufacturing hubs to cut emissions. The CSI 300 still rose, thanks to gains in heavily weighted Kweichow Moutai and other liquor makers. Asian equities started the day on a positive note as financials jumped, tracking gains in U.S. peers and following a rise in Treasury yields. Resona Holdings was among the top performers after Morgan Stanley raised its view on the stock and Japanese banks. The regional market has been calmer over the past few trading sessions after being whipsawed by concerns over any fallout from China Evergrande Group’s debt troubles. While anxiety lingers, many investors expect China will resolve the distressed property developer’s problems rather than let them spill over into an echo of 2008’s Lehman crisis. Japanese equities closed lower, erasing an earlier gain, as concerns grew over valuations following recent strength in the local market and turmoil in China. Machinery and electronics makers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 0.1%. Daikin and Bandai Namco were the largest contributors to a dip of less than 0.1% in the Nikkei 225. Both gauges had climbed more 0.5% in morning trading. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite Index fell as much as 1.5% as industrials tumbled amid a power crunch. “Seeing Shanghai shares extending declines, investors’ sentiment has turned weak, leading to profit-taking on individual stocks or sectors that have been gaining recently,” said Shoichi Arisawa, an analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities Co. “The drop in Chinese equities is reminding investors about a potential slowdown in their economy. That’s why marine transportation stocks, which are representative of cyclical sectors, fell sharply.” Shares of shippers, which have outperformed this year, fell as investors turned their attention to reopening plays. Travel and retail stocks gained after reports that the government is making final arrangements to lift all the coronavirus state of emergency order in the nation as scheduled at the end of this month. Australia's commodity-heavy stocks advanced as energy, banking shares climb. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.6% to close at 7,384.20, led by energy stocks. Banks also posted their biggest one-day gain since Aug. 2. Travel stocks were among the top performers after the prime minister said state premiers must not keep borders closed once agreed Covid-19 vaccination targets are reached. NextDC was the worst performer after the company’s CEO sold 1.6 million shares. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index. In FX, the U.S. dollar was up 0.1%, while the British pound, Australian dollar, and Canadian dollar lead G-10 majors, with the Swedish krona and Swiss franc lagging. •    The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed and the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers o    Volatility curves in the major currencies were inverted last week due to a plethora of central bank meetings and risk-off concerns. They have since normalized as stocks stabilize and traders assess the latest forward guidance on monetary policy •    The yield on two-year U.S. Treasuries touched the highest level since April 2020, as tightening expectations continued to put pressure on front-end rates and ahead of debt sales later Monday •    The pound advanced, with analyst focus on supply chain problems as Prime Minister Boris Johnson considers bringing in army drivers to help. Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey’s speech later will be watched after last week’s hawkish meeting •    Antipodean currencies, as well as the Norwegian krone and the Canadian dollar were among the best Group-of-10 performers amid a rise in commodity prices •    The yen pared losses after falling to its lowest level in six weeks and Japanese stocks paused their rally and amid rising Treasury yields   In rates, treasuries extended their recent drop, led by belly of the curve ahead of this week’s front-loaded auctions, which kick off Monday with 2- and 5-year note sales.  Yields were higher by up to 4bp across belly of the curve, cheapening 2s5s30s spread by 3.2bp on the day; 10-year yields sit around 1.49%, cheaper by 3.5bp and underperforming bunds, gilts by 1.5bp and 0.5bp while the front-end of the curve continues to sell off as rate-hike premium builds -- 2-year yields subsequently hit 0.284%, the highest level since April 2020. 5-year yields top at 0.988%, highest since Feb. 2020 while 2-year yields reach as high as 0.288%; in long- end, 30-year yields breach 2% for the first time since Aug. 13. Auctions conclude Tuesday with 7-year supply. Host of Fed speakers due this week, including three scheduled for Monday. In commodities, Brent futures climbed 1.4% to $79 a barrel, while WTI futures hit $75 a barrel for the first time since July, amid an escalating energy crunch across Europe and now China. Base metals are mixed: LME copper rises 0.4%, LME tin and nickel drop over 2%. Spot gold gives back Asia’s gains to trade flat near $1,750/oz In equities, Stoxx 600 is up 0.6%, led by energy and banks, and FTSE 100 rises 0.4%. Germany’s DAX climbs 1% after German elections showed a narrow victory for social democrats, with the Christian Democrats coming in a close second, according to provisional results. S&P 500 futures climb 0.3%, Dow and Nasdaq contracts hold in the green. In FX, the U.S. dollar is up 0.1%, while the British pound, Australian dollar, and Canadian dollar lead G-10 majors, with the Swedish krona and Swiss franc lagging. Base metals are mixed: LME copper rises 0.4%, LME tin and nickel drop over 2%. Spot gold gives back Asia’s gains to trade flat near $1,750/oz Investors will now watch for a raft of economic indicators, including durable goods orders and the ISM manufacturing index this week to gauge the pace of the recovery, as well as bipartisan talks over raising the $28.4 trillion debt ceiling. The U.S. Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to prevent the second partial government shutdown in three years, while a vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill is scheduled for Thursday. On today's calendar we get the latest Euro Area M3 money supply, US preliminary August durable goods orders, core capital goods orders, September Dallas Fed manufacturing activity. We also have a bunch of Fed speakers including Williams, Brainard and Evans. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.1% to 4,442.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 464.54 MXAP little changed at 200.75 MXAPJ little changed at 642.52 Nikkei little changed at 30,240.06 Topix down 0.1% to 2,087.74 Hang Seng Index little changed at 24,208.78 Shanghai Composite down 0.8% to 3,582.83 Sensex up 0.2% to 60,164.70 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.6% to 7,384.17 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,133.64 German 10Y yield fell 3.1 bps to -0.221% Euro down 0.3% to $1.1689 Brent Futures up 1.2% to $79.04/bbl Gold spot little changed at $1,750.88 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.15% to 93.47 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put the infrastructure bill on the schedule for Monday under pressure from moderates eager to get the bipartisan bill, which has already passed the Senate, enacted. But progressives -- whose votes are likely vital -- are insisting on progress first on the bigger social-spending bill Olaf Scholz of the center-left Social Democrats defeated Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in an extremely tight German election, setting in motion what could be months of complex coalition talks to decide who will lead Europe’s biggest economy China’s central bank pumped liquidity into the financial system after borrowing costs rose, as lingering risks posed by China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis hurt market sentiment toward its peers as well Global banks are about to get a comprehensive blueprint for how derivatives worth several hundred trillion dollars may be finally disentangled from the London Interbank Offered Rate Economists warned of lower economic growth in China as electricity shortages worsen in the country, forcing businesses to cut back on production Governor Haruhiko Kuroda says it’s necessary for the Bank of Japan to continue with large-scale monetary easing to achieve the bank’s 2% inflation target The quant revolution in fixed income is here at long last, if the latest Invesco Ltd. poll is anything to go by. With the work-from-home era fueling a boom in electronic trading, the majority of investors in a $31 trillion community say they now deploy factor strategies in bond portfolios A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded somewhat mixed with the region finding encouragement from reopening headlines but with gains capped heading towards month-end, while German election results remained tight and Evergrande uncertainty continued to linger. ASX 200 (+0.6%) was led higher by outperformance in the mining related sectors including energy as oil prices continued to rally amid supply disruptions and views for a stronger recovery in demand with Goldman Sachs lifting its year-end Brent crude forecast from USD 80/bbl to USD 90/bbl. Furthermore, respectable gains in the largest weighted financial sector and details of the reopening roadmap for New South Wales, which state Premier Berijiklian sees beginning on October 11th, further added to the encouragement. Nikkei 225 (Unch) was kept afloat for most of the session after last week’s beneficial currency flows and amid reports that Japan is planning to lift emergency measures in all areas at month-end, although upside was limited ahead of the upcoming LDP leadership race which reports noted are likely to go to a run-off as neither of the two main candidates are likely to achieve a majority although a recent Kyodo poll has Kono nearly there at 47.4% of support vs. nearest contender Kishida at 22.4%. Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.8%) were varied with the mainland choppy amid several moving parts including back-to-back daily liquidity efforts by the PBoC since Sunday and with the recent release of Huawei’s CFO following a deal with US prosecutors. Conversely, Evergrande concerns persisted as Chinese cities reportedly seized its presales to block the potential misuse of funds and its EV unit suffered another double-digit percentage loss after scrapping plans for its STAR Market listing. There were also notable losses to casino names after Macau tightened COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the Golden Week holidays and crypto stocks were hit after China declared crypto activities illegal which resulted in losses to cryptoexchange Huobi which dropped more than 40% in early trade before nursing some of the losses, while there are also concerns of the impact from an ongoing energy crisis in China which prompted the Guangdong to ask people to turn off lights they don't require and use air conditioning less. Finally, 10yr JGBs were flat but have clawed back some of the after-hour losses on Friday with demand sapped overnight amid the mild gains in stocks and lack of BoJ purchases in the market. Elsewhere, T-note futures mildly rebounded off support at 132.00, while Bund futures outperformed the Treasury space amid mild reprieve from this month’s losses and with uncertainty of the composition for the next German coalition. Top Asian News Moody’s Says China to Safeguard Stability Amid Evergrande Issues China’s Tech Tycoons Pledge Allegiance to Xi’s Vision China Power Crunch Hits iPhone, Tesla Production, Nikkei Reports Top Netflix Hit ‘Squid Game’ Sparks Korean Media Stock Surge Bourses in Europe have trimmed the gains seen at the open, albeit the region remains mostly in positive territory (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.4%; Stoxx 600 +0.2%) in the aftermath of the German election and amid the looming month-end. The week also sees several risk events, including the ECB's Sintra Forum, EZ CPI, US PCE and US ISM Manufacturing – not to mention the vote on the bipartisan US infrastructure bill. The mood in Europe contrasts the mixed handover from APAC, whilst US equity futures have also seen more divergence during European trade – with the yield-sensitive NQ (-0.3%) underperforming the cyclically-influenced RTY (+0.4%). There has been no clear catalyst behind the pullback since the Cash open. Delving deeper into Europe, the DAX 40 (+0.6%) outperforms after the tail risk of the Left party being involved in government has now been removed. The SMI (-0.6%) has dipped into the red as defensive sectors remain weak, with the Healthcare sector towards to bottom of the bunch alongside Personal & Household Goods. On the flip side, the strength in the price-driven Oil & Gas and yield-induced Banks have kept the FTSE 100 (+0.2%) in green, although the upside is capped by losses in AstraZeneca (-0.4%) and heavy-weight miners, with the latter a function of declining base metal prices. The continued retreat in global bonds has also hit the Tech sector – which resides as the laggard at the time of writing. In terms of individual movers, Rolls-Royce (+8.5%) trades at the top of the FTSE 100 after winning a USD 1.9bln deal from the US Air Force. IWG (+6.5%) also extended on earlier gains following reports that founder and CEO Dixon is said to be mulling a multibillion-pound break-up of the Co. that would involve splitting it into several distinct companies. Elsewhere, it is worth being cognizant of the current power situation in China as the energy crisis spreads, with Global Times also noting that multiple semiconductor suppliers for Tesla (Unch), Apple (-0.4% pre-market) and Intel (Unch), which have manufacturing plants in the Chinese mainland, recently announced they would suspend their factories' operations to follow local electricity use policies. Top European News U.K. Relaxes Antitrust Rules, May Bring in Army as Pumps Run Dry Magnitude 5.8 Earthquake Hits Greek Island of Crete German Stocks Rally as Chances Wane for Left-Wing Coalition German Landlords Rise as Left’s Weakness Trumps Berlin Poll In FX, the Aussie is holding up relatively well on a couple of supportive factors, including a recovery in commodity prices overnight and the Premier of NSW setting out a timetable to start lifting COVID lockdown and restrictions from October 11 with an end date to completely re-open on December 1. However, Aud/Usd is off best levels against a generally firm Greenback on weakness and underperformance elsewhere having stalled around 0.7290, while the Loonie has also run out of momentum 10 pips or so from 1.2600 alongside WTI above Usd 75/brl. DXY/EUR/CHF - Although the risk backdrop is broadly buoyant and not especially supportive, the Buck is gleaning traction and making gains at the expense of others, like the Euro that is gradually weakening in wake of Sunday’s German election that culminated in narrow victory for the SPD Party over the CDU/CSU alliance, but reliant on the Greens and FDP to form a Government. Eur/Usd has lost 1.1700+ status and is holding a fraction above recent lows in the form of a double bottom at 1.1684, but the Eur/Gbp cross is looking even weaker having breached several technical levels like the 100, 21 and 50 DMAs on the way down through 0.8530. Conversely, Eur/Chf remains firm around 1.0850, and largely due to extended declines in the Franc following last week’s dovish SNB policy review rather than clear signs of intervention via the latest weekly Swiss sight deposit balances. Indeed, Usd/Chf is now approaching 0.9300 again and helping to lift the Dollar index back up towards post-FOMC peaks within a 93.494-206 range in advance of US durable goods data, several Fed speakers, the Dallas Fed manufacturing business index and a double dose of T-note supply (Usd 60 bn 2 year and Usd 61 bn 5 year offerings). GBP/NZD/JPY - As noted above, the Pound is benefiting from Eur/Gbp tailwinds, but also strength in Brent to offset potential upset due to the UK’s energy supply issues, so Cable is also bucking the broad trend and probing 1.3700. However, the Kiwi is clinging to 0.7000 in the face of Aud/Nzd headwinds that are building on a break of 1.0350, while the Yen is striving keep its head afloat of another round number at 111.00 as bond yields rebound and curves resteepen. SCANDI/EM - The Nok is also knocking on a new big figure, but to the upside vs the Eur at 10.0000 following the hawkish Norges Bank hike, while the Cnh and Cny are holding up well compared to fellow EM currencies with loads of liquidity from the PBoC and some underlying support amidst the ongoing mission to crackdown on speculators in the crypto and commodity space. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures kicked the week off on a firmer footing, which saw Brent Nov eclipse the USD 79.50/bbl level (vs low 78.21/bbl) whilst its WTI counterpart hovers north of USD 75/bbl (vs low 74.16/bbl). The complex could be feeling some tailwinds from the supply crunch in Britain – which has lead petrol stations to run dry as demand outpaces the supply. Aside from that, the landscape is little changed in the run-up to the OPEC+ meeting next Monday, whereby ministers are expected to continue the planned output hikes of 400k BPD/m. On that note, there have been reports that some African nations are struggling to pump more oil amid delayed maintenance and low investments, with Angola and Nigeria said to average almost 300k BPD below their quota. On the Iranian front, IAEA said Iran permitted it to service monitoring equipment during September 20th-22nd with the exception of the centrifuge component manufacturing workshop at the Tesa Karaj facility, with no real updates present regarding the nuclear deal talks. In terms of bank commentary, Goldman Sachs raised its year-end Brent crude forecast by USD 10 to USD 90/bbl and stated that Hurricane Ida has more than offset the ramp-up in OPEC+ output since July with non-OPEC+, non-shale output continuing to disappoint, while it added that global oil demand-deficit is greater than expected with a faster than anticipated demand recovery from the Delta variant. Conversely, Citi said in the immediate aftermath of skyrocketing prices, it is logical to be bearish on crude oil and nat gas today and forward curves for later in 2022, while it added that near-term global oil inventories are low and expected to continue declining maybe through Q1 next year. Over to metals, spot gold and silver have fallen victim to the firmer Dollar, with spot gold giving up its overnight gains and meandering around USD 1,750/oz (vs high 1760/oz) while spot silver briefly dipped under USD 22.50/oz (vs high 22.73/oz). Turning to base metals, China announced another round of copper, zinc and aluminium sales from state reserves – with amounts matching the prior sales. LME copper remains within a tight range, but LME tin is the outlier as it gave up the USD 35k mark earlier in the session. Finally, the electricity crunch in China has seen thermal coal prices gain impetus amid tight domestic supply, reduced imports and increased demand. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Aug. Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 0.9% 8:30am: Aug. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.4%, prior 0.1% 8:30am: Aug. -Less Transportation, est. 0.5%, prior 0.8% 8:30am: Aug. Durable Goods Orders, est. 0.6%, prior -0.1% 10:30am: Sept. Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. 11.0, prior 9.0 Central Banks 8am: Fed’s Evans Speaks at Annual NABE Conference 9am: Fed’s Williams Makes Opening Remarks at Conference on... 12pm: Fed’s Williams Discusses the Economic Outlook 12:50pm: Fed’s Brainard Discusses Economic Outlook at NABE Conference DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Straight to the German elections this morning where unlike the Ryder Cup the race was tight. The centre-left SPD have secured a narrow lead according to provisional results, which give them 25.7% of the vote, ahead of Chancellor Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc, which are on 24.1%. That’s a bit narrower than the final polls had suggested (Politico’s average put the SPD ahead by 25-22%), but fits with the slight narrowing we’d seen over the final week of the campaign. Behind them, the Greens are in third place, with a record score of 14.8%, which puts them in a key position when it comes to forming a majority in the new Bundestag, and the FDP are in fourth place currently on 11.5%. Although the SPD appear to be in first place the different parties will now enter coalition negotiations to try to form a governing majority. Both Olaf Scholz and the CDU’s Armin Laschet have said that they will seek to form a government, and to do that they’ll be looking to the Greens and the FDP as potential coalition partners, since those are the most realistic options given mutual policy aims. So the critical question will be whether it’s the SPD or the CDU/CSU that can convince these two to join them in coalition. On the one hand, the Greens have a stronger policy overlap with the SPD, and governed with them under Chancellor Schröder from 1998-2005, but the FDP seems more in line with the Conservatives, and were Chancellor Merkel’s junior coalition partner from 2009-13.  So it’s likely that the FDP and the Greens will talk to each other before talking to either of the two biggest parties. For those wanting more information, our research colleagues in Frankfurt have released a post-election update (link here) on the results and what they mean. An important implication of last night’s result is that (at time of writing) it looks as though a more left-wing coalition featuring the SPD, the Greens and Die Linke would not be able for form a majority in the next Bundestag. So the main options left are for the FDP and the Greens to either join the SPD in a “traffic light” coalition or instead join the CDU/CSU in a “Jamaica” coalition. The existing grand coalition of the SPD and the CDU/CSU would actually have a majority as well, but both parties have signalled that they don't intend to continue this. That said, last time in 2017, a grand coalition wasn’t expected after that result, and there were initially attempts to form a Jamaica coalition. But once those talks proved unsuccessful, discussions on another grand coalition began once again. In terms of interesting snippets, this election marks the first time the SPD have won the popular vote since 2002, which is a big turnaround given that the party were consistently polling in third place over the first half of this year. However, it’s also the worst ever result for the CDU/CSU, and also marks the lowest combined share of the vote for the two big parties in post-war Germany, which mirrors the erosion of the traditional big parties we’ve seen elsewhere in continental Europe. Interestingly, the more radical Die Linke and AfD parties on the left and the right respectively actually did worse than in 2017, so German voters have remained anchored in the centre, and there’s been no sign of a populist resurgence. This also marks a record result for the Greens, who’ve gained almost 6 percentage points relative to four years ago, but that’s still some way down on where they were polling earlier in the spring (in the mid-20s), having lost ground in the polls throughout the final weeks of the campaign. Markets in Asia have mostly started the week on a positive note, with the Hang Seng (+0.28%), Nikkei (+0.04%), and the Kospi (+0.25%) all moving higher. That said, the Shanghai Comp is down -1.30%, as materials (-5.91%) and industrials (-4.24%) in the index have significantly underperformed, which comes amidst power curbs in the country. In the US and Europe however, futures are pointing higher, with those on the S&P 500 up +0.37%, and those on the DAX up +0.51%. Moving onto another big current theme, all the talk at the moment is about supply shocks and it’s not inconceivable that things could get very messy on this front over the weeks and months ahead. However, I think the discussion on supply in isolation misses an important component and that is demand. In short we had a pandemic that effectively closed the global economy and interrupted numerous complicated supply chains. The global authorities massively stimulated demand relative to where it would have been in this environment and in some areas have created more demand than there would have been at this stage without Covid. However the supply side has not come back as rapidly. As such you’re left with demand outstripping supply. So I think it’s wrong to talk about a global supply shock in isolation. It’s not as catchy but this is a “demand is much higher than it should be in a pandemic with lockdowns, but supply hasn't been able to fully respond” world. If the authorities hadn’t responded as aggressively we would have plenty of supply for the demand and a lot of deflation. Remember negative oil prices in the early stages of the pandemic. So for me every time you hear the phrase “supply shock” remember the phenomenal demand there is relative to what the steady state might have been. This current “demand > supply” at lower levels of activity than we would have had without covid is going to cause central banks a huge headache over the coming months. Should they tighten due to what is likely to be a prolonged period of higher prices than people thought even a couple of months ago or should they look to the potential demand destruction of higher prices? The risk of a policy error is high and the problem with forward guidance is that markets demand to know now what they might do over the next few months and quarters so it leaves them exposed a little in uncertain times. This problem has crept up fast on markets with an epic shift in sentiment in the rates market after the BoE meeting Thursday lunchtime. I would say they were no more hawkish than the Fed the night before but the difference is that the Fed are still seemingly at least a year from raising rates and a lot can happen in that period whereas the BoE could now raise this year (more likely February). That has focused the minds of global investors, especially as Norway became the first central bank among the G-10 currencies to raise rates on the same day. Towards the end of this note we’ll recap the moves in markets last week including a +15bps climb in US 10yr yields in the last 48 hours of last week. One factor that will greatly influence yields over the week ahead is the ongoing US debt ceiling / government shutdown / infrastructure bill saga that is coming to a head as we hit October on Friday - the day that there could be a partial government shutdown without action by the close on Thursday. It’s a fluid situation. So far the the House of Representatives has passed a measure that would keep the government funded through December 3, but it also includes a debt ceiling suspension, so Republicans are expected to block this in the Senate if it still includes that. The coming week could also see the House of Representatives vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill (c.$550bn) that’s already gone through the Senate, since Speaker Pelosi had previously committed to moderate House Democrats that there’d be a vote on the measure by today. She reaffirmed that yesterday although the timing may slip. However, there remain divisions among House Democrats, with some progressives not willing to support it unless the reconciliation bill also passes. In short we’ve no idea how this get resolved but most think some compromise will be reached before Friday. Pelosi yesterday said it “seems self-evident” that the reconciliation bill won’t reach the $3.5 trillion hoped for by the administration which hints at some compromise. Overall the sentiment has seemingly shifted a little more positively on there being some progress over the weekend. From politics to central banks and following a busy week of policy meetings, there are an array of speakers over the week ahead. One of the biggest highlights will be the ECB’s Forum on Central Banking, which is taking place as an online event on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the final policy panel on Wednesday will include Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde, BoE Governor Bailey and BoJ Governor Kuroda. Otherwise, Fed Chair Powell will also be testifying before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen, and on Monday, ECB President Lagarde will be appearing before the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs as part of the regular Monetary Dialogue. There are lots of other Fed speakers this week and they can add nuances to the taper and dot plot debates. Finally on the data front, there’ll be further clues about the state of inflation across the key economies, as the Euro Area flash CPI estimate for September is coming out on Friday. Last month's reading showed that Euro Area inflation rose to +3.0% in August, which was its highest level in nearly a decade. Otherwise, there’s also the manufacturing PMIs from around the world on Friday given it’s the start of the month, along with the ISM reading from the US, and Tuesday will see the release of the Conference Board’s consumer confidence reading for the US as well. For the rest of the week ahead see the day-by-day calendar of events at the end. Back to last week now and the highlight was the big rise in global yields which quickly overshadowed the ongoing Evergrande story. Bonds more than reversed an early week rally as yields rose for a fifth consecutive week. US 10yr Treasury yields ended the week up +8.9bps to finish at 1.451% - its highest level since the start of July and +15bps off the Asian morning lows on Thursday. The move saw the 2y10y yield curve steepen +4.5bps, with the spread reaching its widest point since July as well. However, at the longer end of the curve the 5y30y spread ended the week largely unchanged after a volatile week. It was much flatter shortly following the FOMC and steeper following the BoE. Bond yields in Europe moved higher as well with the central bank moves again being the major impetus especially in the UK. 10yr gilt yields rose +7.9bps to +0.93% and the short end moved even more with the 2yr yield rising +9.4bps to 0.38% as the BoE’s inflation forecast and rhetoric caused investors to pull forward rate hike expectations. Yields on 10yr bunds rose +5.2bps, whilst those on the OATs (+6.3bps) and BTPs (+5.7bps) increased substantially as well, but not to the same extent as their US and UK counterparts. While sovereign debt sold off, global equity markets recovered following two consecutive weeks of declines. Although markets entered the week on the back foot following the Evergrande headlines from last weekend, risk sentiment improved at the end of the week, especially toward cyclical industries. The S&P 500 gained +0.51% last week (+0.15% Friday), nearly recouping the prior week’s loss. The equity move was primarily led by cyclicals as higher bond yields helped US banks (+3.43%) outperform, while higher commodity prices saw the energy (+4.46%) sector gain sharply. Those higher bond yields led to a slight rerating of growth stocks as the tech megacap NYFANG index fell back -0.46% on the week and the NASDAQ underperformed, finishing just better than unchanged (+0.02). Nonetheless, with four trading days left in September the S&P 500 is on track for its third losing month this year, following January and June. European equities rose moderately last week, as the STOXX 600 ended the week +0.31% higher despite Friday’s -0.90% loss. Bourses across the continent outperformed led by particularly strong performances by the IBEX (+1.28%) and CAC 40 (+1.04%). There was limited data from Friday. The Ifo's business climate indicator in Germany fell slightly from the previous month to 98.8 (99.0 expected) from 99.4 on the back a lower current assessment even though business expectations was higher than expected. In Italy, consumer confidence rose to 119.6 (115.8 expected), up just over 3pts from August and at its highest level on record (since 1995). Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 08:09.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 27th, 2021

The 11 choices that forever changed our favorite games

Lara Croft was at one stage a supporting character while Sonic's sneakers were inspired by Michael Jackson's album "Bad." The Italian plumber was originally named Jumpman. Nintendo From character names to genre changes, the most popular video games hide interesting origin stories. Lara Croft was initially a supporting character while Mario was once called Jumpman. From "Metal Gear" to "Mortal Kombat", these choices forever shaped the world's favorite video games. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. It's a struggle to imagine a video game world where Mario isn't called "Mario" or Lara Croft isn't the protagonist of "Tomb Raider."But the games we know and love today could easily have been very different.From the creative choices behind the color scheme of Sonic's sneakers and the naming of the "Final Fantasy" series to the inspiration behind Princess Zelda's name, here are some of the decisions that shaped the world's biggest video games. Mario wasn't always called Mario Jumpman resembled the landlord of the warehouse Nintendo was renting, Mario Segale. Nintendo He's one of the most popular video game characters ever and the official mascot of Nintendo — but Mario almost wasn't called Mario.The Italian plumber was originally named Jumpman when "Donkey Kong" launched on the Japanese market. However, the makers wanted to broaden their horizons when the product launched in the US and thought about real names. According to PC World, Minoru Arakawa, then-president of Nintendo in the US, realized Jumpman resembled the landlord of the warehouse Nintendo was renting at the time. The man was called Mario Segale, and so "Mario" stuck. Since his launch, Mario has gone on to star in the "Mario Kart" franchise and the hit "Super Mario Odyssey", which even pays tribute to "Donkey Kong."  Sonic's sneakers were inspired by Michael Jackson While Sonic is blue to reflect the company color scheme, few know why his sneakers are red and white. Paramount/Sega When the video game developers at Sega were creating a character for Mario to go up against, they dreamt up Mr. Needlemouse, although he later became Sonic.The reasoning behind the color scheme was explained by character designer Naoto Ohshima in an interview with Gamasutra: "I also thought that red went well for a character who can run really fast when his legs are spinning."Although the hedgehog is blue to reflect the company colors, few know that his red and white sneakers were inspired by the cover of Michael Jackson's album "Bad."  The combos in Street Fighter II were an accident The combos are now a defining feature of the franchise. Capcom If the first installment of the "Street Fighter" franchise laid the foundations for its popularity, the second catapulted it to superstardom with its killer combinations. The team accidentally stumbled upon the combos, which allowed users to carry out basic and special moves in a sequence, Paste Magazine reported.  The combos are now a defining feature of the franchise and have been repeated time and time again. Final Fantasy really was meant to be final Before the game launched, video game developer Square was about to go under. Square Enix With more than 15 video games now in the franchise, it's hard to believe "Final Fantasy" was a product of difficult circumstances. Before the game launched, video game developer Square was about to go under.Square's former president, Hironobu Sakaguchi, named the game "Final Fantasy" because he planned to leave the video game industry if it didn't work out. More than 33 years later things still don't look very final.  It wasn't always clear Samus from 'Metroid' would be a woman It was in the 1980s that "Metroid" broke a trend of male-dominated characters. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images In 1986, Nintendo launched a game that became a key part of its Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).While female protagonists are now increasingly common in the video game world, back then it was "Metroid" that broke a trend of male-dominated characters.The gender of female protagonist Samus Aran isn't revealed until the very end of the game when she removes her armor and shows herself for the first time. Series co-creator Yoshio Sakamoto told IGN the decision was made when, during a development meeting, a staff member said: "Hey, wouldn't that be kind of cool if it turned out that this person inside the suit was a woman?" Samus continues to be popular, with the remake "Metroid: Samus Returns" released in 2017, and a new game "Metroid Prime 4" announced, although Nintendo decided to restart development in 2019 after it failed to meet quality standards. McDonald's and Mike Tyson in 'Punch Out!!' Mike Tyson Tries to Beat Himself in "Punch-Out!!" YouTube / The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Perhaps the funniest fact about "Punch Out!!" is that the short and feisty 17-year-old boxer character Little Mac derives his name from the McDonald's classic. However, Mike Tyson's involvement gave "Punch Out!!" a whole new significance.Minoru Arakawa, then-president of Nintendo in the US, was determined to include Tyson in the game as he saw a lot of potential in him.They released Mike Tyson's "Punch Out!!" in 1987, and Uproxx claims Tyson was only paid $50,000 for his image to be used. The game's Mike Tyson is notoriously difficult to beat — even the boxer himself couldn't do it. Jean-Claude 'Mortal Kombat' Van Damme D'Vorah, introduced in "Mortal Kombat X." The "Mortal Kombat" saga began in 1992. "Mortal Kombat 11"/NetherRealm Studio The famous "Mortal Kombat" saga, which now includes 11 installments, began in 1992 but initially was meant to be totally different.Centering around Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, the original plan was to create a game based on the film "Universal Soldier" and have him fight against hundreds of colorful enemies.However, negotiations with the actor didn't go well, Mel Magazine reported, and creators Midway decided to completely rebrand it, turning it into one of the most violent games of all time. The franchise did however include Johnny Cage, a character inspired by Van Damme. Originally, 'Metal Gear' wasn't a stealth game "Metal Gear" was born after Kojima was inspired by 1963 classic "The Great Escape." Konami Now one of the most famous stealth games in video game history, "Metal Gear" wasn't initially about stealth at all; it was originally intended exclusively as an action game.However, the limited tech at the time didn't quite accommodate designer Hideo Kojima's storyline and themes. "Metal Gear" was born after he was inspired by 1963 classic "The Great Escape," which tells the story of how a group of soldiers plans to escape from a prison camp.  Lara Croft wasn't the main character of 'Tomb Raider' Directed by Roar Uthaug. Warner Bros. Pictures When Core Design and Eidos Interactive first presented "Tomb Raider" in its early stages, the main character looked a little too much like movie archaeologist Indiana Jones — for whom they obviously didn't have a license. To make the character stand out, designer Toby Gard proposed promoting a secondary female character to lead status, replacing the original idea. They decided to go with it and created the image of Lara Croft as we know her today, with her trademark shorts and signature braid. The rest is history.  Zelda's namesake is a novelist's wife The "Legend of Zelda" franchise is now hugely successful. Nintendo The name of Princess Zelda from "The Legend of Zelda," now a classic on NES, has an interesting literary origin.Princess Zelda's name was inspired by Zelda Fitzgerald, the wife of "The Great Gatsby" novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald.Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo said he liked the sound of the name and so it stuck.The franchise is now hugely successful, with several new installments including 2019's "Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild." 'Resident Evil' started out as a remake of 'Sweet Home' "Resident Evil: Village" will be coming to PS5 this year. Capcom Now one of the most popular horror franchises and the starting point for the survival horror genre, "Resident Evil" was originally going to be a remake of 1989 Capcom classic "Sweet Home."However, the makers decided to go bigger, changing their idea from a first-person shooter to a third-person one. They took inspiration from the Overlook Hotel of "The Shining," and from other movies featuring haunted houses. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 22nd, 2021

"Nasser Was Not An Outlier" - Exposing The FBI"s Incurable Rot

'Nasser Was Not An Outlier' - Exposing The FBI's Incurable Rot Authored by Julie Kelly via American Greatness (emphasis ours), The incurable incompetence, corruption, and moral rot of the Federal Bureau of Investigation was on full display last week. Within a 24-hour period, some of America’s toughest female athletes recounted to a Senate committee their painful tales of how the FBI ignored evidence that team doctor Larry Nassar was a sexual predator, and a powerful attorney who colluded with the FBI to concoct one of the most animating chapters of the Trump-Russia collusion fiction was indicted for lying to federal officials. Overlap in the two cases is more than ironic, it’s illustrative: Michael Sussman, a lawyer for Perkins Coie, the law firm that was working on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign, met with the FBI’s general counsel in September 2016 to plant a false story about Donald Trump’s financial ties to a Russian bank. That same month, the Indianapolis Star broke the story of how Nassar, the longtime physician for the USA Gymnastics team, had sexually abused several female gymnasts. One victim filed a lawsuit after the FBI refused to investigate complaints made to at least two FBI field offices in 2015 and 2016. But the FBI at that time was too preoccupied with protecting Hillary Clinton to deal with a monster who had systematically raped nearly 300 female American athletes. (As Lee Smith recently noted, the FBI “has been used for a quarter of a century as the place to clean up the Clintons’ dirt.”) Months before the 2016 presidential election, the FBI, led by James Comey, used its unchecked authority to sabotage Donald Trump. Meanwhile, elite American athletes, including Olympic gold medalists, could not get the bureau’s attention while a sexual abuser continued his rampage. Local FBI agents passed the buck and allegedly falsified reports; one agent reportedly tried to shake down a USA Gymnastics official for a job with the organization. The FBI’s political game-playing came with irreversible human cost. According to an analysis by the New York Times, at least 40 women and girls, including some of the youngest victims, were assaulted by Nassar between July 2015, the first contact with the FBI, and September 2016. Had the Star not published its exposé of Nassar that month, which finally prompted some action by the FBI, who knows how long his depraved predation would have continued? “If they’re not going to protect me, I want to know, who are they trying to protect?” McKayla Maroney, a two-time Olympic medalist and one of Nassar’s most frequent victims, asked the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 15. Maroney may or may not be surprised to learn the agency assigned with protecting the most vulnerable is actually in the business of protecting the most powerful. Nasser Was Not an Outlier FBI Director Christopher Wray, hired by President Trump in 2017, publicly apologized. The “fundamental errors” made in the Nassar case, Wray told the judiciary committee, would not happen again as long as he’s head of the agency. “I want to make sure the American people know that the reprehensible conduct . . . is not representative of the work that I see from our 37,000 folks every day.” The rank-and-file, Wray insisted, perform their jobs with “uncompromising integrity.” But Wray is wrong to claim that the Nassar case is an outlier. From the top of the command chain down, the FBI has trashed its reputation through a series of scandals. It’s not just the alarming texts between spousal cheats Peter Strzok and Lisa Page; the ambush of Lt. General Michael Flynn in the White House; Comey’s use of the shady Steele dossier to set up Donald Trump; or Andrew McCabe’s lies to his own FBI investigators. It’s not just the other set of “errors”—17 to be exact—found in the FBI’s four unlawful FISA applications on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Or the official email doctored by a top FBI lawyer cited as evidence on one of the applications. Or the fact that no one in the agency has gone to jail for perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in history on the American people. As seen in the alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, lowlifes populate the FBI’s rank-and-file. Richard Trask, the special agent in charge of the investigation, was arrested in July for physically assaulting and choking his wife after attending a swinger’s party. Trask was fired this month; he faces numerous criminal charges. Prosecutors decided not to use Trask as a witness after his social media account revealed numerous anti-Trump posts, including calling the president a “piece of shit.” Defense attorneys in the Whitmer case asked the judge to delay trial for 90 days as they investigate the conduct of at least a dozen other FBI agents involved in the conspiracy. The FBI gave one informant $24,000 and a new car for his services. Wray brags that every FBI field office is participating in the Justice Department’s “unprecedented” investigation into the breach of the Capitol. But reports of how his agents have handled more than 600 arrests do little to support Wray’s assurances of professional “integrity.” Defendants have been subjected to pre-dawn raids conducted by dozens of armed agents using military-style vehicles. I spoke with the spouse of one defendant who told me agents interrogated her about what cable news channel she watched, her views on illegal immigrantion, and who she voted for in 2020. The FBI raided the home of an Alaska couple then handcuffed and interrogated them in separate rooms for hours until investigators realized they had the wrong suspects. A 69-year-old man in New York City suffered a heart attack as FBI agents raided his apartment with a television news crew standing by; the man never was charged. FBI agents arrested a Florida man in front of his wife and young daughter, who asked why officers were “locking daddy’s hands.” Casey Cusick was charged only with misdemeanors for entering the Capitol on January 6. Agents seized as evidence a Lego set of the Capitol building during the raid of Robert Morss, an Army ranger with three tours in Afghanistan. Far from nefarious intent, Morss had the Lego set to use with his students as a substitute high school history teacher. (He was fired after his arrest.) And those are just a few stories. No Accountability Wray picked up where Comey left off, allowing his agency to be part of Democratic Party political spin. He recently issued a “threat assessment” on QAnon and disclosed that the FBI so far has arrested at least 20 “self-styled QAnon adherents” related to the Capitol breach investigation. Wray designated January 6 as an act of “domestic terror” and his agency regularly tweets out the faces of “most wanted” Trump supporters who were at the Capitol on January 6. Infuriatingly, Wray fired only one agent involved in the Nassar fiasco—and the man was fired the week before the Senate hearing, six years after he first interviewed Maroney. “Someone perhaps more cynical than I would conclude it was this hearing here staring the FBI in the face that prompted that action,” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said to Wray. But what ails the FBI cannot be solved with a few firings. It cannot be solved with more congressional oversight or threats to cut federal funding. The moral rot that infects the agency from top to bottom renders the agency unsalvageable.  “This conduct by these FBI agents . . . who are expected to protect the public is unacceptable, disgusting, and shameful,” Maggie Nichols, the gymnast who first reported Nassar’s crimes to the FBI, told the committee. Her description, however, applies to the entire FBI—an institution with no shame, no remorse, and no accountability. There’s no fix for that. *  *  * About Julie Kelly Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President. Tyler Durden Tue, 09/21/2021 - 20:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 21st, 2021

Luongo: "When You Buy Into Fear, You Sell Your Reason"

Luongo: "When You Buy Into Fear, You Sell Your Reason" Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog, It’s Time For All Good Men to Stop Fearing John Galt “Who is John Galt?" AYN RAND – ATLAS SHRUGGED There comes a point in every person’s life when they have to reckon with the person in the mirror. Who am I? What do I want? Where am I going? Since the beginning of the COVID-9/11 story I’ve watched it break so many people who couldn’t answer these basic questions. The fear of the virus uncovered a lot about all of us. For many, unfortunately, it provoked their inner tyrant. Last year, during the height of the COVID insanity after publicly hanging up on an unhinged Lee Stranahan live on Sputnik Radio I tweeted this out. When you hit someone's existential fear that's when you uncover their inner tyrant. When something is beyond their capacity to understand, that's when they turn to projecting that fear on other people. This is what was done to justify the lockdown. #endthelockdownnow — Tom Luongo (@TFL1728) April 27, 2020 This wasn’t just directed at Lee, but it really was. The hard investigative journalist of February 2020 turned into a sniveling, state-worshipping baby by late April. Fear of death uncovered his Room 101. That incident, among others, eventually took down his radio show with certified stand-up guy, Garland Nixon. Today it’s a shadow of its former self. I don’t know if my action was the catalyst for the changes that came, but I do know after that day nothing was the same. The sad truth is that Lee wasn’t alone. His collapse was just the most public version I ran into personally. When you buy into fear, you sell your reason. Gone is your skepticism as your world collapses. Your eyes focus on your next step too afraid to raise them to the horizon. There is no bigger picture, there is only the moment. For 20 months now, we have lived among people terrorized by a story, not a virus but a story, that told them they are the heroes for being afraid and the skeptics are the villains. To save ourselves we just have to give up our humanity and submit to an authority incapable of telling us the truth. Because the truth is we had very little to actually fear. These are the real villains, the Faucis, Bidens, Schwabs, Psakis, Trudeaus and anyone who still believes their patter. It was never about the disease, it was about control and the real damage being done to our psyches, our bodies and our communities, exactly as I argued to Lee on the radio eighteen months ago before I hung up on him. They created the fear and then manipulated it into something violent. They preyed on our common decency and humanity, twisting it into something evil which is now plain for anyone who lifts his eyes off the ground to see. Because vaccine mandates are the ultimate form of state violence, the death penalty notwithstanding. Once they had a large enough segment so terrorized they would rather die than admit they had been duped, those villains pushed the ultimate Hobson’s Choice on us: get the vaccine against COVID-9/11 and you can have your life back. But it was never their life to take in the first place. We gave it to them, hoping they weren’t as evil as many suspected. It’s amazing how just one year after a summer of looting and burning over police brutality against a black man who overdosed on fentanyl, these same people are making excuses for even worse police violence against people walking around in sunshine unmasked. To them we are the Untermenschen, the unvaxxed, the unclean. And that makes their violence justified because, to them, we are the ones keeping things from getting back to normal. Once the threat from COVID-9/11 was well established, rationality should have returned. But it hasn’t. Too many people are still stuck in Room 101, wedded to their shame over being duped by villains. They now wish death by COVID on those who refuse to get a shot for a virus that has a defined low probability of killing them and for which multiple therapeutic options are available. If they would just shut up, trust the science and let doctor’s practice medicine, life would really return to something close to normal. But it’s increasingly obvious to enough people that these mandates don’t measure up to the threat of the virus. Every day it becomes clearer that this is about their fear of us seizing back the power we gave them. To save themselves from The COVID they wish it on us, just like Winston Smith, who looked in the mirror and betrayed his love to serve a master who hates him as much as he hates himself. It doesn’t matter if the vaccines are ‘safe’ and ‘effective’ or not. I’m not here to argue that. That’s your personal choice, make it as you see fit. No blame. No shame. What’s important is that it is no one else’s choice. Further, it’s not your personal choice to tell me that I can’t partake in civil society if I don’t get the shot or, like Joe Rogan, choose a different path to treating COVID-9/11 than you would. Joe Rogan asks Sanjay Gupta if it bothers him that CNN outright lied about Rogan taking horse dewormer to recover from covid. This is fantastic: pic.twitter.com/PEgJqIXhSD — Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 14, 2021 Because Winston always had a choice. He could choose to face his fear and finally become a man, like Joe Rogan. Or he can project his fear onto real men and stay in his personal hell for all the world to laugh at: Hey @joerogan nice to hear you paused from gargling Goat Urine or whatever you did instead of overcoming your fear of the Vaccine, to call me "unhinged" for pointing out what terrified snowflakes you and your clown car of followers are. Here's the video that set off Mr. Afraid: pic.twitter.com/gLOgKiWlGs — Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) October 13, 2021 Watching this man’s Two Minutes of Hate is revealing of everything that is wrong with the COVID-9/11 story. And that same choice is now directly in our path, vaxxed or unvaxxed. COVID-9/11 is never going away. Neither will the flu, the common cold or any other virus endemic to the environment. Life is risk and it belongs to those willing to face those risks to keep the world from breaking. Cower in fear if you like, but scapegoating the unvaxxed won’t save you. I saw this in March 2020 saying we have to be brave and celebrate everyone willing to go to work to make the things we need to treat the sick and protect the healthy. In a real economy, everyone is an essential worker. This is because everyone contributes in their small way to the fully functional world that ensures the shelves are stocked, the energy flows and our meager triumphs over nature’s hostility to our presence remain in place. For months now we have been openly threatened with having our lives taken away because we don’t have our party registration papers up to date. We’ve all wrestled, at some level, with our disbelief that things would degrade this badly and this quickly. The Olbermensch tells us we can be friends again after we just get the damn shot. What he won’t admit is that we know he’s lying. Keith hates us for the mirror we hold up in front of him. Take a long look, that is the face of shame. Because ideals are judges. Those ideals only shame men capable of admitting it. The rest sink into solipsism and insanity. In Rand’s novel, John Galt built the engine that could change the world. But he refused to give it to the world he lived in. The Olbermensches would just use it to perpetuate their power, their evil. Who is John Galt? He’s that best version of ourselves that knows who we are, what we want and where we will end up. And it’s past time we stopped fearing the loss that comes with stating that directly. The strike of the productive and the self-aware Rand envisioned is here. The airline pilots, an Ubermensch class of people if there is one in this sick, sad world, walked out over last weekend taking most of Southwest Airlines’ staff with them. The Olbermensches are furious, openly lying about what happened and castigating anyone who says otherwise. But we shouldn’t care. Just like we shouldn’t care that Sanjay Gupta, after Rogan’s shaming, was forced into a public Struggle Session to retain his place at CNN, proving to all the world that he is a man without principles, ideals or shame. As I write this, on October 15th, vaccine mandates go into effect all around the Davos-controlled world. The choice is now in front of hundreds of millions of people. Becoming your own version of John Galt comes with loss. It means giving up something today to retain not just your integrity but provide strength to those not quite there yet. Everything rests on giving them your consent. The Olbermensches do not negotiate, they bully. Bullies are cowards. Your consent today feeds their addiction to fear. Previously I told you to quietly, “Just Say No” to them. Now I’m telling you that takes the form of withdrawing consent completely, risking today’s comfort for tomorrow’s benefit. The strength you display today is the foundation of a world we build back better than the one that is gone. I had a good gig with Sputnik Radio. But I owed them nothing. But when the mask of civility fell, it was time to go. We all wear that mask at times but only with those worthy of reciprocating. All things come to an end, good and bad. What matters is who we choose to be, what we want and unafraid of where those choices lead us. Note: These images are from the classic DC Comic from the 1980’s The Question, Issue #5, where Vic nearly kills himself over guilt for setting in motion the final collapse of the city he’s sworn to protect, but has sunk into depravity, violence and apathy. *  *  * Join my Patreon if you question your premises. BTC: 3GSkAe8PhENyMWQb7orjtnJK9VX8mMf7ZfBCH: qq9pvwq26d8fjfk0f6k5mmnn09vzkmeh3sffxd6rytDCR: DsV2x4kJ4gWCPSpHmS4czbLz2fJNqms78oELTC: MWWdCHbMmn1yuyMSZX55ENJnQo8DXCFg5kDASH: XjWQKXJuxYzaNV6WMC4zhuQ43uBw8mN4VaWAVES: 3PF58yzAghxPJad5rM44ZpH5fUZJug4kBSaETH: 0x1dd2e6cddb02e3839700b33e9dd45859344c9edcDGB: SXygreEdaAWESbgW6mG15dgfH6qVUE5FSE   Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 21:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge7 hr. 49 min. ago

Inside the World of Black Bitcoin, Where Crypto Is About Making More Than Just Money

“We can operate on an even playing field in the digital world” At the Black Blockchain Summit, there is almost no conversation about making money that does not carry with it the possibility of liberation. This is not simply a gathering for those who would like to ride whatever bumps and shocks, gains and losses come with cryptocurrency. It is a space for discussing the relationship between money and man, the powers that be and what they have done with power. Online and in person, on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C., an estimated 1,500 mostly Black people have gathered to talk about crypto—decentralized digital money backed not by governments but by blockchain technology, a secure means of recording transactions—as a way to make money while disrupting centuries-long patterns of oppression. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “What we really need to be doing is to now utilize the technology behind blockchain to enhance the quality of life for our people,” says Christopher Mapondera, a Zimbabwean American and the first official speaker. As a white-haired engineer with the air of a lecturing statesman, Mapondera’s conviction feels very on-brand at a conference themed “Reparations and Revolutions.” Along with summit organizer Sinclair Skinner, Mapondera co-founded BillMari, a service that aims to make it easier to transmit cryptocurrency to wherever the sons and daughters of Africa have been scattered. So, not exactly your stereotypical “Bitcoin bro.” Contrary to the image associated with cryptocurrency since it entered mainstream awareness, almost no one at the summit is a fleece-vest-wearing finance guy or an Elon Musk type with a grudge against regulators. What they are is a cross section of the world of Black crypto traders, educators, marketers and market makers—a world that seemingly mushroomed during the pandemic, rallying around the idea that this is the boon that Black America needs. In fact, surveys indicate that people of color are investing in cryptocurrency in ways that outpace or equal other groups—something that can’t be said about most financial products. About 44% of those who own crypto are people of color, according to a June survey by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center. In April, a Harris Poll reported that while just 16% of U.S. adults overall own cryptocurrency, 18% of Black Americans have gotten in on it. (For Latino Americans, the figure is 20%.) The actor Hill Harper of The Good Doctor, a Harvard Law School friend of former President Barack Obama, is a pitchman for Black Wall Street, a digital wallet and crypto trading service developed with Najah Roberts, a Black crypto expert. And this summer, when the popular money-transfer service Cash App added the option to purchase Bitcoin, its choice to explain the move was the MC Megan Thee Stallion. “With my knowledge and your hustle, you’ll have your own empire in no time,” she says in an ad titled “Bitcoin for Hotties.” Read more: Americans Have Learned to Talk About Racial Inequality. But They’ve Done Little to Solve It But, as even Megan Thee Stallion acknowledges in that ad, pinning one’s economic hopes on crypto is inherently risky. Many economic experts have described crypto as little better than a bubble, mere fool’s gold. The rapid pace of innovation—it’s been little more than a decade since Bitcoin was created by the enigmatic, pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto—has left consumers with few protections. Whether the potential is worth those risks is the stuff of constant, and some would say, infernal debate. Jared Soares for TIMECleve Mesidor, who founded the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain What looms in the backdrop is clear. In the U.S., the median white family’s wealth—reflecting not just assets minus debt, but also the ability to weather a financial setback—sat around $188,200, per the Federal Reserve’s most recent measure in 2019. That’s about eight times the median wealth of Black families. (For Latino families, it’s five times greater; the wealth of Asian, Pacific Island and other families sits between that of white and Latino families, according to the report.) Other estimates paint an even grimmer picture. If trends continue, the median Black household will have zero wealth by 2053. The summit attendees seem certain that crypto represents keys to a car bound for somewhere better. “Our digital selves are more important in some ways than our real-world selves,” Tony Perkins, a Black MIT-trained computer scientist, says during a summit session on “Enabling Black Land and Asset Ownership Using Blockchain.” The possibilities he rattles off—including fractional ownership of space stations—will, to many, sound fantastical. To others, they sound like hope. “We can operate on an even playing field in the digital world,” he says. The next night, when in-person attendees gather at Barcode, a Black-owned downtown D.C. establishment, for drinks and conversation, there’s a small rush on black T-shirts with white lettering: SATOSHI, they proclaim, IS BLACK. That’s an intriguing idea when your ancestors’ bodies form much of the foundation of U.S. prosperity. At the nation’s beginnings, land theft from Native Americans seeded the agricultural operations where enslaved Africans would labor and die, making others rich. By 1860, the cotton-friendly ground of Mississippi was so productive that it was home to more millionaires than anywhere else in the country. Government-supported pathways to wealth, from homesteading to homeownership, have been reliably accessible to white Americans only. So Black Bitcoiners’ embrace of decentralized currencies—and a degree of doubt about government regulators, as well as those who have done well in the traditional system—makes sense. Skinner, the conference organizer, believes there’s racial subtext in the caution from the financial mainstream regarding Bitcoin—a pervasive idea that Black people just don’t understand finance. “I’m skeptical of all of those [warnings], based on the history,” Skinner, who is Black American, says. Even a drop in the value of Bitcoin this year, which later went back up, has not made him reticent. “They have petrol shortages in England right now. They’ll blame the weather or Brexit, but they’ll never have to say they’re dumb. Something don’t work in Detroit or some city with a Black mayor, we get a collective shame on us.” Read more: America’s Interstate Slave Trade Once Trafficked Nearly 30,000 People a Year—And Reshaped the Country’s Economy The first time I speak to Skinner, the summit is still two weeks away. I’d asked him to talk through some of the logistics, but our conversation ranges from what gives money value to the impact of ride-share services on cabbies refusing Black passengers. Tech often promises to solve social problems, he says. The Internet was supposed to democratize all sorts of things. In many cases, it defaulted to old patterns. (As Black crypto policy expert Cleve Mesidor put it to me, “The Internet was supposed to be decentralized, and today it’s owned by four white men.”) But with the right people involved from the start of the next wave of change—crypto—the possibilities are endless, Skinner says. Skinner, a Howard grad and engineer by training, first turned to crypto when he and Mapondera were trying to find ways to do ethanol business in Zimbabwe. Traditional international transactions were slow or came with exorbitant fees. In Africa, consumers pay some of the world’s highest remittance, cell phone and Internet data fees in the world, a damaging continuation of centuries-long wealth transfers off the continent to others, Skinner says. Hearing about cryptocurrency, he was intrigued—particularly having seen, during the recession, the same banking industry that had profited from slavery getting bailed out as hundreds of thousands of people of color lost their homes. So in 2013, he invested “probably less than $3,000,” mostly in Bitcoin. Encouraged by his friend Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, one of the largest platforms for trading crypto, he grew his stake. In 2014, when Skinner went to a crypto conference in Amsterdam, only about eight Black people were there, five of them caterers, but he felt he had come home ideologically. He saw he didn’t need a Rockefeller inheritance to change the world. “I don’t have to build a bank where they literally used my ancestors to build the capital,” says Skinner, who today runs a site called I Love Black People, which operates like a global anti-racist Yelp. “I can unseat that thing by not trying to be like them.” Eventually, he and Mapondera founded BillMari and became the first crypto company to partner with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to lower fees on remittances, the flow of money from immigrants overseas back home to less-developed nations—an economy valued by the World Bank and its offshoot KNOMAD at $702 billion in 2020. (Some of the duo’s business plans later evaporated, after Zimbabwe’s central bank revoked approval for some cryptocurrency activities.) Skinner’s feelings about the economic overlords make it a bit surprising that he can attract people like Charlene Fadirepo, a banker by trade and former government regulator, to speak at the summit. On the first day, she offers attendees a report on why 2021 was a “breakout year for Bitcoin,” pointing out that major banks have begun helping high-net-worth clients invest in it, and that some corporations have bought crypto with their cash on hand, holding it as an asset. Fadirepo, who worked in the Fed’s inspector general’s office monitoring Federal Reserve banks and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is not a person who hates central banks or regulation. A Black American, she believes strongly in both, and in their importance for protecting investors and improving the economic position of Black people. Today she operates Guidefi, a financial education and advising company geared toward helping Black women connect with traditional financial advisers. It just launched, for a fee, direct education in cryptocurrency. Crypto is a relatively new part of Fadirepo’s life. She and her Nigerian-American doctor husband earn good salaries and follow all the responsible middle-class financial advice. But the pandemic showed her they still didn’t have what some of his white colleagues did: the freedom to walk away from high-risk work. As the stock market shuddered and storefronts shuttered, she decided a sea change was coming. A family member had mentioned Bitcoin at a funeral in 2017, but it sounded risky. Now, her research kept bringing her back to it. Last year, she and her husband bought $6,000 worth. No investment has ever generated the kinds of returns for them that Bitcoin has. “It has transformed people’s relationship with money,” she says. “Folks are just more intentional … and honestly feeling like they had access to a world that was previously walled off.” Read more: El Salvador Is Betting on Bitcoin to Rebrand the Country — and Strengthen the President’s Grip She knows frauds exists. In May, a federal watchdog revealed that since October 2020, nearly 7,000 people have reported losses of more than $80 million on crypto scams—12 times more scam reports than the same period the previous year. The median individual loss: $1,900. For Fadirepo, it’s worrying. That’s part of why she helps moderate recurring free learning and discussion options like the Black Bitcoin Billionaires chat room on Clubhouse, which has grown from about 2,000 to 130,000 club members this year. Jared Soares for TIMECharlene Fadirepo, a banker and former government regulator, near the National Museum of African American History and Culture There’s a reason Black investors might prefer their own spaces for that kind of education. Fadirepo says it’s not unheard-of in general crypto spaces—theoretically open to all, but not so much in practice—to hear that relying on the U.S. dollar is slavery. “To me, a descendant of enslaved people in America, that was painful,” she says. “There’s a lot of talk about sovereignty, freedom from the U.S. dollar, freedom from inflation, inflation is slavery, blah blah blah. The historical context has been sucked out of these conversations about traditional financial systems. I don’t know how I can talk about banking without also talking about history.” Back in January, I found myself in a convenience store in a low-income and predominantly Black neighborhood in Dallas, an area still living the impact of segregation decades after its official end. I was there to report on efforts to register Black residents for COVID-19 shots after an Internet-only sign-up system—and wealthier people gaming the system—created an early racial disparity in vaccinations. I stepped away to buy a bottle of water. Inside the store, a Black man wondered aloud where the lottery machine had gone. He’d come to spend his usual $2 on tickets and had found a Bitcoin machine sitting in its place. A second Black man standing nearby, surveying chip options, explained that Bitcoin was a form of money, an investment right there for the same $2. After just a few questions, the first man put his money in the machine and walked away with a receipt describing the fraction of one bitcoin he now owned. Read more: When a Texas County Tried to Ensure Racial Equity in COVID-19 Vaccinations, It Didn’t Go as Planned I was both worried and intrigued. What kind of arrangement had prompted the store’s owner to replace the lottery machine? That month, a single bitcoin reached the $40,000 mark. “That’s very revealing, if someone chooses to put a cryptocurrency machine in the same place where a lottery [machine] was,” says Jeffrey Frankel, a Harvard economist, when I tell him that story. Frankel has described cryptocurrencies as similar to gambling, more often than not attracting those who can least afford to lose, whether they are in El Salvador or Texas. Frankel ranks among the economists who have been critical of El Salvador’s decision to begin recognizing Bitcoin last month as an official currency, in part because of the reality that few in the county have access to the internet, as well as the cryptocurrency’s price instability and its lack of backing by hard assets, he says. At the same time that critics have pointed to the shambolic Bitcoin rollout in El Salvador, Bitcoin has become a major economic force in Nigeria, one of the world’s larger players in cryptocurrency trading. In fact, some have argued that it has helped people in that country weather food inflation. But, to Frankel, crypto does not contain promise for lasting economic transformation. To him, disdain for experts drives interest in cryptocurrency in much the same way it can fuel vaccine hesitancy. Frankel can see the potential to reduce remittance costs, and he does not doubt that some people have made money. Still, he’s concerned that the low cost and click-here ease of buying crypto may draw people to far riskier crypto assets, he says. Then he tells me he’d put the word assets here in a hard set of air quotes. And Frankel, who is white, is not alone. Darrick Hamilton, an economist at the New School who is Black, says Bitcoin should be seen in the same framework as other low-cost, high-risk, big-payoff options. “In the end, it’s a casino,” he says. To people with less wealth, it can feel like one of the few moneymaking methods open to them, but it’s not a source of group uplift. “Like any speculation, those that can arbitrage the market will be fine,” he says. “There’s a whole lot of people that benefited right before the Great Recession, but if they didn’t get out soon enough, they lost their shirts too.” To buyers like Jiri Sampson, a Black cryptocurrency investor who works in real estate and lives outside Washington, D.C., that perspective doesn’t register as quite right. The U.S.-born son of Guyanese immigrants wasn’t thinking about exploitation when he invested his first $20 in cryptocurrency in 2017. But the groundwork was there. Sampson homeschools his kids, due in part to his lack of faith that public schools equip Black children with the skills to determine their own fates. He is drawn to the capacity of this technology to create greater agency for Black people worldwide. The blockchain, for example, could be a way to establish ownership for people who don’t hold standard documents—an important issue in Guyana and many other parts of the world, where individuals who have lived on the land for generations are vulnerable to having their property co-opted if they lack formal deeds. Sampson even pitched a project using the blockchain and GPS technology to establish digital ownership records to the Guyanese government, which did not bite. “I don’t want to downplay the volatility of Bitcoin,” Sampson says. But that’s only a significant concern, he believes, if one intends to sell quickly. To him, Bitcoin represents a “harder” asset than the dollar, which he compares to a ship with a hole in it. Bitcoin has a limited supply, while the Fed can decide to print more dollars anytime. That, to Sampson, makes some cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin, good to buy and hold, to pass along wealth from one generation to another. Economists and crypto buyers aren’t the only ones paying attention. Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Reserve have indicated that they will move toward official assessments or regulation soon. At least 10 federal agencies are interested in or already regulating crypto in some way, and there’s now a Congressional Blockchain Caucus. Representatives from the Federal Reserve and the SEC declined to comment, but SEC Chairman Gary Gensler assured a Senate subcommittee in September that his agency is working to develop regulation that will apply to cryptocurrency markets and trading activity. Enter Cleve Mesidor, of the quip about the Internet being owned by four white men. When we meet during the summit, she introduces herself: “Cleve Mesidor, I’m in crypto.” She’s the first person I’ve ever heard describe herself that way, but not that long ago, “influencer” wasn’t a career either. A former Obama appointee who worked inside the Commerce Department on issues related to entrepreneurship and economic development, Mesidor learned about cryptocurrency during that time. But she didn’t get involved in it personally until 2013, when she purchased $200 in Bitcoin. After leaving government, she founded the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain, and is now the public policy adviser for the industry group the Blockchain Association. There are more men than women in Black crypto spaces, she tells me, but the gender imbalance tends to be less pronounced than in white-dominated crypto communities. Mesidor, who immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti and uses her crypto investments to fund her professional “wanderlust,” has also lived crypto’s downsides. She’s been hacked and the victim of an attempted ransomware attack. But she still believes cryptocurrency and related technology can solve real-world problems, and she’s trying, she says, to make sure that necessary consumer protections are not structured in a way that chokes the life out of small businesses or investors. “D.C. is like Vegas; the house always wins,” says Mesidor, whose independently published book is called The Clevolution: My Quest for Justice in Politics & Crypto. “The crypto community doesn’t get that.” Passion, she says, is not enough. The community needs to be involved in the regulatory discussions that first intensified after the price of a bitcoin went to $20,000 in 2017. A few days after the summit, when Mesidor and I spoke by phone, Bitcoin had climbed to nearly $60,000. At Barcode, the Washington lounge, Isaiah Jackson is holding court. A man with a toothpaste-commercial smile, he’s the author of the independently published Bitcoin & Black America, has appeared on CNBC and is half of the streaming show The Gentleman of Crypto, which bills itself as the one of the longest-running cryptocurrency shows on the Internet. When he was building websites as a sideline, he convinced a large black church in Charlotte, N.C., to, for a time, accept Bitcoin donations. He helped establish Black Bitcoin Billionaires on Clubhouse and, like Fadirepo, helps moderate some of its rooms and events. He’s also a former teacher, descended from a line of teachers, and is using those skills to develop (for a fee) online education for those who want to become crypto investors. Now, there’s a small group standing near him, talking, but mostly listening. Jackson was living in North Carolina when one of his roommates, a white man who worked for a money-management firm, told him he had just heard a presentation about crypto and thought he might want to suggest it to his wealthy parents. The concept blew Jackson’s mind. He soon started his own research. “Being in the Black community and seeing the actions of banks, with redlining and other things, it just appealed to me,” Jackson tells me. “You free the money, you free everything else.” Read more: Beyond Tulsa: The Historic Legacies and Overlooked Stories of America’s ‘Black Wall Streets’ He took his $400 savings and bought two bitcoins in October 2013. That December, the price of a single bitcoin topped $1,100. He started thinking about what kind of new car he’d buy. And he stuck with it, even seeing prices fluctuate and scams proliferate. When the Gentlemen of Bitcoin started putting together seminars, one of the early venues was at a college fair connected to an annual HBCU basketball tournament attended by thousands of mostly Black people. Bitcoin eventually became more than an investment. He believed there was great value in spreading the word. But that was then. “I’m done convincing people. There’s no point battling going back and forth,” he says. “Even if they don’t realize it, what [investors] are doing if they are keeping their bitcoin long term, they are moving money out of the current system into another one. And that is basically the best form of peaceful protest.”   —With reporting by Leslie Dickstein and Simmone Shah.....»»

Category: topSource: time10 hr. 33 min. ago

China Finally Comments On Evergrande, Says Risks "Controllable" And Unlikely To Spread

China Finally Comments On Evergrande, Says Risks "Controllable" And Unlikely To Spread Nearly a month after the Evergrande crisis went to 10, sending property sector bonds crashing to near record lows and sparking a sharp swoon in China's property sector, the country's central bank finally broke its silence on the crisis at Evergrande , saying risks to the financial system stemming from the developer’s struggles are “controllable” and unlikely to spread. Speaking at a news briefing on Friday, PBOC official Zou Lan - head of the financial market department. - said that authorities and local governments are resolving the situation based on “market-oriented and rule-of-law principles” Bloomberg reported. Additionally, the central bank has asked lenders to keep credit to the real estate sector “stable and orderly,” said Zou. “In recent years, the company failed to manage its business well and to operate prudently amid changing market conditions,” Zou said of Evergrande, which has more than $300 billion of liabilities. “Instead it blindly expanded and diversified.” The rhetoric was reminiscent of China's commentary preceding the demise of HNA and Anbang, which subsequently failed. On one hand China's admission that something is happening in the property sector was a welcome change from the persistent radiosilence until now; on the other, the jawboning is unlikely to ease fears amid investors who are clamoring for more PBOC easing which however is looking unlikely at a time when China's PPI has hit multi-decade highs amid soaring commodity inflation. Furthermore, concerns are growing that the cash crunch at Evergrande is spilling over to other developers, sending a shockwave among China's property sector - which accounts for roughly 70% of local household wealth and directly impacts about 30% of China's GDP. Contagion fears intensified over the past two weeks after a surprise default by Fantasia Holdings Group Co. and a warning from Sinic Holdings Group Co. that its default was imminent. The central bank is urging property firms and their shareholders to fulfill their debt obligations, Zou said. A slump in developers’ offshore dollar bonds is a natural market response to defaults, he added. Some other comments from the central banker: China’s government has insisted that property not be used as a short-term stimulus for the economy Cities have seen an excessive surge in property prices, which mortgage restrictions helped to curtail Property investment has slumped recently after some developers faced credit problems, but this is a normal market phenomenon Some banks have misunderstood macroprudential policies regarding the property sector In an actual tangible change, overnight Bloomberg also reported overnight that financial regulators told some major banks to accelerate approval of mortgages in the last quarter. Lenders were also permitted to apply to sell securities backed by residential mortgages to free up loan quotas, easing a ban imposed early this year, according to people familiar with the matter. Regulators will ensure financial support is provided so that Evergrande’s property projects may resume, Zou said. The developer’s rapid expansion “led to severe worsening of its financial metrics, and risks blew up in the end,” he said. It remains to be seen if this attempt to restore faith in China's flagging property sector will succeed.   Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 08:05.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt22 hr. 49 min. ago

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

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

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

Ron Watkins, the man widely rumored to have started the QAnon movement, said he is running for Congress

In a video posted on Telegram, Watkins said he'd "double down with God as my compass to take this fight to the swamp of Washington DC." A photo of Watkins appearing on TV. OAN/YouTube Ron Watkins in a video said he would be running for Congress in Arizona as a Republican. Watkins has long been rumoured to be the man behind the QAnon movement. A statement of intent to run was filed with state authorities using an email address associated with Watkins. Ron Watkins, the former 8chan administrator widely rumored to have seeded the QAnon conspiracy theory, has said that he intends to run for a congressional seat in Arizona. In a video posted on his Telegram channel on Thursday, Watkins said that he had decided to "double down with God as my compass to take this fight to the swamp of Washington DC.""I am here to formally announce my run for Congress in Arizona," he said. "Under God's authority, we will take back Congress, flip the Senate and fix the presidency."-Dillon Rosenblatt (@DillonReedRose) October 14, 2021Earlier, an email address associated with Watkins had filed a "statement of intent" with the office of the Arizona secretary of state to run for a congressional seat, Dylan Rosenblatt, a journalist for a local NPR affiliate first reported.The filing is an essential step in running for public office, and comes ahead of the candidate seeking to secure the required number of signatures to make it onto the ballot.Some critics, including QAnon expert Mike Rothschild, dismissed the move as a publicity stunt or fundraising bid.In order to run for office, a candidate must reside in the state and earlier this year it was reported by NBC that Watkins lives in Japan.Arizona's first Congressional district is currently represented by Democrat Tom O'Halleran, who has been in office since 2016, and has since defeated two Republican challengers.In recent days, Watkins has gave his support to two Republican candidates in the state, including former state attorney general Tom Horne, who is running for state superintendent, and Kari Lake, who was recently endorsed by former president Donald Trump as the GOP gubernatorial candidate for the state. The 8chan messaging board became a notorious hub for conspiracy theorists and far-right extremists during Watkins' time as administrator. It was on the site that a series of cryptic messages by someone claiming to be a top government official, codenamed "Q," were posted, alleging that Trump was working to dismantle a secret cabal of powerful child abusers.A recent HBO documentary, "Q: Into the Storm", posits that the real identity of "Q" was likely Watkins. He has denied the claim. After quitting his role at 8chan last year, Watkins played a key role in stirring conspiracy theories of a vast plot to deprive Trump of victory in last year's presidential election.He has more recently backed the partisan audit of votes in Arizona's Maricopa County, that recently wound up concluding that Biden did win, in line with the official result in a verdict that disappointed many Trump supporters. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 15th, 2021

The 5 best bed sheets in 2021 for every sleeper

We tested 19 sets to find the best sheets for your bed in 2021. Our picks include L.L.Bean, Pinzon, Sijo, Frette, and more. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Connie Chen/Insider Good sheets are essential to good sleep, which is why you need a set that's comfortable and durable. The L.L.Bean Percale Sheet Set is our top pick for most people because they're crisp and breathable. It's made from soft, durable, extra-long-staple cotton and is affordably priced for the quality. Read more about how Insider Reviews tests home products. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyI've spent four years trying out more than three dozen sets of sheets, and I can tell you - even if you have the perfect mattress and pillow, bedtime is incomplete without soft and comfortable sheets. For this guide, I put 19 sets of sheets through rigorous testing to determine the top five for a variety of preferences and budgets. L.L.Bean's Percale Sheet Set is the best option for most people.I spoke to hospitality experts and a textiles scientist to learn more about thread count, materials and fiber types, and fabric care. The FAQs section contains more info on why thread count is less important than you think, why you should look for 100% long-staple cotton as a sheeting material, and how to prevent wrinkles in your fresh sheets. The majority of our picks are made from cotton, which offers the best balance of comfort, durability, and affordability. But we've also included options like flannel and linen, which hold heat differently and may be more appropriate for specific seasons or those who tend to sleep cold or hot. Here are the best sheets for your bed in 2021Best sheets overall: L.L.Bean Percale Sheet SetBest cooling sheets for summer: Sijo Linen Sheet SetBest flannel sheets for winter: Pinzon Flannel Sheet SetBest hotel sheets: H by Frette Classic Sheet SetBest sheets on a budget: Threshold Solid Performance Sheet Set Best sheets overall Connie Chen/Insider The L.L.Bean percale sheets feel amazing on your skin — simultaneously light, crisp, and soft — and prove that quality materials are more important than thread count.Material: 100% Pima cotton, percale weave Thread count: 280 Sizes available: Twin, full, queen, king, California kingCare instructions:  Machine wash in warm water with like colors. Use only non-chlorine bleach if needed. Tumble dry on low and remove promptly. Pros: High-quality construction, very soft and comfortable, fitted sheet is labeled, accessible priceCons: Lack of prints and patterns, fitted sheet may be loose on thinner mattressesOf all the percale cotton sheets I tested, L.L.Bean's set stood out for its ultra-softness and comfort. It's our overall best pick because it boasts a bit of everything that most shoppers are looking for: lightweight, breathable, and cool fabric; crisp yet soft feel; and strong construction that can reliably stand up to multiple washes. The sheets are made from pima cotton, which is a high-quality, extra-long-staple cotton. Karen Leonas, a professor of textile sciences at the Wilson College of Textiles, NC State University, told us extra-long-staple cotton is even stronger and more resistant to abrasion than long-staple cotton. That's likely why the L.L.Bean sheets are extra soft and durable, even though the 280-thread count is on the lower end of the spectrum. Even after many washes, they also had a great feel and experienced no loose threads or shrinkage in the last three months.The fitted sheet fit well and never slipped off, but there was a little excess (it fits up to 15-inch mattresses) on my IKEA Haugesund mattress. I loved that the long and short sides were labeled, a thoughtful touch that always sped up the annoying task of putting on my sheets. (When you're constantly trying and washing different sheets, you notice and appreciate these things.) The sheets are available in a handful of light colors, and they have hemstitched detailing (decorative threading at the edges). If you prefer a simple look that fits into pretty much any room style, the L.L.Bean sheets won't disappoint. If you like fun prints and patterns, try Brooklinen's sheets. They came in a close second to L.L.Bean for comfort and durability and are also reasonably priced.  There's nothing gimmicky or "special" about these L.L.Bean sheets, and that's what makes them so great. They're simply well-made, extremely comfortable, and dependable — the best you could want out of something you're sleeping on every night. Pima Cotton Percale Sheet Set (Queen) (button) Best flannel sheets for winter Connie Chen/Insider It's hard to imagine snuggling in anything but Pinzon's thick flannel sheets on a cold winter night. They'll keep you warm and cozy without causing you to overheat.Material: 100% brushed cottonThread count: Doesn't apply; 170 GSMSizes available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California kingCare instructions: Machine wash in cold water. Tumble dry on low. Pros: Plush and cozy feel, heavyweight, breathable, affordable Cons: Lots of dryer lint, only available in solid colors, may be too warm for hot sleepersImagine you're nestled in a cabin in the woods, far, far away from the people and bustle of regular life. There's a fire crackling nearby, and you have a book in one hand and a mug of tea in the other. That's what it feels like sleeping in these flannel sheets, even if the reality is that you're laying your head to rest in a modern city high-rise. There's no better fabric than flannel to bundle your body in during fall and winter (and even beyond, if you don't sleep hot). Pinzon's flannel is thick, soft, and cozy from the very first use and the comforting feeling only gets better over time. They're velvety and a little fuzzy but were never itchy and uncomfortable. Though the sheets are very warm, they never felt stifling or unbreathable, despite the fact that I sometimes sleep warm. However, if you regularly sleep hot, the flannel sheets may be too stifling.These sheets make it dangerously tempting to take midday naps curled up like a cat or to sleep in every day as if it were a Sunday free of commitments and appointments. I consistently felt like I slept better and deeper because of how warm and comfortable these sheets are. Fortunately, there's been no shrinkage or pilling to get in the way of that comfort.Still, there are a few small inconveniences. Out of the package, they have a slight chemical odor, so you'll need to wash them before the first use. Also, be prepared to empty out a thick layer of fuzz from your dryer lint trap every time you wash them. If you have thicker or high-loft pillows, the pillowcases may be a tight fit. I used them on my Casper and Leesa pillows (both moderately-sized pillows), and the pillowcases were a bit difficult to pull on.Cotton Flannel Bed Sheet Set (Queen) (button) Best hotel sheets Connie Chen/Insider When you don't want to spend hundreds of dollars a night to sleep at a luxury hotel, H by Frette's smooth and luxurious sateen sheets will take you there instead.Material: 100% extra-long-staple cotton, sateen weaveThread count: 300Sizes available: Twin, queen, king, California kingCare instructions: Machine wash in hot water. Tumble dry on low. If desired, remove before completely dry and iron to remove wrinkles.Pros: Luxury hotel-approved, quality materials, washes well, the brand has a long manufacturing historyCons: Only available in whiteRitz-Carlton, St. Regis, and Kimpton hotels worldwide turn to this iconic name for their bedding needs. We're talking about none other than Italian luxury brand Frette, once the official maker of linens for the Italian royal family. Sleeping in Frette's soft and smooth sateen sheets, you'll certainly feel like royalty. H by Frette is Frette's consumer line of linens and whisks you away into the sumptuous hotel bed of your dreams. But rather than paying for just a single night in a high-end hotel, you're dropping $300 for years of hotel luxury in your own room. The sheets are, of course, only available in white, and you can get them in sateen or percale, depending on your preference. The resulting bed looks simple, clean, and fresh. While housekeeping staff isn't included with your purchase, you'll probably feel motivated anyway to maintain the signature hotel style yourself because of how sleek and composed the all-white look is.Frette uses 100% extra-long-staple cotton, so even though the set doesn't have the extraordinarily high thread count (300) you might expect from hotel sheets, it feels very soft. Extra long-staple cotton is also very durable — important for hotels where housekeeping teams are washing each room's sheets constantly and important for you as a consumer if you want to be sure your investment goes a long way. Sateen sheets can be too warm for me sometimes, but Frette's felt perfect and cooler than other sateen sets I've tried. The sheets have a subtle gloss and a silky feel, and they remain comfortable after every wash. You'll find less expensive and equally comfortable sheets in the rest of this guide, but if you specifically want the sheets used in and approved by hundreds of hotels, then you'll be very happy with Frette's. Whenever I rotate through my sheets, I look forward to this set because I know it'll feel like a treat.Pro tip: "When recreating this [hotel] experience at home, think about using high lofting pillows, quality sheets, and a plush duvet with a duvet cover for the ultimate luxury experience," says Chan.Sateen Classic Sheet Set (Queen) (button) Best sheets on a budget Connie Chen/Insider Threshold's sheets are popular among Target shoppers because they're comfortable, thoughtfully designed, and, best of all, affordable.Material: 100% cotton, sateen weaveThread count: 400Sizes available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California kingCare instructions: Machine wash in cold water. Tumble dry on low. Pros: Affordable, great fit Cons: May trap body oils more, smell terrible out of the packageIt's the price tag that'll catch your eye first, then the great fit and soft feel that'll sell you completely on these budget-friendly sheets from Target brand Threshold. Of all the sets I tested, Threshold's fitted sheet was the easiest to put on and fit my mattress the best, despite being designed for mattresses up to 18-inch deep. The extra stretch in the corners of the sheet made a big difference and helped the sheet cling to my mattress without showing excess material on top. It also has a top and bottom label to speed up the fitting process. Once on, the sateen sheets are smooth and silky. They're made from 100% cotton and have a 400-thread count on the higher end of all the sets I tried.After some use, however, I noticed that they seem to trap body oils more readily and feel greasier than other sets, making them less pleasant to sleep on. I wondered if this was because Target uses a short-staple cotton, or if they applied some kind of treatment over the sheets to give them their "performance" qualities (wrinkle-resistant, bleach friendly), but the brand didn't respond to my requests for additional clarification. The problem does seem to go away if I wash the sheets more often.Either way, I had a comfortable experience overall; they just weren't the best of all the sheets I tried. And though they're touted as "performance sheets," most notably as being wrinkle-free, they certainly wrinkle. The best way to get rid of the wrinkles, as with all cotton sheets, is to iron them. Be warned — the sheets have a strong sour and chemical smell when you first take them out of their packaging. The smell lingers even after the sheets are aired out for a couple of days, so you'll definitely want to wash them first.If you're on a budget, a college student, or a frequent host looking to outfit a guest bed, these sheets are a smart decision. We're continuing to test and wash them to look for any durability issues, but so far, we haven't run into any. Performance Sheet Set (Queen) (button) Best cooling sheets for summer Connie Chen/Insider The cool, airy, and beautiful linen sheets from Sijo will be your summer favorite, or if you regularly sleep hot, a durable yearlong standby.Material: 100% French flaxThread count: Doesn't applySizes available: Full, queen, king, California kingCare instructions: Machine wash in cold water on the gentle cycle. Tumble dry on low. Remove from dryer when slightly damp and hang or lie flat. They can also be hand washed or dry cleaned. Pros: Stays dry and cool, casually wrinkled style, flexible flat sheet option Cons: Doesn't come in as many colors and sizes as competitors, may experience some sheddingLinen is a contentious textile. It wrinkles very easily, feels a bit rough, and is notoriously expensive. On the other hand, some prefer the casual, lived-in look, and it does get softer with time and use. Most importantly, because it's made from hollow flax fibers, which absorb moisture and let air pass through, linen is breathable and stays dry even on the warmest, stuffiest nights. Sijo sheets are the best linen sheets I've tried because they strike the right balance of comfort, coolness, durability, and price. After a couple of months of testing, they knock out our former best pick, MagicLinen, because of how downright soft and comfortable they are, even while having the signature grainy texture of linen. And they get softer and better after multiple washes.If your preconception of linen is that it's too scratchy to enjoy, Sijo's sheets will change your mind. They're also airy and light, keeping me cool on California spring-nights-that-already-feel-like-summer (we recently had temps in the high 80s in late March). I loved the wrinkled look, especially combined with the soothing Blush color. I'm also a fan of Sky, a dusky blue. The color and overall construction have held up well so far, and the fabric continues to feel both substantial and lightweight. You should expect some shedding in the first few washes — it's a natural part of the process but a little annoying to pick off your bed.Unlike with MagicLinen, I didn't have any sizing issues with Sijo's sheets. All the sets have a 15-inch depth. You can also opt in or out of a flat sheet, which provides great flexibility and can bring the price of your purchase down.Linen Sheet Set (Queen) (button) What else we tested Connie Chen/Insider What else we recommend and why Brooklinen (sateen): As I mentioned earlier, it was a tight race between Brooklinen and L.L.Bean. We still highly recommend Brooklinen because the brand offers incredible value for long-lasting, comfortable, and beautiful sheets. But the set we tested (Brooklinen's most popular) may be too warm for some people because of the sateen weave, which is why we ultimately picked L.L.Bean's cooler percale. Read our full review of Brooklinen sheets here.Brooklinen (linen): Brooklinen's sateen sheets usually get all the love, but we were also interested in its other fabrics. Each set of its cozy made-in-Portugal linen sheets is individually garment-dyed, so you'll feel like you have a unique piece of bedding. Our top pick is softer, but Brooklinen's are still pretty comfortable and come at the best price. Boll & Branch: Boll & Branch uses cotton that's both GOTS- and Fair Trade-certified, so if you live an organic lifestyle or are trying to incorporate more organic products into your cart, you'll love these ethically and sustainably made sheets. The sheets are comfortable and durable but keep in mind that the manufacturing process and certifications do come at a cost. Read our full review of Boll & Branch sheets here.MagicLinen: MagicLinen recently lost its spot as our top linen pick because it wasn't as comfortable or affordable as Sijo. There are a few reasons you might still want to buy MagicLinen, though: it comes in a lot more colors and sizes, including twin and deep-depth. If you're willing to pay a bit more to find a specific style and fit, MagicLinen's a good place to shop durable and airy linen sheets. Read our full review of MagicLinen sheets here. Riley: Riley's percale sheets are softer than other percale sheets, but not more so than L.L.Bean's. They felt cool and held up to all our washes well. I also appreciated the fair price point and the flexibility of opting for the add-on flat sheet, instead of being stuck with one you don't want. Parachute: Parachute's name often comes up along with fellow direct-to-consumer brands Brooklinen and Boll & Branch, all of which launched around the same time. We loved the smooth feel of its sateen sheets, which were softer than Brooklinen's. The one downside is they come in limited colors, and many sizes are currently sold out. Snowe: The crisp percale sheets from Snowe have both the feel and sensibility of a light button-down shirt. They're sophisticated and sleek, though not quite as soft as other percale options we've tried. I slept with them during the dead of summer, and they kept me cool and comfortable. Casper: Casper's newest bedding offering is the Hyperlite Sheet Set, made from Tencel lyocell, which comes from sustainably sourced wood. The material is indeed incredibly lightweight and soft, with a thin, gauzy construction — so thin that it's a bit see-through. They've held up really well after many washes. Bed Threads: This is another brand we love for fairly priced linen sheets. Bed Threads offers extended sizing and an assortment of beautiful colors to spruce up your bedroom. (I sampled the lilac.)What we do not recommend and why Crane & Canopy: We liked the comfortable feel and embroidery of these extra-long-staple, 400-thread count cotton sheets. Like L.L.Bean and Brooklinen, they're made from high-quality cotton and have a mid-tier thread count — but they're a lot more expensive. Since there are no other distinct features to set Crane & Canopy apart, we prefer L.L.Bean and Brooklinen for their better value.Serena & Lily: The home brand has many pretty and composed sheet options, like this Classic Ring Sheet Set, which has a percale weave and a 310-thread count. The feel is crisp and cool, but it's a bit pricey for what you get, and our other sheet picks offer better value. We also noticed after the first wash that there were already some loose threads on the pillowcases. Italic: Long-staple cotton percale sheets made by the same manufacturer of Frette, Four Seasons, and St. Regis sheets for $85? The Slumber Cotton set is enticing for this reason, and it's comfortable to sleep in. However, Italic has a $100/year membership model, so buying this set only makes sense if you plan on purchasing other goods from the site. We recommend first browsing the rest of the online shop to see if you're interested in the other home products, clothing, and accessories. Otherwise, you'll be paying $185, which isn't any more competitive than our picks above. Ettitude: Ettitude's claim to fame is using bamboo lyocell for its sheets. They're made from 100% organic bamboo with a water-efficient manufacturing process, and the result is uniquely soft, silky, and cool. However, we noticed they're more delicate than other fabrics, and the sheets showed more pilling and abrasion after we washed them.Bespoke Post: A defining characteristic of percale is that it's crisp and airy, like your favorite button-down shirt. The problem I experienced with Bespoke Post's new percale sheets is that they're too crisp and can rustle loudly if you move in your sleep (which is probably most of us). It also held onto and showed body oils easily, and you'd need to wash the set frequently.  Our testing methodology Connie Chen/Insider Here's how we tested the sheets over nine months. We'll continue to follow these steps in the upcoming months and note any changes.Washed and dried each set according to its respective instructions at least five times. Usually, we washed the sheets in a cold cycle with gentle detergent and dried them on a low tumble cycle. Put the fitted sheet on a 10-inch-thick mattress and noted slipping, sliding, post-wash shrinkage, and stretchiness of elastic. Slept on each set for at least one week and noted texture, overall comfort, breathability, and coolness. What we're testing next West Elm/Instagram Lilysilk: One category we'd like to add to our guide in the future is "best silk sheets." The luxurious Lilysilk sheets are made of mulberry silk and are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified. We like that Lilysilk lets you customize what pieces are included in your sheet set. THX Silk: The THX Silk 19 momme silk sheet could have the same description as the Lilysilk sheets. They're made from OEKO-TEX certified mulberry silk, but they "only" cost $410. We're curious to see if these luxury sheets live up to their price.West Elm: West Elm's Fair Trade-certified linen sheets are popular among linen lovers. They come in around the same price as MagicLinen's and are also available in many beautiful colors, so we'll mainly be comparing their comfort and durability. Kassatex: These long-staple cotton, 300-thread count sateen sheets seem promising, especially considering a Queen set is only $100. We look forward to putting these inexpensive sheets through all our tests to see how they stand up over time and how they compare to our current picks.  FAQs Connie Chen/Insider Does thread count matter?Yes, to a certain extent. However, don't use it as your sole determining factor because its definition can be manipulated, and after a certain number, the difference in feel and durability is negligible. Thread count is the number of yarns per inch, horizontally and vertically. Leonas tells us that a ply yarn (two single yarns twisted together) has traditionally been considered one yarn, but in recent years, some brands have been using total ply yarn count as the thread count, resulting in an artificially high number. Remember that thread count only applies to cotton sheets and single yarn weaves. All of our best cotton sheets fall in the 300-500 range, and you likely won't need anything beyond that."When finding sheets that will last and provide comfort and a relaxing night's sleep, take a look at the material first and thread count second," said Ave Bradley, senior vice president of design and creative director at Kimpton Hotels. Kimpton uses 200-300 thread count cotton sheets from Frette in its rooms. Though bedding brands are often quick to show off high thread counts, they're less important than you might think. The type of fiber and weave also help determine the sheet's texture, breathability, and durability. Percale and sateen, for example, are both made of cotton but have different weave structures, resulting in different feels.What are the different types of sheets?The quality and type of material do matter. Below, we define, compare, and contrast different materials, fabrics, and terms you'll often run into while shopping for sheets. Drape: The fluidity or rigidity of a fabric. A fabric with a high or fluid drape, such as silk, is flowy and clings more to the object. A fabric with a low drape is stiffer and holds its shape more. Long-staple cotton: Cotton with longer-staple fibers that result in smoother and stronger yarn. This is compared to short-staple cotton, which has fiber ends that stick out and cause the sheets to be rougher and less abrasion-resistant. Brands will generally call out when they use long-staple cotton; otherwise, you can probably assume it's short-staple. Leonas says the industry definition of long-staple cotton is a fiber length of 1.15-1.22 inches.Egyptian cotton: Cotton grown in Egypt. It's often assumed that Egyptian cotton is long-staple, but it could also be lower-quality, short-staple cotton that just happens to be from Egypt, so be careful of this labeling and look specifically for "long-staple cotton." Pima cotton: Also known by its trademark name, Supima cotton. Extra long-staple cotton that is grown only in the US and has a fiber length of at least 1.5 inches. Extra long-staple cotton is even smoother, more flexible, and more resistant to pilling than long-staple cotton.Percale: A type of cotton weave where one thread is woven with another thread into a tight, grid pattern. It has a matte, crisp feel. It's airy and more breathable. Sateen: A type of cotton weave where three or four threads are woven over one thread into a looser grid pattern. It has a smooth, silky feel and a slight sheen to it. Compared to percale, it's less breathable and may not be suitable for sleepers who run hot. According to Leonas, sateen tends to snag more easily and show dirt more readily due to its unique "float" weave. If you enjoy the feel and look of sateen, keep in mind that sheets made using this weave require a little more care and maintenance. Polyester: A type of synthetic fiber that may be blended with cotton or used to make microfiber. It's less breathable and traps moisture more easily, and it may not be suitable for people with sensitive skin. Microfiber: A type of synthetic material made with very fine polyester fibers. It's very soft and drapeable but doesn't breathe well. Lyocell: Also known as Tencel. A type of fiber made from wood (often eucalyptus) pulp. It's soft, silky, and breathable. Linen: A type of fiber made from flax plants. It's slightly rigid, with a rougher texture, and it feels cool and breathable. It wrinkles easily. Flannel: A type of fabric made with thickly woven wool or cotton. It's brushed to give it a slightly soft and fuzzy texture, and it feels warm.What kind of sheets do hotels use?Dennis Chan, director of retail product at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, said his team looks at the fabric drape (the way the fabric hangs), hand feel, and construction of weave when sourcing bedding for hotels worldwide. Four Seasons produces its own line of bedding in its Four Seasons at Home collection, featuring 350-thread count sateen weave cotton sheets. Top hotel brands like Four Seasons and Kimpton outfit their rooms in 100% long-staple cotton sheets because they're soft, breathable, and durable, resulting in luxurious and memorable sleep experiences for their guests. Long-staple cotton has longer fibers, so it's stronger and softer than shorter-staple cotton, which is why we also generally recommend 100% long-staple cotton in our best picks. What are the different sheet certifications?You may notice that some of our best picks have a Standard 100 by Oeko Tex certification. This label means the final sheet product has been independently tested for more than 100 harmful chemical substances and is safe for human use. While it's not the only certification out there, it's widely used and known in the textiles industry.Our experts say you should look for the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification for basic safety, but if you also care about manufacturing, look for STeP by Oeko Tex. It checks for environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and safe practices all along the production process.The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is another certification used specifically for organic textiles. GOTS-certified sheets contain at least 95% certified organic fibers and meet environmental and social standards at every stage of processing and manufacturing.What's the best way to care for your sheets?According to various bedding brands, you should wash your sheets every one to two weeks and have alternate sets to preserve their quality. We recommend following the specific care instructions that come with the sheet set you buy. Based on our experience, brands generally advise washing the sheets in a cold or warm cycle with gentle detergent, then drying in a low tumble cycle. Hot water can make colors bleed, cause shrinkage, and weaken fibers. Drying at high heat can also weaken fibers and cause pilling.What's the best way to prevent wrinkles?For all its great properties, cotton naturally wrinkles, and that's thanks to its molecular structure. Leonas explained that wrinkles happen when hydrogen bonds form as your sheets bump around in the dryer. "The only way to get rid of those bonds is to flip some water on it or apply high heat. That's why we use a lot of steam when we press things," she says. If you want to get rid of wrinkles, the best way is to iron them before fitting them onto your bed or remove them from your dryer a little before the cycle ends and fitting them onto your bed while slightly damp.Are alternative fibers any good? Alternative fibers like bamboo lyocell or microfiber are appealing because they're often very comfortable and affordable. However, in our testing experience, their durability doesn't match up to that of cotton or linen. They're more prone to pilling, abrasion, and shrinkage. Plus, the production and care of these alternative fibers can be murky and bad for the environment. The shedding of microfiber, for example, is polluting the ocean. What kind of duvet cover do you pair with your sheets? It's best to choose a duvet cover with the same fabrication as your sheet set — if you like how your sheets feel below you, you'll like how the same type of fabric feels on top of you. Most of the brands we recommend in our guide also sell matching duvet covers. If you want to mix and match bedding pieces, we'll soon be overhauling our guide to the best duvet covers.  Check out our other great bedding guides Jen Gushue/Insider The best pillowsThe best pillowcasesThe best duvet coversThe best mattressesThe best weighted blanketThe best cotton sheetsThe best flannel sheetsThe best sheets for kids  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

Upstryve Inc, Formerly ProBility Media Corp, Announces First Quarter Financial Results

Company's Adjusted EBITDA for the Quarter Grows by $332,555 and Gross Profit Grows by 24% Compared to the Same Period in 2020 COCONUT CREEK, Fla., Oct. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ - Upstryve Inc. ("Upstryve" or the "Company"), formerly ProBility Media Corp. ("ProBility") (OTCPK: PBYA), an international education, training and career advancement company with a focus on vocational and skilled trades, today announces its First Quarter results for the period ended August 31st, 2021. Highlights and Accomplishments from Recent Quarter End August 31, 2021 ProBility Media Corp completed a name change with the State of Nevada.  The name change will become effective in the market following FINRA's announcement.  In connection with the name change, the Company will request that its trading symbol be changed. The Company achieved Pink Current Status with OTC Markets The Company completed the acquisition of Upstryve Inc. (FL). North American Crane Bureau (NACB) announced a partnership with CM Labs for the opportunity to sell crane simulators to its clients. NACB officially celebrated 35 years in business. The Company partnered with Bizfluence Inc, an alternative social media platform for professionals for its Enterprises Direct Messaging and Community group features. New Customer Contracts for NACB with companies including Tesla, Ford, BAE Systems, Dominion Energy, Westlake Petrochemical and others. New international partnerships for NACB  Appointment of new corporate officers, including: Dana Jackson as Chief Operating Officer Lauren Paino as Chief Financial Officer Johanna Viscaino as Chief Marketing Officer Ori Gross as Chief Information Officer Juan Garcia as Chief Learning Officer STEM Initiative with CPS Energy by Disco Learning Media Inc. (Disco) Continued Expansion of partnership with Itron Inc. and Disco The launch of the Company's Pre-Apprenticeship program "We are pleased with a strong quarter of growth compared to the same period in 2020." stated Lauren Paino, Chief Financial Officer.  "The numbers for the first quarter still factor in some of our customers just beginning to get back to normal pre-Covid-19 shutdowns.  We are proud of our continued restructuring of the balance sheet and the reduction of debt including convertible debt." "NACB is excited to announce continued growth throughout 2021.  As we celebrate our 35th anniversary, NACB continues to provide the international community with the best full-service lift equipment training and certifications available today.  We've experienced innovation and growth with new clientele here in the United States, overseas and the trend continues." stated Dana Jackson, Chief Operating Officer.  "Our returning clientele currently stands in the 90th percentile catapulting referral business across all industries where lift equipment is utilized.  Due to this continued growth, we are proud to announce new positions on our Technical Training team.  These new positions have been created and filled most recently with a United States military veteran." "Upstryve is just getting into gear.  The response from companies, trade associations and trade professionals are very encouraging." stated Noah Davis, President.  "Our mission was and is to become a leader in providing education, training and mentoring to the skilled trades workforce." The Company was founded based on the movement of test preparation for the trades licensing to remote learning environments.  Upstryve uses a tutor network to match students all over the United States with a professional who can provide one on one guidance in obtaining a license in numerous trades. Upstryve utilizes a mentoring platform to provide early stage aspiring trade professionals and apprentices a career advancement program that offers certificate programs, mentor matching and guidance for job opportunities in the trades. "In 2021 marketing has become more tech-savvy than ever before.  Upstryve is staying up to date with the industry's marketing advance.  We have leveled up our ad strategy ...Full story available on Benzinga.com.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaOct 14th, 2021