• If you could buy only one stock for 5G and artificial intelligence, this would be it

    If you could buy only one stock for 5G and artificial intelligence, this would be it

    During the California gold rush, many miners went bankrupt. However many merchants who were selling picks and shovels became rich. Most investors recognize that the gold rush is on in 5G and artificial intelligence.

  • Fox Business

    Want to become a Chick-fil-A operator? Here's how much it costs

    It's one of the most affordable franchises to invest in, too, although the competition is fierce.

  • How not to steal $1.5 million: Inside an Instagram influencer’s alleged debit card scam

    How not to steal $1.5 million: Inside an Instagram influencer’s alleged debit card scam

    A brazen Instagram scam came to an end this week. On Thursday (Feb. 13), federal authorities arrested Kayla Massa, an Instagram and YouTube “influencer,” charging her with conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. A complaint unsealed in New Jersey federal court contains details of an audacious scheme that prosecutors say brought in more than $1.5 million.

  • Barrons.com

    Tennessee’s Treasury Sold GE, GM, and Verizon Stock. Here’s What It Bought.

    The Tennessee Department of Treasury made some big changes in its stock investments in the last quarter of 2019. The department, which manages all of the state’s investments, including its pension fund, reduced investments in (GE) (ticker: GE), General Motors (GM) and (VZ) Communications stock (VZ) in the fourth quarter. Tennessee’s treasury also bought more (WMT) stock (WMT).

  • Barrons.com

    The Secure Act Requires Your 401(k) Statement to Show Monthly Retirement Income. You Could Be in for a Surprise.

    A small provision in the Secure Act aims to help retirement savers translate the nebulous balance on their 401(k) statements into an estimated monthly income in retirement. Two other provisions allow for expanded use of “529” plans and penalty-free withdrawals from 401(k)s for adoptions and childbirth.

  • Kroger stock soars after Buffett’s investment
    American City Business Journals

    Kroger stock soars after Buffett’s investment

    Kroger Co.’s stock soared in after-hours trading Friday following the disclosure that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate has made a huge investment in the supermarket giant’s stock.

  • What do the world’s most successful people do when it’s time to retire?

    What do the world’s most successful people do when it’s time to retire?

    When Thomas Schreier Jr. graduated from the University of Notre Dame more than three decades ago, he never envisioned that in his late 50s he’d be teaching a class there called Designing an Inspired Life and regularly walking the South Bend, Ind., campus as the founding director of the university’s Inspired Leadership Initiative. The initiative, now in its second year, consists of 15 accomplished individuals who have wrapped up two or three decades in successful careers and are eager to devote an academic year to studies at Notre Dame. Notre Dame’s joins similar programs at prominent institutions pioneering this concept: the Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute, operated in partnership with the Stanford Center on Longevity, and Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative, a yearlong program for corporate executives and professionals interested in applying their skills to social problems.

  • 2 “Strong Buy” Healthcare Stocks with Over 100% Upside Potential

    2 “Strong Buy” Healthcare Stocks with Over 100% Upside Potential

    While each investor has their own way of going about it, at the end of the day, the common theme unifying all is the universal pursuit of returns. The difficult part, of course, is recognizing the names which can outperform the market in the long run.All stocks are different, though, and finding those which can potentially yield said returns requires due diligence. Naturally, the research should include what the pros on the Street think about a company’s long-term growth narrative.Using TipRanks’ Stock Screener, we’ve dug up two healthcare stocks that look especially promising. While each one is unique, the tickers have two things in common: all have room for upside of more than 100%, and what’s more, each one currently boasts a “Strong Buy” consensus rating from the Street. Let’s get started.Applied Genetic Technologies (AGTC)This rare retinal disease-focused biotech has started 2020 in the same way it exited the previous decade: by adding extra muscle to the share price.2019’s performance saw an addition of a considerable 84%. 2020 has started off in much the same vein, with the company giving market-trouncing Tesla a run for its money in January by shooting up over 100% in one day. The reason? Well, as this company is a biotech, it’s usually due to one of two reasons: either a regulatory approval for a drug, or, as in this particular case, positive data from a clinical trial.AGTC recently presented updated data from its Phase 1/2 study of centrally-treated X-linked retinitis pigmentosa patients. The positive results showed that patients treated with the candidate exhibited durable improvement in visual function six months after dosing. The data backs up results reported in September and will be used in the pivotal trial’s design, which AGTC plans to initiate later this year. Not to mention secondary data showed encouraging improvements in Best Corrected Visual Acuity (vision impairment) and a favorable safety profile was demonstrated by all patients dosed with the drug.The results are music to the ears of H.C. Wainwright’s Joseph Pantginis. Pantginis argues the "highly anticipated" data confirmed his expectations on the performance of the company's therapy. According to the analyst, an upcoming meeting with the FDA should provide critical guidance on endpoints, size and statistics, randomization protocol, and bilateral dosing.To this end, the 5-star analyst reiterated a Buy rating on AGTC along with an $18 price target. The implication for investors? Further gains of a massive 252%. (To watch Pantginis’ track record, click here)A fellow analyst beating the drum for the bulls is Wedbush’s David Nierengarten. The 5-star analyst believes Applied Genetic is the market leader in X-linked retinitis pigmentosa and lists the company as one of his top picks for 2020. Accordingly, Nierengarten kept his Outperform rating on AGTC along with his $12 price target, too. (To watch Nierengarten’s track record, click here)Does the Street concur? Yes, it does. 5 Buy recommendations add up to a Strong Buy consensus rating. The average price target of $13.33 implies gains of 160% could be lining investors’ pockets in the next year. (See Applied Genetic price targets and analyst ratings on TipRanks) Sol-Gel Technologies Ltd (SLGL)The other company on our list continues the pattern established by AGTC. Totally outpacing the market last year, this skin disease-focused company from Israel posted yearly gains of 172%, the majority of which came in the final week of the decade. It will be no surprise to learn why.On December 30, Sol-Gel announced that its acne drug Twyneo met the primary endpoints in two late-stage trials. The company intends to file a new drug application (NDA) with the FDA for Twyneo in the second half of 2020, with hopes of bringing it to market in 2H21. The application will be the second one this year, as plans are already in place to submit one for Epsolay, the company’s rosacea candidate, during the first half of 2020.The global acne market is expected to be worth over $7 billion by 2025, a point not lost on H.C. Wainwright’s Ram Selvaraju. The 5-star analyst believes the positive results for Twyneo have increased its probability of approval to 90%, up from his previous estimate of 70%. Selvaraju notes that should the drug get the go ahead, it will be the first once-daily acne vulgaris treatment to combine benzoyl peroxide and a potent retinoid in a cream.The analyst, therefore, kept his Buy rating as is. The positive data, though, meant the price target got a boost, from $23 to $26. Investors stand to take home gains in the shape of 145% should his thesis play out. (To watch Selvaraju’s track record, click here)The Street is with the H.C. Wainwright analyst. The acne warrior has 4 ratings, all Buys, which put together, amount to a Strong Buy consensus rating. The average price target of $22.75 implies potential upside of 115% in the next 12 months. (See Sol-Gel stock-price forecast on TipRanks) To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.

  • U.S. weighs blocking GE engine sales for China's new airplane - sources

    U.S. weighs blocking GE engine sales for China's new airplane - sources

    The potential restriction on the engine sales - possibly along with limits on other components for Chinese commercial aircraft such as flight control systems made by Honeywell International Inc - is the latest move in the battle between the world's two largest economies over trade and technology. The issue is expected to come up at an interagency meeting about how strictly to limit exports of U.S. technology to China on Thursday and at another meeting with members of President Donald Trump's Cabinet set for Feb. 28, sources said. The White House and the U.S. Commerce Department, which issues licenses for such exports, declined to comment, as did a GE spokeswoman.

  • Pete the Planner: I owe $15K on my credit cards at 69 and haven't told my husband. What now?

    Pete the Planner: I owe $15K on my credit cards at 69 and haven't told my husband. What now?

    Pete the Planner: I owe $15,000 in credit card debt at age 69 and haven't told my husband. What should I do?

  • Benzinga

    Barron's Picks And Pans: Berkshire Hathaway, Bitcoin, Roku And More

    This weekend's Barron's cover story explores what comes next for the empire that Warren Buffet built. Other featured articles present the annual ranking of top fund families, examine regulatory issues at tech giants and review the performance of former Dividend Aristocrats. Cover story "Inside Berkshire Hathaway's Future Without Warren Buffett" by Andrew Bary makes a case that as the Oracle of Omaha turns 90 this year, the company he built, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NASDAQ: BRK-A), could be in for a stock-boosting makeover.

  • Barrons.com

    Giant Canadian Fund Sold Disney and Starbucks Stock. Here’s What It Is Buying.

    The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, one of the biggest pensions in the world, more than doubled its BlackBerry stockholdings in the fourth quarter.

  • Financial Times

    Coronavirus fears force China into mass chicken cull

    China is to begin importing live chickens from the US as feed shortages due to the coronavirus force poultry farms in the world’s second-biggest economy to start culling millions of young birds. The culling of poultry follows the mass slaughter of pigs in China due to African swine fever over the past year and threatens to worsen a protein shortage in the country that has sparked rising inflation and soaring meat prices. “There is no question China’s chicken population will fall sharply in the coming months,” said Qiu Cong of Jinghai Poultry Industry Group, a leading chicken producer.

  • Bloomberg

    Seized Oil Cargo Is Latest Twist in Venezuela’s Political Fight

    (Bloomberg) -- A crude tanker stuck at sea for over a year has become the latest front in the battle over Venezuela’s oil riches after being seized last week.Citgo Petroleum Corp., led by appointees of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, was weighing filing an insurance claim last week for theft after a tanker holding almost 1 million barrels of oil was seized by Venezuela, according to a person familiar with the matter.The contested oil, purchased by Citgo and loaded on the tanker Gerd Knutsen, floated offshore Venezuela for more than a year. In December, a shadow board of Citgo directors chosen by President Nicolas Maduro attempted to seize the cargo but was blocked by a U.S. court. The roughly 960,000 barrels of Venezuelan crude that was once bound for a Citgo refinery in the U.S. was instead discharging in the Port of Jose at a terminal run by Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the national oil company controlled by Maduro, according to people familiar with the matter and ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.The oil tanker and its cargo worth about $50 million is caught up in Venezuela’s power struggle, which heated up after Guaido’s first official visit to the White House to meet President Donald Trump earlier this month. After the meeting, Maduro’s regime moved to imprison six former Citgo executives who’d been living under house arrest. The tanker was stuck in limbo after the U.S. imposed tougher sanctions on PDVSA in late January 2019 to curtail Maduro’s income from oil sales.The cargo that was discharged consisted mostly of diluted crude oil, as well as 30,000 barrels of Pedernales crude, the person said.Citgo and PDVSA didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment, while a representative at Venezuela’s Information Ministry declined to comment.\--With assistance from Patricia Laya.To contact the reporters on this story: David Wethe in Houston at dwethe@bloomberg.net;Lucia Kassai in Houston at lkassai@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net, David Marino, Joe RichterFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Barrons.com

    Apple, Microsoft, and Intel Stock Have Been Killing It. Why Fund Managers Don’t Have Enough.

    (MSFT)(INTC) and (AAPL) among the biggest stocks in the S&P 500 index, have well outpaced the market benchmark in the past 12 months. “MIA” stocks is an apt term, given the trio has been underweighted by fundamentally-driven large-cap portfolio managers, according to Harvey. “Ironically, some [portfolio managers] admit they have not gone ‘up-cap’ in order to avoid looking like an index fund (painful mistake!),” he wrote.

  • Bearish Bets: 2 Stocks You Must Consider Shorting This Week

    Bearish Bets: 2 Stocks You Must Consider Shorting This Week

    Using recent actions and grades from TheStreet's Quant Ratings and layering on technical analysis of the charts of those stocks, Trifecta Stocks identifies five names each week that look bearish. While we will not be weighing in with fundamental analysis we hope this piece will give investors interested in stocks on the way down a good starting point to do further homework on the names. Royal Gold Inc. recently was downgraded to Hold with a C+ rating by TheStreet's Quant Ratings.

  • GM shuts Australia, New Zealand operations; sells Thai plant to Great Wall

    GM shuts Australia, New Zealand operations; sells Thai plant to Great Wall

    NEW YORK/BEIJING (Reuters) - General Motors Co <GM.N> said it would wind down its Australian and New Zealand operations and sell a Thai plant in the latest restructuring of its global business, costing the U.S. auto maker $1.1 billion. The moves will accelerate GM's retreat from unprofitable markets, making it more dependent on the United States, China, Latin America and South Korea, and give up an opening to expand in Southeast Asia. GM has forecast a flat profit for 2020 after a difficult 2019, and is facing ballooning interest in electric car rival Tesla Inc <TSLA.O>.

  • Two years after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — who are the winners and the losers?

    Two years after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — who are the winners and the losers?

    With tax filing season now underway, we have two full years of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) changes in the rearview mirror: 2018 and 2019. Not surprisingly, the answers depend on your specific situation and, just as importantly, your perceptions. Perceptions often override reality.

  • There’s a Wall of Cash Eager to Buy Treasuries on Any Price Dip

    There’s a Wall of Cash Eager to Buy Treasuries on Any Price Dip

    (Bloomberg) -- Investors overseeing trillions of dollars are plowing money into U.S. government debt like never before, in a wave that’s only gaining strength as the spreading coronavirus casts doubt on the global growth outlook.Evidence of the insatiable demand can be found across the fixed-income universe. Pensions, which have been ramping up bond allocations for more than a decade after a change in regulations, now hold a record amount of longer-dated Treasuries. Bond mutual funds saw a historic inflow of money last year, with no sign of a slowdown. Even hedge funds have piled in.The wall of cash is a boon to American taxpayers as the federal deficit swells. It’s keeping Treasury yields, a benchmark for global borrowing, near all-time lows. With buyers ready to pounce, even surging stocks, record auction sizes and the tightest labor market since the 1960s can barely make a dent in bond prices.“Treasuries are a resilience play that makes sense,” said Scott Thiel, chief fixed-income strategist at BlackRock Inc. “And so far, people have been rewarded for coming in and buying when yields get to the high end of the range.”Just weeks ago, global economic reflation and the seeming inevitability of higher yields were the buzz among strategists and investors. The virus’s onslaught is unraveling that narrative, which already faced skepticism from those who argue that persistently low inflation and shifting demographics will pull yields lower.“I expect the Treasury 10-year yield to fall to zero, perhaps within two years,” said Akira Takei, a global fixed-income fund manager at Asset Management One Co., which oversees more than $450 billion. “I’ve been overweight U.S. Treasuries. That’s based on my view that developed economies are facing a combination of aging demographics and falling birth rates, slow growth and low inflation.”Investors snapping up Treasuries as an insurance policy have turned the U.S. yield curve on its head. With inflation still subdued and concern mounting that the spreading illness will damage an already fragile global economy, traders have boosted bets on Federal Reserve rate cuts in 2020. That prospect is in turn supporting equities.The appetite for debt has extended to sovereign obligations of all flavors. One example: Greek 10-year rates once near 45% slid below 1% this month. The country’s junk rating is proving little deterrent with the world’s pile of negative-yield debt climbing above $13 trillion amid the latest global bond rally.Benchmark 10-year U.S. yields have dropped to around 1.6%, from a 2020 peak of 1.94% in the first week of the year. The world’s biggest bond market has earned about 2.2% this year, after a 6.9% return in 2019 -- the best performance since 2011.“You still need a duration ballast and shock absorber,” said Con Michalakis, chief investment officer of retirement fund Statewide Superannuation Pty., which manages about $7 billion in Adelaide, Australia. “And I don’t see yields moving materially higher from here.”The likely economic hit from the virus reinforces that view. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell last week cited the outbreak as a risk. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicts it will subtract two percentage points from annualized global growth this quarter.“If the Fed is staying super-accommodative -- basically in reflation mode -- then you want to buy equities, credit and, strangely, you also want to buy Treasuries,” said Ralph Axel, an analyst at Bank of America Corp.The demand for Treasuries in some corners has been building for years. U.S. corporate pensions, for example, have been big buyers since the federal Pension Protection Act, passed in 2006.For the top 100 funds, with combined assets of more than $1.4 trillion, the fixed-income allocation surged to about 49% at the end of 2018 from 29% in 2005, as equities’ share fell by half to 31%, according to Milliman Inc., a pension and risk advisory firm. JPMorgan Chase & Co. strategists estimate the debt portion topped 50% as of December.An up-to-date read on retirement funds’ demand can be seen in the record surge in Strips, which are created when Treasuries are split into principal- and interest-only securities. Pensions tend to favor these assets, which have longer duration, or sensitivity to interest-rate changes, to match the length of their liabilities.Soaring stocks are also spurring buying of bonds on price declines.U.S. public pensions, with total assets of over $4 trillion, have kept holdings steady over the past five years, at about 25% in fixed income, 50% in public equities and the rest in alternative investments, according to data from the Pew Charitable Trusts.As equities have climbed, the funds have needed to buy more debt to keep the breakdown stable, said Greg Mennis, director of public sector retirement systems at Pew.Veteran bond manager Dan Fuss says he’s been been buying Treasuries as a safety play. He points to last week’s 10-year auction as a sign that yields won’t bust higher anytime soon. A measure of demand for the $27 billion sale was the highest since March.“When you look at the bids for the 10-year notes, you’d have thought, ‘Wow, the government was giving out free ice cream’,” said Fuss, vice chairman of Loomis Sayles & Co. “There’s just more money available to invest than there’s marketable investment opportunities, and no risk of inflation at this time.”\--With assistance from Masaki Kondo and Matthew Burgess.To contact the reporters on this story: Liz Capo McCormick in New York at emccormick7@bloomberg.net;Ruth Carson in Singapore at rliew6@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Benjamin Purvis at bpurvis@bloomberg.net, ;Tan Hwee Ann at hatan@bloomberg.net, Mark Tannenbaum, Jenny ParisFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Tesla jolts market with $2 billion stock offering, SEC subpoena

    Tesla jolts market with $2 billion stock offering, SEC subpoena

    Tesla Inc. said it is planning to offer about $2 billion of common stock in an underwritten deal and, separately, disclosed an SEC subpoena looking into some of its financing arrangements.

  • China Stocks Rebound From Sell-off That Erased $720 Billion

    China Stocks Rebound From Sell-off That Erased $720 Billion

    (Bloomberg) -- China’s stocks recouped all their losses from a record $720 billion sell-off earlier this month, a sign that investor confidence is improving after policy makers acted to ease the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.The Shanghai Composite, CSI 300 and SSE 50 indexes all rose about 2% Monday to finish above their closing levels on Jan. 23, the last trading day before a Lunar New Year break that saw a surge in virus infections. The market plunged on Feb. 3 as Chinese markets reopened to a health crisis that paralyzed most of the world’s second-largest economy. Those indexes remains well below their highest closes for the year.To cushion the blow, China’s government has pumped cash into the financial system, trimmed money-market rates and offered targeted tax cuts. Beijing will also allow local governments to sell another 848 billion yuan ($121 billion) of debt before March, as authorities seek to offset the economic shock of the coronavirus. China said Sunday it will enact more efficient stimulus measures despite a widening fiscal gap, including lower corporate taxes.“More stimulus policies are highly expected and an excess of capital that cannot be immediately absorbed by the real economy is expected to flow into the equity market, further lifting risk appetite,” said Yang Wei, a fund manager at Longwin Investment Management Co.While the full scope of the epidemic and its economic impact remain unclear, some investors are starting to look past worst-case scenarios.The smaller-cap ChiNext Index had already reversed its post-holiday slide and continued to power higher. It topped the 2,100-point level Friday for the first time since December 2016 and led Monday’s gains with a fresh 3.7% jump.China’s stocks regulator said Friday that it would ease some rules for firms seeking to raise extra capital through share placements, including shortening lockup periods. The rules would benefit small caps. Companies planning placements and brokerages shined, with Huatai Securities Co. and Haitong Securities Co. both jumping about 6%.Also outperforming were Chinese automakers, after President Xi Jinping called for encouraging vehicle purchases as part of efforts to help the economy. Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. soared by the 10% daily limit, and Great Wall Motor Co. advanced 8.7%.\--With assistance from Michael Patterson.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: April Ma in Beijing at ama112@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sofia Horta e Costa at shortaecosta@bloomberg.net, Philip GlamannFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Benzinga

    Notable Insider Buys Last Week: Enterprise Products Partners, Kellogg And More

    Conventional wisdom says that insiders and 10% owners really only buy shares of a company for one reason — they believe the stock price will rise and they want to profit. An Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE: EPD) director returned to purchase 250,000 more shares of this midstream energy services provider via trust last week.

  • Kraft Heinz bonds fall into ‘junk’ territory after downgrades

    Kraft Heinz bonds fall into ‘junk’ territory after downgrades

    Kraft Heinz saw its bonds lose their investment-grade status and fall into “junk” territory after two credit ratings firms downgraded their debt.

  • Benzinga

    The Week Ahead In Biotech: Agile, Baudax Bio, Merck and Esperion Await FDA Decisions

    Biotech stocks were quiet in the week ending Feb. 14 amid some data readouts at a couple of conferences and earnings news flow from smid-cap companies. The following are key biotech catalysts to look forward ...

  • Lagarde Confronts Political Cost of ECB’s Subzero Rate Policy

    Lagarde Confronts Political Cost of ECB’s Subzero Rate Policy

    (Bloomberg) -- “Nobody trusts you,” lawmaker Joerg Meuthen told European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, switching briefly to English during a tirade in his native German. “You should be aware of that.”The far-right Alternative for Germany representative was railing about negative interest rates -- and while enduring bluster is par for the course for ECB presidents, the Feb. 6 encounter in the European Parliament also illustrated how politically charged that stimulus tool has become.Policy makers insist the current deposit rate of -0.5% isn’t low enough for its damaging side effects, such as depressed returns at pension funds, to outweigh the broader economic benefits. That point is known by economists as the reversal rate, yet the fury that subzero borrowing costs incite among some citizens raises the prospect that there may be another limit: a political one.“I have nothing against negative interest rates, and I think they can have a positive effect,” said Karsten Junius, chief economist at Bank J. Safra Sarasin. “But I currently have the feeling that we’re reaching a lower bound politically.”Many officials would be loathe to admit publicly that such a key instrument for reviving inflation has a political shelf life. Not only would it restrict their options, it would also impinge on the institution’s independence. Like some of its peers, the ECB has come under increasing pressure from politicians keen to influence its strategy.At the same time, policy makers have been noticeably reticent on the possibility of more easing since former president Mario Draghi left in October, weeks after the latest rate cut. Subzero rates are in their sixth year in the euro zone, and the fatigue is especially evident in countries with strong savings cultures.In Germany, the bloc’s biggest economy, people typically squirrel away money in bank accounts rather than buy equities. Some with larger deposits -- generally over 100,000 euros ($108,000) -- even pay for the privilege. More than half of banks in a Bundesbank survey last year levied a charge on corporate deposits, and 23% penalized households.When Draghi was recently awarded the country’s highest honor, mass tabloid Bild ran angry articles, including one claiming negative rates will cost Germans 24.5 billion euros in 2020 alone. It also repeated its notorious vampire moniker for him, “Count Draghila,” to the annoyance of German ECB board member Isabel Schnabel.“Such images are hardly conducive to objective debate,” she said this month. “This public reaction far exceeds the usual degree of criticism about economic policy decisions. And it seems that negative interest rates are the chief cause of these deep feelings of discontent.”Subzero rates are likewise unpopular in the Netherlands, where savers in 2019 endured the lowest returns on deposits in years, and the topic frequently features in Parliament. Austrian tempers are less frayed, but neither are there many fans.“Permanently low or negative rates mean that savings are losing value -- and 40% of Austrian assets are in savings accounts,” the country’s finance minister, Gernot Bluemel, said in January. “It’s a catastrophe for savers.”The U.K.’s Brexit is a cautionary tale for the ECB on the longer-term risks of public displeasure. A European Commission survey last year found support for the euro within the region was at 76%, a record high -- but trust in the ECB was much lower, at 43%.“The ECB has to listen to citizens and get a sense of what are the effects” of its policy, said Guntram Wolff, director of the Brussels thinktank Bruegel. Still, it “should not let itself be driven by moods and popular feelings.”Some countries are less bothered. Many have far higher home-ownership rates than Germans and benefit from lower borrowing costs. Spaniards tend to have mortgages linked to central bank rates, so can reap a direct benefit from cuts.In France, the second-biggest economy, savers have enjoyed better returns than in Germany. Many use the Livret A, a savings account guaranteeing some yield. Still, that hit its statutory floor for interest in January, at 0.5%, prompting populist National Rally leader Marine Le Pen to decry the “perverse effects” of ECB policy.Such noise may strike a chord with Lagarde, who in September told European lawmakers of the need to respond to “the threats of populism and nationalism.” While negative rates are intended to help the central bank hit its inflation goal -- something it has fallen short of for years -- the operating environment also matters.“I do worry about the political backing for central banks disappearing, and with it, the independence of monetary policy,”’ Junius said. “That’s something central banks and the ECB should pay attention to.”\--With assistance from Zoe Schneeweiss, Jeannette Neumann, Joost Akkermans, Ruben Munsterman, Boris Groendahl and William Horobin.To contact the reporters on this story: Catherine Bosley in Zurich at cbosley1@bloomberg.net;Craig Stirling in Frankfurt at cstirling1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Fergal O'Brien at fobrien@bloomberg.net, ;Simon Kennedy at skennedy4@bloomberg.net, Paul GordonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.