(Bloomberg) -- The rally in oil prices has all but expunged any likelihood that Saudi Aramco will fail to meet its $75 billion dividend payout next year, according to Bank of America Corp.Far from missing the payment, the company may even boost it in 2022 as it increases production and benchmark crude prices head back toward $70 a barrel, the bank said.Aramco’s pledge to pay an annual $75 billion to shareholders during its first five years as a publicly traded company was thrown into doubt last year as oil tumbled amid the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting the company to slash spending and increase borrowing. It also put an additional strain on Saudi Arabia’s finances. The government, which owns 98% of Aramco after selling shares in a December 2019 initial public offering, has depended on the dividend to help plug its budget deficit.“Aramco would be well-placed to implement its higher dividend distribution guidance given during the IPO and even increase dividends beyond its minimum $75 billion pledge,” Bank of America analysts including Houston-based Doug Leggate and Karen Kostanian in Moscow said in a report. “Aramco is one of the few companies globally that can substantially boost output without committing additional capex.”Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, is benefiting as oil rebounds from last year’s slump amid OPEC+ production limits and signs of a global economic recovery. Brent, a benchmark for more than half the world’s oil, jumped 4.9% last week to $69.36 a barrel as of Friday, its highest close in almost two years.The potential for higher dividend payouts is already priced into Aramco’s stock, according to Bank of America, which left its target for the shares unchanged at 35 riyals. The shares rose as much as 2.3% to 36 riyals in Riyadh on Sunday. They have gained 2% this year.The bank’s report was published on Thursday, before a decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and partners like Russia to continue with its policy of supply restraints, which gave a further boost to prices.Saudi Arabia also said last week it would delay by an extra month plans to start returning 1 million barrels a day to the market, which gave a further boost to prices.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Airline executives and directors sold $49.9 million of stock in February, the most in three years, as industry shares posted a record rally fueled by a widening vaccination effort.The top individual sellers were at Allegiant Travel Co. and Southwest Airlines Co., two leisure-focused carriers that are among analyst picks to benefit from a rebound in vacation travel as the coronavirus pandemic eases. Executives from Delta Air Lines Inc. and Mesa Air Group Inc. also sold significant holdings, according to data from InsiderInsights.com, which analyzes such transactions.The insider sales increased as investors bet that vaccine campaigns would gain steam and improve the prospects for a travel rebound. Airlines got hammered last year by an unprecedented drop in demand for flights. Continued stock gains are far from guaranteed this year, as the industry’s recovery remains shrouded in uncertainty and the slump in lucrative corporate and international trips is expected to drag on.The February surge in stock sales came after no airline insiders sold shares the previous month. An index of nine U.S. airlines jumped 30% in February, the most on record, led by a 45% advance for SkyWest Inc. Through Thursday, the stock gauge had rallied about 140% since hitting a seven-year low in May 2020.As if to underscore the uncertainty, however, the index plunged as much as 8.3% during the Friday trading session before paring losses to close with a fall of only 0.8%.Pay LimitsMajor carriers slashed jobs and cut executive pay because of the crisis, while Congress imposed compensation limits in exchange for tens of billions of dollars in aid.Bloomberg News surveyed insider transactions for the 11 largest publicly traded U.S. carriers. The data exclude April 2020, when Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. dumped its large stakes in the four biggest U.S. airlines.Last month, Allegiant Chief Executive Officer Maury Gallagher Jr. was the industry’s top seller, shedding 101,000 shares worth $21.5 million in 13 transactions. Last year, he sold shares worth $67.9 million. Gallagher still owns more than 13% of outstanding shares in Las Vegas-based Allegiant, which he co-founded in 1997.The company’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer also sold holdings of more than $1 million apiece. Allegiant declined to comment on executives’ personal decisions to sell shares, said spokeswoman Hilarie Grey. The transactions continued this month as Allegiant President John Redmond sold shares worth $6.1 million.Southwest’s insider sales made up 19% of the February total for airlines. President Tom Nealon collected at $2.98 million, while Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven got $1.82 million and Chief Financial Officer Tammy Romo had $1.74 million. Restricted stock units paid to executives that vest in February carry “significant” taxes that aren’t fully covered by shares withheld for that purpose, Southwest said in regard to last month’s sales.Delta President Glen Hauenstein sold $2.63 million, while Mesa Air President Michael Lotz shed $1.79 million. Delta declined to comment.”Our window is open infrequently and we’ve been accumulating stock for a long time and took the opportunity to diversify holdings,” said Mesa CEO Jonathan Ornstein, who also sold nearly $915,000 in shares last month.Executives and directors at American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. sold no shares, according to available data.(Updates Allegiant president’s sale this month in ninth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. tumbled Friday after its billionaire Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya offloaded shares worth about $213 million in the space-tourism company founded by Richard Branson.Palihapitiya, who has helped drive the frenzied growth of blank-check companies, disposed of 6.2 million shares at an average price of $34.32 this week, based on a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He still owns 15.8 million shares with his partner Ian Osborne through investment firm Social Capital Hedosophia, amounting to about a 6.5% stake. Palihapitiya previously sold shares worth almost $100 million in December, filings show.Palihapitiya said he sold the shares to fund an investment to help fight climate change.“The details of this investment will be made public in the next few months,” he said in a statement Friday. “I remain as dedicated as ever to Virgin Galactic’s team, mission and prospects.”Read more: The king of SPACs wants you to know he’s the next Warren BuffettVirgin Galactic’s shares fell 9.9% to $27.29 in New York on Friday and have slid more than 50% since their peak in mid-February.The Las Cruces, New Mexico-based company merged with Social Capital’s first SPAC in 2019. Palihapitiya has since launched blank-check companies that have merged with businesses across health insurance, financial services and real estate including Opendoor Technologies Inc. and Clover Health Investments Corp.Opendoor fell 9.8% on Friday, while Clover Health rose 7.5% after earlier sliding. Other Palihapitiya SPACs such as Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp IV and V reversed midday losses to end up for the day.Palihapitiya, 44, has made a fortune for himself and his investors through SPACs. The former Facebook Inc. executive has raised more than $4 billion via blank-check firms, using social media to talk up the investments and becoming one of the most prominent figures in the phenomenon, which has everyone from Colin Kaepernick to former House Speaker Paul Ryan racing to market their own.He’s also a lightning rod for skeptics who dismiss his success as the product of self-promotion and see blank-check companies as proof of a bubble inflated by government money-printing.A month ago, Palihapitiya said it would only be under the rarest of circumstances that he’d reduce his holdings of any SPAC.“If I could really just go for it, I wouldn’t sell a share of anything I buy because I believe in it,” he said Feb. 8 in a interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Front Row.” “But every now and then, I run into liquidity constraints, like everybody else.”At the time, Palihapitiya had just recently sold 3.8 million Virgin Galactic shares. He said he did so because his family office called needing cash for other purposes.Shares DropSocial Capital’s merger with Virgin Galactic -- where Palihapitiya is chairman -- made the Branson startup the world’s first publicly traded space-travel venture. The transaction raised about $800 million, with Palihapitiya also directly contributing $100 million.While the shares surged in the wake of the listing, they have tumbled since a February decision to delay the next flight to space. The new schedule also pushed back plans to carry Branson, 70, on a separate mission before Virgin Galactic is expected to take its first flight with passengers paying for the trip.The company on Thursday announced the departure of its chief space officer, George Whitesides, saying he has decided to pursue potential opportunities in public service. Whitesides, who served as chief executive officer for a decade until July 2020, will remain chairman of a four-person Space Advisory Board. Swami Iyer is joining Virgin Galactic later this month as president of aerospace systems.Though Virgin Galactic has hundreds of clients lined up to pay at least $250,000 for a 90-minute flight to the edge of space, it has been a slow journey since the venture was founded in 2004. Plans were put on hold for four years in 2014 after a space plane broke up mid-flight, killing one pilot and injuring another.(Updates stock prices throughout.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Elon Musk set records last year for one of the fastest streaks of wealth accumulation in history. The reversal is underway, and it’s steep.The Tesla Inc. chief executive officer lost $27 billion since Monday as shares of the automaker tumbled in the selloff of tech stocks. His $156.9 billion net worth still places him No. 2 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, but he’s now almost $20 billion behind Jeff Bezos, who he topped just last week as world’s richest person.Musk’s tumble only underscores the hard-to-fathom velocity of his ascent. Tesla shares soared 743% in 2020, boosting the value of his stake and unlocking billions of dollars in options through his historic “moonshot” compensation package.His gains accelerated into the new year. In January, he unseated Bezos as the world’s richest person. Musk’s fortune peaked later that month at $210 billion, according to the index, a ranking of the world’s 500 wealthiest people.Consistent quarterly profits, the election of President Joe Biden with his embrace of clean technologies and enthusiasm from retail investors fueled the company’s rise, but for some, its swelling valuation was emblematic of an unsustainable frothiness in tech. The Nasdaq 100 Index fell for the third straight week on Friday, its longest streak of declines since September.Bitcoin InvestmentMusk’s fortune hasn’t been solely subject to the forces buffeting the tech industry. His net worth has risen and slumped recently in tandem with the price of Bitcoin. Tesla disclosed last month it had added $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency to its balance sheet. Musk’s fortune took a $15 billion hit two weeks later after he mused on twitter that the prices of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies “do seem high.”Extreme volatility has roiled many of the world’s biggest fortunes this year. Asia’s once-richest person, Chinese bottled-water tycoon Zhong Shanshan, relinquished the title to Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani last month after losing more than $22 billion in a matter of days.Read more: Ambani Again Richest Asian as China’s Zhong Down $22 BillionQuicken Loans Inc. Chairman Dan Gilbert’s net worth surged by $25 billion on Monday after his mortgage lender Rocket Cos. was said to be the next target of Reddit day traders. His fortune has since fallen by almost $24 billion. Alphabet Inc. co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are among the biggest gainers on the index this year. They’ve each added more than $13 billion to their fortunes since Jan. 1.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Is the market telling us that in the not too distant future, oil will no longer be sine qua non for Exxon, or even that Exxon will be driven out of business? Maybe to both, though not quite yet.
U.S. stocks slumped in volatile trading on Friday with the tech-heavy Nasdaq heading for its worst week since March 2020, as fears over rising borrowing costs offset optimism about a strong economic rebound following blowout monthly jobs report. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields hit a new one-year high of 1.626% after nonfarm payrolls increased by 379,000 jobs last month, blowing past a rise of 182,000 forecast by economists polled by Reuters. "Investors are still trying to figure what they want in a battle between continued easy fiscal policies or an actual economical recovery which would require higher rates and they haven't made that decision yet," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin.
New premium subsidies could extend coverage to more than a million Americans.
(Bloomberg) -- It’s not just in meme stocks that the fate of short sellers is a key theme. Short bets are increasingly in vogue in the $21 trillion Treasuries market, with crucial implications across asset classes.The benchmark 10-year yield reached 1.62% Friday -- the highest since February 2020 -- before dip buying from foreign investors emerged. Stronger-than-expected job creation and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s seeming lack of concern, for now, with leaping long-term borrowing costs have emboldened traders. In one telltale sign of which way they’re leaning, demand to borrow 10-year notes in the repurchase-agreement market is so great that rates have gone negative, likely part of a move to short the maturity.The trifecta of more fiscal stimulus ahead, ultra-easy monetary policy and an accelerating vaccination campaign is helping bring a post-pandemic reality into view. There are of course risks to the bearish bond scenario. Most prominently, yields could rise to the point that they spook stocks, and tighten financial conditions generally -- a key metric the Fed is focused on for guiding policy. Even so, Wall Street analysts can’t seem to lift year-end yield forecasts fast enough.“There’s a lot of tinder being put now on this fire for higher yields,” said Margaret Kerins, global head of fixed-income strategy at BMO Capital Markets. “The question is what is the point that higher yields are too high and really put pressure on risk assets and push Powell into action” to try and tamp them down.Share prices have already shown signs of vulnerability to increasing yields, especially tech-heavy stocks. Another area at risk is the housing market -- a bright spot for the economy -- with mortgage rates jumping.The surge in yields and growing confidence in the economic recovery prompted a slew of analysts to recalibrate expectations for 10-year rates this past week. For example, TD Securities and Societe Generale lifted their year-end forecasts to 2% from 1.45% and 1.50%, respectively.Asset managers, for their part, flipped to most net short on 10-year notes since 2016, the latest Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show.Auction PressureIn the days ahead, however, BMO is eyeing 1.75% as the next key mark, a level last seen in January 2020, weeks before the pandemic sent markets into a chaotic frenzy.A fresh dose of long-end supply next week may make short positions even more attractive, especially after record-low demand for last month’s 7-year auction served as a trigger to push 10-year yields above 1.6%. The Treasury will sell a total of $62 billion in 10- and 30-year debt.With expectations for inflation and growth taking flight, traders are signaling that they anticipate the Fed may have to respond more quickly than it’s indicated. Eurodollar futures now reflect a quarter-point hike in the first quarter of 2023, but they’re starting to suggest that it could come in late 2022. Fed officials have projected they’d keep rates near zero until at least the end of 2023.So while the market is leaning toward loftier yields, the interplay between bonds and stocks is bound to be a huge focus going forward.“There’s definitely that momentum, but the question is how well risky assets adjust to the new paradigm,” said Subadra Rajappa, head of U.S. rates strategy at Societe Generale. “We’ll be watching next week, when the dust settles after the payrolls data, how Treasuries react and how risky assets react to the rise in yields.”What to WatchThe economic calendarMarch 8: Wholesale trade sales/inventoriesMarch 9: NFIB small business optimismMarch 10: MBA mortgage applications; CPI; average weekly earnings; monthly budget statementMarch 11: Jobless claims; Langer consumer comfort; JOLTS job openings: household change in net worthMarch 12: PPI; University of Michigan sentimentThe Fed calendar is empty before the March 17 policy decisionThe auction calendar:March 8: 13-, 26-week billsMarch 9: 42-day cash-management bills; 3-year notesMarch 10: 10-year notesMarch 11: 4-, 8-week bills; 30-year bondsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Texas regulators declined to rescind $16 billion in alleged overcharges for electricity during last month’s blackouts, leaving the state’s power market facing a potential financial crisis.“Decisions were made about these prices in real time based, on information available to everybody,” said Arthur D’Andrea, chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas during a meeting Friday. “It is nearly impossible to unscramble this sort of egg.”The state’s independent market monitor had recommended that $16 billion in charges be reversed, saying that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, known as Ercot, overpriced power for two days during the crisis.Retroactively adjusting those prices could have offered sweeping relief to companies facing astronomical bills in the wake of the grid emergency. With many generators crippled by the cold, electricity prices skyrocketed, squeezing anyone who had to buy power on the wholesale market. The grid operator now faces a $2.5 billion shortfall as more than a dozen companies face default. At least one utility has already filed for bankruptcy.While utility commissioners didn’t close the door repricing in the future, they didn’t embrace the idea.“Repricing the energy -- I would be more inclined to say we’re not going to do that,” said Commissioner Shelly Botkin. D’Andrea agreed, adding, “It looks like you’re protecting consumers. I promise you’re not.”The commission also declined to vote on a request to retroactively adjust the price of certain grid services during the emergency, a move that would have offered relief to distressed companied and potentially saved consumers $2 billion, according to the market monitor. So-called ancillary services, which help maintain the flow of electricity on the system, jumped above $20,000 a megawatt-hour during the crisis. Retail electricity providers and others had asked for those charges to be capped at $9,000.Texas’s biggest power generators have generally opposed any kind of repricing. But ahead of Friday’s meeting, Vistra Corp. told regulators in a filing that energy prices on Feb. 18 and 19 -- the days after the rolling outages ended -- should be changed “to an equitable calculation of the market clearing price.”“Vistra continues to believe that the Commission should not take an arbitrary, piecemeal approach to repricing,” the company said in its filing. “But acting without allowing all market participants to engage is likely to create another set of parties that will be adversely affected by the new pricing structure.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
This week, investors will be eyeing new inflation data, which will offer a look at whether prices have already begun to creep up as some have feared ahead of a major economic reopening. A highly anticipated direct listing for the vide0 game company Roblox is also on deck.
Bitcoin’s increasing reliance on purchase announcements for short rallies may not be an entirely healthy trend.
A wave of electric vehicle related companies are flooding the public markets this year. This follows a slew of companies which went public last year.
As U.S. technology shares stumble, investors are debating whether the decline is an opportunity to scoop up bargains or a sign of more pain to come for stocks that have led markets higher for years. The Nasdaq Composite, an index heavily populated by tech and growth names, has slumped 8.3% since its Feb 12 closing record, over three times the decline for the S&P 500. Drops in popular growth stocks have been even steeper, with Tesla shares off 27% and Peloton down 32%.
The current crypto options market is mostly dominated by institutions but retail traders are beginning to join the party.
ARK Investment founder Cathie Wood says her new Tesla price target is coming soon. What will it be? Barron's hazards a back-of-the-envelope guess.
The bill that passed the Senate makes payments harder to get. Your tax return might help.
Congress is nearing passage of the third economic stimulus check it will send out to you and other taxpayers as part of its Covid-19 relief bill.
(Bloomberg) -- Treasury yields are rising because of a much stronger economic outlook, Federal Reserve officials said Friday, playing down the need for a monetary policy response.“As a central banker I am always concerned if there is disorderly trading or something that looks panicky,” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said in an interview with Wharton Business Radio. “That would catch my attention. But I think we are not at that point.”His remarks, on the final day before the central bank enters a blackout period on public comment before its March 16-17 meeting, follow Chair Jerome Powell’s Thursday caution that rising yields had caught his eye and he would be “concerned by disorderly conditions in markets or persistent tightening in financial conditions.”Treasuries yields stabilized Friday after spiking higher on a stronger-than-expected payroll report for February, but remain sharply higher than a month ago, nudging up borrowing costs on everything from mortgages to auto loans.That’s prompted speculation the Fed might lean against the move by purchasing more longer-dated securities, including by reprising a strategy from its past policy playbook called Operation Twist in which it switches out of short-dated holdings into longer ones.“I don’t see that as an option right now,” Bullard said, noting the “very strong” U.S. economic outlook and already-easy monetary policy: “So it’s not just matching up right now that we have to do anything to be even more dovish than we are.”While Treasury yields have moved sharply higher, they remain historically low and the shift should not be a cause for concern, he said.‘Natural’ Causes“It is natural for them to be going higher as growth prospects are improving -- not just improving, really, but going very, very strong growth expected in 2021 and beyond and inflation risks moving up.”The Fed is expected to hold interest rates near zero at its upcoming meeting and reiterate it will keep buying bonds at a $120 billion monthly pace until it sees substantial further progress on employment and its 2% inflation goal.Like Bullard, other Fed officials characterized the increase in bond yields as a predictable result of a welcomed improvement in the economic outlook.“The bond market is reflecting I think the strength that we’ve seen in some of the recent data. They’re looking ahead and they’re positive,” Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said in an interview on CNN International later on Friday. “Both real rates are higher and inflation expectations in those bond yields are higher,” she said.Minneapolis’s Neel Kashkari said he would take note if the movement in the bond market reduced the amount of support monetary policy was providing the economy by pushing real yields higher.“But we’re not seeing much movement in real yields. Most of the movement is in that inflation expectations, or inflation compensation,” he said separately during a live-streamed interview with the Washington Post.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
To win Senate passage, Biden agreed to make millions ineligible for the third checks.
Rising interest rates might signal inflation and further stock selloffs are coming. Or maybe everything's fine.