Older homeowners have a record amount of housing wealth.
Older homeowners have a record amount of housing wealth.
A gauge of global shares rose to record highs on Tuesday, led by surging technology-related stocks, as Treasury bond yields eased after U.S. consumer price data for March showed the pace of inflation was not rising wildly. The consumer price index rose 0.6%, the biggest gain since August 2012, as increased vaccinations and fiscal stimulus unleashed pent-up demand. "Fed comments continue to be conciliatory."
LONDON (Reuters) -Bitcoin hit a record of $62,741 on Tuesday, extending its 2021 rally to new heights a day before the listing of Coinbase shares in the United States. The largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange's listing on the Nasdaq on Wednesday is considered a landmark victory for cryptocurrency advocates. Bitcoin is the world's biggest cryptocurrency, with growing mainstream acceptance as an investment and a means of payment.
(Bloomberg) -- The Nasdaq set a reference price of $250 for the direct listing of Coinbase Global Inc., the cryptocurrency exchange that will start trading Wednesday via a direct listing.The exchange disclosed the price in a statement Tuesday.Setting a reference price is a requirement for trading in the stock to begin. Unlike the share price in a standard IPO, it isn’t a direct indicator of the company’s potential market capitalization. Investors will have a better sense of valuation when shares start trading Wednesday.Coinbase shares changed hands at a roughly $90 billion value in early March, Bloomberg News reported at the time, in what was one of the last chances for investors to trade its private stock before the company goes public. That valuation was based on $350 a share, the price the stock was trading at on the Nasdaq Private Market auction.The offering will be the first major direct listing, an alternative to a traditional IPO, to take place on the Nasdaq. All such previous listings were on the New York Stock Exchange, including those by Roblox Corp., Spotify Technology SA, Slack Technologies Inc., Asana Inc. and Palantir Technologies Inc.Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong started Coinbase with Fred Ehrsam in 2012, at a time when few people had even heard of Bitcoin, and many crypto exchanges were run by amateurs from their garages and homes. Unlike most rivals, Coinbase’s founders envisioned strict regulatory compliance as a cornerstone of the operation, which has helped the exchange to grow in the U.S., where many early Bitcoin traders and investors were located.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) -- It’s just a quarter of the way through 2021 and stocks have already leaped past Wall Street’s year-end forecasts. They’ve jumped 10% and priced in so much optimism that it will take two more years for earnings to catch up.Is that enough for bulls? Nope. In a market that has plowed through records once every five days, the only things expanding faster than valuations are investor expectations. At Citigroup, an indicator that compares levels of panic to euphoria in the market has been pinned on elation all year, while a Bank of America model weighing optimism among sell-side analysts sits at a 10-year high.To be sure, animal spirits have calmed at the market’s loopiest edge, with penny-stock volume down and the meme craze receding. But robust appetite persists in its tamer -- and still speculative -- districts. And while fortunes would have been sacrificed repeatedly by anyone expecting this rally to overheat, the juxtaposition of stretched sentiment and a still-healing economy is a source of growing anxiety for professionals.“It is strange to see these sentiment measures elevated at the same time the economy is still recovering,” said George Mateyo, chief investment officer at Key Private Bank. “We’ve had a shot in the arm with respect to fiscal and monetary stimulus” and its impact on the economy “is likely to continue for a while longer, but at some point it’d fade.”Not that there aren’t a lot of reasons to stay optimistic, with many data points coming in stronger than expected, vaccine rollouts (mostly) continuing and earnings expected to buttress the bull case. Taking any single sentiment indicator at face value and relying on it as a sell signal could have meant missing out on one of the largest year-over-year rallies ever recorded.Sentiment readings “are hovering at extremely high levels and we could have been worried about them three months ago -- we could have been worried about them one month ago,” Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. equity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, told Bloomberg TV. “They are telling us that the gains are going to be harder to come by, that if we do get negative catalysts, we are vulnerable to the downside. But I think it’s hard to view any of this data as an automatic sell signal right now.”Doubters point to everything from potential Fed tapering and tax hikes to the potential for fatigue among retail investors. A look under the surface already shows a shift in leadership that’s tilting toward companies whose growth is seen as more resilient during an economic slowdown. The frenetic buying of cyclical shares like energy and banks has cooled during the past month. Vaulting back to the top of the leader board are defensive stocks like technology, real estate and utilities.Bank of America’s “sell side indicator,” which aggregates the average recommended equity allocation by strategists, has risen for a third month to a 10-year high. But the cyclical rebound, vaccines and stimulus are all largely priced in already, wrote strategists led by Savita Subramanian. Meanwhile, a record amount of equity funds is being absorbed: Inflows to stocks over the past five months, at $576 billion, exceed inflows from the prior 12 years, according to the bank.Citigroup’s panic/euphoria model, which tracks metrics from options trading to short sales and fund flows, has remained in “euphoric” territory for much of this year, “generating a 100% historical probability of down markets in the next 12 months at current levels,” according to the bank’s chief U.S. equity strategist Tobias Levkovich.Options traders are placing bets the calm won’t last. The middle part of the VIX curve shows many are expecting volatility to pick up, with the spread between the VIX -- the market’s fear gauge -- and futures on implied 30-day volatility four months from now near the highest level in about five years. One trader last week wagered that the fear gauge will rise toward 40, and won’t be lower than 25, in July. The trader appears to have bought a total of about 200,000 call contracts, an amount almost as big as the total daily volume of VIX calls, based on the 20-day average.“Sentiment -- it’s not usually enough on its own to tip a bull market over, but it does mean that if there is something that causes the broad market to flinch, it can sell off quicker and harder,” said Ross Mayfield, investment strategy analyst at Baird. “When sentiment is running this hot, you’re hitting a new all-time high every day, at some point there will be a correction. Paying up for protection, if you have short-term money, makes plenty of sense.”Going all-in on equities for fear of missing out -- while staying protected against any downturn -- is the preferred posture of hedge funds. Lured by an almost uninterrupted rally since November, the industry has boosted their net exposure to equities to multi-year highs. Meanwhile, they’ve stepped up hedging through macro products such as index futures and exchange-traded funds. Their short sales on ETFs, for instance, increased 11% this year through March 26, according to data from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s prime brokerage unit.The hedged-long approach has gained traction on Wall Street. On Friday, JPMorgan Chase & Co. strategists led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou recommended investors hold on to risky assets such as stocks but add hedges through options in credit and stocks. One looming risk for the market is a continuing retreat from retail investors, a steadfast driver behind the yearlong bull market, they said.“We don’t believe that the equity bull market is yet exhausted,” the strategists wrote in the note. But “there is clear evidence of elevated equity positioning by retail investors and thus a vulnerability for the equity market going forward,” they said.Gene Goldman, chief investment officer at Cetera Financial Group, says his firm is looking for ways to de-risk its portfolios. “People are seeing the recovery, they’re seeing good things happening today, which is great, but it’s a classic case of ‘buy the rumor, sell the news’ and what they should be doing is looking six-to-nine months from now,” he said. “There are many headwinds that are going to hit the market.”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.
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average ended lower on Monday, with investors waiting for cues from the upcoming corporate earnings season and a key inflation report later this week. The indexes had closed at record highs on Friday, after rallying for days on a pullback in the benchmark 10-year bond yield from 14-month highs. Big Wall Street names are due to kick off earnings season on Wednesday, giving new catalysts to buy or sell stocks in a record-high market.
Further, core inflation too accelerated to more than a 2-year high, at close to 6.0% which does not offer comfort. Continued comfort on food and goods inflation as production continues to normalize should prove supportive. "Upside from crude oil prices, if any, could be offset by a likely hold or reduction in duties on petroleum products, softening of demand due to a resurgence in COVID-19 infections, and likelihood of a normal monsoon outturn (as per private weather forecasting firm AccuWeather) in 2021."
(Bloomberg) -- If Deliveroo Holdings Plc’s listing was meant to hang an ‘Open For Business’ sign over the City of London, the opening day crash in the shares jarred somewhat with the message the U.K. had intended to send about post-Brexit Britain.Personally welcomed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the food delivery company’s initial public offering should have been a beacon to lure tech firms against competition from New York and Hong Kong, which have been winning the larger part of the business. Instead, concerns over the company’s governance and the treatment of its riders combined to produce one of the worst market debuts in City history.The ignominious flotation was a symbolic end to a quarter that saw London’s future as a financial center once again put in the spotlight. Since the U.K. left the European Union at the start of the year, London has faced a series of challenges to its pre-eminence, most notably the embarrassment of seeing Amsterdam — a city one tenth its size — take over as the No. 1 location for European share trading.London’s response has been a flurry of reviews into the fintech industry and listing rules, but the Square Mile’s hunt for a new identity remains a work-in-process. Early predictions of dramatic deregulation — the so-called Singapore-on-Thames option — have proved unfounded, perhaps no surprise given the City had an outsized role in writing many of the bloc’s financial rules. And for bankers in London, hopes for unhindered access to EU markets — via a process known as equivalence — have long gone, particularly as Brussels sees Brexit as a chance to deepen its own capital markets.100 Days of Brexit: a series on how Brexit changed Britain ‘Hostile’ EU’s Vaccine Spat With U.K. Boosts Support for Brexit Brexit Britain’s Biggest Test Might Be the Ability to Survive 100 Days of Brexit: Was It as Bad as ‘Project Fear’ Warned?The bloc is stepping up efforts to strong arm even more business from Britain. Banking giants including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have already moved some staff and assets to the continent, and the risk is many more will follow unless the U.K. overcomes the hurdles to secure beneficial terms.JPMorgan’s Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said last week that the EU “has had, and will continue to have, the upper hand.” Dimon, a long-time skeptic of Brexit, also warned he could shift bankers serving EU clients out of London.“It is clear that, over time, European politicians and regulators will make many understandable demands to move functions into European jurisdictions,” he said in his annual shareholder letter. “Paris, Frankfurt, Dublin and Amsterdam will grow in importance as more financial functions are performed there.”London’s global financial status, built on centuries of tradition and supercharged by the “Big Bang” of deregulation more than three decades ago, is unlikely to be undone by Brexit. The City got some good news on Monday when cybersecurity company Darktrace Plc announced plans for an IPO that could value the business at about $3 billion to $4 billion. Its CEO, Poppy Gustafsson, called it a “historic day for the U.K.’s thriving technology sector.”But the chipping away that’s taken place in just a matter of months has yet to be replaced by a compelling vision for London’s future, despite that multi-pronged series of reviews aimed at maintaining its position. Many of the proposed changes amount to fine tuning rather than a complete tearing up of the rulebook. Speaking to Bloomberg, executives of several major banks said they don’t expect authorities to ditch inherited rules, including the bonus cap on banker pay.What they expect is what some call a “tailoring” of London’s approach, hardly the swashbuckling reforms that some imagined.Instead, banks want to eliminate some of the annoyances that came with being part of the EU, such as time-consuming and expensive trade reporting requirements, and rules that make it more difficult to raise capital from smaller investors. The hope is the efficiency shown by the U.K. in its coronavirus vaccination policy — which is far outpacing the EU rollout — can be replicated when it comes to financial services.“It’s about speed and nimbleness, rather than sweeping changes,” said William Wright, founder and chief executive officer of New Financial, a London-based think tank.Evolution not revolution also means protecting existing strengths as much as possible. However, London’s relationship with the EU was barely mentioned in last year’s Brexit trade deal, and those talks highlighted resentments and political point scoring that could frustrate any future discussions. Of the 39 areas in which the EU could find Britain financially equivalent, it has granted only two, and both are time-limited.“I think there’s a lot of Europeans that want to have a bite of the golden goose,” said Fraser Thorne, chief executive officer of Edison Institutional Services Ltd, a London-based financial advisory firm.Read More: Listen to the Latest Stephanomics Podcast on 100 Days of Brexit How Brexit Is Changing the City of London, One Piece at a TimeOne minor positive for the City in 2021 was that the U.K. and the EU agreed a framework for talks late last month, and in a rare Brexit development, it was done on deadline. But realistically even that Memorandum of Understanding amounts to very little, and the sense is that no significant access to EU financial markets is on the cards anytime soon.Brussels has made no secret of its desire to become less reliant on U.K.-based financial services. Seen from outside Britain, Europe’s lack of a major global financial center within its own borders is a matter of political and strategic concern, and one that policy makers want to rectify.In the U.K., even some of the more mild-mannered British public servants are being more forthright about the need to protect London against an increasingly aggressive EU. At the Bank of England, Governor Andrew Bailey used a Parliament hearing to, unprompted, bluntly deliver a message: The U.K. would “resist very firmly” any EU attempt to force relocations.Any post-Brexit identity for the City will also be forged by the new business it attracts, as much as what remains in place.Sunak and his Treasury minister, John Glen, have spent the past few months trying to sell the benefits that London can offer outside a more rigid EU system.“If they get it right, London will remain an incredibly strong force,” said Alasdair Haynes, CEO at Aquis Exchange Plc. “But if they argue and there's a lot of bickering and we can't move swiftly and there's political interference then actually London is probably in the most precarious place it has ever been.”Officials are making a big play for the U.K. to build on its position as a hub for financial innovation, cultivating a growing ecosystem of fintech businesses spanning everything from consumer-facing businesses attempting to steal retail customers from the big lenders through to niche firms supplying specialized technology services to investment banks.Iana Vidal, head of government relations and policy at Innovate Finance, the lobby group for the U.K. fintech industry, says Britain could steal a march on the rest of Europe by moving faster to help mold the regulatory structure for the nascent sector.“We want to have a first-mover advantage,” she said. “You could potentially gain a head start over your competition in Europe.”That’s an opportunity acknowledged by Brexit critic Dimon, who said London “still has the opportunity to adapt and reinvent itself, particularly as the digital landscape continues to revolutionize financial services.”But in the short-term he’s pessimistic, warning that Brexit “cannot possibly be a positive” for the U.K. economy.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.
The EU union's lending arm is reportedly readying a digital bond sale using blockchain technology.
(Bloomberg) -- The window for Europe to sell its longest dated debt may be closing faster than countries expect.Demand for Britain’s longest-dated gilt fell to the lowest level since July 2018 at auction on Tuesday, with bids for the bond maturing in 2071 coming in at more than two times the 1 billion pounds ($1.38 billion) on offer. Austria and Spain both saw orderbooks fall for sales of 50-year and 15-year debt respectively.It’s a sign that the region’s bond markets are being hit by a double whammy of heavy supply and fears of a reflationary resurgence, which threatens to erode returns for investors. Nordea Bank Abp warned that the window to sell long-dated tenors is now closing as the economy recovers against a backdrop of an accelerating vaccine rollout. That could put pressure on the European Central Bank to dial back its bond purchase programs.“The odds are stacked against longer-dated supply being taken down well,” said Peter Chatwell, head of multi-asset strategy at Mizuho International Plc. “There is no likely outcome where long end rates are able to sustain a bid.”Around 15% of debt sales in the region during the first quarter had maturities of 25 years or more -- an all-time high, according Nordea -- as countries took advantage of the ECB’s bond-buying program to borrow at near record-low rates. But now, government bond yields have rebounded from all-time lows as investors begin to price an end to the pandemic.“It may become trickier later this year, as the economic recovery materializes and an environment of higher yields may start to look less remote,” Nordea’s chief strategist Jan von Gerich said, adding that the worst of the selling pressure in bonds appears to be over for now.Spain saw orderbooks drop by around 20 billion euros for a six billion euro debt sale, while in Austria, demand for its 50-year sale fell by around one billion euros, even with only 2 billion euros on offer. Its four-year sale did better, garnering above 26.6 billion euros of bids, around six times more than the amount being sold.One overwhelming force keeping a lid on yields is the ECB’s repeated pledge to keep monetary policy accommodative as the region shakes off economic pain from the pandemic. Data scheduled for Friday is expected to show euro-area consumer price inflation jumped to 1.3% last month, the highest in more than a year. Yet that would still be below the central bank’s goal of a reading close to, but below 2%. “I don’t sense a shift in attitude towards duration based on the better economic outlook, not yet at least,” said Antoine Bouvet, senior rates strategist at ING Groep NV. “The lower-for-longer narrative is still widely shared in Europe.”Austrian securities that come due in 2062 yield around 0.66%, up from around 0.10% in December. Fifty-year gilts currently yield around 1.12%, having climbed from less than 0.3% last year. That’s well below a market gauge of expected price rises over the next decade, which hit 3.83% this month, the highest level in more than a decade.(Updates with prices throughout, adds Mizuho comment in fourth 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) -- U.S. stocks climbed to record highs and bond yields fell as investors bet that a higher-than-forecast rise in inflation won’t be enough to slow economic stimulus measures.The S&P 500 closed at an all-time high even after the U.S. recommended pausing Johnson & Johnson vaccines amid health concerns. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 also set a record while the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished in the red. Consumer prices rose more than expected last month but investors speculated the acceleration was not fast enough to warrant any Federal Reserve policy change. The drop in yields weighed on bank shares.“The market has been skittish about rates for some time,” said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E*Trade Financial. “While this may cause some short-term volatility, investors have been pretty steadfast in their faith in a full economic recovery.”J&J shares fell as officials agreed to the pause and started an investigation into a link from its shot to rare and severe blood clots, while rivals Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc. advanced. The U.S. anticipates having enough other vaccines during the period.Fund managers across the world now see inflation, a taper tantrum and higher taxes as bigger risks than Covid-19, according to the latest Bank of America Corp. survey.“A lot of growth and inflation have already been priced into the market,” said Emily Roland, co-chief investment strategist at John Hancock Investment Management. “It’s almost as if you need to exceed those expectations in order to see a more pronounced reaction from markets.”Although policymakers at the Federal Reserve expect a bump in consumer prices to be short-lived, many traders disagree, with fears of faster CPI playing out across duration-heavy assets from bonds to tech stocks.Treasuries extended gains after the government’s auction of 30-year bonds was greeted with strong demand.Meanwhile, Bitcoin jumped to an all-time high as the mood in cryptocurrencies turned bullish before Coinbase Global Inc. goes public. Oil traded near $60 a barrel.Some key events to watch this week:Banks and financial firms begin reporting first-quarter earnings, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp., Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.Economic Club of Washington hosts Fed Chair Jerome Powell for a moderated Q&A on Wednesday.U.S. Federal Reserve releases Beige Book on Wednesday.U.S. data including initial jobless claims, industrial production and retail sales come Thursday.China economic growth, industrial production and retail sales figures are on Friday.These are some of the main moves in financial markets: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.
The overhaul will force the Alibaba-backed group to become a financial holding firm.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. regulators are throwing another wrench into Wall Street’s SPAC machine by cracking down on how accounting rules apply to a key element of blank-check companies.The Securities and Exchange Commission is setting forth new guidance that warrants, which are issued to early investors in the deals, might not be considered equity instruments and may instead be liabilities for accounting purposes. The move, reported earlier by Bloomberg News, threatens to disrupt filings for new special purpose acquisition companies until the issue is resolved.The accounting considerations mark the latest effort by the SEC to clamp down on the white-hot SPAC market. For months, the regulator has been raising red flags that investors aren’t being fully informed of potential risks associated with blank-check companies, which list on public stock exchanges to raise money for the purpose of buying other entities.The SEC began reaching out to accountants last week with the guidance on warrants, according to people familiar with the matter. A pipeline of hundreds of filings for new SPACs could be affected, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the conversations were private.“The SEC indicated that they will not declare any registration statements effective unless the warrant issue is addressed,” according to a client note sent by accounting firm Marcum that was reviewed by Bloomberg.In a SPAC, early investors buy units, which typically includes a share of common stock and a fraction of a warrant to purchase more stock at a later date. They’re considered a sweetener for backers and have thus far been considered equity instruments for accounting purposes. Sponsor teams -- the management of a SPAC -- are also typically given warrants as part of their reward to find a deal, on top of the founder shares.In a statement late Monday, SEC officials urged those involved in SPACs to pay attention to the accounting implications of their transactions. They said that a recent analysis of the market had shown a fact pattern in transactions in which “warrants should be classified as a liability measured at fair value, with changes in fair value each period reported in earnings.”“The evaluation of the accounting for contracts in an entity’s own equity, such as warrants issued by a SPAC, requires careful consideration of the specific facts and circumstances for each entity and each contract,” the officials said in the statement.The SEC issued its guidance after a firm asked the agency how certain accounting rules applied to SPACs, according to another person familiar with the matter. It’s unclear how many companies will be impacted by the move and not all warrants will be affected. Still, regulators consider it likely to be a widespread issue. Firms will be expected to review their statements and correct any material errors, said the person.The shift would spell a massive nuisance for accountants and lawyers, who are hired to ensure blank-check companies are in compliance with the agency. SPACs that are already public and that have struck mergers with targets may have to restate their financial results, the people familiar with the matter said.More than 550 SPACs have filed to go public on U.S. exchanges in the year to date, seeking to raise a combined $162 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That exceeds the total for all of 2020, during which SPACs raised more than every prior year combined.In an April 8 statement, John Coates, the SEC’s top official for corporate filings, warned Wall Street against viewing SPACs as a way to avoid securities laws. Claims that promoters face less legal liability than a traditional public offering are “uncertain at best,” Coates, who was one of the officials issuing Monday’s statement on accounting, said at the time.The deluge has overwhelmed those responsible for reviewing filings at the SEC, triggered a surge in liability insurance rates for blank-check companies and fueled market anxieties that the bubble is about to burst.(Updates with SEC official’s previous comment in penultimate 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) -- Southeast Asia’s answer to Uber is set to nab the record for biggest deal in the SPAC world, yet traders are holding their applause.Singapore-based Grab Holdings Inc. said it will list on U.S. exchanges through a reverse merger with Altimeter Growth Corp. in a deal valued at nearly $40 billion that drew institutional backing from heavyweights like T. Rowe Price Group Inc. and Temasek Holdings Pte.As it stands, the blockbuster tie-up would be the largest SPAC merger ever, dwarfing the one announced between Lucid Motors Inc. and Churchill Capital IV in February, valued at $24 billion. The transaction is expected to close in July and the company will trade on the Nasdaq with the catchy symbol GRAB.But investors don’t seem much interested in seizing this special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, opportunity.Shares of Altimeter rose on the day merger rumors surfaced, but modestly relative to others, in the latest example of SPAC market pain. After trading lower earlier Tuesday, the stock rallied into the close but still remains 15% below its January peak.Gone are the 2020 days of indiscriminate SPAC deal pops, when everyone wanted to play the deal announcement, Josef Schuster, founder of the SPAC index, told Bloomberg in an interview. Excitement came fast and easy but dissipated after a series of “lousy” showings from the companies post-deal, Schuster said, noting that the SPAC index has gone nowhere this year.“Maybe the idea is that those deals shouldn’t get a pop in the first place,” Schuster said. “If anything the market is more efficient now.”The second- and third-largest deals -- Michael Klein’s SPAC with Lucid Motors and Alec Gore’s SPAC with United Wholesale Mortgage Group, valued at $16 billion -- haven’t translated into big gains thus far. The Churchill SPAC is 66% off its peak and UWM Holdings Corp. now sits below $8 after completing its reverse-merger earlier this year.Traders reference the Churchill-Lucid announcement in late February as “peak SPAC” -- when the deal value broke, shares of the SPAC fell and catalyzed a selloff in that market that led to hundreds of pre-deal SPACs sliding under their IPO prices of $10. Meanwhile, regulators have turned up the heat on SPACs and the feverish pace of SPACs coming to market has slowed to a crawl.Read More: Do-Nothing SPACs Sag, Offering Investors a $1.1 Billion ReturnWhile history favors pre-deal SPAC performance, buying shares of companies that emerge from SPAC combinations and holding them for one year results in an annualized loss of 15% on an equal-weighted basis, according to data from Jay Ritter, a University of Florida finance professor who tracked such deals from January 2010 through October 2020.SPACs are also significantly underperforming traditional initial public offerings. This year’s SPAC listings are up about 1%, while regular listings have gained 35% on an offer-to-date basis, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Perhaps investors keen on size should be paying attention to the biggest companies to emerge from SPACs based on market capitalization, which would ultimately determine whether they land in major index funds and exchange-traded funds. That would be DraftKings Inc. at about $23 billion, Opendoor Technologies Inc. for $11 billion and Paysafe Ltd. around $9 billion as of Monday night.Whether Grab will crack those ranks remains to be seen.(Update in fifth graph, first chart)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) -- Europe’s top financial watchdog has asked some of the bloc’s largest banks for additional information on their exposure to hedge funds after the recent collapse of Archegos Capital Management.The checks by the European Central Bank on lenders such as Deutsche Bank AG and BNP Paribas SA are standard practice after such a disruptive event for the industry, according to people familiar with the matter. All banks supervised by the ECB that have a significant hedge fund business are likely to face these questions, they said, asking not to be identified discussing the private information.Representatives for the ECB, Deutsche Bank and BNP declined to comment.The collapse of Archegos, a secretive family office that had made highly leveraged bets on stocks, could cause as much as $10 billion of losses for banks, analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. estimate. Swiss lender Credit Suisse Group AG alone has put the expected hit at 4.4 billion Swiss francs ($4.7 billion) in the first quarter.Euro-region banks, by contrast, have come away largely unscathed. Deutsche Bank had several billion dollars of exposure to Archegos when it started unraveling but the German lender quickly sold its holdings, Bloomberg News has reported. It said it won’t incur a loss as a result of the firm’s collapse.Archegos put on its trades with the help of so-called prime brokerage units at a number of investment banks, effectively borrowing large amounts to amplify returns. When the investments declined and lenders asked for more collateral, the firm collapsed and banks raced to unwind the positions with prices plummeting.Prime brokerage units make money by lending cash and securities to hedge funds and executing their trades. The business is risky but lucrative, earning European banks Barclays Plc, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, Societe Generale SA and UBS Group AG a combined $4 billion in 2019, according to a report from JPMorgan.“There is a need to scrutinize the reasons why the banks enabled the fund to leverage up to such an extent,” ECB executive board member Isabel Schnabel said in an interview with Der Spiegel last week. “It is a warning signal that there are considerable systemic risks that need to be better regulated.”(Adds previous comments from ECB executive in final 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.
NFT Investments raised three times more than planned through its listing.
(Bloomberg) -- After China imposed a record antitrust fine on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the e-commerce giant did an unusual thing: It thanked regulators.“Alibaba would not have achieved our growth without sound government regulation and service, and the critical oversight, tolerance and support from all of our constituencies have been crucial to our development,” the company said in an open letter. “For this, we are full of gratitude and respect.”It’s a sign of how odd China’s crackdown on the power of big tech has been compared with the rest of the world. Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook would likely not express such public gratitude if the U.S. government were to hit Facebook Inc. or Apple Inc. with record antitrust fines.Almost everything about China’s regulatory push is out of the ordinary. Beijing regulators wrapped up their landmark probe in just four months, compared with the years that such investigations take in the U.S. or Europe. They sent a clear message to the country’s largest corporations and their leaders that anti-competitive behavior will have consequences.For Alibaba, the $2.8 billion fine was less severe than many feared and helps lift a cloud of uncertainty hanging over founder Jack Ma’s internet empire. The 18.2 billion yuan penalty was based on just 4% of the internet giant’s 2019 domestic revenue, regulators said. While that’s triple the previous high of almost $1 billion that U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. handed over in 2015, it’s far less than the maximum 10% allowed under Chinese law. Alibaba’s shares rose more than 8% Monday in Hong Kong.“We’re happy to get the matter behind us,” Joseph Tsai, co-founder and vice chairman, said on an investor call on Monday. “These regulatory actions are undertaken to ensure fair competition.”The fine came with a plethora of “rectifications” that Alibaba will have to put in place -- such as curtailing the practice of forcing merchants to choose between Alibaba or a competing platform -- many of which the company had already pledged to establish. But Tsai said regulators won’t impose radical changes to its e-commerce strategy. Instead, he and other executives pledged to open up Alibaba’s marketplaces more, lower costs for merchants while spending “billions of yuan” to help its clients handle e-commerce.Tsai said the company is unaware of any other antitrust investigations into the company, except for a previously discussed probe into acquisitions and investments by Alibaba and other tech giants.“The required corrective measures will likely limit Alibaba’s revenue growth as a further expansion in market share will be constrained,” Lina Choi, a senior vice president at Moody’s Investors Service, said in a note. “Investments to retain merchants and upgrade products and services will also reduce its profit margins.”Alibaba Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang on Saturday declared his company now ready to move on from its ordeal, while China’s Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily issued assurances that Beijing wasn’t trying to stifle the sector.The Hangzhou-based firm “has escaped possible outcomes such as a forced breakup or divestment of assets. The penalty will not shake up its business model, either,” said Jet Deng, an antitrust lawyer at the Beijing office of law firm Dentons.Beijing remains intent on reining in its internet and fintech giants, a broad campaign that’s wiped more than $250 billion off Alibaba’s valuation since October. The e-commerce giant’s speedy capitulation underscores its vulnerability to further regulatory action -- a far cry from just six years ago, when Alibaba openly contested one agency’s censure over counterfeit goods on Taobao and eventually forced the State Administration for Industry and Commerce to backtrack on its allegations.On Monday, shares in Alibaba’s fellow internet giants from social media titan Tencent Holdings Ltd. to food delivery leader Meituan and JD.com Inc. fell on fears they could draw similar scrutiny. “It’s exactly what the market is thinking right now: Tencent and Meituan are next in line if the same standards are to be applied, but even the worst won’t be so bad,” said Zhuang Jiapeng, a fund manager at Shenzhen JM Capital Co.Beyond antitrust, government agencies are said to be scrutinizing other parts of Ma’s empire, including Ant Group Co.’s consumer-lending businesses and Alibaba’s extensive media holdings. And the shock of the crackdown will continue to resonate with peers from Tencent and Baidu Inc. to Meituan, forcing them to tread far more carefully on business expansions and acquisitions for some time to come.What Bloomberg Intelligence SaysChina’s record fine on Alibaba may lift the regulatory overhang that has weighed on the company since the start of an anti-monopoly probe in late December. The 18.2 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) fine, to penalize the anti-competitive practice of merchant exclusivity, is equivalent to 4% of Alibaba’s 2019 domestic sales. Still, the company may have to be conservative with acquisitions and its broader business practices.-- Vey-Sern Ling and Tiffany Tam, analystsClick here for the full research.The investigation into Alibaba was one of the opening salvos in a campaign seemingly designed to curb the power of China’s internet leaders, which kicked off after Ma infamously rebuked “pawn shop” Chinese lenders, regulators who don’t get the internet, and the “old men” of the global banking community. Those comments set in motion an unprecedented regulatory offensive, including scuttling Ant’s $35 billion initial public offering.It remains unclear whether the watchdog or other agencies might demand further action. Regulators are said, for instance, to be concerned about Alibaba’s ability to sway public discourse and want the company to sell some of its media assets, including the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s leading English-language newspaper.Read more: China Presses Alibaba to Sell Media Assets, Including SCMPChina’s top financial regulators now see Tencent as the next target for increased supervision, Bloomberg News has reported. And the central bank is said to be leading discussions around establishing a joint venture with local technology giants to oversee the lucrative data they collect from hundreds of millions of consumers, which would be a significant escalation in regulators’ attempts to tighten their grip over the country’s internet sector.“The high fine puts the regulator in the media spotlight and sends a strong signal to the tech sector that such types of exclusionary conduct will no longer be tolerated,” said Angela Zhang, author of “Chinese Antitrust Exceptionalism” and director of the Centre for Chinese Law at the University of Hong Kong. “It’s a stone that kills two birds.”For now, it appears investors are just glad it wasn’t worse. In its statement, the State Administration for Market Regulation concluded Alibaba had used data and algorithms “to maintain and strengthen its own market power and obtain improper competitive advantage.” Its practice of imposing a “pick one from two” choice on merchants “shuts out and restricts competition” in the domestic online retail market, according to the statement.The firm will be required to implement “comprehensive rectifications,” including strengthening internal controls, upholding fair competition and protecting businesses on its platform and consumers’ rights, the regulator said. It will need to submit reports on self-regulation to the authority for three consecutive years.The company will have to make adjustments but can now “start over,” Zhang wrote in a memo to Alibaba’s employees Saturday.“We believe market concerns over the anti-monopoly investigation on BABA are addressed by SAMR’s recent decision and penalties,” Jefferies analysts wrote in a research note entitled “A New Starting Point.”Indeed, The People’s Daily said in its commentary Saturday that the punishment was intended merely to “prevent the disorderly expansion of capital.”“It doesn’t mean denying the significant role of platform economy in overall economic and social development, and doesn’t signal a shift of attitude in terms of the country’s support to the platform economy,” the newspaper said. “Regulations are for better development, and ‘reining in’ is also a kind of love.”(Updates with shares and commentary from the fifth 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) -- President Joe Biden told companies vying with each other for a sharply constrained global supply of semiconductors that he has bipartisan support for government funding to address a shortage that has idled automakers worldwide.During a White House meeting with more than a dozen chief executive officers on Monday, Biden read from a letter from 23 senators and 42 House members backing his proposal for $50 billion for semiconductor manufacturing and research.“Both sides of the aisle are strongly supportive of what we’re proposing and where I think we can really get things done for the American people,” Biden said. “Now let me quote from the letter. It says, ‘The Chinese Communist Party is aggressively -- plans to reorient and dominate the semiconductor supply chain,’ and it goes into how much money will be they’re pouring into being able to do that.”Chief executives including General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra, Ford Motor Co. CEO James D. Farley, Jr., and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google participated in the virtual summit.White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the meeting showed the administration is serious about addressing supply-chain constraints and softening the blow for affected companies and workers.National Economic Council director Brian Deese and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan hosted the meeting, with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo also participating. Companies invited to join included Dell Technologies Inc., Intel Corp., Medtronic Plc, Northrop Grumman Corp., HP Inc., Cummins Inc., Micron Technology Inc., Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., AT&T Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., as well as GM, Ford and Alphabet Inc.Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said in an interview after the meeting that the White House and Congress are working aggressively to support the semiconductor industry with more domestic manufacturing, research and development as well as efforts to build the workforce. Taiwan’s TSMC also voiced its support. The contract chipmaker, which plays a central role in manufacturing most of the world’s most advanced semiconductors, has secured government incentives to begin building a $12 billion Arizona plant this year.“TSMC is confident that our 5nm advanced fab plan in Phoenix Arizona -- one of the largest foreign direct investments in U.S. history -- will be successful in partnership with the U.S. government,” it said in a statement.The administration intended to highlight elements of the president’s proposed $2.25 trillion infrastructure-focused plan that they believe would improve supply-chain resilience, a White House official said. The agenda also included discussions about the auto industry’s transition to clean energy, job creation and ensuring U.S. economic competitiveness, the official added.Many of the lawmakers supporting additional funding for semiconductors want to see the measure in a standalone competitiveness bill aimed at China, not as part of Biden’s infrastructure package, as it is now. The China bill has some bipartisan support and could have a quicker path through Congress.Intel, Micron, GM, A&T on Roster for White House Chips MeetingBut exactly how to spend and allocate the semiconductor funding is a source of debate among automakers and other consumers of chips, as well as the semiconductor companies themselves.Carmakers are pushing for a portion of the money to be reserved for vehicle-grade chips, warning of a potential 1.3 million shortfall in car and light-duty truck production in the U.S. this year if their industry isn’t given priority.Yet makers of other electronic devices affected by the chip shortage, such as computers and mobile phones, have taken issue with the carmakers’ demands, worried their industries will suffer. The debate was also a factor in the White House meeting.“There were many, many voices saying, ‘hey, we can’t just start carving things up for particular industries. We need a solution that works in the medium and long term and that are sensitive to some of the unique challenges of the immediate term,’” Gelsinger said in the interview. “I think we’re working pretty well through that process right now. Nobody will be entirely happy but we’re heading in a good direction.”The White House has not taken a public position on the issue but has indicated privately to semiconductor industry leaders that it would not support special treatment for one industry, according to people familiar with the matter.Matt Blunt, president of the American Automotive Policy Council, which lobbies for Ford, General Motors and Stellantis NV (formerly Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), expressed optimism that the Biden administration would at least consider his industry’s arguments.Congress Weighs Countering China on Chips, GOP Wary of Cost (1)He said the White House has not endorsed any specific plans for setting aside money for carmakers, but administration officials “understand why the proposal was made.”To avoid future chip shortages, Blunt’s group proposed that at least 25% of any federal support for the construction of semiconductor factories must go to U.S. facilities that commit to allocating at least 25% of their capacity to automotive-grade chips.John Neuffer, president and chief executive officer of the Semiconductor Industry Association, said the industry understands “the difficulty the auto sector is feeling right now, and chipmakers are working hard to ramp up production to meet demand in the short term.”For the long term, he said, the industry needs a boost in domestic production and innovation across the board “so all sectors of our economy have access to the chips they need, and that requires swiftly enacting federal investments in semiconductor manufacturing and research.”(Updates with TSMC’s comments from the seventh 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) -- Most Asian stocks climbed Wednesday following gains in U.S. equities and bonds, as investors shrugged off a higher-than-forecast rise in U.S. inflation to focus on the path of the global recovery.Hong Kong’s benchmark rose and tech stocks lifted China, but shares dipped in Japan amid concerns a slow vaccine rollout will crimp activity. U.S. equity futures were steady following all-time highs for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 indexes, as the White House said the U.S. inoculation campaign remains on track despite a pause in Johnson & Johnson doses amid health concerns.Treasuries held a rally after a successful sale of 30-year bonds, which settled fears of poor demand sparking another bout of volatility. The U.S. dollar added to the prior session’s losses.Asia’s credit markets steadied after coming under pressure as a sharp selloff in one of China’s largest bad-debt managers raised questions about other heavily leveraged borrowers. Tencent Holdings Ltd. is holding off marketing a planned dollar bond deal Wednesday, according to people familiar with the matter.The latest data showing U.S. consumer prices rose more than expected last month have had little impact given the distortions surrounding the year-earlier collapse in price pressures. Investors still appear confident that the recovery remains on track with support from central banks and government spending.“A lot of growth and inflation have already been priced into the market,” said Emily Roland, co-chief investment strategist at John Hancock Investment Management. “It’s almost as if you need to exceed those expectations in order to see a more pronounced reaction from markets.”Runaway inflation, along with higher borrowing costs and taxes, have replaced the pandemic as the top concerns for global fund managers, according to the latest Bank of America Corp. survey.Meanwhile, Bitcoin jumped to an all-time high, as did Ether, the second-largest digital token. The Nasdaq set a reference price of $250 for the direct listing of Coinbase Global Inc., the cryptocurrency exchange that will start trading Wednesday. Oil traded above $60 a barrel.Some key events to watch this week:Banks and financial firms begin reporting first-quarter earnings, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp., Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.Economic Club of Washington hosts Fed Chair Jerome Powell for a moderated Q&A on Wednesday.U.S. Federal Reserve releases Beige Book on Wednesday.U.S. data including initial jobless claims, industrial production and retail sales come Thursday.China economic growth, industrial production and retail sales figures are on Friday.These are some of the main moves in financial markets:StocksS&P 500 futures were flat as of 12:27 p.m. in Tokyo. The index closed 0.3% higher.Japan’s Topix Index was 0.3% lower.The Shanghai Composite was up 0.2%.The Hang Seng rose 1.2%.South Korea’s Kospi Index was flat.Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was 0.3% higher.Euro Stoxx 50 futures increased 0.2%.CurrenciesThe Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index edged down 0.1%.The yen was up 0.2% at 108.87 per dollar.The euro inched up 0.1% to $1.1962.The offshore yuan traded around 6.5410 per dollar.BondsThe yield on 10-year Treasuries held around 1.62% after slipping in U.S. trade.Australia’s 10-year yield was six basis points lower at 1.75%.CommoditiesWest Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.8% to $60.63 a barrel.Gold was steady at $1,744.62 an ounce.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.
Roth accounts serve a special tax purpose — they’re funded with after-tax dollars and thus, are distributed tax-free (compared with a traditional account, where the money is contributed and grows tax-free but is taxed at withdrawal). Roth conversions are similar — investors move the money from their traditional accounts into Roth accounts and pay the tax upfront.
A first wave of private banks is looking for exposure to DeFi and staking, but with an easy user interface.