|Bid||87.31 x 36400|
|Ask||87.32 x 7100|
|Day's Range||87.24 - 88.66|
|52 Week Range||53.44 - 89.20|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||0.65|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||19.40|
|Earnings Date||Feb 10, 2021|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||2.48 (2.84%)|
|Ex-Dividend Date||Feb 16, 2021|
|1y Target Est||73.17|
(Bloomberg) -- Australia’s economy powered into 2021 on solid footings as households remain cashed up to consume and a pipeline of residential construction is established for the period ahead.Gross domestic product jumped 3.1% in the final three months of last year from the prior quarter, when it rose an upwardly revised 3.4%, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said in Sydney Wednesday. That was the first back-to-back expansions above 3% since quarterly records were established in 1959.The economy’s V-shape recovery is coming into sharp relief as firms step up hiring, households unwind crisis-level savings and the property market gathers momentum. Still, there’s a way to go yet as Australia will only return to its pre-pandemic level of GDP in the middle of this year, with the Reserve Bank of Australia saying monetary stimulus will be required for an extended period.“Further reasonable growth figures seem probable as the household sector unwinds the large savings pool they accumulated during the pandemic,” said Rob Carnell, chief economist for Asia Pacific at ING Bank. “Continued vaccine rollout will also help this process to play out.”The Australian dollar edged up immediately after the report and retraced gains to trade at 78.25 U.S. cents at 1:54 p.m. in Sydney.The RBA is forecasting the economy will expand 3.5% over this year and next, continuing to be led by household spending. Meantime, government stimulus measures to encourage new home building and renovations have helped set up a pipeline of residential construction work for this year.Today’s report also showed:Household spending surged 4.3% from the prior quarter, adding 2.3 percentage points to GDP; government spending increased 0.8% Q/q, contributing 0.2 percentage pointResidential construction climbed 4.1% from the third quarter, while machinery and equipment purchases surged 8.9%The savings rate slid to 12% from a revised 18.7% in the third quarterFrom a year earlier, the economy shrank 1.1%; economists had forecast a 1.9% contractionA surging price of iron ore, Australia’s largest export, providing a welcome windfall for the nation’s budget. The bulk commodity has been hovering around $170 a ton and budget revenue assumptions were based on it returning to around $55 a ton this year.Australia’s unemployment rate has steadily fallen with the economy gathering strength, dropping to 6.4% in January from a pandemic peak of 7.5%. The government is due to end its signature wage subsidy program -- JobKeeper -- at the end of this month, creating pressure on jobs in industries like tourism that face an ongoing struggle from closed international borders.What Bloomberg Economics Says...“The economy has now recovered 85% of the virus hit. Private sector investment has to pick up pace to sustain overall growth beyond the boost from further activity normalization.”-- James McIntyre, economistFor the full note, click here.Snap BackThe two strong quarters of growth are a swing back from the nation’s first recession -- defined locally as two consecutive quarters of contraction -- in 28-1/2 years in the first half of 2020. That record run included Australia avoiding slumps during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the Dot-Com Bubble and the 2008 global financial crisis.The government and central bank have worked closely to support the economy during the pandemic. The RBA’s key role has been ensuring there was plenty of low-cost credit available and keeping down government borrowing costs.The central bank’s key interest rate and three-year yield target are at 0.10% and it’s running a low-cost funding facility for banks. The central bank is also operating a A$200 billion ($156 billion) quantitative easing program targeting longer-dated securities that’s designed to help keep a lid on the currency.“Stimulus and support measures are still very much required, and any scale-back needs to be carefully managed,” said Craig James, chief economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s securities unit. “The Reserve Bank certainly hasn’t changed its rhetoric. Rates will remain low for another three years. Bond buying will continue. Cheap loans will remain under offer to business.”(Updates with comment from economist 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.
This article will reflect on the compensation paid to Matt Comyn who has served as CEO of Commonwealth Bank of...
If you haven’t known it by now, let me just state the obvious: the cryptocurrency market has gone mainstream. Obviously, the biggest news item is bitcoin. After blowing past the psychological resistance barrier of $20,000, it then went on to breach $30,000, then $40,000. In theory, this should help bank stocks as their underlying companies can potentially corral this excitement into another revenue channel. Unfortunately, that’s not how things work around here. For one thing, bank stocks — at least, the major ones — are typically steeped in history and tradition. For instance, the heritage of many companies can be traced well back into the 19th century. And that’s just for American banks. You can probably figure out that the cryptocurrency concept is anything but traditional. It’s really a revolution of the financial and investment paradigm. Of course, this segues into the next reason why banks stocks and virtual currencies don’t always mix. A cryptocurrency is not just an alternative to the hegemonic global financial structure but a competitor. Let’s be real — most people who deal with cryptos are doing so to make money. Well, many banking institutions have their own investment businesses, which aren’t nearly as sexy as the blockchain markets.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips Furthermore, bank stocks represent in many ways the frontline of monetary policy. Right now, the emphasis of both monetary and fiscal policymakers is to stimulate the economy. If you look at metrics like the personal saving rate and especially money velocity, stimulus is the last thing we have. Instead, we’re bucking under the weight of deflation. People speculating their money on whatever cryptocurrency is popular these days hardly helps matters. 9 Stocks That Investors Think Are the Next Amazon That’s a major problem because value is now being transferred digitally — and without a leaching intermediary. Well, there are intermediaries, but they’re often not the big banks. Therefore, bank stocks are not necessarily aligned with the rise of the cryptocurrency. Here are a few examples of companies that either ban or limit bitcoin or other blockchain token purchases. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) Citigroup (NYSE:C) Lloyds Banking (NYSE:LYG) Commonwealth Bank of Australia (OTCMKTS:CMWAY) Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE:RY) PNC (NYSE:PNC) Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) To be clear, not all banks are anti-bitcoin. And we should be fair to those who criticize the cryptocurrency complex: it’s a wild west market. Plus, you have high-profile cases such as the Securities and Exchange Commission’s lawsuit against Ripple Labs, the folks responsible for ripple. I get the hesitation, which is why these bank stocks are not quite crypto-friendly yet. Bank of America (BAC) Source: Tero Vesalainen/Shutterstock Historically, Bank of America will go down as an early supporter of the cryptocurrency concept. Now that I think about it, supporter might be too strong of a word. But it certainly lent the idea of blockchain reward tokens substantial credibility. According to Forbes, BofA was the “first major finical institution to initiate analyst coverage” of bitcoin. But before you go into your local Bank of America branch to inquire about bitcoin investing, you’ve got another thing coming, bud! According to Banks.com, BofA has a policy that “Bank-issued credit cards and lines of credit can no longer be used to buy bitcoin or any other altcoin.” However, “Depositors can still use their debit cards or bank transfers for purchases.” Bank stocks must bank, I guess. Naturally, this is a bummer. But it could also be that financial institutions are protecting themselves. The last thing they need is everyone using credit to pile into a speculative cryptocurrency asset. But on the other side, this move reeks of self-interest. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) Source: Bjorn Bakstad / Shutterstock.com When JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon isn’t busy manipulating precious metals — sorry, that’s an old joke but some take it very seriously — he’s giving perplexing comments about bitcoin and the broader cryptocurrency market. To clarify, JPMorgan issued a bold statement. From a CNBC report, JPM claims the “red-hot cryptocurrency could rally as high as $146,000 as it competes with gold as an ‘alternative’ currency. But, there’s a catch.” Such a tremendous rally would imply that bitcoin’s market capitalization would reach somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.7 trillion. However, “its price volatility would need to drop substantially to give institutional investors the confidence required to make large bets.” 7 Long-Term Stocks To Buy You’ll Want To Hang Onto Perhaps that’s a way to make amends for the fact that Dimon once called BTC a fraud. Still, according to Banks.com, JPMorgan has the same policy regarding bank-issued credit cards and lines of credit for cryptocurrency purchases. So unfortunately, JPM is still one of the bank stocks that’s not in alignment with the virtual currency revolution. Citigroup (C) Source: TungCheung / Shutterstock.com Years ago, the idea of $100,000 bitcoin was incredibly far-fetched. To be fair, it still is a fantastical idea. Nevertheless, in late November 2017, I stated that “I genuinely would not be surprised if the virtual currency hit $100,000 a pop. The only grey area is the timing.” Could that wildly outrageous target come true in 2021? That’s 2.5 times from where the BTC price stands today. On Nov. 28, the time of my above quote, it would have been roughly a ten-bagger. Therefore, we’ve made significant progress, so much so that this ridiculous notion is just on the cusp of fruition. But if you think $100,000 is crazy, Citibank is looking at $318,000. Specifically, Thomas Fitzpatrick, global head of the company’s CitiFXTechnicals market insight product, believes this jaw-dropping threshold can be reached by December of this year! At a certain point, you got to wonder if these lofty targets are becoming a tad bit irresponsible. But don’t worry, Citigroup has the same policy as the previous two big banks: no bitcoin for you! Lloyds Banking (LYG) Source: Shutterstock It’s not just U.S.-based bank stocks that are impacted by skeptical or downright negative attitudes toward cryptocurrency investing. Nearly three years ago, The Guardian reported that Lloyds Banking “banned credit card customers from buying bitcoin amid fears it could be left in debt as the cryptocurrency’s value deflates.” Further, the paper stated that “The banking giant, which includes Halifax, MBNA and Bank of Scotland, is thought to be the first in the UK to ban credit card customers from borrowing to buy the cyptocurrency, which has more than halved in value in recent months.” Of course, the timing of this is interesting. That was when BTC was on the cusp of hitting $20,000, only to incur an implosion of the crypto bubble. But it does raise the question: was Lloyds willing to allow its customers to speculate on virtual currencies had they continued to go up, up and away? 7 Great Index Funds To Buy With Super Low Fees We probably won’t get an answer to that. From the information provided by Banks.com, LYG remains one of the bank stocks that is not crypto-friendly. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CMWAY) Source: Shutterstock Australians are an adventurous bunch. I mean, you really have to be if you’re going to live in this “frontier” country. But when it comes to finances, the Land Down Under stays on the straight and narrow. At least, that’s the implication behind the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s policy on cryptocurrency investing. As I said, non-crypto-friendly bank stocks are not exclusively an American phenomenon and the Commonwealth Bank demonstrates this perfectly. Its policy prohibits virtual currency purchases via credit card. It should be noted, though, that the company allows its customers to purchase blockchain reward tokens through its transaction accounts and debit cards. I get that the majors want to protect themselves against a mad rush of speculation that could go awry. However, it’s also possible — and I’m just spit-balling here — that these restrictions could ironically end up contributing to the speculation. Perhaps the wild swings in the bitcoin price artificially concocted pent-up demand. Whatever the case, CMWAY is one of the bank stocks that want to stay in the analog paradigm for as long as possible. Royal Bank of Canada (RY) Source: Shutterstock From recent news, it appears that Royal Bank of Canada could be one the bank stocks that truly gets it. Back in 2017, JPMorgan Chase stated that it would launch a new payment processing network utilizing blockchain technology. One of JPM’s partners in the project was Royal Bank of Canada. Later, in 2019, there were rumors that it was going to launch a cryptocurrency exchange. However, a report from Coindesk.com squashed that speculation. A spokesperson clarified, stating, “While RBC does not comment on ongoing proprietary research and development, we can confirm that these patent filings are not in support of work towards a cryptocurrency exchange for clients.” But what about now? From information provided by Banks.com, there apparently have been customers who have accused RBC of stopping bitcoin purchasing transactions. And a Reddit post claims that RBC has stopped allowing crypto-related purchases. 10 Smart Stocks to Buy With $5,000 From what I can tell, the official policy is that the company is “reviewing” the matter. However, its history and anecdotal evidence suggest that RBC is one of the “anti-crypto” bank stocks. PNC (PNC) Source: Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock.com According to Banks.com, PNC’s policy is to not associate with bitcoin and virtual currency ventures. That means discouraging or preventing its clients from engaging in crypto-related investments or businesses. While such a cautious take on an emerging asset class may seem draconian, I can also appreciate the hesitation. Above, I mentioned the SEC lawsuit against Ripple Labs. To briefly summarize, the regulatory agency’s position is that Ripple was trying to subvert securities law by issuing XRP tokens to fund its business. Basically, this was an initial public offering without calling it such. I don’t want to get into the legalities of it because it’s a complex issue, although if you want more detail, you can read my take on the matter. But the point as it relates to bank stocks is that these major institutions don’t want to absorb the risk because crypto-related controversies often have blowback that affects third parties negatively. Judging from the rumor mill, it appears that PNC maintains its pessimistic posture against virtual currencies. Therefore, you’ll probably not find a friend here. Wells Fargo (WFC) Source: Martina Badini / Shutterstock.com When it comes to notorious bank stocks, Wells Fargo probably tops the list for most folks. It’s a darn shame because this institution used to be one of the most respected. But after the infamous account fraud scandal, Wells Fargo had its sterling reputation tarnished. As well, WFC stock has generally been a laggard relative to the competition. However, the company shares the same skepticism toward bitcoin and other cryptocurrency assets like its brethren. In 2019, Wells Fargo placed a ban on customers purchasing blockchain reward tokens via debit cards. Like the other bank stocks I discussed, I understand the reasoning. Cryptocurrencies are incredibly speculative. Yes, massive gains can be had, sometimes within hours of purchasing your coins. But severe, catastrophic losses can also occur — and that’s just talking about market volatility. 9 Hot Stocks to Buy Now to Profit off Chinese Markets Nevertheless, it just rubs folks the wrong way that WFC won’t allow its adult customers to make adult choices with their money, but Wells is fine concocting fake customer accounts to boost sales results. Frankly, it’s not a good look. Discover Financial Services (DFS) Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com I absolutely don’t recommend this course of action. But right now, we’re in a cheap money environment. Thus, for those that wish to speculate at scale, there is case to be made for buying cryptocurrencies on credit. Again, please hear me out — I do not recommend this. Anyways, for those thinking about such a reckless move, you’re not going to find a willing partner from Discover Financial Services. Financial institutions are all about risk management. Plus, bank stocks have shareholders, obviously. They might frown upon virtual currency endeavors. But former Discover CEO David Nelms went a step further, telling Bloomberg in 2018: “It’s crooks that are trying to get money out of China or wherever … Or if someone steals our credit card numbers they’re going to ask for payments in Bitcoin. Those are the only use cases I’m actually seeing today.” Ouch! Admittedly, there’s more than an element of truth to Nelms’ statement. The negative side of cryptocurrencies have a truly dark edge that “analog” investors aren’t used to. And despite a change in leadership, I can’t find any indication that Discover has loosened up on its anti-crypto policies. On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto held a long position in BTC, XRP and LYG stock. A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare. More From InvestorPlace Why Everyone Is Investing in 5G All WRONG Top Stock Picker Reveals His Next 1,000% Winner It doesn’t matter if you have $500 in savings or $5 million. Do this now. 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