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Yahoo Finance's Scott Gamm speaks with the CEO of the Athens Stock Exchange on the Greek economy and global trade outlook.
Yahoo Finance's Scott Gamm speaks with the CEO of the Athens Stock Exchange on the Greek economy and global trade outlook.
(Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. is in advanced talks to buy artificial intelligence and speech technology company Nuance Communications Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.The price being discussed could value Nuance at about $56 a share, though the terms may still change, one of the people said. That would give Nuance an equity value of about $16 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The price would be a 23% premium to Friday’s close.An agreement could be announced as soon as this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Talks are ongoing and the discussions could still fall apart.A representative for Microsoft declined to comment. A spokesperson for Nuance, based in Burlington, Massachusetts, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.Nuance’s shares have climbed 3.4% this year, giving the company, which laid the groundwork for the technology used in Apple Inc.’s Siri voice software, an almost $13 billion market value but still trailing the 9.9% jump in the S&P 500 Index. Microsoft has climbed 15%.Nuance CollaborationMicrosoft and Nuance have collaborated since 2019 on technologies to do things like allow doctors to capture voice conversations from patient visits and enter the data into electronic medical records.“This can really help Microsoft accelerate the digitization of the health-care industry, which has lagged other sectors such as retail and banking,” said Anurag Rana, a Bloomberg Intelligence senior analyst. “The biggest near-term benefit that I can see is in the area of telehealth, where Nuance transcription product is currently being used with Microsoft Teams.”Nuance, whose products include Dragon speech-recognition software, had net income of $91 million on revenue of $1.48 billion for its fiscal year ending Sept. 30., after losing $217 million the previous year.Microsoft, with a market value of $1.93 trillion, remains active on the deals front.Discord, ZenimaxLast month, Bloomberg News reported that the software giant was in talks to acquire Discord Inc., a video-game chat community, for more than $10 billion. It also bought video-game maker Zenimax Media Inc. for $7.5 billion in cash in a deal that closed this year.A deal for Nuance would rank as Microsoft’s second-largest acquisition, behind only the $24 billion LinkedIn Corp. transaction in 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Microsoft entered the artificial intelligence space decades ago with research projects and an early focus by co-founder Bill Gates on finding ways to make it easier for people to speak to computers using plain English.In recent years, the company has assigned thousands of employees to its artificial intelligence work and released tools customers can use to build applications that understand and translate speech, recognize images and detect anomalies. The company views AI as a key driver of future sales of cloud services.Microsoft faces fierce competition in the space with rivals such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc. also investing heavily in the field.(Updates with analyst’s comment in eighth 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) -- 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 5.5% Monday morning 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.“They’re affirming our business model,” he said. “This kind of model is good for the growth of the country’s economy and helps innovation.”He 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.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.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 Holdings Ltd. 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 share rise in 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) -- China slapped a record $2.8 billion fine on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. after an anti-monopoly probe found it abused its market dominance, as Beijing clamps down on its internet giants.The 18.2 billion yuan penalty is triple the previous high of almost $1 billion that U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. had to pay in 2015, and was based on 4% of Alibaba’s 2019 domestic revenue, according to China’s antitrust watchdog. The company will also have to initiate “comprehensive rectifications,” from protecting merchants and customers to strengthening internal controls, the agency said in a statement on Saturday.The fine -- about 12% of Alibaba’s fiscal 2020 net income -- helps remove some of the uncertainty that’s hung over China’s second-largest corporation. But Beijing remains intent on reining in its internet and fintech giants and is said to be scrutinizing other parts of billionaire founder Jack Ma’s empire, including Ant Group Co.’s consumer-lending businesses and Alibaba’s extensive media holdings.Alibaba used its platform rules and technical methods like data and algorithms “to maintain and strengthen its own market power and obtain improper competitive advantage,” the State Administration for Market Regulation concluded in its investigation. The company will likely have to change a raft of practices, like merchant exclusivity, which critics say helped it become China’s largest e-commerce operation.“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 Centre for Chinese Law at the University of Hong Kong. “It’s a stone that kills two birds.”Alibaba’s 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 government action sends a clear warning to the tech sector as the government scrutinizes the influence that companies like Alibaba and social media giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. wield over spheres from consumer data to mergers and acquisitions.The investigation into Alibaba was one of the opening salvos in a campaign seemingly designed to curb the power of China’s internet leaders and their billionaire founders. The company has come under mounting pressure from authorities since Ma spoke out against China’s regulatory approach to the finance sector in October. Those comments set in motion an unprecedented regulatory offensive, including scuttling Ant Group Co.’s $35 billion initial public offering.Alibaba said it will hold a conference call Monday morning Hong Kong time to address lingering questions around the antitrust watchdog’s decree.“China’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,” Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Vey-Sern Ling and Tiffany Tam said, describing the fine as a small price to pay to do away with that uncertainty.”Further ActionStill, 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.The Hangzhou-based 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.“Alibaba accepts the penalty with sincerity and will ensure its compliance with determination. To serve its responsibility to society, Alibaba will operate in accordance with the law with utmost diligence, continue to strengthen its compliance systems and build on growth through innovation,” the company said in a statement on Saturday.Faced ChallengesChief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang said in a memo to employees on Saturday that Alibaba always reflected and adapted when it faced challenges. He called for unity among staff, saying the company should “make self-adjustments and start over again.”The Communist Party-run People’s Daily newspaper said in a commentary on Saturday that the punishment involves specific anti-monopoly measures regulatory authorities take 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 company’s comment from 14th 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.
Bill Gates appeared on CNBC on Good Friday to discuss his climate-related work for the Economic Club of New York. The conversation veered off into the wild and wooly world of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). Gates, an early backer of QuantumScape (NYSE:QS) and QS stock, suggested that people do what he’s doing and only get involved with quality SPACs. Source: Paolo Bona / Shutterstock.com The assumption here is that QuantumScape is such a company. Is he right? I’ll explore this subject further. It Helps to Own QS Stock If You’re a Billionaire If you bought 100 shares of QuantumScape stock on three occasions in 2021: Jan. 6 ($63.03), Feb. 17 ($66.52), and March 22 ($64.29), a back-of-the-napkin estimate suggests you’ve got a paper loss of $35,134, 26% less than the $19,384 you would have paid for 300 shares. InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips That’s not so great. Of course, if you bought 100 shares each time it fell back to earth, you’d be a very happy person. Maybe not Bill Gates-happy, but content, nonetheless. 7 Great Stocks to Buy Under $10 Bloomberg Quint contributor Chris Bryant recently discussed how Gates is right to suggest private companies are going public way too quickly, in large part, because SPACs are raising gobs of money and issuing boatloads of shares to merge with these immature businesses. Never mind that they’re doing so at ridiculously high financial projections. However, Bryant’s link to Yet Another Value Blog makes me think most of these SPAC IPOs aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. I had been moving in that direction myself in February when I wrote that I was skeptical of Lucid Motor’s ability to garner 8% of the global electric vehicle (EV) market share. Here’s what I wrote on Feb. 25: Companies like Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) have struggled for years before tasting success. So, I’m highly skeptical when someone implies it will be simple to go from zero production to 8% global market share of any product, let alone something as complicated as an electric vehicle. In that regard, this SPAC era reminds me of the dot-com bubble. The fact that Canoo’s (NASDAQ:GOEV) business model is leaking profusely tells me that even SPACs, I think, have a chance really don’t. Mind you, in fairness to myself; I did say on March 15 – before it released a dreadful Q4 2020 report on March 29 – that it was only a fun money play below $15. Everyone else should stay away. If you bought at $9, your margin of safety is significantly higher, although not by much. So, back to billionaire Bill Gates. Gates Can Afford to Be Wrong Bill Gates didn’t become one of the richest people in the world by being wrong a lot. Sure, as a lifelong risk-taker, he’s probably failed more than you or I, but he’s got the lakefront home in Seattle to lick his wounds. The fact that Gates is backing QuantumScape – not to mention Volkswagen (OTCMKTS:VWAGY) is in for an additional $100 million investment on top of its original $100 million – suggests that if there’s a company whose projections might pan out, it would be the maker of next-generation solid-state lithium-metal electric batteries. On the other hand, while his risks might get bigger and bigger, they become less and less of his financial net worth. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about losing money – every penny lost is a penny that doesn’t go to the big issues his foundation is trying to overcome – that was evident by his statement he’ll try to stick to quality SPACs like QS. InvestorPlace’s Tom Taulli recently stated that its stock remains extremely volatile, as evidenced by the big move when it announced issuing 10.4 million shares. As part of the additional $100 million from VW, it will issue an additional 15.2 million shares. That, too, will likely rile investors. As a result, Taulli suggests caution is wise in this situation. Especially if the market is worth the estimated $1 trillion by 2040 that Baird analyst Ben Kallo says it is. More volatility might enable you to buy QS stock below where it’s currently trading. As volatile as QS stock has been in 2021, it appears $42 is the resistance line. Year-to-date, it’s bounced off $42 on three occasions, just as it’s bounced off $65 on the high side. The Bottom Line Bill Gates is right about SPACs and QuantumScape. Be skeptical about most SPACs and cautiously optimistic about QS stock. I know I will be. On the date of publication, Will Ashworth did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. Will Ashworth has written about investments full-time since 2008. Publications where he’s appeared include InvestorPlace, The Motley Fool Canada, Investopedia, Kiplinger, and several others in both the U.S. and Canada. He particularly enjoys creating model portfolios that stand the test of time. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At the time of this writing Will Ashworth did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace Why Everyone Is Investing in 5G All WRONG It doesn’t matter if you have $500 in savings or $5 million. Do this now. Top Stock Picker Reveals His Next Potential 500% Winner Stock Prodigy Who Found NIO at $2… Says Buy THIS Now The post Bill Gates Is Right About SPACs and QuantumScape appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Max out your 401(k) each year, and be sure to get your 401(k) employer match, if you have one. And for you super savers, here are other ways to save for retirement.
Americans have tons of questions about their stimulus checks and 2020 taxes. Here’s what you need to know about 2021 COVID-relief payments and more.
If successful, the acquisition would be Microsoft's second-largest ever, behind 2016's $24 billion purchase of LinkedIn.
As the president mulls Democrat calls to cancel up to $50,000 in federally-backed student loan debt via executive order, a new analysis shows how $10,000 in forgiveness would affect borrowers in each U.S. state.
Millions are newly eligible for policies at less than $50 a month, federal data shows.
(Bloomberg) -- It was an historic week for India’s technology industry. In the space of four days, the country minted at least six new startups with a valuation of $1 billion or more -- what techies call unicorns because they’re supposed to be such rarities.In rough order of size: The investment platform Groww raised money at a valuation of more than $1 billion, messaging bots startup Gupshup hit $1.4 billion, digital pharmacy API Holdings Pvt. was valued at close to $1.5 billion, app developer Mohalla Tech surpassed $2.1 billion, social commerce startup Meesho Inc. also reached $2.1 billion and financial-technology provider Cred rounded out the blessing of unicorns at $2.2 billion.For context, India had a total of seven new unicorns in all of 2020, according to market researcher CB Insights. In 2019, it had six.Global investors such as Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. and South Africa’s Naspers Ltd. see growing opportunity in the country’s startup scene. The nation of 1.3 billion people has seen the rapid adoption of smartphones in recent years, explosive growth of inexpensive internet services and a new generation of ambitious entrepreneurs.“Large funds such as Naspers, SoftBank and Tiger Global have significant amounts of capital to invest and these startups are now on top of their list,” said P.N. Sudarshan, a partner at Deloitte.India has long trailed well behind the U.S. and China in the amount of venture capital money invested in startups. The total value of deals in 2020 was $11.8 billion, compared with $143 billion in the U.S. and $83 billion in China, according to researcher Preqin.But several startups have emerged recently to signal the potential in the South Asian country. Digital payments giant Paytm reached a valuation of $16 billion, making it the most valuable in the country, according to CB Insights. Online-education startup Byju’s is rasing money at a $15 billion valuation, Bloomberg News reported last week.Flipkart, the e-commerce giant acquired by Walmart Inc. in 2018, is targeting an initial public offering in the fourth quarter that could value the company at more than $35 billion. The venture investments are helping to diversify India’s industry, long best known for tech services companies such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. and Infosys Ltd. A Credit Suisse Group AG report last month found there are about 100 unicorns in India with a combined market value of $240 billion, in sectors from e-commerce and fintech to education, logistics and food-delivery.“India’s corporate landscape is undergoing a radical change due to a remarkable confluence of changes in the funding, regulatory and business environment in the country over the past two decades,” the report said. “An unprecedented pace of new-company formation and innovation in a variety of sectors has meant a surge in the number of highly-valued, as-yet unlisted companies.”The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of online technologies in India, perhaps even more than in other countries. During the coronavirus pandemic and the stringent lockdowns of last year, more than 1,600 new startups were founded, taking the total in the country to over 12,500, according to a January report by Nasscom, the country’s technology industry trade body.More than 55 of these are potential unicorns, the report said, what the venture industry refers to as “soonicorns.” Like in Silicon Valley, executives who got experience at leading startups such as Flipkart and Paytm are breaking out to set up their own companies, and entrepreneurs who have had successful exits are turning to their second or third startups.“The surge of funding and the breeding of unicorns is not a surprise because India has the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world and the third-largest market for such startups,” said Pranav Pai, managing partner at 3one4 Capital Advisors LLP.Pai said he knows of at least six new unicorns that will be minted in the next few months. While $20 million rounds were notable five years ago, startups are scaling very quickly and raising $100 million to $200 million rounds nowadays, he said.The investor checks out a few hundred startups each month on average.“The difference is, instead of encountering just one high-quality startup among those, we now see eight to 10 every month,” said the venture capitalist whose earlier fund Arin Capital backed edtech startup Byju’s and the newly-minted e-pharmacy unicorn, PharmEasy.Many investors will see their earlier bets come full circle as a dozen Indian startups prepare to head to the public markets later this year or early next.“Such exits will further boost investor confidence, increase liquidity and fuel a new frenzy of funding,” said Sudarshan.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) -- The reflation trade that dominated the start of 2021 in the bond market has taken a breather, leaving investors bracing for a key set of data in the week ahead that has the potential to reaffirm expectations that price pressures will build as the economy rebounds.All eyes will be on Tuesday’s release of the U.S. consumer price index for March, which is expected to show a significant jump. The number will likely be distorted by the huge slump in year-earlier figures at the outbreak of the pandemic. But traders may be reluctant to dismiss an acceleration -- as they did to some extent with Friday’s stronger-than-projected producer price data -- if there’s a growing sense that it marks the beginning of a trend.The statistics come at a crucial time for bond bears betting on reflation. Market measures of inflation expectations, fueled by ultraloose Federal Reserve policy and immense amounts of fiscal stimulus, have stalled near multiyear highs and have yet to be backed consistently by actual data. The same goes with gauges of the yield curve, which have retreated from recent peaks. It’s not just bond positions at stake: Without follow-through from data, bets on Fed tightening as soon as late 2022 may fade, potentially sapping demand for the surprisingly resilient dollar.“We don’t have strong reflation-trade momentum at the moment because people are waiting for more data,” said Daniel Tenengauzer, head of markets strategy at Bank of New York Mellon Corp. “As the data comes in, we are probably going to see the reflation trade play out again more strongly” toward the middle of the year.Tenengauzer says every inflation reading counts from this point because “the longer inflation stays at 2.5%,” an annual CPI reading last seen before the pandemic took hold, “the more underwater you are from holding fixed income.”Ten-year Treasury yields rose Friday, while finishing below the day’s high, after the PPI report showed a 4.2% increase from March 2020. Although it was relative to a period when the pandemic caused price pressures to crash, it was the biggest annual gain since 2011. The benchmark yield has retreated since approaching 1.8% last month, the highest since January 2020.There are strong arguments on both sides of the inflation debate as the market moves from a phase where it was driven by rising expectations for price pressures, to one where investors are seeking backup from the data. There’s also a view that expectations for growth, not inflation, may end up dominating the narrative for Treasuries later this year, through higher real yields.Inflation ‘Psychosis’Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who’s scheduled to appear on “60 Minutes” Sunday and will also speak Wednesday, has said any pickup in inflation will likely be temporary. Hoisington Investment Management Co., meanwhile, said in its latest quarterly report that inflation fears are a “psychosis” that will fade.But that doesn’t mean that a jump in the consumer price index won’t spook bond investors at least briefly. The March figure is forecast to show a year-over-year increase of 2.5%, which would be the highest since January 2020 and above every point on the yield curve. It’s a development that may also undermine stocks.“The market’s been pricing in a reflation theme already since the second half of 2020, but strong, realized prints would almost add fuel to the fire,” said Shahid Ladha, head of Group-of-10 rates strategy for the Americas at BNP Paribas SA.That, in turn, would produce upside risk to yields on intermediate maturities because of the possibility that the Fed might have to tighten sooner than expected, he says.Investors are also tasked with absorbing a combined $120 billion of coupon auctions next week, including 30-year debt, as they ponder the inflation question. While expectations for an elevated CPI reading may be a concern, the past month has shown that there’s sufficient demand for Treasuries, which should help “grease future bond auctions,” Tenengauzer said.What to WatchEconomic calendar:April 12: Monthly budget statementApril 13: NFIB small business optimism; CPI; average earningsApril 14: MBA mortgage applications; import/export prices; Fed’s Beige BookApril 15: Jobless claims; retail sales; Empire manufacturing; Philadelphia Fed business outlook; industrial production; Langer consumer comfort; business inventories; NAHB housing index; TIC flowsApril 16: Building permits; housing starts; University of Michigan sentimentFed calendar:April 12: Boston Fed’s Eric RosengrenApril 13: Philadelphia Fed’s Patrick Harker; San Francisco Fed’s Mary Daly; Richmond Fed’s Thomas Barkin; Atlanta Fed’s Raphael Bostic, Cleveland Fed’s Loretta Mester and Rosengren at event on racism and the economyApril 14: Dallas Fed’s Robert Kaplan; Powell speaks to the Economic Club of Washington; Beige Book; New York Fed’s John Williams; Vice Chair Richard Clarida discusses new policy framework; BosticApril 15: Bostic; Daly; New York Fed Executive Vice President Lorie Logan; Clarida; MesterApril 16: Kaplan in two appearancesAuction schedule:April 12: 13-, 26-week bills; 3-, 10-year notesApril 13: 30-year bondsApril 15: 4-, 8-week billsFor 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.
Daily Journal Chairman Charlie Munger says a new investment in Chinese internet giant Alibaba is part of a move into stocks because returns on Treasury bills are so low.
The president is being urged to roll more direct aid money into his infrastructure bill.
(Bloomberg) -- No matter the asset class, the outlook is turning bleak for China’s financial markets.The nation’s stocks, bonds and currency are losing their shine after an impressive start to the year, overshadowed by a stronger dollar, higher U.S. Treasury yields and a domestic campaign to cut financial risk.The nation’s benchmark stock index remains 13% below a 13-year high in early February, following a brutal selloff that wiped out more than $1.3 trillion in market value. The yuan just suffered its worst month in a year in March, erasing all its 2021 gains against the greenback. Chinese sovereign bonds, a sanctuary during the recent global rout, saw foreign investors lower their holdings last month for the first time in more than two years.The sharp reversal of fortunes came as confidence grew in a strong U.S. economic recovery that is reclaiming the allure of dollar assets around the world. The latest underperformance of Chinese markets also resulted from Beijing’s decision to resume a battle on debt that was interrupted by the trade war with Washington and the pandemic.Concerns about inflation and tighter monetary conditions mean appetite for Chinese shares will likely remain subdued, while the country’s government debt market faces the test of a supply glut later this year, investors and analysts say. The yuan could weaken further as the dollar extends its global resurgence.“China’s bull run is being tested,” said Adrian Zuercher, head of global asset allocation of UBS Chief Investment Office. “Volatility will stay elevated in the near term.”Subdued TradingAfter delivering a world-beating rally earlier in the year, Chinese shares have reversed course since February, when it became increasingly clear that policymakers were shifting their priority to taming asset bubbles and reducing financial leverage.The broader de-risking campaign also includes a crackdown on the country’s internet and fintech giants. In the latest of such moves, the authorities slapped a record $2.8 billion fine on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. over the weekend after an anti-monopoly probe found it abused its market dominance.While the penalty triggered a relief rally of as much as 9% in Alibaba’s shares in Hong Kong, those of its peers including Tencent, JD.com and Baidu fell by at least 2.7% amid concerns that they could be among the next targets of Beijing’s clampdown. The onshore benchmark CSI 300 Index fell 1.4% at Monday’s midday break, bringing its year-to-date loss to 4.7% and down 14.5% from a peak in February.The world’s second-largest stock market is $838 billion smaller than at its February peak and trading interest has been waning. Daily average turnover on China’s two stock exchanges was 670 billion yuan ($102 billion) so far this month, the lowest since May, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.UBS’ Zuercher said he expects rising Treasury yields to be a major source of near-term volatility in China’s equity market, as it will continue to exert pressure on valuations of the country’s growth stocks and trigger rotation.Echoing the view, Herald van Der Linde, HSBC Holdings Plc’s head of Asia Pacific equity strategy, said there remains downside risk to Asian equities in the near term and “China is no exception”.Domestically, a central bank unwilling to keep funding conditions too loose, a contrast to its peers in other major economies, has also disappointed stock investors. Apart from its deleveraging campaign, signs of inflationary pressures, as shown in March’s consensus-beating 4.4% jump in China’s producer prices, could prompt Beijing to further dial back its pandemic-induced economic stimulus.“We believe monetary policy might be tightened,” Hanfeng Wang, a strategist at China International Capital Corp., wrote in a note this week, adding that investors should pay attention to policy signals from the next meeting of the Politburo, the Communist Party’s top decision-making body.Bonds PressuredWhile Chinese government bonds outpaced their competitors in the first quarter as their haven status helped them stand out as a bulwark amid the global slump, they are facing a host of challenges in the coming months.In addition to a longer-than-expected phase-in period for the inclusion in FTSE Russell’s World Government Bond Index, a surge in bond supply from local governments and a narrowing China-U.S. yield gap also threaten to reduce the appeal of Chinese debt.Now at 3.21%, yields on China’s benchmark 10-year sovereign notes are expected to rise to 3.5% by the end of this quarter, according to Becky Liu, head of China macro strategy at Standard Chartered Plc.As China’s yield premium over Treasuries thinned, global investors last month trimmed their holdings of Chinese government debt for the first time since February 2019, a trend that is expected to continue for some time. The yield gap fell to 144.8 basis points on March 31, the narrowest since Feb. 24, 2020 when it was 144.2 basis points.Weaker YuanThe dollar’s renewed strength, the tighter yield gap, as well as Beijing’s latest move to boost capital outflows also have prompted analysts, including ING’s, to lower their forecasts on the Chinese currency.After rising nearly 7% against the dollar last year and reaping further gains earlier this year, the yuan suffered its worst selloff in a year last month, arresting a steady advance since May.Read: Yuan Erases Year’s Gains Against Dollar as PBOC Steps AsideAlso weighing on the yuan is the slowing speed of capital inflows: Cross-border currency flows tracked by Goldman Sachs totaled $1.5 billion in the week ended on April 7, compared with about $3 billion in the previous week.“It’s about how views on the U.S. dollar have changed rapidly,” said Zhou Hao, an economist from Commerzbank AG. “People believe the U.S. economy will recover strongly in the next two years and that’s what stocks and bonds have been pricing in.”Zhou said he expects the yuan to weaken to 6.83 per dollar by the end of this year, from around 6.56 Friday.(Updates with performance of broader stock market and tech shares in the ninth and 10th paragraphs)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.
Bitcoin (BTC) is up 116% from the year's low of $27,734 on Jan. 4. It crossed the $60,000 mark for the first time on March 13, hitting a record $61,781.83 on Bitstamp exchange, just after U.S. President Joe Biden signed his $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus package into law. Justin d'Anethan, sales manager at digital asset company Diginex in Hong Kong, said investors had turned their attention to stock markets and other cryptocurrencies in the past couple of weeks, leaving Bitcoin idling in the upper 50-thousand dollar levels.
(Bloomberg) -- The Biden administration is stepping up scrutiny of China’s plans for a digital yuan, with some officials concerned the move could kick off a long-term bid to topple the dollar as the world’s dominant reserve currency, according to people familiar with the matter.Now that China’s digital-currency efforts are gathering momentum, officials at the Treasury, State Department, Pentagon and National Security Council are bolstering their efforts to understand the potential implications, the people said.American officials are less worried about an immediate challenge to the current structure of the global financial system, but are eager to understand how the digital yuan will be distributed, and whether it could also be used to work around U.S. sanctions, the people said on the condition of anonymity.A Treasury spokeswoman declined to comment. A National Security Council spokeswoman did not reply to a request for comment. The People’s Bank of China has rolled out trial issuance of a digital yuan in cities across the country, putting it on track to be the first major central bank to issue a virtual currency. A broader roll-out is expected for the Winter Olympics in Beijing next February, giving the effort international exposure.Many key details of the digital yuan are still in flux, including specifics on how it would be distributed. China’s recent establishment of a joint venture with SWIFT, the messaging nexus through which most cross-border settlements pass through today, suggests it is possible a digital yuan could work within the current financial architecture rather than outside of it.U.S. officials are reassured that China’s intentions aren’t to use the digital yuan to evade American sanctions, according to people familiar with the matter. The dollar’s current dominance in cross-border transactions gives the U.S. Treasury the power to cut off much of a business or even a country’s access to the global financial system.China’s officials have said the main intentions of the digital yuan are to replace banknotes and coins, to reduce the incentive to use cryptocurrencies and to complement the current private-sector run electronic payments system -- dominated by Ant Group Co.’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat Pay. The PBOC has been working for years on the digital yuan, also called the e-CNY, having set up a specialist research team in 2014.Here’s How a Central Bank Digital Currency Could Work: Chart“To provide a backup or redundancy for the retail payment system, the central bank has to step up” and provide digital-currency services, Mu Changchun, the director of the PBOC’s digital-currency research institute, said at an event last month.The PBOC is also examining the potential for using the digital yuan in cross-border payments, launching a project studying the issue with a unit of the Bank for International Settlements along with the United Arab Emirates, Thailand and Hong Kong’s monetary authority.The Biden administration isn’t currently planning to take any action to counter longer-term threats from China’s digital currency, the people familiar with the discussions said. However, China’s plans have given renewed impetus to efforts to consider the creation of a digital dollar, they said.Members of Congress have also been increasingly interested in a digital dollar, aware of China’s moves, and asked Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about the issue in hearings earlier this year.Powell said in February the Fed was looking “very carefully” at a digital dollar. “We don’t need to be the first. We need to get it right.”Yellen has signaled interest in research into the viability of a digital dollar, a shift from a lack of enthusiasm under her predecessor, Steven Mnuchin.“It makes sense for central banks to be looking at” issuing sovereign digital currencies, she said at a virtual conference in February. Yellen said a digital version of the dollar could help address hurdles to financial inclusion in the U.S. among low-income households.A recent report from the U.S. Director of National Intelligence said the extent of the threat of any foreign digital currency to the dollar’s centrality in the global financial system “will depend on the regulatory rules that are established.”China’s currency makes up little more than 2% of global foreign exchange reserves compared with nearly 60% for the U.S. dollar. Policy decisions, rather than technical developments, will also be necessary to push forward yuan internationalization, as China maintains a strict regime of capital controls.China’s financial system is too “fragile and weak” to pose a real threat to the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency, according to Mark Sobel, U.S. chairman for the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum.“At the end of the the day the markets have more confidence in the Fed” than China’s central bank, said Sobel, a former senior U.S. Treasury official for international matters.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 token used in Ripple Labs' payment network has climbed six-fold this year as some traders look through the SEC case and analysts see bullish patterns in price charts.
Moderna stock has rocketed and co-founder and Chairman Noubar Afeyan recently sold more than $1.4 billion of shares of the biotech.
The e-commerce company Alibaba Group is fined $2.75bn for violating anti-monopoly rules.
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