May.03 -- Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao discusses customer use of cryptocurrencies, the upcoming launch of Binance NFT, and explains why he sees no need for the company to go public on “Bloomberg Surveillance Early Edition.”
May.03 -- Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao discusses customer use of cryptocurrencies, the upcoming launch of Binance NFT, and explains why he sees no need for the company to go public on “Bloomberg Surveillance Early Edition.”
Dogecoin's stratospheric run was in jeopardy early Sunday, with the popular crypto unwinding a chunk of its recent rally.
A lackluster jobs report didn’t derail the markets last week. New jobs in April totaled only 266,000, far below the 978K expected, and the official unemployment rate, which had been predicted to come in at 5.8% actually ticked up slightly to 6.1%. Even so, the tech-weighted NASDAQ gained 0.88% in Friday’s session, the broader S&P 500 was up 0.75% at the end of the day. These gains brought the S&P to a new record level, with a year-to-date gain of 13%. The market’s growth so far this year has been broad-based, based as it is on a general economic reopening as the corona panic shrinks in the rear-view mirror. Broad-based market gains create a positive environment for growth stocks. Using the TipRanks database, we’ve pulled up three stocks that fit a profile: a Buy rating from Wall Street, recent share appreciation that strongly outperforms the overall markets, and considerable upside potential, indicating that they may still be undervalued. Here are the details. Crocs (CROX) We’ll start in footwear, where Crocs took the world by storm almost 20 years ago, when it first started selling its signature brand of foam clogs. The shoes were big, bright, and even tacky – but they caught on and succeeded, and the company has since branched out into more traditional footwear, including sandals, sneakers, and even dress shoes. The brand has grown popular with teens, who see it as an ‘ugly chic’ and retro – but have boosted sales. And boosted sales are what the game is all about. The company’s quarterly revenues hit their recent trough in the fourth quarter of 2019, and since then have recorded 5 consecutive quarter-over-quarter revenue gains, with last three also being year-over-year gains. The most recent quarterly reports, released last month for 1Q21, showed $460.1 million on the top line, a company record, and a 63% year-over-year gain. EPS, at $1.47, was down from Q4’s $2.69 – but up more than 800% from the 16 cents recorded in the year-ago quarter. That gain helped cap a year in which CROX shares have appreciated an impressive 374%, and are still trending upwards. Crocs’ overperformance has caught the eye of Piper Sandler analyst Erinn Murphy, who is ranked in the top 10% of Wall Street’s stock pros. “We applaud the Crocs' team for their continued execution, disciplined inventory management & account management and underlying reinvestments in the brand health. Too, with strong visibility into Q2 (sales forecast +60% to 70%) and 2H estimates moving up handily with solid orderbook plans to boot, we believe bears worried about the sustainability of the brand momentum will need to hibernate for another 12 months,” Murphy noted. To this end, Murphy gives CROX an Overweight (i.e. Buy) rating, and her $140 price target suggests it has a ~29% upside in the next 12 months. (To watch Murphy’s track record, click here) It’s clear that Wall Street generally agrees with the Piper Sandler take on Crocs. The stock has 8 recent reviews, which include 6 to Buy and 2 to Hold, giving the stock its Strong Buy consensus rating. The share price is $108.92, and the average target of $123.75 indicates room for ~14% growth in the year ahead. (See CROX stock analysis on TipRanks) Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc. (CLF) We’ll continue our look at growth stocks with Cleveland-Cliffs. This mining and steel company, based in Ohio, has four active iron mines in northern Minnesota and Michigan. The company started out as a miner, and in 2020 acquired two steelmaking firms, AK Steel and ArcelorMittal USA, and became both self-sufficient in the steel industry, from ground to foundry, and the largest North American producer of flat-rolled steel. The company has seen its shares rise dramatically in recent quarters, on the back of rising revenues. CLF is up 393% since this time one year ago, galloping past the S&P’s 44% one-year gain. Cleveland-Cliffs’ rise has come as the company has generated $1 billion-plus revenues for four quarters in a row. The most recent quarter, 1Q21, showed $4.02 billion on the top line. While slightly below analyst expectations, this total was up 84% from Q4, and almost 10x greater than the year-ago quarter’s $385.9 million. Looking at earnings, CLF showed a modest net profit of $41 million in the quarter, or 7 cents per share. This is a solid turnaround from the year-ago quarter’s net loss of $52 million, or 18 cents per share. The gains in revenue and earnings are considered a landmark for the company, starting its first full year as a self-sufficient iron miner and steel maker. In addition to starting the year on a positive note, the company also boasted liquidity of $1.8 billion. Lucas Pipes, 5-star analyst with B. Riley, writes of Cleveland-Cliffs: “With near-term cash flows expected to be robust ($2.3B expected for 2021), the company expects to use excess cash flow to aggressively reduce debt. We see low leverage as a strategic priority for the company at this time as it proves out the benefits of its fully integrated model. In our opinion, Cleveland-Cliffs represents the most attractive value in the space.” These comments back up Pipes’ Buy rating, and he sets a $24 price target that implies a 56% one-year upside potential. (To watch Pipes’ track record, click here) Overall, the Street’s take on CLF is currently split evenly down the middle. 3 Buys and 3 Holds add up to a Moderate Buy consensus rating. The average price target is $25.40 and implies that the analysts see the stock rising ~20% from current levels. (See CLF stock analysis on TipRanks) Atlas Air (AAWW) Last but not least is Atlas Air, a $2 billion player in the aviation industry. Atlas operates as a cargo airline and passenger charter service, and an aircraft lessor to other airlines, renting out planes along with air and ground crew services. The company controls a fleet of Boeing commercial aircraft, including 747s, 777s, 767s, and 737s, configured for a variety of roles. As can be imagined, Atlas saw business decline during the corona pandemic – but managed to weather the crisis due to the long-term nature of most of its leases. The top line is up 33% year-over-year for 1Q21, at $861.3 million. Earnings, at $3.05 per share, are positive, and while down from $6.20 in Q4 they are up 238% from the year-ago quarter. The company expects business to continue strong this year, as demand for air freight is exceeding supply given the fast pace of economic reopening. Over the past 12 months, Atlas Air has seen strong share growth, with the stock rising 108%. Yet, Truist’s 5-star analyst Stephanie Benjamin believes the stock has more room to grow. “We view AAWW’s diversified fleet and international reach favorably position the company to capitalize on increased air freight demand due to the global growth in e-commerce and ongoing supply chain disruptions. Furthermore, while AAWW was a clear “COVID beneficiary” we believe its increased focus on long-term contracts over the last year has fundamentally strengthened its business model and should provide greater revenue/earnings visibility going forward," Benjamin opined. Unsurprisingly, Benjamin rates the stock a Buy, with a $95 price target that implies an upside of 28% this year. (To watch Benjamin’s track record, click here) All in all, Wall Street agrees with Benjamin’s call on this. The stock has 3 recent reviews on file, and all are to Buy, making the Strong Buy consensus rating unanimous. With an average price target of $86.67 and a current trading price of $74.03, this stock shows a one-year upside of 17%. (See AAWW stock analysis on TipRanks) To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
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(Bloomberg) -- Dogecoin investors had a wild ride this weekend.After hitting a record on Saturday ahead of Elon Musk’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” the digital currency began to fall hours before the show began and continued to drop as he delivered his opening monologue.A SpaceX deal Sunday gave the digital currency a short-lived boost. It traded at 55.5 cents as of 8:30 p.m. in New York, down 15% over a 24-hour period, according to CoinGecko, with a trading range of 43.2 cents to 66.7 cents in the past one day.In the agreement, Musk’s commercial rocket company will launch a mission to the Moon in 2022 with a so-called cubesat -- a mini satellite used for space research -- from Geometric Energy Corp. that’s been paid for entirely in Dogecoin.The trading swings began on Saturday as Dogecoin traders around the world were organizing watch parties for the broadcast featuring its most prominent supporter. Following an initial slump, the digital currency bounced back briefly toward the end of the show, after the billionaire called it a “hustle” in the “Weekend Update” segment.In the skit, Musk jumped into the character of a bow-tied, bespectacled financial expert and was repeatedly quizzed about Dogecoin. After delivering textbook answers, he was asked whether the currency was just a hoax, to which he responded, “Yeah, it’s a hustle.”He ended the skit howling, “to the moon!” -- a reference he repeated in his tweet about the SpaceX announcement on Sunday.Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency that started as an internet meme in 2013, has surged more than 21,000% in the past year, according to CoinGecko.Musk, 49, has been among its biggest boosters, along with Mark Cuban, Snoop Dogg and Gene Simmons. Still, crypto volatility has prompted urgent warnings from central bankers -- as recently as Thursday -- that people buying in should be prepared to lose all of their money.Musk’s Tesla Inc. announced in February that it had bought $1.5 billion of Bitcoin, and the head of the electric-car giant himself has spoken of the digital asset in favorable terms. He has a $183.9 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.(Updates percentage gain.)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.
British Columbia Investment Management slashed positions in Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, and Cronos Group in the first quarter, and bought up Mastercard and Visa stock.
It takes every cent I earn to get by and pay debt service. If I were to retire today, I would draw $1,200 a month in Social Security, or $1,400 a month if drawing against my ex-husband’s account (we were married 23 years). See: Confused about Social Security — including spousal benefits, claiming strategies and how death and divorce affect your monthly income?
U.S. stock funds now are riding a river of new cash from investors — and that is not a bullish sign. In fact, fund flows are a contrarian indicator: the U.S. stock market in the past has performed better when there is a net outflow of cash. The evidence is summarized in the chart below, which plots net inflows of cash to U.S. stock funds (both open-end and exchange-traded funds) by year over the past decade.
The legendary investor says these are the key lessons for investors and consumers.
Tech investor Cathie Wood tells CNBC she isn't unsettled by the popular ARK Innovation ETF's rough start to May.
(Bloomberg) -- A China-focused hedge fund led by a 30-year-old who started trading as a teenager returned 120% in the first quarter, thanks in part to the unraveling of Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management.Bullish bets on a pair of Chinese fintech consumer lending platforms accounted for more than half of the quarterly return for Henry Liang’s Seahawk China Dynamic Fund, he said in a telephone interview. Additional gains came from wagers against a “bubble basket” of over-hyped new-economy companies, including GSX Techedu Inc., the Chinese after-school online tutoring firm later caught up in the Archegos-induced selloff.The profits more than doubled the fund’s assets to nearly $700 million. Liang has given back $120 million to investors this year to manage the pace of asset growth and maintain performance. A Bloomberg index tracking hedge funds of all strategies advanced 4.6% in the first quarter. A gauge of hedge funds focused on Greater China rose 1.5%, according to Eurekahedge Pte.Unburdened by the scrutiny of more risk-averse institutional investors, Seahawk was able to make concentrated bets for its ultra-rich mainland Chinese and Hong Kong clients, including Liang’s long-time followers since his university days. His approach highlights how foreign asset managers with lower risk appetites have been struggling to woo wealthy Chinese customers, who are willing to stomach short-term losses for outsized gains.Read more on the struggles of global asset managers in ChinaSeahawk began to buy shares in FinVolution Group in the third quarter of 2019 and 360 DigiTech Inc. in the first quarter of 2020, adding more throughout the year when their stock prices were languishing.Liang is betting that the Shanghai-based duo has an edge in risk management that will help them emerge as winners from the multi-year Chinese crackdown on internet lending.The regulatory tightening has resulted in the demise of online peer-to-peer lending platforms that once numbered 5,000, according to data from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission. FinVolution and 360 DigiTech operate in a different space, using technology to connect borrowers and financial institutions.Their share prices have at least doubled this year. Seahawk is now among FinVolution’s largest shareholders with a 13.5% stake at the end of February, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Bubble ‘Stretched’In February, Seahawk dramatically boosted bearish bets against the “bubble basket,” including electric vehicle makers Tesla Inc. and Nio Inc., GSX Techedu, fintech firm OneConnect Financial Technology Co., toymaker Pop Mart International Group Ltd. and short-video platform operator Kuaishou Technology, Liang said.The “new-economy bubble has been stretched to an unprecedented level, where valuation of quite a few internet and consumer stocks can hardly be justified even with the wildest 10-year assumptions,” he wrote in his first-quarter newsletter.The collapse of Archegos led its prime brokers to dump shares including GSX Techedu. That contributed to the stock’s more than 80% tumble from this year’s peak, accelerating gains for Liang.Seahawk has largely covered the new-economy shorts while barely trimming its bullish wagers on FinVolution and 360 DigiTech, even when the two fintech firms have fallen at least 30% from this year’s peaks in mid-March.The Chinese antitrust clampdowns could benefit smaller players, especially fintech giant Ant Group Co.’s strongest second-tier rivals that aren’t part of larger platforms, Liang said.His optimism isn’t shared by everyone. Jefferies Financial Group Inc. analysts expect growth of second-tier fintech platforms to slow now that China’s policy makers are seeking to curb household leverage rather than encourage consumer borrowing. China now also requires platforms to obtain licenses to collect data for personal credit reports that they provide to banks for higher fees, and new rules limit behavioral data collection, the analysts wrote in a note.Pocket MoneyA Guangzhou native who is now based in Hong Kong, Liang began to trade stocks at 13, with pocket money from his parents. In his final year in high school, he began to manage assets for clients who found him through word of mouth. By the time he shut those accounts to join a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. long-short equity hedge fund as an analyst, he was overseeing $9 million with a nearly 25% annualized return over six years, he said.He started Seahawk in October 2017. Marketed as a macro fund, it has the flexibility to invest in all asset classes ranging from stocks and credit to currencies and derivatives. Liang sees the vanishing breed of bold investors including George Soros, Stanley Druckenmiller and Julian Robertson as his role models. When investors dumped the high-yield dollar-denominated bonds of Chinese property companies during the March 2020 market correction, he swooped in to buy, pocketing a gain of almost 20% that month.It hasn’t all been smooth sailing. The fund lost 11% in 2019, according to a newsletter.“We are naturally very contrarian,” Liang said. “We are embracing volatility.”(Updates with performance of China-focused hedge funds in third 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.
Investors who appreciate the fast pace of Bitcoin (XBT) and Ethereum (ETH) will like HIVE Blockchain Technologies (HVBTF). This stock can serve as a proxy for accounts that do not permit cryptocurrency trading, such as some retirement accounts. HIVE is involved in green energy, which is a red-hot market in 2021. Plus, HIVE now has a DeFi (decentralized finance) angle, which could enhance the company’s shareholder value even further. A Quick Look At HVBTF Stock Recently, HIVE’s stock has experienced lightning-fast price action. As recently as January of 2020, HVBTF stock was available for just 9 cents. It then soared to a 52-week high of $5.75 in February 2021. However, the share price has retraced to the $3 range since that time. (See HIVE stock analysis on TipRanks) This sector is prone to bouts of extreme volatility, so investors should be cautious. A small position in the stock could yield substantial returns – just make sure that you’re wearing your seat belt, as it could be a wild ride. A Green Energy Blockchain Leader Is it possible to invest in cryptocurrency mining and consider ESG (environmental, social and governance) factors at the same time? Cryptocurrency mining is notorious for using tremendous amounts of energy. Yet HIVE’s investor presentation confirms its commitment to clean, responsible crypto mining. HIVE conducts its crypto mining operations in cold climates because it is power-efficient, and therefore cost-efficient. The company mines for Ethereum and Bitcoin in Sweden, Iceland and Canada – some of the coldest regions in the world. This has contributed to improved profitability, with HIVE going from adjusted EBITDA of -$5 million in fiscal year 2019 to $7.8 million in fiscal year 2020. 2020 was the first year in which HIVE achieved profitability, and it has grown from there. Additionally, all of HIVE’s cryptocurrency mining facilities have been powered by green energy from day one. Further proving its commitment to going green, the company just acquired a massive data center in Canada with access to 50 megawatts of low-cost green power. Expanding Into DeFi Along with the company’s robust yet clean mining operations, HIVE is moving aggressively into the DeFi (decentralized finance) space. DeFi refers to financial applications built on blockchain technologies, which are meant to disrupt the traditional world of finance. The company is not building its own DeFi business from scratch, which would be a costly and time-consuming project. Instead, HIVE is engaging in a share swap with decentralized finance asset manager DeFi Technologies Inc. (DEFI). As a result of the share swap, HIVE will own around 5% of DeFi Technologies’ outstanding common shares, while DeFi Technologies will own roughly 1% of HIVE’s outstanding common shares. This partnership, according to the press release, will “provide HIVE with a strategic stake in DeFi Technologies and a broader partnership surrounding the DeFi ecosystem with a specific focus on the Ethereum based MEV space and developments surrounding it.” MEV refers to the amount of profit that cryptocurrency miners can extract from reordering and censoring transactions on the blockchain. In other words, this transaction will not only diversify HIVE’s business, but could also enhance HIVE’s profit potential as a cryptocurrency miner. Weighing All Of The Factors Looking at its TipRanks Smart Score, which is derived from 8 unique data sets, HIVE earns a 5. That means it is likely to perform in line with market averages. Takeaway For HIVE Blockchain Technologies and its shareholders, the deal with DeFi Technologies sounds like a win-win. Investors who are in the market for an ultra-efficient cryptocurrency miner with an ESG angle should find it in HIVE. To find other compelling plays in this fast-growing space, check out the Cryptocurrency Stock Comparison tool on TipRanks. Disclosure: On the date of publication, David Moadel did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. Disclaimer: The information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this article should be taken as a solicitation to purchase or sell securities.
The 39-year-old landlord, who was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, reached $1 million Canadian dollars, or approximately US$791,000, in 2019, though he felt he had reached financial independence even sooner. Chad found the FIRE Movement, made it to $1 million CAD before 40, and became a firefighter and sheepherder along the way. The former network administrator and his partner, Catherine, who is a Ph.D. student and research coordinator, save between 50% and 80% of their income every year and live off of $27,000 in annual expenses.
The world is one step closer to a vaccine against peanut allergy after UK biotech Allergy Therapeutics announced plans to test its jab in human clinical trials. The company, which was spun out Glaxo, the precursor to GSK, in 1999, has been testing the treatment in mice, with promising results. “We made all the mice allergic to peanuts and separated them into two groups,” Manuel Llobet, chief executive, explained. “In the placebo group unfortunately for the mice they all had severe anaphylaxis and just slumped and some died. But the treated ones were just playing, running around on their exercise wheels, totally happy.” The result was so pivotal that it was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the top medical journal in the field. When the trials begin, they will be the first of their kind in the world. “There is absolutely nothing like this,” Mr Llobet said. “It is going to be revolutionary if we can replicate this in humans.”
Cathie Wood, the founder, CEO and CIO of Ark Invest, held discussions with Bill Hwang of Archegos Capital about U.S. stocks and, in particular, the media sector back in 2013. What Happened: In an interview with CNBC, Cathie Wood said hedge fund veteran Hwang provided seed capital for Ark's first four exchange-traded funds. "He did provide the seed for our first four ETFs, and we were very grateful to him. It was at a time where market makers were sick of seeding new strategies," she said in the interview. Why It Matters: Hwang ran Archegos Capital Management, the family office that imploded in March and caused massive losses at a few big banks when Archegos couldn't meet margin calls. Wood said she had sent Hwang a note "wishing him well" after the Archegos collapse. Wood said she had no idea if Hwang had remained a shareholder in Ark ETFs. Hwang was very successful with his family office until he began to overutilize leverage, or borrowed money, to chase higher returns in the market. The problem with this strategy comes when investments start to lose money, and the banks lending the investor money begin to get nervous and initiate margin calls. Also, during the interview, Wood spoke about Ark ETFs and said, "The ETF ecosystem is a beautiful thing for portfolio managers." Ark now manages a range of ETFs, including some that have been a runaway success during the pandemic boom market. They include the flagship Ark Innovation ETF (NYSE: ARKK), Ark Next Generation Internet ETF (NYSE: ARKW), ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (NYSE: ARKG) and the Ark Fintech Innovation ETF (NYSE: ARKF). Ark Invest's fund flows went from $10 billion to $80 billion in just under a year, she said, adding that the acceleration in fund flows was "parabolic." See more from BenzingaClick here for options trades from BenzingaMajor Energy Pipeline To US East Coast Shut Down After CyberattackElon Musk Asks For 'SNL' Sketch Ideas On Twitter, Including 'Woke' James Bond And 'Irony Man'© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average both made new all-time highs last week, but as for individual stocks it’s been a “stock picker's market.” Due to rotation within sectors, traders and investors have watched some of the biggest ETFs soar while their portfolio of stocks sits idle. Finding specific stocks to play bullish or bearish has felt similar to finding a needle in a haystack, especially with tech pulling back from all-time highs over earnings season. The airline sector has yet to take the stage despite a ramp-up in the vaccine rollout and customers returning to the skies for business and travel. Rotation could be set to change this, however. Boeing Co (NYSE: BA), American Airlines Group Inc (NASDAQ: AAL) and Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) look like they could be set for take-off. The Boeing Chart: On Friday, Boeing broke up from a descending trendline that had been holding it down since April 5. Although Boeing has briefly traded above the trendline, Friday marked the first day the stock has been able to close the day above it. This will give bulls more confidence. On Friday, Boeing also recaptured the eight-day exponential moving average (EMA) and the stock is trading above the 200-day simple moving average (SMA), which are both bullish indicators. Boeing still needs to recapture the 21-day EMA, which it could do this week if bullish volume is sustained. Bulls want to see Boeing’s stock make a move up to its next resistance level at $243.75. Bullish volume could then pop the stock over that level which would then make it support. If Boeing can gain the $243 area as support, it has room to move back up toward the $257.75 mark. Bears want to see Boeing's stock fall back under the descending trendline, which will cause the stock to lose support at $232.70. A loss of that level could see Boeing revisit $223.71 before finding additional support. The American Airlines Chart: On Friday, big bullish volume entered American Airlines and the stock was able to make a 2.37% move north. This helped the stock recapture the eight-day and 21-day EMAs which is bullish. American Airlines is trading above the 200-day SMA which indicates overall sentiment in the stock is bullish. Bulls want to see follow-through bull volume push American Airlines up over its next resistance level at $22.58. If it can regain that level as support, it has room to move up to fill the overhead gap in the $26 area. Since gaps are filled 90% of the time, it is likely American Airlines will trade back in this range in the future. Bears want to see big bearish volume enter American Airlines’ stock and for it to drop down and lose support at the $21 area. If the stock can’t maintain the level as support, it could descend towards $18.94. The Southwest Chart: Unlike Boeing and American Airlines, which are trading down 47% and 62%, respectively, from all-time highs, Southwest is only 7% below its all-time high. Friday’s action may indicate the stock is about to take another run back towards its Dec. 21, 2017, all-time high of $66.99. On Friday, Southwest broke up from a descending trendline that has been holding it down since April 6. The bullish break helped Southwest to regain the eight-day and 21-day EMAs, which is bullish. Like Boeing and American Airlines, Southwest is trading above the 200-day EMA which is bullish. Bulls want to see Southwest’s stock hold over top of the descending trendline and for bullish volume to help it push up above its next resistance level near $63.50. If the stock can regain that level as support, it has room to make a run back towards all-time highs. Bears want to see bearish volume push Southwest’s stock back under the descending trendline which would force it to lose a support level at $60.10. If Southwest trades below that level, it could retest $557.95 before potentially bouncing. See Also: Stock Wars: JetBlue Vs. Southwest Price Action: Boeing closed Friday’s session at $235.47. Shares of American Airlines closed at $22, and Southwest’s stock closed at $61.66. See more from BenzingaClick here for options trades from BenzingaWhy American And Delta Airlines Look Clear For Takeoff© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
How you can take your health insurance into your own hands.
(Bloomberg) -- Copper soared this week to an all-time high, continuing a sizzling rally that’s seen prices double in the past year.The previous copper record was set in 2011, around the peak of the commodities supercycle sparked by China’s rise to economic heavyweight status — fueled by massive amounts of raw materials. This time, investors are betting that copper’s vital role in the world’s shift to green energy will mean surging demand and even higher prices. Copper futures rose as high as $10,440 a ton in London on Friday. What’s the big deal about copper?Through human history, copper has played a critical role in many of civilization’s greatest advances: from early monetary systems to municipal plumbing, from the rise of trains, planes and cars to the devices and networks that underpin the information age.The reddish brown metal is mostly unrivaled as an electrical and thermal conductor, while also being durable and easy to work with. Today, a vast array of uses in all corners of heavy industry, construction and manufacturing mean it’s a famously reliable indicator for trends in the global economy.The copper market was one of the first to react as the Covid-19 coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, with prices slumping by more than a quarter between January and March last year. Then as China’s unprecedented steps to control the domestic spread of the virus started to yield results, copper rapidly rebounded -- and it hasn’t looked back since.But it’s not just China driving the rally. While the country accounts for half of the world’s copper consumption and has played an integral part in copper’s surge, demand there has actually softened this year. Yet prices continue to drive higher.Why is copper surging now?It’s partly due to evidence of recoveries in other major industrial economies, with manufacturing output surging in places like the U.S., Germany and Japan. But investors have also been piling into copper on a bet that global efforts to cut carbon emissions are going to mean the world needs a lot more of the metal, putting a strain on supply. New mine production may be slow to arrive, as mines are hard to find and expensive to develop.Electric vehicles contain about four times as much copper as a conventional car, and vast amounts of copper wiring will be needed in roadside chargers to keep them running. Bringing electricity from offshore wind farms to national power grids is also a copper-intensive exercise.Governments around the world have announced ambitious infrastructure investment plans, much of which involves construction, green energy, or both.Are things that use copper getting more expensive?Increasingly, yes. Major manufacturers have been hiking prices for air-conditioning units and fridges over the past few months, and they’re warning there may be more to come.Still, copper is often used in small quantities in complex consumer goods, and so the doubling in prices over the past year won’t be nearly as painful for consumers as an equivalent jump in food or fuel prices would be. Similarly, governments rolling out big spending programs might not be too worried about a rise in copper alone.But with other raw materials rising too, there are growing signs that they’ll get less bang for their buck as the cost of big-ticket items like wind turbines rise.What does it mean for the economy?There are mounting concerns that the broad rally in everything from lumber to steel will force central bankers to step in to stop inflation in raw-materials markets spiralling out of control.In turn, the stellar economic rebound that’s driving the commodities rally may start to stall as businesses are hit by higher interest rates, compressed margins, and waning demand from consumers. The key question for policymakers at the Federal Reserve — and traders on Wall Street — is whether the broad spike in commodities prices will be temporary.Could the rally fizzle out?In the case of copper, there are some signs that spot demand is starting to cool, particularly in China, and some analysts and traders say the record prices aren’t justified by today’s fundamentals.The view among policymakers is that the rise in commodities prices will prove short-lived, as consumers will focus their spending on services and experiences as economies open up, easing the strain on demand for commodities-intensive items such as second homes, electronics and appliances seen during lockdown.For copper though, it’s not just about strong demand today. In fact, a lot of expected spending on renewables and electric-vehicle infrastructure is yet to really materialize. When it does, it could transform the outlook for copper usage in countries such as Germany and the U.S.How high could copper go?Trafigura Group, the world’s top copper trader, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. both say prices could hit $15,000 a ton in the coming years, on the back of a global surge in demand due to the shift to green energy. Bank of America says $20,000 could even be possible if drastic issues arise on the supply side.The copper market itself may also be facing a big shift. Trafigura predicts that demand growth in China will be eclipsed by rising consumption in the rest of the world over the coming decade, in a dramatic reversal of the recent trend. That could help underpin a new “supercycle” in the copper market, driving prices higher for years on the back of a step-change in global demand.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.