Italian motorcycle maker Ducati's first electric bicycle, the MIG-RR, is coming to the U.S. market. Ducati North America CEO JasonJoining us now is Ducati North America CEO Jason Chinnock.
Italian motorcycle maker Ducati's first electric bicycle, the MIG-RR, is coming to the U.S. market. Ducati North America CEO JasonJoining us now is Ducati North America CEO Jason Chinnock.
For all the insouciance with which markets treated Washington's latest sanctions on Russia, its move to target Moscow's main funding avenue - the rouble bond market - has in some ways, crossed the Rubicon, potentially with far-reaching consequences. Drawing on experiences of sanctions imposed previously, including after the 2014 Ukraine crisis and the Mueller report on Russia's alleged U.S. election meddling, money managers haven't rushed to dump Russian assets en masse. The rouble, which fell as much as 2% at one point on Thursday, has clawed back losses and is on its way to recording its best week this year; Russian bond yields, on local as well as international markets, have fallen.
(Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. sold $13 billion of bonds Thursday, the largest deal ever by a bank, taking advantage of some of the cheapest borrowing costs in years to boost its capital after the Federal Reserve let pandemic relief measures lapse.The deal, which followed the bank’s best quarter ever, hit the market as corporate borrowers continue to see heavy demand for debt that provides a decent premium over Treasuries. Order books grew to about $26 billion, allowing JPMorgan to trim the interest on the debt from the relatively high spreads it initially offered, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.The jumbo offering may have been related to recent changes in regulatory relief for banks, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Arnold Kakuda.Treasuries liquidity disappeared in March 2020. In response, the Fed told banks they didn’t have to factor in Treasuries or deposits when calculating their supplementary leverage ratios, which tells them how much capital to set aside to back up their holdings. That exemption went away two weeks ago.Banks were left in the position of needing to sell Treasuries or add capital, and JPMorgan’s sale of unsecured debt will help it meet total loss-absorbing capacity, or TLAC, requirements, and put the ratio back in balance, Kakuda said.The bank signaled Wednesday that it would do something. “We have levers to manage SLR and we will,” Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Piepszak told analysts on a quarterly earnings call. The company declined to comment further on Thursday.Including today’s sale, JPMorgan has raised $22 billion in the U.S. dollar investment-grade bond market this year, more than any other major U.S. bank, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.“Banks are always going to be hefty issuers, which lends a certain opportunism to tapping the markets especially when funding is still so cheap,” said Jesse Rosenthal, a senior analyst at CreditSights.The longest portion of the five-part offering, a 31-year security, will yield 107 basis points above Treasuries, according to the person, who asked not to be identified discussing a private transaction. The sale follows strong first-quarter earnings, including a 15% increase in fixed-income, currency and commodity trading revenue and a $5.2 billion release from its credit reserves. Rival Goldman Sachs Group Inc. also sold bonds Thursday.The previous largest bond sale by a bank also came from JPMorgan, a $10 billion offering in April 2020, the Bloomberg-compiled data show. JPMorgan is the sole bookrunner of the sale, and the proceeds are marked for general corporate purposes.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) -- Administrators to the Australian holding company of Greensill Capital have asked it to clarify a series of payments linked to the brother of founder Lex Greensill, amounting to $174 million.In a report prepared ahead of a creditor meeting scheduled for April 22, Grant Thornton says it’s seeking details on several transactions identified as “payment of proceeds PG Family Trust.”Transactions were recorded between October and December 2019 in a liability account labeled “Repayable Within a Year,” according to the report.“Management have indicated that these transactions in part relate to the sale of shares by Peter Greensill, however at this stage we are not in possession of sufficient documentation to confirm,” the administrators said.“We have made additional inquiries of the directors and management in relation to this account,” they said.A New York-based spokesman for Greensill Capital declined to comment.The report also states administrators couldn’t find record of payment for transferring ownership of the Greensill’s family farming company to Peter Greensill in April last year.The administrators took charge of Greensill Capital Pty Ltd. last month after the lender failed to extend insurance on some of the loans it sourced and packaged. They are now looking to recover cash for creditors, including employees, the Greensill family trust, Credit Suisse Group AG and Softbank Group Corp. They also recommended creditors wind up the company at next week’s meeting.The holding company has $777 million of receivables owed by the U.K. operating unit, and $1.1 billion of external debt, according to the report.The 37 employees of the unit are likely to be paid in full, while any payment to unsecured creditors will depend on the recovery of assets in the U.K. and Germany.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 tumbled more than 4% on Friday after Turkey's central bank banned the use of cryptocurrencies and crypto assets for purchases citing possible "irreparable" damage and transaction risks. In legislation published in the Official Gazette, the central bank said cryptocurrencies and other such digital assets based on distributed ledger technology could not be used, directly or indirectly, to pay for goods and services. The decision could stall Turkey's crypto market, which has gained momentum in recent months as investors joined the global rally in bitcoin, seeking to hedge against lira depreciation and inflation that topped 16% last month.
“The biggest fear for many crypto traders has always been that big governments might impose harsh restrictions on cryptocurrencies,” said one analyst.
(Bloomberg) -- Natural gas is falling out of favor with emissions-wary investors and utilities at a quicker pace than coal did, catching some power generators unaware and potentially leaving them stuck with billions of dollars of assets they can’t sell.Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are among the banks that strengthened their financing restrictions on thermal coal under pressure from shareholders wanting to avoid the fuel, and the expectation is that gas is next. Executives at some western European companies say they’re already struggling to sell gas-fired facilities.“If you find out somebody who is ready to offer a good price for our gas plants in Spain, then we are ready to sell,” said Jose Ignacio Sanchez Galan, chief executive officer at Iberdrola SA in Spain. “We are not finding people.”The cost of renewables has dropped dramatically during the past decade, making gas-fired stations less competitive.Phasing out gas in power generation is just a first step. Cutting back use of the fuel in heating, transport and industry would wreak more potential damage. Europe wants to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, which is at odds with plans to build numerous infrastructure projects, like pipelines and terminals.If these are built but no longer needed, there’s a potential 87 billion-euro ($104 billion) stranded-asset risk, according to calculations by Global Energy Monitor.In Italy there are plans to build 14 gigawatts of new gas capacity mostly to replace coal, according to Carbon Tracker Initiative Ltd.Europe’s biggest utility, Enel SpA, is a global renewables supermajor. Still, about 40% of the company’s 88 gigawatts of installed capacity is made up of coal, oil and gas, but the Italian company is planning to reduce coal generation by 74% in 2022. Although a gas phase-out is also coming down the track, it has plans to build more capacity.“The important thing is that the direction is clear, it will not change,’’ Salvatore Bernabei, head of global power generation at Enel said in an interview. “Everyone should understand that we cannot change the world in one day.’’Quicker Than CoalCoal has been slow and difficult to phase out in countries where mining provides thousands of jobs. Gas will be quicker because it doesn’t have the same tradition attached, and renewables are now a cost-effective alternative, according to Carbon Tracker.“Gas will be a repeat of coal but quicker,” said Catharina Hillenbrand von der Neyen, head of company research at the London-based firm. “When we look at power generation, you can see that going really, really quickly.”This is already happening in Britain, where it’s unlikely any further large-scale gas plants will be built without technologies that cut emissions – such as carbon capture. SSE Plc, which trades on the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index, said it can’t see a future for new gas stations that don’t incorporate carbon capture or hydrogen.Electricite de France SA will no longer operate any fossil fuel-fired power generation in Britain after it announced the sale of its last gas-fired power station to private equity firm EIG Global Energy Partners LLC. Historically the involvement of private equity is to squeeze the asset to extract all remaining value.Investor PressureInvestors pursuing an ESG agenda will add to the pressure on companies to get out of gas. BlackRock Inc. and Vanguard Group Inc. are among 40-plus investment firms committing to cut the net emissions of their portfolios to zero by 2050.Portugal’s biggest utility, Energias de Portugal SA, said its strategy is to exit from its two remaining coal plants by 2025, shutting down one and possibly selling the other.“There is an increasing amount of funds that either don’t like it or can’t even invest in companies with coal,” Miguel Stilwell de Andrade, EDP’s chief executive officer, said in an interview.“We’re not going to wait until people tell us that gas is no longer going to be used. We’re going to make sure that we’re going to get out of there before.”There’s no point building assets now that will be of no use in a few years, said Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s executive vice-president. Europe can skip the transition and go straight to clean assets by spending on the right projects now, he said.“We need to make the investments to create sustainable societies,” he said. “That capital, not spent well, will create stranded assets very soon, and we will put unbearable financial burden on the shoulders of our children.”U.S. TransitionIn the U.S., progress likely will be slower since there’s no federal mandate for a transition from fossil fuels to renewable power. Gas is superabundant and cheap, thanks to the country’s fracking boom, which has helped hasten the demise of coal.By 2016, gas was the country’s dominant power source."Everyone is talking about it in terms of a transition, not a cliff,” said Ryan Wobbrock, a senior credit officer at Moody's Investors Service. “At this point, it would be very difficult to completely disentangle that system.’’But now there are indications that demand in the U.S. is topping out decades ahead of schedule with cheaper renewables and net zero moving up the agenda for utilities. Renewables could become the leading power sources on U.S. grids by 2028, Morgan Stanley said last year.President Joe Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure and energy plan includes incentives for renewables and a massive transmission grid build out that could speed up the transition away from fossil fuels.Progress on carbon capture technology could throw a lifeline to gas, meaning that stations could serve as backup when there’s a dearth of sun, wind or hydropower. Some energy companies are focusing on making sure that gas can keep operating, rather than ridding their portfolios of the fuels.“Getting the flexibility to deal with the variability in renewables production is really, really difficult if you don’t have any gas-fired generation,” said Benjamin Collie, a principal for commissioned projects at Aurora Energy Research Ltd. in Oxford.European Gas demand is still expected to grow by 3% this year, according to the International Energy Agency.At least in the short term. The European Investment Bank, for one, will end all financing for fossil fuels in December.“To put it mildly, gas is over,” EIB President Werner Hoyer said during a January press conference. “Without the end to the use of unabated fossil fuels, we will not be able to reach the climate targets.’’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.
Euro zone politicians, courts and policy hawks will pose a stiff challenge this year to the ECB's resolve to pin down the bloc's borrowing costs, precisely at a time when higher U.S. Treasury yields are tempting investors away from European markets. The European Central Bank has held sovereign debt yields low through bond purchases, and recently increased buying in its 1.85 trillion-euro ($2.22 trillion) emergency stimulus scheme, known as PEPP. And it is no longer battling alone to support the euro economy, as the pandemic induced governments to spend more and to create an 800 billion-euro Recovery Fund, seeded by joint European Union borrowing.
It was a busy week for the European majors. Economic data and corporate earnings delivered support. COVID-19 vaccine news and geopolitics were a drag, however.
(Bloomberg) -- Brevan Howard Asset Management is preparing to start investing in digital assets, becoming the latest money manager seeking to exploit the cryptocurrency boom.The firm led by Aron Landy will begin by investing up to 1.5% of its $5.6 billion main hedge fund in digital assets, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The initial allocation will be overseen by Johnny Steindorff and Tucker Waterman, co-founders of crypto investment firm Distributed Global, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.A spokesman for Jersey-based Brevan Howard declined to comment.The move is the latest signal that cryptocurrencies are going mainstream as Brevan Howard joins the likes of billionaire hedge fund managers Paul Tudor Jones and Marc Lasry in betting on digital assets. Only on Wednesday, crypto exchange Coinbase Global Inc. went public and hit a valuation above $112 billion.Brevan Howard’s fund will bet on the rising values of digital assets, and will focus on a wide range beyond just Bitcoin, the person said.Familiar GroundBrevan Howard is no stranger to digital assets. Co-founder Alan Howard invests his personal money into cryptocurrencies and the firm recently acquired a 25% stake in One River Asset Management, a $2.5 billion firm whose cryptocurrency funds are backed by Howard.The billionaire has been an investor in Distributed Global since early 2018, the person said. That firm also runs a crypto venture capital fund in partnership with Singapore’s Temasek Holdings Pte. All trading will take place through Elwood Asset Management, an affiliate platform started by Howard four years ago, the person said.Bitcoin has more than doubled this year, boosting the market for cryptocurrencies past $2 trillion, while the entry of big financial institutions into the space has been one of the biggest trends in the industry over the past few months. Tesla Inc. now accepts Bitcoin for its electric vehicles, and the company disclosed a $1.5 billion investment in the currency earlier this year.Both Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have also announced plans to offer clients access to crypto investments.On its part, Brevan Howard had been developing its digital trading technologies and assessing the sector’s suitability for investors for the last few years, according to the person. It decided in the fourth quarter of last year that the industry had matured enough for it to deploy a small part of clients cash.Brevan Howard, best known for its macro trading prowess, is in expansion mode following a record year of gains. Investors who abandoned the firm amid years of mediocre returns are coming back: Assets that collapsed by over 80% from their peak to about $6 billion two years ago have since rebounded to above $13 billion.The firm’s main fund is run by a group of traders including Howard himself, Fash Golchin, Alfredo Saitta and Minal Bathwal. It gained 27.4% last year in its best annual return since 2003.(Updates with industry background in 8th 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) -- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. warned that a global shortage of semiconductors across industries from automaking to consumer electronics may extend into 2022, prompting the linchpin chipmaker to lift targets on spending and growth for this year.The world’s largest contract chipmaker said Thursday that its auto industry clients can expect chip shortages to begin easing next quarter, alleviating some of the supply disruptions that have forced the likes of General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. to curtail production. But overall deficits of critical semiconductors will last throughout 2021 and potentially into next year, Chief Executive Officer C.C. Wei told analysts on a conference call.TSMC now expects investments of about $30 billion on capacity expansions and upgrades this year, up from a previous forecast for as much as $28 billion, Chief Financial Officer Wendell Huang said. It foresees sales in the June quarter at a better-than-projected $12.9 billion to $13.2 billion, driving full-year revenue growth of 20% in dollar terms -- ahead of the “mid-teens” growth predicted in January.But the increased spending means its target for gross margins this quarter came in below expectations at 49.5% to 51.5%, spurring concerns about the longer-term impact on profitability. TSMC’s shares slipped 1.8% in Taipei on Friday, their biggest intraday loss in about three weeks.“The capex boost is a mixed bag with better long-term growth but lower margins,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote.What Bloomberg Intelligence SaysLarge depreciation costs from new 5-nm production equipment may lower gross margin by 2%, while slower-than-expected production efficiency improvement implies that gross margin will continue to contract, possibly to under 50% in 2Q.- Charles Shum and Simon Chan, analystsClick here for the research.TSMC joins a growing number of industry giants from Continental AG to Renesas Electronics Corp. and Foxconn Technology Group that warned of longer-than-anticipated deficits thanks to unprecedented demand for everything from cars to game consoles and mobile devices. While Taiwan’s largest chipmaker has kept its fabs running at “over 100% utilization,” the firm doesn’t have enough capacity to satisfy all its customers and it has pledged to invest $100 billion over the next three years to expand.“We see the demand continue to be high,” Wei said. “In 2023, I hope we can offer more capacity to support our customers. At that time, we’ll start to see the supply chain tightness release a little bit.”Read more: See How a Chip Shortage Snarled Everything From Phones to CarsSemiconductor shortages are cascading through the global economy. Automakers like Ford, Nissan Motor Co.and Volkswagen AG have already scaled back production, leading to estimates for more than $60 billion in lost revenue for the industry this year. The situation is likely get worse before it gets better: a rare winter storm in Texas knocked out swaths of U.S. production, while a fire at a key Japan factory will shut the facility for a month. Rival chipmaker Samsung Electronics Co. warned of a “serious imbalance” in the industry.With major American carmakers and other gadget suppliers facing a prolonged shortage of chips, U.S. President Joe Biden has proposed $50 billion to bolster semiconductor research and manufacturing at home. The initiative could aid TSMC’s plan to build a cutting-edge fab in Arizona this year that could cost $12 billion.TSMC is “happy” to support chip manufacturing in the U.S., though research and development and the majority of production will continue to remain in Taiwan, executives said on Thursday. They reiterated that construction of their plant in Arizona will begin this year.Read more: Why Shortages of a $1 Chip Sparked Crisis in Global EconomyNet income for the January-March period climbed 19% to NT$139.7 billion ($4.9 billion), beating the average analyst estimate, buoyed by demand for high-performance computing (HPC) equipment and a milder seasonal effect on smartphone demand. Gross margin for the quarter eased to 52.4% from 54% in the three months prior, due in part to relatively lower levels of utilization and exchange-rate fluctuations. First-quarter revenue rose 17% to NT$362.4 billion, according to a company statement last week.The company said Thursday it now expects to be able to achieve the higher end of its compound annual growth rate target of 10% to 15% for the five years to 2025, citing its investment spending plans.“TSMC’s statement that the chip crunch may spill into 2022 will smooth over concerns that chip demand may fall on overbooking later this year and further boost investors’ confidence in the overall semiconductor demand in the long run,” said Elsa Cheng, an analyst at GF Securities.Shares of TSMC have more than doubled over the past year.TSMC’s most-advanced technologies continued to account for nearly half of revenue in the March quarter, with 5-nanometer and 7-nanometer processes contributing 14% and 35% of sales, respectively. By business segment, its smartphone business amounted for about 45% of revenue, while HPC increased to more than a third, reflecting sustained demand for devices and internet servers even as economies start to emerge from the pandemic.“We are seeing stronger engagement with more customers on 5-nm and 3-nm, in fact the engagement is so strong that we have to really prepare the capacity for it,” Wei said. Smartphones and HPC will be the main drivers for demand of 5-nm, which will contribute around 20% of wafer revenue this year.TSMC Is On Fire. Just Beware of the Flames: Tim Culpan(Updates with share action from the fourth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Gold headed for its best week since December amid a retreat in bond yields and a report that top buyer China may import more of the metal.After weeks trading in a narrow range, gold has advanced as Treasuries yields and the dollar head for weekly losses. Lower yields boost the appeal of bullion, which doesn’t offer interest. Dollar declines helped spur a broad rally in raw materials, with the Bloomberg Commodity Index also on track for its best week of 2021.Bullion is showing tentative signs of breaking out of a slump following three straight monthly losses. Prices rose above the 50-day moving average on Thursday, a positive signal for traders who follow chart patterns. On Friday, bullion extended gains to the highest since February after Reuters reported that China has given banks permission to import a large amount of bullion to meet domestic demand.The overall robust performance in commodities this week was “being supported by a surprise drop in U.S. Treasury yields accompanied by a weaker dollar,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodities research at Saxo Bank. Gold, along with crude oil and copper, “broke higher, thereby potentially signaling renewed momentum attracting fresh buying from speculators.”Spot gold rose 0.8% to $1,778.17 an ounce by 1:43 p.m. in New York. Prices are up about 2% this week, on course for the biggest gain since Dec. 18. Futures for June delivery on the Comex rose 0.8% to settle at $1,780.20 an ounce.Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s reiteration of his dovish stance on monetary policy also helped bullion this week. That helped offset the impact of improving U.S. and Chinese economic reports, which could otherwise diminish demand for the metal as a haven.“The economic data published in the U.S. yesterday afternoon turned out for the most part to be significantly better than the market had anticipated,” Commerzbank AG analyst Daniel Briesemann said. “It seems that market participants believed the U.S. Federal Reserve’s assertion this time that it would not react to good data and would tolerate economic overheating.”In other precious metals, silver and platinum advanced.Palladium rose 1.2% after reaching the highest in more than a year. The metal, which reached a record of $2,883.89 in February last year, has benefited from stricter emissions rules that boost usage in autocatalysts.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) -- Turkey’s central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged but removed a pledge to deliver additional tightening in the first monetary policy meeting under its newly appointed governor.The Monetary Policy Committee held its key rate at 19% Thursday, in line with the forecasts of most analysts in a Bloomberg survey.While the decision matched market expectations, the bank’s omission of an earlier pledge to keep monetary policy tight and even deliver additional rate hikes if needed weighed on the lira. The currency reversed earlier gains and was trading 0.5% lower at 8.1226 per dollar at 3:01 p.m. in Istanbul.Abandoning the earlier hawkish language, the monetary authority said it “has decided to maintain the tight monetary policy stance by keeping the policy rate unchanged.”Balancing ActFew minutes of volatility in the currency immediately after Thursday’s decision highlights the challenge facing Governor Sahap Kavcioglu, who was installed after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan abruptly fired his predecessor following a bigger-than-expected rate increase.Many investors perceive the new governor to be under pressure to reduce borrowing costs to boost growth. Although Kavcigolu has said he would not rush to loosen the stance he inherited, the changes in the rates decision prompted further speculation that rate cuts might be imminent.“The language also suggests that they are looking for opportunities to lower interest rates,” said William Jackson, chief emerging markets economist at Capital Economics. He also noted there were “reassuring” comments by the bank in the rest of the decision.Jackson’s Capital Economics and HSBC Bank were the only dissenters in the Bloomberg survey, predicting the meeting would deliver a reduction of 200 and 50 basis points, respectively.In a written interview with Bloomberg after his appointment last month, Kavcioglu said markets shouldn’t view a rate cut at the April 15 Monetary Policy Committee meeting as a given, easing some concerns among investors.Turkey raised its benchmark by 200 basis points on March 18, at Naci Agbal’s final rate-setting meeting as governor, elevating the key rate adjusted for inflation to one of the world’s highest. A professor of banking, Kavcioglu was among the critics of that move, saying it could damage economic growth.Last week, Erdogan said the government was determined to both reduce inflation and cut interest rates to single digits, prompting a slide in the lira. The currency has weakened more than 10% against the dollar since the unexpected appointment of Kavcioglu. Foreign investors sold a net $1.2 billion in Turkish equities and similar amount of government bonds and the benchmark Borsa Istanbul 100 Index slid 8% during the same period.Inflation accelerated to an annual 16.2% through March, up from 15.6% the previous month because of a global oil rally and weaker currency, leaving the new central bank chief little room to enact the interest-rate cuts that would mollify Erdogan, who holds the unorthodox view that high interest rates cause inflation.(Updates with more details from the central bank statement, analyst comments.)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 three main Wall Street indexes ended Friday higher for the day and week, with the S&P 500 and the Dow breaking closing records, as investors took strong economic data and bank earnings as signs of momentum in the U.S. pandemic rebound. Most of the 11 S&P sub-sectors rose on Friday.
(Bloomberg) -- As London’s shops and pub gardens reopen for the first weekend in three months, funds targeting smaller U.K. companies are among the best performers in Europe thanks to a rally in domestic stocks that benefit from Britain’s vaccine rollout success.Among Western European stock funds with $200 million or more in assets, the majority of the 10 best performers this year are focused on U.K. small caps, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The FTSE Small Cap Index has gained 14% in 2021 versus a rise of 11% for a benchmark tracking small stocks on euro-area exchanges.The nation’s markets are benefiting from a confluence of factors: Valuations had been depressed by the overhang of the U.K.’s departure from the European Union, and during the worst of the pandemic, when there was no economic growth, investors were will paying to pay a premium for the few companies that were enjoying rapid increases in sales. With the Brexit cloud removed and the economy rebounding as virus restrictions ease, investors are turning back to domestic stocks and those that are cheap relative to earnings.“The ability to generate a return in the U.K. market compared with the most other stock markets is very, very attractive,” said Gervais Williams, co-manager of the Premier Miton U.K. Smaller Companies Fund. Previously, the U.K. had been “very much out of fashion.”U.K. smaller companies are still inexpensive: The FTSE Small Cap sells for about 14 times estimated earnings for this year, compared to a multiple of 20.8 for the Euro Stoxx Small Index.“I’ve been investing since ‘85; I don’t think I’ve ever known this mismatch, this disparity,” said Williams, whose fund has returned 26% in 2021 with holdings including appliances retailer AO World Plc, chilled-storage provider Norish Plc and insurance investor Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings Ltd.Small caps are a traditional way of gaining exposure to the economic cycle, said James Athey, a money manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments.“That end of the company spectrum is, by far and away, most likely to have been heavily and negatively affected by lockdown, because you tend to be talking about companies that deal with these sort of parochial face-to-face services which have been essentially banned for most of this period,” Athey said by phone.English consumers have been splashing out in shops, pub gardens and hairdressers since Monday after venues were allowed to reopen following almost 100 days of being closed to control the spread of Covid-19. Britain also hit its target a few days ahead of schedule of offering a first coronavirus vaccine shot to all over-50s, as its inoculation campaign progresses faster than those of its continental neighbors.In many countries around Europe, meanwhile, restrictions remain in place, with France keeping open-air cafes closed until at least May 15 and Germany taking steps to allow the federal government to impose tighter restrictions.To be sure, it’s not just small-cap funds that are outperforming, with the continued interest in cheaper value stocks instead of high-growth companies also benefiting U.K. mid- and large-cap funds.The U.K. market, with its heavy weighting in commodity companies, is tilted toward value and cyclical shares.“There’s been a colossal rotation that we’ve been enormous beneficiaries of,” said Ian Lance, co-manager of Temple Bar Investment Trust Plc, which has returned 24% year-to-date with bets on stocks like postal group Royal Mail Plc, high street bank Natwest Group Plc and retailer Marks & Spencer Group Plc.Many of Temple Bar’s holdings were cheap even before the pandemic, so recent rallies don’t mean they are now overvalued, Lance said by phone.One issue with small caps is that they often play just one theme -- in many cases right now, the reopening -- leaving them vulnerable to any potential hiccups in the vaccine roll-out, Alexandra Jackson, manager of the Rathbone U.K. Opportunities Fund, said in an interview.Slightly larger companies that might prove to be less “binary” in that sense include Softcat Plc, a technology infrastructure group that also offers work-from-home tech, and construction retailers like Howden Joinery Group Plc and Grafton Group Plc, which should benefit from an elevated interest in home improvements even after people get used to post-lockdown life, said Jackson, whose fund is up 7.4% this year.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks ended the week at all-time highs as Chinese growth data added to signs of a global economic recovery. The dollar slipped.The S&P 500 Index capped its fourth straight weekly advance as the strong data from Asia joined a raft of robust readings in the world’s largest economy to boost sentiment. Chinese stocks outperformed in Asia after a report showed the nation’s economy soared in the first quarter. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index posted a seventh week of advances, its longest streak since May 2018.The data from Beijing added to Thursday’s string of positive economic figures out of the U.S., pushing the MSCI All-Country World Index to a fresh record. Treasuries extended their gains. Morgan Stanley became the latest American bank to post record first-quarter results.Along with healthy corporate earnings, the week’s dump of data gave fresh impetus to the reflation trade. In the U.S., retail sales and weekly jobless claims data signaled an accelerating recovery in the world’s biggest economy. Investors will look for further confirmation as the reporting season picks up pace next week, with about 80 S&P 500 members and more than 50 Stoxx 600 firms announcing.“In addition to earnings, there has been plenty of impressive data to digest indicating that the U.S. economy is firing up,” Fiona Cincotta, senior financial markets analyst at City Index, said. “With a strong vaccine rollout in addition to fiscal stimulus and loose monetary policy, the recovery is picking up pace. Despite the blowout data, U.S. treasury yields are heading lower suggesting investors have bought into the Fed’s low rates for longer mantra.”These are some of the main moves in financial markets:StocksThe S&P 500 Index climbed 0.4% as of 4 p.m. New York time.The Nasdaq 100 added 0.1%.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index jumped 0.9%.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 0.3%.The MSCI Emerging Market Index gained 0.6%.CurrenciesThe Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.1%.The euro jumped 0.1% to $1.1978.The British pound gained 0.3% to $1.3834.The onshore yuan was little changed at 6.52 per dollar.The Japanese yen was little changed at 108.76 per dollar.BondsThe yield on 10-year Treasuries fell one basis point to 1.57%.The yield on two-year Treasuries climbed less than one basis point to 0.16%.Germany’s 10-year yield advanced three basis points to -0.265%.Britain’s 10-year yield jumped three basis points to 0.762%.Japan’s 10-year yield increased less than one basis point to 0.093%.CommoditiesWest Texas Intermediate crude lost 0.5% to $63.14 a barrel.Gold strengthened 0.8% to $1,778.25 an ounce.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Dieter Wemmer, a veteran insurance executive who was chief financial officer at Allianz SE, is launching a blank-check company to target deals in the sector where he worked for more than three decades, people familiar with the matter said.Wemmer plans to raise about 250 million euros ($300 million) on the Amsterdam stock exchange in May, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. He’s teaming up with Murray Wood and Santiago Corral, co-owners of insurance-focused investment firm Nazare Capital, to create the SPAC.The executives have begun speaking with potential investors, the people said. They’re considering seeking targets among technology players in the insurance space, the people said. Wemmer, who’s a German national, will be executive chairman of the SPAC while Wood will serve as its chief executive officer, according to the people.Bank of America Corp. is advising on the SPAC, the people said. Wemmer and a representative for Bank of America declined to comment, while a spokesperson for Nazare couldn’t be reached for comment.There’s an active market for insurance mergers and acquisitions. Low interest rates and outdated technology systems are leading insurers, particularly those offering property and casualty cover, to look at restructurings or buying companies that offer tech they don’t have.Blank-Check FrenzyA veteran of European finance, Wemmer worked at Allianz until 2017 and previously held the CFO role at Zurich Insurance Group AG, where he joined the industry in 1986. He still has board positions at Swiss bank UBS Group AG and Danish renewables giant Orsted A/S. Last year, Wemmer teamed up with activist investor Elliott Management Corp. to push for change at Dutch insurer NN Group NV.He joins a growing cohort of financiers from the region in jumping into the SPAC frenzy, which has been spreading from the U.S. to Europe. Former bank CEOs Jean Pierre Mustier, Martin Blessing and Tidjane Thiam are among those working on blank-check companies this year.These vehicles raise investor money in the equity markets to fund takeovers of privately-held targets and have become firmly established among corporate chieftains, politicians and celebrities, with many launching multiple SPACs.More than 300 blank-check companies globally have completed IPOs this year to raise a combined $101.7 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s already more than last year’s record annual haul.Despite a recent uptick in Europe, the trend is just starting on the continent and the U.S. is still the dominant venue for such listings. Four blank-check have gone public through IPOs on European exchanges so far this year to raise $1.5 billion, about triple the amount raised in the whole of 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.(Adds insurance industry detail in 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) -- European shares hit a fresh record, extending the longest streak of weekly gains since 2018, as investors embraced the solid start to the earnings season amid optimism for an economic recovery.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.9% by the close in London, led by the automotive sector amid booming car sales and as Daimler AG climbed after its earnings “significantly” topped estimates. Basic resources stocks advanced after U.S. bellwether Alcoa Corp.’s results beat expectations, owing to a surge in aluminum.A positive start to the earnings season and robust economic data from the U.S. and China are providing investors with confidence that the global recovery is under way. The Stoxx 600 has risen for seven straight weeks on the back of generous monetary stimulus and a spending spree from governments across Europe, with investors betting that a gradual reopening of economies will lead to increased consumption.“The market is in risk-on mood and will continue like that for a few weeks as earnings have had a very strong start and the pandemic is set to be under control,” said Alfonso Benito, chief investment officer at Spanish asset manager Dunas Capital.Goldman Sachs Group Inc. strategists said in a note that they expect earnings-per-share for the Stoxx 600 to grow 40% this year, compared with 35% for the consensus view. Despite continued lockdowns across Europe, the strategists expect the economic reopening to start in May, paving the way for a “strong” recovery in the summer.Among individual moves, HelloFresh SE jumped 3.3% after boosting its sales forecast, while L’Oreal SA declined 1.8% from near record levels even after the beauty giant said sales rose in the first quarter. LVMH climbed 2.2% after its chief executive officer on Thursday said the luxury giant gained market share during the pandemic.For a daily wrap highlighting the biggest movers among EMEA stocks, click hereYou want more news on this market? Click here for a curated First Word channel of actionable news from Bloomberg and select sources. It can be customized to your preferences by clicking into Actions on the toolbar or hitting the HELP key for assistance.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.
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