Futures remain on the downside after they dropped over 2% yesterday.
Futures remain on the downside after they dropped over 2% yesterday.
A federal judge in Houston knocked $5.7 million off the fine Exxon Mobil Corp faces for pollution from its largest U.S. crude oil refinery, according to court documents. U.S. District Judge David Hittner issued the ruling on Tuesday afternoon, imposing a $14.25 million penalty on Exxon for pollution from the Baytown, Texas, refinery and chemical plant complex over eight years. In 2017, Hittner issued a $19.95 million penalty to Exxon, finding it was responsible for the pollution from the Baytown complex between 2005 and 2013 as alleged in a lawsuit initially filed in 2010 under the U.S. Clean Air Act by the Sierra Club and Environment Texas.
Optimism over increased U.S. demand is helping to boost crude oil prices after President Joe Biden pledged to make more vaccinations available.
(Bloomberg) -- International bond issuance from the Balkans is dwarfing sales from bigger countries in Eastern Europe.North Macedonia is the latest addition to a widening stream of sovereign issuance from the Balkan region, offering seven-year euro bonds on Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the deal who asked not to be named as they are not authorized to speak publicly. Earlier deals from Slovenia, Serbia and Croatia have pushed the region’s international debt sales this year to more than half of the full-year average since 2010.Meanwhile, more developed countries further north, such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, are turning away from Eurobonds as they have deep domestic markets to tap into.The growing discrepancy is an extension of an almost decade-long trend. Foreign issuance from the Balkans has topped $10 billion every year since 2011, while sales from Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have been falling, barring a spike last year to help fund Covid-19 relief efforts.One reason for the shift is a turn toward debt self-sufficiency in Hungary and Poland, where borrowing in foreign currencies -- both by the state and households -- has left scars on the economy. With economic output more than double the Balkans, domestic saving rates are higher and more mature central banking has allowed officials to turn to asset-purchase programs to help fund budgets.North Macedonia is offering a benchmark-size bond due March 2028 at around 230 basis points above midswaps, according to the person. Slovenia has issued 2.5 billion euros ($3 billion) of debt in two transactions this year, Croatia priced 2 billion euros, and Serbia 1 billion euros.“Issuance on international markets is preferred by Balkan countries because their less-developed local capital markets do not allow for raising such big amounts of capital,” said Anton Hauser, a money manager at Erste Asset Management in Vienna. For investors, the “higher-yielding debt issued by Balkan countries is a kind of substitute for bonds issued by central European countries, which nowadays offer much lower yields,” he said.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.
Stocks opened slightly higher Tuesday morning as the major indexes steadied after rallying a day earlier.
(Bloomberg) -- Barclays Plc may have won a fight with financier Amanda Staveley, but the ruling could have repercussions for a related regulatory probe that’s haunted the bank for almost a decade.Even while a judge dismissed the case last week, he said the bank was “guilty” of serious deceit as executives negotiated a rescue in 2008. Lawyers said that the findings may be of interest to the Financial Conduct Authority as it continues a probe that could lead to a multi-million pound fine.“It seems very difficult for the FCA to ignore the fact that the bank made fraudulent misrepresentations and very senior people at that,” said Janine Alexander, a financial disputes lawyer at Collyer Bristow who wasn’t involved in the case. “The FCA are going to have to take it seriously.”The case dates back to the chaos of the financial crisis when Barclays officials sought a massive injection of private financing to stave off a government bailout. The regulator is investigating how Barclays communicated with investors in 2008 and is considering a 50-million pound ($70 million) fine, the bank said in its annual report.In addition to the civil case, both the bank and some former executives successfully fought off criminal charges related to the fundraising.A spokeswoman for the bank declined to comment on the implications of the ruling. The FCA said separately the case was currently before its internal tribunal -- one of the final steps before it issues a decision.‘Same Deal’Staveley sought 660 million pounds in damages in the lawsuit, saying the bank deceived her about the terms of the investment. The trial focused on the treatment of Middle Eastern investors that participated in the fundraising. Staveley, who partnered with Abu Dhabi, said the bank promised the “same deal” but then lied about the fact that Qatari investors got far better terms.The judge in Friday’s ruling said that while bank officials misled Staveley about the investment, she wasn’t eligible for damages because she wouldn’t have been able to raise the funds necessary to participate in the deal.“We hope that the regulators will have a close look at this judgment and the conclusions the judge reaches on the behavior of senior personnel within Barclays,” a lawyer for Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners said after the ruling last week.One former FCA lawyer said that the civil case ruling could even lead the regulator to re-open a probe into some of the individuals called out by the judge. The watchdog shut investigations into former chief executive John Varley and former Middle East chief Roger Jenkins in April last year.“One wonders whether the FCA may consider reopening investigations into senior executives following the findings,” said Tim Thomas, who now works at law firm Richardson Lissack.Lawyers for Jenkins and Varley didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.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) -- Billionaire hedge-fund manager Marc Lasry and former U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Christopher Giancarlo have invested in crypto-asset and blockchain investment firm BlockTower Capital.Terms weren’t disclosed. Lasry, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Avenue Capital Group, made an investment independent of his firm, according to people familiar with the matter who weren’t authorized to speak on the record. Both Lasry and Giancarlo confirmed the investments, but declined to comment further.Giancarlo, also a former executive at a swaps brokerage, earned the nickname “crypto dad” while serving as CFTC chairman from 2017-2019, including during the regulatory agency’s approval of Bitcoin futures.The investment disclosures come as crypto enthusiasts prepare for fresh regulators while digital assets surge to record prices. Gary Gensler, the Biden administration’s nominee to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission, during a Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday cited fraud and manipulation within cryptocurrency markets as issues the SEC needs to address.This isn’t the first time that Lasry has shown interest in the cryptocurrency industry. He predicted back in 2018 that the price of Bitcoin could hit $40,000, a milestone the digital asset surpassed in January. The world’s largest cryptocurrency, surged over 300% last year, and briefly surpassed $58,000 in February.BlockTower was co-founded in 2017 by Matthew Goetz, who previously worked in investment management at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Ari Paul, formerly a portfolio manager who oversaw risk at the University of Chicago’s endowment investment office. The firm has received funding in the past from Union Square Ventures LLC and Andreessen Horowitz. A spokesperson for BlockTower declined to comment.(Updates with Lasry confirmation in the second 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.
A new compromise would make millions of Americans ineligible for the third checks.
Congress is nearing passage of the third economic stimulus check it will send out to you and other taxpayers as part of its Covid-19 relief bill.
(Bloomberg) -- The main fund from Cathie Wood’s Ark Investment Management extended its drop from a February peak to 20%, highlighting a swift turnaround for the formerly high-flying stocks favored by the firm.The $24.6 billion Ark Innovation ETF (ARKK) tumbled 6.3% on Wednesday alone as growth stocks such as Pinterest Inc. and Zillow Group Inc. took a beating. The Nasdaq 100 Index lost almost 3% as traders turn away from tech in favor of so-called value stocks that had underperformed during the pandemic, bringing its losses since a peak last month to 8.1%.The rotation, along with higher bond yields that dim the allure of equities, is taking the shine off what had been one of the hottest investments on Wall Street, with ARKK growing 10-fold over the past year, including a whopping $2.37 billion inflow just last month. Since peaking on Feb. 12, ARKK’s price has now dropped by a fifth, the level that commonly defines a bear market.“People are worried the crowded trades will lose their momentum like they did last September” when some of the biggest tech names suffered a bout of selling, said Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak + Co.Yields on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes have jumped more than 50 basis points in 2021, on track for the largest quarterly increase since 2016. Consequently, it’s growing more difficult to justify sky-high valuations for highly speculative, expensive areas of the stock market.ARKK’s three largest holdings, Tesla Inc., Square Inc. and Roku Inc., have about tripled over the past year. Tesla is up close to 350%, while Square has surged about 200% and Roku is up more than 240%. On Wednesday, they all slumped.In fact, all but three stocks held by ARKK fell and three suffered losses exceeding 10%, including Stratasys Ltd., a maker of 3D printers, and Veracyte Inc., which develops molecular tests for oncology.The fund’s tilt toward long-term growth means short-term profitability isn’t a key consideration when stocks are picked. In fact, two-thirds of its current holdings didn’t make a profit in the past year. And even after the recent losses, ARKK is still slightly up for the year.Inflows to the fund have faltered in the past week, but there’s yet to be a mass exodus. ARKK took in more than $600 million combined the past two days, after losing more than $690 million last week in its worst five-day period on record.“There is growing unease in the markets and whether higher-risk asset classes can continue to climb,” said Michael Purves, chief executive officer at Tallbacken Capital Advisors. “If sentiment turns, you can see substantial outflows.”(Updates prices throughout)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.
Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc (NYSE: SKT) is attracting heightened discussion on r/WallStreetBets, the forum that came to light with the short squeeze in GameStop Corp (NYSE: GME) stock earlier in the year. What Happened: The North Carolina-based real estate investment trust which operates factory outlet centers had a comments volume of 600 on WallStreetBets as of press time, as per SwaggyStocks data, and was the top-trending stock in the community in the near-term. Several users were pointing to what they said is a short squeeze opportunity. One forum member claimed he “just had to buy” Tanger stock as Melvin Capital and Citadel are short on it. Tanger shares have soared 76.69% since the year began. In the after-hours trading on Wednesday the company’s shares rose 5.13% to $18.65 after closing 9.24% higher at $17.74. Why It Matters: Tanger is the second most shorted stock after GameStop — attracting short interest or 39.98%, according to High Short Interest Stocks, a website that tracks stocks with short interest over 20%. The company was affected badly by the COVID-19 pandemic as most of the occupants of their outlet centers are non-essential businesses, the Motley Fool reported. However, the company’s fourth-quarter results indicated that it managed to attract customer traffic at 90% of 2019 levels and collect 95% of billed rent in the same period. Some of the positives related to the latest results have been noted by the WallStreetBets participants. Another emerging darling of the Reddit crowd is Rocket Companies Inc (NYSE: RKT), which was the second most discussed firm on the discussion board attracting over 3,700 comments as of press time. The resulting spike in Rocket shares gave Rocket founder Dan Gilbert’s wealth a billion boost on Tuesday before the stock dipped 32.67% on Wednesday. Related Link: GameStop Short-Selling Fame's Melvin Posts 20% Returns For February: Report Photo by Billy Hathorn on Wikimedia See more from BenzingaClick here for options trades from BenzingaWhy Globalstar Stock Spiked 9% In After-Hours TodayGameStop Short-Selling Fame's Melvin Posts 20% Returns For February: Report© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy tweeted an elaborately produced “emergency press conference” video to debut the ETF. The stunt was also an uncomfortable reminder that one man’s meta meme may be another’s market manipulator.
(Bloomberg) -- S&P Global Platts apologized to oil traders for the speed at which it announced an overhaul of a price that underpins a swath of the world’s crude oil transactions.The company said the plans, which among other things involve adding U.S. crude to the key Dated Brent benchmark, took many in the market by surprise and incurred anger. Platts said it had to take the steps to ensure there’s enough oil to make up the benchmark going forward as supply from the North Sea region declines.“The suddenness of the announced changes and the lack of a further consultation have caused anger and frustration for some and we are sorry for that,” Vera Blei, head of oil markets price reporting at Platts said on a call with market participants and the media on Wednesday. “You told us that we have some work to do to rebuild relationships and trust, and that work is very much under way.”Platts first announced a consultation on the changes in December, before confirming them last week. The plan took some traders by surprise as it will involve cargoes being priced at the point of delivery -- requiring the addition of shipping costs and making other fundamental changes to what the benchmark is. The modifications matter because the Dated Brent benchmark helps price more than two-thirds of the world’s crude.Among those who had originally voiced concern about the Platts plan was Intercontinental Exchange Inc., which houses multiple contracts tied to Dated Brent.Before the revamp was announced, ICE sent Platts a letter cautioning against a speedy overhaul, according to a person familiar with the matter. The move sparked frenzied trading of some contracts last week, before both Platts and ICE issued statements clarifying their plans.ICE also said in the letter it was surprised that Platts had chosen to add U.S. crude to the benchmark, without consulting on the addition of oil from Norway’s giant Johan Sverdrup field. That crude is heavier and more sulfurous than those currently included in Dated Brent, making its addition trickier, Platts said.(Updates with Johan Sverdrup detail in final paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Australia wants to leverage off its position as a top mineral producer by boosting processing and manufacturing, part of a plan to challenge China’s dominance in the supply of products key to the clean-energy transition.The government unveiled a 10-year road map on Thursday that includes A$1.3 billion ($1 billion) of funding to help businesses capitalize on the country’s abundant natural resources and exploit opportunities in a de-carbonizing world. It encourages growth in high-value products like batteries and solar cells, as well as technologies and equipment that make mining safer and more efficient.The Modern Manufacturing Initiative comes as the U.S. and Japan look to cut their dependence on China for minerals that are vital to many manufacturing sectors. Australia is the top exporter of lithium, a key component in batteries, and is also a major source of rare earths. Beijing is reviewing its rare earths policy and there are signs it may ban the export of refining technology to nations or firms that it deems are a threat to state security.See also: Biden’s Hopes for Rare Earth Independence at Least a Decade Away“It’s a sovereign and strategic priority for Australia to ensure that we are hard-wired into this supply chain around the world,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at a media briefing following the announcement. It has to be “a supply chain that Australia and our partners can rely on, because these rare earths and critical minerals are what pull together the technology that we will be relying on into the future,” he said.Lynas Rare Earths Ltd. currently sends rare earths from its operations in Australia to Malaysia for processing, but has plans to build a facility close to its Mt. Weld mine in the country’s west. Lynas’ rival Iluka Resources Ltd. is also assessing options to build processing capacity. Energy Renaissance, meanwhile, and other companies are looking to establish a domestic battery manufacturing industry on Australia’s east coast.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.
Growth investors should watch out. The ETF (ticker: ARKK), actively managed by Cathie Wood, founder of ARK Investment Management, was one of the star performers of 2020. It gained more than 150% by riding stay-at home stars like (TSLA) (TSLA), (ROKU) and (SQ)(SQ) to new heights.
36% of taxpayers said the Recovery Rebate Credit was the 'most confusing' part of taxes this year.
Global equity markets were little changed on Tuesday as Wall Street retreated and investors paused to gauge whether a bond yield jump had run its course, taking stock of gains from Monday's surge. "It was such a strong opening to the month yesterday that investors could be short-term focused and saying, 'Let's take some of the profits that we saw yesterday,'" said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research in New York. March began with a bang on Monday as global equities markets rose, the S&P 500 had its best day since June 5 and bond markets calmed after a month-long selloff.
The oil industry is no stranger to boom-bust cycles, but the pandemic has been its wildest ride to date, and on March 4 it’s due to take another turn when OPEC meets to consider rolling back production cuts. As the world’s cars and airplanes idled, global oil demand bottomed out in April at levels 16.4% below the previous year, dragging the price into negative territory for the first time. White-knuckling through it all has been OPEC, the 13-member cartel that dictates quotas for most of the world’s biggest oil-producing countries (notably excluding the US).
This chart shows why the S&P 500's bull market run may be both too short lived and too limited, in terms of price gains, to be over anytime soon.
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.
(Bloomberg) -- The most popular stock trade in China is unraveling, tarnishing the reputations of some of the country’s most successful money managers and undermining the outlook for the world’s second-largest equity market.Until three weeks ago, buying the nation’s beloved liquor maker Kweichow Moutai Co. was a surefire way for the $3 trillion mutual fund industry to mint money and attract bumper inflows. The stock soared 30% year-to-date through its Feb. 10 record, after gaining almost 70% in 2020 -- and doubling in the year before that.Many funds, flush with a record amount of cash, didn’t have a choice if they wanted to keep their clients and attract new investors. Buying Moutai was the simplest and most effective way to top rankings -- until it wasn’t. The stock began tumbling after the Lunar New Year break, and kept falling. It’s now down 22% since its peak, including a drop of as much as 6% Thursday, and has lost more than $111 billion in value.One of the most high-profile casualties is E Fund Management Co.’s Zhang Kun, the first in China to oversee 100 billion yuan ($15 billion). Zhang’s E Fund Blue Chip Selected Mixed Fund is down 12% in 10 trading days after returning 95% last year largely due to a big bet on baijiu, the Chinese white spirit. The fund had 9.6% of its assets invested in Moutai as of December. Another fund run by Zhang has lost 23%. Zhang didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.The fund manager has received “verbal abuse” in recent weeks by investors who were previously fans, according to a report Wednesday in China’s state tabloid Global Times. He was known as “Prince Charming” or “Brother Kun” among his investors, who now refer to him on social media as “Kun Gou” or “Kun the dog” -- an offensive term in Chinese.Other copycat money managers will be feeling the pain: recent data showed two-thirds of mutual fund assets were invested in only 100 stocks, while the top 400 stocks lured 93% of total funds. Although China’s onshore market contains more than 4,000 stocks, Moutai is by far the largest with a market value of about $390 billion.Moutai accounts for 27% of the loss in the FTSE China A50 Index of the nation’s largest companies since Feb. 10. When added together with fellow spirit makers Wuliangye Yibin Co. and Luzhou Laojiao Co., the three comprise more than half of the gauge’s decline.Concern had been growing about the stretched valuations of Moutai and its peers, especially as gains accelerated. A gauge tracking consumer staples, including liquor makers, traded at a record 36 times projected 12-month earnings in February.Read how China is warning against ‘entertaining’ investors with fund pitchesTo be sure, the company’s shares have faced plenty of risks in the past. The stock tumbled about 8% in a single day in July after the People’s Daily criticized the high price of the company’s liquor. In 2017, Xinhua News Agency said the stock was rising too fast, triggering a selloff. Back in 2013, the stock plunged when Xi Jinping came to power and clamped down on lavish spending by party cadres.But this time around, authorities have grown increasingly concerned about risks to the financial system posed by excess liquidity. On Tuesday, China’s top banking regulator jolted markets with a warning about the need to reduce leverage amid the rising risk of bubbles globally and in the local property sector. With Moutai being the best-known proxy for liquidity-fueled bets and momentum, fund managers will likely need to find a new strategy to protect their returns.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.