Feb.09 -- Karen Ward, chief market strategist for EMEA at JPMorgan Asset Management, discusses her outlook for markets in 2021. She speaks on “Bloomberg Markets: European Open.”
Feb.09 -- Karen Ward, chief market strategist for EMEA at JPMorgan Asset Management, discusses her outlook for markets in 2021. She speaks on “Bloomberg Markets: European Open.”
Oilpice.com is saying the leaders of the OPEC+ alliance, Saudi Arabia and Russia, are reportedly once again at odds over oil supply management.
The U.S. House votes Friday on a bill to give you a third payment. Could there be another?
Here's what still has to happen, including the big vote scheduled for Friday.
(Bloomberg) -- Shares of GameStop Corp. doubled yesterday and jumped another 19% today. Options traders think the stock can do much better than that.The most-active option traded on the stock Thursday was a contract betting that GameStop shares would spike to $800 on Friday. Some 52,000 contracts changed hands during the session betting on this one-day gain of 636%For other options traders, it was a question of when GameStop would hit the $800 mark, not if. The seventh and eighth most-active contracts were call options wagering that the stock would reach $800 by next Friday or in three weeks. It’s hard to say whether the contracts were mainly bought or sold, two traders said.“It’s speculation gone wild, pure and simple,” said Steve Sosnick, chief strategist at Interactive Brokers LLC. “It is Exhibit A in the nuttiness that is associated with GameStop.”GameStop’s Reddit-driven roller-coaster ride that roiled markets last month is continuing this week, with shares more than doubling in the final 90 minutes of trading on Wednesday and rising as much as 101% on an intraday level on Tuesday. The rally came as popular tech names from Tesla Inc. to Zoom Video Communications Inc. were battered after U.S. 10-year Treasury yields spiked to 1.6%.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.
Munger says the argument for diversification should be called 'diworsification.'
(Bloomberg) -- The world’s biggest Bitcoin fund is selling off faster than the cryptocurrency itself.The $32 billion Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (ticker GBTC) has plunged 20% this week, outpacing a 13% decline in the world’s largest cryptocurrency. GBTC’s once-massive premium to its underlying holdings has evaporated as a result, with the price of GBTC closing 0.7% below its underlying holdings on Wednesday -- the first discount since March 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.The vanishing premium suggests that after billions poured into GBTC as investors sought exposure to Bitcoin’s dizzying rally, investors are looking for the exits as the climb stalls, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.“This is panic or profit-taking selling,” said Eric Balchunas, BI’s senior ETF analyst. “It’s almost like the price of GBTC is an amplified version of Bitcoin price.”Bitcoin surged to a record of over $58,000 last weekend, but has stumbled since. The cryptocurrency fell another 1.4% on Thursday, on pace for its worst weekly pullback in a year.Michael Sonnenshein, chief executive officer of Grayscale Investments, acknowledged the risk of GBTC’s premium disappearing while speaking in a panel for the Bloomberg Crypto Summit on Thursday.“It’s certainly a risk, no question about it, but ultimately price discovery in GBTC every day is driven entirely by market forces,” Sonnenshein said.(Updates with comments from Michael Sonnenshein of Grayscale in the sixth 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.
As of Feb. 19, only 8 full days into the 2021 filing season, the IRS received 34.69 million individual returns.
What Happened: The largest crypto exchange in Southeast Asia, Philippines-based PDAX, experienced a technical failure that led to Bitcoin trading at $6,000 – an 88% discount to its current price. Following the incident, PDAX asked its customers to return their Bitcoins, threatening legal action, a local news outlet Bitpinas has reported. According to the exchange’s CEO, the system error was not due to a hack but a technical “glitch” caused by a massive surge in trading activity. Why It Matters: The initial outage is said to have taken place on February 18; however, since then, reports have surfaced on social media of customers being locked out of their exchange accounts and being asked to “return their Bitcoin.” “After almost 24 hours, they sent me a demand letter and SMS, requesting me to transfer back the BTC, or they “may” be compelled to take legal actions against me.” said one trader who believed his purchase was well within his rights without violating any laws or regulations of the trading platform. See also: How to Buy Bitcoin (BTC) Rafael Padilla, an attorney representing the affected users who are currently locked out of their accounts, commented on the issue on Facebook. “Our client’s trade transaction was legitimate under applicable laws, decided cases, and of course according to PDAX’s very own terms and conditions/user agreement.” According to Padilla, PDAX has opted to lock users out of their accounts because it cannot unilaterally reverse the transactions. An official statement from PDAX claims that 95% of accounts have been restored, but according to the report, many users are still locked out of their accounts. “It’s very understandable that a lot of users will feel upset they were able to buy what they thought an order was there for Bitcoin at very low prices. But unfortunately, the underlying Bitcoins were never in the possession of the exchange, so there’s never really anything there to be bought or sold, unfortunately.”, said PDAX CEO Nichel Gaba in a press conference earlier today. Image: vjkombajn via Pixabay See more from BenzingaClick here for options trades from BenzingaElon Musk's Tweet About Dogecoin Sends Price Up 10% In 30 Minutes AgainMicroStrategy Buys Additional .026B Worth Of Bitcoin, Surpasses Tesla's Bitcoin Holdings© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
A medical graduate who had about $440,000 in student debt saw 98% of his loans cancelled by a bankruptcy court in California, according to a recent filing.
Nearly $47.4 billion in tax refunds have been issued so far this year, but that's a far cry from more than $117 billion for the same time last year.
(Bloomberg) -- State Street’s $786 million exchange-traded fund investing in retailers was only just recovering from its last brush with GameStop Corp. Now it’s all happening again.The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (ticker XRT) is being distorted by the bricks-and-mortar seller of video games for a second time, just a few weeks after losing 80% of its assets in January’s meme-stock drama.GameStop is on another tear, surging roughly 50% on Thursday after a 104% gain the previous day. That’s a problem for XRT because it’s supposed to hold an equal amount of each stock, but it doesn’t rebalance swiftly enough to counter GameStop’s jump.The company now makes up about 5.9% of the fund. It should be more like 1%.Last time around, GameStop’s weighting eventually ballooned to 20% of XRT, prompting an exodus from the fund. It took about three weeks for assets to recover -- they hit the highest level since 2018 on Tuesday, just before the latest bout of meme-stock madness.With GameStop’s sudden revival, there could be more pain ahead of the passive fund’s March rebalance, according to CFRA Research’s Todd Rosenbluth.“Investors in XRT have seen this movie before, with GameStop quickly dominating the normally equally weighted portfolio before falling sharply,” said Rosenbluth, CFRA’s director of ETF research. “With no limits on position sizes and the rebalance nearly a month away, the risk is high that the stock will drive performance up and down. Some may not want to stick around to see if the sequel is any better.”Of course, GameStop’s rally in January was on a different scale -- it soared 1,600%, powering XRT to monthly gains of about 37%. That was a record for the normally staid ETF. But when the retailer plunged, the ETF was hit, and XRT remains around 5% lower in February despite a boost from GameStop this week.Such whiplash may dim XRT’s appeal as a portfolio hedging tool, according to Citigroup Inc.’s Scott Chronert.“When you have a stock-specific circumstance like this one, it might mess up how the hedging aspect is working,” Chronert said in an interview earlier this month. “If you’re looking to hedge a long book of retail or consumer names, the weighting impact on the broader sector ETF might not be a very good hedge because it’s dominated by a single name.”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.
Higher bond yields have arrived. Now investors have to consider what, if any, changes to make to their portfolios.
Class action lawsuits contend insurers are unfairly profiting from emptier roads.
(Bloomberg) -- The second time proved the charm for Saudi Arabia’s foray into electric vehicles.The kingdom’s main sovereign wealth fund is sitting on paper gains of over 30-fold from its investment in Lucid Motors Inc., with the value of its stake set to rise as part of a deal to take the company public.The result is a boost for the $400 billion Public Investment Fund after missing out on an epic rally in Tesla Inc. shares when it sold much of its 5% stake in the industry leader at the end of 2019.The PIF, as the fund is known, will hold a stake of 62% in Lucid once the acquisition of the automaker by special purpose acquisition vehicle Churchill Capital IV is complete. The holding would be valued at about $32 billion, based on the current share price of Church Capital IV.The deal would represent a jackpot for the PIF, which invested $1 billion in Lucid in 2018 and is expected to provide an additional $600 million in funding for the company before the SPAC deal is completed. It also participated in a $2.5 billion private investment in public equity, or PIPE, the largest of its kind on record for a SPAC deal.Under the leadership of Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the PIF has shifted investment priorities from holdings in state-owned companies to building up stakes in companies such as Uber Technologies Inc. and Jio Platforms Ltd., the digital services business controlled by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani.The fund’s returns on investment increased from about 3% between 2014 and 2016 to 8% from 2018 to 2020, according to the PIF website. It has more than doubled its assets in the five years since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been chairman.The investments are part of a strategy that aims to boost returns from the kingdom’s wealth while diversifying the Saudi economy and creating jobs.Bloomberg News reported in January that Lucid was in talks with the PIF to potentially build a factory near the Red Sea city of Jeddah, although the automaker’s CEO, Peter Rawlinson, said on Tuesday there were no imminent plans to build a factory in the kingdom.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.
Risk and reward are the yin and yang of stock trading, the two opposite but essential ingredients in every market success. And there are no stocks that better embody both sides – the risk factors and the reward potentials – than penny stocks. These equities, priced below $5 per share, typically offer high upside potentials. Even a small gain in share price – just a few cents – quickly translates into a high yield return. Of course, the risk is real, too; not every penny stock is going to show these sort of gains, some of them are cheap for a reason, and not every reason is a good one. So, how are investors supposed to distinguish between the long-term winners and those set to come up short? Following the activity of the investing titans is one strategy. Hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, chief of the investment firm Citadel, is one of those titans, having turned his college trading – from a PC in his dorm room – into a multi-billion dollar market giant. A look at Griffin’s performance during the coronavirus crisis shows just how successful he can be. In March of last year, when corona knocked the bottom out of the markets, Griffin’s Citadel still brought in a net positive return of 1.7%. And for the year as a whole, Citadel’s revenues totaled $6.7 billion, almost double the previous high in 2018. Turning to Griffin for inspiration, we took a closer look at two penny stocks Griffin’s Citadel made moves on recently. Using TipRanks’ database to find out what the analyst community has to say, we learned that each ticker boasts Buy ratings and massive upside potential. Abeona Therapeutics (ABEO) We will start with Abeona Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharma company focused on gene and cell therapy. This is a cutting edge field, using the latest genome technology to treat genetic diseases by inserting corrected copies of the DNA directly into affected cells. Abeona has seven drug candidates in the pipeline, with EB-101 and ABO-102 being the furthest along, and of most interest to investors. EB-101 is set to begin a Phase III trial as a treatment for Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (RDEB). This is a disorder of the connective tissue, leaving sufferers prone to serious skin lesions and wounds. The cause is a genetic defect that leaves patients unable to produce the collagen needed to secure the skin layers. If approved, EB-101 would become the first – and only available – treatment for RDEB. Treatment involves using the drug to transplant the affected gene into the patient’s skin cells, which are then themselves transplanted into affected skin areas. In early phase trials, the drug was well tolerated by patients, who showed distinct improvement up to 2 years after treatment. The Phase III trial is now enrolling patients. ABO-102, the next farthest-along drug candidate, is in a Phase I/II study as a treatment for Sanfilippo Syndrome, a fatal disease of early childhood. The syndrome is currently untreatable, except by supportive care, and affected children typically survive to age 15. ABO-102 is a gene therapy drug given through a one-time IV infusion. It delivers working copies of the affected gene to the child’s central nervous system, allowing the body to naturally correct the enzyme deficiency behind the disease. Both of these drug candidates have received Orphan Drug Designation in the US and Europe, making governmental assistance available for their development. In addition, they have also received the FDA’s Rare Pediatric Disease Designation. Abeona’s drug pipeline and $2.22 share price have scored it substantial praise from the pros on Wall Street. This is the stance taken by Griffin. Increasing its stake in the company by a whopping 181%, Citadel snapped up 1.846 million shares in Q4, which are now worth $4.06 million. 5-star analyst Ram Selvaraju, of H.C. Wainwright, also counts himself as a fan. Selvaraju has recently published two notes on ABEO, focusing on the potential of both EB-101 and ABO-102. Regarding the first, the analyst notes that the “Following the successful completion of the FDA meeting, Abeona is continuing with all necessary steps to enroll the next patient in the VIITAL study and expects to complete enrollment in 2021… In our view, FDA meeting and resultant feedback bode well for Abeona, since the agency appears to be on board with the company's study design and statistical analysis plan for the VIITAL [Phase III] trial…” Turning to ABO-102, Selvaraju said, “In our view, this data is highly intriguing and bears watching to see if it can be confirmed in a larger patient cohort. From our vantage point, preservation of neurocognitive development in young children with MPS IIIA is likely to be the principal efficacy measure that resonates with regulators.” In line with his optimistic view, Selvaraju rates ABEO a Buy along with a $8 price target. Should his thesis play out, a potential twelve-month jump of ~264% could be in the cards. (To watch Selvaraju’s track record, click here) Overall, 2 Buys and no Holds or Sells have been assigned in the last three months. Therefore, the analyst consensus is a Moderate Buy. At $6.50, the average price target puts the upside potential at ~188%. (See ABEO stock analysis on TipRanks) Mereo Biopharma (MREO) The second stock we’re looking at, Mereo, is another biopharma company with a focus on rare diseases. Mereo has a large and diverse pipeline, with six drug candidates in various stages of development. The company’s research programs are looking at treatments for solid tumor cancers, ovarian cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, among other severe conditions. Griffin is among those that have high hopes for this healthcare name. Griffin’s Citadel picked up 4.097 million shares in Q4, which are now worth $16.3 million. The biggest news for Mereo was the December 17 announcement of a collaboration and license agreement with the California company Ultragenyx for further development of Setrusumab, a candidate undergoing testing as a treatment for osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease. This incurable condition is usually treated with lifestyle changes and exercise. Setrusumab, however, has shown in Phase 2b studies that it can cause dose-dependent increase in bone formation in affected adults. Leerink analyst Joseph Schwartz writes of the Mereo/Ultragenyx partnership: “Although the RARE/MREO deal was unexpected, we are not surprised by the news considering MREO has been looking for a partner and RARE has ample experience developing and launching successful bone agents… We view [the] announcement as a win-win for both RARE and MREO since the two could complement each other’s strengths to bring setrusumab to market.” In light of these comments, Schwartz rates MREO shares as a Buy, and his $8 price target suggests it has a one-year upside of 103%. (To watch Schwartz’s track record, click here) Some stocks fly under the radar, and MREO is one of those. MREO’s is the only recent analyst review of this company, and it is decidedly positive. (See MREO stock analysis on TipRanks) To find good ideas for penny 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.
(Bloomberg) -- Capital One Financial Corp. has begun to lift borrowing limits for certain customers as it seeks to restart growth in its sprawling credit-card business.Increases are being offered to existing customers with both prime and subprime credit scores, Chief Executive Officer Richard Fairbank said at a virtual investor conference Wednesday. The company continues to hand out smaller credit lines to new customers.Capital One, the third-largest U.S. credit-card issuer, was among the first banks to cut borrowing limits last year as jobless claims mounted amid the Covid-19 crisis. In recent years, the firm has been investing in improving its technology that has long allowed it to offer cards to people with riskier credit profiles.“This is something that happens one customer at a time,” Fairbank said. “As time has passed and we’ve validated certain things with our models and so on, we’re stepping out a little bit more on the credit lines.”Even with customers allowed to spend more on their cards, Capital One is contending with the fact that consumers have sought to pay down debt throughout the pandemic. That’s hindered loan growth on the firm’s cards.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.
Borrowers are backing off, mortgage demand is falling — but what if rates go even higher?
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(Bloomberg) -- AT&T Inc. will offload its DirecTV operations in a deal with private equity firm TPG that values the business at about $16 billion, a fraction of what the telecom giant paid for the satellite-TV company in 2015.The move caps years of AT&T deliberating over what to do with DirecTV, a pay-television pioneer that had increasingly become a burden as it hemorrhaged customers.As part of the agreement, a joint venture with TPG will run DirecTV and AT&T’s other pay-TV operations, the companies said Thursday. AT&T will get $7.6 billion in cash from the transaction, with the new DirecTV taking on $5.8 billion in committed debt financing.TPG is acquiring a 30% stake in the business, leaving AT&T with 70% of the new entity. A key benefit for the phone company will be the removal of DirecTV from its books, though the transaction doesn’t include Latin America operations.With the sale, AT&T is taking a big step toward becoming a smaller, modern communications and media company. It also helps the carrier balance competing cash demands. AT&T is funneling money into its 5G network, film and TV programming production and dividends of almost $15 billion a year, as well as paying interest on nearly $154 billion in long-term debt.Acquiring DirecTV six years ago for $48 billion made AT&T the largest pay-TV provider in the U.S. But it also became the biggest victim of cord cutting that swept the industry, with customers jettisoning pay-TV packages in favor of streaming services.Since buying DirecTV, AT&T has lost almost 9 million TV subscribers -- or more than a third of the 25.4 million customers it had six years ago. To account for the lower value of the business, the company took a $15.5 billion impairment charge last quarter.The DirecTV venture will control the NFL Sunday Ticket contract, which lets customers see games that aren’t available on local channels. AT&T is on the hook to pay as much as $2.5 billion to the new company for losses during the remaining two years of that deal.The board of the new DirecTV will have two representatives apiece from AT&T and TPG, as well as a fifth seat for the chief executive officer. Bill Morrow, currently CEO of AT&T’s U.S. video unit, is expected to take that role when the transaction is completed.The deal will help pay for AT&T’s 5G wireless expansion, including the billions of dollars worth of airwaves the company is expected to buy at a federal auction.With the TV operations in a separate venture, AT&T and TPG can pursue M&A options that weren’t necessarily available previously. The biggest and most widely proposed match would be rival satellite-TV provider Dish Network Corp.Executives from both Dish and AT&T have acknowledge the logic of a deal like that. A proposed combination of the two satellite services was shot down by the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Justice Department in 2002.Future Deals?AT&T CEO John Stankey was asked on an investor call if he saw an opportunity for the venture to combine with another video distributor. He said he’s considered a couple avenues to position the assets differently down the road to create more value.“First, we want to get the leadership team in place and executing well,” he said. “And then from there we can explore what those second options might be.”Stankey has been cleaning house at the sprawling telecom titan, cutting staff and selling underperforming assets. He said on the call that he is still open to a possible sale of AT&T’s Latin America DirecTV business.AT&T’s PriorityHis priority, he said during a January earnings call, is to increase subscribers to HBO Max, the company’s $15-a-month streaming service, as well as add lucrative wireless customers. For the third part of his three-pronged plan, Stankey said AT&T would connect 2 million more homes to fiber-optic cable by year-end.As part of its belt-tightening efforts, AT&T agreed in December to sell its anime video unit Crunchyroll to Sony Corp.’s Funimation Global Group for $1.18 billion.“This agreement aligns with our investment and operational focus on connectivity and content, and the strategic businesses that are key to growing our customer relationships across 5G wireless, fiber and HBO Max,” Stankey said on Thursday.(Updates with discussion of M&A options in starting in 11th 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.