The co-founder of home brand Serena & Lily has a new retail baby -- Boon Supply. It’s an online shop letting customers buy home essentials and donate to good causes. Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous sat down with Boon Supply's Lily Kanter.
The co-founder of home brand Serena & Lily has a new retail baby -- Boon Supply. It’s an online shop letting customers buy home essentials and donate to good causes. Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous sat down with Boon Supply's Lily Kanter.
Wall Street is expecting Canadian Pacific to raise its offer for Kansas City Southern even at the cost of more debt to win the bidding war with larger Canadian railroad rival Canadian National. In the latest twist to the takeover saga, the U.S. railroad operator on Thursday accepted Canadian National's $33.6 billion offer, leaving Canadian Pacific just five business days to make a new offer. Analysts said Canadian Pacific was unlikely to let go a chance to be the first railway spanning the United States, Mexico and Canada easily even though it had said it would not leverage its books to outbid Canadian National.
(Bloomberg) -- The Bank of Canada is closely monitoring recent gains in the nation’s currency, to ensure the appreciation doesn’t create headwinds for the nation’s economic outlook, according to the central bank’s head.At a press conference Thursday, Governor Tiff Macklem said the recent appreciation reflects in part higher commodity prices, which are good for the nation’s economy. Still, a continuation of the gains could begin to pose a risk to the central bank’s most recent forecasts released last month, which assumed an exchange rate of $0.8 per Canadian dollar.The Canadian dollar is up 4.9% so far this year, the best performing major currency. It weakened after Macklem’s comments, falling to C$1.2179 per U.S. dollar, or $0.8211 per Canadian dollar at 1:12 p.m. in Toronto trading.“If it moves a lot further that could have a material impact on our outlook and it’s something we’d have to take into account in our setting of monetary policy,” Macklem said Wednesday. “If the dollar were to continue to move -- particularly if its not reflecting good developments for Canada -- that could become more of a headwind on our export projection.”The Canadian dollar has been tracking resource prices higher this year. The Bank of Canada commodity price index -- a gauge that tracks movements of commodities produced in the country -- has hit the highest since 2014 after gaining 30% so far this year. Excluding energy, the index is at an all-time high.But the currency also appears to have gotten a lift from Macklem’s messaging, after the Bank of Canada last month accelerated the timetable for a possible interest-rate increase and pared back its bond purchases.“Macklem only said that if the currency were to appreciate absent fundamental reasons, then they’d be more concerned about competitiveness implications but that so far that’s not the case,” Derek Holt, an economist at Bank of Nova Scotia, said by email.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. company that just paid a $5 million ransom to East European hackers has been quietly making hundreds of millions of dollars a year providing a vital service with little competition and a safety record that has raised concerns.Colonial Pipeline, based in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, Georgia, operates the largest fuel pipeline in the country, transporting more than 100 million gallons a day from Houston to New York City, half the region’s needs.While it began six decades ago as a proud joint project of big oil companies -- the U.S. commerce secretary was present for the 1962 groundbreaking -- today it’s mostly owned by an arm of Koch Industries and several Wall Street investors, and is run as much like a financial asset as a major piece of infrastructure.Over the past decade, Colonial has distributed nearly all its profits, sometimes more, in the form of dividends. In 2018, for example, it paid nearly $670 million to its owners, even more than the $467 million net income. Last year, it returned to investors over 90% of its $421.6 million in profits.It’s an approach that’s made plenty of money for its owners. Last year’s $421 million in net income was a gain of nearly 32 cents for every dollar of revenue. Investors are getting an annual return of about 10%.Meanwhile, its aging pipelines have suffered a series of accidents. Last August, a segment of a conduit was interrupted for almost a week after more than 28,000 barrels of gasoline spilled for days in a North Carolina nature preserve, discovered by two teenagers riding all-terrain vehicles.That was caused by a failure in a sleeve repair installed 16 years earlier. In March, a federal regulator said similar threats exist throughout the system and the continued operation without corrective measures “would pose a pipeline integrity risk to public safety, property, or the environment.”Three other spills due to cracks have been reported since 2015. In September 2016, a line was shut for 12 days, cutting supplies to millions of customers. Two months later, a fatal blast nearby led to another interruption.“Colonial’s inability to effectively detect and respond to such releases has potentially exacerbated the impacts of numerous releases over the operational history of Colonial’s entire pipeline system,” Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said in a notice of proposed safety order sent to Colonial Chief Executive Officer Joseph Blount.Colonial Pipeline disagrees with those statements, is working with the regulator to more fully address any concerns and began to implement lessons from the incident almost immediately after it occurred, a company spokesperson said in an emailed response to questions. “While one gallon released to our right of way is one too many, our safety culture is focused on zero operational events,” the company said.Some have also accused Colonial, like much of the rest of the industry, of insufficient attention to cybersecurity. Matias Katz, founder of the cybersecurity firm Byos, estimates that less than 25% of the U.S. oil and gas industry has adequate cybersecurity in place.In a response to questions, Colonial said it has increased overall spending on information technology by 50% since 2017, when a new chief information officer was appointed. Colonial uses more than 20 different and overlapping cybersecurity tools to monitor and defend the company’s networks, and its third-party investigator “has acknowledged many of the best practices we had in place prior to the incident,” it said in a statement.Colonial Pipeline’s capacity has increased marginally since the early 2000s yet reliance on it has grown markedly as refineries along the East Coast have shut down due to competition from shale sources in Texas and North Dakota.Read More: How a Key U.S. Pipeline Got Knocked Out by Hackers: QuickTakeFuel makers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania depend on pricier oil from Europe and West Africa, or domestic crude shipped on trains or on U.S. flagged-tankers, both expensive propositions. In 2019, Philadelphia Energy Solutions Inc., the largest refining complex on the East Coast, shut after a gasoline-making unit was almost destroyed by an explosion and fire.“The pipeline is 60 years old, but its importance has only increased as Mid-Atlantic refining capacity has decreased, and historically operating refineries in Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have shut down,” said James Lucier at Capital Alpha Partners LLC, a Washington-based consultant.Tougher regulation and fierce opposition from environmental activists have made it increasingly costly and more complex for companies to pursue major pipeline projects, according to Alan Gelder, vice president of refining and oil markets at Wood Mackenzie, a consulting firm. In January, President Joe Biden blocked the $9 billion Keystone XL project. Even during the Trump administration, energy companies such as Williams Cos. and Dominion Energy Inc. were forced to scrap major pipeline projects.“Building pipelines is complicated,” says Gelder. “Shareholders would be very careful about capital investments.”If in the 1960s, pipelines made clear economic sense in a country rapidly expanding its industrial economy, in 2021, with demand flattening and gasoline-burning cars being gradually replaced by electric ones, it’s become much harder to make the case for massive investment in fossil fuel infrastructure.“Colonial continues to actively explore growth opportunities, which are subject to confidential protections,” the company said. “Refined product consumption in the United States has remained relatively flat, but our commercial affairs team is constantly evaluating expansion opportunities to meet shipper and market demand.”The reliance on Colonial Pipeline is also a result of regulation like the 1920’s Jones Act, a federal law that requires goods shipped between U.S. ports to be transported on vessels that are built, owned, and operated by U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The limited number of vessels that meet the criteria makes it extremely expensive for refiners to get oil supplies from the Gulf of Mexico by sea.“Is this the way it’s supposed to be? I would say ‘no’,” Gelder said. “I don’t think U.S. energy infrastructure has ever had a particular plan.”It didn’t start out this way.In 1961, nine energy behemoths including Texaco, Phillips Petroleum, Continental Oil and Mobil joined to build what was then the country’s largest-ever privately-funded construction project. The pipeline costing $370 million (about $3.3 billion today) would allow them to haul gasoline and other fuels from Houston to New York Harbor and points in-between. Colonial was operating fully by 1964.After making massive investments that more than doubled the system’s capacity over the 1970s and 1980s, the oil majors that held and ran the pipeline eventually sold their stakes as depressed oil prices through the end of the century forced them to shed assets and combine operations.The pipeline’s ownership profile then began to change completely. Today, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC is the only oil major among the five firms which split the control of the pipeline.A unit of the industrial conglomerate owned by billionaires Charles and David Koch emerged as Colonial’s largest shareholder after acquiring BP Plc’s and Marathon Oil Corp.’s interests from 2002 onward. A joint venture between private equity firm Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts & Co. and South Korea’s state-run National Pension Service bought Chevron Corp.’s stake in 2010. A year later, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, a Canadian fund manager, bought out ConocoPhillips. IFM Investors, an investment firm owned by Australian pension funds, holds a stake since 2007.Private equity firms and pension funds are attracted to pipelines because they are natural monopolies and typically provide steady income streams even during economic downturns. Investors led by EIG Global Energy Partners LLC last month paid $12.4 billion for a stake in Saudi Aramco’s pipeline proceeds.Although simply known as the Colonial pipeline, it’s in reality a network of several pipelines, running in parallel, and extending in branches across the Southeast and East Coast. Measuring all the parallel lines and branches, it reaches 5,500 miles. The main two pipelines, known as Line 1 and Line 2, go from Houston to Greensboro, North Carolina. From there, two smaller pipelines, known as Line 3 and Line 4, extends to Linden, New Jersey. The pipeline has a capacity for about 2.5 million barrels a day -- more than the total oil consumption of Germany.Tom Garrubba, chief information security officer at Shared Assessments, said the oil industry “just wasn’t sexy” enough for hackers to go after historically. But the rise of ransomware as a billion-dollar business has made it more attractive to go after other vulnerable industries like energy.“This is very big black eye,” Garrubba said. “It’s going to start inviting other threat actors to be copycats. That’s what my concern is.”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) -- Barclays Plc has been hit by a string of departures among senior credit traders in New York and London unhappy that their bonuses failed to reflect the pandemic profit surge.The bank has offered promotions to some employees and given assurances over future pay in an attempt to address their concerns, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.Departures from the credit desk include Ovie Faruq, director in U.S. high-yield cash and derivatives trading in New York, the people said. Bloomberg News has previously reported that Shrut Kalra, head of European investment grade trading, Taymour El Chammah, global head of macro credit trading, and John Cortese, co-head of U.S. credit trading, left last month. They all declined to comment.Faruq, Kalra, Cortese and spokesperson at Barclays declined to comment, while El Chammah did not respond to requests for comment. Bonuses in credit trading rose by as much as 20% over the past year, the people said. However, the increase did not keep pace with the improvement in some teams’ performances, according to the people.Across the bank, Barclays granted annual bonuses worth 1.09 billion pounds ($1.54 billion), down 3% year-on-year following an overall 30% drop in pretax profits in the wake of the pandemic.Money MakerCredit traders buy and sell bonds and loans issued by corporations and also deal in derivatives linked to their financial health. They thrived as companies were slammed by the pandemic before central banks intervened, sending bonds on a rollercoaster. A record $39 billion of U.S. corporate debt was bought and sold on average every day last year, helping the biggest banks generate the most credit-trading revenue since 2013, according to data from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and Coalition Development Ltd.The business is a key money maker for Barclays. Led by Adeel Khan, the unit’s best performers included traders in so-called flow credit and U.S. high-yield bonds, the people said. Khan has recently made several promotions within the team. Last month, London-based Finbar Cooke and Michael Khouri were made co-heads of credit trading for Europe, while Hong Kong-based James Roberts took on the role for Asia.While the bank stopped disclosing results for the unit several years ago, the credit business generated about 38% of the wider fixed-income division’s revenue for 2016 and 2017 combined, filings show. The division, which also houses teams dealing in government bonds and currencies, reported revenue of 5.1 billion pounds ($7.2 billion) last year, the most in almost a decade.On an earnings call last month, Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley said the bank has the ability to cut bonuses to address investor concerns about its growing costs. “It’s a very controllable number so if our performance weakens we can take it right down again,” 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.
U.S. stocks are seen opening higher Friday, continuing to rebound after a difficult start to the week ahead of the release of key retail sales data. At 7:05 AM ET (1205 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 145 points, or 0.4%, S&P 500 Futures traded 25 points, or 0.6%, higher, and Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 135 points, or 1%. All three major U.S. stock indexes notched solid gains on Thursday, bouncing back from three straight days of selling, The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1.3%, or over 400 points, higher, the S&P 500 gained 1.2%, its biggest percentage gain in over a month, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.7%.
Hundreds of Caixabank employees protested in Valencia on Friday against the bank's plans to cut staff numbers by nearly a fifth in Spain, just as shareholders were due to vote on bosses pay at the lender's annual meeting. TV footage released by the union CCOO on social media showed people, some wearing masks with faces of Caixabank executives, protesting outside Valencia's Palacio de Congresos, where the bank's shareholder meeting was taking place. A spokesman for the union Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) said 500 people had turned up in Valencia to protest against the bank's job cut plans.
NEW YORK (Reuters) -The U.S. capital was running out of gasoline on Friday, even as the country's largest fuel pipeline network ramped up deliveries following a cyberattack and Washington officials assured motorists that supplies would return to normal soon. The six-day Colonial Pipeline shutdown was the most disruptive cyberattack on record, demonstrating how vulnerable vital U.S. infrastructure is to cybercriminals. Widespread panic buying continued two days after pipeline network restarted, leaving filling stations across the U.S. Southeast out of gas even in areas far from the pipeline.
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The Hungarian forint firmed to a three-month high against the euro on Friday, boosted by high short-term interest rates, while other central and eastern European currencies and stocks were mixed. "The forint is firming because the high CPI data fuels rate hike expectations," a Budapest-based trader said. "Also, short-term rates in Hungary are the highest in the region and that gives the forint an advantage among its peers."
(Bloomberg) -- A crack in a bridge over the Mississippi River has stranded more than 700 barges, cutting off the biggest route for U.S. agricultural exports when the critical waterway is at its busiest.The route is shut near Memphis while the Tennessee Department of Transportation inspects a large crack in a highway bridge spanning the river, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. A queue has expanded to 47 vessels and 771 barges, with 430 of those heading north and the rest going south, Petty Officer Carlos Galarza of the Coast Guard’s 8th District said Thursday afternoon by email.The Mississippi River is the main artery for U.S. crop exports, with covered barges full of grain and soy floating to terminals along the Gulf of Mexico, while crude oil as well as imported steel also travel through sections of the waterway. Any sustained outage would disrupt shipments out of the Gulf. Corn futures tumbled by the most allowed under CME Group rules partly on speculation that exports would back up.“The river is the jugular for the export market in the Midwest for both corn and beans,” said Colin Hulse, a senior risk management consultant at StoneX in Kansas City. “The length of the blockage is important. If they cannot quickly get movement, then it is a big deal. If it slows or restricts movement for a longer period it can be a big deal as well.”The stoppage along the Mississippi River is the latest calamity to upend the commodities world in recent weeks. Back in March, the Suez Canal was blocked by a giant container ship that got stuck sideways in the vital waterway for almost a week, paralyzing global shipping. And late last week, a cyberattack brought down the largest fuel pipeline in the U.S. for five days, leading to widespread gasoline shortages from Florida to Virginia.A lengthy halt on the Mississippi River could further roil crop markets, where soybeans and corn futures have hit multiyear highs amid adverse weather in Latin America and a buying spree from China. Corn futures fell Thursday by the exchange limit of 40 cents, or 5.6%, to $6.7475 a bushel in Chicago.As a workaround, traders could in theory also send some supplies on trains and divert to ports along the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Few grain and soy buyers were bidding for barges north of the river closure amid uncertainty on when vessel traffic would resume.The crack halting vehicle and waterway traffic is in the truss of the Interstate 40 Hernando DeSoto Bridge, which was found during a routine inspection, according to a Tuesday statement from the Tennessee Department of Transportation.“The timeline is still undetermined” for the waterway reopening, department spokeswoman Nichole Lawrence said Thursday morning by email.The Army Corp of Engineers could figure out a way to keep automotive traffic closed in order for water traffic to resume under the bridge, according to CRU Group analyst Josh Spoores. It may cause bottlenecks, but most consumers already used to waiting months for supplies to ship are probably fine with some added delays, he said.The New Orleans Port Region moved 47% of waterborne agricultural exports in 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The majority of these exports were bulk grains and bulk grain products, such as corn, soybeans, animal feed and rice. The region also supports a significant amount of edible oil exports, such as soybean and corn oils and even attracted 13% of U.S. waterborne frozen poultry exports in 2017.Some traders speculated that, based on past experience, the river might be partially opened for restricted movements while repairs are being done.“My sense is that it is not a big deal for river traffic as it will be a short-term disruption,” said Stephen Nicholson, a senior analyst for grains and oilseeds at Rabobank. “The good news is most of fertilizer has already come up river and soybean exports are at their low point. However, corn exports continue at a strong pace, so we may see a slight delay in corn barges reaching” New Orleans.It may be difficult for exporters to shift much volume to rail, as the capacity to unload trains outside of the New Orleans area is limited, according to Curt Strubhar, vice chairman and risk management consultant at Advance Trading Inc.“There aren’t many rail unloaders South of the issue,” he said, adding that New Orleans “port elevators aren’t equipped to handle a sharply higher share of rail unloads either.”Of agricultural supplies that floated on barges north of Memphis, about 84% was corn and about 13% was soybeans, according to Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition, citing USDA data. Overall shipments of corn and soy during the week ended May 8 were 18% higher than a year ago.Agricultural co-operative Growmark’s St. Louis port, which sends corn and soybeans south to New Orleans for export mostly to China and receives fertilizers, will likely close Friday, according to Matt Lurkins, executive director of the firm’s grain division.“Freight was already tight,” Lurkins said in a phone interview. “Then this kind of sent us over the edge.”If the pause drags on, he said, Growmark could send more grain to processors rather than loading it on barges for export.Small volumes of crude and partly refined oil are shipped by barge on the river as well. In February, 2.85 million barrels moved from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast via barge and tanker, according to government data.Imported steel on barges will be delayed as long as traffic is halted. About 25% of imported steel travels through at least a section of the Mississippi River, according to Wood Mackenzie analyst Cicero Machado, though he said newly arriving foreign steel to ports in New Orleans or Mobile, Alabama can be diverted onto rail cars or trucks.The river also is a major artery for steel shipments within the U.S. and delays could become an issue for automakers in the South that depend on high-strength steels produced in the Midwest, he said.“At this stage the big question is: is this going to last?” Machado said. “The issue is not actually in the river, it’s in a bridge over the river -- so perhaps they’re going to find a way to manage the traffic there.”(Adds Coast Guard update in 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.
The Tesla CEO sent the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies plummeting. But he may be aiming to turn crypto-mining green in ways that benefit Tesla.
(Bloomberg) -- Stock sales are reaping a windfall for the world’s richest shareholders.Corporate insiders including Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos and Google co-founder Sergey Brin have ramped up stock sales recently, cashing in on a 14-month long bull market that’s helped boost fortunes to the tune of trillions.U.S. public company insiders offloaded shares worth $24.4 billion this year through the first week of May, with about half sold through trading plans, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s almost as much as the $30 billion total they disposed of in the second half of 2020.Large shareholders frequently sell stock in planned intervals, often through pre-arranged trading programs. Yet the prolonged rally in equities markets has made the value of these disposals, whether planned or opportunistic, strikingly high.There are multiple reasons an investor of any size might be motivated to sell. After the pandemic-defying rally, valuations are increasingly under pressure from rising inflation. Investors are wary the post-Covid recovery could prompt tightening measures from the Federal Reserve. And President Joe Biden’s proposed tax hikes -- including a near doubling of the capital gains rate -- have created uncertainty.Bezos, EllisonWhatever the reason, the sales are flooding the market with yet more liquidity, the consequences of which will ripple through philanthropy, the art market, real estate and other niches.Bezos has sold $6.7 billion worth of Amazon shares this year. While a relative pittance for the world’s richest person, it’s more than two-thirds the value of shares he sold in 2020. Larry Ellison unloaded 7 million Oracle shares in the past week for total proceeds of $552.3 million. Charles Schwab has sold $192 million worth of shares of his eponymous brokerage this year.Brin, who has signaled that he intends to sell as many as 250,000 Alphabet Inc. shares, has disposed of $163 million worth of stock in recent days, his first sales in more than four years, filings show.Mark Zuckerberg and his charitable foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, meanwhile, accelerated their sales of Facebook stock in the fall. Zuckerberg or his charity has divested shares at a near-daily clip since November, for a cumulative total exceeding $1.87 billion.The surging markets have exacerbated the concentration risk of the single-stock-dominated fortunes typical of many tech billionaires, said Thorne Perkin, president of Papamarkou Wellner Asset Management.“From a portfolio-management perspective, it makes sense to spread it around,” he said.Covid EconomyAlso among the biggest sellers are some noteworthy beneficiaries of the Covid economy. Zoom Video Communications founder Eric Yuan and used-car retailer Carvana Co.’s Ernest Garcia II have together received more than $1.75 billion from stock sales since March 2020, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. George Kurtz, chief executive officer of cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, has sold shares worth at least $250 million over that period.Zoom founder Yuan -- the poster child, in many ways, for the coronavirus economy -- has stepped up his sales this year as the firm’s share price slumped. In 2020, he typically offloaded about 140,000 shares a month through a trading plan, which generated more than $350 million over the course of the year.Since March, he’s sold almost 200,000 shares a month on average, yielding him about $185 million. He also donated more than a third of his stake in the San Jose-based company as part of “typical estate planning practices,” according to a spokesman. Some of the cash from his share sales fund donations to unspecified “humanitarian causes.”(Updates with Charles Schwab’s sales in seventh 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.
The Walt Disney Co. blew away earnings expectations with a Thursday report, but shares still fell in late trading as the pandemic-fueled growth of its streaming services slowed down.
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A metal coatings plant in China's manufacturing hub has been hit by price increases of up to 30% for raw materials including steel, aluminium, thinner and paint since the Chinese New Year in February. The firm has had no choice but to pass most of these higher costs on to its clients, including those in the United States, said King Lau, who helps run Dongguan-based Kam Pin Industrial Ltd, in Guangdong province. With their profit margins already tight, Chinese factories are passing on higher raw material and component costs to overseas clients, which will only reinforce the inflation loop.