Weak data out of China raises concern for investors. Yahoo Finance's Julie Hyman, Adam Shapiro and Brian Cheung discuss with Allianz Chief Economic Adviser Mohammed El- Erian.
Weak data out of China raises concern for investors. Yahoo Finance's Julie Hyman, Adam Shapiro and Brian Cheung discuss with Allianz Chief Economic Adviser Mohammed El- Erian.
(Bloomberg) -- Once again, the U.S. stock market suffered a major dip. And once again, buyers arrived on the scene right on time to stop the bleeding.Was that the right call this week, given the shocker of an inflation report that roiled markets on Wednesday? While only time will tell for sure, a chorus of analysts and strategists are defending their bullish positions and recommending clients take advantage of cheaper prices to buy stocks -- especially in the battered technology industry.The rationale for many echoes the Federal Reserve’s take on hot inflation reports in 2021: Price pressures will be temporary as the economy works its way back to normal following the pandemic. Victoria Fernandez, chief market strategist at Crossmark Global Investments, said the consumer-prices report did little to alter her belief that above-normal inflation will be fleeting and the fundamentals in technology stocks remain attractive.“The question is, 12 months from now are we going to see a big jump in consumer prices? And I think most people will say probably not,” she said. “When you’ve had a pullback like this for some of these big tech names, to me that is an opportunity to go in and add to them.”Inflation concerns reached a climax on Wednesday when the government reported the consumer price index jumped 4.2% year-over-year in April, the fastest rise since 2008 and well above most economists’ estimates. That can’t be written off entirely to fuel prices and base effects from suppressed prices last year. Core CPI, excluding food and energy prices, rose 0.9% from the prior month, the biggest such increase since 1982.The initial reaction was brutal: By the end of Wednesday, the S&P 500 was down as much as 4% from its last record on May 7, poised for its worst week since October. It recouped more than half the losses on Thursday and Friday to close 1.4% lower on the week, still its worst drop in almost three months. The Nasdaq 100 Index plunged 2.6% on Wednesday, extending its retreat from an April record to 7.4%, then rebounded 3% in the last two days of the week. “That just shows there is a lot of cash on the sidelines and this weakness in the market is being met with a lot of demand,” said Matt Miskin, co-chief investment strategist at John Hancock Investment Management.Treasury yields, closely watched by equity investors for signs that inflation will lead to higher borrowing costs, marched upward. The 10-year yield ended the week up five basis points at 1.63%One interesting dynamic at play: Dip buyers in tech stocks appear to be mainly day traders and other individuals, rather than hedge funds and other professional investors. Retail traders bought a daily average of $300 million in tech stocks and related exchange-traded funds, according to data from Vanda Research.Meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s hedge-fund clients boosted bearish wagers against growth stocks while adding money to value sectors like banks. Semiconductor stocks in particular saw cooling interest amid production constraints, with net exposure falling to the lowest level since at least the start of 2020, according to JPMorgan’s prime broker data. Software was the focus of many dip-buying calls this week. Some of the group’s formerly hot stocks like Coupa Software Inc. and Alteryx Inc. have tumbled more than 30% from highs notched earlier this year.That’s creating great opportunities for investors to buy the highest-quality software-as-a-service and cloud-computing stocks that are poised to rebound, according to Evercore ISI analyst Kirk Materne.“Each time we have seen a big valuation-induced software sell down, the returns over the next six, 12 and 24 months trounce the S&P 500,” he wrote in a note this week. “While we expect the sector to remain choppy near-term, we believe that picking away at leading SaaS/Cloud franchises makes sense for those investors taking a 3-6 months view.”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.K. is set to start its own carbon market with the aim of putting a price on polluting that it hopes will help achieve the country’s ambitious climate goals.The first auction of emission permits on May 19 is the latest test of how the country copes with the separation from the European Union, its largest trading partner.Until January, Britain was part of the EU’s emissions trading system, the world’s largest cap-and-trade program and the centerpiece of the bloc’s efforts to limit climate change. By going it alone, the U.K. is forgoing a 16-year-old market that helped cut EU emissions by almost a quarter in the past two decades.The U.K. auction will be keenly watched to see how close prices will be to those in Europe, where emission costs have doubled in the past six months to a record. Too high a price could tilt the economic playing field against U.K. companies by overburdening them with permit costs, while one too low diminishes the incentive to invest in low-carbon technology.While the U.K. market was designed to be almost exactly like the EU system, there are a few key differences.The main one is that it’s much smaller. That means there are far fewer industrial and power-sector emissions that need permits. The U.K. is set to auction about 83 million permits this year, compared to more than 700 million for the EU.It’s an issue market participants are concerned about. Earlier this year representatives from industry groups in the U.K. and Europe wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to urge him to link the carbon trading system with the larger EU system. That would mean permits from both the U.K. and EU could be used to account for emissions in either.The smaller market size also raises the risk of bigger price swings. An emissions trading system is meant to give businesses an indication of when is a good time to invest in lower-carbon alternatives. A high degree of volatility could hurt confidence that the emissions price is a reliable figure.“It’s an emissions trading system for a very small market, which makes no sense,” said Jan Ahrens, head of research at SparkChange, a platform to facilitate investments in carbon markets. “That has the risk of having high price volatility.”Volatility and a surging price could also be affected by how much financial players buy into the market. Demand from investment funds helped drive the gains in the EU carbon price this year. Ahrens said the investors he works with are eager to buy British carbon.So how much will emissions cost in the U.K.? The main indicator is the EU carbon price, which has gained more than 70% this year to a peak of 56.90 euros per metric ton, or 49.01 pounds, on Friday.The U.K. market is set to be oversupplied from the outset, a bearish indicator for prices. The cap for total emissions is about 156 million tons, compared with about 97 million tons of actual emissions estimated by BloombergNEF. That surplus is intentional, allowing market participants to accumulate permits to hedge for future years. The cap will likely be revised in the coming years to shrink with the U.K.’s plans to rapidly cut emissions this decade.There is also a safety net built into the British system. Unlike the EU, the U.K. has a price floor so that permits can’t be auctioned below 22 pounds. But similar to the EU, there’s a mechanism for the government to add permits to the market if prices rise too far, too fast.U.K. Plans Deeper Carbon Cuts to Spur Climate Change FightIt’s a part of the U.K.’s effort to ensure that the system works as planned, that companies that need permits can get them and that prices don’t bounce around too much after the market’s launch.“This is the first year, so they want to make sure the market is effective,” said Bo Qin, analyst at BloombergNEF. “Not too high, not too low,”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) -- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. forecast better-than-expected revenue and pledged to invest in new growth arenas, signaling its intention to move past a Chinese antitrust probe that triggered its first loss in nine years.Jack Ma’s flagship e-commerce firm swung to a 5.5 billion yuan ($852 million) net loss -- its first since 2012 -- after the company swallowed a $2.8 billion fine for monopolistic behavior imposed by Beijing. It now intends to refocus on its business, plowing “all incremental profit” back into technology and hotly contested areas like community commerce, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang pledged on Thursday. Its shares fell more than 6% in Hong Kong after Citigroup and CICC slashed their price targets on fears that prioritizing growth will hammer profits.Alibaba executives have sought to put behind them a crackdown on Ma’s internet empire that’s shaved $260 billion off the Chinese internet behemoth’s market value. The penalty imposed in April marked the conclusion of a four-month probe, but uncertainty persists as Beijing continues to rein in Alibaba and increasingly powerful rivals from Tencent Holdings Ltd. to Meituan. No analyst asked directly about what’s to come in the broader clampdown Thursday, though Zhang stressed the company accepted the fine and will move forward.“We accept the penalty with sincerity and will ensure our compliance with determination,” the CEO said. “During the past fiscal year, we have gone through all kinds of challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic, fierce competition as well as an anti-monopoly investigation and penalty decision by Chinese regulators. We believe the best way to overcome these challenges is to look forward and invest for the long term.”Alibaba’s shares are down about 35% from its October peak, just before Ma’s now-infamous rant against outmoded regulations triggered a chain of events that torpedoed a $35 billion initial public offering by his Ant Group Co. and started a probe into the e-commerce giant.“The lack of tangible evidence of material share gains on the ground, for example in community group buying, or food delivery, remains a material concern of ours for Alibaba,” Bernstein analysts led by Robin Zhu said. “We fear that until such data points materialize, Alibaba’s investments will be likened to selling the family silver.”“There is still significant uncertainty in Alibaba,” said Andy Halliwell, an analyst at consultancy Publicis Sapient. “There is no doubt though that Alibaba have capitalized on their digital and tech strategy in light of the global pandemic, and the rebounding Chinese economy. But it remains to be seen how Jack Ma’s behavior last year will have a lasting impact on brand and investor confidence.”Click here for a live blog of the earnings call.Alibaba is keen to convey the impression that it’s back to business as normal. Ma was spotted this week at an annual staff and family celebration at its sprawling Hangzhou campus, where kids played in ball pits while company mascots posed for photos with employees in cosplay.On Thursday, the company forecast revenue for the year ending March 2022 will rise at least 30% to more than 930 billion yuan, beating the 923.5 billion average projection. That’s a deceleration from the previous year’s 41%, and comes after sales for the three moths ended March came in at a better-than-expected 187.4 billion yuan.The anticipatedrevenue growth however disappointed some analysts given the pledge to hike spending. It’s also unclear how much the increased investment, which also encompasses areas from local internet services and merchant solutions, may hurt margins. And reliable growth engines are slowing: cloud revenue grew just 37% in the March quarter after a major, unidentified customer pulled out, the slowest pace since 2014.Zhang singled out community commerce -- an area now fought over between a number of deep-pocketed rivals like JD.com Inc. and Pinduoduo Inc. -- as a key avenue to reach lower-tier and rural customers. Executives said Alibaba will be disciplined in spending, without elaborating.“Despite heady predictions, it’s likely that we’ll see an erosion of margins in part due to the investment the business is making in new business ventures,” Halliwell said.What Bloomberg Intelligence Says:Alibaba’s profitability may take a back seat as it steps up investments in the coming fiscal year in a bid for market expansion and greater user gains and engagement. Alibaba is also likely to monetize its merchants less aggressively. The company promises to establish strict metrics to assess these initiatives, yet some of the spending may be unavoidable as competition mounts from Pinduoduo, JD.com, Meituan and short-video platforms like Kuaishou and Douyin. Margin at Alibaba’s core commerce business will also be dragged down by the growing shift to self-operated retail and direct-sales businesses, especially with the consolidation of Sun Art this quarter.- Vey-Sern Ling and Tiffany Tam, analystsClick here for the research.There remain several other questions Alibaba may have to grapple with in the year ahead. The company joined 33 other tech firms in pledging to abide by monopoly laws and eradicate abuses like forced exclusivity agreements -- actions with as-yet unknown ramifications for growth. More broadly, the Chinese government is debating how to exert greater control over the invaluable online data amassed by its internet giants that have enabled their meteoric expansion over the past decade.The government is said to be considering whether to compel Alibaba to shed media assets that have supported its brand. Antitrust watchdogs are screening its previous investments and could force a divestment if deemed in violation of regulations.Then there’s Alibaba’s finance affiliate -- Ant, a major provider of financing for Alibaba’s consumers -- which is still wrangling with regulators over a forced restructuring that could curb its lending. Its profit in the December quarter rose 50% to 21.8 billion yuan, though the bottom line will remain under pressure because of a requirement to cut back on loans.Alibaba is trying to resume business as normal just as competition ramps up in China’s e-commerce market.Pinduoduo reported 788 million annual active buyers in the December quarter, dethroning Alibaba as China’s biggest e-commerce operator by consumers for the first time ever. On Thursday, Alibaba reported its users had climbed to 811 million in China in the three months ended March.Scrappy upstarts like ByteDance Ltd. and Kuaishou Technology are making inroads into social shopping, chipping away at the growth of its Taobao Live service. Other platforms like Meituan, Didi and Tencent Holdings Ltd.-backed MissFresh have made aggressive investments into their community groceries business, leaving the Hangzhou-based Alibaba to play catch-up in the red-hot sector.(Updates with analysts and share action from 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.
The direction of the AUD/USD on Friday is likely to be determined by trader reaction to the short-term 50% level at .7712.
The IRS urges parents to file their returns, to benefit from the expanded child credit.
(Bloomberg) -- Bonds in South Korea and Thailand appear to be the most at risk in Asia as U.S. inflation expectations increase, according to a Bloomberg study.Debt from the two nations has been the most sensitive to past episodes when American break-even rates have jumped, based on five past scenarios starting in 2011. Korea’s bonds showed a z-score -- which measures the relationship to the mean -- of 0.81, while Thailand’s is 0.77. That compares with just 0.09 for China and minus 0.01 in India.The vulnerability of Korea and Thai bonds can be attributed to the tight spread of their yields over U.S. Treasuries, and also their susceptibility to imported inflation due to their relatively high reliance on energy imports.Inflation expectations are ratcheting higher around the world as record central-bank stimulus has created a mountain of liquidity that is starting to filter through into consumer prices. The U.S. 10-year break-even rate, which measures expectations for future inflation, climbed to as high as 2.59% this week, from just 0.47% in March last year. Those concerns escalated this week with faster-than-expected U.S. inflation figures for April.“We could get higher break-evens and higher nominals if the Federal Reserve not only lets inflation overshoot, but also allows the U.S. economy to run hot,” said Duncan Tan, rates strategist at DBS Bank Ltd. in Singapore. “This scenario is less clear cut, but should be marginally detrimental to emerging Asia bonds, he said.Real YieldsThe story is somewhat different in terms of real yields. A similar Bloomberg analysis of periods of rising inflation-adjusted yields in the U.S. -- driven by optimism over growth and expectations for Fed normalization -- show Indonesian bonds have been the most vulnerable, with a z-score of 4.51, followed by Thailand at 2.69.A jump in U.S. real yields tends to boost the dollar, which has a relatively large impact on the high-beta rupiah. Indonesia’s currency weakened about 4% on average during the five periods used for the study, compared with an average of 2% for its five Asian peers.It appears therefore that the immediate outlook for emerging Asian bonds will differ depending on whether there is a bigger move in the U.S. in break-even rates or real yields. Whichever it is, all the signs suggest there will still be plenty of focus on CPI data for the foreseeable future.Note: The findings of the study are summarized belowMethodologyThe study measures the impact on emerging-Asia bonds from significant moves in U.S. break-even rates and real yields during five scenarios since 2011A shock move in U.S. asset prices is defined as an average 30 basis-point move in break-evens over a 10-day period, or a 54 basis-point jump in real yields over the same timescaleFor 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 IRS detailed on how it will handle a mixup involving a tax break for jobless benefits that became law a month after many already filed returns.
Two of the world's most prominent billionaires Tesla Inc.'s CEO Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey are facing off over the merits of bitcoin, with the future of the world's No. 1 crypto likely hanging in the balance.
Your stocks to watch for the week ahead include Dow Jones stocks JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Caterpillar. All are just above or below buy points.
Institutional investors do not take kindly to inflation and they sold. 1. If indexes fall below their moving averages, take action: Traders and investors alike should watch moving averages, especially the 50-, 100-, and 200-day. When the indexes were sliding a few days ago, the S&P 500 (SPX) for example, did not break its 50-day moving average at 4050.
Last week, we witnessed a classic “buy the rumor, sell the news” event with the cryptocurrency Dogecoin (CRYPTO:DOGE). Many Dogecoin enthusiasts were hoping that Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk’s stint hosting the television show “Saturday Night Live” would lead to higher prices. After all, Musk has been known to pump the price of this cryptocurrency on Twitter and has been one of its biggest supporters. With so many Dogecoin holders anxious to see what the Dogefather had to say Saturday, the price of cryptocurrency rallied hard into the event to hit a record high of $0.74. Unfortunately, Doge investors learned that sometimes these types of events simply cannot live up to the hype. The price of Doge dropped more than 30% following the premiere of the show after Musk failed to deliver the praise for the cryptocurrency investors were hoping for. Traders can learn a lot from this story, particularly since this “buy the rumor, sell the news” scenario repeats itself time and time again in financial markets. It highlights just how difficult it can be to trade based on the news and should be viewed as a cautionary tale. With that said, perhaps the most important lesson here is that instead of gambling on Dogecoin, why not learn a trading strategy that can deliver real results? For example, Mindful Trader has created a data-driven swing-trading strategy that can potentially help you grow your account. Because he has analyzed and dissected historical stock market price data to test his trading strategy, you won’t have to worry about trying to guess right on binary events like the one mentioned above. Instead, you can use a statistical approach with proven results to take your trading to the next level. Signing up for the Mindful Trader service gives you access to tutorials and all the trading rules he uses for successfully generating returns with stocks and options trading. He also provides data-driven stock picks that he trades himself, which allows you to learn while following his suggestions. Whether you are a beginner trader or a seasoned veteran, Mindful Trader has something for everyone. Since Mindful Trader uses a swing-trading strategy that relies on price movement, not hope, you will always be confident in making a trade. That means you won’t have to trade the news and rely on hype to potentially generate returns like those unfortunate Dogecoin investors mentioned above. Check out this link to learn more about Mindful Trader’s trading strategy and why it’s such a smart alternative to gambling with Dogecoin. See more from BenzingaClick here for options trades from BenzingaThese OTC Securities Had the Most Trading Activity in April3 Advantages to Binary Options Trading with Nadex© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
(Bloomberg) -- Chile’s central bank held its benchmark interest rate at a record low and said borrowing costs would stay at that level as long as needed for the economic recovery to strengthen.The bank board, led by its President Mario Marcel, kept the overnight rate at 0.5% on Thursday. In an accompanying statement, policy makers wrote that economic prospects have improved.“The convergence of inflation to the target over the policy horizon still requires the monetary stimulus to be highly expansionary,” policy makers wrote. They added that the key rate “will be kept at its minimum of 0.5% for as long as it is deemed necessary for the recovery of the economy to take hold,” while dropping a previous reference to a time frame of several quarters.“That change is more hawkish, without a doubt,” said Sergio Godoy, chief economist at STF Capital. “While it’s not clear if they will raise rates this year, it’s now more probable that it will happen.”Chile’s central bank is keeping its stimulus in place even amid forecasts of stronger 2021 growth, driven by an effective vaccine roll-out, consumer demand backed by a third round of pension fund withdrawals and higher prices for copper, which is the country’s top export. On the other hand, headwinds include high unemployment and a slower pick-up in sectors including services.What Bloomberg Economics Says“The central bank is more constructive about the economic outlook and still confident that inflation will remain in line with the target. Together with forward guidance the outlook supports expectations for the central bank to hold the benchmark interest rate in the short term and start slowly increasing it early next year.”--Felipe Hernandez, Latin America economist3% TargetPrivate sector economists raised their growth estimate for this year to 6.2%, according to the central bank’s most recent survey published this week. They also see year-end inflation of 3.3%, above the 3% target.Read more: Latin American Central Bankers Stung by Food Inflation JumpIn their statement, policy makers wrote both headline and core inflation have continued to hover around target. Recent prices have been driven by food and gasoline, and board members noted “there has been continued high demand together with production and supply difficulties in several goods.”Rising commodity prices and increasing inflationary pressures have led other emerging markets to raise borrowing costs. Brazil has increased its key rate twice this year and has signaled more increases are ahead.Policy makers are also on hold as Chile enters what many expect to be a period of fraught national politics. On May 15-16, citizens will vote for members of the body that will write a new constitution, as well as governors, mayors and city council members. The result are likely to shape the upcoming presidential elections scheduled to take place in November.Since the central bank’s last rate decision in March, the government has eased some mobility restrictions, including parts of the capital, Santiago. More than 7 million Chileans have already received two doses of vaccines, out of a total population of over 18 million.(Re-casts story, adds economist quotes in 4th and 6th paragraphs)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.
Here's how to tell if dogecoin's rebound is more bark than bite, according to technical analysts following the popular crypto.
The agency is plagued with setbacks that are causing a major backlog of returns.
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.
Anyone with a stock account can now make a savvy, albeit risky, bet on GBTC pricing disparities that were previously exclusive to big players.
Dogecoin will likely transition from a proof-of-work protocol to proof-of-stake, speculated Alex Mashinsky, the chief executive and founder of The Celsius Network on Friday during a webcast hosted by his lending platform on YouTube.
Shares of Plug Power Inc. surged Friday, after they hydrogen and fuel cell systems company completed its restatement, removing a "shroud of uncertainty" that has been weighing heavily on the stock the past couple months.
(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.
Lawmakers are looking for quick action to improve an existing forgiveness program.