Judge Andrew Napolitano says there is enough evidence for criminal investigation of Loretta Lynch.
Judge Andrew Napolitano says there is enough evidence for criminal investigation of Loretta Lynch.
A gain this month would mark the sixth straight monthly increase for bitcoin, the first time that’s happened in seven years.
(Bloomberg) -- OPEC and its allies kept oil-watchers guessing about their next move, after a day of preliminary talks offered few clues as to whether the market will get the April supply increase it’s been expecting.Saudi Arabia and Russia, leaders of group, held bilateral talks on Wednesday, seeking common ground as Riyadh urges caution and Moscow presses to raise output, a delegate said. While OPEC+ is still widely expected to revive some of the 7 million barrels a day they’ve idled, a preliminary meeting of ministers didn’t get into specifics. Delegates said several options were still on the table.The trajectory of oil prices in the coming months now rests on the outcome of Thursday’s full meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies. Crude could move higher if the group doesn’t deliver all of the extra barrels the market needs to fuel the economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.“OPEC+ may raise by only 0.9 million barrels a day in April,” said Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst and co-founder at Energy Aspects Ltd. Anything less than the 1.4 million barrel-a-day hike that had previously been expected “should be viewed as bullish by the market.”Plot TwistsSaudi Arabia, the leader of the producers’ group alongside Russia, has developed a liking for bullish surprises. Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman triggered a sharp surge in prices at the cartel’s January meeting by springing a unilateral production cut of 1 million barrels a day on an unsuspecting market. He has often warned of his willingness to inflict pain on anyone short-selling oil.“Given his repeated insistence that it is a futile exercise to predict Saudi action, we think His Royal Highness may look to cement his reputation as the prince of plot twists,” said Helima Croft, chief commodities strategist at RBC Capital Markets.Despite the notes of caution, veteran OPEC-watchers still expected some extra barrels from the group. There’s little chance that the group will hold output at current levels in April, given the pressure from members including the United Arab Emirates and Russia to pump more, said Sen. In Croft’s view, the most likely outcome is an increase of 500,000 to 1 million barrels a day.Two-Part DealThere are two distinct elements to the production increase that OPEC+ will debate on Thursday.First, will the cartel proceed with a 500,000 barrel-a-day collective output hike in April? Second, how will Saudi Arabia phase out the extra supply reduction of 1 million barrels a day it’s been making voluntarily in February and March?Russia has been the most consistent advocate for the first element, and others in the group also support the move, people familiar with the matter said earlier this week. Whether the full 500,000 barrels a day, or a smaller amount, will be returned was still uncertain on Thursday morning, delegates said.On the second element, Saudi Arabia originally intended for its voluntary supply reduction to only last for two months. But recently, the kingdom has been considering whether it would appropriate to return all of those barrels in a single month, or spread the move over a longer period, people familiar with the matter said earlier this week.The Saudis’ production plans for April remained unclear on Thursday morning, and may depend on what the whole group eventually agrees to do with its output, according to delegates from other OPEC+ nations. Ministers are scheduled to meet by video conference at 2 p.m. Vienna time.Many Wildcards“From a risk management perspective, the direction of travel appears to be to maintain a tighter policy than the market expects for a bit longer,” said Bob McNally, president of consultant Rapidan Energy Group and a former White House official.The group’s own analysts think the market is ready for extra supply. Even if OPEC+ were to boost production by 2.4 million barrels a day between February and June -- the maximum amount allowed under the current deal -- it will still be able to clear the remnants of the 2020 supply glut by August, according to a presentation from the secretariat’s technical experts on Tuesday.While OPEC+ ministers may not be giving clear signals, the recent trend in oil prices points to a market that needs more supply. Brent crude was trading near $64 a barrel on Thursday, an increase of almost 24% this year.“They’re going to respond to the pressure” to raise production with prices at this level, said Ed Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup Inc. Yet he also advised against taking the cartel’s actions for granted. “I have told our clients I would not invest in any way on this OPEC meeting -- I think there are too many wildcards.”(Updates with details of latest discussions in 12th 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) -- The renewed bout of Treasury volatility spurred a surge in bond yields on Wednesday, dragging down stocks as investors grappled with concern over stretched valuations.A selloff in high-flying giants such as Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. outweighed gains in banks and energy producers. The Nasdaq 100 slumped to a two-month low, bringing its losses from a February peak to about 8%. The S&P 500 extended its slide into a second day, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average outperformed. Benchmark U.S. government yields approached 1.5%, with bonds pricing in the highest five-year inflation expectations since 2008. Traders also assessed data pointing to a slow and uneven economic recovery from the depths of the pandemic.The rout in Treasuries has rattled nerves across the globe amid warnings of excessive optimism among equity investors after the S&P 500 surged 70% in 11 months, notching the best start for a bull market in nine decades. While there haven’t been any signs of panic, concerns over lofty valuations have emerged. The stock benchmark’s earnings yield was about 1.7 percentage points above 10-year rates: the smallest advantage in three years.“Volatility has picked up a little bit, we’ve had bigger up days and down days,” said James Ragan, director of wealth management research at D.A. Davidson. “The focus is still on rising interest rates and how that’s impacting valuations on some of the higher multiple sectors.”Data Wednesday showed that growth at U.S. service providers slowed to a nine-month low in February, when severe winter weather gripped much of the nation and limited activity. Meanwhile, the number of employees at U.S. businesses rose by less than expected, underscoring the jobs market’s struggle to recover despite a decline in Covid-19 infections in recent weeks.The U.S. economy expanded modestly in the first two months of the year and sentiment among business owners is picking up as vaccinations bolster the prospects for growth, according to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book. President Joe Biden has agreed to moderate Democrats’ demands to narrow eligibility for stimulus checks, but party leaders in the Senate are resisting a push to trim extra unemployment benefits as they try to consolidate support for the $1.9 trillion relief-bill, a Democratic aide said.Elsewhere, oil jumped on a government report showing a record drop in domestic fuel inventories in the aftermath of a deep freeze that shuttered refineries in the U.S. South.Some key events to watch this week:OPEC+ meeting on output Thursday.U.S. factory orders, initial jobless claims and durable goods orders are due Thursday.The February U.S. employment report on Friday will provide an update on the speed and direction of the nation’s labor market recovery.These are some of the moves in markets:StocksThe S&P 500 slid 1.3% as of 4 p.m. New York time.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was little changed.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 1.1%.The MSCI Emerging Market Index advanced 1.4%.CurrenciesThe Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained 0.3%.The euro decreased 0.2% to $1.2066.The Japanese yen depreciated 0.3% to 106.97 per dollar.BondsThe yield on 10-year Treasuries jumped eight basis points to 1.47%.Germany’s 10-year yield climbed six basis points to -0.29%.Britain’s 10-year yield rose nine basis points to 0.779%.CommoditiesWest Texas Intermediate crude advanced 2.6% to $61.28 a barrel.Gold slid 1.4% to $1,714.77 an ounce.Silver fell 2.3% to $26.16 per ounce.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Strong Chinese crop demand will carry through the “medium term,” reinforcing expectations for another record year of earnings and bolstering prospects past 2021, according to Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.’s chief financial officer.“I am confident in the momentum from 2020 continuing, this year and beyond,” Chief Financial Officer Ray Young said during Bank of America’s Global Agriculture & Materials Conference on Wednesday. “This is not a one-year phenomenon.”China has been scooping up huge amounts of U.S. crops to feed a hog herd that’s recovering from a deadly pig disease. That pushed combined American corn and soybean exports to an all-time high in the fourth quarter, helping ADM deliver deliver record earnings per share last year on an adjusted basis. Young reiterated the company’s forecast for a record in 2021.“The main reason China is aggressively buying agricultural products from around the world is just fundamental demand,” Young said. “And that’s the primary driver as to why China was aggressively importing last year and we expect them to be aggressively importing this year.”ADM in January reported $3.59 a share in adjusted earnings for 2020. The company’s shares reached an all-time high last week.Young said he expects recent outbreaks of African swine fever in Chinese hogs will be contained. China’s agriculture ministry this week reported an outbreak of the deadly virus that devastated the herd beginning in 2018.With the virus held in check, China will import 100 million metric tons or more of soybeans this year, Young said. That figure is on par with the official U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast. China’s corn imports could reach 25 million tons, Young said. That’s just above USDA’s official projection for 24 million.The rebuilding of the hog herd “is going to drive continued strong demand for feed,” Young said. “So we see strong, continued strong demand coming from China.”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) -- Major oil sands producers in Western Canada will idle almost half a million barrels a day of production next month, helping tighten global supplies as oil prices surge.Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.’s plans to conduct 30 days of maintenance at its Horizon oil sands upgrader in April will curtail roughly 250,000 barrels a day of light synthetic crude output, company President Tim McKay said in an interview Thursday. Work on the Horizon upgrader coincides with maintenance at other cites.Suncor Energy Inc. plans a major overhaul of its U2 crude upgrader, cutting output by 130,000 barrels a day over the entire second quarter. Syncrude Canada Ltd. will curb 70,000 barrels a day during the quarter because of maintenance in a unit.The supply cuts out of Northern Alberta, following a surprise OPEC+ decision to not increase output next month, could add more support to the recent rally in crude prices. OPEC+ had been debating whether to restore as much as 1.5 million barrels a day of output in April but decided to wait.The Saudi-led alliance closely monitors other major oil producers as it seeks to manage the entire global market, and surging production in North America was its biggest headache in recent years -- especially from U.S. shale but also from Canada.“The U.S., Saudi Arabia, Russia, Canada, Brazil and other well endowed countries with hydrocarbon reserves -- we need to work with each other, collaboratively,” Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said after the group’s meeting on Thursday.Read More: Saudis Bet ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’ Is Over in Push for Pricier OilCanada’s contribution to balancing the market with less production, much like slowing output in the U.S., is not a deliberate market-management strategy but significant nonetheless.Even though the output cuts are short-term, the battered oil-sands industry shouldn’t be a concern for the Saudis in the long run either, judging from McKay’s outlook for the industry.“I can’t see much growth in the oil sands happening because there is going to be less demand in the future,” he said. “The first step is we have to get our carbon footprint down.”After years of rising output turned Canada into the world’s fourth-largest crude producer, expansion projects have nearly halted on the heels of two market crashes since 2014.Adding to its struggles, Canada’s oil industry is being shunned by some investors such as Norway’s $1.3 trillion wealth fund amid concern that the higher carbon emissions associated with oil sands extraction will worsen climate change. These forces help make future growth in the oil sands unlikely, said McKay, whose company is among the largest producers in the country.Oil sands upgraders turn the heavy bitumen produced in oil sands mines into light synthetic crude that’s similar to benchmarks West Texas Intermediate and Brent. Syncrude Sweet Premium for April gained 60 cents on Thursday to $1.50 a barrel premium to WTI, the strongest price since May, NE2 Group data show.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.
Some households are collecting a big pile of federal money in 2021.
The president has agreed to a compromise making millions ineligible for the third checks.
(Bloomberg) -- Few fortunes are as volatile as Masayoshi Son’s.The SoftBank Group Corp. founder was briefly richer than Bill Gates at the start of the century before tech stocks crashed. In March 2020, as markets sank under Covid-19 and questions swirled over SoftBank’s investments, his wealth dipped to $8.4 billion, the lowest since 2016.Less than a year later, Japan’s second-richest person has more than quadrupled his fortune to $38 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, hitting the highest level since Bloomberg started tracking billionaire wealth in 2012.The surge is closely tied to the rally in SoftBank shares, which represent more than 95% of his net worth and have climbed almost fourfold from a low at the worst of the pandemic-fueled selloff. The Vision Fund -- the world’s largest investment pool for tech startups -- posted its best quarterly profit, while SoftBank sold assets, bought back stock and settled a legal dispute with WeWork Cos. It’s also gathered supporters along the way, with Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp. disclosing last year it took a stake as the stock was undervalued.“SoftBank’s current major assets have huge cashflow and will continue to grow,” said Thomas Hayes, chairman of Great Hill Capital. “If he balances his harvesting of winners, with appropriately timed share repurchases, he will avoid a repeat of 2000, even if tech stocks moderate.”SoftBank’s fate has been deeply intertwined with its founder, to the point the relationship recently raised corporate-governance concerns. Son, who’s also chairman and chief executive officer, is personally invested in a unit that poured about $20 billion into tech stocks and derivatives. The 63-year-old, who owns one-third of that division and has denied there was a conflict of interest, said the program was a way to put SoftBank’s cash pile to use.To amplify his leverage, Son uses a common tactic among the ultra-rich -- borrowing against his stock. He just does it much more than most other billionaires.Recently, though, he’s trimmed his pledges as shares of the Japanese giant have become more valuable. Son had committed about one-third of his stake in SoftBank to more than 16 financial institutions as of Feb. 9, down from 38% in September, according to regulatory filings. That still represents about $18 billion -- one of the highest figures among the 500 richest people in the world. The pledges are used as collateral for loans, whose size could be smaller than the value of the committed shares given the recent rally. Bloomberg doesn’t include the value of pledged stock in net-worth calculations.A representative for SoftBank declined to comment for this story.After closing at an all-time high on Wednesday, SoftBank shares slipped 5.3% Thursday amid a decline in the broader stock market. Its Vision Fund last month posted a record profit for the final quarter of 2020, thanks to a boost in the value of its stakes in newly-listed firms including food-delivery service DoorDash Inc. and Chinese online property agent platform KE Holdings Inc.“Since the Vision Fund launched, the number of golden eggs is in accelerating mode,” Son said at a briefing last month. “We are finally in the harvesting stage.”Some 15 companies have gone public from the Vision Fund, and SoftBank may see between 10 and 20 listings a year from its portfolio of 164 startups, he said. Coupang Inc., a South Korean e-commerce giant, is seeking a U.S. IPO and could be valued at more than $50 billion. Compass Inc., one of the largest U.S. real estate brokerages, has filed for a listing, and Chinese truck startup Full Truck Alliance could go public this year. SoftBank has also joined the SPAC bandwagon with plans for several blank-check companies.SoftBank has also had its share of troubles. The Vision Fund has written down its $1.5 billion holding in Greensill Capital and is considering dropping the valuation to near zero, people familiar with the matter have said. At its worst point last year, investors questioned several of SoftBank’s investments, including WeWork, whose IPO spectacularly imploded.The turnaround has been rapid. In addition to improving the outlook for the startups in the Vision Fund, the rally in tech stocks helped boost the value of SoftBank’s stakes in publicly traded firms like Uber Technologies Inc. The Japanese conglomerate also just settled a lawsuit with WeWork and its co-founder, Adam Neumann, paving the way for another attempt at a potential listing of the office-sharing company.“SoftBank Group may expedite its second attempt to list WeWork,” Anthea Lai, a senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote in a March 1 note. “The additional stake should tighten SoftBank’s control and facilitate potential merger talks with special purpose acquisition companies.”(Updates with stock move in 10th 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.
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.
Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya sold off a chunk of his shares this week, and played a part of the plunge in prices.
(Bloomberg) -- A new exchange-traded fund seeking to ride the companies most loved by investors online has found plenty of its own positive sentiment in its first day of trading.About $438 million worth of shares in the VanEck Vectors Social Sentiment ETF (ticker BUZZ) changed hands on Thursday, making it the third best ETF debut on record, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.“Normally, this kind of blow-the-roof-off volume for the first day is for ETFs that open up a new asset class like gold or Bitcoin,” said Eric Balchunas, ETF analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence.The fund, which has been promoted by Barstool Sports Inc. founder Dave Portnoy, follows an index that uses AI to scan online sources like blogs and social media to identify the 75 most favorably mentioned equities.Because of its criteria for inclusion, the hottest names among the day-trading crowd like GameStop Corp. and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. don’t actually make it into the gauge. Its top holdings currently are Ford Motor Co., Twitter Inc. and DraftKings Inc.Nonetheless, the rapid uptake suggests VanEck has succeeded in tapping into the increasingly powerful retail investing cohort.“Given the explosion of individual, younger retail traders, it makes sense to see a pile of volume,” said Dave Lutz, macro strategist at JonesTrading. “Whether it is the WSB crowd embracing Dave Portnoy’s marketing of the ETF, or institutions playing it to bet on the direction of the trend (or hedge) -- we won’t know for a bit. I suspect it’s a bit of both.”The fund opened at $24.40. It was down 1% at $24.15 at 12:02 p.m.(Updates with latest figures, analyst comments.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
A firm hired to monitor Texas' power markets says the region's grid manager overpriced electricity over two days during last month's energy crisis, resulting in $16 billion in overcharges.
Now might be "a golden opportunity" to own the "secular tech winners" for the next 12 to 18 months, according to Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives.
Mortgage rates have risen past a psychological benchmark for the first time since they fell to historic lows during the pandemic. The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 3.02% this past week, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey—the first time since July that the rate has risen above 3%. “Since reaching a low point in January, mortgage rates have risen by more than 30 basis points,” wrote Freddie Mac’s chief economist, in a release.
GameStop shares closed up 6.4% at $131.93 after earlier hitting $147.87, their highest since a surge in the heavily shorted stock late last month. One analyst and some Twitter users pointed to a cryptic tweet by Ryan Cohen, a major shareholder of GameStop and founder of e-commerce firm Chewy.com, as a plausible reason for the move, although Reuters could not independently determine causation. The late afternoon rally in GameStop began roughly around the time that Cohen tweeted what appeared to be a screenshot with the puppet dog advertising mascot of Pets.com, a famous casualty of the dotcom bubble two decades ago.
Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) could create a “positive momentum” if its sold its Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) holdings and initiated a buyback of its stock, according to Gary Black, a private investor and former CEO of Aegon Asset Management. What Happened: Black aired his views on social media Thursday in a series of tweets. “Imagine the positive momentum [Tesla] would create if they announced the sale of their [Bitcoin] position, and authorized a [Tesla] stock buyback instead.” wrote Black. See also: How to Invest in Tesla Stock The investor acknowledged that the prospect was “unlikely” but shareholders would support such a move. Investors who say #btc has less risk than govt bonds or gold haven’t done their research. Govt bonds have ~2% risk, defined as monthly volatility of returns. Gold ~3% risk. US equities ~6% risk. #btc has ~20% risk, further out on the risk curve than almost any other asset class. pic.twitter.com/OjMyWYU0Oa — Gary Black (@garyblack00) March 4, 2021 According to Black, if you asked 100 institutional investors in the Elon Musk-led company if they would prefer to invest $1.5 billion of excess cash in BTC or in Tesla stock, 95/100 would choose the stock. Why It Matters: Black isn’t the only analyst crying foul over Tesla’s investment in BTC. Last month, GLJ Research analyst Gordon Johnson said the automaker had “run out of viable internal uses” of its capital. “We see this as a sign of desperation from a CEO whose company is facing real competition for the first time ever,” wrote Johnson. Tesla had purchased .5 billion worth of BTC in February, amid increased institutional support for the cryptocurrency. Jack Dorsey-led Square Inc (NASDAQ: SQ) and Tesla combined have spent over billion to buy 151,919 BTC. Those coins are worth almost $7.19 billion as of press time when BTC traded 6.99% lower at $47,347.62. MicroStrategy Incorporated (NASDAQ: MSTR) meanwhile holds 90,531 BTC, purchased at an average price of $2.171 billion, as of late February now worth about almost $4.286 billion. Price Action: Tesla shares fell 3.43% in after-hours trading on Thursday to $600.10 after closing 4.86% lower at $621.44. Click here to check out Benzinga’s EV Hub for the latest electric vehicles news. Latest Ratings for TSLA DateFirmActionFromTo Feb 2021Morgan StanleyMaintainsOverweight Feb 2021Piper SandlerMaintainsOverweight Jan 2021Deutsche BankMaintainsBuy View More Analyst Ratings for TSLA View the Latest Analyst Ratings See more from BenzingaClick here for options trades from BenzingaAnalyst Who Predicted ,000 Bitcoin Sees Key Metric Indicating 'March To 0,000'How Square's Purchase of Jay Z's Tidal Could Popularize Blockchain© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
Powell and his policymakers have until March 17 to regain control of monetary policy or they could face a creditability issue.
Stock-market timers, who as recently as two weeks ago were irrationally exuberant, have reacted to the market’s recent correction by beating a hasty retreat. Consider how quickly the Nasdaq-focused stock-market timers that my firm monitors have jumped on the bearish bandwagon. As recently as Feb. 12, their average recommended exposure level stood at 88.9%, which was higher than 97.9% of all daily readings since 2000.
(Bloomberg) -- As the leader of crypto exchange Kraken, Jesse Powell is bound to be bullish on Bitcoin. Yet he’s projecting a disruptive future that would stretch the imagination of even the most ardent crypto fans.In a Bloomberg Television interview, Powell said Bitcoin could reach $1 million in the next decade, adding that supporters say it could eventually replace all of the major fiat currencies.“We can only speculate, but when you measure it in terms of dollars, you have to think it’s going to infinity,” he said. “The true believers will tell you that it’s going all the way to the moon, to Mars and eventually, will be the world’s currency.”The CEO also said San Francisco-based Kraken is considering going public, possibly next year.Extreme predictions are nothing new in the world of Bitcoin, where adherents stand to profit from convincing a wider audience that crypto is a legitimate asset class, rather than a speculative fad. The dollar remains the world’s reserve currency and is the benchmark for global trade, though its value has softened in the past year.Powell said Bitcoin bulls see it one day exceeding the combined market cap of the dollar, euro and other currencies.The dollar “is only 50 years old and it’s already showing extreme signs of weakness, and I think people will start measuring the price of things in terms of Bitcoin,” he said.The digital currency slipped 3% in early U.S. trading on Thursday, hovering around $49,000. Prices have surged almost 600% since the start of 2020 on the back of wider mainstream adoption, with bulls seeing it as both an inflation hedge and speculative asset.Critics argue that Bitcoin is in a giant, stimulus-fueled bubble destined to burst like the 2017 boom and bust cycle.Kraken benefits from higher prices as it reaps fees from increased trading. Bloomberg reported last month that the exchange was in talks to raise new funding, which would double the company’s valuation to more than $10 billion.“Personally, I think $10 billion is a low valuation,” Powell said. “I wouldn’t be interested in selling shares at that price.”The CEO did acknowledge the potential for wild market swings, saying prices can “move up or down 50% on any given day.” That kind of volatility has long been one of the negatives of Bitcoin, relegating the market to one of speculation, rather than a means of doing business.“If you are buying into Bitcoin out of speculation, you should be committed to holding for five years,” Powell said. “You have to have strong convictions to hold.”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.
It appears the breakdown is underway, and this could turn into an outright collapse into mid-March.