Gen. Jack Keane (Ret.) discusses President Trump’s comments on Iran and whether the U.S. can work out a deal with the Middle Eastern country.
Gen. Jack Keane (Ret.) discusses President Trump’s comments on Iran and whether the U.S. can work out a deal with the Middle Eastern country.
LONDON (Reuters) -Europe's consumers will feel the hit from price rises this year as companies seek to recoup revenues and cover pandemic-related costs. Over the past year, the fallout from COVID-19 has contorted both the demand and supply sides of the global economy, creating bottlenecks in supply chains, havoc in freight markets and a rally in raw materials from corn to copper. Lockdowns, meanwhile, have deprived well-off consumers in Europe and elsewhere of the opportunities to spend their cash, creating record levels of savings and a window of opportunity for companies to push through price increases.
(Bloomberg) -- A rising appetite for risk across a variety of asset markets is stretching valuations and creating vulnerabilities in the U.S. financial system, the Federal Reserve said in its semi-annual financial stability report.“Vulnerabilities associated with elevated risk appetite are rising,” Fed Governor Lael Brainard, the head of the Board’s financial stability committee, said in a statement accompanying the report released Thursday. “The combination of stretched valuations with very high levels of corporate indebtedness bear watching because of the potential to amplify the effects of a re-pricing event.”In this environment, prices may be vulnerable to “significant declines” should risk appetite fall, the Fed report noted.Brainard and the report mentioned losses at banks stemming from dealings with Archegos Capital Management, and the governor called for “more granular, higher-frequency disclosures.”“The Archegos event illustrates the limited visibility into hedge-fund exposures and serves as a reminder that available measures of hedge-fund leverage may not be capturing important risks,” she said.The Managed Funds Association, which represents hedge funds, took issue with Brainard’s remarks.“It is unfortunate policy makers incorrectly conflate hedge funds with unregulated entities like individuals and family offices,” Association President Bryan Corbett said in a statement. “Hedge funds are well regulated” by the Securities and Exchange Commission.Near-zero interest rates and massive bond purchases, with the Fed buying $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities and $80 billion in Treasuries every month, have fueled a search for returns and helped buoy asset prices including those of risky investments such as speculative stocks, cryptocurrencies and high-yield debt. The Standard and Poor’s 500 stock index has risen 12% this year.“The real story here is the tension -- if not the glaring contradiction -- of the Fed’s pursuit of quantitative easing, the aim of which is to lower long-term rates and encourage reach for yield, and their concern that people are indeed reaching for yield,” said George Selgin, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, referring to the bond buying. “The Fed could certainly taper its QE activities to counter this risk-taking as the recovery continues.”Spacs, Meme Stocks“Indicators pointing to elevated risk appetite in equity markets in early 2021 include the episodes of high trading volumes and price volatility for so-called meme stocks -- stocks that increased in trading volume after going viral on social media,” the report said. “Elevated equity issuance through SPACs also suggests a higher-than-typical appetite for risk among equity investors.”Low rates are also impacting the real economy. Home prices are up 12% year over year amid high demand for property and scarce supply, while a boom in home remodeling has helped push lumber futures to record highs. The Bloomberg Commodity Index, which tracks everything from grains to natural gas and nickel, is up 19%.The report said house-price increases have had a positive effect for borrowers by boosting equity. Still, it noted that borrowers in forbearance programs, who are likely to be employed in industries hard hit by the pandemic, could be vulnerable when they exit. “Even so, a large fraction of borrowers have already exited forbearance -- in general, these borrowers have loans that are either current or paid off,” the report said.The report also noted that low interest rates have reduced default expectations, and underwriting standards have weakened. “The share of newly issued loans to large corporations with high leverage -- defined as those with ratios of debt to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization greater than 6 -- has exceeded the historical highs reached in recent years,” it said.Hedge Fund LeverageThe report said that “available data suggest” that hedge funds are highly leveraged, and said there is a need for greater transparency on opaque risk exposures, echoing Brainard’s call for more transparency.“Some hedge funds with substantial short positions sustained losses during the meme stock episode in January 2021, when intense social media activity contributed to fluctuations in the prices of some specific stocks,” the report said, probably a reference to the short squeeze in shares of GameStop Corp., which soared to more than $300 a share from around $20 a share in a matter of days.Jon Caplis, chief executive officer at hedge fund consultant PivotalPath, said after the report’s release that one disclosure in particular could mitigate the risk of a future Archegos-like situation happening again.“Before you try and rewrite all the regulatory statutes, you can make one small change that would be effective,” he said. “If you merely treat total-return swaps in the same way hedge funds are already disclosing equity holdings, you would drastically mitigate an Archegos-like fallout from happening again.”(Updates with hedge fund reaction in sixth and seventh 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.
(Bloomberg) -- North American lumber companies plan to ramp up production by expanding existing mills as strong home construction fuels the need for more wood.West Fraser Timber Co., the world’s biggest lumber producer, plans to expand capacity at five of its lumber mills in the U.S. South. Interfor Corp. is rebuilding a sawmill in Georgia that is on track for completion by the end of 2021. Both companies expect home-building and renovation demand to continue supporting strong prices for wood products in the near future.Interfor shares soared to a new high Friday after the company reported record quarterly earnings. West Fraser climbed as much as 1.9%.The pandemic-fueled surge in home construction last year took North American sawmills by surprise, sending lumber prices to new records. U.S. futures this week hit $1,600 per 1,000 board feet for the first time, a four-fold increase from a year ago. While production has since ramped up, demand continues to outpace supply.The expansions will be primarily in the southern U.S., where there is an abundance of planted timber available to be harvested. They should help to increase overall inventories in the country and push prices off their record highs over time. But that won’t come fast enough to alleviate supply constraints during the peak building season.“We remain optimistic about the favorable market fundamentals we’re currently seeing supported by the underlying environmental benefits of building with wood, which have never been more clear and more widely accepted,” said West Fraser Chief Executive Raymond Ferris, speaking to analysts Friday.Though 80% of the Vancouver-based company’s operations are now outside of British Columbia, which has historically provided significant amounts of spruce-pine-fir wood that is preferred by many home builders, Ferris noted the log costs in the province are rising.West Fraser plans to invest roughly $150 million at five of its U.S. South lumber mills under its strategic capital program. Already, it’s increasing the number of working shifts at mills where possible, the company said.“These investments will increase our capacity and increase the value of our products while reducing production costs overall,” Ferris told analysts.Increased demand and stable supply have pushed North American lumber inventories to “critical levels,” said Bart Bender, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Interfor, speaking to analysts Friday morning.“Even if there was an opportunity to build inventories, distribution channels would be reluctant at current market prices, he said. “We expect this scenario to exist through 2021 into 2022 and, as such, expect volatility in pricing with little to no buffer in inventories.”A trucking shortage combined with severe winter weather in the first few months of the year slowed deliveries across the continent, where builders scramble to get their hands on building materials. West Fraser said it is attempting to secure additional transportation resources and is already seeing an improvement in shipping early in the second quarter.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) -- Discover what’s driving the global economy and what it means for policy makers, businesses, investors and you with The New Economy Daily. Sign up here.U.S. job growth significantly undershot forecasts in April, suggesting that difficulty attracting workers is slowing momentum in the labor market and challenging the economic recovery.Payrolls rose 266,000 from a month earlier, according to a Labor Department report Friday that represented one of the largest downside misses on record. Economists in a Bloomberg survey projected a 1 million hiring surge in April.The unemployment rate edged up to 6.1%, though the labor-force participation rate also increased.The report stunned investors as Treasury yields plunged and the dollar turned sharply lower. U.S. stocks rose on expectations that monetary policy will remain conducive to economic growth for a sustained period. The eurodollar market pushed back its pricing for a Federal Reserve rate increase to mid-2023.Follow reaction in real-time here on Bloomberg’s TOPLive blogThe disappointing payrolls print leaves overall employment more than 8 million short of its pre-pandemic level and is consistent with recent comments from company officials highlighting challenges in filling open positions.“It’s a lot faster to lay off workers than it is to hire them back,” said Sarah House, senior economist at Wells Fargo & Co. “While we are seeing some workers come back into the labor force it just isn’t fast enough.”While job gains accelerated in leisure and hospitality, employment at temporary-help agencies and transportation and warehousing declined sharply.Fed Chair Jerome Powell said last week the dichotomy between a large number of unfilled positions and millions of unemployed likely reflects a combination of a skills gap, child care obligations and lingering virus fears.What Bloomberg Economics Says...“April payrolls fell dramatically short of expectations, as a clumsy reopening of the economy appears rife with frictions, such as skills-mismatches, parents unable to return to the workforce amid a significant share of schools not yet open, and far from complete vaccination efforts.”-- Carl Riccadonna, Yelena Shulyatyeva, Andrew Husby and Eliza Winger, economistsFor the full note, click hereMassive fiscal stimulus including the latest $1.9 trillion package passed by President Joe Biden in March may also be impacting the pace of job growth. Some firms indicate enhanced unemployment benefits and the latest round of pandemic-relief checks are discouraging a return to work even as job openings approach a record.A sustained period of tepid job gains could support calls for further government spending.In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said the data justified why the Fed is continuing to deliver its own stimulus. “Today’s jobs report is just an example of we have a long way to go and let’s not prematurely declare victory,” he said.On an unadjusted basis, payrolls rose by more than 1 million last month. Seasonal adjustments usually call for a large hiring gain in April, which may in part explain why the headline number fell short of forecasts.Another reason for the more moderate employment gain is problems in the nation’s supply chains. For instance, motor vehicle production has been severely hampered by shortages of semiconductors. The jobs report showed manufacturing payrolls declined 18,000 in April, driven by a sharp fall in jobs at automakers.Average hourly earnings rose 0.7% in April from a month earlier, to $30.17, the jobs report showed. The wage data for April suggest that the rising demand for labor associated with the recovery from the pandemic may have put upward pressure on wages, the Labor Department said in a statement.A separate measure of compensation that isn’t subjected to shifts in industry employment -- the employment cost index -- rose 0.9% in the first quarter. That was the largest quarterly gain since 2007, according to the Labor Department’s data last week.“While the jobs numbers themselves were certainly disappointing, I think there are a few nuggets in here that are positive development,” House said.Participation RateLabor force participation, a measure of the percentage of Americans either working or looking for work, rose to 61.7% in April from 61.5%, likely supported by increased vaccinations that helped fuel the reopenings of many retail establishments, restaurants and leisure-facing businesses.Average weekly hours increased to match the highest in records dating back to 2006. The gain in the workweek, increased pay and the improvement in hiring helped boost aggregate weekly payrolls 1.2% in April after a 1.3% gain a month earlier.Workforce participation for men age 25 to 54 increased last month, while edging lower for women.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.
Square is poised to report first-quarter earnings results after market close on Thursday, with the payments company's results likely boosted by ongoing growth in Cash App and its cryptocurrency offerings.
At least two private equity funds are seeking to acquire stakes in Venezuelan companies that have survived the country's economic crisis, spurred in part by optimism that the Biden administration could ease sanctions on the South American nation, according to a dozen sources familiar with the talks. The interest by funds, including Miami-based 3B1 Guacamaya Fund and Cayman Islands-based Knossos Asset Management, follows Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's abrupt 2019 liberalization of the economy https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-shops-idCAKBN1YK16X amid a sanctions program created by former U.S. President Donald Trump. Maduro's unexpected overhaul scrapped a price control system and permitted dollar transactions for the first time in decades, allowing a small group of firms to emerge from the wreckage of a four-year hyperinflationary crisis that prompted many multinationals to leave https://t.co/I8H1Kakhhs?amp=1 the country or sell subsidiaries.
(Bloomberg) -- This week’s fund-raising round for online brokerage Wealthsimple Inc. shows how Power Corp. of Canada’s fintech investments will pay off for the financial conglomerate, IGM Financial Inc. Chief Executive Officer James O’Sullivan says.Not only are those investments profitable in their own right, as Wealthsimple’s surging valuation illustrates, but they keep managers at Power Corp.-controlled companies, such as IGM, “alert” and thinking about the future for their industry, O’Sullivan said in an interview Friday.Wealthsimple raised C$750 million ($617 million) this week from venture capital firms and private investors including rapper Drake and actor Ryan Reynolds. IGM is the largest shareholder, with a 23% stake worth about C$1.15 billion.“It’s tremendous exposure not just to the business as it exists today, but to the business as it might exist three years or five years down the road,” O’Sullivan said in an interview. “That interaction between our management team and the management team at these fintech companies that we have investments in is very, very valuable.”Wealthsimple, which offers online trading and automated-investing platforms, raised the money at a $4 billion valuation, more than triple what it was worth in October.Wealthsimple’s rise has helped lift IGM’s stock to a 30% gain so far this year. The Winnipeg, Manitoba-based asset manager hasn’t gained 30% over a full calendar year since 2013; its shares are below where they were before the financial crisis.Power’s venture-capital arm, Portag3 Ventures, also has investments in Conquest Planning, which offers a financial-planning platform, and Koho, which sells a suite of online financial services.“Power Corp., through Portag3, has shown a remarkable ability to pick winners, support winners, nurture winners and deliver returns for their investors,” O’Sullivan said.“Wealthsimple is perhaps the most well-known company in the portfolio, but I can tell you there are several others that we are indirectly investors in, and they are very attractive not just from an investment perspective, but again for potential linkages through to our business.”For IGM’s core asset management business, O’Sullivan sees markets boosting asset levels, and sales of mutual funds and ETFs continuing to be strong, though possibly not at the “incredibly robust levels we saw last quarter.” He also cautioned that investors should expect one or two corrections of 5% to 10% a year.“Our current view is that the world is reflating, that confidence is growing and that this pandemic is slowly, but surely, coming under control,” O’Sullivan said. “So our perspective is that markets can remain strong here for some time yet to come. ”Read more: Wealthsimple Eyes Acquisitions After $610 Million Funding RoundRegarding the pandemic, O’Sullivan said most of the company’s workers won’t return to offices until late in the fall or early next year, and even then he’s more likely to encourage employees to return rather than force them to show up.“I think the new normal is going to be a hybrid,” O’Sullivan said. “I’m inclined to encourage a hybrid, and I want to think creatively about all the things we can do to make it as attractive as possible for employees to come into the office regularly.”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) -- Edward Bramson’s Sherborne Investors Management LP has sold its entire stake in Barclays Plc, ending its more-than three year battle over Jes Staley’s strategy to bolster the lender’s investment bank.The activist investor has divested its entire 6% holding and is building a position in an undisclosed company, Sherborne said Friday.“Business is not a science,” the fund said in a letter to investors Friday. “We have begun building a position in a new investment”, which offers a better return to the company’s shareholders than a continuing investment in Barclays, it added without further identifying its new position.Sherborne, which first bought a stake in the British lender in March 2018, has been a fierce critic of Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley’s strategy to boost the securities unit and urged the board to mimic cutbacks at Deutsche Bank AG to improve profitability. But its proposals gained little traction and strong recent results at the investment bank unit only strengthened Staley’s position.Staley has been the key architect of expansion at Barclays investment bank since taking the reins in 2015 and he has grown it as a hedge during times of economic crisis. The strategy paid off amid Covid thanks to pandemic-driven volatility and a rush of companies tapping wide-open capital markets. Revenues at the securities unit increased by 22% in 2020, partially offsetting weaker results elsewhere.Barclays shares have been among the best-performers over the past year, gaining 70%, although they are still down 18% from the time Sherborne disclosed its initial stake in March 2018. Sherborne said it sold its position at an average price of 186 pence. Barclays shares, which closed at 177 pence on Thursday, rose as much as 1.9% in Friday trading.A representative at Barclays wasn’t immediately available to comment.Last year, Sherborne called for Staley’s removal from the board, following the disclosure of a British regulatory probe into how the CEO characterized his relationship with deceased financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The board at Barclays has said they fully support Staley.Sherborne, which failed in its attempt to get a board seat at Barclays, said in its investor letter that it expected its new investment, which “hasn’t yet reached the public disclosure threshold,” would afford it a better opportunity to effect change.“It is a pity that the opportunity did not arise to join the board of Barclays to assist in a turnaround.”(Adds details from third 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) -- Volkswagen AG raised its earnings outlook after a strong start to the year, while cautioning that the semiconductor shortage rippling through the industry will become more pronounced in the second quarter.Operating return on sales is forecast at 5.5% to 7% this year, compared with a previous range of 5% to 6.5%, Europe’s largest automaker said Thursday in a statement. VW also raised its projection for net cash flow and net liquidity.“We started the year with great momentum and are on a strong operational course,” Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess said in the release.While demand has rebounded across the industry, manufacturers are now grappling with an acute chip shortage that’s forcing them to halt production lines and prioritize some vehicles. Diess said the company will feel more pain in the second quarter and that some lines will stop “for a few days, a few weeks,” though the fallout won’t be as pronounced as with some rivals.VW shares reversed initial gains and traded down 2.5% in Frankfurt, valuing the manufacturer at 120.6 billion euros ($145 billion).Daily BattleStellantis NV warned this week that the global semiconductor shortage will deteriorate further from the first three months of the year, while Ford Motor Co. has forecast a $2.5 billion hit to earnings from scarce chip supplies.“We’re fighting day by day,” Diess said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “We’re doing everything to keep production running.”Still, the fallout from the disruptions might lower VW’s second-quarter return on sales to about 5%, down from 7.7% in the first three months, he said during a call with analysts.VW is at a pivotal moment in getting its electric-car push off the ground and narrow the gap to Tesla Inc. Among the new models this year are the VW ID.4 and the Audi Q4 e-tron, two crossovers about the size of Tesla’s popular Model Y, as part of the industry’s largest rollout of electric cars. Diess said that electric vehicles are actually less affected by the chip shortage, supporting the company’s efforts to tilt production more into that space.Two months after mapping out plans to build six battery factories in Europe VW is still in talks with potential partners and governments over possible partnerships to finance the projects. Decisions could be made “in the next couple of months” and include initial public offerings of “some of the activities,” Diess said. First-quarter operating profit surged to 4.8 billion euros from 900 million euros last year, when the Covid-19 pandemic shuttered showrooms and factory floors. The group’s Audi and Porsche premium brand continued to be largest profit contributors, accounting for just over half of the group’s earnings with 2.58 billion euros combined.The German carmaker targets becoming the global EV leader by 2025 at the latest and is allocating substantial financial and management firepower to boost software expertise under a new unit named Cariad. VW’s shares have soared since Diess wooed investors in March with back-to-back briefings on standardizing key technologies across VW’s 12 brands for scale effects that’ll likely elude both Tesla and established automakers.Steel PricesThe recovery in demand is helping to fuel VW’s costly electric plans. Total deliveries during the first quarter jumped 21% to 2.43 million vehicles, mainly driven by a surge in China. Deliveries of electrified models more than doubled to 133,300 vehicles, of which 59,900 were battery electric vehicle and the remainder plug-in hybrids.The Wolfsburg-based manufacturer has targeted selling roughly 600,000 purely battery-powered cars this year and is “fully on track” to comply with tightening European emission rules, Diess said.Besides the semiconductor shortage, rising prices for raw materials from steel to precious metals are also taking their toll on the car industry, Diess said. “Finding new sources, that’s going to be a challenge for 2021 for sure,” Diess said. “Demand is rising for everyone, and supply is constrained.”(Updates with comments from analyst call 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.
Bill Gates transferred stakes in several companies to Melinda Gates on the day the power couple announced their divorce
Everyone has a different idea of what wealth is. You could ask 20-somethings what they think wealth is, and they might describe extravagant houses or a private jet. Someone older might mention lucrative investments. Everyone seems to have a different … Continue reading → The post What Is the Financial Definition of Wealth? appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.
As the US economy continues to open up, the April jobs report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the boom in delivery jobs has taken a tumble. The industry covers workers who deliver and pick up packaged good, employed by companies like Amazon, Fedex, and DHL. When the Covid-19 pandemic halted the world and people stayed home, the demand for online retailers, online grocers, delivery firms shifted into high-gear.
You could be entitled to additional money, based on your 2020 income tax return.
Tech investor Cathie Wood tells CNBC she isn't unsettled by the popular ARK Innovation ETF's rough start to May.
The cryptocurrency lacks the mainstream appeal of Bitcoin, but it still has a substantial online community behind it. And that community may be the basis of new financial markets.
The residential construction sector is pumping the brakes, judging by April's jobs numbers, despite the strong demand for homes.
Vlad Tenev, CEO of Robinhood Markets, speaking at a “fireside chat” on Thursday, attempts to dispel any lingering speculation that the brokerage may be a so-called dogecoin whale, maintaining a massive stockpile of the crypto for its own benefit.
(Bloomberg) -- Coinbase Global Inc. sank to a record low as investors fled high-flying market newcomers.The operator of the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange slumped 6% to $256.76 on Thursday, dropping for a fourth straight day. That left the shares just above the $250 reference price for its April direct listing. An exchange-traded fund that tracks shares of companies that recently went public plunged for an eighth day, the longest slide since 2015. Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. and Opendoor Technologies Inc., companies that came to market through blank-check offerings, each sank at least 3.8%.“We saw a mini-bubble in SPACs, IPOs, crypto, clean-tech and hyper-growth in late 2020 and early 2021 and many of these asset classes are nursing bad hangovers,” said Mike Bailey, director of research at FBB Capital Partners.Coinbase’s slide comes as investors pour into extremely speculative cryptocurrencies such as Dogecoin and Binance Coin -- tokens that the exchange doesn’t offer. Most of its traffic had come from Bitcoin trades, but the price of the largest crypto coin has been mired in a narrow band for weeks. Coinbase started trading at $381 on April 14 before briefly topping $400. It’s now down 22% from the close on its first day.Nasdaq had set a reference price of $250 a share on April 13 for Coinbase’s direct listing, a number that’s a requirement for the stock to begin trading, but not a direct indicator of the company’s potential market capitalization.“What has really hurt Coinbase, now that their direct listing has taken off, you’re seeing expectations that other exchanges are coming on board,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda. “There’s this belief this could be as good as it gets for Coinbase in the short-term.”The Renaissance IPO ETF dropped 4.2% on Thursday, bringing its year-to-date loss to about 14%.(Updates prices.)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 crypto run this time has two features the 2017 version didn’t—institutional adoption and actual applications.
HELP ME RETIRE Dear MarketWatch, My wife and I recently sold our home. After paying capital gain taxes, we look to net about $1 million. We are both in our late 60s. My wife is retired, and I work part time in my profession, currently grossing approximately $50,000 a year.