Facebook Closes Political Ads Ahead Of U.S. Presidential Election

Facebook Inc said on Tuesday it would affix labels to political ads shared by users on their own feeds, closing what critics have said for years was a glaring loophole in the company’s election transparency measures.



The world’s biggest social network has attached a “paid for by” disclaimer to political ads since 2018, after facing a backlash for failing to stop Russia from using its platforms to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

But the label disappeared once people shared the ads to their own feeds, which critics said undermined its utility and allowed misinformation to continue spreading unchecked.

“Previously the thinking here was that these were organic posts, and so these posts did not necessarily need to contain information about ads,” said Sarah Schiff, a Facebook product manager overseeing the change.

After receiving feedback, Schiff said, the company now considers it important to disclose if a post “was at one point an ad.”

Facebook introduced a similar labeling approach for state news media earlier this month, but that label also sometimes drops off with sharing and does not appear when users post their own links to those outlets.


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The company is facing demands to do more to combat false viral information before the Nov. 3 presidential election, including by presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who last week called on Zuckerberg to reverse his decision to exempt political ads from fact-checking.

Zuckerberg has touted transparency tools in response, arguing that voters should be able to examine statements from would-be political leaders unimpeded.

In a USA Today op-ed on Tuesday, he pledged to display a Voting Information Center at the top of U.S. users’ news feeds. He also said the company would aim to help 4 million people register to vote, double its goal for 2016.




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U.S. Exports, Imports Fell Sharply In April Amid Coronavirus Disruptions

Trade deficit widened as the pandemic sapped global commerce, affected supply chains.

U. S. exports and imports both posted their largest monthly decreases on record amid coronavirus-related shutdowns around the world.

Imports fell 13.7% in April from March, and exports dropped 20.5%, the largest declines since record-keeping began in 1992, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The trade deficit expanded 16.7% to a seasonally adjusted $49.41 billion.

“Beyond the fact that we’re seeing a significant widening of the trade deficit, what really strikes me is the pace at which trade flows are declining,” with imports and exports down about a quarter since the coronavirus outbreak, said Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics.

Exports of aircraft and cars have dropped as manufacturers such as Boeing Co. were hit by the world-wide disruption of travel and auto makers including Ford Motor Co. closed factories to prevent the spread of the virus.



“We’re reopening fast enough that import demand will pick up faster than export demand,” said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors. “We’ll have more total activity as we go forward but the trade deficit is likely to widen.”

Global trade flows may start to pick up again as some factories reopen and the easing of social-distancing measures revives consumer demand.

“Much of the disruption may have already occurred,” Angeliki Frangou, chief executive of container ship operator Navios Maritime Containers LP, said on an earnings call last month. “As countries emerge from quarantine and return to work, we expect volumes to pick up, particularly in the second half of 2020.”

Exports of goods in April were the lowest since late 2009, when the nation was recovering from a deep recession, Thursday’s report showed Imports of goods were the lowest since late 2010.

A similar trend was seen in Canada, where the goods trade deficit widened in April as exports plunged to their lowest level in over a decade. Statistics Canada attributed the dramatic drops in exports and imports to factory shutdowns, weaker energy prices and widespread economic restrictions as authorities moved to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.



While the U.S. usually runs a deficit in goods, it runs a surplus in services. That surplus, in services such as medical care, travel, higher education and royalties, decreased by $1.3 billion in April to $22.4 billion, its lowest since December 2016.

In the first quarter, a narrowing trade deficit helped limit a sharp contraction in the U.S. economy. As a whole, the economy still shrank at a 5% annual rate, the steepest drop since the last recession. Trade is expected to subtract from gross domestic product this quarter should the deficit continue to widen.

The U.S. deficit in goods with China widened to $25.96 billion from $16.99 billion the prior month. Year to date, the deficit with China amounts to $87.60 billion, compared with $123.68 billion in the same period of 2019.

Chinese state-controlled companies have canceled some shipments from U.S. farm exporters, according to maritime officials, as tensions between Washington and Beijing rise over China’s handling of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and the coronavirus pandemic. The cancellations involve orders made following the phase-one trade pact between the two countries signed in January, in which China committed to increasing farm imports from the U.S.


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Lockdowns associated with the pandemic, which originated in China late last year, have sapped global commerce and growth, disrupted supply chains and closed factories and stores.

The International Monetary Fund said in April that it expected the U.S. economy would shrink 5.9% this year. It predicted the global economy would contract 3% in 2020. China’s growth would slow to 1.2% this year, the IMF projected, from 6.1% last year.

Global trade, already experiencing its weakest activity since the 2008-09 financial crisis because of the two-year U.S.-China trade conflict, is likely to contract by 11% in 2020, the IMF said, a collapse that would make it difficult for countries to revive their economies by increasing exports.




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Global Stocks Drift Higher On Recovery Hopes

International stock indexes mostly rose, following U.S. markets higher on optimism over signs of an economic recovery and plans for additional stimulus, while shares fell in Hong Kong.



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The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.6%, led by gains in telecommunication and travel-and-leisure stocks. S&P 500 stock-index futures, flipping between small gains and losses, were down 0.1%.

China’s Shanghai Composite ticked up 0.3% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.8%. The Chinese yuan weakened against the dollar.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 1.2% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 2.3%.

U.S. stocks surged Wednesday, reaching highs not seen since early March, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.2%.





“We have a FOMO rally—a fear of missing out,” said Michael Drummey, head of U.S. equity risk trading at Mizuho Americas. “People are frustrated that they missed out on the rally in the past few days, and that frustration is only growing.”

Mr. Drummey said investors across the globe are picking up stocks that were sold during the height of the pandemic, but continue to debate whether to buy overvalued stocks, or to invest in companies that still face challenges from a slow recovery.

However, he warned that stocks could be due for a reasonably sized pullback because of the economic uncertainties ahead.

“The market is acting in a way that doesn’t really line up with that uncertainty,” he said.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the State Department had determined Hong Kong no longer has a high degree of autonomy from China. That clears the way for President Trump to implement a range of possible measures, including revoking special arrangements on trade.

Investors are worried about whether that means there could be new trade barriers introduced,” said Chang Wei Liang, a macro strategist at DBS Bank. “We’re not likely to get a solution on this immediately, so this will be lingering on investors’ minds until we get clarity on what the U.S. intends to do with Hong Kong.”

Mr. Chang added that the weakness in China’s currency also reflected the heightened U.S.-China tensions.

In the offshore markets, the yuan weakened slightly to trade at 7.1802 to the dollar, according to FactSet. That put it close to its weakest levels since China started allowing offshore trading of the currency in 2010. Last September, the yuan depreciated beyond 7.19.

The People’s Bank of China set a daily midpoint for trading of the more tightly controlled onshore yuan at 7.1277 to the dollar. That was only slightly stronger than Tuesday’s fixing, which was the weakest since February 2008. The onshore yuan was trading at 7.1659 by early afternoon Shanghai time.

Paul Sandhu, head of multiasset quant solutions for Asia-Pacific at BNP Paribas Asset Management, said while trade tensions help explain the weakness in the yuan, Chinese investors’ pursuit of higher returns overseas is another reason pressure is building on the currency.

Yields on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 0.685%, from 0.677% Wednesday. Bond yields rise as prices fall.

U.S. crude-oil prices fell 3.2% to $31.77 a barrel.



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Hertz Files For Bankruptcy



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Hertz Global Holdings Inc., filed for bankruptcy protection Friday, saddled with about $19 billion in debt and nearly 700,000 vehicles that have been largely idled because of the coronavirus.

The Estero, Fla.-based company entered chapter 11 proceedings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., hoping to survive a drop-off in ground traffic from the pandemic and avoid a forced liquidation of its vehicle fleet.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Friday that Hertz had failed to reach a standstill agreement with its top lenders and was preparing to file for bankruptcy as soon as that evening.

The company’s collapse marks one of the highest-profile corporate defaults stemming from the pandemic’s impact on air and ground travel, though Hertz also had challenges before the current economic crisis. Even before the Covid-19 outbreak, Hertz had been struggling with competition from peers including Enterprise Holdings Inc. and Avis Budget Group Inc., as well as from ride-hailing services such as Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. The company lost some $58 million last year, its fourth consecutive annual net loss.

But Hertz’s business was hammered by the onset of the coronavirus, as people world-wide bunkered in at home and global travel shriveled up. Going forward, as businesses adapt by conducting meetings remotely, business travel may not return to prepandemic levels, according to bankers and analysts who follow Hertz.

Hertz didn’t reach a deal with creditors before entering chapter 11, heightening the risk of a full liquidation of the fleet, although the company and investors have several weeks to work out an agreement avoiding that outcome, people familiar with the matter said.

Hertz has spent years trying to restructure its business, and has blown through four chief executives in less than a decade. Most recently, former Chief Executive Kathryn Marinello was replaced Monday by Paul Stone, who previously served as the company’s executive vice president and chief retail operations officer for North America.

Hertz has also had a debt problem that can be traced back to a 2005 leveraged buyout by private-equity firms.





Founded in Chicago in 1918 and originally known as Rent-a-Car Inc., Hertz opened its first airport car-rental facility at Midway Airport in 1932. The company’s owners have included RCA Corp. and later Ford Motor Co., which sold Hertz to a buyout group led by Clayton Dubilier & Rice in 2005 for $5.6 billion.

The company went public in 2006, and activist investor Carl Icahn, who started acquiring Hertz shares in 2014, now owns more than one-third of the company and has placed three of his representatives on the board.

The pandemic has diminished automotive traffic in the U.S., squelched car sales and cut into rental reservations at Hertz. The Wall Street Journal reported in early May that Hertz, the nation’s second-largest rental-car company by fleet size behind Enterprise, was preparing for a bankruptcy filing.

The bankruptcy is expected to be complex given the company’s vast debt and corporate structure, which includes $14.4 billion of vehicle-backed bonds at subsidiaries that aren’t part of the chapter 11 filing.

Like Avis and some other rental car companies, Hertz doesn’t own its vehicles. The company leases its rental-car fleet, nearly 700,000 vehicles in total, from separate financing subsidiaries. The lease payments are earmarked for investors that own bonds backed by the fleet.

Now that Hertz has filed for bankruptcy, investors with rights to the vehicle fleet have to wait for 60 days before they can foreclose on and sell the cars. Hertz and its creditors will likely aim to prevent a complete liquidation and strike a deal to downsize the fleet while keeping some vehicles in operation, said people familiar with the matter.

With the $14.4 billion in vehicle-finance bonds so widely held—by pension funds, mutual funds and structured-credit funds—the company has faced difficulty coordinating with bondholders, people familiar with the matter said.


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Rental-car companies play an important role in supplying newer models to the used-vehicle market. Hertz also is a major customer for U.S. auto makers, purchasing about half of its fleet from General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV in 2019, according to a financial filing.

Analysts were concerned that Hertz could be forced to sell part or all of its fleet into an unusually weak market. But the possible liquidation would come at a time when demand for used vehicles is rising slightly, and pricing in the market is showing signs of recovery after hitting historic lows in April.

“Any ripple effect will be less than it was six weeks ago,” said Zo Rahim, an analyst for Cox Automotive, which owns vehicle-auction operator Manheim Inc.



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U.S. To Invest $1.2 Billion To Secure Potential Coronavirus Vaccine From AstraZeneca

The U.S. government has agreed to hand AstraZeneca PLC up to $1.2 billion to secure the supply of a potential coronavirus vaccine that could be ready as early as October.

Under the deal, the government will bankroll a 30,000-person vaccine trial in the U.S. starting in the summer, plus the ramp-up of manufacturing capacity to make at least 300 million doses. The first doses will be ready in the fall should the vaccine prove effective, it said.



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Alex Azar, the Health and Human Services Secretary, called the deal a “major milestone” in the administration’s effort—code-named “Operation Warp Speed”—to make a safe, effective vaccine widely available to Americans by 2021.

The vaccine in question was developed by the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute and is one of a small group of candidates already being tested in humans. Others include vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. AstraZeneca, under a licensing deal with Oxford, has responsibility for manufacturing the university’s vaccine, and has promised to sell the vaccine without making a profit during the pandemic.

Governments around the world are counting on an effective vaccine against Covid-19 to defeat a virus that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and devastated the global economy. But to guarantee that doses are ready as soon as possible, companies must ramp up manufacturing capacity significantly before clinical trials provide solid proof that the vaccines work—a costly exercise more viable with financial support from governments and other funders.


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The U.S. government has moved fast to secure supply deals with vaccine makers. It has also awarded Moderna $483 million to ramp up production of its candidate and is supporting research into potential vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and France’s Sanofi SA . It is doing those deals through its Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority division, or Barda, which was set up in 2006 to prepare for biologic threats such as pandemics and bioterrorism.

Earlier this week, the U.K. government agreed to pay AstraZeneca £65.5 million ($79 million) to secure 100 million doses for its population, with 30 million of those ready as early as September. That deal relates purely to manufacturing, and doesn’t include any clinical trial funding.

AstraZeneca says it is in talks with several other governments, as well as nonprofits like the international vaccine alliance, Gavi, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations on deals that would further boost production.

Oxford started a 1,100-person study in April and expects to roll the trial out to a further 5,000 participants later this month, should the first phase go well.





Its vaccine has progressed quickly, in part because it uses a technology that has been deployed in earlier vaccines developed by the university. It uses an inactivated chimpanzee virus containing the genetic sequence for the “spike protein” found on the new coronavirus.

In a small animal study, not yet peer-reviewed, it appeared to stop the virus from spreading to the lungs, protecting the inoculated monkeys from developing pneumonia. It was unclear whether the vaccine stopped infection entirely, however, as the vaccinated monkeys tested positive for virus in their noses.



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The Treasury Department Ready to Increase Investments In Fed Lending Programs

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday he was prepared to provide more money and take more risks to facilitate lending programs being established by the Federal Reserve.



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Congress made $500 billion available to the Treasury Department through the $2 trillion economic-relief package that President Trump signed into law in March. The legislation provided the Treasury with $46 billion to provide direct assistance to airlines and other distressed industries, plus another $454 billion to cover losses in Fed lending programs.

The Fed has launched nine lending programs with Mr. Mnuchin’s approval to support financial markets, businesses, cities and states, and the Treasury Department has provided $195 billion from the economic-relief bill to cover losses in some of those programs.

“I am prepared to allocate the rest of that,” Mr. Mnuchin told lawmakers during a hearing conducted by the Senate Banking Committee via a videoconference Tuesday. “The only reason I have not allocated it fully is we are just starting to get these facilities up and running.”

Lawmakers have pressed Mr. Mnuchin on how much risk the government is willing to take on its investment in the Fed’s lending facilities, and whether he is prepared to lose the money Congress provided to ensure credit is widely available to companies that need it most.

“The answer is absolutely yes,” Mr. Mnuchin said. “We are fully prepared to take losses in certain scenarios on that capital.”

Mr. Mnuchin appeared at the hearing alongside Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Lawmakers pressed both men on the need for additional spending to limit the economic damage from the current downturn. Democrats in the House of Representatives narrowly approved a $3 trillion relief package last week with only one Republican voting in favor.







Mr. Mnuchin has said the administration expects economic growth to pick up in the second half of the year, and administration officials are taking a wait-and-see stance regarding additional relief. Mr. Powell in recent weeks has urged Congress and the White House to spend more money to ensure the government’s response to the economic downturn isn’t squandered, and he has said the recovery faces a longer and more uncertain path.

“This is really a question for Congress to weigh,” Mr. Powell said Tuesday.

“There is a growing sense that the recovery may come more slowly than we would like…and that may mean that it’s necessary for us to do more,” Mr. Powell said last week during a moderated discussion online.

Mr. Powell faced questions on when the central bank’s lending programs will be up and running. The Fed has launched several operations to calm short-term funding markets, recycling programs it had used in the 2008 crisis to stabilize financial markets.

But it has unveiled other programs to backstop corporate and municipal bond markets and to lend directly to small and midsize businesses that are taking more time to put into operation.

The Fed began purchasing exchange-traded funds of corporate debt last week through one of these new programs, and it rolled out application materials Monday for state and local-government borrowers that plan to issue debt of up to three years through the central bank’s Municipal Liquidity Facility.

By simply announcing its intention to backstop corporate-debt markets, the Fed has made it possible for companies to borrow more money from private investors without the Fed’s buying a single security.

Still, the Fed’s ability to follow through on those programs will be closely watched by markets and lawmakers alike.



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In one particularly novel operation, called the Main Street Lending Program, the central bank will lend directly to middle-market firms that are too large for aid from the Small Business Administration and too small to borrow in Wall Street debt markets.

The Fed has already adjusted the terms of its loan programs several times, and Mr. Powell said the central bank would continue to adjust the terms for those operations “as we learn more.”

Mr. Powell said he expected that program would be ready to start lending by the end of the month or in the first week of June.

While some lawmakers have pushed the Fed to ease terms on certain lending operations, others have warned against the central bank’s expanding eligibility criteria to benefit sectors of the economy they think shouldn’t be helped by the Fed, such as oil-and-gas exploration and drilling.

Mr. Mnuchin faced questions on the Treasury Department’s role in administering the Paycheck Protection Program, which has provided $530 billion in emergency small-business loans. The program got off to a bumpy start and has faced criticism over loans that went to large public companies, and rules limiting how small firms may spend the money to qualify for loan forgiveness.



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Which Trading Platform Is Best For Beginners UK?

Which Trading Platform Is Best In UK?



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The best stock trading platform in UK for 2020? ….  How To Choose The Best Online Broker in UK { 2020 } …


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◊ Best Stock Trading Platform In UK {2020} : Plus500 Review ◊


Plus500 is a streamlined broker that focuses on trading in a wide range of financial markets with relatively low spreads and no commissions but without offering many extra services. Plus500 has been in the forex and CFD business since 2008. They are registered in the U.K. and licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The company offers access to a comprehensive product line including forex, stock indexes, equities, commodities, cryptocurrencies, ETFs and options. Plus500 is the first broker to introduce a bitcoin CFD in 2013. The company does not charge commissions on any of its trades.

All costs are contained within the spread for each of more than 2,000 trading instruments offered on Plus500’s WebTrader platform. Plus500 Ltd. (PLUS.L) is a publicly traded company on the AIM section of the London Stock Exchange since 2013 with a £1.73 billion ($2.25 billion) market capitalization and clients in more than 50 countries around the world. Plus500 offers access to more than 2,000 trading instruments.


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TRUST … The company is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), CySEC, ASIC, FSCA, FMA, MAS, and the ISA, which provides good accountability and visibility. The company is required to take steps to ensure client funds are not comingled with corporate funds – ensuring that client money and assets are protected in the unlikely event that Plus500 becomes insolvent – by holding those funds in segregated accounts at regulated banks.

If Plus500 defaults, any shortfall of funds of up to £50,000 may be compensated for under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). If the custodian bank holding client funds goes into liquidation, any shortfall of funds of up to £85,000 may be compensated for under the FSCS.

Plus500 also offers Negative Balance Protection, ensuring that clients cannot lose more than they have put into their account. Guaranteed stop losses can be used on some instruments depending on market conditions but they are subject to a wider spread.

The company does not charge commissions on any of its trades. All costs are contained within the spread for each of more than 2,000 trading instruments offered on Plus500’s WebTrader platform. Large volume traders do not get a trading discount at Plus500 and the spread is the same whether you trade one lot or 1,000 lots.

There are no charges for normal withdrawals or terminating an account. However, inactivity fees kick in after an account has been idle for three months. Beginning traders can open an account with as little as £100.

Traders can qualify for a “professional” account, which offers a higher level of maximum leverage, but the costs are the same. Investors with a professional account may increase their maximum leverage ten-fold, from 1:30 to 1:300.

Plus500 also offers access to options trading on many markets. These are very similar to plain call and put options traded on exchanges, but they are not standardized which means that the option premium can be customized for your risk tolerance and strategy objectives.


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Financial Markets – Top 5 Things To Watch This Week

This Tuesday will see Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testify to Congress on the economic stimulus measures put in place so far. A day later the minutes of the Fed’s April meeting are scheduled to be released.


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Investors will be looking at the weekly jobless claims data as the reopening of the economy gathers pace. Retail earnings will shine a light on consumer spending amid the coronavirus pandemic, while Tuesday brings the monthly expiration of U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures contract. Meanwhile, central banks in South Africa and Turkey are expected to cut interest rates again.

Here’s what you need to know to start your week.


Powell testimony, FOMC minutes
The Fed chairman is to testify on Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee alongside Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to update government officials on the economic stimulus programs approved so far.

In a speech last week Powell gave a sober assessment of the long-term risks to the U.S. economic outlook and the possible need for elected officials to approve more spending programs to keep the economy afloat.

On Wednesday, the Fed is to publish the minutes of it is April meeting. In its rate statement last month, the Fed said it will keep interest rates at near-zero until officials are “confident that the economy has weathered recent events.”


Economic data
In the U.S., the main datapoint continues to be the weekly report on initial jobless claims. With the reopening of the economy gaining momentum economists are hoping for a reading of below 2.5 million, which would indicate that the rate of layoffs is slowing somewhat.

There is a packed economic calendar in the U.K. this week, with updates on March employment, retail sales and inflation. Given that the lockdown in the U.K. didn’t start until late March it may be too early to see the impact of the pandemic on the employment figures.

The retail sales data for April could show at least a 15% decline in spending, while plunging oil prices are expected to have sent inflation tumbling last month.


Retail earnings
While the U.S. first-quarter earnings season is almost over the retail sector is just getting started. This week will see results from big U.S. retailers including Walmart (NYSE:WMT), Home Depot (NYSE:HD), Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW), Target (NYSE:TGT), Kohl’s (NYSE:KSS) and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY). Their figures will show whether U.S. consumers are still spending money despite the widespread coronavirus lockdowns.

The retailers are reporting in the shadow of online shopping giant Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), which is among the “stay-at-home” stocks benefiting from the lockdown. Its shares have soared some 28% this year.


Repeat performance of oil plunge?
The monthly expiration of U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures contract is coming up on Tuesday and many energy traders are worried about a repeat performance of the oil price slump last month which saw prices drop into negative territory for the first time ever.

Normally uneventful, the expiry turned dramatic in April as brimming storage tanks discouraged traders from taking delivery of oil.

The U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission has warned market participants they should be prepared for volatility and negative pricing again, with oil storage still tight and the demand outlook still severely depressed.

But oil prices have recently rebounded on hopes that the easing of lockdown restrictions will boost the energy demand outlook. In another hopeful sign, U.S. crude inventories fell in the most recent week for the first time since January.

Yet some traders seem to be heeding the CFTC’s warning. Volumes in the July futures contract, which expires in a month’s time, are outpacing the June contract by nearly 50%.


Emerging market rate cuts
Central banks in Turkey and South Africa are both to hold policy meetings on Thursday and both are expected to cut rates again despite heavy losses their currencies’ have recently endured.

Analyst polls predict South Africa will cut its 4.25% main rate by another 50 basis points. Economists stress any policy easing must be sizeable if it is to offer any help to the suffering economy.

Turkey’s meeting will be even more interesting. The lira has plunged to record lows, hard currency reserves are dwindling and inflation is in the double digits, yet all that probably won’t deter the central bank from chopping another 50-100 basis points off its 8.75% repo rate



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Which Is The Best Broker In Singapore?

Which trading platform is best in Singapore?


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To evaluate brokers, you should look at the following factors:

>>> Commissions
>>> Account Minimum
>>> Account Fees
>>> Your Trading Style and Tech Needs
>>> Promotions

Look at commissions on the investments you’ll use most… Brokers generally offer a similar menu of investment options: individual stocks, options, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and bonds. Some will also offer access to futures trading and forex (currency) trading.

The investments offered by the broker will dictate two things: whether your investment needs will be satisfied, and how much you’ll pay in commissions. Pay careful attention to the commissions associated with your preferred investments:

Individual stocks: You’ll typically pay a per-trade commission of $4 to $7. Some brokerages also offer per-share pricing.

Options: Options trades often incur the stock trade commission plus a per-contract fee, which usually runs $0.15 to $1.50. Some brokers charge only a commission or only a contract fee.

Mutual funds: Some brokers charge a fee to purchase mutual funds. You can limit mutual fund transaction costs or avoid them completely by selecting a broker that offers no-transaction-fee mutual funds. (Mutual funds also carry internal fees called expense ratios. These are charged not by the broker, but by the fund itself.)

ETFs: ETFs trade like a stock and are purchased for a share price, so they are often subject to the broker’s stock trade commission. But many brokers also offer a list of commission-free ETFs. If you plan to invest in ETFs, you should look for one of these brokers.

Bonds: You can purchase bond mutual funds and ETFs at no charge by using no-transaction-fee mutual funds and commission-free ETFs. Brokers may charge a fee to purchase individual bonds, with a minimum and maximum charge.

Pay attention to account minimums… You can find highly ranked brokers with no account minimum. But some brokers do require a minimum initial investment, and it can skew toward $500 or more. Many mutual funds also require similar minimum investments, which means even if you’re able to open a brokerage account with a small amount of money, it could be a struggle to actually invest it.

Watch out for account fees… You may not be able to avoid account fees completely, but you can certainly minimize them. Most brokers will charge a fee for transferring out funds or closing your account. If you’re transferring to another broker, that new company may offer to reimburse your transfer fees, at least up to a limit.

Most other fees can be sidestepped by simply choosing a broker that doesn’t charge them, or by opting out of services that cost extra. Common fees to watch out for include annual fees, inactivity fees, trading platform subscriptions and extra charges for research or data.

Consider your trading style and tech needs… If you’re a beginner investor, you probably won’t need extras, like an advanced trading platform. But you may want an education and a little hand-holding. This could include videos and tutorials on the broker’s website, or in-person seminars at branches. Many brokers offer these services free to account holders.

Active traders, on the other hand, will want to look for a brokerage that supports that kind of frequency. That includes weighing a broker’s trading platforms, analysis tools, research and data offerings in addition to commissions — including discounts for high-volume traders — and fees.

Plenty of high-quality online brokers offer free demo access to trading platforms.

Take advantage of promotions… Online brokers, like many companies, frequently entice new customers with deals, offering a number of commission-free trades or a cash bonus on certain deposit amounts.

It isn’t wise to choose a broker solely on its promotional offer — a high commission over the long term could easily wipe out any initial bonus or savings — but if you’re stuck between two options, a promotion may sway you one way or the other.


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◊ Best Stock Trading Platform In Singapore {2020} : Plus500 Review ◊


Plus500 is a streamlined broker that focuses on trading in a wide range of financial markets with relatively low spreads and no commissions but without offering many extra services. Plus500 has been in the forex and CFD business since 2008. They are registered in the U.K. and licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The company offers access to a comprehensive product line including forex, stock indexes, equities, commodities, cryptocurrencies, ETFs and options. Plus500 is the first broker to introduce a bitcoin CFD in 2013. The company does not charge commissions on any of its trades.

All costs are contained within the spread for each of more than 2,000 trading instruments offered on Plus500’s WebTrader platform. Plus500 Ltd. (PLUS.L) is a publicly traded company on the AIM section of the London Stock Exchange since 2013 with a £1.73 billion ($2.25 billion) market capitalization and clients in more than 50 countries around the world. Plus500 offers access to more than 2,000 trading instruments.


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Trust … The company is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), CySEC, ASIC, FSCA, FMA, MAS, and the ISA, which provides good accountability and visibility. The company is required to take steps to ensure client funds are not comingled with corporate funds – ensuring that client money and assets are protected in the unlikely event that Plus500 becomes insolvent – by holding those funds in segregated accounts at regulated banks.

If Plus500 defaults, any shortfall of funds of up to £50,000 may be compensated for under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). If the custodian bank holding client funds goes into liquidation, any shortfall of funds of up to £85,000 may be compensated for under the FSCS.

Plus500 also offers Negative Balance Protection, ensuring that clients cannot lose more than they have put into their account. Guaranteed stop losses can be used on some instruments depending on market conditions but they are subject to a wider spread.

The company does not charge commissions on any of its trades. All costs are contained within the spread for each of more than 2,000 trading instruments offered on Plus500’s WebTrader platform. Large volume traders do not get a trading discount at Plus500 and the spread is the same whether you trade one lot or 1,000 lots.

There are no charges for normal withdrawals or terminating an account. However, inactivity fees kick in after an account has been idle for three months. Beginning traders can open an account with as little as £100.

Traders can qualify for a “professional” account, which offers a higher level of maximum leverage, but the costs are the same. Investors with a professional account may increase their maximum leverage ten-fold, from 1:30 to 1:300.

Plus500 also offers access to options trading on many markets. These are very similar to plain call and put options traded on exchanges, but they are not standardized which means that the option premium can be customized for your risk tolerance and strategy objectives.


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Big Investors Aren’t Betting It All On A Coronavirus Cure


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Successful efforts that could help billions of people might not result in big profits for shareholders.


Shares are up for companies searching for coronavirus drugs and vaccines.


As drug companies race to discover treatments for the new coronavirus, big investment firms are placing cautious bets on likely winners.

Hedge funds and venture-capital firms, which are in the business of predicting the future for companies and economies, are growing more confident researchers will develop effective drugs to fight the pandemic.

Yet, successful efforts that could help millions—or even billions—of people, might not result in big profits for shareholders, the investors argue. Some are even placing bearish wagers on pharmaceutical companies they believe are attracting excessive excitement over their progress on Covid-19 treatments.

“Most of the stock prices don’t bear semblance to reality,” says Joseph Edelman, who runs Perceptive Advisors, a $4.2 billion New York hedge health-care fund, which is focused on what it sees as the disconnect between the price of stocks like drug company Gilead Sciences Inc. and their potential profits from any treatment or vaccine.

Shares are up for companies searching for coronavirus drugs and vaccines.

Gilead is up 18.9% this year, thanks to remdesivir, an antiviral drug administered intravenously that shortens the recovery time of hospitalized Covid-19 patients, according to recent data.

It is always hard anticipating successful drugs, but those wagering on coronavirus treatments face unique challenges. Some of the most innovative and promising approaches are wholly unproven. Companies are competing with foreign nations and not-for-profit organizations determined to achieve their own breakthroughs. Successful drugs or vaccines may run into pricing, manufacturing and distribution difficulties.

Among the issues investors are struggling with: Can Covid-19 treatments help those sick while also protecting individuals against the virus, or will that require different drugs? Will vaccines render treatments less necessary? Will governments allow companies to charge high enough prices to generate sizable profits?

Larry Robbins, who runs health-care hedge fund Glenview Capital Management, is avoiding bets on possible coronavirus treatments, partly because he expects researchers to find a vaccine, limiting the need for even the most effective treatments.

“We are all cheering for a treatment on a humanitarian level, but as an investor, you have to believe a treatment works, and that sales last long enough for it to have a material impact on a company,” he says.

Gilead is among the stocks that has investors thinking twice. The company expects to manufacture more than one million treatment courses of remdesivir by the end of this year, and the drug could have billions of dollars in new annual sales, investors say. If Gilead can develop an inhaled version of the drug or other alternatives to receiving it intravenously, its popularity could increase, bullish investors argue.


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But Gilead has promised to donate 1.5 million doses of Covid-19 treatments to hospitals free of charge, and the price it would charge thereafter is unclear, raising questions about eventual profits. In the past, Gilead has been criticized for placing high prices on its HIV and hepatitis treatments. It may feel pressure to keep a lid on remdesivir’s cost—especially given President Donald Trump’s past public criticism of drug prices.

If Gilead charges about $4,000 per course, as some investors predict, that would result in $4 billion of revenue for a million patients. That figure would be well below Gilead’s $14.6 billion of added market value this year—without taking into consideration the drug’s development costs, estimated to be about $1 billion, a figure that would reduce any profits.

Some bearish investors aren’t yet convinced of remdesivir’s efficacy.

“Even if the drug has only a modest effect, people will still prescribe it, but Gilead won’t make a lot of money,” says Dr. Joseph Lawler, who runs hedge fund JFL Capital Management, which is shorting, or betting against, Gilead.

Gilead’s company spokesman said the drug company hasn’t yet set a price for remdesivir.

“At this time, we are focused on ensuring access to remdesivir through our donation,” he said. “Post-donation, we are committed to making remdesivir both accessible and affordable to governments and patients around the world.”

Dr. Luciana Borio, who was director for medical and biodefense preparedness at the National Security Council, argues that smaller, private companies may emerge with the most effective treatments, not publicly traded companies, another challenge for investors.

“For technology that’s truly innovative and disruptive there’s opportunity for funding and interest in partnerships,” she says.

Some investors are focusing on treatments that may help those who are sick but also can prevent people from getting the virus, a larger potential market. These investors are betting on therapies that use antibody proteins generated by the body’s immune system. These antibodies may be able to block the action of the coronavirus’s “spike” protein, preventing the virus from infecting healthy cells.

Mr. Edelman, of Perceptive, owns shares of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., a leader in antibody therapies. The company is using a “monoclonal” antibody approach, where scientists select the most powerful antibodies from recovered coronavirus patients—or, in the case of Regeneron, from mice that have been given human immune systems—clone them, and turn them into drugs.



Regeneron plans clinical trials in early summer and is preparing to manufacture hundreds of thousands of doses each month beginning in late summer.

Robert Nelsen, who helps run venture-capital firm Arch Venture Partners, which made early and successful bets on cancer immunotherapy, is backing VIR Biotechnology Inc., which plans trials for its own monoclonal antibody therapy this summer.

“I’m pushing them every day,” Mr. Nelsen says. “We don’t know if the virus will be weaker or stronger or the same in the fall, but in 1918 it came back stronger, so we have to be prepared.”

Regeneron shares are up 52% this year, adding $23 billion in market value, while VIR is 148% higher and has added $2.3 billion in value. Some investors say if a vaccine is discovered it could limit these shares’ potential. Mr. Nelsen counters that it could take longer than expected for researchers to find vaccines, creating a huge market for antibody treatments.

“Vaccines are never 100% effective,” he argues, “so antibody therapeutics may be key to preventing a re-emergence.”

One high-risk, high-reward strategy: Buying shares of tiny companies with potential upside. Messrs. Edelman and Nelsen hold big chunks of ownership in VBI Vaccines Inc., an unproven biotech company claiming an experimental vaccine approach. The stock closed at $2.07 on Thursday.

Forecasting a winning vaccine is perhaps even harder than predicting coronavirus treatments. By some measures, Chinese companies and a group at Oxford University are in the lead. Some companies say they will distribute a vaccine they develop at cost, potentially reducing profits for others. Still, the potential market is huge—some investors believe a combination of vaccines may be necessary to meet global demand, perhaps a low-cost option for younger, healthier individuals and a more potent one for those who are immune-compromised.

Moderna Inc. has attracted the most excitement among vaccine makers, sending its stock soaring 230% this year, as it moves through human trials. Moderna’s strategy is to produce a vaccine using the virus’s genetic sequence, rather than its actual genetic material. It uses programmed material, called messenger RNA, or mRNA, with the goal of directing a patient’s immune system to produce antibodies to the coronavirus.

The approach, which may be able to produce a vaccine quickly, was described as “impressive” by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech are working on their own mRNA vaccine.

But analysts note that mRNA technology is expensive and has never produced an approved medicine or vaccine. Moderna is already worth $24 billion, up from $6.5 billion at the beginning of 2020. As for Pfizer, the company already is worth $211 billion, so it isn’t clear how much a vaccine would increase the company’s value.

Some investors are skeptical of some of the highest-flying coronavirus stocks. Mr. Lawler of JFL Capital is shorting Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc., a small Pennsylvania company that’s up 314% this year despite limited past success.

A spokesman for Inovio says it is in phase one trials for a Covid-19 vaccine and expects results in June, while working on other medicines.

“The general public is throwing money at headlines,” says health-care investor Brad Loncar at Loncar Investments.



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COVID-19 to Cause 17% Unemployment in June

U.S. unemployment is expected to hit 17% in June as the economy contracts due to efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic, economists predicted, and the economy is expected to start rebounding in the second half of the year.

A monthly Wall Street Journal survey found economists expect gross domestic product to shrink 6.6% this year, measured from the fourth quarter of 2019, a downgrade from the 4.9% contraction economists predicted in last month’s survey. While economists expect a deeper contraction in the second quarter, a majority—85%—continue to expect the recovery will start in the second half of the year. They predict an annualized growth rate of 9% in the third quarter, up from 6.2% in the prior survey. Growth is expected to clock in at 6.9% in the fourth quarter, up slightly from last month.


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“The trough will occur in May or June, with activity starting to pick up,” said Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers. “With that said, growth will remain well below pre-recessionary levels likely until at least 2022.”

Business and academic economists in this month’s survey expect, on average, that gross domestic product will contract at an annual rate of 32% in the second quarter. That represents a worsening from the April survey of economists, when they expected GDP to shrink 25% from April to June. The annualized rate, however, overstates the severity of any drop in output because it assumes that one quarter’s pace continues for a year.

In the May survey, 68.3% of economists said they expect the recovery to be shaped like a “swoosh.” Named after the Nike logo, it predicts a large drop followed by a gradual recovery. The survey results echo recent comments by corporate executives.

As states start to loosen stay-at-home orders, economists were split on whether this is the right moment to do so. Some 29.8% said the reopening measures are happening at the right time. 14% said such measures were overdue, while 31.6% described it as too soon. Just under a quarter, 24.6%, were unsure whether the timing is right.

“In the absence of a vaccine or some therapeutic drug, opening the economy now would certainly trigger a spike in new infections and will be followed by economic shutdown 2.0,” said Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at The Economic Outlook Group, who currently views the reopening as premature.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell received good grades for his performance as Fed chair during the coronavirus pandemic, with 71.9% of economists assigning him an A grade, while 24.6% gave him a B. Just 1.8% gave him a C and F respectively.



“Like a good engineer, [Mr. Powell] opened the floodgates to drain the reservoir in advance of an impending flood of demand for liquidity,” said Georgia State University economist Rajeev Dhawan.

The grades marked an improvement from December, when 63.8% of economists gave Mr. Powell a B. Seventeen percent assigned him an A grade and 14.9% gave him a C.

To fight the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. central-bank officials cut rates to near zero, purchased huge quantities of government debt and began lending to American businesses.

Those purchases of debt are expected to get bigger. Economists project the central bank’s portfolio of bonds, loans and new programs will swell to $7.74 trillion in June from less than $4 trillion last year. The portfolio stood at $6.72 trillion on May 4.

Economists see the Fed’s balance sheet swelling to $9.29 trillion by December, $9.63 trillion by December 2021 and $11.27 trillion by December 2022. In that range, the portfolio would be more than twice the size reached after the 2007-09 financial crisis.



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Federal Reserve Warns Of A Possible Sustained Recession From Pandemic

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is warning of the threat of a prolonged recession resulting from the viral outbreak and is urging Congress and the White House to act further to prevent long-lasting economic damage.

The Fed and Congress have taken far-reaching steps to try to counter what is likely to be a severe downturn resulting from the widespread shutdown of the U.S. economy. But Powell warns that there still could be widespread bankruptcies among small business and extended unemployment for many people.


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“Deeper and longer recessions can leave behind lasting damage to the productive capacity of the economy,” the chairman says in prepared remarks before an online discussion with the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “Avoidable household and business insolvencies can weigh on growth for years to come.”

The U.S. government “ought to do what we can to avoid these outcomes, and that may require additional policy measures,” Powell says.



He says the Fed will “continue to use our tools to their fullest” until the viral outbreak subsides but gives no hint of what the Fed’s next steps might be.

Powell repeats his previous warnings that the Fed can lend money to solvent companies to help carry them through the crisis. But a longer downturn could threaten to bankrupt previously healthy companies without more help from the government.


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Greater support from government spending or tax policies “could be costly, but worth it if it helps avoid long-term economic damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery,” he says.



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Why The Stock Market Is Up Even With Historic Job Losses?

A record number of Americans just lost their job, yet stocks are moving higher. This seems paradoxical, given the economic toll — to say nothing of the emotional toll — of millions of people across the country without a job.

While some observers say it’s further indication that the stock market has become decoupled from reality, others say there are clear reasons stocks have rebounded and can continue to move higher.

For one, the jobs data in and of itself is backward looking. The April figures, which showed a record 20.5 million Americans losing their jobs, is from the height of the crisis. Since then, economies have begun to reopen. There is still a long way to go, of course, but the market is discounting what’s going to happen six months from now, when most states will be getting back to business.

Strategists also point out that the losses have been somewhat concentrated in the leisure and hospitality sector, which has overshadowed strength in other areas of the market. And with the government and federal reserve providing record stimulus measures, some argue that once businesses do get back up and running, the recovery will be swift.

The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite were all slated to open higher on Friday, with the Dow poised to rally more than 300 points. Since the March 23 low, all three averages have bounced more than 30%.


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Worst over?
While the debate among health experts about how and when economies should reopen is ongoing, some states have already started easing shelter-in-place measures. A number of states including Florida began phase one reopenings on Monday. California became the latest state to lift some of its precautionary measures, with certain low-risk retailers allowed to open beginning Friday.

“The market knows that the job losses are self inflicted due to the widespread shutdowns,” Bleakley Advisory Group chief investment officer Peter Boockvar told CNBC. “Thus, now that we are beginning the reopening process the market assumes many of these people will hopefully get hired back over the coming months and quarters.”

Additionally, 78% of those that lost their job in April said they were furloughed, meaning the unemployment in theory will be temporary. Goldman strategist Jan Hatzius said this is an important distinction to make, given it suggests the recovery will be swifter.

“If job losses are concentrated in this segment [furlough], it would increase the scope for a more rapid labor market recovery when the economy eventually rebounds (because employees can be recalled to their previous jobs, as in several past recessions),” he wrote in a note to clients ahead of the report.

Pockets of strength?
At first the market sell-off was broad in nature as the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus sent the major averages tumbling into a bear market at the fastest pace on record.

But since then, the divide between the winners and losers widened. Unsurprisingly stocks most exposed to the coronavirus threat — including hotels and airlines — have continued to trade lower. But other names are hitting new all-time highs. On Thursday the Nasdaq went positive for the year, as names like Netflix and Amazon surged to all-time highs.

“Large companies have fallen much less than smaller companies. It is likely that as a result of this crisis the strong will get stronger … and so the stock market is reflecting that in its relative valuation,” Peter Orszag, Financial Advisory CEO at Lazard and former OMB director under Obama, said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”



“The US consumer has proven to be the economic engine over the last decade, and investors who are buying heavily into this market believe that behavioral changes are unlikely to create a dislocation in demand longer than a couple of quarters,” added Shannon Saccocia, chief investment officer at Boston Private Wealth. That said, Saccocia said a more cautious tone is warranted, since she believes it’s a “misconception” that demand for consumer services will return quickly once government edicts lift.

Ongoing stimulus?
As the coronavirus wreaked havoc on markets, governments and central banks around the world stepped in in an effort to prop up prices.

In March, President Donald Trump signed into law a record $2 trillion federal stimulus package known as the CARES Act, while the Federal Reserve announced that it would engage in unlimited asset purchases.

“While the collapse in economic activity is historic, so too is the global policy response to cushion the impact and support a recovery as containment measures are relaxed,” JPMorgan strategist Marko Kolanovic said in a recent note to clients.

“We estimate the impact of Fed easing in both rates and credit more than compensate for the temporary hit to corporate earnings when valuing the US market via discounted earnings,” he added.

Zero rates?
As part of its stimulus measures, in March the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates to near zero. At the central bank’s most recent meeting at the end of April, it pledged to keep rates at historic lows until the economy recovers. This supports economic activity since it makes borrowing money cheaper.

“Interest rates are going to be extremely low — barely positive — for a very long period of time, so that does provide some support to equity prices,” noted Orszag.

Other factors?
Amid the ongoing uncertainty, Kate Moore, head of thematic strategy for BlackRock, said its important for investors to look through the noise and determine who the winners on the other side will be.



She believes the market is moving higher due to three reasons: the slowing rate of infection, gradual reopening of states’ economies, as well as improving relations between the U.S. and China.

“We need to continue to get government and policy support in order for the market to move forward, and for us to not just be reacting to some slightly incremental better newsflow, but to something that’s more fundamentally driven,” she said.

While many unknowns remain and the path forward is far but uncertain, famed investors are quick to note that the U.S. has bounced back before.


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“Nothing can basically stop America,” said Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, from the conglomerate’s first virtual shareholder’s meeting on Saturday. “The American miracle, the American magic has always prevailed and it will do so again.”




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Shell Slashes Dividend For The First Time Since World War II


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Shares of Shell dropped to the bottom of the European benchmark during early morning deals, down more than 7%.

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday cut its dividend to shareholders for the first time since World War II, following a dramatic slide in oil prices amid the coronavirus crisis.

The board at Shell said it had decided to reduce the oil major’s first-quarter dividend to $0.16 per share, down from $0.47 at the end of 2019. That’s a reduction of 66%.

“Shareholder returns are a fundamental part of Shell’s financial framework,” Chad Holliday, chair of the board of Royal Dutch Shell, said in a statement.



“However, given the risk of a prolonged period of economic uncertainty, weaker commodity prices, higher volatility and uncertain demand outlook, the Board believes that maintaining the current level of shareholder distributions is not prudent.”

Shell also reported that net income attributable to shareholders on a current cost of supplies (CCS) basis and excluding identified items, which is used as a proxy for net profit, came in at $2.9 billion for the first quarter of 2020. That compared with $5.3 billion in the first quarter of 2019, reflecting a year-on-year fall of 46%.

Analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected first-quarter net profit to come in at $2.5 billion for the quarter.

Shares of Shell dropped to the bottom of the European benchmark during early morning deals, down more than 7%.

Last week, Norway’s Equinor became the first oil major to cut its dividend this earnings season. It raised concern that other energy giants may follow suit, although BP, which reported Tuesday, maintained its dividend.

Investors will now be watching U.S. oil majors Chevron and Exxon Mobil, which are both due to release results Friday.

Tamas Varga, senior analyst at PVM Oil Associates, told CNBC via email that Shell had taken the “same approach” as Norway’s Equinor by cutting its quarterly dividend by roughly two-thirds.

“As demand destruction bites, cash is king.” Varga said, adding that suspending share buybacks, slashing capital expenditure and reducing dividends were “becoming the norm.” Shell CEO Ben van Beurden described energy market conditions through the first three months of the year as “extremely challenging.”

“Given the continued deterioration in the macroeconomic outlook and the significant mid and long-term uncertainty, we are taking further prudent steps to bolster our resilience, underpin the strength of our balance sheet and support the long-term value creation of Shell,” he added.


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Alongside the cut to its dividend, Shell announced it would not continue with the next tranche of its share buyback program. Since the launch of the program, the oil major said it had bought back almost $16 billion in shares for cancellation.

“On the face of it, the dividend cut and cancellation of share buybacks may be seen by some shareholders as a negative move in the short term,” David Barclay, senior investment manager at Brewin Dolphin, said in an email.

“However, looking further ahead it could well prove to be the right step as Shell looks to strengthen its financial position and cut costs during a very difficult time.”

The energy giant’s results come shortly after a historic plunge in oil prices.

The May contract of U.S. West Texas Intermediate plunged below zero to trade in negative territory for the first time in history last week. Trading volume was thin given it was the day before the contract’s expiration date, but, nonetheless, the move lower was extraordinary.

WTI futures had fetched more than $60 a barrel at the start of the year. A dramatic fall-off in demand as a result of the coronavirus outbreak has sent oil prices tumbling.

On Thursday, the June contract of WTI traded at $16.55 per barrel, almost 10% higher for the session, while international benchmark Brent crude stood at $23.81, up around 5%.

Earlier this week, BP reported first-quarter net profit had fallen 67% compared to the same period a year earlier.







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UBS Reports Net Income Up 40% As Market Volatility Leads To Higher Trading Volumes


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UBS reported Tuesday a 40% increase in profit for the first quarter of 2020 on the year before, helped by higher trading volumes as market participants reacted to the volatility of recent months.

Net profit attributable to shareholders came in at $1.6 billion in the three months to the end of March, up from $1.1 billion in the same quarter of 2019.

Here are some other key metrics from the results:

Operating income came in at $7.9 billion versus $7.2 billion a year ago
Common equity tier 1 ratio (CET1) — a metric of bank solvency — was 12.8% versus 13% a year ago. Return on tangible equity — a metric of profitability — hit 12.8%, compared with 9.8% a year ago



“We saw a huge pick up in client engagement, despite the logistical challenges. We see that clients are more and more looking for advice,” Sergio Ermotti, UBS’s chief executive officer, told CNBC’s Squawk Box Europe.

Turbulence in the markets helped UBS’s investment bank post the biggest jump in operating profit, across the all the business divisions, on the year before. Operating profit before tax rose to $709 million from $207 million at the end of the first quarter of 2019.

Within investment banking, UBS attributed a 44% rise in revenue in its global markets division to “significantly higher volumes and volatility, particularly in Foreign Exchange, Rates and Cash Equities revenues, reflecting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on client activity levels.”

Its global wealth management division also increased its operating profit before tax over the last year to $1.2 billion from $863 million. However, invested assets fell to $2.3 billion.

Outlook
The results come at a time of significant pressure for banks, as the coronavirus pandemic has brought the global economy to a standstill.

The Swiss bank said the coronavirus had “dramatically changed the global economic outlook,” adding that it foresees disruption to many businesses and higher unemployment as a result. Given this, UBS is expecting higher levels of credit loss expenses for the financial sector.

Speaking to CNBC Tuesday, Ermotti said it was “very difficult to make predictions about any quarters going forward.”

“January, February and March were all profitable months,” he said, adding that the bank will seek to be “flexible” in dealing with upcoming challenges.

UBS said earlier this month that it will suspend half of its 2019 dividend payout until later this year, after pressure from Swiss regulator FINMA. The bank’s chief executive officer, Sergio Ermotti, said earlier this month that it was too early to discuss 2020 dividend plans.

UBS’s share price has dropped around 30% over the last 12 months. In February, the bank announced that Ralph Hamers will be taking over as chief executive officer on November 1.




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Pandemic Triggers A Wave of Distress, Bankruptcy In Corporate America

What a time to be a restructuring specialist.

Practically overnight, bankers and lawyers who advise companies in distress have become some of the most in-demand workers on Wall Street, ending a long period in which rising markets and abundant capital consigned them to obscurity.

Stay-at-home orders and the shutdown of nonessential business have driven broad swaths of the economy into panic mode. In industries that were already in a precarious position before the crisis, including retail and energy, the coronavirus pandemic has tipped many companies over the edge. A host of oil companies have sought chapter 11 protection, while J.C. Penney Co. JCP 3.69% and Neiman Marcus Group Inc. are expected to file for bankruptcy soon.



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Companies in areas that were previously stable, such as the automotive, travel and leisure industries—and even health care—may soon face similar pressures.

U.S. corporate debt downgraded to selective default, meaning a borrower has failed to meet one or more of its obligations, totaled $64.1 billion for the 12 months ended April 17, according to S&P Global Ratings. That represents only a slight uptick over the pace at the end of January, but the numbers are about to get a lot more bleak.

In the coming months, that figure could top the roughly $340 billion reached at the height of the financial crisis, according to the worst-case scenario estimates from S&P. Even in a less grim scenario, the figure could approach levels reached after the dot-com bust in the early 2000s.

Companies of all stripes are scrambling to avoid a painful reorganization of their capital structures and operations, default or bankruptcy. Many have tapped lines of credit and slashed costs. Some, such as Carnival Corp., Expedia Group Inc. and Airbnb Inc., have issued new equity or debt to public investors or private-equity firms.

For some, those efforts could tide them over until conditions improve. But should the recession prove deeper than envisioned, there could be a second—potentially bigger—wave of corporate distress later this year as companies labor under the weight of additional debt taken on during the shutdown, advisers warn.

“We will definitely see an uptick in defaults and an uptick in restructurings,” said William “Tuck” Hardie of Houlihan Lokey Inc., one of the top banks in restructuring. “The question is: Is it a 2,000-foot mountain or is it Mt. Everest?”



U.S. companies drew down about $230 billion from revolving credit lines from the beginning of March through April 9, according to an analysis by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The largest portion—around 17%—went to companies in the automotive industry, with about 15% going to retailers and 10% to travel and leisure purveyors.

Those figures don’t include new revolver borrowings by companies without publicly traded bonds or those financed by private lenders, many of which are private-equity-backed and were already highly indebted.

Hard-hit companies have taken on additional debt on top of using their credit lines—and some may have effectively boxed themselves in by doing so. Carnival earlier this month sold $4 billion worth of senior secured notes backed by assets like its cruise ships. Tying up those assets will make it difficult for the company to go back to the debt market if it needs to raise more cash, according to a person familiar with the company’s capital structure.

Another person close to Carnival said the cruise operator believes it still has a number of financing options available to it if cruising doesn’t return by early next year, and it expects to get access to government-backed loans in some of the markets where it operates.

For private-equity-backed companies, which are typically bought using a heavy helping of debt and a relatively small amount of equity, having little to no revenue can be even more painful. Loans to fund new buyouts had average debt of 5.93 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in 2019—the highest since 2007, when the average was 6.23 times, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence’s LCD.

Working in their favor is the fact that 85% of so-called leveraged loans issued in 2019 were “covenant lite,” giving borrowers more breathing room. That figure has risen steadily over the past decade as investors clamored for yield. In 2010, only 10% of leveraged loans were covenant lite, according to data compiled by J.P. Morgan Asset Management.



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Also backstopping companies owned by buyout funds: Firms have around $2 trillion in unspent cash to invest in private markets, with most of that dedicated to private equity, according to alternative-investments manager Hamilton Lane Inc. Much of the dry powder is in the hands of the biggest firms, however, and companies’ fate will be determined by their owners’ willingness to inject more capital at a time when future prospects are highly precarious.



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And the universe of companies facing distress stretches well beyond the world of private equity, said Steve Zelin, head of restructuring at investment bank PJT Partners. “It doesn’t matter if you were five times levered or two times levered prior to the current crisis if you are now not generating any revenue.”

Investment firms that specialize in distressed investing have been gearing up for more action. Oaktree Capital Group LLC aims to raise $15 billion for what would be the biggest-ever distressed-debt fund, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Apollo Global Management Inc. has already invested more than $10 billion since the beginning of March in credit and private-equity.

James Zelter, the firm’s co-president who heads its $200 billion-plus credit business, says he sees three phases of distress playing out.

The first occurred during the early days of market turmoil in March, when even the debt of companies unaffected by the virus was trading at big discounts. The second is the industry-specific declines that led to the rescue financing companies like Expedia have been receiving.

“The third phase is just beginning,” Mr. Zelter said.




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When Will Disneyland And Other Parks Reopen?

Swiss banking giant UBS told clients Monday that Walt Disney Co. is likely to wait until Jan. 1 to open its theme parks and predicted the Burbank media company will see only about 50% of 2019 attendance.

“Moreover, we now believe the lingering effects of the outbreak — including crowd avoidance, new health precautions, etc. — will dramatically reduce the profitability of these businesses even after they are reopened until a vaccine is widely available,” the report said about Disney’s parks.

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Stay-at-home orders by state and local governments will dictate when parks can consider reopening. Disney said its parks will remain closed until further notice. Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort announced plans to stay closed until at least May 31.

Theme park operators have been tight-lipped about what the future holds for their parks, but they have clearly been discussing plans for opening day.

Annual passholders for Universal Orlando Resort said they received a survey last week asking how likely they are to return to the park under various restrictions, such as requiring guests to wear masks or limiting park attendance to 50% of normal.

In an interview with Barron’s, Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger said his parks would require “more scrutiny, more restrictions” so customers would feel safe to return. He suggested the idea of taking the temperature of each visitor before allowing entrance.

“Just as we now do bag checks for everybody that goes into our parks, it could be that at some point we add a component of that that takes people’s temperatures, as a for-instance,” Iger said.

On several online Disney discussion forums, theme park fans say they have uncovered a plan, presumably leaked by a Disney employee, for allowing guests to return to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

The plan, titled the Secure Circuit protocol, would reopen the park with limited capacity, no parades, no castle shows, no firework displays and health checks performed at every security checkpoint. In addition, the protocol would require guests to sign a form, clearing Disney of any liability for potential exposure to the novel coronavirus.

Disneyland representatives declined to discuss whether the Secure Circuit protocol is legitimate or any plans being developed to reopen the parks.

The process of taking temperatures of entering visitors (using non-contact thermometers) has already been adopted in theme parks in Asia that closed only briefly. At Janfunsun Fancy World in Taiwan, people who have a temperature of 99.5 degrees or higher are denied entry.

At Everland Resort in South Korea, workers take visitors’ temperatures and encourage them to wear masks.

The resort’s attraction queues include markings on the ground to show how far apart each person must stand to maintain social distancing. Rides and stores are disinfected hourly. Hand sanitizer dispensers are set up around the park.



Theme park insiders have been so focused on reopening after the crisis subsides that a webinar on strategies for reopening theme parks and other attractions drew nearly 500 industry workers this month.

The April 15 webinar was hosted by Gateway Ticketing Systems, a Pennsylvania company that develops ticketing systems and consults for theme parks, zoos, museums and other attractions. “Everyone is just spinning out large contingency plans,” said Randy Josselyn, a principal at Gateway Ticketing who hosted the webinar.

Among the speakers on the webinar was Eddie Jones, a support specialist at Atlanta Botanical Garden, who said the garden has already devised a plan for reopening by allowing only 50 people to enter the gardens every 15 minutes.

The plan would cut capacity in the gardens from the normal daily attendance of about 7,000 to about 2,500, he said. A back gate would be opened so that guests could leave without creating a bottleneck at the entrance.

Industry experts say putting limits on capacity would almost certainly be a requirement so that people do not crowd together at reopened parks.

Bill Coan, chief executive of Itec Entertainment, a developer of theme park attractions and shows, said he doesn’t think capacity limits will be difficult to enforce because park fans will not be rushing back once the theme parks reopen.

“I don’t think those numbers are going to occur for some time,” he said of previous attendance numbers.

Coan echoed other theme park experts who said parks will probably open in stages, with some attractions closed in the early stages and rules imposed on how tightly packed visitors can be in lines and in stores.

But limiting capacity and hiring additional workers to take temperatures, enforcing anti-crowding rules and sanitizing rides would be expensive and could make operating theme parks unprofitable, said Martin Lewison, a business administration professor and theme park expert at Farmingdale State College in New York.



Some parks might be able to get by with fewer workers if capacity is vastly reduced, and higher ticket prices might become a profit-bolstering option, but it’s difficult to know for sure because theme park operators aren’t talking.

“These are the kind of practical ideas that I imagine operators are working through, deciding what is practical,” he said.

Whatever procedures are adopted by theme parks, Lewison said some fans will stay away but many others will be ready to return quickly.

“There is a chunk of America who says, ‘Let’s take that risk.’” he said.

For Alexandria Grable, 19, who had an annual pass for the Disneyland Resort for the last three years, the closing of the resort in mid-March convinced her that the coronavirus outbreak was a serious health threat.

But the Santa Clarita teen said she would return if Disneyland reopens.

“I think I would go,” Grable said. “I trust Disneyland enough to know they would not put their guests in harm’s way.” Other theme park devotees are less likely to rush back even if health and social distancing restrictions are added.

“Will anyone want to spin their teacup or the Roger Rabbit taxicab or Buzz Lightyear blasters, knowing how many other hands have touched them?” asked Matthew Gottula, a longtime Disneyland fan from Altadena, who said he doesn’t go anywhere without a container of hand sanitizer attached to his belt.

Another Disneyland fan, Aaron Goldberg, who has written several books on Disney parks and the Disney family, said he wouldn’t return to the parks without wearing a mask and gloves. “Maybe I’m a bit more neurotic, but it’s impossible to avoid touching just about everything at Disneyland and all of the parks,” he said.



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Euro Zone Business Activity Crashes To ‘Shocking’ Lows On Coronavirus Pandemic

Euro zone business activity hit another record low during April in another sign that the coronavirus pandemic is causing severe economic damage across the region.

The IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index, which measures both the services industry and manufacturing, dropped to 13.5 in April, according to preliminary data. In March, the same index had already recorded its biggest ever single monthly drop to 29.7. A contraction in PMI figures — a figure below 50 — indicates a likely fall in economic growth overall.

Earlier in the session, Germany’s flash index came in at 17.1, a record low, versus a figure of 35.0 the month before. This was worse than analysts had been expecting with Phil Smith, principal economist at IHS Markit, saying it “paints a shocking picture of the pandemic’s impact on businesses.”




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European Central Bank Headquarters And Frankfurt's Financial District Ahead Of Comprehensive Bank Assessment


A Blast Of Earnings News Is Coming… But The Market May Be More Focused On When The Economy Will Reopen

Earnings from IBM, Netflix, Coca-Cola and dozens of others are expected in the week ahead, but as the state shutdowns now reach the one-month threshold, the market is more likely to trade on virus headlines and news about reopening the economy.

There are also some important economic reports, including existing home sales on Monday and durable goods on Friday. But it is the weekly jobless claims data that will again be most relevant, as economists watch to see whether the number of workers seeking claims has now peaked and whether there are any signs some are returning to jobs, as government funds reach the hands of business owners.

In the past week, stocks were higher, but there was a divergence with the Dow up just under 2.2% at 24,242, and Nasdaq, surging 6%, lifted by tech and biotech. The S&P 500 gained 3% for the week and is now 31% off its March lows.

Stocks gained amid signs the virus outbreak has peaked and some reopenings could start slowly in the next few weeks.

The market also bounced Friday as the results of an early study of a Gilead drug showed promise with severe cases of coronavirus. Technology stocks were up about 4% for the week, and health care was up more than 5% while consumer discretionary stocks led with a gain of more than 6%.



“As the virus news goes, so go risk assets. People expect bad economic data,” said Patrick Leary, chief market strategist at Incapital. “The data is all expected to be horrible. The only economic data we can really look at now and start to measure is the claims data on Thursday.” As of April 11, more than 22 million workers claimed unemployment benefits over a four-week period, as states shut down and schools, restaurants, stores and many other businesses closed or were forced to cut back.

Charts are important
Analysts who watch stock charts say technical levels will continue to have a powerful pull on the market, since so many traders have set their computers to trade around those numbers.

For instance, the S&P 500 had a hard time breaking through the 50-day moving average Friday, and fell back after it initially edged near 2,862 in morning trading. But at the end of the trading day, it smashed through that level, surging to close at 2,874, a positive sign for Monday’s open. The 50-day literally is the average closing price for the S&P over the previous 50 sessions. Technical analysts believe watching moving averages gives them an important tool for price trends and momentum.

Bob Doll, Nuveen’s chief equity strategist, said he believes the market hit its bear market low on March 23, but it could take another dive towards lows at some point.

“My [low] target was 2,350. We spent 36 hours below that and got to 2,192. If there’s a secondary low, then probably the lowest chance is 2,350,” he said. “I’m not sure we’re going to go there, based on two things, the power of the rally and two, the stimulus. It’s been awesome.”

Doll said after the first blow-off phase to the March low, the second phase of a bear market is the type of choppy trading that results in swings both higher and lower.

“Then you get phase two, which is a whipsaw fashion and it bounces all over the place. … You kind of get dizzy, then you make the secondary low.” Doll said. Then ultimately, the market moves on to where price-to-earnings ratios and earnings in general will matter again.

“What’s driving the market is not earnings. What’s driving it is technicals,” said Doll.

What about earnings
First quarter earnings began to roll in during the past week, starting with major banks. So far, based on actual reports and forecasts, first quarter earnings are expected to be down 14.5% in the first quarter, the worst quarter since the more than 15% decline in the third quarter of 2009. As for the second quarter, a much sharper 27.3% decline is expected, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.

IBM reports Monday, while Coca-Cola, Netflix, Travelers, and Texas Instruments release results Tuesday. AT&T, Delta Airlines, and Intel, Blackstone and Eli Lily are reporting Thursday. American Express and Verizon are expected Friday.

Doll said he expects the market to listen to comments from corporate executives on conference calls but ignore the actual earnings. “The market is going to pay a lot more attention to what can a rebound look like, and what can 2021 numbers look like,” he said. “They’ll be selling on that versus how deep is the hole going to be in the second quarter. The macro questions around that are recurrence, therapeutics, and vaccine and how fast can the economy come back, and nobody knows the answer to that.”

President Donald Trump laid out guidelines for reopening the economy, but left the decision making up to the states, which are facing varied levels of new infections. One issue is the lack of testing, and American businesses have pressed for more availability of test kits so workers can be brought back more safely.

Doll said he is partial to health care and technology stocks, and one reason is because of the Fed’s quantitative easing programs. “We’re now in QE4. We had QE1, QE2, QE3, and six months after QE 1, 2 and 3, there were two sectors that outperformed-technology and health care, and there were two that underperformed, utilities and REITs,” he said.

Doll said he also is looking at how stocks might come through the virus shutdowns. “Part of what you want to make sure is the company is going to make it through, and make sure the industry has decent demand getting out of it. If it has decent demand during it, that’s a good thing, and that takes you back to health care and technology,” said Doll.

Leary said he expects companies to be scrutinized somewhat differently by analysts this quarter, and balance sheets will be more important.

“Its going to be on a case-by-case basis about how analysts are going to look at them. This is not a typical recession. Recessions seem to hit different sectors,” he said, “This one one is different in that it really has several losers like airlines and travel and entertainment companies. It has some real winners too. I like health care and pharma. Anything that’s defensive in nature is going to perform well.”

Companies have been tapping the corporate bond market at a record pace to boost their cash piles to help them through the economy’s shutdown, and the coming week should be no different.

The corporate debt market has been open for business and spreads have narrowed since the Fed announced a program to buy corporate debt. Companies have issued more than $160 billion in investment grade bonds so far this month, with JP Morgan issuing $10 billion this past week in the biggest bank deal ever, according to Credit Flow Research.

More are expected in the coming week, as companies report earnings and exit the blackout period.

“I think what corporate treasurers know is the window of opportunity for issuing debt at reasonable rates will quickly close once the economy starts opening,” said Leary. He said balance sheets and earnings will be more scrutinized once things start to become more normal.

“They won’t have an excuse anymore … right now, everything is expected to unexpected,” he said, “I think that window will close, and we’ll have to take a look at the bond market again. Their ability to issue will be impacted by their balance sheets…[now] there’s plenty of cash coming at them. The Fed will step in to support.”



Leary said some of the interest in corporate bonds is from investors who are fearful of buying stocks right now but may want to invest in a company through the safer play of its bonds. Leary said energy bonds are among the least desirable, with the huge drop in crude prices.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures for May settled at $18.72 per barrel, it lowest level since January, 2002. But that contract expires Tuesday. The June contract settled at $25.08 per barrel, and will resume trading there next week as the active contract.

“It’s just a reflection of physical market conditions,” said John Kilduff of Again Capital, of the big decline in the May contract. He said it shows that futures traders do not want to actually take delivery of the commodity, due to an increasing lack of storage space.


Week ahead calendar


Monday

Earnings: IBM, Steel Dynanics, Equifax, Zions Bancorp, Ally Financial, Halliburton, Infosys, Royal Phillips, Truist Financial

Tuesday

Earnings: Coca-Cola, Netflix, Travelers, Texas Instruments, Chubb, Lockheed Martin, CIT Group, SAP, HCA Healthcare, Manpower, Prologis, Comerica, Emerson Electric, Synchrony Financial, Snap, Canadian Pacific Railways, Interactive Brokers, Teradyne

8:30 a.m. Philadelphia Fed nonmanufacturing

10:00 a.m. Existing home sales

Wednesday

Earnings: AT&T, Las Vegas Sands, Alcoa, Boston Beer, Kinder Morgan, Delta Air Lines, Baker Hughes, Quest Diagnostics, Kimberly-Clark, Nasdaq, Discover Financial, Netgear, Seagate Technology, SLM, TD Ameritrade, CSX, Biogen, Thermo Fisher, LM Ericsson

9:00 a.m. FHFA home prices

Thursday

Earnings: Intel, Blackstone Group, Eli Lily, Credit Suisse, Invesco, Huntington Bancshares, Tractor Supply, Capital One, FirstEnergy, Hershey, Southwest Air, Union Pacific, Citrix, Domino’s Pizza, PulteGroup

8:30 a.m. Weekly claims

9:45 a.m. Manufacturing PMI

9:45 a.m. Services PMI

10:00 a.m. New home sales

Friday

Earnings: American Express, Verizon, Sanofi, Eni

8:30 a.m. Durable goods

10:00 a.m. Consumer sentiment



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Banks Brace For A Recession

The large U.S. lenders are preparing for an economic downturn as millions remain out of work.

Big banks sent a clear message in first-quarter earnings Tuesday: This recession is going to be bad.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. set aside billions of additional dollars to get ready for a flood of customers to default on their loans as the coronavirus pandemic pummels the economy. That sunk the banks’ quarterly profits.

JPMorgan and Wells Fargo are the first big U.S. banks to report first-quarter results, and act as a bellwether for the broader economy. Neither bank has yet seen a wave of loans go bad, but they are preparing for it as the economy plunges further into a presumed recession and millions remain out of work.

Many Americans were already deep in debt before the pandemic, tapping credit cards, auto loans and student loans at record levels to cover a shortfall left by wages that remained flat for many years.

The banks for years rode all that consumer spending and borrowing to big profits. Now, they are preparing to struggle alongside their cash-strapped borrowers. Nearly 17 million Americans have sought unemployment benefits in the past three weeks. About two million homeowners are skipping their monthly mortgage payments, according to industry data.

“This is such a dramatic change of events,” said JPMorgan Chief Executive James Dimon, who returned to work a few weeks ago after emergency heart surgery. “There are no models that have ever done this.”

JPMorgan set aside an additional $6.8 billion in the quarter for potentially bad loans, largely in its consumer bank. That raised its total provision to $8.29 billion, more than the bank has had to take since 2010. But even that may not be enough, the bank warned.

The bank said the provision was based, in part, on the assumption that U.S. gross domestic product would fall an annualized 25% and unemployment would rise to more than 10% in the second quarter. But JPMorgan economists have recently amended their forecast to a 40% decline in GDP in the quarter and a 20% unemployment rate.



Wells Fargo said it set aside an additional roughly $3 billion in the quarter for potentially bad loans, both in the consumer and commercial divisions. That raised its total provision to $3.83 billion.

“We don’t know what the time frame is or how quickly the economy will recover,” said Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf. “What we do know is the contraction is real.”

Both banks have pledged to help troubled borrowers and small businesses by, for example, waiving late fees or allowing them to temporarily suspend their monthly payments. They have also taken a central role in disbursing government stimulus money to businesses. But that might not be enough for workers who could be out of a job and small businesses that could be shut down for many months.

Spending on credit cards dropped for both banks. JPMorgan said most customers kept up payments on credit cards through April 1, but that more customers have been late on those loans in the past two weeks. Wells Fargo said that consumers had already contacted Wells to defer more than a million payments, mostly on mortgages and auto loans.



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What’s more, banks and other lenders are starting to toughen their loan-approval standards, particularly for new customers. That means many people could find it hard to get credit just when they most need it.

Shares for both JPMorgan and Wells Fargo fell, with JPMorgan dropping about 3% and Wells Fargo losing about 4%.

JPMorgan earned $2.87 billion, down 69% from $9.18 billion a year earlier. The bank earned $0.78 per share, missing the $2.16 forecast by analysts polled by FactSet. JPMorgan revenue was down 3% to $28.25 billion. That fell short of the $29.55 billion analysts had predicted.

Wells Fargo earned $653 million, down 89% from $5.86 billion a year earlier. The bank earned 1 cent per share, missing analyst expectations of 38 cents. Wells Fargo revenue fell 18% to $17.72 billion. That missed analyst expectations of $19.4 billion.

Wells Fargo also said it took an impairment charge of $950 million on securities because of the economic and market conditions.

Some banking businesses did surge in the quarter. Corporate clients rushed to load up on cash, drawing down lines of credit from the banks and socking it away in deposit accounts. Both banks posted 6% loan growth, driven by corporate lending, and crossed $1 trillion in total loans for the first time.

“People got scared quickly and wanted to make sure they had liquidity,” Mr. Dimon said on a call with reporters.

The volatile stock market boosted JPMorgan’s trading revenues by 32%, with gains in both equities and fixed income. The Federal Reserve attempted to support the economy by twice cutting rates in the quarter, though that pinched the revenue that banks earn from interest.

Wells Fargo’s net interest income dropped 8% from a year ago. JPMorgan’s was flat, but the bank had to cut its full-year guidance.


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Pfizer Identifies Lead Coronavirus Drug Candidate

Pfizer Inc. has found a promising but early potential coronavirus treatment, which the drugmaker aims to begin testing in patients this summer.

Laboratory research suggests the drug candidate blocks the new coronavirus from replicating, Pfizer research-and-development chief Mikael Dolsten said in an interview. The findings indicate the experimental drug could slow or stop the spread of the virus in patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms, though human testing will be necessary for proof.


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The early progress is among several developments in Pfizer’s multipronged efforts to find coronavirus drugs and vaccines.

Pfizer will also start testing its approved rheumatoid-arthritis drug Xeljanz in coronavirus patients in Italy this week to see whether the therapy has a benefit, Dr. Dolsten said. And the company is planning to publish research on whether one of its antibiotics helps.

In addition, Pfizer has been working with BioNTech BNTX +7.88% SE of Germany to develop a vaccine based on an emerging gene-based technology. Pfizer said it plans to move into clinical trials as early as the end of this month with four different vaccines simultaneously, and aims to move the best one forward in future studies.

“I feel confident that we will win, battle by battle, to turn around this viral war against our society,” Dr. Dolsten said.

There are no approved medicines to treat or prevent the new coronavirus, which causes the disease known as Covid-19. The testing required to assure the drugs and vaccines work safely is expected to take months.

Dozens of companies and university researchers have been hustling to develop therapies or vaccines against the virus. More than 140 are in development world-wide, most in early stages, including about a dozen already in clinical trials, according to Informa Pharma Intelligence.

Among the other drugmakers working on treatments are Eli Lilly & Co., Gilead Sciences Inc. and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.

Pfizer, based in New York City, assembled a team of 50 researchers from various departments to work on the coronavirus, and ramped up projects exploring different potential medicines.

One challenge the drugmaker confronted was reconstituting antiviral research after disbanding the department in 2009. To limit interactions among personnel, the company’s coronavirus team has yet to meet in person.

The team reviewed compounds that have shown activity against other coronaviruses, including severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, Dr. Dolsten said.

Pfizer’s lab research suggests that its lead drug and similar candidates are strong blockers of a key enzyme, known as a protease, that helps viruses replicate, Dr. Dolsten said. Pfizer plans to begin studying the lead drug in patients as early as August, several months ahead of schedule.

“Time is urgent here,” he said. “Every hour, every day counts.”

To be able to make sufficient supplies of the drug candidate for testing, Pfizer several weeks ago bought the raw materials needed to manufacture the medicine, said Charlotte Allerton, who leads Pfizer’s medicine design.

Pfizer expects the trial in Italy evaluating Xeljanz’s effect on coronavirus patients to finish in July. The company says the drug could help damp an overactive immune response that occurs in some patients and can lead to respiratory failure and death.

Other anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Roche Holding AG RHHBY -2.81% ’s Actemra, have shown signs of working on coronavirus patients who suffer from respiratory problems. Xeljanz functions differently than Actemra, and could be an alternative for patients who don’t respond to anti-inflammatory drugs such as Roche’s drug, Dr. Dolsten said.

Pfizer expects to publish its findings on the anticoronavirus powers of the antibiotic azithromycin, which Pfizer sells under the brand name Zithromax. Many doctors, lacking proven options, are treating Covid-19 patients with the antibiotic and antimalaria drugs.


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Pfizer also plans to begin two studies with the U.K.-based Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to investigate whether coronavirus patients are at higher risk of developing pneumococcal pneumonia and if having both infections leads to more-severe disease.

The company’s partnership with BioNTech is exploring a vaccine based on the gene-based technology known as messenger RNA. Messenger RNA, or mRNA, carry instructions from DNA to the body’s cells to make certain proteins.

No mRNA vaccines have been approved. Moderna Inc. has begun testing its mRNA coronavirus vaccines in patients. Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. has begun testing a DNA vaccine.

Last month, Pfizer said it would make some of its research on the virus available publicly online for other researchers. The drugmaker also said it would offer available manufacturing capacity to other companies, if they win approval and require help making their medicines.





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Boeing Extends Production Shutdown Indefinitely

Boeing Co said on Sunday it would extend the suspension of production operations at its Washington state facilities until further notice amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The largest U.S. planemaker said on March 23 it would halt production at its Washington state twin-aisle jetliner factory as a temporary measure to help fight the outbreak of the respiratory disease. Production had been expected to resume early this week.


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Boeing declined to say when production could resume. It said the actions were “being taken in light of the company’s continuing focus on the health and safety of employees, current assessment of the spread of COVID-19 in Washington state, the reliability of the supply chain and additional recommendations from government health authorities.”

Boeing will stop paying about 30,000 production workers this week in Washington state after it previously doubled to 10 days the amount of paid leave it gave to production workers after the suspension. Employees can use paid time off, vacation and sick leave in the interim and will continue to get medical benefits.

737-max

Boeing said on Sunday about 135 members of its 160,000-person global workforce had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Seattle Times reported that as of Friday, Boeing had 95 employees who tested positive for the respiratory disease in Washington state, up from 54 a week earlier. The newspaper said 14 of those work at the Everett widebody jet plant.

During the suspension, Boeing will implement additional health and safety measures, including “new visual cues to encourage physical distancing,” more frequent cleaning of work and common areas and staggered shift times.

“We will take this time to continue to listen to our incredible team and assess applicable government direction, the spread of the coronavirus in the community and the reliability of our suppliers,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Stan Deal.

Boeing’s airline customers have deferred taking new aircraft and making pre-delivery downpayments, compounding a crisis over the year-old grounding of Boeing’s previously fast-selling 737 MAX jet after two fatal crashes. Boeing halted 737 production in January.

Boeing asked last month for at least $60 billion in U.S. government loan guarantees for itself and other American aerospace manufacturers to help the embattled industry withstand a coronavirus-related cash drain.

Boeing said last week it would suspend operations at its Ridley Township, Pennsylvania, facilities until April 20 because of the outbreak. The site includes manufacturing and production facilities for military rotorcraft, including the H-47 Chinook, V-22 Osprey and MH-139A Grey Wolf.








 

Trump Says He’d Use Tariffs If Needed To Protect Oil Industry

Trump said Saturday at a White House press briefing he’d use tariffs if needed to protect the domestic oil industry, a day after meeting with U.S. industry leaders. A gathering of OPEC and other major producers scheduled for Monday was delayed until later in the week as Saudi Arabia and Russia traded barbs about who’s to blame for the collapse in crude prices.

Optimism over prospects for a deal sent benchmark oil futures to a record gain this week, despite an unprecedented global demand loss from the Covid-19 outbreak. A failure to come to an agreement would likely cause prices to crater again. The U.S. oil industry is split on the idea of tariffs, with some independent shale producers — who’ve been hardest hit by the recent market slump — in support, while refiners and large integrated companies are typically opposed.

The American Petroleum Institute, which helped arrange Friday’s meeting, argues tariffs would inject uncertainty into an already rattled global marketplace.

“If I have to do tariffs on oil coming from outside, or if I have to do something to protect thousands and tens of thousands of energy workers, and our great companies that produce all these jobs, I’ll do whatever I have to do,” Trump said Saturday. Low oil prices are “going to hurt a lot of jobs,” he said.

Measures to stem the coronavirus outbreak has forced businesses to shut and billions of people around the world to stay at home, causing demand for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel to collapse by tens of millions of barrels a day.

Hundreds of thousands of U.S. oil industry jobs are hanging in the balance, with about $15 billion of investments wiped out from the budgets of shale explorers and many of them on the brink of bankruptcy.



On Friday, Trump had suggested he wasn’t inclined to target Russia or Saudi Arabia with oil tariffs.

“It’s a free market. We’ll figure it out,” he told reporters after Friday’s meeting with the heads of Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and other major producers. “Ultimately the marketplace will take care of it.”

In a statement early on Saturday, the Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said comments by Putin laying blame on Riyadh for the end of the OPEC+ pact between the two countries in March were “fully devoid of truth.”

Trump still expressed optimism that Russia and Saudi Arabia would reach a deal.

“I think they’re going to settle it, you know why? Because they’re going to be destroyed, they’re destroying themselves if they don’t.”




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U.S. Postal Service Could Shut Down By June

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, postal workers have been on the front lines, considered “essential workers” who must continue to do their jobs as usual while others stay home. But some lawmakers are warning that without more support, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) could completely shut down in the next few months, threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Last week, Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney, the chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Gerry Connolly, chair of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, said in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the COVID-19 crisis is threatening the future of mail service in the U.S.


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“The Postal Service is in need of urgent help as a direct result of the coronavirus crisis,” they said. “Based on a number of briefings and warnings this week about a critical fall-off in mail across the country, it has become clear that the Postal Service will not survive the summer without immediate help from Congress and the White House. Every community in America relies on the Postal Service to deliver vital goods and services, including life-saving medications.”

The lawmakers said USPS, which is a quasi-governmental agency that relies on fees rather than taxes, may be forced to shutter as early as June, less than three months from now. They noted that postal workers delivered more than a billion shipments of prescription drugs last year, and ceasing operations during the virus outbreak could have dire consequences for the health of people around the country.

“The Postal Service needs America’s help, and we must answer this call,” they said.

“These negative effects could be even more dire in rural areas, where millions of Americans are sheltering in place and rely on the Postal Service to deliver essential staples,” the lawmakers warned.



Americans are also counting on postal service workers to deliver millions of coronavirus relief checks — a process that won’t start until the end of April and isn’t scheduled to finish until September. However, it’s unclear if it will have the funding needed to do so.

Maloney and Connelly proposed a bill that would provide a $25 billion in emergency funding for the postal service, eliminating its debt with the stipulation that it would prioritize medical deliveries during the crisis. They said the funding would save the jobs of more than 600,000 Americans.

A USPS spokesperson told CBS News on Friday, “The United States Postal Service appreciates the inclusion of limited emergency borrowing authority during this COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Postal Service remains concerned that this measure will be insufficient to enable the Postal Service to withstand the significant downturn in our business that could directly result from the pandemic.”

The statement continued, “Under a worst-case scenario, such downturn could result in the Postal Service having insufficient liquidity to continue operations.”

According to the spokesperson, USPS has experienced a significant loss in needed revenues during the pandemic and subsequent decline in economic activity, but it continues to work with lawmakers to ensure Americans’ access to mail during this time.

However, when President Donald Trump signed into law the $2 trillion coronavirus emergency spending bill, it allowed USPS to borrow just $10 billion from the Treasury Department.

“That is woefully inadequate,” said Fredric V. Rolando, president of the National Associated of Letter Carriers, in a plea for more funding in the next round of legislation. “The administration clearly does not understand the importance of the Postal Service, especially now.”


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Democrats are working to put together a fourth coronavirus spending bill that would give USPS more funding, primarily in order to boost the ability to vote by mail in the upcoming election, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

Post offices have so far remained open throughout the crisis, along with hospitals, pharmacies, supermarkets and other essential businesses. According to a New York Times report, at least 20 postal workers had tested positive for the virus by last Friday — a number that has likely increased given the rate of U.S. diagnoses.

With over 266,000 confirmed positive tests, the U.S. now has the most cases of COVID-19 in the world, contributing to the global total of more than 1 million cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. So far, over 6,900 people have died in the U.S. from the virus.




Coronavirus Shows Cash Is King, Even for Biggest U.S. Companies

The fast-spreading coronavirus has prompted even the biggest U.S. companies to cut their spending and bolster their balance sheets, proving once again how cash is king, especially in times of crisis.

After a decadelong U.S. economic expansion, not every company has entered this crisis with the same cash cushion. Apple Inc. ended the year with $247 billion in cash, securities and account receivables, enough to run its operations for more than a year even if it didn’t cut costs or sell a single iPhone. Discount retailer Dollar General Corp. had $240 million, enough for about four days, in the unlikely event it had to shut its doors and didn’t cut any costs.

Dollar General said its business model generates significant cash flow and has performed well in a variety of economic cycles, and the company can tap lines of credit and good access to the capital markets. Apple declined to comment.


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Technology companies generally operate with more cash on hand than retailers, which often have assets in unsold inventory. The median amount of cash and other readily available assets on an S&P 500 tech company’s books at year-end was enough to let it operate about 270 days in an extreme scenario without revenue or cost cutting, while the median was closer to 60 days for retailers, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.

As companies prepare to close their books on a tumultuous first quarter, these measures can reveal how well-prepared they are for the sudden financial stress. Economists expect the crisis to cost the U.S. economy as much as $1.5 trillion in lost output over five years, including a decline in gross domestic product of 4% to 10% in the second quarter, a recent Journal survey of economists found.

“The investor mindset has shifted quickly to the balance sheet,” said Ron Graziano, an accounting and tax analyst at Credit Suisse. Sometimes factors that people don’t follow during a booming market suddenly become important. “The ones going into it with the bigger cushion are better positioned to survive.”

Delta Air Lines Inc. and Ford Motor Co. have stopped paying dividends. Boeing Co. has tapped out its credit lines, while General Electric Co. is cutting jobs. AT&T Inc.,  Intel Corp. INTC  and Chevron Corp. have shelved share buybacks.

In many cases, the crunch on corporate finances comes after years of cheap debt and easy credit that allowed companies to expand while building a $10 trillion mountain of debt. AT&T, following its 2018 takeover of Time Warner, had more than $150 billion in net debt at the end of 2019, though it has pledged to pay down its borrowings.

At the same time, many companies used spare cash to repurchase their own shares. In 2019, companies in the S&P 500 spent an estimated $729 billion on buybacks, second only to the record $806 billion spent in 2018, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

President Trump and Democratic lawmakers placed restrictions on share buybacks as part of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package expected to pass Wednesday to help industries wounded by the pandemic.

Some of the companies that entered this crisis without big cash reserves sent much of the cash they produced from operations to shareholders, as dividends.

“Companies went into this situation with relatively limited cash balances,” said Torsten Slok, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities. “It is rather unfortunate they had lower cash balances and thereby became more vulnerable to this shock we have at the moment.”



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Financial Markets – Top 5 Things to Watch This Week

This week market watchers will be looking at economic data releases for early indications of the scale of the impact from the coronavirus pandemic, but the main focus will continue to be on the response from governments and central banks who are ramping up stimulus measures amid market fears over whether steps announced so far will be adequate. Here’s what you need to know to start your week.

Data to show early economic hit from virus
Few doubt that the global economy will tip into recession as countries around the globe go into lockdown amid ongoing virus containment efforts. It goes without saying that large drops are likely in PMI data coming out this week in the U.S., Eurozone and the U.K.

The PMI surveys are typically conducted in the second half of a month and the data in the “flash” survey is usually collected in the week or so before the data is released, so economists reckon next week’s PMIs will provide the most comprehensive overview so far of the coronavirus impact.

Meanwhile, Thursday’s figures on initial jobless claims will be the first to show the full extent of the impact on the U.S. labor market. Economists at Goldman Sachs have estimated claims are set to jump to a record 2.25 million, according to an analysis of preliminary reports across 30 states.

U.S. government response awaited
Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate on Saturday continued with efforts to reach a deal on a $1 trillion-plus bill aimed at mitigating the coronavirus pandemic’s economic fallout for workers and businesses.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said he expects the final legislative package to be worth $1.3 trillion to $1.4 trillion.

Taken together with steps already taken by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the administration, the prospective bill would have a $2 trillion net impact on a U.S. economy, according to White House officials.

Liquidity squeeze to ease?
A liquidity squeeze prompted the Federal Reserve on Friday to enhance the dollar liquidity swap line arrangements it has with the Bank of Canada, Bank of England, Bank of Japan, European Central Bank and Swiss National Bank.

To see if that does the trick, watch for dollar exchange rates to stabilize.



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Demand for the world’s reserve currency had jumped amid a rush for cash in anticipation of a prolonged pandemic, with there being a substantial liquidity mismatch between global demand for U.S. dollars and those on offer.

U.S stock valuation picture may become clearer
As the U.S. stock market has tumbled, valuations have also come down sharply.

The S&P 500’s price-to-earnings ratio, based on earnings estimates for the next year, has dropped from over 19 times in late February to 14.2 times as of last Wednesday, according to Refinitiv data, taking the valuation below its historical average.

But the picture is complicated by the fact that earnings estimates may have not come down enough to account for the coronavirus fallout.

The picture may become clearer in the coming weeks, as the first quarter comes to an end and companies start preparing their results. Last week, FedEx (NYSE:FDX) and Marriott (NASDAQ:MAR) withdrew their 2020 financial forecasts because of the outbreak.

Nike (NYSE:NKE), Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU), and KB Home (NYSE:KBH) are among the U.S. companies due to report results this week.

Emerging markets
Emerging market assets have been hammered, with currencies plunging to fresh record lows, bonds plunging and stocks down nearly 10% last week. Several factors have contributed – the strong dollar, a darkening economic outlook, tumbling oil prices as well as rising borrowing costs.

Investors piling into the greenback have seen enduring stresses in dollar funding markets, with hurried swap lines between central banks earlier in the week doing little to alleviate the credit strains at the heart of the problem.

Central banks in the United States, the euro zone, Canada, Britain, Japan and Switzerland stepped in again on Friday, agreeing to increase the frequency of their one-week U.S. dollar credit facility.

In emerging markets, policymakers that lack the firepower to support currencies or face challenges to cut rates, will be keeping their fingers crossed that steps taken by major central banks will be enough to end the crisis.










Airbnb Racks Up Hundreds Of Millions In Losses Due To Coronavirus

Airbnb Inc. wrestles with escalating losses due to the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its global business. The pandemic has thrown into disarray Airbnb’s plans to go public this year, and the company’s board and investors are divided over the best path forward, according to people familiar with the matter.

The San Francisco-based startup, which lets people list their properties for rent on its marketplace, has racked up hundreds of millions of dollars in losses this year, one of the people said. A spokesman for Airbnb said the company has “$4 billion in liquidity” and is “focused with our board on ways we can help our community weather this crisis.”

It is unlikely that the company will be able to attract investors at its 2017 valuation of $31 billion, when it last raised money, the people familiar with the matter said. The management is mulling how low it is willing to go to seek an injection of capital.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Airbnb internally was already valuing the company at less than $31 billion.



Airbnb, one of the nation’s biggest private companies, had planned to make its widely anticipated debut on the public markets this year via a direct listing, which wouldn’t involve raising any additional money.

The company is now considering instead raising cash using an initial public offering, and has held several meetings with its board this month to discuss its approach, the people familiar said. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Inc. have been appointed as dual-lead underwriters. But an IPO could go ahead only when the virus crisis has eased, stock markets stabilize, and the company’s finances recover to a stable footing, the people familiar said.

An Airbnb spokesman said it “should come as no surprise that in these extraordinary times, like virtually every company in the world, we are regularly consulting with our board to discuss our work.”

Airbnb—caught in the crosshairs of the all-out crisis the virus has created in the global travel industry—now faces evaporating revenues, as well as a backlash from the hosts who are the backbone of its business.

All its major markets are getting hammered. Bookings last week were down year-on-year around 95% in Asia, 75% in Europe—the company’s biggest market—and 50% in the U.S., according to one of the people close to the business. A report last week by Airbnb-analytics firm AirDNA also showed bookings tanking in big cities world-wide. This week’s numbers are much worse, the person said.

A spokesman for the company said the figures weren’t accurate but declined to provide other numbers.

Airbnb’s board had already raised concerns about the company sliding into the red, even before the pandemic upended its business, the Journal previously reported. Executives were grilled at a board meeting late last year on why overheads such as its head office and employee expenses had been allowed to balloon, outpacing even the then-rapid growth in revenue.


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Some board members are unhappy that Airbnb didn’t go public last year, when a soaring stock market put premium prices on even unprofitable startups, the people close to the company said. Employees are concerned the listing could now be delayed beyond the end of the year, meaning many valuable stock options will expire, becoming worthless.

One person close to Airbnb said management and the board are working in sync but that outside investors are agitated about the company’s troubles and its response to them.

Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s chief executive, is under intense pressure from employees to go public, after more than 10 years as a private company. He recently sought to reassure staff that a delay won’t happen. In a staff meeting held earlier this month and on a separate phone call with employees last week, he said the company plans to stay the course of going public this year, the people close to the business said.

Some investors are skeptical this will be possible, or question what price the stock might achieve.

The price at which Airbnb shares are trading has fallen sharply, according to people who specialize in the market for private company shares.

Before the pandemic hit, shares were trading privately at more than $140, valuing the company around $45 billion to $47 billion, according to Jared Carmel, managing partner at Manhattan Venture Partners, a secondary-market specialist. Now, he said, “we’re seeing shares tick back to close to $105.” That’s what Airbnb’s shares priced at in its last funding round in 2017, which valued the company at $31 billion, according to Dow Jones VentureSource data.













Goldman: U.S. Measures Could Support Oil Prices Near Term

Supply restraint by core-OPEC producers could push second-quarter Brent oil prices up to $30 a barrel, while U.S. measures to support the market could underpin prices in the near term, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) said in a research note.

Citing Wall Street Journal reports that the United States was considering intervening in the ongoing Saudi-Russian price war and Texas regulators may curb oil output, the U.S. investment bank said such action would reduce global and U.S. domestic supplies.



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U.S. crude oil prices rose more than $1 on Friday, extending steep gains from the previous session, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would “get involved” in the price war at an “appropriate time”.

While any U.S. measures could support the oil market into the second half of the year, however, Goldman Sachs said accompanying supply cuts would still not be enough to offset the 8 million barrels per day (bpd) demand loss – brought about by countries slowing economic activity to halt the spread of the coronavirus which has caused nearly 10,000 deaths worldwide.

“Medium-term, the impact of such policies will depend on their political viability given the upcoming presidential election,” Goldman Sachs said in the note issued on Thursday.

U.S. production quotas could create a $5 to $10 upside to Goldman Sachs’ West Texas Intermediate price forecast of $40 to $45 a barrel in 2021, the bank said.

While a return to U.S. oil supply management policies of the 1970s and 80s would “help support prices in the third and fourth quarter above our $30 and $40 a barrel Brent forecast, they would simply replace OPEC’s artificial price support policy with another,” the bank said, referring to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which Saudi Arabia is a key member.



Oil extends recovery as Trump hints at intervening in Saudi-Russia price war

Oil prices recovered further on Friday, following steep gains in the previous session after U.S. President Donald Trump hinted he may intervene in the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia at an “appropriate time”.

Prices were also supported by United States’ plans to buy up to 30 million barrels of crude oil for its emergency stockpile by the end of June, while regulators in the country’s largest oil-producing state Texas were reportedly considering curtailing production.

The more active West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures contract for May was up 43 cents, or 1.7% at $26.34 a barrel by 0540 GMT. The contract rose as much as 5.5% to $27.34 per barrel earlier in the session.

U.S. crude futures for April (CLc1) also rose 43 cents to $25.65 a barrel. The front-month April contract, which spiked 24% on Thursday, expires later on Friday.

“An astonishing rebound in crude oil prices overnight was primarily driven by U.S’s consideration to intervene in the oil market by increasing strategic reserves, while slashing some oil production,” said Margaret Yang, market analyst at CMC Markets.

“The underlying issue is that global energy demand is falling sharply as more countries join the ‘lockdown’ club. The severity of Covid-19 for the macro-economy could exceed anyone’s expectation, and it could last for a long period of time.”

Brent crude futures (LCOc1) climbed 28 cents, or about 1%, to $28.75 per barrel.

The international benchmark rose 14.4% on Thursday in its biggest one-day gain since September, but was on track for its fourth consecutive weekly drop on Friday.

U.S. crude and Brent have both collapsed about 40% in the last two weeks since talks between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russia, broke down, which led Saudi Arabia to ramp up supply.

The Trump administration is considering a diplomatic push to get Saudi Arabia to close its taps and using the threat of sanctions on Russia to force them to reduce output, the Wall Street Journal reported, quoting unidentified sources.


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“The outsized gains by WTI reflect the hope and not the reality of the U.S. shale industry. Russia and Saudi Arabia have zero interest in helping US shale survive. Just the opposite, in fact,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

“Once this reality finally sets in, I expect the rally in oil to disappear as quickly as it began.”





World Leaders Rush In To Shore Up Panic-Hit Global Financial System

World leaders raced to shore up panic-stricken global markets on Thursday, pouring liquidity into the financial system as investors everywhere dumped assets, switching to dollars in cash amid the escalating coronavirus pandemic.

Policymakers in the United States, Europe and Asia resorted to emergency action as the pandemic left their economies virtually comatose, with quarantined consumers, broken supply chains, paralyzed transportation and depleted shops.

There were almost 219,000 cases of coronavirus reported globally, including over 8,900 deaths linked to the virus. Over 20,000 of those cases were reported in the past 24 hours, a new daily record.



The European Central Bank launched new bond purchases worth 750 billion euros ($817 billion) at an emergency meeting late on Wednesday, in a bid to prevent a deep recession that threatened to outdo the 2008-09 global financial crisis.

“Extraordinary times require extraordinary action,” ECB President Christine Lagarde said, amid concerns that the strains from burgeoning crisis could eventually tear apart the euro zone as a single currency bloc.

In the United States, the Federal Reserve rolled out its third emergency credit program in two days, aimed at keeping the $3.8 trillion money market mutual fund industry functioning if investors made rapid withdrawals.

On Sunday, the Fed slashed interest rates to near zero and pledged hundreds of billions of dollars in asset purchases, while President Donald Trump’s administration drew up a $1 trillion stimulus and rescue proposal.

The desperate state of industry was writ large in Detroit, where the big three automakers – Ford Motor Co (N:F), General Motors Co (N:GM) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (MI:FCHA) (N:FCAU) – confirmed they would be shutting U.S. plants, as well as factories in Canada and Mexico.

The British pound plunged to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985, as Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said he would not rule anything out when asked about printing money to give to individuals. Britain ordered all schools to close from Friday as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose 48% on Wednesday. Australia made a historic foray into quantitative easing after an out-of-schedule meeting on Thursday and cut interest rates for the second time in a month.


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South Korea warned of a global credit crunch and said it was setting up crisis funds to stabilize its financial markets.

Central banks in emerging countries from Brazil to India have stepped in this week to buy government bonds to prevent a jump in borrowing costs that would put more pressure on their economies.

Despite those moves, which together with other liquidity injections and stimulus announced in recent weeks reached levels unseen since World War Two, nearly every stock market in Asia was in the red, with Seoul, Jakarta and Manila hitting daily loss limits that trigger the suspension of trade.

At one point the Philippines bourse was down 24%. In currency markets, everything except the dollar and the euro collapsed.

J.P. Morgan economists forecast the U.S. economy to shrink 14% in the next quarter, and the Chinese economy to drop more than 40% in the current one, one of the most dire calls yet on the potential scale of the fallout.

“We’re in this phase where investors are just looking to liquidate,” said Prashant Newnaha, senior interest rate strategist at TD Securities in Singapore.

WAR OF WORDS

It was not just the dire state of the economy that panicked investors. Tensions between the world’s two biggest superpowers reached some of their most elevated levels and other powers were locking heads over their reactions to the outbreak.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday ratcheted up his rhetoric against China over the coronavirus, saying Beijing should have acted faster to warn the world and dismissing criticism that his labeling it the “Chinese virus” was racist.

Trump’s tougher language marked an escalation in a bitter war of words between the world’s top two economies that has widened to include the global pandemic and media freedoms.

A European Union document seen by Reuters said Russian media have deployed a “significant disinformation campaign” against the West to worsen the impact of the coronavirus, generate panic and sow distrust.

U.S. infections were closing in on 8,000, with the death toll climbing to at least 151. Millions of Americans were staying at home.

In contrast, China, which has been the first country to lock down large swathes of its territory, was slowly coming back to life. Chinese scientists and health experts involved in the fight against the virus believed the worst was over, downplaying warnings that the disease could become seasonal or that a deadlier “second wave” could hit later in the year.



They were wary, however, of new cases from overseas.

New local transmissions in China fell to zero, while imported cases surged by a record, accounting for all 34 new cases on Wednesday.

Germany, Iran and Spain reported over 12,000 cases each, while 12 other countries confirmed between 1,000-10,000 cases each. The virus has reached 172 countries and territories.

Governments around the globe, from the United States and Britain to the emerging world have been criticized for acting too slowly to stop the spread.

In Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro initially labeled the virus “a fantasy”, more members of the country’s political elite fell ill. On Wednesday night, housebound protesters banged pots and pans, shouting “Bolsonaro out!” from their windows.





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Amazon Stops Receiving Nonessential Products From Sellers

Amazon is suspending sellers from sending nonessential products to its U.S. and U.K. warehouses until April 5 in the latest move to free up inventory space for much-needed supplies that are in shortage as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

In a note sent to sellers Tuesday, Amazon said it is seeing increasing online shopping demand from consumers. As its household staples and medical supplies are running out of stock, it will prioritize certain categories in order to “quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers.”

Amazon defined five categories as essential products that can continue shipping, including Baby Product, Health & Household, Beauty & Personal Care, Grocery, Industrial & Scientific, Pet Supplies.

The move follows Amazon’s announcement it will hire 100,000 workers for its warehouses on Monday, as the Seattle-based giant is trying to meet growing online shopping need from people who stay home amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Third-party sellers account for over half of the sales on Amazon. Amazon has been courting sellers to use its own fulfillment system, enabling many of them with faster delivery without the risks of sitting on inventories.







It is especially popular for sellers who use a dropping shipping method, meaning sellers import products from manufacturers in countries including China and directly send them to an Amazon warehouse. Amazon earns fees from managing the storage and delivery process.

Sellers supplying products that are deemed nonessential could see their products run out of stock and they will be unable to restock as a result of the measure. Still, they can use other fulfillment methods to directly mail products to customers.

Amazon did not immediately replied to request for comment.



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Small-Business Confidence Plunged In March To Near Its Lowest Levels In The Past Seven Years

Small-business confidence plunged in March to near its lowest levels in the past seven years, as business owners grappled with the effects of the novel coronavirus on their companies and the broader economy.

Owners of businesses from restaurants and yoga studios to marketing and manufacturing firms are already making tough choices, as the fallout spreads from industries dependent on Chinese manufacturers to the broader U.S. economy.

“We’re going into a period no one has been through before,” said Jay Foreman, chief executive of Basic Fun Inc., a small Boca Raton, Fla., toy maker. “It feels like 9/11, Katrina and the financial crisis all in one.”



The company last week laid off about 10% of its 175 employees to conserve cash, after its bank advised Mr. Foreman to reduce overhead to avoid violating the terms of its loan agreements. “They have been working with us; they are telling us the realities,” Mr. Foreman said. “If you think your income will be reduced, you need to reduce your expenses.”

The pain began in February, when the Chinese government ordered factories to remain closed after the traditional Lunar New Year holiday and restricted the movement of workers, disrupting the toy company’s supply chain. Chinese production is now coming back online, but Mr. Foreman fears the pandemic will mean fewer sales of its Tonka trucks, Lite Brite, Lincoln Logs and other offerings.

Companies with fewer than 500 workers employ roughly 60 million people, or about 47% of the private sector workforce, according to the Small Business Administration. The challenges these businesses face and the steps they take in response, such as furloughing or laying off workers or pulling back on investment, will quickly ripple through the broader economy.

The coronavirus outbreak is likely to be particularly challenging for small companies because they tend to operate on thinner margins and with smaller cash reserves. A 2019 report by the JPMorgan Chase Institute looked at 1.4 million small businesses with a business banking deposit account at the bank and found 29% of businesses in a typical community were unprofitable, and 47% had less than two weeks of cash liquidity.

Many of them simply can’t afford to follow much larger companies like Apple Inc., which said it would close all its retail stores outside Greater China for the next two weeks and continue to pay its hourly workers.

The March drop in small-business confidence reversed four months of gains. More than twice as many business owners said they expected the economy would weaken rather than improve in the coming year, according to a monthly survey of more than 900 businesses with $1 million to $20 million in revenue for The Wall Street Journal by Vistage Worldwide Inc., a business coaching and peer-advisory firm.

The outlook dimmed over the course of the weeklong poll, with 38% of business owners who responded on March 9 reporting that overall economic conditions in the U.S. had worsened compared with a year earlier, up from 25% on March 2 when the survey began. The portion of companies that expect sales to increase in the next 12 months dropped to 57% from 70% over the week.

Small-business confidence will likely decline further as the impact of the virus intensifies, said Richard Curtin, a University of Michigan economist who analyzed the data. “The policy options to contain the virus will make the economy worse,” he said. “I think small businesses are really caught in the middle.”

MBX Systems, a 180-person manufacturer of custom-computing hardware, recently reviewed each area of its business to determine minimum staffing levels, figure out who is cross-trained and determine who can be taught additional skills in case they need to cover for someone else.

MBX has told the 50% of workers who can work remotely to do so, increased paid time off to 15 days from 10, and largely walled off its Libertyville, Ill., facility. “For the most part, we are not having [visitors] come in unless there is something like an audit or something required for us to sustain our business,” said Justin Formella, chief strategy officer.

Businesses that rely on steady customer traffic are getting hit especially hard. At Bonanno Concepts, a Denver restaurant operator with 500 employees, customers began canceling private parties and other events when conferences started getting called off and travel was restricted. Then on Tuesday, traffic to the company’s 10 restaurants began falling.

“We are writing schedules for everything from only doing 30% of business to 50% of business,” said co-owner Frank Bonanno, who now doesn’t go to bed until he receives the day’s reports from each manager.

Mr. Bonanno and his wife Jacqueline, a co-owner, are encouraging employees to work together to split up shifts to reduce the need for layoffs. They have begun making their own hand sanitizer and now ring a cow bell every half-hour to remind employees to wash their hands.

Magda Sayeg, the owner of Magdalene, a month-old restaurant and cocktail bar in Brooklyn, N.Y., said several of her employees have offered to work just for tips, but her attorney said that would violate the law. “I just opened a restaurant. I don’t think there is anything that will help me, government-wise,” she said.

Ms. Sayeg said she is still feeding younger diners who have cabin fever and want to support the local eatery. But the decline in traffic has forced her to pare her staff to six from 20, cutting anyone working just one or two shifts.


Stock Market 101: From Bull and Bear Markets to Dividends, Shares, and Margins―Your Essential Guide to the Stock Market (Adams 101)

Stock Market 101: From Bull and Bear Markets to Dividends, Shares, and Margins―Your Essential Guide to the Stock Market (Adams 101)


“I have had to take some drastic measures,” she said. “I put myself a lot more on the schedule, put my 22-year-old son and my 17-year-old daughter on the schedule, to help us pay really essential employees.”

Indigo Yoga Inc., which operates two yoga studios in Fort Worth, Texas, said Friday it would reduce capacity by nearly 60% to 50 students per class. The company, which has a staff of 50, has invested about $10,000 in software and equipment so it can begin live-streaming 72 classes a week from its flagship studio. It also plans to set up ways for instructors who can’t come into the studio to teach from home.

“One hundred percent of our revenue is at the will of our customers,” said Indigo president John Cornelsen. “If they choose not to come to yoga for 60 days, the hit to us would be more than significant,” he said.

For some firms, projections of sales growth have vanished.

24G LLC, a digital marketing, training and communications agency in Troy, Mich., first revised sales projections downward a month ago when shutdowns in China’s supply chain reduced demand for its Amazon.com Inc. marketing-services team. A few weeks later, conference cancellations and travel bans hit demand for the 108-person company’s mobile marketing displays. Though it expects to get a boost in its distance learning and virtual events business, 24G says sales are likely to be down slightly instead of growing 20% as it had planned for.

“It is really stunning how dimensional this is and how it is affecting every aspect of the business, even though we are so well-diversified,” said Chief Executive Scott Wiemels. The wave of event cancellations happened so fast, he added, “it’s like watching one of our division’s work dry up in a matter of days.”

Not everyone is hurting.

The Maintenance Management Group, in Livonia, Mich., which provides cleaning services to hospitals and other facilities and consultations on cleaning procedures, has received nearly three-dozen calls in the past two weeks from companies looking for advice on cleaning procedures. One hospital customer asked whether TMMG could lend workers if the hospital becomes understaffed. “If the last two weeks have been any indication, I think we are in great shape,” said Sean Murphy, chief executive of the 160-person company.

But even he is remaining cautious. With so much uncertainty, “we could double our business or we may have to shut down for a period,” he said. “We are trying to be prepared both ways.”


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Aramco Profits Plunge

Saudi Aramco on Sunday said it plans to cut capital spending in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, and also posted a plunge in profit for last year, missing forecasts in its first earnings announcement as a listed company.


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Saudi Arabia‘s decision last year to float shares in its state oil company – the most profitable company in the world – was one of the central elements in Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s program for economic and political reform.

The record-setting IPO was touted as making the world’s biggest energy exporter more professional and transparent.

The 21% decline in net profit for last year means it fell short of analysts’ forecasts for the period that culminated in the share sale, months before the coronavirus pandemic became a factor for oil prices.

In recent weeks, Riyadh has announced that it is ramping up production in an oil price war with Russia that has sent global prices plunging and contributed to the coronavirus rout on international financial markets.

The company said it expects capital spending for 2020 to be between $25 billion and $30 billion in light of current market conditions and recent commodity price volatility, compared to $32.8 billion in 2019.

Aramco has already taken steps to “rationalize” its planned 2020 capital spending, CEO Amin Nasser said in a statement.

“The recent COVID-19 outbreak and its rapid spread illustrate the importance of agility and adaptability in an ever-changing global landscape,” he said.


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Aramco listed its shares in Riyadh in December in a record $29.4 billion initial public offering that valued it at $1.7 trillion. Its shares fell below the IPO price last week for the first time, as oil prices crashed after the collapse of an output deal between OPEC and non-OPEC members. Oil prices have fallen nearly 50% from highs reached in January and had their biggest one-day decline on March 9 since the 1991 Gulf War.

Brent crude (LCOc1) futures last traded at $33.85 per barrel on Friday, down from about $64 when Aramco listed its shares.

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Saudi Arabia’s strategy to gain market share by flooding the markets with cheap oil has revived investor concerns that the profitability of the company would come second to government-led strategies to influence oil markets.

“Foreign investors may view recent events as confirmation that the strategic direction of Aramco is driven by its majority shareholder, driven by national development and geopolitics, not simply value maximization of this company’s returns,” said Hasnain Malik, head of equity strategy at Tellimer.

Despite a drop in income, Aramco said it paid a dividend of $73.2 billion in 2019 and intends to declare a cash dividend of $75 billion in 2020, paid quarterly.

Aramco, which is 98% owned by the Gulf kingdom, reported a net profit of $88.2 billion in 2019, down from $111.1 in 2018.


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Analysts had expected Aramco to post a net profit of 346.6 billion riyals ($92.6 billion) in 2019, according to an estimate of 15 analysts polled by Refinitiv.

Aramco said the drop in earnings was mainly due “lower crude oil prices and production volumes, coupled with declining refining and chemical margins, and a $1.6 billion impairment associated with Sadara Chemical Co.”

“Assuming the price of $35 per barrel, Aramco’s revenue and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) could contract by 20-30% compared to our previous forecasts and to the company’s performance in 2018-2019,” said energy analyst Dmitry Marinchenko at Fitch Ratings.

Biraj Borkhataria, a London-based energy analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said a $10 a barrel change in prices hits Aramco’s cash flow from operations (CFFO) by $15 billion, while each 100,000 barrels change in output impacts CFFO by $1.1 billion, assuming a price of $60 per barrel. “Lower price more than trumps higher production volumes,” he said.

Saudi Arabia has long acted as the global oil market‘s swing producer, the only country capable of substantially and rapidly cutting or raising output to match demand and prop up prices.

Aramco could easily fund the dividend for minority shareholders, which own 1.7% of the company, even if oil prices slump to $10-$20 a barrel as the share of minorities is about $1.3 billion, said RBC’s Borkhataria.

Aramco remains the world’s most profitable company, beating Western oil majors such as Exxon Mobil Corp (N:XOM), and Apple Inc (O:AAPL), which made $55 billion in its last financial year that ended in September.

Mazen al-Sudairi, head of research at Al Rajhi Capital, said that despite the economic headwinds and low oil prices, Aramco will be able to maintain “good dividends” at a Brent crude price of $40 or even $20 per barrel.

Aramco said it had total hydrocarbon production of 13.2 million barrels per day of oil equivalent in 2019, compared to 13.6 million barrels per day of oil equivalent in 2018. Aramco shares were flat at 29 riyals at 0845 GMT, 9% below the IPO price if 32 riyals.




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American Airlines Cutting International Flights By 75%

American Airlines Inc said Saturday it plans to cut 75% of its international flights through May 6 and ground nearly all its widebody fleet, as airlines respond to the global collapse in travel demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.


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The dramatic announcement by the largest U.S. airline came hours after the White House said the United States would widen new travel restrictions on Europeans to include travelers in the United Kingdom and Ireland, starting Monday night.

The Trump administration also signaled Saturday it wanted Congress to quickly back financial support for troubled U.S. airlines.

American’s sweeping cuts include suspending nearly all long-haul international flights to Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand and South America.

It will still operate two flights a day to London and just three flights to Asia per week — to Tokyo. It will continue short-haul international flying.

American confirmed it is parking nearly all widebody aircraft and anticipates its domestic capacity will be reduced by 20% in April and 30% in May versus the same period in 2019.

United Airlines Co said late Saturday it would begin cutting flights to the United Kingdom, Southwest Airlines moved toward flight cuts and Delta Airlines Inc plans to start cutting flights to the United Kingdom.

Southwest, one of the few U.S. airlines still flying a full schedule, said it was “seriously considering” cutting flights.

While airlines scrambled to stem losses and protect jobs, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the government would “immediately” start working with Congress to support the airline and cruise industries, both hard hit by the spiraling crisis.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said restrictions on the UK and Ireland will begin Monday at midnight, barring most non-U.S. citizens from entering the United States who have been in those countries within the last 14 days.

They do not bar flights to and from the United States, and Americans and permanent residents can still travel.

United said it would suspend flights to London from Houston and Denver starting Monday. United said it expects to fly three daily flights to London and one daily flight to Dublin through the end of April.

United said it would give a credit for the value of the ticket for any customer whose international travel is disrupted by more than six hours because of schedule changes resulting from government restrictions. Customers who do not use the credit for 12 months will get a refund.

Washington first imposed restrictions on China and expanded them this week to continental Europe, prompting U.S. airlines to cut numerous flights and scramble to shore up capital.

Among cost-cutting measures, U.S. airlines are offering employees voluntary unpaid leaves of absence to match staffing with flights.

The outbreak came as Delta and its pilots’ union were in contract negotiations, and the sides reached an agreement on coronavirus-related sick leave and managing overstaffing for April with partially paid schedules. United and Southwest could reach deals with their pilots soon, sources said.

On Friday, Delta said it would cut capacity 40% in the next few months, the largest reduction in its history. It will eliminate nearly all flights to continental Europe for 30 days and will park up to 300 aircraft.

United also announced cuts to European service this week. On Friday, major U.S. airlines confirmed they had been in talks with the White House and Congress about financial assistance.


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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Friday called on the government to “turn next to a package to assist impacted employers… No business should go bankrupt because of a temporary loss in revenue as a result of the coronavirus.”

Airlines are reeling from a plunge in bookings and traffic, as the fast-spreading pandemic prompts travel restrictions and event cancellations around the world.

U.S. passenger railroad Amtrak said on Saturday it was scaling back services due to reduced demand. Last week the company said bookings had plunged 50% since the coronavirus outbreak.




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Apple Closes All Its Stores

Apple said the stores would be closed until March 27 in light of the worsening spread of the virus, which according to figures from Johns Hopkins University has killed 5,429 and infected 145,369.

Hourly workers will continue to be paid, and workers across the company will be allowed to work remotely if their jobs permit it, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said in a note on the company’s website.


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The note said Apple stores inside Greater China, closed previously, were all open Saturday, highlighting how the coronavirus center of gravity has shifted to Europe and the U.S. China reported 11 new infections and 13 new deaths for Friday.

Apple has around 500 retail stores world-wide, including hundreds in the U.S., which along with the company’s website and direct sales force accounted for 31% of the company’s $260 billion in sales in the year ended September 2019.

The closures are part of a broad shutdown of business activity in an effort to slow the spread of the new virus. President Trump has broadly barred people arriving from Europe. Factories in China’s Hubei province, where the disease first appeared, remain largely shut. Italy clamped down on commercial activity across the country. The world’s four biggest cruise lines are suspending U.S. sailings for a month.

The tightening patchwork of border controls and office closings are in some cases making business all but impossible, whether in professional fields that require client contact or hourly occupations that can’t be done off-site.

Governments have sought to ease the impact with a range of measures to ease liquidity for financial markets and shore up economies with more spending. Apple said it has expanded its leave policies to accommodate illness, caring for loved ones, mandatory quarantines and child-care issues.


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The tech giant reported that its revenue in the December quarter was up 9% to $91.82 billion, driven by sales of devices and services connected to the iPhone such as smartwatches and streaming-TV subscriptions. Sales of iPhones, which account for more than half of its revenue, rose 8% to $55.96 billion.

Outdoor gear retailer Patagonia also said it would shut its stores, offices and operations for at least two weeks and will reassess March 27. Employees will receive their regular pay, the company said.





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Financial Markets Buffeted Again By Virus Concerns

U.S. stock futures, world shares and Treasury yields all headed lower on Wednesday, pointing to sustained doubts about the ability of governments and central banks to combat the economic headwinds caused by the novel coronavirus.

The fresh downdraft in Asian trading hours followed two tumultuous days marked by a violent global selloff and a sharp rebound.




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Japan’s Nikkei 225 declined 2.3% to close at its lowest level since December 2018. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 3.6%, hitting its lowest since January 2019, and entering a bear market, typically defined as a decline of at least 20% from a recent peak.

By midafternoon in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index stood 0.6% lower and the Shanghai Composite had also shed 0.6%.

U.S. stocks had soared in frenetic trading Tuesday, wiping out much of the losses they suffered just a day earlier in their biggest selloff since the financial crisis. The S&P 500 rose 4.9%.

“It’s too early to call this stabilization, and it’s too early to position for a rebound here,” said Mayank Mishra, a global macro strategist at Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore.

Financial markets will continue to focus on the economic implications from the virus, and right now the global outlook for growth is not rosy. Those are the forces that markets are reacting to,” said Mr. Mishra.

E-mini S&P 500 futures dropped 2.5%, suggesting U.S. stocks could be weaker when they start trading later on Wednesday.


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The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield stood at 0.684%, down from 0.743% on Tuesday. Bond yields, which move inversely to prices, have swung wildly in recent days, with the widely watched 10-year yield tumbling from above 1% last Thursday to a record intraday trough below 0.4% on Monday.

Mr. Mishra said while markets had already priced in likely interest-rate cuts and other support from central banks, government action moved at a slower pace. “The fiscal response is a slower-moving beast, so let’s see how that helps stabilize global financial markets,” he said.

The Federal Reserve earlier this month cut its key interest rate by 0.5 percentage point to a range of 1% to 1.25%. Many investors expect a further cut at the Fed’s scheduled meeting next week, which concludes on March 18.

A push by President Trump to suspend the payroll tax to boost the economy fell flat on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, as lawmakers of both parties said they preferred targeted measures to assist hourly workers and the battered travel industry.





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International Markets Regained Ground After The Worst Day In 12 Years

International markets regained ground after Monday’s bruising selloff, with American stock futures gaining 2.6%, as investors welcomed the prospect of new U.S. tax cuts and other measures to counter the economic pain caused by the coronavirus.

President Trump said Monday his administration would discuss several proposals with Congress, including a possible payroll-tax cut and help for hourly wage earners.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 1.2%, following its biggest one-day decline since October 2008. Futures tied to the S&P 500 jumped 2.6%, suggesting U.S. stocks could claw back some of their losses when trading begins later in the day.

Major U.S. stock indexes suffered their steepest single-day falls since 2008 on Monday, tumbling more than 7%, after oil prices slid the most since the Gulf War in January 1991. Indexes in Germany, France and Britain slid into bear markets, as did some sectors of the U.S. market.

In another sign of improving investor confidence Tuesday, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury rose to 0.651%, suggesting demand for the safest assets had abated somewhat. The yield hit a historic low of 0.339% on Monday as investors rushed for cover, before settling at 0.501%. Yields rise as bond prices fall.

“What we see today on global markets is led by U.S. stock futures,” said Frank Benzimra, head of Asia equity strategy at Société Générale in Hong Kong. “Markets are welcoming some policy shifts that seem [likely] to be taken by the U.S. government, including payroll tax cuts, or targeted measures easing cash-flow issues for some companies.”

However, Mr. Benzimra said markets would remain volatile and the collapse in oil prices, plus the stock-market selloff, would hurt the real economy.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rebounded to close up 3.1%, after an initial fall that would have left it in bear-market territory had it held through the day.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 pared steep early losses to add 0.9%. The yen, which had soared against the dollar on Monday in another sign of investor anxiety, weakened 1.4%, with $1 buying about ¥103.80.

Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, recouped some of the previous session’s losses, rising about 4.8% to $35.95 a barrel.

In China, President Xi Jinpingarrived in Wuhan for a surprise visit. This was his first trip to the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic since the health crisis began, and comes as China reports a steep decline in the number of new cases.

“President Xi’s trip to Wuhan is declaring China has largely brought the coronavirus under control,” said Bruce Pang, head of macro and strategy research at China Renaissance Securities. Mr. Pang said that in turn had helped shore up investor confidence in China’s economic outlook.

In mainland China, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed 1.8% higher. The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong added 2%.

“It is quite normal for the market to have a minor revision after the brutal selloff on Monday, but it is far from a rebound,” said Hong Hao, chief strategist at Bocom International Holdings.

Mr. Hong said the Trump administration proposals appeared to reassure investors by suggesting “the government still has measures to contain the damage brought by the coronavirus.”

However, Mr. Hong added, many uncertainties remained, including energy prices, and what the U.S. Federal Reserve will do to follow its emergency interest-rate cut last week.



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Financial Markets – Investors Retreat From Stocks

Investors continued to pile into safe-haven assets Friday, pushing the yield on long-term U.S. government bonds to unprecedented levels and setting gold up for its best week in over a decade.





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The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury sank below 0.8% for the first time. Stock futures also retreated, with contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average declining 2.3%, pointing to a decline of over 600 points when the blue-chips index opens for trading in New York. On Thursday, all three major U.S. stock indexes had retreated more than 3%.

Oil prices added to the market turmoil Friday, with the global benchmark, Brent crude, declining 3.8% to $48.09 a barrel. Russia disagrees with OPEC’s preliminary agreement Thursday to cut output by 1 million barrels a day, The Wall Street Journal reported. OPEC members and their allies, led by Russia, are continuing to meet Friday in Vienna. Brent has declined 27% since the beginning of the year as the coronavirus has hammered demand.

The pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 gauge also dropped 3.4% to its lowest level since August. Asia’s major equity benchmarks closed lower Friday, with the Shanghai Composite Index losing 1.2%.

“People are accepting the size of the crisis: they know the governments are doing the right thing but what your brain tells you logically isn’t always how you feel about something emotionally,’’ said Sebastien Galy, a senior macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management. NDA.FI -4.02% “We’re seeing the market’s emotional brain leading today.”

Investors sought out assets that are considered low in risk — such as government bonds and gold — on worries about the economic impact of the coronavirus. The yield on 10-year Treasurys slipped to 0.755%, after earlier notching a record intraday level of 0.701%. It had closed Thursday at 0.924%. The yield on the 30-year benchmark dropped to 1.352%.

The continued market jitters — even after the Federal Reserve unexpectedly cut rates and U.S. lawmakers approved roughly $8 billion in emergency spending — is focusing attention now on potential government measures to counteract the economic impacts of the coronavirus. But President Trump and White House officials have said they don’t see an immediate need to craft a broader fiscal-policy response because the economy has been faring well.




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Futures markets suggest the Fed’s key rate is likely to be in a range of just 0.25% to 0.5% by the end of April. That would be just 0.25 percentage points higher than the near-zero level that held from the depths of the global financial crisis until December 2015.

Investors are expecting rate cuts now and they are expecting [the cuts] to persist in the next two to three years,” said Homin Lee, Asia macro strategist at Lombard Odier. He said markets were pricing two to three further interest-rate reductions this year, and that these moves would only be partially reversed in the next three years.

Safe-haven assets gained, with the Japanese yen rising 0.9% against the dollar. Gold also rose 0.9%, and is on track for its best one-week performance since December 2008.

The ICE Dollar Index, which tracks the U.S. dollar against a basket of six major currencies, dropped 0.9% Friday.

Later in the day, the U.S. jobs report for February will offer fresh insights into the health of the U.S. economy before the coronavirus epidemic started to affect business activity. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal are expecting 175,000 jobs to have been added last month and for the unemployment rate to be at 3.5%, a 50-year low.

The U.S. Commerce Department will also release data on the trade deficit, which is expected to have fallen to $46 billion in January from $48.88 billion the previous month.


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Moderna Inc. Ships First Experimental Coronavirus Vaccine For Human Tests

Drugmaker Moderna Inc. has shipped the first batch of its rapidly developed coronavirus vaccine to U.S. government researchers, who will launch the first human tests of whether the experimental shot could help suppress the epidemic originating in China.

Moderna on Monday sent vaccine vials from its Norwood, Mass., manufacturing plant to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md., the company said. The institute expects by the end of April to start a clinical trial of about 20 to 25 healthy volunteers, testing whether two doses of the shot are safe and induce an immune response likely to protect against infection, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said in an interview. Initial results could become available in July or August.

Moderna’s turnaround time in producing the first batch of the vaccine—co-designed with NIAID, after learning the new virus’s genetic sequence in January—is a stunningly fast response to an emerging outbreak.

If a trial starts as planned in April, it would be about three months from vaccine design to human testing. In comparison, after an outbreak of an older coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome, in China in 2002, it took about 20 months for NIAID to get a vaccine into the first stage of human testing, according to Dr. Fauci.

“Going into a Phase One trial within three months of getting the sequence is unquestionably the world indoor record. Nothing has ever gone that fast,” Dr. Fauci said.

Public-health authorities say advances in vaccine technology, aided by government and private investments, are shortening development timelines when outbreaks occur. In the past, researchers scrambled to develop vaccines in response to outbreaks such as SARS, Ebola and Zika with mixed results. Older types of vaccines are developed from viral proteins that must be grown in eggs or cell cultures, and together with animal testing it can take years before a vaccine can be used in humans.

Newer approaches rely on what are known as platform technologies—building blocks that can be tweaked quickly with the genetic information from a newly emerged pathogen.

The fast production of a vaccine and plans to test it soon don’t guarantee its success. “You’re never sure until you’re at the end what you have,” said Bruce Gellin, president of global immunization at the Sabin Vaccine Institute. Saying there are other coronavirus vaccines in the works, he added: “The sequence of testing is designed to sort out what works from what doesn’t. That’s why it’s important to try as many things as possible that seem feasible, because not all horses will finish the race.”

It is uncertain whether Moderna’s vaccine will work because its gene-based technology hasn’t yet yielded an approved human vaccine. And even if the first study is positive, the coronavirus vaccine might not become widely available until next year because further studies and regulatory clearances will be needed, Dr. Fauci said.

But health authorities say it is worth placing bets on these new technologies in the face of fast-moving outbreaks. Since early January, when only a few dozen cases were confirmed in central China, the virus has spread to more than 79,000 people, including more than 2,600 who have died. The vast majority of the cases are in China, according to the World Health Organization.

Dr. Fauci said it is possible the spread of coronavirus could lessen during warmer months, but then return next winter and become a seasonal virus like the flu, making a vaccine useful even if it isn’t ready for widespread distribution until next year.

“The only way you can completely suppress an emerging infectious disease is with a vaccine,” Dr. Fauci said in his office in Bethesda. “If you want to really get it quickly, you’re using technologies that are not as time-honored as the standard, what I call antiquated, way of doing it.”

Moderna, which has more than 800 employees, was founded in 2010 to develop drugs and vaccines based on what is known as messenger RNA, the genetic molecules that carry instructions from DNA to the body’s cells to make certain proteins. The company is targeting cancer, heart disease and infectious diseases. It hasn’t brought any drugs or vaccines to market.

Moderna Chief Executive Stephane Bancel said he got in touch with NIAID after hearing about the new China virus while vacationing with his family in France in early January, to discuss collaborating on a vaccine.

Chinese scientists found the genetic sequence of the new virus and published it online around Jan. 10. Researchers at NIAID and Moderna analyzed the sequence and homed in on a section they believed was most likely to induce the desired immune response if incorporated into a vaccine. NIAID agreed to run a clinical trial if Moderna could supply a vaccine.

Moderna didn’t need actual samples of the virus or its proteins. The company’s vaccines instead contain nucleic acids with genetic codes that instruct the body’s own cells to make certain proteins from the virus that don’t infect a person, but trigger an immune response.

Moderna in 2018 opened a manufacturing site in the shell of a former Polaroid plant in Norwood, near the company’s Cambridge, Mass., headquarters. In the plant, employees wearing white lab gowns, hair nets and safety goggles work amid lab hoods, robotic machinery and steel tanks to produce drugs and vaccines for clinical trials. Meeting rooms are named after famous scientists such as Curie and Pasteur.

To make the coronavirus vaccine, Moderna repurposed some of the robotic equipment that was making cancer vaccines tailored to the genetic mutations of patients’ tumors.

As many as 100 manufacturing and quality-control employees were involved in the effort, many working nights and weekends. As manufacturing ramped up, the company’s leaders had frequent meetings, calls and WhatsApp messaging chains to monitor progress, and stayed in close contact with NIAID.

After Moderna’s effort became public in January, friends and family members became interested.

Juan Andres, Moderna’s head of technical operations, said, “I wasn’t used to my kid thinking I did anything cool,” but his 15-year-old son began asking questions about the project at dinner.

Moderna finished manufacturing about 500 vials on Feb. 7, a Friday. Normally, the company would have waited until Monday to start quality-control tests, but about 10 to 15 workers spent the weekend testing samples for potency and other features. The batch cleared most tests that weekend, but it took about two weeks to complete sterility testing. Moderna stored the supply in freezers set to minus-70 degrees Celsius.



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One risk of moving so fast is that Moderna and NIAID won’t know for sure they picked the best fragment of the virus’s genetic sequence to target until the human study is completed.

“It is possible it’s going to work, but we have to wait and see,” said Mr. Bancel, Moderna’s CEO.

The first trial will be conducted at NIAID’s clinical-trials unit in Bethesda. If the first one is successful, a second trial of hundreds or thousands of participants could begin, which could take six to eight months, Dr. Fauci said. This trial could be conducted partly in the U.S. but also in China or a region where the virus is spreading, so the testing could gauge whether the vaccine reduces infection rates.

If the second trial is positive, the vaccine could be ready for widespread use, he said. How widely the virus has spread by then will determine whether it is given to targeted groups such as health-care workers, or more broadly to the general population, Dr. Fauci said.





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Financial Markets News: Stocks under pressure as Apple sounds warning on coronavirus

The warning from the most valuable U.S. company sobered investor optimism that stimulus from China and other countries would protect the global economy from the effects of the epidemic.

Asian shares fell and Wall Street was poised to retreat from record highs on Tuesday after Apple Inc (O:AAPL) said it would miss its March quarter revenue guidance as the coronavirus slowed production and weakened demand in China.


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S&P500 e-mini futures (ESc1) slipped as much as 0.4% in Asian trade while Nasdaq futures fell 0.6%.

European stocks were expected to follow suit, with major European stock futures (STXEc1) (FDXc1) (FFIc1) trading 0.5-0.6% lower.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (MIAPJ0000PUS) fell 1.0%, while Tokyo’s Nikkei (N225) slid 1.4%, dragged down by tech stocks.

China’s CSI300 (CSI300) blue chip shares gave up 0.5%, following a strong rally that was fueled by hopes Beijing would introduce more policy stimulus.

China’s central bank cut the interest rate on its medium-term lending on Monday, paving the way for a likely reduction in the benchmark loan prime rate on Thursday.

However, sentiment took a subsequent knock as Apple said factories in China were re-opening but ramping up more slowly than expected, reinforcing signs of a broader hit to businesses from the epidemic.

“Apple is saying its recovery could be delayed, which could mean the impact of the virus may go beyond the current quarter,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) Securities.

“If Apple shares were traded cheaply, that might not matter much. But when they are trading at a record high, investors will be surely tempted to sell.”

Asian tech shares were also hit. Samsung Electronics (KS:005930) dropped 2.9%, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) (TW:2330) lost 2.9% and Sony Corp (T:6758) shed 2.5%.

In China, the number of new Covid-19 cases fell to 1,886 on Monday from 2,048 the day before. The World Health Organization cautioned, however, that “every scenario is still on the table” in terms of the epidemic’s evolution.

As China’s authorities try to prevent the spread of the disease, the economy is paying a heavy price. Some cities remained in lockdown, streets are deserted, and travel bans and quarantine orders are in place around the country, preventing migrant workers from getting back to their jobs.

Many factories have yet to re-open, disrupting supply chains in China and beyond, as highlighted by Apple.

“Lifting travel restrictions is taking longer than expected. Initially we thought lockdowns would end in February and factory output would normalize in March. But that is looking increasingly difficult,” said Ei Kaku, currency strategist at Nomura Securities.

Nomura downgraded its China first-quarter economic growth forecast to 3% from a year earlier, half the pace of the fourth quarter, from its previous forecast of 3.8%.

Nomura says there was a risk it could be even weaker.

Also hurting market sentiment was news that the Trump administration is considering changing U.S. regulations to allow it to block shipments of chips to Huawei Technologies from companies such as Taiwan’s TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker.

Bonds were in demand, with the 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield falling 4.2 basis point to 1.546% (US10YT=RR) after a U.S. public holiday on Monday.

Safe-haven gold also rose 0.3% to its two-week high of $1,587.00 per ounce.

In the currency market, the yen ticked up 0.15% to 109.69 yen per dollar while the risk-sensitive Australian dollar lost 0.4% to $0.6686 . The yuan was steadier for now, trading at 6.9950 yuan per dollar .

The euro, grappling with worries about sluggish growth in the euro zone, edged down 0.1% to $1.0833 (EUR=), near its 33-month low of $1.0817 touched on Monday.

Oil prices slipped on fresh concerns over the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Brent crude (LCOc1) fell 0.6% to $57.30 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude (CLc1) slipped 0.3% to $51.90 a barrel.

London copper prices also retreated 0.3% to $5,797 a tonne, slipping from Monday’s three-week high.


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Intesa Sanpaolo launches €4.9bn bid to buy UBI Banca


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Intesa Sanpaolo launches €4.9bn bid to buy UBI Banca <


Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s biggest domestic lender, has launched a €4.86bn ($5.26bn) takeover bid for its rival UBI Banca in an audacious attempt to kick-start consolidation in Italy’s fragmented banking sector.

Just before midnight on Monday local time, Turin-headquartered Intesa unveiled an all-share offer to buy Italy’s fourth-biggest lender through a series of notices detailing its plans to issue new shares to fund the deal.

If successful, the combination would create the seventh-largest bank in the eurozone with €1.1tn in assets and give Intesa an additional 3m retail, small business and private-banking clients, the company said.

Intensa has offered to pay 17 new shares for every 10 UBI Banca shares tendered. It said the bid corresponds to a value of €4.25 per share in UBI Banca, or a 27.6 per cent premium to the Bergamo-based lender’s share price at the end of last week.

Shares in UBI Banca rose 5.5 per cent in Monday’s trading and have climbed 28 per cent since the start of February. Intesa shares are up nearly 11 per cent in the same period giving the company a market value of €44bn.

“Intesa considers UBI amongst the best Italian banks . . . [it] has local entrenchment in the most dynamic regions of the country, enjoys outstanding results that have been achieved thanks to the excellent job of both its CEO and its management team, and has a sound business plan,” the lender said in a statement.

The bid makes Intesa chief executive Carlo Messina the first to act decisively among the country’s largest lenders, responding to supervisors’ repeated appeals for Italian banks to consolidate to reduce excessive competition, cut costs and boost the sector’s persistently low profitability.

The country’s banks have been on the front line of tensions between Italy and Europe, not only over bad loans during the European debt crisis but also over its expansionary budget. Investor concerns over the package caused spreads on sovereign debt to balloon in 2018, reviving fears of a vicious cycle between banks and the sovereign, known colloquially as a “doom loop”.

Intesa will have to get permission from the European Central Bank for the deal to go ahead, and negotiate with the Italian government and unions over 5,000 jobs reductions it plans as part of the deal. The acquirer forecasts the deal could lead to €730m in annual expense and revenue synergies, but will cost €1.3bn before tax to execute.


OVERNIGHT MILLIONAIRE MIND-HACKS SECRETLY USED BY THE RICH & FAMOUS…


To address competition concerns, Intensa said its offer includes a binding agreement to sell between 400 and 500 branches of the combined group to Modena-based BPER Banca.

More than a decade on from the 2008-09 financial crisis, most banks across continental Europe are still battling to revive returns amid a raft of new capital regulations and misconduct fines. The vast majority trade at a significant discount to the book value of their assets, but despite this there have been relatively few transformational deals.

Executives have become increasingly vocal about the need for consolidation after the already struggling sector was dealt a further blow when the ECB cut interest rates further into negative territory for the foreseeable future, shrinking already small margins on lending.

While keen on domestic deals, Mr Messina has been a vocal critic of cross-border European consolidation in contrast to his counterpart at Milan-based rival UniCredit, Jean Pierre Mustier. The Frenchman has explored deals with France’s Société Générale and Germany’s Commerzbank, the Financial Times has previously reported.

In the past UBI held takeover talks with Banca Popolare di Milano and Banco Popolare, before its two other rivals merged in 2016, the FT reported at the time.


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Alstom Confirms Talks On Potential $7 Billion Bombardier Deal

French train maker Alstom (PA:ALSO) has confirmed it is in talks on the possible acquisition of the train business of Canada’s Bombardier (TO:BBDb), a potential $7 billion deal that could help it build scale in the increasingly competitive rail sector.

A deal could be important for Alstom, maker of the TGV bullet trains which speed between French cities such as Paris and Nice, as it looks to compete with China’s CRRC Corp (SS:601766), the world’s largest train maker.

0321 biz Bombardier breakup

Alstom was blocked last year by European regulators from merging with Germany’s Siemens (DE:SIEGn).

“Alstom confirms being in discussions with Bombardier regarding a possible acquisition of Bombardier Transportation … No final decision has been made,” Alstom said in a statement on Monday.

A source familiar with the matter had told Reuters on Sunday that Alstom was close to agreeing to buy Bombardier’s train business in a deal giving the unit a value of $7 billion on an enterprise basis combining equity and debt.

Alstom shares were up 1.9% by 0855 GMT.

Train makers are eyeing consolidation to reduce costs through scale and improve thin rolling stock margins as they face competition from CRRC.


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An Alstom acquisition of Bombardier Transportation, which is headquartered in Berlin and which has plants worldwide including at Derby in the English midlands and at Mannheim in Germany, would likely attract antitrust scrutiny, though some analysts have said there could be less of a regulatory barrier to a deal since the pair has a lower European market share in high-speed rail and signaling.

LESS RESISTANCE

The French government, which had criticized the EU’s veto on the Siemens merger, is looking on the deal with Bombardier with a favorable eye and expects less EU resistance, a source familiar with the government’s thinking said.

European regulators had argued the Alstom-Siemens deal could have hurt competition and led to higher prices for consumers despite concessions made buy the companies.

A potential agreement with Bombardier would unite companies with an estimated $17 billion in combined revenues.

Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn) analysts said in a note that a takeover of Bombardier’s rail division would be accretive to Alstom’s earnings per share by around 17 percent.

A deal would also follow Bombardier’s decision last week to sell off its stake in the A220 passenger jet program to Airbus (PA:AIR) and the Quebec government.

Bombardier has been struggling to contain higher rail costs generated by problematic contracts in its nearly $36 billion order backlog.

The Canadian group has been shedding businesses to improve its financial position after it faced a cash crunch in 2015 while bringing a new plane to market. Bombardier has $9.7 billion in outstanding bonds, according to Refinitiv data.


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Tesla Resume Production In Shanghai


◊ Tesla Production In Shanghai ◊


⇑⇓ StockMarketNews.Today ⇓⇑


U.S. electric carmaker Tesla‘s factory in China’s financial hub of Shanghai will resume production on Feb. 10 with assistance to help it cope with a spreading epidemic of coronavirus, a Shanghai government official said on Saturday.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Many factories across China shut in late January for the Lunar New Year holiday that was originally due to end on Jan. 30 but which was extended in a bid to contain the spread of the new flu-like virus that has killed more than 700 people.

Tesla warned on Jan. 30 that it would see a 1-1.5 week delay in the ramp-up of Shanghai-built Model 3 cars as a result of the epidemic, which has severely disrupted communications and supply chains across China.

Tesla Vice President Tao Lin said this week that production would restart on Feb. 10.

“In view of the practical difficulties key manufacturing firms including Tesla have faced in resuming production, we will coordinate to make all efforts to help companies resume production as soon as possible,” Shanghai municipal government spokesman Xu Wei said.

The $2 billion Shanghai factory is Tesla’s first outside the United States and was built with support from local authorities. It started production in October and began deliveries last month.

The Shanghai government also said on Saturday it would ask banks to extend loans with preferential rates to small companies and exempt firms in hard-hit sectors like hospitality from value-added tax, among other measures to prop up businesses during the epidemic.

Such assistance would also apply to foreign companies, it added.







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Best Books For Making Money In The Stock Market


#1 – The Intelligent Investor. (Revised Edition)

This classic text is annotated to update Graham’s timeless wisdom for today’s market conditions… The greatest investment advisor of the twentieth century, Benjamin Graham, taught and inspired people worldwide. Graham’s philosophy of “value investing” — which shields investors from substantial error and teaches them to develop long-term strategies — has made The Intelligent Investor the stock market bible ever since its original publication in 1949.

Over the years, market developments have proven the wisdom of Graham’s strategies. While preserving the integrity of Graham’s original text, this revised edition includes updated commentary by noted financial journalist Jason Zweig, whose perspective incorporates the realities of today’s market, draws parallels between Graham’s examples and today’s financial headlines, and gives readers a more thorough understanding of how to apply Graham’s principles.

Vital and indispensable, this HarperBusiness Essentials edition of The Intelligent Investor is the most important book you will ever read on how to reach your financial goals.



#2 – Encyclopedia of Chart Patterns

In this revised and expanded second edition of the bestselling Encyclopedia of Chart Patterns, Thomas Bulkowski updates the classic with new performance statistics for both bull and bear markets and 23 new patterns, including a second section devoted to ten event patterns. Bulkowski tells you how to trade the significant events — such as quarterly earnings announcements, retail sales, stock upgrades and downgrades — that shape today?s trading and uses statistics to back up his approach. This comprehensive new edition is a must-have reference if you’re a technical investor or trader. Place your order today.
“The most complete reference to chart patterns available. It goes where no one has gone before. Bulkowski gives hard data on how good and bad the patterns are. A must-read for anyone that’s ever looked at a chart and wondered what was happening.”
— Larry Williams, trader and author of Long-Term Secrets to Short-Term Trading.



#3 – How to Make Money in Stocks

Anyone can learn to invest wisely with this bestselling investment system!… Through every type of market, William J. O’Neil’s national bestseller, How to Make Money in Stocks, has shown over 2 million investors the secrets to building wealth. O’Neil’s powerful CAN SLIM® Investing System―a proven 7-step process for minimizing risk and maximizing gains―has influenced generations of investors.

Based on a major study of market winners from 1880 to 2009, this expanded edition gives you:

>Proven techniques for finding winning stocks before they make big price gains
>Tips on picking the best stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs to maximize your gains
>100 new charts to help you spot today’s most profitable trends
>PLUS strategies to help you avoid the 21 most common investor mistakes!

“I dedicated the 2004 Stock Trader’s Almanac to Bill O’Neil: ‘His foresight, innovation, and disciplined approach to stock market investing will influence investors and traders for generations to come.’”
―Yale Hirsch, publisher and editor, Stock Trader’s Almanac and author of Let’s Change the World Inc.

“Investor’s Business Daily has provided a quarter-century of great financial journalism and investing strategies.”
―David Callaway, editor-in-chief, MarketWatch

“How to Make Money in Stocks is a classic. Any investor serious about making money in the market ought to read it.”
―Larry Kudlow, host, CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report”.





Amazon Says It Will Create 15,000 Jobs In Bellevue

StockMarketNews.TodayAmazon said it expects to bring the 15,000 jobs to Bellevue over the next few years. More than 2,000 employees currently work in Bellevue, and the company has about 700 job openings in the city.

The company opened its first office building in Bellevue in 2017. The city is also where Amazon got its start. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos founded the company in 1994 out of a 1,540-square-foot house in West Bellevue.

Amazon, which is headquartered in nearby Seattle, has continued to expand there despite rising tensions with local officials. Last month, the Seattle City Council council passed a bill that establishes new restrictions on corporate donations in local elections, which serves as a blow to Amazon, after it donated a record $1.5 million into Seattle’s city council races in 2019. Additionally, Seattle city council member Kshama Sawant has recently reignited efforts to enact a “head tax” on the city’s largest companies, such as Amazon, with the goal of using it to fight Seattle’s housing crisis.

The company has been growing its overall headcount and footprint. In its annual filing submitted last week, Amazon disclosed that it now has 798,000 workers across the globe, which is a 23% increase from the year-ago period. On the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said some of the hires were delivery workers, as it builds out one-day and same-day delivery for Prime subscribers.

Amazon is also growing in New York, where it recently signed a deal to lease more than 335,000 square feet of office space in Hudson Yards and expects to hire more than 1,500 employees. The move comes after Amazon abandoned its efforts to build a second headquarters in New York’s Long Island City neighborhood.

The company is also building out operations in northern Virginia, where it’s building its second headquarters, dubbed HQ2. So far, Amazon has hired 400 employees to work out of leased offices in Crystal City, Virginia. It also plans to bring 5,000 jobs to Nashville, Tennessee, where it expects to build two towers.







◊ How To Make Money Online◊


Internet offers many opportunities to make a lot of money. Whether you’re looking to make some fast cash, or you’re after long-term, more sustainable income-producing results, there are certainly ways you can make money online today. The truth is that making money online isn’t as difficsult as most make it out to seem.

 

However, if you’re looking for realistic ways to make money now, then it really truly does boil down to 11 paths you can take towards profit. Some will provide you with immediate results, helping you to address your basic monthly necessities, while others have the potential to transform your life by revolutionizing your finances in the long term…

 



1. Make Money as a Life Coach

LIFE

Money Invested: $45 | Time Invested: 110 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $879

How To Make Money as Life Coach: Life coaching is the process of helping people identify and achieve personal goals through developing skills and attitudes that lead to self-empowerment. Life coaching general deals with issues such as work-life balance and career changes, and often occurs outside the workplace setting. Learn More …



2.  Make Money With Affiliate Programs

Affiliate

Money Invested: $1,300 | Time Invested: 72 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $7,742

How To Make Money In Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make. Learn More …



3. Make Extra Money Online Simply By Sharing Your Opinions

opinion

Money Invested: $1 | Time Invested: 46 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $329

How To Make Money by Sharing Your Opinion: A Review ( Opinion ) is an evaluation of a publication, service, or company such as a movie, video game, musical composition, book; a piece of hardware like a car, home appliance, or computer; or an event or performance, such as a live music concert, play, musical theater show, dance show, or art exhibition. Learn More …



4. Make Money With an Online Drop Shipping Business

drop

Money Invested: $75 | Time Invested: 144 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $1,915

How To Make Money With an Online Drop Shipping Business: Drop shipping is a business model where you send your customers’ orders to a manufacturer or wholesaler, and they send the products directly to your customer. Learn More …



5. Write an Ebook and sell it on Amazon

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Money Invested: $55 | Time Invested: 108 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $973

How to Make Money Selling Ebooks Online: Do you want to learn how to make an ebook from beginning to end?… Writing ebooks is one of the easiest way to earn money. You work on your own time, and when you finish the book – you will make money from it over and over again…for a very long time!. Learn More …



6. Make Money on Twitter

Twitt22

Money Invested: $25 | Time Invested: 52 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $494

How to Make Money on Twitter: Twitter is an American online microblogging and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as “tweets”. Selling advertising, sponsored links, and affiliate marketing. Here are a few programs that can help you make money on Twitter. Learn More …



7. Make Money Buying And Selling Domain Names

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Money Invested: $55 | Time Invested: 110 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $1,514

How To Make Money Selling Domain Names: Domain name is like a land on the Web. You can use domains in a variety of ways to make money. Domains increase value over time, especially if they have some commercial value. You can buy a domain name at low price and then sell it high priceLearn More …



8. Make Money In The Stock Market – ( Day Trading )

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Money Invested: $300 | Time Invested: 72 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $3,177

How To Make Money in Stock Trading: Investing in the stock market can be a great way to have your money make money… Stock trading is not a risk-free activity, and some losses are inevitable. However, with substantial research and investments in the right companies, stock trading can potentially be very profitable. Learn More …


9. Make Money With Your Photos

makemoneyphotos

Money Invested: $1 | Time Invested: 74 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $374

How To Earn Money Selling Photos Online: Who wouldn’t want to earn money by selling their photos online? … Did you know thousands of photographers are making hundreds even thousands of dollars every day just by selling their photos online?… In fact every month millions of photos are bought online which is used for websites, magazines, blogs, print ads, marketing materials and many more. Learn More …



10. Earn Money With YouTube

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Money Invested: $1 | Time Invested: 60 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $245

How To Make Money on Youtube: You’ve probably heard stories about regular people earning money on YouTube and thought, “Hey, I can do this too!”. Earning with YouTube is easy, but making big money with the platform can be a challenge. Learn More …



11. Make Money Testing Apps

55Apps

Money Invested: $20 | Time Invested: 44 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $197

How To Make Money Testing Apps: Testing Apps is a great way to earn extra money but it won’t make you rich. The number of opportunities you receive will depend on a number of factors, such as your demographics and your quality rating. Learn More …





Funding Opportunities Available for All United States Citizens


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Ferrari Tempers 2020 Expectations With Cautious Upgrade

Today’s Stock Market News — Demand for Ferrari’s Portofino and 812 Superfast models helped the Italian supercar maker hit profit targets for last year though it only a provided cautious upgrade to its outlook for 2020.

Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) said it planned to boost adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to 1.38 billion-1.43 billion euros this year above a previous target 1.3 billion euros given in 2018, disappointing some.

Ferrari shares were 1.4% lower at on the Milan stock exchange by 1335 GMT at 152.1 euros, though that was still near a record high of 158.7 euros hit less than two weeks ago.

Morgan Stanley analysts said the outlook was slightly below market expectations though they did not expect a material reaction in the share price, which has been riding high.

Ferrari shares have more than trebled since it listed in 2016 as the brand famed for its racing pedigree clocked up a string of strong results and boosted its profit margins to above 30%, a return most carmakers only dream of.

Rival Aston Martin, for example, has a margin below 7% while Porsche, which is owned by Germany’s Volkswagen (DE:VOWG_p), as an operating margin of about 17%.

Ferrari – which is controlled by Italy’s Agnelli family through Exor – said adjusted EBITDA rose 22% in the last quarter of 2019 to 333 million euros ($368 million), just missing a forecast of 340 million in a Reuters poll.

Net revenues rose 10% in the fourth quarter to 927 million euros.

Deliveries to Europe, Middle East and Africa – by far its biggest market – jumped 29%, more than offsetting a 25% drop in the Americas and a slump of 65% in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, which accounts for about 8% of revenue.

Its fourth quarter results left 2019 profit at 1.269 billion euros, in line with an estimate of about 1.27 billion the company gave in November. Its adjusted core profit margin came in at 33.7% versus a target of 34%.

After releasing a record five new models last year – including the F90 Stradale, the Prancing Horse’s first mass production hybrid – Ferrari is set to slow the roll-out of new cars in the coming years.

Ferrari had said it planned to launch 15 models between 2019 and 2022, while achieving a significant increase in their average retail price.

In a bid to extract even more growth, Ferrari last year launched a plan to enhance its brand through new clothing and accessory collections, entertainment offers, and other luxury products and services for clients.

The strategy includes a manufacturing agreement with Italian fashion house Giorgio Armani and the opening of a restaurant with Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura in the group’s hometown of Maranello in northern Italy in late 2022.





Goldman Sachs Estimates Modest Hit To 2020 Global Growth From Coronavirus

Today’s Stock Market News — Goldman Sachs says 2020 global growth will take a modest hit from the outbreak of coronavirus, assuming an aggressive response from authorities in China and elsewhere to bring the rate of new infections down sharply by the end of the first quarter.

Annual-average global GDP growth in 2020 will be downgraded by 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points, the bank estimated.




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Best Stock Market Sectors For 2020


StockMarketNews.Today — After another big year for the stock market and the U.S. economy in 2019, investors are looking ahead to 2020 to determine which sectors will lead the next phase of the decade-long bull market. The technology sector has once again been the top-performing sector in 2019, while energy lagged behind the field. In 2020, analysts see more room for upside ahead in select market sectors.

Top-Performing Market Sectors of 2020.  ( By Savita Subramanian )

Financials
The Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) exchange-traded fund gained 29.8% in 2019, and Subramanian is anticipating another big year from the sector in 2020. Subramanian says the sector is much less credit-sensitive in 2020 than it was during the financial crisis and has seemingly gotten little recognition in the market for dramatic improvements in quality and cash returns.

Despite the sector’s relatively high quality and yield, the financial sector trades at the steepest forward earnings multiple discount to the S&P 500 of any sector.

Bank of America has an “overweight” rating for the financial sector.

Industrials
Even after the Industrial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLI) gained 26.6% in 2019, Subramanian says the industrial sector trades at a recession-level earnings multiple.

She says industrials could re-rate to a higher valuation in 2020 if the economy remains strong, trade risks ease, capital expenditures ramp and the Institute of Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers Index bottoms. In addition, the climate of elevated geopolitical tensions with China, the Middle East and other regions should support the U.S. defense budget in the near term, a positive backdrop for industrials.

Bank of America has an “overweight” rating for the industrial sector.

Technology
The Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) gained 45.3% in 2019, beating all other market sectors by more than 15%.

In a technology-driven world, Subramanian says the tech sector will once again be a solid performer in 2020. However, after such a strong run in 2019, Subramanian says its prudent for investors to dial back their exposure and keep expectations realistic in 2020. If the recent rotation to value stocks carries over into next year, she says high-flying software stocks could be hit especially hard.

Bank of America has a “market-weight” rating for the technology sector.

Communication Services
Three of the top holdings in the Communication Services SPDR ETF (XLC) are “FANG” stocks Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), Facebook (FB) and Netflix (NFLX).

Subramanian says the FANG group will likely continue to face regulatory scrutiny related to user data in 2020, but likely not as much as in 2019. At the same time, the 2020 U.S. election should provide a shot in the arm for both online and traditional advertising. Subramanian says the sector offers investors both yield and growth, a rare combination in today’s market.

Bank of America has a “market-weight” rating for the communication services sector.

Health Care
The health care sector is currently trading at about an 11% forward earnings multiple discount to the overall S&P 500, well below its historical 11% premium.

Subramanian says the sector has both a compelling valuation and impressive fundamentals. Unfortunately, health care stocks did not fare well during the last election season in 2015 and 2016 due to policy uncertainty. Subramanian says election-related headline risks will be elevated in 2020, but passage of disruptive policies such as Medicare for All appears to be unlikely.

Regardless, Bank of America has a “market-weight” rating for the health care sector.

Energy
After another year of underperformance in 2019, the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) is now down 20.1% overall over the past five years.

Fortunately, Subramanian says the extended weakness has created deep value in the space heading into 2020. In addition, she says exploration and production companies are focusing more on cash flow and shareholder returns than production growth. Stock selection within the sector is growing increasingly important given younger investors’ preference for companies with environmental, social and governance (ESG) awareness.

Bank of America has a “market-weight” rating for the energy sector.

Utilities
The Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU) gained 21.6% in 2019. Subramanian says utility stocks provide a great source of yield for investors, and the predictability of utility earnings make the sector relatively immune to macroeconomic instability.

The sector’s current dividend payout ratio is roughly in line with its historical average, suggesting payouts are sustainable but yield upside is limited. Unfortunately, the sector’s relative valuation compared to the overall S&P 500 is about 20% higher than its historical average, potentially capping valuation upside.

Bank of America has an “overweight” rating for the utilities sector.










 

Goldman Sachs Estimates Modest Hit To 2020 Global Growth From Coronavirus

Today’s Stock Market News — Goldman Sachs says 2020 global growth will take a modest hit from the outbreak of coronavirus, assuming an aggressive response from authorities in China and elsewhere to bring the rate of new infections down sharply by the end of the first quarter.

Annual-average global GDP growth in 2020 will be downgraded by 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points, the bank estimated.




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Best Stock Market Sectors For 2020


After another big year for the stock market and the U.S. economy in 2019, investors are looking ahead to 2020 to determine which sectors will lead the next phase of the decade-long bull market. The technology sector has once again been the top-performing sector in 2019, while energy lagged behind the field. In 2020, analysts see more room for upside ahead in select market sectors.

Top-Performing Market Sectors of 2020.  ( By Savita Subramanian )

Financials
The Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) exchange-traded fund gained 29.8% in 2019, and Subramanian is anticipating another big year from the sector in 2020. Subramanian says the sector is much less credit-sensitive in 2020 than it was during the financial crisis and has seemingly gotten little recognition in the market for dramatic improvements in quality and cash returns.

Despite the sector’s relatively high quality and yield, the financial sector trades at the steepest forward earnings multiple discount to the S&P 500 of any sector.

Bank of America has an “overweight” rating for the financial sector.

Industrials
Even after the Industrial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLI) gained 26.6% in 2019, Subramanian says the industrial sector trades at a recession-level earnings multiple.

She says industrials could re-rate to a higher valuation in 2020 if the economy remains strong, trade risks ease, capital expenditures ramp and the Institute of Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers Index bottoms. In addition, the climate of elevated geopolitical tensions with China, the Middle East and other regions should support the U.S. defense budget in the near term, a positive backdrop for industrials.

Bank of America has an “overweight” rating for the industrial sector.

Technology
The Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) gained 45.3% in 2019, beating all other market sectors by more than 15%.

In a technology-driven world, Subramanian says the tech sector will once again be a solid performer in 2020. However, after such a strong run in 2019, Subramanian says its prudent for investors to dial back their exposure and keep expectations realistic in 2020. If the recent rotation to value stocks carries over into next year, she says high-flying software stocks could be hit especially hard.

Bank of America has a “market-weight” rating for the technology sector.

Communication Services
Three of the top holdings in the Communication Services SPDR ETF (XLC) are “FANG” stocks Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), Facebook (FB) and Netflix (NFLX).

Subramanian says the FANG group will likely continue to face regulatory scrutiny related to user data in 2020, but likely not as much as in 2019. At the same time, the 2020 U.S. election should provide a shot in the arm for both online and traditional advertising. Subramanian says the sector offers investors both yield and growth, a rare combination in today’s market.

Bank of America has a “market-weight” rating for the communication services sector.

Health Care
The health care sector is currently trading at about an 11% forward earnings multiple discount to the overall S&P 500, well below its historical 11% premium.

Subramanian says the sector has both a compelling valuation and impressive fundamentals. Unfortunately, health care stocks did not fare well during the last election season in 2015 and 2016 due to policy uncertainty. Subramanian says election-related headline risks will be elevated in 2020, but passage of disruptive policies such as Medicare for All appears to be unlikely.

Regardless, Bank of America has a “market-weight” rating for the health care sector.

Energy
After another year of underperformance in 2019, the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) is now down 20.1% overall over the past five years.

Fortunately, Subramanian says the extended weakness has created deep value in the space heading into 2020. In addition, she says exploration and production companies are focusing more on cash flow and shareholder returns than production growth. Stock selection within the sector is growing increasingly important given younger investors’ preference for companies with environmental, social and governance (ESG) awareness.

Bank of America has a “market-weight” rating for the energy sector.

Utilities
The Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU) gained 21.6% in 2019. Subramanian says utility stocks provide a great source of yield for investors, and the predictability of utility earnings make the sector relatively immune to macroeconomic instability.

The sector’s current dividend payout ratio is roughly in line with its historical average, suggesting payouts are sustainable but yield upside is limited. Unfortunately, the sector’s relative valuation compared to the overall S&P 500 is about 20% higher than its historical average, potentially capping valuation upside.

Bank of America has an “overweight” rating for the utilities sector.










 

Stock Market: Microsoft Earnings Preview


♦Microsoft Earnings Preview♦


Stock Market —- Microsoft Stock Forecast 2020

* Reports Q2, 2020 results on Wednesday Jan. 29, after the market close

* Revenue Expectation: $35.67 billion

* EPS Expectation: $1.32

When Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) releases its latest quarterly earnings today, it will provide investors with confidence that one of the bull market’s dominant bets remains intact.

Following a massive transformation under its Chief Executive Satya Nadella, Microsoft has become one of the most powerful players in the fast-growing cloud-computing market, commanding the segment’s second largest market share, with only Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) ahead.

More than five years ago, Nadella began to diversify Microsoft’s revenue away from its traditional growth engines — Windows and Office — by investing heavily in data centers and other infrastructure to help corporate customers run applications and store their data.

The growth in this market continues unabated for Microsoft, powering its operating income. For the quarter that ended on Dec. 31, analysts’ consensus forecast expects that Microsoft will produce about 10% growth in sales, while profit should surge by 20% to $1.32 a share.

Revenue from the company’s Azure cloud services rose 59% in the previous period, while sales of the subscription-based Office 365 for corporate customers, Microsoft’s other major cloud business, jumped 25%. Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud segment now comprises more than 30% of the company’s overall revenue base.

We believe this strength will once again be on display as the company continues to win both large and small clients. In October, the Pentagon awarded Microsoft the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, contract that could be worth up to $10 billion over the next decade.

Large Cloud Deals Keep Coming
Microsoft’s win for this large government work shows that how quickly the Redmond, Washington-based company is capturing market share, posing a serious threat to Amazon’s dominance.

The latest deal comes after many large brands signed agreements to use Microsoft’s Azure cloud software, including grocer Kroger Company (NYSE:KR), AT&T Inc (NYSE:T), Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) and oil giant Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM).

These contracts provided most of the fuel for the powerful rally in Microsoft shares in the past year, setting it apart from other large-cap legacy tech companies, such as International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM).

Microsoft shares—which closed yesterday at $165.46—are up more than 50% in the past year. This leap has pushed the company’s market value to $1.26 trillion, making it one of the world’s most valuable corporations.

The big question for investors now is how far can this rally go? At almost 31 times forward earnings, Microsoft’s shares are selling at a premium when compared to many top tech stocks. They also carry the highest multiple the stock has commanded in more than 15 years.

In our view, the factors that supported Microsoft shares over the past 12 months are still very much in play. The cloud computing market is expected to grow from $285 billion in 2017 to $411 billion by 2020. That segment alone is big enough to drive the company’s revenue growth for the next three to four years, according to Microsoft executives.

Coupled with cloud momentum, the tech giant is also benefiting from strong PC sales. Fourth-quarter sales of personal computers were the best the industry has seen in years, according to data released last week by market research firms IDC and Gartner.

Bottom Line

As investors fret about the global economic outlook and the longevity of this bull cycle, Microsoft’s fundamentals make it a safe bet in the tech space. We believe Microsoft’s earnings momentum will continue as it expands its market share in the cloud computing segment while maintaining its leading position in legacy software products such as Windows and Office.

This durable advantage will help the company achieve sustained, double-digit growth in revenue, earnings per share and free cash flow, making it a reliable tech stock to own over the long term.


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Microsoft Stock Forecast 2020


Stock Market: Economic Calendar – Top 5 Things to Watch This Week



Stock Market — Here’s what you need to know to start your week.


Coronavirus outbreak
Market participants are keeping a wary eye on developments surrounding the coronavirus outbreak which has infected more than 2,000 people, the vast majority in China where 56 people have died. The virus has also spread to the U.S., Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Australia, France and Canada.

With stocks close to all-time highs investors are fearful that the newly identified virus could develop into something worse, like the 2003 SARS epidemic.

“Markets hate uncertainty and the virus has been enough to inject uncertainty in the markets,” said David Carter, chief investment officer at Lenox Wealth Advisors in New York.

The World Health Organization has stopped short of calling the outbreak a global health emergency, but some health experts question whether China can continue to contain the epidemic.

More FAANG results
While last week’s Q4 earnings from Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) underwhelmed Wall Street, analyst hopes are still high for the other FAANGs – Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) – ahead of their financial results for the quarter.

The FAANG group of U.S. tech stocks have been the biggest drivers of the bull market, with recent gains among most of the group far outstripping the broader market.

Facebook is expected to post earnings growth of 6.2% when it reports on Wednesday, while Apple earnings, due a day earlier, are forecast to have grown 8.7%. Amazon has warned that increased investment in its package delivery business in the last quarter will weigh on earnings, but it sees quarterly revenues up 18.7% when it reports on Thursday.

In comparison, the S&P 500’s fourth-quarter earnings are expected to decline 0.8% and revenue is seen rising 4.4%, according the latest estimates compiled by Refinitiv.

Fed meeting
The Fed will almost certainly keep monetary policy on hold on Wednesday as policymakers continue to assess how the three rate cuts from 2019 are percolating through the economy.

“With no new forecasts being released at this meeting it will be the tone of Jerome Powell’s press conference and the actual vote that is likely to be of most interest for markets,” said James Knightley, chief international economist at ING.

“We would also expect to hear Jerome Powell retaining his cautiously upbeat language, particularly given the positive conclusion to U.S.-China trade talks. He is likely to reiterate that we will need to see a “material change” for the Fed to consider a policy shift.”

Bank of England meeting
The BoE is to deliver its final monetary policy decision before Britain exits the EU on Jan 31 on Thursday and the meeting will be Mark Carney’s last as central bank governor.

The question is whether the BoE will join central bank peers in cutting interest rates. Economic growth and inflation took a hit from three-and-a-half years of Brexit uncertainty so a recent string of dismal data and comments by BoE officials, including Carney, that more economic stimulus might be needed saw rate cut expectations surge.

But economic data last week pointed to a post-election boost, leading markets to pare back expectations for a cut.

The future path of the British pound, currently trading at around $1.31, in the middle of its trading range so far in 2020 – hangs on the BoE’s decision and forecasts for whether the economy will find more momentum after Brexit.

GDP figures
The U.S. is to release advance fourth quarter GDP figures on Thursday, with analysts forecasting growth of 2.1%. U.S. President Donald Trump might repeat his argument that if it were not for Fed policy tightening, growth would be closer to 4%.

The Euro Zone is to release GDP data on Friday, which is forecast to show the economy expanded 0.2% from the previous three months, backing up the European Central Bank’s view of “ongoing, but moderate growth.”




⇑⇓ Today’s Stock Market Quotes ⇓⇑




Stock Market: This May Be The Most Important Week So Far In 2020



Stock Market — The week ahead is arguably the most important here at the start of 2020. The Federal Reserve and the Bank of England meet. The U.S. and the eurozone report initial estimates of Q4 19 GDP. The eurozone also reports its preliminary estimate of January CPI. China returns from the extended Lunar New Year celebration and reports its official PMI. Japan will report December retail sales and industrial production. These data points will provide insight into the state of the recovery from the October sales tax and typhoon.

Fears of the spread of a new virus from China and the potential economic impact weighed on risk-taking appetites last week. It is still early days, but the contagion rate appears to be tracking something close to SARS, which ended up slashing Chinese growth by two percentage points. China and Hong Kong equity markets were hit the hardest (3%+), the S&P 500’s decline of a little more than 1%, was only the fourth weekly loss but the largest since the end of Q3 ’19.

China reports the newest PMI readings on January 30. The impact of the coronavirus may not be picked up entirely in the data, which will not offer a clean read on the economy due to the Lunar New Year. To the extent that the virus impact is detected, it will likely hit services harder that manufactured goods in the first instance. That said, January manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMI are expected to have softened a little (50.2 and 53.5, respectively in December). The risk is that the economic disruption will offset the stimulus recently provided. The magnitude of the commitment to buy U.S. goods was already a stretch, according to some estimates, and weaker Chinese growth could provide another hurdle.

It has been widely reported that China committed to buying $200 bln more U.S. goods than the $128 bln purchased in 2017, the last year before the tariffs. However, last year, the U.S. exports to China were about $98 bln. So, compared with 2019, China has committed to buying $230 bln more U.S. goods. China will likely import a bit more than $2 trillion of goods and services this year. The political agreement appears to secure for the U.S. a little more than 15% of that market.

With a press conference after every FOMC meeting, and given Powell’s perceived communication challenges, it is difficult to say that the January 29 meeting is a non-event. Still, for all practical purposes, it is. There is scope for a small technical adjustment. The Fed pays 1.55% interest on both required and excess reserves. It could raise this by five basis points to ensure the fed funds rate remains within the 1.50%-1.75% target range. Many who think the Fed’s bill buying and repo operations represent an easing of monetary policy (as in QE), may argue that the Fed is tightening. However, most will likely conclude that it would be a technical adjustment and not a change in monetary policy proper.

The forecasts will not be updated until March, and the economy has not materially deviated from Fed expectations. Last year, some media reports played up the two persistent dissents against the series of rate cuts and argued Powell was losing control. However, this does not seem to be the case, and indeed a clear consensus has emerged. At the December meeting, 14 of the 17 officials thought no rate change would be needed this year.

Near-term downside risks have lessened. The U.S.-China trade deal may not deserve the embellished official descriptions, but an escalation in the coming months seems less likely than even a couple of months ago. The UK will leave the EU at the end of January for an 11-month standstill arrangement where nothing changes while a new trade deal is negotiated. The risk of a disruptive no-deal exit at the end of the year remains, but it is not yet pressing. Nevertheless, the implied yield of the December 2020 fed funds futures contract is near 1.30% compared with the current average of 1.55%, suggesting a 25 bp Fed cut has been discounted.

The Bank of England is a different story. Two members of the Monetary Policy Committee have dissented at the past couple of meetings in favor of an immediate rate cut. Two other members have indicated if the data did not improve, they too could support a rate reduction. BOE Governor Carney also sounded more dovish in recent comments. The January 30 BOE meeting will be the last Carney chairs. Andrew Baily will take the reins before the next meeting on March 26.

The official comments and the disappointing economic data has spurred a shift in market expectations. On January 10, the derivatives market implied a little less than a one-in-four chance of a rate cut on January 30. By January 17, the odds jumped to almost three-in-four. But sentiment swung back last week, and the odds narrowed to a little less than 50/50. It is a close call, and on balance, the resilience of the labor market, the recovery in business confidence, and the uptick in the PMI may keep the BOE on hold a bit longer. If this is indeed the case, sterling may pop higher, though ideas that lower rates can still be delivered later in H1 may limit the upside.

Quarterly GDP numbers often grab the headline, but for many investors, the report is a culmination of other high-frequency data with some variance. Moreover, GDP data is backward-looking. It is then more a favorite of economists than market participants. That said, the mixed signals of the U.S. economy make this GDP call particularly tricky, and the first estimate is subject to statistically significant revisions, often stemming from trade and inventories. The NY Fed’s GDP tracker (as of January 17) pointed to a sub-par 1.2% annualized pace. The Atlanta Fed’s model pointed to a 1.8% pace. The Bloomberg survey has a median forecast of 2.1%.

The composition of U.S. growth may have also changed. Consumption may have slowed from the 3.2% annualized pace in Q3. Residential investment appears to have risen, and trade also may have made a net positive contribution. The headline and core deflator are likely to be mostly steady. The Federal Reserve will look through just about any weakness in Q4 GDP and will make allowances for the production cuts at Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) in Q1 20. The case of a rate cut is based on ideas that record-long U.S. expansion is fragile and will have increasing difficulty coping with shocks. The lack of pick-up in early Q2 will leave the Fed with the same choice as last year. With price pressures subdued, another insurance policy can be taken out to boost the chances that the expansion can be extended.

Eurozone Q4 GDP seems easier to forecast. Growth has been relatively steady, with quarterly growth averaging about 0.3% for the past four quarters and 0.2% for the previous two. The year-over-year pace has been about 1.2% over the same period. It may not be very inspiring, but it is steady, and growth potential is probably only a little higher at around 1.5% or so. Market participants appear to be more confident that the ECB is on hold for the duration that it is of the Fed. The market sees only about a one-in-five chance of a rate cut by the ECB this year.

Perhaps the most challenging data point for investors to make sense of will be the initial estimate of the eurozone’s January consumer inflation. Prices fall in January. Last January, prices fell by 1%. That means that if prices fell by 0.9% this month, as economists forecast, the year-over-year rate will tick up. Indeed, the year-over-year rate is expected to rise to 1.4%. It would be the highest since last April. This is one reason why claims of Japanification of Europe are too simplistic: European inflation is nearly twice that of Japan’s. However, while we anticipate a base-effect rise in European CPI, the comparisons are not as friendly, and the true signal, as likely to be reflected in the core rate that may ease to 1.2% after being stuck at 1.3% in November and December.

Lastly, we turn to Japan. The issue at hand is how quickly it can rebound from the controversial sales tax increase and the typhoons. The most direct report will be retail sales. Recall the sequence of events. Anticipating the tax increase in October, consumers brought forward purchases, and August retail sales rose by 4.6% and then 7.2%, before plummeting 14.2% in October. They snapped back 4.5% in November and probably a little more than 1% in December.

Industrial output fell by 4.5% in October and another 1% in November. A small rise of around 0.7% is expected in December. Yet, in terms of the yen, these macro considerations seem to be of secondary importance. The heightened anxiety over the new coronavirus expressed through the sale of risk-off assets, and the unwinding of carry-trades and those speculators knowingly or unknowingly riding this wave is the primary driver now as the dollar’s advance was stalling around JPY110.25.

The coronavirus is an economic and financial shock. The extent of that shock still needs to be assessed but it could provide the spark for an arguably long-overdue adjustment in the capital markets. Investors may be risk-averse until there is greater transparency about the contagion rate and health risks. It is humbling to appreciate that despite the advances in science and medicine, some 80k Americans died in 2017-2018 from influenza, the highest toll in 40 years. The World Health Organization estimates that the annual flu epidemic kills between around 250k-500k people globally each year.



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◊ Plus500 Review 2020 ◊


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Best Online Trading Platform For Beginners And Professional Traders. Shares, Indices, Forex and Cryptocurrencies. Start Trading Now or Try a FREE Demo Account.


Plus500 is a streamlined broker that focuses on trading in a wide range of financial markets with relatively low spreads and no commissions but without offering many extra services. Plus500 has been in the forex and CFD business since 2008. They are registered in the U.K. and licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The company offers access to a comprehensive product line including forex, stock indexes, equities, commoditiescryptocurrencies, ETFs and options. Plus500 is the first broker to introduce a bitcoin CFD in 2013. The company does not charge commissions on any of its trades.

All costs are contained within the spread for each of more than 2,000 trading instruments offered on Plus500’s WebTrader platformPlus500 Ltd. (PLUS.L) is a publicly traded company on the AIM section of the London Stock Exchange since 2013 with a £1.73 billion ($2.25 billion) market capitalization and clients in more than 50 countries around the world. Plus500 offers access to more than 2,000 trading instruments.


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Trust … the company is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), CySEC, ASIC, FSCA, FMA, MAS, and the ISA, which provides good accountability and visibility. The company is required to take steps to ensure client funds are not comingled with corporate funds – ensuring that client money and assets are protected in the unlikely event that Plus500 becomes insolvent – by holding those funds in segregated accounts at regulated banks.

If Plus500 defaults, any shortfall of funds of up to £50,000 may be compensated for under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). If the custodian bank holding client funds goes into liquidation, any shortfall of funds of up to £85,000 may be compensated for under the FSCS.

Plus500 also offers Negative Balance Protection, ensuring that clients cannot lose more than they have put into their account. Guaranteed stop losses can be used on some instruments depending on market conditions but they are subject to a wider spread.

The company does not charge commissions on any of its trades. All costs are contained within the spread for each of more than 2,000 trading instruments offered on Plus500’s WebTrader platform. Large volume traders do not get a trading discount at Plus500 and the spread is the same whether you trade one lot or 1,000 lots.


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There are no charges for normal withdrawals or terminating an account. However, inactivity fees kick in after an account has been idle for three months. Beginning traders can open an account with as little as £100.

Traders can qualify for a “professional” account, which offers a higher level of maximum leverage, but the costs are the same. Investors with a professional account may increase their maximum leverage ten-fold, from 1:30 to 1:300.Spreads at Plus500 were some of the lowest in the market.

Plus500 also offers access to options trading on many markets. These are very similar to plain call and put options traded on exchanges, but they are not standardized which means that the option premium can be customized for your risk tolerance and strategy objectives.


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Trading News: 3 Things Under the Radar This Week


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Trading News — There’s an ominous technical indicator hovering over the U.S. dollar, which could mean a move away from the greenback. But don’t go looking for value in bitcoin, according to one fund manager speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week. Meanwhile, as lower interest rates have been a boon to equities, the run of ever-cheaper money may finally be coming to an end, according to one investment bank.



Here are three things that flew under the radar this week.

1. Dollar Hits the Death Cross

While markets were captivated this week on fundamentals, with some calling the Wuhan coronavirus a possible Black Swan, technicals weren’t overlooked.

The U.S. dollar could be in the crosshairs of the infamous death cross. The death cross happens when a 50-day moving average goes below the 200-day moving average, which happened on the last day of 2019, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

When that’s been triggered in the past, the dollar has gone down seven out of eight times since 1980, Merrill said.

Adding to concerns is the fundamental backdrop of a global economy that may not need the safety of the greenback as much as it used to.

“The global economy looks like it’s healing,” TD Securities Mark McCormick said. “The reduction of uncertainty will likely allow investors to take risks … they didn’t want to take before.”

Momtchil Pojarliev, head of currencies at BNP Asset Management, is betting the dollar will fall against the euro, Japanese yen and Australian dollar as growth in those countries accelerates and their central banks raise interest rates while the Federal Reserve keeps them steady. That should narrow the gap in yields that has buoyed the U.S. currency.

2. Ray Dalio Debunks Bitcoin’s Diversification Powers

Bitcoin has been hailed in some corners as the holy grail of uncorrelated diversification assets, but famed fund manager Raymond Dalio warned earlier this week that bitcoin has no place in the real of world of investing.

With interest rates looking lower for longer and rendering cash almost useless, Dalio pushed back at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland against claims that bitcoin has a place in a diversified portfolio, pointing to the popular cryptocurrency’s lack of intrinsic value and wild swings.

“There’re two purposes of money: a medium of exchange and a store hold of wealth,” he said. “And Bitcoin is not effective in either of those cases now … It’s too volatile. Because of the volatility, you can’t go next to it.”

While there would be many who share Dalio’s view that bitcoin currently lacks the credentials to be taken seriously as a form payment, some of the most important central bankers have conceded that bitcoin has a role to play in a diversified portfolio.

“Really almost no one uses bitcoin for payments, they use it as an alternative to gold. It’s a store of value, a speculative store of value, like gold,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in the summer of last year.

“Bitcoin’s consistent statistically uncorrelated nature provides an excellent source of diversification within a portfolio,” Blockhead Capital said, citing its study that measured the correlation of bitcoin’s price performance to several other assets or indices.

3. Easing Is Ending?

The main case for central banks cutting rates is receding, making the case for more accommodative monetary policy from current levels harder to justify, according to J.P. Morgan. The argument for an economic mid-year rebound has strengthened, J.P. Morgan said in a note to clients this week.

“The easing cycle is … close to an end and central bankers can take comfort that their limited and unconventional toolbox proved effective in cushioning a substantial shock,” analyst Bruce Kasman and team said.

But the biggest challenge that major central banks will face is dealing with inflation.

“With the Fed having lost confidence in translating current growth and labor market outcomes to future inflation, core inflation will likely need to move above 2% before it considers reversing last year’s ease,” J.P. Morgan said. “In refraining from reversing last year’s mid-cycle adjustment until inflation rises, the Fed will break from its past pattern of removing insurance once it became convinced that the growth scare had passed.”

Unlike the Fed, which looks happy to overshoot on inflation, the Bank of Japan will likely be content to undershoot.

Meanwhile, the “(p)ersistently low inflation remains a prime concern” for the ECB, but “creeping financial stability concerns set the bar high for additional action.”





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Stock Market News: U.S. Stocks Fall After Second Coronavirus Case Emerges

Stock Market News — The S&P 500 erased early gains and fell 0.6 per cent around lunchtime in New York. The Nasdaq Composite, which had registered an intraday record high in morning trade, was down 0.5 per cent even as upbeat earnings from Intel — which surged to its highest level since September 2000 — lifted chipmakers. The Dow also lost 0.5 per cent.

The declines followed a rise in European stocks as investors appeared to brush off concerns over the market impact of coronavirus, while there were fresh signs of life in the German economy.

The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.9 per cent, down from session highs but snapping four days of losses as major bourses from London to Frankfurt climbed higher. The euro dipped, falling 0.2 per cent against the dollar, after survey data showed business activity in the eurozone remained unexpectedly weak in January.

Still, activity in Germany, the eurozone’s largest economy, beat expectations. That pushed the Dax 1.4 per cent higher for its best day in more than three months.

Investors had few cues from the Asian session, where Chinese markets were closed for the lunar new year holiday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.2 per cent in its half-day of trading, but has still lost nearly 4 per cent this week as concerns over the outbreak of virus have weighed on investor sentiment.

The World Health Organization on Thursday held back from declaring a global emergency over the outbreak, but said its panel was split “almost 50:50”.

Paul Donovan, a strategist at UBS, said structural changes to the nature of the global economy make it hard to draw a clear analysis from events so far.

“There may be a further shift to online retail sales, limiting the damage to the consumer,” he said. But, he added “the rise of fake news on social media may spread fear faster and wider.”

The outbreak has prompted S&P Global Ratings, the credit rating agency, to warn that if the situation worsened considerably the disease could knock 1.2 percentage points off China’s economic growth this year.

Sterling fell 0.4 per cent after upbeat UK PMI data failed to convince investors that the Bank of England will hold off cutting interest rates next week. The meeting is now on a knife-edge, with traders pricing in a 48 per cent chance of a rate cut to 0.5 per cent, prices in swaps markets show.

In the US, a majority of investors are betting the Federal Reserve will maintain its pause on interest rates after three cuts last year.




Stock Market: World Economy Going Through Longest Period of Falling Trade Since 2009

Stock Market — The downturn in global trade dragged on at the end of last year, marking the longest period of contraction since the end of the financial crisis.The volume of goods trade dropped 0.6 per cent in November compared to the previous month, and was down 1.1 per cent compared to the same month in 2018, according to a closely watched world trade monitor from the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB).

November marked the sixth consecutive month of year-on-year contraction, the longest period of falling trade since 2009 and a sharp reversal from the 3.4 per cent expansion in November 2018.

The rate of contraction slowed in November, however, down from a 2 per cent pace in October, which was the steepest fall in a decade.

The annual contraction in trade- which is the value of exports and imports adjusted for price changes — was geographically broad-based with the eurozone, emerging Asia, the US and Latin America all reporting falling trade volumes.

However, trade was up over the previous month in emerging Asia, while the downturn became more severe in the eurozone where trade volumes dropped 1.7 per cent compared to October.

The data confirm surveys released earlier this month that showed a deterioration in global trade running until the end of the year. The exports order component of the JPMorgan Global purchasing manager index remained in negative territory in November and December, although up from September’s reading.

“International trade remains the main drag on efforts to lift growth further, so any moves that reduce tensions and barriers on this front will be especially beneficial.” Olya Borichevska, from Global Economic Research at JPMorgan.

Economists expect trade data to improve in early 2020, reflecting the signing of the US-China phase one trade deal earlier this month, as well as improving conditions in emerging economies such as Turkey. But a strong recovery is not on the cards yet.

“We think a recovery in world trade will be very modest, despite the pause in US-China hostilities” said Adam Slater, chief economist at Oxford Economics.

“World trade growth at this pace is less than half its long-term average.”







Plus500 CFD Review { 2020 }


Plus500 Rewiew 2020 — Plus500 is an international financial firm providing online trading services in contracts for difference (CFDs), across more than 2,000 securities and multiple asset classes. The company is headquartered in Israel and has subsidiaries in UK, Cyprus, Australia, Singapore and Bulgaria.

Plus500 is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and the Israel Securities Authority (ISA). It is listed on the London Stock Exchange with the ticker “PLUS” and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.


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• Business & Financial News – Stock Market News Today •


Best Online Trading Platform For Beginners And Professional Traders. Shares, Indices, Forex and Cryptocurrencies. Start Trading Now or Try a FREE Demo Account.


Plus500 is a streamlined broker that focuses on trading in a wide range of financial markets with relatively low spreads and no commissions but without offering many extra services. Plus500 has been in the forex and CFD business since 2008. They are registered in the U.K. and licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The company offers access to a comprehensive product line including forex, stock indexes, equities, commoditiescryptocurrencies, ETFs and options. Plus500 is the first broker to introduce a bitcoin CFD in 2013. The company does not charge commissions on any of its trades.

All costs are contained within the spread for each of more than 2,000 trading instruments offered on Plus500’s WebTrader platformPlus500 Ltd. (PLUS.L) is a publicly traded company on the AIM section of the London Stock Exchange since 2013 with a £1.73 billion ($2.25 billion) market capitalization and clients in more than 50 countries around the world. Plus500 offers access to more than 2,000 trading instruments.


START TRADING NOW OR TRY A FREE DEMO ACCOUNT


Trust … the company is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), CySEC, ASIC, FSCA, FMA, MAS, and the ISA, which provides good accountability and visibility. The company is required to take steps to ensure client funds are not comingled with corporate funds – ensuring that client money and assets are protected in the unlikely event that Plus500 becomes insolvent – by holding those funds in segregated accounts at regulated banks.

If Plus500 defaults, any shortfall of funds of up to £50,000 may be compensated for under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). If the custodian bank holding client funds goes into liquidation, any shortfall of funds of up to £85,000 may be compensated for under the FSCS.


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Plus500 also offers Negative Balance Protection, ensuring that clients cannot lose more than they have put into their account. Guaranteed stop losses can be used on some instruments depending on market conditions but they are subject to a wider spread.

The company does not charge commissions on any of its trades. All costs are contained within the spread for each of more than 2,000 trading instruments offered on Plus500’s WebTrader platform. Large volume traders do not get a trading discount at Plus500 and the spread is the same whether you trade one lot or 1,000 lots.


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There are no charges for normal withdrawals or terminating an account. However, inactivity fees kick in after an account has been idle for three months. Beginning traders can open an account with as little as £100.

Traders can qualify for a “professional” account, which offers a higher level of maximum leverage, but the costs are the same. Investors with a professional account may increase their maximum leverage ten-fold, from 1:30 to 1:300.Spreads at Plus500 were some of the lowest in the market.

Plus500 also offers access to options trading on many markets. These are very similar to plain call and put options traded on exchanges, but they are not standardized which means that the option premium can be customized for your risk tolerance and strategy objectives.


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Plus500 Deposits and Withdrawals

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Stock Market News: Global Airlines on High Alert as Virus Outbreak Spreads

Stock Market News – 23 January 2020 — Airlines and passengers are on guard against a new flu-like virus that originated in Wuhan, China. Here’s an explainer on the airline industry’s response to the outbreak so far and its potential financial exposure compared to SARS in 2003, which killed nearly 800 people:

WHAT IS THE EXPECTED FINANCIAL IMPACT ON AIRLINES?

The biggest concern is a sharp drop in travel demand if the virus becomes a pandemic. During the height of the SARS outbreak in April 2003, passenger demand in Asia plunged 45%, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Cathay cut nearly 40% of its flights and reported a financial loss, as did Singapore Airlines Ltd, Japan Airlines Co Ltd and ANA Holdings Inc.

The industry is now more reliant on Chinese travelers.

For example, in Australia, Chinese travelers account for more than 15% of international arrivals, up from just 4% in 2003, according to Moody’s ratings service.

Those travelers, who arrive mostly via mainland carriers, often take domestic flights once they arrive in Australia, pointing to the potential for knock on effects for the likes of local airline Qantas Airways Ltd if there is a fall in travel demand.

Since 2003, the number of annual air passengers has more than doubled, with China growing to become the world’s largest outbound travel market.

In 2003, 6.8 million passengers from China traveled on international flights, and that number has grown by close to 10 times to 63.7 million in 2018, according to data from the country’s aviation authority.

Global airline industry revenues more than doubled to $838 billion in 2019 from just $322 billion in 2003, according to IATA data.

“Whether only one secondary market, an entire country or the wider region is impacted is obviously unpredictable and outside of the industry’s control,” said Brendan Sobie, an independent aviation analyst in Singapore.

WHICH AIRLINES ARE HEAVILY EXPOSED?

Many airlines, including Korean Air Lines, Singapore Airlines’ budget carrier Scoot, Taiwan’s China Airlines Ltd and Japan’s ANA, announced they were cancelling flights in and out of Wuhan after authorities announced a lockdown.

South Korean budget carrier T’way Air earlier this week postponed the scheduled launch of a new route to the city.

Flight tracking website FlightRadar24 showed that as of 06:00 GMT on Thursday, 184 Wuhan flights, or 60% of the departures listed for the day, had been canceled.

Wuhan’s Tianhe airport serves around 2% of China’s total air traffic and mainly serves domestic routes. Broker Jefferies estimated 88.8% of overall flights are domestic, with China Southern Airlines Co Ltd holding the largest market share at 30%.

ARE PASSENGERS CANCELLING TRIPS TO CHINA?

Hanatour Service Inc, South Korea’s largest travel agency, said that cancellations of trips to China increased about 20% this week compared to same period last year. The figure includes postponements and switches to other destinations, a company official said.

Rajeev Kale, country head for Thomas Cook India’s holidays division, said some customers were raising concerns about traveling to China. “Most of our customers are adopting a wait and watch approach to see further developments,” he said.

Philippine Airlines, Garuda Indonesia and Japan Airlines said there was no slowdown in bookings to and from China yet, while low-cost Filipino carrier Cebu Pacific said some passengers had expressed concerns about whether it was safe to fly but had not canceled bookings.




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How To Start Investing In 2020


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Best Stock Market Sectors For 2020


Best Books For Making Money { 2020 }


Best Stock Market Books For Beginners {2020}


How To Make Money Online by Investing Little Money



How To Make Money Online


◊ How To Make Money Online by Investing Little Money – StockMarketNews.Today ◊

Internet offers many opportunities to make a lot of money. Whether you’re looking to make some fast cash, or you’re after long-term, more sustainable income-producing results, there are certainly ways you can make money online today. The truth is that making money online isn’t as difficsult as most make it out to seem. However, if you’re looking for realistic ways to make money now, then it really truly does boil down to 11 paths you can take towards profit. Some will provide you with immediate results, helping you to address your basic monthly necessities, while others have the potential to transform your life by revolutionizing your finances in the long term…



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1. Make Money as a Life Coach (Using An Internationally-Recognized Certification Program… )

LIFE

Money Invested: $45 | Time Invested: 110 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $879

How To Make Money as Life Coach: Life coaching is the process of helping people identify and achieve personal goals through developing skills and attitudes that lead to self-empowerment. Life coaching general deals with issues such as work-life balance and career changes, and often occurs outside the workplace setting. Learn More …



2.  Make Money With Affiliate Programs

Affiliate

Money Invested: $1,300 | Time Invested: 72 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $7,742

How To Make Money In Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make. Learn More …



3. Make Extra Money Online Simply By Sharing Your Opinions

opinion

Money Invested: $1 | Time Invested: 46 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $329

How To Make Money by Sharing Your Opinion: A Review ( Opinion ) is an evaluation of a publication, service, or company such as a movie, video game, musical composition, book; a piece of hardware like a car, home appliance, or computer; or an event or performance, such as a live music concert, play, musical theater show, dance show, or art exhibition. Learn More …



4. Make Money With an Online Drop Shipping Business

drop

Money Invested: $75 | Time Invested: 144 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $1,915

How To Make Money With an Online Drop Shipping Business: Drop shipping is a business model where you send your customers’ orders to a manufacturer or wholesaler, and they send the products directly to your customer. Learn More …



5. Write an Ebook and sell it on Amazon

write-publish-ebook-today

Money Invested: $55 | Time Invested: 108 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $973

How to Make Money Selling Ebooks Online: Do you want to learn how to make an ebook from beginning to end?… Writing ebooks is one of the easiest way to earn money. You work on your own time, and when you finish the book – you will make money from it over and over again…for a very long time!. Learn More …



6. Make Money on Twitter

Twitt22

Money Invested: $25 | Time Invested: 52 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $494

How to Make Money on Twitter: Twitter is an American online microblogging and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as “tweets”. Selling advertising, sponsored links, and affiliate marketing. Here are a few programs that can help you make money on Twitter. Learn More …



7. Make Money Buying And Selling Domain Names

become-domain-reseller

Money Invested: $55 | Time Invested: 110 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $1,514

How To Make Money Selling Domain Names: Domain name is like a land on the Web. You can use domains in a variety of ways to make money. Domains increase value over time, especially if they have some commercial value. You can buy a domain name at low price and then sell it high priceLearn More …



8. Make Money In The Stock Market – ( Day Trading )

best-broker-stock-market

Money Invested: $300 | Time Invested: 72 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $3,177

How To Make Money in Stock Trading: Investing in the stock market can be a great way to have your money make money… Stock trading is not a risk-free activity, and some losses are inevitable. However, with substantial research and investments in the right companies, stock trading can potentially be very profitable. Learn More …


9. Make Money With Your Photos

makemoneyphotos

Money Invested: $1 | Time Invested: 74 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $374

How To Earn Money Selling Photos Online: Who wouldn’t want to earn money by selling their photos online? … Did you know thousands of photographers are making hundreds even thousands of dollars every day just by selling their photos online?… In fact every month millions of photos are bought online which is used for websites, magazines, blogs, print ads, marketing materials and many more. Learn More …



10. Earn Money With YouTube

superstockdisney

Money Invested: $1 | Time Invested: 60 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $245

How To Make Money on Youtube: You’ve probably heard stories about regular people earning money on YouTube and thought, “Hey, I can do this too!”. Earning with YouTube is easy, but making big money with the platform can be a challenge. Learn More …



11. Make Money Testing Apps

55Apps

Money Invested: $20 | Time Invested: 44 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $197

How To Make Money Testing Apps: Testing Apps is a great way to earn extra money but it won’t make you rich. The number of opportunities you receive will depend on a number of factors, such as your demographics and your quality rating. Learn More …









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Visa To Buy Fintech Plaid in $5.3bn Deal


♦ Visa To Buy Fintech Plaid ♦


Visa agreed to acquire Plaid, a group that connects fintech companies with their customers’ bank accounts, for $5.3bn in the latest large tech-focused deal by the payments company.

The acquisition of the Silicon Valley company, which is backed by high profile tech investors including Mary Meeker and Andreessen Horowitz as well as Goldman Sachs, comes less than two years after it was valued at $2.65bn.

For Visa the transaction indicates its latest effort to make a further push into the fast growing fintech sector. In 2017 it acquired a minority stake in Sweden’s payments provider Klarna, which became Europe’s most valuable fintech company in the summer.

Plaid provides so-called “aggregator” software that allows fintechs and other financial services companies to access client’s bank account information. Its clients include the financial planning apps Mint and Acorns and the money transfer app Venmo.

“This acquisition is the natural evolution of Visa’s 60-year journey from safely and securely connecting buyers and sellers to connecting consumers with digital financial services,” said Al Kelly, chief executive and chairman of Visa.

“The combination of Visa and Plaid will put us at the epicentre of the fintech world, expanding our total addressable market and accelerating our long-term revenue growth trajectory.”

A year ago, Plaid bought rival aggregator Quovo for around $200m. Other aggregators include California’s Yodlee, which was bought by Envestnet for $660m in 2015, and Utah-based Finicity.

The aggregators have long had uneven relationships with banks, which have expressed reservations about the aggregators’ ability to protect customers’ personal information. Of particular concern is “screen scraping,” where consumers provide their bank login details to third-party fintechs, rather than using secure APIs (application programming interfaces) that can transmit data from the bank without the release of passwords.

JPMorgan Chase recently said it would ban fintechs from using its customers’ passwords to access their accounts. API connections require banks to come to explicit agreements with aggregators and fintechs, which screen-scraping does not.

Visa’s move to take over Plaid could help strengthen relations with larger banks. In the press release announcing the deal on Monday, JPMorgan’s head of consumer banking endorsed the deal as “an important development in giving consumers more security and control over how their financial data is used.”

“Protecting customer data and helping them share that information safely has long been a top priority for Chase. We look forward to partnering with Visa to continue building a great experience for our shared customers,” said Gordon Smith, co-president, JPMorgan Chase and chief executive of consumer and community banking. Goldman Sachs served as the sole adviser to Plaid.




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How To Make Money Online?


Internet offers many opportunities to make a lot of money. Whether you’re looking to make some fast cash, or you’re after long-term, more sustainable income-producing results, there are certainly ways you can make money online today. The truth is that making money online isn’t as difficsult as most make it out to seem.

However, if you’re looking for realistic ways to make money now, then it really truly does boil down to 11 paths you can take towards profit. Some will provide you with immediate results, helping you to address your basic monthly necessities, while others have the potential to transform your life by revolutionizing your finances in the long term…



1. Make Money as a Life Coach

LIFE

Money Invested: $45 | Time Invested: 110 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $879

How To Make Money as Life Coach: Life coaching is the process of helping people identify and achieve personal goals through developing skills and attitudes that lead to self-empowerment. Life coaching general deals with issues such as work-life balance and career changes, and often occurs outside the workplace setting. Learn More …



2.  Make Money With Affiliate Programs

Affiliate

Money Invested: $1,300 | Time Invested: 72 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $7,742

How To Make Money In Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make. Learn More …



3. Make Extra Money Online Simply By Sharing Your Opinions

opinion

Money Invested: $1 | Time Invested: 46 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $329

How To Make Money by Sharing Your Opinion: A Review ( Opinion ) is an evaluation of a publication, service, or company such as a movie, video game, musical composition, book; a piece of hardware like a car, home appliance, or computer; or an event or performance, such as a live music concert, play, musical theater show, dance show, or art exhibition. Learn More …



4. Make Money With an Online Drop Shipping Business

drop

Money Invested: $75 | Time Invested: 144 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $1,915

How To Make Money With an Online Drop Shipping Business: Drop shipping is a business model where you send your customers’ orders to a manufacturer or wholesaler, and they send the products directly to your customer. Learn More …



5. Write an Ebook and sell it on Amazon

write-publish-ebook-today

Money Invested: $55 | Time Invested: 108 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $973

How to Make Money Selling Ebooks Online: Do you want to learn how to make an ebook from beginning to end?… Writing ebooks is one of the easiest way to earn money. You work on your own time, and when you finish the book – you will make money from it over and over again…for a very long time!. Learn More …



6. Make Money on Twitter

Twitt22

Money Invested: $25 | Time Invested: 52 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $494

How to Make Money on Twitter: Twitter is an American online microblogging and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as “tweets”. Selling advertising, sponsored links, and affiliate marketing. Here are a few programs that can help you make money on Twitter. Learn More …



7. Make Money Buying And Selling Domain Names

become-domain-reseller

Money Invested: $55 | Time Invested: 110 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $1,514

How To Make Money Selling Domain Names: Domain name is like a land on the Web. You can use domains in a variety of ways to make money. Domains increase value over time, especially if they have some commercial value. You can buy a domain name at low price and then sell it high priceLearn More …



8. Make Money In The Stock Market – ( Day Trading )

best-broker-stock-market

Money Invested: $300 | Time Invested: 72 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $3,177

How To Make Money in Stock Trading: Investing in the stock market can be a great way to have your money make money… Stock trading is not a risk-free activity, and some losses are inevitable. However, with substantial research and investments in the right companies, stock trading can potentially be very profitable. Learn More …


9. Make Money With Your Photos

makemoneyphotos

Money Invested: $1 | Time Invested: 74 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $374

How To Earn Money Selling Photos Online: Who wouldn’t want to earn money by selling their photos online? … Did you know thousands of photographers are making hundreds even thousands of dollars every day just by selling their photos online?… In fact every month millions of photos are bought online which is used for websites, magazines, blogs, print ads, marketing materials and many more. Learn More …



10. Earn Money With YouTube

superstockdisney

Money Invested: $1 | Time Invested: 60 Hours | Money Earned (30 days): $245

How To Make Money on Youtube: You’ve probably heard stories about regular people earning money on YouTube and thought, “Hey, I can do this too!”. Earning with YouTube is easy, but making big money with the platform can be a challenge. Learn More …









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Lithium Producer Livent Falls 12% – Company Warns Market Conditions Remain ‘Challenging’


Livent News – Stock Market Today


StockMarketNews.Today — Shares in lithium producer Livent fell by 12 per cent on Wednesday after the company cut its earnings guidance and warned the market for the battery raw material remains “challenging.” Livent said late Tuesday it is reviewing its plans to expand capacity due to a continued slump in prices for lithium, which is a critical raw material for electric car batteries.

“Current market conditions remain challenging, with lower prices seen across all regions and most end markets,” Paul Graves, Livent’s chief executive said.

Livent’s announcement is a disappointment to expectations of a rebound in lithium prices this year and a growing premium for the company’s lithium hydroxide, which is used in more powerful electric car batteries.

Prices for lithium have fallen by more than 50 per cent over the past year due to an increase in supply from new mines in Australia as well as from the largest producers SQM and Albemarle. Livent said average prices for lithium hydroxide this year were likely to be “low-to-mid-teens per cent” lower than in 2019.

Livent produces lithium in Argentina but also has to buy lithium carbonate from other producers to turn into hydroxide. This means it earns less of a premium than other producers who have their own lithium supply.

The company said it now expects 2019 revenue in the range of $385m to $390m, from an earlier forecast of $400m. It forecasts adjusted ebitda of between $98m to $101m from an earlier expectation of between $105m to $110m.



Livent



U.S. Adds 202,000 Private Sector Jobs in December

StockMarketNews.Today — U.S. private employers added a far larger-than-forecast 202,000 jobs in December, according to a report by payrolls processor ADP on Wednesday. Economists had expected the report to show a gain of 160,000 jobs.

November’s figure was revised to 124,000 from the 67,000 initially reported.

“As 2019 came to a close, we saw expanded payrolls in December,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “The service providers posted the largest gain since April,driven mainly by professional and business services. Job creation was strong across companies of all sizes, led predominantly by midsized companies.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “Looking through the monthly vagaries of the data, job gains continue to moderate. Manufacturers, energy producers and small companies have been shedding jobs. Unemployment is low, but will begin to rise if job growth slows much further.”

The ADP numbers come ahead of the Labor Department’s nonfarm payrolls report for December on Friday, which includes both public and private-sector employment.

Economists expect that report to show a gain of 164,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate is forecast to hold steady at 3.5%.



Today’s Stock Market News


Buy and Sell Crude Oil Online


StockMarketNews.Today — Iran attack on US forces sends oil rising. Oil prices and global stock markets stabilised after an initial jolt of volatility in the hours after an Iranian missile strike against American forces in Iraq significantly escalated tensions in the Middle East.

President Trump is due to make a statement in the coming hours, but tweeted “all is well!” overnight, while Iran’s supreme leader said the attack was a “slap” in the face for the US but fell short of making further threats of escalation.

Brent crude was just under 1 per cent higher at $69 a barrel in early London trading, having calmed from an earlier spike to as high as $71.75 in the Asian session as investors gauged the consequences of the Iranian action and the likelihood of a US response.

S&P 500 equity futures initially slumped 1.6 per cent but were recently down 0.2 per cent. Declines in European markets were also measured, with the composite Stoxx 600 index down 0.4 per cent, and similar falls for the major bourses across the continent.

Shares in state oil company Saudi Aramco hit a new low of 34 riyal, the lowest level since the group floated on Saudi Arabia’s stock market last month, as regional markets fell.

Markets across the world were jolted after Tehran’s Revolutionary Guard said it fired “tens of rockets” at facilities in Iraq including the Ain Assad base, which hosts US troops. The attack was retaliation for a US drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds force responsible for overseas military operations, and marked a serious escalation in the confrontation between Iran and the US.

However, investors were reassured by an apparent absence of US casualties and the measured tone of the official responses. President Donald Trump said on Twitter that “assessment of casualties & damages [are] taking place now” and “So far, so good!” following the attack. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, tweeted that Iran does “not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression”.

“We knew some kind of retaliation was going to happen . . . so this is not overly shocking,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment officer at Leuthold Group. “I hate to say it but there are no casualties as of yet, so right now I would say the markets won’t be facing too much selling pressure.”


Market Volatility Index


Investors had sought safer segments of the markets in response to news of the missile attack. The price of gold, seen as a haven during times of uncertainty, climbed to a near-seven-year high, rising 2.2 per cent to $1,600 per troy ounce. In the European morning it was trading back at $1,585, a gain of 0.7 per cent.

The yield on 10-year US treasuries was down 3 basis points at 1.7899 per cent after earlier hitting a one-month low, while the Japanese yen was flat versus the dollar after rising early in the day.

Japan’s Topix stock index shed 1.4 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.8 per cent. China’s CSI 300 of Shanghai- and Shenzhen-listed stocks was down 1.2 per cent.

“The major risk is that we continue to see a tit-for-tat pattern which escalates into a greater conflict,” said Chris Gaffney, president for world markets at TIAA Bank. “I expect [markets] to recover quickly from any knee-jerk selling as long as there are no additional military actions.”

But some analysts warned that any further escalation could mean Brent crude prices would keep pushing higher, to $75 per barrel.

“Depending on any potential further actions by Iran, which is likely, or a likely retaliation by the US, the price may hover around these levels or hike further to $80 a barrel and beyond,” said Iman Nasseri, managing director for the Middle East with energy consultancy FGE.


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Best Stock Market Books For Beginners {2020} Amazon


#1 – The Intelligent Investor. (Revised Edition)

This classic text is annotated to update Graham’s timeless wisdom for today’s market conditions… The greatest investment advisor of the twentieth century, Benjamin Graham, taught and inspired people worldwide. Graham’s philosophy of “value investing” — which shields investors from substantial error and teaches them to develop long-term strategies — has made The Intelligent Investor the stock market bible ever since its original publication in 1949.

Over the years, market developments have proven the wisdom of Graham’s strategies. While preserving the integrity of Graham’s original text, this revised edition includes updated commentary by noted financial journalist Jason Zweig, whose perspective incorporates the realities of today’s market, draws parallels between Graham’s examples and today’s financial headlines, and gives readers a more thorough understanding of how to apply Graham’s principles.

Vital and indispensable, this HarperBusiness Essentials edition of The Intelligent Investor is the most important book you will ever read on how to reach your financial goals.



#2 – Stock Investing For Dummies (Business & Personal Finance)

Grow your stock investments in today’s changing environment. Updated with new and revised material to reflect the current market, this new edition of Stock Investing For Dummies gives you proven strategies for selecting and managing profitable investments. no matter what the conditions. You’ll find out how to navigate the new economic landscape and choose the right stock for different situations—with real-world examples that show you how to maximize your portfolio.

The economic and global events affecting stock investors have been dramatic and present new challenges and opportunities for investors and money managers at every level. With the help of this guide, you’ll quickly and easily navigate an ever-changing stock market with plain-English tips and information on ETFs, new rules, exchanges, and investment vehicles, as well as the latest information on the European debt crisis.

Incorporate stocks into your investment portfolio
> Understand and capitalize on current market conditions
> Balance risk and reward
> Explore new investment opportunities
Stock Investing For Dummies is essential reading for anyone looking for trusted, comprehensive guidance to ensure their investments grow.



#3 – Encyclopedia of Chart Patterns

In this revised and expanded second edition of the bestselling Encyclopedia of Chart Patterns, Thomas Bulkowski updates the classic with new performance statistics for both bull and bear markets and 23 new patterns, including a second section devoted to ten event patterns. Bulkowski tells you how to trade the significant events — such as quarterly earnings announcements, retail sales, stock upgrades and downgrades — that shape today?s trading and uses statistics to back up his approach. This comprehensive new edition is a must-have reference if you’re a technical investor or trader. Place your order today.
“The most complete reference to chart patterns available. It goes where no one has gone before. Bulkowski gives hard data on how good and bad the patterns are. A must-read for anyone that’s ever looked at a chart and wondered what was happening.”
— Larry Williams, trader and author of Long-Term Secrets to Short-Term Trading.



#4 – How to Make Money in Stocks

Anyone can learn to invest wisely with this bestselling investment system!… Through every type of market, William J. O’Neil’s national bestseller, How to Make Money in Stocks, has shown over 2 million investors the secrets to building wealth. O’Neil’s powerful CAN SLIM® Investing System―a proven 7-step process for minimizing risk and maximizing gains―has influenced generations of investors.

Based on a major study of market winners from 1880 to 2009, this expanded edition gives you:

>Proven techniques for finding winning stocks before they make big price gains
>Tips on picking the best stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs to maximize your gains
>100 new charts to help you spot today’s most profitable trends
>PLUS strategies to help you avoid the 21 most common investor mistakes!

“I dedicated the 2004 Stock Trader’s Almanac to Bill O’Neil: ‘His foresight, innovation, and disciplined approach to stock market investing will influence investors and traders for generations to come.’”
―Yale Hirsch, publisher and editor, Stock Trader’s Almanac and author of Let’s Change the World Inc.

“Investor’s Business Daily has provided a quarter-century of great financial journalism and investing strategies.”
―David Callaway, editor-in-chief, MarketWatch

“How to Make Money in Stocks is a classic. Any investor serious about making money in the market ought to read it.”
―Larry Kudlow, host, CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report”.



#5 – How to Day Trade for a Living

Very few careers can offer you the freedom, flexibility and income that day trading does. As a day trader, you can live and work anywhere in the world. You can decide when to work and when not to work. You only answer to yourself. That is the life of the successful day trader. Many people aspire to it, but very few succeed. Day trading is not gambling or an online poker game. To be successful at day trading you need the right tools and you need to be motivated, to work hard, and to persevere… This book is definitely NOT a difficult, technical, hard to understand, complicated and complex guide to the stock market. It’s concise. It’s practical. It’s written for everyone. You can learn how to beat Wall Street at its own game.




◊ Best Books For Making Money ◊


#1 – The Book on Making Money


After skipping college, Steve Oliverez worked a series of low-paying jobs before setting a remarkable goal for himself – to double his income every year. In The Book On Making Money, he reveals what he learned while successfully hitting this goal for seven years in a row, growing his annual income to more than $1 million. Walking readers through the steps he took to reach his goal, he shows how they can apply the same techniques to greatly increase their own income, whether they work for someone else or run their own business. Oliverez spells out his disagreements with the traditional wisdom that tells young adults to go to school, get good grades and find a safe, steady job – advice that has left many Americans with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans, credit card debt or mortgages on homes they can’t afford. He also assaults the idea of saving one’s way to wealth as absurd and counterproductive, using his own experience of trying to save money while poor as an example. Instead of promoting an austere lifestyle of clipping coupons and spending as little as possible, he shows how those habits can actually prevent people from becoming wealthy.


#2 – ABCs of Making Money


International Bestseller. The largely word-of-mouth success is due to its unique approach: instead of just giving the reader the usual do’s and don’ts of managing money – which it does in very clear, actionable terms – this invaluable book walks readers through the psychology of money. Do you ever wonder what makes some people successful while others are destined to struggle their whole lives? … The difference is in their Attitudes toward money. If you don’t examine this issue first, then all the self-help books and courses in the world will be a waste. The ABCs of Making Money is a simple, step-by-step guide for everyone. This common sense approach contains lots of simple checklists, self-directed exercises and tips. It demystifies the secrets of making money while providing proven strategies for the average person to painlessly create wealth. It has already helped hundreds of thousands of people and been acclaimed by universities and charities in the U.S. Amongst other things you will learn: how to achieve financial freedom, gain control of your life, eliminate financial stress and stop living paycheck to paycheck.


#3 – A Beginner’s Guide to the Stock Market: Everything You Need to Start Making Money Today


Learn to make money in the stock market, even if you’ve never traded before. The stock market is the greatest opportunity machine ever created. This book will teach you everything that you need to know to start making money in the stock market today. Don’t gamble with your hard-earned money. If you are going to make a lot of money, you need to know how the stock market really works. You need to avoid the pitfalls and costly mistakes that beginners make. And you need time-tested trading and investing strategies that actually work. This book gives you everything that you will need. It’s a simple road map that anyone can follow.




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Boring Co’s Las Vegas Tunnel To Be Operational In 2020


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StockMarketNews.Today — Elon Musk, founder of tunneling enterprise Boring Company, said in a tweet that a commercial tunnel in Las Vegas would “hopefully” be fully operational in 2020.

Boring Co is completing its first commercial tunnel in Vegas, going from Convention Center to Strip, then will work on other projects,” Musk tweeted here late on Friday, in reply to a user’s question about the company’s tunnels.

Musk, who also leads electric-car maker Tesla Inc and rocket company SpaceX, has been seeking to revolutionize transportation by sending passengers packed into pods through an intercity system of giant, underground vacuum tubes known as a hyperloop.





The company has completed its project Test Tunnel, located in Hawthorne, California, and other ongoing projects include the Chicago Express Loop and the East Coast Loop from Washington D.C. to Baltimore.

In April the U.S. Transportation Department issued a draft environmental assessment for a Washington, D.C.- Baltimore tunnel, the first step in a governmental review of the project from Boring Co.

In July, Boring Co raised about $117 million in a round of funding from 20 unnamed investors after offering to sell about $120 million in equity.





◊ Best Books For Making Money ◊


#1 – The Book on Making Money


After skipping college, Steve Oliverez worked a series of low-paying jobs before setting a remarkable goal for himself – to double his income every year. In The Book On Making Money, he reveals what he learned while successfully hitting this goal for seven years in a row, growing his annual income to more than $1 million. Walking readers through the steps he took to reach his goal, he shows how they can apply the same techniques to greatly increase their own income, whether they work for someone else or run their own business. Oliverez spells out his disagreements with the traditional wisdom that tells young adults to go to school, get good grades and find a safe, steady job – advice that has left many Americans with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans, credit card debt or mortgages on homes they can’t afford. He also assaults the idea of saving one’s way to wealth as absurd and counterproductive, using his own experience of trying to save money while poor as an example. Instead of promoting an austere lifestyle of clipping coupons and spending as little as possible, he shows how those habits can actually prevent people from becoming wealthy.


#2 – ABCs of Making Money


International Bestseller. The largely word-of-mouth success is due to its unique approach: instead of just giving the reader the usual do’s and don’ts of managing money – which it does in very clear, actionable terms – this invaluable book walks readers through the psychology of money. Do you ever wonder what makes some people successful while others are destined to struggle their whole lives? … The difference is in their Attitudes toward money. If you don’t examine this issue first, then all the self-help books and courses in the world will be a waste. The ABCs of Making Money is a simple, step-by-step guide for everyone. This common sense approach contains lots of simple checklists, self-directed exercises and tips. It demystifies the secrets of making money while providing proven strategies for the average person to painlessly create wealth. It has already helped hundreds of thousands of people and been acclaimed by universities and charities in the U.S. Amongst other things you will learn: how to achieve financial freedom, gain control of your life, eliminate financial stress and stop living paycheck to paycheck.


#3 – A Beginner’s Guide to the Stock Market: Everything You Need to Start Making Money Today


Learn to make money in the stock market, even if you’ve never traded before. The stock market is the greatest opportunity machine ever created. This book will teach you everything that you need to know to start making money in the stock market today. Don’t gamble with your hard-earned money. If you are going to make a lot of money, you need to know how the stock market really works. You need to avoid the pitfalls and costly mistakes that beginners make. And you need time-tested trading and investing strategies that actually work. This book gives you everything that you will need. It’s a simple road map that anyone can follow.


#4 – I Will Teach You to Be Rich


Personal finance expert Ramit Sethi has been called a “wealth wizard” by Forbes and the “new guru on the block” by Fortune. Now he’s updated and expanded his modern money classic for a new age, delivering a simple, powerful, no-BS 6-week program that just works. This 10th anniversary edition features over 80 new pages, including:
• New tools
• New insights on money and psychology
• Amazing stories of how previous readers used the book to create their rich lives
Master your money—and then get on with your life.


#5 – Dropshipping E-Commerce Business Model 2020

Have you always wanted to have a passive source of income to boost your current job?… Are the risks of mainstream business keeping you from living out your entrepreneurial dream?… Or simply do you shy away from investment because you don’t have “enough” capital to start a business?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, dropshipping is the business for you. It is the only low-risk business that allows you to make to a 6 figure income a month from the comfort of your house with just a few hundred dollars as a capital.

As a dropshipper, you will play the role of intermediary, facilitating the order process for your customers without actually handling any inventory. And with dropshipping automation tools, you will be able to automate your business so that your store can run itself and make money for you with little to no effort from your end.

To guide you on your journey to unimaginable riches, Dropshipping E-Commerce Business Model lays out the finer points of establishing a dropshipping business from A to Z.

The topics featured in this book include:

The correct budget you need for start dropshipping business, without losing a penny.
>How to find the best niches and the winning products to list on your Shopify and online store.
>How to set up a payment system and stay away from being SCAMMED.
>The order fulfillment process in the details. If you won’t follow these steps, the entire business will collapse.
>How to maintain the best supplier relations for the best deals.
>The different sales channels for your dropshipping store and how to leverage them.
>How to optimize your online store for selling like CRAZY.
>10 simple but powerful and effective ways to DESTROY your competitors.

Why should you buy this particular book? Well, it has been written by an experienced dropshipping consultant with years of success in the industry, after all. And as easy as it is for anybody to make it in dropshipping, you still need a steady hand to guide you through the oft-tempestuous journey to profitability.


#6 – From Nothing: Everything You Need to Profit from Affiliate Marketing, Internet Marketing, Blogging, Online Business, e-Commerce and More… Starting With <$100


“From Nothing“contain EVERYTHING you need to start an online business in the affiliate marketing, internet marketing, blogging, and e-commerce industries… using less than $100. It doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to this or if you’ve tried for years without seeing success.

If you can bring yourself to trust a ginger millennial as your guide (difficult, I know), you’ll be on your way to first-time success in online business the moment you begin reading.


#7 – Passive Income Ideas For 2020


A Step by Step Guide to Easy Passive Income Ideas For 2020 and Beyond. Are you ready to invest your money into creating passive income streams that inflate your monthly income? These are some of the hottest, proven methods that you can start with, today.You’re not going to get rich earning a salary. You need to take those savings and make money from money. But how? It can be harrowing and risky to invest in new income streams for the first time. The chance that you will lose money is high. That’s why you need a guide just like this one.







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Aramco Achieved The $2 Trillion Valuation, Shares Rose Sharply On Their Second Day Of Trading


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The Saudi Crown Prince has made the Aramco initial public listing (IPO) the centerpiece of his plan to diversify the Kingdom’s economy away from its dependence on oil production by using the $25.6 billion raised to develop other sectors.

But that was well below the Crown Prince’s plan announced in 2016 which called for raising as much as $100 billion via international and domestic listings of a 5% stake in Aramco.

Bernstein analysts initiated Aramco with an “underperform” rating, estimating its value at around $1.36 trillion. This compares with U.S. energy giant Exxon Mobil’s valuation of less than $300 billion.



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Saudi Aramco is the largest, most profitable oil company in the world – but size is not everything,” they wrote, flagging the risk of slow net income growth if oil prices stay flat.

Bernstein’s note said Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Aramco) should trade at a discount rather than premium to international oil majors, with corporate governance “the key risk for investors” as Saudi Arabia will own more than 98% of the company.

“A valuation discount to western oil majors seems warranted,” Bernstein said of Aramco, whose shares gained the maximum 10% allowed by the Riyadh exchange on their Wednesday debut. They hit 38.7 riyals ($10.32) on Thursday, before easing to 37.5 riyals, putting its market value at $2 trillion.

Aramco has become the world’s biggest IPO, topping the $25 billion 2014 listing of China’s Alibaba, despite limited interest from foreign investors leading it to cancel roadshows in New York and London.

It opted instead to sell just a 1.5% stake in Riyadh and rely mainly on domestic and regional buyers. Some analysts said there could be a lag before the Aramco price settles and some investors take profits from the IPO.

“After Aramco hits $2 trillion, investors will debate: why should it go higher … while its owners value it at $2 trillion?” a Gulf analyst who asked not to be identified said.

The analyst added that when National Commercial Bank (NCB) was listed in 2014 its shares rose by the maximum limit for 10 days before investors started selling. Saudi Aramco tops $2 trillion, defying valuation sceptics



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Diamond Crisis Gets Worse For Global Giant De Beers

The diamond industry is in crisis as De Beers’s buyers grow increasingly frustrated with the cost of rough stones as the price of polished gems slump. That’s led to wafer-thin margins and losses for some of the traders that buy stones from De Beers and Russian rival Alrosa PJSC. De Beers sales so far this year are down by more than $1.2 billion from the same period in 2018.



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The company, which says it mines to meet demand, has responded by offering more flexibility to its customers, allowing them to reject some purchases. Last month, De Beers cut prices across the board by about 5%.

Anglo also lowered its production goals for coking coal over the next three years after selling a stake in one of its mines in Australia. The company said its Minas Rio iron ore mine in Brazil will produce 1 million tons less than previously forecast.




Best Stock Market Books For Beginners {2020}

Best Stock Market Books For Beginners {2020} Amazon #1 – The Intelligent Investor. (Revised Edition) This classic text is annotated to update Graham’s timeless wisdom for today’s market conditions… The greatest investment advisor of the twentieth century, Benjamin Graham, taught… Read More ›




Stocks To Buy Today {2020}

Soon, 2019 will be over… therefore it’s time to start looking at some of the top stocks to buy for 2020. ⇑⇓ Today’s Stock Market Quotes ⇓⇑ United Technologies (UTX). Following a strategic review, the company decided it would spin off its… Read More ›




Easy Ways To Make Money From Home

◊ Easy Ways To Make Money Online by Investing Little Money ◊ Internet offers many opportunities to make money from home. Whether you’re looking to make some fast cash, or you’re after long-term, more sustainable income-producing results, there are certainly… Read More ›




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UniCredit To Cut 8,000 Jobs

UniCredit intends to cut roughly 8,000 jobs, or around 9% of total workforce, and close about 500 branches through 2023 as it targets gross savings of €1 billion in Western Europe. Its plan offers an insight into the headwinds facing Europe’s largest lenders, as low rates, stringent regulation and greater competition from U.S. rivals dent their profits. Most of the region’s banks are downsizing, cost cutting or realigning their businesses as a result.

UniCredit said it would return €8 billion ($8.9 billion) to shareholders through 2023, including a share buyback of €2 billion. This corresponds to an increase of profit distribution to shareholders of 40% in the next three years, rising to 50% in 2023.

Mr. Mustier said the bank prefers to use capital in this way instead of buying other European banks. Speculation has mounted in recent months that UniCredit was eyeing a tie-up with troubled German lender Commerzbank AG or France’s Société Générale SA

UniCredit has never commented on specific potential mergers, but Mr. Mustier has often cast doubt on the viability of European cross-border banking tie-ups, citing regulatory hurdles and likely additional capital needs. Instead, the bank prefers to buy back some of its shares, he said Tuesday.

“In short, no M&A and that’s it,” he told reporters, saying the bank would only consider “small bolt-on acquisitions” mainly in central and Eastern Europe.

UniCredit’s new plan comes at a particularly challenging time for Italian banks. While lenders have made considerable progress in digesting the pile of bad loans accumulated during the financial crisis, they are struggling to modernize their operations and make their businesses leaner.

At the end of June, Italian banks owned €177 billion worth of bad loans, or 8% of their total loans, compared with €350 billion, or 17% of total loans, at the end of 2016.

Their revenues are under pressure from ultralow negative rates. The pressure to deploy liquidity induced by negative rates has increased competition among banks to lend money. This in turn has pushed down interest rates applied on new mortgages and company loans.

Consulting firm Oliver Wyman estimated that average interest rates charged on residential mortgages dropped to 1.69% in August, from 2% on existing loans up to December last year. Interest rates on company loans dropped by 80 basis points to 1.26% over the same period.

Lower rates on government bonds are also putting additional pressure on banks’ revenues.

Italian banks have tried in recent years to make more money through fees and commissions on wealth and asset management, with patchy results.

One of the few levers remaining is to cut costs. However, Italian banks need to make large investments to improve the digitization of their businesses and train their personnel. Oliver Wyman estimates that almost half of Italian bank employees need to be trained in new skills, as their business models change and the use of new technology spreads.

UniCredit aims to increase its net profit to €5 billion for 2023, slightly higher than the €4.7 billion planned for this year.

Earnings per share is seen growing 12% a year, while revenue should rise roughly 0.8% a year to €19.3 billion in 2023. Costs are expected to decline 0.2% a year and reach €10.2 billion when the plan ends.

The bank said it doesn’t plan any more large asset sales after it agreed over the weekend to cut its stake in Turkish bank Yapi ve Kredi Bankasi AS to below 32% from roughly 41%, aiming to simplify its shareholding structure and boost its capital.

Over the last three years, UniCredit has sold several other assets, including Polish lender Bank Pekao SA and asset management firm Pioneer Investments. More recently, it sold its stakes in online lender FinecoBank SpA and in Mediobanca SpA.







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Uber Loses License to Operate in London


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Uber can continue to operate in the city through an appeals process that could take months. Still, the public reproach over a loophole in Uber’s software threatens to further shake trust in the platform here and elsewhere.

Uber has long found itself in the crosshairs of authorities around the world over what critics say was a corporate culture, built under its co-founder and former Chief Executive Travis Kalanick, that tested the regulatory and legal envelope of countries where it operated. Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi has said he is trying to repair some of the reputational damage that strategy wrought.

In particular, he has courted London authorities after years of strained relations with city officials, regulators and competitors, including the city’s ubiquitous black cabs. London officials lauded Uber generally for what it said was progress improving the company’s internal issues.

Monday’s ruling, however, shows how the company—in a similar vein to other big tech companies—is now facing questions about its ability to police the behavior of others on its platform. It couldn’t be determined if the issue was a significant problem elsewhere, and Uber declined to comment about other markets. The company said, however, its technical and operational fix was being rolled out globally.

Transport for London, or TfL, the city’s main transportation regulator, said it had found 14,000 instances in late 2018 and early 2019 in which unauthorized drivers swapped their own photos with those of authorized drivers on Uber’s platform, allowing them to pick up riders themselves. A TfL spokesman said in some cases it believed drivers were using the loophole to allow people they knew to use their own accounts to pick up riders.

TfL said all 14,000 rides identified were uninsured and that two of the 43 drivers involved were unlicensed drivers—meaning they hadn’t been vetted by the regulator with a criminal-background check or for their driving ability. At least one ride involved a driver whose license had been revoked by the regulator, TfL said.

The regulator said it couldn’t disclose how many overall rides those 14,000 violations came from—citing commercial sensitivity for Uber. It said, though, the number of customers affected was significant.

TfL said Uber told the regulator about the unauthorized accounts this summer, but TfL found the problem to be widespread after further investigation. TfL said Uber fixed the loophole in October, but that it still didn’t have the confidence to grant it a license because drivers might find other ways to get around restrictions in the app.

“If not that loophole, a different loophole might be exploited,” a TfL spokesman said.

The regulator said Uber’s drivers in London had also been using vehicles without correct insurance in place, and that overall it was concerned that Uber’s app could be manipulated. It added that it wasn’t confident that Uber could keep its passengers safe “while managing changes to its app.”

Uber said it would appeal the regulator’s decision, which it called “extraordinary and wrong.” The company said it had been strengthening its driver identification processes over the past two months and that it would soon introduce “facial matching” to prevent what it called photo fraud. In September, Uber said it was working on a security enhancement that would require drivers to look at their smartphone camera and blink, smile and turn their head to verify their identity.

“We have fundamentally changed our business over the last two years and are setting the standard on safety,” said Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional manager for Europe.

Paul Loberman isn’t so sure. An Uber user who lives in a suburb of London, he said he would now have second thoughts about the service, out of concern that its drivers’ identities could be false. The 48-year-old financial-services worker described the matter as a public-safety issue.

“What happens if there’s an accident or worse?” he said. Mr. Loberman also said he won’t use Uber anymore, “certainly not in London.”

David Papineau, a philosophy professor at King’s College London, doesn’t want Uber to have to stop operating in the city. “It does a good service. It employs a lot of young men who are mostly immigrants,” he said. Mr. Papineau, 72 years old, believes Uber is being treated unfairly by the TfL. “The ban is working to the interests of the traditional black cabs,” he said, adding that Uber is more convenient and more affordable by comparison.

Uber shares fell 1.5% in New York on Monday. That fall exacerbated a monthslong decline since their May debut. Shares are down by more than a quarter since Uber’s initial public offering. Last August, the company reported a quarterly loss of $5.2 billion, its biggest ever, due to costs related to its IPO and heavy competition in its international markets.

London is one of Uber’s most important markets globally. When it pushed into the city, it met stiff resistance from black-cab drivers worried about the competition and regulators who said they wanted to make sure Uber followed the rules and provided a safe environment for users.

It survived a series of legal challenges to become a part of everyday life for many Londoners. Many have embraced it as a middle ground between the city’s extensive and cheap—but creaky and jammed-to-capacity—public transportation, and the relative luxury of hailing a black cab. Yanking its drivers off the road would put extra strain on the city’s transportation networks.

Today, though, it faces a bevy of new rivals like Bolt Technology OU, an Estonian ride-hailing app that launched in London approximately four months ago. Bolt has amassed 30,000 drivers in London, according to its founder and CEO, Markus Villig.

In 2018, Uber derived 24% of the gross bookings for its rides business—or about $9.96 billion—from five metropolitan areas, which include Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, as well as London, and São Paulo in Brazil, according to securities filings. Gross bookings are the total dollar value of rides, including taxes, and don’t account for discounts or driver earnings, Uber says. The company says it has 3.5 million riders and 45,000 licensed drivers in London.

This isn’t the first time Uber has lost its license in London.

In 2017, TfL rejected Uber’s application for a long-term license because of issues including safety and its corporate culture and governance. It pointed to Uber’s internal use of an app called Greyball, which allowed it to evade surveillance by local authorities, as well as problems with the company reporting crime to the police. Uber appealed that decision and won a 15-month license, which expired in September 2019. The regulator then gave Uber a two-month license, which expired Monday.

A spokesman for TfL said the decision was similar to its action in 2017. Uber has 21 days to launch its appeal, and can continue to operate over an eight-month period until that process is exhausted.


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Saudi Aramco Valuation Set At Up To $1.7 Trillion


◊ Stock Market News ( Today – 17/11/2019 ) ◊


Saudi Aramco has set a price range for its listing that implies the oil giant is worth between $1.6 trillion to $1.7 trillion, below the $2 trillion the Saudi crown prince had targeted but still making it potentially the world’s biggest IPO.

Aramco said on Sunday it plans to sell 1.5% of its shares or about 3 billion shares, at an indicative price range of 30 riyals ($8.00) to 32 riyals – valuing the IPO at as much as 96 billion riyals ($25.60 billion) at the top end of the range.

If priced at the top, the deal could just beat the record-breaking $25 billion raised by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba in its stock market debut in New York in 2014.

Aramco’s float is the centrepiece of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to diversify the world’s top crude exporter away from oil. Aramco does not plan to market its domestic IPO abroad, three people familiar with the matter said, which suggests international roadshows will not take place.

“This will put the burden of the deal on local and regional banks,” one of the three people said. “This means most of the investors will participate as Qualified Foreign Investors in a Saudi transaction,” another one of the people said.


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Aramco finally kicked off its IPO on Nov. 3 after a series of false starts. Prince Mohammed, who had floated the idea of the listing four years ago, is seeking to raise billions of dollars through the deal to invest in non-oil industries and create employment.

But the investment world is still trying to decide what the famously secretive company is worth. Analysts from banks working on the Riyadh bourse had projected a wide valuation range for Aramco of between $1.2 trillion to $2.3 trillion.

On one hand, Aramco is the world’s most profitable company with a planned dividend of $75 billion next year, more than five times larger than Apple’s payout, which is already the biggest of any S&P 500 company.

On the other, it is a bet on the price of oil at a time when global demand is expected to slow from 2025 as measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions are rolled out and the use of electric vehicles increases.

The deal is also rife with political risk as the Saudi government, which relies on Aramco for the bulk of its funding, will continue to control the company. Prince Mohammed’s reputation was tarnished by the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year.

In addition, Aramco’s oil plants were targeted on Sept. 14 in attacks which initially halved its output. The firm has said the strikes would not have a material impact on its business.

The share sale is expected to be a huge hit among Saudi citizens who are being offered 0.5% of the company. Retail investors have until Nov. 28 to sign up for the IPO while institutional investors can subscribe until Dec. 4, with company management going on marketing roadshows this week.


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The Aramco listing means a year-end rush for equity markets with Alibaba currently taking orders for a Hong Kong listing that is expected to raise up to $13.4 billion for the online retailer.

The Riyadh listing comes after initial hopes for a 5% IPO on the domestic and international bourses were dashed last year amid debate over valuation and where to list Aramco overseas. Aramco said the IPO timetable was delayed because it began a process to acquire a 70% stake in petrochemicals maker Saudi Basic Industries Co