AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 antibody treatment failed to meet its main targets in its latest trial, while showing it could prevent people exposed to the virus from developing the disease if given early enough. The phase 3 trial of the AZD7442 treatment found that it was not significantly more effective than placebo. Out of 1,121 participants who had had contact with an infected person, 23 on the drug developed symptomatic Covid-19, compared with 17 on placebo. The treatment is separate from the company’s vaccines, which are being used worldwide to protect against coronavirus. AstraZeneca has agreed to supply up to 700,000 doses of the antibody treatment to the US government, worth up to $726m. However, the AZD7442 results were more encouraging when the drug was given to patients who had not yet tested positive for the virus, reducing the risk of developing the condition by 73 per cent. “While this trial did not meet the primary endpoint against symptomatic illness, we are encouraged by the protection seen in the PCR-negative participants following treatment with AZD7442,” said Mene Pangalos, executive vice-president of biopharmaceuticals research and development at AstraZeneca. The treatment is in several late-stage trials with a combined 9,000 participants. Myron Levin, a professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and principal investigator on the trial, said another trial called Provent would give more data on this patient population. “While Covid-19 vaccination efforts have been successful, there is still a significant need for prevention and treatment options for certain populations, including those unable to be vaccinated or those who may have an inadequate response to vaccination,” the professor said. Antibody treatments from companies including Regeneron and Eli Lilly have been used to bolster the immune response of patients with Covid-19. Former US President Donald Trump was among the recipients of the Regeneron treatment. But they could also be given prophylactically to people who might develop the disease. In a trial of residents and staff at long-term care facilities, Eli Lilly’s antibody bamlanivimab reduced the risk of infection by 80 per cent in participants who tested negative. The search for drugs to treat Covid-19 has been less fruitful than the rapid development of many vaccines against the disease, with doubts about how well the antiviral remdesivir works. Antibody treatments have been one bright spot but they are difficult to administer early enough in the course of the disease to make a difference. With widespread vaccination in the west, demand for these treatments is likely to fall — and they are often too expensive for developing countries.
0 Comments
Docker, a popular cloud computing integration solution, is making changes to its free-tier service due to cryptocurrency mining abuse. The service discontinued its “autobuild” feature due to misuse by bad actors, using it to mine cryptocurrencies in their servers. This is a modus operandi that is now affecting several cloud continuous integration platforms, including GitHub, GitLab, and Microsoft Azure. Docker Forced to Make Changes to Its Free-Tier Services Docker, a popular CI cloud service, is making changes to its service policy due to crypto mining abuse. The cloud computer continuous integration service announced last week it will no longer provide its autobuild features to its free-tier service. Docker announced this in a blog post, stating the attacks have grown in recent months, affecting their paying customers. The team declared: In April we saw the number of build hours spike 2X our usual load and by the end of the month we had already deactivated ~10,000 accounts due to mining abuse. The following week we had another ~2200 miners spin up. Docker is an immensely popular piece of software that allows applications to run in compartments. This means that a package possesses all the libraries needed to run the app. This new restriction will affect some users that leveraged the autobuild feature for free. The Docker team stated that while this was not an easy decision to make, it was the only measure they could take to mitigate the abuse. Although Docker is a notable platform affected by this new kind of attack, it is by no means the only one. Several continuous integration cloud base providers are now facing similar attacks, and are also studying countermeasures.
0 Comments
About $7.65 billion entered the cryptocurrency market in just three hours via a widely unknown altcoin on June 14.Dubbed as WebDollar (WEBD), the token's per-unit price surged from $0.0003711 to $0.6121 between 0900 GMT and 1200 GMT. That marked a little over 164,842% gains in its market valuation. Nevertheless, the price spike accompanied declines in volumes; they dropped from around $345.2K to $318.94K during the rally.Breaking down those three hours of wild price action illustrated a sequence of incredible pumps and dumps. According to data fetched by CoinMarketCap.com, the first WEBD jump took its market capitalization from $1.84M at 0954 GMT to $1.5B at 0959 GMT — that's just three minutes. Later, as of 1039 GMT, the market capitalization fell back to $5.12M, followed by another spike to $9.5B at 1129 GMT.At one point in time, WebDollar had become the 18th largest cryptocurrency project by market cap, beating more established blockchain protocols like Stellar, VeChain and Tron.WebDollar's market cap explodes by more than $7.65B within a few hours, only to crash by 99% later. Source: CoinMarketCap.comBut then, the volatile madness came to an end as the token's market valuation crashed by more than 99% less than two hours after topping at $9.5B. As of 0700 GMT on Tuesday, it was $10.38M. Meanwhile, WebDollar's crypto ranking fell from 18 to 873.The IndoEx factorWebDollar's price action on Monday showed characteristics of a pump-and-dump token. Apprehensively, the project's market capitalization sprinted upward and downward by multi-billion dollars even as its trading volume remained confined within the $400K range. And looking closely, 99.23% of its trading activity originated from a single exchange called IndoEx.Most of the WEBD volumes during the token's pump-and-dump were recorded at IndoEx cryptocurrency exchange. Source: CoinMarketCap.com IndoEx LTD is registered in the United Kingdom under company number 12029621. The exchange is said to be headed by a person named Collins Spencer, who serves as its chief executive and financial officer. Another entity, called Grace North, currently serves as IndoEx's chief technology officer.Cointelegraph's attempt to locate the two executives on LinkedIn and Twitter returned no results. Meanwhile, a run through IndoEx's reviews by its previous customers showed them accusing both Spencer and North of bearing fake identities."Spencer Collins (CEO/CFO), Grace North (CTO) is fake person, work as support in telegram chat," wrote Leo99 in his grievance on Bitcoin forum BitcoinTalk.org. "Continually postpone solving all problems for the future or ignore messages."A deeper look into IndoEx LTD's official filings with the UK Registrar office showed that it received a First Gazette Notice in November 2020 for not sharing details about its shareholders. The company responded to the authority with only one name, Collins Spencer, who holds 1200 shares, hinting that IndoEx is an individually-owned company.The U.K. Registrar later struck off the notice against IndoEx LTD. Nonetheless, the exchange continues to operate without approval from the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). FCA directory returned no results matching IndoEx LTDThe research led to three key takeaways:The WEBD price pump-and-dump originated from one exchange called IndoEx, operating under a UK-registered entity IndoEx LTD.Collin Spencer, the only stakeholder in the company, does not exist anywhere on social media.IndoEx's Linkedin Profile boasts about having 10-50 employees, but only three of them are using the business-oriented social media service. All of them have hidden Linkedin profiles and are from Indonesia, not the UK.Evidence so far points that IndoEx was instrumental in single-handedly pumping and dumping the WEBD token on Monday. The token was trading flat during the Tuesday session of June 15.
0 Comments
Nato leaders have warned that China poses “systemic challenges” to the rules-based international order in a sign of growing western unease over Beijing’s military ambitions. Members of the transatlantic alliance convening in Brussels on Monday cited disinformation, Chinese military co-operation with Russia and the rapid expansion of Beijing’s nuclear arsenal as part of the threat, according to a Nato communiqué.The strength of the statement showed how far relations between the west and Beijing have deteriorated in the 18 months since Nato countries last met. Then, the transatlantic alliance had issued a cautious statement about the “opportunities and challenges” presented by China. On Tuesday, China’s mission to the EU called the Nato statement “slander of China’s peaceful development and a misjudgement of the international situation and their own role”.It added: “We will not present a ‘systemic challenge’ to anyone, but if someone wants to pose a ‘systemic challenge’ to us, we will not remain indifferent.”The communiqué from the 72-year-old cold war-era military pact followed a stronger line from the weekend’s G7 meeting, when the club of rich democracies criticised China over human rights, trade and a lack of transparency regarding the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Jens Stoltenberg, Nato secretary-general, insisted Beijing was “not an adversary” but said the alliance needed to “engage with China to defend our security interests”.“There is a strong convergence of views among allies,” he said, adding that Nato was primarily concerned about Beijing’s activities in the group’s Euro-Atlantic sphere of operation. “China’s growing influence and international policies present challenges to alliance security.” President Joe Biden said that Russia and China were both seeking to drive a wedge into transatlantic solidarity. “The last time Nato put together a strategic plan was back in 2010, when Russia was considered a partner, and China wasn’t even mentioned,” the US president said. Biden, who will meet Vladimir Putin this week in Geneva, described the Russian president as “bright”, “tough” and a “worthy adversary”.“I am going to make clear to President Putin that there are areas where we can co-operate if he chooses,” said Biden. “And if he chooses not to co-operate and acts in a way that he has in the past relative to cyber security and some other activities, then we will respond. We will respond in kind.”The Nato statement, approved by the leaders of the 30 member states, said China’s “stated ambitions and assertive behaviour” posed “systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security”. “We call on China to uphold its international commitments and to act responsibly in the international system, including in the space, cyber and maritime domains, in keeping with its role as a major power.”The communiqué pointed to China’s “coercive policies”, its accumulation of nuclear warheads and sophisticated delivery systems and its participation in Russian military exercises in Atlantic waters. Another trend troubling Nato allies was the involvement of Chinese companies in critical infrastructure in Europe, such as in ports and via telecommunications company Huawei.Nato said it would aim for “constructive dialogue” with Beijing “where possible”, including on climate change, a sign of the more nuanced views held by some of the alliance’s members.The Nato broadside reflected an attempt by the Biden administration to use the president’s first European trip to mobilise allies against China. The Nato leaders also pressed ahead with efforts to modernise the grouping, originally set up as a bulwark to the Soviet Union. Nato will pull back from an era of “expeditionary” international missions, with its forces preparing to leave Afghanistan along with US troops after almost two decades. The Nato heads of state and government approved a cyber defence strategy and extended powers to invoke the alliance’s Article 5 principle of collective defence in cases of co-ordinated cyber attacks.Nato leaders also pushed through measures to strengthen the response to attacks on satellites and to build capabilities in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence. Members of the alliance have become increasingly preoccupied with potential military uses of AI and with the activities of China and Russia in space.Additional reporting by Helen Warrell in London and Kathrin Hille in Taipei
0 Comments
The Argentinian National Soccer Selection launched its official token last week, with a great reception. The token that would give fans involvement in the decisions regarding the soccer team, sold out quickly. The Argentinian National Soccer Selection is the first national team to launch its own fan token. Nonetheless, other European clubs already have their fan tokens. The Argentinian National Soccer Selection Launched Its Official Token The Argentinian National Soccer Selection, one of the most popular teams worldwide, launched its fan token last week. The token, launched in partnership with the platform Socios.com, will allow fans to have involvement in some decisions involving the team. According to a blog post from the AFA, the Argentinian Soccer Association, fans will: “Have the possibility of taking part in surveys, discounts, exclusive promotions, and unique experiences, which will only be intended for those who own these digital currencies.” The launch was a success, selling out in less than three hours according to official reports. Although the sale completed successfully, reports note the platform faced some hiccups and was inaccessible for some time. However, more than 600K tokens, giving the selection an income of more than a million dollars. Argentina’s home stadium is Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti in Buenos Aires. The La Selección (national team) made it to approximately five World Cup finals during the team’s lifetime. The sale happened in two phases: 400K tokens were sold at two dollars each, and then the price was set according to supply and demand. Each user could buy only 250 tokens. The Argentinian team is the first national selection to launch its own fan token. The president of the AFA, Claudio Tapia, stated: Through official Tokens, fans will feel closer to our selection and will be able to participate in exclusive prizes and experiences. We are very excited about this new announcement, which reinforces the confidence of large companies in AFA’s commercial projects.
0 Comments
sponsored HUMAN Protocol is an infrastructure to reshape how humans work, by supporting distributed job markets in which any job, of any size or type, can be securely tokenized, published, and completed. The Protocol facilitates direct, globally mapped connections that bring workers closer to the rewards of their work, organizations to workforces, and machines to understanding. HUMAN Protocol also provides the tools for better human-to-machine collaboration; within the job markets it supports, AIs can handle repetitive tasks while humans focus on specialized or creatively challenging tasks. HUMAN’s vision is to create a more human world: disintermediated yet connected, with every viewpoint and background accounted for and represented, in which all value produced is rewarded. Distributed Job Markets To improve a digital world, you must address its foundations: the mechanisms and systems through which people connect, interact, and collaborate. HUMAN enables distributed job markets, but it is not the job market itself. Rather, it provides the tools, infrastructure, plugins, and APIs to support broad-scale data markets – which, in time, will become markets to support any type of work. It connects distributed workers with global opportunities to empower an already flourishing gig economy, to ensure it is workers, not corporates, that have control over the opportunities available to them, and receive more value from their contributions. New technologies require new data. Data informs the capability of machines to accurately interpret the world. A company producing a smart car may require data to be labeled by up to 40,000 people; as the size of the data sample increases, so does the accuracy. Currently, it is difficult to hire such a workforce. Organizations are forced to rely on traditional data vendors, which provide untargeted, less relevant datasets that are susceptible to greater bias. If organizations can select who labels data, they can better assure the relevancy of the dataset produced. HUMAN Protocol provides the end-to-end infrastructure – the tools, plugins, integrations, and API – to hire, manage, validate, and compensate workers at scale. The job markets it supports are secure and automatic; various Protocol systems handle the publishing and distribution of work tasks, the validation of completed tasks, and the release of funds. The Protocol provisions trust between distributed parties, ensuring organizations can more reliably access global workforces, and that workers, based anywhere, can access global opportunities. How HUMAN Protocol Works HUMAN Protocol is designed to distribute tasks across the globe in pursuit of more balanced and accurate information. For example, it can look for variation in responses to arrive at a consensus of what’s true: an amalgamation of thousands or millions of perspectives. The network enables automatic objective measurements of all work done. This includes a network of Validators and a two-part oracle system, which securely verifies the successful completion of tasks and the information provided to the network. Three key entities within HUMAN Protocol are Requesters, Workers, and Exchanges. Every application to run on or integrate HUMAN Protocol functions as an exchange: a matchmaker between jobs published by a Requester, and tasks completed by Workers. A job is a request for work – represented as a group of tasks to be done – published by the Requester. There are many standard job types represented within HUMAN Protocol. Alternatively, the Requester can select a custom job type. A task is any labor performed by a user – a Worker – in which value is produced. Each task represents an individual work interaction: the labeling of data, the identification of correct information, the solving of a puzzle. A single job can be made up of thousands or millions of tasks. An organization may want to develop a dataset targeted at a specific topic, achieved through the completion of thousands or millions of tasks by a distributed workforce. Jobs are broken down into their composite tasks, each of which can be independently completed by a Worker. An example of a job type may be to scan a page. An example of a task within that job type may be to type in the displayed letters or numbers, or affirm their correctness. For many types of jobs – such as the labeling of data – the result is improved through the diversity of the workforce completing it. Global diversity in human-to-machine interactions is critical to empowering a new generation of AI and ML technologies. Every completed task is a handshake, signifying work requested, work completed, and transactions made. HMT is the native token of HUMAN Protocol. It is the primary mechanism of value transfer within the network. Those wishing to have a million images labeled must fund the smart contract with HMT; the websites and Workers on the other end, who complete the work, are paid in HMT. Network service operators are also compensated in HMT. There is a fixed supply of the HMT token. To learn more about HUMAN Protocol’s architecture, visit the HUMAN technology page – or, for a breakdown of how jobs are securely published, validated, and fulfilled, read the blog piece on the lifecycle of a HUMAN job. A Aome for the World’s Largest Workforce The first application to run on HUMAN Protocol is hCaptcha: a widely adopted, privacy-protecting alternative to traditional CAPTCHA systems. hCaptcha is interacted with by 15% of internet users, representing the world’s largest data-labeling workforce. This is only the beginning, however. HUMAN and its partners are working to bring the Protocol to more applications, each functioning as an Exchange between Requesters and Workers, to realize new distributed markets and ways of working, and increase the points of human-to-machine interaction. HUMAN Protocol already produces a large volume of work interactions; to not overload any single blockchain, thousands to millions of tasks are batched into each transaction. Interoperability is key to HUMAN Protocol’s scalability, and to supporting the growth of the distributed markets that it enables. As more applications integrate with HUMAN Protocol, creating and incentivizing two-sided markets, the number of transactions and tasks rewarded will require further cross-chain distribution. To support this, and as part of the Foundation’s goal to gradually decentralize the Protocol, HUMAN has partnered with Solana, Polkadot, and Chainlink, with further partnerships planned. What’s Ahead HUMAN Protocol’s purpose is to grow and support distributed markets. This can propel a new generation of AI and ML technologies and gig economies, and is supported by the applications that currently run on it. Now, alongside the HUMAN community, developers, and enterprises, HUMAN enables everyone to explore the possibilities the Protocol provides, realizing the secure and transparent tokenization of more types of labor across more applications. To learn more about available integrations and APIs, visit the developer page. For more information on HUMAN Protocol, visit the website or blog. Alternatively, follow the team on Twitter or join the community Telegram channel to receive the latest updates. This is a sponsored post. Learn how to reach our audience here. Read disclaimer below. Tags in this story Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons
0 Comments
The UK opposition Labour Party on Monday accused prime minister Boris Johnson of “complacency” regarding the Delta variant first identified in India and border policies. Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth, said that ministers had failed to heed warnings and had left UK borders as secure “as a sieve”. US consumer inflation forecast for the year ahead rose to its highest level in at least eight years, dampening a rosier view of the labour market and spending. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said on Monday that households were more optimistic about income potential and their prospects of finding a job.Mark Steward, director of enforcement at the UK Financial Conduct Authority, gave evidence to parliament about soaring levels of economic crime during the pandemic. He said the FCA issued more than 1,200 warnings about scam investments in 2020, a 100 per cent increase on the previous year.India’s wholesale inflation rate in May surged to a record of 12.9 per cent from a year earlier, raising concerns about price pressures in an economy still vulnerable after a fierce wave of Covid-19. The jump was driven primarily by a 38 per cent increase in fuel costs. Wholesale inflation was 10.5 per cent in April.Market data flashes on outdoor screens at the Morgan Stanley headquarters in New York © Michael Nagle/BloombergMorgan Stanley chief executive James Gorman sent a tough message to New York employees, arguing that if they are comfortable dining out, they should feel safe in the bank’s headquarters. “If you can go into a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office and we want you in the office,” he said.Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said on Monday that while overall hospital admissions across England were low, in some parts of the country numbers were starting to rise. “What we are seeing is a rapid rise — particularly marked where it was first started in the north-west of the country,” he said. Both the BioNTech/Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines are more than 90 per cent effective in preventing hospital admissions from the Delta variant, Public Health England confirmed on Monday. The Pfizer vaccine was 96 per cent effective in preventing hospitalisation, while the AstraZeneca shot was 92 per cent effective.Specialist UK recruiter SThree’s robust second-quarter has helped drive its six-month performance to “significant growth” even compared with 2019. All regions and sectors strengthened in the second three months of the year, up 22 per cent year on year, pushing net fees up by a tenth in the first half from 2020. 
0 Comments
The UK and Australia have agreed the broad terms of a free trade deal that is expected to become a model for Britain’s post-Brexit commercial policy. Prime ministers Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison are set to announce the in-principle agreement on Tuesday despite concerns raised by farmers in both countries over elements of the deal. British farmers fear concessions allowing tariff-free, quota-free imports of Australian beef, lamb and sugar would seriously damage the domestic agriculture sector. They are also worried about welfare standards in Australia, including the use of hormones by some beef producers.In Australia, meanwhile, farmers have warned that proposals to exempt British backpackers from having to do farm work when renewing their visas would exacerbate labour shortages, blighting the sector. Johnson and Morrison negotiated the broad terms of the agreement over dinner in Downing Street on Monday night, enabling a formal announcement to go ahead, officials told the Financial Times. “Both prime ministers have held a positive meeting in London overnight and have resolved outstanding issues in relation to the FTA,” a spokesman for Dan Tehan, Australia’s trade minister, said on Tuesday.“Their agreement is a win for jobs, businesses [and] free trade and highlights what two liberal democracies can achieve while working together.” If the trade deal can be signed before the end of the year, it would mark the first big bilateral agreement entirely negotiated by the UK since it left the EU in January 2020. Deals announced with Japan and Norway were built upon existing arrangements that were negotiated while the UK was a member of the EU.  Mark Melatos, associate professor at University of Sydney, said the Australia agreement was significant for the UK, but a double-edged sword.“On the one hand, it shows that the UK can conclude bilateral trade agreements post-Brexit, albeit with a very close friend, Australia. This is important for political optics,” he said.“On the other hand, this deal sets a precedent for later, likely more complicated, deals the UK negotiates. Any concessions granted now to Australia will form a baseline for the start of future negotiations with the US, EU etc.”Australian Agricultural Company, the country’s biggest beef exporter, has predicted a tenfold rise in beef exports to the UK if the zero-tariff deal was agreed.But Australian farmers have raised objections about a British demand to remove a requirement that UK backpackers work at least 88 days on farms to extend working holiday visas. David Littleproud, Australia’s agriculture minister, said on Tuesday that Canberra would introduce mechanisms to replace the roughly 10,000 British backpackers who work in Australia’s farm sector with alternative labour if required under the trade deal.The government has estimated that a free trade deal with Australia would be worth an additional 0.01-0.02 per cent of gross domestic product over 15 years, or £200m-£500m more than 2018 levels.
0 Comments
Standing in front of a bank in Algiers, Slimane pulled out gold necklaces and rings from a bag, his wife’s jewellery, which he hoped to use as collateral for a loan.During the pandemic, the 46-year-old businessman had to shut down his small company designing and producing publicity material and let go of his four full-time workers.“It was very hard. It felt like the sky fell on my head,” said Slimane, who did not want his full name to be published. “The pandemic has forced companies to reduce business or shut down completely especially in the travel sector on which I relied for clients. My wife asked me to pawn her gold jewellery so we can start a grocery shop in our neighbourhood.”The coronavirus pandemic has hit Algerians hard, exacerbating the woes of a state-dominated economy already scarred by years of falling oil prices and curbs on local and foreign investment. Even before the pandemic, just under a third of Algerian youth were unemployed and many had hoped for change after the huge protests that led to the overthrow of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2019. But with an undiversified economy, which relies solely on oil and gas exports, and depleting foreign currency reserves, Algeria could soon face economic disaster, analysts warn. Few believe politicians can deliver meaningful change, a fact made clear by the low turnout at last weekend’s elections. For the military-backed regime, analysts say, the parliamentary poll, the first since the protests, allowed it to project democratic renewal, while any resulting coalition government of independents and pro-regime parties is unlikely to rock the status quo.“The economic trend is extremely negative,” said Riccardo Fabiani, north Africa director at the International Crisis Group, a conflict resolution organisation. “There is a liquidity crisis at banks and local companies. In construction, the biggest sector after oil, there has been a record number of bankruptcies. The country could be heading towards economic disaster with a heavy social cost.”Volunteers serve meals to poor families at a charity centre in Algiers © Ryad Kramdi/AFP via Getty ImagesThe economy shrank 6 per cent last year, according to the IMF which projects 2.9 per cent growth in 2021 on the back of higher oil prices. It forecasts a budget deficit of 18.4 per cent of gross domestic product in 2021. To balance its budget, the lender said Algeria needed an oil price of $169.6 per barrel, more than twice the current price of $72. However, analysts say, there is no clarity on how the regime plans to pre-empt a potential economic catastrophe.“Politicians say they want to open up the economy and to diversify,” said Mabrouk Aib, a university lecturer and public policy analyst in Algeria. “They want a lot of things. That is what they claim, but actually we do not know if they have a clear strategy of how they are going to implement this.” Even as falling oil prices in recent years have squeezed government finances and limited its ability to offer handouts and create jobs for its predominantly young population, Algeria’s military decision makers, or decideurs as they are known, have failed to diversify the economy. Instead, successive governments have been burning through foreign currency reserves, which sank from $200bn in 2014 to $47bn in 2020. The military, which has traditionally controlled key decisions since independence from France in 1962, has been reluctant to introduce reforms that would unshackle the private sector, incentivise investments and bring transparency to an economic system built on a web of vested interests and clientelism fuelled by petrodollars. Under Bouteflika, a crony capitalist private-sector was allowed to thrive that benefited from political patronage and government largesse. Many of these businessmen are now in prison on corruption charges and some of their companies have been taken over by the state. Given its lack of foreign debt and a rising oil price, the Algerian regime could still buy “a year or two”, Fabiani noted. It could resort to bilateral borrowing from China or the Gulf. Abdelmadjid Tebboune, the president, last year ruled out a loan from the IMF, suggesting it would constrain the country’s ability to have an independent foreign policy. “The big question remains, what is the new government going to do,” said Fabiani. “Will they come up with any new ideas?”Already, rising prices have sparked repeated demands for salary increases and strikes by different sectors of society, from teachers to doctors to postal workers. Firefighters protested in full uniform last month and were dispersed by police using tear gas. Wary of protests, authorities cracked down in the run-up to the election, preventing marches by the country’s pro-democracy movement that ousted Bouteflika in 2019 and flooding central Algiers with police cars. More than 200 people are in prison in connection with protests.The authorities may stifle dissent but they are well aware that living conditions are increasingly harsh for Algerians suffering under the combined impact of lockdowns, business closures and inflation.“I have a family of seven to support, but the construction company for which I worked has shut down,” said Samir Yefsa, an unemployed 50-year-old. “The state was our only client, but the government now has no construction programme. I don’t know what to do. I have problems feeding my family. I can only borrow from family and friends who are retired and live on pensions, because others who are younger are in a situation similar to mine.” At a market in Algiers, Naima, a primary school teacher complained of price increases and the erosion of her purchasing power. “I swear to you I have not bought fruit for my children for two months,” she said. “There are certain items now that are just too expensive for those on middle or small incomes.”
0 Comments
A number of lawmakers in Latin American countries have expressed their interest in bitcoin following El Salvador passing the law making the cryptocurrency legal tender. The countries include Paraguay, Argentina, Panama, Brazil, and Mexico. Tonga and Tanzania have also reportedly expressed interest in bitcoin. More Countries Eye Bitcoin Adoption After El Salvador passed the bill making bitcoin legal tender alongside the U.S. dollar, a growing number of lawmakers in neighboring countries have either expressed their interest in making a similar move or put laser eyes on their Twitter profile pictures. The laser eyes meme has swept through the bitcoin community since February with the underlying meaning that anyone donning the eyes is laser-focused on bitcoin’s price rising to $100,000. Politicians, celebrities, and investors have partaken and put laser eyes on their profile images. Gabriel Silva, Member of Parliament in Panama, tweeted congratulating El Salvador when the bitcoin law was approved. “Good news for El Salvador who is teaching the government of Panama in entrepreneurship and technology. We have to think beyond the canal and free zones, betting on the knowledge economy, quality education for all and facilitating new businesses.” He emphasized: This is important, and Panama cannot be left behind. If we want to be a true technology and entrepreneurship hub, we have to support cryptocurrencies. We will be preparing a proposal to present at the assembly. Carlitos Rejala, a congressman and the National Deputy of Paraguay, has called for his government to take similar action to El Salvador. Putting laser eyes on his profile picture, he tweeted: “As I was saying a long time ago, our country needs to advance hand in hand with the new generation. The moment has come, our moment.” Fábio Ostermann, an elected member of the Legislative Assembly in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, has also put laser eyes on his profile picture. Argentina’s deputy Francisco Sánchez also temporarily put laser eyes on his profile picture, tweeting, “I can’t believe it, but this is how it is.” Commenting on the growing list of countries becoming interested in bitcoin after El Salvador’s bitcoin law passed, Tyler Winklevoss, co-founder of cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, tweeted last week: First they ignore you, then suddenly Paraguay, Argentina, Panama, Brazil, El Salvador, Nicaragua embrace bitcoin.
0 Comments
Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones says he likes bitcoin. Noting that he can trust math, the famed hedge fund manager said, “bitcoin has appealed to me because it’s a way for me to invest in certainty.” Jones also shared his investment strategies in response to the Fed’s policy. Paul Tudor Jones on Bitcoin, Fed Policy, Inflation Paul Tudor Jones, the founder of asset management firm Tudor Investment Corp., explained to CNBC Monday why he likes bitcoin. He described: I like bitcoin. Bitcoin is math and math has been around for thousands of years. 2+2 is going to equal 4 and it will for the next 2,000 years. So, I like the idea of investing in something that’s reliable, consistent, honest, and 100% certain. So, bitcoin has appealed to me because it’s a way for me to invest in certainty. “I look at the difference between the Fed in 2013 and Fed of 2021 … I look at the difference between Trump and Biden,” Jones noted. “Do I want to have faith and that same reliability and consistency in human nature?” When asked if he likes bitcoin at the current price, Jones replied: I like bitcoin as a portfolio diversifier … The only thing that I know for certain is I want to have 5% in gold, 5% in bitcoin, 5% in cash, 5% in commodities at this point in time. “I don’t know what I want to do with the other 80%,” the famed hedge fund manager admitted. “I want to wait and see what the Fed is going to do because what they do will have a big impact.” A 5% allocation is a significant increase from his earlier allocation of between 1% and 2% that he revealed last year. He further shared, “I have a defensive position in bitcoin to protect myself, my family, and our wealth over time.” He also said he does not look at the price of bitcoin anymore, implying that he is a hodler. Jones also offered his views on inflation and the upcoming Federal Reserve meeting. He said the Fed meeting this week could be the most important meeting in Chairman Jay Powell’s career, and “certainly the most important Fed meeting of the past four or five years.” Clarifying why the meeting is so important, he said: The reason why is because we’ve had so much incoming data that challenges both their mission and their model. So how they react to that will be extraordinarily important and I think for investors as to how they should deal with their portfolios going forward. Jones explained that consecutive consumer price index readings put price pressures well ahead of the Fed’s 2% inflation goal. However, Fed officials continue to insist that the current readings are transitory and unlikely to persist. Jones disagreed, emphasizing that “It’s an intellectual incongruity that risks damaging their forecasts if they’re wrong on inflation.”
0 Comments
Consolidation periods tend to follow strong rallies but they also present a good opportunity to survey the field and evaluate projects that have strong fundamentals.One project that continues to gain traction in terms of price recovery and network adoption is Algorand (ALGO), a pure proof-of-stake (POS) blockchain network that has secured new partnerships and real-world use case applications, as well as support from multi-million-dollar funds in recent weeks. Big funds invest in Algorand-based projectsRaising funds is one of the biggest challenges many projects face and in the last month the Algorand network announced that Arrington Capital, a digital asset manager, had pledged $100 million in funding meant to help accelerate additional development across all facets of the smart contract platform.Today, @arringtonXRPcap announced the launch of a $100M fund to invest in #Algorand-based initiatives! The Arrington Algo Growth Fund (AAGF) will focus on empowering projects building on Algorand & supporting ecosystem growth: https://t.co/cWKsD73Ub4 #futurefi @arrington pic.twitter.com/LFlCQcoaQh— Algorand (@Algorand) June 10, 2021This development came on the heels of the June 2 announcement that Borderless Capital, a venture capital firm, had created a $25 million fund aimed at supporting Miami-based blockchain startups developing digital payment solutions on the Algorand network.Related: Exodus Wallet raises almost $60M in crypto in regulated offeringNew partnerships lure investorsA scroll through the Algorand Foundation Twitter feed shows a growing list of cryptocurrency projects across a variety of sectors that have joined up as part of the Algorand community to take advantage of the low fee, POS environment. The nonfungible token (NFT) sector is showing some interest in the network following a partnership with Curate that will allow for the minting of NFTs as well as the release of a bridge by Curvegrid that will allow businesses to build NFT and blockchain technology into their business and consumer mobile applications.Other recent examples of adoption include a partnership with the Bermuda-based MAPay healthcare payment solution, which will host its payment solution on Algorand blockchain in an effort to improve efficiency and reduce healthcare costs, as well as a partnership with Xfinite and Eros Now to create a blockchain-based content engagement platform for the 224 million registered users of Eros Now. These new partnerships come after a busy year for the network which also included the integration of USD Coin (USDC) and Tether (USDT), the two largest stablecoins in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. “By running USDT and USDC on Algorand, users can transact in their preferred U.S. dollar-backed #stablecoin at a fraction of the cost and time.”@JayHao8 highlights the performance of the Algorand #blockchain in a recent @Cointelegraph article: https://t.co/AfMKbFpWlp— Algorand (@Algorand) March 9, 2021 The growing list of network partnerships and investments from players in traditional finance suggests that ALGO is well-positioned to see future growth as the blockchain sector sees continued adoption and the crypto market recovers from it recent sharp correction.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.
0 Comments
A composite image showing a Falcon 9 rocket booster lifting off and a few minutes later landing back near the launchpad.SpaceXThe next SpaceX launch will feature a milestone, as the Pentagon is allowing Elon Musk's company to send a national security satellite to orbit with a reused rocket for the first time.SpaceX is set to launch the GPS III SV05 satellite for the Space Force on Thursday from Florida, using the Falcon 9 rocket booster that launched the GPS III SV04 satellite last November. The company's Falcon 9 rockets are partially reusable, as SpaceX regularly lands the boosters – the largest and most expensive part of the rocket – and then launches again."In preparation for this first time event we've worked closely with SpaceX to understand the refurbishment processes and are confident that this rocket is ready for its next flight," Dr. Walter Lauderdale, deputy mission director of the U.S. Space Force's Space and Missiles Systems Center, told reporters during a briefing on Monday.The Pentagon awarded SpaceX with five of the six GPS III satellite launch contracts to date, with the GPS III SV02 mission the only one launched by competitor United Launch Alliance – the rocket-building joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Those five launch contracts total $469.8 million and originally did not include the option for SpaceX to reuse its Falcon 9 rockets.As the name suggests, GPS III spacecraft are replacements of the 31 GPS satellites currently operating in orbit.The Space and Missiles Systems Center last year modified the contracts for SpaceX's next two GPS III satellite launches to allow reuse, a move that the military estimated will save about $64 million.Notably, Space Force required that SpaceX use the same booster to launch SV05 that launched the SV04 satellite. But Dr. Lauderdale said Space and Missiles Systems Center has "no other constraints" for how the company uses the Falcon 9 booster in the future, and highlighted that Space Force is also open to flying national security payloads that launched on boosters from non-military missions."We continue to work with [SpaceX] and, looking ahead to the SV06 mission next year … we'll be working with them as to what boosters are available," said Dr. Lauderdale. "We are certainly open to using other boosters not just ones that have flown [for Space Force]."The landed Falcon 9 rocket booster from SpaceX's Demo-2 crewed mission returns to Port Canaveral in Florida.SpaceXThe move marks another step forward in the U.S. military embracing SpaceX's practice of reusing rockets, as the government previously required the company to use new rockets and discard the boosters in the ocean – the traditional practice in the launch industry. Dr. Lauderdale said the Space and Missiles Systems Center has been working on allowing reusable rocket launches for the past five years, setting up new requirements. He noted that the center reviewed over 440 changes to the booster and completed more than 380 verification steps before the launch."Taken as a whole, our disciplined approach is part of an uncompromising dedication to mission success executed one launch at a time," Dr. Lauderdale said.Thursday's launch will be the third of the Space Force's National Security Space Launch program's missions to land the rocket, as well.Become a smarter investor with CNBC Pro.Get stock picks, analyst calls, exclusive interviews and access to CNBC TV. Sign up to start a free trial today.
0 Comments
Municipals were little changed Monday as the market awaits the larger new-issue calendar and participants position themselves ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting. After a week of U.S. Treasury strength, rates rose Monday bringing the 10-year back to 1.50% after hitting 1.43% Thursday, a three-month low. Municipals did not follow and few participants anticipate any rate volatility in the market through the summer."If rates remain in check, it is hard to see a near-term catalyst for a possible selloff," according to a report from Barclays strategists Mikhail Foux, Clare Pickering and Mayur Patel. However, municipal to UST ratios of about 60% "is not a normal state of affairs. Many investors bought in anticipation of higher taxes for both individual investors and corporations. If that does not materialize, high-quality munis will adjust to a more normal ratio regime, but, in our view, this is unlikely to happen during the summer months, when spreads will likely continue grinding tighter and yield curves continue flattening."Municipal to UST ratios were at 59% in 10 years while the 30-year was at 63%, according to Refinitiv MMD. ICE Data Services had the 10-year muni-to-Treasury ratio at 59% while the 30-year muni-to-Treasury ratio stood at 65%.The new-issue calendar kicks off with nearly $2 billion of taxable personal income tax bonds from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York. Investors will also see several large healthcare deals, some nonrated, and two sizable taxable competitive deals from Pennsylvania and Illinois. High yield municipal bond yields decreased by 11 basis points on average last week, noted John Miller, head of municipals at Nuveen."Credit spreads are less than 200 basis points, and we expect further compression ahead," Miller wrote. Inflows totaled $814 million last week, and year-to-date flows of $12.6 billion mark a record pace, he said. "While new-issue deal flow remains well above average, it cannot satisfy investor demand," Miller said. "Deals are routinely massively oversubscribed and market access to new issuance is becoming increasingly valuable."Secondary trading and scalesTrading showed little movement from Friday's levels. Texas 5s of 2022 traded at 0.05%, the same as Friday. Arlington County, Virginia, 5s of 2023 were at 0.11%. California 5s of 2023 traded at 0.10%. Hawaii 5s of 2024 at 0.28%. Wake County, North Carolina, 5s of 2024 at 0.17%. Baltimore County 5s of 2026 at 0.42%. Wisconsin 5s of 2027 at 0.54% versus 0.56% original. Wisconsin 5s of 2027 at 0.66% versus 0.69% original. New York City water 5s of 2031 at 0.93%. NYC TFA 5s of 2031 at 1.05%. Massachusetts clean water 5s of 2035 at 1.08%. Arlington County, Virginia, 5s of 2041 at 1.26%, the same as Friday. New York Dorm PIT 5s of 2049 traded at 1.65%. High-grade municipals were unchanged on Monday, according to Refinitiv MMD's AAA. Short yields were steady at 0.06% and 0.08% in 2021 and 2022. The yield on the 10-year remained at 0.89% while the yield on the 30-year was steady at 1.39%. The ICE AAA municipal yield curve showed short maturities steady in 2022 at 0.04% and 0.07% in 2023. The 10-year maturity was flat at 0.89% and the 30-year yield was unchanged at 1.41%.The IHS Markit municipal analytics AAA curve showed short yields at 0.06% and 0.09% in 2021 and 2022, respectively, with the 10-year at 0.87% and the 30-year yield at 1.41%.Bloomberg BVAL AAA curve showed short yields at 0.05% and 0.07% in 2021 and 2022, with the 10-year at 0.86% and the 30-year yield at 1.41%.In late trading, the 10-year Treasury was yielding 1.50% and the 30-year Treasury was yielding 2.19%. Equities were mixed, with the Dow Jones losing 214 points, the S&P 500 down 0.20% and the Nasdaq up 0.31%.FOMC previewMost analysts expect the Federal Open Market Committee will alter its Summary of Economic Projections and perhaps begin to talk about tapering, without offering clues when they'll begin cutting back on asset purchases.“The Fed is in an excellent position to do nothing at its FOMC meetings this week,” said Steven Skancke, chief economic advisor at Keel Point.Despite its repeated statements “that it has no intention to change its bond buying or interest rate policies until after it sees inflation hitting and exceeding its 2% target, and employment gains happening repeatedly for several months at a level to bring the labor market broadly back to 4% unemployment by the end of the year, financial and business markets have been looking for hints about when the Fed may actually start to telegraph a timetable for its action,” Skancke said.But the market reaction to the consumer price index last week, he said, “confirms what the Fed already expected: there are no immediate signs of inflation problems brewing.”Therefore, the Fed can hold off at this meeting, Skancke said.“We are getting closer to an unavoidable monetary policy inflection point,” said Christian Scherrmann, U.S. economist at DWS Group. “The June meeting is not going to deliver a change of course immediately. The Fed has made it clear that big policy changes will come in small steps. Markets will be watching very carefully for any hint of an emerging discussion on tapering or changing Fed views on inflation.”While some Fed officials expressed concern about rising inflation, “it seems the majority remain in the camp that judges the current inflation temporary or transitory,“ he said. “Many key measures of economic performance remain far below the ambitious goals set by the Fed, at least for now.“The Morgan Stanley U.S. economics and global macro strategy team said it’s not time to remove accommodation, but “many FOMC participants believe it is time to provide themselves more flexibility as conditions evolve into the summer and fall.”Stifel Chief Economist Lindsey Piegza, agreed. “While no policy adjustment is expected in June nor an announcement of a timeline for an eventual adjustment to policy, at least some Fed members will expectedly push for a discussion in the coming months regarding an eventual rollback of emergency measures.”Joe Boyle, fixed income product manager at Hartford Funds, also doesn’t expect any clues to tapering. “[Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome] Powell will continue to delay giving a definitive timeframe of when they will begin tapering their assets purchasing program,” he said. “I don't expect guidance until the fourth quarter of this year or even first quarter of next year.”Not expecting any policy changes, David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds, says the Summary of Economic Projections will be the highlight of the meeting. “These numbers are in need of revision.”The June projections showed the Fed meeting its economic goals by the end of 2023, and raising the fed funds rate the following year, he noted. “If, after reassessing their forecasts for the economy … the Fed maintains this extraordinarily dovish stance, then the risk of a boom-bust recession will have increased to a substantial degree.”“We expect little change in the FOMC’s dovish statement or median fed funds interest rate projections,” said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West Economics. “We do see an upward revision to 2021 GDP growth and inflation forecasts from the FOMC, but little change in the projections for 2022 and beyond.”Not expecting major changes, the economics team at Wells Fargo Securities said “a few Fed officials could very well pull forward projections for when interest rates are likely to rise.”The SEP should inflation slowing in 2022, a path most FOMC officials will view “as consistent with inflation running 'moderately above 2% for some time’ to make up for lower inflation periods. However, given the marked pickup in inflation recently, we expect FOMC officials will signal that risks around inflation are increasingly tilted toward the upside.”Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate, noted in the previous SEP, 14 Fed participants saw rates staying at the zero lower bound through 2022 and 11 through 2023. “If this changes materially with the June update, it will call into question the Fed’s commitment to hold rates steady until the economy gets close to full employment.”The only data that came out Monday, consumers see inflation of 4.0% in the next year, up from April’s 3.4% projections, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s survey of consumer expectations showed.The three-year inflation projection grew to 3.6% from 3.1%.Earnings growth expectations are crawling closer to pre-pandemic levels at the one-year mark, as it gained to 2.5%.“The increase at both horizons is particularly pronounced among respondents age 60 and over and among those with a high school degree or less,” the Fed said.Primary marketThe Dormitory of the State of New York (/AA+/AA+/) is set to price $1.858 billion of taxable and tax-exempt state personal income tax general purpose revenue bonds. Jefferies LLC is head underwriter.The Port of Seattle is set to price $811 million of refunding bonds on Thursday with first lien revenue refunding bonds and intermediate lien revenue and refunding bonds and consists of Series 2021 (Aa2/AA-/AA/) and Series 2021 A, B, C and D (A1/A+/AA-/). Barclays Capital Inc. is bookrunner.The AdventHealth Obligated Group (Aa1/AA/AA/) is set to price $710 million of hospital revenue refunding bonds in two offerings led by J.P. Morgan Securities on Tuesday. The deal is composed of the Colorado Health Facilities Authority’s $420 million of Series 2021A hospital revenue bonds and the Kansas Development Finance Authority and the Orange County Health Facilities Authority’s $240 million of Series 2021 B&C hospital revenue bonds.In the short-term sector, JPMorgan will price Riverside County, Calif.’s (NR/SP1+/F1+/) $340 million of tax and revenue anticipation notes on Tuesday.The San Mateo-Foster City Public Financing Authority is set to price on Tuesday $350.8 million of 2021 wastewater revenue notes, $63.1 million of Series 2021A Estero Municipal Improvement District (Aa2/AA//), $273.3 million of Series 2021B City of San Mateo (Aa2/AA-//) and $14.3 million of Series A refunding bonds (Aa2///). BofA Securities is head underwriter.The Commonwealth Financing Authority, Pennsylvania, (A1/A/A+/) is set to price on Wednesday $343.5 million of revenue bonds. Piper Sandler & Co. is lead underwriter.The Idaho Energy Resources Authority (Aa2//AA/) is set to price on Tuesday $309.3 million of Bonneville Corporation Project No. 2 taxable transmission facilities revenue refunding bonds. TD Securities (USA) LLC is bookrunner.The New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (Aaa/AAA/AAA/) is set to price on Tuesday $286.9 million of State Clean Water and Drinking Water Revolving Funds Revenue Bonds (New York City Municipal Water Finance Authority Projects - Second Resolution Bonds) Series 2021 A, Subordinated SRF Bonds, Serials 2022-2041. Ramirez & Co., Inc. is head underwriter.The Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority (/A/A/) is set to price on Thursday $261.1 million of taxable power supply system revenue refunding bonds, serials 2025-2047. BofA Securities is lead underwriter.The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (/AA+/AA+/) is set to price $222.1 million of taxable variable rate subordinate revenue refunding bonds on Tuesday. BofA Securities will run the books.Norfolk, Virginia, (/AAA//) is set to price $210.8 million of taxable general obligation bonds on Tuesday. BofA Securities is lead underwriter.The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District SFID No. 1 (Aa1/AA+//) is to price on Thursday $194 million of general obligation bonds, election of 2018. Raymond James & Associates, Inc. is head underwriter.The University of South Carolina (Aa2//AA/) is set to price on Tuesday $181.9 million of Campus Village Project taxable higher education revenue bonds. Barclays Capital Inc. will run the books.Lee County, Florida, (A2//A/A+) is set to price on Thursday $140.8 million of AMT airport revenue refunding bonds. BofA Securities is head underwriter.The Yamhill County Hospital Authority (////) is set to price on Wednesday $132.6 million of revenue and refunding bonds. Ziegler is head underwriter.The Los Rios Community College District (Aa2/AA//), California, is set to price on Wednesday $130 million of general obligation bonds, serials 2022-2035. UBS Financial Services Inc. is lead underwriter.Forsyth County, North Carolina, (Aa1/AA+/AA+/) is set to price on Thursday $125.2 million of taxable limited obligation bonds. PNC Capital Markets LLC is head underwriter.The Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development (Aa2/AA//) Is set to price on Thursday $125 million of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Project hospital revenue refunding bonds. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC will run the books.The city of Charleston, South Carolina, (Aaa/AAA//) is set to price on Tuesday $125.3 million of waterworks and sewer system refunding revenue bonds, serials 2022-2035. Wells Fargo Securities is head underwriter.In the competitive arena, the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank is selling $395.09 million of revenue refunding bonds in two offerings on Tuesday consisting of $340.18 million of Series 2021B bonds and $54.91 million of Series 2021A bonds. PFM Financial Advisors is the financial advisor; Burr Forman McNair is the bond counsel.The Pennsylvania Higher Educational Facilities Authority (Aa3//A+/) is set to sell $145.7 million of taxable state system of higher education revenue bonds at 11 a.m. eastern.On Thursday, New Mexico is selling $307.665 million of Series 2021A severance tax bonds. Fiscal Strategies Group and Public Resources Advisory Group are the financial advisors. Rodey, Dickason and Sherman & Howard are the bond counsel.The University of Illinois is set to sell $137.48 million of taxable facility systems revenue bonds at 11:30 a.m. eastern.
0 Comments
Bitcoin (BTC) has risen above the psychological resistance at $40,000 following a series of positive news flow over the past week. The first bit of bullish news that impacted the price of Bitcoin was a tweet from Tesla CEO Elon Musk who said the carmaker wil accept Bitcoin payments if more than 50% clean energy is used by Bitcoin miners with a “positive future trend.”Another piece of news that may have boosted the recovery in Bitcoin was Paul Tudor Jones' suggestion that 5% of every investment portfolio have exposure to Bitcoin,  which is equal to that of gold, cash and commodities. Jones was al critical of the U.S. Fed’s view that the current rise in inflation numbers is transitory. The recent bullish news is proof that the current drop has not altered the fundamentals of Bitcoin. Therefore, as the price stabilizes, Bitcoin may again attract institutional investment.Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360Meanwhile, MicroStrategy has completed its $500 million offering of secured notes, which the company plans to use for buying Bitcoin. After deducting various expenses, the business intelligence firm is left with $488 million that will be used to purchase Bitcoin. This will add to the company's existing stack of 92,079 Bitcoin.Related: Bitcoin sell pressure may hit zero in July thanks to Grayscale’s giant 16K BTC unlockingWith demand likely to return, could Bitcoin lead the recovery in the crypto markets? Let’s analyze the charts of the top-10 cryptocurrencies to find out.BTC/USDTBitcoin turned up on June 13 and soared above the resistance line of the developing descending triangle pattern. This move invalidated the bearish setup, which is a bullish sign. The buyers have continued their purchase today and pushed the price above $40,000.BTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe 20-day simple moving average ($36,779) has flattened out and the relative strength index (RSI) has risen into the positive territory, indicating that the selling pressure has reduced.The BTC/USDT pair could now attempt a rally to the 50-day SMA ($44,571), which may act as a stiff resistance. If the price turns down from this resistance but finds support at the 20-day SMA, it will suggest the sentiment has turned bullish.A breakout of the 50-day SMA will signal a possible change in trend and the pair could then rally to $51,483. This bullish view will be negated if the pair turns down and plummets below the $34,600.36 support. Such a move will suggest that traders are dumping their positions on minor rallies.ETH/USDTEther (ETH) dropped below the support line of the symmetrical triangle on June 12 but the bears could not sustain the lower levels. This suggests that buyers are accumulating on dips.ETH/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe ETH/USDT pair rebounded off the trendline on June 13 and the bulls are now trying to push the price above the 20-day SMA ($2,581). If they succeed, the pair could rally to the resistance line of the triangle.A breakout and close above the triangle and the 50-day SMA ($2,940) will indicate that the downtrend is over. The pair could then move up to the 78.6% Fibonacci retracement level at $3,806.91.This positive view will invalidate if the pair turns down from the current level or the overhead resistance and breaks below $2,200. That could open the doors for a fall to $2,079 and then $1,728.74.BNB/USDTBinance Coin (BNB) bounced off the trendline on June 13 and the bulls have pushed the price above the 20-day SMA ($364). This suggests that the bulls are defending the trendline aggressively.BNB/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewIf the bulls sustain the price above the 20-day SMA, the BNB/USDT pair may move up to $433. This level may act as a resistance but if the bulls can push the price above it, the ascending triangle pattern will complete.This bullish setup has a target objective at $609. The gradually rising 20-day SMA and the RSI above 46 suggest the buyers are trying to make a comeback.However, if the price turns down from the current level and breaks below the trendline, it will suggest that supply exceeds demand. The pair could then drop to $291.06 and then to $211.70.ADA/USDT Cardano (ADA) slipped below the trendline on June 11 but the bears could not sustain the lower levels. This suggests that the bulls are buying on dips. The altcoin rose above the trendline on June 13 and the bulls are currently trying to push the price above the moving averages.ADA/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewIf they manage to do that, the ADA/USDT pair could rise to $1.94 where the bears are likely to pose a stiff challenge. However, a breakout and close above this resistance will suggest the correction is over.Contrary to this assumption, if the price turns down from the moving averages, the pair could again drop to $1.33. A break below this support will indicate weakness and the pair could then plummet to $1.DOGE/USDTDogecoin (DOGE) is attempting to rebound off the neckline of the head and shoulders pattern. This suggests the bulls are attempting to defend this support. If buyers push the price above the 20-day SMA ($0.34), the altcoin could start its journey to the 50-day SMA ($0.40).DOGE/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe bears are again likely to mount a stiff resistance at the 50-day SMA. If the price turns down from this resistance, the DOGE/USDT pair could drop to the neckline and remain range-bound for a few days.The flattening moving averages and the RSI just below 46 points to a range-bound action in the near term. This neutral view will invalidate if buyers push the price above $0.45 or bears sink the pair below the neckline.XRP/USDTXRP has been trading below the 20-day SMA ($0.92) for the past few days but the bears have not been able to sink the price below the $0.75 support. This suggests that bulls are accumulating at lower levels.XRP/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe 20-day SMA is flattening out and the RSI is above 44, indicating the bulls are trying to make a comeback. A breakout and close above the 20-day SMA will be the first sign of strength. It will indicate that traders have resumed their purchases.That could push the price to $1.10 where the bears will try to defend the level aggressively. However, if buyers thrust the price above this level, the XRP/USDT pair could rise to the 50-day SMA ($1.19). This positive view will invalidate if the price turns down and plummets below $0.75. DOT/USDTPolkadot’s (DOT) price action of the past few days has formed a symmetrical triangle pattern, indicating indecision among the bulls and the bears.DOT/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe flattish 20-day SMA ($22.98) and the RSI above 48 points to a possible range-bound action in the short term. However, if bulls push the price above the resistance line of the triangle, the DOT/USDT pair may start a relief rally to $31.28 and then to $41.40.On the contrary, if the price turns down from the resistance line, the bears will make one more attempt to sink the pair below $19.50. If they succeed, the pair could start its journey toward the next critical support at $15.UNI/USDTUniswap (UNI) is trading between the $21.50 support and the $30 resistance for the past few days. Although the bears pulled the price below $21.50 on June 12 and 13, they could not sustain the lower levels. This suggests that the bulls purchased the dip below $21.50.UNI/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe relief rally is likely to face stiff resistance at the downtrend line. This shows that the bears have not thrown in the towel yet. If the price turns down from the current level, the sellers will make another attempt to sink the UNI/USDT pair below the $21.50 to $20.23 support.If they succeed, the pair could drop to $16.49 and then $13.04. Contrary to this assumption, if the bulls push the price above the downtrend line, the pair may move up to the 20-day SMA ($25.45).If the price turns down from the 20-day SMA, it will suggest the sentiment remains negative. However, if the bulls push the price above the 20-day SMA, the pair could rise to $30. LTC/USDTLitecoin (LTC) has failed to break above or below the symmetrical triangle as the bulls are buying on dips to the support line and bears are selling at the resistance line. If the price reaches the apex of the triangle without breaking out, the pattern will be invalidated.LTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe bulls are currently attempting to push the price above the resistance line. If they succeed in sustaining the price above the triangle, it will suggest that buyers are back in the game. That could open the doors for a move to $225 and then to the 50-day SMA ($237).Alternatively, if the price turns down from the current level, the bears will make one more attempt to sink the LTC/USDT pair below the support line. If that happens, the pair could drop to $140 and then to $118.03.BCH/USDTBitcoin Cash (BCH) has been trading inside a descending triangle pattern for the past few days, which will complete on a breakdown and close below $538.11. BCH/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewIf that happens, the BCH/USDT pair could witness aggressive selling and may drop to $400 and then to $370. The gradually downsloping 20-day SMA ($656) and the RSI in the negative territory suggest the path of least resistance is to the downside.This negative view will invalidate if the bulls propel the price above the downtrend line. Such a move could catch several aggressive bears off guard and may result in a short squeeze, pushing the price to the 50-day SMA ($894).The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.Market data is provided by HitBTC exchange.
0 Comments
SpaceX President and COO Gwynne ShotwellJay Westcott / NASASpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell returned to her alma mater on Monday and delivered Northwestern University's commencement address to the class of 2021.Speaking virtually, Shotwell gave Northwestern's students an overview of her career, especially focusing on the nearly two decades that she's worked for Elon Musk's SpaceX. As one of the company's first employees, she has been with SpaceX from its early startup days to now, a space company with nearly 10,000 employees and worth $74 billion."The one accomplishment that we have that I am most proud of is helping to get our country flying astronauts again on American-made rockets and spaceships," Shotwell said.She gave advice to graduates and also declared that she is "worried about our nation's children," saying the U.S. education system is "not preparing our children for their future.""We are not giving all of our children an education that will shape them into resourceful and productive people that our country needs to remain relevant. Every child is a resource to better our future and our future will be driven by technology," Shotwell said during her address.SpaceX's Starship rocket production facility in Boca Chica, Texas, as CEO Elon Musk (third from the right) and President Gwynne Shotwell (third from the left) tour.Steve Jurvetson on flickrShotwell received her bachelor's and master's degrees in 1986 and 1988, respectively, from Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering, and currently serves on the university's board of trustees.Northwestern also awarded Shotwell with an honorary degree.Read Shotwell's full address:"Hey, Class of 2021, I'm incredibly proud to be your commencement speaker.Thank you, Morty [Schapiro] for inviting me, and thanks to the board and Lanny Martin, its chairman, for allowing me to speak, even though you guys know me for my six years of service on this board, and that this invitation is a tiny bit risky.But it is an honor to follow in Mayor Lori Lightfoot's steps. Last year she brought gravitas to this event, while she honored George Floyd and implored graduates to participate in our democracy.This is a special year to do the Northwestern University commencement. This is my 35th anniversary of my Northwestern University undergraduate commencement, and most importantly, Stephen Colbert, who also graduated from NU – or almost did – in 1986, did this speech exactly 10 years ago, and he predicted that the speaker for 2021 would be, and I quote, 'a zoo parrot with a mortar board that has been trained to say congratulations.' So here I am, Gwynne Shotwell, your zoo parrot, for the class of '21; congratulations to you.Class of '21, you have achieved something important. All graduations deserve a celebration but you, this class of 2021, have an even greater achievement: You not only survived but succeeded throughout the insanity of 2020 and into this year. You were able to focus and invest in your future during a period of immense suffering.But many of the issues that we face going forward will be different. I think highly dynamic social, political and economic situations are the new normal, and you are now better prepared to succeed in them. You have lived it and not just survived, but succeeded. Feel good about that and carry that new skill with you; I think you will use it.Okay, before I share a few jewels of my life lessons learned, there are a few things you should know about me to help put my remarks in context. I am a mother, a wife, a mechanical engineer, and nerd. We aren't all nerds, but I'm proud to be one. I'm a longtime SpaceX employee and leader, an active listener, a rancher, of course a wildcat, and an aspiring winemaker. I love my country, even though it is flawed and I'm committed to helping resolve its social injustices. And I am desperate to be a grandmother, but my children aren't cooperating in my vision, at least yet.My road to Northwestern started in Libertyville, Illinois, which is a small town north of the university – that's where I grew up. I did very well in elementary and high school academics, and I also worked incredibly hard at having a full social life. I decided to be a mechanical engineer, after my mother took me to a Society of Women Engineers event when I was only 15 or 16. I applied only to Northwestern University School of Engineering. But it wasn't because it was the best engineering school – I applied because of Northwestern's richness in other fields. It was ranked among the top, or was the top at that time. This was important to me because as a teenage girl in the late '70s – yep, I'm that old – I was terrified as being tagged as a nerd. Now I'm super proud to be one.I was accepted by Northwestern – I'm not sure I would be today, so I think I timed that properly – and I completed two degrees from this fine institution, a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in applied math. Though I criticize my engineering education as too theoretical. I think the best engineers are those that can put the theoretical to practice, and I got almost no practice as an undergrad. Northwestern highlighted the criticality of broad-based thinking. Just being good in math and science will not drive success. It's whole-brain thinking brought to practice that does. I'm thankful that Dean Ottino has brought a strong focus of this concept and applied it so well here to Northwestern engineering.As I was building my own foundation in engineering, I also found time to build a family. I gave birth to and raised two extraordinary children who are better people than I, and could be president of the universe, rather than just being president of SpaceX. One is a double alum in mechanical engineering from Northwestern and one will be a double alum from Stanford, both in mechanical engineering and business. As a mother giving advice to potential future parents: Never tell your children what they should be when they grow up – they will in fact do the opposite. But you can be a good role model, or show them good role models, as my mother did for me – she was an artist.For the last nearly 19 years I have worked for one of, if not the, finest physicist and engineer, Elon Musk. He gave me the opportunity to help him grow SpaceX from 10 people to nearly 10,000 people, and from zero revenue to billions annually. I have helped bring the commercial launch business back to this country, along with the tens of thousands of jobs that come with it. The one accomplishment that we have that I am most proud of is helping to get our country flying astronauts again on American-made rockets and spaceships. We are now positioned to fly astronauts from all over the world on our Dragon spaceship and later this year we will fly the first all-civilian mission, where regular everyday people will travel to space on a multi-day journey around Earth. And this is just the beginning.I hope that I have helped create a path that allows humans to live on Earth, the moon or Mars, whichever their choice. I hope for a future where people can live even further out, amongst other star systems and galaxies. I often joke about wanting to meet other people and see otherworldly fashion. I know I won't see that in my lifetime, but I hope that my work serves as a foundation or a small beginning to achieve that.Okay, so now that you know more about me, it's time to share some advice. I'll name three and then I'll go back and talk about them. Set and try to achieve absolutely absurd goals, and don't be afraid of failing, if you can't achieve them. Work hard, really hard, and be helpful. Be kind, but at minimum, be respectful. Don't be afraid to admit that if you fail, you were wrong and take a different path – or better yet, don't even consider trying something and not getting the outcome that you want as failure. Consider it growth.When I was considering joining SpaceX back in 2002 I was struggling with a decision and drawing it out for weeks. It seemed so risky for me personally to join this little start-up, in an industry where none had ever succeeded. At the time I was a part-time single mother, and this was just too far out of my comfort zone. I was driving on the freeway here in L.A. when it finally hit me: I was being a total idiot. Who cares if I tried this job and either I failed or the company failed? What I recognized at that moment was that it was the trying part that was the most important. Try that risky thing, be a part of something exciting. I don't want to imagine what my life and career would be like had I said no. I'm sure I would have been fine but I would not have been a part of this amazing company, working alongside such extraordinary people. Not taking that job would have been the fail.On a business level, SpaceX took massive reputational risks, mastering the technology and operations associated with landing a rocket. In fact we were continually criticized by our competitors and the media for these failures. I looked on these failures as a source of pride. Our very first attempt to land the rocket on a drone ship, we hit it. We didn't land on it, but we hit the drone ship – that tiny target was hundreds of miles away from the launch site in a vast ocean. After about a dozen attempts we finally succeeded in landing that rocket and landing rockets has become almost routine for us. Still tricky, but it's almost routine. And that technology has been enormously helpful to our business and is critical to establishing a settlement on Mars. If you can't land the rocket, you can't get people to the surface.Working hard and being helpful. I was hired as vice president of business development – that means head of sales. Well I did my job and we got customers, but then their missions needed to be managed and we needed an accounting and finance function because we actually were bringing in money, we needed to work closely with the launch ranges and get permission to be able to launch from them, so I took that on as well. And, as we demonstrated success, we needed a government affairs function to play defense for us in D.C., as our competitor started fighting us. I remember even vacuuming the carpets before a big customer event. In 2008, when we won our biggest contract to date – a nearly $2 billion effort from NASA to take science experiments and cargo to-and-from the International Space Station – Elon needed a partner, and he asked me to do it. I think it was in large part because I had kept growing my scope, being helpful in other areas to the company, all trying to do a great job.Being kind, but at minimum, you must be respectful. Note that almost everyone that you interact with every day is battling some demon or trying to get through some issue. Please consider this as you battle your way to work on the subway, as you're hurrying through the lines at the grocery store, or as you get frustrated with someone in a meeting at work.At SpaceX we have a 'no a------' policy. These kinds of people – a------ – interrupt others, they shut down or co-opt conversation, and they create a hostile environment where no one wants to contribute. This is not a way to promote sharing good, innovative, and even outrageous ideas that are required to solve hard problems. In short, the best way to find solutions to hard problems is to listen harder, not talk louder. Embrace the ideas of your fellow workers, especially when they differ greatly from yours.Stuff that I'm not sharing lessons on but that I think are really important, especially to talk about in a commencement speech in 2021. I'm worried about a lot of things, but I'm not knowledgeable enough in these things to have any useful advice for you, at least not yet. However, I cannot in a commencement speech in 2021 fail to mention the things that I worry about knowing, that many are problems I want to help tackle in the future.I'm worried about our nation's children. We are not giving all of our children an education that will shape them into resourceful and productive people that our country needs to remain relevant. Every child is a resource to better our future, and our future will be driven by technology. That is why I am so concerned about the science and math test scores that we have in this country. China scores first. Ireland – I just bring this up because it's what my heritage is, my ancestors are from Ireland – scores 12th, and the United States ranks 25th.Worse than that, if there is a worse than scoring 25th in math and science as well as reading, is that the gap between our lowest scoring students and our highest scoring students is widening. We are not preparing our children for their future.I love this country and I'm worried about the widening, economic, social and racial divide which was amplified during the pandemic. Not addressing education for our youth is not helping that. We are not treating our neighbors with the respect that they deserve. We are not listening hard to each other and respectfully working on the really important issues that we face as a country and as a human race.I haven't helped our country work on these issues yet – I whine a lot about it – and it's time, probably in the very near term, for me to commit and help fix them. Maybe we can work on these things together.So I've given you some actual experience that taught me that more can be accomplished when crazy ideas are respected, listened to and evaluated. That being helpful and hardworking pays off; it did for me. And that wasting resources, especially human capital, is a moral and ethical sin. And that a small group of people, like those of us here at SpaceX, can change an industry, and by extension can help change the world.Growing up and even early in my career, my friends, colleagues and I focused on getting ahead with an aside or maybe even an afterthought that maybe we should do something good for the world. But as I accumulate more life's lessons, it's clear that a far richer life results from switching that up, finding a career where your pursuit of a better world leads to your getting ahead. And all of you have in you right now all that you need to start your pursuit of a better world. Congratulations, and Godspeed."Become a smarter investor with CNBC Pro.Get stock picks, analyst calls, exclusive interviews and access to CNBC TV. Sign up to start a free trial today.
0 Comments
The nine justices of the Supreme Court are scheduled to huddle behind closed doors June 24 to decide whether a potentially landmark case involving the taxation of telework will be placed on their docket for the fall term.The Biden administration last month asked the justices to not take this case involving temporary taxation of remote workers who live in New Hampshire and formerly worked in Massachusetts.The federal government says the dispute doesn’t rise to the level of original jurisdiction involving issues such as sovereignty or state boundaries that requires a ruling by the high court. Chief Justice John Roberts and the other eight justices of the Supreme Court will decide on June 24 whether to take the telework tax case filed by New Hampshire against Massachusetts.Bloomberg News Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar also listed several other reasons for the Supreme Court to not take the case in a brief she filed on behalf of the Biden administration in response to the high court’s January invitation for the executive branch to weigh in.“Although New Hampshire might prefer that its residents not pay personal income taxes to any government, an independent tax obligation falling on a state’s residents generally is not an injury to that state’s own sovereign prerogatives,” the acting solicitor general’s brief said.New Hampshire, which filed the lawsuit last year in response to temporary Massachusetts rule promulgated because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said in a June 7 response that the federal government has no stake in the lawsuit.The United States “minimizes New Hampshire’s sovereign interests and the tax rule’s effects on the state’s residents, economic strategy, and recruiting efforts,” New Hampshire said.New Hampshire, which has no state income tax of its own, filed the lawsuit after Massachusetts enacted a temporary rule continuing to impose Massachusetts income taxes on out-of-state commuters who began working from home because of the pandemic.“Massachusetts has violated fundamental constitutional principles that restrain one state’s ability to tax income earned in another, and it is doing so on an unprecedented scale—a point underscored by the numerous amici supporting New Hampshire,” New Hampshire said earlier this month.The new Massachusetts law generally freezes the income apportionment of an employee who was working in Massachusetts immediately’ before the pandemic at its pre-pandemic level for the duration of the pandemic. If the worker had commuted to Massachusetts three days a week and worked from home in New Hampshire two days a week, 60% of their income had been subject to Massachusetts income tax.“That sort of temporary rule, applicable only to a subset of nonresidents based in part on their having satisfied a past condition, is unlikely to substantially affect long-term incentives about relocation or employment going forward,” the federal government’s brief said.The case has fiscal implications for five other states that, in addition to Massachusetts, rely on income taxes paid by out-of-state commuters for a significant amount of their revenue.Most notable among the five is New York, where New York City is an employment hub that draws hundreds of thousands of workers from northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut. Arkansas, Delaware, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania also have similar taxes on out-of-state workers.New Hampshire estimates more than 103,000 of its residents, about 15% of its workforce, worked for Massachusetts-based companies in 2017.New Jersey, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Iowa have filed a friend of the court brief in support of New Hampshire, noting many of their residents are in the same position of being forced to pay income taxes to another state where their job is based.New Jersey said more than 400,000 of its residents and 78,000 from Connecticut commuted to jobs in New York City prior to the pandemic.In Congress, bipartisan Senate legislation would set a 30-day in-state threshold before states could levy income taxes on nonresident workers.The federal government said it could be argued that the Massachusetts law “provides a greater incentive for New Hampshire residents to seek employment at New Hampshire businesses and governmental agencies, rather than at their Massachusetts counterparts.”The federal government also said that New Hampshire residents have the option of filing an abatement request with the Massachusetts Commissioner of Revenue. If they are not satisfied with the result, they can seek further review from the state’s Appellate Tax Board, and, if still unsatisfied, obtain judicial review in state court.“Those individuals would be the most natural plaintiffs because they are directly affected by the challenged tax policy,” the federal government said. “Following review in Massachusetts administrative and judicial tribunals, such an individual could present to this court the same legal issues raised here. Proceeding through that alternative channel is particularly prudent for cases (like this one) involving personal income taxes.”The acting solicitor general also wrote that in general “one state should not lightly be permitted to demand relief for its residents from another state when the individual residents themselves have an available means of redress.”
0 Comments
The U.S. Department of Transportation and California finalized settlement negotiations last week that will restore nearly a billion of federal funding to the state’s high-speed rail project.The settlement agreement that resolves litigation over the Federal Railroad Administration’s termination of the fiscal year 2010 cooperative agreement with California’s High-Speed Rail Authority involved intensive negotiations over several months, according to the parties involved.The Biden-Harris Administration's restoral of the $929 million of federal funds is “further proof that California and the current administration share a common vision — clean, electrified transportation that will serve generations to come,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said. Construction has continued on the project in the state's Central Valley while negotiations were underway to restore federal funding.California High Speed Rail Authority It brings "the state one step closer to getting trains running in California as soon as possible," Newsom said. "We thank the Biden-Harris Administration and Secretary [Pete] Buttigieg for their partnership on this important step forward."The decision restores grant funding that was rescinded by the Trump Administration after Newsom made some confusing comments regarding his support for high-speed rail in his first State of the State speech in February 2019.At that time, he said he wanted to prioritize construction on the already underway Bakersfield to Merced segment in the state's Central Valley.The initial impression was that Newsom planned to scrap the San Francisco and Los Angeles ends of the project and leave the shortened Bakersfield-Merced line.Former President Donald Trump and others opposed to the project jumped on Newsom’s comments stalling the already approved federal matching funds for the project.California's high-speed rail project began in 2008 after voters approved a $9.9 billion general obligation bond measure. Estimates have ballooned to $77 billion for the project, now expected to be completed in 2033, several years behind original projections. Project estimates of $45 billion in 2010 included a second phase to Sacramento that is not included in the new, higher tally.Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat, called the U.S. DOT’s shift a “vote of confidence” and sign of the restored close working relationship between the federal and state rail authority that will keep the project moving down the track.“We appreciate the federal administration’s expression of confidence that we are getting this project on the right track,” said Brian Kelly, the authority’s chief executive officer.The settlement was an important step in advancing an economically transformational project in California, according to an FRA statement.“This development was made possible because of the strong commitment of the Biden Administration to ambitious, jobs-creating investments in infrastructure, and to state, local and labor leaders across California,” Pelosi said. “The announcement also comes as House Democrats make progress under Chairman Peter DeFazio on a robust surface and rail reauthorization bill, which includes strong funding for intercity and high-speed passenger rail."
0 Comments
PNC Financial Services Group's footprint in the public finance space will grow coast-to-coast after its acquisition of BBVA USA closed in early June, expanding its business with state and local governments.Pittsburgh-based PNC completed its acquisition of Birmingham, Alabama-headquartered BBVA USA Bancshares, Inc., including its U.S. banking subsidiary BBVA USA, on June 1, making it the fifth largest U.S. commercial bank, with more than $560 billion of assets, and a national franchise with retail customers and business clients in 29 of the top 30 largest markets in the country.Robert Dailey, executive vice president and head of public finance at PNC, said that for public finance at PNC in particular, "this means dedicated teams and support for our clients across the western part of the country, as well as a large presence in Texas, where we will be fourth in deposit market share across the state, according to FDIC data." PNC plans to expand its banking reach, as well as its capital markets activities across the Southwest and Western regions. Robert Dailey, executive vice president and head of public finance at PNC "Over the last several years, PNC has focused on organic growth driven by the ongoing expansion of its middle-market corporate banking business, which PNC Public Finance was certainly a part of," Dailey said. "But, PNC’s acquisition of BBVA USA accelerates these expansion efforts considerably, effectively establishing a PNC presence in 29 of the nation’s top 30 largest markets, representing 65% of the U.S. population. And ultimately, propelling the growth of our Public Finance business years into the future."That also means "a plethora of business opportunities," he said. "We believe that this unique model — having public finance investment banking and commercial banking together in one business — will continue to be attractive to clients, as our capabilities align more squarely with their needs."So far in 2021, PNC ranks 23rd with $1.444 billion of senior-managed deals in 73 transactions, according to Refinitiv data. In 2020, PNC came in `19th with $4.021 billion in 189 deals. PNC was 19th in the top senior managers in 2019 to the tune of $3.461 billion in 151 transactions. Dailey, who is responsible for PNC's public finance banking and capital markets activities in government, higher education and nonprofit sectors, said in addition to potential new hires, "we have many new colleagues from BBVA USA, who we are welcoming to PNC and will be working alongside to grow our business." Many of the BBVA bankers are veterans in the public finance field and "are already embedded in the new communities where PNC will be growing, which is key for our local delivery model," Dailey said.PNC also has been a direct lender to state and local governments and with the expansion, its direct-lending capabilities grow."We will have the opportunity to serve and provide the right financial solutions for a whole host of new cities and states, including areas of California, Arizona and New Mexico, where we previously haven’t had a local presence," he said. "Growing in these geographies enables us to deliver PNC’s full financial services ecosystem to our clients, including large bank resources, industry-leading technology and our differentiated approach as a solutions provider."In addition, as environmental social and governance (ESG) continues to be a critical topic for many in public finance, it also is of PNC's clients — municipalities being no exception, Dailey said. "As a company we try to lead by example and have taken considerable steps to further our work in this space, including most recently announcing an $88 billion Community Benefits Plan to help meet community needs, advance economic empowerment and address systemic racism," he said. Along with this work, PNC formalized its approach to sustainable finance in 2018, forming a cross-functional Sustainable Finance Working Group to develop its philosophy and goals for PNC’s business. "Outside of our own commitments, we also provide resources and expertise to help our clients pursue more sustainable business practices through the establishment of an ESG specialty in our advisory firm, Solebury," Dailey said.Until conversion of bank systems and branches, expected to occur in October 2021, PNC and BBVA USA customers will continue to be served through their respective PNC and BBVA USA branches, websites and mobile apps, financial advisors and relationship managers, the firms said. PNC will provide comprehensive information to BBVA USA customers prior to the conversion.
0 Comments
Many Americans are suddenly house rich. On paper, anyway.Soaring home prices have resulted in a record amount of home equity on hand. By the end of last year, roughly 46 million homeowners held a total $7.3 trillion in equity to tap, the largest amount ever recorded, according to Black Knight, a mortgage technology and research firm — the equivalent of roughly $158,000, on average, per homeowner.That, along with near rock-bottom mortgage interest rates, drove a growing number of borrowers to take money out of their homes.In the first quarter of 2021, the amount of home equity cashed out rose to $49.6 billion — the highest level since 2007, during the last housing boom. Including home equity lines of credit, Americans pulled out a total of $70.4 billion in just the last few months, according to the most recent data from Freddie Mac.More from Personal Finance:Why inflation is both good and bad for your walletMany Americans can’t afford an emergency expenseA Roth IRA could help you buy a home. Here's what to knowAlthough cash-out volume is the highest it's been in nearly 15 years, considering how much equity homeowners are sitting on, "the amount cashed out is pretty modest," said Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac.Still, it's not always easy to access that money. Since the start of the Covid pandemic, the entire industry tightened access to mortgages and several large banks stopped offering home equity lines of credit and cash-out refinances altogether to lower their exposure — or risk — during uncertain economic times.How a HELOC and a cash-out refinance differUp until last year, a HELOC, which is a revolving line of credit but with better rates than a credit card, had been a popular way to borrow against the equity you've accumulated in your home.  The average interest rate on this type of credit is 4.86%, according to Bankrate.com. Meanwhile, credit cards charge nearly 16%, on average.Some banks do still offer this option, although most have tightened their standards, at least somewhat. That means homeowners must have higher credit scores and lower debt-to-income ratios."Generally, the higher your credit score, the easier it is going to be to access home equity," said LendingTree's chief economist, Tendayi Kapfidze.There is, however, a better way to free up some of that money, he added."Because interest rates are so low, your best bet is going to be cash-out refinance," Kapfidze said. "The rates are lower than a home equity loan rate and lower than your existing mortgage rate."Homeowners may also be able to deduct the interest on the first $750,000 of the new mortgage if the cash-out funds are used to make capital improvements (although since fewer people now itemize, most households won't benefit from this write-off).This works well when mortgage rates fall because even though you are refinancing your current mortgage and taking out a bigger mortgage, you are lowering your interest payment at the same time."Substantial opportunity continues to exist today, as nearly $2 trillion in conforming mortgages have the ability to refinance and reduce their interest rate by at least half a percentage point," said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac's chief economist, in a recent statement."If you haven't been looking at interest rates over the last year, now would be a great time to check that out," said certified financial planner Douglas Boneparth, president of Bone Fide Wealth in New York.On a 30-year mortgage, rates below 3% are still widely available. "Even those who received pretty low rates are finding themselves refinancing at lower rates today," Boneparth said.Still, the most preferable terms go to borrowers with high credit scores. "Most people have good enough credit but the best rates go to those with 740 or above," added Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com.This isn't 2005, you can't pull out every last nickel you have in the home.Greg McBridechief financial analyst at Bankrate.comTo be sure, there are some limitations for cash-out refinances, as well.For starters, most lenders will require that you keep at least 20% equity in your home, if not more, as a cushion in case home prices fall."This isn't 2005, you can't pull out every last nickel you have in the home," McBride added.Further, a cash-out refinance often means extending your repayment term, which can squeeze your monthly budget in the long run, along with having to pay closing costs upfront.As a rule of thumb, "if you can reduce your rate by half to three-quarters of a percentage point, it's worth looking at," McBride said. "That's usually the tipping point."Then, "you can earn back your costs in a year and a half," he said, and "refinancing becomes very compelling."  And finally, refinancing opportunities could be short-lived. Mortgage rates won't stay low forever, particularly as inflation ticks higher."That should add some urgency to getting a refinancing done sooner than later," McBride said. "The economy is heating up — those are the conditions that produce higher mortgage rates."Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.
0 Comments
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, appears on CNBC's Squawk Box at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 22nd, 2020.Adam Galica | CNBCJamie Dimon believes cash is king – at least for the time being.JPMorgan Chase has been "effectively stockpiling" cash rather than using it to buy Treasuries or other investments because of the possibility higher inflation will force the Federal Reserve to boost interest rates, Dimon said Monday during a conference. The biggest U.S. bank by assets has positioned itself to benefit from rising interest rates, which will let it buy higher-yielding assets, he said."We have a lot of cash and capability and we're going to be very patient, because I think you have a very good chance inflation will be more than transitory," said Dimon, the longtime JPMorgan CEO."If you look at our balance sheet, we have $500 billion in cash, we've actually been effectively stockpiling more and more cash waiting for opportunities to invest at higher rates," Dimon said. "I do expect to see higher rates and more inflation, and we're prepared for that."Dimon waded into the ongoing debate on whether higher inflation is a result of temporary aspects of the reopening, like raw-material shortages or supply chain issues, or if it could be more lasting. Fed officials have called the current spike in inflation transitory, meaning temporary and short-lived. But there are increasingly voices, including Deutsche Bank economists and hedge fund billionaires, who warn of consequences should the Fed ignore inflation.The bank's move to accumulate cash accounts for about half of the decrease in anticipated net interest income this year, Dimon said. The other half comes from lower credit-card balances, he said. The bank now expects $52.5 billion in net interest income in 2021, down from the $55 billion it disclosed in February.In the wide-ranging discussion, Dimon struck on several familiar themes. He warned that banks were under threat from fintech and Big Tech players including PayPal, which has a larger market capitalization than nearly all U.S. banks.Dimon disclosed that the bank's automated investing service You Invest has garnered about $50 billion in assets, despite the fact that "we don't even think it's a very good product yet."The bank's second-quarter revenue from trading will be "a little north of $6 billion," which is lower from the "exceptional" period a year ago, Dimon said. Investment banking revenue is headed about 20% higher than a year ago and could be one of the bank's best quarters on strength in mergers advice and equity and debt issuance, he said.This story is developing. Please check back for updates.Become a smarter investor with CNBC Pro. Get stock picks, analyst calls, exclusive interviews and access to CNBC TV. Sign up to start a free trial today.
0 Comments
There's no public real estate listing for Penthouse B atop London's super luxury high-rise One Hyde Park. The 18,000-square-foot mega-apartment in the city's ultra-exclusive Knightbridge section is quietly being offered for sale as a whisper listing.Details of the hushed sale are currently only shared by brokers to prospective buyers via word-of-mouth or discovered in articles written about the discrete offering like this one.The One Hyde Park apartment building contains some of London's most expensive apartments.Carl Court | Getty ImagesFor those in the know, the whispered price tag for PH-B is about 175 million British pounds (US$247 million) or more than $13,700 per square foot.The nine-figure trophy flat, owned by London real estate developer Nick Candy, spans two floors at 9,000 square feet per level, with a total of five bedrooms. Candy resided there for about five years with his wife, actress Holy Vallance, and their two daughters.Even at street-level, it's clear that One Hyde Park is uber high-end. It's home to Europe's largest Rolex store, which is adjacent to a McLaren automotive dealership packed with shiny six-figure supercars.The building was developed by CPC Group — which is owned by Candy's brother, Christian Candy — and Waterknights, a company controlled by former Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani. And the interior design is by the brothers' firm, Candy & Candy.A corridor inside the penthouse at One Hyde Park.Candy London"Mr. Candy hopes to capitalise on this inbound interest and the huge pent-up demand from overseas buyers as Covid restrictions ease and international travel resumes," said Rory Penn, head of Knight Frank's Private Office, which is one of the real estate firms representing the whisper listing, in an email. While the $247 million asking price may seem mind-bogglingly high, just last month, a smaller 14,000-square-foot, unfinished penthouse (PH-D) at One Hyde Park sold for an estimated $111 million pounds (US$157 million). Taxes and the build-out fees would likely push the cost of PH-D, which is 4,000 square feet smaller than Candy's, up into the range of 150 million to 160 million pounds (US$212 million to US$226 million range), according to Knight Frank."Despite the pandemic, more residential 'super-prime' sales above US$10m took place in London in 2020 than any other global market," Penn said.Last year, London saw $3.7 billion in transactions of more than $10 million, outpacing New York and Hong Kong, according to Knight Frank data."The UK capital saw transactions (above $10M) rise by 3% in 2020, while Hong Kong and New York saw theirs fall by 27% and 48% respectively," said Penn.Here's a look around Candy's penthouse, which is being offered fully furnished. Although the artwork in the apartment is not included, there are two artistic features that do come with the sale.The reception room features floor-to-ceiling views of Hyde Park.Candy LondonThe formal reception room has double-height ceilings, and features a glittering wave of Swarovski crystals suspended across the ceiling. The design is as much a sculpture as it is a chandelier, comprised of hundreds of individual crystal strands that help illuminate the grand room.The reception room also features a fresco-covered wall with a glass fireplace.Candy LondonOne wall is covered with a fresco depicting the London cityscape and the network of paths that score the park below. At the center of the artwork, is a large glass fireplace.Owner's bedroom suiteCandy LondonThe owner's suite offers panoramic views of the park and a glass panel wall that overlooks the reception area.The sleeping quarters include two identical baths clad in Nero Marquinia marble. In the "her" bath, the black marble floors are contrasted by white Statuario marble covered walls. In the "his" bath, the color scheme is reversed with noir walls and creamy white floors. Both baths include bespoke fixtures made by French glassmaker Lalique.One of the two baths in the owner's bedroom suite.Candy LondonThe formal dining room seats 10. It's finished in mirrored glass and stainless steel and includes a hidden champagne room.The dining room has a hidden champagne room.Candy LondonThe penthouse and its two wraparound terraces deliver breathtaking views of London's Hyde Park, one of the city's most famous royal parklands. It is also the largest, spanning 350 acres.  An exterior view of Penthouse B and its wraparound terrace.Candy LondonThe price of Candy's residence puts it in the ultra-prime market, which includes properties priced at more than $25 million.In 2020, London saw 31 sales of ultra-prime properties, according to Knight Frank, putting the city at the very top of the high-end real estate market by transactions for the first time in five years. Hong Kong dropped to second place seeing 23 transactions above $25 million, and outpacing Los Angeles, which took the third spot with 16 of 2020's mega-sales.
0 Comments
In this article.BBKACartons of Oatly brand oat milk are arranged for a photograph in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020.Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesCheck out the companies making headlines in midday trading.Lordstown Motors — The electric truck maker's stock fell more than 15% midday after announcing CEO Steve Burns and CFO Julio Rodriguez resigned. The moves came just days after Lordstown said it had substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern due to challenges funding the production of its vehicles.Oatly — Shares of the oat milk company dipped about 4.8% after a number of Wall Street firms began coverage of the stock. JPMorgan slapped a neutral rating on the company, saying competition is set to increase in the space. Morgan Stanley rated the company equal weight, with Oppenheimer initiating coverage with a perform rating. Other firms, however, are bullish, with Jefferies, Credit Suisse and Piper Sandler putting a buy-equivalent rating on the stock. Shares of Oatly are still up more than 15% for the month. Square — Shares of the payments company rose over 4% after Deutsche Bank reiterated its buy rating on the stock. "SQ has morphed into a two-sided financial ecosystem that continues to expand total addressable market and beat expectations and we see continued momentum on the horizon," Deutsche Bank told clients.Philips — Philips shares dropped more than 4% after the Dutch medical equipment company issued a recall of ventilators and sleep apnea machines. The company determined that a type of foam used in the devices could degrade and be toxic to users.Chipotle Mexican Grill — Shares of the Mexican chain restaurant climbed over 2% after Raymond James upgraded the stock to "strong buy" from "outperform." The Wall Street firm said the company has room to raise prices and the move will boost its financial results. Chipotle said last week that it had hiked menu prices 4% to cover rising wages.Ferrari — Shares of the luxury automaker dipped nearly 3% after Goldman Sachs double downgraded the stock to sell from buy. The firm said Ferrari's pivot to electric vehicles could hurt cash flow in the near term.Royal Dutch Shell – The energy stock traded about 2% higher as Royal Dutch Shell is reportedly considering a sale of shale assets in Texas. The holdings could be worth more than $10 billion. The deal isn't imminent, but the company is in ongoing talks with buyers.Reddit favorites — Movement in stocks popular on Reddit's WallStreetBets forum continued on Monday after weeks of volatile trading. AMC Entertainment surged about 19%, and ContextLogic jumped close to 14%. Clean Energy Fuels increased about 12%, while BlackBerry and Wendy's ticked more than 1% higher. Meanwhile, Bed Bath & Beyond fell over 3%, GameStop dipped more than 2%, and Clover Health rose more than 5%.— CNBC's Jesse Pound, Maggie Fitzgerald, Pippa Stevens, Yun Li and Tanaya Macheel contributed reportingBecome a smarter investor with CNBC Pro. Get stock picks, analyst calls, exclusive interviews and access to CNBC TV. Sign up to start a free trial today
0 Comments
Summer is finally here. If you're excited to see friends and family, you aren't the only one. For many of us, this season is sure to be filled with pool parties, patio picnics, and backyard barbecues. So, there has never been a better time than now to refresh your outdoor space. Whether your backyard needs a major overhaul or just some sprucing up, here are the top outdoor design trends of 2021. From the colors you must accessorize with to the design elements that stayed popular from last year, these are all great ways to upgrade your outdoor space. Painted Details Bid farewell to the white picket fence and say hello to pink, aqua or any vibrant hue you choose because painted details outdoors is one of the newest trends of 2021 according to Danielle Blundell, Home Director of Apartment Therapy. A painted fence Amy Tran On Unsplash This includes everything from fences painted unique colors to custom murals and even painted pool decks. This is also a great DIY project to try. “Exterior paints can be different colors. And you don't have to worry about the wear and tear. You might have to refresh it seasonally the same way do with decking or your driveway,” she tells me. This trend may very well be inspired by the Instagram walls that we so popular prior to the pandemic.  Rattan We’ve been seeing rattan for several years right now and there’s no chance this trend is going away any time soon. There’s a good reason for this. Rattan is an eco-friendly, high quality material with a timeless aesthetic, according to Janelle Bowers, founder and CEO of Resol Beach. “Rattan is made from natural, sustainable materials that can weather the elements and will last over time. It has been a major trend in outdoor design because it allows us to spend more time outside while enjoying these products, which in turn creates value through memories and experiences.”  Rattan is here to stay Fancy Free Photography The only caveat to keep in mind is that it can take a little bit of work to maintain. “The best way to care for rattan is treating it like any other piece of furniture. Proper care will ensure the longevity of the natural materials. To maintain the beauty of rattan, clean regularly with a damp, clean cloth and avoid harsh chemicals or oil-based products. When not in use, use a cover to avoid direct sunlight and store in a cool, dark place,” say Bowers. Broken Plan Layouts If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that the open floorplan home isn’t quite as appealing when everyone is home all day every day. The same rules apply to outdoor spaces as well, interior designer and HomeGoods Style Expert, David Quarles tells me. “This summer, creating designated spaces outdoors is just as important as it is indoors, as broken-plan layouts are rising in popularity.” Section off your dining area outside HomeGoods/David Quarles Fortunately, building out a separate layout for patios and backyards can be easy. “Just use your home’s interior layout as your inspiration. Designing outdoor kitchens, lounge areas and dining ‘rooms’ can be easy and affordable by shopping stores like HomeGoods. My favorite trick is to mix-and-match chairs within matching outdoor dining sets, like I did with this solid teakwood table set I found at HomeGoods, to creatively bring the indoors to your outdoor oasis” he says. Yellow We could all use a little extra sunshine and there’s no better way to do this than with the color yellow. Just add yellow Homegoods/David Quarles “Yellow is the color of optimism and a beautiful way to add a bit of cheer to any space. Try adding hints of your favorite shade of yellow with weatherproof throw pillows, ceramic vases, or handcrafted baskets like I have on my deck’s lounge area, that I purchased from my local HomeGoods for amazing prices! Yellow is also one of Pantone’s colors of the year,” says Quarles. Fire Pits Fire pits were a major trend last year and at one point most major retailers were seemingly sold out. Whether built-in or freestanding, they’re just as popular this year. According to broker Gerard Splendore of Warburg Realty, these accessories are the ideal way to get groups outside and reunite with friends and family. Fire pits continue to be a major outdoor design trend. Dakota Monk “The fire pit is a gathering spot seen more frequently this summer, as neighbors and friends get reacquainted after isolating for much of the year. Lighting a fire for immediate family members is just as satisfying as it is for a larger group,” he says. Outdoor Speakers Whether it is a hardwired system or a portable Bluetooth speaker, as we say goodbye to Zoom happy hours, music is a great way to create an ambiance. “Outdoor music speakers or portable sound systems are a part of every summer gathering this season, which may not be to everyone's liking. Loud music late at night is a part of the summer landscape, both urban and beyond, but is more prevalent this year as people congregate outdoors,” says Splendore. While you might enjoy the music, you should still be considerate of your neighbors unless you want to read about it on NextDoor. Outdoor Kitchens If you’re considering selling your home, there couldn’t be a better time to install an outdoor kitchen. And if you plan to stay, they’re an easy way to help entertain friends and families, agent Karen Kostiw of Warburg Realty tells me. Outdoor kitchens are a worthwhile investment getty “What’s a party without the food? Outdoor kitchens have been built out with all of the bells and whistles: fancy grills and smokers, pizza ovens, refrigerators, etc. It’s still difficult for many people to travel, so they are making their outdoor living spaces into a special oasis.” Greenery Everywhere While plants have been a major trend for both indoor and outdoor spaces, it’s becoming popular to integrate greenery into other aspects of design. “A lot of cool treatments you're seeing include stones and grass mixed together, or pavers and grass mixed together,” Blundell tells me. In addition to this, she has seen a lot of people installing checkerboard floors outside with pavers. “That's kind of another big trend [along the lines of a] return to classical motifs.” If grass isn’t growing abundantly in your yard, Blundell suggests mixing it with a bit of faux grass “It’s hard to tell what's real versus fake,” she says. After all, every home has a few secrets. Bringing The Indoors Out Bringing the outdoors inside has been one of the biggest design trends in recent years. Now bringing the indoors outside is having a moment. “At Apartment Therapy’s Small/ Cool Experience, it's one of our top trends for 2021. And it's all about maximizing your comfort and being cozy outside no matter the season,” Blundell tells me. To get this look, she recommends accessorizing your outdoor space with throws, lanterns, and bistro lights. “Turn whatever sliver of space you have, into an outdoor living room where you can kick back and relax. And it goes further than just lighting and textiles. We are starting to see mirrors come outside and sculptural pieces on the sides of homes.” Outdoor Rugs Outdoor rugs are another example of bringing the indoors outside. Outdoor rugs are on trend this year! Lawrence Te So what’s the best way to integrate this accessory into your outdoor space? “When it comes to styling, I always start with an outdoor rug as it's typically an indoor element that can bring beautiful texture and familiarity to an outdoor space. Be sure to look for a rug suited for outdoor use: a material that is easy to clean, won't fade with sunlight and can handle high moisture and heavy foot traffic,” says Roxy Te Owens, founder and creative director at Society Social. Outdoor rugs look great on patios or even to section off an outdoor living space in a backyard with a dining table or a sofa and chairs.
0 Comments
American ExpressAmerican Express, best known for its array of personal and corporate cards, is making a push into territory held by banks and a growing list of fintech players.The card company is launching its first checking account for small businesses by leaning on technology acquired last year in the acquisition of online lender Kabbage, CNBC has learned.The product, called Kabbage Checking, is a no-fee digital account that pays 1.1% interest on up to $100,000 in balances. It includes mobile check deposits, a debit card, bill pay and targeted savings features, and access to a network of ATMs and retail locations for cash transactions.It's the latest move to shake up the increasingly competitive world of small business banking. For decades, big U.S. lenders were mostly content to offer bare-bones checking accounts and credit cards to small business owners. Entrepreneurs who needed access to more working capital were often out of luck.That gave rise to online lenders like OnDeck Capital and Kabbage more than a decade ago.  More recently, fintech players like Square, Brex and Intuit have rushed to offer small business checking accounts. And banking giants like JPMorgan Chase have been fighting back by rolling out fintech-inspired services and hardware for merchants.Regardless of their starting point, many of the competitors are morphing into all-encompassing providers of cash management, transaction and lending services for small businesses. Key to this strategy is the humble checking account, which enables access to deposits, a foothold to offer complementary services and data on money flows.Kathryn Petralia, co-Founder of Kabbage, which was acquired by American Express last year.Source: American Express"The checking account is sort of the financial operating system for a business, it's one of the first things a business gets" after being created, Kathryn Petralia, co-founder of Kabbage, said last week in an interview. "With the record number of new businesses being created last year, we think it's important to help them get products that a brand new business wouldn't be able to get from a traditional institution."That's why AmEx acquired Kabbage in August, reportedly paying as much as $850 million for the start-up. While the New York-based company is the largest issuer of small business cards in the country, it needed a digital storefront for a full suite of products beyond just plastic, executives have acknowledged."We have great cards, we're an industry leader for small business cards," Anna Marrs, president of global commercial services at AmEx, said last month at a conference. "It's when you try to go beyond that that we don't always have the skills in-house, we don't always have the products on the shelf."Competitors, in particular the Silicon Valley firm Brex, have seen surging growth by providing more credit to start-ups than traditional competitors dared and quickly rolling out new products beyond its corporate charge card. Brex, which is ranked No. 6 on the CNBC Disruptor 50 list, more than doubled its valuation this year to $7.4 billion.Kabbage had been close to completing its checking account around the time the coronavirus pandemic struck in the U.S., according to Petralia. Even though AmEx is itself a bank holding company, the checking account is backed by Green Dot, a partner to technology and fintech firms.AmEx is betting that its cardholders may be frustrated with the limitations and fees of traditional banks and open to an alternative. But it also has no minimum balance requirement and offers a relatively high interest rate; most small business checking accounts pay virtually no interest, though they often offer cash sign-on bonuses.Kabbage Checking by American ExpressSource: American ExpressSome U.S. business owners may have soured on Kabbage, however. Months before the takeover, Kabbage abruptly halted lending during the pandemic, slashing some customers' credit lines. The start-up pivoted to administering Paycheck Protection Program loans, but when AmEx bought Kabbage, it excluded the fintech firm's loan book.Borrowers who had used Kabbage for the first round of PPP loans had to rely on K Servicing, a new entity, for follow-up loans. That business has garnered less-than-stellar reviews from people desperate for rescue loans.After AmEx completed the Kabbage acquisition, it began piloting the fintech's services to its cardholders earlier this year. The card company has begun offering credit lines of $1,000 to $150,000 for small businesses, leaning on Kabbage's automated underwriting software.As part of its cash management platform, the company will be able to deliver insights to users including when to pay vendors and borrow money, Petralia said."That's the beauty of having a suite of products that all work together to help customers manage cash flow," she said. Business owners "are not folks with finance degrees; they're ordering inventory and making products and dealing with customers. We're trying to simplify their lives."Become a smarter investor with CNBC Pro. Get stock picks, analyst calls, exclusive interviews and access to CNBC TV. Sign up to start a free trial today.
0 Comments