Bitcoin (BTC) price is still stuck in what traders hope will be a short-term downtrend as the impact of the April 18 rumors of a crackdown on “unnamed financial institutions” for facilitating money laundering using cryptocurrencies have yet to be shaken off. Data from Cointelegraph Markets and TradingView shows that since being pummeled below the $51,000 level on April 18, the price of BTC has been trading in a range between $52,500 and $57,500 and establishing a descending pattern of lower highs and lower lows.BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewWhile regulatory concerns may have played some role in the current drawdown, there have been several other significant developments that have affected BTC's recovery. According to Micah Spruill, managing partner and chief investment officer at S2F Capital, a 20% to 25% drop in the Bitcoin hash rate caused by mandatory power blackouts in the Xinjiang region of China over the weekend "forced approximately 80% of the miners in that area offline.”Spruill sees this drop in hashrate, combined with an all-time high in the Bitcoin futures open interest rate as the catalyst for “the perfect scenario for a major over-leverage washout.”In terms of what comes next for Bitcoin, Spruill pointed to an increase in bullish sentiment among analysts and traders “after much of the over-speculation in the market this month was tempered by the price pullback.”Spruill said:“Currently, the on-chain metrics are looking incredibly healthy with accelerating growth of new entities joining the network, increased user signups on major exchanges like Binance, and continued bullish net exchange outflows in both Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH).” Bitcoin's current trading range may be dominated by botsDavid Lifchitz, the chief investment officer at ExoAlpha echoed Spruill's perspectives as he also pointed to regulatory concerns in the U.S. and the announced ban on cryptocurrencies in Turkey as “the match that lit the fire of an overleveraged trading environment” based on the perpetual swaps funding rate before and after the plunge. According to Lifchitz, Bitcoin is now back in the “$50,000 - $60,000 twilight zone” which is characterized by institutional dip-buyers with orders at the $50,000 level, retail FOMO above $60,000 and “trading bots playing ping-pong in the range in between.”Since the drawdown, Lifchitz identified a temporary support for BTC in the middle of the range around $54,000 to $55,000, but still considered it “too early to say if the dip is over.” Lifchitz said:“Without any strong catalyst, breaking above $60k looks difficult at this time, and a break below $50k may drive Bitcoin down to $30k. Traditional markets showing signs of exhaustion may also put a dent on the crypto markets recovery.”Ethereum price hits a new highBitcoin’s current downtrend has opened the door for Ethereum (ETH) to step into the limelight as the top-ranked altcoin by market capitalization hit a new all-time high at $2,644 on the back of $47.3 billion in trading volume. ETH/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewEther’s rally was accompanied by a 25% rally in the price of Maker (MKR), one of the oldest decentralized finance protocols on the Ethereum network, which reached a new all-time high of $4,980. Solana has also been a strong performer as of late, surging 26% overnight to reach a new record high at $39.72.The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $2.02 trillion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 49.6%.
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More than 2,000 companies, worth more than $27tn in market capitalisation, either already have or are planning to set an internal price on carbon within two years, according to the global environment impact disclosure group CDP.Internal carbon prices — a cost per metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent — can be factored into capital spending or research and development costs by organisations as part of decision making.The prices can be hypothetical, where no money is spent, but the company calculates an additional cost based on the carbon intensity of the investment, with the objective being to encourage low-carbon spending. Some companies, including Microsoft, require departments to “pay” an internal fee based on the emissions they generate.“What you're trying to do is trigger a different investment decision,” said Nicolette Bartlett, the CDP’s global director of climate change. Depending on the price, what it covers, and how much importance a company attributes to the calculation, it can be very or not at all influential.Fees are likely to be “most influential”, since they represent an internal “tax,” she added.The CDP said the number of companies that factored the cost of carbon into their business plans, or were planning to do so within two years, had increased by 80 per cent in five years. They included carmaker Volvo, oil major Shell and retailer Next, and 226 of the top 500 companies by market value in the FTSE Global All Cap Index.The median internal carbon price disclosed to the CDP by companies in 2020 was $25 per metric ton of CO2 equivalent. That is considerably lower than the current price of allowances traded under the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, which reached a record high of more than $40 this year.But Bartlett said there was too much focus on the price itself, rather than on “the influence it has on decision making.” “The strategy companies have around it is more important than the number they use.” A high carbon price was not guaranteed to effect change, she added.Companies that were anticipating a regulatory price on carbon were more likely to have set a price, the CDP found. But many companies likely to be affected by regulation were still not pricing the carbon problem. Some EU companies in particular “are potentially underestimating the speed of change that that system is undergoing,” said Bartlett.
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The US Senate has voted overwhelmingly to pass a bill intended to improve federal, state and local law enforcement’s ability to respond to hate crimes, especially those targeting Asian Americans.The Senate’s 94-1 vote on Thursday to approve the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act was a rare example of bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill. Josh Hawley, the Republican senator from Missouri, was the only lawmaker to oppose it.The bill proposes a new office in the US Department of Justice specifically to address hate crimes against Asian Americans. It will now be sent to the House, where it is likely to find similar bipartisan support. The Senate bill was introduced by Mazie Hirono and Tammy Duckworth, Democratic senators from Hawaii and Illinois, respectively, to tackle the growing number of recorded hate crimes committed against Asian Americans amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Corresponding legislation in the House has been sponsored by Grace Meng, a Democrat from New York.Hirono and Duckworth are the only Asian-Americans in the 100-member upper chamber of Congress.The legislation was introduced shortly before a shooting last month in Atlanta that killed eight people, including six Asian American women. Those murders piled pressure on members of Congress to take action after a year marked by a sharp rise in crimes against Asian Americans.The Stop AAPI Hate Initiative, an advocacy group, recorded nearly 3,800 hate incidents targeting Asian Americans between March 2020 and February 2021. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University found hate crimes targeting Asian Americans rose nearly 150 per cent last year. Critics have blamed former US president Donald Trump, who frequently called coronavirus the “Kung flu” and the “China virus”, for fanning the flames of racism. “Today, the Senate said enough is enough, and underscored loud and clear that there is no place for hate anywhere in our society,” Meng said. “More reporting of hate crimes will provide us with increased data and a more accurate picture of the attacks that have been occurring against those of Asian descent, and a more centralised and unified way of reviewing these crimes would help to address the problem in a more effective manner,” she added.The Senate bill introduced by Hirono and Duckworth was amended to include separate anti-hate crime legislation introduced by Richard Blumenthal, the Democrat from Connecticut, and Jerry Moran, the Republican from Kansas. Their proposals would expand resources to improve hate crime reporting and increase investment for assistance for hate crime victims.“Don’t let anyone say that we can’t do bills, important big bills, bipartisan bills in the United States Senate,” Blumenthal said on Thursday. “When American values are on the line, we can do them.”
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If you’re one of the many homebuyers having trouble finding a house these days — at least one in your price range — there just may be a light at the end of the tunnel. According to a new survey of over 100 economists, there should be a boost in housing supply not too far down the road.  When exactly? The majority of those surveyed said inventory growth should return to normal by the second half of this year. Another quarter said early next year.  Either way, it should be a boon to buyers, offering a break from the countless bidding wars and ever-rising prices seen in the last few months. In fact, according to the survey, most economists think home price growth will slow to just 4.5% this year. (Prices are currently up more than 10% over last year — more than double that forecast). “This is the most bullish near-term outlook for home prices we’ve seen from our experts since the early stages of the post-bust recovery,” said Terry Loebs, founder of Pulsenomics, which administered the survey in conjunction with Zillow. “The panel’s five-year average annual home price forecast has never been more optimistic.”  It seems we’re already seeing signs of an inventory shift, too — at least a minor one. According to data from Realtor.com, new home listings have increased for two weeks straight and are now up 40% over last year. To be fair, this time last year, the pandemic was still in its early days, and many sellers were fearful of listing their home — not to mention shopping for a new one — as the virus raged on. Still, it’s a step in the right direction. “We see large year over year trends that are an indication of the huge progress we’ve made toward normalization,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com. “Buyers who are currently struggling to find a home are likely to see improvement in the number of choices available to them as more sellers list for the spring buying season.” Considering we’re currently in the midst of the most profitable week to sell a home, that may just be true.
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Senate Republicans’ $568 billion dollar infrastructure proposal is a shadow of the Biden Administration’s $2.3 trillion dollar plan, and room for compromise lies primarily in how both sides define infrastructure.On Thursday, Republican lawmakers unveiled their plan for infrastructure, defining the term to cover roads and bridges, public transit systems, rail, water and wastewater, ports and inland waterways, airports, broadband and water storage and safety.“This is a robust package when we look at where we’re focusing our infrastructure needs,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R- W. Va., during a press conference Thursday. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R- W. Va., along with other Republican lawmakers introduced their infrastructure outline on Thursday. Bloomberg News The outline includes $299 billion for roads and bridges, $61 billion for public transit systems, $35 billion for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, $17 billion for inland waterways and ports, $44 billion for airports and $65 billion for broadband infrastructure among others.That would be paid for through user fees, unused federal spending and would preserve the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — including extending the cap on the state and local tax deduction and not increasing corporate or international taxes. President Biden’s American Jobs Plan would increase the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21% in order to pay for infrastructure.”Let’s not forget that a billion dollars is an enormous amount of money and $568 billion is a very, very generous offer in dealing with infrastructure,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., during the press conference “It will get us a long way to where we want to go in a five year plan.”Ed Mortimer, vice president of transportation and infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, called the GOP outline an important step, but not close to the end yet.“It shows that there are bipartisan discussions and that both Democrats and Republicans want to find solutions to address America’s infrastructure,” Mortimer said.There is bipartisan agreement for physical infrastructure and that the bill should be paid for, Mortimer said.“Focusing on roads and bridges, transit, aviation — the transportation parts of this, I think there is bipartisan agreement that those all have to be included,” Mortimer said.Biden’s plan includes that physical infrastructure, but is much broader including affordable housing among other things.If the GOP proposal was enacted into law, it would be the biggest investment in traditional infrastructure ever made, Mortimer said.“It’s a significant proposal in our view,” Mortimer said. “This is a continuation of a conversation and there’s going to be many more reiterations of this before we get to a final solution.”Capito suggested on Thursday repurposing unspent dollars from the pandemic “that are no longer considered an emergency” to be spent on infrastructure.“We do not agree that ARPA (American Relief Plan Act) funds should be used specifically for not just relief, but also preparing people for recovery,” said Emily Brock, director of the Government Finance Officers Associations’ federal liaison center. “While some of that might mean investing in capital infrastructure in their communities, that’s a decision for the local decision makers to decide how to spend it and provide relief for the future.”The ARPA money has not yet been disbursed, nor has the U.S. Treasury released guidance.“The cart and the horse are in misalignment,” Brock said.Senate Republicans’ fact sheet dubbed “The Republican Roadmap” also mentioned federal funding should flow in part through the “utilization of financing tools,” though no specifics were given.Congressional Democrats have yet to release an infrastructure bill, but Brock expects it to be similar to the Move America Forward Act from last summer. That bill from House Democrats would have permanently reinstated Build America Bonds and tax-exempt advance refundings as well as expanded the issuance of private activity bonds. That bill died in the then-Republican-controlled Senate.“We see bonds playing a role in both of them, we’ve just received more assurances from folks on the American Jobs Plan side that recognize the municipal bond,” Brock said. She added that doesn’t mean Republicans won’t support municipal bond provisions and said many municipal bond provision bills have bipartisan support.There is an effort on both sides to define infrastructure, marking an effort of cooperation across both sides of the aisle, Brock said.“As you’re looking at the specific areas that they’re thinking about adding into their plan, cooperation could be seen throughout that, Brock said. “The volumes and levels of contribution in each category just differ pretty broadly.”Democratic lawmakers plan to release their infrastructure plan in mid-May.The American Public Transportation Association were disappointed by Republican lawmakers’ plan.“This proposal cuts transit funding by $4 billion and is a major step backward for communities that want to rebuild their economy and reimagine their future,” APTA said.
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Barcelona, one of the world’s top football clubs, has defended the controversial Super League project that collapsed this week, arguing against “rash action” and calling for a review of the proposed competition without “unjustified pressure and intimidation”.The Spanish club, which is struggling with losses caused by the pandemic, late on Thursday stood by its on-pitch arch-rival Real Madrid in support of the breakaway tournament.“The decision was made in the conviction that it would have been a historical error to turn down the opportunity to be part of this project as one of its founding members,” said Barcelona.However, the two Spanish sides face an uphill struggle to make the competition a reality after most of its founding clubs across England, Italy and Spain stated their intention to withdraw as a result of a backlash from supporters, rivals, governing bodies, players and politicians. Earlier on Thursday, Spain’s La Liga had said the 12 football clubs that sought to create a widely criticised European Super League should control their finances after years of profligate spending on players.Barcelona has suffered from mounting debts after heavy losses because of lost match-day income. The Super League was designed to give its founding members “welcome bonuses” worth €200m-€300m each to help them recover from the pandemic.Critics of the now defunct multibillion-euro project accused its backers of trying to create a “closed” competition dominated by the richest clubs, most of which now intend to back out of the project. Javier Tebas, president of La Liga, which runs the top two domestic divisions in Spain, told a press conference on Thursday that breakaway clubs should rethink their business models to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and that wealth should be divided among more clubs and countries.“Maybe these clubs should control their expenses more than their revenues,” said Tebas, one of the most powerful executives in European football. His call for reduced spending would mark a major shift for clubs that have for years increased their transfer and salary budgets for signing and retaining star players, and points to how the collapse of the Super League does not resolve the huge losses suffered by leagues and clubs because of the pandemic.“Instead of having three or four Ferraris, you just have one Ferrari, and in short, adjust the expenses to what reality is and our reality is now marked by Covid, which has reminded us that income cannot grow indefinitely,” said Fernando Roig, majority-owner and president of La Liga side Villarreal CF.The breakaway teams had hoped the Super League could attract billions in revenues to replenish their finances following the coronavirus pandemic. The world’s 20 richest clubs stand to miss out on €2bn in revenue over the two seasons hit by the pandemic, according to consultants Deloitte.Florentino Pérez, president of Real Madrid and mastermind of the Super League, had claimed that the competition would “save football” and that the increase in revenues generated by Europe’s top clubs could have benefited rivals as well. Tebas accused him of “making up figures that are not real”, dubbing the project a “Super League of Powerpoints”. The La Liga president insisted he would seek to prevent the resurrection of similar breakaway efforts but would not impose sanctions against the clubs.The repercussions for the 12 clubs behind the Super League are still emerging. In England, the Premier League is pushing to remove from its subcommittees representatives from Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, according to someone close to the English top flight.Joel Glazer, a member of the US billionaire family and co-owner of Manchester United, has apologised for his club’s role in the Super League, but asserted that football needed “to become more sustainable”.
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State and local government finance issues are getting an additional voice in Congress through the formation of a new caucus of former state and local officials.The Congressional Caucus of Former Local Elected Officials announced Wednesday is starting with 18 members, but organizers say 112 members of the House and 24 senators qualify for membership.That means one-quarter of members of Congress have “experience working across partisan lines to apply practical solutions to our real-world challenges,” said Mathew Chase, CEO and executive director of the National Association of Counties. One-quarter of the members of Congress have “experience working across partisan lines to apply practical solutions to our real-world challenges,” said Mathew Chase, CEO and executive director of the National Association of Counties. National Association of Counties “We know the importance of working together,” said Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Ariz., a former mayor of Phoenix, who is serving as one of the four bipartisan co-chairs.The other co-chairs are Democratic Rep. Gerald Connolly of Virginia, a former chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors; Republican Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, a former mayor of Fort Worth; and Republican Rep. David Joyce of Ohio, a former public defender.Joyce said he looks forward to working with other former local officials to break through "a highly partisan environment in our nation's capital."I'm proud tohave spent my entire career serving the community where I was born and raised, " Joyce said.Wednesday’s announcement of the new caucus was sponsored by NACo and the National League of Cities.Both groups worked hard last year with other state and local groups such as the National Governors Association to lobby Congress for direct emergency aid to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn.“While communities across the country look to rebuild and recover, we look to Washington for a strong federal partnership,” said NLC CEO Clarence Anthony, noting that he is also a former mayor.Many congressional Republicans opposed direct aid to state and local governments as part of the emergency relief even though it was sought after by Republicans elected officials at other levels of government.“With conversations around infrastructure and workforce investment beginning in Congress, the perspective of how these programs and policies will be implemented on the ground is of the utmost importance,” Anthony said.“It is for these reasons, and many more, that we look forward to working collaboratively with this caucus to uplift local impact, inform policy, and support their work in Congress,” he said.Connolly said he hope to increase “local government literacy” among his colleagues in Congress.“At the end of the day, it's local governments that actually have to deliver the assistance we're mandating at the federal level,” he said. “They're the ones who run the health clinics, they're the ones who do the vaccinations. They are the ones who educate our students remotely during a pandemic, and on and on.”Connolly said he wished Congress would reestablish the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, which existed for nearly four decades. Its accomplishments including the role it played in instituting unfunded mandate reforms.Republican Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah is a cosponsor with Connolly on proposed legislation to bring back the commission. That legislation passed the House in the last Congress but never received a vote in the Senate.
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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has asked the judge in the SEC v. Ripple case to block Ripple and its executives from accessing various internal records it claims are unrelated to determining whether XRP is a security. The SEC says that the “defendants do not actually seek relevant evidence, but rather seek to harass the SEC, derail the case’s focus away from its merits, and bog down the SEC with document review.” SEC Seeks to Limit Ripple’s Access to Its Records The SEC wrote a letter to Judge Sarah Netburn Wednesday attempting to block Ripple from accessing certain records. The letter followed the court order granting Ripple Labs, its CEO Brad Garlinghouse, and co-founder Christian Larsen (Defendants) access to the SEC’s records pertaining to XRP, bitcoin, and ether. The order requires the SEC to search the external emails of 19 custodians for documents related to the three cryptocurrencies but denied the defendants’ requests for certain internal SEC communications considered irrelevant to the case, the letter describes. The SEC confirmed that it is in the process of complying with the court order and “has begun reviewing tens of thousands of external emails from the identified custodians for production pursuant to the order.” The court also required the parties to “meet and confer” about whether the SEC should produce certain official documents “expressing the agency’s interpretation or views” on XRP, bitcoin, and ether. However, the SEC claims: It has become evident through the meet-and-confer process that Defendants are seeking to ignore the limitations of this court’s order and to mire the SEC in indefinite discovery disputes and, if successful, document review. “Rather than meet and confer about whether the SEC should review and produce or log certain internal documents reflecting agency views, Defendants wrote the SEC with a laundry list of documents they view as ‘capture[d]’ by the order,” the commission asserted. The list includes “the very same internal emails that the court ordered the SEC did not have to review and produce — and not just with respect to bitcoin, ether, or XRP, but with respect to ‘cryptocurrency’ generally.” The defendants also asked for “the inclusion of a 20th custodian that was not subject to the order or the parties’ prior discussions.” This request goes beyond the “documents expressing the agency’s interpretation or views” envisioned by the court’s order, the SEC claims, adding that the defendants “have shown that they will continue to ignore the court’s rulings and demand more endless, burdensome, and unnecessary discovery.” The commission additionally alleges: Defendants’ approach is part of a pattern of gamesmanship with respect to discovery and the following examples show that Defendants do not actually seek relevant evidence, but rather seek to harass the SEC, derail the case’s focus away from its merits, and bog down the SEC with document review. The defendants’ “new request that the SEC search the personal devices of SEC employees fits into a broader pattern of trying to make this case about random and irrelevant communications by SEC staff instead of Ripple’s unregistered offering of XRP,” the SEC elaborated. According to the commission, “There is no basis to believe that SEC employees used personal email accounts or devices to express agency interpretations or views on bitcoin, ether, or XRP to the market.” The SEC, therefore, “seeks an order that resolves pending discovery disputes and bars Defendants from seeking irrelevant, privileged SEC staff materials that this court already ruled are not discoverable.” Specifically, the regulator seeks to prohibit the defendants from “obtaining internal SEC staff communications the court already excluded from production” and bar them from “searching SEC staff personal devices” and “adding custodians.” Do you think the judge will rule in favor of Ripple or the SEC? Let us know in the comments section below. Tags in this story Brad Garlinghouse, Christian Larsen, court order, judge order, Ripple, ripple lawsuit, ripple vs sec, SEC, sec discovery, sec harass, sec ripple lawsuit, sec v ripple, xrp security Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article. Read disclaimer
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Mortgage rates have officially dipped below 3% again, hitting their lowest point since mid-February.  According to mortgage purchaser Freddie Mac, the average rate on 30-year, fixed loans is now just 2.97% — down from 3.04% the week prior. On a $300,000 mortgage, that’s the difference of about $8 per month and over $4,000 in interest across the life of the loan. The dip sent both home purchases and refinances upward. As Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, put it: “The drop in mortgage rates is good news for homeowners.” Refinances had previously been on the decline for weeks. At the start of April, applications to refinance a home were actually down 20%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, a trade group focused on real estate financing. This week, though, refinancing activity saw a 10% increase, and it’s now 23% higher than one year ago. Overall, refinances accounted for 60% of all mortgage loans for the week. "Mortgage rates dropped to their lowest levels in around two months, prompting a small resurgence in refinance activity after six weeks of declines,” said Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting at MBA. “Borrowers acted on the decrease in rates for most loan types, with both conventional and government refinance applications showing gains.”  Homebuyers also took advantage of the rate drop. Applications to purchase a home were up 6% for the week, with the largest surge seen in conventional loans. According to MBA, the average loan size rose as well, a likely side effect of ever-rising home prices. Recent data from property analytics from CoreLogic show home prices up 10.4% in just the last year and as much as 22% in some states (hello, Idaho). This week’s drop in rates should help offset those price hikes — but only slightly. “Homebuyers are experiencing the most competitive housing market we’ve seen since the Great Recession,” said Frank Martell, CoreLogic’s president and CEO. “As affordability challenges persist, we may see more potential homebuyers priced out of the market and a possible slowing of price growth on the horizon.”
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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti zeroed in on the city’s housing crisis, infrastructure and social justice issues as he outlined his “justice budget” this week in a State of the City speech.The $11.1 billion budget released Tuesday includes a laundry list of items aimed at creating what the mayor called a more just city, and funding for new agencies and commissions to tackle inequities. The city’s homelessness crisis took center stage in Garcetti's budget proposal with $1 billion in spending proposed, substantially more than the city has ever dedicated to the effort. A streetside tent encampment of homeless people in Los Angeles in February 2020. Pressure is building to find permanent solutions.Bloomberg News Among the city's plans to aid the less fortunate, and increase traffic, is a pilot program to offer free rides on the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s rail and bus network for low income residents and K-12 students starting next year, said the mayor, who chairs L.A. Metro's board.“The state of our city is strong and bruised – bursting with joyous possibility, while crackling with sorrow,” Garcetti said. “If you ask me what defines LA in 2021, it’s what we are doing to become a city more just, more equal, more kind, more itself than we have ever given it the opportunity to be.”In addition to rent relief and small business grants funded in the budget, infrastructure projects will bring 1 million new jobs, Garcetti said. Those projects include a new concourse and state-of-the-art cargo facility as part of Los Angeles International Airport’s $15 billion capital improvement program. The city’s Department of Water and Power would also invest $8 billion in a program called Operation Next to increase the use of recycled water by expanding the Hyperion Treatment Plant.The mayor's budget would also launch the largest basic income experiment in the U.S. by giving $1,000 of cash a month to 2,000 residents.The same day that Garcetti proposed the largest expenditure on homelessness during his eight year tenure, a federal judge ordered the city to house every homeless person on Skid Row, the long-time concentration of homeless people on the eastern side of downtown, by October.Judge David O. Carter granted a preliminary injunction filed by the plaintiffs last week that orders the city and county to offer single women and unaccompanied children on Skid Row a place to stay within 90 days, help families within 120 days and offer housing or shelter to every homeless person on Skid Row by Oct. 18.The lawsuit was brought by a coalition of small business owners, residents and community leaders in downtown Los Angeles calling themselves the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights, who are affected by Skid Row.Though Skid Row may be the city's longest, and most well-known area with a concentrated homeless population, only 4,600, a fraction of the 41,290 people homeless at the beginning of 2020, are located there, according to a report issued in June 2020 by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. The city didn’t conduct its annual homeless counts this January because of the pandemic.It’s unclear how the judge’s order might apply to homeless people residing in the rest of the city.The judge also ordered the city to place $1 billion in an escrow account, equal to what Garcetti had proposed for efforts across the city. The city doesn’t have that amount in hand to place in an escrow account because some of that would come from state or federal grants.“While some may see this preliminary injunction as a kick in the shins, I choose to interpret this as a clarion call for the city and county to collaborate like never before,” said Councilmember Ridley-Thomas.The number of homeless people in Los Angeles has continued to increase despite concerted efforts and funding from the city, Los Angeles County and the state Legislature. LAHSA officials said they were disappointed by the increase in homeless people in both the city and county in 2020. LAHSA wrote in its June 2020 report that that the people they have housed are staying housed, but new people affected by economic distress are falling into homelessness.An estimated 82,955 people fell into homelessness during 2019 on a county-wide basis, and an estimated 52,686 people “self-resolved” out of homelessness — in addition to the 22,769 placed into housing through the homeless services system despite the tight housing market, according to LAHSA. Put another way, an average of 207 people exit homelessness every day while 227 people become homeless, the report states. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti delivered his State of the City speech Monday at the Griffith Park Observatory.Los Angeles Mayor's Office California State Auditor Elaine Howle's office in February produced a critical audit of the state’s efforts to combat homelessness, calling them disjointed at best. She recommended to the governor and state lawmakers that the state give more authority to the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council created in 2017 that was supposed to coordinate with local efforts to provide accountability and avoid duplication of efforts.Los Angeles city voters approved a $1.2 billion Proposition HHH general obligation bond measure in 2016 to build housing, which is nearly tapped out; and county voters approved in March 2017 Measure H, a quarter-center sales tax to raise $355 million annually to fund prevention efforts and services for homeless people.Most of the state's metro areas have passed similar measures and the state has approved tens of millions toward the effort, in addition to approving its own bonding program called "No Place Like Home" that won Bond Buyer's Deal of the Year in 2021, backed by a dedicated income tax surcharge that funds programs for mentally ill people.The bonds fund supportive housing for mentally ill homeless people.The $1 billion in Garcetti's budget proposal, partly achieved by tapping state and federal programs, is nearly seven times the $176 million he allocated in the 2017 budget when he also prioritized combatting homelessness.The total includes $791 million to fund projects to help homeless residents, increase cleanups around shelters and expand programs aimed at keeping housed Angelenos from becoming homeless, and $160 million that was allocated for homelessness issues this fiscal year that has not been put to use.“Ending homelessness is tough, tough work and not for the faint of heart, but our investments are building a movement and building our capacity to improve the lives of our unhoused neighbors,” Garcetti said.His budget would earmark $362 million for 89 projects and 5,651 total housing units through Proposition HHH, nearly $200 million for the development of affordable housing, homelessness prevention, and eviction defense, $57 million for nine additional homeless outreach teams and 11 new regional storage facilities to store homeless people’s possessions, and $43 million for Project Roomkey.The state launched its Homekey and Roomkey projects in 2020 as a response to the pandemic by turning hotel and motel rooms into housing units for homeless people.The mayor’s proposed budget includes an expansion of Project Roomkey, which has allowed the city to rent hotel rooms for homeless people during the pandemic. Six new hotels will be opened with a combined 523 rooms, bringing the total to 1,450.The City Council approved a motion in March authored by Ridley-Thomas for staff to report back with a detailed "Right to Housing’ plan that is due any day.The Right to Housing program “scales up our response in prevention, interim housing, permanent housing and street engagement across the region,” Ridley-Thomas said. “At the national level, the Biden administration has acknowledged that a "right" to housing is the path forward to address our nation’s homelessness crisis. The same is true in Los Angeles. Enough is enough. It’s time to get to work.”As the council negotiates the details of the budget leading toward a hoped-for approval by June 1, Ridley-Thomas said he plans to make sure the final budget advances the initial pillars of the Right to Housing program, “including more funding for homeless prevention, a dignified and responsive street strategy and interim and long-term housing to help individuals transition off the streets.”The city needs a comprehensive strategy, sufficient ongoing resources and an enforceable obligation on government to act to address this moral crisis with the urgency and conviction that is warranted and “a billion dollars dedicated to this action takes us in the right direction,” Ridley-Thomas said.The 2021-22 budget is bolstered by $777 million in relief funds from the American Rescue Plan President Biden signed in March. Garcetti's plans for a kinder city would not defund the police. He proposed a 3% increase in funding to $1.76 billion for the Los Angeles Police Department.The city has launched many social justice committees to deal with racism and he created a bureau to train officers in community policing that Police Chief Michael Moore said would move officers from a “containment and suppression" model to community policing.“If you want to abolish the police you're talking to the wrong mayor,” Garcetti said. “And if you want to return to an ‘us and them’ mentality that made police an occupying force in some communities, you have come to the wrong place. When situations don’t need guns, let’s not send guns.”
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Fitch Ratings is renaming its public finance housing group to the Community Development and Social Lending Group to better reflect the broader scope of lending that supports social missions."Tax-exempt bonds will continue to make up a fair amount of debt offerings in the sector, however we have seen an uptick in taxable sustainability and social impact bonds in the last 14 months,” said Mikiyon Alexander, Fitch senior director and sector lead of the group. “It's important to be at the forefront of the industry's evolution,” says Fitch senior director Mikiyon Alexander. Nearly $27 billion of affordable housing bonds were issued from June 2020 to March 2021, Fitch said, of which about $7.5 billion were taxable, sustainability or social impact offerings. In the first quarter, around $6.8 billion of housing bonds were sold, of which $875 million were sustainability or social impact bonds and $827 million were taxable, according to Fitch.Community development financial institutions have become more common in the municipal bond space since the first CDFI applied for a bond rating in 2015, according to Fitch. By the second quarter of 2020, CDFIs had accessed the muni market with rated offerings totaling $1.05 billion.“It's important to be at the forefront of the industry's evolution and be properly poised to provide timely, reliable credit opinions and research,” Alexander said.In addition to rating bonds, Fitch’s CDSL group issues environmental, social and governance relevance scores for the credits it rates, including social impact and community investment financings.Fitch said it rated its first CDFI in June 2020, assigning its AA rating and stable outlook to the Century Housing Corporation in California, along with its subsequent series 2020 $100 million taxable sustainability bond issuance and $50 million sustainable impact notes.The rating agency says its criteria enable it to rate community development entities such as affordable housing, student housing, military housing, public housing authorities, capital fund financings and community impact credits, in addition to housing finance agencies, housing finance loan programs and community development financial institutions.
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An aerial view of the Rockybrook Estate in Delray Beach, FloridaDouglas EllimanTen days after closing the year's most expensive mansion sale in Delray Beach, Florida for $19 million, luxury real estate broker Senada Adzem got an unexpected phone call."The buyer called me to say they would be selling the home. Honestly, we were surprised," Adzem said in an interview. She recounted how the buyer explained his plans had changed. He and his family could no longer move to Florida."I've never been involved in a situation where the client invested such time and effort to purchase a dream home — only to have to turn around and sell it less than two weeks later," Adzem said.The client relisted the home, known as "The Rockybrook Estate," with an asking price of $23 million, which was $4 million more than he paid for it a few weeks earlier. Adzem said she expects the unintentional short-term flip will pay off."We're confident — given the red-hot luxury market in South Florida, and the dazzling, resort-style splendor of this property — that the seller has an excellent opportunity to turn a significant profit on this deal," she said.The scenario isn't an isolated case. It is playing out in several U.S. real estate markets as the rising value of stocks and other assets has helped boost the spending power of the wealthy. With many of these buyers looking to live in a limited number of markets, the availability of luxury properties can be scarce.The great room at the Rockybrook Estate in Delray Beach, Florida.Douglas EllimanLow inventoriesDelray Beach is one good example. Inventory for multimillion-dollar luxury listings in the city on Florida's southeast coast is at a 10-year low, and down 45% compared with 2020, Adzem said. In the first quarter, the average sale price for a luxury single-family home there is up more than 53.7% from the previous quarter, according to the Elliman Report."The low inventory of megamansions, especially in a booming housing market like we have in South Florida, works in favor of the seller," she said.On the same day this home at 14 Sandy Cove in Newport Beach, California sold, the buyer decided to list it for sale.Photo: PreviewFirst / Stavros GroupIn Southern California, broker Andy Stavros also had a buyer who became an unintentional flipper. Stavros sold his client an $8.7 million home at 14 Sandy Cove in Newport Beach, California. On the same day she closed, Stavros said the buyer decided she would list it for sale. A view of the backyard at 14 Sandy Cove in Newport Beach, California.Photo: PreviewFirst / Stavros GroupStavros said his client's plans changed because she saw a bigger home she preferred in the area for $13 million and she bought it. That meant she no longer needed the four bedroom, eight bath home she had just purchased. When she asked Stavros to sell it, her asking price was $8.9 million.The view from 14 Sandy Cove in Newport Beach, California.Photo: PreviewFirst / Stavros GroupAccording to Stavros, his client's intention wasn't to make money, but it could happen. Before the listing went live, potential buyers were already calling."All of a sudden, I have multiple showing requests," he said,Deciding to sell a multimillion dollar property the same day you close on it isn't usually a profitable strategy. But if the property is desirable and located in a hot market with low inventory, an unintentional house flipper can turn a sizable profit, according to South Florida real estate broker Devin Kay."We are getting surprised on a daily basis in terms of what things are selling for," Kay said.In-demand properitiesCase in point: An unexpected short-term house flip in Miami Beach, Florida by Adam Wyden, the founder of hedge fund ADW Capital. In late December, the former New Yorker purchased a home on Miami Beach's La Gorce Island for $4.15 million.La Gorce Island is a small guard-gated community that Cher, Ricky Martin and Billy Joel all once called home. Wyden said he intended to tear down the outdated 4,500-square-foot residence on the half-acre lot and build a larger new home. "Immediately after I went into contract, someone offered $400,000 for my contract," Wyden said in an interview. He added that he declined the offer because he wasn't a flipper. He and his wife planned to permanently relocate to La Gorce Island and a few hundred grand in profit wasn't going to change their plans. "The intent with my wife was to build a house," Wyden said. But soon after, the Wydens realized they weren't up for all the headaches that come with building a new home, so instead they put an offer on another South Florida home. In February, they relisted the unimproved property at 31 La Gorce Circle for $5.5 million — a whopping $1.35 million more than they paid for it."I thought people could say I was crazy, or there could be a bidding war," Wyden said.Even Kay, the Wydens' real estate broker, was shocked when six days after relisting the property, it sold for the full asking price. "I didn't have any confidence in my head that we were going to get $5.5 million for it," he said. Wyden said, "I'm not in the real estate speculation business," but just like the stock market, when demand increases and supply drops, prices inevitably go up. La Gorce Island is just 1.2 square miles so there's a very limited supply of homes and even fewer teardown development opportunities."As a result of a highly competitive market and that there's nothing else for sale, we were able to flip it for 33% profit," Wyden said. He added, "I probably undersold it. I probably could have gotten six [million dollars] for it."Wyden's flip outperformed the Miami Beach market, where prices for luxury single-family home sales rose 20.2% in the first quarter from the prior quarter, according to the Elliman Report.Not just luxury marketsAnd it isn't just luxury markets seeing very profitable unintentional flips. Los Angeles real estate agent Spencer Daley turned a surprising profit for himself on a quick flip in Idaho."These are prices that Boise has never seen before. This is uncharted territory," Daley said in an interview. The 31-year-old Douglas Elliman broker bought himself a piece of land in the town of Caldwell in September. It was an undeveloped 0.8 acre lot overlooking the Timberstone Golf Course inside a subdivision, unaffiliated with the golf course, about 20 minutes from Boise. Real estate records show he paid $120,000 for it."It wasn't like I bought it and I was gonna flip it," Daley said. "I bought the land to actually build on it." He had the architectural plans and was quoted costs of about $380,000 to build. Daley expected it would take a year to complete the project and then he planned to put the house on market for somewhere north of $600,000. But three months after buying the land, Daley said something he never expected happened: A buyer called with an off-market offer that he couldn't refuse. He sold the propert for $250,000. "It was more than double what I paid for it," Daley said. Warren Johns is the local real estate agent, licensed with Mountain Realty, who represented Daley. Johns said he helped another client, also an unintentional flipper, buy and sell an undeveloped lot on the same street. According to Johns, the buyer paid $95,000 for the lot and sold it for $250,000.The unintended flip earned his client more than 163% on his original investment in less than five months.The supply of real estate inventory on a golf course in the Boise metropolitan area is low, Johns explained. The lots in the Timberstone area also have an added benefit, which also boosted the demand. He said it's one of the few subdivisions in the region where lot buyers can bring in their own builder."Builders weren't able to get into other developments that were controlled by other powerful builders," so those builders came to the Timberstone subdivision as land buyers looking to develop and then sell. Both lots Johns helped his clients flip went to buyers who were builders, and he has a third lot in the subdivision that's also now under contract with a builder.Daley said that giant short-term profit made his decision obvious."If the profit's there and it's less risk, then I don't know why you wouldn't," he said. "I netted more from selling the lot than from selling a finished spec home."
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The US House of Representatives has approved a historic bill that would admit Washington DC as the 51st state and give the nation’s capital full representation in Congress.The Washington DC Admissions Act passed the Democrat-held House on Thursday along party lines, 216-208, in a victory for Democratic lawmakers who say residents of the nation’s capital lack fair representation in Congress. But the bill is probably dead on arrival in the upper chamber, which would make it the latest in a list of progressive priorities, including tighter gun laws and sweeping voting reforms, with little chance of overcoming Republican opposition to become law.Democrats control both the House and the Senate, but filibuster rules require the support of 60 senators in the 100-member upper chamber in order for a bill to advance — a difficult hurdle to clear when the Senate is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. Joe Biden, the US president, has been reluctant to embrace progressives’ calls for Democrats to scrap the filibuster. Democratic senators Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona have also said they were against getting rid of it.DC statehood has long been a cause célèbre with progressives and residents of the nation’s capital, where about half of the population is African-American and voters are overwhelmingly more likely to choose Democrats than Republicans. Republicans say the move would violate the constitution, and accuse Democrats of launching a power grab to boost their numbers on Capitol Hill.The US constitution allowed for the creation of a federal district, and the 23rd amendment, adopted in 1961, gave the city three Electoral College votes in presidential elections. But Washington DC has never had voting representation in Congress, despite having over 700,000 residents — more than Vermont and Wyoming — and paying more in federal taxes per capita than any state. Car registration plates in the district bear the slogan “End taxation without representation”, echoing the “No taxation without representation” rallying cry of the American Revolution. The city is represented in the House by Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who is a non-voting delegate. It has no senators.Norton first introduced a bill to make Washington a state almost three decades ago, in 1993. That measure failed, 277-153, garnering support from less than half of Democrats and just one Republican. However, support for making the capital the 51st state has grown in recent years, both among lawmakers and the general public. The cause has gained momentum in recent months alongside the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as Democrats’ victories in winning back the White House and the Senate. Last year, the House passed a similar statehood measure that died in the Senate, then under Republican control.Public opinion polling shows Americans are divided on the issue. A Fortune poll in January found 49 per cent of Americans favoured DC statehood, while 45 per cent were opposed.Republican lawmakers, including Mitt Romney and Adam Kinzinger, have in recent weeks suggested alternatives to full statehood, including absorbing Washington DC into the neighbouring state of Maryland, or allowing Norton to become a voting member of the House.
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In this articleXOMActivist investor and newly appointed Exxon board member Jeff Ubben is building his stake in the company on the belief that the oil giant will be integral to the energy transition."I am," he said Thursday on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" when asked if he was planning to buy more Exxon shares. "I am building this new business...I really believe that the return dynamics for Exxon from here are spectacular. They are part of the solution, not part of the problem," he said.Ubben, who is a proponent of ESG investing, joined Exxon's board in March amid pressure from shareholders to reshuffle directors as the stock price languished. ESG refers to a form of sustainable investing that centers on three factors: environmental, social and corporate governance.Ubben is no stranger to investing in oil and gas companies. While at ValueAct, the firm he founded in 2000, he took a stake in BP, saying traditional energy companies can belong in ESG portfolios.In recent months, Exxon has doubled down on its commitment to environmental goals as oil majors in the U.S. and abroad look to make their operations greener.On Monday, the company proposed a $100 billion carbon capture project in Houston that would require the support of the industry and the government. In February, Exxon announced plans to invest $3 billion in carbon capture and other emissions-cutting technology.Ubben noted that while net-zero power generation can be accomplished through renewable energy, Exxon's size and scale makes it capable of tackling areas that are harder to decarbonize, including transportation and industrial activity."If you think about Exxon's role, it's to do the hard stuff, and you cannot get to net zero without doing the hard stuff," he said. "To use the existing infrastructure and capture the carbon is probably the least expensive and quickest way to net zero," he added.Exxon's emission-reduction targets have come under fire from those who say it's too little too late. Engine No. 1, an activist group that's been targeting Exxon since December, said the company hasn't gone far enough in outlining its role in a zero-carbon world."We believe that reacting to the threat of a shareholder vote is not the same as a coherent and value-enhancing long-term strategy, and that without real change these gains could be short-lived," the group said in March following Exxon's investor day.Still, Ubben said the company is working on "breakthrough technologies" supported by 20,000 scientists. He added that Exxon is the leader in the $2 trillion carbon capture business."This is the technology that will get us there quickest, and net-zero doesn't happen without it," he said.Shares of Exxon were slightly lower on Thursday, but are up 35% this year.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- CNBC's Kerry Caufield contributed reporting.
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American Airlines said it reduced its cash burn in the first quarter and sees demand recovering, which pushed shares up 3 per cent in early trade. The Texas-based airline, which is struggling from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, predicted capacity will be down between 20 to 25 per cent in the latest quarter from the second quarter of 2019 before the pandemic hit, the company said in a statement on Thursday. American forecast a revenue decline of 40 per cent compared with the second quarter of 2019.“The pandemic is far from over,” said chief executive Doug Parker. “We have to continue to fight like never before and ensure that, when the green flag drops, American is out in front.” Parker added: “But as our world makes daily strides in Covid-19 vaccination efforts, customers are returning to travel and there is no doubt the pace of the recovery is accelerating.”American previously said it expects air travel to rebound strongly over the summer, as an acceleration in vaccinations and easing coronavirus restrictions have spurred demand. It expects to fly over the summer months more than 90 per cent of its domestic seat capacity and 80 per cent internationally, as compared with 2019. The airline plans to operate more than 150 new routes. Revenues fell 53 per cent from a year ago to $4bn in the first quarter, in line with Wall Street expectations, according to a Refinitiv survey, and on the back of a 39 per cent reduction in capacity. American reported average cash burn of about $27m per day in the first quarter, compared with $30m the previous quarter. In March, the carrier burnt through about $4m a day on average, excluding about $8m of debt and severance payments. The rate turned positive last month, it said.The carrier has incorporated more than $1.3bn in cost reductions into its plans for the year, including a voluntary buyout plan it launched in February that will result in the exit of 1,600 employees. American agreed with Boeing to defer and convert five 787-8 aircraft to 787-9 aircraft, with deliveries expected in 2023. Its remaining 14 787-8 aircraft will be delivered by the end of the first quarter of 2022.American reported a net loss of $1.3bn or $1.97 share, compared with a loss of $2.2bn or $5.26 a share in the year ago quarter. Adjusting for one-time items the company reported a loss of $4.32 a share, compared with analyst expectations for a loss of $4.31 a share.
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The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a crypto-related bill introduced by pro-bitcoin Congressman Patrick McHenry. It requires the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to establish a working group focused on digital assets. Bill to ‘Ensure Collaboration Between Regulators and Private Sector’ on Cryptocurrency The U.S. House of Representatives passed several bipartisan bills on Tuesday, including H.R. 1602, introduced by pro-bitcoin Congressman Patrick McHenry, the Republican leader of the House Financial Services Committee. H.R. 1602, entitled “Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act of 2021,” will “establish a digital asset working group to ensure collaboration between regulators and the private sector to foster innovation,” the committee described. McHenry explained: [This bill] requires the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to establish a working group focused on digital assets. This is the first step in opening up the dialogue between our regulators and market participants and move to needed clarity. The bill states that the working group shall be established no later than 90 days after the date of its enactment. In addition, the bill requires that the members of the working group include at least one representative from fintech companies that provide digital asset products or services, financial firms regulated by the SEC or CFTC, institutions engaged in academic research or advocacy relating to digital asset use, small fintech businesses, investor protection organizations, and institutions that support investment in historically-underserved businesses. The working group shall submit a report no later than one year after the enactment of the bill to the SEC, the CFTC, and the relevant committees, the bill notes. The report must contain regulatory analysis and recommendations related to the laws and regulations under the jurisdiction of the SEC or the CFTC. The recommendations are “for the creation, maintenance, and improvement of primary and secondary markets in digital assets, including for improving the fairness, orderliness, integrity, efficiency, transparency, availability, and efficacy of such markets.” They must also cover the “standards concerning custody, private key management, cybersecurity, and business continuity relating to digital asset intermediaries.” The bill, which now heads to the Senate, can be found here. What do you think about this bill? Let us know in the comments section below. Tags in this story CFTC, crypto bill, cryptocurrency bill, digital asset bill, Digital Assets, Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act of 2021, Fintech, house passes bill, patrick mchenry, SEC, working group Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article. Read disclaimer
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A bipartisan pair of lawmakers is pushing for an increase in the passenger facility charge, which backs bonds for projects such as airport terminals, and hasn’t been raised in over 20 years.On Wednesday, Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Mark Amodei, R-Nev., introduced the Rebuilding America’s Airport Infrastructure Act, which would increase the PFC by one dollar a year starting in 2023, for four years, then indexes the fee to inflation every year thereafter.“This increase to $8.50 by 2026 would restore the value of the PFC to when it was last increased in 2000,” Blumenauer’s office said. “Modernizing the PFC would raise tens of billions of dollars for airport infrastructure improvements while requiring zero taxpayer dollars, not increasing the national debt, and adding billions of dollars to U.S. Gross Domestic Product.” Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D- Ore., and Mark Amodei, R-Nev., introduced The Rebuilding America’s Airport Infrastructure Act, this week. Bloomberg News The PFC, a per-passenger charge collected as part of the price of an airline ticket, has been capped at $4.50 since 2000. There is not a Senate companion bill.In the past, airlines have opposed increasing the PFC, saying it will decrease demand for air travel by increasing ticket prices. Airports, on the other hand, have consistently made uncapping or increasing the cap on the PFC one of their top lobbying priorities.“We support the industry’s position on adjusting the PFC; it is long overdue,” said Candace McGraw, CEO of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. “Aging airport infrastructure must be addressed. We’re pleased that investment in infrastructure continues to receive support in Washington.”Airports Council International - North America said investments in aviation infrastructure were crucial to help airports recover from the pandemic.Airport infrastructure has been underfunded for years, which has created a backlog of at least $115 billion in planned and needed projects over the next five years, said ACI CEO and President Kevin Burke.“Giving airports the ability to adjust their user fees – which has not happened in more than 20 years – would allow them to be responsive to local circumstances and travel trends,” Burke said. “User fees also have a great multiplier effect by opening better access to vital capital in the bond market. Getting to work on these critical infrastructure projects could yield immediate benefits for local economies around the country, which would be a big win for passengers and the hundreds of American communities that depend on airports for economic growth.”In a March report, ACI found that U.S. airports were expected to lose at least $40 billion through March 2022 because of the pandemic. Each dollar invested in airport infrastructure would produce up to $2.50 in economic growth, the group said.Raising the PFC would be the best way to fund airports, Burke said in the report. Airports have four other major sources of financing for infrastructure projects, besides the PFC — the federal Airport Improvement Program, bonds and other forms of debt, state and local grants and airport operating revenue from tenant leases and other revenue-generating sources. The largest source of revenue is AIP, but that can’t be used to cover new terminals, gates or air filtration systems, ACI said.Municipal bonds have been an important part of financing, but the bill would solve the funding problem, said Annie Russo, ACI’s senior vice president of government and political affairs. Raising the PFC would help pay back the bonds to leverage more of them, Russo added.“We’re going to push for a companion bill in the Senate and work to get as many House cosponsors as possible to try to take advantage of the upcoming infrastructure debate,” Russo said. “Increasing the PFC remains a priority for the airport industry so we’ll take advantage of any possibility that we can.”
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A traveler wearing a protective mask speaks with an attendant at the Southwest Airlines check-in area at Oakland International Airport in Oakland, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021.David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesCheck out the companies making headlines in midday trading. AT&T — The telecom and media stock jumped 4.6% after a stronger-than-expected first-quarter report. AT&T earned an adjusted 86 cents per share on $43.94 billion in revenue. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were anticipating 78 cents per share and $42.69 billion in revenue. CEO John Stankey also expressed optimism about HBO Max, the company's streaming service.Fisker — The electric vehicle stock stumbled for a 7% loss after Goldman Sachs downgraded Fisker to sell from neutral. The investment firm said in a note to clients that it is concerned that the early stage company will be facing heavy competition once it gets its vehicles to the market.Dow — Shares of Dow fell more than 4% even after the chemicals company beat on the top and bottom line of its quarterly results. Dow reported earnings of $1.36 per share on revenue of $11.88 billion. Analysts expected earnings of $1.14 per share on revenue of $11.09 billion, according to Refinitiv.Danaher — The life sciences company' shares popped 4% after a better-than-expected quarterly report. Danaher reported earnings of $2.52 per share, well above the $1.75 per share forecasted on Wall Street, according to Refinitiv. The company reported revenue of $ 6.86 billion, higher than the expected $6.26 billion.Biogen — Shares of the biotech fell 2% despite a stronger-than-expected quarterly report. Stifel analyst noted that the solid earnings were overshadowed by the uncertainty surrounding its Alzheimer's drug aducanumab.Southwest Airlines — Shares of Southwest Airlines popped 1.4% in midday trading after the airline said that it's seeing improved leisure travel bookings into the summer months. It told investors in its earnings results that it expects to break even or "better" by June. It also posted a smaller-than-expected earnings loss for the three months ended March 31.Blackstone Group — The investment giant gained 5% around noontime in New York after it swung to a record quarterly profit as its bets on fast-growing companies paid off during the first quarter. The value of Blackstone's private-equity portfolio climbed 15.3%, well ahead of the S&P 500's 5.8% gain over the same time. The firm is an investment in online-dating platform Bumble and genealogy company Ancestry.Las Vegas Sands — The casino stock dropped about 1.7% after a revenue miss. Las Vegas Sands reported $1.196 billion in sales for the first quarter, versus revenue of $1.327 billion expected by analysts, according to FactSet.— CNBC's Maggie Fitzgerald, Jesse Pound and Tom Franck contributed reporting.
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SpaceX's Crew Dragon "Endeavour," atop the company's Falcon 9 rocket, leaves the SpaceX integration hangar adjacent to NASA Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A for rollout to the launch pad on April 16, 2021.SpaceXSpaceX is set to make history, as Elon Musk's space company prepares to launch the Crew-2 mission for NASA on Friday morning.NASA and SpaceX completed a series of reviews ahead of the mission, which is set to liftoff from launchpad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 5:49 a.m. EDT on Friday. The launch marks SpaceX's third crew launch in the past 12 months, and the first time it is launching both a reused rocket and a reused capsule."It's super cool to have the opportunity to do this so quickly. In fact ... we'll in less than a year have flown as many people in this partnership with NASA as were flown in the Mercury program," SpaceX senior director Benji Reed said during a press briefing earlier this week.Mercury, begun in 1958, was the first U.S. human spaceflight program and included launching Alan Shepard as the first American in space. The Mercury program flew six people to space across five years, a total which SpaceX matched with its Demo-2 and Crew-1 missions last year. The Crew-2 mission will bring SpaceX's astronaut count to an even dozen."A lot of firsts and a lot of good stuff happening," Reed said. "In less than 11 months, the joint NASA and SpaceX team were able to certify reuse, so we are flying ... NASA astronauts on a flight-proven Dragon and a flight-proven Falcon.""Flying on reused vehicles, on flight proven vehicles is key towards greater flight reliability and lowering the cost of access to space, which is ultimately what helps us make life multiplanetary," Reed added.NASA and SpaceX are watching the weather, both in the local area in Florida and in the Atlantic Ocean. The flight was previously scheduled to launch on Thursday, but rough seas delayed the launch. The ocean needs to be calm in the direction the rocket is launching, in case a mid-flight abort leads to the capsule splashing down after liftoff."Downrange weather is a little bit trickier, as this high pressure system moves over the Arkansas area that combined with this front [and] is causing some pretty high winds in some of the areas downrange and some pretty high waves," NASA's International Space Station program manager Joel Montalbano said.The Crew Dragon capsule must meet up with the ISS in orbit, so if SpaceX doesn't launch on Friday then the company will wait two days to Monday for the next launch opportunity.SpaceX developed its Crew Dragon spacecraft and fine-tuned its Falcon 9 rocket under NASA's Commercial Crew program, which provided the company with $3.1 billion to develop the system and launch six operational missions. Commercial Crew is a competitive program, as NASA also awarded Boeing with $4.8 billion in contracts to develop its Starliner spacecraft — but that competing capsule remains in development due to an uncrewed flight test in December 2019 that experienced significant challenges.Crew-2 represents the second of those six missions for SpaceX, with NASA now benefiting from the investment it made in the company's spacecraft development.NASA emphasizes that, in addition to the U.S. having a way to send astronauts to space, SpaceX offers the agency a cost-saving option as well. The agency expects to pay $55 million per astronaut to fly with Crew Dragon, as opposed to $86 million per astronaut to fly with the Russians. NASA last year estimated that having two private companies compete for contracts saved the agency between $20 billion and $30 billion in development costs.The company completed a full dress rehearsal for Crew-2 on Sunday, with the quartet of astronauts practicing suiting up and driving out to the launchpad in the pair of Tesla Model Xs that SpaceX uses for crew transportation.The astronauts from NASA, JAXA and ESAFrom left: Mission specialist Thomas Pesquet of the ESA, pilot Megan McArthur of NASA, commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA, and mission specialist Akihiko Hoshide of JAXA.SpaceXThe Crew-2 mission will carry an international group of four astronauts: NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet.Kimbrough, the spacecraft's commander, was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2004. Crew-2 will mark his third trip to space, having flown on the Space Shuttle in 2008 and a Russian Soyuz in 2016. He's completed six spacewalks and has spent more than six months total in orbit. Kimbrough came to NASA by way of the U.S. Army, where was a helicopter platoon leader and served in Operation Desert Storm.McArthur, the Crew-2 pilot, was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2000. A California native, McArthur came to the space agency after completing a doctorate in Oceanography as U.C. San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She flew on the Space Shuttle for the final Hubble space telescope servicing mission in 2009, working as a flight engineer.Remarkably, she will also be sitting in the same seat as her husband and fellow astronaut Bob Behnken did in May of last year, as he piloted SpaceX's Demo-2 mission. Their 7-year-old son Theo will have watched both his parents launch to the space station in the past year, a fact SpaceX's Reed highlighted."In my heart, I know there's a little boy out there whose mom is flying, and this is something that we pay a lot of attention to. We ask ourselves all the time: Would we be willing to fly our families on these vehicles?" Reed said.NASA astronaut Bob Behnken gives a distanced hug goodbye to his wife and fellow astronaut Megan McArthur and their son Theo before the SpaceX Crew-1 launch in May 2020.Joe Raedle | Getty Images News | Getty ImagesHoshide is flying as a Crew-2 mission specialist. He's the leader of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) astronaut group, and has flown to space twice before, on the Space Shuttle in 2008 and Russia's Soyuz in 2012.Pesquet is also flying as a Crew-2 mission specialist, having been selected as a European Space Agency astronaut in 2009. He has also flown to space before, having launched on a Soyuz in 2016.The four astronauts entered the traditional pre-launch quarantine on April 8 to prepare for the flight. Known as the "flight crew health stabilization" within NASA, the quarantine ensures the astronauts stay healthy and protected in the two weeks before launch.The spacecraft: Crew Dragon 'Endeavour'The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft is lifted onto the SpaceX GO Navigator recovery ship shortly after it landed with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020.NASA/Bill IngallsSpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule has been reused after having flown the Demo-2 mission last May. Named "Endeavour" by astronauts Behnken and Doug Hurley, the spacecraft has undergone a thorough inspection and testing process to make sure it's fit to launch the Crew-2 mission."We've completed thousands and thousands of tests to get to this day, just like we always have in the past and will continue to do. We talk a lot about these kinds of reviews that we do; we call them 'paranoia reviews,'" Reed said.Crew Dragon is an evolved version of the company's Cargo Dragon spacecraft, which has launched to the space station 21 times. Just as Cargo Dragon was the first privately developed spacecraft to bring supplies to the ISS, so Crew Dragon is the first privately developed spacecraft to bring people. Crew Dragon is designed to carry as many as seven passengers to space at a time.SpaceX's Crew Dragon, named Endeavour, is lifted and mated to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A beginning April 13, 2021.SpaceXSpaceX plans to continue to reuse its Crew Dragon capsules, with Reed noting that the company is working with NASA to check components and determine whether other qualifications need to be made between flights.The rocket: Falcon 9A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen as it is rolled to Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Crew-2 mission, Friday, April 16, 2021, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.NASA/Aubrey GemignaniCrew Dragon will launch on top of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, with the booster (the large, lower section of the rocket) having previously launched the Crew-1 mission in November before it landed on the company's floating autonomous barge in the Atlantic Ocean.SpaceX performed a static fire of the rocket on Saturday, in which its nine engines were fired for seven seconds while standing on the launchpad.Falcon 9 has become the workhorse of SpaceX's growing fleet. The rocket stands at nearly 230 feet tall and is capable of launching as much as 25 tons to low Earth orbit. The Falcon 9 series is qualified to fly up to 10 flights and SpaceX continues to push the boundary of reusability with satellite launches."Right now we're working with NASA [and] we're certified for this upcoming reuse," Reed said. "We're continuing our work together as a team, to assess how many more flights we'd be able to reuse Falcons for."NASA's Steve Stich noted that the agency and SpaceX did resolve one issue with the rocket, discovering that there was more liquid oxygen loaded onboard than was needed. However, NASA and SpaceX "concluded that that amount of liquid oxygen in the first stage was well within family of the guidance," Stich said, so the company will move forward with the launch as planned.The launch planSpaceXFour hours before liftoff, the astronauts will suit up. About a half an hour later, the crew will walk out to their Model X rides, complete with NASA logos, which will drive from the astronaut quarters out to the launchpad.With 2½ hours to go, the astronauts will strap into their seats in Crew Dragon and begin checking that all systems are good to go. Then, with just under two hours until launch, the hatch to the spacecraft will be closed. SpaceX will begin loading the rocket with fuel 35 minutes before launch, which will initiate a final series of processes and checks.A few minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9′s booster stage will return and attempt to land on the company's barge stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.If anything were to go wrong in the last half hour before the launch or even during the launch, Crew Dragon will abort and fire its emergency escape system. The company tested that system in January with no one inside the spacecraft. In that test, SpaceX triggered the system during the most intense part of the launch to show that it could be done at any time.Crew-2 is scheduled to dock with the ISS about 24 hours later, at around 5:10 a.m. EDT on Saturday. The Crew-1 astronauts are still on board, with their Crew Dragon 'Resilience' docked with the ISS. NASA is prepared for the combined crews to spend between five and 20 days together before Crew-1 comes back to Earth."Well have some temporary sleeping arrangements for the crew members because we have so many people," Montalbano said.Crew-2 will then performed a full duration mission on the ISS, spending about six months onboard.
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Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.Source: NYSEThe reopening story is now getting very real, at least for Wall Street.Today's crop of earnings reports are chock-full of companies reporting earnings above expectations and, most importantly, raising guidance.Take steel maker Nucor, which reported what CEO Leon Topalian called the "most profitable quarter in our Company's history" on improved pricing and margins. "We expect earnings for the second quarter of 2021 to exceed our first quarter results, setting a new record for quarterly earnings. Most of the end-use markets we serve remain strong and inventories remain lean across supply chains. We believe the current favorable demand environment will continue through the rest of 2021," he wrote to investors.Another large industrial, iron ore mining company Cleveland-Cliffs, raised full-year EBIDTA (cash flow), also on expectations of higher prices.Whirlpool reported net sales growth of 24%, beat earnings expectations by more than 30%, raised full-year guidance by 18%, raised the dividend, and announced an increase in share buybacks.Homebuilder D.R. Horton reported a significant earnings beat and raised full-year revenue guidance.In health care, HCA Healthcare raised full-year guidance, joining other providers UnitedHealth and Tenet Healthcare.One exception to the earnings bright spots: railroads.Union Pacific was the latest railroad to miss on earnings, following Kansas City Southern and CSX, which also missed. The inability to model bad weather may be the explaining factor: "The Q1 EPS shortfall largely reflects the winter storm disruption," Baird analyst Garrett A. Holland wrote in a note to clients. "The 2021 outlook is intact and may prove conservative as economic activity strengthens."Headwinds for stocks: high prices and "peak everything"And yet.The market, as every analyst and strategist has noted, is not cheap. Stocks have had significant run-ups in anticipation that companies would indeed be raising guidance, including companies reporting today: Firms reporting earnings vs. year-to-date performanceEarnings Reporters
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Ether (ETH), the largest altcoin by market cap, hit new all-time highs on April 22 despite a bearish phase sweeping through Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies.ETH/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingviewEther price claims new recordCointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView showed ETH/USD hitting $2,600 for the first time during Thursday on the back of 9.2% daily gains.Against Bitcoin, Ether was also on fire, hitting 0.047 — its highest since August 2018.ETH/BTC 1-week candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingviewThe second-largest cryptocurrency increasingly stood out against the rest on the day, as Bitcoin continued to consolidate lower and other altcoins suffered from a painful knock-on effect.Analysts and investors, already buoyed by the previous action from this year's "alt season," were thus firmly bullish on the near-term prospects."To be brutally honest, I stare at the chart of ETH/BTC and I see an enormous rounded bottom with potentially huge breakout just above," Real Vision CEO Raoul Pal told Twitter followers in a series of posts."When you price anything up in DeFi, NFT, community tokens or even metaverse worlds, everything is basically priced in ETH, including designers time etc. ETH is rapidly becoming the currency of the digital world and BTC is the pristine collateral and base layer."Pal noted Ether's superior gains versus Bitcoin in recent times, part of a trend which has seen ETH/USD outperform by a considerable margin since the pit of the cross-asset price crash in March 2020.  Fees volatile as altcoins resurface from dipAs Cointelegraph reported, altcoins' overall strength this month was already expressing itself in Bitcoin's dwindling market cap dominance, which dipped below 50% for the first time in almost three years.Such events tend to spark the most intense part of "alt seasons" in which tokens see a rapid surge to a peak before cooling off.The latest ETH gains nonetheless came with a predictable pay-off — gas fees for sending transactions began to spike on the day, a timely reminder for those caught unaware during previous phases of the bull market.Ether gas fees chart. Source: livdirOther misgivings about the market's overall strength included caution from professional traders based on Ether derivatives signals.Other altcoins were meanwhile beginning to show signs of life at the time of writing, including Litecoin (LTC) and Chainlink (LINK), both up around 6.5%.
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In an aerial view, workers with the San Francisco Department of Public Works repave a section of 24th Avenue on April 08, 2021 in San Francisco, California.Justin Sullivan | Getty ImagesWeekly unemployment claims fell to a new pandemic era low for a second week, suggesting the turn in the labor market is picking up steam and the April employment report could be strong.First time claims totaled 547,000 for the week ending April 17, 50,000 lower than forecast. The week is also the same week the government collects data for the April employment report."In general, I do think it's consistent with a strengthening in the labor market. It does feel like things are really starting to rip here," said Kevin Cummins, chief U.S. economist at NatWest Markets. Cummins said April's payroll report, due May 7, could match March's 916,000 payrolls or be even better.Some economists have said the hiring momentum could push job creation over 1 million this month."A million seems like a reasonable number. I don't have a hard estimate yet though. This year as a whole we have a model of 525,000 jobs a month and that might be too conservative," said Cummins.The report is the second in a row where the number was below 600,000. Claims for the week, ending April 10, were revised up by 10,000 to 586,000. This is a sharp contrast from a year ago, when early April claims reached a peak of 6.2 million. The previous high had been 695,000 in October, 1982.Zoom In IconArrows pointing outwardsContinuing claims for the April 17 week also edged lower by 34,000 to 3.67 million, also a pandemic low. There are 17.4 million individuals still collecting benefits under different programs, but the data from those programs is delayed and two weeks behind the continuing claims data."We should see several months of very strong numbers," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton. "We should be chipping away. Momentum has picked up. There's no question about it. It's a ramp up."Yet, there is some concern that enhanced unemployment benefits are discouraging some workers from returning to jobs, but Swonk said the pandemic has created unique problems for the labor market."Job postings are up pretty dramatically. Job search has not been as high. That partly reflects peoples' reluctance to return to work before they are full vaccinated," she said. Swonk also said many parents cannot leave school age children, many of whom continue to attend class remotely.Cummins said the claims data is not as reliable an indicator as it had been pre-pandemic. For instance, states use different criteria and the data has been "noisy.""I think you look at a lot of things, like the beige book," he said referring to the monthly report on the economy released by the Fed. "The anecdotal reprots there have been very good. It really feels like the labor market has been really good and it's only going to get better."Bonds and stocks did not react to the 8:30 a.m. ET claims report Thursday. Bond yields were flattish and stocks were lower."The data is now confirming the optimism that was priced into the market," said Patrick Leary, chief market strategist and senior trader and strategist at Incapital.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.
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Closed sales of existing homes fell 3.7% in March to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 6.01 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors.That is the slowest sales pace since August and the second straight month of declines.Still, sales were 12.3% higher than March 2020, when transactions were falling due to the Covid pandemic.Realtors say the monthly numbers are dropping due to limited supply. The demand is there. Homes are selling in an average of just 18 days, which is considered an extremely fast rate."If the demand was retreating, then we would see fewer multiple offers, but we know that multiple offers are widely prevalent in today's market," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors.The supply of homes for sale dropped 28.2% from a year ago. There were just 1.07 million homes for sale at the end of month, representing a 2.1 -month supply at the current sales pace.Low supply continues to push prices ever higher. The median price of an existing home sold in March was $329,100, a 17.2% increase from March 2020. That is the highest price on record and the fastest pace of appreciation.Some of that gain is due to the fact that there are more homes selling on the higher end of the market, therefore skewing the median higher. Overall, however, prices are significantly higher."Perhaps the record stock market is providing the financial wherewithal to purchase these million-dollar homes," said Yun.These closed sales represent contracts signed in January and February. Mortgage rates started this year near a record low but then began climbing steeply in February and throughout most of March. As rates rose, potential buyers lost purchasing power, and some were likely sidelined.More homes have been coming on the market in the past few weeks, but the market is still incredibly lean, especially on the low end. Higher end home listings are more plentiful."Although homes are far from plentiful, housing supply could be reaching a turning point thanks to a surge in new listings just as the housing market hits the best time of the year to sell a home," said Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com. "Also, builders are finding a way to build a growing number of new homes despite challenges."Builders are, however, still producing well below demand levels, as prices for land, labor and materials rise. Lumber hit several new high's just this month. Some builders are delaying projects so they're not buying materials at the peak of the market.
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On April 21, the bitcoin mining rig manufacturer Canaan announced the firm will be supplying 11,760 next-generation A1246 ASIC Avalonminers to a company called Mawson Infrastructure Group. The announcement notes that the mining units will be dispersed among Mawson’s bitcoin mining operations, and will add over an exahash of hashrate to Mawson’s mining facilities. Canaan to Supply Mawson Infrastructure Group With 1 Exahash of Hashpower via 11,760 Delivered Machines Bitcoin mining has grown massive during the last few years and during the last six months, massive purchases have been made by corporate entities involved in digital currency mining operations. The publicly listed firm Canaan (Nasdaq: CAN) based in China has revealed a large shipment of next-generation miners will be shipped to the U.S.-listed Mawson Infrastructure Group (WIZP:OTCQB). Mawson recently rebranded and changed the company’s name from Wize Pharma to Mawson Infrastructure Group. The rebrand came after the company acquired Cosmos Capital Limited, a mining and crypto asset management business. The new name aims to “better reflect the company’s existing and future operations.” The company will be getting the latest Avalonminer model designed by Canaan, an ASIC SHA256 mining rig called the A1246. The next-generation model gets around 90 terahash per second (TH/s) and around 38 joules per terahash (J/TH). “At this exciting and pivotal time for us, working with proven leaders in the mining hardware industry will be crucial to expanding our bitcoin mining operations in 2021 and beyond,” James Manning, the CEO of Mawson said during the announcement. By partnering with Canaan, we leverage their long-standing manufacturing expertise and product excellence to power our rapidly growing mining infrastructure globally,” the executive added.
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Dogecoin (DOGE) has been the talk of the crypto town in the month of April. On the first day of the month, it was trading in its usual $0.05 range. On April Fools’ day, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted about the coin yet again. His tweet read, “SpaceX is going to put a literal Dogecoin on the literal moon” — SpaceX being the aerospace company that Musk also founded. Although the tweet was intended as a joke, it set the Shiba Inu-themed meme token on a rally like no other.Within two hours, the price rose by more than 35% to a peak of $0.07 before cooling off temporarily but still holding on to its gains. The next spike in price came on April 14, with the value of a single token doubling within a single day to break the $0.10 mark. This led Musk to again turn his attention toward the coin, tweeting a picture of the famous painting by Spanish artist Joan Miró, saying “Doge barking at the moon.” This tweet, along with the rising social sentiment, pushed the price to a high of $0.45 on April 16.Kristin Boggiano, president and co-founder of CrossTower — a digital assets exchange — gave several reasons behind the surge in a conversation with Cointelegraph: “First, Coinbase listing has generated interest and buzz about crypto in general. Second, the popular Reddit forum ‘r/Wallstreetbets’ changed their rules for a day to allow discussion of crypto, which included DOGE.”The price surge took Dogecoin all the way up to ranking fifth in the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. The market cap also briefly passed the $50-billion mark, which is a high figure for a coin that was conceived as a joke. At the time of writing, it has now slid down to rank seventh among the top 10, with a market capitalization of $36.45 billion. The price is also currently in correction trading at $0.28.Eric Berman, senior legal editor, U.S. finance at Thomson Reuters, commented to Cointelegraph regarding Dogecoin’s retail demand: “The sentiment seems to be: Bitcoin is for the wealthy, Ethereum for the middle class, and Dogecoin is for the people.”Doge Day marks a historical momentDogecoin fans celebrated April 20 as Doge Day with a symbolic push of the coin’s price to $0.420. It also wasn’t lost on the community that 4/20 was also associated with the marijuana day. Even though it was just for a brief moment, the community did seemingly come together to push the price of DOGE to its all-time high.The rise in retail interest in Dogecoin even led to a system outage in Robinhood’s trading app due to the overload of orders. To make the coin more accessible to retail investors, on April 21, Robinhood even reduced the minimum order size of DOGE from 10 to 1. This entails that investors can now stack DOGE one coin at a time.Joshua Frank, co-founder and CEO of The TIE — a social media analytics platform for cryptocurrencies — revealed that the social media sentiment for Dogecoin still holds strong, telling Cointelegraph:“Long-term sentiment for DOGE went outside the standard deviation and posted a record 139 sentiment score on Jan. 28, 2021, after Redditors from r/SatoshiStreetBets discussed making Dogecoin the cryptocurrency equivalent of GameStop. Sentiment still holds strong at 72, and tweets from Elon Musk about Dogecoin on April 14 have helped fuel the surge.”Since Dogecoin was founded in 2013, it’s essentially one of the older coins in the cryptosphere. The listing of the token on exchanges like Binance and OKEx has strengthened its presence in the cryptocurrency community with better access to liquidity, thus creating more stable trading flows and interest in coin accumulation. OKCoin announced on Doge Day that the exchange would be listing the token in the last week of April. Speaking further about DOGE, Jason Lau, CEO of OKCoin, told Cointelegraph:“DOGE is relatively well suited for payments. It’s extremely fast and efficient — transactions cost less than a cent. Though it has less nodes than others, it is secured by proof-of-work and has never had any security issues.”DOGE is currently used as a payment method for merchandise of NBA franchise Dallas Mavericks, which is owned by renowned investor Mark Cuban. He pointed out on Twitter that merchandise sales have grown 550% since the club announced that it would be accepting payments in Dogecoin. He also stated that the sports team will not be selling any of its accumulated Dogecoin from the sales and will be hodling it for the long term.However, the sustainability of this rise in adoption is yet to be seen. Lau further said: “It’s important to point out that the Dogecoin codebase has not had any update in years and is not actively maintained.”Boggiano further said that for some traders, the fact that Dogecoin was created as a joke becomes a fun experiment to see if they can gamble against other traders and come out ahead, thus essentially being used as a competitive tool:“It may also be the crypto community ‘reclaiming’ their story. For people in the crypto community, we know that DOGE was created as a joke. It was created to mock Bitcoin. However, it’s turning out that Bitcoin is a legitimate asset class. Therefore, this could be a means to redefine the dialogue and understanding of cryptocurrencies in general.”Could this be yet another pump and dump?Dogecoin has been an instrument for pump and dump schemes in the past, so could this instance be yet another example of such activity? DOGE is a hugely inflationary coin by design without a decided maximum supply, which entails that there are 5 billion new coins entering the circulating supply each year. Due to the high supply, there is always an endless downward pressure on the token.On the possibilities of this being another instance of a pump-and-dump scenario, Frank further stated that the rally has been controlled by a single entity that has accumulated at least “$1.3 billion worth of Dogecoin and abused the futures market by baiting shorts into creating a negative funding cycle that led to a derivatives blowout in excess of $760 million of liquidations.”According to Twitter user Lightcrypto, the player marked up the price of the token many times while feeding into the social media narrative surrounding the meme token. Apparently, the player liquidated their spot holdings, creating over $760 million worth of liquidations in the derivatives market. On the contrary, Berman opined further on the surge in interest:“The Dogecoin phenomenon seems little bit reminiscent of the Reddit/GameStop conversation from a couple of weeks back. While its popularity could be attributable in part to the recent Coinbase IPO, most cryptos would be experiencing a similar bounce. [...] People [who] may feel like they missed out on the upside of Bitcoin are thinking that perhaps this is their shot.”Although the price of Dogecoin is currently in a decline in what could be seen as a market-wide correction, it’s becoming clear that the token has found a use beyond the meme-coin status and is now seeing real growth within the cryptocurrency ecosystem. At its height, its market capitalization even went past long-existing multi-national companies such as Barclays and Ford. Speaking on the sustainability of the coin, Lau further stated: “I would not underestimate DOGE’s staying power. For many, it was the first crypto they owned or the first one they heard of. Plus, it’s one of the few tokens that have deeply penetrated beyond the crypto community.”
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sponsored Wallex Trust & Custody, a fintech company based in the USA and Europe that offers trust and custody services among its clients across borders notably in Europe, Asia, and Africa, has announced it has received a banking Crypto and Insurance license issued by the Comoros International Banking Authority (CIBA). This official recognition as a bank charter allows Wallex to operate and offer asset and digital asset banking and insurance services in the Union of the Comoros in particular, and most notably on a global scale arena as well. CIBA Authorizes Wallex Bank To be officially called Wallex Bank, CIBA authorizes Wallex Bank to offer banking and insurance services to non-residents of the Union of the Comoros with diverse undertakings specified within the Regulation. It states the dispensation of company services, including issuing own deposit products, providing loans and borrowing of funds, carrying out currency and exchange transactions, and holding assets and other financial instruments for third parties. Wallex Bank takes pride in its newly acquired expansive banking services dealing with depositary transactions, guarantee business, multicurrency account management, asset management, financial engineering, and even investment consultancy services. ‘We are very proud of our achievements, and Wallex Bank will showcase our next step’. – Simone Mazzuca (Founder and Director) Africa About to Steal the Limelight The timing of the bank charter grant cannot come at a better time with the African continent about to steal the limelight in cryptocurrency adoption and auxiliary services that will be needed for processing and facilitation. What is exciting about Wallex Bank’s presence is the wide opening of doors for uninterrupted cryptocurrency trading. Eligible clients will find in Wallex Bank a reliable cryptocurrency exchange operator that secures the opening of crypto accounts, storage of cryptocurrencies, accepting crypto deposits issuance of security tokens and cryptocurrencies, as well as ensuring liquidity and insurance on all crypto deposit matters. Of course, Wallex Bank has in its program of directions the methodical built-up of operations to guarantee an optimized user experience. While having the world in mind, Wallex is grounded in strengthening its foundations to service the people and provide the foundation for expansion and development. As fragmented economic turmoils in the African continent continue to escalate regional inflation, thereby devaluating further sovereign currencies, populations are beginning to turn to cryptocurrencies as a way to halt the ill-effects of certain fiscal policies. With Wallex Bank Africa already in place and now the new introduction with CIBA’s decision to grant Wallex Bank a bank charter, is a turning point to the eventual progress via digitalization of the country’s and global industries, beginning with cryptocurrencies. It is no surprise for Wallex to be taking a further step within the financial world and presenting a new giant within the new digital-age financial industry. It is Simone Mazzuca’s visionary leadership which will provide the impetus that will spur the country’s competitiveness on the African financial stage and provide revolutionary services on a global stage. ‘I believe that our newly charted banking services will arbitrate the movement of values between fiat and crypto to becoming en route of worldwide exposure and usage, creating a better future for all’. – Simone Mazzuca 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 Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article. Read disclaimer
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The first three months of 2021 saw the strongest quarter for Hamptons home sales in six years, continuing the trend of suburbs and rural vacation areas seeing record growth and a lack of inventory during the pandemic. There were 509 home sales in the Hamptons, up nearly 50% from 343 sales in the first quarter of 2020, according to reports released today by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, compiled by real estate appraisal form Miller Samuel. Listing inventory fell at its fastest rate in more than 13 years of tracking, more than 30% from roughly 1,700 to 1,100 homes. At the same time, the median sales price rose sharply year over year, from $990,000 to $1.3 million, for the fifth consecutive quarter, according to the report. Todd Bourgard, senior executive regional manager of sales for Douglas Elliman in the Hamptons, says the market continues to be strong into the second quarter. "We’re still getting multiple bids on well-priced homes," Bourgard said. "This demand compares to nothing I’ve seen and I’ve been in the business for 24 years." In a sign that there seem to be some deals in the Hamptons luxury market, the highest 10% of all sales, listing inventory rose from 359 luxury homes in the first quarter of 2020 to 538 luxury homes in the first three months of 2021. The median sales price also dropped to $5.825 million in Q1 2021 from $7 million in the first quarter of last year. Bourgard notes that luxury homes that are priced for the market tend to sell quickly. "If they’re priced properly you end up with multiple offers," Bourgard said. Up on the North Fork of Long Island, another popular second-home and getaway destination, the number of sales jumped annually for the third straight quarter and listing inventory fell to the lowest level in 15 years of tracking.
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