Harley Finkelstein, COO, ShopifyScott Mlyn | CNBCInvestors should take note when an analyst becomes bullish on a stock after standing on the sidelines. It could signal the name is undervalued and poised for long-term growth. The stocks highlighted below have just been upgraded to Buy. As for the analysts handing out these upgrades, they boast a proven track record of success. TipRanks' analyst forecasting service works to identify the best-performing analysts on Wall Street, or the analysts with the highest success rate and average return per rating. These metrics factor in the number of ratings published by each analyst.Here are five stocks that were recently upgraded by Wall Street's best-performing analysts:ON SemiconductorBased on operating margin catalysts as well as its valuation, ON Semiconductor just scored an upgrade from Baird analyst Tristan Gerra. Now rating the stock a Buy, the top analyst also increased the price target from $38 to $48 (29% upside potential).While management guided for revenue that is less than the seasonal norm, Gerra remains unfazed.Expounding on this, the analyst stated, "The company's aggressive inventory shift… along with a very significant rebound in utilization rates enabled them to gain share in 2Q by outshipping competitors, in our view. We do not view management's preliminary 3Q below-seasonal revenue outlook as the sign of a coming downcycle, but rather a capacity limitation with the potential for the company to exceed second-half expectations on better supply availability."On top of this, the semiconductor company has been working to improve its mix. These efforts will be bolstered thanks to the current "tight supply environment," in Gerra's opinion, rather than if ON was operating in an over-supply environment.All of this prompted the analyst to note, "Investors for the medium-term should be rewarded with significant upside both from an ongoing upcycle and likely the most significant turnaround in the company's history. Cost initiatives, mix and pricing should catalyze further gross margin expansion in both 2H and 2022 as product repositioning initiatives gain momentum."Gerra is currently tracking a 62% success rate and 20.4% average return per rating, according to recent data provided by TipRanks.ShopifyIn a research report entitled "The Retail 'Shift' Appears Here to Stay," Roth Capital analyst Darren Aftahi makes the case for e-commerce name Shopify. In addition to upgrading the stock to Buy, he also set a $1,530 price target, suggesting 37% upside potential.Looking at the company's 1Q results, the numbers "once again" beat Aftahi's raised and above consensus expectations "as growth accelerated across all key segments and metrics." Total revenue growth reached 110%, and total gross merchandise value or GMV came in at $37.3 billion, reflecting 114% year-over-year growth and besting the analyst's call by 11%.According to management, the strong result was driven by growing traction and integration across social media platforms, as well as additional international expansion. International GMV growth exceeded that of North America, which implies "SHOP's growth was more than just a U.S. stimulus check dynamic," in Aftahi's opinion."While SHOP may not be able to outgrow its upcoming ~90%+ topline growth rates, it appears clear the company is continuing to gain market share and grow on the outskirts of the pandemic… International expansion acts as one of the major upside catalysts for SHOP where it will begin to invest more directly, and its portfolio of merchant solutions, internationally, has barely scratched the surface, beyond payments," Aftahi commented.With this in mind, the analyst bumped up his forecast for FY21 revenue by roughly 3%."When we look at multiple catalysts through international expansion and organic plan upgrades to Plus, alongside commentary April GMV has been on-par with 1Q trends, we see growth remaining quite healthy for this best-in-class e-commerce/tech name," Aftahi said.Landing among the top 66 analysts tracked by TipRanks, Aftahi boasts an impressive 44.5% average return per rating.Cogent CommunicationsFollowing its 1Q21 earnings release, Oppenheimer's Timothy Horan sees Cogent Communications as a compelling play within the internet, ethernet and colocation services space. As such, the five-star analyst upgraded the stock from Hold to Buy. In addition, he put a $90 price target on CCOI, which brings the upside potential to 16%.In the first quarter, the company posted total revenue of $146.8 million, which reflected a slight beat. In addition, gross margin was up by 200 basis points compared to the prior-year quarter.Looking ahead, management gave long-term, multi-year targets of 10% annualized revenue growth and 200 basis points of annual adjusted EBITDA margin expansion. As a result, post-earnings, Horan is "incrementally more positive on growth."When it comes to the netcentric business, it has bounced back to growth thanks to international expansion and retreating customers. What's more, according to the Oppenheimer analyst, corporate customers have been forced to close branch offices due to the pandemic. However, after peaking in the middle of the fourth quarter, churn has seen a significant improvement, with corporate purchasing activity (DIA) also getting a boost. To this end, the analyst estimates corporate revenues will gain 2% to 3% quarter-over-quarter when stabilized.It should also be noted that this stock trades at a 3.6% free cash flow yield, which is "attractive" in Horan's opinion, for a name "growing free cash flow in the mid-20% range over the next two years." The company is also making an effort to cut costs and increase unit growth, "supported by its low-cost positioning."Summing it all up, Horan stated, "Fundamentals are improving as we exit the pandemic and CCOI trades at an attractive valuation, which has created a buying opportunity. Long-term, we think the company is positioned to take share in both corporate (~20% market share today) and netcentric (~25% market share today) as the low-cost provider of internet services in a commoditized market."   Supporting his position on TipRanks' ranking of best-performing analysts, Horan has achieved a 67% success rate and 17.5% average return per rating.Cirrus LogicCirrus Logic's high valuation and concentration of revenues from Apple had previously kept Needham's Rajvindra Gill on the sidelines. That said, given that shares have taken a major fall since the middle of January and its price-earnings multiple has compressed 40%, the analyst has reconsidered his stance.On May 4, Gill upgraded the fabless semiconductor supplier from Hold to Buy and put a $100 price target on the stock. This target suggests that shares could gain 31% in the year ahead.Although Gill acknowledges that the recent earnings results and guidance were "disappointing," he points out that "the numbers were attributed to revenue recognition timing, where the company is selling camera controllers for use in camera modules, where lead times are shorter than the rest of components, and thus are shipped earlier."Further explaining his bullish thesis, Gill noted, "New opportunities are emerging, including potential content gains at Apple with a new Power IC (with a $1 ASP). Net, we expect revenue growth to accelerate in FY22 and believe stock is compelling here."Looking at the analyst's current iPhone dollar content estimates, they land at about $4.20 ($5.20 with an additional $1 ASP for the Power IC). This is set to be integrated into iPhones in Fall 2021.Additionally, CRUS is working to expand beyond the audio domain with its high-performance mixed-signal chips. According to Gill, the "22nm chips could translate to either more digital processing closer to the analog or a radically smaller or more power efficient chip."What's more, the company is making a significant effort to grab market share with Android-based phones with haptic controllers. It's also growing the smart codec portfolio, working to deliver size and power improvements.A top analyst covering names in the tech sector, Gill's calls, on average, generate returns of 15.5%, with his success rate clocking in at 67%.General DynamicsOperating as an aerospace and defense company, General Dynamics offers products like combat vehicles, weapons systems, munitions, shipbuilding services, as well as communication and information technology systems and solutions.For Baird analyst Peter Arment, the company's long-term prospects appear to be even stronger. As "order growth has returned at Gulfstream, providing a cyclical kicker to a defense business that continues to quench budget concerns," Arment upgraded GD from Hold to Buy and gave the price target a lift, with the figure increasing from $180 to $243 (27% upside potential).Specifically, Arment argues that a "flat" budget request and a "heightened threat environment" in important regions has been helping to calm investor fears. Highlighting Combat Systems in particular, it saw a 6% gain in the quarter. He added, "In addition, Marine's long-term visibility on platforms such as the Virginia and Columbia class submarines, the defense business becomes an execution story in the medium-term."On top of this, the defense backlog is currently at more than $77 billion, which equates to roughly 2.6 years of related segment revenue. According to Arment, this will be supported by recurring submarine awards as well as a "growing pipeline" in Technologies, which closed out the quarter with $30 billion in proposals.Although commercial aerospace demand recovery has been slower, bizjets are an entirely different story, with flight activity spiking. "As travel restrictions ease internationally, we expect activity to pick up further and aid out-year results," Arment commented.It should also be noted that even though aerospace profitability will be under pressure this year, Arment believes this will reverse in 2022, with higher volume expected."Paired with an improving top and bottom line at Aerospace, we see potential for GD to return to its premium stance amongst the primes," the Baird analyst opined.Overall, Arment has delivered a 64% success rate and 13.8% average return per rating.
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Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.Source: NYSEAfter April's disappointing jobs report, market focus will shift squarely to inflation in the week ahead.The tug-of-war over tech stocks will also continue to be a dominant force in the stock market, after Friday's bounce more than halved the week's losses in the S&P technology sector.The April employment report was extremely disappointing with just 266,000 jobs created, well below the 1 million expected. The Friday report cast doubt on the expectations of some investors that the Fed will move toward paring back its so-called quantitative easing bond purchases later this year.The thinking is if the inflation data appears hot when the consumer price index is reported Wednesday, it could ignite the debate about whether the Fed will have to tighten policy sooner than it would like. For now, the market is viewing the April jobs data as a distorted one-off report."It's all about the inflation numbers. It's all about the transitory nature and to what extent we'll see it," said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group "It's more relevant to the CPI month-over-month changes. If the month-over-month gains are starting to pick up steam, and we're seeing 0.3% to 0.4%, that's not transitory and that's a problem for the Fed."Economists expect April CPI to rise 0.2% over March, after a gain of 0.6% the month earlier. But on a year-over-year basis, CPI is expected to look sizzling, jumping 3.6%, according to Dow Jones. That compares to 2.6% the month earlier. Excluding food and fuel, CPI is expected to rise by 0.3% on a month-over-month basis.Zoom In IconArrows pointing outwardsThe central bank has maintained that the pop in inflation is expected to be transitory. Multiple Fed speakers are on the calendar, including Vice Chairman Richard Clarida, who speaks a half-hour after the CPI print Wednesday. Other officials speaking include Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard, New York President John Williams and Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan.The producer price index is reported Thursday, and that should confirm a trend of higher prices that is showing up in corporate earnings releases. Another important data point, retail sales is released Friday. Boockvar said the retail sales report is not as important since it has been artificially boosted by one-time stimulus checks."It's like the steroid era of baseball," he said. "Who knows how many home runs it would have hit without stimulus."Tech battlegroundThe S&P 500 and Dow finished the past week with gains. The S&P rose 1.2% to 4,232, and 2.7% to 34,777. But the technology-laden Nasdaq fell about 1.5% to 13,752, even with Friday's 0.9% gain.Zoom In IconArrows pointing outwardsIn the commodities market, fears of inflation continued to build. Copper futures hit a record high, as did lumber futures, rising 13% in the past week. Corn futures rose 8.6% in the past week, finishing at the highest level since 2013.West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained 2% to $64.90 per barrel.The 10-year note yield, which moves opposite price, was at 1.55%, down from 1.63% a week ago.Commodities fueled gains in the stock market this week, with the S&P energy sector by far the best performer, up 8.9%. Materials rose 5.9%, followed by financials, which were up 4.2%. Industrials gained 3.4%. But the S&P technology sector slumped 0.5%, for the week even with a 0.8% gain Friday."I think one thing that people are overlooking is that the technology selling we've seen in the last few days...is not just the reaction to the adverse earnings price reactions that we saw from certain tech names," said Julian Emanuel, chief equity and derivatives strategist at BTIG. "But it's also this idea in that in a world where we assume capital gains taxes could go up, that's where the capital gains lie," he added. "So they are likely to come under incrementally more pressure on that basis."President Joe Biden has proposed raising capital gains taxes to 39.6% for taxpayers making more than $1 million. That's up from the current top rate of 20%.Emanuel said the upcoming federal income tax return filing date of May 17 could also be adding pressure to technology, since investors may be selling winners to pay their taxes. "With the tax bill coming due on May 17 for the 2020 calendar year, people are just going to use it as an excuse within the context of higher capital gains taxes to sell those stocks to pay for their tax bill," Emanuel said. "I think people are overlooking this as part of the reason."Boockvar said tech names could also face further headwinds from higher interest rates, particularly if inflation data is hotter than expected."I think the last couple of weeks tells you froth is coming out of the most expensive part of tech and earnings for the big cap names are as good as it gets in terms of growth rates. The market is telling you that," he said. "If you get a further move in rates, that's a headwind."Earnings season continues in the week ahead though most of the rush is over for the quarter. Disney, Marriott, Wynn Resorts, Airbnb are among the companies reporting that should provide insight on the economic reopening.Week ahead calendarMondayEarnings: Marriott, BioNTech, Jacobs Engineering, Simon Property Group, International Flavors and Fragrances, Wynn Resorts, SmileDirectClub, Duke Energy, Air Products, Tyson Foods, Party City, Energizer, CotyTuesdayEarnings: Electronic Arts, Chesapeake Energy, Hanesbrands, Aramark, International Game Technology, Palantir Technologies, Perrigo, Unity Software, Opendoor Technologies, Kinross Gold, Lemonade, Vizio6:00 a.m. NFIB survey10:00 a.m. JOLTS10:30 a.m. New York Fed President John Williams12:00 p.m. Fed Governor Lael Brainard1:00 p.m. San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly1:15 p.m. Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic2:00 p.m. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick HarkerWednesdayEarnings: Toyota, Wendy's, Fossil, Bumble, Allianz, Jack in the Box, Vroom, SoftBank, Sonos, Bayer, 1Life Healthcare8:30 a.m. CPI9:00 a.m. Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida2:00 p.m. Fed budget1:00 p.m. Atlanta Fed's Bostic1:30 p.m. Philadelphia Fed's HarkerThursdayEarnings: Walt Disney, Airbnb, Plantronics, Burberry, Casper Sleep, Brookfield Asset Management, Door Dash, Petrobras, Aurora Cannabis, Alibaba8:30 a.m. Initial jobless claims8:30 a.m. PPI1:00 p.m. Fed Governor Christopher Waller4:00 p.m. St. Louis Fed President James BullardFridayEarnings: Honda, Rosneft8:30 a.m. Retail sales8:30 a.m. Import prices9:15 a.m. Industrial production10:00 a.m. Consumer sentiment10:00 a.m. Business inventories1:00 p.m. Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan
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Server Nioka Mantilla arranges items in the buffet at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel on Penn Street in Reading, Pennsylvania, Friday morning May 7, 2021.Ben Hasty | MediaNews Group | Reading Eagle via Getty ImagesThe stunningly disappointing April jobs report shouldn't be taken as an indictment against the fast-moving economic recovery but shouldn't be dismissed as merely a one-month blip either, according to Wall Street economists and market experts.A confluence of factors helped explain the weak Labor Department count that showed nonfarm payrolls grew by just 266,000 in a month that forecasters expected to see 1 million.Among them: Low labor supply caused by a lack of qualified workers, reluctance of some to go back to work because of Covid-related fears and the continuation of enhanced unemployment benefits, and seasonal factors that skewed expectations for job creation."The main thing we learned in this reopening trade was that we thought it was going to be this smooth trend of all this good stuff happening. What we're starting to realize is it's probably going to be a little bit bumpier," said Jim Caron, head of global macro strategies for the Global Fixed Income Team at Morgan Stanley Investment Management."The road is still pointed in the right direction. It's just going to be a little less smooth than we had thought," he added.Some positive signs amid the weaknessDespite the big miss, there were still things to like in the report that pointed to strong fundamental factors for the jobs market even if the headline number was a big letdown.For one, the unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a point to 6.1%, but that was primarily because more Americans returned to the labor force, a critical metric for policymakers.Also, the level of working remotely fell to 18.3% of those employed from 21% in March. Those who said they weren't working because their employer closed or lost business due to pandemic-related reasons declined from 11.4 million to 9.4 million. Those prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic fell to 2.8 million from 3.7 million the previous month. The average duration of unemployment declined to 28.8 weeks from 29.7 weeks.There's also hope for the future: Economic growth is expected to get even stronger through the second quarter, and other real-time indicators like restaurant reservations, foot traffic and employment costs all point to continued employment gains ahead."This is just a blip. It's one data point. I would not take a lot from it," said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. "This is one of those reports that is kind of interesting, but that makes the next report even more interesting, because something about this seems odd."Indeed, the financial markets weren't disappointed at all.Stocks rallied through the day and shorter-duration government bond yields fell, an indication that at least near-term inflation pressures were diminishing.The market reaction was a bit puzzling, particularly the bond market moves, though there was an overall sense that any urgency the Federal Reserve may have felt to tamp down economic growth would be quelled further by the jobs situation."Time for a deep breath. One month's data prove nothing; payrolls could rebound massively in May," wrote Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. "But if the April report is indicative of [a] trend which will persist, then the rally in Treasuries after these data makes no sense, because the outcome will be substantially faster wage growth and the potential embedding of the impending reopening spike in margins."Lots of questionsWages did accelerate during the month, rising 0.7% from March though flat year over year. The gains may have reflected added pressure on businesses to pay more in order to encourage workers to return to jobs.The combination of higher pay and a slight decline in hours worked "suggests labor shortages are becoming more evident, which may in turn be a factor holding back jobs growth," Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said in a note."Overall, it is difficult to judge how much weight to put on this report at a time when most of the other evidence suggests economic activity is rebounding quickly, but it is a clear reminder that the recovery in the labor market is lagging the rebound in consumption," he added. "That's a crucial distinction for the Fed."Nationwide Chief Economist David Berson said the April numbers raise the question of "whether this relatively weak employment report is a sign of a weakening demand or a sign of lack of supply." Within that question is whether unemployment benefits, which provide $300 above what recipients normally would get, are too high. He also wondered whether a skills mismatch is at play, if it's a matter of schools yet to reopen, or if business startups are lagging."All of these probably are playing a role," he wrote.Krishna Guha, the head of central bank strategy for Evercore ISI, said the report "can only lower conviction in the view that a very vigorous acceleration is already underway" and characterized it as "more supply-constrained stagflation lite than Goldilocks."Stagflation is a term to describe a 1970s-like economy where growth is low and inflation runs high.But White House officials on Friday generally chalked up the report as indicative that more needs to be done, not less, to get the economy back to full power.President Joe Biden said the numbers are "on the right track" but "we still have a long way to go," while Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the report shows that there will be some bumps along the way.Wall Street generally agreed, maintaining that the high levels of stimulus combined with continued progress against the virus will spur more hiring ahead."My inclination is not to read too much into the weakness," wrote Eric Winograd, senior economist at AllianceBernstein. "I remain confident that the economy is accelerating sharply and will continue to do so, and that the labor market will reap the benefits of that expansion sooner rather than later."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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A help wanted sign is posted at a taco stand in Solana Beach, California.Mike Blake | ReutersThe much weaker than expected April jobs report reinforces the Federal Reserve's easy policy stance, but some strategists still expect the central bank to signal in the next couple of months that it will slow down its bond buying.Economists had expected to see 1 million new jobs last month, so the government's report of just 266,000 was a gut punch to the view that the economy is rebounding in a smooth upward trajectory. The anticipation for a big jobs number also had put the spotlight on the Fed's easing programs.Stock futures rose and Treasury yields immediately fell after the report. But the 10-year Treasury yield, after falling to about 1.49% turned around to trade at 1.55%. The 5-year also fell but stayed near its low. Yields move opposite bond prices. In afternoon trading, stocks remained higher with the Dow up about 160 points."I'm wondering if bonds are selling off a little as it just reinforces [Fed Chair Jerome] Powell wanting to be patient," said John Briggs, head of global strategy at NatWest Markets. "But if you're like me, waiting for the Fed to taper, I think the Fed is going to start talking about it in September. That means the market is going to be talking about it in the summer."Economists said the May jobs report will provide more information on the state of hiring, which could have been slowed by bottlenecks showing up in supply chains. For instance, auto workers have been idled due to the shortage of semiconductors needed to build automobiles. There is also an acute shortage of workers in some areas and industries. Economists also see closed schools as an issue, keeping parents from the workforce. To some extent, expanded unemployment benefits may also be a factor."If one is thinking about the evident labor shortages being inflationary, that should push the 5-year yield up," said Michael Schumacher, Wells Fargo rates director. "But the other side is if you consider the chance of the Fed tapering, that's been pushed back slightly. Not much in my opinion, but people might take that view."Schumacher said he still expects the Fed to discuss trimming its purchases of about $120 billion a month in Treasurys and mortgage securities.Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has knocked the idea that the Fed will begin discussing an unwind any time soon. But some strategists still expect the Fed to be forced into slowing the purchases and ultimately ending them due to the strength of the economic recovery and the specter of inflation.A step toward ending the bond-buying program would ultimately be a step toward raising interest rates, which the Fed is not expected to do any time soon. Powell has said the Fed would complete the slow wind down of its bond purchases before raising interest rates."If you're an economy bull, you say this is probably an aberration. ... The bears can say you're losing momentum. Either are possible until you get another month," Briggs said, noting the next report could show a large amount of hiring. "When was the last time you reopened an economy in a pandemic? Where are your seasonal factors for that?"He said the bond market is also reacting to the potential for more fiscal stimulus, highlighted by the White House after the weak number."It's as simple as this — a drop in rates, let's buy tech," said Peter Boockvar, chief investment strategist at Bleakley Advisory Group. "The stock market can't decide whether it wants to celebrate the drop in yields and maybe a Fed that's not going to taper so quickly but at the same time, we're early stage in the recovery but we're seeing a lot of late stage behavior like supply demand getting hot ... this overheating."Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs, said the bond market reversal appears to have come as traders looked at the inconsistencies and decided the number was distorted. "That was my view as well," he said on CNBC. Hatzius said the weak jobs report does not change his view that the Fed will taper its bond purchases starting next year and then raise interest rates in 2024."I'm not sure having one dud report changes the calculation too much," said Schumacher. "I suspect the forecast range will be astronomical next month."The unemployment rate rose in April to 6.1% from 6%. The bulk of hiring was in the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 331,000 jobs as pandemic restrictions on restaurants eased.Average hourly wages rose by 21 cents to $30.17 in April, and economists note that strong hiring of workers in the hospitality industry typically makes overall wage numbers go down."This is a devastating disappointment, more than just seasonal problems. We had declines in everything from professional services to manufacturing and even couriers and transportation," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton. "Turning on the lights in the economy is harder than turning them off."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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The Roku 3 television streaming player menu is shown on a television in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013.Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg via Getty ImagesCheck out the companies making headlines in midday trading. Square – The payment company's stock rose more than 6% after the company's first-quarter earnings topped Wall Street's expectations. Square earned 41 cents per share on an adjusted basis, while posting $5.06 billion in revenue. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting the company to earn 16 cents on $3.36 billion in revenue. Revenue grew 266% year over year. Peloton – Shares of Peloton advanced about 1% around midday after the company said sales grew 141% during the fiscal third quarter. The company also reported a smaller-than-expected loss during the period. Shares of the company are still down about 14% for the week after Peloton announced a recall of both models of its treadmills, and also said it would delay the May launch in the U.S. of its less expensive treadmill to add safety features.Roku – Shares of the streaming video platform jumped about 11% after Roku reported that revenue growth grew 79% year over year to $574.2 million, more than $50 million above what analysts surveyed by FactSet had projected. The company also added 2.4 million active accounts compared to the prior quarter. Roku's second-quarter revenue guidance also topped expectations.Shake Shack – Shares of the fast food chain slid nearly 13% after the company reported a revenue miss and gave a tepid current quarter sales outlook. Shake Shack said sales in city locations and sports stadiums continue to weigh on overall results. However, the company reported an adjusted quarterly profit of 4 cents per share, compared to Refinitiv consensus of a 9 cents per share loss. Bill.com – Shares of the provider of back office enterprise software surged 15% after the company posted a narrower loss and better-than-expected sales for its latest quarter. Bill.com also announced the acquisition of expense management software provider Divvy for $2.5 billion.Expedia — The travel platform's stock jumped more than 7% after it reported better-than-expected quarter results. Expedia reported a first-quarter adjusted loss of $2.02 per share on revenues of $1.25 billion. Analysts had expected a loss per share of $2.31 on revenues of $1.12 billion, according to Refinitiv.AMC Entertainment – The movie theater chain's stock jumped more than 4% despite a wider-than-expected quarterly loss and an earnings miss. AMC lost $1.42 per share for the first quarter, wider than the loss of $1.30 a share that analysts were anticipating, according to Refinitiv. While AMC is still losing money, CEO Adam Aron was upbeat during an earnings call, thanking millions of Redditors and Robinhood traders who boosted the company's stock earlier this year. The stock is up about 340% in 2021.– CNBC's Pippa Stevens and Jesse Pound contributed reporting.Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.
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A potential home buyer reviews paperwork during an open house in Columbus, Ohio.Ty Wright | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesIt is tough to be a homebuyer today. The supply of homes for sale is at a record low, homebuilders are slow to step up, and prices are rising at the fastest pace in nearly two decades.No wonder sentiment among homebuyers fell to the lowest level in the 10-year history of Fannie Mae's monthly Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI). The percentage of respondents who said it is a good time to buy a home decreased from 53% to 47%, while the percentage who said it is a bad time to buy increased from 40% to 48%. Respondents to the survey largely cited high prices and tight supply as the chief reasons for their pessimism, according to Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "The decrease in homebuying sentiment likely indicates that some consumers, potentially flush with savings – perhaps boosted in part by stimulus payments – may be attempting, but failing, to buy a home due to heightened competition for relatively few listed homes," Duncan said.CNBC Real EstateRead CNBC's latest coverage of the housing market:These home renovations will give you the greatest returnsWeekly mortgage demand stalls as rates rise and fierce competition hurts home salesA Roth IRA could help you buy a home. Here's what to knowConsumers with incomes between $50,000 and $100,000 were particularly pessimistic. This is because the shortage of homes for sale is most acute on the lower end of the market, so affordable housing is increasingly difficult to find. (The median household income in the U.S. was nearly $69,000 in 2019.)Competition for housing does not appear to be letting up at all. In fact, competition is hitting record levels. It took an average of 19 days to sell a home during the four-week period ending May 2, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage. That's the fastest since they began tracking that metric in 2012. It is down from an average of 35 days during the same period one year ago. About 45% of homes for sale went under contract in under a week.In another record, 48% of homes sold for more than their list price, up 20 percentage points from the same period a year earlier.Home prices are up over 11% from a year ago, due to high competition that is resulting in bidding wars. Low mortgage rates are no longer helping much, because they helped to fuel those high prices. Prices are also rising for new construction, as builder costs are soaring."Right now we are seeing a substantial increase in home prices, which could be a precursor to more widespread inflation throughout the economy," said Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin. "Lumber prices are surging, which has driven up prices of new homes and indirectly drives up prices of existing homes."Fairweather also notes that as states lift their pandemic restrictions, there could be price increases in other sectors, from food to gasoline. That would cut into a homebuyer's budget and might ease competition for housing."A more balanced market could encourage more move-up homeowners to finally sell, because they won't be so fearful about being able to find and compete for a home to buy," she added.
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SEC Chairman Gary Gensler told CNBC on Friday the agency is looking into how commission-free retail brokerage apps encourage more stock trading and then make money off m the execution of those trades."There is a little bit of a conflict of interest," Gensler said on "Squawk Box," one day after testifying about this issue before House Financial Services Committee. "An app that says they have zero commissions is earning revenue on your trading through something called 'payment for order flow.' Someone is paying them for that order flow and paying them for that data."Gensler said the issue comes down to the so-called gamification that apps use, such as "props, leaderboards, behavioral ways to get individuals to trade more," and how apps market their platforms.Asked what should be done to change or regulate gamification and payment for order flow practices, Gensler said he's reserving judgment while the Securities and Exchange Commission seeks public comment at the matter. However, he did say, "Disclosure alone may not do it."In December, Robinhood agreed to pay a $65 million civil penalty, without admitting or denying SEC charges that the popular trading app deceived customers about how it makes money and failing to deliver the promised best execution of trades."One of Robinhood's selling points to customers was that trading was 'commission free,' but due in large part to its unusually high payment for order flow rates, Robinhood customers' orders were executed at prices that were inferior to other brokers' prices," the SEC said at the time, about a month before Robinhood became a central figure in the GameStop saga.At the time, a Robinhood spokesperson said the firm is "fully transparent" in its communications with customers over its current revenue streams and has improved its best execution processes.Gensler acknowledged that trading apps on smartphones have certainly brought new investors to stock trading and have given them greater access to markets. But he said that as technology changes the way people interact with markets, regulations to protect investors need to keep up.Gensler was sworn in last month as President Joe Biden's choice to lead the SEC, which serves as Wall Street's watchdog. During the presidency of Barack Obama, Gensler ran the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates derivatives including futures, swaps, and certain kinds of options.
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A trader works at the Goldman Sachs stall on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.Brendan McDermid | ReutersGoldman Sachs has formally kicked off the cryptocurrency trading era on Wall Street.The bank informed its markets personnel on Thursday that a newly created cryptocurrency trading desk had successfully traded two kinds of bitcoin-linked derivatives, according to an internal memo obtained exclusively by CNBC.The crypto team exists within the firm's global currencies and emerging markets trading division, reporting to Goldman partner Rajesh Venkataramani, who authored the memo, and is part of the bank's overall digital assets effort led by Mathew McDermott.Goldman Sachs, a dominant global investment bank for trading fixed income and equities, had been mulling the creation of a bitcoin trading desk since at least 2017. The firm tabled those plans initially and restarted the crypto trading team in March, Reuters reported earlier this year. The Thursday memo was the first time New York-based Goldman officially acknowledged its involvement in crytpocurrency trading.Under CEO David Solomon, Goldman is seeking to broaden its market presence by "selectively onboarding" crypto trading institutions to expand offerings, the bank said. The firm also said it launched a new software platform this week that provides the latest cryptocurrency prices and news to clients.Banks, including Goldman and rival Morgan Stanley, had announced plans to offer bitcoin investments to rich clients in their wealth management divisions, but have mostly stayed away from the volatile asset in their Wall Street trading operations. Traders at firms including JPMorgan Chase have been asking managers when they could begin handling bitcoin, CNBC has reported.The derivatives it traded, bitcoin futures and non-deliverable forwards, are ways to wager on the price of bitcoin. The contracts are settled in cash and don't require that Goldman deals with actual bitcoin, called "physical bitcoin" in the industry, because the bank isn't yet in a position to do so, Venkataraman noted in the memo.Here is the memo:May 6, 2021Formation of Cryptocurrency Trading TeamI am pleased to announce the formation of the firm's cryptocurrency trading team, which will be our centralized desk for managing cryptocurrency risk for our clients. The Crypto trading team will be a part of Global Currencies and Emerging Markets (GCEM), reporting to me, within the firm's Digital Assets effort led by Mathew McDermott.As part of our initial launch, we have successfully executed Bitcoin (BTC) NDFs and CME BTC future trades on a principal basis, all cash settling. Looking ahead, as we continue to broaden our market presence, albeit in a measured way, we are selectively onboarding new liquidity providers to help us in expanding our offering.In addition, yesterday we launched our Digital Assets dashboard which provides daily and intraday cryptocurrency market data and news to our clients. We invite you to highlight the dashboard to your clients. For more information on trade approval and onboarding, contact the Digital Assets team.Please note, the firm is not in a position to trade bitcoin, or any cryptocurrency (including Ethereum) on a physical basis. Rajesh VenkataramaniThis story is developing. Please check back for updates.Become a smarter investor with CNBC Pro. Get stock picks, analyst calls, exclusive interviews and access to CNBC TV. Sign up to start a free trial today.
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Housing experts say a judge's overturning of the federal eviction moratorium on Wednesday puts tenants at risk just as rental assistance is finally making its way to renters behind on housing payments.A coalition of landlords and property owners brought a suit — which is one of many — against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), arguing the agency does not have the authority to issue a nationwide eviction ban. U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled in their favor, vacating the ban Wednesday.The order was put on hold Wednesday night after an appeal from the Justice Department, meaning the eviction moratorium is still in place. But it could be overturned again as soon as next week, says Caitlin Cedfeldt, who represents tenants as a staff attorney for Legal Aid of Nebraska.Rental assistance is finally being disbursedThe potential for the ban to be overturned is ill-timed because federal rental relief money is finally making its way to renters and their landlords, Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said in a statement."The Biden administration should continue to vigorously defend and enforce the moratorium, at least until emergency rental assistance provided by Congress reaches the renters who need it to remain stably housed," Yentel added.States have tens of billions of dollars in rental assistance available from the federal relief bills signed into law in December 2020 and March 2021. Tenants behind on rent because of a Covid-related job loss or reduction in hours can apply for programs in their city or state (more details on the eligibility requirements can be found outlined here), or have their landlords apply for them. The relief will typically be paid directly to the landlord.The CDC order helps keep renters stably housed between the time they apply for the assistance and when actually receive it, says Legal Aid's Cedfeldt. Evicting people now doesn't make sense if landlords want to recoup some of their losses, she says."It's very scary for renters right now and especially scary for people who are still trying to get rental assistance," Cedfeldt says. The assistance process typically takes a while to complete and involves multiple "bureaucratic hoops to jump through."Without the CDC order, renters can be evicted even though they're trying to catch up.Caitlin CedfeldtStaff Attorney, Legal Aid of Nebraska
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urbazon | E+ | Getty ImagesFor some would-be homeowners, coming up with the cash to buy a house can be tricky.Depending on your situation, a Roth individual retirement account could help.In a nutshell, up to $10,000 in Roth IRA earnings can be withdrawn — free of both taxes and penalty — for a home purchase if you meet certain requirements. That's in addition to being allowed to withdraw your direct contributions at any time, because you already paid taxes on that money.As home prices continue rising amid a tight housing market, the amount of cash needed to purchase one is climbing, as well.More from Personal Finance:The Covid recovery still has a K shapeThe problems with virtual evictionsHow to boost your credit scoreWhile it's possible to buy a house with less than 20% down — the average is 12% overall and 6% for first-time buyers — going that route also might mean paying private mortgage insurance, or PMI, until your equity is at least 20% of the home's value. PMI can run $30 to $70 monthly for each $100,000 borrowed, according to Freddie Mac.For a $250,000 house, a 6% down payment would be $15,000. At 20%, it would be $50,000. Those amounts don't include other costs related to the purchase, such as transfer taxes or points, which generally lower the interest rate on the loan. (One point is equal to 1% of the mortgage). At the same time, the cost of borrowing is relatively cheap due to low interest rates. The average rate on a conventional 30-year mortgage is about 3%, according to Bankrate.com.Nevertheless, using Roth IRA money to buy a house is not a strategy that makes sense for everyone. Here's what to consider.Basic Roth rulesRoth IRA contributions are made after-tax. This means you can withdraw that money at any time without penalty. The 2021 contribution limit is $6,000 ($7,000 for individuals age 50 or older).However, to make contributions at all, your modified adjusted gross income can't be above a set amount. To contribute the maximum, the income cap is $125,000 if your tax filing status is single, and $198,000 for married couples who file jointly. Above those income amounts, the contribution limit is reduced until completely phasing out at income of $140,000 for single tax filers and $208,000 for joint filers.While those contributions are yours whenever you want them, the same can't be said for any growth in the account. Unless you meet an exclusion — such as reaching age 59½ and having owned a Roth IRA for at least five years — withdrawing earnings will generate taxes and a 10% penalty.For qualified first-time home purchases, that 10% penalty is waived. However, to avoid taxes on the earnings, you must have held the Roth IRA for at least five years (with some exceptions related to the timing of contributions).For Roth conversions — that is, money moved to a Roth IRA from another retirement account — you generally must sit on it for five years if you're under age 59½ to avoid the 10% penalty on any withdrawals (unless you meet the first-time-home-buyer exclusion).The nitty grittyThe exclusion is for first-time home buyers or people who haven't owned a house as a primary residence in at least two years. The buyer can be you, your spouse or one of your family members.The withdrawal also must be used within 120 days of the distribution and be used to pay for expenses related directly to the home purchase, such as a down payment or other closing costs. And, the $10,000 earnings exclusion is a lifetime limit.As long as we can meet the five-year rule, they can use all contributions plus up to $10,000 of gain, free of tax and penalty.Daniel GalliPrincipal of Daniel J. Galli & AssociatesBe aware that traditional IRAs also come with the penalty-free exclusion for qualified home purchases. However, the $10,000 limit is applied to the entire withdrawal, said certified financial planner and CPA Jeffrey Levine, chief planning officer Buckingham Wealth Partners in Long Island, New York. And, you'd generally pay taxes on the money.Setting up a Roth IRA for a home purchaseThe flexibility of a Roth might make it a good place to save up to buy a house down the road, some advisors say. "We've long suggested that young people use a Roth IRA to save the considerable amount needed for a first-time home purchase," said CFP Daniel Galli, principal of Daniel J. Galli & Associates in Norwell, Massachusetts."As long as we can meet the five-year rule, they can use all contributions plus up to $10,000 of gain, free of tax and penalty," Galli said. However, he said that he has recommended this strategy to young workers who also are saving for retirement through a 401(k) plan at work.Additionally, Galli said, there can be risk involved, depending on how aggressively you invest the money in the Roth IRA."This strategy requires some market risk in order to enjoy some gains, but the rewards can balance that," Galli said.If you do go this route, the amount of risk you should take on in your portfolio depends partly on how long until you need the money, said Levine at Buckingham Wealth Partners. If you're planning for something 10 years out, he said, you could start out aggressively invested in stocks and gradually reduce your exposure."You might want to make it more conservative over time," Levine said.Using existing Roth moneyIf you already have money in a Roth IRA and are now eyeing it as a way to fund a home purchase, be aware that many financial advisors caution against using that money if it was earmarked for retirement."These accounts are designed to help people accumulate as much money as possible for retirement," said CFP Shon Anderson, president of Anderson Financial Strategies in Dayton, Ohio."You can obtain a loan for a home, car, business venture, college tuition ... but no one will ever receive a loan to retire," Anderson said.However, depending on your situation — i.e., how much you'd be withdrawing, whether you have sufficient retirement savings elsewhere, if you can otherwise afford the house payments and costs of homeownership — using the Roth money for a house might make sense."If the person is contributing to a 401(k), getting a decent match, they're on a good track for retirement and the Roth is just a nice addition, I might consider it," Galli said."But if their only retirement savings is the Roth and they're, say, in their 40s, I probably wouldn't," he said.
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Maricopa County, Arizona, constable Darlene Martinez signs an eviction order on Oct. 7, 2020 in Phoenix.John Moore | Getty Images News | Getty ImagesRenters who are financially struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic got some scary news yesterday when a federal judge overturned the national eviction moratorium two months earlier than expected.In a 20-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich, who was appointed to the court in 2017 by former President Donald Trump, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention didn't have the authority to stop landlords from evicting their tenants.But within hours, the Department of Justice said it would appeal and sought a stay of the decision, meaning the ban would remain in effect throughout the court battle.For now, the judge has granted a temporary stay, meaning renters can breathe a small sigh of relief.More from Personal Finance:Workers could get 12 weeks of paid leave under Biden's planSelling assets to avoid a higher capital gains tax? You may trigger another taxThe Fed keeps rates near zero — here's how you can benefit"There is no question the moratorium is in effect in this moment," said Emily Benfer, a visiting law professor at Wake Forest University.The CDC issued the national eviction ban in September, and it was originally slated to expire at the end of January, but President Joe Biden has extended it, first until April, and later through June.It remains to be seen if the protection remains in effect for as long as the president intended. It will depend how the current court battle unfolds. And there's always the chance Biden extends the ban yet again.In addition to the national ban, there are also some local eviction protections available and a large pot of money that tenants (and landlords) can apply for.Here's what struggling renters should know.While the CDC ban remains in effect ...Renters eligible for the protection should fill out the CDC's declaration and give it to their landlord as soon as possible, experts say.Who qualifies? Generally, individuals earning less than $99,000 a year and couples making under $198,000 who've been financially set back because of the pandemic or huge medical expenses.Research local protectionsAlthough most states have lifted their eviction bans by now, some remain in place. Those policies should not be impacted by whatever happens with the federal moratorium.Benfer has put together a spreadsheet of the state policies.New York, for example, has extended its eviction moratorium until September.Apply for rental assistanceThere's now more than $45 billion in rental assistance available, thanks to stimulus packages passed in December and then in March.Some programs will grant you 12 months of housing payments, others may offer funding for as many as 18 months of rent.The money is sent to your landlord, but if they refuse to accept the funds, you may be able to get them directly.Many areas already had existing rental assistance funds, and it will be through one of these that you apply for the new aid. In other cases, programs will be created to disburse the money, Benfer said."Renters should contact local housing groups, their representatives or the local 211/311 lines to identify programs and learn how to apply," she added.The National Low Income Housing Coalition also has a database of rental assistance programs.What if I'm worried about eviction?Housing advocates are worried that property owners will take advantage of uncertainty around the CDC ban to try to push out tenants now."Some landlords will be emboldened to mislead tenants because they know the chances the tenant will have an attorney to fight them are virtually zero," said John Pollock, coordinator of the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel.That's why, if you're facing eviction, experts say your first step should be to try to get a lawyer.You can find low-cost or free legal help with an eviction in your state at Lawhelp.org. At Justshelter.org, you can search for other community resources for people at risk of eviction.One study in New Orleans found that more than 65% of tenants with no legal representation were evicted, compared with fewer than 15% of those who did.
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Gary Gensler, then-chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesNew Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler will testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday. This is the third House hearing focused on GameStop, but this is Gensler's first appearance as chairman before the Committee.Gensler's prepared testimony indicates he will address a broad range of topics around Gamestop and protection of investors, including:'Gamification' of trading.Gensler will begin his testimony on the increasing gamification of trading, which he defined as trading that has "game-like features" — such as points, rewards, leaderboards, bonuses, and competitions — to increase engagement."Many of these features encourage investors to trade more," Gensler said. "Some academic studies suggest more active trading or even day trading results in lower returns for the average trader."Gensler said he has asked his staff to prepare a request for public input: "We need to ensure investors using apps with these types of features continue to be appropriately protected."Payment for order flowMany brokers now send their orders to market makers in exchange for payments, a process known as "payment for order flow."  The market makers can either execute the orders directly or pass it on to an exchange or other trading venues.Because higher levels of trading generate more payment to brokers, Gensler asked: "Do broker-dealers have inherent conflicts of interest? If so, are customers getting best execution in the context of that conflict? Are broker-dealers incentivized to encourage customers to trade more frequently than is in those customers' best interest?"Gensler did not directly address these questions, but implied the recent enforcement action against Robinhood was a warning sign. "Robinhood explicitly offered to accept less price improvement for its customers in exchange for receiving higher payment for order flow for itself. As a result, many Robinhood customers shouldered the costs of inferior executions; these costs might have exceeded any savings they might have thought they'd gotten from a zero commission."Equity market structureThat payment for order flow has turned into a lucrative business. Gensler says about 38% of equity trading volume is executed by those off-exchange wholesalers. Citadel Securities, Gensler noted, has publicly stated that it executes about 47% of all retail volume.Gensler asked if this concentration was consistent with the SEC's mandate to promote fair, orderly, and efficient markets.  "History and economics tell us that when markets are concentrated, those firms with the greatest market share tend to have the ability to profit from that concentration," he said, "I've asked staff to look closely at these issues to determine which policy approaches may be merited."Short positions: Should they be disclosed?Hedge funds and other investors who hold significant stock positions are required to report long positions on a quarterly basis, but those who hold short positions are not. That has led to calls that short sellers should also be required to disclose their positions:  "Enhancing disclosures could improve market efficiency and end some wild speculation (and misinformation) about short selling and short positions," Tyler Gellasch, executive eirector of Healthy Markets, said in an open letter to Gensler.Gensler told the committee he has directed SEC staff to prepare recommendations for the SEC's consideration on short selling disclosure.The Archegos messThough unrelated to GameStop, Gensler also brought up the failure of Archegos Capital Management and the losses incurred by several banks that provided prime brokerage services to them. The "core" of the problem, Gensler said, was Archegos' use of total return swaps based on underlying stocks, and the significant exposure that the prime brokers had to the family office.Gensler said he has asked his staff for recommendations on whether to include total return swaps and other security-based swaps under new disclosure requirements. Social media hypeGensler also raised concerns that wrongdoers will attempt to use social media to hype stocks or manipulate markets.  He offered no specific suggestions, but said that "This is an area for which we will continue to deepen our understanding, resources, and capabilities."Margin requirementsGensler noted that "at least one firm didn't have sufficient liquidity to meet margin calls and had to fundraise within hours to meet $1 billion-plus obligations, and several brokers chose to shut down customer access to trading."  Gensler said this raised questions about whether margin requirements are sufficient, and whether broker-dealers have appropriate tools to manage their liquidity and risk. "I've asked staff to look at these issues carefully," he said.Shorter settlement periodStocks currently take two days after a trade is made to settle, a convention known as "T + 2."  Gensler noted that "the longer it takes for a trade to settle, the more risk our markets assume" and that the technology exists to eventually shorten the settlement cycle to T + 1 or even same-day settlement.  "I've directed the SEC staff to put together a draft proposal for the Commission's review on this topic," he said.Where is the SEC going?While Gensler's comments lacked specifics, analysts noted that his comments clearly indicated the direction he was taking the SEC on these issues."This is the first time he has come out, and he is pretty negative on payment for order flow and the concentration of market makers," Rich Repetto from Piper Sandler told me, noting his remarks were "troublesome for e-brokers and market makers."Repetto also said not to mistake the lack of specifics for lack of direction:  "When he says he is 'directing' his staff he is implying there is going to be some kind of action," noting that the committee will now expect some kind of update on what the SEC is doing in the coming months.Indeed, Gensler told the committee his staff would be publishing a report on market events over the summer.Gensler also left the door open to enforcement actions against those violating SEC rules:  "While I cannot comment on ongoing examination and enforcement matters, SEC staff is vigorously reviewing these events for any violations. I also have directed staff to consider whether expanded enforcement mechanisms are necessary."
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Filmstudio | E+ | Getty ImagesIt should come as no surprise that outdoor spaces are more valued than ever. The coronavirus pandemic sent us all home for a year, and being cooped up inside made us long for upgraded outdoor spaces.The home renovation market boomed last year, and continues to flourish now, with outdoor renovations leading the list of the top value-creating projects. Eleven of the 12 leading investments were exterior home improvements, with the exception of a minor kitchen remodel, according to the 2021 Cost vs. Value report from Zonda Media, a housing market research and analytics firm.Overall, however, homeowners are getting just a 60% return on their renovation investments. That's down from last year and well below the decade-high of 71.2% in 2014, as the costs of renovations have risen sharply, for both materials and labor. Supply-chain disruptions from the pandemic and global trading tariffs have contributed to the cost increases."The trend of exterior replacements outperforming larger discretionary remodeling projects has been accelerated, no doubt, by a year in which Covid has made people reluctant to have contractors inside their homes but wanting to improve outdoor spaces," said Clayton DeKorne, editor-in-chief of Remodeling and JLC magazines."Exterior façade facelifts improve the curb appeal and make a great first impression as buyers approach the home," he said. "That translates to real dollars at the closing table, which is why we see such tangible returns on those investments."The majority of projects offering the greatest returns in resale value were related to curb appeal. Garage door replacement showed a 94% return on investment. Manufactured stone veneer came in second with a 92% return, and a minor kitchen remodel offered a 72% return on investment. Adding a back deck, highly popular with homeowners in the past year, gives a 66% return on investment for wood and a 63% return for composite.Other projects with high returns include vinyl window and siding replacement as well as upgrading to a steel front door.The report provides a glimpse into what is now popular, but the cost vs. value analysis is not all about popularity, especially given the soaring costs for materials such as lumber. The effect of the rise in material costs is shown across the board for all projects, with the return on investment for all projects down an average of 3 percentage points, according to the report. For wooden decks, that return is down over 10%, as lumber costs skyrocket over 300% from a year ago.A minor kitchen remodel did provide high returns, but, surprisingly, major kitchen and bathroom remodels did not. The Zonda survey found that those projects tend to be too individualized and don't offer broad appeal to buyers.The value to the current homeowner, while not monetary, is extremely high, given all the nesting going on. That is why there are massive delays for new appliances and fixtures due to extremely high demand.
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Bitcoin was in mint condition after the weekend as it headed towards $59K on Monday morning, preserving its high-performing crypto coin. Just this past weekend, Bitcoin experienced a slow deflation, first with a surprise rally on Friday. Things turned around on Sunday overnight as the Bitcoin price approached $60K as the cryptocurrency continues to hold its position as the largest crypto in the community. Consider some factors below that could paint a picture of what it's in store for the bitcoin market for the remainder of the week. Appetite for Bitcoin Grows As Bitcoin slams back with new highs this week, it wasn't too long ago that it experienced a minor dip in price. Less than two weeks ago, BTC was near $46K in price but the currency rebounded quickly and sits at an all-time high--a new milestone since February of this year. This past Monday the market saw a fairly active market as people rushed to buy the popular crypto. Taking a glimpse at the buy and sell demand, Binance shows resistance still remains strong at $60K and above but this will require bulls to knock out several walls of sell orders so the currency can break out beyond its all-time high of $64.5K.  Reflecting on last Friday's gains, this was a genuine increase after buying among spot traders occurred.  Catching Up With Altcoins With Bitcoin fluctuating lately on the market, the most current and hot altcoin on the crypto scene is Ethereum (ETH). As ETH/USD sits just above $3,000 and had gains of 28% this past week, Bitcoin only saw 11% gains in comparison to the altcoin. With Bitcoin's market cap dominance slipping down to 47.7%, the lowest since July 2018, the crypto coin has lost some clout due to its performance. However, the popular Crypto Chase trader took to Twitter to share thoughts on ETH's uprise stating, "I wouldn’t be surprised if we see $3500 ETH this week". Only time will tell what direction the market will go the rest of the week. To read more on Altcoin opportunities ahead, click here. 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Traders working at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), today, Wednesday, April 21, 2021.Source: NYSEThe NYSE is adjusting its COVID protocols and will allow more people on its iconic trading floor.Beginning May 10th, members of the floor community who have been fully vaccinated will be exempt from certain restrictions, including a random testing program, according to an internal memo. They will also be allowed to remove face masks, though they must continue to maintain social distancing (6 feet or more).If 100% of a trading firm's floor-based staff have been fully vaccinated (meaning 2 or more weeks have passed since the final dose of a vaccine), the firm will be permitted to bring them back fully staffed. The memo was first reported by Bloomberg News.Media organizations will also be permitted on the trading floor. Everyone will still be required to wear a mask when walking around on the floor.One issue not addressed: Whether employees or other entrants will still be required to sign a waiver of liability that prevents them from suing the NYSE in the event they contract COVID.
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Traders on the NYSE, May 3, 2021.Source: NYSEIt's not just about earnings anymore: Dividends and huge inflows are helping stocks power forward.April trading data is in, and it shows two surprises: an increase in dividends, and huge inflows into equities that are even stronger than the first three months of the year. Dividends are backIn April of last year, two dozen companies in the S&P 500 reduced or suspended their dividends. More suspensions and dividends came later in the year.For April of this year, the opposite has happened: 33 companies in the S&P 500 announced dividend increases. None announced a decrease, and none suspended dividends.Most importantly, 11 companies that had suspended dividends in 2020 began paying again in April:Reinstating dividendsRoss StoresTJXHCA Health CareUniversal Health ServicesFreeport McMoranEstee LauderKimco RealtyDarden RestaurantsWeyerhauserMarathon OilThree of them — TJX, HCA Healthcare and Freeport McMoran — are paying higher dividends than they were before they suspended payments."The bottom line is, a year ago companies had no idea what was going on," Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst from S&P Global Indices, told me. "Now there is much better clarity, and they are willing to put their money where their mouth is."Will it continue? Silverblatt estimates that the overall dividend payout for the S&P 500 will increase 5% in 2021. That would mean a payout to investors of about $515 billion, up from $483 billion in 2020."That is money in your pocket," Silverblatt said. "Remember, when a company pays a dividend, it is expected that it will keep that dividend going. That is a commitment from the company and they don't make that decision lightly."Investors enthusiastic: Big inflows into ETFs continueNear-record inflows into ESG, thematic tech and other areas are also supporting prices.Exchange-traded funds started the year just short of $6 trillion in assets under management, and inflows have continued on a consistent basis every month in 2021.An extra $55 billion was put into equity ETFs in April, for a year to date total of $258 billion in equity inflows. 2021 will certainly see much higher equity inflows than 2020, when panicked investors threw money into bond funds."The money's coming from everywhere," Harry Whitton, senior vice president at Old Mission, an ETF market maker, told me. "There are people still sitting at home who are putting money into the markets. You are seeing huge interest in [Environmental, Social and Governance] ETFs. You are continuing to see money come out of mutual funds and into ETFs as well."Is the Reddit crowd turning into long-term investors?These inflows came despite a 30% drop in April equity share trading volumes compared to March, according to PiperSandler, and a similar 14% drop in equity options trading.Why are there big inflows into ETF equity funds, and lower overall equity and equity option trading?Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, managing director at JPMorgan Chase, suggests retail traders are altering their trading patterns: "The behavior of US retail investors appears to be changing again, away from buying individual stocks or stock options and towards buying more traditional equity funds as was the case before the pandemic," he wrote in a recent note to clients.Harry Whitton agrees: "We are seeing selling of fixed income ETFs and buying of equity ETFs. Maybe some of the Reddit crowd turned into long term investors. Or they got their tax bills."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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Stanley Ho, the legendary gambling tycoon who died one year ago this month, left behind a complex inheritance.That is perhaps not surprising for a man who had fewer recognised partners (four) but more children (17) than Henry VIII. It also made for some interesting board proceedings at his flagship Macau gaming company, SJM Holdings.SJM’s board is now headed by Daisy, the late patriarch’s daughter from his second marriage. One of her two co-chairs, Angela Leong, was Ho’s fourth wife. His third wife, Chan Un Chan is also an SJM director.For the better part of a decade, as Ho’s health faded, SJM was the subject of what people close to the protagonists call “the war between the second and fourth families”.This war was finally won by the second family in 2018, when Daisy succeeded her father as SJM’s chair. Less than a year later, the second family further consolidated its grip on Ho’s empire when Daisy’s older sister, Pansy, announced an alliance giving her effective control over SJM’s parent company.The question now is whether Daisy can chart a new course for SJM, whose development was constrained by Ho’s conservatism.When Macau’s gambling market was liberalised in 2002, ending Ho’s 40-year monopoly, new entrants led by Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands built huge new resorts on the Cotai strip — a vast land reclamation that linked Macau’s two previously separate outlying islands, Coloane and Taipa.Adelson, who passed away in January, and his top executives were often dismissive of Ho, who clung stubbornly to a collection of no-frills casinos on Macau’s densely populated peninsula. A November 2006 picture showing Stanley Ho, centre, at his 85th birthday with, from left, daughters Daisy, Pansy, Maisy, Josie and son Lawrence in Hong Kong © Ym Yik/EPA/Shutterstock When I sat down for an on-the-record interview with William Weidner, then president of Sands, just ahead of the 2007 opening of the Venetian Macao, I expected him to be respectful of Adelson’s new arch rival. Instead, he said that on his first visit to Macau in 1980, Ho’s Lisboa casino reminded him of “the cockfight scene in The Deer Hunter”. “We in Las Vegas,” Weidner added, “couldn’t believe a place as poorly executed as the Lisboa did as well [financially] as it did.”Ho remained wedded to his old business model of catering to high-rolling “whales” in quiet VIP rooms. But Adelson was convinced that China’s emerging middle class, when not losing money at his baccarat tables, wanted Las Vegas-style resorts, shows and convention centres.When it was opened in the summer of 2007, the $2.5bn Venetian had 3,000 hotel rooms and 1.2m sq ft of convention space. As one of my impressed friends said at the time “it’s like gambling in an airport, but bigger”.The popularity of Macau’s new generation of casino resorts, which soon propelled the territory far past Las Vegas as the world’s biggest gambling market, proved that Adelson had a better understanding of his Chinese clientele than Ho ever did.Ho, however, was not one to admit defeat. In his first — and last — SJM chairman’s note, in the group’s 2008 annual report, he said the company would continue to “focus on the business of gaming that we know best and provide an attractive product aimed at a targeted clientele”. He also proudly described the Macau peninsula as SJM’s “home base”.In one sign of the group’s long period of drift, from 2009 to 2017 Ambrose So, SJM’s caretaker chief executive, would sign the opening business overview in its annual reports before finally handing the pen over to Daisy in 2018.Over the next few months — and some 14 years after the Venetian transformed Macau — SJM will finally venture out from Ho’s long shadow with the opening of its Grand Lisboa Palace integrated resort on Cotai.The timing could hardly be less auspicious, as Macau continues to stagger from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Last year, the territory’s visitor arrivals and gross gaming revenues fell 85 per cent and 79 per cent respectively, compared with 2019. But visitor numbers are finally starting to pick up after Macau reopened its borders to travellers from mainland China in August.For SJM, much will depend on its June appointment of a new chief operating officer, Frank McFadden. Ho originally poached McFadden from Adelson in 2006 to oversee the opening of SJM’s current flagship casino, the Grand Lisboa.McFadden, an Irishman who often told friends he was looking forward to retirement in County Donegal, has made it clear that he thinks a new era beckons for SJM. “My mandate,” he told Inside Asian Gaming magazine shortly after his appointment, “is for change”.tom.mitchell@ft.com
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Ether (ETH) took charge as a new month begins and the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization rallied to a new all-time high at $3,338. This has many analysts shouting out that a new 'altcoin season' has commenced. Meanwhile, Bitcoin  (BTC) price is continuing to meet resistance around the $56,000 to $58,000 level. Data from Cointelegraph Markets and TradingView shows that since dropping to a low of $2,160 on April 25, the price of Ether has rallied 54% to a new record high at $3,324 on May 3 as Monday’s 12% spike lifted the top altcoin above the $3,300 level for the first time in history. ETH/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewWhile a majority of crypto traders are celebrating Ether’s price breakout, which has helped elevate project co-founder Vitalik Buterin to the crypto billionaire club, bearish traders are en route to heavy losses as nearly every one of the 76,000 put option contracts that are set to expire on April 7 will become worthless if Ether price manages to stay above $3,100. And it's not just Ether that has been performing well as of late. In the past 2 months, the altcoin market as a whole has seen its value increase 119% and flipped the 2017 peak into a new support level. Ether HODL rates riseAccording to Glassnode, an on-chain analytics firm,  the amount of Ether being held long term has been on the rise since late 2020 and this could be a contributing factor propelling the multi-month rally.Ethereum HODL waves. Source: GlassnodeThe chart above showing “Ethereum HODL waves” indicates that "coins appear to be maturing from 1-week to over 6-months old since late 2020 (blue arrows),” with the “proportion of coins aged 1-month to 6-months progressively increasing in thickness suggesting HODLing coins accumulated in the early bull market remains a favored strategy.”Glassnode also pointed out that a large volume of Ether has been removed from exchange wallets in 2021, with 10 instances of withdrawals in excess of 200k Ether per day taking place in just 4 months as institutional demand and decentralized finance (DeFi) use grows. Ethereum supply in smart contracts vs. balance on exchanges. Source: GlassnodeAs seen on the chart above, the amount of Ether held on exchanges has been on the decline since September 2020 which coincided with a noticeable increase in the amount of Ether held in decentralized finance smart contracts. Currently, the amount of Ether locked in smart contracts is outpacing the amount held in centralized exchange reserves. Altcoins outpace Bitcoin for nowWith Bitcoin still struggling to secure a daily close above $58,000, altcoins continue to make the case for an emerging altseason.Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360Waves (WAVES) was the breakout star of the day with its token price surging 41% to a record high at $36.41. Ethereum Classic (ETC) also rallied 15% to a new all-time high at $50.90. After rallying 17.84% to $5,777 in the past 24-hrs, Maker (MKR) is now the top-ranked decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol with a total value locked of $10.92 trillion.The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $2.29 trillion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 46.6%.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.
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Analyzing the activity on lending platforms can sometimes be used as a barometer for measuring the sentiment of the cryptocurrency market as a higher number of collateral-backed loans may signal that traders are eager to trade a rising market. The month of April saw the total value locked on Maker (MKR), Aave (AAVE) and Compound (COMP) climb to new highs alongside rising token values and trading volumes. MKR/USDT vs AAVE/USDT vs COMP/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewAll three of the projects are based on the Ethereum (ETH) network and have benefited from the rising price of ETH as well as a recent decline in the average gas fee that has led to an uptick in user engagement with decentralized finance (DeFi).MKR/USDTMaker has seen the largest price appreciation in the month of April thanks to multiple factors including an upgrade to its liquidation engine and the possible expansion of its approved collateral list.The Maker protocol is responsible for the creation of the DAI stablecoin, which has seen its circulating supply reach a new high of $3.569 billion tokens. Data from DappRadar shows that the total value locked (TVL) on the Maker platform has climbed higher throughout the month of April and now stands at $11.09 billion, making it the number one ranked Ethereum-based DeFi platform in terms of TVL. Total value locked on Maker. Source: DappRadarWith institutions now getting involved in the cryptocurrency sector and showing great interest in the growing Ethereum network, the MakerDAO ecosystem and its DAI stablecoin could see further gains in users and TVL as one of the more established and long lasting DeFi protocols in the space. AAVE/USDTGrowth in the AAVE ecosystem really began to take off in the middle of April after the project launched on the Polygon network in an effort to help scale the protocol while remaining on the Ethereum network. The launch was well received as evidenced by the Polygon-based AAVE protocol surpassing $1 billion in liquidity within 10 days of launching. A rally in the price of Polygon and the rapid growth of its QuickSwap DEX coincided with a sharp increase in the TVL of the AAVE protocol, which now stands at $10.56 billion according to data from DappRadar. Total value locked on Aave. Source: DappRadarThe rapid increase in TVL that began on April 25 coincided with a 55% increase in the price of AAVE from a low of $315 to a high of $534 on May 3. AAVE's migration to the Polygon network and the increased scalability it offers is continuing to attracting new users and pushing the token price to new highs. COMP/USDTCompound price whipsawed in both directions in April but that didn't prevent the protocol from reaching a new all-time high. COMP/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewData from Cointelegraph Markets and TradingView shows that after bouncing off a low near $430 in April, the price of COMP rallied 104% to set a new record high at $879 on May 2.The main driving force behind excitement in the community has been a series of governance votes as well as the approval for the second batch of development grant recipients. According to data from DappRadar, the TVL on the Compound protocol actually surpassed the $11 billion level in mid-April before a downturn in the overall market caused a drop off in prices resulting in a rapid decline in the value of assets locked on the platform. Total value locked on Compound. Source: Defi LlamaNow that the markets appear to be waking up with Ethereum fresh of a new all-time high and Bitcoin (BTC) looking to attempt a breakout above the $58,000 level, the TVL and price for COMP could again trend upward. The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.
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Ether (ETH) has been the star performer among major cryptocurrencies in the past few days as its rally has continued unabated. The second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization crossed the $3,300 today sending projects market cap to $381.6 billion. Ether has now become the 24th largest asset in the world, vaulting the project above blue-chip names like Mastercard, NVIDIA, Walt Disney, Bank of America and Home Depot, according to data from Infinite Market Cap. This strong performance in Ether has also brought back murmurs of Ethereum flippening Bitcoin (BTC).Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360However, Ether has a lot of catching up to do if it wants to flip Bitcoin because its market dominance at 16.4% is much below Bitcoin’s 47%. Still, the rise of Ether is positive for the crypto sector because it is likely to attract the attention of institutional investors.Fund managers will find it difficult to ignore the top two cryptocurrencies as their market caps surpass popular Wall Street names. This could continue to attract fresh money into the crypto sector and boost prices higher.Let’s analyze the charts of the top-10 cryptocurrencies to determine their trend and the possible target objectives.BTC/USDTBitcoin has bounced off the 20-day exponential moving average ($55,915) today, suggesting that bulls are accumulating on dips. The buyers will now try to push the price to the $61,825.84 to $64,849.27 overhead resistance zone.BTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewHowever, the wick on today’s candlestick shows that the bulls are struggling to sustain the price above $58,000. If the buyers fail to do that, the bears will make one more attempt to sink the price below the 20-day EMA.If they succeed, the BTC/USDT pair could start a correction to $52,323.21 and then to $50,460. A bounce off this level could keep the pair range-bound for a few more days.Alternatively, if the bulls defend the 20-day EMA, it will signal strength. If the buyers can sustain the price above $58,000, the pair could start a gradual climb to the overhead zone. The next leg of the uptrend may start after the pair rises above $64,849.27.ETH/USDTEther had been trading inside an ascending channel for the past few days. The bulls pushed the price above the resistance line of the channel on May 1, resulting in a pick-up in momentum. Ether could now rally to $3,513. ETH/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewBoth moving averages are sloping up suggesting that bulls have the upper hand. However, the RSI above 80 suggests the rally is overbought in the short-term and the ETH/USDT pair may soon enter a minor correction or consolidation.If the bulls do not allow the price to re-enter the channel, it will suggest that traders are buying on dips as they expect the rally to continue. Conversely, if the bears sink and sustain the price below $2,850, the pair could drop to the 20-day EMA ($2,586).BNB/USDTAfter forming a Doji candlestick pattern on May 1 and 2, Binance Coin (BNB) has resumed its uptrend today. Both moving averages are sloping up and the RSI is in the overbought zone, suggesting the bulls have overpowered the bears.BNB/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewIf the bulls can sustain the price above $639, the BNB/USDT pair could start its journey toward the pattern target at $808.57.Contrary to this assumption, if the bulls fail to sustain the price above $639, the bears will try to pull the price down to the 20-day EMA ($552). A bounce off this support will keep the uptrend intact.However, if the price drops below the 20-day EMA, the pair could decline to the support line of the triangle and then to the 50-day simple moving average ($421).XRP/USDTXRP turned down from $1.66 and formed an inside-day candlestick pattern on May 2. That was followed by a Doji candlestick pattern today, indicating indecision among the bulls and the bears.XRP/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewIf the uncertainty resolves to the downside, the XRP/USDT pair could correct to the 20-day EMA ($1.36), which is likely to act as a strong support.A strong rebound off the 20-day EMA will suggest that traders are buying on dips. If the bulls thrust the price above $1.66, the pair could rise to the 78.6% Fibonacci retracement at $1.73 and then retest the 52-week high at $1.96.The marginally rising 20-day EMA and the RSI near 61 indicate the bulls have the upper hand. This positive view will invalidate if the pair breaks the 20-day EMA support. Such a move will suggest that traders are dumping their positions and that could pull the price down to the 50-day SMA ($1.01).DOGE/USDTThe uncertainty following the inside-day candlestick pattern on April 29 resolved to the upside on April 30 and the bulls propelled Dogecoin (DOGE) above the $0.34 resistance on May 1. VORTECS™ data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro began to detect a bullish outlook for DOGE on April 29, prior to the recent price rise.The VORTECS™ Score, exclusive to Cointelegraph, is an algorithmic comparison of historic and current market conditions derived from a combination of data points including market sentiment, trading volume, recent price movements and Twitter activity.VORTECS™ Score (green) vs. DOGE price. Source: Cointelegraph Markets ProAs seen in the chart above, the VORTECS™ Score for DOGE flipped green on April 29 when the price was $0.30.Since then, the VORTECS™ Score has largely remained in the green, barring a short-term dip below the 60 level. DOGE has rallied above $0.41 today, resulting in a 36% rally in roughly five days. DOGE/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe rising 20-day EMA ($0.28) and the RSI near the overbought territory suggest the bulls are in control. The DOGE/USDT pair could now retest the all-time high at $0.45. If the bulls propel the price above this resistance, the uptrend could resume with the next target objective at $0.65.This positive view will invalidate if the price turns down from the current level or the overhead resistance and breaks the 20-day EMA support, ADA/USDT Cardano (ADA) has been sustaining above the 20-day EMA ($1.27) for the past few days, suggesting the bulls are in no hurry to book profits. The altcoin remains on track to resume the up-move and reach the $1.48 to $1.55 resistance zone.ADA/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe ADA/USDT pair may hit a wall at the overhead resistance zone as the bears will once again try to reverse the direction and keep the price stuck inside the $1.03 to $1.48 range for a few more days.The marginally rising 20-day EMA and the RSI above 56 suggest the bulls have the upper hand. If they can drive the price above the zone, the pair could start its journey to $2. On the other hand, if the price turns down from the current level and breaks below the moving averages, the pair may drop to the support of the range at $1.03.DOT/USDTAfter hesitating near the 50-day SMA ($36.94) on May 1 and 2, the bulls pushed Polkadot (DOT) above it today. However, the long wick on today’s candlestick shows the bears have not given up yet and are selling on every rise.DOT/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewBoth moving averages are flat and the RSI is just above the midpoint, suggesting a balance between supply and demand. This balance will tilt in favor of the bulls if they can push and sustain the price above the 50-day SMA. That could open the gates for a move to $42.28.On the contrary, if the price turns down and slips below the 20-day EMA, the DOT/USDT pair may drop to $32.50. The bulls are likely to defend this level aggressively but if the bears overpower them, the pair could drop to support of the range at $26.50.UNI/USDTUniswap (UNI) witnessed profit-booking at $44 on April 29 and entered a minor correction. However, the bulls succeeded in flipping the previous resistance at $39.60 into support, which is a positive sign. UNI/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe uptrend has resumed today and the UNI/USDT pair has risen to a new all-time high at $45. Although the RSI is still warning of a negative divergence, the upsloping 20-day EMA ($37.41) suggests the bulls are in control.If the bulls sustain the price above $44, the pair could rise to the resistance line of the ascending channel at $50. This bullish view will nullify if the bears sink the price below the 20-day EMA. The pair could then drop to the support line of the channel.LTC/USDTAfter a one-day correction on May 2, Litecoin (LTC) has started its northward journey today. This suggests the sentiment remains bullish and every minor dip is being purchased. The bulls will now try to push the price above the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level at $286.02.LTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewIf they succeed, the LTC/USDT pair could rise to the 78.6% retracement level at $307.58 and then to $335.03. The gradually upsloping 20-day EMA ($257) and the RSI above 61 suggest that demand exceeds supply.This positive view will invalidate if the price turns down from $286.02 and slumps below the 20-day EMA. Such a move will suggest that traders are closing their positions on relief rallies. That could result in a drop to the 50-day SMA ($230).BCH/USDTBitcoin Cash (BCH) turned down from the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level at $1,012.29 on May 1 but the correction was short-lived as the bulls purchased the dip on May 2. This suggests strong demand at lower levels.BCH/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewHowever, the long wick on today’s candlestick shows bears are selling on rallies above $1,012.29. If the price turns down from the current level and breaks below $950.46, the pair could drop to the 20-day EMA ($879). A break below this level will suggest the bullish momentum has weakened and that will open the doors for a possible drop to the 50-day SMA ($703).Conversely, if the bulls succeed in sustaining the price above $1,012.29, the BCH/USDT pair could rise to $1,100.78 and then retest the 52-week high at $1,213.51. The rising moving averages and the RSI above 62, indicate the path of least resistance is to the upside.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.Market data is provided by HitBTC exchange.
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Texas set an all-time high in sales tax collections for April, marking a dramatic reversal from the same month in 2020 when the pandemic began shutting down the economy.Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said state sales tax revenue totaled a record $3.4 billion in April, 31.4% higher than a year ago.Hegar said year-over-year increases for most tax revenues are expected to continue at high levels for a few months, since they are being compared to last year's pandemic-reduced levels. Notwithstanding the pandemic, April’s sales tax collections were notably strong, Hegar said. Compared to April 2019 when the economic boom was in progress, sales tax collections were up 19.2%.The majority of April sales tax revenue is based on sales made in March and remitted to the agency in April. Because of changes in estimated revenue collections and updated Legislative Budget Board estimates of the state obligation for Foundation School Program funding, Hegar announced a revised Biennial Revenue Estimate Monday.The revised BRE projects 2020-21 revenue available for general-purpose spending to be $113.88 billion and the ending balance in general revenue-related funds to be $725 million, an increase of $1.67 billion from the negative balance projected in the January 2021 BRE.The increased ending balance, combined with upwardly revised projections of revenue collections for the 2022-23 biennium, results in an estimate of $115.65 billion available for general-purpose spending in 2022-23, an increase of $3.12 billion from the January BRE.“When we finalized our economic forecast for the January BRE, COVID case counts and hospitalizations were on the rise, and the rollout of vaccines had just begun,” Hegar said. “Those conditions warranted caution about the near-term economic outlook.”Hegar attributed a large share of the recovery to federal stimulus efforts.“Spurred by a number of factors, April state sales tax collections increased sharply from a year ago,” Hegar said. “Collections from all major sectors other than mining and construction rose significantly, led by receipts from restaurants and retailers."Spending this March, which showed up in April tax collections, was supported by widespread business reopenings and the lifting of capacity restrictions, greater consumer confidence in going out as the vaccine rollout progressed, federal stimulus checks and spending delayed from February into March due to the winter storm and power outage.“Retail sector remittances were up across the board, with especially notable increases from clothing stores, online retailers, general merchandisers, sporting goods stores and building materials and home furnishings stores,” Hegar said.Clothing stores were especially hard hit by the closure orders early in the pandemic and continued soft consumer demand as much of the workforce worked from home, but now appear to be rebounding strongly as consumers return to stores and those resuming office work buy clothes again, Hegar noted.Despite reopenings and the lifting of all capacity restrictions in March, stay-at-home behavioral trends established during the pandemic continue to support rapid growth in online shopping and elevated spending for home improvements and sporting goods.“Tax receipts from restaurants were up significantly over the previous year’s levels, with the growth principally attributable to the restaurants geared to takeout and delivery, but some popular dine-in chains exhibited a vigorous rebound,” Hegar said. “Nonetheless, the dine-in segment continues to languish, with many establishments now permanently closed.”Total sales tax revenue for the three months ending in April 2021 was up 4.5% compared to the same period a year ago.Sales tax is the largest source of state funding for the state budget, accounting for 59% of all tax collections.Other types of taxes showed strong growth across the board. Motor vehicle sales and rental taxes were up 27% for the month and motor fuel taxes rose 15%.Oil production tax soared 75%, and natural gas production tax rocketed 247%.Hotel occupancy tax, which suffered a deep slump over the year, rose 116% from April 2020 but was still 20% lower for the same month in 2019.Alcoholic beverage taxes were up 110% from April 2020 and down 7% compared to April 2019.
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The US Environmental Protection Agency has announced a sweeping curtailment of a group of potent greenhouse gases used in air conditioners and refrigerators as the regulator advances revived emissions goals under the Biden administration.The EPA moved to phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, by 85 per cent over the next 15 years. It expects its new rule would cut the equivalent of 4.7bn tonnes of carbon dioxide — roughly three years’ worth of US power sector emissions — between 2022 and 2050. “By phasing down HFCs, which can be hundreds to thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the planet, EPA is taking a major action to help keep global temperature rise in check,” Michael Regan, EPA administrator, said on Monday. Congress directed the regulator to reduce HFC output and use in an omnibus bill that passed last year. While the Trump administration rolled back dozens of environmental regulations as part of a deregulatory drive — including delaying the ratification of global deal on HFCs — President Joe Biden has made climate change a priority. Last month, Biden committed the US to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 per cent by the end of the decade, from 2005 levels, and he has rejoined the Paris climate agreement. While a handful of states have already introduced measures to reduce HFC use, the EPA rule would propose the first national limit on the chemicals. “This rapid move by the Biden EPA to start phasing down these extremely potent climate pollutants will deliver enormous public health and climate benefits to all Americans,” said David Doniger, senior strategic director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. “Replacing HFCs is a critical and totally do-able first step to head off the worst of the climate crisis.” HFCs are used in refrigeration, air-conditioning, building insulation, fire extinguishing systems and aerosols. They have become increasingly widespread in recent decades as a substitute for a different group of chemicals, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which damage the ozone layer.CFCs were phased out under the 1987 Montreal Protocol. But HFCs have turned out to be a potent greenhouse gas and there has been a growing clamour to also shift away from using them.Under the Obama administration, the US signed up to a deal in Kigali, Rwanda, to phase out HFCs but the Trump administration did not send it to the Senate for ratification. The EPA said that a global phaseout could prevent up to 0.5C of planetary warming by 2100.Biden’s two chief climate lieutenants — climate envoy John Kerry and White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy — helped to negotiate the Kigali agreement. Biden is seeking its ratification by Congress.
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Most of the $8.5 billion of bond proposals in Saturday's Texas local bond elections were successful, including nearly $884 million that were rejected last November.The proposals included about $6.5 billion of school district bonds, $1.6 billion for cities, $319 million for counties and $139 million for community colleges.Three school districts that saw their bonds rejected in November’s record-turnout presidential election won support for nearly all of their bonds in Saturday’s vote, which drew much lower turnout. This rendering depicts the new Health Sciences Center at Temple College that will be financed by bonds voters approved Saturday.Temple College Voters in the Northwest Independent School District in suburban Fort Worth again rejected $8.2 million for stadium improvements but approved more than $738 million of bonds in three other proposals. In November, district voters strongly rejected nearly $1 billion of bonds.Spread across Denton, Tarrant and Wise counties, Northwest ISD is one of the largest and fastest growing in the state with 19 elementary schools, six middle schools, and four high schools.The district said the bonds were needed to keep pace with growth."The projects in the bond will go a long way to serve our current 26,000-plus students and those who will be coming in the next several years,” said NWISD Superintendent Ryder Warren.Ponder ISD, another Denton County district north of Dallas expecting explosive growth, won strong support for $75 million of bonds rejected in November. Unofficial records show the proposal with 78% approval.Wichita Falls ISD near the Oklahoma border came back to voters Saturday with $13.8 million of bonds for athletic facilities that were rejected in November when $276 million for two high schools won approval. The athletic facilities will adjoin the new schools.Under Senate Bill 30 approved by the Texas Legislature in 2019, school districts must list proposals by category, including sports and recreation, performing arts, teacher housing and certain technology acquisitions and updates. Before that law was enacted, school bond proposals were all or nothing.Richardson ISD, an established suburban district adjoining north Dallas, enjoyed 63% approval for $750 million of bonds for school buildings and equipment.“The items in Bond 2021 will benefit all RISD campuses, allow the district to move toward a middle school model and full-day pre-Kindergarten for every RISD family, build new classrooms to accommodate student growth, and kick off a long-range facilities vision to address RISD’s aging school buildings,” said RISD Superintendent Jeannie Stone. “We are committed to being good stewards of the tax dollars entrusted to us, and this approval of Bond 2021 will not require an increase to RISD’s tax rate.”McKinney ISD in Collin County north of Dallas won voter approval for $275 million of bonds for capital improvement and technology projects.In the suburbs west of Houston, voters in the Katy ISD approved all four propositions for $676.23 million of bonds to finance more than 400 projects, including five new schools, renovations for older campuses, safety improvements and technology upgrades.“With the passage of the four 2021 bond propositions the district and campuses are well positioned to continue effectively managing our region’s fast growth, updating safety measures and providing building and technology improvements across more than 88 campuses and facilities,” KISD Superintendent Ken Gregorski said in a written statement announcing the results.In Central Texas, north of Austin, Liberty Hill ISD passed all four bond proposals worth $491.7 million. The bond money will finance new facilities in the fast-growing district.Another Austin-area district, Bastrop ISD, won approval of $183.7 million after bond proposals in 2016 and 2017 failed.In Hays Consolidated ISD south of Austin, voters approved $189 million of bonds for schools but rejected about $17 million for stadiums and athletic projects.In the high plains of West Texas, voters in Lubbock-Cooper ISD approved $420 million of school bonds to build three campuses, including a high school, a stadium and other athletic facilities."This is a culmination of two years of planning — of careful planning — and we're excited to be able to provide quality education facilities without having to increase the tax rate to meet the growing needs of our district,” LCISD Superintendent Keith Bryant said in a prepared statement after the results were announced.Bonds for fast-growing suburban cities also won strong support. The Dallas suburbs of Irving, Plano and Grand Prairie accounted for nearly $1 billion.Irving’s 12 proposals worth $563 million passed easily, with none receiving less than 58% support. The city on Dallas’s western edge had originally scheduled the election for November but cancelled those plans at the last opportunity.About $2.5 billion of bonds from 29 issuers expected to come up for a vote last November were pulled from the ballot. In Plano north of Dallas, voters Saturday approved $364 million for streets, parks, recreation centers, public safety and other projects.Voters in Grand Prairie, one of the Mid-Cities between Dallas and Fort Worth, approved $75 million for economic development. The bond proceeds will go toward conference hotel facilities, restaurants and land purchases.In Georgetown, a rapidly growing suburb north of Austin and the seat of Williamson County, voters approved $90 million of bonds for transportation projects.In Bell County, north of Williamson County, about 55% of voters approved $124.9 million of bonds to expand and improve Temple College, a community college in Temple. A new Health Sciences Center would address a shortage of health care workers as well as providing updates to several college buildings that are five to six decades old.Voters in Galveston County south of Houston approved $13.9 million of bonds to refund College of the Mainland’s 2017 maintenance tax notes. Although the proposal was labeled as a tax increase, backers said the issue would reduce the community college’s interest cost.While most counties won approval for road bonds and other routine projects, Coryell County near Ft. Hood Army Post lost its bid for $30 million of bonds for a new jail. About 72% of voters opposed the project designed to relieve overcrowding and the need to send inmates to other counties’ lockups.In a bond-related referendum, voters in San Antonio approved a proposition allowing the city to use bonds for affordable housing. The city charter had limited the use of bonds for other uses.
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“China will grow old, before it grows rich” is one of those things people like to say at conferences — usually followed by a dramatic pause. The implication is that China’s rise to global dominance will soon hit a giant barrier: demographics. China’s low fertility rate means that its population will shrink and age over the coming decades. Last week the FT reported that China’s population has already begun to fall — a few years earlier than the UN had predicted. A large, expanding and youthful population has driven the rise of nations for much of human history. Great powers needed warm bodies to put on a battlefield and citizens to tax. Napoleon’s conquests were preceded by a population boom in France in the 18th century. By the 20th century, France’s population had fallen behind Germany and Britain; a source of justified anxiety for the French elite. But a shrinking and ageing population may not have the same gloomy implications in the 21st century. The great-power struggles of the future are unlikely to be decided by vast land battles. In the recent war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, unmanned drones played the critical role on the battlefield. Britain’s recent strategic review cut the army, while investing heavily in technology. If technological prowess, rather than hordes of young men, is the key to future power then China is well placed. The country has cutting-edge capabilities in fields such as robotics and artificial intelligence. With a population of 1.4bn people — which is likely only to decline gently until mid-century — China will not be short of manpower either.It is the structure rather than the size of China’s population that will be the real challenge. By 2040, around 30 per cent of the country will be over 60. More old people will have to be supported by a smaller working age population, slowing economic growth. China may never achieve the per-capita wealth levels of the US. But even if the average Chinese is only half as rich as the average American, the Chinese economy would still easily surpass America’s in overall size. China will soon lose its title as the world’s most populous nation. The populations of India and China are roughly equivalent. But by the end of the century, UN projections suggest that the India’s population will be 1.5bn, compared with 1bn people in China. (Some other academic studies put China’s population in 2100 below 800m). But the Indian economy is just a fifth the size of China’s. So the wealth and power gap between the two countries will not close quickly.China’s population slump was hastened by its one-child policy, abandoned in 2015. But Chinese demographic trends are fairly typical for east Asia. The Japanese population peaked at 128.5m in 2010 and is now falling. The UN projects Japan’s population to be just 75m by the end of the century. The trends in South Korea are similar.The shrinking and ageing of populations is also taking place in parts of Europe. Italy’s population has already begun to fall. Even the US is slowing down. The latest census shows that America’s population is now 331.5m — but growing at its slowest rate since the 1930s. Demographers speculate that America, like Europe and east Asia, may soon be grappling with the problems of an ageing population.Overall, the world’s population is expected to keep growing from 7.8bn today to roughly 11bn by 2100 — with most of the growth in Africa and south Asia. The population of Africa alone is set to double between now and 2050. By sheer weight of numbers, countries such as Nigeria and Pakistan, will gain global influence. But they are also likely to remain relatively poor and politically unstable — with climate change worsening the prospects for much of sub-Saharan Africa. Some of the fastest population growth is taking place in already failing states such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger.Demography will continue to shape world politics, as it always has. But the historic connection between a growing and youthful population and increasing national power is giving way to something more complex. The most significant division may now be between rich and middle-income countries — where populations are static or falling — and poorer countries, where populations are expanding fast. Left unchecked, the natural corrective tendency would be mass migration from the Global South to Europe, North America and east Asia. But east Asians are currently much less open to immigration that the west. Even though Japan’s population could almost half by 2100, the Japanese are clinging to social homogeneity in preference to mass migration. China, which has a very ethnically-based view of citizenship, will probably make similar choices.By contrast — despite the current political rows about immigration in the US and the EU — the west is likely to remain comparatively open to migrants. Western societies will gain economic dynamism as a result. But they could also lose political stability — since the backlash against immigration has helped to drive the rise of politicians such as Donald Trump.The big question of geopolitics will be not who has the larger population — but whether China or the west have made the right call on mass migration.gideon.rachman@ft.com
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Jarred Kessler is the CEO of EasyKnock. If you ask me, working from home is amazing. You can wear pajamas from the waist down, you have no commute and you can even sleep in. I understand that the process of reading on a train or after-work drinks with your co-workers has been lost, but there has also been much to gain. Pre-pandemic, the real estate industry was lagging in remote work opportunities, but we’ve shown we’re as adaptable as any industry out there. The fast-paced nature and culture of the real estate industry do present some unique challenges, though. Here is some of my best advice to keep your real estate business humming, even while you’re working from home. Create A Designated Workspace Your garage (or as we call it in my house, Le Garage) is not only a Covid-safe area, it’s also an often underused area that's perfect for a home office. As you work you can have fresh air coming in through the open doors, or you can purchase a moderately priced plug-and-play heating or cooling unit if you need a more temperate climate. In your detached workspace, take advantage of whatever direct light you can access. Regulated sunlight may reduce headaches, stress and drowsiness in workers, and possibly even increase worker satisfaction and combat anxiety. Adding a rug or carpet and inexpensive personal touches like proper work lighting can make it feel more like a room than a garage. If you don't have a garage, you might be able to construct a shed that is not connected to your house for the same use. Creating a structure or space that can hold guests or have an office set up, all while maintaining space between your main house, can be a huge bonus. This could be cheaper than you think and, as a bonus, add more resale value than you might expect. Don’t Think You Have To Sacrifice A Traditional Morning Meeting Whether you’re in a more traditional real estate brokerage or a real estate tech startup, a lot of companies in this industry opt for a morning meeting to get everyone off on the right foot and up to date. The industry moves fast, after all. With the pandemic, it’s not as simple as throwing down a dozen donuts to draw a crowd into the conference room. But that doesn’t mean you should give up the morning meeting if you feel it’s important for your business. Set a virtual meeting, but make sure that you keep it short and sweet by sticking to a simple meeting outline. Zoom fatigue is real, and you can help combat it in your staff by sticking to the essentials. You might also consider incentivizing morning meeting attendance and/or participation. For instance, budget to have a delivery service send some donuts and coffee for each staff member who showed up and made a contribution at every meeting over the course of a week. Take Advantage Of Industry-Geared Virtual Networking Events Conventions almost seem like a weird fever dream at this point. Did we really travel cross-country to conventions, stay in overcrowded hotels and sit in rooms packed with people to get the latest dish on the industry? Oh, yes, we did. Now, many of the same outcomes can be achieved through virtual networking events. We can get together online via video conference, chats or even virtual reality events and learn a lot of the same things and meet a lot of the same people. At EasyKnock, we’ve even set up virtual events for our staff that aren’t necessarily work-related. For instance, we moved our holiday party to a virtual platform. It allowed us all to get together, celebrate and communicate so that we could connect and team build. Other team-building events go over great in a virtual environment, like office game night or virtual happy hour.  Remember That Work And Life Are Separate In the real estate business, it’s hard enough to manage some semblance of work-life balance, but this has been especially true during the pandemic. It’s so easy to just go do one more little thing when your desk is just across the house that you’ve been in almost 24/7 for a year or better. That’ll wear you down, though. No one can be “on” all the time. It’s important that your staff knows that, too, and that your company culture enforces the idea that downtime is a good thing and not something that’s going to set them back. Set working hours and stick to them. When it comes to client contacts, it can be even harder to set aside work until the following day, but laying out your working hours ahead of time so that clients know when it’s appropriate to call and when it’s not can help. At the very least, make sure that you put it all away on occasion. Shut the door to your office and pretend it’s not there on the weekend so that you can spend time with your family and friends. We are in a new world and it can be exciting. If you have the ability to upgrade your home and workspace and want to, this is a great time. If you are a little more challenged right now, there are small ways to make changes. At the end of the day, if it’s warm enough, there is nothing better than working in your backyard — all you need is a table, umbrella and Wi-Fi and you can connect with the whole office safely from your own home. The pandemic has forced us to adapt and change the way we handle business, and I think that it will change how we work from here on out, even when in-person interactions are safe again. Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Do I qualify?
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