As the US has seemed to get a grip on its Covid-19 crisis, Canadians have been angered by a chaotic government response that has allowed a third wave to take hold and led to a delayed vaccine rollout.It is a contrast driven home by the fact that Canada’s case count, when adjusted for population, now exceeds that of the US for the first time since the pandemic began.“It’s such a reversal of how we felt as Canadians for the last four years of Donald Trump,” said David Coletto, chief executive of Abacus Data, a polling firm. “It’s a bizarro world for us to now look down south and say: ‘What do you mean they’re doing better than us?’”While there are hopeful signs that Canada has turned a corner in the fight against its steepest wave of Covid-19 cases, hospitals in the country’s largest city of Toronto are at full capacity and health officials are nervously watching the spread of a variant first identified in India.“The current plateau is very precarious,” said Dr Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the Ontario government’s Covid-19 Science Advisory Table during a presentation Thursday. “This is a place where you can either start to drive down the pandemic . . . or if we see a change [in lockdown measures], as we have seen in the past we could see substantial exponential growth and really a continuation of the third wave or a fourth wave.”Cases of Covid-19 have risen right across Canada during its third wave but the hardest-hit provinces are Alberta in the west and Ontario, the most populous.Alberta introduced fresh restrictions last week after reporting a record high 2,430 new cases, with Ontario reporting 3,370 on Saturday. The seven-day average in that province peaked on April 17 at 4,370. Ontario also reported 900 patients in intensive care, its highest figure since the start of the pandemic.At least one Toronto hospital began moving patients to other hospitals in the past few days because of dwindling oxygen supplies.Ontario’s premier, Doug Ford, has in recent months overseen a shambolic pandemic response that has whipsawed for businesses and residents. After declaring the province’s second state of emergency in January, he then pushed for Ontario’s economy to reopen throughout February as cases and hospitalisations fell.The province allowed restaurants to reopen to patio dining in late March, only to reverse course two weeks later as the third wave took hold. Restaurants Canada, a lobby group, estimates that businesses spent C$100m (US$83m) preparing for the aborted reopening.Ford’s government declared a third state of emergency two weeks ago and imposed new social curbs, including shutting playgrounds and authorising arbitrary police stops of residents. A fierce backlash forced the premier to reverse both measures within days. “We got it wrong,” he told reporters while choking back tears.Health officials say the government’s continued focus on restricting outdoor activities such as golf, tennis and camping is misguided because workplaces and indoor spaces have seen the most outbreaks.Last week, after months of pleading from doctors, Ford’s government introduced a sick-pay plan that will compensate workers up to $200 a day for three days to encourage them not to return to work if they are unwell.Experts say the measure will not be enough, given the length of time it takes to recover from Covid-19 or to quarantine after an exposure. “It’s tokenism,” said Dr Ashleigh Tuite, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto. “Having three days is better than no days but if you want to do this in a way that would be meaningful, it needs to be a minimum of 10.”Ontario’s third wave has been made worse by a vaccine rollout that was slow to start and has been mired in finger-pointing between the province and Justin Trudeau’s federal government.Critics say Trudeau’s government was too slow to sign agreements with vaccine makers and did not move fast enough to secure domestic manufacturing capacity. The federal government has in turn accused provinces such as Ontario of leaving too many doses sitting in fridges.When Canada fell behind many other countries in administering doses earlier this year, it adopted a strategy similar to that of the UK in which second doses of vaccines are delayed by several months.As a result, 32 per cent of Canada’s population has received one dose, putting it in third place among major economies. However, only 2.9 per cent are fully vaccinated, compared with 21 per cent in the UK and 30 per cent in the US.“We’re seeing patients come into hospital quite sick after they’ve had their first dose and some of them well beyond the first two weeks when it becomes effective,” said Dr David Jacobs, chair of the Ontario Specialists Association and a vocal critic of Trudeau on social media.“So we’ve neither managed to get herd immunity with the volume of vaccines we’ve received and nor have we protected individuals with only one dose. Trudeau has failed on both fronts.” In recent days Ford has focused his criticism on Trudeau’s handling of Canada’s border controls, which allowed more contagious variants to gain a foothold. As of this week, 90 per cent of coronavirus cases in the country are the B.1.1.7 variant, which first emerged in the UK. Public Health Ontario has recorded three-dozen cases of the variant first detected in India.“Last week the Indian variant was reported in Ontario,” Ford said on Friday. “I can tell you it didn’t swim here.” On April 22 the Trudeau government bowed to pressure and suspended flights from India and Pakistan.Ford has since called on Trudeau to require anyone entering Canada by land from the US to face a three-day mandatory quarantine in a government-approved hotel, which is currently only required for people arriving by air. He pointed to reports of international travellers flying to US airports and either walking or taking taxis into Canada.Trudeau on Friday said his government was considering the request but suggested existing safeguards such as testing and self-quarantine rules were working.So far, it is Ford who is paying the steepest price politically for the third wave. A survey by Abacus Data found the share of Ontario’s population with a positive impression of Ford had fallen from 39 per cent in mid-April to 28 per cent last week.“For most of the pandemic people felt he was doing as good a job as he could with his ‘Aw shucks’, Uncle Doug approach,” said Coletto. “With the third wave, people started to ask why it got so bad and they’re more likely to blame him.”
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Bitcoin (BTC) is challenging familiar but significant all-time highs as a new week gets underway, rallying to $58,000 on Monday.After a surprise rally on Friday, the largest cryptocurrency saw a slow comedown through much of the weekend. This turned on its head overnight on Sunday, however, and now BTC/USD is back fighting resistance near $60,000.Cointelegraph takes a look at what the coming days might have in store for Bitcoin price action with five factors that could help shape it. Bitcoin ignores DXY gainsWith various major markets closed for May holidays, there are fewer cues than usual coming from commodities and equities.Asian stocks tracked losses, fuelled by various issues including India’s ongoing COVID-19 debacle. At the same time, in the United States, S&P 500 futures are already recovering lost ground from Friday. Unlike Bitcoin, markets did not react well to rumors that fiscal support measures over the virus may be reduced by some banks — these were a key element behind the S&P’s record performance over the past year. In tandem with the move was a shift in the strength of the dollar, however, with the U.S. dollar currency index (DXY) seeing impressive gains after a month of descent.U.S. dollar currency index (DXY) 1-day candle chart. Source: TradingViewAs Cointelegraph reported, DXY and Bitcoin tend to be inversely correlated, but last Friday proved to be another notable exception. BTC/USD climbed conspicuously as if out of nowhere on the day, passing $58,300 before reversing. A key topic remains inflation — senior U.S. officials believe that trillions of dollars in virus stimulus will have little impact on it, while others disagree. Spot rally enters next stageAnother day, another blistering comeback for Bitcoin. Just a week after recovering from its dip to near $46,000, BTC price action is now making good on its further gains late last week. While the weekend was mostly lackluster in tone, Monday is seeing the kind of “buying frenzy” that arch-nemesis Warren Buffett has been eyeing on traditional markets.At the time of writing, BTC/USD has passed $58,300 — the site of an all-time high from February — and is now continuing higher, calming near $59,000.BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingViewA look at buy and sell demand from the orderbook of major exchange Binance shows resistance is still strong at $60,000 and above, and bulls will need to knock down several walls of sell orders to break out beyond the current all-time high of $64,500. Another significant barrier is now $68,000. On the support side, the picture is less sturdy — $52,000 is the first solid level among traders, followed by $50,000 and $48,000.BTC/USD buy and sell interest (Binance). Source: Material IndicatorsNonetheless, appetite for Bitcoin could well be seeing a new bullish phase as stablecoin balances on exchanges fill up. Against huge “printing” of these assets, such a trend raises the prospects of significant buyer demand materialising, helping to boost spot price action.“Stable coins are flowing back into exchanges. You know what that means,” analyst Jan Wuestenfeld summarized.Friday’s gains were notably driven by “genuine” buying among spot traders, while leveraged trades actually declined.Cat and mouse with EthereumAnother theory focuses on Bitcoin simply playing catch-up with a red-hot altcoin scene, led by Ether (ETH).The performance has defied expectations; ETH/USD is now above $3,000, having gained 28% over the past week compared to Bitcoin’s 11%.That predictably shaved even more clout off Bitcoin’s market cap dominance, which is now at 47.7% — its lowest since July 2018. Cryptocurrency market cap dominance chart. Source: CoinMarketCap“I wouldn’t be surprised if we see $3500 $ETH this week,” popular Twitter trader Crypto Chase forecast, along with further upside against Bitcoin. “ETHUSD breaking out from its upward consolidative leg + ETHBTC still has room to run (currently 0.053, resistance at 0.058).”On-chain monitoring resource Glassnode, meanwhile, saw strength in the decreasing network value to transaction ratio (NVT) on Ethereum, this corresponding to organic trade volume fuelling price gains. “As $ETH price reaches over $3,000 setting a new ATH, the NVT Ratio is driven back down towards this cycles lows,” the firm commented on an accompanying chart. “Low NVT Ratios indicate transaction volumes are high and growing faster than the network market cap. Today’s market strength is supported by volume settled on-chain.”Ethereum NVT ratio annotated chart. Source: Glassnode/TwitterFundamentals flush out hash crashBack to Bitcoin and its network fundamentals, which are still playing catch-up after seeing something of a “reset” over the past few weeks. This first came in the form of a brief hash-rate plunge due to flooding in China. Bitcoin’s network difficulty then began signaling a drop to accommodate the loss of participants.As difficulty adjusts every two weeks, it took until Saturday to kick in in real terms. The resulting 12% drop has been the biggest since last November. With that out of the way, however, the door is open for returning mining hash rate to up competition and return difficulty to positive, not negative, adjustments. It’s still early — current estimates still call for another drop, this time of around -7%.Hash rate, meanwhile, has all but recovered from its prior shock, standing at around 161 exahashes per second. Its peak, monitoring resource MiningPoolStats says, was 168 EH/s.Greed is back on the marketWith new gains comes a familiar shift in sentiment, and market participants are getting greedy. That’s according to the ever-popular Crypto Fear & Greed Index, which on Monday is back in “greed” territory after more than doubling since late last week. The Index uses a basket of factors to create a normalized score between 0 and 100 for how greedy or fearful crypto markets broadly are on a given day. Crypto Fear & Greed Index. Source: Alternative.meIts score tends to highlight when a price floor is in, or conversely, when a sell-off is due. At 61/100, however, the Index still has room to grow before sounding a local top — “extreme greed” is not here yet.
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It was a pause just long enough for the astute Berkshire Hathaway investor to notice. Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett were sparring over whether Berkshire — the $631bn conglomerate they oversee — could ever be too large to manage. “Greg will keep the culture,” Munger, the 97-year-old vice chair, said in their back and forth. It was an observation that made Buffett very briefly miss a beat. Greg Abel is Berkshire’s 58-year-old vice chair who shepherds the company’s non-insurance investments. These include the Burlington Northern Railroad, wide-ranging manufacturing businesses and the utilities that he once ran as chief executive. He is also one of the two men most frequently tipped to one day take over from Buffett. While a succession plan has been drawn up by the board, the heir apparent has been kept from the wider world. It is a secret that has captivated Berkshire shareholders for at least a decade and is among the big questions that plague the company given Munger and Buffett’s ages. Buffett will celebrate his 91st birthday this August. On Saturday, investors were given their closest look yet at Buffett’s two top lieutenants: Abel and his colleague Ajit Jain. On stage, the pair sat side-by-side with Buffett and Munger at the year’s annual meeting, taking questions and defending their strategies. Abel spent much of his time making the case for Berkshire’s renewable energy investments and why the company did not need to adopt a shareholder proposal that would require it to report on measures its companies are taking on climate change.Ed Walczak, a portfolio manager at Vontobel, was among the investors who noticed the comment by Munger, which came late in the day’s three-and-a-half hours of questions. He said it was interesting that the response surfaced when neither Munger nor Buffett had been asked directly about who would take over.“The good news with Greg was he had the answers on his tongue. There was no question or ambiguity in his responses,” he said. “Let’s hope Charlie is right that the culture can be replicated.”Abel played a more high-profile role on Saturday, after a rather subdued showing the previous year when he joined Buffett at a sombre annual meeting and played a supporting role to his boss. This year he offered his thoughts on the inflation pressures affecting Berkshire, the takeover battle for rival rail operator Kansas City Southern, as well as how he spends his days at work. Greg Abel is one of the two men most frequently tipped to take over from nonagenarian Warren Buffett © Bloomberg “I’m trying to understand what our competitors are doing, what’s the fundamental risks around those businesses, how they’re going to get disrupted,” he said. “It always comes back to are we allocating our capital properly in those businesses relative to the risk?”James Shanahan, an analyst at Edward Jones, said Abel came across as a “very capable” executive and that the meeting benefited from both his and Jain’s presence. The pair offered insight into one area where investors have complained they are slightly starved of information: how the company’s underlying operating businesses are performing.Given the “Berkshire playbook, which does not have an active investor relations function, Greg’s sharing of information and transparency was a welcome change”, said Cathy Seifert, an analyst who covers the company at CFRA Research.Abel and Jain were promoted in 2018 to vice chairs of the company, cementing their status as frontrunners for the chief executive role and making them among the most visible Berkshire executives alongside Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, who help manage Berkshire’s investment portfolio. Buffett said at the time that the promotions were “part of a movement towards succession”.But Buffett’s succession plan has drawn fire from some big shareholders. BlackRock this year voted against Walter Scott, head of the board’s governance committee, citing “limited disclosure on succession planning,” among other things. Buffett’s outsized leadership role at Berkshire makes the succession risk even greater, BlackRock said.“There is this parlour game about succession,” Seifert said. “From Berkshire’s perspective the succession issue has been resolved and to paraphrase . . . they’ve got Greg.”Abel or one of his contemporaries will face challenges when they inherit Berkshire, even if the company is not immediately in flux. Buffett plans to donate the vast majority of his wealth, which is primarily held in shares of Berkshire Hathaway’s class-A stock. As those shares are converted to class-B and sold on to new investors, the group may face more pressure from its shareholders and potentially draw scrutiny from an activist, Seifert said.Buffett himself has conceded this point. In 2019 he said “there are no perpetuities” and Berkshire “needs to deserve to be continued in its present form”. Pressure is already building. Investors this year have increasingly voiced frustration with Berkshire’s efforts on climate change. A shareholder proposal on climate change disclosures garnered about 25 per cent of the votes cast, a figure that belies the widespread investor support for Berkshire to adopt the measures. Buffett’s class-A stock has 10,000 times the voting power of the class-B common stock that is more widely held by the general public. Big holders of that class-B stock, including BlackRock and Norges Bank, voted in favour of the proposal.“Remaining shareholders that voted in support of the resolution sent the company a strong message about the importance of acknowledging climate risk,” said Dan Bakal, a director at Ceres, a sustainable investor network.Shanahan added that Buffett’s stake distorted the outcome of the vote, but that over time the shift by the shareholder base would leave a mark on the company. “I think that he kicked the can down the road, but it’s inevitable that investors and other stakeholders will demand disclosure about progress.”Buffett spent part of Saturday defending how he had steered the company through the crisis and justifying why the Berkshire board advised stockholders to vote against two shareholder proposals. In characteristic fashion, he also joked about the two nonagenarians at the top.“People talk about the ageing management at Berkshire,” he said. “I always assume they’re talking about Charlie, when they say that. But I would like to point out that in three more years [when Munger turns 100], Charlie will be ageing at 1 per cent a year. No one is ageing less than Charlie.”Additional reporting by Patrick Temple-Westeric.platt@ft.com
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Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky is struggling to salvage a deadlocked peace process that was supposed to end a simmering conflict with Russian-backed forces in the country’s far east. Moscow’s massive military build-up on Ukraine’s eastern border and in occupied Crimea last month, followed by a partial troop withdrawal, was “from the Kremlin’s perspective a clear success”, Kurt Volker, former US special representative to Ukraine, wrote last week. Russia’s sabre-rattling left “Ukraine looking vulnerable, the west having demonstrably shied away from a military show of force and [Vladimir] Putin having strengthened his position” in the region.Zelensky, who was elected in 2019 on a promise to end the war in the Donbas region, has few options for breaking the deadlock, having failed to galvanise Kyiv’s western allies behind further economic sanctions against Russia and with Washington’s willingness to engage in a new diplomatic effort unclear.The former comedian is finding it hard even to get Putin to the table for peace talks alongside leaders of western countries backing Kyiv. Zelensky has been forced to acknowledge that the Russian president may not, for now, want peace in Donbas where 14,000 combatants and civilians have been killed — unless Kyiv agrees to terms politically unacceptable to any Ukrainian leader.A Ukrainian soldier near the front line in the town of Pisky, Donetsk © Aleksey Filippov/AFP via Getty ImagesA senior Ukrainian official admitted it had taken Zelensky two years to “face reality”. “Ukraine is committed to peace and is ready to do everything in its power to achieve such peace,” said an adviser to the president. “However, it takes two parties to want peace and Moscow’s recent belligerent behaviour cast significant doubt on its intent,” the adviser added.Zelensky told the Financial Times last week that he wanted the US and UK to join the so-called Normandy group of Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia to help break the impasse.He also called for changes to the Minsk peace accord negotiated by the Normandy four, which has not been implemented, with Kyiv and Moscow at loggerheads over terms and sequencing. But the Kremlin refuses to renegotiate the deal. “There is no way of changing it without, in fact, terminating it,” Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, said last week in response to Zelensky’s appeal in the FT.Paris and Berlin, meanwhile, fear walking away from the Minsk accord could provoke Moscow. Scrapping it would also make it harder to sustain EU sanctions against Russia.Andriy Yermak, Zelensky’s chief of staff, admitted in a television interview last week that Kyiv did not have a chosen diplomatic strategy.“It is necessary to continue working in all directions and in all formats,” he said. “Because in the end we do not know what format will bring peace to our land, when we can return all our territories, all our people and end the war,” Yermak added.In his first year as president, Zelensky scored a quick victory after negotiations in Paris with Putin, French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel. He convinced Russia and its separatist proxies controlling two breakaway regions in Donbas, Ukraine’s industrial heartland, to exchange hundreds of prisoners of war. However, the process has since stalled and a fresh ceasefire agreed in July 2020 broke down earlier this year.In his first year as president, Volodymyr Zelensky, far left, scored a quick victory after negotiations with Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin convinced Russia to exchange prisoners of war © Ludovic Marin/Pool/EPA-EFE/ShutterstockKyiv insists it is not required to grant permanent autonomy to the breakaway areas, fearing such a status would thwart its aspirations to join the EU and Nato. Moscow and its Donbas proxy “republics” have refused to yield control to Kyiv over the region and border before elections can be held as a step towards reintegration with Ukraine.Zelensky last month pushed for one-to-one talks with Putin, something he has avoided so far during the conflict. Putin declined Zelensky’s request to meet on the front lines and offered to discuss bilateral relations — not the Donbas war — if Zelensky came to Moscow. Putin added that on the issue of Donbas, Zelensky should hold talks with leaders of the Russian-backed breakaway republics, which the Ukrainian president refuses to do.“Putin demonstrated that he has not the least bit of desire to yield anything of interest to Zelensky let alone reach a peace agreement,” said Danylo Lubkivsky, director of the Kyiv Security Forum. “Only collective international pressure can force Putin to free these captive Ukrainian territories.”Zelensky hopes that a bigger role for US president Joe Biden, either alongside France and Germany or in bilateral talks with Putin, might help to nudge Moscow towards compromise.Russian forces take part in a military drill at the Opuk training ground not far from the town of Kerch, on the Kerch Peninsula in the east of the Crimea © Russian Defence Ministry/AFP via Getty Images“It’s strategically important to bring in Biden . . . America should be back at the table to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity on two tracks, Crimea and Donbas — because this is the matter of global security,” Lubkivsky added.But Kyiv is unclear how forcefully Washington will commit to a new peace initiative. While Biden is a friend of Ukraine, his administration contains Obama-era officials who were sceptical of deeper US involvement six years ago. Secretary of state Antony Blinken will visit Kyiv on May 5.How the US and other western powers could help Ukraine regain its territorial integrity was a “vexing problem”, George Kent, a senior Department of State official, told the Kyiv Security Forum last week. The challenge, he said, was “to try to change Russia’s cost calculus and its behaviour”. One way the US could increase pressure on Moscow would be to extend US sanctions on dollar-denominated Russian debt issuance to the holding of such debt, Kent said. But changing Russian behaviour “is not easy. And no one has come up with a winning solution.”Sarah Lain, a Kyiv-based researcher at the Royal United Services Institute, said even just expressions of western solidarity with Kyiv were important. Many capitals now see the Ukraine-Russia conflict as “part of their Russia policy” rather than some bilateral dispute.“This is important for Zelensky’s standing,” she added.Maria Zolkina, an analyst at the Kyiv-based Democratic Initiatives Foundation, said “the only chance that Russia under Putin could return control over these territories at acceptable terms for Ukraine is if Russia finds itself under deep financial and technological constraints”.“But the problem of the west is that nobody will impose such sanctions, worrying that it will only increase Russia’s hostilities,” she added.Some Ukrainian analysts and officials are resigned to a long, frozen conflict and say Kyiv’s best strategy is to rebuild its economy and modernise its state. A Ukrainian official described it as the “West German strategy”: focus on outlasting Putin and forging peace after a new leadership comes to power in Russia, but from a position of relative strength.
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Bitcoin (BTC) price closed the month down 1.98% which according to data from Bybit, was its first negative close in April since 2015. In the same month Ether (ETH) price soared over 44% to hit a new all-time high close to $3,000. This wide divergence between the top two cryptocurrencies shows that the markets have matured and Bitcoin’s underperformance is not affecting altcoins as much as it did in the past.Ether’s bullish trend has attracted strong buying from traders. Data from Bybit suggests that Ether futures open interest climbed to $8.5 billion on April 29, rising 52% over the previous month. This increase has been supported by professional traders who seem to have taken a more bullish view on Ether than retail investors, as highlighted by Cointelegraph contributor Marcel Pechman. Crypto market data daily view. Source: Coin360The strong performance from the crypto sector continues to attract a wide array of investors. According to the Financial Times, VC firm Andreessen Horowitz plans to tap into this growing demand by raising between $800 million to $1 billion for another fund. The flow of money into various crypto projects shows that investors are bullish for the long term.T. Rowe Price CEO William Stromberg said in an interview with the Baltimore Business Journal that the crypto space is still in its infancy and it could “take years to really unfold.” With Ether leading the altcoin charge, let’s look at the top-5 cryptocurrencies that may remain bullish in the short term.BTC/USDTBitcoin soared above its moving averages on April 30 but the bulls have not been able to build on this strength. The Doji candlestick pattern on May 1 and the drop below the 50-day simple moving average ($56,833) today suggests the bears are selling at higher levels and have not given up.BTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewIf sellers pull the price back below the 20-day exponential moving average ($55,723), the BTC/USDT pair could drop to $52,323.21 and then to $50,460. The flat moving averages and the relative strength index (RSI) near the midpoint suggest a balance between supply and demand. This could keep the pair range-bound for a few more days.This view will invalidate if the pair rebounds off the 20-day EMA and rises above $58,469.09. Such a move will suggest the bulls are buying on every minor dip. The pair could then rally to $61,825.85 where the bulls are again likely to face stiff resistance from the bears.Although it is too early to confirm, the pair seems to be making the right shoulder of a possible head and shoulders topping formation. This setup will complete on a break below the neckline. Until then, traders can be watchful but should not jump the gun in anticipation of a breakdown.BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe 4-hour chart shows the bulls pushed the price above the $57,500 resistance but could not sustain it. The bears pulled the price back below the level and are trying to break the 20-EMA support. If that happens, the pair may drop to the 50-SMA.A strong rebound off this support could encourage the bulls to make one more attempt to clear the hurdle at $57,500. If they succeed, the pair could start its journey to $61,825.84. Conversely, if the bears sink the price below the 50-SMA, the possibility of a drop to $50,460 increases. SOL/USDTSolana (SOL) broke above the $48.64 resistance on May 1 and hit a new all-time high at $49.99 today. However, the $50 psychological level is acting as a resistance and the bears have pulled the price back below $48.64 today.SOL/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewIf the bears sustain the price below $48.64 for two days, the SOL/USDT pair could drop to the support at $40.51. A strong rebound off this support will suggest the bulls are accumulating on dips. The bulls will then make one more attempt to clear the $50 resistance.If they succeed, the pair may start the next leg of the uptrend that could reach $56.77 and then $68.05. The rising moving averages and the RSI near the overbought territory indicate the path of least resistance is to the upside.This positive view will invalidate if the price breaks below the 20-day EMA ($38). If that happens, the pair could correct to the 50-day SMA ($26).SOL/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe 4-hour chart shows the bulls are trying to defend the 20-EMA. If they can push the price above the $48.64 to $49.99 overhead resistance zone, the momentum is likely to pick up. The gradually rising 20-EMA and the RSI in the positive territory suggest the bulls have a minor advantage.Contrary to this assumption, if the price turns down from the overhead resistance once again, it will increase the prospects of a break below the moving averages. The bears may then pull the price down to $40.51. A strong bounce off this support could keep the pair range-bound for a few days.HT/USDTHuobi Token (HT) surged above the resistance at $26.89 on May 1 and hit a new all-time high at $29.54 today. However, the bears are trying to pull the price back below the breakout level and trap the aggressive bulls.HT/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewIf the price dips and sustains below $26.89 for three days, the HT/USDT pair could gradually drop to $22. A strong rebound off this support could keep the pair range-bound for a few days.Conversely, if the bulls defend the $26.89 support or do not give up much ground below $25, it will suggest strong buying on every minor dip. A break above $29.54 could resume the uptrend with the next target objective at $36.54.The 20-day EMA ($20.54) has turned up and the RSI is in the overbought zone, indicating that the bulls are in control.HT/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe bulls and the bears are battling it out for supremacy near the $26.89 level. Although the bears had pulled the price back to $26.10, they could not sustain the lower levels. This suggests that bulls are buying on dips.The rising moving averages and the RSI near the overbought zone suggest the bulls have the upper hand. However, the bulls are finding it difficult to push the price to $29.54. This could result in high volatility in the short term. A break below $26 could pull the price down to the 20-EMA. If the price rebounds off this level strongly, the bulls will make one more attempt to resume the uptrend. Alternatively, a break below the 20-EMA could signal the start of a deeper correction.ETC/USDTThe bears are trying to stall Ethereum Classic’s (ETC) up-move in the $38 to $41.61 overhead resistance zone. However, the long tail on today’s candlestick suggests that traders are buying at lower levels.ETC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe upsloping 20-day EMA ($28.74) and the RSI in the overbought zone indicate advantage to the bulls. If buyers propel the price above the overhead zone, the ETC/USDT pair could resume the uptrend and rally to $53.21.Contrary to this assumption, if the price turns down from the overhead zone, the bears will try to sink the pair to the 20-day EMA. A break below this support will indicate the bullish momentum has weakened and the pair could then drop to $22.20.ETC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe 20-EMA is rising and the RSI is in the overbought zone, suggesting the bulls are in control. However, the bears will not throw the towel easily. They will try to stall the up-move in the overhead zone.A break below the 20-EMA will be the first sign that the bullish momentum may be weakening. That could pull the price down to the 50-SMA. Such a move could keep the pair stuck inside the range for a few days.AAVE/USDTThe bulls pushed AAVE above the $489 resistance today. However, they have not been able to sustain the buying at higher levels and the bears have pulled the price back into the $480 to $280 range today. This suggests the bears are attempting to trap the aggressive bulls who may have purchased the breakout from the range.AAVE/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewIf the price dips below the 20-day EMA ($415), it will suggest that bulls are not buying on dips. That could pull the price down to the 50-day SMA ($383) and extend the stay of the AAVE/USDT pair inside the range for a few more days.On the contrary, if the pair rebounds off the 20-day EMA, it will indicate accumulation at lower levels. The bulls will then make one more attempt to push the price to $581.67. A breakout of this level could start the northward journey to $698.VORTECS™ data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro shows the bullish trend in AAVE has continued from April 25, barring a couple of momentary dips to 63.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. AAVE price. Source: Cointelegraph Markets ProAs seen in the chart above, the VORTECS™ Score for AAVE has consistently remained in the green since April 25 when the price was at $351.40.The strong VORTECS™ Score could have held back traders from booking profits early and leaving profits on the table. AAVE has rallied to $509.83 today, recording a gain of 45% in just over a week. AAVE/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe 4-hour chart shows the bulls purchased the dip to the 20-EMA and are again trying to drive the price above the $489 to $512 resistance zone. The rising moving averages and the RSI above 63 suggest the path of least resistance is to the upside.This bullish view will weaken if the bears pull the price below the 20-EMA. That could suggest that supply exceeds demand. The pair may then drop to the 50-SMA. If this support holds, the pair may consolidate between $420 and $489 for a few days before starting the next trending move.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.
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Manchester United fans stormed into the English football club’s stadium and on to the pitch on Sunday to protest against the team’s owners, the American billionaire Glazer family, and their previous plan to join the abandoned breakaway Super League.Fans at Old Trafford chanted, set off flares and unfurled banners calling for the Glazers to make an exit from Manchester Manchester. The New York-listed club has been approached for comment.Joel Glazer, the team’s co-chairman, apologised last month after being forced to cancel plans to form a breakaway Super League for an elite group of Europe’s best known football clubs, including Spain’s Real Madrid and Italy’s Juventus. Under the proposals, the founding clubs would have been guaranteed a place in the league every year, which goes against the tradition of European football in which clubs compete to take part in top-level competitions. Fans on the pitch at Old Trafford © Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty The protest comes ahead of a clash between Manchester United and rival Liverpool, which is owned by John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group, another American investor who apologised to fans for backing the Super League.The match has been delayed as a result of the fans’ actions, according to the Premier League. It had been due to start at 4.30pm UK time, and a Covid-19 compliance officer for the league will need to make sure it is safe to play.Fans remain angry that Manchester United backed the Super League. Their unhappiness with the Glazers goes back to the family’s acquisition of the club in 2005, a £790m leveraged buyout that saddled it with debt, costly fees and interest payments. The family also extract dividends from the club, a rarity in the business of football. Gary Neville, the former Manchester United player and an influential pundit, said on Sky Sports that it was the right time for the Glazers to sell the club, which had failed to win the Premier League since 2013.“It would be the honourable thing to do,” he said.Ahead of the match, Ed Woodward, Manchester United’s executive vice-chair, who announced that he would step down at the end of the year after the frosty reception to the Super League, apologised to fans for the team’s role in the abandoned project.“I can assure you that we have learned our lesson . . . and we do not seek any revival of the Super League plans,” he told supporters at a meeting on Friday.
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In this articleBRK.AWarren Buffett.Gerald Miller | CNBCBerkshire Hathaway's operating earnings rebounded as the conglomerate's businesses recovered from the pandemic hit. Chairman Warren Buffett kept buying back Berkshire shares aggressively in the first quarter, but at a slightly slower pace.Berkshire reported operating income of $7.018 billion in the first quarter, up 20% from $5.871 billion in the same period a year ago. The conglomerate's hodge-podge of businesses including insurance, transportation, utility, retail and manufacturing saw signs of a recovery amid the economy reopening.During the first quarter, the company bought back $6.6 billion of Berkshire shares, after a record $24.7 billion in buybacks last year in lieu of deal-making. The conglomerate recorded $9 billion in share buybacks in the fourth quarter.Berkshire Hathaway's cash pile grew about 5% during the quarter to more than $145.4 billion. Just slightly below the record level seen at the end of the third quarter last year.Buffett has been sitting on the sidelines as the deal-making environment becomes more competitive and market valuations turned lofty. The legendary investor said at last year's annual meeting that he hasn't seen anything attractive to pull the trigger on a sizable acquisition like he has in the past.Berkshire's equity investments also registered solid gains, increasing approximately $4.69 billion last quarter. However, Buffett has told shareholders to not focus on quarterly fluctuations in investing gains and losses."The amount of investment gains (losses) in any given quarter is usually meaningless and delivers figures for net earnings per share that can be extremely misleading to investors who have little or no knowledge of accounting rules," Berkshire said in a statement.Thanks to the buyback program and a recovery in its operating businesses, Berkshire's "B" shares have rallied more than 18% in 2021 to a record high.In total, Berkshire posted net earnings of $11.71 billion, or $7,638 per Class A share, in the first quarter. The conglomerate suffered a net loss of $49.75 billion, or $30,653 per Class A share, a year ago as the stock market's pandemic plunge dramatically lowered the value of the company's many equity investments.The conglomerate's total revenue came in at $64.6 billion last quarter, higher than the Street's estimate of $63.66 billion, according to Refinitiv.Berkshire's annual shareholder meeting will kick off Saturday at 1:30 pm ET in Los Angeles with both Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger present. The event will be held virtually without attendees for a second time.Correction: Berkshire's investment gains increased by $4.69 billion in the first quarter. A previous version of this story misstated the gains.Enjoyed this article?For exclusive stock picks, investment ideas and CNBC global livestreamSign up for CNBC ProStart your free trial now
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Tracking a Top Technology Stock and Solid Performer in the Consumer Products Space. Microsoft: https://www.zacks.com/stock/quote/MSFT?cid=CS-YOUTUBE-FT-VID Chewy: https://www.zacks.com/stock/quote/CHWY?cid=CS-YOUTUBE-FT-VID Follow us on StockTwits: http://stocktwits.com/ZacksResearch Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZacksResearch Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ZacksInvestmentResearch
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PeopleImages | E+ | Getty ImagesIf you are in the market for a new house, you may be overlooking one key to your success: your credit score.That three-digit number has a direct impact on your ability to get a mortgage and what interest rate you will pay.Mortgage rates are at two-month lows, with the benchmark 30-year fixed loan at 3.11%, according to Bankrate. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced it will continue to keep short-term interest rates near zero, which means mortgage rates should stay low.More from Invest in You:As home prices rise, here's what buyers can do to land a dealFeeling financial stress? Here's how your employer may helpYou can still tap free money for college — here's howTo get that low rate though, you'll have to have a good credit score."Even a quarter point or half point can make a really big difference over the long haul on a large loan amount," said Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at Bankrate and CreditCards.com.Credit scores range between 300 and 850. A good score is between 670 and 739, very good is from 740 to 799, and 800 and up is considered excellent, according to FICO, a leading credit-scoring company.Home buyers who took out mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2020 had a median score of 786, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.If you don't measure up, it doesn't necessarily mean you are shut out of the market. There are several moves you can make to improve your score.First, check your credit historyYou are allowed one free credit report a year from the three main credit-scoring companies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You can reach out to each directly or you can access them through annualcreditreport.com.Not only should you know your score, you should also make sure there are no mistakes or unintended skeletons in your closet, like a missed payment you forgot about.Pulling your report before you apply for a mortgage or pre-approval, ideally a few months in advance, will give you time to correct any issues.Pay bills on timeLate or missed payments can knock down your score.The easiest way to avoid that is to set up automated payments for your bills, said Faron Daugs, founder and CEO of Harrison Wallace Financial Group.Lower your credit utilization ratioGetty ImagesLenders will look at whether you have high balances on credit cards.Even if you pay your credit card bills in full each month, you may still have a high utilization rate, Rossman pointed out.For example, if you make $3,000 in purchases and have a $5,000 limit, you are using 60% of your available credit. Try to keep it below 30%, Rossman said. Those with the best credit scores keep it below 10%.Making an extra payment in the middle of the billing cycle can help knock the balance down before the statement comes out.Become an authorized user on someone's credit cardIf you have no credit, one of the best ways to start building it is becoming an authorized user on someone else's card, said Daugs."Make sure you do it with someone with good credit," he cautioned.If the account stays in good standing, that will positively impact your credit.Get a credit-builder loanSome community banks and credit unions offer credit-building loans, which are designed to help the holder build credit as they make payments.You'll pay interest, although some lenders may reimburse the costs after the loan is repaid.Alternative credit scoring won't matterExperian Boost can bring up your credit score on Experian by counting phone, utility and streaming service bills.Tetra Images | Getty ImagesYou can boost your credit with alternative solutions, which count bills that don't normally go onto your credit report. However, they may not work for government-backed mortgages.Experian Boost can bring up your score on Experian by counting phone, utility and streaming service bills, while eCredable Lift reports utility and phone payments to TransUnion. Perch allows you to boost your score with recurring expenses such as subscription services and rent.The platforms use a newer version of the FICO algorithm, Rossman said. Government-backed mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac request older versions, so they won't see the score improvement.Don't rock the boatIf you are looking to purchase a home, hold off on any other big ticket items, like a car. Also, don't open or close any credit cards until after the mortgage is approved, Rossman suggested."It is a sensitive time in your financial life," he said. "Lenders don't want to see anything weird."SIGN UP: Money 101 is an 8-week learning course to financial freedom, delivered weekly to your inbox.CHECK OUT: How Americans used the third $1,400 stimulus checks compared to the first two, and what that shows via Grow with Acorns+CNBC via Grow with Acorns+CNBC.Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.
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President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., April 28, 2021.Doug Mills | ReutersIf the stock market is considered a barometer of success, Joe Biden's first 100 days in office is starting off with a bang...a big bang.Since the election, the S&P 500 is up more than 20%. Since his inauguration in January, it's up 10%.According to JPMorgan, that is the best 100 day run for an inaugural President in more than 75 years.  The only other one close was John F. Kennedy in 1963, who also saw a return north of 20%. Investors, understandably, are more focused on the future. What will happen in the second 100 days? What about the second 100 days?Investors are focused on five major drivers of stock prices in the coming months:  the rate of change in earnings, the stability of profit margins, the future of the Biden legislative strategy, the Fed tapering and rate hikes, and the reopening and continued economic growth.Earnings growth: With 50% of the S&P 500 reporting first quarter earnings, the trend of outsized earnings beats has continued.  Companies have reported beating earnings by an average of 22.7%, according to Refinitiv, way above the historic beats of 3%-5% that were typical prior to 2020.  Moreover, more than 60% have seen second quarter estimates raised, which is higher than the previous quarter."More analysts are raising estimates and at a faster pace," Nick Raich, who tracks corporate earnings at Earnings Scout, told me.  "The rate of change is accelerating, and that is what drives stock prices."Andrew Adams from Saut Strategy noted that EPS growth for the S&P 500 is now north of 30% in the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago, the best growth in more than 10 years."Such a high growth rate will almost certainly decline once the COVID shutdown impacts start to fall off, but there should still be a fairly low bar to beat in the next few quarters for many companies," he said in a recent note to clients.  "So for now the market just isn't showing me a lot of reason to worry other than the fact that the large cap averages are hitting up against overbought levels." Stable margins:  One major concern for corporate profits has been higher input costs, everything from packaging to transportation to fuel costs, which would adversely impact corporate margins.  Several companies, particularly food and consumer companies, have reported higher input costs, but mostly without adverse consequences.   Factset reports that blended corporate margins for the first quarters are at 11.6%, the third highest level since tracking began in 2008. They expect that to hold above 11.0% for the rest of 2021.  The main reason:  many companies have successfully announced they were raising prices to keep up with the higher costs, thus maintaining margins. "Investors have not punished companies for raising prices," Raich told me. The future of the Biden legislative strategy.   The President has proposed two major additional pieces of legislation, the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, both of which could impact stock prices this summer.  The President Wednesday night unveiled details of the American Families Plan, a $1.8 trillion package of spending and tax cuts.  While restoring the top individual income rate to 39.6% and taxing capital gains as ordinary income for households making over $1 million has caused some ripples among investors, most believe that any tax hikes will come in at far lower rates than those proposed."In our view, a capital gains tax increase looks more likely to come in around 28%," Jan Hatzius at Goldman Sachs wrote in a note to clients.The Biden administration has also proposed higher corporate taxes, but most analyst also argue that the increase will be far more modest than the 28% rate that has been proposed.John Normand of JP Morgan summarized the current consensus on the impact of the proposed tax hikes on stocks:  "The view since the 2020 campaign has been that a higher corporate rate would lower S&P500 EPS by several dollars, but within a surging earnings growth environment driven by greater fiscal outlays and vaccine-driven reopening." In other words, higher taxes will likely be more than offset by stimulus and the reopening.  Not surprisingly, JP Morgan has made no changes to their year-end S&P target of 4,400.The Fed tapering and rate hikes:  Few issues have caused more debate than the timing of when the Fed will raise rates and begin tapering its $120 billion a month bond buying program. At his press conference Wednesday, Fed Chairman Jay Powell reiterated "We would have to have made very substantial progress in getting the virus under control" before the Fed would consider tapering, and again insisted that any price increases are likely to be "temporary."How long it will take for the Fed to feel that the virus is "under control" is hotly debated.  Some, like Adrian Miller, chief market strategist at Concise Capital Management believe the Fed will begin tapering in 2021:  "The Fed is likely to begin tapering in the fourth quarter.  By June several million more people are likely to be back in the labor market.  It might be a modest tapering, but we will be far enough along in the labor market recovery by the third quarter that some tapering is likely in the fourth quarter," he said. More typical is that of Guggenheim's Scott Minerd, who tweeted this out shortly before Wednesday's Fed announcement: "The market is being too aggressive on timing of tapering  (Q4 2021) and first rate hike (Q1 2023).  Under the new framework, the first rate hike could be pushed back to 2025."The reopening and continued economic growth:  Just as stock pickers are paid to sniff out peak earnings growth, economists are paid to sniff out peak economic growth.  Most still expect that the best news is still ahead of us.  Typical is Lori Calvasina from RBC Capital Markets, who in a note to clients said that while economic forecasts for 2021 are high and going higher, this has not yet impacted perceptions about 2022:  "One piece of good news is that 2022 forecasts haven't gone down, suggesting that 2021's faster and more powerful recovery in the economy hasn't borrowed too much from against 2022's growth outlook yet."The biggest problem for stocks in the second 100 days The biggest problem for stocks going into Biden's second 100 days may not be related to the economy at all.  Stocks may simply prove to be a victim of their own success."Peak everything" is a common refrain among investors, the concern that economic growth is peaking this summer, along with the rate of change in earnings growth.  The data we have, many argue, is as good as it gets.Companies have reported boffo earnings since the reporting season began two weeks ago, but the broader market has remained unchanged which, JPMorgan's John Norman says, gives some credence to those concerns. "Stock price reaction has been disappointing despite the strong beats," he said.  "Misses are being penalized as per usual, and the beats are not translating into positive stock price reaction."
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Some of Credit Suisse’s largest shareholders will attempt to remove the board member in charge of risk oversight, in protest at twin scandals that have cost the bank and its clients billions and tarnished its reputation.Andreas Gottschling — a 53-year-old German who has served as chair of the risk committee since 2018, earning a $1m annual fee — has come under fire after the Swiss bank lost at least $4.7bn from the collapse of family office Archegos.That came shortly after Credit Suisse had to suspend $10bn of supply-chain finance funds linked to controversial financier Lex Greensill, whose insolvency could cost the lender’s clients as much as $3bn. The bank has been forced to raise $1.9bn to shore up its capital and has cancelled investor payouts.David Herro, vice-chair of Harris Associates, which says it owns 10.25 per cent of the stock, said: “It’s the director’s job to represent the shareholders and to watch over management . . . Not only should Mr Gottschling be voted down, but I’m actually surprised in light of current events that he hasn’t already resigned.”Herro added he hoped the arrival of a new chair — former Lloyds Bank chief executive António Horta-Osório — on April 30 would lead to an overhaul of the board with more banking expertise recruited.Harris will be joined by the Ethos Foundation, which represents 200 Swiss pension funds that own between 3 and 5 per cent of the lender.“Our clients are really angry about what has happened,” said Vincent Kaufmann, chief executive of Ethos. “Other members of the risk committee have not been there very long so we will give them more of a chance. [Gottschling] took over in 2018 as chair. This now requires a change.”Norway’s oil fund also said on Sunday it would vote against the re-election of Gottschling, as well as five other board members including lead independent director Severin Schwan. The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund owned 3.43 per cent of the stock at the end of last year, according to its most recent disclosure.Credit Suisse and Gottschling declined to comment.Last week, influential proxy adviser Glass Lewis advised shareholders to vote against Gottschling. It said the Greensill and Archegos scandals “cast significant doubt on the efficacy of the board’s oversight of the company’s risk and control framework . . . Gottschling holds ultimate accountability”.However, its proxy peer ISS did not counsel investors to oppose the board member.Even with the backing of Norges, it is unclear if Harris and Ethos can gather enough support to unseat Gottschling. Last year, Herro led a public campaign backed by Ethos and hedge funds Silchester International Investors and Eminence Capital to remove chair Urs Rohner and keep ex-chief executive Tidjane Thiam in his role.He failed. Thiam stepped down, the chair was re-elected and continued until the end of his term. Rohner said at the time that other large shareholders, including BlackRock, had been more supportive of him and that the investor unrest was “not something which worries me a lot”.Gottschling started his career as a quantitative analyst at Deutsche Bank and has also worked for McKinsey and as chief risk officer of Erste Bank. He is also a director at Deutsche Börse.As a director, he was involved in multiple conference calls on the risks presented by Greensill last year. They were prompted in part by FT stories revealing that SoftBank was using Credit Suisse’s supply-chain finance funds to route hundreds of millions of dollars to struggling companies it owned.Ultimately, Gottschling sided with those who thought Greensill was a valuable entrepreneurial client with whom it was worth continuing business, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. While the SoftBank circular financing scheme was stopped, the Greensill-linked SCF funds subsequently grew to $10bn. Gottschling was also a supporter of Lara Warner, Credit Suisse’s ex-chief risk and compliance officer who was removed this month.Another person close to the bank said Gottschling did not participate in calls about Greensill outside normal risk committee discussions and did not personally “back” him.Greensill and Archegos are not the only risk management failures during his tenure. In 2018, Credit Suisse lost about $60m after it was left holding a block of shares in clothing company Canada Goose when its stock plunged. A year later, the bank lost $200m when New York hedge fund Malachite Capital failed.Additional reporting by Richard Milne
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If you are thinking about buying shares of Microsoft Corp., or already own them, you need to understand key metrics and issues related to the company. The numbers, below, show how Microsoft MSFT, +0.34% stacks up against competitors, and where its strengths and weaknesses lie. Keep in mind that no two companies are alike — even rivals don’t compete in every space. Investors need to do their own research to make informed long-term decisions. Key dynamics Since Satya Nadella took over as CEO in February 2014 and dramatically changed the direction of this software giant co-founded by Bill Gates, Microsoft has become a key player in cloud computing. That move has paid off handsomely for investors. The stock is up 680% since then, including dividends, more than four times that of the S&P 500 Index SPX, +0.22%. There may be more outperformance ahead for the stock because growth remains so robust, despite the size of this company. Microsoft has a $1.9 trillion market capitalization. Often companies of this size have a hard time posting fast growth simply because they are so large. Yet this 46-year-old software company put up 16.7% sales growth in the fourth quarter. Microsoft’s server products and cloud offerings, a $41.4 billion business last year, grew 25.8% in the fourth quarter. The hottest product line is Azure cloud services. Customers like Azure because it helps them become more productive and competitive. So, they will continue to join up, and expand their usage once they sign on. “We are witnessing the dawn of a second wave of digital transformation sweeping every company and every industry,” Nadella has said. Already at $29 billion a year, Azure sales are growing 50% annually, estimates Goldman Sachs analyst Kash Rangan. (Microsoft does not break out the numbers or offer projections for Azure.) Microsoft also offers artificial intelligence software; Microsoft Office suite products like Word, XL and Outlook; popular video-game hardware; the LinkedIn professional networking site; and, of course, Windows. You can see that four of those business lines are growing at 10% or more, but Windows and search are sluggish. (Company filing) Geographic reach Microsoft does half its business outside the U.S. This is good for investors because during times of robust, synchronized global growth like we see now, emerging economies tend to grow much faster than the U.S. “We are investing to bring our cloud services to more customers announcing seven new data center regions in Asia, Europe and Latin America,” Nadella has announced. A vulnerability is that a stronger dollar would hurt Microsoft, since this would reduce the value of foreign earnings as they get exchanged for greenbacks. (Company filing) Profitability Overall, Microsoft isn’t growing as fast as many of its competitors. But the popularity of its cloud products and services supports superior profit margins. For investors, this makes up for the relatively slower sales growth. “Microsoft has pulled ahead of the pack with a state-of-the-art cloud platform,” says J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Murphy. (FactSet) Cash and cash flow Companies with lots of cash and solid cash flow have an edge because this helps them avoid the need to rely on banks for dilutive capital raises. It puts them in control of their own destinies. Microsoft uses its cash to buy back stock and pay a 0.87% dividend yield. But it’s also tapping the $132 billion cash hoard to grow through acquisitions. For example, Microsoft recently announced the purchase of Nuance Communications, which gives Microsoft solid inroads into the health-care sector. Nuance offers artificial intelligence (AI) used in the sector to analyze conversations and help providers communicate with patients. The risk is that Microsoft might make bad acquisitions and squander cash, which might otherwise have been better used by returning it to shareholders. As examples, Microsoft blundered in its purchases of Nokia’s mobile-phone business and the digital-marketing-services company aQuantive. This is why many investors prefer that companies simply return cash to shareholders via dividends and buybacks, rather than risk wasting it. (FactSet) Moat Investing great Warren Buffett loves companies with protective moats. Moats create pricing power and make it hard for competitors to win over customers. Microsoft enjoys a wide moat for the following reasons, says Dan Romanoff at Morningstar, which, like Buffett, puts a big emphasis on moats when analyzing companies. First, a lot of Microsoft business software requires a fairly steep learning curve, so customers get locked into products. Besides, swapping out software is disruptive to a business. This creates switching costs. Next, Microsoft products and services benefit from network effects. As more people use Azure, Microsoft Office, LinkedIn and so forth, these offerings become more valuable to everyone because they connect more people together. Network effects create value for customers, discouraging them from jumping ship.Stock valuation and performance Microsoft stock has outperformed the shares of several competitors over the past five years, but it still has a relatively low price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio compared to them. Keep in mind that relatively new companies like CrowdStrike CRWD, +3.56% can have deceptively high P/E ratios because they are still reinvesting a lot into their own businesses, diverting cash away from earnings per share. (FactSet) Wall Street’s opinion Here’s a summary of opinion among Wall Street analysts polled by FactSet: (FactSet) Important dates April 27 — Microsoft reports first-quarter earnings. May 19 — Ex-dividend date. July 20 — Microsoft reports second-quarter earnings. With reporting by Philip van Doorn. Michael Brush is a columnist for MarketWatch. At the time of publication, he had no positions in any stocks mentioned in this column. Brush has suggested MSFT, AMZN, GOOGL and CRM in his stock newsletter, Brush Up on Stocks. Follow him on Twitter @mbrushstocks.
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Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.Source: NYSEThe reopening story is now getting very real, at least for Wall Street.Today's crop of earnings reports are chock-full of companies reporting earnings above expectations and, most importantly, raising guidance.Take steel maker Nucor, which reported what CEO Leon Topalian called the "most profitable quarter in our Company's history" on improved pricing and margins. "We expect earnings for the second quarter of 2021 to exceed our first quarter results, setting a new record for quarterly earnings. Most of the end-use markets we serve remain strong and inventories remain lean across supply chains. We believe the current favorable demand environment will continue through the rest of 2021," he wrote to investors.Another large industrial, iron ore mining company Cleveland-Cliffs, raised full-year EBIDTA (cash flow), also on expectations of higher prices.Whirlpool reported net sales growth of 24%, beat earnings expectations by more than 30%, raised full-year guidance by 18%, raised the dividend, and announced an increase in share buybacks.Homebuilder D.R. Horton reported a significant earnings beat and raised full-year revenue guidance.In health care, HCA Healthcare raised full-year guidance, joining other providers UnitedHealth and Tenet Healthcare.One exception to the earnings bright spots: railroads.Union Pacific was the latest railroad to miss on earnings, following Kansas City Southern and CSX, which also missed. The inability to model bad weather may be the explaining factor: "The Q1 EPS shortfall largely reflects the winter storm disruption," Baird analyst Garrett A. Holland wrote in a note to clients. "The 2021 outlook is intact and may prove conservative as economic activity strengthens."Headwinds for stocks: high prices and "peak everything"And yet.The market, as every analyst and strategist has noted, is not cheap. Stocks have had significant run-ups in anticipation that companies would indeed be raising guidance, including companies reporting today: Firms reporting earnings vs. year-to-date performanceEarnings Reporters
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This past weekend, Cryptocurrency coins experienced a downfall in prices after hitting all-time highs in the last couple of weeks. The market tanked early on Sunday morning, with Bitcoin taking the most extreme hit as it dropped $10K within a few hours. Dogecoin was the least affected crypto on the market, in comparison to others. It endured a minor dip and recovered shortly after with 12% gains by the end of Sunday. Other changes also occurred in the market such as Coinbase going public via a direct listing. Bitcoin was able to rebound early Monday morning, after the weekend activities, and rose to 7%. All these changes have kept the crypto industry severely active. In other crypto news, TheStreet had a series of stories based on the topic of cryptocurrency and assessed which cryptocurrency would be feasible for investors seeking to diversify their wealth. The question is: should they buy Bitcoin or Ethereum?  A huge factor in the bitcoin fall resulted from the ban issued by Turkey's central bank. Turkey will omit the use of cryptocurrencies for payments in the country, effective the end of April 2021.  In other news, Dogecoin prices were soaring last week as it hit all-time highs on Friday, slightly above 40 cents and just below 50. However, in January of this year, the cryptocurrency was trading as low as less than a penny. According to critics, Dogecoin does not show any signs of slowing down its gains. For more information on Bitcoin uptick, click here. Featured image: DepositPhotos © igor_igorevich Please See Disclaimer If You Liked This Article Click To Share .crec-header h1 { color:#808080; max-width: 776px; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; padding-top:10px; font-size:12px; margin-bottom: 0; } .crec-container { max-width: 776px; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; } .crec-all-ads { display: flex ; flex-wrap: wrap ; } .crec-ad { width: 191px; padding-right: 4px; padding-top:5px; padding-bottom: 8px; } .crec-ad p { padding-top: 5px; font-weight: 700; line-height:1 !important; } .crec-ad:last-child { width: 191px; padding-right: 0; } .crec-ad > p > a { text-decoration: none; color:#000 !important; } .crec-ad > p > a:hover { color:#000 !important; text-decoration: underline; } @media(min-width:1228px){ .crec-image img{ width:191px; height:100px; } } @media (max-width: 1228px) { .crec-ad { width: 50%; box-sizing:border-box; } .crec-image img{ width:100%; height:158px; } .crec-ad:last-child { width: 50%; padding-right: 4px; } } @media (max-width: 590px) { .crec-ad { width: 100%; } .crec-image img{ height:auto; } .crec-ad:last-child { width: 100%; padding-right: 4px; } .crec-header h1 { padding-left:20px; } .crec-container { padding-left:20px; padding-right:20px; } } .mobile_tx{display: none;} #ax1x{ font-size: 1.1em; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.5; clear:both; margin: 0px 0px 20px 1% !important; min-height: 4.5em; text-transform: uppercase; padding: .25em 0 10px 0; position: relative; width: 98%; float: left; } .next-pg { height: 85px !important; width: 100%; border-top-left-radius: 3px; border-bottom-left-radius: 3px; background-color: #e5192c ; background-image: url('/wp-content/themes/mh-magazine/images/global-after.png') !important; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: right center; background-size: auto 100%; overflow: hidden; box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-top: 10px; position: relative; padding-left: 100px; } .next-pg::before { width: 45px !important; height: 85px !important; display: block; content: ""; width: 32px; height: 64px; background-image: url('/wp-content/themes/mh-magazine/images/global-before.png') !important; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: right center; background-size: auto 100%; position: absolute; left: -4px; top: 0px; } .action-txt { text-transform: uppercase; margin: 12px; line-height: 61px; text-align: left; font-size: 36px; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: right center; background-size: 26px 18px; color: #FFF; float: left; font-weight: bold; font-family: "Open Sans",sans-serif !important; width: 78%; display: inline-block; text-align: center; } @media (max-width: 768px){ .mobile_tx{display: block;} .desktop_tx{display: none;} .pps-slider-nav .pps-next { text-align: center; position: static; padding: 5px 20px; float: left; width: 100%; box-sizing: border-box; } .pps-next .next-article-page { padding-left: 0; float: left; margin: 0; } .next-article-page .action-txt { padding-left: 0!important; text-align: center; width: 87%; box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 26px; background: 0 0; text-align: center; } #ax1x { padding: .25em 0!important; min-height: 2.3em; width: 100% !important; margin: 0px !important; margin-bottom: 15px !important; padding-bottom: 0!important; } } @media (max-width: 500px){ .next-article-page .action-txt{ width: 75%; } } PreviousPayPal is the Latest to Introduce Cryptocurrency for Online Transactions
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It’s not all about technology or social media companies. These 5 companies are also in the earnings spotlight. Eli Lilly: https://www.zacks.com/stock/quote/ELY?cid=CS-YOUTUBE-FT-VID Visa: https://www.zacks.com/stock/quote/V?cid=CS-YOUTUBE-FT-VID Edwards Lifesciences: https://www.zacks.com/stock/quote/EW?cid=CS-YOUTUBE-FT-VID Deckers Brands: https://www.zacks.com/stock/quote/DECK?cid=CS-YOUTUBE-FT-VID Caterpillar: https://www.zacks.com/stock/quote/CAT?cid=CS-YOUTUBE-FT-VID Follow us on StockTwits: http://stocktwits.com/ZacksResearch Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZacksResearch Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ZacksInvestmentResearch
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PayPal's president and CEO, Dan Shulman, confirmed that cryptocurrency will be introduced shortly at the checkout service for online transactions, which will also waive transaction fees for purchases made with crypto. PayPal, the well-known online payment and transaction service, is the latest to start accepting the digital currency as a medium of exchange at its millions of global merchants. The news was shared by the company's CEO at the end of March 2021. The new system will feature a crypto checkout service that will allow customers to access their stored coins, in order to purchase goods and services from the approved merchants. It has been reported the system will also reflect equivalent funds directly in fiat currency after coins are subject to a swift transfer during the time of sale.  All four of PayPal's supported cryptocurrencies will be made available at the checkout service. These include Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. However, there will be a limit of one coin per transaction, but the customer will incur zero transaction fees. Dan Shulman commented on the launch of cryptocurrency and stated, "we think it is a transitional point where cryptocurrencies move from being predominantly an asset class that you buy, hold and or sell to now becoming a legitimate funding source to make transactions in the real world at millions of merchants."  The news first surfaced in October 2020 that PayPal had intentions to make an appearance in the crypto realm. PayPal worked its way into the industry in the early months of 2021, and acquired digital assets security firm Curv as well. The deal was thought to be worth $200 million. For more information on PayPal's move, click here. Read more about the growing use of Bitcoin and the increased use for daily transactions. Featured image: DepositPhotos © niphon Please See DisclaimerIf You Liked This Article Click To Share .crec-header h1 { color:#808080; max-width: 776px; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; padding-top:10px; font-size:12px; margin-bottom: 0; } .crec-container { max-width: 776px; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; } .crec-all-ads { display: flex ; flex-wrap: wrap ; } .crec-ad { width: 191px; padding-right: 4px; padding-top:5px; padding-bottom: 8px; } .crec-ad p { padding-top: 5px; font-weight: 700; line-height:1 !important; } .crec-ad:last-child { width: 191px; padding-right: 0; } .crec-ad > p > a { text-decoration: none; color:#000 !important; } .crec-ad > p > a:hover { color:#000 !important; text-decoration: underline; } @media(min-width:1228px){ .crec-image img{ width:191px; height:100px; } } @media (max-width: 1228px) { .crec-ad { width: 50%; box-sizing:border-box; } .crec-image img{ width:100%; height:158px; } .crec-ad:last-child { width: 50%; padding-right: 4px; } } @media (max-width: 590px) { .crec-ad { width: 100%; } .crec-image img{ height:auto; } .crec-ad:last-child { width: 100%; padding-right: 4px; } .crec-header h1 { padding-left:20px; } .crec-container { padding-left:20px; padding-right:20px; } } .mobile_tx{display: none;} #ax1x{ font-size: 1.1em; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.5; clear:both; margin: 0px 0px 20px 1% !important; min-height: 4.5em; text-transform: uppercase; padding: .25em 0 10px 0; position: relative; width: 98%; float: left; } .next-pg { height: 85px !important; width: 100%; border-top-left-radius: 3px; border-bottom-left-radius: 3px; background-color: #e5192c ; background-image: url('/wp-content/themes/mh-magazine/images/global-after.png') !important; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: right center; background-size: auto 100%; overflow: hidden; box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-top: 10px; position: relative; padding-left: 100px; } .next-pg::before { width: 45px !important; height: 85px !important; display: block; content: ""; width: 32px; height: 64px; background-image: url('/wp-content/themes/mh-magazine/images/global-before.png') !important; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: right center; background-size: auto 100%; position: absolute; left: -4px; top: 0px; } .action-txt { text-transform: uppercase; margin: 12px; line-height: 61px; text-align: left; font-size: 36px; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: right center; background-size: 26px 18px; color: #FFF; float: left; font-weight: bold; font-family: "Open Sans",sans-serif !important; width: 78%; display: inline-block; text-align: center; } @media (max-width: 768px){ .mobile_tx{display: block;} .desktop_tx{display: none;} .pps-slider-nav .pps-next { text-align: center; position: static; padding: 5px 20px; float: left; width: 100%; box-sizing: border-box; } .pps-next .next-article-page { padding-left: 0; float: left; margin: 0; } .next-article-page .action-txt { padding-left: 0!important; text-align: center; width: 87%; box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 26px; background: 0 0; text-align: center; } #ax1x { padding: .25em 0!important; min-height: 2.3em; width: 100% !important; margin: 0px !important; margin-bottom: 15px !important; padding-bottom: 0!important; } } @media (max-width: 500px){ .next-article-page .action-txt{ width: 75%; } } NEXT PAGE NEXT PreviousTelegram ICO Investors Included Russian Oligarch and Ex-Minister NextCryptocurrency Price Round-up: Dogecoin Soars while Bitcoin Rebounds
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A shopper wearing a protective mask checks out at a Costco store in San Francisco, California, on Wednesday, March 3, 2021.David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesMarch retail sales are expected to be strong, and some economists say stimulus checks may have quickly made their way into the economy, contributing to an even bigger gain of 10% or more.The March sales data, released at 8:30 a.m. ET Thursday, could be the first in a series of powerful reports on consumer spending, as vaccinations increase and the economic reopening continues. The $1,400 fiscal stimulus checks sent to individuals, starting in mid-March, appear to have spurred spending in an environment of pent-up demand."We expect the March retail sales report to be outstanding with headline and core retail sales both surging more than 11%" month over month, wrote Bank of America economists. "Stimulus, reopening, and better weather served as a potent cocktail for consumer spending."A multi-month burst of consumer spending is expected to kickstart an economy that is expected to boom this year. The strongest growth is expected in the current quarter, which some economists say could see gross domestic product growth of more than 10%. That compares to the second quarter of last year when the economic shutdowns resulted in a collapse in the economy, with GDP decreasing 33.3%.Economists expect March retail sales rose a consensus 6.1%, or 5.3% excluding autos, according to Dow Jones. That compares to a sales decline of 3% in February, when severe winter weather resulted in a freeze across the south with massive power outages in Texas.Zoom In IconArrows pointing outwardsBut some economists say that spending data shows that sales could be even stronger. "It's going to be up over 10%.Other than May of last year, it will be a record. There's a lot of vehicle sales, higher gasoline prices, and then everything else," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "The restaurants are coming back. Clothing stores are up a lot. This is the retail reopening and that's going to be reflected in the number."Zandi said he expects retail sales rose 10.3% over February, and should be up 28% from year ago levels."It's reopening. It's stimulus money. It's weather payback, all conflating to be a gangbuster number," said Zandi. "I think we're going to see very strong numbers going forward. We're off and running."Zandi said business-to-business spending data supports his view. According to software firm Cortera, recently acquired by Moody's, spending by all businesses in March was up 14.5% over last year, while spending by retailers was up 9%.Zandi said retailers and other businesses, like airlines, that benefit from a reopening economy did better in March than those businesses catering to working at home for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic."Spending increased in most retail segments, with restaurants, furniture stores, clothing stores, gas stations, and sporting goods stores leading the charge," according to Cortera. "Spending declines were seen in food & beverage stores as consumption shifted back to restaurants and bars."Cortera, which tracks about $1.7 trillion of business spending, found that spending was 14.6% lower than last year for food and beverage stores, but food and beverage services, like bars and restaurants increased, spending just under 20% more than last year.Bank of America's credit card spending also showed a surge in late March. BofA economists said there was a 67% surge in card spending over the seven day period ended April 3. The spending in that period was also 20% higher than the same period of 2019."Animal spirits have turned remarkably higher with the conference board measure of confidence increasing to 109.7 in March, the biggest one-month gain since April 2003," noted Bank of America economists. "Consumers are able to ramp up spending while still increasing savings - we think the saving rate will be about 20% - if not higher - in March."NatWest chief U.S. economist Kevin Cummins said he expects a 10% gain in March sales and concedes it's on the high end of forecasts. He expects sales should be boosted by the $1,400 stimulus checks sent to individuals, which started reaching bank accounts around March 17."The back end of the month should be very strong," he said. "If you look at auto sales, that was the highest level in four years. It seems like restaurants are getting more crowded, with outdoor seating."The range of forecasts is unusually wide, with economists expecting 4% to 11.5% gains. That means the market reaction could be volatile."Normally, prepandemic, the range might be 1 percentage point [apart], maybe 2," said Michael Schumacher, Wells Fargo diretor of rates.Bank of America economists said the retail sales data could kick off another debate, about whether business will pick up spending to lift the economy after surging consumer spending."With the data confirming consumer strength, the debate now shifts to the next stage of the recover," note Bank of America economists. "Will this prove to just be a sugar high with a painful hangover or will it kick-start a positive feedback loop which leads to a sustainable recovery? We expect the latter but it will depend on a positive response from Corporate America."
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American flags in front of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. headquarters in New York, on Friday, March 5, 2021.Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesCheck out the companies making headlines in midday trading.Goldman Sachs — Shares of the New York bank popped 4.4% in midday trading after the company posted first-quarter per-share earnings of $18.60—crushing the $10.22 estimate of analysts surveyed by Refinitiv—and revenue of $17.7 billion, more than doubled what it posted one year ago. As of the latest reading, Goldman shares are on pace for their best day since January.Bed Bath & Beyond – Shares of the big-box retailer tumbled nearly 9% after the company reported a double-digit decline in fiscal fourth-quarter sales. Its earnings per share came in at 40 cents adjusted, versus 31 cents expected by Refinitiv. Ongoing store closures and divestments as part of a bigger turnaround plan continued to weigh on Bed Bath & Beyond's results.Wells Fargo — The bank stock jumped more than 5% on Wednesday after Wells Fargo reported better-than-expected first quarter results and the company's management expressed optimism about a pickup in commercial loans. The bank reported $1.05 in earnings per share and $18.06 billion in revenue. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were looking for 70 cents per share and $17.5 billion in revenue.Moderna —Shares of the drug maker popped 5% after Moderna said its Covid-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective at protecting against the virus six months after a person's second shot. The data was based on more than 900 cases of the virus.JetBlue – The airline's share price advanced more than 2% following a bullish call from JPMorgan. The firm double upgraded the stock from an underweight rating to overweight, citing cost control measures and an attractive valuation. JPMorgan also raised its price target on the airline to $25 from $15. The new target is 20% above where shares closed on Tuesday.Harley-Davidson — Shares of the motorcycle company rose 1.1% after Bank of America initiated coverage on the stock with a buy rating and said it sees "accelerating brand momentum." The firm said it is bullish about the prospect of "adventure touring" in Harley-Davidson's future.Snap – Snap gained nearly 2% after Wedbush assumed coverage on the company with an outperform rating. The firm said Snap has an innovative platform with a young audience, and pointed to opportunity in augmented reality and social commerce. Wedbush's 12-month target price of $75 suggests a 20% rally from Tuesday's closing price.Occidental Petroleum — Shares of the the hydrocarbon exploration company rallied nearly 7% after MKM partners upgraded Occidental Petroleum to buy from neutral. The Wall Street firm said investors should take advantage of the pullback in shares.Discovery — Shares of the media company dropped more than 3% after CNBC reported that Credit Suisse is still unloading its position in the wake of Archegos Capital Management's chaos. According to people familiar with the matter, the bank was selling 19 million shares of Discovery's class A stock on Tuesday.JPMorgan – Shares of JPMorgan dipped less than 1% even after the bank reported profit and revenue that exceeded analysts' expectations on robust trading results. The strong result was also helped by a $5.2 billion benefit from releasing money it had previously set aside for loan losses that didn't develop. The bank posted first-quarter profit of $14.3 billion, or $4.50 a share including a $1.28 per share benefit from the reserve release, higher than the $3.10 per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. The stock has risen more than 20% in 2021.Enjoyed this article?For exclusive stock picks, investment ideas and CNBC global livestreamSign up for CNBC ProStart your free trial now— with reporting from CNBC's Yun Li, Jesse Pound, Tom Franck and Pippa Stevens.
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With Bitcoin prices skyrocketing, the crypto market is seeing an uptick in the finance sector bigger than ever before. Despite that, the reoccurring argument remains: "nobody uses the top cryptocurrency for actual transactions." Although this claim has existed for a long time, there has been a shift in daily transaction volume, and it is nearing a milestone of $10 billion worth of Bitcoin. To further understand how the ecosystem is thriving, there are several factors to consider regarding cryptocurrency and its global awareness. With the crypto market actively growing on a daily basis, Bitcoin has also cemented itself as a contender in the finance sector. Initially, Bitcoin was introduced as a substitution for cash and the first digital currency to be utilized for modern-day transactions. Bitcoin On The Rise With Daily Transaction Boost  When cryptocurrency was new on the market, it was used for simple things such as purchasing a pizza. However, when Bitcoin started to become of value over time, more people wanted to hold onto their equity instead of using it. This practice is also referred to as "HODL" in the crypto community.  With users resistant to use Bitcoin, experts have addressed this as the most notable flaw for this asset and the digital currency platform as a whole. Even so, things are changing for the Bitcoin network as users are now utilizing it to send larger transactions and at a higher price point per coin. Currently, the average transaction is approximately half a coin, which hovers around at a value of $32,746. This is a 20% increase from a week prior, which has resulted in a total daily transaction volume of more than $10 billion each day.  As bitcoin uptick leads to growth in daily transactions, it's been noted by ByteTree that almost all major blockchain network metrics are in the green. 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Africa remains the home to a large proportion of the world’s population that is unbanked according to a 2017 World Bank Global Index survey. Many of those who are unbanked cite their lack of official identification particulars as one of the main reasons for their predicament. Cryptos Narrowing Financial Exclusion Gap Therefore, in their effort to reduce the number of people that have no access to banking services, Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin, a decentralized digital currency and network that is available to anyone. Now, more than ten years later, the crypto asset has had successes in narrowing the financial exclusion gap as some financial services are now available to those lacking identification documents. Local.bitcoin.com is a peer-to-peer bitcoin cash (BCH) marketplace that’s available in every nation in the world. However, the rising fees on networks such as bitcoin (BTC) or ethereum (ETH) mean the respective crypto assets may eventually become less accessible. Further, the imposition of KYC requirements by some centralized crypto exchanges or the enforcement of FATF rules means millions of individuals including many from Africa will soon be blocked from trading cryptocurrencies. Local.bitcoin.com traders from Kenya. Nevertheless, some crypto exchange platforms like Local.bitcoin.com continue with their quest of making it possible for African users to have access to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin cash. Also, African users or traders will transact with the full confidence that the other party to the transaction will perform as agreed. Local.bitcoin.com’s blind escrow system ensures all parties play their part. How to Start So how can a prospective trader safely buy or sell bitcoin cash on Local.bitcoin.com? The first step would be to go on local.bitcoin.com and create an account. Creating an account on Local.bitcoin.com only requires one’s email address, a username, and a password. There is no KYC, an ID verification process, or geoblocking which often forces users from certain regions to use VPNs. Once an account has been created, the user is now ready to start trading. Local.bitcoin.com traders from Nigeria selling bitcoin cash (BCH). To start trading, a prospective BCH buyer simply selects a trader from a list of sellers shown on the offers page. If the two traders agree on the sale, the transaction will proceed with the seller sending the BCH to a blind escrow account. The buyer is then expected to make the payment as agreed and once this has been received by the seller, the assets held in the escrow account will be released to the buyer. Every country in Africa is listed on Local.bitcoin.com’s peer-to-peer bitcoin cash (BCH) market like Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, and specific populated cities as well. No Censorship Meanwhile, because Local.bitcoin.com is a peer-to-peer platform, traders can agree on a payment method that satisfies both parties. Since Local.bitcoin.com is decentralized, there is no way even the company’s staff can censor or stop certain transactions. Like onchain bitcoin cash (BCH) transactions, exchanges between two parties should be censorship-resistant as well. To Illustrate, BCH buyers from countries like Zimbabwe, which is blocked from accessing the global financial system, will state their preferred methods of paying. A seller that is amenable to these conditions will then respond to the offer. After the same process as described above has been repeated, the seller will receive his payment while the Zimbabwe-based buyer gets his BCH. For prospective African crypto traders that wish to trade on centralized exchanges but lack access to Visa or Mastercard, Local.bitcoin.com provides a secure alternative means of funding a trading account. For peer-to-peer traders, Local.bitcoin.com enables even small traders to trade as the fees on the BCH network make this possible. Is it easy to buy BCH via local.bitcoin.com? You can share your thoughts in the comments section below. Tags in this story Africa, Africa Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin, bitcoin cash, Bitcoin Cash Africa, Cryptocurrencies, Ethereum, FATF Guidelines, financial exclusion, Ghana, KYC, Local.bitcoin.com, Network Fees, Nigeria, South Africa, Unbanked, Zimbabwe Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, Local.bitcoin.com Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article. Read disclaimer
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The super-rich bought more homes in London than any other city in the world last year, according to new figures from estate agent Knight Frank, with buyers lured by the weak pound and the end of the UK’s Brexit saga. Buyers from around the world spent almost $4bn on so-called super-prime properties in the UK capital, which are classified as anything with a price tag of $10m or more. That is more than the total spent on super-prime homes in any other city last year, with London leapfrogging Hong Kong and New York, according to Knight Frank. Despite travel restrictions and the fact that the UK’s housing market was effectively locked down between March and May 2020, the number of sales above $10m in London last year was up on 2019, with Russian, French and Chinese buyers particularly active.The influx of money from overseas came as many London residents looked to the suburbs and the countryside in search of more space in the era of homeworking. “The story all last year was that people were moving out of cities. But quietly there were some big purchases taking place,” said Liam Bailey, global head of research at Knight Frank. In all, 201 super-prime properties were sold with an average price of $18.6m. In 31 of those transactions, buyers paid $25m or more. One of biggest sales of the year was the purchase of a £42m Belgravia mansion by British industrialist Sanjeev Gupta, revealed last month by the Financial Times.Buyers of $10m-plus homes in London and elsewhere are a narrow, international set, motivated and constrained by entirely different factors to those that move the mainstream housing market. Where they choose to buy signals as much about the relative attractiveness of a city’s tax regime or its safety as a place to store wealth as it does about livability.Despite the pandemic, the $19bn spent on super-prime properties across a dozen cities monitored by Knight Frank last year was just 5 per cent less than the 2019 total.London’s attractiveness has been burnished by the conclusion of Brexit negotiations and the fact that average prices in the most expensive postcodes are down around 20 per cent from a 2015 peak, said Bailey.Another large factor driving strong sales was the cheapness of the pound against the dollar and euro, he added. Super-prime sales in New York fell 48 per cent last year as wealthy buyers looked to sunnier coastal cities in the US such as Palm Beach, Los Angeles and Miami.  Trade in Hong Kong, which had the highest number of $10m-plus sales in 2018 and 2019, fell 27 per cent, hit by political uncertainty and tough coronavirus measures, said Bailey.“There’s still a cachet to a London residence even if you’re not in it for months at a time. If you’re super wealthy you will have a plane, a helicopter, a superyacht and your place in London,” said Nathalie Hirst, a London-focused buying agent whose clients are hunting homes with a budget of up to £100m.“I had clients predicting doom and gloom, Armageddon, but the property market has carried on,” she said.
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