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Bitcoin Prices Spike Above $900 But Turbulence Remains

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin prices once again surpassed $900, exceeding this level in spite of the recent announcement that Huobi and OKCoin had stopped margin trading.

Source

JPMorgan hikes Jamie Dimon's pay 3.7% to $28 million (JPM)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Jamie Dimon

JPMorgan Chase & Co directors paid Chief Executive Jamie Dimon $28 million in total compensation for 2016, a 3.7 percent increase from the prior year, the company said on Thursday.

His package includes a base salary of $1.5 million as well as cash and stock-related instruments that are tied to Dimon's performance, the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said.

The bank on Friday January 13 reported Q4 earnings, which beat analysts' expectations and marked a record-breaking quarter. 

"2016 demonstrated the strength and depth of our platform with record net income and EPS in an increasingly complex global environment," Dimon said in a statement.

"The US economy may be building momentum," he added. "Looking ahead there is opportunity for good, rational and thoughtful policy decisions to be implemented, which would spur growth, create jobs for Americans across the income spectrum and help communities, and we are well positioned to play our part."

SEE ALSO: JPMorgan beats, has a record-breaking quarter

DON'T MISS: Want to get ahead on Wall Street? Here's everything you need to know to land your dream job

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Protestors Plan To Take Down Whitehouse.gov To Protest Trump Inauguration

Forbes, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

DDoS Attacks like those launched by the Mirai botnet have crippled servers around the globe. Now plans are afoot to launch a people-powered DDoS on Whitehouse.gov to protest the inauguration of President Trump.

Trump's Treasury pick failed to disclose $100 million in assets

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

steven mnuchin

Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin failed to disclose roughly $100 million in assets and a number of business directorships to the Senate until the night before his confirmation hearing.

Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee jumped on this mistake during Mnuchin's confirmation hearing, saying that he was attempting to hide assets from his disclosure forms.

Among the assets that Mnuchin failed to disclose included real estate in New York City, Los Angeles, and Mexico.

Additionally, Mnuchin failed to disclose his role as director of a number of investment funds including a subsidiary of his hedge fund based in the Cayman Islands and another in Anguilla.

Democrats used the disclosure to question both Mnuchin's honesty as well as his qualification as a representative of the American public, contrasting him with Trump's repeated promise to "drain the swamp."

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden said that Mnuchin failed to disclose these holdings until Wyden's staff brought them to the nominee's attention.

"This was not self-corrected, the only reason it came to light was my staff found it and told you that it had to be corrected," said Wyden, the ranking member on the committee.

Mnuchin defended himself by saying that the omission was due to the complexities of the disclosure forms.

"I think as you all can appreciate filling out these government forms is quite complicated," said Mnuchin. "There were many things I expected in this job including having to sell everything, but the amount of paperwork in filling out the forms... was quite a job."

Mnuchin went on to say that "any oversight was unintentional" in regards to omitted assets.

Additionally, Mnuchin defended the Cayman Island and Anguilla holding companies by saying the shell companies were created for his hedge fund to allow certain types of investments for pension funds and nonprofits. The Treasury nominee said he did not benefit from the setup.

"Let me just be clear again, I did not use a Cayman Island entity in any way to avoid taxes for myself," said Mnuchin. "I paid US taxes on all that income. So there was no benefit to me from the Cayman entity."

The rest of the hearing was equally as contentious with Democrats, and some Republicans, hitting Mnuchin for foreclosures at a bank owned by his fund, Trump's foreign investments, and regulation of banks.

This is also the second day in a row a Trump nominee was questioned for investment disclosures. Trump's Health and Human Secretary nominee Tom Price was questioned about his investments in healthcare companies during his time in Congress during his testimony on Wednesday.

SEE ALSO: 'A direct impact on our national security': Democratic Senator grills Treasury secretary nominee over Trump's debt to foreign countries

Join the conversation about this story »

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STOCKS DIP: Here's what you need to know

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Biden ice cream

Stocks tumbled on Thursday ahead of president-elect Donald Trump's inauguration.

All three major indices finished in the red.

First up, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 19,732.40, -72.32, (-0.37%)
  • S&P 500: 2,263.69, -8.20, (-0.36%)
  • Nasdaq: 5,540.08, -15.57, (-0.28%)
  • US 10-year yield: 2.470%, +0.083
  • WTI Crude: $51.40 per barrel, +0.32, +0.63%

1. Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin said the US may need a "21st century version" of Glass-SteagallHe also said he supported the Volcker Rule, which was enacted with the Dodd-Frank Act after the 2008 financial crisis and limited how much speculative investing banks can do. 

2. Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill grilled Mnuchin over Trump's debts to foreign countries"The American people want to know how much debt is owed by the Trump businesses to foreign entities because that could have a direct impact on our national security," said McCaskill.

3. Two Senators said they'll push for an investigation into whether Trump adviser Scaramucci violated Russia sanctions. In his confirmation hearing, Mnuchin said he would "properly investigate" any letter sent to his office regarding the sanctions. The Senators appeared to be referring to a discussion, reported by Bloomberg News, between Scaramucci and the head of a Russian sovereign wealth fund that the US government sanctioned in 2015.

4. Mnuchin also addressed the president-elect's conflicts of interests"I would deal with President Trump's business no different than I would deal with any business that comes before the committee and I would take my role as chair of that committee very, very significantly," said Mnuchin.

5. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's manufacturing outlook index came in at 23.6, significantly above expectations of 15.8. "Forty percent of the firms reported increases in activity this month; 17 percent reported decreases," said the release from the Philly Fed. "...the activity index reading was the highest since November 2014."

6. Housing starts jumped more than expected in DecemberHousing starts rose by 11.3% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.226 million, according to the Commerce Department. Building permits fell 0.2% at a rate of 1.21 million.

7. Initial claims unexpectedly tumbled to 234,000Moreover, the 4-week moving average was 246,750, a decrease of 10,250 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for the average since November 3, 1973, when it was 244,000.

8. Netflix is set to burn through $2 billion in 2017, and it's the biggest thing that worries Wall StreetThe reason, according to Netflix, is that actually making shows yourself costs a lot of money up front.

ADDITIONALLY: 

What Wall Street is saying about Netflix's blowout subscriber growth last quarter.

OBAMA: This was the scariest night of my presidency.

One of the smartest minds in the bond market talks us through the Fed, uncertainty, and markets that are out of whack.

SEE ALSO: Legendary physicist Freeman Dyson talks about math, nuclear rockets, and astounding things about the universe

Join the conversation about this story »

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STOCKS DIP: Here's what you need to know

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

melania trump donald trump

Stocks tumbled on Thursday ahead of president-elect Donald Trump's inauguration.

All three major indices finished in the red.

First up, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 19,731.59, -73.13, (-0.37%)
  • S&P 500: 2,263.73, -8.18, (-0.37%)
  • Nasdaq: 5,541.77, -13.85, (-0.25%)
  • US 10-year yield: 2.457%, +0.070
  • WTI Crude: $51.38 per barrel, +0.30, +0.59%

1. Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin said the US may need a "21st century version" of Glass-SteagallHe also said he supported the Volcker Rule, which was enacted with the Dodd-Frank Act after the 2008 financial crisis and limited how much speculative investing banks can do. 

2. Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill grilled Mnuchin over Trump's debts to foreign countries"The American people want to know how much debt is owed by the Trump businesses to foreign entities because that could have a direct impact on our national security," said McCaskill.

3. Two senators said they'll push for an investigation into whether Trump adviser Scaramucci violated Russia sanctions. In his confirmation hearing, Mnuchin said he would "properly investigate" any letter sent to his office regarding the sanctions. The senators appeared to be referring to a discussion, reported by Bloomberg News, between Scaramucci and the head of a Russian sovereign wealth fund that the US government sanctioned in 2015.

4. Mnuchin also addressed the president-elect's conflicts of interests"I would deal with President Trump's business no different than I would deal with any business that comes before the committee and I would take my role as chair of that committee very, very significantly," said Mnuchin.

5. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's manufacturing outlook index came in at 23.6, significantly above expectations of 15.8. "Forty percent of the firms reported increases in activity this month; 17 percent reported decreases," said the release from the Philly Fed. "...the activity index reading was the highest since November 2014."

6. Housing starts jumped more than expected in DecemberHousing starts rose by 11.3% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.226 million, according to the Commerce Department. Building permits fell 0.2% at a rate of 1.21 million.

7. Initial claims unexpectedly tumbled to 234,000Moreover, the 4-week moving average was 246,750, a decrease of 10,250 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for the average since November 3, 1973, when it was 244,000.

8. Netflix is set to burn through $2 billion in 2017, and it's the biggest thing that worries Wall StreetThe reason, according to Netflix, is that actually making shows yourself costs a lot of money up front.

ADDITIONALLY: 

What Wall Street is saying about Netflix's blowout subscriber growth last quarter.

OBAMA: This was the scariest night of my presidency.

One of the smartest minds in the bond market talks us through the Fed, uncertainty, and markets that are out of whack.

SEE ALSO: Legendary physicist Freeman Dyson talks about math, nuclear rockets, and astounding things about the universe

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's how to use one of the many apps to buy and trade bitcoin

Chinese Bitcoin Exchanges Stop Loan-Based Trading, Fees Could Return

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

The post Chinese Bitcoin Exchanges Stop Loan-Based Trading, Fees Could Return appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Bankers Praise Bitcoin (Not for the Reasons You Think)

Inc, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Finance industry experts say it's too soon to write off virtual currencies.

MNUCHIN: The US may need 'a 21st century version' of Glass-Steagall

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

glass steagall act roosevelt

Treasury Secretary-designate Steven Mnuchin touted the revitalization, with tweaks, of a decades-old regulation on banks repealed nearly twenty years ago during his confirmation hearing on Thursday. 

Last July, Republican National Convention delegates approved a platform that supported reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act. It was passed in 1933 and required banks to separate commercial deposit banking from investment banking.

Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell asked Mnuchin whether he supported a return to the act. 

"I don't support going back to Glass-Steagall as is," Mnuchin told the Senate Finance Committee. "When we talked about policy with the president-elect, our view is we need a 21st century version."

The act was repealed in 1999, enabling the rise of mega banks like Citigroup and JP Morgan that serve both small checking accounts and million-dollar investment portfolios. Some economists have argued that the act repealing Glass-Steagall nurtured some of the risky behavior among banks that led to the financial crisis.

Mnuchin said the problem with regulation is a lack of clear understanding of what is proper and improper. He said he supported the Volcker Rule, which was enacted with the Dodd-Frank Act after the 2008 financial crisis and limited how much speculative investing banks can do. 

"I support the Volcker rule, but there needs to be proper definitions around the Volcker rule so that banks can understand exactly what they can do and what they can't do, and that they can provide the necessary function of liquidity in customer markets," Mnuchin said. 

He cited a paper from Federal Reserve staff released in December that found that the Volcker rule had a negative effect on corporate-bond liquidity, or the ease with which buyers and sellers can find each other. 

"Separating out banks and investment banks right now under Glass-Steagall would have very big implications to the liquidity and the capital markets and banks being able to perform necessary lending," Mnuchin added. 

The research firm Compass Point said in December that the Trump administration could use the paper's findings as an argument to ease regulation on Wall Street.

SEE ALSO: 'A direct impact on our national security': Democratic Senator grills Treasury Secretary nominee over Trump's debt to foreign countries

DON'T MISS: Want to get ahead on Wall Street? Here's everything you need to know to land your dream job

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's how to use one of the many apps to buy and trade bitcoin

BREMMER: 'The Pax Americana, as of tomorrow, is over'

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

donald trump

President-elect Donald Trump is stepping into office on Friday.

And some analysts argue that his "America first" foreign policy agenda could mark a break in the global order given that it rejects the Wilsonian approach centered on US-backed international alliances and institutions. 

"I believe that the Pax Americana, as of tomorrow, is over," Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group, said at the World Economic Forum at Davos on Thursday in an interview with Business Insider.

"I think that we can actually close the book on that chapter, and that we enter into a new world order."

Bremmer and his firm recently articulated a similar idea in their annual list of top risks. They wrote that Trump's "America first" philosophy sees multilateral institutions and international affairs as transactional. That is, rather than aiming for longer-term global order and common values, Trump believes the US should act on near-term national interests and should be more flexible in dealing with rapid shifts on the global stage.

"With [the 'America first' philosophy] ends a 70-year geopolitical era of Pax Americana, one in which globalization and Americanization were tightly linked, and American hegemony in security, trade, and promotion of values provided guardrails for the global economy," the firm wrote in their report.

Notably, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a speech defending economic globalization in Davos on Tuesday, which Bremmer cited as an example of globalization continuing while Americanization is not.

Davos attendees "know that Trump represents a level of significant uncertainty in the global order. And they also know the Chinese government coming here and saying, 'We're leading the charge on globalization,' and quoting from Charles Dickens and things like that. Well, China is not a democracy — not going to become one. China’s not a free market economy. And while it is becoming more market-oriented over time, it’s still fundamentally state capitalist," he told BI.

"So the idea that your new globalization overlords are a country that does not have rule of law or an independent judiciary — in fact, a country that many of you don’t feel particularly welcome investing in, even though you’re making some money. They don’t know how to deal with that — that uncertainty as globalization continues but Americanization is clearly over," he added.

putin merkel

Another example of Trump's shift in foreign policy views that Bremmer singled out was the president-elect's recent comments in an interview with Bild and The Times of London on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin: "Well, I start off trusting both — but let's see how long that lasts. It may not last at all."

"The Trans-Atlantic relationship right now... When Trump comes out right now and says that his relationship with Putin and Merkel are basically the same, that's literally an astounding thing for a post-War American president to say," Bremmer told BI. "And if you're Merkel, the most important leader in Europe, you have to react strongly to that."

"I think there's an open question right now as to the state of and maybe existence of the US-German Alliance. And that is not appreciated by the people that are here," he added.

Check out Business Insider's full interview with Ian Bremmer over here.

SEE ALSO: Wall Street's top political risk analyst on the refugee crisis and Trump's Twitter account

Join the conversation about this story »

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Washington Proposes Confusing Bitcoin Amendment to Legal Marijuana

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

The post Washington Proposes Confusing Bitcoin Amendment to Legal Marijuana appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

ChronoBank's Scores $2.7m In 'Crypto' Crowdfund Towards LaborX Exchange Launch

Forbes, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Time-based cryptocurrency initiative ChronoBank.io, which seeks to disrupt the short-term labour-hire sector, is working towards launching an exchange in early 2018 where buyers and sellers of work can “trade skills for time and money”. The crowdfunded-back initiative, which ends next month, has attracted the equivalent of over 3,000 bitcoin (BTC) [...]

'A direct impact on our national security': Democratic Senator grills Treasury Secretary nominee over Trump's debt to foreign countries

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

donald trump

Steven Mnuchin, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for the secretary of the Treasury, was grilled by Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill over Trump's debts to foreign countries.

During Mnuchin's confirmation hearing in the Senate Finance Committee, McCaskill said that the Treasury's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) — which investigates foreign investments into US businesses for possible national security conflicts — should evaluate the debt from Trump's businesses held by foreign entities.

According to reports, various parts of Trump's business empire have taken loans from a variety of foreign entities such as the government-owned Bank of China.

McCaskill raised the possibility that foreign entities holding Trump's debt could attempt to influence policy through his business ties.

"The American people want to know how much debt is owed by the Trump businesses to foreign entities because that could have a direct impact on our national security," said McCaskill.

The Senator also asked Mnuchin to report to the Senate Finance Committee on the percentage of Trump's debt that is held by foreign entities.

"Isn't is true that a lot of his debt is held by foreign interests?" asked McCaskill.

"I don't know, I've just read it in the papers," replied Mnuchin.

"Don't you think you should know that as someone who runs the Committee on Foreign Investments if we're talking about the commander-in-chief?" asked McCaskill. "Should you as the Secretary of the Treasury know what percentage of his debt — I am told by people who are familiar with this business that it is a huge percentage of his debt — that is held by foreign interests?"

"If I am confirmed I will assure you that the requirements of the Constitution are upheld and I think you have a valid point about foreign debt and understanding foreign things," said Mnuchin "If I'm confirmed I will research that and get back to you."

Trump said in a press conference last Wednesday that he will not be divesting from his business holdings and simply be turning them over to his sons. This has raised questions from ethics experts on the possibility of influence over the president.

SEE ALSO: 2 senators say they'll push for an investigation into whether Trump adviser Scaramucci violated Russia sanctions

Join the conversation about this story »

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A top investment expert at a $487 billion fund on her outlook for 2017, Europe and Trump

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Schroders Joanna

Johanna Kyrkland is the global head of multi-asset investments at Schroders, a $487.1 billion asset manager. 

The multi-asset team builds portfolios that invest across asset classes in a dynamic way. The team make adjustments based on where they see value and the economic environment, rather than long term assumptions. 

We recently asked her about her outlook for 2017, elections in Europe and the state of the US market. 

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Tina Wadhwa: In your outlook note for 2017, you said that you support a shift into value stocks out of quality and an upgrade to Japanese equities, emerging market assets and commodities. Can you go through your rationale for this view? 

Johanna Kyrklund: If we think about the world, in recent years, the main performers were the beneficiaries of quantitative easing around the world, and anything correlated with that rally in interest rates. And really a year ago we started to reach a point of what we call quantitative fatigue. We thought the efficacy of quantitative easing was going to be a bit undermined.

At that point we noticed that the more cyclical areas of the market which had been left behind by quantitative easing were looking relatively cheap. So we’d been out of value for years, we’d been out of emerging equities for years, but really by this time last year we felt that their relative valuation had become provocative. And that’s what prompted us to start shifting the portfolio, even though at that point in time, there didn’t seem to be a cyclical catalyst for doing so, in the sense that the economic environment was very stable, but wasn’t particularly improving.

Clearly over the year we’ve seen some of these areas rally, but now they’re being supported in addition by an improvement in leading indicators, which began, in our view, last summer. So that’s really been the rationale - initially a relative valuation argument and then over the last few months recognition that leading indicators of economic activity were improving.

Wadhwa: You also said that Schroders is avoiding European assets for now. Can you explain more on your thought process behind this? How long will this last, and what would change your policy? 

Kyrklund: I should make a distinction there. We have bought European equities, but what we’re avoiding is European government bonds and the Euro. European equities have generally lagged the recovery that we have seen in US equities in recent years, so they’re offering relative value. We think the strength of the dollar and the weakness in the Euro supports European earnings, and we’re seeing a bit of improvement in activity. So we have added to European equities.

marine le penWhat has led us to then avoid European government bonds of any kind and the Euro is two factors. One factor is that inflation is gradually picking up, so there is a world, this year or maybe the middle of this year, where the ECB might talk about a slightly less dovish policy. Which given where European yields are priced, could be quite a challenge for European bonds. Another issue is that the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, in our view, is dormant rather than extinct. So there’s still challenges, particularly in Italy. And so again we don’t think risk is rewarded in peripheral bonds. And the final element is that we do have a number of key elections this year and although the central scenario is that the establishment parties will come through it okay, we do think the center of gravity is shifting in Europe. The European project is increasingly questioned. If you take the example of the UK, we didn’t need the UK Independence Party to win the election for us to end up with a referendum and leaving Europe. So extreme parties can impact policies even without winning elections, particularly when you are dealing with coalition politics which is often the case on the continent.

Wadhwa: Which election would you say you’re the most worried about or watching the most closely?

Kyrklund: To be honest, I think all of them present their challenges. The main ones would be the French elections and then the German elections later this year. Central scenario is that the establishment candidates win, but I think that some of these more populist movements are really gaining popularity. What tends to happen is that when you start getting more extreme parties doing well, some of their policies then get adopted by the more mainstream parties in an effort to support their popularity. So that’s why we’re worried.

We like European equities. Ultimately we focus on valuation in the economic environment, but we’re cognizant that there’s potential risks in Europe associated with the  pickup in inflation, which would impact ECB policy, a dormant sovereign debt crisis, and obviously a series of political elections this year.

Wadhwa: That being said, do you become a buyer of the Euro at Dollar Parity?

Kyrklund: Possibly. It would depend on what’s been going on politically. One thing we must say about the Euro is that the European region is in a current account surplus. So environments where the Euro could do much better would be first of all in a risk-off environment where if Fed rate hikes get postponed, you would see the Euro recovering. If growth actually weakens and disappoints in the US, that would be a reason to buy the Euro. As I said, it’s a current account surplus region, so if it gets cheap enough against the dollar, there is support for it. I’m not a perennial bear on the Euro. In fact, quite often I quite like buying it. Just for now, given the position we have in European equities, we think it’s prudent to avoid the currency.

Donald TrumpWadhwa: We have been in a bond bull market for the last 40 years.  Does Trump’s election win and the Treasury sell-off spell the end of this?  Will the sell-off continue, and are we now in a bond bear market? I know you wrote in your commentary that you see downside risks in Government bonds in 2017.

Kyrklund: We sold out of a lot of our government bond exposure in the summer, and we’re still standing back from bonds a bit. I think there’s still room for yields to rise to 3%, but ultimately as we go through 3%, we’ll probably start reconsidering exposure to government bonds. And the reason is because we are quite procyclicly positioned in equities and in commodities, and in the context of the overall portfolio, government bonds above 3% offer an interesting hedge. So I wouldn’t buy government bonds as an investment on a stand alone basis, but as a useful counterweight in a portfolio that’s very cyclically positioned I do think there is potential value in bonds above 3%.

Wadhwa: Over 2016 the dollar index strengthened significantly.  What’s your view on dollar strength going into 2017?  Trump's stated policy has always been around that of "King Dollar" - and the Fed hike scenario would seem to support this.  But given the new trade deals Trump is seeking to negotiate, wouldn't he be helped in this endeavor by a weaker dollar?

Kyrklund: For now it seems like the path of least resistance is for a stronger dollar just because of the divergence in rate policy. In particular, we like being long dollar against Asian currencies because there is a risk of a more aggressive Chinese devaluation out there, so we continue to like the dollar versus Asian currencies in particular. I think against other markets, the dollar is starting to look quite expensive. For example, we do like some emerging market currencies like the Russian Ruble, so I would say the outlook for the dollar at these levels is mixed. It depends what cross you’re looking at. While in Q4 we were just long dollars against everything. I think we have a more nuanced view of the dollar at this point.

xi jinpingWadhwa: Turning to China, what do you think are the main challenges facing the nation's currency? 

Kyrklund: China’s on quite solid footing at the moment. The main challenge its facing is that the yuan has been depreciating quite aggressively on its doorstep which puts pressure on China, and obviously China stems capital outflows to try to slow the depreciation of the Chinese yuan. So I think China’s fine, as long as the dollar doesn’t strengthen too aggressively from here.

Wadhwa: You wrote of an upgrade to emerging market assets but also of Trump’s protectionist stance impacting EM exposure. What’s your view on that? Do you think a hawkish fed and a strengthening dollar is going to hurt EM in 2017?

Kyrklund: We still have emerging equities, but we have reduced allocations so that’s the one shift we have made post the election. And actually it’s not just about Trump. What’s concerning is that trade growth still isn’t picking up, so that’s what we’re really focused on. We like emerging market currencies though and we like local currency emerging market debt. We’re just a little bit more cautious on emerging market equities, because as I said the trade growth isn’t really picking up.

Wadhwa:  Equities have rallied hard since Trump’s win.  How much further do you see this rally going?  Can current price-to-earnings multiples be justified with three hikes expected for 2017?

Kyrklund: For now we remain positive. It's not really about Trump. It’s the fact that we have seen a turn in economic activity, and optimism surrounding Trump can amplify that trend. But for now the theme that we’re watching is cyclical indicators. While they’re still going up, we’ll stay long.

It’s hard to predict what Trump will say next,  so we’re focusing on the underlying indicators. And even if Trump intends to implement fiscal policy, realistically we won’t see the impact until later this year. The way I’d summarize it is with indicators of economic activity picking up anyways, we can afford to give Trump the benefit of doubt. We’ll be looking at manufacturing surveys, producer price indices, earnings revisions, industrial confidence - all of these things have been improving. 

Wadhwa:  How do you see the price of oil evolving over 2017? 

Kyrklund: We’re generally expecting very stable energy prices, we’re not making big assumptions. But commodities is another area we have generally been avoiding in recent areas, consistent with our idea of avoiding anything that was cyclical. And again consistent with the rotation into cyclical areas, we did add back to commodities last year and we’ve added further. And that’s really because we see some stability in the economy. Commodity prices are still quite cheap, and crucially we’re getting a positive oil yield now from a number of commodities, which was a huge headwind for commodity prices for quite a long time. So generally we’re mostly positive on commodities, and we think they serve an important role in a portfolio. And this has not been the case in the last few years.

SEE ALSO: The chief investment officer of a $490 billion fund manager on Trump, Dow 20K, and big data

Join the conversation about this story »

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Bitcoin Is Preparing a Run to $1,000

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

The post Bitcoin Is Preparing a Run to $1,000 appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

2 Senators say they'll push for an investigation into whether Trump adviser Scaramucci violated Russia sanctions

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

anthony scaramucci

During a confirmation hearing for Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin, Sen. Ben Cardin said that he would push for an investigation into President-elect Donald Trump's adviser Anthony Scaramucci for possible violations of sanctions against Russia.

Cardin told Mnuchin that he plans to send a letter from Sen. Mark Warner and himself to the Treasury asking for an investigation into Scaramucci and his fund.

Cardin first asked if Mnuchin if he was committed to upholding the sanctions against Russia, which the Treasury said he was "100%" in favor of. Cardin then asked about Scaramucci.

"Senator Warner and I are going to be sending you a letter if you are confirmed to investigate the allegations that Mr. Scaramucci, who was recently named as the White House director of engagement and intergovernmental affairs and senior adviser to the president, may very well have violated the sanctions against Russia in his dealings," said Cardin.

Mnuchin said that he would "properly investigate" any letter sent to his office regarding the sanctions.

Business Insider has reached out to a spokesman for Scaramucci, and will update if there is a response.

It appears that Cardin is referring to a discussion, reported by Bloomberg News, between Scaramucci and the head of a Russian sovereign wealth fund that was sanctioned in 2015 by the US government.

According to Bloomberg, Scaramucci and the fund's director Kirill Dmitriev, spoke about possible co-investment opportunities. Bloomberg reported that the meeting took place at the World Economic Forum conference in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday and was confirmed by Scaramucci.

During an interview with Bloomberg TV, Scaramucci said he has known Dmitriev for awhile and was unsure if he could continue to contact the Russian investor once he got into the administration.

SEE ALSO: Trump's Treasury Secretary pick says he would "deal with President Trump's business no different" than any other businesses

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Trump's Treasury Secretary pick says he would "deal with President Trump's business no different" than any other businesses

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

steven mnuchin

Steven Mnuchin, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for the Secretary of the Treasury, is in front of the Senate Finance Committee taking questions on a variety of topics from regulation to the US economy.

In addition to taking tough questions on a loan program run by a bank owned by his hedge fund, Mnuchin was also quizzed on the duties of the Treasury Secretary by Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon and ranking member of the committee.

During questioning from Sen. Wyden, Mnuchin was asked about the responsibility of the Treasury Secretary to investigate any foreign investments in US businesses — particularly businesses owned by the president-elect — that would create national security issues through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

"I would deal with President Trump's business no different than I would deal with any business that comes before the committee and I would take my role as chair of that committee very, very significantly," said Mnuchin.

The CFIUS inspects any foreign purchases of or significant investment in a US company to evaluate any national security risks.

Ethics experts and lawmakers have raised concerns that Trump's business investments in foreign countries represent serious conflicts of interest. Additionally, there are concerns that foreign governments or businesses could invest in Trump's companies in order to influence policy or the president.

Sen Wyden did not appear to think that Mnuchin's answer went far enough.

"Mr. Mnuchin, the president is not like everybody else," replied Wyden. "he is the commander-in-chief and foreign government involvement in his business could compromise national security. So I'm going to reflect on that answer as well."

Trump announced at a press conference last week that his sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, would be running his businesses while he was in office but he would not be divesting from his businesses entirely because it would be too complicated. Most US presidents have used a blind trust to avoid conflicts of interest.

Most ethics experts have said that Trump's efforts do not meet the traditional standard of divestment.

Mnuchin has also drawn critical questions from Democrats regarding his overseas holding companies for his hedge fund in Antigua and the Cayman Islands.

Mnuchin insisted that this is typical of hedge funds to assist their institutional investors such as pension funds and that he has not used the offices "to avoid any US taxes."

SEE ALSO: OBAMA: This was the scariest night of my presidency

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Tesla jumps after receiving an upgrade at Morgan Stanley (TSLA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Screen Shot 2017 01 19 at 10.31.55 AM

Shares of Tesla are up 3.2% at $246.08 a share as of 10:37 a.m. ET after receiving an upgrade at Morgan Stanley. 

Adam Jonas, lead auto analyst for Morgan Stanley,  published a research note on the company on Thursday in which he raised his target price to $305 from $242 and placed and "overweight" or buy rating on the stock.

Jonas cited four major factors in his upgrade: a successful 2017 launch of the $35,000 Model 3, with better volume production arriving in 2018; the emergence of electric vehicles as a "core trend" for big carmakers, with EVs reaching 23% of the market in 2030; the disappearance of high-tech competitors with plans to build actual cars; and a pro-US manufacturing policy set to arrive from the Trump administration.

The upgrade follows a recent announcement from Tesla that it will invest $350 million and hire 500 workers to ramp up production of drivetrains for its forthcoming Model 3 mass-market vehicle, which will be priced at $35,000.

Thursday's gains have Tesla trading at its best level since the end of April and about $40 below its all-time high set in the middle of 2015.

Fourth-quarter and full-year 2016 earnings for Tesla are set to be announced in February. 

 

SEE ALSO: Tesla's biggest bull on Wall Street is running again and shares are jumping

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Tesla jumps after receiving an upgrade at Morgan Stanley (TSLA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Screen Shot 2017 01 19 at 10.31.55 AM

Shares of Tesla are up 3.2% at $246.08 a share as of 10:37 a.m. ET after receiving an upgrade at Morgan Stanley. 

Adam Jonas, lead auto analyst for Morgan Stanley,  published a research note on the company on Thursday in which he raised his target price to $305 from $242 and placed and "overweight" or buy rating on the stock.

Jonas cited four major factors in his upgrade: a successful 2017 launch of the $35,000 Model 3, with better volume production arriving in 2018; the emergence of electric vehicles as a "core trend" for big carmakers, with EVs reaching 23% of the market in 2030; the disappearance of high-tech competitors with plans to build actual cars; and a pro-US manufacturing policy set to arrive from the Trump administration.

The upgrade follows a recent announcement from Tesla that it will invest $350 million and hire 500 workers to ramp up production of drivetrains for its forthcoming Model 3 mass-market vehicle, which will be priced at $35,000.

Thursday's gains have Tesla trading at its best level since the end of April and about $40 below its all-time high set in the middle of 2015.

Fourth-quarter and full-year 2016 earnings for Tesla are set to be announced in February. 

 

SEE ALSO: Tesla's biggest bull on Wall Street is running again and shares are jumping

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Will Trump’s Inauguration Cause a Bitcoin Price Rise?

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

The post Will Trump’s Inauguration Cause a Bitcoin Price Rise? appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Netflix soars to a record high after crushing subscriber growth targets (NFLX)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Screen Shot 2017 01 19 at 9.43.36 AM

Netflix is trading at a record high on Thursday morning, up 6.6%, at $141.68 a share after crushing its subscriber growth targets. 

The company beat Q4 subscriber growth numbers on Wednesday, in the US and internationally, ahead of both Wall Street expectations and its own guidance.

Netflix also beat on EPS and revenue, which was up 36% year-over-year. The stock popped more than 8% on the news.

The company signaled that profit margins would tick up in 2017, but the company warned that it intended to continue spending aggressively - to the tune of a staggering $6 billion on content. 

With regards to content, Netflix said it will continue to invest in local content, "focusing on local content that travels pan-regionally or across multiple territories, such as Japanese anime and Turkish dramas." It also emphasized the success of "3%," the Brazilian sci-fi series which it said "millions" of members watched subtitled in English.

Deutsche Bank's Bryan Kraft said the increased international demand was "catalyzed by original content (e.g. Luke Cage – Sept. 30 release, The Crown, Gilmore Girls, and Fuller House)."

Netflix recently won a Golden Globe for a top show category, when its royal drama "The Crown" picked up a best drama series award and Claire Foy, who plays The Queen, won best actress. 

The one place Netflix fell short was in Q1 guidance for domestic subscriber growth, where it missed Wall Street's expectations. 

 

SEE ALSO: Netflix's content boss explained the reason he bet big on 'The Crown,' its Golden Globe winner

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Here's how banks can save big with blockchain

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Top Bank Use Cases for Blockchain

This story was delivered to BI Intelligence "Fintech Briefing" subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here.

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, investment banks faced rising regulatory burdens, rising compliance costs, and a consequent shrinking of innovation budgets.

However, in Q4 these banks reported large profits, suggesting that they are finally on the path to recovery; we have also seen major players renew their focus on digital transformation.

Now, a new report by consultancy Accenture and benchmarking firm McLagan suggests an area particularly deserving of incumbents' attention. The study, using data for eight of the world's largest investment banks, looked into the potential benefits that blockchain adoption might deliver. It found that blockchain could save these banks $8 billion to $12 billion annually and cut their operational costs by 30% per year on average.

These are the areas in which the study found blockchain promises the largest potential cost savings:

  • 70% on reporting. This would largely be a result of more streamlined and optimized data quality, transparency, and internal controls. This is because the largest investment banks run extensive operations, making orderly reporting harder. Storing figures from these various components on a single electronic ledger would improve oversight.
  • 50% on central operations. These include know-your-customer (KYC) or identification and client onboarding. This would be a result of more robust digital identities, and the standardization of client data between different FSIs using the same blockchain.
  • 50% on business operations. These include trade support and clearance and settlement processes. This cost saving would result from reducing or removing the need for data reconciliation, transaction confirmation, and automation of clearance and settlement processes. By automating trading, banks could cut down on salary costs and run some operations 24/7.
  • 30% to 50% on compliance. This would be both at product and procedural level, due to improved transparency and auditability of financial transactions. Currently, compliance costs are only increasing in line with the volume of new legislation and guidelines, as banks have to expand their expensive compliance teams. Blockchain could reduce time spent on administrative tasks, freeing up human compliance staff, and automate some humans' positions altogether, reducing staff costs.

Investment banks seem particularly well positioned to reap the advantages blockchain promises. Some of the biggest names in this field have been very active in developing real-world blockchain solutions, including Goldman Sachs. The fact that these players have vast resources and have already dedicated extensive resources specifically to blockchain development means that they will likely have a head start in the race to develop a viable solution.

Blockchain technology, which is best known for powering Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, is gaining steam among finance firms because of its potential to streamline processes and increase efficiency. The technology could cut costs by up to $20 billion annually by 2022, according to Santander.

That's because blockchain, which operates as a distributed ledger, has the ability to allow multiple parties to transfer and store sensitive information in a space that’s secure, permanent, anonymous, and easily accessible. That could simplify paper-heavy, expensive, or logistically complicated financial systems, like remittances and cross-border transfer, shareholder management and ownership exchange, and securities trading, to name a few. And outside of finance, governments and the music industry are investigating the technology’s potential to simplify record-keeping.

As a result, venture capital firms and financial institutions alike are pouring investment into finding, developing, and testing blockchain use cases. Over 50 major financial institutions are involved with collaborative blockchain startups, have begun researching the technology in-house, or have helped fund startups with products rooted in blockchain. 

Jaime Toplin, research associate for BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on blockchain technology that explains how blockchain works, why it has the potential to provide a watershed moment for the financial industry, and the different ways it could be put into practice in the coming years.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Spending on capital markets applications of blockchain is expected to grow at a 52% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2019, according to Aite Group, to reach $400 million that year.
  • Banks and major financial institutions are working both collaboratively and independently to develop blockchain tech. Over 50 major financial institutions are involved with collaborative blockchain startups, like R3 CEV or Chain. And many are investing in the technology on their own as well.
  • Putting blockchain to use for real-world transactions is likely not that far off. If working groups' tests are successful, firms could be using it to transact real value as early as the end of this year and we could see widespread industry application within the next few years. 

In full, the report:

  • Examines the funding increases that are pouring into blockchain
  • Assesses why blockchain is becoming so popular and what factors are driving up increased research and development
  • Explains in full how blockchain technology work and what assets make it valuable and vulnerable
  • Identifies pain points in the financial industry and profiles how various firms are using blockchain to solve them
  • Demonstrates the challenges to mainstream adoption and their potential solutions

To get your copy of this invaluable guide, choose one of these options:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of blockchain technology.

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Washington Lawmakers Are Trying to Keep Bitcoin Out of Pot Shops

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A new bill filed in the Washington State Senate seeks to prohibit local marijuana businesses from using digital currency.

Source

Here comes Philly Fed...

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Liberty Bell

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's manufacturing outlook is expected to come out at 8:30 a.m ET.

Economists expect the measure of mid-Atlantic manufacturing activity to slide slightly in January to 15.8, down from last months reading of 21.5.

The index surged last month, jumping from 7.6 in November to 21.5 in December on an uptick in enthusiasm post-election.

We'll have the number as it crosses, so refresh the page for updates.

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OBAMA: This was the scariest night of my presidency

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

obama sad worried

President Barack Obama almost minted the coin.

On "Pod Save America," a podcast from new media start-up Crooked Media  featuring former Obama staffers and speechwriters, Obama was asked what the "scariest moment" of his presidency was.

"I think it was the moment when it seemed that [former Republican House Speaker] John Boehner didn't seem to generate the votes to make sure the US didn't default on our debt," said Obama. "We had to start drafting a speech."

In the midst of the possibility of a government shutdown, Obama said that the administration was considering any number of ways to avoid the shutdown and deal with the national debt. One of the ideas floated, according to Obama, was having the US Treasury mint a coin worth $1 trillion to pay off a good portion of the debt.

"We were having these conversations with Jack Lew and others about what options in fact were available, because it had never happened before," said Obama. "There were all kinds of wacky ideas about how potentially you could have this massive coin."

Obama's idea of the coin may be a bit different from what others discussed at the time. As Bloomberg's Joe Weisenthal (who we should note was fascinated by the idea while at Business Insider) noted on Twitter, you in theory could just mint any size of coin and declare it worth $1 trillion. Obama, however, said he imagined it much larger.

"It was some primitive... it was out of the Stone Age," Obama told the hosts. "I pictured rolling in some coin."

Obama did go on to explain the technical discussion behind the coin.

"There was this theory that I had the authority to issue through the mint this massive $1 trillion coin and on that basis we could try to pay off US Treasurys," said Obama. "It was a very realistic possibility that we couldn't get the votes for that and we couldn't get those debts rolled over and we would be in a situation where were technically in default. At that point you were in uncharted territory.

Obama said that the night was fraught as well because they were discussing the legality of the actions that he might take to avoid defaults and the possibility of getting sued by investors holding US bonds.

"In addition to talking to Jack Lew and my speechwriters about a speech, there were also questions about whether any actions that I took might be violations of the law," said Obama. "So we had to be talking to lawyers about potential challenges and legal actions and lawsuits from bondholders around the world. It wasn't my favorite night."

Check out the full discussion at the Crooked Media site.

SEE ALSO: This is what could happen is Obamacare is repealed

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Here come housing starts ...

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

home house construction

The Commerce Department will release data on new housing construction during December at 8:30 a.m. ET. 

Economists forecast that housing starts rose by 9% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.188 million, according to Bloomberg. They estimate that building permits rose by 1.1% at a rate of 1.225 million.

In November, home groundbreakings pulled back from the nine-year high hit in the prior month. Starts slowed the most — by more than half — in the Northeast and in buildings with five or more units. 

"Starts have been volatile of late, likely as a result of swings in the weather," said Sam Bullard, a Wells Fargo economist, in a note.

"Housing permits have been a bit less volatile. With single-family starts running ahead of permits and the reverse true for multifamily, we expect some rebound in multifamily starts is likely in the coming months, while single-family may see a bit of a pullback."

More to come ...

SEE ALSO: Gas and housing prices pushed up America's cost of living in December

DON'T MISS: Want to get ahead on Wall Street? Here's everything you need to know to land your dream job

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Here come initial jobless claims...

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

jobless

The latest reading on initial jobless claims will be out at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Economists forecast that claims ticked up to 252,000 last week, according to the Bloomberg consensus.

Claims climbed by 10,000 to 247,000 the prior Thursday, below economists' expectations of an increase to 255,000.

As of last week, claims have been below 300,000 for 97 straight weeks.

Refresh this page for updates at 8:30 a.m. ET.

 

SEE ALSO: What 25 major world leaders and dictators looked like when they were young

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Here's a super-quick guide to what traders are talking about right now

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

traders freak out

Dave Lutz, the head of exchange-traded funds at JonesTrading, has a quick overview of what's going on in markets on Thursday. 

In brief:

  • US stock futures are mixed, while the FTSE 100 in London is headed for its worst week since November after hitting 14 successive all-time highs. 
  • Netflix is up 8% after topping estimates for subscriber growth. 
  • The European Central Bank left its base interest rate at 0% and its deposit rate at -0.4%.  In US economic data, initial jobless claims and housing starts will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. 

Here's Lutz:

Morning!  US Futures pretty Mixed to start this Thursday.  NFLX up 8% - Bodes well for FANG and Big Tech / CSX up 12% on Harrison Headers and M&A / KMI off 2% on Numbers.  Overseas, Europe VERY quiet into the Draghi and ECB call at 7:45 (8:30 presser) – Focus on Inflation commentary and changing mix of Asset purchases.  Fins are rallying across the continent, while Tech and Energy are seeing pullbacks.  FTSE 100 is now headed for its worst week since early November after hitting all-time highs 14days in a row.  Sterling holding near recent peaks – Volumes actually pacing a touch heavy, but feels all futures driven with little single-stock action.  In Asia, Falling yen helped Nikkei climb 90bp despite Toshiba smashed for 16% on writedowns - Hong Kong lost 20bp, while China was 40bp weaker - Malaysia and Indonesia holds rates unch.  EM Asia all closed slightly higher. 

Treasury Yields 10bp higher in last 2days as Yellen warns rates delay risks ‘nasty’ surprise and China dumps its holdings.  The US 10YY is back over 2.43% while Bund yields licked 40bp earlier before retreating.  The Dollar is stronger as Yen and Sterling break a bit lower, but Euro moving to session peaks into Draghi.  Ore was hit small in China, and we have weakness in all industrial metals, led by a 1.3% drop in nickel.  Gold off 80bp, but holding multiple tests of $1200.  WTI up small despite a massive API draw as Gasoline is barely changed on a heavy inventory build, while Natty drifts around unchanged. 

Ahead of us today, we get the ECB Rate Decision at 7:45, followed by the Draghi presser at 8:30 – right when Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook hits, along with Housing Starts and Permits for December.  Energy in focus mid-day, with Natty Gas Inventory data at 10:30 followed by DOE data for Crude at 11.   At 1pm, the US Treasury will sell $13B in 10-Year TIPS Reopening.  After the close we get earnings from AXP / IBM, SWKS / JBHT, UAL – and Fed’s Yellen speaks at Stanford tonight - “The economic outlook and the conduct of monetary policy”.  

SEE ALSO: YELLEN: The Fed is close to its goals and expects to hike rates 'a few' times this year

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Report: Bitcoin Wallet Blockchain is Partnering Dubai Government for 2020 Digitization

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

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China's Big Three Bitcoin Exchanges Suspend Margin Trading, But Questions Remain

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Huobi and OKCoin, two of the world's largest bitcoin exchange businesses by volume, have formally announced they have halted margin trading services. In statements issued today on the OKCoin's Chinese-language website and Huobi's Weibo account, the exchanges confirmed changes rolled out quietly roughly a week ago when customers reported restrictions on lending-based services. Representatives from […]

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Bitcoin is having trouble getting through $900 (BTC)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin holds little changed near $891 a coin as of 7:02 a.m. ET. The cryptocurrency is contending with resistance in the $900 area for the third straight session. Bitcoin raced to more than $916 on Tuesday but was unable to break out above the early-January resistance level. 

Bitcoin has gotten off to a wild start in 2017. Buying in the opening days of the year lifted its price more than 20% and above $1,000 for the first time since November 2013. However, rumblings about a crackdown on trading in China have caused jitters as of late. Beijing announced it had begun investigating bitcoin exchanges in Beijing and Shanghai on suspicion of market manipulation, money laundering, unauthorized financing, and other issues. The price crashed 35% to nearly $750 before finding support and working its way back up to resistance in the $900 area. 

Thursday's action has to alleviate some concerns regarding the trading environment in China as Beijing announced it was tightening capital controls even further. While the rules were aimed at outbound investments by centrally-controlled state firms, it is still notable that bitcoin has so far been spared. In a note to clients on Wednesday, Deutsche Bank's Torsten Sløk showed how China dominates the global bitcoin market, accounting for nearly 100% of the trading.   

Bitcoin

SEE ALSO: We bought and sold bitcoin — here's how it works

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Millennials are leading the trend on America's hottest investment product

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

millennials coachellaOver half of US investors plan to invest in exchange traded funds, or ETFs, in 2017. And like with most trends, millennials are leading the pack.

That's according to a new survey released by $5.1 trillion dollar investment manager BlackRock on Wednesday.

The survey found that more millennials (defined as age 21-35) are invested in ETFs than members of Gen X (age 36-51), Boomers (age 52-70), and Silvers (age 71-75).

The BlackRock ETF Pulse Survey, which polled 1,001 investors and 409 financial advisors, revealed that 70% of millennial investors plan to invest in ETFs in the next 12 months compared to 52% of total investors.

A greater percentage of millennials also took steps to learn about ETFs in 2016 and a greater percentage plan to learn about ETFs in 2017.

Investor Behavior and Attitudes Toward ETFs

According to BlackRock, ETF investors tend to be younger, more active in the markets, and more engaged in managing their finances. They are also more confident and optimistic about their financial futures than the overall investment population. 

BlackRock's head of US iShares Martin Smalls told Business Insider that there are a few reasons that millennials are driving this trend.

First, millennials like being able to access high-end goods at reasonable prices, Smalls said. He likens millennials buying ETFs to the popularity of Uber, which provides access to an exclusive private car service at a reasonable rate.

"I think millennials are driving a big portion of ETF adoption because they like self service, and they can go on their Fidelity account and buy more than 70 iShare ETFs," he said. "They can access the market in the same way that the most professional, largest, technologically enabled investor can access it."

Martin SmallsSecondly, millennials carry with them the mental scars of the financial crisis in 2008. "They have internalized deep into their brains the idea that it is important to build diversified portfolios."

The survey data shows that 42% of ETF investors use the investment product to replace choosing individual stocks and to provide broader, more diversified exposure. 

Finally, Smalls see millennials as "one of the most savvy generations" when it comes to comparative price shopping.

"I think of the millennial generation to be deep value shoppers," he said. "When they think of the combined value sitting in ETFs — low cost, extremely tax efficient, big, broad market exposure — they see something that is high quality and a real bargain compared to other ways of investing." 

What's needed now is more ETF education, according to Smalls. "We need to provide more education about ETFs generally... We have to continue to work with them on the ability to navigate what is a big product landscape on how they can make the best decisions for their own portfolios." 

SEE ALSO: 'The weak players are leaving the poker table,’ and it’s killing mutual funds

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Millennials are leading the trend on America's hottest investment product

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

millennials coachellaOver half of US investors plan to invest in exchange traded funds, or ETFs, in 2017. And like with most trends, millennials are leading the pack.

That's according to a new survey released by $5.1 trillion dollar investment manager BlackRock on Wednesday.

The survey found that more millennials (defined as age 21-35) are invested in ETFs than members of Gen X (age 36-51), Boomers (age 52-70), and Silvers (age 71-75).

The BlackRock ETF Pulse Survey, which polled 1,001 investors and 409 financial advisors, revealed that 70% of millennial investors plan to invest in ETFs in the next 12 months compared to 52% of total investors.

A greater percentage of millennials also took steps to learn about ETFs in 2016 and a greater percentage plan to learn about ETFs in 2017.

Investor Behavior and Attitudes Toward ETFs

According to BlackRock, ETF investors tend to be younger, more active in the markets, and more engaged in managing their finances. They are also more confident and optimistic about their financial futures than the overall investment population. 

BlackRock's head of US iShares Martin Smalls told Business Insider that there are a few reasons that millennials are driving this trend.

First, millennials like being able to access high-end goods at reasonable prices, Smalls said. He likens millennials buying ETFs to the popularity of Uber, which provides access to an exclusive private car service at a reasonable rate.

"I think millennials are driving a big portion of ETF adoption because they like self service, and they can go on their Fidelity account and buy more than 70 iShare ETFs," he said. "They can access the market in the same way that the most professional, largest, technologically enabled investor can access it."

Martin SmallsSecondly, millennials carry with them the mental scars of the financial crisis in 2008. "They have internalized deep into their brains the idea that it is important to build diversified portfolios."

The survey data shows that 42% of ETF investors use the investment product to replace choosing individual stocks and to provide broader, more diversified exposure. 

Finally, Smalls see millennials as "one of the most savvy generations" when it comes to comparative price shopping.

"I think of the millennial generation to be deep value shoppers," he said. "When they think of the combined value sitting in ETFs — low cost, extremely tax efficient, big, broad market exposure — they see something that is high quality and a real bargain compared to other ways of investing." 

What's needed now is more ETF education, according to Smalls. "We need to provide more education about ETFs generally... We have to continue to work with them on the ability to navigate what is a big product landscape on how they can make the best decisions for their own portfolios." 

SEE ALSO: 'The weak players are leaving the poker table,’ and it’s killing mutual funds

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One of the smartest minds in the bond market talks us through the Fed, uncertainty, and markets that are out of whack

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Matthew Hornbach

Matthew Hornbach is the global head of interest-rate strategy at Morgan Stanley. 

We recently asked him his thoughts on the US Treasury market, the Fed, and which bond markets are out of whack.

Here we go:  

Jonathan Garber: Treasury yields are up sharply since the election with longer dated yields climbing as much as 90 basis points. What has been behind the move?

Matthew Hornbach: So I think the drivers of the move to higher long-end Treasury yields have been a combination of optimism over a change in outlook for policy making in the United States. In particular a change in the outlook for both fiscal policy as well as regulatory policy. Those changes have combined to instill a sense of confidence in both consumers and businesses in the United States. So part of the rise in interest rates has been due to the improvement in surveys of those consumers and businesses with respect to their confidence in the outlook for the economy.

That I think all folds into optimism about the outlook for inflation in the United States. So measures of inflation expectations and measures of inflation compensation as is traded in the bond market have improved quite substantially as a result of those factors.

The third thing I would say on that is that there was also a change in the outlook for Federal Reserve monetary policy. Both the trajectory of policy in 2017, but also the trajectory of policy beyond 2017.

And the changes in viewpoint on policy beyond 2017 I think was probably equal parts the improvement in the factors I just mentioned but also possible changes in the composition of the Federal Reserve board and how those changes in its composition may impact the outlook for policy beyond 2017.

Garber: Do you think that the run-up in Treasury yields has gone too far? What's your outlook for the 10-year?

Hornbach: We have the 10-year yield ending 2017 at 2.50%, which is around the same level that it entered the year. What that means from a return perspective is that Treasurys should be ok this year. Forward yields are higher than 2.50% in certain parts of the curve and so to the extent that we are correct and 10-year yields end around 2.50% investors in government bonds are going to have a positive total return. Having said that, the extent of the positive total return is not going to be something to write home about but it won't be a negative total return in our view. 

5 year 30 year 1 18 17Garber: Typically increased inflation expectations lead to a steeper yield curve, but the 5-30-year spread has actually gotten flatter since the election. Why is that happening?

Hornbach: The reason why I think that is happening is because of the uncertainty and changes in expected trajectory of Federal Reserve policy. So the increase in uncertainty over both monetary policy and uncertainty over fiscal policy has generally led to an increase in the amount of convexity in the shape of the yield curve. In other words, whenever uncertainty rises dramatically amongst investors, typically bonds in the intermediate part of the yield curve, so let's call it the 5 to 10-year maturity sector, tend to rise relative to yields in the very front end of the curve and yields in the very back end of the yield curve. So the amount of uncertainty over monetary policy in conjunction with uncertainty over fiscal policy has ultimately led to a flattening of the 5s30s curve. 

Garber: What is your call for Fed rate hikes in 2017?

Hornbach: Our house call is for the Fed to hike rates twice in 2017 followed by three rate hikes in 2018.

Garber: The spread between the US 10-year and the German 10-year is 210 bps and near its widest level since 1989. Why is this happening and what will it take for this to reverse course?

Hornbach: For the most part, yield differentials between developed bond market 10-year yields reflect differences in expectations for central bank policy rates. Since 2013, investors have expected generally the policy rates between the Fed and ECB to diverge in various ways – e.g., the Fed hiking rates while the ECB is on hold, or the ECB cutting rates while the Fed is on hold. In the wake of the U.S. presidential election and December 2016 FOMC meeting, investor expectations of a divergence in policy rates strengthened. As such, the US 10-year yield rose both outright and relative to 10-year Germany yields. In order for this trend to reverse, investors need to believe that Fed and ECB policy rates are more likely to converge than diverge in the future.

Garber: Where are investors too pessimistic? What bond is richer than it should be? [Note: In government bonds, valuations tend to be richer when people are pessimistic, and cheaper when people are optimistic.

Hornbach: Government bond investors in Japan have had a history of being pessimistic, but appropriately so it turned out over the years. On our models, Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) appear to be the most expensive when comparing them to US, UK, and Germany sovereign debt. The extent of the overvaluation reflects the unconventional nature of the Bank of Japan’s monetary policies – both Quantitative and Qualitative Easing (QQE) and Yield Curve Control (YCC). If inflation rises in Japan to the extent that our economists forecast, investors may be surprised by a Bank of Japan that raises its 10-year policy rate target which it introduced with its YCC initiative.

Garber: Where are investors too optimistic? What bond is cheaper than it should be?

Hornbach: The recent rise in global sovereign yields affected the valuations of UK 10-year yields the most. On our models, UK 10-year gilts have cheapened by 80bp, or 0.8pp, relative to their levels in the wake of Brexit. Our economists expect the process of the UK leaving the European Union to be filled with challenges. We expect the UK gilt market to outperform vs. both US Treasuries and German Bunds as Brexit uncertainty weighs on the economy and keeps the MPC accommodative despite rising inflation. In that sense, we think the recent rise in UK 10-year yields has gone too far and leaves the gilt market cheaper than it should be. 

SEE ALSO: Here's why Wall Street's big call on the bond market is all wrong

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One of the smartest minds in the bond market talks us through the Fed, uncertainty, and markets that are out of whack

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Matthew Hornbach

Matthew Hornbach is the global head of interest-rate strategy at Morgan Stanley. 

We recently asked him his thoughts on the US Treasury market, the Fed, and which bond markets are out of whack.

Here we go:  

Jonathan Garber: Treasury yields are up sharply since the election with longer dated yields climbing as much as 90 basis points. What has been behind the move?

Matthew Hornbach: So I think the drivers of the move to higher long-end Treasury yields have been a combination of optimism over a change in outlook for policy making in the United States. In particular a change in the outlook for both fiscal policy as well as regulatory policy. Those changes have combined to instill a sense of confidence in both consumers and businesses in the United States. So part of the rise in interest rates has been due to the improvement in surveys of those consumers and businesses with respect to their confidence in the outlook for the economy.

That I think all folds into optimism about the outlook for inflation in the United States. So measures of inflation expectations and measures of inflation compensation as is traded in the bond market have improved quite substantially as a result of those factors.

The third thing I would say on that is that there was also a change in the outlook for Federal Reserve monetary policy. Both the trajectory of policy in 2017, but also the trajectory of policy beyond 2017.

And the changes in viewpoint on policy beyond 2017 I think was probably equal parts the improvement in the factors I just mentioned but also possible changes in the composition of the Federal Reserve board and how those changes in its composition may impact the outlook for policy beyond 2017.

Garber: Do you think that the run-up in Treasury yields has gone too far? What's your outlook for the 10-year?

Hornbach: We have the 10-year yield ending 2017 at 2.50%, which is around the same level that it entered the year. What that means from a return perspective is that Treasurys should be ok this year. Forward yields are higher than 2.50% in certain parts of the curve and so to the extent that we are correct and 10-year yields end around 2.50% investors in government bonds are going to have a positive total return. Having said that, the extent of the positive total return is not going to be something to write home about but it won't be a negative total return in our view. 

5 year 30 year 1 18 17Garber: Typically increased inflation expectations lead to a steeper yield curve, but the 5-30-year spread has actually gotten flatter since the election. Why is that happening?

Hornbach: The reason why I think that is happening is because of the uncertainty and changes in expected trajectory of Federal Reserve policy. So the increase in uncertainty over both monetary policy and uncertainty over fiscal policy has generally led to an increase in the amount of convexity in the shape of the yield curve. In other words, whenever uncertainty rises dramatically amongst investors, typically bonds in the intermediate part of the yield curve, so let's call it the 5 to 10-year maturity sector, tend to rise relative to yields in the very front end of the curve and yields in the very back end of the yield curve. So the amount of uncertainty over monetary policy in conjunction with uncertainty over fiscal policy has ultimately led to a flattening of the 5s30s curve. 

Garber: What is your call for Fed rate hikes in 2017?

Hornbach: Our house call is for the Fed to hike rates twice in 2017 followed by three rate hikes in 2018.

Garber: The spread between the US 10-year and the German 10-year is 210 bps and near its widest level since 1989. Why is this happening and what will it take for this to reverse course?

Hornbach: For the most part, yield differentials between developed bond market 10-year yields reflect differences in expectations for central bank policy rates. Since 2013, investors have expected generally the policy rates between the Fed and ECB to diverge in various ways – e.g., the Fed hiking rates while the ECB is on hold, or the ECB cutting rates while the Fed is on hold. In the wake of the U.S. presidential election and December 2016 FOMC meeting, investor expectations of a divergence in policy rates strengthened. As such, the US 10-year yield rose both outright and relative to 10-year Germany yields. In order for this trend to reverse, investors need to believe that Fed and ECB policy rates are more likely to converge than diverge in the future.

Garber: Where are investors too pessimistic? What bond is richer than it should be? [Note: In government bonds, valuations tend to be richer when people are pessimistic, and cheaper when people are optimistic.

Hornbach: Government bond investors in Japan have had a history of being pessimistic, but appropriately so it turned out over the years. On our models, Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) appear to be the most expensive when comparing them to US, UK, and Germany sovereign debt. The extent of the overvaluation reflects the unconventional nature of the Bank of Japan’s monetary policies – both Quantitative and Qualitative Easing (QQE) and Yield Curve Control (YCC). If inflation rises in Japan to the extent that our economists forecast, investors may be surprised by a Bank of Japan that raises its 10-year policy rate target which it introduced with its YCC initiative.

Garber: Where are investors too optimistic? What bond is cheaper than it should be?

Hornbach: The recent rise in global sovereign yields affected the valuations of UK 10-year yields the most. On our models, UK 10-year gilts have cheapened by 80bp, or 0.8pp, relative to their levels in the wake of Brexit. Our economists expect the process of the UK leaving the European Union to be filled with challenges. We expect the UK gilt market to outperform vs. both US Treasuries and German Bunds as Brexit uncertainty weighs on the economy and keeps the MPC accommodative despite rising inflation. In that sense, we think the recent rise in UK 10-year yields has gone too far and leaves the gilt market cheaper than it should be. 

SEE ALSO: Here's why Wall Street's big call on the bond market is all wrong

Join the conversation about this story »

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Monero Prices Are Forging Closer Ties to Bitcoin

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Everyone has got China's debt problem all wrong

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

china

  • Analysts tend to focus on the default risk of China's huge debt burden.
  • Default risk can be overcome by the Chinese government socializing the debt burden.
  • The real risk lies in the unproductive use of debt which will affect China's productivity.

NEW YORK - The consensus on Wall Street is that debt is the most pressing problem facing the Chinese economy. The long-term risks of piling on debt have also been well-documented before.

The consensus view may be wrong, however, according to Macquarie's most recent global macro outlook report authored by Peter Eadon-Clarke's team.

"It’s popular to argue that China will run into a debt crisis in either local government debt or corporate debt," the team noted. "By contrast, our long-held view is that China’s debt problem is very different from many other countries."

That's because, the team argues, China's corporate debt could be socialized by the government.

"Policy-makers could reshuffle debt among different entities: central government, local government, SOEs and banks," they noted. "The discussion on debt/equity swap suggests that it’s possible to transfer the SOE debt burden to governments and banks. By doing so, the government also lowers the odds for a corporate debt crisis."

Screen Shot 2017 01 17 at 3.47.14 PM

That isn't to say that debt doesn't pose a problem for China. It's just that it isn't the usual problem.

"In our view, the real risk behind China’s debt is capital misallocation, as the majority of credit is poured to the less-efficient SOEs and local governments rather than the private sector," the analysts noted.

Screen Shot 2017 01 17 at 3.50.33 PM

Instead, the deleterious effects of the debt will likely be felt in the long run in the form of slower growth.

In the words of Macquarie's Research team, "capital misallocation could undermine China’s potential growth in the long run, causing the country to become stuck in the so-called 'middle-income trap'" as unproductive debt does not lead to sustainable economic growth by improving productivity.

"During the Asian Financial Crisis," the team noted, "the average step-down in gross capital formation to GDP, 1996-98, for Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Korea was approximately 14%."

Screen Shot 2017 01 17 at 4.28.33 PM

The catalyst of the precipitous decline was "a hard-stop by capital providers, cross-border bank lending." If something similar were to transpire in China today, they noted, the equivalent "would be a hard-stop of capital provision by the household sector, i.e. bank deposits leaving the Chinese banking system en masse."

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