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One of America's largest health insurance companies is completely dumping Obamacare, Trump tweets law 'continues to fail'

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

Obama sad frown

Humana is completely pulling out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) market.

According to a press release on Tuesday, the company — which is one of the five large publicly-traded health insurers — said it will pull all of its business from the individual marketplace starting January 1, 2018.

The move comes the same day that Humana and rival Aetna terminated their merger agreement.

Humana said it was hoping that the individual marketplaces set up by the ACA, better known as Obamacare would stabilize, but based on new data from its 2017 enrollment on the exchanges that does not seem to be the case. From Humana's press release (emphasis added):

"All of these actions were taken with the expectation that the company’s Individual Commercial business would stabilize to the point where the company could continue to participate in the program. However, based on its initial analysis of data associated with the company’s healthcare exchange membership following the 2017 open enrollment period, Humana is seeing further signs of an unbalanced risk pool. Therefore, the company has decided that it cannot continue to offer this coverage for 2018. Through the remainder of 2017, Humana remains committed to serving its current members across 11 states where it offers Individual Commercial products."

Following the news, President Donald Trump tweeted about the decision by Humana.

"Obamacare continues to fail," tweeted Trump. "Humana to pull out in 2018. Will repeal, replace & save healthcare for ALL Americans."

In previous years, large insurers have suffered losses on the Obamacare exchanges due to a risk pool that has been sicker, older, and thus more expensive to cover than originally expected.

Obama officials hopes that a larger number of young people would sign up through the exchanges during the open enrollment period that ran from November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017 and would help balance the costs. Instead, enrollment plummeted in the two weeks after Trump took office and sign-upd came in lower than the year before.

This was critical since more young people enroll in the last two weeks of the open enrollment period. Health policy experts had theorized that the uncertainty of the GOP plan to replace the law combined with thr Trump administration's decision not to promote enrollment efforts in these critical weeks could do serious damage to the exchanges and cause the "death spiral" Republicans has been claiming was happening for years.

It appears that these enrollment figures were enough of an issue to cause Humana to leave the individual business.

SEE ALSO: Cigna is suing Anthem for $13 billion after walking away from their merger

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Yellen wants to leave the Fed's balance sheet alone for now

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

Real estate mortgages

Wall Street has been abuzz at the prospect that, rather than just raising interest rates to tighten monetary policy, the Federal Reserve could actually forego a key crisis era policy related to mortgages as well.

In response to the worst housing downturn in modern US history, the Fed bought billions worth of mortgage-backed securities in an effort to thaw frozen credit markets. It has also maintained a policy where, as those bonds mature, the principal amount is reinvested in new mortgage-backed securities.

A string of Fed officials recently referenced the possibility the central bank could halt such reinvestments, something the Fed officially suggested it might do once the process of raising interest rates was well under way. 

However, asked about the matter during Congressional testimony on February 14, Yellen showed a clear preference for not using the balance sheet as a policy-tightening tool. 

"The committee would like to the maximum extent possible to rely on variations on our short-term rate,” Yellen said.

She’s right. The whole point of using the balance sheet as an active policy tool, even though its impact is less certain, was that interest rates had already been brought down to zero as of December 2008.

Critics of the bond buying programs, known as quantitative easing or QE, warned that it would lead to runaway inflation. They were very wrong. Instead, inflation has struggled to even reach the Fed's 2% target, suggesting the labor market is still too weak to push up wages significantly. 

When moving in the other direction, central bankers have the privilege of relying on policy steps that give them greater confidence. Why mess around?

SEE ALSO: Too early for the Fed to consider shrinking its balance sheet

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Congressional Republican threats to Caltrain funding could cripple Bay Area’s growth

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

UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1939:  Future Rocket Train  (Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images) For $2 billion, Caltrain electrification would wire the line between San Francisco and San Jose and buy new high-performance electric trains, reducing local travel time by twenty minutes, and yet, the Republican Party is threatening to cancel the project. Read More

David Einhorn dumped all $143.5 million of his Michael Kors investment (KORS)

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

David Einhorn

David Einhorn is done with Michael Kors.

The hedge fund manager's Greenlight Capital sold off all of its 3.07 million shares of the high-end apparel maker in the fourth quarter according to a 13-F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 14.

The move comes as Michael Kors has faced decreasing sales and a struggle to keep up with the growth of online retailers.

Michael Kors stock slid 0.25% in after-hours trading following the news.

A 13-F filing is a quarterly document that lists the long stock positions of firms and are up to date as of 45 days prior to filing. Thus, Greenlight may have adjusted its positions since that time.

The total value of Greenlight's holdings fell 5.4% in the fourth quarter, according to an analysis from Bloomberg.

Einhorn's top holding is still Apple, with 5.81 million shares valued at $672.7 million as of the filing. The firm increased its position in the tech giant by ~613,000 shares in the quarter.

SEE ALSO: Cigna is suing Anthem for $13 billion after walking away from their merger

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Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is investing billions in airline stocks (AAPL, LUV, DAL, AAL, BRK, WFC, KO, IBM, AXP)

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

Warren Buffett coke

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway upped its shareholdings in various airlines during the fourth quarter, according to a regulatory filing published Tuesday February 14. 

The 13-F filing showed that Berkshire took a new position in Southwest Air, buying 43.2 million shares valued at $2.15 billion. 

Meanwhile, the company increased its stake in Delta Air Lines by 848% to 60 million shares worth $2.95 billion. Berkshire also raised its stake in American Airlines.

Berkshire hiked its ownership in Apple by 277%, buying 42.1 million shares valued at $6.64 billion. 

Buffett's most valuable holding remained Kraft Heinz, and no change was made to the stake worth $28.4 billion. Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola, IBM, and American Express also remained top holdings.

Berkshire's combined portfolio gained 15% during the fourth quarter. The benchmark S&P 500 index of US stocks gained 3.3%. 

Major investment firms including hedge funds are required to disclose their long positions in stocks every quarter. Because of a time lag, these positions may have changed or been closed by the time the filings are made. 

SEE ALSO: A $20 billion investment firm dumped its huge trade in Apple — and bet on Alphabet and Microsoft

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STOCKS HIT NEW HIGHS: Here's what you need to know (AET, HUM, CIG, GS)

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

janet yellen smiling laughing

The major US equity indexes rose to all-time highs while bonds sold off after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen struck a hawkish tone on interest rates during her congressional testimony. 

Goldman Sachs rose to a record high. 

Here's the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 20,504.41, +92.25, (0.45%)
  • S&P 500: 2,337.58, +9.33, (0.40%)
  • Nasdaq: 5,782.57, +18.62, (0.32%)
  1. "Waiting too long to remove accommodation would be unwise, potentially requiring the FOMC to eventually raise rates rapidly, which could risk disrupting financial markets and pushing the economy into recession," Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee. 
  2. Cigna is scrapping its plan to merge with rival Anthem, and is suing Anthem for $13 billion in damages because the deal couldn't get approvedThe health insurance company said it was terminating the merger after a federal judge blocked the deal on anti-competitive grounds.
  3. Humana announced that it was terminating its merger agreement with its health insurance counterpart Aetna after a federal judge blocked the deal. Aetna will pay Humana a breakup fee of $1 billion, or $630 million excluding taxes.
  4. Canadian home prices in January saw the largest 12-month increase in a decade amid the housing boom in Toronto. National house price inflation climbed to an annual rate of 13.0% year-over-year, according to the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index.
  5. The House Freedom Caucus, a conservative wing of congressional Republicans, voted Monday night to support a swift and aggressive repeal of the Affordable Care Act. This complicates GOP efforts to unite around a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Additionally:

BAML: This is the most overcrowded trade

Fed’s Yellen speaks out against Trump's Wall Street deregulation push

Asked about Trump's immigration plans, Yellen says 'slowing immigration would slow economic growth'

Trump's vast power to reshape the Fed will be the next major source of uncertainty for markets

Homes in these 10 markets are selling like hotcakes

Morgan Stanley's global head of stock trading just quit to join a $35 billion hedge fund

14 ways an economist might say "I love you"

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STOCKS HIT NEW HIGHS: Here's what you need to know (AET, HUM, CIG)

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

janet yellen smiling laughing

The major US equity indexes rose to all-time highs while bonds sold off after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen struck a hawkish tone on interest rates during her congressional testimony. 

Here's the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 20,476.44, +64.28, (0.31%)
  • S&P 500: 2,334.80, +6.55, (0.28%)
  • Nasdaq: 5,774.81, +10.86, (0.19%)
  1. "Waiting too long to remove accommodation would be unwise, potentially requiring the FOMC to eventually raise rates rapidly, which could risk disrupting financial markets and pushing the economy into recession," Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee. 
  2. Cigna is scrapping its plan to merge with rival Anthem, and is suing Anthem for $13 billion in damages because the deal couldn't get approvedThe health insurance company said it was terminating the merger after a federal judge blocked the deal on anti-competitive grounds.
  3. Humana announced that it was terminating its merger agreement with its health insurance counterpart Aetna after a federal judge blocked the deal. Aetna will pay Humana a breakup fee of $1 billion, or $630 million excluding taxes.
  4. Canadian home prices in January saw the largest 12-month increase in a decade amid the housing boom in Toronto. National house price inflation climbed to an annual rate of 13.0% year-over-year, according to the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index.
  5. The House Freedom Caucus, a conservative wing of congressional Republicans, voted Monday night to support a swift and aggressive repeal of the Affordable Care Act. This complicates GOP efforts to unite around a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Additionally:

BAML: This is the most overcrowded trade

Fed’s Yellen speaks out against Trump's Wall Street deregulation push

Asked about Trump's immigration plans, Yellen says 'slowing immigration would slow economic growth'

Trump's vast power to reshape the Fed will be the next major source of uncertainty for markets

Homes in these 10 markets are selling like hotcakes

Morgan Stanley's global head of stock trading just quit to join a $35 billion hedge fund

14 ways an economist might say "I love you"

Join the conversation about this story »

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Bitcoin’s Growth in the U.K. Continues to Be Stifled by Banks

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

[…]

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Cigna scraps merger with Anthem, sues rival for $13 billion dollars

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

doctor patient concern worry

Cigna is done with its proposed merger with Anthem.

The health insurance company said it was terminating the merger with rival Anthem after a federal judge blocked the deal over anti-competitive grounds. The merger would have made the combined company the largest health insurer in the US based on the number of lives covered.

Additionally, Cigna will sue Anthem for a $1.85 billion reverse break-up fee and an additional $13 billion in damages according to Bloomberg.

One of the factors in the decision by a federal judge to block the merger was Cigna's seeming distaste with the deal.

More to come...

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Dr. Pepper Snapple cuts its earnings forecast because of Trump's impact on the peso (DPS)

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

Dr. PepperDr. Pepper Snapple Group CEO Larry Young believes the "uncertainty" that Trump's policies present with regards to Mexico will hurt earnings in 2017.

In the beverage maker's fourth-quarter 2016 earnings call on Tuesday, Young said that he expected foreign currency to "negatively impact our results in 2017."  

"The combined effect of both foreign currency translation and transactions is expected to reduce core EPS by approximately $0.11 for the year, primarily driven by the Mexican peso," he said in the call. 

He goes on to say that the Mexico peso averaged 19.83 per dollar in the fourth quarter, but that they are now planning on an average of MXN 22.53 for all of 2017, representing a forecasted 14% depreciation. This is about 10% weaker than current spot rates.

Young admits that the company is not in the business of currency forecasting, but "believes it warranted under the circumstances."

In addition, the uncertain economic and consumer environment in Mexico has led the company to lower core EPS expectations by other $0.03. Fink cites the 17%-18% fuel increase by PEMEX impacting transportation costs both on the company and the consumer level as well as the uncertain impact of a border wall. 

Mexico is particularly important to Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. The country is the world’s largest consumer of carbonated soft drinks and accounts for 8% of Dr. Peppers' volumes, according to a Forbes article in 2014

The Mexican peso has rallied since Trump's inauguration but is still down approximately 13% year-over-year since January 2016. 

Dr. Pepper Snapple Group is one of many companies citing President Trump's potential policies as a roadblock. Analysts also pointed at Chipotle "bearing the biggest brunt" from a proposed 20% tariff on Mexican imports.

The beverage maker reported a profit for its fourth quarter that climbed compared to the same period last year. Its bottom line rose to $192 million, or $1.04 per share. This was higher than $190 million, or $1.00 per share, in last year's fourth quarter.

SEE ALSO: Dr Pepper Snapple Group reports Q4 and full year 2016 results

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Yellen says 'slowing immigration would slow economic growth' when asked about Trump's immigration plans

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

A girl holds up a banner while people take part in a rally to demand that Congress fix the broken immigration system at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey, April 6, 2013. As the wrangling over immigration reform intensifies in the U.S. Congress, the tech industry is lobbying hard to raise the limit on H-1B visas

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen laid out the negative impact of restricting immigration during her testimony to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Mastro asked Yellen about the economic impact of restricting immigration and President Donald Trump's policies regarding the deportation of immigrants from the US.

Cortez Mastro, citing a recent executive order that Trump said is designed to combat criminal organizations that focus in part on undocumented immigrants, noted there was also a wave of deportations by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. The Senator asked in Yellen's opinion what a crackdown on immigration would mean for the economy.

While Yellen said she would not "comment in detail on immigration policy" she did lay out what the impact of restraining immigration would be on the economy. From Yellen's testimony (emphasis ours):

"Labor force growth has been slowing in the United States. It's one of several reasons along with slow productivity growth for the fact that our economy has been growing at a slow pace. Immigration has been an important source of labor force growth. So slowing the pace of immigration probably would slow the growth rate of the economy."

Trump ran on the platform, in part, that undocumented immigrants are a drag on economic growth and take away jobs from Americans. 

However, there have been a number of studies showing that immigration of any type is an overall positive for the labor market and Wall Street economists have cited possible immigration crackdowns as a drag on future economic growth as it would restrict an already shrinking supply of labor, especially for low wage jobs.

SEE ALSO: Yellen says an Obamacare repeal could have 'a significant impact on spending' and the US economy

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Fed’s Yellen speaks out against Trump's Wall Street deregulation push

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

janet yellen

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen doesn’t like to chime in on matters related to Congressional legislation.

But now that she knows her days as head of the US central bank are probably numbered, she is not proving shy about defending the post-crisis Wall Street regulations that she and her colleagues have spent so long debating and implementing. 

US President Donald Trump has vowed to rip up Dodd-Frank financial reforms implemented after the deepest crisis in modern history.  He recently cited his friends’ inability to get loans as a key reason for removing the rules

In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on February 14, Democrats asked Yellen whether US President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans’ claim that the new rules were hurting lending and growth had any merit.

She was unequivocal, pointing to a survey of small businesses that shows just 4% are having trouble getting credit.

"Lending has expanded overall by the banking system, and also to small businesses," she said. "US banks are generally considered quite strong relative to their counterparts. They've built up quite a bit of capital, partly as a result of our insistence that they do so."

More broadly, she pushed back against the notion that the new rules had encumbered the economy, arguing instead that they have made the financial system safer and Americans more confident. 

"We lived through a devastating financial crisis. Most members of Congress and the public came away from that experience feeling that it was important to take a set of steps that would result in a safer and stronger financial system," she said. "I feel that we have done that."

SEE ALSO: Trump's vast power to reshape the Fed will be the next major source of uncertainty for markets

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Uganda’s Central Bank Issues Onecoin Warning

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

With OneCoin's shenanigans, bitcoin is caught in the crossfire.

The post Uganda’s Central Bank Issues Onecoin Warning appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

BAML: This is the most overcrowded trade

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

U.S. dollar notes are seen in this November 7, 2016 picture illustration. Picture taken November 7. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The dollar is hugely overvalued. 

According to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Fund Manager Survey out on Tuesday, a higher percentage of investors in February believed the dollar is overvalued than in more than a decade.

According to the results, 41% of fund managers believed that the "most crowded trade" is being long the US dollar, followed by 14% citing short government bonds and 13% long US/EU corporate bonds. 

The BAML Fund Manager Survey questioned 210 investors with a combined $632 billion in AUM. 

Screen Shot 2017 02 14 at 10.30.55 AM

Many forecast a continuing rally in the dollar in 2017 due to higher interest rates (the Fed indicated three rate hikes this year in its December projections), increased government spending, and potential changes in trade policy. 

While this may be true, investors need to "avoid groupthink" and be wary of overcrowded trades, according to former GLG Partners fund manager Raoul Pal in an interview with Business Insider.

According to Pal, avoid the herd. "Look for other sources of return so they’re not so crowded as everybody else's because those are the ones where the maximum risk lies."

If the bets don't play out and there's a reversal, even a short-term one, "it can be very painful if too many people are involved in a certain trade."  

SEE ALSO: BAML: Investors around the world are freaking out about Trump's policies

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Blockchain Association of Canada: A New Vision Beyond Bitcoin

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Yellen says an Obamacare repeal could have 'a significant impact on spending' and the US economy

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

Obama doctors Obamacare

During her testimony to the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen outlined the potential economic impact of a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare.

When asked by Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez about the effect of the recent budget resolution passed by Republicans that would repeal significant parts of the ACA on the broader US economy Yellen said, "We would have to look at what the shifts in healthcare have on the economic outlook."

She continued, "Healthcare, as you mentioned, does account for a very significant share of spending and a loss of access to health insurance could have a significant impact on spending of households for other goods and services. Beyond healthcare itself, it could have impacts on the economy."

Over the past two years, healthcare spending as a percentage of GDP increased at a level usually seen during recessions according to the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, and out of pocket costs for Americans have been climbing at a rapid pace.

While this shift may already be restricting discretionary spending, as Yellen notes, a sudden loss of insurance could cause households to shift even more household spending away from discretionary goods and services and towards healthcare.

Yellen went on to say that the increase in health coverage and access to insurance under the ACA has helped improve the labor market.

"In addition, access to healthcare for some individuals has likely increased their mobility and diminished the phenomenon called job lock where people are afraid to leave jobs because of losing health insurance and that could have implications for the labor market as well that we would try to evaluate," said Yellen.

While these issues could be mitigated by a possible replacement plan offered by Republicans, Yellen made it clear that a large overhaul of Obamacare could have implications for the entire US economy.

SEE ALSO: Conservatives just made Obamacare repeal more difficult

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It’s Impossible to Kill Bitcoin, Says Former Governor of China’s Central Bank

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

[…]

The post It’s Impossible to Kill Bitcoin, Says Former Governor of China’s Central Bank appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Yellen says reducing the regulatory burden is a 'legitimate and important goal' and bank stocks are rising

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

janet yellenFederal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen spoke to Congress on Tuesday in her first congressional testimony since President Donald Trump took office, and bank stocks are rising.

In the speech, Yellen stressed the importance of mitigating financial regulation, specifically the Dodd-Frank financial reforms created after the Great Recession. 

Yellen said that she would work with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to conduct a comprehensive review of post-crisis regulations and told the Senate Banking Committee it was important for regulators to constantly be looking for ways to reduce the burden on institutions.

She described the exercise in reducing the regulatory burden as a “legitimate and important goal” for the Fed and other regulators. 

Financials are soaring on the back of the news. Here's the scoreboard:

Screen Shot 2017 02 14 at 11.16.24 AM

 

SEE ALSO: YELLEN: Waiting too long to raise interest rates is unwise and could cause a recession

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Treasury yields jump on Yellen testimony (TLT, TBT)

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

cme futures trader traders

US Treasury yields are climbing following the release of Fed Chair Janet Yellen's prepared remarks for her semiannual Humphrey-Hawkins testimony.

In her statement, Yellen noted that "waiting too long to remove accommodation would be unwise, potentially requiring the FOMC to eventually raise rates rapidly, which could risk disrupting financial markets and pushing the economy into recession."

Those comments have reignited fears that the Fed could move more quickly on rate hikes than the market has been anticipating. Ahead of Yellen's testimony, the market was pricing in just a 32% chance of a rate hike at the March meeting. 

Selling is having the biggest impact on the belly of the curve, where yields are up as much as 6 basis points. Here's a look at the scoreboard as of 11:10 a.m. ET:

  • 2-year +3.7 bps @ 1.238%
  • 3-year +4.6 bps @ 1.535%
  • 5-year +5.8 bps @ 1.973%
  • 7-year +6.3 bps @ 2.304%
  • 10-year +5.4 bps @ 2.490%
  • 30-year +5.1 bps @ 3.083%

Treasury yields rallied sharply following the election on the prospects that President Trump's policies would bring back inflation to the United States and that the Fed could be more hawkish than initially thought. At its December meeting, the central bank said it could hike rates three times in 2017 versus its previous outlook of two.  Selling ran longer dated yields up as much as 80

Selling ran longer dated yields up as much as 80 bps at the long end of the curve. Yields have spent the past three months stuck in a tight range, and are moving back towards the upper end of those boundaries. 

2Y

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An 'investment mania' is propelling Canada's home prices to their biggest gain since 2007

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

toronto housing

Canadian home prices just saw the largest 12-month increase in a decade amid the ongoing housing boom in Toronto.

The annual rate of national house price inflation climbed to 13.0% year-over-year in January, up from the prior month's reading of 12.3%, according to the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index.

January 2017 marked the 12th consecutive month that national home prices increased. Plus, it was the largest annual increase since January 2007.

The jump was at least partially due to the ongoing housing boom in Toronto, which saw the annual rate of inflation climb to 20.9% year-over-year, up from 19.7%. Additionally, Reuters reports that Hamilton, an area near Toronto, saw home prices spike by 17.6% year-over-year as buyers were "shut out of the expensive Toronto market."

"Overall, the rate of national house price inflation will remain high in the near term, but only because of the investment mania that is bolstering home sales in Toronto," David Madani, senior Canada economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note.

"But even that boom might not last, especially if mortgage rates rise in step with a further surge in Canadian sovereign bond yields."

toronto housing prices

Another interesting detail from the report was that prices in Vancouver rose by 0.3% month-over-month in January after several months of drops. Prices were up 16.4% year-over-year, which was below the prior reading of 17.0%, and below the September 2016 peak.

As for Toronto, Madani argued in his note that tougher insured-mortgage rules could cool home sales in the city "where house prices have become completely detached from household incomes."

"While these new rules might not greatly affect some prospective move-up homebuyers, others that have already borrowed heavily against their increased home equity will be restricted in what they can afford to purchase next," he explained. "In addition, prospective first-time buyers will face challenges."

The Canadian dollar is little changed at 1.3080 per US dollar as of 10:31 a.m. ET.

canadian dollar

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

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BAML: Investors around the world are freaking out about Trump's policies

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

Investors around the world are starting to worry about President Trump's policies.

According to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Fund Manager Survey, published February 14, investors ranked protectionist policies as the number one risk to the eight-year equity bull market, ahead of high rates, a "financial event" and weaker earnings.

The BAML Fund Manager survey is a monthly survey of 200-250 primarily long only investors. 

Screen Shot 2017 02 14 at 9.47.23 AM

The biggest "tail risks" fund managers see are European elections raising disintegration risk, followed by trade war and a crash in global bond markets. A "tail risk" refers to the risk of an asset moving more than three standard deviations below its current price.

Screen Shot 2017 02 14 at 10.11.03 AM

Indeed, three weeks into his presidency, the so-called "Trump trade" is starting to wear off.

While Wall Street was hoping for a lighter tax bill and regulatory reform, Trump has instead signed executive orders focusing on immigration and more protectionist trade policy, both of which most economists have said will be economic drags.

Ray Dalio, head of the world's biggest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, initially was enthusiastic about the pro-business policies under Trump, but after just a few weeks of Trump, he said in a letter to clients his opinion had shifted.

"Nationalism, protectionism and militarism increase global tensions and the risks of conflict," Dalio's letter said. "For these reasons, while we remain open-minded, we are increasingly concerned about the emerging policies of the Trump administration."

According to BAML, he's not the only one feeling this way.  

SEE ALSO: Markets are starting to get nervous about Trump

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BAML: Investors around the world are freaking out about Trump's policies

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

Investors around the world are starting to worry about President Trump's policies.

According to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Fund Manager Survey, published February 14, investors ranked protectionist policies as the number one risk to the eight-year equity bull market, ahead of high rates, a "financial event" and weaker earnings.

The BAML Fund Manager survey is a monthly survey of 200-250 primarily long only investors. 

Screen Shot 2017 02 14 at 9.47.23 AM

The biggest "tail risks" fund managers see are European elections raising disintegration risk, followed by trade war and a crash in global bond markets. A "tail risk" refers to the risk of an asset moving more than three standard deviations below its current price.

Screen Shot 2017 02 14 at 10.11.03 AM

Indeed, three weeks into his presidency, the so-called "Trump trade" is starting to wear off.

While Wall Street was hoping for a lighter tax bill and regulatory reform, Trump has instead signed executive orders focusing on immigration and more protectionist trade policy, both of which most economists have said will be economic drags.

Ray Dalio, head of the world's biggest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, initially was enthusiastic about the pro-business policies under Trump, but after just a few weeks of Trump, he said in a letter to clients his opinion had shifted.

"Nationalism, protectionism and militarism increase global tensions and the risks of conflict," Dalio's letter said. "For these reasons, while we remain open-minded, we are increasingly concerned about the emerging policies of the Trump administration."

According to BAML, he's not the only one feeling this way.  

SEE ALSO: Markets are starting to get nervous about Trump

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Treasury yields jump after Yellen says waiting too long to tighten would be 'unwise' (TLT, TBT)

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

cme futures trader traders

US Treasury yields are climbing following the release of Fed Chair Janet Yellen's prepared remarks for her semiannual Humphrey-Hawkins testimony.

In her statement, Yellen noted that "waiting too long to remove accommodation would be unwise, potentially requiring the FOMC to eventually raise rates rapidly, which could risk disrupting financial markets and pushing the economy into recession."

Those comments have reignited fears that the Fed could move more quickly on rate hikes than the market has been anticipating. Ahead of Yellen's testimony, the market was pricing in just a 32% chance of a rate hike at the March meeting. 

Selling is having the biggest impact on the belly of the curve, where yields are up as much as 6 basis points. Here's a look at the scoreboard as of 10:16 a.m. ET:

  • 2-year +4.1 bps @ 1.242%
  • 3-year +5.1 bps @ 1.541%
  • 5-year +5.5 bps @ 1.970%
  • 7-year +5.6 bps @ 2.296%
  • 10-year +4.3 bps @ 2.479%
  • 30-year +3.6 bps @ 3.068%

Treasury yields rallied sharply following the election on the prospects that President Trump's policies would bring back inflation to the United States and that the Fed could be more hawkish than initially thought. At its December meeting, the central bank said it could hike rates three times in 2017 versus its previous outlook of two.  Selling ran longer dated yields up as much as 80

Selling ran longer dated yields up as much as 80 bps at the long end of the curve. Yields have spent the past three months stuck in a tight range, and are moving back towards the upper end of those boundaries. 

2Y

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General Motors is rallying on reports it's in talks to sell its European business (GM)

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

General Motors is up 3.41% at $36.73 a share on Tuesday morning as the carmarker is reportedly in talks to sell its European business

GM's European division consists of the Opel and Vauxhall brands and has been part of the carmaker since before World War II.

According to Melissa Burden of Detroit News, PSA Group, the French maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars, said on Tuesday that it is exploring an acquisition of General Motor's European businesses, though there was "no assurance that an agreement will be reached." 

GM is seeking a multi-billion dollar amount for Opel, according to Bloomberg.

General Motors

 

SEE ALSO: GM is reportedly in talks to sell its European business

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Here comes Janet Yellen's testimony ...

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

janet yellen

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is back in Congress on Tuesday for the first day of her semiannual testimony on monetary policy.

Yellen's remarks to the Senate Banking Committee are slated to start at 10 a.m. ET with a pre-released speech. Afterwards, lawmakers will most likely strive to get Yellen's answers on at least two major issues, as Business Insider's Pedro da Costa outlined in his preview,

The first big question for Yellen is on the future of the Dodd-Frank financial regulations created after the Great Recession. This is Yellen's first congressional testimony since President Donald Trump took office and started the process of scaling back reforms that the Fed helped to implement. 

The second key issue is on legislation to "Audit the Fed." Although the Fed is already audited, some lawmakers say the central bank is not transparent enough. 

Besides these topics, markets will impulsively skim Yellen's words for hints on the timing of interest-rate hikes. The Fed has indicated three increases in 2017, although the market-implied probability of that number — reflecting investor expectations — has dropped steadily this year.  

There will also be interest in anything Yellen says on the Fed's timetable for unwinding its balance sheet, which it stoked to over $4 trillion by buying bonds in response to the financial crisis. 

"Our base case is Yellen will largely dance around the question but will nonetheless leave the door wide open to a wide range of possibilities because she can’t close any options off until the Committee has developed a plan," said Tom Porcelli, the chief US economist at RBC Capital Markets, in a note. 

Yellen will testify to the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. 

Refresh this page for updates as Yellen speaks.

SEE ALSO: There are 2 questions Yellen won't be able to dodge on Capitol Hill this week

DON'T MISS: Trump's vast power to reshape the Fed will be the next major source of uncertainty for markets

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China's Bitcoin Traders Are Losing Confidence in Exchange Prices

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

The decision by China's bitcoin exchanges to freeze withdrawals is impacting the country's over-the-counter (OTC) markets. As reported by CoinDesk last week, two of China's 'Big Three' bitcoin exchanges abruptly suspended bitcoin withdrawals in response to new pressures from the People's Bank of China, a move that was followed by similar, though less restrictive, policy updates […]

Source

New Zealand Bitcoin Exchange BitNZ to Shut down After Banking Blackout

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

[…]

The post New Zealand Bitcoin Exchange BitNZ to Shut down After Banking Blackout appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Trump's vast power to reshape the Fed will be the next major source of uncertainty for markets

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

Trump

President Donald Trump already had ample leeway to reshape the Federal Reserve, with Janet Yellen's term as chair expiring early next year and two key slots on the central bank's board left open after Republicans failed to bring President Barack Obama's longstanding nominees to a vote.

Now, with the sudden resignation of Daniel Tarullo, President Trump pretty much has full reign over the powerful US central bank.

Tarullo was the Fed's point man on regulation, and his announcement came just days after the new administration announced it was ready to tear up the very post-financial-crisis rules that Tarullo, Fed officials, and other regulators have spent years debating and implementing.

Tarullo's term was not due to expire until 2022. He could have, as The New York Times’ Binyamin Applebaum tweeted, stayed on to fight against the looming rollback.

But in the end, Tarullo was all too aware that as independent as the Fed likes to think of itself, it is ultimately accountable to Congress and, by the nature of appointments, the president. Why fight a losing battle and then have your name associated with the next financial blowup? One can forgive him for calling it quits after eight years.

tarullo resignation

That battle will ultimately take place in the realm of politics, not policymaking, as indicated by the pushback Trump is getting from Democrats in addition to many Europeans, who fear deregulation in the US could destabilize their banking systems.

Trump has vowed to do a "big number" on Dodd-Frank, and he placed former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn and his recently confirmed Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, also a longtime Goldman banker, in charge of doing the dismantling.

On interest-rate policy, the Fed's board also loses a publicly circumspect but vocal voice calling for a more dovish, pro-employment approach to policy, particularly with inflation hovering below the central bank's target for most of the economic recovery.

The trouble of predicting what a Trump Fed would look like is the same problem with trying to predict anything Trump: It's not really possible. It's clear that one name, that of Kevin Warsh, a Republican former Fed governor, will cross Trump's desk when he turns his attention to the issue of the Fed. It's hard to imagine he has given it much consideration given all the other controversies that have embroiled his first couple of weeks in office, including immigration and foreign relations.

But three open slots are coming up soon, and the vice chairmanship will also be up for grabs.

That list of names just doesn't exist yet. If he listens to the Republican establishment, the list could include conservative economists like Harvard's Greg Mankiw, a former George W. Bush adviser, and Hoover Institution fellow and former Treasury official John Taylor.

If he doesn't, as is often the case, the picks for governors and chair are hard to fathom. Perhaps someone with a bit of television flair, press-conference ready. Jim Cramer? Suze Orman?

SEE ALSO: The Fed already has a problem with its 2017 forecast

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Jury Selection Delayed in Bitcoin Exchange Trial

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

A federal trial tied to the now-defunct Florida bitcoin exchange Coin.mx has been delayed.

Source

The Russian ruble is climbing

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

russian ruble

The Russian ruble is climbing.

The petro-currency is up by 1.1% at 57.3548 per dollar as of 7:49 a.m. ET.

Meanwhile, Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, is up by 1.1% at $56.19 per barrel.

"Fundamentals in Russia remain strong, but oil remains the main driver," argued Morgan Stanley's James Lord in note including a round-up of EM currency summaries.

"The recent news that the Central Bank of Russia will be intervening to buy USD in the market in quantities equal to the excess oil and gas revenues it receives, will likely lead to profit taking amongst investors," he continued. "Nonetheless, more cautious monetary policy could compensate, and we are not turning bearish on the currency."

As for the rest of the world, here's the scoreboard as of 7:55 a.m. ET:

  • The US dollar index is down by 0.2% at 100.79. Later on Tuesday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen will appear before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday for her semiannual Humphrey-Hawkins testimony. She moves over to the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. Additionally, PPI will be out at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • The euro is up by 0.2% at 1.0624 against the dollar. The latest data from Eurostat showed that the eurozone economy expanded at a 0.4% rate in the fourth quarter, below economists' expectations of 0.5%. Meanwhile, German GDP missed as well, rising 0.4% in the fourth quarter, below expectations of a 0.5% increase, and the German ZEW Economic Sentiment index came in at 10.4 in February, below expectations of 15.0.
  • The British pound is down by 0.3% at 1.2485 against the dollar. Data showed that British CPI rose by 1.8% year-over-year in January, below expectations of a 1.9% uptick. Moreover, PPI Input rose by 1.7% month-over-month in January, above expectations of 1.0%.
  • The Brazilian real is up by 0.4% at 3.0970 per dollar after retail sales missed. They fell by 4.9% year-over-year in December, below expectations of a 4.5% drop.
  • The South African rand is up by 1.6% at 13.1197 per dollar. Data showed that the unemployment rate came in at 26.50% in the fourth quarter, a drop from the prior reading of 27.10%.

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

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14 ways an economist might say 'I love you'

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

14 ways an economist might say 'I love you.'

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Banking Giant Mizuho Invests in Japan's Biggest Bitcoin Exchange

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

Japan's largest bitcoin exchange by volume has announced a new round of fundraising backed by three domestic financial giants.

Source

NO DEAL: Aetna and Humana call off their $34 billion merger (AET, HUM)

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

aetna ceo mark bertolini

Humana announced Tuesday that it was terminating its merger agreement with its health-insurance counterpart Aetna after a federal judge blocked the deal.

Humana is entitled to a breakup fee of $1 billion, or $630 million excluding taxes, according to the original agreement. 

Both companies would have combined to form the second-largest health insurer in the US. However, the deal faced strong judicial scrutiny on grounds that it would reduce competition in their industry and make insurance more expensive.

In January, a federal judge blocked the deal on antitrust grounds, arguing that the new company would increase the already rising costs of healthcare coverage for consumers.

Rival companies Anthem and Cigna are still working to close a $54 billion deal. 

SEE ALSO: A judge revealed the shady side of the crushed Aetna-Humana deal

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NO DEAL: Aetna and Humana call off their $34 billion merger (AET, HUM)

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

aetna ceo mark bertolini

Humana announced Tuesday that it was terminating its merger agreement with its health-insurance counterpart Aetna after a federal judge blocked the deal.

Aetna will pay Humana a breakup fee of $1 billion, or $630 million excluding taxes, according to terms of the original agreement. 

Both companies would have combined to form the second-largest health insurer in the US. However, the deal faced strong judicial scrutiny on grounds that it would reduce competition in their industry and make insurance more expensive.

In January, a federal judge blocked the deal on antitrust grounds, arguing that the new company would increase the already rising costs of healthcare coverage for consumers.

"We are disappointed to take this course of action after 19 months of planning, but both companies need to move forward with their respective strategies in order to continue to meet member expectations," said Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini in a statement.

Rival companies Anthem and Cigna are still working to close a $54 billion deal that would create the largest US health insurer based on the number of people covered. A federal judge also blocked the deal citing competition concerns. In a statement after the ruling, Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish said the company "will continue to work aggressively to complete the transaction."

SEE ALSO: A judge revealed the shady side of the crushed Aetna-Humana deal

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Here's when you're probably getting divorced

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

A lot of people get married. And if things work out, they'll stay happily married and go on to celebrate many more Valentine's Days together.

But things don't always work out.

Using individual-level Census data from the Minnesota Population Center's Integrated Public Microdata Sample project, we took a closer look at different marital outcomes by each year of age in 2013, the latest year for which data is available.

Based on responses to questions about marital status and number of marriages, we found the proportion of the population at each age that had never married, was in its first marriage, was widowed, or was in a situation in which its first marriage had ended. That last group combines people who responded that they were divorced, separated from their spouse, or in a second, third, or later marriage.

In 2015, about 11% of 30-year-olds had already ended one marriage. The proportion of people who were divorced, separated, or married multiple times maxed out at age 63 when about 42% of respondents fell into this category. That was just shy of the 43% of 63-year-olds who were in their first marriage:

2015 marital status rates

We also compared the 2015 proportions of people who were divorced, separated, or married multiple times to those proportions from earlier decades. The 1960 and 1980 Census long form survey, the predecessor of the American Community Survey, also included questions about marital status and number of marriages.

The results were interesting: In 1960 and 1980, a higher proportion of 20-somethings had a marriage end than in 2015. Much more people were in second or third marriages by their late 20s in 1960 and 1980 than in 2015.

On the other hand, older Americans have been more likely to fall in this category in recent years: In 2015, respondents over 40 were far more likely to be divorced, separated, or in a later marriage than people of an equivalent age in earlier decades:

2016 different year divorce rates

SEE ALSO: Here are the fastest growing states in the US

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Here's when you're probably getting married

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

It's Valentine's Day, and many couples are celebrating their love for each other today. However, several of those couples may not be overly eager to tie the knot: Americans aren't getting married at young ages as often as they used to.

We looked at data from the US Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, a survey of US households that investigates various economic and social aspects of people's lives. In particular, we used the individual-level Public Use Microdata Sample assembled by the Minnesota Population Center.

Using this data, we were able to estimate the number of people who identified as being currently married, separated, divorced, or widowed at each year of age. We estimated the percentage of the population who had been married at least once in 1962, 1980, 2000, and 2016.

In 1962, half of 21 year olds and 90% of 30 year olds had been married at least once. In 2016, only 8.5% of 21 year olds and 53.3% of 30 year olds had been married. 

Here's the likelihood that a person has been married at least once at some point in their life for every year of age over the last few decades:

marriage probabilities 2017

SEE ALSO: Here are the fastest growing states in the US

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Japan’s 3 Megabanks Have All Invested in Japan’s Biggest Bitcoin Exchange

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

Japan's largest banks Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho and SMBC are now investors in bitFlyer, Japan's largest bitcoin exchange.

The post Japan’s 3 Megabanks Have All Invested in Japan’s Biggest Bitcoin Exchange appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Steven Mnuchin, Trump's pick for Treasury secretary, confirmed by the Senate after fierce opposition by Democrats

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

steven mnuchin

Steven Mnuchin was confirmed by the US Senate on Monday night as the new Secretary of the Treasury.

Mnuchin's confirmation came down nearly on a party line vote of 53 to 47, with no Republicans voting against the confirmation.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted for Mnuchin.

Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker and hedge fund manager, came under fire during his confirmation for various mistakes in financial disclosures to the Senate, as well as several previous investments.

Mnuchin's fund invested in a mortgage lender called IndyMac at the height of the housing crisis (the name was later changed to OneWest). The lender's subsequent foreclosures on homeowners was called out by opponents as proof that the Treasury nominee profited from the financial woes of everyday Americans. Democrats claimed Mnuchin's company used tactics such as robo-signing to foreclose on as many people as possible. Some Republicans even called out the lending practices at OneWest.

Mnuchin contended that his firm invested in IndyMac/OneWest after the company had already developed a large amount of bad loans and government regulation prevented him from preventing more foreclosures.

Additionally, Mnuchin failed to disclose roughly $100 million in assets — mostly real estate — and a series of offshore entities in his first financial disclosures, correcting the error just hours before his confirmation hearing. Democrats said this was evidence of Mnuchin lying, while the Treasury pick said it was a simple clerical error.

Republicans have advocated for Mnuchin based on his financial services experience and saying Democrats objections were not sufficient to block the nomination.

The questions regarding the foreclosure practices and disclosures led the Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee to boycott a vote on Mnuchin's and newly confirmed Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price's advancement to the full Senate.

Republicans suspended the standing rules of the committee the next day to advance the nominations without a single Democrat casting a vote.

Senate Democrats continued to decry Mnuchin's nominations during debate on Monday, but did not have the votes to block the nomination.

Mnuchin has downplayed some of Trump's more aggressive rhetoric on economic issues such as trade, instead focusing squarely on the need to simplify and decrease US taxes and regulation.

During his confirmation hearing he also said there may be a need for a "21st Century version" of the Glass-Steagall Act, referring to the bill that separated commercial and investment banks and was repealed in the late 1999.

SEE ALSO: The former Goldman Sachs executive running Trump's economic team is also playing a big role in the repeal of Obamacare

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