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STOCKS SLIP LOWER: Here's what you need to know

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

Former England captain David Beckham slips

Stocks slipped on Tuesday as uncertainty mounted ahead of upcoming testimony from former FBI director James Comey.

All three major indices fell more than 0.2%, declining further from record highs reached on Friday.

First up, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 21,136.40, -47.64, (-0.22%)
  • S&P 500: 2,428.71, -7.20 (-0.30%)
  • Nasdaq: 6,274.76, -20.95 (-0.33%)
  • US 10-year yield: 2.15%, -0.04
  • WTI crude: $48.29, +0.89, (+1.9%)

1. Wall Street has been dead wrong on one of its biggest calls of the year. The consensus was that Treasury yields would rise in 2017 as Donald Trump brought inflation back to the US. That hasn't happened.

2. A crucial stock market signal just got its most bullish reading of the year. Options traders are the most unhedged on the S&P 500 since December, showing that they're not particularly worried about protecting gains, even with major indices sitting near record highs.

3. Hedge funds are loading up on bets against one of the Trump trade's biggest winners: Small caps. Hedge funds and large speculators hold the biggest net short position in six years on the Russell 2000.

4. Billionaire Mark Cuban said bitcoin is a 'bubble.' He unleashed a tweetstorm on the heels of bitcoin's latest record high, near $2,900 a coin.

5. Macy's plunges to a 6-year low after warning that its profit margins are shrinking. The department store chain is feeling the effects of the so-called retail apocalypse, which is resulting in store closures all over the country.


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Deloitte's COO explains his view of the economy, fintech, and why we shouldn't be afraid of robots

Wall Street firms are betting that the technology behind bitcoin could help them cut jobs

'So, do you want to see the car?': The story of the day that Tesla stunned the world

China's economy is becoming more like America’s — and not in a good way

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NOW WATCH: Animated map shows what the US would look like if all the Earth's ice melted

Deloitte's COO explains his view of the economy, fintech, and why we shouldn't be afraid of robots

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

COO Frank Friedman

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited is one of the most powerful financial companies in the world.

The 172-year-old UK firm, which is commonly referred to as Deloitte, is known for its audit and consulting services. In 2016, the company's workforce stood at more than 240,000 employees and its revenues totaled about $36 billion, according to the firm's 2016 Global Report.  

Heading the operations of the multi-national and multi-billion dollar outfit is Frank Friedman, the firm's global chief operating officer. Friedman oversees the network’s operational leaders, helping them execute the firm's vision and strategy throughout its various divisions worldwide.

In a wide-ranging interview with Markets Insider, Friedman explained his view of the US economy, financial technology, and why he thinks people should be excited about the eminent robot revolution. 

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. 

Markets Insider: In your outlook note, you said the global economy is actually much stronger than experts are giving it credit for. What leads you to this conclusion? What effect will it have on asset prices if the consensus view incorporates this? 

Frank Friedman: If you look at the world’s largest economies, including the US, Japan, China and Europe, the data has largely been positive, and more optimistic than expected.From L-R, European Council President Donald Tusk, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pose for a family photo at the Greek Theatre during the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017.. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Take the US for example. We currently see strong employment growth alongside surprising growth in Europe, particularly in Germany and Spain. Economic growth overall is accelerating from last year, and asset pricing continues to increase.

To give you an example, despite percentage decrease for April, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing index has been on the rise. The index rose to 57.2 percent in March from 56 percent in January, with February’s 57.5 percent showing the highest reading since August 2014.

Chaparro: With so many fintech companies emerging these days, what does Deloitte look for when they partner with fintechs. What makes those firms stand out from others?

Friedman: In today’s climate, no company, no matter its size can go it alone. It’s really all about strategic alliances. At Deloitte, we look to align with organizations that differentiate themselves in response to changing market and industry dynamics. No criteria is set in stone, but we also look at how these organizations can complement what we’re already doing. For fintech companies in particular, what’s really going to grab our attention are factors like their ability to lower costs, improve compliance, and focus on markets where they have a real competitive advantage.

Markets Insider: Where are you dedicating resources and where do you see as major growth areas for a global professional services firm like Deloitte? What direction would you like to see the company heading in?

Friedman: Right now, we are continuing to invest in increasing the strategic value of our client service offerings. Much of this is driven by our focus on digital innovation, cybersecurity services, transfer pricing and M&A support. Expanding all areas of our core business by advancing our capabilities with technology and risk mitigation is an on-going priority for us. We believe all services we perform, including audit, should include digital and security components.

Markets Insider: What do young fintech startups offer that legacies like Deloitte do not, and how do they benefit Deloitte? 

Friedman: First of all, disruption in any industry is a good thing. It forces people and organizations to think differently and challenge their routine. And, the same is true for Deloitte. We often take a step back and ask ourselves how we can continue driving our professional services industry forward. In some ways, the abundance of fintech startups has reminded us that the lessons we learned a long time ago are just as relevant today. To remain competitive, we have to continue hiring a lot of really bright people from a variety of backgrounds, all with innovative mindsets. People who can bring disruptive ideas to the table, and who can create solutions to deliver better insights for our clients. So in many ways, these emerging players have pushed us to continue doing what we were already doing in the first place, but doing it faster and more effectively.

gold robotsMarkets Insider: Can you expand on what you see as the future of the workforce at Deloitte?  What skills would be needed for the workplace as technology continues to evolve?

Friedman: Today’s conversations tend to focus heavily on the degree to which robots may take the place of humans, which can be a scary thought for a lot of people. But, with that said, it is important to recognize that robots will also create new types of jobs. According to our recent Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends Report, the entire workplace is being reinvented as the use of robotics and AI increases. But even with this transformation, only 20 percent of survey respondents felt that future of work scenarios will reduce the number of jobs. More than three quarters of the companies surveyed said they either will retrain people to use technology or will redesign jobs to take better advantage of human skills.

With the increasing use of technology, we will of course need STEM skills, but we will also need people skilled in softer areas like critical thinking, creativity, selling and relationship building. The ability to lead, strategize and inspire people to follow you and bring your vision to life will also become more important.

I see younger generations in the workforce increasingly place a premium on these softer skills as they work together in teams, allowing them to build relationships with those around them through social activities. Ultimately, they’re devoting themselves to a purpose sometimes greater than just their paychecks.

Markets Insider: Since the financial crisis, recovery in the world's most developed economies has been lackluster. What do you think has been the reason for this?

Friedman: Two key factors need to work in tandem with one another to stimulate long-term growth. First, economies need to get more people working and second, the productivity of those workforces needs to increase. Globally, we are not adding more people to the workforce. In fact, in most developed economies, we are observing a slowdown in the working age population, and even a decline in China and Japan. In the US, we are still seeing some growth in the working age population, but it is slower than it used to be.

Productivity increases are primarily the result of technological innovation and implementation. Unfortunately, not only are the world’s most developed economies not investing in new technologies, but innovation has slowed noticeably, too. Broader implementation of innovation tends to come in cycles, like the late 1990s and early 2000s with the implementation of information technology. This boosted business productivity in ways we could have never imagined. I hope that today’s innovations will be drive similar momentum in a big way sometime over the next decade, boosting productivity once again. 

Markets Insider: In light of recent controversies within the Trump administration and the failure to get healthcare passed, it seems less likely that Trump will be able to get tax reform/infrastructure done. Are you worried about this?mcconnell trump ryan

Friedman: As a global leader, I am hopeful about positive steps forward on a range of issues impacting today’s society. But, in my role, I also know that affecting large scale change is not easy. I realize that policy changes such as fiscal stimulus, tax reform, deregulation and investments in infrastructure can help boost our economy, but these things don’t happen overnight. Regardless of the outcomes, Deloitte needs to remain nimble and ready to serve our clients, because that’s what they expect of us.

Markets Insider: What's top of mind for a business leader of a global company like Deloitte? What do you see as the biggest risks, the biggest opportunities?

Friedman: Disruption, without question, is both a risk and an opportunity for businesses large and small. Organizations need leaders who are constantly thinking about disruption or their business is going to lose. It is important to have people who ask the challenging questions in all areas of business. How do we expand our footprint globally? What can we do differently that we are doing today? How can we disrupt our own business? What are the investments that we need to make today and over the next 5-10 years?

Markets Insider: What advice would you give for employees who want to make it to the C-suite?

Friedman: You really need to put your head down, and work as hard as you can to learn as much as you can.  The first thing I would tell someone is that it starts with competency. Second, is persistence and hard work. Third, is the ability to really lead and to emerge as a natural leader. Fourth, is the ability to create a vision that is big, perhaps bigger than you, that challenges the status quo and inspires others.

Tina Wadhwa contributed to this interview.

SEE ALSO: A cofounder of an investing business that's changing Wall Street talks finance, tech, and career advice

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NOW WATCH: HENRY BLODGET: Bitcoin could go to $1 million (or fall to $0)

AT&T Awarded Patent for Bitcoin-Powered Subscriber Server

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

US telecom giant AT&T has been awarded a patent for a kind of home subscriber server backed up by blockchain tech.


A Wall Street bank used bitcoin to prove that NVIDIA is better than its competitors (NVDA)

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

The logo of Nvidia Corporation is seen during the annual Computex computer exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan May 30, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone SiuNVIDIA stock is a darling among millennial investors, and bitcoin could be a reason why they are right to love the stock.

NVIDIA makes graphics processing units, also known as GPUs or graphics cards, and it competes with companies like AMD. When the average consumer shops for a GPU, they are primarily looking at performance versus price, trying to find the best bang for their buck.

That same measure doesn't work as well when you scale that comparison up to giant data centers. Performance and price are important, but hundreds or thousands of GPUs also draw hundreds or thousands of times the amount of power a consumer computer might. Power consumption becomes much more important at larger scales.

It's hard to determine how a collection of GPUs might draw power when you only have a couple of them lying around, but RBC analysts did their best, and that is where bitcoin comes in. 

The whole bitcoin ecosystem relies on individual computers banding together to solve complex math problems. Anyone can use their computer to help solve these problems, a process known as mining. Mining tends to work faster when running on powerful GPUs.

RBC took this theory, strung together several GPUs, and tasked them with helping solve bitcoin's fancy math problems. It did this for NVIDIA and several competitors.

The idea is that the GPU-intensive process of mining bitcoin would force the GPUs into overtime and make them draw more power. It's as close of an approximation to a full-scale data center as RBC could put together. The firm called it a "thought experiment."

The result of the experiment favored NVIDIA processors over competitors like AMD, when comparing power consumption during bitcoin mining.

Companies building huge data centers are probably conducting their own research that more closely resembles what they would see at scale, but the RBC experiment serves to illustrate another reason NVIDIA holds the top spot for GPU makers.

As technology like machine learning, augmented reality and virtual reality pick up momentum, demand for GPUs will increase in order to run the graphics intensive technologies. If NVIDIA maintains its lead in power consumption, it could capture more of the growing demand, and see its shares rise in the process.

RBC has a price target of $150 for NVIDIA, about two dollars higher than where shares of the company opened on Tuesday.

Click here to watch NVIDIA shares move live...


SEE ALSO: MARK CUBAN: Bitcoin is a 'bubble'

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NOW WATCH: Animated map shows what the US would look like if all the Earth's ice melted

The most iconic power lunch in New York City is coming back with a vengeance

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

grill room four seasons

Starting on June 19, lunch will once again be served in the most iconic dining room in New York City, The Grill Room (formerly the Four Seasons Restaurant).

Expect high expectations. 

Last year, The Four Seasons Restaurant changed hands after the owner of the building, real estate mogul Aby Rosen, raised the rent on the space, ousted the old ownership, and brought in a new management team.

Now, the space is to be occupied by two restaurants — The Grill and The Pool — run by restaurant group Major Food Group, of Carbone and Dirty French fame.

The entire process took over a year as Rosen raised $30 million for the project and New York City society, and the Four Seasons' powerful clientele, had a collective meltdown. The Grill, after all, is where they used to have lunch with everyone they knew from Diane von Furstenberg to Martha Stewart, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon to former Citi CEO Sandy Wile. 

That said, The Grill opened for dinner last month, and it seems people are somehow getting used to the new iteration:

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT 🍾🍾🍾🍾🍾🍾🍾🍾🍾🍾RG @charlesrosen #TheGrill

A post shared by Bronson van Wyck (@bronsonvanwyck) on Apr 24, 2017 at 5:12am PDT on


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An economist says 66 countries could end poverty by giving their citizens free money

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

india cash

Foreign aid has its place in the quest to eradicate global poverty, but one economist believes free cash can go pretty far, too.

John McArthur, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, wrote in a recent blog post that 66 countries in the developing world could theoretically afford to end poverty tomorrow, just by awarding citizens direct cash transfers.

"This would help reach around 185 million people living in extreme poverty, more than a quarter of the world's current total," McArthur wrote.

Roughly 650 million people worldwide live on less than $1.90 a day, a standard of living the World Bank defines as "extreme poverty." Major philanthropic bodies such as the Gates Foundation have spent billions to uplift populations in extreme poverty, typically through disease treatment and prevention.

McArthur's proposed solution involves empowering countries to do more with what they've already got. Relying partly on the World Poverty Clock, a real-time ticker of how many people live in poverty worldwide, McArthur finds countries such as India, Indonesia, and Brazil could lift every extremely poor citizen out of poverty for less than 1% of each country's gross national income.

Costs above 1% could cripple these countries in other important areas. They are place "where government revenues are typically equivalent to about 10 to 15% of the overall economy," McArthur wrote. "Those budgets already need to cover an array of crucial expenditures like hospitals, schools, roads, courts, and police, separate from any direct transfers."

McArthur didn't invent the idea of cash transfers; they've been around for decades in various forms, from government assistance to more experimental projects. For example, the charity GiveDirectly has been awarding lump sums to ordinary Kenyan citizens for the past several years to help them escape poverty. Many use the funds to make home repairs or build out their businesses. Few abuse the money on drugs or alcohol.

McArthur does believe that large-scale donations and foreign aid are still vital for ending poverty. In 31 countries, for example, a direct cash transfer would require an untenable commitment of at least 5% of gross national income.

He also notes that bigger changes to education, health, and infrastructure help countries in ways that small cash gifts never could.

However, "these qualifiers should not obscure the core insight," he wrote. "A large and growing number of countries could quickly take the lead in ending their own extreme income poverty. A mix of domestic and peer country pressure is needed to focus efforts."

SEE ALSO: Bill Gates explains why chickens are the ultimate solution to poverty

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NOW WATCH: 'Ending extreme poverty is within reach'

What you need to know on Wall Street today

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

Welcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. 

Few areas of the US market performed better than small-cap stocks following the presidential election. But hedge funds are betting the group's best days are finished.

The Russell 2000 has surged by 17% since Donald Trump's victory — handily outpacing the S&P 500 by more than 3 percentage points — amid expectations that the more domestically focused group would be best positioned to benefit from a lower corporate tax rate.

Now that investors are growing increasingly skeptical that any of Trump's policies will be passed in a timely fashion, those big relative gains in small-cap shares look awfully precarious.

Treasury yields pressed to their lowest levels since the days following Trump's election win. And Wall Street has been dead wrong on one of its biggest calls of the year.

Job openings in America are at a record high. China just went full-on Big Brother on its credit card system. China's economy is becoming more like America’s — and not in a good way. And South Africa slumped into its first recession since 2009.

Jim Chanos' pharma short got crushed after an ally bashed it to all Wall Street. Bidding on a lunch with Warren Buffett quickly hit $1 million. And a group including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have taken a stake in the Yellow Pages of finance.

In news about millennials:

In other news, Bitcoin hit a new high. Mark Cuban thinks the cryptocurrency is a bubble. And Wall Street firms are betting that the technology behind bitcoin could help them cut jobs.

Two giant drugmakers are racing to make a breakthrough in treating HIV, and there's $22 billion on the line.

New York's MTA says it will write "late-to-work" notes for commuters as subway delays surge, leaving people stranded and furious. GM shareholders shot down David Einhorn's radical stock-split plan. More than 9,000 Volkswagen employees are taking a deal to leave the company as the carmaker cuts costs.

Qatar Airways has chartered emergency flights to evacuate stranded passengers. One map shows how much trouble Qatar Airways may be in.

In tech, Apple is now the leader in the technology that could replace the smartphone, but it doesn't have a vision yet. Spotify has a video business you've never heard of, and it's hoping a new "surgical" approach will change that.

Lastly, for $300, this new startup will clean your closet, fold your clothes, or create outfits for you.

Finance Insider will be back next week after a short break. 

SEE ALSO: The 27 most important finance books ever written

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Incredible photos give a totally unexpected perspective into how the 1% lives

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


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Wall Street firms are betting that the technology behind bitcoin could help them cut jobs

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


Wall Street is convinced that blockchain is set to radically transform the world of finance. But exactly how and when that transformation will transpire is uncertain. 

Blockchain, which gained notoriety as the technology behind the cryptocurrency bitcoin, is thought to have the potential to improve numerous businesses including banking, payments, and the capital markets. 

Cognizant, a US-based digital consulting firm, recently surveyed over 1,500 executives from over 570 financial services firms on their respective strategies for integrating the technology into their infrastructure. According to the firm, there are a few things financial execs are certain about when it comes to the future of blockchain: blockchain is important, it will save them money, and it will lead to job losses. 

"The vast majority of respondents (90%) said their firms has identified or is the process of identifying functions or processes that can be automated with block chain," the report said. 

And 3/4 of those surveyed said they believe blockchain will enable them to automate at least 2.5% of their workforce. For large financial firms with tens of thousands of employees that could be hundreds of jobs. 

And this would be on top of automation that has already taken place.

According to the report, Cognizant helped a US commercial bank use Ethereum, a blockchain-based platform, to transfer deeds between buyers and sellers without the need of a middle-man.

Wall Streeters, you have been warned. 

SEE ALSO: A 'paradigm shift' is taking place in financial technology

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NOW WATCH: This is what Bernie Madoff's life is like in prison

MARK CUBAN: Bitcoin is a 'bubble'

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

Add billionaire Mark Cuban to those who are skeptical of bitcoin and the cryptocurrency universe. "I think it's in a bubble. I just don't know when or how much it corrects. When everyone is bragging about how easy they are making $=bubble," Cuban said in a tweetstorm on Tuesday. 

Cuban's tweetstorm comes on the heels of bitcoin's latest record high near $2,900 a coin. The cryptocurrency has gained in 33 of the past 38 sessions, tacking on 144% over that time. It's up 200% so far in 2017. 

Here's Cuban's full tweetstorm...







SEE ALSO: The price of Bitcoin just hit an all new high — here's how easy it is to buy your first one

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NOW WATCH: Animated map shows what the US would look like if all the Earth's ice melted

THE OPEN BANKING REPORT: How banks can leverage open APIs and maintain their retail banking dominance

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

regulation will drive open banking 4 by 3

Open banking is the democratization of access to data previously exclusively owned by legacy financial institutions. 

The open banking trend is being driven by a number of factors and will ultimately become the norm. That means retail banks need to rethink their business and operational models if they want to maintain the positions of dominance in the financial ecosystem. 

In this report, BI Intelligence explores the drivers behind open banking in detail, outline the options for banks as they look to update their business and operational models, and explain the likely potential winners and losers of open banking.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Open banking is most often facilitated by a technology known as Application Program Interfaces (APIs) which have enabled the business models and success of some of the most well known startups of recent times. 
  • There are a number of drivers behind the open banking trend, the most obvious of which is regulation that forces banks to give customers access to their data, or enable permissioned third parties to access their data. 
  • Banks adopting open banking are taking a number of different approaches, from just taking the necessary steps to comply with regulation, to actively embracing the concept in an effort to maintain their retail banking dominance.
  • Banks are using different models of open banking, including app stores and sandboxes. Which model, or combination of models, a bank adopts depends on its priorities and the drivers it finds most imperative. 
  • Open banking will have a significant impact on fintechs. With access to banks' systems and vast data stores, fintechs will be able to provide more personalized products, while operating with greater autonomy. However, open banking will also increase fintechs' regulatory and cybersecurity burdens. 

 In full, the report:

  • Explains the concept and mechanics of open banking. 
  • Outlines the drivers behind its increasing adoption by global retail banks. 
  • Highlights the different approaches banks are taking to open banking, and explores the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • Explores the future of open banking, including its impact on fintechs. 

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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NOW WATCH: HENRY BLODGET: Bitcoin could go to $1 million (or fall to $0)

Bozoma Saint John heads to Uber from Apple

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

 Last week, ahead of WWDC, there was a ripple of news when it was discovered that Bozoma Saint John — one of the more noticeable execs at the company for being a woman of color, who led an Apple Music demo at the previous year’s WWDC to some acclaim — was leaving Apple. Now TechCrunch has learned where she’s landing: she’s going to Uber. We received the news via… Read More

A group including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have taken a stake in the Yellow Pages of finance (INFO)

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

Markit Lance Uggla Nasdaq

Barclays, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Morgan Stanley have taken a stake in KYP3, a kind of Yellow Pages of finance

IHS Markit, the company behind KYP3, announced Tuesday that the four banks had joined together to do the deal. Goldman Sachs will contribute intellectual property and join the other three banks as a design partner.

Markit launched KYP3, which stands for Know Your Third Party, back in 2015, aiming to create a central repository for information required for client or vendor due diligence. The idea was to cut down on the amount of time it takes to cement a new commercial relationship, and reduce unnecessary, replicative requests for information.

Since then, the platform, which has 15,000 vendor profiles available on the platform, has landed 75 signed customers. Markit merged with IHS in 2016

“The relationship with KY3P will help us maintain the necessary oversight required in a consistent and efficient manner," Al Williams, chief procurement officer at Barclays, said. "The further benefit of working with other financial institutions ensures an increasingly standardized approach for our suppliers.”

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NOW WATCH: HENRY BLODGET: Bitcoin could go to $1 million (or fall to $0)

Bitcoin soars to a new high

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


Bitcoin is trading in record territory, up 6% at $2,848 a coin, propelled by heavy buying from China and Japan, according to Newsbtc. 

Tuesday's advance has the cryptocurrency higher for the 33rd time in 38 days. It has rallied about 144% during that time. 

Recent buying has come on the heels of China's three biggest exchanges resuming withdrawals last week for the first time since February and Japan naming bitcoin a legal payment method back in early April. Additionally, Russia's largest online retailer began accepting bitcoin even though has Russia said it wouldn't consider the use of the cryptocurrency until 2018.

However, there remains one big unknown. Back in March, the US Securities and Exchange Commission rejected two bitcoin exchange-traded funds. It has since taken public comment on its decision regarding an ETF started by the Winklevoss twins, but it has not made an additional ruling.

Bitcoin is up 200% in 2017.


SEE ALSO: The first investor in Snapchat thinks bitcoin could hit $500,000 by 2030

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NOW WATCH: Here's why the American flag is reversed on military uniforms

10 things you need to know before the opening bell (SPY, SPX, QQQ, DIA, AAPL, TSLA, GS)

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

Justin Trudeau

Here is what you need to know.

The World Bank says the global economy is improving, but risks remain. The World Bank held its 2017 global growth forecast at 2.7%, saying, "A recovery in industrial activity has coincided with a pick-up in global trade, after two years of marked weakness."

UK polls keep tighteningA poll released by Survation late Monday showed Theresa May's Conservative Party held a one point lead over Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party. However, betting odds still reflect a 92% chance the Conservatives maintain their majority. 

Australia keeps policy on holdAustralia's central bank held its key interest rate at 1.50% while maintaining a neutral bias for its interest rate outlook. 

The 10-year is at its lowest level since the days following Trump's election win. The US 10-year yield is down 3 basis points at 2.15%, a level last seen since November 10.

Bitcoin and ethereum hit record highsBitcoin trades up 7.4% at $2,863 a coin while rival ethereum is higher by 5.4% at $257 a coin, both all-time highs. 

Goldman Sachs turned down a request from Venezuela"In early May, Goldman Sachs turned down a request from Caracas to convert $5 billion in sovereign bonds into marketable securities partly because it would mean dealing directly with a Venezuelan state bank," Reuters says, citing people familiar with the talks. 

Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference is in the booksAt the conference, the tech giant unveiled a Siri-enabled speaker called HomePod, and updates to a bunch of its products. 

Some Tesla owners could see their insurance spike 30%US insurance providers have seen a high number of claim frequencies from Model S and Model X owners, and that could lead to them raising premiums by up to 30%, Automotive News says, citing AAA.  

Stock markets around the world trade mixed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng (+0.5%) led the gains in Asia and Germany's DAX (-0.5%) trails in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open down 0.2% near 2,430.

US economic data is light. JOLTS Job Openings will be released at 10 a.m. ET.  

Join the conversation about this story »

10 things you need to know before the opening bell (SPY, SPX, QQQ, DIA, AAPL, TSLA, GS)

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

Justin Trudeau

Here is what you need to know.

The World Bank says the global economy is improving, but risks remain. The World Bank held its 2017 global growth forecast at 2.7%, saying, "A recovery in industrial activity has coincided with a pick-up in global trade, after two years of marked weakness."

UK polls keep tightening. A poll released by Survation late Monday showed Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party held a 1-point lead over Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party. Betting odds, however, still reflect a 92% chance the Conservatives maintain their majority.

Australia keeps policy on hold. Australia's central bank held its key interest rate at 1.50% while maintaining a neutral bias for its interest-rate outlook.

The 10-year is at its lowest level since the days following Trump's election win. The US 10-year yield is down by 3 basis points at 2.15%, a level last seen November 10.

Bitcoin and ethereum hit record highs. Bitcoin trades up by 7.4% at $2,863 a coin, while its rival ethereum is higher by 5.4% at $257 a coin, both all-time highs.

Goldman Sachs turned down a request from Venezuela. "In early May, Goldman Sachs turned down a request from Caracas to convert $5 billion in sovereign bonds into marketable securities partly because it would mean dealing directly with a Venezuelan state bank," Reuters says, citing people familiar with the talks.

Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference is in the books. At the conference, the tech giant unveiled a Siri-enabled speaker called HomePod and updates to a bunch of its products.

Some Tesla owners could see their insurance spike by 30%. US insurance providers have seen a high number of claim frequencies from Model S and Model X owners, and that could lead them to raise premiums by up to 30%, Automotive News says, citing AAA.

Stock markets around the world trade mixed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng (+0.5%) led the gains in Asia and Germany's DAX (-0.5%) trails in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open down by 0.2% near 2,430.

US economic data is light. Jolts Job Openings will be released at 10 a.m. ET.

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Over 800,000 London workers are paid less than £10 an hour

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

Jeremy Corbyn

LONDON — Over 800,000 London workers are paid less than £10 an hour, according to a new study from trade union GMB.

The London Living Wage, a voluntary scheme for employers, says the wage needed to make ends meet in the capital is £9.75, meaning that a significant portion of London's estimated 8.6 million population lives on or around the breadline.

The Labour party's manifesto includes a pledge to raise the National Minimum Wage — which is legally binding — to £10 an hour, a policy which GMB endorses.

GMB's London secretary Warren Kenny said the policy would "provide workers with an adequate level of income from a full-time job to enable them to pay the bills."

The Conservatives pledge to increase the national minimum wage to £8.75 by 2020, the same timeframe in which Labour would raise it to £10 an hour.

A report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned that both plans could put the jobs of lower-paid workers at risk, as they would significantly increase the cost of hiring new staff.

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Challenger bank Shawbrook rejected a 'final' £868 million takeover bid

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

Canary Wharf and the city are seen at sunset in London, December 14, 2016. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

LONDON — Challenger bank Shawbrook rejected a fourth and "final" £868 million ($1.12 billion) takeover bid from a private equity consortium on Tuesday morning.

The bank was subject to a multi-million pound bid from Pollen Capital and BC Capital, after its directors said the deal undervalued the lender. Pollen already has a 40% stake in the bank.

It is the third offer from the consortium, which operates under the name of BC Capital's Martin Bidco, that the bank has rebuffed this year.

A note to shareholders said: "The independent directors have considered the terms of the final offer with their advisers and have taken into account feedback received from shareholders. The independent directors believe that the final offer undervalues Shawbrook and its prospects."

"The independent directors believe Shawbrook can continue to grow prudently over the medium term."

Shawbrook is a specialist lender set up take on Britain's biggest banks. It was floated on the London Stock Exchange in April 2015 at 290p a share, valuing the bank at £725 million.

The offer will remain open for acceptance until June 19, but the directors have urged shareholders to "take no action with regards to the final offer."

Shares in the London-listed bank dipped around 0.3% in early hours trading. Here is the chart at 9.20 a.m. BST (4.20 a.m. ET):

Screen Shot 2017 06 06 at 09.19.58

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The pound is up as investors shake off general election uncertainty

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

LONDON — The pound is up in early hours trading on Tuesday as investors await the outcome of Thursday's general election.

The currency has traded choppily in recent weeks as polls indicate a significant narrowing in the race for Downing Street. A Survation poll published on Monday evening found Labour within just one point of the Conservatives.

While the Conservatives still have a solid lead, the less predictable prospect of a hung parliament or coalition government has unsettled some investors.

Investors still appear to be betting on a Conservative majority, with the pound and the FTSE 100 proving resilient amid the narrowing polls.

The pound was up 0.17% on Tuesday morning to trade at $1.2925. Here is how it looks at 8.42 a.m. BST (3.42 a.m. ET):

Screen Shot 2017 06 06 at 08.41.42

And here is how it looks against the euro:

Screen Shot 2017 06 06 at 08.42.35


Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, says in a morning note: "The pound managed to remain bid, despite the weaker than expected PMI data and conflicting poll outcomes. The latest polls indicate that the Labour party continues to narrow the gap on the Conservatives.

"YouGov showed a Tory lead of just four points as opposed to ICM which indicated an eleven-point lead. Whether Britons were seriously swayed in the aftermath of Saturday’s attack will be known on Thursday, but I think if the Conservatives manage to increase their lead it could potentially send GBP/USD above 1.3."

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FTSE 100 opens slightly down as polls narrow further ahead of the general election

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

Three actors, portraying Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron, at a new general election themed attraction called 'Poll-tergeist', which is an addition to Derren Brown�s Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon attraction at Thorpe Park Resort in Surrey, aimed at encouraging young people to get involved with the vote.

LONDON — The FTSE 100 opened slightly down on Tuesday morning as polls showed Labour closing in further on the Conservatives as Thursday's general election approaches.

The mood of investors appears relatively calm ahead of the election despite a Survation poll, published late on Monday evening, suggesting Labour are within one point of the Conservatives, introducing the prospect of a hung parliament or coalition government which could unsettle markets.

Here is how it looks in early hours trading minutes of trading. The bourse was down 0.15% to trade at 7,514.7 points at 8.20 a.m. BST (3.20 a.m. ET):

Screen Shot 2017 06 06 at 08.21.00 1

Traders do not appear significantly unsettled by the polls, however, 

Kathleen Brooks, research analyst at City Index, says in a note (emphasis ours):

"Late last night another Survation poll has put the Conservatives a mere 1.1 point ahead of Labour, well within the margin of error, with just two days of campaigning to go. We have pointed out that there are multiple polls, and not all are as negative on the Tories as Survation appears to be."

"It is worth remembering that betting odds still put the chances of a Conservative majority at 92%, so the prospect of an adverse outcome remains a key risk for asset prices in the short term."

The biggest fallers on the index in early trading are medical products company Convatec, down 4.88%, and fashion house Burberry, down 2.16%. Early risers include airline EasyJet, rallying 1.41% after a drop yesterday.

Elsewhere the dollar and US crude oil prices fell overnight as the oil markets continue to battle with volatility.

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Bitcoin Price Shoots Past $2,900 to Hit New All-Time High

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

The price of bitcoin has hit a new all-time high, according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI).


Consumer spending is in 'long-term decline' in Britain as clothing sales continue to fall

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

  • Retail sales fall in May after April rebound;
  • British Retail Consortium CEO says "longer-term trend of a decline in consumer spending power";
  • Food sales rising but non-food sales like fashion and homeware tanking.

A man carries a shopping basket in an Asda store in northwest London, Britain August 18, 2015. Sales at Wal-Mart's British supermarket Asda fell for a fourth straight quarter on Tuesday, down 4.7 percent to confirm its position as the weakest performer in a sector hammered by the growth of discount retailers.LONDON — Retail sales fell in May, according to new figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), highlighting "a longer-term trend of a decline in consumer spending power" as inflation bites.

The BRC said on Tuesday that core retail sales fell by 0.4% in May compared to the same month a year earlier. Total sales, which include sales from new stores opened in the year, rose by 0.2%.

The figures put paid to hopes of a recovery for retail sales. After a weak start to the year, sales rebounded in April thanks to the late timing of Easter.

However, May's sales figures suggest April was a blip.

BRC's CEO Helen Dickinson said in a statement: "Overall, May's sales slowdown is indicative of a longer-term trend of a decline in consumer spending power. As household budgets become increasingly squeezed by inflation, predominantly in the non-retail part of the consumer basket, it's vital that the next Government helps retailers keep prices low for ordinary shoppers."

Bruno Monteyne, a retail analyst at Bernstein, said in a separate note on Monday: "The overall consumer environment is starting to look more challenging: disposable income growth slowing, weak consumer confidence, and prices in non-food (as well as food) will rise further as the FX move feeds through."

Food vs. fashion

BRC's sales figures highlight a growing gulf between food and non-food sales. In the 3 months to May, total food sales grew by 4.3% on average. This is the strongest 3-month average since February 2012. The growth appears to be mainly down to rising prices driven by inflation.

Inflation hit 2.7% in April, its highest level since 2013, as last year's post-Brexit vote fall in the pound begins to push up prices. The Bank of England expects inflation to peak at close to 3% later this year.

KPMG's UK head of retail Paul Martin says in the BRC statement: "The impact of inflationary pressures on the nation’s purse continues to play out in this month’s figures, with shoppers evidently spending more on food and drink than on non-food purchases."

Meanwhile, core non-food sales in the UK decreased 0.3% in May and increased 0.1% on a total basis. This is the worst growth recorded since May 2011.

Consumers appear to be cutting back on fashion and home spending while continuing to keep their weekly food shops unchanged despite rising food inflation. BDO's High Street sales tracker last week said fashion sales fell by 3.9% in May.

Monteyne says in Monday's note: "Spending on food remains at an all-time low: just 12% of disposable income. Hence we expect that low levels of food inflation can initially be absorbed by consumers.

"At inflation above 2% we expect to see switching behaviour as consumers trade down – but with no impact on retailer margins. Our expectation is for food inflation to hit 4% by Q4, of which 1% will be dialed out by consumers trading down."

KPMG's Martin says: "With inflation continuing to rise and wage growth stagnating, consumers are starting to feel the pinch – although the highly competitive nature of the UK grocery market continues to play out in the consumer’s favour."

Earlier this year, UBS said it found a "dramatic reduction in consumer discretionary income and intention to spend," and predicted that clothing retailers would be the worst hit.

GfK's survey of consumer confidence in May found an improvement among shoppers, but the balance is still negative at -5.

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UK rents are falling for the first time since the 2009 crash

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


LONDON — UK rental prices fell for the first time in eight years in May, according to the latest HomeLet Rental Index.

It found that the average monthly cost of a new tenancy fell to £901 in May, down 0.3% from £904 in the same month last year.

It is the first time since December 2009 that HomeLet's rental index has measured an annualised fall in rent prices. The pace of rental price inflation had slowed rapidly in previous months after peaking at 4.7% last summer.

New tenancies on rents in London (including Greater London) were 3% lower than this time last year, down to £1,502 from £1,519.

Individual month-on-month indexes are subject to volatility, but the slowdown in the rental sector mirrors stagnant price growth elsewhere in the housing market.

Nationwide reported a three-month consecutive fall in house prices between March and May.

HomeLet's chief executive Martin Totty said rental prices were being constrained by a lack of real wage growth.

He said: "Rental data suggests landlords are now facing a difficult balancing act between ensuring rents are affordable for tenants in a low real wage growth environment whilst covering their own rising costs.

He added: "Tenants will still need a vibrant and growing rented sector to provide them with property options at the time of their choosing.

"Any constraint to the supply of rental properties, because landlords are unable to achieve the reasonable returns they require, cannot be in the long-term best interests of tenants, especially if, as we’ve now heard from all the main political parties, the UK’s population continues to grow."

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