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Google's Director of Engineering Won't Invest in Bitcoin

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

Google's director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil, says he wouldn't buy bitcoin because it's too unstable, but he has high hopes for blockchain.

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Nvidia crashes after a week of big gains (NVDA)

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

Nvidia is quickly erasing its huge gains from earlier in the week.

At the beginning of trading Friday, there was no reason to believe that Nvidia would do anything other than continue to go through the roof.

But then, a single analyst came out loudly as a bear when so many people were trying to outdo each other with more and more outlandish bull calls. That call was followed by a crash in the final hours of trading that almost knocked out all its gains from earlier in the week.

"While we are fans of NVDA emerging business in auto, gaming, and AI… have the prospects of these technologies doubled in value in 6 months or is this an example of analysts chasing stock price?" Citron, a research firm, asked in a white paper released Friday.

The white paper was discussed widely on Twitter and trended under searches for Nvidia stock. Markets Insider wrote a story about the paper Friday morning. At the time of that story, Nvidia was up around 5%. Since then, only hours later, Nvidia is down about 10% from its Friday open.

Nvidia now seems to be following its fellow tech stocks into the ground. The general markets were weighed down Friday by tech stocks everywhere losing.

Citron said the bullish calls by fellow Wall Street operators UBS, RBC, and Citi were overblown. As the bulls point to growing artificial intelligence, data center, and machine learning demands, Citron points out that their core business, gaming computers, has no reason to rapidly expand soon.

Citron says the stock will fall to $130. Around 2:50 P.M. ET, it was trading around $144 after falling 10% Friday.

Click here to watch Nvidia stock price live in real time...

nvidia

SEE ALSO: A Wall Street bank used bitcoin to prove that NVIDIA is better than its competitors

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BLACKROCK TALENT HEAD: 'We are hiring more liberal arts majors'

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

p11_Matthew_Breitfelder

It was once common for top Wall Street firms to hire exclusively from only the most prestigious business schools, but that's far from the case today.

And as the digitization of Wall Street continues to transform finance, firms will likely hire more talent with logical and STEM skills.

But tech skills aren't the only thing Wall Street is looking for.

BlackRock, the asset management firm with $5.4 trillion assets under management and about 13,000 employees, is also interested in graduates with backgrounds in the humanities and social sciences.

Speaking at Singularity University's Exponential Finance conference in New York, the chief talent officer of BlackRock, Matthew Breitfelder, said his firm is hiring more liberal arts majors.

The reasoning behind the move is that having employees with varying skill sets and worldviews would help the company. "Diversity is more important than ever," he said while speaking on a panel about the future of work. He didn't mention how many liberal arts majors the firm plans to hire.

Since robots are now doing things such as building portfolios and other mundane financial tasks, the jobs at asset management firms are changing. As such, financial professionals are spending much more of their time in front of clients and coming up with solutions.

Breitfelder thinks bringing on people with myriad perspectives and backgrounds is one way to come up with solutions for the new problems financial firms are trying to tackle.

The human resources veteran, who holds a master's from the London School of Economics and an MBA from Harvard's Business School, advises Wall Street hopefuls to have a holistic understanding of the new world of finance.

SEE ALSO: A hedge fund manager is supporting a free master's program in financial engineering

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

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Russia Likely to Mandate Identity Checks for Bitcoin Purchases

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

Russia’s deputy finance minister said this week that cryptocurrency purchasers will be required to prove their identity under forthcoming regulations.

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High-net-worth wealth managers can't survive the digital age on just 'their name and wood paneling'

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

us gauthier vincent

Brands can be powerful.

Everyone knows that one person who  drinks Starbucks' coffee just so they can be seen holding a white cup with a green mermaid on it.

On Wall Street, brands can carry similar weight. Many high-net-worth investors give their money to old legacy money managers just because of the brand of prestige and elitism associated with such firms.

But these firms' reputations will only go so far as the Street continues to digitize, according to Gauthier Vincent, a fintech expert and consultant at Deloitte.

Vincent sees a lot of complacency among the old guard high-net-worth money mangers. He delivered a presentation on Thursday about the future of the wealth management industry at this year's Exponential Finance conference, a financial technology conference hosted by Singularity University, a global network of tech thought leaders.

After his presentation he told Business Insider that the majority of high-net-worth money managers are ignoring Wall Street's wave of digitalization.

"The majority of these firms think they can ignore digital, but they can't just survive on their name and wood paneling," Vincent said."They're being complacent because their assets are going up with the markets."

But this won't last forever. Vincent said many firms are seeing their customers run-off to firms with more digital offerings. And that run-off will continue as wealth transfers from older generations to younger ones.

"If they don't act know then they are going to lose a whole generation," Vincent said.

High-net-worth money managers, you've been warned.

SEE ALSO: CONSULTING FIRM TO WALL STREET: Don't worry about blockchain's cost — just start working with it

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

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What wearing a $6,000 Rolex for a month taught a millennial about wealth and status

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

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CITRON RESEARCH: Nvidia has 'become a casino stock' (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 Siu

Citron Research fired out a tweet calling GPU manufacturer Nvidia a "casino stock." The firm released a scathing white paper on Friday, saying the stock would collapse to $130 a share before trading at $180.

The research firm has been right before. It predicted a return to $90 a share when Nvidia was trading at $119. The stock fell to $95.

Nvidia's shares are moving so fast, they are trending on Google. The GPU manufacturer is up around 5% on Friday and 16.24% this week despite the company not announcing any major news. Comparatively, the S&P 500 is only up 0.38% this week.

Growth in the company can be explained partially by an increased demand for powerful graphics processing units worldwide. Virtual reality, driverless cars, machine learning and artificial intelligence all run well on GPUs.

Citron points out that Nvidia's core business, gaming, is where the focus should be. The company is expected to make $6.1 billion in revenue in 2018, compared to $1.9 in revenue expected from other bets. 

"While we are fans of NVDA emerging business in auto, gaming, and AI …have the prospects of these technology doubled in value in 6 months or is this an example of analysts chasing stock price?," Citron's white paper asks. 

 

Meanwhile, Wall Street's biggest Nvidia bull is Citi Research, who says Nvidia chips could be used in large-scale data centers and that more of those centers are being built to keep up with demand in artificial intelligence and virtual reality. The firm increased its target price for the stock to $180, representing an 8.5% upside to the current share price. When Citi announced their increased target price, it was a 21% upside.

The stock took off Citi's call, but Citron says the move is not sustainable. The white paper points out that the number of call options on Nvidia is exploding in popularity. Because traders aren't actually buying the shares it's like "the market is pricing lottery tickets -- $160 calls -- not an investment in future prospects on NVDA in common stock," Citron said its report.

Only time will tell who is right.

Click here to watch Nvidia stock price live in real time...

Nvidia stock price chart

SEE ALSO: A Wall Street bank used bitcoin to prove that NVIDIA is better than its competitors

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I wrote about the Old Fashioned's 'comeback' and a bunch of people from Wisconsin freaked out

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

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Bitcoin Experts to Congress: Overseas Exchanges Are Enabling Cybercrime

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

A hearing at US congressional subcommittee yesterday saw discussion of the role cryptocurrencies play in cybercrime.

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Early market indicators after the election are pointing to bad news for the average Brit

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

A shopper checks her shopping list in a supermarket in London, Britain April 11, 2017. British inflation shot past the Bank of England's 2 percent target last month, potentially adding to uneasiness among some officials at the central bank about keeping interest rates near zero. Consumer prices rose by a stronger-than-expected 2.3 percent, the biggest annual increase in nearly three-and-a-half years, pushed up by an increase in global oil prices and the impact of the Brexit vote on sterling.

LONDON — Friday's shock election result, in which Theresa May's Conservative Party failed to gain a majority, is set to be bad news for the finances of average Brits, if early indicators from the markets are to be believed, according to analysis from investment firm Hargreaves Lansdown.

"Following the UK election, sterling is coming under pressure, with a weak pound once more helping the FTSE 100. However, underlying that market strength, investors are betting that the average Brit will be poorer following this morning’s election result," Hargreaves Lansdown equity analyst Nicholas Hyett wrote in an emailed note late on Friday morning.

Since the Brexit vote 11 months ago, the pound has dropped from close to $1.50 to around $1.28,making it more expensive to import goods into the UK. That, in turn, has created inflation, pushing up the cost of the average shopping basket and squeezing the pockets of regular Brits.

Consequently, the consumer boom — which as Deutsche Bank noted earlier this week has been "the main reason for the UK’s robust growth performance" since the referendum — is slowing down and dragging overall growth with it.

With inflation set to rise further over the course of 2017, hitting more than 3% in some forecasts, that consumer slowdown could intensify, especially with further weakness in the pound expected following the election.

In the equity markets, Hyett writes, "the fallers are notable." Here he is once more (emphasis ours):

"Housebuilders are down across the board, but they’re joined by restaurants, high street banks, fashion retailers and media outlets. The implication is clear, consumer’s disposable incomes are expected to be stretched, and big ticket items, like property upgrades, as well as little luxuries, like regular meals out, are expected to be among the first to go.

"Sinking share prices at the likes of Next, Restaurant Group, easyJet and Dixons Carphone are all a reflection of the fact that lower sterling and political uncertainty mean the pounds in Britons’ pockets seem set to be lighter going forwards. The worries about the housing market have also spread beyond the housebuilders, with building materials suppliers such as Howdens and Travis Perkins joining the tumble.

Not only is an accelerating consumer slowdown bad for the average Brit, but it also bodes badly for the macro economy. Given that consumers have been the key drivers of the UK's economic strength in recent years, any consumer slowdown is a troubling prospect.

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Americans are suddenly defaulting on their credit cards

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

The American economy has looked pretty robust of late — unemployment just hit a 16-year low and stocks recently reached an all-time high.

This makes it all the more curious that Americans have suddenly stopped paying off their credit card bills at a rapid rate. 

In the last two fiscal quarters, banks reported a steep rise in credit card charge-offs — debt that companies can't collect from their customers — according to a report from Moody's. 

This chart from the report shows how each bank has fared on charge-offs, with Capital One, First National of Nebraska, and Synchrony showing the worst performance over the period:

moody's credit card charge offs

The sharp increase, the largest since 2009, is especially unusual given how strong the US employment market has been, Moody's noted. It suggests that American consumers haven't fallen onto hard times so much as banks have started to loosen their standards and issue credit more aggressively. 

Card issuers have been much stricter since the financial crisis and the passage of the CARD Act in 2009, which added an array of protections for consumers. Getting a credit card got a lot tougher, especially if you had sub-prime credit.

Charge-offs and unemployment tend to be related: When people lose their jobs, credit cards tend to be one of the first bills people stop paying, as compared to a home or auto loan where people risk losing those crucial assets. 

So, charge-offs spiking when unemployment claims are low indicates that banks have lowered their standards and are approving people for cards who aren't as credit worthy.  

The ratio of charge-offs to unemployment claims had been hovering near all-time lows, but this chart shows that it's shot back up to the historical average in the last two quarters — meaning standards might have deteriorated "rapidly," according to Moody's.

moody's charge-off to unemployment rate

In the bigger picture, charge-offs still remain at pretty low levels. This chart shows that we're still well below the historical average rate:  

moody's charge-off rate historically low

But if lending standards continue to degrade, things could get messy in a hurry in the event that the economy takes a turn for the worse, according to Warren Kornfeld, a senior vice president at Moody's.

"Although card standards were extremely tight in the years following the financial crisis, if underwriting then loosened materially, as the rise in charge-offs suggests, asset quality could continue to deteriorate rapidly going forward, especially in the event of a recession," Kornfeld said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: Americans haven't had this much credit card debt since the eve of the financial crisis

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Britain's credit rating could be slashed by 2 agencies after the general election bungle

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

A student with a skull painted on her face holds a pair of giant scissors to protest against planned cuts to the German education system in front of the Reichstag, the seat of the German Bundestag lower house of parliament November 24, 2003.

LONDON — Two major ratings agencies have warned that the UK's creditworthiness faces a downgrade following the shock failure of the Conservative Party to win a majority in Thursday's general election.

Both Moody's and Standard & Poor's issued statements on Friday morning saying they will reassess the UK's credit rating going forward after the result of election took an unexpected turn.

Theresa May's Conservatives won the most seats but failed to secure a majority, and look likely to enter an informal coalition with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party. This will give May a majority of just a couple of seats. That could make passing legislation incredibly difficult, especially when it comes to Brexit.

Consequently, both agencies have made clear their willingness to lower the UK's credit rating if circumstances deteriorate. As it stands, the UK holds the second highest rating with both agencies — Aa1 from Moody's, and AA+ from S&P.

Britain lost its AAA rating with S&P almost immediately after the Brexit referendum last year. It has held an Aa1 rating with Moody's since 2013 when it was downgraded from AAA due to sluggish growth prospects and fiscal challenges.

"Moody's is monitoring the UK's process of forming a new government and will assess the credit implications in due course," Kathrin Muehlbronner, the agency's lead UK sovereign analyst said in a statement earlier on Friday morning.

"As previously stated, the future path of the UK sovereign rating will be largely driven by two factors: first, the outcome of the UK's negotiations on leaving the European Union and the implications this has for the country's growth outlook. Second, fiscal developments, given the country's fiscal deficit and rising public debt."

S&P was even more downbeat, with Moritz Kraemer, its sovereign chief ratings officer, telling CNBC: "We have the outlook on the ratings still on negative indicating that further downgrade or downgrades could be in the wings going forward.

"This depends pretty much on the further outcome of the Brexit negotiations and the reality that the UK will face outside the EU, which is still uncertain."

A ratings downgrade would not merely be a symbolic gesture from the agencies, but would also materially impact the UK's ability to access financing. The lower a country's credit rating is, the higher interest rates it must pay when accessing debt in the markets.

It can also become more difficult to find entities willing to provide funding, although it is worth remembering that even if downgraded a notch Britain's rating with both agencies would still be among the highest in the world.

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US Army Guardsmen Convicted For Bitcoin Credit Card Fraud

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

Two members of the US Army National Guard have been convicted of running a credit card fraud scheme involving bitcoin.

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House builder and banking stocks are getting crushed after the election result

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

LONDON — The FTSE 100 may have opened higher on Friday in reaction to the general election result but individual sectors are getting seriously burned.

Banking stocks and house builders are particularly suffering, with stocks down as much as 5%.

Builders are the worst hit. Earlier this week the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) warned that the general election was "causing some hesitancy from both buyers and vendors" in the housing market. The uncertainty of a hung parliament is sparking fears that this property slowdown could continue.

House builders are domestic businesses that deal in pounds and the fall in sterling in the wake of the election result doesn't help either.

The worst hit stock is FTSE 250 housebuilder Crest Nicholson, down 4.9% at 9.40 a.m. BST (5.40 a.m. ET):crestPersimmon is the biggest faller on the FTSE 100, down 3.2% at the same time:persimmonOther big moves in the sector include Berkeley Group, down 4.8%, Taylor Wimpey, down 3.2%, and Barratt Developments, down 2.8%.

Despite the falls, analysts at Jefferies make the bold call to buy shares of house builders on Friday morning. Analysts Anthony Codling and Sam Cullen write:

"Uncertainty surrounding Brexit has increased in our view. The prospect of another election looms and activity in the UK housing market is likely to slow, in our view. Share prices overreacted follow the UK's EU referendum and we would buy UK house builders on weakness today, next week and the week after that."

Ken Odeluga, an analyst at City Index, agrees with Jefferies' assessment, saying: "Whilst investors often seem to be ready to take opportunities to trim soaring housebuilder shares—Persimmon, the biggest gained almost 40% up till late-May—notwithstanding cooling demand, recent experience suggests even a significant residential property stock sell-off will be short-lived."

Domestic UK bank stocks are also suffering on Friday morning. The new uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations is also likely hitting sentiment, with financial services likely to be the sector most affected by the outcome.

Lloyds Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland stocks are both down over 3%, while Barclays stock is down 1%.

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The EU looks set to reject the UK if it tries to call a Brexit timeout

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

timeout

LONDON — The UK may need to stop the clock on negotiations to leave the European Union while it sorts out a political mess, a JPMorgan analyst said, but the EU might seek to keep the original timeline.

Meanwhile Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator said that the "timetable and EU positions are clear," hinting at keeping the March 2019 deadline for the UK's exit.

Under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the two parties, which begin talks in less than two weeks, have until the end of Autumn 2018 to agree on complex issues such as new trading arrangements, how much money is owed and the status of UK and EU nationals living abroad.

That gives less than 18 months for the UK to form a government and negotiate Brexit. At the moment, it's not even clear who will lead the UK's negotiating team, according to Nomura.

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council of national leaders, was even more explicit, saying that while "We don't know when Brexit talks start. We know when they must end."

The ability of the UK "to sustain political continuity through the discussions looks challenged" following the result of the general election, Malcom Barr, a European economics analyst at JPMorgan, said in a note to clients on Friday.

"Perhaps the most obvious conclusion is that the likelihood of the UK needing to request a delay in the Brexit process has risen substantially, given the chance that political developments in the UK disturb what is already a time compressed process," said Barr.

Here's Barnier hinting at keeping the original timetable in a tweet following the election result of a hung parliament:

And here's a graphic of the EU's timetable:

timeline

The Conservatives lost their majority in parliament after voters rejected May's call for a bigger mandate in order to "strengthen her hand" in Brexit negotiations, which may see the UK move towards a softer Brexit. Rather than step down, Prime Minister Theresa May could seek a coalition with Northern Irish MPs from the Democratic Unionist Party, which would increase the chance of the UK staying within the EU Customs Union.

"It is extremely difficult, however, to see how a stable and coherent policy toward Brexit can be constructed and implemented given this political backdrop," said Barr. "The influence of Irish MPs concerned about ensuring a frictionless border is likely to create a contingency for a more pragmatic approach to Brexit."

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NOMURA: Theresa May’s election failure raises the likelihood of a softer Brexit

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

David Davis Boris Johnson Liam Fox

LONDON — The political chaos resulting from the General Election adds a "new level of uncertainty" and raises the likelihood of a softer Brexit approach in negotiations that start in less than two weeks, an analyst at Nomura said.

"These election results call the Brexit result into question – at the least, this could be seen as a rejection of Mrs May’s hard stance on the upcoming negotiations," Bilal Hafeez, a European rates analyst at Nomura wrote in a note to clients on Friday.

"Whatever the case, her party’s position in parliament will be a roadblock to getting her own way on what is set to be the most defining event in many years," he said.

Prime Minister Theresa May will refuse to stand down as Conservative party leader after failing to win a majority in the general election, according to multiple reports.

The Conservatives lost their majority in parliament after voters rejected her call for a bigger mandate in order to "strengthen her hand" in Brexit negotiations.

The result "is likely to lead the market to question the possibility of a softer Brexit," Hafeez said. So far market reaction to the election result has been muted, with the fall in the Pound helping to buoy stocks.

But, without knowing for certain how May's cabinet will look when talks start, there is no guarantee that the UK will push for single market access. "When Brexit negotiations start in just 11 days, who will be sitting on the UK side of the table? Until that is clear, it will be hard to say anything concrete, but this adds a whole new level of uncertainty to the Brexit negotiations," said Hafeez.

Whichever way the negotiations go, the overall uncertainty is bad for investors, businesses and consumers. "Greater uncertainty could herald weaker investment, while the impact from a lower sterling could mean weaker consumption," Hafeez said.

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The FTSE 100 is rallying due to a weak pound as a hung parliament is confirmed

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

LONDON — The FTSE is rallying due to a weak pound on Friday morning as Thursday's election ended in a hung parliament.

Here's what it looks like at 8.20 a.m. BST (3.20 a.m. ET):

Screen Shot 2017 06 09 at 08.18.40

Though a weaker pound might seem like bad news for UK stocks, about 70% of the revenue of the companies that make up the FTSE 100 is derived from abroad, meaning they make more money when sterling is weak.

The FTSE 250, which contains a higher quota of domestic companies, was down around 0.5% at the same time.

An emailed note to clients from analysts Mike van Dulken and Henry Croft this morning said: "A very positive opening call comes as FTSE investors embrace fresh GBP weakness following a hung parliament result from the UK election.

"Whilst this means uncertainty about the UK economy and of course Brexit negotiations, the index’s international exposure means it benefits from a FX translational standpoint. The prospect of a softer Brexit stance due to a coalition is also helping. Stocks in focus today will be financials, miners and housebuilders."

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Here's how the City of London is reacting to Theresa May's shock failure to win a majority

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

trader after general election 2017

LONDON — Thursday night's general election result, in which the Conservative Party failed to win a widely expected majority in the House of Commons, has sent ripples across the political and financial spectrum.

The City of London, which had widely been preparing for a Tory majority, was shocked by the result, with the pound dropping sharply as an exit poll showed that the party would fall short.

Away from the pound, market reaction has so far been reasonably muted, with the FTSE 100 actually opening a little higher and safe haven assets like gold little moved.

However, the election will understandably be all that anyone in the City is talking about on Friday, with analysts, strategists and traders all sharing their opinions about what the result could possibly mean for the markets, as well as the UK's broader economy.

Business Insider has rounded up some of the best reactions so far. Check them out below:

Kallum Pickering, economist at Berenberg

The early speculation is that the Conservatives and the pro-Brexit DUP (Democratic Union Party – N. Ireland) could enter a coalition.

But with 329 seats between them, the working majority would be very slim. No doubt there will be speculation of another Conservative-Lib Dem government. But the Lib Dems want another referendum on Europe. That would be a tough sell for the Eurosceptics in the Conservative Party.



Dean Turner, economist at UBS Wealth Management

"Markets were not primed for the prospect of uncertainty today. The dramatic change to the political and economic status quo will be unsettling to investors.

"The purest way of playing macro-political risk is through sterling, and we may see a good deal of the markets’ worries played out through currency. The short-term outlook points to higher volatility. In the first instance, it is likely that the pound will give up the bulk of its post-election announcement gains."



Lee Hardman, currency analyst at Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group

"The consensus that this election was all about consolidating Theresa May’s leadership is now shattered. Market hopes were pinned firmly on a stronger mandate as the UK government begins Brexit negotiations. Without question, there is volatility ahead. The market is desperate for any indication of what a Brexit deal might look like."

 



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Businesses want politicians to 'get their house in order' after Theresa May's election gamble backfires

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

Conservative party election campaign mugs are seen on the battle bus as it departs following a rally at The Grand Station on May 30, 2017 in Wolverhampton, England. Britain goes to the polls on June 8 to elect a new parliament in a general election. (Photo by )

LONDON — Business groups are calling for stability and a swift resolution to the political uncertainty in Britain, as the country wakes up to a hung parliament.

Theresa May's decision to call a snap election has backfired spectacularly, with the Tory Party set to lose her majority in the House of Commons.

The pound collapsed as much as 2% against the dollar on Thursday night when the first exit polls suggested a hung parliament and it continues to fall on Friday morning. UBS is also warning that the result could damage the UK economy by putting off overseas investors.

Reacting to the election results, business groups are calling for politicians to "get their house in order" and quickly form a government to ensure stability for the economy.

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which represents 190,000 UK businesses, says in a statement: "This is a serious moment for the UK economy. The priority must be for politicians to get their house in order and form a functioning government, reassure the markets and protect our resilient economy.

"Politicians must act responsibly, putting the interests of the country first and showing the world that the UK remains a safe destination for business. It’s time to put the economy back to the top of the agenda."

Mike Cherry, the chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), says in a statement: "In the coming hours and days, business needs immediate reassurance from the government that emerges about how it will protect the economy from any political turmoil. The UK must be seen to remain open for business, with a government committed to supporting enterprise.

"In the days ahead, FSB members will want to see ministers appointed and a clear timetable for the coming weeks. We are ready to work with the Government and all parties on what measures to bring forward."

Miles Celic, the CEO of TheCityUK, a lobbying group for the financial and professional services industry, says: "

What’s clear is that government and business need to work more closely as we move forward to ensure stability and continued economic growth.

"With the imminent Brexit negotiations, it is vital that we prioritise clarity around the UK’s approach and maintain a sharp focus on getting the best possible deal. We have been working hard to detail what this looks like, and today’s result does not change the core issues that need agreement."

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UBS: Britain's hung parliament could spell even more trouble for the economy

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

UK big ben union flag jack umbrella

LONDON — The hung parliament emerging from 2017's general election could make things worse for the British economy than they already are, analysts from UBS wrote early on Friday morning.

In a note circulated to clients, UBS strategist John Wraith and his team argue that the uncertainty surrounding the makeup of the UK's next government will lower the confidence of investors, particularly those investing from overseas, possibly adding to the economy's woes.

Weakening confidence in the economy could further lower GDP growth in the coming months, the investment bank says.

"We think this result intensifies the downside risks to the near-term economic outlook. Such significant political uncertainty will further dampen sentiment and confidence," Wraith's team writes.

This, UBS adds, will exacerbate "the weakness we have already been starting to see over recent months." In Friday's election reaction note, Wraith says: "Short end rates are likely to decline, while at the longer end a renewed safe haven bid will be offset by concerns about a loss of demand from overseas investors alarmed by the political uncertainty that could persist for a prolonged period of time."

After close to 10 months of shockingly strong growth, recent data has confirmed what economists have been predicting for a long time — that Brexit will have a materially negative impact on the British economy. GDP growth slowed to just 0.2% in the first quarter of 2017, the Office for National Statistics said late in May.

In a separate note on Thursday, Wraith predicted a "persistent and protracted" slowdown in the UK as: "In the background various gauges of confidence and sentiment are continuing to gradually soften."

This could get even worse if overseas investors potentially delay pumping money into the country as they wait to see how the UK's political situation develops. As it stands, the most likely outcome for a future government seems to be a Conservative-led parliament, propped up by Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), although the Tories could also seek to govern with a minority.

Adding to the uncertainty is the possibility of a new prime minister should Theresa May decide to (or be forced to) resign from the office after what is a humiliation for the PM.

Everything is up in the air right now, and that does not bode well for the economy.

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European futures are flat as UK heads towards an uncertain future

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

LONDON — European futures are flat on Friday morning as Britain heads towards a hung parliament and an uncertain future.

Futures on both of Europe's biggest stock bourses, Britain's FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX 30, are almost entirely flat at 6.50 a.m. BST (1.49 a.m. ET), with over an hour to go until trading formally begins in Europe.

Here are the charts of how FTSE futures look right now:

Screen Shot 2017 06 09 at 06.48.05

And here's how the DAX futures look:

Screen Shot 2017 06 09 at 06.48.26

Tom Stevenson, director at Fidelity International, said in a morning note: "The market reaction to this unwelcome outcome is likely to hit UK shares, bonds and the pound. Markets will likely remain on the back foot while the difficult job of putting together a workable government is undertaken. This is when a well-diversified portfolio comes into play. The case for a well-balanced portfolio, geographically and by asset class, has never been stronger."

"A weak pound has provided a boost to the UK equity market over the past year but that was against a backdrop of a more robust economy than anyone expected after the Brexit vote. Looking ahead, the FTSE 100 will struggle to progress even with the tailwind of weak sterling’s boost to exporters and overseas earners. Domestically-focused companies in the FTSE 250 and Small Cap indices also face headwinds as sluggish domestic earnings and rising inflation deliver an effective pay-cut to British workers. We continue to prefer European equities to the UK market."

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The pound plunged after 'thunderbolt' exit poll shows Britain could be heading for a hung parliament

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

LONDON — The British pound dropped sharply on Thursday evening after the exit poll suggested that no party will win a majority in the House of Commons after 2017's general election.

The exit poll, which in recent elections has proved to be a fairly accurate forecast of the official result, showed Theresa May's Conservative Party as the biggest individual party, heading for 314 seats in the House of Commons, 12 short of a majority.

Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party are projected to be the second party, on 266 seats. Many forecasters had predicted the Conservatives could win a majority of up to 100 seats.

Of course, the exit poll could be wrong, but investors initially took its findings as evidence that Britain is headed for a hung parliament, meaning a government will not be formed immediately, as would be the case if a majority was won.

Sterling dropped sharply on the exit poll, losing close to 2%, before recovering a little after early results from the North East of England showed a smaller swing from the Conservatives to Labour than had been forecast by the exit poll. 

By 12.40 a.m. BST on Friday morning, sterling has entered something of a holding pattern as investors wait for more concrete news on how the election might end up looking. Here's the sterling chart:

Screen Shot 2017 06 09 at 00.43.15

The rationale behind the early move in sterling was simply that markets dislike political uncertainty, so the prospect of a period without a government, particularly as the UK heads towards the beginning of formal Brexit negotiations, is not a nice one for investors.

"Sterling has fallen off a cliff after the initial exit poll. A hung parliament is the worst outcome from a markets perspective as it creates another layer of uncertainty ahead of the Brexit negotiations and chips away at what is already a short timeline to secure a deal for Britain," Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda wrote in an email soon after the exit poll.

"GBPUSD fell more than 2 cents immediately after the exit poll and looks very vulnerable to further downside."

"This exit poll is a thunderbolt that leaves only two outcomes realistically in play; a slender Tory majority or a hung parliament," Samuel Tombs of Pantheon Macroeconomics wrote in an emailed statement, adding "Settle in for a long night."

While sterling's drop so far is substantial, it pales in comparison to its fall after Britain voted to leave the European Union last June. Here's the chart, showing the respective drops:

screen_shot_2017 06 08_at_5.32.52_pm

Sterling also remains a little above the level it traded at prior to May calling a the election in mid-April.

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