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Private equity is trying to poach young bankers mere weeks into their jobs

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

Goldman Sachs lobby

Wall Street recruitment season is coming earlier and earlier every year.

Recruiters for some of the world’s largest and most prestigious private equity firms are firing off meeting invitations a full three months sooner than four years ago, Bloomberg News’ Yueqi Yang reports.

Junior analysts — the most entry level position at most banks — are getting a flurry of recruitment emails just months after they've graduated college and started at desks on banks across Wall Street.  And by the end of the year, many of them will likely be interviewing at some of the biggest private equity firms on the Street.

Formal interviews begin in January, and within 96 hours, a majority of those spots are already filled, Julie Johnson, executive vice president of Sponsors for Education Opportunity told Bloomberg.

Firms used to have an informal agreement about when they would all begin recruiting. But when companies stopped playing nice, others began recruiting earlier. Recruiters for major firms told Bloomberg that they wish the season would start later, but every year someone inevitably jumps the gun. 

It’s a stressful time for job seekers, too, as it could lead to being fired from their current firm. Goldman Sachs reportedly began announcing promotions earlier in the year to keep them on board. But when all is finalized at the end of the grueling, months-long process, only a small percentage of thousands of junior investment bankers will make the jump.

Are you a junior analyst recruiting for outside jobs and want to share your experience? Send an email to grapier@businessinsider.com We can help you remain anonymous.

SEE ALSO: Goldman Sachs asked its interns about their spending habits, social media apps, and dreams — here are their answers

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A couple of 30-something guys swapped high finance for farmland and now manage $575 million

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

IMG_0627.JPG

  • Homestead Capital, a $575 million private-equity fund, was founded by Daniel Little and Gabe Santos, both of whom have personal ties to agriculture.
  • Because of the many uncertainties involved in farming, outside investors are sometimes unwilling to take a long-term investment approach, making some farmers skeptical of working with outside investors.
  • Santos and Little, both 39, try to establish a local presence with their regional managers and local farm operators.

The worlds of finance and farmland might seem incompatible. On the one hand, you have quarterly results, slick salesmanship, and quick gains; on the other hand, there's crop cycles, heavy machinery, and unpredictable conditions.

But according to Daniel Little and Gabe Santos, two former finance professionals, there's an opportunity to marry the two and generate returns for both farmers and investors.

Santos and Little are cofounders and portfolio managers of Homestead Capital, a private-equity firm with $574.5 million assets under management raised through two separate funds. Some of their largest investors include the Oregon Treasury, Washington State Investment Board, and the Maine Public Employees Retirement System.

When investing in farmland, they do not use one set strategy. They sometimes acquire unused farmland and bring in a farm operator. They sometimes take over the lease of a farm and work with the existing farmer. They also fund equipment upgrades when necessary.

The San Francisco firm oversees 18 crop types on 27 investment projects in 13 states. Homestead is on track to meet its target returns of 11 to 13% unlevered internal rate of return and an annual cash yield of 5 to 7%, according to Santos and Little.

Beginnings of Homestead

In 2009, Santos and Little were both working in Hong Kong for Wall Street giants.

Santos worked with the global natural-resources group at Goldman Sachs and Little was a fund manager at JPMorgan when the two first met at a mutual friend's birthday party. They quickly realized that aside from their professions, they had a much deeper connection: a passion for agriculture.

They spoke of their mutual interest in agro investing, and, before the night was over, agreed to follow up with each other the following week.

The passion Santos and Little share for agriculture comes from their exposure to that world at a young age.

unnamedSantos, 39, was born the oldest of three boys to Mexican immigrant parents and grew up in a neighborhood east of Los Angeles. His grandfather had been a seasonal migrant farmer in the 1940s and '50s. Santos still has a picture of his mother and aunt sitting on his grandfather's tractor.

Little, also 39, grew up in Ohio during the farm crisis of the 1980s, when farmers faced increased equipment prices and interest rates, falling exports, and record foreclosures. As an adult, he returned to Ohio with his wife and bought farmland where he now grows corn and soybeans.

Beyond farming, Santos and Little shared similar professional goals as well.

"We figured out we were both entrepreneurs trapped within these large institutions," Santos says.

Santos and Little began laying the groundwork to launch their own fund dedicated to investing in agriculture from 2010 to 2012. They used vacation days to fly back to the US from Hong Kong to assess farmland and to put together a team.

Ray Brownfield has worked in the farmland acquisition business for 44 years and overseen some 500,000 acres in acquisitions. He is now a regional manager for Homestead Capital and a part of its mission to maintain a local presence on its farms.

"I've worked for a lot of other people who haven't put money back into the land, and I can tell you that is not the case with Homestead," says Brownfield. "We had one farm that needed about $20,000 of new tile and Gabe and Dan said: 'OK, let's do it.' Gabe and Dan even came to see it once it was done."

'They really want to create value in creating community good'

Farming is a capital-intensive business, meaning a substantial amount of money needs to be paid up front for equipment, seeds, and other goods before returns are seen. And oftentimes there's a concern outside investors are unwilling to take a long-term approach.

Duane farm 2.JPGIdaho farmer Duane Grant — whose father left his life as a California rancher to be an Idaho farmer after World War II — manages 4,000 acres in southwest Idaho, where he packages 3.5 million potatoes each year that he then sells to french-fry companies.

According to Grant, crops can run on eight- or 10-year cycles, and profits can be hard to predict because of weather and macroeconomic factors.

"My concern with institutional investors is always their commitment to the industry," Grant says.

But in 2013, Grant entered into a partnership with Homestead Capital, a private-equity fund run by Santos and Little, for a farm just shy of 1,000 acres.

"I sort of said, 'You guys are money guys, but let's see how this goes.'"

Grant and Homestead have since moved from a 10-year plan to a buy-and-hold strategy. Grant says that working with Homestead has shown him that Santos and Little have the proper vision and long-term commitment to be successful in the industry.

"They really want to create value in creating community good," Grant says.

SEE ALSO: Deere beats on earnings and boosts its forecast for the year

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Tor and More: Bitcoin Market OpenBazaar Adds Features in 2.0 Beta Release

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

The new version of the the P2P e-commerce network can be accessed via the anonymous Tor browser and can facilitate purchases when stores are offline.

CREDIT SUISSE: GrubHub’s recent acquisition may take time to pay off (GRUB)

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

GrubHub CEO Matt Maloney (C) applauds after ringing the opening bell before the company's IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York April 4, 2014.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Fresh on the heels of the company’s $287.5 million Eat24 acquisition, Credit Suisse analyst Paul Bieber has downgraded GrubHub, citing “uncertainty on acquisition accretion.”

“We are lowering our rating as we believe shares reflect an optimistic scenario for accretion from recent acquisitions,” he wrote in a note published Monday morning.

In short, Credit Suisse believes any growth from the Eat24 buyout will be slow, and could take a full year to materialize.

Specifically, Credit Suisse points to four reasons GrubHub's growth from the Eat24 acquisition is likely to take a while:

  • Eat24 integration costs. "We expect the integration of Eat24 to take 6-12 months upon closing the deal and anticipate technology expense synergies to be realized once the integration is complete (ie. late 2018 or 2019)," the bank wrote, noting that integrating Seamless and GrubHub onto a common platform in 2015 and 2016 ran into unexpected delays. 
  • Delivery mix shift. Online ordering still only accounts for a small percentage of what Americans spend at restaurants each year. The company's wide range for EBITDA guidance has Credit Suisse analysts looking at the pace of growth with caution. 
  • Potential investment in marketing to drive growth. "Investing in marketing to drive active diner growth in 2nd and 3rd tier cities is a big priority for Grubhub," writes the bank. "And it's possible that Grubhub will elect to invest acquisition accretion in marketing to drive faster gross food sales (GFS) growth in 2018."
  • Management conservatism. The bank expects management to act conservatively in its annual guidance, which could have a chilling effect on the stock price. 

The bank’s new price target for GrubHub is $53 — just a few cents shy of Wall Street consensus, according to Bloomberg, and 6.2% below Monday’s closing price.

Shares of GrubHub are up 52% so far this year. The company declined to immediately comment for this story. 

GrubHub stock price

SEE ALSO: We compared Whole Food prices today to what they were 2 years ago — and what we found shocked us

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STOCKS SOAR TO A NEW RECORD: Here's what you need to know

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

dog handglider flying soaring

Stocks soared to a record high as investors sought risky assets after Hurricane Irma caused less damage than originally thought.

The S&P 500 climbed 1% as fears over escalating North Korea tensions ebbed, erasing last week's 0.6% loss in the benchmark index. Meanwhile, both the Dow and the more tech-heavy Nasdaq surged more than 1.1%.

First up, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 22,057.37, +259.58, (+1.19%)
  • S&P 500: 2,488.11, +26.68, (+1.08%)
  • Nasdaq: 6,432.26, +72.07, (+1.13%)
  • US 10-year yield: 2.13%, +0.064
  • WTI crude oil: $48.10, +0.62, +1.31%

1. Equifax is getting crushed — and traders are betting it's going to get so much worse. The stock is down 18% since it announced last week that hackers may have the personal details of nearly half the US population, and options speculators are positioning for continued weakness.

2. Goldman Sachs provides two big reasons the stock market is safe from a correction. The first is a lack of investor euphoria, and the second is persistent economic expansion.

3. The creator of Wall Street's "fear gauge" says people don't understand it as well as they should. Bob Whaley, the Vanderbilt professor who created the VIX, thinks the investment community could use a little more education about what the index does.

4. China reverses course after the yuan's recent strengthening. The People's Bank of China will remove an October 2015 measure that made it more expensive for onshore banks to use currency forwards, as well as a January 2016 reserve requirement on foreign banks' yuan deposits.

5. Wall Street is facing a gloomy reality. Citigroup's chief financial officer said on Monday that the bank was on pace for a 15% year-over-year decline in third-quarter trading revenues, while a Barclays analyst estimated that all of Wall Street would see a 12% trading decline.

ADDITIONALLY:

Market legend Art Cashin's note from the first day US markets opened after 9/11

RBC: Google is in the "crosshairs" of antitrust regulators — and should be kicked out of FANG

The iPhone X is rumored to have an OLED screen — here's what OLED is and how it's different from past iPhones

Tesla is popping after releasing its next generation of Superchargers

Goldman Sachs' head of HR is leaving

SEE ALSO: Equifax is getting crushed — and traders are betting it's going to get so much worse

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This is how Tesla was able to increase range for some Florida owners fleeing Hurricane Irma (TSLA)

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

Tesla Rocklin Supercharger

Late last week, as Irma was bearing down on Florida as a Category 5 hurricane, and many inhabitants of the state were evacuating, a lone Tesla owner contacted the carmaker and asked for an increase in range to be able to escape the storm more easily.

That owner, according to Tesla, did not have the current base Model S or X with a 75 kWh battery pack. For a period of time, Tesla sold the Models S and X with a 75 kWh pack that was limited by software to 60 or 70 kWh. For $6,500, owners could upgrade to the full 75 kWh capacity.

Most owners were upgrading, so Tesla discontinued the cheaper option. However, some of those vehicles are obviously still on the road, and Tesla certainly did the right thing by maxing out their range in Florida. (The upgrade will remain in effect until September 16, and it really was as simple as flipping a switch — or beaming out some computer code.)

So what's going on with paying about $60,000 for a Tesla that's actually toting around a battery than can serve up the same range as a car that costs much more?

gas station pump cars irma

For Tesla, the idea was twofold. First, have a cheaper car to sell while waiting for the less-expensive Model 3 to arrive. Second, create an upselling opportunity.

There were other factors, chiefly Tesla not being forced to produce lots of different battery packs. Sticking with just the 75 kWh pack and restricting its charging capacity means only a single "base" battery had to be manufactured.

Owners also got some time to determine if they wanted the additional range. Tesla is now doing something similar with its Autopilot technology: all new vehicles have the hardware, but Tesla "unlocks" capabilities using software, if owners want to pay the additional cost.

This might all sound a bit weird if you're used to gas-engined cars that have a stated range and that's it. But for Tesla, managing variations using software makes sense, given that the company sells only three vehicles currently.

The cheaper versions of its cars aren't for sale anymore, but putting them on sale in the first place was Tesla solution to competing in effectively only two segments, and luxury ones at that: mid-size sedans and SUVs.

SEE ALSO: FOLLOW US on Facebook for more car and transportation content!

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'Revolutionary': Finland Central Bank Paper Heaps Praise on Bitcoin

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

Researchers at Finland's central bank have dubbed bitcoin's economic system "revolutionary" in a new staff paper.

RBC: Google is in the ‘crosshairs’ of antitrust regulators — and should be kicked out of FANG (GOOGL, GOOG)

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

Google logo sign bike employee office

  • Google is facing heavy antitrust regulation risk from around the world.
  • If hit by these regulations, the company could have to pay more to acquire users, putting a dent in its bottom line.

Google made headlines after it was served with the largest fine in the history of the European Commission, but it looks like that fine may not be the end of the company's troubles.

The fine from the European Commission for about $2.9 billion was levied because the company's search results for shopping queries were deemed unfair by the commission, and the company has until September 28 to change its products to comply with the ruling.

Intel was served a similar fine in 2009 when rebates it gave to its customers were deemed to hinder competition, but the company recently won an appeal, sending its case back to the lower court to be re-examined. Google, bolstered by Intel's victory, recently submitted an appeal. According to Mark Mahaney, an analyst at RBC, the company may have a chance to win that case, but it is still in regulatory hot water across the globe.

"Recent developments lead us to highlight Google as facing the greatest regulatory risk among Large Cap [internet stocks]. We are especially focused on the traffic acquisition cost expense risk raised by potential EU action against Google’s Android system," Mahaney wrote in a note to clients. "Still, we are Outperform based on what we view as sustainable & scarce premium growth, significant option value and reasonable valuation."

The biggest risk that Mahaney sees to Google's bottom line and valuation is the rising cost of acquiring customers if several pending cases against the company are ruled in its opponent's favor. The company appealed one case it lost in European courts, but two others are currently in progress. The European Commission is looking into Google's dominant position in mobile through its Android platform as well as its dominant position as a search advertising power.

If Google loses these cases, it could face a fine, but it could also be forced to split up some of its current offerings, making them more expensive to get in front of potential customers.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager Google Antitrust

For example, if Google is forced to allow other companies easy app store access on its Android operating system, acquiring users for its Google Maps or Youtube apps could become significantly harder.

"The rub here is that the potential next EU regulatory action may well involve forcing Google to 'unbundle' Android from its other services – Search, YouTube, Maps, etc," Mahaney explained. "This, in turn, could provide negotiating leverage to OEMs…and thus lead to potentially higher traffic acquisition cost expenses."

Google is expected to spend about $21 billion in 2017 to acquire its traffic, which is equivalent to about 22% of its revenue from Ad Sense, the company's biggest cash cow, according to RBC.

For every 1% increase in this traffic acquisition cost, Mahaney estimates the company would lose about $0.40 from its 2018 earnings per share, or about 1%. 

Outside of the EU, Google is starting to feel the heat from antitrust talk. Democrats in the United States came out with their "Better Deal" platform earlier this year, which includes a plank aimed at empowering consumers by taking on the biggest "corporate monopolies," like Google.

Mahaney said several unnamed venture capitalists and silicon valley CEOs see antitrust as significant issue for the big tech companies in the future. Mahaney said a venture capitalist he spoke with suggested that antitrust action against Google may be "the first successful bi-partisan act in the US in 10 years."

The increased regulatory pressure, both in the EU and the US, is all hypothetical right now. Google may win all its cases in Europe and never face the wrath of Congress in the US. The risk is there though, as Mahaney points out, and it's the company with the most regulatory risk in the "FANG" tech group. Mahaney suggested that Google could be removed from the popular "FANG" acronym if it is hit with these regulatory issues.

He is still bullish on Google though and rates the company as a buy with a price target of $1,050, about 11.23% higher than its current price of $944.93.

Google is up 16.99% so far this year.

Click here to watch Google's stock price trade in real time...

google stock price

SEE ALSO: These new smartwatches prove that fashion and tech need to work together

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China reverses course after the yuan's recent strengthening

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

zhou xiaochuan pboc

China is reversing course and loosening some financial restrictions after the yuan's appreciation in 2017.

The People's Bank of China will remove an October 2015 measure that made it more expensive for onshore banks to use currency forwards, as well as a January 2016 reserve requirement on foreign banks' yuan deposits, according to the Wall Street Journal's Lingling Wei.

The yuan weakened against the US dollar by about 0.6% on Monday after the news crossed the wires.

Both measures were originally introduced to soften depreciation pressures on the yuan. They followed the PBoC's August 2015 devaluation of the yuan, which spooked investors. At the time, there were concerns that the currency might continue to dip further.

This year, however, the onshore yuan has appreciated by over 6% against the dollar as the US currency has continued on its downward trajectory. The dollar index has fallen by about 11% against a basket of currencies since US President Donald Trump's inauguration.

But in recent weeks, the yuan has appreciated by more than the dollar's corresponding weakening, Tao Wang, economist at UBS, pointed out in a note to clients last week.

Some analysts have suggested that the central bank's decision to remove the earlier measures reflects worries that the strengthening yuan could hurt exports. (If the yuan strengthens against another currency, then China's goods and services become more expensive for people using the other currency, and they might end up buying less of those Chinese goods and services.)

And in fact, Pan Haisong, who runs Shanghai Taijing International Freight Co., an international shipping company, told the WSJ that some of his exporter clients have reduced orders because of the stronger yuan.

yuan

But not everyone is convinced that a stronger yuan is the central bank's biggest concern. Mark Williams, chief Asia economist at Capital Economics, argued that the yuan's recent gains against the dollar have been mostly offset by losses against other currencies, and that this is why policymakers made their move.

He illustrated that argument via a chart, which shows that the yuan has appreciated against a broad trade-weighted basket of currencies by far less than it has appreciated against the US dollar.

He also argued that the bank isn't necessarily aiming for a weaker yuan, but for more uncertainty.

"We don't believe that officials at the People's Bank are so acutely sensitive to the level of the exchange rate that they are now worried about renminbi strength — it has barely moved in trade-weighted terms," said he said in a note to clients.

"But now that depreciation pressure has abated, policymakers will want to introduce more uncertainty about the outlook to prevent the re-emergence of a view that the currency will only move one way."

Check out the full story at the Wall Street Journal.

SEE ALSO: DEUTSCHE BANK WARNS: 'The dollar is in trouble'

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Wall Street is facing a gloomy reality

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

storm nyc

It couldn't have started out much better for Wall Street in 2017. 

First-quarter revenues boomed, ginning up hopes that a moribund 2016 was the end of a steady, four-year decline for banking.

The scorecard: $42 billion in first-quarter revenues at the top-12 banks, including $21.4 billion from fixed income trading — a 14% and 20% increase, respectively, according to data from industry consultant Coalition. 

But high hopes have since been reined back in.

At an investor's conference on Monday, Citigroup CFO John Gerspach said the bank was on pace for a 15% year-over-year decline in trading revenues for the third quarter. A Barclays analyst estimated that all of Wall Street would see a 12% trading decline. 

While the quarter still has to play out, a 12% decline across the Street would put third-quarter trading revenues at $27.2 billion, $3.3 billion less than the $30.9 billion the top-12 banks earned in the quarter last year, according to Coalition data. 

The dismal projections — which follow a weak second-quarter — indicate the industry malaise may be no closer to its end.

Though deals activity has surged this year, it's unlikely to overcome the drop in trading, which accounts for a much larger share of revenue. bank revenues 1h 2017

Here's a rundown of the troubling state of Wall Street in 2017 thus far:

  • After a strong first quarter, business on Wall Street regressed in the second. Revenues dropped 5% from 2016 to $39.5 billion, including a 10% drop in trading. 
  • For the first half overall, Wall Street was up 4%, thanks to a 19% increase in investment banking deal activity. 
  • Strong investment banking performance won't be enough to overcome weak trading. Even assuming that investment banking continues to track 19% ahead of last year, Wall Street would end the third quarter about even with 2016, given the trading projections from Citi and Barclays:
    • Investment banking revenues for the third quarter, assuming a 19% gain: $11.4 billion.
    • Trading revenues for the third quarter, assuming a 12% decline: $27.2 billion.
    • Total: $38.6 billion
  • That's 4.5% below the $40.4 billion Wall Street hauled in during the third quarter in 2016. Through three quarters, it puts the banks basically even with last year: $120.6 billion in 2017 compared with $119.6 in 2016. 

The blame for the decline in trading has largely been ascribed to record-low market volatility. 2017 just hasn't had the surprising whipsaw market moments that 2016 did, such as Brexit and the election of President Donald Trump.  

That could change in an instant, and banks could see a trading resurgence in the latter half of the year. 

But if the trend from the second and third quarters carries over to the fourth, that strong first quarter will be remembered as an outlier, and banks will be hurtling toward a fifth consecutive down year.  

IB revenues 2016

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What you need to know on Wall Street right now

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

FILE PHOTO: Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative 2014 (CGI) in New York, September 24, 2014.  REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo Welcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. Sign up here to get the best of Business Insider delivered direct to your inbox.

Hurricane Irma made landfall at Cudjoe Key in the Florida Keys at 9:10 a.m. ET on Sunday, marking the first time in recorded history that two Category 4 storms have made landfall in the US in the same year.

Irma ravaged the west coast of Florida and sent storm-surge flooding, tornadoes, and hurricane-force wind gusts across the state. On Monday morning, Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm, according the National Hurricane Center. But the NHC's latest update says the storm is still producing hurricane-strength gusts of wind and life-threatening storm surges. Here's the latest:

It's been 16 years since the attacks of September 11, 2001. But for millions of Americans, haunting memories of that day are still fresh, and many lives were changed forever. Here are 23 haunting photos from the September 11 attacks that Americans will never forget. And here is market legend Art Cashin's note from the first day US markets opened after 9/11.

There's lots of Wall Street news, so here goes:

In markets news, there are two big reasons the stock market is safe from a correction, according to Goldman Sachs. Central banks are still more important than economics or politics for asset prices, according to JPMorgan. 

The creator of Wall Street's "fear gauge" says people don't understand it as well as they should. Additionally, Equifax is getting crushed — and traders are betting it's going to get so much worse.

In healthcare, a new study undermines Big Pharma's justification for charging high drug prices. And the CEO of biotech Axovant, who sold his last company for $14 billion, told us why he wants to do things differently this time.

In retail news:

In tech news, Amazon has triggered a $5 billion bidding war — here are the cities that are in competition for its new HQ. A self-driving-car startup filled with ex-Apple engineers is talking to Softbank about a funding round that could value it at $3 billion. And Silicon Valley's blind spots are costing venture capitalists huge opportunities.

Lastly, go inside Queen Charlotte's Ball, the glamorous, Champagne-filled event for affluent debutantes from around the world.

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Tesla is popping after releasing its next generation of Superchargers (TSLA)

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

Tesla Urban Supercharger

Tesla is surging higher after announcing the next generation of its Superchargers, aimed at dense cities.

Shares are trading up 5.06% at $360.76 on Monday as the company addresses concerns city dwellers have with their vehicles. Owning a garage is a rarity in large urban centers, so an overnight charge might be hard to come by for many. The electric car maker is rolling out new chargers in Boston and Chicago.

"Supercharger stations in urban areas will be installed in convenient locations, including supermarkets, shopping centers and downtown districts, so it’s easy for customers to charge their car in the time it takes to grocery shop or run errands," Tesla said in a press release.

The new chargers will reportedly charge a Tesla in just 45 to 50 minutes and offer a new design that is slimmer than older models already situated along the nation's highways.

Tesla also announced it released a software updated to increase the range of its vehicles that were in areas affected by the Hurricane Irma. New Tesla vehicles usually require their owners to purchase the full range of their batteries through as an extra option, but the company unlocked the full range to allow customers the ability to better escape the coming storm.

Tesla shares are up 67.92% this year, including Monday's bump.

Click here to watch Tesla's stock price trade in real time...

tesla stock price

SEE ALSO: Tesla owners in Boston and Chicago are getting new Superchargers designed specifically for cities

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Goldman Sachs' head of HR is leaving (GS)

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

edith cooper

Goldman Sachs' global head of human capital management is leaving the firm at the end of the year.

Edith Cooper, who spent 21 years at Goldman Sachs, will retire from the firm at the end of the year, according to a memo seen by Business Insider. She will then become a senior director.

"During her nine years as head of HCM, Edith modernized the ways in which we recruit, develop and retain our people, enhancing our world-class talent organization," Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said in a memo.

Cooper is one of the most senior black women on Wall Street, and she pushed the bank to talk about race and equality. She also pushed Goldman to find new ways to recruit and retain young talent, changing the way the bank recruits university students, and helping move the bank towards providing more feedback.

"Through her commitment to enhancing the professional experience of our people and maximizing their talents and potential, Edith has helped to make Goldman Sachs a great place to work," Blankfein added.

Dane Holmes, global head of investor relations and global head of Pine Street, will become head of human capital management effective January 1. Pine Street is the firm’s leadership development group for partners and select managing directors. 

He will be replaced in his role as head of investor relations by Heather Kennedy Miner. Most recently, she served as global head of Strategic Advisory Solutions in Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM).

The shakeup involving Cooper, Holmes and Miner follows the announcement that Greg Agran, global head of commodities and another 20-year plus veteran at the bank, would be leaving.  

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UBS: Here’s how Kroger can survive Amazon’s push into groceries (KR)

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

kroger supermarket

Shares of Kroger, the No. 2 US grocery chain, tanked last week after the company said it would only give annual — not long term — guidance going forward.  

For the second quarter, Kroger's same stores sales (excluding fuel) and total revenue both beat analyst expectations, but the guidance shift left UBS analysts Michael Lasser and Mark Carden feeling un-enthused.

“Had it not been for the fact that KR left some doubt about its long-term outlook, its 2Q would have been received  relatively well,” they wrote in a note out Monday morning. “Overall, we think  KR  showed some signs of progress this quarter.

All grocers are worried after Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods led to a 25% jump in shoppers after the internet giant dramatically slashed prices at Whole Foods last month, Foursquare Labs data showed.

UBS maintained both its neutral rating for Kroger shares and its $24 price target, and offered two categories where Kroger can fend off any further declines:

Private label

Whole Foods 365Americans are giving up on brand-name products, pitting retailers and brands in a heated fight with one anther. Barclays called this shift a “sphere of despair,” in a note out in May. UBS says Kroger should double down on its private label offerings.

"One way KR expects to compete more effectively is by increasing its presence in private label," writes the bank. "Here,  the  company's  best-in-class  data  analytics  operation  &  third  party  blind taste  tests  can  help  give  it  an  edge  on  tracking  which  products  best  resonates  with consumers."

Online offerings

Whole Foods isn’t the only digitally fueled grocery empire. Walmart’s  acquisitions of online stores like Jet.com, Modcloth and Bonobos last year has led to a 60% uptick in online sales last quarter. Kroger has plenty of ground to make up in this online frontier.

amazon fresh pick up"KR continues to quietly grow its own omnichannel offering. Notably, its digital sales grew by 126% YoY in 2Q," writes UBS. "Further, KR plans to grow the number of stores offering ClickList to 1k by year end from 813 today.

"When combined with its packaged delivery offering on Vitacost and its growing use of third party delivery networks such as Uber & Shipt, we think the retailer is taking prudent steps to remain relevant in this growing channel."

Shares of Kroger were trading up about 1% Monday morning, after falling 8% in response to Friday’s disappointing earnings.

Kroger's CFO Michael Schlotman recognized that the retail environment is facing tough times. In an interview with CNBC, he said the company "decided in this environment, as fast changing as it is, we’re better off trying to give annual guidance." 

Kroger shares have fallen 31% over the past year.

 

Kroger stock price chart

 

 

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NOW WATCH: Bitcoin's bubble swells with a new record high

BTC-e Opens User Support Tool Ahead of Bitcoin Trading Relaunch

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

Embattled cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e has launched a new portal for sending in support tickets.

British people have suddenly stopped buying cars

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

LONDON — British people have suddenly stopped buying cars.

It's not clear why. But a number of anti-car trends have hit Britain simultaneously — such as the rise of Uber and a decline in household savings — driving down car sales.

This chart of total car sales both old and new, from Barclays, says it all:

vehicle sales uk

Here's what new car registrations look like:

private new car registrations

The prices of used/second-hand diesel cars has been particularly hard hit. On average, diesel prices are down 5.74% according to the sales site Motorway.co.uk.

Some diesel models are so unpopular that they're trading at a 26.31% price decline:

diesel car prices comparison

The Motorway.co.uk data cover a recent sample of 24,000 used cars valuations of the 10 most popular cars in the UK. “This year has already been a total shocker for diesel owners.

And now that most major manufacturers have launched diesel scrappage schemes, it doesn’t look like it’s about to get any better. Diesel cars are really starting to look like white elephants," Alex Buttle, director of Motorway.co.uk, said in a press release.

A number of factors are colliding simultaneously to hurt UK car sales:

UK car sales are especially vulnerable to fluctuations in demand because Britain's excess right-hand drive cars cannot be shipped to other areas of Europe, which use left-hand drive models.

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NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: A lot of talk of a bitcoin bubble and a few good reasons to believe tech isn't one

Giga Watt’s Role In Crypto Mining

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

Giga Watt Geopolitics

In late July, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that virtual tokens, such as those sold by the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), are securities and therefore now subject to federal securities laws. While the SEC announcement recognized that not all blockchain-based tokens are necessarily securities — Ether is not a security, while the DAO tokens are — the announcement should be taken seriously by companies seeking to launch an initial coin offering (ICO) under U.S. jurisdiction.

Other countries have taken different regulatory approaches, on Medium, Andrew Keys, head of global business development with ConsenSys, reported that the Chinese Mint is “experimenting with the ERC 20 token standard and Ethereum smart contracts to digitize the RMB.” Keys noted that China’s  Mint “also actively promotes blockchain technology in finance and related fields.”

As of September 4, China has taken a relatively firm stance against ICOs. However, this stance might be more characteristic of the Chinese government than catastrophic. According to Chinese financial magazine, Caixin, the Chinese regulators, the People’s Bank of China and China Securities Regulatory Commission, are currently deciding on how to handle ICOs. While permanent suspension is possible, until regulations are implemented, it’s assumed that the ban is temporary.

Geopolitics of Crypto Mining

Like the ICO world, crypto mining is dominated by China. Chinese mining pools are said to control more than 70 percent of Bitcoin’s total hashrate, if not more. There are two indisputable reasons for China’s dominance in the crypto mining industry. First, geopolitics: electricity in China is extremely cheap compared to other countries; and electricity costs are the most important factor in achieving a profitable mining operation. In industrial regions, electricity is either supplied by hydroelectric dams or subsidized by the government. Second, China maintains control of the majority of mining pools. The largest crypto mining pools ― collaborations where individuals or companies combine their hashrate to improve their chances of mining a block ― are all located in China.

The issue with China’s dominance in crypto mining is that combining pools in the same location could lead to centralization. If the bitcoin network becomes centralized its value as a decentralized ledger would essentially plummet. Russia and the United States do not have significant hashing power yet, but there is evidence their mining activity is growing.

The world's first full-service mining solution provider

Nestled in Wenatchee, Washington, located close to a number of hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River, the Giga Watt Project is becoming a significant player in North American crypto mining.

Giga Watt is fueled by five megawatts of power dedicated to mining resources, with an additional 50 in development. The token-launch platform Cryptonomos supports their ambitious quest to revolutionize mining. Cryptonomos’ objective is to deliver turnkey services to Giga Watt, including token-launch structuring, book building, platform hosting, smart contract development, cybersecurity, financial management, and administration of investor and public relations. While Giga Watt’s initial token sale has ended, there is still time to join the endeavor.

To fulfill their ambitions, Giga Watt is building an enormous network. “With massive power at our disposal, we can begin issuing blockchain solutions that perform useful computing functionality. Imagining a global supercomputer that consumes a gigawatt of energy where each of our customers can participate is indeed exciting,” admitted Giga Watt CEO Dave Carlson. With such a massive power network at their disposal, Giga Watt’s mining operation could be unmatched by any other in the world.

At this time, the Giga Watt project has three units already in operation, which means that 2.25 mega watts are currently ready for tokenization, while the construction of new units continues. At the time of writing, 1.25 million WTT tokens have potential clients to whom capacities could be rented out. By September, three of Giga Watt’s state-of-the-art pods will be completed. Capacities are allocated to token holders on a first come, first served basis.

The post Giga Watt’s Role In Crypto Mining appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Insurance stocks are rising as Hurricane Irma damage is likely to be less than expected (FNF, PGR, FAF, ACGL, CB, ALL, NAVG, SIGI, CINF, KINS)

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

hurricane irma

Hurricane Irma continues to rampage across Florida, knocking out power in much of the state. However, damage caused by the storm is looking to be less than expected, and insurance stocks are rising on the news.

Irma has been downgraded to a tropical storm Monday morning after hitting the Florida keys as a category 4 hurricane. The S&P insurance exchange traded fund is up 2.06% on Monday morning, as reports from the affected areas in Florida roll in.

The ETF was falling in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and in anticipation Irma hit Florida. It fell greater than 2% on more than one occasion last week but actually gained nearly 3% on Friday, just days before Irma made landfall in Florida.

Here is a list of some of the biggest insurance companies and how much they have moved on Monday...

Destruction from Hurricane Irma, while less than expected, still devastated parts of the Caribbean and caused heavy destruction in areas of Florida. 5.8 million homes and businesses are currently without power because of the storm, and Irma was the cause for the largest evacuation in history.

Irma is now headed through the northern parts of Florida toward Georgia and Alabama.

For the latest news on Irma, click here...

SEE ALSO: Irma is hammering Florida and headed to Georgia — here's the latest

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NOW WATCH: Bitcoin's bubble swells with a new record high

Bitcoin Finds Bottom at $4,000 as Price Awaits Post-China Breakout

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

Bitcoin traders may be awaiting news from China, but analysis suggests they might have already made up their minds on how to bet the coming move.

Apple is rising ahead of Tuesday's 'game changing' iPhone X launch event (AAPL)

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

iPhone 8 iPhone 10 iPhone X Concept

Apple is expected to announce the details of the new iPhone on Tuesday and investors are driving the stock price higher in anticipation.

Apple is trading 2.0% higher on Monday ahead of the launch event. 

Last year, the iPhone maker slipped slightly lower on the day before the event and gained 0.46% as investors watched the iPhone 7 launch event day-of. The iPhone X is expected to be much more exciting than its predecessor, however.

Amit Daryanani, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, predicts the event will be "game changing." Daryanani is bullish on the slate of features expected from the new phone and has a price target for the company's stock of $180, which is 11.57% higher than Apple's current price.

Daryanani, and others, are bullish on the new model because it will be the first update to the phone's form factor in several generations. The last major update to the look of the devices came when the phone was updated from the square and boxy iPhone 5 to the current curved look of the larger iPhone 6 and 7. The iPhone X is expected to have a glass back for wireless charging, while the current phones are aluminum backed. It is also expected to have a bezel-less screen in the same vein as Samsung's Galaxy S8.

Despite all the leaks around the new phone, Daryanani still thinks the device has the capacity to surprise investors and customers. Some analysts are expecting a "supercycle" thanks to the new form factor of the next phone, but others say that customers don't actually care about the fancy new screen, and instead care about less-hyped features like wireless charging more.

The higher price of the next iPhone may give pause to those looking to upgrade, as it's expected to be around $1,000 or more. But Daryanani thinks that even if customers upgrade to the lower-priced, iterative devices likely to be launched alongside the iPhone X, the average selling price of the iPhone device line will be boosted by the new phones.

Apple is also expected to launch updates to other products along with the new iPhones. The Apple watch is likely to get a new LTE radio which would allow it to connect to the internet independently of a paired iPhone. The Apple TV is expected to get an upgrade to be 4K-capable.

Apple is up 39.50% this year, including Monday's move.

Click here to watch Apple's stock price move in real time...

Apple stock price

SEE ALSO: Apple's customers don't really care about the new bezel-less screen on the iPhone 8

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NOW WATCH: Bitcoin's bubble swells with a new record high

TOP ANALYST: Starbucks could be making a huge mistake when it comes to digital rewards (SBUX)

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

rewards starbucks

Starbucks digital rewards program — My Starbucks Rewards — now has 13 million members. Their purchases accounted for 36% of the coffee chain's $21.32 billion in sales last year. 

But Starbucks could be making a big mistake when it comes to how it on-boards new members to the program, according to RBC Capital Markets analyst David Palmer.

“For a while, Starbucks was on-boarding rewards members and active digital users at an extremely rapid clip, but that has slowed,” Palmer told Business Insider in a wide-ranging interview about the Seattle-Based chain.

“They have a closed system where you have to preload a card and link that card to your Starbucks app to start a digital relationship where you can then do mobile order and pay. Those two things are really only available to people who will preload a card and effectively enter into a debit-card relationship with Starbucks. You can't pay with your credit card directly.”

Starbucks’ closed system does have some merits. The company is able to make money on the cash float from customer deposits, and it also lowers the company's interchange fees. But if Starbucks’ wants to catch up to Panera Bread — which has the largest restaurant loyalty program with 27 million members — it’s going to have to change something, Palmer says.

“The benefit of having someone in the digital ecosystem is greater today for Starbucks than it was one to two years ago, thanks largely to the technology that the company has to do personalized marketing, including suggestive selling when you're using the app,” said Palmer. “They have "gamification" of the rewards, where there are stars, for instance, and buy one, get one giveaways that can encourage the right behavior. All that marketing happens within the digital user base, and Starbucks has had a slower onboarding process in recent quarters that has resulted in slowed comps.”

Starbucks could get a boost later this year when it launches the first ever rewards debit card in a partnership with Chase. While millennials may be reticent to share their personal information with a retailer, the security of a bank may prove more trustworthy.

SEE ALSO: TOP ANALYST: Starbucks could be an 'indirect casualty' of the retail apocalypse

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NOW WATCH: Bitcoin's bubble swells with a new record high

Investors are getting more concerned about the Brexit spending slowdown

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

Shoppers carry bags in London, Britain August 25, 2016.

LONDON — Shares in the consumer goods group behind kettle and toaster brand Russell Hobbs and Dreamtime mattresses fell almost 50% on Monday after it warned that Brits are slowing their spending.

Ultimate Products Global Sourcing said in a trading update that conditions are getting "tougher" due to rising inflation.

"Consumers' discretionary spend is under pressure and confidence is therefore lower than it has been for some time, which is inevitably being reflected in purchasing behaviour," the company said in a statement. "For retailers, this has also coincided with cost price increases in the wake of last year's sterling devaluation."

The pound collapsed against both the dollar and the euro in the wake of last year's vote to leave the European Union. This has made importing products from overseas more expensive for retailers, which in turn has pushed up prices for consumers.

While Ultimate Products' market outlook was gloomy, the company still told investors to expect profits for the year just ended "above market expectations" thanks to a near 40% jump in revenues in the year to July.

You'd think investors would be cheered by the profit upgrade — in fact, shares plummeted almost 50% on Monday:up gs

This is not an isolated incident but the latest sign of a wider consumer slowdown in the UK, which could be disastrous for retailers and the wider economy, spooking investors.

Restaurant group Fulham Shore last week warned of a "sector-wide slowdown", while pub group Greene King also reported a sales slowdown. Deutsche Bank has also predicted a worsening of the consumer spending slowdown.

As these warnings become more frequent, investors are getting increasingly concerned about a sector-wide problem that will cause the entire retail industry to suffer, regardless of how competent management are.

That partly explains why Ultimate Products' share price reaction has been so stark. It doesn't help that the AIM-listed stock is relatively thinly traded, exaggerating the impact of a wave of sell orders.

Ultimate Products only listed in March, when shares were sold at 128p a pop in the IPO. Shares were comfortably above that level on Friday, closing at 210p. Today, investors who bought in at the IPO are sitting on a paper loss, with stock changing hands at around 109p on Monday lunchtime.

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NOW WATCH: Shiller says bitcoin is the best example of a bubble in the market today

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

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

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., July 12, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Dave Lutz, head of ETFs at JonesTrading, has an overview of today's markets.

Here's Lutz:

Good Morning!  US Futures are jumping higher this Patriot Day, as America remembers and honors those lost in the September 11th Attacks in 2001.  There are 6 moments of silence scheduled: 8:46 (North Tower Struck), 9:03 (South Tower Struck), 9:37 (Pentagon Struck), 9:59 (South Tower Falls), 10:03 (Shanksville, PA Crash) and 10:28 (North Tower Collapse).  Nasdaq is leading us to upside, as biotech stocks rally, and AAPL adds over 1% ahead of tomorrow’s launch.  Nice rallies in Europe, where the DAX is up 1% as havens drop on No weekend antics from NK, while Insurers are jumping as Irma impact on Florida is bad, but not as catastrophic as feared.   Banks and technology shares are all acting well, while FTSE adds 50bp with Healthcare leading on AstraZeneca.  Strong rallies in Asia - Nikkei leapt 1.4% - Hang Seng up 1% with all sectors rallying, but Tencent’s 3% rip had tech outperforming - Shanghai up 30bp led by gains in shares of electric vehicle makers - KOSPI added 60bp and Aussie up 70bp as Banks rebound on Macquarie headers 

The DXY is trying to rebound from 2+Y lows as Treasuries get sold, pressing the US 10YY back over 2.1% and Fed Funds get back towards a 30% chance of a December Hike.   The Euro is battling to hold $1.2 - Turkey’s Lira 1Y high on better GDP - Sharpest drop in three months in China’s Renminbi, meanwhile Bitcoin slight selling on China Headers.  Ore and Rebar were Flat overnight, but Copper is back in rally mode, adding 1%+.   Gold is dropping almost 1%, paced by a 1.5% drop in Silver.   Energy complex is mixed, as WTI rebounds from recent selling, but Brent is trading lower and US Gasoline drops another 2% early.

SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know about the markets today

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NOW WATCH: SRI-KUMAR: Watch the bond market for signs of a recession

WSJ, Bloomberg Latest to Claim Bitcoin Exchange Crackdown in China

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

New media reports are coming out in support of the idea China may soon take action to shut down domestic bitcoin exchange platforms.

MASTer Plan: Better Bitcoin Smart Contracts Could Go Live This Year

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Blockstream co-founder Mark Friedenbach is breathing new life into bitcoin smart contracts with his MAST proposal.

10 things you need to know today (SPX, SPY, QQQ, DIA, SNAP, AMZN, AAPL)

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

Hurricane Irma

Here is what you need to know.

Hurricane Irma hammers Florida. Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane on Sunday morning; it was downgraded to Category 1 on Monday as it continued to make its way across Florida.

Parliament is set to vote on Theresa May's EU Withdrawal Bill. Members of Parliament will vote Monday evening in London on the bill, which will allow all existing European Union laws to be transferred over to British law, after which the government will be free to rewrite or repeal them at will.

London remains the world's top financial center. London beat out New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore, Reuters says, citing the Z/Yen global financial centers index, which ranks 92 financial centers based on factors such as infrastructure and access to high-quality employees.

The chances of another rate hike this year are looking bleak. There's just a 28.7% probability that the Federal Reserve raises rates again in 2017, according to Bloomberg's World Interest Rate Probability data.

Traders are trimming their US dollar shorts. Last week, traders cut their US dollar short positions by $1.4 billion to $6.5 billion, according to US Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released late Friday.

Bitcoin is reeling following reports China is shutting down cryptocurrency exchanges. Bitcoin has slumped by more than $500 a coin since a Friday report from Caixin said China would be banning cryptocurrency exchanges. On Monday, Bloomberg suggested that while trading would be banned on domestic exchanges, it would be allowed over the counter.

Amazon is looking for a second headquarters — here are all the cities being considered. The e-commerce giant is looking to invest $5 billion on construction of a second headquarters, which it hopes will be home to 50,000 employees.

Apple's redesigned iPhone will be called the "iPhone X." The more expensive, premium model iPhone that is expected to be announced Tuesday will be called the "iPhone X," according to code discovered by developer Steve Troughton-Smith.

Snap is at its highest level since July. Snap has gained about 36% from its August low, and Friday's close of $15.34 a share was its best since July 13.

Stock markets around the world are higher. Japan's Nikkei (+1.41%) led overnight, and Germany's DAX (+1.12%) paces the gains in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open higher by 0.67% near 2,478.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: GARY SHILLING: No one is making impulse buys online

Alleged BTC-e Operator Claims Innocence in New Interview

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

The alleged operator of BTC-e has spoken out in an interview in which he claimed he is innocent of charges brought by the U.S. government.

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