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Bitcoin Price Analysis: There May Still Be Some Life in These Exhausted Bulls

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

Bitcoin Price Analysis

Over the last week, the BTC-USD market has seen some major price swings. At one point, the price nearly reached $4500 only to see it pull back down to the low $4100s. And now, within two days, the price has topped back out in the low $4400s. There has been some major chop and seemingly erratic dumps and price hikes, but overall there seems to be a common upward trent within the macro market movements:

Figure_1 (10).JPGFigure 1: BTC-USD, 4-Hour Candles, Bitfinex, Macro Trend

Since the bottom of the bear run last month, bitcoin has seen several rallies that have continued along a generally positive trend. The figure above shows a trend of higher highs, higher lows and an upper/lower boundary that is converging. This type of price activity is called a rising wedge.

Coupled with this price growth is a trend of decreasing volume throughout the length of the wedge. A rising wedge is generally a bearish trend that shows weakening bullish pressure as each subsequent rally becomes smaller and smaller. As the price corrects, there are rallies that bring the price to new highs, but ultimately rally on smaller and smaller volume.

As of the time of this article, the latest rally has failed to make a new high in the low $4400s. A breakdown of this wedge could lead to a substantial price drop of approximately $500 below the point of breakdown. The approximate price target would be around $3700.

Although rising wedges are bearish in nature, that doesn’t mean new highs aren’t in store for bitcoin. The macro trend is currently showing a potential bearish move, but there is still some strength in the market. The market is currently trending above the 50 EMA and 200 EMA which, by many standards, is representative of a trending bullish market. Although the price is trending upward and the overall EMA signals are showing potential upward continuation, there are pretty clear signs of bullish exhaustion on the macro scale:

Figure_2 (10).JPGFigure 2: BTC-USD, 4-Hour Candles, Bitfinex, Bullish Exhaustion

As stated earlier, the rising wedge is paired with decreasing volume which is a clear giveaway that upward momentum is waning. To complement this exhaustion, the RSI and MACD are showing clear signs of bearish divergence in the current market and are demonstrating a lack of the bullish momentum necessary to sustain a bull market.

If the rising wedge breaks to the bottom, we can expect the support levels to lie on the Fibonacci Retracement values shown above. The ultimate price target of the rising wedge would have BTC-USD testing the 50% retracement values.

On a very, very macro scale, there are clear signs of overall bullish exhaustion since the beginning of its run from the low $1000s:

Figure_3 (10).JPGFigure 3: BTC-USD, 1-Week Candles, Bitfinex, Macro Bullish Exhaustion

Two very clear indicators of bullish momentum loss lie on the RSI and the MACD. The price of bitcoin has pushed to strong, new highs but it has left the momentum indicators weakening. The RSI is showing strong macro divergence, and the MACD is on the verge of flipping bearish for the first time since the ETF was denied back in April.

It’s not hard to argue that bitcoin has seen heavy price growth and needs a little room to breath. It is entirely possible the market won’t see any strong pullback and it may go sideways. However, in the event that a sustained market pulls the price down, we can expect to find support along the midline of the Bollinger Bands in the low $3000s. It’s important that the above chart and market implications of this macro divergence are occurring on candles that are one week. So, while this doesn’t mean the market will just suddenly plummet, it is important to understand that a substantial price drop could be in bitcoin’s future.

Even though I gave plenty of bearish arguments, it should be noted that these predictions are on a macro scale, and the immediate trend is showing strong support along the 50 and 200 EMAs. The market is bullish until proven otherwise. As the saying goes: “the trend is your friend.” Bitcoin has had one heck of a year so far, but I think it’s important to point out the clear signs of a macro bullish exhaustion:

Summary:

  1. Bitcoin is finding support and showing a bullish trend along the 50 and 200 EMAs.

  2. On a macro level, the trend is pushing upward but is showing a potential bearish move if the market breaks out of the rising wedge identified in Figure 1.

  3. A breakout of this wedge would have its price target in the $3700s.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin, bitcoin cash and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Media related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Media and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

The post Bitcoin Price Analysis: There May Still Be Some Life in These Exhausted Bulls appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

The most brutal rivals on Wall Street are putting their swords down for a good cause

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

unnamed 35

The rivalries between the biggest US stock exchanges make the Coke-Pepsi divide look trivial. 

On social media and in public filings with regulators, these companies brutally attack their rivals and their business models. This reporter has witnessed first hand the degree to which folks at the four main US exchanges will go to throw serious shade at one another. 

But this weekend Nasdaq, the NYSE, IEX, CBOE and its subsidiary Bats will put aside their differences for a good cause: autism research. On Saturday, the exchanges are sending teams to participate in the third annual Wall Street Rides FAR, a biking charity race that raises money for the Autism Science Foundation. 

Autism affects 1 in every 68 children, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We go after each other because market structure matters and we all want the best model to win, but some causes are big enough for us to put aside our differences," said Bryan Harkins, head of US equities and global FX at CBOE, the Chicago-based exchange group. He started the charity event with his wife three years ago. 

The ride, which takes place in Westchester County, NY offers "a choice of three distances and challenge levels, from a 4-mile family ride to a 62-mile, hilly metric century, you’ll be supported...by our volunteer crew."

And the exchanges are all very excited about it. In the spirit of their coming together, we'll give them all a say here: 

“It’s great to participate in an event that brings together the trading community in support of such a worthy cause,” said Ivan Brown, head of options at the NYSE.

Here's Nasdaq's Tal Cohen, SVP and head of Nasdaq's equities markets:

 “We have seven staffers participating and it's important we stay involved with FAR in the future, to help build on the great work Bryan started and continues to manage.”

 “In this industry, we compete intensely every day, but it’s great to see everyone putting those competitive differences aside for such a great cause," said Rob Salman of IEX's business development team.

Not always so nice

That's all a much different tone than what underpins their usual conversations about each other. 

Recently Nasdaq and NYSE got into a spat over how much business they were winning from each other for the world to see on Twitter. Take a look:

Nasdaq was responding to this tweet by NYSE:

Here's IEX president Brad Katsuyama criticizing a new market for small-cap companies by the New York Stock Exchange:

"NYSE American is nothing like IEX -- paying an unprecedented rebate doubles down on their hypocrisy, and is a desperate distraction to protect how they really make money: selling speed advantages on their two main exchanges."

CBOE President and COO Chris Concannon responded harshly to Katsuyama's desire to ban rebates, which basically are incentives for market makers and brokers, saying "this notion of banning rebates — it lacks understanding of how our market works."

The niceties will be fun while they last. 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: RAY DALIO: Bitcoin is a speculative bubble

US SHEDS JOBS FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2010: Here's what you need to know

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

Hurricane Harvey Houston

Stocks finished little changed after the latest jobs report showed that the US economy lost more jobs than it created for the first time in seven years.

The Dow and the S&P 500 dipped into the red, while the Nasdaq just squeezed into a new all-time high close — by 0.07%.

First up, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 22,773.67, -1.72, (-0.01%)
  • S&P 500: 2,549.33, -2.74, (-0.11%)
  • Nasdaq: 6,590.18, +4.82, (+0.07%)
  • US dollar index: 93.80, (-0.17%)

1. The US economy shed jobs for the first time since 2010 amid the damage caused by the hurricanes Harvey and Irma. On the positive side, the unemployment rate fell to a new post-recession low, labor-force participation increased, and wages jumped. Notably, Puerto Rico is not included in the report.

2. The hospitality and leisure industry lost 111,000 jobs in September, making it the largest loss for the sector since the start of the jobs report in 1939. Within the hospitality industry, food-service jobs were particularly affected, with a net decline of 105,000 jobs.

3. Gary Cohn said the White House was "excited" with the latest jobs report. "We at the White House are very excited about the numbers," Cohn said during an interview with Bloomberg TV. "You're right, there is some noise in the number because of the hurricane, and as you said you discount that noise out."

4. Traders weren't too phased by the jobs report, either. The S&P 500 slipped just 0.2% in early trading, suggesting that investors were already taking into account the one-time effect of the two hurricanes. 

5. In other news, Costco crushed earnings — but its stock cratered anyway over retail apocalypse fears. At the root of Costco's stock woes was a reduction in the firm's already razor-thin gross margins. That decline is just the latest manifestation of an industry-wide phenomenon that's seen the likes of Amazon put major pressure on grocers — and retailers at large — to keep prices low.

6. Snap climbed after a report of huge engagement growth. Shares were up about 1.7% Friday afternoon after a report from Axios said Snapchat saw 40% growth in its Stories engagement since launching its Snap Maps feature.

Lots of economic data on Friday: Nonfarm payrolls: -33,000; unemployment rate: 4.2%; participation rate: 63.1%; average hourly earnings: 0.5% month-over-month and 2.9% year-over-year.

ADDITIONALLY:

A $1 trillion money manager says the Trump trade is back.

We asked 5 big-money investors about their biggest fears — and they all had the same answer.

UBS: Netflix perfectly timed its price increase to ensure you won't leave.

Costco has 2 new weapons in its battle against Amazon.

The Dallas Fed president says the Federal Reserve can afford to take things slowly.

SEE ALSO: Computers using Facebook 'likes' may be assessing your personality better than your friends — and researchers warned this could be misused

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Is bitcoin a bubble or the future of everything?

The head of the IMF says bitcoin is 'too expensive for me at the moment'

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

Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), attends a conference at the Cannes Lions Festival in Cannes, France, June 23, 2017.                 REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Bitcoin is too expensive for one of the most powerful women in finance. 

Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, on Friday told CNBC's Sara Eisen that bitcoin is "too expensive for me at the moment" when asked if she would ever buy into the red-hot digital currency. 

Lagarde last month gave a soft defense of the cryptocurrency during a speech in London.  She said cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin could "give existing currencies and monetary policy a run for their money." The IMF is one of the largest supranational organizations and facilitates cooperation between nations on monetary and fiscal policy. 

"Not so long ago, some experts argued that personal computers would never be adopted, and that tablets would only be used as expensive coffee trays," she said. "So I think it may not be wise to dismiss virtual currencies."

During the wide-ranging interview with Eisen, Lagarde shared her thoughts on the bitcoin crackdown in China. She said the ban on initial coin offerings, a cryptocurrency-based fundraising method, in China was "done on that on the basis of the analysis that it was at least strongly dominated by...speculation and Ponzi-like schemes, which is certainly showing that they are paying attention."

ICOs allow startups to raise money by issuing their own cryptocurrencies. They've come under scrutiny by regulators because companies can use them to raise quick money without having to disclose substantive information to investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission charged one man with operating two fraudulent ICOs last month

Still, despite the bad actors Lagarde thinks people should pay attention to the market.

"When I look at my own country where, you know, all transactions between ... my compatriots and the treasury department is all now on digital support," she said. "I think there are massive changes taking place at the moment which everybody needs to be attentive to."

SEE ALSO: Here's what 6 of the most powerful Wall Streeters have to say about bitcoin

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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

Russia Blasts Decision to Extradite Alleged Bitcoin Money Launderer

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

Russia isn't happy that an alleged bitcoin money launderer is being extradited to the US following a court decision in Greece.

CVS and Walgreens drop on rumors of Amazon's entry into the prescription drugs business (CVS, WBA, AMZN)

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

patients at cvs pharmacy in target 4 HR

Reports that Amazon is thinking about taking on the prescription drug industry have sent shares of CVS and Walgreens off a cliff. Both stocks are down around 4% on Friday after the news.

Amazon is in the final stages of developing its plan to take on the prescription drug market, CNBC's Christina Farr reports. The e-commerce company is expected to make a decision about whether or not to enter the business by Thanksgiving.

Shares of CVS are down 3.96% to $77.68 and shares of Walgreens are down 4.87% to $73.16.

Amazon has been researching the industry for years and is aware of the risks associated with entering the market, according to CNBC. The company would look to improve price transparency and the cost of prescription drugs if it entered the market.

The move in the stock prices of CVS and Walgreens is only the latest example of companies being "Amazoned." Amazon wiped billions of dollars of value from grocery chains in the wake of its Whole Foods acquisition. The "Retail Apocalypse" in America is often attributed to the rise of e-commerce spurred on by Amazon's dominance of the area.

Amazon's move into the grocery retail business is significantly less regulated than the prescription drug business, though. Amazon currently sells some medical and first-aid products on its site and even has an internal team focused on health research.

Amazon's stock didn't move noticeably on the news, and the company is up 30.97% this year.

To read more about Amazon's ability to wipe billions of dollars of value from its competitors, click here...

walgreen stock price

SEE ALSO: Jeff Bezos just handed corporate America a $50 billion question

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NOW WATCH: Is bitcoin a bubble or the future of everything?

The Trump administration just revealed how it wants to make going public easier for companies

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

donald trump steve mnuchin

Fledgling companies with aspirations of going public got some good news on Friday.

President Donald Trump and the US Treasury department published a report outlining how they want to make it easier for companies to go public. It's a piece of the financial deregulation that's been proposed by Trump since he was on the campaign trail — and one that will be welcomed by smaller firms.

Perhaps the biggest Treasury department recommendation for IPO hopefuls — referred to as "emerging growth companies" (EGCs) in the report — involved allowing them to "test the waters" with potential investors before embarking upon the official process.

The Treasury also outlined its view that small, young companies have had "weak" access to capital since the financial crisis, relative to their larger counterparts. The department recommended that rules be modified to broaden eligibility for so-called "smaller reporting companies" (SRCs), which are generally give more time to file reports with the SEC, and are exempt from an external audit.

“The U.S. has experienced slow economic growth for far too long. In this report, we examined the capital markets system to identify regulations that are standing in the way of economic growth and capital formation,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “By streamlining the regulatory system, we can make the U.S. capital markets a true source of economic growth which will harness American ingenuity and allow small businesses to grow.”

In a press release for the report, the Treasury lays out three specific ways to lessen the burden on companies looking to go public and stay public. They include:

  • Streamlining disclosure requirements to reduce costs for companies while providing investors the information they need to make investment decisions;
  • Tailoring the disclosure and other requirements for companies going public based on their size; and
  • Re-examining the JOBS Act to identify how its tools can be improved.

You can read the full report on the Treasury website here.

SEE ALSO: Wall Street says a major fear about Trump's tax plan is overblown

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NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: The 'Trump trade' is back and Ray Dalio breaks down the bitcoin bubble

Op Ed: A Roadmap For How the Blockchain Can Open Up Foreign Property Investment

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

RealEstateRoadmap.jpg

For most individuals, investing in foreign property seems out of reach. The barriers, however, have far less to do with one’s income and more to do with issues around information, namely quality and verifiability. It is not just the cost of property but also the expense in hiring local advisers that makes foreign real estate a rich man’s game.

Blockchain technology has the potential to significantly lower these barriers, making property investment a viable option for a larger swathe of the population. In short, distributed ledgers can provide greater transparency into the availability, detail and oversight of properties in more inaccessible areas.

Tokenization makes real estate investments more liquid and divisible among a greater number of people — an attribute that greatly reduces transaction costs and increases economies of scale.

The various levels of complexity are the reason why foreign real estate investors often resort to hiring local advisers. The costs incurred in hiring local advisers or services can add up to more than the actual property.

As business lawyer, economist and Brickblock adviser Dr. Wolfgang Richter notes, “The various fees make it unfeasible for people to invest small amounts; thus, investing is only advantageous for those with a lot of capital.”

The decentralized, fluid and incorruptible nature of blockchain technology may present a solution to the barriers that aspiring property investors are confronted with.

Providing a Trusted, Verifiable Source of Data by Demystifying Information

As it stands, one of the greatest challenges for potential investors is understanding whether a property is appropriate for investment.

Investors may see a property they like — but how can they understand whether the financial, cultural and security prospects of the surrounding area fit their risk profile? And how can they trust that the information is even correct? Ensuring the accuracy of data and overcoming language barriers makes this process extremely difficult.

The same goes for valuations — how verifiable are they? How is a potential buyer who hasn’t set foot in the country meant to ensure that the current value is fair?

Companies and advisers interested in widening their client pool to international investors can collect, store and present critical information to individuals in a clear and transparent fashion. According to Richter, this information includes “a thorough description of the assets, including a valuation by an external expert, as well as documentation that demonstrates a credible management structure.”

In essence, the distributed ledger eliminates much of the complexity of compiling, verifying and ensuring the integrity of real estate data.

Eliminating the Need for Costly Trustee and Company Structures

Most trustee and company structures exist solely to hold and maintain records. Ensuring that the appropriate data is filed, maintained and accurate — especially as requirements differ across each country — requires extensive resources.

However, with blockchain technology, all data concerning the investment deal and ongoing valuation can be stored in a decentralized database where it can’t be altered or manipulated.

Between not having to pay high marketing fees for documentation and additional costs to store and verify information, investors have more cash to park in their investments.

Reducing the Need for Local Finances and Administration

Tokenization enables real estate investments to be divided and translated into digital tokens. Tokens can be distributed and traded between investors without any need to transfer into local currency.

The ability to buy and sell property via tokens eliminates the need for local bank accounts, which often require a high initial deposit from foreign individuals or are outright impossible to open due to residence requirements. Thanks to the nature of borderless cryptocurrencies, the size of local documentation is vastly reduced — further lowering administration costs. In addition, follow-up transactions for investors can be handled easily because of the liquid nature of the tokens and because of the transparency afforded by the distributed ledger.

Transforming Real Estate Into a More Liquid Asset

Tokenization also turns a somewhat illiquid asset into a highly liquid one. Tokens can be traded or liquidated much more easily and rapidly than an individual property or shares in a typical real estate fund.

Opening Up Accessibility to a Wider Variety of Foreign Real Estate

Dividing up a real estate investment into smaller-sized tokens not only makes it more cost-effective to invest in foreign property, but also enables investors to deploy their capital across more properties. As the amount required to invest can be low, individuals can spread out risk by investing in a variety of tokenized real estate offerings.

A blockchain-backed platform investing in foreign real estate is nascent, not exotic. As companies or advisers build up track records, grading systems aligned to the data in the distributed ledger can help individuals evaluate the risk associated with specific offerings. Investors will be able to gauge the aptitude of potential real estate investments as easily as they do stocks or bonds.

“Regulation will help this process along,” says Richter. Of course, regulators are still getting their heads around the necessary oversight for tokenization structures. There are also questions about tax issues. Yet, as Richter notes, “There are already structures available based on other types of existing offerings which can provide guidance.”

All in all, blockchain technology stands to open up a wider variety of foreign real estate assets to a larger proportion of the population. While some may feel that investing in property may not make sense for those with less capital than today’s investors, the reality is that real estate — like other real assets — can help offset volatile currencies or inflation. It’s a proposition that many individuals have found themselves excluded from. As with many other areas of finance, blockchain technology stands to make it more inclusive.

This is a guest post by Jakob Drzazga. Opinions expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Media or Bitcoin Magazine.

The post Op Ed: A Roadmap For How the Blockchain Can Open Up Foreign Property Investment appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

I ate like Warren Buffett for a week, and people kept suggesting a massive conspiracy theory about his food habits

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

warren bufett eating

Last week, I went a little bit crazy and decided to eat like Berkshire Hathaway CEO, legendary investor, and folk hero (to some) Warren Buffett.

It was awful.

If you'd like to read more about that experience, be my guest. This post, on the other hand, is about a conspiracy theory regarding the diet. In fact, so many people have posited the theory to me that I'm starting to think it's true.

Buffett's diet consists heavily of junk food — he even admits that he eats like a six-year-old. Buffett downs Coca-Cola products, McDonald's, Dairy Queen, and See's Candies.

Interestingly enough, Buffett not only indulges in these foods, he also invests in their makers. Buffett and Berkshire own See's Candies and Dairy Queen, and Coca-Cola is his third-largest investment by shares.

This is where the conspiracy theory comes in. What if Buffett doesn't actually eat any of this junk — or at least not as much as he claims — but only says he does because he wants suckers like me to buy products from companies he has a financial stake in?

The thought struck me sometime during my second DQ chili-cheese dog of the week. Am I being a useful idiot in Buffett's quest to get everyone to gobble his own companies' food?

This idea, in fact, was one of the most common responses I got to my story. I got it on Twitter:

 

I got plenty of emails that posited that Buffett may be crafting a bit of a tale. One reader in particular took the theory to a dark place.

"Has it ever occurred to you that buffett is a psy-op, a creation of fiction, a caricature, spokesperson for elites in the guise of a folksy neighbor?" a reader named Shawn Foster emailed (I haven't corrected/edited any of the grammar). "He doesn't really eat that stuff, he simply promotes it to the simpletons so they die faster."

People I know brought up the idea. One person I know texted me: "There's literally no way he eats like that."

Another person I know said they knew someone who knew Buffett and that person told my friend that Buffet actually ate incredibly healthy.

A friend of a friend with inside information about a lying billionaire? Classic conspiracy theory stuff.

Even one of my meals seemed to bring up this question. Buffett is a noted hater of vegetables, yet when I dined at his favorite restaurant in New York City and asked for what Warren ate (he visited just a month before I went), I was given creamed spinach. (Then again, the meal also included a two-pound steak.) 

I can't definitively say whether the theory is true or not. But, based on how I felt after eating like Buffett, I sure hope it is.

If you have a theory or tip about Buffett's diet, feel free to email me at bbryan@businessinsider.com. No idea is too outlandish, so send 'em on.

SEE ALSO: I ate like Warren Buffett for a week — and it was miserable

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

What you need to know on Wall Street today

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

Hurricane Irma boat in a houseWelcome 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.

What keeps you up at night?

It's a question you'd expect to draw a wide range of responses when posed to investors responsible for tens of billions of dollars. After all, it's not exactly as if there's a shortage of anxiety-inspiring headlines floating around each day.

But as Business Insider found out through a series of interviews, there's one worry to rule them all: the Federal Reserve's reversal of the unprecedented monetary stimulus that helped drag the US out of the latest financial crisis.

In related news, the US economy in September lost more jobs than it created for the first time in seven years.

Amid the damage caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, nonfarm payrolls fell by 33,000, the Labor Department said Friday in its monthly report. Most of the losses occurred in the leisure-and-hospitality sector, where most employees can't work remotely and are paid only if they show up. That sector shed 111,000 jobs, the most dating back to at least 1939. 

Gary Cohn, the National Economic Council director and top economic adviser to President Donald Trump, said the White House was "excited" with the latest jobs report. 

In Wall Street news, JPMorgan created a new position to unleash emerging technology onto its investment bank.

A hedge fund connected to a legendary New York real estate family is returning money to investors amid dismal performance. Fidelity’s star tech fund manager has left the company. A handful of Wall Street titans are upending corporate boardrooms across the world.

In this week's episode of The Bottom Line, we talked to David Hunt, the CEO of $1 trillion fund giant PGIM, about markets and money management

State Street, the financial services firm behind Wall Street's "Fearless Girl" statue, agreed to pay $5 million to settle federal allegations that it paid female executives less than their male counterparts.

In other news, Costco just crushed earnings — but its stock is cratering over retail apocalypse fears, and Sears' CEO just gave the company another $100 million lifeline.

And in tech, Apple gave Uber's app "unprecedented" access to a secret back door that can record iPhone screens. And JPMorgan's marketing chief says Amazon is a real challenger to Facebook and Google in digital advertising.

Lastly, there's a private Craigslist inside Bloomberg terminals where Wall Streeters are selling everything from Ferraris to Italian castles.

SEE ALSO: 

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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

UBS: Netflix perfectly timed its price increase to ensure you won't leave (NFLX)

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

Reed Hastings

On Thursday, it emerged that Netflix would be increasing the prices for its subscription services, and investors seemed to love it.

The company's stock shot up 5.36% on Thursday after reports on the price increase. Investors were happy to see an estimated $623 million in new revenue for the company.

But the new revenue will only come if Netflix doesn't lose a ton of subscribers because of the price increase. In order to limit its losses, Netflix timed its price hike perfectly to coincide with a flood of new content.

"This timing coincides with what we expect will be a strong fourth quarter of 2017 content slate, which could help minimize churn," Doug Mitchelson, an analyst at UBS, said in a note to clients.

Analysts, and even Netflix itself, regularly point to popular original content as the best way to attract and retain customers. In the fourth quarter of 2017, Netflix has set up some potential hits. The company is releasing the second season of "Stranger Things", its Will Smith-led original movie "Bright," the first season of "Marvel's The Punisher" and a revival of Emmy winning "Queer Eye," to name a few. 

Netflix said it learned a lot of lessons about how to best roll out price increases after an unpopular increase was carried out in 2016. Mitchelson added that "[Netflix] management would be unlikely to implement such a price increase if U.S. subscriber trends were disappointing, bolstering our confidence further." 

Mitchelson rates Netflix a buy with a price target of $225.

Netflix has grown 55.72% this year and jumped another 2.2% on Friday.

Read more about Netflix's former VP of talent and her new job here...

netflix stock price

SEE ALSO: The Netflix exec behind its groundbreaking paternity leave policy just took a job at a startup with 193 employees and no office

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NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: The 'Trump trade' is back and Ray Dalio breaks down the bitcoin bubble

A hedge fund connected to a legendary New York real estate family is returning money to investors amid dismal performance

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

New York City Skyline

A hedge fund run by the scion of New York real estate dynasty is returning money to outside investors amid poor performance, according to documents seen by Business Insider.

The fund is O-Cap Management, a small New York-based hedge fund managed by Michael Olshan.

Olshan is the son of Morton Olshan, the chairman and founder of commercial real estate giant Olshan Properties, and is a former managing director at hedge fund Jana Partners.

Launched during the Great Recession, O-Cap's primary fund lost 17.7% after fees from September 2009 through the end of June this year. The S&P 500 was up 161% over the same period.  

O-Cap lost 4.3% in the second quarter this year and was down 8.03% year-to-date in 2017.

Michael Olshan did not respond to calls and emails, and the fund's chief financial officer, Lloyd Jagai, hung up on a Business Insider reporter when reached by phone.

In a September letter to clients, O-Cap blamed its losses on poor market conditions, pointing to the rise of passive investment vehicles like ETFs, the disproportionate share of FAANG tech stocks in the S&P 500's gains, and an overall lack of public sector opportunities. The company was heavily exposed to energy, a bet that took a hit amid oil and gas industry turmoil, losing 8.45% in the first half of this year. 

"We do not feel today’s market is rife with attractive buying opportunities in the core sectors in which we focus," Michael Olshan wrote in the client letter. "In our opinion, market participants are taking on an increasing amount of risk for lower return expectations, and are doing so late in a cycle that has been characterized by strong reflation in asset prices and public equities."

"Today’s public equity markets can be defined by too much capital chasing a meager set of bargains," Olshan added. "The result is increased risk taking for lower and lower return expectations." 

The fund continues to manage money for Olshan and his family, and said it sees more opportunities in private company investments.

O-Cap Management is a small fund. Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission say the firm held $14.1 million in gross assets in its primary fund at the end of March, 56% of which belonged to management. Management owned 5% of the smaller fund, which had $5.8 million in assets. 

Olshan comes from a prestigious and successful New York business family, and O-Cap at one point had its sights set on raising as much as $1 billion, according to trade publication HFMWeek.

Morton Olshan began buying real estate properties in the 1950s and amassed an enormous portfolio of properties in Manhattan and beyond. Today, Olshan Properties owns and manages "14,000 units of multifamily, 10 million square feet of retail, 3 million square feet of office and 1,447 hotel rooms located across 11 states," according to the company's website.

Morton Olshan became a minority owner of the New York Yankees in 2000 and remains a member of the club's board of directors. He also serves as a member of The President’s Council of the New York Public Library.

Andrea Olshan, Morton's daughter and Michael's older sister, runs the family real estate business today.  

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Costco just crushed earnings — but its stock is cratering over retail apocalypse fears (COST)

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

costco produce

What must a retailer do to get some love from the stock market these days?

That has to be the question Costco is asking itself on Friday, after it announced profit and sales figures that smashed expectations, only to see its shares fall as much as 6.3%.

At the root of Costco's stock woes was a reduction in the firm's already razor-thin gross margins. That decline is just the latest manifestation of an industry-wide phenomenon that's seen the likes of Amazon put major pressure on grocers — and retailers at large — to keep prices low.

The looming specter of a retail apocalypse was ratcheted up a notch for grocery chains following Amazon's $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods in June. That sent competitors' stock prices plunging and immediately had executives scrambling for ideas to fend off the sudden encroachment.

One very recent example of that actually comes from Costco itself, which announced on Thursday that it will offer two-day delivery on nonperishable items, and also partner with Instacart for same-day delivery of all online grocery items.

Screen Shot 2017 10 06 at 11.34.21 AM

As such, it's hard to imagine that Costco expected its shares to take such a beating on Friday — especially with their better-than-expected earnings report pairing up with the new delivery initiative. But investors proved themselves too savvy to be distracted by the headline numbers, and zeroed in on what matters most to them as they assess future prospects: the direction of the company's margins.

It's also possible that Costco's declining membership renewal rate caught the eye of skeptical stock traders. CFO Richard Galanti attributed this to the company's decision to stop taking American Express. It could also stem from Costco's decision earlier this year to raise membership fees.

And Costco bears don't look likely to ease off the selling anytime soon. Short interest — a measure of bets that share prices will drop — sits at roughly 1.6% of shares outstanding available to loan. That's close to the highest in 13 months, and 68% above the measure's one-year average, according to data compiled by IHS Markit.

While it's entirely possible Costco will adapt and survive, these investors are taking no chances. Because they'd rather be on the wrong side of a short bet than feel the full wrath of the retail apocalypse.

COST SI

SEE ALSO: The retail apocalypse is torpedoing Nordstrom's attempt to go private — and the whole industry is paying for it

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SEC Pushes Back Against More Bitcoin Derivatives ETFs

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

Pushback from the SEC has derailed another effort to create a derivatives ETF tied to bitcoin, public records show.

JPMORGAN: Google taking on GoPro is actually a good thing for the camera company (GPRO)

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

google pixel 2 clips

On Wednesday, Google announced its new "Clips" camera that looked an awful lot like GoPro's small action cameras. The announcement sent GoPro's shares down by about 13% in the two days following, but JPMorgan analyst Paul Coster says the new competition is actually a good thing.

"The stock looks particularly compelling here owing to a 2-day sell-off spurred by the introduction of Google Clips, a consumer-oriented capture device that validates part of GoPro's market, competes peripherally, and otherwise seems to be going in a different direction," Coster said in a note to clients.

Coster said that Google's new camera looks a lot like GoPro's cameras, but it doesn't act like them. The camera is not meant to be wearable, isn't water or dust proof, lacks sound and is generally not designed to address the needs of GoPro's action-centric audience.

Coster said the two-day selloff is overblown because of these differing target markets and thinks the stock is especially attractive at its deflated price. That doesn't mean GoPro should blow off the new camera, however.

"Two features of Google Clips should worry GoPro investors; the in-device machine learning capability, and the smartphone-based media-management and social-media based sharing features that facilitate video-based story-telling," Coster wrote.

The AI smarts that permeated every product Google launched on Wednesday were present in its Clips camera too. The camera's AI systems watch for interesting moments to capture and automatically shares those with your phone making them easier to post on social media.

This approach mirrors GoPro's latest push to make its camera more useful in a world where everyone has a smartphone in their pocket. GoPro's phone app automatically edits video from its cameras and makes it easy to share the clips on social media.

The company also is creating new use cases for its cameras by releasing software that makes editing footage from its 360-degree camera easy and unique.

Coster said that Google's approach to AI and social sharing on Clips validates GoPro's approach and confirms that the company is ahead of Apple and other companies working on camera tech.

Coster rates GoPro a buy with a price target of $15. GoPro's shares jumped 4.45% on Friday after Coster's note was released.

Read more about GoPro's software strategy here...

gopro stock price

SEE ALSO: OPPENHEIMER: GoPro is the only company nailing 360 degree video

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ICOs Are Reinventing Fundraising. Here's Why That Matters

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

What is an ICO? Crowdfunding on top of a blockchain using units of digital currency, like Bitcoin. And its revolutionizing the way founders fundraise.

Crypto Debit Cards are Taking Bitcoin Mainstream. How Entrepreneurs Can Benefit.

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

Cryptocurrency is the future of money, this entrepreneur believes; and it's a field, he says, that has a lot of room for new startups

JPMorgan created a new position to unleash emerging technology onto its investment bank (JPM)

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

JPMorgan

JPMorgan is making good on its promise to deploy nascent technology throughout its investment bank with the promotion of a former credit trader. 

The Wall Street giant has named Samik Chandarana, an 18-year veteran at the bank, as head of analytics and data science for the corporate and investment bank, a newly created position according to an internal memo seen by Business Insider. The news was first reported by Bloomberg News' Hugh Son

Chandarana will be responsible for heading the bank's strategy to deploy machine learning and data-based solutions throughout the corporate and investment bank, according to the memo penned by Sanoke Viswanathan, head of the chief administration office for CIB. To that end, Chandarana will collaborate within specific units to "develop cohesive data science strategy, coordinate and help prioritize the portfolio of projects, and develop a framework for the appropriate sourcing and usage of data across businesses."

Chandarana is set to report to Viswanathan, according to a JPMorgan spokesperson.

JPMorgan, which spent $9.5 billion on technology in 2016, has taken a number of steps to digitize its investment bank, an area of banking that because of its client-facing nature was long thought to be impervious to the technological transformation sweeping much of Wall Street. 

Machine learning and AI technologies, at a very basic level, replicate human intellectual capabilities. 

Last year, the bank launched a predictive recommendation engine to identify those clients which should issue or sell equity. And now, given the initial success of the engine, it's being rolled out to other areas.

Firm-wide, JPMorgan is upping the ante on tech, according to former COO Matt Zames.  

"We are initiating pilots for a broad range of machine learning use cases – from detecting anomalies for fraud and cybersecurity, to generating targeted trading strategies to share with clients, to optimizing our client servicing channels," Zames said in an April note outlining the bank's tech strategy. "We are only at the very beginning of tapping the potential capabilities of machine learning and its benefits to our business."

Zames announced he would be leaving the bank in June. 

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Is Ripple's Rally Over? XRP Price Runs Into Roadblock

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

After seeing a strong rally yesterday, the price of Ripple's XRP cryptocurrency is showing signs buyer demand may be tapped.

Fidelity’s star tech fund manager has left the company (FOCPX)

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

Gavin Baker Fidelity

Gavin Baker, a top fund manager for Fidelity, has left the $2.13 trillion money manager, Institutional Investor’s Michelle Celarier first reported

After joining Boston-based Fidelity in 1999, the 42-year-old rose through the ranks to eventually run Fidelity’s $12.66 billion OTC Portfolio, a fund that has seen huge gains thanks to bets on tech stocks including Tesla, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet, and Nvidia.

Those outperforming bets cushioned worse-performing stocks in the portfolio — like Workday, Zendesk and Athenahealth.

Baker was also instrumental in Fidelity’s investment in pre-IPO companies like Uber and Facebook, according to Institutional investor.

"I believe the world is going to change more in the next 20 years than it has changed in the past 70 years,” he told the Boston Globe in 2014. "I try to invest in great companies at the center of these powerful, multi-decade secular trends."

Since Baker took over the fund in July 2009, the basket of medium- to large-cap equities has posted a 291% gain, according to Morningstar. Baker will be replaced by Chris Lin and Sonu Kalra as co-managers of the fund, Fidelity said.

Fidelity OTC fund

 

SEE ALSO: There's a private Craigslist inside Bloomberg terminals where Wall Streeters are selling everything from Ferraris to Italian castles

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2x or NO2X: Why Some Want to Hard Fork Bitcoin — and Why Others Do Not

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

segwit-no2x

The post 2x or NO2X: Why Some Want to Hard Fork Bitcoin — and Why Others Do Not appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

The Australian dollar is tumbling

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

australian dollar

The Australian dollar is tumbling on Friday, extending losses from earlier this week.

The Aussie dollar was down by 0.8% at 0.7735 per US dollar at 10:11 a.m. ET. 

The Australian dollar started sliding against the greenback on Friday minutes before the US jobs report crossed.

There's also been some news out of the Australian central bank and recent weakness in the country's economic data.

Earlier Friday, Reserve Bank of Australia board member Ian Harper was reported to have said that he's not ruling out a rate cut, according to Bloomberg. The currency tumbled after that report crossed.

Retail sales, meanwhile, unexpectedly slipped 0.6% month-over-month in August, according to data released Thursday. Economists were expecting an uptick of 0.3%.

The Australian dollar is at its lowest point in nearly three months.

SEE ALSO: Here's how Hurricanes Irma and Harvey affected the job market

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Snap is popping after a report of huge engagement growth (SNAP)

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

Snap Maps

Snap is up 1.17% to $14.65 on Friday morning after a report from Axios said the company's user engagement numbers jumped recently.

Snapchat has seen a 40% growth in its Stories engagement since launching its Snap Maps feature, according to the Axios report by Sara Fischer. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said he sees this as a step towards competing with the social messaging app's giant rivals Facebook and Instagram.

Snap Maps was introduced earlier this year and allows users to see their friends' locations on a map. Users can then tap on a location to see Snapchats from users in that area. The feature is one of the biggest innovations from the company recently, and in addition to driving more engagement, the feature is expected to enable new location-based advertisements on the platform.

In addition to the engagement growth, Snap expects more than a trillion Snaps to be sent this year, or about 3 billion a day. The company also claims that active users open the app about 20 times a day. Snap's users are also engaging heavily with the new augmented reality features in the app. More than a third of daily active users interact with the AR features, according to Axios.

Snap has had trouble competing against the marketing prowess and copy-cat nature of its main rival, Instagram. Instagram famously copied Snap's Stories features and has surpassed Snap in the number of daily Stories users since then.

Snap is still 13.6% lower than its IPO price of $17.

Read more about Evan Spiegel's plan to turn the company around with new hardware products here...

snap stock price

SEE ALSO: Evan Spiegel thinks hardware will be an important part of Snap's business in a decade

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The Federal Reserve can afford to take things slowly — Dallas Fed President Kaplan says

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

Harvard Professor Robert Kaplan

The Federal Reserve will not raise interest rates a lot further because the economy’s growth potential has weakened, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said on Friday.

Kaplan told CNBC in an interview he thought interest rates, currently in a range of 1%-1.25%, would probably peak around 2.5%, much lower than in previous monetary tightening cycles. 

Still, Kaplan saw the decline in September US job numbers as likely a blip related to the string of destructive hurricanes to hit US shores.

"A lot of these job losses are going to be temporary,” he said.

The Fed has been raising interest rates gradually since December 2015. It has boosted the federal funds rate four times since, with another hike expected in December.

Kaplan says the labor market continues to make solid progress despite the one-off September drop, which should allow the central bank to continue raising interest rates slowly.

"We can afford to be patient," he said. "We should still be removing accommodation but we can do it slowly and gradually."

One key issue giving Kaplan and other policymakers pause about further rate increases is an inflation rate that has been undershooting the Fed's 2% target for much of the economic recovery.

SEE ALSO: Trump's pick to oversee Wall Street regulations at the Fed was just confirmed by the Senate

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Two Hurdles? Bitcoin Price Faces Resistance In Bid to Top $4,500

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

The price of bitcoin is edging up today, but it faces hurdles before it can rise to challenge its recently set all-time highs.

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) shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., March 20, 2017.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

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

Here's Lutz:

"Good Morning, and Happy Friday!  Today is Payrolls day (80k expected – Everyone expecting a Miss on Hurricanes, I’m thinking a beat on Amazon’s Job fair) – Futures are starting mixed, with Nasdaq continuing to climb, while Spoos are resting basically unchanged.   It’s a mixed bag in Europe, with the DAX climbing 20bp, but both Spain and Italy under pressure ahead of the Catalonia Parliament on Monday.  London is trading higher as leadership angst weighs on Sterling - Retail and utility stocks weigh a touch across the continent - EasyJet at the bottom of the FTSE, but Autos in Europe acting well on Daimler #s.  Still a touch quiet in Asia on China and South Korea’s last day of Holiday - TOPIX up 30bp - Hang Seng climbed 30bp, but Macau Casinos hit on a plunge in foot traffic - Taiwan climbed small, and Aussie leaps 1% as miners and Fins rebound

"Ahead of NFP and 4 Fed Speakers today, the Greenback and Treasury Yields nearing 3month highs, and Fed Funds at 82% for December into the 3day weekend for Bond traders.  Political angst weighs abroad, with the Euro breaking below $1.17 and Sterling nearing $1.30.  Periphery bonds are being sold in Europe, led by Spain as we await DBRS’s rating review today - Aussie $ getting smoked as doves circle on Harper comments.  Gold is drifting around 6week lows, while Copper continues to add small to yesterday’s rally.   The Energy complex is mixed, with WTI falling 1% and nearing a $50 test, while Gasoline adds small as investors watch Platforms in the Gulf of Mexico being evacuated ahead of Nate.  Softs look weaker across the board."

SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know before the opening bell

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Singapore's Central Bank Plans to Regulate Bitcoin Payments

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

The minister for the Monetary Authority of Singapore has said the institution is working to create a regulatory framework for cryptocurrency payments.

Here comes the jobs report ...

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

GettyImages 852487108 (1)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its monthly jobs report at 8:30 a.m. ET. 

Economists expect that the two destructive hurricanes that slammed into the US mainland in September slowed hiring, but they're unsure about the extent. 

The consensus forecast according to Bloomberg is for 80,000 nonfarm payrolls, well below the trend of the past few months.

One forecaster even sees a net loss of 45,000 jobs, illustrating how wide the range of estimates is. According to UBS, the standard deviation of September payroll forecasts is twice as high as it's been in the past.

The unemployment rate is expected at 4.4%, unchanged from August. It could also have been affected by the hurricanes, although everyone who remained employed in the pay period of September 12 was still counted as such even if they were temporarily away from their jobs. 

There's little change expected to the pace of wage growth, with average hourly earnings forecast up 0.3% from August, and 2.5% from September 2016. This could also have been affected by the hurricanes if, for example, some workers lost their jobs. Other gauges of pay such as median weekly earnings show a faster rate of wage growth. 

More to come ...

SEE ALSO: Wall Street hasn't been this unsure about America's jobs market in a long time

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10 things you need to know today

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

barcelona catalonia referendum

Here is what you need to know.

Tropical Storm Nate is threatening to hit the Gulf Coast as a hurricane this weekend. The storm, which has already been blamed for 22 deaths across Nicaragua and Costa Rica, gained some strength Thursday night as it moved over the Gulf of Honduras.

Apple gave Uber's app 'unprecedented' access to a secret backdoor that could record iPhone screens. The existence of Uber's access to special iPhone functions is not disclosed in any consumer-facing information included with the company's app, according to a Business Insider report.

The House passed a budget resolution Thursday that served as the first step toward Republicans passing a massive tax plan. The resolution, which passed by a vote of 219 to 206, included instructions for what is known as budget reconciliation.

The British pound is on track for its worst week since October 2016 thanks to Tory infighting. Analysts are blaming the poor performance on the Conservative Party Conference, held at the start of the week, which inspired negative headlines about the ruling party and has sparked a plot to oust Prime Minister Theresa May.

Netflix's stock is sitting at an all-time high after the company hiked prices for US subscribers. It raised the price of its most popular "standard plan" service to $10.99 a month from $9.99.

Costco steps up grocery battle with new delivery services. Reuters reports that the membership-based chain announced two new services to fend off mounting competition from Amazon and Walmart.

Summit Materials made a $3.8 billion bid for Ash Grove Cement. Reuters reports that Summit is hoping to trump an earlier takeover bid from the Irish building-materials firm CRH Plc.

Harvey Weinstein plans to sue The New York Times for a reported $50 million over its bombshell sexual-harassment exposé. The film producer and studio executive is taking a leave of absence from The Weinstein Company following the allegations made against him.

Stock markets around the world are mixed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng (+0.28%) rose in Asia, and the FTSE 100 (+0.13%) led mixed results in Europe, which also saw the Euro Stoxx 50 slide (-0.18%). The S&P 500 is set to open down less than 0.1% near 2,549.

US economic data flows. Nonfarm payrolls and the monthly unemployment rate will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET before wholesale inventories are announced at 10 a.m. The US 10-year yield is up, sitting near 2.35%.

SEE ALSO: The investment chief at a billion-dollar firm explains how to profit from a stock market that's been flipped upside down

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Is bitcoin a bubble or the future of everything?

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

Business Insider's Henry Blodget and Sara Silverstein check in on the debate raging around the red-hot bitcoin and cryptocurrency market. Blodget doubles down on prior comments that bitcoin is a perfect example of a speculative bubble, and lacks intrinsic value. Silverstein is a bit more enthusiastic about bitcoin's prospects, and says that many of the arguments against it can be applied to other assets, even gold. She also stresses that a great deal of bitcoin pessimism stems from a lack of understanding.

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Major Spanish banks are thinking about abandoning Catalonia over independence tensions

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

Spain Catalonia independence vote

Several major banks based in the Spanish region of Catalonia are moving, or considering moving, their headquarters as tensions over independence continue to escalate.

On Thursday, Banco Sabadell — one of Catalonia's largest lenders — announced it will move its headquarters from the region as it becomes more likely the Catalan government will declare independence.

That would mean Catalonia dropping out of the EU automatically, which in turn would remove the financial passporting rights of any banks based in the region.

Passporting allows allow banks with a base in the EU to sell products and services to customers and financial markets across the bloc without needing separate licences for each country.

The passport is tied to EU membership, so if Catalonia was pushed out of the bloc, it would lose those rights.

Sabadell's announcement comes as Caixabank — Spain's third biggest lender and Catalonia's biggest — also reportedly considers domiciling outside the region to mitigate the possible consequence of Catalonian independence.

According to a report in the Financial Times, Sabadell's move is designed to "limit uncertainty" and was accelerated by a big fall in the Spanish stock market on Wednesday, which saw shares in most banks drop several percent.

Spain's benchmark share index, the IBEX 35, fell more than 2% on the day and dropped below 10,000 points for the first time since 2015.

Over 2.2 million Catalonians, or 42% of the region's electorate, voted overwhelmingly to separate from Spain last Sunday in a referendum that was dismissed as illegal by Spain's central government. The referendum was marred by violence as riot police clashed with demonstrators, and almost 900 people were injured that day.

Catalonian lawmakers said earlier this week they would declare independence next Monday, although the timeline of any potential exit remains unclear after Catalonia's parliament was suspended.

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Swiss Public University Begins Accepting Bitcoin

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

Switzerland's Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts has announced that it will accept bitcoin as payment for student expenses.

A shortage of 'desperately needed' EU workers is making it harder for British firms to find staff

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

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

LONDON — Brexit is making it harder for British companies to find staff, according to a survey released on Friday.

The IHS Markit and Recruitment and Employment Confederation's monthly report on jobs found the number of permanent staff hired through recruitment agencies grew at the weakest pace for five months in the third quarter of 2017.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said the slowdown was sharpened by a fall in the number of EU nationals arriving to work in Britain as a result of last year's Brexit vote.

"Candidate availability has been falling for the past four years and the record high UK employment rate, plus a slowdown in the number of EU nationals coming to work here, is exacerbating the situation, potentially leaving roles unfilled," he said.

The survey found that recruitment of permanent staff through agencies in London is faring worse than average, with placements declining for the first time in eleven months. The REC said the financial sector, in particular, was struggling to recruit for skilled roles.

"The financial sector, in particular, [is] struggling to recruit for roles such as audit, payroll and risk," Green said.

He called for the government to take action to ensure the post-Brexit immigration system is flexible enough to allow EU workers to come and fill low-skill roles in the UK.

"Low-skill roles are also hard to fill in areas like food processing, warehouses and catering – sectors that employ a higher proportion of people from the EU than others across the economy," he said.

"We urge the government to ensure any new immigration system includes provisions for low-skilled and temporary workers so that warehouses, supermarkets and restaurants can access the people they desperately need."

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The pound is on track for its worst week since October 2016 thanks to Tory infighting

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

LONDON — The pound is heading for its worst week of losses since the "flash crash" in October last year, with analysts blaming UK politics for the poor performance.

Sterling is down 0.3% against the dollar to $1.3073 at 8.55 a.m. BST (3.55 a.m. ET), a one-month low. At the same time, the pound is down 0.1% against the euro to €1.1184.

sterling

The pound is now on track to lose over 2% against the dollar this week and the Financial Times reports that this is set to make it the worse week since last year's flash crash.

Grant Shapps holds his mobile phone as he walks through the Parliamentary Estate as Britain's re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron names his new cabinet, in central London, Britain, May 11, 2015.Analysts are blaming the poor performance on the Conservative Party Conference, held at the start of the week, which inspired negative headlines about the ruling party and has sparked a plot to oust Prime Minister Theresa May. The latest on Friday is that former party chairman Grant Shapps has emerged as the leader of the plot.

"The sharp depreciation of the British Pound continues to reflect the growing concerns about the Conservative Party leadership, following May’s poorly received keynote speech on Wednesday," Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at FXTM, said in an email on Friday morning.

Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at SpreadEx, said: "While on Thursday there was a web of reasons why the pound was driven lower, this Friday’s decline seems to have a more singular reason behind it: Tory infighting.

"Another Tory leadership battle would be seriously bruising for the pound, especially since, at the moment, there is no real clear – or, at least, market-preferred – candidate to replace May."

Nomura says in a strategy note sent to clients on Thursday: "If we see headlines of Theresa May’s resignation, we’d expect the pound to suffer and quickly. Nonetheless, if Tory rebels look to the long game, we think it’s too early to push for that resignation and we’ll go back to trading the BoE and upcoming EU negotiations, both of which may present upside surprises versus low market expectations."

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Calm Before the Fork? Segwit2x Goes Silent as Bitcoin Spilt Looms

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

With a lull in activity, what's really going on under the Segwit2x hood? According to many developers, now is the calm before the storm.

Tesco accountants 'falsified documents' to hide £250 million accounting black hole, court hears

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

A Tesco shareholder leaves after attending the company's annual general meeting in London, Britain June 26, 2015. Price cuts and better service helped Tesco to win back shoppers in the first quarter of its financial year, Britain's biggest retailer said on Friday, suggesting new boss Dave Lewis's turnaround plan is starting to bear fruit.

LONDON — A whistleblower report claimed that Tesco accountants were "falsifying documents" to avoid the attention of auditors and cover up a £250 million hole in Tesco's accounts in 2014, a court heard on Thursday.

Three former Tesco executives are standing trial for fraud relating to a "black hole" of nearly £250 million in the retailer's profits, which was first reported in September 2014. All three deny guilt.

Amit Soni, a senior member of Tesco's finance team who allegedly acted as a whistleblower in the case, gave evidence on the fifth day of the trial at Southwark Crown Court in London on Thursday.

The court heard that a document commissioned by Soni and written secretly by a member of his team outlined a budget shortfall of £240 million which had been covered up by "pulling forward" income from future accounting periods.

READ MORE: 'The whistle is about to blow': Secret report exposed Tesco's £250 million accounting scandal, court hears

The report, part of which was read aloud to the court, said: "Pulling forward this income and falsifying documents to minimise audit risk [...] generates a significant amount of work for our teams."

Soni said that "falsifying documents" referred to the practice of pulling forward income from future accounting periods. Soni said commercial directors were under pressure to pull forward more income in order to continue covering up holes in accounts.

"Any document relating to pull-forward would have to be a false document," Soni told the court. "It would not be a genuine transaction."

He said that in at least one instance, income from suppliers due to be invoiced over a five-year period had been pulled forward into the current budget in order to make existing accounts appear more healthy.

"There was one or more case when it was clear that the income had been taken from the supplier for a contract that was pulled forward at least five years, so the income that should have been recognised over five years was recognised over one year," Soni said.

The report also described accounting practices that were used "to avoid the attention of external audit," and cited "material audit risks" in Tesco accounts.

"Pulling forward income goes against relevant accounting standards and the Groceries Supply Code of Practice," the report said.

Former Tesco UK managing director Christopher Bush, former UK finance director Carl Rogberg, and former food commercial director John Scouler are all charged with fraud by false accounting and of fraud by abuse of position.

The trio were formally charged by the Senior Fraud Office last year. Lawyers acting for the trio have already pleaded not guilty.

The trial continues.

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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

Tesco CEO on Amazon: 'We see them as a formidable competitor'

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

jeff bezos and dave lewis

LONDON — The CEO of Tesco says the supermarket chain sees Amazon as a "formidable competitor" but emphasised that Tesco is in a "good place" to compete with the online retail giant.

Share prices of supermarkets worldwide slumped in June after Amazon announced it was acquiring US grocer Whole Foods.

The deal represents a major expansion of Amazon's ambitions in the food and drink sector, and there have been rumours that the e-commerce giant could pursue a similar deal in Europe.

"We have to respect Amazon," Tesco CEO Dave Lewis said at a press conference in London this week. "We see them as a formidable competitor.

"But delivering food and handling food is very different to delivering non-food. If we as Tesco play to the strengths that we have in terms of the stores we have and the delivery capability we have, then actually we can deliver a great service for customers that is very difficult to compete with."

Lewis highlighted the fact that Tesco leads Amazon in the UK grocery home delivery market in London, where Amazon operates its Fresh delivery service, and said that the Whole Foods deal shows Amazon is "trying to buy things that we as Tesco already have."

"Competition makes you stronger," Lewis said. "We should just be mindful as to what it is Amazon are doing, look at the strengths of what it is they ultimately bring to the market, and ask ourselves as Tesco: how do we do better? Just don't give up where we start from — we start from a very good place."

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NOW WATCH: RAY DALIO: Bitcoin is a speculative bubble

10 things you need to know in markets today

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

Philip Hammond

Good Morning! Here's what you need to know on Friday.

1. Chancellor Philip Hammond faces a "bloodbath" in the next Budget, according to the Financial Times, with official forecasts expected to show that growth has been much slower than thought in recent years. According to the FT, the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) will next Tuesday release new analysis showing that it has drastically overestimated productivity in recent years, which in turn will lead it to offer more pessimistic than expected forecasts of growth at November's budget.

2. Plans to list Saudi Aramco in 2018 is on track, senior Saudi officials said in Moscow on Thursday, as Saudi Arabia gears up to sign a string of investment agreements with Russia. The plan to float around 5 percent of Aramco in an initial public offering (IPO) is a centerpiece of Vision 2030, a wide-ranging reform plan to diversify the Saudi economy beyond oil which is being championed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

3. Procter & Gamble, consumer products giant that is the world's biggest advertiser, has aggressively pushed to clean up the murky digital advertising landscape — including by slashing its own spending on online ads. But the cutback in spending did nothing to hurt sales, its chief brand officer said Thursday. "We cut more than $100 million in wasteful spending starting last March because we couldn’t be assured ads would not appear next to bad content like a terrorist video," Marc Pritchard, P&G's chief brand officer said. 

4. Spain's Constitutional Court suspended the Catalan parliament session planned for next Monday during which regional officials were expected to possibly vote on independence. The parliament session's suspension is noteworthy because parliament enacts the independence law.

5. Uber's iPhone app has a secret backdoor to powerful Apple features, allowing the ride-hailing service to potentially record a user's screen and access other personal information without their knowledge. The existence of Uber's access to special iPhone functions is not disclosed in any consumer-facing information included with Uber's app, despite giving the company direct access to features so powerful that Apple almost always keeps them off limits to outside companies.

6. JPMorgan's marketing chief says Amazon is a real challenger to Facebook and Google in digital advertising. "I think that they are a force to be reckoned with, they are excellent with everything they do," said Kristin Lemkau, chief marketing officer at JPMorgan Chase. "You have to do business with Amazon."

7. Oil climbed higher on Thursday as King Salman of Saudi Arabia made the first ever visit by a Saudi monarch to Russia. King Salman told Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow that the two countries will continue to work on stabilising oil markets.

8. $1.6 trillion asset manager PIMCO doesn't see another economic recession happening just yet. But with low market volatility and many economies around the world growing steadily, there's an open door for complacency to creep in.  "While the current macro environment and outlook appear better than many of the younger market participants can remember, the last time a similar combination prevailed was in 2006 – and that didn’t end well," wrote PIMCO's Joachim Fels and Andrew Balls in their outlook for the next six to 12 months.

9. The S&P 500 has climbed for eight consecutive sessions, the longest streak since summer 2013. More broadly US stocks climbed higher on Thursday ahead of the September jobs report. All three indices once again hit new record highs.

10. Japan's Nikkei share average scaled a two-year peak on Friday, on track for a weekly gain, buoyed by the impact of a weaker currency as well as record highs on Wall Street. The Nikkei was up 0.3% during afternoon trade hitting 20,695 points, after probing its highest levels since October 2015.

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NOW WATCH: RAY DALIO: Bitcoin is a speculative bubble

BlackRock Exec: No Point in Bitcoin ETF

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

A senior official at asset management giant BlackRock said this week that he doesn't see the case for a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

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