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Chilean Bitcoin Exchange SurBTC Withdraws Support for SegWit2x Hard Fork

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

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A 30-year-old with a growing wine empire reveals the common mistakes people make while drinking

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

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As a recent college graduate, my knowledge of wine up until yesterday was limited to how to best "slap the bag" to get the most out of a box of wine. 

But after a recent meet-up with renowned sommelier Michael Hill-Kennedy, I can now say I am a bit more well-versed in the world of fine wine tasting. 

The recent inductee to Forbes' 30 under 30 list for food and drink told me that he's a mischievous kid at heart who doesn't mind breaking some rules and taking risks.

And when he set out to start his own wine business, Component Wine Company, Kennedy was looking to break some of the strict rules that have underpinned the wine industry for the last 100 years.

Kennedy, now 30, got his start as a part-time tasting room employee at a small family-owned winery in Missouri in 2009.

It didn't take long for Kennedy to rise through the ranks. He quickly obtained his certification as a sommelier and snagged the spot as the winery's director of wines. His love of wine took him to Washington, D.C. in 2012 where he served as sommelier for two different Ritz-Carlton locations. 

We met up at Aldo Sohm Wine Bar in Manhattan where some of his wines were being served. We tasted a 2016 Semillon from Napa Valley, the company's first white wine. 

Here's what I learned from the experience:

Before you throw back a glass of wine, you need to put your other senses to work. First, you're going to look at it. A good place to start is with the wine's legs. You've probably heard about the legs, the tears that run down the inside of the glass. The rate at which the legs fall down the side of the glass are not an indication of the quality of the wine. Rather, they show you how much sugar is in the wine. 

Legs_(8151580797) 1Here's Kennedy:

"Thicker legs means the wine has fuller body - which could mean more sugar, tannin or alcohol. But just because a wine has thinner legs doesn't mean its worse, it's just lighter."

Next, look at the color. That can tell you about how the wine is made. For a white wine, like the one Kennedy and I sampled, a lighter color means it could have been made in stainless steel, while a more golden color typically means oak.

After you look in the wine, then you smell it to identify aromas. The Semillon we sampled smelled like peaches, pears, orchids, and mushroom. 

Remember to take very brief quick breaths through your nose. Here's why:

"If you breath in too much or too deeply, the nose will numb from the alcohol. A huge sniff is bad because 98% of taste is connected to your nose ... so don't numb it out!"

After you look at the wine and smell the wine, then you're ready to taste it. Start with small sips with your head facing down. Make sure it rolls around your entire tongue so all of your taste buds can get a sense of it. 

Kennedy was adamant about one thing during our visit: "Trust what your taste."

Wine, he says, is about the experience, and is not a perfect science. So enjoy it. 

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NOW WATCH: RAY DALIO: Bitcoin is a speculative bubble

(+) Technical Analysis: Ethereum Leads Altcoin Rebound as Bitcoin Remains Strong

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

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(+) Technical Analysis: Ethereum Leads Altcoin Rebound as Bitcoin Remains Strong

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

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STOCKS TEST RECORD HIGHS: Here's what you need to know

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

mountain climber

Stocks climbed higher, hitting a new intraday record high, as a surge in Walmart shares sent consumer companies soaring.

The S&P 500 gained 0.2%. Meanwhile, the Dow increased 0.3% and the more tech-heavy Nasdaq inched 0.1% higher.

First up, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 22,830.61, +69.54, (+0.31%)
  • S&P 500: 2,550.65, +5.92, (+0.23%)
  • Nasdaq: 6,587.25, +7.52, (+0.11%)
  • US 10-year yield: 2.35%, -0.02
  • WTI crude oil: $50.86, +1.28, +2.58%

1. Walmart is using the oldest trick in the book to boost its stock price. The retailer authorized up to $20 billion in share buybacks over the next two years, and also announced plans to expand its ecommerce offering.

2. Credit Suisse outlines the 6 things that could make or break the stock market in 2018. The firm's equity strategists see the S&P 500 rising to 2,987 by year-end, implying an annualized gain of about 11%.

3. Stocks are behaving in a way not seen since the tech bubble. They're fluctuating at the whim of macro events to the lowest degree since 2001, according to Morgan Stanley.

4. RBC says Apple could be one of the biggest beneficiaries of Trump's tax plan. The firm cites the deduction of capital expenses and a reduction of the corporate tax rate as possible drivers.

5. Nelson Peltz was thwarted by the $236 billion maker of Tide and Crest in the largest proxy battle in history. He failed to claim a seat on the board of consumer giant Procter & Gamble.

ADDITIONALLY:

Express Scripts is buying a healthcare benefits manager for $3.6 billion

Nvidia spikes after announcing an AI driving chip that'll replace an 'entire trunk full' of computers

Trump teases a new economic-development bill that 'nobody knows about'

The White House says NFL teams should stop getting public money for new stadiums

Goldman Sachs made a big hire for a newly created role, and it hints at the future of the Wall Street giant

SEE ALSO: Stocks are behaving in a way not seen since the tech bubble

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Stocks are behaving in a way not seen since the tech bubble

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

peter thiel elon musk early paypal

Stocks are operating with a mind of their own to an extent not seen since the dotcom bubble.

Normally tossed and turned by geopolitical events and macroeconomic developments, stocks are exhibiting a historically high degree of independence at a time when price swings remain locked near all-time lows.

As of earlier this month, 65% of the risk associated with the average S&P 500 stock was inexplainable by a set of six macro risk factors maintained by Morgan Stanley over the past 63 days. That's the highest since the financial crisis, the firm wrote in a client note.

And if you extend the period of comparison to 252 days, the measure of stock-specific risk is the highest since 2001, the age of the dotcom bubble, Morgan Stanley data show.

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These types of market conditions are ideal for stock pickers, who make their living analyzing company fundamentals and betting on single stocks.

About 54% of large-cap mutual-fund managers are beating their benchmarks in 2017, the highest-ever success rate at this time of year, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch data going back to 2009. If they keep up the pace through the end of the quarter, it would be the first year since 2007 — right around the time of the financial crisis — that more than half of them outperformed benchmarks, according to the data.

At the root of the resilience has been the average pair-wise correlation of stocks in major indexes — which measures the degree to which they trade in tandem. For the benchmark S&P 500, the measure sits at its lowest since the tech bubble, while companies in the Russell 2000 gauge of small-cap stocks are trading the most independently since 2003, according to BAML data.

Stocks won't trade this independently of macro factors, nor other companies, forever. So, more than anything, it's important for active managers to strike while the iron is hot.

SEE ALSO: Investors once seen at risk of extinction are headed for their best year since the financial crisis

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

$4,920: Bitcoin Price Scales the Charts in Pursuit of All-Time High

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

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Hyperledger and Linux to Offer a Massive Open Online Blockchain Course

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

MOOChyperledger.jpg

Hyperledger, the international blockchain collaboration of corporate giants and young startups in partnership with the Linux Foundation, is launching a new free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to meet the rapidly accelerating worldwide demand for blockchain education.

The pace at which the “red hot” blockchain technology market is evolving and increasing in popularity makes it difficult for the established education system to keep up with the demand.

In an announcement, Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director of Hyperledger said:

"Interest in blockchain technology is exploding. Software developers, product teams, and business managers are all desperately eager to figure out how this technology can solve real-world problems.

"This first introductory-level course is carefully designed for both non-technical and technical audiences, to bring everyone further up the learning curve and get started with it on their own business needs.”

The Linux Foundation, responsible for training and certifying more developers in open source software than any organization in the world, together with the worldwide open source community, is aiming to solve the hardest technology problems by creating the largest shared technology community in history.  

The MOOC will be on the edX.org website, a free online education platform started by MIT and Harvard University in 2012. The site is now a collaborative effort of more than 50 top-rated universities and colleges including Cornell, University of California Berkeley, the Sorbonne, McGill, Juilliard, the University of Hong Kong, Oxford, Notre Dame, the University of Tokyo and the University of Toronto.

MOOC is Designed for Technical and Non-Technical Audiences

Some universities, like the University of Edinburgh, MIT, Stanford, University of California Berkeley and Princeton University, have already begun to offer courses in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies at the college level, while a new Blockchain University is tailoring its courses to professionals looking to upgrade their knowledge. The University of Nicosia in Cyprus offers the world’s first MSc in Digital Currency. But these courses are designed for the post-secondary and graduate knowledge level markets.

In contrast, Hyperledger’s MOOC is set up for both beginners and trained developers, and includes an introduction to the Hyperledger organization and its key business blockchain platforms, including Hyperledger Fabric and Sawtooth.

It covers key features of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies, current Hyperledger projects and common use cases, and the differences between various types of Hyperledger projects in the fields of finance, banking, Internet of Things, supply chains and manufacturing technologies.

The course includes how to install Hyperledger Fabric and Sawtooth frameworks and how to build simple applications on top of the Fabric and Sawtooth frameworks.

In a statement, edX CEO and MIT professor Anant Agarwal noted:

“Hyperledger and blockchain are two key skillsets that are increasingly in demand in today’s digital world. Our global community of learners have told us that they are seeking courses to help them gain the career-relevant skills they need for the modern workplace. We are thrilled to once again partner with the Linux Foundation to offer a course on this popular, in-demand subject that will provide the building blocks needed for success within the exciting and rapidly expanding field of blockchain technologies.”

Recent job numbers show that the demand for cryptocurrency jobs has doubled in the past six months and are soon to triple from 2016. The job board AngelList reports that cryptocurrency job postings remain one of the largest non-corporate startup opportunities..

Pre-registration is now open. The free Hyperledger course will become fully available on October 25, 2017 (with the option to add a verified certificate of completion for $99).

The post Hyperledger and Linux to Offer a Massive Open Online Blockchain Course appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

India Trials a Power Grid on the Blockchain to Incentivize Sustainable Energy

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

powerledger.jpg

Access to reliable energy is the foundation of economic development and human society. Yet reliable energy can come at a steep environmental cost.

Today’s energy systems are being rapidly reexamined and transformed by both private businesses and public organizations. Innovation coupled with changing policy and consumer demands has prompted The World Economic Forum’s System Initiative On Shaping the Future of Energy. The WEF noted that four out of five of the Initiative's goals can be addressed in some way through the application of blockchain technology:

  1. Enable innovation to accelerate opportunities towards smarter and more efficient energy use;

  2. Enable the cost-effective reduction of energy’s environmental footprint;

  3. Enable universal access to affordable reliable energy; and

  4. Improve system resilience and security.

One area of application that has been of interest for its utility, efficiency and sustainability is the blockchain application to microgrids.

MaaS in India

Multinational IT provider, Tech Mahindra, and the peer-to-peer based energy trading platform, Power Ledger, have created a new service for clientele specifically interested in microgrids. Microgrids are distributed energy systems that act as a single controllable entity with respect to a larger energy grid network.

A microgrid’s key feature is that it can connect and disconnect from a larger grid network, enabling it to operate both as a part of a larger grid or in “islandmode” as its own grid. The new service offering includes a package of technical services and a platform for customers to set up and operate their own microgrid called “Microgrid-as-a-Service” (MaaS).

The MaaS platform integrates multiple energy assets such as solar, battery storage, electric vehicle chargers and analytics to measure energy efficiency. MaaS is intended to offer resilient and reliable electricity that is also local and less carbon reliant.

While the MaaS product provides technical control over a microgrid, Power Ledger’s blockchain-based platform acts as an added transactional layer that reimburses users for excess clean energy produced by allowing peers to store and trade it at a local level. The blockchain also manages all energy debits and credits of accounts, automates trading and measures each participant’s ongoing financial statements. The blockchain does this by tracking the data flow from smart electricity meters — an Internet of Things application for the energy sector.

The Power Ledger blockchain-based software platform will begin in late 2017 as a virtual trial run on those Tech Mahindra campuses in India that are already hooked up to microgrids.  

Location proves to be a key factor for the project’s success based on two reasons. Data from urban microgrids are typically more complex due to population density; they can, therefore, better demonstrate the strengths of using a blockchain-based platform for microgrids. Also, urban microgrids are much more common in India as opposed to OCED countries where they are mostly employed in rural settings.

“Trialing in India is a major opportunity to change the way communities source the energy required to take part in a modern global economy,” said Power Ledger’s Managing Director, David Martin.

An Economic Environment Ready for Disruption

The fact that India’s economy has been declining since the beginning of 2017 enhances the project’s case for using a blockchain to improve the country’s bottom line. In the first six months of 2017, the country’s gross domestic product fell from 7 percent to 5.7 percent. This may be due in part to reform efforts by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the last year.

In June, Modi announced a complete overhaul of India’s tax system. Back in November 2016, he banned the 500 rupee ($7.50) and 1,000 rupee ($15) paper notes, calling them “worthless pieces of paper,” as a way to limit fraud and corruption. These banned notes were said to make up about 86 percent of all cash in circulation, according to CNN Money.

Opportunities for digitization using blockchain technology, and especially for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, are a much needed alternative to several of their systems that do not already have effective nodes of trust built in.

Power Ledger has already proved that its platform can work for both homeowners and businesses. In Busselton, Australia, their peer-to-peer trial showed households can save about $470 ($600 AUD) per year on electricity bills. The forward vision for using blockchain-based platforms to trade energy within microgrids is to enable building owners, campuses, and even “smart cities” and other communities to produce and manage their own affordable electricity and then trade any excess generation.


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RBC: Apple could be one of the 'biggest beneficiaries' of Trump's tax plan (AAPL)

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

Donald Trump Tim Cook

Trump and Congressional Republicans have set their sights on tax reform. They hope to simplify the tax code to benefit corporate America and the middle class, but the details have yet to be decided.

What looks to be clear though, is that Apple would benefit greatly if the proposed plans end up becoming a law. RBC analyst Amit Daryanani said that in his mind, Apple is "one of the biggest beneficiaries" of the proposed plan.

"While details are far from finalized, we think that potential provisions could add $4.00-$4.50 to our FY18 EPS estimate under a relatively conservative set of assumptions,' Daryanani said in a recent note to clients. That would boost fiscal year 2018 earnings to $14.69 per share. 

A few main areas of the proposed tax plan could greatly benefit Apple, according to Daryanani. They are as follows:

  1. "Deduction of capital investments"
  2. "Reduction in Federal corporate tax rate, which should bring effective tax rate to below 20%"
  3. "Repatriation of offshore cash at a low tax rate"

Deducting capital expenses is a bit complicated, but would essentially allow Apple to take the money it invests in itself (its massive multi-billion dollar campus excluded because it is a "structure") and expense it. Details of exactly how much Apple could deduct are unclear, but Daryanani estimates it to be about $8 billion for 2018.

A reduction in the corporate tax rate is pretty self-explanatory. Paying fewer taxes is good for anyone's bottom line.

Finally, Daryanani expects Apple to earn $70.37 billion before taxes in 2018. After deducting $8 billion of capital expenses, and paying a reduced tax rate of 20%, Apple could save as much as $5.34 billion and add as much as $1.08 per share to its earnings, compared to its current tax code.

Apple holds about $219 billion of cash overseas that it could move back to the US according to Daryanani. The GOP's tax plan does not specify a specific tax rate for repatriated earnings, but Daryanani expects it to be close to 10%. If Apple uses that repatriated money to purchase stocks, it could add an additional $3.25 per share to current earnings expectations.

Combining the savings from deductions and a lower tax rate ($1.08 per share) with the earnings boost from repatriated cash ($3.25 per share) could add about $4.33 to Apple's 2018 fiscal year, according to Daryanani.

He believes if tax reform passes in Apple's favor, it could send the company across the fabled $1 trillion market cap number, a first for a US company. Apple's market cap currently sits at about a $801 billion.

The tax-based boost could be nullified by adverse decisions by the European Commission, however. The commission recently ruled that Ireland would have to accept about $15 billion in back taxes from Apple after an arrangement between the two entities was ruled illegal.

Apple shares are up 34.08% this year. 

Read more about the European Commission's ruling against Apple here...

apple stock price

SEE ALSO: EU orders Apple to pay up to €13 billion in taxes

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

Analysis: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin

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

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Analysis: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin

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

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Bitcoin hits a record high above $4,900

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

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Bitcoin broke through a new ceiling on Tuesday amid regulatory uncertainty and mounting criticism. 

The price of the red-hot cryptocurrency soared passed $4,900 Tuesday afternoon to $4,926, an all-time high for the cryptocurrency, according to data from Bloomberg. 

Other estimates put bitcoin's all-time high over $5,000, such as CoinDesk's index

Bitcoin hit a record high of $4,921, according to data from Bloomberg, at the beginning of September, but quickly saw its price decline amid news of a crackdown in China and regulatory uncertainty around initial coin offerings, a cryptocurrency-based fundraising method. After bottoming out near $2,900 per coin on September 15, it has since rallied.

On Tuesday, Russian president Vladimir Putin added to the uncertainty, hinting at a possible cryptocurrency crackdown in Russia.

Putin's comments follow mounting criticism from some of Wall Street's most powerful players. 

On September 12 JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon called bitcoin "a fraud" and said it was "worse than tulips bulbs" in the 1600s. 

Then, in a recent interview with Bloomberg News, Larry Fink, the head of BlackRock, the world's largest investor with $5.7 trillion under management, said he thinks the explosive growth of bitcoin points to nefarious behavior

"It just identifies how much money laundering there is being done in the world," Fink said. "How much people are trying to move currencies from one place to another."

Kenneth Rogoff, the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, weighed in on bitcoin Monday, saying that "in the long run, the technology will thrive, but that the price of bitcoin will collapse."

SEE ALSO: Putin is sounding the alarm over cryptocurrencies

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NOW WATCH: Traders are gearing up for Trump's tax cut plan

A movie about former Uber engineer Susan Fowler is reportedly being shopped around

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

 In all likelihood, when former Uber engineer Susan Fowler authored her now-famous post about her “very strange year” at Uber and the culture of sexism she witnessed first-hand at the company, she had no clue it would have such colossal ripple effects. Yet, here with are, nine months later, and not only has Uber’s cofounder Travis Kalanick been elbowed out of what once seemed… Read More

Catalonia proposes to suspend its independence referendum result

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

spain catalonia independence vote

Catalonia says that it has won the right to be independent, but proposes suspending the consequences of the vote "for dialogue."

Carlos Puigdemont, the Catalonian president, told the regional parliament in Barcelona on Tuesday evening local time (CEST) that "we propose to suspend the effect of the independence declaration ... in order to work towards putting into practice the result of the referendum."

"Today, we are making a gesture of responsibility in favor of dialogue," he added.

Puigdemont's statement was not a unilateral declaration of independence. Some were expecting the region to declare independence on Tuesday.

Spain's Constitutional Court ruled that the independence referendum was illegal ahead of the October 1 vote, and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy previously vowed to keep his country together regardless of the outcome.

Spain's King Felipe VI, in a rare televised address to the country two days after the vote, criticized the Catalan government, saying they "have placed themselves outside the law and democracy, they have tried to break the unity of Spain and national sovereignty."

A declaration of independence theoretically would not only lead to immediate political uncertainty in the region, but would also increase the risk of economic uncertainty for both Catalonia and Spain. 

An independent Catalonia would not not be part of the European Union, the European Commission said last week.

What happened during the referendum vote?

Earlier this month, 2.2 million Catalans, or 43% of the region's eligible electorate, voted for independence on a day marred with violence as Spanish riot police used batons and fired rubber bullets on protesters. Around 900 people were injured that day. Protests broke out over the crackdown the following Tuesday in Catalonia.

The number of people voting for secession has been "broadly stable" since 2014, and a "clear majority" did not endorse such an action on Sunday, according to The Financial Times.

Spain's Constitutional Court ruled ahead of the vote that the referendum violated the country's constitution because it "does not recognize the right to self-determination and establishes that sovereignty resides with Spanish citizens collectively," according to the Washington Post.

The Spanish government has taken a strong stance against the referendum ahead of the vote by raiding offices, shutting down pro-independence websites, and arresting officials. Some analysts have argued that the recent crackdown has only helped to further unite the pro-independence groups in Catalonia.

Tensions go back decades

Tensions between Catalonia and Spain go back decades. According to Bloomberg, the region's push for autonomy was a factor in the Spanish Civil War. Afterwards, the Franco regime cracked down on the language, on Catalan institutions, and on the people themselves. 

Following Franco's death, the Spanish constitution of 1978, which says the nation is "indivisible," gave Catalonia language rights and control over its healthcare and education.

Recently, nationalists in Catalonia have pointed to the region's language and culture, and have argued that the region subsidizes the rest of Spain, according to CNN. Catalonia pays about €10 billion ($11.8 billion) more in taxes than it gets back, according to data from the Spanish Treasury, as cited by Reuters. By comparison, Andalusia, the poorest region, gets almost €8 billion ($9.4 billion) more than it pays.

On the economic front

Catalonia, which has its own language and culture, is one of Spain's economic powerhouses. It contributes nearly one-fifth of the country's total GDP and has an economy larger than that of Portugal.

Maurice Obstfeld, the International Monetary Fund's chief economist, told reporters that a Catalonian split would cause "a lot of uncertainty for both the Catalan and Spanish economies," the BBC reported on Tuesday. Several major banks based in the region, including Banco Sabadell and Caixabank, are also reportedly moving, or considering moving, their headquarters out of Catalonia if the region declares independence.

 

SEE ALSO: KEN ROGOFF: Bitcoin will eventually collapse

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NOW WATCH: RAY DALIO: You have to bet against the consensus and be right to be successful in the markets

Gary Shilling calls bitcoin a black box and says he doesn't invest in things he doesn't understand

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

Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin can make an attractive investment for many people on Wall Street. But famed financial analyst Gary Shilling, president of A. Gary Shilling & Company says that this emerging currency is too opaque and complicated for him to invest. The following is a transcript of the video.

It's a black box and I'm not a believer in black boxes. I recently met with a friend of mine, a West Coast venture capitalist. He was very early on this. He's made a lot of money on this and so on. I cornered him at a cocktail party and I said:

"Now listen, I want you to explain to me what this really is." 

"Well you know, ok it's a controlled deal and these minters. There's only so many of them."

And I said: "How about the guys behind this?" 

"Well you know nobody ... well we think we know who he is."

I just ... you know this ... Actually back in the ... Back in the South Sea Bubble, which is one of the great speculations. And there's a book by a guy named MacKay. It's a classic book. But he describes in there the South Sea Bubble, which was one of the great speculations. And this one guy comes out:

"Great discovery, wonderful investment, but I won't tell you the details." And a lot of suckers in London invested in this. And the last line was: The guy collected all the money, closed up, left for the continent that evening never to be heard of again." 

I'm just very suspicious of things that are not transparent. If I can't understand it, I don't want to invest in it. 

 

 

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A tech veteran has joined Goldman Sachs after leaving the biggest hedge fund in the world (GS)

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

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Goldman Sachs is continuing to fill its ranks with top tech talent to cement its position as the leading technological force on Wall Street. 

On Tuesday the financial services powerhouse said Jeff Wecker, a former senior manager at Bridgewater Associates, the Connecticut-based hedge fund, will join the firm as its chief data officer, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

In April, Business Insider first reported Wecker was leaving Bridgewater after being with the firm for more than six years. He left as head of front office transformation. Wecker spent 11 years at Goldman from 1984 to 1995, according to his LinkedIn page. 

Wecker is the second big tech hire by Goldman this month. 

On October 3, Business Insider reported that Mike Blum, the former chief technology officer at KCG Holdings, the high-frequency trading firm recently acquired by Virtu Financial, was hired by Goldman as chief technology officer for its electronic trading unit. Bloomberg News first reported the hire. 

Goldman Sachs has made technology a key part of its trading strategy. Paul Russo, the global co-COO of the equities franchise in the securities division at the bank, said it was one of two key components of the bank's strategy in equities in a recent episode of "Exchanges at Goldman Sachs."

"We have spent the last three to four years heavily, heavily investing in technology, literally redoing most things," Russo said. 

According to a CB Insights report, 47% of Goldman's most recent job listings are in technology. 

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NOW WATCH: RAY DALIO: Bitcoin is a speculative bubble

Bitcoin Price Bubble “Will Collapse”: Ex IMF Economist Kenneth Rogoff

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

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What you need to know on Wall Street today

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

Jamie DimonWelcome 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.

Nelson Peltz has been thwarted in the largest proxy battle in history, failing to claim a seat on the board of the $236 billion giant Procter & Gamble.

Preliminary results on Tuesday showed that Peltz, the founder of the $14 billion hedge fund Trian Partners, lost the proxy fight by a slim margin against P&G, the maker of consumer products like Tide, Crest, and Bounty and the largest-ever company to face such a challenge. Shares dropped after the preliminary results were released.  

Trian quickly announced its disagreement with the vote count by P&G, which is led by CEO David Taylor, and is calling for a recount

Elsewhere in deal news, Express Scripts is buying a healthcare benefits manager for $3.6 billion. JPMorgan and Singapore's wealth fund led a $100 million investment in a Silicon Valley fintechA $5 billion Silicon Valley VC is getting back into biotech and looking to back "iconic entrepreneurs."

And lawmakers are taking aim at pharma giant Allergan over an unusual deal with a Native American tribe.

Business Insider's Matt Turner recently caught up with David Hunt, President and CEO of fund giant PGIM, to ask him about the stock market, the Trump trade, and the future of money management. PGIM has more than $1 billion in assets invested around the world. Here's what he had to say.

The world's investing heavyweights are falling in line to make a decision that will cost them millions — and it is terrible news for stock analysts

Walmart is using the oldest trick in the book to boost its stock price, announcing that it has authorized up to $20 billion in stock buybacks over the next two years. The stock hit its highest point in two years after the announcement

Credit Suisse identified six things that could make or break the stock market in 2018. And central banks have tricked investors and created a "doomsday machine," according to Macquarie. 

Puerto Rico stands "on the brink of a massive liquidity crisis that will intensify." Here's how Puerto Rico got into so much debt.

A crypto company took out an ad in the Wall Street Journal to poke fun at Jamie Dimon.

Lastly, a CNN reporter married a hedge fund heir in the South of France — and the photos are unreal.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Gary Shilling calls bitcoin a black box and says he doesn't invest in things he doesn't understand

The winner of this year's Nobel Prize in economics says he's 'nervous' about stocks

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

Richard Thaler

The winner of this year's Nobel Prize in economics says he's "nervous" about stocks.

"We seem to be living in the riskiest moment of our lives, and yet the stock market seems to be napping," Richard Thaler, who won the prize for his contributions to behavioral economics, told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday. "I admit to not understanding it."

"I don’t know about you, but I’m nervous, and it seems like when investors are nervous, they’re prone to being spooked," he said, adding that "nothing seems to spook the market."

Stocks have been on an upward trajectory for years, and back in September the S&P 500's bull run became the second-best-performing since World War II. The benchmark index has climbed about 270% from its March 2009 low.

They have continually touched new highs since President Donald Trump's election in November 2016, attributed to strong corporate-earnings growth and Wall Street's hopes of business-friendly policies.

Thaler was awarded the 2017 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel on Monday.

Check out the full story at Bloomberg here.

SEE ALSO: KEN ROGOFF: Bitcoin will eventually collapse

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NOW WATCH: Watch billionaire CEO Jack Ma dance to Michael Jackson in full costume

Putin is sounding the alarm over cryptocurrencies

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

vladamir putin sunglasses

Russian President Vladimir Putin is sounding the alarm over cryptocurrencies, signaling the country might soon crack down on the exploding crypto-market. 

The Financial Times on Tuesday reported that Putin said cryptocurrencies like bitcoin pose “serious risks” and allow for people to "launder criminally obtained money, evade taxes and even finance terrorism, as well as, of course, perpetuating fraudulent schemes that obviously may affect ordinary citizens.”

The market capitalization for digital coins has exploded this year by more than 700% to $150 billion. The growth of the cryptocurrency market has been fueled in part by initial coin offerings, a red-hot cryptocurrency-based fundraising method. Many countries, including China and South Korea, have cracked down on ICOs because of the threat they pose to retail investors. 

Whereas China and South Korea deemed ICOs illegal, Putin appears to be suggesting a more moderate crackdown. 

“We need to use the advantages that come with any technological solutions in banking. It’s important not to set up superfluous barriers, naturally, but to create the essential conditions for the further development and perfection of the national financial system,” he said, according to the FT's report.

SEE ALSO: A crypto company took out an ad in the Wall Street Journal to poke fun at Jamie Dimon

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NOW WATCH: The head of investment themes at UBS explains the big trends every investor should know

The world's investing heavyweights are falling in line to make a decision that will cost them millions — and it is terrible news for stock analysts (BLK, TROW, UBS, CS)

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

  • Top asset managers are electing to absorb millions in research costs in response to financial reform in Europe.
  • Firms would face daunting compliance challenges and lose a competitive edge if they decide to pass the costs on to clients instead.
  • That's pushing research managers to slash their budgets for third-party research, with Credit Suisse predicting a 50% drop in research spend. 
  • That spells bad news for stock analysts across Wall Street.

cliff jump

The world's largest asset managers are falling in line and deciding to absorb millions in research costs ahead of the implementation of European market reform that's shaking up Wall Street.

That could spell a gloomy future for Wall Street stock analysts, many of which could find themselves without a job.

The financial reforms — known as MiFID II (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive) — are set to go live at the start of 2018, and a headline effect is a requirement that asset managers pay for research separately from commissions for trading execution. Free and bundled research will be prohibited.

This essentially leaves firms with two options: bear the brunt and start paying for all the research themselves, or pass the cost on to clients.

Easy decision, right? Pass the new cost of business along to clients and pad the profit margin.

But most asset managers are planning to do the opposite. A majority of the largest-20 asset managers are willingly absorbing multi-million dollar costs and funding the research internally, according to a research note from Credit Suisse.

Credit Suisse predicts that many publicly listed asset managers in Europe will try and keep the spend at roughly 3% or less of profit before taxes. The bad news for stock analysts: That would mean a 50% "compression" in research budgets.

In other words, there's going to be a lot less money to go around for research analysts.

Here's Credit Suisse: 

Base case estimates by management consultants for research budget shrinkage were in the range of 20-30%. However, these scenarios did not envisage a switch to wholesale cost absorption onto asset manager P&Ls. We think the new base case will move closer to a 50% contraction (albeit with an even greater reduction in the number of research providers), with scope for a greater decline if unbundling goes global.

They're not the only bank employees with a grim outlook.

UBS wall street trading desk declineWall Street's marquee trading teams — already experiencing headwinds and steady decline — will suffer a 1.5% hit to revenue growth in 2018 and beyond thanks to research unbundling and increased transparency requirements under MiFID II, according to a note last week from UBS.

Credit Suisse says 7% of total equity trading revenues are at risk from the contraction in research budgets.

Why not pass along to clients?

Taking on the cost rather than having clients cover it may seem counterintuitive, but the calculus makes sense when you dig into the implications of both options. For starters, choosing to pass the cost along to clients comes with an extensive and complicated array of restrictions and requirements, according to Credit Suisse.

"Given the degree of complexity of these rules and risk of compliance failures, it is, perhaps, understandable why many asset managers have chosen to absorb the costs of third party research onto their own P&Ls from 2018," the firm wrote in the note.

"The perceived risk of falling foul of the complex rules when using client funds is high and there are incremental ongoing operating expenses associated with compliance," the note continued.

It could also put asset managers at a competitive disadvantage compared with more client friendly firms paying for the research themselves. Credit Suisse notes that many firms announced their intention to pay for research shortly after two industry giants, BlackRock and JPMorgan Asset Management, set the tone and declared their intention to absorb the costs.

That indicates money managers believe losing business to such competitors is a plausible result that could outweigh the research costs.

Moreover, paying for the research could engender goodwill from both clients and regulators.

Eventually, every asset manager will hew the line set by BlackRock and JPMorgan Asset Management, Credit Suisse predicts.

"We think it will become standard industry practice for asset managers to absorb research costs onto their P&Ls. Outliers will only be able to avoid this over the short-to-medium term as competitive pressures build," the note reads.

Here's a chart that Credit Suisse compiled, using information from the Financial Times, showing which option a variety global asset managers have chosen, so far:

Credit Suisse asset managers paying for research

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NOW WATCH: Gary Shilling calls bitcoin a black box and says he doesn't invest in things he doesn't understand

MORGAN STANLEY: Tesla's biggest advantage has nothing to do with cars (TSLA)

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

Tesla Urban Supercharger

Tesla's biggest advantage over its competitors isn't its sleek new Model 3, or even its two previous electric cars. Rather, the company's supercharger network that has been slowly making its way across the country, will keep Tesla on top.   

"There has been a flurry of OEM announcements regarding accelerating electric vehicle introductions, but most offer little detail on charging and battery manufacturing strategy," Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in a note Tuesday morning. "We see Tesla's rapidly growing infrastructure footprint as a key differentiator."

The bank raised its price target for Tesla shares to $379 from $317 — 7.92% above where the stock was trading Tuesday morning.

Tesla said in its May shareholder letter that it expects to have 10,000 superchargers online by the end of the year. Morgan Stanley estimates that the count currently stands at 6,246 as of August.

"The importance of infrastructure in achieving EV penetration levels increases over time with the prevalence of larger and more sophisticated populations of EVs in use," said Jonas.

Tesla supercharger network north america oct 17Investing in its robust supercharger network makes Tesla unique. The company has invested millions in the network, while taking a hit on its bottom line. This is a big deal because no other car company has to spend millions on fueling infrastructure. Traditional automakers like GM, for example, don’t do gas stations.

"Compared to other OEMs, Tesla has made the biggest proprietary investment in superchargers and destination chargers globally," said Jonas. "In most communities, we believe this infrastructure is larger than it needs to be in preparation for the expansion of the serviceable and charge-thirsty fleet."

Tesla is expected to report third quarter earnings on November 1, when Wall Street analysts are expecting a loss of $2.31 a share, according to Bloomberg. 

Shares of Tesla are up 1.86% in trading Tuesday and 61.9% in 2017.

Tesla stock price chart

SEE ALSO: BARCLAYS: We’re still waiting on Tesla’s 'iPhone moment'

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

Xapo: Bitcoin is the Blockchain With the Most Accumulated Difficulty

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

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A crypto company took out an ad in the Wall Street Journal to poke fun at Jamie Dimon

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

Jamie Dimon

A cryptocurrency company took out a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal to fire back at Jamie Dimon, who in September called bitcoin "a fraud."

The ad, taken out by Eidoo, a cryptocurrency wallet company, said "Maybe Jamie will fire you. But you will be free to trade in the crypto world."

That's eluding to comments made by Dimon on September 12.

While speaking at a Barclays financial conference, Dimon bashed bitcoin saying it is in a bubble "worse than tulips bulbs." Dimon added that he would fire anyone at the bank for trading the red-hot cryptocurrency for being stupid. 

Bitcoin is up more than 350% year-to-date. 

A full page ad in The Wall Street Journal can cost as much as $354,823, a high price tag for most startups. But the company, which provides an app for cryptocurrency investors to store their various coins and tokens, appears to have cash to spare. So far, Eidoo has raised more than 79,000 ether tokens in an initial coin offering, according to its website. That's worth roughly $23,700,000.

ICOs allow startups to raise money by issuing their own cryptocurrencies. Recently, ICOs have come under scrutiny from regulators because companies can use them to raise quick money without having to disclose substantive information to investors. 

They've become a darling of blockchain and cryptocurrency startups looking to raise cash without having to go through the traditional avenues of venture capital or an initial public offering. 

Here's a picture of the ad:

Crypto ad

SEE ALSO: A former Goldman Sachs VP who founded a crypto hedge fund says betting on bitcoin is like betting on the internet in the 90s

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NOW WATCH: The head of a $55 billion fund at First Eagle points out the risks everyone else on Wall Street is missing

Bitcoin Price Holds at $4,800 as Altcoins Plot Recovery

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

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Bitcoin Price Holds at $4,800 as Altcoins Plot Recovery

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

[…]

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GoldMint Brings the Blockchain to Global Gold Markets

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

GoldMint Header

Buying, selling and trading gold is about to become easier, safer and more efficient than ever thanks to GoldMint’s innovative new blockchain models.

Gold has a long history with investors as a revered store of value. As an asset, it provides a reputable alternative amid the instability of fiat money and can serve as a safe haven during a global financial crisis. More recently, gold has served as a viable hedge for the growing markets of cryptocurrencies and their tendency toward hyper-volatility.

GoldMint aims to make a mark in today’s evolving markets by backing its virtual token, GOLD, with actual gold from prevailing precious metals ecosystems. The company’s goal is to drive the future of gold markets using an automated vending machine model — one where individuals can purchase, sell and trade gold with ease and efficiency using the GOLD crypto asset.

The company aims to make its native GOLD tokens the unit of trade for these transactions, exchangeable for real gold via a process that verifies the quality of the metal traded by small sellers using the blockchain. Because of the importance of ensuring that gold on exchanges be of a certain quality, GoldMint has rated its crypto assets against the London Bullion market (LBMA). In other words, one GOLD crypto asset equates to one ounce of gold on the LBMA, which is rated 999 in purity. Therefore, any gold that becomes a part of GoldMint’s ecosystem must possess that pure or derived level of gold content from weight.

Of practical significance is the company’s comprehensive peer-to-peer (P2P) solution that allows businesses such as pawnshops to raise credit. Moreover, GoldMint seeks to deliver on a feature called “vending gold,” introducing something it calls the “Custody Bot.”

When asked about the roadmap ahead, founder and CEO Dmitry Pluschevsky had this to say:

“We plan to build a global P2P system of crediting secured by gold so that some people would be able to help others regardless of politics and without risk for both sides.”

Custody Bot and the Future of Gold Vending

Gold vending reflects a new approach to an old concept: The Custody Bot buys gold and then a person can purchase the GOLD crypto asset, which is equivalent to a given amount of physical gold. 

Custody Bot is the solution that GoldMint utilizes to ensure that the collateral offered by a business such as a pawnshop can be audited and verified. It provides a means of offering a temporary hold, purity inspection and long-term storage vessel of physical gold on the GoldMint blockchain. Once the Custody Bot has completed the assessment process for the gold, it can be safely stored until it is retrieved via a special code unique to each item stored. This process not only affords a higher level of verifiability, but facilitates the trustworthy delivery of information to the blockchain.

Using this innovative approach, lenders profit when the owner reclaims the stored gold in Custody Bot, or in the case of an unclaimed pledge, when it is sold off by the pawnshop. GoldMint thus serves as a valuable tool for investors seeking to add gold to the blockchain for speed and security, with the added benefit that they can independently verify the purity of their gold.

“One of the next generations of Custody Bot will operate in retail, on the street,” said Pluschevsky. “A new generation of pawnshops in the form of vending machines will appear at each gas station. And the next step will be the home Custody Bot, which will allow you to evaluate the gold items while storing them at home.

GoldMint Crowdsale Ongoing Now

GoldMint’s crowdsale, which commenced on September 20, allows participants the opportunity to purchase MNTP token. This token will eventually migrate over to the blockchain under the name MNT, and will be used to verify the GOLD transactions on GoldMint’s blockchain.

Note: Trading and investing in digital assets is speculative. Based on the shifting business and regulatory environment of such a new industry, this content should not be considered investment or legal advice.

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Nvidia spikes after announcing an AI driving chip that'll replace an 'entire trunk full' of computers (NVDA)

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

NVIDIA autonomous driving self-driving

Nvidia continued its world tour on Tuesday as CEO Jensen Huang took to the stage in Munich to announce a slate of new products aimed at car companies.

Nvidia is trading up 2.75% at $190.89 early on Tuesday after the announcement of a new self-driving chip, and a virtual design studio for car designers and others.

The most consequential of the announcements was the new Drive PX Pegasus chip. The new chip is aimed at "Level 5" autonomous driving, the highest level of autonomy. That means the new chip would enable robo taxis, or fully-autonomous taxis, to be operated completely independently of a human driver.

The chips provide a massive amount of computing power in a small form factor. The Pegasus chip is about the size of a license plate and replaces what is currently an "entire trunk full of computing equipment," according to the company.

"In the old world, the more powerful your engine, the smoother your ride will be," Huang said on the Munich stage. "In the future, the more computational performance you have, the smoother your ride will be."

The company also announced Drive IX (Intelligent Experience), a software product that allows car makers to more easily process sensor data to build applications like face recognition for unlocking a car, for example.

Nvidia demoed its Holodeck VR design app during the event as well. The technology allows car designers from across the world to meet around a 3D model of an upcoming vehicle to discuss design points, for example.

Those announcements are Nvidia's latest attempt to cement its status at the forefront of the autonomous driving world. Two of the expected leading car makers, General Motors and Tesla, are both trying to vertically integrate their self-driving car technologies, and Tesla recently moved away from Nvidia to partner with rival AMD.

 Nvidia is up 88.71% this year.

Read more about the "bomb" that is coming to Nvidia soon...

nvidia stock price

SEE ALSO: BARCLAYS: Nvidia and AMD are safe for now, but a 'bomb' is coming

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

Trump teases a new economic-development bill that 'nobody knows about'

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

Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump teased a new economic development bill "which nobody knows about," in an interview with Forbes.

He didn't give too many specifics about what such a bill would actually entail, but reiterated his larger theme of railing against companies who have operations abroad.

"I also have another bill ... an economic-development bill, which I think will be fantastic. Which nobody knows about. Which you are hearing about for the first time," he told Forbes' Randall Lane.

"Economic-development incentives for companies. Incentives for companies to be here," he said, adding that companies that send operations offshore "get penalized severely."

"It's both a carrot and a stick," he continued. "It is an incentive to stay. But it is perhaps even more so — if you leave, it's going to be very tough for you to think that you're going to be able to sell your product back into our country."

Responding to a question on whether Trump, who comes from the private sector, felt comfortable with his proposal that the government should punish or reward companies based on where they choose to locate their factories, rather than let the free market pick winners and losers, the president responded:

"Very comfortable. [...] What I want to do is reciprocal. See, I think the concept of reciprocal is a very nice concept. If somebody is charging us 50%, we should charge them 50%. Right now they charge us 50%, and we charge them nothing. That doesn't work with me."

Based on what Trump told Forbes, it's unclear what exact types of incentives he would create for companies to keep their business at home.

But the president has long railed against US companies that hire and produce their goods abroad, touching on the concerns of American workers who have lost their jobs in manufacturing. Early in his presidency, for example, he fixated on automakers that build plants in Mexico.

Check out the full interview at Forbes here.

SEE ALSO: KEN ROGOFF: Bitcoin will eventually collapse

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NOW WATCH: A $1 trillion money manager says the Trump Trade is back

100 and Counting: Ripple Adds New Members to Distributed Ledger Network

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

Ripple has added nine new members to cross-border payment solution RippleNet, bringing the number of clients over 100.

The dollar is dipping

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

us dollar index

The dollar is weaker on Tuesday, continuing to backpedal on gains made last week.

The US dollar index was down by 0.4% at 93.36 at 8:06 a.m. ET.

"Markets have shifted back to a risk-on mode, which is weighing on the dollar," Mark McCormick, North American head of FX strategy at TD Securities, said in emailed commentary.

"[T]his comes on the heels of the sharp dollar sell-off in the wake of NFP and leaves us looking to add fresh short exposure this week," he added.

In US economy news, Tuesday will see two Fed presidents take the mic. Minneapolis Fed's Neel Kashkari and the Dallas Fed's Robert Kaplan will speak at 10 a.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET, respectively.

Fed rate-hike odds, meanwhile, keep soaring. The market is now pricing in a 76.7% chance that the Fed will hike rates before the end of the year, up from about 20% just two months ago, according to Bloomberg data.

The US dollar index is down by about 9% since US President Donald Trump's inauguration in January.

As for the rest of the world, here was the scoreboard at 8:14 a.m. ET:

  • The Japanese yen is up by 0.3% at 112.36 per dollar. Earlier, Japan's Economy Watchers Survey index came in at 51.3 for September, above the previous month's reading of 49.7. The improvement "suggests that the slowdown in consumer spending in the third quarter is unlikely to last," Marcel Thieliant, senior Japan economist at Capital Economics, said in a note.
  • The British pound is higher by 0.4% at 1.3195 against the dollar. Data showed that manufacturing production rose 0.4% month-over-month in August, above expectations of a 0.2% uptick.
  • The Russian ruble is stronger by 0.8% at 57.8810 per dollar, while Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, is up by 0.8% at $56.23 per barrel.
  • The euro is higher by 0.5% at 1.1796 against the dollar.
  • The Indian rupee is up by 0.4% at 65.164 per dollar.

SEE ALSO: KEN ROGOFF: Bitcoin will eventually collapse

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NOW WATCH: The secret to Steve Jobs' and Elon Musk's success, according to a former Apple and Tesla executive

Russia's Central Bank Backs Move to Block Bitcoin Websites

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

An official from Russia's central bank has said his institution will back efforts to block access to websites selling cryptocurrencies in the country.

Walmart is using the oldest trick in the book to boost its stock price (WMT)

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

Walmart

Walmart is sweetening the pot for shareholders before its annual meeting, using the oldest trick in the book.

The retailer on Tuesday morning announced that it had authorized up to $20 billion in stock buybacks over the next two years. That's a massive amount of capital to be allocated for repurchases, which are frequently used by companies to boost shares during times devoid of other positive catalysts.

Not that Walmart will need to fall back on that tactic quite yet. In Tuesday's release, the company also reaffirmed its earnings guidance for 2018, an encouraging sign given mounting pressures in an industry operating increasingly at the whim of Amazon.

Retailers have announced more than 6,400 store closings this year, yet Walmart has emerged relatively unscathed. The same can be said about the company's stock, which is up almost 17% in 2017, beating the benchmark S&P 500.

Walmart also provided an early look at the 2019 fiscal year, forecasting sales growth of roughly 3% and saying it also expected to add 1,000 online grocery locations during that period. The move is not-so-discreetly aimed at Amazon, which barged its way into the grocery industry earlier this year with its $13.7 acquisition of Whole Foods.

In another anti-Amazon initiative, the company also announced on Monday a new process for in-store returns designed to make it easier to return merchandise purchased online. As Business Insider's Dennis Green points out, Walmart is finding new ways to leverage its substantial existing brick-and-mortar footprint to better compete with the online juggernaut.

The company has long been viewed as the old-school retailer best positioned to fend off the looming retail apocalypse, and its actions this week have done nothing to dispel that notion.

And investors seem to like what they're seeing out of Walmart. Its stock rose as much as 4.4% on Tuesday, after climbing nearly 2% on Monday's announcement.Screen Shot 2017 10 10 at 10.08.14 AM

SEE ALSO: It's the most important time of the year for stocks — here's what Wall Street is saying

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

Bitcoin Price Breaks $4,893 as Investors Lose Confidence in SegWit2x

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

[…]

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$5,000 in Reach? Bitcoin Falls Back After Hitting 5-Week High

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

The price of bitcoin surged yesterday – but is it ready to take these gains higher? Chart analysis suggests $5,000 could be within reach.

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

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

Spain free hugs

Here is what you need to know.

Catalonia's parliament weighs its independenceCatalonia’s secessionist leader Carles Puigdemont will address parliament in Barcelona on Tuesday, and could ask for vote on a unilateral declaration of independence from Madrid, Reuters says. 

Theresa May's Brexit plans suffer a big blowThe European Union plans to reject Britain's request to finalize the terms of a transition deal before the end of the year.

UK trade with the EU rises while its exports to the rest of the world fallExports of goods to the European Union increased by 4.1%, while exports to non-EU countries fell more than 8%, according to data released Tuesday by the Office of National Statistics. 

Fed rate hike odds soar. The market is pricing in a 76.7% chance the Fed hikes before the end of the year, up from about 20% two months ago, Bloomberg data shows. 

China's yuan is the most overvalued currency in the worldThe yuan edges out the Swiss franc and Israeli shekel for the most overvalued currency on a trade-weighted basis, according to a note from Gautam Kalani, currency strategist at Deutsche Bank.

Ken Rogoff says bitcoin will eventually collapse"My best guess is that in the long run, the technology will thrive, but that the price of Bitcoin will collapse," the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund said in a column for Project-Syndicate.

Bitcoin holds just shy of a record highThe cryptocurrency is little changed at $4,763 a coin, just more than $200 shy of its all-time high.

MongoDB reveals its IPO rangeThe database startup says it plans to price its initial public offering at $18 to $20 a share; giving it a valuation of about $930 million at the midpoint, which is less than its recent valuation of $1.6 billion. 

2 Fed presidents take the mic. Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan will speak at 10 a.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET, respectively. 

Stock markets around the world are mixedChina's Shanghai Composite (+0.76%) led the overnight advance and Germany's DAX (-0.18%) trails in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open up 0.18% near 2,549.

 

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NOW WATCH: The secret to Steve Jobs' and Elon Musk's success, according to a former Apple and Tesla executive

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

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

Spain free hugs

Here is what you need to know.

Catalonia's parliament weighs its independence. Catalonia’s secessionist leader Carles Puigdemont will address parliament in Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday, and he could ask for vote on a unilateral declaration of independence from Madrid, Reuters says.

Theresa May's Brexit plans suffer a big blow. The European Union plans to reject Britain's request to finalize the terms of a transition deal before the end of the year.

UK trade with the EU rises while its exports to the rest of the world fall. Exports of goods to the European Union increased by 4.1%, while exports to non-EU countries fell by more than 8%, according to data released Tuesday by the Office of National Statistics.

Fed rate-hike odds soar. The market is pricing in a 76.7% chance that the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates this year, up from about 20% two months ago, according to Bloomberg data.

China's yuan is the most overvalued currency in the world. The yuan edges out the Swiss franc and the Israeli shekel for the most overvalued currency on a trade-weighted basis, according to a note from Gautam Kalani, a currency strategist at Deutsche Bank.

Ken Rogoff says bitcoin will eventually collapse. "My best guess is that in the long run, the technology will thrive, but that the price of Bitcoin will collapse," the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund said in a column for Project-Syndicate.

Bitcoin holds just shy of a record high. The cryptocurrency is little changed at $4,763 a coin, just more than $200 shy of its all-time high.

MongoDB reveals its IPO range. The database startup says it plans to price its initial public offering at $18 to $20 a share, giving it a valuation of about $930 million at the midpoint, which is less than its recent valuation of $1.6 billion.

2 Fed presidents take the mic. The Minneapolis Fed president, Neel Kashkari, and the Dallas Fed president, Robert Kaplan, will speak at 10 a.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET, respectively.

Stock markets around the world are mixed. China's Shanghai Composite (+0.76%) led the overnight advance, and Germany's DAX (-0.18%) trails in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open up 0.18% near 2,549.

Join the conversation about this story »

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

No Fraud: Ex-JPMorgan Trader Masters Thinks Bitcoin Breakout Just Beginning

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

Danny Masters traded commodities at some of the top financial institutions, but now he's going toe-to-toe with them, betting big on bitcoin.

Ex-IMF Economist Kenneth Rogoff Joins 'Bitcoin Will Collapse' Chorus

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

A former IMF economist has joined the chorus of critical voices on bitcoin of late, going so far as to predict that its price will collapse.

More Brexit headaches as trade with the EU rises and UK exports to the rest of the world fall

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

cliff dive fall

LONDON – The UK's trade gap with the world widened and construction output fell in the three months to August, according to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics.

The UK's trade deficit with the rest of the world— the shortfall between exports and imports — increased by £2.9 billion to £10.8 billion, the ONS said.

Exports of goods to the European Union increased by 4.1%, while exports to non-EU countries fell more than 8% led by a decrease in fuel exports.

The figures are adjusted to exclude "erratic commodities" that can skew the data, such as gold and aircrafts.

Here's the chart:

exports

Meanwhile, construction output contracted by 0.8% in the three months to August "due to decreases in both repair and maintenance, which fell 0.6% and all new work, which fell 0.9%," according to the ONS.

Blane Perrotton, managing director of surveyors Naismiths said in an emailed comment: “Few industries provide a better early warning system for the wider economy than construction, and the sector is starting to show the strain." 

“Demand for commercial property construction has taken a substantial hit as larger companies activate Brexit contingency plans and smaller firms hold off on plans to scale up their premises," he said.

Construction output is still high compared to previous years, as the chart shows:constructionONS

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NOW WATCH: RAY DALIO: Bitcoin is a speculative bubble

Breaking: Russia Will Block Bitcoin Exchange Websites, Says Central Bank Official

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

[…]

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B2X: Bitcoin Exchange Bitfinex Reveals Ticker for SegWit2x Fork

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

[…]

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The 10 most important things in the world right now

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

China bank vault

Hello! Here"s what's happening on Tuesday.

1. .The leader of Catalonia is expected to address the regional parliament on Tuesday afternoon and declare independence. Regional leader Carles Puigdemont is coming under pressure to move away from any such declaration, with businesses beginning to announce they're moving out of the region and the Spanish government saying it would respond to an independence announcement immediately.

2. Military eyes were on North Korea today after US President Trump hinted at war. On Monday, Trump tweeted that "policy didn't work" in dealing with North Korea, a day before North Korea's Party Foundation Day on Tuesday, which analysts predicted could see a potential missile launch from Pyongyang, although that idea may have been postponed due to rain.

3. Confusion is reigning over discussions between the EU and UK Prime Minister Theresa May. Speaking to parliament on Monday, May said she hoped the EU would put forward new proposals in a new round of Brexit talks, saying the "ball is in their court". However an EU spokesperson essentially said the same thing saying "the ball is entirely in the UK court for the rest to happen".

4. Trump's popularity is slipping in rural areas of the US. A Reuters/Ipsos poll of 15,000 people in non-metro areas found that his overall support has dropped. Trump has also lost favour with men, whites and people who never went to college, with the popularity drop largely in part due to the President's current track record on immigration.

5. ISIS has been cornered in Raqqa by US-backed forces with a final showdown imminent. The city was a Syrian cornerstone of their self-proclaimed caliphate since they took control in 2014. ISIS fighters in Raqqa are now surrounded after months of fighting with the US-backed Syrian Defense Forces, who are now preparing for a last big showdown between the two sides.

6. At least 12 Rohingya Muslims, many of them children, have died after a boat headed for Bangladesh capsized. While counts vary as to the number of people on board – some reports say up to 100 – a rescue mission is underway to find many of those still missing. Fleeing violence in Myanmar, Rohingya Muslims have been seeking asylum in Bangladesh via land borders, but some have tried to cross the sea in fishing boats.

7. "Russian agents" reportedly spent tens of thousands on Google ads during the 2016 election. The misinformation ads were intended to affect the 2016 US election and appeared on Google search pages, Gmail and YouTube. Recently Facebook disclosed that its platform was also used by fake accounts linked to Russia to spread thousands of ads during the election.

8. Iraq's Vice President has warned that civil war could occur over the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk. VP Ayad Allawi has called for a resolution in talks between Iraqi Kurds and the government, urging the sides to not take aggressive measures. The oil-rich city has been held by Kurds since the government fled from ISIS in 2014.

9. A report co-authored by a People"s Bank of China researcher says China's economy is about to hit a wall. Put out by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and PBoC researcher, the paper says, "Our analysis indicates that the momentum of Chinese growth is likely to slow in the near term."

10. You can now buy full citizenship of Vanuatu for less than 44 bitcoin. The South Pacific nation's citizenship can be bought for $US200,000 ($AU257,000) and offers visa-free travel to 113 countries. Investment migration, where governments offer visas and citizenship in return for local investment, is now a multi-billion dollar industry.

And finally…

Iceland has the fastest growing "national brand" in the world thanks to "Game of Thrones".

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10 things you need to know in markets today

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

A man wearing a Spanish flag gives

Good morning! Here's what you need to know in markets on Tuesday.

1. Prime Minister Theresa May told business leaders that they should treat a two-year transition period after Brexit as assured as she tries to ease company concerns that Britain could crash out of the EU without a deal, a source told Reuters. May met business chiefs from GlaxoSmithKline, Vodafone, HSBC, and other major companies on Monday to hear what they want from talks on Britain's relationship with the EU after Brexit.

2. May has also set out detailed plans for the first time on how Britain would try to keep trade flowing if it fell out of the EU without a deal, the Financial Times reports, as the prime minister prepares for a high-stakes game of brinkmanship with Brussels. She told MPs that her conciliatory speech in Florence last month had introduced “a new dynamic” into Brexit talks, but added that the government had a duty to prepare for them failing.

3. Online lending business ID Finance plans to boost its borrowing over the next year to fund expansion in Latin America and the US. Cofounder and CEO Boris Batin told Business Insider at the LendIt Europe conference in London on Monday that ID Finance hopes to raise around $100 million (£76.1 million) through a series of bond issuances over the next year.

4. US stocks fell overnight as investors mulled the latest political developments and gear up for corporate earnings reports, which pick up later this week. The S&P 500 lost 0.2%. Meanwhile, the Dow slid by 0.1% and the more tech-heavy Nasdaq slumped by 0.2%.

5. Asian shares gained on Tuesday, shrugging off modest losses on Wall Street while expectations of a US interest rate increase this year continued to underpin the dollar. Japan's Nikkei is up by 0.55% at the time of writing (6.28 a.m. BST/1.28 a.m. ET), while the Hong Kong Hang Seng is up by 0.23%, and China's Shanghai Composite is down 0.11%.

6. Bitcoin is closing in on its all-time high. Bitcoin is up 0.71% against the dollar to $4,806.99 at the time of writing, not far off its all-time high of just above $5,000.

7. Trade and manufacturing numbers are coming. The Office for National Statistics will release the latest manufacturing and industrial production growth figures at 9.30 a.m. BST (4.30 a.m. ET), alongside trade balance figures.

8. Kenneth Rogoff, the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, has weighed in on Bitcoin. "Is the cryptocurrency Bitcoin the biggest bubble in the world today, or a great investment bet on the cutting edge of new-age financial technology?" the professor of economics and public policy at Harvard asks in a column on Project-Syndicate titled "Crypto-Fool's Gold?"

9. Unicorn startup MongoDB has taken another step toward its IPO by offering a price range for its shares. It plans to price shares between $18 and $20 apiece it said in an updated prospectus filed with the SEC. The IPO is generally expected to take place on October 19.

10. US movie theatre stocks are getting hammered after the poor performance of Blade Runner 2049. The movie was the best performing film on its opening weekend but pulled in much less than expected. The 35-year-later sequel to "Blade Runner" was expected to make between $45 - $55 million on its opening weekend but only grabbed $31.5 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

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Online lending startup ID Finance plans to raise $100 million in the next year

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

Boris Batin, ID Finance.

LONDON — Online lending business ID Finance plans to boost its borrowing over the next year to fund expansion in Latin America and the US.

Cofounder and CEO Boris Batin told Business Insider at the LendIt Europe conference in London on Monday that ID Finance hopes to raise around $100 million (£76.1 million) through a series of bond issuances over the next year.

"We are somewhat underleveraged compared to other lending businesses," he said.

ID Finance has already submitted the paperwork for a bond issue in Batin's native Russia that should take place in November. ID Finance hopes to raise as much as $20 million (£15.2 million) from that issuance, with more international bonds planned over the next 12 months.

ID Finance has raised $10 million (£7.6 million) in equity funding to date and $17 million (£12.9 million) in debt. Batin says the business also has $10 million in retained profits.

The Barcelona-headquartered startup is an online lending business that targets people shut out by traditional lenders, using alternative data sources to assess their creditworthiness. The business, founded in 2012, lends across Russia, Spain, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Poland, Brazil, and Mexico. It has lent around $300 million to date.

ID Finance will use the proceeds from its planned bond issuances to growth in Brazil and Mexico, markets where it has only recently launched.

"You need fuel to drive the car," Batin told Business Insider.

The business also plans to launch in Columbia and Peru, and hopes to launch into the US by the end of next year. Batin says ID Finance will target Hispanic communities in the US, many of whom are locked out of mainstream finance because of the lack of credit data. The idea is that ID Finance's work in Latin America will help it build up data to help score them.

ID Finance lent $19 million (£14.4 million) last year, Batin said, but is growing fast and hopes to lend $250 million (£190.4 million) this year. The company, which lends using credit facilities from banks and from its own balance sheet, is growing at a rate of 10-15% per month. Much of the growth is coming from Spain and Poland, Batin said, but he expects the majority of growth to come from Latin America within three years.

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NOW WATCH: RAY DALIO: Bitcoin is a speculative bubble

Here's why bitcoin will never replace gold

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

gold bars bullion

Believe it or not, there are upwards of 2,100 digital currencies being traded in the world right now, with a combined market cap of nearly $150 billion, according to Coinranking.com.

Obviously not all of these cryptos will survive. We’re still in the early innings.

Last month I compared this exciting new digital world to the earliest days of the dotcom era, and just as there were winners and losers then, so too will there be winners and losers today. Although bitcoin and Ethereum appear to be the frontrunners right now, recall that only 20 years ago AOL and Yahoo! were poised to dominate the internet. How times have changed!

It will be interesting to see which coins emerge as the “Amazon” and “Google” of cryptocurrencies.

For now, Ethereum has some huge backers. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), according to its website, seeks to “learn from and build upon the only smart contract supporting blockchain currently running in real-world production—Ethereum.” The EEA includes several big-name financial and tech firms such as Credit Suisse, Intel, Microsoft and JPMorgan Chase, whose own CEO, Jamie Dimon, knocked cryptos a couple of weeks ago.

Will Bitcoin replace gold?

Lately I’ve been seeing more and more headlines asking whether cryptos are “killing” gold. Would the gold price be higher today if massive amounts of money weren’t flowing into bitcoin? Both assets, after all, are sometimes favored as safe havens. They’re decentralized and accepted all over the world, 24 hours a day. Transactions are anonymous. Supply is limited.

gold vs bitcoin frank holmes

But I don’t think for a second that cryptocurrencies will ever replace gold, for a number of reasons. For one, cryptos are strictly forms of currency, whereas gold has many other time-tested applications, from jewelry to dentistry to electronics.

Unlike cryptos, gold doesn’t require electricity to trade. This makes it especially useful in situations such as hurricane-ravished Puerto Rico, where 95 percent of people are reportedly still without power. Right now the island’s economy is cash-only. If you have gold jewelry or coins, they can be converted into cash—all without electricity or WiFi.

Finally, gold remains one of the most liquid assets, traded daily in well-established exchanges all around the globe. Every day, some £13.8 billion, or $18 billion, worth of physical gold are traded in London alone, according to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). The cryptocurrency market, although expanding rapidly, is not quite there yet.

I will admit, though, that bitcoin is energizing some investors, especially millennials, in ways that gold might have a hard time doing. The proof is all over the internet. You can find a number of TED Talks on bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, but to my knowledge, none is available on gold investing.

YouTube is likewise bursting at the seams with videos on cryptos.

Bitcoin is up 350 percent for the year, Ethereum an unbelievable 3,600 percent. Gold, meanwhile, is up around 10 percent. Producers, as measured by the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index, have gained 11.5 percent in 2017, 23 percent since its 52-week low in December 2016.

Discover investing opportunities in high-quality gold miners!

Look Past the Negativity to Find the Good News

The news is filled with negative headlines, and sometimes it’s challenging to stay positive. Take Friday’s jobs report. It showed that the U.S. lost 33,000 jobs in September, the first month in seven years that this happened. A weak report was expected because of Hurricane Irma, but no one could have guessed the losses would be this deep.

The jobs report wasn’t all bad news, however. For one, the decline is very likely temporary. Beyond that, a record 4.88 million Americans who were previously sitting out of the labor force found work last month. This helped the unemployment rate fall to 4.2 percent, a 16-year low.

unemployment

There’s more that supports a stronger U.S. economy. As I shared with you last week, the Manufacturing ISM Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to a 13-year high in September, indicating rapid expansion in the manufacturing industry. Factory orders were up during the month. Auto sales were up. Oil has stayed in the relatively low $50-a- barrel range, which is good for transportation and industrials, especially airlines. Small-cap stocks, as measured by the Russell 2000 Index, continue to climb above their 50-day and 200-day moving averages as excitement over tax reform intensifies.

These are among the reasons why I remain bullish.

One final note: Speaking on tax reform, Warren Buffett told CNBC last week that he’s waiting to sell assets until he knows the plan will go through. “I would feel kind of silly if I realized $1 billion worth of gains and paid $350 million in tax on it if I just waited a few months and would have paid $250 million,” he said.

It’s a fair comment, and I imagine other like-minded, forward-thinking investors, buyers and sellers will also wait to make huge transactions if they can help it. Tax reform isn’t a done deal, but I think it has a much better chance of being signed into law than a health care overhaul. 

SEE ALSO: The 'mother of all bubbles' is keeping gold relevant

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