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Michigan Man Charged for Unlawful Bitcoin Exchange

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

A Michigan man has been charged with running an unlicensed money transmitting business after selling more than $150,000 in bitcoin.

The president of struggling $2 billion hedge fund Hutchin Hill Capital is set to depart

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

Screen Shot 2017 10 27 at 4.28.11 PM

  • Matthew Edmonds, the president of hedge fund Hutchin Hill Capital, is set to leave next month, according to people familiar with the matter. 
  • The fund has struggled in 2017, with the flagship fund down 3.1% at the end of August.
  • The firm decided to close its long/short credit portfolio, and cut back on staff. 


Matthew Edmonds, the president of $2 billion hedge fund Hutchin Hill Capital, is set to depart after a difficult year for the firm, people with knowledge of the matter said. 

Edmonds has been in his position since 2014. Edmonds couldn't be reached for comment. His departure follows a tough run for the firm, which was started by Neil Chriss, a former managing director at SAC Capital. 

The firm's flagship fund was down 3.1% at the end of August, according to a September investor letter seen by Business Insider. The poor performance was driven by the firm's fundamental long/short credit portfolio within fixed income and currencies, with the equities and macro books delivering returns of 1% and 1.5% respectively.

"Starting from early February of this year we experienced our largest Credit drawdown in the history of the firm, specifically within the Long/Short Credit portfolio," Chriss said in the letter. 

As a result, the firm "eliminated" the credit portfolio, according to the investor letter, and cut staff. It also focused resources on its top-performing teams in its quantitative, macro and equities units. 

"We have made a number of pro-active decisions to focus Hutchin Hill on our highest conviction performers across the investment teams to get our performance where we expect it to be," the letter said. "I’m very confident that the decisions we have announced today will help us achieve our performance goals."

The firm now has around $2 billion in assets, according to a person familiar with the matter. It had $2.8 billion at midyear, according to a ranking from Absolute Return. 

The firm's diversified alpha master fund returned 4.6% last year, according to HSBC data. The firm launched in 2008 with $300 million from billionaire James Simons, founder of Renaissance Technologies.

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TECH STOCKS SURGE: Here's what you need to know

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

Jeff Bezos

The Nasdaq recorded its biggest gain in a year and hit an all-time record after strong earnings from Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Intel. The S&P 500 also reached a new high. 

Here's the scoreboard: 

  • Dow: 23,434.19, +33.33, (0.14%)
  • S&P 500: 2,581.07, +20.67, (0.81%)
  • Nasdaq: 6,701.26, +144.49, (2.20%)
  1. The US economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter even after hurricanes disrupted activity in some parts of the country. Gross domestic product rose by 3%, boosted by stronger consumer and business spending.
  2. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy fired the cabinet of the Catalan government and dissolved its Parliament just hours after Catalan lawmakers voted to declare independence from Spain. Rajoy has also called for elections in the Catalan region to be held on December 21, 2017. 
  3. Options traders are piling into bets that Amazon's stock, already up 45% this year, will continue to climb. As of midday Friday, the six Amazon options with the most open interest — defined as outstanding contracts trading at once — were all calls.
  4. Short sellers in major drugstore chains have earned $874 million this year, according to the financial-analytics firm S3 Partners. They earned $100 million late Thursday as drugstore stocks fell on a report that retail-pharmacy giant CVS may buy insurer Aetna, in a deal that would respond to the threat from Amazon. 
  5. JCPenney shares slumped to an all-time low after the retailer cut third-quarter profit forecasts. The company expects a loss of $0.40 to $0.45 a share in the period, far worse than analyst expectations for a loss of $0.18 a share.
  6. Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil producer, beat on Q3 earnings as higher crude and natural gas prices more than offset the effects of a major hurricane on its US operations. Oil and gas production increased, helped by higher pricing. 

Additionally: 

Brent crude oil hits $60 per barrel for the first time since July 2015

A legendary Wall Street strategist lays out the stock market's 'nightmare scenario'

A $460 billion investment chief at JPMorgan has an unexpected worry about the global economy

Jeff Bezos regains the title of world's richest person

The White House is making a big claim about how Trump's tax plan would boost the US economy

The US economy isn't quite as strong as it looks

Join the conversation about this story »

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Worse Than ‘the Russians’: Kansas Panel Prohibits Bitcoin Campaign Contributions

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

[…]

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Blockstack Announces Its Own Token Sale

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

Blockstack token

New York–based decentralized internet and developer platform Blockstack has announced its own token sale.

Blockstack recently partnered with a number of venture capital groups to launch the $25 million Blockstack Signature fund. The group also released the “Blockstack Token Whitepaper,” which explains the technical details of the Blockstack Token mining system, the incentive mechanisms and genesis block.

The white paper highlights that the traditional internet is a 40-year-old technology that was originally meant to be a decentralized network. Even though the lower layers of the internet remain fairly decentralized, the application layer of the internet has several centralized points of control and failure. This is what Blockstack intends to solve.

The paper presents Stack, a blockchain token protocol that upgrades the Blockstack blockchain and introduces decentralized governance and incentive mechanisms for a decentralized app ecosystem. Stack enables several new features such as atomic swaps and support for light clients, and it introduces a novel mining mechanism.

Muneeb Ali, co-founder at Blockstack, told Bitcoin Magazine: “The Blockstack Token is introducing incentive mechanisms for developers and users to participate in an ecosystem of decentralized apps. Our token white paper describes a novel mining system where in addition to a mining mechanism that secures the blockchain, there is a mechanism for app developers and early users to get new tokens released into the system. We believe that these built-in incentive mechanisms can play a critical role in sustainable growth of the ecosystem.”

Ali added: “In addition, the token enables decentralized governance for protocol upgrades and enables new features like support for truly independent mobile clients, atomic swaps and more.”

The group founders explained in a press release that their primary goal for the Blockstack token sale event is to achieve a wide distribution of tokens. They believe token holders are the “economic stakeholders” of the ecosystem, and that it’s important that the economic distribution represents a broad community.

Highlights of the Blockstack token sale:

  • Everyone will participate at the same time and get the same price.

  • There will be no variable prices during the sale, just a single, constant price.

  • There is no pre-sale or discounts for the upcoming token sale.

  • Existing shareholders of Blockstack PBC purchased tokens allocated for the “Creators” earlier in a separate offering.

  • No other party can buy current or future tokens until the sale opens.

  • Unaccredited users, accredited investors and qualified purchasers can participate in the sale at the same terms.

  • Unaccredited users will get a “voucher” that they can bring back to finish the transaction and will make the payment at a later date.


For more details, see Blockstack’s
announcement on their blog.

The post Blockstack Announces Its Own Token Sale appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Tech stocks are setting the Nasdaq 100 up for its biggest gain in 2 years (AMZN, GOOGL, MSFT, AAPL)

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

Jeff Bezos


The Nasdaq 100 is up 2.75% in afternoon action on Friday after a number of big tech names posted strong quarterly results.

The move is the biggest for Nasdaq 100 in two years and comes on the back of big moves by many of the biggest names in the industry. Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Intel all reported earnings after Thursday's closing bell and are seeing strong gains on Friday.

Here's how some of the biggest names in tech are performing after their results:

Friday's big game for Amazon propelled CEO Jeff Bezos to the top spot on the world's richest person list.

Apple saw a boost as well on Friday after pre-orders for the company's iPhone X sold out in minutes. Apple was up 3.29% to $162.59 on Friday.

The Nasdaq 100 is specifically tech-heavy, but the rest of the major indices were also higher on Friday as of 2:00 p.m. ET. The Dow gained 0.8% while the S&P 500 gained 0.76%. The full Nasdaq composite gained 2.01% on Friday.

Read more about how Jeff Bezos became the richest person in the world on Friday.

Nasdaq 100

Read about how many minutes you had to score a first-day iPhone X

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Lebanon's Central Bank Governor Disses Bitcoin at Digital Currency Launch

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

The central bank of Lebanon is talking openly about digital currency – but it's making clear that bitcoin isn't welcome in the discussion.

What you need to know on Wall Street today

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

Welcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. Sign up here to get the best of Business Insider delivered direct to your inbox.

The US economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter even after hurricanes disrupted activity in some parts of the country. The Commerce Department on Friday said gross domestic product, the measure of all goods and services produced, increased by 3%.

But the US economy isn't quite as strong as it looks, according to Business Insider's Pedro da Costa. And Americans are already showing signs of maxing out on debt.

In deal news, CVS Health, the retail pharmacy giant, is in talks to purchase Aetna, one of the five large publicly traded health-insurance companies, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street analysts who called the potential deal last month explained why it could "realign" the entire industry.

News of the deal emerged shortly after it was reported that Amazon has been approved for wholesale pharmacy licenses for at least 12 states. Traders betting that drugstores will get Amazon'd have made almost $1 billion.

In investing news:

And in earnings news:

 

Lastly, these are the top nine investment bank internships.

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A ‘Real Bubble’: Warren Buffett Not Impressed by Bitcoin Price Surge or ICOs

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

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Traders see Amazon's stock soaring even higher after the company's blockbuster earnings (AMZN)

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

Jeff Bezos 2

  • Amazon has spiked to a record high after crushing its third-quarter earnings report.
  • Options traders are responding by making even more bets on the stock to rise further in the coming months.

 

Amazon surged to record highs yet again, but investors still can't get enough.

Options investors are piling into bets that the stock, already up 45% this year, will continue to climb. As of mid-day on Friday, the six Amazon options with the most open interest — defined as outstanding contracts trading at once — were all calls.

When purchased, call contracts are used to make bullish wagers, and are a popular way for traders to capture future upside in a stock.

So how big of an increase are we talking from the company's current trading price of $972.43 a share as of Thursday's close? Let's break down the options in play.

Note that, at roughly $1,088 at the time of this article's writing, Amazon has already blown through a couple of these strike prices, meaning traders are already reaping profits.

  • Call contract betting the stock would increase 23% to hit 1,200 by January 19
    • Open interest: 11,142
  • Call contract betting the stock would increase 13% to hit 1,100 by January 19
    • Open interest: 9,635
  • Call contract betting the stock would increase 5.9% to hit 1,030 by November 17
    • Open interest: 7,571
  • Call contract betting the stock would increase 18% to hit 1,150 by January 19
    • Open interest: 6,884
  • Call contract betting the stock would increase 13% to hit 1,100 by November 17
    • Open interest: 6,784
  • Call contract betting the stock would increase 2.8% to hit 1,000 by November 17
    • Open interest: 6,264

This bullishness certainly aligns with analysts across Wall Street. Out of 49 of them who cover the company, 45 have buy ratings, while 3 have holds and just one has assigned a sell. The average price target for the group is $1,241.41, roughly 28% above Thursday's close.

Screen Shot 2017 10 27 at 11.50.55 AM

SEE ALSO: JCPenney slides deeper into the retail apocalypse as it slashes profit forecasts

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Xi Jinping is officially China's most powerful leader since Mao — here's what that means for the economy

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

xi jinping china

  • President Xi Jinping has been elevated to the same status as Mao Zedong in a shift that might shed some light on the country's economic future.
  • Analysts argue the political leadership is becoming more resigned to the reality of lower economic growth. Additionally, the country could see swift progress in certain areas.
  • Although Xi says China will be more open to foreign investors, some analysts say that conflicts with his priority for the Communist Party to remain the preeminent authority in all walks of life.

 

President Xi Jinping was elevated to the same status as Mao Zedong at the conclusion of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in a shift that might shed some light on the country's economic future.

Analysts argue China's domestic political shifts suggest that the country is becoming more resigned to the reality of lower economic growth. And while there could be swift progress in certain areas, some doubt that painful structural reforms will be pushed through.

"We maintain our view that Chinese policymakers are becoming more open to lower economic growth and achieving a target range, rather than a fixed target of 6.5%, in order to ensure sustainable growth over the coming years," analysts at BMI Research said in a report to clients earlier this week.

"The need to achieve better quality and more efficient, equitable, and sustainable development was [...] one of the amendments made to the constitution as the government seeks to attain the goal of a 'moderately prosperous society' by 2020," they continued. "This suggests a shift in the government's objectives away from the previous objective of hitting hard economic growth targets at the expense of areas such as the environment, social inequality, and financial risks."

Xi promised in an address to continue the economic reforms began by Deng Xiaoping about 40 years earlier, saying "We will see that reform and opening up complement and reinforce each other. [...] It is my conviction that the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation will become a reality."

Xi's consolidation of power also suggests that he'll have more control over economic policy for some time going forward. "This should mean more rapid progress in some areas, such as efforts to address environmental concerns, but it seems unlikely to resolve many of the key structural problems that threaten China’s growth prospects," Julian Evans-Pritchard, a China economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in Singapore, wrote in a report, according to Bloomberg.

china gdp growth

Foreign investment

Xi said China will open further to foreign investment through a number of measures, including reducing barriers to entry and allowing a level playing field for all companies registered in China, but some analysts are skeptical.

"As constructive for foreign investment as these sound, we fear that they conflict to some extent with Xi's clear priority for the Communist Party to be the preeminent authority in all aspects of Chinese life and for the State Owned Enterprises to be global leading companies and national champions in industries considered to be strategic for the economy," Vincent Chan and Ray Farris, analysts at Credit Suisse, wrote in a report to clients.

"This implies to use that market oriented reform and improving operating conditions for foreign competition will remain very gradual." 

Xi Jinping

'Xi Jinping Thought'

On Tuesday, an amendment including Xi's name was added to China's constitution, marking the first time a living leader's name has been added since Mao, reflecting Xi's strong standing wtihin the Communist Party.

The amendment added to the constitution, which was approved by all 2,300 delegates attending the congress, is called "Xi Jinping Thought for the New Era of Socialism With Chinese Special Characteristics."

This move places Xi on the same level as Mao and Deng, whose names also appear in the constitution in articles reflecting their principles. The political principles of Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, Xi's predecessors, were added to the constitution, but their names were not.

The New York Times' Chris Buckley notes that Xi's authority "is not directly comparable to the almost godlike influence Mao commanded," but, at the same time, "the Chinese economy, state and military are much more powerful now than they were under Mao, or even under Deng, which gives Mr. Xi far more global influence than his predecessors."

BMI Research analysts argue that, regardless, the addition of "Xi Jinping Thought" suggests that he and his ideas will continue to play a crucial role in policymaking for years to come.

"We note that both the economic and foreign policies of Deng (based on his theories) were largely adhered to in the Jiang era (1989 to 2002) as well as under the Hu-Wen administration (2002 to 2012), underscoring the importance of the inclusion of one's political thought into the party's constitution," the BMI analysts said.

"As such, we believe that the widespread dissemination of Xi's thought could influence a new generation of leaders, emphasizing the extent of Xi's political power."

SEE ALSO: The Treasury Department backs down on some of its criticism of China's currency policies

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The US economy isn't quite as strong as it looks

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

Weightilfter fail

  • The US economy grew at a rate of 3% in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said Friday.
  • Both business investment and consumer spending made solid contributions to third-quarter gains.
  • That headline, however, masks the fact that overall growth is still closer to 2%, and some key indicators explain why.
  • Inflation remains well below the Federal Reserve's target.

Gross domestic product, the measure used to represent the US economy, expanded by a robust 3% in the third quarter, the Commerce Department reported on Friday. That's a second straight quarter of growth above the 2% pace that has persisted for much of the economic recovery, and it's well above Wall Street's expectation of a 2.6% rise.

But there are a few important details in the numbers that economists, including those at the Federal Reserve, will look at. They paint a more subdued picture.

First the good news

The third-quarter reading is encouraging, if nothing else because it suggests resilience to both the high level of political turmoil in the country and the three devastating recent storms. (Notably, Puerto Rico is excluded from the GDP calculations because it is not a state.)

The sources of growth were fairly broad-based. Consumer spending rose by 2.4% following a 3.3% gain in the second quarter, while business investment jumped by 3.9%. Exports, too, posted strong gains.

Traders are focused on the upside, which should give them more confidence that the Fed will raise interest rates again in December. The dollar moved higher right after the report.

Now for some cold water

A few elements of the report should also give economists pause. One thing driving the number higher was a rise in business inventories. That could mean businesses are stocking up in anticipation of growth in demand — or it could mean they're having a harder time moving goods.

"The above-trend growth was largely a consequence of combined contributions of inventory accumulation and net exports ... that is not likely to be repeated on a consistent basis," Ward McCarthy, an economist at Jefferies, wrote in a research note.

At the same time, investment in structures slumped 5.2% and residential investment slipped 6%. Also worrisome, personal disposable income rose just 0.6% adjusted for inflation.

That's "not a great sign as far as the consumption outlook is concerned," Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics wrote. It also left the US savings rate at a decade-low 3.4%, as this chart shows.

Savings Rate

Another worrisome sign, especially from the Fed's perspective: Inflation, as measured by the personal consumption expenditures index, registered 1.5% in the third quarter and just 1.3% excluding food and energy — far below the central bank's 2% target.

It signals an economy still running below its potential, with wages struggling to rise despite the good headlines.

The most likely scenario is that after two quarters of stronger growth, the economy will settle back into the same 2% growth pattern that has persisted since the country emerged from the Great Recession in the summer of 2009.

SEE ALSO: Tens of millions of Americans are being left out of the economic recovery — and it's easier than ever to see who they are

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Traders betting that drugstores will get Amazon'd have made almost $1 billion (CVS, AET, WBA, DPLO, AMZN, RAD)

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

cvs pharmacy drugs pills

  • Short sellers in major drugstore chains have earned $874 million this year, according to the financial-analytics firm S3 Partners. 
  • They earned $100 million late Thursday as drugstore stocks fell on a report that retail-pharmacy giant CVS may buy insurer Aetna.
  • The $66 billion deal would respond to the threat from Amazon, which was reportedly granted wholesale pharmacy licenses in at least 12 states on Thursday. 

 

CVS is reportedly considering buying Aetna for over $66 billion, in a deal that would address the looming threat from Amazon. 

Through a deal, the retail-pharmacy giant would increase the number of members in its pharmacy-benefit management business and strengthen its negotiating position with drugmakers, The Wall Street Journal reported. 

Shortly before this news on Thursday, the St. Louis Dispatch reported that Amazon gained approval for wholesale pharmacy licenses in at least 12 states. This served a new notice of Amazon's threat to investors in other drugstores, prompting a sell-off. 

According to the financial-analytics firm S3 Partners, shares of CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Diplomat Pharmacy fell 3.6% on average in late Thursday trading, and the losses continued on Friday. On Thursday, short sellers — traders who had bet against these stocks — about $100 million in mark-to-market profits in the hour and a half before the market close. Short sellers have earned $874 million in profits this year.

Short sales of drugstore stocks actually declined in the last month by $1.1 billion to $3.6 billion on Friday. But this could reverse shortly.

"With Amazon.com entering the retail pharmacy business, we can expect short selling to reverse course and increase in the near future and get closer to the $5 billion levels seen in late summer," said Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of S3 Partners. 

SEE ALSO: The Wall Street analysts who called CVS's huge potential deal last month explain why it could 'realign' the entire industry

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Tesla slips on report it's cutting orders from one of its Model 3 parts suppliers (TSLA)

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

tesla factory production


 

Tesla is falling after the Economic Daily News out of Taiwan reported that the company has cut production orders at one of its Model 3 parts suppliers.

Tesla shares are down 1.85% at $320.37 a piece after the company reportedly cut orders at Hota, a manufacturer of gears and axles, by 40%. The carmaker temporarily cut its order from 5,000 sets per week to 3,000 sets per week.

Tesla cut the size of its orders due to production bottlenecks with the Model 3, according to the report. The company has faced problems getting its first mass-marketed vehicles out the door and has fallen short of its  production expectations for the year. By 2018, Tesla had said it wanted to be making 20,000 Model 3s a month but has only managed to make several hundred in total so far.

Tesla is working to resolve the bottlenecks and decided to push its new semi-truck announcement back to focus on the Model 3, which CEO Elon Musk has said is going through "production hell." 

Tesla has about 450,000 back orders for the Model 3.

The company reports its third-quarter earnings on November 1.

Tesla shares are up 49.23% this year.

Read more about a new electric semi-truck from one of Tesla's competitors here.

tesla stock price

SEE ALSO: Tesla is falling after Daimler front runs its electric semi

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Bitcoin Price Stalls at $5,800, but Bitcoin Cash Rallies

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

[…]

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On the Move? Bitcoin Cash Price Clocks 9-Day High

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

The recently created cryptocurrency bitcoin cash price caught a fresh bid wave today, reaching a nine-day high of $373.

Microsoft hits a record high after crushing earnings (MSFT)

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

Satya Nadella

  • Microsoft beat on both the top and bottom lines in its first quarter.
  • Shares are trading at a record high on Friday. 


Shares of Microsoft hit a record high Friday morning after the company's quarterly report beat on both the top and bottom lines.

The Washington-based company on Thursday reported adjusted earnings per shares of $0.84 versus the $0.72 expected by Wall Street. Revenue was $24.5 billion compared to an expected $23.56 billion.

Shares spiked more than 8% Friday morning, trading as high at $86.19 after the opening bell. The previous record was $79.34, hit earlier this week.

Investors appear to be pleased with the progress Microsoft showed in its all-important cloud computing business. In the just-completed quarter, that business met and exceeded the company's goal of $20 billion in annualized revenue.

The results led to RBC Capital Market’s Ross MacMillan has raised his target to $88 from $85, citing Microsoft’s cloud successes.

Wall Street now has a consensus target of $89.72 for the stock, according to Bloomberg — 7.14% above where shares were trading Friday morning. 

Microsoft is up 34.25% this year.

 Microsoft stock price

 

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Jeff Bezos regains the title of world's richest person (AMZN)

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

Jeff Bezos, 2017

  • Jeff Bezos has once again bested Bill Gates to become the richest person in the world.
  • The Amazon CEO got a boost in his wealth from the rise of Amazon's stock after earnings.
  • Check out Amazon's share price live here.

 

After Amazon's third-quarter earnings report, Jeff Bezos reclaimed his crown as the richest person in the world.

Amazon reported its third-quarter earnings on Friday, and handily beat analysts' estimates for earnings and revenue. The company's shares jumped more than 8% after the report, each share rising by about $79.64 from the previous day's close.

Bezos, as CEO of the company, owns about 81 million shares of Amazon stock according to a recent SEC filing. If you do a bit of math to multiply Bezos' 81 million shares by the increase in the company's stock price, you land with an increase of about $6.44 billion in a single day. It's worth noting that the number of shares Bezos owns could have changed since the filing.

With an extra $6.44 billion, Bezos passes Bill Gates to be the richest person in the world, according to data from Bloomberg. Bezos is worth about $90.6 billion now. Gates was worth about $88 billion as of market close Thursday, according to data from Bloomberg.

Bezos owns a 17% stake in Amazon, according to the SEC filing, but that isn't his only source of wealth. The e-commerce giant also has a $3 billion stake in Blue Origin, his rocket company, and a $250 million stake in the Washington Post, according to Bloomberg.

Bezos' previous stint at the top of the billionaires list came after the company's second-quarter earnings.

To watch Amazon's stock price, and Bezos' wealth, move in real time, click here.

amazon stock price

SEE ALSO: Amazon's stock skyrockets to over $1,040 on strong earnings

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Jeff Bezos regains the title of world's richest person (AMZN)

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

Jeff Bezos, 2017

  • Jeff Bezos has once again bested Bill Gates to become the richest person in the world.
  • The Amazon CEO got a boost in his wealth from the rise of Amazon's stock after earnings.
  • Check out Amazon's share price live here.

 

After Amazon's third-quarter earnings report, Jeff Bezos reclaimed his crown as the richest person in the world.

Amazon reported its third-quarter earnings on Friday, and handily beat analysts' estimates for earnings and revenue. The company's shares jumped more than 8% after the report, each share rising by about $79.64 from the previous day's close.

Bezos, as CEO of the company, owns about 81 million shares of Amazon stock according to a recent SEC filing. If you do a bit of math to multiply Bezos' 81 million shares by the increase in the company's stock price, you land with an increase of about $6.44 billion in a single day. It's worth noting that the number of shares Bezos owns could have changed since the filing.

With an extra $6.44 billion, Bezos passes Bill Gates to be the richest person in the world, according to data from Bloomberg. Bezos is worth about $90.6 billion now.

Gates was worth about $88.5 billion as of market open Friday, according to data from Bloomberg. After Microsoft's post-earnings bump, Gates saw his net worth rise by about $423 million.

Bezos owns a 17% stake in Amazon, according to the SEC filing, but that isn't his only source of wealth. The e-commerce giant also has a $3 billion stake in Blue Origin, his rocket company, and a $250 million stake in the Washington Post, according to Bloomberg.

Bezos' previous stint at the top of the billionaires list came after the company's second-quarter earnings.

To watch Amazon's stock price, and Bezos' wealth, move in real time, click here.

amazon stock price

SEE ALSO: Amazon's stock skyrockets to over $1,040 on strong earnings

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Amazon is closing in on its record high after a huge earnings beat (AMZN)

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

jeff bezos


Amazon is closing in on its all-time high after Thursday's blockbuster third-quarter earnings report.

The company reported GAAP earnings of $0.52 a share, easily beating the $0.04 that Wall Street was expecting. Revenue totaled $43.74 billion, compared to expectations of $42.19 billion, according to data from Bloomberg.

Shares soared more than 8% at Friday's open to $1,057, and are within 2.4% of their all-time high.

Amazon completed its purchase of Whole Foods in the third quarter and included $1.3 billion in net sales from the business in its earnings numbers. Without including Whole Foods, the company increased sales by 29% year-over-year.

Amazon provided a peek into the success of its Alexa-enabled devices. CEO Jeff Bezos said that "tens of millions" of devices have been sold and there are five times more active customers on the platform than a year ago. Many of the new developments Amazon decided to highlight in its earnings report centered around the Alexa devices.

Amazon is gearing up for the holiday shopping season and said it expects net sales between $56 billion and $60.5 billion in the fourth quarter.

Amazon shares are up 40.27% this year after the company's post-earnings bump.

Read more about the company's earnings release here.

amazon stock price

SEE ALSO: Amazon's stock skyrockets to over $1,040 on strong earnings

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

Litecoin’s Charlie Lee: GBMiners Has Stopped Signaling For SegWit2x Bitcoin Hard Fork

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

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Litecoin’s Charlie Lee: GBMiners Has Stopped Signaling For SegWit2x Bitcoin Hard Fork

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

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JCPenney slides deeper into the retail apocalypse as it slashes profit forecasts (JCP)

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

jcpenney

  • JCPenney slashed third-quarter profit forecasts amid an effort to liquidate less-popular products from its stores.
  • The lowered guidance spurred a stock price plunge that reached as much as 25%.

 

JCPenney just keeps sliding into the retail apocalypse abyss, and its shares are paying a major price.

The company's stock dropped by as much as 25% on Friday after the retailer cut third-quarter profit forecasts. The department store expects to see a loss of $0.40 to $0.45 a share in the period, far worse than analyst expectations for a loss of $0.18 a a share. JCPenney is set to report results on November 10.

The plunge brings JCPenney's year-to-date decline to 56% as it struggles to adjust to a retail environment where companies are either being crushed by Amazon or partnering with the Jeff Bezos-led juggernaut to stave off extinction.

And the reckoning has been coming for some time. Earlier this year, JCPenney announced the closing of 138 stores.

The company's third-quarter forecast cut is part of a new initiative to liquidate unpopular items, which has resulted in higher costs for the period. If it's any consolation — which it doesn't appear to be for investors ruthlessly selling its stock — JCPenney says it will see a gain in same-store sales in the third quarter.

One thing that can be said about JCPenney's decision to lower its forecast two weeks before its earnings report is that it's getting much of the stock price damage out of the way beforehand. This may prompt some investors to scoop up shares at a more attractive valuation with hopes the company will beat the trimmed estimates.

If JCPenney fails to meet even the greatly tempered forecasts it's provided, then that could be a different story. That could deepen the stock's nightmare even further.

Screen Shot 2017 10 27 at 8.58.37 AM

SEE ALSO: Traders betting against Chipotle made $260 million in a single day on its earnings disaster

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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 shortly after the opening bell June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

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

Here's Lutz:

Good Morning!  US Futures are breaking higher as “‘Big Tech’ smashes analysts’ forecasts” – Nasdaq up 50bp as AMZN climbs 7%, MSFT 4%, INTC 3% and AAPL 1% (iPhone X pre-orders).  Mostly Green in Europe, where the DAX pops 70bp to fresh All-Time highs.   Euro Tech is up 70bp and Volkswagen has Autos popping – but Fins slight pressure on Catalonia Angst and UBS #s.  Catalonia End-Game approaching fast, as Dueling Parliaments vote on Secession and Article 155 – this weighs on IBEX, off 1%, and Italy, off 30bp, as the Banks get hit across the board.   In London, FTSE up 20bp as the Miners are getting beat on.   Volumes strong, with most exchanges trading 60% heavier than normal.   In Asia, Nikkei flies for 1.3% despite Subaru woes - Hang Seng up 90bp while Hang Seng China Enterprises up 1.6% to 2Y highs - KOSPI up 60bp and KOSDAQ up 1.4%, while Aussie reverses gains to close lower on Political Uncertainty 

German Bunds are approaching 40bp as Spain angst ramps, but Treasuries holding 2.45% early.  The Dollar is ripping higher, inflicting pain on that crowded Euro Long, as we await US GDP this AM.   Euro hit on dovish ECB and Spain, Sterling under pressure into next week’s BoE hike (odd) – while that Aussie$ hit after a court ruling left the country’s government without a majority.  Ore got smoked for 5.6% in China “as Winter Curbs Chill Outlook for China Demand” – Copper is off 2% early, and Nickel and Zinc are both 1%+ lower.   Of note, despite the ripping Greenback, Gold hovers near unch.   Energy complex all lower, with Brent rejected from $60, while Natty drops 2% in early trade

 

Read about the 10 things you need to know today...

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

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The dollar is climbing after GDP crushes

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

dollar

  • The dollar climbed higher Friday after GDP crushed estimates.
  • The US dollar index was up by 0.5% at 95.10 at 8:43 a.m. ET.
  • Data from the Commerce Department showed that GDP increased by 3% in the third quarter, even after hurricanes disrupted activity in parts of the country.
  • Economists had forecast that growth slowed from the second quarter to an annualized pace of 2.6%.
  • The US dollar index is up by nearly 3.5% since early September.

SEE ALSO: Wilbur Ross is making a sweeping claim about US-Mexico trade but the facts don't back it up

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Maverick Capital, a $10.5 billion hedge fund, told clients it may have 'cracked the code'

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

Lee Ainslie

  • Maverick Capital started testing a quant strategy in two funds two years ago. Starting next year, investors will be able to give the firm money to invest in these funds.
  • Maverick's move drew attention because the firm is known for running a fundamental, stock-picking approach.
  • The firm has underperformed recently, with sources saying its flagship fund has lost about 2% this year.
  • In a client letter, founder Lee Ainslie says the effort has shown promise. The two funds have gained in the double digits this year — 16.9% and 22.1% through August — according to separate marketing documents seen by Business Insider.


NEW YORK — Lee Ainslie's Maverick Capital may have cracked the code on quant.

Maverick recently held its investor day in New York, where it announced it would debut two quant funds to external capital. The announcement drew attention because Maverick is known for deploying a fundamental, stock-picking approach.

The firm has underperformed recently, with its flagship fund down about 2% this year, according to people familiar with the numbers.

The firm's quantitative-research effort started a decade ago, and it hasn't been easy, Ainslie said in an October 20 client letter seen by Business Insider. About two years ago, Maverick started looking into whether the alternative data sets it had researched could help its fundamental investing process, and it launched two funds internally to test it out.

"Our hope was that the data science, statistical and coding expertise and skills that we had developed over the years ... would enable Maverick to be more successful than the many fundamentally-oriented hedge funds that have found such efforts unproductive," Ainslie wrote.

"We quickly discovered why such research has proven so frustrating to many," he added. "Eventually we discovered some very- short-term alpha signals, which were not highly relevant to our long-term strategically-oriented fundamental efforts but were well suited for higher frequency systematic trading."

But things have turned up recently, he wrote (emphasis added):

"Through combining inputs from various data sets over the last few months, we believe we have begun to improve dramatically our ability to forecast revenues, cash flow and earnings of hundreds of companies across several sectors, and the number of industries and businesses for which we are developing such capabilities are both growing rapidly. Both in terms of idea generation and business monitoring, such insights should prove invaluable to our core, fundamental effort, and I believe that few, if any bottom-up investors have cracked the code."

Earlier this year, the firm included a higher-frequency trading strategy in its two quant funds, which it said had boosted returns. Broadly, Maverick has been using what it calls the Maverick Quantitative Model, which drives a tool that recommends position sizes and that flags investment positions for the Maverick team. The combo of these two strategies "has proven powerful" and shown up in the returns, Ainslie wrote.

According to market documents reviewed by Business Insider, the Maverick Fundamental Quantitative Fund gained 16.9% this year through August, while the MFQ Neutral Fund gained 22.1% over the same period. The figures are after estimated fees, the documents said.

The first fund targets a 40% net exposure, while the second fund targets a 0% net exposure, the letter said.

A Maverick spokesman declined to comment.

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Bitcoin Banned as a Payment Method in Indonesia, Adopters Will Be ‘Dealt With’

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

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Here comes GDP ...

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

Donald Trump with coal miners

The Commerce Department's will release its first estimate of economic growth in the third quarter at 8:30 a.m. ET. 

It will be the first comprehensive picture of the economy since Hurricanes Irma and Maria slammed into the Southeastern US, disrupting business activity and spending. Economists forecast that growth slowed from the second quarter to an annualized pace of 2.6%, according to Bloomberg.

The economy grew 3.1% in Q2, the fastest pace in two years

Friday's estimate will be based on incomplete data and revised two more times before the end of the year.

"The big story within the third quarter GDP numbers will be the softening of consumption, offset by faster inventory-building," said Pantheon Macroeconomics' Ian Shepherdson in a preview.

"Consumption was depressed by the hurricanes, and not just because low-paid part-timers spent less. Hurricanes prevent everyone in the storm-hit areas from spending money on discretionary services, such as restaurant meals and trips to the movies, and that hit offsets their extra spending on plywood, flashlights, food and other essential supplies before the storm arrives."

More to come, refresh this page for updates ...

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NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: A market warning, the big bitcoin debate and a deep dive on tech heavyweights

Bull Exhaustion? Bitcoin Price Halts Advance Ahead of $6,000

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

Bitcoin prices have taken a downturn after the psychological hurdle of $6,000 proved a tough nut to crack.

New figures show the huge and growing scale of London's housebuilding crisis

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

Sadiq Khan

  • New figures suggest housebuilding should increase from 29,000 homes a year to 66,000 a year to meet the needs of Londoners.
  • London mayor Sadiq Khan said private builders had focused on building "too many luxury penthouses that only the very wealthiest investors can afford and nowhere near enough homes within reach of ordinary Londoners."

LONDON — London needs to double its housebuilding activity to deal with a growing housing shortage, according to figures released on Friday by the mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

New figures calculated by City Hall found that housebuilding should increase from 29,000 homes a year to 66,000 a year to meet the needs of Londoners, 65% of which would need to be classed as "affordable."

The shortage follows years of underinvestment, which has caused house prices to rocket.

The Labour mayor said private builders had focused on building "too many luxury penthouses that only the very wealthiest investors can afford and nowhere near enough homes within reach of ordinary Londoners."

City Hall modelling suggests that the Conservative government would need to increase funding for affordable housing in London alone to around £2.7 billion a year — more than five times its current £0.5 billion level.

Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to hike funding by £0.2 billion in November's Autumn budget.

The UK as a whole doesn't have a housing crisis — London and the south-east do

Kath Scanlon, a housing research fellow from the London School of Economics, said: "The UK as a whole doesn't have a housing crisis — London and the south-east do.

"The crisis stems from strong demand and weak supply, and the Mayor's new figures emphasise the scale of the shortfall.

"London's elected authorities could do much more to address the housing issue if they had the tools that major cities in other countries take for granted — particularly around taxation."

Jonathan Seager, executive director of housing at business group London First, said: “These new figures show us that the housing crisis is worsening. It is now one of the most serious challenges facing business, preventing firms from recruiting and retaining the talent they need to grow and succeed."

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(+) Bitcoin Investment Trust Hits $700 as Cryptocurrency Resumes Uptrend

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

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A legendary Wall Street strategist lays out the stock market's 'nightmare scenario'

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

Albert Edwards

  • Legendary strategist Albert Edwards thinks that investors are ignoring many latent risks in the stock market.
  • His "nightmare scenario" combines an acceleration in wage inflation and a hawkish adjustment to Fed rate hike expectations.

 

Albert Edwards thinks you're all too confident about the durability of the 8 1/2-year bull market. And he'd like to remind you that there are some major risks lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike.

He's identified the worst-case scenario for what could cause a massive stock blowout, and it ultimately involves the Federal Reserve raising rates too slowly. But that won't just happen for no reason — Edwards thinks there needs to be a surprising economic jolt.

"The nightmare scenario for equities would be if US wage inflation flickers back to life and investors not only decide that they are too far behind the Fed dots, but they also decide that the Fed itself is behind the tightening curve," the legendary Societe Generale investment strategist and outspoken market bear said in a recent note to clients.

That's right, in an ironic twist, the economy could recover too quickly for the stock market to handle in its current form. And shockingly strong wage inflation could be the root cause of the whole catastrophe.

Edwards note that wage inflation has declined this year, as indicated in the chart below. He points out, however, that US average hourly earnings have jumped, and suggests that a similar jump in wage inflation could follow.

Screen Shot 2017 10 26 at 2.15.59 PM

"Wage inflation has been the dog that didn't bark this year — or indeed the wolf that didn't howl," explained Edwards. "High wage inflation data in the months ahead could cause a rapid reappraisal of the pace of Fed rate hikes. At these high equity valuations, that could really scare investors."

Another element of the US macroeconomic picture that could be impacted by expectations of quicker Fed tightening is the dollar. Bucking forecasts and staying surprisingly weak for much of 2017 the greenback could be due for a bullish reversal in the event of hawkish expectations. The US dollar index has fallen more than 7% year-to-date.

That would be bad news for the torrid earnings growth being enjoyed by US companies, since the large multinational corporations with heavy weighting in stock indexes have had exports boosted by a weak currency.

With all of that said, the fact of the matter is that investors have been reluctant to price that potential downside into the market. And Edwards just doesn't understand that. In his mind, current market conditions hold many eerie parallels to the 1987 stock market crash.

That most notably includes lofty stock valuations. Major US indexes are currently near their most extended levels ever, the same as three decades ago. And just like in 1987, investors don't seem particularly concerned about it.

Edwards also draws a comparison between modern-day investment methods — volatility targeting, risk parity and trend-following quant funds — and the 1987-era hedging technique called "portfolio insurance," which is frequently associated with the market crash.

In the end, Edwards himself acknowledges that his bearish views are largely contrarian. But he also points out that 10 out of the 13 post-war Fed tightening cycles have ended in unexpected recessions.

So if you are going to keep piling into stocks, and the bottom drops out at some point, don't say Edwards didn't warn you.

Screen Shot 2017 10 26 at 2.35.30 PM

SEE ALSO: Here's how to protect yourself against a stock market 'fragility event'

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Japan's SBI Holdings Is Gearing Up to Mine Bitcoin

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

The financial services division of Japan’s SBI Group has revealed plans to move deeper into the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

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HSBC customers complain on Twitter after IT glitch locks them out of accounts

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

HSBC bank getty Matt Cardy Stringer

  • HSBC customers reported problems logging into desktop and mobile services on Friday morning.
  • The bank quickly fixed the problem and apologised for the inconvenience.
  • Customers complained on Twitter.

 

LONDON — HSBC customers took to Twitter on Friday morning to complain after an IT glitch meant some were locked out of their accounts.

Customers reported being unable to log into online and mobile banking services early on Friday morning, as login attempts produced a message stating: "Your session has expired, please log in."

HSBC began investigating the issue around 9.00 a.m. BST (4.00 a.m. ET) and fixed the problem within 45 minutes. A spokesperson for HSBC said: "Our online mobile banking services are now available. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused."

It is unclear what caused the bug. Affected customers took to Twitter to complain prior to the fix:

HSBC UK's official Twitter page said earlier on Friday morning the bank was investigating the problem, and apologised for the inconvenience.Screen Shot 2017 10 27 at 09.15.21

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Saudi Aramco's record breaking international IPO might not go ahead after all

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

Theresa May Saudi Arabia

  • Saudi finance minister says that listing Saudi Aramco internationally is just one "option."
  • The company could look for private overseas investment instead of an international listing, Mohammed Al-Jadaan said.
  • New York and London are among the financial centres vying for a piece of the record-breaking IPO.
  • Al-Jadaan confirms that part of Aramco will be listed on Saudi Arabia's Tadawul stock exchange.

 

LONDON — Saudi Arabia's finance minister said the kingdom is still considering whether to pursue an international listing for part of its behemothic state oil company.

Saudi Aramco will list at least part of its business on Saudi Arabia's stock exchange, the Tadawul, in 2018. It is widely expected to list in another segment on an exchange in an international financial centre — most likely New York or London.

However, Saudi finance minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan, told the Financial Times that an international listing is just one "option." Saudi Aramco could look for private investment overseas instead of an international IPO, Al-Jadaan said.

"We agreed and we have said publicly that Tadawul is for certain," he told the FT. "[But] are we going to go with an international market? If we go, where are we going? And if we go, are we going public or we are going private."

"There is a lot of work now for the decision-makers," Al-Jadaan continued. "We need to make sure we do not leave any stone unturned. This is a very, very significant transaction."

Aramco's IPO is widely expected to see the company officially become the most valuable business on earth, with a market capitalisation of as much as $2 trillion. The price tag has caused cities like New York and London to scramble for a piece of the listing.

The UK has proposed a series of new rules around stock market listings thought to be almost exclusively created to attract Aramco to London. The UK regulator has publically denied this is the case. The new proposals would create a new category "within its premium listing regime" for sovereign-owned companies looking to enter the market.

Jadaan told the FT: "You do Tadawul and then you go around the world to certain countries and say investors 'here is the story come and invest'.

"These options are being looked at very carefully from all angles to make sure we make the right decision."

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May was accompanied by Xavier Rolet, CEO of the London Stock Exchange, on a recent visit to Saudi Arabia, in an attempt to lobby for London to get a slice of the IPO. Hong Kong and Tokyo are also vying for the listing.

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UK Treasury: Digital Currencies Pose Low Terrorist Financing Risk

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

The U.K.Treasury has stated in a report that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin pose "low risk" in terrorist financing and money laundering.

Dan Wagner's old software company ATTRAQT collapses 25% after new CFO finds 'inaccuracies'

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

Dan Wagner   CEO Powa Technologies   (2)

  • Software company ATTRAQT's shares collapse 25% on a profit warning.
  • New CFO discovered "inaccuracies" in revenue forecasting.
  • ATTRAQT was founded by Dan Wagner, a serial entrepreneur whose Powa Technologies imploded last year.

 

LONDON — Shares in AIM-listed software company ATTRAQT lost a quarter of their value on Friday after its new CFO discovered "inaccuracies" on its books.

ATTRAQT said that Eric Dodd, who became CFO at the start of September, found "inaccuracies in forecasting the timing of certain contracts and client "go-live" dates" following a review commissioned by the board.

Revenue is being delayed by "a number of significant new contracts closing but later than planned, and some other contract decisions being delayed."

"Inaccuracies in estimating the period between engagement and the "go-live" dates have also been identified by the review," ATTRAQT said.

As a result, the loss-making company warned revenues for the year will now be roughly 10% lower than initially forecast. ATTRAQT's share price nose-dived over 25% on the news:dan wagner

ATTRAQT provides software to help businesses build online shops. It works with the likes of Tesco's F&F clothing brand, Superdry, TK Maxx, and Paperchase.

The company was cofounded by serial tech entrepreneur Dan Wagner in 2003 and listed on AIM in 2014. Wagner, whose other business Powa Technologies imploded spectacularly last year, quit as chairman of ATTRAQT last June.

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The UK's competition watchdog is investigating whether comparison sites like Trivago and Hotels.com actually give people the best deals

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

Trivago's reception

  • The Competition Markets Authority is investigating whether booking websites actually allow customers to find the best deals.
  • It is focusing on four key areas: search results, pressure selling, discount claims, and hidden charges.
  • The investigation was prompted by concerns some websites could be breaking customer law.

 

LONDON — The UK Competition Markets Authority (CMA) on Friday opened an investigation into whether accommodation booking websites really give customers the best hotel deals available.

The investigation was prompted by concerns about clarity, accuracy, and presentation of information on sites, which the CMA said could mislead people and potentially break consumer law.

"Around 70% of people who shopped around for hotels last year used these sites and they should all be confident they have chosen the best accommodation for their needs and are getting a good deal," Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said in a statement.

She said the CMA was concerned websites were "making it difficult for people to make the right choice."

No specific companies or services are named but the best-known examples in the UK include Trivago, Hotels Tonight, and Booking.com.

The CMA's investigation will focus on four key areas:

  1. how hotels are ranked in search results and to what extent results are influenced the commission a hotel pays the site;
  2. pressure selling, and whether claims about how many people are looking at the same room or how long a price is available, create a false impression of availability;
  3. discount claims, and whether these offer a fair comparison for customers;
  4. and the extent of hidden charges, such as unexpected taxes and booking fees.

On Friday, the CMA wrote to companies across the sector asking for more information about the way they operate and is calling on customers to share any relevant experiences.

The CMA said websites must be clear on how they make money, provide accurate information to customers, use people's personal data responsibly, and be easy to use in order to comply with consumer protection laws.

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Hong Kong Bitcoin Community Strongly Rejects SegWit2x

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'Basic IT security' could have prevented UK NHS WannaCry attack

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

England's National Health Service (NHS) could have avoided the ransomware hack that crippled its systems in May, according to a government report. "Basic IT security" was all that was required to prevent the "unsophisticated" WannaCry attack, which a...

10 things you need to know in markets today

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

Jeff Bezos

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

1. The European Central Bank on Thursday announced that it will further taper its bond-buying programme but extended quantitative easing until at least September 2018, as had been widely forecast prior to the decision. The ECB announced that it will reduce its bond-buying to €30 billion per month, down from the current level of €60 billion per month. The reduction will come into force in January 2018.

2. Amazon boosted its revenue by 34% year-over-year, blowing past Wall Street targets. Amazon's all-important cloud computing unit reported $4.6 billion in revenue, up from $3.2 billion, up 34%. Wall Street has been concerned about slowing growth with AWS but it's still growing well. 

3. Google's parent company Alphabet topped Wall Street's Q3 financial targets, as its mobile search advertising business and YouTube video site pushed revenue up 24% from the year before. The company generated $27.77 billion in revenue, and as a result shares of Alphabet were up as much 4% in after hours trading on Thursday, following the announcement. 

4. Microsoft's fiscal first quarter earnings beat Wall Street expectation on both the top and bottom lines. Shares in the company, which reported its results after the closing bell on Thursday, inched up almost 4% to about $81.75 in after-hours trading. The legendary tech firm reported adjusted earnings per share of $0.84 versus $0.72 expected, and revenues of $24.5 billion versus $23.56 billion expected.

5. U.S. economic growth probably slowed in the third quarter as hurricanes Harvey and Irma restrained consumer spending and undercut construction activity. According to a Reuters survey of economists, gross domestic product likely increased at a 2.5% annual rate in the July-September period after a brisk 3.1% pace in the second quarter.

6. Former senior HSBC currency trader Stuart Scott will be extradited to the United States to face charges that he defrauded Cairn Energy in a $3.5 billion currency trade in 2011, a London court ruled on Thursday. On Monday Scott's former boss Mark Johnson was convicted of fraud in the United States in the same case. "We believe the U.S. government's case to be flawed and materially inaccurate and we also believe that this has led the court to fall into error," a lawyer representing Scott said.

7. Japan's Nikkei share average rose 1.2% to a 21-year high on Friday, led by banking shares as U.S. yields remained high and by tech shares after their U.S. counterparts posted strong earnings. For the week, the index has risen over 2.3%, on track to post seventh straight weekly gains, the longest weekly winning streak in almost a year.

8. Twitter slightly beat Wall Street's expectations for its third-quarter earnings but reported that it had overstated monthly users since late 2014. The company said that with cost-cutting measures, it expects to turn a profit in the fourth quarter. Its stock surged 18%. Its stock surged 18%. 

9. Australia's High Court is due to rule on Friday whether the deputy prime minister can remain in parliament as he held dual citizenship when elected. If he is found ineligible, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would lose his one seat majority. Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is one of seven politicians whose eligibility to sit in parliament was thrown into doubt when it was discovered in recent months that they were dual citizens, which bars them from holding elected office under Australia's constitution.

10. The US might be the wealthiest country in the world, but it's not churning out the most billionaires. That title goes to China, which added 67 new billionaires in 2016, or one about every five days, according to a report on billionaires by UBS and PwC released Thursday. "According to the Asian billionaires we interviewed for this report, a combination of geopolitical stability in Greater China, rising Chinese real estate prices, infrastructure spending, the growing middle class and buoyant commodity prices all joined together to boost wealth," the report said. 

And finally ... Business Insider is looking for nominations for the hottest young talents in British finance right now. If you, or anyone you know, is making waves in the City of London (or anywhere else in the UK) and is under 31, we'd love to hear from you. Get in touch on social media, or email: wmartin@businessinsider.com.

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GMO ICO? Bitcoin-Friendly IT Firm Announces Token Sale

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

Japanese IT firm GMO is adding another twist to its ongoing cryptocurrency initiative: a plan for an initial coin offering (ICO).

Kansas Commission: Political Candidates Cannot Accept Bitcoin

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

The Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission issued guidance Wednesday stating that candidates for office cannot accept bitcoin as a contribution.

The Wall Street analysts who called CVS's huge potential deal last month explain why it could 'realign' the entire industry

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

patients at cvs pharmacy in target 4 HR

  • CVS Health is reportedly in talks to buy Aetna, a major health insurer, in what could be a $66 billion deal.
  • Analysts at RBC Capital Markets said in September they expected this to happen.
  • "We believe the next wave of industry consolidation will be on a larger scale and in directions that could realign traditional industry competitors," they said in a September report. 

 

Pharmacy giant CVS Health is in talks to buy health insurer Aetna in what could be a $66 billion deal, The Wall Street Journal reported.

If the deal pans out, it would be the biggest takeover in the US in 2017. It would also create a new type of healthcare company that includes a health insurer, retail pharmacy, and several other key businesses. 

But the news is in line with what analysts at RBC Capital Markets anticipated — down to the companies involved.

"We believe the next big opportunity in M&A comes from CVS Health, a company with the ability to redefine what a healthcare company is, and at the same time, potentially create significant value for shareholders," RBC's George Hill and Stephen Hagan wrote in a September report. "Thus, we believe the next big thing in drug supply chain services could come from CVS Health moving into the payer market and vertically integrating more of health care."

And this could have big implications beyond a CVS-Aetna deal.

"We believe the next wave of industry consolidation will be on a larger scale and in directions that could realign traditional industry competitors," the analysts wrote.

There are a few reasons why a company like CVS would want to acquire a health insurer, otherwise known as a payer, according to RBC. 

The most notable is the pricing pressure the drug supply chain is feeling.

"The pricing pressure problem is acute in the drug supply chain for two reasons: first is the increasing role of the government as a buyer of goods and its tendency to reduce reimbursement levels over time. The second is the
concentrated nature of payers in the commercial market, limiting margin expansion opportunities in companies’ more profitable books of business," the analysts said. 

Why CVS? 

Already, certain parts of the healthcare system have been consolidating. CVS currently owns both a retail pharmacy and a pharmacy benefits manager, an organization that helps negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs for health insurance plans. UnitedHealthcare, for example, owns the PBM OptumRx, while Anthem, which owns a variety of Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance firms, will be launching its own PBM called IngenioRx. If CVS were to acquire a health insurer, its business model would look more like UnitedHealthcare's, with the addition of a retail pharmacy, and health clinics. 

Here's how the RBC analysts reasoned through it: 

"We believe that CVS is the company best positioned to pursue this vertically integrated strategy due to its collection of assets that could benefit from an integrated relationship with a payer organization. We believe that CVS could use steerage tools as part of the [managed care organization's] benefit design to drive better utilization of CVS’

  • PBM unit
  • Retail pharmacy footprint
  •  Mail prescription fulfillment services
  • Retail health clinics
  • Specialty pharmacy fulfillment and management services
  • Home infusion services
  • Long-term care pharmacy services
  • NovoLogix specialty prior authorization tools

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NOW WATCH: I spent a day trying to pay for things with bitcoin and a bar of gold

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