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More Charges Filed Against Trader Who Used Bitcoin to Conceal Fraud Profits

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

A Philadelphia day trader was formally indicted for money laundering using bitcoin, among other crimes.

Goldman Sachs wants to become the Google of Wall Street — and it's taking a recruiting tip from the tech giant

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

lloyd blankfein

  • Goldman is looking to deepen its relationship with more universities across the US.
  • The financial giant has typically focused much of its energy on a basket of a couple dozen schools, but its CEO Lloyd Blankfein said the firm is casting a wider net. 
  • Goldman hosted a half-day session with undergraduates from CUNY, a public university in New York City earlier this month. 
  • During a fireside chat with students in September, Blankfein said the firm is looking for talent outside the Ivy League to compete with Facebook and Google.


Goldman Sachs is embracing top students from outside the hallowed halls of the Ivy League.

Goldman Sachs chief officer Lloyd Blankfein hosted a fireside chat in September with 250 students from Macaulay Honors College, a New York-based public school, during which he outlined the firm's new outlook on recruiting talent. He told students the firm is no longer "trapping" itself by "recruiting from the same 30 or 40 schools." 

The firm has been deepening its relationship with the college, which is considered a high-caliber public school. On November 3, Goldman hosted a resume and interview workshop with students from the university.

The firm's outreach to Macaulay is the latest in its attempt to shake-off its Ivy League reputation. Through new technologies, for instance, it has been able to expand its reach with video interviewing and webinars. 

Traditionally, it actively targeted a basket of just a couple dozen schools, including those in the Ivy  League as well as some higher-ranked public schools such as Brigham Young University and Rutgers University, for instance.

Blankfein said during the fireside chat that for some students from non-targeted schools, getting into the doors of Goldman was akin to a "salmon who had to swim upstream." But increased competition from Silicon Valley has forced the firm to pivot and open its arms to different types of talent. Here's Blankfein:

"It wasn't an act of kindness on my part, or generosity, or trying to create diversity; it was as pure selfish, naked self-interest, we wanted to really extend our net further because everybody’s involved pretty much in a war for talent. And we compete against obviously all the other financial services firms, but we compete against all the technology firms."

Goldman's attempt to become the Google of Wall Street has been well-documented (In fact, it's even being taught at Harvard Business School). A recent report by CB Insights showed 46% of Goldman's recent job listings were in tech. 

"The highest percentage of technology jobs were for platform roles, followed by operations engineering and equities technology positions," the report said. 

The logic behind Goldman's push outside the Ivy League is that it'll help fill those positions. Here's Blankfein (emphasis our own):

"Thirty percent of the people who work in this firm are engineers, are technologists, because of the way the financial markets have gone. So we compete against Facebook and Google and all these other places for talent. And increasingly, everybody casts a wider net, which means in a way we don’t go to a lot of campuses now when we screen people. We do a lot of this interviewing electronically, which has allowed us to do a very, very wide net on people."

In some respects the bank's efforts have paid off. Goldman conducted round-one interviews with undergrads from over 950 schools this year, up 20% from the year prior. And nearly 50% of the firm's summer interns in the Americas were students from "non-core" schools in 2017.

SEE ALSO: This pie chart shows how Goldman Sachs is trying to become the Google of Wall Street

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Disney stock tumbles after missing earnings expectations (DIS)

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

Bob Iger Disney CEO

  • Disney missed earning expectations Thursday afternoon.
  • Shares of the company fell 4% after the announcement.


Shares of Disney fell 4% Thursday after the company reported Q4 2017 earnings that missed Wall Street expectations. 

The company reported earnings of $1.07 per share, short of the expected $1.34 expected, on revenues of $12.78 billion, below the expected $13.32 billion. 

"No other entertainment company is better equipped to navigate the ever-evolving media landscape, thanks to our unparalleled collection of brands and franchises and our ability to leverage IP across our entire company,"  CEO Bob Iger said in a press release. "We look forward to launching our first direct-to-consumer streaming service in the new year, and we will continue to invest for the future and take the smart risks required to deliver shareholder value."

Investors are searching for clarity around the Disney's standalone streaming service, which it announced in August.  Additionally, CNBC reported this week that Disney has been in talks to buy most of 21st Century Fox. Both of these issues, as well as questions around ESPN's recent struggles, will be on investors minds Thursday afternoon. 

Shares of Disney are down 2.97% so far this year.

Disney stock price

SEE ALSO: MORGAN STANLEY: Netflix’s international growth will protect it from the competition

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STOCKS DIP: Here's what you need to know

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

slide

Stocks slid on Thursday amid worries that the GOP tax plan might be delayed. They reversed some of their earlier losses over the course of the day, but all three major indices still closed in the red.

  • Dow: 23,461.94, -101.42, (-0.43%)
  • S&P 500: 2,584.62, -9.76, (-0.38%)
  • Nasdaq: 6,750.05, -39.06, (-0.58%)

1. AT&T CEO: We're under no pressure from Trump's DOJ to sell CNNAT&T chief executive officer Randall Stephenson said on Thursday that his company is under no pressure from the US Department of Justice to divest Turner Broadcasting, the group of channels that includes CNN, if it wants to acquire Time Warner.

2. There's a big oil story flying under the radar: Venezuela is creeping closer towards a formal default. There's speculation that Venezuela missed its full $1.1 billion payment on a bond issued by its state-oil company, PDVSA. It was due last Friday, but the Financial Times reports that "while some bondholders said they expected the money to arrive soon, others pointed out that the payment deadline had clearly been missed regardless."

3. House Republicans made some enormous last minute changes to their tax billRep. Kevin Brady offered what's known as a manager's amendment on Thursday. The amendment contains a mound of edits added at the end of the committee's debate, designed to limit changes following the amendment's passage. The NFIB, a group that represents America's small businesses, praised the new amendment after previously slamming the original bill.

4. Meanwhile, the Senate rolled out its own enormous tax bill — and it has some significant differences from the House. The bill will make large changes to both the personal and corporate sides of the tax code with a goal of generating increased investment and economic growth.

5. Rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as the kingdom's weekend crackdown, have rattled markets in the region. Lebanon's benchmark equity index has fallen about 3% since the weekend. But, the stock moves in Saudi Arabia itself have been relatively modest (aside from the shares of companies owned by people who have been detained). Saudi Arabia's Tadawul index is down by about 0.5% since the end of last week.

ADDITIONALLY:

A record number of Americans are taking vacations — and that highlights one of the biggest risks to markets.

A European company you've never heard of has quietly acquired Panera, Au Bon Pain, and Krispy Kreme in its quest to build a coffee empire.

The cruelest idea in the GOP tax bill is still in there.

Manhattan landlords are offering tons of freebies — and it's still not enough.

This chart highlights one of Europe's biggest problems.

SEE ALSO: Legendary physicist Freeman Dyson talks about math, nuclear rockets, and astounding things about the universe

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NOW WATCH: $6 TRILLION INVESTMENT CHIEF: Bitcoin is a bubble

This is what you get when you invest in an initial coin offering

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

Miko Matsumura, co-founder of the Evercoin Cryptocurrency Exchange, talks with Business Insider executive editor Sara Silverstein about initial coin offerings. The following is a transcript of the video.

Miko Matsumura: Hi, I’m Miko Matsumura; co-founder of the Evercoin Cryptocurrency Exchange and here’s everything you need to know about initial coin offerings.

Sara Silverstein: So I really want to learn everything I can from you about ICOs. Seems to be a lot going on right now. Generally speaking what is an ICO?

Matsumura: ICO is kind of a funnily named thing. ICO which is Initial Coin Offering. So essentially what is happening is that tokens are being created and they are being sold to the public. So it’s quite a phenomenon these days. 

Silverstein: And what are you getting? So you're getting a coin. What is that? 

Matsumura: So what you're getting is that you’re getting a cryptographic token to store in a piece of wallet software and ultimately the value is determined by the value of the economy being created by this entity

Silverstein: So it’s not like you have a stake in an IPO? You don’t have a stake in what’s behind it?

Matsumura: One of the big concerns people have about coins and cryptographic tokens is that they don’t actually confer legal rights in most cases. So that’s pretty interesting and potentially concerning for people who hold them.

Silverstein: So kind of like the bitcoin — the value of the bitcoin is what keeps the bitcoin blockchain going right?

Matsumura: Correct.

Silverstein: So the ICO coins associated with those, new ICOs are spurring new companies. And if that company continues to grow then maybe that coin will increase in value.

Matsumura: That’s correct. There’s really two classes of ICO tokens. One of them is asset backed securities. So asset backed is literally what it means, which is there’s real estate back there. So it represents the physical or virtual goods of that token. 

The other class is a utility token. And that’s basically used to buy goods and services in some kind of microeconomy.

Silverstein: And how many of these are there?

Matsumura: Well we’re seeing about 30 new ICOs launching per day. Year to date we've seen about 3 billion go into the ICO market.  So we’re seeing companies raise as much as 200 million USD per ICO. And what’s interesting they’re raising it in bitcoin and ether. The value of which also continues to rise.

One case — for example — eos has probably estimated about 700 million USD that's been raised as a function of increase in bitcoin and ether.

Silverstein: And is that one of the things causing bitcoin to go up? To have ICOs you have to use bitcoin. So all this ICO activity is actually increasing the price of bitcoin

Matsumura: The most common platform is actually the ethereum blockchain. So ether purchasing for the purpose of transferring into ICO is definitely an economic driver for that. But I would say there are actually much larger geopolitical fundamentals with the respect to the price for bitcoin itself. And we are seeing a large movement — with respect — to the fiat currency to bitcoin interface, to crypto interface. 

So we’re seeing a lot of new hedge funds. There’s over 100 crypto hedge funds that have emerged; some of which — I know of four — that are at the $500 million USD size. They’re fairly sizeable fiat to crypt interfaces.

Silverstein: And one of the funds you’re invested in is an ICO only fund, correct?

Matsumura:  That’s correct, I am a limited partner with Pantera Capital. And that’s a $100 million ICO only fund. So it invests exclusively in tokens, not in traditional venture equity.

Silverstein: So if you missed out on the bitcoin rally or you think you did, should everyone just go into these ICOs? Because it sounds like a really exciting things that’s happening

Matsumura: Well I’d like to be a little more cautionary about this. One of the things that’s happened is that it’s such a popular fundraising vehicle, because it has genetic roots with crowdfunding. And so one of the problems is that everybody has like a cousin that’s doing an ICO. And that is actually a little scary. I would probably stay away from most of these instruments.

What’s happening now is that more and more kind of whale-class investors are diligencing these instruments and that’s actually very proper. It’s actually interesting that the market is self regulating. So there are fewer and fewer retail investors that are randomly throwing cryptos at CEOs, which I think is a healthy trend. 

Matsumura: Because I do think these are very complex to analyze. And understanding the fundamental value of a specific ICOs I think the job of people who do that all day long as professionals.

Silverstein: And what are the types of flags you would look for as far as an ICO that doesn’t make sense?

Matsumura: Well for me I’m really looking for a fundamental connection to the technology underlying it, which is blockchain. So to describe blockchain very succinctly, it’s a really, really slow database. And the only reason you would want to use blockchain is if you didn’t trust anyone.

And what’s a situation like that? Bitcoin is a perfect situation because you shouldn't trust anyone with your money and so that’s what that blockchain is doing. To underscore it, it’s a very slow database. So if you want a faster database, you just need to find a situation in which someone can be trusted to run it.

So to me, when I analyze ICO, I’m really looking for fundamental uses of the technology. Whether it’s relevant or not, I feel like that’s key.

Silverstein: So this general idea that blockchain can revolutionize everything and everything can be decentralized, doesn’t necessarily make sense.

Matsumura: No, so it is one of my investment thesis points that we are at a point of peak centralization and so it is the case that the pendulum — in many cases — swings toward decentralization in a lot of infrastructures. And that there are a lot of externalities, which means that there are costs that people are bearing that they didn’t agree to bear in many different kinds of systems.

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The group that represents America's small businesses reverses its position on the new GOP tax bill

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

donald trump kevin brady

  • The NFIB reversed its position on the House Republican tax reform bill on Thursday, saying it supports newly proposed changes.
  • Last week, the group slammed the bill shortly after it was unveiled, saying it leaves too many small businesses behind.

 

The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) reversed its position on the House Republican tax reform bill on Thursday, backing the newly proposed changes by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas).

"We are very grateful to Chairman Brady for listening to our concerns and working with NFIB to ensure that tax reform benefits the greatest possible number of American small business owners," Juanita Duggan, president and CEO of NFIB, said in a statement.

"This amendment would create substantial tax relief for millions of small business owners who were left out of the original bill. We urge Republican and Democratic members of the House to support this amendment going forward," she added.

Brady's proposed amendment would provide a lower tax rate for smaller firms that otherwise wouldn't have qualified for the 25% rate on pass-through businesses.

The Trump administration and congressional Republicans took a step forward in their attempt to overhaul the US tax code last Thursday by revealing the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," which will include a broad set of proposed changes to the corporate and individual tax systems, building off a nine-page framework the White House and congressional Republican leaders released in September.

Last week, the NFIB slammed the tax reform bill shortly after it was unveiled, saying, "This bill leaves too many small businesses behind. We are concerned that the pass-through provision does not help most small businesses."

SEE ALSO: There's a big oil story flying under the radar

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NOW WATCH: $6 TRILLION INVESTMENT CHIEF: Bitcoin is a bubble

Nvidia is about to release its earnings (NVDA)

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

nvidia jen-hsun huang ceo

  • Nvidia is expected to post earnings of $1.07 and revenues of $2.362 billion.
  • Wall Street and retail investors are both bullish ahead of earnings.
  • The company has been facing increased competition in the graphics processing space, especially recently.
  • Watch Nvidia's stock price move in real time.


Nvidia
is set to release earnings after the bell on Thursday.

Wall Street is expecting adjusted earnings of $1.07 per share on revenue of $2.362 billion. Analysts on Wall Street are bullish on the stock, with 19 of the 36 tracked by Bloomberg rating the company a "buy", and just four rating the company a "sell".

Millennial investors are bullish on the stock too. Users of the Robinhood stock trading platform, which has proven popular among millennial investors, are buying shares of Nvidia 30% more than they are selling shares.

Nvidia has been facing increased competition recently. Intel has historically kept out of Nvidia's main graphics processing unit business but has dramatically changed its attitude in the last week. Intel announced a partnership with AMD to produce a single-chip CPU and GPU combo.

Intel also announced that it had poached the head of AMD's graphics division to start a new graphics division at Intel. The new division will work on developing discrete graphics units that would directly compete with Nvidia's processors.

Nvidia is up 99.81% this year on the back of increased demand for GPUs from both cryptocurrency miners and data centers using the chips for artificial intelligence tasks. 

We will be updating this story with more details when Nvidia releases its earnings. Check back here for more.

nvidia stock price

SEE ALSO: The live price of Nvidia shares

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

Bitcoin Gold Sets Sunday Date for Cryptocurrency Release

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

Bitcoin Gold could launch as early as Sunday, per an announcement from its development team.

There's a big oil story flying under the radar

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

pdvsa venzuela oil

  • Venezuela is creeping closer towards formal default.
  • There's speculation that Venezuela missed its full $1.1 billion bond payment last Friday.
  • President Nicolas Maduro announced his country will have to restructure future debt payments.

 

Rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as the kingdom's weekend crackdown, have drawn the attention of oil watchers.

But there's another big oil story flying under the radar that should not be overlooked: Venezuela is creeping closer towards a formal default.

"We caution against taking one’s eye off the looming sovereign debt crisis in Venezuela that could further curtail output from the stressed state," Helima Croft, head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, said in a note to clients.

oilThere's speculation that Venezuela missed its full $1.1 billion payment on a bond issued by its state-oil company, PDVSA. It was due last Friday, but the Financial Times reports that "while some bondholders said they expected the money to arrive soon, others pointed out that the payment deadline had clearly been missed regardless."

And last week, President Nicolas Maduro announced Venezuela is aiming to restructure future debt payments, raising questions about the state's and its oil company's ability to make the remaining payments in 2017 and 2018.

"Any restructuring effort will be greatly complicated by the August sanctions that bar any US regulated financial institution from dealing in new debt issued by the Venezuelan government or PDVSA," Croft said.

"Compounding the challenge, the official appointed to lead the debt negotiations, Vice President Tareck El Aissami, was placed on the US Treasury Department’s OFAC sanctions list for drug trafficking in February, potentially putting US regulated firms that engage with him in legal peril," she added.

Venezuela has been in a deteriorating economic and political crisis, plagued by economic mismanagement, a chronic balance of payments problem, food and essential goods shortages, and looting and violence.

SEE ALSO: Rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran rattle markets

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Mysterious Group BitPico Threatens to Execute the Bitcoin Hard Fork

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

[…]

The post Mysterious Group BitPico Threatens to Execute the Bitcoin Hard Fork appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

AT&T CEO: We're under no pressure from Trump's DOJ to sell CNN

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

Trump CNN

  • AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said the DOJ has never asked it to sell CNN in order to acquire Time Warner, but that he's prepared to litigate if it does.
  • The comments come a day after several media outlets reported that selling Turner Broadcasting, which owns CNN, or DirecTV would be a condition of approving the deal.


AT&T chief executive officer Randall Stephenson said on Thursday that his company is under no pressure from the US Department of Justice to divest Turner Broadcasting, the group of channels that includes CNN, if it wants to acquire Time Warner.

He made the comments at the New York Times' DealBook Conference in New York City. They came a day after reports circulated that the DOJ had demanded that AT&T and Time Warner sell either Turner or DirecTV in order to get their $84.5 billion merger approved.

"I have never been told that the price of getting the deal done was selling CNN, period," Stephenson said at the conference. "And likewise I have never offered to sell CNN. There is absolutely no intention that we would ever sell CNN."

Among other comments, Stephenson said that a divestiture of CNN "makes no sense," and mentioned that his company is prepared to litigate if any such formal demand is made. 

The conflicting reports come on the heels of repeated instances of the president calling CNN "fake news." Trump also criticized the proposed acquisition near the end of his presidential campaign, saying that "deals like this destroy democracy."

Trump's concerns echo those expressed by many critics of the proposed deal who think too much consolidation in the media and telecom industries is ultimately bad for both. Still, antitrust experts have said that on a strictly legal basis, fighting the deal might be difficult for the DOJ.

AT&T's stock climbed 1.7% as of 1:53 p.m. EST on Thursday. Time Warner shares slid 1.1% after dropping 6.5% after the initial news on Wednesday.

Screen Shot 2017 11 09 at 2.08.01 PM

SEE ALSO: AT&T has 'no intention' of selling CNN, no matter what Trump's DOJ says

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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.

"Markets are in a kind of dreamland."

That's according to Elliott Management, which manages $34 billion and is one of the world's largest hedge funds. The firm, led by billionaire GOP donor and hedge fund manager Paul Singer, says markets are at high risk, according to a third-quarter client letter seen by Business Insider. He also expressed concern about the global economy

In related news, a GOP lawmaker says he's sticking it to hedge funds with a new tax rule — he's not. And the Feds are investigating billionaire Carl Icahn's role advising the Trump administration.

In other news, Wall Street trading giant Virtu cut staff by half and laid in to a $1.4 billion acquisition — now it can't wait for market chaos.

Stocks are sliding amid worries that the GOP tax plan may be delayed. And rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are rattling regional markets.

In business news, Panera's CEO is stepping down to address a huge problem he believes is crippling the US economy.

And in tech news, the Chinese company behind the biggest game in the world wants to work with Snapchat on gamesRoku is soaring the day after its bombshell first-ever earnings report as a public company. And SoftBank's massive investment in Uber isn't in jeopardy despite prolonged negotiations over the terms of the deal, according to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

Lastly, meet some of the Wall Streeters who ran the New York City Marathon.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: TOP STRATEGIST: Bitcoin will soar to $25,000 in 5 years

Bitcoin Millionaire Tim Draper: Cryptocurrencies Will Replace Fiat in 5 Years

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

[…]

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Manhattan landlords are offering tons of freebies — and it's still not enough

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

apartments condo vacant empty construction

  • The vacancy rate of rental apartments in Manhattan was near its highest level of the year in October, according to a report from Douglas Elliman Real Estate.  
  • Landlords have amped up the concessions they offer prospective tenants, such as a month of free rent. 
  • However, tenants are becoming more wary of these freebies, especially when they wouldn't be able to afford apartments without them. What's really needed is cheaper face rents, said Jonathan Miller, author of the report. 


Manhattan's rental market continues to soften, even with all the incentives that landlords are offering apartment hunters. 

The vacancy rate in the borough in October was 2.6%, down from 2.7% which was the highest level of this year. The October rate was the highest for the month in 11 years of data collection, according to a report by Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

Landlord concessions like a month of free rent seemed to be working earlier in the year as the vacancy rate fell. But the increase in vacancies over the last three months, and fewer new leases, show that concessions may be losing their effectiveness. 

"Landlords, and probably tenants, are leery of renting out an apartment where if the concessions weren't offered, the renter couldn't afford the apartment," said Jonathan Miller, CEO of the real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the report. For example, a landlord who offered one free month on a 13-month lease would cheapen the annual cost of rent and lower the minimum income that's required to qualify — typically about 40 times the monthly rent. 

Landlords would need to reduce their face rents (without concessions) to satisfy more prospective tenants, Miller said. That's already happening in Brooklyn and Queens, he added, where the so-called median net effective rent, which factors in freebies, fell on an annual basis in October. 

Incentives may not reduce anytime soon, meaning that the market may ultimately be shaped by how enticing renters find them. "The higher the share of new developments as a percentage of the market, the higher the share of concessions that the landlords are required to offer to keep the vacancy rate from rising," Miller said. 

Concessions surged last month in Queens and were offered in 87% of all new developments, Miller said. 

SEE ALSO: ZILLOW: America's red-hot housing market is a bit of a problem

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Stocks slide amid worries that the GOP tax plan may be delayed

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

Screen Shot 2017 11 09 at 12.21.47 PM

  • Stocks fell on Thursday and were headed for their biggest decline since August. 
  • The sell-off happened amid doubts about whether Republicans would be able to pull off their promised tax-cut plan
  • A Senate bill, with a few differences compared to the House version, was expected to be unveiled on Thursday.


The S&P 500 was on track to post its biggest one-day percentage loss since August as doubts on whether Republican would be a able to pulloff their promised tax-cut plan weighed on the markets.

A U.S. Senate tax-cut bill, different from one already in the House of Representatives, was expected to be unveiled on Thursday, complicating the tax overhaul push by the Trump administration. 

The bill includes a one-time repatriation tax designed to encourage US-based companies that do business overseas to bring those profits back stateside. This could encourage stock buybacks, deal financing, debt repayments, and other activities that are attractive to shareholders. 

The S&P 500 has risen about 21 percent since the election of President Donald Trump a year ago, partly on the back of his promises to cut taxes and other business-friendly measures.

However, Republicans are yet to score a major legislative win since Trump took office in January, even though the party controls both chambers of Congress as well as the White House.

"There is continuing confusion over the possibility of tax cuts being meaningful and passing this year," said James Abate, chief investment officer at Centre Asset Management.

"At the end of the day some version will get passed but it will be watered down. There is too much resistance from special interest groups and budget hawks and there is a fear that the tax cuts will be in name only."

With earnings winding down and stocks still trading near record levels, investors are also looking to book profits, Abate said.

At 12:31 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 229 points, or 0.97%, at 23,334, the S&P 500 was down 27 points, or 1.04% percent, at 2,567.41.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 96 points, or 1.41% percent, at 6,694.

Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the technology index's 1.85% loss leading the decliners.

Technology has been the best performing S&P sector so far this year with a 37% rise, despite concerns of stretched valuations. 

(Reuters reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

SEE ALSO: We finally got an answer on one of the House GOP tax plan's biggest questions

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

Wall Street trading giant Virtu cut staff by half and laid in to a $1.4 billion acquisition — now it can't wait for market chaos (VIRT)

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

Virtu trader

  • Virtu Financial, which completed its acquisition of KCG Holdings in July, announced its first joint results Tuesday and the stock popped as much as 18%.
  • During an earnings call, Virtu CEO Doug Cifu said the firm brought its headcount down from a combined 1,250 between the two firms to 648. He also suggested that KCG had been poorly run. 
  • Cifu said the merger is going better than expected. 


The writing was on the wall from the beginning. 

When Virtu Financial — which had grown to become one of the largest high-speed trading firms in less than a decade — acquired rival KCG in July, there was an understanding that costs and staff were going to be cut fast. Virtu had spent $1.4 billion on its purchase and was already known for a lean business model. Virtu had just 150 staff, compared with 1,100 at KCG. That's to say nothing of KCG's old-fashioned flash with cash reputation.

So there were some easy targets for Virtu chief executive Doug Cifu. Still, the speed and success of Virtu's integration of KCG caught Wall Street off guard this week. After the company reported results for the first time since the purchase closed, the stock soared more than 18%. 

The firm posted a net loss of $40 million, due to costs associated with the deal, with revenues of $271.3 million (up 64.6% year-on-year) offset by operating expenses of $317.8 million. But the firm guided to fourth quarter operating expenses of $152 million, with full year 2018 guidance at $503 million. The firm also said it generated $3.1 million in adjusted net trading income per day for August, September and October, and that that figure could grow to as much as $3.6 million per day in time. 

And in an earnings call to discuss the results, Cifu said KCG's technology was a mess, it lacked discipline around capital allocation, had multiple unprofitable units, and missed opportunities to expand in areas of strength.

"Harmonize the strengths of both legacy firms"

The ultimate vision of the acquisition, to "harmonize the strengths of both legacy firms," has not changed since the deal closed in July, Cifu said. The backdrop looks the same as well. High-frequency traders continue to struggle amid an environment of low volatility in which the big price swings that traders profit from are harder to come by. 

Cifu, however, says the newly combined company is even more optimistic about the merger than it was when the deal was first announced in April.

Since the deal closed, Virtu has done the following:

  • Cut staff: Virtu had cut staff almost in half from 1250 total employees (1,100 from KCG and 150 from Virtu) to just 648. 
  • Sold assets: Virtu has sold off KCG's $400 million bond business to ICE, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, with the proceeds being used to pay down debt. 
  • Integrated tech: "We are moving to a single pan-asset, class, and geography integrated technology platform," Cifu said. "From an operational and trading perspective, the legacy Getco and Knight systems were essentially unaware of each other." KCG was formed when two trading firms, Knight and Getco, merged in 2013. According to Cifu the merger translated into redundancies four years later.
  • Made changes in Europe: The company has also begun shutting down Neonet, a European business KCG acquired in 2015. KCG's European trading operations lost $2.5 million per month in 2016, according to Cifu.
  • Made changes in Asia: "KCG's Singapore and Mumbai offices had 29 employees and generated little to no revenue," Cifu said, adding that Virtu had addressed this issue. 
  • Shut a unit: GQS, a quantitative proprietary trading unit at KCG that posted a loss in the first quarter and a small gain in the second, has been shut down. 
  • Taken KCG quant strategies global: "We knew this from due diligence that they candidly had not done a great job taking these quantitative strategies in equities and in futures and in other asset classes around the globe," Cifu said. Virtu rolled these out to Canada, and is now rolling out those strategies to 34 more countries. 
  • Capital is now deployed with more discipline. "There were just a number of instances around the firm [KCG] where capital was being deployed very, very inefficiently," Cifu said. 

Cifu said he expects Virtu will achieve $262 million in gross synergies in 2018, adding that headcount reductions the firm has undertaken will have little impact on revenues. 

"As we have previously noted many of the departed employees worked in redundant cost centers or offices that generated little to no revenue, or even lost money trading," Cifu said. 

It's working on dozens of new projects

It's not just a question of cutting costs. Cifu also mentioned a "dozens" of new projects underway at the firm that have emerged from collaborations between Virtu and KCG. The company has "generated approximately $14 million of incremental annualized adjusted net-trading income from these growth initiatives alone," according to Cifu.

He added that "the size and scoop of these initiatives is many multiples of what has been achieved to date."

All this has been achieved in a period of historically low volatility, Cifu said, adding that he's "really excited about when - not if but when - volatility comes back." He said: 

"When you have a firm that has its fixed cost base under control, and I think we put our money where our mouth is today, and you have a firm that can demonstrably generate net trading revenue in a muted
volatility environment, you have a great model. And the model is, in a famine, we can generate significant returns and then the model scales exceptionally well. That's always been the model of legacy Virtu, and it's the model of the combined firm going forward."

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Roku is up more than 45% the day after its bombshell first-ever earnings report as a public company (ROKU)

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

A man walks past Roku's Nasdaq sign

Roku, the streaming-video hardware and platform company, is up 46.66% on Thursday to $27.35 after reporting earnings.

In the first earnings report as a public company, Roku crushed estimates, reporting an adjusted loss of $0.10 on revenues of $124.78 million. Wall Street was expecting a loss of $0.40 per share on revenue of $118.75 million.

The company said its fourth-quarter revenue should come in around $175 million to $190 million thanks to strong anticipated holiday sales, while Wall Street was expecting $177 million.

Even though the company lost money in the third quarter, it says its new focus on the platform part of its business is going well. The company now boasts 16.7 million users and said revenue from licensing deals and advertisements jumped 137% in the last year, and now is almost half of the company's total revenue.

Roku went public at $14 a share earlier this year and is up 98.9% since then.

Read more about the company's earnings performance.

roku stock price

SEE ALSO: Roku crushes its first-ever earnings report as a public company, shares rocket up over 25%

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Guest Post: Understanding the Limits and Potential of Blockchain Technology

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

Guest Post: Understanding the Limits and Potential of Blockchain Technology

The promise of blockchain technology is coming to the forefront and capturing the imaginations of investors, entrepreneurs and innovators alike. But what many people do not know is how perilous the blockchain journey ahead still is. We live in a world of smoke and mirrors; enterprise investors must do their due diligence in navigating these choppy waters — making the right investments in the right blockchain technologies to unlock that promised potential.

To make the correct investments, we need to adopt a framework to evaluate them. Having a framework also means having the necessary inputs. What follows in this article are some of these key inputs.

If you are considering making technology investments, think about the end state: your vision. How will this technology fit within your existing technology infrastructure? You need to put on your far- and short-sighted glasses: First, what will the near future (1–2 years) of the blockchain ecosystem look like? Second, how will this blockchain technology integrate with your existing infrastructure? Does it complement your technology investments thus far? Does it mitigate or add to any burdens in your existing technological landscape? All of these questions should inform your purchasing decision.

As an integration consultant and a blockchain architect, my role is to help clients determine what is in the realm of possibility for them and what is not. Questions surrounding scalability, integration points, data interoperability and security are not easy questions to answer, but they must be considered. Some potential investors will be blinded by the sheer potential (or hype) of the technology and will completely ignore these realities. As appealing as blockchain technology is, it’s not for everyone. Some enterprise investors are not at the maturity stage to adopt it yet, and this is not an easy pill to swallow.

Blockchain is a nascent technology and much work is still being done in the areas of interoperability (e.g., ISO/TC 307, Ripple ILP, Hyperledger Quilt, etc.). These are challenges to consider. It is important to understand that, in order to realize the full potential of blockchain technology, some elements of integration with your legacy system are probably still going to be necessary. Consider also how your private blockchain can be integrated with public blockchains — we live in a less-than-perfect world where there are multiple blockchains. Will the blockchain be on cloud or on-premise? These are questions you’ll need to answer; in fact, these very questions will also serve as inputs to your technology adoption framework.

Bigger Picture

As blockchain technology speeds toward standardization (via International Standard Organization, etc.) and interoperability (Interledger Protocols, Hyperledger Quilt, etc.), we also need to ask ourselves if having too many standards will stifle innovation and whether integration and interoperability are antithetical to the core tenet of blockchain technology, which is decentralization, for which I have yet to find an answer.

Finally, the benefits of interoperable and integrated blockchains are many: improved governance, interoperability, process automation, further cost savings and perhaps even cross-chain atomicity (a dream for now, at least). But we must not allow the benefits to blind us to the reality.

I wish to end this article on a hopeful note. Despite the many challenges when it comes to adopting blockchain technology, these challenges are not unique to the blockchain. Every new piece of technology goes through phases of uncertainty and exploration: this one, too, shall pass.


This is a guest post by Nathan Aw. Views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Media or Bitcoin Magazine.

The post Guest Post: Understanding the Limits and Potential of Blockchain Technology appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Guest Post: Understanding the Limits and Potential of Blockchain Technology

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

Guest Post: Understanding the Limits and Potential of Blockchain Technology

The promise of blockchain technology is coming to the forefront and capturing the imaginations of investors, entrepreneurs and innovators alike. But what many people do not know is how perilous the blockchain journey ahead still is. We live in a world of smoke and mirrors; enterprise investors must do their due diligence in navigating these choppy waters — making the right investments in the right blockchain technologies to unlock that promised potential.

To make the correct investments, we need to adopt a framework to evaluate them. Having a framework also means having the necessary inputs. What follows in this article are some of these key inputs.

If you are considering making technology investments, think about the end state: your vision. How will this technology fit within your existing technology infrastructure? You need to put on your far- and short-sighted glasses: First, what will the near future (1–2 years) of the blockchain ecosystem look like? Second, how will this blockchain technology integrate with your existing infrastructure? Does it complement your technology investments thus far? Does it mitigate or add to any burdens in your existing technological landscape? All of these questions should inform your purchasing decision.

As an integration consultant and a blockchain architect, my role is to help clients determine what is in the realm of possibility for them and what is not. Questions surrounding scalability, integration points, data interoperability and security are not easy questions to answer, but they must be considered. Some potential investors will be blinded by the sheer potential (or hype) of the technology and will completely ignore these realities. As appealing as blockchain technology is, it’s not for everyone. Some enterprise investors are not at the maturity stage to adopt it yet, and this is not an easy pill to swallow.

Blockchain is a nascent technology and much work is still being done in the areas of interoperability (e.g., ISO/TC 307, Ripple ILP, Hyperledger Quilt, etc.). These are challenges to consider. It is important to understand that, in order to realize the full potential of blockchain technology, some elements of integration with your legacy system are probably still going to be necessary. Consider also how your private blockchain can be integrated with public blockchains — we live in a less-than-perfect world where there are multiple blockchains. Will the blockchain be on cloud or on-premise? These are questions you’ll need to answer; in fact, these very questions will also serve as inputs to your technology adoption framework.

Bigger Picture

As blockchain technology speeds toward standardization (via International Standard Organization, etc.) and interoperability (Interledger Protocols, Hyperledger Quilt, etc.), we also need to ask ourselves if having too many standards will stifle innovation and whether integration and interoperability are antithetical to the core tenet of blockchain technology, which is decentralization, for which I have yet to find an answer.

Finally, the benefits of interoperable and integrated blockchains are many: improved governance, interoperability, process automation, further cost savings and perhaps even cross-chain atomicity (a dream for now, at least). But we must not allow the benefits to blind us to the reality.

I wish to end this article on a hopeful note. Despite the many challenges when it comes to adopting blockchain technology, these challenges are not unique to the blockchain. Every new piece of technology goes through phases of uncertainty and exploration: this one, too, shall pass.


This is a guest post by Nathan Aw. Views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Media or Bitcoin Magazine.

The post Guest Post: Understanding the Limits and Potential of Blockchain Technology appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Quantum Computers Could Jack Your Crypto Private Key in 10 Years, Researchers Say

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

Bitcoin wallets might be in trouble if quantum computers advance as quickly as some researchers have projected.

(+) Technical Analysis: Altcoins Lift-Off as Bitcoin Drifts Lower

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

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(+) Technical Analysis: Altcoins Lift-Off as Bitcoin Drifts Lower

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

The post (+) Technical Analysis: Altcoins Lift-Off as Bitcoin Drifts Lower appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

TripAdvisor will now warn users about hotels where sexual assault is reported after users accused the site of deleting their negative reviews

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

tripadvisor

  • TripAdvisor has been criticized by users who reported having their accounts of rape and assault removed from the travel website.
  • The site is introducing a new feature that will flag hotels and resorts that are reported for sexual assault and other safety concerns.
  • Offending hotels and resorts will be marked for up to three months, with the possibility of an extension.

 

TripAdvisor is now marking hotels and resorts that have been reported for sexual assault and other safety concerns, according to The New York Times.

The travel website had come under fire after a number of users reported having their accounts of rape and assault removed from the site. The users had said they were told their reviews violated the website's guidelines, and some were marked as "hearsay."

TripAdvisor responded by apologizing to those affected by the removals, and the website is introducing a new feature it hopes will inform users of safety concerns before they book their travel plans.

If a designated committee of TripAdvisor employees decides it is warranted, a hotel or resort will be marked with a badge to indicate that users have reported that their health or safety was put at risk, or that they were discriminated against, while staying there.

Hotels and resorts will be marked for up to three months, with the possibility of an extension if TripAdvisor believes it is necessary.

Kevin Carter, a spokesman for the website, told the Times that TripAdvisor will not remove hotels and resorts that receive frequent complaints. 

"We want consumers to see good and bad reviews of businesses," he said. 

SEE ALSO: TripAdvisor users are accusing the site of deleting their accounts of rape and assault

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Intel poached AMD's head of graphics to start its own graphics division — and Nvidia and AMD shares are falling (INTC, AMD, NVDA)

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

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich

  • Intel hired away AMD's head of graphics for the same role at Intel.
  • The move was a clear signal from Intel that it's now placing a real emphasis on graphics.
  • AMD and Nvidia, the current champs of the GPU game, fell after the news.


Raja Koduri will be joining Intel as the company's head of the newly formed Core and Visual Computing Group, the position he left at AMD to pursue, Intel announced.

The move is a clear signal from Intel that it wants to ramp up its offerings in the high-end GPU space which has been dominated by the likes of AMD and Nvidia. Intel currently bakes some graphics processing into its CPUs, but those processors lack the power needed to run high-end games or artificial intelligence systems.

Shares of AMD fell 4.1% to $11.23 and shares of Nvidia fell 2.5% to $203.94 after the news. Intel also was down after the news, falling 0.94% to $46.26.

"We have exciting plans to aggressively expand our computing and graphics capabilities," Murthy Renduchintala, the chief engineering officer at Intel, said in a news release. "With Raja at the helm of our Core and Visual Computing Group, we will add to our portfolio of unmatched capabilities, advance our strategy to lead in computing and graphics, and ultimately be the driving force of the data revolution.”

It's clear that Intel is no longer content with being largely absent in the expanding GPU market. The growing adoption of artificial intelligence systems has led to an explosion in demand for the chips, especially in data centers, where much of the processing takes place. Nvidia and AMD have been the main producers of GPUs for years.

In addition to standalone GPUs, Intel is also working on expanding its integrated graphics performance. The company recently announced it would be working with AMD to develop a chip that combines Intel's CPU technology with AMD's GPU tech to power high-performance laptops with a smaller silicon footprint.

Koduri previously worked for Apple to introduce its Retina displays and will start at Intel in December.

Read more about Intel and AMD's new chip.

amd stock price

SEE ALSO: AMD and Intel are reportedly teaming up to take on Nvidia

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MORGAN STANLEY: There’s one type of store Amazon can’t kill (AMZN, DG, DLTR)

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

Dollar General Matt Kenseth NASCAR victory burnout

  • Dollar Stores are largely surviving the 'retail apocalypse.'
  • Morgan Stanley data shows dollar store shoppers are much less likely to shop online.


Amazon
is putting retailers out of business at an alarming rate, but analysts at Morgan Stanley say dollar stores, notably Dollar General and Dollar Tree, can weather the storm.

"eCommerce growth poses less of a threat to Dollar stores,” analyst Vincent Sinisi said in a note Thursday morning. "Dollar Store shoppers skew lower household income (<$50K) and are less likely to shop online. Furthermore, only 5% of lower income consumers expect to significantly increase their online purchasing in the next 12 months, compared to 14% of affluent shoppers."

Not surprisingly, data from the bank’s store surveys show 73% of shoppers weren’t there for a leisurely shopping trip, but rather to pick up items on an as-needed basis. Beyond these, however, party supplies and seasonal products are the top selling categories.

Here’s how the trips break down for dollar stores versus big box retailers like Walmart or Target:

Dollar Stores vs big box breakdown

No matter how quick Amazon Prime’s shipping options may be, when you need something like shampoo or toothpaste, online shopping won’t cut it.

Dollar store chains will also be helped by their near ubiquity in American cities. Dollar General and Dollar Tree, the two largest chains, both have 14,000 stores nationwide. By comparison, Walmart and Target operate 5,352 and 1,828 stores respectfully.

95% of Target locations are within a 10 minute drive of a Dollar Tree location, UBS analyst Michael Lasser estimated this week, with a Dollar General the same distance from 57% of locations.

Dollar General has largely weathered the retail segment's slump and is up 12.95% in the last year. Wall Street has a consensus target of $82 for the stock, according to Bloomberg.

Dollar General stock price

SEE ALSO: MORGAN STANLEY: Amazon will destroy these 4 industries the fastest

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MORGAN STANLEY: There’s one type of store Amazon can’t kill (AMZN, DG, DLTR)

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

Dollar General Matt Kenseth NASCAR victory burnout

  • Dollar Stores are largely surviving the 'retail apocalypse.'
  • Morgan Stanley data shows dollar store shoppers are much less likely to shop online.


Amazon
is putting retailers out of business at an alarming rate, but analysts at Morgan Stanley say dollar stores, notably Dollar General and Dollar Tree, can weather the storm.

"eCommerce growth poses less of a threat to Dollar stores,” analyst Vincent Sinisi said in a note Thursday morning. "Dollar Store shoppers skew lower household income (<$50K) and are less likely to shop online. Furthermore, only 5% of lower income consumers expect to significantly increase their online purchasing in the next 12 months, compared to 14% of affluent shoppers."

Not surprisingly, data from the bank’s store surveys show 73% of shoppers weren’t there for a leisurely shopping trip, but rather to pick up items on an as-needed basis. Beyond these, however, party supplies and seasonal products are the top selling categories.

Here’s how the trips break down for dollar stores versus big box retailers like Walmart or Target:

Dollar Stores vs big box breakdown

No matter how quick Amazon Prime’s shipping options may be, when you need something like shampoo or toothpaste, online shopping won’t cut it.

Dollar store chains will also be helped by their near ubiquity in American cities. Dollar General and Dollar Tree, the two largest chains, both have 14,000 stores nationwide. By comparison, Walmart and Target operate 5,352 and 1,828 stores respectfully.

95% of Target locations are within a 10 minute drive of a Dollar Tree location, UBS analyst Michael Lasser estimated this week, with a Dollar General the same distance from 57% of locations.

Dollar General has largely weathered the retail segment's slump and is up 12.95% in the last year. Wall Street has a consensus target of $82 for the stock, according to Bloomberg.

Dollar General stock price

SEE ALSO: MORGAN STANLEY: Amazon will destroy these 4 industries the fastest

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GARY COHN: 'I'm really not upset' the wealthy might get a tax cut

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

Gary Cohn

  • Gary Cohn, the White House's chief economic advisor, said in late September that the wealthy are not getting a tax cut under the proposed GOP plan.
  • In an interview with CNBC on Thursday, Cohn softened his position, saying that if the wealthy do get a tax break under the new plan, that's totally fine with him.


Chief White House economic advisor Gary Cohn has changed his tune.

Just six weeks after saying that "the wealthy are not getting a cut under our plan," Cohn backpedaled on Thursday during an interview with CNBC's John Harwood.

While he didn't expressly state that the plan was aimed at giving wealthy citizens a tax break, Cohn acknowledged that it could very well be a byproduct of the plan proposed by the GOP — and said he was totally fine with that.

Here's the exchange in full, which came after Harwood asked Cohn about the corporate tax cut being sought by Republicans (emphasis ours):

Harwood: The companies that benefit from pass-through rates are high income because if they were middle income they'd be paying at the 25% rate already. The vast majority of those benefits go to wealthy businesses.

Cohn: You've got to wait till the whole plan is done and see where we finally end up, and see what the plan comes out. Everything in our tax plan is meant to encourage investment.

Harwood: You're not saying, as you did a few weeks ago, that the wealthy do not get a tax cut under your plan?

Cohn: No. I'm saying there's unique situations to everyone out there. Everyone has their own story. It's not our intention to give the wealthy a tax cut.

Harwood: But they're getting one.

Cohn: I don't believe that we've set out to create a tax cut for the wealthy. If someone's getting a tax cut, I'm not upset that they're getting a tax cut. I'm really not upset.

Cohn and Harwood also tussled over the potential effects of corporate tax cuts and the proposed repatriation tax holiday. Harwood cited a study saying that these efforts would ultimately shrink the economy in the long-term, an assertion Cohn vehemently denied. But in doing so, Cohn mentioned how just 12 months ago, he was helping companies do the opposite of what the GOP's repatriation tax proposal seeks to achieve.

"We don't agree with that," replied Cohn. "We believe that we're going to have a very stimulative effect on the economy by lowering the business tax rate, by lowering the corporate rate, and making America competitive with the rest of the world. Look, a year ago, I was on the other side of this equation. I was advising companies how to get out of the burdensome US tax system."

The House GOP tax bill is set to be approved by the Ways and Means Committee on Thursday. Although as Business Insider's Bob Bryan points out, a question lingers over whether state and local taxes could still be deducted by "pass-through" entities under the legislation. He notes that there's a discrepancy in answers from the Ways and Means Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation.

SEE ALSO: A record number of Americans are taking vacations — and that highlights one of the biggest risks to markets

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This travel expert says he never leaves home without a Rolex — but it's not just to tell time

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

Rolex

  • Rolex watches are so valuable, they can be used as currency.
  • Philippe Cousteau told Bloomberg that he never travels without it, as everyone understands the value of a Rolex.
  • Still, the watch has to be something you can afford to lose.


Expensive wristwatches are invaluable traveling tools. They can tell time, don't need batteries to run, and are incredibly reliable.

Another bonus, according to Travel Channel host Philippe Cousteau, is that nearly everyone worldwide understands the value of a Rolex, and it can be traded in the event of an emergency. Cousteau, who is also the grandson of Jacques Cousteau, told Bloomberg that he wears an understated but "tradable" watch no matter where he goes, because of how useful it can be as emergency currency.

Cousteau is vague about the kind of "trouble" he describes, but we can imagine a few scenarios where a valuable watch would help you get to places on time.

Cousteau says an ex-British special force soldier gave him the advice. We're guessing the advice is a little more useful when you have years of military training and expertise — and look like you do, too.

After all, this advice seems a bit old-school. In all but the most remote corners of the world, access to money is only a phone call or click of the mouse away. Though there are usually fees involved, finding an ATM that will give you access to cash through a credit card advance or debit isn't difficult. And it doesn't involve giving away a prized possession.

If you were to find yourself in a serious emergency, it's not hard to imagine a scenario where a fancy watch would just make you a bigger target. A kidnapper wouldn't free you just becuase you have something valuable — they'd likely just take that from you, too.

For many, expensive watches are investment pieces. If you're bringing it with the thought that you might lose it, you have to be very sure that you can afford to lose it and can purchase another one if you need to. 

SEE ALSO: Here are the best restaurants in New York City, according to the Michelin Guide

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Millennials are loving Nvidia ahead of its earnings report (NVDA)

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

World Of Warcraft Blizzard Entertainment video game playing gamer

  • Nvidia is set to report third-quarter earnings on Thursday after the bell.
  • Users of the Robinhood stock trading app are buying shares of the stock 30% more than they are selling them.
  • Wall Street analysts mostly agree with the millennials and are bullish ahead of earnings.
  • Watch Nvidia's stock price move in real time.


Nvidia is set to report its third-quarter earnings after the bell on Thursday, and millennial investors are flocking to the stock in anticipation.

Users of the stock trading app Robinhood, which is popular with millennials, have been buying shares of Nvidia 30% more often then they have been selling them, according to Arpan Shah, a data engineer at Robinhood. Ahead of last quarter, users were buying equally as often as they were selling.

"Investors are a lot more bullish this time," Shah said.

In California, where Silicon Valley and a lot of Nvidia's biggest data center customers are located, the ratio of buying to selling is even higher. Users are increasing their positions 60% more than they are decreasing them, Shah said. In the rest of the US, excluding California, traders are only buying 20% more than they are selling.

Nvidia is one of the more popular stocks on Robinhood, ranking number 10 in terms of users who have a position in the company. AMD, one of Nvidia's biggest competitors, is the second most-held stock on Robinhood.

AMD reported earnings last month and beat Wall Street's estimates for both revenue and earnings. The company lowered its guidance for the following quarter, though, and the stock tanked after the report. Robinhood users were buying the stock 20% more than they were selling ahead of AMD's earnings.

Wall Street is expecting Nvidia to report adjusted earnings of $1.07 per share, on revenue of $2.362 billion. Analysts on Wall Street are mostly bullish ahead of the company's report. 19 of the 36 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg rate the company a "buy", while just four rate the company a "sell".

Nvidia has risen 99.09% this year.

Read more about AMD's earnings results.

nvidia stock price

SEE ALSO: AMD says its going to see a big drop in revenue, shares sink

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Taming Bitcoin Price Swings: CME to Place Limits on Bitcoin Futures

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

[…]

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A record number of Americans are taking vacations — and that highlights one of the biggest risks to markets

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

crowded beach

  • About 63% of US households are planning to take a vacation in the next six months.
  • Societe Generale strategist and outspoken market bear Albert Edwards sees the situation as indicative of American overconfidence in rising wages.


A record number of Americans are taking vacations. And they should enjoy it while it lasts, because the fun isn't going to last forever, says Societe Generale strategist and outspoken market bear Albert Edwards.

Edwards sees flagging wage growth as the root of the problem. Wages are simply not expanding at the pace one would expect, considering how far the unemployment rate has fallen. This has thrown the so-called Phillips curve — or the inverse relationship between inflation and unemployment — out of wack, according to Edwards.

And so, Edwards sees all the vacation-taking as a sign of overconfidence in wage growth that hasn't emerged so far.

With this in mind, if inflation does accelerate sharply at any point and the Federal Reserve is caught raising rates too slowly, that would create what Edwards sees as a "nightmare scenario" for equities. In a note last month, he went as far as to draw parallels between current market conditions and the 1987 crash.

"I know US consumer confidence has been booming on the back of a surging equity market, but cheap money has also prompted the consumer to book holidays galore," the Societe Generale investment strategist and outspoken market bear said in a recent note to clients. "When the bubble bursts, households will be mighty pissed that it’s not just their wealth that evaporates in front of their eyes but their ability to vacation like never before."

Screen Shot 2017 11 09 at 8.40.58 AM

And while Edwards' bearish rhetoric may be more inflammatory than most, his concerns over inflation have been echoed across Wall Street. In a recent conversation with research analysts from Keefe, Bruyette, and Woods, Daniel Pinto, the head of JPMorgan's dominant investment bank shared similar concerns over a sudden pick-up in inflation.

He told KBW that if inflation exceeds projections by investors and central bankers, that could disrupt the long bull market we've enjoyed and put a halt to the economic cycle, sending shocks through emerging markets as well. Of particular concern to Pinto is the level of complacency he sees sinking in.

What do people do when they're feeling complacent? They take vacation.

Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Wealth Management, overseeing policy and strategy for $2 trillion in assets, told Business Insider in September that his firm is also keeping a close eye on inflation. In their mind, the lower inflation stays, the more hamstrung the Fed will be in its efforts to tighten monetary conditions.

Overall, while it's unfair to attribute a swelling market bubble to vacationing Americans, Edwards' warnings about complacency and overconfidence around wages should be heeded — especially if conditions are as tenuous as he suggests.

"The risk is that the market is hugely vulnerable if it hears a distant bark, let alone feels its bite," he said.

SEE ALSO: There's a new way to bet on scorching-hot FANG stocks

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Millennial investors and their older peers are split on Disney ahead of earnings (DIS)

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

Bob Iger Disney CEO

  • Disney is expected to report earnings of $1.16 per share Thursday afternoon.
  • Millennials on the trading app Robinhood seem to be more bullish on the stock than older Wall Street investors.


Disney CEO Bob Iger and his team will have plenty of questions to answer on the company's earnings call Thursday.

The 94-year-old company has announced plans to compete in the digital future with a standalone streaming service, but has yet to release many details for its rollout. Additionally, CNBC reported this week that Disney has been in talks to buy most of 21st Century Fox. Both of these, as well as questions around ESPN's recent struggles, will be on investors minds Thursday afternoon. 

Ahead of Disney's earnings release, Wall Street remains fairly bullish on the stock, giving Disney an average price target of $110.76 — 9% above Wednesday's closing price.

Millennials on the trading app Robinhood, on the other hand, appear to be even more optimistic. 

"Younger investors have a more bullish sentiment leading into the earnings report than those over the age of 30,” Robinhood data engineer Arpan Shah told Business Insider. "Millennials' buy-to-sell ratio is 1.1x where those older than 30 have a 0.8x buy to sell ratio."

Disney is the 15th most held stock on the app. Netflix, a major competitor, is number 12.

Thursday's earnings report will give more clarity to investors about any revenue hit Disney will take by yanking its movies and shows from Netflix. 

Wall Street expects Disney to report adjusted earnings of $1.16 per share on $13.32 billion in revenue, according to data from Bloomberg.

Robinhood does note, however, that there has been a "notable shift" among its long investors ahead of Thursday's earnings report. "The buy/sell ratio leading up to earnings is 0.86, this ratio was 1.3 during their last earnings report," said Arpan, indicating that users of the app are more bearish on Disney than they were last quarter. Arpan noted, "the stock price has not moved much between the two earnings."

Ahead of earnings, 17 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg have buy ratings on the stock, 12 rate it as hold, and two say sell.

Shares of Disney are down 4.57% so far this year.

Disney Stock Price

SEE ALSO: MORGAN STANLEY: Netflix’s international growth will protect it from the competition

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Kohls is getting whacked after missing earnings (KSS)

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

kohl's

  • Kohl's shares are down 8.75% to $37.22 on Thursday after the company's earnings report. 
  • The company reported earnings of $0.70 per share, which was lower than the $0.72 per share expected by Wall Street, according to Bloomberg.
  • Revenue came in above expectations, at $4.332 billion vs. expectations in $4.299 billion.
  • Recent hurricanes led to store closures in the affected areas, which put a damper on the company's sales.
  • Costs also increased, which lessened the impact of the first comparable-store sales increase in seven quarters.
  • Kohls is down 25.14% this year.

Read more about the company's earnings.

Kohls stock price

SEE ALSO: Kohl's quarterly profit misses estimates; shares fall

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Bitcoin Price Dips, Altcoins Pump after SegWit2x Cancellation

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Bitcoin Price Dips, Altcoins Pump after SegWit2x Cancellation

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

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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 (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., October 25, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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

Here's Lutz:

Good Morning!  US Futures under some slight pressure, with eyes on the Russells underperforming again.   It’s a wide sea of profit-taking across Europe, despite the Banks acting well behind Commerzbank #s, but Italian banks surging on ECB signaling a compromise on rules regarding bad Loans.   The DAX is off 80bp, with Industrials faltering in Germany as Siemens gets hit – While retail names are watching Burberry getting smoked.  In London, the FTSE is down 30bp, buffeted by the falling Pound, but those Miners under pressure as Base metals falter.  Volumes are heavy, with the DAX trading almost 2x normal.   Nasty day in Tokyo, where the TOPIX kisses 1991 high and reverses a 2% gain to close red - Hang Seng up 80bp - Shanghai climbed 30bp - KOSPI finishes slightly lower and Taiwan got hit for 70bp as Big Tech stressed about Trump-Xi cooperation announcements between companies - Aussie up 50bp as China inflation signaled strong demand, rallying Banks and Miners

The US 10YY holds upside the 200d early, as we are Waiting for Senate Version of Tax Bill later today.  The DXY is getting hit, as Euro leaps back over $1.16 as Growth forecasts from the ECB were hiked.  Sterling getting hit thru $1.31 on Brexit negotiation angst, while the Kiwi$ surging as RBNZ chattered hawkishly.   Ore off 1.2% overnight, while Nickel is getting hit for 3%.  Gold only a slight bid despite the drop in the Dollar.   Energy complex remains bid, with WTI following Gasoline higher.

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 ticking down

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

us dollar index

The dollar is weaker on Thursday.

The US dollar index was down by 0.3% at 94.60 at 8:12 a.m. ET.

"The dollar on/off trade is back in full force with the two-way risks drowning out any discernible trend in G10FX," Mark McCormick, North American head of FX strategy at TD Securities, said in emailed comments.

"[W]e continue to think the downside risks are building for the greenback and look for release of the Senate tax bill to intensify this morning's pullback in the DXY," he added.

As for the rest of the world, here was the scoreboard at 8:15 a.m. ET:

  • The euro was up by 0.3% at 1.1629 against the dollar.
  • The British pound was little changed at 1.3122 against the dollar
  • The Japanese yen was up by 0.5% at 113.28 per dollar
  • The Russian ruble was down by 0.2% at 59.3768 per dollar
  • The Indian rupee was little changed at 65.015 per dollar.

SEE ALSO: Trump has delivered little on trade — and that's partially because of North Korea

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10 things you need to know before the opening bell

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

barcelona catalan protest

Here is what you need to know.

The US Department of Justice told AT&T and Time Warner they must sell CNN parent Turner Broadcasting or DirecTV. The two companies are awaiting approval for their massive merger. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson says the company has no intention of selling CNN.

Snap's biggest redesign ever is planned for December 4, source says. It's being done in hopes of kick-starting stagnant user growth. CEO Evan Spiegel on Tuesday said the new app would be "easier to use."

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff bashes Microsoft. Speaking at an analyst event on Wednesday, he said "they just can't keep that management team in place."

Roku crushed its first earnings report as a public company. The streaming-TV-box provider beat Wall Street revenue estimates, giving investors confidence the company was making progress on its plan to evolve from a commodity hardware company into an advertising business.

Foreign bank lending to China hit a record high in 2017. It reached $1.89 trillion at the end of June, up from $1.67 trillion six months earlier, according to a report from the credit-rating agency Fitch.

A senior Bank of England official warns of a Brexit banking exodus. Ian McCafferty said in a radio-station interview on Wednesday evening that lenders "cannot wait until the last minute" to make decisions about future staffing.

The European Commission says the UK will grow slower than every other major European economy in the coming years. The commission's figures suggest that by 2019, UK economic growth will have slowed to just 1.1%, slower than in Italy, Spain, and Greece.

Stock markets around the world are mixed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng (+0.79%) rose in Asia, while the Nikkei slid (-0.2%). The FTSE 100 (-0.56%) led declines across Europe, which saw the Euro Stoxx 50 fall (-0.66%). The S&P 500 is set to open down 0.4% near 2,580.

Earnings reporting remains heavy. Nordstrom, Disney, and Nvidia are among the companies scheduled to report after the market close.

US economic data flows. Initial jobless claims will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET, as will continuing claims. Bloomberg's consumer-comfort reading will cross the wires at 9:45 a.m. ET, while monthly wholesale inventories will be released at 10 a.m. ET.

SEE ALSO: There's a new way to bet on scorching-hot FANG stocks

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'Segwit2x Rally' Unwinds? Bitcoin Looks Heavy As Fork Boost Fades

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

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Portugal’s Central Bank Governor: Bitcoin Isn’t a Currency

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

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Former top Treasury official attacks government 'mercantalism' over Saudi Aramco loan deal

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

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud welcomes British Prime Minister Theresa May in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 5, 2017.

  • FT: UK Treasury preparing to guarantee a $2 billion loan to Saudi Aramco.
  • The move comes as London vies with New York and Hong Kong for a slice of the Saudi oil company's blockbuster IPO next year.
  • Former Permanent Secretary to the Treasury Nick Macpherson attacks the move as "mercantilism" and "state aid" on Twitter. 


LONDON — A former senior civil servant at the Treasury has attacked the government's decision to backstop a $2 billion (£1.5 billion) loan to Saudi Arabia's state oil company in an apparent bid to woo the company to list in London.

The Financial Times reported on Thursday that the Treasury is "finalising" a $2 billion loan guarantee for Saudi Aramco, the state oil company that is gearing up for what would be the world's biggest ever stock market float.

Britain is among the countries wooing Saudi Aramco, which is considering listing some shares abroad. Outgoing London Stock Exchange CEO Xavier Rolet accompanied Prime Minister Theresa May on a recent visit to Saudi Arabia to lobby for London to get a slice of the IPO.

Nick Macpherson, who was Permanent Secretary to the Treasury from 2005 to 2016, criticised the move on Twitter. 

A UK Treasury spokesperson told the FT: "We will be providing Saudi Aramco with support in the form of credit guarantees to procure from the UK. This builds on previous support for UK exports as part of Saudi Aramco joint venture projects."

The UK has proposed a series of new rules around stock market listings some observers said were created to attract Aramco to London. The UK regulator has 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.

New York, Hong Kong, and Tokyo are also lobbying Saudi Arabia for a slice of the mammoth IPO, set for next year. Saudi Aramco could have a market capitalisation of as much as $2 trillion. Saudi officials have signalled that the company is not guaranteed to list shares outside of the Kingdom.

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The UK will grow slower than every other major European economy in the coming years

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

Union Jack Rain Umbrella

  • European Commission says UK growth will drop to just 1.1% in 2019, well behind most major EU economies.
  • Growth estimates are below those provided by the likes of the IMF and the Bank of England.
  • Even the stricken Greek economy will be stronger than Britain going forward.


LONDON — The UK's growth will lag behind virtually every other major European nation for the next handful of years, as the booming eurozone overtakes Britain's Brexit stricken economy, according to estimates from the European Commission.

The commission's figures suggest that by 2019, UK economic growth will have slowed to just 1.1%, slower than Italy, Spain and Greece.

"The European Commission’s latest set of forecasts does not make for particularly pleasant reading for UK policymakers, showing as it does a continued slowdown in UK GDP growth," said Commerzbank’s top UK economist Peter Dixon.

Growth, the commission points out, has already slowed significantly in the UK in the last couple of years, falling from 2.3% in 2017, to just 1.8% in 2016. By the end of 2017, growth will likely be around 1.4%-1.5%. That will get even worse in 2018 and 2019, as continued uncertainties surrounding the shape of Brexit take hold.

"Given the ongoing negotiation on the terms of the UK withdrawal from the EU, projections for 2019 are based on a purely technical assumption of status quo in terms of trading relations between the EU27 and the UK. This is for forecasting purposes only and has no bearing on the talks underway in the context of the Article 50 process," the European Commission's forecasts note.

"Under this assumption, GDP growth is still expected to remain subdued at 1.1%. Lower consumer price inflation in 2019 is expected to support private consumption but this may be partially offset by a marginal increase in the household savings rate.

"Business investment is projected to remain subdued following a period of heightened uncertainty, while net export growth is forecast to moderate marginally, in line with export markets."

Here's the chart:

Screen Shot 2017 11 09 at 11.59.47

These forecasts are more pessimistic than those provided by the vast majority of well-respected economic organisations and research houses, including the likes of the IMF and the Bank of England.

By contrast to the slowing UK economy, the rest of Europe will continue to grow robustly, carrying on the strong levels of economic expansion seen over the last year or so. It will, however, moderate a little from this year's performance.

"Growth has surpassed expectations but is forecast to ease somewhat," the Commission writes.

"The European economy has performed significantly better than expected this year, propelled by resilient private consumption, stronger growth around the world, and falling unemployment."

"The euro area economy is on track to grow at its fastest pace in a decade this year, with real GDP growth forecast at 2.2%. This is substantially higher than expected in spring (1.7%)," the Commission noted.

The map below illustrates the Commission's forecasts for all European economies in 2017:

EC growth map 2017

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Make Big Money on Bitcoin Cash? The IRS Might Be Watching

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

Hard forks of bitcoin are creating new wealth that the U.S. tax agency will want to tax, but it's still unclear just how to report these new assets.

Burberry's CEO wants to take it further upmarket — now the stock is diving

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

Models walk the runway at the Burberry show during the London Fashion Week February 2017 collections on February 20, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by )

  • Burberry's new CEO announced plans to establish the brand "firmly in luxury."
  • Transformation of the brand will cost up to £160 million a year in capital expenditure and both profits and revenue are likely to be flat for the next few years.
  • Stock dived 10% on the news, recovering slightly to an 8.5% fall by mid-morning.


LONDON — Burberry stock crashed almost 10% on Thursday morning after the British luxury brand's new CEO announced plans to take it further upmarket.

Burberry said in a statement that it would "sharpen our brand positioning. This will require us to change our approach to product, communication and customer experience."

The business, known for its check trench coats and scarves, plans to "create compelling luxury leather goods and accessories to attract new customers."

CEO Marco Gobbetti, who joined Burberry from French fashion house Celine last year, said in a statement: "Now is the right time for Burberry to implement the next phase of its transformation. By re-energising our product and customer experience to establish our position firmly in luxury, we will play in the most rewarding, enduring segment of the market."

Investors have not taken well to the news, and Burberry's stock is down over 8.3% at 11.30 a.m. GMT (6.30 a.m. ET):

Screen Shot 2017 11 09 at 11.29.52

UBS analyst Helen Brand said in a note: "This is a more aggressive reset than the market had been expecting with FY19 and FY20 sales and operating margins now expected to remain flat on FY18.

"The timing of a new Creative Director to reinvigorate the product's fashion content will also be a key question today."

Longtime Burberry creative director Christopher Bailey, who helped reinvent the brand in the 2000s, announced last month plans to leave the company next year.

Steve Clayton, manager of the Hargreaves Lansdown Select UK Growth Shares fund, which holds a 3.8% position in Burberry, said:"Mr Gobbetti wants to take Burberry out of all but the most exclusive stores, starting in the US wholesale channel, and then more widely. Product is to be reinvigorated, and accessories emphasised.

"It’s a text-book luxury brand repositioning exercise, which should leave Burberry jostling up against the world’s most exclusive names, with the margins to match. But this will take time and in the near term, sales growth will be held back and the group must invest more to achieve its goals. Medium term, the group are expecting an acceleration in sales, margins and operating profits as a result of the shift."

Ken Odeluga, a market analyst at City Index, said in an email: "Burberry sees £120 million cumulative annualised savings in 202o. But these will be more than offset by a £15 million restructuring charge in 2019 and an £150 million-£160 million annual capital expenditure rate in 2019 and 2020."

Burberry's strategy update came as the luxury group announced a 9% rise in half-year revenues to £1.2 billion and a 24% rise in operating profit to £127 million.

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There's a coming storm set to 'batter' the UK economy — and it has nothing to do with Brexit

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

FILE PHOTO: Used oil barrels are stacked at a storage facility in Seattle, Washington February 12, 2015.   REUTERS/Jason Redmond

  • Rising oil prices will drag on the British economy, creating a further headwind for the already weak UK.
  • The recent $10 per barrel increase in Brent crude "will subtract 0.2% from nominal GDP, provided that net consumption remains at the 2016 level."
  • UK economy already suffering thanks to Brexit's impact on the pound and the wider investment landscape.


LONDON — Brexit has been the main focal point of discourse around the UK economy over the last year or so.

Brexit has very clearly had a negative impact on growth and the UK's position in global growth standings.

The pound has slumped, inflation has shot upwards (hitting its highest level in over five years last month), real wage growth has stagnated, and GDP growth has slowed significantly.

All of these negatives, if not solely caused by the vote to leave the EU, have certainly been exacerbated by Britain's impending exit from the bloc.

But, according to analysts at Pantheon Macroeconomics, there's a fresh headwind coming to slow down the UK economy, and for once it has absolutely nothing to do with Brexit.

"The recent surge in the oil price has added to the headwinds set to batter the economy over the next year," Samuel Tombs, Pantheon's chief UK economist wrote in a note dated November 8.

Oil prices have rebounded to their highest levels in over two years in the past month, hitting $64 per barrel this week, largely driven in the short term by political strife in Saudi Arabia, which has filtered through create concerns about possible disruption in the world's second largest oil market.

This, Tombs argues, is bad news for Britain's already fragile economy. Effectively, Britain is a net consumer of oil — meaning it uses more foreign oil that it can produce itself. 

"Britain has been a net consumer of oil since 2006, because production from ageing, depleted oil fields in the North Sea has plunged," Tombs writes.

"A mini-revival in production since 2014, facilitated by investment during the period of triple-digit oil prices, has done little to close the shortfall with consumption. The U.K.'s net consumption of oil amounted to 584 million barrels in 2016, as our first chart shows."

Here is that chart:

Screen Shot 2017 11 09 at 10.33.34

Tombs estimates that the increase of $10 per barrel in Brent crude oil in recent weeks "will subtract 0.2% from nominal GDP, provided that net consumption remains at the 2016 level."

That's because oil prices are acutely felt by consumers — the great drivers of the UK economy.

"The pain of higher oil prices will be felt swiftly by consumers; motor fuel prices respond to changes in crude prices with a lag of just three weeks," Tombs argues.

Not only will consumers be hit, but the Brexit driven revival in the UK's manufacturing sector will also take a bashing from the increase in oil prices. Manufacturing has been boosted by the drop in the pound since the vote, as foreign importers buy more goods from the UK at knock down prices. 

Oil's rise, however, could end that renaissance.

"Our second chart shows that the jump in oil prices is consistent with year-over-year growth in manufacturing output declining to about zero next year, from 2.8% in September," Tombs says.

Here is that chart:

Screen Shot 2017 11 09 at 10.33.39

Not only will Britain have to contend with the economic uncertainty Brexit has caused going forward, but so too will it have to cope with the negative impact of more expensive oil. 

Tombs is not all doom and gloom, however, noting that in theory "higher oil prices—if sustained—should encourage firms to switch to less oil-intensive means of production and they should incentivise households to consume services instead of goods."

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Citigroup CEO: Bitcoin Threat Will Give Rise to State Cryptocurrencies

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

Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat has predicted that state-sponsored digital currencies will arise from the threat posed by bitcoin.

You can now book tickets to football matches through Ryanair's website

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

Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival - Cheltenham Racecourse - 17/3/16 Thistlecrack ridden by Tom Scudamore on the way to winning the 3.30 Ryanair World Hurdle

LONDON — Budget airline Ryanair is launching a ticket service which will allow its customers to book event tickets directly through its website.

The venture, launched with ticketing service Coras, will allow Ryanair's 129 million registered customers to book tickets for football matches, gigs, and theatre shows on the Ryanair.com website.

Customers can purchase tickets for all events in seven languages (English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese and Polish) and three currencies (Euro, Sterling and Złoty).

Ryanair is battling to regain its reputation following a crisis last month when it was forced to cancel thousands of flights due to a pilot rostering error.

 

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Canadian Police Issue Warning Over Bitcoin Tax Scam

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$34 BILLION HEDGE FUND: 'Markets are in a kind of dreamland' — and the ingredients for a crash are all here

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

Paul Singer

  • Elliott Management, one of the world's largest hedge funds with $34 billion, told clients that the ingredients for a market crash are all here.
  • The hedge fund was founded by billionaire Paul Singer, a big GOP donor.
  • The firm has been prepping for a significant market event – raising $5 billion in less than 24 hours earlier this year.

 

"Markets are in a kind of dreamland." 

That's according to Elliott Management, one of the world's largest hedge funds. The firm, led by billionaire GOP donor and hedge-fund manager Paul Singer, said markets are at high risk, partially due to super-low interest rates, according to a third-quarter client letter seen by Business Insider. 

The stock market has been raging, with the S&P 500 hitting new highs Wednesday.

"The current 'stability' is not sustainable," Elliott wrote. "Monetary policy has been extraordinary, and the end of this period of its policy ascendancy and the consequent levitation of asset prices, whenever it occurs, will likely be commensurately extraordinary."

Elliott says it doesn't know when markets would turn, and to be sure, the firm has been warning about some kind of market chaos for some time. Earlier this year, the hedge fund raised $5 billion in 24 hours from investors to put money to work, expecting "all hell to break loose." 

In the most recent letter, Elliott laid out the "historical recipe for a crash":

  • "ominously overpriced assets financed by too much debt;
  • a tightly wound matrix of highly leveraged trading positions;
  • technical or situational accelerants (in 1987, “portfolio insurance; today, all kinds of negative gamma strategies, the false liquidity of ETFs, volatility selling, massive leveraged bond ownership at the highest price for duration in history, financial institution balance sheets that remain completely opaque and highly leveraged)."

Elliott added (emphasis added):

"This kind of history is not a blueprint, and certainly many of these “recipe” elements appeared well before 2017. But we think history is NOT bunk, and that markets are in a kind of dreamland. If and when they wake up, investors and traders may not like what they see. It is not far fetched to imagine the widespread and tightly-held assumptions of millions of investors being smashed like pumpkins in a future (actually, “back to the future”) environment." 

Elliott also pointed out specific concerns for the bond markets:

"If economic growth, appearing to tilt ever-so-slightly upward now in Japan and Europe, and growing steadily  but slowly in the U.S., actually accelerates even a modest amount, if demand for commodities increases, and if such environment causes wages and prices to rise, one could envision a severely negative impact on global bond markets." 

Elliott managed $34.1 billion as of October 1, the letter said.

The firm is barely beating competitors in performance this year through the end of SeptemberThe Elliott Associates LP fund is up 6.8% after fees and the Elliott International Limited fund is up 6% after fees this year through the third quarter, according to a client note reviewed by Business Insider.

 

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Bitcoin Price Remains Above $7,200 Despite Sell-Off of B2X-Expecting Investors

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$1.89 trillion: Foreign bank lending to China hit a record high in 2017

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

china carry load debt

  • Foreign banks' total lending to mainland China reached $1.89 trillion at the end of June.
  • "A further increase in China exposure without adequate controls and capital buffers could have a negative impact on banks' ratings," said ratings agency Fitch.

LONDON — Lending to China by international banks hit a new high in 2017, boosted by borrowing demand after a a domestic deleveraging campaign reduced local lending.

Foreign banks' total lending to mainland China reached $1.89 trillion at the end of June, up from $1.67 trillion six months earlier, according to a report from credit rating agency Fitch.

China's banking regulator introduced new regulations which limit banks ability to expand lending this year as it bids to control an economy which is addicted to debt.

That made lending in China more attractive for foreign banks because they can charge relatively high interest rates, but Fitch warned that greater exposure carries risks.

"Expansion into China will support the margins of banks based in markets with limited domestic growth prospects and low interest rates," said the report.

"However, China-related exposure carries greater supervision and management risks for banks than domestic lending, given they are less familiar with China's market [...] a further increase in China exposure without adequate controls and capital buffers could have a negative impact on banks' ratings."

The chart below shows how British banks HSBC and Standard Chartered are pivoting towards China in search of higher returns in a low-interest global market (both banks' China exposure is shown as part of HK):

Screen Shot 2017 11 09 at 08.36.32

"Our pivot to Asia is driving higher returns and lending growth, particularly in Hong Kong," HSBC group chief executive Stuart Gulliver said in an earnings statement last week.

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'They cannot wait until the last minute': Senior Bank of England official warns of Brexit banking exodus

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

Ian McCafferty

  • Bank of England MPC member McCafferty says that banks "cannot wait until the last minute" to make decisions on post-Brexit staffing.
  • UK and EU need to agree a transition deal by early next year to stop big moves out of the City of London.
  • "I suspect we will start to see some things happen if we don’t get any news certainly by next spring," McCafferty told listeners on LBC.


LONDON — One of the Bank of England's most senior officials has warned that banks will start to relocate staff away from the UK imminently unless they get more clarity on a transitional Brexit agreement.

Speaking on a phone in on the radio station LBC on Wednesday evening, Monetary Policy Committee member Ian McCafferty said that lenders "cannot wait until the last minute" to make decisions about future staffing.

As a result, he said, banks will start to make decisions early in 2018, unless their is more clarity on what the future of the UK-EU financial services landscape looks like going forward.

"I suspect we will start to see some things happen if we don’t get any news certainly by next spring," McCafferty told listeners on LBC.

Banks need to make final decisions about moving staff by the first quarter of next year at the latest. Banks need at least a year, if not longer, to set up fully functioning branches and subsidiaries in Europe to maintain uninterrupted EU activities.

Without some clarity over future arrangements, banks will look to their worst case contingency plans, which are generally believed to involve large scale staff moves.

Under current rules, Britain is under the jurisdiction of the so-called financial passport — a set of rules and regulations that allow UK based financial firms to access customers and carry out activities across Europe. Many non-EU lenders use the passport to operate a hub in the UK and then sell services across the 28-nation bloc.

Once Britain leaves the EU, however, it is almost certain to lose passporting rights, which are tied strongly to membership of the European Single Market, a marketplace the UK intends to leave as part of Brexit. This means that to continue providing clients with comprehensive services across the EU after Brexit, many lenders will need new branches.

McCafferty — who is one of the most hawkish members of the Bank of England's MPC — made the comments just two days after one of the European Central Bank's most senior figures, Daniele Nouy said that as many as 20 lenders have applied for new EU banking licences as they make preparations for a shift in Europe's financial services landscape after Brexit.

Speaking on Tuesday, Nouy said that applications for licences are "already being assessed," following the UK's decision last year to leave the EU. 

"It's about 20 that have something that is already being assessed," Nouy, who is Chair of the ECB's Supervisory Board said.

"Maybe they have not signed it, but they have made a pretty comprehensive application that can be formalised very fast."

He is also by no means the only senior BoE official making similar warnings. Sam Woods, head of the bank's Prudential Regulation Authority, said in October that "diminishing marginal returns will kick in" for lenders if a transition is not agreed by Christmas.

Rate hike means benefits to savers

During his LBC phone-in McCafferty also said that he "fully expects" savers in the UK to see the benefits of the Bank of England's decision last week to increase interest rates from 0.25% to 0.5% — its first upward rate move since before the financial crisis.

"Clearly it’s a competitive market, banks are competing for savers and what I’d encourage savers to do is to look at the market, use that competitive pressure and if their bank is not offering them the increase then look for another bank that is," he told host Iain Dale.

"That will then force the banks to push through the bank rate rise.”

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10 things you need to know in markets today

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

A swan paddles through the reflected autumnal colours on Loch Faskally Pitlochry , Scotland, Britain November 8, 2017.

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

1. Time Warner shares fell after the US Department of Justice said selling CNN would be a prerequisite to an approval of an AT&T acquisition, according to the Financial Times. AT&T has planned to acquire Time Warner for $85.4 billion (£65 billion) pending regulatory approval.

2. The biggest redesign in Snapchat's history is planned to debut on Monday, December 4, Business Insider has learned. In an effort to kick-start stagnant user growth, CEO Evan Spiegel said Tuesday that the app would be redesigned to make it "easier to use" but didn't specify when the redesign would be released.

3. Japan's Topix index rose to a 26-year high on Thursday, while the Nikkei share average broke the 23,000 level for the first time since January 1992 as financial and securities shares rallied. The Topix index ended the day down 0.60% while the Nikkei closed down 0.11% after earlier highs. Elsewhere in Asia, the Hong Kong Hang Seng is up 0.47% at the time of writing (6.10 a.m. GMT/2.10 a.m. ET) and the Shanghai Composite is down 0.15%.

4. Toshiba said on Thursday that first-half operating profit had more than doubled, driven by a strong performance from its memory chip unit that it recently agreed to sell for $18 billion (£13.7 billion). The struggling industrial conglomerate said operating profit jumped 149% to 231.77 billion yen ($2 billion, £1.5 billion), in April-September, compared with 93.19 billion yen in the same period a year earlier.

5. The UK housing market continued to "stutter" in October with demand from buyers and agreed sales declining further and price falls now widely-reported in London, according to RICS' monthly UK residential market survey. The survey of chartered surveyors found interest from buyers continued to decline over October, with 20% more respondents seeing a fall in new buyer enquiries over the month.

6. The boss of JPMorgan‎ warned Theresa May and Philip Hammond on Wednesday that the French government is intensifying efforts to lure British banking jobs across the Channel, even as he hailed greater clarity about the UK's post-Brexit planning. Sky News has learnt that Jamie Dimon, the Wall Street banking giant's ‎chairman and chief executive, held private talks with the Prime Minister and Chancellor in Downing Street on Wednesday.

7. China Investment Corp (CIC) and Goldman Sachs have signed a strategic agreement to establish a China and United States industrial cooperation fund on the sidelines of a state visit to Beijing by US President Donald Trump. CIC and Goldman's new fund will target $5 billion (£3.8 billion) in commitments to invest in US companies in industries such as manufacturing, industrial, consumer, and healthcare that have or can develop China business connections, the US Department of State said in a release on Thursday.

8. Boeing signed $37 billion (£28.1 billion) in commercial deals in China as part of a trade mission travelling with United States President Donald Trump during his state visit to Beijing, Chinese state TV reported on Thursday. US and Chinese companies also signed $4 billion (£3 billion) in chip industry deals during a signing ceremony, China Central Television reported.

9. The price of bitcoin, the red-hot digital cryptocurrency, popped to an all-time high of $7,882 on Wednesday afternoon. The price surge came after developers called off a planned upgrade to the currency's underlying software that threatened to split it in two.

10. The cost of utilities in the UK has risen by almost three times the general rate of inflation over the past 20 years, while that of clothing and shoes has halved, according to new research. Investment group Tilney's Household Inflation Index shows that between 1997 and 2016 inflation for a typical household's entire basket of goods was 50.7%.

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The UK housing market is 'stuttering' — and London house prices are falling

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

Notting Hill

  • The UK housing market continued to "stutter" in October with demand from buyers and agreed sales declining further, a major survey shows.
  • Price falls are now widely-reported in London, according to RICS' monthly UK residential market survey.
  • RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said the national slowdown is being driven by factors including the cost of moving, Brexit-related uncertainty, and last week's interest rate hike.

LONDON — The UK housing market continued to "stutter" in October with demand from buyers and agreed sales declining further, while price falls are now widely-reported in London, according to RICS' monthly UK residential market survey.

The survey of chartered surveyors found interest from buyers continued to decline over October, with 20% more respondents seeing a fall in new buyer enquiries over the month. Agreed sales were also reported to have fallen, with 20% more respondents noting a decline in transactions over the month at the national level.

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said the national slowdown is being driven by factors including the cost of moving, Brexit-related uncertainty, and last week's interest rate hike.

"The combination of the increased cost of moving, a lack of fresh stock coming to the market, uncertainty over the political climate and now an interest rate hike appears to be taking its toll on activity in the housing market," he said.

London prices are falling

In London, respondents continue to report a decline in prices, with 63% more respondents reporting a fall rather than a rise in prices over the month — the poorest reading since 2009. On a national level, 1% more surveyors reported a price rise rather than a fall, a dip from the +6% reported in September.

Here's how it breaks down regionally:

Screen Shot 2017 11 08 at 15.23.45

The dire outlook for London house prices reflects other mainstream forecasts.

Estate agents Savills forecasts that prices in Greater London will fall 1.5% over 2017 then fall by a further 2% in 2018, before stabilising in 2019 and returning to growth the year after.

The London slowdown — which is already starting to bite, with Nationwide measuring negative price growth in the third quarter this year — is being driven by bloated prices in the capital, slow progress in Brexit negotiations, and worries about further interest rate hikes from the Bank of England, which drive up mortgage costs.

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Clothing costs halve but energy prices soar — how inflation looks over the last 20 years

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

Inflation

  • The cost of utilities has risen 139% over the last 20 years, almost three times the general rate of inflation.
  • Inflation has seen the cost of clothing and shoes halve for the average household.
  • The new research is based on the inflation experienced by typical households and Office for National Statistics data.

 
LONDON — The cost of utilities in the UK has risen by almost three times the general rate of inflation over the past 20 years, while that of clothing and shoes has halved, according to new research.

Investment group Tilney's Household Inflation Index shows that between 1997 and 2016 inflation for a typical household's entire basket of goods was 50.7%.

The cost of utilities, however, jumped by 139%, while the cost of clothing and shoes fell by 49%, largely thanks to the rise in products being manufactured more cheaply overseas.

"Inflation is often seen as a single figure affecting all households in a uniform way, but price rises and falls have varied dramatically across different goods and services over the last 20 years," said Andy Cowan, head of financial planning at Tilney.

The findings come in the wake of news that two of the so-called "Big Six" household energy firms are set to become five, after SSE and Npower on Wednesday announced plans to merge. The proposed merger follows the government's promise to crack down on "rip off" energy prices with a price cap, and to improve competition and value for money in the sector.

According to Tilney's research, the price of alcohol and tobacco also soared by 165% over the period, the only rise in the study greater than utilities.

The top 10% of households — those with an income of more than £78,500 per year — experienced "considerably higher overall inflation" and were exposed to a "much greater income tax burden" than most.

"These households have needed to see their savings and investments generate a return in excess of 64% over the last two decades, just to stand still in real terms after the impact of inflation," said Cowan.

The report, which used Office for National Statistics data, defined a typical household's income as between £26,900 — £30,000.

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Voters just sent a clear signal about Obamacare — and it could be a sign of more to come

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

barack obama

  • Voter in Maine voted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act during Tuesday's elections.
  • The move could be a signal of more ballot measures to expand Medicaid in various states.
  • It also appears to be an indication of the growing popularity of Obamacare's various provisions.


On Tuesday night, a significant majority of Maine voters decided that after years of false starts and stonewalls from their governor, they wanted to see Medicaid expanded in their state.

Fifty-nine percent of Maine voters supported a ballot measure that would expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the law also known as Obamacare.

The move came after Republican Gov. Paul LePage blocked the expansion of Medicaid five different times over the past few years and will give healthcare access to as many as 80,000 low-income Mainers.

LePage is using a procedural tactic to slow roll the expansion's implementation, due to what he says are concerns about the cost of the measure. But it's clear that Maine is closer than ever to making the program a reality.

Maine's vote is the first time that a state has used a ballot measure in order to expand Medicaid under the ACA. It might catch on across the country.

"The Maine ballot initiative is likely to have ripple effects across the country," said Diane Rowland, executive vice president at Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy think tank.

A quick Medicaid expansion refresher

Obamacare allows states to increase the limit on people that qualify for Medicaid to 138% of the federal poverty level.

The ACA mandated that all states expand the program, but the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that states could decide whether to undertake the expansion on an individual basis.

Most of the cost is covered by the federal government. For instance, in Maine, the Office of Fiscal and Program Review estimated that the federal government would pay $525 million for the expansion while the cost to Maine would be just over $55 million a year.

In the years since the Supreme Court decision, 32 states and Washington, DC, have chosen to undertake the expansion (including Maine).

More Medicaid ballot measures on the way

Given the success of the Maine vote, it seems that more measures to expand Medicaid in the remaining 18 states could be on the way.

Rowland pointed to places like Utah, where signatures for a ballot measure could soon be collected for a vote in 2018. According to an analysis from the Urban Institute, 315,000 people in Utah would be eligible for Medicaid if it is expanded there. Advocates in Idaho are also trying to get a similar measure to voters next year.

Even in Alaska, there is a movement to try to enshrine the expansion into state law. (The state's governor expanded the program by executive order.)

Timothy Jost, a law professor emeritus at Washington and Lee University in Virginia and a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, said that Virginia could be next after Tuesday's elections could end up swinging control of the state legislature to Democrats.

"With the Democrats having picked up 16 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates and the governorship, it will definitely be on the agenda in Virginia," Jost said. (Democratic control is up in the air pending the outcomes of recounts in four races.)

Democrats control the governorship and appear to have picked up at least enough seats to split control of the state's lower legislative chamber. Republicans still hold the Virginia state Senate, but only by a single seat.

"I think the successful outcome in Maine will inspire action in other states in the wake of the ACA repeal and replace loss in the US Senate and as the expansion states continue to show declines in the uninsured rate, and positive impacts on coverage and state economies," Rowland told Business Insider.

Voters are warming up to Obamacare

The decisive victory in Maine also appears to reflect a growing trend towards accepting several key tenets of the ACA.

Research has shown that states that have expanded the program have exhibited lower premiums in the Obamacare marketplaces and a larger overall decline in the uninsured rate. Jost said that would lead to more state-level lawmakers and voters warming up to the idea.

"States that are able to consider the issue simply from a practical financial, as well as a humanitarian, perspective, as opposed to a strictly ideological perspective, must realize that it makes no sense to continue not expanding Medicaid," he told Business Insider.

More broadly, the vote is another in a slew of data points that show a growing acceptance of the ACA as Republicans have tried to dismantle the law.

According to an October poll from Kaiser, 51% of Americans held a favorable view of the law, with just 40% holding an unfavorable view. Other polls have shown that as Congress attempted to repeal and replace the law, Obamacare hit record levels of popularity.

Meanwhile, exit polls from Virginia on Tuesday night showed that 40% of voters considered healthcare the biggest factor in their vote. Of those voters, 77% voted for the Democrat Ralph Northam, who favors the expansion.

Matthew Fiedler, a fellow at the Brookings Institutions' Center for Health Policy, said the Maine result showed that Americans want to maintain the higher levels of insurance coverage that came with the ACA.

"I think last night’s result in Maine helps illustrate the fundamental problem Republicans have faced throughout the ACA repeal debate," Fiedler told Business Insider. "Most of the ACA repeal bills have been built around proposals, that would significantly reduce insurance coverage. But both polling data on the various repeal bills and last night’s results suggest much of the public is not comfortable with that outcome and, in fact, would prefer to move in the opposite direction."

SEE ALSO: Maine's governor is trying to block the state's Medicaid expansion the day after voters overwhelmingly supported it

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Relief and Disbelief: Bitcoin Reacts to Sudden '2x' Suspension

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

Bitcoin's attempted '2x' software upgraded is cancelled – and some in the cryptocurrency's community think that's cause for celebration.

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