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‘Bitcoin Creator’ Craig Wright Claims 2018 Will Be the Year of Bitcoin Cash

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

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The post ‘Bitcoin Creator’ Craig Wright Claims 2018 Will Be the Year of Bitcoin Cash appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

BANKEX’s Ambitious Crusade to Reshape Traditional Finance

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

BANKEX


A lack of synergistic connection points between the blockchain sector and traditional finance is currently hindering progress within the world of banking. Opportunities abound for the deployment of smart contracts and tokenization, fueling crowdfunding, chain finance and other forms of financial transactions. These efforts at boosting external infrastructure hold the key for greater efficiency and time effectiveness in today’s evolving financial ecosystem.


One firm at the cutting edge of reshaping how financial infrastructure and blockchain technology interact within markets is BANKEX.


BANKEX is solving problems in traditional finance and investment sectors such as microfinance, real estate, natural resources and futures markets, as well as historically illiquid assets such as cars, antiques and private company interests.


Headquartered in New York, with business development efforts in Singapore, a strategic partnership in Tokyo and an engineering team in Moscow, BANKEX has a well-established global presence.


Exploding demand for improved asset liquidity and transactional simplicity has led BANKEX to develop an alternative known as the Proof-of-Asset (PoA) protocol. This new advancement allows information to be delivered in real-time directly to the blockchain. Company leaders believe that this protocol will become an industry standard for organizing new decentralized markets within existing business sectors.


BANKEX CEO and Founder Igor Khmel put BANKEX’s value proposition this way: “In building an operating system for decentralized capital markets, our ultimate goal for our blockchain framework is to enable the realization of new types of asset classes that institutional investors had previously never considered due to the the highly non-heterogeneous nature of these assets, their wide decentralization and the high cost of financial and legal due diligence.”


Khmel went on to say that the BANKEX protocol radically decreases these costs by allowing better connections between traditional capital markets with historically non-fungible assets such as film and music financing, private equity shares, local municipal debt and financing for standalone real-estate objects.  

An Example to Bank On


The following hypothetical example underscores the value proposition that BANKEX is prepared to deliver in an industry such as agriculture. Picture this: a farmer from Kansas named Roger decides to expand his rabbit ranch and become a nationwide supplier. He has been in the business for over 10 years and supplies upward of 40 percent of rabbit meat across his state. Despite his successful business, Roger has been unable to secure a loan from his bank, even though his business has a steady cash flow, solid infrastructure and a clear strategic business plan.


A banker and good friend of Roger’s, Jim, has been asked for consulting advice from Roger. Jim has worked for Furry International Bank for over a decade. Furry International has a highly progressive, innovative  approach that allows the bank to understand the difficulties Roger faces when he goes around town seeking investments. Here are some of the challenges Roger is encountering:

  • While traditional banks strive to maintain a reputation for reliability, they require large collateral, enforce challenging procedures and can be tight with loans. Given that Roger’s credit score is still recovering from a student loan back in the day, offering large collateral could be problematic.
  • Private investors are difficult to locate, and a single investor may not be able to provide Roger with all of the capital he needs. Moreover, the fact that negotiations are a cumbersome process reinforces Roger’s assertion that he’s a farmer and not a financial mastermind.
  • Venture funds tend to invest in new technology with high risks and high rewards. Roger’s business involves neither.  


Jumping on the “Smart Asset” Bandwagon


Upon a tip from a friend who works in computer science, Roger decides to explore the use of a blockchain to launch a token sale for his project. He soon realizes that due to the massive regulatory requirements, running an economically viable token sale for cryptocurrency investors is just as challenging as putting his company to the stock exchange and making its shares available publically.


This leads Roger to ask Jim about Furry International’s solutions. While Furry cannot provide the solution, they can connect him to someone who does. Jim mentions an innovative company named BANKEX and their Proof-of-Asset protocol. Jim wants to assist Roger, so he agrees to represent him in the process, a process that Roger has already admitted that he doesn’t fully understand. Jim, on the other hand, has expertise in this financial area. Moreover, he’s bringing Roger as a new client to his bank.  

Jim visits BANKEX and completes the necessary information about Roger’s project. This information is collected and confirmed by professional accountants, lawyers and financial analysts. Once BANKEX validates every aspect of the business, Jim is asked to help Roger install special Internet of Things (IoT) sensors at the rabbit ranch. These sensors will help keep track of the number of rabbits automatically and assess whether the anticipated growth rate is on track.


As soon as the farm has its smart, digital system in place, BANKEX will issue “Farm Tokens” and put them on the Smart Asset Exchange, initiating the ISAO (Initial Smart Asset Offering). These Farm Tokens now represent Roger’s tokenized farm. Once these Farm Tokens hit the market, they are able to attract investors from all over the world.


Investors can trust the BANKEX ecosystem because they are consistently updated with information about the ranch. In addition, they know that the smart contract will ensure the safety of every transaction and they will receive their share of the profit as the ranch expands.


A Present Day Collaboration


BANKEX’s recent collaboration with MovieCoin LLC demonstrates a real-world application of BANKEX’s platform taking place. Led by film financier Christopher Woodrow, MovieCoin LLC is seeking to raise $100 million during 2018 to produce a portfolio of movie projects. By utilizing smart contracts and BANKEX’s proprietary PoA protocol, MovieCoin LLC will allow institutional and individual investors to invest in the motion-picture industry while lessening their financial risk.

BANKEX will also offer efficient access to decentralized capital markets and assist in building liquidity in the conventionally illiquid film financing market by tokenizing the underlying assets of MovieCoin.


Khmel, BANKEX founder and CEO, believes that BANKEX’s services will now allow the specialty finance industry to provide customizable debt and equity funding solutions with the integration of a blockchain.

“We believe that collaboration between traditional financial institutions and fintech innovators is the way forward for both sectors. The current banking system is slow and stifled by legacy issues, while at the same time the emerging fintech industry lacks scalability. Combining the strengths of traditional finance and fintech solutions will lay the foundation for a new global economy defined by diversity, security, and previously unknown dimensions of efficiency and transparency,” concluded Khmel.


MovieCoin CEO Christopher Woodrow has stated, “We are delighted to be collaborating with a company as innovative as BANKEX in introducing this transformative new film financing structure to our investors and entertainment industry partners. We believe the marriage of BANKEX’s Proof-of-Asset protocol with our experienced management team and comprehensive industry relationships will provide investors with an opportunity to realize significant returns while managing risk through leading edge technologies.”

Token Generation Event


BANKEX raised over $30 million USD during its presale and private sale period. Its token sale began on November 28 and will continue until December 28 or till retail cap of 80 million BKX tokens.


Token sale proceeds have been earmarked primarily for software research and development needed to realize the BANKEX Proof-of-Asset protocol will take 45 percent allocation of funds raised from the token sale. Promotion and B2B marketing for BANKEX and the PoA protocol will take 10 percent; legal services and licensing will require 12 percent; non-organic growth such as increased business development and outreach will require 15 percent; the BANKEX Foundation (fintech community) will take 8 percent; and finally there will be a reserve fund of 10 percent of tokens for BANKEX itself.

The post BANKEX’s Ambitious Crusade to Reshape Traditional Finance appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin Price Analysis: Bitcoin Rests at Tipping Point Before Deciding Next Move

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

Bitcoin Price Analysis

Bitcoin prices have currently stalled out in the $16,000s as the market decides if it wants to continue the ravenous bull trend or go through a more corrective phase. In the last 30 days, the price of bitcoin has doubled — entering into what most traditional market analysts would deem “bubble territory.” Bitcoin’s growth has been so rapid, it has managed to break north out of a parabolic trend to form an even more aggressive parabolic shape known as a “hypodermic trend.” Let’s take a look at the macro view of bitcoin and see if this trend is sustainable or ripe for a correction:

Figure_1.JPGFigure 1: BTC-USD, 1-Day Candles, Macro Trend

The image above shows a multi-year, parabolic envelope that, until recently, has guided the bitcoin bull market. Within the parabolic envelope we see a strong linear channel (shown in purple) that has provided very strong support and resistance through much of the bitcoin price growth. At the end of November 2017, however, bitcoin price growth was so strong, it managed to break out of both the linear and parabolic trends and form a more aggressive price trend: a hypodermic trend.

Figure_2.JPGFigure 2: BTC-USD, 60-Minute Candles, Hypodermic Trendline

The solid red line represents an aggressive support line that has guided this new, aggressive price growth out of the parabolic envelope. As of the time of this article, I am monitoring a trading range very closely as it nears this hypodermic trend. A breakdown below this hypodermic trend represents a diminished trend of demand in the bitcoin market, and it could ultimately lead to a local top on for BTC-USD. Paired with this hypodermic breakdown is a breakdown of the trading range (shown in blue) that has a span of approximately $5,000. A breakdown of a trading range that large would have quite a meaningful market reaction and is likely to see a profound correction before bitcoin buyers step back in.

However, before we get all doomsday-esque, it’s important to remember that distribution phases and reaccumulation phases are quite similar in shape and are called “evil twins” of one another. It’s entirely possible we could see new all-time highs out of bitcoin but, given the weak and anemic follow-through of each all-time high breaching the trading range, I am inclined to lean less toward accumulation and more toward distribution.

As always, volume will be a huge indicator in this process; a great telltale that we are, in fact, in an accumulation phase will be volume growth coupled with price growth. If we begin to push new highs and we see a volume growth trend combined with it, there will be a great sigh of relief from traders as this pairing will indicate increasing demand and diminishing free-floating supply in the market.

Summary:

  1. The price of bitcoin has doubled in the last month.

  2. The price growth has been so aggressive that it has broken north of a parabolic trend it’s been well-confined within for 3 years.

  3. Bitcoin is at a crucial point as it currently decides whether it wants to move up or down in price.

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

The post Bitcoin Price Analysis: Bitcoin Rests at Tipping Point Before Deciding Next Move appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Fed Chair Yellen: Bitcoin Is a 'Highly Speculative Asset'

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

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen called bitcoin a "highly speculative asset" during her final press conference today

FED HIKES, STOCKS HIT RECORD HIGHS: Here's what you need to know

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

janet yellen

US stocks climbed, adding to gains in the afternoon after the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates 25 basis points and boosted its economic growth outlook for 2018.

The S&P 500 was little changed, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.4% and the more tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 climbed 0.2%.

First up, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 24,596.43, +91.63, (+0.37%)
  • S&P 500: 2,663.31, -0.25, (-0.01%)
  • Nasdaq: 6,874.99, +12.79, (+0.19%)
  • US 10-year yield: 2.40%, +0.018
  • WTI crude oil: $56.66, -$0.48, -0.84%

1. Fed raises interest rates as Yellen's term nears its end. As expected, the central bank increased the federal funds rate by 25 basis points. This will eventually lift the interest rates banks charge for various consumer-credit products, like mortgages and loans.

2. Outgoing Fed Chair Janet Yellen called bitcoin a "highly speculative asset." She added that the cryptocurrency "plays a very small role in the payments system" and that it's not a "stable store of legal tender."

3. A wildly popular stock market strategy is hotter than ever. The so-called "buy the dip" method has enjoyed an unprecedented period of popularity and success.

4. The mysterious trader known as '50 Cent' has lost $197 million betting on a stock market meltdown. The trader has consistently purchased bite-sized chunks — usually costing around 50 cents — of options contracts betting on a spike in the the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX.

5. Litecoin’s record week keeps going. The cryptocurrency has been on a hot streak this week, up 122%, after creator Charlie Lee appeared on CNBC Monday morning.

ADDITIONALLY:

Here's the new Fed dot plot

The Fed has raised interest rates again — here's how it happens and why it matters

Bitcoin slumps below $16,000, futures trading halts temporarily

ICO funding soars above $4 billion as US regulators crack down

Target pops on news of its latest acquisition to fend off Amazon

Target is fixing its biggest weakness

SEE ALSO: The mysterious trader known as '50 Cent' has lost $197 million betting on a stock market meltdown

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: The iPhone X's biggest myth, investing overseas, and why you should buy gold

FED HIKES, STOCKS HIT RECORD HIGHS: Here's what you need to know

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

janet yellen

US stocks climbed, adding to gains in the afternoon after the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates 25 basis points and boosted its economic growth outlook for 2018.

The S&P 500 was little changed, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.4% and the more tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 climbed 0.2%.

First up, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 24,596.43, +91.63, (+0.37%)
  • S&P 500: 2,663.31, -0.25, (-0.01%)
  • Nasdaq: 6,874.99, +12.79, (+0.19%)
  • US 10-year yield: 2.40%, +0.018
  • WTI crude oil: $56.66, -$0.48, -0.84%

1. Fed raises interest rates as Yellen's term nears its end. As expected, the central bank increased the federal funds rate by 25 basis points. This will eventually lift the interest rates banks charge for various consumer-credit products, like mortgages and loans.

2. Outgoing Fed Chair Janet Yellen called bitcoin a "highly speculative asset." She added that the cryptocurrency "plays a very small role in the payments system" and that it's not a "stable store of legal tender."

3. A wildly popular stock market strategy is hotter than ever. The so-called "buy the dip" method has enjoyed an unprecedented period of popularity and success.

4. The mysterious trader known as '50 Cent' has lost $197 million betting on a stock market meltdown. The trader has consistently purchased bite-sized chunks — usually costing around 50 cents — of options contracts betting on a spike in the the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX.

5. Litecoin’s record week keeps going. The cryptocurrency has been on a hot streak this week, up 122%, after creator Charlie Lee appeared on CNBC Monday morning.

ADDITIONALLY:

Here's the new Fed dot plot

The Fed has raised interest rates again — here's how it happens and why it matters

Bitcoin slumps below $16,000, futures trading halts temporarily

ICO funding soars above $4 billion as US regulators crack down

Target pops on news of its latest acquisition to fend off Amazon

Target is fixing its biggest weakness

SEE ALSO: The mysterious trader known as '50 Cent' has lost $197 million betting on a stock market meltdown

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: The iPhone X's biggest myth, investing overseas, and why you should buy gold

Citigroup's new managing-director list is out — here it is (C)

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

A Citigroup office is seen at Canary Wharf  in London, Britain May 19, 2015.  REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett - RTX1DT8L

Citigroup just announced a new class of 120 managing directors.

"A promotion to Managing Director is a career-defining accomplishment and each of these individuals makes a remarkable, differentiated contribution to Citi, fulfills our Leadership Standards and embodies our Mission of Progress," Jamie Forese, CEO of the Institutional Clients Group at Citigroup, said in a memo.

Here are the names: 

Corporate and investment banking

Nicholas Blach-Petersen

Marina Donskaya Bronstein

Jonathan Cain

Rob Chisholm

Billy Cho

Katrina Efthim

Morten Eikebu

Fernando Fleury

Amulya Goyal

Israel Halpert

Richard Hawwa

Patti Guerra Heh

Bob Jackey

James Jackson

Martijn Jansen

Ward Jones

Rob Jurd

Matt Kenney

Dan Kim

Hiroki Kondo

Rebecca Kruger

Lydia Liu

Vassilios Maroulis

Alex Mulley

Matt Musa

Sam Norton

Louise O'Mara

Ayan Raichaudhuri

Roberto Severin

Mike Shelly

Cathy Shepherd

Milos Stefanovic

Rizwan Velji

Capital markets origination

Shane Azzara

Chris Chung

Lawrence Cyrlin

Marzena Fick

Christopher Herzog

Malte Hopp

Harish Raman

Markets and Securities Services

Alex Altmann

Bouhari Arouna

Saquib Ayub

Sam Baig

Antonella Bianchessi

Helen Brookes

Jia Chen

Laura Coady

Zack Comey

Mbar Diop

Madlen Dorosh

Omar El Glaoui

Paul Favila

Ross Goldstein

David Gonzalez

Chris Gooch

Meng Gu

Adam Halvorsen

Alex Knight

Nikhil Kohli

Hubert Lanne

Lorenzo Leccesi

Norman Leung

Aida Mastura

Jabaz Mathai

Sid Mathur

Prach Mishra

David Mitchell

Joe Narens

Jeffrey Oh

Cameron Parks

Matt Passante

Nikheel Patel

Cristina Paviglianiti

Harry Peng

Brandt Portugal

Joe Reel

Al S'Aeed

Marcus Satha

Alec Schoeman

Scott Secor

Vikram Soni

Larissa Sototskaya

Rafael Souza

Nate Stone

Jim Suva

Christopher Tedeschi

James Teoh

Sonali Das Theisen

David Ji Um

Johny Vlachakis

Hsiao Chi Wang

Matt Watson

Xiaopo Wei

Matt Zhang

Private bank

Dimitri Andreadakis

Nancy Bertrand

George Cherry

Garcia Froome

Hui Gao

Fred Hess

Ray Ho

Steve Kwei

Laurence Mandrile-Aguirre

John Mitchell

Bola Oyesanya

Heather Rich

Treasury and Trade Solutions

Rachel Brown

Esther Chibesa

James Lee

Magdalena Mielcarz

Deven Somaya

ICG Operations & Technology

Hirokimi Hidaka

Gulrez Jamada

Carey Ryan

Vanderlei Silva

Venkat Vajipeyajula

International Franchise Management

Ahmed Bozai

Pablo Del Valle

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This is one of the best responses to Jamie Dimon calling bitcoin a fraud that we have heard so far

Bitcoin's value is skyrocketing — here's how to figure out if you should sell

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

bitcoin dollar

  • It's a tough choice to decide whether to sell some of your Bitcoin or keep all of it invested.
  • Some experts recommend selling between 20% and 50% if you are risk-averse or have pressing financial needs.
  • It also makes sense to sell some of your Bitcoin if you don't want to wait years for a potentially massive payoff.


If you had invested $100 in Bitcoin seven years ago, it would be worth around $28 million today.

Even if you had hopped on the train three years ago, a $100 investment in 2014 would be worth $5,000 today.

Of course, those lucky early investors can't just spend those earnings right away — they'd have to sell their digital currency first. That's created an agonizing dilemma for people with thousands of dollars in their virtual wallets: Should they cash in on some of their investment now, or leave it untouched, potentially earning them even more money, but risking a crash that could leave them empty-handed?

Some cryptocurrency experts recommend cashing in a portion of your Bitcoin now, especially if you're risk-averse or have pressing financial needs.

"If someone's looking to pay the bills, it may be logical to take out, say, a month's worth of necessities," Josiah Hernandez, chief strategy officer of the Bitcoin ATM network Coinsource, told Business Insider. Someone who needs the money shouldn't feel bad about selling 30% to 50% of their Bitcoin, he said, although they should still keep at least half invested. That way, they won't be filled with regret years down the line should Bitcoin's value continue to surge.

Likewise, Linas Rajackas of the investment services company Kaiser Exchange said it's not a bad idea to sell enough of your Bitcoin to make back what you originally put in.

"If you have low risk tolerance, and your Bitcoin exposure becomes significant, you might consider selling a part to get back your initial investment and keep the remaining amount of Bitcoin without any risk," Rajackas told Business Insider.

However, if you don't have your eye on a new house, car, or other major investment, you should stay put, they both said. After all, Bitcoin hit a high of over $17,300 this week, and is up more than 1,500% from last year, and the upside is well worth the wait, they say.

Still, there are plenty of risk-taking investors who aren't touching the cryptocurrency. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon called the currency "a fraud" that will "end when people lose a lot of money," for example. Meanwhile, Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio called Bitcoin "a bubble" that is destined to pop.

But for the loyal investors who have stayed with Bitcoin for years, the potential for huge earnings is too high to pass up.

"I would never advise anyone to sell all of their Bitcoin," Aaron Lasher, cofounder of the digital asset company Bread, told Business Insider. However, he said selling 20% to 30% is a reasonable strategy for those who don't want to wait years for a potential windfall.

"My target price for Bitcoin is really really high — I'm thinking $250,000 a coin within five years. But I'm willing to wait 10, so my time horizon is huge, Lasher said.

"The real magic is that it is up to the individual. It is their money and they get to do with it whatever they want."

SEE ALSO: People are putting their homes at risk to buy Bitcoin

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Cryptocurrency is the next step in the digitization of everything — 'It’s sort of inevitable'

South Korean Officials Weigh New Curbs on Bitcoin Trading

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

The South Korean government is considering a range of policy options in order to curb what it called an "overheating of virtual currency speculation."

YELLEN: Bitcoin is a 'highly speculative asset'

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

janet yellen

Fed Chair Janet Yellen weighed in on bitcoin at her final meeting as Federal Reserve chair. Responding to a question from CNBC's Steve Liesman, Yellen said that bitcoin is "a highly specultive asset." She added the cryptocurrency "plays a very small role in the payments system" and that it's not a "stable store of legal tender." 

Bitcoin has been garnering attention on both Wall Street and Main Street in the latter months of 2017. The cryptocurrency has soared more than 1500% this year.

This story is developing.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: One type of ETF is taking over the market

Bitcoin slumps below $16,000, triggering a freeze of futures trading

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

Bitcoin price

Just days after crossing the $17,000 mark, bitcoin briefly slumped below $16,000 per coin on Wednesday.

The spike in volatility caused futures contracts to temporarily cease trading on Cboe Global Markets’ exchange, which launched bitcoin futures on Sunday. The new product allows bitcoin bears to actively bet against the cryptocurrency.

Before Wednesday, the launch of futures trading had given bitcoin yet another boost, with the cryptocurrency climbing 6% since Sunday. 

Bitcoin still has a stranglehold on the cryptocurrency market, with a total capitalization of $274.6 billion. Ethereum, it’s closest competitor, has a market cap of $65.86 billion.

Other smaller coins have gotten a boost from bitcoin’s surge in popularity. Ripple, the fourth largest cryptocurrency, which is designed for bank transfers, has seen its value rise 49% over the past 24 hours and passed litecoin to take fourth place in cryptocurrency market cap. 

Bitcoin is down about 4.78% on Wednesday, near $16,450. It's up 1,505% this year.

You can watch Bitcoin's price in real-time here>>

SEE ALSO: Ripple overtakes litecoin as 4th largest cryptocurrency

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's what bitcoin futures could mean for the price of bitcoin

Bitcoin slumps below $16,000, triggering a freeze of futures trading

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

Bitcoin price

Just days after crossing the $17,000 mark, bitcoin briefly slumped below $16,000 per coin on Wednesday.

The spike in volatility caused futures contracts to temporarily cease trading on Cboe Global Markets’ exchange, which launched bitcoin futures on Sunday. The new product allows bitcoin bears to actively bet against the cryptocurrency.

Before Wednesday, the launch of futures trading had given bitcoin yet another boost, with the cryptocurrency climbing 6% since Sunday. 

Bitcoin still has a stranglehold on the cryptocurrency market, with a total capitalization of $274.6 billion. Ethereum, it’s closest competitor, has a market cap of $65.86 billion.

Other smaller coins have gotten a boost from bitcoin’s surge in popularity. Ripple, the fourth largest cryptocurrency, which is designed for bank transfers, has seen its value rise 49% over the past 24 hours and passed litecoin to take fourth place in cryptocurrency market cap. 

Bitcoin is down about 4.78% on Wednesday, near $16,450. It's up 1,505% this year.

You can watch Bitcoin's price in real-time here>>

SEE ALSO: Ripple overtakes litecoin as 4th largest cryptocurrency

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's what bitcoin futures could mean for the price of bitcoin

Bitcoin slumps below $16,000, triggering a freeze of futures trading

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

Bitcoin price

Just days after crossing the $17,000 mark, bitcoin briefly slumped below $16,000 per coin on Wednesday.

The spike in volatility caused futures contracts to temporarily cease trading on Cboe Global Markets’ exchange, which launched bitcoin futures on Sunday. The new product allows bitcoin bears to actively bet against the cryptocurrency.

Before Wednesday, the launch of futures trading had given bitcoin yet another boost, with the cryptocurrency climbing 6% since Sunday. 

Bitcoin still has a stranglehold on the cryptocurrency market, with a total capitalization of $274.6 billion. Ethereum, it’s closest competitor, has a market cap of $65.86 billion.

Other smaller coins have gotten a boost from bitcoin’s surge in popularity. Ripple, the fourth largest cryptocurrency, which is designed for bank transfers, has seen its value rise 49% over the past 24 hours and passed litecoin to take fourth place in cryptocurrency market cap. 

Bitcoin is down about 4.78% on Wednesday, near $16,450. It's up 1,505% this year.

You can watch Bitcoin's price in real-time here>>

SEE ALSO: Ripple overtakes litecoin as 4th largest cryptocurrency

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's what bitcoin futures could mean for the price of bitcoin

Alleged Bitcoin Launderer and BTC-E Admin Likely to Stand Trial in U.S.

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

Alexander Vinnik faces decades in prison for his alleged role in the Mt. Gox hack.

The post Alleged Bitcoin Launderer and BTC-E Admin Likely to Stand Trial in U.S. appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Here's the new Fed dot plot

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

Seurat Gravelines Annonciade

  • The Fed just announced that it intends to raise the benchmark Fed funds rate to a range between 1.25% and 1.5%.
  • The FOMC also released its quarterly "dot plot," showing where Fed members expect rates to go in the next few years.
  • The median member predicts rates will be between 2 and 2.25% by the end of next year.


The Federal Reserve just announced, as widely expected, that it intends to raise the benchmark Fed funds rate to a range between 1.25% and 1.5%. The central bank also gave us some idea about what its policy makers think is coming in the future.

The "dot plot," part of the FOMC's Summary of Economic Projections released along with the policy decision statement, shows where each participant in the meeting thinks the Fed funds rate should be at the end of the year for the next few years and in the longer run.

The Fed releases those predictions in a chart that includes a dot for each of the members at their target interest rate level for each period.

While the "dot plot" is not an official policy tool, it provides some insight into how the committee members feel about economic and monetary conditions going forward. Indeed, several commenters on Wall Street consider the chart to be pretty important, as it could give a sense of how many more hikes are coming in the next year.

In the plot released after the September meeting, the median FOMC member saw rates rising to between 2.0 and 2.25% by the end of 2018. In the longer term, the Fed expected a gradual schedule of hikes, with rates eventually settling around 2.75%.

The new dot plot is very similar. The median member again saw the rate ending in a range between 2 and 2.25% at the end of 2018, suggesting three hikes next year. In the longer term, the median member expects rates to settle around 2.75%.

fed dot plot dec 2017

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's what bitcoin futures could mean for the price of bitcoin

ICO funding soars above $4 billion as US regulators crack down

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

Floyd Mayweather

  • The initial coin offering market has surged over $4 billion, according to new data from Autonomous NEXT.
  • Regulators are increasing their oversight over the red-hot space as the market continues to attract traditional Wall Street firms. 

 

The red-hot market for cryptocurrency fundraising continues to reach new heights even as US regulators intensify their oversight of the nascent digital-coin market. 

New data from fintech analytics provider Autonomous NEXT shows the amount raised via initial coin offerings (ICOs) has surged above $4 billion for the first time. ICOs, a cryptocurrency twist on the initial public offering process, have been around for years but have just entered the mainstream in 2017. Celebrities have played their part in hyping up the space, with entertainers from Paris Hilton to Floyd Mayweather Jr. promoting ICOs for some companies. 

The Securities and Exchange Commission is also just starting to pay attention to the fundraising method, which is known for its fair share of fraud, intense marketing, and big dreams. 

"The world's social media platforms and financial markets are abuzz about cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings," SEC chairman Jay Clayton said in a statement Monday. "There are tales of fortunes made and dreamed to be made."

unnamed

A recently created unit by the SEC has started digging into ICOs, halting two this month.

PlexCorps, one of the halted fundraisers, "falsely" promised over 1,000% returns for its ICO, the SEC said. 

The regulator's main concern is that ICOs provide a way for companies to solicit money from small-time investors without disclosing the proper risk.

And there's a ton of risk in the space. Most companies solicit money from investors before creating a working product. And even some of the more visible and respected firms running initial coin offering have failed. Tezos, the company behind a more than $200 million ICO, is completely falling apart because of internal management issues

These developments have put pressure on the market, according to Lex Sokolin of Autonomous NEXT.

"It is harder than before to get funded, so on average the market is cooler towards any particular project," Sokolin told Business Insider in an email. "But overall, ICOs are becoming more mature, both in operating models, code and regulatory approach."

Still, some traditional financial services companies are diving into the market in search of big returns. 

Typhon Capital Management, a Florida hedge fund that specializes in commodities, is launching a cryptocurrency fund at the beginning of 2018 that will invest in ICOs. James Koutoulas, CEO of the fund, told Business Insider he expects to raise $5 million to $20 million for the new fund. 

"We now feel comfortable taking investors money and putting it into this space," Koutoulas said. 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Economist Jim Rickards on gold versus bitcoin — intrinsic value is meaningless for both but the bitcoin prices aren't real

Here comes the Fed ...

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

janet yellen wave wink

The Federal Reserve will at 2 p.m. ET release a policy statement following its two-day meeting. 

The central bank is widely expected to announce its third interest-rate increase this year, raising its benchmark fed funds rate by 25 basis points to a range of  1.25% to 1.50%. This would eventually lift the interest rates banks charge customers for various credit products like mortgages and loans. 

The Fed would hinge its decision to raise rates on the US economy's faster-than-expected growth in recent months and strong job creation. Inflation, however, is still below the Fed's 2% target. The Fed anticipates that a tightening labor market would create the demand necessary to raise prices. 

Futures traders see a 100% chance of a rate hike today, according to Bloomberg's world interest rate probability function. So the hike won't be the main news for them. Instead, it likely will be the Fed's economic forecasts, and anything it says about the impact of fiscal stimulus in the form of tax cuts. 

Republican leaders on Wednesday reached an agreement on their final tax bill, paving the way for a federal tax code overhaul by Christmas.

Starting at 2:30 p.m., Janet Yellen will hold her final press conference as chair of the Fed. Jerome Powell, President Donald Trump's nominee to replace her, is awaiting Senate confirmation following a 22-to-1 acceptance from the Senate Banking Committee.

Refresh this page for the latest at 2 p.m. ET. 

SEE ALSO: Here's how the Fed raises rates and why it matters

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NOW WATCH: Here's what bitcoin futures could mean for the price of bitcoin

What you need to know on Wall Street today

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

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

The Federal Reserve is expected to raise its benchmark interest rate again on Wednesday. Here's what you need to know:

Elsewhere in D.C. news, Republicans have a final deal on their tax bill — here's what's in it. And there's one more reason for Republicans to be very nervous about the Senate in 2018, according to Josh Barro. 

Back on Wall Street, a top exec at trading giant Virtu is out. The mysterious trader known as "50 Cent" has lost $197 million betting on a stock market meltdown. Robinhood is launching a free options trading product for its users.

And here's what it takes to launch a hedge fund right now, according to the Wall Street pros who know

In markets news, the ghosts of the financial crisis are costing investors a fortune. A wildly popular stock market strategy is hotter than ever.

In deal news, Target has a new $550 million weapon to defeat Walmart and Amazon, and Saudi Aramco has reportedly asked banks to pitch for a role in its IPO.

And in tech news: 

Lastly, we drove a $73,000 Cadillac XTS V-Sport and completely fell for its retro charm and secret power.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Economist Jim Rickards on gold versus bitcoin — intrinsic value is meaningless for both but the bitcoin prices aren't real

Target pops on news of its latest acquisition to fend off Amazon (TGT)

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

Target groceries grocery store

  • Target's stock jumped on the news it acquired the Alabama-based delivery startup Shipt for $550 million.
  • Retailers have been finding ways to respond to the threat of Amazon's entrance into the grocery business.
  • Check out Target's stock price in real time here.

 

Target's stock jumped on Wednesday, up 1.43% at $61.83, on Wednesday after the company announced that it was acquiring Alabama-based delivery startup Shipt for $550 million. The move is a counter to the threat of Amazon's entry into the grocery-delivery business. 

Target wants to bring same-day delivery service to Target customers who sign up for Shipt, which utilizes the voice-enabled Google Express, a same-day and overnight shopping and delivery service. Target said it will leverage Shipt's existing supply chain expertise and integrate it with its recent acquisition of transportation technology company, Grand Junction.

Retailers have scrambled to protect their market share against the threat of the Amazon-Whole Foods merger. The ecommerce giant  temporarily lowered prices in Whole Foods' in-store locations, and ramped up its same-day and overnight delivery options.

Elsewhere in the industry, Walmart partnered with same-day grocery-delivery service, Deliv, which has operations in 35 markets in a sign that the company is looking to expand its delivery business across the US. 

Shares of Target are down 14.96% this year.

To read more about a grocery store that is successful against the Amazon threat, click here. 

Target stock price

SEE ALSO: One grocery store is successfully fighting back against Amazon

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NOW WATCH: How to buy and sell bitcoin using one of the most popular cryptocurrency apps on the iPhone

The Wall Street legend who helped blow up the world explains why his 'Frankenstein' creation went so wrong

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

wall street skyline

  • Lewis Ranieri is considered the father of the mortgage-backed security.
  • His invention enabled millions of Americans to afford homes, but its distortion and manipulation also helped cause the financial crisis. 
  • He told Institutional Investor he never imagined ratings agencies and regulators would fail so badly, but also accepted part of the blame.
  • "It's absolutely true that many of us tried to stop it. But the fact is, it didn't stop," Ranieri said. "We, the creators, should never forget."


In the early 2000s, Lewis Ranieri was named one of the most influential Americans of the past century, before transforming a few short years later into one of the Americans who blew up the world. 

Ranieri is the father of the mortgage-backed security, the financial innovation that enabled millions of Americans to afford homes before it was twisted and abused and became a tinder box that helped set the world economy aflame in 2008.

He invented the financial product at Salomon Brothers in the 1970s, and in a recent interview with Institutional Investor for its "War Stories" series he said he never could have predicted how everything came crashing down. 

The risks, he thought, were accounted for given the scrutiny of the ratings agencies like Standard & Poor's and Moody's, as well as oversight by regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"We could never have imagined that the ratings services could be bought. That they would basically, just the money would be so important they would break all of their own rules and rate things they knew shouldn't be rated triple or double or whatever. Ok, and that was unimaginable to me," Ranieri said.

"And then it was unimaginable to me that the SEC would not intervene. They never did. They were always silent. So all this is going on and they're nowhere to be seen."

The intention — to try help those who couldn't afford a traditional home loan — was noble, Ranieri said, but "the reality becomes ignoble in so many ways."

"We've now created Frankenstein. Frankenstein has a brain, it's the one we gave him, but the body made up of everybody's whatever parts they got out of the cemetery has nothing to do with necessarily what we started," Ranieri said.

Even though he and other creators tried to stop the meltdown from occurring, Ranieri doesn't deflect blame for the tragedy that befell millions of homeowners and countless others that suffered through the financial crisis.

"It's absolutely true that many of us tried to stop it. But the fact is, it didn't stop," Ranieri said. "We, the creators, should never forget."

Watch the full interview at Institutional Investor. 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This is one of the best responses to Jamie Dimon calling bitcoin a fraud that we have heard so far

The mysterious trader known as '50 Cent' has lost $197 million betting on a stock market meltdown

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

50 Cent

  • The mysterious volatility trader known as "50 Cent" has lost $197 million in 2017 betting on a spike in the VIX, which would accompany a stock market shock.
  • 50 Cent is starting to slow down, deploying roughly 20% of the contracts he had outstanding over the summer.


The mysterious investor known as "50 Cent" has had a tough year betting on stock market turbulence — but it hasn't been for a lack of trying.

The trader has consistently purchased bite-sized chunks — usually costing around 50 cents — of options contracts betting on a spike in the the CBOE Volatility Index. Also known as the VIX, the gauge is a measure of expected price swings in US equities that serves as a barometer for investor nervousness. It generally climbs as stocks fall, so purchases of VIX contracts translate to bearish wagers on the S&P 500.

On a year-to-date basis, that persistence has resulted in a whopping $197 million mark-to-market loss for 50 Cent, according to data compiled by Macro Risk Advisors (MRA). The firm reports that the trader has spent a total of $208 million on VIX bets, only to see the majority of them expire worthless.

Screen Shot 2017 12 13 at 11.28.43 AM

MRA does note that 50 Cent's volatility trading activity is likely some sort of broader portfolio hedge. By their calculation, the size of the trader's actual market position is likely between $20 billion to $40 billion, assuming that the hedging premium paid represents 0.5% to 1% of total assets.

The firm also points out that, despite the dogged effort exhibited throughout 2017, 50 Cent seems to be losing steam. After reaching a maximum outstanding position of more than 1 million contracts over the summer, the infamous volatility vigilante currently only has about 200,000 in play, MRA says.

Screen Shot 2017 12 13 at 12.01.56 PM

So with all of that established, who exactly is 50 Cent? The mystery behind the trader's identity raged for months before the Financial Times blew the lid off the case back in May, citing four people from trading departments at banks who were familiar with the trades. They found that the volatility bull was none other than Ruffer LLP, a fund whose client roster includes the Church of England.

Now the question becomes, will 50 Cent continue betting on a stock market shock? After all, the VIX has ticked higher in recent weeks, climbing as much as 44% after hitting a record low in early November.

Only time will tell. But it would be a shame to see 50 Cent throw in the towel now, after all he's been through.

SEE ALSO: The ghosts of the financial crisis are costing investors a fortune

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's what bitcoin futures could mean for the price of bitcoin

Republicans have a final deal on their tax bill — here's what's in it

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

mcconnell trump ryan

  • House and Senate Republicans have come to a preliminary final agreement on their compromise tax bill.
  • The compromise bill proposes cutting the corporate tax rate to 21% — higher than the 20% in the House and Senate versions but still much lower than the current 35%.
  • The bill would also lower the top individual tax rate to 37% from the current 39.6%, a more generous cut than the Senate version had proposed.


Republican leaders on Wednesday reached an agreement on their final tax bill, paving the way for an overhaul of the federal tax code by Christmas.

Republicans are moving with full speed to pass the tax bill, a process that gained urgency after the Democrat Doug Jones' unexpected victory Tuesday in Alabama's special election for a US Senate seat.

The bill, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is in a conference committee to iron out discrepancies between the House and Senate versions that those chambers passed. The final bill could have significant changes.

The Republican members of the committee are closing in on a deal that would make the corporate tax cuts slightly less generous while also lowering taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

"We're very close," Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the chamber, told Politico on Wednesday. "I don't want to get out in front of the chairmen, but we're very close."

Sen. Orrin Hatch, a conferee who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, told reporters the GOP members of the conference committee "got a pretty good deal." They were scheduled to go to the White House to brief the president on the deal.

The Associated Press reported that the GOP conferees came to a preliminary agreement on the bill on Wednesday.

While the official text of the bill has not been released — and would still need to be evaluated by congressional scorekeepers, such as the Joint Committee on Taxation — Republican leaders say they are aiming to hold a vote on the compromise bill on Monday and Tuesday. That could get it to President Donald Trump's desk by the end of next week.

While the bill's passage is not guaranteed, the GOP has enough of a cushion to get it through both chambers, and Jones' win is likely to light a fire under the party to get it done before he is sworn in, most likely next month.

Here's a rundown of some of the big changes that are reportedly in the agreement:

  • A less generous corporate rate cut. Republicans may cut the corporate rate to 21% from the current 35%, starting in 2018. The House and Senate versions had proposed a 20% rate. Despite making a 20% corporate rate his "red line" for a tax bill, Trump said at a meeting with the GOP leaders of the tax committees that he would sign a bill with a 21% rate.
  • A lower top individual tax rate. The top individual bracket would drop to 37% from the current 39.6%. The Senate version had proposed a 38.5% rate.
  • Keep the estate tax, but raise the threshold to qualify. Instead of phasing out the estate tax over time, as the House version proposes, the compromise bill would increase the threshold for an estate to qualify, to about $11 million from $5.6 million. That aligns with the Senate version.
  • A 20% deduction for pass-through businesses. Pass-through businesses — in which the owner books profits as their income, like a limited liability corporation or S-corp — would get a 20% deduction on their income. This is more similar to the Senate version but less generous than its proposed 23% deduction.
  • Repeal the corporate alternative minimum tax. The corporate AMT in the Senate version was a sore spot for many companies because it would have negated the effects of many popular deductions and credits, such as the research and development credit.
  • Adjust the cap for the mortgage interest deduction. The cap would be lowered to $750,000 from the current $1 million. This is higher than the $500,000 cap proposed in the House version. The Senate version would have left the deduction unchanged.
  • Does not include the House's "Graduate Student Tax": The House bill would have taxed tuition waivers for graduate students like normal income, which could have crippled many universities' graduate programs. Even some House Republicans came out against the provision. The Senate bill did not include that provision and the compromise bill will not either.
  • State and local tax deduction compromise: In order to appease members in states with high taxes, the compromise bill would allow people to deduct up to $10,000 in state and local property taxes or the same amount of income and sales taxes.

In addition to last-minute tweaks, the final bill is also likely to include large-scale changes to the types of deductions that individuals and businesses can take, as well as other tax adjustments in the House and Senate versions.

Republicans could push back on some of the proposed changes, such as those to healthcare provisions that have prompted complaints from Sen. Susan Collins.

Sen. Marco Rubio also made noise on Twitter about not making the child tax credit more generous in the compromise bill. He tweeted on Tuesday: "20.94% Corp. rate to pay for tax cut for working family making $40k was anti-growth but 21% to cut tax for couples making $1 million is fine?"

The Florida Republican had pushed for an amendment to the Senate version that would have made the child tax credit refundable, but it was defeated.

Republicans can afford only two defections in the Senate for the bill to pass. Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee voted against the legislation when it moved through the chamber earlier this month.

SEE ALSO: Doug Jones' win in Alabama is going to add jet fuel to the GOP's tax bill push

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NOW WATCH: White House photographer Pete Souza on how Obama balanced being president with his family life

The shrinking role of unions helps shed light on an economic trend that is puzzling Fed officials

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

fight for 15 minimum wage

  • A decline in union membership and activism helps explain why US inflation and wages have remained subdued despite a prolonged economic recovery.
  • Low inflation gives the Federal Reserve room to keep interest rates low for longer, particularly if it wants to see workers' wages rise. 
  • US inflation has undershot the Fed's 2% target for 100 of the 104 months since the start of the financial crisis, according to Capital Economics. 


Federal Reserve officials who have expressed befuddlement at the absence of wage growth in spite of a 17-year low jobless rate should take a closer look at the issue of union membership.

Weak wage growth has been part and parcel of the low inflation trend, with average hourly earnings gaining just 2.5% annually at latest blush. 

For Andrew Kenningham, chief global economist at Capital Economics, there’s an important story behind the subdued price and wage increases that policymakers are largely ignoring.

Technological change and globalization have "reduced the demand for unskilled labor in advanced economies" and caused "trade union membership and the frequency of strikes to fall steeply and has contributed to a surge in part-time, contract and casual work, which has further reduced the bargaining power of labor," he writes in a research note.

The official data bear him out. US union membership peaked at around a third of the private sector workforce around 1960, and has declined steadily since to just 6.4%.

Research suggests the prevalence of unions has a positive effect not just on the wages of union workers but also spills over to non-union counterparts, which must raise pay to compete. The opposite is true when unionization declines.

In 2015, there were 7.6 million union members in the private sector, 4.4 million fewer than in 1983, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number slipped further to an all-time low in 2016

Union declineThe low inflation phenomenon is prevalent not just in the United States but across rich economies, suggesting the loss of bargaining power has crossed borders.

"Since the global financial crisis, inflation has been below target in most advanced economies most of the time. The core inflation rate since January 2009 has averaged around 0%, 1% and 1½% in Japan, the euro-zone and the US respectively,"Kenningham said. "And the Fed’s preferred measure of core inflation has been below 2% for 100 of the 104 months since the crisis!"

Fed Chair Janet Yellen conceded in recent testimony "this year’s low inflation could reflect something more persistent" rather than the transitory factors many central bank officials have cited. 

Against that backdrop, it’s little wonder markets are questioning the Fed’s own estimates for three interest rate hikes in 2018 and further increases in 2019. The Fed has raised interest rates four times since December 2015 to a 1% to 1.25% range, and looks set to raise interest rates again this week. It has also began shrinking its $4.5 trillion balance sheet, expanded during the Great Recession in an effort to keep long-term rates low while the federal funds rate was already at zero.

SEE ALSO: The Fed seems to be giving up on a key driver of the economy

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's what bitcoin futures could mean for the price of bitcoin

RBC: Nvidia can’t profit from bitcoin anymore — but the boost from cryptocurrencies is just getting started (NVDA)

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

nvidia jen-hsun huang ceo

  • Some have argued that the boost Nvidia has seen from cryptocurrency mining is over, but one analyst thinks differently.
  • Alt-coins have been exploding in value and could provide another big boost to Nvidia's bottom line.
  • Watch Nvidia's stock price move in real time here.


Some analysts have already called for the end of the crypto boom for Nvidia, but Mitch Steves, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, thinks differently.

"While the Ethereum market opportunity could fade, we are confident the market will be open (at minimum)," Steves said.

Steves argues that the bigger cryptocurrencies — bitcoin and ethereum — aren't likely to add to Nvidia's bottom line in the coming year, but almost every other one can.

Cryptocurrency miners were born alongside bitcoin in 2009, and soon figured out that the type of math required to mine the digital coins was made faster by introducing graphics cards initially used to improve video game graphics. Nvidia, as well as rival AMD, has profited massively from the trend.

But, as the number of miners increased and the process of mining got harder, it lessened the impact of buying a graphics chip. Now, there are specially designed mining rigs that maximize the ratio of power consumption to processing power, as the cost of electricity can easily outweigh the benefits of inefficient mining.

Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency as measured by market cap, is still mostly profitable to mine with a graphics processing unit (GPU), but will soon move to a "proof of stake" system for payment verification. This will greatly diminish the impact a GPU will have on the mining process. Ethereum payment verification will soon happen via a sort of voting system rather than a race to find the answer to a complicated math problem, which is the current verification method.

It's because of this change that analysts had previously called for the end of the cryptocurrency golden days for chip makers. But, cryptocurrencies not named bitcoin or ethereum have been skyrocketing in recent weeks. Litecoin’s record week keeps going, and ripple just surpassed litecoin to become the fourth-largest crypto by market cap.

Ripple Labs

Prices are likely moving higher in many of the alternative currencies because of a large number of new players in the industry, Steves said. Cboe started offering the first future contracts for bitcoin on Sunday, and CME is soon to follow.

Iterations of bitcoin's technology that are faster, more liquid and less volatile are being tried out on the smaller cryptocurrencies, Steves said, which could also lead to a boost in confidence in all cryptos.

"On a near-term basis we think it is quite difficult to make price statements, which is why we are flagging the move now in the case that it sustains," Steves wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday. "Longer term, we think crypto currencies are here to stay and will likely become a large market."

Steves sees a long-term value of $10 trillion for the cryptocurrency market, which currently sits around the $500 billion mark.

In the even longer term, the decentralized technology that drives all the cryptos could leak into other areas of the computing world and drive an increase in demand for chips from Nvidia and AMD.

Steves rates Nvidia an outperform and has a price target of $250, which is 31% higher than its current share price.

Read more about litecoin's record-setting week here.

nvidia stock price

SEE ALSO: Ripple overtakes litecoin as the 4th largest cryptocurrency

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's what bitcoin futures could mean for the price of bitcoin

RBC: Nvidia can’t profit from bitcoin anymore — but the boost from cryptocurrencies is just getting started (NVDA)

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

nvidia jen-hsun huang ceo

  • Some have argued that the boost Nvidia has seen from cryptocurrency mining is over, but one analyst thinks differently.
  • Alt-coins have been exploding in value and could provide another big boost to Nvidia's bottom line.
  • Watch Nvidia's stock price move in real time here.


Some analysts have already called for the end of the crypto boom for Nvidia, but Mitch Steves, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, thinks differently.

"While the Ethereum market opportunity could fade, we are confident the market will be open (at minimum)," Steves said.

Steves argues that the bigger cryptocurrencies — bitcoin and ethereum — aren't likely to add to Nvidia's bottom line in the coming year, but almost every other one can.

Cryptocurrency miners were born alongside bitcoin in 2009, and soon figured out that the type of math required to mine the digital coins was made faster by introducing graphics cards initially used to improve video game graphics. Nvidia, as well as rival AMD, has profited massively from the trend.

But, as the number of miners increased and the process of mining got harder, it lessened the impact of buying a graphics chip. Now, there are specially designed mining rigs that maximize the ratio of power consumption to processing power, as the cost of electricity can easily outweigh the benefits of inefficient mining.

Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency as measured by market cap, is still mostly profitable to mine with a graphics processing unit (GPU), but will soon move to a "proof of stake" system for payment verification. This will greatly diminish the impact a GPU will have on the mining process. Ethereum payment verification will soon happen via a sort of voting system rather than a race to find the answer to a complicated math problem, which is the current verification method.

It's because of this change that analysts had previously called for the end of the cryptocurrency golden days for chip makers. But, cryptocurrencies not named bitcoin or ethereum have been skyrocketing in recent weeks. Litecoin’s record week keeps going, and ripple just surpassed litecoin to become the fourth-largest crypto by market cap.

Ripple Labs

Prices are likely moving higher in many of the alternative currencies because of a large number of new players in the industry, Steves said. Cboe started offering the first future contracts for bitcoin on Sunday, and CME is soon to follow.

Iterations of bitcoin's technology that are faster, more liquid and less volatile are being tried out on the smaller cryptocurrencies, Steves said, which could also lead to a boost in confidence in all cryptos.

"On a near-term basis we think it is quite difficult to make price statements, which is why we are flagging the move now in the case that it sustains," Steves wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday. "Longer term, we think crypto currencies are here to stay and will likely become a large market."

Steves sees a long-term value of $10 trillion for the cryptocurrency market, which currently sits around the $500 billion mark.

In the even longer term, the decentralized technology that drives all the cryptos could leak into other areas of the computing world and drive an increase in demand for chips from Nvidia and AMD.

Steves rates Nvidia an outperform and has a price target of $250, which is 31% higher than its current share price.

Read more about litecoin's record-setting week here.

nvidia stock price

SEE ALSO: Ripple overtakes litecoin as the 4th largest cryptocurrency

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's what bitcoin futures could mean for the price of bitcoin

RBC: Nvidia can’t profit from bitcoin anymore — but the boost from cryptocurrencies is just getting started (NVDA)

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

nvidia jen-hsun huang ceo

  • Some have argued that the boost Nvidia has seen from cryptocurrency mining is over, but one analyst thinks differently.
  • Alt-coins have been exploding in value and could provide another big boost to Nvidia's bottom line.
  • Watch Nvidia's stock price move in real time here.


Some analysts have already called for the end of the crypto boom for Nvidia, but Mitch Steves, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, thinks differently.

"While the Ethereum market opportunity could fade, we are confident the market will be open (at minimum)," Steves said.

Steves argues that the bigger cryptocurrencies — bitcoin and ethereum — aren't likely to add to Nvidia's bottom line in the coming year, but almost every other one can.

Cryptocurrency miners were born alongside bitcoin in 2009, and soon figured out that the type of math required to mine the digital coins was made faster by introducing graphics cards initially used to improve video game graphics. Nvidia, as well as rival AMD, has profited massively from the trend.

But, as the number of miners increased and the process of mining got harder, it lessened the impact of buying a graphics chip. Now, there are specially designed mining rigs that maximize the ratio of power consumption to processing power, as the cost of electricity can easily outweigh the benefits of inefficient mining.

Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency as measured by market cap, is still mostly profitable to mine with a graphics processing unit (GPU), but will soon move to a "proof of stake" system for payment verification. This will greatly diminish the impact a GPU will have on the mining process. Ethereum payment verification will soon happen via a sort of voting system rather than a race to find the answer to a complicated math problem, which is the current verification method.

It's because of this change that analysts had previously called for the end of the cryptocurrency golden days for chip makers. But, cryptocurrencies not named bitcoin or ethereum have been skyrocketing in recent weeks. Litecoin’s record week keeps going, and ripple just surpassed litecoin to become the fourth-largest crypto by market cap.

Ripple Labs

Prices are likely moving higher in many of the alternative currencies because of a large number of new players in the industry, Steves said. Cboe started offering the first future contracts for bitcoin on Sunday, and CME is soon to follow.

Iterations of bitcoin's technology that are faster, more liquid and less volatile are being tried out on the smaller cryptocurrencies, Steves said, which could also lead to a boost in confidence in all cryptos.

"On a near-term basis we think it is quite difficult to make price statements, which is why we are flagging the move now in the case that it sustains," Steves wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday. "Longer term, we think crypto currencies are here to stay and will likely become a large market."

Steves sees a long-term value of $10 trillion for the cryptocurrency market, which currently sits around the $500 billion mark.

In the even longer term, the decentralized technology that drives all the cryptos could leak into other areas of the computing world and drive an increase in demand for chips from Nvidia and AMD.

Steves rates Nvidia an outperform and has a price target of $250, which is 31% higher than its current share price.

Read more about litecoin's record-setting week here.

nvidia stock price

SEE ALSO: Ripple overtakes litecoin as the 4th largest cryptocurrency

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's what bitcoin futures could mean for the price of bitcoin

Robinhood is launching a free options trading product for its users

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

options trader

  • Robinhood, the zero-commission stock broker, has a new sophisticated investment product for its more than 3 million users. 
  • The Palo Alto-based company announced Wednesday it would offer free options trading.
  • An option is a financial product that gives investors the right to buy or sell a security at a specified price in the future. 


Palo Alto-based Robinhood, a zero-commission stock broker, announced on Wednesday that it would start offering free options trading to its more than 3 million users.

"In 2015, by focusing on technology and automation, we challenged the finance industry with the launch of commission-free equity trading, paving the way for millions of Americans to participate in their own financial system,” said Baiju Bhatt, Robinhood's cofounder and co-CEO, in a press release on the news. “Today, we are doing it again, with commission-free options trading, rooted in the belief that sophisticated investment tools don’t need to be complex or reserved for the wealthy."

Options don't get the same attention on Main Street as stock trading, but they make up a huge market on Wall Street. An option allows an investor to buy or sell an asset or security — say a stock or a currency — at a certain price at a specified date in the future. Options allow investors to bet on the price of an asset in the future, or to hedge their bets elsewhere against an unexpected price swing.

Some of the highlights of the new offering, according to the company, include:

  • It's free: "No commission and no per contract fee upon buying or selling options, as well as no exercise or assignment fees."
  • Advanced Options Strategies: "Level 2 self-directed options strategies (buying calls and puts, selling covered calls and puts) as well as Level 3 self-directed options strategies such as fixed-risk spreads (credit spreads, iron condors), and other advanced trading strategies are available."
  • Pricing Filter: "Robinhood’s proprietary Pricing Filter streamlines the options tables, removing potentially misleading or superfluous information and hides options with little volume or liquidity where you may receive an unfair fill."

The roll-out of free options trading is the latest in Robinhood's evolution as a company. It launched a new web platform in November, and it also started letting users transfer stock from competing brokerages to Robinhood.

The company, which launched in 2012, has been a darling of younger, less experienced stock traders, but it has been recently vying for a more experienced clientele.

In August, Bhatt told Business Insider the company would continue to roll out new features to meet the needs of its users as they mature as investors:

"In time, as our users become more and more sophisticated, we will continue to add features that match them. But we hope to never lose sight of those first timers as well. Fundamentally, that should be the most important thing for financial-services companies. Making the entire industry something that serves the broader market, not just the people who make them a lot of money."

Robinhood is valued at $1.3 billion, according to the company, and has raised over $170 million. The firm has declined to comment on its profitability. 

SEE ALSO: Robinhood is going after established brokers with a brand new feature

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NOW WATCH: Economist Jim Rickards on gold versus bitcoin — intrinsic value is meaningless for both but the bitcoin prices aren't real

‘Sell It Here’: Mike Novogratz Bearish After Litecoin Price Surge

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

[…]

The post ‘Sell It Here’: Mike Novogratz Bearish After Litecoin Price Surge appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Litecoin’s record week keeps going

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

Litecoin price

  • Litecoin reached another record high on Wednesday morning, trading up about 15% at $345.47 a coin.
  • The cryptocurrency has been on a hot streak this week, up 122%, after creator Charlie Lee appeared on CNBC Monday morning.
  • Lee also tweeted a stern warning to those excited by the coin’s gains: “Buying LTC is extremely risky,” he said. “If you can't handle LTC dropping to $20, don't buy!”
  • Many smaller cryptocurrencies have seen similar gains this week, including Ripple passing litecoin to take the number four spot by market cap in the crypto universe. 
  • Track Litecoin's price in real-time here>>

SEE ALSO: Litecoin creator issues stern warning after the cryptocurrency doubles in a single day

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The stock market is flashing warning signs

Litecoin’s record week keeps going

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

Litecoin price

  • Litecoin reached another record high on Wednesday morning, trading up about 15% at $345.47 a coin.
  • The cryptocurrency has been on a hot streak this week, up 122%, after creator Charlie Lee appeared on CNBC Monday morning.
  • Lee also tweeted a stern warning to those excited by the coin’s gains: “Buying LTC is extremely risky,” he said. “If you can't handle LTC dropping to $20, don't buy!”
  • Many smaller cryptocurrencies have seen similar gains this week, including Ripple passing litecoin to take the number four spot by market cap in the crypto universe. 
  • Track Litecoin's price in real-time here>>

SEE ALSO: Litecoin creator issues stern warning after the cryptocurrency doubles in a single day

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The stock market is flashing warning signs

Finisar soars after Apple announces $390 million investment (FNSR, AAPL)

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

finisar stock price

  • Finisar, the maker of specialty chips for the Apple iPhone X and AirPods, is trading up 26.84% at $24.43 a share after Apple announced a $390 million investment in the company.
  • Finisar is hoping to reopen a manufacturing plant in Texas with the help of Apple's investment. The plant is expected to create 500 jobs in the area.
  • The new plant will produce laser sensors that enable technology like FaceID, ARKit and the proximity features of the AirPods.
  • The investment is part of a larger $1 billion plan from Apple, which falso included an investment in glass maker Corning. 
  • Finisar shares are down 16.63% this year, including Wednesday's gains.

Read more about the deal here.

SEE ALSO: Apple is investing $390 million into a company that makes chips for the iPhone X and AirPods

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NOW WATCH: How to buy and sell bitcoin using one of the most popular cryptocurrency apps on the iPhone

Finisar soars after Apple announces $390 million investment (FNSR, AAPL)

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

finisar stock price

  • Finisar, the maker of specialty chips for the Apple iPhone X and AirPods, is trading up 26.84% at $24.43 a share after Apple announced a $390 million investment in the company.
  • Finisar is hoping to reopen a manufacturing plant in Texas with the help of Apple's investment. The plant is expected to create 500 jobs in the area.
  • The new plant will produce laser sensors that enable technology like FaceID, ARKit and the proximity features of the AirPods.
  • The investment is part of a larger $1 billion plan from Apple, which falso included an investment in glass maker Corning. 
  • Finisar shares are down 16.63% this year, including Wednesday's gains.

Read more about the deal here.

SEE ALSO: Apple is investing $390 million into a company that makes chips for the iPhone X and AirPods

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How to buy and sell bitcoin using one of the most popular cryptocurrency apps on the iPhone

REPORT: Saudi Aramco asked banks to pitch for a role in its $2 trillion IPO

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

Saudi traders

  • Saudi Aramco approaches banks to request pitches to run its IPO in 2018.
  • The oil company plans to appoint a group of lenders as coordinators and bookrunners by early next year.
  • Aramco's IPO could value the company at as much as $2 trillion, and is likely to be the biggest IPO in history.


LONDON – Saudi Arabia's state oil company requested pitches from banks to be coordinators and bookrunners for its record breaking initial public offering scheduled for next year.

According to Bloomberg, which cites people familiar with the matter, Saudi Aramco sent requests to banks over the last few days, with the aim of appointing a group of banks to run the IPO process by "early next year."

It is not known which banks have been approached, and those who have been contacted are understood not to have been told where Aramco plans to list its shares.

Bloomberg reports that Aramco has already worked with JPMorgan, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, and other smaller banks on initial preparations for the listing.

Saudi Aramco's imminent stock market flotation — which is expected to take place at some point in 2018 — will likely make it the most valuable public company on earth, and has attracted huge attention from major financial sectors around the world, who are vying to attract the listing.

As it stands, the kingdom’s ruling family plans to list at least part of its business on Saudi Arabia's stock exchange, the Tadawul, in 2018. It is then widely expected to list another segment on an exchange in an international financial centre — most likely be New York or London, but Hong Kong and Singapore are also thought to be contenders.

Saudi officials have also signalled that the company is not guaranteed to list shares outside of the Kingdom.

London in particular is lobbying Aramco hard, sending numerous delegations to Riyadh in recent months to try and bring the listing to the London Stock Exchange.

Earlier this year, UK regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) proposed relaxing existing rules to allow sovereign-owned companies to list on the London Stock Exchange. The move is believed to be almost solely a means of making the UK more attractive to Saudi Aramco's bosses.

You can read Bloomberg's full report here.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This is one of the best responses to Jamie Dimon calling bitcoin a fraud that we have heard so far

Here Come the Bogus Bitcoin Scare Tactics

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Fear, uncertainty and doubt are dominating the media, but Overstock's Steve Hopkins suggests talking points to counter the scaremongering.

Google's Most Popular Searches in 2017 Says a Lot About Our Obsession With Bitcoin and Apple's iPhones

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People wanted to know about the cryptocurrency and how to buy it.

Ripple overtakes litecoin as the 4th largest cryptocurrency

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

Ripple Labs

Ripple, a cryptocurrency designed for banks and global money transfers, has more than doubled in price since Monday, overtaking Litecoin as the fourth-largest cryptocurrency. It now has a market cap of $18.64 billion.

The boom has largely coincided with gains in bitcoin and other smaller cryptocurrencies, which have been on a tear since the launch of Bitcoin futures trading by Cboe Global Markets on Sunday. 

“I think a lot of this is simply the market better understanding the realities of digital assets performance (speed, throughput etc)," Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse told Business Insider Wednesday morning.  "There is — appropriately — a lot of excitement about the potential, but XRP is very uniquely positioned to actually be able to deliver on the promise."

Litecoin has been shoved to fifth place in terms of cryptocurrency market cap, according to coinmarketcap.com.It has gained 122% this week.

Watch Ripple's price move in real-time here>>

Ripple price

 

SEE ALSO: Litecoin creator issues stern warning after the cryptocurrency doubles in a single day

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The stock market is flashing warning signs

Ripple overtakes litecoin as the 4th largest cryptocurrency

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

Ripple Labs

Ripple, a cryptocurrency designed for banks and global money transfers, has more than doubled in price since Monday, overtaking Litecoin as the fourth-largest cryptocurrency. It now has a market cap of $18.64 billion.

The boom has largely coincided with gains in bitcoin and other smaller cryptocurrencies, which have been on a tear since the launch of Bitcoin futures trading by Cboe Global Markets on Sunday. 

“I think a lot of this is simply the market better understanding the realities of digital assets performance (speed, throughput etc)," Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse told Business Insider Wednesday morning.  "There is — appropriately — a lot of excitement about the potential, but XRP is very uniquely positioned to actually be able to deliver on the promise."

Litecoin has been shoved to fifth place in terms of cryptocurrency market cap, according to coinmarketcap.com.It has gained 122% this week.

Watch Ripple's price move in real-time here>>

Ripple price

 

SEE ALSO: Litecoin creator issues stern warning after the cryptocurrency doubles in a single day

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The stock market is flashing warning signs

Ripple overtakes litecoin as the 4th largest cryptocurrency

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

Ripple Labs

Ripple, a cryptocurrency designed for banks and global money transfers, has more than doubled in price since Monday, overtaking Litecoin as the fourth-largest cryptocurrency. It now has a market cap of $18.64 billion.

The boom has largely coincided with gains in bitcoin and other smaller cryptocurrencies, which have been on a tear since the launch of Bitcoin futures trading by Cboe Global Markets on Sunday. 

“I think a lot of this is simply the market better understanding the realities of digital assets performance (speed, throughput etc)," Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse told Business Insider Wednesday morning.  "There is — appropriately — a lot of excitement about the potential, but XRP is very uniquely positioned to actually be able to deliver on the promise."

Litecoin has been shoved to fifth place in terms of cryptocurrency market cap, according to coinmarketcap.com.It has gained 122% this week.

Watch Ripple's price move in real-time here>>

Ripple price

 

SEE ALSO: Litecoin creator issues stern warning after the cryptocurrency doubles in a single day

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The stock market is flashing warning signs

Ripple overtakes litecoin as the 4th largest cryptocurrency

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

Ripple Labs

Ripple, a cryptocurrency designed for banks and global money transfers, has more than doubled in price since Monday, overtaking Litecoin as the fourth-largest cryptocurrency. It now has a market cap of $18.64 billion.

The boom has largely coincided with gains in bitcoin and other smaller cryptocurrencies, which have been on a tear since the launch of Bitcoin futures trading by Cboe Global Markets on Sunday. 

“I think a lot of this is simply the market better understanding the realities of digital assets performance (speed, throughput etc)," Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse told Business Insider Wednesday morning.  "There is — appropriately — a lot of excitement about the potential, but XRP is very uniquely positioned to actually be able to deliver on the promise."

Litecoin has been shoved to fifth place in terms of cryptocurrency market cap, according to coinmarketcap.com.It has gained 122% this week.

Watch Ripple's price move in real-time here>>

Ripple price

 

SEE ALSO: Litecoin creator issues stern warning after the cryptocurrency doubles in a single day

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: The iPhone X's biggest myth, investing overseas, and why you should buy gold

Ripple overtakes litecoin as the 4th largest cryptocurrency

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

Ripple Labs

Ripple, a cryptocurrency designed for banks and global money transfers, has more than doubled in price since Monday, overtaking Litecoin as the fourth-largest cryptocurrency. It now has a market cap of $18.64 billion.

The boom has largely coincided with gains in bitcoin and other smaller cryptocurrencies, which have been on a tear since the launch of Bitcoin futures trading by Cboe Global Markets on Sunday. 

“I think a lot of this is simply the market better understanding the realities of digital assets performance (speed, throughput etc)," Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse told Business Insider Wednesday morning.  "There is — appropriately — a lot of excitement about the potential, but XRP is very uniquely positioned to actually be able to deliver on the promise."

Litecoin has been shoved to fifth place in terms of cryptocurrency market cap, according to coinmarketcap.com.It has gained 122% this week.

Watch Ripple's price move in real-time here>>

Ripple price

 

SEE ALSO: Litecoin creator issues stern warning after the cryptocurrency doubles in a single day

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: The iPhone X's biggest myth, investing overseas, and why you should buy gold

Ripple overtakes litecoin as the 4th largest cryptocurrency

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

Ripple Labs

Ripple, a cryptocurrency designed for banks and global money transfers, has more than doubled in price since Monday, overtaking Litecoin as the fourth-largest cryptocurrency. It now has a market cap of $18.64 billion.

The boom has largely coincided with gains in bitcoin and other smaller cryptocurrencies, which have been on a tear since the launch of Bitcoin futures trading by Cboe Global Markets on Sunday. 

“I think a lot of this is simply the market better understanding the realities of digital assets performance (speed, throughput etc)," Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse told Business Insider Wednesday morning.  "There is — appropriately — a lot of excitement about the potential, but XRP is very uniquely positioned to actually be able to deliver on the promise."

Litecoin has been shoved to fifth place in terms of cryptocurrency market cap, according to coinmarketcap.com.It has gained 122% this week.

Watch Ripple's price move in real-time here>>

Ripple price

 

SEE ALSO: Litecoin creator issues stern warning after the cryptocurrency doubles in a single day

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: The iPhone X's biggest myth, investing overseas, and why you should buy gold

Disney gains and Fox slips as details of the expected asset sale emerge (DIS, FOXA)

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

21st century fox stock price

  • 21st Century Fox is reportedly in the final stages of selling its entertainment and TV business to Disney.
  • Fox shareholders are expected to hold 25% of Disney's shares after the deal, according to CNBC's David Faber.
  • Fox is down 1.61% to $33.55 after the news.
  • Disney is trading 0.92% higher.
  • A deal is expected to be announced later this week, though it likely won't include announcements about how management of the new companies will be settled, CNBC reports.

Read more about the potential impacts of the deal here.

SEE ALSO: Disney is about to go to war with Netflix and Fox could be a big weapon

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How to buy and sell bitcoin using one of the most popular cryptocurrency apps on the iPhone

A wildly popular stock market strategy is hotter than ever

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

options trader

  • A stock market investment strategy known as "buying the dip" has enjoyed an unprecedented period of popularity and success.
  • This shows that investors are no longer afraid of market weakness, but instead embrace it, says Bank of America Merrill Lynch.


Stock market pullbacks don't worry investors anymore — they embolden them.

For much of the 8 1/2-year equity bull market, traders have deployed a strategy called "buying the dip," which involves adding to bullish positions whenever stocks drop. Even the briefest market decline gives these traders a chance to buy more of a stock that they're into at a lower price.

It's a tactic that's been crucial in keeping the stock market rally afloat, with the ever-present undercurrent of optimism providing a backstop of sorts for major indexes. And it's been so effective that investors are now embracing brief rough patches, says Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

"Investors no longer fear shocks but love them," a group of strategists led by Nitin Saksena wrote in a client note. "Since 2013, central banks have stepped in — or communicated that they may step in — to protect markets, leaving investors confident enough to buy the dip."

Saksena's point about the role of central banks is a crucial one. For years, the accommodative monetary policies of the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and Bank of Japan have underpinned the US equity rally.

The dip-buying phenomenon can be at least partially seen through the propensity of investors to shift directions, often within the same day. Evidence of this is in the chart below, which shows intraday realized volatility recently hit a record high:

Screen Shot 2017 12 13 at 8.58.28 AM

Here are three recent high-profile examples of dip-buying in action:

  • In May, the S&P 500 fell 1.8% in a single day. It then recovered 85% of that loss over the following three days, the second-fastest retracement of a loss that big in the index's history, according to BAML data.
  • In June 2016, the S&P 500 fell by 5.3% over two trading sessions following the UK's vote to leave the European Union. The benchmark then recovered those losses in about a week.
  • In August 2015, when China unexpectedly devalued its currency, the S&P 500 underwent an 11% correction. Then traders bought the dip and restored the index to its pre-selloff levels within about two months.

SEE ALSO: The ghosts of the financial crisis are haunting investors 9 years later

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How to buy and sell bitcoin using one of the most popular cryptocurrency apps on the iPhone

Yellen's farewell at the Fed has become more complicated

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

janet yellen

  • The Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise interest rates on Wednesday, and chair Janet Yellen is set to hold her final press conference. 
  • Less certain is what the Fed forecasts for 2018.
  • The GOP is much closer than it was at the Fed's September meeting to passing tax cuts.
  • How the Fed factors this into its economic forecasts for next year will be key to watch.

 

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to announce its third and final rate hike of the year later on Wednesday.

Its statement, out at 2 p.m. ET, would show that the Federal Open Market Committee decided to raise the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to a range of 1.50% to 1.75%. 

"There have been two significant developments since the last set of FOMC forecasts were released at the September FOMC meeting," said Lewis Alexander, the chief economist at Nomura, in a recent note. 

First, economic data has been stronger than forecasters generally expected.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, the GOP is much closer to passing tax cuts. That has changed the outlook for fiscal policy, which is beyond the Fed's control.

"It remains unclear exactly how many FOMC participants will incorporate increasing prospects for fiscal expansion into their forecasts," Alexander said. But it could prompt some FOMC members to raise their forecasts, he added. 

The dot plot, which shows where FOMC members think interest rates would be over the next few years, could increase by 12.5 basis points on average for 2018 and 2019, said Michael Gapen, the chief US economist at Barclays, in a note. "Further upward adjustment will likely have to wait until either the tax cut passes or there is sufficient evidence to suggest that inflation is firming faster than anticipated," Gapen said.  

Yellen out, Powell in

Since Wednesday's rate hike is widely expected, markets are looking ahead to what the Fed says, or hints, about 2018. 

One thing's for sure: Fed Chair Janet Yellen will leave the helm in February when her four-year term ends. Jerome Powell, President Donald Trump's nominee to replace her, is likely to receive full Senate confirmation following a 22 to 1 vote from the Senate Banking Committee. 

Although the Fed leadership is changing, Powell's appointment is a continuation of the steady policy approach that Yellen has used in what's set to be one of the least volatile tenures.

She'll leave the Fed without overseeing a financial crisis. Over the last four years, the unemployment rate has fallen from 8% to 4.1%; the Fed had only expected the unemployment rate to be this low in 2018. 

But inflation has remained stubbornly low and below the Fed's 2% target, owing to what Yellen has at several times attributed to temporary factors including weak oil and cellphone-plan prices. 

"Getting back to 2% inflation by the end of next year is not going to be too difficult as these one-time surprises come out," said Peter Hooper, the chief economist at Deutsche Bank, at a media briefing on Tuesday.

"What we'll be looking for in the statement is, is there any change in what they've called 'soft core inflation' recently." That's an important signal for whether the Fed raises rates in March, Hooper said. 

SEE ALSO: BlackRock's $1.7 trillion bond chief says don't fear the Fed

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NOW WATCH: How to buy and sell bitcoin using one of the most popular cryptocurrency apps on the iPhone

The Fed is about to raise interest rates again — here's how it happens, and why it matters

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

bi graphicsyellen fed rates increase 4x3

  • The Federal Reserve is set to raise its benchmark interest rate again on Wednesday. 
  • The Fed adjusts the interest rates that banks charge to borrow from one another, which is eventually passed on to consumers. 
  • Some economists say what the Fed is doing now is a bit unusual, because it's raising rates even though inflation is quite low. 

 

Banks give out money all the time — for a fee.

When we borrow and then pay back with interest, it's how banks make money.

The cost of borrowing — interest rates — makes a big difference on which credit card you choose or whether you get one at all.

If your bank wants to make it more expensive to borrow, it's not as simple as just slapping on a new rate, as a grocer would with milk. That's something controlled higher up, by the Federal Reserve, America's central bank.

Why does the Fed care about interest rates?

In 1977, Congress gave the Federal Reserve two main tasks: Keep the prices of things Americans buy stable and create labor-market conditions that provide jobs for all the people who want them.

The Fed has developed a toolkit to achieve these goals of inflation and maximum employment. But interest-rate changes make the most headlines, perhaps because they have a swift effect on how much we pay for credit cards and other short-term loans.

From Washington, the Fed adjusts interest rates to spur all sorts of other changes in the economy. If it wants to encourage consumers to borrow so spending can increase, which should help the economy, it cuts rates and makes borrowing cheap. To do the opposite and cool the economy, it raises rates so that an extra credit card seems less and less desirable.

The Fed often adjusts rates in response to inflation — the increase in prices that happens when people borrow so much that they have more to spend than what's available to buy.

However, what the Fed is doing right now is a bit unusual.

''This is the first tightening cycle where they've been concerned about inflation being too low," said Alan Levenson, the chief economist at T. Rowe Price.

The Fed's preferred measure of inflation last touched its 2% target in 2012. So the Fed can't exactly argue that it is raising rates to fight inflation, although it expects prices to rise.

So how do rates go up or down?

Banks don't lend only to consumers; they lend to one another as well.

That's because at the end of every day, they need to have a certain amount of capital in their reserves. As we spend money, that balance fluctuates, so a bank may need to borrow overnight to meet the minimum capital requirement.

And just as they charge you for a loan, they charge one another. The Fed tries to influence that charge — called the federal funds rate — and it's what they're targeting when they raise or cut rates. When the fed funds rate rises, banks also hike the rates they charge consumers, so borrowing costs increase across the economy.

Floor and ceiling

After the Great Recession, the Fed bought an unprecedented amount in Treasurys to inject cash into banks' accounts. There's now over $2 trillion in excess reserves parked at the Fed (there was less than $500 billion in 2008).

It figured that one way to pare down these Treasurys was to lend some to money-market mutual funds and other dealers. It does this in transactions known as reverse repurchase operations, which basically involve selling the Treasurys and agreeing to buy them back the next day.

The Fed sets a lower "floor" rate on these so-called repos.

Then it sets a higher rate that controls how much it pays banks to hold their cash, known as interest on excess reserves, or IOER. This acts as a ceiling, since banks won't want to lend to one another at a rate lower than what the Fed is paying them (at least in theory).

In July, the last time the Fed raised rates, it set the repo rate at 1% and the IOER rate at 1.25%. With the 25 basis-point increase expected on Wednesday, the new "floor" repo rate would become 1.25% and the ceiling 1.50%.

The effective fed funds rate, which is what banks use to lend to one another, would then float between 1.25% and 1.50%.

When the Fed raises rates, banks are less incentivized to lend, since they are earning more to park their cash in reserves. That reduces the supply of money and raises its price.

fed funds rate

But I'm not a bank

After the Fed successfully lifts the fed funds rate, the baton is passed to banks.

Banks first raise the rate they charge their most creditworthy clients, such as large corporations. This is known as the prime rate. Usually, banks announce this hike a few days after the Fed's announcement.

Things like mortgages and credit-card rates are then benchmarked against the prime rate.

"The effect of a rate hike is going to be felt most immediately on credit cards and home-equity lines of credit, where the quarter-point rate hike will show up typically within 60 days," said Greg McBride, the chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com. 

SEE ALSO: BANK OF AMERICA: The dollar is set for a big rebound after a difficult year

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How to buy and sell bitcoin using one of the most popular cryptocurrency apps on the iPhone

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

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

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., July 18, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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

Here's Lutz:

Morning!   US Futures drifting just below all-time highs on the Roy Moore loss, intensifying need for Congress to wrap up taxes and a budget as GOP majority drops to 51-49 in the Senate.  Nasdaq is outperforming early, while Smalls are in the red slightly.   EU Markets are in the red, slowly losing ground as more US traders man their terminals.  DAX is off 25bp, with Consumer the only sector bid.   Volumes across Europe pacing 25% light, but France trading heavy.  The FTSE is flat, with gains in the FTSE offset by a drop in Staples and a pullback in the Oils.   In Asia, Nikkei retreated 50bp as the Yen jumped on Alabama Headlines - Hang Seng leapt 1.5% despite a lackluster rally in Tencent as Banks rallied - Shanghai added 70bp - KOSPI up 70bp as Travel stocks jumped, led by a 7% surge in Korea Air, while Aussie added small

Ahead of the anticipated Fed hike, the 2YY is on recent highs – The “Dots” will be important, as the Market is Pricing in 2 hikes in 2018, while Economists lookin for 3.  The DXY and 10YY took a small hit on the Moore loss, but have more than recovered that ground as Traders position for a “hot” CPI print this AM, with the 10YY on yesterday’s highs.  Sterling has a bid despite Weak UK Jobs Data, while Euro is under pressure despite better EU Industrial Production.   Gold is up small, but Copper up nearly 1% as Ore gains 60bp in China.   A Big Draw in Crude Stocks has WTI rebounding from yesterday’s weakness, while the bitter cold has traders buying up Natty after the last week’s shellacking. 

Here are the 10 things you need to know today.

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

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How to buy and sell bitcoin using one of the most popular cryptocurrency apps on the iPhone

Bitcoin Price Dilemma: Bull and Bear Paths in Play

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

Bitcoin may be at all-time highs, but it's also at a potentially key crossroads for its price, chart data shows.

$500 Billion: Ethereum, Ripple Prices Carry Crypto Market Cap to Historic Milestone

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

[…]

The post $500 Billion: Ethereum, Ripple Prices Carry Crypto Market Cap to Historic Milestone appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

South Korea Pushes Ripple Price Up 71%, as Japanese Banks Conduct Payment Trials

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

[…]

The post South Korea Pushes Ripple Price Up 71%, as Japanese Banks Conduct Payment Trials appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

How You Can Fund Your Startup With Bitcoin

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

Bitcoin opened up a new world for companies to fund and get funded. Here are some tools that can help you navigate how it works.

Is the Bitcoin Bubble About to Burst? (Some Say a Bitcoin Crash Is Just Around the Corner)

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

Bitcoin is now officially the biggest financial bubble in world history, surpassing the infamous episode of tulip mania in Holland in the early 1600s.

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

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

California wildfire

Here is what you need to know. 

The Fed meetsThe US central bank is widely expected to raise its key interest rate 25 basis points to a range of 1.25% to 1.50% at the conclusion of Wednesday's meeting. 

Roy Moore loses in AlabamaDemocrat Doug Jones was declared the winner in the Alabama special election on Tuesday, shrinking the Republican Party's Senate majority to just one seat.

Tillerson says the US is ready to talk to North Korea"We're ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk, and we're ready to have the first meeting without precondition," Tillerson told former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley during a question and answer session. "Let's just meet. We can talk about the weather if you want ... But can we at least sit down and see each other face to face, and then we can lay out a map, a roadmap, of what we might be willing to work towards."

UK employment dropsThe UK's unemployment rate stayed at a record low 4.3% in the three months to October, but 56,000 fewer people held jobs, according to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics. 

Bank of America says the bull market has plenty of 'gas in the tank.' The bank's technical team says the chart for 2018 looks a lot like 2014, and that the S&P 500 could hit 3,000 by the end of next year.

Litecoin's creator issues a stern warning to investors"Sorry to spoil the party, but I need to reign in the excitement a bit…," Litecoin creator Charlie Lee tweeted. "Buying LTC is extremely risky. I expect us to have a multi-year bear market like the one we just had where LTC dropped 90% in value ($48 to $4). So if you can't handle LTC dropping to $20, don't buy!" 

Tesla hits an 8-week highShares of the electric auto maker touched their best level in eight weeks Tuesday, propelled by news that Pepsi reserved 100 of its Semis. 

Uber loses its license in a 3rd UK cityThe City of York Council's Gambling, Licensing and Regulatory Committee rejected Uber's application to renew its license, citing concerns about the recent data breach and the number of complaints it had received about the service, Reuters says. 

Stock markets around the world trade mixedChina's Shanghai Composite (-1.25%) trailed in Asia and Britain's FTSE (+0.10%) clings to gains in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open little changed near 2,666.

US economic is lightCPI will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is up 1 basis point at 2.41%. 

Join the conversation about this story »

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

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

California wildfire

Here is what you need to know.

The Federal Reserve meets. The US central bank is widely expected to raise its key interest rate by 25 basis points to a range of 1.25% to 1.50% at the conclusion of Wednesday's meeting.

Roy Moore loses in Alabama. The Democrat Doug Jones was declared the winner in the Alabama special election on Tuesday night, shrinking the Republican Party's Senate majority to just one seat.

Tillerson says the US is ready to talk to North Korea. "We're ready to talk any time North Korea would like to talk, and we're ready to have the first meeting without precondition," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the former national security adviser Stephen Hadley during a question-and-answer session. "Let's just meet. We can talk about the weather if you want ... But can we at least sit down and see each other face-to-face, and then we can lay out a map, a road map, of what we might be willing to work towards."

UK employment drops. The UK's unemployment rate stayed at a record-low 4.3% in the three months to October, but 56,000 fewer people held jobs, according to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics.

Bank of America says the bull market has plenty of 'gas in the tank.' The bank's technical team says that the chart for 2018 looks a lot like that of 2014 and that the S&P 500 could hit 3,000 by the end of next year.

Litecoin's creator issues a stern warning to investors. "Sorry to spoil the party, but I need to reign in the excitement a bit," Litecoin's creator, Charlie Lee, tweeted. "Buying LTC is extremely risky. I expect us to have a multi-year bear market like the one we just had where LTC dropped 90% in value ($48 to $4). So if you can't handle LTC dropping to $20, don't buy!"

Tesla hits an 8-week high. Shares of the electric-car maker touched their best level in eight weeks Tuesday, propelled by news that Pepsi reserved 100 of the company's Semis.

Uber loses its license in a 3rd UK city. The City of York Council's Gambling, Licensing, and Regulatory Committee rejected Uber's application to renew its license, citing concerns about the recent data breach and the number of complaints it had received about the service, Reuters says.

Stock markets around the world trade mixed. China's Shanghai Composite (-1.25%) trailed in Asia, and Britain's FTSE (+0.10%) clings to gains in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open little changed near 2,666.

US economic data is light. CPI will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is up 1 basis point at 2.41%.

Join the conversation about this story »

Mt Gox Creditors File Petition to Demand Recovery Payments in BItcoin

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

[…]

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Richard Jacobs, Founder of the Future Tech Podcast, Is Giving Away 100 Copies of His New Bitcoin Book

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

[…]

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The ghosts of the financial crisis are haunting investors 9 years later

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

trader financial crisis

  • Overly cautious investors have missed out on huge market opportunities in 2017, says investment manager Richard Bernstein.
  • That investor reluctance is a byproduct of the last financial crisis, the memories of which still inform cautious behavior to this day.
  • Despite the missed opportunities, Bernstein is still bullish on stocks heading into 2018.


The market crash of 2008 was the worst anyone could remember. Now, nearly nine years and a 300% stock market rebound later, stock investors are still grappling with the ghosts of the financial crisis, even as the bull market rages on.

The lingering memory has kept investors from capitalizing on prime market opportunities along the way, including this year, which saw the S&P 500 soar 19%, according to Richard Bernstein, the CEO and chief investment officer of Richard Bernstein Advisors.

Instead, investors have proceeded with caution, shelling out loads of money to hedge against losses, not wanting to be caught off-guard by another huge market downturn. It's become the new normal for traders, who have embraced the undercurrent of skepticism.

"Investors still do not fully appreciate the magnitude of opportunity cost they have paid to alleviate their fears that 2008 would repeat," Bernstein, a former Merrill Lynch chief investment strategist, wrote in a research note. "Fear has caused 2017 to largely be another year of missed opportunities."

Bernstein doesn't buy into this fear. He's crunched the numbers, and says the 55% plunge seen in 2008 has an extremely low likelihood of happening again. As shown in the chart below, even a loss of 30% or more has occurred very rarely throughout history.

"Drawdowns similar to 2008's have historically occurred only 0.5% of the time!" he wrote. "Yet, both individual and institutional investors have been structuring portfolios as though the markets were necessarily going to replay 2008."

Screen Shot 2017 12 12 at 2.18.39 PM

Investor psychology after a market crash

Despite Bernstein's consternation, the behavior being exhibited by the market is a natural reaction to past trauma. After a catastrophic drop, it often takes investors years to gather enough confidence to re-enter the market. Then, after they've missed that first stretch of gains, doubts around the rally's longevity start to creep in, keeping them from unabashedly loading up on bullish positions.

As a result, even the smartest investors can miss out on what, in retrospect, look like easy gains. Ultimately, the whole process serves to show just how difficult it is to play a market rally with the ideal combination of timing and confidence.

For another example, look no further than the second half of the 1990s, when stocks were enjoying what still stands as the longest bull market on record. Still stung by the 1987 crash, bearish strategists called for market downturns for years, starting around 1995. That plunge didn't end up transpiring until the dotcom bubble burst in 2000, and many of them lost their jobs along the way.

Meanwhile, the bulls that rode the wave higher into the crash were eventually discredited for failing to see it coming. Many investment professionals affected by that cycle are still in the market today, which goes a long way towards explaining the cautiously optimistic tone being derided by Bernstein.

Bernstein's 2018 outlook

Interestingly enough, it's that same cautious backdrop that's informing Bernstein's bullishness headed into 2018. When investors are wary of their surroundings, it helps keep overexuberance from creeping into the market — the same type of overconfidence that has historically blinded traders from a cracking foundation.

Those skeptics are also responsible for the types of temporary pullbacks that are healthy for the market. As soon as major indexes slip a bit, bullish investors are waiting there to scoop up more exposure at more reasonable valuations. This so-called "dip buying" has driven a great deal of equity strength during the bull market.

Bernstein's bullish outlook for next year is also built on what it sees as continued earnings growth — a positive catalyst that's frequently viewed as the foremost source of the almost nine-year rally. Further, he sees "significant liquidity" as another source of strength, even as the Federal Reserve engages in monetary tightening.

In the end, Bernstein's quasi-cynical view on the 2017 market is one that distracts from the fact that stocks are still surging higher. Sure, some investors have missed out on some gains, but the downside alternative is far more stark.

And when that market reckoning does happen, we get to start this process all over again, hopefully with the added benefit of hindsight.

SEE ALSO: The next stock market crash will look a lot different from the financial crisis

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How to buy and sell bitcoin using one of the most popular cryptocurrency apps on the iPhone

The Morning After: Wednesday, December 13th 2017

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

Good morning! It's the middle of the week and some of us are mortgaging our homes to get into Bitcoin. Meanwhile, SpaceX's recycled spacecrafts get together, Apple's new iMac is coming and we open nominations for the Best of CES 2018. Yep, the Consum...

Meghan Markle is spending Christmas Day with Prince Harry and the Queen at Sandringham

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

Prince Harry Meghan Markle engagement photos

  • Meghan Markle will spend Christmas Day with fiancee Prince Harry and the rest of the royal family, according to Sky News.
  • Kensington Palace reportedly confirmed that the unmarried couple would break tradition by spending the holiday together at Sandringham.


Kensington Palace has confirmed that Meghan Markle will spend Christmas Day with fiancé Prince Harry, the Queen, and the rest of the royal family at Sandringham in Norfolk.

The move is a break in tradition, as unmarried partners have previously not been invited to spend Christmas with the royals. Even Kate Middleton wasn't invited to join the family for Christmas in 2010, despite getting engaged to Prince William a month before.

A Kensington Palace spokesman told Sky News: "You can expect to see The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, and Ms Markle at Sandringham on Christmas Day."

The Telegraph reported that the couple will "be seen in public with other royals when they attend the traditional Christmas Day church service on the Queen's private estate."

Prince Harry announced his engagement to the "Suits" actress last month. The couple are reportedly planning their own "fun" wedding at Windsor Castle, where they are set to wed in May 2018.

Meghan Markle Prince Harry

Their plans to spend Christmas together aren't the only way their engagement has marked a move into a more modern future for the royal family.

There are a number of factors related to Markle's background — aside from the fact she's a well-known celebrity — that make the royal engagement different to most that have come before.

Not only is Markle American, but she comes from a humble upbringing, is a divorcee, and is expected to be the first mixed-race person to marry into the family for generations.

SEE ALSO: These are all of the ways Meghan Markle smashes traditional royal stereotypes

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This is one of the best responses to Jamie Dimon calling bitcoin a fraud that we have heard so far

Japan's GMO Internet to Roll Out Bitcoin Payroll System

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

Japanese internet giant GMO revealed yesterday that it soon allow staff to receive some of their salary in bitcoin.

Indian Tax Authorities Visit Bitcoin Exchanges Across the Country

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

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The post Indian Tax Authorities Visit Bitcoin Exchanges Across the Country appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

'The gap has narrowed': UK unemployment is close to a record low — and wage growth is finally picking up

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

Worker employment jobs

  • UK unemployment rate stays at joint record low of 4.3%, with 26,000 fewer people out of work.
  • However, employment numbers fall — 56,000 fewer people in work than in the previous data period, the ONS says.
  • Average earnings increase by 2.5% including bonuses — remaining below inflation.


LONDON – UK unemployment remains at its joint lowest level since 1975, while wage growth is beginning to pick up, according to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics.

The unemployment rate was 4.3% in the three months to October, unchanged from the previous reading.

While the headline rate didn't change, unemployment did fall in the three months to October, with 26,000 fewer people out of work.

The employment rate, which measures the proportion of people aged 16-64 in work, hit 75.1% – up from 75% at the last reading

In total, there are 32.08 million people at work in the UK, according to the figures, 56,000 fewer than for May to July 2017.

The average weekly earnings for UK workers increased by 2.5% including bonuses and by 2.3% excluding bonuses, both better than forecast prior to the release.

Here's the chart showing the longer term trend of wage growth:

Screen Shot 2017 12 13 at 09.41.10

Wednesday's unemployment data comes 24 hours after ONS data showed that inflation rose to its highest level in almost six years last month.

The UK's Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rate — the key measure of inflation — was 3.1% in November, up from 3% in October, reaching its highest level since March 2012.

That means that while earnings growth may be picking up, it is still lagging inflation and UK workers are seeing their real wages continuing to decline.

"Employment stayed close to its record high and while up on a year ago, declined compared with the previous three months," senior ONS statistician Matt Hughes said in a statement accompanying the release.

"Unemployment also fell, but there was a rise in the number of people who were neither working nor looking for a job. Meanwhile the number of vacancies continues to grow, reaching a new record high."

"There has been a slight pick-up in pay growth in cash terms, which means that although earnings are still growing less than inflation, the gap has narrowed."

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Revenue at online estate agent Purplebricks jumps 150% — as analysts question results 'riddles'

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

Screen Shot 2017 12 13 at 08.25.48

  • Purplebricks said group revenue for the six months to October 31 to was up 150% to £46.8 million, while UK revenue was up 118% to £39.9 million.
  • million,


LONDON — Online estate agent Purplebricks said revenue jumped 150% since May, but analysts questioned why its statement didn't specify how many homes are being sold on the platform.

A statement from Purplebricks said group revenue for the six months to October 31 to was up 150% to £46.8 million, while UK revenue was up 118% to £39.9 million.

Its UK business posted an operating profit of £3.2 million. The company spent £10.1 million on marketing aimed at touting the benefits of buying and selling houses online. 

Questions remain over the PurpleBricks model, however, and several analysts think its shares are overpriced, with shares dropping nearly 3% in early trading on Wednesday. An emailed note from analysts Jefferies said the results statement didn't make clear how many houses had actually been sold on the platform, which charged sellers' fees of £1,138 on average.

The note said (emphasis ours): 

"Once again, we find that Purplebricks continues to speak in riddles - 'we sold and completed £4.6bn of property with a further £3.8bn in the pipeline'.

"However, we cannot tell how many homes that equates to. And that is the one thing we think potential customers should be asking: 'If I pay you more than £1,000 what are the chances that you sell my home and how close will you get to the asking price? 

"How many homes they sell ... remains the key KPI by which, in our view, Purplebricks will succeed or fail."

"We believe this early stage disruptor has yet to prove the efficacy of its business model. Should the model stumble, the share price may do likewise."

The news comes in a year when shares in estate agents using the traditional branch model have fallen amid tough trading conditions and growing competition from "disruptor" firms like PurpleBricks.

Shares in Countrywide plummeted in July after it posted a 98% collapse in pre-tax profits, while Foxtons also said year-on-year revenues to October shrank due largely to challenging conditions in London.

Purplebricks, which has expanded its operation to the USA and Australia, said it now accounts for 74% of UK estate agents' market, although total market share still only represents between 2.5% and 5% of all sales and transactions, a figure which has increased sharply in the past two years.

Shares were down 2.74% to 385p at 9.15 a.m. GMT:

Screen Shot 2017 12 13 at 09.13.38

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NOW WATCH: This is one of the best responses to Jamie Dimon calling bitcoin a fraud that we have heard so far

Bitcoin Has Gone Mainstream. That's a Very Big Deal

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

While we're still a long way from mass adoption, this is a moment of global awareness and dialogue that is opening up a wide array of possibilities.

One of Europe's biggest derivatives exchanges opened late after experiencing 'serious issues'

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

A Feb. 26, 2007 file picture shows the trading floor of the stock exchange in Frankfurt, central Germany.

  • Two of Deutsche Boerse's trading platforms experience major "issues" on Wednesday morning.
  • Outages force both the Eurex and Xetra platforms to begin trading late.
  • By 8.00 a.m. GMT issues had been dealt with, Deutsche Boerse said.


LONDON – Two of the trading platforms at Deutsche Boerse opened late on Wednesday morning after experiencing "issues."

Deutsche Boerse's Xetra trading platform experienced disruptions due to technical problems, the company said on its website, but did not provide any further information about what the issues were. A notice announcing the disruption has since been removed from the site.

By just after 8.00 a.m. GMT (9.00 a.m. CET; 3.00 a.m. ET) Deutsche Boerse said that the Xetra platform was functioning properly, and that trading had resumed on the exchange.

Xetra is among the largest venues for the trading of equities and exchange-traded funds in Europe. 

At the same time as the Xetra outage, Deutsche Boerse also said that its Eurex platform was experiencing "serious issues." Eurex's main focus in terms of trading is on futures and derivatives. 

The issues that impacted Xetra and Eurex did not spill into Deutsche Boerse's main trading platform.

Deutsche Boerse is one of the exchange groups battling to attract any clearing business that is forced out of London, announcing a scheme back in October whereby it will share profits with the largest participants on its Eurex clearing platform in an attempt to bring more business to the country.

The location of euro-denominated trade clearing has been a hot topic since the euro first entered circulation in the late 1990s.

European policymakers have argued that euro clearing should take place within the euro area. Britain has repeatedly had to defend its right to clear euro trades, given that it does not have the euro. Years of disputes culminated in a legal battle in 2015, which the UK ultimately won.

However, Brexit has provided fresh impetus for those seeking to move clearing out of London. The ECB proposed a change to its statutes that would give it "a clear legal competence in the area of central clearing," back in June.

Under the new scheme, Eurex will give a share of its profits to its 10 most active participants, as well as offering seats on its board to the biggest five.

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Swedish pension fund backs card reading startup iZettle in €40 million round

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

iZettle contactless with Apple Watch

  • iZettle raises €40 million from VC firm Dawn and The Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund.
  • iZettle makes card readers for small businesses.
  • Swedish company says funding will "accelerate our ambitious growth plan."


LONDON — Swedish card reading startup iZettle has raised €40 million (£35.2 million) to fund growth, just months after its last funding round and amid increased market competition in Europe.

iZettle announced on Tuesday that it had raised the sum from VC firm Dawn and The Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund, which manages SEK 348 billion (£30.9 billion) of assets. Existing investors also took part in the funding round.

The investment comes just three months after iZettle raised €30 million (£26.4 million) from the European Investment Bank (EIB). The Swedish startup has raised over €250 million (£220 million) of investment to date.

CEO and cofounder Jacob de Geer said in a statement that the new money would be used "to accelerate our ambitious growth plan and product innovation."

Founded in 2011, iZettle makes card reading terminals for small businesses. It operates in 12 countries in Europe and Latin America. De Geer told Business Insider in July that iZettle was averaging 1,000 new sign-ups a day.

Per Colleen, head of fundamental equities at The Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund, said in a statement: "We believe in iZettle’s long-term development opportunity through their data-rich technology platform, built for scalability combined with five years of unique insights about the needs of small businesses, which makes it an attractive investment case."

The investment comes amid heightened competition for iZettle. Square, the US company that offers a similar product to iZettle, launched in the UK in June, its first foray outside of the US. Job ads suggest it is looking to expand further in Europe.

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Seedrs CEO hails 'standout year' as total investment on crowdfunding platform passes £300 million

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

Jeff Kelisky, CEO of Seedrs

  • Investments made over crowdfunding platform Seedrs pass £300 million.
  • Thin trade on the secondary market opened in May but Seedrs touts returns of up to 19X.


LONDON — The total investments made over crowdfunding platform Seedrs since launch passed £300 million in 2017.

Notable funding rounds over the platform include digital banking app Revolut raising £3.8 million and Dutch trading app Bux raising €1.4 million. Seedrs itself raised £6 million over its platform in October as part of a £10 million funding round.

CEO Jeff Kelisky, who took the role in August, said in a statement: "2017 has been a standout year for both Seedrs and the wider space, but we have long been looking ahead to 2018 and planning how we can continue to lead the equity crowdfunding space with innovative technology, game-changing products and many more portfolio success stories."

Seedrs investors saw two exits in 2017, with beauty business blow LTD acquired by Debenhams and investing platform Wealthify snapped up by Aviva. Seedrs said crowdfunding investors reaped "strong returns" but didn't specify the amount.

The crowdfunding platform, one of the two biggest in the UK, also launched a secondary market in May to offer investors the option to trade shares in the private businesses. Stats shares by Seedrs show thin trade in the market, with just 682 trades involving 126 companies. Seedrs said early investors into Welsh e-commerce company Veeqo booked returns of up to 19x on a tax-adjusted basis in trade on the secondary market.

Recent research by the University of Cambridge found that equity crowdfunding remains a small part of the UK's "alternative finance" sector, with £272 million invested in crowdfunding this year compared to £1.23 billion invested in peer-to-peer business loans.

Seedrs, which is backed by tennis star Andy Murray, lost £3.8 million on revenues of £1 million last year.

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NOW WATCH: Economist Jim Rickards on gold versus bitcoin — intrinsic value is meaningless for both but the bitcoin prices aren't real

Bitcoin is Riding a “Speculative Mania”, Says Australia’s Central Bank Chief

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

The RBA's governor questions bitcoin's usage as a currency.

The post Bitcoin is Riding a “Speculative Mania”, Says Australia’s Central Bank Chief appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

'Meghan Markle' and 'fidget spinners' top UK Google search

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

Other most searched topics included the UK general election and the crypto-currency Bitcoin.

The 15 charts that defined the global economy in 2017

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

FILE PHOTO:    Governor of the Bank of Japan Haruhiko Kuroda (L to R), United States Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi walk after posing for a photo opportunity during the annual central bank research conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, August 25, 2017.  REUTERS/Jade Barker/File Photo

LONDON – For the financial markets and the global economy, 2017 has been a pretty good year.

All the major fears about 2017 that dominated the latter stages of 2016 — a market crash in the event of a Trump presidency, a Brexit-triggered recession in the UK, and a collapse of the eurozone following the implosion of the Italian banking system — have failed to materialise.

The economic story of the year has largely been one of positive growth and rising stocks.

That's not to say, however, that 2017 has been dull or incident free. To name but a few major talking points, we've had the Federal Reserve continuing their tightening cycle, the Bank of England raising interest rates for the first time in more than 10 years, and the unstoppable surge of bitcoin.

In markets, often the best way to illustrate what's going on is with a chart. Charts are great ways of simply explaining fiendishly difficult concepts, and can paint a much clearer picture than words much of the time.

As such, as we approach the year's end, Business Insider decided to round up a selection of the charts that we feel define what went on in the world economy in 2017. Time to take a look back.

The Bank of England hikes interest rates

The BoE aggressively cut interest rates during the 2007-2009 period in order to cope with the shock brought to the British economy by the global financial crisis, but remained on hold for more than seven years after that. Between 2009 and August 2016 the base rate stayed at 0.5%.

It then dropped to 0.25% after the bank's emergency cut in August, which intended to soothe the economy in the immediate aftermath of June's Brexit vote.

Just over a year after that cut, the bank took a step it hadn't made in more than ten years by raising rates. Sure, it wasn't a big move, taking the base rate back to 0.5%, but it was significant.

That is especially true as the Monetary Policy Committee signalled strongly that it will look to increase rates further going forward should the UK economy stay reasonably strong in the face of Brexit.



Bitcoin goes bananas

Perhaps the biggest financial story of the year is the meteoric rise of bitcoin. Sure, the cryptocurrency has been around since 2009, but 2017 marked the year when it really came into the mainstream.

On January 1, bitcoin was trading at $908 per coin. Fast forward just less than 12 months, and the price of a single bitcoin is now in excess of $16,000 as investors from around the world speculatively pour money into the asset.

Bitcoin has caused a big divide between more traditional financial institutions and players — a large proportion of whom see bitcoin as pointless and worthless — and those who believe that cryptocurrencies, and the blockchain technology that underlies them, will change the way the global economy works forever.

In December, bitcoin's mainstream status was confirmed when the Cboe exchange started offering bitcoin futures, allowing investors to bet on the future direction of the currency.



Exchange Traded Funds are on fire

An exchange-traded fund is a passive fund which tracks an index, rather than an active investment, and seeks to outperform a given index through frequent buying and selling of individual investments.

In 2017, ETFs exist for virtually every imaginable asset class, with investment firms selling ETFs in everything from Bunds to gold, and the overall value of the market is now more than $4 trillion.

Investors have poured money into the products in the past handful of years because when the times are good, ETFs can offer much larger returns than simply investing in underlying assets, or putting money into actively managed funds, which tend to have much higher fees than ETFs.

Since 2008, the value of the global ETF market has ballooned by five times, and was described as  "extraordinary," by Deutsche Bank's renowned strategist Jim Reid and his team earlier this year.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

10 things you need to know in markets today

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

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Judge Roy Moore speaks during a campaign rally in Midland City, Alabama, U.S., December 11, 2017.

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

1. Investor confidence sank to a record low in 2017, below crisis and wartime levels, as a result of political and economic uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote, according to new research. Hargreaves Lansdown's Investor Confidence Index shows confidence for 2017 was the lowest annual figure on record since the Index began in 1995.

2. Uber just lost its license in a third UK city — the latest in a long line of setbacks to befall the ride-hailing firm. On Tuesday, the City of York Council's Gambling, Licensing and Regulatory Committee rejected Uber's application to renew its private hire operator's license, citing concerns about a massive data breach that is currently under investigation, and the number of complaints it had received about the service.

3. US stocks climbed to a record high ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday, where the central bank is expected to announce a 25-basis-point rate hike (the decision is due at 7.00 p.m. GMT/2.00 p.m. ET). The S&P 500 increased 0.2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.5%, and the more tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 slid 0.2%.

4. Asian stocks are mixed. Japan's Nikkei closed down 0.52%, but the Hong Kong Hang Seng is up 1.32% at the time of writing (6.30 a.m. GMT/1.30 a.m. ET), and China's Shanghai Composite index is up 0.53% at the same time.

5. UK unemployment and wage growth numbers are coming. The Office for National Statistics will publish figures for November and October at 9.30 a.m. GMT/4.30 a.m. ET). Economists are expecting the headline unemployment rate to fall from 4.3% to 4.2%, and for wage growth excluding bonuses to remain at 2.2%.

6. Ryanair pilots who are members of the Irish Airline Pilots' Association (IALPA) will strike on Wednesday 20 December as part of a dispute over workers' rights. A statement from IMPACT, the parent organisation of the IALPA, said pilots — mostly captains — backed industrial action by a margin of 96% to 4% in secret ballots conducted over the last week.

7. As interest in bitcoin soars, a senior Facebook executive is joining the board of Coinbase, a startup that helps consumers trade and store the cryptocurrency. David Marcus, who heads up Facebook Messenger, is joining the digital currency exchange's board of directors, Coinbase announced Tuesday.

8. Cryptomania has propelled two lesser-known cryptocurrencies to record highs Tuesday, forcing one exchange to halt trading. Coinbase halted trading of red-hot litecoin and ether on Tuesday, according to cryptocurrency watcher CoinDesk. 

9. One of the largest brokerages is set to allow its clients to short bitcoin, giving folks bearish on the coin a way to bet against it. According to reporting by Bloomberg News, Interactive Brokers will let clients take short positions in the Cboe Global Markets' bitcoin futures market, which launched Sunday.

10. British importers and exporters remain pessimistic about their prospects after Brexit despite the government reaching an agreement with the EU after the first round of talks. Financial services firm Bibby found that 37% of SMEs trading overseas believe Brexit will be bad for their business, while just 11% trading internationally believe Brexit will benefit them in the next three years.

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10 things you need to know in markets today

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

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Judge Roy Moore speaks during a campaign rally in Midland City, Alabama, U.S., December 11, 2017.

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

1. Investor confidence sank to a record low in 2017, below crisis and wartime levels, as a result of political and economic uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote, according to new research. Hargreaves Lansdown's Investor Confidence Index shows confidence for 2017 was the lowest annual figure on record since the Index began in 1995.

2. Uber just lost its license in a third UK city — the latest in a long line of setbacks to befall the ride-hailing firm. On Tuesday, the City of York Council's Gambling, Licensing and Regulatory Committee rejected Uber's application to renew its private hire operator's license, citing concerns about a massive data breach that is currently under investigation, and the number of complaints it had received about the service.

3. US stocks climbed to a record high ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday, where the central bank is expected to announce a 25-basis-point rate hike (the decision is due at 7.00 p.m. GMT/2.00 p.m. ET). The S&P 500 increased 0.2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.5%, and the more tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 slid 0.2%.

4. Asian stocks are mixed. Japan's Nikkei closed down 0.52%, but the Hong Kong Hang Seng is up 1.32% at the time of writing (6.30 a.m. GMT/1.30 a.m. ET), and China's Shanghai Composite index is up 0.53% at the same time.

5. UK unemployment and wage growth numbers are coming. The Office for National Statistics will publish figures for November and October at 9.30 a.m. GMT/4.30 a.m. ET). Economists are expecting the headline unemployment rate to fall from 4.3% to 4.2%, and for wage growth excluding bonuses to remain at 2.2%.

6. Ryanair pilots who are members of the Irish Airline Pilots' Association (IALPA) will strike on Wednesday 20 December as part of a dispute over workers' rights. A statement from IMPACT, the parent organisation of the IALPA, said pilots — mostly captains — backed industrial action by a margin of 96% to 4% in secret ballots conducted over the last week.

7. As interest in bitcoin soars, a senior Facebook executive is joining the board of Coinbase, a startup that helps consumers trade and store the cryptocurrency. David Marcus, who heads up Facebook Messenger, is joining the digital currency exchange's board of directors, Coinbase announced Tuesday.

8. Cryptomania has propelled two lesser-known cryptocurrencies to record highs Tuesday, forcing one exchange to halt trading. Coinbase halted trading of red-hot litecoin and ether on Tuesday, according to cryptocurrency watcher CoinDesk. 

9. One of the largest brokerages is set to allow its clients to short bitcoin, giving folks bearish on the coin a way to bet against it. According to reporting by Bloomberg News, Interactive Brokers will let clients take short positions in the Cboe Global Markets' bitcoin futures market, which launched Sunday.

10. British importers and exporters remain pessimistic about their prospects after Brexit despite the government reaching an agreement with the EU after the first round of talks. Financial services firm Bibby found that 37% of SMEs trading overseas believe Brexit will be bad for their business, while just 11% trading internationally believe Brexit will benefit them in the next three years.

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South Korean Government Holds Emergency Meeting to Discuss Bitcoin

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Multi-Billion Dollar Japanese Tech Conglomerate to Pay Employees in Bitcoin

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Victory Lap? 2017 Was Bitcoin's Backwards Year

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

2017 was another bad year in bitcoin in the eyes of long-time industry observer Jim Harper, but he sees a silver lining at the end of the story.

Bitcoin bears are being unleashed onto the cryptocurrency's futures market

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

bitcoin machine

  • Interactive Brokers is now letting its users go short on bitcoin in the newly launched futures market.
  • It'll give investors a vehicle by which they can bet against the future price of the coin, which is up more than 1,600% this year.


One of the largest brokerages is letting its clients short bitcoin, giving folks bearish on the coin a way to bet against it.

According to reporting by Bloomberg News, Interactive Brokers will let clients take short positions in the Cboe Global Markets' bitcoin futures market, which launched Sunday.

A spokeswoman for the firm told Bloomberg the move was "in response to client demand."

The company has allowed users to invest in the new market via long positions, requiring a larger down payment for trades than the standard required by Cboe. It is one of the largest players in the market, so far.

"Interactive Brokers has a few requirements for shorting bitcoin futures: the spread must be one-to-one, and the short leg must have the earlier expiry date so that once it expires the surviving leg will be long," Bloomberg reported.

Prior to the launch of futures, the firm's chairman asked the CFTC to prevent exchanges from launching such a market.

Big Wall Street banks have been more cautious, showing no indication of entering the market in the short term. JPMorgan and Citigroup, two of the largest futures brokers, are not clearing trades for its clients.

A person familiar with JPMorgan's operations told Business Insider the firm didn't want to be in the market on day one, citing concerns about liquidity and too much risk being placed on clearing houses if the bitcoin market blows up. When there's enough volumes, the bank might consider dipping its toes into the market.

Cryptocurrency hype has reached peak levels, with coins across the market hitting new highs on a daily basis and cryptocurrency exchanges under pressure to meet spiking demand from more and more users. Bitcoin broke through $17,500 on Tuesday and the entire market for digital coins was close to $500 billion.

Read the report at Bloomberg »

Screen Shot 2017 12 12 at 1.58.39 PM

SEE ALSO: SEC head Jay Clayton weighs in on cryptocurrency mania

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Bitcoin Futures Codes: How to Read Them And What They Mean

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

So you want to trade bitcoin futures? First, learn the Chicago exchanges' highly counterintuitive naming system for monthly contracts.

Just one in 10 small international firms think Brexit will benefit their business

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

David Davis

  • Importers have been hit hardest by the Brexit vote, but exporters also appear to be suffering.
  • 37% of SMEs trading overseas believe Brexit will be bad for their business, while just 11% trading internationally believe Brexit will benefit them in the next three years.


LONDON — British importers and exporters remain pessimistic about their prospects after Brexit despite the government reaching an agreement with the EU after the first round of talks.

A from financial services firm Bibby found that 37% of SMEs trading overseas believe Brexit will be bad for their business, while just 11% trading internationally believe Brexit will benefit them in the next three years. Thirty-six percent say they have already been negatively impacted by the referendum.

While importers — who have been hit hardest due to a fall in the pound's value — have been hit hardest, the survey also illustrates that exporters appear to be suffering too.

The impact of Brexit according to SMEs

Screen Shot 2017 12 12 at 15.02.30

"The effects of Brexit are not binary and exporters are also telling us that widespread uncertainty, falling consumer confidence and currency volatility are affecting them," said Bibby's UK chief executive Edward Winterton.

The ONS said in September that exporters appeared to have "hoarded" the gains from a falling pound by hiking prices, rather than allowing prices to decline in line with the falling pound, meaning sales have not risen as they might be expected to.

"Businesses are heavily intertwined across the single market where they rely on access to customers, suppliers and labour. It’s mission-critical that talks with the EU progress quickly onto the next stage so that the UK can secure the best trade [deal] it can with the EU 27," said Winterton.

The government agreed to progress to the second phase of Brexit talks with the EU earlier this week after making concessions on key areas of negotiations including the Irish border, EU citizens' rights, and a "divorce" payment.

The survey was conducted among 500 SMEs with turnover up to £25 million

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Brexit has driven UK investor confidence to an all-time low – below levels seen during the 2008 crisis and Iraq war

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

Wall street traders panic

  • Investor confidence for 2017 is the worst on record, according to Hargreaves Lansdown's Investor Confidence Index.
  • Confidence for the year is worse than the average for 2008, during the financial crisis, as a result of Brexit, the snap election and memories of the 2008 crisis.
  • Following months of political uncertainty, confidence this year was lowest during December.


LONDON — Investor confidence sank to a record low in 2017, below crisis and wartime levels, as a result of political and economic uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote, according to new research.

Hargreaves Lansdown's Investor Confidence Index shows confidence for 2017 was the lowest annual figure on record since the Index began in 1995. Confidence averaged 76 for the year, one point lower than that recorded in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis.

image001

Overall, the report said, sentiment for 2017 was worse than at any time since 1995, "including the tech crash, the Enron scandal, the second Gulf War, and the financial crisis."

"Investor confidence is pretty low, largely because the UK faces a changeable political and economic situation, as a result of Brexit and the 2017 general election, while the financial crisis still casts a long shadow over proceedings," said Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Confidence this year was lowest in December, dropping to 67 from November's reading of 77. Given 2016's average was also a low of 78, the report said, we are now in a "prolonged period of extremely poor sentiment amongst investors."

Political uncertainty

The result of June's snap election — which led to a "fragile government, and the ongoing prospect of another election being called at the drop of a hat" — dampened confidence further, said the report. While the average reading for 2017 prior to June's election was 83, this has since fallen to 74.

In November, a survey by the Bank of England showed the biggest perceived risk to the UK's financial system was the UK's political system. Weakening confidence was also driven by the fact that "social media has given voice to as many worrying statistics as you'd care to come up with," said the report, as well as the long shadow cast by the financial crisis.

In the wake of low confidence, said Khalaf, investors are "fleeing UK equities in droves," with £2.2 billion withdrawn from UK equity funds in the ten months to October.

Although the EU referendum "destabilised British politics," said Khalaf, he cautioned that Brexit's full effects "will not be known for many years" and that investors should not "get hypnotized into paralysis by the swinging pendulum of the Brexit negotiations.

Stock market highs

Despite poor investor confidence, the FTSE 100 repeatedly hit record highs in 2017. This has been widely attributed to a "weak currency and cheap money" since the Brexit vote, said Khalaf — supporting factors which show "little sign" of abating in the near future.

According to the report, the general caution being exercised by investors suggests the progress made by the UK stock market "has not been built on irrational exuberance."

This year was also a record breaker for fund sales, the report said: in the year to October, sales totalled £38.8 billion.

The lowest monthly confidence figure recorded by the Index to date was in November 2016, when it plummeted to 59. Sentiment was similarly low in March 2008, during the financial crisis, and May 2012, during the Eurozone debt crisis, falling to 61 points in both cases.

image002

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Indiegogo makes it easy to hop on the cryptocurrency bandwagon

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

There's a frenzy over cryptocurrency at the moment (helped in no small part by bitcoin's sky-high value), and Indiegogo is determined to milk the trend for all it's worth. The crowdfunding site has partnered with MicroVentures to enable investments...

As bitcoin skyrockets, a top Facebook exec is joining the board of Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange (FB)

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

david marcus facebook messenger executive

  • Facebook Messenger boss David Marcus is joining the board of bitcoin startup Coinbase.
  • The move is a big win for Coinbase, which has the most popular app in the Apple's US App Store, thanks to the bitcoin craze.
  • Marcus previously served as PayPal's president.


As interest in bitcoin soars, a senior Facebook executive is joining the board of Coinbase, a startup that helps consumers trade and store the cryptocurrency.

David Marcus, who heads up Facebook Messenger, is joining the digital currency exchange's board of directors, Coinbase announced Tuesday. Marcus has some experience in the digital payments space; before joining Facebook, he was the president of PayPal.

In a blog post, Brian Armstrong, Coinbase's CEO, said he was "pleased" to have Marcus join the company.

His "experience will add breadth and depth to the Coinbase board and will help the leadership team as the company focuses on becoming the most popular and safest place to buy and sell digital currencies," Armstrong said.

In the same blog post, Marcus said he'd been keeping a close eye on cryptocurrencies since 2012 and was excited about how Coinbase was popularizing their use.

"I’m convinced that what the company is working on has the potential to materially change the lives of people around the world, and I’m looking forward to working with Coinbase and its leadership team to help make this vision a reality," he said.

Marcus' appointment comes as bitcoin is exploding in value, hitting all-time highs in recent days of more than $17,000. Coinbase is currently the most popular iPhone app in the United States. But it has struggled to keep up with usage, recently experiencing technical issues and downtime.

bitcoin price dec 12 markets insider 3 monthsLuring Marcus to its board is a big win for Coinbase. Arguably, he will be the company's highest-profile director, sitting alongside Andreessen Horowitz's Chris Dixon and Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures.

Bitcoin's skyrocketing price may be good business for Coinbase, but it has some observers worrying about the effects of a potential crash, amid reports that some people are taking out mortgages to buy into the digital currency.

Earlier this week, Armstrong asked customers in a blog post to "invest responsibly," warning them of the risks of "extreme volatility" and the potential for further technical issues.

Read more about the blockchain technology that powers bitcoin, here.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Messenger's David Marcus shrugged off accusations of copying Snapchat

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