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Ripple General Counsel Departs Cryptocurrency Firm Amid Class-Action Dispute over XRP

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

A top lawyer at cryptocurrency startup Ripple has left the company, a spokesperson confirmed to CCN on Friday. Brynly Llyr, who joined the San Francisco-based blockchain company in Nov. 2016 as the firm’s general counsel and has served in that role in the nearly two years since, is no longer with the organization. Llyr’s departure

The post Ripple General Counsel Departs Cryptocurrency Firm Amid Class-Action Dispute over XRP appeared first on CCN

Crypto, Blockchain Companies Shine in LinkedIn’s Top 50 U.S. Startups

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

Interspersed between the expected ilk of general tech and software startups, cryptocurrency and blockchain companies had an impressive showing among their mainstream industry peers.

LinkedIn has been keeping its finger on the pulse of the United States’ most thriving startups, and crypto organizations are showing tremendous signs of life — and growth.

The business and employment social media site released its LinkedIn Top Startups list this Thursday, September 6, 2018. Split into two articles, the list details the U.S.’s most dominant startups, weighing each company’s worth with in-house data that looks at “employee growth; jobseeker interest; member engagement with the company and its employees; and how well these startups pulled talent from [the company’s] flagship LinkedIn Top Companies list.” To be eligible, companies could be no older than seven years and must have had at least 50 employees.

Crypto Companies Take Top Spots

Interspersed between the expected ilk of general tech and software startups, cryptocurrency and blockchain companies had an impressive showing among their mainstream industry peers.

Coming in just behind Uber adversary Lyft and low-calorie ice-cream company Halo Top Creamery, respectively, Coinbase ranked third on the list. In describing the six-year-old cryptocurrency wallet and vendor, LinkedIn notes that its services house over 20 million accounts — twice the number of clients Charles Schwab has on its books. At 500 employees strong, the company hopes to double its manpower by year’s end.

Right behind number six — stock-trading service Robinhood (which, while not focused on cryptocurrencies, does offer crypto trading) — comes Ripple. With over 100 clients, the blockchain-based banking platform delivers its services to institutions like Santander, RBC and American Express. The company of 250 employees hopes to add 75 more by 2019. Slinging a bit of mud, the company boasted to LinkedIn that this dedication to expansion — along with an impressive clientele — is what distinguishes Ripple from other crypto startups that are “playing in the sandbox.”

Down the List, Crypto Still Finds Its Place

Outside of the top 10, the Winklevosses’ Gemini straddles the list’s upper and lower division at 25. LinkedIn highlights the Winklevosses’ hitherto unsuccessful attempts to list a bitcoin ETF, as well as their spearheading of an SRO (self-regulatory organization) for cryptocurrency exchanges. Among its 150 employees, the description draws attention to Robert Cornish, Gemini’s newly acquired CIO, whom it “poached” from the New York Stock Exchange.

Just below Gemini, Ethereum incubator ConsenSys tops the latter half of the rankings. Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin heads the organizational body, and its impressive staff of 965, the largest of any of the crypto companies surveyed, is spread across departments for technological development, consulting, education and investing. Earlier this year, the company partnered with Amazon to launch Kaleido, an enterprise-grade, blockchain software-as-a-service kit available on Amazon Web Services.

At 47, Axoni, a fintech firm focused on blockchain and distributed ledger technology, brings up the rear as the last crypto-related company on the list. Founded in 2013, the 50 employee company is starting to make a name for itself, as an infusion of $32 million in venture capital from market heavyweights like Goldman Sachs, Nyca Partners and Andreessen Horowitz has given the fledgling firm expectations to live up to.

A detailed version of LinkedIn’s terminology, along with qualifiers and exceptions, reads as follows:

LinkedIn measures startups based on four pillars: employment growth, engagement, job interest and attraction of top talent. Employment growth is measured as percentage headcount increase over one year, which must be a minimum of 15%. Engagement looks at non-employee views and follows of the company’s LinkedIn page as well as how many non-employees are viewing employees at that startup. Job interest counts what rate people are viewing and applying to jobs at the company, including both paid and unpaid postings. Attraction of top talent measures how many employees the startup has recruited away from LinkedIn Top Companies, as a percentage of the startup’s total workforce. Data is normalized across all eligible startups. The methodology time frame is July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

To be eligible, companies must be independent and privately held, have 50 or more employees, be 7 years old or younger and be headquartered in the country on whose list they appear. We exclude all staffing firms, think tanks, nonprofits, accelerators and government-owned entities.




This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Crypto, Blockchain Companies Shine in LinkedIn’s Top 50 U.S. Startups

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

Interspersed between the expected ilk of general tech and software startups, cryptocurrency and blockchain companies had an impressive showing among their mainstream industry peers.

LinkedIn has been keeping its finger on the pulse of the United States’ most thriving startups, and crypto organizations are showing tremendous signs of life — and growth.

The business and employment social media site released its LinkedIn Top Startups list this Thursday, September 6, 2018. Split into two articles, the list details the U.S.’s most dominant startups, weighing each company’s worth with in-house data that looks at “employee growth; jobseeker interest; member engagement with the company and its employees; and how well these startups pulled talent from [the company’s] flagship LinkedIn Top Companies list.” To be eligible, companies could be no older than seven years and must have had at least 50 employees.

Crypto Companies Take Top Spots

Interspersed between the expected ilk of general tech and software startups, cryptocurrency and blockchain companies had an impressive showing among their mainstream industry peers.

Coming in just behind Uber adversary Lyft and low-calorie ice-cream company Halo Top Creamery, respectively, Coinbase ranked third on the list. In describing the six-year-old cryptocurrency wallet and vendor, LinkedIn notes that its services house over 20 million accounts — twice the number of clients Charles Schwab has on its books. At 500 employees strong, the company hopes to double its manpower by year’s end.

Right behind number six — stock-trading service Robinhood (which, while not focused on cryptocurrencies, does offer crypto trading) — comes Ripple. With over 100 clients, the blockchain-based banking platform delivers its services to institutions like Santander, RBC and American Express. The company of 250 employees hopes to add 75 more by 2019. Slinging a bit of mud, the company boasted to LinkedIn that this dedication to expansion — along with an impressive clientele — is what distinguishes Ripple from other crypto startups that are “playing in the sandbox.”

Down the List, Crypto Still Finds Its Place

Outside of the top 10, the Winklevosses’ Gemini straddles the list’s upper and lower division at 25. LinkedIn highlights the Winklevosses’ hitherto unsuccessful attempts to list a bitcoin ETF, as well as their spearheading of an SRO (self-regulatory organization) for cryptocurrency exchanges. Among its 150 employees, the description draws attention to Robert Cornish, Gemini’s newly acquired CIO, whom it “poached” from the New York Stock Exchange.

Just below Gemini, Ethereum incubator ConsenSys tops the latter half of the rankings. Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin heads the organizational body, and its impressive staff of 965, the largest of any of the crypto companies surveyed, is spread across departments for technological development, consulting, education and investing. Earlier this year, the company partnered with Amazon to launch Kaleido, an enterprise-grade, blockchain software-as-a-service kit available on Amazon Web Services.

At 47, Axoni, a fintech firm focused on blockchain and distributed ledger technology, brings up the rear as the last crypto-related company on the list. Founded in 2013, the 50 employee company is starting to make a name for itself, as an infusion of $32 million in venture capital from market heavyweights like Goldman Sachs, Nyca Partners and Andreessen Horowitz has given the fledgling firm expectations to live up to.

A detailed version of LinkedIn’s terminology, along with qualifiers and exceptions, reads as follows:

LinkedIn measures startups based on four pillars: employment growth, engagement, job interest and attraction of top talent. Employment growth is measured as percentage headcount increase over one year, which must be a minimum of 15%. Engagement looks at non-employee views and follows of the company’s LinkedIn page as well as how many non-employees are viewing employees at that startup. Job interest counts what rate people are viewing and applying to jobs at the company, including both paid and unpaid postings. Attraction of top talent measures how many employees the startup has recruited away from LinkedIn Top Companies, as a percentage of the startup’s total workforce. Data is normalized across all eligible startups. The methodology time frame is July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

To be eligible, companies must be independent and privately held, have 50 or more employees, be 7 years old or younger and be headquartered in the country on whose list they appear. We exclude all staffing firms, think tanks, nonprofits, accelerators and government-owned entities.




This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Trump’s New SEC Hire Boosts Possibility of Bitcoin ETF

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

Elad Roisman , the newly-appointed member of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), could be the missing the piece in tilting the balance in favor of a bitcoin ETF approval. The new commissioner becomes the third Trump appointee to the SEC, succeeding Michael Piwowar, who stepped down in July. Roisman, who has a strong stance

The post Trump’s New SEC Hire Boosts Possibility of Bitcoin ETF appeared first on CCN

Opera’s Ethereum Wallet Now Lets You Send CryptoKitties to Your Friends

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

Opera users can now send CryptoKitties and other cryptocurrency-based collectibles to their friends using the web browser’s built-in Ethereum wallet. The Norwegian software company, whose controlling shareholder is bitcoin mining giant Bitmain, announced on Friday that it has added support for a “curated list” of Ethereum-based tokens built to the ERC-721 standard. From the announcement:

The post Opera’s Ethereum Wallet Now Lets You Send CryptoKitties to Your Friends appeared first on CCN

Distributed Dialogues: Governance and Decentralized Platforms

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

Distributed Dialogues: Governance and Decentralized Platforms

On the latest episode of Distributed Dialogues, Dave and Rick from the Let’s Talk Bitcoin Network host interviews on the risks and rewards of government interference in the cryptocurrency space.

The first guest, John Collins, got his start in government on the Senate Committee of Homeland Security, and quickly moved to working with Coinbase after he first heard about Bitcoin in 2013.

Since then, he’s tried to bridge the worlds of policy and cryptocurrency. Collins discusses the ways in which he has worked to make the government see regulation as a chance to nurture growing industries. He also works as a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard to make the relevant information as free and accessible to agents of business and government as possible.

Next, they spoke with Jason Hsu, a Taiwanese legislator and member of parliament, who Vitalik Buterin has nicknamed the “The Crypto Congressman.” Before becoming a congressman, Hsu was a tech entrepreneur with experience running startups and TEDx talks in Taiwan, and, in 2016, he became an at-large legislator to manage tech legislation and remove legal barriers for crypto development.

With a love for Bitcoin that dates back to Satoshi’s white paper in 2009, Hsu has given an official stamp to the promotion of cryptocurrency in Asia. He claimed that, even after all these years, it’s still hard to keep up with all the news in the quickly-evolving space, but nevertheless he’s made it his mission to spread awareness.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Ripple's General Counsel Exits Startup, Spokesperson Says

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

Ripple general counsel Brynly Llyr, who joined the firm in 2016 as its top legal officer, has left the firm, a spokesperson told CoinDesk.

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.

UBS details all the possible outcomes of the midterm elections 

The midterm elections will be here before we know it.

On November 6, Americans are set to decide which senators and representatives will fill a combined 470 seats being contested in Congress.

Republicans, and President Donald Trump, are hoping to maintain their majority in both the House and the Senate. The strong economy — now in its second-longest expansion in history — helps them make a case for continuity to voters.

But history is not on their side, as a president's party rarely holds on to congressional majorities in midterm elections. Democrats in turn are hoping that a progressive and anti-Trump agenda will flip 24 Republican seats in the House and two in the Senate — a so-called blue tsunami.

In a detailed note to clients, UBS laid out the market implications of four outcomes for both chambers of Congress: Republicans maintaining their majority, Republicans expanding their advantage, Democrats gaining more seats, and Democrats flipping both chambers.

Tesla's chief accountant quits after one month on the job

Tesla sank more than 10% Friday, below $260 per share, after the electric-car maker revealed that its chief accountant, Dave Morton, resigned on September 4.

"Since I joined Tesla on August 6th, the level of public attention placed on the company, as well as the pace within the company, have exceeded my expectations," Morton said at the time in comments revealed in the regulatory filing Friday.

US employers added more jobs than forecast in August, and wages increased at their fastest pace since the Great Recession, a government report showed on Friday.

The jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that nonfarm payrolls increased by 201,000 on net, while the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.9%. Economists had forecast that 190,000 net jobs were added and that the unemployment rate fell to 3.8%, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Wage growth, which has been a major laggard of the ongoing economic recovery, was more impressive than forecast. Average hourly earnings increased by 0.4% month-on-month. And at 2.9% year-on-year growth, wages increased at their fastest pace since June 2009.

Oath CEO Tim Armstrong's on his way out, and there are more exits to come

Oath's executive leadership team is in flux as a result of the decision to integrate parts of Oath's business into Verizon and the expected departure of CEO Tim Armstrong, according to people close to the matter.

Chief people officer and longtime Armstrong confidante Bob Toohey departed the company last week. Chief financial officer Vanessa Wittman and chief communications officer Natalie Ravitz are planning to leave the company in the coming weeks.

Following Toohey's departure, Armstrong sent a note to staff touting his accomplishments with the company.

In markets news

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Fool’s Gold? Bitcoin Fork Faces Cryptocurrency Exchange Delisting after 51% Attack

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

Three months after Bitcoin Gold fell prey to a high-profile 51 percent attack, one of the cryptocurrency exchanges affected by that exploit is threatening to delist BTG unless the coin’s developers help cover its losses. Last week, the Bitcoin Gold organization announced on its official website that Bittrex, a top-30 cryptocurrency exchange by volume and

The post Fool’s Gold? Bitcoin Fork Faces Cryptocurrency Exchange Delisting after 51% Attack appeared first on CCN

Coinbase, the cryptocurrency powerhouse, has doubled its staff to 500 even amid bitcoin market rout

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

bitcoin

 

  • Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, has shed 50% of its value since the beginning of the year. 
  • But Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange, in recent weeks hit its target to double its staff in 2018. 

Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange operator, has doubled its staff even as the market for digital assets sheds billions. 

The exchange, which Business Insider on Thursday reported has been looking into a crypto ETF, is known for its wide-ranging business model. The firm covers trading, asset management, custody, brokerage, and other businesses tied to the nascent digital asset market. 

In February, the firm told Business Insider that it would double its staff from 250 people to 500 by the end of 2018. Seven months later, Coinbase has already hit that target, according to a company spokesperson. 

The exchange, which was founded in 2012, has been making a big push into Wall Street, beefing up its institutional business with hires in recent months from the New York Stock Exchange, Credit Suisse, and Apex, the clearing house. It has also opened up offices into Chicago, Tokyo, Dublin, and Portugal in the last year. 

It commands a decent share of the crypto trading market, according to data by CoinMarketCap. Its exchange platform Coinbase Pro sees turnover of $138 million over a 24-hour period. It is the fifteenth largest exchange, according to the site. 

Coinbase's growth has occurred despite a bear market that has gripped the market for digital currencies for much of 2018, which has shed billions off the market. Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, is down more than 50% since the beginning of the year.

Elsewhere, other exchanges have struggled to keep on staff. Cross-town rival Kraken, for instance, laid of 57 people  10% of one business unit — to cut costs, according to a Bloomberg report. 

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NOW WATCH: How a Wall Street chief strategist's Costco shopping experience explains the biggest misconception about global trade

UBS details all the possible outcomes of the midterm elections and why a so-called blue tsunami could be the most devastating for stocks

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

nancy pelosi

  • The midterm elections are less than two months away.
  • In a detailed note to clients, UBS laid out the market implications of four outcomes for both chambers of Congress: Republicans maintaining their majority, Republicans expanding their advantage, Democrats gaining more seats, and Democrats flipping both chambers.

The midterm elections will be here before we know it.

On November 6, Americans are set to decide which senators and representatives will fill a combined 470 seats being contested in Congress.

Republicans, and President Donald Trump, are hoping to maintain their majority in both the House and the Senate. The strong economy — now in its second-longest expansion in history — helps them make a case for continuity to voters.

But history is not on their side, as a president's party rarely holds on to congressional majorities in midterm elections. Democrats in turn are hoping that a progressive and anti-Trump agenda will flip 24 Republican seats in the House and two in the Senate — a so-called blue tsunami.

"Markets and the economy have — for the most part — thrived over the past two years under a unified Republican government," Mike Ryan, the chief investment officer at UBS, said in a note on Tuesday. His team at UBS is well aware that a single party's hold on political power doesn't by itself determine what happens in financial markets.

But ballot outcomes do matter, even if only in the short term. ...

Sponsored:  If you enjoyed reading this story so far, why don’t you join Business Insider PRIME? Business Insider provides visitors from MSN with a special offer.  Simply click here to claim your deal and get access to all exclusive Business Insider PRIME benefits.

SEE ALSO: 'Nobody likes EMs anymore': Merrill Lynch says you should buy 2 stock markets to make a killing from the US's historic outperformance

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Bitcoin Price Intraday Analysis: BTC/USD on Sideways Trend

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

Bitcoin price on Friday made no significant corrections from its intraday low near $6,302. The BTC/USD over the course of past 24 hours has done a raise-and-erase act, signaling a sideways sentiment. At the beginning of the Asian session, the pair had noted a weak bull correction attempt, so that it established an intraday high

The post Bitcoin Price Intraday Analysis: BTC/USD on Sideways Trend appeared first on CCN

Tesla's head of HR has resigned (TSLA)

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

elon musk

  • Gabrielle Toledano, Tesla's head of human resources, has resigned, Bloomberg first reported.
  • Toledano confirmed her departure in an email to Business Insider.
  • She said she had requested time off near the end of June and made the decision to leave the company "some time ago."
  • Toledano's departure is the third from a senior Tesla employee this week, following chief accountant Dave Morton, who resigned on Tuesday, and head of communications Sarah O'Brien, whose final day at the company is Friday, according to Bloomberg.


Gabrielle Toledano, Tesla's head of human resources, has resigned, Bloomberg first reported.

Toledano confirmed her departure in an email to Business Insider. She said she had requested time off near the end of June and made the decision to leave the company "some time ago."

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In late August, a Tesla spokesperson said Toledano had taken a leave of absence to spend time with her family. She had worked at Tesla since May 2017 and was previously the head of talent and human resources at Electronic Arts.

Toledano's departure is the third from a senior Tesla employee this week, following chief accountant Dave Morton, who resigned on Tuesday, and head of communications Sarah O'Brien, whose final day at the company is Friday, according to Bloomberg.

Morton, who started working at Tesla in early August, said in a regulatory filing that Tesla operated at a faster pace and received more outside scrutiny than he had expected. He added that he had no issues with Tesla's financial reporting.

"Since I joined Tesla on August 6th, the level of public attention placed on the company, as well as the pace within the company, have exceeded my expectations. As a result, this caused me to reconsider my future. I want to be clear that I believe strongly in Tesla, its mission, and its future prospects, and I have no disagreements with Tesla's leadership or its financial reporting," he said.

Tesla has often experienced a high level of executive turnover. This year, the company has faced departures from its heads of sales and finance, Morton's predecessor as chief accountant, and various senior engineers.

Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

SEE ALSO: Every bizarre thing that has happened since Elon Musk sent his 'funding secured' tweet about taking Tesla private

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Iran, North Korea and Venezuela turning to cryptocurrency to bypass US sanctions, experts warn

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

America's rivals are exploiting bitcoin-style cryptocurrencies to get around U.S. sanctions.

‘Fake News’: CFO Says Goldman Sachs is Not Ditching Bitcoin Trading Desk

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

“Fake news” — that’s how Goldman Sachs CFO Martin Chavez characterized a report that the investment banking giant was shelving its much-hyped plans to build a bitcoin trading desk. Speaking this week at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, Chavez sought to put to rest speculation that Goldman, the fifth-largest bank in the U.S., was quietly

The post ‘Fake News’: CFO Says Goldman Sachs is Not Ditching Bitcoin Trading Desk appeared first on CCN

Tesla's chief accountant quits after one month on the job (TSLA)

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

Elon Musk Australia 2017 pointing

  • Tesla's chief accountant resigned Tuesday, the company said Friday, after just one month on the job.
  • The executive said intense focus on the company had led him to "reconsider" his future but that he had no qualms about Tesla or its financial reporting.
  • Also on Friday, Bloomberg reported that Tesla's human-resources chief, Gaby Toledano, would not return from a leave of absence that began in August.
  • Tesla shares sank more than 10% in trading. Follow Tesla's stock price in real time here.

Tesla sank more than 10% Friday, below $260 a share, after the electric-car maker revealed that its chief accountant, Dave Morton, had resigned Tuesday.

"Since I joined Tesla on August 6th, the level of public attention placed on the company, as well as the pace within the company, have exceeded my expectations," Morton said in comments revealed Friday in a regulatory filing.

"As a result, this caused me to reconsider my future. I want to be clear that I believe strongly in Tesla, its mission, and its future prospects, and I have no disagreements with Tesla's leadership or its financial reporting."

Morton took over the role in August after Eric Branderiz left the post after nearly two years. Morton's resignation comes after departures by other Tesla executives including the company's chief engineer Doug Field and top sales executive Ganesh Srivats, each of whom resigned in July. A vice president and a product director departed Tesla's energy unit in May.

Also Friday, Bloomberg reported that Tesla's chief people officer, Gaby Toledano, would not be returning from a leave of absence she took in August. She did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Morton — who did not respond to a request for comment — joined Tesla last month from Seagate Technology, where he served as a vice president for two decades and CFO for almost three years. His first day, August 6, was two days before CEO Elon Musk's tweet about taking Tesla private that has ended in lawsuits and investigations by federal regulators.

Now, with the company set on staying public, its finances are under extreme scrutiny from investors and analysts as it fights to become profitable. After rising as high as $387, shares of Tesla have fallen 32% to $261.

Now read:

Tesla stock price executive resign depart leave quit

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk said it's probably unwise to kick robots because they have a very good memory

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Bitcoin: The Swindle of the Century

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

The tech world has been taken for a ride, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to gain from the crypto craze

GameStop slides after missing on earnings and saying it's still looking into a sale (GME)

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

GameStop

GameStop shares declined early Friday after second-quarter results beat on revenue but missed on earnings. It also reiterated that it is engaging with third parties to consider a potential sale of the company.

The video-game retailer posted adjusted earnings of 0.05 a share, missing the Wall Street consensus by three cents, according to Bloomberg data. Sales totaled $1.65 billion, down from last year's $1.69 billion, but that still beat the $1.62 billion estimate. Meanwhile comparable sales dropped 0.5%, beating the 3.7% decrease that was projected.

 “As our teams prepare for a busy and exciting holiday period, our board of directors, with the support of our financial and legal advisors, continues to conduct a comprehensive review of strategic and financial alternatives, including, but not limited to, a potential sale of the company,” said executive chairman Dan DeMatteo in the press release.

There can be no assurance that the board’s review will result in any transaction, GameStop said, adding that it did not intend to discuss further developments related to its review unless it was appropriate. 

Looking ahead, GameStop reiterated its previous annual earnings-per-share guidance of between $3.00 and $3.35. Analysts were expecting $3.11 per share.

"GME second report reinforced our view that there is residual value in the model with sales and comparables beating estimates," Jefferies analyst Stephanie Wissink said in a note sent out to clients after the results that reiterated her $18 price target and maintained her "buy" rating.

"Earnings per share came in slightly below due to lower gross margins - mix, hardware promos, and price positioning during & post TRU bankruptcy. The management validated an exploratory process is ongoing and AT&T dead weight has neutralized. We are optimistic that a strong third quarter will help to shift sentiment, alongside takeout prospects."

GameStop shares are down 16.5% this year through Thursday.

Now read:

 

GME

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GameStop slides after missing on earnings and saying it's still looking into a sale (GME)

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

GameStop

GameStop shares declined early Friday after second-quarter results beat on revenue but missed on earnings. It also reiterated that it is engaging with third parties to consider a potential sale of the company.

The video-game retailer posted adjusted earnings of 0.05 a share, missing the Wall Street consensus by three cents, according to Bloomberg data. Sales totaled $1.65 billion, down from last year's $1.69 billion, but that still beat the $1.62 billion estimate. Meanwhile comparable sales dropped 0.5%, beating the 3.7% decrease that was projected.

 “As our teams prepare for a busy and exciting holiday period, our board of directors, with the support of our financial and legal advisors, continues to conduct a comprehensive review of strategic and financial alternatives, including, but not limited to, a potential sale of the company,” said executive chairman Dan DeMatteo in the press release.

There can be no assurance that the board’s review will result in any transaction, GameStop said, adding that it did not intend to discuss further developments related to its review unless it was appropriate. 

Looking ahead, GameStop reiterated its previous annual earnings-per-share guidance of between $3.00 and $3.35. Analysts were expecting $3.11 per share.

"GME second report reinforced our view that there is residual value in the model with sales and comparables beating estimates," Jefferies analyst Stephanie Wissink said in a note sent out to clients after the results that reiterated her $18 price target and maintained her "buy" rating.

"Earnings per share came in slightly below due to lower gross margins - mix, hardware promos, and price positioning during & post TRU bankruptcy. The management validated an exploratory process is ongoing and AT&T dead weight has neutralized. We are optimistic that a strong third quarter will help to shift sentiment, alongside takeout prospects."

GameStop shares are down 16.5% this year through Thursday.

Now read:

 

GME

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$6K Ahead? Bitcoin Price Plunges After Brief Recovery

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

Bitcoin's short-lived corrective rally reinforces the bearish outlook put forward by the technical charts and indicates scope for a drop to $6,000.

UBS's Naratil: Expect renewed pressure on the dollar and Treasuries if Dems win the House

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

House of Representatives

  • In this op-ed, UBS co-head of wealth and president of the Americas Tom Naratil discusses the investor implications of each potential outcome for the midterm elections.
  • Trade will remain the most powerful economic issue regardless of who controls Congress, Naratil writes. 

Investors are likely to find themselves tired of rhetoric, short on patience and disappointed with the consistent flood of commentary on the mid-term Congressional elections this fall. However, as many have learned since the fall of 2016, with the longest-ever bull market approaching 3,500 days, investing based on personal reactions to electoral results often leads to suboptimal results. Further, research has shown that political bias can significantly hamper investors' ability to make prudent investment decisions – especially if they allow political disappointment to morph into investment pessimism or fear.

Now, roughly two months from Election Day, it's a good time to consider how the composition of the 116th Congress may impact investors' decision-making. Here are four potential electoral outcomes and what they could mean for markets (note that these scenarios should not be interpreted as support for any political party or candidate).

First, a “red tide,” in which Republicans expand their majority. While this outcome is improbable in our view, it would likely be supportive for risk assets. Substantial Republican gains would also set the stage for party leaders to address deficit concerns through major initiatives like entitlement reform, which would support stocks, the US dollar and US Treasuries. Conventional wisdom, however, is that Republicans will probably lose at least a few seats.

 A second but still unlikely outcome is the “status quo”: Republicans keep a reduced majority in both chambers of Congress. This result would likely support stocks in the short term but hinder attempts to address the deficit, putting downward pressure on US Treasuries and the US dollar.

 Third, and far more likely in our view, is the “historical norm”: the non-incumbent party – in this case the Democrats – picks up a modest majority in the House, while Republicans hold onto the Senate. Should this happen, expect legislative gridlock to put renewed pressure on the dollar and Treasuries.

Probably the biggest red herring for investors in this outcome is the possibility that a Democrat-controlled House impeaches President Trump. It's important to acknowledge that unless a Republican Senate voted to remove the President – unlikely, in our view – there would still be few immediate implications for US policy and hence for markets (which didn’t blink after the House impeached President Clinton in 1998).

What happens in a fourth scenario in which Democrats gain sizable control of the House and a majority in the Senate? A so-called “blue wave” is much less likely than the "historical norm," though worth considering as it may carry the most uncertainty for investors. In this scenario we expect DC gridlock to worsen and more last-minute dealmaking over issues like the debt ceiling. During the debt ceiling crisis in 2011, the S&P 500 dropped nearly 20% in just a few weeks. Market shocks like this become more possible when extreme gridlock prevents policymakers from acting swiftly and decisively.

Today, the investors I speak with are most concerned with the impact of global trading policies on the economy and markets, and want to know what impact midterm changes could have. In fact, in UBS's most recent Investor Watch Pulse survey of US business owners and investors, most had very strong views on the topic and favored fighting back against unfair trade practices, even if they find a full-blown trade war unpalatable.

 They're right to be concerned about the potential effects of a trade war on market stability and growth, but when it comes to questioning how any potential mid-term changes could impact the simmering dispute, the short answer is not much. Trade will remain the most powerful economic issue regardless of who controls Congress, since President Trump's policies will continue to be the most important variable. In other words, investors should keep a close eye on where trade is heading, but shouldn't expect the mid-terms to heavily sway the debate.

 With mid-term fever inevitably set to descend on the country, wealth managers and financial advisors must help investors cut through the noise, prepare them for any resulting volatility, and keep them focused on their longer-term goals. Emotional decision-making rarely leads to optimal outcomes. Instead, advisors must encourage investors to stay the course with their financial plans and to tactically take advantage of excessive market reactions.

Goals-oriented investors with a financial plan and a prudent financial advisor will know what to listen to, what to disregard and how to react when the election results come in.

– Tom Naratil is co-president of UBS Global Wealth Management and president of UBS Americas

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

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

Marijuana

Here is what you need to know.

Here comes the jobs report. The US economy is expected to have added 191,000 nonfarm jobs with the unemployment rate slipping to 3.8%, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

It looks as if Trump has found the next big target in his trade war: Japan. President Donald Trump is reportedly set to involve Japan in his trade disputes, saying he will make the world's third-largest economy "pay,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

America's small businesses warn of widespread layoffs and shutdowns if Trump doesn't back down from a trade war with China. Some small businesses testified before a panel of US trade officials at a public hearing in Washington last month that they would have to immediately lay off employees to absorb the cost of tariffs on imports if Trump enacted new measures against China.

A so-called blue tsunami during the election could be the most devastating for stocks. Such a scenario — in which the Democrats win both the House and the Senate — could produce "extreme gridlock," slower regulatory relief, a freeze on Supreme Court nominations, and impeachment proceedings, Mike Ryan, the chief investment officer at UBS, said in a note on Tuesday.

Hong Kong now has more megamillionaires than New York City. Hong Kong now has 10,000 residents who fall into the "ultra-high net worth" category — worth at least $30 million — compared with roughly 9,000 ultra-high net-worth people in New York City, according to a new report from the data firm Wealth-X.

Dimon says Trump told him anyone who gets a degree in US should also get a green card. "Anyone who gets a degree here should get a green card with the degree," JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon told Business Insider. "Even President Trump in a meeting said to me and a whole bunch of other people, 'I want to do that.' We'll let's just go ahead and do it."

Snap tumbles below $10 for the first time. Shares touched a record low of $9.62 apiece on Thursday and have fallen 25% since August 7, when the social-media company reported an unexpected drop in users during the second quarter.

The SEC has a stern warning about soaring marijuana stocks. "If you are thinking about investing in a marijuana-related company, you should beware of the risks of investment fraud and market manipulation," the US Securities and Exchange Commission said in a press release Thursday. "Fraudsters may try to use media coverage about the legalization of marijuana to promote an investment scam."

Broadcom's revenue spikes. The chipmaker reported revenue rose 13.6% year-over-year in the third quarter to $5.06 billion, topping the $4.46 billion that analysts were expecting, Reuters says.

Stock markets around the world are lower. Japan's Nikkei (-0.8%) led the losses in Asia, and Britain's FTSE (-0.32%) trails in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open down 0.2% near 2,872.

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

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

Marijuana

Here is what you need to know.

Here comes the jobs report. The US economy is expected to have added 191,000 nonfarm jobs with the unemployment rate slipping to 3.8%, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

It looks as if Trump has found the next big target in his trade war: Japan. President Donald Trump is reportedly set to involve Japan in his trade disputes, saying he will make the world's third-largest economy "pay,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

America's small businesses warn of widespread layoffs and shutdowns if Trump doesn't back down from a trade war with China. Some small businesses testified before a panel of US trade officials at a public hearing in Washington last month that they would have to immediately lay off employees to absorb the cost of tariffs on imports if Trump enacted new measures against China.

A so-called blue tsunami during the election could be the most devastating for stocks. Such a scenario — in which the Democrats win both the House and the Senate — could produce "extreme gridlock," slower regulatory relief, a freeze on Supreme Court nominations, and impeachment proceedings, Mike Ryan, the chief investment officer at UBS, said in a note on Tuesday.

Hong Kong now has more megamillionaires than New York City. Hong Kong now has 10,000 residents who fall into the "ultra-high net worth" category — worth at least $30 million — compared with roughly 9,000 ultra-high net-worth people in New York City, according to a new report from the data firm Wealth-X.

Dimon says Trump told him anyone who gets a degree in US should also get a green card. "Anyone who gets a degree here should get a green card with the degree," JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon told Business Insider. "Even President Trump in a meeting said to me and a whole bunch of other people, 'I want to do that.' We'll let's just go ahead and do it."

Snap tumbles below $10 for the first time. Shares touched a record low of $9.62 apiece on Thursday and have fallen 25% since August 7, when the social-media company reported an unexpected drop in users during the second quarter.

The SEC has a stern warning about soaring marijuana stocks. "If you are thinking about investing in a marijuana-related company, you should beware of the risks of investment fraud and market manipulation," the US Securities and Exchange Commission said in a press release Thursday. "Fraudsters may try to use media coverage about the legalization of marijuana to promote an investment scam."

Broadcom's revenue spikes. The chipmaker reported revenue rose 13.6% year-over-year in the third quarter to $5.06 billion, topping the $4.46 billion that analysts were expecting, Reuters says.

Stock markets around the world are lower. Japan's Nikkei (-0.8%) led the losses in Asia, and Britain's FTSE (-0.32%) trails in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open down 0.2% near 2,872.

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Alibaba chairman Jack Ma is getting ready to quit, and says he's following the Bill Gates playbook (BABA)

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

jack ma

  • Chinese tech billionaire Jack Ma is getting ready to leave his role at Alibaba.
  • He told Bloomberg he is dedicating more time and money to building his philanthropic foundation for education.
  • The move mirrors that of Bill Gates before he left Microsoft.
  • It's not clear exactly when Ma will leave Alibaba.
  • Ma is currently the chairman and co-founder of the e-commerce giant. He was CEO until 2013.

Jack Ma, one of the richest people in China, is getting ready to quit his job as chairman of Alibaba.

Ma, who co-founded the e-commerce conglomerate, is dedicating more of his time and money to building his philanthropic foundation, the 53-year-old billionaire told Bloomberg on Thursday.

The Jack Ma Foundation, which was founded in 2014, is chiefly dedicated to improving China's education system, particularly in rural areas. Last year it pledged 300 milion yuan ($45 million) to fund teacher training programs over the next decade, with a goal to end poverty in rural areas.

Ma, who worked as an English teacher before founding Alibaba, also told Bloomberg: "I think some day, and soon, I'll go back to teaching. This is something I think I can do much better than being CEO of Alibaba."

He declined to say when exactly he would retire. When Bloomberg asked whether it could happen this year, Ma shrugged and said: "You'll know very soon. I've prepared a Jack Ma Foundation. All these things that I've been preparing for 10 years."

Watch him discuss his plans here:

The move mirrors that of fellow billionaire Bill Gates, who founded his own philanthropic foundation in 2000, six years before leaving his role as Microsoft CEO.

Gates and his wife, who run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation dedicated to healthcare and poverty, were named the most generous philanthropists in the US last month.

Ma told Bloomberg: "There's a lot of things I can learn from Bill Gates. I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier."

Jack Ma

Alibaba is the largest e-commerce company in China, with a portfolio ranging from online shopping to cloud computing to food delivery. It reported a total revenue of 158 billion ($23 billion) last fiscal year.

Ma stepped down as Alibaba's CEO in 2013 but retained a role as executive chairman and a stake in the company.

He currently has a net worth of about $39 billion, Forbes estimated, making him the second-richest person in China and the 20th-richest in the world.

He has proven himself to be an eccentric billionaire as well. Last year he danced on stage in a Michael Jackson costume at a company party and starred in his own kung fu movie, where he defeated eight celebrity martial artists with the power of tai chi.

Ma's Bloomberg interview came as shares of China's second-largest e-commerce company, JD.com, plummeted as its CEO Li Qiangdong was arrested in the US over an accusation of rape.

SEE ALSO: Here's how to watch the Jack Ma's kung fu movie, where he defeats 8 celebrity martial artists with the power of tai chi

READ MORE: The incredible and inspiring life story of Alibaba founder Jack Ma, one of the richest people in China

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Bitcoin Dominance Hits 55% as Crypto Market Struggles to Recover Convincingly

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

Subsequent to recording the steepest daily drop in valuation in recent years, the crypto market has struggled to rebound in a convincing manner, pushing the dominance index of Bitcoin further up. Throughout the past 24 hours, the dominance index of Bitcoin achieved 55 percent, its highest point since December of last year. As tokens lost

The post Bitcoin Dominance Hits 55% as Crypto Market Struggles to Recover Convincingly appeared first on CCN

Payments Startup Wyre Acquires Bitcoin Smart Contract Developer

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

E-payment startup Wyre has acquired bitcoin smart contract developer Hedgy to broaden the scope of its offerings.

It looks like Trump has found the next big target in his trade war — Japan

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

Trump Abe Japan Koi fish

  • President Donald Trump is reportedly set to involve Japan in his trade war, saying he will make the world's third-largest economy "pay."
  • According to a report from the Wall Street Journal late on Thursday, Trump indicated to reporter James Freeman that he is ready and willing to hit Japan with tariffs.
  • Japan imported over $40 billion of cars into the US last year.
  • The report comes as the US prepares to impose fresh tariffs on up to $200 billion of Chinese goods.

US President Donald Trump may not be entirely done with his trade war against China, but it looks as though he already has another target in his sights: Japan.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal late on Thursday, Trump indicated to reporter James Freeman that he is ready and willing to make Japan "pay" going forward, suggesting that tariffs on Japanese goods may be on their way.

Writing in an opinion piece, Freeman says he received a phone call from the president following an appearance on Fox News, during which Trump "described his good relations with the Japanese leadership but then added: 'Of course that will end as soon as I tell them how much they have to pay.'"

During his trade salvos, Trump has imposed tariffs on China, the EU, Canada and Mexico. But so far he has only threatened to involve Japan, without actually engaging it.

That now looks set to change, if Freeman's conversation with the president holds true.

Japan, the world's third-largest economy after the US and China, is a major trading partner for the US, with automobile imports particularly important.

Major Japanese brands like Toyota and Honda send more than 8 million cars to the US each year, and manufacture close to 4 million within the US. Last year, more than $40 billion of Japanese autos entered the country.

Trump has previously lamented that imported vehicles are a threat to national security, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe one of the strongest dissenting voices against such claims.

"Imports of our nation’s automobiles and auto parts have never damaged U.S. national security and will not do so in the future," Abe said at a news conference in July.

"Trade restrictions will not benefit anyone, and we will keep explaining that to the U.S. and work closely with them to ensure those tariffs are not imposed," he added.

Reports of Trump's willingness to engage Japan in his trade war come just hours before the US is expected to make public its decision on whether to levy fresh tariffs on a cumulative $200 billion worth of Chinese goods imported to the USA.

A consultation period on introducing the new tariffs ended overnight, and it is widely expected that they will be imposed. The tariffs could be set at a level of 10% or 25% depending on the recommendation of the United States trade representative.

The new tariffs, affecting roughly 40% of all Chinese exports to the US, would mark the biggest escalation of the trade conflict so far and would be almost guaranteed to lead to retaliatory tariffs from the Chinese government.

SEE ALSO: Trump is losing the trade war with China and the EU, based on his favorite report card

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Malware Targeting Bitcoin ATMs Goes on Sale for US$25,000

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

Regular bank ATMs have long been a target for criminals but now bad actors are turning their sights on Bitcoin ATMs as cryptocurrencies gain acceptance. According to Trend Micro security researchers, a malware targeting Bitcoin ATMs has been discovered in the underground markets. The Bitcoin ATM malware which is being sold at a price of

The post Malware Targeting Bitcoin ATMs Goes on Sale for US$25,000 appeared first on CCN

10 things you need to know in markets today

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

Jamie Dimon

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

1. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon told Business Insider in an interview that bad policies held the US economy to 20% growth over the last nine years, whereas past recoveries suggest it should have been double that. Dimon cited an uncompetitive tax system, inability to build infrastructure, and the crippling bureaucracy and paperwork needed for things such as starting a business. 

2. U.S. job growth likely accelerated in August, with the unemployment rate expected to have fallen back to an 18-year low of 3.8%, which would bolster views that the economy was so far weathering the Trump administration's escalating trade war with China. Nonfarm payrolls probably rose by 191,000 jobs last month after gaining 157,000 in July, according to a Reuters survey of economists. 

3. Asian shares slipped to a 14-month trough on Friday as investors feared a new round of Sino-U.S. tariffs could come at any moment, while a slump in U.S. chip stocks rippled through the tech sector. The Nikkei fell 0.8%, undermined by a rising yen and reports U.S. President Donald Trump could be contemplating taking on Japan over trade.

4. The European Union approved Apple's planned acquisition of British music discovery app Shazam on Thursday, saying an EU antitrust investigation showed it would not harm competition in the bloc. The deal, announced in December last year, would help the iPhone maker better compete with Spotify, the industry leader in music streaming services. Shazam identifies songs when a smartphone is pointed at an audio source.

5. International Airlines Group said on Thursday that its subsidiary British Airways was investigating a customer data breach on the British Airways website and mobile application. The breach, now resolved, compromised personal and financial details of customers making bookings on the website and the app between August 21 and September 5 this year, IAG said.

6. A British Royal Navy warship that sailed close to islands in the South China Sea claimed by China risked hampering any talks about a free trade agreement after Britain leaves the European Union, a major Chinese state-run newspaper said on Friday. China and Britain agreed last month to look at the possibility of reaching a "top notch" post-Brexit free trade deal which, if struck, would be an important political win for Britain's Conservative government.

7. Britain's top markets regulator, backed by the United States, urged the European Union to soften its stance and grant broad access to UK banks after Brexit to avoid hitting investors and harming markets. Britain and the EU are negotiating the outline of future trading terms and Brussels has said the best option for banks, insurers and asset managers is probably the bloc's current system of market access known as equivalence.

8. Shortseller Andrew Left of Citron Research filed a securities fraud lawsuit against Tesla and its Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, alleging he had manipulated the stock price by issuing false and misleading information. Musk stunned the markets on August 7 with tweets about taking the Palo Alto, California-based company private and that funding had been "secured."

9. Chip maker Broadcom reported a 13.4% rise in quarterly revenue on Thursday, driven by strong demand for chips and switching components used in telecommunications equipment and data centers. Net income attributable to common stock rose to $1.2 billion, or $2.71 per share, in the third quarter ended August 5 from $481 million, or $1.14 per share, a year earlier.

10. Marijuana stocks have have been on fire following the legalization of cannabis in Canada — and the US's top stock-market regulator has a stern warning for potential investors. "If you are thinking about investing in a marijuana-related company, you should beware of the risks of investment fraud and market manipulation," the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a press release Thursday.

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Hong Kong now has more mega-millionaires than New York City

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

Hong Konhong kong celebration fireworks

  • Hong Kong has officially surpassed New York City as the place with the highest concentration of super-wealthy people. 
  • Hong Kong has seen a 31% increase in the number of ultra-rich residents worth at least $30 million, according to a new report from the data firm, Wealth-X.
  • Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Paris were among the top-ranked cities, but major US cities largely dominated the list. 
  • Property prices in Hong Kong have increased to reflect the growing wealth of its residents, though the country is in the midst of a housing crisis with limited zoning allocated for residential development.  

Hong Kong has officially surpassed New York City as the place with the highest concentration of super wealthy people. 

Hong Kong has seen a 31% increase in the number of ultra-rich residents worth at least $30 million, according to a report released Thursday from the data firm, Wealth-X. The region had just over 10,000 residents who fall into the  "ultra-high net-worth" category, compared to roughly 9,000 ultra-high net-worth people in New York City.

Tokyo, Los Angeles, London, and Paris were also among the top 10 cities on the list.

Globally, the number of ultra-wealthy people rose by 13% in 2017, totaling over 250,000. According to the data, that cohort has a combined net worth of $31.5 trillion.

A majority of the super-rich made between $30-$100 million, while more than 2,700 people — or roughly one percent — made $1 billion or more last year. Women accounted for nearly 14% of ultra-high net-worth individuals, a record high for the group.

Asia saw the fastest growth of mega-millionaires, driven mainly by Hong Kong and mainland China. According to 2017 estimates, one in seven people in Hong Kong is a millionaire

And property prices in the country have increased to reflect the growing wealth of its inhabitants. 

Hong Kong has broken several property records over the last year. It was there in November 2017 that the most expensive apartments in Asia sold for a combined $149 million.

And in June, a single parking space in Hong Kong that was originally purchased for $430,000 resold for nearly double the price.

Hong Kong is currently suffering from a housing crisis, where a fraction of its land area is zoned for residential property development.

SEE ALSO: A Hong Kong couple bought a single parking space for $433,000 and flipped it for $760,000 in just 9 months

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Goldman CTO: the story about us dropping Bitcoin trading was ‘fake news’

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

It sometimes feels like the price of Bitcoin rises and falls on the turn of a speculative dime, and yesterday we saw one such moment come to pass, when it was reported that Goldman Sachs was planning to drop a plan to build a Bitcoin trading platform, causing the price of the cryptocurrency to crash. […]

Ethereum Price Falls to 12-Month Low as Altcoins Suffer

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

Ethereum’s price fell to a 12-month low of $228.8 today, falling below the $255.05 of Sept. 17, 2017, fulfilling expectations of those who have predicted a weakening of support that ICOs have bestowed on the second largest cryptocurrency since early last year. Ethereum’s price has been on a roller coaster since it began climbing above

The post Ethereum Price Falls to 12-Month Low as Altcoins Suffer appeared first on CCN

A trusty recession signal is telling the Fed 'we're about where we need to be' on interest rates

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

Jerome Powell

  • The flat yield curve suggests investors are not as convinced as Federal Reserve officials about their ability to continue raising interest rates without harming the economy. 
  • Steve Blitz of TS Lombard says what really matters for bank lending is the gap between the federal funds rate and the two-year note, which has been widening.  
  • St. Louis Fed's Bullard: "What we could do is take signals from financial markets that are telling us that we're about where we need to be right now."

Look no further than the $15 trillion US government bond market for evidence investors are not convinced the Federal Reserve can keep raising interest rates at the recent clip without derailing the economy,

The Fed is widely expected to raise the official federal funds rate by another quarter percentage point later this month, bringing its ceiling to 2.25%. It has been raising rates predictably by a quarter percentage point every three months, when Fed Chair Jerome Powell holds his post-meeting press conferences.

Yet the ongoing compression of long- and short-term Treasury bond yields, known as a yield curve flattening, is not only a traditionally-reliable harbinger of recessions, but also arguably a contributor to economic downturns. 

"Talk of the flatter yield curve presaging recession continues to run rampant among the chattering classes,” Steve Blitz, chief US economist at TS Lombard, wrote in a research note.

And it’s not just the more closely-watched yield gaps, like the spread between 10- and two-year notes.

What counts is not whether the curve is flat but whether it’s negative, and the negative curve that counts most is the spread between the yield on two-year Treasury notes and the federal funds rate, Blitz writes.

"We have long made the point that the shape of the curve is not a talisman. It works because when short-term money earns more than lending, the flow of loanable funds moves away from credit."

The chart below shows that when the two-year Treasury note starts to yield less than the funds rate, "banks begin to tighten credit standards for commercial loans to mid-sized and large firms (identified by the circled areas). Not surprisingly, recession begins soon after."

That particular curve has actually been steepening since last summer, says Blitz, and the percentage of banks tightening credit standards has shrunk in line with historical norms.

TS_Curve

James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Fed, thinks the central bank should heed the age-old message of the yield curve and hold back on further interest rate increases until further notice.

"We've already been preemptive," he told Fox Business this week, according to transcripts of the interview. "We raised rates while the inflation rate was below our target. We started shrinking the size of the balance sheet before inflation came up to target. So we've done these things over the last two years. Now we're in pretty good shape and I think what we could do is take signals from financial markets that are telling us that we're about where we need to be right now."

In particular, Bullard pointed to one thing: a "very flat" yield curve.

"I’d rather not see an inverted yield curve in the US That's usually a harbinger of a slowdown ahead. And inflation expectations, based on market based measures, are low and remain right around our target. I think it shows that we've got a pretty good policy right now and we should stay where we are and see how the data come in."

atlanta fed_macroblog yield curve slope as measured by 10 year 2 year spread

SEE ALSO: The US economy is still haunted by the Great Recession — 10 years later

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