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Google Brings AR to New, Existing Android Devices

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Google Brings AR to New, Existing Android Devices

By Donna Fuscaldo | August 29, 2017 — 9:06 PM EDT

Taking a page from Apple Inc. (AAPL), Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOG) Google announced a new developer tool aimed at getting more augmented reality applications on new and existing Android mobile devices.

In a blog post, Dave Burke, Google’s VP of Android engineering, said the company has been developing the technologies to run mobile AR over the last three years via Tango, its 3D mapping system and its new tool, ARCore, builds on that. Tango relied on cameras and sensors for AR, requiring hardware upgrades from Android smartphone makers. Its new tool doesn’t require costly investments on the part of its mobile phone partners since it works with any hardware. (See also: Google Is Buying the Creator of a Selfie-Editing App.)

“ARCore will run on millions of devices, starting today [Aug. 29] with the Pixel and Samsung’s S8, running 7.0 Nougat and above. We’re targeting 100 million devices at the end of the preview. We’re working with manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei, LG, ASUS and others to make this possible with a consistent bar for quality and high performance,” Burke wrote in the blog post. The software aids mobile apps and websites in tracking and overlaying physical objects in virtual worlds.

AR All Around

Earlier this summer, rival Apple launched its own AR developer platform, ARKit. Using the tool, developers can incorporate AR into their applications and services. Google’s new tool is seen as a way to counter that as all of the technology heavy hitters are going after this burgeoning market. According to a Bloomberg report, Apple should have a better chance at getting developers to create AR apps because it can easily push out a software update for its billions of devices. Google has to work with Android software companies and hardware manufacturers to get them to use ARCore. Bloomberg noted that while the Android handset makers don’t need to use advanced camera technology, they do have to have embedded cameras that have built-in sensors in order for the software to work. That may limit adoption if they balk at adding that extra cost to their mobile devices. (See also: Why Apple’s ARKit Could Be a Game Changer.)

The market for AR has been slow to take off, although expectations are high it could morph into a big opportunity. According to Digi-Capital, a VR/AR M&A adviser, the mobile AR market could be worth $108 billion by 2021. The technology is already estimated to have hit $1.2 billion in revenues last year, primarily due to the success of Pokemon Go. In the blog post, Burke said that in addition to developing ARCore, Google has been investing in apps and services to help developers create AR experiences. The company is also working on a Visual Positioning Service, which will enable AR experiences beyond a tabletop, and is also releasing a prototype browser for web developers. The custom browsers let developers create AR-enhanced websites, Burke said, noting “ARCore is our next step in bringing AR to everyone.”

 

Published at Wed, 30 Aug 2017 01:06:00 +0000

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10 Habits of Successful People

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10 Habits of Successful People

By Jim Probasco | Updated August 29, 2017 — 8:05 AM EDT

Aside from the random element of luck, much of what makes some people successful involves the cultivating of certain habits. Learning what these habits are and how to employ them in your own life is worthwhile.

To that end, here are 10 of the most often-cited habits of successful people.

1. Organization

One of the most frequently mentioned habits of those who are successful in life is organization. Organization includes planning as well as setting priorities and goals.

Joel Brown, founder of Addicted2Success.com, calls for a prioritized “To-Do List” every evening before going to bed to prepare for the next day.

According to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Sunday is an important day for organization and a time to “get ready for the rest of the week.”

2. Relaxation

It’s interesting to note that relaxing – by meditating or simply avoiding distractions – is another of the most-often mentioned habits of successful people.

Of course, relaxation comes more easily to those who are organized, so perhaps for some it is more of a natural byproduct than a conscious decision.

It may also be that the act of “taking a breath” is the successful person’s way of preparing for the effort yet to come. In fact, one of the first steps toward achieving a meditative or relaxed state is to concentrate on your own breathing for three to five minutes.

3. Taking Action

Third on the list of habits of successful people is the inevitable “action” habit. It is important to organize, to plan and to set priorities, but without action, a plan is nothing more than potential.

Successful people act – quickly and often. In addition, although it may sound counterintuitive, according to James Clear, they act (start, anyway) before they feel ready. While others come up with reasons not to act, successful people take that all-important first step – even if it seems outlandish.

4. Personal Care

Personal care with regard to diet, exercise and hygiene comes next on the list of habits of those who are successful.

For some, personal care involves a complex regimen and a highly disciplined lifestyle. For others, not so much. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors, put it succinctly when asked what daily habit has had the largest positive impact on his life. In a tweet, Musk said simply, “Showering.”

5. Positive Attitude

According to many successful people, having a positive attitude is not just a result of being successful – it’s one of the root causes of success.

Joel Brown refers to gratitude and positive self-talk as priorities in the lives of the ultra successful. Moreover, Brown says, it’s not enough to express gratitude and a positive attitude. You must also remind yourself why you are grateful in order to achieve a deeper effect.

6. Networking

Successful people know the value of exchanging ideas with others through networking. They also know the value of collaboration and teamwork – all of which are likely when you network.

Successful people know the importance of surrounding themselves with other successful people, according to author Thomas Corley. Corley says 79% of wealthy (successful) people spend at least five hours a month networking. By contrast, only 16% of poor (unsuccessful) people network on a consistent basis. (See also: 10 Tips for Strategic Networking.)

7. Frugality

Frugal is not the same as stingy. Frugality is a habit of being thrifty, with money and resources. It is also a habit of being economical. Learning to be economical comes through avoiding waste, which automatically results in efficiency.

Corley notes that wealthy, successful people avoid overspending. Instead they comparison-shop and negotiate. The result, according to Corley, is financial success through the simple act of saving more money than they spend.

8. Rising Early

The more time one can devote to being successful, the more likely success will result. Successful people are accustomed to rising early, and that habit appears repeatedly among those who do well in life.

While the “Early Riser’s Club” has a huge membership among successful people, a few notable members include Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Group, Disney CEO Robert Iger and Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer. (See also:How did Richard Branson make his fortune?)

9. Sharing

Whether through donating to charity or the sharing of ideas, successful people have a habit of giving. They know the value of sharing and most believe their success should result in something more than the accumulation of wealth for themselves.

Some of the most well-known successful philanthropists include Bill and Melinda Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerberg.

Lack of wealth does not need to be a factor when it comes to sharing. Volunteering in your community or at a local school does not cost anything but could provide help where it is needed most, as KeepInspiring.Me points out. (See also: Retirement Tips: Choose The Best Charity Annuity).

10. Reading

It’s important to note that successful people read. While they also read for pleasure, most use their reading habit as a means to gain knowledge or insight.

For anyone who needs inspiration about the value and importance of reading, look no further than the example of billionaire author, J.K. Rowling, who says she read “anything” as a child. She advises, “Read as much as you possibly can. Nothing will help you as much as reading.”

The Bottom Line

Most people have habits – some are positive, some are not. Successful people tend to have more of the kinds of habits that contribute to their success.

The good news, for those who wish to be successful, is that cultivating positive habits takes no more effort than developing bad ones.

Some of the best habits of successful people involve only conscious effort, like getting up early every day. Others, such as becoming organized, may take a little more skill and practice but ultimately result in the most desired outcome of all – success.

 

Published at Tue, 29 Aug 2017 12:05:00 +0000

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Dallas Fed: “Texas Manufacturing Activity Expands Again” in August

 

Dallas Fed: “Texas Manufacturing Activity Expands Again” in August

by Bill McBride on 8/28/2017 10:37:00 AM

From the Dallas Fed: Texas Manufacturing Activity Expands Again

Texas factory activity continued to increase in August, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, edged down to 20.3, indicating output grew but at a slightly slower pace than in July.

Other measures of current manufacturing activity also indicated continued growth. The new orders and the growth rate of orders indexes ticked down but stayed solidly positive, coming in at 14.3 and 11.7, respectively. The capacity utilization index fell six points to 12.2, while the shipments index increased seven points to 18.1.

Perceptions of broader business conditions remained positive in August. The general business activity index was largely unchanged at a robust 17.0. The company outlook index posted its 12th consecutive positive reading but slipped 10 points to 16.3 after surging to a multiyear high last month.

Labor market measures suggested continued employment gains and longer workweeks this month. The employment index came in at 9.9, slightly below the July reading, extending this year’s string of positive readings. Eighteen percent of firms noted net hiring, compared with eight percent noting net layoffs. The hours worked index rose five points to 14.5.
emphasis added

This was the last of the regional Fed surveys for August.

Here is a graph comparing the regional Fed surveys and the ISM manufacturing index:

Fed Manufacturing Surveys and ISM PMIClick on graph for larger image.

The New York and Philly Fed surveys are averaged together (yellow, through August), and five Fed surveys are averaged (blue, through August) including New York, Philly, Richmond, Dallas and Kansas City. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) PMI (red) is through July (right axis).

Based on these regional surveys, it seems likely the ISM manufacturing index will increase in August compared to July (to be released Friday, Sept 1st). The consensus is for the ISM index to increase to 56.6 in August from 56.3 in July.

Published at Mon, 28 Aug 2017 14:37:00 +0000

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Best Buy Stock Probing All-Time Highs

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Best Buy Stock Probing All-Time Highs

By Alan Farley | August 24, 2017 — 11:30 AM EDT

Best Buy Co., Inc. (BBY) defied retail sector bears on Thursday morning, rallying to an all-time high following a three-month test at 11-year resistance near $60. The stock has outperformed its brick-and-mortar peers for many months, cutting costs in a brutally adverse sales environment while enhancing its online portal to compete more effectively with Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) and privately held Newegg.

However, there is little rush for market players to take new exposure because breakouts all across the market universe have developed little buying interest in recent months, often reversing into new downtrends. This conflicted behavior suggests that the stock will enter a longer testing period, with success measured by modest gains until this confused mid-year tape attracts greater public participation. (See also: Best Buy Stock Poised to Break Out Ahead of Earnings.)

BBY Long-Term Chart (1990 – 2017)

A long downtrend ended at a split-adjusted 17 cents in 1990, giving way to a healthy uptrend that topped out at $5.03 in 1995. The stock lost ground for the next two years, bottoming out at 88 cents, ahead of a powerful buying impulse that continued into the April 2000 high at $39.50. It broke a double top pattern in October and fell into the single digits two months later.

That decline posted the lowest low in the past 16 years ahead of range-bound action that persisted into a 2005 breakout. Momentum buying pressure failed to develop, yielding a secondary trading range with resistance centered at $59.50. That level is important to keep in mind because it is back in play in the second half of 2017. The range finally collapsed in September 2008, generating a vertical decline that dropped the stock nearly 70% in just two months. (For more, see: Why Is Best Buy Stock So Volatile?)

A bounce into 2010 fell short, stalling at the .618 Fibonacci retracement level, ahead of a steep decline that posted a 12-year low at $11.20 in December 2012. It completed a round trip back to the 2010 high in 2013, with that level generating intense resistance until an April 2017 breakout reached the 2006 high. It spent three months carving a small-scale cup and handle pattern at that level, ahead of this morning’s breakout attempt.

BBY Short-Term Chart (2015 – 2017)

The stock entered a broad symmetrical triangle after the February 2014 low at $22.30, posting lower highs and higher lows into August 2016, when it broke out on heavy volume. It took another three months to mount the top of the triangle in the mid-$40s and seven more months to clear that level. This stair-step price action has continued into the second half of 2017, with two more sets of higher highs up to 11-year resistance. (See also: Best Buy Stock Tanks on Amazon Service Team Report.)

The three-month cup and handle built a solid platform ahead of this morning’s breakout attempt, which has been met with aggressive selling pressure. However, bulls should eventually prevail given the well-established uptrend and solid technical characteristics. Even so, a breakdown through the mid-August low at $58.93 would undermine the bullish outlook, perhaps triggering a decline into long-term support at the 200-day exponential moving average (EMA).

On-balance volume (OBV) has carved a graceful accumulation pattern since 2014, with the long series of higher highs and higher lows into May 2017 signaling extensive institutional sponsorship that bodes well for higher prices. A minor deficit into August is not enough to signal a bearish divergence, because just one or two high-volume buying days would lift the indicator to another high. (For more, see: Sorry Amazon, Best Buy Is Still Alive and Kicking.)

The Bottom Line

Best Buy tagged an all-time high this morning before bears reversed the tape and dropped the stock back into the red. This mixed price action marks the opening shot of a breakout attempt that should eventually yield much higher prices. (For additional reading, check out: Top 3 Companies Owned by Best Buy.)

 

Published at Thu, 24 Aug 2017 15:30:00 +0000

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Harvard study: Exxon ‘misled the public’ on climate change for nearly 40 years

 

Harvard study: Exxon ‘misled the public’ on climate change for nearly 40 years

  @mattmegan5

For nearly 40 years ExxonMobil publicly raised doubt about the dangers of climate change even as scientists and execs inside the oil giant acknowledged the growing threat internally, according to a Harvard University study.

“We conclude that ExxonMobil misled the public,” the researchers wrote in the peer-reviewed study that was published on Wednesday.

The Harvard study could add to the controversy and legal scrutiny surrounding Exxon’s(XOM) handling of climate change.

Exxon dismissed the Harvard study as “inaccurate and preposterous,” saying in a statement that the research was “paid for, written and published by activists.”

The Harvard researchers examined 187 public and private communications from Exxon about climate change between 1977 and 2014, ranging from internal documents and peer-reviewed studies to company pamphlets and editorial-style advertisements in The New York Times known as “advertorials.”

The study found that the more public-facing the Exxon communication, the more doubt it expressed about climate change.

Exxon’s advertorials “overwhelmingly emphasized only the uncertainties, promoting a narrative inconsistent with the views of most climate scientists, including ExxonMobil’s own,” the Harvard study concluded.

Exxon’s internal communications broadly acknowledged that global warming is “real, human-caused, serious and solvable,” the research found.

About 80% of Exxon’s internal documents that were examined acknowledged that climate change is both real and human-caused, compared with just 12% of advertorials published in the op-ed pages of the Times. Doubt was expressed by 81% of Exxon’s advertorials.

For instance, the Harvard study cited an internal Exxon document in 1979 that soberly stated: “The most widely held theory is that…the increase [in atmospheric carbon-dioxide] is due to fossil fuel combustion.”

That document warned of “warming of the earth’s surface” and “dramatic environmental effects before the year 2050” caused by fossil fuel consumption.

Contrast that with what Exxon told the worldtwo decades later. In a 1997 Times op-ed, Exxon cautioned that the “science of climate change is too uncertain” and “we still don’t know what role man-made greenhouse gases might play in warming the planet.”

“Let’s not rush to a decision at Kyoto,” Exxon said of the the international global warming pact being negotiated at the time. It warned that action on the protocol could “plunge economies into turmoil.”

The Harvard study found that Exxon did not “suppress” climate science as some have alleged. Rather, the researchers said that Exxon “misled non-scientific audiences about climate science.”

Exxon rejected the findings, noting that in 2000, it published two op-eds that said climate change may pose a “legitimate long-term risk.”

“Our statements have been consistent with our understanding of climate science,” Exxon said, adding that the “risk of climate change is clear and warrants action.”

Exxon is being investigated by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman over allegations it concealed the risk of climate change. Schneiderman has accused Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of using the pseudonym “Wayne Tracker” to send emails related to climate change while he served as Exxon’s CEO.

In response to the Harvard study, a spokeswoman for Scheniderman said his investigation has “uncovered significant evidence indicating Exxon may have misled” investors and the public about climate change risks.

Climate activists similarly pounced on the Harvard findings. Greenpeace put out a statement urging state authorities to “act now to hold polluters accountable for the biggest crisis facing humanity.”

Exxon lost a key climate change battle in May when shareholders approved a proposal urging the company to do more to disclose the risks it faces from a global crackdown on carbon emissions.

Published at Wed, 23 Aug 2017 17:07:01 +0000

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True price of an Uber ride in question as investors assess firm’s value

True price of an Uber ride in question as investors assess firm’s value

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – What is the true cost of an Uber ride?

That simple question is often lost among the many controversies facing the ride-services company as it tries to hire a new chief executive and resolve a bitter dispute with the old one, Travis Kalanick.

But it may be the most important question of all when it comes to determining the value of Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL], which has built its business on massive subsidies to both riders and drivers, producing huge losses in the process, and it has yet to show that it can maintain growth without them.

Uber will report second-quarter financials to investors this week, which will offer fresh insight on whether the company can get profitable any time soon.

Although private, Uber has started releasing limited quarterly financial data, and in May reported a loss of $708 million for the first quarter, down from $991 million in the fourth quarter. The upcoming financial report will show further improvement on margins, according to an Uber executive, but the company continues to spend heavily on subsidized rides in certain markets.

The issue of Uber’s valuation is hardly academic amid a boardroom battle over control of the company. Early backer Benchmark Capital has sued former CEO Kalanick and fought with other investors, some of whom have offered to buy Benchmark out.

The question vexing everyone is what the company is worth. Benchmark in a series of Tweets earlier this month indicated it believed Uber will soon be worth more than $100 billion. Outside investors contemplating buying Uber shares, however, have indicated they think the company is worth less than its current $68 billion valuation – perhaps much less.

Other investors are already discounting company shares. Four mutual fund companies holding Uber investments recently marked down their shares by as much as 15 percent, according to the latest disclosure documents released.

Click here to see a graphic of Uber’s soaring valuation since 2010 tmsnrt.rs/2ioHzYk

RECKONING SOON?

Uber’s losses stem from its drive to win global market share at almost any cost. That strategy was built on the assumption that Uber could achieve a dominant position in many big cities quickly and eventually raise prices. Kalanick himself said low fares were temporary.

But eight years in, the strategy is now in doubt as competition in many markets continues to intensify. Uber must solve the problem of how to eliminate subsidies without losing customers and thereby undercutting its valuation.

“There is going to come a reckoning and they are going to have to raise prices,” said Brent Goldfarb, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland. “But we know what happens when you raise prices – demand goes down, and perhaps substantially so.”

Uber has raised about $15 billion in funding since 2010, enabling it to discount fares and dole out bonuses to drivers that have at times exceeded $1,000.

In 2015, Uber passengers were paying only 41 percent of the actual cost of their trips, according to an analysis by transportation industry consultant Hubert Horan, based on financial statements from Uber.

Big discounts continue even in Uber’s most mature market, its home city of San Francisco, where as recently as June it was offering some passengers 50 percent off their next 10 rides and $3 carpool rides, a cheaper rate than two years ago.

“I’ve gone crosstown in San Francisco for $12,” Goldfarb said. “There is no way that makes economic sense.”

FILE PHOTO: An Uber sign is seen in a car in New York, U.S. June 30, 2015.Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

FALSE SIGNAL

The Uber executive who spoke to Reuters pointed to a new “upfront” fare system that gives passengers a quote before their ride starts as one of Uber’s key strategies to solving its pricing problem. In effect, it provides Uber a way to charge more without explicit per-mile fare increases.

The new system also uses an algorithm to better price rides to minimize losses. Someone requesting Uber’s carpool service on a route where there are unlikely to be other passengers to share the ride, for instance, will be quoted a higher price so the company does not have to eat the cost, said the executive, who asked not to be named.

The executive added that in the last year or so Uber has reduced its blanket subsidies and become better at targeting its promotions to both riders and drivers.

In ride-hailing, subsidies are necessary when first launching a new city, investors argue. A company needs lots of drivers and passengers to create a marketplace that works, and offering bonuses and discounts is the best way to recruit them.

But subsidies can create an artificial signal about the size of the market: many customers might be using the service only because it is cheap or free.

Once subsidies are turned off, “How do you know where the bottom is?” said Bejul Somaia, a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, which is not among Uber’s backers.

Uber already knows that higher prices scare off customers. A 2016 study by economists and Uber data experts found that when Uber alerted passengers that fares had doubled – part of Uber’s older “surge pricing” scheme – ride purchases immediately fell by about 40 percent.

EIGHT-CENT RIDES

The Uber executive argued that higher fares would have only a minimal impact on ride volume.

Indeed, data from the New York taxi business suggest a modest impact in the United States. Industry research shows that, historically, when cabs raised fares by 20 percent, they lost 4 percent to 5 percent of their customers, said Bruce Schaller, a transportation consultant and former deputy commissioner at the New York City Department of Transportation.

“They have room to raise prices,” Schaller said, speaking of Uber. “There is no question to me as to whether this can be a profitable business.”

But unexpectedly tough competitive pressure from Lyft Inc, Uber’s chief rival in the United States, has hindered Uber’s efforts to become profitable. Uber has steadily lost U.S. market share to Lyft since last October, and now has 78 percent of the market, down from 85 percent in September, according to consumer spending data firm Earnest Research.

Subsidies have been especially debilitating to Uber in markets in Asia and the Middle East, where it is up against popular, well-funded local ride-service companies such as Ola, Grab and Careem.

In India, a price war with Ola pushed prices down as low as 8 cents per kilometer – even the Uber executive said prices there are too cheap. But there’s little sign the company is turning a corner in the subsidies war. When Uber ended expensive driver incentives in the country, drivers went on strike, crippling the service.

The region has sucked billions from Uber’s coffers, raising the prospect that it could be forced to sell to local partners and abandon some countries, as it recently did in China and Russia.

For a graphic on Uber’s soaring valuation click tmsnrt.rs/2ioHzYk

Reporting by Heather Somerville; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Bill Rigby

 

Published at Wed, 23 Aug 2017 11:36:28 +0000

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Bitcoin Skeptic Mark Cuban Reverses Course

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Bitcoin Skeptic Mark Cuban Reverses Course

By Donna Fuscaldo | Updated August 22, 2017 — 8:15 PM EDT

Billionaire investor and bitcoin skeptic Mark Cuban is warming up to the cryptocurrency, signaling that he is investing in a new venture capital fund focused on that segment of the market.

In an interview with CNBC, the Dallas Mavericks owner confirmed he is an investor in iconfirmation, a new venture capital fund aiming to raise $20 million to invest in cryptocurrency and blockchainstartups. Other participants include VC firm Runa Capital; Its technical advisers include Balaji S. Srinivasan, a board partner at Andreessen Horowitz, and Brendan Eich, the creator of the JavaScript programming language.

“It’s an interesting space that I [want] to get involved with and learn more” about, Cuban said in an email to CNBC. He did not specify the size of his investment. The new VC fund was founded by Nick Tomaino, former business development manager at Coinbase. (See also: Should You Buy Gold Or Bitcoin?)

Reversal of Attitude

Cuban’s newfound interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is a far cry from his stance on digital currency expressed back in June. The outspoken billionaire described Bitcoin’s euphoric rise—its value is up more than 400% so far this year—as a bubble, despite his optimistic perspective toward cryptocurrencies in general.

Cuban dialed that back a mere few weeks later as he geared up to participate in an initial coin offering (ICO), according to digital currency news website CoinDesk. His decision came after one of the companies he is invested in, eSports​ betting platform Unikrn, announced plans to raise funds for a new online coin to rival Bitcoin. Then came his tweet on Aug. 14 in which Cuban said he “might have to finally buy some” Bitcoin. (See also: Bitcoin Naysayer Mark Cuban Is Buying This Coin.)

The timing of Cuban’s interest is notable given the value of Bitcoin was dangerously close to a correction earlier Tuesday but ended down 8%. On a technical basis, a correction occurs when the value is 10% below its peak. According to a report in MarketWatch, Bitcoin was up 2% on the day, reaching $4,139.87. The digital currency had hit a low of $3,687 earlier in trading but was able to rebound. Even with the price falling, the value of one Bitcoin is 400% higher than at the beginning of 2017. The currency has a market capitalization of $68.7 billion, noted MarketWatch. Initial coin offerings have raised $1.37 billion in 2017 so far, noted the report.

 

Published at Wed, 23 Aug 2017 00:15:00 +0000

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Snap Stock May Have Bottomed Out

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Snap Stock May Have Bottomed Out

By Alan Farley | August 22, 2017 — 10:59 AM EDT

Snap Inc. (SNAP) shares may have finally bottomed out after losing half their value since March’s eagerly subscribed initial public offering. However, there is no rush to get on board unless you’re a short-term trader, because bottoms usually take time to form before yielding substantially higher prices. Even so, informed market players will be keeping a close eye on short-term charts, waiting for buying signals that favor immediate exposure.

The stock punished shareholders for more than three months after posting a swing high at $23.57 and gapping down on May 11 in reaction to a dismal quarterly report in which the company missed nearly all major metrics. The downside intensified after the gap was filled on May 25, failing to bounce through June and July while the tech-heavy Nasdaq-100​ posted a fresh round of all-time highs. (See also: Downward Pressure on Snap Stock Will Continue.)

SNAP Daily Chart (2017)

The stock came public at $24.00 on March 2, posting heavy volume in an enthusiastic response to months of Wall Street hype. It topped out one session later after hitting an all-time high $29.44 and turned sharply lower, cutting through the IPO print on its fourth trading day. The downdraft ended at $18.90 less than two weeks later, setting a price floor that failed at the end of the second quarter.

Stubborn resistance at the IPO print in the mid-$20s ended March and May recovery attempts, setting a line in the sand that might not be crossed for several years. The May sell gap dropped the stock into March support in the upper teens, which finally broke down in June. That failure marked the start of capitulative selling pressure that may have finally ended when the decline undercut $12.00 on Aug. 3. (For more, see: Some Wall Streeters See Value in Snap Inc. Shares.)

A bounce into Aug. 10 failed to pick up steam, giving way to an intermediate breakdown that set off fresh sell signals. The stock opened lower in the following session, posted an all-time low at $11.28 and charged higher, lifting to a four-week high earlier this week. This turnaround set off a small-scale 2B buy signal, denoting the failure of bears to defend a new resistance level, and it could coincide with a long-term bottom.

On-balance volume (OBV) topped out with price during the first trading week and entered a distribution phase that continued into Aug. 2. It turned higher eight sessions before the stock hit the all-time low and has gained substantial ground in the past week, lifting to the highest high since June. This reversal signals heavy bottom fishing consistent with the start of a bottoming formation that could yield substantial upside in the fourth quarter. (To learn more, check out: Uncover Market Sentiment With On-Balance Volume.)

SNAP 60-Minute Chart (June – August)

A Fibonacci grid stretched across the selling wave that started on June 19 organizes price action, with the most recent bounce stalling on Monday at the .386 retracement level near $14.00. Not surprisingly, this level has aligned with the declining 200-bar exponential moving average (EMA) and the top of a trading range that could mark the outline of a developing bottom. That pattern has now posted two lower lows but not a single higher low, telling informed market players that it needs more time to complete a bullish platform that supports higher prices.

A bounce at or near the lower red line at $12.00 in the next few sessions could carve the right shoulder of an inverse head and shoulders pattern. In turn, that might support a breakout that targets the unfilled July 10 gap between $16.35 and $16.95. The .786 sell-off retracement cuts right through the gap, highlighting a harmonic barrier that could take time to overcome. (For more, see: Strategies for Trading Fibonacci Retracements.)

The Bottom Line

Snap shares may have bottomed out following a long downtrend that shocked optimistic shareholders, setting the stage for a recovery rally that could reach resistance between $16 and $17. This price action favors position trades rather than fresh investments, which should be put on hold until recovery efforts yield a longer-term uptrend. (For additional reading, check out: A SNAP Story: Revenge of the IPO.)

 

Published at Tue, 22 Aug 2017 14:59:00 +0000

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Age of Cryptoeconomics: How to insure cryptocurrency accounts and hedge risks

Age of Cryptoeconomics: How to insure cryptocurrency accounts and hedge risks

By: Crypto Insider . | Tue, Aug 22, 2017


Fintech is experiencing unprecedented growth thanks to the rise of blockchain technology. This should come as no surprise, as financial markets are the most ready to welcome blockchain-innovations. As a matter of fact, most of the modern sales-and-purchase contracts are already codified, and their implementation are partially automated.

Insuretech

Meanwhile, the less common concept of “insuretech” (insurance technologies) is gradually gaining popularity in the sphere of cryptoeconomics, since we all live in the world of probabilities.

The necessity of a codified solution for insurance in the cryptocurrency sector has become especially relevant. We have repeatedly witnessed the collapse of crypto-businesses as a result of hacks, flaws in the code and human negligence. All these factors restrain the development of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, and put off many new entrants from adoption of the technology.

At the same time, according to the forecasts of British analytical company Juniper Research (which is well known for its research on cryptocurrency trends), insuretech revenues may soar up to 235 billion US dollars this year (which is 34% more than in 2016). The growth of insuretech will be stimulated by the wider adoption of smart-contracts, says the report.

Apart from this, a junior, but huge market of cryptocurrencies will most likely become fertile ground for the development of insuretech. For wider adoption and further growth of cryptoeconomics, crypto-accounts, smart-contracts and transactions need insurance against loss and rate fluctuations. Insuretech will infiltrate throughout the field of cryptoeconomics, as it’s clear this sphere has to be protected from risks.

Nonetheless, the crypto-world has a number of unique variables to deal with: crypto-risks, cryptoliquidity and decentralized model of governance.

In order to guarantee the further development of insuretech in decentralized ecosystems, we have to envelop business-logic of insurance contract into the smart-contract form and integrate it with blockchain.

Blockchain insurance

From a point of view of financial law, there are 3 possible types of insurance for corporate players in the sphere of cryptoeconomics:

  • Insurance of crypto-deposits
  • Insurance of the deals
  • Hedging from price fluctuations

On the level of B2B interactions, insurance services will most likely be provided by large banks and organizations. The practice of private (peer-to-peer) insurance is less likely to be adopted in this framework, as it doesn’t match the requirements of the corporate environment: insurance payouts may amount to huge funds.

Upon the occurrence of the insured event (service hack, corporate mail leak, etc.), the affected party will be able to request the insurance compensation, unless the examination of the case reveals any forgery. Decentralized arbitration in the blockchain ecosystem might prove to be the best way to address disputes resulting from controversial insurance proceedings.

Besides the standard insurable risks (hacks and thefts), the blockchain ecosystem requires protection against fluctuations of the market rates, or “hedging” risks of cryptocurrency volatility. Generally, hedging instruments are used to insure against sudden changes in market conditions, and the most common type of hedging is a derivative, called futures contracts.

Financial derivatives for cryptomarkets are in high-demand right now and their proliferation is accelerating. Many companies and individuals are betting long-term on cryptocurrencies, hoping that their value will continue to grow.

In the cryptoeconomics of the future, holders of cryptocurrencies should be able to protect their investments without converting them into national currencies. Financial instruments, such as futures and options, will provide the tools to hedge crypto-risks and reduce the volatility.

All three options for B2B insurance as described in this piece will be provided in the frame of blockchain-ecosystem Jincor, which has announced the start of its pre-ICO on 21st of August.

By Ekaterina Tarasova via Cryptoinsider.com


Crypto Insider is financed by MIK Group of Companies based in Dubai. Address: 1901 South Tower, Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC, Dubai, UAE Telephone: +971 4 388 7619 MIK is a UAE based group with UK origins that has a wide presence globally predominantly within the business consulting and financial solutions sector.

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Published at Tue, 22 Aug 2017 10:45:28 +0000

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U.S. takes tough lines as NAFTA negotiations begin

 

U.S. takes tough lines as NAFTA negotiations begin

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday laid down a tough line for modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement, demanding major changes to the pact that would reduce U.S. trade deficits with Mexico and Canada and increase U.S. content for autos.

Speaking at the start of the talks in Washington, U.S. President Donald Trump’s top trade adviser, Robert Lighthizer, said Trump was not interested in “a mere tweaking” of the 23-year-old pact, which he blames for hundreds of thousands of job losses to Mexico.

“We feel that NAFTA has fundamentally failed many, many Americans and needs major improvement,” Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative, said in an opening statement.

Canadian and Mexican officials defended NAFTA and said its benefits and structure should be preserved while it is modernized.

Lighthizer said he would demand increased regional and U.S. content in autos produced in the region, the largest source of a $64-billion U.S. goods trade deficit with Mexico last year. He also said the United States would insist on strong provisions governing labor and currency practices.

“We need to ensure that the huge trade deficits do not continue and we have balance and reciprocity. This should be periodically reviewed,” said Lighthizer. “The rules of origin, particularly on autos and auto parts, must require higher NAFTA content and substantial U.S. content.”

The demand is at odds with auto producers and suppliers in the region, who are concerned that increasing local content requirements will raise their costs and make their factories less competitive with those in Asia and Europe.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, who suggested this week her country could walk away if the U.S. insisted on scrapping a NAFTA mechanism to resolve trade disputes, also took a swipe at the U.S. fixation on cutting its trade deficits.

“Canada does not view trade surpluses or deficits as a primary measure of whether a trading relationship works,” she said in her opening statement. “Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that our trade with the U.S. is balanced and mutually beneficial.”

Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said NAFTA stood as model of North American integration and the talks should aim to strengthen the continent’s trade ties.

“The issue is not tearing apart what has worked, but rather, how we make our agreement better,” he said. “For a deal to be successful, it has to work for all parties involved. Otherwise, it is not a deal.”

Mexico is keen to maintain preferential access for its goods and services to the United States and Canada, where nearly 85 percent of its exports are shipped. Its NAFTA priorities also include greater integration of the continent’s labor markets and energy sectors.

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland speaks at a news conference prior to the inaugural round of North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations in Washington, U.S., August 16, 2017.Aaron P. Bernstein

Canadian and Mexican delegations were not surprised by the Lighthizer’s tough talk.

Raymond Bachand, the lead trade negotiator for the Canadian province of Quebec, said he was not worried by Lighthizer’s remarks that the U.S. would not accept minor changes to the agreement.

“Mr Lighthizer’s speech was very focused on U.S. domestic policy. President Trump promised to renegotiate NAFTA,” Bachand said. “There’s a lot of strategizing going on today because it’s clear that U.S. business circles have one objective – do no harm,” he told reporters.

The first round of meetings, which are expected to last until Sunday, will focus on consolidating the proposals from all three countries, a U.S. trade official said ahead of the talks, which are being held at a Washington hotel.

Slideshow (5 Images)

As the NAFTA talks began, Trump faced increasing political heat over his comments that both right-and left-wing extremists were responsible for violence at a white supremacist rally in Virginia on Saturday.

The biggest uncertainty in the NAFTA talks is whether a deal can pass Trump’s “America First” test. Trump has constantly blamed NAFTA for shuttering U.S. factories and sending U.S. jobs to low-wage Mexico. The test will be whether NAFTA negotiators can prove to him that a new agreement alters that course.

Business communities from all three countries have called on the sides to “do no harm” amid concerns that a new agreement will unravel a complex North American network of manufacturing suppliers built around NAFTA.

U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade has quadrupled since NAFTA took effect in 1994, surpassing $1 trillion in 2015.

Robert Holleyman, a former deputy U.S. trade representative during the Obama administration, said the “toughest nut to crack” will be whether changes meet Trump’s goal of reducing the trade deficit.

“We know where he wants to make changes to NAFTA. Whether those changes lead up to something that actually reduces the trade deficit with Mexico is wholly unclear,” Holleyman said.

NAFTA renegotiation will be a major test of Trump’s ability to meet his campaign promises to restore U.S. manufacturing jobs. Although he has inherited a strong economy that has added 1.29 million jobs this year, his promises of an ambitious legislative agenda have been derailed by the failure of a healthcare bill and the lack of a detailed plan for tax reform.

Also weighing heavily over the talks is the upcoming 2018 Mexico presidential election. Mexico has urged all sides to complete the negotiations before the campaign ramps up in February to avoid it becoming a political punching bag.

Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton, David Lawder and Ginger Gibson; Editing by Leslie Adler and Nick Zieminski

 

Published at Wed, 16 Aug 2017 17:10:58 +0000

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Wells Fargo board chairman to retire, be replaced at year end

 

Wells Fargo board chairman to retire, be replaced at year end

(Reuters) – Wells Fargo & Co Vice Chair Betsy Duke will replace retiring Chairman Stephen Sanger next year, one of several changes announced on Tuesday in response to shareholder displeasure over the bank’s sales practices scandal.

Sanger will retire at year-end, even though he will not reach mandatory retirement age of 72 until April. Investors have pressured Wells Fargo to speed up the planned transition as the bank has dealt with fallout from the scandal.

The two longest-serving directors, Cynthia Milligan and Susan Swenson, will also retire at year end. Juan Pujadas, a former PricewaterhouseCoopers principal, will join as an independent director effective Sept. 1.

The board also detailed changes to four of its committees and said it will add more directors in the future “while maintaining an appropriate balance of experience and perspectives.”

Wells Fargo’s board hired Mary Jo White, a senior partner at law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and former Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, to conduct a review of its structure and composition after a harsh shareholder vote in April.

Most directors, including Sanger, received relatively little support due to revelations that the bank had opened as many as 2.1 million phony accounts in customers’ names without their permission. The sales scandal led to the departure of former CEO John Stumpf. The scandal also prompted executive changes within the retail banking division and raised questions about board oversight.

The two Wells Fargo board members who received the lowest vote totals, Enrique Hernandez and Federico Peña, will remain on the board. Director Karen Peetz will replace Hernandez as chair of the risk committee.

Sanger, 71, will reach the mandatory retirement age of 72 on April 10.

Additional reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Writing by Lauren Tara LaCapra; Editing by David Gregorio

 

Published at Tue, 15 Aug 2017 21:20:04 +0000

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Q&A: After the U.S. Treasury, the Paulsons look to save the planet

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By skeeze from Pixabay

Q&A: After the U.S. Treasury, the Paulsons look to save the planet

NEW YORK (Reuters) – When Henry “Hank” Paulson, Jr. finished his tenure as the U.S.’s 74th Secretary of the Treasury in January 2009, he put a capstone on his finance career and committed himself to another life-long passion: protecting the environment.

Paulson, now 71, was chief executive of Goldman Sachs before he joined the government. He served at the same time as chairman of the Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit based in New York. He now is running the Paulson Institute, a think tank dedicated to U.S.-China relations as they pertain to the economy and the environment.

Meanwhile, his wife Wendy Paulson, 69, oversees the Bobolink Foundation, the family’s conservation charity and has served in leadership roles on both national and state chapters of the Nature Conservancy. The Paulsons recently spoke with Reuters about the lessons they have learned concerning wealth, philanthropy and marriage.

Q: Hank, where did you learn your work ethic?

HP: I grew up on a working farm. It was small, a hundred acres, but we had cows and pigs and chickens and sheep and a vegetable garden. I spent hours pulling weeds, hoeing, feeding the horses, cleaning out the stalls. My dad was a tough taskmaster. I always worked, but we also had fun.

Q: Wendy, you were raised in a military family. Was your father similarly tough?

WP: My father was in the Marine Corps, but he was not a drill sergeant. Just the opposite – incredibly liberal-minded, committed to education. It’s where I got my love of teaching and being outdoors.

Q: What attitudes did your parents have about money?

HP: I grew up with a strong set of values – and one was never judging someone by how much money they had. Barrington, Illinois is a rural community – there are farms, the middle class, and a group of wealthy people who lived there, who hung around the country club. I never cared about money. When I was at school, I never wanted a car. I was focused on sports, studies, camping, being outdoors.

Q: You’ve been married for 48 years. What advice can you share?

HP: Wendy and I both like to be in wild, beautiful spots – we’re committed to conservation. And we like to get things done. I prefer to work at the policy level, on trying to fix flawed government policies. Wendy runs our foundation and prefers grassroots initiatives. We don’t do the same things, but we collaborate, share ideas, and work toward the same objective – protecting our planet’s ecosystem.

Q: How do you decide where to give your money?

WP: ​Our giving is focused on conservation. We tend to give where we’re personally involved, where we admire the people and where we’re directly engaged in the work. I guess I’d call it experiential giving.

Q: How do you get involved?

WP: In Barrington, Illinois, when we started our family, I became the Nature Lady and taught students about local nature – red-bellied woodpeckers, smooth green snakes, whatever we could find. That put me in touch with people in the conservation world.

I began to get involved in boards. When we moved to New York, I started leading bird walks in Central Park, and helped start a program called For the Birds in the public schools. When we moved to Chicago, I helped start a similar program, Birds in My Neighborhood. I love opening eyes to the natural world.

Q: What is your advice to people who are figuring out how they can best give back?

HP: Everyone wants to make a difference – that’s where happiness comes from. So you say, where do you have a comparative advantage? What do you enjoy? The word passion gets over-used today, but it’s their passion. That’s the biggest gift you can give someone.

Q: What did you teach your children about money as they grew up?

WP: When they were young, well-meaning relatives were showering the kids with things, and it drove me nuts. So for Christmas one year, we took the kids to a barrier island and we brought no gifts. Every year since then we’ve traveled to beautiful, natural spots — an experience, rather than things.

Q: Now that your children are grown up and married, what lessons do you hope they pass on to their kids?

WP: That education and diverse experience matter.  That caring for others and for the planet matters.  Learning, being good, doing good.

Editing by Beth Pinsker, Lauren Young and Andrew Hay

 

Published at Mon, 14 Aug 2017 17:42:47 +0000

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Is NVIDIA Stock Topping Out?

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Is NVIDIA Stock Topping Out?

By Alan Farley | August 11, 2017 — 11:37 AM EDT

NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA) shares sold off more than 5% in the first hour of Friday’s U.S. session, hitting a four-week low at $153.65 after the company reported a strong quarter but disappointed the momentum crowd with lower-than-expected guidance. The decline reinforces a three-month trading range between $138 and $175 while increasing the odds that the graphics giant is grinding through the middle stages of a long-term topping pattern.

The stock traded as low as $150.20 in pre-market action, forcing a supply of weak-handed shareholders back to the sidelines. Modest technical improvement since that time has eased bearish sentiment, but it will take a very strong close to draw fresh buying power into this market leader. That seems unlikely given the broad retreat generated by growing geopolitical risk. (See also: NVIDIA Shares Fall as Investors Fret Over Data Center Growth.)

It has been unwise to bet against NVIDIA in 2017 despite 2016’s parabolic uptrend, but gains have slowed considerably in recent months, with the stock now trading at the same level it did in early June. That is not an issue for long-term shareholders, but the momentum crowd is also holding positions while keeping one finger on the exit button at all times. An orderly decline could turn into a full-scale rout if this group tries to exit positions at the same time.

NVDA Weekly Chart (2011 – 2017)

A post-bear market bounce ended at the .618 Fibonacci sell-off retracement level in the mid-$20s in 2011, giving way to a long-term rounded correction that returned to resistance in the second half of 2015. The stock broke out into the end of that year and took off in a vertical trend advance fueled by the company’s strategic advantages in the growing virtual reality market. The rally continued its incredible trajectory into the end of 2016, posting greater than 300% annual gains. (For more, see: Figuring Out What NVIDIA Is Really Worth.)

NVIDIA shares pulled back in a bull flag pattern in the first quarter of 2017, undercutting the 50-day exponential moving average (EMA), and took off in a May rally wave that reached $168.50 in early June. Slightly higher highs in July and earlier this week failed to attract significant buying interest, while the bearish post-earnings reaction has dropped the price back into a broad trading range that could eventually yield a trend reversal.

Weekly and monthly stochastics oscillators will remain in buy cycles when the trading week comes to an end, indicating that bulls are still in charge. As a result, bearish observations serve as warning signs and red flags rather than sell signals that demand immediate action. However, that will change when the weekly indicator crosses into a sell cycle because the technical dominoes could then fall and generate long-term sell signals. (See also: NVIDIA Stock Risks Falling Below Key Support.)

NVDA Daily Chart (2016 – 2017)

The trading range between the July low at $138 and August high at $175 now becomes the dominant technical feature because a breakdown could drop the stock into the unfilled May 10 gap between $103 and $114. There is plenty of room for bulls and bears to get it wrong within this range-bound pattern, especially if price action fails to hold the 50-day EMA at $155. Shorter-term resistance now lies between $162 and $165 following the breakdown through the July 27 swing low.

The on-balance volume (OBV) indicator looks nearly bulletproof, grinding sideways close to the rally high. However, the stock has posted more than 100% of its average daily volume in the first hour of Friday’s session, telling us to watch for a downturn that will gain significance if it carries through the July low (red line). While that is unlikely to happen in one day, the decline could easily continue into the coming week, especially if geopolitical factors continue to weigh on the broad tape. (For more, see: NVIDIA’s Way to Win AI Chip Share: Give Them Away.)

The Bottom Line

NVIDIA is struggling on Friday morning after a sell-the-news reaction dropped the stock more than 5%. It has now dropped back within the prior trading range, denying breakout buyers while raising the odds that it will carve a longer-term topping pattern. (For additional reading, check out: Is NVIDIA Too Dependent on Bitcoin?)

 

Published at Fri, 11 Aug 2017 15:37:00 +0000

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Hotels: Occupancy Rate Down Year-over-Year

by Pexels from Pixabay

Hotels: Occupancy Rate Down Year-over-Year

by Bill McBride on 8/10/2017 03:33:00 PM

From HotelNewsNow.com: STR: US hotel results for week ending 5 August

The U.S. hotel industry reported mostly negative year-over-year results in the three key performance metrics during the week of 30 July through 5 August 2017, according to data from STR.

In comparison with the week of 31 July through 6 August 2016, the industry recorded the following:

Occupancy: -1.5% to 74.5%
• Average daily rate (ADR): +0.7% to US$129.00
• Revenue per available room (RevPAR): -0.8% to US$96.08
emphasis added

The following graph shows the seasonal pattern for the hotel occupancy rate using the four week average.

Hotel Occupancy RateThe red line is for 2017, dash light blue is 2016, dashed orange is 2015 (best year on record), blue is the median, and black is for 2009 (the worst year since the Great Depression for hotels).

Currently the occupancy rate is tracking close to last year, and behind the record year in 2015.

Seasonally, the occupancy rate will remain strong over the next few weeks and then decline into the Fall.

Data Source: STR, Courtesy of HotelNewsNow.com

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Montreal Carbon Pledge

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Montreal Carbon Pledge

DEFINITION of ‘Montreal Carbon Pledge’

The Montreal Carbon Pledge is a commitment by investors to annually measure and publicly disclose their portfolio’s carbon footprint — that is, the impact on the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) network launched the Montreal Carbon Pledge in September 2014, and more than 120 investors worldwide with more than $10 trillion in assets under management (AUM) had joined the pledge as of December 2015. The pledge’s first 10 signatories were the Etablissement du Régime Additionnel de la Fonction Publique (ERAFP), PGGM Investments, Bâtirente, The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the Environment Agency Pension Fund, CalPERS, Nordea, Calvert Investments, Ownership Capital, and AP4.

BREAKING DOWN ‘Montreal Carbon Pledge’

An investor who signs the Montreal Carbon Pledge is making a formal commitment to measure, disclose, and reduce its carbon footprint. As stated on the Montreal Carbon Pledge website, the formal pledge is as follows:

“As institutional investors, we have a duty to act in the best long-term interests of our beneficiaries. In this fiduciary role, we believe that there are long-term investment risks associated with greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and carbon regulation.

“In order to better understand, quantify and manage the carbon and climate change related impacts, risks, and opportunities in our investments, it is integral to measure our carbon footprint. Therefore, we commit, as a first step, to measure and disclose the carbon footprint of our investments annually with the aim of using this information to develop an engagement strategy and/or identify and set carbon footprint reduction targets.”

Investors might want to measure their portfolio’s carbon footprint in order to identify key areas for reducing emissions, track progress in making reductions, demonstrate a public commitment to addressing climate change, and address stakeholder concerns about climate change. Also, an investment portfolio may be exposed to risks and presented with opportunities related to climate change, and understanding both could lead to better investment returns. All asset owners and investment managers, regardless of whether they are PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment) signatories, may sign the Montreal Carbon Pledge.

A company’s carbon footprint is measured by its emissions of the six greenhouse gases identified by the Kyoto Protocol: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride. The measurement takes into account direct emissions from sources that the company owns or controls and indirect emissions from electricity consumption, waste disposal, fuel extraction and other sources.

A portfolio’s overall carbon footprint is measured by summing the emissions of each company in the portfolio proportional to the amount of its stock that the portfolio contains. Third-party providers can be hired to calculate a portfolio’s carbon footprint. Investment managers can choose for themselves how to act on the information they learn about the portfolio’s carbon footprint. They might choose to reduce their exposure to holdings with a large carbon footprint or to actively invest in companies with low carbon footprints, but they are not required to do so.

Signatories are expected to provide their annual carbon footprint disclosure through their website, annual report, sustainability report, responsible investment report, or other publicly visible client/beneficiary reporting channel. Stakeholders may want to know how signatories view their findings and how they will address them. It is important for signatories to be clear about what they have measured, what progress they have made, what initiatives they have planned and what setbacks they have experienced and to offer stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback.

Signing up is free and can be done online through a simple form that asks for the company’s name, assets under management, and the percentage of assets that the company will calculate a carbon footprint for. The form also asks whether the company has already set any carbon reduction target and for the name and email address of a contact person.

The Montreal Pledge had an initial goal of getting institutional investors with a total of least $500 billion in assets under management to commit to measuring and disclosing their carbon footprint by the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in December 2015. The Montreal Pledge’s suggested method for institutional investors to measure and evaluate their portfolio’s carbon footprint is to first build support among colleagues, clients, the board, trustees, investment committees, the chief investment officer (CIO), and portfolio managers. Then, they should choose how much of the portfolio to measure and how often.

For example, an investor might measure the carbon footprint of the equities portion of the portfolio or the part of a portfolio that represents a specific geographic region. The more areas that are measured, the more the investor will learn about the portfolio’s overall carbon footprint. Ideally, these measurements will happen annually, but it depends on the investor’s budget and resources to review and act on the findings.

Another step is choosing who will do the measuring. Portfolio managers might be able to do this, or it might be necessary to hire an outside service provider. Data on carbon footprints can be gathered from the annual reports of companies whose stocks are held within the portfolio or they can be estimated or modeled. Once measurements are available, investment managers need to analyze the data, making sure they understand the measurement methods used and any shortcomings (such as estimated data), then compare the results to a benchmark and decide how to act on it. Actions might include taking steps to lower the portfolio’s carbon footprint, talking with the companies within the portfolio about their carbon footprints, and discussing findings and their implications with the portfolio’s investors.

 

Published at Thu, 10 Aug 2017 21:44:00 +0000

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Kohl’s and Dillard’s Shares Could Add to Recent Gains

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Kohl’s and Dillard’s Shares Could Add to Recent Gains

By Alan Farley | August 9, 2017 — 11:59 AM EDT

This week’s department store earnings reports could yield buy-the-news reactions that add to gains posted since the group bottomed out in May following months of selling pressure. Tighter fiscal controls, fewer defections to online sales and speculation about the 2017 holiday season could underpin these issues, shaking out high short interest levels while working off long-term oversold technical readings.

Kohl’s Corporation (KSS) and Dillard’s, Inc. (DDS) release quarterly results prior to the Aug. 10 opening bell. They companies been evenly matched in recent years, facing identical headwinds at opposite ends of the shopping mall. Both are trading above their 200-day exponential moving average (EMA) for the first time since 2016, attracting significant bottom fishing interest, but neither has reached the hallowed technical ground needed to declare an uptrend or set off a long-term buying signal. (See also: 2017: The Year of Retail Bankruptcies.)

KSS Weekly Chart (2008 – 2017)

Kohl’s shares topped out at $78.83 in 2002 following a multi-year uptrend and fell into a narrow trading range that broke to the downside during the 2008 economic crisis. The stock found support at a 10-year low in March 2009, bounced back above broken range support in the $40s and eased into a narrow sideways pattern at the start of the decade. It held within those boundaries into a 2015 breakout that reversed just two months later at the 2002 high. (For more, see: Can Kohl’s Sales Boosting Initiatives Aid Q2 Earnings?)

Aggressive sellers took control through 2015 and into 2016, generating a steep downtrend that hit a seven-year low at $33.87 in June. Kohl’s stock bounced strongly off that level into the end of the year and resumed selling pressure after the company reported weak 2016 holiday sales. That downdraft settled just above the 2016 low, while a bounce into August has increased bullish calls for a double bottom reversal that signals a new uptrend.

On-balance volume (OBV) hit a multi-year high during the 2016 bounce and has held in the upper half of the long-term range into the second half of 2017. This resilience signals extensive bottom fishing, consistent with an improving technical outlook. Even so, the recovery faces a major challenge headed into earnings because it still has not penetrated the huge January 2017 gap between $44 and $49. The most bullish scenario in this complex price structure would unfold through a post-earnings rally gap that leaves behind a bullish island reversal. (To learn more, check out: Uncover Market Sentiment With On-Balance Volume.)

DDS Weekly Chart (2009 – 2017)

Dillard’s stock returned to the 1993 high at $52.75 in 2011 following a multi-year V-shaped pattern carved in the aftermath of the 2008 economic collapse. It paused at that level for more than six months and broke out, posting a series of new highs into the April 2015 all-time high at $144. The subsequent decline continued into the May 2017 five-year low, right in the middle of the 2011 into 2012 consolidation pattern, and took off in a bounce that confirmed long-term support in the $40s. (See also: 5 Retail Stocks With High Earnings Beat Predictability.)

The bounce off that low stalled at the 200-week EMA in the mid-$70s at the end of July, with price action easing into a sideways consolidation ahead of this week’s confessional. Dillard’s stock finally ended the string of lower highs off the 2015 peak in July, when it rallied above the 2016 swing highs in the mid-$70s, signaling the next stage in a bottoming pattern that could eventually support a new uptrend.

A buy-the-news reaction after earnings would run into steep resistance at the March 2016 high in the upper $80s, offering plenty of short-term upside, while a sell-the-news reaction could reach support at the top of the 18-month falling wedge breakout (blue lines) above $60. Volatile price action into that level could yield a higher low, but the tape may be too chaotic to profit from carefully placed pullback trades. (For more, see: Top Strategies for Mastering Pullback Trading.)

The Bottom Line

Bulls hold the advantage heading into this week’s department stores earnings flood, with the group working off long-term oversold technical readings that have lifted these struggling issues back above key support levels. (For additional reading, check out: Ailing Department Stores Grasp for Solutions.)

 

Published at Wed, 09 Aug 2017 15:59:00 +0000

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Disney to ditch Netflix, plans new movie streaming service

by WolreChris from Pixabay

Disney to ditch Netflix, plans new movie streaming service

(Reuters) – Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) will stop providing new movies to Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) starting in 2019 and launch its own streaming service as the world’s biggest entertainment company tries to capture digital viewers who are dumping traditional television.

Disney’s defection, announced on Tuesday alongside quarterly results showing continued pressure on sports network ESPN, is a calculated gamble that the company can generate more profit in the long run from its own subscription service rather than renting out its movies to services like Netflix.

In turn, Netflix and rivals such as Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Time Warner Inc’s (TWX.N) HBO are spending billions of dollars to buy and produce their own content and stream it straight to consumers.

Disney’s entry into a crowded subscription streaming market and the cost of technology to support its own online services could weigh on earnings, Wall Street analysts said.

Disney stock fell 3.8 percent in after-hours trade. Shares of Netflix fell 3 percent.

The new Disney-branded streaming service will follow a similar offering from ESPN that will be available starting in 2018, the company said.

The streaming services will give Disney “much greater control over our own destiny in a rapidly changing market,” Chief Executive Bob Iger told analysts on a conference call after earnings, describing the moves as an “entirely new growth strategy” for the company.

Disney has some experience with the direct-to-consumer model in Britain and could make more money in the long run from its own service, but the move could be “financially less advantageous” in the near term, said Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser.

The new ESPN service will feature about 10,000 live games and events per year from Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer and others, Disney said. It will not offer the marquee live sporting events shown on its cable channels.

STREAMING TECH DEAL

Disney said its new services would be based on technology provided by video-streaming firm BAMTech, and announced it would pay $1.58 billion to buy an additional 42 percent stake in that company, which it took a minority stake in last year.

The BAMTech deal will modestly dent earnings per share for two years, the company said.

Disney is one of the most recognized names on Netflix, but it is not the company first to pull away. Starz Entertainment in 2011 pulled roughly 1,000 films in the Starz catalog on Netflix at the time.

By ending the Netflix movie deal, Disney will keep movies such as “Toy Story 4” and “Frozen 2” for its own offering. The company has not yet decided where it will distribute films from superhero studio Marvel and “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm after 2018, Iger said.

Netflix said it would continue to do business with Disney globally, including keeping its exclusive shows from Marvel television.

“U.S. Netflix members will have access to Disney films on the service through the end of 2019, including all new films that are shown theatrically through the end of 2018,” the company said in a statement.

The announcement came as Disney reported a near 9 percent fall in quarterly profit, pulled down by higher programming costs and declining subscribers at ESPN, as viewers ditch costly cable packages in favor of cheaper online offerings.

The company’s revenue fell marginally to $14.24 billion in the third quarter ended July 1 from $14.28 billion a year earlier.

Net income attributable to the company fell to $2.37 billion, or $1.51 per share, from $2.6 billion, or $1.59 per share.

Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Peter Henderson in San Francisco; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Bill Rigby

Published at Tue, 08 Aug 2017 20:34:07 +0000

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Prime Working-Age Population near 2007 Peak

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By geralt from Pixabay

Prime Working-Age Population near 2007 Peak

by Bill McBride on 8/07/2017 01:59:00 PM

The prime working age population peaked in 2007, and bottomed at the end of 2012. As of July 2017, according to the BLS, there were still fewer people in the 25 to 54 age group than in 2007.

At the beginning of this year – based on demographics – it looked like the prime working age (25 to 54) would probably hit a new peak in 2017.

However, since the end of last year, the prime working age population has declined slightly.

Changes in demographics are an important determinant of economic growth, and although most people focus on the aging of the “baby boomer” generation, the movement of younger cohorts into the prime working age is another key story. Here is a graph of the prime working age population (25 to 54 years old) from 1948 through May 2017.

Note: This is population, not work force.

Prime Working Age PopulatonClick on graph for larger image.

There was a huge surge in the prime working age population in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.

The prime working age labor force grew even quicker than the population in the ’70s and ’80s due to the increase in participation of women. In fact, the prime working age labor force was increasing 3%+ per year in the ’80s!

So when we compare economic growth to the ’70s, ’80, or 90’s we have to remember this difference in demographics (the ’60s saw solid economic growth as near-prime age groups increased sharply).

The good news is the prime working age group should start growing at 0.5% per year – and this should boost economic activity.

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Tesla Stock Generated Most Returns Among Car Makers This Year

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By most metrics, Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) lags its rivals in the car industry. But there is one metric in which Tesla has overtaken rivals. According to calculations by Charlie Bilello, director of research at Pension Partners, the Palo Alto, California-based company has generated the maximum returns this year for any car company listed in the markets.

Since the beginning of this year, investors have earned 63% returns from Tesla stock. Other car companies have produced far less. An investment in General Motors Company (GM) would have produced 3% returns in 2017. Ford Motor Company (F) generated negative 5% returns, while Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (HMC) and Toyota Motor Corporation (TM) produced negative returns of 2% and 4%, respectively. The party is expected to continue. Tesla’s stock price has jumped by more than 50% since the start of this year, and based on multiple analyst reports, it has further room to grow. (See also: Tesla Passes General Motors in Market Cap, Becomes Most Valuable Car Maker.)

To be sure, the return numbers are not indicative of actual performance. While they sport similar market capitalizations compared with Tesla, Ford and GM are vastly more experienced in producing and selling cars. This is reflected in the number of cars that they sell each year. For example, Ford sold 6.6 million cars last year versus approximately 76,000 cars sold by Tesla.

Instead, the run-up in Tesla’s shares is a reflection of the market’s assessment of the company’s prospects in the nascent electric car industry. Consumer tastes have shifted against gasoline and diesel – the fuels that power most vehicles made by car majors. Governments across the world also set mandates this year and promulgated policies to regulate and promote sales of electric cars. As a pioneer in the space, Tesla is expected to be a major beneficiary of this trend. (See also: Tesla Model 3 Expectations Are ‘Hitting the Moon’.)

Still, it is difficult to shake off the possibility of a bubble in Tesla’s stock price given the massive difference in car production numbers. A good point of assessment for investors may be Tesla’s progress with the Model 3, its first mainstream electric car.

Encouraging delivery and sales numbers for the Model 3 would imply two things. First, Model 3 success would suggest that Tesla’s production capabilities have matured to the point where it can take on car majors. Previously, the company struggled with multiple manufacturing and delivery issues for the Model S and Model X, cars that did not have the scale and ambitious numbers of the Model 3.

Second, and related to the first point, Tesla’s sales will take off if it delivers the Model 3 on time and without significant problems. The electric car company has already proven its capabilities in the luxury car segment. Successful execution of the Model 3’s mandate will help prove Tesla’s critics wrong and set the stage for sales to take off. (See also: UBS Believes the Model 3 Launch Will Determine Tesla’s Future.)

 

Published at Sat, 05 Aug 2017 20:12:00 +0000

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Amazon shadow looms large ahead of retail earnings

 

Amazon shadow looms large ahead of retail earnings

NEW YORK (Reuters) – As old and new Amazon.com (AMZN.O) competitors gear up to report earnings, investors are eager to know how they plan to withstand the growth of the No. 1 online retailer.

So far this quarter, Amazon has been brought up in some 130 earnings calls from S&P 1500 .SPSUP components according to a Reuters analysis. About 50 of those came in the last week alone.

More than 30 companies reporting earnings in the following weeks mentioned Amazon during their most recent earnings call or were directly asked about threats or opportunities regarding Amazon’s growth.

“Any retailer, whether it’s an online retailer or has online presence, or just brick and mortar, that tells you they’re not concerned about Amazon, they’re either in denial or lying,” said Steven Osinski, marketing lecturer at the Fowler College of Business at San Diego State University.

Beyond retailers like Wal-Mart (WMT.N) and Target (TGT.N), and following Amazon’s planned acquisition of Whole Foods Market (WFM.O) announced mid June, expect Amazon to pop up on earnings calls from food producers, packagers and retailers including SpartanNash (SPTN.O) and Dean Foods (DF.N).

Amazon mentions in less-expected earnings calls could also give investors an idea of where analysts expect the behemoth to strike next.

“It’ll be interesting to see (Amazon CEO Jeff) Bezos’ next move in terms of wanting to expand into a certain space,” said Daniel Morgan, portfolio manager at Synovus Trust in Atlanta.

He said apparel as well as pharmaceutical distribution were among the areas where Amazon has been said to make its next big move.

“They’ve shown up in places we didn’t think they’d have competitive impact just two years ago.”

In a sign of Amazon’s widening clout, industry bellwethers like McDonald’s (MCD.N), 3M (MMM.N) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) in their latest earnings calls were asked for the first time about effects of Amazon on their businesses.

(For a graphic on Amazon’s stock growth, see bit.ly/2vxWft0)

NOT-SO-GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Consumer discretionary is the S&P 500 sector expected to post the smallest year-over-year earnings growth this reporting quarter, with a gain of 3.3 percent. Overall, earnings are seen rising 12 percent from last year.

Amazon’s own results weigh on the sector, as it earned 40 cents per share instead of the $1.42 analysts had expected. But its 25 percent revenue increase to $38 billion was seen as a detriment to some competitors and could weigh down expectations for their quarterly reports.

“Expectations have been pushed down because a lot of the retailers, particularly the bricks and mortar ones, have had problems – Amazon and other related – so expectations are pretty low,” said Nuveen Asset Management’s chief equity strategist, Bob Doll.

“Amazon obviously has a very powerful model but on the other hand, they’re not going to put every bricks and mortar retailer out of business. These guys aren’t going to sit and let it happen.”

However, stocks in the sector approach their earnings at relatively rich valuations. Including Amazon, which has an earnings multiple above 100, investors in consumer discretionary stocks are paying more than $19 for every $1 in earnings forecast over the next 12 months. That is near the highest since 2009.

As costly as sector stocks are, Amazon has kept growing faster than most, up more than 31 percent year to date. Amazon’s market cap, near half a trillion dollars, places it at about 20 percent of the S&P 500’s consumer discretionary sector.

Its growing clout has called for comparisons with rival Wal-Mart, whose growth in the early 2000s raised concerns it would put smaller retailers out of business.

“In some ways I don’t know if the Amazon effect is much different from what we’ve seen with Wal-Mart or Microsoft,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group in Minneapolis.

“There’s fewer and fewer players and more concentration. It’s the result of winner-takes-all scenarios.”

Reporting by Rodrigo Campos, additional reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by David Gregorio

Published at Sat, 05 Aug 2017 01:07:15 +0000

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