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Dr. Fauci Finally Confirms That Children Don’t Catch Or Transmit COVID-19 In Large Numbers

Dr. Fauci Finally Confirms That Children Don’t Catch Or Transmit COVID-19 In Large Numbers

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 11:45

Authored by Stacey Lennox via PJMedia.com,

Better late than never. Perhaps because he believes Joe Biden will be inaugurated in January, Dr. Fauci is finally admitting that children do not get terribly ill from or transmit COVID-19 in any significant way. Weird, since Switzerland figured this out in AprilDetailed genetic studies in Iceland showed that children were not passing the virus to adults in any significant numbers in June. And German researchers asserted that children could actually act as a brake on transmission within the community.

But good old “follow the science” Fauci was wringing his hands and hedging his bets in the media and during congressional testimony. Most notably, he got into a heated exchange with Senator Rand Paul, who is also a doctor.

Senator Paul correctly noted Sweden’s experience, which never closed their primary schools and did not see a spike in childhood illness. Germany also reopened schools in July with no significant issues. Since the summer, most industrialized countries have reopened schools, and many do not enforce distancing or mask-wearing. But this did not impress Dr. Fauci.

Paul noted the devastating effects of school closures, especially on disadvantaged children. It is only in the next decade that we will understand the impact of all the missed support services on these children. However, we do know many are not logging in for digital learning. Failure rates have also gone up where children only engage in distance learning.

Doctors and other agencies note increases in child abusedepression, and other mental health issues in children. There has also been an uptick in self-harm and suicidal ideation. This, over a respiratory virus with an infection fatality rate (IFR) of 0.13%, according to the WHO, which is very stratified by age and tends to affect the very elderly.

This debate raged on through the summer, when President Trump said reopening schools was a priority. It became gobsmackingly stupid when mayors and governors began to convert public space to daycare centers where children could engage in distance learning. Yet, they would not reopen schools. State leaders who chose to, such as Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Ron DeSantis in Florida, were widely criticized.

They were also widely covered for a bumpy first week. Then nothing bad happened. So, you really don’t hear about them anymore, likely because these states would blow up the preferred narrative. Your children can’t go to school because Donald Trump is president, basically. A health official in Los Angeles even said the quiet part out loud.

Because Dr. Fauci and other Health Experts™ would not realistically frame the virus’s risk for children, teachers’ unions used the pandemic as cover for their destructive political agenda. In many urban districts, they refused to return unless political demands were met. We also saw just how far left these organizations were when they joined radical protests with the Democratic Socialists of America and other groups. Their list of demands was a cornucopia of dangerous policies, such as defunding the police. Now, one of these radicals will likely lead the Department of Education. Fabulous.

But now that the Very Bad Orange Man is presumed to be leaving office, Dr. Fauci can report what this author and many other outlets have been reporting for months:

Actually, it was what anyone who was paying attention should have expected. By the time the virus ripped through Italy, it was apparent that the elderly and those with preexisting conditions were at the greatest risk. Dr. Birx was communicating that in the earliest briefings. Once the Iceland genetic and German studies came out, it should have been confirmed. As we watched other nations’ experiences, especially those that never closed schools, we could have made reasonable assumptions and moved forward.

But we didn’t. And our children will be paying for years to come in some of the more ridiculous areas of the countryNew York City and Kentucky just closed schools again. Los Angeles has never opened them. One has to wonder what excuse they will use now—or if one is no longer necessary because they believe they won an election.

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Rabo: The World Has Broken Down Into “Quantum States”

Rabo: The World Has Broken Down Into “Quantum States”

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 11:05

By Michael Every of Rabobank

Let’s start nice and light for a Monday morning. Most readers probably have a passing knowledge of quantum physics: that a “quantum state” is a mathematical entity that provides a probability distribution for the outcomes of each possible measurement on a system; or, in this case, that particles at the quantum level can exist in two different states at once –until measured— at which point they become “fixed” (and in the case of some particles, “entangled”). Think of Schrödinger’s cat or Heisenberg’s indeterminacy.

So? Well, a research paper published in 2019 but suddenly doing the social media rounds in 2020, goes a step beyond this: as the MIT Technology Review put in its headline, A quantum experiment suggests there’s no such thing as objective reality

The article underlines that…

“The idea that observers can ultimately reconcile their measurements of some kind of fundamental reality is based on several assumptions. The first is that universal facts actually exist and that observers can agree on them; [second] is that observers have the freedom to make whatever observations they want; and another is that the choices one observer makes do not influence the choices other observers – an assumption that physicists call locality.….If there is an objective reality that everyone can agree on, then these assumptions all hold.”

That all seems reasonable, right? But the results of the 2019 University of Vienna quantum experiment suggested that one or more of the above assumptions – that there is a reality we can agree on, that we have true freedom of choice, or that what one decides does not influence the decisions of others must be wrong. Pretty head-spinning stuff… unless you have spent any time near social media (slash media?), where all three are demonstrably false.

Yet quantum physicists saying there is no objective reality is perfectly 2020: making a terrible pun, we seem to have some ‘quantum states’ to worry about.

  1. The US election has two ‘winners – at least in the minds of the two main candidates who ran and the majority of the public who voted for them. Opinion polls show a very large number of Republicans believe President Trump when he says he actually won and it was all “rigged”; and the majority of Democrats of course believe former Vice-President Biden as he carries on assembling a provisional cabinet for January – and spraining his ankle playing with a dog. This week should see developments that will make the final outcome more “measured” in the quantum sense: will the Supreme Court or state legislatures prove wild cards?  On which note, I have been arguing for some time that in many senses we are heading back to a more 19th century world: a multi-polar environment of populism, nationalism, mercantilism, neo-imperialism, militarism, etc. In such a polarizing environment between and within countries, why *wouldn’t* US elections echo 19th-century (1824, 1876) templates rather than 2008 or 1980, etc.? There is also a story going round that Trump, if he loses, will hold his own shindig on inauguration day to announce the launch of his campaign for re-election in 2024: that certainly puts us straight into potential 1824 > 1828 territory, something Newt Gingrich has also tweeted about recently. While quantum physics knows as well as markets that past does not predict future, don’t forget the populist Andrew Jackson won in 1828 after claiming he was cheated in 1824.
  2. Brexit also has two (short-term) outcomes: a deal or no deal. It seems that if there is movement on fishing rights, then we get the former; and if there isn’t, then there isn’t: so is it a case of Schrödinger’s fish? Word at time of writing was that things were looking up. (Again, the British tone is all very 19th century, right the way down to the Brits no longer being funny anymore – except inadvertently.)
  3. China’s economy continues to power ahead, with bumper net exports and capital inflows and industrial profits all being recorded: and yet the PBOC just had to inject CNY200bn (USD30bn) in MLF a month ahead of the end of the year to ease liquidity tightness, and that on the back of CNY800bn two weeks ago. Yes, this is gross not net: but why the need for so much PBOC help when everything is going so well? Perhaps because Chinese banks are still trying to repay CNY3.7 trillion of short-term interbank debt and purchase CNY1 trillion of government bonds and repay maturing MLF injections,…and are worrying about SOE bond defaults. Again, everything is going so well though: there just isn’t any cash as a result. Isn’t the most dangerous part of the Heisenberg below the water?

In all three cases, markets decided which way to “measure” these quantum states weeks ago – and without digging down too many levels in detail, let alone to the sub-atomic. Should any outcome start to look indeterminate again, the current halo of market risk-on invincibility may slip.

Other matters, like the assassination of the head of Iran’s nuclear program Fakhrizadeh by a remote-control automatic weapon, and threats of retaliation from Tehran, can more easily be brushed aside by Wall Street, no doubt, after a brief knee-jerk risk-off response (as they were, correctly, back in January when Soleimani was assassinated).

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Watch Live: Trump Lawyers Address Arizona State Legislature On Election Integrity

Watch Live: Trump Lawyers Address Arizona State Legislature On Election Integrity

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 10:55

The Arizona State Legislature is scheduled to hold an election integrity hearing this morning that will include President Trump’s lawyers Jenna Ellis and Rudy Giuliani.

Notably, officials are expected to certify the state’s election results today and give Arizona’s 11 electoral votes to President-elect Joe Biden.

Trump’s legal team dropped its lawsuit in Arizona after it was rendered moot, and a state judge threw out a lawsuit filed by the Arizona Republican Party seeking an audit of the votes cast on Election Day, according to CNN. The Trump team has since adjusted its tactics, attempting instead to convince state legislatures to select representatives to the Electoral College that would overturn the results of the election and vote for Trump.

State Rep. Mark Finchem confirmed the hearing on Friday:

After a review of the statistical anomalies, and there are to numbers [sic] to count, affidavits of improper actions, and community outrage that has grown out of what appears to voters to be an attempt to throw the election through a number of fraudulent efforts, we decided as a Members [sic] of the Legislature, and not as members of any specific committee, that we should move forward with a public hearing.”

Watch Live (due to start at 11amET):

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Stocks Slammed As Month-End Selling Accelerates, Yellen Tweets

Stocks Slammed As Month-End Selling Accelerates, Yellen Tweets

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 10:46

Today’s selling began as Joe Biden announced his economic team – coincidence?

Janet Yellen – Biden’s nominee for Treasury Secretary – tweeted for the first time:

And stocks tanked…

Additional selling catalysts include major month-end selling, as JPMorgan recently noted.

According to Panigirtzoglou, “if the picture in Figure 1 is a true reflection of how balanced mutual funds have been positioned in recent weeks, then there would be some vulnerability in equity markets in the near term from balanced mutual funds having to sell equities to revert to their 60:40 equity:bond target allocation, either by the end of November or by the end of December at the latest.”

There’s more: according to JPM, the equity rebalancing flow is likely to also be an issue into year or quarter-end, i.e. the end of December, especially if equity markets continue to grind higher into December. This is because of likely negative pending rebalancing by entities that tend to rebalance on a quarterly basis, such as US defined benefit pension plans, Norges Bank, i.e. the Norwegian  oil fund, and the Japanese government pension plan, GPIF.

  • US defined benefit pension plans are a big $7.5tr AUM universe. They tend to rebalance more slowly over 1-2 quarters or so. Assuming they were fully rebalanced at the end of September, and by taking into account the QTD performance of US equities and bonds, JPM believes that the pending equity rebalancing flow by US defined benefit pension plans into the current quarter-end is negative at around -$110bn.

  • By doing the same calculation for Norges Bank, a $1.2tr AUM entity, the bank estimates that the pending equity rebalancing flow by Norges Bank into the current quarter-end is likely negative at around $15bn.

  • A similar calculation for the giant Japanese government pension plan, GPIF, a $1.5tr AUM entity, JPM estimates that the pending equity rebalancing flow by GPIF into the current quarter-end is likely negative at around -$25bn.

In all, Panigirtzoglou echoes Goldman’s month/quarter end year-end selling concerns, writing that he sees “some vulnerability in equity markets in the near term from balanced mutual funds, a $7tr universe, having to sell around $160bn of equities globally to revert to their target 60:40 allocation either by the end of November or by the end of December at the latest.”

Of course, if this is the real catalyst, there is a lot more downside here, but did these massive managers really leave their allocation shift until the last day of the month?

 

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Goldman Sees Oil Rising To $65 In 2021 But Turbulence In The Near-Term

Goldman Sees Oil Rising To $65 In 2021 But Turbulence In The Near-Term

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 10:43

As the global economy makes its way through the covid pandemics, the question asked by all economists is when do we return to normal; one asset class that is especially interested in the answer is oil, having suffered tremendous losses in a year when virtually every other asset generated tremendous returns on the back of a liquidity firehose from central banks, even though oil prices did reach their highest post-COVID levels last week, with Brent spot near $48/bbl, supported by encouraging vaccine results as well as rising tensions in the Middle East.

One attempt to answer the question of when oil will “normalize” comes from Goldman commodity strategy Damien Courvalin who wrote overnight that he expects further oil price upside to $65/bbl through 2021 “as the oil market rebalances due to a large vaccine-led demand rebound as well as an only modest non-OPEC supply response.”

Where there is uncertainty is what happens in the next few months: as he adds, “in the short-term, however, the oil market faces spreading lockdowns with demand declining in Europe and the range of infections likely asymmetric to the upside through the winter. We expect this winter wave to generate a 3 mb/d hit to global oil demand, only partially offset by heating, EM and restocking demand, although this demand hit has so far been masked by strong Asian crude buying and restocking.

As such, Goldman expects these “muddied short-term fundamental signals” and the opposite pulls of lockdowns vs. vaccines to keep oil prices volatile in coming weeks. These cross-currents will further complicate OPEC+’s decision this week to delay or implement its scheduled 1.9 mb/d January production increase. Indeed, moments ago the first OPEC meeting closed with no resolution on whether to extend production cuts over objections from UAE and Kazakhstan. Here is Goldman on what happens next:

While we base-case a 3-month delay to prevent a return to a global oil surplus through 1Q21, not all producers appear onboard, with a lack of extension representing $5/bbl downside from current spot levels on our modeling, further contributing to short-term price gyrations.

That said, while spot prices are likely to remain unanchored, Goldman sees crude timespreads as physically bound and screen as too strong relative to still elevated inventory levels, buoyed by recent short-covering financial flows and transient Asian crude buying. The bank therefore expects a pull-back in Brent timespreads, with sustainable backwardation not likely until 2H21:

We therefore recommend taking profit on our long Jun-21 vs. Jun-22 Brent timespread trade recommendation, first recommended on May 1, for a total potential profit of $4.82/bbl (as of market open on Sunday, November 29).

In conclusion, the Goldman strategist who correctly called April’s WTI plunge into negative over a month before it happened, believes “that these winter headwinds are just speed bumps on the path to a tightening oil market, with the winter COVID wave delaying but not derailing the oil market rebalancing, with normalized OECD stocks, OPEC+ spare capacity returning to 1Q20 levels and finally needed shale production growth all occurring by 4Q21.”

The bank’s recommendation: “go long Dec-21 Brent forwards, our preferred expression of oil’s 2021 rally, as well as for producers to wait to hedge.”

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Baltimore County Schools Closed Monday, Tuesday Due To Ransomware Attack

Baltimore County Schools Closed Monday, Tuesday Due To Ransomware Attack

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 10:30

Well, it’s becoming evident in Baltimore, Maryland, that teaching remotely in the pandemic is not sustainable as hackers have hit Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) with a ransomware attack, forcing the school system to close schools for Monday and Tuesday, reported CBS Baltimore

“Due to the recent ransomware attack, Baltimore County Public Schools will be closed for students on Monday, November 30, and Tuesday, December 1. BCPS offices will be open and staff will receive additional information about Monday and Tuesday,” BCPS tweeted.

In another post, BCPS said, “this provides much-needed time for our staff to continue working on setting up the instructional platform and to communicate next steps regarding devices. On Mon. and Wed., free student meals will be available at 300+ locations as usual, including all middle and high schools.”

The school system ended the statement by saying, “We understand how challenging this situation is for families and staff, and we thank you for your patience as we work through this crisis. Please note that future daily updates will be available at 5 pm.”

On Friday, the 11 News I-Team reported that Maryland state auditors found significant risks within the BCPS network.

Days before the ransomware attack was discovered, early last week, findings from the Office of Legislative Audits showed BCPS did not properly secure sensitive personal information. 

At the moment, there’s still no source behind the ransomware attack or much money hackers want to restore computer network systems. 

Last month, the public school system in Yazoo County, Mississippi, revealed that it paid upwards of $300k to help recover its network that was overrun by a ransomware incident.

There have been major US hospital systems hit with “paralyzing” ransomware attacks this fall. 

So the real consequence of a school system going offline because of a ransomware attack is that children may not be able to learn for as long as the systems are down – as seen in Baltimore this week.  

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Online Shopping Wins Black Friday

Online Shopping Wins Black Friday

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 10:10

Submitted by MarketCrumbs,

It’s not surprising that online shopping stole the spotlight on Black Friday as Covid-19 continues to limit the amount of time people want to spend in public.

Online spending on Black Friday jumped by 21.6% to a record $9 billion, according to data from Adobe Analytics, which analyzed transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers. The total makes this year’s Black Friday the second-largest single day for online shopping in U.S. history behind last year’s Cyber Monday, when shoppers spent $9.4 billion.

The total breaks down to $6.3 million spent per minute online, according to Adobe. Consumers increasingly shopped from the palm of their hands as spending from smartphones jumped by more than 25% to $3.6 billion, accounting for 40% of the day’s total online spending.

“New consoles, phones, smart devices and TVs that are traditional Black Friday purchases are sharing online shopping cart space this year with unorthodox Black Friday purchases such as groceries, clothes and alcohol, that would previously have been purchased in-store,” Adobe Digital Insights director Taylor Schreiner said.

Online spending on Thanksgiving also hit a record this year as consumers spent $5.1 billion, according to Adobe. Despite jumping more than 21% compared to last Thanksgiving, the total fell shy of Adobe’s estimate of $6 billion.

“While yesterday was a record-breaking Thanksgiving Day with over $5 billion spent online, it didn’t come with the kind of aggressive growth rate we’ve seen with the start of the pandemic,” Schreiner said. “Heavy discounts and aggressive promotions starting in early November succeeded at getting consumers to open their wallets earlier.”

As for today’s Cyber Monday, Adobe expects it to break last year’s record with sales totaling between $10.8 billion and $12.7 billion, which would be an increase of 15% to 35% from last year.

With Americans largely at home shopping online, foot traffic at stores fell by more than 52% compared to last year’s Black Friday, according to Sensormatic Solutions. Traffic on Thanksgiving fell by 94.9% as retailers such as Walmart and Target closed their stores this year.

“We knew Black Friday [traffic] was going to be down, we just didn’t know how much it was going to be down,” Sensormatic Solutions senior director of global retail consulting Brian Field said. “Black Friday this year, from a traffic impact perspective, looked a lot like a typical Saturday after a Black Friday.”

With Covid-19 giving e-commerce a boost, it will be interesting to see if the days of people trampling over each other to get into stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday will ever make a comeback.

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Pending Home Sales Unexpectedly Slide In October, High Prices Blamed

Pending Home Sales Unexpectedly Slide In October, High Prices Blamed

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 10:04

Today’s pending home sales data  (expected to rise modestly MoM) is October’s tie-breaker after new home sales dipped and existing home sales ripped. After unexpectedly dropping in September, pending homes also unexpectedly fell in October (down 1.1% MoM vs +1.0% MoM exp).

Source: Bloomberg

This is the second monthly decline in a row.

“The housing market is still hot, but we may be starting to see rising home prices hurting affordability,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the NAR, said in a statement.

The combination of low rates, lean inventory and “very strong demand has pushed home prices to levels that are making it difficult to save for a down payment, particularly among first-time buyers.”

On a YoY basis, sales remained impressive (up 19.5%) but that also slowed.

Source: Bloomberg

By region, pending home sales declined in two of four major U.S. regions, including a 5.9% decrease in the Northeast and a 0.7% drop in the Midwest. The gauge of contract signings in the South crept up 0.1%, while the index was unchanged for the West.

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France Sees COVID Cases Fall To 7-Week Low; Global Deaths Near 1.5 Million: Live Updates

France Sees COVID Cases Fall To 7-Week Low; Global Deaths Near 1.5 Million: Live Updates

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 09:55

Summary:

  • Moderna sends in emergency application
  • Hong Kong orders civil servants to work from home
  • Italy approves fourth stimulus package
  • California tops 15k cases
  • France sees fewest new cases in nearly 2 months
  • Germany’s Merkel says Germany can’t continue compensating companies for lost sales
  • Hong Kong imposes new restrictions
  • Canada expands travel ban
  • UK’s Johnson says tiered system will have ‘sunset’ date of Feb. 3

* * *

As we joked earlier, yet another Q4 Monday has been dominated by news about COVID-19 vaccines as Moderna is moving  to submit its emergency use application to the FDA for approval. Meanwhile, a new update to Moderna’s research shows that out of 196 cases of the virus, researchers determined that the vaccine was 94.1% effective, in line with preliminary findings released earlier this month. None of the participants in the trial who’d received the vaccine developed severe Covid-19.

What’s more, all 30 severe cases observed in the study occurred in participants who received placebo shots.

In other news from earlier in the day, Hong Kong has ordered civil servants to return to a ‘work from home’ arrangement, with Chief Executive Carrie Lam urges private sector employers to implement a similar order. Restaurants must now limit diners to two per table, down from the current rule of four. Gyms and sports venues will be allowed to stay open for now, while this round of restrictions will start on Wednesday and last for two weeks, Lam said. The city reported 76 cases on Monday, most of them local including nine of unknown origins. Hong Kong’s  COVID cases have surged by double digits for 11 straight days.

California reported 15,614 new cases, pushing the 14-day average to a record. The total number of infections in the state now stands at almost 1.2 million. Another 32 new deaths were reported, with fatalities at 19,121.

In California, the COVID-19 positivity rate reached 6.1%, the highest since the end of August, while the state’s two most prominent cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco, imposed new curbs in the past two days as case numbers surged. The rate of positive tests fell to 11.1%, just over half, roughly half its level from December. The number of patients in intensive care continued to decline from a peak almost two weeks ago. Deaths linked to the virus increased by 198 to 52,325, the smallest daily increase in a month.

Back in Europe, Italy’s government has approved a fourth stimulus package to support businesses hit by the latest restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The package is worth 8 billion euros ($9.6 billion), according to a Monday statement. It delays tax deadlines for companies and expands cash handouts for workers

France added 9,784 cases, with the seven-day average falling to 11,1182, the lowest since Oct. 2. The rate of positive tests fell to 11.1%.

Finally, in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned the company can’t continue compensating businesses for lost sales beyond next month. Instead, more targeted measures will be needed.

Globally, the number of COVID-19 cases exceed 62.7 million, while deaths topped 1.45 million.

Here’s some more news from overnight and Monday morning:

US COVID-19 total cases rose to around 13.14mln from a previous of around 13.00mln and total death rose to around 265.2k from around 264.0k. (Newswires)

New York City Mayor De Blasio announced that the city’s public schools will begin to resume in-person classes from December 7th. (Newswires)

Canada extended its travel restriction for arrivals from US until at least December 21st, while it will extend mandatory isolation order and temporary travel restrictions from other countries aside from US to January 21st. (Newswires)

UK COVID-19 cases +12,155 (prev. +15,871) and deaths +215 (prev. +479), while Italy cases +20,648 (prev. +26,323) and deaths +541 (prev. +686). (Newswires)

UK PM Johnson said the tiered virus system would have a sunset of February 3rd in which he promised to give parliament another chance to vote on the system in early February to avoid a mass Tory rebellion. It was separately reported that UK PM Johnson appointed Junior Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi as the minister in charge of vaccine distribution (Newswires/Telegraph/Sky News).

UK is set to become the first western country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine in which the regulator could grant approval to Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine within days, while reports added that deliveries would start within hours of the approval and first injections could begin from December 7th. (FT) European Medicines Agency is set to consider approval of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine next month and will also consider Moderna’s vaccine (FT).

Moderna (MRNA) announced amendment of current supply agreement with the UK government for an additional 2mln doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in which the UK government has now secured 7mln doses of MRNA-1273 (Newswires).

German Economy Minister Altmaier stated that the partial shutdown could be extended until early spring 2021. There were separate reports that Italy was reported to loosen COVID restrictions in Lombardy, Piedmont, Calabria, Milan, Turin from Sunday, while Ireland PM Martin unveiled a plan to lift the lockdown and stated that they are encouraged by falling virus numbers (Newswires).

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Biden Appointee Neera Tanden Spread the Conspiracy That Russian Hackers Changed Hillary’s 2016 Votes To Trump: Greenwald

Biden Appointee Neera Tanden Spread the Conspiracy That Russian Hackers Changed Hillary’s 2016 Votes To Trump: Greenwald

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 09:45

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com (emphasis ours)

The announcement that Joe Biden intends to nominate Neera Tanden as his Director of the Office of Management and Budget — a critical position overseeing U.S. economic and regulatory policy — triggered a wide range of mockery, indignation and disgust from both the left and the right. That should not be surprising: though a thoroughly mediocre and ordinary D.C. swamp creature from the perspective of both ideology and competence, Tanden’s uniquely unhinged, venomous, corrupt and pathologically dishonest conduct as a Clinton Family and DNC apparatchik and President of the corporatist-and-despot-funded Center for American Progress (CAP) has earned her a list of enemies far longer and more impressive than her accomplishments.

Neera Tanden participates in a panel discussion during the annual Milken Institute Global Conference at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 29, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)

When news of her appointment broke, many of the journalists and activists she has spent years abusing, slandering, and lying about instantly stepped forward to compile just some of her worst political and behavioral lowlights. And some preliminary signs emerged that she might encounter difficulty in obtaining the Senate confirmation needed for her to assume this position. The Communications Director for GOP Senator John Cornyn of Texas announced that “Tanden stands zero chance of being confirmed” by the Senate.

Former Sanders campaign aide David Sirota hypothesized that “it is not a coincidence that they are putting Neera Tanden — the single biggest, most aggressive Bernie Sanders critic in the United States of America — specifically at OMB while Sanders is Senate Budget Committee ranking/chair.” Sirota’s statement suggests Biden’s nomination of Tanden was intended as yet more humiliation doled out to the Democratic-loyal Sanders left by cucking the Vermont Senator even further by forcing him to shepherd the confirmation of one of his most vicious and amoral attackers (who Sanders himself in 2019 vehemently denounced). But Sirota’s point also raises the prospect that Tanden’s nomination could even encounter trouble from that side of the aisle as well (given Sanders’ compliant and disciplined conduct over the last six months, it’s more likely we will see him roll out a literal red carpet for Tanden to walk on, gently toss red roses on it before she passes, and then serve her a glass of Chardonnay rather than meaningfully obstruct her confirmation).

The list of sociopathic and even monstrous acts from Tanden is too long to list comprehensively. She punched one of her own employees, a reporter for CAP’s now-abolished blog ThinkProgress, after he had the temerity to ask Hillary Clinton in 2008 about her support for the Iraq War (Tanden claimed she “merely” had “pushed,” not punched, her undeferential reporter). In 2011, as the Obama administration was participating in the NATO bombing of Libya, Tanden suggested in internal CAP discussions that the U.S. steal Libya’s oil as a way of reducing the U.S. deficit (a story I was able to report only because Tanden had abused and alienated so many of her employees that they worked together to leak her incriminating emails to me).

During her tenure as CAP’s President, Tanden accepted millions of dollars  from the regime of the United Arab Emirates, which built Dubai and Abu Dhabi using slave labor, along with massive donations from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, J.P. Morgan, the Walton Family and Michael Bloomberg, while hiding the identity of some of her think tank’s largest donors. A huge chapter on the NYPD’s abusive policies toward Muslims under Mayor Michael Bloomberg was removed from a CAP report after Boomberg donated more than $1 million to Tanden’s organization, and he continued to donate even more after that courteous gesture.

She ordered the supposedly independent journalists of the ThinkProgress blog, including Muslim writers, to stop writing critically about Israel after key CAP donors, including Barney Frank’s sister Ann Lewis and long-time Clinton advisor Howard Wolfson, complained. She and Wolfson plotted in 2016 how to weaponize female journalists and people of color against Hillary’s critics as well to use their identity to stigmatize and thus stop undesirable coverage from The New York Times. In 2018, she outed a CAP employee at a staff-wide meeting who had filed an anonymous complaint of sexual harassment and retaliation against one of Tanden’s male allies. Secure with her UAE-and-corporate-funded large salary, she has long urged cuts to Social Security. The list goes on and on.

One can reasonably view Biden’s choice of Tanden as a positive. She is no different in character or ideology than any of the faceless, more obscure DNC operatives who would occupy this position if she did not. But because of how well-known her sociopathy, militarism and corporatism are to many on the liberal-left, her face serves as an undeniable and unavoidable reminder of what the Biden administration and the Democratic Party really are. She illuminates the truth about their real aims.

But beyond things like wanting to steal Libya’s oil after bombing it into oblivion, outing sexual harassment complainants, and physically assaulting and censoring her own employees, there is one uniquely abominable feature of Neera Tanden. She is one of the most deranged conspiracy theorists in the United States, and has done more than almost any other Washington functionary to contaminate Democrats’ mental health, capacity to reason, and faith in the legitimacy of U.S. elections.


Tanden owes her entire career to the patronage of Hillary Clinton, and her devotion to Hillary approaches restraining-order levels of creepiness (here you can watch Tanden beam with adoration as then-Senator Hillary Clinton, on the Senate floor in 2004, explains her steadfast opposition to marriage equality for same-sex couples on the ground that “marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman” and “exists between a man and a woman going back into the mists of history” for the primary purpose of raising children — just a few short years before Democrats changed views on this, after which it instantly became the hallmark of an unreconstructed hateful bigot to say this).

Few people took Hillary’s 2016 loss to Donald Trump as hard as Tanden, or handled it as poorly. Indeed, she refused to believe it really happened, and encouraged others to similarly refuse to accept its reality.

In the weeks after Trump’s victory, Tanden joined numerous Democrats in encouraging electors of the Electoral College to ignore their states’ votes and refuse to elect Trump as President (many rationale were invoked for this: Tanden’s was a CAP article promoting #Resistance fanatic Richard Painter’s argument that Trump’s violations of the Emolument Clause precluded an Electoral College win). She insisted that Hillary lost because of Russia, claiming the “Russians did enough damage to affect more than 70k votes in 3 states.” And she was not only one of the first to push the Steele Dossier’s claim that Russia held blackmail power over Trump but also one of the last to do so — insisting in 2018 that “the dossier been mostly proven to be true” and claiming as late as 2019 that nothing in this discredited junk report had been disproven.

But what really distinguished Tanden when it came to unhinged and toxic behavior was her repeated (and obviously baseless) claims that Hillary only lost because Russian hackers invaded the U.S. voting system and clandestinely changed Hillary’s votes to Trump’s, costing the real winner — Hillary — her rightful place on the throne, behind the Resolute Desk.

Four days after the 2016 election, Tanden began strongly implying, if not outright stating, that Russian hackers changed the vote totals, and that this is why “Trump was as surprised as everyone else” by his victory. When I highlighted her conspiratorial claims, she did not deny their obvious meaning, but rationalized them by insisting that her conspiracies were not as bad as Trump’s refusal, in advance of the election, to acknowledge the legitimacy of an election that had not yet taken place:

Tanden’s insistence that Russia changed the voting results through hacking did not once her traumatic shock in the weeks after Hillary’s loss dissipated (if it ever did). After The Intercept  published an anonymous, evidence-free document in June, 2017, allegedly sent by NSA employee Reality Winner, which led that site to claim that “Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials,” Tanden returned to pushing this bizarre conspiracy theory, demanding that I “retract” my post-election criticism of her for peddling this Russia-changed-the-votes madness — as if this NSA document published by The Intercept proved vote-changing hacking by Russia.

This conspiracy-mongering led by Tanden and other prominent liberal activists had a corrosive effect on the ability of Democrats to perceive basic reality, to put that mildly. A 2018 poll from Economist/YouGov — conducted more than a year after Trump’s inauguration — found that a large majority of Democrats (66%) believe that “Russia tampered with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected President.”

Thereafter, Hillary herself took to calling Trump an “illegitimate” president, further fueling the destruction of confidence and faith among Democrats in the legitimacy of the vote totals and specifically the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Democratic leaders and their media allies love to patronizingly warn that conservative media outlets and their audiences are prone to spread and believe crazy conspiracy theories. They purport particular worry when such conspiracies are designed to undermine faith and trust in the U.S. electoral system itself.

Yet few have done more to destroy such confidence and faith than Neera Tanden, achieved by disseminating over the course of several years some of the most unhinged, evidence-free and deranged conspiracy theories in which she deliberately deceived Democratic partisans into believing that Moscow’s dastardly hackers invaded the sanctity of the U.S. voting system to change Hillary’s votes to Trump’s. And it worked: at least as of 2018, large majorities of Democrats believe that this utterly unproven but dangerous assertion is true.

If Joe Biden succeeds in empowering someone like Neera Tanden without extreme opposition from supposedly adversarial journalists, not only Democrats but also these media outlets will lose whatever lingering credibility they have to denounce conspiracy theories and to defend the legitimacy of U.S. elections. And they will deserve that fate. You can’t run around expecting people will take you seriously when you warn of the dangers of toxic, moronic conspiracy theories when you yourself embrace, elevate and promote the most prolific and reckless purveyors of them.

*  *  *

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Biden Confirms Janet Yellen As Treasury Secretary Pick

Biden Confirms Janet Yellen As Treasury Secretary Pick

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 09:42

Confirming the leaked rumors and strawmen (sorry, straw-people) from last week, Joe Biden, who has placed a premium on diversity in his selection of Cabinet nominees and key advisers, is looking to notch at least a few firsts with his economic team selections.

Here is today’s new entrants to a potential Biden admin…

Janet Yellen is nominated to serve as Secretary of the Treasury. If confirmed, she will be the first woman to lead the Treasury Department in its 231-year history, and the first person to have served as Treasury Secretary, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Chair of the Federal Reserve. She has previously been confirmed by the Senate on four separate occasions.

Neera Tandem, whose career has focused on pursuing policies designed to support working families, foster broad-based economic growth, and curb rampant inequality, is nominated to serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget. If confirmed, Tanden would be the first woman of color and first South Asian American to lead the OMB.

Wally Adeyemo, a veteran of the Executive Branch and expert on macro-economic policy and consumer protection with deep national security experience, is nominated to serve as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, having previously served as Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, Deputy National Security Advisor, and the first Chief of Staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If confirmed, Adeyemo would be the first African American Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.

Cecilia Rouse, a leading labor economist and the Dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, is nominated to serve as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, having previously been confirmed by the Senate as a member of the CEA in eooq. If confirmed, she will become the first African American and just the fourth woman to lead the CEA in the 74 years of its existence.

Jared Bernstein, who previously served as Chief Economist to President-elect Biden in the first years of the Obama-Biden Administration, will serve as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Heather Boushey, a distinguished economist focused on economic inequality and the President, CEO, and co-founder of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, will serve as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers.

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Key Events In The Coming Busy Week: Jobs, PMIs, And Central Banks

Key Events In The Coming Busy Week: Jobs, PMIs, And Central Banks

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 09:39

With just a handful of trading days left until the end of what has been an absolutely insane 2020, it’s shaping up to be a fairly busy week for data but as DB’s Jim Reid writes, “how much markets will care is a moot point as everyone knows we’re on a short-term path to a double dip but that the short to medium term is a path covered in potential golden vaccine petals.”

Data releases include the US jobs report (Friday) and the November PMIs (tomorrow and Thursday), while Fed Chair Powell and ECB President Lagarde will both be speaking through the week. Otherwise, attention will remain on the Brexit negotiations, with just a month remaining until the year-end deadline and less time given any deal has to be ratified across the continent.

A full breakdown of key events is shown below:

Looking into more detail, the US jobs report for October on Friday sees consensus at +500k and a fall in the unemployment rate to 6.8% from 6.9%. Though this would be further progress from the situation in the spring, it would still be the slowest monthly jobs growth since the massive contractions in March and April, and leave the total nonfarm payrolls number over 9.5m beneath its pre-Covid peak back in February. Of some concern is the recent weekly initial jobless claims trend which have risen more than expected for the last couple of weeks. So it feels like a difficult month or so ahead for the US economy.

Meanwhile on the PMIs, the flash readings we’ve already had showed a noticeable deterioration in Europe as much of the continent headed into renewed lockdowns. It’ll be interesting to gauge what’s happening in the countries where there aren’t flash readings however, including a number of emerging markets. Also in focus will be the Euro Area’s flash CPI estimate for November tomorrow as for the previous 3 months it’s been in deflationary territory.

Elsewhere on Brexit, face to face talks are back with we are running low on days to ratify a deal. In terms of the current state of play, it has been reported that the last big remaining obstacle in the talks is fishing rights with the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab asking the EU to recognize that regaining control over British waters is a question of sovereignty for the UK. Meanwhile, on other key obstacles of competition rules and state aid, Raab said that he could see “a landing zone”. If fishing is truly now the only stumbling block this is very good news as the numbers here are minuscule compared to the cost of no deal. Sterling is up +0.21% to 1.3339 overnight.

Finally, there are a number of important central bank speakers this week, with Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin appearing before the Senate Banking Committee tomorrow and the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. Meanwhile ECB President Lagarde will be speaking today at the European Policy Center Forum, before she appears at an Atlantic Council event tomorrow. The Fed will also be releasing their Beige Book on Wednesday.

Below, courtesy of Deutsche Bank, here is a day-by-day calendar of events

Monday November 30

  • Data: China November composite, manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMIs, Japan October housing starts, UK October mortgage approvals, Italy preliminary November CPI, Germany preliminary November CPI, Canada October building permits, US November MNI Chicago PMI, Dallas Fed manufacturing index, October pending home sales, Japan October jobless rate (23:30UK time)
  • Central Banks: ECB President Lagarde and BoE’s Tenreyro speaks

Tuesday December 1

  • Data: November Manufacturing PMIs from Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, China, India, Russia, Turkey, Italy, France, Germany, South Africa, Euro Area, UK, Brazil, Canada, US and Mexico, Japan November vehicle sales, Germany November unemployment change, Euro Area November flash CPI estimate, Canada September GDP, US November ISM manufacturing
  • Central Banks: Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde and the Fed’s Brainard, Daly and Evans speak, Reserve Bank of Australia monetary policy decision
  • Other: OECD publishes Economic Outlook

Wednesday December 2

  • Data: Euro Area October unemployment rate, US weekly MBA mortgage applications, November ADP employment change
  • Central Banks: Federal Reserve releases Beige Book, Fed Chair Powell and Fed’s Williams speak

Thursday December 3

  • Data: November services and composite PMIs from Japan, China, India, Russia, Italy, France, Germany, Euro Area, UK, Brazil and the US, Euro Area October retail sales, US weekly initial jobless claims, November ISM services index
  • Central Banks: Fed’s Bowman and BoE’s Tenreyro speak

Friday December 4

  • Data: Germany October factory orders, November construction PMI, Italy October retail sales, UK November construction PMI, Canada November net change in employment, US November nonfarm payrolls, unemployment rate, average hourly earnings, October trade balance, factory orders, final October durable goods orders, nondefence capital goods orders ex air
  • Central Banks: Reserve Bank of India monetary policy decision

Finally, looking at the US alone, the key economic data releases this week are the ISM manufacturing report on Tuesday, ISM non-manufacturing report and jobless claims on Thursday, and the employment report on Friday. There are several speaking engagements from Fed officials this week, including Chair Powell on Tuesday and Wednesday. Here is Goldman’s take on what to expect:

Monday, November 30

 

  • 09:45 AM Chicago PMI, November (GS 60.1, consensus 59.1, last 61.1); We estimate that the Chicago PMI edged down by 1.0pt to 60.1 in November. Our forecast reflects resilience in the manufacturing sector.
  • 10:00 AM Pending home sales, October (GS -1.5%, consensus +1.0%, last -2.2%): We estimate that pending home sales declined by 1.5% in November, reflecting a further deceleration in regional home sales data.

Tuesday, December 1

  • 09:45 AM Markit Flash US manufacturing PMI, November final (consensus 56.7, last 56.7)
  • 10:00 AM ISM manufacturing index, November (GS 58.3, consensus 57.8, last 59.3): We expect the ISM manufacturing index to edge down by 1.0pt to 58.3 in the November report, reflecting resilience in the manufacturing sector. Our GS Manufacturing Tracker stands at 57.2 in November, compared to 58.2 in October.
  • 10:00 AM Construction spending, October (GS +1.0%, consensus +0.8%, last +0.3%): We estimate a 1.0% increase in construction spending in October, with scope for increases in private residential and public construction.
  • 10:00 AM Fed Chair Powell (FOMC voter) speaks: Fed Chair Powell will appear before the Senate Banking Committee to discuss the CARES Act. Prepared text is expected.
  • 12:00 PM Fed Governor Brainard (FOMC voter) speaks: Fed Governor Brainard will take part in an online discussion of the modernization of the Community Reinvestment Act. Prepared text and moderated Q&A are expected.
  • 01:15 PM San Francisco Fed President Daly (FOMC non-voter) speaks: San Francisco Fed President Daly will speak at a virtual economic forecast luncheon hosted by Arizona State University. Prepared text and Q&A with audience and media are expected.
  • 03:00 PM Chicago Fed President Evans (FOMC non-voter) speaks: Chicago Fed President Evans will make opening remarks at a community forum on Milwaukee’s future hosted by the Chicago Fed.

Wednesday, December 2

  • 08:15 AM ADP employment report, November (GS 525k, consensus 440k, last 365k); We expect a 525k gain in ADP payroll employment, reflecting a decline in jobless claims and firmness in private payrolls in November.
  • 10:00 AM Fed Chair Powell (FOMC voter) speaks: Fed Chair Powell will appear before the House Financial Services Committee to discuss the CARES Act. Prepared text is expected.
  • 01:00 PM New York Fed President Williams (FOMC voter) speaks: New York Fed President Williams will brief the press on the economic impact of Covid-19. Prepared text is not expected.

Thursday, December 3

  • 08:30 AM Initial jobless claims, week ended November 28 (GS 760k, consensus 765k, last 778k); Continuing jobless claims, week ended November 21 (consensus 5,811k, last 6,071k):We estimate initial jobless claim decreased to 760k in the week ended November 28. Our forecast assumes that the worse virus situation continues to put upward pressure on initial claims, but that the DOL’s seasonal adjustment understates the decline in filings due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • 09:45 AM Markit Flash US services PMI, November final (consensus 57.6, last 57.7)
  • 10:00 AM ISM non-manufacturing index, November (GS 55.5, consensus 56.1, last 56.6): We estimate the ISM non-manufacturing index declined by 0.6pt to 55.5 in November, reflecting a likely pullback in leisure, food services, and other services. Our GS Non-Manufacturing Tracker stands at 55.2, compared to 56.1 in October.

Friday, December 4

  • 08:30 AM Nonfarm payroll employment, November (GS +450k, consensus +500k, last +638k); Private payroll employment, November (GS +525k, consensus +608k, last +906k); Average hourly earnings (mom), November (GS +0.1%, consensus +0.1%, last +0.1%); Average hourly earnings (yoy), November (GS +4.2%, consensus +4.2%, last +4.5%); Unemployment rate, November (GS 6.8%, consensus 6.8%, last 6.9%): We estimate nonfarm payrolls rose 450k in November after +638k in October. The broad-based resurgence of the coronavirus and related business restrictions are consistent with a deceleration in job growth, and Big Data employment signals were softer on net. While continuing claims declined during the payroll month, much of the drop reflected the expiration of program eligibility (as opposed to reemployment), and initial claims have started rising again. We also expect a 90k drop in Census jobs in Friday’s report. On the positive side, we estimate strong growth in the construction industry and in trucking, courier, and delivery categories, reflecting favorable weather and the accelerating shift to ecommerce this holiday season, respectively.
  • We estimate the unemployment rate declined a tenth to 6.8%, reflecting an increase in household employment and a pause in the labor force participation rebound (itself related to the third wave of the virus). We estimate average hourly earnings rose 0.1% month-over-month, lowering the year-on-year rate by three tenths to 4.2%. This forecast reflects negative calendar effects and a continuing unwind of the composition shift from lower-paid workers to higher-paid workers.
  • 08:30 AM Trade balance, October (GS -$65.0bn, consensus -$64.8bn, last -$63.9bn): We estimate the trade deficit increased by $1.1bn in October, reflecting an increase in the goods trade deficit. Goods imports have returned to their pre-pandemic level, but monthly goods exports are still about $15bn below their pre-pandemic level. Both imports and exports of services have recovered only slightly from their Q2 troughs.
  • 10:00 AM Factory orders, October (GS +0.7%, consensus +0.8%, last +1.1%); Durable goods orders, October final (last +0.5%); Durable goods orders ex-transportation, October final (last +0.3%); Core capital goods orders, October final (last +0.7%); Core capital goods shipments, October final (last +2.3%): We estimate factory orders increased by 0.7% in October following a 1.1% increase in September. Durable goods orders rose by 1.3% in the October advance report, and core capital goods orders rose by 0.7%.
  • 10:00 AM Fed Governor Bowman (FOMC voter) speaks: Fed Governor Bowman will discuss community banking and fintech in an online event hosted by the Independent Community Bankers of America. Prepared text and moderated Q&A are expected.

Source: Deutsche Bank, BofA, Goldman

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Reports Of Libor’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated: Fed Extends Libor Life From End-2021 To June 2023

Reports Of Libor’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated: Fed Extends Libor Life From End-2021 To June 2023

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 09:21

In recent years we have repeatedly predicted that plans to phase out Libor by the end of 2021 will never play out because the banking world is simply unprepared to transition to Libor’s replacement rate – the SOFR – which suffered catastrophic volatility and outsizied moves during the March crash, which would have crushed most entities that have exposure to SOFR, and confirming that it is nowhere near ready to serve as a benchmark rate for hundreds of trillions of floating rate securities.

Moments ago the Fed confirmed as much when it announced that the administrator of dollar libor, the ICE Benchmark Administration (IBA), is set to extend the key tenors on the “discredited” interest-rate benchmark until the end of June 2023, and could extend three-month dollar Libor one-and-a-half years beyond its previously anticipated retirement date, which had been expected at the end of 2021. Six-month and 12-month dollar Libor could also be extended.

IBA said it would consult on its intention to cease the publication of the one week and two month USD LIBOR settings immediately following the LIBOR publication on December 31, 2021, and the remaining USD LIBOR settings immediately following the LIBOR publication on June 30, 2023. This follows IBA’s plan to consult on its intention to cease the publication of all GBP, EUR, CHF and JPY LIBOR settings immediately following the LIBOR publication on December 31, 2021. IBA expects to close the consultation for feedback by the end of January 2021

Nonetheless, in a statement, the Fed said that “the Federal Reserve Board, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency today issued a statement encouraging banks to cease entering into new contracts that use USD LIBOR as a reference rate as soon as practicable and in any event by December 31, 2021, in order to facilitate an orderly—and safe and sound— LIBOR transition.”

Alas, since SOFR is structurally flawed by its very definition – a definition which makes it responsible to market forces without the possibility for human overrides, manipulative or otherwise – means that this extension will not be the last.

In recent years, regulators have been seeking to phase out Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, which is one of the bedrocks of the global financial system and underpins hundreds of trillions of dollars in financial assets, following countless manipulation scandals and the drying up of trading data used to inform the rate, but those efforts have been waylaid during the coronavirus pandemic. The IBA will consult on plans to cease publishing one-week and two-month Libor on time, according to the statement.

“Extending the publication of certain USD Libor tenors until June 30, 2023 would allow most legacy USD Libor contracts to mature before Libor experiences disruptions,” they said.

A senior Federal Reserve official said the path being set out calls for banks to stop writing new U.S. dollar Libor contracts by the end of 2021, but allows most legacy contracts that were written before that to mature before Libor stops.

The full statement from the Fed is below:

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China Trolls Australia With “Repugnant” Doctored Image, Refuses To Apologize

China Trolls Australia With “Repugnant” Doctored Image, Refuses To Apologize

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 09:00

The developing China-Australia trade row which initially sprang out of Australia’s joining other countries in criticizing Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus crisis has just taken a bizarre and sinister turn.

It started early Monday when China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian posted a disturbing image to Twitter depicting an Aussie soldier about to slit the throat of a child in Afghanistan. The grinning soldier held a bloody knife to the distressed child, who is seen holding a lamb, which is a symbol of innocence. 

Australian leaders and media were quick to point out it is a doctored or “fake” image and demanded that Lijian remove it immediately, and that Twitter take action over the account. 

“It is utterly outrageous and cannot be justified on any basis,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. “The Chinese government should be utterly ashamed of this post. It diminishes them in the world’s eyes.”

Morrison and others demanded a formal apology out of China over the “repugnant” image and tweet. But China’s foreign ministry refused calls to apologize, instead doubling down on its charge that Australia appears less ashamed over its egregious war crimes in Afghanistan and more concerned over public embarrassment based on a tweet.

It comes after earlier this month Australia was rocked by scandal when a detailed investigation known as the Brereton War Crimes report revealed that Aussie special forces were implicated in up to 39 or more “unlawful killings” of Afghan civilians and prisoners. At least 13 Australian soldiers are facing criminal charges after horrific details emerged that they were killing random civilians essentially for sport, in something they called “blooding” – or initiating a special forces new join into war by orchestrating their first kill and then covering it up.

Here’s how China responded to the demands for an apology:

“It is the Australian government who should feel ashamed for their soldiers killing innocent Afghan civilians,” said Hua Chunying, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, when asked about Morrison’s comments.

The image posted by her colleague shows people’s “indignation,” said Hua, speaking at a regular news conference in Beijing on Monday. Whether it will be taken down is a matter between Twitter and the Australian government, she said.

It is indeed clear that the tweet was meant to highlight the shocking history of well-documented war crimes by Australia in central Asia, and is the latest in Canberra being forced to play on the defensive with China, after major commodities exports earlier this month were blocked and/or were hit with huge tariffs by China.

Zhao had written on Twitter alongside the image: “Shocked by murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts, & call for holding them accountable.”

As of late in the day Monday (local time), the tweet is still up and has not been blocked or taken down by Twitter.

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Bitcoin Tops $19k, Bounces Back From Black Friday FUD Fall

Bitcoin Tops $19k, Bounces Back From Black Friday FUD Fall

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 08:41

Bitcoin’s recent tumble cleared some speculative “froth” but further declines remain possible, according to JPMorgan, and that appears to have been confirmed as Bitcoin roars back to $19,000 this morning…

Momentum traders such as commodity trading advisors and other quantitative funds likely played a big role in the slide by unwinding long Bitcoin futures positions, strategists led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou wrote in a Nov. 27 note.

“The previous froth in momentum traders’ positioning has been cleared to a large extent,” they wrote, while adding momentum signals will continue to deteriorate unless Bitcoin recovers quickly.

Amid last week’s Black-Friday special slump in Bitcoin prices, cryptocurrency traders seemed beset on all sides by fear, uncertainty, and doubt. However, as CoinTelegraph’s Andrew Thurman reports, Dermot McGrath, head of research at blockchain investment firm Sino Global Capital, said the firm prefers taking a long term view. 

Shortly after a Thanksgiving Bitcoin dip to $16,200, news broke that the Chinese government had seized $4.2 billion in cryptocurrencies as part of the Plustoken Ponzi scheme court proceedings. Rumors swirled that those tokens were poised to be dumped on the open market, crashing prices further.

However, Sino Global CEO Matthew Graham wrote on Twitter that he believed the majority of the Plustoken Bitcoin had been sold:

Additionally, whether the tokens have been sold or not, in an interview with Cointelegraph McGrath recommended that traders learn to look beyond immediate headlines. 

“In the crypto and blockchain ecosystems it is important to be able to ‘cut through the noise,’” he said. “We are long term bullish on Bitcoin and we continue to see the industry professionalize and mature as an asset class.”

McGrath also weighed in on a common boogeyman for Western crypto traders — Chinese cryptocurrency miners. Many have speculated that Chinese miners could conduct a 51% attack on the network, and they’ve long been derided by some for controlling vast swaths of the BTC supply:

McGrath, however, rejects both notions.

“Some of the reason that “Chinese miners” have been a “boogeyman” to western traders is simply a lack of understanding,” he said. “In theory, of course we know that 51% attacks can occur, but the level of centralization/coordination and incentives simply does not exist among the Chinese miner community for top cryptos.”

“As far as dumping of mined coins, etc. It is possible that Chinese miners are impacted by external factors that would cause them to manage mined coins differently. This is to be expected across different geographies,” he added.

When asked about price targets, McGrath declined to make moonshot calls. He did, however, shed some light on Sino’s investment philosophy.

“Pick projects and teams in which you share a vision and have conviction. Invest for the long-term and don’t get caught up in day to day market fluctuations,” he said. “We invest in teams and projects where we share a vision and have conviction. If we can find, support, and incubate these projects – we’ve done our job.”

As cryptoasset prices resume their uptrend and we continue on into a new bull market, perhaps McGrath’s wisdom is worth considering.

*  *  *

Despite last week’s drop, the gold-to-bitcoin rotation appears to be continuing…

…and as the following table shows, Bitcoin has a long way to go to equilibrate to Gold’s ‘market cap’…

As Bloomberg’s Eddie van der Walt noted this morning, what doesn’t kill Bitcoin, appears to make it stronger.

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OPEC Meeting Begins: Full Preview Of What To Expect

OPEC Meeting Begins: Full Preview Of What To Expect

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 08:24

Submitted by NewsSquawk

  • OPEC and OPEC+ producers will meet November 30th and December 1st respectively, with Monday’s meeting scheduled at 13:00GMT/08:00EST
  • Over the weekend, OPEC+ failed to agree on a delay to output hikes, with UAE and Kazakhstan reportedly opposing extensions
  • Market expectations are still leaning towards current cuts being extended following Sunday’s meeting
  • Some sources suggested a 2-3 month extension, others three and the most recent 3-4 months, with some officials not on board with the full “plan”
  • OPEC+ failure to extend could trigger an oil price decline, whilst “buy the rumour, sell the fact” play cannot be dismissed

OVERVIEW:

OPEC and OPEC+ producers are meeting November 30th and December 1st respectively, to discuss and draft a potential tweak to the current Declaration of Cooperation (DoC), rolled out in light of the pandemic to recalibrate the demand /supply imbalance. Monday’s meeting is slated for 13:00GMT, subject to delays. The current DoC is split into three phases:

  1. 9.7mln BPD total output reduction between May and July 2020.
  2. 7.7mln BPD total output reduction between July and December 2020.
  3. 5.7mln BPD total output reduction between January 2021 and April 2022 (subject to review in December 2021).

Market expectations are still leaning towards the second tranche (7.7mln BPD cuts) being extended through Q1 2021, a view which was also backed by Goldman Sachs, ING and UBS, despite positive vaccine developments and amid rising production in Libya. Recent sources also noted OPEC+ is still leaning towards a rollover of the current tranche notwithstanding the recent oil price rally, albeit with some sources suggesting by 2-3 months and some through Q1 whilst the most recent sources suggested 3-4 months- with Russia also likely to agree to the full quarter if necessary. However, enthusiasm for cuts is not universal – with some OPEC+ officials cited by EnergyIntel not on board with the full “plan” on Sunday. Russia is also said to insists on gradual monthly increases in output from January, sources stated.

SUNDAY JMMC MEETING

The informal consultation between the Russia, Saudi and JMMC heads was moved to Sunday ahead of the decision-making meeting. The panel of OPEC+ ministers could not reach an agreement on the extension of current cuts, with most participants reportedly supporting a delay of hikes through Q1 2021, but UAE and Kazakhstan opposing. Tass citing sources said the Russia and Saudi have reached consensus on extending the current level of cuts through the first months of next years, but the two producers still had to “coordinate ‘certain details and the mechanism’ of the extension”. Meanwhile, sources cited via Argus Media on Sunday said “A rollover would most likely be for one quarter… This would avoid flooding the market in January-March – a period of typically slower demand.”

NOVEMBER JMMC FALLOUT

The Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) statement on November 17th gave no detail on its recommendations but said it will be provided on December 1st. The Committee reiterated the “critical importance of adhering to full conformity and compensating the overproduced volumes, in order to achieve the objective of market rebalancing and to avoid undue delay in the process.” There was also chatter that OPEC+ is mulling deeper production cuts, though this was dismissed by delegates on Sunday who suggested no talk of collective deeper cuts.

COMPLIANCE COMPLICATIONS

Compliance among producers remain an issue as the latest October figures from the JMMC suggest sub-par conformity, namely from UAE, Nigeria, Iraq, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Azerbaijan for a total group cumulative overproduction of 2.346mln BPD (see Figure 1).

Some sources suggested that OPEC+ compliance could still be an issue, however, EnergyIntel’s Bakr noted that “The expectation among delegates is that the “‘catch up cuts’ plan will be extended into 2021 to allow a number of states to reach their quotas”

Desks did not expect these compliance difficulties to be a near-term risk given the “vigilant and proactive” stance signalled by OPEC+ in recent meetings, with the group likely to reaffirm its stance on full compliance and specifics likely to be ironed out in the coming months with further compensation quotas.

DEMAND AND OIL PRICE DEVELOPMENTS

The positively received vaccine updates from Pfizer/BioNTech (PFE /BNTX), Moderna (MRNA), AstraZeneca (AZN/Oxford) and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) have provided a rosier (or less dire) demand outlook for the complex due to the prospect of a recovery in activity and jet fuel demand. Still, re-emerging COVID-19 cases and uncertain timeframes for mass rollouts of approved vaccines continue to cloud near-term outlook. Analysts at Goldman Sachs indicate that this solidifies the argument for an extension of current cuts. Further, IEA’s November OMR also suggested “it is far too early to know how and when vaccines will allow normal life to resume. For now, our forecasts do not anticipate a significant impact in the first half of 2021.” Nonetheless, the vaccine fanfare this month has provided the crude market with a boost, resulting in the Brent curve edging back into backwardation (theoretically a near-term bullish signal) – Figure 2 below indicates the shallowing contango following the releases of each of the three major vaccine updates.

However, ING is sceptical about the recent Brent backwardation into early 2022 given the soft near-term demand outlook and fragile balance sheet over Q1 2021, whilst the WTI curve makes more sense, with timespreads in contango in the near term (reflecting weaker fundamentals) but with backwardation commencing from the May 2021 contract.

  • PRICE RALLY: The recent rally has prompted some to question the eagerness of some members to get onboard with extended cuts. “Clearly, if the market continues to strengthen between now and then, there is the risk that a growing number of members of the deal will become increasingly reluctant to rollover cuts”, ING says, “the group would likely be more open to rolling over cuts if prices were trading around the US$40/bbl level, however with Brent quickly approaching US$50/bbl, there might be some opposition within the group to delay an easing in cuts.” Hence, the bank sees risk skewed to the downside – “it is unlikely that OPEC+ surprise with a six-month rollover given the latest move in prices, while the three-month rollover is already largely priced in. So anything less than a three-month extension will likely be seen as bearish.”

SUPPLY SITUATION

The oil producers will have to factor in supply side developments since the rollout of the DoC, events that were not foreseen nor assumed at the time:

  • LIBYA: Libyan crude output has been on a steep upswing in the past couple of months following the lifting on blockades which saw exports from five key oil terminals halted in January, translating to an output slump to ~70k BPD vs ~1.1mln BPD pre-blockade, the latest Libyan production printed at ~1.2mln BPD. Libya is currently exempt from OPEC quotas, and the NOC head stated it will join the allocations once production reaches 1.7mln BPD. OPEC previously stated it will be keeping an eye on sustained production from Libya. On that note, an armed group attempted to break into the headquarters of Libya’s NOC on November 23rd, in turn reigniting fears of the country’s fragile output.
  • UAE: Some desks are also eyeing potential complications by UAE to raise its baseline quota, thus translating to higher output from the nation. However, this risk is unlikely to materialise as the country’s energy minister recently noted “that all Opec-plus members should achieve full compliance with the existing agreement before the current level of cuts can be extended into next year”, according to EnergyIntel, whilst Goldman Sachs also warns unilateral production hikes will likely trigger a price war.
  • IRAN: A Biden administration has raised the likelihood of Iranian oil returning to the market as expectations are titled towards the Democrat unwinding some restrictions put in place by the Trump admin. That being said, this return is unlikely to take place until end-2021/22, ING believes, “by that stage, oil demand should have recovered enough for the market to be able to absorb additional supply”, contingent on COVID-19 and vaccine developments.
  • NIGERIA: Desks note that Nigeria has been complicating matters as it has advocated the exclusion of output from its Agbami oil field from its quota on grounds that its output should be clasified as condensate as opposed to crude oil.

FORECASTS:

Analysts at GS forecast Brent to average USD 47/bbl in Q1 2021 assuming a three-month extension of current cuts, whilst an adherence to the current DoC (i.e. a 2mln BPD production increase) would warrant USD 42/bbl in the period. “This illustrates once again how short-term revenue maximization always comes through production cuts, as a 2 mb/d production increase but $5/bbl negative price impact would end up reducing core-OPEC and Russia’s 1Q21 fiscal revenues by more than $5 bn”, GS says. Meanwhile, UBS sees a Brent average of USD 45/bbl in Q1 next year (see Figure 3 below), with the assumption of a vaccine rollout in 2021. “A 3-month extension protects price downside as policy struggles to mitigate winter virus waves. 2021 is a year of price recovery and normalization”, the bank states. 

The Newsquawk real-time social media OPEC monitoring tool is available here

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Nikola Shares Soar On GM MOU

Nikola Shares Soar On GM MOU

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 08:10

Nikola signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with General Motors for a global supply agreement related to the integration of GM’s Hydrotec fuel-cell system into Nikola’s commercial semi-trucks.

Notably, the MOU does not include the previously contemplated GM equity stake in Nikola or development of the Nikola Badger.

Full Nikola Press Release:

Nikola Corporation (NASDAQ: NKLA) today announced the signing of a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with General Motors for a global supply agreement related to the integration of GM’s Hydrotec fuel-cell system into Nikola’s commercial semi-trucks. This supersedes and replaces the transaction announced on September 8, 2020.

Under the terms of the MOU, Nikola and GM will work together to integrate GM’s Hydrotec fuel-cell technology into Nikola’s Class 7 and Class 8 zero-emission semi-trucks for the medium- and long-haul trucking sectors. As previously announced, Nikola expects to begin testing production-engineered prototypes of its hydrogen fuel-cell powered trucks by the end of 2021, with testing for the beta prototypes expected to begin in the first half of 2022. In addition, Nikola and GM will discuss the potential for the utilization of GM’s versatile Ultium battery system in Nikola’s Class 7 and Class 8 vehicles.

“We are excited to take this important step with GM, which provides an opportunity to leverage the resources, strengths and talent of both companies,” said Mark Russell, Chief Executive Officer of Nikola. “Heavy trucks remain our core business and we are 100% focused on hitting our development milestones to bring clean hydrogen and battery-electric commercial trucks to market. We believe fuel-cells will become increasingly important to the semi-truck market, as they are more efficient than gas or diesel and are lightweight compared to batteries for long hauls. By working with GM, we are reinforcing our companies’ shared commitment to a zero-emission future.”

The agreement between Nikola and GM is subject to negotiation and execution of definitive documentation acceptable to both parties. The MOU does not include the previously contemplated GM equity stake in Nikola or development of the Nikola Badger. As previously announced, the Nikola Badger program was dependent on an OEM partnership. Nikola will refund all previously submitted order deposits for the Nikola Badger.

The stock’s immediate reaction was impressive (up over 40%) but has quickly faded to just around 9%…

Finally, we note that today is lock-up expiration (Milton can sell 92 million shares) – interesting timing for a short-squeeze-enabling press release – given the huge short interest…

There’s no such thing as coincidence.

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Trump Expands China Crackdown, Adds China’s Top Chipmaker And Oil Producer To Defense Blacklist

Trump Expands China Crackdown, Adds China’s Top Chipmaker And Oil Producer To Defense Blacklist

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 08:10

In hopes of making a renormalization in relations with Beijing next to impossible for Joe Biden, the Trump administration is poised to add China’s top chipmaker SMIC and national offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies, Reuters reported citing a document and sources, curbing their access to U.S. investors and escalating tensions with Beijing.

The latest crackdown comes after a report from Reuters earlier this month that the Department of Defense (DOD) was planning to designate four more Chinese companies as owned or controlled by the Chinese military, bringing the number of Chinese companies affected to 35. A recent executive order issued by President Donald Trump would prevent U.S. investors from buying securities of the listed firms starting late next year.

It was not immediately clear when the new tranche, would be published in the Federal Register. But the list comprises China Construction Technology Co Ltd and China International Engineering Consulting Corp, in addition to Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), Reuters reported.

SMIC said it continued “to engage constructively and openly with the U.S. government” and that its products and services were solely for civilian and commercial use. “The Company has no relationship with the Chinese military and does not manufacture for any military end-users or end-uses.” Shares in SMIC closed 2.7% lower on Monday.

CNOOC’s listed unit CNOOC Ltd, whose shares fell by almost 14% after the Reuters report, said in a stock market statement that it had inquired with its parent and learnt that it had not received any formal notice from relevant U.S. authorities.

Later on Monday, Bernstein Research downgraded CNOOC Ltd’s stock to ‘market perform’ by applying a 30% discount to share price targets, citing sanction risks that range from a ban on U.S. funds owning CNOOC stock to prohibiting US companies from doing business with CNOOC.

China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, in response to a question about Washington’s planned move, that China hoped the United States would not erect barriers and obstacles to cooperation and discriminate against Chinese companies.

The upcoming move is seen as seeking to cement Donald Trump’s tough-on-China legacy and to box incoming Democrat Biden into hardline positions on Beijing amid bipartisan anti-China sentiment in Congress. The list is also part of a broader effort by Washington to target what it sees as Beijing’s efforts to enlist corporations to harness emerging civilian technologies for military purposes.

Reuters reported last week that the Trump administration is close to declaring that 89 Chinese aerospace and other companies have military ties, restricting them from buying a range of U.S. goods and technology.

The list of “Communist Chinese Military Companies” was mandated by a 1999 law requiring the Pentagon to compile a catalog of companies “owned or controlled” by the People’s Liberation Army, but DOD only complied in 2020. Giants like Hikvision, China Telecom and China Mobile were added earlier this year.

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Futures, Global Stocks Dip On Last Day Of Record Month For Markets

Futures, Global Stocks Dip On Last Day Of Record Month For Markets

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 07:55

US equity futures and world shares paused on Monday, dropping modestly on the back of weakness in oil and energy stocks even as they were set to finish a record-breaking month sparked by major progress toward a coronavirus vaccine and yet more free money from central banks.

Trading volumes were muted with European stocks holding steady, reversing an earlier loss while U.S. futures dropped as lows as 3,600 before rebounding. The MSCI World Index has soared 13% in November, the best performance on record. IHS Markit Ltd. jumped 16% in U.S. premarket trading. The research firm with more than 5,000 analysts, data scientists agreed to be bought by S&P Global Inc. for about $39 billion in stock.

Early downbeat sentiment was reversed by yet another case of “Medical Monday”, after Moderna became the latest company to apply for emergency COVID vaccine approval in the US and Europe after new analysis showed the vaccine was highly effective in preventing Covid-19, with no serious safety problems. The news came after a weekend, in which U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said the federal government hopes to quickly review and approve requests from two drugmakers for emergency approval of their Covid-19 vaccines. The rapid pace to a vaccine has given investors the confidence to price in a return to normalcy and faster economic growth, helping lift shares of companies that were hardest hit by the pandemic.

Sentiment also got a boost from the latest Chinese PMI data showed manufacturing and service activity handily beat forecasts in November, even as the country’s central bank surprised with a helping of cheap loans.

On Monday, the rotation in equities showed signs of a slight reversal. Futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 Index were little changed, while small-caps, banks and energy producers dropped, according to Bloomberg. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank 1.6%, the biggest loss in a month. The risk-on mood across markets has hurt demand for haven assets. Gold extended a retreat on Monday and is on course for its largest monthly decline in four years. The dollar is poised for a 2.7% drop in November.

“I suspect that investors have become cautious after big gains in the last few weeks that were driven by the vaccine news,” said Peter Rosenstreich, head of market strategy at Swissquote Bank. “It’s a big positive as it’s really provided an endgame for Covid-19.”

“Markets are overbought and at risk of a short term pause,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital. “However, we are now in a seasonally strong time of year and investors are yet to fully discount the potential for a very strong recovery next year in growth and profits as stimulus combines with vaccines.” Cyclical recovery shares including resources, industrials and financials were likely to be relative outperformers, he added.

Today’s drop in oil and energy names notwithstanding, November’s rush to value names benefited oil and industrial commodities while undermining safe-haven dollar and gold. “It has been a very, very strong month for markets, especially on the equity side but also on the fixed income side too,” said Rabobank’s Head of Macro Strategy Elwin de Groot. “And this market still remains very much supported by liquidity from the central banks,” De Groot added. With the ECB set to provide more stimulus next month “the market view seems to be, what can possibly go wrong?”

The positive developments on vaccines and swiftness with which they are likely to be rolled out had been key drivers.

European bourses boasted their best month ever with France up 21% and Italy almost 26%. The MSCI measure of world stocks is up nearly 13% for November, while the S&P 500 has climbed 11% to all-time peaks. The Stoxx is also having its best month on record.

After initially dropping as much as -0.7%, European stocks were unchanged after Moderna said it plans to request clearance for its coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. and Europe. The Eurostoxx 50 reversed an initial 0.6% drop to trade in the green. DAX and FTSE 100 lead peers. Peripheral indexes remain in the red, with Spain’s IBEX underperforming. Retail, chemical and healthcare stocks lead gains with banks, while oil & gas and travel the weakest sectors following Sunday’s failure of OPEC+ to reach a preliminary deal on whether to extend output curbs. ABN Amro Bank NV fell as much as 6.5% in Amsterdam trading. The Dutch lender plans to cut about 2,800 jobs over four years as it retreats from large parts of its investment bank.

Earlier in the session, Asia closed November on a weak note with MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares ex-Japan ending 1.5% lower on the day but was still up almost 10% for the month. The Topix lost 1.8%, with Toyota and Daiichi Sankyo contributing the most to the move. The Shanghai Composite Index retreated 0.5%, driven by China Merchants Bank and Kweichow Moutai. Chinese blue chips ended lower but up nearly 6% for the month. Trading volume for MSCI Asia Pacific Index members was 88% above the monthly average.  Japan’s Nikkei 225 eased 0.8%, but was still 15% higher on the month for the largest rise since 1994.

Emerging-market stocks fell on the last day of November, their best month since March 2016, as investors weighed the failure of an OPEC+ ministers panel to reach a supply agreement and renewed coronavirus restrictions from Hong Kong to Europe. MSCI’s gauge tracking developing-nation equities headed for the biggest daily drop this month.

The surge in stocks has put competitive pressure on safe-haven bonds but much of that has been cushioned by expectations of more asset buying by central banks. Sweden’s Riksbank surprised last week by expanding its bond purchase program and the European Central Bank is likely to follow in December.

In rates, European fixed income markets were relatively quiet, ignoring comments from ECB’s Lagard; Bunds bear flatten, semi-core spreads tighten marginally to core. German 10-year Bund yield were down 1.1 basis points at -0.598%, its lowest since Nov. 9. The rest of the core market also fell by around 1 bp.

Treasury futures were near session lows in early U.S. trading as stock futures pare declines, despite expectations that a large month-end index duration extension at the end of the day will support the long end. Yields were higher across the curve led by 10- to 30-year sectors, 10-year by nearly 2bp at 0.857%, slightly lagging bunds and gilts; front-end yields are little changed. As a result, U.S. 10-year yields are ending the month almost exactly where they started at 0.84%, a solid performance given the exuberance in equities.

The U.S. dollar has not been as lucky: “The idea that a potential Treasury Secretary (Janet) Yellen and Fed chair Powell could work more closely to shape and coordinate super easy monetary policy and massive fiscal stimulus that could drive a rapid post pandemic recovery saw the dollar under pressure,” said Robert Rennie, head of financial market strategy at Westpac.

Against a basket of currencies, the dollar index was pinned at 91.771 having shed 2.4% for the month to lows last seen in mid-2018. The Bloomberg dollar index was headed for its biggest monthly decline since July, as G-10 peers tested multi-year highs against the greenback. The euro has caught a tailwind from the relative outperformance of European stocks and climbed 2.7% for the month to reach $1.1967. A break of the September peak at $1.2011 would open the way to a 2018 top at $1.2555.

Elsewhere, the pound rose the most in nearly a week on optimism a Brexit trade deal is close, though signs of caution showed up in the options market. GBP/USD rose as much as %0.4 to 1.3364 in its biggest move since Nov. 24. The U.K. and European Union are close to a breakthrough on fishing with an acceptance of a British proposal for a transition period on fishing rights after Jan. 1, the Telegraph reported. In Switzerland, the USD/CHF fell as much as 0.5% to 0.9019, its lowest since Nov. 9; The Swiss franc was initially supported as the nation’s voters rejected two proposals that had the potential to alter the corporate landscape of a country known for low taxes and light-touch regulation.

In commodities, one major casualty of the rush to risk has been gold, which was near a five-month trough at $1,771 an ounce having shed 5.6% in November, its largest monthly decline in four years.

Oil, in contrast, benefited nearly 30% from the prospect of a demand revival should the vaccines allow travel and transport to resume next year. Some profit-taking set in early on Monday ahead of an OPEC+ meeting to decide whether the producers’ group will extend large output cuts. Brent crude futures fell 52 cents to $47.66, while WTI dropped below $45 a barrel in New York on Monday. An informal meeting of OPEC+ ministers didn’t reach an agreement on whether to delay January’s oil-output increase. A full meeting of the cartel is planned for later today, where a deal is still seen as the most likely outcome.

As Bloomberg notes, looking at Monday’s calendar, OPEC holds a virtual full ministerial meeting to make a final decision on whether a production supply hike should proceed as scheduled in January. Further into the week, the Reserve Bank of Australia holds a policy meeting on Tuesday, while Fed Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday. The U.S. jobs report on Friday is expected to show more Americans headed back to work in November, though at a slower pace than last month.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.2% to 3,628
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 0.01% to 393.28
  • German 10Y yield rose 0.5 bps to -0.583%
  • Euro up 0.1% to $1.1977
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 0.7 bps to 0.483%
  • Spanish 10Y yield rose 0.6 bps to 0.064%
  • MXAP down 1.6% to 189.96
  • MXAPJ down 1.5% to 625.40
  • Nikkei down 0.8% to 26,433.62
  • Topix down 1.8% to 1,754.92
  • Hang Seng Index down 2.1% to 26,341.49
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.5% to 3,391.76
  • Sensex down 0.3% to 44,149.72
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.3% to 6,517.81
  • Kospi down 1.6% to 2,591.34
  • Brent futures down 1.8% to $47.30/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.6% to $1,777.30
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 0.2% to 91.64

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • Boris Johnson’s officials believe a Brexit trade deal could be reached within days if both sides continue working in “good faith” to resolve what the U.K. sees as the last big obstacle in the talks — fishing rights
  • Boris Johnson is battling to convince his own Conservative Party colleagues to back plans to keep most of England under strict pandemic controls when the national lockdown ends this week
  • Germany can’t continue compensating businesses for lost sales beyond next month and more targeted measures will be needed instead, according to senior officials in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government
  • China’s economic rebound is gathering pace toward the end of the year, with an official gauge of manufacturing rising faster than expected in November, fueled by exports
  • China unexpectedly added medium-term funding to the financial system on Monday, as the central bank sought to ease liquidity tightness in the final weeks of the year
  • The Bank of England is seeing old fault lines open up as officials lock horns on whether to take interest rates below zero for the first time. That’s what the math on the nine-member Monetary Policy Committee is starting to look like, as the so-called “internals” on the panel with full-time operational roles at the central bank show the greatest signs of resistance to the measure. The minority of part-time “external” officials tend to be more open to subzero policy

Quick look at global markets courtesy of NewsSquawk

Asian equity markets began the week mixed amid tentativeness heading into month-end and this week’s key risk events, with the region also digesting a slew of data including better than expected Chinese Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing PMI data. ASX 200 (-1.3%) underperformed as gold miners led the broad retreat seen across sectors after the recent slump in the precious metal and with Treasury Wine Estates hampered again by China’s anti-dumping measures on Australian wine, while Nikkei 225 (-0.8%) was initially kept afloat after Industrial Production data topped estimates but later succumbed to the headwinds from a firmer currency. Hang Seng (-2.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.5%) initially diverged with the mainland bourse outperforming after Chinese official Manufacturing PMI printed its highest reading in more than 3 years and amid PBoC efforts in which it injected funds through Reverse Repo operations and the Medium-term Lending Facility. Conversely, the mood in Hong Kong was subdued with CNOOC and other blue-chip oil peers pressured after reports US President Trump is to add CNOOC and chipmaker SMIC to the defense blacklist, while Alibaba was also among the laggards amid suggestions the Ant Financial IPO faces narrow chances of going through next year. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lacklustre and attempted a breakdown of the psychological 152.00 level with price action failing to take impetus from the bull-flattening last Friday in USTs and the BoJ presence in the market today, while the central bank also recently announced its bond purchase intentions for December whereby it maintained the value amounts but reduced the frequency of buying in 1-3yr and 3-5yr maturities to 5 times from 6 times a month.

Top Asian News

  • Suning.com Is Said to Mull E-Commerce Business Stake Sale
  • China Unexpectedly Injects $30 Billion Into Financial System
  • Meituan’s Sales Surge Alongside China’s Appetite for Takeout
  • H.K. Doctor Is Cleared in Massive Securities Fraud Probe

Major European bourses see a mixed performance (Euro Stoxx 50 Unch) after the region trimmed the modest losses seen at the cash open despite a lack of fresh fundamental catalysts, and with some suggesting month-end rotation for the earlier losses ahead of a number of key risk events for the week – including Brexit, OPEC and the US Labour Market reports. State-side futures also sees tepid trade in early European hours ahead of the US entrance from the long Thanksgiving weekend. Back to Europe, sectors kicked the week of with a defensive bias as Healthcare, Utilities and Staples initially performed better than the cyclicals, albeit thereafter, sectors re-calibrated to show more of a mixed picture, with no clear risk tone to be derived as things stand. Energy remains the straddler amid price action in the complex ahead of the OPEC confab, whilst Banks also retain their spot near the bottom amidst a lower yield environment, and as Brexit continues hang over UK financials heading into the crunch week. Further for the banking sector, HSBC (-2%) trades lower following reports the group is looking to exit retail banking in the US as part of a cost reduction plan, whilst ABN AMRO (-6.2%) sees more pronounced losses following its investor update whereby it sees some 15% workforce reduction by 2024. Elsewhere, on the M&A front – AA (-0.5%) trades modestly lower as its largest shareholder is set to oppose the takeover from Warburg Pincus and TowerBrook Capital Partners, with his stake just under the 25% needed to block the deal. Meanwhile, JD Sports (+6.3%) tops the FTSE 100 amid source reports that the group is less likely to make an offer for the Debenhams as its chairman is reportedly concerned that COVID restrictions have had a larger impact. Meanwhile, Siltronic (+9.1%) holds onto gains amid reports the Co. is said to be in talks to be bought by Taiwan’s GlobalWafers for EUR 3.75bln. Finally, state-side S&P Global Inc confirmed it is in advanced talks to acquire IHS Markit for a deal worth around USD 44bln.

Top European News

  • Swiss Reject Business Liability Plan, Ban on SNB Investments
  • Lloyds Names HSBC’s Nunn as CEO to Replace Horta- Osorio
  • ABN Amro to Cut About 2,800 Jobs as Investment Bank Shrinks
  • Poland Upset With EU But Not Enough to Follow U.K. Exit Path

In FX, the Dollar remains downbeat irrespective of any safe haven demand that might ordinarily be warranted as stocks waver on the last trading day of the month, with bank models flagging a relatively strong sell strong signal against G10 currencies, bar the Yen. Hence, the DXY is depressed below 92.000 and just off a new 2020 low within 91.762-630 parameters and technically weak unless it can regain momentum and reclaim losses through a Fib retracement level at 91.729. Ahead, Chicago PMI before pending home sales and Dallas Fed manufacturing and a speech from Barkin.

  • NZD/CHF/EUR/GBP – More independent traction for the Kiwi as it targets 0.7050 vs its US counterpart in wake of improvements in the NBNZ business outlook and own activity readings for November, while the Franc has taken on board a pick up in Swiss retail sales and KOF’s leading indicator slowing less than expected this month rather than mixed weekly sight deposits to maintain gains above 0.9050. Elsewhere, the Euro is making steady measured progress towards 1.2000 after eclipsing resistance at 1.1975, albeit with some assistance from reported Eur/Gbp RHS interest for month end as the cross tests 0.9000 and Cable continues to trade heavy on the 1.3300 handle amidst ongoing Brexit uncertainty and conflicting UK data (BoE consumer credit weak, mortgage lending sub-consensus, but approvals considerably higher than forecast).
  • CAD/AUD – The Loonie is holding up pretty well between 1.3000-1.2970 parameters given another downturn in oil prices and Aussie also close to 0.7400 following contrasting business inventory and company profits, with similarly divergent external impulses via strength in Chinese PMIs to temper some of the pain inflicted by Beijing’s steep anti-dumping tax on wine and a fresh diplomatic twitter spat.
  • JPY – A major laggard on the aforementioned lack of demand for portfolio purposes vs the Greenback, as the Yen pivots 104.00 and comfortably inside recent extremes after a raft of inconclusive Japanese data overnight.
  • SCANDI/EM – The Nok is also displaying a degree of resilience against the backdrop of weaker crude and Sek is consolidating off post-Riksbank lows, while the Cnh has firmed from PBoC midpoint fix levels for the Cny with more reverse repo and MLF liquidity to compound the robust official PMIs and the Try has drawn encouragement from a more pronounced than anticipated GDP rebound in Q3, narrower trade deficit and cheaper oil.

In commodities, WTI and Brent futures trade on the backfoot in the run-up to the decision-making OPEC/OPEC+ meetings over the next two days, for which a full Newsquawk preview can be found here, whilst the Newsquawk OPEC Twitter Dashboard can be accessed here. In terms of where we stand, Sunday’s impromptu meeting offered little in the way of a breakthrough, with the panel of OPEC+ ministers unable to reach an agreement on the extension of current cuts, but most participants are reportedly supporting a delay of hikes through Q1 2021. Market expectations are still leaning towards the second tranche (7.7mln BPD cuts) being extended through in the first three months of 2021, albeit with some sources suggesting an extension by 2-3 months, whilst the most recent sources suggested 3-4 months. Meanwhile, Russia is said to be advocating gradual monthly increases in output from January, according to sources. Nonetheless, futures contracts remain subdued awaiting concrete clarity, with the OPEC meeting set to commence at 13:00GMT/08:00EST and a drip-feed of to-and-fro sources likely. WTI Jan resides under USD 45/bbl (vs. high 45.42/bbl) whilst Brent Feb continues to lose ground sub-48.00/bbl (vs. high 48.04/bbl). Elsewhere, spot gold and silver trade lacklustre despite a lack of fundamental catalysts, but with month-end rotation to keep in mind – with the former struggling to gain ground after yielding the 1800/oz mark. Turning to base metals. Dalian iron ore and Shanghai copper futures extended on recent gains with traders pointing to upbeat economic data from China. LME copper meanwhile is catching tailwinds from the copper performance overnight coupled by somewhat of a recovery in stocks.

US Event Calendar

  • 9:45am: MNI Chicago PMI, est. 59, prior 61.1
  • 10am: Pending Home Sales MoM, est. 1.0%, prior -2.2%
  • 10am: Pending Home Sales NSA YoY, prior 21.9%
  • 10:30am: Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. 15.8, prior 19.8

DB’s Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Welcome to what has become “Vaccine Monday” and also the last day of what will very likely be a record month for many equity markets. We’ll give full details tomorrow in our monthly performance review. Everyone will be waiting with baited breath though to see if there is a new vaccine efficacy release before the markets open today. It feels like the next developed world candidates are many weeks behind the three who have reported so far so we’re not expecting anything today but it wouldn’t surprise me if traders were very reluctant to go short, if that was their desire, before noon GMT / 7am NYT. Staying with vaccines, reports suggest that the U.K. will be the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, perhaps even early this week, with a view to starting inoculations as soon as next Monday. Meanwhile, the US Surgeon General Jerome Adams has said that Pfizer/ BioNTech is scheduled to submit an Emergency Use Authorization request for their vaccine on December 10 followed by Moderna on December 18 while Anthony Fauci said that vaccines would likely roll out from the middle to end of December.

Overnight we saw China’s November official PMIs with manufacturing printing at 52.1 (vs. 51.5 expected), the highest since September 2017, with services at 56.4 (vs 56.0 expected) bringing the composite reading to 55.7 (vs. 55.3 last month). This beat is leading to Chinese bourses outperforming this morning with the CSI (+0.96%), Shanghai Comp (+0.74%) and Shenzhen Comp (+0.52%) all making advances. Other indices in the region however have largely turned red after opening higher with the Nikkei (-0.61%), Hang Seng (-1.12%) and Kospi (-0.84%) all trading lower. Futures on the S&P 500 (-0.63%) have also turned lower and European ones are also pointing to a weaker open. Elsewhere, Reuters has reported that the Trump administration is adding SMIC and CNOOC Ltd. to a blacklist of “alleged Chinese military companies”.

In other weekend news an informal side OPEC+ meeting last night has seemingly failed to agree a plan to maintain production cuts through Q1. So lots at stake as we head into a two day meeting of the full group today and tomorrow. Crude oil prices are down c. -1.30% overnight. Our Oil strategist Michael Hsueh wrote a piece over the weekend (link here) suggesting that the current oil price factors in maintaining the production curbs and if we don’t get them we could see a -10% fall. So one to watch after a big bull run. Elsewhere, Bloomberg has reported overnight that S&P Global is in advanced talks to buy IHS Markit for about $44 bn and an announcement towards this could come as soon as today. If true, the tie-up would be this year’s second-biggest deal.

Now turning to the latest on the virus and the underlying message continues to remain same with new infections slowing in Europe but continuing to remain high in the US. In France, the positivity rate has now fallen to 11.1%, just over half of where it was in early November and the number of ICU patients are also on a continued decline. A similar pattern to the U.K. and Italy. Meanwhile in the US, Los Angeles and San Francisco imposed tighter restrictions but NYC schools will begin to reopen from December 7 despite the 3% positive test rate breach which had led to closures in the last couple of weeks. Across the other side of the world, South Korea has tightened social restrictions outside of the Seoul area which already had tighter restrictions in place. Hong Kong has said that it will suspend face-to-face classes at kindergartens, primary and secondary schools as cases are on a clear rising trajectory in the city.

Looking forward now and It’s a fairly busy week for data but how much markets will care is a moot point as everyone knows we’re on a short-term path to a double dip but that the short to medium term is a path covered in potential golden vaccine petals.

Data releases include the US jobs report (Friday) and the November PMIs (tomorrow and Thursday), while Fed Chair Powell and ECB President Lagarde will both be speaking through the week. Otherwise, attention will remain on the Brexit negotiations, with just a month remaining until the year-end deadline and less time given any deal has to be ratified across the continent.

Looking into more detail, the US jobs report for October on Friday sees consensus at +500k and a fall in the unemployment rate to 6.8% from 6.9%. Though this would be further progress from the situation in the spring, it would still be the slowest monthly jobs growth since the massive contractions in March and April, and leave the total nonfarm payrolls number over 9.5m beneath its pre-Covid peak back in February. Of some concern is the recent weekly initial jobless claims trend which have risen more than expected for the last couple of weeks. So it feels like a difficult month or so ahead for the US economy.

Meanwhile on the PMIs, the flash readings we’ve already had showed a noticeable deterioration in Europe as much of the continent headed into renewed lockdowns. It’ll be interesting to gauge what’s happening in the countries where there aren’t flash readings however, including a number of emerging markets. Also in focus will be the Euro Area’s flash CPI estimate for November tomorrow as for the previous 3 months it’s been in deflationary territory.

Elsewhere on Brexit I won’t say this is a crucial week as I’ve said this many times before and nothing much has happened. However it probably is now that face to face talks are back and that we’ll are running low on days to ratify a deal. In terms of the current state of play, it has been reported that the last big remaining obstacle in the talks is fishing rights with the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab asking the EU to recognise that regaining control over British waters is a question of sovereignty for the UK. Meanwhile, on other key obstacles of competition rules and state aid, Raab said that he could see “a landing zone”. If fishing is truly now the only stumbling block this is very good news as the numbers here are minuscule compared to the cost of no deal. Sterling is up +0.21% to 1.3339 overnight.

Finally, there are a number of important central bank speakers this week, with Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin appearing before the Senate Banking Committee tomorrow and the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. Meanwhile ECB President Lagarde will be speaking today at the European Policy Center Forum, before she appears at an Atlantic Council event tomorrow. The Fed will also be releasing their Beige Book on Wednesday.

To recap the week just gone, risk assets had yet another strong performance and global equity markets soared to all-time highs, with markets buoyed by further positive vaccine news and increasing signs that there’ll be a smooth transition of power in the United States. By the end of the week, the S&P 500 had advanced +2.27% (+0.24% Friday) to hit a new record, as did the MSCI World Index which rose +2.42% (+0.44% Friday) in its 4thconsecutive week higher. In Europe, the STOXX 600 was up +0.93% (+0.41% Friday) at its highest level since the pandemic, while the DAX rose +1.51% (+0.37% Friday) to move back into positive territory on a YTD basis. The moves higher for risk assets coincided with increasingly subdued volatility (at least by 2020 standards), with the VIX index falling -2.86pts last week (-0.41pts Friday) to 20.84pts, which is its lowest closing level since late February. Furthermore, Bloomberg’s index of US financial conditions eased to its most accommodative level since late February too.

Core sovereign bonds saw little movement last week, with yields on 10yr US Treasuries up just +1.3bps (-4.4bps Friday) to 0.84%. That said, there were some notable moves in southern Europe, with yields on 10yr Italian BTPs falling to an all-time low of 0.59%, as yields on 10yr Portuguese debt closed just shy of negative territory at 0.01%. That’s a far cry from the peak of the sovereign debt crisis earlier this decade when the Portuguese 10yr yield spent more than a year above 10% in 2011/12. Some milestones were also reached in FX, where the dollar index fell -0.65% (-0.22% Friday) to reach a 2-year low, while the Euro strengthened +0.89% (+0.42% Friday) to reach a 2-year high against the US Dollar of $1.196. Finally there were some strong performances in the commodities sphere, with Brent Crude oil prices up +7.16% (+0.79% Friday) as they moved higher for a 4th consecutive week, while the industrial bellwether of copper climbed +3.30% (+2.72% Friday) to reach a 6-year high.

Finally Bitcoin declined -8.5% over the week with c. -10% coming through on Thursday/Friday partly due to worries over the prospect of tighter crypto rules in the US.

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Moderna Applies For Emergency COVID Vaccine Approval In US & Europe

Moderna Applies For Emergency COVID Vaccine Approval In US & Europe

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 07:20

In a repeat of the last three Mondays, positive COVID vaccine news has delivered a jolt to stocks as Moderna has confirmed that it has applied for emergency approval. The company will ask regulators in the US (the FDA) and Europe, as the vaccine is set to become the second COVID-19 vaccine to go into service.

According to the company, in the 30,000-person trial, 196 subjects developed COVID-19 with symptoms after receiving either the vaccine or a placebo. Of those, 185 had taken a placebo, while only 11 had gotten the vaccine, indicating it protects against the disease.

If the FDA clears the shot, distribution could start within weeks. “I think this vaccine is going to be really a game changer for this pandemic,” said Moderna Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel said in an interview with WSJ. “We think it can really prevent severe disease.”

Minutes after the news broke, Bancel appeared on CNBC Monday morning to answer some questions. During the interview, he said the vaccine is “a premium product” intended for health-care workers, the elderly and others with “high risk”. The company is in discussions with Covax, the international program to deliver vaccines to the developing world, to supply some of its vaccines to the program.

Moderna shares surged on the results.

Bancel said that trials for minors – broken into two groups, teenagers and younger children – could start later this year and early next year.

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S&P Global To Buy IHS Markit In $44BN Deal That Could Be 2020’s Biggest

S&P Global To Buy IHS Markit In $44BN Deal That Could Be 2020’s Biggest

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 07:00

The quest to build a functional competitor to Bloomberg and its ubiquitous terminals continues Monday as IHS Markit and S&P Global confirmed reports about a buyout worth some $44 billion.

According to WSJ, S&P Global plans to buy its smaller rival to create “a powerful challenger to information powerhouses Bloomberg and Refinitiv,” assuming the deal goes ahead.

The move would mark the latest round of consolidation among large data providers: A year ago, the London Stock Exchange moved to acquire Refinitiv – formerly known as Reuters’ financial data business – for $27 billion a year ago. New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchanges struck its largest deal ever after it agreed to buy US mortgage data provider Ellie Mae for $11 billion.

As the FT points out, the move would mark the latest round of consolidation among large data providers. New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchanges struck its largest deal ever after it agreed to buy US mortgage data provider Ellie Mae for $11 billion. That followed the London Stock Exchange’s move to acquire Refinitiv for $27 billion a year ago.

The deal would bolster S&P Global’s data business as the company struggles to compete with Michael Bloomberg’s eponymous Bloomberg LP. IHS Markit, which was formed from the 2016 merger between IHS and Markit, would boost S&P Global’s data and analytics offerings, making it one of the biggest competitors for Bloomberg’s data business.

The industry has seen a wave of consolidation that in turn has made some regulators anxious. In particular anti-trust agents in Brussels have applied intense scrutiny to this deal and the deal between Refinitive and the London Stock Exchange. We suspect the tie up between IHS and S&P Global could face similar obstacles.

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Airbnb, DoorDash Raise Share Price Targets As US IPO Market Booms

Airbnb, DoorDash Raise Share Price Targets As US IPO Market Booms

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 06:24

As global equity markets are on track for their best monthly gains in more than decade, DoorDash and Airbnb are developing new strategies for launching their initial public offerings. As the American economy craters thanks to COVID-19, more than $140 billion has been raised in 383 IPOs, exceeding the previous full-year record high set during the peak of the dot-com boom in 1999, according to data from Dealogic stretching back to the mid-90s.

And just last week, the S&P 500 notched its 26th record close of the year, while the Dow vaulted above the 30,000 mark for the first time last week.

With such promising market conditions, why shouldn’t these companies try to squeeze a few billion dollars more out of their offerings.

Airbnb is planning to target a range of around $30 billion to $33 billion – using a fully diluted share count—when the home-rental startup kicks off its investor roadshow Tuesday, according to people familiar with the matter. That is greater than $30 billion people close to the offering had expected.

DoorDash, meanwhile, plans to target a range of around $25 billion to $28 billion on a fully diluted basis ahead of a roadshow expected to begin Monday. That is greater than the $25 billion people close to the offering had expected.

Typically, companies and their underwriters seek to set relatively conservative IPO ranges, but as WeWork demonstrated back in 2019, that strategy has been abandoned in favor of an aggressive cash grab. Both Airbnb and DoorDash are expected to list in mid-December, which could give markets a nice year-end boost, or perhaps catalyze a crash.

Both companies have successfully survived the pandemic; Airbnb is celebrated for its innovative moves to try and target users looking for longer-term stays in more suburban or even rural areas. A $33 billion valuation would be nearly 2x the $18 billion valuation kicked around during the worst of the pandemic, when market analysts feared the worst might not yet be over.

CEO Brian Chesky swiftly moved to borrow $2 billion while slashing the marketing spend, laying off a quarter of the company’s staff and putting many non-core projects on hold. Bookings at Airbnb rebounded by summer, though they’re still nowhere close to pre-pandemic levels.

DoorDash’s situation is a little different. While the company saw a surge in orders during the pandemic, it still heavily subsidizes each meal delivered with some of its remaining venture capital. In its prospectus, DoorDash warned that it might never be profitable.

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AirBnB, DoorDash Raise Share Price Targets As US IPO Market Booms

AirBnB, DoorDash Raise Share Price Targets As US IPO Market Booms

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 06:00

Update (0810ET): DoorDash has just confirmed its pricing range, with 33 million shares priced at between $75 and $85 per share, roughly the same range printed by WSJ earlier.

  • DOORDASH PLANS IPO OF 33M SHARES, SEES PRICING $75-$85/SHARE

* * *

DoorDash and Airbnb are seeking to take advantage of one of the hottest IPO markets in recent memory by asking for a premium from investors when they go public in December.

With stocks at record highs despite one of the worst underlying economic backdrops in memory, the two companies, which have benefited from the pandemic in different ways, are upping the valuation they’re seeking from investors in a move that is faintly reminiscent of WeWork’s quest for a higher valuation.

Here’s more from WSJ:

Airbnb is planning to target a range of around $30 billion to $33 billion—using a fully diluted share count—when the home-rental startup kicks off its investor roadshow Tuesday, according to people familiar with the matter. That is greater than $30 billion people close to the offering had expected.

DoorDash, meanwhile, plans to target a range of around $25 billion to $28 billion on a fully diluted basis, excluding the more than roughly $3 billion in cash and proceeds expected after the IPO. That is greater than the $25 billion people close to the offering had expected. DoorDash’s roadshow is expected to begin Monday.

The naked cash grab is a notable departure from how companies typically handle IPOs, where valuations are initially set conservatively, then moved higher as more demand materializes.

Both companies are on track to list in mid-December, which is typically a quiet month for offerings, ending a banner year for IPOs with a bang. There has already been a record amount of money raised in new issues on US exchanges as soaring technology valuations entice more private companies to take advantage of the frothy demand.

So far this year, more than $140 billion has been raised in 383 initial public offerings on U.S. exchanges, far exceeding the previous full-year record high set at the height of the dot-com boom in 1999, according to Dealogic data that dates back to 1995.

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Norway Criminalizes Hate Speech Against Transgender People… In Private Homes Or Conversations

Norway Criminalizes Hate Speech Against Transgender People… In Private Homes Or Conversations

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/30/2020 – 05:00

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in Europe. The move to criminalize speech has led to an insatiable appetite for new limitations and broader prosecutions. Norway is an example of this headlong plunge into speech controls and crimes in the West. This week the legislature adopted (without even a vote) a new criminal law that punishes people for saying anything deemed hate speech toward transgender people in their own home or private conversations.

Minister of Justice and Public Security Monica Maeland  declared victory because speech regulation must be “adapted to the practical situations that arise.” The “practical situation” includes speaking to your own spouse or family.

Birna Rorslett, vice president of the Association of Transgender People in Norway added allowing people to speak out against transgender values or issues “has been an eyesore for trans people for many, many years.”

Such speech controls in Europe have led to a chilling effect on political and religious speech. In their homes, people will often share religious and political views that depart from majoritarian values or beliefs. This law would regulate those conversations and criminalize the expression of prohibited viewpoints.

As we recently discussed, a poll in Germany found only 18 percent of Germans feel free to express their views in public. Notably, over 31 percent of Germans did not even feel free expressing themselves in private among friends. Just 17 percent felt free to express themselves on the Internet and 35 percent said that freedom to speak is confined to the smallest of private circles.

The most chilling fact is that European-style speech controls have become a core value in the Democratic Party. Once a party that fought for free speech, it has become the party demanding Internet censorship and hate speech laws. President-Elect Joe Biden has called for speech controls and recently appointed a transition head for agency media issues that is one of the most pronounced anti-free speech figures in the United States. It is a trend that seems now to be find support in the media, which celebrated the speech of French President Emmanuel Macron before Congress where he called on the United States to follow the model of Europe on hate speech.

For free speech advocates, we need to educate the public on where this road leads in places like Norway. What is at stake is the very right that has long defined us as a nation. Once we cross the Rubicon into speech criminalization and controls, Europe has shown that it is rarely possible to work back to liberties lost.  We are moving into potentially the most anti-free speech period of American history — and possibly the most anti-free speech Administration. Many politicians are already arguing for citizens to give up their free speech rights in forums like the Internet. With the media echoing many of these anti-free speech sentiments, it will require a greater effort of those who value the First Amendment and its core place in our constitutional system.

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