Hardouin http://hardouin.info/ Thu, 29 Sep 2022 06:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 Landlords in financial crisis as rental loans disappear https://hardouin.info/landlords-in-financial-crisis-as-rental-loans-disappear/ Thu, 29 Sep 2022 06:00:00 +0000 https://hardouin.info/landlords-in-financial-crisis-as-rental-loans-disappear/

Lenders have completed a record number of mortgage purchase deals overnight, with homeowners expected to sell as rates rise.

More than 500 trades disappeared from the market Tuesday evening, according to Moneyfacts, an analyst. This is more than double the previous record from April 2020, when the Covid shutdowns began.

Average fixed rates for five-year fixed buy-to-let contracts rose 0.04 percentage points overnight Tuesday, from 5.22% to 5.26%. These prices have recently exploded: at the beginning of the month, the average rate for a five-year fix was 3.25%.

Rising rates could force landlords to sell or raise rents. Half of homeowners depend on mortgages and mortgagees have already seen their profits erode.

Angus Stewart of Property Master, a broker, said there would be “increased pressure” on landlords as higher rates would reduce the profitability of rental purchases.

He added: ‘Homeowners’ costs will rise, so you could find yourself in a situation where someone has had a low interest rate and the cost of their mortgage could easily double. I think the challenge is that many tenants won’t be able to afford a rent increase and landlords won’t want to evict people just for the sake of it.

“We’re going to have some landlords choosing to exit the market because they can’t remortgage the rent they’re currently receiving, so we’ll have continued growth in the portfolio landlord sector as a result.”

Jeni Browne of Mortgages for Business, another broker, said: “Lenders are taking stock as the current market turmoil takes hold. As two- and five-year “swap rates” continue to rise, I expect mortgage rates to continue to rise as well.”

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Doing business in the UK: ending the employment relationship https://hardouin.info/doing-business-in-the-uk-ending-the-employment-relationship/ Wed, 28 Sep 2022 06:09:44 +0000 https://hardouin.info/doing-business-in-the-uk-ending-the-employment-relationship/

Termination of the employment relationship in the UK works differently from terminations in the United States. Except in certain cases of collective redundancies, or as provided for in an employment contract or collective agreement, unlike the situation in the UK, US law does not impose a formal “notice period” for terminating a relationship individual work. Most US employees are employed “at will,” and either party can terminate the employment relationship without notice. This article highlights the differences between ending an employment relationship in the UK and the US.

Use “at will”

Under US federal law, there are no minimum requirements for an employment contract. Also, in most states, the terms do not need to be in writing. An employment relationship in the United States is presumed to be “at will”, that is, terminable by either party, with or without cause or notice.

Whether the employment relationship is “at will” or under a written employment contract, the parties are free to negotiate and set the terms and conditions of their relationship. That is as long as none of the provisions violates any federal, state, or local law, or rules or regulations governing the employment relationship – for example, the wage practices established in the Fair Labor Standards Act.

In the UK, the employment relationship is governed by a mixture of common law and statute. The common law aspect concerns what the parties have agreed upon as a matter of contract, as well as the case law that has developed in the field. Employee statutory rights are extensive, including the right not to be unfairly dismissed (for employees with at least two years of service) and the right not to be discriminated against on prescribed grounds. Many statutory rights derive from EU law. Therefore, UK employment law relies more on written contracts which set out the terms under which a UK employee’s contract can be terminated.

A fair dismissal

In the United States, no declaration is necessary upon termination of employment, except that in certain mass terminations in certain states, notification to local authorities may be required.

In the UK, the written statement of the main terms and conditions of employment must contain notice periods for termination by both employer and employee. Otherwise, he must refer the employee either to the law or to the provisions of any collective agreement directly affecting the conditions of employment reasonably accessible to the employee.

Employees with continuous employment of at least one month, but less than two years, are entitled to at least one week’s notice from the employer. Employees with two or more years of continuous employment are entitled to one week’s notice for each completed year, up to a maximum of 12 weeks’ notice. The parties may agree to longer notice periods.

When dismissing an employee in the UK, the employer must consider both the employee’s contractual rights and their statutory rights. In most cases, honoring contractual rights means giving the correct notice or paying the correct notice amounts. Normally, employers should follow the procedures set out in their policies (usually non-contractual) and/or the recommendations set out in the law. Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures, where applicable, to ensure that any dismissal is not unfair. It should be noted that every employer in the UK is required by law to have a disciplinary policy in place.

The five legal legitimate reasons for dismissing an employee in the UK are:

  • aptitude;
  • conduct;
  • redundancy;
  • illegality; and
  • another material reason (for example, dismissal due to a fundamental breach of trust).

The right not to be unfairly dismissed is the main legal right to be aware of when dismissing; it only applies to employees with at least two years of seniority, except if the dismissal does not require a training period (for example, for the alert). However, workers are also protected against discriminatory dismissal from day one, without the need for qualifying service.

Employees with two years of service can also claim unfair dismissal if they believe they were forced to resign, with or without notice (known as constructive dismissal). There are many reasons that could lead to this, but some examples would be because they are not being paid or because they have an unsafe work environment.

Essentially, to sue for constructive dismissal, an employee would have to demonstrate that their working life has been made so difficult by their employer, often by the acts or failures of their co-workers, that they have no other choice. than resign.

The length of service

As noted above, employees will generally need two years of continuous service to file a wrongful termination claim; however, just to keep you on your toes, there are exceptions.

Day 1 rights – automatic unfair dismissal

“But they don’t have two years of service, so it doesn’t matter.” If a UK employee has not yet accrued two years of service, it is a common misconception that they will not have accrued unfair dismissal protection. However, in certain circumstances, two years of service is not required and a dismissal may be considered automatically unfair. It is therefore extremely important to be aware of what constitutes “automatic wrongful dismissal”.

Although this list is not exhaustive, UK employees could claim automatic unfair dismissal if terminated for any of the following reasons:

  • pregnancy, including all maternity-related reasons;
  • take or seek to take leave for family reasons;
  • remuneration and working hours, including Working Time Regulations, Annual Leave and National Minimum Wage;
  • act as a staff representative;
  • act as a union representative;
  • act as a trustee of an occupational pension scheme;
  • whether or not to join a trade union;
  • engage in protected industrial action;
  • assert a legal right;
  • jury service;
  • make a protected disclosure (i.e. report);
  • take measures at work for health and safety reasons.

In addition to this, it is even more important to know that if an employee is made redundant for any reason relating to a protected characteristic as set out in the UK Equality Act 2010 (e.g. age, disability, race, religion, gender or orientation), then not only would this be automatically unfair dismissal, but it would also constitute a separate discrimination claim. Unlike unfair dismissal claims, if a discrimination claim is successful, the amount of compensation is not subject to any legal cap.

Final Thoughts

It is recommended that the starting point for any UK employer is to ensure that a clear and easy to digest set of basic (and legally required) HR policies are in place. As stated above, this should include a disciplinary policy, which will be a good starting point for any employer needing to end an employment relationship fairly.

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Marine Corps University Launches Resident Wargaming Cloud > United States Marine Corps Flagship > News Display https://hardouin.info/marine-corps-university-launches-resident-wargaming-cloud-united-states-marine-corps-flagship-news-display/ Tue, 27 Sep 2022 17:58:31 +0000 https://hardouin.info/marine-corps-university-launches-resident-wargaming-cloud-united-states-marine-corps-flagship-news-display/

The Marine Corps University held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, September 23, 2022 to announce the launch of the new Wargaming Cloud.

This capability allows for one-on-one and one-on-one wargaming options in a wide range of historical and modern scenarios. This new Wargaming Cloud provides a library of digital wargames that faculty and students can leverage to support professional military education learning objectives. By making this capability available to resident students and faculty in a cloud environment, games can be played from distributed locations, including from personal devices. This creates the opportunity to integrate wargaming to a much greater degree than at any time in the past and will help increase repetition in tactical, operational and strategic decision making.

Wargaming is an active and immersive learning method that challenges participants’ decision-making. The players take into account the objectives, the risks, the sequence of actions and the use of force in order to accomplish their respective missions. Players must determine which factors presented to them are the most important and impactful, weigh those factors, and then make calculated decisions.

“The modern battlefield is complex and dynamic,” said Brig. Gen. Maura Hennigan, president of Marine Corps University. “Investments in capabilities like this ensure that we remain competent decision makers. Realistic training and challenging educational opportunities are essential to our success as fighters and prepare us for the next fight.

Although the capability is new, the concept of wargaming is a tried and true practice in the Marine Corps. Marines in every training and education continuum exercise various elements of wargaming to enhance individual and collective skills. After evaluating the initial cloud implementation, the Marine Corps will consider expanding this capability to non-resident students and Fleet Marine Force personnel for continuing education.

“We conduct war games in a myriad of ways – and have done so throughout our history,” Hennigan said. “The difference with the new Wargaming Cloud is the ability to extend wargaming opportunities beyond the classroom. This provides Marines with access to a library of digital games at their own pace and at their own pace.

]]> CFTC orders Texas Commodity Trading Advisor to pay $200,000 for not registering as swap execution service https://hardouin.info/cftc-orders-texas-commodity-trading-advisor-to-pay-200000-for-not-registering-as-swap-execution-service/ Mon, 26 Sep 2022 20:38:32 +0000 https://hardouin.info/cftc-orders-texas-commodity-trading-advisor-to-pay-200000-for-not-registering-as-swap-execution-service/

washington d.c. – The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an order concurrently filing and settling charges against Asset Risk Management, LLC (ARM), a registered commodity trading adviser headquartered in Houston, Texas, for not registering as a swap execution service (SEF). The order requires ARM to pay a civil penalty of $200,000 and to cease and desist from further violations of the Commodities Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations, as charged.

“Failure to register as required by the CEA undermines the CFTC’s ability to monitor exchange markets and threatens the integrity of the industry,” said Acting Chief Enforcement Officer Gretchen. Lowe. “The Enforcement Division will continue to take action against companies that operate unregistered swap execution facilities, including those that offer non-electronic trading methods.”

Background to the case

The order finds that beginning around September 2017, ARM operated an unregistered SEF that offered customers the ability to execute swaps by accepting bids and offers made by multiple participants on a trading system or platform. trading in various tenors and swap volumes. To communicate with customers and counterparties and execute swaps, ARM used various means of interstate commerce, including telephone, instant messaging and email.

During the relevant period, ARM often recommended that customers execute swap transactions in which the underlying commodity was natural gas, natural gas liquids or crude oil. In a typical swap transaction, ARM received a swap price request from a customer and then submitted the price request (and sometimes other terms) to counterparties with whom the relevant customer had an ISDA agreement. Once potential swap counterparties respond to ARM with a proposed price, ARM, if authorized by the customer, would approve or reject a price based on the customer’s pre-approved threshold, including communicating “done” via chat or by email. ARM would then separately confirm the execution of the exchange with the customer. If ARM did not have the authority to execute the swap on behalf of the customer, ARM typically joined the customer in a phone call with the relevant counterparty, during which ARM’s customer agreed to the terms.

The Law Enforcement Division personnel responsible for this case are Benjamin J. Rankin, Trevor Kokal, David Acevedo, Lenel Hickson, Jr., and Manal M. Sultan.

The Division thanks and acknowledges the assistance of Nancy Markowitz, Jonathan Lave and Matthew Jones of the Market Surveillance Division, and Amanda Olear and Pamela Geraghty of the Market Participants Division.

* * * * * * *

On September 29, 2021, the Market Surveillance Division issued a staff notice regarding certain trading activities that may trigger compliance with the SEF registration requirement in the CEA and CFTC regulations. The notice stated that an entity may need to register as an SEF when:

  1. facilitate the negotiation or execution of swaps through one-to-many or two-way communications;
  2. facilitate the trading or execution of swaps not subject to the transaction execution requirement of Section 2(h)(8) of the CEA;
  3. provision of non-electronic means for the execution of swaps; Where
  4. currently registered with the CFTC in another capacity, such as a commodity trading adviser or an introducing broker, if its establishment falls under the SEF definition. Whether a particular facility is required to register depends on all relevant facts and circumstances of the facility’s operations. The notice is available at CFTC Staff Letter No. 21-19.

The CFTC urges the public to verify a company’s registration with the CFTC before committing funds. If not registered, a client should be wary of providing funds to this company. A company’s registration status can be found using NFA BASIC.

Customers and others may report suspicious activity or information, such as possible violations of commodity trading laws, to the Enforcement Division through a toll-free hotline 866-FON-CFTC ( 866-366-2382), file a tip or complaint online, or contact the CFTC’s Whistleblower Bureau. Whistleblowers are eligible to receive between 10 and 30 percent of collected monetary penalties paid by the CFTC’s Client Protection Fund funded by monetary penalties paid to the CFTC by CEA violators.

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Cardinal Health: An aristocrat on his way to a makeover (NYSE:CAH) https://hardouin.info/cardinal-health-an-aristocrat-on-his-way-to-a-makeover-nysecah/ Mon, 26 Sep 2022 12:00:00 +0000 https://hardouin.info/cardinal-health-an-aristocrat-on-his-way-to-a-makeover-nysecah/

Michail_Petrov-96/iStock via Getty Images

This is my second article focused on Cardinal Health (NYSE: CAH) after “Cardinal Health: Healthcare Dividend Aristocrat – Second Look” (“Second Look”). Since then, Cardinal Health has outperformed the S&P 500 by about 200 basis points. In this article, I assess its likelihood of continuing to outperform.

Cardinal Health replaces 5-year-old CEO with former CFO

Cardinal Health replaces CEO Mike Kaufmann, a Cardinal Health lifer. Kaufmann joined the company in 1990. In 2018, he rose from CFO to CEO. Kaufmann’s replacement, Jason Hollar, joined Cardinal as CFO in 2020 and followed the well-worn path from CFO to CEO on 09/01/2022.

In its 11/8/2022 statement announcing the change, Cardinal Health noted that Hollar had:

…has served as Cardinal Health’s Chief Financial Officer since May 2020, leading financial activities across the company, including financial strategy, capital deployment, treasury, tax, investor relations, management risk management, accounting and reporting. During his tenure, he helped Cardinal Health prioritize investments in growth businesses, strengthen the balance sheet and return capital to shareholders.

Apparently, this decision was the result of militant pressure that had developed around the company. Just days after taking over as CEO, on 09/05/2022, Cardinal Health reached a high-profile deal with activist investor Elliott Investment Management LP

The deal, reported in a 05/09/2022 8-K, gives Elliot significant influence in the company as described with four appointed independent directors on a 13-person board. The establishment of :

…a Business Review Advisory Committee (the “Business Review Committee”) to deal with matters contemplated by the Cooperation Agreement and the Business Review Committee Charter. The committee is comprised of three members: Jason M. Hollar, Chairman of the Business Review Committee and Chief Executive Officer of the company, the designated investor and Akhil Johri. The Business Review Committee, with the assistance of the Company’s legal and financial advisors, will make recommendations to the full Board.

Cardinal operates with a bifurcated business model

Pharmaceutical

Cardinal Health reports results based on a fiscal year ending 6/30. Accordingly, its latest 10-K is a Q4 2022 report. In Second Look, I explain that Cardinal Health divides its business into two segments, pharmaceutical and medical.

Its resilience is based on its pharmaceutical activity, which is a reliable source of growth. Its medical sector has been problematic as discussed below.

Its fourth quarter 2022 results presentation describes the results of its pharmaceutical segment for fiscal 2022 as follows:

Cardinal Health Pharmaceuticals Fiscal 2022 Results

researchalpha.com

Its outsized $165 billion in revenue, with a low single-digit profit margin, is typical of a wholesale distributor model. The wholesale market accounts for approximately 92% of prescription drugs in the United States. AmerisourceBergen (ABC), McKesson Corporation (MCK) and Cardinal form an oligopoly controlling >90% of this vast market. Cardinal is the smallest of the big three drug wholesalers in the United States.

Although it is the smallest of the big three wholesalers by volume, it holds its own in terms of its stock performance over a one-year period, but falls behind on a 5-year review. It was that five-year metric, plus Cardinal’s struggling medical segment, that likely caught Elliot’s eye.

Medical

Cardinal’s second segment is its medical sector. As shown in its earnings slide from its Q4 2022 results presentation below, fiscal year 2022 was quite negative:

Cardinal Health Medical Sector Results for Fiscal 2022

researchalpha.com

While its pharmaceutical business posted the modest level of profit associated with a wholesale business model, Cardinal’s medical segment posted a loss. Such a situation for a mature company reflects a failing business model. Its number one earning engine was reported as its Cordis divestiture.

Cordis was a manufacturer and supplier of cardiology and endovascular devices that Cardinal acquired from Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) in 03/2015 in a deal valued at approximately $2 billion. The deal closed towards the end of the 2015 calendar. Cardinal announced its closing in 10/2015 with enthusiastic proclamations as to how it would combine with Cardinal’s other offerings:

…to offer quality daily use products; reliable and traceable inventory and logistics; and in-depth analytics capabilities that will result in a comprehensive offering for the entire care episode. This multidimensional set of solutions will become increasingly important with the emergence of value-based payment models.

Such was the dream. Things didn’t turn out that way. The reality of corporate mergers turned out to be totally different. Initially, Cardinal faced the situation with courage, such as CEO Barrett discussing Cordis during his Q1 2018 earnings call:

We also had to work on this integration with a third party, which is the partner who sold us the product line. It therefore requires a lot of interfaces, moving parts and great disciplines. And I think we’ve, over the year, refined that more and more.

By the third quarter of fiscal 2018, Cordis’ problems were no longer tolerable. CEO Kaufmann opened the call as follows:

Let me start by saying that we recognize that today’s results did not meet your expectations or ours. The main variable driving these results was a disappointing and unanticipated performance in our Cordis business, which masked an otherwise better than expected quarter.

In 50 subsequent mentions, Cordis’ situation was laid bare with all its warts, including:

  1. tax issues
  2. coordinating inventory with product demand
  3. international operations management

When asked how long it would take Cardinal to unplug Cordis, Kaufmann was unable to provide a timeline. As events unfolded, it took some time to figure out; Cardinal was eventually able to strike a deal to sell it to a private equity firm for around $1 billion in 03/2021; the deal was completed a few months later in 08/2021.

As it stands with its rearview mirror shut down, Cardinal Health is far from free. Now it has a new litany of horrors besetting its medical segment, as described below during its fourth quarter 2022 earnings call (the “Call”), including:

  1. Isale of PPE,
  2. decrease in laboratory test volumes,
  3. inflation,
  4. global supply chain constraints.

Cardinal’s guidance for fiscal year 2023 reflects continued positive results for the pharmaceutical sector and challenges for the medical sector.

Orientation of the pharmaceutical segment

Seeking Alpha’s quantitative rating system gives Cardinal Health a rare “A+ for growth as of this writing on 9/25/2022. This is a leap from its “F” in beginning of 2022/08. Pharma revenue growth, as shown in his presentation outlook slide from 2022/11/08 below, is likely the explanation:

Cardinal Health Pharmaceuticals Segment Outlook for 2022

researchalpha.com

Cardinal’s pharmaceutical segment is the gift that keeps on giving. The market dynamics referenced in its generic programs are described in the Call. It refers to tailwinds from improving volumes partially offset by headwinds from technological improvements and inflationary supply chain costs.

In the appeal, it describes its productive specialty pharmaceuticals as:

… oncology and emerging therapeutic areas driven by our offerings, including …[Navista] TS [tech solutions]. We announced a complementary acquisition of GPO Bank care [group purchasing organization] and investment in their core service organization. These will further strengthen the Rheumatology GPO, the cornerstone of Specialty Solutions, which provides innovative office management solutions and robust access to specialty medications to more than 1,300 rheumatology providers nationwide.

Its reduced opioid litigation costs are good news. Second Look describes the outline of this hydra-headed dispute. There is reason to hope that a national settlement to which Cardinal is a party will see a continued reduction in the risks and legal costs for this. Unfortunately, as described in Cardinal’s 10-K, this was not a settlement with all of Cardinal’s opioid claim plaintiffs.

Orientation of the medical segment

Cardinal’s pharmaceuticals segment is credited with driving significant revenue growth with modest growth in segment earnings. As is becoming an unfortunate rule for the medical segment, its outlook is not so rosy according to Cardinal’s medical outlook slide below:

Cardinal Health Medical Sector Outlook Slideshow

researchalpha.com

When we strip out the various headwinds and tailwinds and then look at the overall quarterly revenue for the $3.7 billion segment, it appears that its problems are endemic. By checking the Call, we remember that the revenues are impacted by the sale of Cordis. For some reason not mentioned on this slide.

Before you give up and say medical smallpox, consider that Cardinal is aiming for:

…at least $650 million in medical sector profits by FY25, thanks to the medical improvement plan we are presenting today.

He has a plan which he outlines on slide 15 (providing a profit deck to show detailed plan expectations) and slide 16 below:

Cardinal Health Medical Improvement Plan

researchalpha.com

Conclusion

Cardinal Health is a good conservative choice for dividend growth investors with a significant spoiler in its medical segment. Its PE of ~12.5 is in line with AmerisourceBergen’s ~12.5 and McKesson’s ~14. In today’s uncertain market, I call it a catch, but I’ll be watching to see how it resolves its struggles in the medical sector.

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Stock traders are buying a large number of put options on US Steel (NYSE:X) – https://hardouin.info/stock-traders-are-buying-a-large-number-of-put-options-on-us-steel-nysex/ Sun, 25 Sep 2022 00:57:29 +0000 https://hardouin.info/stock-traders-are-buying-a-large-number-of-put-options-on-us-steel-nysex/

On Friday, an unusually high volume of options trading activity involving US Steel Co. was spotted in the market (NYSE:X). Stock traders bought put options for the company a total of 95,913 times, which drew attention to the company. Compared to the average number of puts, which was 48,284, this represents an increase of about 99%.

United States Steel (NYSE:X) released the company’s quarterly earnings information to the public on Thursday, July 28. The basic materials company reported quarterly earnings of $3.86 per share, up $0.01 from the average forecast of $3.85 per share. to share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was also $3.86 billion. However, the actual revenue the company reported for the quarter was $6.29 billion, significantly higher than the $5.82 billion that analysts had expected for the period. United States Steel had a return on equity of 49.21% and the company’s net margin was 21.59%. These two numbers are percentages. The company’s quarterly revenue increased by 25.2% compared to the results obtained during the same quarter last year. Earnings per share totaled $3.37 for the company in the same quarter a year earlier compared to the current year. This year, industry experts expect United States Steel to earn revenue equivalent to $9.87 per share.

On Thursday, July 28, United States Steel announced that its Board of Directors had approved a stock repurchase program with a total value of $500,000,000.00 for outstanding shares. This program aims to reduce the number of shares currently held by shareholders. Under the terms of this authorization, Basic Materials Company may repurchase up to 8.8% of the shares it currently has available for purchase on the open market. When a company says it wants to buy back its shares, it’s often a sign that management thinks the stock’s price is lower than its value.
On Friday, trading on the NYSE X resulted in a loss of $1.12, taking the price to $18.56. Only 381,835 shares were traded, a significant drop from the daily average of 12,951,290 shares. The company’s price/earnings ratio, which is 1.08, and its beta value, which is 2.15, are relatively low. The company currently has a market capitalization of $4.40 billion. United States Steel currently has a 52 week low at $16.41 and a 52 week high at $39.25. There is a leverage ratio of 0.38, a quick ratio at a current ratio of 1.32, and a current ratio at a quick ratio of 1.98. All these ratios are relative to each other. The company’s price is currently trading at a moving average of $22.43 over the past 50 days, while the moving average over the past 200 days is $25.92.
Additionally, the company revealed that it would pay a quarterly dividend, which was paid on September 8. The dividend payment of $0.05 was made on August 8 to shareholders whose information was already on file. This results in a dividend payout of $0.20 per year, corresponding to a dividend yield of 1.08% over a full year. The date representing the ex-dividend date was last Friday, August 5; it was also the date of payment of the dividend. The dividend payout ratio for United States Steel currently stands at 1.17%.

Recently, several research analysts have produced reports on the stock based on their findings and related to the topic. In a research note published on August 1, Morgan Stanley raised its target price on United States Steel from $20.00 to $21.50. Additionally, they gave the company an “equal weight” rating. Credit Suisse Group cut its price target on United States Steel shares from $44.00 to $37.00 in a research note released Friday, September 16. Despite this price drop, the “outperformance” rating of Credit Suisse Group stock has not been changed. In a Goldman Sachs Group research report distributed on May 31, 2018, a lower price target was predicted for United States Steel. The new price target for the company was set at $22.00 and the company’s rating was changed to “sell”. As noted in a research note published Tuesday, September 13, Citigroup has raised its price target for United States Steel to $27.00. Shares of United States Steel (NYSE:X) have been assigned a price target of $23.00 per share by research firm UBS Group. The company’s findings report was released on Monday, June 20. This was the last point that was discussed during the meeting. Two of the equity research analysts recommend buying the stock, three recommend keeping the position you currently hold, and three recommend selling the stock. Figures provided by Bloomberg indicate that the company’s current rating is “Hold” and the average price target has been set at $25.61.

In recent months, several institutional investors and hedge funds have either increased the proportion of their investments in the company or decreased the proportion of their investments in the company. Bank of Montreal increased the proportion of its holdings invested in United States Steel by 118.7% during the fourth quarter. Bank of Montreal can now hold a total of 166,107 shares in the capital of the basic materials business, which are currently valued at $3,862,000 following the purchase of an additional 90,168 shares during the period in question. . In the fourth quarter, Geode Capital Management LLC increased the number of United States Steel shares it held by 10.6%, bringing its total ownership percentage to 100%. Shares of the basic materials company are now wholly owned by the 4,441,360 shares of Geode Capital Management LLC, thanks to the acquisition of 424,496 additional shares during the last quarter. The total value of shares held by Geode Capital Management LLC at the most recent market close was $106,304,000. During the last quarter of 2018, the investment portfolio managed by Blair William & Co., IL increased the percentage of United States Steel stocks it held by 7.2%. Blair William & Co. IL now owns an additional 3,706 shares of the company after purchasing 54,916 shares last quarter for a total payment of $1,308,000. The company deals with basic materials. Quinn Opportunity Partners LLC made a new investment of $10,349,000 in United States Steel during the last three months of 2018. Last but not least, during the fourth quarter, Journey Strategic Wealth LLC purchased an additional position in United States Steel which was valued at approximately $260,000. Institutional investors hold 79.08% of the company’s shares, making them the majority shareholder.

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Highlights from the Trump Rally in North Carolina https://hardouin.info/highlights-from-the-trump-rally-in-north-carolina/ Sat, 24 Sep 2022 15:56:02 +0000 https://hardouin.info/highlights-from-the-trump-rally-in-north-carolina/

Former President Donald Trump rallied in North Carolina on September 23, seeking to build support for the candidates he backed while denouncing the “radical left” Democratic policies he said were driving America to ruin.

Trump spoke for about 90 minutes at the Wilmington rally, urging North Carolinians to vote Republican midterm to avoid what he described as the devastation of the country under Democratic rule.

“This election is a referendum on Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, the radical left Democratic Congress that is destroying our country, that has really brought our country to the brink of ruin,” Trump said, drawing cheers from the cheering crowd.

“If you want America’s decline and fall, then you should vote for the radical, crazed left Democrats,” Trump said, adding that putting Republicans back in charge would “save the American dream” and stop “the destruction.” of our country”. ”

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina on Sept. 23, 2022. (Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

The former president touched on various themes in his speech, including the state of the economy, illegal immigration and the corruption of Washington’s elites.

On inflation, Trump sought to contrast the price stability that was a hallmark of his tenure with the surge in prices under President Joe Biden.

“We had the greatest success in the history of any country,” Trump said. “Since I left office, the price of electricity has gone up 19%, petrol 82%, fuel 91%,” he added, pointing out some of the most astonishing figures. which illustrate the crisis in the cost of living. US households amid high inflation for decades.

“The 30-year mortgage rate has more than doubled and real wages have fallen 17 months in a row, otherwise we’re doing pretty well,” Trump added, drawing laughter from the audience.

Epoch Times Photo
People cheer before a Save America rally at the Aero Center Wilmington in Wilmington, North Carolina on Sept. 23, 2022. (Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

Trump also pointed to a record drop in US household wealth in the second quarter and sharp declines in stock markets that hammered Americans’ retirement accounts.

Regarding border security, the former president suggested that the number of illegal immigrants was much higher than official figures indicated.

“Over 5 million illegal aliens have crossed our borders and the number, I think, is way more than that,” Trump said, blaming what he described as lax border policies by Democrats.

Recently, Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said there has been a significant increase in illegal border crossings since Biden took office and credited the president’s policies with driving the increase.

At the rally, Trump slammed North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, for vetoing a public safety bill earlier this summer that would have required sheriffs to determine immigration status. inmates behind bars.

“North Carolina should be a sanctuary for law-abiding Americans, not criminal aliens,” Trump said.

Trump also took aim at “Washington’s corrupt political class”, who he said “hate us because we beat their rigged system” and “toppled their entrenched power structure”.

Epoch Times Photo
Former President Donald Trump arrives at a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina on Sept. 23, 2022. (Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

Inciting the machinations of “globalists”, Trump pointed to “unfair” trade deals that were renegotiated under his watch on terms more favorable to the United States.

“We stood up to their open-border madness, we confronted their betrayal of Communist China, and we rejected their ridiculous mandates,” Trump said, adding that his administration’s policies were about “America First.” , until the end”.

Trump predicted a red wave in the coming semesters.

“This November, the American people are going to show this repugnant political class exactly how we feel about their lies, witch hunts and corruption by voting in overwhelming numbers to kick them out,” Trump said.

“We are on a mission to save the America we love and restore the greatness of the republic,” Trump said. “We are not going to fail.”

Tom Ozimek

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Tom Ozimek has extensive experience in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he’s ever heard comes from Roy Peter Clark: “Hit your target” and “Save the best for last.”

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Weekend briefing; Storm in global markets intensifies, few spared https://hardouin.info/weekend-briefing-storm-in-global-markets-intensifies-few-spared/ Fri, 23 Sep 2022 20:56:00 +0000 https://hardouin.info/weekend-briefing-storm-in-global-markets-intensifies-few-spared/

Here’s our roundup of the major overnight economic events affecting New Zealand, along with financial market news.extreme fear‘ as they face mounting losses on stocks and bonds. The US dollar pushes even higher and ferociously spreads financial problems to emerging economies. The NZD plunged.

UK tax cuts have collapses the British currency.

Commodity prices are falling.

But surprisingly, through all this turmoil which is compounding the pain of Ukraine’s invasion, all EU countries and leaders remain united in confronting Russian threats and challenges – with the almost sole exception of Hungary. . It seems they are united to bear the pain that will come with winter. Putin had counted on a fracture, but that does not happen. Given the EU’s penchant for disagreements and slights, this is an impressive show of solidarity. But all this could also be threatened by the rise of fascist parties in Italy, where elections are taking place this weekend.

First, there were a few early PMIs overnight. the american reported private sector production fell at a slower pace as new orders returned to growth in September. Their manufacturing sector grew in September, but not their services sector, although the contraction was very minor.

Canada reported retail sales activity for July overnight and it was not positive with both monthly declines (their first in seven months) and year-over-year retreats.

In China, home loan interest rates have fallen to record lows in at least 80 major Chinese cities as financial regulators scramble to keep the property market afloat. In September, more than 80% of the 103 key cities interrogates show that first home lending rates fell to 4.1%, while second home lending rates fell to 4.9%.

Singapore Annual inflation has increased to 7.5% in August, which was higher than the 7.2% expected by analysts, and higher than the 7.0% they had in July. Generally, ASEAN inflation is something to watch, and the rising US dollar won’t help. Malaysian inflation is on the rise and stands at 4.7%. Indonesia is also at 4.7%. Thailand is at 7.9%.

Taiwan’s inflation rate is low (like China’s) and currently stands at 2.8%. But their retail sales activity increased by +12% compared to a year ago, and their industrial production reached record levels.

The first Eurozone PMI for September reported a steeper decline as price pressures intensified. Their factory and service sectors are contracting this month, but the quantum is quite low at this point. The negative impacts are strongest in Germany. French activity is positive and contributes to maintaining the overall results.

Early Australian PMI indices show that their manufacturing sector is growing at a good pace in September and faster than in August. But their service sector is not the image of this, more or less trampling.

But much of Australia is exposed to mining and commodity prices are falling. Today, the rating company Moody’s has changed his outlook for the global metals and mining industry from stable to negative as a global economic slowdown continues to dampen demand.

The UST 10-year yield starts today at 3.70% and is unchanged from the same time yesterday, but at one point it hit 3.81%. But even at current levels, it’s still at its highest since 2010. A week ago it was at 3.46%, so it’s up +24bps since then. The UST 2-10 yield curve is more inverted at -41 bps. But their 1-5 curve is much less inverted at -17 bps. And their 30-day-10-year curve flattened to +105 basis points. Australia’s 10-year bond is higher, up +6 basis points to 3.91%. The ten-year Chinese government bond is up +2 basis points to 2.71%. And the New Zealand 10-year government will start today at 4.16%, up +16 basis points from the same time yesterday.

At the close of yesterday’s session, local swap rates climbed higher again.

In Friday’s trading on Wall Street, the S&P500 fell another -2.0% as the revaluation of stocks continues. This means that it is down -4.4% over the week and -23% since the peak at the start of the year. The drop of -1120 pts since this peak is its biggest drop in history, surpassing the drop of -1077 pt at the start of the pandemic and the drop of -716 pt in the GFC. European overnight markets all closed another -2%. London fell -3.6% over the week, Frankfurt fell -3.2% over the week and Paris fell -4.4%. Yesterday, Tokyo ended down -0.6% to be down -2.6% for the week, Hong Kong closed down -1.2% and down -4.1% for the week. week, and Shanghai closed down -0.7% for a weekly decline of -1.1%. The ASX200 was down -1.9% on Friday for a weekly retreat of -3.9%. The NZX50 was not spared, ending down -0.7% on the day to fall almost -1.4% on the week. The NZX50 was the least worst of all stock markets, a dubious distinction for investors.

The price of gold will open today at US$1642/oz. This is down -30 USD from the same time yesterday.

And oil prices start today very sharply lower -4.50$ from yesterday to just under 79$/bbl in the United States, while the international price of Brent is now just in below US$84.50/bbl. These are eight-month lows.

The Kiwi Dollar will open today just at 57.4 USc and more than -1 lower than yesterday at this time. It’s its lowest since briefly in the early days of the first pandemic lockdown, and before that 13 years ago. Against the Australian dollar, we are slightly firmer at just AUc 88.1 and still close to its seven-year low. Against the euro, we are changing little at 59.3 euro cents. Against the yuan, we fell to ¥4.1 and its lowest since 2015 (barring the pandemic). All of this means that our TWI-5 starts today at 67.9, and drops -50 basis points in one day and also to seven (also excluding the pandemic). ).

Bitcoin price is now at US$18,753 and is down -1.7% from the same time yesterday. It has been below US$20,000 for six consecutive days. A week ago it was at US$19,606. Volatility over the past 24 hours has been subdued at just +/- 2.6%.

The easiest place to keep up to date with the risks of events today is to follow our economic calendar here.”

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Maryland AG Frosh settles with Kushner-owned company over housing terms https://hardouin.info/maryland-ag-frosh-settles-with-kushner-owned-company-over-housing-terms/ Fri, 23 Sep 2022 17:33:53 +0000 https://hardouin.info/maryland-ag-frosh-settles-with-kushner-owned-company-over-housing-terms/

A property management company owned by the family of former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has agreed to pay a $3,250,000 civil fine and restitution to settle a 2019 lawsuit filed by the attorney general of Maryland, Brian E. Frosh (D), who alleged the company was charging tenants illegal fees and housing them in apartments with leaky roofs, excessive mold, rodent infestations and other problems.

The suit alleged that Westminster Management, a subsidiary of Kushner Companies, engaged in “unfair or deceptive business practices” in 17 residential communities located in Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Prince George’s County.

“The tenants weren’t rich people,” Frosh said at a Friday news conference. “Many have struggled to pay the rent, to keep food on the table, to care for their children, to keep everyone healthy, and Westminster has used its vastly superior economic power to take advantage of that.”

While Westminster continues to deny the allegations, the settlement will potentially pay compensation to tens of thousands of current and former tenants.

“Westminster is pleased to have resolved this litigation without admission of liability or wrongdoing,” Kushner Companies chief operating officer Peter Febo said Friday. “We look forward to resolving this issue so that we can focus on our ever-expanding real estate portfolio.”

Frosh said Friday that the company often tricks potential tenants by showing them freshly painted model apartments with new appliances. “But when tenants packed up all their stuff and showed up on moving day, they received keys to run-down units, moldy units, leaking plumbing, pest infestations and faulty HVAC units,” said he declared. .

“Once inside, they couldn’t afford to get out,” Frosh said. “Westminster took advantage of it.”

Frosh said the scale of the violations and the number of tenants affected in the case are the most serious his office has ever seen. At Friday’s press conference, he held up large photos of units whose living conditions he said were “often simply miserable”.

Tiffany Dixon, a mother who lived in a Westminster property with her family for several years, described problems with leaks, mold and rodents. Her youngest son was diagnosed with allergic asthma which she attributed to mold.

Dixon said one night in 2013, after having trouble with her stove, she grabbed a flashlight to take a closer look at some “fluff” inside the oven. “I realized these stuffed animals were dead mice that had been melted down in our oven that I had fed our family with for four years,” she said.

“I expected to receive services that we paid for, so that we could, at the very least, provide our children with a safe and healthy home,” Dixon said. “And as a mum, I feel like with Westminster I failed.”

Several months before the lawsuit was filed, when Trump characterized late Democratic Representative Elijah E. Cummings’ Baltimore-based congressional district as a ‘rodent-infested mess’, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. (D) called the insults ironic, pointing to the allegations neglect and disrepair of Kushner’s properties.

The Kushner family has come under intense scrutiny and fierce criticism in parts of Maryland, where they manage a large portfolio of apartment complexes. In 2017, Baltimore County officials revealed that Kushner Company properties had been cited for more than 200 code violations in a calendar year.

Kushner resigned as chief executive of Kushner Companies in 2017 when he became Trump’s senior White House adviser.

The settlement requires Westminster to return what the suit said were excessive filing fees, small credit balances the company improperly withheld and unpaid security deposit interest. It establishes a procedure under which current and former tenants can make claims to a special master, who can reimburse rent to those who have experienced serious maintenance issues like leaks or bedbug infestations. .

The agreement says nothing in it “to be construed as an admission or concession that [Westminster] violated any law, rule or regulation”.

Asked about it at the press conference, Frosh smiled. “You don’t pay $3,250,000 if you’re not at fault, the administrative judge found they were at fault,” he said. “So they may not have officially signed a piece of paper saying, ‘We did it,’ but they did.”

]]> Here’s how ‘digital nations’ form and why they matter https://hardouin.info/heres-how-digital-nations-form-and-why-they-matter/ Fri, 23 Sep 2022 11:56:09 +0000 https://hardouin.info/heres-how-digital-nations-form-and-why-they-matter/

Many would agree that the concept of what defines a nation is changing. Traditionally, a nation was understood as a significant collection of individuals who share ancestral roots, background, heritage or dialect and live in the same physical space.

In addition to this, a nation is usually associated with a state that maintains a monopoly on the “legitimate use of violence” both externally and internally to ensure the survival of the nation-state. Therefore, the state plays a crucial role in traditional nations by directly or indirectly enforcing the rule of law and property rights of citizens.

However, thanks to the rise of new technologies such as the metaverse, NFTs, cryptocurrencies and blockchain, individuals around the world have realized that living in a purely digital environment may no longer be a concept that resides only in the realm of science fiction. .

How is the concept of nation evolving?

It is essential to remember that a nation, which depends on many social structures, including but not limited to currencies, religious beliefs and even large corporations, is all based on the idea of ​​a story. or a fictional story. Societies would therefore be formed on the basis of a shared set of ideas, norms, beliefs and perceptions of reality.

Nations, despite their lack of materiality, are therefore powerful coordination tools that allow collaboration between individuals on a large scale, even if these people do not necessarily know each other but nevertheless have an innate desire to work for the common good of all. the members of it. particular company. In fact, one could argue that it is this very concept that separates us from animals.

Also, since there are no tangible products in the metaverses, everything is virtual. However, this raises the question of how individuals can ensure that something digital has a perpetual presence when it only remains in a centralized database that can be erased with a single click. Moreover, how then can property rights be enforced over non-permanent objects without any of the safeguards provided by the nation-state?

The youse of the ‘NFT standard’

The NFT standard allows the existence of digital objects in the “Open Metaverses”. This also distinguishes these types of metaverses from “closed metaverses”, which are owned by a central society. That said, the NFT standard in Open Metaverses not only resolves the issue of object permanence, as provided by the fundamental blockchain infrastructure, but it also determines and grants property rights.

So whereas in physical nation-states property rights over assets are typically enforced through monopolies or through the use of “legitimate” violence, in an open metaverse they are enforced through smart contracts executed by a virtual machine. Finally, the NFT standard defines the domain of Open Metaverses. Similar to how web domains work, owning digital lands in the metaverse allows publishing rights to anchor content in those digital locations.

Can anyone really have a “digital identity”?

The digital identity in the metaverse is characterized by wallet addresses, so each natural person would be allowed to have many addresses according to their respective needs and desires. Accessing a metaverse would also typically require users to have a strong internet connection and compatible devices such as VR and AR gear.

In general, a citizen of an “Open Metaverse” digital nation is someone who holds a token stake in such a platform. Tokenized stakes can be fungible tokens that become the engine of a digital nation’s economy or non-fungible tokens that symbolize publishing rights to its virtual territory. This type of participation further grants governance rights in digital nations, where Decentralized Autonomous Bodies (DAOs), which are the coordination tools of the Open Metaverses, would also play an important role. These DAOs would therefore allow token stakeholders to have a say in how the digital nation evolves over time, as they are community driven.

Moreover, since they are decentralized, DAOs can also be formed in different ways, where they can be a direct democracy or an oligopoly. It would really depend on how they are structured and what kind of governance voting infrastructure is in place. In any case, the best platforms like the MORE Metaverse is actively working to drive widespread adoption of metaverses and dramatically improve user experience in these digital worlds. Whether it’s forming a digital nation or even doing something simple like attending a concert or having a virtual meeting, the metaverse is indeed here to stay.

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