Ethereum Co-Founder Anthony Di Iorio Says Safety Concern Has Him Quitting Crypto

Anthony Di Iorio, a co-founder of the Ethereum network, says he’s done with the cryptocurrency world, partially because of personal safety concerns.

Di Iorio, 48, has had a security team since 2017, with someone traveling with or meeting him wherever he goes. In coming weeks, he plans to sell Decentral Inc., and refocus on philanthropy and other ventures not related to crypto. The Canadian expects to sever ties in time with other startups he is involved with, and doesn’t plan on funding any more blockchain projects.

“It’s got a risk profile that I am not too enthused about,” said Di Iorio, who declined to disclose his cryptocurrency holdings or net worth. “I don’t feel necessarily safe in this space. If I was focused on larger problems, I think I’d be safer.”

Back in 2013, Di Iorio co-founded Ethereum, which has become the home of many of the hottest crypto projects, particularly in decentralized finance — which lets people borrow, lend and trade with each other without intermediaries like banks. Ether, the native token of the network, has a market value of about $225 billion.

He made a splash in 2018 when buying the largest and one of the most expensive condos in Canada, paying for it partly with digital money. Di Iorio purchased the three-story penthouse for C$28 million ($22 million) at the St. Regis Residences Toronto, the former Trump International Hotel & Tower in the downtown business district.

In recent years, Di Iorio jumped into venture-capital investing and startup advising. He was also for a time chief digital officer of the Toronto Stock Exchange. In February 2018, Forbes estimated his net worth was as high as $1 billion. Ether’s price has more than doubled since then.

Decentral is a Toronto-based innovation hub and software development company focused on decentralized technologies, and the maker of Jaxx, a digital asset wallet that garnered about 1 million customers this year.

Di Iorio said he has talked with a couple of potential investors, and believes the startup will be valued at “hundreds of millions.” He expects to sell the company for fiat, or equity in another company — not crypto.

“I want to diversify to not being a crypto guy, but being a guy tackling complex problems,” Di Iorio said. He is involved in Project Arrow, run by a high-school friend that’s building a zero-emission vehicle. He is also consulting a senator from Paraguay.

“I will incorporate crypto when needed, but a lot of times, it’s not,” he said. “It’s really a small percentage of what the world needs.”

Source: Ethereum Co-Founder Anthony Di Iorio Says Safety Concern Has Him Quitting Crypto – Bloomberg

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Critics:

Anthony Di Iorio is a Canadian entrepreneur primarily known as a co-founder of Ethereum and an early investor in Bitcoin. Di Iorio is the founder and CEO of the blockchain company Decentral, and the associated Jaxx wallet. He also served as the first chief digital officer of the Toronto Stock Exchange. In February 2018, Forbes estimated his net worth at $750 million–$1 billion.

Di Iorio grew up with two older siblings in north Toronto, Ontario. He graduated with a degree in marketing from Ryerson University. Di Iorio began developing websites during the early 1990s, and eventually entered the rental housing market as an investor and landlord in Toronto, Ontario. In 2012 he sold his rental properties in order to invest in Bitcoin, and began to organize companies in the field of cryptocurrency.

He first learned about bitcoin from a podcast called Free Talk Live in 2012. According to The Globe and Mail, he “had an anti-authoritarian streak” and  questioned “the fundamentals of mainstream economics.” Di Iorio bought his first bitcoin the same day for $9.73. He created the Toronto Bitcoin Meetup Group which held its first meeting at a pub in the same year.

It was at this first meeting where he met Vitalik Buterin who went on to be the founder of Bitcoin Magazine and one of the original creators of Ethereum. As the Meetups grew from about eight attendees to hundreds, Di Iorio formed the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada.

References:

Why Wall Street Is Afraid of Government-Backed Digital Dollar

Imagine Imagine logging on to your own account with the U.S. Federal Reserve. With your laptop or phone, you could zap cash anywhere instantly. There’d be no middlemen, no fees, no waiting for deposits or payments to clear.

That vision sums up the appeal of the digital dollar, the dream of futurists and the bane of bankers. It’s not the Bitcoin bros and other cryptocurrency fans pushing the disruptive idea but America’s financial and political elite. Fed Chair Jerome Powell promises fresh research and a set of policy questions for Congress to ponder this summer. J. Christopher Giancarlo, a former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is rallying support through the nonprofit Digital Dollar Project, a partnership with consulting giant Accenture Plc. To perpetuate American values such as free enterprise and the rule of law, “we should modernize the dollar,” he recently told a U.S. Senate banking subcommittee.

For now the dollar remains the premier global reserve currency and preferred legal tender for international trade and financial transactions. But a new flavor of cryptocurrency could pose a threat to that dominance, which is part of the reason the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has been working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on developing prototypes for a digital-dollar platform.

Other governments, notably China’s, are ahead in digitizing their currencies. In these nations, regulators worry that the possibilities for fraud are multiplying as more individuals embrace cryptocurrency. Steven Mnuchin, former President Donald Trump’s treasury secretary, said he saw no immediate need for a digital dollar. His successor, Janet Yellen, has expressed interest in studying it. Support for a virtual greenback cuts across party lines in Congress, which will have a say on whether it becomes reality.

At a hearing in June, Senators Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, and John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, signaled openness to the idea. Warren and other Democrats stressed the potential of the digital dollar to offer free services to low-income families who now pay high banking fees or are shut out of the system altogether.

Kennedy and fellow Republicans see a financial equivalent of the space race that pitted the U.S. against the Soviet Union—a battle for prestige, power, and first-mover advantage. This time the adversary is China, which announced this month that more than 10 million citizens are now eligible to participate in ongoing trials.

The strongest opposition to a virtual dollar will come from U.S. banks. They rely on $17 trillion in deposits to fund much of their core business, profiting from the difference between what they pay in interest to account holders and what they charge for loans. Banks also earn billions of dollars annually from overdraft, ATM, and account maintenance fees. By creating a digital currency, the Federal Reserve would in effect be competing with banks for customers.

In a recent blog post, Greg Baer, president of the Bank Policy Institute, which represents the industry, warned that homebuyers, businesses, and other customers would find it harder and more expensive to borrow money if the Fed were to infringe on the private sector’s historical central role in finance. “The Federal Reserve would gain extraordinary power,” wrote Baer, a former assistant treasury secretary in the Clinton administration.

Some economists warn that a digital dollar could destabilize the banking system. The federal government offers bank depositors $250,0000 in insurance, a program that’s successfully prevented bank runs since the Great Depression. But in a 2008-style financial panic, depositors might with a single click pull all their savings out of banks and convert them into direct obligations of the U.S. government.

“In a crisis, this may actually make matters worse,” says Eswar Prasad, a professor at Cornell University and the author of a book on digital currencies that will be published in September. Whether a virtual dollar is even necessary remains up for debate. For large companies, cross-border interbank payments are already fast, limiting the appeal of digital currencies. Early adopters of Bitcoin may have won an investment windfall as its value soared, but its volatility makes it a poor substitute for a reliable government-backed currency such as the dollar.

Yet there’s a new kind of crypto, called stablecoin, that could pose a threat to the dollar’s dominance. Similar to the other digital currencies, it’s essentially a string of code tracked and authenticated via an online ledger. But it has a crucial difference from Bitcoin and its ilk: Its value is pegged to a sovereign currency like the dollar, so it offers stability as well as privacy.

In June 2019, Facebook Inc. announced it was developing a stablecoin called Libra ( since renamed Diem). The social media giant’s 2.85 billion active users worldwide represent a huge test market. “That was a game changer,” Prasad says. “That served as a catalyst for a lot of central banks.”

Regulators also have concerns about consumer protection. Stablecoin is only as stable as the network of private participants who manage it on the web. Should something go wrong, holders could find themselves empty-handed. That prospect places pressure on governments to come up with their own alternatives.

Although the Fed has been studying the idea of a digital dollar since at least 2017, crucial details, including what role private institutions will play, remain unresolved. In the Bahamas, the only country with a central bank digital currency, authorized financial institutions are allowed to offer e-wallets for handling sand dollars, the virtual counterpart to the Bahamian dollar.

If depositors flocked to the virtual dollar, banks would need to find another way to fund their loans. Advocates of a digital dollar float the possibility of the Fed lending to banks so they could write loans. To help banks preserve deposits, the government could also set a ceiling on how much digital currency citizens can hold. In the Bahamas the amount is capped at $8,000.

Lev Menand, an Obama administration treasury adviser, cautions against such compromises, saying the priority should be offering unfettered access to a central bank digital currency, or CBDC. Menand, who now lectures at Columbia Law School, says that because this idea would likely require the passage of legislation, Congress faces a big decision: to create “a robust CBDC or a skim milk sort of product that has been watered down as a favor to big banks.”

By: Christopher Condon

Source: Cryptocurrency: Why Wall Street Is Afraid of Government-Backed Digital Dollar – Bloomberg

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Critics:

Wall Street is warming up to the idea that the next big disruptive force on the horizon is central bank digital currencies, even though the Federal Reserve likely remains a few years away from developing its own.

Led by countries as large as China and as small as the Bahamas, digital money is drawing stronger interest as the future of an increasingly cashless society. A digital dollar would resemble cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin or ethereum in some limited respects, but differ in important ways.

Rather than be a tradable asset with wildly fluctuating prices and limited use, the central bank digital currency would function more like dollars and have widespread acceptance. It also would be fully regulated and under a central authority.

Myriad questions remain before an institution as large as the Fed will wade in. But the momentum is building around the world. As the Fed and other central banks work through those logistical issues, Wall Street is growing in anticipation over what the future will hold.

“The race towards Digital Money 2.0 is on,” Citigroup said in a report. “Some have framed it as a new Space Race or Digital Currency Cold War. In our view, it doesn’t have to be a zero sum game — there’s a lot of room for the overall digital pie to grow.”

There, however, has been at least the semblance of a race, and China is perceived as taking the early lead. With the launch of a digital yuan last year, some fear that the edge China has ultimately could undermine the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency. Though China said that is not its objective, a Bank of America report notes that issuing digital dollars would let the U.S. currency “remain highly competitive … relative to other currencies.”

References:

Phemex Is Empowering Everyone To Trade Simply and Manage Risk Efficiently

Led by 8 former Morgan Stanley Executives, Phemex’s goal is to build the worlds most trustworthy cryptocurrency derivatives trading platform. Its leverage a “User-Oriented” approach to develop far more powerful features than any existing exchange.

Above all, they place customers first. All of the features and tools are designed with this philosophy in mind. This is why their development team is directly available and constantly gathering feedback, comments, and requests from our community on social media.

Back in 2017, as experienced professional Wall Street traders and investors, Jack Tao and other founding members of Phemex identified a lack of professionalism, trustworthiness, and customer support within the crypto industry. In the following two years, the number of users engaging in cryptocurrency trading increased significantly.

Nevertheless, existing exchanges showed little to no improvement. Realizing the seriousness of the problem, the team left Wall Street and founded Phemex in the summer of 2019. They then dedicated themselves to building a simple, efficient, but most importantly, a trusted cryptocurrency trading platform. Then, on November 25th, 2019, the Phemex platform officially went live.

Pheme (Fama) is the personification of fame and of the public’s voice in Greek mythology. While MEX stands for mercantile exchange. This name was chosen to highlight our vision and their dedication to stand as the most trustworthy trading platform.

From day one, their mission was and will always continue to be the empowerment of individuals. They want everyone in this world to have access to the right set of tools that will allow them to manage risk efficiently and trade simply. They sincerely believe this to be a fundamental right that all traders should enjoy.

For its crypto derivatives products, Phemex allows you to trade with leverage. This means that you can receive a higher exposure towards a certain crypto’s price increase or decrease, without actually holding the necessary amount of assets. You do this by “leveraging” your trade. In simple terms, this means that you borrow from the exchange to bet more. You can get as much as 100x leverage on this platform.

Leveraged trades are risky though. For instance, let’s say that you have 100 USD in your trading account and you bet this amount on BTC going long (i.e., going up in value). If BTC then increases in value with 10%, you would have earned 10 USD. If you had used 100x leverage, your initial 100 USD position becomes a 10,000 USD position so you instead earn an extra 1,000 USD (990 USD more than if you had not leveraged your deal).

As we mentioned above, in terms of Spot Trading, Phemex has adopted a zero trading fee model. Instead they just charge for monthly Premium Memberships (prices are $9.99 for 30 Days, $19.99 for 90 Days and $69.99 USDT for 365 Days). Becoming a premium member will also allow you to set conditional spot orders, you will enjoy hourly withdrawals with no limits, and will be able to gift trial premium memberships to friends.

With respect to contract trading, Phemex separates between “takers” and “makers”. Let’s describe these terms real quick. Every trade occurs between two parties: the maker, whose order exists on the order book prior to the trade, and the taker, who places the order that matches (or “takes”) the maker’s order. We call makers for “makers” as their orders make the liquidity in a market. Takers are the ones who “take” this liquidity by matching makers’ orders with their own..

Phemex previously didn’t accept any other deposit method than cryptos, so new investors were restricted from trading here. Starting 18 June 2020, however, they partnered with a company called Banxa which is a payment gateway that accepts credit and debit card purchases of crypto.

Since then, Phemex has also partnered with Koinal, Coinify, MoonPay, and Mercuryo. You have a variety of payment options (ranging from bank transfers to Apple Pay) and rates to fit your needs.

To our understanding, Phemex does not charge any fees of their own when you withdraw crypto from your account at the platform. Accordingly, the only fee you have to think about when withdrawing are the network fees. The network fees are fees paid to the miners of the relevant crypto/blockchain, and not fees paid to the exchange itself. Network fees vary from day to day depending on the network pressure.

Generally speaking, to only have to pay the network fees should be considered as below global industry average when it comes to fee levels for crypto withdrawals.

Source: https://phemex.com

Stocks Fall Again As Experts Worry About ‘Extremely Bullish’ Market Indicators

After closing at record highs last week, stocks are falling for the second day in a row as corporate earnings—which lifted the market to new highs during the pandemic—start to show signs of weakness, all while speculative pockets of investor mania continue to rage on.

Shortly after the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 147 points, or 0.4%, while the S&P 500 also slipped 0.4%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which underperformed Monday, shed 0.3%.

Far outperforming any other stock in the S&P, shares of railroad company Kansas City Southern are soaring 15% after Canada National proposed to acquire the company in a $33.7 billion deal—topping Canadian Pacific’s $25 billion bid from last month and setting the stage for a potential bidding war.

Heading up the S&P’s losses, Marlboro parent Altria Group’s stock is slumping 6% after reports that Joe Biden’s administration (which has not commented on the matter) is considering a reduction in the amount of nicotine allowed in tobacco products.

On the earnings front, shares of IBM are climbing 2.5% after the software giant surpassed first-quarter expectations with revenue of $5.4 billion—bolstered by ongoing growth in its enterprise cloud business—and adjusted earnings of $2.2 billion.

Meanwhile, medical device company Abbott, which makes Covid-19 test kits, reported worse-than-expected revenue of $10.5 billion Tuesday morning as Covid-related sales fell nearly 10% quarter to quarter, sending shares down about 3%.

Reflecting ongoing uncertainty over the economic recovery, epicenter stocks—or those belonging to companies hard-hit by the pandemic—are also driving losses Tuesday, with chemicals firms Dupont De Nemours, cruise-liner Carnival Corp. and Delta Air Lines all falling about 2%.

Crucial Quote

“The reopening news is directionally positive, but the big problem is that many epicenter stocks have already seen their enterprise values return to pre-Covid levels, while some are well beyond where they stood in 2019,” Vital Knowledge Media Founder Adam Crisafulli said in a Tuesday morning note.

Tangent

In a break from tradition, the Bank of Japan revealed Tuesday that it opted out of buying exchange-traded funds despite weakness in Japanese stocks. Crisafulli says the move is “perhaps the most important piece of news today” because it signals the central bank is dialing back its economic support—at a time when central banks around the world, including the Federal Reserve, have revved up their accommodative policy to help the economy and usher in new stock-market highs. Japan’s Nikkei 225, the nation’s benchmark index, fell 2% Tuesday and is now down 4.5% from a February high.

Key Background

Boosted by massive fiscal stimulus, an accelerating vaccine rollout and falling unemployment, stocks have had a strong start to the year, with the S&P pulling off 23 new all-time highs in 2021, according to LPL Financial Chief Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “Many of our favorite sentiment gauges are becoming extremely bullish, which could be a near-term contrarian warning,” Detrick says of indicators like sentiment, at a three-year high, and low cash allocations from portfolio managers increasingly piling into stocks.

Surprising Fact

The price of dogecoin is soaring Tuesday, climbing back near record territory from last week, as retail traders around the world stage a rally around cannabis holiday 4/20. The cryptocurrency, modeled after a meme and originally developed as a joke, has climbed eight-fold over the past month, nabbing a staggering $49 billion market capitalization.

Further Reading

S&P And Dow Score New Record Highs, For The Week: Health Care, Materials And Utilities Sectors Lead Gains (Forbes)

Peloton Shares Drop After It Resists Regulator Warnings About Treadmill Following Child’s Death  (Forbes)

I’m a reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business journalism and economics while working for UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School as a marketing and communications assistant. Before Forbes, I spent a summer reporting on the L.A. private sector for Los Angeles Business Journal and wrote about publicly traded North Carolina companies for NC Business News Wire. Reach out at jponciano@forbes.com.

Source: Stocks Fall Again As Experts Worry About ‘Extremely Bullish’ Market Indicators

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Elon Musk tweets that Autopilot had not been enabled as Tesla crash brings scrutiny

Apple stock update: The key numbers you need to look at now

IBM surprises with revenue gain, see growth returning to pre-COVID-19 levels

Kansas City Southern’s stock soars after Canadian National’s ‘superior’ bid valued at $33.7 bln

 

 

Stocks Mixed As Vaccine Euphoria Abates Tech Selling Continues

Stocks were mixed Tuesday as investors reined in an initial wave of optimism over a promising vaccine candidate. Tech shares remained under pressure, and the Nasdaq dipped further after Monday’s losses.

[Click here to read what’s moving markets heading into Wednesday, Nov. 11]

News that a Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech’s (BNTX) vaccine candidate was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in patients in its clinical trial helped fuel a market rally earlier on Monday. During the regular session, the S&P 500 and Dow rocketed to intraday records, with the latter index adding as many as 1,610 points, or 5.7% at session highs. However, both indices pared some gains into market close.

“I think the big surprise here was the efficacy. I think you had polled investors before this, the efficacy range would have been 50-75% as sort of a wide range,” Stuart Kaiser, UBS Head of Equity Derivatives Research, told Yahoo Finance on Monday. “And if this number is truly 90% or above, I think that is what the market is responding so positively to.”

More positive news from companies working on COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics came out during the overnight session. Eli Lilly (LLY) said its antibody therapy for treating mild to moderate COVID-19 in high-risk patients had received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Shares of the drug-maker rose more than 3% in early trading.

Shares of cruise lines, airlines and lodging companies – which each stand to benefit from the increase in consumer confidence that an effective vaccine might confer – gave back some gains after surging during the regular session.

Many of the tech stocks that had led the market higher earlier this year did not participate in Monday’s rally, however, and continued to sell off Tuesday morning. Investors unloaded positions in software names that had climbed throughout much of 2020, as traders treated them as safer bets while the pandemic threatened to keep people mostly at home. Other safe haven assets, including gold, silver and U.S. Treasuries, steadied Tuesday morning after tumbling during Monday’s session.

A successful vaccine has widely been viewed by investors, company executives and politicians as the key component of a broad-based economic reopening and sustained recovery. About 27 million workers, or around 22% of the U.S. workforce, are in occupations that require close physical proximity, Torsten Slok, chief economist for Apollo Global Management, pointed out in a note, with many of these workers having been put out of work by the fall-out from the pandemic and social distancing orders.

Still, widespread distribution of a vaccine – from either Pfizer or one of the other companies in late-stage trials including Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Moderna (MRNA) – is not likely to take place for months, even after approval is granted. Some analysts cautioned against extrapolating too far beyond Monday’s knee-jerk jump higher in markets as the race for a vaccine, and the ongoing uncertainty over whether Congress might deliver additional fiscal stimulus in the meantime, continue to play out.

“The vaccine news is really a 2021 story and we still have the worst to deal with COVID, as cases run at new highs. So the vaccine is not an immediate fix,” Carter Henderson, Fort Pitt Capital Portfolio Specialist, told Yahoo Finance on Monday. “That’s why we believe stimulus is still on the table. So if we get news about stimulus early in next year coupled with vaccine news, we think the market could have a true melt-up.”

4:03 p.m. ET: Stocks mixed as vaccine cheer abates and tech selloff continues. Dow adds 262 points, or 0.9% while Nasdaq drops 1.4%

Here were the main moves in markets as of 4:03 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -5.01 (-0.14%) to 3,545.49
  • Dow (^DJI): +262.23 (+0.90%) to 29,420.20
  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -159.93 (-1.37%) to 11,553.86
  • Crude (CL=F): +$1.08 (+2.68%) to $41.37 a barrel
  • Gold (GC=F): +$18.30 (+0.99%) to $1,872.70 per ounce
  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1.4 bps to yield 0.9720%

1:31 p.m. ET: JPMorgan sees S&P 500 hitting 4,000 ‘by early next year’ and to 4,500 by year-end 2021

In a new note, JPMorgan strategists said they see the S&P 500 rising to 4,000 by early 2021, aided by an improving economic backdrop as key risks from the coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty over the political landscape abate. Hitting 4,000 implies additional upside of nearly 13% from Monday’s closing levels.

“The equity market is facing one of the best backdrops for sustained gains in years. After a prolonged period of elevated risks (global trade war, COVID-19 pandemic, US election uncertainty, etc.), the outlook is significantly clearing up, especially with news of a highly effective COVID-19 vaccine,” they said. “We expected an imminent vaccine outcome and a rotation out of COVID-19 beneficiaries/momentum and into epicenter/value stocks.”

“We view a confirmed Biden victory with a likely legislative gridlock as a goldilocks outcome for equities, a ‘market nirvana’ scenario,” they added.

With this in mind, the strategists say they see the S&P 500 topping their previous price target of 3,600 before year-end and hitting 4,000 “by early next year, with a good potential for the market to move even higher (~4,500) by the end of next year.”

1:10 p.m. ET: Apple unveils new in-house M1 chip for Macs

Apple (AAPL) on Tuesday announced its own in-house silicon chip for its Mac computers, making good on its promise in June to unveil new Apple-made chip technology for the Mac by the end of the year.

Johny Srouji, Apple senior vice president of hardware technology, said the new chip designed specifically for the Mac will deliver a “giant leap in performance” relative to existing technology. The chip, called M1, will be produced using the 5-nanometer process and help improve performance and power efficiency for the Mac.

In developing its own chips, Apple will be transitioning away from Intel’s processors for the Mac, which it had used for the past 15 years. Apple executives said Tuesday that they will be developing a “family of chips” and will be transitioning the Mac to the new line over the coming years, with M1 comprising the first step in this process.

AdChoices

Apple shares rose about 0.5% with the live-streamed event under way.

12:41 p.m. ET: Dow holds higher while tech selling leads S&P 500, Nasdaq lower

The three major indices remained mixed during Tuesday’s afternoon session, with declines across many of the heavily weighted tech stocks pulling both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq into the red.

The information technology, consumer discretionary and communication services sectors led the declines in the S&P 500, while consumer staples, industrials and energy stocks outperformed. The Dow rose more than 200 points, bucking the downward trend of the other two indices as shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance jumped 8.5%, and Boeing rose 6.8%.

10:02 a.m. ET: Job openings little changed in September from August, though government openings fall as Census worker demand drops: BLS

Job openings in the U.S. totaled 6.436 million as of the end of September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Tuesday. This was little changed from the 6.352 million reported at the end of August, and slightly below the 6.5 million openings for September that consensus economists had predicted, according to Bloomberg data.

The number of job openings decreased in the federal government by 20,000, and the number of hires fell by 256,000 primarily due to a drop in demand for temporary 2020 Census workers, the BLS added. Hires also fell in retail trade and educational services, while rising in accommodation and food services, wholesale trade, and transportation and warehousing industries.

9:32 a.m. ET: S&P 500, Nasdaq fall while Dow adds to Monday’s gains

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 9:32 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -4.67 points (-0.13%) to 3,545.83
  • Dow (^DJI): +151.57 points (+0.52%) to 29,309.54
  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -63.90 points (-0.52%) to 11,654.1
  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.62 (+1.54%) to $40.91 a barrel
  • Gold (GC=F): +$24.20 (+1.31%) to $1,878.60 per ounce
  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +0.8 bps to yield 0.966%

7:24 a.m. ET: Stocks point to mixed open, Dow futures add 200+ points while tech shares slide

Here were the main moves in markets as of 7:24 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,540.25, down 3.75 points or 0.11%
  • Dow futures (YM=F): 28,278.00, up 230 points or 0.79%
  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 11,635.75, down 184.75 points or 1.56%
  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.25 (+0.62%) to $40.54 a barrel
  • Gold (GC=F): +$22.30 (+1.2%) to $1,876.70 per ounce
  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -2.1 bps to yield 0.937%

7:12 a.m. ET Tuesday: EU files antitrust complaint against Amazon, opens a second probe over the e-commerce platform

The European Union on Tuesday said it issued a statement of objections against Amazon over practices it has implemented while serving as both a marketplace platform and seller, which the EU said the company has used to make “strategic business decisions to the detriment of the other marketplace sellers.” Amazon shares fell 2% in early trading.

“The Commission’s preliminary view, outlined in its Statement of Objections, is that the use of non-public marketplace seller data allows Amazon to avoid the normal risks of retail competition and to leverage its dominance in the market for the provision of marketplace services in France and Germany – the biggest markets for Amazon in the EU,” the EU said in a statement. “If confirmed, this would infringe Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) that prohibits the abuse of a dominant market position.”

The statement of objections does not mark the end or the outcome of an investigation or suggest any fines or changes to Amazon’s business model that the EU might eventually demand. It does, however, raise the specter of further action against the company.

The EU also announced it opened a second antitrust investigation over whether Amazon’s business practices “might artificially favor its own retail offers and offers of marketplace sellers that use Amazon’s logistics and delivery services (the so-called ‘fulfillment by Amazon or FBA sellers’).”

6:01 p.m. ET Monday: Stock futures open higher amid lingering vaccine optimism

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:01 p.m. ET Monday evening:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,556.00, up 12 points or 0.34%
  • Dow futures (YM=F): 28,153.00, up 105 points or 0.36%
  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 11,882.25, up 61.75 points or 0.52%

By: Emily McCormick

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With volatility already falling in the aftermath of the U.S. election, Monday’s dramatic risk-on move saw the Cboe Volatility Index halt its decline. The VIX edged higher, bringing to an end a five-day streak of losses. Already buoyed by Joe Biden’s presidential victory, U.S. junk bond yields plunged to a record low on Monday. The average yield for the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. corporate high-yield index sank to 4.56%, dropping below the previous record of 4.83% set in June 2014.

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Stock Markets Failed To Rally On China Trade Deal, Here’s Why

Topline: Although the U.S. and China have finally agreed on an initial deal that’s expected to defuse the 19-month-long trade war and result in a rollback of both existing and scheduled tariffs, the stock market didn’t surge on the news. Instead, markets ended the day largely flat: The S&P 500 finished the day up by less than 0.008%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.012%.

Here’s why stocks didn’t make headway on Friday’s trade news, according to market experts:

  • The market may have already priced in expectations for an agreement prior to Friday: “Stocks already ran up 7% in just the past two months alone on the belief that a deal would be signed,” notes Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance.
  • Some experts remain wary: “The devil remains in the details,” points out Bankrate senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick. “We await further word on purported aspects of the agreement including purchases of U.S. farm goods, intellectual property protections, technology transfers and access to China’s financial sector.”
  • “Investors are right to be skeptical,” says Joseph Brusuelas, RSM chief economist. “There’s a limited framework to the deal, since both sides just wanted to agree and avoid the looming tariff deadline on December 15th.”
  • “Contrary to what many believed—and were told in news stories—there is no immediate tariff relief, just an agreement to eventually rollback tariffs later as phase two negotiations progress,” Zaccarelli points out.
  • “I’m still suspicious of a major rollback on existing tariffs,” Nicholas Sargen, economic consultant at Fort Washington Investment Advisors, similarly argues. “Don’t rule out a selective rollback, since Trump needs to maintain bargaining power—he has to keep his powder dry.”
                                   
                                   

Crucial quote: “Is this deal enough to give the US economy an added lift? I doubt it because to get that added lift we need businesses to ramp up capital spending—and they’re going to stay on the sidelines until there’s greater clarity and less uncertainty,” Sargen says. “If trade uncertainty was behind us, we’d have gotten a bigger pop in the market.”

What to watch for: “Both sides need to figure out translation and legal framework first—and if they don’t come to an agreement on that this deal could fall apart very quickly,” Brusuelas says. “We’ll have to see if it survives the weekend and into next week.”

Key background: Officials from both sides have been working tirelessly to hammer out a deal ahead of the looming December 15 tariff deadline. Reports came in on Thursday that negotiators had agreed to terms, and President Trump signed off on them later in the day. Wall Street cheered the good news, sending the stock market to new record highs, though the market’s reaction was notably more tempered on Friday, despite further confirmations that an agreement had been reached.

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I am a New York—based reporter for Forbes, covering breaking news—with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I’ve reported at Money Magazine, The Villager NYC, and The East Hampton Star. I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2018, majoring in International Relations and Modern History. Follow me on Twitter @skleb1234 or email me at sklebnikov@forbes.com

Source: Stock Markets Failed To Rally On China Trade Deal, Here’s Why

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Trade War Is Hiding China’s Big Problems

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The ongoing US-China trade war is a distraction from China’s big problems: the blowing of multiple bubbles and the country’s soaring debt, which will eventually kill economic growth.

It happened in Japan in the 1980s. And it’s happening in China nowadays.
The trade war is one of China’s problem that dominates social media these days. It’s blamed for the slow-down in the country’s economic growth, since its economy continues to rely on exports. And it has crippled the ability of its technology companies to compete in global markets.
But it isn’t China’s only problem. The country’s manufacturers have come up with ways to minimize its impact, as evidenced by recent export data. And it will be solved once the US and China find a formula to save face and appease nationalist sentiment on both ends.
One of China’s other big problems , however, is the multiple bubbles that are still blowing in all directions. Like the property bubble—the soaring home prices that makes landlords rich, while it shatters young people’s dreams of starting a family, as discussed in a previous piece here.

New Home Prices 2015-19

New Home Prices 2015-19

Koyfin

Unlike the trade war, that’s a long-term problem. Low marriage rates are followed by low birth rates and a shrinking labor force, as the country strives to compete with labor-rich countries like Vietnam, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Bangladesh—to mention but a few.
Then there’s the unfavorable “dependency rates” — too few workers, who will have to support too many retirees.
And there’s the impact on consumer spending, which could hurt the country’s bet to shift from an investment driven to a consumption driven economy.
Japan encountered these problems over three lost decades, even after it settled its trade disputes with the US back in the 1980s. China experience many more.
Meanwhile, there’s the infrastructure investment bubble at home and abroad, as discussed in a previous piece here. At home infrastructure investments have provided fuel for China’s robust growth. Abroad infrastructure investments have served its ambition to control the South China Sea and secure a waterway all the way to the Middle East oil and Africa’s riches.

City overpass in the morning

City overpass in the morning

Getty

While some of these projects are well designed to serve the needs of the local community, others serve no need other than the ambitions of local bureaucrats to foster economic growth.
The trouble is that these projects aren’t economically viable. They generate incomes and jobs while they last (multiplier effect), but nothing beyond that—no accelerator effect, as economists would say.
That’s why this sort of growth isn’t sustainable. The former Soviet Union tried that in the 1950s, and it didn’t work. Nigeria tried that in the 1960s ;Japan tried that in the 1990s, and it didn’t work in either of those cases.
That’s why bubbles burst – and leave behind tons of debt.
Which is another of China’s other big problem s.
How much is China’s debt? Officially, it is a small number: 47.60%. Unofficially, it’s hard to figure it out. Because banks are owned by the government, and give loans to government-owned contractors, and the government owned mining operations and steel manufacturers. The government is both the lender and the borrower – one branch of the government lends money to another branch of government, as described in a previous piece here.
But there are some unofficial estimates. Like one from the Institute of International Finance (IIF) last year, which placed China’s debt to GDP at 300%!
Worse, the government’s role as both lender and borrower concentrates rather than disperses credit risks. And that creates the potential of a systemic collapse.
Like the Greek crisis so explicitly demonstrated.
Meanwhile, the dual role of government conflicts and contradicts with a third role — that of a regulator, setting rules for lenders and borrowers. And it complicates creditor bailouts in the case of financial crisis, as the Greek crisis has demonstrated in the current decade.

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I’m Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics at LIU Post in New York. I also teach at Columbia University. I’ve published several articles in professional journals and magazines, including Barron’s, The New York Times, Japan Times, Newsday, Plain Dealer, Edge Singapore, European Management Review, Management International Review, and Journal of Risk and Insurance. I’ve have also published several books, including Collective Entrepreneurship, The Ten Golden Rules, WOM and Buzz Marketing, Business Strategy in a Semiglobal Economy, China’s Challenge: Imitation or Innovation in International Business, and New Emerging Japanese Economy: Opportunity and Strategy for World Business. I’ve traveled extensively throughout the world giving lectures and seminars for private and government organizations, including Beijing Academy of Social Science, Nagoya University, Tokyo Science University, Keimung University, University of Adelaide, Saint Gallen University, Duisburg University, University of Edinburgh, and Athens University of Economics and Business. Interests: Global markets, business, investment strategy, personal success.

Source: Trade War Is Hiding China’s Big Problems

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