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Blackstone To Buy Russian Billionaire’s Bumble Stake After Forbes Investigation Into His Companies

Russian billionaire Andrey Andreev will sell his majority stake in MagicLab, the company that owns online dating apps Bumble, Badoo and others, to private equity firm Blackstone Group in a deal that values the entire group at $3 billion, according to a statement issued Friday by Blackstone and MagicLab.

Andreev, who founded MagicLab, will step down as CEO of the company as part of the deal. Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and CEO of Bumble, the dating app that markets itself as empowering women, will take over as CEO of the entire group. Before the news of this transaction, Forbes pegged Andreev’s net worth at $1.5 billion. Forbes estimates that the deal will boost Andreev’s net worth to $1.7 billion.

“My aim now is to ensure a smooth and successful transition before I embark on a new business venture in search of innovative leaders with new and exciting ideas,” Andreev said in a statement. “I wish MagicLab and Blackstone every success.”

Today In: Billionaires

In July, Forbes published an investigation into the work culture at Badoo’s London headquarters. Thirteen former employees described a work environment that was  toxic and misogynistic. After Forbes published the article, Andreev and MagicLab announced they would launch an internal investigation into the London office.

Wolfe Herd met Andreev in 2013 while she was an executive at dating app Tinder. Shortly after, she left Tinder and sued the company, alleging her ex-boss and ex-boyfriend Justin Mateen had sexual harassed her. The suit was confidentially settled for an estimated $1 million. She launched Bumble with funding and support from Andreev, at the end of 2014. Wolfe Herd is selling part of her stake in MagicLab to Blackstone as well, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the deal.

“This transaction is an incredibly important and exciting moment for Bumble and the MagicLab group of brands and team members,” Wolfe Herd said in a statement. “We will keep working towards our goal of recalibrating gender norms and empowering people to connect globally, and now at a much faster pace with our new partner.”

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Angel Au-Yeung has been a reporter on staff at Forbes Magazine since 2017. She covers the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs and tracks how they use their money and power.

 

Source: Blackstone To Buy Russian Billionaire’s Bumble Stake After Forbes Investigation Into His Companies

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On dating app Bumble, the ladies are required to make the first move. Once those women make a match, the app gives them 24 hours to reach out and start a conversation. The company launched at the end of 2014, gaining more than three million users. Now, Bumble is heading into the “friend zone” with Bumble BFF. The app uses its algorithm to help people find friendship. Founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe, who was a co-founder of Tinder, joins “CBS This Morning” to discuss the new venture.

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Wall Street Wants You To Sell Now. Buy This 7% Dividend Instead

The most reliable recession indicator in the world just flashed red—and it’s actually setting us up for 33%+ gains in the next two years.

A contradiction? Sure sounds like it.

But history tells us we can expect a fast return like this when the economy and stock market look exactly like they do right now.

I’ve got two ways for you to grab a piece of the action, one of which even hands us a growing 7% cash dividend.

And when I say “growing,” I mean it: this already-huge cash stream has grown 96% in the last 15 years, and it’s backed by the strongest stocks in America (I’m talking about the 30 names on the Dow Jones Industrial Average), so there’s plenty more to come.

More on this cash-rich fund shortly. First, we need to talk about the “recession signal” everyone’s panicking about.

Recession Alert: Red

That would be the yield curve, which just “inverted” for the first time since 2007. This means the 2-year Treasury was briefly yielding more than the 10-year Treasury.

That shift grabbed a lot of headlines because every time the 2-year has yielded more than the 10-year, a recession has followed (though there’s typically a long time lag).

However, there’s a hugely important detail the mainstream crowd is forgetting—and that’s where the 33% gain I mentioned off the top comes in. I’m talking about what happened in 1998, when, like today, the yield curve briefly inverted, then “uninverted.”

What happened then?

Stocks exploded 33% post-inversion before a recession did eventually arrive.

Why the big jump? Because 1998 was unlike most periods of an inverted yield curve: shortly after the yields flipped, the Federal Reserve started cutting interest rates—and that’s exactly the situation we’re in today.

This is the opposite of what happened when the yield curve inverted in 1989, 2000 and again in 2006. During those periods, the Fed kept raising rates, and economists say those hikes made recessions worse—or even started them in the first place.

Only in 1998 did the Fed respond to the inverted yield curve by starting to cut rates—and then, when the central bank went back to raising rates two years later, the recession followed in about a year.

Funny thing is, no one is talking about this right now, and it’s critical, because it tells us that the chances of a recession in the near term largely depend on what the Fed does. And with the Fed now cutting rates, a recession could be delayed for over two years. And that means letting fear get the better of you and moving to the sidelines now could cause you to miss out on a double-digit gain.

Here’s something else that tells us a recession is nowhere near: earnings blew out expectations in the second quarter, and analysts now expect profits to grow in the third quarter of 2019. Sales are still up about 4% across the board for S&P 500 companies, and US GDP growth is slated to come in above 2% this year.

This is where the two funds I want to show you today come in—they position you to profit if it’s 1998 all over again, but, just in case things do take a sudden downward turn, they build in a bit of protection, too.

The first (but not my favorite) fund is a plain-vanilla ETF, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA), which, as the name says, holds the 30 companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Because of its large-cap focus, the Dow largely tends to track the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) when stocks rise, and it falls less in a declining market.

However, you’re missing a far more important piece of downside protection when you go with DIA: a strong income stream (DIA yields just 2.1% as I write this). And a serious dividend is critical when the next downturn hits, especially if you’re counting on your portfolio to fund your lifestyle. That’ s because a strong dividend reduces the need to sell your holdings in a crash—at fire-sale prices—to access cash.

This is where a closed-end fund (CEF) like the Nuveen Dow 30 Dynamic Overwrite Fund (DIAX) really shines. DIAX also holds the “Dow 30”: household names like Home Depot (HD), McDonald’s (MCD) and Apple (AAPL), but with a big difference from DIA: a 7% dividend yield—over three times bigger than DIA’s payout.

Plus, it offers something few high-yield stocks and funds do: a dividend that’s growing.

Holding DIAX will get you exposure to stocks, no matter what happens, and an income stream you can depend on. That’s a lot better than letting yield-curve fears force you to the sidelines—where you’ll miss out on solid returns.

Michael Foster is the Lead Research Analyst for Contrarian Outlook. For more great income ideas, click here for our latest report “Indestructible Income: 5 Bargain Funds with Safe 8.5% Dividends.”

Disclosure: none

I have worked as an equity analyst for a decade, focusing on fundamental analysis of businesses and portfolio allocation strategies. My reports are widely read by analysts and portfolio managers at some of the largest hedge funds and investment banks in the world, with trillions of dollars in assets under management. Michael has been traveling the world since 1999 and has no plans to stop. So far, he’s lived in NYC, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Seoul, Bangkok, Tokyo, and Kuala Lumpur. He received his Ph.D. in 2008 and continues to offer consulting services to institutional investors and ultra high net worth individuals.

Source: Wall Street Wants You To Sell Now. Buy This 7% Dividend Instead

BlockTower Capital CIO: Wall Street in “wait and see” mode with BTC

Ari Paul, co-founder and CIO of crypto hedge fund BlockTower Capital, sent a tweet storm out earlier today giving insights into his conversations with “traditional investors, traders and crypto funds”.  Paul, who has actually sent out about 20 tweets regarding the topic, shared mostly positive impressions coming from his conversations, as there definitely seems to be interest coming from Wall Street towards Bitcoin, although there is some debate as to what would be the optimal point of entry for these institutional investors………..

Source: BlockTower Capital CIO: Wall Street in “wait and see” mode with BTC

Asian Stocks Steady After Wall Street Gains – Bloomberg

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Sydney: Stocks in Asia got some reprieve from the recent sell-off after a modest rebound in technology and energy shares underpinned gains in U.S. equities. The dollar slipped and Treasuries steadied as debate about the Federal Reserve softening its stance on raising interest rates gathered pace. Equity benchmarks nudged higher in Japan and Australia, while futures pointed to gains in Hong Kong after most major U.S. equity benchmarks closed higher in light pre-Thanksgiving trading. Energy shares outperformed after crude oil rebounded from a one-year low, though Apple Inc. surrendered an early rise to close down for a third straight day.

The dollar remained under pressure as MNI reported the Federal Reserve is considering ending a cycle of interest rate hikes as early as the spring and U.S. data showed a decline in durable goods orders and rise in filings for unemployment benefits.

Investor sentiment remains fragile following the volatility that’s rocked markets since October, wiping out equity gains for the year. Traders are having to contend with the Trump Administration’s trade war, as well as the president’s calls for the Fed to back off from raising rates with corporate credit spreads at two-year highs.

Elsewhere, emerging-market shares climbed, and an index tracking developing-nation currencies reached the highest since August. Bitcoin steadied after a recent sell-off. Banks and telecommunications companies led an advance in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, while the euro gained and Italian bonds firmed on reports Italy’s government may be open to budget revisions as the European Union took a first step toward imposing fines on the country.

Stocks

Japan’s Topix index rose 0.3 percent as of 9:06 a.m. in Tokyo. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.4 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index contracts climbed 0.9 percent. S&P 500 futures rose were little changed. The S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent and the Nasdaq 100 gained 0.8 percent.

Currencies

The Japanese yen was steady at 113.02 per dollar. The offshore yuan traded at 6.9281 per dollar. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index ticked lower. The euro was at $1.1389. The British pound traded at $1.2775.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries held at 3.06 percent. Australia’s 10-year bond yield was steady at 2.68 percent.

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed at $54.60 a barrel. It jumped 2.3 percent Wednesday, the largest gain in seven weeks. Gold held at $1,225.72 an ounce.

How a Gang of Hedge Funders Strip-Mined Kentucky’s Public Pensions – Gary Rivlin

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Kentucky’s willingness to gamble massively on high-risk alternative investments for its pensions has made the state an easy mark for Wall Street hucksters. In April 2008, a longtime investment adviser named Chris Tobe was appointed to the board of trustees that oversees the Kentucky Retirement Systems, the pension fund that provides for the state’s firefighters, police, and other government employees. Within a year, his fellow trustees named Tobe to the six-person committee that oversees its investments……

Read more: https://theintercept.com/2018/10/21/kentucky-pensions-crisis-hedge-funds/

 

 

 

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U.S. Markets Hits 2-Month High: 5 Top-Ranked Growth Picks – Nalak Das

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Following the easing of tensions between the United States and China, U.S. stock markets hit a two-month high on May 21. Notably, President Trump’s imposition of tariffs on Chinese imports and retaliatory tariffs by China aggravated the market volatility which commenced in February.

However, the two rounds of meetings between the two countries’ high level delegates have prevented tensions from escalating. This positive factor along with robust first-quarter 2018 earnings and strong fundamentals of the U.S. economy signal the persistence of uptrend in the market. Consequently, it will be a prudent decision to pick good growth stocks at the moment to enrich your portfolio.

Wall Street Gains Big on Monday

On May 21, the Dow 30, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite gained 1.2%, 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively. The blue-chip Dow 30 index gained 298.2 points to close at 25,103.29, its highest since Mar 12. The benchmark index S&P 500 closed at 2,733.01, the index’s highest point in almost nine weeks. Tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite also followed suit closing at 7,394.04. All three major indexes are currently in the green year to date.

Trade War Fears Ease

On March 2018, the United States levied tariffs worth $50 billion on China. Nearly 1,300 Chinese products which were utilized in high-tech sectors bore the brunt of the tariffs. China also retaliated by imposing tariffs worth of $50 billion primarily on U.S. agricultural exports. The Trump administration also gave indications of releasing a list detailing tariffs worth $100 billion on China, fueling fears of a full-fledged trade war.

However, on May 20, the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the prospect of a trade war was “on hold” following two rounds of meetings between high-level delegations of the two countries. China agreed to buy larger amounts of U.S. goods, especially energy and agricultural products, in order to reduce $375 billion per annum trade surplus with the United States.

Robust Earnings Momentum   

First-quarter earnings results have been exhibiting strong momentum so far. Total earnings are expected to be up 23.9% from the same period last year on 8.5% higher revenues. This is the highest quarterly earnings growth pace in seven years. For full-year 2018, total earnings for the S&P 500 index are expected to be up 19.4% on 5.8% higher revenues. (Read more: Strong Retail Sector Earnings Growth)

A big driver of these positive revisions is obviously the direct impact of the massive $1.5 trillion (including corporate and personal) tax cuts. The full effect of the tax overhaul is yet to appear in the economy as the measures were implemented in January only.

Our Top Picks

Stock markets momentum remained largely unhindered despite recent volatility. Gradual fading out of trade conflicts, steady economic activities and business-friendly policies adopted by the government will pave the way for further stock market growth.

At this stage, investment in stocks with strong growth potential will be lucrative. Our selection is backed by a good Zacks Growth Score and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Our research shows that stocks with a Growth Style Score of A or B when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 or 2 (Buy) offer the best opportunities in the Growth-investing space. We have handpicked five such stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 and Growth Style Score of A.

The chart below shows price performance of our five picks year to date.

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