Wall Street Still Loves Big Tech Stocks: Analysts See Further Upside Ahead Of Crucial Earnings Week

Despite a brutal selloff so far this year in the tech sector, Wall Street analysts remain cautiously optimistic about Big Tech stocks ahead of upcoming second-quarter earnings this week, with the majority of experts predicting that companies like Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet can continue to post strong profits in the long run.

Though tech stocks have been hard-hit this year (with the Nasdaq down 25%) amid surging inflation, rising interest rates and ongoing recession fears, a majority of Wall Street analysts still maintain buy ratings on Apple, Alphabet, Meta, Microsoft and Amazon ahead of key earnings results this week.

Three firms reiterated buy ratings on several big names Monday: Deutsche Bank predicted solid results from Apple, Bank of America expects Facebook parent Meta to see ad revenue take a smaller hit than expected and Oppenheimer predicts “robust” growth in Amazon’s AWS cloud services business.

Analysts note that while the tech sector is already slowing down, hiring across the board amid the more challenging economic environment, after a big selloff earlier this year, valuations are now looking much more attractive.

Netflix and Tesla saw their stocks rally last week after “better than feared” results, while Snap delivered “another train wreck quarter that highlights a digital ad slowdown, Apple iOS privacy headwinds and TikTok competition further heating up,” according to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives.

While there’s been some “good and bad news” in the tech sector, “there are some encouraging signs” and investors can now buy shares in some of the biggest companies at a more attractive entry point, says Lindsey Bell, chief markets and money strategist for Ally.

Among the more than 250 combined analysts covering the five Big Tech companies reporting earnings this week—Apple, Alphabet, Meta, Microsoft and Amazon—fewer than five have sell ratings—a sign of just how bullish Wall Street is on some of America’s most valuable tech companies.

Alphabet and Microsoft kick off Big Tech earnings on Tuesday. Meta reports Wednesday, Apple and Amazon on Thursday. “Investors should be selective when picking stocks within the tech sector,” says David Trainer, CEO of New Constructs. “The strongest types of stocks are the ones where cash flows are strong and valuations underestimate the company’s ability to generate cash flows in the future.”

He especially likes Google parent Alphabet, which is trading at a “much cheaper” valuation than its peers and should continue to outperform, thanks to its ability to keep innovating. Trainer is “not as confident” about Facebook parent Meta, however, questioning the company’s “ability to sustain profits,” especially as it struggles to retain users amid increased competition from the likes of TikTok. His firm also remains bullish and “big fans” of Apple, though the stock is still somewhat expensive, he adds.

All of the Big Tech stocks have seen big losses so far this year, though they have recovered somewhat in recent months. Meta has suffered the greatest losses, with its market value falling by roughly half as Facebook’s ad business continues to struggle. Amazon and Alphabet are both down roughly 25%, Microsoft more than 20% and Apple 15%.

I am a senior reporter at Forbes covering markets and business news. Previously, I worked on the wealth team at Forbes covering billionaires and their wealth.

Source: Wall Street Still Loves Big Tech Stocks: Analysts See Further Upside Ahead Of Crucial Earnings Week

Critics by

In a single two-and-a-half-hour stretch on Jan. 25, Microsoft Corp. stock erased $156 billion of its shareholders’ money, then rebounded, recovering all of its losses and adding $74 billion. In one sense this was just another lurch in the markets’ wild ride in 2022, as investors adjust to recovering economies and the prospect of rising interest rates. But it also points to a new environment in which the most valuable U.S. tech companies are going to have to work harder to justify their trillion-dollar or near-trillion-dollar valuations.

The Big Tech companies are still doing well. The day after Microsoft’s earnings, Apple reported a quarterly performance that wildly exceeded expectations. On Feb. 1, Alphabet also beat analysts’ projections. Share prices for both companies spiked—but remain below their peaks. The way Microsoft’s white-knuckle afternoon played out is particularly illustrative of the shifting environment: At 4 p.m. New York time, it released quarterly financial results.

They exceeded analysts’ expectations, except for one crucial number: Growth slowed slightly at its lucrative Azure cloud computing business. Investors panicked, sending shares down as much as 6.8% in aftermarket trading. Shortly after 6 p.m., Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood told analysts that cloud computing growth would accelerate again in the next fiscal quarter. The stock jumped, erasing the earlier losses.

Short-term stock gyrations have limited predictive power. But the activity around Microsoft’s earnings highlighted how negatively investors are now inclined to react to slowing growth at key units, even if revenue and earnings beat expectations.

A standard way to look at how excited investors are about a particular company is to compare its share price with its expected earnings. In January 2017 the stocks of the five most valuable tech companies—Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft—traded in line with the S&P 500 as a whole, at 19 times their predicted earnings. By September 2020 that multiple for the Big Tech companies was 42, while the market as a whole traded at a 27 multiple.

Investors were rewarded. Apple shareholders enjoyed an average 43% annual return over the past five years if they reinvested all their dividends back into the stock. Microsoft, Amazon, and Google generated average returns of 38%, 28%, and 26%, respectively. Even Facebook’s relatively modest 18% outperformed the S&P 500’s average of 16%.

The lockdowns helped widen the gap between tech and everyone else, according to Kasper Elmgreen, the head of equities at Amundi SA. “The economy gets turned off, so we had an historic economic contraction that hit [vehicular] traffic, leisure, industrials, construction, financial services, and so forth hardest,” he says.

That could be changing. The Covid-19 omicron wave is receding in many places, and businesses that suffered during the pandemic could benefit more than tech companies from a renewed recovery. This could send investors looking to increase their stakes in companies they’ve spurned for the past two years while they focused on the tech giants.

“The whole case for investing in these companies and inflating their premiums was the fact that growth was scarce and they had the strongest growth prospects in the S&P 500,” says Gina Martin Adams, the chief equity strategist for Bloomberg Intelligence in New York. “As economic conditions improve, that premium will naturally deflate.”

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Dow Jumps 700 Points, Analysts ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ After More Solid EarningsNZ sharemarket falls another 0.2%, underperforms Wall Street Stuff.co.nz

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Wall Street Firms Slash S&P 500 Price Targets As ‘Concerned’ Analysts Warn Of Earnings Slowdown

A handful of Wall Street’s biggest firms are slashing their S&P 500 forecasts for the year, predicting lower stock market returns thanks to a difficult quarterly earnings season ahead as companies wrestle with surging inflation and rising interest rates.

With the stock market down roughly 20% so far this year amid fears of a looming recession, there are “lots of reasons to be concerned” about upcoming corporate earnings—with an incoming “flurry of downward revisions,” Bank of America warned in a recent note.

Though quarterly earnings season has just started, Wall Street analysts are slashing forecasts—with seven out of 11 S&P 500 sectors facing reduced earnings estimates, according to FactSet data. UBS on Monday slashed its earnings forecasts due to slowing economic growth and rising costs, with the firm also reducing its year-end price target for the S&P 500 to 4,150—down from a previous estimate of 4,850.

Evercore ISI also cut its year-end S&P 500 target the same day, to 4,200 from 4,300, as analysts sounded the alarm on corporate margins and earnings being “under pressure as prospective recession scenarios develop.”One of Wall Street’s biggest bears (who has also warned of further downward earnings revisions) is Morgan Stanley chief strategist Mike Wilson who is maintaining a year-end S&P 500 target of just 3,900, while also predicting the index could fall as low as 3,000 if a recession hits.

Even some of Wall Street’s most optimistic strategists are slashing their S&P forecasts somewhat, including Oppenheimer chief investment strategist John Stoltzfus, who reduced his estimate to 4,800 from 5,330 amid “palpable risks of recession.”

Despite the gloomier forecasts recently, most Wall Street firms still predict a market rebound by the end of 2022, with the majority of price targets implying modest upside from the S&P 500’s current level of around 3,850. UBS and Evercore ISI’s most recent forecasts for the benchmark index both imply roughly 8% upside from current prices, while Oppenheimer’s price target suggests the market will rally nearly 25%. Even Morgan Stanley’s bearish outlook of 3,900 would mean stocks post a slight gain by the end of the year..

Even as recession fears remain front and center, not all Wall Street firms are forecasting an economic downturn. Analysts at Credit Suisse, for instance, also slashed their S&P 500 price target (to 4,300 from 4,900) but argued that the economy’s current slowdown is not recessionary. “Recessions are most accurately characterized by a meltdown in employment accompanied by an inability of consumers and businesses to meet their financial obligations,” Credit Suisse analyst Jonathan Golub said in a note on Tuesday.

“While we are currently experiencing a meaningful slowdown in economic growth (from extremely high levels), neither of the above conditions are present today.” UBS strategist Keith Parker similarly sees slowing growth “but no recession,” with modest gains for the stock market ahead as he predicts high inflation will eventually subside.

Investors remain “nervous” about the upcoming inflation report on Wednesday, with experts predicting that consumer prices for June will surge higher than the 8.6% recorded in May.

I am a senior reporter at Forbes covering markets and business news. Previously, I worked on the wealth team at Forbes covering billionaires and their wealth.

Source: Wall Street Firms Slash S&P 500 Price Targets As ‘Concerned’ Analysts Warn Of Earnings Slowdown

Critics:

The S&P 500 Index (US500) has reacted to the US Federal Reserve (Fed)’s ultra-hawkish stance by shedding over 20% in the first six months of 2022. 

As Fed chair Jerome Powell puts his foot on the pedal and accelerates quantitative tightening, investors now fear that decreasing money supply will push the US economy into a recession. Analysts remain divided on the likelihood of a recession as they await economic data, which remains key in anticipating the severity of rate hikes in the second half of the year.

S&P Global summed up the current market sentiment in its third quarter US economic outlook report: “We expect that the Fed raising interest rates and reducing its balance sheet will be enough to eventually begin to tame inflation and help restore real wage strength and purchasing power. The question is whether it will push the US into recession as well.”

After hitting its lowest level since December 2020, the S&P 500 rebounded by over 6% in the fourth week of June, breaking a three-week losing streak in the process as short squeezes caught bears off guard. Jefferies called the current market sentiment “extreme” in a note dated 27 June, having seen net S&P 500 futures turn to net short, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) S&P 500 speculative net positions data for week ended 24 June.

“Thoroughly depressed sentiment, an extreme in short positions and rising cash levels are creating a vicious short squeeze,” said Sean Darby, global equity strategist at Jefferies. Despite seeing a recent rally in prices, the S&P 500 posted losses of close to 9% in June. As of 6 July 2022, the US benchmark index has lost close to 20% year-to-date (YTD).
In comparison, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index has slumped nearly 30% in the same period, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average index has shed about 15%. Based on the 5 July close of 3,831.4, the S&P 500 remains below its 200-day exponential moving average (EMA) of 3866.9.  After dropping to near oversold zones on 16 June, the index’s 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) has risen to a near-neutral zone of 56 points, as of 6 July.

The Jefferies report said that “investors are now holding high levels of cash after one of the worst drawdowns in modern history”. The report showed that the S&P 500’s 12-month forward price-to-earnings was “just above” its long-term average.  “The multiple correction has been driven by long rates and not necessarily earnings revisions,” added Jefferies. As of 6 July 2022, the S&P 500 index was about 20% away from its all-time high of 4,818, which it reached on 3 January 2022.

By Mensholong Lepcha

Related contents:

S&P 500 Loses Over 1% As Investors Brace For Shaky Earnings Season, Looming Inflation Report

Stocks Fall After U.S. Economy Adds Back 372,000 Jobs In June

Federal Reserve Prepares More Big Rate Hikes Amid Risk That High Inflation Could ‘Become Entrenched’

Stocks Close Out Worst First Half Of A Year Since 1970

Wall Street Chooses an Odd Time to Be Upbeat About Growth Stocks 

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How Digital Currencies Went From Boom To Collapse

Yuri Popovich had watched his neighbours’ houses burn down to the ground in Kyiv and he needed a safe place to put his money. So he did what millions of amateur investors have done in recent years: he turned to cryptocurrency. “It was impossible and unsafe to store funds in the form of banknotes. There was a big risk of theft, we also had cases of looting. Therefore, I trusted a ‘stable and reliable’ cryptocurrency. Not for the purpose of speculating, but simply to save,” he says.

The digital asset that Popovich chose in April was terra, a “stablecoin” whose value was supposed to be pegged to the dollar. It collapsed in May, sparking a rout in the cryptocurrency market whose victims include Popovich. He lost $10,000 (£8,200). Popovich says his losses were “devastating”, although donations from sympathetic onlookers on social media have helped make up some of the shortfall. He says: “I stopped sleeping normally, lost 4kg, I often have headaches and anxiety.”

Popovich is one of many experiencing the deep chill of the current crypto winter, more than four years after the market’s cornerstone, bitcoin, marked the first digital freeze by tumbling from its then peak. It went on a long tear after that but it has come to a juddering halt, with bitcoin falling below the $20,000 mark at one point this month – far below its peak of nearly $69,000, which it hit last November.

The fall has been sharp and spectacular: an overall market that was estimated to be worth more than $3tn barely six months ago is now worth less than $1tn.

Crypto boom: a new digital economy

The beginnings of the latest crypto boom held all the hallmarks of being another instance of the “Robinhood economy”, named after the popular American stock trading app. Bored white collar workers, stuck at home because of pandemic lockdowns but awash with disposable income, turned to day trading as a way to pass the time. Subscribers to the r/WallStreetBets forum on the popular online discussion site Reddit doubled over the course of 2020 and then quadrupled in the first month of 2021, as a small army of retail investors flooded into assets as varied as the then bankrupt car rental company Hertz, the troubled video game retailer GameStop and the electric car manufacturer Tesla, pushing the latter from $85 at the beginning of the pandemic to a high of $1,243 towards the end of 2021.

Cryptocurrencies also benefited from the surge in day trading. Bitcoin soared from a low of $5,000 in March 2020 to more than $60,000 a year later. The currency has had that sort of precipitous increase before: in 2017, it had risen 20-fold, to its then peak of $19,000. But in the latest boom, ethereum, the number two cryptocurrency, had an even more impressive climb, from just $120 to a high of almost $5,000 in 2021.

Cryptocurrency is the name for any digital asset that works like bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency, which was invented in 2009. There is a “decentralised ledger”, which records who owns what, built into a “blockchain”, which secures the whole network by ensuring transactions are irreversible once made. In the years since then, a dizzying amount of variations have arisen, but the core – the blockchain concept – is remarkably stable, in part because of the social implications of truly decentralised networks being immune to government oversight or regulation.

Where, 10 years ago, people simply spoke of trading in bitcoin, the space has ballooned. As well as cryptocurrencies themselves, , the sector has developed in a complex ecosystem. It encompasses Web3, a broader selection of apps and services built on top of cryptocurrencies, DeFi, an attempt to bootstrap an entire financial sector out of code rather than contracts, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which use the same technology as cryptocurrencies to trade in objects rather than money.

The flood of money washing into the world of crypto did more than simply inflate the paper wealth of pre-existing shareholders. Instead, it led to a surge of interest in, and funding for, the vast array of projects that aimed to capitalise on the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies. For a generation of new investors, the “decentralised finance” opportunities of the sector were appealing. Built on top of the “programmable money” of the ethereum cryptocurrency, the “DeFi” [decentralised finance] sector is an attempt to expand bitcoin’s anti-establishment ethos to cover the entire economy.

Take the comparatively small sector of the crypto market known as NFTs. A product dating back to 2014, NFTs take the tech used to create cryptocurrencies, but let creators link unique assets to the blockchain, instead of money-like currencies. That means NFTs can be traded that represent works of art, virtual collectibles, or even function as tickets to events or membership of clubs. And like cryptocurrencies, they can be bought or sold in open exchanges, held pseudonymously, and packaged up or securitised in complex financial instruments.

One token, representing years of work by the digital artist Beeple, sold for $69m; another, linked to the first tweet sent by the Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, was bought for $2.9m. Individual NFTs in the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection – the most consistently desired examples of “profile pic” NFTs, designed to be used as pre-packaged online identity – regularly sold for $1m-$3m apiece. But by the beginning of 2022, the NFT bubble appeared to have already popped. “Floor” prices for large NFT collections had plummeted, and, while many large NFT acquisitions have stayed in private collection, those that have been put back on the market have fared poorly: the Dorsey tweet was withdrawn from sale after achieving a top bid of just $14,000.

And then: the crash

The crypto crisis has played out against the backdrop of wider market problems, as fears over the Ukraine conflict, rising inflation and higher borrowing costs stalk investors. Some market watchers play down the prospect of a crypto crash triggering serious problems elsewhere in the financial markets or the global economy. The total value of all cryptocurrencies is about $1tn currently (with bitcoin accounting for about 40% of the total), which compares with approximately $100tn for the world’s stock markets.

Since November the value of all cryptocurrencies has fallen from $3tn, meaning that $2tn worth of wealth has been wiped out, with no serious knock-on effects to the broader stock market – so far. Teunis Brosens, the head economist for digital finance at the Dutch bank ING, says the traditional financial system is relatively well shielded because established banks – the cornerstones of the financial world that buckled in 2008 – are not exposed to cryptocurrencies because they do not hold digital assets on their balance sheets, unlike during the financial crisis when they held toxic debt products related to the housing market.

“What has happened in the crypto market has caused great losses for some investors and it’s all very painful and not something I want to downplay,” he says. “But it would be overplaying the role that crypto currently has in the economic and financial system if you were to think there could be systemic consequences for the wider financial system or even a global recession directly caused by crypto assets.” To date, the turmoil has been limited to the crypto sector. Digital assets have been hit by some of the same economic issues that have affected the wider global economy and stock markets. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been affected by concerns over rising inflation and the ensuing increases in interest rates by central banks, which has made risky assets less attractive to investors. This meant that as stock markets declined, so too did crypto assets.

But the collapse last month of terra also hit confidence in cryptocurrencies. In June, a cryptocurrency lender, Celsius, was forced to stop customer withdrawals. And a hedge fund that made big bets on the crypto markets slid towards liquidation. Crypto investors and firms that had made bets on the crypto market using digital assets as collateral were forced into a selling spree. Kim Grauer, the head of research at the cryptocurrency data firm Chainalysis, says: “It was a combination of the stock market plus the kind of excessive reaction that is typical of crypto markets because of these cascading liquidations. In this case the key event was terra.”

She added: “Crypto is not going away. And it has experienced crashes more severe than this crash.” Regulators and various government agencies are looking closely. Harry Eddis, the global co-head of fintech at Linklaters, a London-based law firm, says recent events in the crypto asset market will strengthen regulators’ determination to rein in the industry.“nI think it will certainly stiffen the sinews of the regulators in saying that they’re more than justified in regulating the industry, because of the obvious risks with a lot of the crypto assets out there,” he says.

In the UK, the financial watchdog continues to expand safeguards on crypto products. Its latest proposals on marketing crypto products to consumers could lead to significant restrictions on crypto exchanges operating in the UK. Consumers reported 4,300 potential crypto scams to the Financial Conduct Authority’s website over a six-month period last year, far ahead of the second place category, pension transfers, which had 1,600 reports. The FCA has 50 live investigations, including criminal inquiries, into companies in the sector.

The terra collapse has also heightened regulatory concerns about stablecoins, because they are backed by traditional assets and therefore could pose a risk to the wider financial system. In the UK, the Treasury wants a regime in place for dealing with a stablecoin collapse, saying in May that a terra-like failure could endanger the “continuity of services critical to the operation of the economy and access of individuals to their funds or assets”.

“Even just the top three stablecoins hold reserves totalling $140bn in traditional assets, much of this being in commercial paper and US treasuries. A run on redemptions of the largest coin (tether) could destabilise the entire crypto asset system and spill over into other markets,” says Carol Alexander, the professor of finance at University of Sussex Business School.

Elsewhere, the EU is drawing up a regulatory framework for crypto assets with the aim of introducing it by 2024, while in the US Joe Biden has signed an executive order directing the federal government to coordinate a regulatory plan for cryptocurrencies including ensuring “sufficient oversight and safeguard against any systemic financial risks posed by digital assets”. The Federal Trade Commission, the US consumer watchdog, says 46,000 people have lost more than $1bn to crypto scams since the start of 2021.

In general, regulators have been talking tough about cryptocurrencies. The chair of the FCA has called for “strong safeguards” to be put in place for the crypto market, while the head of the US financial regulator has warned consumers about crypto products promising returns that are “too good to be true”, while Singapore has said it will be “brutal and unrelentingly hard” on misbehaviour in the crypto market.

‘I’m sure crypto will bubble again

Where crypto goes from here is an unanswerable question. For proponents, such as Changpeng Zhao, the multibillionaire owner of the Binance cryptocurrency exchange, the sector is sure to recover – though it might take some time. “I think given this price drop … it will probably take a while to get back,” he told the Guardian last week. “It probably will take a few months or a couple of years.”

For sceptics, however, the plummet could be a lasting wound. “Bitcoin will be around for decades,” says David Gerard, author of Attack of the 50-Foot Blockchain. “All you need is the software, the blockchain and two or more enthusiasts. Unless there’s new stringent regulation, I’m sure crypto will bubble again. But if there’s a genuine consumer bubble, it may not reach the heights of this one. The 2021-22 bubble made it to the Super Bowl. As many a dotcom found out 20 years ago, there’s nowhere to go from there – you’ve reached every consumer in America.”

But one thing both sides agree on is that the dividing line between “survivable downturn” and “cryptoapocalypse” is likely to involve neither bitcoin nor ethereum, but the third biggest cryptocurrency: a stablecoin called tether. Stablecoins are a foundational part of the crypto ecosystem. Their value is fixed to that of a conventional currency, allowing users to cash out of risky positions without going through the rigamarole of a bank transfer, and enabling crypto-native banks and DeFi establishments to work without taking on a currency risk.

In essence, stablecoins function like the banks of the crypto economy, allowing people to park their money safely in the knowledge that it is not exposed to wider risk. Which means that when a stablecoin collapses, it has a very similar effect to a bank failure: money disappears across the ecosystem, liquidity dries up, and other institutions begin to fail in a domino effect. The beginning of the latest crisis in crypto was sparked by exactly that: the failure of the terra/luna stablecoin. The algorithmic checks and balances put in place to keep it stable broke – triggering a death spiral.

And so on 9 May, a stablecoin called UST “depegged”, dropping from $1 to $0.75 in a day, and then falling further, and further and further. Within four days, the luna blockchain was turned off entirely, the project declared dead. A domino effect took out other crypto establishments. Some of the “contagion” has been prevented, in part through huge loans made by Alameda Ventures, the investment arm of 30-year-old crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried’s empire. Drawing comparisons to JP Morgan in the panic of 1907, “SBF” has stepped in to support the crypto bank Voyager and the embattled exchange BlockFi, and been loudly calling for support from others.

Unlike terra, tether is a “centralised” stablecoin, maintaining its value through reserves which, the company says, are always redeemable one-to-one for a tether token. The model means it cannot enter a “death spiral” like terra, but also means the stability of the token is entirely a function of how much one trusts tether to actually maintain its reserves. That trust is not a sure thing. Tether once claimed to hold all its reserves in “US dollars”, a claim that the New York attorney general’s office concluded in 2021 was “a lie”.

Tether, and Bitfinex – a bitcoin exchange that shares an executive team with, but is legally distinct from, Tether – “recklessly and unlawfully covered-up massive financial losses to keep their scheme going and protect their bottom lines”, Letitia James, the New York attorney general, said at the time. The two companies had transferred money back and forth to cover up insolvency, she said, and had failed to ensure tether was “fully backed at all times”, the investigation concluded.“Te ther has been the timebomb under the market since 2017,” says Gerard.

“It has reduced its market cap by 15bn USDT in the last month, and has claimed that these are redemptions, or a reduction in their holdings of ‘commercial paper’,” she says, referring to one of the key assets that Tether uses on its balance sheet: commercial paper, short-term debt issued by banks and corporations to cover immediate funding needs. Tether, for its part, remains extremely bullish – and has even suggested it may publish a formal audit of its reserves, something it said was “months away” in August 2021.

In late June, Tether announced another expansion: the introduction of the first GBP stablecoin. “We believe that the UK is the next frontier for blockchain innovation and the wider implementation of cryptocurrency for financial markets,” says Paolo Ardoino, the chief technology officer of Tether and Bitfinex. “Tether is ready and willing to work with UK regulators to make this goal a reality.” More regulation, and further market volatility, are a given. Popovich says he is still receiving donations. “I’m extremely embarrassed. Yesterday an anonymous person sent me $50 in the form of cryptocurrency. And I’ve never borrowed anything from anyone in my life. I’m scared and restless.”

Source: Crypto crisis: how digital currencies went from boom to collapse | Cryptocurrencies | The Guardian

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Crypto Now Braced For A $2 Billion Goldman Sachs Bombshell As The Price Of Bitcoin, Ethereum, BNB, XRP, Solana, Cardano And Dogecoin Swing

Bitcoin BTC 0.0%, ethereum and other major cryptocurrencies have bounced back from a huge market meltdown this month (that some think could reveal the future tech giants). The bitcoin price has rebounded 20% since crashing to a low of under $18,000 per bitcoin last week—despite a dire China warning—with ethereum and other top ten cryptocurrencies BNB BNB +0.3%, XRP XRP -0.9%, solana, cardano and dogecoin also making gains.

Now, reports have emerged Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs is looking to raise $2 billion to snap up the assets of embattled crypto lender Celsius which has been hard hit by the latest bitcoin and crypto crash. Goldman Sachs is soliciting crypto funds and traditional financial institutions as part of the deal that could see it buy Celsius’ crypto assets at a discount, it was first reported by Coindesk, with Blockworks adding the deal could happen even if the lender does not declare bankruptcy, citing anonymous sources.

Goldman didn’t want to buy into the top of the market,” one source told Blockworks. “This is more their style.” Celsius, which had $12 billion in assets under management as of May of this year, has been teetering on the brink of bankruptcy after suspending user withdrawals from the platform earlier this month, citing “extreme market conditions” and exacerbating a crypto price crash that sent bitcoin spiraling under $20,000.

Celsius has hired restructuring advisors Alvarez & Marsal, it was earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal, adding to previous reports Citigroup C +3.3% has been tapped to advise on possible solutions. Goldman Sachs’ reported bid for Celsius’ crypto assets is likely to return some degree of confidence to the market after traders were left rattled by the pace of the bitcoin, ethereum and cryptocurrency sell-off.

“Even so, it may not be the best time to buy, as it may take considerable time before the crypto market digests the recent turmoil and enters a new phase of sustained demand from broad segments of investors, not just stressed asset hunters,” Alex Kuptsikevich, FxPro senior market analyst, said via email. The Celsius meltdown, coming hot on the heels of the collapse of the terraUSD stablecoin its support coin luna, has sparked fresh calls for better crypto market and crypto company regulation.

“I suspect after the recent events with Celsius that the U.S. will provide more clarity soon, on regulation towards custodial providers and lenders, to bring more stability to the crypto space,” Marcus Sotiriou, an analyst at the U.K.-based digital asset broker GlobalBlock, wrote in an emailed note.

I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world.

Source: Crypto Now Braced For A $2 Billion Goldman Sachs Bombshell As The Price Of Bitcoin, Ethereum, BNB, XRP, Solana, Cardano And Dogecoin Swing

Critics:

Nearly three weeks after Celsius Network suspended fund withdrawals and other operations from its platform, questions about its future are mounting.  The maneuvers behind the scenes are also increasing. The crypto firm has hired Alavarez & Marsal, a restructuring advisory firm. Celsius has tapped restructuring attorneys from law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

But the most interesting news is that Goldman Sachs  (GS) – Get Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (The) Report is trying to raise $2 billion from investors to buy distressed Celsius assets, according to Fortune and Coindesk.  Clearly the goal is to allow investors to buy Celsius’s assets at a low price in the event of the firm’s bankruptcy.

According to Fortune, which cites anonymous sources familiar with the matter, Goldman Sachs has solicited crypto firms and web 3 firms, the new iteration of the internet, as well as traditional financial institutions and companies specializing in restructuring. Goldman Sachs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On June 12, Celsius announced that it would suspend indefinitely various transactions, including withdrawals of funds “due to extreme market conditions.” Today we are announcing that Celsius is pausing all withdrawals, Swap, and transfers between accounts,” the company said at the time. “We are taking this action today to put Celsius in a better position to honor, over time, its withdrawal obligations.”

Celsius is a cryptocurrency lending platform. The company allows anyone to borrow cryptocurrency and earn interest for lenders. “Earn high. Borrow low. Change the world,” the firm says on its website. One of its catch phrases is “Borrow like a Billionaire.” Celsius, through its CEL token, promises “financial rewards” as much as 30% extra returns weekly. But some options are not available to U.S. based users.

When it raised $400 million last October from investors led by WestCap and Canadian Caisse de dépôt du Québec (CDPQ), Celsius Network saw its valuation soar to $3 billion. The company wants to be an intermediary between traditional finance and the sphere of cryptocurrencies.

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Why a Bear Market Is an Investor’s Best Friend

In the USA, both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are in bear market territory. A bear market is often taken to mean a 20% fall. That’s either from a recent peak, or over a set period of time.But generally, investors tend to think of any sustained upwards run as a bull market. And any significant downwards spell is a bear market. Typically, the average bull market has lasted around five years. The average bear, meanwhile, continues for a little more than a year.

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Might long-term investors be better of if that was the other way round, with more falls than rises? Wouldn’t we have more opportunities to buy cheap shares? To answer that, I can’t think of anything better than looking at how the billionaire boss of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, deals with stock market falls.

In the few weeks after the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the S&P 500 fell 30%. The recovery was surprisingly fast, with the index regaining its ground by August. The FTSE 100 took quite a bit longer, mind. What happened the next year, in 2021? The S&P 500 gained 28.7%, while Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway slightly bettered it with 29.6%. Buying shares while they were depressed by the pandemic was clearly a good plan.

Major bear market
But that’s nothing compared to the carnage resulting from the the financial crash, which kicked off in 2007. Between a high point in October that year, and the beginning of March 2009, the S&P 500 crashed by a whopping 56%.

Berkshire Hathaway suffered too, albeit with a softer fall of 32%. Now what do we see if we wind forward a decade? From the depths of the banking crash in 2009, the S&P 500 had gained 280% by the same point in 2019. Buffett’s shareholders did a bit better on 290%, and they’d started from a significantly lower initial fall.

Just like the Covid market slump, the financial crash provided investors with a great time to buy. And those who were panicking and selling while shares were down? Well, we can see what they missed.

Fear and greed

Buffett is famed for buying heavily when he sees great companies unfairly marked down. In his 1986 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, he explained how he avoids trying to time the market bottoms. Instead, he said: “Our goal is more modest: we simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.

That approach to bear markets has served Buffett, and his shareholders, well.From Buffett taking control of Berkshire Hathaway in 1965 up to the end of 2021, the S&P 500 managed a total return (including dividends) of more than 30,000%. Berkshire, meanwhile, soared by a total of 3.6 million percent!

We’re not all going to be as good as Buffett. But even investors who make regular purchases in an index tracker will benefit from bear markets over the long term. The simple truth is that when markets are down, we can buy more shares for the same money.

The hotshot analysts at The Motley Fool UK’s flagship share-tipping service Share Advisor have just unveiled what they think could be the six best buys for investors right now. And while timing isn’t everything, the average return of their previous stock picks shows that it could pay to get in early on their best ideas – particularly in this current climate! What’s more, all six ‘Best Buys Now’ are available to access right now, in just a few clicks.

by Alan Oscroft

Source: Why a bear market is an investor’s best friend – The Motley Fool UK

Critics by: principal.com

If you have reviewed these basics and you still have money at the end of the month, here’s a quick look at further investment options to consider.

1. Increase your deferral to your 401(k) or other workplace retirement plan.

The maximum amount you can contribute each year through elective salary deferrals is $19,500.1 And if you’re 50 or older, you can also make a “catch up” contribution of up to $6,500.2

“Bumping up your deferral, even by 1 or 2%, may not seem like much. But with the power of compounding earnings, it can make a big difference over 20 or 30 years,” says Heather Winston, CFP®, assistant director of financial advice and planning for Principal®. Also, weigh the difference between saving in a tax-deferred account vs. a taxable one.

Winston says if your account has taken a dip, increasing your contributions may help you reach your retirement goal sooner. If the markets have dropped, the money you defer to your retirement plan may go further by allowing you to buy more shares.

To get started: If you have a retirement account from your employer with services by Principal, you can log in to increase your contribution. First time logging in? Here’s how you create an account.

2. Add to your traditional or Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

Good news: You have until July 15, 2020, to make a 2019 contribution to an IRA, thanks to recent legislation. (And you can always make a 2020 contribution now, too.)

The maximum annual contribution to a traditional IRA is $6,000. If you’re 50 or older, the IRA catch-up contribution limit is $1,000. (Read the basics of IRAs.)

Depending how much money you make and if you’re not covered by a retirement plan at work, you may be able to deduct all or a portion of your traditional IRA contributions from your taxes (details are on the IRS website). The more you save today, the more you’ll likely have years down the road.

With a Roth IRA, you can contribute up to $6,000 per year using after-tax money. If you’re 50 or older, you can add an extra $1,000 per year. To contribute the full amount to a Roth IRA, you need to make less than:

  • $124,000 if you’re single or file as head of household.
  • $196,000 if you’re married filing jointly.

You can withdraw your annual Roth IRA contributions without taxes or penalties at any time. If you have earnings, you can withdraw them tax-free in retirement.3

To get started: Review our IRA solutions to see what may be best for you.

Tip: Monitor and rebalance. If you’re investing in the market through a retirement plan, IRA, stocks, or mutual funds, consider putting this on your to-do list annually: Rebalance your portfolio (PDF) and make sure you have a diverse mix of investment options within various asset classes. A financial professional can help you learn how to do that.

3. Open a brokerage account, if you don’t already have one.

If you’ve never invested in stocks and mutual funds outside of your workplace retirement plan or IRAs, you could start by opening a brokerage account. (Not sure if you’re ready? Read “Four signs you’re ready to start investing.”)

You’ll need to know your risk tolerance. A risk profile (PDF) places you on a scale somewhere between conservative (more averse to risk) and aggressive (more tolerant of risk). Your profile can help you select investments and build a portfolio at a level of risk you’re comfortable with, while continuing to work toward your goals.

This year is a good test of investors’ tolerance for risk. If you find yourself worrying about whether your portfolio is gaining or losing day-to-day, or certainly if you’re losing sleep, you may need to adjust your risk profile. When your risk tolerance matches your investment portfolio, volatile times can be less concerning for you.

To get started: Connect with a financial professional to discuss your options.

Asset classes you might consider

If you invest, consider diversifying—spreading your money across multiple types of investments—to help reduce the risk of losing money.

  • Large companies and technology stocks will likely continue to perform well.
  • Look at small companies and sectors like energy, materials, consumer discretionary (non-essential goods and services), and financials to improve.
  • Stocks in emerging countries may perform better than those in developed countries outside the United States.
  • For bonds, go for higher yields on high quality corporate and municipal bonds at short-intermediate maturities.
4. Set aside money in a 529 savings plan for a child or grandchild.

A 529 savings plan allows you to invest your money to be used for qualified education expenses such as college, apprenticeship programs, and K-12. This includes tuition, room and board, mandatory fees, and textbooks. You designate how and where it’s spent.

Before opening an account, get a full understanding of the plan, including its tax benefits, fees, expenses, and investment options. You can open a 529 plan offered by any state, so shop around for the one that best suits your needs.

To get started: If you’re interested in learning about our 529 plan, visit scholarsedge529.com.

5. Contribute more to a Health Savings Account (HSA).

If you’re enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), you can add a total of $3,550 a year for single coverage or a max of $7,100 for family coverage in 2020. If you’re over age 55 but under 65, you can also make “catch-up” contributions to your HSA, to the tune of $1,000 more per year.

An HSA offers a triple advantage on federal income taxes: Money put in isn’t taxed, it grows tax-free, and you’re not taxed when you take money out for medical expenses. Plus you decide how the funds are invested, and how you’ll use the money for health care expenses.

To get started: Talk to your employer’s human resources department about how to contribute more to an HSA associated with your HDHP.

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