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But scientists say more research is needed to prove whether ‘sunshine’ supplements can fight off Covid-19


Jim Rogers

"I am not very good at timing the market, but I suspect we may have a blow-up at least in the American stock market, and maybe the Japanese stock market, because of all this madness that is going on."

That's what Jim Rogers, the chairman of Rogers Holdings, said in an Economic Times op-ed partly titled "There will soon be a blow-up in US and, possibly, Japanese markets."

The aforementioned "madness" Rogers refers to is none other than the confluence of unprecedented central-bank and fiscal aid. These coronavirus crisis-era measures have stoked concerns that monetary authorities are creating asset bubbles that would become vulnerable as policy support is withdrawn.

"The main thing that is going on in the world is that central banks all over the world are printing huge amounts of money and governments are borrowing and spending huge amounts of money," he said. "This is insane."

Here's what the Federal Reserve has been up to since the crisis shuttered huge swaths of the US economy mid-March:

As a result, the Fed's balance sheet has ballooned to colossal proportions. Below is a snapshot of the Federal Reserve's balance sheet. Today, it tops $7 trillion.

Source: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US)

But Rogers has danced this dance before. He has a long history on Wall Street, having cofounded the legendary Quantum Fund with billionaire investor George Soros in the 1970s.

"The end game?" he asked. "Well often in history, after a long rise in the market, it turns into a blow of bubble, especially when there is a huge amount of money that suddenly comes in."

Today, it seems plausible that markets have met the historical precedents Rogers refers to above. Prior to the fastest bear market in history, stocks enjoyed the longest bull market on record. Now, in just a few months time, the Fed has expanded its balance sheet by approximately $3 trillion.

Although Rogers isn't putting a timetable on the impending "blow-up," he says we can expect more money printing and low interest rates as the US gears up for an election.

"In Washington, they are doing everything they can to get re-elected," Rogers said. 

He added, "That is what they do. They do not care about us. They do not care about our children. They care about getting elected," he said. "So until November anyway, this is all going to continue in the US."

SEE ALSO: A market-crash expert known as 'Dr. Doom' warns a 10-year depression is coming — and says investors are far too confident about a possible recovery

Join the conversation about this story »

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  • Warren Buffett spent $6.5 billion to help Mars acquire Wrigley during the financial crisis.
  • The famed investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO bought $2.1 billion of Wrigley preferred stock paying a 5% annual dividend, and $4.4 billion in bonds boasting an 11.45% interest rate.
  • The merger was "completed without pause while, elsewhere, panic reigned," Buffett said.
  • Buffett made about $6.5 billion on the deal, doubling his investment.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Warren Buffett shelled out $6.5 billion to help Mars acquire Wrigley in October 2008, cementing one of the few mega-mergers during the financial crisis and creating a global confectionery giant.

'They met the 70-year taste test'

Buffett famously guzzles Coke, munches See's Candies, and slurps down Blizzards at Dairy Queen.

Unsurprisingly, the sweet-toothed investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO was a fan of Wrigley and Mars years before he got involved with the maker of Juicy Fruit and Altoids, and the confectioner behind M&Ms and Skittles.

"I've been conducting a 70-year taste test since I was about 7-years-old on the products," he told CNBC after the Wrigley-Mars merger was announced in the spring of 2008. "And they met the 70-year taste test."

Indeed, Buffett was singing Wrigley's praises more than a decade before the deal. He compared it to Coke in terms of enduring market share in his 1993 letter to shareholders.

"Leaving aside chewing gum, in which Wrigley is dominant, I know of no other significant businesses in which the leading company has long enjoyed such global power," he said.

Read more: 'We may have a blow-up': Famed investor Jim Rogers explains how central bank 'madness' has the stock market hurtling towards another crash

Buffett also lauded its simple business model in his 2011 letter.

"'Buy commodities, sell brands' has long been a formula for business success," he said. "It has produced enormous and sustained profits for Coca-Cola since 1886 and Wrigley since 1891."

Buffett's familiarity with the candy business and both Wrigley and Mars products meant he felt comfortable dealing with them at a difficult time.

"I understand a Wrigley or a Mars a whole lot better than I understand the balance sheet of some of the big banks," he told CNBC.

"I don't know what oil or wheat or soybeans or cocoa or anything like that's going to be selling for next week or next month or next year," he continued.

"I do know people are going to be chewing Wrigley gum and eating Mars bars."

'They knew the check would clear'

Wrigley accepted a $23 billion takeover offer from Mars in April 2008, paving the way for the pair to bring their brands under one roof, share talent and insights, and consolidate their sales, marketing, and distribution infrastructure.

Privately owned Mars decided to pay $11 billion itself, secure a $5.7 billion debt facility from Goldman Sachs, and enlist Buffett and Berkshire to provide the rest of the financing.

"We fit very well as a partner for what the Mars family wanted to achieve in this purchase," Buffett told CNBC at the time.

"They needed somebody they felt comfortable with, they knew the check would clear, that wouldn't interfere in any real way," he added.

Read more: The most accurate tech analyst on Wall Street says these 6 stocks have potential for huge gains as they transform the sector

Buffett agreed to purchase $2.1 billion of Wrigley's preferred stock, which paid a 5% annual dividend and gave him a 10% stake in the company. He also committed to buying $4.4 billion in Wrigley bonds that carried an 11.45% interest rate and matured in 2018.

The Mars-Wrigley deal closed about six months later in October 2008, just weeks after Lehman Brothers collapsed, and the US financial system seized up.

Buffett trumpeted the transaction, along with Berkshire's investments in Goldman Sachs and General Electric, in his 2008 shareholder letter.

"We very much like these commitments," he said, highlighting their lofty yields and the equity that Berkshire received in all three cases.

Buffett also mentioned the deals in his 2009 letter as examples of Berkshire supplying much-needed liquidity to companies during the crisis.

The Mars-Wrigley merger was "completed without pause while, elsewhere, panic reigned," he said.

Buffett added to his Wrigley investment in December 2009 when he bought $1 billion of the group's 5% senior notes, due in 2013 and 2014. Berkshire's filings offer few details about the notes, but they appear to have been settled on time.

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 13 stocks that are poised to crush the market within the next 2 weeks as earnings season gets underway

Buffett doubled his money

Nearly five years after the merger, Mars reached out to Buffett and asked to repurchase Berkshire's Wrigley debt early. The investor demanded the candy giant pay a 15.45% premium to the bonds' par value as compensation.

Berkshire received just under $5.1 billion in October 2013, scoring a $680 million return on its $4.4 billion outlay. It also earned about $2.5 billion in interest during the five years it held the notes based on their 11.45% interest rate.

Mars contacted Buffett again in 2016 as it wanted to buy him out and take full control of Wrigley. The confectioner originally had the option to repurchase up to half of Berkshire's Wrigley shares during the 90 days starting October 6, 2016, but had to wait until 2021 to redeem the rest.

Buffett agreed to sell all his Wrigley shares for about $4.6 billion in September 2016. The steep premium reflected the value of the future dividends he was giving up.

As a result, Berkshire made a $2.5 billion return on its Wrigley stock. It likely earned another $840 million in dividends as it held the shares for about eight years.

Add up the gains on the bonds and the shares with the interest payments and dividends, and Buffett made an estimated $6.5 billion from his Wrigley bet. He doubled his money even before accounting for the second tranche of Wrigley bonds he bought in 2009.

Buffett was happy with the investment and his return, he told Forbes in October 2016.

"I have enjoyed all of Berkshire's experiences with the Mars family and management and wish them the very best," he said.

"Both Mars and Berkshire have profited from our investment and that's the way it should be."

Read more: A 22-year market vet explains why stocks are headed for a 'massive reset' as the economy struggles to recover from COVID-19 — and outlines why that will put mega-cap tech companies in serious danger

Join the conversation about this story »

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  • "Investment flows are an important driver of equity returns," according to Goldman Sachs, and right now they're signaling further upside ahead for the stock market.
  • In a note published on Thursday, Goldman went under the hood of the stock market and analyzed the impact fund flows, or the actual trading of securities, had on security prices.
  • The firm found that fund flows can have a sizable impact on market prices if liquidity is especially low, and not so much if liquidity is high.
  • Additionally, Goldman said that the the recent rise of individual investors amid the COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with declines in the stock market, not gains.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories

The flow of money through different investment vehicles like stocks, bonds, and funds like exchange-traded funds is "an important driver of equity returns," according to Goldman Sachs.

In a note published on Thursday, the firm analyzed just how much or little fund flows drive returns in the stock market. And based on its analysis, it found that there's "further upside potential" in the S&P 500 due to recent investment flows.

"We conclude that investment flows in the context of low liquidity are supportive of recent S&P 500 returns and would suggest further upside potential," Goldman said.

The firm added that its analysis showed "that recent investment flows have been more-than-sufficient to support the recent rally in equity prices."

Goldman said that liquidity is an important factor in determining if fund flows will have a sizable impact on stock prices.

Read more: 'We may have a blow-up': Famed investor Jim Rogers explains how central bank 'madness' has the stock market hurtling towards another crash

"Flows that occur in low liquidity environments have a larger impact on asset prices than flows in high liquidity environments, which has big implications for the effect of flows during sell-offs and rebounds when market liquidity is most volatile," Goldman said.

Goldman also noted that the recent surge in retail investor flows due to the COVID-19 pandemic hasn't had a sizable impact on equity prices, which backs up a recent study published by Barclays.

Read more: The most accurate tech analyst on Wall Street says these 6 stocks have potential for huge gains as they transform the sector

The firm said that "elevated individual investor activity in stocks and options have been associated with declines in SPX prices over the past 18 months that we studied."

Goldman was not sure if either a decline in the S&P 500 attracted individual investor activity, or if individual investor activity was responsible for the decline in S&P 500 prices. 

"On its surface, this runs counter to the hypothesis that individual investors are boosting stocks prices. Although it is possible that the high cash levels and the belief that the recent economic weakness is temporary has led to an unusual increase in 'buy-the-dip' sentiment among individual investors," Goldman concluded.

Read more: Real-estate investor Joe Fairless breaks down how he went from 4 single-family rentals to overseeing 7,000 units worth $900 million — and outlines the epiphany that turbocharged his career

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Rahul Narang — Portfolio manager of the Columbia Global Technology Growth Fund

  • Rahul Narang runs one of the best-performing tech funds over the last five years, the Columbia Global Technology Growth Fund.
  • His strategy has been to focus on the two ends of the tech market — the most and least expensive stocks; over time, both have performed better than those in the middle, he told Business Insider.
  • Narang's fund is built around three big components: companies with so-called moats; underappreciated, value stocks; and those that are capitalizing on the big themes in tech.
  • In the value area, he likes several semiconductor stocks, in part because they're likely going to benefit from some of the emerging trends.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In tech investing, many fund managers stay well clear of value stocks.

Rahul Narang likes to buy them up.

Like many tech investors, Narang, who runs the Columbia Global Technology Growth Fund, spends a good deal of time — and dedicates a big portion of his fund's portfolio — to the in-demand stocks, whether the technology giants or the up-and-comers. But unlike many of his peers, Narang also reserves a sizable portion of his fund for some of the cheapest stocks in the technology world.

His reasons are simple. Over the last 40 years, according to Narang's research, the most and least expensive tech stocks have outperformed the vast majority of companies priced in the middle. What's more, the value stocks tend to balance things out during the periods when the market sours on the fastest growers and priciest companies.

Owning those companies "keeps us in the game during those periods of sell-off," Narang told Business Insider in an interview last week.

That strategy is paying off.

The Global Technology Growth fund ranked in the top 20 tech funds for its performance over the last five years, including through the coronavirus dip, according to Morningstar Direct. The fund has also won the Lipper award for its category for the last two years for having the best risk-adjusted returns over the last five years.

Narang looks for companies with moats

Narang's fund has three key components, although one of those pieces kind of blurs into the other two.

The fund invests more than half of its fund's assets — and sometimes as much as 60% or 65% — in companies that have significant so-called moats. These are firms that dominate their sectors, have few competitors, and have the ability to raise prices as needed or desired.

For Narang and this fund, this group includes many of the usual suspects among the big tech companies. The Global Technology Fund's biggest holdings, by far, are its stakes in Microsoft and Apple. It also has sizeable positions in Alphabet, Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, Adobe, Nvidia, and Visa.

When the fund finds moat companies — or those with the potential to develop into them — it holds on to them, Narang said.

The fund's "best ideas" are "our biggest positions, and we've stayed with them over time," he said.

The second big component of the fund's holdings are the value stocks. These are companies that for various reasons trade at low multiples of their earnings or sales. Value stocks tend to get a bad name in tech investing because often the companies with low valuations are those whose best days are past them, firms whose businesses have been disrupted, or whose products have been replaced by a new generation of technology.

He likes value stocks, but not just because they're cheap

Narang is certainly aware and wary of that dynamic. He and his team try to avoid those whose businesses are in decline.

"You don't want to buy stocks just because they're cheap," he said. "That is a fool's errand. You will lose money consistently."

But he still think investors can find gold in the value pile. He and his team look for companies whose potential is being underestimated by the market. Often in such cases the market is missing or undervaluing a fundamental change taking place either at a particular company or a broader industry.

Take Apple.

For years, it was basically a value stock, because investors saw it a hardware maker whose primary industry — smartphones — was starting to decline, Narang said. But the company had some huge and underappreciated strengths — a standout balance sheet with huge amounts of cash, a strong management team, and a moat in the form of large numbers of customers that were essentially locked into its ecosystem of phones, computers, and software.

And, he said, many investors didn't recognize that it was starting to capitalize on that moat to sell a raft of subscription-based services to those same customers to generate something the market highly values — recurring revenue.

When the market finally recognized what Apple was doing, its stock started to grow again, rapidly.

Narang and his team saw similar potential in the makers of computer memory, including Micron and Samsung. Those companies tend to trade at low multiples, in part because instead of offering consistent earnings growth, they go through boom-and-bust cycles.

But a few years ago, Narang and his team recognized the industry was changing, Narang said.

The memory business had consolidated down to three main players and excess capacity — which led to lower prices and profit margins — was been taken out of the system.

They bet that this would allow the remaining players to become much more profitable in the near future and their stocks would grow as a result. Although the memory companies had a rocky year last year, over the longer term that's been a good bet.

With Apple and the memory market, "Our opinion was that the market wasn't giving enough credit for [the] scenarios that were playing out over time," he said.

Narang looks for companies that are capitalizing on themes

The final piece of Narang's strategy is to focus on the big themes in the technology industry and to find the companies that are best at taking advantage of them.

Some of the themes he and his team are focused on are well-established ones, such as the growth of cloud computing, e-commerce, and mobile gaming. Others are emergent, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, and 5G wireless networking.

The theme area, though, gets a little squishy, because it blends into the other two parts of the Global Technology Growth Fund's portfolio. Narang and his team look for moat and value stocks that are capitalizing on the important themes. On the moat side, Apple and Amazon are taking advantage of numerous themes.

On the value side of the portfolio, the memory chip makers are poised to capitalize on trends such autonomous vehicles and 5G phones, which will up the demand for memory, Narang said.

The upcoming boom in such devices is going to drive demand for chips, and another of the fund's value plays, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, should benefit, he said. So too should Broadcom, which makes chips that are used in cloud computing data centers and in wireless devices.

"Semiconductors are one way to get thematic exposure at a cheaper valuation," Narang said.

Got a tip about the tech industry or tech investing? Contact Troy Wolverton via email at twolverton@businessinsider.com, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: Here's why tech IPOs are starting to see a surprising, and sudden, snapback

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Show of strength as Beijing conducts exercises in contested waters around Paracel Islands


GettyImages 1220646244

  • Chief economists at the Bank of England and the European Central Bank are indicating it might be time to retreat from injecting massive amounts of economic stimulus into economies.
  • Business indicators seem to suggest that global economies and the UK have recovered sooner and "materially faster" than expected, according to Andy Haldane.
  • ECB chief economist Philip Lane has a more cautious outlook. He said that although it might be too soon to tell what the economic trajectory will look like, it might be time to rein in monetary policy over the next few months.
  • In dealing with negative shocks, Lane said the European Governing Council in the past has "pulled back, we did shrink the asset purchase program, and we did bring asset purchases to zero when we thought we could."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Top policymakers in Europe this week seemed to indicate it might be time to rein in the flow of money meant to protect economies from an outright collapse.

While assessing the path to recovery, the Bank of England's chief economist Andy Haldane said this week that the UK economy has bounced back sharply in comparison to what was originally expected. 

He pinned that down to indicators such as closely-watched business surveys. He also tied in strong consumer spending as a sign that households are now making use of the money they were forced to save during the start of the pandemic.

Haldane seemed further optimistic that the opening up of pubs, restaurants, hotels, cinemas, and other outlets on Saturday will do more to propel consumer spending, and highlighted reports that suggest advance bookings for these services are "brisk." 

Last month the Bank of England decided to add another £100 billion ($125 billion) of monetary stimulus to boost financial markets impacted by the pandemic, a decision ratified by an 8-1 vote by the monetary policy committee.

The only dissenter was Haldane. 

To explain his opposition he said: "I judged the upside news in demand since our previous meeting in May to have outweighed the negative news to the UK's economic outlook."

He wanted to maintain the monetary stance rather than loosen it further.

He noted there is a possibility that unemployment in the UK could get worse in the second half of the year as the furlough scheme narrows, warranting more action. But as this currently remains uncertain, it may not be a top-of-list priority. 

Philip Lane, the chief economist at the European Central Bank, is more discreet about recovery.

GettyImages 550232851

In a recent interview with Reuters, Lane pointed out that the European economy will see a long period of positive data compared to drastic lows seen in April.

"Whether it grows at the same speed, or we get an initial bounce and then it levels off it's not going to be so easy for us, you or the market to navigate or extract useful signals from the data," Lane said.

He said that even in case of a severe scenario, inflation in Europe would not go negative. But that does not say much about what it may look like in the medium term. 

In terms of negative shocks to the economy, Lane believes they are only temporary.

"My view is that some of those negative shocks cannot be sustained, some of them have the seeds of their own demise," he said. "I don't see the world as always having these negative shocks and this is why central banks have the ability to reverse course."

Lane warned it may be too early to tell whether Europe's economies are seeing a solid footing, and that they may only return to pre-crisis levels by 2022. 

The few weeks seeing an initial bounce does not serve as a good guide for what may happen in winter. 

However, both Haldane and Lane agree that it is time for the central banks to pull back and wait for further data to lead the way for the next steps.

Over his five-year tenure at the Governing Council, Lane said the central bank had "pulled back, we did shrink the asset purchase program, and we did bring asset purchases to zero when we thought we could."

Both central bankers are aiming to wait before wading through "noisy data" and hopefully extract useful signals from the post-crisis economy to make next moves.

SEE ALSO: The IMF's chief economist poured cold water on the Bank of England's claim the UK is heading for a V-shaped recovery

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  • Facebook shares are seeing a steady fall as more advertising brands join a boycott movement against the social-media giant.
  • The tech giant was one among the big few to perform comparatively well despite the storm of the pandemic, but its stock now tells us a different story.
  • Markets Insider rounded up some of Facebook's big stock moves so far this year.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As the poster child of Silicon Valley success, Facebook is very rarely a company that avoids the limelight, and 2020 has been no different.

In recent weeks, hundreds of brands have boycotted advertisement collaborations on the social-media platform over its refusal to censor or remove offensive posts by President Trump about protests in the wake of George Floyd's death at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

In a prominent example of one such post, Trump wrote in reference to protests in Minneapolis that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."

Responding to Zuckerberg's inaction, over 400 brands including Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Unilever, Verizon, Ford, Ben & Jerry's, and The North Face halted their paid advertising on Facebook — some of them just for the month of July.

Facebook shares slid 8.3% last week as advertisers were joining the boycott against the platform.  

That move, however, was not the only big shift in the company's stock price this year.

Markets Insider rounded up big stock moves for the company so far in 2020.

SEE ALSO: A handful of multi-strategy hedge funds posted huge gains in the first half this year, bucking the industry's trend of underperformance

March 9: The pandemic strikes and hits the company's share price

On March 9, Facebook shares fell as much as 8.8% likely driven by a sharp plunge in the overall market from uncertainty related to the coronavirus.

Aside from that, a brewing oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia meant that demand for its advertising products could diminish significantly.



March 24: Advertising dwindles but Facebook sees a huge spike in platform activity

On March 24, Facebook said it had seen large spikes in activity across messaging and Facebook news feeds, but also said: "We don't monetize many of the services where we're seeing increased engagement, and we've seen a weakening in our ads business in countries taking aggressive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19."

The company declined to say how much its revenue would be hurt.

Facebook's shares dropped as much as 13.3%.

 

 



April 29: Shrugging off coronavirus to report 'stability' in ad revenue

On April 29, Facebook's stock soared as much as 16% after the company reported its first-quarter earnings.

Despite a "significant reduction" in demand for ads, its revenue rose 26% year-on-year to about $15 billion. Its digital ads market took a major hit in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The company said it would not provide full-year guidance.

Facebook's role in connecting people became even more notable this year and was one of the companies able to withstand early losses amid the pandemic.



May 20: Facebook's new e-commerce feature: Shops

On May 20, the company's shares reached an all-time high of $230.75 rising as much as 6.4% after it announced its new e-commerce feature, Facebook Shops.  

Adding more to its plate, the firm said its new feature on both Facebook and Instagram would act as shopfronts for businesses to list their goods.

Facebook was known to operate as a purely advertising-focused business, but the new e-commerce feature boosts its ability to compete with other established online shopping platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy.

 

 



May 30: Facebook employee outrage over Trump's George Floyd post

On May 30, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post that the social media platform would not take down President Trump's post about the George Floyd protests taking place in Minneapolis as it was "warning about the possibility that looting could lead to violence."

About 400 employees staged a virtual walkout in reaction, and at least one employee resigned in protest. Zuckerberg had told Trump that the post put Facebook in a difficult position. 

At this stage, shares of the company saw major turbulence. 



June 26: Facebook ad boycott by over 400 brands

On June 26, Facebook's shares fell 8% as multiple advertisers announced boycotts of the social network.

Over 400 brands including Starbucks, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Diageo, Unilever, and Verizon all halted advertising on the platform as they called on the company to do more to combat the spread of misinformation and hate speech on the platform.  

In a statement, the vice president of Facebook's global business group said: "We deeply respect any brand's decision and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information. Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good." 





London must decide soon whether to be part of multibillion-euro effort to secure supplies


  • The June jobs report released Thursday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the economy added 4.8 million payrolls during the month, and that the unemployment rate declined to 11.1%.
  • It marks the second month in a row that the nonfarm payrolls report has exceeded expectations. 
  • Here are six charts that show how much the US labor market has rebounded so far in the pandemic recession recovery, and how much further there is to go before reaching pre-crisis levels. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The labor market recovery continued in June as states across the US reopened their economies following coronavirus-pandemic lockdowns earlier in the year. 

The report released Thursday from the labor department showed that the economy added 4.8 million jobs during the month, and that the unemployment rate declined to 11.1% from 13.3% in May.

The June report also marks the second month in a row that nonfarm payrolls have exceeded economists' expectations, showing just how swiftly the US economy has recovered since starting the reopening process. Economists had expected 3 million jobs added, and the unemployment rate to decline to 12.5% in June. 

In May, economists expecting a dismal report were shocked when the US added a revised 2.7 million jobs, and saw the unemployment rate declined to 13.3% from 14.7%. 

"The bounce is impressive and welcome but there is a long road ahead to restore all the jobs that were lost in this recession," Bank of America economists led by Michelle Meyer wrote in a Thursday note. 

President Donald Trump cheered the results in a Thursday press conference, saying "today's announcement proves that our economy is roaring back, it's coming back extremely strong," adding that there are some places where "we are putting out the flames." 

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 13 stocks that are poised to crush the market within the next 2 weeks as earnings season gets underway

US stocks went higher after the report, with all three major indexes posting gains. 

While the report shows that the economic recovery from the pandemic recession progressed in June, there is still a long way to go before the labor market is at pre-crisis levels. Even though the US economy has added 7.5 million jobs in the last two months, it still has to add about 15 million more to break even from coronavirus pandemic losses. 

And, there could be trouble ahead — the June report reflects only the first half of the month, before spiking coronavirus cases led more than 20 states and cities to either rollback or pause reopening plans. 

"June is a tale of two cities," Becky Frankiewicz, ManpowerGroup North America president, told Business Insider.

"The first few weeks of June were strong, continuing a nice optimistic trend, and the last two weeks really slowed," she said, adding that the pullback was likely due to hiring slowing in states that rolled back or paused reopening efforts. 

And, while jobs were added, elevated layoffs persist. In a report released simultaneously on Thursday, the Labor Department showed that 1.4 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week. 

Read more: A 22-year market vet explains why stocks are headed for a 'massive reset' as the economy struggles to recover from COVID-19 — and outlines why that will put mega-cap tech companies in serious danger

For the full impact of paused plans, re-instated restrictions, and continued layoffs, economists and industry watchers will have to wait for the July report, due in August. 

Here are six charts from the June jobs report that show how much progress the US labor market has made so far, and how much further there is left to go before there's a full recovery. 

1. The US economy added a record 4.8 million jobs in June, following a revised 2.7 million jobs added in May.

The second month of record job gains came mostly from payrolls added in leisure and hospitality, which gained 2.1 million jobs in June.

Employment also jumped by 740,00 in retail trade and 568,000 in education and health services during the month. Manufacturing, transportation, and construction all added jobs in June.

Still, it's important to remember that in all industries, employment remains far below pre-crisis levels. For example, while food services and drinking places (part of leisure and hospitality) added 1.5 million jobs in June after a similar addition in May, it remains 3.1 million payrolls below its February level. 

Read more: The most accurate tech analyst on Wall Street says these 6 stocks have potential for huge gains as they transform the sector



2. The unemployment rate also ticked down slightly to 11.1% from 13.3% a month earlier.

In addition, the misclassification error, which had likely weighed down the unemployment rate in previous months, "declined considerably in June," the BLS wrote in the report. 

The error was that a large number of people were being classified as employed but absent from work for "other reasons," when they should probably have been counted as unemployed on temporary layoff.

In June, if all workers had been counted correctly, the unemployment rate would have been one percentage point higher, but still down from the previous month. 

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3. A broader measure of unemployment, called the underemployment rate, or U-6, also declined in June.

The underemployment rate includes workers who say they want a job but haven't been actively looking for one, and people who are working part-time but want a full-time job.

In June, the U-6 rate declined to a seasonally adjusted 18% from from 21.7% in May. Still, its the third month in a row that the rate has remained elevated near 20%. 

Read more: Stock analysts are having a moment in the sun as the market gets flipped upside down. We spoke to 11 of the top-ranked on Wall Street to get their forecasts and single-stock picks.



4. The labor force participation rate, or the share of Americans either working or looking for a job, increased for the second month in a row.

As people went back to work in June, the labor force participation rate ticked up. In addition, reentrants to the workforce, meaning people who previously worked but were not in the labor force prior to beginning a job search, increased by 711,000 to 2.4 million in June. 

Still, labor force participation is much lower than it was pre-pandemic, as millions of Americans remain on the sidelines. 

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 15 super-cheap stocks now before their prices catch up to their strong growth and earnings prospects



5. The employment-to-population ratio also increased as people went back to work.

The employment-to-population ratio, which measures the percentage of the population that is currently working, rose to 54.6% in June from 52.8% in May.

Still, the ratio remains well below its pre-pandemic level of 61.2% in February. 

Read more: Goldman Sachs has formulated a strategy that could triple the market's return within a year as volatility remains higher than normal — including 11 new stock picks for the months ahead



6. Although unemployment declined overall, the rate increased for Black men in June. Minority workers and women also continue to see joblessness at higher rates than whites and men.

While headline unemployment ticked down in June, minorities and women still have higher rates of joblessness than white workers and men. 

In June, the unemployment rate fell to 10.2% for men and 11.2% for women. The white unemployment rate declined to 10.1%, the Black unemployment rate fell to 15.4%, and the Hispanic rate was 14.5%. The unemployment rate for Asians was 13.8%, little changed from May. 

There was one outlier in the report — the unemployment rate for Black men increased to 16.3% in June, and is now at the pandemic-recession high. 

While it's not immediately clear what led to the increase for Black men, it could be due to the "last hired, first fired" trend, Olugbenga Ajilore, senior economist at the Center for American Progress, told Business Insider. 

He also noted the unemployment overall is highly elevated, and that the only group that doesn't have a double-digit unemployment rate is white men. "We shouldn't get used to double-digit unemployment rates," said Ajilore. 





  • Billionaire hedge-fund manager Ray Dalio said the Federal Reserve is boosting markets, conventional valuation metrics don't apply anymore, and the US dollar could lose its appeal in a Bloomberg interview on Thursday.
  • "The capital markets are not free markets allocating resources in the traditional ways," the Bridgewater Associates co-chief said.
  • Dalio also predicted that central banks' balance sheets will "explode," but argued the Fed needed to take sweeping measures because "the whole economy is systemically important."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Billionaire investor Ray Dalio warned that the Federal Reserve is artificially inflating markets, normal valuation metrics no longer apply, and the US dollar risks being displaced as the world's reserve currency in a Bloomberg interview on Thursday.

"The capital markets are not free markets allocating resources in the traditional ways," said the co-chief of Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest hedge fund with $138 billion in assets at last count.

"The economy and the markets are driven by the central banks in coordination with the central government," Dalio continued.

The Fed has spent trillions of dollars on bonds and other assets to boost liquidity in financial markets and prevent companies from collapsing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dalio defended the central bank's unprecedented actions. He argued more sweeping measures were justified compared to the 2008 financial crisis, when it focused on shoring up the financial sector.

"The whole economy is systemically important," he said. "If they didn't go out and lend to companies ... we would lose large parts of our economy."

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 13 stocks that are poised to crush the market within the next 2 weeks as earnings season gets underway

However, Dalio cautioned that actions on that scale have consequences.

"You are going to see central banks' balance sheets explode," he said.

Moreover, the flood of cash into markets has detached them from the real economy, meaning valuations no longer reflect fundamentals, Dalio said.

Investors might feel "sticker shock" when they see price-to-earnings ratios north of 40, but those are "no less implausible than zero interest rates," he continued.

"Multiples shouldn't be used in the traditional way of a frame of reference," he added.

Read more: A 22-year market vet explains why stocks are headed for a 'massive reset' as the economy struggles to recover from COVID-19 — and outlines why that will put mega-cap tech companies in serious danger

Dollars could lose their appeal

Dalio, who famously said "cash is trash" in January, doubled down on that stance during the Bloomberg interview.

He argued that investors should avoid cash and bonds because rock-bottom interest rates mean they offer no returns, or even negative real returns after taxes are paid. There's been a shift towards "storeholds of wealth" such as gold and equities as a result, he said.

The Bridgewater boss also described the limits to the Fed's current interventions. If a compelling alternative to the dollar emerges, investors will pile into it and dump bonds offering no return, he said.

"That would be terrible for the United States," Dalio continued. "It would be probably the biggest disruptor not only to the markets but to the whole world geopolitical system."

The outflow of money would force the central bank to buy even more bonds or raise interest rates, he continued.

Hiking rates might not be possible as it would push down asset prices, he added, and potentially spark a wave of defaults due to the high levels of debt in the economy.

Read more: The most accurate tech analyst on Wall Street says these 6 stocks have potential for huge gains as they transform the sector

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  • Markets have produced bizarre and historic results in the first half of 2020, creating stark swings and diverging fortunes for traders.
  • That's especially true in the world of equity derivatives and the traders that bet on volatility, where some investment funds have flamed out spectacularly while many Wall Street banks have minted hundreds of millions in revenues.
  • JPMorgan Chase's flow volatility team has racked up $700 million in the first half of the year — nearly three times what it brought in last year, sources told BI.
  • A trio of French banks, on the other hand, absorbed $1.5 billion in losses earlier this spring when structured derivatives tied to corporate derivatives went up in smoke. 
  • Overall trading numbers in Q2 are expected to come in strong compared with 2019 — KBW is predicting a 15% increase year-over-year in stock trading across the big-5 US banks.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

This week marked the end of the first half of the fiscal year for most banks. For one equities-trading desk at JPMorgan Chase, they've already eclipsed their revenue haul for the entirety of 2019 — nearly three times over. 

The market convulsions amid the COVID-19 pandemic have produced bizarre and historic results, and created stark swings and diverging fortunes. There is perhaps no clearer example of it than the world of equity derivatives and the traders that bet on volatility. 

In aggregate, performance is expected to suffer at Wall Street banks as the economy struggles to right itself in the face of the coronavirus — KBW is predicting earnings to fall 25% year-over-year at the median universal bank in the second quarter.

But sales and trading desks have provided a robust buffer against declining interest income and loan loss reserves.

Big banks, by and large, have seen stunning results from their derivatives squads, especially the flow derivatives teams — which specialize in complex directional trades betting how much stocks, indexes, or other macro products will move — that have been in the trenches amid record surges of volatility. 

None moreso than JPMorgan. The firm in the first quarter eclipsed $1.1 billion in equity derivatives revenues, on par with what it made in all of 2019, with a little less than half of the tally coming from its flow derivatives traders, according to people familiar with the numbers. 

Though the shocks have been mild by comparison to those of March, volatility in the second quarter has remained elevated, and JPMorgan's equity derivatives number is expected to land at around $1.3 billion for the first two quarters. The global flow team will finish the first half of 2020 with more than $700 million in revenues, nearly three times as much as the roughly $250 million the group earned in all of 2019, the sources said. 

Other banks posted monster equity derivatives numbers in the first quarter as well, with several eclipsing $200 million from their flow desks. Globally, flow derivatives trading was up 200% in the quarter across the banks.

But even as volatility calmed, JPMorgan continued to press its lead in the second quarter, and there isn't a runner up in flow derivatives — Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have dominated the space in recent years and are said to be next in line — within $100 million of first place, the sources said.

JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley declined to comment. 

Diverging fortunes

But volatility trades that have minted fortunes for banks have upended investment funds that took the opposite side and bet the cards would fall differently.  

During the meltdown in February and March, financial assets across stocks, bonds, currencies, and commodities hit watermarks, either in terms of how far or how fast they plunged. 

For instance, the CBOE Volatility Index, known as the VIX, swung violently and set multiple records — the two largest ever single-day VIX spikes came in mid-March, and the 82.69 close on March 16 is the highest ever.VIX 2020 performance

As Business Insider reported in March, some flow derivatives desks had put on protection trades that provide a substantial but usually long-shot payoff if intense volatility strikes. 

Investment funds that took the opposite side of those trades, collecting small premiums to insure the banks against massive losses, ended up in a world of pain.

In an autopsy of the carnage, Institutional Investor last week detailed how in one type of trade, Wall Street banks paid funds to effectively cover unlimited losses in the event of a severe market crash — in part to unload risk from their books and pass muster with regulators — which counterparties were happy to do since they presumed the contract would never pay out. 

The result: Malachite Capital, Ronin Capital, Parplus Partners, and Allianz's Structured Alpha hedge funds were wiped out, while Canadian public fund AIMCo lost more than $1.5 billion and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board was burned to the tune of $515 million. 

Stock-trading results have been mixed this year at the banks, too, even within product subsets.

In the first quarter, equities revenues at the 12 largest banks increased just 3% from last year to $11.2 billion, despite the substantial increase in trading activity and strong showing in flow derivatives, according to a quarterly report from Coalition. 

That's in part due to weaker prime brokerage performance as hedge funds took hits, but also because while volatility was spurring some desks, other banks "reported significant write downs" thanks to structured derivatives products that went awry, according to the report. 

Those writedowns are alluding to losses at French banks BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, and Natixis, which saw complex equity derivatives tied to shareholder returns go up in smoke after an unexpected and "sudden cut in corporate dividends," S&P Global said in a report last week. 

That erased around $1.5 billion in revenues between the three firms, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Read more: Inside Wall Street's coronavirus-fueled trading frenzy, where historic shocks of volatility are creating massive paydays

Echoes of 2018

The last time banks made such eye-popping trades from their volatility desks was during the VIX spike back in February 2018. Prior to the frenzy earlier this year, the 116% rise in the VIX on February 5, 2018 — which followed a long stretch of unprecedented market calm — was the largest single-day increase on record.

The flow derivatives teams at Wall Street banks raked in hundreds of millions in the process. That year, Goldman Sachs led the field with about $650 million, followed by Morgan Stanley with about $550 million, according to sources familiar with the numbers. 

In the aftermath, a poaching war ensued, and many of the standout traders cashed in their chips that spring and summer for promotions and raises at other firms, resulting in dozens of seat changes. 

At JPMorgan, global volatility trading is now run by Rachid Alaoui, a 15-year company veteran who took over the role after Fater Belbachir left for Barclays in early 2019.

Other roles have turned over since 2018 as well. Senior US flow traders David Kim and Seok Yoon Jeon decamped for Bank of America and Citigroup, respectively, amid the hiring frenzy in 2018. 

That summer, JPMorgan in turn poached Borzu Masoudi — who was instrumental in Goldman's $200 million trading day during the February VIX spike — to run volatility trading in the US, where much of JPMorgan's derivatives trading gains have come this year.

As markets recovered in April and May of this year, volatility fell from the meteoric heights seen in March but remained at historically elevated levels. Overall trading numbers are expected to be strong compared with 2019 — KBW is predicting a 15% increase year-over-year in stock trading across the big-5 US banks — but equities revenues are expected to fall about 14% compared with the first quarter. 

Very little has been predictable about 2020, and with coronavirus cases on the rise again in the US, it's unclear how the economy and markets might respond in the second half of the year.

The record numbers produced by derivatives traders at Wall Street banks could still significantly increase — or decrease — if conditions devolve and American businesses suffer deeper losses, sending more sudden jolts of volatility into the markets. 

Read more:

SEE ALSO: 'I've never seen it like this in 10 years': How the VIX blow-up led to a talent raid on Wall Street trading floors

SEE ALSO: Inside Wall Street's coronavirus-fueled trading frenzy, where historic shocks of volatility are creating massive paydays

SEE ALSO: Barclays made $250 million in one day of trading last week as banks raked in money on market volatility

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US markets are closed to celebrate the Fourth of July. Here's what you need to know in global markets today.

1. Chinese stocks hit their highest level in 5 years, while Europe looks for direction with US markets closed for July 4th. Liquidity was thin with few US investors online during the day.

2. Goldman Sachs says global oil demand won't rebound to pre-coronavirus crisis levels until at least 2022. Gasoline demand is expected to be the fastest to recover among oil products due to a transition in consumer behaviour.

3. Chinese PMI hits the highest level in a decade in latest sign that the world's 2nd largest economy is surging back. The services PMI came in at 58.4, up from 55 in May.

4. 'Capital markets are not free': Billionaire investor Ray Dalio says the Fed is boosting asset prices, valuation metrics don't apply, and the US dollar is at risk. "The economy and the markets are driven by the central banks in coordination with the central government," he said.

5. A handful of multi-strategy hedge funds posted huge gains in the first half this year, bucking the industry's trend of underperformance. The big winners were Chicago-based Citadel Advisors, Izzy Englander's Millennium Management, and Balyasny Asset Management.

6. Leaked emails show Amazon is delaying Prime Day again to October as concerns grow that a new COVID-19 demand spike may hit supply chains. The annual Prime Day shopping event is postponed to October, the third delay this year.

7. The most accurate tech analyst on Wall Street says these 6 stocks have potential for huge gains as they transform the sector. Many of the companies covered by the analyst have made enormous gains and far surpassed his price targets in the past few months.

8. A 22-year market vet explains why stocks are headed for a 'massive reset' as the economy struggles to recover from COVID-19 — and outlines why that will put mega-cap tech companies in serious danger. He thinks investors who hail the Federal Reserve as a panacea are "going to pay."

9. Asian stocks are up. In Europe, Germany's DAX fell 0.5%, Britain's FTSE 100 fell 1.2%, and the Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.7%. In Asia, China's Shanghai Composite rose 2%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.9%, and Japan's Nikkei rose 0.6% at the close. In the US, futures underlying the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq rose 0.5%.

10. On the economic front. The IHS Markit Purchasing Managers Index for major European economies were released today.

Join Business Insider tomorrow at 12 p.m. ET for "Planning for the Future in Uncertain Times," a free digital event and part of the Master Your Money series. Presented by Fidelity, it will explore components of a strong financial plan and how to adjust it given recent events. Click here to register.

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  • After Hertz filed for bankruptcy, its stock became a playground for day traders hoping to capitalize on the volatility. 
  • The company's lawyers even cited the gains as reason to sell more potentially worthless stock. 
  • Now, Avis could be next. Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock Thursday with an aggressive price target of $37.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

With its competitor Hertz in bankruptcy, Avis Budget Group is primed to scoop up market share.

That's great news for investors, Morgan Stanley says, and the stock could rise as high as $37 — more than 65% above its value at the time of the upgrade.

The bank's new thesis for the car-rental company is three fold: an improving used-car market that didn't crash nearly as badly as some had predicted, fresh signs of an economic recovery, and market share gains not just from Hertz.

"We believe Avis will take market share from Hertz as well as other transportation mediums (flights, trains), as consumers use rental cars as alternatives for short-haul routes," Adam Jonas, the bank's autos analyst, said in a note to clients Thursday.

That potential use-case, as airline passenger numbers remain well below normal levels, was on full display going into the Fourth of July weekend. In many cities including New York, rental cars were in high demand and even unavailable at many high-demand locations.

Shares of Avis jumped as much as 28% following his upgrade to overweight from neutral.

When Hertz entered bankruptcy earlier in June, its share price soared as amateur day traders attempted to play the market. The company's lawyers cited such volatility-causing appetite as reason to sell even more stock that could potentially have wound up worthless. The sale was eventually scrapped after concerns from the US' top stock regulator.

As the pandemic brought nearly all travel to a standstill — beginning Hertz's woes that eventually landed it in bankruptcy court — analysts predicted the bottom would completely fall out of the market for used cars as those previously owned by rental giants flooded the market. 

That hasn't happened, Jonas says, and used-car prices are only down about 5% to 10%.

"Our concerns of indiscriminate de-fleeting," Jonas said, "while still possible, are less likely and have been alleviated by the strength of new car sales."

Passenger numbers are starting to pick up for airlines (and airports were previously a massive chunk of rental car revenues), and unemployment seems to be slowing. All eyes now turn to a potential vaccine for true recovery, which may not be completely necessary for Avis to succeed.

"We think the market is underestimating the potential for Avis to be more profitable with lower revenues," Jonas said, "over the next 18-25 months."

Join the conversation about this story »

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  • Goldman Sachs says stock liquidity remains historically low, and companies that stand out from their less liquid peers have been outperforming the market.
  • Strategist Vishal Vivek has created a list of the 13 most liquid S&P 500 stocks and says they're likely to outperform as earnings season gets underway. 
  • Earnings season will probably reflect the most severe economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, making it far less predictable than usual.
  • Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter Investing Insider.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Stocks have been historically volatile in 2020, and anything that brings a little more stability and predictability is going to be deeply appreciated.

Enter liquidity: Goldman Sachs Equity Derivatives Associate Vishal Vivek writes in a note to clients that while overall market liquidity has nosedived this year, the stocks that are the most liquid — meaning they can trade heavily without a clear, volatile drop in price — are faring much better than their peers.

That has huge implications for the upcoming earnings season, which might be the most unpredictable round of company reports in a long time thanks to the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Low levels of liquidity can exacerbate stock moves, especially on event days" such as earnings reports, Vivek wrote. "We believe when volumes increase in a stock without a proportionate increase in volatility (two day factors in our liquidity model), it bodes well for performance over the subsequent two weeks."

Screen Shot 2020 07 01 at 2.53.34 PM

While liquidity has improved a little bit since March thanks to high trading volumes, elevated market volatility means it's still very low compared to recent history. For that reason, the stocks that can endure an increase in trading without a spike in volatility are that much more appealing as earnings get going.

"We expect this indicator to play an important role, as market participants continue to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on company fundamentals, and liquidity broadly remains low," he wrote.

Vivek and his team measured the liquidity of every stock on the S&P 500 index based on factors including trading costs, volumes, and bid-ask spreads. They've identified these 13 as more liquid than 95% of their peers, which was the average ranking among all the names they picked. Those stocks are ranked from lowest to highest based on that measurement.

Read more:

SEE ALSO: Stock analysts are having a moment in the sun as the market gets flipped upside down. We spoke to 11 of the top-ranked on Wall Street to get their forecasts and single-stock picks.

13. Simon Property Group

Ticker: SPG

Sector: Real estate

Market cap: $21.2 billion

Year-to-date performance: -55.9%

Liquidity percentile vs. S&P 500 stocks: 95%

Source: Goldman Sachs



12. SL Green Realty

Ticker: SLG

Sector: Real estate

Market cap: $4 billion

Year-to-date performance: -46.6%

Liquidity percentile vs. S&P 500 stocks: 96%

Source: Goldman Sachs



11. Southwest Airlines

Ticker: LUV

Sector: Industrials

Market cap: $20.3 billion

Year-to-date performance: -36.2%

Liquidity percentile vs. S&P 500 stocks: 96%

Source: Goldman Sachs



10. Advanced Micro Devices

Ticker: AMD

Sector: Information technology

Market cap: $60.8 billion

Year-to-date performance: +15.2%

Liquidity percentile vs. S&P 500 stocks: 97%

Source: Goldman Sachs



9. Under Armour

Ticker: UAA

Sector: Consumer discretionary

Market cap: $3.8 billion

Year-to-date performance: -54%

Liquidity percentile vs. S&P 500 stocks: 97%

Source: Goldman Sachs



8. Harley-Davidson

Ticker: HOG

Sector: Consumer discretionary

Market cap: $3.6 billion

Year-to-date performance: -37.8%

Liquidity percentile vs. S&P 500 stocks: 98%

Source: Goldman Sachs



7. MGM Resorts International

Ticker: MGM

Sector: Consumer discretionary

Market cap: $8.2 billion

Year-to-date performance: -49.4%

Liquidity percentile vs. S&P 500 stocks: 98%

Source: Goldman Sachs



6. Boeing

Ticker: BA

Sector: Industrials

Market cap: $103 billion

Year-to-date performance: -44%

Liquidity percentile vs. S&P 500 stocks: 99%

Source: Goldman Sachs



5. Delta Air Lines

Ticker: DAL

Sector: Industrials

Market cap: $18 billion

Year-to-date performance: -51.9%

Liquidity percentile vs. S&P 500 stocks: 99%

Source: Goldman Sachs



4. Alliance Data Systems

Ticker: ADS

Sector: Information technology

Market cap: $2.2 billion

Year-to-date performance: -59.9%

Liquidity percentile vs. S&P 500 stocks: 99%

Source: Goldman Sachs



3. United Airlines Holdings

Ticker: UAL

Sector: Industrials

Market cap: $9.8 billion

Year-to-date performance: -60.5%

Liquidity percentile vs. S&P 500 stocks: 100%

Source: Goldman Sachs



2. Royal Caribbean Cruises

Ticker: RCL

Sector: Consumer discretionary

Market cap: $10.3 billion

Year-to-date performance: -57.4%

Liquidity percentile vs. S&P 500 stocks: 100%

Source: Goldman Sachs



1. American Airlines Group

Ticker: AAL

Sector: Industrials

Market cap: $6.6 billion

Year-to-date performance: -54%

Liquidity percentile vs. S&P 500 stocks: 100%

Source: Goldman Sachs





  • Global markets were mixed Friday as investors seek direction with the US markets closed in observance of of the Fourth of July public holiday. 
  • Chinese stocks hit a five-year high as stronger than expected PMI data out of the world's second biggest economy boosted sentiment.
  • In Europe, stocks dropped a little, although there was no immediately apparent key driver to the moves.
  • Liquidity was thin with few US investors online during the day.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Global stocks painted a confused picture on Friday as the US holiday for the Fourth of July caused thin liquidity in markets, and upbeat Chinese PMI data pushed Chinese stocks to a five-year high. 

US markets are closed on Friday because of the holiday, leaving markets in Europe and other areas of the western world looking somewhat listless.

In Asia, China's Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 (CSI300) closed at its highest level in five years at 4419.60 after stronger than expected data out of the country's service sector.

China's services PMI — a closely watched economic survey — hit a 10-year high on Friday in the latest sign that the country's economic recovery as it comes out of the worst of its coronavirus crisis is accelerating.

Read More: A 22-year market vet explains why stocks are headed for a 'massive reset' as the economy struggles to recover from COVID-19 — and outlines why that will put mega-cap tech companies in serious danger

China's Caixin Services Purchasing Managers Index hit 58.4 for in June. The previous reading for May was 55. 

In Europe, the EuroStoxx 600 Index pared earlier gains as France's prime minister resigned.

Here's the market roundup as of 12.08 p.m in London (7.08 a.m. ET):

  • Asian indexes were up with China's Shanghai Composite up 2%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng up 1%, and Japan's Nikkei up 0.7%.
  • European equities were down, with Germany's DAX down 0.3%, Britain's FTSE 100 down 1%, and the Euro Stoxx 50 down 0.5%.
  • US futures are mixed. Futures underlying the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.2% the S&P 500 is down 0.2%  and the Nasdaq is flat. US real-time markets will not open until Monday.
  • Oil prices fell. West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude are both down 1.3%.
  • The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield fell to 0.67%.
  • Gold rose 0.1% to $1,788 per ounce.

Markets were also confused whether to focus on upbeat Non-Farm Payrolls data that came out on Thursday, or rising coronavirus infections worldwide, and particularly in the US. 

American businesses added 4.8 million jobs duringJun e, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That exceeded the 3 million new jobs expected by economists surveyed by Bloomberg and represents the second straight month of job additions during the coronavirus induced recession. 

Ahead of the May jobs report, economists were predicting job losses of 7.5 million instead of an addition of 2.5 million new jobs that emerged in that month's job report. 

Continued optimism on a vaccination was also in part driving markets for another session. 

Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia-Pacific, at OANDA, said: "Pleasingly, some real progress appears to be being made on the Covid-19 vaccine front. By my count this week alone, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna, along with their partners, are all on the verge of commencing phase III mass trials."

Read More: The most accurate tech analyst on Wall Street says these 6 stocks have potential for huge gains as they transform the sector

"My anti-black swan for 2020 has been, that a vaccine appears in Q4 2020 with immediate deployment thereafter."

On Wednesday Pfizer revealed positive early-stage trial results for its coronavirus vaccine.

Pfizer said patients created between 1.8 and 2.8 times the antibodies seen in those who have recovered from COVID-19. 

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  • Multi-strategy hedge funds have made massive gains in the first six months of the year aided by the Federal Reserve's efforts to prop up financial markets, according to the Financial Times. 
  • The big winners were: Chicago-based Citadel Advisors, Izzy Englander's Millennium Management, and Dmitry Balyasny's Balyasny Asset Management.
  • Their double-digit gains indicate that the pandemic caused a massive split between more prominent hedge funds and the smaller ones.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Multi-strategy hedge funds have posted substantial gains for the first half of 2020 despite being unprepared for what hit them in March, the Financial Times reported on Friday. 

During the start of the pandemic, the Federal Reserve stepped in to save the US economy from the pandemic by rolling out new efforts almost weekly since then by slashing rates to zero and re-activating large scale asset purchases.

After the Fed's boost, the big multi-strategy hedge fund winners were Citadel Advisors, Millennium Management and Balyasny Asset Management, the FT said.

These funds posted double-digit gains in the first six months, according to the FT:

(AUM: Assets under management)

  • Citadel Advisors: Gained 1.7% in June in its flagship Wellington fund. Up 13.3% year-to-date. (AUM: $30 billion)
  • Millennium Management: Gained 2.9% in June. Up 10% in the first half of the year. (AUM: $42 billion)
  • Balyasny Asset Management: Gained 2.5% in its Atlas Enhanced fund in June. Up 15% year-to-date. (AUM: $6.8 billion)
  • Point72 Asset Management: Gained 1% in June. Up 3.9% year-to-date. (AUM: $14 billion) 

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Multi-strategy funds are designed in a manner to be less exposed to financial market volatility with long and short positions sized equally across portfolios. 

Their risks are monitored to steer clear from trades with potential massive losses and to run winning bets. 

The gains posted by these funds add to concerns that the pandemic caused a split between big hedge funds and the smaller ones, FT said.

While many large funds were able to attract investors and make money, smaller ones were left in the lurch. 

Their double-digit wins are much higher than the average 1% posted by other funds this year to July 1, the newspaper said citing data from HFR.

In the first half of the year, the S&P 500 was down 4%.

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SEE ALSO: Goldman Sachs says global oil demand won't rebound to pre-coronavirus crisis levels until at least 2022

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  • Goldman Sachs predicts global oil demand will not return to pre-coronavirus levels until 2022 after a fall of 8% in 2020 and a rebound of 6% in 2021.
  • Analysts said peak demand is unlikely this decade on the assumption that electric-vehicles will replace traditional modes in Europe, and a change in consumer behaviour reflected by a level shift down in business travel and commuting.
  • Gasoline demand is expected to be the fastest to recover among oil products due to a transition in consumer behaviour from public commutes to private transport and increased use of cars compared to flights for domestic travel.
  • The projection comes after global oil prices dramatically recovered in May and June after taking a beating in recent months.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Goldman Sachs doesn't expect global oil demand to "fully recover," or jump back to pre-coronavirus levels, until 2022, but says a rebound will be driven by a revival in commuting, private transport and higher spending on infrastructure. 

Global demand will fall by 8% in 2020 and rebound by 6% in 2021, Goldman Sachs analysts said in a note published Thursday.

The "biggest loser" to emerge from the pandemic in terms of fuel demand was jet fuel as air travel time reduced significantly, the analysts said. In the absence of a vaccine, a slump in consumer confidence in travelling could persist with a potential change over the longer term.  

Jet fuel demand will not rebound to pre-crisis levels until 2023, Goldman said.

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Among oil products, gasoline will see the fastest pick-up in demand helped by a shift in consumer behaviour from public commuting to private transport and an increased use of vehicles compared to airlines for domestic travel especially in the US, China and Europe, the analysts said. 

Diesel demand is expected to recover to pre-crisis levels by 2021, pushed by an increase in government-spending on infrastructure. 

The analysts expect electric-vehicle adoption in Europe to challenge diesel demand.

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Screenshot 2020 07 03 at 9.48.20 AM

Goldman Sachs' projection follows global oil prices recovering dramatically in May and June as economies eased lockdown restrictions and opened up across much of the world.

Both benchmark global oil prices rose over 80% in the second quarter, but are still stuck in bear market territory, down more than one-third since the start of 2020.

In a slightly varied forecast, the International Energy Agency expects a global recovery in oil demand by 2021.

The agency adjusted its prior forecast of global Brent crude demand falling by 9.1 million barrels a day since better-than-expected deliveries took place amid easing lockdowns. 

International benchmark Crude was trading at $42.70, down 1% on Friday and US West Texas Intermediate stood at $40.19, down 1.1% in early European trading.

Read More: A 22-year market vet explains why stocks are headed for a 'massive reset' as the economy struggles to recover from COVID-19 — and outlines why that will put mega-cap tech companies in serious danger

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  • China's Caixin Services PMI hit its highest level in a decade in June as economic activity continues to pick up in the first country hit by coronavirus.
  • The services PMI came in at 58.4, up from 55 in May.
  • On Wednesday, the Caixin China manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 51.2 compared to 50.7 in May.
  • The services sector accounts for almost 50% of China's GDP, so it is the latest sign the country's economy is recovering from its coronavirus slowdown. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

China's services PMI — a closely watched economic survey — hit a 10-year high on Friday in the latest sign that the country's economic recovery as it comes out of the worst of its coronavirus crisis is accelerating.

China's Caixin Services Purchasing Managers Index hit 58.4 for in June. The previous reading for May was 55. 

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50 is the separation point for expansion and contraction, so it is the latest sign that economic activity is picking up in China. 

PMI survey data is widely used to track trends in economic activity across the world's biggest economies.

June's result was the highest since April 2010 when China's Caixin Services PMI hit 58.4. 

The services sector in China accounts for almost 50% of the country's GDP, so if it expands, the Chinese economy generally does too.

It is the latest sign that the world's second largest economy, which was first hit by coronavirus through an outbreak in the city of Wuhan, is experiencing an uptick in economic activity. 

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The number of total new businesses also increased at its fastest pace since August 2010. 

On Wednesday, positive news also came in from the manufacturing industry with China's manufacturing activity rising to a six-month high in June. 

The Caixin China manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 51.2 from 50.7 in May. 

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US stocks gained on Thursday after June jobs data beat expectations and further fueled hopes for a near-term economic rebound. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite closed at a record high.

The economy added 4.8 million nonfarm payrolls last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced on Thursday morning. That exceeded the consensus economist forecast of 3 million job additions.

The unemployment rate fell to 11.1% — lower than economists' forecast of 12.5% — from 13.3% in May.

Here's where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. ET market close on Thursday:

Read more: The most accurate tech analyst on Wall Street says these 6 stocks have potential for huge gains as they transform the sector

The jobs report revealed healthy hiring activity during economic-reopening efforts. However, its data doesn't cover recent weeks when coronavirus cases have soared in several states. The surge has some experts fearing a second bout of economic pain.

"High-frequency data suggests that the labor market strength had started to wane later in the month, perhaps as households and businesses grew increasingly cautious about the rise in infection rates," said Seema Shah, the chief strategist at Principal Global Investors.

She added: "Indeed, now, with the closings having been reversed or paused across 40% of the US, July's job report may paint a much weaker story."

Indexes trimmed gains through the morning and largely traded flat in the afternoon following the positive data.

Read more: A 22-year market vet explains why stocks are headed for a 'massive reset' as the economy struggles to recover from COVID-19 — and outlines why that will put mega-cap tech companies in serious danger

Jobless claims fell to 1.43 million in the week that ended on Saturday, a slight decline from 1.48 million the prior week. Continuing claims, which track ongoing unemployment benefits, came in at 19.3 million for the week that ended on June 20.

Tesla stock skyrocketed to a record high after it reported second-quarter deliveries that came in above estimates. The automaker said it delivered roughly 90,650 vehicles in the period, while analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected 72,000 deliveries, according to CNBC.

Lemonade, a tech-driven insurance company, spiked as much as 132% in its trading debut on Thursday. The SoftBank-backed firm raised $319 million in the initial public offering, bringing its total valuation to $1.6 billion.

Boeing helped lift the Dow before paring gains later in the session. Shares bounced after the company completed recertification flights of its troubled 737 Max model.

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Oil prices climbed. West Texas Intermediate crude climbed as much as 2.3%, to $40.74 per barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, gained 2.9%, to $43.23 per barrel, at intraday highs.

Thursday's upswing followed a mixed session for equities. Stocks whipsawed on Wednesday as investors mulled positive COVID-19 vaccine trial results from Pfizer and soaring case counts across the US. June payroll data from ADP came in lower than hoped for, and some feared that Thursday's jobs report would disappoint.

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Brent Bracelin has watched the cloud-computing companies he covers go sky-high this year.

Bracelin is a senior research analyst at Piper Sandler. As of early June, he was the most accurate analyst on Wall Street, according to the rating database TipRanks.

One big reason for that is that in February and March, businesses had a rude awakening about how critical remote work and cloud computing really were.

Bracelin's companies are all business-focused rather than consumer-focused, and he said many of them jumped 100% in value in just a couple of months. That's brought them to a precarious position. And even though Bracelin thinks the next year might be uneven for those companies, he's very enthusiastic about how much more business they're going to win after that.

"Over the last decade, we've gone from 1% to 10% penetration of cloud or digital in enterprise," he told Business Insider in an exclusive interview. "By 2030, we think that that market could go to 50% penetration."

That might make for some difficult calls for a short-term investor. But for someone thinking about investing for five or 10 years, Bracelin's advice is pretty simple: Buy these six stocks when they dip. It doesn't matter that as of Wednesday all six were trading above his price targets, some by huge amounts.

"These have the biggest opportunities, large addressable markets, differentiated technology with competitive moats," he said. "They all have a longer-term potential to be multibillion-dollar businesses and sustain high growth for the next decade."

If that's too complicated, he said you could always keep it simple and invest in Microsoft.

"Microsoft is probably one of the best-positioned companies to capitalize on this whole shift to cloud and AI," he said. "Their cloud business is north of a $50 billion run rate today. We think it could double."

But for investors who are looking for newer and potentially less familiar companies to invest in, Bracelin said these were his "franchise names." 

(1) MongoDB

MongoDB stock has climbed almost 80% this year, and that's one of the smaller gains on this list. Bracelin said it could become the dominant company in its industry.

"MongoDB is the first database company to come public in 20 years," he said. "They're addressing a $55 billion database software market and have less than 2% penetration, so it's an untapped opportunity essentially to become the next Oracle of the space."

(2) Shopify

Shopify is up 156% this year and left Bracelin's target of $843 a share in the dust in June. On Wednesday it joined an exclusive club of US stocks worth $1,000 per share or more.

Bracelin said there were huge numbers of businesses, including mom-and-pop shops and the 150-year-old Heinz, that would pay for Shopify's e-commerce platform services.

"It's a business that could be a $10 billion, $12 billion kind of business (revenuewise)," he said. That would represent growth of more than 500% from its 2019 total of $1.6 billion.

(3) Twilio

Twilio has more than doubled in value this year, and Bracelin said big companies were flocking to it so they could do a better job of connecting with their customers.

"Twilio is a business that we think could expand to $5 billion, $8 billion in revenue over the next five years," he said. That's up from $1.1 billion last year.

(4) Bill.com

Most small businesses still write checks, Bracelin said, and that means there's a gigantic market for Bill.com's automation services. That helps explain why the stock has rallied 143% in 2020.

"They're automating that whole back-end process for a small business and also layering in the ability to do digital payments," he said.

(5) Veeva Systems

Veeva Systems is up 72% this year, and Bracelin praised the company's services as well as its high profit margins and growth potential.

"They just, in the last five years, not only kind of automated and modernized the front office for life-sciences companies, but now they're automating the back office as well," he said.

(6) Coupa Software

Coupa stock has soared 96% so far this year. Bracelin said that like a few other companies on this list, its products are strong enough that they're starting to overcome businesses' reluctance to change their conservative spending habits. 

"They're automating the procurement process for a large enterprise," he said. "Bill.com is automating the back office for a small business. I think of Coupa as automating the back office for a large enterprise."

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  • Palantir said it sold more than $500 million in stock to private investors and hopes to sell about $400 million more. 
  • The company was said to be preparing for a September IPO, and it's unclear how the new funding affects those plans. 
  • As a data-analytics company cofounded by a Trump confidant that works with US immigration agencies, the startup has also found itself in controversy. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Palantir, the secretive data-analytics company cofounded by Peter Thiel, is raising nearly $1 billion as it works toward a possible public offering.

In a regulatory filing Wednesday, the company said its raised $549.7 million from unnamed investors since early March and hopes to sell up to $411.4 million more for a grand total of $961.1 million worth of stock.

Bloomberg reported in June that Palantir was planning to file a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an IPO as soon as September. As TechCrunch notes, it's not clear if this fundraising round has anything to do with those plans. The private placements could also hint at a direct listing instead of a traditional IPO, something that's been gaining steam among tech companies like Spotify and Slack.

Palantir's value has also appeared to shrink in recent years, with shares hitting secondary markets at heavy discounts. The company in June lowered the strike price for employees to buy their contract options. In 2015, Palantir was valued as much as $20 billion but secondary shares have hinted at valuations between $8 billion and $12 billion.

At the same time, the company's work — and Trump-supporting cofounder — have only become more controversial. The company's approach to finding big patterns in data sets has found a niche among law enforcement for filtering through phone records, photos, vehicle information, financial transactions, and more. It's also made significant revenue from contracts with the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency, whose agents are said to use Palantir's apps.

Met with protests at its Silicon Valley office, cofounder Joe Lonsdale said in 2019 that Palantir "is probably the most patriotic company in the Valley. It's done amazing work for the US government."

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Lemonade CEO Daniel Schreiber

  • Lemonade, a tech-driven insurance company backed by SoftBank, soared 132% in its trading debut on Thursday.
  • The company had set its IPO price at $29, representing a market valuation of $1.6 billion.
  • It was valued at $2.1 billion in its 2019 funding round.
  • Lemonade raised $319 million in its IPO.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Investors turned lemons into lemonade on Thursday as they bid up shares of Lemonade, a tech-driven insurance company, more than 130% in its trading debut.

Lemonade, which is backed by SoftBank, focuses on digitizing the process of obtaining homeowners and renters insurance.

In late June, it priced its initial public offering at a range of $23 to $26. Lemonade later raised its IPO price and went public at $29 per share, which was also above the expected range of $26 to $28 from early Thursday morning, signaling that investors are hungry for technology companies.

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The IPO raised $319 million for the tech company and valued it at $1.6 billion. It was valued at $2.1 billion in its 2019 funding round, representing a 23% decline.

Lemonade began trading at 11:34 a.m. and opened at $50.06.

At its peak on Thursday, Lemonade stock traded up as much as 132%, at $67.46, representing a market valuation of $3.7 billion, well ahead of its 2019 funding round.

Read more: Cathie Wood's firm built 3 of the world's best ETFs, which all doubled in value within 3 years. She told us her 3-part process for spotting underappreciated technologies before they explode.

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