Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley Sell a Massive $19 Billion Worth of Shares in Chinese Tech and US Media Companies

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have reportedly sold $19 billion worth of shares in Chinese tech and US media companies. Traders are now wondering what caused the unusually massive move and whether it will continue next week.

Goldman Sachs alone liquidated $10.5 billion worth of stocks in block trades on Friday, Bloomberg reported citing the investment bank’s email to clients. The first batch, that included $6.6 billion worth of shares of Baidu, Tencent Music Entertainment Group and Vipshop Holdings, was sold before the market opened on Friday. Later that day, the bank reportedly managed the sale of $3.9 billion worth of shares in American media conglomerates ViacomCBS and Discovery, as well some other companies, such as Farfetch, iQiyi and GSX Techedu.

Another US investment bank involved in the block trades, which are believed to have wiped $35 billion off affected firms’ valuations in just one day, was Morgan Stanley. The investment bank offered two batches of shares worth $4 billion each on Friday, according to the Financial Times.

While block trades, when sellers are looking for buyers for large volumes of securities at a price sometimes negotiated privately between the two parties, are a common thing, the scale of Friday’s moves raised eyebrows.

I’ve never seen something of this magnitude in my 25-year career,” portfolio manager at Swiss-based Bellevue Asset Management AG, Michel Keusch, told Bloomberg.

Another portfolio manager, Frederik Hildner, who works at Germany-based Salm-Salm & Partner GmbH, said the sale was “unprecedented.”

Senior vice president at Wealthspire Advisors, Oliver Pursche, called the move “highly unusual,” adding that the market participants are now wondering if another wave of block trades could hit the market on Monday and Tuesday, causing wild price swings in the affected stocks.

Another issue is the unclear nature of those trades. Goldman Sachs explained the sales with “forced deleveraging,” the Financial Times wrote citing people with knowledge of the matter. The outlet also said that the move could indicate that a big hedge fund or family office faced some serious problems.

Meanwhile, CNBC reported the selling pressure in some US media and Chinese stocks was linked to the forced liquidation of positions held by family investment office Archegos Capital Management. The lack of details about the move makes the situation worrisome, Pursche said, as investors don’t know “whether this was the liquidation of just one fund or more than a fund, or whether it was a fund liquidation to begin with and the reason behind it.”

Source: RT

Final Presidential Debate before 2020 Presidential Election: Donald Trump vs. China Joe

President Trump trounced Joe Biden during their final debate Thursday night in Nashville, Tennessee. It wasn’t even close. Biden was looking at his watch because he couldn’t wait to get the hell out of the ring (I’m also told the debate took place in the middle of a Matlock marathon.) I was looking at my watch because I didn’t want it to end.

A quick word on the muting the microphones…

You put boundaries around a filmmaker like Michael Cimino, you get classics like Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and the Deer Hunter. You take away those boundaries, you get Heaven’s Gate.

You put boundaries around a Dennis Hopper, you get a classic like Easy Rider. You take away those boundaries, you get a disaster like The Last Movie.

Trump is an artist. He needs boundaries. Threatening to mute his microphone helped him and hurt Biden. It hurt Biden because interrupting (something he did a half dozen times in the first debate before Trump ever interrupted him) is the only debate tactic Biden has. Go back and watch his 2012 vice presidential debate with Paul Ryan.

Trump doesn’t  need to interrupt to win a debate. He’s a gifted debater. The threat to mute the microphones took away Biden’s only go-to move and  forced Trump to win on substance and facts.

One more observation before we get to China Joe’s lies.

Last night, Trump was forced to defend his record, to explain it… And because he has a very good record as president, he was able to.

Because Joe Biden has a terrible record, he was forced to lie… To tell 11 bald-faced whoppers, and here they are… All of Biden’s quotes below come directly from last night’s debate. [emphasis mine throughout]

  1. No One Lost Their Insurance Under ObamaCare

BIDEN:  “That’s why I did not — not one single person, private insurance, would lose their insurance under my plan, nor did they under Obamacare. They did not lose their insurance, unless they chose they wanted to go to something else.”

FACT: Up to six million people lost their private health insurance plan after Obamacare became the law of the land, and the reason people lost their private health insurance is the most immoral things about Obamacare… Obamacare outlawed — actually made it illegal, for private insurance to offer private plans that did not live up to Obamacare’s lofty and ridiculous standards. Essentially, Obamacare demands we all, each and every one of us, pay for Cadillac plans that include all kinds of things we don’t need. So if, for instance, you had a reasonably priced catastrophic  plan with a high deductible — and these are perfect plans for the healthy — Obamacare outlawed them.

So many people lost their private plans that even the Obama-loving media were forced to declare Obama’s promise that “no one would lose their insurance or doctor” the Lie of the Year.

  1. America was Cozy with Hitler

BIDEN: “We had a good relationship with Hitler before he in fact invaded Europe, the rest of Europe.”

FACT: This is such a ludicrous lie it’s hardly worth debunking. Franklin Roosevelt was president during Hitler’s rise. Roosevelt became president in 1932. Hitler became Germany’s chancellor in 1934. The president has sole authority over foreign policy, and at no time was Roosevelt fooled by Hitler. He certainly tried to stop and stay out of the European war, but Hitler’s aggression towards our allies and Hitler’s own hatred of America… This is such a stupid lie.

The reason Biden told this lie is what’s most illuminating. Biden is embarrassed that Trump has been able to do something Obama and Biden could not… Get North Korea to stop rattling its war sabers and firing off missiles.

Before Trump took office, North Korea (like ISIS) was on everyone’s mind. Thanks to Trump’s handling of North Korea (and ISIS), we hardly think about it anymore.

Continue Reading at Breitbart News…

See also:

Leaked Documents Reveal Right-Wing Oligarch Plot to Overthrow Mexico’s AMLO

Some of the most powerful forces in Mexico are uniting in a campaign to try to topple the country’s first left-wing president in decades, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. And they apparently have support in Washington and on Wall Street.

Known popularly as AMLO, the Mexican leader is a progressive nationalist who campaigned on the promise to “end the dark night of neoliberalism.” He has since implemented a revolutionary vision he calls the “Fourth Transformation,” vowing to fight poverty, corruption, and drug violence — and has increasingly butted heads with his nation’s wealthy elites.

López Obrador has also posed a challenge to the US foreign-policy consensus. His government provided refuge to Bolivia’s elected socialist President Evo Morales and to members of Evo’s political party who were exiled after a Trump administration-backed military coup.

AMLO also held a historic meeting with Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel, and even stated Mexico would be willing to break the unilateral US blockade of Venezuela and sell the besieged Chavista government gasoline.

These policies have earned AMLO the wrath of oligarchs both inside and outside of his country. On June 18, the US government ratcheted up its pressure on Mexico, targeting companies and individuals with sanctions for allegedly providing water to Venezuela, as part of an oil-for-food humanitarian agreement.

The value of the Mexican peso immediately dropped by 2 percent following the Trump administration’s imposition of sanctions.

These opening salvos of Washington’s economic war on its southern neighbor came just days after López Obrador delivered a bombshell press conference, in which he revealed that the political parties that had dominated Mexican politics for the decades before him have secretly unified in a plot to try to oust the president, years before his democratic mandate ends in 2024.

The forces trying to remove AMLO from power include major media networks, massive corporations, sitting governors and mayors, former presidents, and influential business leaders. According to a leaked document, they call themselves the Broad Opposition Block (Bloque Opositor Amplio, or BOA).

And they say they have lobbyists in Washington, financial investors on Wall Street, and major news publications and journalists from both domestic and foreign media outlets on their team.

Read More…

Survey: America’s Most Trusted Brands are USPS, Amazon, Google and PayPal? Only 4% Trust Hollywood!

Although actors and actresses garner endless media coverage — and spend a lot of time telling all of us how they feel about President Trump — Americans don’t trust them.

According to a poll released by Morning Consult, just 4% of Americans trust Hollywood. That’s lower than the number that trust Wall Street (5%) and the U.S. government (7%).

The news media comes in at a dismal 8%.

The nationwide survey found that the most trusted brands in America are: the United States Postal Service; Amazon, Google, PayPal, The Weather Channel, Chick-fil-A, Hershey, UPS, Cheerios, and M&Ms. It is, however, a contest of mediocrity, as no brands were found to be particularly trustworthy, with these 10 brands garnering stamps of approval from just 34-42% of Americans.

But even above those are “your primary doctor” (50%) and the U.S. military (44%).

Americans also believe “extreme weather warnings (36%) and “teachers” (35%).

But Americans do trust two top celebrities… sort of: Tom Hanks came in at 34% and Oprah Winfrey at 27%.

Shockingly (at least to the news media), Trump comes in at 20% on trustability.

Gen Zers are entirely not drinking the Kool-Aid. The survey found them to be distrustful of all things capitalist: corporate America, brands, and companies. They are also conscious of corporate behavior and likely to not purchase from a reliable company that they feel is run unethically,” Fast Company reported. “This is a stark contrast from the nearly two-thirds of baby boomers who trust most companies as their default position; half support reliable companies regardless of ethics.”

Just 15% of Americans believe that religious leaders will do the right thing, though.

Comedian Ricky Gervais nailed exactly how the world feels about Hollywood in his recent appearance on the Golden Globes.

“If you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a political platform to make a political speech,” he told the crowd of limousine liberals, always eager to decry climate change as they jet around the world and tan on gas-guzzling super yachts. “You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything, you know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So, if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your God — and f*ck off. OK?” Gervais said.

Survey respondents were asked “How much do you trust each brand to do what is right?” They could respond a lot, some, not much, not at all, or don’t know. This ranking is determined by share of “a lot” responses. For example, 42.7 percent (ranked #1) of Gen Z consumers trust Google a lot. 44.2% (ranked #1) of Millenials trust Google alot, 39.1% (ranked #2) of Gen Xers, while Boomers did not have Google in the top 25 of their trusted brands.

Check out the full rankings and download the report from Morning Consult.

Source: https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/01/america-hates-hollywood-poll-finds-tinseltown-less-trustworthy-than-government-wall-street-and-trump/

How Every Asset Class, Currency, and Sector Performed in 2019

Another year is in the books, and for investors 2019 was quite the turnaround story.

Despite an early backdrop of heightened volatility, escalating trade tensions, Brexit uncertainty, and calls for a recession, the year progressed in an unexpectedly pleasant fashion. The Fed used its limited arsenal to provide additional stimulus, and global markets soaked it up to extend the decade-long bull run.

By the end of 2019, every major asset class was in the black — and the S&P 500 surged to finish with its best annual return since 2013.

Markets Roundup for 2019

Let’s take a look at major asset classes in 2019, to see how they fared:

Note: all indices here (i.e. S&P 500, Russell 2000, etc.) are using total returns, with dividends re-invested.

The first thing you’ll notice when looking at the above data is that every major asset class had a positive return for the year. The only real difference lies in the magnitude of that positive return.

Even though stocks experienced some of the best gains on the year, the winning asset may be a surprising one: crude oil.

The oil price (WTI) started the year at about $46/bbl and it closed the year at over $61/bbl, good for a 34% gain. And with escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran, energy prices could be shooting even higher in 2020.

Performance by S&P 500 Sector

Strangely enough, rising oil prices did not do enough to buoy energy stocks — the poorest performing S&P 500 sector.

Although oil was up on the year, natural gas actually fell in price by about 26% in 2019. This effectively cancels out the gains made by oil, putting energy producers at the bottom of the list:

Not surprisingly, technology stocks excelled in 2019.

Tech was led by a big bounceback from Apple, a big winner that gained more than 80% over the course of the year. Other strong sectors in the benchmark U.S. index included communication services and financials.

The Currency Game

Now let’s look how currencies moved in 2019.

Below movements are all against the U.S. dollar, with the exception of the U.S. dollar itself, which is measured against a basket of currencies (U.S. Dollar Index):

The biggest currency mover on the year was the Canadian dollar, which jumped over 5% partially thanks to rising oil prices. Meanwhile, the biggest decrease went to the euro, which fell over 2% against the U.S. dollar.

It’s also worthwhile to note that Bitcoin had a particularly strong rebound in 2019, rising over 90% against the U.S. dollar.

Winners and Losers

Finally, we’ve put together a more arbitrary list of winners and losers for the year, incorporating all of the above and more.

Both the Greek and Russian stock markets had banner years, each returning close to 50% in dollar terms. Faux meat brands also captured investors’ imaginations, with Beyond Meat leading the charge. Palladium was a standout commodity, gaining 59% on the year.

We’ve chosen energy stocks as a loser, since they were the poorest performing sector on the S&P 500. Meanwhile, Macy’s and Abiomed were two of the worst large cap stocks to own in 2019.

Source: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/how-every-asset-class-currency-and-sector-performed-in-2019/