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Reuters

Seduced by Archegos' growth, Nomura took a chance on Hwang comeback

U.S. investor Sung Kook "Bill" Hwang was looking for a second chance on Wall Street after falling from grace and shutting his multibillion-dollar hedge fund firm. Japan's Nomura Holdings Inc gave him one. Nomura had previously had a relationship with Hwang's Tiger Asia Management LLC before the investment firm shut down in 2012 after being punished by U.S. and Hong Kong regulators over insider trading of Chinese stocks.

Reuters

In Huawei extradition case, arguments wrap up about alleged U.S. international law violation

A branch of arguments in Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou’s bid to stop her extradition to the United States from Canada ended on Thursday with a prosecutor saying her lawyers had an "impoverished" view of the facts over their assertion U.S. authorities violated international law. Meng, 49, was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 on a U.S. warrant for bank fraud.

Reuters

Greensill insurance mystery turns up the heat on Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse told investors the debt in its $7.3 billion finance fund was low risk because it was insured but the bank failed to ensure the policies would pay out, two sources told Reuters. When Japan's Tokio Marine, the company insuring the debt, declined to renew its coverage with Greensill Capital last month, Credit Suisse was forced to liquidate the fund and said this may have a material impact on its results and reputation. The bank's shares have fallen by almost a quarter in the past month as it deals with the fallout from Greensill and the impact of losses at its prime brokerage division caused by the stricken U.S. fund Archegos.

Reuters

Analysis - In China's small cities, home buyers suffer as debt-ridden developers fail to finish projects

In Zhuozhou, a small city in China's north, Zhu has stopped making mortgage payments on her apartment after its developer did not build a promised rail line that would have allowed residents to commute to Beijing for work. The accountant is one of some 1,000 home owners in the housing project who ceased payments in anger last year, according to Zhu and two other buyers campaigning for compensation who spoke with Reuters. "I didn't do anything wrong, so why do I have to bear all the consequences?" said Zhu.

CoinDesk

Crypto as a Payment System? Here We Go Again

How many users will take advantage of PayPal’s Crypto at Checkout feature? Skepticism is warranted, given the technology’s track record in commerce, says CoinDesk's Executive Editor.

Reuters

In Huawei extradition case, arguments wrap up about alleged U.S. international law violation

A branch of arguments in Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou’s bid to stop her extradition to the United States from Canada ended on Thursday with a prosecutor saying her lawyers had an "impoverished" view of the facts over their assertion U.S. authorities violated international law. Meng, 49, was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 on a U.S. warrant for bank fraud.

Bloomberg

Biden’s Latest Surprise Boost for Oil Involves Lots of Asphalt

(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden, who made clean energy a core tenet of his campaign, plans to set off one more oil-sector boom before shadows descend on fossil fuels.In a $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal unveiled Wednesday, Biden earmarked $115 billion for roads and bridges, and another $16 billion to put laid-off oilfield laborers to work plugging abandoned wells across the nation. Those are in addition to sweeping investments in electric vehicles and renewable power, sectors more in keeping with the administration’s green tinge.Since taking office two months ago, Biden’s been more boon than bane for a fossil-fuel industry that was wary of the ascendance of a politician bent on accelerating the energy transition. Instead, the president’s focus on things like expediting Covid-19 vaccinations and clamping down on reckless environmental practices have had the effect of boosting fuel demand and capping price-killing growth in domestic oil output. In the infrastructure blueprint, the biggest benefit for oil explorers and refiners would come from the expected jump in demand for asphalt to repair crumbling highways and pave new ones. Because asphalt is derived from the heaviest and most-dense material in a barrel of crude, Canada’s oil-sands producers may be the biggest winners, given their status as the source of some of the globe’s thickest petroleum.Plugging old wells and securing defunct coal mines -- some of which have been abandoned for more than a century in places like Pennsylvania -- would mean paychecks for workers thrown out of high-paying jobs during the back-to-back oil busts that kicked off in 2014. Although details remain scant on how the broad-brush plan will be implemented, the oft-opposing forces of fossil fuels and environmentalism lauded many of the measures laid out in Biden’s plan.“It’s absolutely historic,” Collin O’Mara, president of the National Wildlife Foundation, said of the plan to address abandoned wells and mines. “We realize that by working together we actually share more common goals than have been previously understood.”Out of WorkThe lobbying group that represents more than 700 oilfield service and equipment makers was also pleased with the initial scope of the plan to put hired hands of the shale patch back to work again.“There are plenty of companies that would really want to engage on this,” said Tim Tarpley, senior vice president for government affairs at the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. “I do think it would be an economic help; how big of a help that’s going to be is going to depend on the details that we unfortunately don’t have yet.”North American oil explorers are still recovering from last year’s historic crude crash and pledging to restrain production growth for the sake of investor-friendly measures such as dividends. Home to the world’s third-biggest oil workforce, the U.S. saw an 11% cut to headcount in 2020 that reduced the ranks of employed to just under 1 million, according to Rystad Energy. Another 10,000 or so job cuts are expected this year, the energy-data provider has forecast.‘Elated’Canada’s oil-sands industry was among the hardest hit sections of the industry when Covid-19 and a worldwide glut of crude crashed prices last year. Now, assuming some or all of Biden’s wish list is granted, heavy crude from Western Canada may be poised for a rebound.“The asphalt industry should be elated with Biden’s plan to upgrade 20,000 miles of roads in the U.S.,” said Charles Kemp, a senior consultant at Baker & O’Brien Inc. “However, this announcement favors heavier oil production from outside of the U.S., which contains roughly double the amount of asphalt versus the asphalt content in light crudes from U.S. domestic production.”Still, Biden’s plan may not translate into higher profits for oil companies, given that the flip side of the spending plan includes corporate tax increases to fund all the new work.Tax Burden“The well-capping support is great for well-servicing companies and will add jobs,” James West, an analyst at Evercore ISI, said in an email. “However, the corporate tax hike adds another burden to the U.S. oil industry which probably overwhelms the good news.”Even market observers aren’t expecting an immediate payoff.”We’re a long way away from the market trying to price in” the ramifications of the infrastructure plan, said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. “Typically, infrastructure spending happens over eight to 10 years, so it’s going to take a long time for that to get into implementation, much less priced into the market.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Reuters

Airbus and Dassault reach tentative deal on FCAS fighter, source says

Industrial partners including Airbus and Dassault Aviation have reached a tentative deal on the European FCAS fighter project after weeks of deadlock over workshare and other topics, a person close to the matter said on Friday. The agreement, first reported by La Tribune, paves the way for talks to resume at a political level among the project's three government backers, France, Germany and Spain, the source said. Airbus and Dassault both declined to comment.

Bloomberg

Europe’s World-Beating Equity Rally Thrives Where Others Falter

(Bloomberg) -- The spike in bond yields this year may have spooked many global equity investors, but fans of the historically underperforming European market are winning big.The blue-chip Euro Stoxx 50 Index has surged 11% this year, outpacing other major market benchmarks including the S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq Composite Index. A predominance of cheap and cyclical shares has turned from bane to boon for Europe as fund managers focus on the recovery from the pandemic and fret over frothy valuations.The likes of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Amundi, the region’s biggest asset manager, say that European stocks can outperform the U.S. this year despite concerns over the slow vaccination pace and lockdowns in major economies like France and Italy. Even as it flirts with a record high, the broader Stoxx Europe 600 Index trades at a discount of about 21% to the S&P 500 on the basis of its 12-month forward earnings.“Europe is indeed well-positioned to benefit from an environment of economic growth accelerating and rising rates,” said Kasper Elmgreen, head of equities at Amundi, which oversees about 1.4 trillion euros ($1.65 trillion) in assets. “I expect European outperformance to continue.”Value and cyclical sectors rallied strongly in the first quarter, with the Stoxx 600 gauges for autos, lenders, and travel and leisure up around 20%. Europe not only benefits from its discount valuations and the strong presence of banking stocks, but also from being one of the least crowded equity regions globally, according to JPMorgan strategists. The Stoxx 600 has lagged the S&P 500 in all but two years of the past decade.“We believe that this year the U.S. will not be an outright regional leader. In fact, we think Eurozone should outperform the U.S.,” the strategists led by Mislav Matejka said in a note. “The valuation case remains appealing.”JPMorgan is overweight on banks, saying it’s the sector that’s most positively correlated to rising bond yields and an economic recovery. Financials have the heaviest weighting in the Stoxx 600 among industry groups, comprising about 16% of the benchmark, compared with around 11% for the S&P 500.Investors have been putting their money where their mouths are, with allocation to euro-area equities increasing to a net 30% overweight in March, according to a Bank of America Corp. survey, the highest reading since August 2020. By comparison, U.S. stocks had a net 9% overweight.Historical trends are also supportive of further gains for Europe. The Stoxx 600 tends to post bigger returns in April than in any other month, looking at the average over the past 25 years.To be sure, Europe’s rally in 2021 faces some risks beyond the current vaccine and virus woes. Bank of America expects stock gains to start fading after the macroeconomic cycle peaks in the third quarter. And Mike Bell, a global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, sees European bond yields rising less than in the U.S., which is why he prefers American value shares.“I’m frankly a bit surprised that European stocks have done so well,” Bell said in a phone interview. “It’s more of a catch-up trade rather than a rotation.”For the rally to continue, European companies need to deliver profit growth, said Paul Markham, a global equities portfolio manager at Newton Investment Management. There’s good reason to believe that can happen after a record number of companies beat earnings expectations in the fourth quarter.Plus, the bungled vaccine rollout is likely just a temporary setback for the region, according to Wei Li, global chief investment strategist at the BlackRock Investment Institute. Once shots are more widely available in Europe, investors can count on accelerated growth through next year, she said.“I expect a very meaningful economic and earnings recovery,” said Amundi’s Elmgreen. “There is significant pent-up demand at a time when monetary and fiscal policy is very supportive.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Bloomberg

Volcanoes and Hurricanes Become Destinations for Ethical Money

(Bloomberg) -- Catastrophe bonds are being hailed as the next frontier for socially responsible investing.Such debt, which insures against natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and pandemics, is gaining traction with investors looking to brandish their ethical credentials. Proponents say the notes fit the bill because they provide humanitarian relief and spread the cost of protection.They are still a niche part of a booming global market for social debt, which funds projects to help society, with a proliferation of new asset types. The European Union’s record-breaking social debt sales have helped ethical offerings account for more than one in five bond deals in the region this year.“Reliable contingency financing for disasters is a very important tool for society,” said Joanna Syroka, senior underwriter and director of new markets at Fermat Capital Management in London. “We’ve seen an increase in inquiries from end-investors who want to understand what ESG means in insurance-linked securities over the past year.”Investors Face Baffling $2 Trillion Rainbow of Ethical DebtSo far catastrophe bond issuance totals $36.3 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s a drop in the ocean of an ethical debt market now worth over $2 trillion. Yet the potential for investment is surging as net assets of environmental, social and governance funds in Europe jumped 37% last year to 1.2 trillion euros ($1.4 trillion), while conventional funds grew less than 5%, according to a report by the European Fund and Asset Management Association.Typically popular among those seeking higher yields and uncorrelated returns to other assets, catastrophe bonds are now tapping into mainstream demand for ESG investments. In a first of its kind, the Danish Red Cross last week sold $3 million of bonds to provide dedicated insurance against volcanic eruptions.“Being prepared for emergencies is not only a clear commitment to help, but also proves impressively that the capital market can live up to its social responsibility through CAT bonds,” said Nico Rischmann, co-founder of Plenum Investments, which bought the volcano bond.David Howden, chief executive of Howden Group Holdings, which brokered the deal, called it a “humanitarian service” and said that replicating the bond structure in other areas would be “beneficial to the world.”Bond Investor Revolt Brews Over Bogus Green Debt Flooding MarketInnovation in catastrophe bonds will be welcomed, provided it’s well thought out and structured, according to Fermat’s Syroka. The market has been criticized for failing to divert money fast enough to battle deadly waves of Ebola and Covid-19.“Many investors aren’t aware of the many different elements of the machinery that must function properly to get socially-positive outcomes,” said Glen Yelton, head of ESG client strategy for North America at Invesco in Atlanta. “Catastrophe bonds support the affordability of insurance coverage and that function will become increasingly important down the road with the impact of climate change.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Barrons.com

BioNTech Stock Has Surged on Covid Vaccine. Its Next Big Hit Might Take a While.

Dr. Ugur Sahin, the German professor who co-founded the biotech firm (BNTX), is a multibillionaire, at least on paper. American depositary receipts of BioNTech (BNTX) are up more than 235% since the start of 2020. BioNTech expects revenue of more than $11 billion from the 1.4 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses that it and Pfizer are contracted to deliver this year.

Bloomberg

One in Four Small U.K. Exporters Halt EU Sales Amid Brexit Costs

(Bloomberg) -- One in four small U.K. exporters have halted sales to the European Union because of red tape caused by Brexit, according to a survey published Monday.The polling by the Federation of Small Businesses adds to concern that leaving the EU is further damaging the economy by reducing trade and increasing costs. Official figures show exports and imports fell sharply after Britain completed its withdrawal from the bloc on Dec. 31.“What we hoped would prove to be teething problems are in danger of becoming permanent, systemic ones,” said FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry. “While larger firms have the resources and bandwidth to overcome them regardless, smaller traders are struggling, and considering whether exports are worth the effort anymore.”The survey found that 23% of exporters have temporarily halted sales to EU customers. A further 4% have decided to stop selling into the bloc permanently after new trading rules took effect from the start of the year.The vast majority of those doing business with Europe have been hit by shipment delays or loss of goods, and many are considering whether to establish a presence in an EU country to ease their exporting process, according to the survey of almost 1,500 firms.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Reuters

Credit Suisse shares rally while Archegos ripples spread

TOKYO/ZURICH (Reuters) -Credit Suisse shares rose on Thursday, ending a losing streak in which they shed close to a fifth of their value, though the lender is yet disclose how much it lost in trades for stricken U.S. fund Archegos. Defaults on margin calls by Archegos Capital, a family office run by former Tiger Asia manager Bill Hwang, caused a clutch of banks to rapidly unwind billions of dollars of his leveraged trades. Credit Suisse and Japan's Nomura have borne the brunt of those losses, with the Swiss lender warning it could have a "material impact" on its profits, but details of who else was exposed to Hwang are still emerging.

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