David Fuller and Eoin Treacy's Comment of the Day
Category - General

    Blackstone's Fourth-Quarter Profit Rises 86% as Hilton, Holdings Gain

    This article by Melissa Mittelman for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    Shares of Blackstone rose 1.7 percent to $31.14 at 9:58 a.m. in New York, extending gains this year to 16 percent.

    Blackstone, led by Chief Executive Officer Steve Schwarzman, sold $3.8 billion of private equity holdings during the quarter, including part of its stakes in food-service distributor Performance Food Group Co. and cement maker Summit Materials Inc. Its real estate business, which oversees $102 billion, disposed of $3.5 billion in assets, including the DoubleTree hotel in London, the Burlington hotel in Dublin and the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

    Hilton, Blackstone’s biggest public holding, jumped 19 percent during the quarter. The firm has been paring its Hilton stake through share sales and through an agreement to sell about $6.5 billion of the stock to China’s HNA Group.

    Those private equity and real estate sales helped fuel $691.8 million of distributable earnings, which reflect cash profits on asset disposals and fund management fees, compared with $878 million a year earlier. Blackstone said it will pay stockholders a dividend of 47 cents a share on Feb. 13. 


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    Dow Jones Breaks 20,000 For First Time Ever and Global Stocks Hit 19-Month High as Markets Reignite Trump Rally

    The Dow Jones smashed the landmark 20,000 barrier for the first time ever this afternoon as optimism about Trump’s pro-growth policies boosted financial markets.

    Resuming a rally that began in the wake of Donald Trump’s shock US presidential election win, the index rose by as much as 0.73pc to 20,057.89.

    The rally was reignited by Trump’s signing of numerous executive orders since his inauguration on Friday. Last night, he also tweeted about his intention to build a wall on the Mexican border.

    The Dow Jones has surged by more than 10pc since November and it came within a whisker of touching the historic 20,000 mark on January 6. It fell in the run up to Trump’s inauguration as traders grew cautious of his protectionist policies and sought clarity on the administration’s new policies.

    It has taken the index just two short months, or 42 sessions, to climb from the first close above 19,000 to 20,000. It’s worth noting the rise between 18,000 and 19,000 took some 483 trading sessions.

    The biggest winners of the Trump rally include investment banks Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, rising by 34pc and 26pc, respectively, amid hopes Trump’s fiscal stimulus package will trigger inflation and stoke a rise in interest rates.

    Neil Wilson, of ETX Capital, said: "It’s psychologically huge and, after a bit of pullback ahead of the inauguration, really confirms that the ‘great rotation' from bonds to stocks is definitely upon us. Fears about protectionism are running second to optimism about inflation and growth – for now at least." 

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    The End of Terrible Wi-Fi ls Near

    Everybody hates Wi-Fi. The boxes are ugly, and it never seems to work when you need it. But just when you thought wireless internet was unfixable, the most boring and hated appliance in your house may be on the verge of actually, um, working.

    Many of today’s devices are overcoming the design and technological flaws that marred the industry throughout its existence. The latest gadgets boast more effective antennas and do a better job cutting through radio interference. Some just look nicer than the hideous routers of yesteryear, with their thicket of wires, blinking lights and plastic parts akimbo.

    A review of four newly released devices that employ the latest home-wireless technologies showed impressive results. In Bloomberg’s tests, the wireless routers were dramatically more reliable than their predecessors and attractive enough to earn a place on the mantle.

    Looks matter more than you might think. Most people tuck routers under a desk or behind a cabinet to hide their unsightly fixtures. This would be OK, if not for the laws of physics. Every wall, desk or dresser that stands between the router and whatever gadget is trying to connect to it degrades the signal. Ideal placement is in the middle of a room, with no obstructions to allow wireless signals to move freely.

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    Canada Faces Era of Pipeline Abundance After Keystone Move

    This article by Robert Tuttle for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    More pipelines from Canada would also “generate greater competition for crudes of comparable quality such as those imported from Mexico or Venezuela,” Harry Tchilinguirian, head of commodity-markets strategy at BNP Paribas SA in London, said in an instant message.

    The administration moved to expedite approval and construction of the Keystone XL pipeline as well as the Dakota Access line through North Dakota. Trump said he wanted to renegotiate terms to get a better deal for the U.S., including more U.S.-made materials in the lines.

    The 830,000-barrel-a-day Keystone XL has been blocked since it was first proposed in 2008. TransCanada said in a statement it will reapply for the project.


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    Chan Zuckerberg Initiative's AI Acquisition Will Make Science Free for All

    This article from Futurism.com may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    But the importance of Meta in the context of making science accessible to everyone is anchored in its AI-driven technology. Thousands of scientific papers are published every day, and the sheer volume of available data means it’s hard to whittle it down to what’s most important to individual studies. Ultimately, access is just one part of the challenge. For access to information to truly empower the scientific community, one has to be able to systematically analyze and review all the available data available. That’s where Meta comes in. It can easily find the most relevant material that will further the research in a fraction of the time it would take a human.

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    Fed Debate Over $4.5 Trillion Balance Sheet Looms in 2017

    This article by Christopher Condon for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    The dollar is a particular source of worry for U.S. policy makers, having appreciated 23 percent since mid-2014. The Fed expects to keep tightening while central banks in Japan and Europe hold steady or consider more accommodation. That could further strengthen the greenback and introduce a headwind for U.S. growth.

    “Slowing down the economy a little bit at the long end of the market has some benefits if you think primarily that exchange rates are driven by short-term interest rates,” Rosengren said. “You might want some of the removal of accommodation to come at the long end, which would be done by the balance sheet.”

    The Boston Fed released research on Jan. 19 that backs up this view of exchange rates and the yield curve. Former Fed economist Roberto Perli was more skeptical, pointing to global demand for longer-term U.S. Treasuries.

    “If long U.S. rates were to increase significantly as a result of balance sheet shrinking, there would still be large inflows into U.S. assets, which would support the dollar,” said Perli, a partner at Washington consulting firm Cornerstone Macro LLC.


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