Nine Realtor Secrets For Increasing The Value Of Your Home On A Budget

Investment Specialist, Team Denver Homes - RE/MAX Professionals.

If you’ve ever binged a real estate reality TV series, you know how satisfying a before-and-after home reveal can be. With big teams and big budgets, these shows renovate, reconstruct and redesign houses to boost their resale value. It’s entertaining TV, but if you’re an average homeowner, it’s probably not very relevant to your experience. 

Fortunately, you don’t need a lot of money or knowledge to increase the value of your home. Little changes make a big difference — you just need to know what to prioritize. 

Do Your Homework First 

If you’re unsure where to start, search for properties under contract around your neighborhood. Pay attention to days on market, noting which houses went under contract fastest. Look at the photos of those properties. What are the similarities and differences? What changes could you make to your house to replicate the success stories? 

I have a client who goes through this process every time he is about to flip a property in a particular neighborhood. He browses properties that sold for higher than asking, had the shortest days on market or received multiple offers, then tries to identify and recreate the common characteristics in the listings.  

Here are nine effective home improvements you can make to get the most out of any budget. 

For A Modest Budget 

1. Replace the backsplash in the kitchen.

A colorful tile or unique design makes the entire kitchen look more polished, even if you don’t make any other updates. 

2. Repaint dark wood. 

Many homes built in the ‘80s and ‘90s feature medium- to dark-brown wood cabinets and trim that now look outdated. Simply paint the wood white and replace old cabinet handles, hinges and knobs for an immediately brighter, more modern aesthetic. 

3.  Replace baseboards. 

New baseboards refresh a home in a subtle but powerful way. I’ve found that if you walk buyers through a house with new baseboards and a comparable house with old baseboards, they will perceive the first home as newer and more valuable, even if they can’t identify why. 

4. Invest in quality light fixtures.

One of the best ways to spend several hundred dollars is to replace all the light fixtures in your home — or, if you have a limited budget, at least buy one high-end fixture for the dining or living room. It’s hard to believe, but premium light fixtures have a major influence on offer prices. 

I’ve seen clients pay $300 for a dining room chandelier and receive offers for $25,000 higher than the previous week. One client installed an identical fixture in all of his investment properties after seeing how much a buyer loved it in another house. A few of his properties that had been standing on the market for three months received offers just after the update. 

5. Replace window coverings.

If your windows have blinds, leave them as is, but if they have old curtains, replace them with fresh window coverings. New curtains don’t cost much, and they instantly brighten up a room.   

6. Spruce up outdoor space.  

Curb appeal is important when you sell a house. Make small changes, like planting colorful flowers, or bigger investments, like replacing the lawn. Because of pandemic restrictions, buyers often have to wait outside for their turn to view a property, so adding a comfortable sitting area in the yard — even a couple of inexpensive deck chairs — can make a good first impression.

7. Take new photos. 

If you’re working with a realtor and your house hasn’t sold or had an offer in more than 30 days on the market, tell your agent that you want to rearrange the furniture and take new photos of the house. Many times, you will take photos when you list the house and leave them up for the duration of the listing, even if it’s not moving. It’s worth it to spend a few hundred dollars to bring in a stager to rearrange the furniture and a photographer to take new photos. Replace the first photo on the MLS with a new interior shot, and you are likely to generate new interest because it looks like a fresh listing.  

For A Larger Budget 

8. Create more bedrooms. 

When you live in a home, it’s common to want to create more space — for instance, knocking down walls to make rooms larger. But for resale value, creating more bedrooms is usually a better strategy. If you have a 1500-square-foot house with an extra-large room or an office, consider converting the extra space into an additional bedroom. Even if the bedrooms will be smaller as a result, you will likely increase the value of your home. The appraiser will estimate value based on the number of beds and baths, as well as square footage.

9. Add a secondary unit.   

If you own a single-family home with an additional dwelling unit (ADU), or your neighborhood zoning allows you to build one on your property, this will be incredibly attractive to buyers. Make sure the ADU has its own entrance so a buyer could rent it to long-term tenants as a source of income. For example, if you have an ADU in your basement, add a separate exterior door that doesn’t go through the main house. 

You don’t have to spend a lot of money or have any specialized expertise to increase the value of your home. Invest in small upgrades to make a big impact with potential buyers.

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Single-family rents are surging, and investors are flooding the market

A house for rent in Corona Del Mar, California.
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Demand for single-family rental homes is showing no sign of easing up, and that is pushing rents through the roof, especially for the highest-priced properties.

As a result, investors are now flooding into the market again, after falling back a bit during the first year of the Covid pandemic.

Nationally, rents rose 9.3% in August, year over year, up from a 2.2% year-over-year increase in August 2020, according to CoreLogic.

For the first time since before the pandemic hit, all major metropolitan housing markets covered by CoreLogic showed positive rent growth. Miami led the way with a 21% gain, followed by Phoenix at 19% and Las Vegas at 15%.

“Converging economic trends are driving a surge in single-family rent prices, and consumer confidence has driven an uptick in demand for both renters and buyers,” Molly Boesel, economist at CoreLogic, said in a release. “The ongoing preference toward more living space — and slim for-sale inventory — is forcing would-be buyers back into renting, putting significant strain on the single-family rental market.”

The gains have investors rushing to buy and build more rental properties. In the past year there were roughly 43 announcements totaling more than $30 billion in capital targeting U.S. rental housing, according to tracking by John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

“Since some of this is only the equity investment and excludes the debt, and we know of far more than this that is not public info, the real number is much higher,” wrote Danielle Nguyen, senior manager, research at JBREC in a release.

Nguyen cites several reasons for the investor demand:

  • Worldwide bond yields are at historic lows, and investors need yield.
  • Inflation is on the rise, and most investors view rental homes as an inflation hedge.
  • Record high rent growth is supported by high occupancy rates.
  • Renters have demonstrated that they are willing to pay a premium to rent in a new home neighborhood managed by a professional landlord.

That last point is supported by rent growth according to price tier. Lower-priced rentals, (75% or less than the regional median) rose 7.1% in August year over year, up from 2.4% in August 2020. Higher-priced rentals (125% or more than the regional median) climbed 10.5%, up from 2.3% in August 2020, according to CoreLogic.

Even as overall home sales fell back slightly in August, investors made up a larger share of sales than August of 2020, according to the National Association of Realtors. Meanwhile first-time homebuyers, who historically make up about 40% of sales, were at just 29%, the lowest level in more than a decade. Home prices continue to rise sharply, weakening affordability but bolstering demand for rentals.

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Clock is ticking on key muni priorities as Democrats attempt reconciliation deal

Passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill by month end without also reaching a deal on a reconciliation measure may endanger key municipal market priorities.

“Now absolutely is the time,” said Emily Brock, director of the GFOA’s Federal Liaison Center. If lawmakers do not meet the Halloween deadline to pass both the bipartisan infrastructure framework, or BIF, and its companion bill reconciliation, “then it’s going to break down,” Brock said at The Bond Buyer’s California Public Finance conference during a panel titled the Infrastructure Debate.

“If the BIF passes without some element of reconciliation, it’s a done deal and we may never get another bite of the reconciliation apple,” Brock said. “The leverage for getting consensus from the entire Democratic caucus is going to break down and chip away.”

The two measures are linked because moderate Democrats who support the BIF won’t support the reconciliation bill unless it’s trimmed down to $1.5 trillion or even $1.2 trillion from its current $3.5 trillion price tag. Progressive Democrats who support the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill won’t support the BIF unless reconciliation legislation is certain to pass.

The October 31 deadline looms because that’s the day funding expires for surface transpiration programs. The BIF features a $550 billion, five-year reauthorization of the programs.

For Brock and other muni market advocates, the reconciliation bill is key because it would restore tax-exempt advance refundings, a relatively low-cost wish list item that would save issuers billions over the long term. The reconciliation bill also includes a direct-pay bond program and an expansion of bank-qualified debt.

The BIF would inject $1.1 trillion of cash into infrastructure over five years. Funding is important, but more important for many issuers is access to low-cost financing, Brock said.

“Issuers are saying it’s great to have the cash in hand but that if Congress understood the difference between funding and financing we’d be light years ahead by now,” Brock said.

Even if both bills pass, questions about how infrastructure should be financed in the future will remain a key issue as traditional models become exhausted, panelists said.

“This is a one-shot approach, but I prefer more sustainable financing on an ongoing basis,” said Francis Doyle, a vice president and senior client officer with Municipal Finance North America team at SMBC. “The current plans on the table, they’re necessary, they’re very much needed, but they’re not transformational.”

The BIF’s support for public-private partnerships is “one of the most hopeful aspects of these bills,” Doyle added. “If they get passed, the success of the P3 [sector] could build on itself, and next time we could have even greater reauthorization.”

P3s have been shown to be successful in areas like La Guardia Airport and the JFK terminals, said Rick Cosgrove, a partner at Chapman who leads the firm’s public infrastructure/P3 practice.

“This could be a catalyst to push us in a more transformational direction, that’s what I’m hopeful of,” Cosgrove said. “I truly believe that Canada and Europe and even Latin America are ahead of us and [P3s] can be a smarter way to achieve some of the large-scale infrastructure that we need.”

Cosgrove added that traditional funding sources like the gas tax and fare-box revenue are no longer reliable. Enter alternatives like mileage-based user fees, which would see a national pilot program in the BIF, or sales tax-support transit systems like those in California, he said.

“We have many more things we can do and hopefully this will encourage governments across the board to think bigger,” Cosgrove said.

J&J spent $1.4bn on legal move to shield it from talc cancer claims

Johnson & Johnson spent $1.4bn on a contentious legal manoeuvre that created a subsidiary to manage multibillion-dollar claims relating to its talc and placed it into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company’s chief financial officer Joseph Wolk said on Tuesday.

The world’s biggest health products company has faced tens of thousands of lawsuits from plaintiffs alleging that its cosmetic talc product causes cancer. Critics’ argue that the legal move is aimed at limiting future payouts.

Defending the manoeuvre, which has become known as the “Texas two-step”, Wolk reiterated that the company rejects claims its product is carcinogenic.

“While we believe the cases lack merit . . . What we’ve done is acknowledged that there’s an established process that allows companies facing, you know, abusive tort systems to resolve claims in an efficient and equitable manner,” he said.

Carl Tobias, professor of law at University of Richmond, noted that there was little legal precedent for J&J’s “Texas two-step” manoeuvre. “I think the 35,000 plaintiffs and their lawyers are likely to challenge this in the bankruptcy court,” he said.

The disclosure came as J&J increased its 2021 profit forecast following strong third-quarter earnings growth driven by a broad recovery across its main healthcare divisions, as Covid-19 restrictions ease worldwide.

The company, which sold $502m of its Covid-19 vaccine during the quarter, said sales of the jab are on track to reach $2.5bn in 2021, despite facing manufacturing challenges that had led to delays.

The company said it was gearing up to apply to US regulators for full approval for its vaccine ahead of a shift away from not-for-profit sales pricing to more commercial pricing.

J&J added that double-digit growth in sales of its cancer medication Darzalex and several other treatments had helped push third-quarter adjusted earnings per share to $2.60 beyond analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.36.

“Our third-quarter results demonstrate solid performance across Johnson & Johnson, driven by robust above-market results in pharmaceuticals, ongoing recovery in medical devices, and strong growth in Consumer Health,” said Alex Gorsky, chair and chief executive officer.

Shares in J&J jumped by about 3 per cent to $165 following the company’s updated guidance.

The upbeat forecasts come at a turbulent time for J&J, which is also undergoing a leadership transition with Gorsky due to step down as chief executive in January to become executive chair. He will be replaced by Joaquin Duato, vice-chair of J&J’s executive committee.

J&J disclosed net legal expenses jumped to $1.9bn in the third quarter 2021, up from $1.2bn in the same period a year earlier.

J&J expects annual earnings to be between $9.77 and $9.82 per share, up from a previous estimate of $9.60 to $9.70 per share, when adjusted for the impact of acquisitions and divestments.

National Police in Spain Warn of Surge in Cryptocurrency-Related Scams

The National Police have issued a warning for a wave of cryptocurrency-related investment scams in Spain. The amount that has been lost in these kinds of investments recently is €240,000 related to just two complaints. However, there has been a rise in the complaints presented by citizens due to the popularity that these financial instruments are experiencing now.

National Police Warn About Crypto Scams in Spain

The National Police of Spain has issued a warning to citizens about the rise of cryptocurrency-related scams in the last few days. In the two more recent complaints the national police have received alone, crypto investors have lost €240,000 (~$278,385). These two complaints stem from the city of Navarra.

This happens because the market is flooded with companies that offer cryptocurrency investment opportunities guaranteeing a high level of returns. But to guarantee these returns, the companies ask for high amounts of money as an investment. Many of these companies have profiles on social media with thousands of followers, giving an impression of legitimacy to these investors.

They manage to entice investors to put money in these platforms, and then, for a time, their digital platforms show a supposed growth in the capital invested. But when investors try to withdraw these funds, they find that it is impossible to do so. These platforms then ask for huge sums of money to withdraw funds and that is when users know they have been scammed.

How to Avoid Being the Victim of a Scam

The National Police gave a series of recommendations to avoid being the victim of an investment scam. First, it recommended potential investors do research on the background of the company or platform they are trusting with their funds. Users should be sure these companies are solvent, and that they are not mentioned in any alert issued by authorities on investment platforms.

However, if investors find themselves caught in a potential scam, police recommend filing a complaint with the authorities quickly. The police explained that “The immediacy in the detection of the crime committed facilitates its investigation.”

Spain has not been a stranger to the recent cryptocurrency boom. Local media reported that tribunals were being flooded with crypto-related cases last June. But the crypto fever has not permeated to the highest spheres of investing. As of May, the biggest asset managers in Spain were still reluctant about investing in crypto.

What do you think about the National Police warning of cryptocurrency investment scams in Spain? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Healthcare deal flow steady as labor, supply chain strains pose new challenges

Several Midwest-based healthcare borrowers are teeing up a range of taxable, green and acquisition financing deals as reports highlight the COVID-19 pandemic’s lingering effects, creating new obstacles to margin recovery.

This week, OhioHealth Corp. will price $600 million of taxable bonds with a corporate CUSIP and the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics will sell $350 million, including $300 million of self-designated green bonds. Wisconsin-based Aspirus Health Inc. is holding investor calls this week ahead of an Oct. 26 pricing of $209 million to retire interim financing for its acquisition of seven Ascension hospitals.

Each heads into the market as various reports warn of ongoing pandemic-related strains from case surges and problems linked to the pandemic, including labor burnout and skyrocketing supply chain costs that some say require transformative thinking to address.

“The surge in Delta cases has forced hospitals to run operations with fewer workers, causing challenges for recruitment and retention efforts while placing additional strain on operating performance,” Moody’s Investors Service healthcare analyst Lisa Goldstein warned in a special report earlier this month. “To sustain operations and meet increased demand for services, not-for-profit hospitals will need to commit more resources to fill labor shortages, leading to further margin pressure.”

Burnout looms large, hampering recruitment and retention, driving up wages and weighing on profitability, Moody’s said. In some regions, hospitals have suspended elective overnight surgeries due not just to a rise in cases, but also insufficient staffing, resulting in lost revenue. Unlike prior labor shortages, largely focused on nursing, the current woes cross a wide swath of staff.

“Even after the pandemic, competition for labor is likely to continue as the population ages — a key social risk — and demand for services increase,” Moody’s said.

“The pandemic has created a perfect storm of increasing expenses and decreasing revenues,” Lance Robinson, who leads the firm’s performance improvement practice, said in the firm’s annual state of healthcare performance improvement report. “For most institutions, navigating today’s financial and operational challenges and positioning for future growth requires radical change that is achieved only with new thinking and partnerships”

Hospitals need to build relationships with physician groups, insurers, retailers, vendors, and other providers and many don’t have the resources “to evolve on their own,” Robinson wrote. Data used to compile the report from Kaufman Hall, which is advising on the university and Ohio transactions, comes from 73 hospital and health systems.

Rising labor and supply chain expenses come as revenue recovery faces some uncertainty amid case surges. The firm reported all respondents to a survey on strains said they were grappling with staff burnout, difficulty filling vacancies, wage inflation, and high turnover rates while 92% were struggling to fill positions and almost 90% had increased base salaries.

While cardiology services have seen the strongest rebound, just 44% of respondent hospitals said volumes had returned to pre-pandemic levels and 75% said they had experienced adverse revenue cycle impacts during the pandemic, including a higher percentage of Medicaid patients and increased rates of insurance denial. About 66% said they expect permanent workforce changes.

One of Aspirus’ 17 hospitals following its acquisition of seven from Ascension.


Barclays and Citigroup are lead managers on the Columbus-based OhioHealth deal that’s broken into two bullet maturities, one in 2031 and the other in 2041 to advance refund $250 million of debt and cover capital costs including construction of the Pickerington hospital.

The system enjoys a leading market position among its 12 hospitals — with several additional ones operated through affiliations or joint ventures — throughout the state with $5.1 billion of operating revenues and managed to see strong double-digit margin performance for fiscal 2021.

Ahead of the sale, Moody’s Investors Service affirmed its Aa2 rating and stable outlook. Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings affirmed their AA-plus ratings and stable outlook.

OhioHealth’s ratings “reflect the system’s exceptionally strong credit profile as indicated by solid liquidity of $7.2 billion, robust leverage metrics and reliably strong profitability,” Fitch said.

“Labor costs will be elevated given the escalation of local and national competition for staff amid shortages and burnout from the pandemic. The recent surge in COVID patients could strain capacity and require a temporary slowdown in elective procedures,” Moody’s said of the hospital’s strains.

University of Wisconsin hospitals
JPMorgan is running the books on the university health system’s deal that offers a $300 million series of tax-exempt “green” bonds and $50 million of taxable advance refunding debt.

The new money will help finance the Eastpark Medical Center outpatient building being built across from its campus and another facility in Madison. The system plans to seek LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environment Design — certification on the project from the U.S. Green Building Council and Energy Start certification.

The university system plans to post information for investors, but its failure to do so is not considered a default event. The system serves as a teaching arm for the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health based in Madison. It had $3.8 billion of revenue in 2021.

Ahead of the sale, Moody’s affirmed its Aa3 rating and stable outlook and S&P affirmed its AA-minus and stable outlook.

“The ratings reflect our view of UW Health’s strong business position as the state’s only academic medical center, with an integrated medical staff at its flagship facility in Madison and a leading market share in its markets in Wisconsin and northern Illinois,” said S&P analyst Allison Bretz. “The ratings also incorporate our view of UW Health’s solid financial performance through the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting improvement in the balance sheet over the last 18 months.”

Wausau, Wisconsin-based Aspirus will sell its 30-year bonds through the Wisconsin Health and Educational Facilities Authority with Barclays and JPMorgan serving as underwriters. Proceeds will pay off an interim loan for its acquisition of seven Ascension hospitals and reimburse the hospital for construction projects.

The system has $1.9 billion of annual revenues and $550 million of debt rated A1 with a stable outlook by Moody’s and AA-minus by S&P, with a negative outlook.

The system of mostly rural hospitals emerged from the early pandemic hits with still-positive margins but the acquisition, first announced in January and finalized last month, is taking a balance-sheet toll.

“The negative outlook reflects our expectation that the system will see a deterioration in operating performance and balance-sheet metrics due to the acquisition of the Ascension assets,” said S&P’s Marc Bertrand.

The finance team highlighted during an investor roadshow its pledge to reduce carbon emission by 30% in 2023, 50% in 2025 and by 80% in eight years for its pre-acquisition facilities that include four hospitals in Wisconsin and six in Michigan.

“It’s not only the right thing to do … but at some point we also feel it will be an economic issue with costs imposed for emissions,” Sidney Sczygelski, Aspirus chief financial officer, said in an investor presentation. “We want to be positioned very well at the time that occurs with limited carbon emissions.”

SEC says brokers enticed by payment for order flow are making trading into a game to lure investors

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Rafael Henrique | LightRocket | Getty Images

The Securities and Exchange Commission said online brokerages, enticed to increase revenue through the controversial industry practice of payment for order flow, are turning stock-trading into a game in order to encourage activity from retail investors.

Wall Street’s main regulator on Monday released its highly anticipated report on the GameStop mania earlier this year. The 44-page report detailed how the trading frenzy went down and raised red flags on a number of issues, including the back-end payments that brokerages receive, gamification of trading, as well as disclosures on short sales. But it stopped short of laying blame on a single cause or entity.

“Payment for order flow and the incentives it creates may cause broker-dealers to find novel ways to increase customer trading, including through the use of digital engagement practices,” SEC officials said in the report.

Payment for order flow is one of the largest revenue sources at Robinhood, the millennial-favored stock trading app that raked in a record number of new customers over the past year and went public in August. The practice, though, is under increased scrutiny as many say it has a conflict of interest with brokerages incentivized to send orders to the market-maker that pays them the biggest rebate. SEC chair Gary Gensler had warned that banning this practice is not off the table.

To motivate trading, some brokers including Robinhood made their platforms visually enticing and offer game-like features such as points, rewards, leaderboards and bonuses to increase engagement. Amid criticism, Robinhood got rid of its confetti animation in March.

“Consideration should be given to whether game-like features and celebratory animations that are likely intended to create positive feedback from trading lead investors to trade more than they would otherwise,” the report said.

Still, the SEC review may fall short to some in terms of making concrete recommendations and laying the groundwork for potential changes to U.S. trading practices. The agency also didn’t reach a conclusion as to whether any of the trading — and the restrictions on trading — was manipulative and whether brokerages played by the rules during the mania.

The agency acknowledge that the extreme volatility in meme stocks tested the capacity and resiliency of the markets.

Risk management and transparency

At the height of the mania in January, a band of amateur traders in Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum bid up heavily shorted stocks “to the moon,” creating massive short squeezes in names like GameStop and AMC. The unprecedented volatility backfired on Robinhood, which had to tap credit lines and restrict trading in a list of the short-squeeze names as the central Wall Street clearinghouse at one point mandated a ten-fold increase in the firm’s deposit requirements.

“This episode highlights the integral role clearing plays in risk management for equity trading, but raises questions about the possible effects of acute margin calls on more thinly-capitalized broker-dealers and other means of reducing their risks,” SEC’s report said. “One method to mitigate the systemic risk posed by such entities to the clearinghouse and other participants is to shorten the settlement cycle.”

The SEC also brought up whether more transparency of short selling should be required. Right now, securities lending and borrowing is a relatively opaque system as investors aren’t required to report their bearish bets and the SEC only collects data on how much of a company’s stock is sold short.

“The interplay between shorting and price dynamics is more complex than these narratives would suggest,” SEC officials said in the report. “Improved reporting of short sales would allow regulators to better track these dynamics.”

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Stocks making the biggest moves midday: Disney, State Street, Occidental and more

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The New York Stock Exchange welcomes The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), today, Tuesday, May 4, 2021, in honor of Star Wars Day.
Source: NYSE

Check out the companies making headlines in midday trading.

Occidental Petroleum — Shares of the energy company gained 5.7% after Truist upgraded the stock to a buy rating based on an expected jump in shareholder returns. The firm also raised its target on the stock from $35 to $50, with the new forecast implying a nearly 60% upside from Friday’s closing price. APA and Diamondback Energy, meanwhile, advanced more than 3.2% and 2.7%, respectively, on the back of West Texas Intermediate crude futures, the U.S. oil benchmark, rising to its highest level in seven years on Monday.

Zillow — The real estate stock dropped 9% after Zillow announced that it would not sign any new contracts to buy homes through the end of the year “due to a backlog in renovations and operational capacity constraints.” In a press release, the company’s CEO cited labor and supply issues as a reason for the backlog.

Walt Disney — Shares of the media giant ticked 3.1% lower in midday trading after Barclays downgraded Disney to equal weight from overweight. The Wall Street firm cited a slowdown in subscriber growth for Disney+, saying that the company’s long-term subscriber goals seemed optimistic.

Albertsons — Albertsons shares rose more than 3% after the supermarket chain’s quarterly earnings report beat Wall Street’s expectations. The company posted profit of 64 cents per share on revenue of $16.51 billion, versus 45 cents per share on revenue of $15.86 billion expected, according to StreetAccount. Albertsons also increased its quarterly dividend by 20%.

Biogen — Shares of the drugmaker fell 3.6% in midday trading after announcing its late-stage trial of an experiment ALS treatment did not reach its primary goal.

State Street — State Street shares added more than 4% after the financial services firm’s third-quarter earnings beat expectations. The company posted adjusted earnings of $2 per share versus $1.92 per share expected, according to StreetAccount. Revenue also topped projections. State Street said it would resume its share buyback program in the second quarter of 2022.

Virgin Galactic — Shares of Virgin Galactic fell 1.5%, continuing a slide from Friday, after UBS downgraded the stock to sell from neutral. The downgraded followed Virgin’s announcement last week that it was delaying its next flight launch until 2022.

Philips — Shares of Philips fell 1.5% after the Dutch medical technology company reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue. Philips also lowered its sales and profit outlook for the full year, citing persistent supply chain challenges.

Stellantis — Shares of Stellantis retreated 1.9% after the automaker announced it would form a joint venture with battery marker LG Energy Solution to produce battery cells and modules for North America. The batteries would be supplied to Stellantis plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Revance Therapeutics — Shares of Revance Therapeutics plunged 41.3% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration late last week declined to approve the biotechnology company’s frown line treatment. The treatment was seen as potential competitor to the Botox injection.

NetApp — Shares of NetApp fell 3.8% after Goldman downgraded the cloud computing stock to a sell from neutral. Goldman also cut its price target on the stock to $81 per share from $85.

CDW — CDW shares rose 4.4% after the technology company announced it would acquire Sirius Computer Solutions for $2.5 billion in cash.

Medtronic — Shares of Medtronic fell 4.9% after the company provided an update on a clinical study of its Symplicity Renal Denervation System to lower blood pressure. Medtronic said the study’s independent safety monitoring board did not recommend pausing the trial early.

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Arbitrage bot’s spam attack on the Polygon network generated $6,800 per day

The growth of layer-two protocols has been one of the major stories of 2021 as the rising popularity of decentralized finance (DeFi) and nonfungible tokens (NFT) have driven transaction costs higher on the Ethereum (ETH) network effectively pricing out many participants. 

Earlier this year the Polygon network, formerly known as MATIC, emerged as one of the top contenders in the race for an effective Ethereum layer-2 scaling solution, and the project’s QuickSwap DeFi platform was also one of the more successful Uniswap clones.

The platform was quite popular initially but as other platforms like Arbitrum and Optimism popped up, discussions about Polygon fell to the wayside and some traders even refer to the platform as “slow”. Data from Flipside Crypto shows that the low-cost capabilities of the Polygon network came under attack after a cleverly devised arbitrage bot managed turn 14 Ether in 218.5 Ether in less than four months.

The bot filled each block with “meaningless transactions”

According to data from Flipside Crypto, the attack began in early May and at one point in June, pushed transactions on the Polygon network went as high as 8 million per day. In the same timeframe, the maximum number of transactions on the Ethereum network was at 1.2 million.

Number of transactions on Ethereum vs. Polygon. Source: Flipside Crypto

Data found on a Polygon forum indicates that the attacker has been inflating transaction volumes by as much as 90% by stuffing each block full of “meaningless transactions” while only having to pay around 0.02 MATIC to spam the entire block and roughly $1,000 for an entire day.

A deeper dive into the transactions and addresses interacting on the network revealed that around 30% of the network’s transaction count was coming from two contracts which have been determined to be arbitrage bots that conduct thousands of daily transactions to various decentralized exchanges (DEX).

The exact reason why the spammer chose to fill each block when the bots were only conducting 2,000 – 4,000 trades per day is uncertain, but one theory is that it was done in an effort to prevent anyone else from front running the trade.

Related: Polygon can hit $3.50 in Q4 as MATIC’s 20% weekly rally triggers bull flag setup

The bot netted $6,800 in average daily profit

Over a period of 120 days, the bot was able to grow an initial amount of 14 Ether to 218.5 Ether, which is currently worth $813,694.

That works out to an average daily of profit roughly $6,800 before including the cost to spam the network.

In response to the spammer, the team behind Polygon ultimately decided to increase the minimum cost of a transaction from 1 gwei to 30 gwei as a way to fight spam and improve network health.

The move appears to have achieved its intended goal as data provided by Delphi Digital shows that the spike in average transaction costs coincided with a marked decline in the number of daily transactions because it now costs $30,000 to spam the network for an entire day.

Polygon average gas cost vs. daily transaction count. Source: Delphi Digital

Network data shows that the spam transactions have dropped from 2 million to 500,000 transactions per day, a decrease of 75%, but they still account for 16.7% of daily transactions. This means that the bots are spending roughly $5,000 of their daily $6,800 profit on gas to keep the scheme running.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

$64.5 Million Buys Privacy And Peace Of Mind On L.A.’s Deep-Pocketed Westside

Location, land and privacy – all on L.A.’s Westside.

The Ranch, listed at $64.5 million, is set in the Mandeville Canyon area of Brentwood. It’s less than 4 miles from the coast, under 9 miles from Beverly Hills’ famed Rodeo Drive and a mere 18 miles from Los Angeles International Airport. And yet it feels a world away.

Helping to create that atmosphere are the more than six acres of grounds, which boast manicured gardens, expanses of lawn and even a private hiking trail.

Furthering the effect, the estate is surrounded by another seven acres of open space as well as the preserves of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

The asking price is on par with what estates are selling for on the Westside. This year, there have been three non-Malibu sales of $40 million or more west of the 405 Freeway, including the $48.7-million sale of Vice Media co-founder Shane Smith’s Santa Monica compound and record executive Scooter Braun’s $65-million purchase of a Noah Walker-designed home in Brentwood.

The Los Angeles high so far this year was a $69-million purchase in Bel-Air by the singer The Weekend. A Malibu sale garnered $51.65 million.

“These are serious numbers all of a sudden,” says one of the Ranch’s listing agents, David Kramer of Hilton & Hyland. “I don’t think it will be long before you see your first $100-million sale in Brentwood.”

Arched wooden gates open to a motor court with a central landscaped fountain at the front of the house.

Risers step up to the tall double front door, which is sheltered by a balcony. A red tile roof, wrought ironwork, arched windows and smooth stucco underscore the Mediterranean vibe.

Designed for entertaining, the mansion centers on a two-story formal living room. High ceilings continue throughout. The bistro-style dining room can accommodate a dinner party of 22.

The kitchen and family room open to an outdoor dining pergola that looks onto a grass path lined with melaleuca trees. A wood-paneled office and media room are among other living spaces.

The six bedrooms and eight bathrooms include a primary retreat with a sitting room, a marble bathroom and double closets.

A playroom, a sitting room and a gym are located upstairs.

The basement level features a vault-door entrance, flex or meeting space, state-of-the-art technology and a security system.

A swimming pool and cabana sit off a long terrace accessed by a row of arched French doors on one side of the house. A championship-size lighted tennis court with a pavilion lies on the other side of the property.

The hiking trail leads to a pergola for taking in distant views. Trailing rosemary, lavender and olive trees are among the plantings.

There’s a three-car garage and motor court parking for 16 vehicles.

An orchard with more than 20 types of fruit trees, vegetable and herb gardens and specimen trees complete the grounds.

The Ranch, at 13058 Rivers Road, Los Angeles, is listed by Kramer, Drew Fenton and Jeff Hyland of Hilton & Hyland.  

Hilton & Hyland is a founding member of Forbes Global Properties, a consumer marketplace and membership network of elite brokerages selling the world’s most luxurious homes.

Homebuilder sentiment bounces back despite ongoing supply chain problems

Residential single family homes construction by KB Home are shown under construction in the community of Valley Center, California, June 3, 2021.
Mike Blake | Reuters

The nation’s homebuilders aren’t seeing any relief from supply chain issues that have slowed construction recently, but high buyer demand appears to be making up for it.

Builder confidence in the single-family home construction market rose 4 points to 80 in October on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. That is still down from 85 in October 2020 and from the record high 90 in November of last year. Anything above 50 is considered positive.

“Although demand and home sales remain strong, builders continue to grapple with ongoing supply chain disruptions and labor shortages that are delaying completion times and putting upward pressure on building material and home prices,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke, a homebuilder from Tampa, Florida, in a release.

Of the index’s three components, current sales conditions rose 5 points to 87. Sales expectations in the next six months increased 3 points to 84 and buyer traffic climbed 4 points to 65.

The biggest concern for builders now is affordability, as they raise prices to meet the rising costs of land, labor and materials.

The median price of a newly built home sold in August was 20% higher than August of 2020, according to the U.S. Census. While some of that is the mix of homes selling — more on the high end of the market — it also reflects builder increases.

Some builders have actually slowed home sales due to construction hurdles, as they are concerned they won’t be able to deliver houses at a normal pace.

Homebuyers are turning more and more to new construction, as the supply of existing homes for sale continues to be both incredibly lean and pricey.

“Building material price increases and bottlenecks persist and interest rates are expected to rise in coming months as the Fed begins to taper its purchase of U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed debt,” said Robert Dietz, chief economist at the NAHB.

A forecast just released by the Mortgage Bankers Association predicts the average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage will hit 4% by the end of 2022, up from around 3% now.

Regionally, looking at the three-month moving averages builder sentiment in the Midwest rose 1 point to 69. In the Northeast it was unchanged at 72. Both the South and West were also unchanged at 80 and 83, respectively.

Munis softer ahead of larger calendar

Municipals were a touch weaker 10 years and in on thin trading while U.S. Treasuries pared back earlier losses the curve flattening continued.

Triple-A benchmarks saw one basis point cuts in spots inside 10-years while the five-year U.S. Treasury hit a high of 1.154% and the 30-year pared back earlier losses to land at 2.018%.

In the primary Monday, the North Texas Municipal Water District (Aa1/AAA//) sold $201.835 million of water system revenue refunding bonds to Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC. Bonds in 9/2022 with a 4% coupon yield 0.14%, 5s of 2026 at 0.58%, 4s of 2031 at 1.36% and 3s of 2032 at 1.55%, callable Sept. 1, 2030.

“The tone of the market is apprehensive due to interest rates trending higher, and fund flows weakening somewhat,” Michael Pietronico, chief executive officer at Miller Tabak Asset Management, said.

Pietronico noted his firm believes the one- to three-year area of the municipal yield curve will be the best performer in the coming weeks as supply moves higher and the Federal Reserve begins to taper its bond purchases.

“Overall, inflows have slowed down significantly, but are still positive, with high-yield seeing some outflows,” Roberto Roffo, managing director and portfolio manager at SWBC Investment Company, added.

“Most likely, investors are seeing their statements from last quarter and pulling back a little,” he said.

With ratios backing up significantly from historic lows and spreads widening slightly, there is a good opportunity for investors to restructure portfolios more advantageously, according to Roffo.

Ratios were held to near Friday’s levels, with the 10-year municipal-to-UST ratio at 74% and the 30-year at 83%, according to Refinitiv MMD. ICE Data Services had the 10-year at 73% and the 30 at 84%.

“Even with the decrease in inflows there is still significant cash on the sidelines to purchase new issues that present value,” he said. “This has been proven [last] week as large deals priced cheaper than they would have been a couple of months ago, were well subscribed for with little or any balances left over.”

Muni CUSIP requests fall
Monthly municipal volume decreased in September, the third consecutive monthly decline in muni CUSIP request volume following seven straight months of increases, according to CUSIP Global Services.

The aggregate total of all municipal securities, including municipal bonds, long-term and short-term notes, and commercial paper, fell 6.6% versus August totals. On an annualized basis, municipal CUSIP identifier request volumes were down 1.3% through September. For muni bonds specifically, there was a 9.9% decrease in request volumes month-over-month, but they are up 3.1 % on a year-over-year basis

“The three-month decline in municipal identifier request volume is definitely a trend to watch,” said Gerard Faulkner, direct of operations for CUSIP Global Services. “Municipal issuers were tapping the debt markets at a strong pace for much of 2020 and the first part of 2021, but that pace has now fallen off considerably.”

CUSIP identifier requests for the broad category of U.S. and Canadian corporate equity and debt climbed 3.3% versus August totals. The increase was driven largely by an increase in requests for domestic corporate debt identifiers. On a year-over-year basis, corporate CUSIP request volume rose 0.1%

Secondary trading
Nevada 5s of 2022 at 0.16%. West Virginia 5s of 2022 at 0.16%. Gilbert, Arizona, 4s of 2023 at 0.24%. Maryland 5s of 2023 at 0.20%.

Anne Arundel 5s of 2025 at 0.44%. New York Dorm PIT 5s of 2025 at 0.40%. Princeton 5s of 2025 at 0.37%. California 5s of 2025 at 0.47%.

New Castle, Delaware, 5s of 2027 at 0.76% versus 0.77% on 10/5. Wisconsin 5s of 2028 at 0.90%. New Mexico 5s of 2031 at 1.29%.

AAA scales
According to Refinitiv MMD, short yields were steady at 0.12% in 2022 and at 0.18% in 2023. The yield on the 10-year rose one basis point to 1.18% and the yield on the 30-year sat at 1.68%.

The ICE municipal yield curve showed bonds rise one basis point to 0.13% in 2022 and one to 0.18% in 2023. The 10-year maturity rose one to 1.14% and the 30-year yield was steady at 1.70%.

The IHS Markit municipal analytics curve showed short yields unchanged at 0.12% in 2022 and 0.18% in 2023. The 10-year yield sat at 1.15% and the 30-year yield was steady at 1.68%.

The Bloomberg BVAL curve showed short yields steady at 0.16% in 2022 and 0.17% in 2023. The 10-year yield rose one to 1.16% and the 30-year was steady at 1.70%.

In late trading, Treasuries were softer as equities were mixed.

The 10-year Treasury was yielding 1.582% and the 30-year Treasury was yielding 2.018% near the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 36 points, or 0.10%, the S&P rose 0.34% while the Nasdaq gained 0.84%.

Treasury yields should remain below average levels for quite some time, one analyst said.

“Given the obstacles the pandemic has produced, it is difficult to envision yields reaching even average levels in the near future,” said John Gentry, senior portfolio manager at Federated Hermes. “Consistent strong growth and growing inflation expectations would be required to push longer yields appreciably higher.

The 10-year Treasury yield has risen above 1.5% from its lows of 0.5% in July 2020. Wells Fargo Investment Institute Strategists Michelle Wan and Doug Beath suggest, “the current rising yield environment represents investor confidence in future economic growth and higher inflation expectations, sustaining a positive correlation between the 10-year Treasury yield and S&P 500 Index.”

But, Wan and Beath said, they don’t expect the rise “to be a straight line.” They see “consolidation and even pullbacks” resulting from political and economic events.

While investors have been keyed on growth expectations more than inflation concerns, “that could be changing,” they said. “Even so, over the longer term, we believe that bonds will continue to offer diversification benefits and should be held at allocations that are aligned with risk tolerance.”

In data released Monday, industrial production declined 1.3% in September after a downwardly revised 0.1% dip in August, while capacity utilization fell to 75.2% from 76.2%.

Economists polled by IFR Markets expected production to rise 0.2% and capacity use at 76.5%.

The decline reflects “production bottlenecks as manufacturers fall further behind healthy gains in product demand,” said Berenberg chief economist for the U.S., Americas and Asia Mickey Levy. The drop sets industrial production back below its pre-pandemic level, he said, underlining the various problems facing an array of manufacturing sectors.”

Motor vehicle and energy were two sectors showing big drops in production.

Part of the drop can be attributed to weather, said Wells Fargo Securities Senior Economist Tim Quinlan and Economist Shannon Seery. “While Hurricane Ida is partially to blame, accounting for nearly half of the decline, we cannot chalk up all of the weakness to its harsh effects,” they said. “Severe supply constraints are limiting the pace of production and are showing little sign of meaningful improvement.”

Supply issues persist with little indication of easing, they said. Additionally, high prices and labor shortages are impacting manufacturers.

“Supply chain disruptions will continue to deplete inventories,” said KC Mathews, chief investment officer at UMB Bank. “This may impact consumption; consumers that are willing and able to spend can’t if items are not on the shelf.”

And while this will remain an issue for GDP this year, he said, “the issue is clearly transitory. As bottlenecks are resolved and inventories restored, spending will resume in the near future.”

Also released Monday, the National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Market Index jumped to 80 in October from 76 in September. Economists expected the index to hold at 76.

“Builders are getting increasingly concerned about affordability hurdles ahead for most buyers,” NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said. “Building material price increases and bottlenecks persist and interest rates are expected to rise in coming months as the Federal Reserve begins to taper its purchase of U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed debt.”

Separately, the New York services sector grew “modestly” in October, while prices continued to climb, and employment improved, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Business Leaders Survey.

Respondents expect improvement in the next six months.

Primary to come
The Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Aa1/AAA///) is set to price Tuesday $874.83 million of sales tax and motor vehicle excise tax improvement and refunding green bonds, Series 2021S-1. J.P. Morgan Securities.

OhioHealth Corp. (Aa2/AA+/AA+/) is set to price Tuesday $600 million of taxable corporate CUSIP bonds, Series 2021. $300 million bullet due on 11/15/2031 and $300 million bullet due 11/15/2041. Barclays Capital Inc.

California Community Choice Financing Authority (A2///) is set to price $564.315 million of Climate Bond certified green clean energy project revenue bonds, Series 2021A, serials 2023-2027, term 2052. Goldman Sachs & Co.

The Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corp. (Aa2/AA-/A+//) is set to price Wednesday $451.985 million of Hudson Yards revenue green bonds, Fiscal 2022 Series A, serials 2026-2047. Goldman Sachs & Co.

Banner Health, Arizona, (/AA-/AA-//) is set to price Thursday $424.2 million of corporate CUSIP taxable bonds, Series 2021A. Morgan Stanley & Co.

Utah Transit Authority is set to price $361.355 million of taxable sales tax revenue refunding bonds, Series 2021 and federally taxable subordinated sales tax revenue refunding bonds, Series 2021, consisting of $344.985 million of Series 21 seniors (Aa2/AA/AA/) and $16.37 million, Series 21 subs (Aa3/AA-/AA/). Wells Fargo Corporate & Investment Banking.

University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority (Aa3/AA-///) is set to price Thursday $350.575 million of revenue bonds, Series 2021B green bonds and taxable revenue refunding bonds, Series 2021C. J.P. Morgan Securities.

Brockton, Massachusetts, (A1/AA-//) is set to price Tuesday $300 million of taxable pension obligation bonds, serials 2022-2035. Stifel, Nicolaus & Company.

The Wisconsin Public Finance Authority is set to price $263.63 million of revenue bonds (Searstone CCRC Project), consisting of: $104.85 million of Series 2021 A (non-rated), $36.31 million of Series 2021 B-1 (non-rated), $32.24 million of Series 2021 B-2 (Caa3////), $5.315 million of Series 2021 C (non-rated), $8.92 million of Series 2022 A (non-rated) and $75.995 million of Series 2023 A (non-rated). HJ Sims & Co.

Southwestern Community College District, San Diego County, California, (Aa2/AA-//) is set to price Wednesday $257.62 million, consisting of $73.62 million of Series 1, $3.05 million of Series 2 and $180.95 million of Series 3. Morgan Stanley & Co.

California Earthquake Authority (non-rated) is set to price Tuesday $250 million of revenue notes, Series 2021A. J.P. Morgan Securities.

Crown Point Multi-School Building Corp. (Lake County, Indiana) (/AA+//) is set to price Thursday $247.015 million of ad valorem property tax first mortgage bonds, Series 2021, insured by Indiana State Aid Intercept Program. Raymond James & Associates.

Dallas, Texas, (/A/A+/) is set to price Tuesday $236.595 million of hotel occupancy tax revenue refunding bonds, Series 2021, serials 2022-2038. Ramirez & Co.

The Virginia Housing Development Authority (Aa1/AA+//) is set to price Wednesday $226.63 million of taxable rental housing bonds, 2021 Series J, serials 2024-2036, terms 2041, 2046, 2051 and 2056. Raymond James & Associates, Inc.

The Indiana Finance Authority (Aaa/AAA/AAA//) is set to price $215.03 million of state revolving fund program green bonds, Series 2021B, serials 2023-2041. Citigroup Global Markets Inc.

The California Statewide Communities Development Authority (Baa1///) is set to price Tuesday $192.06 million of student housing revenue bonds (University of California, Irvine East Campus Apartments, Phase I Refunding & Phase IV-B CHF-Irvine, L.L.C.), Series 2021, serials 2023-2046, terms 2051 and 2054. Jefferies.

The Louisiana Public Facilities Authority (non-rated) is set to price Thursday $184.895 million, consisting of: $182.985 million of revenue and refunding revenue bonds, Series 2021A-1 (CommCare Corp. Project) and $1.91 million of taxable revenue bonds, Series 2021A-2 (CommCare Corp. Project). Piper Sandler & Co.

Carilion Clinic Obligated Group (Aa3/AA-//) is set to price Wednesday $180 million of taxable bonds, Series 2021. Goldman Sachs & Co.

The Wildwood Utility Dependent District, Florida, (/AA//) is set to price Tuesday $167.965 million of utility revenue bonds and subordinate utility revenue bonds, Series 2021 (South Sumter Utility Project), consisting of $146.56 million, Series 2021, serials 2025-2041, terms 2046 and 2051 and $21.405 million, Series 2021B, serials 2025-2041, terms 2046 and 2051. Jefferies.

The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (Aa3/AA-/AA-/AA) is set to price Thursday $163.245 million of MTA Bridges and Tunnels general revenue bonds, Series 2002F & Subseries 2008B-2 (conversion to fixed rate), consisting of $110.61 million, Series 2021 and $52.635 million, Series 2021B. Jefferies.

The Ohio Water Development Authority (Aaa/AAA//) is set to price Tuesday $150 million of water development revenue bonds, Fresh Water Series 2021. Goldman Sachs & Co.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (Aaa///) is set to price Tuesday $149.995 million of residential mortgage revenue bonds (Mortgage-Backed Securities Program), 2021 Series C (Non-AMT) (social bonds). J.P. Morgan Securities.

The Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (/AA//) is set to price Thursday $149.105 million of housing bonds: consisting of $76.155 million, 2021 Series B-1 (sustainability bonds), serials 2024-2032, terms 2036, 2041, 2046, 2051, 2056, 2061 and 2063; $64.145 million, 2021 Series B-2 (sustainability bonds), serial 2023, terms 2025-2026; and $8.805 million, 2021 Series C, serial 2023. Barclays Capital.

American Municipal Power, Inc. (A1/A///) is set to price Wednesday $141.550 million of
Prairie State Energy Campus project revenue bonds, refunding series 2021A, serials 2032-2034 and 2036-2038. BofA Securities.

Bay Area Water Supply & Conservation Agency (Aa3/AA-//) is set to price Thursday $135.115 million of forward delivery refunding revenue bonds (Capital Cost Recovery Prepayment Program), Series 2023A. Goldman Sachs & Co.

The Wisconsin Public Finance Authority is set to price $133.02 million of non-rated hospital revenue bonds Celina Regional Medical Center, consisting of $106.22 million, Series A-1, terms 2031, 2041, 2051 and 2056 and $26.8 million, Series A-2, term 2040. KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Blue Springs, Missouri, Reorganized School District #4 of Jackson County (/AA+//) is set to price $132.79 million of general obligation school bonds, insured by Missouri Direct Deposit Program, consisting of: $107 million, Series A, serials 2030-2041 and $25.79 million, Series B, serials 2022-2025. Stifel, Nicolaus & Company.

The Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City and County of San Francisco is set to price Thursday $130 million of 2021 Series A taxable third-lien tax allocation bonds affordable housing projects social bonds. Citigroup Global Markets Inc.

Clovis Unified School District, Fresno County, California, (/AA//) is set to price Thursday $122.725 million of 2021 taxable refunding general obligation bonds, Series B, serials 2022, 2026 and 2028-2039. Stifel, Nicolaus & Company.

The Georgia Housing and Finance Authority (/AAA//) is set to price Wednesday $101.235 million of single-family mortgage bonds, 2021 Series A (Non-AMT), serials 2022-2033, terms 2036, 2041, 2046 and 2051. Citigroup Global Markets.

Fayetteville, North Carolina, (Aa2/AA/AA/) is set to sell $96.405 million of Public Works Commission revenue bonds, Series 2021 at 11 a.m. eastern Tuesday.

The Virginia Public School Authority (Aa1/AA+/AA+/) is set to sell $150.33 million of school financing bonds (1997 Resolution), Series 2021C at 10:30 a.m. eastern Tuesday.

Tusla, Oklahoma (Aa1/AA//) is set to sell $102.95 million of general obligation bonds, Series 2021 at 11:30 a.m. eastern Wednesday.

Nato to expand focus to counter rising China

Countering the security threat from the rise of China will be an important part of Nato’s future rationale, the alliance’s chief has said, marking a significant rethink of the western alliance’s objectives that reflects the US’s geostrategic pivot to Asia.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said China was already having an impact on European security through its cyber capabilities, new technologies and long-range missiles. How to defend Nato allies from those threats will be “thoroughly” addressed in the alliance’s new doctrine for the coming decade, he said.

The military alliance has spent decades focused on countering Russia and, since 2001, terrorism. The new focus on China comes amid a determined shift in the US’s geopolitical orientation away from Europe to a hegemonic conflict with Beijing.

“Nato is an alliance of North America and Europe. But this region faces global challenges: terrorism, cyber but also the rise of China. So when it comes to strengthening our collective defence, that’s also about how to address the rise of China,” Stoltenberg said. “What we can predict is that the rise of China will impact our security. It already has.”

Nato will adopt its new Strategic Concept at a summit next summer, which will outline the alliance’s purpose for the following 10 years. The current version, adopted in 2010, does not mention China.

Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg: ‘China is coming closer to us’ © Virginia Mayo/Reuters

The Nato alliance is seeking a new direction following the end of its 20-year deployment in Afghanistan, while discussions over the future of the US military presence in Europe are ongoing.

Stoltenberg, the former Norwegian prime minister who is set to step down next year after almost eight years at the helm, said that Nato allies would seek to “scale down” activities outside of their borders and “scale up” their domestic defensive resilience to better resist external threats.

“China is coming closer to us . . . We see them in the Arctic. We see them in cyber space. We see them investing heavily in critical infrastructure in our countries.

“And of course they have more and more high-range weapons that can reach all Nato allied countries. They are building many, many silos for long-range intercontinental missiles,” he said.

China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August, the FT reported over the weekend, demonstrating an advanced long-range weapons capability that surprised US intelligence and underscored the rapid military progress China has made on next-generation weapons.

But any suggestion of a shift away from deterring Russian aggression would meet protests from eastern European member states that view Moscow as an existential threat and the alliance as their sole security guarantor.

Stoltenberg said Russia and China should not be seen as separate threats. “First of all China and Russia work closely together,” he said. “Second, when we invest more in technology . . . that’s about both of them.”

“This whole idea of distinguishing so much between China, Russia, either the Asia-Pacific or Europe: it is one big security environment and we have to address it all together. What we do on readiness, on technology, on cyber, on resilience matters for all these threats. You don’t put a label,” he added.

Stoltenberg said the hasty withdrawal of Nato forces from Afghanistan in August was “an obvious choice” after the US decision to leave the country. He said that while European militaries might have been able to remain without US support, political leaders could not justify a continued presence.

“It was partly a military aspect: capabilities. But I think fundamentally more important was the political aspect: we went into Afghanistan after an attack on the United States,” he said. “Militarily it would have been possible [to stay]. But politically, I regard it as absolutely unrealistic . . . that was the main reason.”

Grayscale hints at plans to convert Bitcoin trust into BTC-settled ETF

Institutional investment giant Grayscale is reportedly considering converting its Bitcoin Trust into a physically settled exchange-traded fund (ETF).

On Oct. 17, Barry Silbert, the CEO of Grayscale’s parent company Digital Currency Group, hinted that Grayscale is making plans to convert its Bitcoin Trust into a spot-settled Bitcoin fund.

After having taken to Twitter to criticize the cash-settled Bitcoin futures ETF recently approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Bitcoin commentator Preston Pysh chimed in to ask Silbert when Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust would be converted into a BTC-settled ETF. “Stay tuned,” Silbert responded.

However, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust investors appear to have been unsettled by Silbert’s remarks, with Twitter user “svrgnindividual” questioning what a restructure would mean for investors holding shares in Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust.

“What happens to us Grayscale investors once the spot ETF is approved? Is our investment converted into ETF shares?” they tweeted.

Rumors of Grayscale’s purported ambitions for a Bitcoin ETF began circulating late week after a CNBC report citing anonymous insiders claimed that Grayscale was waiting for the Securities and Exchange Commission to finally approve a Bitcoin ETF.

On Oct. 15, the SEC announced it had accepted the registration of securities from ProShares Trust’s futures-based Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund. ProShares’ ETF offers investors exposure to contracts that speculate on the future price of BTC that are settled in cash.

Related: Grayscale Bitcoin Trust FUD is now over as the last GBTC unlock totals just 58 BTC

Despite the ETF’s approval being cited as the primary catalyst for Bitcoin’s recent bullish market action, many analysts have criticized the fund for its cash-settled structure, instead advocating for the SEC to approve a Bitcoin ETF that is backed by and settled in BTC.

According to Grayscale’s latest holdings update on Oct. 15, the firm boasts $52.6 billion in assets under management (AUM) — 73% of which is held in the Bitcoin Trust. The data suggests that Grayscale’s Bitcoin stash comprises roughly 620,000 BTC or 3.3% of Bitcoin’s total supply.

Bond insurance grows 9% through Q3

Assured Guaranty accounted for a total of $17.31 billion in 820 deals for a 52.1% market share in the first three quarters of 2021, up from the $13.77 billion in 703 deals for a 48.9% market share over the same period as the year before.

“Assured Guaranty continued to lead the municipal bond insurance industry with exceptionally strong production during the first nine months of the year,” said Robert Tucker, senior managing director, Investor Relations and Communications.

Assured guaranteed 61% of insured new-issue par sold, helping to propel bond insurance rate to 8.5% of municipal par issued, significantly above the 7.7% in nine months of 2020.

The $17.9 billion that Assured Guaranty insured in the primary market, which includes two transactions assigned corporate CUSIP numbers, was 19% higher than in the first nine months of 2020, and 88% more than in the first nine months of 2019. It was the highest insured par for the first nine months in a decade, according to Tucker.

Assured also increased the number of new issues it insured during the first nine months of 2021 to 828, up 13% year-over-year.

For the third quarter, bond insurance reached 8.6%, and Assured’s market share totaled 65% of primary-market insured par sold, as it guaranteed 270 transactions for a total of $6.7 billion in insured par, including the guaranty of $150 million of corporate-CUSIP bonds for a healthcare issuer.

“We continued to benefit from institutional investors’ preference for Assured Guaranty’s insurance on larger transactions,” Tucker said.

During the quarter, Assured insured $800 million of bonds for the Miami-Dade County Seaport Department across three issues; together, these issues total Assured’s largest combined transaction for one issuer in a single day in over 10 years.

These were three of the 17 bond issues we insured with $100 million or more in insured par, which brings our total year-to-date count of such deals to 38, one deal shy of our total deal count in this category for full-year 2020, Tucker said.

Tucker said Assured continued to add value on double-A credits during the third quarter, insuring $836 million of par on 27 deals with underlying ratings of AA by S&P and/or Aa by Moody’s, bringing year-to-date production in this category to about $3.1 billion with 83 deals.

Top 5 cryptocurrencies to watch this week: BTC, ETH, SOL, MATIC, FTM

On Oct. 15, news that a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) could start trading as early as next week sent Bitcoin price to $62,933 but the rally has cooled off since then.

Some market participants believe that traders who bought the rumor of approval for a Bitcoin ETF product may sell on the news. Crypto trading firm QCP Capital said in an update that the approval of futures-based ETFs is unlikely to provide a long-term boost for Bitcoin prices similar to the one seen in the fourth quarter of 2020.

While high volatility cannot be ruled out in the near term, investors should focus on the major trend and not get caught in minor corrections that are part of the path to new all-time highs.

Crypto market data daily view. Source: Coin360

According to Foxbit founder João Canhada, his daughter has earned a 6,500% profit on the one Bitcoin gift she received when she was born in 2017. Although she couldn’t have traded the coin at such a young age, the returns show that patient investors who are not perturbed by a minor fall can end up with huge returns.

Could Bitcoin’s rally to a new all-time high pull altcoins along with it? Let’s study the charts of the top-5 cryptocurrencies that could outperform in the short term.


Bitcoin soared above the $58,000 resistance and the psychological mark at $60,000 on Oct. 15. The bears are attempting to stall the up-move at $62,933 but the positive sign is that bulls have not given up much ground. This suggests that traders are not closing their positions after the recent up-move because they anticipate another leg up.

BTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

Both moving averages are sloping up and the relative strength index (RSI) is in the overbought zone, indicating that bulls are in control. If the price turns up from the current level and breaks above the $62,933 to $64,854 resistance zone, the BTC/USDT pair may rally to $75,000.

The immediate support to watch on the downside is $58,000. A break and close below this level could prompt short-term traders to book profits, pulling the price down to the 20-day exponential moving average ($54,336).

A bounce off the 20-day EMA will suggest that sentiment remains positive and traders are buying on dips. The bulls will then make one more attempt to resume the uptrend. On the contrary, a break and close below the 20-day EMA will suggest that the bullish momentum has weakened.

BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The pair has been rising in a steady uptrend on the 4-hour chart. The bears have not been able to sink and sustain the price below the 50-simple moving average since the pair broke above the symmetrical triangle.

If the price rebounds off the 20-EMA, the possibility of a break above $62,933 may increase because it will suggest that traders are not waiting for a deeper correction to buy. This bullish assumption will invalidate if bears sink and sustain the pair below the 50-SMA. Such a move could open the doors for a drop to $54,000 and then to $52,290.


Ether’s (ETH) break and close above the neckline on Oct. 14 completed the inverse head and shoulders pattern. The long wick on the Oct. 16 candlestick suggests that bears are attempting to stall the up-move in the $4,000 to $4,027.88 zone.

ETH/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

If the price turns down from the current level, the ETH/USDT pair could drop to the breakout level at the neckline. This is an important support for the bulls to defend. If the price rebounds off this level, the bulls will again try to clear the overhead hurdle.

A breakout and close above $4,027.88 could clear the path for a rally to the all-time high at $4,372.72 and next to the pattern target at $4,657. Conversely, a break below the moving averages could sink the price to $3,257. The bears will gain the upper hand if this support is breached.

ETH/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The bears are defending the psychological resistance at $4,000 while bulls are trying to keep the price above the 20-EMA. The RSI has dropped close to the midpoint and the 20-EMA is flattening out, suggesting a possible consolidation in the near term.

A break and close above $4,000 could signal the resumption of the up-move. Conversely, a break below the neckline of the setup will be the first sign that the momentum may be weakening. The pair could then decline to $3,400.


Solana (SOL) broke out and closed above the downtrend line on Oct. 15 which is the first sign that bulls are attempting a comeback. The bears tried to pull the price back below the downtrend line on Oct. 16 but failed.

SOL/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

If bulls sustain the price above the downtrend line, the SOL/USDT pair could rise to the 61.80% resistance at $177.80. This is an important level for the bears to defend because if bulls clear this hurdle, the pair could rise to the 78.6% retracement level at $194.60 and later retest the all-time high at $216.

Contrary to this assumption, if the price turns down from the current level or the overhead resistance and breaks below the moving averages, it will suggest that traders are closing their positions on pullbacks. The pair could then drop to the critical support at $116.

SOL/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The 4-hour chart shows that the pair has been trading between $156.36 and $165.61 since breaking out of the downtrend line. If buyers propel and sustain the price above $165.61, the uptrend may resume.

The first target is the overhead zone between $174.86 and $177.79. Alternatively, a break and close below $156.36 could open the doors for a decline to $147.11. Until then, the pair may continue to consolidate in the tight range.

Related: Why HODL for 48 hours? Because your altcoin wallet will thank you


Polygon (MATIC) has been trading in a large range between $1 and $1.80 for the past few days. The 20-day EMA ($1.32) has started to turn up and the RSI has risen into the positive territory, indicating that bulls are attempting to gain the upper hand.

MATIC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

The MATIC/USDT pair could rise to $1.80 which is likely to act as a tough obstacle. If the price turns down from this resistance, the pair could drop to the 20-day EMA.

A strong rebound off this support will suggest that sentiment has turned positive and traders are buying on dips. That will increase the possibility of a break and close above $1.80.

If that happens, the pair could start a new uptrend to $2.40 and then retest the all-time high at $2.70. Conversely, if the price turns down from the current level and breaks below the moving averages, the pair could slide to $1.20 and then to $1.

MATIC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Both moving averages are sloping up and the RSI is in the positive zone, suggesting that bulls have the upper hand in the short term. The bulls pushed the price above the overhead resistance zone at $1.45 to $1.50 but selling at higher levels has pulled the price back into the zone.

If the price rebounds off the 20-EMA, the bulls will make one more attempt to resume the up-move. A breakout and close above $1.63 could clear the path for a rally to $1.80. This positive view will invalidate if the price turns down and breaks below $1.45.


Fantom’s FTM token is in a strong uptrend. The bulls successfully defended the breakout level at $1.94, indicating that sentiment remains positive and traders are buying on dips.

FTM/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

The upsloping moving averages indicate advantage to buyers but the negative divergence on the RSI is warning that the bullish momentum may be weakening. If bulls push the price above $2.45, the uptrend may continue, with the next target objective at $3.20.

On the other hand, if the price turns down from $2.45, the FTM/USDT pair may drop to $1.94 and consolidate between these two levels for a few days. A break and close below the 20-day EMA ($1.85) may signal the start of a deeper correction.

FTM/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The bulls are currently attempting to sustain the price above the descending channel. If they manage to do that, the pair could rise to $2.45. This level may act as stiff resistance but if bulls overcome it, the uptrend may resume.

Alternatively, if the price fails to sustain above the channel, it will suggest that demand dries up at higher levels. The pair may then continue to trade inside the channel. A break and close below the channel could pull the pair down to $1.50.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

Top Wall Street analysts are bullish on these stocks with earnings underway

Megan Leonhardt | CNBC

As third-quarter earnings roll out and 2021 winds down, analysts and investors are looking for which companies can close out the year on a bullish note.

Many firms had stellar starts to the year, and are in a tough spot to continue growing at such rapid paces.  

Costco braved the pandemic’s economic storm, but can it continue to drive exponential growth in memberships and sales? Cloud-computing solutions companies like Zscaler took off from the shift in work trends, what could its outlook be as economies continue to reopen? 

Meanwhile, the semiconductor shortage has wreaked havoc on auto makers and smart electronics production, but analysts believe that General Motors and Sonos both will be able to pull through with long-term gains. A chip manufacturer itself, Marvell is projected to see continued high demand as well as accelerated business performance.  

Top analysts have high expectations for these five stocks, according to TipRanks, which tracks the best-performing stock pickers. 


Who can resist free samples? Not many people apparently, as membership renewal rates are at all-time-highs at Costco (COST). The big-box retailer released another impressive round of monthly earnings, with positive metrics on sales, market share, and international expansion. (See Costco Risk Factors on TipRanks) 

Peter Benedict of Robert W. Baird delivered his bullish hypothesis on the company, mentioning that “when combined with their loyal member base, accelerating MFI growth profile and defensive sales mix, COST remains a rare mega-cap ‘growth staple’ idea.”  

Benedict reiterated his Buy rating on the stock, and assigned a price target of $520.  

The five-star analyst explained that even with difficult reporting comparisons from previous months, Costco continues to beat Wall Street’s consensus estimates. The firm’s strongest departments have been gasoline, its food court offerings, optical services, and Costco Pharmacy.  

Costco has been investing resources to position itself as more of a convenience retailer. These initiatives include improved features to its digital platforms, as well as a more vertically integrated logistical delivery system. As e-commerce trends continue to climb, Costco remains relevant for consumers.  

Internationally, Costco’s clubs generate more profits than the ones located domestically. The company is focused on expanding its foreign presence, which will provide for a more diversified revenue stream. 

On TipRanks, Benedict maintains a ranking at No. 235 out of more than 7,000 analysts. His stock picks have resulted in an 82% success rate, and have brought an average gain of 56.6% per rating.  


Spurred on by increased demand and supply chain challenges, the semiconductor shortage has affected the smartphone and automotive industries for longer than what was initially expected. Meanwhile, the companies which produce the actual chips themselves, like Marvell Technology Group (MRVL) are seeing robust demand and are moving toward Cloud-optimized silicon adoption. (See Marvell Blogger Sentiment on TipRanks) 

Reporting on its advantageous positioning is Quinn Bolton of Needham & Co., who asserted that Marvell has “one of the highest growth rates in large cap semis.” Its long-term revenue expansion expectations could potentially outpace its serviceable market, which is also anticipated by Bolton to increase about 50% over the next four years.  

The five-star analyst rated the stock a Buy, and raised his price target to $75 from a previous $69.  

Accelerating the gains in market share are Marvell’s 5G, data center, carrier, and automotive semiconductor segments. Meanwhile, Bolton believes in the chip manufacturer’s ability to capitalize on the transition to cloud-optimized silicon. He explains the technology as a combination of “compute, networking, storage, security and electro-optics elements in die or in package to provide optimal performance and cost for specific cloud and infrastructure applications.” 

Bolton argues that Marvell is an “ideal partner” for enterprise-level cloud and networking infrastructure firms who still outsource chip production. From its wide array of opportunity, he sees Marvell as a staple in any investor’s semiconductor portfolio.  

Financial aggregator TipRanks maintains Bolton in a position of No. 1 out of over 7,000 total expert analysts. He has been successful 83% of the time when rating stocks, and his choices have resulted in an average return of 82% on each rating.  

General Motors  

There are car companies, and then there are disruptive electric vehicle (EV) technology companies. The green tidal wave transformation from traditional combustion engines will either carry automotive firms with it to the shores of profits, or wash them away. For the senior management of the General Motors (GM), the latter is no option. The company recently laid out its promising roadmap to shifting its product mix toward EVs, and ultimately increasing its speculative value.  

Daniel Ives of Wedbush Securities stated his confidence that “the Detroit stalwart is in the midst of a massive turnaround that will change the GM story going forward.” He sees a bright decade ahead for the large-cap auto producer, and anticipates it to largely dominate the nascent $5 trillion addressable EV market. (See General Motors Stock Analysis on TipRanks) 

Ives rated the stock a bullish Buy, and assigned a price target of $85.  

The five-star analyst admitted that negative sentiment lingers amongst investors from the Chevy Bolt saga. Moreover, the global chip shortage is causing persisting headwinds for GM. However, he sees these as no more than short-term obstacles that will inevitably be smoothed over by the inevitable EV revolution.  

Beyond manufacturing vehicles, Ives expects GM to offer software and services subscriptions for autonomous and assisted driving plans, providing for recurring revenues. The “potential gold mine” of monetization opportunities was calculated by the analyst to eventually result in about $2,000 in extra revenue per car sold.  

General Motors has the potential to shift at least half of its customers to electric vehicles by the end of the decade. All the company has left to do is execute on its multi-year plan.  

Out of more than 7,000 expert analysts, Ives is ranked by TipRanks as No. 9. His ratings have been correct 77% of the time, and generate average returns of 54.7%.  


It isn’t often that a highly rated analyst will write that they believe “investors will be rewarded for buying and holding onto these shares.” However, Zscaler (ZS) has achieved this feat. The company has been scaling up by aggressively investing on its sales department and is focusing on improving productivity in that area. (See Zscaler Insider Trading Activity on TipRanks) 

Alex Henderson of Needham & Co. wrote highly of the firm, mentioning that its platform and strategy are poised for long-term wins against competition. Throughout Covid-19, many firms and large enterprises moved operations to cloud-based solutions. Zscaler saw ramped up growth, and now has to continue performing.  

Henderson rated the stock a Buy, and marked a price target of $345.  

As its earnings comparisons remain difficult to beat, Henderson did note that the stock may experience some short-term consolidation. Additionally, the company is currently increasing its spending on business travel in order to secure sales deals.  

Despite these acute factors, he sees huge long-term market outperformance from Zscaler’s security offerings, that is, once the operating leverage and growth from investments equalize.  

Henderson is ranked No. 87 out of over 7,000 professional analysts. TipRanks has calculated that his ratings have been successful 68% of the time, and have led to average returns of 41.6%.  


Legal battles over intellectual property rights can result in lucrative court settlements, especially when a smaller company is challenging a tech giant. Back in early 2020, Sonos (SONO) accused Alphabet (GOOGL) of infringing on a series of patents. A judge in mid-August sided with the smart speaker company, but after a counter suit a near-term settlement seems unlikely. A subsequent sell-off in Sonos shares has resulted in a discounted yet fundamentally sound stock.  

Brent Thill of Jefferies Group identified this attractive buying opportunity in his recent report on the stock, writing that he sees the valuation now as too low, and that Wall Street consensus estimates for its guidance as conservative. (See Sonos Hedge Fund Trading Activity on TipRanks) 

Thill rated the stock a Buy, and added a price target of $50.  

At press time, the speaker company has seen shares fall about 20% from their late-August peaks. While Thill does not foresee a near-term solution to the litigation, a long-term play could be boosted by a positive outcome down the road.  

The five-star analyst believes in the company’s financial momentum, adding that ”We believe SONO will continue to achieve OPEX leverage from a higher sales volume, and believe their order backlog will allow them to realize further sales & marketing efficiencies.” Additionally, the recent price hikes on its products are anticipated to act as a ramp in revenues.  

Sonos‘ conservative guidance could provide for an easy beat and raise come earnings season. A main driver for this would be the company’s ability to execute on working through its order backlog and capacity to balance its supply against the heavy demand. 

Thill’s only caveat on the decline in valuation was the difficulty of catching a falling knife. Once shares begin to stabilize around a support level he would expect upside from the over-reactionary sell-off.  

TipRanks has ranked Thill as No. 129 out of over 7,000 other financial analysts. Thill has been successful in his ratings, securing a 69% success rate and returning an average of 36.9%.

Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: Moderna, Virgin Galactic, Truist and more

In this article

Check out the companies making headlines before the bell:

Moderna (MRNA) – Moderna added 3.2% in premarket trading after rising 3.2% yesterday, following an FDA panel recommendation for a booster dose of its Covid-19 vaccine. The panel recommended approval of a booster for people 65 and over as well as those at high risk.

Virgin Galactic (SPCE) – Virgin Galactic shares tumbled 18.4% in the premarket after it said it would delay the launch of its commercial space service to the fourth quarter of 2022 from the third quarter. The company is taking the extra time to work on improvements to its space vehicles.

Truist Financial (TFC) – The bank beat estimates by 21 cents with adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.42 per share and revenue also above estimates. Truist’s results were helped by stronger fee income as well as loan and deposit growth.

PNC Financial (PNC) – PNC reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $3.75 per share, compared with a consensus estimate of $3.20 and revenue also topping Wall Street forecasts. PNC benefited from the recapture of credit loss provisions as well as the integration of BBVA USA, a deal that closed last October. PNC rose 1.3% in premarket trading.

Pearson (PSO) – Pearson tumbled 12.2% in premarket trading after the educational materials company said higher education sales have fallen 7% so far this year, even though the company maintained its full-year guidance. Pearson said enrollments at community colleges in the U.S. appear to have been hit by the delta variant of Covid-19.

Corsair Gaming (CRSR) – Corsair shares slid 5.9% in the premarket after the maker of video game-related peripheral products said supply chain issues were hurting sales. Corsair said 2021 will still be a “strong growth year.”

23andMe (ME) – The consumer genetics company’s stock surged 9.3% in premarket trading, following a positive mention by EMJ Capital founder and portfolio manager Eric Jackson on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” Thursday. Jackson said 23andMe should be more properly thought of as a therapeutics company in addition to being a subscription service, which he thinks bodes well for future growth.

Alcoa (AA) – Alcoa reported an adjusted quarterly profit of $2.05 per share, beating the consensus estimate of $1.80. The aluminum producer’s revenue topped estimates as well on higher aluminum prices. Alcoa jumped 6.7% in premarket action.

fuboTV (FUBO) – fuboTV’s Sportsbook unit struck a deal with Nascar to become the racing circuit’s authorized gaming operator. fuboTV shares added 2.1% in premarket trading.

Del Taco (TACO) – The restaurant chain reported adjusted quarterly earnings of 11 cents per share, a penny above estimates, with revenue essentially in line with Wall Street forecasts. However, comparable sales rose 1.8%, short of the 2.1% estimate from analysts surveyed by FactSet. Shares slid 3.6% in the premarket.

U.S. Home-Price Gains Are On Pace To Smash Record In 2021

Home-price gains in 2021 are on pace to smash last year’s all-time high after record-low mortgage rates fueled bidding wars across the U.S., Fannie Mae said in a forecast on Friday.

Home prices probably will surge 17% this year, beating the record gain of 11% set in 2020 that surpassed the prior peak of 10% seen at the height of the real estate boom that petered out in mid-2006, the largest U.S. mortgage securitizer said.

Prices for homes began spiking last year after the Federal Reserve stepped into the bond markets in March 2020 to purchase Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities to support the economy during the pandemic and prevent the type of credit crunch that crashed the U.S. financial system in 2008.

Both type of asset purchases — Treasuries and mortgage bonds — put downward pressure on rates because home-financing costs tend to track long-term Treasury yields. When the Fed became the 800-pound gorilla in the bond markets it boosted competition for the fixed assets, which resulted in investors having to accept smaller yields.

“We believe strong price appreciation is likely to continue in coming months,” Fannie Mae economists said in commentary released on Friday with the forecast. “When compared to this past spring, housing market activity has cooled, as indicated by measures such as the number of homes with multiple bids, average days on the market, and sales prices relative to asking prices. However, these indicators all remain well above the historical norm and point to a continued tight market.”

The U.S. real estate market struggled with low inventory prior to the start of the pandemic because of years of underbuilding after the 2008 financial crisis put hundreds of construction companies out of business.

Following an initial lull in the housing market during the first months of the pandemic, demand for real estate began to accelerate as Americans working from home, and often schooling their children at the kitchen table, became dissatisfied with their existing digs.

The average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage dipped below 3% for the first time ever in July 2020, four months after the Fed started buying bonds, and went on to set new records a dozen more times in 2020. The current all-time low is the 2.65% set in the first week of 2021, as measured by a Freddie Mac data series that goes back to 1971.

Lower rates typically mean buyers qualify for bigger mortgages because lenders use a formula that compares the monthly bill of the new loan, with its cheaper financing costs, against income and other debts. That sparked bidding wars for property that drove up home prices.

The rate seen in 2021’s first week is likely to stand in the record books as the bottom, Fannie Mae said. The Fed is set to begin tapering those bond purchases in November of December, according to the minutes of last month’s meeting released last week.

The average 30-year fixed rate next year probably will be 3.3%, compared with 2.9% in 2021, the mortgage giant said.

Next year, home-price appreciation is expected to slow but not fall of a cliff, according to the Fannie Mae forecast. The sale price of U.S. homes probably will gain 7.4% in 2022, Fannie Mae said.

That would beat the 3.3% average annual appreciation seen in the decade before the start of the pandemic, according to data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency.