• Target CEO thinks this new food brand will be its biggest brand ever
    Yahoo Finance

    Target CEO thinks this new food brand will be its biggest brand ever

    Target is all in on this new private label food brand.

  • General Mills (GIS) Earnings Expected to Grow: Should You Buy?

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  • Bloomberg

    Russian Artist Puts $150,000 Banana to Shame

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Forget Maurizio Cattelan’s $150,000 banana, duct-taped to the wall at Art Basel in Miami last week and eaten by a less well-known trickster artist. (The buyers of the artwork are fine with that — it came with a manual that prescribes replacing the fruit every week or so, anyway.) The best art of this type comes from Russia, because there, it actually means something.The art object that, as any responsible critic should recognize, eclipses Cattelan’s headline-grabbing “Comedian,” was sold online on Dec. 9 for 1.5 million rubles ($23,600). It was created by Artem Loskutov, an artist from Novosibirsk, Russia, who started the now nationwide tradition of “Monstrations,” annual rallies where people carry nonsensical signs. (“We Can’t be Knocked Off Course: We Don’t Know Where We’re Going,” one said this year.) The object is a piece of canvas-covered cardboard with a steel plaque glued to it and Loskutov’s signature, in marker, underneath. On the plaque, a woman named Nailya professes her love for a man named Andrey Kostin, in English, and tells him, “We are of the same blood,” an apparent corruption of the line from Rudyard Kipling’s “Jungle Book,” “We be of one blood, ye and I.”Loskutov’s description of the materials used in creating the work says, “found object, stainless steel, 5X14 cm; marker, canvas on cardboard.” But the plaque is, strictly speaking, a stolen object, not a “found” one. Until a few days ago, it was affixed to one of the 6,800 benches in New York City’s Central Park “adopted” by donors to the Central Park Conservancy.It came from what’s probably now the most famous of these benches: Earlier this month, it got a prominent mention in a 29-minute video by anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny, an arch-foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin, that has been viewed more than 5 million times (and counting) on YouTube. The video is dedicated to the relationship between Andrey Kostin, the (married) president and chief executive officer of the state-owned bank VTB and state television anchor Nailya Asker-Zade. The state banker, according to Navalny, has showered Asker-Zade with expensive gifts, including prime real estate and the use of a yacht and a private plane. The cost of it all appears to be too high even for Kostin’s significant legitimate income, Navalny wrote.Kostin hasn’t commented on the video, nor has VTB, Russia’s second biggest bank by assets. Asker-Zade, known for her fawning interviews with members of Putin’s close circle, thanked Navalny on Instagram for the publicity.Navalny’s made-for-YouTube investigations are political tools rather than journalistic endeavors, and much of the film’s substance should probably be classed as opinion rather than fact. But when it comes to the Central Park plaque, Asker-Zade is mentioned in Central Park Conservancy’s 2015 annual report among donors of between $10,000 and $24,999. Navalny specializes in exposing impossibly lavish lifestyles that embarrass Putin allies and scandalize the average Russian. Judging by his video’s viral spread and the indignant comments it’s spawned on social networks, he handily hit his mark here.To put his allegations in context, Navalny wrote in a separate post that by his count the total value of the gifts is comparable to the amount that’s been raised by Rusfond, one of Russia’s biggest charities dedicated to funding medical treatment for seriously ill children, over its 23-year history. That would be difficult to prove, but is important for what happened next.Suddenly, the plaque disappeared from the bench, an event Navalny was quick to report on Twitter. On Dec. 9, it resurfaced in Loskutov’s possession. To turn it into art, Loskutov didn’t just paste it on cardboard and scribble his name underneath. He promised to donate the proceeds from its sale to Rusfond. The same day, he announced the object had fetched 1.5 million rubles in an informal auction he had run online. (The original screws from the bench were offered as a bonus.) To complete the performance, proof of the transfer to Rusfond is still needed. But Loskutov’s work has already garnered numerous comments to his tweets and Facebook posts — both accusing him of theft (even many Putin foes were uneasy about this) and praising him for his audacity.  One commentator summed the whole situation up like this: “They stole our money and we’ll steal their memories.” Although there's no proof Asker-Zade or Kostin engaged in theft.On Tuesday, Loskutov took to Facebook and Twitter again to post a quote attributed to a host of greats, most often to Pablo Picasso: “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” It’s unclear, though, if he meant himself or the bureaucrats and managers of state-owned companies whom Navalny often accuses of graft.The New York Times’ art critic Jason Farago recently offered what he called “a reluctant defense” of Cattelan’s banana on the basis of the artist’s “willingness to implicate himself within the economic, social and discursive systems that structure how we see and what we value.” If that defense is valid, Loskutov’s action works on more levels than Cattelan’s work. It’s art as Robin Hood-style theft, art as tabloid journalism, art as political protest, art as social commentary, art as commerce and art as charity all rolled into one. It’s not a case of art imitating life or the other way round, but art’s bold intrusion into life as it plays out under one of the world’s most dispiriting authoritarian regimes.Loskutov’s performance, whatever its consequences for him, deserves a place among other audacious Russian art works such as Voina Art Group’s 2010 depiction of a gigantic penis on a St. Petersburg drawbridge exactly opposite the secret police office or Petr Pavlensky nailing himself to the pavement on Moscow’s Red Square in 2013. It’s easy these days to be cynical about the value of art and to play tricks on audiences based on the amount of money some wealthy people are willing to pay for fatuous objects. It’s much riskier, and much more meaningful, to challenge allegedly corrupt elites and the enforcers and benefactors of authoritarian nations. Where political opposition is feeble, art has a role to play.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at mpozsgay@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • At US$59.95, Is U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) Worth Looking At Closely?
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  • 3 Top Dividend Stocks to Maximize Your Retirement Income - December 11, 2019

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  • Delta Air Lines Divests 32.9 Million Shares of Gol Linhas

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  • E*TRADE (ETFC) Acquires First Republic's Subsidiary Gradifi

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  • Rite Aid (RAD) to Report Q3 Earnings: What's in the Cards?

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  • Why The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.'s (NYSE:HIG) CEO Pay Matters To You
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  • Cohen & Steers (CNS) November AUM Down on Market Depreciation

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    Cohen & Steers (CNS) reports a 1.1% sequential decline in November 2019 assets under management.

  • Financial Times

    Paytm pain: India’s biggest unicorn hits headwinds

    FT subscribers can click here to receive Tech Scroll Asia by email. Hi everyone — Paytm, Asia’s biggest unicorn outside China, looks to be in trouble, with implications for its investors SoftBank and Alibaba. A fintech revolution is hurtling through south-east Asia as Indonesia is seized by an e-money craze.

  • Investors Tear Up Playbook as Currency Market Lull Drags On

    Investors Tear Up Playbook as Currency Market Lull Drags On

    (Bloomberg) -- The unprecedented level of calm pervading global currencies is pushing investors to rethink their approach to the $6.6 trillion-a-day market.Morgan Stanley Investment Management has pared its foreign-exchange exposure, awaiting a clearer theme. Amid the trend-less torpor, Russell Investments Ltd. is focusing on value, and is forsaking major currencies in favor of those from developing economies. For State Street Global, that same approach leads to Scandinavia as the firm scours the Group-of-10 for opportunities.Turbulence picked up a hair this month in the run-up to the Dec. 15 deadline for additional U.S. tariffs on China, as investors braced for the possibility of rocky times ahead. Events in the next few days could also jump-start market swings: The Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank will deliver policy decisions, and the U.K. holds an election where last-minute polls show the race narrowing. But for the time being, volatility remains near all-time lows across some major currency pairs.That’s a boon for companies, which can hedge international revenue more cheaply than ever, if they so choose. But it’s a problem for traders who rely on swings and trends to squeeze out a profit from FX. While the S&P 500 is on pace to log its best annual performance since 2013, and Treasuries are headed for their biggest gain since 2011, currency-focused funds are suffering a fourth straight year of losses.“It’s difficult to make money in these low-vol environments,” said Aaron Hurd, senior portfolio manager in the currency group at State Street Global. “Nothing’s firing on all cylinders, and that just breeds confusion and lack of conviction.”Currency turbulence has been declining in part because market expectations for central banks and the relative strength of major economies have largely been met. A JPMorgan Chase & Co. measure of global FX volatility is close to a five-year low, while one-month implied volatility sank to all-time lows in the euro, Canadian dollar and New Zealand dollar late last month.Low ConvictionMorgan Stanley Investment Management has decided to bide its time. The fund manager has reduced its currency exposure to 1% to 2%, from typical levels of 5% to 7%, according to portfolio manager Jim Caron. It’s difficult to create a compelling trading narrative with most major currencies locked in such tight ranges, he said.“We’re not going to take just a punt on the currency,” he said. “It’s hard for me to have high conviction and want to expose myself very greatly to something I believe is going to just kind of drift, as opposed to trend.”He anticipates that the catalyst to increase currency exposure back to normal levels would be if the U.S. and China were to agree to a phase-one trade deal. Chinese officials expect the U.S.’s planned Dec. 15 tariff increase to be postponed, giving more time to negotiate an interim pact, according to people familiar with the matter.Emerging FocusThe currency exposure that MSIM still has on is mostly weighted to Latin American, South American and some Asian currencies, Caron said. That’s based on the view that growth in those emerging economies will draw capital. Most emerging-market currencies have weakened versus the dollar in 2019.“EM can perform reasonably well next year, and we think that it’s going to to attract investment there,” Caron said. “That’s going to come at the expense of the dollar.”The quest for value is a common theme among many investors facing an FX landscape devoid of lasting moves.Russell, which manages about $5 billion in active currency -- meaning FX as an asset class -- has seen returns of about 5% since May in its emerging-market value strategy. There’s potential for more gains there, according to fixed-income and currency research head Van Luu.Scandinavia CallsFor Amundi Asset Management’s Andreas Koenig, the volatility malaise makes value the dominant strategy in foreign exchange at the moment.He’s optimistic about the Norwegian and Swedish currencies in 2020 should the global economic outlook rebound from the headwinds of the trade war. The two currencies have both slumped more than 5% against the dollar in 2019, making them the worst-performing G-10 currencies. For Norway’s krone, the tumble has come even as the Norges Bank hiked rates.Barring a marked global slowdown, “currencies which were affected by these negative expectations of trade and growth and are undervalued should come back into interest,” said Koenig. He’s head of global currencies at Amundi, which oversees $1.7 trillion.State Street Global’s Hurd is also looking to Scandinavia. He said the krone is one of his largest bullish positions.Hedging OpportunityFor Brad Bechtel at Jefferies, staying long the dollar has been a profitable way to navigate the tranquility in FX, given the appeal of still-positive U.S. yields.And because American short-term rates are higher than in most other developed markets, dollar-based investors can benefit by entering short positions against low-yielding currencies, he said.However, he sees a risk that volatility may be poised to rebound amid trade negotiations, Brexit developments and discussions of fiscal stimulus in Germany. For him, buying three-month euro-yen volatility is the best way to position for that.“Over a three-month kind of time horizon, we would anticipate that at least a couple of opportunities are going to arise,” he said. “Euro-yen vol is super cheap, so it’s not a bad way to hedge your exposure for the remainder of the quarter.”(Adds reference to latest U.K. polling in 3rd paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Katherine Greifeld in New York at kgreifeld@bloomberg.net;Charlotte Ryan in London at cryan147@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Benjamin Purvis at bpurvis@bloomberg.net, ;Dana El Baltaji at delbaltaji@bloomberg.net, Mark Tannenbaum, Dave LiedtkaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Now for the Bad News: Medicare Costs Are Accelerating

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- As debates rage over the cost of U.S. health care, Medicare’s actuaries have issued a new report. In 2018, overall national spending on health care rose 4.6% from 2017, to a total of $3.6 trillion.That may sound like a big jump, but the 2018 numbers partially reflect the re-imposition of a tax on health insurance, which is a one-time effect rather than an underlying trend. Even with that renewed tax, spending rose more slowly than GDP last year, so the share of the economy devoted to health care declined. The new figures show that the slow growth that has occurred over the past decade or so has mostly continued.What is the cause of this little-noticed deceleration in health costs? Early on, the conventional wisdom was that the 2008 financial crisis was the reason. I argued back then that this was unlikely to be the case and that changes in the delivery of health care were more likely driving the shift. Today, the consensus on the causes of the continued slow growth has come around, as reflected in a New York Times report on the latest health-care figures.“The factors leading to the slowdown are not fully understood,” the article said. “For years, economists thought they were the result of lagging effects of the recession. But as the pattern has continued far into the economic recovery, they increasingly point to changes in the delivery of health care itself.”Whenever the conventional wisdom shifts like this, we should be wary. And indeed the recent data carry a warning: The spending growth of Medicare, which made up more than a fifth of total national health-care expenditures in 2018, has been picking up. This may presage a broader acceleration.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that Medicare expenditures rose more than 6% in the fiscal year that ended at the end of September; the actuaries’ report also shows a 2018 increase in the program’s spending growth.Part of the 2018 increase in Medicare is the result of the health insurance tax, which affects private insurance plans within Medicare. But even apart from that, the program’s spending on care delivery itself (instead of administrative costs or taxes on private plans) grew by 5.7% in 2018, compared with 4.7% in 2017. And Medicare spending growth has remained high so far in 2019, as the CBO data show.Two trends here warrant more attention. The first is that the shift away from fee-for-service reimbursement, which involves paying based on the volumes of services provided, and toward value-based payment, based on paying for the quality of care delivered, is moving too slowly. Maintaining slower growth in Medicare spending will require more forceful movement away from fee-for-service payments. The leadership at the Department of Health and Human Services should get over its reported infighting and move more aggressively on this front.In addition, Medicare Advantage plans, the private plans within the program, are expanding rapidly. In 2018, enrollment in these plans rose by 8%, compared with less than 3% for Medicare enrollment overall. The plans accounted for 35% of all Medicare beneficiaries in 2018, and that share is very likely to continue rising.There has been much debate about the impact of these plans. Most evidence from the past several years, including from studies of what happens when private plans voluntarily decide to stop offering insurance in a local area, suggests they have lower costs and better quality than traditional Medicare.  Over the next few years, policymakers will need to consider revamping the system under which the Medicare Advantage plans are paid, since payments are still based on traditional Medicare payments in each local area. That works fine when the private plans are a small share of the overall system, but causes problems as they cover, or come close to covering, the majority of beneficiaries: pricing care for 20 percent of beneficiaries based on the costs for the other 80 percent makes sense, but pricing care for 80 percent based on the costs for the other 20 percent does not.  Finally, there is the hotly debated question of how much consumers are paying out of their own pockets for health care. That’s a legitimate concern, but the actuaries’ report provides some striking data on this subject: In 2018, out-of-pocket expenses represented 10.3% of total health spending, down from 11.4% of total spending in 2012.  What explains the drop? Although deductibles have risen, more consumers are paying out of pocket for low to moderate levels of costs. The Affordable Care Act provided limits on how much consumers themselves are responsible for, so people with insurance but very high health costs don’t run the same personal financial risks that they did a decade ago when there were no such caps.  Advocates of counting on these out-of-pocket expenses to reduce overall spending may be concerned that a small share of spending is coming in this form. But those advocates believe the strategy works better than it actually does. In practice, having consumers pay more out of pocket doesn’t affect health-care spending all that much.  The bottom line is that we’ve had another year of slow growth in overall health-care costs. That’s great news. But we should be paying careful attention to what is happening in Medicare, where costs have accelerated recently.  To contact the author of this story: Peter R. Orszag at porszag5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Katy Roberts at kroberts29@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Peter R. Orszag is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is the chief executive officer of financial advisory at Lazard. He was director of the Office of Management and Budget from 2009 to 2010, and director of the Congressional Budget Office from 2007 to 2008. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • 6 Low Price-to-Book Value Stocks to Buy in December

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  • Financial Times

    Weinstein and accusers reach tentative $45m deal

    The settlement is not finalised, these people cautioned, and must still be approved by a US bankruptcy court. The agreement was first reported by the New York Times. While dozens of women have agreed to the deal, some accusers rejected the settlement, including Wedil David, an actress who accused Mr Weinstein of raping her in a hotel room.

  • 3 Cheap Tech Stocks Trading Under $10 to Buy for 2020

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  • General Mills (GIS) Gains As Market Dips: What You Should Know

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  • Texas Instruments (TXN) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know

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  • Oil Holds Near 3-Month High Despite Surprise U.S. Crude Build

    Oil Holds Near 3-Month High Despite Surprise U.S. Crude Build

    (Bloomberg) -- Oil eased gains after a surprise build in U.S. crude stockpiles contrasted with analyst expectations for a draw.Futures in New York edged lower after closing at the highest in nearly three months. The American Petroleum Institute reported a 1.41 million-barrel build in crude inventories last week, according to people familiar with the matter. That runs counter to a Bloomberg survey of analysts predicting a draw. The U.S. government will release its weekly inventory report Wednesday.“API’s report for a build in crude stocks, and the large builds in gasoline and distillates probably caused crude futures to fall,” said Michael Loewen, director of commodity strategy at Scotiabank in Toronto.Seasonally, U.S. crude inventories are higher than the five-year average. Industry-backed API reported that gasoline and distillate supplies rose by over 8 million barrels combined. The gasoline build would mark the fifth consecutive rise if government data confirms it.Demand concerns stemming from the prolonged U.S.-China trade war persist. President Donald Trump’s administration is set to put tariffs on a further $160 billion of Chinese goods Sunday, although Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said they’re unlikely to be implemented. Chinese officials also expect the higher levies to be postponed, according to people familiar with the matter.West Texas Intermediate for January delivery traded at $59.10 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 4:57 p.m. local time. The contract settled at $59.24.Brent for February settlement was down 8 cents at $64.14 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe Exchange. The contract settled at $64.34. The global benchmark crude traded at a $5.20 premium to WTI for the same month.“For the market to push even higher, the key element is the signing of a trade agreement” between China and the U.S., said Gene McGillian, manager for market research at Tradition Energy. “That will rekindle expectations of economic growth and fuel demand growth.” Nevertheless, “we don’t have proof that there’s actually going to be a trade agreement,” he said.On Friday, oil closed at the highest level since mid-September after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies surprised the market with deeper-than-expected output cuts. But there are lingering concerns on adherence to the latest agreement, given under-compliance by some members in the previous round of reductions.To contact the reporter on this story: Sheela Tobben in New York at vtobben@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Marino at dmarino4@bloomberg.net, Catherine Traywick, Carlos CaminadaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Top Stock Reports for Toyota, CVS Health & 3M

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  • Bloomberg

    Interior’s Bernhardt Cleared of Blocking Pesticides Report

    (Bloomberg) -- The Interior Department’s inspector general has cleared Secretary David Bernhardt of allegations he suppressed an agency analysis of the threat pesticides pose to endangered species, a charge that led a top Senate Democrat to accuse him of lying and meddling with science.“We found no evidence that Bernhardt exceeded or abused his authority or that his actions influenced or altered the findings” of career scientists, the report by the inspector general said. No evidence was found to substantiate claims Bernhardt violated his ethics pledge either, according to the report.At issue was a draft Fish and Wildlife Service assessment that found the pesticides malathion and chlorpyrifos jeopardized more than 1,000 endangered species. Bernhardt, who was then the department’s No. 2 official, reviewed the report and instructed the team charged with developing an opinion to change its method for determining the potential effects, the Inspector General’s report said. The analysis, which has yet to be completed, is used as part of the EPA’s approval process to allow the pesticides’ manufactures to keep producing them.While staffers interviewed by investigators said Bernhardt influenced the legal interpretation of the rules and law surrounding the agency’s decision, they agreed he did not influence scientific or biological aspects of the analysis and none said that they believed his influence was improper, the inspector general found.The episode, which was highlighted in a New York Times article and Freedom of Information Act documents, prompted a tense exchange between Bernhardt and Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden during Bernhardt’s confirmation hearing to lead the agency in March.“You meddled with the science,” Wyden said at the time. “You inserted yourself into a scientific process.”The agency’s inspector general, Mark Lee Greenblatt, was confirmed in August.An Interior Department spokeswoman said the report demonstrated the accusations by Wyden and other Democrats were based on “false” information, rather than facts.“The IG’s independent report clearly states that secretary Bernhardt acted appropriately and ethically,” spokeswoman Carol Danko said.In a separate report, also released Tuesday, the inspector general concluded that Assistant Secretary Douglas Domenech violated federal ethics regulations by holding two meetings in April 2017 with an attorney from his former employer, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, regarding legal matters.Specifically, Domenech ran afoul of a restriction barring U.S. government employees from participating with their former employers in “particular matters” involving “specific parties.” The inspector general said Domenech did not violate a separate ethics pledge because he was designated as a “special government employee” at the time of the meetings — and he wasn’t required to sign the pledge until September 2017, when he became a permanent Interior Department employee.Critics said the report underscored ethical problems at the department.“This report lays bare the culture of corruption at Interior and confirms the department doesn’t give a damn about ethics rules,” Center for Western Priorities Executive Director Jennifer Rokala said in an emailed release.(Updates with comment from environmental group in last graph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Ari Natter in Washington at anatter5@bloomberg.net;Jennifer A. Dlouhy in Washington at jdlouhy1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net, Elizabeth WassermanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • MS vs. TW: Which Stock Should Value Investors Buy Now?

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    MS vs. TW: Which Stock Is the Better Value Option?

  • Near-Term Outlook Appears Enthralling for Airline Stocks

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  • Will the FedEx (FDX) Stock Disappoint Again in Q2 Earnings?

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