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US Economy Records Spike in Jobs in June



The total employment level, however, remains 7.13 million below where it was in February 2020.

The US economy saw a spike in jobs growth in June as it looks to recover from last year’s hit. The United States Labor Department announced on July 2 that the growth exceeded expectations within the 30 days. Nonfarm payrolls saw an 850,000 increase for the month, up from the 583,000 recorded in May and against the Dow Jones estimate of 706,000.

The Unemployment rate however rose to 5.9% against the 5.6% expectation even though the labor force participation rate was unchanged at 61.6%. A separate figure showing the number of ‘discouraged workers’ alongside those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons saw a massive fall to 9.8%, with the 0.4 percentage point decline pushing the ‘real unemployment rate’ below 10% for the first time since March 2020.

Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors speaking after the announcement stated that “From a market perspective, this was an all-out positive jobs report,” as Markets rose on the news, with futures on the major indexes seeing modest gains on the open before the weekend. “The improvement today likely reflects a slight easing of the labor supply constraints that have been holding back the jobs market in recent months, as well as continued momentum from the economic reopening,” Seema added.

The US economy saw its total job recovery from the pandemic losses to reduced 15.6 million as against the 22.3 million Americans who were laid off in March and April of 2020 after the government imposed bans and restrictions on businesses. The total employment level however remains 7.13 million below where it was in February 2020.

The second quarter saw an unprecedented rise in hiring as the economy edged closer to returning to normal for Americans who were stuck indoors for the past year due to the pandemic-related restrictions. The hospitality industry once again benefited the most from the reopening as workers returned to jobs at restaurants, bars hotels, and the likes of travel agencies. The industry saw a rise of 340,000 jobs including 194,000 in bars and restaurants alone after the U.S government eased restrictions across the country. The industry however still falls 2.2 million short of where it was in February 2020 before the pandemic.

The education sector saw gains of 269,000 across the state including both local and private hiring, while professional and business services rose by 72,000 with retailing adding 67,000. Personal and laundry services added 29,000 jobs, Social assistance recorded 32,000 whiles Manufacturing grew by 15,000 in June month. Construction however lost 7,000 positions despite the booming housing industry.

The US economy also saw a rise in wages as average hourly earnings increased 0.33% for the month and 3.6% year over year, both matching estimates by analysts from Dow Jones.

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Visa to Acquire Payments Startup Currencycloud




CEO of Currencycloud, Mike Laven stated that the combination of Currencycloud’s fintech expertise coupled with Visa’s network will enable both parties to deliver greater customer value to the businesses moving money across borders.

Visa Inc (NYSE: V) has announced that it has agreed on a deal to purchase Currencycloud, a British payments startup. Reports from Visa revealed that Currencycloud is valued at $962 million, (£700 million) and will become the second major fintech acquisition by the payments giants in 2021.

Visa added that it will reduce the sum to be paid for the British start-up firm as it already owns outstanding equity in the firm, leading an $80 million investment round in Currencycloud in the early stages of 2020.

Colleen Ostrowski, Visa’s global treasurer speaking after the announcement stated that the acquisition of Currencycloud will enable Visa to support their clients and partners to further reduce the stress of cross-border payments as well as develop great user experiences for their customers. “Consumers and businesses increasingly expect transparency, speed, and simplicity when making or receiving international payments,” she stated.

Currencycloud was founded in 2007 and has its headquarters situated in London and is regulated in the UK, Canada, the US, and the EU. The company’s cloud-based platform offers a wide array of APIs which enables banks, financial service providers, and fintech firms to process cross-border payments, offer currency exchange services, including real-time notifications on foreign exchange transactions, virtual account management, and multi-currency wallets.

The company has offices in Amsterdam, Cardiff, New York, and Singapore, and delivers simple, clear cross-border infrastructure solutions for clients, working with partners including GPS, Visa, Dwolla, and Mambu.

The British firm boats of a long list of clients including popular banking and payment apps, Starling, Monzo, Revolut, Lunar, and Penta. The payments start-up has raised over $160 million in total from investors including Japanese financial services firm SBI Holdings, French bank BNP Paribas and Google parent company Alphabet’s venture capital arm GV.

Currencycloud currently has 500 banking and technology clients in over 180 countries across the globe. Visa is a statement stated that the company will continue its operations from its headquarters in London as well as retain its currency management team. The deal is however subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, according to Visa.

The payment start-up has processed over $100bn to over 180 countries since 2012 working with banks, financial institutions, and fintechs around the world, including Starling Bank, Revolut, Penta, and Lunar.

CEO of Currencycloud, Mike Laven stated that the combination of Currencycloud’s fintech expertise coupled with Visa’s network will enable both parties to deliver greater customer value to the businesses moving money across borders. “At Currencycloud, we’ve always strived to deliver a better tomorrow for all, from the smallest start-up to the global multi-nationals. Re-imagining how money flows around the global economy just got more exciting as we join Visa,” he said.

Visa agreed to buy Swedish firm Tink last month in a deal worth $2.1 billion after it attempted to acquire Plaid, a US rival, a move which was foiled by US regulators.

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Wall Street Keeps Up with Upward Momentum for Second Consecutive Day, Dow Jones Up 280 Points




Dow Jones recovers all losses from Monday with two-day consecutive rallies. Interestingly, the bond market is also fuelling optimism on Wall Street.

On Wednesday, July 21, Wall Street cheered with US stocks climbing for the second consecutive day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX: .DJI) was up 0.83% or 286 points recovering the early-week losses of Monday. Now, Dow Jones is just another 1% away from its record-high levels.

This happens as Dow-listed Coca-Cola Co (NYSE: KO) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) reported better-than-expected earnings.

Earlier on Monday, July 19, Dow Jones tanked 725 points as Wall Street investors feared the growing number of COVID-19 delta variant cases. But the two-day consecutive rally has helped Dow restore its previous levels. In a report on Wednesday, Thomas Essaye of Sevens Report Research said:

“Tuesday was a textbook oversold bounce following Monday’s collapse. Beyond short-term gyrations, however, for value and cyclicals to reassert leadership, we will need to see yields bottom and economic growth beat estimates (two things we think will happen).”

Stocks linked to the growth aspect associated with the reopening of the economy bounced the most. Cruise company Carnival Corp (NYSE: CCL) was up 9% on Wednesday. Similarly, shares of Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) were up by 3.4%.

Energy stocks also continued to rally as oil prices were up after falling to less than $70 per barrel on Monday. The Energy Select SPDR jumped 3.4%.

Bond Market Fuelling Optimism

As per the CNBC report, the 10-year Treasury yield is currently driving the equity market. On Wednesday, July 21, the yield surged by 8 basis points to 1.29%. Earlier on Monday this week, the yield dropped to a five-month low.

But despite the recent bounce back, the trend is still down. Back in February 2021, the 10-year Treasury Yield was above 1.7%. On Wednesday, Goldman Sachs’ Chris Hussey said:

“The catalyst for why investors have become comfortable with risk assets over the past two days is admittedly elusive. Perhaps investors have just come to embrace the notion that the reaction function to a new wave of the virus is unlikely to be the same as the reaction function employed in the spring of 2020.”

However, some strategists have also warned that markets would stay more volatile going ahead. Thus, they expect deeper pullbacks as investors juggle between inflation fears and rising COVID cases. Matt Maley, equity strategist at Miller Tabak said:

“I think what we’ve seen here are the early warning shots of a correction that we’ll see probably… in late August, September, October”.

But in the last 14 months, the spike in the Covid cases hasn’t much impacted the stock market. On the other hand, rising vaccination is a big positive. Thus, analysts believe that investors will continue to buy the dips.

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Bhushan is a FinTech enthusiast and holds a good flair in understanding financial markets. His interest in economics and finance draw his attention towards the new emerging Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency markets. He is continuously in a learning process and keeps himself motivated by sharing his acquired knowledge. In free time he reads thriller fictions novels and sometimes explore his culinary skills.

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IBM Stock Up 4% in Pre-market, IBM Reports Better Than Expected Q2 2021 Earnings




The second-quarter revenue was the largest IBM had ever recorded in three years.

International Business Machines Corp (NYSE: IBM) stock jumped over 4% as of July 20, 2021, at 5:02 a.m. EDT to trade around $143.25. The tweak in IBM stock during today’s premarket trading session was attributed to news that the company reported better than expected second-quarter earnings. During Q2, IBM reported adjusted earnings per share of $2.33 against $2.29 expected by analysts according to research by Refinitiv. Additionally, the company recorded a revenue of $18.75 billion versus $18.29 billion expected by analysts according to Refinitiv.

“The overall spend environment continues to improve,” CEO Arvind Krishna said on a conference call with analysts. “With the economy reopening in many parts of the world, many markets and industries are getting back on track. We see this in North America and select industries.”

Notably, the second-quarter revenue was the largest the company ever recorded in three years. The spike was attributed to a huge demand for cloud computing services as companies push to reach the global market and rebound from the Covid pandemic.

IBM Stock and Q2 2021 Earnings

As a technology-based company, IBM has seen its products gain popularity globally during the coronavirus outbreak. According to market analytics provided by MarketWatch, IBM shares are up 9.41% and 9.56% in the past year and year-to-date respectively through Monday.

However, they are down approximately 5.77%, and 1.68% in the past month and five days respectively through Monday.

Having reported the strongest quarter in revenues, IBM investors anticipate the foreseeable future to be in favor of them. Furthermore, the demand is expected to maintain or heighten as more countries open up their economies.

During the past year, IBM has seen its market valuation sustained over $124 billion. Wall Street analysts are convinced the company can deliver more in the coming quarters. According to a survey conducted by MarketWatch, IBM stocks received an average of a Hold rating from 18 ratings.

Although the company experienced one of its best quarters, the competition is growing in the cloud computing industry. As a result, IBM spent $1.75 billion on acquisitions, the highest in a single quarter since it closed the $34 billion Red Hat deal in the third quarter of 2019.

During Q2, IBM total cloud revenue grew by approximately 13% compared to the same time last year.

”The growth we’re seeing is very encouraging,” Chief Financial Officer Jim Kavanaugh said in an interview. “It’s proof our clients are adopting the hybrid-cloud platform.”

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