The chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, today began his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee in regards to the Fed’s current monetary policy. In his first day of testimony, he underscored both the positive improvements in the economy, as well as the assumption that the economy in the United States continues to be negatively impacted by the pandemic.
The chairman stated that the accommodative monetary policy, which began when the epidemic became a pandemic, remains fully intact. He also said that Federal Reserve is fully committed to maintaining low-interest rates and quantitative easing through the purchase of $120 billion worth of bonds and mortgage-backed securities per month.
“The Fed will continue this bond-buying, or quantitative easing until there has been “substantial progress” in the labor market and inflation has gotten closer to the Fed’s 2% longer-run objective. In fact, the mandate of keeping interest rates at 2% has been updated, allowing the Federal Reserve to let inflation heat up past that target in lieu of achieving the primary mandate of maximum employment.
While many investors and market participants have been actively bidding U.S. equities higher, Chairman Powell conveyed that, “The economy is a long way from our employment and inflation goals.” At the same time, he offered some positive news that the economy is recovering, although this will not change the basic accommodative monetary policy currently in place. His major concern is considered to be on the primary mandate of the Federal Reserve, which is full employment. His statement that there are currently over 10 million Americans still unemployed is an issue that will take time to resolve.
“There are signs that the economy is on the mend from the coronavirus pandemic, but the central bank is likely to keep its easy policy in place for some time.” Most importantly, the Fed chairman underscored that a large fiscal stimulus package from the government would not cause problematic price inflation.
On the topic of rising bond yields recently, Chairman Jerome Powell said that “higher yields are really only “a statement of confidence” for an improving U.S. economic outlook.” He tempered the recent rise in bond yields by saying, while we should not underestimate the challenges we currently face, developments point to an improved outlook for later this year”.
While the statements coupled with the high probability that lawmakers will and act and pass a robust fiscal stimulus aid package close to the president’s proposal that the next aid package cost would be approximately $1.9 trillion, we still have not seen gold react in a bullish manner to this news. Gold basis most active April 2021 Comex contract gave up $2.90 in trading today and is currently fixed at $1805.50. Considering yesterday’s dramatic $30 gain, it clearly illustrates underlying support for the precious yellow metal.
However, that is contrasted by the technical studies, which suggest that gold is currently still maintaining a bearish demeanor. His current pricing is well below its 200-day moving average. And recent price action has resulted in a series of lower highs and lower lows. On the positive side is the fact that last week’s low of $1760 per ounce not only held but was followed by strong bullish market sentiment taking gold pricing back above $1800 per ounce.
The fact remains that until gold pricing can close effectively above $1850 per ounce, which is where our technical studies indicate there is major resistance, then we could see the market continue to consolidate.
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Robinhood Flirts With Worst Debut Ever for IPO of Its Size – BNN
(Bloomberg) — Robinhood Markets Inc. wanted to make history with its initial public offering, and now it might — for the wrong reason.
Shares in the broker behind the meme-stock revolution fell as much as 12% below the IPO price in the company’s first trading session. That puts the stock in the running to rank as the worst debut on record among U.S. firms that raised as much cash as Robinhood or more, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Shares rebounded and were last trading 1% lower at $37.52 mid-afternoon in New York.
Robinhood must finish Thursday’s session at $34.90 or higher, or else it will replace the 2007 IPO by another brokerage, MF Global Holdings Ltd., as the worst debut among qualifying firms. MF Global ended its first day down 8.2%.
Read more: Robinhood Loses More Ground in Trading Debut After Muted IPO
The stock opened at the $38 initial public offering price. For an IPO of Robinhood’s size and larger, that’s the weakest opening trade since Uber Technologies Inc. in May of 2019 among U.S. firms. Uber finished its debut session down 7.6%.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Google and Facebook will require U.S. workers to be vaccinated to return to the office – CBC.ca
Google is postponing a return to the office for most workers until mid-October and rolling out a policy that will eventually require everyone to be vaccinated once its sprawling campuses are fully reopened.
The more highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus is driving a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Google’s announcement Wednesday was shortly followed by one from Facebook, which also said it will make vaccines mandatory for U.S. employees who work in offices. Exceptions will be made for medical and other reasons.
“With regards to our Canadian offices, we don’t have specifics to share yet,” a spokesperson for Facebook told CBC News. “We will be evaluating our approach in other regions as the situation evolves.”
In an email sent to Google’s more than 130,000 employees worldwide, CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is now aiming to have most of its workforce back to its offices beginning Oct. 18, instead of its previous target date of Sept. 1.
The decision also affects tens of thousands of contractors who Google intends to continue to pay while access to its campuses remains limited.
“This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it,” Pichai wrote.
Pichai disclosed that once offices are fully reopened, everyone working there will have to be vaccinated. The requirement will be first imposed at Google’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters and other U.S. offices, before being extended to the more than 40 other countries where Google operates.
‘The stuff that needs to be done’
Google has extensive operations in Canada, but the company did not immediately reply to a request for comment as to when such a policy may be implemented for its Canadian work force. Pichai’s letter, however, makes it clear that it is not just a U.S. policy.
“We’re rolling this policy out in the U.S. in the coming weeks and will expand to other regions in the coming months,” he said.
WATCH | How social media is helping spread misinformation like a virus:
Public health experts are lauding the move.
“This is the stuff that needs to be done, because otherwise we are endangering workers and their families,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University and a former health commissioner for the city of Baltimore.
“It is not fair to parents to be expected to come back to work and sit shoulder-to-shoulder with unvaccinated people who could be carrying a potentially deadly virus.”
Because children under the age of 12 aren’t currently eligible to be vaccinated, parents can bring the virus home to them from the office if they are around unvaccinated colleagues, Wen said.
Various government agencies already have announced demands for all their employees to be vaccinated, but the corporate world so far has been taking a more measured approach, even though most lawyers believe the mandates are legal.
Most employers hesitant to require vaccines
Delta and United airlines are requiring new employees to show proof of vaccination. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are requiring their employees to disclose their vaccination status, but are not requiring staffers to be vaccinated.
Less than 10 per cent of employers have said they intend to require all employees to be vaccinated, based on periodic surveys by the research firm Gartner.
While other major technology companies may follow suit now that Google and Facebook have taken stands on vaccines, employers in other industries still may be reluctant, predicted Brian Kropp, chief of research for Gartner’s human resources practice.
“Google is seen as being such a different kind of company that I think it’s going to take one or two more big employers to do something similar in terms of becoming a game changer,” Kropp said.
Google’s vaccine mandate will be adjusted to adhere to the laws and regulations of each location, Pichai wrote, and exceptions will be made for medical and other “protected” reasons.
“Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead,” Pichai explained.
The rapid rise in cases during the past month has prompted more public health officials to urge stricter measures to help overcome vaccine skepticism and misinformation.
It’s unclear how many of Google’s workers still haven’t been vaccinated. In his email, Pichai described the vaccination rate at the company as high.
Remote work still going strong
Google’s decision to extend its remote work follows a similar move by another technology powerhouse, Apple, which recently moved its return-to-office plans from September to October, too.
The delays by Apple and Google could influence other major employers to take similar precautions, given that the technology industry has been at the forefront of the shift to remote work triggered by the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Even before the World Health Organization declared a pandemic in March 2020, Google, Apple and many other prominent tech firms had been telling their employees to work from home.
WATCH | Business travel particularly slow to bounce back:
This marks the third time Google has pushed back the date for fully reopening its offices.
Google’s vaccine requirement also could embolden other employers to issue similar mandates to guard against outbreaks and minimize the need to wear masks in the office.
While most companies are planning to bring back their workers at least a few days a week, others in the tech industry have decided to let employees do their jobs from remote locations permanently.
TSX closes at all-time high, U.S. markets up after big jump in commodities prices – CBC.ca
Canada’s main stock exchange closed at an all-time high as commodities like gold and oil benefited from a weaker U.S. dollar on Thursday.
The S&P/TSX composite index was up 81.38 points at 20,311.78.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 153.60 points at 35,084.53. The S&P 500 index was up 18.51 points at 4,419.15, while the Nasdaq composite was up 15.68 points at 14,778.26.
The Canadian dollar traded for 80.32 cents US compared with 79.58 cents US on Wednesday.
The September crude oil contract was up $1.23 US at $73.62 US per barrel and the September natural gas contract was up 9.2 cents at nearly $4.06 US per mmBTU.
The December gold contract was up $31.20 US at $1,835.80 US an ounce and the September copper contract was up nearly 4.2 cents at $4.52 US a pound.
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Robinhood Flirts With Worst Debut Ever for IPO of Its Size – BNN
Northern Canada may be a popular destination at the end of the world – CTV News
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