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EU makes first investment in hyperloop – GCR

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The hyperloop will theoretically be able to travel at the speed of a jet airliner (Dreamstime)
Dutch engineering spin-off Hardt Hyperloop has been awarded €15m by the European Commission, the first time that the EU has directly funded the development of the ultra-fast transport concept.

The grant was disbursed by the European Innovation Council Accelerator to help the Dutch engineer and its partners continue research and development.

Tim Houter, co-founder of Hardt, said in a press statement that the decision was a vote of confidence in his company and the technology.

“It’s great to have now gained the trust of the European Commission. Their support will help to accelerate the development of a European hyperloop network, bringing us much closer to significant carbon dioxide savings. European cities will be connected smarter, faster and cheaper.”

The funding will also progress the European Hyperloop Centre in Groningen, set to demonstrate lane-switching for a high-speed hyperloop system in 2023.

A pilot project to move freight between Amsterdam and Rotterdam is being investigated by companies, governments and network organisations. Houter said he hoped the route could be developed in the Netherlands within this decade.

The EU is particularly interested in hyperloop because of its fit with the European Green Deal, and the commission’s strategy for sustainable and smart mobility. According to Houter, a European-wide network could save 160 million tonnes of carbon on an annual basis, which would be “more than the entire emissions of the Netherlands”.

Hyperloop pods move autonomously through low-pressure tubes, propelled by fluctuating magnetic fields supplied by the “track” they float over.

Hardt Hyperloop was founded in 2016 by engineers at Delft Technical University. It was involved in building Europe’s first high-speed test facility, and has developed a lane-switching technology that is reckoned to be essential to the development of networks.

Its partners include Schiphol Airport, Nederlandse Spoorwegen, Deutsche Bahn, Koolen Industries, InnoEnergy, Freigeist, Bam, Tata Steel and IHC.

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Big Six banks expand investment offerings – Wealth Professional

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“ZMMK provides a solution for investors looking for a liquidity sleeve, or a place to hold their cash as they assess the market for other investments,” Mark Raes, head of Product at BMO Global Asset Management, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, CIBC has again expanded its lineup of Canadian Depositary Receipts (CDRs), which offer an affordable way to invest in some of the world’s largest companies with a built-in notional currency hedge, with eight new listings on the NEO Exchange.

The new CDRs include:

  • Advanced Micro Devices Canadian Depositary Receipts (CAD Hedged) – AMD
  • Berkshire Hathaway Canadian Depositary Receipts (CAD Hedged) – BRK (underlying shares Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class B Common Stock (NYSE: BRK.B))
  • Costco Canadian Depositary Receipts (CAD Hedged) – COST
  • Salesforce.com Canadian Depositary Receipts (CAD Hedged) – CRM
  • IBM Canadian Depositary Receipts (CAD Hedged) – IBM
  • JPMorgan Canadian Depositary Receipts (CAD Hedged) – JPM
  • Mastercard Canadian Depositary Receipts (CAD Hedged) – MA
  • Pfizer Canadian Depositary Receipts (CAD Hedged) – PFE

They join 10 other CDRs that were launched on NEO in July and October. According to NEO, the average number of client trades in CDRs grew from around 700 per day in September to roughly 5,500 since the start of November. The CDRs on the exchange have also continued to track their underlying stocks precisely even during highly volatile periods.

“We are pleased with the reception we’ve seen so far for CDRs with Canadian investors. It’s clear this meets a need in the market,” said Elliott Scherer, managing director and head of Sales, Wealth Solutions Group, CIBC Capital Markets. “This expansion of our CDR offering provides greater opportunity for investors to diversify their portfolio without being exposed to currency risk at a fraction of the price per share.”

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TSX rallies as dividend increases help underpin financial shares

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Canada‘s main stock index rebounded on Thursday from a seven-week low hit in the previous session, with financials contributing to broad-based gains as major lenders boosted their dividends.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended up 297.43 points, or 1.45%, at 20,762.03, after posting on Wednesday its lowest close since Oct. 12.

Wall Street also rallied as market participants snapped up bargains while digesting the implications of a shifting pandemic. The Omicron variant has spooked investors for about a week.

“The market is awaiting confirmation on the severity of the new COVID-19 variant, the degree to which it escapes existing vaccines, and how infectious it is given this will likely dictate the global response in terms of restrictions,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

Financials, which account for about 30% of the Toronto market’s value, gained 2.2%. Toronto-Dominion Bank and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce joined rivals in announcing higher dividends and share repurchases.

TD rose 4.9%, while CIBC ended down 2.8% after missing profit estimates as costs climbed.

All 11 major sectors ended higher.

The energy sector advanced 1.8% as oil prices rebounded after OPEC+ stuck to its policy of incrementally boosting output. U.S. crude oil futures settled 1.4% higher at $66.50 a barrel.

Consumer cyclical stocks gained 2.4%, helped by gains for Restaurant Brands International Inc and Magna International Inc.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government will outline limited new spending in a fiscal update to be released later this month, a source said, as inflation soars and some business groups and opposition politicians call for restraint.

 

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Additional reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Metaverse won’t be turning point in cryptocurrency adoption, investor Chesnais says

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The growth of online virtual worlds will help advance the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies for payment transactions but it won’t be a game-changer, according to Frédéric Chesnais, chief executive of French fintech company Crypto Blockchain Industries.

In blockchain-based 3D virtual worlds, often referred to as metaverses, users can purchase and trade virtual assets and services using cryptocurrencies. Some analysts have argued the growing popularity of metaverses will drive an explosion in digital tokens.

“I think it will be important but I don’t think this is the key turning point,” Chesnais, who was until earlier this year the CEO of videogame company Atari told a Reuters NEXT panel on Thursday.

Interest in the metaverse exploded after Facebook said in October it was changing its name to Meta and would be focusing on building its own virtual world. Other big companies and smaller fintechs are also rushing to develop digital worlds.

Crypto Blockchain Industries invests in blockchain projects and is developing AlphaVerse, a blockchain-based metaverse.

Chesnais said that the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies will be driven by the more than one billion people globally who do not have access to a bank account because they may not have an address or an official identity.

“The only way for these people to have access to a better way of life and be part of the economic system is to have a wallet and to be paid in cryptocurrency,” he said.

“This is the most important moment for crypto.”

On Wednesday, Yat Siu, the chairman and co-founder Animoca Brands — which invests in and builds various virtual worlds — cautioned that while digital assets are set to grow as virtual worlds become more popular, investors in these technologies will face “bumps in the road” as the technologies mature.

 

 

(Reporting by Michelle Price; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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