Yesterday the Federal Reserve held its first FOMC meeting for the new year, and the new decade. Following the conclusion and the release of this month’s statement, it became immediately clear that there were no major changes to their current monetary policy. In fact, there were only a few words that were changed in this month’s statement when compared to the last FOMC statement.
As promised the Fed reemphasized that interest rates would be left alone. They also maintained that interest rates most likely will remain unchanged for the entire year.
Possibly one of the most noteworthy details to emerge from yesterday’s meeting came from comments made by Chairman Jerome Powell when he was asked about the accumulation of assets which began in September of last year. This was the first time the Federal Reserve began to enlarge their balance sheet since they ended their quantitative easing program (QE4). Since September the Fed has been purchasing treasury bills to the tune of $60 billion each month. Those purchases have now totaled roughly $200 billion.
The concern was that when the Federal Reserve decides to discontinue the monthly asset purchases that they could create undue volatility which occurred the last time the Fed unwound balance sheet purchases by monthly liquidation. The mistake made then was the predetermined course, was in essence on autopilot. Many analysts including myself believe that this action is very reminiscent of quantitative easing.
Chairman Powell walked a tight rope as he successfully debated the differences between then and now. First, he said that when the U.S. Central Bank ends its current balance sheet expansion it would do so gradually, and most importantly on no predefined course. He emphasized that recent purchases of treasury bills were simply maintaining solid liquidity as we continue our economic expansion.
Today gold closed fractionally higher and as of 4:30 PM EST is currently trading at $1570.30 which is a net increase of $1.90 on the day. April gold futures, which will become the next most active contract month once the February contract expires is currently fixed at $1577.60 which is a net gain of $1.60 on the day.
Even though February gold futures closed well off of the intraday high today ($1585), it has continued to trade above the support trendline which is created from the lows starting at $1532 and connecting them to subsequent higher lows.
Our technical studies continue to indicate resistance at $1594, with major resistance at $1613. Support is a moving target based upon the trendline we spoke about above. This trendline is visible in the attached chart shown as a blue dashed line.
For those who would like more information, simply use this link.
Wishing you as always, good trading,
Lufthansa sets 2024 goal, eyes capital increase
Germany’s flagship carrier Deutsche Lufthansa said it aims to boost its return on capital employed (ROCE) and laid out plans for a capital increase as it prepares for a business recovery amid an easing coronavirus pandemic.
The largest German airline aims to have an adjusted EBIT margin of at least 8% and an adjusted ROCE of at least 10% in 2024, it said late on Monday.
Adjusted ROCE was –16.7% in 2020 and 6.6% in 2019.
The group added it had mandated banks to prepare a possible capital increase, though size and timing have not yet been determined and the German state, which has bailed out the airline during the pandemic, has not yet given its approval.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
Virtual Law Firms Are on the Rise in Canada
Virtual law firms have been on the rise for a while. In a 2019 roundtable discussion conducted by the American Bar Association, several firm leaders met to discuss the growing presence of online legal services. The consensus was clear: virtual is the new reality.
That was 2019. In the intervening two years, the world was gripped by a global pandemic that forced most people to conduct their business indoors. As you might have guessed, demand for contactless, remote legal services has only ballooned since that roundtable discussion.
While the roundtable primarily focused on the legal industry in the US, you can witness similar trends here in Canada. Like the taxi industry and entertainment distribution industry before it, law is increasingly moving toward digital spaces.
This article explores what virtual law firms are, what benefits they present for Canadian clients, and what kind of clients are driving the virtual law boom.
Not a Change but an Addition
At its best, the shift from brick-and-mortar law firms to virtual isn’t an alteration of legal services as much as it is an addition.
The best virtual law firms do not compromise on service – they still offer traditional legal services with the expertise of real lawyers. The only difference is that they have added a new medium: a more accessible, transparent means of communication and billing.
Why Canadians Choose Online Law Firms
For some clients, the traditional brick-and-mortar firm was hard to give up. They viewed their lawyer like they viewed their doctor: a professional whose in-person expertise couldn’t be replicated in a digital space. Then, the pandemic hit. As millions more Canadians acclimatized to working online, they also habituated to the idea of doing business online.
The benefits were immediately apparent. Virtual law firms feature streamlined communication, available seven days a week. They eliminate the need to go to a physical office. They offer all the same legal expertise and services as a brick-and-mortar lawyer. And, crucially, they often leverage transparent pricing: flat, predetermined legal fees with no hidden costs. A client looking for affordable legal services in Mississauga or Toronto, for instance, can simply click a few buttons and hire a lawyer on the spot.
Who Is Using These New Services?
You might be wondering: do they wheel a computer into the courtroom when someone avails themselves of a virtual lawyer? No, that isn’t quite the case.
Clients tend to use virtual law firms for everyday legal services – not necessarily courtroom representation. A client looking to create a will or name a power of attorney might choose a virtual lawyer for the sake of simplicity. A homebuyer, looking to keep costs manageable might hire a virtual lawyer for closing since their prices are both more transparent and affordable. A couple seeking to draft a cohabitation agreement may find similar benefits in an online lawyer.
The fact is that virtual legal services are not only here to stay – they are on the rise. Fortunately, the future is friendly; online law firms offer the same legal expertise as their physically housed counterparts, with the added benefits of being accessible and affordable.
Tourmaline to expand in Montney with C$1.1 billion deal for Black Swan
Canada‘s Tourmaline Oil Corp said on Friday it would buy privately owned Black Swan Energy Ltd in a C$1.1 billion ($908.79 million) deal, as the oil and gas producer looks to expand in the Montney region, one of North America’s top shale plays.
Tourmaline said the deal represents a key part of its ongoing North Montney consolidation strategy and the company sees the area as a key sub-basin for supplying Canadian liquefied natural gas.
The company in April acquired 50% of Saguaro Resources Ltd’s assets in the Laprise-Conroy North Montney play for $205 million and entered into a joint-venture agreement to develop these assets.
Analysts at brokerage ATB Capital Markets called the Black Swan assets a “hand in glove” fit with its recent acquisitions.
Tourmaline stock rose 4.5% to C$32.1.
The deal value consists of 26 million Tourmaline shares and a net debt of up to $350 million, including deal costs.
Tourmaline will acquire an expected average production capacity of over 50,000 boepd when the deal closes, likely in the second half of July.
The company, which also raised its dividend by 1 Canadian cent per share, expects the Black Swan assets to generate free cash flow of $150 million to $200 million in 2022 and beyond.
The Canadian energy sector has seen a flurry of deals with companies expecting to benefit from the rebound in oil prices as global fuel demand picks up.
ARC Resources Ltd in April bought Seven Generations Energy Ltd for C$2.7 billion to create Montney’s largest oil and gas producer.
($1 = 1.2104 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Rithika Krishna in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)
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