The numbers: The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city index was unchanged in April compared to March on a seasonally adjusted basis, and was 2.5% higher compared to a year ago. That was the 13th straight month in which annual growth slowed, and the lowest pace of annual price gains since August 2012.
What happened: Home prices continue to rise, but at a much slower pace. The cities with the strongest annual gains are still those in warm climates which were among the areas hardest-hit by the housing crisis: Las Vegas, Tampa, and Phoenix. But their rates of price growth are hardly the double-digit gains enjoyed by Seattle, San Francisco, and others not that long ago.
Big picture: A slower pace of price gains should help attract buyers, particularly those who have been frustrated by a competitive and pricey housing market. But at a certain point, would-be buyers will shy away from pulling the trigger at the “top” of the market, if they believe prices are likely to start falling.
Still, while the overall 20-city data point to a slowdown, the individual numbers are not bad. The slowest monthly pace of change was in New York, which was flat, while the slowest annual growth was in Seattle, also unchanged.
What they’re saying: Just last month, David Blitzer, who ran the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, which compiles and distributes the index, bemoaned the state of housing. “Given the broader economic picture, housing should be doing better,” Blitzer said.
A lot has changed since then, thanks mostly to unsettled geopolitics that may be hastening the end of the longest economic expansion on record.
“A combined slump in house prices and housing investment in the major economies could cut world growth to a 10-year low of 2.2% by 2020 – and to below 2% if it also triggered a tightening in global credit conditions,” said economists at Oxford Economics in a Monday note. “Signs of a global house price downturn are already visible, with around a third of our sample of economies seeing falling prices and world residential investment starting to decline. High house price valuations add to the risk that this downturn will deepen in the coming quarters, hitting consumer spending.”
Market reaction: The yield on the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury note
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The perennial NBA All-Star and two-time Finals MVP will leave the Golden State Warriors to sign a free-agent contract with the Brooklyn Nets, according to multiple reports Sunday.
Durant said earlier in the day he would make his announcement Sunday night on the Instagram page of his sports-business company, The Boardroom, but media outlets including ESPN beat him to it.
The deal is for four years and $164 million, and Durant is expected to be joined by All-Star guard Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan, ESPN reported.
Durant ruptured his Achilles tendon during the NBA Finals earlier this month, and is expected to miss most, if not all, of next season.
In signing with the Nets, Durant spurned the Warriors’ five-year, $221 million offer.
Durant had been scheduled to meet with the Warriors, Nets, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday after the NBA free-agency period started at 6 p.m. He signed as a free agent with the Warriors in 2016, and won two NBA titles in three seasons.
The signing is a devastating blow to the New York Knicks, who freed up salary-cap space this past year in hopes of signing Durant and possibly Irving as well.
With big trucks like these, we can’t overstate how important it is to look the part. Part of the reason people spend so much on these things — in this case, $66,365 — is that they function as extensions of the owner’s ego. Like an exotic sports car, trucks convey an image of power and wealth.
The 2019 GMC Sierra AT4
Mack Hogan | CNBC
In that sense, the AT4 is a huge success. While the top-trim American trucks can often be chromed-out beyond reason or taste, the AT4’s brutish snout and lifted stance amplifies everything we love about trucks. The large grille evokes the business end of a sledgehammer and the red tow hooks function as nice accents.
You may also notice a strange cut line in the tailgate. All Sierra AT4s come with GMC’s MultiPro tailgate. GMC calls it a six-function tailgate, allowing you to contort the three-part assembly into an extended bed stop, a standing desk, a cutaway tailgate for loading, or a staircase into the bed. There’s also a fold-out handlebar to make the staircase more usable, though we should note that the Sierra also has steps cut into the bumper that are only a few inches higher and require no origami.
The 2019 GMC Sierra AT4
Mack Hogan | CNBC
That being said, the large staircase with the fold-out handlebar proved extremely useful when loading a big batch of cargo into the Sierra’s bed. Especially given the raised ride height, we’re really happy that the AT4 provides an easy way in and out of the bed.
With the bed loaded, the Sierra was also a completely comfortable companion on the 7-hour drive from Philadelphia to Cleveland. The seats are great, the cabin is gargantuan and the truck is perfectly happy at rural highway speeds. With its big leather ventilated thrones, heated steering wheel, head-up display, Bose stereo and high-definition, digital rear-view mirror, the Sierra checked a lot of luxury truck boxes.
Power from the supersized 6.2-liter V-8 is always available, even though the 10-speed transmission can be a bit confused sometimes. Even with a few hundred pounds of gear in the bed, the Sierra was seriously quick.
The 2019 GMC Sierra AT4
Mack Hogan | CNBC
It’s also capable. It’s not the high-speed baja machine that the Raptor is, but with knobby off-road tires and a lot of ground clearance, it feels ready to tackle trails. Through foot-high floodwaters and muddy, rutty park roads, the Sierra barely seemed to notice any obstacles.
This is out of character, but we’re going to argue against the big engine option. Here’s the problem with paying $2,495 to upsize the V-8 from 5.3 liters to 6.2 liters. If you want a bigger engine in a truck, you want speed or you want hauling capability.
On something like a Raptor, which is built for more high-speed desert running and jumping, a big engine makes perfect sense. But the AT4 is more measured than that, build for rock crawling and crushing obstacles. You’re not going to need the extra power off-road.
The 2019 GMC Sierra AT4
Mack Hogan | CNBC
On road, the Sierra is limited to 98 mph. The truck is still pulling hard at this point, charging up the speedometer until — WHAM — you smack into the speed limiter like a brick wall. Power isn’t the limiting factor; the tires can only handle so much speed. So if you’re after speed, optioning the 6.2 won’t actually help.
If you want to tow more, well, the 6.2-liter engine doesn’t help there. The maximum tow rating of the AT4 is 9,400 pounds with the 5.3-liter engine. Upgrading to the 6.2-liter reduces it by 100 pounds. Either way, the soft off-road suspension means that you can tow thousands of pounds more if you skip the AT4 trim altogether.
So we don’t love the 6.2 and its insatiable need for gas. Also, the interior design of the Sierra is pretty weak. Despite having just been redesigned, it looks like a previous-generation interior. The infotainment display looks tiny on top of such a large center stack and the column shifter is vague and dated.
The 2019 GMC Sierra AT4
Mack Hogan | CNBC
There’s also an annoying droning from the tires at around 30 mph. It goes away at higher speeds, but it drones around town.
Finally, it’s ridiculous that an all-new truck in 2019 does not even offer adaptive cruise control. Ford offers it on the F-150, which hasn’t been fully redesigned in years, but GMC doesn’t. GMC is fixing it for 2020, but given how many miles buyers put on their trucks it was a disappointing omission on our test truck.
How we’d option it
The AT4 is definitely our favorite Sierra, so start with a crew-cab, short-box AT4 with the 5.3 for $54,795. Unless you want basic white or black, budget $495 to pick a premium color. The $3,100 Premium Package brings upgraded speakers, navigation, wireless phone charging, blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors and other niceties. We’d also suggest the $745 Driver Alert Package II to get forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams and lane-keeping assist.
The 2019 GMC Sierra AT4
Mack Hogan | CNBC
Our total price is $59,135 with destination and before any discounts.
The Sierra AT4 is an extremely impressive truck, a happy middle ground between the hilarity of the Raptor and the opulence of the Ram. Still, our tester was more expensive than either with an interior that didn’t live up the $66,365 price tag.
It’s not the best luxury truck or the craziest off-roader, but it’s competent everywhere.
Some fans on social media said that the extra footage wasn’t a big enough addition for them to spend money on a ticket or sit through the three hour long film again. Many said they would wait for the movie to be released on DVD and BluRay to see the deleted scene as well as the other bonus content.
Had deleted content been finished and inserted into the film as a directors’ cut or extended cut, more fans may have ventured to the theater this weekend.
Still, there were plenty of fans who were more than happy to revisit the film again more than two months after its debut.
To be sure, “Endgame” isn’t done just yet. It still has a chance to surpass “Avatar.” The film will continue to run in theaters for most, if not all of the summer. After all, “Avatar” ran for 234 days during its first run (the film got a rerelease in 2010). “Endgame” has been in theaters for less than 70 days.
Of course, “Endgame” still has a number of hurdles to face on its way to the top spot. The summer box office is very competitive, with new releases every weekend. Not to mention, “Endgame” has a lot of emotional — some would argue gut-wrenching — moments that could make repeat viewings difficult even for the biggest of fans. And then there is that three hour run time.
When Laika Kayani started to lose her voice late one night last year, she picked up her iPhone and got connected to a doctor through a video-chat service called American Well.
Kayani, who works at a health-tech company in San Francisco, used the app because her young son and husband were asleep and there were no clinics open at that late hour. It was a fast and efficient way for her to get some answers and peace of mind.
Telemedicine, as this burgeoning practice is known, is gaining particular traction with working mothers like Kayani, who are juggling child care with a full-time job and struggle to find time to go to the doctor unless it’s truly an emergency.
“If there’s a convenient option that I don’t need to spend extra on, I’m open to exploring it,” Kayani said. Many such services are covered by employers or health plans.
CNBC spoke with executives at American Well as well as telemedicine providers Teladoc, MDLIVE and Doctor on Demand. They all said they rely heavily on mothers to use the service and to spread the word. According to Global Market Insights, the U.S. telemedicine market is poised to top $64 billion by 2025. Recognizing that women are their key demographic, the providers are targeting their marketing dollars in that direction.
Teladoc, which went public in 2015, credits much of its success to courting moms through Facebook and other online forums. Mothers over age 25 now represent about 45% of all of their general medicine and behavioral health visits, according to CEO Jason Gorevic.
“Moms are the chief medical officers of the family,” Gorevic said. “Telemedicine allows them to get the care they need without taking hours out of their day.”
Roy Schoenberg, CEO of American Well, said mothers are driving the majority of virtual visits for things like bladder infections, strep throat and other acute infections. More than 60 percent of its users are women, and more than half are between ages 25 and 44.
In some cases, telemedicine companies will send patients to the doctor if they can’t diagnose them virtually, although there are some at-home tests for things like strep throat. Patients will often send photos of their rashes and other ailments that can help with a diagnosis.
Schoenberg said American Well sees a lot of patients during the cold and flu season when many parents would prefer to avoid exposing their kids to other sick children at the doctor’s office.
“Seasonality is our bread and butter,” he said.
Doctor on Demand CEO Hill Ferguson said 65% of its app’s users are female. About half of the company’s total patients are between the ages of 25 and 45. And roughly two-thirds of the physicians on staff are women, so they can understand with what their patients are facing.
“We know that moms are our advocates, and a really important demographic,” Ferguson said. “They are in the best position to influence behavior.”
A top Vodafone Group PLC executive is leaving the firm to join Greensill, a fintech company with whom the telecom giant has previously entered into a complex and controversial financing arrangement.
Neil Garrod, Vodafone’s group treasury director, has been with the firm for more than a decade. During his tenure, Vodafone became a key Greensill client and a major investor in the GAM-Greensill Supply Chain Finance Fund, which is managed jointly by Greensill and Swiss asset manager GAM.
had invested about $1 billion in the fund earlier this year, but it has now completely exited its position, according to a spokesperson for the telecom company.
Garrod said he is “very excited” to be joining Greensill and “inside the engine room of a company that is truly disrupting financial services globally.”
Greensill is one of the leading providers of supply-chain finance, a lightly regulated but fast-growing financial sector. The company was founded by Chief Executive Officer Lex Greensill — a former Morgan Stanley and Citigroup banker — in 2011 and counts former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron as a paid adviser.
News of Garrod’s expected move from Vodafone to Greensill follows a flurry of recent personnel activity at Greensill. Financial News reported last week that the company had hired Standard Chartered’s former European head of global corporate coverage, Sean Hanafin, to be executive chair. Hanafin also previously worked at Citi. Meanwhile, Jason Austin, another ex-banker who was also a co-founder of Greensill, recently stepped down from his role as president and is now a senior U.K. adviser.
In a statement, Greensill’s CEO said: “We can’t wait to see how he helps us further advance our global mission to unlock capital so our millions of customers can put it to work,” referring to Garrod.
In the spotlight
Greensill’s relationship with a GAM portfolio manager, Tim Haywood, was a key focus of a probe into a whistleblower’s allegations of wrongdoing at the Swiss asset manager, according to documents reviewed by FN.
Haywood was responsible for several billion dollars worth of GAM funds, including the GGSCF. He was suspended last year and then fired in February following the investigation. The move spooked investors who pulled billions of dollars from the funds he’d previously managed, sending GAM’s share price plummeting.
Haywood has repeatedly disputed the allegations against him and appealed to the company against the decision to fire him.
The GGSCF, set up in 2016, was nicknamed the “Vodafund” by Greensill staff because of Vodafone’s significance as an investor and a source of the underlying supply-chain assets, according to a person familiar with the matter. By late last year, Vodafone had invested about $1 billion in the fund, which had total assets of about $2.4 billion at that time.
FN has previously reported that, until recently, one of the biggest stakes in the fund—about $1.2 billion—was held by Greensill itself. Bloomberg data show that the investment was redeemed earlier this year. A Greensill spokesperson said the company occasionally holds a stake in the fund “as collateral” to manage the fund’s insurance exposure.
In recent weeks, the GGSCF has shrunk rapidly and now manages $350 million.
A Vodafone spokesperson said its investment in the GAM-Greensill fund was one of several “low risk” investments related to the around €18 billion the company has raised to fund the acquisition of assets owned by Liberty Global which is due to be completed this summer.
The spokesperson said: “Our investment in the GAM Fund housed a small portion of the €18 billion raised for the acquisition along with a number of other low risk instruments.
Earlier this month, the U.K. government was asked to investigate the GGSCF. Paul Myners, a former financial services minister, who now sits in the House of Lords, submitted a written question about the fund. Myners told FN that “the circumstances around these investments should be subject to review” by the UK’s top financial watchdog or another independent third party.
GAM stopped marketing the fund late last year, according to a person familiar with the decision. The company has been revising all the marketing materials related to the fund, the person said.
Last summer, U.S., private-equity firm General Atlantic invested $250 million into Greensill. And last month, Greensill announced that SoftBank’s Vision Fund had agreed to invest $800 million. A spokesperson for Greensill said the SoftBank investment is made up of common equity and convertible bonds, adding that the proceeds will be used to fund growth in international markets. The spokesperson also noted that Greensill has “significantly increased the capital position” of its German subsidiary, Greensill Bank AG.
Jeff Crilly, a fisherman from Toms River, New Jersey, showed off this “Jaws” tattoo to NBC Philadelphia this week:
Why? Because “that’s exactly what happened to us,” he said.
Well, not exactly. He didn’t get eaten alive. But still…
Crilly, a veteran shark hunter, was with friends off Manasquan Inlet in New Jersey when he had a “once in a lifetime” experience — he came face to face with a great white shark estimated to be about 16 feet long and 2,000 pounds.
Here’s the footage:
“This thing is huge and we all started going crazy. Never seen anything like this before,” Crilly told NBC after the clip went viral overnight. “We definitely were afraid of it coming into the boat more because it easily nosed its head up past the silver rub rail and it could’ve easily pushed the boat down or worse, jumped in.”
Experts told NBC that Crilly’s brush with the great white, which has seen its population rise in the area, may have been a hungry mother about to give birth.
Stocks are pricey but so are bonds and gold. Even bitcoin has caught a bid after a months long fallow period recently, giving way to a powerful burst higher.
That dynamic has left many investors, strategists and other Wall Street watchers wrestling with some tough questions: What to buy if everything is trading at a relative premium to historic averages and the swiftly changing narrative on trade or the economy could ignite stomach-churning price swings?
And if it feels like the recent tandem asset run-up has the markets on a knives edge, it may be for a good reason. “Things can quickly change on a dime from a [Federal Reserve] perspective, from a trade perspective,” Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA, told MarketWatch in a recent interview.
The S&P 500 price-to-earnings — a popular way of valuing stocks — on a trailing 12-month basis is at 21.83, compared with a 10-year average of 17.87, according to Dow Jones Market Data. That means the combined price of the constituents of the index was almost 22 times the net earnings produced over the past year. The historical mean is 15.75.
If investors find those valuations rich, so-called haven investments also are pricey. Gold prices
for example, which don’t normally rally alongside assets perceived as risky like stocks, finished not far from their highest level in six-years on Friday at $1,413.70 an ounce, based on the most-active futures contract. That is higher than the one-year ($1,264.87/oz.), five-year ($1,243.19/oz.) and 10-year averages ($1,324.85).
also known by its ticker symbol VIX, typically rises when stocks fall and for that reason is a common way to hedge against market slumps, stands at 15.08, not far from its five-year average at 15.08 or the 10-year average at 17.34.
The curious state of affairs in the investing landscape is one that some strategists argue is the byproduct of global central bankers who are struggling to sustain a decades-old recovery.
The Federal Reserve is considering easing monetary policy after a series of interest-rate increases that began at the end of 2015. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has said “cross currents” from a dispute over trade policy and import tariffs between China and the U.S. is at least partly the justification for lowering borrowing costs again. The European Central Bank is similarly considering restarting measures to stimulate the eurozone’s economy.
One possible consequence of this monetary easing is some $13 trillion in government debt that offers yields below zero, meaning that lenders can expect to recover less than their original investments from sovereign borrowers.
“I think one of the unintended, yet in hindsight predictable, outcomes of ZIRP [zero interest-rate policy] was to force investors into looking for returns anywhere they can find it,” Michael Antonelli, a market strategist at Baird, told MarketWatch.
“Stocks, gold, real estate, even the burgeoning world of crypto-currencies, if you offer zero or negative interest rates on an ever increasing amount of ‘safe’ government debt then investing behavior will be altered,” he said.
marked its best June since 2000, even as those benchmarks logged weekly losses amid uncertainties over trade policy ahead of the closely watched G-20 meeting in Osaka, Japan on Saturday.
Antonelli said a “great many assets” are “rich” compared against historical valuations, adding that “whether that unravels at some point only time will tell but the behavior of it seems very human to me.”
Still, investors are clearly uneasy. Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts led by Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist, say that investors have never been so negative on a market that is rallying so briskly (see chart below):
Perhaps, the biggest risk of the rally in assets across the board is, as CFRA’s Bell says, the narrative can change swiftly and assets that don’t tend usually move in lockstep can revert to their normal levels and correlations, potentially bruising investors’ wallets.
On Saturday overnight, U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping agreed to a cease-fire in their yearlong trade war, averting an escalation in potentially market-rattling tensions, but a substantive deal is far from certaint and volatility is the likely reality in the near-term even as talks resume.
So what’s an investor to do against that backdrop?
Bell says a balanced, diversified investment portfolio is the answer. The strategist recommends an allocation of 55% in stocks (15% of that in foreign equities) 25% in bonds, 15% in cash, and a 5% allocation to gold. “You have to a carefully crafted portfolio,” she said.
It’s a holiday-shortened week, with U.S. markets closed in observance of Independence Day on Thursday, July 4.
JOBS, JOBS JOBS: Investors will watch for the most important labor-market report since the last one. The Labor Department’s nonfarm-payroll report for June comes after job growth of 75,000 in May, well below estimates of 185,000. Economists’ consensus estimates for June is for the creation of 170,000 jobs and an unemployment rate holding at 3.6%. The report is due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
A gauge of manufacturing activity for June is due at 9:45 a.m., with the more closely watched read from ISM at 10 a.m. Data on construction spending also is due on that day at the same time.
A read on private-sector employment from ADP is due at 8:15 a.m. ET, with a reading of weekly jobless claims to follow at 8:30 a.m., a day earlier than usual because of the Fourth of July holiday, along with a trade-deficit report. At 9:45 a.m., IHS Markit services service-sector report, followed by ISM’s non-manufacturing gauge at 10 a.m., as well as a report on factory orders at the same time.