Berkshire Mortgages – Hudson Berkshire Experience Fri, 17 Sep 2021 22:50:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Berkshire Mortgages – Hudson Berkshire Experience 32 32 Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks File First Financial Information After Joining US House Fri, 17 Sep 2021 16:45:35 +0000

The recently filed disclosure reports by the four US MPs from Iowa shed light on the finances of elected officials who will likely all run again in 2022.

For example, two of the delegates from Iowa have real estate mortgages, recorded as liabilities. But the filing rules don’t require that real estate they own be listed as assets unless they are earning rental income from it.

Collectively, Iowa delegates also have investments, rental income, deferred compensation, and other income in addition to the salaries they receive for holding public office.

These are the first federal financial statements filed by freshman U.S. Reps Ashley Hinson, Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Randy Feenstra, all of whom took office in January.

First District U.S. Representative Ashley Hinson speaks at a town hall at Kirkwood Community College in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Wednesday, September 8, 2021 (Jim Slosiarek / The Gazette)

Hinson, a Republican who represents the 1st District of Iowa, submitted her new Filer Financial Disclosure Form on August 13. All members of the United States House and Senate received an extension to the initial filing deadline in April.

She reported 2020 earned income of $ 32,801.73 for her salary at Iowa House, where she served from 2017 to 2021. This includes her annual salary of $ 25,000 and per diem paid to members of the the Legislative Assembly.

Hinson said she received between $ 5,001 and $ 15,000 in rent from the building that houses Elliott Hartman Insurance Services, the Waterloo company co-owned by her husband, Matt Arenholz.

As a liability on his 2020 disclosure form, Hinson listed a mortgage of $ 50,001 to $ 100,000 and a business liability of $ 15,001 to $ 50,000 at ANP Properties, which owns the agency building. ‘assurance.

Hinson’s disclosure report includes interest or dividends from investments in companies such as Apple, Constellation Brands, Gray Television (the company that now owns KCRG-TV, where she had worked as a presenter), Heron Therapeutics and QCR Holdings. The couple also received dividends between $ 100,001 and $ 1 million from Transportation Insurance & Consultants Inc. in 2020, the report says.

Hinson told the Telegraph Herald in April that she and her husband would sell stocks that were not part of widely used mutual funds and exchange-traded funds for their retirement. This was after it was reported that some U.S. senators and officials had made money on stock transactions related to the pandemic.

Hinson spokeswoman Sophie Seid said this week that Hinson and Arenholz have since sold all of their individual stocks.

While she sits in Congress, they will not actively buy or sell individual publicly traded stocks, and they will only invest in mutual funds and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) widely held for the retirement savings, ”Seid said in an email. “It’s not a requirement for members of Congress, they did it on purpose.”

Hinson, from Marion, announced in July that she was planning to run again, but what Arrondissement 1 will look like is still undecided as the redistribution process just started this week. Democrat Liz Mathis, Iowa Senator from Hiawatha, has also announced her candidacy.

The redistribution map proposed by the non-partisan Iowa Legislative Services agency calls for a new 1st district that includes Linn, Johnson and Scott counties. Black Hawk and Dubuque counties would be part of a new 2nd District stretching from the Minnesota border to southern Jefferson County.

Representative Ashley Hinson’s Financial Disclosure Report:

American Representative Ashley Hinson Ends … by Gazetteonline

Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, speaks during a hybrid hearing of the House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. The hearing examines Emergent BioSolutions , a Maryland biotech company whose Baltimore plant ruined millions of doses of the coronavirus vaccine. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh, Pool)

Miller-Meeks, a Republican representing Iowa’s 2nd District, filed the least amount of information on his financial disclosure form. Its report says “no release” for assets and “unearned” income, liabilities, positions or deals.

For her earned income for 2020, Miller-Meeks claimed $ 100,000 for her salary as a United States representative, although she didn’t start this job until January 2021. It is possible that she did. wanted this amount to represent the portion of her congressional salary of $ 174,000 that she had paid up to August 13, when the report was tabled.

Miller-Meeks did not disclose her annual salary of $ 25,000 from the Iowa Senate, where she served from January 2019 to January 2021.

Miller-Meeks spokesperson Will Kiley said Wednesday his boss is now working with the House to update his form to add his salary to the Iowa Senate. He said Miller-Meeks had no outside income, including IRAs or 401 (k), which she would be required to report on the form.

Miller-Meeks, a retired ophthalmologist from Ottumwa, said on her federal financial disclosure form that she received at least $ 5,000 in 2020 in deferred compensation from the Great River Health System in Burlington, where she worked.

Miller-Meeks has not officially announced that she will run in 2022, but when Iowa Rep. Christina Bohannan announced her intention to run for the Democratic seat last month, Miller-Meeks welcomed Bohannan into the race. . However, if the new redistribution proposal is approved, Bohannan would be in a district with Hinson – not Miller-Meeks.

Financial Disclosure Report from Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks:

The representative of the United States, Mariannette Mille … by Gazetteonline

Republican Randy Feenstra delivers his acceptance speech surrounded by his family after winning the Iowa 4th Congressional District race on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, at the Hull Public Library in Hull, Iowa. Feenstra claimed victory in heavily Republican northwest Iowa after defeating longtime U.S. Representative Steve King in the June primary. (Jesse Brothers / Sioux City Journal via AP)

Feenstra, a Republican elected in 2020 to lead Iowa’s 4th District, said 2020 earned $ 52,439 in income from Dordt University, the private school at the Sioux Center where he has been a professor of commerce since 2017. He also said he received $ 24,105 as a state senator before being elected. in Congress.

Feenstra reported interest income of between $ 2,501 and $ 5,000 on his pension, $ 2,501 to $ 5,000 from the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System and $ 201 to $ 1,000 from his checking account. He recorded $ 1,206 to $ 6,000 in capital gains from his 401 (k) and another retirement fund.

On the liabilities side, Feenstra declared a residential mortgage of $ 50,001 to $ 100,000.

Feenstra said “no disclosure” for positions, agreements and compensation over $ 5,000 paid by a single source.

Feenstra, of Hull, has yet to say if he will run again in 2022, but is expected to do so. There are no Democratic challengers yet in the heavily Republican 4th Arrondissement, the Des Moines Register reported on September 4.

Representative Randy Feenstra’s Financial Disclosure Report:

US Representative Randy Feenstra fi … by Gazetteonline

On this September 2, 2021, Photo Representative Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, speaks about the Rural Reinvestment Task Force during a meeting with local officials in Indianola, Iowa. (AP Photo / Charlie Neibergall)

United States Democratic Representative Cindy Axne, who has represented Iowa’s 3rd District since 2019, filed her annual report on July 15. The annual report is slightly different from the new depositor’s report completed by Hinson, Miller-Meeks and Feenstra. Instead of asking for specific income amounts, there should be a check mark if the income in each area is greater than $ 1,000.

For assets, Axne includes several pages of IRA investments and her husband’s 401 (k). These stocks with companies such as Alphabet, Nike, Berkshire Hathaway, Johnson & Johnson, MasterCard, O’Reilly Automotive, Progressive and Starbucks are all marked as tax-deferred with no annual income greater than $ 1,000.

She listed “undisclosed” for liabilities, transactions, gifts, travel payments and fees paid to charities. She also did not list any earned income for 2020. House members are paid $ 174,000 per year, but the 120-page instruction guide calls for compensation in addition to Congress salary.

Axne indicated that she was an owner / partner of Creation Agents, a West Des Moines-based business consultancy firm, but also indicated that she and her husband, Creation Agents co-founder, John Axne , had taken leave in May 2017. Axne also has an agreement to receive deferred compensation after working for the State until 2014.

Axne, from West Des Moines, left the door open to represent himself in the 3rd arrondissement or to exercise another function, such as that of governor.

Representative Cindy Axne’s Financial Disclosure Report:

United States Representative Cindy Axne finances … by Gazetteonline

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County Expected to Benefit Greatly from Berkshire Bank’s $ 5 Billion Over 3 Year Commitment to the Communities It Serves | Local News Wed, 15 Sep 2021 20:37:00 +0000

PITTSFIELD – As part of its new banking strategy, the Berkshire Bank holding company announced on Wednesday that it plans to lend and invest $ 5 billion over the next three years to help strengthen communities in its five States.

The initiative, titled “BEST Community Comeback”, will distribute the $ 5 billion through strategic and targeted investments and programs in four key areas: Powering Small Businesses, Community Funding and Philanthropy, Financial Access and empowerment, and financing of environmental sustainability.

To break down the money further, $ 2.5 billion is for mortgages and loans in low and moderate income neighborhoods; $ 1.5 billion is for small business loans; $ 300 million will go to environmental initiatives that include loans for low carbon projects and greenhouse gas emission reductions; and $ 15 million is for community contributions. The remaining money will be distributed throughout the program.

Investments in specific geographies have yet to be announced, but Berkshire County is expected to be a major beneficiary of the new program, bank officials said.

“We are improving the level of investment in our communities with this plan by approximately 60 to 70 percent,” said Gary Levante, vice president and head of corporate social responsibility for Berkshire Hills Bancorp. “60 to 70 percent is beyond what we’ve done in the past. So that’s going to mean a significant increase in the dollars we invest and lend in the Berkshires compared to a similar three-year period in 2018. to 2020. “

With the exception of its branch network and frontline employees, the majority of Berkshire Bank’s workforce is still located in the Berkshires and concentrated around Pittsfield, where the bank’s administrative headquarters are located, said officials. bank officials.

“So while we don’t have specific goals for each community at this point, what I can say for sure is that our lending and reinvestment levels will be commensurate with the size of our operation. and the size of our customer base in those communities, ”said Levante.

BEST stands for Berkshire’s Exciting Strategic Transformation, a plan the bank’s new CEO Nitin J. Mhatre first revealed to investors in May as a way to reverse the 175-year-old regional bank’s recent financial woes. .

“When we unveiled our plan in May, we talked about improving our financial performance, improving customer satisfaction, digitizing our operations and becoming one of the country’s leading socially responsible banks,” said Levante. “What we announced today is really this plan that has translated into the community impact we’re going to have on places like Pittsfield and Berkshire County and places in our market.”

In a statement, Mhatre said the new initiative highlights “our purpose, realizes our vision and will enable our communities to reach their full potential.

“We believe that building stronger communities requires a better banking approach,” said Mhatre, who became CEO in January.

Money for Small Business also includes targeted programs like financial coaching and technical assistance, community funding and philanthropy, including $ 15 million in community contributions and $ 50 million for socially responsible investments under management. .

As part of financial inclusion and access, $ 200 million has been set aside for minority mortgage borrowers. Under the leadership of the bank’s former CEO Richard Marotta, Berkshire Bank had launched a plan to target traditionally underserved banking populations. In an interview this year, Mhatre told The Eagle that Berkshire Bank intends to pursue this strategy set out by Marotta and the former executive vice president / head of the bank’s experience and culture office, Malia Lazu, but in a different way.

The initiative announced Wednesday is expected to reach 300,000 people with financial wellness programs and create 200,000 socially responsible customer bank accounts.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily different,” Levante said when asked to compare the two shots. “This plan is an improvement, an improvement in which we put dollars, goals and specific targets in each of these areas.

“So rather than just saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to do financial access and inclusion,’ we’re saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to affect 300,000 people with this programming,'” he said. declared.

“And rather than saying that we are going to give our loans to outsourced and minority populations, we are going to say that we are going to give $ 200 million in mortgages to minority homebuyers and help them realize the dream of homeownership. . “

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End of an Era: Harry’s Supermarket is sold, but will remain the same | Business Tue, 14 Sep 2021 10:00:00 +0000

PITTSFIELD – This has been a staple in the north of the city for over 100 years, the favorite place for neighborhood residents to shop, a convenient way for shoppers to avoid long lines at supermarkets or big box stores.

“My grandparents probably shopped here,” said Sharon Burnick of Lenox Avenue, referring to Harry’s supermarket at 290 Wahconah St., founded in 1914 and operated by the Nichols family of Pittsfield ever since.

Until now.

One of the city’s oldest family-owned supermarkets and an adjacent packaging store have been sold to another family-owned business with roots in New York City and other businesses in the Berkshires. The new owners, Sam and Ravikant “Ravi” Patel, bought the Marketplace for $ 750,000 and the Parcel Store, located at 268-274 Wahconah St., for $ 625,000, according to documents filed with the Middle Berkshire Registry of Deeds .

The Nichols family opened the parcel store when Prohibition was repealed in 1933 and leased it to another group who will continue to operate it. The supermarket sale also includes adjacent land on Belair Avenue.

The Patels, who secured mortgages on both properties with Rockland Trust, plan to leave the two companies as they are – and under the same names.

“It will continue as the same operation,” said Ravi Patel. “We’re not going to change anything other than hiring a few people.”

SRH Realty is the new entity that owns the supermarket while Kalahar Realty LLC owns the parcel store. The resident agent for both entities, Sureshkumar Patel, resides on Lenox Avenue in Pittsfield, according to documents filed with the Secretary of State’s office. The other directors of the new entities live in New York.

The family also owns a grocery store in New York’s Queens neighborhood and operates three other parcel stores in the Berkshires, in Adams, Great Barrington and Williamstown, said Ravi Patel. He said they were drawn to Harry’s because the business was also family owned. The majority of the store’s 15 employees will be retained, according to Patel and Bob Nichols, co-owner of the supermarket with his cousin, Tom.

“They gave all of my help increases,” said Tom Nichols.

The departing employees plan to retire, Bob said.

Deeds signifying the sale were filed with the Deeds Register on Friday, but two regular shoppers of Harry said on Monday they were unaware the store had been sold. They were both relieved that he had planned to stay open and that no changes had been made.

Burnick, who is 60, said she would continue to patronize Harry’s under the new owner, “if the quality doesn’t suffer because of it.

“It’s convenient for me,” she said.

Nancy Baer, ​​who has worked at Harry’s for 20 years, plans to retire on October 1. Baer said his decision to retire was unrelated to the change in ownership, but said the sale solidified his plans. “It worked that way,” Baer said.

“It’s sad. It’s been in the (Nichols) family for years,” Baer said. “But at least they don’t close it. They keep it open.”

Tom Nichols, who is in charge of Harry’s meat department, and Bob, stay for a while to help with the transition to a new owner.

“I have been here for 48 years,” said Tom. “I came here after high school.

“It’s bittersweet,” he said of the sale of the business. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself.”

The cousins ​​had been looking for “the right buyer” for Harry for “some time,” Tom said. They were impressed with the Patels, whom he called “high class” business people.

“They are very nice, hard working people,” he said.

The founder of the company, the late Harry F ‘. Nichols Sr., was a popular guy who was often referred to as the “Mayor of the North End”.

Nichols immigrated to the United States from Lebanon in 1897 and initially opened a grocery and variety store in Pittsfield six months apart in 1914, three years after arriving in the city. The variety store has been transformed into a pharmacy, which no longer exists. The grocery store became a supermarket in 1957. An addition doubled the size of the supermarket in 1967.

Harry’s also opened a second rental space market on Elm Street in the 1990s, but closed it after the owner decided to sell the building.

Working in the various Nichols’ businesses was a family affair. Twenty-six family members were working in the companies on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the market in 1984, and up to 60 had been employed in these companies until that time, according to files from Eagle. Harry F. Nichols Sr., who died in 1960, had nine children and five of his seven sons ended up working for him, including his successor, Harry F. Nichols Jr., who died in 1997.

But interest in continuing the family’s legacy has waned.

“I am the youngest of the owners,” said Bob. “I’m 64, Tommy 66 and our cousin Jim, who helps us, is 69. Basically our kids have all gone in different directions. There is no one behind us arriving.

“What else were we going to do? he said. “If we ever wanted to retire, that was the only option. “

Many small businesses suffered when the COVID-19 pandemic began to affect the local economy last year, but Bob said Harry was not one of them.

“It wasn’t that hard,” he said. “Our meat counter has just thrived in this environment and our deli has been just great,” he said. “I feel bad for some of the small businesses (who have struggled), but we have been the opposite.”

However, all of the work cousins ​​had to do because of the pandemic took physical toll.

“We’ve been extremely busy working overtime,” Bob said. “Twelve-hour days have become 18-hour days. We are no longer 25 years old. Before, we could do it. “

Burnick praised the efforts of the Nichols family.

“I appreciate their many decades of hard work and service to the community,” she said. ” I will miss them.

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CAPITAL IDEAS: Disappointing job gains in the leisure and hospitality sectors Mon, 13 Sep 2021 04:02:51 +0000

The latest jobs report was disappointing. Only 235,000 jobs were created in August 2021, against an expectation of 720,000. Leisure and hospitality jobs had paved the way this year – until August. In the six months to August 2021, these industries created an average of 350,000 new jobs per month. Last month there were no job gains in the sectors. The decline in leisure and hospitality made August’s job gains the smallest monthly gain since January 2021.

The weakness has been attributed to the increase in COVID-19 cases. Consumer demand has declined as uncertainty about new infections increased. The cases of infection in the United States reach about 150,000 cases per day. The jobs report saw an increase of around 400,000 people who said they could not work for reasons related to the pandemic, bringing the total to 5.6 million. The reluctance of job applicants confirmed the apprehension of companies to hire new employees. Businesses have suspended hiring as hot, hot, hot economic growth has cooled to just hot.

The wave of the Delta variant is a dazzling reminder that the pandemic remains one of the most critical factors in the economy, if not the most crucial. Another important factor is that, as of June 2021, about half of US states have chosen not to collect the federal supplement of $ 300 per week for unemployment benefits. The governors of these states argued that companies were in competition with federal benefits for workers. These additional federal benefits were removed for each state on Labor Day, September 6, 2021.

Governors speculated that by eliminating the added benefit, people would go back to work. It is too early to determine whether this assumption is true or not. However, it is possible that the unintended consequence of denying these people an extra $ 300 per week has resulted in a drop in overall demand. It will be interesting to look at all the data once enough time has passed to properly measure the fallout. Not that there should be computing time; there must be sufficient time to compare the periods. However, so far economists at JP Morgan and Columbia University have found a “zero correlation” between job growth and state decisions to withdraw from federal unemployment assistance.

We don’t yet honestly know the effect of eliminating those extra $ 300 weekly payments. If the removal of additional unemployment benefits fails to get people back into the workforce, it could create a negative feedback loop. The demand for goods and services will decrease and businesses will not need to hire as many people. This risk is increased because, since September 6, 2021, the social benefits of the self-employed and the self-employed (freelancers) have been terminated. Also on Labor Day, a special consideration was waived for those unemployed for more than six months. About 8.9 million Americans will lose some or all of these benefits. By way of comparison, during the 2008 financial crisis, unemployment benefits of various forms that started in 2008-2009 were extended until 2013. When these benefits ended, 1.3 million people were still receiving a benefit. enhanced help.

There was good news from the last jobs report. Average hourly earnings increased 4.3% year over year (up 0.6% month over month). Although I would say it is not as robust as it looks since there have been no job gains in recreation and hospitality. These workers are often paid relatively less than average, so the computation of the resulting aggregate wage growth was deceptively high.

I am optimistic that there will be some control over the virus in the not-so-distant future (although it will probably seem like an eternity). This will keep a simmering hot economy. After all, employment placement firm Indeed claims there are a record 10.5 million job postings in the United States. ZipRecruiter, another investment firm, has become more nuanced and cited much more recent publications for travel, arts and entertainment, and education. When those 5.6 million people who are not working for reasons related to the pandemic eventually return to the workforce, they should theoretically find those jobs easily. However, I fear that the good news will be erased by the bad news in the rental market.

The Supreme Court overturned President Joe Biden’s attempt to extend the moratorium on evictions, which ended on September 4, 2021. Under Trump and Biden, the federal government did a horrible job of properly distributing $ 46.5 billion emergency rent assistance. Less than 11% of this money has been paid, even though 6.7 million households are in arrears with rent.

It’s hard for me to navigate emotionally. While I don’t want people to be evicted from their apartments, it is also difficult for property owners. They rely on this rental income to pay for their groceries and mortgages. Renters owe landlords about $ 17 billion. More than double that amount is in federal coffers, seemingly beyond the reach of homeowners. It is a failure of public policy.

The blame is on the past, I guess. Yet an estimated 750,000 households could now lose their place of residence by the end of 2021 after going through the court eviction process. Thousands of eviction cases are already piled up in Atlanta-area courts, ready to be processed. In New York, tenants have been waiting for rent assistance for months and are now strapped for time. Not a single dollar of federal aid was distributed in New York in early June 2021. In North Dakota, the number of eviction requests exceeds the ability of lawyers to help tenants.

When these individuals and families leave their current residence, they will have to try to find new accommodation. This could prove difficult as rental prices have increased. In June 2021, the average rent for an apartment in the 150 largest metropolitan areas in the United States was $ 1,513 per month. It was the highest level ever recorded. That’s 6.3% more than 12 months ago, when many of these people already couldn’t afford rent.

If people are re-entering the workforce, it may not be because of the elimination of the federal $ 300 supplement. Maybe it’s because the alternative is roaming.

Allen Harris is the owner of Berkshire Money Management in Dalton, Mass., managing investments of over $ 500 million. Unless specifically identified as original research or data collection, some or all of the data cited is attributable to third-party sources. Unless otherwise indicated, any mention of specific securities or investments is for illustrative purposes only. The clients of the Advisor may or may not hold the securities that are the subject of their portfolios. The Advisor makes no representation that any of the securities mentioned have been or will be profitable. Full disclosures. Direct requests:

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Main research reports for Berkshire Hathaway, SAP and Equinix Wed, 08 Sep 2021 19:17:00 +0000

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Zacks Research Daily features the best research results from our team of analysts. Today’s Research Daily features new research reports on 16 major stocks, including Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.B), SAP SE (SAP) and Equinix, Inc. (EQIX). These research reports were handpicked from the roughly 70 reports released by our team of analysts today.

You can see all today’s research reports here >>>

Actions of Berkshire Hathaway outperformed the insurance sector of Zacks – IARD over the cumulative period of the year (+ 20.1% versus + 17.5%). The Zacks analyst believes the company is poised to benefit from its insurance, manufacturing, service and retail businesses, disciplined capital management as well as acquisitions.

A strong cash position not only supports accretive corporate buyouts, but reflects its financial flexibility. Its non-insurance activities have performed better with increased revenues in recent years. Exposure to catastrophic losses is a major concern as it causes earnings volatility and weighs on Berkshire’s property and casualty underwriting results.

(You can read the full research report on Berkshire Hathaway here >>>)

SAP stocks have gained + 18.1% in the past six months against Zacks’ computer software industry gain of + 28.1%, however, its performance benefited from continued strength in its cloud business. Zacks analyst believes that SAP’s dominance in effective customer engagement, human capital management and interconnected commerce network supports its growth.

The company’s alliances with IBM, Microsoft and Verizon promote business prospects. Strong demand for e-commerce, digital supply chain, and other cloud platform solutions bodes well for the long term. It raised its outlook for 2021 thanks to its strong cloud business. The gradual adoption of software licenses and support offerings and increased investments to improve cloud-based offerings remain concerns, however.

(You can read the full research report on SAP here >>>)

Actions of Equinix have gained + 9% in the last three months against the industry gain Zacks REIT and Equity Trust of + 1%. Zacks analyst believes the company is well positioned to capitalize on its thriving data center business.

The company’s global data center portfolio is likely to experience high demand for interconnected data center spaces, driven by accelerating increasing demands from cloud or internet customers. Competition from operator-neutral data centers, the capital intensity of data center constructions, growing indebtedness, exchange rate fluctuations and the consolidation of the telecommunications sector are major obstacles for the company. ‘business.

(You can read the full Equinix research report here >>>)

Other noteworthy reports we present today include ABB Ltd (ABB), General Dynamics Corporation (DG) and Lululemon Athletica Inc. (LULU).

Sheraz Mian

Research Director

Note: Sheraz Mian heads the equity research department at Zacks and is a renowned expert on aggregate earnings. He is frequently cited in print and electronic media and publishes the weekly Income trends and Income overview reports. If you would like to receive an email notification every time Sheraz publishes a new article, please click here >>>

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To read this article on, click here.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Best cruise insurance plans for September 2021 – Forbes Advisor Tue, 31 Aug 2021 18:13:00 +0000

Whether it’s your first cruise or one of many, it’s important to have the right travel insurance. According to Jason Schreier, CEO of April Travel Protection, the largest number of complaints from cruise lines are for trip cancellation, travel medical expenses and trip interruption coverage.

Here are good starting points for the coverage you are likely to want in a cruise insurance plan:

Trip cancellation insurance: This reimburses you 100% for prepaid, non-refundable deposits that you lose if you need to cancel for a reason covered by the policy.

Trip interruption cover: This will reimburse you for a percentage of unused travel expenses, for example 100%, 150% or 200%, if your trip is cut short due to illness, injury, death or other reasons.

Emergency medical expenses: This pays for the medical costs associated with the injuries and illnesses you contract during the trip. The best travel insurance plans have $ 500,000 in travel medical insurance, but you might find $ 100,000 sufficient for a cruise. If you are a senior, good travel medical coverage is crucial.

US health plans generally have very little or no coverage outside of the country. And Medicare does not cover medical care outside of the United States, with a few exceptions.

“The medical benefits of a travel insurance policy can help cover unforeseen accidents and illnesses, such as treating a jellyfish sting on a snorkeling expedition or obtaining antibiotics for a trip. sudden illness like strep throat, ”says Syed Rizvi, vice president and director of specialty insurance at Nationwide Insurance. .

Make sure the travel insurance plan you buy covers your pre-existing conditions. You do this by getting a “pre-existing medical condition exclusion waiver,” but this must be added within 14 to 21 days, depending on the company, after making your initial travel deposit.

Emergency medical evacuation cover: This covers the cost of getting to the nearest suitable medical facility or even to your home if medically necessary.

“If a consumer is sailing to a more remote location, or with poor or limited health care options, an additional evacuation insurance plan can be a big plus,” says Rizvi. “After all, the average bills for air ambulances can easily reach over $ 40,000.”

Cancel coverage for any reason: Cancellation for reasons not listed in the policy is not covered, unless you have already purchased cancellation coverage for any reason. This usually reimburses you 50% or 75% of the travel costs and allows you to cancel the trip for any reason.

“Insurance in general and travel insurance in particular are designed to protect the consumer against the unexpected. Therefore, if you think an event may impact your trip, you may want to consider a policy with a cancellation for any reason (CFAR) option, “says Rizvi.” These are offered by several types. travel agencies, sometimes for an additional charge, sometimes not Some offer the possibility of obtaining a cash back, others the possibility of obtaining a refund.

Additional coverage: You can add other insurances as needed, such as lost / damaged baggage coverage. Consult with your travel insurance agent to match coverage to your specific needs and concerns.

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Move with confidence Mon, 30 Aug 2021 21:50:34 +0000

Becoming independent is one of the most important decisions an advisor can make. Going from being an employee to running your own business is a huge decision. Even the simple fact of changing companies once they are already independent is a major problem. There are a thousand considerations beyond the obvious – branding, client retention, compensation – and advisors need incredible support when making those decisions and even well beyond onboarding. initial with a new cabinet.

Momentum Independent Network is focused on helping advisors with a smooth move. Instead of focusing on the ‘transition’, the dynamics smoothly evolve it, removing much of the anxiety associated with business change. We provide tailor-made support, personalized marketing consultation, business development roadmap, comprehensive oversight and compliance, among many other included services such as insurance. Momentum also offers a company-specific technology platform and training so your team can be up to date in no time.

Your customers will also feel how easy the transition is, with Momentum offering a seamless and compliant customer paperwork process. And because Momentum is affiliated with HilltopSecurities, a leading municipal investment bank and one of the nation’s largest clearing houses *, your clients will benefit from superior execution, market research and insight. , as well as a robust trading platform.

Earn an advantage by speaking with Momentum Independent Network today

* As of August 17, 2019. Based on the number of broker clients. Investment news.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Powell: Fed on track to slow down aid to economy later this year | national Fri, 27 Aug 2021 19:43:00 +0000

WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve will begin to reverse its ultra-low rate policies this year as long as hiring continues to improve, President Jerome Powell said on Friday, marking the beginning of the end of the Fed’s extraordinary response to the pandemic recession.

In a speech virtually delivered to an annual gathering of central bankers and academics, Powell said the economy had improved significantly this year, with average hires over the past three months reaching the highest level on record for a similar period before the pandemic. Fed officials are monitoring the rapid rise in delta variant infections, he said, but they expect healthy job gains to continue.

The Fed bought $ 120 billion a month in mortgage and treasury bonds in an attempt to hold down long-term lending rates in order to stimulate borrowing and spending. Powell’s comments indicate that the Fed will likely announce a reduction – or “tapering” – of those purchases in the last three months of this year. Most economists expect the announcement in November, with the reduction actually starting in December.

Powell pointed out that the Fed’s cut in bond purchases did not mean it plans to start raising its short-term benchmark rate anytime soon, which it has held close to zero since the pandemic ravaged. economy in March 2020. Rate hikes likely won’t start until the Fed has finished cutting its bond purchases, which may not happen until mid-2022. Powell said the Fed would need to see a lot of economic improvements before it starts raising its policy rate, which influences many consumer and business loans.

“We have a long way to go to reach peak employment, and time will tell if we’ve hit 2% inflation on a sustainable basis,” said Powell, referring to the Fed’s target inflation rate. .

Inflation is now well above 2%, admitted Powell, but stressed his view that the current price spike is temporary. He warned that history shows that raising rates too soon, in response to temporary price increases, can weaken hiring and hurt the unemployed.

These comments reinforced the idea that the Fed is still a long way from raising its benchmark rate in the short term.

“If anything, it was a calming speech,” said Brian Bethune, an economist at Boston College. “There is nothing here in the short term that will drive interest rates up.”

Over time, the end of Fed bond purchases could put upward pressure on borrowing costs for mortgages, credit cards and business loans. As Powell said on Friday, however, the yield on the 10-year Treasury bill, which heavily influences the 30-year mortgage rate, fell to 1.32% from 1.34% on Thursday.

Equity investors also appeared to welcome Powell’s message of a gradual withdrawal of economic support from the Fed and his view that rising inflationary pressures are likely to be temporary. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 230 points, or nearly 0.7%, several hours after the Fed chairman intervened.

“The markets appreciate that there is a different test for raising rates than for tapering, and any communication about tapering has no direct effect on raising rates,” said Steve Friedman, economist at the manager of active MacKay Shields and former senior executive. New York Fed staff member.

This marks a stark contrast to 2013, when Ben Bernanke, then Fed chairman, triggered what would come to be known as the “taper tantrum” by unexpectedly suggesting that the Fed would soon cut back on a previous round of buying of ‘bonds – a remark that lasted longer. eventually soaring rates. The jump in rates happened in part because investors believed the start of a cut meant rate hikes were close, which turned out to be wrong.

On Friday, Powell said inflation had risen enough to meet the test of “further substantial progress” towards the Fed’s target of 2% annual inflation over time, which was necessary to begin to decline. There has also been “clear progress,” he said, towards the Fed’s goal of maximum jobs. He spoke via a webcast at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium, which is being held for virtually a second year in a row due to COVID-19.

But Powell suggested that if inflation has risen, causing hardship for millions of Americans, the acceleration in prices is likely to ease once the economy normalizes further after the pandemic and supply shortages. will have calmed down.

If the Fed cuts its stimulus “in response to factors that prove to be temporary,” the Fed chairman warned, “the untimely policy decision is needlessly slowing hiring and other economic activity and pushing inflation lower than desired “.

Powell also noted that while average wages have risen, they have not risen enough to raise fears of a “wage-price spiral,” as happened during the very high-inflation 1970s.

“Today,” he said, “we see little evidence of wage increases that could threaten excessive inflation.”

If anything, Powell said, the factors that helped keep inflation very low for years before the pandemic – the growth of online retail, the lower-cost products coming from abroad, slowing population growth – could reappear as the pandemic subsides.

Yet Powell’s comments have served to highlight what looks like a split in the Fed’s policy-making committee between himself, as well as other officials such as Fed Governor Lael Brainard, who favors patience in reversing low rate policies, and other policymakers pushing to start soon so that a rate hike can follow quickly, if necessary.

“Let’s start the cone, and let’s do it quickly,” Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta chairman Raphael Bostic said Friday morning on CNBC ahead of Powell’s speech. Bostic said he expects the central bank to raise rates at the end of 2022 – earlier than the average of all Fed policymakers, who expect the first rate hike to be in mid-2023.

Bostic and some of his fellow regional Fed bank chairmen, including Jim Bullard of the St. Louis Fed, Robert Kaplan of the Dallas Fed, and Eric Rosengren of the Boston Fed, say they fear high inflation will persist longer. long time than Powell seems to believe. Some of these Fed chairmen report that the businessmen they speak with say they continue to raise prices to offset their own higher costs for wages and parts.

A sharp rise in inflation has placed the Fed’s ultra-low rate policies under close scrutiny, both in Congress and among regular households who pay more for food, gasoline, and stays at home. hotel. Inflation, according to the Fed’s preferred gauge, rose 3.6% in July from a year earlier, the largest increase in three decades. The month-over-month increase, however, slowed from 0.5% to 0.3%.

Complicating the Fed’s decision-making, the resurgence of the pandemic has belied the Fed’s expectations that the economy and labor market are clearly on track for improvement by this fall. The delta variant could slow spending in areas such as air travel, dining out, and entertainment.

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Here are Warren Buffett’s top stock picks Sun, 22 Aug 2021 12:15:00 +0000

A unique ability to buy winning stocks has made Warren Buffett the sixth richest person on the planet. His past success and popular wisdom have made him a household name and one of the most watched investors in the world. Luckily, following in your track of title picking doesn’t require you to have your phone number speed dialed. Buffett’s investment company, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) (NYSE: BRK.B) files its holdings with the Securities and Exchange Commission quarterly and its latest report – released this week – reveals that 76% of Berkshire Hathaway’s $ 293 billion (yes, billion) portfolio is invested in just five stocks across three sectors.

Buffett’s greatest position

Warren Buffett’s largest position – valued at $ 121.5 billion – is Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL).

The consumer electronics juggernaut is best known for its cutting-edge computers, smartphones and tablets, but it is increasingly taking advantage of its service segment. Although consumer electronics still make up the lion’s share of Apple’s sales, product revenues are heavily dependent on new device launches and holiday shopping trends, making consumer electronics revenues “spotty” all over the place. throughout the year. Devices are also a relatively low margin business.

Image source: Motley Fool.

However, Apple’s service business, which includes the App Store, provides it with high-margin recurring revenue, very favorable to earnings and dividends. In the last quarter, services accounted for 21.5% of Apple’s total revenue, up from 16% in the same quarter of 2017. The company’s last 12-month net profit fell to less than $ 50 billion to $ 87 billion and its dividend payout rose to $ 0.88 per share from $ 0.63 per share over that period.

So far, Berkshire Hathaway’s unrealized profit on its Apple shares stands at nearly $ 90 billion, so it’s a big winner for Buffett. It’s important to note that there isn’t much to suggest that it will degrade on Apple. Apple has more than $ 194 billion in cash and marketable securities on its balance sheet and although it is already one of the largest companies in the world, it still recorded 36% revenue growth in year over year in the quarter ending June 30, suggesting its products and services continue to appeal to consumers.

A buyer using a credit card to make an online purchase.

Image source: Getty Images.

Bet on banks

Buffett has a penchant for easy-to-understand companies, so it’s no surprise that two of his top five positions are Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and American Express (NYSE: AXP), two financial institutions with a relatively simple economic model: pocketing interest on loans. It owns $ 41.6 billion in Bank of America shares and $ 25 billion in American Express shares as of June exit, making it its second and third positions, respectively.

Bank of America is the second largest bank in the United States and the eighth largest bank in the world. It makes money in other ways, including its capital markets and wealth management solutions, but most of its profits come from charging interest on loans, including mortgages and cards. credit, and fees associated with traditional bank accounts. Likewise, American Express makes money by charging transaction fees to merchants that accept American Express credit cards, but its main source of revenue is the interest associated with small business borrowing and card use. credit.

Traditionally, banks like Bank of America and American Express are more profitable when the gap between their cost of borrowing and the interest rates charged to customers is large. A low interest rate environment has made it harder to maximize this spread, known as the net interest margin, but Bank of America and American Express are still producing profits for shareholders.

In 2020, Bank of America earned $ 1.87 per share and American Express earned $ 3.77 per share despite headwinds associated with a dramatic slowdown in economic activity caused by COVID-19 closures. In 2021, analysts estimate that corporate profits will reach $ 3.26 per share and $ 8.81 per share, respectively, due to the rebound in GDP. If so, it should give management even more leeway to increase dividend payouts, giving Buffett an additional incentive to hold onto his shares.

These companies are tasty

Sticking to his straightforward investing approach, two consumer staples companies round out Warren Buffett’s five biggest holdings: Coca Cola (NYSE: KO) and Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ: KHC)

Coca-Cola and Kraft Heinz are among the most recognizable brands in the world. Coca-Cola owes its recognition to its eponymous soft drink, but it has expanded its product line in recent years to take advantage of changing trends in consumer tastes. For example, he isolated himself against the abandonment of sugary drinks by consumers by becoming one of the biggest players in bottled and sparkling water. He even launched a hard seltzer under his popular Topo Chico brand in 2020. Berkshire Hathaway has owned Coca-Cola shares since 1988 and currently owns 400 million shares, making it Coca-Cola’s largest shareholder.

Kraft Heinz was formed by the marriage of Kraft and Heinz in 2015. The combination created a food giant, but its performance was probably more bumpy than Buffett had hoped. The high price paid to merge the companies resulted in goodwill impairment and a reduction in dividend in 2019, and its $ 37 share price is down from a high above $ 90 in 2017 .

Nonetheless, Buffett seems determined to stick around for a long time on his 325.6 million shares. Despite the cut in its dividend, Kraft Heinz is still providing Berkshire Hathaway with a relatively handsome 4.3% return, and that’s far better than what the Oracle of Omaha can get in US Treasuries.

This article represents the opinion of the author, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a premium Motley Fool consulting service. We are heterogeneous! Challenging an investment thesis – even one of our own – helps us all to think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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U.S. mortgage rates rise but fall below 3% Sat, 14 Aug 2021 07:00:00 +0000

Mortgage rates rebounded, with rates rising for the 2sd time in 7 weeks.

In the week ending 12e In August, fixed 30-year rates jumped 10 basis points to 2.87%. Mortgage rates had fallen by 3 basis points the previous week.

30-year mortgage rates have only risen past the 3% mark once since 21st April.

Compared to the same period last year, fixed 30-year rates fell by 9 basis points.

Fixed 30-year rates are still down 207 basis points since the last peak in November 2018 at 4.94%.

Economic data of the week

It was a relatively busy first half of a week on the US economic calendar.

Job offers at JOLT, 2sd the unit’s labor costs and non-farm productivity for the quarter, as well as the July inflation figures were the focus of attention.

A sharp recovery in job vacancies was positive for returns at the start of the week.

The rest of the statistics, however, were biased towards the negative.

Inflationary pressures eased in July, with the annual core inflation rate falling from 4.5% to 4.3%.

Unit labor costs rose a modest 1.0% in the 2sd quarter, non-farm productivity increased by 2.3%. In the 1st quarter, unit labor costs increased by 2.8% and NFP productivity by 4.3%.

While the statistics were negative, the NFP’s impressive figures from the previous Friday for July pushed mortgage rates north.

Freddie Mac Pricing

Average weekly rates for new mortgages at 12e August were cited by Freddie mac to be:

According to Freddie Mac,

  • The previous Friday’s payroll and non-farm wage growth figures pushed mortgage rates northward during the week.

  • Despite the increase, rates remain very low, especially since economic growth is strong and will continue next year.

Mortgage Bankers Association rate

For the week ending 6the August, the rates were:

  • The 30-year average interest rates set with compliant loan balances fell from 2.97% to 2.99%. Points increased from 0.33 to 0.30 (including origination fees) for LTV loans at 80%.

  • The 30-year average fixed mortgage rates guaranteed by the FHA fell from 3.08% to 3.06%. Points increased from 0.29 to 0.27 (including origination fees) for LTV loans at 80%.

  • The 30-year average rates for jumbo loan balances fell from 3.12% to 3.15%. Points increased from 0.30 to 0.29 (including origination fees) for LTV loans at 80%.

Weekly figures released by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed that the Composite Market Index, which is a measure of mortgage application volume, rose 2.8% in the week ending 6e August. The previous week, the index had fallen 1.7%.

The refinancing index rose 3% and was 8% lower than the same week a year ago. The index had fallen 2% the week before.

In the week ending 6the In August, the refinancing share of mortgage activity fell from 67.6% to 68.0%. The share had fallen from 67.5% to 67.6 the previous week.

According to the MBA,

  • Mortgage applications rebounded, including an increase in purchase requests, for the first time in nearly a month.

  • While they were up, driven by a weekend hike in 10-year Treasury yields, rates remained below 3%. A positive employment report for July sent returns north.

  • Homeowners continue to respond to lower rates, with refinancing activity reaching its highest level since February 2021.

For the coming week

The NY Empire State Manufacturing figures for August and the retail sales figures for July will be the focus of attention.

Expect retail sales figures to be critical as markets look for other factors that could force the Fed to act.

Midweek housing sector data for July will also attract interest, but likely won’t impact Treasury yields. Housing starts and building permits are expiring.

On the monetary policy front, the minutes of the FOMC meeting will influence the week. Expect any hawkish gossip to drive mortgage rates up.

This article originally appeared on FX Empire

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