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Bitcoin is ‘worthless’ and will perform worse than stocks: Analyst

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A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin on October 24, 2017 in London, England.

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A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin on October 24, 2017 in London, England.

Bitcoin is likely to fare worse than other assets in the coming months because it has no fundamental worth, an investment research firm said in a note Thursday.

London-based Capital Economics explained that the cryptocurrency has been quite closely correlated to the S&P 500 since the price started to fall from its record high at the end of last year.

But the correlation has been coincidental and related to specific factors. For bitcoin, the recent fall in value has been due to a plethora of factors including rising concern over regulation, a ban on cryptocurrency advertising from major internet platforms and some banks banning customers from buying it via credit cards.

Stocks meanwhile have been hit thanks to concerns over a U.S.-China trade war and potentially slowing growth.

“In other words, the factors driving bitcoin prices are still rather different to those driving the prices of other assets,” Capital Economics said in a note.

As a result, the research house said that while stocks are likely to fall further this year, bitcoin will be worse off.

“Bitcoin’s correlation with equity prices has strengthened recently, but we think that this will be just temporary. We still think that bitcoin is essentially worthless, meaning that it is likely to fare much worse than other assets in the coming months,” Capital Economics said.

“We expect equity markets to fall as investors cotton on to the fact that rising U.S. interest rates will slow economic growth. But the main factor driving down the price of bitcoin is likely to be a realization that it is simply not a credible long-run alternative to conventional currencies,” the note added.

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Microsoft (MSFT) earnings Q1 2021

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Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, is pictured at Microsoft’s annual shareholder meeting in Bellevue, Washington on November 30, 2016.

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Microsoft will announce its fiscal first-quarter earnings after market close on Tuesday.

Here are the numbers to watch:

  • Earnings: $1.54 per share, adjusted, as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.
  • Revenue: $35.72 billion as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.

That means analysts expect Microsoft’s revenue to be up 8% on an annualized basis, down from 13% growth in the prior quarter. Some of Microsoft’s fastest growth comes from its Azure public cloud, which companies can use to host websites and applications and competes with Amazon Web Services. Analysts expect Azure growth to slow slightly to about 44% from 47% in the previous quarter.

Microsoft is also likely to give insight into the business impact from the Nov. 10 release of new Xbox consoles.

This is the first quarter Microsoft will benefit from an accounting change that extended the useful life of its server equipment from three years to four years. That adjustment could lift Microsoft’s gross margin while some parts of Microsoft, such as LinkedIn and search advertising, experience slowdowns — in some cases because of the coronavirus pandemic. Microsoft is also expected to receive less revenue growth from companies upgrading Windows and Windows Server after the company ended support for older versions.

“With most of this benefit expected to be absorbed in Commercial Cloud, we think the accounting changes will buttress continued margin expansion in FY21, addressing one of the main concerns investors had coming into the new fiscal year, considering the headwinds from the lower margin console cycle and as we lapse the tailwinds previously felt in the higher-margin Server & Tools and Windows OEM segments,” Morgan Stanley analysts Keith Weiss and Josh Baer, who have the equivalent of a buy rating on Microsoft stock, wrote in a note distributed to clients earlier this month.

With respect to guidance, analysts polled by Refinitiv are expecting $40.43 billion in fiscal second-quarter revenue, which implies 9.5% growth.

In the quarter Microsoft announced the $7.5 billion acquisition of Zenimax Media, the company behind video game franchises such as Doom and Quake, and Microsoft failed to make a deal involving the video-sharing app TikTok.

In January Microsoft announced a goal to be carbon-negative, which would involve removing more carbon than it emits, by 2030. In the fiscal first quarter Microsoft provided an update, saying it had extended an internal carbon tax to all parts of its operations and updated its code of conduct for suppliers so that suppliers will have to specify their emissions.

The company will give guidance and discuss the quarter’s results on a conference call with analysts starting at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time.

Microsoft shares are up about 36% since the start of 2020, while the S&P 500 is up 5% over the same period.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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IFC invests in start-up tackling $2.5 trillion food waste issue

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3M making more N95 masks than ever as Covid cases rise: CEO Mike Roman

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3M has continued to ramp up production of its N95 respirator masks, Chairman and CEO Mike Roman told CNBC on Tuesday, as the coronavirus pandemic intensifies again in parts of the world.

“We are bringing capacity on. We are making more N95 respirators than ever, and we’ll continue to add some capacity as we go into the end of the year, into next year,” Roman said on “Squawk on the Street.”

The medical-grade masks are widely seen as the highest-quality option to protect against infection, and they have been in high demand throughout the health crisis. 3M began increasing its production of N95s in late January, just weeks after the novel coronavirus emerged late last year in China. The industrial giant is now on track to produce 2 billion N95 masks this year, about half of which will be in the United States, according to Roman.

Even so, shortages of personal protective equipment for health-care workers, including masks, have remained present during the pandemic. The issue is taking on renewed salience in the U.S. now as hospitalizations from Covid-19 are rising in 36 states.

Public health experts have stressed the importance of people wearing face coverings to slow transmission of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the general public should not wear N95s in order to reserve the supply for health-care workers and first responders. Instead, the agency recommends people wear cloth face coverings.

In March, as the Covid-19 outbreak in the U.S. was worsening, some retailers were criticized for having N95 masks on their shelves. Roman acknowledged there is “strong consumer demand” for the respirator masks due to their reputation of being highly effective.

But he said 3M continues to direct its new supply toward hospital workers and other medical professionals. The company also is working alongside the Department of Health and Human Services to “make sure we’re focused on the hot spots,” Roman said.

“That still is the priority,” he added. “We’ll continue to look for ways to support consumers, and our consumer teams are looking at innovative, new mask kinds of solutions in addition to the N95 respirators, so we’ll work to respond to that, as well.”

3M also has filed more than a dozen lawsuits in response to fraudulent N95 masks and price gouging during the health crisis. As of mid-October, about 3.5 million fake respirators have been seized by law enforcement, CNBC’s Seema Mody reported.

Shares of 3M were lower by 1.4% on Tuesday after the Dow component reported third-quarter earnings that eclipsed Wall Street expectations. The company saw strong sales for its personal safety and health equipment.

Roman said he believes the company has done an “incredible job” responding to the pandemic. “We said we’d add capacity both through our own investments and in partnership with the Department of Defense. We’ve now followed through on that, and we’ve added that capacity to be stepping into what we saw as a potential for a second wave of Covid cases,” he said.

“And we followed through on the commitment to bring over 200 million respirators in from production overseas into the U.S. because of the demand here, so we have found ways to react,” he added.

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