Over the past two years we’ve talked a lot here about the burgeoning industry known as “Fintech,” a portmanteau of “financial technology,” or how financial transactions are moving to digital platforms.
While Fintech began as a way to describe how technology is being used to improve behind-the-scenes workings of financial institutions, this disruptive force is now changing everything from how we shop and how we bank to how we apply for credit – anything to do with money is ripe for Fintech disruption.
It’s even changing how we pay for dinner…
We’ve all been there – that awkward dance that occurs when the check comes. There are either too many credit cards, or not enough people with enough cash, or the restaurant refuses to split the bill, or no one can agree how to split it evenly…
In recent years, we’ve seen an explosion of smartphone apps that involve what’s known as peer-to-peer (or P2P) payments. These allow anyone to connect a card or a bank account to the app, and send payments instantaneously to anyone else on the app.
All of a sudden that awkward dinner bill – and thousands of situations just like it – get a whole lot easier.
Even social media giants have incorporated P2P payments into their interfaces. Any smartphone user with a credit card has at least five options to get a small sum to a peer almost instantly.
As of right now, none of these innovators have figured out how to monetize P2P payments. That’s going to become increasingly important as the marketplace grows – and as investors line up to profit from one of the market’s hottest trends.
Everyone loves a sale, unless that sale is an investment you bought at half-off and then continued to plummet to zero.
That’s already happened to a handful of once-promising retail stocks.
And they’re just the tip of an iceberg.
Not only are more name-brand retailers melting down and preparing to declare bankruptcy, the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) that own and operate the malls they’re in are headed for the half-off sales bin.
But if you feel like a kid in a candy shop surrounded by these “bargains,” you’ve been duped.
Some retailers will declare bankruptcy and be buried once and for all. Some will declare bankruptcy and rise from the ashes. And some will rise from the ashes just to declare bankruptcy again.
When the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting is over today, whatever the determining body’s interest rate policy statement says about a rate hike (or how much they’ll hike, or how many hikes to expect, or whatever Fed Chair Janet Yellen says in her press conference after the two-day meeting’s over), there’s only one word that matters to investors.
That word is “run.”
Fed officials, including the Chair herself and a few Regional Fed Bank presidents, have gingerly been putting the word out there for months now.
In “Fed-speak”, the mumbo-jumbo they love to throw around, the word ‘run’ has a few meanings. There are four different ways they could potentially use this word to change the course of markets dramatically.
Dealing with insurance companies is usually, if not always, frustrating and a waste of time that leaves one party (always the claimant) unsatisfied and upset. The truth is the entire insurance industry is in desperate need of a shake-up, for a lot of reasons, not just customer dissatisfaction.
Finally, there are companies willing to take the antiquated industry to the mat.
Of course, they’re tech disruptors. The new game is insurtech.
Insurtech – ‘insurance’ plus ‘technology’ – refers to technology solutions that lessen, not only the amount of money and time people have to spend dealing with insurance companies haggling over claims, but the time it takes to process everything related to every aspect of the insurance business.
The people and companies who are finally taking on the ancient multi- trillion-dollar behemoth are tearing into the startup field at record pace.
And older insurance companies have no clue what to do about it.
But there’s still time for you to avoid being left behind.
According to some Wall Street bigwigs, there are plenty of reasons to own Snap Inc. (NYSE:SNAP), the creator of Snapchat, which went public yesterday….
Those bigwigs, by the way, aren’t analysts, but the underwriters of Snap’s IPO…
Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs just pocketed a cool $20 million each (and counting) to debut the company.
Good cheerleading on their part, and the rest of Snap’s underwriters (J.P. Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Credit Suisse, and Allen & Co.) will drive up Snap’s price. This will allow them to exercise a “greenshoe” option to sell an additional 30 million shares – for more fees, of course.
None of these Wall Street heavyweights have initiated analysts’ coverage of Snap, and probably won’t for a while. Or, to be perfectly honest with you, ever.
If the reasons to own Snap come from underwriting cheerleaders, who aren’t going to let their analysts cover it, you need to know the real score… and the reasons underwriter’s analysts won’t ever cover Snap.
Let’s put politics aside, for a moment, and look at the facts. Markets liked what they heard last night from President Donald Trump.
Asian markets reacted favorably overnight, European markets are up nicely this morning, commodities prices are rising, and U.S. stock futures (pre-open) point to another round of record all-time highs.
But politics are the bump in the road ahead.
After an “America First” speech, painted in conservative, Republican overtones, the President and his administration face a deeply divided Congress.
If markets are going to continue to rally, they’ll have to withstand U.S. and global political fires, the flames of which are only just beginning to be fanned.
Especially when it seems that unsuspecting investors, retirees, and anybody else who’s trying to navigate the capital markets in pursuit of the American Dream is about to get fleeced – again – by Wall Street.
A perfect example: getting all worked up over Wall Street’s attempts to kill the Labor Department’s Fiduciary Rule, which is supposed to go into effect this April.
But you can’t let this stuff get to you. Because Wall Street is always trying to find the next end-around that will allow them to skirt the most expensive regulations.
It’s better to try and come up with simple, common-sense solutions to stop the Street from squirming through whatever loopholes they can find.
Well, I found one. And it would save us all a lot of hypertension and sleepless nights.
Snap Inc., the first tech IPO of 2017, is racing ahead at breakneck speed.
As recently as November, one sell-side analyst thought Snap’s coming out party could result in a whopping $45 billion valuation. As of Snap’s roadshows in London on Monday and in New York yesterday, Snap’s talked-down price range of $14-$16 values it somewhere between $16.2 and $18.5 billion.
That’s the wall it’s staring down – valuations have already tumbled since rumors of the company’s public offering began to surface.
Right now, our market (in whatever terms you measure or define it) has a huge bid under it.
When traders refer to a “bid” under the market, they’re referring to buyers in the wings who are ready to buy something at the posted price or a slightly lower price.
Bidders in the wings can have orders to buy down with their brokers, poised at the ready on a trading platform, or even wait until they get a whim, watching for the right price or feeling to hit them.
What does this mean for the market as a whole? It will go a LOT higher.
It’s easy to make money if you see the big picture, if you can see which way the market is going. Let’s forget about individual stocks for now… there’s only so much success you can have in the stock market if you are unable to step back and see it for what it truly is.
In truth, the market’s been going up steadily since 2009. It will continue going up, and I can prove it by sharing what I understand of the big picture.
I’ll paint for you a stellar background, a clear middle ground, and a compelling foreground.