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    Fed’s Main Street lending program is a dead end for many borrowers

    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin listens to a question during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on “Oversight of the Treasury Department’s and Federal Reserve’s Pandemic Response” in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, December 2, 2020. Greg Nash | Pool | Reuters Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s decision not to extend funding for the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Facility after Dec. 31 already looks to be cutting into lending, according to bankers involved with the program. CNBC has learned that some would-be borrowers have been told that there isn’t enough time to close their loans, leaving them short of vital funds amid a resurgent pandemic. One borrower, who asked…

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    BlackRock takes equities to overweight for 2021, sees powerful restart to the economy

    BlackRock has raised equities to overweight for 2021, based on its view that the restart of the economy will accelerate with the distribution of vaccines. The firm is raising equities from neutral on a tactical basis, meaning over a six-to-12-month basis. From a long-term strategic view, BlackRock remains neutral on stocks, due to valuations and a challenging environment for earnings and dividend payouts. The S&P 500 has traded to new highs and risen more than 14{a87f602f9b65d268d2531d6307ed39cfde24e475374069973d0be7fc923da513} this year, even after the big selloff in March. “The big change around the outlook itself is upgrading risk assets overall and seeing 2021 as a very constructive year for risk assets,” said Mike…

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    Starboard Value sees big return in this infrastructure play

    Jeff Smith, chief executive officer and chief investment officer of Starboard Value LP. Chris Goodney | Bloomberg | Getty Images Starboard Value hit an unexpected stumbling block in its activist campaign in AECOM when one of the hedge fund’s members quit the infrastructure company’s board of directors over the summer. Peter Feld quit the AECOM board in protest of CFO Troy Rudd’s promotion to chief executive officer in June. That snag, however, has not dented Starboard’s overall return on its AECOM investment. Since taking a stake in the company, AECOM shares are up more than 40{a87f602f9b65d268d2531d6307ed39cfde24e475374069973d0be7fc923da513}, easily outperforming the broader market in that time. Company: AECOM (ACM) Business: AECOM is…

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    Pandemic-induced options trading craze shows no signs of slowing down

    Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York. NYSE Options trading is the new sports betting. Talk about unintended consequences. The stay-at-home requirement created by Covid-19 has spawned a huge sub-industry in options trading in tandem with an increase in equities trading that shows no signs of letting up.   Trading in equity options hit new highs in November, continuing a trend that began earlier in the year. Equity option trading is 50{a87f602f9b65d268d2531d6307ed39cfde24e475374069973d0be7fc923da513} above last year’s levels year to date on all the options platforms. Equity options (volume) Nasdaq  49{a87f602f9b65d268d2531d6307ed39cfde24e475374069973d0be7fc923da513} CBOE    51{a87f602f9b65d268d2531d6307ed39cfde24e475374069973d0be7fc923da513} ICE         58{a87f602f9b65d268d2531d6307ed39cfde24e475374069973d0be7fc923da513} Source:  Piper Sandler “The public is embracing options in a truly unprecedented manner, as…

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    Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting to be virtual again

    Warren Buffett during an interview with CNBC’s Becky Quick on February 24, 2020. Gerry Miller | CNBC Berkshire Hathaway said Thursday it will hold its annual shareholder meeting virtually in May. “Unfortunately, we do not currently believe it will be safe at that time to hold a meeting with nearly 40,000 attendees as we last did in 2019,” the company said in a statement. The announcement comes even as coronavirus vaccinations could begin in the U.S. as soon as this month for front line workers and at-risk patients. However, it’s still unclear how quickly distribution to the general public in 2021 will be, so Berkshire is not taking any chances.…

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