|Bid||71.25 x 900|
|Ask||75.00 x 800|
|Day's range||71.85 - 72.68|
|52-week range||38.31 - 79.93|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.05|
|PE ratio (TTM)||11.70|
|Forward dividend & yield||3.21 (4.50%)|
|Ex-dividend date||30 Oct 2020|
|1y target est||85.95|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Alphabet Inc.’s deeper dive into the U.S. financial system shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Technology giants have found a way into all corners of people’s lives; the latest plan to offer consumers new forms of bank accounts is simply one of the final frontiers.The puzzling part of Alphabet’s expansion of Google Pay is why Citigroup Inc. is a willing participant in Silicon Valley’s invasion of Wall Street’s turf.Last week, Bloomberg News and others reported that Citigroup and a California credit union were Alphabet’s initial partners for a venture that would offer checking accounts through Google Pay. The official announcement on Wednesday revealed that 11 banks and credit unions will offer “plex accounts” starting next year. Citigroup, with more than $1.6 trillion in assets, is by far the headliner of the group, which includes some minority-owned depository banks. The next-closest is Bank of Montreal, which ranks 19th among insured U.S. chartered commercial banks with about one-tenth of Citi’s assets (though a more comparable number of branches across the U.S.).Jane Fraser, who heads Citigroup’s global consumer banking division and is set to take over as chief executive officer in February, said in a statement that “we want to make managing money simpler, smarter, more rewarding and more mobile and the Citi Plex Account will do that.” She talked up “unlocking the power of our respective ecosystems” to “serve an exponentially larger and new generation of customers.”That all sounds fine in theory. But the partnership comes off as strange when looking at how Citigroup describes using the Zelle payments service through the bank’s own mobile app. It promotes the ability to “do it all from one location,” meaning “there’s no need to use a third-party app or have your financial information in multiple places.” Citigroup also highlights that “your money is protected using advanced technology to protect against fraud.”Both of these points from Citigroup might as well be a direct argument against handing over financial information to a tech giant like Alphabet. Reporting from Bloomberg’s Jenny Surane last week suggests that Google teamed up with Citigroup specifically because the bank has worked to build out its digital offerings over the past year. Citigroup sees the agreement as “complementing our continued investments in digital,” according to a company statement. Still, at first glance, it hard not to see this as an attempted shortcut to reach younger Americans who prioritize convenience above all else rather than working to further improve its mobile offering and continuing to market digital bank accounts to existing card customers.“People do almost everything on their phones today, but for many, the way they save, pay and engage with their bank has remained unchanged,” Caesar Sengupta, general manager of payments at Google, wrote in a blog post. That’s simply not the case anymore for the largest U.S. banks, which for years have pushed more customers to their phones to deposit checks, view monthly statements and send and receive payments. Even Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has joined the digital consumer-banking game, realizing it doesn’t need physical branches to compete.This partnership may very well pay off for Citi, though I can’t help but wonder if financial information and transactions are still viewed by many as too sensitive to give up to Big Tech. (“Google Pay will never sell your data to third parties or share your transaction history with the rest of Google for targeting ads,” according to the blog post.)It will be worth watching whether JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co., the three U.S. banks with more assets than Citigroup, hold their ground and avoid teaming up with technology companies. If the revamped Google Pay is a huge success, they may have little choice but join in or else get shut out. For now, though, these megabanks will probably keep going it alone. And they might even use Citigroup’s own arguments against it.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Brian Chappatta is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering debt markets. He previously covered bonds for Bloomberg News. He is also a CFA charterholder.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- China’s next move to open up its commodities markets may be a step change.As of Thursday, overseas investors will be able to trade copper futures on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange. It’s not the first such product: A yuan-denominated crude oil contract, launched in March 2018, has been modestly successful. A subsequent push to let foreigners trade iron ore in Dalian established a global benchmark. Copper could outshine these efforts, thanks to fortuitous timing, global appetite for an economic bellwether and the sheer clout of the world’s largest consumer.The ambition is clear. Beijing wants increased pricing power in the commodities markets it dominates, specifically when the country imports that ingredient. It no longer wants to be just a price taker. China also wants to bolster use of the yuan for transactions overseas, part of a sputtering, long-term strategy to raise the profile and influence of the currency. At the same time, the government wants domestic companies to do more to hedge against volatility. Allowing foreigners to trade oil and iron ore — along with rubber, low-sulfur fuel oil and purified terephthalic acid or PTA, a petrochemical derivative — goes some way toward all of that.Copper promises to be an even bigger advance. The metal is a key indicator for an economy that has recovered faster than the rest of the world from the coronavirus. While there is an existing contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, intended for local traders, the new one, traded on subsidiary INE, will be open to foreigners. The contract size is the same, but this one will exclude tax and customs duty, and will be delivered into bonded warehouses, helping it compete actively with the London Metal Exchange.Benchmarks are hard to create, as the oil market shows. Initiatives to shift away from established U.S. dollar contracts, such as Urals crude on the St. Petersburg exchange, have faltered. Shanghai’s yuan-based contract is the country’s first, and perhaps most dramatic, endeavor in international futures markets. While performing relatively well, it hasn’t become an indispensable benchmark or caught up with Brent and West Texas Intermediate in volume, let alone in open interest, the number of futures contracts outstanding. A worrying spread that opened up in the spring, suggesting a distorted market, has now rebalanced.Iron ore has done better. Here, China opened up an existing contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange that was already among the country’s most liquid derivatives. While China accounts for about 14% of the world’s oil consumption, it’s the biggest steelmaker. Last year, Dalian traded more than 30 times physical seaborne volumes. As significant, more producers, including mining giant BHP Group, are agreeing to payments in yuan.The timing for copper is right. China now accounts for more than half the world’s consumption, according to BMO Capital Markets, up from 39% in 2010 and 12% in 2000. The country’s appetite has only grown this year — it took in more unwrought copper and has already increased its purchases of refined metal by more than 1 million metric tons compared with 2019. It’s indicative that when broker BANDS Financial Ltd. did a presentation on the new contract alongside the Shanghai Futures Exchange, it was viewed 15,000 times by the next morning.There is always the risk of unexpected government intervention, as seen in the past. From China’s perspective, copper isn’t going to fix the problem of yuan internationalization either. It may have to add warehouse locations to compete effectively with the LME. It could become useful, while not essential.Still, establishing a credible regional benchmark is about the alchemy of timing, structure and luck. This may well have all three.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Clara Ferreira Marques is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities and environmental, social and governance issues. Previously, she was an associate editor for Reuters Breakingviews, and editor and correspondent for Reuters in Singapore, India, the U.K., Italy and Russia.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Gold rose on renewed weakness in the dollar, which fell as appetite for U.S. equities recovered.The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index declined as much as 0.4%, paring a weekly advance. U.S. stocks climbed as better-than-estimated results from some big companies tempered concern over a surge in coronavirus cases.“It’s a mean-reversion Friday: The dollar giving up some of its weekly gains has helped amplify the impact fresh of gold buying,” said Tai Wong, head of metal derivatives trading at BMO Capital Markets.Spot gold gained 0.5% to $1,885.48 an ounce at 1:55 p.m. New York time. Bullion futures for December delivery rose 0.7% to settle at $1,886.20 an ounce on the Comex in New York.This week, the spot metal is down 3.4%, heading for the biggest drop since late September. Gold ETF holdings declined to 3,436.4 tons as of Thursday, the lowest in six weeks, according to an initial tally by Bloomberg.Investors have sold almost 18 tons from ETFs this week after Pfizer Inc.’s announcement of progress on a virus vaccine sparked optimism for a turning point in the fight against the pandemic.“Investors are getting nervous holding long gold positions because every rally runs into a brick wall,” said Georgette Boele, precious metal analyst at ABN Amro Bank NV. “I think there is more to come in the near term.”New York Mayor Bill de Blasio warned parents to prepare for city schools to halt in-person classes as soon as Monday. California, Oregon and Washington state urged arriving people to self-quarantine as hospitals across the region are “stretched to capacity.”Spot silver climbed 1.7%. Platinum advanced, and palladium dropped.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.