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If the market’s ‘free pass’ is over, news must be more than just ‘less bad’ for rally to resume

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Has Wall Street’s free pass expired?

That’s one way to interpret last week’s sharp setback in stocks, which punctuated a powerful rally built during a period when expectations for the economy were minimal and the pessimistic arguments on a Covid second wave, fiscal-policy shortfalls and electoral politics could not soon be proven.

This free pass allowed investors to rebuild equity exposure rapidly from depressed levels without needing much more than “less bad” news and revived credit markets.

Last week, though, the Federal Reserve’s cautious longer-term outlook on the economy and a steady rise in Covid cases in several hot-weather “reopened” states served as plausible excuses for Thursday’s near-6% selloff in the S&P 500 and jump in the CBOE Volatility Index.

While the threshold for re-imposing stay-at-home orders appears quite high in most of the country and is not favored in public-opinion polls, the climb in coronavirus hospitalizations has complicated the belief feeding into share prices that momentum toward a swift, smooth and strong reopening process was irresistible.

There has not yet been a reported surge in infections two weeks after mass protests began in many U.S. cities, which is certainly a plus. But the persistent rise in cases forced investors to ask tougher questions about how forceful the travel and consumer comeback will be this summer and into the fall.

Covid, fiscal flux and the election

The Fed’s message of a long trudge out of a deep economic hole comes just over six weeks before extended unemployment benefits are set to expire, and movement toward another federal fiscal support package has flagged. The stock market has behaved at times as if it sees existing fiscal help to be enough to bridge consumers through the worst of this downturn, but this notion hasn’t been tested.

 As for the election prospects, it’s tough to tease out how much a swing factor the they are on stocks just yet.

Stifel strategist Barry Bannister last week cut his S&P 500 target to 3100 in December from an August target of 3250, in part in response to Democrat Joe Biden’s recent rise in the polls and betting markets. More fully, the move comes in light of the following: “(1) Shifting 2020 election trends may threaten the 2017 corporate tax cuts and deregulatory environment, (2) While the Fed pledged Jun-10 to continue the current easing the Fed did not increase the pace of easing, which is an incremental tightening, and (3) a double-dip recession is possible if media and government continue to portray the SARS-Cov2 virus as a modern-day plague in a spectacle that we believe has become politicized.”

It’s worth noting that the S&P 500 kept climbing for weeks along with Biden’s poll tally until a few days ago. And the market often doesn’t always quite know what it ultimately will want out of an election. In 2016, stocks tended to rally along with Hillary Clinton’s prospects, then of course took flight following President Trump’s win. The S&P had a nasty pullback shortly after President Obama’s 2012 re-election and then went on to have one of its best years ever in 2013.

Still, Wall Street can reliably be trusted to begin fixating on “election risks” every fourth summer, so perhaps they will act as a restraint or a prompt for some volatility in the months to come.

Or tape just stretched?

Of course, none of these overhanging issues – Covid, fiscal flux and the campaign – are in themselves new or particularly surprising. Perhaps the market’s sudden switchback, with these stories in focus, said more about the indexes having become overheated, as noted here last week, as the tape stretched to a tenuous overbought state and trader sentiment grew aggressively optimistic.

The S&P’s 5.9% drop Thursday and slight, tentative Friday bounce came with a ramp in the VIX above 40 again, puncturing the rally’s air of imperturbability, while helpfully draining away some of the frothy overconfidence of short-term traders.

The gut check also came as the best-ever 11-week rally was about due to backslide or at least flatten out. This chart from SunTrust’s Keith Lerner plots the rebound rally against other recoveries from important market bottoms in history, suggesting it needs time to settle back and consolidate the gains, at minimum.

There’s no doubt the rapid retreat and even more extreme swings in subsegments of the market – the Russell 100 Value index fell 10% Tuesday to Thursday – might have touched off a choppier market phase as the news flow seems a bit less “heads I win, tails you lose” for the bulls.

Still, the pullback is so far well within the routine zone, and Friday the S&P absorbed a midday selling squall that briefly took it negative only to recoup a quarter of Thursday’s loss. Several extraordinary technical readings of the breadth, persistence and magnitude of the rally in recent weeks won the bulls some credibility not fully depleted by the steep one-day sell-off.

Those rare technical readings placed the rally among only a handful of historical rebounds off key market lows, with unusually positive implications for returns in the months ahead – though not necessarily in the short term.

The S&P, after shedding about a fifth of the total gain from the March 23 low, has made the push higher in June appear an upside overshoot, and is now hashing around its 200-day average. With another 3% drop would be testing the breakout from the month-long range three weeks ago, and no doubt further declines would be shadowed by enough cautionary headlines on Covid or the economy’s very real challenges to make them feel ominous. 

The VIX’s brief foray above 40, extreme bouts of style rotation, fervid speculation in volatile retail-centric stocks, the drop in Treasury yields back into their springtime range and a backup in credit spreads all should leave investors on guard for a possible change in market character.

This could involve further tests of the vaunted resilience this market displayed for months, while investors were proudly carrying that free pass whose expiration date is not clearly marked.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/13/if-the-markets-free-pass-is-over-news-must-be-more-than-just-less-bad-for-rally-to-resume.html

Crunchbase

The Briefing: RVShare raises over $100M, Google disputes charges, and more

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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RVShare raises over $100M for RV rentals

RVShare, an online marketplace for RV rentals, reportedly raised over $100 million in a financing led by private equity firms KKR and Tritium Partners.

Akron, Ohio-based RVShare has seen sharp growth in demand amid the pandemic, as more would-be travelers seek socially distanced options for hitting the road. Founded in 2013, the company matches RV owners with prospective renters, filtering by location, price and vehicle types.

Previously, RVShare had raised $50 million in known funding, per Crunchbase data, from Tritium Partners. The company is one of several players in the RV rental space, and competes alongside Outdoorsy, a peer-to-peer RV marketplace that has raised $75 million in venture funding.

Funding news

  • BrightFarms closes on $100M: Indoor farming company BrightFarms said it secured more than $100 million in debt and new equity capital to support expansion plans. The Series E round of funding was led by Cox Enterprises, which now owns a majority stake in the company, and includes a follow-on investment from growth equity firm Catalyst Investors.
  • Anyscale inks $40MAnyscale, the Berkeley-based company behind the Ray open source project for building applications, announced $40 million in an oversubscribed Series B funding round. Existing investor NEA led the round and was joined by Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital and Foundation Capital. The new funding brings Anyscale’s total funding to more than $60 million.
  • Klar deposits $15M: Mexican fintech Klar closed on $15 million in Series A funding, led by Prosus Ventures, with participation from new investor International Finance Corporation and existing investors Quona Capital, Mouro Capital and Acrew. The round brings total funding raised to approximately $72 million since the company was founded in 2019. The funds are intended to grow Klar’s engineering capabilities in both its Berlin and Mexico hubs.
  • O(1) Labs rakes in $10.9M: O(1) Labs, the team behind the cryptocurrency Mina, announced $10.9 million in a strategic investment round. Co-leading the round are Bixin Ventures and Three Arrows Capital with participation from SNZ, HashKey Capital, Signum Capital, NGC Ventures, Fenbushi Capital and IOSG Ventures.
  • Blustream bags $3M: After-sale customer engagement company Blustream said it raised $3 million in seed funding for product usage data and digital transformation efforts for physical goods companies via the Blustream Product Experience Platform. York IE led the round of funding for the Worcester, Massachusetts-based company with additional support from existing investors.Pillar secures another $1.5M: Pillar, a startup that helps families protect and care for their loved ones, raised $1.5 million in a seed extension to close at $7 million, The round was led by Kleiner Perkins.

Other news

  • Google rejects DOJ antitrust arguments: In the wake of a widely anticipated U.S. Justice Department antitrust suit against Google, the search giant disputed the charges in a statement, maintaining that: “People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives.”
  • Facebook said to test Nextdoor rival: Facebook is reportedly testing a service similar to popular neighborhood-focused social Nextdoor. Called Neighborhoods, the feature reportedly suggests local neighborhood groups to join on Facebook.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-10-21-20/

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Crunchbase

Syte Sees $30M Series C For Product Discovery

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Online shopping has become the norm for most people in 2020, even coaxing traditional retail brands to up their presence to stay competitive. However, now that shoppers can’t see and touch products like they used to, e-commerce discovery has become a crucial element for customer acquisition and retention.

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Enter Syte, an Israel-based company that touts creating the world’s first product discovery platform that utilizes the senses, such as visual, text and voice, and then leverages visual artificial intelligence and next-generation personalization to create individualized and memorable customer experiences, Syte co-founder and CEO Ofer Fryman told Crunchbase News.

To execute on this, the company raised $30 million in Series C funding and an additional $10 million in debt. Viola Ventures led the round and was joined by LG Technology Ventures, La Maison, MizMaa Ventures and Kreos Capital, as well as existing investors Magma, Naver Corporation, Commerce Ventures, Storm Ventures, Axess Ventures, Remagine Media Ventures and KDS Media Fund.

This brings the company’s total fundraising to $71 million since its inception in 2015. That includes a $21.5 million Series B, also led by Viola, in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.

Fryman intends for the new funding to be put to work on product enhancements and geographic expansion. Syte already has an established customer base in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and will now focus expansion in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific.

Meanwhile, Syte has grown 22 percent quarter over quarter, as well as experienced a 38 percent expansion of its customer base since the beginning of 2020.

“Since we crossed $1 million annual recurring revenue, we have been tripling revenue while also becoming more efficient,” Fryman said. “We can accelerate growth as well as build an amazing technology and solution for a business that needs it right now. We plan to grow further, and even though our SaaS metrics are excellent right now, our goal is to improve them.”

Anshul Agarwal, managing director at LG Technology Ventures, said Syte was an attractive investment due in part to its unique technology.

“They have a deep-learning system and have created a new category, product discovery that will enable online shopping in a way we never had the ability to do before,” Agarwal said. “The product market fit was also unique. We believe in the strong execution by the team and the rapid growth in SaaS. We looked at many different companies, and the SaaS metrics that Syte showed are the strongest we’ve seen in a while.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/syte-sees-30m-series-c-for-product-discovery/

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Coinpedia

GenTech Proudly Secures Deal with TruLife Distribution to Drive Growth in SINFIT Digital Sales

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Denver, CO, October 21, 2020 – OTC PR WIRE – GenTech Holdings, Inc. (OTC PINK: GTEH) (“GenTech” or the “Company”), an emerging leader in the high-end Premium Coffee (www.secretjavas.com), Hemp Wellness (www.hakunasupply.com) and Functional Foods (www.SINFITnutrition.com) marketplaces, along with its SINFIT Nutrition brand (“SINFIT”), is excited to announce that the Company has signed a new marketing, sales, and distribution agreement (the “Agreement”) with TruLife Distribution (“TruLife”) (TruLifeDist.com), a leader in marketing, distribution, compliance, e-commerce, and advisory services in the Functional Foods marketplace. The main focus of the new Agreement will be to accelerate the growth of e-commerce sales of SINFIT products, particularly over the Amazon.com platform.

TruLife provides direct access to sales on Amazon, Walmart, Rakuten, Wish, TopHatter, and other top e-commerce platforms, allowing clients to instantly list, ship, and sell products through any major platform, with an experienced team of experts and a proven track record of success in brand placement and digital sales strategies.

“We have already demonstrated a significant & expansive growth curve since taking control of the SINFIT brand in June,” commented Harold Vaca, VP Domestic Sales of SINFIT. “But the vast majority of that growth has been driven by large purchase orders from major distribution partners, both domestic and international. We are also committed to aggressively pursuing end-market consumer direct purchases through our e-commerce footprint, which will provide additional growth and diversify our cash flow ecosystem, making our overall strategy less dependent upon any one source of demand, while driving further growth in total sales.”

Management notes that e-commerce sales represent a sizeable portion of overall retail sales growth worldwide, with more than $3.5 trillion in online sales accounting for over 14% of total pre-pandemic global retail sales. Since the onset of the global health crisis, that ratio has shifted decisively further in favor of e-commerce sales, which is not likely to entirely revert back upon the advent of a viable and widely accessible vaccine.

Vaca added, “We have seen an epic process of market penetration for e-commerce platforms this year as major online retailers have begun to reach a much wider base of consumers – people who haven’t ever shopped much online, but have been forced to during recent months out of personal health concerns. Many of them will almost certainly continue to make use of e-commerce now that they have tried it out, at least to some extent, making e-commerce an essential sales channel for SINFIT products. TruLife has the network, team, experience, and resources to dramatically augment our e-commerce performance.”

SINFIT branded products registered over $2.2 million in global sales in 2019, and are now approved for sale and available for purchase on the Walmart.com and Amazon.com e-commerce platforms as well as in over 2,500 GNC locations in North America and over 10,000 global physical and e-commerce stores across more than 10 countries around the world.

SINFIT products as well-positioned relative to peers and to the long-term macro tailwind defining the functional foods market, which saw sales top $267 billion in February of this year on a global basis, with sales in the US reaching $63 billion, according to Euromonitor 2020. This trend is part of a larger supportive momentum in the general category, with global sales of organic food and drink topping $105 billion in 2018 (Ecovia 2019). U.S. organic food sales also reached $47.9 billion, up 5.9% in 2018 (OTA 2019). In 2019, 77% of U.S. adults used dietary supplements, an all-time high (CRN 2019). U.S. supplement sales are estimated to have reached $49.3 billion in 2019, up 6.2% (NBJ 2019).

About GenTech Holdings, Inc.:

GenTech Holdings, Inc. is a publicly traded company under the symbol GTEH. The Company launched a high-end Coffee Subscription service in early 2020 called Secret Javas, owns a Functional Food company, SINFIT Nutrition and recently closed its acquisition on Products-Groups’ “Hakuna Supply”.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release may contain forward-looking statements, including information about management’s view of GenTech, Inc.’s future expectations, plans and prospects. In particular, when used in the preceding discussion, the words “believes,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “anticipates,” or “may,” and similar conditional expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Any statements made in this news release other than those of historical fact, about an action, event or development, are forward-looking statements. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause the results of GenTech, its subsidiaries and concepts to be materially different than those expressed or implied in such statements. Unknown or unpredictable factors also could have material adverse effects on GenTech’s future results. The forward-looking statements included in this press release are made only as of the date hereof. GenTech cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Finally, GenTech undertakes no obligation to update these statements after the date of this release, except as required by law, and also takes no obligation to update or correct information prepared by third parties that are not paid for by GenTech.

Corporate Contact:
invest@gentech.group

www.gentechholdings.com

Source: https://otcprwire.com/gentech-proudly-secures-deal-with-trulife-distribution-to-drive-growth-in-sinfit-digital-sales/

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