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Blain: Inflation Will “Change The Way We Think About Markets”

Blain: Inflation Will "Change The Way We Think About Markets"

Authored by Bill Blain via,

“A multiplicity of options does not lead to better choices…”

Inflation is the market’s theme today. Markets expect it,…



Blain: Inflation Will "Change The Way We Think About Markets"

Authored by Bill Blain via,

“A multiplicity of options does not lead to better choices…”

Inflation is the market’s theme today. Markets expect it, but are they prepared? Inflation doesn’t necessarily spell disaster, but it will force change in the way we think about markets – and Tech will likely be the sector that feels it most!

Neither the market nor the world's central bankers will be much surprised by 6% inflation prints in coming months. Tomorrow we get US Dec CPI numbers – which will raise sighs (headline expected over 7%). Markets expect inflation – but are they prepared? The big uncertainty in economic/trading circles is just how significant the inflation threat could prove – will it be short or long-term, and how deep will the consequences go?

It’s a fascinating debate – split between pragmatists and economists.

  • The pragmatists – who can be characterised as traders – look at markets, inflation, activity and make plans like; “this is a mess, it’s going to take time to fix. We can profit by adapting as inflation impacts expectations and markets, and how the unravelling consequences of price volatility determine the investments most likely to prove the best inflation hedges to add value.”

  • The economists want to understand. They model the global economy across a disconnected multiverse of separate worlds called short-term, medium-term and long-term. They look at snap-shots of each, consider how they are changing and consult their arcane models to sagely conclude the innovation of new technology is mid-term deflationary, that long-term demographic changes will also prove deflationary, and that short-term inflation is simply a temporary imbalance between supply and demand. Snap shots give fascinating insights, but don’t really show how the machine actually works – or how unimagined consequences will trip their predictions.

I find it all terribly fascinating. Somewhere in the middle is truth. Being adaptable as the picture changes is critical, but understanding what that picture is also counts. Which is why we need to understand what CPI tells us.

I wish I was clever enough to be both a great trader and a great economist – but sadly I suspect they are mutually exclusive. So, I’ve spent a career trying to do both and become a middling investor and a dumb economist dispensing advice gleaned from both sides – a professional position known as an “Investment Banker”.

I am trying to better myself.

Over the past few weeks the Tech sector has become a bellweather for inflation fears. It has proved increasingly wobbly to the threat of rising bond yields (a result of inflation and normalisation). It increasingly feels like a tech “moment” or “shakeout” is coming. Will rising inflation and higher bond yields crush the speculative forces that have driven tech stocks to their current ultra-fantabulous valuations? And could a correction/collapse in tech trigger a possible contagious collapse across markets?

The inflation/markets relationship is much deeper and more complex than just the prospects for over-priced quasi-gambling stocks. Working out how and where to hedge against the escalating inflation bogey is complex on so many levels.

First there is the big inflation picture – when it comes to understanding how inflation is going to hit markets, I’ve taken a pragmatic cause-effect-consequences view on how the trend is going to travel. For instance: the supply chain bottlenecks caused as the pandemic economy imperfectly reopened were in themselves transitory issues, but have triggered consequences that will create longer-term structural inflation – most visibly in labour shortages and nascent wage inflation.

As the pandemic has stretched on into Delta and Omicron the destabilisation caused by pandemic supply chains has become magnified and stretched – to the extent it’s no longer just a short-term effect. The global economy is swiftly evolving around the bottlenecks. What does that mean for commodities and products? The economy isn’t following a predicted path – but kind of snakes its way to whatever unimagined place it’s going to. In trader speak – that’s called opportunity!

Globalisation of supply chains is being more swiftly undone and replaced by regional solutions than we imagined possible – the results could be very significant. As China navel-gazes inwards, its’ overseas markets refocus. Again – what does that mean in terms of repatriating domestic jobs elsewhere, and how much will new tech ease the costs of doing so? Again – opportunity! You should even factor in the geopolitical consequences for China as its’ economy is morphed by the pandemic.

Even as “transitory” supply chains alter the shape of global trade, soaring energy costs are a very real, long-term inflationary wrench thrown between the cogs of the global economy. Energy has been distorted by climate change transition – basically a consequence of no one planning just how important and for how long gas will remain critical as we move to a decarbonised economy.

But it’s not just the global economy that’s changing. Markets are also undergoing fundamental seismic shifts as well – and they are also all about inflation, or more correctly; hidden inflation.

Since the Global Financial Crisis that began in 2007 (and is set to continue, in my mind, for at least another 10-years), we have seen ultra-low-rates, quantitative easing “QE” (soon to be QT) and other forms of extraordinary monetary experimentation to stabilise markets and kickstart recovery growth. The effect on markets has been huge. Smart traders very quickly understood how these distortions inflated all financial asset prices, and the market followed.

Effectively, easy money underlies the bull market of the last 12 years. Inflation has been hidden in financial assets as equity and bond prices went stratospheric. That inflation has begun to leak into the real world – the more expensive a financial asset becomes the less it yields, hence investors are always looking for better yielding cheaper assets. Real assets in the real economy; from trade finance, aviation, property, private debt and private equity have become increasingly “financialised” – bought for the returns they generate. (I think I just invented a new word! Yay!)

That process of “financialisation” is increasingly unstable – built on easy money, cheap capital and bountiful liquidity. What would happen if it dried up, or was withdrawn? As interest rates normalise, what could happen if investors conclude the low returns on “risk-free” bonds are actually preferrable and a better risk-return than high-risk other assets?

There is a balance: one of the best reasons not to buy bonds is inflation. If you pay the UK Debt Management Office £100 for a 10-year bond today, what you get back in 2032 will buy far fewer cups of coffee than today. Which means investors will favour financial assets most likely to prove resilient to inflation.

The obvious ones are banks and financials. The commonly held wisdom is that banks will be able to increase their profits during periods of inflation by raising fees. Except, that only works if everyone’s wages are rising to pay these fees. At present – around the globe incomes are not rising, but standing still. That leaves consumers with rising energy, food and essentials bills to cover, and reducing discretionary spending… the most likely result of tumbling spending in an inflationary world being stagflation.

Maybe defense stocks would be a better idea? In an unstable world, governments perceive rising threats, and would spend accordingly… if they we’re already up to their necks paying for the pandemic!

For Tech stocks, the argument on inflation is most interesting. Think of the current market uncertainty on inflation and demand as a moment of reality. There are really two factors to consider: which Tech stocks are fundamental game changers, and which are distractions.

  • What we’ve seen during the easy capital cheap money era since 2007 has been a feeding frenzy in any and all Tech stocks. In a low interest rate, cheap capital environment it didn’t really matter if companies are unprofitable: size = returns.

That relationship is about to change.

  • When rates rise and money is diminished by inflation, profits start to matter as returns become ultra-important as an inflation counter.

That does not mean all Tech is bad. Identify now the long-term Tech stocks likely to become the next Amazon, Apple, Microsoft or Meta. They are going to be the ones that show profits, returns and a grasp of reality.

Yesterday, in the office we were talking about streaming and which firms can continue to grow subscriptions by providing the best content. Where does the line get drawn between Netflix and Disney or how much Apple can pump at the opportunity? What does the future of gaming via streaming mean. The office was split on Netflix.

At that point I was struck by something we learnt prior to the great financial crisis… Back in 2002 my bank was acquiring a US sub-prime lender and we wanted to know just how likely their borrowers were to repay their mortgages. We commissioned some research and discovered that among sub-prime borrowers, the last thing a broke borrower stopped paying wasn’t his mortgage or car, but his subscription to the Sports Channel.

Somewhere there is a lesson in that..

Tyler Durden Tue, 01/11/2022 - 10:44

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New Research Shows Declining Confidence in the Education Profession, With Educators Calling for Connection, Community and Customization

New Research Shows Declining Confidence in the Education Profession, With Educators Calling for Connection, Community and Customization
PR Newswire
BOSTON, Aug. 18, 2022

Critical insights reveal how edtech is transforming the classroom; 81% of educ…



New Research Shows Declining Confidence in the Education Profession, With Educators Calling for Connection, Community and Customization

PR Newswire

Critical insights reveal how edtech is transforming the classroom; 81% of educators say we are now closer to fully realizing the potential of technology in teaching

BOSTON, Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the 2022 Educator Confidence Report, released today from learning technology company HMH, confidence in the education profession has dropped for the second year in a row. An annual barometer for how educators across the country are feeling about the state of teaching and learning, today's report found more than 3 in 4 (76%) educators feel negatively about the state of the teaching profession in the U.S. The Educator Confidence Index, a measure of overall confidence (out of 100), continues to drop and now sits at 40.0—its lowest in the report's history—down from 42.7 in 2021 and 49.0 in 2020.

According to HMH's research, which surveyed more than 1,000 K-12 classroom teachers and 125+ administrators, educator retention hinges on immediate needs more than long-term developments, including improved salary and benefits, support for educator well-being and adequate funding for the classroom. Conducted between May and June in partnership with MarketCast, the report revealed three major themes for achieving success in the future:  Connection, Community and Customization.

Connection: A Digital-First Era

When it comes to technology, educators see strong connections between the teacher, student, classroom and home as the top priority. Seventy-three percent of educators report feeling technology is significantly more integrated into the classroom now than pre-pandemic, with tools to communicate between teachers and parents (63%) and tools that deliver interactive learning opportunities to students (57%) most favored among teachers. Even more, 68% of educators said edtech has become essential to the classroom.

Importantly, survey results showed that educators realize the potential in classroom technology and can visualize how it fits into their workflow. 81% report the experiences of the last two years have moved education closer to fully realizing the potential of technology in teaching. Educators are most excited about easy-to-use technology that can be used in-classroom and remotely (63%).

"We believe that the future of learning will be powered to a meaningful degree by technology yet centered on human connection, and this year's survey data gives us clear insight into how to realize that vision," said Jack Lynch, CEO of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. "Educators are telling us that today's status quo isn't cutting it, but they also see a path to the future. Importantly, that path relies on addressing basic needs like wellbeing and mental health concerns, both for teachers and students, supported by connected technology that allows educators and focus on what matters most, human relationships."

Community: A Need for Broad Support

Educators report needing more consideration for their overall wellbeing now, with 78% of educators stating that their top concern is the mental health of their peers. The majority also need more aid in the classroom, with 64% saying they need adequate funding for classroom supplies and resources.  According to today's educators, improved salary and benefits (90%) and more support for educator well-being (67%) would make the profession more appealing to new educators.

"On top of concerns around student wellness and performance, educators are increasingly worried about their peers," said Francie Alexander, Chief Research Officer at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. "To nurture their needs, we must invest in tools to help our educators make the connections with their networks in ways that best serve them. Parents, administrators, policymakers and community members are all needed to support teachers and foster a new generation of educators."

Customization: Personalization for Students and Educators

Data shows that educators believe the future of the classroom is personalized—for both students and teachers, with data-driven, personalized edtech solutions making it possible to meet everyone where they are. 79% of educators say customized learning based on what students know and what they need would most transform learning and teaching in the future.

With pandemic-induced interrupted learning continuing to stay top of mind in the classroom, educators said the top tools to aid sustained learning recovery were targeted instructional materials or resources (62%), followed by supplemental resources (55%). When looking ahead, 65% of educators say technology solutions that connect instruction—including supplemental and remediation work—and assessment on one platform are will transform the next era of education.

Additional key findings from the eighth annual Educator Confidence Report include:

  • Community support for teacher compensation is key for not only retention, but for the future of the profession. Concerns about teacher salaries are up 16% since 2020, and when looking forward to the next school year, a higher salary would be most motivating for educators, especially teachers (84%).
  • Teachers are looking for more appreciation, respect and "trust in their experience." When considering long-term developments to support the profession, educators want increased community support and engagement (52%) – as respect for the role of the teacher is down 26% since 2020 and a strengthening of the connection between families and schools has dipped 18% since 2020.
  • Educator and student wellbeing emerges as a top theme coming out of the pandemic. 61% of educators agree the most positive thing to come out of pandemic-era schooling is the increased attention paid to student social and emotional needs. For this reason, there is a strong agreement around the need for well-planned SEL programs (87%).

About the Educator Confidence Report
The Educator Confidence Report is an annual independent study, distributed to a diverse national cross section. The eighth annual Educator Confidence Report, underwritten by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and conducted between May-June 2022 with MarketCast, surveyed more than 1,200 educators, including 1,058 teachers and 143 administrators.

Learn more about the 2022 Educator Confidence Report at

About HMH
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a learning technology company committed to delivering connected solutions that engage learners, empower educators and improve student outcomes. As a leading provider of K–12 core curriculum, supplemental and intervention solutions, and professional learning services, HMH partners with educators and school districts to uncover solutions that unlock students' potential and extend teachers' capabilities. HMH serves more than 50 million students and 4 million educators in 150 countries. For more information, visit

Follow HMH on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Media Contact
Katie Marshall
Communications Manager, HMH 

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SOURCE Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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Bank of America Awards More Than $1.2 Million to Atlanta Nonprofits

Bank of America Awards More Than $1.2 Million to Atlanta Nonprofits
PR Newswire
ATLANTA, Aug. 18, 2022

Grants to 53 organizations across region focus on basic needs, workforce development, and education in disadvantaged and vulnerable communities



Bank of America Awards More Than $1.2 Million to Atlanta Nonprofits

PR Newswire

Grants to 53 organizations across region focus on basic needs, workforce development, and education in disadvantaged and vulnerable communities

ATLANTA, Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Bank of America announced more than $1.2 million in grants to 53 Atlanta nonprofits to help drive economic opportunity for individuals and families. Grants focus on workforce development and education to help individuals chart a path to employment and better economic futures, as well as basic needs fundamental to building life-long stability.

While Atlanta's economy is recovering from the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Georgia's unemployment rate (2.9%) is better than the national average (3.6%), the state has also added more jobs. According to the Georgia Department of Labor, the state's jobs are at all-time high.

Employment is a key driver of economic mobility in Atlanta. That's why the bank is focused on building pathways to employment by supporting a range of workforce development and educational opportunities that will help vulnerable individuals and families stabilize and advance.

"Investing in partnerships with nonprofit organizations addressing issues like workforce development, food insecurity and affordable housing is part of our approach to driving economic opportunity and social progress in Atlanta," said Al McRae, president, Bank of America Atlanta. "This recent philanthropic investment in Atlanta nonprofits is just one way Bank of America deploys capital locally to help remove barriers to economic success and build a more sustainable community."

One Bank of America grant recipient is Georgia Justice Project (GJP). For 15 years, GJP has helped individuals clean up their criminal history to remove barriers to employment, housing and education. With this support from Bank of America, GJP will be able to help people leaving the criminal justice system become empowered members of our community.

"One mistake should not mean a lifetime without opportunity," said Georgia Justice Project's Executive Director, Doug Ammar. "This support from Bank of America will help Georgia Justice Project expand its commitment to Georgians who have been impacted by the criminal legal system and help marginalized people get a second chance. Our gratitude to Bank of America for furthering our mission to reduce crime and recidivism in our communities by empowering individuals to make positive changes in their lives."

The full list of organizations receiving grants are:

  • Asian American Resource Foundation
  • Atlanta Business League
  • Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency
  • Atlanta Police Foundation
  • Atlanta Victim Assistance
  • Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation
  • Back on My Feet
  • Bigger Vision of Athens
  • Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese Atlanta
  • CHRIS 180
  • City of Refuge
  • Clark Atlanta University
  • Communities in Schools of Atlanta
  • Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School
  • Dalton State College Foundation
  • East Lake Foundation
  • Families First
  • Family Promise of Hall County
  • Food Bank of Northeast Georgia
  • Genesis Joy House Homeless Shelter
  • Georgia Justice Project
  • Georgia Mountain Food Bank
  • Grady Health System
  • Grove Park Foundation
  • Jonathan's House Ministries
  • Junior Achievement of Georgia
  • La Amistad
  • Latin American Association
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation
  • Meals on Wheels Atlanta
  • Must Ministries
  • Nana Grants
  • Open Hand Atlanta
  • Partnership Against Domestic Violence
  • Per Scholas
  • Saint Joseph's Mercy Care Services
  • Shelters to Shutters
  • Strive International
  • Teach for America
  • The Posse Foundation
  • The Summit Counseling Center
  • The Urban League of Greater Atlanta
  • Trees Atlanta
  • United Negro College Fund
  • United Way of Greater Atlanta
  • University of Georgia Research Foundation
  • Urban League of Greater Columbus
  • Urban Health and Wellness
  • Women in Technology
  • Women Moving On
  • Year Up
  • Young Men's Christian Association of Athens, GA
    - Young Women's Christian Organization of Athens, GA

Since 2017, Bank of America's nearly 5,000 Atlanta teammates have contributed over 255,000 volunteer hours and $30 million in grant support to organizations in metro Atlanta. These investments are part of the company's commitment to responsible growth to improve the financial lives of individuals, families, and communities across the state.

Learn more about Bank of America's Philanthropic Strategy

Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world's leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 67 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 4,000 retail financial centers, approximately 16,000 ATMs and award-winning digital banking with approximately 55 million verified digital users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business households through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and approximately 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reporters may contact:

Matthew Daily, Bank of America   
Phone: 1.404.607.2844

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SOURCE Bank of America Corporation

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PR Newswire
WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2022

OAAA OOH Ad Revenue Report Also Shows Q2 2022 Up 28.9% YOY
WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — …




PR Newswire

OAAA OOH Ad Revenue Report Also Shows Q2 2022 Up 28.9% YOY

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Out of home (OOH) advertising revenue increased 28.9 percent in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the previous year, accounting for $2.62 billion, based on figures released by the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA). These Q2 revenues are roughly equivalent to pre-pandemic highs, when Q2 2019 OOH revenues totaled a record-breaking $2.69 billion. Year-to-date through June, OOH revenue is now at $4.43 billion, and up 33.4 percent compared to the same period in 2021 – in line with the first half of 2019, at $4.47 billion.

The digital OOH format led total OOH growth with a 37 percent increase over second quarter 2021. The Billboard and Street Furniture categories increased double digits, while the Transit and Place-Based categories rose triple digits reflecting a strong pandemic recovery.  

"This is a watershed moment – with OOH revenues nearly matching historic, pre-pandemic highs," said Anna Bager, President and CEO, OAAA. "I am confident that these gains will continue. Recent Comscore research found that OOH delivers tremendous value in comparison to other channels, so we are in a good position to continue this momentum, despite any economic headwinds."

Eight of the top ten product industry categories increased double digits led by Public Transportation, Hotels and Resorts industry category at a 56.5 percent jump, which reflects recent reporting of increased consumer spending on services. The next four best performing industry categories all increased more than 30 percent, and included Financial, Media & Advertising, Government Politics and Organizations, and Schools Camps and Seminars.

Specific segments which were top revenue performers within the product industry categories, ranked by total OOH ad spend, included):

  • Hospitals, Clinics & Medical Centers +13%
  • Legal Services +18%
  • Quick Serve Restaurants +20%
  • Consumer Banking +36%
  • Domestic Hotels & Resorts +35%
  • Local Government +20%
  • Colleges & Universities +29%
  • Real Estate Agents, Agencies & Brokers +39%
  • Computer Software (excluding games & education) +321%
  • Food Stores & Supermarkets (chain) +13%

Ranked in order of OOH spending, the top 10 advertisers in the second quarter were McDonald's, Apple, Geico, Universal Pictures, Anheuser-Busch, American Express, Amazon, HBO, Dunkin, and T-Mobile.

Almost four in five (78%) of the top 100 OOH advertisers increased their OOH spend from Q2 2021, and over a quarter (27%) more than doubled their spend. Advertisers on this list who did not spend in Q2 2021 included: Capital One, Expedia, IHG, Canada, and Thirty Madison.

Over 20 percent (22) of the top 100 OOH spenders were technology or direct-to-consumer brands, eight were quick service restaurants brands, and seven were healthcare related (providers or insurers).

OAAA issues full industry pro forma revenue estimates that include, but are not limited to, Miller Kaplan and Kantar Media (which is not adjusted to reflect changes in data sources), and member company affidavits. Revenue estimates include digital and static billboard, street furniture, transit, place-based, and cinema advertising.

For detailed charts, go to and

About the OAAA
The Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA) is the national trade association for the $8.6 billion U.S. out of home advertising (OOH) industry, which includes digital out of home (DOOH), and is comprised of billboards, street furniture, transit advertising, and place-based media (including cinema).

OAAA is comprised of 800+ member media companies, advertisers, agencies, ad-tech providers, and suppliers that represent over 90 percent of the industry. OAAA is a unified voice, an authoritative thought leader, and a passionate advocate that protects, unites, and advances OOH advertising in the United States.

OAAA-member media companies donate over $500 million in public service advertising annually. Every year, the industry celebrates and rewards OOH creativity via its renowned OBIE Awards ( For more information, please visit

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SOURCE Out of Home Advertising Association of America

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