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Stocks Vs. Bonds – What Could Go Wrong?

Stocks Vs. Bonds – What Could Go Wrong?

Authored by Michael Lebowitz via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

Stocks are priced for perfection. Bonds trade at historically low yields despite 7% inflation. What could go wrong?

As fiscal and monetary…

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Stocks Vs. Bonds - What Could Go Wrong?

Authored by Michael Lebowitz via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

Stocks are priced for perfection. Bonds trade at historically low yields despite 7% inflation. What could go wrong?

As fiscal and monetary support for the economy and markets wane, valuation extremes are in the crosshairs. While the setup for 2022 is not looking as friendly as 2021, we must realize the environment can change quickly.

For more on the macroeconomic drivers supporting this forecast, please read Part 1 of our 2022 Investment Outlook – Tailwinds Shift To Headwinds.

2022 Investment Outlook for Stocks

Valuations

As shown below, as we have highlighted in many articles, valuations are at or near record levels. While nothing limits valuations from rising further, we must consider a reversion to the mean in many cases can result in losses of greater than 40%.

Complicating the valuation story is inflation. The graph below shows that historically periods of low inflation or deflation or inflation running greater than 5% are accompanied by CAPE readings of 25 or less. The current reading is 40.

The graph below uses three popular valuation techniques to quantify longer-term future returns. Based on the data, the ten-year outlook is for low single-digit returns at best. The second graph uses CAPE in a similar fashion to show the 20-year outlook is not much better. While our analysis may seem bearish, we reiterate that nothing says valuations cannot continue to stretch further.

Profit Margins

Corporate profit margins rose to record levels in 2021. Many companies were able to push higher costs onto consumers. At the same time, they were the ultimate beneficiaries of excessive government spending.

As we show below, corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at the peak of the last decade and well above the 60-year trend leading to the financial crisis. A reversion back to the trend line would result in a 3% decline in profit margins. It is worth considering profit margins tend to revert to and through the trend line. A reversion back to the lows of 2009 and 2002 portends a 50% cut into profit margins. With valuations already at extremes, profit weakness would not support lofty expectations.

The Tail Wagging The Dog- Stock Options

This is where the analysis gets tricky. The graph below from Goldman Sachs shows more volume trading in stock options than the underlying stocks. Options are inherently highly leveraged and volatile. As the amount of options grows versus the shares outstanding, options become the tail wagging the dog.

As we learned over the last two years, dealer hedging of options positions can result in great rallies. Conversely, as we watched in the second half of 2021, the options expiration period was not an investor’s best friend.

Forecasting how options trading might affect stock prices is nearly impossible for a 2022 investment outlook. That said, options have and will continue to influence the market significantly.

One way to track potential volatility is with Gamma flip levels. Gamma helps us understand how dealers hedge options and react by buying or selling the underlying stocks to maintain hedges. SimpleVisor subscribers receive Viking Analytics weekly Gamma Band Update to help them with this task. The graph below from a recent edition shows recommended allocations based on the Gamma of S&P 500 options.

2022 Investment Outlook for Bonds 

The outlook for bonds is equally tricky. If you had asked most bond traders a year ago where they thought bond yields would be if inflation approached 7%, most would have said much higher than current levels.

Inflation and Growth Drive Bond Yields

The graph below from Longview Economics show bond yields are abnormally low given the level of inflation. Per the historical relationship between 10-year UST yields and inflation, the 10-year yield should be 4-7%.

To help explain this anomaly, we must consider that bond traders tend to look at inflation beyond a year or two when determining value. Low expected inflation or deflation helps justify negative real yields today. Currently, TIPs markets imply 2.48% inflation for the next ten years.    Bond traders must be confident inflation is transitory. If persistently high inflation becomes more likely, bond yields could rise quickly.  

Economic growth over the next ten years is likely to be 2% or lower based on productivity and demographic trends. The Fed’s long-range forecast is 1.6-2.2%. The graph below shows the trends for GDP, and yields have been lower for the last 40 years. Note the declining yield trend is steeper than GDP. Some of this is due to the Fed’s influence on rates.  

The Fed

As noted in Part 1 of the 2022 Investment outlook, the Fed has been buying nearly 100% of what the Treasury is issuing. To wit- “the Fed has bought nearly $5 trillion of bonds since the pandemic began. In doing so, it came close to absorbing 100% of the net new debt issuance from the government.”

Banks Are Flush With Cash

The graphs below help explain a third important factor keeping yields low. The bottom chart shows deposits at commercial banks are growing much faster than banks are lending money. The banks need to invest deposits, and since they are not lending them out, they frequently invest in U.S. Treasury securities. The upper graph shows the statistically strong correlation (R-squared .76) between the ratio of loans and leases to deposits versus ten-year Treasury yields.  Unless the banks are going to start significantly ramping up lending, which we doubt, expect current trends to continue, thus supporting low yields.

Lower Yields

We think inflation is in the process of peaking. Shortages and supply line problems are slowly diminishing. At the same time, demand is normalizing, and there is little fiscal stimulus on the horizon to boost demand further. We offer a big disclaimer. The current environment is anything but typical. While we think inflation will ease, we are mindful that factors, such as rising wages may keep it elevated.

Yields have trended lower for the past 30 years, following economic growth. We think those trends continue in the year ahead.

Some will counter that if the Fed is not buying bonds who will? We do not know, but as we conclude in Taper is Coming: Got Bonds?: “Currently, yields are close to their cycle highs. If we believe the Fed is nearing tapering, yields could be peaking. Based on prior QE taper experiences, a yield decline of 1% or even more may be in store for the next six months to a year if the Fed is, in fact, on the doorsteps of tapering.”

The graph below from the article shows yields tend to fall after periods of QE and when they are reducing their balance sheet (QT) as circled. QT is currently being discussed by Fed members per the two headlines below.

  • BOSTIC SAYS FED COULD EASILY PULL $1.5 TRILLION OF “EXCESS LIQUIDITY” FROM FINANCIAL SYSTEM, THEN WATCH MARKET REACTION FOR FURTHER BALANCE SHEET REDUCTIONS

  • MESTER: ABLE TO LET BAL SHEET TO RUN DOWN FASTER THAN LAST TIME

An ISM Reading That May Make You Rethink Your Stock/Bond Allocations

In a recent daily Commentary we wrote the following. This quick note provides another reason yields may fall in the coming months.

The ISM Manufacturing Index was below expectations at 58.7, an 11-month low. Notably, the prices paid index fell sharply from 82.4 to 68.2, and supplier delivery times fell to a four-month low. The data provide signals that inflationary pressures are fading, at least for the time being.

The first graph below, from Stouff Capital, shows the strong correlation between the difference of new orders and inventories compared to the ISM Index. The differential leads the ISM index by three months. If the correlation holds up, we should see a steep decline in ISM in the coming three months.

The following two graphs show how ISM’s decline may affect bond yields. The first graph below, courtesy of Brett Freeze, shows a statistically strong correlation between nominal ISM (inflation-adjusted) and ten-year UST yields. If the nominal ISM is reversing as it appears, we should expect lower yields. The second graph, courtesy of Mott Capital, charts the correlation of the ISM Prices paid index and inflation expectations. Assuming manufacturing inflation is finally cooling off, inflation expectations should follow. Lower inflation expectations will help reduce bond yields.

Rotations Matter

In 2021, the key to success was understanding when inflationary narratives would dictate market conditions and when deflation narratives drove investors. We do not think 2022 will be as simple.

It is quite possible that value versus growth and low beta versus high beta may be the rotations to key on. As we wrote in An Investment Playbook for Thriving During the Next Market Crash:

“We think it’s likely that value stocks will significantly outperform growth stocks in the event of a sizeable drawdown. Timing the transition from growth to value will be difficult, but such a rotation will likely prove invaluable. You may want to keep the 2000 investment playbook handy.”

Summary

If we learned anything from 2020, the future is far from certain. Not only should we expect the unexpected, but the market reactions to the unexpected may be vastly different than what many assume.

What we discuss above is our best guess as of today. We may be right in some areas and wrong in others. More importantly, we must adjust our expectations as political, economic, and monetary conditions and investor sentiment change.

Navigating 2021 in hindsight was easy. However, a year ago, the outlook was daunting. No doubt 2022 will offer us both risk and rewards. Limiting risks and reaping the rewards will help traverse what offers to be another tricky year.

Maybe, more importantly, relying on trusted economic and market models and not letting psychological biases hinder investment decisions may prove to be the best advice we can offer.

Tyler Durden Wed, 01/12/2022 - 11:22

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Economics

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…

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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 hmhco.com/ecr.

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 www.hmhco.com

Follow HMH on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Media Contact
Katie Marshall
Communications Manager, HMH
Katie.Marshall@hmhco.com 

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SOURCE Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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Economics

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
A…

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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
matthew.daily@bofa.com

View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bank-of-america-awards-more-than-1-2-million-to-atlanta-nonprofits-301608570.html

SOURCE Bank of America Corporation

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Economics

OUT OF HOME ADVERTISING REVENUES IN Q2 2022 HIT $2.62 BILLION, ON PAR WITH PRE-PANDEMIC RECORD-HIGHS OF 2019

OUT OF HOME ADVERTISING REVENUES IN Q2 2022 HIT $2.62 BILLION, ON PAR WITH PRE-PANDEMIC RECORD-HIGHS OF 2019
PR Newswire
WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2022

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

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OUT OF HOME ADVERTISING REVENUES IN Q2 2022 HIT $2.62 BILLION, ON PAR WITH PRE-PANDEMIC RECORD-HIGHS OF 2019

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 https://bit.ly/3wbSlV7 and https://bit.ly/3ppb4ZB.

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 (obieawards.org). For more information, please visit oaaa.org.

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SOURCE Out of Home Advertising Association of America

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