Binance and Mastercard to Launch Prepaid Card in Inflation Battered Argentina

Key Insights:

  • Binance users can store crypto on their cards and pay at Mastercard merchants.
  • Argentina has one of the world’s highest inflation rates at 64%.
  • Dollar-pegged stablecoins are in high demand in the country.

On August 4, Binance announced a partnership with Mastercard (MA) to launch the ‘Binance Card’ in economically embattled Argentina.

The prepaid card aims to bridge the gap between cryptocurrencies and everyday purchases, according to the announcement. It added that Argentina was the first Latin American (LATAM) country to get the product.

Binance Card is still in a beta phase, but it is the firm’s latest effort to boost cryptocurrency adoption and digital payments.

Crypto Card For Global Payments

The card issued by Credencial Payments will allow new and existing Binance users in the country with a valid national ID to make purchases and pay bills with cryptocurrencies. More than 90 million physical and online Mastercard merchants across the globe will accept the card.

Crypto stored on the card will be converted to fiat in real-time, which is then sent to the merchant. Additionally, cardholders can earn as much as 8% in crypto cashback on eligible purchases and get zero fees on ATM withdrawals. Transactions and payments can be viewed and managed on the Binance website and mobile app.

Executive Vice President of Products and Innovation at Mastercard Latin America, Walter Pimenta, said that the firm’s “work with digital currencies builds on our strong foundation to enable choice and peace of mind when people shop and pay.”

Maximiliano Hinz, general director of Binance in Latin America, added, “Payments is one of the first and most obvious use cases for crypto, yet adoption has a lot of room to grow.”

The move comes at a time when Argentinians are suffering a cost of living crisis due to epic inflation. The country has one of the highest inflation rates in the world at a whopping 64% for June, according to Trading Economics. It is expected to reach 90% by the end of the year.

Many people have already turned to holding dollar-pegged stablecoins such as Tether (USDT) and Circle’s USDC to hedge against a rapidly devaluing Peso. Since the same time last year, the Peso has lost more than a third of its value against the greenback. As a result, there is a premium for stablecoins on Argentine exchanges due to the demand.

Argentina’s President has just sworn in the third new economy minister in a month. Sergio Massa has pledged to stop printing money that helps fuel runaway inflation.

Crypto Markets Consolidate

Crypto markets have remained flat over the past 24 hours, with a marginal dip in total capitalization to $1.1 trillion. Around $50 billion has left the space since their weekend and seven-week high.

Binance’s BNB token has reacted well to the news bucking the daily downtrend with a gain of 2.5% on the day, pushing prices above $300 again. BNB has weathered the crypto storm a little better than its brethren since it has ‘only’ lost 55% since its May 2021 all-time high.

Best Undervalued Stocks to Buy Now for August 2022

When this happens, it can pull in even the best stocks. That means the bad, unprofitable stocks and the best-in-breed stocks are sold off. They become undervalued – and that’s bargain time for long-term investors.

Markets and Big Money in the Last Six Months

When trying to make sense of markets, I look to data. So, what does the data say?

Well, my research firm, MAPsignals, follows the Big Money because we believe it moves markets. We created the Big Money Index (BMI), a 25-day moving average of Big Money buys and sells. It recently hit oversold levels twice (below the green line), meaning selling has been driving down markets big time:

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Oversold territory doesn’t occur often. But when it has in the past, it’s almost always been a bullish indicator. For a recent example, look at what happened after the BMI hit oversold in early 2020 (the start of the pandemic) – a monster rally:

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Going back to 2011, history suggests that oversold BMI instances indicate being at or near market bottoms. Looking at the chart below, we can see that the BMI hitting the green line often corresponds with a market low. We can also see how rallies tend to follow:

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While these metrics are not guarantees, history suggests markets rise over time after the BMI hits oversold. So, this puts us on the lookout for quality stocks that will rise as buyers return and markets trend upward again. We want fundamentally sound companies with good histories and discounted prices. Right now, that points to the technology, discretionary, financial, and staples sectors. Here are our best undervalued stocks to buy now for August 2022: TGT, SBUX, LOW, MA, and QCOM.

Target Corporation (TGT) Analysis

Up first is Target, which is one of the biggest retail chains around.

Even though great companies’ stocks can be volatile, like TGT over the past year, they’re worthy of attention, especially on pullbacks. Check out Target:

  • Year-to-date performance (-31.0%)
  • Recent Big Money sell signals

To show you what our Big Money signals look like on a stock, have a look at all the buys and sells in TGT over the past year:

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Looking more broadly, Target has been a high-quality stock for years, and it pays a current dividend of more than 2.8%. The blue bars in the chart below show when TGT was a high-ranking Top 20 stock likely being bought by a Big Money player, according to MAPsignals. When you see a lot of blue, it can be very bullish:

Chart Description automatically generated

Source: www.MAPsignals.com

Those blue signals indicate Big Money buying and solid fundamentals. As you can see, Target’s sales growth has been strong and the expected earnings outlook is solid, making it worthy of attention:

  • 3-year sales growth rate (+12.2%)
  • 2-year vs. 1-year EPS growth estimate (+41.3%)

Starbucks Corporation (SBUX) Analysis

Next up is Starbucks, the coffee giant.

Check out these technicals for SBUX:

  • Year-to-date performance (-29.0%)
  • Recent Big Money sell signals

It’s been getting sold heavily, creating a big downtrend:

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Now let’s look long-term. Below are the Top 20 buy signals for Starbucks since 2004. The Big Money has been on SBUX for a while and loves its dividend (currently near 2.4%):

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Source: www.MAPsignals.com

Let’s look under the hood. As you can see, Starbucks has grown sales well and the outlook for future earnings looks good:

  • 1-year sales growth rate (+23.6%)
  • 2-year vs. 1-year EPS growth estimate (+19.8%)

Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (LOW) Analysis

Another potential growth name is Lowe’s, the enormous home improvement retailer.

Strong candidates for growth usually have Big Money buying the shares. Lowe’s has historically had that. Until December 2021, it was a gem. But it’s seen big selling since, which could be an opportunity:

  • Year-to-date performance (-27.0%)
  • Historical Big Money signals

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Below are the blue Top 20 Big Money buy signals LOW has made since 1990. It’s clearly a Big Money favorite. That’s the JUICE!

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Source: www.MAPsignals.com

Now let’s dig deeper. Sales growth for Lowe’s has been impressive. I expect more of the same in the coming years. Its earnings estimate and profit margin bode well for the future too. LOW also pays a current dividend of more than 2.2%.

  • 1-year sales growth rate (+7.4%)
  • 2-year vs. 1-year EPS growth estimate (+8.8%)
  • Profit margin (+8.7%)

Mastercard Corporation (MA) Analysis

Number four on the list is Mastercard, the huge credit card company.

Here are the technicals important to me:

  • Year-to-date performance (-5.0%)
  • Historical Big Money signals

MA has chopped along over the past year, with lots of Big Money selling and buying:

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But Mastercard is a Big Money favorite, and it pays a current dividend of almost 0.6%. Below are the Big Money Top 20 buy signals for MA since 2006:

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Source: www.MAPsignals.com

Let’s look under the hood. Despite the price slide, Mastercard’s sales and earnings have jumped quite a bit:

  • 1-year sales growth rate (+23.4%)
  • 3-year EPS growth rate (+19.8%)

QUALCOMM, Inc. (QCOM) Analysis

Our last growth candidate is  QUALCOMM, which is a large semiconductor company.

Last winter it was being bought up. But since then there’s been lots of Big Money selling as technology stocks have been slammed:

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Check out these technicals:

  • Year-to-date performance (-19.0%)
  • Historical Big Money signals

But QCOM is a high-quality stock since it’s made the MAPsignals Top 20 report. Right now, it pays a current dividend of more than 2.0% and it’s on a pullback. So, QCOM could be an opportunity. As you can see, it’s been a Big Money favorite for years:

Chart Description automatically generated

Source: www.MAPsignals.com

Now let’s look below the surface a bit. Sales have been growing and the profit margin is solid:

  • 1-year sales growth rate (+42.6%)
  • Profit margin (+26.9%)

Bottom Line and Explanatory Video

 

TGT, SBUX, LOW, MA, and QCOM represent the top undervalued stocks for August 2022. They’ve been sold a lot lately…perhaps too much. Strong, fundamentally-sound stocks seeing near-term sell signals are worthy of extra attention because of their long-term potential.

To learn more about MAPsignals’ Big Money process please visit: www.mapsignals.com

Disclosure: the author holds long positions SBUX and QCOM in personal and managed accounts, and LOW in managed accounts.

Contact

https://mapsignals.com/contact/

Best Oversold Stocks to Buy Now for June 2022

When this happens, it can pull in even the best stocks. That means the bad, unprofitable stocks and the best-in-breed stocks are sold off. And that’s bargain time for long-term investors.

Markets and Big Money in the Last Six Months

When trying to make sense of this market, I like to look to data. So, what does the data say?

Well, my research firm, MAPsignals, follows the Big Money because we believe it moves markets. We created the Big Money Index (BMI), a 25-day moving average of Big Money buys and sells. It recently hit oversold levels (below the green line), meaning selling is driving down markets big time:

Chart, histogram Description automatically generated

Oversold territory doesn’t occur often. But when it has in the past, it’s almost always been a bullish indicator. Look at what’s happened after the BMI hit oversold since 2014:

Since 1990, the BMI has been oversold 21 times. It tends to stay oversold for three weeks, with markets troughing two weeks later, on average. Since 1990, the forward-looking returns on the S&P 500 after hitting oversold are 16% after one year and 29% after two years.

This puts us on the lookout for quality stocks that will rise as buyers return and markets trend upward again. We want fundamentally sound companies with good histories and discounted prices. Here are our best oversold stocks to buy now for June 2022: ODFL, MA, HD, LRCX, and NKE.

Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. (ODFL) Analysis

Up first is Old Dominion, which is one of the largest North American cargo carriers.

Even though great companies’ stocks can be volatile, like ODFL over the past year, they’re worthy of attention, especially on pullbacks. Check out Old Dominion:

  • Year-to-date month performance (-31.0%)
  • Recent Big Money sell signals

To show you what our Big Money signals look like on a stock, have a look at all the buys and sells in ODFL over the past year:

Looking more broadly, Old Dominion has been a high-quality stock for years. The blue bars in the chart below show when ODFL was a high-ranking stock likely being bought by a Big Money player, according to MAPsignals. When you see a lot of blue, it can be very bullish:

Those blue signals indicate Big Money buying and solid fundamentals. As you can see, Old Dominion’s sales and earnings growth have been strong, making it worthy of attention:

  • 1-year sales growth rate (+30.9%)
  • 3-year EPS growth rate (+24.0%)

Mastercard Incorporated (MA) Analysis

Next up is Mastercard, the global payments and credit card giant.

Check out these technicals for MA:

  • Year-to-date performance (-5.0%)
  • Recent Big Money sell signals

It’s been getting bought and sold, as trading has been choppy over the past year:

Now let’s look long-term. Below are the top buy signals for Mastercard since 2006. The Big Money has been on it for a while:

Let’s look under the hood. As you can see, Mastercard has grown sales well and the outlook for future earnings looks good:

  • 1-year sales growth rate (+23.4%)
  • 2-year vs. 1-year EPS growth estimate (+20.5%)

Home Depot, Inc. (HD) Analysis

Another growth name is Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer.

Strong candidates for growth usually have Big Money buying the shares. Home Depot has historically had that. Until December 2021, it was a darling. But recently it’s seen big selling, which could be an opportunity:

  • Year-to-date performance (-31.0%)
  • Historical Big Money signals

Below are the blue Top 20 Big Money signals HD has made since 1990. It’s clearly a Big Money favorite. That’s the JUICE!

Now let’s dig deeper. Sales growth for Home Depot has been impressive. I expect more of the same in the coming years. Its profit margin and minimal debt also bode well for the future. HD also pays a current dividend of nearly 2.7%.

  • 1-year sales growth rate (+14.4%)
  • Profit margin (+10.9%)
  • Debt/equity ratio (0.0%)

Lam Research Corporation (LRCX) Analysis

Number four on the list is Lam Research, which is a top supplier of processing equipment for the semiconductor industry.

Here are the technicals important to me:

  • Year-to-date performance (-35.0%)
  • Historical Big Money signals

Except for a semi-sustained rise late last year, LRCX has seen more Big Money selling than buying:

But Lam Research is a Big Money favorite, and it pays a current dividend of more than 1.2%. Below are the Big Money Top 20 buy signals for LRCX since 2014:

Let’s look under the hood. Despite the price slide, Lam Research sales have jumped quite a bit, and earnings are expected to keep growing:

  • 1-year sales growth rate (+45.7%)
  • 2-year vs. 1-year EPS growth rate estimate (+20.6%)

NIKE, Inc. (NKE) Analysis

Our last growth candidate is NIKE, the gigantic shoe and athletic wear company. Last summer it was being bought up, but since then there’s been lots of Big Money selling as discretionary stocks have been pinched due to recession fears:

Check out these technicals:

  • 1-month performance (-16.9%)
  • Historical Big Money signals

But NKE is a high-quality stock since it’s made the MAPsignals Top 20 report. As you can see below, it’s been a Big Money favorite for years. Right now, it’s on a pullback and could be an opportunity:

Now let’s look below the surface a bit. Sales have been growing and the earnings outlook is solid:

  • 1-year sales growth rate (+18.9%)
  • 2-year vs. 1-year EPS growth estimate (+23.1%)

Bottom Line and Explanatory Video

 

ODFL, MA, HD, LRCX, and NKE represent the top oversold stocks for June 2022. They’ve been sold a lot lately…perhaps too much. Strong, fundamentally-sound stocks seeing near-term sell signals are worthy of extra attention because of their long-term potential.

To learn more about MAPsignals’ Big Money process please visit: www.mapsignals.com

Disclosure: the author holds long positions in HD, LRCX, and NKE in personal and managed accounts.

Contact

https://mapsignals.com/contact/

Visa Is Up By 8%, Here Is Why

Key Insights

  • Visa beats analyst estimates on both earnings and revenue. 
  • The company expects that robust travel demand will boost its results. 
  • General market weakness is the main risk for Visa stock. 

Visa Rallies After Strong Quarterly Report

Shares of Visa gained strong upside momentum after the company released  its fiscal Q2 2022 results. Visa reported revenue of $7.2 billion and adjusted earnings of $1.79 per share, beating analyst estimates on both earnings and revenue.

Visa noted that it “had solid growth in most countries around the globe and across all elements of our business, with revenue growth of over 20% in consumer payments, new flows and value added services”.

The company believes that additional growth will be driven by the robust travel recovery. It should be noted that expectations of such a recovery have already provided significant support to airline stocks, which are very sensitive to travel demand outlook.

What’s Next For Visa Stock?

Analysts expect that Visa will report earnings of $7.06 per share in the current fiscal year and earnings of $8.33 per share in the next fiscal year, so the stock is trading at 26 forward P/E.

This is not cheap, but traders are ready to pay a premium for Visa’s leading position in the payments market. Analyst estimates have been moving lower in recent weeks, but this trend could change after the release of the better-than-expected quarterly report.

I’d also note that concerns that established leaders like Visa and Mastercard could be displaced by new companies have subsided. Stocks like Affirm , which provides BNPL (buy now, pay later) services, have crashed from their recent highs, and it looks that some capital has flown into the stocks of established players.

While Visa’s performance was strong, traders should note that current valuation levels do not provide a material margin of safety. In case the general market pullback continues, Visa stock will move closer to recent lows.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Is BTC About to Soar Above $100,000?

Bitcoin rose 4.3% on Wednesday to end the day around $41,300, Ethereum added 4% to reach 3100, and both remain near those levels early Thursday. The leading altcoins from the top ten have risen in price over the past day from 0.7% (Binance Coin) to 5.4% (Avalanche).

Demand on BTC

According to CoinMarketCap, the total capitalization of the crypto market has grown over the past 24 hours by 2.3% per day, to $1.92 trillion. The Bitcoin Dominance Index rose 0.3% to 41.0%.

Cryptocurrency index of fear and greed added to Thursday added 3 more points to 28 and moved into a state of “fear”.

Bitcoin was in demand in the US session amid a rebound in stock indices and a decline in the US dollar. The US currency began to correct downwards after a 9-day growth, which contributed to the revival of all risky assets.

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World’s first crypto credit card

Alex Mashinsky, CEO of the Celsius Network crypto-lending platform, said that Bitcoin will soar above $100,000 as early as 2022 as a result of capital flight from the stock market to cryptocurrencies. According to him, bitcoin began to behave as a protective asset against the backdrop of a deterioration in the general situation in the world.

Crypto lending platform Nexo has announced the release of the world’s first credit card secured in cryptocurrency based on the Mastercard payment system. The card will allow you to spend funds without having to sell crypto assets. They will be used as collateral to secure the loan.

According to IntoTheBlock, the number of long-term investors in the Shiba Inu token has grown 20 times since the beginning of the year. However, hodlers hold only 5% of the total capitalization of the meme token.

by FxPro’s Senior Market Analyst Alex Kuptsikevich.

High Profile Names Invest $87m in Crypto Payment Firm MoonPay

Key Insights:

  • Crypto payment shop MoonPay gets the VIP seal of approval with $87m in investments.
  • Investors from the world of media & entertainment, music, and sport have invested with all eyes on Web3,
  • Earlier this year, MoonPay was in the news for purchasing NFTs for celebrity clients.

Investor interest in Web3 shows no sign of abating. Mainstream names have embraced what lies ahead, filing applications for NFT and Metaverse-related trademarks.

Digital asset platforms have also started to build investment divisions targeting Web3.

Following news of Uniswap Labs (UNI) launching Uniswap Labs Ventures to target Web3, MoonPay hit the newswires on Wednesday.

VIPs from Entertainment, Music, and Sport Invest in Moonpay

This week, MoonPay announced the investment of $87 million from high-profile names in entertainment, music, and sports.

According to today’s announcement,

“More than 60 influential figures and organizations from the worlds of music, sport, media, and entertainment have collectively invested $87m in the company.”

Big names from the world of films include Ashton Kutcher, Bruce Willis, Eva Longoria, Gal Gadot, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, and Matthew McConaughey.

Virtual world advocates Snoop Dogg and Justin Bieber were also among the list of high-profile investors.

MoonPay co-founder and CEO Ivan Soto-Wright said,

“Web3 is radically changing how we think about creative value. We’re on the cusp of a creative crypto renaissance, and our strategic investors are helping to lead that movement. We’re honored to work with them to help onboard the world to Web3.”

The $87m investment forms part of a $555 million Series A financing round that has funded the launch of NFT Checkout and MoonPay Concierge, which helps high-profile clients purchase NFTs.

Last November, MoonPay was in the news after raising $555 million in Series A funding to take the company’s value to $3.4bn.

MoonPay has seen plenty of media interest in recent months as interest in Web3 accelerates.

MoonPay Activity Draws Media Interest amidst a Rise in Web3 Activity

Following the launch of NFT Checkout and MoonPay Concierge, news hit the wires of MoonPay purchasing CryptoPunk NFTs.

In January, FX Empire reported MoonPay purchasing CryptoPunk #2681 for 900 ETH, equivalent to approximately $3m, at the time of purchase.

This month, MoonPay announced a new partnership with OpenSea, which removed the need for NFT buyers to purchase crypto to make payments. OpenSea will use MoonPay’s NFT Checkout to give OpenSea users better access to NFTs. As a result of the partnership, users can buy OpenSea NFTs with Mastercard, Visa, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.

What is MoonPay?

Launched in 2019, MoonPay supports the buying and selling of cryptos. Users can seamlessly exchange cryptos and fiat using credit and debit cards and payment platforms such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. In addition to cryptocurrencies, MoonPay has also moved into the NFT space in a bid to seize market share, as it did in the cryptocurrency space.

Nexo and Mastercard Partner to Deliver Crypto-Backed Card

Key Insights:

  • Crypto lending platform Nexo launches crypto-backed credit cards with Mastercard and DiPocket.
  • Users can spend at more than 92 million merchants without having to sell crypto.
  • Technical indicators for NEXO are bullish, with NEXO sitting above the 50-day EMA.

Recently, the crypto world and mainstream payment platforms have formed stronger ties. Several leading crypto exchanges have partnered with Mastercard, Visa, and others to facilitate crypto purchases.

Several crypto exchanges also have credit card services, where users can purchase goods with crypto credit cards.

NFT marketplaces, such as Coinbase, have partnered with Mastercard to allow digital asset enthusiasts to purchase NFTs with fiat.

This week, crypto-lending platform Nexo (NEXO) offers crypto investors a new crypto payment offering.

Nexo Partners with Mastercard to Deliver Crypto-Backed Card

On Wednesday, crypto lending platform Nexo announced the launch of the Nexo Card. According to the announcement,

“Nexo is partnering with Mastercard and DiPocket to offer Nexo users access to crypto-powered liquidity across 92M+ merchant sites worldwide.”

Unlike other crypto platform credit cards, Nexo Card allows users to spend without actually having to sell digital assets. Available to users in Europe, the key features of the card include,

  • Nexo Card is linked to a Nexo credit line enabling users to use crypto, such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Tether (USDT), as collateral.
  • No minimum repayments, no inactivity fees, and no FX fees for up to €20,000 per month.
  • Crypto cashback of up to 2%, paid in Bitcoin or NEXO token.
  • Available in physical and virtual form, users can add Nexo Card to Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Nexo cardholders will be able to spend up to 90% of the fiat-equivalent value of their crypto holdings.

While initially targeting European users, Nexo plans to offer the card worldwide.

Nexo Co-founder and Managing Partner Antoni Trenchev said,

“Launching the Nexo Card in Europe in partnership with Mastercard and DiPocket is a big milestone for us and the latest proof of the immense synergy between the existing financial network and digital assets. This unique product will allow millions of people, first in Europe and then worldwide, to spend instantly without having to give up the potential of their cryptocurrencies, thus offering unprecedented everyday utility for the emerging asset class.”

Nexo is in Expansion Mode, Targeting Web3 and Brokerage Services

Earlier this year, Nexo joined a growing list of crypto platforms to come under the scrutiny of U.S regulators.

In February, Nexo announced voluntary changes to its Earn Interest Product in the U.S to comply with “newly-announced guidance.”

While under the watchful eye of U.S regulators, it has been a busy start to 2022 for Nexo.

This month, Nexo launched Nexo Prime. Nexo Prime is a proprietary prime brokerage platform for high-net-worth, corporate, and institutional investors. The platform gives investors access to the necessary tools to securely store, trade, borrow, and lend digital assets.

In March, Nexo launched Nexo Ventures, a $150m venture arm for acquisitions and Web3 investments. The venture arm aims to speed up the development and adoption of blockchain tech by investing in “early-stage retail and institutional projects synergetic to Nexo’s core businesses.”

Last year, Nexo partnered with Three Arrows Capital to offer NFT art financing services. Nexo’s NFT Lending & Art Financing Service offers crypto credit backed by NFTs. According to a December press release, Nexo started by accepting Bored Apes and CryptoPunks NFTs.

NEXO Price Action

At the time of writing, NEXO was up 0.04% to $2.428.

NEXOUSD 140422 Daily
The next target is $2.70 levels and April’s high.

Technical Indicators

NEXO will need to avoid the $2.3770 pivot to move through the First Major Resistance Level at $2.504.

Broader market sentiment would need to improve to support a move through a Wednesday high of $2.454.

In the event of another extended rally, NEXO should test the Second Major Resistance Level at $2.581 and resistance at $2.600.

A fall through the pivot would bring the First Major Support Level at $2.301 into play. Barring an extended sell-off throughout the day, NEXO should avoid sub-$2.250. The Second Major Support Level sits at $2.173.

NEXOUSD 140422 Hourly
Avoiding the day’s pivot would bring $2.50 levels into play.

The EMAs and the 4-hourly candlestick chart (below) send a bullish signal. As a result of the current breakout, NEXO sits above the 50-day EMA at $2.389. This morning, the 50-day EMA pulled away from the 100-day EMA, after having avoided a bearish cross. We also saw the 100-day EMA move away from the 200-day EMA; price positive.

NEXO would need to avoid the 50-day EMA to target April’s current high of $2.791.

NEXOUSD 140422 4-Hourly
Avoiding the 50-day EMA would support a run at April’s high and then $3.00 levels.

Crypto Market Sell-off Delivers NFT Trading Volume Boost

Key Insights:

  • OpenSea NFT trading volumes have risen, supported by the crypto market sell-off.
  • In February and March, OpenSea trading volumes slid in response to the crypto market upswing.
  • The outlook for the NFT marketplace remains bright as more mainstream players enter the NFT space.

It was a positive start to 2022 for NFTs and OpenSea, with trading volumes hitting an all-time high in January. The upswing painted a bullish picture for the year ahead.

According to data from Dune Analytics, ETH trading volume hit $4.97bn in January. OpenSea’s previous all-time high was in August, with trading volume hitting $3.42bn.

February and March were disappointing, however, as the crypto market recovered from late January lows to early April highs.

NFT marketplace conditions appear to be improving, with the recent crypto market sell-off delivering support.

Trading Activity on OpenSea Supported by ETH at sub-$3,000

In March, ETH-based NFT trading volumes fell to $2.49bn, well below January’s $4.97bn and February’s $3.58bn.

At the time of writing, ETH trading volume sits at $1.30bn. While a straight-line extrapolation doesn’t look too impressive, a continued ETH pullback would support demand for NFTs.

ETH Trading Vol

Recovering from a January current-year low of $2,161, ETH revisited $3,500 levels in April before the last slide back to sub-$3,000. ETH has fallen in 6 out of 9 sessions, with a return to sub-$3,000 positive for ETH-based NFT trading on OpenSea.

ETHUSD 130422 Daily

With Polygon (MATIC) and Solana (SOL) based NFT trading volumes a fraction of OpenSea’s total trading volumes, ETH remains the area of focus.

Active traders have also rebounded this month. In January, active ETH-based NFT traders hit a record high of 546,145 before falling to 451,767 in March. For the current month, active ETH-based NFT traders have risen to 281,546.

On a straight-line basis, active traders could surpass January’s all-time high, another positive for OpenSea and NFTs.

ETH Active Traders

Influence on Trading Volumes Is Beyond ETH Value

Factors beyond ETH will influence OpenSea trading activity, including competition, illicit activity, new NFT launches, and regulatory oversight.

This year, LooksRare (LOOKS) launched in January, with Coinbase about to enter the NFT space with CoinbaseNFT.

One final key driver for NFT transaction numbers, in particular, will be the acceptance of fiat money for payments. Coinbase forged a partnership with Mastercard at the start of the year, which will allow mainstream payments for NFTs.

Offering mainstream payments removes the need for prospective NFT collectors to create digital wallets and purchase crypto in volatile market conditions. The Coinbase decision to support Mastercard payments may force other NFT marketplaces to follow suit.

The good news for the NFT space is that mainstream names continue to explore and enter the digital asset space. For OpenSea, investors will also be monitoring how Solana-based NFTs perform.

Downside risks remain, however, including illicit activity and increased regulatory oversight. For a more accessible NFT marketplace, regulatory oversight will need to be supportive rather than punitive. How regulators move on NFTs may ultimately be linked to illicit activity across the NFT space.

World’s Largest Courier Company, UPS Plans on Entering the Metaverse

Key Insights:

  • United Parcel Service (UPS) filed multiple Metaverse and NFT related trademark applications.
  • UPS’ Metaverse filings will set a precedent for similar applications from other shipping and logistics brands.
  • Metaverse, at this point, has just become a medium of marketing for every brand & company.

As revealed by DC-based NFT trademark attorney Michael Kondoudis, the United Parcel Service (UPS) is preparing to establish a Metaverse presence. The move will bolster the already strong reach the company has in the world, to the virtual world as well.

Parcels in the Metaverse

The trademark filings range from basic NFT and Metaverse goods to creating a new network of shipping and deliveries as well. Although only six filings have been discovered, these six filings include goods and services such as:-

  • NFTs and Crypto-collectibles.
  • NFT backed multimedia.
  • Virtual retail shipping and delivery.
  • Virtual clothing, packages, vehicles, airplanes, and sports collectibles.
  • Marketplaces for digital goods and NFT backed media.
  • Retail stores featuring virtual goods.

According to Kondoudis, the 114-year-old company is taking these steps to protect its “UPS” brand, which is why these filings hold a lot of value. Thus through these filings, the company was preparing to dominate the virtual economy and become a major player in this space. Adding to the same, he said,

“We expect the number of trademark filings for NFT and virtual products and services from the shipping, logistics, and package delivery sector to increase in the next 12 months as brands come to appreciate the need for protection in the Metaverse.”

This is what the new trend is, and it’s alluring companies all over the globe to follow it or be outdated.

The Metaverse Dillemma

In the last few weeks, more companies have filed Metaverse trademarks applications than one would expect, and these companies aren’t limited to just one sector either.

Brands ranging from fashion to technology and music and fast food companies have been quick to file their trademarks in the Metaverse so that when the time comes, they will be equipped to establish their presence.

Last month KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell followed similar plans and set foot in the Metaverse. The month before that, McDonald’s did the same thing as well.

At the same time, the New York Stock Exchange and Victoria’s Secret too announced their intentions by filing for similar trademarks. And just yesterday, FXEmpire reported on MasterCard repeating this strategy for itself.

Thus, finding a pattern in these filings is pointless. The only driving factor behind these decisions is creating their brands’ presence in the quickly emerging virtual world.

The Metaverse hype is growing by the day, and companies are treating it as a marketing strategy, but whether or not it will be a long-term success is yet to be known since the space is still in its early stages.

MasterCard To Enter the Crypto World With NFTs After VISA & AmEx

Key Insights:

  • MasterCard intends on making a full-force approach by providing NFT, educational, and payment services in the Metaverse.
  • Not too long ago, AmEx, too, had revealed its virtual world plans by filing for trademarks.
  • Apart from companies, even exchanges such as the NYSE filed similar trademark applications.

As per the Trademark/Service Mark Applications registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, MasterCard will be covering everything from events in the Metaverse to NFTs, tech, and other general interests. 

Metaverse Welcomes MasterCard

The financial services provider will also provide entertainment and educational services in the Metaverse and further expand it to other social, cultural, and community events.

Through the Metaverse, MasterCard might be attempting to provide its financial services to the users in the virtual world as well.

According to another filing found, MasterCard has filed an application to trademark its iconic yellow and red dots, which will be visible on virtual credit, debit, and payment cards.

Using this, MasterCard aims to push the use of its cards for making transactions throughout the virtual world. 

It is well known that the Metaverse is mostly uncharted territory with monetary value for as long as the hype exists. But given the big names that have already entered this space, it might live on for long.

Thus being a leading financial services provider in that space where LAND plots are sold for as much as $10,000, MasterCard could mint profits.

But the company also will be approaching NFTs beyond just Metaverse services. In regards to the same, a filing stated,

“Downloadable music files authenticated by non-fungible tokens (NFTs); downloadable multimedia files containing artwork, text, audio, and video authenticated by non-fungible tokens (NFTs).”

These NFTs will be under the “PRICELESS” tag, which has also been the company’s advertising campaign since 1997.

But MasterCard is not the only one to tap the space as other major public companies and even exchanges are preparing to enter the virtual world.

Others in the Line

As FXEmpire reported a while ago, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) promptly submitted similar applications to expand to NFTs and Metaverse, focusing on digital currencies and virtual retail stores.

Similarly, the likes of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell also took this approach to announce their entry into the Metaverse.

At this point, it seems like everyone and anyone who can, is using the Metaverse more as a marketing strategy and less as an alternative to the real world. 

Best ETFs to Buy Now for April 2022

They include energy:

Materials:

And real estate (notice the yellow arrow on the right – that is HUGE buying on March 29, 2022):

Markets and Big Money in the Last 6 Months

My research firm, MAPsignals, measures Big Money investor activity. That includes institutions, pension funds, big individual investors, and so on. Our research shows Big Money moves markets. And right now, Big Money flows into stocks have been positive over the last month:

That’s driving up major indices as well as the Big Money Index (BMI), which measures large-scale investor activity. It’s spiked recently, though may be cresting:

So, things are looking up somewhat, but the general direction of markets going forward is no certainty. Opportunistic investors can take advantage of volatile markets, especially when there’s deep selling. Those times have proven to be when stocks and ETFs are on sale.

Given these conditions, we’ve identified some ETFs we think have long-term potential, one of which is priced nicely right now: VDE, SCHG, SCHH, HDV, and IJJ.

Long-term investors should look for ETFs (and their stocks), with great setups. Remember, ETFs are just baskets of stocks, so we need to look at them in detail. MAPsignals specializes in scoring more than 6,500 stocks daily. If I know which stocks compose the ETFs, I can apply stock scores to the ETFs. Then I can rank them all from strongest to weakest.

Let’s get to the five best ETF opportunities for April 2022.

Vanguard Energy ETF (VDE) Analysis

The current geopolitical situation has changed the global energy market in big ways. The ripple effect brought oil and gas back in the spotlight while driving up prices for energy. As you can see, Big Money has been buying VDE in chunks over the past year, with heavy buying starting in October 2021:

VDE holds several powerhouse stocks. One example is ConocoPhillips (COP), which is up 35% this year and has a profit margin of 17.5%. Here are Big Money signals for COP:

Schwab U.S. Large-Cap Growth ETF (SCHG) Analysis

True, the near-term chart on SCHG doesn’t look great. But the broad view shows its huge upward trend, and it holds a basket of stocks with excellent fundamentals, many of which are household names.

One great stock SCHG holds is Tesla Inc. (TSLA). It’s a long-time Big Money favorite with fantastic fundamentals, including a 10.3% profit margin, 3-year EPS growth of 336.2%, and 3-year sales growth of 37.8%. As the multi-year chart below shows, it’s been a growing giant for a while:

Schwab U.S. REIT ETF (SCHH) Analysis

Remember the huge spike in real estate stock buying? Well, that’s reflected in SCHH too. While there have been a couple dips in the past year, the trend on this one overall is undeniably upward:

SCHH is a REIT ETF, but it contains some stocks you wouldn’t expect. A good example is Mastercard Incorporated (MA). It’s fallen recently, but it’s an outlier stock with a profit margin of 46%. It’s also been a Top 20 Big Money buy for years:

iShares Core High Dividend ETF (HDV) Analysis

When markets get uncertain, many investors flock to defensive positions, especially great dividend stocks. As various headwinds like inflation and geopolitical tensions picked up late last year, fundamentally strong stocks with dividends captured investors’ attention. For instance, HDV was chopping along until December 2021, when Big Money began its ramping up:

One longstanding dividend stock within this ETF is Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), a giant, profitable healthcare company (22.3% profit margin) that’s been a recent Big Money magnet. The multi-year chart below shows lots of Big Money buying, and its current 2.39% dividend is part of the reason:

iShares S&P Mid-Cap 400 Value ETF (IJJ) Analysis

This is a “bargain bin” pick, but that’s because this ETF is getting battered around recently (unfairly in my opinion). IJJ holds smaller companies and has seen some Big Money buying in the past. It’s been choppy over the last year, but the longer-term performance proves it can hold a valuable place in a diversified portfolio:

One great stock in IJJ is Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc. (KNX). It’s fundamentally strong – it has 3-year EPS growth of 31.9% and a 12.4% profit margin. But it’s down 25% this year so far. However, it wouldn’t surprise to see this one rise high again (it’s had 23 Top 20 Big Money buy signals since 2005):

Here’s a Big Money recap:

  • When Big Money buying pours in, stocks tend to go up
  • Red selling on great quality can be a great opportunity
  • Repeated buying usually means outsized gains

Bottom Line and Explanatory Video

VDE, SCHG, SCHH, HDV, and IJJ are my top ETFs for April 2022. VDE, SCHG, SCHH, and HDV rank high, while IJJ ranks lower due to weaker technicals. These picks can rise higher, in my opinion, largely because they each hold great stocks. One of them is discounted right now because of selling pressures. But as we know, deep red days often prove to be big opportunities over time.

To learn more about MAPsignals’ Big Money process please visit: www.mapsignals.com

Disclosure: the author holds no positions in VDE, SCHG, SCHH, HDV, IJJ, COP, TSLA, MA, JNJ, or KNX in managed or personal accounts at the time of publication.

Contact:

https://mapsignals.com/contact/

 

OpenSea to Allow NFT Purchases with Bank Cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay

Key Insights:

  • OpenSea partners with MoonPay to allow NFT purchases with bank cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.
  • Trading volumes have retreated since January’s record high, with rising crypto prices of influence.
  • More diversified NFT payment options could decouple the NFT marketplace from the crypto market.

OpenSea has seen NFT trading volumes retreat since January’s all-time highs. The fall in trading volumes has coincided with an upward trend in cryptocurrency prices.

On Friday, we reported recent monthly trading volume trends and the root causes of the marked decline in volumes. A link to the value of cryptocurrencies is evident when considering the trend in NFT trading volumes.

Rising crypto prices translate into more expensive NFTs, where NFT prices are crypto-based. In March, ETH rose by 12.4% and 8.6% in February.

A shift away from crypto pricing and payment could decouple the inverse relationship between NFTs and the crypto market.

OpenSea Partners with MoonPay to Allow Bank Card Payments

On Friday, MoonPay announced a new partnership with OpenSea. OpenSea will use MoonPay’s NFT Checkout to give OpenSea users better access to NFTs.

As per Friday’s announcement,

“The integration, which will be rolled out in phases, allows OpenSea users to easily purchase an NFT using a debit or credit card, sidestepping the need to first acquire cryptocurrency. This simplifies the purchasing process and opens up the marketplace to a wider customer base.”

MoonPay added,

“For the first time, OpenSea customers will be able to purchase NFTs using a card through MoonPay’s NFT Checkout. Collectors can pay directly with major payment methods like MasterCard, Visa, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.”

MoonPay’s co-founder and CEO said,

“MoonPay’s mission is to unlock ownership and onboard the world to Web3. To be successful, we have to make the process as simple as possible. MoonPay has done that for crypto. And now, in partnership with OpenSea, we’re doing it for NFTs as well.”

On Twitter, MoonPay tweeted that OpenSea users will soon be able to buy NFTs with Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay, Google Play, and more.

NFT Marketplaces Partner with Payment Platforms to Broaden Customer Base

In January, MoonPay announced the launch of its NFT Checkout service.

MoonPay’s deal with OpenSea follows a partnership with NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway, an OpenSea competitor.

This year, Coinbase will also be entering the NFT space with the launch of CoinbaseNFT. Earlier this month, FX Empire reported that Coinbase met with more than one hundred creators looking to expedite the launch of the NFT marketplace.

In January, Coinbase announced a deal with Mastercard to allow users to buy NFTs using Mastercard credit and debit cards.

NFT Regulatory Scrutiny Likely to Intensify Near-Term

As more NFT marketplaces forge partnerships with payment providers, regulatory scrutiny could become a factor.

Since the start of the year, the NFT space has seen a marked increase in illicit activity. Plagiarism, NFT hacks, wash trading, money laundering, and rug pulls are some of the many issues that the NFT space contends with today.

Allowing users to purchase NFTs with credit or debit cards will likely force regulators to introduce measures to protect investors. Such an outcome could initially hurt the NFT marketplace before demand returns.

This week, EU lawmakers voted in favor of KYC for ‘private crypto wallets’ that could extend to crypto exchanges. Regulators may well target the NFT space next.

Crypto Exchange BTC Markets Partners with Mastercard for Payments

Key Insights:

  • Australian crypto exchange BTC Markets forms a partnership with Mastercard to support crypto card payments.
  • The partnership comes despite some jurisdictions raising concerns over card payments.
  • BTC follows in the footsteps of CoinJar, who partnered with Mastercard in 2021.

BTC Markets is an online crypto exchange with more than 325,000 Australian clients and AU$19bn in traded digital assets.

Focused on the Australian market, users can deposit and withdraw Aussie dollars without fees. Twenty-five tradeable pairs are on offer, with the platform supporting retail and institutional investors. In addition to traditional crypto trading, users may also stake supported cryptos for multiple time periods.

Coin listings include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Decentraland (MANA), The Sandbox (SAND), and Algorand (ALGO), among others.

BTC Markets Partners with Mastercard to Support Card Payments

This week, BTC Markets and Mastercard formed a partnership, enabling users to make payments into the exchange.

The partnership will allow customers to make direct debit, prepaid, or credit card payments into the crypto exchange. Previously, BTC Markets users could only make payments by bank transfer.

BTC Markets CEO Caroline Bowler said,

“As the cryptocurrency landscape continues to grow and evolve, customers are increasingly looking for faster and simpler ways to access cryptocurrency securely and efficiently. We are excited to be partnering with Mastercard who share our focus on stability and innovation and customer protection, and enable us to offer our clients with new ways to engage with this emerging digital asset class.”

Mastercard See Greater Collaboration with Crypto Platforms

In 2021, Mastercard launched crypto-linked credit cards across the Asia Pacific region. Mastercard formed partnerships with Amber Group and Bitkub of Thailand; and Australia’s CoinJar.

The partnership with Mastercard enables users to instantly convert crypto into fiat to spend anywhere that Mastercard is accepted worldwide.

According to the Mastercard announcement, the three exchanges were the first Asia-Pacific-based platforms to join Mastercard’s Crypto Card Program.

In January, Mastercard struck a payments deal with Coinbase to allow users to make purchases on the Coinbase NFT marketplace.

Coinbase is to launch its NFT marketplace soon. This month, Coinbase took to Twitter, announcing the imminent launch of the highly anticipated CoinbaseNFT.

Regulatory Oversight May Limit Mastercard’s Reach

Some jurisdictions are more crypto-friendly than others, which may limit the reach of Mastercard and others in the crypto world.

Last week, FX Empire reported the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) issuing an “enforcement notice ahead of an imminent crackdown on misleading and irresponsible crypto ads.”

As part of the enforcement notice, the ASA indicated that ads must not imply:

  • Cryptocurrencies are suitable for purchase on credit.
  • Cryptocurrencies are a good or secure way to invest savings or a pension.

In Australia, a crypto sector regulatory overhaul is imminent. Regulators may include similar measures to protect investors.

Best Stocks, Crypto, and ETFs to Watch – Visa, Dollar Tree, Bitcoin in Focus

Stocks

Visa Inc. (V) and Mastercard Inc. (MA) sold off last week, battered by projected revenue losses as a result of Russian sanctions. Both companies suspended operations in the rogue state over the weekend, setting the stage for additional losses when equity markets open on Monday. The stocks have lost more than 15% in recent weeks and are testing December 2021 lows that may not hold, given additional losses from reduced international travel, despite the pandemic’s retreat.

ABM Industries Inc. (ABM) is New York-based mid cap that provides cleaning and management services for large buildings in the United States and United Kingdom. That’s good news in a troubled world that’s punishing blue chips with exposure to mainland Europe and Russia. The stock broke out above 4-year resistance in early 2021 and posted an all-time high at 55.48 one year ago, ahead of a correction that bounced at breakout support in December. It’s now rallied into a trendline of lower highs, just in time for Thursday’s earnings report.

Dollar Tree Inc. (DLTR) incurred the wrath of the mainstream media after 400 stores were closed due to rat infestations. However, the stock has risen to the top of the Nasdaq-100 performance list at the same time, highlighting domestic exposure in a US economy that will suffer as a result of war in Europe. The stock rallied within a point of November 2021’s all-time high after a mixed earnings report on Wednesday and could breakout in coming weeks.

ETFs

iShares Dow Jones US Aerospace and Defensive Index ETF (ITA) broke out above an 8-month trendline of lower highs one week ago and reversed near the 2021 high at 113.13. A 19% surge in Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT) underpinned the uptick while Boeing Co.’s (BA) 18.53% weighting kept a lid on gains because it’s losing ground due to Russian exposure and the war’s economic impact. However, half of BA revenue is booked through defense applications that will generate windfall profits in coming years.

Crypto

Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies have disappointed long-side traders since the outbreak of the war, with a quick buying spike consumed by an immediate decline that now threatens to test and break January and February lows. The digital currency footprint hasn’t been heavy enough to mark an important funding source during the conflict while physical commodities, including gold and silver, have posted impressive gains.

Catch up on the latest price action with our new ETF performance breakdown.

 Disclosure: the author held Lockheed-Martin, Aerospace & Gold ETFs, Boeing, and Visa in family accounts at the time of publication. 

Who Will Be the Winners – and Losers – of a Digital Currency Revolution?

Key Insights

  • Some private-sector firms like Visa and Mastercard think they’ve prepared for CBDCs
  • Several Asia-based firms are already working on CBDC solutions with central banks
  • Commercial banks and crypto operators could feel the brunt of CBDC rollouts

Crypto and fintech are playing an increasingly large role in the lives of millions of people the world over – and central banks don’t like it one bit.

Their response to the fact that cryptocurrencies and digital payment solutions have exposed conventional remittance and cross-border transaction systems as slow, sluggish, expensive, and antiquated has been almost universal. It’s time, they have realized, to go digital.

The central bank digital currency (CBDC) paradigm is still something of a theoretical notion rather than a concrete reality in most parts of the world. But that picture is likely to change in the next few years, with central banks now looking to launch their own digital coins and bodies like the IMF championing their cause.

If China’s digital yuan rolls out – as expected – this year, the race could well be on to see which country is the first to follow Beijing’s lead.

Who would stand to benefit the most if CBDCs become commonplace in the future? And who would be in line to suffer the most from digital fiat issuance? It’s time to find out.

Potential Victors

Many companies have pinned their hopes on becoming early adopters in the new digital currency paradigm.

Some have invested small fortunes on CBDC technology – quite a leap of faith, considering nobody really knows quite what a CBDC would actually look like, what IT solutions it would make use of, and if it would really take off.

Few central banks in the world have fully committed to issuance, too – although the somewhat panicky speed of their pilot projects indicates that they have accepted that CBDC rollouts will one day become an inevitability.

Rather than lose more ground to crypto innovators, most are now either testing coins or exploring means of creating digital fiats with expert advisors.

In the private sector, this has been duly noted by the likes of Visa and Mastercard, who have already created CBDC platforms – and clearly have no intention of being bit-part players in the CBDC revolution.

Last month, Visa announced a partnership deal with Consensys that will allow Visa users to link their cards or digital wallets to CBDC networks and pay with a digital token anywhere Visa is accepted as a form of payment.

Visa’s biggest rival Mastercard has also been working on its own solutions, including a proprietary virtual testing platform for central banks to evaluate CBDC use cases and explore designs, as well as a card linked with one of the world’s only fully rolled out CBDC, the Bahamian sand dollar.

Both firms are continuing to invest and explore CBDC solutions, but they are not alone. Some private-sector firms are working directly with central banks on their pilots – and even issuances.

These include Japan’s Soramitsu, which worked directly with the Cambodian central bank on its own CBDC – and has since said it is “speaking with other” central banks elsewhere in the world about similar projects.

In South Korea, a consortium headed by the tech giant Kakao and comprising arms of the electronics behemoth Samsung is currently piloting the Bank of Korea (BOK)’s CBDC in tests that should be complete by the end of the first half of this year.

This should give them a huge head start in the CBDC game – although Kakao subsidiaries have been working on CBDC-related projects for many months in preparation.

Crucially, the BOK’s pilot CBDC runs on the Klaytn blockchain protocol, developed by the Kakao subsidiary GroundX. So if the BOK decides to use Klaytn, its CBDC’s destiny will be tied to that of the network.

Other South Korean tech titans are also closely linked. For instance, the Klaytn Governance Council comprises LG Electronics and another LG Group subsidiary. In addition, LG’s tech services arm LG CNS is also working on CBDC solutions – and last year launched a CBDC platform in conjunction with Shinhan, one of South Korea’s biggest commercial banks.

The BOK pilot is also significant in that it has seen the coin tested on Samsung mobile devices – with Apple edged out of the picture. This could give Samsung another edge, which is already trying to beef up its smartphone-based digital wallet solutions.

Some central banks, including the Bank of Israel, are looking to the Ethereum blockchain network for answers – which could mean that companies that work closely with Ethereum (such as the aforementioned Consensys) will likely play a key role in adoption drives.

As many crypto developers (think NFTs and many coin issuances, for example) seem to gravitate toward Ethereum naturally, there is cause to suspect that companies that manage to create a bridge between this protocol and CBDCs could well be on to a winner.

Ethereum developers, as well as the developers of rival protocols like Solana and Cardano, could be another group that ends up on the “winning side” of a fast-paced CBDC adoption revolution.

And Who Might Lose Out?

Who would stand to suffer the most in the event of an adoption drive? The obvious target is crypto and crypto firms. A quick look at China proves that central banks clearly do not like the idea of having to compete with decentralized competitors that they cannot bring to heel quickly. Outlawing crypto, mining, and exchanges would quickly ensure that the only horse in the race belongs to the central bank.

But some nations may not choose to take such a draconian course of action. And it could be the case that crypto and CBDCs find a way to co-exist.

Far more perilous, some might suggest, would be the situation for commercial banks, which could be cut out of the picture altogether by a CBDC or used as mere intermediaries for issuance.

In China, a central bank-run CBDC app is already in use, leaving commercial banks looking somewhat out of place in some cases.

Sure, many banks may suggest that lending and mortgages make up the core of their business anyway, but they will find it worrying if they don’t seem to have a clear role to play in the emerging CBDC picture.

Also potentially in the firing line are e-pay platforms, such as Apple Pay, Alipay, WeChat Pay, which are already being frozen out of the picture in Chinese pilots.

At the recent Winter Olympics, many athletes and journalists were stunned to discover that official Olympic venues did not accept any form of payment except Visa (the games’ official sponsor), the digital RMB, or (yuan) cash.

Alipay and WeChat Pay – which represent 15% of the entire Chinese payments market – have already had their wings clipped by Beijing in a number of other moves.

Again, this could be seen as a draconian measure by free market-loving democracies. But if the chips are really down for central banks and their CBDC projects, it’s worth ruling nothing out.

Mastercard Takes in Big Money

But another likely reason is Big Money lifting the stock.

So, what’s Big Money? Said simply, that’s when a stock goes up in price alongside chunky volumes. It’s indicative of institutions betting on the shares.

Smart money managers are always looking for the next hot stock. And Mastercard has many fundamental qualities that are attractive.

This sets up well for the stock going forward. But how the shares have been trading points to more upside. As I’ll show you, the Big Money has been consistent in the shares.

You see, fund managers are always looking to bet on the next outlier stocks…the best in class. They spend countless hours sizing up companies, reading reports, speaking to analysts…you name it. When they find a company firing on all cylinders, they pounce in a big way.

That’s why I’ve learned how critical it is to gauge Big Money demand for shares. To show you what I mean, have a look at all the Big Money signals MA has made the last year.

The last few weeks have seen Big Money activity, too. Each green bar signals big trading volumes as the stock ramped in price:

Source: www.mapsignals.com

In the last year, the stock attracted 12 Big Money buy signals. Generally speaking, recent green bars could mean more upside is ahead.

Now, let’s check out technical action grabbing my attention:

Outperformance is important for leading stocks.

Next, it’s a good idea to check under the hood. Meaning, I want to make sure the fundamental story is strong too. As you can see, Mastercard has been growing sales and earnings at double-digit rates. Take a look:

  • 1-year sales growth rate (+23.4%)
  • 3-year earnings growth rate (+19.8%)

Source: FactSet

Marrying great fundamentals with technically superior stocks is a winning recipe over the long-term.

In fact, MA has been a top-rated stock at my research firm, MAPsignals, for years. That means the stock has buy pressure, strong technicals, and growing fundamentals. We have a ranking process that showcases stocks like this on a weekly basis.

MA has a lot of qualities that are attracting Big Money. It’s made this list 15 times since 2016, with its first appearance on 11/1/2016…and gaining 269.19% since. The blue bars below show the times that Mastercard was a top pick:

Source: www.mapsignals.com

It’s been a top stock in the financial sector according to the MAPsignals process. I wouldn’t be surprised if MA makes additional appearances in the years to come. Let’s tie this all together.

The Bottom Line

The Mastercard rally could have further to go. Big Money buying in the shares is signaling to take notice. Shares could be positioned for further upside. Given the historical gains in share price and strong fundamentals, this stock could be worth a spot in a growth-oriented portfolio.

Disclosure: the author holds no positions in MA at the time of publication.

Learn more about the MAPsignals process here.

Disclaimer

https://mapsignals.com/contact/

 

CBDC Research From Boston Fed and MIT Shows Promising Results

The world’s central banks actively explore the world of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), and the U.S. financial authorities are also moving in this direction.

Boston Fed and MIT Work Together To Research CBDC Technology

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (Boston Fed) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have recently released the first results of their research on the topic.

Boston Fed and MIT are working on Project Hamilton, which is a multi-year research project on CBDCs. The published research is the result of Phase 1 research.

In Phase 1, researchers focused on the design of the transaction processing system, which was implemented using two architectures. Researchers stated that both architectures “met and exceeded our speed and throughput requirements”.

Importantly, researchers found that “existing database and distributed systems technology is sufficient to provide a more traditional payment architecture for CBDC […]”. There was another interesting finding:

“Despite using ideas from blockchain technology, we found that a distributed ledger operating under the jurisdiction of different actors was not needed to achieve our goals”

In Phase 2, researchers will “explore new functionality and alternative technical designs”. The research is still in the early stages and the U.S. is not ready to release a CBDC anytime soon as it may have a major impact on the world’s financial markets, but traders must monitor this story closely.

Traders Ignore the Threat From CBDCs

At this point, financial markets do not pay too much attention to CBDCs which may threaten leading cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as established payment companies like Visa and Mastercard.

It should be noted that countries differ in their approach towards CBDCs. India expects to release a ‘digital rupee’ soon, while officials in Japan are worried about the potential negative impact on the economy.

The markets bet that authorities will not release anything that may deal significant damage to traditional banks and payment services, as it will crush the economy and lead to a financial crisis.

In this light, research is expected to proceed at a measured pace, and traders should not be worried about a CBDC from the U.S. in the foreseeable future.

Top 4 Things Traders Have to Know Today

What is happening with Meta, Paypal and Spotify?

Spotify didn’t actually issue annual guidance, which seems to have exacerbated worries about potential subscriber growth potential. All three were down by double-digits in after hours trading at one point last night.

Competition is clearly much more fierce as larger players are starting to dial it in and use the latest technology to gain better traction i.e. Visa, Mastercard, etc. I also read reports this week that Apple is diving deeper into the payment and banking space and will soon be able to offer all kinds of options via the smartphone.

In simple terms, I wonder if PayPal executives could see they had a “growth” problem and that’s why they took a look at Pinterest a few months back. I heard rumors yesterday perhaps they might be looking at Robinhood.

At the moment the stock market just doesn’t seem real forgiving to those who swing and miss. On a somewhat positive note, Facebook disclosed they purchased back +$20 billion of their own stock in the last quarter.

Bulls are hoping for solid results from Amazon and Snap today to help prevent sentiment in the tech sector from creating more fallout. I’m not holding my breath!

Data to watch

Results are also due from Activision Blizzard, Biogen, Carlyle Group, Check Point, Cigna, Clorox, ConocoPhillips, Deckers Outdoors, Eli Lilly, Estee Lauder, Ford, Hanesbrands, Hershey, Honeywell, Ingredion, Merck, Pinterest, Quest Diagnostics, Royal Dutch Shell, SnapOn, Wynn Resorts, and Xylem.

On the economic data front, Factory Orders, the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index, and Productivity and Costs are due today. Productivity and Costs has become a more closely watched report as worries about climbing wages have grown. In the third quarter, productivity fell -5.2% (the most since 1960) and labor costs rose +9.6%.

Obviously, weakening productivity and rising costs is a bad combo for corporate profits so reversing this trend is a high priority. It may be tough to find much relief in the near-term with the labor market expected to remain extremely tight.

The shortage of workers has also been exacerbated by the latest Covid wave. ADP’s private payrolls report yesterday showed a decline of -301,000 jobs for January versus the estimate for a +200,000 gain, the first reported net job less since December 2020 according ADP.

Covid issue

Most analysts blame last month’s Covid surge for the decline and expect it is just temporary. The official January Employment Report on Friday is expected to show a gain of around +150,000 jobs, though the government has warned that the data won’t be reliable due to Covid-related reporting problems. Hopefully we’ll soon stop hearing that excuse as the Omicron Covid wave does seem to be burning itself out in the U.S. Case numbers across the country are about half of what they were in mid-January.

Hospitalizations have finally started to come down, too, which experts say is a more reliable measure. I hate to mention it but health officials are currently monitoring a mutated strain of Omicron known as “BA.2″… when does it end?

The standoff between Ukraine and Russia

Also still on the radar is the standoff between Russia and Ukraine. The U.S. is now readying to send more than +3,000 troops to bases in Eastern Europe as new satellite images appeared to show an even further increase in Russian troop buildup on Ukraine’s borders. Whether or not war is a realistic threat or not, the climbing tensions continue to stoke the flames in the energy markets.

Brent crude futures are trading near $90 as OPEC struggles to meet production targets and global physical supplies continue to tighten. The 19 OPEC+ countries with quotas underperformed their production targets by -832,000 b/d in December. Russia is currently the top OPEC+ producer, so any disruption to those supplies runs the risk of shooting oil prices even higher. Take note the front-end of the natural gas market is up over +50% in the first month of the new year. It’s certainly going to be a wild ride in 2022!

 

Blockchain.com Adds a Former Walmart Director to its Board

The cryptocurrency and blockchain industry has seen an influx of experts from traditional financial institutions over the past few years, and the trend could continue.

Horton Joins the Blockchain.com Team

Cryptocurrency startup Blockchain.com has announced the addition of Tom Horton to its board. Horton is an independent director from Walmart and has become the latest executive from a traditional company to join a crypto startup.

The Walmart director now joins a host of other executives on Blockchain.com’s board. The company recently added Marcie Vu, former head of consumer Internet banking at Morgan Stanley, to its board.

Other financial backers of the company include Google Ventures, Sir Richard Branson, and Lightspeed Commerce Inc.

Blockchain.com is one of the leading cryptocurrency companies planning to conduct an initial public offering (IPO) in the near to medium term. However, there is no set date regarding the company’s planned public listing.

Horton’s addition to the Blockchain.com board highlights a growing trend in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. The past few years have seen numerous mainstream financial institutions and businesses enter the blockchain space.

Visa, one of the leading payment facilitators in the world, launched a cryptocurrency advisory forum towards the end of last year. BlackRock is another traditional financial institution that is currently involved in the crypto space.

MasterCard, PayPal, MoneyGram, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and several other traditional financial institutions are currently involved in various crypto-related activities.

The Crypto Market is Slowly Recovering

The cryptocurrency market suffered huge losses over the weekend, but it is now slowly recovering. The total cryptocurrency market cap has climbed above $1.6 trillion again after dropping towards $1.5 trillion yesterday.

Bitcoin declined towards the $33k level but has added more than 8% to its value in the last 24 hours and is now trading at $36,402 per coin. Ether is currently targeting the $2,500 psychological level after rallying by more than 7% in the past 24 hours.

Monstrous Earnings Ahead: IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Tesla, Apple, Visa in Focus, Along With The Fed

Investors will focus on Q4 earnings for stocks that are economically sensitive, which should show better profits than technology stocks. Increasing Treasury yields and risk aversion could also hit the stock market hard next week, making the big tech earnings that much more critical. In addition, investors will closely monitor the latest news on the rapidly spread Omicron coronavirus variant in order to see how it impacts earnings in 2022. The following is a list of earnings slated for release January 24-28, along with a few previews.

Earnings Calendar For The Week Of January 24

Monday (January 24)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: IBM

The Armonk, New York-based technology company, International Business Machines, is expected to report its fourth-quarter earnings of $3.39 per share, which represents year-over-year growth of over 60% from $2.07 per share seen in the same period a year ago.

The world’s largest computer firm’s revenue would decline over 21% to $1.96 billion from $20.37 billion a year earlier. It is worth noting that the technology company has beaten earnings in most of the quarters in the last two years, at least.

International Business Machines (IBM) 4Q earnings will be focused on standalone model mechanics and whether Software revenue can re-accelerate while Consulting demand sustains. However, we believe the setup becomes more attractive in 2H21. We update our estimates to reflect IBM standalone post-KD spin,” noted Katy Huberty, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE JANUARY 24

TICKER COMPANY EPS FORECAST
BRO Brown & Brown $0.38
BOH Bank of Hawaii $1.39
BMRC Bank of Marin Bancorp $0.57
CR Crane $1.12
HAL Halliburton $0.34
HMST HomeStreet $1.3
IBM International Business Machines $3.39
PETS PetMed Express $0.3
SMBK SmartFinancial $0.48
STLD Steel Dynamics $5.66
TRST Trustco Bank $0.74
ZION Zions Bancorp $1.33

 

Tuesday (January 25)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: MICROSOFT

The Redmond, Washington-based global technology giant, Microsoft, is expected to post its fiscal second-quarter earnings of $2.28 per share, which represents year-over-year growth of over 12% from $2.03 per share seen in the same period a year ago.

The world’s largest software maker would post revenue growth of nearly 17% to around $50.3 billion. It is worth noting that with a track record of always beating earnings per share estimates in the last five years, Microsoft is one of the best FAANG stocks in terms of earnings surprises.

“We model Azure growth of 45% cc & see 2-3% of upside, translating to steady growth vs. 48% last qtr. We see potential for strong M365 demand ahead of price hikes, as well as continued execution from LNKD, PowerApps & Dynamics ERP. Although tougher PC/Server dynamics, we expect strengthening trends for C22. Expect Mar Q guide slightly above Street,” noted Derrick Wood, equity analyst at Cowen.

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE JANUARY 25

TICKER COMPANY EPS FORECAST
MMM 3M $2.07
AGYS Agilysys $0.13
AXP American Express $1.75
ADM Archer Daniels Midland $1.19
BXP Boston Properties $1.51
CNI Canadian National Railway $1.25
COF Capital One Financial $5.15
FFIV F5 $1.97
GE General Electric $0.84
JNJ Johnson & Johnson $2.12
LMT Lockheed Martin $8.04
LOGI Logitech International $1.23
NAVI Navient $0.81
NEE NextEra Energy $0.41
VZ Verizon Communications $1.28
WSBC WesBanco $0.67

 

Wednesday (January 26)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: FOMC MEETING CONCLUDES, INTEL, TESLA

Tuesday and Wednesday will mark the first meeting of the Fed’s policymaking arm in 2022. At around 7:30 pm GMT on Wednesday, Jerome Powell will conduct a press conference. This is expected to be the biggest market event since investors expect more details about the central bank’s plan to raise interest rates.

INTEL: The California-based multinational corporation and technology company is expected to report its fourth-quarter earnings of $0.9 per share, which represents a year-over-year decline of about 40% from $1.52 per share seen in the same period a year ago. The company’s revenue would fall nearly 8% to $18.39 billion.

Intel remains controversial. Long-term skepticism remains and share losses will continue until products ramp on the Intel 4 node (old 7nm), but with a new CFO, improving PC and server market outlooks, cash inflows from the US Govt, Mobileye on the horizon, and a February analyst day now reconfirmed, we are cautiously optimistic sentiment can continue to gradually improve. Still LOTS to prove,” noted Matthew D. Ramsay, equity analyst at Cowen.

TESLA: The California-based electric vehicle and clean energy company is expected to report its fourth-quarter earnings of $2.31 per share, which represents year-over-year growth of 180% from $0.80 per share seen in the same period a year ago.

“Q4 results on 26 Jan are critical to validate (or not) the Q3 profit dynamics that could see Tesla 1) carve out meaningful share from legacy OEMs busy protecting their own share by ramping up BEVs and 2) claim a disproportionate share of the industry profit pool. We raise 2021-23 EBIT and FCF 10%, mostly on higher volume,” noted Philippe Houchois, equity analyst at Jefferies.

The high-performance electric vehicle manufacturer would post revenue growth of over 50% to $16.65 billion. The electric vehicle producer has beaten earnings estimates only twice in the last four quarters.

Tesla 4Q deliveries were 20% above our forecast, annualizing to over 1.2mm units, which is already above our prior FY22 forecast. We raise our forecasts and target to $1,300 on this ‘opening act’ and look for more in FY22,” noted Adam Jonas, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE JANUARY 26

TICKER COMPANY EPS FORECAST
ABT Abbott Laboratories $1.16
ANTM Anthem $5.11
AZPN Aspen Technology $1.41
T AT&T $0.76
KMB Kimberly-Clark $1.29
LRCX Lam Research $8.46
RJF Raymond James Financial $1.77
STX Seagate Technology $2.21
NOW ServiceNow $0.22
SIMO Silicon Motion Technology $1.56
SLG SL Green Realty $1.56
URI United Rentals $6.97
VRTX Vertex Pharmaceuticals $2.92
WHR Whirlpool $5.84

 

Thursday (January 27)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: APPLE, VISA

APPLE: The consumer electronics giant would post its fiscal first-quarter earnings of $1.88 per share, which represents year-over-year growth of nearly 12% from $1.68 per share seen in the same period a year ago.

The iPhone manufacturer would post revenue growth of 6% to $118.13 billion. It is worth noting that with a track record of always beating earnings per share estimates in the recent five years, Apple is the best FAANG stock in terms of earnings surprises.

Apple is expected to report 1QFY22 earnings after market on Thursday, January 27th and host a call with investors at 5:00 PM ET. In our view, the recent strength in shares is a reflection of investors’ willingness to reward Apple for entering new markets, including electronic vehicles (EV) and the metaverse (with an augmented reality/virtual reality product). Now, we look for comments from management on its future product roadmap to justify the increase in share price,” noted Tom Forte, Senior Research Analyst at D.A. DAVIDSON.

“We are reiterating our BUY rating for Apple (AAPL) and putting our price target of $175 under review ahead of the company reporting 1QFY22 earnings.”

VISA: The world’s largest card payment company is expected to report its fiscal firth-quarter earnings of $1.70 per share, which represents a year-over-year decline of about 20% from $1.42 per share seen in the same period a year ago.

The global technology payment company would post revenue growth of nearly 19% to $6.8 billion. It is worth noting that the company has beaten earnings in most of the quarters in the last two years, at least.

Visa (V) is one of our preferred stocks, as it is a key beneficiary of resilient global consumer spend growth, the ongoing shift from cash to electronic payments, and broadening merchant acceptance. Global Personal Consumption Expenditure and secular growth drivers should support low double-digit revenue growth in the near-to-medium term,” noted James Faucette, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“While Covid-19 headwinds are likely to persist, we see upside opportunity from the faster-than-expected recovery of travel. Continued investment in longer-term initiatives (faster payments, P2P, B2B) and partnerships continue to increase its TAM and offer an opportunity for compounding double-digit earnings growth for the foreseeable future.”

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE JANUARY 27

TICKER COMPANY EPS FORECAST
AOS A.O. Smith $0.77
ALK Alaska Air Group $0.21
BX Blackstone $1.3
CNX CNX Resources $0.5
CMCSA Comcast $0.73
DOW Dow $2.16
EMN Eastman Chemical $1.88
HCA HCA Healthcare $4.57
IP International Paper $1.02
JBLU JetBlue Airways $-0.39
MA Mastercard $2.2
MCD McDonald’s $2.32
LUV Southwest Airlines $-0.39
X U.S. Steel $5.12
V Visa $1.7

 

Friday (January 28)

TICKER COMPANY EPS FORECAST
ALV Autoliv $1.18
BAH Booz Allen Hamilton $0.97
CAT Caterpillar $2.23
CHD Church & Dwight $0.59
CL Colgate-Palmolive $0.79
RDY Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories $0.64
GNTX Gentex $0.33