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Let’s talk TVs. You know where I stand: A lot of lower-end models are perfectly good — and definitely easier on the wallet. But what do you sacrifice when you choose a cheap TV instead of a high-end model from, say, Samsung or Sony?

For answers, we brought in CNET TV guru David Katzmaier. Trust me, if you’re in the market for a new screen, you do not want to miss this discussion.

Also in this episode: My new-favorite coffee maker costs a measly $16. We’ll be doing a much deeper coffee dive soon, but for now, here’s the gadget to get.

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(Bloomberg) — Fast-money wagers against longer-dated Treasuries have hit a record in a sign hedge funds are positioning themselves ever more aggressively for a steeper yield curve.

Net short speculative positions in long bond futures saw the biggest weekly climb since 2007 to reach around 209,000 contracts, according to the latest Commodity Futures Trading Commission data. Meanwhile, net long positions on 10-year Treasuries have risen to their highest since October 2017.

So-called steepener trades are often seen as bets on reflation, while investors are also positioning for the possibility of greater deficits should the Democratic party prevail in November’s election. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll taken after Tuesday’s debate showed Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by 14 percentage points. It was taken before the president was diagnosed with coronavirus.

chart: Speculators long bond positions at record net-short as 10-year yields bets climb

© Bloomberg
Speculators long bond positions at record net-short as 10-year yields bets climb

The surge in shorts appears to be related to new wagers on the direction of the curve, rather than so-called basis trades which bet on the spread between bonds and futures, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. strategists including Jay Barry.


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“We think curve positioning could be behind those moves,” they wrote in a note to clients Friday. “While outright exposure to duration positions are not large, curve steepening positions remain large relative to historic ranges, and the risk is these trades could be unwound.”

The spread between the 10-year and 30-year yields has widened by more than 30 basis points so far this year and was at around 79 basis points on Monday. It reached near 81 basis points in June, the year-to-date high.

Big Risk for Bonds Is That U.S. Election Actually Goes Smoothly

Similar bets are also being made in the swaption market. Options on swap rates show the cost

(Bloomberg) — Volatility eased in U.S. equity futures as optimism over President Donald Trump’s medical prognosis and hopes for fresh economic stimulus put a brake on selling that whipped up Friday.


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Dip buyers showed up at the 6 p.m. New York open, bidding up December contracts after Trump’s doctors insisted he’s doing well and could be discharged as soon as Monday. Markets fell on Friday after Trump’s diagnosis. They remained up for the week as some traders speculated the president’s illness raised the odds for aid to the economy from Congress and data showed job gains slowed in September and many Americans quit looking for work.

“The dramatic turn of events may be a catalyst for a stimulus agreement – or it may not; we wait for bills to be put to Congress and votes to be taken,” said Julian Emanuel, chief equity strategist for BTIG, wrote in a note. “With key economic data extending its run of disappointments versus expectations and high-profile corporate layoffs, additional aid would seem imperative.”

chart: Stock futures gain Sunday evening

© Bloomberg
Stock futures gain Sunday evening

U.S. shares have stayed relatively resilient since Trump’s positive test, in part because of speculation Congress will move toward an aid package after large parts of the current bill expired at the end of July. While the president urged lawmakers to get stimulus passed in a weekend tweet, little new progress was reported since Friday.

Futures on the S&P 500 gained 0.7% at 8:41 p.m. in New York. The underlying gauge rose 1.5% last week, though Friday saw a 1% selloff. Contracts on the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.7%, while Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 1%.

The yen fell against all Group-of-10 currencies as traders shunned haven assets. It dropped 0.3% against the dollar to 105.55 yen. Risk assets including the

Three of the most prolific enterprise blockchain builders shared a virtual stage last week as they delved into the inner workings of how they use the technology popularized by bitcoin. Unlike your typical blockchain and cryptocurrency event, the trio—Mariana Gomez de la Villa of Dutch bank ING Group, Jennifer Peve of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. (DTCC) and Xue Wang from the second-largest bank in the world, China Construction Bank—spoke directly to senior-level executives at some of the largest companies in the world, sharing best practices on how to use the technology that some believe is a threat to their very survival.

The panel, Enterprise Blockchain Leaders: Tales From The Crypto, was just a small part of a larger event hosted by Forbes about our annual Blockchain 50 list of billion-dollar companies investing serious capital in the technology, and the platforms they’re using. 

Ripple chief architect David Schwartz joined Axoni founder Greg Schvey and Hyperledger vice president Daniela Barbosa to talk about best practices of the companies they’ve seen building on their platforms, followed by a chat between ConsenSys founder Joe Lubin and R3 cofounder Todd McDonald about how the platforms their companies build on—Ethereum and Corda respectively—could change the very fabric of what central banks consider money.

Beyond the management tips though, two executives shared never-before-seen documents about how they vet projects and manage stakeholders, and every company has either already given away the code at the core of their projects or plans to do so. Since blockchain is only as

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Vanguard said there is a short supply of certain types of municipal securities available in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.


Say goodbye to your single-state municipal bond money-market fund. That could be the upshot of the announcement last Friday by Vanguard Group, which said it was liquidating its Pennsylvania and New Jersey muni money-market funds.

“Due to the short supply of certain types of municipal securities available in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, we believe these specific municipal money markets no longer offer the market depth needed to prudently provide these state-specific products in all market conditions,” Vanguard said in a news release.

The truth is, yields are so low for the ultra-short-term, high-quality municipal debt that money markets buy, particularly in high-tax states, that they can’t cover their costs.

“Tax exempt money-market funds and particularly state specific ones are on the endangered species list,” Peter Crane, president of Crane Data, a company that tracks money markets, said. “The assets are few and far between, and they are going to be hurt most from another zero-yield environment because [muni] tax exemptions don’t help you if there’s no income.” He notes that there are only 71 single-state money markets today with $34 billion in assets, down from $152 billion in 2008, when interest rates previously dropped to zero because of the financial crisis. Rates have remained low ever since.

Nor are muni funds the only ones suffering from a lack of yield. This month, Vanguard converted its Prime money-market fund to Vanguard Cash Reserves Federal Money Market, which invests only in government bonds, for similar reasons.

In the case of the $1.8 billion Vanguard Pennsylvania Municipal Money Market Fund (ticker: VPTXX), its SEC yield as of Sept. 24 was 0.01%, while the yield on the $1.2 billion Vanguard New Jersey