Google Earnings Smash Sales Records
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,436,707 (+0.82%)       Melbourne $958,938 (-0.18%)       Brisbane $805,276 (+0.20%)       Adelaide $743,261 (+0.57%)       Perth $641,111 (+1.35%)       Hobart $739,768 (-1.32%)       Darwin $641,804 (-0.09%)       Canberra $971,787 (-1.13%)       National $936,660 (+0.16%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $694,570 (-0.33%)       Melbourne $471,297 (-0.44%)       Brisbane $430,588 (-1.62%)       Adelaide $353,294 (-0.18%)       Perth $357,545 (+0.46%)       Hobart $558,931 (+4.60%)       Darwin $356,380 (-2.21%)       Canberra $476,932 (+0.93%)       National $489,111 (+0.53%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,093 (-72)       Melbourne 13,872 (+186)       Brisbane 10,770 (+38)       Adelaide 3,078 (+82)       Perth 9,971 (+180)       Hobart 911 (+13)       Darwin 300 (-7)       Canberra 996 (+8)       National 49,991 (+428)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,400 (-137)       Melbourne 7,842 (-9)       Brisbane 2,243 (-20)       Adelaide 542 (+7)       Perth 2,413 (+1)       Hobart 156 (+3)       Darwin 371 (-4)       Canberra 529 (+5)       National 22,496 (-154)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $660 (+$10)       Melbourne $500 (+$10)       Brisbane $560 (+$10)       Adelaide $510 (+$10)       Perth $550 ($0)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $650 (+$25)       Canberra $700 (+$5)       National $593 (+$9)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $600 ($0)       Melbourne $450 (+$5)       Brisbane $500 ($0)       Adelaide $403 (+$3)       Perth $470 ($0)       Hobart $473 (-$3)       Darwin $550 ($0)       Canberra $560 ($0)       National $508 (+$)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 6,525 (+243)       Melbourne 7,106 (-5)       Brisbane 3,920 (+102)       Adelaide 1,146 (+39)       Perth 1,623 (+85)       Hobart 243 (+11)       Darwin 102 (-7)       Canberra 588 (+44)       National 21,253 (+512)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,070 (+376)       Melbourne 5,906 (+117)       Brisbane 1,516 (+27)       Adelaide 327 (+5)       Perth 673 (-3)       Hobart 86 (+5)       Darwin 232 (+7)       Canberra 662 (+66)       National 17,472 (+600)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.39% (↑)      Melbourne 2.71% (↑)      Brisbane 3.62% (↑)      Adelaide 3.57% (↑)        Perth 4.46% (↓)     Hobart 3.87% (↑)      Darwin 5.27% (↑)      Canberra 3.75% (↑)      National 3.29% (↑)             UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 4.49% (↑)      Melbourne 4.97% (↑)      Brisbane 6.04% (↑)      Adelaide 5.92% (↑)        Perth 6.84% (↓)       Hobart 4.40% (↓)     Darwin 8.03% (↑)        Canberra 6.11% (↓)       National 5.40% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 1.6% (↑)      Melbourne 1.8% (↑)      Brisbane 0.5% (↑)      Adelaide 0.5% (↑)      Perth 1.0% (↑)      Hobart 0.9% (↑)      Darwin 1.1% (↑)      Canberra 0.5% (↑)      National 1.2%    (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 2.3% (↑)      Melbourne 2.8% (↑)      Brisbane 1.2% (↑)      Adelaide 0.7% (↑)      Perth 1.3% (↑)      Hobart 1.4% (↑)      Darwin 1.3% (↑)      Canberra 1.3% (↑)      National 2.1%   (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 30.4 (↓)       Melbourne 29.7 (↓)       Brisbane 36.6 (↓)       Adelaide 25.3 (↓)     Perth 41.0 (↑)        Hobart 32.2 (↓)       Darwin 33.8 (↓)       Canberra 28.3 (↓)       National 32.2 (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 33.0 (↓)       Melbourne 30.1 (↓)       Brisbane 35.1 (↓)       Adelaide 29.4 (↓)     Perth 43.7 (↑)        Hobart 26.9 (↓)     Darwin 44.0 (↑)      Canberra 31.9 (↑)        National 34.3 (↓)           
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Google Earnings Smash Sales Records

YouTube helps power search giant to profits that far exceeded analyst expectations.

By Tripp Mickle
Wed, Apr 28, 2021 1:33pmGrey Clock 3 min

Google’s parent company shattered sales records for the first quarter, fueled by a surge in digital ad spending that has strengthened the tech heavyweight even as regulators try to curtail its power.

The robust earnings reflect advertiser anticipation that the reopening of the economy will coincide with a gusher of business activity, as well as Google’s prominent place at the center of digital commerce.

The pandemic provided a jolt to Alphabet Inc.’s advertising business as more people shifted their lives online during a stay-at-home year, turning to Google search to find takeout meals and grocery-delivery options while clicking through videos on the company’s YouTube platform. Brands responded by shifting ad spending from print, television and in-store promotions to find customers across the Google universe.

Alphabet reported first-quarter sales of $55.31 billion, an increase of 34% from a year earlier when advertising sales plunged as the coronavirus crippled the global economy. Profit more than doubled, with per-share earnings far exceeding analysts’ expectations.

The company posted $31.88 billion in sales from its signature products, including search, Gmail and maps, a 30% increase that reflected the way brands are spending to reach people online. YouTube pulled in $6 billion, increasing 49% from a year earlier.

Total profit reached almost $18 billion, soaring 162% from the previous year.

Google said it would repurchase an additional $50 billion in shares, fulfilling the wishes of investors who had been monitoring the company’s swelling cash reserves.

Alphabet shares gained more than 4% in after-hours trading.

“Google has the wind at its back now,” said Sean Stannard-Stockton, chief investment officer at Ensemble Capital, a Burlingame, Calif., firm with $1.5 billion in assets under management that counts Alphabet among its largest holdings. “It didn’t just glide through Covid. It’s really well positioned and is even stronger,” he said.

As the world’s digital ad leader, Google has been positioned to benefit from a broad wave of online ad growth sweeping across the economy. Smaller rival Snap Inc. last week reported a 66% increase in revenue on strong user growth and increased advertising, while Verizon Communications Inc. posted a 26% increase in ad sales.

The digital-spending surge has helped Google continue to deliver sales growth even as its share of the American search-advertising market slips. The company’s market share of search last year fell to 57% from 61% a year earlier, while rival Amazon.com Inc. increased its share to 19% from 13% over the same period, according to eMarketer, a research firm.

Regulators remain the largest obstacle to Google’s business success. Last year, the Justice Department and a separate coalition of states brought antitrust lawsuits alleging the company has struck secretive agreements to favor its search-engine and advertising businesses and thwart competitors.

The cases could force Google to spin off pieces of its business or cede its perch in search to rivals.

In addition, antitrust lawsuits have been filed by Epic Games Inc. over Google’s Play app store and the publisher Daily Mail over its digital advertising auctions.

Google has said it operates in a competitive market and people use its search service because they choose to, not because they are forced to. It says its Play store operates under policies that are fair to developers and its ad-tech business competes in a crowded marketplace with several alternatives for publishers.

The company continues to spend heavily to ensure Google remains the default search engine on iPhones and other devices. The toll fees, known as traffic-acquisition costs, rose 30% to $9.71 billion during the first quarter from a year earlier.

Google also has been spending to diversify beyond its core ad business with a cloud-computing service that challenges Amazon and Microsoft Corp. The company has been trumpeting a bevy of billion-dollar deals in recent months that lifted sales at the division 46% to $4.05 billion in the quarter.

The company has wooed new clients by packaging its offerings with benefits across its dominant advertising and search businesses. On Monday, it announced an eight-year, $1 billion-plus contract with Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications Inc. that it won in part by including YouTube and search elements.

The practice, known as bundling, has drawn criticism from lawmakers who say it undermines competition, but Thomas Kurian, Google’s Cloud chief executive, has said the company is simply responding to consumer needs.

On Monday, Apple Inc. released a software update that will give users the option to prevent apps from tracking their use on iPhones and other devices. The change is expected to pressure Google to implement similar privacy measures on its Android operating system, the world’s largest. Such a maneuver would upend Facebook Inc.’s business, which uses the data collected across mobile devices to target ads to users.

Because of its digital-advertising dominance, Google will have to walk a fine line in introducing privacy restrictions of its own on its mobile operating system. It has drawn criticism from privacy advocates and ad-tech competitors alike over a plan to stop selling ads on individuals’ browsing across multiple websites. Privacy advocates say its plan to group individuals in advertising cohorts doesn’t go far enough, while rivals consider it anticompetitive.

The speed bumps from privacy aren’t expected to slow Alphabet’s moneymaking machine. The company’s search engine has a lock on 92% of world-wide traffic, its Maps offerings have an 89% share of navigation and YouTube accounts for 73% of the online video world.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: April 27, 2021.

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How Crypto’s Collapse May Have Done the Economy a Favour

Crypto’s lack of connections with traditional finance means its problems haven’t spilled over to the economy

By GREG IP
Fri, Nov 25, 2022 4 min

This year’s crypto collapse has all the hallmarks of a classic banking crisis: runs, fire sales, contagion.

What it doesn’t have are banks.

Check out the bankruptcy filings of crypto platforms Voyager Digital Holdings Inc., Celsius Network LLC and FTX Trading Ltd. and hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, and you won’t find any banks listed among their largest creditors.

While bankruptcy filings aren’t entirely clear, they describe many of the largest creditors as customers or other crypto-related companies. Crypto companies, in other words, operate in a closed loop, deeply interconnected within that loop but with few apparent connections of significance to traditional finance. This explains how an asset class once worth roughly $3 trillion could lose 72% of its value, and prominent intermediaries could go bust, with no discernible spillovers to the financial system.

“Crypto space…is largely circular,” Yale University economist Gary Gorton and University of Michigan law professor Jeffery Zhang write in a forthcoming paper. “Once crypto banks obtain deposits from investors, these firms borrow, lend, and trade with themselves. They do not interact with firms connected to the real economy.”

A few years from now, things might have been different, given the intensifying pressure on regulators and bankers to embrace crypto. The crypto meltdown may have prevented that—and a much wider crisis.

Crypto has long been marketed as an unregulated, anonymous, frictionless, more accessible alternative to traditional banks and currencies. Yet its mushrooming ecosystem looks a lot like the banking system, accepting deposits and making loans. Messrs. Gorton and Zhang write, “Crypto lending platforms recreated banking all over again… if an entity engages in borrowing and lending, it is economically equivalent to a bank even if it’s not labeled as one.”

And just like the banking system, crypto is leveraged and interconnected, and thus vulnerable to debilitating runs and contagion. This year’s crisis began in May when TerraUSD, a purported stablecoin—i.e., a cryptocurrency that aimed to sustain a constant value against the dollar—collapsed as investors lost faith in its backing asset, a token called Luna. Rumours that Celsius had lost money on Terra and Luna led to a run on its deposits and in July Celsius filed for bankruptcy protection.

Three Arrows, a crypto hedge fund that had invested in Luna, had to liquidate. Losses on a loan to Three Arrows and contagion from Celsius forced Voyager into bankruptcy protection.

Meanwhile FTX’s trading affiliate Alameda Research and Voyager had lent to each other, and Alameda and Celsius also had exposure to each other. But it was the linkages between FTX and Alameda that were the two companies’ undoing. Like many platforms, FTX issued its own cryptocurrency, FTT. After this was revealed to be Alameda’s main asset, Binance, another major platform, said it would dump its own FTT holdings, setting off the run that triggered FTX’s collapse.

Genesis Global Capital, another crypto lender, had exposure to both Three Arrows and Alameda. It has suspended withdrawals and sought outside cash in the wake of FTX’s demise. BlockFi, another crypto lender with exposure to FTX and Alameda, is preparing a bankruptcy filing, the Journal has reported.

The density of connections between these players is nicely illustrated with a sprawling diagram in an October report by the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which brings together federal financial regulators.

To historians, this litany of contagion and collapse is reminiscent of the free banking era from 1837 to 1863 when banks issued their own bank notes, fraud proliferated, and runs, suspensions of withdrawals, and panics occurred regularly. Yet while those crises routinely walloped business activity, crypto’s has largely passed the economy by.

Some investors, from unsophisticated individuals to big venture-capital and pension funds, have sustained losses, some life-changing. But these are qualitatively different from the sorts of losses that threaten the solvency of major lending institutions and the broader financial system’s stability.

To be sure, some loan or investment losses by banks can’t be ruled out. Banks also supply crypto companies with custodial and payment services and hold their cash, such as to back stablecoins. Some small banks that cater to crypto companies have been buffeted by large outflows of deposits.

Traditional finance had little incentive to build connections to crypto because, unlike government bonds or mortgages or commercial loans or even derivatives, crypto played no role in the real economy. It’s largely been shunned as a means of payment except where untraceability is paramount, such as money laundering and ransomware. Much-hyped crypto innovations such as stablecoins and DeFi, a sort of automated exchange, mostly facilitate speculation in crypto rather than useful economic activity.

Crypto’s grubby reputation repelled mainstream financiers like Warren Buffett and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, and made regulators deeply skittish about bank involvement. In time this was bound to change, not because crypto was becoming useful but because it was generating so much profit for speculators and their supporting ecosystem.

Several banks have made private-equity investments in crypto companies and many including J.P. Morgan are investing in blockchain, the distributed ledger technology underlying cryptocurrencies. A flood of crypto lobbying money was prodding Congress to create a regulatory framework under which crypto, having failed as an alternative to the dollar, could become a riskier, less regulated alternative to equities.

Now, stained by bankruptcy and scandal, cryptocurrency will have to wait longer—perhaps forever—to be fully embraced by traditional banking. An end to banking crises required the replacement of private currencies with a single national dollar, the creation of the Federal Reserve as lender of last resort, deposit insurance and comprehensive regulation.

It isn’t clear, though, that the same recipe should be applied to crypto: Effective regulation would eliminate much of the efficiency and anonymity that explain its appeal. And while the U.S. economy clearly needed a stable banking system and currency, it will do just fine without crypto.

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