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MULTIPLE PENSION FUNDS ADD UP TO RETIREMENT CONFUSION

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MULTIPLE PENSION FUNDS ADD UP TO RETIREMENT CONFUSION
  • 17% of retirement savers have built up three or more company pension funds
  • Just 11% of employees can accurately estimate the value of retirement savings
  • moneygym enables employees to keep track of retirement planning and investment

Nearly one in five employees have built up three or more company pension funds during their career making it more difficult to keep track of their retirement planning, new research* from employee benefits consultancy Portus shows.

Its nationwide study shows 17% of employees have built up three or more pension funds as they have moved jobs during their working career and that rises to 27% of those aged 45 to 54. Men are more likely to have multiple pension schemes than women – 20% of male employees have three or more schemes compared with 13% of women.

Portus, which provides the employer-paid moneygym guidance service enabling employees to keep track of all retirement savings, believes the growing number of workers building up multiple funds is making it more difficult to keep track of total retirement savings.

This is highlighted by its research showing that just 11% of employees are confident they can accurately estimate the value of all their retirement savings and investments including their home.

Around 39% of employees believe they can roughly estimate the value of their total retirement fund but half admit they do not know how much they have invested.

 Portus Consulting Commercial Director Steve Watson says: “Keeping track of retirement savings and investments is a challenge for most people but particularly difficult for employees with multiple funds.

“It is relatively encouraging that around half of all employees can accurately or at best roughly estimate how much they have saved or invested, but it is clear too many employees are in the dark about their retirement funds.

“There can be advantages in transferring pensions into one in terms of lower fees and better control, but in order to be able to make that judgement people need to be fully informed about how much they have.”

The research shows around 7% of employees admit to having no pension funds at all rising to 19% among those aged 18 to 24 and worryingly to 10% among those aged 55 to 64.

Portus’s online financial planning portal moneygym – which is accessible at work and at home around the clock – provides guidance on all aspects of retirement planning including tax and regulation as well as enabling users to track retirement savings including private and State pensions and other investments including property.

It aims to increase overall financial literacy levels and employee engagement with retirement planning and help staff to build up enough funds to retire at their target age. Employees can use the portal to outline scenarios on increasing pension contributions, for instance, and the impact on how they decide to take retirement income. They can retain access to the service if they leave their job.

Employees enter and update monthly expenses as well as property ownership or rental costs, debts or savings, and health data including exercise, smoking and alcohol intake. Life expectancy is calculated using the death data run against mortality tables.

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GameStop surges more than 18%, other ‘meme stocks’ also rally

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GameStop surges more than 18%, other 'meme stocks' also rally 1

By Sinéad Carew and Lewis Krauskopf

(Reuters) – GameStop and other “meme stocks” mounted a late-day rally on Monday, with shares of the video game retailer climbing nearly 32% at one point on little apparent news.

Shares of the videogame retailer, along with other stocks favored by retail investors congregating in online forums such as Reddit’s popular WallStreetBets, have roared back in recent sessions after a wild ride in which they soared in late January and tumbled early last month.

Along with GameStop, which pared gains to close up 18.3%, cinema chain AMC Entertainment finished up 14.6% and headphone maker Koss added 13.4%.

At one point, GameStop, which closed at $120.40, reached a session peak of $133.99. Its low for the day was $99.97.

Some analysts said a tick higher in short positioning from last week may have provided some fuel for the rally. A short squeeze – in which a flurry of buying forces bearish investors to unwind their bets against the stock – was a key catalyst behind GameStop’s late January run, when it gained as much as 1600% before reversing.

The number of GameStop shares shorted stood at 17.74 million, analytics firm S3 Partners said on Monday, with short interest accounting for about 32.6% of the float, compared with about 26% a week earlier, according to S3 Partners. Short interest peaked at 142% in early January, S3 data showed.

“We’re definitely seeing some of the shorts who came on over the past week probably covering and it’s helping boost today’s rally,” said Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of predictive analytics at S3. “Looking at today’s price movement, I’m sure these big red numbers are going to be chasing out quite a few shorts out of their positions.”

GameStop short sellers were down $331 million in mark-to-market losses on Monday, bringing year-to-date mark-to-market losses to $5.1 billion, according to Dusaniwsky.

More than 48 million shares in GameStop changed hands, with volume surpassing the 10-day moving average. So far the stock is up 539% year-to-dated. However, it was still below its Jan.28 peak of $483.

(Reporting by Sinéad Carew and Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Ira Iosebashvili and Dan Grebler)

 

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Wall Street rallies on U.S. stimulus and vaccine hopes as bond markets calm

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Wall Street rallies on U.S. stimulus and vaccine hopes as bond markets calm 2

By Suzanne Barlyn

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global equities markets rose and the S&P 500 on Monday had its best day since June 5, with investors taking lower U.S. bond yields in stride on optimism over the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill and distribution of Johnson & Johnson’s newly authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

Wall Street’s rise follows a jump in European shares and solid gains on Asian stock markets.

Investor optimism that the J&J vaccine would further lift the economy is “giving a lift to all of the ‘go-to-work’ stocks” that benefit from businesses reopening, said Jim Awad, senior managing director at Clearstead Advisors in New York.

A stabilization of U.S. Treasury yields has also removed pressure from growth stocks, Awad said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 603.14 points, or 1.95%, to 31,535.51, the S&P 500 gained 90.67 points, or 2.38%, to 3,901.82 and the Nasdaq Composite added 396.48 points, or 3.01%, to 13,588.83.

The much-anticipated COVID-19 relief bill was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday, and now moves to the Senate.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 1.84% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 2.01%.

Emerging market stocks rose 1.71%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 1.83% higher, while Japan’s Nikkei rose 2.41%.

Reports on manufacturing and factory activity showed strength in many developed economies on Monday, including a three-year high in the United States, which could keep inflation concerns on the radar.

Major sovereign bonds rallied on Monday as markets showed further signs of stabilization after their worst monthly performance in years.

Expectations of economic recovery and rising inflation boosted global benchmark bond yields in February to their biggest monthly rises in years. But the expected run-down of U.S. Treasury balances at the Federal Reserve has held down shorter-dated rates.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes last rose 8/32 in price to yield 1.429%, from 1.456% on Monday.

The coronavirus pandemic laid bare weaknesses in the financial system that should be addressed with new rules to prepare for the next shock, Fed Governor Lael Brainard said.

“We should not miss the opportunity to distill lessons from the COVID shock and institute reforms so our system is more resilient and better able to withstand a variety of possible shocks in the future,” Brainard said.

Gold prices rose as the retreat in U.S. Treasury yields helped to bolster its status as an inflation hedge, but a firmer dollar limited bullion’s advance.

Spot gold dropped 0.5% to $1,724.06 an ounce. U.S. gold futures fell 0.45% to $1,720.40 an ounce.

The dollar index rose to a three-week high as investors bet on faster growth and inflation in the United States, while the Australian dollar gained after Australia’s central bank increased its bond purchases in a bid to stem rapidly rising yields.

Bitcoin rose 6.70% to $48,719.02, with Citi saying the most popular cryptocurrency was at a “tipping point” and could become the preferred currency for international trade.

Goldman Sachs has restarted its cryptocurrency trading desk, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

U.S. crude recently fell 1.77% to $60.41 per barrel and Brent was at $63.45, down 1.51% on the day on fears that Chinese oil crude consumption is slowing and that OPEC may increase global supply following a meeting this week.

Wall Street rallies on U.S. stimulus and vaccine hopes as bond markets calm 3

(GRAPHIC – Germany 10-year: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/jbyprddzype/Germany%2010-year.png)

(Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Sonya Hepinstall)

 

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Oil down more than 1% on Chinese fuel demand doubts, OPEC supply concerns

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Oil down more than 1% on Chinese fuel demand doubts, OPEC supply concerns 4

By Laila Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices fell more than 1% on Monday as fears that Chinese oil crude consumption is slowing and that OPEC may increase global supply following a meeting this week.

Brent crude settled at $63.69 a barrel, falling 73 cents, or 1.1%, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude settled at $60.64 a barrel, losing 86 cents, or 1.4%.

China’s factory activity growth slipped to a nine-month low in February, sounding alarms over Chinese crude buying and pressuring oil prices.

“There’s some talk that their strategic reserves are filled up, and so some people are betting against the Chinese continuing to drive oil prices,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

Investors were also concerned that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, would soon increase oil output.

“The worry is that that’s going to end up adding as much as 1.5 million barrels to the market,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho. “They have to construct some kind of story to bring those barrels back.”

OPEC oil output fell in February as a voluntary cut by Saudi Arabia added to agreed reductions under a pact with allies, a Reuters survey found, ending a run of seven consecutive monthly increases.

The group meets on Thursday and could discuss allowing as much as 1.5 million barrels per day of crude back into the market.

ING analysts said OPEC+ needs to avoid surprising traders by releasing too much supply.

“There is a large amount of speculative money in oil at the moment, so they will want to avoid any action that will see (those investors) running for the exit,” the analysts said.

A stronger U.S. dollar, which typically moves inversely with oil, also weighed on oil.

Rising COVID-19 vaccinations stirring up economic activity along with a $1.9 trillion coronavirus-related relief package passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday kept prices from sinking lower.

Oil prices rose earlier in the session on hopes tied to the proposed U.S. stimulus package would pay for vaccines and medical supplies, and send a new round of emergency financial aid to households and small businesses, which will have a direct impact on energy demand.

The approval of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 shot also buoyed the economic outlook.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Additional reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London, Jessica Jaganathan and Florence Tan in Singapore; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Lisa Shumaker)

 

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