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Antarctica’s summer has never been this hot before

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The temperature at one research base in Antarctica reached a record-breaking 65°F (18.3°C) on Thursday, almost a full degree above the previous high set five years ago.  

Argentine scientists on the Esperanza base who confirmed the reading said that wasn’t the only record broken this week. The nation’s Marambio site registered the highest temperature for the month of February since 1971. Thermometers there hit 14.1°C, above the previous February 2013 reading of 13.8°C. 

The reports are shocking, but not surprising, said Frida Bengtsson, who is leading a expedition to the Antarctic for the environmental group Greenpeace. 

“We’ve been in the Antarctic for the last month, documenting the dramatic changes this part of the world is undergoing as our planet warms,” she said in an email. “In the last month, we’ve seen penguin colonies sharply declining under the impacts of climate change in this supposedly pristine environment.”

Antarctica is among the fastest-warming regions in the planet, with the Antarctic Peninsula, where the Argentine bases are located, warming particularly quickly, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Average temperatures on the continent have risen almost 3°C over the past 50 years, and during that time glaciers along the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula have retreated. 

WMO experts will now investigate whether the warm event recorded by Argentine scientists is a weather phenomenon known as foehn. That is a common event in Alpine regions that often involves high winds at altitude and the rapid warming of air as it heads down slopes or peaks, driven by significant air pressure differences, the WMO said in a statement.

The WMO will also determine whether the temperature extreme is a new record for the entire Antarctic landmass. The Signy island in the Antarctic region, which includes everywhere south of 60 degrees latitude, recorded an all-time high temperature of 19.8°C in January 1982. The average annual temperature ranges from about -10°C on the Antarctic coast to -60°C at the highest points of the interior.

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—The race to solve lithium-ion battery recycling before it’s too late
—How airlines (and you) can fly more efficiently
—WATCH: iPod/iPhone designer on kicking plastic addiction

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Buy Into the Shopify Story for the Long-Term, Says 5-Star Analyst

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E-commerce platform Shopify (SHOP) joined the $1,000 per share club last week, symbolically reaching the landmark on Canada Day. The Ottawa-based company has delivered a strong performance in 2020, with shares up by a remarkable 159% year-to-date. Given this impressive rally, should investors reduce exposure to the e-commerce highflyer?No, is the succinct answer from Baird analyst Colin Sebastian.While the lofty valuation is “still the biggest investor pushback,” the 5-star analyst believes there still remains a large untapped TAM (total addressable market) that Shopify has yet to penetrate.Sebastian said, “Shopify has made our list of favorite stocks each year since initiating coverage in early 2016. In our view, there are scarce few (if any) public software companies as closely tied to the enormous e-commerce share shift, with an established leadership position, and world-class product and engineering. Moreover, we see multiple incremental revenue drivers ahead from new paid services, new partnerships (e.g., WMT) and consumer facing technology (Shop app).”It’s no secret that as the coronavirus raged across the globe, the e-commerce sector benefitted.COVID-19 has sped up what was already an underlying shopping trend – the move to online. Sebastian estimates this will result in an “incremental shift of roughly $200 billion in annual retail spend in the U.S. from offline to online channels.”Shopify, PayPal and Amazon make up roughly 80% of e-commerce volume in the U.S. This means that Shopify stands to “capture a significant amount of that incremental spend.”Despite the massive gains in 2020, Shopify is still valued lower than both, implying it has more room to grow.And it is growing, still. Recent checks made by the investment firm indicate that merchant growth on Shopify is increasing. Shopify now has 1.3 million merchants and brands using its service, which is 200,000 more than when last surveyed in late January.Additionally, the company's “variable revenue base” should further expand due to the rising adoption of Shopify Payments.Accordingly, Sebastian keeps an Outperform rating on SHOP shares, while bumping up the price target from $820 to $1,100. Should the figure be met over the next 12 months, there’s upside of 7% in store. (To watch Sebastian’s track record, click here)Looking at the consensus breakdown, 8 Buys, 12 Holds and 1 Sell were assigned in the last three months. As a result, SHOP has a Moderate Buy consensus rating. However, the $824.94 average price target implies shares could drop by nearly 16% in the year ahead. (See Shopify stock-price forecast on TipRanks)To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights. More recent articles from Smarter Analyst: * Ad Spend Ban Could Damage Facebook’s Brand, Says 5-Star Analyst * MEI Pharma (MEIP) Stock Takes a Hit but This Analyst Keeps the Faith * 3 Coronavirus Penny Stocks With Triple-Digit Upside Potential * The Rise of E-Commerce and Cloud Services Positions Amazon (AMZN) for the Win



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These congressional districts saw the highest number of PPP loans over $150,000

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Our mission to help you navigate the new normal is fueled by subscribers. To enjoy unlimited access to our journalism, subscribe today.

Where did the money land?

After a long wait and plenty of hounding from Congress, oversight agencies, and outside groups, a deluge of Paycheck Protection Program loan data was released Monday.

Though there are may ways to slice the data, one interesting window is to look at the number of loans by congressional district. As Fortune‘s analysis shows, the districts that saw the most loans tended to be in the wealthiest enclaves in California, New York and Texas. The 10 districts receiving the most PPP loans over $150,000 are represented in the chart below.

The highest number of loans were awarded in Jerry Nadler’s New York 10th congressional district (6,976). The 10th district includes parts of upper and lower Manhattan (including the Financial District) and Brooklyn. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s district, the 14th district of New York, meanwhile, received a much smaller pool of 728 forgivable loans.

Others in the top 10 districts to get the taxpayer loans include Republican Dan Crenshaw, whose district, the 2nd of Texas, came in No. 2 with 5,247 loans over $150,000. Democrat Diana DeGette’s 1st district of Colorado rounded out the top three, with 4,805 loans for her district based in Denver.

Some of the congressional districts, in places like New York City, that took home the most PPP loans were also among the hardest hit by initial shutdowns.

One interesting note: Georgia’s 6th Congressional District is currently represented by Democrat Lucy McBath, which came in at No. 9. That district’s move from a Republican stronghold, which was once represented by Newt Gingrich, to Democratic district is symbolic of the country’s wealthiest enclaves drifting away from the Republican party to the Democratic party. In 2012, Mitt Romney won 54% of the voters with incomes over $200,000 household incomes, that number fell to 48% for Donald Trump, according to New York Times exit poll data.

Meanwhile, chairwoman of the House’s Committee on Small Business Nydia Velázquez’s district secured 4,799 loans for New York’s 7th district—which includes parts of Queens, Brooklyn, and lower Manhattan. Rep. Velázquez has been a key figure in the small business emergency aid program, and has expressed frustration with the administration’s approach to transparency: She wrote in a joint statement with Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on June 22 that, “only sharing data on disbursements above [$150,000] is utterly inadequate.”

Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s 12th district in New York received 4,441 loans, encompassing areas in Midtown and the Upper East Side, while California’s 33rd district, represented by Ted Lieu, came in at No. 6 with 4,346 forgivable loans.

Among the three California districts to receive the most loans is Katie Porter’s 45th district—securing 4,124 PPP loans for her Orange County, California district. Porter has echoed Velázquez’ concerns about a lack of transparency for the Small Business Administration’s program, and declared on MSNBC on July 1 that, “Even if [Treasury Secretary Steve] Mnuchin gives us some of these data, we need to be acting legislatively to ensure we’re going to have the information throughout the program,” as the program still has over $130 billion of unused funds as of June 30.

Texas representative Kenny Marchant’s 24th district (one of the two Republicans whose districts hit the top 10) secured 3,959 PPP loans.

The 28th district of California, which includes Pasadena and Hollywood, came in at No. 10, with 3,663 PPP loans over $150,000. The district is represented by Democrat Adam Schiff, who also chairs the House Select Committee on Intelligence.

Although the public got its first look at exactly who got loans, the disclosures on Monday only covered about 14% of the total number of PPP borrowers, as the majority of loans fell under the $150,000 threshold. Now, the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis is “working to ensure more oversight and more transparency for this critical program,” Rep. James Clyburn, the subcommittee’s chairman, said in a statement Monday.

More must-read finance coverage from Fortune:



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BTr to offer retail bonds next week

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By Beatrice M. Laforga, Reporter

THE Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) will offer retail Treasury bonds (RTBs) for the second time this year to take advantage of low rates and boost state coffers for its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response.

National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon on Monday said the offer period for the RTBs will start next week. The proceeds will be used to support the national budget.

“BTr will offer RTBs and [the] auction will be on July 15. We are taking advantage of low rates and provide secure investment outlets. Win-win proposition and demonstrates our solidarity against pandemic,” she told reporters via Viber.

Ms. De Leon declined to give further details about the issuance including the tenor and volume. She said additional details will be released within the week.

This will be the second time the BTr will issue RTBs this year and its 24th overall. Last February, it raised a record P310.8 billion from its sale of RTBs — comprised of P250 billion from “new money” and P60.8 billion from the exchange offer program.

These types of securities are offered to small investors as they consist of low-risk, higher-yielding savings instruments backed by the National Government.

ING Bank N.V. Manila Branch Senior Economist Nicholas Antonio T. Mapa said they expect the tenor to be between three to seven years but shorter than 10 years after BTr’s sudden shift of its borrowing program for this week to 10-year Treasury bonds (T-bonds) from the initial plan to offer seven-year bonds.

“We’ve been expecting the possible issuance for an RTB for some time now given the financing requirements of the government to fund COVID-19 rescue efforts. With the bevy of liquidity and low rate environment, this was the perfect time for the government to float a retail Treasury bond to corner a good chunk of funds for its spending needs,” Mr. Mapa said in an e-mail.

Mr. Mapa said issuing the RTB on top of the planned 10-year offer on Tuesday “will put upward pressure on longer-dated yields,” while the movement of the rates for the short-term tenors will be based on inflation in June, which he sees at 2.3%.

A BusinessWorld poll of 16 economists last week yielded a median estimate of 2.2% for headline inflation in June, still slower than the 2.7% a year ago but slightly faster than the 2.1% in May.

The government borrows from domestic and foreign lenders to plug its budget deficit seen to hit 8.4% this year.

“We hope that with the government moving aggressively to secure funding, robust spending measures will be implemented to stave off a downward spiral in our economic growth trajectory,” Mr. Mapa added.

For July alone, the BTr has set a P205-billion borrowing program and will offer P145 billion in T-bills via weekly auctions and P60 billion in T-bonds to be auctioned off every other week.

In late April, the government sold $2.35 billion in dollar-denominated global bonds: $1.35 billion in 25-year bonds with a coupon of 2.95% and $1 billion via 10-year notes at 2.457%. The papers were issued on May 5.

The economy shrank 0.2% in the first quarter and is projected to slump by 2-3.4% for 2020.



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