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Clearscore surpasses 10 million users – Business Insider

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UK-based Clearscore has surpassed 10 million customers since launching its business four years ago, according to AltFi. For comparison, this gives Clearscore twice as many customers as money transfer company TransferWise, and five times more users than neobank Monzo.

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Clearscore aims to help consumers better manage their finances, and it enables them to access their credit score and reports for free. Additionally, it provides users with guidelines on how to choose the right credit card, mortgage, or loan. Clearscore has 250 staff members and, besides London, it has offices in South Africa and Mumbai.

Here’s what it means: Clearscore’s ever widening product suite will help it stay relevant, and the latest announcement is a testament to Clearscore’s success after a failed acquisition.

  • Clearscore’s been busy adding new services to its product suite. The company teamed up with savings marketplace Raisin earlier this year, which allows Clearscore’s users to set up an account with Raisin to access the high-interest savings products of its partner banks, all within ClearScore’s app or website. Clearscore’s also planning to launch a new product, dubbed Resolve, in October, which will warn users when they’re about to go into debt. Additionally, it wants to introduce OneScore, which will help users who want to buy a home understand how they should change and improve their financial position.
  • In 2018, one of the biggest credit data firms globally, Experian, announced that it wanted to acquire Clearscore for £275 million. However, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) voiced concerns about the plan, as it could’ve hampered competition and potentially the development of digital products that help customers understand personal finances. Hence, Experian abandoned the acquisition in March 2019. Clearscore’s continued user growth — for context, it had 7 million customers in October 2018 — shows that it’s still successful without being acquired by a high-profile company like Experian.

The bigger picture: UK consumers are still unclear about their credit scores, but firms like Clearscore can help solve this issue.

Fifty-five percent of UK consumers don’t check their eligibility when applying for a credit card, loan, or mortgage, per Experian. Applying directly for a financial product results in a hard search, which can negatively impact someone’s credit score if the application is rejected due to ineligibility. However, conducting an eligibility check prior to the application only results in a soft search, which doesn’t affect the consumer’s score but still provides guidance as to whether they would qualify for a specific financial product.

Solutions like Clearscore can help consumers check their credit score and ensure they don’t worsen it by making uneducated applications. Additionally, Clearscore is web- and app-based, which will likely help it attract younger customers, who are more willing to check their credit score compared with older consumers: 75% of those over 55 have never checked their credit score, compared with 25% of those between 25-34, according to the same research.

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Fed: coronavirus could mean 47 million laid off, 32% unemployment rate

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  • More than 47 million Americans could lose their jobs in the second quarter amid the coronavirus pandemic, sending the unemployment rate to 32%, according to a recent study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • In a previous analysis, the Fed estimated that nearly 67 million Americans work in occupations that are at high risk of layoffs due to social distancing measures.
  • The study was released just before weekly jobless claims data released Thursday showed record layoffs in the week ending March 21.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Unemployment could skyrocket to a record high as the coronavirus pandemic puts millions of Americans out of work, according to a study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. 

As many as 47 million Americans could be subject to layoffs in the second quarter, which added to the amount laid off in February would mean 52.81 million people unemployed. That would send the unemployment rate to a massive 32% according to the study published March 24. 

“These are very large numbers by historical standards,” wrote Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis economist Miguel Faria-e-Castro in a blog post about his “back of the envelope” calculations for the labor market going forward. “But this is a rather unique shock that is unlike any other experienced by the US economy in the last 100 years.”

The US unemployment rate in February was 3.5%. If it surged to 30% in the second quarter, it would top the highest rate on record of nearly 25% during the Great Depression. 

Read more: 200-plus money managers pay thousands to see which stocks are on Jim Osman’s buy list. Here are 3 he says are set to soar ‘at least 50%’ from their coronavirus-stricken levels.

The study came just before weekly US jobless claims data released on Thursday spiked to a record 3.28 million for the week ending March 21. The weekly report of Americans who had filed for unemployment insurance was one of the first indicators of just how bad the coronavirus pandemic could be.

Faria-e-Castro began his analysis working from a previous Fed report that nearly 67 million Americans work in occupations that are at high risk of layoffs due to social distancing measures, such as those in sales, production, and food services. Another report also accounted for 27.3 million workers in contact-intensive positions such as barbers, hairstylists, and flight attendants, who may be at risk during the outbreak.

Read more: UBS outlines 3 major investing themes the coronavirus crisis is shaping today — and breaks down how they’ll play out in the years to come

Faria-e-Castro averaged the two groups for an estimate of 47 million layoffs in the second quarter. He said that there are a number of caveats to his analysis. First, he did not include those who might be discouraged and not seeking another job, thus lowering the unemployment count in the second quarter.

He also said that businesses may send workers home with pay instead of laying them off. In addition, his analysis did not include the impact of any government stimulus recently passed, which will support small businesses and expand unemployment benefits. 

Still, it’s expected that weekly jobless claims will continue to be elevated at never-before-seen highs as coronavirus-induced layoffs persist. In addition, a majority of economists are forecasting a US recession this year, which could become a depression if the coronavirus pandemic worsens.

Read more: Stocks are trading like they did early in the financial crisis — and it’s proof to one Wall Street equity chief that the coronavirus crash will worsen

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Coronavirus investing themes, strategy, outlook for next decade: UBS

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  • Analysts at UBS issued a report describing three main investing themes the coronavirus is shaping, and will continue impacting over the next decade: healthcare, technology, and global supply chains. 
  • They detailed how the sectors are shifting, and how investors would be prudent to position around them. 
  • For instance, with a renewed focus on genetic research, analysts said they recommend investing in the genetic therapies theme through a diversified portfolio of companies operating in that space.
  • Visit BI Prime for more investing stories.

The novel coronavirus has killed thousands of people around the world, roiled financial markets, and upended entire economies in a matter of weeks.

Many economists are calling for a recession to hit the US this year, with the possibility of a recovery sometime next year. Some say a full-blown economic downturn is already upon us.

This rapid deterioriation in conditions has also flipped some investors’ playbooks on their heads, and some investment experts say COVID-19 ‘s ripple effects will extend across industries for years to come. 

UBS analysts issued a March 27 report digging into the heart of that, laying out major investing themes the coronavirus is altering for the long-term: healthcare, technology, and global supply chains. 

“While we expect the global economy eventually to recover, we may see changes to lifestyles and business practices, as well as new healthcare and digital technologies, influence the post-pandemic economy,” the firm wrote. 

To that end, analysts in UBS’s global wealth management division’s chief investment office, led by Laura Kane, offered recommendations for how investors can best position themselves around those fundamental shifts. 

Here’s a rundown of their outlook.

Theme No. 1: ‘Health, from genetic therapies to food systems’ 

The coronavirus — which originated in Wuhan, China and has spread around the world — has “ruthlessly exposed the cracks in our global healthcare system,” the analysts wrote, health-tech and telemedicine are two industries they expect to grow in popularity.

With a renewed focus on genetic research, too, analysts said they recommend investing in the genetic therapies theme through a diversified portfolio of companies operating in that space “to manage the risks associated with clinical failure.” 

Gene therapy is an experimental approach to treatment the National Institutes of Health defines as harnessing “genes to treat or prevent disease.”

biotech lab medical samples pharma biotech

Medical samples in vacutainer tubes held by a laboratory technician in a medical laboratory on December 5, 2018 in Cardiff, United Kingdom.

Matthew Horwood/Getty Images


While UBS did not provide specific stock recommendations around that theme, the US biopharmaceutical company Sarepta Therapuetics is one company operating in the space that UBS has noted in the past. 

The spread of the virus is also placing a fresh spotlight on the food supply chain, UBS said, one analysts think is going to drive innovation and create investment opportunities.

To capture those themes, they recommend “investing in a basket of food-related opportunities across the consumer, technology, and industrial sectors.”

Theme No. 2: ‘Digital technologies and cross-sector disruption’

The pandemic should accelerate consumers’ shift toward fintech-based products, the analysts said, as more people are staying home and paying for items online. That won’t change anytime soon, they contended. 

“Anecdotal evidence suggests fintech app downloads across Europe and other developed markets where penetration has been low have risen significantly over the past few weeks,” they said. 

Revenues sourced from financial technology firms are expected to grow over the next decade, UBS said, and the space is enjoying a bump as the World Health Organization encourages cashless payments to stem the outbreak’s spread.

A WHO spokesperson told Yahoo Finance earlier this month that people should use contactless payments “where possible,” and wash their hands after handling cash. 

Fintech revenue, per UBS.

Fintech revenue, per UBS.

UBS


Retailers with strong online presences, too, are set to keep benefiting with more consumers confined to their homes are engaging with e-commerce, they wrote. 

For instance, Nike in its recent earnings report for the quarter ending in February that its digital sales in Greater China rose by more than 30% while brick-and-mortar retail sales were impacted by stores temporarily closed during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Against this backdrop, we continue to believe fintech as a trend should continue to deliver double-digit growth opportunities over the next few years, thus growing at least three times faster than traditional financial services,” they added, suggesting investments exposed to the fintech ecosystem could benefit. 

Theme No. 3: ‘De-globalization and its effects on manufacturing and supply chains’

One major theme the pandemic underscores is the global supply chain’s interconnectivity and complexities — a feature of the US-China trade war on full display.

us china trade

In this Dec. 1, 2018, photo, President Donald Trump, second from right, meets with China’s President Xi Jinping, second from left, during their bilateral meeting at the G20 Summit, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. China promised Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, to carry out a tariff cease-fire with Washington but gave no details that might help dispel confusion about what Presidents Xi and Trump agreed to in Argentina.

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais


For instance, the analysts pointed out nearly three quarters of elevators’ global components are produced within 60 or so miles of Shanghai.

In turn, the pandemic may push companies to consider more domestic supply chains with less reliance on outside ecosystems. 

“It doesn’t necessarily mean on-shoring to high wage countries in Western Europe or North America, but perhaps Eastern Europe, Mexico, or other attractive countries in Asia, to become less dependent on China,” UBS said.

This would directly benefit companies with more modern factories using fewer humans and more automation, they said, pointing to the German industrial conglomerate Siemens and its efforts around modernizing its manufacturing processes. 

“We believe this trend will continue and become even more relevant. Factory automation equipment, robots, and automation software will play an important role to achieve a higher level of automation,” they wrote.

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‘There is potential this could go even lower.’ Oil prices plunge to 17-year lows as demand drop threatens to overwhelm storage facilities.

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REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

  • Crude oil prices tanked Monday as continued fears over the coronavirus pandemic slammed energy demand. 
  • West Texas Intermediate (WTI) the US benchmark dropped below $20 a barrel in Asian trading while Brent crude hit $23.03, its lowest price since 2002. 
  • The ongoing price war between producers Russia and Saudi Arabia alongside concerns over storage capacity has sunk prices. 

Global crude oil prices tanked Monday amid continued concerns over the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on energy demand and the ongoing price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the US benchmark dropped below $20 a barrel in Asian trading while Brent crude hit $23.03, its lowest price since 2002. 

Both sets of futures regained some of their early losses in European trading hours but remain down. Brent crude is down 6.2% at $26.23 while WTI is down 5.7% at $20.21 as of 9.00 a.m. in London (4.00 a.m. ET). 

“There is potential this could go even lower as supply starts to flood storage space which could fill in the next month as a result of the combination of higher supply from the price war and lower global demand,” Joe Healey, Investment Research Analyst at The Share Centre said in a morning note.

The widespread lockdown across much of Europe and North America has seen demand plunge while traders estimate that the market is pumping out a surplus of around 25 million barrels per day. 

Despite pressure from Washington, Russia and Saudi Arabia remain at a stalemate over prices while many global airlines are grounded. 

“Russia and Saudi Arabia show no signs of compromising in their standoff over oil supply,” National Australia Bank’s Rodrigo Catril wrote in a Monday note.





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