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The persistence of zombie firms in a low yield world

March 1, 2018
In the fourth part of our series on the impact of rising yields, we discuss the rising incidence of zombie firms in recent years. Bottom-up data of some 3,000 companies in the FTSE All World index show that the percentage of zombie firms has more than tripled to 2.0% of firms in 2016 from 0.6% in 1996. Such firms are defined as those with an interest coverage ratio under 1x for 2 consecutive years and a price to sales ratio under 3x. That matters because zombie firms are linked to fading business dynamism and because years of low interest rates should have led to fewer such firms, not more. There are early signs we are at a turning point, however. The numbers for 2017, with two-thirds of firms reporting, suggest that zombie firm incidence declined sharply last year. If this proves to be a real trend, it may give central banks confidence that continuing to raise rates and pull away from unconventional monetary policy will have some advantages. [more]

87 Documents
September 16, 2020
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The widening generational divide should be a key source of alarm for investors, financial markets and society as a whole. Young people perceive themselves as the losers on issues ranging from housing to climate change to student debt. In turn, this anger is manifesting itself into political outcomes, with elections around the world increasingly fought along generational lines. [more]
September 3, 2020
Analyst:
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The exponential growth of the digital economy is going to leave large chunks of minorities with little or no access to jobs. We conduct a bottom up societal study and it shows that 76% of Blacks and 62% of Hispanics could get shut out or be under-prepared for 86% of jobs in the US by 2045. If this digital racial gap is not addressed, in one generation alone, digitization could render the country’s minorities into an unemployment abyss. [more]
June 26, 2020
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Machine learning, with all of their processing power, they’re able to more quickly highlight or find patterns in big data that would have otherwise been missed by human beings. Machine learning is a tool that can be used to enhance humans’ abilities to solve problems and make informed inferences on a wide range of problems, much wider than financial services for example helping diagnose diseases to coming up with solutions for global climate change. [more]
May 13, 2020
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After shrugging off a historic plunge in April employment, market participants will likely need to digest further record-setting monthly declines in core CPI inflation as well as April retail sales and industrial production. However, with financial markets seemingly numb to the bad data news, Fed Chair Powell's appearance on Wednesday may overshadow what is likely to be epic weakness in this week's economic data. [more]
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