job openings is above the national average.

She worked in agricultural marketing until about a decade ago, when she decided to stay home with her children. When she started looking for a job again, she found nothing comparable available in the region, and she has been reluctant to switch fields while the family can get by on her husband’s income.

Increasingly, though, she is open to becoming a paralegal, or even working in restaurants, where wages have risen 18.6 percent — not adjusted for inflation — since the beginning of the pandemic.

“I would start bartending as well, or even going back to being wait staff, because there’s something appealing about just showing up, doing a thing, and leaving,” said Ms. Buckley, who is 52. “Everything’s on the table.”

Ben Casselman contributed reporting.

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If the Economy Is Shaky, Why Are Company Profits Still Strong?

In its earnings report, Ally Bank, a big auto loan maker, provided data on past-due auto loans in the second quarter for borrowers at a range of income levels. Past-due loans were either at or close to prepandemic levels for borrowers with lower incomes.

Ally declined to provide the same data for earlier quarters, making it impossible to know how quickly past-due loans might have risen. On its earnings call, Jenn LaClair, Ally’s chief financial officer, said, “We have continued to invest in talent and technology to enhance our servicing and collection capabilities and remain confident in our ability to effectively manage credit in a variety of environments.”

Some analysts think the pullback in spending could spread to wealthier households.

“You’re going to see it go up the income scale as the year unfolds with people sitting there, saying, ‘I’ll go without rather than spend this much on that’ or ‘I’ll trade down to something more affordable,’” said Mr. O’Rourke, the JonesTrading strategist. He added that he was waiting for earnings from Macy’s and Nordstrom, which are scheduled to report in August, to see if that was happening.

The concern is that the heavy summer spending that has recently bolstered the earnings of the hospitality industries and the airlines is not sustainable. “There’s a faction of the market that’s quite convinced that when we get to the fall and the bills from the summer spending come home to roost, the consumer will be in a much trickier spot,” Mr. Barnhurst of PGIM said.

An exchange this earnings season reveals how chief executives and companies can keep the economy going, even when they fear that a downturn may be at hand.

Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, warned in May that storm clouds were gathering over the economy. On JPMorgan’s second-quarter earnings call, Mike Mayo, an analyst at Wells Fargo, asked Mr. Dimon why the bank had committed to investing such large sums this year if things could turn dire.

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Portugal Construction Equipment Market Report 2022: Strategic Assessment and Forecasts to 2028 – ResearchAndMarkets.com

DUBLIN–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The “Portugal Construction Equipment Market – Strategic Assessment and Forecast 2022-2028” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.

Government investment in infrastructure, real estate & transport industries under National Development Plan 2030 drives the demand for construction equipment in Portugal.

The Earthmoving segment has the largest share of Portugal’s Construction equipment. The excavators held the largest share in the earthmoving segment in 2021. The growth in infrastructure investment under the national development plan 2030. The surge in civil engineering & housing projects in 2021 is expected to support the demand for excavators.

In 2021, Portugal’s government increased the public & transport infrastructure investment. The government has also shifted its focus on renewable energy resources and planned to invest $26.2 billion to upgrade the renewable energy industry in the next 10 years.

The rise in Government investment in warehouse & logistics infrastructure supports the country’s logistics & E-commerce industry growth in 2021. The surge in construction, renewable energy projects & growth in the E-commerce industry positively impact the demand for construction equipment in Portugal.

In 2021, Portugal’s recycling and waste management activities increased by 6.4%. The recycling activities is expected to grow in 2022 as the government aims to recycle 65% of waste by 2035, so demand for medium-size excavator having light weight & high swing speed are growing in recent times in the market, which is most suitable for recycling activities.

Growth in Construction, Renewable & Logistics Industries Drives the Economic Recovery

In 2020, Portugal’s economy contracted by 7.6% due to a severe decline in tourism & exports caused by the government’s lockdown measures. Construction & Manufacturing industry declined by 3.9% & 10.9% respectively.

The country’s economy slightly grew by 4% in 2021 due to increased government infrastructure investment and resilient construction industry performance. The real estate & housing industry witnessed growth in 2021, and the country’s export increased by 8.1% due to a surge in foreign demand. According to European Commission, Portugal’s economy is expected to grow by 5.8% in 2022. European Union granted $14.8 billion under Portugal’s Recovery & Resilience Plan. The government also announced an investment of $43.5 billion for infrastructure development across the country in 2021.

Expected Growth in FDI Inflow in Renewable Energy Sectors of Northern & Alentejo Region

Foreign direct investment in 2021 was increased by 38%. The manufacturing & service industries attracted maximum FDI inflow in 2021. The Northern & Lisbon Region of the country attracted more than 80% of FDI inflow. European countries like France, Germany & UK were some investors in Portugal’s economy in 2021. High growth in renewable energy sectors is expected in 2022 due to various ongoing solar projects in Porto & Mertola City of the northern & Alentejo region, respectively.

Investment In Public Infrastructure & Logistic Industry

Portugal’s government announced in 2021 to invest $45.1 billion in public infrastructure, including a high-speed railways link between Lisbon & Porto cities. This project is estimated to cost $ 4.7 billion and is expected to be completed by 2030. The government investments focused on the country’s transport & energy sectors. $22.7 billion was allocated for transport projects, and $13.7 billion was directed toward clean energy projects.

In 2022, public infrastructure projects are in progress, funded by the national budget, European Union funds, & private investment. European Union granted $14.5 billion under PRR (Portugal Recovery Resilience) plan in the second half of 2021. The construction of residential buildings is expected to grow by 5.5%, maintaining a competitive position in the real estate market. Civil engineering, which is expected to be the most dynamic segment in 2022, is expected to grow by 7.5%.

The surge in government investment in developing logistics infrastructure, the growing E-commerce sector, and rising exports positively impact Portugal’s logistics & warehousing market. The government is investing in upgrading transport infrastructure and expanding major ports such as Leixos & Sines in 2022. Portugal’s exports are expected to grow by 22% in 2022.

Shifting of Focus Towards Renewable Energy Resources

Portugal aimed to increase its renewable energy production from 20% in 2021 to 80% by 2026. In 2021, Portugal’s government planned to shift away from fossil fuel to renewable energy sources such as wind, solar & hydro. The government planned to invest $26.2 billion to upgrade the renewable energy industry in the next 10 years. The country has committed to becoming carbon natural by 2050 and producing electricity using renewable energy resources. Recently in 2022, Portugal closed its two-coal fire plant and replaced it with 7.3 GW of hydroelectric & 5.6 GW of the onshore wind park, which fulfilled ~83% of the total capacity of coal fire plants in the region.

According to Portugal’s government, Photovoltaic solar energy had tremendous potential as it grew by more than 20% in 2021. The installed capacity of photovoltaic solar was 7,359 MW in 2021 and is expected to grow sharply in 2022 due to increasing government focus and investment.

Anti-Mining Protest Against Lithium Extraction & Rising Building Material & Labour Costs Are Major Challenges

Many environmentalists are against it as it can increase soil pollution and deforestation and can hamper the ecosystem. Anti-mining protests are observed in, especially in Northern & southern parts of the country where the Lithium mines are majorly present. The country’s environmental association wants the government should make environmental assessments & study the impact of lithium exploration on the environment. Three major Lithium extraction projects in 2022 are hampered due to local protests of villagers & environmentalists in Minas do Barroso (Boticas), Angela (Covilha & Fundao) & Romano (Montalegre) regions.

Instituto Nacional de Estatistica (INE) states that new housing construction costs will increase by 7% in 2021. The increase in the price of materials and cost of labor triggered the overall increase in the price of new houses in the Portugal market. In 2021, the price of building materials and labor rose by 8% & 5.1%, respectively.

In 2022, the building material & commodities prices increased by 18% due to a mismatch of demand and supply. Steel concrete rods increased by 54%, aluminum (61%) & Copper (47%) which is expected to have an adverse impact on the demand for new housing in the country.

Electric Equipment & Medium Size Excavators Are Gaining

Environmentalists are suggesting the government study the environmental impact of Lithium extraction. Therefore, Portugal Government introduced green mining technology. Green mining focuses on reducing carbon emissions during extraction, resulting in low environmental impact. Green mining can trigger the demand for electric construction equipment in Portugal.

Portugal’s government focused on recycling and waste management processes in 2021. The recycling of packaging increased by 6.4% in 2021 compared to 2020. Portugal government aims to increase recycle target by 55% in 2025,60% by 2030 & 65% by 2035. Government has recycling plants in the Lisbon & Porto region of the country. With the rise of recycling & waste management activities across the region, the demand for medium-sized excavators increased in 2021. Hitachi Construction Machinery (HCE) introduced the ZX300LCN-6 excavator in the Portugal market for recycling work.

VENDOR LANDSCAPE

Key Vendors

Other Prominent Vendors

Distributors Profiles

For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/h05fna

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Corvias Invests $92M to Improve Military Housing at Fort Polk U.S. Army Installation

FORT POLK, La.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Corvias will deliver more than $92M worth of housing upgrades to U.S. Army military housing at Fort Polk by 2025 to continue to enhance the living experience for military families. Approximately 140 homes will undergo a complete home renovation, roughly 1,000 homes will benefit from exterior renovations and 153 homes already received geothermal heat pumps on behalf Corvias’ Polk Communities partnership with the U.S. Army.

Corvias recently completed a Phase I, $15M development plan at Fort Polk that repaired or replaced more than 2,300 roofs, painted approximately 1,000 homes and replaced nearly 1,000 gutters in the Dogwood Terrace and Maple Terrace neighborhoods. Fort Polk will benefit from an additional $77M investment by Corvias as part of Phase II of the project, which has already begun.

“The continued re-investment into our Fort Polk community remains a priority,” said Pete Sims, managing director at Corvias. “We believe that having a steady focus on investing in back-to-back development plans allows us to consistently improve the on-post housing experience and remain the top choice for housing when families receive a Permanent Change of Station to Fort Polk.”

In Phase II, 140 homes undergoing a renovation will receive updated kitchens that will feature new flooring, energy-efficient appliances, modern countertops, soft-close cabinets, under-cabinet lighting and new light fixtures. Corvias will renovate these Palmetto and Maple Terrace homes as they become available and final materials used in the renovations may vary based on availability.

The investment also includes the final 153 on-post homes that received new geothermal heat pumps, completing the 2019 effort to replace geothermal heat pumps in all Fort Polk homes. The savings from the energy-efficient geothermal heat pumps will be reinvested into Fort Polk housing for additional capital, home and roadway improvements.

The scope for this second phase of development work also includes demolishing more than 45 homes; renovating the exterior of nearly 1,000 homes, including exterior paint, trim and gutters; incorporating grading improvements to enhance drainage; and repairing carports on approximately 100 homes. These combined changes are part of the overall modernization of on-post housing.

Corvias’ 50-year partnership with Fort Polk is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI), which leverages private-sector capital and expertise to reverse the military’s housing shortage. This is done by expanding and modernizing housing with predictable, stable, long-term operating costs and performance. Corvias’ partnership with Fort Polk includes the management of more than 3,600 homes, supporting an average of 732 direct annual jobs, and generating approximately $133M in total tax revenues for the state of Louisiana.

About Corvias and the Military Housing Privatization Initiative

Corvias is a partner to the U.S. Army as part of the U.S. Department of Defense Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI) to revitalize, operate and maintain on-base military family housing. MHPI has enabled renovations, new construction and water and energy-saving initiatives, including the largest solar project in Kansas at the Fort Riley military housing community, which is part of Corvias’ partnership with the Army. In 2019, Corvias developed a $325 million Solutions Investment for its Department of Defense portfolio to fund strategic modernization and resiliency improvements to its U.S. Army base housing infrastructure.

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Unilever ups sales guidance after price hikes help it beat forecast

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  • Turnover up 14.9%
  • Peak inflation expected in H2 -CFO
  • Future of Ben & Jerry’s is as part of Unilever -CEO
  • Shares rise as much as 3.2%

LONDON, July 26 (Reuters) – Unilever Plc (ULVR.L) raised its full-year sales guidance after beating first-half underlying sales forecasts as the maker of Dove soap and Knorr stock cubes hiked prices to counter soaring costs, lifting its shares on Tuesday.

One of the biggest consumer companies in the world, with more than 400 brands ranging from detergent to ice cream, Unilever’s costs have surged since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic created global supply chain logjams.

War in Ukraine has since boosted energy costs and sent prices of raw materials such as wheat, sunflower oil and pulp used in packaging to record highs. Unilever said it sees net material inflation at about 4.6 billion euros this year, including a 2.6 billion euro hit in the second half.

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Unilever’s first-half operating profit margin fell to 17% from 18.8% a year earlier, even as Unilever raised prices by 9.8%.

The price hikes come despite retailers pushing back against consumer product suppliers, worried about ceding margins and alienating shoppers.

U.S. giant Walmart Inc (WMT.N), the world’s biggest retailer, on Monday slashed its profit forecast as surging prices for food and fuel prompted customers to cut back on spending.

“We did see their news this morning, but I think there are many, many aspects to that don’t fully connect with Unilever,” the British firm’s chief financial officer Graeme Pitkethly said on a call with journalists, noting that Walmart’s announcement was related more to general merchandise and clothing, and that inflation would vary by region.

However, Pitkethly added: “We expect peak inflation to come in the second half of the year. I don’t think we’ll be able to catch up in the current quarter.”

“We’re not going to go back to the previous low inflation environment – we’re going to be stuck in this environment for a significant amount of time,” said Andy Searle, a partner at consultancy Alix Partners.

SALES OUTLOOK RAISED

Unilever this year made room on its board for activist investor Nelson Peltz, whose Trian investment vehicle had built up a 1.5% stake as of last month.

Peltz “is making a very constructive contribution as a board member,” CEO Alan Jope said on a call with journalists but he declined to elaborate.

Unilever logo is seen on a Dove soap box in this illustration taken on January 17, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Underlying sales grew 8.1%, beating analyst expectations of 7.2% growth, according to a company-provided consensus for the half to June 30.

Unilever said Tuesday it now expects to beat its previous forecast for full-year underlying sales growth of 4.5% to 6.5%.

Bernstein analysts in a note described the results as “good”, with pricing better than expected and volumes in line, boding well for the company’s ability to keep investing in growth.

Investors cheered the results, with Unilever shares rising almost 3.2% at their high. The stock was up 2.0% as of 1019 GMT, still among the top gainers on the FTSE 100 (.FTSE) index.

“Underlying sales growth of 8.1% was driven by strong pricing to mitigate input cost inflation, which, as expected, had some impact on volume,” Jope said. “The challenges of inflation persist and the global macroeconomic outlook is uncertain.”

Its half-year turnover rose 14.9% to 29.6 billion euros ($30.25 billion) even as sales volumes declined by 1.6%.

CFO Pitkethly said Unilever had raised spending on advertising and branded marketing by 200 million euros in the first half to prevent shoppers from trading down to private label products.

The company kept its quarterly dividend steady at 0.4268 euro per share and said it had completed a 750 million euro share buyback tranche on July 22, part of a 3 billion euro plan announced last year.

Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli (LISN.S) on Tuesday also raised its sales guidance after its first-half net profit jumped 36%. read more

Unilever, which owns Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s, has struggled over the past year to keep the ice cream maker’s independent board from publicly voicing its opinions about political matters.

This month, Ben & Jerry’s sued parent Unilever to block the sale of its Israeli business to a local licensee, saying it was inconsistent with its values to sell its ice cream in the occupied West Bank.

“The long-term future of Ben & Jerry’s is squarely as part of Unilever,” Jope said, adding that “there is plenty for Ben & Jerry’s to get their teeth into in their social justice mission without straying into geopolitics.”

($1 = 0.9787 euros)

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Reporting by Richa Naidu; editing by Jason Neely

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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How Mark Zuckerberg Is Leading Meta Into Its Next Phase

SAN FRANCISCO — Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chief executive of the company formerly known as Facebook, called his top lieutenants for the social network to a last-minute meeting in the San Francisco Bay Area this month. On the agenda: a “work-athon” to discuss the road map for improving the main Facebook app, including a revamp that would change how users browse the service.

For weeks beforehand, Mr. Zuckerberg had sent his executives messages about the overhaul, pressing them to increase the velocity and execution of their work, people with knowledge of the matter said. Some executives — who had to read a 122-page slide deck about the changes — were beginning to sweat at the unusual level of intensity, they said.

Facebook’s leaders flew in from around the world for the summit, the people said, and Mr. Zuckerberg and the group pored over each slide. Within days, the team unveiled an update to the Facebook app to better compete with a top rival, TikTok.

trimmed perks, reshuffled his leadership team and made it clear he would cut low-performing employees. Those who are not on board are welcome to leave, he has said. Managers have sent out memos to convey the seriousness of the approach — one, which was shared with The New York Times, had the title “Operating With Increased Intensity.”

the so-called metaverse. Across Silicon Valley, he and other executives who built what many refer to as Web 2.0 — a more social, app-focused version of the internet — are rethinking and upending their original vision after their platforms were plagued by privacy stumbles, toxic content and misinformation.

The moment is reminiscent of other bet-the-company gambles, such as when Netflix killed off its DVD-mailing business last decade to focus on streaming. But Mr. Zuckerberg is making these moves as Meta’s back is against the wall. The company is staring into the barrel of a global recession. Competitors like TikTok, YouTube and Apple are bearing down.

And success is far from guaranteed. In recent months, Meta’s profits have fallen and revenue has slowed as the company has spent lavishly on the metaverse and as the economic slowdown has hurt its advertising business. Its stock has plunged.

“When Mark gets super focused on something, it becomes all hands on deck within the company,” said Katie Harbath, a former Facebook policy director and the founder of Anchor Change, a consulting firm that works on tech and democracy issues. “Teams will quickly drop other work to pivot to the issue at hand, and the pressure is intense to move fast to show progress.”

Andrew Bosworth, who is known as Boz, to chief technology officer, leading hardware efforts for the metaverse. He promoted other loyalists, too, including Javier Olivan, the new chief operating officer; Nick Clegg, who became president of global affairs; and Guy Rosen, who took on a new role of chief information security officer.

In June, Sheryl Sandberg, who was Mr. Zuckerberg’s No. 2 for 14 years, said she would step down this fall. While she spent more than a decade building Facebook’s advertising systems, she was less interested in doing the same for the metaverse, people familiar with her plans have said.

Mr. Zuckerberg has moved thousands of workers into different teams for the metaverse, training their focus on aspirational projects like hardware glasses, wearables and a new operating system for those devices.

“It’s an existential bet on where people over the next decade will connect, express and identify with one another,” said Matthew Ball, a longtime tech executive and the author of a book on the metaverse. “If you have the cash, the engineers, the users and the conviction to take a swing at that, then you should.”

But the efforts are far from cheap. Facebook’s Reality Labs division, which is building augmented and virtual reality products, has dragged down the company’s balance sheet; the hardware unit lost nearly $3 billion in the first quarter alone.

privacy changes from Apple that have hampered its ability to measure the effectiveness of ads on iPhones. TikTok, the Chinese-owned video app, has stolen young audiences from Meta’s core apps like Instagram and Facebook. These challenges are coinciding with a brutal macroeconomic environment, which has pushed Apple, Google, Microsoft and Twitter to freeze or slow hiring.

a memo last month, Chris Cox, Meta’s chief product officer, said the economic environment called for “leaner, meaner, better executing teams.”

In an employee meeting around the same time, Mr. Zuckerberg said he knew that not everyone would be on board for the changes. That was fine, he told employees.

“I think some of you might decide that this place isn’t for you, and that self-selection is OK with me,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here.”

Another memo circulated internally among workers this month was titled “Operating With Increased Intensity.” In the memo, a Meta vice president said managers should begin to “think about every person on their team and the value they are adding.”

“If a direct report is coasting or a low performer, they are not who we need; they are failing this company,” the memo said. “As a manager, you cannot allow someone to be net neutral or negative for Meta.”

investment priorities” for the company in the second half of this year.

other prototypes. Bloomberg reported earlier on the smart watch.

posted an update to his Facebook profile, noting some coming changes in the app. Facebook would start pushing people into a more video-heavy feed with more suggested content, emulating how TikTok operates.

Meta has been investing heavily in video and discovery, aiming to beef up its artificial intelligence and to improve “discovery algorithms” that suggest engaging content to users without them having to work to find it.

In the past, Facebook has tested major product updates with a few English-speaking audiences to see how they perform before rolling them out more widely. But, this time, the 2.93 billion people around the world who use the social networking app will receive the update simultaneously.

It is a sign, some Meta employees said, of just how much Mr. Zuckerberg means business.

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Introducing Homz: Innovative Platform Seeks to Build Attainable Housing Communities Across the U.S.

DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Homz today announced its launch as the first national housing company dedicated to building a portfolio of sustainable, wellness-focused communities centered around branded attainable housing across the U.S. Through its mixed-use master planned communities, Homz seeks to bring greater housing options to residents at more attainable prices that help to preserve or increase socioeconomic diversity while providing public access to vibrant, highly-amenitized urban environments.

Homz is led by veteran real estate and hospitality investors with decades of experience developing, owning and managing over $5 billion worth of assets. Leveraging this expertise, the team has established a vertically integrated platform that emulates the hospitality model, capable of efficiently delivering standardized housing and desirable public amenities at scale. Over the next five years, Homz seeks to break ground on 50 communities in secondary and tertiary markets across the U.S. that are seeing strong population and job growth, but struggle to develop enough new purpose-built housing supply to meet demand.

“We aim to fundamentally shift how rental housing is developed and branded, creating greater efficiencies that result in attainably-priced homes and a viable solution for the housing crises plaguing markets across the world,” said Dipika Patel, Managing Director of Homz. “Our triple bottom line approach focuses on sustainable development, placemaking and public amenities, allowing us to responsibly deliver the highly-amenitized lifestyle residents seek at attractive price points while creating public value that draws incentives from local governments.”

Each Homz community will feature four multifamily brands – UP, 24, NJOY and LYF – that are designed to meet renters at each stage of their lives, along with a selection of build-to-rent single-family homes. The design of these properties will be standardized so as to be easily replicable and identifiable across markets. UP and 24 target value seekers, while NJOY and LYF offer larger floorplans to accommodate roommates and growing families. By offering greater housing optionality, Homz communities are positioned to attract the diverse, highly talented work forces that meaningfully contribute to the growth and development of their local economies.

Alongside Homz’s diverse housing options, the company intends to introduce 54 publicly available amenities, including clubhouses, pools, athletic fields, playgrounds, urban farms, Miyawaki forests and more, that are designed to foster deeper senses of wellness and satisfaction among residents and their neighbors in the community. These amenities create dynamic, vibrant neighborhoods and lifestyles that bring people together and draw visitors and business from within and outside the community. As part of the master plan, each community could also include hospitality, retail and office components.

Homz expects to invest between $140 million and $170 million in each community and will secure financing from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The company will also work in partnership with municipalities on incentives that make it possible to develop these communities. Homz will hold each investment for approximately 25 years, creating a close alignment of interests with each city. It is designing these communities with ESG and sustainability in mind, and each property is being developed to meet the requirements of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing initiative.

“We’ve spent years studying the market opportunity and refining our business model, and we have made significant investments to build out the infrastructure needed to advance our objectives,” said Lakshmi Narayanan, Managing Director of Homz. “We have created a business model that is fundamentally different from anything that exists in the market, and we believe it has significant potential as a viable solution for the housing challenges many markets face in the U.S. and abroad. What we intend to create is not only an attractive living environment, but an experience that is consistent across each destination we develop.”

Patel is a seasoned real estate and hospitality executive with more than two decades of investment and operational expertise. She previously served as President and CEO of Hayden Holdings, a hospitality investment and management company with real estate assets valued at more than $250 million. Prior to her real estate and hospitality career, Patel spent nearly 15 years on Wall Street at investment banks including Citigroup and Bank of America. Narayanan is an impact investor and serial entrepreneur with experience building businesses and investing in real estate and startups in the U.S., Asia, Europe and the Middle East. He has built a strong global network and serves as a Certified Senior Executive Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

About Homz

Homz is the first national housing company dedicated to building a portfolio of sustainable, wellness-focused communities centered around branded attainable housing in key markets across the U.S. Homz looks to develop communities that bring greater housing options to residents at more attainable prices, helping to preserve or increase socioeconomic diversity while providing public access to vibrant, highly-amenitized urban environments. Homz’s mission is to create a better living world with integrated communities that support more meaningful connections between individuals and their surroundings. For more information, please visit www.homzglobal.com.

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Word of Trump Media Deal Is Said to Have Leaked Months in Advance

Months before former President Donald J. Trump’s social media company unveiled an agreement to raise hundreds of millions of dollars last fall, word of the deal leaked to an obscure Miami investment firm, whose executives began plotting ways to make money off the imminent transaction, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The deal — in which a so-called special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, would merge with Mr. Trump’s fledgling media business — was announced in October. It sent shares of the SPAC soaring.

Employees at the Miami investment firm, Rocket One Capital, had learned of the pending deal over the summer, long before it was announced, according to three people familiar with the firm’s internal discussions. Two of the people said that Rocket One officials at the time talked about ways to profit off the soon-to-be-announced transaction with Trump Media & Technology Group by investing in the SPAC, Digital World Acquisition Corporation.

a surge in trading in a type of security known as warrants, which entitled investors to buy shares of Digital World at a preset price in the future.

Federal prosecutors and regulators are now investigating the merger between Digital World and Trump Media, including the frenzied trading in the SPAC’s warrants, according to people familiar with the investigation and public disclosures. Digital World said in a recent regulatory filing that a federal grand jury in Manhattan had issued subpoenas seeking information about Rocket One, among other things.

The exact scope of the federal investigations remains unclear. Authorities have not accused anyone of wrongdoing, and representatives of Mr. Garelick and others denied doing anything improper.

A lawyer for Rocket One and its founder, Michael Shvartsman, denied that they had any advance knowledge of the merger between Digital World and Trump Media. He added that “any assertion otherwise is untrue.”

a recent news release that neither Mr. Trump nor Devin Nunes, the former California congressman who is the company’s chief executive, received grand jury subpoenas. (The release identified the men only by their job titles.)

The investigation into unusual trading in Digital World securities is the latest blow to Mr. Trump’s social media venture, which has struggled with technological problems and slow user growth.

Federal authorities are also investigating whether Digital World’s disclosures about the merger talks with Trump Media violated rules governing SPACs. And the Securities and Exchange Commission is considering whether to block the merger, according to regulatory filings by Digital World. If the deal doesn’t go through, it would deprive Trump Media of $1.3 billion.

There is scant public information about Rocket One, which has fewer than 10 employees and has made about 20 early-stage investments over the past decade, according to a review of archived web pages and an analysis by PitchBook, a data company. Rocket One disabled its website soon after its name appeared in a Digital World regulatory filing.

Two of the people familiar with Rocket One’s internal discussions said Mr. Garelick, a former Boston hedge fund manager who is now Rocket One’s chief strategy officer, mentioned the possible deal with Trump Media to some employees last summer. Around that time, a Rocket One employee was told to conduct a financial analysis of Digital World, including its warrants, one of the people said.

investigate whether the leaders of Digital World and Trump Media started negotiating a potential merger before Digital World sold shares through an initial public offering in September. At the time of Digital World’s initial public offering, the company said in public filings that it had not yet identified a merger target. But The New York Times previously reported that talks between Mr. Orlando and Trump Media officials were already underway.

previously reported that they were involved in some of the early talks with Mr. Orlando.

Mr. Moss and Mr. Litinsky, who at one time were senior executives with Trump Media, didn’t respond to requests for comment. Mr. Litinsky no longer works for Trump Media; Mr. Moss’s job status is unclear.

Securities regulators also have asked for information from Digital World about the role played by the SPAC’s financial adviser, Shanghai-based ARC Group, according to regulatory filings. Federal regulators previously have reprimanded ARC. In 2017, the S.E.C. stopped ARC’s executives from listing shares of three companies, citing “material misstatements” in their securities filings and a lack of cooperation from the executives.

Ben Protess contributed reporting. Susan C. Beachy contributed research.

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How Republican-led states are targeting Wall Street with ‘anti-woke’ laws

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WASHINGTON, July 6 (Reuters) – Republican-led states have unleashed a policy push to punish Wall Street for taking stances on gun control, climate change, diversity and other social issues, in a warning for companies that have waded in to fractious social debates.

Abortion rights are poised to be the next frontier.

This year there are at least 44 bills or new laws in 17 conservative-led states penalizing such company policies, compared with roughly a dozen such measures in 2021, according to a Reuters analysis of state legislative agendas, public documents and statements.

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While some of the individual moves have been reported, the scale and speed at which such “anti-woke” state laws and policies are ballooning and the challenges they are creating for Wall Street companies is detailed here for the first time.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “woke” as being aware of and actively attentive to issues of racial and social justice, but it is often used by conservatives to disparage progressive policies. The term has gained traction as America has become more politically polarized over issues from racial justice and LGBTQ rights to the environment and COVID-19 vaccines.

Reuters counted bills considered and state laws passed in 2021 and 2022, although some state officials are also using executive powers to punish Wall Street.

The growing restrictions show how America’s culture wars are creating new risks for some of the most high-profile U.S. companies, forcing them to balance pressure from workers and investors to take stances on hot-button issues with potential backlash from conservative policymakers.

West Virginia and Arkansas this year, for example, stopped using BlackRock Inc (BLK.N) for certain services, due to its climate stance, according to West Virginia’s Republican treasurer Riley Moore and Arkansas media reports.

In Texas, JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), Bank of America (BAC.N) and Goldman Sachs (GS.N) have been sidelined from the municipal bond market due to laws passed last year barring firms that “boycott” energy companies or “discriminate” against the firearms industry from doing new business with the state.

In many cases, the measures target a range of companies, restricting their ability to conduct state business. But financial institutions have been primary targets due to the pivotal roles they play in the economy and the early stances many took on such issues as fossil fuel and firearms financing.

Republicans say the policies of such companies deprive legitimate businesses of capital.

“They’re using the power of their capital to push their ideas and ideology down onto the rest of us,” said Moore. He spearheaded a law, passed in March, refusing business to banks that “boycott” fossil fuel companies and has rallied officials from 16 other states to promise to adopt similar policies. read more

With several major financial companies stepping in to cover travel costs for employees seeking abortions after the Supreme Court last month reversed federal abortion rights, the Republican push to sanction Wall Street for “woke” stances is likely to grow. read more

Republican Texas lawmaker Briscoe Cain said he plans legislation to outlaw such coverage and prohibit companies that provide it from receiving any Texas state business or contracts.

“No corporation doing business in Texas will be allowed to subsidize abortions or abortion travel in any manner,” Cain told Reuters in an email.

NO BOYCOTTS

The new curbs will make it harder for financial firms to do a range of state business, from bond underwriting to managing state funds, depository accounts and government credit cards, according to interviews with more than a dozen industry sources, bank lobbyists and lawyers.

Such contracts can be worth several million dollars each, public procurement data shows.

JPMorgan, for example, underwrote $3.2 billion worth of Texas muni bonds last year, compared with $210 million so far this year, Refinitiv data shows. Bank of America, which underwrote $3.7 billion in Texas muni bonds last year, has done none this year.

Some smaller firms, including Ramirez & Co Inc and Loop Capital Markets, meanwhile, have jumped more than 10 places so far this year in the Texas muni bond market bookrunner rankings, based on deal values.

To be sure, some Democratic-led states are also looking to tilt the scales. Washington state floated a “climate resiliency fee” for institutions that fund fossil fuel projects. California is considering a bill that would stop its pension plans, the country’s largest, from investing in fossil fuel companies.

But states led by Democrats are not pursuing as many punitive measures, according to the review and sources.

“We’re going to see a lot more of these statutes on one side of the coin or the other,” said John Crossley, a partner at K&L Gates who focuses on energy. “It’s going to make it more and more difficult for people to operate in these markets.”

Spokespeople for the above financial firms declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.

Financial firms say they aim to provide comprehensive healthcare benefits. They also argue government restrictions will drive up costs for Americans, and they dispute the characterization of their policies as boycotts.

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager and a frequent target of Republican attacks, for example, has told Texas officials that while it has joined various efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, it supports fossil fuel companies. read more

“The economy and financial system are best served when banks of all sizes can make their own banking and lending decisions about how to meet the needs of their communities based on their business model and risk tolerance,” said Joseph Pigg, senior vice president at the American Bankers Association.

ANTI-WOKE PUSH

The review shows “anti-woke” measures are gaining ground not only in traditional conservative strongholds such as Texas and Kentucky but also in so-called purple states – whose voters swing Democratic or Republican – such as Arizona and Ohio.

The issues such measures target are also mushrooming.

Guns and energy were the focus of the roughly dozen state laws and bills last year andof at least 30 legislative measures this year.

But this year there were also more than a dozen bills relating to social and other issues, including “divisive concepts” like critical race theory – an academic theory that racial bias is baked in to U.S. laws and institutions – mandatory COVID-19 vaccines, or the use of “social credit scores,” the Reuters analysis shows.

The latter is a theory that companies may take into account an individual’s political leanings when providing and pricing services.

In April, for example, Florida made it illegal for companies to require training that might make staff feel “guilt” or “anguish” because of past actions by members of the same race. Unveiling the bill, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis flagged Bank of America as one company conducting such “woke” training.

A bank spokesman said the materials were offered to hundreds of companies by a nonprofit and were not part of the bank’s training materials.

While the measures reviewed do not target corporate abortion policies, Cain said he expected other Republican-led states to pursue business restrictions on companies with such policies.

WALL STREET DIVISIONS

The financial industry is struggling to repel the onslaught, the sources said. Its trade groups are mainly registered to lobby the federal government, while state-based groups are not always aligned with Wall Street companies’ priorities.

Moore, for example, said West Virginia’s community banks supported his measures. The West Virginia Bankers Association declined to comment. The Texas Bankers Association said the group had not opposed the Texas curbs because its members were not in “consensus.”

Wall Street’s adversaries, on the other hand, are united.

Galvanized by what they say are efforts by Democrats in the federal government to push “woke” policies, oil and gas, firearms and conservative groups, including the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), are successfully pushing such curbs, according to industry sources and advocates. read more

“Banks should stay out of making policy choices,” said Lawrence Keane, general counsel at the NSSF, which advocated for the Texas law targeting lenders’ firearms policies.

The American Petroleum Institute, a major energy group, said it opposes discriminatory policies toward the industry.

Jason Isaac, a former Texas lawmaker who leads energy advocacy for the Texas Public Policy Foundation and helped craft the Texas fossil-fuel law, said he was discussing similar laws with other states, adding: “This woke political ideology will continue unless we get it in check.”

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Reporting by Pete Schroeder in Washington
Additional reporting by Chris Prentice in Washington and Ross Kerber in Boston
Editing by Michelle Price, Paritosh Bansal and Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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