Posted on

Stocks rally on record jobs gain, but bonds reflect concern that virus spread could slow hiring

Employees wearing protective masks and gloves prepare drinks at a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S., on Thursday, June 25, 2020.

Jayme Gershen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Stocks rallied on a much stronger-than-expected gain in hiring, but the bond market appears to be looking to the future and there are real doubts about whether the pace of job growth can be sustained if the coronavirus continues to spread.

June’s employment report Thursday showed a record gain of 4.8 million jobs, about 1.8 million more than expected. The unemployment rate also fell to 11.1% from 13.3% last month. Workers on temporary layoff fell to 10.6 million, down 4.8 million, on top of a decline of 2.7 million in May.

The Dow was up more than 200 points in morning trading, but was off its highs. The sectors that would do well in a reopening economy, like consumer discretionary, energy, financials, materials and industrials were leading the gains. The airline sector was up 1.8%.

The stock market largely looked beyond disappointing weekly jobless claims data, which was released at the same time Thursday morning. The claims data showed that about 19.3 million people are collecting ongoing unemployment benefits, a gain of 59,000. New claims totaled 1.4 million and were higher than expected.

“The equity market is breathing a sigh of relief. The sequential improvement in the month of June in the nonfarm payrolls number, combined with the excitement about vaccine news is a larger driver for equities than you can find in fixed income. It’s easier to move equities from here,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities. “There is pent-up demand that reacts to better news.”

He said bonds are driven more by the expectation that Fed policy will keep rates low for a long time.

There was just a small move higher in the 10-year Treasury yield, the benchmark that impacts mortgages and other rates. It briefly rose above 0.70% as stocks gained, but was at about 0.67% in late morning trading. Yields move opposite price, so good news on the economy can send yields higher. 

“We had that kind of knee-jerk move with stocks and since then, it’s been trading sideways,” said John Briggs, head of strategy at NatWest Markets.

The monthly jobs report reflects data collected in the week of June 12, while the continuing claims data is more current, reflecting last week’s activity.

“The second week of June might be the best week of reopenings nationally that there was … since then you had the re-imposition of lockdowns,” said Briggs.

Covid-19 cases picked up in states across the sunbelt, and some reopening activities were reversed while others were delayed across the U.S.  A record 50,000 new cases were reported in just a day.

“I think July is going to be the most important employment report. You had the quick snap back, but what kind of momentum is there behind it?” said Briggs.

In June, leisure and hospitality gained by 2.1 million jobs, about two-fifths of the total gain in nonfarm employment. Of that, food services and drinking places added 1.5 million.

Employment increased by 740,000 in the retail trade on top of 372,000 in May. Retail lost 2.4 million jobs in March and April. There were also 568,000 jobs added in education and health services in June, as doctors and dentists reopened their offices. 

Grant Thornton chief economist Diane Swonk noted that the biggest job gains were in the areas that were helped by the reopenings but are now most at risk as states shut down activities. For instance, New York and New Jersey, where the virus has been in retreat, curtailed plans for indoor dining because of the spread in other areas.

“It’s not the time to pop champagne corks. This is backward-looking data and many of these people could lose their jobs again in July,” she said.

Michael Gapen, Barclays chief U.S. economist, said the June jobs report was clearly a positive, indicating strong hiring as states reopened, but the signal in the claims data is unclear.

“What the report says is as states reopened in May and June, there was an awful lot of re-employment . From that point of view, it bodes well for the third quarter.,” he said. “There is a question of how durable this increase in employment will be. This is what we need to see, two more months of this, get another 8 to 10 million people reemployed in the services sector and get goods sector back to where it was before covid. It’s going to be hard to do given the outbreak in corona virus cases.”

Gapen and other economists expect the economy to bounce back in the third quarter, after an expected contraction of more than 30% in second quarter gross domestic product.

Gapen said he’s not sure what to make of the continued high number of claims and the rise in continuing claims.

“I don’t know what states are doing in terms of clearing the backlog. If I read it literally, it suggests the improvement in June employment is not going to continue. … We may just be in a period of time where claims are going to be elevated and employment is going to happen, and the backlog is why we’re going to be elevated. … If we’re employing this many people, you would expect it to show up in the claims data at some point,” he said.

Read More

Posted on

Advisors need to listen more to keep clients on board, study says

Bloom Productions

Financial advisors are largely an optimistic bunch when it comes to growing their practices, new research shows.

Yet they know they have some work to do to make that happen.

While most advisors expect growth in their assets under management to come primarily from new and existing clients rather than market returns, they also say their client-relationship skills need improvement, according to a suvey from Natixis Investment Managers.

“It’s about being stronger at actively listening and understanding what clients are really saying,” said Dave Goodsell, executive director of Natixis’ Center for Investor Insight. “You’d think if you do that, you’ll have clients with you for a longer period of time.”

More from FA Playbook:
Op-ed: All types of investors can improve their financial fortunes
Advisors guide clients through Covid-19 crisis
Op-ed: CARES Act lets you tap your 401(k). What to know first

The survey canvassed 300 U.S. financial professionals — wealth managers, registered investment advisors, financial planners, and wirehouse and independent broker-dealers — who collectively manage $28.9 billion in client assets. The research, done in March and April, is part of a larger global study of advisors.

The survey comes amid economic uncertainty springing from the coronavirus pandemic and anticipated continued volatility in the markets. While the stock market has recovered from its lows in late March, ongoing volatility is expected. So far this year, the S&P 500 index has lost about 5.7% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down roughly 11.4%.

In the U.S., surveyed advisors said they expect their managed assets to grow by 7.2% over one year and by annualized growth of 17.2% over the next three years. They expect the primary driver to come from new (89%) and existing (80%) clients. Market returns are cited at the top of the list by 55%.

So how do they think they need to improve their client relationships? Mostly by getting to know client family members and next-generation heirs (53%), followed by helping clients avoid emotional investment decisions and demonstrating value of advice beyond their portfolio (41%).

Those who say they successfully retain clients and expand those relationships point to regular communication (58%) as the top reason for their success, followed by getting to know clients on a personal level (57%) and building relationships with clients’ families (42%).

One way to reach other family members is to offer to help their children, Goodsell said. For example, college graduates could probably use some help, he said.

“Advisors could offer to help with how to manage debt, investing in a 401(k) and helping to explain the things that come into play as they transition to a job or career,” Goodsell said.

More than two-thirds of advisors surveyed said that failing to communicate in a way expected by clients is the biggest reason an investor would leave a financial advisor. Right behind that, 64% said a departure boils down to not listening to clients. About a quarter said clients leave their advisor due to not meeting portfolio-return expectations.

In addition to improving their client relationship skills, advisors also spend little time working on expanding their roster — just 9% in a typical week. While the task competes with other aspects of running their business, the more efficient an advisor can be with their practice management, the more time they free up to focus on growing their client roster.

And if they don’t?

“There’s risk that [competitors] will be accelerating their capabilities, and you may miss opportunities both for new clients and retaining clients, as well,” Goodsell said. “Getting to know them on a personal level can make a world of difference.”

Read More

Posted on

Space startup Momentus provides ‘last mile delivery’ for satellites launched on any rocket

An artist’s rendering of a Momentus Vigoride transfer vehicle deploying satellites in orbit.

Momentus

A space startup offering a “last mile delivery” service for spacecraft is continuing its deal spree this year, becoming an increasingly important player in the growing small satellite market.

Momentus, a Santa Clara, California-based company, has so far struck $40 million worth of customer contracts this year and announced on Thursday its latest deal with Dutch small satellite specialist ISILaunch. Its the eighth such deal Momentus has unveiled in 2020, with the company providing its orbit transfer services for ISILaunch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch in December.

The core of Momentus’ business is Vigoride, a simple vehicle that consists of frame, an engine, solar panels, avionics and a set of satellite deployers. The company calls it a transfer vehicle, akin to the delivery truck that would bring a package to its final destination after a large cargo aircraft delivered it to the airport. The Momentus transfer vehicle is especially important for satellites that hitch a ride on large rockets, an increasingly popular industry practice called ridesharing. Additionally, the company touts its transfer vehicles as adaptable to essentially any rocket available on the market.

The Momentus service essentially shuttles spacecraft from a rocket to each spacecraft’s intended final orbit, in what Momentus CEO Mikhail Kokorich explained as an “extremely cost efficient manner.”

“Vigoride is especially designed to use big rockets to distribute satellites in low Earth orbit,” Kokorich told CNBC. “From a single launch we can drop into multiple orbits, and just change altitude or change inclination, dropping you in several spots. Basically increasing the flexibility of a big rocket launch dramatically.”

The company launched its first demonstration mission last year, which proved that the key part of its transfer vehicle — the water plasma engines — worked. It has the first two missions for Vigoride lined up this year, currently slated for launch on a Russian Soyuz rocket in the third quarter and a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in December. 

Momentus has raised nearly $50 million in capital to date, from investors including Prime Movers Lab and Y Combinator. It’s grown to more than 60 employees quickly after its founding in 2017.

Although its water plasma engines are key to Momentus’ business, Kokorich emphasized his operation is “not a propulsion company.”

“We’re a delivery service,” Kokorich said. 

Momentus pointed to market analysis by consulting firm Northern Sky Research, which issued a report in November 2019 that gave a very bullish forecast on the market for small satellites. The number of satellites launched each year has steadily grown, the report found, from 70 satellites in 2010 to 493 satellites in 2019 — and Northern Sky expects that to reach over 1000 a year by 2030.

Likewise, the report found that Momentus’ initial target market — small satellites launched to low Earth orbit, one of the most common destinations — would grow from less than $250 million in 2018 to about $750 million in 2020 and nearly $1.5 billion by 2024. That’s why Kokorich plans for Vigoride to be just the first of an increasingly more capable fleet of transfer vehicles that Momentus offers.

“In the big picture, we would like to build the infrastructure for industrialization beyond Earth in space,” Kokorich  said. “The first step is developing a last mile delivery in space transportation.”

A line-up of Momentus’ planned transfer vehicles.

Momentus

“As a next step we need in our vehicles to deliver like stuff to high orbits, like other activities that can be an extremely unique service,” Kokorich added.

He believes the cost of transportation “is always the enabler of any industry.” The cost of launching satellites has steadily dropped, which Kokorich attributed to the competitive pricing that SpaceX has introduced with its largely reusable rockets.

“The larger the rocket you have, the more efficient you can launch the payload, because the proportion of the rocket mass is less,” Kokorich explained. “And the side of rocket reusability as a technology is pushing the price for rocket launches much lower.”

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the U.S. Air Force’s first GPS III satellite.

SpaceX

The market for Momentus’ transfer vehicles comes into play due to satellites becoming smaller and smaller, but needing a way to get from the orbit the rocket drops them off in to the orbit the spacecraft will operate in. Kokorich noted that small spacecraft have also created a market for smaller rockets, such as those by Rocket LabVirgin OrbitAstra, and Relativitiy

“That service is really valuable but it’s kind of like a private jet, when you need to be going very fast. The small rockets will forever be more expensive than large rockets,” Kokorich said.

Momentus is therefore focused on those rideshare customers, who want a cheap way to get to orbit but need a boost to get to the precise destination. 

“It’s essentially created the need for last mile delivery, so [small satellites can use big rockets. It will not substitute in all cases small rockets, because sometimes you need to fly fast. But if you don’t need to fly fast, if you just need to deploy your stuff, you can do this much cheaper with Vigoride,” Kokorich said.

Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.

Read More

Posted on

Casinos are seeing strong sales despite social distancing, Circa Resort CEO says

Las Vegas casino owner Derek Stevens said Thursday that although social distancing protocols are limiting the amount of people inside his casinos, sales in June were higher than a year ago. 

“What’s really surprising is actually our slot numbers, our table numbers, are up, and in some areas up dramatically,” Stevens said on CNBC’ “Squawk Alley.” “The spend per person is up far more than what we would expect.”

Stevens is owner and CEO of Circa Resort & Casino, Golden Gate Hotel & Casino and The D Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. He said he expects other casinos will see similar trends.

Casinos in Nevada opened June 4, which means sales were better with three less days to bring in revenue.

Stevens said there was an initial surge in casino visitors due to pent-up demand when the casinos originally opened in June, but numbers have remained strong.

Part of his goal is to ensure that the casinos are doing everything they can to keep patrons safe from coronavirus. He noted temperature checks are taken upon entering the casino and everyone is required to wear a mask.

Covid-19 cases have been rising in Nevada in recent weeks. The trend is also being seen in other U.S. states as governments move to reopen local economies. On Wednesday, the U.S. reported moer than 50,000 new coronavirus cases, setting a new record for single-day increases. 

Initially, there was some hesitance among casino visitors to wear a mask, but as society has changed, customers have “evolved” and it is no longer a big issue, Stevens said. 

Still, amid concerns over rising coronavirus infections across the U.S., Stevens said his team is prepared to make changes to their current protocol if needed.

“The spend is there,” Stevens said. “We’re just doing everything we can to make sure people have a great experience where they can stay safe and have some fun.”

Read More

Posted on

Stocks making the biggest moves midday: Tesla, Avis Budget, Lemonade, Spotify & more

A worker in a face mask walks past gates at the Tesla Gigafactory in Shanghai, China, on Feb. 17, 2020.

Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Here are the companies making headlines in midday trading.

Tesla – Shares of the electric vehicle maker jumped more than 6%, hitting a new all-time high, after the company said it delivered about 90,650 vehicles in the second quarter. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected 72,000 deliveries. Shares of Tesla have gained 185% this year.

Lemonade — Shares of the insurance tech company saw a major pop for its initial public offering, jumping 80% in the opening minutes. The stock was priced at $29 per share. The company is a member of the 2020 class of CNBC Disruptor 50

Avis Budget — The rental car stock climbed nearly 17% after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to overweight from equal weight. The firm said in a note that the company could benefit from rebounding used car prices and gain market share from other travel companies, including bankrupt competitor Hertz. 

Spotify — Shares of the music streaming company jumped more than 4% on a report Spotify is considering adding video streaming features to its service to compete with Google’s YouTube, according to a report in online tech publication “Tech The Lead.”

Facebook — The social media stock fell more than 1% as it faces continued pressure from advertisers about its content moderation. The company also announced that it is shutting down two of its less popular apps. 

Akamai — Shares of the cloud technology company rose 6.7% after the stock was upgraded to outperform from market perform by Cowen, according to FactSet. The stock is now up more than 30% year to date. 

DocuSign — The work-from-home stock rose 6.6% after RBC Capital Markets increased its price target on the stock to $210 per share from $170, according to FactSet. The firm also added the stock to its Top 30 Global Ideas list, saying it has a “large, sustainable leadership position” in the industry. 

Noble Energy, Apache — Energy stocks were some of the best performers in the S&P 500 on Thursday morning as oil futures rose slightly and the Labor Department said the U.S. economy added more jobs than in expected in June. Noble Energy shares climbed 6.3%, while Apache gained 4%. 

Nu Skin Enterprises — Shares of the health products company soared more than 25% after Nu Skin issued improved guidance for the second quarter. The company said it expects to report revenue of just over $600 million, more than $50 million above the top of the prior guidance range.

Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.

Read More

Posted on

Fiat Chrysler unveils Dodge Durango Hellcat as ‘most powerful SUV ever’

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

Fiat Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler is purifying its Dodge performance brand by increasing the offerings of its muscle cars and Durango SUV, while discontinuing a minivan and crossover for the 2021 model year.

The automaker unveiled Thursday a new “Hellcat SRT” model of the 2021 Durango SUV, which it is calling “the most powerful SUV ever.” The high-performance variant features a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi Hellcat V8 engine that will deliver 710 horsepower and 645 pound-feet of torque.

“We are a full, distilled performance brand,” Tim Kuniskis, head of Fiat Chrysler’s passenger cars division in North America, told CNBC. “To do that, it was the perfect time to bring the most powerful versions of all of them. It just kind of made sense to do them all at the same time” with the discontinuation of the other models.

Production of the Dodge Journey crossover and Dodge Grand Caravan minivan will end later this year. The vehicles were expected to be discontinued years ago. The automaker kept producing them as sales remained relatively steady largely because of their lower costs compared with other competitors and similar vehicles offered by other Fiat Chrysler brands.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

Fiat Chrysler

The automaker, according to Kuniskis, is expected to produce fewer than 2,000 of the 2021 Durango Hellcat models, which will go into production early next year. The high-performance SUV will only be offered one model year due to emissions regulations that begin the following year, he said.

The automaker currently offers Hellcat models for its Dodge Challenger and Charger cars. While such models represent a small amount of sales for the brand, they are viewed as “halo,” or “hype,” products that attract buyers to the overall brand. They have assisted Dodge in keeping relatively stable sales amid newer competitors and as consumer preference moves to crossovers.

 “Our vision was very clear,” Kuniskis said regarding the new SUV. “Our goal was to deliver a Dodge: Big, bold and aggressive. A three-row, supercharged Hemi muscle car.”

Fiat Chrysler has sold more than 40,000 Hellcat models since the models launched for the 2015 model year.

The new Hellcat model is part of an updated lineup for the 2021 Durango, which will begin arriving in showrooms this fall. Changes include exterior styling tweaks and significant upgrades to the interior, including a redesigned driver cockpit and available next-generation infotainment system with a 10.1-inch touch screen.

Dodge SRT performance lineup: Challenger SRT Super Stock, Durango SRT Hellcat and Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye

Fiat Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler also introduced Thursday new performance models of the Charger and Challenger for the 2021 model year, including a “Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye” model capable of nearly 800 horsepower and 0 to 60 mph in around 3.5 seconds.

“We’re giving our patient, engaged and very vocal performance enthusiasts exactly what they want: more performance,” Kuniskis told reporters during a media briefing.

Read More

Posted on

Kevin O’Leary: This is the biggest money mistake people make (and what to do instead)

According to Kevin O’Leary, people spend too much money on things they don’t need – like a $2.50 cup of coffee “is such a waste of money,” he says.

The smart thing to do with your money is invest it, according to O’Leary.

In fact, “the biggest money mistake people make today is they don’t put aside at least $100 a week towards their retirement,” he tells CNBC Make It. “That’s the minimum.”

While that might seem like a lot to some, O’Leary believes with the right plan, “everybody can save $100 a week.”

“If you’ve got a job, and you’re getting paid $30,000, $40,000 [or] $50,000 – if you are making that, or even less, don’t spend on something you don’t need” and invest instead, he says.

“The truth is, there is a lot of crap you don’t need,” O’Leary previously told CNBC Make It.

“What I’ve learned to do, and what has really helped me in maintaining growth in my own personal investing is, anytime I pick up something I’m going to buy, I say to myself, ‘Do I really need this?’ Because if I don’t buy it, the money is going to be invested and make money every year for me while I’m sleeping.”

And “the way to invest is to take $100 a week and put it to work,” O’Leary says. 

To get started, O’Leary recommends using an investing app.

“There’s all kinds of apps out there that help you do it right on your phone. The one that I got involved in, and I’ve heavily invested in, is called Beanstox,” he said. Beanstox allows users to invest small amounts of money – even a few dollars – to buy fractional shares of stocks. (There is a subscription cost of $5 per month.) There are also other similar apps, like the popular Robinhood. And there are robo-advisors for beginners that provide an automated investment portfolio, like Betterment, Fidelity Go and Vanguard, also for a fee.

O’Leary recommends investing the $100 into a “diversified ETF, and let the market do its thing.” (O’Leary is chairman of his own ETF company, O’Shares ETF Investment.)

An ETF, or exchange-traded fund, is a type of security that tracks an index, like the S&P 500, for example. They are “considered a lower-risk investment because of the increased diversification by holding multiple stocks or other securities,” CNBC recently reported. “Some also offer full transparency by publishing their holdings each day… [and] are typically low cost.” (Like any stock market investment, there are risks attached to ETF investing.)

If you invest $100 a week, “by the time you retire, in your mid 60s, you should have about $1.2 million sitting there,” O’Leary estimates.

Of course, the amount you have in your 60s depends on when you start investing. If you earn a 9% rate of return, which is the average annualized total return for the S&P 500 index over the last 90 years or so, it would take 35 years to reach about $1.17 million. However, if you earned a more modest 6% rate of return, it would take about 46 years of investing $100 a week to reach about $1.21 million. Keep in mind that these numbers don’t account for variables that can affect wealth over several decades, from windfalls and emergencies to rises or dips in the market, and most people diversify their retirement portfolio.

“I’m big on this financial literacy. We teach everybody everything in high school, [but] we don’t teach them how to invest,” O’Leary says.

“That’s the big mistake [people] make – they don’t invest for their future.” 

Check out: The best credit cards of 2020 could earn you over $1,000 in 5 years

Don’t miss:

Read More

Posted on

FC Barcelona star and business partner want to create 100,000 Black millionaires through real estate investing

Martin Braithwaite #19 of Barcelona during the Barcelona V Real Sociedad, La Liga regular season match at Estadio Camp Nou on March 7th 2020 in Barcelona, Spain.

Tim Clayton | Corbis | Getty Images

International soccer star Martin Braithwaite and his business partner Philip Michael are on a mission to convert 100,000 Black women and millennials into millionaires through real estate investing. 

Braithwaite, a forward for FC Barcelona, and Michael are the founders of New York-based NYCE Companies, a real estate company that will offer shares of real estate investments through an IPO. Michael, who mainly runs the company as Braithwaite is mostly overseas, said he wants $1 billion in assets in five years.

“The overall vision is I want to help inspire and create 100,000 millionaires of color,” Michael, a Danish real estate investor, told CNBC. 

In April, NYCE filed for a $50 million real estate IPO, which will live on the Nasdaq through its marketplace services platform. Nasdaq’s platform allows the company’s like NYCE to offer real estate stock at low entry prices. NYCE plans to offer stock as little as $100 when its app launches in September. 

“It’s basically how Robinhood operates when you buy stock,” Michael said of his app, which will launch in September. “It’s the exact same way. That is the long-term vision.”

Investors can currently invest for a minimum of $500 via crowdfunding service Wefunder. The real estate trading platform will be operated by Nasdaq and software company Lex Markets Corp.

Michael, the author of “Real Estate Wealth Hacking: How to 10x Your Net Worth in 18 Months,” started the investing initiative to help combat racial inequality as the nation is still grieving from the murder of George Floyd on May 25. Police brutality, social injustice and disparities in Black communities’ income have been highlighted in the wake of Floyd’s death. 

“Obviously, racism exists, but in the long-run, the economic hierarchy has been historically inhabited by people of color,” Michael said in an interview with CNBC.

But millennials, in general, are also accumulating more debt from credit cards and student loans. According to Pew Research Center, the number of households with student loan debt doubled from 1998 to 2016. The median amount of loan debt millennials (defined as ages 23 to 38) carried was $19,000, significantly higher than Gen Xers’ balance of $12,800 at the same age.

Braithwaite, who had his $19 million buyout clause picked up by Barcelona in February, isn’t the first athlete using real estate to help Black communities overcome social inequity.

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith helps families obtain home ownership through Hurry Hope, a program funded through his Minority Entrepreneurship Institute capital fund. The Cowboys told CNBC he owns real estate properties in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Indiana, Cincinnati, and Atlanta. Smith said his real estate portfolio includes “multi-family town homes and apartments and complex offices.”

Braithwaite said he wants to “get more involved in real estate business because, in 10 years, I’ll be approaching the end of my career. In 10 years, we should be in a place that we can’t even imagine now, that’s our mentality.”

Investors have already purchased NYCE stock, taking advantage of real estate projects, including a high rise in Jersey City, NJ and property in Philadelphia near Temple University’s campus. The apartment complex, called “The Temple,” features virtual reality leasing, artificial intelligence VIP concierge, and facial recognition entry.

“The Temple” which is an apartment complex in Philadelphia.

Source: Designblendz

NYCE’s active real estate developments are currently valued at $57 million, according to Michael. If future properties are purchased and developed, reaching $1 billion in assets under management “will happen in the next 12 to 18 months,” Michael said.

“There are some deals and partnerships that we’ve cut that can allow that to happen,” added Michael. “Having the app and allowing people to buy into [properties] with us and continue the scale and grow together and creating a movement.”

Read More

Posted on

Jeffrey Epstein friend Ghislaine Maxwell arrested on child sex abuse conspiracy, perjury charges

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell attend de Grisogono Sponsors The 2005 Wall Street Concert Series Benefitting Wall Street Rising, with a Performance by Rod Stewart at Cipriani Wall Street on March 15, 2005 in New York City.

Joe Schildhorn | Patrick McMullan | Getty Images

The FBI arrested Jeffrey Epstein’s long-time friend Ghislaine Maxwell in New Hampshire on Thursday on federal charges of conspiring with him to sexually abuse children as young as 14, and for lying about her alleged conduct as his procurer.

The arrest of the wealthy British socialite following a six-count criminal indictment issued Monday in Manhattan federal court comes just days before the first anniversary of the now-dead Epstein’s arrest on child sex trafficking charges.

Prosecutors formally asked a judge Thursday detain the 58-year-old Maxwell without bail, and also said they are continuing to investigate the case.

Maxwell is “an extreme flight risk,” who faces the prospect of serving “many years in prison,” and has extensive international connections, citizenship in two foreign countries, three passports and large sums of money, prosecutors wrote in court filing.

Epstein, a 66-year-old financier and convicted sex offender who was a former friend of Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton and of Britain’s Prince Andrew, killed himself in a federal jail in Manhattan last August after being denied bail, authorities have said.

Maxwell is the first person charged in connection with Epstein’s alleged sexual abuse of underage girls other than him.

Epstein’s victims have called for Maxwell’s arrest ever since Epstein was charged last July. 

A former girlfriend of Epstein, who was once paid to manage his properties, Maxwell has long been accused by victims of helping him to acquire a steady stream of young women to satisfy his compulsive obsession with receiving several “massages” each day.

She was arrested at around 8:30 a.m. in Bradford, New Hampshire, after having returned to the United States at some point.

“More recently we learned she had slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire, continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago,” said William Sweeney, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York office, at the press conference.

Maxwell, who is the daughter of the late disgraced British media mogul and swindler Robert Maxwell, is scheduled to appear in a federal court in New Hampshire on Thursday afternoon.

She has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

The indictment accuses Maxwell of helping Epstein in the mid-1990s recruit and groom victims that were underage girls, at least one as young as 14 years old, so that he could sexually abuse them at his residences in New York City, Palm Beach, Florida, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, as well as at Maxwell’s home in London.

The conduct charged in the case against Maxwell predates by a decade or more the conduct that Epstein was charged with last year.

“In some instances, Maxwell was present for and participated in the sexual abuse of minor victims,” the indictment says.

It also says that while under oath, she “repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct” during a legal deposition in 2016 as part of a lawsuit.

Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, which is prosecuting the case, said at a press conference that Maxwell had lied under oath about her conduct with the victims “because the truth was almost unspeakable.”

“She pretended to be a woman [the victims] could trust, all the while they were setting them up to be abused by Epstein and in some cases by Maxwell herself,” Strauss said.

Strauss also said her office “would welcome” Prince Andrew “coming in and giving us an opportunity to hear his statement” about his relationship with Epstein and Maxwell.

Andrew previously has denied a claim by one of Epstein’s victims that he had sex with her at the direction of Maxwell.

Straus, echoing the claims made in the indictment, said that Epstein and Maxwell had a “method” for luring young girls into their clutches, so that they could give “sexualized massages” to Epstein, which sometimes evolved into sex with Epstein and with Maxwell on ocassion.

That method involved Epstein and Maxwell “briefriend young girls” by asking them about their lives,” taking them to movies, and “treating them to shopping trips,” Strauss said.

“Maxwell encouraged girls to accept Epstein’s offers to pay for their travel and education … making them feel indebted to Epstein,” the prosecutor said.

To further groom the victims, “Maxwell would discuss sexual topics with the victims, and undress in front of them and be present for sex acts,” Strauss said. “Maxwell’s presence as an adult woman[during massages of Epstein by the victims] would put the girls at ease.”

The top prosecutor and the FBI urged other people who may have been abused by Epstein to contact them.

Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York speaks at a news conference announcing charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein in New York City, New York, U.S., July 2, 2020.

Lucas Jackson | Reuters

One of Epstein’s accusers voiced relief about the arrest.

“Today, my fellow Epstein survivors and I are able to take a breath of relief, as Maxwell’s arrest means some justice for survivors can exist,” Jennifer Araoz, said in a statement.

“For years, I feared Epstein and his ring. Maxwell was the center of that sex trafficking ring. Now that the ring has been taken down, I know that I can’t be hurt anymore. Day after day, I have waited for the news that Maxwell would be arrested and held accountable for her actions. Her arrest is a step in that direction, and it truly means that the justice system didn’t forget about us.”

Maxwell’s prosecution by the Southern District comes less than two weeks after the former head of the office, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, was fired by Trump.The office is now being led on a temporary basis, at least for now, by Berman’s former deputy, Strauss.

Berman in the months before his termination repeatedly said his office was investigating Epstein’s co-conspirators.

The indictment released Thursday, which was handed up by a federal grand jury in Manhattan, says the charges stem from Maxwell’s role “in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein.”

“In particular, from at least in and about 1994, up to and including in or about 1997, Maxwell assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abused victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18,” the indictment says.

“The victims were as young as 14 years old when they were groomed and abused by Maxwell and Epstein, both of whom knew that certain victims were in fact under the age of 18.”

The indictment includes photographs of the residences where Epstein allegedly abused his victims.

The indictment charges Maxwell with conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sexual acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and two counts of perjury.

The charging document, in citing evidence for the perjury charges, notes that during an April 2016 deposition of Maxwell taken in New York as part of a lawsuit, she was asked, “Did Jeffrey Epstein have a scheme to recruit underage girls for sexual massages?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Maxwell said.

During another deposition in July 2016, Maxwell said, “I wasn’t aware that he was having sexual activities with anyone when I was with him other than myself.”

One of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, has said in unsealed depositions that Maxwell directed her to have sex with Prince Andrew; former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, a Maine Democrat; former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson; hedge funder Glenn Dubin; late MIT scientist Marvin Minsky; modeling company founder Jean-Luc Brunel; as well as with the owner of large hotel chain, and another prince.

“There was, you know, another foreign president, I can’t remember his name,” Giuffre said in one deposition. “He was Spanish. There’s a whole bunch of them that I just — it’s just so hard for me to remember all of them.”

“I was told to do something by these people constantly … my whole life revolved around just pleasing these men and keeping Ghislaine and Jeffrey happy,” Giuffre said in the deposition. “Their whole entire lives revolved around sex.”

Richardson and Mitchell have denied ever meeting Guiffre, much less having sex with her. Andrew last year denied having sex with her, as did Dubin and Brunel.

The deposition excerpts released last year are part of a defamation lawsuit that Giuffre filed against Maxwell several years ago.

The suit accused Maxwell of calling Giuffre a liar for claiming that Maxwell and Epstein sexually abused her when she was underage.

Epstein was arrested last year at a northern New Jersey airport after flying from France. An indictment accused him of sexully abusing dozens of underage girls from 2002 through 2005 at his luxurious residences on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and in Palm Beach, Florida. 

He was charged with child sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit child sex trafficking. The indictment alleged that he was assisted by several unnamed conspirators.

Epstein previously pleaded guilty to state criminal charges in Florida, including paying an underage girl for sexual services. He served just 13 months in jail, but was free much of that time on work release, a privilege that drew sharp criticism on the heels of his arrest 11 years later.

Epstein was a registered sex offender because of his plea in the Florida case, which came as part of a highly controversial agreement with federal prosecutors in southern Florida not to charge him and several unidentified associates on federal criminal charges.

The controversy over Epstein’s treatment grew even larger in August 2019, when he was found dead in his cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. Authorities said Epstein hanged himself, but his lawyers and brothers have questioned that finding.

Two jail guards have been charged with trying to cover up their failure to monitor him and other inmates as required in the hours before he was found dead.

Epstein’s death came weeks after he was found semi-conscious and with marks on his neck on the floor of his jail cell.

Prince Andrew’s connections with Epstein and Maxwell received renewed attention last year, leading to his withdrawal from public duties.

Federal prosecutors in the SDNY have formally requested an interview with him, saying he has failed to cooperate as promised with their investigation.

But Andrew’s lawyers last month said the Duke of York has three times this year offered to assist the U.S. Department of Justice in the probe.

– Additional reporting by CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger 

Read More