MARKETs @ 2:30pm Hong Kong time
Initially sold down to around the 7,040 level and traded around that level until about 1:30pm after which it drifted lower to close -48pts (-0.7%) @ 7,018
RBA left rates unchanged and reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining highly supportive monetary conditions until at least 2024. The board also remains committed to the 3-year government bond yield target of 10 basis points. It added that the second $100 billion government bond purchase program will start next week. Regarding CPI inflation, it is expected to rise temporarily because of the reversal of some COVID-19-related price reductions. On rising housing prices, the bank said it will monitor trends in borrowing carefully and it is important that lending standards are maintained.
Nikkei opened lower at 29,356 (-329pts) with concerns about further emergency measures in Tokyo and Osaka. Then after some initial selling traded around the 29,150 level into lunch. After lunch drifted slightly before trading sideways to close -585pts (-2%) @ 29,100
Topix traded in a similar pattern to close -30pts (-1.6%) @ 1,926
Tertiary Industry Index Feb +0.3% vs -1.7% Jan (F/cast was -0.1%)
S KOREA Kospi opened flat but trended higher to 3,215 which was the first resistance around 11am and pulled back before moving higher and pushing through 3,215 to 3,220 around midday. It failed to break above and eased back before retesting to close +21pts (+0.7%) @ 3,220
Kosdaq saw initial weakness and sold down to 1,025 level in the first 30 minutes. Then worked back into the green by 11am and then worked slightly higher to 1,030 level and then traded sideways until the last 15 minutes when it click ticked higher to close +2pts (+0.2%) 1,032
Tomorrow pre market we get PPI data
Opened lower but rebounded to yesterday’s closing level in the first hour and then traded around that level for the rest of the day to close +60pts (+0.4%) @ 17,324
Data due after market
Export Orders Mar (Feb was +48.5% YoY F/cast is +37%)
CSI300 opened lower with Loan Prime Rates left unchanged expected, and worked higher in choppy trading going into lunch. PM opened higher and tested to 5,120 in early PM trading before trending lower Currently -5pts (-0.1%) @ 5,082
Concerns remain about resurgence of covid on the global recovery and deteriorating US/China relations.
President Xi speaking at the opening ceremony of the annual Boao Forum said “However strong it may grow, China will never seek hegemony, expansion or a sphere of influence, nor will China ever engage in an arms race,” Mind you, in the past; his words and actions have diverged. He also claimed hat China is a champion for globalization and the multilateral trading system, but said that international rules should not be set by just one or a few nations.
Loan Prime Rate 3.85% unchanged
Loan Prime Rate 4.65% unchanged
Pre mareket opened @ 28,963 -143pts vs -78pts ADR’s Weakness in Ecommerce, resources and travel names but Autos +VE Chenming Paper +8% on the open.
Tested lower but then rallied sharply back to flat, eased back but then worked higher into the green but was flat at lunchtime. PM opened higher and tested 29,200 in the first 45mins but then eased back and trading around flat. Meituan +1.6% saw initial weakness on placement news but then rallied and now trending lower.
Indicating a flat open FTSE +1 point higher at 7,005, DAX +4 points at 15,390, CAC 40 +2 points at 6,294 and FTSE MIB +42 points at 24,465, according to IG.Caution after little direction to follow from Asia and ahead of earnings from Kering, Danone, Atos and Associated British Foods, which presents interim results for Primark, while Rio Tinto releases a first-quarter operations review.
Premarket data; German PPI stronger than expected and UK employment data slightly better.
PPI Mar +0.9% MoM vs +0.7% Feb (F/cast was +0.4%)
PPI Mar +3.7% YoY vs +1.9% Feb (F/cast was +3.1%)
Claimant Count Change Mar 10.1k vs 86.8k Feb (F/cast was +150k)
Employment Change Mar -73k vs -147k Feb (F/cast was -120k)
Average Earnings (Inc Bonus) Mar +4.5% vs +4.8% Feb (F/cast was +4.5%)
Average Earnings (Ex Bonus) Mar +4.4% vs +4.3%Feb revised (F/cast was +4%)
Unemployment Rate Mar 4.9% vs 5% Feb (F/cast was 5.1%)
Opened in Asian time Dow +35pts S&P +0.04% and NDX flat
AHEAD Redbook, API Crude Oil Stock Change
Earnings Johnson & Johnson, Travelers, Procter and Gamble, Netflix, Abbott Labs, CSX, Lockheed Martin, Intuitive Surgical, Tenet Healthcare, Philip Morris, Northern Trust, Fifth Third, KeyCorp, Comerica
ERI-C is holding a webinar later today 'Riding The Dragon: The Great China Bull / Bear Debate for Long Term Investors'
Guest Speakers: Andy Rothman, 'Bull' at Matthews Asia & Stewart Paterson 'Bear' at Capital Dialectics.
Let me know if you would be interested in joining.
FRONT PAGE Print Edition
Covid cases surge in India
The country is struggling with a record number of cases and the UK placed it on its travel ‘red list’, so UK travellers will have to quarantine for 10 days upon return; stats this Friday. PM Johnson cancelled his visit and will conduct talks remotely.I still don’t really understand why governments say quarantine events will happen in the future instead of making them immediate?Talking to a colleague there the place has been under pressure for a while and people are worried about the dramatic surge.
Also see Page 5 UK curbs travel from India as cases soar Johnson visit scrapped, Delhi region locked down and oxygen use banned
Also Companies & Markets Rupee retreats as new Covid wave threatens India’s economic recovery
Super League football clubs to net €200m-€300m ‘welcome bonus’
• Politicians and fans hit at plans • JPMorgan to provide funds • Legal action threatened
BaFin files Wirecard insider trading case against Deutsche board member
Germany’s financial watchdog has filed a criminal complaint against Alexander Schütz, a Deutsche Bank supervisory board member, over alleged insider trading of Wirecard shares. A former confidant of Wirecard CEO Braun, had already said he would step down next month. A slight negative for the bank which lately had managed to lose some of its ‘bad boy’ image.
Ailing Navalny moved to prison hospital
Putin critic’s life said to be ‘hanging by a thread’ after 3 weeks of hunger strike
Rome seeks production of mRNA-based vaccines in ItalyItaly has held talks with several manufacturers about starting production of mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccines in the country, in the latest sign that European officials want to deepen those supplies over other types of shot.
Germany’s Greens put forward first nominee for chancellor
Germany’s Green party has chosen 40-year-old co-head Annalena Baerbock to make history as its first nominee to become chancellor in preparation for its most competitive elections.Merkel standing down is certainly going to make German politics a lot more volatile in the near future. With major policies also likely to come under pressure; a negative as the country tries to cope with covid and re-opening.
Consumers’ $5.4tn of savings fuel rebound hope
World’s wealthy have biggest lockdown reserves but experts fear much will be retained
I am sceptical about abnormal rush by consumers post pandemic to spend money.
It says 'Households around the globe accumulated the excess — defined as the additional savings compared with the 2019 spending pattern and equating to more than 6 per cent of global gross domestic product — by the end of the first quarter of this year, according to estimates by credit rating agency Moody’s.’
I think we will quickly see spending on dining out and entertainment return to pre pandemic levels but for the wider retail markets I am less convinced. Many households are still facing tough times and have become well aware of the need for a savings cushion in case there should be a resurgence in covid or for the next critical event. Additionally most households that wanted to buy items they wanted or needed have been able to via the internet; so it is difficult to see why, just because they can go out their spending patterns are going to change?
It notes 'In the US alone, households have piled up more than $2tn in extra savings, Moody’s estimated. That is before the giant transfers from President Joe Biden’s $1.9tn stimulus programme kick in. Together, they are enough to fuel potentially an “extended consumption splurge”, said Krishna Guha, economist at the investment banking adviser Evercore ISI.’
Some of those savings may have been amassed because of mortgage deferments and other such devices, some of those programmes have been extended but when they end there will be bills to be paid.
It also recognises that a lot of the additional savings have accrued to the wealthy, many of those in the US didn’t need the money and so have saved it. They are likely to invest that money rather than just spend it in the shopping mall. I would expect investment in real estate will be popular with the expectation of rising inflation.
It concludes 'Nearly three-quarters of the UK households that reported increased savings planned to continue to hold them in their bank accounts, according to the Bank of England. Others planned to use their savings to pay off debts, invest or top up their pensions.This is in line with the Conference Board findings that showed double-digit percentage point rises in the proportion of consumers who increased savings and investments in shares in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the same period last year.’
Well worth a read.
‘Defund the police’ slogan provokes US policy debate
Trial over Floyd death raises profile of fringe concept with host of meaningsAn interesting read and whilst few actually support the notion it has raised the debate. It could lead to a re-allocation of resources.The problem is though even if funding the police is reduced it will not stop the rogue elements within police forces that cause these problems and it will not stop the criminals.
A better selection process and on the job monitoring (maybe by outside parties) seems to be called for. One thing I do think that should happen is that a person should have had another job and in perfect world suffered unemployment. Just so they know the pressure that some people are under. In the Royal Navy midshipmen get to do most of the jobs that ordinary sailors do before they go on to become officers; that way they know first had how the system works from the keel up.
Flight on Mars
Helicopter hop makes history
'Ingenuity could pave the way for aerial observation and transport on Mars and other planets.
'The Martian atmosphere has a density only 1 per cent of Earth’s, so Ingenuity’s two 1.2 metre rotor blades must spin very fast. An increasingly ambitious set of flights is planned for the next three weeks.’
MI5 warns of threat from online espionage
More than 10,000 British nationals have been targeted online in the past five years by hostile states such as China, as foreign spies increasingly manipulate professional networking sites to recruit agents and steal secrets.'
The campaign, titled “think before you link”,
‘'The UK government has been wary of calling out Chinese spying activity for fear of provoking retribution. Britain’s landmark defence and security review, published last month, made clear that the UK would continue to pursue a balancing act in its relations with Beijing. The review highlighted China as being the “biggest state-based threat” to the UK’s economic security, but also emphasised that Britain would continue to pursue “deeper trade links and more Chinese investment”.’
It’s not just the UK but all members of the 'five eyes’ have adopted versions of the UK policy.
I would image the UK and others also have their operatives out there trying to manipulate profession networks. Until we achieve the Star Trek concept of a Federated World, spying and international completion will remain an issue.
Cash sent home by migrant workers aids central Asia
Countries hit by lower gas revenues helped by remittances from Russia'Earnings sent home by central Asian workers in Russia dropped 25 per cent in the first half of 2020 when the virus first took hold, but have since begun to rise again, according to the IMF.’
It says 'But central Asia’s lack of development progress means that it is “still one of the least integrated and connected regions” in the world, he said — which “prevents the region from fully benefiting from its strategic location as a gateway between Europe and Asia, not only east-west, but also north-south”. However, there are signs that this is changing, he added: “Most of the countries realise that business as usual is not an option and it’s not sustainable.”’
“The state has to rearrange itself in many countries and modernise . . . as an enabler and facilitator for the private sector . . . not as a gatekeeper,” he said.
'Private sector involvement in central Asian infrastructure projects is “a way out of the impasse in public spending in many countries”, said Alain Pilloux, vice-president at the EBRD, which invested $1.5bn in central Asia last year.
Several central Asian economies, such as Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, have reached a critical level of indebtedness and cannot afford to increase public spending despite needing greater infrastructure and social spending, he said.
Central Asia’s two largest economies, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, have begun to speed up privatisation, which analysts expect to support their growth.’
An interesting read and highlights why China is so keen on the Belt and Road Initiative.
ECB cracks down on banks’ risk ‘deficiencies’
The biggest eurozone banks have repeatedly been too optimistic in their risk-modelling, the European Central Bank said as it presented the results of a five-year review that has wiped out a chunk of their capital ratios.'The central bank, which supervises the largest 115 eurozone banks, discovered more than 5,800 deficiencies in how 65 of the biggest lenders used internal models to calculate their capital requirements.
This resulted in more than 253 supervisory decisions by the ECB that pushed up the banks’ risk-weighted assets by €275bn, a 12 per cent increase in the models it examined.
The models in question were those banks use to assess credit risk, market risk and counterparty credit risk.
Many of the deficiencies it found resulted from the different interpretations various national regulators had of bank capital rules before the ECB started supervising the region’s biggest banks in 2014.’
It raises the question of whether the banks should be allowed to use internal models or whether the ECB or another body should be running them. The fact that some of the deficiencies came from interpreting the rules suggests a central body should be running the tests. But as always then will come the question of who is going to pay?
Israeli and UAE companies in AI joint venture
'Israel’s state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Group 42, a private technology company with links to the UAE’s ruling family, yesterday said the new company, Presight.AI, would establish a research and development centre in Israel, using local talent to work on technologies for use across sectors including banking, healthcare and public safety.’
A significant move and could open the way for more.
Companies & Markets
UK watchdog told to probe Nvidia’s Arm takeover plan
• Minister cites national security issue
• Odds of $40bn deal closure narrowIt probably comes as no real surprise and its interesting to note that Citi lowered their 'deal closing probability to 10 per cent from 25 per cent,’
Worth a read and a slight -VE to Softbank. The Arm saga in China continues too in the background.
Some of the old sparkle Coca-Cola sales rebound as pandemic curbs are relaxed
Looks at the results which beat expectations and improved its outlook for the year.I think the sector will do well this year as people get inoculated and look to good and socialise again.
Zoom sets aside $100m to fund video app tie-ins
Money to be spent fending off the threat from Microsoft and as a channel for future acquisitions. Seeking to broaden its appeal and embed itself further into its current users working life. It is a very competitive space with Microsoft Teams leveraging off the Office application. It mentions Facebook is looking to roll out audio rooms with new tools for people to monetise podcasts as it looks to compete with Clubhouse.
It quotes Zuckerberg “We think that audio is, of course, also going to be a first-class medium,” He added that audio “allows for longer-form discussions and exploring ideas” but is also “accessible because you can multitask”.
Which is very true but you can do the same with Zoom the difference is that with Zoom and others (Messenger included) you can turn the camera on if you want to see the other party.
But what all these need is good internet infrastructure, I would imagine that over the past year people have increasingly found the limitations of their internet services. Doing Zoom calls without the camera, especially working from home with others home too.
Biden’s infrastructure plan includes spending on internet. The past year I would imagine has been good for providers that can provide people with the quality and consistency they require to work from home. The social element in the evening then comes for free.
Hertz joyride seems to show that Robinhood gang had a point
From bankrupt to solvent because of retail interest. An interesting read into the current battle from parties interested in bringing the company out of Chapter 11.The big question then is; will it change its business model?
Chinese carmakers mount challenge to Tesla
Shanghai offers showcase for homegrown models and tech focused on younger drivers
Chinese makers, and others, using the Shanghai Auto show to display their new offerings as they seek to compete with Tesla.'Surveys suggest Chinese brands are becoming increasingly popular with younger customers more likely to buy domestic models, with leading groups such as Geely, Nio and Xpeng using technology to attract interest.’
Looks at the various technologies that are now available.
Concludes 'German brands selling internal combustion-powered cars built their reputation over decades, but when it comes to the new world of electric cars, “everyone is at the same start line”, said Leo Li, a partner at Oliver Wyman in Shanghai.“No one really has an advantage in terms of history and many Chinese start-ups started out with global perspectives and built international teams,” he said. “They are not like the old generation of traditional Chinese brands.”
That I think is key when it comes to electric vehicles and that bodes well for China.It also mentions how Nio is using a subscription model for the battery and using battery swapping technology; something that Tesla rejected. It gives another example too in Xpeng using 'Lidar-powered autonomous-driving features, which work on the principle of radar but use light from a laser to measure distances.’ Again something Tesla rejected.
Time will tell who was right.
Volvo Trucks sets target for 50% electric sales
'The world’s second-largest truck maker yesterday announced three heavy-duty electric models designed for intercity regional transport and urban construction. Production is due to start in the second half of next year.
Roger Alm, president of the Swedish company, said: “We are starting from zero electric trucks. It’s a segment that we are building up . . . There is a huge inflow of orders.”'
'Jessica Sundstrom, Volvo’s head of global product management, said that the market was developing quickly nonetheless. “It moves faster than we anticipated,” she said.“We have this perfect storm. The customers are more and more wanting to make this move, the politicians are very clear in their ambitions, and at the same time the technology is evolving.”
Sundstrom added that this would speed up the time to when electric trucks become cheaper than diesel but conceded that today they were much more expensive.
Electric trucks attract subsidies in some countries and have lower running costs so Volvo is hoping the total cost of ownership will soon be “competitive” with diesel.’
Key is that at present electric trucks are much more expensive but its the way governments and people want to go so there is going to be cost which is probably going to squeeze margins whilst they are forced to complete with diesel.
Toyota faces Bangkok bribery probe
Inquiry centres on tax dispute over imports of Prius parts into Thailand
Refers to a historical case but does highlight the pitfalls that can arise when you start local operations in a foreign country.
MPs quiz Rio Tinto’s Mongolia copper chief
The head of Rio Tinto’s copper business faced tough questions from politicians in Mongolia after he arrived in the country for discussions over the future of the miner’s most important project; the underground expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in the Gobi Desert.
The first deal was not ratified and Byambasaikhan Bayanjargal, a businessman who, in the capacity of a government official, signed the first agreement is in jail for abusing power in signing the deal.
Illustrates the problems of how changes in governments can impact deals. Here the leaders want a better deal. With copper prices now at 5year highs Rio has scope to improve the deal but what it needs is certainty that a new deal will be ratified and that there will not be calls for change in the future.
Rebel clubs put Uefa on back foot
Governing body says ‘Super League’ plan is attempt to create ‘closed shop run by greedy few’More on the proposed new deal, no doubt the saga will continue for sometime.
Read also Opinion Super League would break football’s promise and LEX Europe Super League: elevator pitch
Credit Suisse executives to leave amid fallout from Archegos
News of more departures linked to the affair 'John Dabbs and Ryan Nelson have stepped down from leading the unit, which offers specialised services to hedge funds, according to a staff memorandum seen by the Financial Times.’It would appear that people are being called to account for the losses. It is difficult to tell whether this is to appease shareholders or is a sign of accountability. It should be remembered that there are still a lot of good family office accounts out there.
Nasdaq IPO to boost Grab chief ’s voting rights
'The Grab chief executive and co-founder will have 60.4 per cent of the voting power in the company while owning a stake of just 2.2 per cent, an arrangement similar to that of Face-book’s Mark Zuckerberg.’
Looks like the deal is going to break more firsts, this gives him an absolute majority when it comes to voting.
Supporters say that 'Tan needs the control to make quick decisions in navigating Grab’s eight markets.’'Even key shareholders have had their voting power diluted via the dual-class share structure. SoftBank has an 18.6 per cent stake that will translate to just 7.6 per cent of voting power. Uber’s 14.3 per cent stake has a 5.8 per cent voting power and Didi Chuxing’s 7.5 per cent stake, just 3.1 per cent.
“For now we are just happy with the liquidity, but longer-term we want to see genuine progress towards profitability,” said one investor.’
An interesting read and highlights the potential risks to investors of Spac listings; which no doubt is something that the regulator will be reviewing in due course.
The deal whilst good for Grab does not mean the business will succeed it still has competition but the new money should help.
Millicom agrees to sell residual Africa assets
Emerging markets telecoms group Millicom is pulling out of Africa, as the Nasdaq and Stockholm-listed group shifts to a sole focus on Latin America.
US lawmakers warned of litigation chaos over Libor
Regulators and Wall Street demand action from Congress to speed benchmark transition
Despite having had years to prepare many are still not ready. An interesting read especially the fact that contracts referenced to Libor have increased recently despite the fact it has been known that its being phased out!.
I would imagine congress will act but that may not be the end of the legal battles.
Meituan to raise $10bn in autonomous vehicles expansionplans to raise about $10bn in an equity and debt deal delayed by a misfire that hit its shares last week.
The food delivery company, which is backed by technology group Tencent, will raise about $7bn in equity and sell $3bn in convertible bonds.Stock opened lower on the news but then rallied before drifting lower. But the stock which rallied in February is now back to its start of the year levels; which the sector under scrutiny but investors China investors seem to be optimistically cautious still with regard to the sector.
Barclays pulls out of underwriting debt deal to fund Alabama prisons
ESG seems to be behind the decision. 'Barclays said in a statement yesterday that it had advised clients it would no longer underwrite the transaction. “While our objective was to enable the state to improve its facilities, we recognise that this is a complex and important issue,” the bank said. “In light of the feedback that we have heard, we will continue to review our policies.”
’'Some money managers who take environmental, social and governance issues into account have sought to cut off companies that profit from a US criminal justice system that disproportionately incarcerates people of colour.’
An interesting read; it concludes 'The Alabama Department of Corrections said last week that it considered “these two new facilities to be essential to our public infrastructure needs” and that the initiative would help it provide “safer, more secure correctional environments that better accommodate inmate rehabilitation and improve the quality of life for all those who live and work in them”.’
It looks like ESG themes are going to be much wider than many of us imagined when they were first raised.
Run-up in yields is a gift to fretful fund managers
An interesting read on how bond advocates are talking up the risks to ensure people continue to invest in the super safe US Government bonds.
Nice quote from Steven Major, chief bonds analyst at HSBC and one of the most strident voices in favour of continued investor demand for bonds.
'“We should not underestimate how, in an increasingly interconnected global financial system, ‘stuff happens’, “There is far too much leverage in the system, much of which may not be visible until something happens. And when these shocks come, money flows to the safest of safe havens, US government bonds invariably being the first choice.”
Worth a read
FT BIG READ. WIRECARD Wirecard exposes German elites
As a parliamentary investigation reaches its climax — with the appearance of Angela Merkel and Olaf Scholz this week — MPs are asking why Germany’s establishment was taken in by the collapsed group.
The fourth estate needs more active support
An independent press goes hand in hand with protecting rule of law
It concludes 'The ability of journalists under pressure at home to work from other countries should also be improved, in the way Warsaw functions as a base for Belarusian journalism. The EU should increase its funding of independent cross-border journalism, as well as for local-language services of international media houses. Radio Free Europe — funded by the US Congress — should not be the only game in town for a Hungarian-language press free from pressure.
Media freedoms are not a luxury; without them democracy and good policymaking wither. Mere expressions of concern from the EU and the rest of Europe are welcome, but too little and too late. Against those who would undermine public scrutiny, the best defence is a good offence.’
Worth a read it focuses on events in Europe but the issue is global.
Why China and Russia will now test Biden By Gideon Rachman
Thinks that Biden’s decisions to pull out of Afghanistan will prompt questions over its policies and commitments elsewhere; specifically Ukraine and Taiwan. Notes that some think Russia and China are co-ordinating their actions to put Biden under as much pressure as possible.
'The internal situations in Russia and China may also be raising the dangers of conflict. Putin recently imprisoned Alexei Navalny, the most popular and dangerous opposition leader he has ever faced. Navalny is on hunger strike and may soon die, sparking further protests. The Kremlin knows that conflict over Ukraine boosted Putin’s popularity back in 2014. Another small war may look like a tempting option.
As the Chinese Communist party prepares to celebrate the centenary of its foundation later this year, President Xi Jinping may be looking for a triumph over Taiwan. American officials believe that Xi and his advisers have convinced themselves that the US is in deep and terminal decline. They fear that the Chinese leadership may believe the US would ultimately back down rather than fight over Taiwan.
But even the most confident and nationalistic officials in Beijing and Moscow will still be conscious of the risks of head-on confrontation over Taiwan and Ukraine. The likelihood is that Russia and China will continue to use “grey zone” tactics that stop just short of all-out conflict. As America discovered in Afghanistan, it is much easier to start a war than to control its outcome.’
I think that both Russia and China will continue in that ‘grey zone’ because they are facing significant internal and external issues. For them to been seen to be testing Biden is important for what they are telling or portraying to their domestic audience. The reality of what they would actually do, especially taking into account the other issues they are facing is very different. Even within the PLA many of the senior officers would be hesitant about actually taking action against Taiwan because they do not know 100% that they would win. That is quite separate from the global ramifications against China especially at a time when access to chips is high on many countries agenda.
Only criminals profit from turf wars in law enforcement by Ephraim Wernick a former US Department of Justice federal prosecutor. Bill McMurry, who served with the FBI, co-authored. The authors’ statements are personal and do not reflect official FBI or DoJ statements, nor their internal deliberations.
An interesting read about 'The Unaoil case is named after the Monaco-based consultancy linked to allegations that millions of dollars were paid in bribes to help secure lucrative contracts for client companies operating in the Middle East and Africa.’It concludes 'There is a quote known to FBI agents that features prominently at the J Edgar Hoover Building in Washington: “The most effective weapon against crime is co-operation.” This is true when fighting domestic crime. It is truer still when fighting international corruption.’Worth a read