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Manulife Investment Management’s Global Intelligence report outlines potential risks and opportunities over the next 12 months, and beyond

Vlad Poptamas

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Manulife Investment Management today released its biannual Global Intelligence report, a firmwide outlook highlighting notable perspectives from its private and public markets investment teams. In the new report, Manulife Investment Management draws attention to Asia and believes the region remains attractive, particularly within emerging markets, amid the economic slowdown that’s expected to continue and hit a trough later this year, and likely followed by a gradual recovery.

The report also reviews the negative-yielding debt landscape in the investable fixed-income market in detail and asserts that asset managers need to consider certain strategies, including: taking advantage of their global footprint, adopting a nimble approach, and demonstrating acumen across a wide range of less traditional and fundamentally active strategies to help generate positive returns.

Asia remains attractive amid the slowdown with the prospect of a gradual recovery

According to Sue Trinh, managing director of global macro strategy at Manulife Investment Management, Asia’s expected growth rate of 5.1%1 in 2020 continues to incite envy in the developed world. Asia also occupies the quality end of the emerging-market universe, making it more appealing to investors, however it’s not immune to the global economic slowdown.

Asia remains an attractive region, but its economic downturn has yet to hit a bottom,” said Ms. Trinh. “The stubbornly low economic growth and subdued inflation leave markets vulnerable to a reversal in sentiment, and we expect a prolonged bottoming-out process with only a gradual recovery. As the world’s growth engine, the path to Asia’s economic recovery has enormous relevance to investors, but recovery is constrained by numerous headwinds to growth and governments’ ability to continue with monetary policy.”

For detailed views on Asia’s economic growth path, click here.

It takes more to generate positive returns in the era of negative-yielding debt

Negative-yielding debt represents a sea of change in the investable fixed-income market, creating undesirable knock-on effects for investors, banks, and policymakers alike. “We have now officially entered an alternate fixed-income reality,” said John F. Addeo, CFA, global CIO of fixed income at Manulife Investment Management. “The incapability of traditional monetary policy, including near-zero rates, in stimulating economic growth is the primary driver for negative yields, in our view.”

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1 “Regional Economic Outlook: Stunted by Uncertainty,” IMF, October 22, 2019

Beyond policy rates, ongoing quantitative easing by central banks is driving the prices of longer-dated bonds and pushing down yields. Moreover, investors’ demand for income is bidding up bond prices as well.

“A stunning 22% of the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index carried a negative yield in November. This was led by the index’s sovereign allocation, of which 31% was negative yielding.Investors should expect low-to-negative rates to persist for some time, though,” continued Mr. Addeo.

“The lower-for-longer scenario may persist, as inflation rates remain stubbornly below policy targets across many developed markets, with massive debt burdens, globalization, aging demographics, and technology-related price deflation all applying downward pressure. Fixed-income managers will require more tools at their disposal in generating income.”

A global research footprint will be crucial in finding opportunities in the era of negative yields. A global network with local teams in market, capturing development firsthand and in real time, will lead to better decision-making and more effective risk management. Finally, a capital structure agnostic view, an openness to high yield underpinned by strong fundamental research capabilities, and a readiness to take advantage of emerging-market debts and preferred securities are possible ways of finding income.

For detailed views on fixed-income challenges and opportunities, click here.

Strong ESG opportunities for active Asia fixed-income managers

As environmental, social, and governance (ESG) trends are changing companies’ business models and regulators are pushing investors to think through issues such as the impact climate risk has on their portfolios, bondholders are becoming more vigilant in accurately measuring and managing these implications.

“Market interest in sustainable investment in Asia is rapidly growing,” said Keisuke Tsumoto, head of fixed income, Japan, Manulife Investment Management. “In Japan alone, assets owned in sustainable investment strategies quadrupled between 2016 and 2018, making the country the world’s third-largest sustainable investing markets.”3

However, despite the improvement in corporate disclosure on ESG issues in Asia, datasets remain incomplete and inconsistent. This, in turn, presents a broad opportunity for actively managed sustainable Asian fixed-income strategies.

“Against a backdrop of sometimes conflicting and evolving paradigms for issuing and investing sustainably in Asian assets, stakeholders must conduct careful and collaborative due diligence to avoid muddled results,” added Murray Collis, head of fixed income, Singapore, Manulife Investment Management. “We believe active research and engagement are vital to identifying true areas of ESG risk and opportunity, developing cogent strategies for mitigating or capturing these factors, and strategically integrating these issues into investor portfolios.”

Detailed viewpoints on ways to identify sustainable investment opportunities in the Asian fixed-income space, and case studies from Japan and Southeast Asia on how engagement can be a useful process, can be viewed here.

Other key takeaways from the Global Intelligence report

  • “Pursuing alpha: private equity opportunities in the decade ahead”Private equity capital has become a more prominent source for financing global commercial enterprises, as returns on that capital are less tied to beta than those from public markets. This report, looks at five ways in which private equity investing can continue to play a positive role in the years ahead.
  • “Finding value in a late-cycle economy”With markets now in late-cycle territory, stock price volatility has become a greater challenge for investors. But by solely focusing on short-term stock price movements, investors risk missing out on longer-term value creation opportunities. This report, gives investors a clearer picture of where business value can be generated.
  • “The OCIO checklist manifesto”—The outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO) fiduciary model is gaining traction among pension plan sponsors and other institutional investors, as worldwide OCIO assets under management grew to over $1.5 trillion in 2017, up more than 14% from the prior year.4 This report, spells out six outsourcing considerations for pension plan sponsors.

 

SOURCE Manulife Investment Management

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Worldwide Smart Retail Industry to 2027 – by Solution, Retail Offering, System, Application & Geography

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Dublin, July 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The “Smart Retail – Global Market Outlook (2018-2027)” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.SoftwareHardwareRetail Offerings Covered:Hardlines and Leisure GoodsFast-moving Consumer GoodsApparel and AccessoriesSystems Covered:Smart LabelVisual MarketingIntelligent SystemSmart Payment SystemOther SystemsApplications Covered:Brand ProtectionFoot-traffic MonitoringInventory ManagementLoyalty Management and PaymentPredictive Equipment MaintenanceSmart Fitting RoomRegions Covered:USCanadaMexicoEuropeGermanyUKItalyFranceSpainRest of EuropeAsia PacificJapanChinaIndiaAustraliaNew ZealandSouth KoreaRest of Asia PacificSouth AmericaArgentinaBrazilChileRest of South AmericaMiddle East & AfricaSaudi ArabiaUAEQatarSouth AfricaRest of Middle East & AfricaWhat our report offers:Market share assessments for the regional and country-level segmentsStrategic recommendations for the new entrantsCovers Market data for the years 2017, 2018, 2019, 2023 and 2027Market Trends (Drivers, Constraints, Opportunities, Threats, Challenges, Investment Opportunities, and recommendations)Strategic analysis: Drivers and Constraints, Product/Technology Analysis, Porter’s five forces analysis, SWOT analysis, etc.Strategic recommendations in key business segments based on the market estimationsCompetitive landscaping mapping the key common trendsCompany profiling with detailed strategies, financials, and recent developmentsSupply chain trends mapping the latest technological advancementsKey Topics Covered:Research and Markets also offers Custom Research services providing focused, comprehensive and tailored research.CONTACT: ResearchAndMarkets.com
Laura Wood, Senior Press Manager
press@researchandmarkets.com
For E.S.T Office Hours Call 1-917-300-0470
For U.S./CAN Toll Free Call 1-800-526-8630
For GMT Office Hours Call +353-1-416-8900

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NexTech is Presenting at Wall Street Reporter’s “NEXT SUPER STOCK” Livestream Conference on July 9th, 2020

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NEW YORK and TORONTO, July 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — NexTech AR Solutions (NexTech) (OTCQB: NEXCF) (CSE: NTAR) (FSE: N29), an emerging leader in augmented reality for eCommerce, Video Conferencing and Virtual Events, is pleased to announce that NexTech CEO Evan Gappelberg will be presenting at Wall Street Reporter’s “Next Super Stock” livestream conference on July 9th, 2020.
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UPEvan will update investors on NexTech’s latest technological advances, the recent surge in business from its Video Conferencing and Virtual Events platform InfernoAR, plus the company’s record revenue growth, all as the company pursues four multi-billion dollar verticals in AR.NexTech’s live presentation will take place at 12:30PM Eastern, on Thursday July 9th, 2020The 20-minute presentation will be followed by a question and answer session. To learn more about the event, and sign up for free, click:CLICK HERE TO SIGN UPFor those unable to join the live event, a video of the presentation will be posted later.About “Next Super Stock Live!” conference:
Wall Street Reporter’s “NEXT SUPER STOCK Live!” The conference is dedicated to featuring select companies that have near-term catalysts in place which can drive transformational growth (and stock appreciation) in the months ahead.
Recent Company Highlights in 2020:July 2, 2020: Hired Arnaud Amet as Director of Sales for Europe. Mr. Amet situated in Paris, France comes from regional and global sales and marketing roles in Microsoft (MSFT) where he worked for over a decade ending in 2015. He also has significant experience with his own startup in sales and marketing of AR/VR to large brands partnering with Facebook (FB), Huawei and Microsoft.
 
June 29, 2020: signed a contract to supply its InfernoAR video conferencing and virtual events platform to the Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD).
 
June 19, 2020: NexTech closed a private placement of 1,528,036 units priced at the market price of $2.10 per unit (the “Units”) for gross proceeds of $3,208,875 (the “Offering”). This financing provides the company with a healthy cash and inventory position of over $7.5million – its highest ever.
 
June 18, 2020: Company announces that it has signed a partner supplier agreement with BDA, LLC. BDA Sports will be using the InfernoAR virtual event platform for their signature annual Think Tank 2020 program for teams in NHL, NBA, MLB, and NFL.
 
June 10, 2020: Company signed a partner agreement and contract to provide its InfernoAR Virtual Events platform services to Skybridge World Dubai clients.  Skybridge is a leading events, exhibition and marketing solutions provider to global corporations whose clients include: Emirates Glass, IBM, Lilly, Henkel, Amgen and many others. NexTech and Skybridge have already solidified their partnership and signed up their first customer, Bohringer Ingelheim.
 
June 4, 2020 The company launched its new ARitize360 app now live and available for a FREE download on both iOS and Android. The app’s 3D scan technology will add to the revenue-generating power of its AR eCommerce solution and its recently launched 3D/AR advertising platform.
 
June 3, 2020: The company achieved record revenue and gross profit for the month of May 2020. Both revenue and gross profit showed dramatic increases in May. Notably, compared to May 2019, the company’s revenue increased 169% to $1,300,000 while gross profit grew 290% to $800,000 representing the highest revenue and gross profit ever achieved in a single month.
 
June 1, 2020 : CEO Evan Gappelberg purchased 100,000 shares. It was reported that on 5/5/2020 he purchased 929,885 common shares of NexTech common stock, this is his fourth buy for the year 2020.
 
May 25, 2020: Signed a contract to supply its Augmented Reality Solutions to a $30 billion market capital, publicly-traded global technology company.
 
May 22, 2020: The company announced very positive results for its recently launched 3D/AR Ad Network which went live on February 4th 2020. Using the company’s 3D/AR ads resulted in a 300% increase in sales conversions, a 32% increase in click-through-rate (CTR) and a 23% lower cost per click than traditional 2D ads.
 
May 21, 2020: InfernoAR Virtual Events platform chosen to supply a $13 billion capital, publicly-traded global insurance company, for their global leadership two day summit starting June 6th.
 
May 19, 2020: Inferno AR integration with Cvent Solutions optimizing the entire InfernoAR event management value chain. Integration with CVENT will broaden the utility and increase the appeal of the platform by helping end-users seamlessly register and become more productive while using the platform.
 
May 14, 2020: Q1 Revenue grows 177% to $2.5 million, Gross Profit grows 267% to $1.3 million, Working Capital of $3.5 million.
 
May 12, 2020: InfernoAR platform integration with all major video platforms including its previously announced integration with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and new integrations with Cisco Webex, BlueJeans, Google Hangouts, Google Meet, and GoToMeetings. These critical integrations continue to extend the capabilities of the platform, broaden the utility of the platform and help end-users become even more productive while using the platform.About NexTech AR Solutions Corp.NexTech is one of the leaders in the rapidly growing AR industry, estimated to hit $120 billion by 2022, according to Statista. NexTech, the first publicly traded “pure-play” AR company, began trading on the CSE on October 31st, 2018. NexTech has a two-pronged strategy for rapid growth including growth through acquisition of eCommerce businesses and growth of its omni-channel AR SaaS platform called ARitize™.The company is pursuing four verticals in AR.ARitize™ For eCommerce: The company launched its technologically advanced webAR for eCommerce early in 2019 and has been rapidly signing up customers onto its SaaS platform. Customers include Walther Arms, Wright Brothers, Mr. Steak, and Budweiser. NexTech has the first ​‘full funnel’ end-to-end eCommerce solution for the AR industry including its 3D product capture, 3D ads for Facebook and Google, ‘Try it On’ technology for online apparel, 3D and 360-degree product views, and ‘one click buy’.ARitize™ 3D/AR Advertising Platform: launched in Q1 2020 the ad platform will be the industry’s first end-to-end solution whereby the company will leverage its 3D asset creation into 3D, 360, AR ads. In 2019, according to IDC, global advertising spend will be about $725 billion.InfernoAR: the world’s most advanced Augmented Reality and Video Learning Experience Platform for Events, is a SaaS video platform that integrates Interactive Video, Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality in one secure platform to allow enterprises the ability to create the world’s most engaging virtual event management and learning experiences. Automated closed captions and translations to over 64 languages put InfernoAR in a class by itself.ARitize™ Hollywood Studios: expected to launch in 2020, the studio has created a proprietary entertainment venue for which it is producing immersive content using 360 video, and augmented reality as the primary display platform.To learn more, please follow us on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook, or visit our website: https://www.nextechar.com.On behalf of the Board of NexTech AR Solutions Corp.
Evan Gappelberg
CEO and Director
For further information, please contact:Evan Gappelberg
Chief Executive Officer
info@nextechar.com
The CSE has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.Certain information contained herein may constitute “forward-looking information” under Canadian securities legislation. Generally, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as, “will be”, “looking forward” or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results “will” occur. Forward-looking statements regarding the Company increasing investors awareness are based on the Company’s estimates and are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements of NexTech to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements or forward-looking information, including capital expenditures and other costs.  There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements and forward-looking information. NexTech will not update any forward-looking statements or forward-looking information that are incorporated by reference herein, except as required by applicable securities laws.

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Causality Link Adds Veteran IBM Natural Language Processing (NLP) Engineer Craig Trim as Senior Software Engineer – NLP

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Salt Lake City, July 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Causality Link, an advanced, artificial intelligence (AI)-driven investment technology provider, today announced the addition of veteran software engineer and natural language processing (NLP) expert Craig Trim as senior software engineer – NLP.Trim joins Causality Link having spent the majority of his 20-year software engineering career with IBM, during which time he contributed to over 200 filed patents. He was most recently a senior managing consultant, leading teams in the inception, creation and deployment of chatbots for top companies in the energy, telecommunications and automotive industries. Joining IBM as an intern in 2000, Trim has since been lead engineer for formal offerings in Watson Group, has led teams developing the auto-generation of knowledge graphs, and has led the design and implementation of large-scale e-commerce sites. In addition to his time at IBM, Trim was chief technology officer for Dristi, a cognitive computing company, where he led research and development to create a first-of-a-kind “Audience OS” and cognitive analytics platform. At Causality Link, Trim will lead efforts to enhance the company’s Research Assistant. This initiative will include increasing the number of data sources ingested, the speed at which the data is processed, the insights garnered from the data and more.“Causality Link is an exciting melding of tried and true technology and cutting-edge innovation that is rare to find and has been instrumental in their success thus far,” said Trim. “I look forward to developing and implementing ways to propel the platform even further to gather more insights from more sources in less time.”“Craig is a true trailblazer in the NLP space,” said Pierre Haren, co-founder and CEO of Causality Link. “During his prolific tenure at IBM, he pioneered the use of NLP in ontology learning to look for relationships between data, which is a critical part of our operation. We are thrilled to bring this inventive thinking to Causality Link as we drive our technology to the next level.”Causality Link’s unique, AI-powered research platform extracts the knowledge contained within millions of documents and other text-based sources to provide investors and analysts with a unique perspective on companies, industries and macroeconomic drivers. By aggregating explicitly stated cause-and-effect relationships between market indicators and company key performance indicators (KPIs), the Causality Link platform provides clients with more significant, longer-lasting, less emotional and more precise insights and forecasts.With the overall aim of improving transparency in financial markets, the Causality Link platform models the forces acting on the markets, leveraging machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) techniques to weave together the insights and creativity of experts in understanding the causal relationships at work in the financial world. The solution is leading the next wave of AI innovation that leverages technology to combine human knowledge from thousands of authors.About Causality LinkWith its advanced AI-driven research platform, Causality Link helps investment research professionals produce smarter decisions by better understanding the “causal links” between their subjects and various market indicators. Causality Link was formed on the notion that long-term success in AI and Machine Learning requires a balance of human and machine collaboration that leverages the strongest qualities in each. Causality Link’s platform merges explicit expert knowledge of causation – not simply correlation – with the mathematical power of predictive analytics enabling professionals to gain big-picture understanding of the financial markets. Visit www.causalitylink.com to learn more. AttachmentCraig TrimMichael Kingsley
Forefront Communications for Causality Link
212-320-8984
mkingsley@forefrontcomms.com

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