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Insight Weekly: New climate, clean energy bill; wages inflate expenses; Stablecoin oversight

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Insight Weekly: New climate, clean energy bill; wages inflate expenses; Stablecoin oversight

Exclusive features and news analysis of key sectors and markets. Subscribe on LinkedIn >

In this edition, we take a close look at the Build Back Better Act, the U.S. House of Representatives' new $1.75 trillion reconciliation package and infrastructure bill loaded with major climate and clean energy provisions. Renewable energy developers have welcomed the bill's proposal to expand and extend tax credits for clean power projects. However, utilities and other project owners would need to meet domestic content and labor requirements to receive the full benefit of the credits, something that industry experts say could be tough to satisfy.

Several U.S. banks recorded higher expenses in the third quarter related to increased employee wages, as companies sought to tackle the labor supply shortage by raising compensation. Some banking executives are not optimistic that they can manage the expenses and are searching for ways to offset wage inflation.

Recommendations for new cryptocurrency rules are expected to be published within weeks as the growth of stablecoins has prompted calls for issuers to be regulated like banks. The market for stablecoins, which are pegged to government-issued currencies, has ballooned to about $130 billion, according to data from Coin Metrics and The Block.

Build Back Better Act in Focus

US House unveils new reconciliation bill loaded with climate, clean energy money

The nearly 1,700-page bill was stuffed with major climate and clean energy provisions but excluded some key climate measures that Democrats had been advocating to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Read the full article from S&P Global Market Intelligence

Proposed US clean energy tax breaks could be transformational, but risks loom

Congressional Democrats are pursuing a massive 10-year program of clean energy tax incentives, but developers are nervous about related domestic content and labor requirements and a potential new tax on corporations that could affect large utilities.

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Deep Dives

In-depth features looking at the impact of major news developments in key industries.

Financials

Bank M&A's near-term outlook unclear as Fed operates without supervision chief

The Federal Reserve has been operating without a vice chair for supervision since Randal Quarles' term expired Oct. 13, which industry observers say could complicate deal approvals and other regulatory issues.

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Wage pressures inflate US banks' expenses in Q3

A number of U.S. banks reported higher expenses in the third quarter, partly due to increases in compensation-related expenses as companies attempt to attract and retain workers.

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 US banks with lowest price-to-adjusted tangible book values in October

Republic First Bancorp Inc. is the lowest-priced bank in the analysis.

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Columbia, Umpqua avoid merger-of-equal label but still get MOE treatment

Columbia and Umpqua did not label their deal a merger of equals, but part of the initial sell-off of their stocks was likely due to the perception that the deal looks like an MOE, industry observers said.

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Barclays expected to remain committed to i-bank after Staley's departure

The appointment of C.S. Venkatakrishnan, head of Barclays' global markets division, is a sign that the bank's strategic focus on its corporate and investment banking arm is set to continue, analysts said.

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Insurance

California has hit brakes on private auto rate hikes since start of pandemic

An S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis shows that the regulator signed off on 29 requests for private auto rate increases between January 2019 and March 2020, but none since April 2020.

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California approves significant workers' comp insurance rate cuts in Q3

All 10 of the most notable rate reductions in the period were approved in the Golden State, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis.

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Energy and Utilities

Proposed methane fee would mark major development in US climate policy

The oil and gas industry strongly opposes the fee, but a market observer said the sector could absorb expenses associated with proposed methane standards, reduce emissions and still remain profitable.

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US solar firms spar over trade as Biden tries to cut carbon, boost manufacturing

The impact of tariffs on the pace of construction in the U.S. solar market is a pivotal issue as trade officials consider whether to recommend that President Joe Biden extend sweeping import tariffs or allow them to expire in 2022.

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Inflation, supply-chain risks weigh on some utility, renewables execs

General Electric and Enphase Energy see macroeconomic uncertainty lasting into 2022, while other companies told investors they have financial cushions.

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Fintech

Stablecoins face industry-defining regulatory guidance

While the adoption of stablecoins in the U.S. is at the very early stages, regulatory clarity is viewed as necessary for the industry to decide the next moves.

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Real Estate

Specialty finance firms, mortgage REITs deliver mixed Q3 results

Mortgage brokers and servicers generally recorded weaker EPS results than in the second quarter.

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Over 1,000 Calif. REIT properties face likely chance of strong future earthquake

S&P Global Market Intelligence analyzed properties owned by publicly traded real estate investment trusts in California to identify those with a 50%, 10% and 2% chance of experiencing very strong earthquake in the next 50 years.

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Technology, Media and Telecommunications

Cloud industry continues to soar as demand set to extend past pandemic

The cloud-computing market's third-quarter growth continues a trend that analysts expect will accelerate as companies ramp up digital migrations of their workloads for organizational needs that evolved due to the pandemic.

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Facebook's facial recognition about-face sparks renewed calls for US federal law

While many applauded Facebook's acknowledgement of public concerns regarding facial-recognition technology, they noted that its use on the Facebook platform was already limited.

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Metals and Mining

China mining, battery companies sweep up lithium supplies in acquisition blitz

In the face of mounting battery demand from electric-vehicle sales, the robust acquisition drive led by Chinese companies in recent years has positioned China with increasing control over the world's lithium market.

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The Week in M&A

NM hearing examiner calls for rejection of PNM-Avangrid merger

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Capital One expands M&A advisory services in healthcare with TripleTree deal

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Franklin Templeton aids alternative asset business with Lexington Partners move

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Seacoast Banking Corp. of Florida eyes more home-state M&A

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The Big Number

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