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(Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.BlackRock Inc. Vice Chairman Philipp Hildebrand says the fight against climate change will require a joint effort between governments and the private sector.“We should have no illusion about this, ultimately climate change cannot be tackled by just the private sector,” Hildebrand said in an interview with Bloomberg TV at the Swiss resort of Davos. “This is a government problem, it will require sustained coordinated government responses. There will be laws, there will be regulation, and the private sector adapts to that.”Sustainability and climate change are expected to dominate discussions at this year’s annual World Economic Forum, which has been held in the Swiss Alpine town of Davos since the 1970s. The event attracts the world’s most important lawmakers and wealthiest people and this year at least 119 billionaires are converging to join bankers, politicians and other grandees for their pilgrimage.BlackRock’s Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink issued his strongest statement last week as he pledged to incorporate environmental concerns into the firm’s investment process for both active and passive products. As well as sitting on the firm’s global executive committee, Hildebrand oversees BlackRock’s Sustainable Investing divisions.The $7 trillion asset manager said it will exit both debt and equity investments in thermal coal producers across its active portfolios and will introduce new investment products that screen fossil fuels. The firm is tackling the subject as asset managers come under greater pressure on sustainability, with BlackRock in particular facing increasing scrutiny for its behavior and voting record around environmental issues.As the world’s largest manager of index funds, BlackRock invests in the world’s biggest polluters. The firm plans to address the apparent conflict by creating sustainable versions of its flagship iShares index business and to double the existing number of ESG-compliant exchange-traded funds to 150.The firm’s passive offerings account for about two-thirds of its assets under management at $4.9 trillion and the iShares ETF business continued to be a major driver last year, pulling in more than half of all inflows during the fourth quarter. Passive funds blindly mimic an index and, by design, may include polluters. In an industry where there’s no standard definition of what makes a company or investment environmentally sustainable, moves by asset managers are also constantly evolving.\--With assistance from Chris Bourke.To contact the reporter on this story: Lucca de Paoli in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shelley Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org, Patrick HenryFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The troubled Italian lender Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA took another big step in its long path to redemption last week by selling subordinated debt for the second time in six months. An 8% coupon is expensive for the world’s oldest bank, but it can hardly complain given its years of troubles.Even though the yield is enticing, investors are still taking a gamble. They will doubtless have been encouraged by expectations that the Italian state will have their backs. Rome owns 68% of Paschi and there’s a fourth bailout on its way for the lender.The general environment for investing in Italian banks is a bit better too. Another lender, Banco BPM SpA, issued some perpetual hybrid debt on Tuesday. Paschi is deeply into junk territory yet it managed to raise a chunky 400 million euros ($444 million). This was one-third bigger than a similar 10-year Tier 2 issue in July, and at a much lower cost than the 10.5% coupon it had to offer then. It was more than twice subscribed and the yield has tightened modestly since launch.Monte Paschi’s debt coordinators showed a fair amount of skill with last week’s sale, amid another record start to bond issuance this year. Only days ago, the bank told shareholders it will have to take a big hit to profit after writing down deferred tax assets. Still, for Monte Paschi it’s very helpful that the state aid just keeps coming. The bet by bond investors that Rome will keep doing whatever it takes may be a winning one.Reeling from an acquisition that drained it of cash just as markets peaked in 2007, Paschi has had to turn to its government three times already to replenish its capital as losses on bad loans piled up. The last round, in 2017, saw Italy effectively take over the lender while pledging to exit by 2021 under terms agreed with the European Union.The bank has made progress in cleaning up its balance sheet, but a ratio of non-performing loans of about 12.5% targeted for year-end and sluggish revenue render Paschi virtually untouchable for would-be partners. Luckily, as in the past, Italian taxpayers are on hand. Italy is in talks with Brussels to allow state-backed debt manager Amco to buy more than 10 billion euros of Paschi’s soured loans, a move that would reduce its bad debt ratio to below 5%, according to Morgan Stanley analysts.You can never be certain about Monte Paschi, a bank that hid losses with complex derivatives and was found by the European Central Bank to have inadequate governance and financial controls as recently as 2017. But another round of aid might make it look more attractive to rivals. Bond markets clearly find it palatable.To contact the authors of this story: Marcus Ashworth at email@example.comElisa Martinuzzi at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Marcus Ashworth is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering European markets. He spent three decades in the banking industry, most recently as chief markets strategist at Haitong Securities in London.Elisa Martinuzzi is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering finance. She is a former managing editor for European finance at Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, says it will cut exposure to companies linked to thermal coal, among other climate-friendly measures. It’s a powerful signal. Unfortunately, it only scratches the surface. If BlackRock CEO Larry Fink is serious about helping to eliminate coal while reshaping finance, his outfit can use its holdings of sovereign debt to tackle governments, too.Coal power generation has fallen steeply in Europe and the U.S. in the past year or so, thanks to cheap natural gas, higher carbon prices and green pressure. Yet in Asia, once you iron out some local peculiarities, demand for the black stuff remains remarkably resilient. That suggests that even if global appetite peaks soon, as most analysts estimate, it could well remain at high levels for years to come. Analysts at UBS Group AG estimated last July that on current trends the last coal-fired power station may close only in 2079. To blame are the likes of China, India and Vietnam. Their fleet is young, still growing and often state-backed; Western money managers selling out of public securities won’t change that. There is good news. BlackRock is an investment giant, with $7.4 trillion of assets under management, so Fink’s call to arms last week marks a significant move. Cutting off funds for coal producers and driving up their cost of capital is key to suffocating a sector that is the single largest cause of increased global temperatures.BlackRock’s strategic shift is also driven by self-interest. That’s encouraging, as such initiatives tend to outlast moral outrage. Heat from activists, like the BlackRock’s Big Problem campaign, helped, but Fink argues he is making sustainability the new standard because it makes financial sense. The surge of inflows into the firm’s environmentally friendly funds last week will encourage that view.The devil, as ever, is in the detail. BlackRock’s aim to divest thermal coal equity and debt will apply to its actively managed funds. Yet those amount to only under a third of the money it manages. As worrying is the threshold to be used to determine what has to go: The fund manager will sell out of any company where 25% of revenue or more is derived from thermal coal. That gets at narrowly focused producers like Australia’s Whitehaven Coal Ltd., but leaves untouched stakes in diversified heavyweights, like BlackRock’s 6% holding in Glencore Plc, the world’s top producer of seaborne thermal coal, or other sprawling conglomerates. It also tackles primarily miners, not utilities that consume the fuel.It’s possible to aim higher: Axa SA last year vowed to reduce its exposure to the thermal coal industry to zero by 2040.The bigger problem is that while such moves are necessary, they aren’t sufficient. That’s firstly because of the haven offered by private markets. If a large investment fund divests a stock or bond, or pressures companies into selling out of coal projects, what next? BlackRock investors may feel better, but will global production reduce overall? Quite possibly not. Will the world be greener? Also, possibly not, if the pit is sold to owners out of the public eye. Arguably, it may become harder to monitor. That suggests a more effective pressure point is demand, and that means tackling governments and state-backed firms still funding and supporting the fuel. Indeed, real impact will require a change in policy in Asian markets like Vietnam where coal is still a major employer and seen as a driver of economic growth. As a major investor in sovereign debt, even if much of it is in passive funds, BlackRock has enough leverage for meaningful dialogue at least.The challenge is significant. Consider China, which wants to reduce its reliance on coal. At least 200 million tons of coal capacity were ready to start production in 2019, while another 409 million tons of government-approved capacity are under construction, according to Bloomberg Intelligence numbers published last September. Together, that’s almost a quarter of China's up-and-running thermal coal capacity. In Indonesia, coal consumption may grow at the world’s fastest pace. Earlier this month, Jakarta ordered coal miners to slash production after record output last year. Prices immediately turned higher.Policy, then, is the lever to significantly reduce coal use in the region where it’s still growing: Asia. Go back to the UBS numbers. On current trends, the last coal-fired power station closes in six decades. But a red alert scenario where leaders accelerate closures would shutter the last plant in 2058, according to the bank, closer to the 2050 target set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.Indonesia’s tussle with JPMorgan Chase & Co. in 2017 — when Jakarta temporarily severed business ties over a negative research report — is a reminder of just how much emerging market governments care about perception. BlackRock can make that count. To contact the author of this story: Clara Ferreira Marques at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew Brooker at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Clara Ferreira Marques is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities and environmental, social and governance issues. Previously, she was an associate editor for Reuters Breakingviews, and editor and correspondent for Reuters in Singapore, India, the U.K., Italy and Russia.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The last place on earth where bankers and traders can make real money is opening up. As part of its trade deal with the U.S., China vowed to grant Western financial institutions more access to its $14 trillion wealth-management industry. A number of foreign-controlled joint ventures with banks are in the works. Days before Christmas, Beijing approved the first one, a tie-up between Amundi Asset Management and a unit of Bank of China Ltd. Shortly afterward, China Construction Bank Corp. agreed to partner with BlackRock Inc. and Temasek Holdings Pte, while Industrial & Commercial Bank of China is flirting with Goldman Sachs Group Inc.Millions of dollars are being thrown at this. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Nomura Holdings Inc. are buying up extra office space in Shanghai, where staff could be paid more generously than in Hong Kong. Goldman plans to double its headcount in China to 600 over the next five years. But why would foreigners want to crowd into the world’s most competitive market? Simple: Investors in China still have faith in active managers. Last year, it took just 10 hours for a star stock picker to attract more than $10 billion in orders for his firm’s debut mutual fund.Foreign firms might reason that they have deep talent pools, too. Bin Shi, a portfolio manager who has been with UBS Group AG since 2006, can churn out profit better than many of his mainland competitors. His Luxembourg-registered All China Fund returned 50% over the past year. By tapping into local banks’ distribution networks, Western asset managers could benefit from the army of retail investors that might come crowding in.If allowed to compete, Wall Street managers could almost effortlessly bat local competitors away. After all, Beijing wants Chinese wealth managers to emulate the U.S. model. In the West, middle-class savers have built up their nest eggs with mutual funds. They get some sense of their risk-return trade-off by checking (sometimes obsessively) the charts and numbers that showcase the historical ups-and-downs of their fortunes.Not so in China. Two years after the government unveiled sweeping rule changes, many products still carry the false perception of guaranteed future returns. It’s not uncommon for money managers to post these forecasts on their websites weekly. The concept of metrics like net asset value remain completely foreign to a money manager sitting in a Chinese bank branch. In that sense, Western competitors are miles ahead.Then consider the options. If Chinese savers looked at BlackRock’s range of offerings, for example, they’d be blown away. Some funds are designed to help you retire by 2040, while others are more tactical in nature. Blending bonds with stocks in a portfolio is commonplace, and financial metrics such as the Sharpe Ratio or effective duration for fixed income funds are readily available for savers to peruse, if they decide to get a bit technical.In China, investments that can deliver steady, stable gains are rare. Moms-and-pops are stuck with either bank deposits, which are essentially subsidies to the state-owned banks, wealth management products — nowadays pretty boring, thanks to Beijing’s sweeping rule changes to limit risk — or speculative private funds that can cost you dearly.To Beijing’s credit, foreigners have a fairly level playing field in the asset-management business. The new rules, which require banks to spin off their wealth units, are re-drawing the landscape entirely. The first such operation opened for business just six months ago, and there are now about half a dozen. It wasn’t until early December that the government even finalized net capital rules for these operations. So assuming the likes of Goldman and BlackRock can get their licenses quickly, their peers won’t be that far behind. That’s quite a positive step for a country that actively blocks Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. to allow its domestic players flourish.Of course, we all know the realities of marriage: Whether a partnership yields happiness is anyone's guess. But that shouldn't discourage Western asset managers from trying. There's plenty of money to be made.To contact the author of this story: Shuli Ren at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachel Rosenthal at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Shuli Ren is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Asian markets. She previously wrote on markets for Barron's, following a career as an investment banker, and is a CFA charterholder.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. investors won a direct shot at the potentially lucrative job of helping China clean up its heap of bad debt, in the trade deal struck last week. Now the hard work begins. China is embracing foreign capital as it grapples with a tide of soured debt. Some estimate it to have topped $1 trillion as the trade war weighed on economic growth and a long crackdown on shadow banking choked off liquidity.U.S. firms including Oaktree Capital Group and Bain Capital Credit have already been pushing into one of the world’s biggest distressed debt market. The trade deal will allow financial services companies from the U.S. to apply for licenses to buy non-performing loans, or NPLs, directly from banks, cutting out the middle man they have to go through now.The Communist Party-ruled nation is trying to instill more discipline in the market as defaults have hit records for two straight years and its vast regional banking network struggles to cope. Growing participation by foreign investors could relieve pressure on the mainly state-owned firms that so far have been the front-line in dealing with the bad debt problem. It could also result in a more market-driven pricing of soured borrowings.Read more about China’s efforts to curb bad debt“China’s NPL market is large and growing, and opportunities for deeply discounted investments are enticing foreign firms with NPL experience in other markets,” said Brock Silvers, managing director at Adamas Asset Management in Hong Kong.Gaining access is one thing, but succeeding is another. Top-down run China can be an arbitrary place to do business, and local knowledge and contacts are required in the 1.4 billion person nation. Foreign firms have often grappled with unpredictable courts, fraud and challenges of sourcing bad loans. A web of local enterprises are often closely connected to regional banks and the local government, making it hard to navigate.The market has grown significantly in recent years. But lack of experience has been an obstacle and many firms that stuck their toe in eventually pulled back because of difficulties in working out bad loans in China’s system, according to Benjamin Fanger, a managing partner at ShoreVest Partners, a distressed debt firm.“Some foreign investors are still continuing to push forward to try to learn and this new agreement opening to direct deals with banks might add more interest again,” he said. “But doing Chinese NPLs requires a very significant commitment of time and resources to build up local sourcing, underwriting and servicing/exit capability.”The sheer pace in the buildup in soured debt is proving a potent lure. Bad debt held by commercial banks jumped almost 20% in the first nine months of last year to 2.4 trillion yuan, according to the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.Data shows that overseas purchases of bad loan portfolios nearly tripled in 2018 to 30 billion yuan, Savills has said in a report. Active international players include Oaktree, Loan Star, Goldman Sachs, Bain, PAG and CarVal, according to the real estate and research firm.Savills said the overseas investors typically target loan books as large as $100 million, compared with domestic investors who seek to buy small batches of about $30 million. Targeted returns are usually 12-15%, unleveraged, or 17-22%, with leverage.China’s recent financial tightening has also led to opportunities for some foreign investors since some local investors are struggling to conclude deals, according to Savills.While the trade deal applies to U.S. financial services firms, the government could potentially broaden the scope to include European firms in time, according John Xu, a Shanghai-based partner at Linklaters that advises international funds on buying nonperforming loans.“The challenge is that there is a quota on the licenses per province, so there may not be sufficient licenses in some of the main provinces,” said Xu.ShoreVest Partners wasted no time in moving ahead and is in talks “with several provincial and municipal governments” about the new agreement and what the first steps would be toward obtaining an asset management company license, according to Fanger, a China bad debt veteran who speaks fluent Mandarin.But further steps will be needed to tame the unpredictability of the Chinese market.“If Beijing is to eventually get a handle on China’s over-indebtedness, it will have to allow for a predictable, rule-based nonperforming loan enforcement process,” said Silvers at Adamas in Hong Kong.(Retops)\--With assistance from Alfred Liu and Emma Dong.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Denise Wee in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.org;Tongjian Dong in Shanghai at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Neha D'silva at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Andrew Monahan at email@example.com, Jonas BergmanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
A week ago, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) came out with a strong set of yearly numbers that could potentially lead to a...
Microsoft Pledges Carbon Negativity Forget carbon neutral. That’s passé now, even though it hasn’t been achieved yet. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is showing up its tech giant peers by pledging to be net carbon negative by 2030. To this end, it is investing $1 billion over the next 10 years to make it happen. “While the world […]The post Market Weekend: Microsoft Carbon Goals, Foxconn Fiat, Citigroup Pay Gap, Google To the Moon appeared first on Market Exclusive.
Investor pressure on fossil fuel producers as well as users has been increasing dramatically of late, and BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager could no longer afford to ignore this trend
Investors in The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) had a good week, as its shares rose 3.0% to close at US$249...
The big U.S. banks reported earnings for the fourth-quarter of 2019, seeing decent top-line growth as a result of a strong U.S. consumer. But the bottom line earnings were helped by share buybacks.
Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 4 days time. You can purchase shares before the...
Brad Wall is calling on institutional investors to avoid “sweeping generalizations” about Canada’s energy sector as a growing number of asset managers prioritize climate change.
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Treasury’s plan to reboot its 20-year bond clarified how the government will fund a $1 trillion deficit, but also raised questions about the decision’s ramifications elsewhere in the market.Traders took a stab at providing some answers in the immediate aftermath, reshaping the yield curve. The extra yield on 30-year bonds versus 2-year notes rose almost 3 basis points on Friday, the biggest increase since late December.While some see this move auguring a steeper curve longer term, much will depend on how the Treasury Department rejiggers its lineup of issuance. And that in turn will depend on when the sales begin, and their size, analysts say.Wall Street dealers seem generally of the view that the new issue will lead to only marginal cuts, if any, to other coupon-bearing auctions. At UBS, strategist Chirag Mirani says the market pricing has already adjusted to the prospect of new supply, and he sees the recent cheapening in longer-dated Treasuries as a buying opportunity.But Jim Caron at Morgan Stanley Investment Management sees cuts closer to the front end of the curve, which should help widen the gap between short- and longer-end yields.“We like the curve steepener, so this is a welcome thing,” Caron said Friday.Most dealers anticipate the new 20-year bonds to debut in May. Waiting until around mid-year reduces the need to shave auction sizes that are historically large, which has left the Treasury well-funded for now.But the federal budget deficit is set to surpass $1 trillion, and the U.S. also has to deal with a wall of debt starting to mature later this year. As a result, any move to shrink offerings of other coupon-bearing maturities to make room for the 20-year would soon have to be reversed. And if the Treasury does take that step, bills are seen as the most likely candidate.“The key reason for Treasury to introduce the 20-year now is that it gives it a warm-up period,” said Jim Vogel, a strategist at FHN Financial. “It will be absolutely necessary later on for larger auction sizes overall,” so cuts now would only be temporary.For decades, the Treasury has sought a regular and predictable approach to issuance, which it sees as fostering investor demand and reducing the cost to taxpayers. That approach has meant that officials prefer not to make abrupt or frequent changes to their auction slate.One reason to expect a supply-driven steepening in the curve is looking shakier: The decision to reboot the 20-year, which the U.S. stopped issuing in 1986, appears to put on ice for now the prospect of even longer maturities. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been pondering that step since he took over in 2017. The 20-year idea seemed to gain traction last quarter.There’s another key reason analysts say the Treasury can wait a few months to introduce the two-decade maturity. Its financing position is getting a boost from the Federal Reserve’s monthly purchases of $60 billion in T-bills, a program aimed at increasing reserves. As those securities mature and the central bank rolls them over, it reduces the amount the government needs to borrow from the public.“Based on the current auction sizes and projections for the deficit, it seems unlikely to us that Treasury will start issuing the 20-years in February, but they will likely announce in May the actual start of sales,” said Zachary Griffiths, a rates strategist Wells Fargo Securities. “And at that time, Treasury could start 20-years a bit smaller than its full annual run-rate plans, or if not, just cut the 30-year auctions by a few billion.”It will likely leave the 10-year alone, because its role as the world’s borrowing benchmark means it needs to be highly liquid, according to Griffiths.Well Fargo forecasts that when the 20-year is fully up and running, Treasury will sell about $39 billion quarterly, or about $150 billion to $160 billion each year. The Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee has recommended that the government issue $140 billion annually.More information on the 20-year will come at Treasury’s next quarterly announcement of longer-dated debt sales, on Feb. 5, the department said in a statement. In its regular quarterly survey released Friday, Treasury asked dealers about the maturity, including their view on the minimum auction size and total issue size necessary to ensure benchmark liquidity.“Treasury will likely do this in a way to limit adjustments needed in other coupon maturity sizes, or even prevent any from occurring at all,” said Mark Cabana, head of U.S. interest rates strategy at Bank of America Corp.(Updates with views on the U.S. Treasury yield curve)\--With assistance from Saleha Mohsin and Elizabeth Stanton.To contact the reporters on this story: Liz Capo McCormick in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Emily Barrett in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Benjamin Purvis at firstname.lastname@example.org, Nick Baker, Mark TannenbaumFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Nvidia shares have soared roughly 60% in the last year as part of a broader semiconductor market climb that has come despite an overall sales and earnings downturn. So is now the time to buy NVDA stock?
Analysts expect earnings at S&P 500 companies to drop 0.8% in the fourth quarter, but forecast a 5.8% rise in the first quarter of 2020, according to Refinitiv IBES data. Billionaire David Tepper, who founded hedge fund Appaloosa Management, told CNBC that he remains bullish on U.S. equities. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.17% to end at 29,348.1 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.39% to 3,329.62.
The Dow eked out a gain Friday to stretch its winning streak to a fifth day. Encouraging economic data from the U.S. and China lifted investor sentiment. Homebuilding in the U.S. surged to a 13-year high in December, and China's industrial output, investment and retail sales rose more than expected last month. The data helped drive the three indexes to new highs. The S&P 500 up nearly four-tenths percent. For the week, the indexes rose roughly 2%. Mercadien Asset Management president, Ken Kamen: SOUNDBITE: MERCADIEN ASSET MANAGEMENT PRESIDENT, KEN KAMEN (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The consumer's very strong. So I think there's a lot of reason for optimism, and the markets' kind of fueling that." Shares of China sensitive chipmaker Qualcomm shot higher. Citigroup upgraded the chipmaker to "buy" from "neutral," citing among other factors, the likelihood that Qualcomm will gain market share in China with its 5G chipsets. Financial stocks including JPMorgan and Citizens Financial were among the rally leaders. A 61% surge in quarterly profit at the custodian bank, State Street, spurred the buying. Energy stocks were the day's biggest decliners. Shares of oilfield service provider Schlumberger slid even though its adjusted earnings beat Wall Street's targets The markets will be closed Monday for the Martin Luther King holiday.