Daily Market Report 02-27-2024

Daily Market Report

As of 11:00 A.M. EST


Treasuries Mixed Amid Another Flurry of Bond Sales: Markets Wrap – Bloomberg, 2/27/2024

  • Wall Street is geared up for another busy session of bond sales as issuers look to borrow before vital economic data later this week.
  • Treasuries were mixed ahead of a $42 billion auction of seven-year notes and another heavy slate of new corporate bonds.
  • Eight companies are considering selling US investment-grade bonds on Tuesday, according to an informal survey of debt underwriters.
  • The offerings come a day after 18 companies sold debt, bringing February issuance to a record.
  • Rates have soared as Treasury investors contend with an erosion in expectations for how much the Federal Reserve will lower interest rates this year — a policy shift that would likely fuel a bond rally — and an onslaught of new corporate issuance that has given yield-seeking investors ample alternatives.
  • Data due Thursday is expected to show inflation as measured by the Fed’s preferred gauge accelerated every month in January, according to economists’ forecasts.
  • Treasury 10-year yields changed little at 4.29%.
  • The S&P 500 fluctuated near 5,070. The Nasdaq 100 rose 0.3%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average changed little.
  • Nvidia halted a three-day rally.
  • Macy’s climbed on plans to close almost a third of its namesake US locations as the department-store chain seeks to fight off a pair of activist firms seeking to buy the company.
  • S&P 500 companies are headed for their highest quarterly earnings beat rate since the fourth quarter of 2021, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence strategists Gina Martin Adams and Wendy Soong.
  • With more than 90% of S&P 500 companies having reported results, the gauge is on track for 7.7% year-on-year earnings per share growth, blowing past the pre-season forecast for 1.2%, according to BI’s analysis.
  • The stock market is responding, with the S&P 500 logging its 13th closing record of 2024 last week, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average surpassed 39,000 for the first time.
  • It’s telling that the milestones all occurred while investors speculated that the Fed would not rush to cut interest rates after a batch of hot inflation news and pushback from officials.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings issued its initial financial guidance for 2024 ahead of Wall Street expectations due to strong demand.
  • Lowe’s said its sales will fall further this year as consumers continue to hold off from sprucing up their homes amid higher mortgage rates and a drop in new construction projects.
  • Viking Therapeutics said its experimental obesity drug delivered positive results in a mid-stage trial.
  • Zoom Video Communications reported quarterly sales and profit that topped analysts’ estimates, a sign that corporate customers are sticking with the software company.
  • Workday, a payroll software company, issued a full-year subscription revenue forecast weaker than expected at the midpoint.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 was changed a little.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.6% to $78.08 a barrel.

Macy’s posts another quarter of falling sales as it unveils strategy to get back to growth – CNBC, 2/27/2024

  • On Tuesday, Macy’s said sales fell nearly 2% in the holiday quarter, as the 166-year-old department store operator unveiled its strategy to return to growth.
  • Revenue: $8.12 billion vs. $8.15 billion expected.
  • Across the company, comparable sales on an owned-plus-licensed basis fell 4.2% from the year-ago period.
  • That was better than the 5.8% decline analysts expected, according to LSEG.
  • The namesake store’s comparable sales on an owned-plus-licensed basis dropped by 4.7% as the women’s shoes and cold weather apparel and accessories categories struggled.
  • Beauty and Macy’s off-price business, Backstage, were stronger performers in the quarter.
  • At Bloomingdale’s, comparable sales declined 1.6% on an owned-plus-licensed basis as the men’s and designer handbag businesses came in soft.
  • Bluemercury’s comparable sales rose 2.3% as shoppers bought skincare items and color cosmetics.
  • Digital sales declined 4% compared with the prior-year quarter, and brick-and-mortar sales were roughly flat.
  • Earnings per share: $2.45 adjusted vs. $1.96 expected.
  • Macy’s — which includes its namesake banner, Bloomingdale’s, and Bluemercury —expects sales to remain stagnant.
  • It projected net sales of between $22.2 billion and $22.9 billion for this fiscal year, down from $23.09 billion in 2023.
  • It anticipates comparable sales, which take out the impact of store openings and closures, will range from a decline of about 1.5% to a gain of 1.5% compared with the year-ago period on an owned-plus-licensed basis, including third-party marketplace sales.
  • Macy’s plans to close about 150 unproductive locations and will step up investments in the approximately 350 namesake locations that will remain open.

Zoom Gains After Sales Top Estimates on Enterprise Customers – Bloomberg, 2/27/2024

  • Zoom Video Communications reported quarterly sales and profit that topped analysts’ estimates, a sign that corporate customers are sticking with the software company. The shares gained more than 10% in extended trading.
  • Sales gained 2.6% to $1.15 billion, the company said Monday.
  • Analysts, on average, projected $1.13 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
  • Contact center licenses tripled over the last year, and 95 phone customers had over 10,000 active users, Zoom said in an earnings presentation.
  • About half a million accounts enabled Zoom’s AI-free companion, the company added.
  • Enterprise revenue increased 4.9% to $667.3 million in the period ended January 31.
  • Zoom said it had 220,400 corporate customers at the end of the quarter, with 3,810 contributing more than $100,000 in trailing 12-month revenue.
  • Online sales, generally from casual consumers and small businesses, decreased by 0.5% to $479.2 million.
  • Zoom, on average, lost 3% of those customers each month in the quarter, matching its metric for the previous period, which was the slowest rate of churn the company had ever reported.
  • Profit, excluding some items, was $1.42 a share, compared with the average estimate of $1.15.
  • Zoom projected revenue of about $4.6 billion in the fiscal year ending in January 2025.
  • Analysts, on average, estimated $4.66 billion.
  • Profit, excluding some items, will be $4.85 to $4.88 a share, compared with the average projection of $4.72.
  • The company also announced a $1.5 billion share buyback, which follows a $1 billion authorization started in 2022 that expired this month.

Lowe’s Sales Suffer as Home Improvement Slowdown Persists – Bloomberg, 2/27/2024

  • Lowe’s said its sales will fall further this year as consumers continue to hold off from sprucing up their homes amid higher mortgage rates and a drop in new construction projects.
  • Total sales for the fourth quarter fell to $18.6 billion from $22.4 billion for the same period in the prior year.
  • Lowe’s saw like-for-like sales fall 6.2% for the fourth quarter, though analysts expected an even worse performance.
  • Earnings per share were $1.77, better than expected for the quarter.
  • Comparable sales for the current fiscal year will be down between 2% and 3%, a slightly larger dip than analysts expected, the retailer said Tuesday.
  • Inflation and a stagnant housing market have made DIY customers “hesitant to spend on big-ticket home purchases,” Chief Executive Officer Marvin Ellison told analysts on a Tuesday earnings call.
  • The spending shift hit demand for items for the kitchen and bathroom and flooring and appliances.

Cava Sales Beat Estimates as Diners Splurge on Premium Dishes – Bloomberg, 2/27/2024

  • Cava Group posted fourth-quarter sales that beat estimates as more people visited and shelled out for premium dishes.
  • The critical measure of same-store sales rose 11.4%, surpassing the 6.3% analysts expected.
  • An increase in traffic was responsible for more than half of the gain, with the rest coming from higher prices and the popularity of premium menu items.
  • Revenue of $175.5 million beat the average analyst estimate, as did adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
  • Restaurant-level margins of 22.4% also surpassed expectations.

Workday’s stock falls after earnings, but this analyst sees no ‘thesis breakers’ – Market Watch, 2/27/2024

  • Shares of Workday fell in after-hours trading Monday after the company topped profit expectations for the latest quarter but merely met expectations on revenue and reiterated its full-year forecast.
  • Workday logged revenue of $1.92 billion, up from $1.65 billion a year before and matching the FactSet consensus.
  • On an adjusted basis, Workday earned $1.57 a share for its fiscal fourth quarter, whereas analysts were modeling $1.47.
  • For the fiscal first quarter, Workday models $1.973 billion in total revenue and $1.810 billion in subscription revenue.
  • That compares with consensus estimates for $1.917 billion and $1.758 billion, respectively.
  • The software company expects $7.725 billion to $7.775 billion in revenue for the full fiscal year, consistent with its prior forecast three months ago.

AutoZone Stock Is Rising. Earnings Are Strong. – Barron’s, 2/27/2024

  • AutoZone stock traded higher after the auto parts retailer blew past quarterly estimates.
  • Net sales of $3.86 billion were slightly above the consensus estimate of $3.85 billion.
  • Domestic same-store sales rose 0.3%, while international same-store sales jumped 24%.
  • Total company same-store sales increased 3%.
  • For the fiscal second quarter ended February 10, AutoZone reported earnings per share of $28.89, beating Wall Street’s call for $26.30, according to FactSet.

Unity shares sink on weak guidance – CNBC, 2/27/2024

  • Unity Software shares plummeted in extended trading on Monday after the gaming software company issued weaker-than-expected guidance for the current quarter.
  • Revenue: $609 million vs. $596 million expected by analysts, according to LSEG.
  • Earnings per share: Loss of 66 cents. The results may not be comparable to the 46-cent loss predicted by analysts according to LSEG, formerly known as Refinitiv.
  • Unity expects first-quarter adjusted earnings of $45 million to $50 million, below the $113 million analysts expected.
  • The company said going forward, it would only provide revenue guidance for its “strategic portfolio,” which includes its engine, cloud, and monetization business units.
  • The company said first-quarter guidance for its strategic portfolio would come between $415 million and $420 million.
  • Analysts were expecting total first-quarter revenue of $534 million.

Viking Therapeutics stock jumps 80% after positive weight loss drug trial results – CNBC, 2/27/2024

  • Shares of Viking Therapeutics soared about 80% on Tuesday after the company’s experimental weight loss drug showed promising initial results in a mid-stage trial.
  • The trial followed more than 170 patients with obesity or who are overweight, some of whom received different dose sizes of the injectable drug or a placebo.
  • Those who received weekly doses of the treatment lost up to 14.7% of their body weight from baseline, or 13.1% when adjusted for placebo, after 13 weeks.
  • Up to 88% of patients who received the drug, known as VK2735, achieved at least 10% weight loss, compared to just 4% of those who didn’t.
  • Notably, there was no evidence of a plateau in weight reduction at week 13 for any dose of the drug, suggesting that “further weight loss might be achieved” by keeping patients on the treatment longer, Viking CEO Brian Lian said during a call with investors.
  • The drug demonstrated “encouraging” patient safety following the 13-week trial period. Patients also appeared to tolerate the drug well.
  • Around 4% of patients who received any dose size of the treatment discontinued the study early compared with approximately 6% of those in the placebo group.
  • The majority of adverse events that patients experienced after starting the drug – also known as treatment-emergent adverse events – were mild or moderate in severity.
  • Many of those events were gastrointestinal, commonly seen across all weight loss and diabetes treatments.
  • Viking plans to present the entire phase 2 data at medical conferences.

Dimon Says Commercial Real Estate Problems to Stay Contained If No Recession – Bloomberg, 2/27/2024

  • Jamie Dimon said problems in commercial real estate will be contained to “pockets” of the sector as long as the US avoids a recession.
  • Many property owners can handle the current stress level, the JPMorgan Chase chief executive officer said on CNBC Monday.
  • Lower valuations tied to higher interest rates is “not a crisis, it’s kind of a known thing,” he said in an interview at his firm’s annual high-yield and leveraged-finance conference in Miami.
  • “If we don’t have a recession, I think most people will be able to muddle through this, refinance, put more equity in,” Dimon said.
  • “If rates go up and we have a recession, there will be real estate problems, and some banks will have a much bigger real estate problem than others.”
  • Dimon said that higher defaults are “just a normalization process” after a long period of low default rates.

FTC Sues to Block $25 Billion Kroger-Albertsons Merger – Wall Street Journal, 2/27/2024

  • < UNK> On Monday, • The Federal Trade Commission sued to block Kroger’s $25 billion bid for rival Albertsons, throwing into uncertainty the fate of the largest supermarket deal in history.
  • In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Oregon, the FTC said the deal would lead to higher food prices and harm union workers’ bargaining power and asked a court to block the companies from closing their deal on antitrust grounds.
  • The FTC said that the companies’ plan to address the government’s concerns by selling hundreds of stores in Washington, Colorado, and other states won’t solve the problem.
  • “Kroger’s acquisition of Albertsons would lead to additional grocery price hikes for everyday goods, further exacerbating the financial strain consumers across the country face today,” said Henry Liu, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition.

Boeing Hit by Damning FAA Report Faulting Safety Culture – Bloomberg, 2/27/2024

  • US regulators issued a scathing assessment of Boeing’s safety culture, putting further pressure on the company as it contends with the fallout from a near-catastrophic accident at the start of the year.
  • A panel of experts convened by the Federal Aviation Administration said the planemaker was faulted for ineffective procedures and a communication breakdown between senior management and other staff members in a Monday report.
  • Constant changes to complex procedures and training led to confusion. At the same time, other shortcomings hindered the average employee’s understanding of their role in how Boeing manages safety, according to the report, which US lawmakers mandated.
  • “I hope this is a wake-up call to the Boeing Company,” said Rich Plunkett, a member of the expert review panel and director of strategic development for the union representing Boeing’s engineers.
  • “We will carefully review the panel’s assessment and learn from their findings as we continue our comprehensive efforts to improve our safety and quality programs,” Boeing said in a statement.


Home-Price Growth in the US Accelerates as Buyer Demand Picks Up – Bloomberg, 2/27/2024

  • Home price growth in the US accelerated in December, capping a period with a steep drop in mortgage rates.
  • Prices nationally rose 5.5% from a year earlier, according to data from S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller.
  • A measure of values in 20 cities was up 6.1% from a year earlier in December, compared with a 5.4% increase in the previous month.
  • San Diego had the biggest year-over-year gain, at 8.8%, followed by Los Angeles and Detroit, each with an 8.3% increase.
  • On a seasonally adjusted basis, 10 of 20 markets beat prior records. Portland, Oregon, had an increase after 11 months of declines.

US Consumer Confidence Decreases for First Time in Four Months – Bloomberg, 2/27/2024

  • US consumer confidence fell in February for the first time in four months as Americans’ views deteriorated about the outlook for the economy, the job market, and financial conditions.
  • The Conference Board’s sentiment gauge decreased to 106.7 from a downwardly revised 110.9 a month earlier, data published Tuesday showed.
  • The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a reading of 115.
  • A gauge of current conditions fell to 147.2, and the measure of expectations dropped to 79.8.
  • Views of the job market were more downbeat than a month earlier.
  • The share of consumers who said jobs were plentiful fell, while more said they were more challenging.
  • The difference between those saying jobs are plentiful versus hard to get — a metric closely followed by economists to gauge labor-market strength — narrowed for the first time in three months.
  • The share of consumers expecting to buy significant appliances rose to a five-month high, while a larger share also hopes to buy used vehicles.

US Business-Equipment Orders Barely Rise as Firms Rethink Plans – Bloomberg, 2/27/2024

  • Orders placed with US factories for business equipment barely rose in January after falling the prior month, suggesting firms are restraining their investment amid an uncertain outlook.
  • The value of core capital goods orders, a proxy for investment in equipment that excludes aircraft and military hardware, increased 0.1% last month after a downwardly revised 0.6% drop in December, Commerce Department figures showed Tuesday.

  • Bookings for all durable goods — items meant to last at least three years — sank 6.1%, the most since April 2020, as commercial aircraft orders plunged following a near-miss accident involving a Boeing plane.
  • Excluding transportation equipment, orders fell 0.3%.
  • Core capital goods shipments, a figure used to help calculate equipment investment in the government’s gross domestic product report, climbed 0.8%, the most in a year.

Haley Defiant as Campaign Braces for Blowout Loss in Michigan – Wall Street Journal, 2/27/2024

  • Nikki Haley, facing another expected humiliation in Michigan’s Republican primary on Tuesday, has a simple answer when asked why she is still campaigning for the GOP presidential nomination when former President Donald Trump appears to be the inevitable nominee.
  • “I’m doing what I think is right,” she said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
  • “I’m doing what I believe 70% of Americans want me to do.”
  • That number references polling showing seven in 10 Americans want an option other than Trump versus President Biden in this year’s presidential election.
  • The former South Carolina governor, the first United Nations ambassador in the Trump administration, has pledged to stay in the race through Super Tuesday on March 5, when 15 states hold contests.
  • Trump could be positioned to gain the delegates needed to secure the nomination by a week or two after that.
  • In a show of her determination, Haley’s campaign has outlined a grueling travel schedule in the coming days, including Colorado, Utah, Virginia, North Carolina, and Massachusetts stops.

Shutdown Deadline Tests House Speaker Mike Johnson – Wall Street Journal, 2/27/2024

  • The federal government is barreling toward a partial shutdown in four days, and that means it is decision time again for House Speaker Mike Johnson (R., La.).
  • On Tuesday morning, Johnson is heading to the White House, where he will face off with President Biden and three other top congressional leaders, all pushing for bipartisan deals to keep the government open and help Ukraine repel Russia’s two-year-old invasion.
  • Such White House summits tend to be more stagecraft than statecraft—high-profile opportunities for both sides to show they are fighting for their parties’ priorities rather than nitty-gritty policy negotiations.
  • But the moment is particularly challenging for Johnson, a formerly little-known Louisiana conservative who leapfrogged from the lower ranks of House Republican leadership to assume the speakership in October after a group of GOP dissidents ousted his predecessor, former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.).
  • In the coming hours or days, Johnson could seal a deal with congressional Democrats and try to pass fresh full-year spending legislation.
  • The polarized Congress has until Saturday at 12:01 a.m. to fund the Veterans Affairs, Transportation, Agriculture, Energy, and several other agencies operating on temporary extensions since September 30.


Norwegian Cruise Line reports first profitable year since 2019 – CNBC, 2/27/2024

  • Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings reported its first profitable year since 2019 on Tuesday as fourth-quarter losses narrowed dramatically.
  • Revenue: $1.99 billion vs. $1.97 billion expected.
  • The company saw 102.9% occupancy for the year.
  • Total revenue per passenger per day increased 17% from pre-pandemic levels.
  • The cancelations only caused a slight dip in occupancy in the fourth quarter to 99.2%, the company said.
  • Loss per share: 18 cents vs. 14 cents expected.
  • The company said it’s currently at record-high booking levels due to “healthy consumer demand” across the fourth quarter and full year.
  • For 2024, the company expects an adjusted profit of about $635 million, or $1.23 per share, and an occupancy rate of about 105%.
  • Analysts polled by LSEG had anticipated 2024 earnings per share of $1.21.

BOE May Sell Whole QE Portfolio in Policy Divergence From US Fed – Bloomberg, 2/27/2024

  • The Bank of England may sell all the UK government bonds bought under quantitative easing to better prepare for a future crisis, putting it at odds with the US Federal Reserve.
  • BOE Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden, who oversees financial markets, said officials may continue running down the QE portfolio, which peaked at £895 billion, even after hitting the “preferred minimum range of reserves.”
  • It’s essential to the public finances because the Treasury is underwriting losses incurred on those asset sales.
  • The BOE has estimated that the PMRR sits at £335 billion to £495 billion. Still, Ramsden insisted the bank could choose to run the QE program, known as the asset purchase facility, all the way down to zero and use different liquidity instruments to meet commercial banks’ financial stability demand for reserves.
  • “The Monetary Policy Committee could unwind the APF fully if it judged necessary for policy reasons, and the level of the PMRR should not affect this judgment,” Ramsden said.
  • “Our approach differs from other central banks, notably the Federal Reserve, which aims to maintain its QE portfolio at a level that will back an ‘ample’ level of reserves.”

World Economy Has Growing Chance of Soft Landing, G-20 Says – Bloomberg, 2/27/2024

  • The global economy has a growing chance of pulling off a soft landing, finance chiefs said in a draft of the G-20’s closing statement at this week’s meeting in Brazil, citing faster-than-expected disinflation as one of the risks.
  • “We note that the likelihood of a soft landing in the global economy has increased,” said the draft communique dated February 23, seen by Bloomberg News.
  • “Risks to the global economic outlook are more balanced. Upside risks include faster-than-expected disinflation.”
  • The draft text refers to “conflicts in many regions of the world” among the challenges, without naming them, and “geo-economic tensions.”
  • Last month, the International Monetary Fund boosted its forecast for global economic growth in 2024 to 3.1%, citing a better-than-expected expansion in the US and fiscal support from China.
  • Yellen acknowledged risks to the outlook, including prolonged conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, which pushed commodity prices up, disrupted supply chains, and caused debt troubles to plague low-income nations.
  • She noted that “inflation has been coming down in many countries” while stopping short of suggesting that interest-rate cuts might now be appropriate.

Alibaba Leads Record Deal to Mint $2.5 Billion China AI Firm – Bloomberg, 2/27/2024

  • Alibaba Group Holding led the most significant single financing round for a Chinese artificial intelligence startup, the latest in a string of sizable investments that suggest the e-commerce firm is again deploying capital in the hunt for growth.
  • Alibaba joins Tencent Holdings and Silicon Valley peers like Microsoft in placing big bets on generative AI, the technology that powers ChatGPT.
  • It led a $1 billion funding round in Moonshot AI with existing backer Monolith Management, boosting the year-old firm’s valuation eight-fold to some $2.5 billion, people familiar with the deal said.
  • They joined previous backers, including food delivery giant Meituan’s investment arm Long-Z and Hongshan, formerly Sequoia China, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing a private transaction.
  • Founded in March 2023, Moonshot AI is among the better-known startups developing generative artificial intelligence in China, hoping to match the likes of OpenAI and Google eventually.
  • It rolled out its Kimi chatbot to the public last November and has since launched a platform for developers to build AI applications atop its model.

As Israel Drives Out Hamas, Lawlessness Hampers Gaza Aid Efforts – Wall Street Journal, 2/27/2024

  • Israel’s drive to eliminate Hamas from power in Gaza is proving increasingly at odds with another objective it is under international pressure to pursue: ensuring delivery of humanitarian aid to Gazans struggling to find food and safety as the war in the south intensifies around them.
  • Blue-uniformed Gazan police vanished from the streets of southern Gaza earlier this month after as many as nine officers were killed in Israeli airstrikes, according to US and United Nations officials.
  • To Israel, the police are a pillar of Hamas’s rule over Gaza, and it has accused them of stealing aid shipments intended for ordinary Gazans.
  • “We are at war with Hamas,” said a spokesman for the Israeli military.
  • “We are killing all Hamas operatives we can find that pose a threat to our forces and civilians.”
  • To get the aid flowing, US and Egyptian officials have been discussing a possible solution under which the police would return to work but not in uniform and carrying only batons in return for a promise from Israel that they wouldn’t be attacked if they are guarding aid convoys, according to a UN official and a senior Egyptian official familiar with the talks.

Macron Keeps Options Open On Sending Troops To Ukraine, Riling Allies – Wall Street Journal, 2/27/2024

  • Paralysis in Washington over additional military aid to Ukraine is driving at least one European leader to push the boundaries of how far the continent is willing to go in supporting Ukraine—even the possibility, however remote, of deploying troops.
  • That dynamic was cast into sharp relief at the end of a summit that French President Emmanuel Macron hastily organized late Monday to show Russian President Vladimir Putin that European capitals have no intention of backing down.
  • Asked whether leaders at the summit had discussed the possibility of sending troops to Ukraine, Macron said: “Everything was discussed this evening in a very free and direct manner. There is no consensus today to send officially, take responsibility for, and endorse ground troops. But in terms of options, nothing should be ruled out.”
  • Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic said they didn’t have any plans to send troops after Macron spoke, and the chief of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization told the Associated Press, “There are no plans for NATO combat troops on the ground in Ukraine.”
  • “The very fact of discussing the possibility of sending certain contingents from NATO countries to Ukraine is an essential new element,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Factmonster – TODAY in HISTORY

  • Dominican Republic gained independence from Haiti. – 1844
  • The German Reichstag building in Berlin was destroyed by fire. – 1933
  • The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, limiting the President to two terms. – 1951
  • Kuwait was liberated in the Gulf War. – 1991
  • Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down as president of Yemen after months of protests. – 2012

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