Big investors see a great backdrop for stocks as election results roll in

first_imgMarket participants had largely priced in a so-called blue wave ahead of the election. Along with a bigger stimulus, some investors believed it could also lead to tougher regulations on tech and energy companies as well as higher taxes.With a split government, however, those worries would fall significantly. And a Biden presidency likely wouldn’t escalate the China trade war, which has caused volatility in the markets, especially among tech stocks.“What I like about the Biden win now … is we don’t get Biden; we get Biden lite,” Kevin O’Leary, chairman of O’Shares ETFs, told CNBC’s “Halftime Report” on Thursday. “That means no dramatic tax increases, nothing happens in the regulatory environment [and] no Green New Deal.”This would be “just a slight change in course without any drama and tragedy in terms of massive changes,” he added.According to NBC News projections, Biden was just 17 Electoral College votes away from defeating Trump. However, key battleground states Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina have not been called for either candidate yet.Meanwhile, it was becoming increasingly likely that Republicans would maintain a majority in the Senate as more votes were counted.“I think a purple Congress is a much better outcome than a straight blue wave,” said Jon Najarian, co-founder of MarketRebellion.com and a CNBC contributor. This “just takes the level of risks down substantially and that’s why you’re seeing money flow back” into equities.Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world. – Advertisement – Stocks have rallied in the two sessions since Election Day. On Thursday alone, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 400 points, putting it on track for its best weekly performance since April along with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite.Into the election, Treasury yields were rising on the expectation a so-called blue wave formed by a Democratic president and Congress would lead to a huge fiscal stimulus, among other spending programs. Yields sharply reversed lower following the election.- Advertisement – Big-money investors are growing more excited about the stock market as the U.S. election results keep rolling in.CNBC’s Scott Wapner spoke with some major investors who told him we could be on the cusp of a great scenario for stocks as former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump and Republicans are expected to keep control of the Senate.With government divided like this, these investors are growing more confident that taxes won’t rise sharply. One investor also told Wapner a split government means there won’t be any massive government spending “to make the bond market go crazy.”- Advertisement –center_img “Fearless Girl”, a bronze sculpture by Kristen Visbalthe, is seen with a voting sticker in front of the New York Stock Exchange in the Wall Street Financial District of Manhattan on November 4, 2020 in New York.Kena Betancur | AFP | Getty Images – Advertisement –last_img read more

UN Urged to Establish Mechanism to Support Countries Affected by Natural Disasters

first_imgShe added that it is an inescapable fact that small island developing states contribute the least to carbon emissions and yet bear the brunt of the damage. In this context, she implored all Member States to abide by the commitments of the agreement.Minister Johnson Smith expressed on behalf of the Government and People of Jamaica, deepest sympathies and prayers for the families and loved ones of victims of the recent hurricanes, which directly impacted “our Caribbean brothers and sisters, and to victims of the recent earthquakes in Mexico”.The Minister said that climate change also poses risks to tourism, which owes its competitiveness to the pristine nature of the Jamaican environment. She noted that sustainable and inclusive economic growth and job creation are priorities for Jamaica, and tourism plays a critical role in ensuring that they are achieved.This industry, she said, relies heavily on the long-term sustainable investments made by the private sector, both national and international. In this International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, Jamaica has sought to increase such investments, create more jobs, promote culture and support community development, while safeguarding the natural environment, she added. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, has called on the United Nations (UN) to establish a mechanism to provide the requisite support and compensation to vulnerable countries affected by natural disasters. Story Highlights She also pointed out that Jamaica is in support of calls for the development of a climate change vulnerability index to provide a standardised method for characterising vulnerability to the adverse effects of climate change.center_img Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, has called on the United Nations (UN) to establish a mechanism to provide the requisite support and compensation to vulnerable countries affected by natural disasters.The Minister’s call came as she delivered Jamaica’s Policy Statement at the 72nd General Assembly of the UN at its headquarters in New York on September 23.She pointed out that the implementation of Agenda 2030 and progress towards achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) have been derailed as a result of the external shocks caused by natural disasters.Minister Johnson Smith told the delegates that in recognition of Jamaica’s vulnerability as a small island developing state and the attendant complexities of its status as a middle-income country, Jamaica is collaborating with Chile on a new initiative, the ‘Resilient 20’, which seeks to create an alliance to promote resilience in countries prone to natural disasters, with a focus on middle-income countries.She also pointed out that Jamaica is in support of calls for the development of a climate change vulnerability index to provide a standardised method for characterising vulnerability to the adverse effects of climate change.This, she said, would enable international financial institutions and bilateral donors to better channel financial and technical resources towards countries most susceptible to loss and damage from climate change.Senator Johnson Smith noted that Jamaica ratified the Paris Agreement in April 2017 and regards this agreement as critical to efforts to arrest the impact of climate change. The Minister’s call came as she delivered Jamaica’s Policy Statement at the 72nd General Assembly of the UN at its headquarters in New York on September 23.last_img read more

First Nations leaders assess Liberal track record ahead of federal election

first_imgAssembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde reiterated his core message of the past year that the federal government has made progress on First Nations rights but have much work ahead. Photo: Justin Brake/APTN.Justin BrakeAPTN NewsThe Liberal government’s track record and First Nations influence in this fall’s federal election were front and centre Tuesday in Fredericton as the 2019 Assembly of First Nations’ Annual General Assembly got underway.“First Nations priorities are Canada’s priorities. First Nations issues are Canada’s issues,” AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde told delegates gathered at the Fredericton Convention Centre in unceded Wolatoqey territory, as federal representatives  Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, Bennett’s Parliamentary Secretary Marc Miller and Conservative Opposition Critic for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Cathy McLeod looked on.“So if you want to become prime minister or a member of parliament you better listen to our people and our issues and concerns because we vote now and we are important and we have impact. That’s what’s going to happen in October. We’re not going to be pushed to the side anymore.”Bellegarde’s message followed recap of what the AFN leader noted as successes on policy and legislative fronts, including the recent passing of the Indigenous languages and child welfare legislation.But every achievement Bellegarde noted, like the dozens of long term drinking water advisories that have been lifted under the Trudeau government’s tenure, was accompanied by acknowledgements of remaining crises.“Yes we’ve seen the boil water advisories on reserve go down from over 130 down to 57. Good movement, positive movement,” Bellegarde said in his address.“But yet today the people of Attiwapiskat and Eabametoong can’t drink their water, can’t bathe in their water. There’s still a water crisis.”Bennett later addressed the assembly, echoing Bellegarde’s admission that more needs to be done, but assured leaders the government is working on a path of reconciliation and decolonization.“You have a constitutionally protected right to self-determination and self-government, but it has to be based on how you want to define and govern yourselves, based on your laws and your traditional practices, and how you want to describe your relationship with the Crown,” he said.“Only together can we address Canada’s legacy of colonialism and the barriers you have faced under the Indian Act which still regulates almost every aspect of community life on reserve, literally from cradle to beyond the grave. We need to make it easier for your nations to get out from under the Indian Act. You are doing the hard work and setting the path for decolonization and reconciliation.”But some delegates weren’t happy with the minister’s platitudes.“She talks about nation to nation, and so does Trudeau. He says the same thing: nation to nation and reconciliation,” said Hart Perley, proxy for Tobique First Nation Chief Ross Perley.“Well, you know what? Canada is not a nation. It never was and it never will be. Canada is a corporate state. And as soon as you look at that and recognize that and admit it, then maybe the Indigenous peoples across this land will start believing what comes out of your mouth,” she said as some delegates applauded her message.When AFN organizers encouraged her to wrap up, Perley asked Bennett directly: “When, Ms. Bennett, did Canada become a nation? And when, Ms. Bennett, are you going to stop lying to the Indigenous peoples right across this country?”Multiple leaders criticized the Liberals for splitting Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada into two departments in 2017 without consulting First Nations.The result was Bennett’s new department, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Indigenous Services Canada.While Bennett lauded the move, saying it would facilitate First Nations’ move toward self-determination, some argued Tuesday that decisions of such significance shouldn’t be done without First Nations’ inclusion and support.The federal election will remain a focus Wednesday when Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, McLeod, and NDP MP Guy Caron all address leaders.The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ final report will be a featured topic of discussion Wednesday, as will the Trudeau government’s efforts to overhaul major policies dealing with First Nations Aboriginal and land [email protected]@justinbrakenewslast_img read more

Irony of immigrants

first_imgI learned about the New Zealand shooting massacre on Friday morning while listening to the news on the radio. The reporter was speaking to local Muslims about their reaction and the voices were distinctly South Asian. A newspaper report on Saturday morning says that nine Indians are among those missing after the attack, including men from Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. After the shooting report, the commentary (this is BBC’s Radio 4, which I listen to every morning) turned to another story. The first piano ever to come to Australia had been located and sent to England for repairs. Why England? Because that is where it was made. Also Read – A special kind of bondIt came to Australia in January 1788 with 11 ships that are known as the First Fleet. These were the original vessels from Portsmouth in England, that brought over a thousand Europeans to Australia, beginning its colonisation. This is not that long ago: it is after the last Battle of Panipat between the Marathas and the Afghans, long after the fall of the Mughal empire. The British first came to Surat in 1608 and so Australia and New Zealand are very new in the colonisation process. Also Read – Insider threat managementThis is of interest because of the beliefs that the shooter in New Zealand has about immigration and foreigners. In a note he wrote before the massacre, he says his motive for murdering people is to “directly reduce immigration rates to European lands.” He considers New Zealand and Australia (where he was born) to be European lands, though Europeans are themselves, immigrants. The colonisation of Australia and New Zealand brought great misery to its original inhabitants, called the aborigines (with whom we Indians have genes in common). Aboriginal means something existing from the earlier times, just like we refer to India’s most ancient inhabitants as Adivasis. The aboriginal population was destroyed by the European colonists, who brought ruthlessness in taking over the land and they brought disease. The takeover came with its own names. Victoria, New South Wales, Wellington, Auckland, Queensland are names we are familiar with today. They are ones that the colonisers imposed on the land they occupied against the will of the aborigines. New Zealand was annexed in 1840 by the British from the local Maori population. The Europeans inflicted severe cruelty on the aborigines even after they conquered their land. Under acts of their parliament, they began officially separating aboriginal children from their parents. This is known today as the Stolen Generations. This policy continued into the 1960s. Even today the aboriginal people face discrimination, including in the criminal justice system. All of this is hidden under their cheerful and sporty demeanour which supposedly reflects the Aussie spirit (of course, these days we also know Aussie spirit through its cheats). What I have written above is common knowledge and every Australian and New Zealander will be familiar with it. European colonisation devastated populations on the other side of the world also and if today we are familiar with names like Canada, Virginia, Georgia, Washington, America, Bolivia and Argentina, it is because foreigners conquered these lands and imposed names on them. It is this European colonisation that around the world produced gun laws that allowed people, meaning White settlers, to keep firearms, ostensibly for their defence. The prime minister of New Zealand said after the massacre that she would change the country’s gun laws. This will, of course, help prevent future violence. It is astonishing that nations allow civilians to purchase and keep high powered rifles with large magazine capacities whose only purpose is war. America’s resistance to gun control has inflicted the greatest massacres on its population, including its children. All this is why it is so remarkable that the shooter Brenton Tarrant should feel that it is only others who are immigrants and imposing on his culture. It may interest readers to know that the word Tarrant, which is of British origin, shares the same root as the word ‘trespasser’, meaning someone who enters without permission, which in Hindi is called ‘ghuspethiya’. Tarrant says that he does not hate people if they live in their own country, but he had a problem with “invaders who colonise other people’s lands.” However, he also wrote that “the origins of my language are European, my culture is European, my political beliefs are European, my philosophical beliefs are European, my identity is European and, most importantly, my blood is European.” Perhaps he should have moved to Europe if he felt so strongly, instead of taking out the problems of his identity crisis on innocent people. But we should ask ourselves why the descendants of violent conquerors and colonisers still claim victimhood. It is not natural. The fact is that this sentiment, against immigrants and particularly against Muslims, is produced by the climate of hatred and bigotry that we see all around us. It is produced by the politics of division and spread by a reckless media around the world including in India, unfortunately. (The author is head of Amnesty International India’s operations. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Massive fire at chemical factory in Mundka

first_imgNEW DELHI: A fire broke out at a factory situated at Swaran Park in west Delhi’s Mundka in West Delhi on Monday morning.According to fire officials the fire department received a call at around 11.35 PM and dispatched 20 fire tenders to the spot. Since the fire was huge, senior officers too rushed to the spot. However, the workers of the factory managed to vacate the building just in time. Officials said no casualties has been reported and efforts are on to douse the blaze. The fire officers took several hours to douse the flames. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThick black smoke was seen coming out of the factory. The reason of the fire is being investigated. In another incident, a minor fire broke out at a shop in Govindpuri. Three fire tenders were rushed to the spot and the fire was doused successfully. No loss of life was reported from Govindpuri either. Last month, at least seventeen people died after a massive fire broke out at a central Delhi’s hotel, Arpit Palace. The hotel is located near the Gurudwara road in Karol Bagh.last_img read more

Two militants killed in Shopian gunfight

first_imgSrinagar: Two militants were killed on Saturday in a gunfight with the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district, police said. “Following a brief shoot out in the orchard area of Gahand village the two militants were killed. Their exact identities and affiliations are being ascertained,” an officer said. The gunfight broke out when militants fired on the security forces was they were conducting a cordon and search operation.last_img

Will do anything to defeat Modi Shah Kejriwal on Cong alliance

first_imgNEW DELHI: Amid the uncertainty over an alliance with the Congress in the Lok Sabha polls, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Sunday said his party will do anything to “save the country” from Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.The AAP supremo was addressing a press conference here after a meeting of opposition parties to discuss the issue of EVM malfunctioning in the ongoing parliamentary election. “The country is in danger. We will do anything to save it. Our effort to save the country from Narendra Modi and Amit Shah will continue,” Kejriwal said. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderCongress leaders and senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who were also present on the occasion, however, dodged questions on an alliance with the AAP and threw the ball in Kejriwal’s court saying, “He knows better”. “You ask him about the alliance. He knows better than us,” Sibal said, even as Congress leader and senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “You know the stand of Congress. The alliance was almost done in Delhi but linking it with other states is not right.” Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsThe uncertainty over an alliance between the AAP and the Congress has been continuing for some time now. The talks between the two sides derailed after they failed to reach an agreement over seat-sharing in Delhi and Haryana. Congress’ in-charge for Delhi P C Chacko had said on Friday that the Congress would go it alone in Delhi since the AAP had taken an “impractical stand”. AAP leader Manish Sisodia although said on Saturday that his party was ready to form an alliance with the Congress in Delhi, Haryana and Chandigarh but it would not agree for a tie-up just in Delhi.last_img read more

World leaders condemn Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka

first_imgLondon/Colombo: Countries across the globe, including the US, the UK, Russia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Bangladesh, expressed shock and condemnation over the deadly blasts in churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday that left nearly 215 people dead. Dozens of foreign nationals were feared to have been killed in the near simultaneous blasts, which targeted Catholic church worshippers on Easter Sunday as well as luxury hotels in Colombo. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe blasts targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and another church in the eastern town of Batticaloa around 8.45 am (local time) as the Easter Sunday mass were in progress. Three explosions were reported from the five-star hotels – the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury. Foreigners and locals who were injured in hotel blasts were admitted to the Colombo General Hospital. US President Donald Trump on Sunday offered “heartfelt condolences” to the people of Sri Lanka. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls”Heartfelt condolences from the people of the United States to the people of Sri Lanka on the horrible terrorist attacks on churches and hotels… We stand ready to help!,” Trump tweeted. Russian President Vladimir Putin has denounced a series of attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka as “cruel and cynical.” In a telegram of condolences sent to his Sri Lankan counterpart, the Russian leader said Moscow remains a “reliable partner of Sri Lanka in the fight against international terrorism.” British Prime Minister Theresa May described the attacks as “truly appalling”. “The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time,” she tweeted. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia was thinking of those killed in a “horrific terrorist attack”. “To the beautiful people of Sri Lanka, Australia sends its heartfelt sympathies and our prayers and our support — and our offer to do whatever we can to support you in this terrible time of need,” he said in a statement. A month after dozens of Muslims were killed in a shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the attack as “devastating”. “New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism, and our resolve has only been strengthened by the attack on our soil on the 15th of March. To see an attack in Sri Lanka while people were in churches and at hotels is devastating. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan also strongly condemned the barbaric attacks. “Strongly condemn the horrific terrorist attack in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday resulting in precious lives lost & hundreds injured. My profound condolences go to our Sri Lankan brethren. Pakistan stands in complete solidarity with Sri Lanka in their hour of grief,” he tweeted. Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her deep concerns over the explosions which took place on Sunday morning. In the message, she prayed for peace and salvation of the departed souls and offered her condolences to the grieving families. Hasina also hoped for a quick recovery of the injured. European leaders are expressing horror at the attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.last_img read more

Q4 realty investment up 7 to 11year high of Rs 17682 cr

first_imgNew Delhi: Indian real estate sector attracted investment of Rs 17,682 crore in the January-March period, highest quarterly funding since 2008, on strong inflows from foreign investors in commercial assets, according to property consultant Cushman & Wakefield. The investment was up by 7 per cent from Rs 16,528 crore in the corresponding period last year. Foreign funds investment in Indian real estate rose 81 per cent to Rs 11,338 crore in the first quarter of 2019 calendar year from Rs 6,260 crore in the year-ago period, the data showed. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: Icra”Higher participation of foreign investors this quarter is a signal towards sustained interest in the country’s real estate story backed by increasing transparency and friendly investment policies,” Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) India Country Head & Managing Director Anshul Jain said in a statement. Office and retail segments continued to attract high investment, he said, adding that warehousing/logistics segment was also providing opportunities for investors. Also Read – Ashok Leyland stock tanks over 5 pc as co plans to suspend production for up to 15 days”The first successful REIT (real estate investment trust) listing has opened another avenue for investors to participate in the momentum visible in office markets while also reinforcing the attractiveness of Indian realty,” Jain said. Asset-wise, C&W said the housing segment got 57 per cent less investment during the January-March quarter of 2019 at Rs 3,697 crore from Rs 8,518 crore in the year-ago period. The funding inflow in residential sector got affected owing to liquidity issues of NBFCs which have been a major source of refinancing and lending to this asset class in last 4-5 years, the consultant said. Investment in office properties rose to Rs 7,925 crore from Rs 6,100 crore during the period under review.last_img read more

What Has — And Hasnt — Surprised Us This NBA Season

As we cross the one-quarter mark of the NBA season — with the Clippers in first place out West, the Kings playing .500 ball, and the Jazz and Rockets near the bottom looking up — things are starting to come into clearer focus. That clarity is more than welcome, given how topsy-turvy the league has been for the first month and a half of play.We know a lot will change between now and April, but for the time being, here are the five things we’ve been most and least surprised by so far this year.Surprising: The Celtics haven’t been good, and the Jazz have been even worse.Boston, finally healthy after losing two of its best players last year, has been one of the bigger mysteries of the season. The Celtics have been elite defensively again this year,1At least from a statistical standpoint. They haven’t been very good at limiting individual scoring outbursts at all. but the offense — which almost never gets to the line — can’t get out of its own way much of the time.Before the season began, Jaylen Brown expressed a belief that the starting wings (him, Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum) have nearly identical skill sets, which was affecting chemistry. And after watching them for a month and a half, we can’t say that he was wrong. With that in mind, Brad Stevens’s recent lineup shift to bring the struggling Hayward off the bench could help matters.Hayward and Brown, in particular, have both shot far better from the floor when playing apart from each other. Hayward sports a solid 53.9 percent effective field-goal rate without Brown but just 39.7 percent with him. And Brown’s 50.5 percent effective field-goal rate without Hayward is well above the 38.5 percent mark he posts while sharing the court with Hayward.Their net ratings also improve when playing apart. The Celtics outscore opponents by 9 points per 100 possessions with Hayward but without Brown, and Boston wins by a margin of 1.5 points per 100 when Brown is on the court but Hayward is on the sideline. But the Celtics hemorrhage 2.2 points per 100 possessions with the two playing together.Using floor-spacing forward Marcus Morris as a starter may work better because of his rugged screen-setting ability. His off-ball screens, useful for a lineup with so many scoring options on the wing, produce the best scoring efficiency of any player on the team2Minimum 15 screens. at 1.12 points per possession when both Tatum and Hayward are on the floor and a whopping 1.53 points per possession when Tatum and Brown are playing together, according to Second Spectrum.It’s also worth keeping an eye on Terry Rozier, who, to this point, has regressed badly on the offensive end after a highly encouraging postseason run, in which he filled in admirably for the injured Kyrie Irving.As for the Jazz, this — 10-12, and third-to-last in the West — is what happens when your league-best defense from last season is merely a middle-of-the-road one, and your offense not only fails to improve but actually morphs into one of the NBA’s five worst in that same window.What’s behind Utah’s slide? A handful of theories have been discussed. But two things stand out to me: 1) The team’s schedule — the toughest in the league3Similar to last season, when their December schedule was the toughest individual month played by any NBA team. So perhaps this is reason for optimism. — has been front-loaded, and 2) a number of players aren’t playing to their capabilities.Outside of a one-week stretch at the end of October, Donovan Mitchell has been terribly inconsistent, struggling badly from outside. Dante Exum’s offense still isn’t catching up to his defense. And perhaps the biggest issue: Ricky Rubio has been awful on both sides of the ball thus far — even more than he was to start last season, when he had just joined the club and was learning the ropes.Rubio has generally been able to hang his hat on his defense and his passing whenever he’s struggling to shoot. But this season, he has sometimes looked a half-step slower laterally on D, allowing nearly a 10th of a point more per drive he defends, at 0.98 points per play, than he did last season, according to Second Spectrum. And while opponents have long sagged off Rubio, daring him to shoot, that experiment has paid far greater dividends this season, as he’s logged just a 46.6 percent effective field goal rate on jumpers when given 6 or more feet of open space4Shots from at least 10 feet away. — down from 53.5 percent just last year, and the worst percentage he’s connected on since the 2013-14 campaign, according to NBA Advanced Stats.It’s still a little early to consider changing the lineup — especially after Rubio played so well at times last postseason. But if he doesn’t turn it around in the next month or so, it might be worth trying a new starting five and letting Mitchell handle the ball more. (Utah, realizing it needs more punch on offense, traded guard Alec Burks and two future second-rounders Wednesday for sharpshooter Kyle Korver.)We wrote this summer that we believed the Jazz could be true contenders this season — which looks incredibly wrong at the moment. But we said then that much of Utah’s hopes would hinge on Rubio’s play. For better or — to this point — perhaps for worse, that seems to be the case.Not surprising: The Grizzlies got back to Grit ’N’ Grind.A lot of people either wrote off or simply forgot about the Grizzlies after a dismal 2017-18 campaign in which they finished with 22 wins and the second-worst record in the league. But the case for believing in Memphis this season was relatively straightforward: This group, finally healthy with the return of Mike Conley and a more motivated Marc Gasol, had its best players back and added considerable two-way talent over the summer through a handful of deals.Rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. looks like a potential star at times and is already the real deal defensively. The Memphis defense can be overly aggressive at times in helping from the weak side, which leaves corner shooters open more often than most teams. But the Grizzlies’ D is a top-5 unit, and it gets downright nasty when Jackson and Gasol play together, surrendering just 96.8 points per 100 possessions in 287 minutes. (Oklahoma City, which leads the NBA in defensive efficiency, allows 102.6 points per 100 possessions.)In case you need a sign of how smart the Grizzlies’ offseason pickups were, consider this: The team’s three most-efficient rotation players5By effective field goal percentage, counting only those who have played at least 100 minutes. to this point — Omri Casspi, Shelvin Mack and Jackson — were all acquisitions from this summer. Gasol is fourth on that list, but right behind him is Garrett Temple, for whom the Grizzlies traded.So don’t be too surprised if Memphis continues to hang around in the playoff race. There were indications all along that the Grizzlies would find themselves in the midst of this conversation.Surprising: Derrick Rose’s offense came back to life.Rose’s first career 50-point game earlier this year got considerable attention, but that game was no fluke: This whole season in Minnesota has been a consistent one for the former MVP. From an efficiency standpoint, he’s actually never played this well before.He’s shooting a career-best 49.8 percent from the field, and his 60 percent mark from a true shooting standpoint is 5 points better than he’s had in any other season. Rose used to be among the NBA’s worst 3-point shooters — enough of a liability that he essentially stopped taking triples altogether in New York — but he’s been good from that range, too. The 30-year-old, who’s long been a surprisingly good midrange shooter despite having the flattest shot in the game, is better than 48 percent from 3-point distance on almost four attempts per game to this point. His hot start even has him ranking as one of the NBA’s 15 most efficient offensive players, according to ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus metric.It’s still early, but this shooting display — even if his numbers fall off some — figures to lengthen his career, a meaningful development based on how things were going 10 months ago. We knew his otherworldly athleticism wouldn’t be the same after all his injuries, but a steady jumper has changed his outlook.Not surprising: The Rockets-Melo marriage failed.We, like many others, fully recognized the potential pitfalls with Houston’s Carmelo Anthony acquisition this summer. He seemed a less-than-ideal fit, particularly as a sort of replacement for the switchy wing defenders the Rockets lost in Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. So it’s not necessarily shocking that the experiment didn’t work.But never did we imagine that the team would pull the plug as quickly as it did. Houston cut bait on the fallen star just 10 games in — even though other clear problems seemed to exist (like the lack of depth behind Clint Capela, or Eric Gordon shooting far worse than he ever has). Still, it’s somewhat difficult to knock the haste with which the Rockets made the decision: They couldn’t afford to fall too far behind in the loaded Western Conference, where the playoff race figures to be a bloodbath, and they began playing far better after making the pragmatic choice to hold Melo out of the rotation. But even after winning five straight at one point earlier in the month, Houston now finds itself mired in a four-game skid, meaning that there’s more for this club to figure out.Surprising: California’s other NBA teams have been legitimately good.It was totally fair to wonder whether Los Angeles might be a factor in the Western Conference playoffs this season, but who would’ve thought that the Clippers would be the team making that kind of noise at this point in the year? (In fairness, LeBron James and the Lakers have played well lately, too, and may very well find themselves in the same conversation as we move forward.)A number of things illustrate how and why Doc Rivers’s team finds itself atop the West for the time being. The guard rotation of Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has done a fantastic job of defending; the Clippers have held opposing starting guards to 40.9 percent shooting, the NBA’s fourth-lowest figure through Tuesday’s games, per the ESPN Stats & Information Group. Danilo Gallinari, who hasn’t played more than 65 games in a campaign in six seasons, has missed only one game thus far and is shooting better than he ever has from outside.But above all else, the Clips have thrived because Tobias Harris — tied with Giannis Antetokounmpo for the league’s best effective field-goal percentage among wing players with at least 300 shot attempts — has quietly pieced together the offensive profile of a superstar this season. Between the huge leap he’s made and the gains of Victor Oladipo, the Orlando Magic front office has to be beside itself after trading away both players.And while Golden State has been Golden State so far, another Northern California team has been making a move. The Kings own a 10-10 mark and have been one of the more entertaining clubs so far. Just about everything begins and ends with their blistering pace. It seems possible that their ability to maintain that 106-possessions-per-48-minutes tempo for entire games may work to their advantage in the clutch, when Sacramento’s opponents simply don’t have anything left.Sacramento ranks 22nd in defensive efficiency in the first quarter, 25th in the second period and tied for 16th in the third, yet it sits sixth in fourth-quarter defense, right behind the defending champ Warriors. And get this: Despite the pace at which they play, the De’Aaron Fox-led Kings have yet to commit a clutch-time turnover this season — they’re the only team that can still make such a claim this late in the season. It’s part of the reason they are 8-3 — best in the Western Conference — in contests separated by 5 points or fewer with five minutes or less remaining, per NBA.com.Not bad for the NBA’s third-youngest team, one whose young players all seem to have taken a step forward this season.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more