This market veteran offers a grim assessment on markets if Joe Biden's tax plan goes through should he win the presidency.
The husband of Veronica Yip Yuk-hing, a former Hong Kong actress best known for her roles in adult films, has filed for bankruptcy in the US where he runs a vast wholesale food and supermarket business.Grocery tycoon Jeffrey Wu made the application at the US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York on Wednesday, owing nearly US$50 million out of his own pocket, according to the filing.The 56-year-old, also known as Myint J. Kyaw, owns Mon Chong Loong Trading Corp, one of the largest oriental dry food wholesaler and distributors in the US, as well as a major Chinese grocery store, the Hong Kong Supermarket, with branches in the northeast and California. Coronavirus: Hong Kong retail sales still falling but April figures offer signs of hopeAs well as filing for personal bankruptcy with debts of US$48.5 million, Wu also applied to put three of his companies " property developers owing US$15.3 million between them " into administration, according to documents filed to the court.Wu's supermarkets were reportedly hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, with shoppers confined to their homes for several months.Additionally, Hong Kong Supermarket was among three shops in New York to be fined for excessively inflating prices to cash in on the health crisis. The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection fined the store US$69,500 for overcharging for supplies including face masks, gloves and tissues.There are a number of individual creditors on Wu's personal bankruptcy filing, including Bank of America, Chang & Son Enterprises, Haymarket Capital and Bluestone Group.Among them, Bank of America alone held loans worth more than US$20 million. Hong Kong bankruptcies for May the worst since 2003 Sars epidemicThe Burma-born business mogul holds a huge property portfolio in New York. The three companies for which he declared bankruptcy are developers in the retail, office, residential and industrial sectors.Apartments at one of Wu's projects, the 99-unit Victoria Towers built in 2014 in the Queens district of New York, change hands for up to US$1 million a piece, according to local property portal StreetEasy.The properties covered by the unpaid loans include a 100,000 square-foot office and retail building, 50 remaining units in Victoria Tower, a 28,000 square-foot commercial property and a 184,000 square-foot industrial complex, all in New York.Wu's lenders filed their notices of creditors' interests in his properties in January 2018, according to the court documents.He received a US$109 million refinancing loan from investment company Bluestone Group in 2018.Wu moved to the US from Myanmar when he was nine and founded the Hong Kong Supermarket in 1981.In 1996, he married former Hong Kong actress and singer Veronica Yip, sometimes referred to as Veronica Ip.Yip, now 53, was runner-up in the Miss Asia Pageant of 1985 and later starred in some critically-acclaimed hit movies, including Jeffrey Lau's The Eagle Shooting Heroes and Stanley Kwan's R ed Rose, White Rose.However, it was her roles in some sexually themed, adult films in the 1990s that made her a household name in Hong Kong.This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2020 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
(Bloomberg) -- Tesla Inc.’s skeptics are undeterred by Elon Musk poking fun at them over the carmaker’s stock surge, with the amount of shares being sold short heading for a milestone.The Model 3 maker’s stock is poised to be the first to hit a short-interest level of $20 billion, according to research firm S3 Partners. The value of shares that have been sold short has climbed recently to $19.95 billion.Read more: Musk Sells Satin Short Shorts for $69.42S3 said in a report Thursday that both Tesla and Nikola Corp. shares look like candidates for a short squeeze, referring to when short sellers are forced by a stock’s gain to close their position, which in turn drives the price even higher.Tesla’s squeeze is more obvious -- its 233% gain this year likely is forcing out short sellers who’ve hit their limit for losses. The potential for a squeeze in Nikola, which is developing fuel-cell and battery-electric semi trucks, has more to do with high borrowing fees, S3 said.For 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.
Dobatse explained in the interview that he’d been drawn into the app’s bells and whistles, which made flipping stocks and dabbling in more complex investments feel like a game. “When he is doing his trading, he won’t want to eat,” Tashika Dobatse, his wife and mother of his three children, told the New York Times (NYT) . Dobatse’s story follows closely on the heels of the tragic death of Alex Kearns, a 20-year-old rookie trader who killed himself after seeing a negative balance of more than $700,000 in his Robinhood account.
Amid the recent surge of new COVID-19 cases, do stocks still have more room to climb? J.P. Morgan says yes. According to strategist Marko Kolanovic, who correctly called stocks’ March bottom, there are several reasons to remain squarely in the bull camp.First and foremost, he argues “positioning remains light around macro and systematic investors.” So, summer seasonality could “help the volatility spike continue to fade,” which means that investors may be looking to snap up shares as the summer continues. Additionally, the unprecedented stimulus brought about by the pandemic as well as the fact that the latest wave of COVID-19 cases is mainly affecting younger people also contribute to his bullish outlook.On top of this, should Biden win the U.S. presidential election in November, the market may get a boost. “Given the current economic weakness, business recovery and job growth are likely to be prioritized over policies that could dampen economic growth and perhaps even jeopardize the desired 2022 midterm election outcome... As such, the degree of corporate tax reversal may ultimately be lower than currently discussed,” J.P. Morgan chief U.S. equity strategist Dubravko Lakos-Bujas commented.Taking all of this into consideration, we used TipRanks’ database to take a closer look at three stocks flagged by J.P. Morgan analysts for their solid growth prospects. We’re talking about over 30% upside potential here. As it turns out, each ticker has also scored enough praise from the rest of the Street to earn a “Strong Buy” consensus rating.Rocket Pharmaceuticals (RCKT)Using an integrated multi-platform approach, Rocket Pharmaceuticals wants to develop innovative gene and cell therapies that could potentially cure serious diseases. Based on the strength of its technology, J.P. Morgan recently gave the company its stamp of approval.Writing for the firm, analyst Eric Joseph told clients, “In our view, Rocket is advancing a differentiated gene therapy platform, well-positioned against multiple rare pediatric diseases with either first- or best-in-class product candidates. Built around two delivery modalities (LVV for bone marrow affected disorders and AAV for systemic conditions), the company's pipeline boasts multiple shots on goal, the majority of which offering rapid timelines to commercialization.”Looking at its lead asset, RP-L102, which is now in pivotal development for Fanconi anemia (FA), Joseph points out that unlike stem cell transplant treatment, it drastically reduces the risk of conditioning therapy. As a result, he believes the therapy reflects a “breakthrough approach”. Should approval come at the beginning of 2024, the analyst estimates there’s a peak sales opportunity of $900 million in the U.S. and the EU, with the worldwide opportunity landing at over $1.5 billion.As for its RP-A501 candidate, Joseph also sees a major opportunity given that “Danon disease is one of the most prevalent life-threatening, monogenic disorders.” Just how large is the opportunity for this indication? More than $4.5 billion.With several potential catalysts, including preliminary histology and functional follow up from RPA501 in Danon disease, longer-term Phase 1 follow-up data from RP-L102 in FA and preliminary and follow up Phase 1 updates for RP-L301 and RP-L201, respectively, slated for the next six to twelve months, Joseph thinks the share price “under reflects risk the adjusted commercial potential of the pipeline.” Everything that RCKT has going for it prompted Joseph to rate the stock an Overweight, while setting a $38 price target. This target implies shares could climb 71% higher in the next year. (To watch Joseph’s track record, click here)Turning now to the rest of the Street, other analysts are on the same page. Only Buy ratings, 6, in fact, have been issued in the last three months, so the consensus rating is a Strong Buy. The $37 average price target puts the upside potential at 67%. (See RCKT stock analysis on TipRanks)Legend Biotech Corporation (LEGN)Like RCKT, Legend Biotech also focuses on developing cell therapies, with its candidates targeting cancer and other serious diseases. Given the robust clinical data that’s already available, it’s no wonder J.P. Morgan is on board.The potential of its lead development candidate is a key component of 5-star analyst Cory Kasimov’s bullish thesis. “To put it mildly, data from lead candidate LCAR-B38M / JNJ-4528 (BCMA-directed CAR T) have been very impressive,” he stated.Developed as part of a collaboration with Johnson & Johnson, the therapy was designed using a dual targeted BCMA autologous CAR T approach in relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. “As of the last update at ASCO 2020, ‘4528 appears on track to have a best-in-class profile, demonstrating a 100% ORR and 2x the complete response rate of its nearest competitor. A pivotal data update in 2H20 will be key to confirm this,” Kasimov commented.Should the pivotal update remain on schedule, the candidate’s potential approval and launch could come in 2021. Even though CD19 CAR T launches have been lackluster in the past, Kasimov argues that they have opened the door for ‘4528.The analyst added, “This, along with the best-in-class clinical profile and a partnership JNJ, supports our bullish outlook, with robust initial uptake expected in the r/r multiple myeloma setting (we see $2.6 billion in worldwide peak sales in 2026)... If ‘4258 is able to maintain a CR rate that’s roughly 2x higher than any later-stage competitor, it could earn the edge in the commercial marketplace.”If that wasn’t enough, LEGN also has several other candidates that were developed using both auto and allogenic CAR T approaches. For its CAR T candidate, LB1901, in T cell lymphoma, the IND is slated for the second half of 2020.Based on all of the above, it’s clear why Kasimov is singing LEGN’s praises. In addition to kicking off his coverage with a bullish call, he put a $50 price target on the stock. (To watch Kasimov’s track record, click here) Other analysts also take a bullish approach. LEGN’s Strong Buy consensus rating breaks down into 3 Buys and zero Holds or Sells. With a $50.67 average price target, the upside potential lands at 31%. (See LEGN stock analysis on TipRanks)Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals (KNSA)As for the last stock on our list, Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals develops medicines designed to modulate immunological pathways for patients suffering from debilitating diseases with significant unmet medical need. On the heels of its recent data readout, KNSA has been on the receiving end of significant analyst attention. On June 29, the company published positive top-line results from the pivotal Phase 3 trial of rilonacept in patients with recurrent pericarditis. Weighing in on the development for J.P. Morgan, 5-star analyst Anupam Rama calls the results “clean/very encouraging”, with the data de-risking the regulatory pathway for the candidate.When it came to the primary endpoint of time-to-first adjudicated pericarditis recurrence, rilonacept generated a superior result when compared to the placebo. “Major secondary endpoints (maintenance of clinical response, proportion with absent or minimal symptoms at week 16) in the trial were all also highly stat sig, and rilonacept was well-tolerated (AEs injection site reaction was most common and overall was in line with those on the CAPS label),” Rama added.The robust data makes Rama even more confident in the therapy’s prospects, with the analyst having already ascribed a high probability of success to the program due to strong Phase 2 data.Expounding on this, the analyst noted, “Importantly, based on highly statistically significant results on median time-to-first adjudicated pericarditis recurrence (median was not reached in the rilonacept arm due to low event rate), we believe duration of therapy could be on the longer end of the previously assumed ~6-12 months (i.e., potentially a more chronic type therapy). We now estimate peak sales of rilonacept of ~$700 million-plus (prior ~$600 million-plus), driven by increased duration.”Adding to the good news, Rama argues that the Phase 2 mavrilimumab data readout in giant cell arteritis, which is on track for the fourth quarter, represents a significant catalyst that’s currently undervalued by the Street.In line with his optimistic take, Rama reiterated an Overweight rating. Additionally, the price target was lifted from $26 to $36. This new target conveys his belief that KNSA shares can jump 51% in the next year. (To watch Rama’s track record, click here) Judging by the consensus breakdown, other analysts also like what they’re seeing. 4 Buys and no Holds or Sells add up to a Strong Buy consensus rating. Based on the $36.75 average price target, the upside potential comes in at 54%. (See KNSA stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.
Penny stocks have long been given a bad name and for good reason. Companies with shares that hover around $5 (or less) are often victims of market movements, ebbing and flowing with more volatility than higher-priced stocks. Here are eight of the best cheap stocks, with bright futures whose shares are selling for roughly $5 or less right now.
Warren Buffett, after giving away a $2.9 billion gift this week, has seen his wealth drop below Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin as well as former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes… You do get what you want?After initially being excluded from the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed (OWS) program, Novavax (NVAX) joined the list of companies eligible for federal support.On July 7, the vaccine specialist announced it will receive $1.6 billion from the federal government to support the development of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373. 5-star B.Riley FBR analyst Mayank Mamtani is impressed by the scale of the award itself, noting: "[T]his funding is the largest granted by OWS to date, correlating with the (1) robustness of preclinical data generated and (2) favorable readthrough from the unequivocally positive Phase 3 NanoFlu study earlier in the year. In comparison, OWS' previously granted $1.2 billion and $0.5 billion to AstraZeneca and Moderna (MRNA), respectively. Most encouraging, this enables OWS to have all platform approaches in its top 3 prioritized vaccine candidates, i.e., messenger RNA from MRNA, adenovirus viral vector approach from AZ, and protein-based approach from NVAX.”The inclusion provides a measure of vindication for Mamtani, who had previously argued the case for Novavax’s place in the program. The analyst believes the funds will now enable Novavax to proceed with a Phase 3 trial in 3Q and to achieve its goal of producing 100 million doses by the end of the year. Should all go as planned – the company expects to enroll 30,000 participants for the fall trial – Novavax could even apply for regulatory approval before the end of 2020.To this end, Mamtani reiterated a Buy rating on NVAX shares, along with a $106 price target. This suggests 10% upside potential from current levels. (To watch Mamtani’s track record, click here)Among Mamtani’s colleagues, the biotech has a Moderate Buy consensus rating, based on 3 Buys and 2 Holds. Following the recent gains, the $101.20 average price target implies shares could rise by a modest 3% from current levels. (See Novavax stock analysis on TipRanks)Overall, Novavax stock has been a Wall Street favorite in 2020, to say the least. The stock has appreciated by a barely believable 2,307% since the turn of the year.To find good ideas for biotech stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.
Robinhood stocks have been on fire in 2020. The S&P 500 just completed its best quarter since 1998, and some of the Robinhood traders' most popular stocks were among the best performers of the quarter. Robinhood traders are generally considered to be younger and more tech savvy than the typical retail trader.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd - ADR (NYSE: BABA) shares are trading at record highs, and one analyst is of the view the stock still offers a buying opportunity.The Alibaba Analyst: Needham's Vincent Yu initiated coverage of Alibaba with a Buy rating and $275 price target. The stock is also added to Needham's "Conviction List."The Alibaba Thesis: Alibaba, which owns Taobao and Tmall, will remain the No. 1 player in the e-commerce market as it strengthens efforts to attract customers from lower-tier cities, Yu said in a Thursday note. 1. The analyst expects the company's Juhuasuan and Taobao Deals, which provide value-for-money products and target consumers in lower-tier cities, to drive user and gross merchandise value growth in the near term. 2. The analyst believes Alibaba's Taobao Live is the "best-in-class" e-commerce live-streaming platform on the market, as e-commerce live-streaming gains popularity. Taobao Live's industry-leading market position and highly efficient supply chain helped grow GMV over 100% in the fiscal year 2020, he noted. 3. Alibaba's Ele.me and Koubei food delivery platform will remain the second-largest player in the local services market, the analyst said. The company is trying to leverage in-app traffic of Alipay, and explore opportunities in lower-tier cities. 4. Yu sees the company's cloud platform - AliCloud - as an upside driver for top-line and margin expansion."We think Alicloud, as the market leader in China (~46% market share), is benefiting from the shift away from traditional IT infrastructure toward the Cloud by enterprises and government agencies," Yu wrote in the note.Needham said the company's strengths are likely to serve as crucial competitive barriers to newer market entrants, such as Pinduoduo Inc - ADR (NASDAQ: PDD), which over the past two years has aggressively used subsidies to pursue customers.BABA Price Action: At last check, Alibaba shares were up 1.08% to $260.42.Related Links:Alibaba Analyst: 'Short-Term Headwinds Well Know, Long-Term Story Intact'Beyond Meat To Make Chinese Retail Debut With Alibaba Partnership Image: Andy Mitchell, FlickrLatest Ratings for BABA DateFirmActionFromTo Jul 2020NeedhamInitiates Coverage OnBuy May 2020CFRAMaintainsHold May 2020Nomura InstinetMaintainsBuy View More Analyst Ratings for BABA View the Latest Analyst Ratings See more from Benzinga * Chinese EV Maker Xpeng Motors Seeks 0M US IPO: Report * JD.com Plans To Kickstart Hong Kong IPO As US-Listed Chinese Firms Increasingly Look Toward Home(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
Warren Buffett once said that “diversification is protection against ignorance. It makes little sense if you know what you are doing.” The takeaway: Load up on what you know. Even if it’s a tech stock, apparently.
Diversification is a tried-and-true strategy when investing in stocks. Drug maker Sorrento Therapeutics (SRNE) is applying the same thought process in its battle against the coronavirus. The multi-pronged approach involving a search for antiviral therapies, a vaccine and the production of testing kits, has paid off handsomely in the market, with the stock appreciating by 115% year-to-date.Last week, Sorrento revealed more positive details from its COVID-19 vaccine program’s progress. In a pre-clinical trial, the company's candidate, T-VIVA-19, was able to generate neutralizing antibodies in 80% of mice injected with the vaccine, and thus completely prevent cells from being infected with the virus.“While we note that these experiments do not constitute evidence of infection prevention under in vivo viral challenge conditions, they are nonetheless encouraging,” said H.C. Wainwright analyst Ram Selvaraju.Sorrento now plans to apply for regulatory authorization to advance the vaccine to a clinical trial. The biotech estimates that with its current infrastructure, it can manufacture up to 100 million doses per month.But that’s not all. As mentioned, Sorrento’s approach involves several different paths, and another one in particular has piqued Selvaraju’s interest.The 5-star analyst believes Sorrento is just weeks away from getting hold of an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for COVI-TRACK, its COVID-19 antibody testing solution. The test is expected to be distributed to clinics nationwide, and Sorrento claims it has the means to produce up to 5 million kits per month.Selvaraju argues COVI-TRACK’s commercial potential could be worth up to $50 million a year, “while the pandemic persists,” and lists several reasons why COVI-TRACK “constitutes a competitive testing solution.”The analyst said: “(1) the test generates results rapidly (i.e., within eight minutes, vs. other tests that can take up to 30 minutes or even several days) and the readout is readily interpretable; (2) specificity (avoidance of false positives) and sensitivity (avoidance of false negatives) are both above the 95% and 90% thresholds set by the FDA for EUA issuance; (3) Sorrento has documented expertise in the antibody arena; (4) the test detects both IgG and IgM antibodies; and (5) many of the existing antibody tests are woefully inaccurate, as per our prior commentary based on multiple media reports.”The extensive list keeps Selvaraju on the bulls’ side with a Buy rating. With the price target set at $24, Selvaraju forecasts hefty upside potential of 230% over the next 12 months. (To watch Selvaraju’s track record, click here)Currently only one other analyst has chimed in with a view on the SRNE's prospects, also recommending a Buy. At $24, the average price target is identical to Selvaraju’s. (See Sorrento stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for biotech stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.
The surge in stocks has investors hoping that the general bullish market sentiment we’ve experienced since the end of March may still be with us; there was some worry in June as the markets appeared to hit a plateau. We’ll see what happens in the next few weeks, as the S&P tests its 3,200 resistance levels.The best advice for stock pickers right now: stay selective. There are still compelling investing opportunities out there if you know where to look. Investors can find interesting stock choices by following some of Wall Street’s top analysts. These are the analysts with the sharpest stock picking ability — and we can use their price targets as a key indication of how far these stocks can climb in the coming months.With this in mind, we’ve used the TipRanks database to highlight two such stocks; each has received ‘top pick’ status from a 5-star analyst. Here are the details.Avid Technology (AVID)We start in the technology sector, with Avid, a Massachusetts-based multimedia tech company specializing in digital non-linear editing systems for audio and video. The company’s video and audio editing software are held in high regard, as are its music notation products. The company’s flagship product is Media Composer, which got its start in the Apple Mac segment. Avid has expanded since then, and in May announced a five-year working agreement with Microsoft Azure.Avid tackled the coronavirus economic crisis head-on, with a $40 million cost savings plan put in place to help mitigate the business effects of the pandemic. The company was helped along in Q1 by a surge in subscription revenues, which grew 50% year-over-year and pushed recurring revenues to double digit growth. That was the good news. In the bad news, the company still saw a steep quarterly loss due to the recessionary pressures of economic measures put place against the virus, and reported EPS of minus 12 cents per share. Northland’s 5-star analyst Nehal Chokshi explains why this stock remains a top pick: “AVID has 2 layers of loyalty from their largest customers, the professional video & audio editors and the IT staff that ensures the technology is available, which has led to dominant share in high end post-production content creation technology enablement. The dominant share at the high end leads to influencing aspiring creators to adopt AVID software, which is driving market share gains in the company’s high growth high margin subscription business…”To this end, Chokshi rates AVID shares a Buy, and his $14 price target implies a robust 103% upside potential. (To watch Chokshi’s track record, click here)With a share price of only $6.89, AVID is particularly affordable for a 'top pick' stock, and the average price target of $10.38 suggests it has room for a 51% in the coming year. AVID's Strong Buy analyst consensus rating is based on 3 Buys and 1 Hold set in recent months. (See Avid stock analysis on TipRanks)Wells Fargo (WFC)Next up is a name you’ll recognize, Wells Fargo. Long a major player in the banking industry, Wells Fargo offers residential and commercial customers a full range of banking services. WFC is a poster child for ‘too big to fail;’ the company is the fourth-largest bank, both globally and in the US, and even after recent share depreciation in the corona crisis, it still boasts a market cap exceeding $104 billion.Being ‘too big to fail’ might be a bigger asset than is at first apparent. WFC shares are down 44% from February, and the company announced last week that it is cutting its dividend in half. That’s an important development, as the stock’s dividend had been yielding over 8%. The move comes after the bank reported Q1 EPS of just 1 cent, far below the forecast 33 cents. Net income for the quarter, hit hard by the coronavirus, was down 89%.Matt O’Connor, 5-star analyst with Deutsche Bank, has named the stock a 'top pick,' noting: "Regulatory issues will eventually get resolved, so the real long term question is what is the EPS power of WFC--which will be mostly driven by improved efficiency [...] Mgmt expects to improve WFC's long-term efficiency ratio from the high 60s currently and bring it closer to peers. Our guess is that they hope to bring the efficiency ratio to below 60% in 3-5 years. We expect this to be driven by several billion of cost cuts and revenue growth (including recapture of revenue lost due to ongoing regulatory issues)."Based on his assessment, O’Connor maintains his Buy rating here. His $34 price target suggests the stock has room for 41% upside growth in the next year. (To watch O’Connor’s track record, click here)Where O’Connor is cautiously bullish, Wall Street is simply cautious. The analyst consensus rating on WFC shares is a Hold, based on 3 Buy ratings, 11 Holds, and 5 Sells. O’Connor describes the current share price of $24.04 as an opportunity, and there is some evidence that he is not alone. The average price target, of $29.03, indicates a 21% one-year upside potential. (See Wells Fargo stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.
Tesla Inc appears on the verge of joining the S&P 500, a major accomplishment for Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk that would unleash a flood of new demand for the electric car maker's shares, which have already surged 500% over the past year. With a market capitalization of about $250 billion, Tesla would be among the most valuable companies ever added to the S&P 500, larger than 95% of the index's existing components. While analysts and investors have recently become more confident of Tesla's addition, an S&P Dow Jones spokeswoman declined to comment about specific changes to the index.
Over the last few years, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has been a veritable gain machine. The huge market strides have come hand in hand with a bigger slice of market share, too. AMD has edged ever closer to rivals Nvidia and Intel and has steadily eaten away at the traditionally larger players’ dominance of the GPU and CPU markets, respectively.However, Goldman Sachs analyst Toshiya Hari sounds a note of caution for the near-term, based both on the elevated share price, and concerns regarding a “potentially weaker PC market environment” in 2H20.Although Hari nudged his CY20 revenue estimate for AMD slightly upwards from $8.548 billion to $8.553 billion, he reduced the EPS estimate for the same period from $0.88 to $0.85, reflecting a 2.8% change to the downside.That’s not to say Hari has any issues with the overall health of AMD’s business. The 5-star analyst expects AMD to continue performing well, and said, “We view the company’s improving 1) competitive position in client/server CPU, 2) profitability, and 3) cash flow and balance sheet, positively. We also note that better wafer supply at TSMC, following trade restrictions on Huawei, could support upside for AMD.”Nevertheless, Hari refrains from suggesting investors pull the trigger on AMD shares, as the analyst recommends a Neutral rating “primarily due to limited potential upside.” Indeed, his $50 price target implies shares could drop by 13% from current levels. (To watch Hari’s track record, click here)Looking ahead, Hari’s key points to focus on - which could impact his rating in the future - include “1) better/weaker than expected PC end-demand, 2) rate of adoption of AMD-based solutions in the server space, 3) changes in the competitive dynamics vis-a-vis Intel, 4) execution on product/technology roadmap, and 5) margin execution.”Several of Hari’s fellow analysts also stay on the sidelines, although not enough of them to quell a Moderate Buy consensus rating - based on 12 Buys and 9 Holds. With a $57.36 average price target, the Street sees the stock staying range-bound for now. (See AMD stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for tech stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.
The retail sector in America continues to fall apart.
The company's plans will eventually result in eliminating tens of thousands of positions due to pressure to "dramatically reduce costs", the report said. Wells Fargo, the fourth-largest U.S. lender by assets, is leaning on cost cuts to stabilize its bottom line as it recovers from a raft of fines and costs relating to sales abuses first uncovered in 2016 and mounting loan loss provisions due to the coronavirus-driven economic downturn.
Lest anyone think that my RM column is not omnipotent, the column I wrote on June 25th chastising Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway for their inaction on the deal front produced nearly instant results. Berkshire and Dominion Energy announced a transaction Sunday that will see Berkshire acquire the bulk of Dominion's natural gas transmission/pipelines business and 25% of the Cove Point, MD LNG facility, in which Dominion will retain a 50% non-operating interest. With pundits bashing Warren's acumen (note that my RM column did not do that, I just wrote that I wanted to see Berkshire do something with its massive cash pile) and accusing him of overly conservative behavior, he is involved in one of the most ill-advised, pointless corporate transactions I have seen in 30 years.
(Bloomberg) -- Lithium-ion batteries play a central role in the world of technology, powering everything from smartphones to smart cars, and one of the people who helped commercialize them says he has a way to cut mass production costs by 90% and significantly improve their safety.Hideaki Horie, formerly of Nissan Motor Co., founded Tokyo-based APB Corp. in 2018 to make “all-polymer batteries” -- hence the company name. Earlier this year the company received backing from a group of Japanese firms that includes general contractor Obayashi Corp., industrial equipment manufacturer Yokogawa Electric Corp. and carbon fiber maker Teijin Ltd.“The problem with making lithium batteries now is that it’s device manufacturing like semiconductors,” Horie said in an interview. “Our goal is to make it more like steel production.”The making of a cell, every battery’s basic unit, is a complicated process requiring cleanroom conditions -- with airlocks to control moisture, constant air filtering and exacting precision to prevent contamination of highly reactive materials. The setup can be so expensive that a handful of top players like South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd., China’s CATL and Japan’s Panasonic Corp. spend billions of dollars to build a suitable factory.Horie’s innovation is to replace the battery’s basic components -- metal-lined electrodes and liquid electrolytes -- with a resin construction. He says this approach dramatically simplifies and speeds up manufacturing, making it as easy as “buttering toast.” It allows for 10-meter-long battery sheets that can be stacked on top of each other “like seat cushions” to increase capacity, he said. Importantly, the resin-based batteries are also resistant to catching fire when punctured.In March, APB raised 8 billion yen ($74 million), which is tiny by the wider industry’s standards but will be enough to fully equip one factory for mass production slated to start next year. Horie estimates the funds will get his plant in central Japan to 1 gigawatt-hour capacity by 2023.Lithium-ion batteries have come a long way since they were first commercialized almost three decades ago. They last longer, pack more power and cost 85% less than they did 10 years ago, serving as the quiet workhorse driving the growth of smartphones and tablets with ever more powerful internals. But safety remains an issue and batteries have been the cause of fires in everything from Tesla Inc.’s cars to Boeing Co.’s Dreamliner jets and Samsung Electronics Co.’s smartphones.“Just from the standpoint of physics, the lithium-ion battery is the best heater humanity has ever created,” Horie said.In a traditional battery, a puncture can create a surge measuring hundreds of amperes, several times the current of electricity delivered to an average home. Temperatures can then shoot up to 700 degrees Celsius. APB’s battery avoids such cataclysmic conditions by using a so-called bipolar design, doing away with present-day power bottlenecks and allowing the entire surface of the battery to absorb surges.“Because of the many incidents, safety has been at the top of mind in the industry,” said Mitalee Gupta, senior analyst for energy storage at Wood Mackenzie. “This could be a breakthrough for both storage and electric vehicle applications, provided that the company is able to scale up pretty quickly.”But the technology is not without its shortcomings. Polymers are not as conductive as metal and this could significantly impact the battery’s carrying capacity, according to Menahem Anderman, president of California-based Total Battery Consulting Inc. One drawback of the bipolar design is that cells are connected back-to-back in a series, making control of individual ones difficult, Anderman said. He also questioned whether the cost savings will be sufficient to compete with the incumbents.“Capital is not killing the cost of a lithium-ion battery,” Anderman said. “Lithium-ion with liquid electrolyte will remain the main application for another 15 years or more. It’s not perfect and it isn’t cheap, but beyond lithium-ion is a better lithium ion.”Horie acknowledges that APB can’t compete with battery giants who are already benefiting from economies of scale after investing billions. Instead of targeting the “red ocean” of the automotive sector, APB will first focus on stationary batteries used in buildings, offices and power plants.That market will be worth $100 billion by 2025 worldwide, more than five times its size last year, according to estimates by Wood Mackenzie. The U.S. alone -- which together with China will be the main source of increased energy storage demand -- is likely to see a 10-fold increase to $7 billion in the period.Horie, 63, got his start with lithium-ion batteries at their very beginning. In February 1990, early on in his Nissan career, he started the automaker’s nascent research into electric and hybrid vehicles. A few weeks later, Sony Corp. shocked the industry, which was betting on nickel-hydride technology, by announcing plans to commercialize a lithium-ion alternative. Horie says he immediately saw the promise and pushed for the two companies to combine research efforts that same year.By 2000, however, Nissan was giving up on its battery business, having just been rescued by Renault SA. Horie had one shot at convincing his new boss Carlos Ghosn that electric vehicles were worth it. After a 28-minute presentation, a visibly excited Ghosn proclaimed Horie’s work an important investment and green-lit the project. Nissan’s Leaf would go on to become the best-selling EV for a decade.Horie came up with the idea for the all-polymer battery while still at Nissan but wasn’t able to get institutional backing to make it real. In 2012, while doing a teaching stint at the University of Tokyo, he was approached by Sanyo Chemical Industries Ltd., known for its superabsorbent materials used in diapers. Together, the two developed the world’s first battery using a conductive gel polymer. In 2018, Horie founded APB and Sanyo Chemical became one of his early investors.APB has already lined up its first customer, a large Japanese company whose niche and high-value-added products sell mostly overseas, Horie said. He declined to give further details and said APB plans to make the announcement as early as August.“This will be the proof that our batteries can be mass-produced,” Horie said. “Battery makers have become assemblers. We are putting chemistry back into the lead role.”For 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.
Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) shares are trading higher on Thursday amid growing concerns of U.S. coronavirus cases. Dr. Anthony Fauci earlier said the company will likely be going into advanced Phase 3 trials by the end of July.Moderna is engaged in creating transformative medicines based on messenger RNA, or mRNA. It transfers the information stored in the genes to the cellular machinery that makes all the proteins required for life. The firm is developing therapeutics and vaccines for infectious diseases, immuno-oncology, rare diseases, autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases.Moderna shares were trading up 5.17% at $64.76 at the time of publication on Thursday. The stock has a 52-week high of $87 and a 52-week low of $11.54.See Also:Moderna Strikes Another Coronavirus Vaccine Manufacturing Deal To Ensure Overseas SupplySee more from Benzinga * Strategist Expects Gold, Silver To Gain As Pandemic Panic Subsides * Why Moderna's Stock Is Trading Higher Today(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
(Bloomberg) -- Vanguard Group Inc., the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Inc. are pushing back on an escalating risk to their bottom lines: threats from Capitol Hill and the Trump administration to dramatically curtail U.S. investments in Chinese companies.During a Thursday panel discussion hosted by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the firms’ executives questioned a bill under consideration in Washington that could lead to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Baidu Inc. and other Chinese businesses getting kicked out of American stock markets. The intent of the legislation is to force China to comply with U.S. accounting rules. But among the concerns raised was that it might just prompt companies to relocate to markets with less regulatory oversight.“Companies will likely move their listings,” said Rodney Comegys, a principal at Vanguard. “They’ll move their place from New York to Hong Kong.”The remarks are notable because Wall Street -- hesitant to get in the middle of rising tensions between the U.S. and Beijing -- has been mostly quiet about about Washington’s potential crackdown on Chinese companies.The bill in question cleared the Senate unanimously in May with a companion version now being reviewed by the House. It would trigger the de-listing of Chinese firms if they don’t allow their books to be examined by the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board for three straight years -- a requirement that China has long rejected. The legislation’s Republican and Democratic backers says it’s needed to protect U.S. investors from fraud.Read More: Citadel’s Ken Griffin Urges U.S. Access to Chinese AuditsThe Thursday event also featured SEC staff and executives from major accounting firms. It’s not expected to result in swift policy changes as most regulations take months or even years to enact.Vanguard is among giant money managers whose mutual funds invest in Chinese businesses listed on U.S. exchanges, while NYSE and Nasdaq make millions of dollars in fees by allowing Chinese shares to be traded on their platforms.John Tuttle, chief commercial officer for NYSE Group Inc., said the exchange would support adding an indicator to company tickers to ensure investors are aware of risks associated with firms whose audits aren’t inspected by the PCAOB. But he warned that the proposed legislation could backfire.‘Blunt Tool’“We don’t disagree with it philosophically,” Tuttle said. “However, some of the tactics -- about how they want to get the results they want to get -- we don’t necessarily agree with that.”While he was careful to say that Nasdaq wasn’t opposing the pending bill, John Zecca, the exchange operator’s global chief legal and regulatory officer, was also critical.“Legislation is a very blunt tool,” he said. “The government already has a number of tools to address this.”The issue of Chinese stock listings has attracted the attention of President Donald Trump, who has ratcheted up his attacks on China over the coronavirus pandemic and as friction mounts due to Beijing’s recent moves that chip away at Hong Kong’s political freedoms.Trump has ordered regulators to review Chinese companies’ lack of adherence to U.S. accounting rules and submit recommendations by early August on how to fix the problem, putting the SEC at the center of the fight. The president’s critiques come as slumping poll numbers show he faces a difficult road to winning re-election in November.Luckin ScandalAdding urgency to the debate over Chinese companies is this year’s high-profile accounting scandal at Luckin Coffee Inc. Since reaching a high of $50 a share in January, the Chinese chain has cratered more than 90% in Nasdaq trading, a plunge that’s erased about $11 billion of market value. Following an internal investigation, Luckin disclosed earlier this month that fabricated transactions had inflated its 2019 revenue by about $300 million.SEC Chairman Jay Clayton has said he supports the legislation because denying access to PCAOB examiners creates an “unlevel playing field” for U.S. investors. Clayton, in remarks prepared for Thursday’s event, said he expected the panelists’ comments to inform recommendations that regulators are preparing for Trump.The longstanding requirement that all companies that trade on U.S. exchanges submit their audits for PCAOB inspections was implemented in the wake of Enron Corp.’s 2001 accounting scandal. There are more than 200 Chinese corporations that have been allowed to sell shares in the U.S. without complying, according to the PCAOB. Their market capitalization is roughly $1.8 trillion, with Alibaba making up about one-third of the total.Bad AuditsFamous short seller Carson Block was among Thursday’s panelists who said the U.S. needs to do much more to prevent fraudulent Chinese companies from ripping off American investors.The Muddy Waters Capital founder said that when Chinese companies trading in the U.S. blow up, American affiliates of global accounting firms should be held financially responsible. The proposal is provocative because U.S. accounting firms have no role in scrutinizing the books of Chinese companies, which are typically examined by Chinese audit affiliates. Block said audits of Chinese companies are akin to a “rubber stamp.”For 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.
As the number of new COVID-19 cases climbs at a record pace, the stock market isn’t just trudging along, it’s charging forward. Given this clear disconnect, finding compelling plays can feel like guesswork. The adrenalin junkies among the Wall Street observers, however, are turning to small-caps.Out on the Street, these names with market capitalizations landing below $2 billion are known for their volatility as they are prone to very extreme movements. That being said, small-cap stocks boast huge growth prospects that their larger counterparts simply don’t offer. Additionally, these often younger companies tend to fly under-the-radar, meaning that the potential value might not be fully built into the share price.Due to the risk involved, we looked to investment firm BTIG for some inspiration. "Many of our covered companies are small and mid-cap industry disruptors that often build momentum and become prominent brands in their respective marketplaces," the firm says. Locking in on three small-caps in particular from BTIG's Top Picks for 2H20 list, the firm’s analysts see over 70% upside potential for each. After running the tickers, which are priced at under $6 per share, through TipRanks’ database, we found out that all three have received support from other analysts as well.Axcella Health Inc. (AXLA)Through its unique approach to treating complex diseases that uses Endogenous Metabolic Modulators (EMMs), Axcella Health wants to improve the lives of patients. At $5.15, its share price presents investors with a buying opportunity, according to BTIG.This healthcare name, which has a market cap of $184.6 million, has impressed with its recent performance. BTIG's Julian Harrison noted, “On the heels of positive data in NAFLD patients this past quarter, a healthy amount of de-risking from patient-derived biomarkers and safety data leaves AXLA well-positioned for its next wave of catalysts later this year including a Phase 2a readout in 3Q20 that could support the initiation of a potentially registrational Phase 2/3 study in overt hepatic encephalopathy (OHE) before YE20 along with data on AXA4010 slated for 4Q20 that will serve as our first glimpse of this EMM’s activity in patients with sickle cell disease (SCD).”It should also be noted that AXLA was given a composition of matter patent for its AXA1665 candidate. As other amino acid formulations have similar components, IP posed a cause for concern, in Harrison’s opinion. This development, however, prompted the analyst to increase the probability of success for AXA1665 in recurrent OHE prophylaxis.Looking more closely at the therapy, AXA1665 represents the first therapeutic approach focused on correcting muscle metabolism of toxic ammonia as a disease-modifying therapy for HE and potentially even for sarcopenia secondary to liver cirrhosis. “AXA1665 is designed to boost proteogenesis, reduce aromatic amino acids in the systemic circulation, stimulate the urea cycle along with intestinal/renal nitrogen metabolism, and increase muscle protein synthesis by stimulatingmTORC1 with the intention of supporting intramuscular ammonia detoxification,” Harrison explained.The analyst added, “AXA1665 is the first therapy to show meaningful improvements on the LFI (a widely used prognostic indicator), which is relevant to cirrhosis management both within and beyond the context of HE. AXA1665-002 completed enrollment in February 2020 and the 3Q20 readout is expected to include ~60 patients with Child A/B cirrhosis.” In addition, Harrison points out that there are differences from the previous Phase 2 two-way crossover study including longer treatment duration, a higher dose level and the introduction of cognitive instruments (Stroop test, Psychometric Hepatic Encephalopathy Score, Critical Flicker Frequency).“We would view consistency from the prior -001 study on blood ammonia, Fischer’s ratio (BCAA/AAA), valine/phenylalanine ratio, and Liver Frailty Index along with directionally positive changes in cognitive endpoints as a firm basis to progress AXA1665 into a potentially registrational Phase 2/3 trial for OHE prophylaxis – management is guiding initiation in 4Q20,” Harrison stated.Based on all of the above, Harrison rates AXLA a Buy along with a $16 price target, which implies over 200% upside from current levels.Overall, it has been relatively quiet when it comes to other analyst activity. In the last three months, only 2 analysts have issued ratings. However, as they were both Buys, the word on the Street is that AXLA is a Buy. Based on the $22 average price target, shares could climb 327% higher in the next twelve months. (See AXLA stock analysis on TipRanks)Fluidigm Corporation (FLDM)With a market cap of $401.6 million, Fluidigm provides multi-omic solutions developed using its patented CyTOF and microfluidics technologies to study cancer, inflammatory diseases and immunotherapies. Currently going for $5.68 apiece, BTIG believes the stock is cheap relative to its potential value.Representing the firm, 5-star analyst Sung Ji Nam breaks down FLDM’s offerings into two distinct categories. These include “the legacy microfluidics business (~40% of revenue) that has been shrinking over the last several years and the mass cytometry business (~60% of revenue) which is differentially positioned in one of the fastest growing areas within life sciences research.”Nam added, “We continue to view FLDM's mass cytometry business as highly differentiated and with strong LT growth potential beyond the COVID pandemic, and are also encouraged by the recent InstruNor acquisition and TIS launch, which should strengthen the technology adoption longer-term.”That being said, the analyst cites the former as being a key component of his bullish thesis. “Looking ahead, we are more optimistic about FLDM's microfluidics business, given the recent progress with finding broader and durable applications for the technology platform including the potential significant opportunities in COVID-19 diagnostics and other infectious disease applications in the future,” he explained.Speaking to its efforts to combat COVID-19, FLDM is working to launch two highly differentiated approaches for COVID-19 diagnostics, in addition to its immune system profiling/monitoring capabilities that enable vaccine and therapeutic developments. It boasts a viral nucleic acid testing capability “that could process 6,000 tests per day (2mm a year) using one Biomark/ June combination using 1,000x less reagents vs. RT-PCR platforms currently being used for COVID testing.” The other is an epigenetic test using FLDM's microfluidics platform that’s being developed as part of a collaboration with Mount Sinai and the DoD, with it potentially able to detect a COVID infection earlier than conventional PCR platforms.Everything that the company has going for it keeps Nam on the bulls’ side. To this end, the analyst rates FLDM a Buy alongside a $12 price target. This figure suggests shares could climb 111% higher in the next year. (To watch Nam’s track record, click here) FLDM has kept a relatively low profile so far, with its Moderate Buy consensus rating breaking down into 2 Buys and no Holds or Sells. At $10.50, the average price target indicates 85% upside potential. (See Fluidigm stock analysis on TipRanks)Cars.com, Inc. (CARS)Designed to connect car shoppers with sellers, the small-cap (its market value lands at $379.4 million) is one of the top digital marketplaces and solutions providers for the automotive industry. Given its positioning within the industry and $5.65 share price, it makes sense why BTIG is on board.Covering the stock for the firm, analyst Marvin Fong doesn’t dispute the fact that COVID-19 has taken a toll, but argues it was “unreasonable” to think its Q1 growth would match pre-COVID rates. That being said, he points out that its first quarter performance was better-than-expected.Speaking to its Q1 results, paying dealer count increased to 18,938, slightly beating Fong’s 18,914 estimate, but the Cars.com business lost dealers as outbound sales activity was halted in the last two weeks of March. However, Fong believes Cars.com was tracking to positive dealer adds in Q1 before the pandemic’s onset. Additionally, site traffic grew by 11% year-over-year and the decline in national advertising wasn’t as steep as expected.Fong added, “The company has 85-90% used car exposure and used car sales have almost fully recovered, yet shares are still down over 40% vs. pre-COVID levels. As with other e-commerce verticals, consumers have increased their activity through online platforms such as Cars.com, resulting in a greater share of leads coming to dealers through the Internet. In other words, online has become an even more indispensable customer acquisition channel for dealers and we believe most dealers who cancelled or paused their marketplace subscriptions will return.” As a result, he sees CARS as having “one of the more compelling risk-reward profiles” in his coverage universe. It should be noted that leverage has been a concern for investors. However, Fong thinks these concerns have been blown way out of proportion, and that they have “unfairly” impacted the share price. Addressing this issue, though, the company recently amended its credit facility.In line with his optimistic take, Fong left his bullish call unchanged. Additionally, the price target remains at $10. Should the target be met, a twelve-month gain of 77% could be in store. (To watch Fong’s track record, click here) Looking at the consensus breakdown, 2 Buys and 4 Holds have been assigned in the last three months. Meanwhile, the $9.25 average price target brings the upside potential to 64%. (See Cars.com price targets and analyst ratings on TipRanks)To find good ideas for small-cap stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.
Barron’s ran a screen of 42 of the largest U.S. banks, borrowing from the playbook larger banks use when buying smaller players as a starting point for evaluating opportunities.