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.
This market veteran offers a grim assessment on markets if Joe Biden's tax plan goes through should he win the presidency.
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.
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.
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.
The retail sector in America continues to fall apart.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
Shares of Nikola are “starting to look attractive for long-term investors” says JPMorgan analyst Paul Coster, upgrading the stock to Overweight from Neutral.
“You’ve got a lot of companies that are in trouble,” Marc Lasry explained, comparing what we’re seeing now to what happened in the Great Recession in 2008. “It’s a once in a lifetime, but it happened 10 years ago, also,” he added with a chuckle.
Brokerages like Robinhood and TD Ameritrade are riding high from the boom in trading. There are signs that everyday traders are going bonkers for equity options, which offer a cheap way for traders to bet on a stock going up or down in price without having to actually purchase the shares. Investors, from armchair traders to hedge funds, traded about 3.2 billion of these options during the first half of the year, according to Options Clearing Corp. If that pace is continued for the rest of 2020, equity options trading will far exceed the total for any other year.
Unlike most automotive companies, Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) offers stock options and grants to all of its employees.Regardless of rank or position, all Tesla employees are offered this benefit. Therefore, the entire company and all of its employees stand to gain as Tesla's stock continues to surge upwards.Some of the Tesla employees with the largest stakes are: * Drew Baglino, senior vice president of powertrain and energy engineering: 4,222 Tesla shares worth more than $5.7 million. * Jerome Guillen, president of automotive: 9,752 Tesla shares worth more than $13 million. * Zachary Kirkhorn, CFO: 11,831 shares worth $16 million. * Kimbal Musk, Elon Musk's brother and Tesla board member: 130,848 Tesla shares worth more than $175 million.Of course, the CEO himself has gained the most from this stock rise. Musk owns 34,098,597 TSLA shares worth more than $46 billion.Even lower-paying positions at Tesla --for example, sales and production associates -- are given anywhere between $20,000 and $40,000 in restricted shares that vest over three years.Tesla shares were up 0.43% at $1,395.78 at the time of publication Wednesday.Photo courtesy of Tesla.See more from Benzinga * Nissan's Answer To The Tesla Model Y — The Electric Crossover Ariya — To Premier July 15 * 4 Companies You Won't Believe Have A Smaller Market Cap Than Tesla * Tesla's Stock Approaches JMP's ,500 Price Target(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
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.
JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo shares dropped more than the overall market Thursday, despite upgrades of the two banking giants from Wolfe analyst Steven Chubak. The analyst's move comes as a prelude to the banks' second-quarter earnings reports, which are both expected July 14. Chubak lifted his rating to outperform for JPMorgan and peer perform for Wells Fargo, based on months of their share prices trailing Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley and on an improving outlook for loans.
The crazy Hertz-trading has calmed down and the stock, while volatile, has flattened out just above a dollar. The company is still bankrupt, but here's what we learned about what happened with the benefit of a little hindsight.
Along with the coronavirus, the Chinese are facing pressure over fraudulent companies listed on US exchanges and the SEC seeks answers.
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), one of the world's largest technology companies, was founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in a garage in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Five years later, Gates and Allen were hired to provide the operating system for IBM's first personal computer, followed in 1985 by Microsoft's launch of its now ubiquitous Windows software product. In 1986, the company raised $61 million in an initial public offering (IPO) that some analysts referred to as "the deal of the year." While Microsoft began as a software company, it has expanded its reach into broad areas of the tech industry.
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.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reiterated that the world's newly crowned most valuable automaker could develop a fully self-driving car by 2020.
You are an astute investor, you do your homework, and you identify a company whose product will be in demand. You are so confident about it that you take the money you are saving for a new set of golf clubs, and use it to buy the company’s stock. You are now eagerly awaiting the results.The company reports earnings and you are right – demand for its product is skyrocketing. However, unbelievably, the stock is down and you actually lost money. There is nothing more frustrating than being right and losing money. What happened?In today’s market, there are many factors that can influence the price of a stock besides fundamental analysis. In times like these, an investor needs a more comprehensive way to analyze investment opportunities.TipRanks has a tool that does exactly that. Building on eight important factors such as analyst ratings, hedge fund activity, news sentiment, as well as fundamentals and technicals, the Smart Score collates all of the data and assigns each stock a score ranging from 1 to 10, indicating the direction a stock could be heading in.Bearing this in mind, we used TipRanks’ database to lock in on three stocks with a “perfect 10” Smart Score. Not to mention these Buy-rated tickers offer double-digit upside potential.Rent-A-Center Inc. (RCII)First on our list is Rent-A-Center, which operates approximately 2,100 rent-to-own stores, leasing products such as electronics, appliances, computers, and furniture.Total revenues increased marginally by 0.8% to $701.9 million in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. The gain was partially driven by a 1.7% rise in same store sales.Weighing in on the company’s earnings, Stephens analyst Vincent Caintic commented, “This first quarter 2020 earnings season and in subsequent calls, most of our coverage still appeared to be adjusting to the post-COVID and calling for near-term pain…Rent-A-Center, in contrast, is the only company that is guiding to flat year over year EPS in second quarter 2020 and appears to have maneuvered to neutralize the impact of COVID-19.”Caintic believes Rent-A-Center’s shares will rally going forward even though the stock is down 8% year-to-date. Caintic explained, “We have had the view that companies catering to the subprime consumer should fare better during our recession than our broader coverage. Moreover our takeaways from management calls today is that upside opportunities exist for second half 2020… We have adjusted as a result.”If that is not enough, the analyst is enthusiastic about management’s ability. He noted, “…we have been impressed with the management team since CEO Mitch Fadel took the helm in January 2018. What we once thought was a company heading for bankruptcy…has emerged as one of the strongest and best operated in our coverage. …we consider the team to be one of the best in our consumer coverage.”To this end, Caintic rates Rent-A-Center shares an Overweight (i.e. Buy), and places a $33 price target on the stock, which suggests 27% upside potential. (To watch Caintic’s track record, click here)Wall Street mostly agrees with Caintic’s view. The analyst consensus on RCII is a Strong Buy, based on 4 Buys and 1 Hold. The average price target is $30.20, which indicates 16% upside potential. (See Rent-A-Center stock analysis on TipRanks)Turtle Beach (HEAR)Next up is Turtle Beach, which sells headsets for various gaming platforms as well as keyboards, mice, and other personal computer accessories under the ROCCAT brand.The company experienced strong demand for its headsets in the first quarter of 2020, as people stayed home due to COVID-19. Besides gaming, Turtle Beach’s headsets are well-suited for working remotely and distance learning, which further boosted demand.The positive trend continued. On June 16, management increased the sales outlook for the second quarter of 2020 by a hefty 70%, citing continued strong demand and significant increases in product supply.Writing for Maxim, analyst Jack Vander Aarde weighed in on the announcement, “We raise our estimates across the board, as we expect demand for gaming headsets and accessories to remain at elevated levels. Based on NPD Group’s published industry data, broad-based gaming industry sales trends continue to grow at a robust pace.”Adding to the good news, Turtle Beach was able to dominate the market. Expounding on this, Vander Aarde stated, “…as of April, all 7 top-selling headsets and 8 of the top-10 best-selling headsets were attributed to Turtle Beach.”Looking to the future, the analyst believes Turtle Beach will continue to outperform. This is because of the upcoming launches of new consoles in the holiday season.Based on all of the above, Vander Aarde reiterated his Buy rating on the stock and raised his price target to $20, which translates to potential upside of 21%. (To watch Vander Aarde’s track record, click here)All in all, other analysts are on the same page. 4 Buys and 1 Hold add up to a Strong Buy consensus rating. Given the $19.20 average price target, shares could rise 23% over the next year. (See Turtle Beach stock analysis on TipRanks)CVS Health Corporation (CVS)Our third ‘Perfect 10’ stock is drugstore chain giant CVS Health, with $260 billion in revenue.Despite the impact of COVID-19, first-quarter results were positive. Revenues increased 8.3% from the prior year, while EPS was $1.91, almost 18% higher than the year before.The company is in the midst of transforming itself into an integrated healthcare company from a retail pharmacy. In regard to this, Deutsche Bank analyst George Hill noted, “CVS is in the early innings on delivering against its vision of a vertically integrated healthcare services company with outsized consumer engagement.”Hill is very bullish on CVS, calling it "one of his favorite investment ideas." The Deutsche Bank analyst added, “Our price target reflects 14x our 2021 EPS estimate of $7.82. The 14x multiple we use still positions CVS at a substantial discount to healthcare conglomerate bellwethers like UnitedHealth Group, given CVS’s larger relative exposure to the less-attractive retail segment.”To this end, Hill has a $109 price target on CVS to support his Buy rating. His target indicates upside potential of 77% for the coming 12 months. (To watch Hill’s track record, click here)In general, other analysts echo Hill’s positive sentiment. 8 Buys and 4 Holds mean that CVS gets a Moderate Buy consensus rating. At $77.44, the average price target indicates 26% upside potential. (See CVS Health 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.
(Bloomberg) -- Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. plans to cut about 4,000 jobs in the U.K. following a sharp drop in its business there and suspend stock buybacks, as the coronavirus pandemic jolts its business around the world.On Thursday, Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreens said it anticipates full-year adjusted earnings between $4.65 to $4.75 a share, including $1.03 to $1.14 a share of costs related to Covid-19. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting $5.43 a share. Walgreens had previously withdrawn its financial forecasts, citing the turmoil caused by the coronavirus.“As a company we are facing significant challenges and are moving fast to overcome,” Chief Executive Officer Stefano Pessina said on a call with analysts.Drugstores are grappling with both short-term disruptions and potential longer-term changes in consumer behavior driven by Covid-19. Before the pandemic set in, Walgreens was already facing questions about how it planned to compete with rivals focusing on health care and internet giants sizing up the pharmacy business.Now, the playing field has changed once again, as the global spread of Covid-19 continues to alter both the health care and retail industries in unpredictable ways.Shares of Walgreens, which had dropped 28% so far this year through Wednesday, declined as much as 7.5% in morning trading in New York.Foot traffic plummeted 85% in April at the company’s Boots stores in the U.K. amid strict lockdown orders, resulting in a $700 to $750 million hit to total sales that forced Walgreens to record a $2 billion impairment charge. Overall, sales in the quarter, which ended May 31, were essentially flat compared with the same quarter a year earlier, at $34.6 billion.In the U.S., people rushed to stock up on prescriptions and toilet paper in the early days of the pandemic. Comparable sales at U.S. drugstores rose 3%.Fewer people came into stores in the quarter, with traffic down around 20% in the quarter, Chief Financial Officer James Kehoe said on the call. Those who did come in bought more, and sales of vitamins, personal-care products and grocery items improved. But beauty sales slipped and photo plummeted.Urban markets fared much worse than rural areas in the quarter, with sales down 18% compared with an 8% increase, respectively. Executives said they haven’t seen big differences in areas with intensifying outbreaks.Soaring CostsWalgreens said that a broad decline in visits to doctors’ offices and hospitals weighed on prescription volumes. Prescriptions filled at its U.S. drugstores fell 1.3% compared with the year-ago quarter, though volumes have shown “steady improvement” since the end of May.Costs associated with cleaning stores and boosting employee pay sent selling, general and administrative expenses soaring to $8.3 billion in the quarter from $6.2 billion in the year-ago quarter.Walgreens Boots Alliance’s co-chief operating officers will now split their focus by region, with Alex Gourlay leading the U.S. and Ornella Barra overseeing the U.K. and other international businesses, Pessina said. Executives said Walgreens’ digital initiatives and new shopping options like buying online and picking up in the drive-through helped boost sales in the quarter.To help expand its health-care offerings, Walgreens said Wednesday it plans to open as many as 700 doctors’ offices in its drugstores over the next five years. Rival CVS Health Corp. has already made big steps in that direction by buying insurer Aetna and making over stores to focus on patient care.After a number of attempts at in-store clinics, Pessina said its partnership with VillageMD to bring primary-care doctors into Walgreens stores appears to be the model that fits best.Walgreens posted a loss of $1.71 billion, or $1.95 a share, in the fiscal third quarter. On an adjusted basis, earnings per share came to 83 cents. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected adjusted earnings of $1.19 a share.(Updates with comments from executives beginning in third paragraph)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.
DocuSign's growth potential and other factors prompted two analysts to raise their price targets on the e-signature tech provider.