• Financial Times

    The lockdown death of a 20-year-old day trader | Free to read

    Alex Kearns was an ordinary 20-year-old. On June 12 back at home in Naperville, Illinois, Kearns took his own life, after believing he had lost nearly $750,000 in a soured options bet made on Robinhood, an online brokerage that has become emblematic of a new era in retail investing. In a note left for his family, Kearns said he had “no clue about what I was doing” and never intended to “take this much risk”.

  • Liberals aren’t giving Joe Biden credit for a radical tax plan that goes after the indolent rich
    MarketWatch

    Liberals aren’t giving Joe Biden credit for a radical tax plan that goes after the indolent rich

    Biden’s unapologetic liberalism would nearly double the average tax rate paid by nonworking millionaires and make the working rich pay more into Social Security, all to help the most vulnerable.

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  • His Wealth Surged by $25 Billion. Then Jack Ma’s Rival Quit
    Bloomberg

    His Wealth Surged by $25 Billion. Then Jack Ma’s Rival Quit

    (Bloomberg) -- Colin Huang’s ascent is one for the history books: In just six months, his fortune swelled by $25 billion -- one of the biggest gains among the world’s richest people.His Pinduoduo Inc., a Groupon-like shopping app he founded in 2015, has become China’s third-largest e-commerce platform, with a market value of more than $100 billion. In the first quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic caused most of the nation’s economy to grind to a halt, PDD’s active users surged 68% and revenue jumped 44%, the company said in May.Now Huang, who has overseen the firm as its American depositary receipts have more than quadrupled in less than two years, has stepped down as chief executive officer.At one point, his net worth climbed as high as $45 billion, placing him just behind China’s wealthiest people -- Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s Pony Ma and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Jack Ma -- on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That’s even as PDD continued to post losses, primarily because it chases growth with the help of generous subsidies and has been known to spend more on marketing than it earns in sales.“Pinduoduo was perfectly positioned for people being stuck at home,” said Tom Ronk, CEO of Century Pacific Investments in Newport, California.Huang, who controlled 43.3% of PDD shares, has reduced his stake to 29.4%, according to a June 30 regulatory filing. His fortune now stands at $30 billion.That excludes a $2.4 billion charitable holding that he shares with PDD’s founding team, and $7.9 billion that went to Pinduoduo Partnership, of which Huang and newly named CEO Lei Chen are members. The partnership will help fund science research and management incentives, according to a letter following Huang’s resignation. The wealth estimate also excludes $3.9 billion that people familiar with the matter said was transferred to an angel investor.PDD declined to comment on Huang’s holdings or net worth.Facing ChallengesHe will remain chairman and work on the company’s long-term strategy and corporate structure to help drive the future of the e-commerce giant, PDD said.“PDD is still facing some high-level challenges in product supply, relationship with brand merchants, logistics and payments,” said Shawn Yang, an analyst at Blue Lotus Capital Advisors. “Colin may want to focus more on these issues.”PDD’s success hinges on deals, which have become particularly popular with customers looking for bargains as the world’s second-largest economy slows. Most of its users come from smaller Chinese cities, and the app gives them extra discounts when they recommend a product through social networks and get friends to buy the same item.Fen Liu, a homemaker in Chenzhou, a provincial city in south Hunan, said she accrued enough coupons with her friends’ help to reduce the price of a suitcase to zero.“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my suitcase arrive in the mail,” she said. “It’s made me a loyal Pinduoduo user ever since.”‘Bargain Hunters’While PDD’s aggressive price-reduction strategies have helped win over people with lower incomes, they may stifle the company’s efforts to attract wealthier consumers, according to Charlie Chen and Veronica Shen, analysts at China Renaissance Securities in Hong Kong.“PDD’s users are largely bargain hunters reluctant to buy large-ticket items,” they wrote in a June 29 note, adding that the company’s image remains a key obstacle to users spending more. “We believe PDD is working to change its low-price brand image -- but this could be costly.”That may require heavy marketing and hurt margins further despite a strong user-base foundation for future growth, the analysts said. And PDD’s management has offered no clear path to profitability.Last year, the company’s “10 Billion RMB Subsidies” campaign, which is ongoing, led to a $2 billion increase in sales and marketing expenses to $3.9 billion, and those costs have been at 90% to 120% of revenue for the past two quarters, China Renaissance said.For the nation’s June 18 shopping festival, PDD provided a subsidy program with no cap across different product categories to push spending and attract more users. Other fast-growing Chinese startups -- including rival Meituan Dianping, ride-hailing app DiDi Chuxing and Starbucks Corp. competitor Luckin Coffee Inc. -- have also adopted subsidies strategies to maintain customer loyalty.Huang, 40, grew up in the eastern city of Hangzhou, where Alibaba has its headquarters. After receiving a degree at Zhejiang University, he went to the University of Wisconsin for a master’s in computer science. He began his career at Google in 2004 as a software engineer and returned to China in 2006 to help establish its operations in the country.He then became a serial entrepreneur. He started his first company in 2007, an e-commerce website called Ouku.com that he sold three years later after realizing it was too similar to thousands of others. He then launched Leqi, which helped companies market their services on websites like Alibaba’s Taobao or JD.com Inc., and a gaming firm that let users play on Tencent’s messaging app WeChat. Both took off and Huang found himself “financially free,” according to a 2017 interview.After getting an ear infection, he decided to retire in 2013 at age 33. But following a year of pondering what to do with his life -- he contemplated starting a hedge fund and moving to the U.S. -- he came up with the idea of combining e-commerce and social media. At the time, Alibaba dominated the online business, and WeChat became a must-have application on smartphones in China.The tables have turned since. In 2018, Alibaba launched a PDD-style app in an attempt to lure smaller-town users with bargains. It came months before Huang took his company public in New York, raising $1.63 billion in its July 2018 initial public offering. Since then, PDD has surged 350%, while Alibaba has gained just 9.1%.In 2017, Huang had said he was unlikely to spend the rest of his life at PDD. While he’s still chairman of the company, he now wants to give more responsibility to younger colleagues to keep the entrepreneurial spirit as PDD matures, he wrote in a letter to employees.“We envision Pinduoduo to be an organization that creates value for the public rather than being a showoff trophy for a few or carry too much personal color,” Huang said. “This will allow Pinduoduo to continually evolve with or without us one day.”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.

  • Elon Musk Taunts the SEC Amid Surge in Tesla Stock Price
    Bloomberg

    Elon Musk Taunts the SEC Amid Surge in Tesla Stock Price

    (Bloomberg) -- Elon Musk provoked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the course of taking a victory lap on Twitter over Tesla Inc.’s surging share price.The chief executive officer first taunted short sellers in a string of tweets, writing that the electric-car maker would “make fabulous short shorts in radiant red satin with gold trim.” That’s an apparent reference to jokes he’s repeatedly made about sending “short shorts” to investors who bet against Tesla’s shares, such as hedge fund manager David Einhorn.Musk, 49, then wrote Thursday that he would send shorts to the SEC, referring to the agency again as the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission.” He first used that phrase in October 2018 after the regulator sued him for securities fraud.Musk then tweeted a cryptic but profane play on the agency’s initials, prompting Ross Gerber, a fund manager who regularly engages with him on Twitter, to write back: “Dangerous.” Musk responded: “But sooo satisfying.”Musk and the SEC have a combative history. The agency sued him in September 2018 over tweets he sent a month earlier claiming that he had secured funding to take Tesla private at $420 a share. As part of a settlement agreement, Musk was required to pay a $20 million fine, step down as Tesla’s chairman for three years and have some of his tweets pre-approved by a company lawyer.The SEC took Musk back to court last year after he failed to clear a tweet about Tesla’s production with his in-house counsel. The two sides eventually agreed to amend the earlier settlement to add specific topics the billionaire can’t tweet about or otherwise communicate in writing without advance approval.Hours after a federal judge signed off on the amended deal in April 2019, then-SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson publicly criticized it, saying in a statement that Musk had not been sufficiently punished for failing to adhere to restrictions on his social media use.In December 2018, Musk told “60 Minutes” that he did not respect the SEC. A spokesperson for the agency declined to comment on his latest tweets.Tesla disclosed in February that the SEC sent the company a subpoena regarding “certain financial data and contracts” including “regular financing arrangements.” One analyst speculated the regulator may have been looking into how the company managed to build an assembly plant near Shanghai last year while spending just $1.3 billion on capital expenditures.A better-than-expected quarterly deliveries report sent Tesla’s shares surging 8% to a record close of $1,208.66 on Thursday. The stock has almost tripled this year.(Updates with additional tweets in the fourth 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.

  • Judge Sides With Guaido in $1 Billion Venezuela Gold Fight
    Bloomberg

    Judge Sides With Guaido in $1 Billion Venezuela Gold Fight

    (Bloomberg) -- A London judge delivered a blow to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s attempt to retrieve $1 billion of gold in Bank of England vaults, ruling that opposition leader Juan Guaido should be recognized as the country’s interim president.In deciding the ownership of the gold, the court should accept the U.K. government’s “unequivocal” recognition of Guaido, Judge Nigel Teare said Thursday. The decision dismisses the attempt by Maduro-appointed executives at Venezuela’s central bank to set aside the comments.The bank sued the BOE to get the gold that it says is urgently needed in a joint effort with the United Nations Development Fund to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. The bullion has been in limbo since U.S. officials successfully lobbied their British counterparts last year to block Maduro from withdrawing the gold.The U.K. government last year said it recognizes Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president until new, credible elections can be held.“Today’s decision recognizes the legality of our interim government as we transition into democracy,” Guaido-appointed Attorney General Enrique Sanchez Falcon said in a phone interview. “It also establishes a criteria that will surely impact other ongoing trials.”Sanchez, who called the judge’s ruling a “triumph,” said the opposition planned to safeguard the gold for the time being, as part of Guaido’s efforts to secure Venezuela’s financial assets abroad.The Venezuelan bank said it planned to seek permission to appeal. A representative for the Bank of England declined to comment.The judgment “entirely ignores the reality of the situation on the ground,” Sarosh Zaiwalla, a lawyer for the bank, said. “This outcome will now delay matters further, to the detriment of the Venezuelan people whose lives are at risk.”(Updates with comments from Guaido’s prosecutor starting in the fifth 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.

  • I have a seven-figure nest egg — am I saving too much for retirement?
    MarketWatch

    I have a seven-figure nest egg — am I saving too much for retirement?

    I recently had a conversation with a colleague about retirement and was told I’m saving too much! My wife and I are both 57 and have been aggressive savers ever since my brother, an institutional retirement financial expert, told us to max out our savings when we were 25 years old. My colleague says we are “postponing” our lives and creating tax problems for when we retire.

  • Tesla's 'jaw-dropping' second-quarter deliveries send shares surging
    Reuters

    Tesla's 'jaw-dropping' second-quarter deliveries send shares surging

    The unexpected delivery numbers come a day after Tesla became the highest-valued automaker, surpassing the market capitalization of former front-runner Toyota Motors Corp. The rally on Thursday further widens Tesla's lead over legacy automakers as investors grow confident in its ability to define the industry's electric and software-driven future. Analysts said the solid delivery numbers heightened expectations for a profitable second quarter, which would mark the first time in Tesla's history that it would report four consecutive quarters of profit.

  • Barrons.com

    Retirees, Beware These Tax Traps on Social Security and Medicare

    Seniors face multiple income traps, and it’s not just the rich. For instance, lower- and middle-income retirees get hit by the so-called tax torpedo as rising income causes their Social Security benefits to be taxed.

  • MarketWatch

    Nio shares rally 16% after electric-car company's above-expectations sales

    American depositary shares of Nio Inc. rallied more than 16% Thursday after the Shanghai-based electric-car maker reported second-quarter and June sales above its forecast. Nio said it delivered 3,740 vehicles in June, a 179% increase year-over-year, including 2,476 of ES6s, Nio's small SUV and its most popular vehicle. The company sold 10,331 vehicles in the second quarter, an increase of 191% from the previous-year period. As of June 30, Nio has delivered a total of 46,082 vehicles, with 14,169 delivered in 2020. A close around current levels would be Nio's highest since March 2019 and a fourth straight session of gains for the ADRs.The shares have gained 130% for the year, contrasting with losses of about 3% and 9% for the S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average . Earlier Thursday, Tesla Inc. reported standout quarterly delivery and production numbers, mainly relying on the U.S. company's new Shanghai-based factory.

  • U.S.News & World Report

    8 Best Vanguard ETFs for Retirees

    These funds are among the lowest-cost options. Retirement is a time to optimize your life and pursue your dreams. It's not when you want to spend your days managing investments. Vanguard exchange-traded ...

  • 3 “Strong Buy” Dividend Stocks Yielding Over 8%
    TipRanks

    3 “Strong Buy” Dividend Stocks Yielding Over 8%

    With markets volatile – bouncing around the 3,000 to 3,200 range for the last two weeks – and fears rising that a second wave of coronavirus cases will force a new round of economic shutdowns, investors are giving a second look to some strong defensive stocks. We’re talking about stocks with classic defensive profiles: high yielding dividends, combined with a high upside potential. Using TipRanks database, we’ve pinpointed three such stocks. Some are familiar names, some less so. All three offer investors a fine combination of defensive traits: dividends yielding over 8%, an upside potential starting at 25%, and ‘Strong Buy’ consensus rating from Wall Street’s analyst corps. Archrock, Inc. (AROC)We’ll start with Archrock, a natural gas midstreaming company. The midstream sector connects gas extraction with the final customer; midstream companies control the pipelines, transport, and storage facilities that the natural gas industry depends on. Archrock has operations in the lower 48 states, providing the compression equipment that liquifies natural gas for transport and storage.The economic shutdowns in Q1 forced a decline in demand, and Archrock’s Q1 EPS was a down sharply sequentially, from 27 cents to 12 cents. At the same time, revenues beat both the estimates and the year-ago number. At $249.7 million, the top line was up 5.7% year-over-year.A strong free cash flow and heavy-handed actions to cut costs and shore up liquidity allowed AROC to maintain its dividend payment for Q1, and the company paid out 14.5 cents per share common share back in May. This was unchanged from Q4, and up 10% from the first quarter of 2019. It’s a measure of Archrock’s underlying soundness and commitment to the dividend that the company has kept up the payment even during the corona crisis. At 58 cents per share annualized, AROC's dividend yield is an impressive 8.54%.5-star analyst T J Schultz, of RBC Capital, believes AROC has a firm foundation to move forward. He writes of the stock, “We expect lower associated gas production to have an impact on AROC utilization into 2021, but we think manageable debt leverage and ample dividend coverage provide some flexibility… we think the riskreward is decent at current levels given AROC’s liquidity, lack of near-term debt maturities, and ability to pull additional levers to manage liquidity further if needed.”Schultz’ Buy rating on the stock is supported by an $11 price target, which suggests an impressive 68% upside potential for the year. (To watch Schultz’ track record, click here)Overall, the Strong Buy analyst consensus rating on AROC is unanimous, based on 3 recent Buy reviews. Shares are priced at $6.55, and the $9.17 average price target implies a one-year upside of 40%. (See Archrock stock analysis at TipRanks)Altria Group, Inc. (MO)The next stock on our list is a classic ‘sin stock.’ Altria is a tobacco company, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes. Tobacco companies have a long history of outperforming market downturns, and the reason is psychological. People will make big changes when financial hardship hits. They’ll give up luxuries and large purchases, and even delay home and repairs – but they’ll keep buying small pleasures like cigarettes. It’s a quirk that has helped make MO a strong defensive play even as overall smoking rates decline.A look at the Q1 numbers bears out Altria’s solid position. Revenues and earnings – the top and bottom lines – both beat the estimates. Revenues, at $5.05 billion, were 9% above forecasts, and 15% over the year-ago number. EPS came in at $1.09, 12% higher than expected and up almost 7% year-over-year.Wise diversification from the company has also helped. Altria has taken strong positions the cannabis industry, the vaping sector, and in alcohol, with large-scale investments in Cronos Group, JUUL Labs, and AB InBev. These moves mark a shift for Altria, from pure-play tobacco to the full spectrum of vices.Altria’s sound niche has allowed the company to keep its solid dividend – with a 12-year history of reliable payments and steady growth – up to date. The company declared its next payment for July 10, of 84 cents per common share. This gives and annualized rate of $3.36 per share, and a yield of 8.56%. The 77% payment ratio is high, showing a commitment to returning profits to shareholders – but it also shows that the company can sustain the dividend at current income levels.Piper Sandler analyst Michael Lavery sees Altria’s overall position as favorable, even during the pandemic. He states his belief that “We believe consumption may have actually increased during the pandemic, as smokers spend more time away from offices, restaurants, and places with smoking bans. Lower income consumers have also benefited from increased unemployment benefits and the government stimulus... Altria has a vast database of adult US smokers, and it has data at the zip code level to inform pricing and couponing strategies. Altria can monitor and manage mix with its revenue management system on a very targeted basis.”Lavery’s Buy rating on the stock is backed by his $57 price target, which implies a robust upside for MO shares of 45%. (To watch Lavery’s track record, click here)With 6 Buy ratings set in recent weeks, MO shares have a Strong Buy from the analyst consensus rating. The $54.50 average price target suggests an upside of 39% from the $39.24 current trading price. (See Altria stock-price forecast on TipRanks)Cedar Fair Entertainment (FUN)Last on our list is something different, an amusement park company. Cedar Fair Entertainment takes its name from its most famous asset, the Cedar Point park located in Sandusky, Ohio. Several generations of Midwestern kids have grown up familiar with an out-of-the-way town on Lake Erie, and knowing Cedar Point as a sort of pilgrimage. The company also owns 13 other amusement parks and water parks, and 5 resort hotels, in the US and Canada.It was Cedar Fair’s good luck that the coronavirus outbreak hit when it did. The amusement park business, especially in northern climes, is highly cyclical with the seasons, and the first quarter, in mid-winter, is the company typically sees EPS turn negative as parks are closed and maintenance expenses rise. So, while FUN’s Q1 EPS loss of $2.15 was serious, it was also in-line with the stock’s historical pattern of earnings reports.And to top that, Cedar Fair still has Q3 ahead – normally its strongest of the year. With economies starting to reopen, and social distancing rules loosening after the recent urban unrest, the company looks forward to a more normal summer. While there is still a fear the COVID-19 will make a second wave, there is also the recognition that health officials have a better handle on how to treat and contain the disease – and a growing realization that coronavirus may not be as dangerous as was first thought. These factors bode well for the amusement park industry.What bodes well for income-minded defensive investors is FUN’s dividend. The company has an 8-year history of making reliable, steadily increasing payments, and has kept up those payments even during the pandemic. At $3.74 per share annually, the dividend gives a yield of 13.6%, much higher than its peer companies. The dividend is paid quarterly, at 93.5 cents per share.5-star analyst Benjamin Chaiken, with Credit Suisse, lists sever reasons why FUN is a stock to buy. He writes, “We think current levels offer a very attractive entry point with FUN trading at 8x our 2021 EBITDA estimate. We think FUN will benefit from (1) 2021 being mis-modeled, (2) drive-to nature of parks, of which we are beginning to see accelerating data points and (3) cost savings on labor...”His Buy rating on the stock gets support from his $37 price target, which implies a healthy 34% growth over the coming months. (To watch Chaiken’s track record, click here.)The Strong Buy analyst consensus rating on FUN is based on 8 reviews, breaking down to 7 Buys and just one Hold. The $38.63 average price target suggests a premium of 40% from the current share price of $27.50. (See Cedar Fair stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for dividend stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.

  • Zuckerberg Tells Facebook Employees He's Not Going To Change Policies In Response To Advertiser Boycott
    Benzinga

    Zuckerberg Tells Facebook Employees He's Not Going To Change Policies In Response To Advertiser Boycott

    Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg weighed in on the growing advertising boycott centered around the company and told employees that he was reluctant to bow to pressure and was not worried about the withdrawal of advertisers.What Happened The Facebook chief executive said, "We're not gonna change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue, or to any percent of our revenue," reported MarketWatch.The comments by Zuckerberg were first reported by The Information, an online tech publication. On the topic of acceding to the demand of the boycotters, Zuckerberg said, "Usually I tend to think that if someone goes out there and threatens you to do something, that actually kind of puts you in a box where in some ways it's even harder to do what they want because now it looks like you're capitulating, and that sets up bad long-term incentives for others to do that [to you] as well."Why It Matters Companies such as Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), VF Corp, (NYSE: VFC) Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX), Unilever NV (NYSE: UN) are either boycotting social media or have joined the StopHateForProfit campaign, supported by multiple civil rights organizations.The campaign claims 70% of Facebook's $70 billion is made through advertising and is urging advertisers to take a stand against hate speech on the social network. Francis Corbett, a Silicon Valley communications strategy consultant, told MarketWatch, "By pulling ads, they save money and make a low-risk statement that results in positive publicity and marketing for their brands among constituents."Rohit Kulkarni, executive director at MKM Partners, claimed that the boycott would affect less than 5% of Facebook's revenue.Price Action On Thursday, Facebook shares closed 4.62% higher at $237.55.Image: WikimediaSee more from Benzinga * Facebook Ready For An Audit On Hate Speech In An Effort To Address Advertiser Concern * Amazon's Twitch, Reddit Ban Trump Related Content And Forums(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

  • Investors are waking up to a possible Biden victory in U.S. presidential election
    Reuters

    Investors are waking up to a possible Biden victory in U.S. presidential election

    Investors are increasingly preparing for market volatility ahead of the U.S. presidential election, with some shifting stock positions and selling the dollar, as Democratic contender Joe Biden maintains a lead against President Donald Trump in opinion polls. Plenty can change in the four months before the Nov. 3 vote, and many investors remain focused on whether a resurgence of the coronavirus will damage a nascent U.S. economic rebound.

  • Do these simple things to turn your retirement savings into big money
    MarketWatch

    Do these simple things to turn your retirement savings into big money

    Much of your investment returns will be determined by things outside your control. • When you’re near retirement or when you finally do make the leap, does the market suddenly take a big turn for the worse and force you to say goodbye to a lot of the money you have saved? You decide you’ll each invest $5,000 at once and add the same amount on every subsequent birthday until you reach the “new” expected retirement age of 67.

  • Dow Up 1,189 Points In 4 Days, Akamai Crushes Bears; One Reason To Consider Selling AMD Stock
    Investor's Business Daily

    Dow Up 1,189 Points In 4 Days, Akamai Crushes Bears; One Reason To Consider Selling AMD Stock

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average is enjoying a solid, albeit shortened, week of trading in the current stock market. IBD Leaderboard stock Microsoft, Caterpillar and fellow industrial powerhouse 3M paced the upside among the 30 Dow industrials stocks, each gaining 1 point or more. The Nasdaq composite, up nearly 0.8% in late-afternoon trading Thursday ahead of the July Fourth three-day holiday weekend, shows a 14.2% gain since Jan. 1; the S&P 500, up less than 0.7%, still harbors a year-to-date loss of less than 3%.

  • Mortgage rates hit a fresh record low ahead of Fourth of July weekend
    MarketWatch

    Mortgage rates hit a fresh record low ahead of Fourth of July weekend

    Could average mortgage rates drop below the 3% mark? If the recent trend continues, that’s a distinct possibility. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.07% for the week ending July 2, down six basis points from the week prior, Freddie Mac (FMCC)  reported Thursday.

  • Reuters

    INSIGHT-How Moderna execs are cashing in on COVID-19 vaccine stock speculation

    Biotech firm Moderna Inc could reap tens of billions of dollars in sales and stock appreciation if it wins the race for a COVID-19 vaccine. In the meantime, the firm’s chief executive is pocketing millions of dollars every month by selling shares that have tripled in price on news of Moderna’s development progress, a Reuters analysis of corporate filings shows. The sales - by CEO Stéphane Bancel, his childrens’ trust and companies he owns - amount to about $21 million between January 1 and June 26, including $6 million in May.

  • Analysts Say These 3 Stocks Are Their Top Picks for Post-Pandemic Gains
    TipRanks

    Analysts Say These 3 Stocks Are Their Top Picks for Post-Pandemic Gains

    Amid the market’s wild roller coaster ride, one fact has become abundantly clear: COVID-19 is a game-changer. With the number of new cases spiking, the resumption of normality is fading farther off into the distance, taking hopes of a V-shaped recovery along with it. That said, regardless of the recovery’s shape, some argue that the investing landscape has been altered for the foreseeable future.Against this backdrop, investment strategies will need to take the new reality into consideration, focusing on the names poised to emerge from the crisis as the ultimate winners. Even though this might feel like guesswork, the Street’s pros can help steer investors in the right direction.To this end, we used TipRanks’ database to get all the details on three Buy-rated stocks flagged by analysts as positioned for gains in a post-COVID environment.Adtran Inc. (ADTN)As one of the top providers of networking and communications equipment, Adtran helps communications services companies manage and scale services that connect people from all over the world. With COVID-19 making residential broadband access a necessity, some analysts see this name as a key beneficiary of the global pandemic.MKM Partners’ Michael Genovese reminds investors that during the firm’s virtual idea dinner on March 14, he laid out the case for ADTN, with COVID-19's impact only supporting his belief that the stock is a top pick. “In our view, the Adtran story has gotten even better post COVID-19 since home Broadband has gone up in importance. We believe Internet 3.0, with a good portion of human work and social life occurring online, is here to stay. We see a renewed Telco focus on Wireline and on the Edge of the network where Adtran plays,” he commented.When it comes to its Fiber products, the last few years have seen the company place a significant focus on this aspect of the business, with it revamping its PON capabilities and offering Fiber platforms with innovative SDN and Cloud features.According to Genovese, these efforts have already paid off. “Over the past year, Adtran has successfully transitioned its largest copper customers, CenturyLink and DT (DTE), into large fiber customers. Adtran's 1Q20 its Fiber revenues were up 26% year-over-year. Last month, ADTN announced a win with DT to add significantly more Fiber over the next several years,” the analyst stated.Adding to the good news, the company revealed BT Openreach had chosen it to help it make multi-gigabit services available to 20 million homes in the UK. It should be noted that in the UK, Huawei equipment can only account for 35% of the Broadband Access network. As Genovese points out, to limit its use of Huawei products, BT has turned to other providers like ADTN.“According to our checks, Adtran could see more than $10 million in sales from BT Openreach in 2Q20. We believe the contract with BT is long-term and worth hundreds of millions of dollars over time. Adtran also recently revealed a Fiber win with a U.S. Tier 1 we think it is Verizon, with revenues expected to ramp in 2021,” Genovese explained.Given the fact that the Tier 3 market is stronger than it has ever been and that the stock is trading at an attractive level, the deal is sealed for Genovese. As a result, the four-star analyst maintained a Buy rating and $16 price target. This figure puts the upside potential at 50%. (To watch Genovese’s track record, click here)Turning now to the rest of the Street, opinions are split almost evenly. 3 Buys and 2 Holds add up to a Moderate Buy consensus rating. At $14, the average price target brings the upside potential to 30%. (See Adtran stock analysis on TipRanks)Sirius XM Holdings (SIRI)Next up we have Sirius XM Holdings, a leading audio entertainment company that offers a platform for subscription and digital advertising-supported audio products. While shares have underperformed the broader market since February 19, several factors could help SIRI take off post-pandemic.Citing recent comments from CFO David Frear as well as an improved outlook for new car sales in the U.S., J.P. Morgan analyst Sebastiano Petti sees SIRI’s long-term growth prospects as being even stronger. “We are increasingly bullish on the fundamentals of the legacy SIRI business as auto sales improve from April’s trough and churn/conversion rates come in better than initially expected exiting 1Q,” he explained. The above also supported the firm’s decision to make it the top pick in June’s Spectrum of Opportunity report.Looking at the company’s standing, Petti likes its “resilient subscription business model, strong FCF generation, low leverage, solid liquidity profile, and an improving backdrop.” He also stated, “At 14.6x 2021E FCF (16.6x fully-taxed), we believe SIRI shares are attractively valued given the company’s strong growth outlook as trends normalize post-COVID-19.”All of the above prompted Petti to bump up his estimate for EBITDA by 3%, with the figure now landing at $603 million. On top of this, the analyst also trimmed his call for 2020 SIRI self-pay net losses to 925,000, from the previous estimate of -1.11 million. What drove this revision? Better-than-expected new and used auto sales in the second quarter.“We see potential upside to our 2020 self-pay net add estimate given the likelihood for 2020 SAAR over 12.5 million following May’s better than expected results, continued dealership re-openings, and pickup in economic activity. In mid-May, SIRI’s CFO noted that new car sales were 35% below the prior year with used car sales trending ~20% lower year-over-year – better than declines of 55-60% at the time of 1Q earnings. Consistent with management commentary at the JPM TMC conference, we now look for better churn and conversion rates in 2020 with the former benefitting from a sharp decline in vehicle related churn,” Petti added.Unsurprisingly, Petti continues to give SIRI his stamp of approval. Along with an Overweight rating, he keeps the price target at $7. Should the target be met, a twelve-month gain of 19% could be in store. (To watch Petti’s track record, click here)Looking at the consensus breakdown, 5 Buys, 3 Holds and 1 Sell have been issued in the last three months. This means that SIRI gets a Moderate Buy consensus rating. Based on the $6.51 average price target, shares could surge 11% in the next year. (See Sirius XM stock analysis on TipRanks)Avid Bioservices Inc. (CDMO)Focused on developing and manufacturing therapies derived from mammalian cell culture, Avid Bioservices wants to help improve the lives of patients. Despite the fact that some healthcare names have experienced major COVID-related disruptions, the pandemic has actually created opportunities for this company.After a recent conference call, Craig-Hallum's Matt Hewitt tells clients that “Avid Bioservices is the top name that we would be buying.” The four-star analyst points out that while there was an equipment issue in the previous quarter, this has been addressed, with the piece of equipment now running properly again.Most important, however, is the increased demand the company is witnessing thanks to COVID-19. “While some pharma/biotech companies have delayed clinical trials, this hasn’t affected any of the products that Avid manufactures, with some customers actually requesting a greater amount of material. Additionally, Avid has increased its inventory of key inputs, helping to minimize supply disruption,” Hewitt explained.It should also be noted that prior to the pandemic’s onset, capacity was tight, so customers may want to take care of this sooner, something that stands to benefit CDMO’s backlog, in Hewitt’s opinion. “There may also be an opportunity for the company to produce treatments or vaccines for the coronavirus, as long as they are antibody-based (not viral vector-based),” the analyst added.On top of this, in May, the company broke the news of its partnership with Aragen Bioscience. The collaboration enables CDMO to offer customers Aragen’s cell line development expertise, while Aragen is able to direct customers to Avid for their process development and manufacturing requirements.Weighing in on the implications, Hewitt stated, “While this announcement may have been ignored by many investors, we view it as a key addition to the company’s platform... As several other CDMOs offer cell line development services (Catalent launched a new technology back in November), we believe this partnership helps fill a key gap in Avid’s service offerings, with cross-sales already beginning to take place. Longer term, we see the potential for more partnerships like this to be signed, particularly for finished dose manufacturing.”According to Hewitt, the growing demand also means that CDMO could expand its manufacturing capacity sooner than he originally expected. It also doesn’t hurt that its CEO search is set to wrap up soon, with the appointment potentially acting as a catalyst for shares.In line with his bullish take, Hewitt reiterated a Buy rating and $10 price target. This target conveys his confidence in CDMO’s ability to climb 40% higher in the next twelve months. (To watch Hewitt’s track record, click here)CDMO has stayed relatively under-the-radar so far, with its Moderate Buy consensus rating breaking down into only 1 Buy. Additionally, the $9 average price target implies 26% upside potential. (See Avid Bioservices 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.

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