• Dow futures climb 500 points on recovery hopes and vaccine news
    MarketWatch

    Dow futures climb 500 points on recovery hopes and vaccine news

    U.S. stock futures surged on Tuesday, with investors set to return from the long Memorial Day weekend. News that human trials have begun for a potential coronavirus vaccine cheered investors.

  • Dow Jones Futures Jump; Five Titans Near Buy Points In Coronavirus Stock Market Rally
    Investor's Business Daily

    Dow Jones Futures Jump; Five Titans Near Buy Points In Coronavirus Stock Market Rally

    Dow Jones futures surged, signaled strong gains for the coronavirus stock market rally. Apple, Tesla and AMD are near buy points.

  • Fox Business

    What is the average American salary?

    From education and health care, manufacturing and construction through to business and agriculture, American jobs vary in wages.

  • Hulbert: My stock market forecast for June is likely wrong — but watch out for August
    MarketWatch

    Hulbert: My stock market forecast for June is likely wrong — but watch out for August

    Over the next three weeks at least, it’s unlikely that the stock market will break below its March 23 lows. In the report, I ascertained that, based on the average lag time between the VIX’s (VIX) peak and the bear market’s eventual end, that low would occur on June 14. One is to be reminded — yet again — that financial markets are never 100% predictable.

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  • 7 “Perfect 10” Stocks to Buy Now
    TipRanks

    7 “Perfect 10” Stocks to Buy Now

    In a financial environment riddled with unprecendented levels of uncertainty, investors are at wits’ end. When it comes to finding an investment strategy that will yield returns, traditional methods might not be as dependable. So, how should investors get out of the rut? In times like these, a more comprehensive stock analysis can steer investors in the direction of returns. Rather than looking solely at more conventional factors like fundamental or technical analyses, other metrics can play a key role in determining whether or not a particular stock is on a clear path forward. TipRanks offers a tool that does exactly that. Its Smart Score measures eight key metrics including fundamentals and technicals while also taking into account analyst, blogger and news sentiment as well as hedge fund and corporate insider activity. After analyzing each metric, a single numerical score is generated, with 10 being the best possible result. Using the Best Stocks to Buy tool, we were able to pour through TipRanks’ database, filtering the results to show only the names that have earned a “Perfect 10” Smart Score. We found seven that managed to tick all of the boxes. Let’s jump right in. Limelight Networks, Inc. (LLNW) Limelight Networks is best known for being a content delivery network (CDN) service provider, with its solutions enabling organizations to deliver digital assets that are fast, reliable and secure. With the growth story set to get even better, it’s no wonder LLNW has scored fans out on the Street. Among the bulls is Northland Capital analyst Michael Latimore. After hosting a call with the company’s management team, he told clients that he walked away even more positive on the stock. “LLNW is a company with improving growth rates, expanding margins, and top tier customers; and getting a little help via work-from-home. We believe management remains confident in growth patterns, especially given new customers coming on board, and a healthy additional tailwind via work-from-home,” the analyst commented. To support his bullish thesis, Latimore highlights the fact that going forward into Q2 and Q3, new customer launches should drive significant sequential growth, more so in full year 2021 than full year 2020. Online gaming updates as well as new sports content could also help propel the stock forward. Latimore added, “Traffic related to work-from-home peaked at the end of March, but LLNW is managing more traffic than ever on a daily basis... LLNW has perfected its platform for OTT video and is in every conversation among new meaningful OTT video and live event providers.” As its top 20 customers, which account for 77% of revenue, are financially sound, the deal is sealed for Latimore. To this end, the five-star analyst left an Outperform rating and $8 price target on LLNW, implying 51% upside potential. (To watch Latimore’s track record, click here)Do other analysts agree with Latimore? As it turns out, they do. With 100% Street support, or 4 Buy ratings to be exact, the message is clear: LLNW is a Strong Buy. At $7.50, the average price target is less aggressive than Latimore’s, but still suggests 41% upside potential. See the LLNW stock analysis. Krystal Biotech, Inc. (KRYS) Using its STAR-D platform, Krystal Biotech develops and commercializes innovative therapies that target various dermatologic conditions. On the heels of its recent data release, some Wall Street pros believe that now is the time to snap up shares. During the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT) virtual meeting, the company presented positive in vitro preclinical data for replication-defective HSV-1-based gene therapy (GT), KB407, in cystic fibrosis (CF), the most common inherited genetic disorder in the U.S. Based on the update, the asset was able to infect small airway epithelial cells (SAECs) and generate a robust expression of functional, full-length human CFTR protein that properly traffics to the cell membrane. Commenting on this result for Chardon Capital, five-star analyst Gbola Amusa stated, “This result suggests KB407 has overcome the issues of limited-capacity GT vectors not infecting the appropriate cells of the lungs.” He also pointed out that KB407 went head-to-head with Orkambi (G418) in relevant mutations, but also worked broadly on functional correction of the cystic phenotype of organoids. Amusa added, “We thus see the KB407 in vitro data as a good start en route to Krystal testing KB407 for other issues that have held back GTs for CF, namely: (1) redosing (B-VEC data suggest Krystal's vectors can be re-dosed), and (2) delivery (upcoming mouse nebulizer data will shed light).” It should be noted that Vertex Pharmaceuticals is already well positioned within the space, but Amusa argues that a therapy for the 10% of CF patients with class I mutations, which cause the most severe phenotypes, still isn’t available, leaving the door wide open for KRYS. Based on all of the above, Amusa calls the stock a Top Pick for 2020. Along with a Buy rating, the $100 price target remains unchanged. This target puts the upside potential at 89%. (To watch Amusa’s track record, click here) What does the rest of the Street think about Krystal Biotech’s long-term growth prospects? It turns out that other analysts also have high hopes. Only Buy ratings, 6, in fact, have been received in the last three months, so the consensus rating is a Strong Buy. In addition, the $81 average price target indicates 53% upside potential. See the KRYS stock analysis. Celsius Holdings, Inc. (CELH) Celsius Holdings offers a portfolio of fitness drinks under the flagship CELSIUS brand that provide healthy energy while accelerating the metabolism and burning body fat. Following its Q1 2020 earnings release, the analyst community is singing its praises. On May 12, CELH reported revenue of $28.2 million, which flew past the Street’s $13.4 million call and reflected a whopping 94.6% year-over-year gain. Up 660 basis points year-over-year, gross margin also surpassed the consensus estimate. The driver of this impressive quarterly performance? Maxim Group’s Anthony Vendetti believes it was “the continued momentum and traction CELH is gaining as its products expand both nationally and abroad.” Even though he acknowledges that consumer purchasing behaviors have changed, the analyst highlights the fact that functional beverage demand is holding up strong. In addition, COVID-19 played a role during the first quarter. “CELH has seen a surge in grocery deliveries and online orders and, in response, has stockpiled inventory and secured additional distribution and co-packer agreements. Additionally, the company has pivoted its marketing resources to digital programs, better reflecting the current macro environment. Although we believe that CELH has received a short-term sales bump from COVID-19, we remain positive in the long-term as the company continues to expand its distribution network and highlight itself as a 'lifestyle brand,' where active, routine customers continue to drive growth,” Vendetti explained. All of the above combined with a compelling valuation prompted Vendetti to maintain a Buy recommendation. On top of this, the four-star analyst bumped up the price target from $8 to $12, bringing the upside potential to 33%. (To watch Vendetti’s track record, click here) Looking at the consensus breakdown, 4 Buys and no Holds or Sells give CELH a unanimous Strong Buy analyst consensus. Not to mention the $11.31 average price target suggests 26% upside potential. See the CELH stock analysis. NeoPhotonics Corporation (NPTN) NeoPhotonics is one of the top manufacturers of ultra-pure light lasers and optoelectronic products that transmit, receive and switch the highest speed over distance digital optical signals for cloud and hyper-scale data center internet content provider and telecom networks. After tuning in to the company’s recent webinar, one analyst thinks its future is bright. Needham’s Alex Henderson cites a few key takeaways from the webinar discussing “Optical Technology Trends and Capacity in IP over DWDM”. “The primary points of the presentation is the shift to higher speeds and the emergence of standardization enabling Pluggables strengthens Neo's competitive position should drive increased market share and improve margins,” he commented. Part of what makes NPTN a stand-out, in Henderson’s opinion, is that it has a diverse product lineup that’s ready to accelerate in new arenas. It has also already been seeing traction with its more advanced capabilities. This translates to a significant competitive advantage for NPTN. Additionally, the company believes that its speeds will reach 400G and above, which will give it the chance to capture even more market share. On top of this, the expansion into the C++ extended spectrum bands is producing design wins. Henderson explained, “Neo's ability to use the same components and to take advantages of the ultra-clean signal enables Neo to offer as much as a 50% increase in spectral capacity using C++. This is an important advantage. Neo is already seeing considerable traction particularly in China for this technology.” Taking all of this into consideration, Henderson stayed with the bulls. Along with a Buy rating, he reiterated a $12 price target. This target conveys the five-star analyst’s confidence in NPTN’s ability to surge 45% in the next twelve months. (To watch Henderson’s track record, click here) In general, other analysts echo Hendersons’s sentiment. 7 Buys and 1 Hold add up to a Strong Buy consensus rating. A twelve-month rise of 45% could be in store if the $12.07 average price target is met. See the NPTN stock analysis. Bunge Limited (BG) Counting itself as the world’s largest soybean processor, Bunge Limited operates as an agribusiness and food company. Connecting farmers and consumers, the company is also involved in food processing, grain trading and fertilizer. Sure, 2020 has not been kind to this stock, with shares down 38% year-to-date, but several analysts see a turnaround on the horizon. The recent negative sentiment surrounding BG can be attributed to its most recent quarterly performance. Looking at revenue, the figure came in at $9.2 billion, missing the consensus estimate by 8.6%. It also didn’t help that a loss of $1.46 per share was reported. That being said, Baird analyst Ben Kallo is looking at the glass half full. Speaking to its recent portfolio optimization, the five-star analyst believes the company has “unlocked substantial value.” Additionally, the stock is trading at levels that are less than book value. As a result, he argues that now is the time for investors to “get more constructive on the longer-term earnings power story, enabled by BG's leading (and underappreciated) asset footprint.” It should also be noted that last week, BG declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.50 per common share as well as a $1.22 per share quarterly dividend on its 4.9% cumulative convertible perpetual preference shares. With everything that Bunge has going for it, it’s clear why Kallo is optimistic. Giving the stock a thumbs up, the analyst upgraded his rating from Neutral to Outperform. At $46, his price target suggests shares could climb 30% higher in the twelve months ahead. (To watch Kallo’s track record, click here) Turning now to the rest of the Street, most other analysts are on the same page. Out of 4 analysts that have thrown an opinion into the mix, 3 were bullish, making the consensus rating a Strong Buy. To top it all off, the $57.50 average price target speeds past Kallo’s and brings the upside potential to 63%. See the BG stock analysis. PetIQ, Inc. (PETQ) Through retail channels across the U.S., PetIQ offers affordable pet health and wellness products as well as veterinary services. While the company, like the broader market, has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, some analysts believe gains are in store post-virus. Writing for Oppenheimer, five-star analyst Brian Nagel tells clients that PETQ is well-positioned to stage a post-COVID-19 rebound. “We are increasingly optimistic that the products and services businesses of PETQ should prove situated well to capitalize upon improved underlying consumer demand, given a recent surge in pet adoptions and rescues amid broad-based shelter in place orders across the U.S.,” he said. Adding to the good news, PETQ just unveiled its telehealth platform. As part of the collaboration with whiskerDocs, prior PetIQ service customers will have access to various telehealth services, with a more comprehensive digital experience for new and existing customers coming later down the road. To conclude, Nagel opined, “In our view, PETQ represents one of the most compelling, early stage small-cap growth stories to emerge in the consumer sector in a long while. A few key factors underpin our initial positive stance on the shares: 1) Potential for sustained, outsized topline expansion, owing to a still small market share, a unique consumer proposition, and favorable industry dynamics; 2) Already compelling free cash flow generation and the opportunity for rapidly expanding sales to leverage largely fixed operating expenses; and 3) An attractive valuation.” It should come as no surprise, then, that Nagel kept an Outperform call and $50 price target on the stock. Given this target, shares could jump 73% in the next year. (To watch Nagel’s track record, click here) Like Nagel, other analysts also like what they’re seeing. With 3 Buys and no Holds or Sells, the word on the Street is that the stock is a Strong Buy. In addition, the $39 average price target implies 35% upside potential. See the PETQ stock analysis. Ocular Therapeutix, Inc. (OCUL) Last but not least on our list of Perfect 10s we have Ocular Therapeutix, which leverages its formulation expertise to develop cutting-edge treatments. With the company dosing the first patient in the Phase 1 open-label trial of OTX-CSI, its bioresorbable insert designed to release drug to the ocular surface for up to three months as a treatment of dry eye disease (DED), it’s clear why Wall Street focus has locked in on this healthcare name. Looking more closely at the trial, it’s being conducted in a single center in the U.S., with it slated to enroll five patients and follow them for four months. As for why OCUL is garnering so much attention, it comes down to the design of the therapy. OTX-CSI enables preservative-free delivery of a constant dose of cyclosporine, which could be less irritating than eye drop formulations. In addition, blocking the punctum may provide immediate relief for dry eye symptoms. H.C. Wainwright analyst Yi Chen acknowledges that there’s already a treatment available for DED called RESTASIS, which generated sales of $1.1 billion in 2019. However, the analyst points out that the irritating side effects and slow onset of efficacy have led to high patient dropout rates. Expounding on this, Chen stated, “In our view, an intracanalicular insert approach could be a better route of administration for chronic DED treatment; OTX-CSI could be less irritating and faster-acting compared to RESTASIS, in addition to eliminating the burden of twice-daily eye drop instillation required for RESTASIS.” It should be noted that OCUL also faces competition from Oyester Point Pharma and its OC-01 candidate, but its recent data readout revealed lackluster levels of efficacy. “OC-01’s efficacy on DED symptom is a mixed bag at best, in our view, and neither dose met the symptom endpoint twice in the two studies. In addition, neither dose met the secondary symptom endpoint,” Chen mentioned. All in all, Chen believes OCUL’s long-term growth prospects are strong. As a result, the five-star analyst reiterated a Buy rating and $10 price target, suggesting 39% upside potential. (To watch Chen’s track record, click here) When it comes to other analysts, they take a similar approach. Two other analysts have published a review in the last three months, and both rated the stock a Buy, so the consensus rating is a Strong Buy. Based on the $9.67 average price target, the upside potential lands at 34%. See the OCUL stock analysis.

  • Best Tech Stocks To Buy Or Watch Now: 5 Growth Stocks Leading The Stock Market
    Investor's Business Daily

    Best Tech Stocks To Buy Or Watch Now: 5 Growth Stocks Leading The Stock Market

    The best tech stocks to buy and watch are strong price performers with healthy fundamentals, thanks to a new product or service that's driving growth.

  • Japan’s Hottest Stock Is Tiny Maker of $40 Million Machines
    Bloomberg

    Japan’s Hottest Stock Is Tiny Maker of $40 Million Machines

    (Bloomberg) -- The list of Intel Corp.’s annual supplier award winners tends to read like a who’s-who of the semiconductor industry’s biggest names. This year, it included a little-known Japanese company whose machines have become indispensable in the race to improve semiconductors and whose stock has been rocketing up as a result.Lasertec Corp. is the world’s only maker of testing machines required to verify chip designs for the nascent extreme ultraviolet lithography (or EUV) method of chipmaking. In 2017, Lasertec solved a key piece of the EUV puzzle when it created a machine that can inspect blank EUV masks for internal flaws. Last September, it cleared another milestone by unveiling equipment that can do the same for stencils with chip designs already printed on them. This March, Intel gave the tiny Yokohama-based company an award for innovation, its first after decades of doing business together.“That’s a major milestone for us,” Lasertec President Osamu Okabayashi said in an interview. “It means a lot to be recognized this way as a supplier.”The company’s stock has soared about 550% since the start of 2019, more than twice the gain of the second-best-performing security in the benchmark Topix index. Shares increased about 4% Tuesday, pushing its rise this year to more than 60%.Intel declined to say if it was buying EUV equipment from Lasertec, which already supplies test gear to its rivals Samsung Electronics Co. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. The three chip fabricators are the only ones so far to announce EUV plans, because the technology is so complex and expensive. Okabayashi would only say that his company has “two or more” EUV customers.“This can be read as a sign that Lasertec’s tools are indispensable to Intel’s EUV roadmap.” said Damian Thong, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd.Read more: Japan’s Star Electronics Stock Will Be Vital to Intel, SamsungEUV is just entering the mass production phase after two decades in development, but investors are already betting Lasertec will be one of the key beneficiaries. The move to EUV overcomes key hurdles to shrinking manufacturing geometries of semiconductors, allowing more and smaller transistors to be crammed onto silicon. It promises to unleash another wave of gadgets that are slimmer, cheaper and more powerful.Last month, Lasertec raised its annual order forecast for the second time this year to 85 billion yen ($789 million) in the period ending June, nearly double the amount it received in fiscal 2019. The company is headed for the fourth straight year of record revenue and profits. Sales will climb 39% to 40 billion yen and profit will jump 76%, according to its estimates. And that’s likely to be just the beginning.Samsung earlier this month said it is building a 5-nanometer fabrication facility that will use EUV to make processors for applications ranging from 5G networking to high-performance computing from the second half of next year. Taiwan’s TSMC is pushing ahead with plans to adopt 3-nanometer lithography mass production in 2022 and announced plans to build an advanced fab in the U.S. Intel’s first product made using EUV is expected late next year.Their primary focus is on so-called logic processors, used to power devices and networking applications, but the new manufacturing technique will eventually filter through into the production of DRAM and other memory chips.Read more: Samsung Takes Another Step in $116 Billion Plan to Take on TSMC“Logic makers will be first to adopt EUV, with memory makers following later,” Okabayashi said. “The real volume of orders will come when they reach mass production stage. Right now it’s 7- and 5-nanometer chips. 3-nanometer is still in development stage.”Okabayashi expects each customer will probably need several of his testers, which could cost well over $40 million apiece and take as long as two years to build. A chipmaker would need at least one machine in its mask shop to make sure the stencils come out right. Another would go into a wafer fab to keep an eye on the microscopic wear and tear that result from concentrated light being projected repeatedly through the chip design stencils.“Lasertec is still trying to get a feel for this market and how big it can be,” Macquarie’s Thong said. “Their stock is moving on expectation of future orders. But there is little actual visibility on the scale of this market, so Lasertec retains a lot of capacity for surprise.”(Updates with share price in 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.

  • Chinese Companies Fleeing New York Will Find Warm Welcome at Home
    The Wall Street Journal

    Chinese Companies Fleeing New York Will Find Warm Welcome at Home

    U.S.-listed Chinese companies have an eye on the exit. With Hong Kong in turmoil, Shenzhen and Shanghai could also be beneficiaries.

  • Fox Business

    Elon Musk’s SpaceX is hiring: Take a look at some of the positions

    Ahead of the Crew Dragon launch on Wednesday, here’s a look at 10 open positions at SpaceX.

  • Bloomberg

    O.J., Accounting Fraud, Icahn: The Story of Hertz Going Bust

    (Bloomberg) -- The short version of Hertz Global Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy story goes something like this: Global pandemic obliterates the travel business and lands an iconic 102-year-old company in court to seek protection from creditors.The long version is a fable about what happens when a company relies on accounting and consolidation to keep shareholders happy. It’s a tale of lurching from one CEO to another and management teams failing to stay attuned to consumer tastes.Enterprise Holdings Inc. and Avis Budget Group Inc. are suffering through the same Covid-19 drought, but Hertz’s own bad decisions and hard luck made it vulnerable at the worst time. One former top executive summed up its plight as a slow-moving train wreck.On its Chapter 11 petition, Hertz listed $25.8 billion in assets. It has over $1 billion in cash and $24.4 billion of debt. A company that began with a dozen Ford Model Ts and was taken for a spin by General Motors, Ford Motor and a group of private equity firms as parents over the decades now faces an uncertain fate that will be decided in a Delaware court.O.J., EnterpriseNo telling of Hertz’s history is complete without mention of perhaps the most disastrous end to a major celebrity-endorsement deal of all time.Hertz was owned by Ford in the summer of 1994 when police pursued O.J. Simpson in a white Bronco SUV for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. As a Buffalo Bills running back two decades earlier, Simpson raced through airports and past children screaming “Go, O.J., go!” on his way into the company’s rental cars.The television ads were effective at emphasizing speedy service and boosted business. While the relationship was less beneficial to the company as their 19-year link wore on, Hertz stood by Simpson’s side even after a January 1989 charge for assaulting his wife. She personally convinced then-Chairman Frank Olson to stick with the star, the Washington Post reported.Hertz had some good years after the so-called trial of the century that ended in Simpson’s acquittal. But in November 1994, the same month that the jury was sworn in, the trade publication Auto Rental News ranked Enterprise its new No. 1 by fleet size and number of offices.Private Equity EraWhile Hertz was by some measures slipping in the rental industry pecking order, it was still earning tidy profits for an otherwise struggling Ford. The automaker sold the company in 2005 to two private equity firms and Merrill Lynch & Co.’s buyout unit for about $15 billion.The following year, Hertz poached the top executive at auto-parts maker Tenneco Inc., Mark Frissora, to be CEO and lead the company through a re-listing. Frissora cut costs, eliminated thousands of jobs and was paid handsomely. His $19.2 million compensation package in 2006 was more than Ford awarded its CEO last year.After weathering the global financial crisis, Hertz started pursuing a costly and drawn-out deal for Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. It tried buying the company for $1.2 billion in 2010 but ultimately paid $2.6 billion after a two-year bidding war with its rival Avis.The deal boosted Hertz’s market share by rounding out its business-traveler stronghold with a greater presence in the budget-minded leisure segment. But the acquisition also added to Hertz’s debt pile, which already was substantial thanks to the earlier leveraged buyout. The company ended 2012 with $20.8 billion in total liabilities.Dollar ShortProblems abounded with integrating the two companies, according to Maryann Keller, a longtime auto-industry consultant who was on Dollar Thrifty’s board at the time of the acquisition.The two had different computer systems that couldn’t talk to each other. Frissora lost some talented executives by moving the two companies, which had been based in New Jersey and Oklahoma, to a new headquarters in Florida.Hertz hoped to combine airport lots for the three brands to save money, but wasn’t able to do so at many locations. The company also found that Dollar Thrifty had let the tires on its cars get thinner than Hertz allowed, and many had to be replaced at a cost of $30 million. Neither problem surfaced during due diligence.In the end, a merger that was supposed to save Hertz about $100 million in the first year ended up costing it another $70 million, two people familiar with the matter said.Accounting IssuesAs expenses related to the acquisition dragged on earnings, Frissora sought other ways to keep profit up.To tamp down on vehicle depreciation, the biggest source of costs for rental companies, Frissora tried keeping cars longer, some for as many as 50,000 miles, long past the industry norm of about 30,000, former executives told Bloomberg News. His plan was to put older vehicles into the fleets of the company’s budget brands: Dollar, Thrifty and Firefly.Because cars depreciate most in their first year, holding on to them longer would slow the rate the company had to show on its books. But not enough of the older models made it out of Hertz’s fleet, and business travelers were turned off by the aging selection of rides to choose from, Keller said.And according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company committed fraud. The regulator said that from February 2012 through March 2014, Hertz materially misstated pretax income due to accounting errors. Investors including billionaire Carl Icahn pushed for Frissora’s ouster in September 2014, and the company restated results the following year.Hertz settled with the SEC for $16 million and Frissora wasn’t charged. A spokesman for the former CEO said he presided over operational improvements during his eight-year tenure. Hertz’s 2015 earnings restatements have no bearing on the company’s current financial situation and Frissora didn’t direct any improper accounting or engage in any wrongdoing, the spokesman said.Still, Hertz sued Frissora and three other ex-senior managers last year, seeking to claw back $70 million in bonuses over the executives’ roles in the accounting scandal. Frissora and the other executives filed their own suits in Delaware Chancery Court seeking to force the company to cover their legal bills in the clawback fight. Judge Kathaleen S. McCormick granted those requests last year. One executive reached a settlement for undisclosed terms.In an amended complaint filed in federal court in New Jersey this month, Hertz demanded that Frissora and former general counsel Jeffrey Zimmerman hand over $56 million in incentive pay because of their involvement in accounting errors that overstated Hertz’s pre-tax income. That led to the $200 million restatement and the duo’s ouster, according to court filings.Icahn EntersIcahn entered the picture after a 2014 dinner in New York that an industry analyst had with Dan Ninivaggi, who was then CEO of Icahn Enterprises. Ninivaggi was told Hertz had a good brand and solid foundation but needed discipline and better management. Icahn was swayed and bought up shares. By year-end, his holding was worth more than $1.13 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.The head of Hertz’s equipment-rental business took over the company for a few months before a fateful decision. Rather than hire former Dollar Thrifty CEO Scott Thompson to run the company, Icahn went with John Tague, an ex-COO of United Airlines.Icahn “didn’t put the best people in place” and “had a revolving door of managers,” said Keller, who believes Hertz would not be in the position it’s in today if it had hired Thompson. Icahn didn’t respond to requests for comment.Tague updated Hertz’s fleet but did so with passenger cars just as U.S. consumers began fleeing sedans for sport-utility vehicles. Consumers went looking to other rental counters for SUVs, and depreciation costs mounted as sedans retained less of their value. He also tried raising prices, figuring the industry’s oligopoly would follow suit. But Enterprise and Avis didn’t and instead picked off more of Hertz’s customers.In an interview Saturday, Tague said growth wasn’t his priority. He started tilting the fleet mix toward SUVs, but had a lot else on his plate: finishing the accounting investigation and restating earnings, integrating Dollar Thrifty, rebuilding the management team hollowed out by the Florida move and spinning off the equipment-rental business.“Upon my arrival, it was clear that many things had to be addressed with a sense of urgency,” he said in a phone interview. “That’s what I undertook.”Future JourneysTague retired at the beginning of 2017 and was replaced by Kathryn Marinello, who had been on the board of GM and truckmaker Volvo AB. The results of her early efforts to shrink the fleet and further the shift toward SUVs were undercut by the emergence of Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc.Marinello did make progress. Hertz reported nine consecutive quarters of earnings growth and expanded revenue in 10 straight.But when the pandemic decimated the rental industry, Hertz still had too little cash and a mountain of debt. Marinello resigned May 16, less than a week before the bankruptcy filing.“With the severity of the Covid-19 impact on our business and the uncertainty of when travel and the economy will rebound, we need to take further steps to weather a potentially prolonged recovery,” Hertz’s new CEO Paul Stone said in a statement announcing the company’s bankruptcy. “Our loyal customers have made us one of the world’s most iconic brands, and we look forward to serving them now and on their future journeys.”The main bankruptcy case is In RE: The Hertz Corporation, 20-111218, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware (Wilmington)(Updates with clawback lawsuits against former executives starting in 21st 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.

  • Home loan rates below 3% have arrived, helped by Powell and the Fed
    MoneyWise

    Home loan rates below 3% have arrived, helped by Powell and the Fed

    Mortgage rates are at levels that were once unthinkable, thanks to the Fed.

  • Sanofi Selling $13 Billion Regeneron Stake to Fund Drug Hunt
    Bloomberg

    Sanofi Selling $13 Billion Regeneron Stake to Fund Drug Hunt

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