Aug 31 (Reuters) - Huiyin Holdings Group Ltd:
* JIN ZHONGKAO TENDERED HIS RESIGNATION AS AN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:
Aug 31 (Reuters) - Huiyin Holdings Group Ltd:
* JIN ZHONGKAO TENDERED HIS RESIGNATION AS AN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:
A lackluster jobs report didn’t derail the markets last week. New jobs in April totaled only 266,000, far below the 978K expected, and the official unemployment rate, which had been predicted to come in at 5.8% actually ticked up slightly to 6.1%. Even so, the tech-weighted NASDAQ gained 0.88% in Friday’s session, the broader S&P 500 was up 0.75% at the end of the day. These gains brought the S&P to a new record level, with a year-to-date gain of 13%. The market’s growth so far this year has been broad-based, based as it is on a general economic reopening as the corona panic shrinks in the rear-view mirror. Broad-based market gains create a positive environment for growth stocks. Using the TipRanks database, we’ve pulled up three stocks that fit a profile: a Buy rating from Wall Street, recent share appreciation that strongly outperforms the overall markets, and considerable upside potential, indicating that they may still be undervalued. Here are the details. Crocs (CROX) We’ll start in footwear, where Crocs took the world by storm almost 20 years ago, when it first started selling its signature brand of foam clogs. The shoes were big, bright, and even tacky – but they caught on and succeeded, and the company has since branched out into more traditional footwear, including sandals, sneakers, and even dress shoes. The brand has grown popular with teens, who see it as an ‘ugly chic’ and retro – but have boosted sales. And boosted sales are what the game is all about. The company’s quarterly revenues hit their recent trough in the fourth quarter of 2019, and since then have recorded 5 consecutive quarter-over-quarter revenue gains, with last three also being year-over-year gains. The most recent quarterly reports, released last month for 1Q21, showed $460.1 million on the top line, a company record, and a 63% year-over-year gain. EPS, at $1.47, was down from Q4’s $2.69 – but up more than 800% from the 16 cents recorded in the year-ago quarter. That gain helped cap a year in which CROX shares have appreciated an impressive 374%, and are still trending upwards. Crocs’ overperformance has caught the eye of Piper Sandler analyst Erinn Murphy, who is ranked in the top 10% of Wall Street’s stock pros. “We applaud the Crocs' team for their continued execution, disciplined inventory management & account management and underlying reinvestments in the brand health. Too, with strong visibility into Q2 (sales forecast +60% to 70%) and 2H estimates moving up handily with solid orderbook plans to boot, we believe bears worried about the sustainability of the brand momentum will need to hibernate for another 12 months,” Murphy noted. To this end, Murphy gives CROX an Overweight (i.e. Buy) rating, and her $140 price target suggests it has a ~29% upside in the next 12 months. (To watch Murphy’s track record, click here) It’s clear that Wall Street generally agrees with the Piper Sandler take on Crocs. The stock has 8 recent reviews, which include 6 to Buy and 2 to Hold, giving the stock its Strong Buy consensus rating. The share price is $108.92, and the average target of $123.75 indicates room for ~14% growth in the year ahead. (See CROX stock analysis on TipRanks) Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc. (CLF) We’ll continue our look at growth stocks with Cleveland-Cliffs. This mining and steel company, based in Ohio, has four active iron mines in northern Minnesota and Michigan. The company started out as a miner, and in 2020 acquired two steelmaking firms, AK Steel and ArcelorMittal USA, and became both self-sufficient in the steel industry, from ground to foundry, and the largest North American producer of flat-rolled steel. The company has seen its shares rise dramatically in recent quarters, on the back of rising revenues. CLF is up 393% since this time one year ago, galloping past the S&P’s 44% one-year gain. Cleveland-Cliffs’ rise has come as the company has generated $1 billion-plus revenues for four quarters in a row. The most recent quarter, 1Q21, showed $4.02 billion on the top line. While slightly below analyst expectations, this total was up 84% from Q4, and almost 10x greater than the year-ago quarter’s $385.9 million. Looking at earnings, CLF showed a modest net profit of $41 million in the quarter, or 7 cents per share. This is a solid turnaround from the year-ago quarter’s net loss of $52 million, or 18 cents per share. The gains in revenue and earnings are considered a landmark for the company, starting its first full year as a self-sufficient iron miner and steel maker. In addition to starting the year on a positive note, the company also boasted liquidity of $1.8 billion. Lucas Pipes, 5-star analyst with B. Riley, writes of Cleveland-Cliffs: “With near-term cash flows expected to be robust ($2.3B expected for 2021), the company expects to use excess cash flow to aggressively reduce debt. We see low leverage as a strategic priority for the company at this time as it proves out the benefits of its fully integrated model. In our opinion, Cleveland-Cliffs represents the most attractive value in the space.” These comments back up Pipes’ Buy rating, and he sets a $24 price target that implies a 56% one-year upside potential. (To watch Pipes’ track record, click here) Overall, the Street’s take on CLF is currently split evenly down the middle. 3 Buys and 3 Holds add up to a Moderate Buy consensus rating. The average price target is $25.40 and implies that the analysts see the stock rising ~20% from current levels. (See CLF stock analysis on TipRanks) Atlas Air (AAWW) Last but not least is Atlas Air, a $2 billion player in the aviation industry. Atlas operates as a cargo airline and passenger charter service, and an aircraft lessor to other airlines, renting out planes along with air and ground crew services. The company controls a fleet of Boeing commercial aircraft, including 747s, 777s, 767s, and 737s, configured for a variety of roles. As can be imagined, Atlas saw business decline during the corona pandemic – but managed to weather the crisis due to the long-term nature of most of its leases. The top line is up 33% year-over-year for 1Q21, at $861.3 million. Earnings, at $3.05 per share, are positive, and while down from $6.20 in Q4 they are up 238% from the year-ago quarter. The company expects business to continue strong this year, as demand for air freight is exceeding supply given the fast pace of economic reopening. Over the past 12 months, Atlas Air has seen strong share growth, with the stock rising 108%. Yet, Truist’s 5-star analyst Stephanie Benjamin believes the stock has more room to grow. “We view AAWW’s diversified fleet and international reach favorably position the company to capitalize on increased air freight demand due to the global growth in e-commerce and ongoing supply chain disruptions. Furthermore, while AAWW was a clear “COVID beneficiary” we believe its increased focus on long-term contracts over the last year has fundamentally strengthened its business model and should provide greater revenue/earnings visibility going forward," Benjamin opined. Unsurprisingly, Benjamin rates the stock a Buy, with a $95 price target that implies an upside of 28% this year. (To watch Benjamin’s track record, click here) All in all, Wall Street agrees with Benjamin’s call on this. The stock has 3 recent reviews on file, and all are to Buy, making the Strong Buy consensus rating unanimous. With an average price target of $86.67 and a current trading price of $74.03, this stock shows a one-year upside of 17%. (See AAWW 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. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
Dogecoin's stratospheric run was in jeopardy early Sunday, with the popular crypto unwinding a chunk of its recent rally.
Barry Silbert, a power player in the digital-asset sector, said he's betting against dogecoin and is urging investors in one of the hottest trades in 2021 to convert their doge holdings into bitcoin.
Bargain rates are back, at least for now, giving borrowers another chance to strike.
Families can get up to $50 off their bill to stay connected during the pandemic.
British Columbia Investment Management slashed positions in Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, and Cronos Group in the first quarter, and bought up Mastercard and Visa stock.
It takes every cent I earn to get by and pay debt service. If I were to retire today, I would draw $1,200 a month in Social Security, or $1,400 a month if drawing against my ex-husband’s account (we were married 23 years). See: Confused about Social Security — including spousal benefits, claiming strategies and how death and divorce affect your monthly income?
U.S. stock funds now are riding a river of new cash from investors — and that is not a bullish sign. In fact, fund flows are a contrarian indicator: the U.S. stock market in the past has performed better when there is a net outflow of cash. The evidence is summarized in the chart below, which plots net inflows of cash to U.S. stock funds (both open-end and exchange-traded funds) by year over the past decade.
The legendary investor says these are the key lessons for investors and consumers.
Tech investor Cathie Wood tells CNBC she isn't unsettled by the popular ARK Innovation ETF's rough start to May.
An up-and-coming gold exploration company in Quebec may hit the jackpot in what could end up being a story even some of the most seasoned investors only ever dream of
The 39-year-old landlord, who was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, reached $1 million Canadian dollars, or approximately US$791,000, in 2019, though he felt he had reached financial independence even sooner. Chad found the FIRE Movement, made it to $1 million CAD before 40, and became a firefighter and sheepherder along the way. The former network administrator and his partner, Catherine, who is a Ph.D. student and research coordinator, save between 50% and 80% of their income every year and live off of $27,000 in annual expenses.
The world is one step closer to a vaccine against peanut allergy after UK biotech Allergy Therapeutics announced plans to test its jab in human clinical trials. The company, which was spun out Glaxo, the precursor to GSK, in 1999, has been testing the treatment in mice, with promising results. “We made all the mice allergic to peanuts and separated them into two groups,” Manuel Llobet, chief executive, explained. “In the placebo group unfortunately for the mice they all had severe anaphylaxis and just slumped and some died. But the treated ones were just playing, running around on their exercise wheels, totally happy.” The result was so pivotal that it was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the top medical journal in the field. When the trials begin, they will be the first of their kind in the world. “There is absolutely nothing like this,” Mr Llobet said. “It is going to be revolutionary if we can replicate this in humans.”
How you can take your health insurance into your own hands.
(Bloomberg) -- Copper soared this week to an all-time high, continuing a sizzling rally that’s seen prices double in the past year.The previous copper record was set in 2011, around the peak of the commodities supercycle sparked by China’s rise to economic heavyweight status — fueled by massive amounts of raw materials. This time, investors are betting that copper’s vital role in the world’s shift to green energy will mean surging demand and even higher prices. Copper futures rose as high as $10,440 a ton in London on Friday. What’s the big deal about copper?Through human history, copper has played a critical role in many of civilization’s greatest advances: from early monetary systems to municipal plumbing, from the rise of trains, planes and cars to the devices and networks that underpin the information age.The reddish brown metal is mostly unrivaled as an electrical and thermal conductor, while also being durable and easy to work with. Today, a vast array of uses in all corners of heavy industry, construction and manufacturing mean it’s a famously reliable indicator for trends in the global economy.The copper market was one of the first to react as the Covid-19 coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, with prices slumping by more than a quarter between January and March last year. Then as China’s unprecedented steps to control the domestic spread of the virus started to yield results, copper rapidly rebounded -- and it hasn’t looked back since.But it’s not just China driving the rally. While the country accounts for half of the world’s copper consumption and has played an integral part in copper’s surge, demand there has actually softened this year. Yet prices continue to drive higher.Why is copper surging now?It’s partly due to evidence of recoveries in other major industrial economies, with manufacturing output surging in places like the U.S., Germany and Japan. But investors have also been piling into copper on a bet that global efforts to cut carbon emissions are going to mean the world needs a lot more of the metal, putting a strain on supply. New mine production may be slow to arrive, as mines are hard to find and expensive to develop.Electric vehicles contain about four times as much copper as a conventional car, and vast amounts of copper wiring will be needed in roadside chargers to keep them running. Bringing electricity from offshore wind farms to national power grids is also a copper-intensive exercise.Governments around the world have announced ambitious infrastructure investment plans, much of which involves construction, green energy, or both.Are things that use copper getting more expensive?Increasingly, yes. Major manufacturers have been hiking prices for air-conditioning units and fridges over the past few months, and they’re warning there may be more to come.Still, copper is often used in small quantities in complex consumer goods, and so the doubling in prices over the past year won’t be nearly as painful for consumers as an equivalent jump in food or fuel prices would be. Similarly, governments rolling out big spending programs might not be too worried about a rise in copper alone.But with other raw materials rising too, there are growing signs that they’ll get less bang for their buck as the cost of big-ticket items like wind turbines rise.What does it mean for the economy?There are mounting concerns that the broad rally in everything from lumber to steel will force central bankers to step in to stop inflation in raw-materials markets spiralling out of control.In turn, the stellar economic rebound that’s driving the commodities rally may start to stall as businesses are hit by higher interest rates, compressed margins, and waning demand from consumers. The key question for policymakers at the Federal Reserve — and traders on Wall Street — is whether the broad spike in commodities prices will be temporary.Could the rally fizzle out?In the case of copper, there are some signs that spot demand is starting to cool, particularly in China, and some analysts and traders say the record prices aren’t justified by today’s fundamentals.The view among policymakers is that the rise in commodities prices will prove short-lived, as consumers will focus their spending on services and experiences as economies open up, easing the strain on demand for commodities-intensive items such as second homes, electronics and appliances seen during lockdown.For copper though, it’s not just about strong demand today. In fact, a lot of expected spending on renewables and electric-vehicle infrastructure is yet to really materialize. When it does, it could transform the outlook for copper usage in countries such as Germany and the U.S.How high could copper go?Trafigura Group, the world’s top copper trader, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. both say prices could hit $15,000 a ton in the coming years, on the back of a global surge in demand due to the shift to green energy. Bank of America says $20,000 could even be possible if drastic issues arise on the supply side.The copper market itself may also be facing a big shift. Trafigura predicts that demand growth in China will be eclipsed by rising consumption in the rest of the world over the coming decade, in a dramatic reversal of the recent trend. That could help underpin a new “supercycle” in the copper market, driving prices higher for years on the back of a step-change in global demand.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average both made new all-time highs last week, but as for individual stocks it’s been a “stock picker's market.” Due to rotation within sectors, traders and investors have watched some of the biggest ETFs soar while their portfolio of stocks sits idle. Finding specific stocks to play bullish or bearish has felt similar to finding a needle in a haystack, especially with tech pulling back from all-time highs over earnings season. The airline sector has yet to take the stage despite a ramp-up in the vaccine rollout and customers returning to the skies for business and travel. Rotation could be set to change this, however. Boeing Co (NYSE: BA), American Airlines Group Inc (NASDAQ: AAL) and Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) look like they could be set for take-off. The Boeing Chart: On Friday, Boeing broke up from a descending trendline that had been holding it down since April 5. Although Boeing has briefly traded above the trendline, Friday marked the first day the stock has been able to close the day above it. This will give bulls more confidence. On Friday, Boeing also recaptured the eight-day exponential moving average (EMA) and the stock is trading above the 200-day simple moving average (SMA), which are both bullish indicators. Boeing still needs to recapture the 21-day EMA, which it could do this week if bullish volume is sustained. Bulls want to see Boeing’s stock make a move up to its next resistance level at $243.75. Bullish volume could then pop the stock over that level which would then make it support. If Boeing can gain the $243 area as support, it has room to move back up toward the $257.75 mark. Bears want to see Boeing's stock fall back under the descending trendline, which will cause the stock to lose support at $232.70. A loss of that level could see Boeing revisit $223.71 before finding additional support. The American Airlines Chart: On Friday, big bullish volume entered American Airlines and the stock was able to make a 2.37% move north. This helped the stock recapture the eight-day and 21-day EMAs which is bullish. American Airlines is trading above the 200-day SMA which indicates overall sentiment in the stock is bullish. Bulls want to see follow-through bull volume push American Airlines up over its next resistance level at $22.58. If it can regain that level as support, it has room to move up to fill the overhead gap in the $26 area. Since gaps are filled 90% of the time, it is likely American Airlines will trade back in this range in the future. Bears want to see big bearish volume enter American Airlines’ stock and for it to drop down and lose support at the $21 area. If the stock can’t maintain the level as support, it could descend towards $18.94. The Southwest Chart: Unlike Boeing and American Airlines, which are trading down 47% and 62%, respectively, from all-time highs, Southwest is only 7% below its all-time high. Friday’s action may indicate the stock is about to take another run back towards its Dec. 21, 2017, all-time high of $66.99. On Friday, Southwest broke up from a descending trendline that has been holding it down since April 6. The bullish break helped Southwest to regain the eight-day and 21-day EMAs, which is bullish. Like Boeing and American Airlines, Southwest is trading above the 200-day EMA which is bullish. Bulls want to see Southwest’s stock hold over top of the descending trendline and for bullish volume to help it push up above its next resistance level near $63.50. If the stock can regain that level as support, it has room to make a run back towards all-time highs. Bears want to see bearish volume push Southwest’s stock back under the descending trendline which would force it to lose a support level at $60.10. If Southwest trades below that level, it could retest $557.95 before potentially bouncing. See Also: Stock Wars: JetBlue Vs. Southwest Price Action: Boeing closed Friday’s session at $235.47. Shares of American Airlines closed at $22, and Southwest’s stock closed at $61.66. See more from BenzingaClick here for options trades from BenzingaWhy American And Delta Airlines Look Clear For Takeoff© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
Investors who appreciate the fast pace of Bitcoin (XBT) and Ethereum (ETH) will like HIVE Blockchain Technologies (HVBTF). This stock can serve as a proxy for accounts that do not permit cryptocurrency trading, such as some retirement accounts. HIVE is involved in green energy, which is a red-hot market in 2021. Plus, HIVE now has a DeFi (decentralized finance) angle, which could enhance the company’s shareholder value even further. A Quick Look At HVBTF Stock Recently, HIVE’s stock has experienced lightning-fast price action. As recently as January of 2020, HVBTF stock was available for just 9 cents. It then soared to a 52-week high of $5.75 in February 2021. However, the share price has retraced to the $3 range since that time. (See HIVE stock analysis on TipRanks) This sector is prone to bouts of extreme volatility, so investors should be cautious. A small position in the stock could yield substantial returns – just make sure that you’re wearing your seat belt, as it could be a wild ride. A Green Energy Blockchain Leader Is it possible to invest in cryptocurrency mining and consider ESG (environmental, social and governance) factors at the same time? Cryptocurrency mining is notorious for using tremendous amounts of energy. Yet HIVE’s investor presentation confirms its commitment to clean, responsible crypto mining. HIVE conducts its crypto mining operations in cold climates because it is power-efficient, and therefore cost-efficient. The company mines for Ethereum and Bitcoin in Sweden, Iceland and Canada – some of the coldest regions in the world. This has contributed to improved profitability, with HIVE going from adjusted EBITDA of -$5 million in fiscal year 2019 to $7.8 million in fiscal year 2020. 2020 was the first year in which HIVE achieved profitability, and it has grown from there. Additionally, all of HIVE’s cryptocurrency mining facilities have been powered by green energy from day one. Further proving its commitment to going green, the company just acquired a massive data center in Canada with access to 50 megawatts of low-cost green power. Expanding Into DeFi Along with the company’s robust yet clean mining operations, HIVE is moving aggressively into the DeFi (decentralized finance) space. DeFi refers to financial applications built on blockchain technologies, which are meant to disrupt the traditional world of finance. The company is not building its own DeFi business from scratch, which would be a costly and time-consuming project. Instead, HIVE is engaging in a share swap with decentralized finance asset manager DeFi Technologies Inc. (DEFI). As a result of the share swap, HIVE will own around 5% of DeFi Technologies’ outstanding common shares, while DeFi Technologies will own roughly 1% of HIVE’s outstanding common shares. This partnership, according to the press release, will “provide HIVE with a strategic stake in DeFi Technologies and a broader partnership surrounding the DeFi ecosystem with a specific focus on the Ethereum based MEV space and developments surrounding it.” MEV refers to the amount of profit that cryptocurrency miners can extract from reordering and censoring transactions on the blockchain. In other words, this transaction will not only diversify HIVE’s business, but could also enhance HIVE’s profit potential as a cryptocurrency miner. Weighing All Of The Factors Looking at its TipRanks Smart Score, which is derived from 8 unique data sets, HIVE earns a 5. That means it is likely to perform in line with market averages. Takeaway For HIVE Blockchain Technologies and its shareholders, the deal with DeFi Technologies sounds like a win-win. Investors who are in the market for an ultra-efficient cryptocurrency miner with an ESG angle should find it in HIVE. To find other compelling plays in this fast-growing space, check out the Cryptocurrency Stock Comparison tool on TipRanks. Disclosure: On the date of publication, David Moadel did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. Disclaimer: The information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this article should be taken as a solicitation to purchase or sell securities.
Cathie Wood, the founder, CEO and CIO of Ark Invest, held discussions with Bill Hwang of Archegos Capital about U.S. stocks and, in particular, the media sector back in 2013. What Happened: In an interview with CNBC, Cathie Wood said hedge fund veteran Hwang provided seed capital for Ark's first four exchange-traded funds. "He did provide the seed for our first four ETFs, and we were very grateful to him. It was at a time where market makers were sick of seeding new strategies," she said in the interview. Why It Matters: Hwang ran Archegos Capital Management, the family office that imploded in March and caused massive losses at a few big banks when Archegos couldn't meet margin calls. Wood said she had sent Hwang a note "wishing him well" after the Archegos collapse. Wood said she had no idea if Hwang had remained a shareholder in Ark ETFs. Hwang was very successful with his family office until he began to overutilize leverage, or borrowed money, to chase higher returns in the market. The problem with this strategy comes when investments start to lose money, and the banks lending the investor money begin to get nervous and initiate margin calls. Also, during the interview, Wood spoke about Ark ETFs and said, "The ETF ecosystem is a beautiful thing for portfolio managers." Ark now manages a range of ETFs, including some that have been a runaway success during the pandemic boom market. They include the flagship Ark Innovation ETF (NYSE: ARKK), Ark Next Generation Internet ETF (NYSE: ARKW), ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (NYSE: ARKG) and the Ark Fintech Innovation ETF (NYSE: ARKF). Ark Invest's fund flows went from $10 billion to $80 billion in just under a year, she said, adding that the acceleration in fund flows was "parabolic." See more from BenzingaClick here for options trades from BenzingaMajor Energy Pipeline To US East Coast Shut Down After CyberattackElon Musk Asks For 'SNL' Sketch Ideas On Twitter, Including 'Woke' James Bond And 'Irony Man'© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
The proposed legislation expands freelancers’ right to unionize but the current wording could have repercussions for the use of independent contractors The speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, flanked by the AFL-CIO president, Richard Trumka, speaks during a news conference about the Protecting the Right to Organize (Pro) Act in February. Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP Hidden inside President Biden’s $2.5tn infrastructure proposal is another piece of legislation that could have a significant impact on many small businesses, including mine. Or not. It’s called the Protecting the Right to Organize Act – or Pro Act – and if it passes one thing’s for sure: the use of independent contractors and freelancers in businesses of all sizes will be challenged. The Pro Act, which passed the House of Representatives in March, has two big components. The first is that it makes it easier for workers and independent contractors to organize unions. That’s certainly a concern for some employers. But the other, and bigger headache for small businesses, is that it potentially changes the way we define and classify employees. Under the Pro Act, which is fashioned closely after California’s 2019 Assembly Bill 5 legislation: “… an individual performing any service shall be considered an employee (except as provided in the previous sentence) and not an independent contractor, unless: (A) the individual is free from control and direction in connection with the performance of the service, both under the contract for the performance of service and in fact; (B) the service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer; and (C) the individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed.” For most small businesses, complying with requirements (A) and (C) is generally not a problem – these are consistent with the rules we used in the past when determining whether a person is an independent contractor or an employee. But requirement (B) presents an issue. Here, the contractor’s services must be “outside the usual course of business of the employer”. Why is that a concern? Because countless small businesses outsource certain revenue-generating services to independent contractors from time to time. My company, for example, uses outside contractors to do special programming projects for our software installations and then we bill out their time to our clients. Other businesses lean on specialists to do construction, repairs, writing, editing, consulting, deliveries and other services that are marked up and invoiced. Under the Pro Act’s wording, these services may force business owners to classify these people as employees and incur the additional costs of payroll taxes and benefits. “This legislation is filled with destructive labor proposals that will be damaging to the recovery and create an additional burden for small business owners,” says Kevin Kuhlman of the National Federation of Independent Businesses. “Small business owners can’t afford more labor costs and regulations at a time when they are struggling to stay open.” The organization opposes the bill and says that 95%t of their members believe that small businesses should be able to hire independent contractors to perform tasks essential to their business. Many freelancers – the ones the Pro Act is designed to protect – are also opposed. According to a recent study of more than 11,000 businesses by the online networking site Alignable, 61% of the independent contractors surveyed said they would anticipate losing more than 76% of their business due to the act with nearly half of them (45%) saying they would be forced to shut down. Mary Kearl, a professional freelance writer and marketing consultant, is concerned that she could lose all the benefits of freelancing as a result of the Act. “If enough of my clients can no longer work with me as a freelancer as a result of this new law, I’ll most likely have to get a full-time job, take a pay cut, work longer hours than my current 25 hours a week, lose my flexible schedule and autonomy, and miss out on being a primary caregiver to my child,” she writes on Business Insider. “For me and my husband, who is also a freelancer, the pros (of freelancing) include earning more per hour than when we worked full time, setting our own schedules, sharing in being the primary caregivers to our toddler, deciding the companies we work with and projects we take on, and the flexibility to work from and live anywhere.” So should small business owners and freelancers be worried? Maybe. Maybe not. The Freelancers Union, a trade group that’s in favor of the Pro Act, says that concerns about the employee/contractor classification issue are overblown. “Not only does the law itself specify that it is limited to amending the National Labor Relations Act,” the group writes on its blog. “An important amendment was also passed on the floor of the House explicitly spelling out that the ABC test applies to unionization alone and cannot change anyone’s employment status.” The problem really comes down to this: the legislation is still not clear Brandon Magner, a labor lawyer agrees. “The ABC test, if passed as part of the Pro Act, would only affect the analysis of employee v independent contractor status for the purposes of the NLRA,” he writes. “It would not change a worker’s employment status for the purposes of state laws, such as those involving minimum wage, overtime, unemployment compensation, or various benefit schemes. Thus, a worker could feasibly be classified as an employee with unionization rights under the NLRA while still qualifying as an independent contractor under said state laws.” Magner states, as an example, the many freelancers in California’s entertainment industry who have have no consistent employer but can now collectively bargain for superior wages and benefits compared with non-union counterparts. The problem really comes down to this: the legislation is still not clear. Does it apply only to the National Labor Relations Act and unionization? Do state laws supersede? Can small employers still use independent contractors for their services that are not “outside the usual course” of their business? Will freelancers like Mary Kearl be able to continue the flexibility and freedom she enjoys? Because so much is still being debated, that in itself means that more clarification is needed from Congress. But unfortunately I’m not sure that clarification is going to happen if the legislation passes as written in the president’s infrastructure proposal. Which means that the issue of employee v contractor classification will continue to be a risk for small business owners, until it’s ultimately decided someday in the courts.
The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) Retirement Confidence Survey, the nonpartisan group’s 31st annual report, is hot off the presses. “Workers envision a transition to retirement that is misaligned with retirees’ realities,” according to the researchers. Nearly half of retirees retire earlier than they expected —most often because they felt they could afford to, because of a health problem or disability, or because of changes within their organization.