Feb.23 -- Ironnet Cybersecurity Senior VP Jamil Jaffer discusses his key takeaways from the hearing on the Solarwinds hack and how widespread the breach may have been. He speaks to Emily Chang on "Bloomberg Technology."
Feb.23 -- Ironnet Cybersecurity Senior VP Jamil Jaffer discusses his key takeaways from the hearing on the Solarwinds hack and how widespread the breach may have been. He speaks to Emily Chang on "Bloomberg Technology."
(Bloomberg) -- Bitcoin’s appeal as a hedge against inflation is being put to the test, with the largest cryptocurrency slumping along with other risk assets after Jerome Powell failed to ease investor concern about rising price pressures.The digital token fell as much as 6.7% and traded at about $47,900 as of 2:38 p.m. in New York, after the Federal Reserve chairman said he is monitoring financial conditions and would be “concerned” by disorderly markets, but stopped short of offering specific steps -- which sent Treasury yields higher and stocks lower.“Once it feels like the market is in risk-off mode, which it clearly is, because if you’re selling everything except for energy, that’s very risk-off,” said Arthur Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities Corp. “It really doesn’t matter whether you are Bitcoin or Ark or semis or banks -- every thing’s being thrown over the transom.”Bitcoin surged to more than $58,000 last month, with advocates such as MicroStrategy Inc. Chief Executive Officer Michael Saylor touting the token as alternative to cash because of the risk of rising inflation from government and central bank stimulus. Shares of the enterprise software maker, which has purchased over 90,000 Bitcoins, tumbled as much as 17% on Thursday. Critics say Bitcoin is in a giant, stimulus-fueled bubble that’s destined to burst like the 2017 boom and bust cycle. Bitcoin slid 21% last week but is still up more than fivefold in the past year. 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.
(Bloomberg) -- Traders in the $21 trillion U.S. Treasury market are sending a clear signal that they intend to keep pushing yields higher until they upend financial conditions sufficiently to spark action from the Federal Reserve.Ten-year yields climbed again on Friday, heading toward last week’s one-year high and undermining stocks, after Fed Chair Jerome Powell gave just a minor nod to the recent, abrupt surge in long-term borrowing costs. He stressed that officials are focused on the long road ahead before they achieve their policy goals.Even before Powell spoke, some strategists were predicting the global borrowing benchmark rate was on course to reach 2%, a mere 40 basis points above last week’s peak. With yields on the rise again, it may not be long before mortgage-related hedging kicks in and brings that target closer. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. boosted its year-end forecast for 10-year Treasury yields on Thursday to 1.90% from 1.50%.Friday’s February payrolls report now looms as the next catalyst. Yields have already soared more than a half-point this year as a cheerier outlook for growth and inflation led traders to bring forward how soon they see the Fed lifting its policy rate. Many strategists had expected Powell to try to more forcefully tamp down yields before the Fed’s black-out period ahead of its March 17 policy decision. With no such effort emerging, market participants are left to ponder where policy makers’ pain threshold may be.“In this environment yields can certainly continue to test higher,” said Jonathan Cohn, a strategist at Credit Suisse. “How far the Fed is willing to allow stock markets to fall -- which is the poor man’s version of thinking about broad financial conditions -- is a key question.”During an appearance in a Wall Street Journal webinar Thursday, Powell said the recent bond-market swings “caught my attention.” He said he’s monitoring financial conditions and would be “concerned by disorderly conditions in markets.”Ten-year yields added 8 basis points on the day to 1.56%, and continued to creep higher in Asia hours touching 1.58%, bringing into view last week’s one-year high of 1.61%. With yields at current levels, there have been fresh concerns of convexity-related hedging flow which can undermine liquidity conditions and further roil riskier assets. Stocks slumped Thursday, with the S&P 500 Index briefly erasing its 2021 gains.Powell said he’d be concerned if there were a “persistent tightening in financial conditions that threatens the achievement of our goals.” But he didn’t mention any actions the Fed might take to curtail the climb in yields, which has lifted mortgage rates and risks dimming a bright spot in an economy still on the mend from the pandemic.Wall Street strategists have mulled options the Fed could take to push down long-term yields including: extending the duration of its bond purchases, or implementing a so-called “twist” operation -- involving selling part of the Fed’s shorter-dated holdings in favor of long-term Treasuries.“If yields continue higher too quickly, then that could be a problem for the Fed,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “It might undermine asset prices, possibly causing a major correction in stock prices and a freezing up of the housing market. This is not our base case, but it’s a concern and a risk.”Meanwhile, a market proxy for the anticipated annual inflation rate for the next half-decade exceeded 2.5% this week for the first time since 2008 -- aided by climbing oil prices.Traders are now pricing in a full quarter-point Fed rate boost in the first quarter of 2023. The Fed itself has signaled it intends to keep policy steady at least through the end of that year.”Market participants are putting the Fed to the test and saying, ‘OK, given this spike in inflation, if it’s not transient then you’re going to have to act sooner,”’ Scott Minerd, global chief investment officer of Guggenheim Partners, said in a Bloomberg Television interview.(Updates with Friday’s yield move)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.
(Bloomberg) -- Concern is mounting in corporate credit markets globally as longer-term Treasury yields kept rising on Friday, leading some borrowers from New York to Tokyo to delay bond sales and strategists to caution about trouble ahead.Gauges of credit fear jumped in Europe for investment-grade and high yield debt on Friday in derivatives markets. Two borrowers that had expected to sell bonds in the U.S. opted to push their offerings into next week, after a stronger-than-expected jobs report brought fresh inflation concerns and lifted the 10 year Treasury yield briefly above 1.6%.In the U.S. junk market, Ronald Perelman’s Vericast Corp. has withdrawn a $1.775 billion bond offering after failing to reach an agreement with investors on terms. And in Asia, two state-owned firms in India withdrew planned rupee note sales on Thursday and at least three Japanese companies have put off yen debt offerings in recent days.Still, there are signs that the party isn’t over just yet for corporate bonds. In the U.S. credit derivatives market, the Markit CDX North American Investment Grade Index, which investors use to hedge against defaults on company notes, fell a touch Friday morning, signaling that parties trading that instrument are a bit less concerned about credit risk. Dealers expect as much as another $50 billion of bond sales next week, after more than $65 billion of sales this week.But market sentiment may be shifting. On Thursday, companies selling bonds in the U.S. got orders for just 1.8 times the amount of debt for sale, far below the average of 3.2 times for this year or four times for all of last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Strategists are starting to sound alarms. Bank of America Corp. cut U.S. investment-grade credit to underweight in a note dated Thursday, citing its expectations that yields will continue to rise, which will likely push credit spreads wider. The underweight is a temporary trade, strategists led by Hans Mikkelsen wrote.U.S. investment-grade corporate bond spreads have narrowed to 0.92 percentage point from 0.96 percentage point at the end of last year, but are down 4.2% on a total return basis as Treasury yields have jumped, according to Bloomberg Barclays index data through Thursday.Citigroup Inc. warned high-grade investors to “brace for fund outflows” in a Thursday note. Spread tightening is no longer offsetting rising Treasury yields, strategists led by Daniel Sorid wrote, adding that a flight-toward shorter duration strategies may be coming.The speed at which rates have risen is a concern for Barclays Plc, which is watching for a “shift in sentiment” on credit, according to a Friday note. Spreads have been resilient so far, “but there is some risk for spreads in the near term from a more disorderly move higher in rates,” strategists Bradley Rogoff and Shobhit Gupta wrote.Sentiment soured Thursday after Powell told a Wall Street Journal webinar that the recent run-up in yields was notable, but declined to be drawn on what tools might be used if disorderly conditions or any persistent tightening in financial conditions threatened the Fed’s goals. With energy prices rising and Covid-19 vaccines fueling bets that an economic rebound will spur inflation, financing costs have started to bounce back from recent lows.In Europe, issuance remains robust for now, and notwithstanding recent bouts of turmoil, selling bonds remains cheaper than it was at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.Companies and governments have sold over 407 billion euros ($487 billion) of bonds so far this year, the region’s fastest pace of issuance ever, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.“Issuers want to take advantage of this supportive environment provided by the central banks, before the market starts to anticipate tapering,” said James Cunniffe, director for corporate syndicate at HSBC Holdings Plc. “As we enter the second quarter, we expect to see a more normalized level of supply reverting back to previous years’ volumes.”U.S.Mobile gaming company Playtika Holding Corp. is slated to sell its debut junk bond Friday.A group of unsecured lenders to Hertz Global Holdings Inc. are proposing an alternative reorganization of the rental car company that would take it public, a move that counters a plan to sell the company to two investment funds for as much as $4.2 billion.For deal updates, click here for the New Issue MonitorFor more, click here for the Credit Daybook AmericasEuropeBooming ethical debt sales have increased the market share of green, social and sustainability debt to 17% of this year’s syndicated debt volumes, from around 7% a year earlier.The much maligned London interbank offered rate is finally within sight of retirement after the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority confirmed that the final readings for most rates will take place on Dec. 31The Republic of Italy’s debut green bond was the most-subscribed deal in Europe’s primary market this week, according to data analyzed by BloombergAsiaChina’s Ji’an Chengtou Holding Group was the sole borrower selling a dollar bond on Friday.“Inflation is likely to rise sharply in developed and emerging markets in the coming months on unfavorable base effects and higher commodity prices,” said Michael Biggs, macro strategist and investment manager at GAM in London. “We do not think the rise in inflation will be sustained, but it could scare the market”Combined with relatively lower liquidity versus investment grade and potential outflows, Asia high yield is ripe for a correction, according to Ek Pon Tay, a senior portfolio manager for emerging market debt at BNP Paribas Asset ManagementIn mainland China, a recent jump in defaults has led investors to favor safer assets, which is being reflected in smaller risk premiums for local-currency top-rated corporate bondsFor 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.
Some households are collecting a big pile of federal money in 2021.
Congress is nearing passage of the third economic stimulus check it will send out to you and other taxpayers as part of its Covid-19 relief bill.
The president has agreed to a compromise making millions ineligible for the third checks.
(Bloomberg) -- Major oil sands producers in Western Canada will idle almost half a million barrels a day of production next month, helping tighten global supplies as oil prices surge.Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.’s plans to conduct 30 days of maintenance at its Horizon oil sands upgrader in April will curtail roughly 250,000 barrels a day of light synthetic crude output, company President Tim McKay said in an interview Thursday. Work on the Horizon upgrader coincides with maintenance at other cites.Suncor Energy Inc. plans a major overhaul of its U2 crude upgrader, cutting output by 130,000 barrels a day over the entire second quarter. Syncrude Canada Ltd. will curb 70,000 barrels a day during the quarter because of maintenance in a unit.The supply cuts out of Northern Alberta, following a surprise OPEC+ decision to not increase output next month, could add more support to the recent rally in crude prices. OPEC+ had been debating whether to restore as much as 1.5 million barrels a day of output in April but decided to wait.The Saudi-led alliance closely monitors other major oil producers as it seeks to manage the entire global market, and surging production in North America was its biggest headache in recent years -- especially from U.S. shale but also from Canada.“The U.S., Saudi Arabia, Russia, Canada, Brazil and other well endowed countries with hydrocarbon reserves -- we need to work with each other, collaboratively,” Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said after the group’s meeting on Thursday.Read More: Saudis Bet ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’ Is Over in Push for Pricier OilCanada’s contribution to balancing the market with less production, much like slowing output in the U.S., is not a deliberate market-management strategy but significant nonetheless.Even though the output cuts are short-term, the battered oil-sands industry shouldn’t be a concern for the Saudis in the long run either, judging from McKay’s outlook for the industry.“I can’t see much growth in the oil sands happening because there is going to be less demand in the future,” he said. “The first step is we have to get our carbon footprint down.”After years of rising output turned Canada into the world’s fourth-largest crude producer, expansion projects have nearly halted on the heels of two market crashes since 2014.Adding to its struggles, Canada’s oil industry is being shunned by some investors such as Norway’s $1.3 trillion wealth fund amid concern that the higher carbon emissions associated with oil sands extraction will worsen climate change. These forces help make future growth in the oil sands unlikely, said McKay, whose company is among the largest producers in the country.Oil sands upgraders turn the heavy bitumen produced in oil sands mines into light synthetic crude that’s similar to benchmarks West Texas Intermediate and Brent. Syncrude Sweet Premium for April gained 60 cents on Thursday to $1.50 a barrel premium to WTI, the strongest price since May, NE2 Group data show.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.
Powell and his policymakers have until March 17 to regain control of monetary policy or they could face a creditability issue.
(Bloomberg) -- Texas regulators declined to rescind $16 billion in alleged overcharges for electricity during last month’s blackouts, leaving the state’s power market facing a potential financial crisis.“Decisions were made about these prices in real time based, on information available to everybody,” said Arthur D’Andrea, chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas during a meeting Friday. “It is nearly impossible to unscramble this sort of egg.”The state’s independent market monitor had recommended that $16 billion in charges be reversed, saying that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, known as Ercot, overpriced power for two days during the crisis.Retroactively adjusting those prices could have offered sweeping relief to companies facing astronomical bills in the wake of the grid emergency. With many generators crippled by the cold, electricity prices skyrocketed, squeezing anyone who had to buy power on the wholesale market. The grid operator now faces a $2.5 billion shortfall as more than a dozen companies face default. At least one utility has already filed for bankruptcy.While utility commissioners didn’t close the door repricing in the future, they didn’t embrace the idea.“Repricing the energy -- I would be more inclined to say we’re not going to do that,” said Commissioner Shelly Botkin. D’Andrea agreed, adding, “It looks like you’re protecting consumers. I promise you’re not.”The commission also declined to vote on a request to retroactively adjust the price of certain grid services during the emergency, a move that would have offered relief to distressed companied and potentially saved consumers $2 billion, according to the market monitor. So-called ancillary services, which help maintain the flow of electricity on the system, jumped above $20,000 a megawatt-hour during the crisis. Retail electricity providers and others had asked for those charges to be capped at $9,000.Texas’s biggest power generators have generally opposed any kind of repricing. But ahead of Friday’s meeting, Vistra Corp. told regulators in a filing that energy prices on Feb. 18 and 19 -- the days after the rolling outages ended -- should be changed “to an equitable calculation of the market clearing price.”“Vistra continues to believe that the Commission should not take an arbitrary, piecemeal approach to repricing,” the company said in its filing. “But acting without allowing all market participants to engage is likely to create another set of parties that will be adversely affected by the new pricing structure.”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.
Never say that one person makes no difference. This past Thursday, stocks tumbled, bonds surged, and investors started taking inflationary risks seriously – all because one guy said what he thinks. Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, held a press conference at which he gave both the good and the bad. He stated, again, his belief that the COVID vaccination program will allow a full reopening of the economy, and that we’ll see a resurgence in the job market. That’s the good news. The bad news, we’ll also likely see consumer prices go up in the short term – inflation. And when inflation starts rising, so do interest rates – and that’s when stocks typically slide. We’re not there yet, but the specter of it was enough this past week to put serious pressure on the stock markets. However, as the market retreat has pushed many stocks to rock-bottom prices, several Wall Street analysts believe that now may be the time to buy in. These analysts have identified three tickers whose current share prices land close to their 52-week lows. Noting that each is set to take back off on an upward trajectory, the analysts see an attractive entry point. Not to mention each has earned a Moderate or Strong Buy consensus rating, according to TipRanks database. Alteryx (AYX) We’ll start with Alteryx, an analytic software company based in California that takes advantage of the great changes brought by the information age. Data has become a commodity and an asset, and more than ever, companies now need the ability to collect, collate, sort, and analyze reams of raw information. This is exactly what Alteryx’s products allow, and the company has built on that need. In Q4, the company reported net income of 32 cents per share on $160.5 million in total revenues, beating consensus estimates. The company reported good news on the liquidity front, too, with $1 billion in cash available as of Dec 31, up 2.5% the prior year. In Q4, operating cash flow reached $58.5 million, crushing the year-before figure of $20.7 million. However, investors were wary of the lower-than-expected guidance. The company forecasted a range of between $104 million to $107 million in revenue, compared to $119 million analysts had expected. The stock tumbled 16% after the report. That was magnified by the general market turndown at the same time. Overall, AYX is down ~46% over the past 52 months. Yet, the recent sell-off could be an opportunity as the business remains sound amid these challenging times, according to 5-star analyst Daniel Ives, of Wedbush. “We still believe the company is well positioned to capture market share in the nearly ~$50B analytics, business intelligence, and data preparation market with its code-friendly end-to-end data prep and analytics platform once pandemic pressures subside…. The revenue beat was due to a product mix that tilted towards upfront revenue recognition, an improvement in churn rates and an improvement in customer spending trends," Ives opined. Ives’ comments back his Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating, and his $150 price target implies a one-year upside of 89% for the stock. (To watch Ives’ track record, click here) Overall, the 13 analyst recent reviews on Alteryx, breaking down to 10 Buys and 3 Holds, give the stock a Strong Buy analyst consensus rating. Shares are selling for $79.25 and have an average price target of $150.45. (See AYX stock analysis on TipRanks) Root, Inc. (ROOT) Switching over to the insurance sector, we’ll look at Root. This insurance company interacts with customers through its app, acting more like a tech company than a car insurance provider. But it works because the way customers interact with businesses is changing. Root also uses data analytics to set rates for customers, basing fees and premiums on measurable and measured metrics of how a customer actually drives. It’s a personalized version of car insurance, fit for the digital age. Root has also been expanding its model to the renters insurance market. Root has been trading publicly for just 4 months; the company IPO'd back in October, and it’s currently down 50% since it hit the markets. In its Q4 and Full-year 2020 results, Root showed solid gains in direct premiums, although the company still reports a net loss. For the quarter, the direct earnings premiums rose 30% year-over-year to $155 million. For all of 2020, that metric gained 71% to reach $605 million. The full-year net loss was $14.2 million. Truist's 5-star analyst Youssef Squali covers Root, and he sees the company maneuvering to preserve a favorable outlook this year and next. “ROOT's mgt continues to refine its growth strategy two quarters post IPO, and 4Q20 results/2021 outlook reflects such a process... They believe their stepped-up marketing investment should lead to accelerating policy count growth as the year progresses and provide a substantial tailwind heading into 2022. To us, this seems part of a deliberate strategy to marginally shift the balance between topline growth and profitability slightly more in favor of the latter,” Squali noted. Squali’s rating on the stock is a Buy, and his $24 price target suggests a 95% upside in the months ahead. (To watch Squali’s track record, click here) Shares in Root are selling for $12.30 each, and the average target of $22 indicates a possible upside of ~79% by year’s end. There are 5 reviews on record, including 3 to Buy and 2 to Hold, making the analyst consensus a Moderate Buy. (See ROOT stock analysis on TipRanks) Arco Platform, Ltd. (ARCE) The shift to online and remote work hasn’t just impacted the workplace. Around the world, schools and students have also had to adapt. Arco Platform is a Brazilian educational company offering content, technology, supplemental programs, and specialized services to school clients in Brazil. The company boasts over 5,400 schools on its client list, with programs and products in classrooms from kindergarten through high school – and over 405,000 students using Arco Platform learning tools. Arco will report 4Q20 and full year 2020 results later this month – but a look at the company’s November Q3 release is instructive. The company described 2020 as a “testament to the resilience of our business.” By the numbers, Arco reported strong revenue gains in 2020 – no surprise, considering the move to remote learning. Quarterly revenue of 208.7 million Brazilian reals (US$36.66 million) was up 196% year-over-year, while the top line for the first 9 months of the year, at 705.2 million reals (US$123.85 million) was up 117% yoy. Earnings for educational companies can vary through the school year, depending on the school vacation schedule. The third quarter is typically Arco’s worst of the year, with a net loss – and 2020 was no exception. But, the Q3 net loss was only 9 US cents per share – a huge improvement from the 53-cent loss reported in 3Q19. Mr. Market chopped off 38% of the company’s stock price over the past 12 months. One analyst, however, thinks this lower stock price could offer new investors an opportunity to get into ARCE on the cheap. Credit Suisse's Daniel Federle rates ARCE an Outperform (i.e. Buy) along with a $55 price target. This figure implies a 12-month upside potential of ~67%. (To watch Federle’s track record, click here) Federle is confident that the company is positioned for the next leg of growth, noting: "[The] company is structurally solid and moving in the right direction and... any eventual weak operating data point is macro related rather than any issue related to the company. We continue with the view that growth will return to its regular trajectory once COVID effects dissipate.” Turning to expansionary plans, Federle noted, “Arco mentioned that it is within their plans to launch a product focused on the B2C market, likely already in 2021. The product will be focused on offering courses (e.g. test preps) directly to students. It is important to note that this product will not be a substitute for learning systems, rather a complement. Potential success obtained in the B2C market is an upside risk to our estimates.” There are only two reviews on record for Arco, although both of them are Buys, making the analyst consensus here a Moderate Buy. Shares are trading for $33.73 and have an average price target of $51, which suggests a 51% upside from that level. (See ARCE stock analysis on TipRanks) To find good ideas for beaten-down 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.
(Bloomberg) -- A new exchange-traded fund seeking to ride the companies most loved by investors online has found plenty of its own positive sentiment in its first day of trading.About $438 million worth of shares in the VanEck Vectors Social Sentiment ETF (ticker BUZZ) changed hands on Thursday, making it the third best ETF debut on record, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.“Normally, this kind of blow-the-roof-off volume for the first day is for ETFs that open up a new asset class like gold or Bitcoin,” said Eric Balchunas, ETF analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence.The fund, which has been promoted by Barstool Sports Inc. founder Dave Portnoy, follows an index that uses AI to scan online sources like blogs and social media to identify the 75 most favorably mentioned equities.Because of its criteria for inclusion, the hottest names among the day-trading crowd like GameStop Corp. and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. don’t actually make it into the gauge. Its top holdings currently are Ford Motor Co., Twitter Inc. and DraftKings Inc.Nonetheless, the rapid uptake suggests VanEck has succeeded in tapping into the increasingly powerful retail investing cohort.“Given the explosion of individual, younger retail traders, it makes sense to see a pile of volume,” said Dave Lutz, macro strategist at JonesTrading. “Whether it is the WSB crowd embracing Dave Portnoy’s marketing of the ETF, or institutions playing it to bet on the direction of the trend (or hedge) -- we won’t know for a bit. I suspect it’s a bit of both.”The fund opened at $24.40. It was down 1% at $24.15 at 12:02 p.m.(Updates with latest figures, analyst comments.)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.
Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya sold off a chunk of his shares this week, and played a part of the plunge in prices.
Despite the recent selloff in electric-vehicle stocks like Tesla and Nio, there is still intense investor interest in the sector, with demand for electric-vehicles expected to climb dramatically over the next decades.
How much money people have put away for retirement varies, naturally, by their age group. See how your savings stack up.
As the April 15 deadline to file and pay taxes closes in, some of the accountants preparing those returns are telling the Internal Revenue Service they need more time. “In the current environment, it is simply not possible for many taxpayers and their tax advisers to meet their filing and payment obligations that are due on April 15,” according to a Thursday letter from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The professional organization with more than 431,000 members wants the IRS to move the tax deadline to June 15.
Effissimo Capital Management has gained further backing in its push for a probe into Toshiba Corp, but big stakes built up by investors like BlackRock have raised questions over how much influence it and other activist shareholders will ultimately wield. Glass Lewis became on Friday the second major proxy advisor to recommend shareholders vote in favour of an independent investigation into allegations that investors were pressured ahead of last year's annual general meeting. Singapore-based Effissimo, which is Toshiba's top shareholder with a 9.9% stake, made the proposal after investor complaints about the last AGM.
Markets are taking us all for something of a roller coaster ride in recent sessions, alternating gains and drops in precipitous fashion. There’s no telling exactly what comes next, but some of Wall Street’s sharpest minds are on the job. One of those sharp minds is John Stoltzfus, chief investment strategist and managing director at Oppenheimer. Stoltzfus sees us in the preparatory phases of further market gains, and he goes to great lengths to explain his outlook. While he agrees that we have not yet succeeded in putting the COVID-19 pandemic crisis fully behind us, he points out that the data indicate a resilient economy. Stoltzfus starts with the Treasury bond market, which he describes as ‘normalizing.’ Yes, yields are up in recent days from historic lows reached late last summer, but the strategist sees this as evidence that “as the pandemic crisis begins to ebb better times are likely ahead for the US economy.” Stoltzfus goes on to the recent earnings season. Of the corporate earnings reports, Stoltzfus says, “With 97% of companies in the S&P 500 having reported profits are up 5.37% on the back of 2.47% revenue growth—a much stronger result than had been anticipated by consensus analytics at the start of the season.” But solid earnings results are not the only support Stoltzfus offers for his view that better times are ahead of us. Stoltzfus points out the rising price of oil, noting that its year-to-date rise has coincided with the spreading vaccination campaigns and the prospect of economic reopening, and he notes copper. In his words, “The rise in copper prices serves as a sign that expectations are for global growth to accelerate as the world moves out from under the pandemic.” Against this backdrop, one of Stoltzfus’s colleagues at Oppenheimer, 5-star analyst Kevin DeGeeter, has followed up and tapped two stocks that he as primed for big gains in a market rebound, gains on the order of 100% or better. We ran the two through TipRanks database to see what other Wall Street's analysts have to say about them. Evaxion Biotech (EVAX) The first Oppenheimer pick we’re looking at is Evaxion, a biotech company that uses proprietary AI-immunology platforms to develop novel immunotherapies for the treatment of various cancers and infectious diseases. The company currently has two immunotherapy candidates in the clinical trial stage for several cancers, and two other candidates in pre-clinical research. Evaxion went public on the NASDAQ in early February, announcing the pricing of the IPO on February 4 and closing the offering on February 10. The shares were priced at $10 each, the lower end of the range, and the company put 3 million shares on the market, raising gross proceeds of $30 million. The key point to Evaxion, as far as investors are concerned, are the two candidates in Phase IIa clinical trials. The candidates, EVX-01 and EVX-02, are designed to be patient-specific treatments for non-small-cell lung cancer, bladder cancer, and various types of melanoma. Results for both candidates’ studies are expected in the first half of 2021. DeGeeter initiated coverage on this stock in early March, basing his optimism on “1) Artificial Intelligence-driven immunology platform generating a broad portfolio; 2) personalized cancer vaccines, EVX-01 and EVX-02, with two important Phase I/IIa updates in 2Q21; 3) capital-efficient business mode…” At the bottom line, DeGeeter writes, “We view EVAX as an AI platform story with multiple differentiated programs either in early-stage human studies or nearing clinical development. Our near term focus is on the oncology platform…” In line with his upbeat outlook, DeGeeter rates EVAX an Outperform (i.e. Buy), and his $18 price target implies a robust upside of 157% for the coming year. (To watch DeGeeter’s track record, click here) DeGeeter’s review is one of two that have been published on EVAX, but both are Buys, making the consensus here a Moderate Buy. The stock is selling for $7, and the average price target is $18, the same as DeGeeter’s. (See EVAX stock analysis on TipRanks) Sensei Biotherapeutics (SNSE) For the second stock on our short list from Oppenheimer, we’re staying in the biotech industry. Like Evaxion above, Sensei Biotherapeutics is an immunotherapy research company with a focus on cancer treatments; what makes Sensei different is its platform, using a bacteriophage to deliver the therapeutic agent and trigger an immune response in the patient. In another similarity to Evaxion, Sensei held its IPO in February. The company put 7 million shares of common stock on the market, at a price of $19 per share, and closed its first day’s trading at $18.90. The IPO grossed a total of $152.6 million, and the company now boasts a market cap of $418 million. That company's leading candidate, SNS-301, is an experimental cancer vaccine that targets the overexpression of aspartyl beta hydroxylase (ASPH) in squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck. The product is in Phase I/II development, and preliminary data demonstrated long duration of response, including 30+ weeks disease stability in 2 patients. Further data is expected in the second half of this year. In his note initiating coverage on Sensei Biotherapeutics, DeGeeter takes an optimistic view. “We view SNSE's ImmunoPhage immuno-oncology platform as offering important differentiation based on 1) potential to easily combine low-cost off-the-shelf and personalized neoepitopes in a single product, 2) self-adjuvant profile of ImmunoPhage, and 3) rapid turnaround time of ~four weeks for personalized neoepitope production. Our positive outlook is based on potential for Phase I/II study of SNS-301 ASPH ImmunoPhage to demonstrate clinically meaningful benefit in first-line treatment and neoadjuvant head and neck cancer settings based on improved durability of response,” DeGeeter commented. To this end, DeGeeter puts an Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating on SNSE shares, along with a $36 price target that indicates potential for ~141% upside over the next 12 months. (To watch DeGeeter’s track record, click here) Sensei has only been a public company for a few weeks, but in that time it has attracted 4 analyst reviews – all are Buys, making the analyst consensus view a unanimous Strong Buy. Shares are priced at $14.95 and have an average price target of $29.50, which implies a one-year upside of ~97%. (See SNSE 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.
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