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How Soon Will You Get Your Coronavirus Stimulus Check?

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 13:04

Most Americans will receive some free money. Find out how soon you'll get yours.

Is Penn National Gaming, Inc (PENN) A Good Stock To Buy?

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 12:32

We hate to say this but, we told you so. On February 27th we published an article with the title Recession is Imminent: We Need A Travel Ban NOW and predicted a US recession when the S&P 500 Index was trading at the 3150 level. We also told you to short the market and buy […]

Passengers on ‘Death Ship’ Plead for Rescue as Virus Strikes

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 12:15

(Bloomberg) -- For passengers on a Holland America Line cruise ship, a fun-filled voyage on the luxury liner is quickly turning into a nightmare with deteriorating conditions on board and fears of a full-blown coronavirus outbreak after four travelers died and two others were infected.“We are stuck on this death ship,” said Yadira Garza, who is on board with her newly-wed husband. “We are freaked out and terrified that we will be infected too. It’s just a matter of time if we stay on the ship.”Passengers on the Zaandam, currently off the coast of Panama, say they are desperate to get off the liner after Chile wouldn’t allow the vessel to dock. The company also said all ports on the ship’s route have also refused entry. Guests and their family members have taken to Twitter to plead for help.Then came some good news on Saturday: the ship’s captain announced Holland America is moving some passengers to a sister ship, the Rotterdam, because so many crew members have gotten sick, said Garza. The Panamanian government also agreed to let the Zaandam sail through the Panama Canal, reversing an earlier decision to block passage.Meanwhile, relatives of crew members on board the ship say they are being asked to work despite falling sick, or shortly after recovering from fever. Food is being delivered uncovered, with Garza describing finding hair and eyelashes on their plates of food.Holland America, a subsidiary of Carnival Corp., didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment on conditions for crew aboard the ship. It said in a tweet it’s working with Panamanian authorities on the transit.The Zaandam is the latest vessel owned by Carnival, the biggest cruise line in the world, to be struck with outbreaks of coronavirus, plunging the ships into dramatic public health crises that gripped the world’s attention. Now, some angry passengers say they weren’t screened adequately, even as governments, including the U.S., advised citizens to avoid cruise ships.Garza and her husband say they were reassured by Holland America that health screenings and temperature checks would be conducted on passengers getting on board. Health screenings consisted of a self-reported questionnaire of symptoms, she said, and they didn’t see any temperature checks done.“We thought that since it’s a very well-known company, they would take severe measures,” said Garza.The couple, both in their 30s and from Monterrey, Mexico, boarded the ship March 7 in Buenos Aires for their honeymoon. The journey was supposed to have ended a week ago at San Antonio, Chile.And they’re not getting off anytime soon. Joel Gonzalez, Garza’s husband, had a slight and brief fever a few days ago and they’ve been told they wouldn’t be transferred to the Rotterdam. They are seeking help from Mexican consular officials.The captain of the ship, originally carrying 1,243 passengers and 586 crew, asked guests to quarantine themselves on March 22 after a number of people on board reported influenza-like symptoms, said the cruise line. Four “older” passengers on the ship died and two individuals have tested positive, it said Friday, heightening anxiety on board.A total of 53 guests and 85 crew members have reported to the medical center with flu-like symptoms, it said. And when Garza complained about long waits for service, a ship doctor told her Saturday that 40% of the crew are now sick, she said.Three relatives of crew members say they’re worried that their family members working on board and many of their co-workers haven’t been tested. Two of them say their sick relatives are being asked to work, with many of them working overtime. Relatives of crew members have been discussing working conditions via a message group and they have asked not to be identified because crew members were recently instructed to not speak with the media about conditions on board.Staffing ShortageIn an announcement to passengers on Saturday, the captain seemed to acknowledge the staffing shortage. The Rotterdam is delivering medical supplies and kits to test passengers and crew for Covid-19.“We have to re-balance the workload of the crew,” the captain said over the loudspeaker, in explaining the transfer of passengers.There’s growing concern about crew members spreading coronavirus. Crew members on two earlier Princess ships that had Covid-19 outbreaks hastened the spread of the disease to passengers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies released earlier this month.Two Costa Ships Begin Disembarking Sick Crew Members in MiamiAnother cruise vessel, the Costa Diadema, has arrived ahead of schedule near an Italian port already busy handling other cruise ships, Italy’s transportation ministry said on Sunday. One crew member has symptoms that resemble coronavirus, the ministry said, and the ship will be checked thoroughly at another site.On the Zaandam, like Garza and her husband, some passengers will be stuck on the ship, and may stay on as it sails through the canal and the Caribbean Sea, until it finally reaches Fort Lauderdale, Florida.Still, it may not be a straight-forward disembarkation. Michael Udine. a commissioner for Broward County, where Fort Lauderdale is located, said at a special meeting Tuesday that he wanted to propose a motion to deny the ship’s entry, Local 10 News reported. Broward has 820 coronavirus cases and 11 deaths so far, according to Johns Hopkins data.After Zaandam’s stop in Panama, he said there should be strict protocols at his county’s ports. “There must be a strict plan put in place,” he said. “It must provide for the safety of all impacted.”Lance Hutton, an 80-year-old retiree from Missouri, says he and his wife have been wracked with anxiety the past two weeks as the Zaandam sailed from its last port of call, Punta Arenas, on the southern tip of South America. Chile refused to let passengers get off and it sailed for days to the waters off Valparaiso, 90 minutes west of Santiago. The ship took on fuel and supplies, and was denied permission to dock before reaching Panama.The transfer of passengers to Rotterdam alongside the Zaandam was “to spread us out,” Hutton said, relating the captain’s announcement in which he said more people were falling sick, many with respiratory ailments.The couple, who don’t have any illness symptoms, thought they were finally getting off the ship. Instead, they were told by an officer aboard they are being denied a transfer because Hutton uses a machine to help him breathe during sleep and combat snoring.“Now, we just want to get off this ship and go home,” said Hutton in a telephone interview from his little cabin with a window. “That’s all we want.”(Updates with Broward County’s commissioner’s comment in sixth and seventh paragraphs after ‘Staffing Shortage’ subhead.)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.

Gilead Sciences Expects Coronavirus Drug Data in Coming Weeks, Expands Access

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 11:36

Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) said it is expecting to have initial remdesivir drug data in coming weeks. The experimental drug is currently being evaluated as a potential treatment for coronavirus patients.“Multiple studies are ongoing, and we are on track to have initial data in the coming weeks,” said Gilead CEO and chairman Daniel O’Day. “If it is approved, we will work to ensure affordability and access so that remdesivir is available to patients with the greatest need.”TipRanks analytics show out of 19 analysts, 10 are bullish with a Buy rating on Gilead stock, 8 are sidelined with a Hold rating and only 1 is bearish with a Sell rating. The 12-month consensus price target of $77.67 shows a modest potential upside of 6.6%. (See Gilead stock analysis on TipRanks) O’Day said that Gilead was making remdesivir available outside of the clinical trials and investigating whether it is effective as a treatment for COVID-19. Distribution of the drug will be under a government-approved "expanded access" program. Remdesivir was originally developed for the Ebola virus by Gilead.More recently, studies have shown it could potentially block the ability of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to replicate. Until now, remdesivir has been given to more than 1,000 coronavirus patients, O'Day added.“With expanded access, hospitals or physicians can apply for emergency use of remdesivir for multiple severely ill patients at a time,” Gilead’s O’Day said . “While it will take some time to build a network of active sites, this approach will ultimately accelerate emergency access for more people.”Related News: 2 Biotech Giants in the Hunt for New Coronavirus Drugs Weekly Market Review: Stimulus Sparks Sharp Rebound Gilead’s Coronavirus Vaccine Candidate Shows Promise, Says Cowen More recent articles from Smarter Analyst: * Billionaire Ackman Says Pershing No Longer Has Hedges, But Cash For Stock Investments * Goldman Sachs Picks 2 Stocks to Buy (and 1 to Sell) * 2 Biotech Giants in the Hunt for New Coronavirus Drugs * Hedge Fund Billionaire Ackman Denies TV Interview Helped $2.6 Billion Hedge Trade Profit

Coronavirus, jobs report: What to know in the week ahead

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 10:55

More market volatility is expected this week as coronavirus and a slew of economic data releases keep investors on their toes.

Here's how big stock market swings can boost your 401(k) retirement savings in the long run

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 10:54

When volatility reigns, like now, 401(k) investors can actually benefit from adding to holdings in great companies that are suddenly selling cheaply.

Barron's Picks And Pans: Tech Picks, SoftBank, REITs, Tesla And More

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 10:29

* This weekend's Barron's offers 25 tech stock picks for a coronavirus world. * Other featured articles look at whether drug makers should be more coronavirus-focused, stocks to buy for the long run and which dividends are safer. * Also, the prospects for a Japanese conglomerate, the top electric vehicle maker, real estate investment trusts and more."Tech Stocks to Buy Amid the Chaos" by Eric J. Savitz points out that the coronavirus sell-off is creating opportunities across the tech landscape. Five experts share their top picks, including Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) and some of the FAANG stocks.Josh Nathan-Kazis's "Big Pharma and Biotech Need to Do More to Fight Against Covid-19" asks whether drug makers from Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) to Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) should be doing nothing else now but focusing on halting the coronavirus.In "Forget the Politics, It's Time to Buy Stocks," Jack Hough looks at why investors who can stay in the market for a decade should buy now, diversify and not worry about finding a bottom. See why Boeing Co (NYSE: BA) and others could be worth holding for the long run.Japanese conglomerate SoftBank has holdings worth almost triple its current stock price. So says "Hear Me Out: There's Still Value in SoftBank Group" by Eric J. Savitz. Among those holdings are stakes in Sprint Corp (NYSE: S) and Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE: UBER).In Lawrence C. Strauss's "Dividends Are in Danger. Here Are Some Safer Plays," see whether Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE: JWN) is among the opportunities to find equity income right now mentioned by a global strategist featured in the article.See Also: Leon Cooperman, Others Weigh In On Whether The Stock Market Has Hit Bottom"12 Stocks Multifactor-Screened for Extra Safety" by Al Root discusses how many stocks may look like bargains, but looks can be deceiving. Barron's suggestions for navigating troubled waters include Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) and Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK).All real estate investment trusts should not be evaluated the same, according to Lawrence C. Strauss's "Residential REITs Will Weather the Crisis Better Than Malls." Are Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR) or Simon Property Group Inc (NYSE: SPG) worth considering now?In "Buy Tesla Stock. A Comeback Will Happen Eventually," Al Root shows why a pair of Wall Street analysts are feeling optimistic about Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) stock despite the announced factory closures and the cash burn.See more from Benzinga * Benzinga's Bulls And Bears Of The Week: Boeing, Netflix, Nike, Target And More * Barron's Picks And Pans: Big Tech Picks, Bank Stocks Large and Small And More * Bulls And Bears Of The Week: Amazon, Boeing, Coca-Cola And More(C) 2020 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

Costco senior hours: Costco Wholesale Clubs add third weekly senior hour due to coronavirus demand

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 10:24

Costco Wholesale Club has expanded special senior hours and will temporarily open early Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Follow these steps to keep your personal finances in check during the coronavirus pandemic

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 10:21

Most of the checklist items are reasonably easy to implement, without requiring much heavy lifting. Many are actions you should take at any time.

Goldman Sachs Picks 2 Stocks to Buy (and 1 to Sell)

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 08:49

If anyone thought last week’s three days of positive trading indicated a trend reversal, or even more implausibly, an end to the recently launched bear market, they were rudely awakened on Friday. Markets tumbled as the US overtook previous pandemic hotspots China and Italy with the unwanted statistic of having the highest number of coronavirus infections on record. It appears, then, that the new bear market will be around for a while, along with the accompanying bouts of volatility. How long will it last? Impossible to tell, but the new reality means estimates and forecasts have been getting readjusted all over the Street, and investment firm Goldman Sachs has joined the fray. With COVID-19 restructuring the market, 5-star analyst from the firm, Heather Bellini, has been analyzing the tech names under the firm’s coverage and has reached new conclusions for a number of them. We ran three through TipRanks’ database to determine the rest of the Street’s sentiment. We found out that despite some reservations at Goldman Sachs towards one specific company, all are Buy-rated, with potential for at least 40% upside in the year ahead. Here are the details. Workday Inc (WDAY) Let’s start off with Workday, a large-cap software company. With a focus on the HCM (human capital management) market, the Pleasanton, California-based company offers cloud-based finance, HR, and planning system solutions mostly for medium and large sized enterprises. Despite surging in last week’s market renaissance, WDAY stock is down by 17% year-to-date. In fact, take another step back and the share price has retreated by 39% since notching an all-time high last July. So, what’s the problem? There is no problem, says Bellini. The 5-star analyst adds Workday to a list that meets all her current investing criteria. Bellini argues that in the current “challenged IT spending environment”, the company is well set up. As budgets get slashed, Workday’s potent combination of recurring subscription revenue, which amounted to 85% in FY20, and low churn with a 95% gross retention rate, makes it resilient in such times. Also playing into her bullish thesis, Bellini notes Workday’s expanding product portfolio could achieve further penetration with its “planning and analytics” add ons. The analyst said, “We continue to favor market leaders with a higher mix of recurring revenues and secular tailwinds from digital transformation initiatives and rising cloud adoption. To that end, while we do not think Workday will be insulated from COVID-19 and any corresponding impact to overall IT spend, we believe the company remains well positioned in its core HCM market where win rates remain high and well positioned to capitalize from growing cloud adoption within financials which continues to grow as a percentage of the overall mix.” Bellini reiterates a Buy rating on WDAY, but the price target is slashed from $223 to $158 on account of “contraction in peer multiples and increased macroeconomic risk.” Expect returns in the shape of 16%, should Bellini’s forecast play out in the coming months. (To watch Bellini’s track record, click here) Looking at the consensus breakdown, 13 Buys, 6 Holds and 1 Sell coalesce into a Moderate Buy consensus rating. The average price target is $200.25 and indicates potential upside of 47%. (See Workday stock analysis on TipRanks)Anaplan Inc (PLAN) Staying in cloud services, we move on to Anaplan. The company operates in a similar niche to Workday, helping companies streamline operations and make better business decisions through its “connected planning” offerings. With a market cap of $4.4 billion, the mid-cap is significantly smaller than WDAY, and has also taken a heavier beating in the pandemic-stricken climate. PLAN stock is down by a massive 38% year-to-date. It is worth bearing in mind, though, that following Anaplan’s IPO in late 2018, its share price surged last year by a market trouncing 125%. Clearly, the growth-oriented SaaS company has fans on the Street. Bellini is among them. Despite lowering year-over-year revenue growth estimates for CY20 from 34% to 22%, the 5-star analyst sees the company’s software as “best in class” and reckons churn will remain low due to “the strategic nature of its software”. The numbers are encouraging, too. In the company’s latest quarterly statement, total revenue grew by 42% to reach $98.2 million – including a 50% year-over-year increase in subscription revenue totaling $89.5 million. Bellini further added, “We continue to view Anaplan as well positioned despite an expected impact of COVID-19 on its results this year. We see its planning software as helping companies to become more well run and increase their agility as they benefit from a connected planning process. With a growing number of global systems integrators expanding their practices on its software, we see its ability to bounce back from expected spending dislocations faster than many others.” Bottom line, what is the implication for investors? Bellini maintains a Buy rating, but the price target is reduced from $68 to $51. From current levels, the potential upside is still a plentiful 56%. As for the rest of the Street, PLAN’s Moderate Buy consensus rating is based on 5 Buys and 3 Hold ratings. With an average price target of $51.25, the analysts foresee upside of 56%. (See Anaplan price targets and analyst ratings on TipRanks)Dropbox Inc (DBX) Compared to the two previous names on Bellini’s list, Dropbox stock has fared far better in regards to the coronavirus’ eviscerating effect. While tech stocks have plunged all around it, DBX’s share price has weathered the storm so far, with a year-to-date loss of less than 1%. Looking further back, though, since its IPO in May 2018, DBX stock has been in decline. Does its current resilience in the face of the coronavirus indicate a bottom has been met? Not according to Bellini. At Goldman, DBX gets a downgrade from Neutral to Sell along with a price target haircut – trimmed from $23 to $17. The negative sentiment is based on “contraction in peer multiples, increased macroeconomic risk and heightened competition”, and the new target implies further downside of 4%. There are a number of reasons Bellini cites as back up for the negative thesis. For starters, Dropbox is heavily reliant on SMBs (small to medium sized businesses). These are the companies that will be most heavily affected by the viral outbreak. Individual plans make up 65% of Dropbox’s paying users and 60% of ARR (annual recurring revenue.) Last May’s 20% price hike won’t help matters, either, as smaller businesses could move to cheaper offerings such as Microsoft’s OneDrive (bundled in with Office365), or another rival in an increasingly competitive landscape with lower priced alternatives. Bellini concluded, “While the new Dropbox does create the possibility to drive incremental subscriber adds alongside the ability to advertise potential upsell and cross-sell opportunities, efforts remain in early innings and we believe this ultimately expands the potential set of competitors in an increasingly crowded landscape. Since the February market peak, DBX has traded 3%-plus versus an average 16% decline across our coverage universe, and we believe risk/reward skewed to the downside from current levels. What does the Street have in mind for the file hosting specialist? 5 Buys, 2 Holds and 2 Sells all add up to a Moderate Buy consensus rating. Other Street analysts differ from Goldman not only in rating criteria, but in price targets, too, as the average price target hits $25.57, and implies potential upside of 44% in the coming months. (See Dropbox price targets and analyst ratings on TipRanks)

Do's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Earnings Warrant Your Attention?

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 08:40

For beginners, it can seem like a good idea (and an exciting prospect) to buy a company that tells a good story to...

How coronavirus turned a 'niche market' into a necessity for the world's doctors

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 08:28

As coronavirus continues to spread with nearly 680,000 confirmed cases worldwide as of Saturday morning, telemedicine is seeing an unprecedented demand.

What Is Alpha Pro Tech's (NYSEMKT:APT) P/E Ratio After Its Share Price Tanked?

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 08:21

Of late the Alpha Pro Tech (NYSEMKT:APT) share price has softened like an ice cream in the sun, melting a full 47...

Do You Like Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) At This P/E Ratio?

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 08:01

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we'll...

2 Biotech Stocks in the Hunt for New Coronavirus Drugs; Oppenheimer Weighs In

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 07:42

With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rising despite worldwide lockdowns and social distancing efforts, the biotech industry is taking action. In just two months since the first infection was reported in the U.S., the country’s total number of cases has surpassed both that of Italy and China, and the Trump administration is calling on names in the space to step in. The sector’s response? Challenge accepted. As the U.S. government pumped $8.3 billion into research as well as prevention efforts, several biotech companies have joined the fight against COVID-19. Among those battling the virus, one of TipRanks’ top five rated investing firms, Oppenheimer, recently highlighted two biotech heavyweights that have made notable strides in developing COVID-19 drugs. Bearing this in mind, we used TipRanks’ database to learn more about Oppenheimer’s picks. It turns out that each Buy-rated ticker has also received substantial support from other Wall Street analysts. Here’s the full rundown. Gilead Sciences (GILD) First up we have healthcare giant Gilead Sciences. After hosting key opinion leaders (KOLs), Dr. Mitchell Weinstein and Dr. Kashif Memon, Oppenheimer has come away more confident in the company’s long-term growth prospects. Weighing in on GILD for the firm, analyst Hartaj Singh points out that both of the KOLs believe “the first obstacle to overcome is the lack of rapid diagnostics, followed by a paucity of treatment options and lastly vaccines to prevent future outbreaks.” Additionally, the analyst argues that while current off-label treatments for COVID-19 such as chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine appear to be effective and well-tolerated, there is very little clinical evidence when it comes to this combination. As a result, the KOLs are open to all possible treatment options. Enter Gilead. The biotech name’s remdesivir (IV) drug was originally developed as an antiviral against Ebola, but is now being evaluated as a possible COVID-19 treatment. Even though it will be challenging to gear the therapy towards COVID-19, its mechanism of action (MOA) is promising, with the analyst eagerly awaiting Ebola NHP data and the data readout from the Phase 3 studies for mild/moderate and severe COVID-19 patients. It should also be noted that the KOLs stated statistical significance in the Phase 3 trials isn’t necessarily required to support the drug’s approval. “If neither Phase 3 trial hit statistical significance on primary measures, our KOLs indicated they would like to see improvements in various secondary measures and perhaps a trend improvement in the primary measure. Coupled with a benign safety profile, our KOLs still see a place for remdesivir in the current bare treatment armamentarium,” Singh explained. On top of this, GILD shifted remdesivir to an expanded access program. “We believe that the company's explanation is in line with Good Clinical Practice guidelines which recommend robust data collection and structured datasets, which one-off compassionate usage does not allow. We also believe GILD continues its manufacturing campaign for remdesivir (IV, lyophilized) and that 3-6 months should be enough to get to commercial scale manufacturing (from current clinical scale),” Singh commented. To this end, the Oppenheimer analyst stayed with the bulls. Along with his Outperform rating, Singh left the $80 price target as is, implying 10% upside potential. (To watch Singh’s track record, click here) Looking at the consensus breakdown, 10 Buys, 8 Holds and a single Sell add up to a Moderate Buy consensus rating. At $77.67, the average price target indicates modest upside potential of 7%. (See Gilead stock analysis on TipRanks) Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) As for Oppenheimer’s second pick, biotech colossus Regeneron has earned significant praise from the firm for its drug’s ability to be used as a possible defense against COVID-19. Notching a 19% year-to-date gain, the rest of the Street is also keeping an eye on REGN. Singh, who covers Gilead as well, highlights the potential of its anti-IL-6 agent Kevzara, which came as part of a collaboration with Sanofi, to be used as a last line COVID-19 treatment. The drug could reduce levels of IL-6, which are connected to higher mortality rates in pneumonia patients. This is encouraging as pneumonia symptoms are similar to the lung complications that occur in some severe COVID-19 patients. Sanofi and Regeneron are already initiating a Phase 2/3 trial evaluating Kevzara, and the implications could be monumental. If successful in clinical trials, the therapy could be used in about 15% patients. “Treatments such as anti-IL-6 agents (REGN/Sanofi's Kevzara and Roche's Actemra), could be a last line of therapy given that both are very powerful immunodulatory drugs, expensive and have non-trivial side effects themselves. Anti-IL-6 drugs might be prescribed to the sickest patients; experiencing multiple organ failure or acute respiratory disease syndrome (ARDS),” Singh noted. As a result, Singh kept an Outperform call and $525 price target on the stock. Meanwhile, Canaccord Genuity analyst John Newman notes that REGN is working on a two-antibody cocktail as a weapon against COVID-19, with initial clinical testing slated to start this summer. As Regeneron was able to successfully design a therapy for Ebola (REGN-EB3) that features the same technology, the future looks even brighter for the biotech, in the five-star analyst’s opinion. It also doesn’t hurt that its Dupixent, Libtayo and EYLEA products for patients with diabetes could drive some serious upside. In line with his optimistic take, Newman maintained a Buy recommendation and $550 price target. Should the target be met, a 22% twelve-month gain could be in the cards. (To watch Newman’s track record, click here) What does the rest of the Street have to say? Out of 15 analysts that have published a recent review, 9 rate the biotech as a Buy and 6 as a Hold, making the Street consensus a Moderate Buy. The $465 average price target brings the upside potential to 3%. (See Regeneron stock analysis on TipRanks)

Asian Markets: Nikkei Soars on US Stimulus Efforts, but Gains Limited by Coronavirus Uncertainties

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 07:39

Despite last week’s impressive gains, there are still some skeptics calling for renewed selling pressure on the Nikkei 225 Index after a rise in domestic coronavirus cases stoked worries of tougher domestic restrictions for social distancing.

Welcome to a Truly Free Oil Market

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 01:00

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- At the point we’re now at, postponing the oil-price war won’t make a lot of difference for an industry that’s already breaking down under the weight of demand destruction. It’s too late to use diplomacy and artful negotiations to share the burden of output cuts that are now inevitable.The pumping free-for-all unleashed by Saudi Arabia and Russia is important for the long-term shape of the oil industry, but, as my colleague Javier Blas  pointed out here, it’s a sideshow to the havoc being wrought by the lockdowns crippling economies worldwide in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Forecasts of a catastrophic drop in oil demand abound, with estimates of a whopping 20% year-on-year reduction in global consumption in April becoming more common. That’s 20 million barrels a day, equivalent to the entire consumption of the United States.It would be impossible for any small group of producers to mitigate that kind of impact by reducing output, unless Saudi Arabia and Russia were both to slash their production to almost zero. And that’s not going to happen. On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to take the lead as his country prepared to host a meeting of the Group of 20 nations. Pompeo urged the kingdom “to rise to the occasion and reassure global energy and financial markets.” That’s a reasonable request. Somebody has to show leadership and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be President Donald Trump.The trouble is that I suspect what Pompeo meant is for Saudi Arabia to cut its production unilaterally, rather than trying to bring together a short-term “coalition of  the willing,” including the U.S., to work together to confront a global problem. After all, that’s always what’s happened in the past.Take for example the response to the Asian financial crisis. In February 1999, then President Bill Clinton’s energy secretary, Bill Richardson, expressed U.S. concerns over oil prices that had fallen below $10 a barrel. Two months later the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to its third successive output cut and by the end of the year Brent crude had recovered to $25 a barrel.It’s no surprise that Saudi Arabia was willing to take the lead back then, and to bear the bulk of the output cuts. It, too, wanted higher oil prices. Those were the days when oil was regarded as a depleting asset whose value would only rise in the future, as demand outstripped available supply. Cutting production would leave oil in the ground that would appreciate in value.But that was a long time ago. That view no longer holds sway — battered both by the tsunami of crude extracted from shale rocks and the growing awareness of the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that has seen concerns about peak oil production replaced with worries (for producers) of peak oil demand. Oil left in the ground now is at risk of never being produced at all.Of course back in 1999, it would have been unreasonable to expect America to join in the output reduction effort. The U.S. was pumping a little over 6 million barrels a day — less than half its current production — and the gas-guzzling nation imported about 10 million barrels a day more crude and refined products than it exported.But 2020 is not 1999. The U.S. is now the world’s biggest crude producer, pumping 13 million barrels a day — more even than Saudi Arabia can supply if it opens its taps fully. And so far this year it has exported more oil than it has imported.Yet a lack of leadership — from Riyadh and Washington — means that it’s now too late to make a coordinated response to the collapse in demand.As it stands at the moment, OPEC is not due to meet until early June, and whether the cartel’s external allies including Russia join them in an enlarged OPEC+ shindig remains to be seen. No matter, any action agreed then wouldn’t have an impact until July, at the earliest. Even an agreement reached tomorrow would have little impact until May, with April crude sales now largely completed.By then storage tanks around the globe will be close to capacity; ships full of unwanted oil will be floating in safe anchorages; and producers will be forced to shut wells because they have simply run out places to put any crude they pump out of the ground.Without output cuts, production shut-ins are inevitable. Consultants IHS Markit see a surplus of 1.8 billion barrels of crude building up during the first half of 2020, and yet there’s only 1.6 billion barrels of storage capacity available.The window to distribute those cuts in an orderly manner between producers has closed. OPEC had its last chance in March and America’s leaders subsequently squandered their chance at leadership. As it now stands, production cuts will be distributed by the market on the basis of who has access to storage tanks and who is losing money by pumping. Welcome to the free market.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Julian Lee is an oil strategist for Bloomberg. Previously he worked as a senior analyst at the Centre for Global Energy Studies.For more articles like this, please visit us at now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

U.S Mortgage Rates Hit Reverse as Applications Fall and the FED Delivers Stability

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 23:03

Mortgage rates along with applications eased last week. There is uncertainty ahead for the housing sector as jobless claims surge.

Hedge Funds Have Never Been This Bullish On Teladoc Inc (TDOC)

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 21:40

Coronavirus is probably the 1 concern in investors' minds right now. It should be. On February 27th we published an article with the title Recession is Imminent: We Need A Travel Ban NOW. We predicted that a US recession is imminent and US stocks will go down by at least 20% in the next 3-6 […]

Hedge Funds Have Never Been This Bullish On Frontline Ltd (FRO)

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 20:53

Will the new coronavirus cause a recession in US in the next 6 months? On February 27th, we put the probability at 75% and we predicted that the market will decline by at least 20% in (Recession is Imminent: We Need A Travel Ban NOW). In these volatile markets we scrutinize hedge fund filings to […]

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