The Maryland-based biotech company received a $1.6 billion deal from the federal government for its experimental coronavirus vaccine. Click here for updates on this story Bridgeport, CT (Hartford Business Journal) — Connecticut ratepayers are one step closer to funding the state’s largest ever purchase of renewable electricity, an offshore wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts that is expected to provide 14% of Connecticut’s electricity once it’s completed in 2025. The Public Utilities Firm’s largest sales of the 2nd quarter Continue reading… Wall Street closed higher on Monday to start August on a positive note after four consecutive months of rally. About 59% of young Americans say the pandemic has upended their goal to become financially independent from family, according to a new report from TD Ameritrade.
Novavax, a Maryland-based biotech company that received $1.6 billion from the federal government to fund late-stage development of its experimental coronavirus vaccine, announced “positive” results in its first preliminary trial in humans Tuesday, sending its stock up 8.5% to $170.50 in after-hours trading.
Dr. Sonia Macieiewski and Dr. Nita Patel, who is director of antibody discovery and vaccine … [+] development, look at a sample of a respiratory virus at Novavax labs in Maryland on March 20, 2020.
Novavax enrolled 131 healthy volunteers in a Phase 1 trial and gave them either a placebo or two doses of its vaccine across two different dose levels, 5 micrograms and 25 micrograms.
Two weeks after taking a second dose, most vaccinated volunteers had high levels of neutralizing antibodies, immune-system agents that fight the virus.
The antibody concentrations were similar to those seen in serum samples from hospitalized Covid-19 patients and higher than levels seen in non-hospitalized patients.
The vaccine was “well-tolerated” and the side effects, including tenderness, headaches and fatigue were “generally mild” and not severe, Novavax said.
Novavax’s first round of testing in humans has limitations — it has not been peer-reviewed and has a small sample size — but Novavax is set to have a later-stage clinical trial with up to 30,000 subjects beginning in the fall.
Novavax has said that if its vaccine is shown to be effective, it can produce 100 million doses by the beginning of next year, or enough to give to 50 million people if administered in two doses.
Novavax has never brought a vaccine to market in its 33-year history and it uses a different formula than the other vaccines that have produced results in humans so far, according to the New York Times. Although the company has struggled financially, optimism over its coronavirus and influenza vaccine candidates has led investors to bid its stock up nearly 3,900% as of closing Tuesday.
Novavax’s coronavirus vaccine is one of 18 that have entered Phase 1 trials, the first round of testing on humans, according to the New York Times. Twelve vaccines are in Phase 2 trials and six are in Phase 3 which tests the vaccine on thousands of people. One vaccine has been approved for limited-use, the Chinese company CanSino Biologics developed a vaccine that the Chinese military approved on June 25 for a year as a “specially needed drug.”
Novavax Announces Positive Phase 1 Data for its COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate (Press Release)
Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker (New York Times)
Novavax Is Beginning Clinical Trials Of Its Coronavirus Vaccine (Forbes)
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Author: Elana Lyn Gross
Connecticut’s largest ever renewable energy investment nears final approval
Click here for updates on this story
Bridgeport, CT (Hartford Business Journal) — Connecticut ratepayers are one step closer to funding the state’s largest ever purchase of renewable electricity, an offshore wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts that is expected to provide 14% of Connecticut’s electricity once it’s completed in 2025.
The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) granted initial approval late last week to key contracts between state utility companies Eversource and Avangrid and the owners of the proposed 804-megawatt Park City Wind project, which would be located 23 miles off the coast of Massachusetts and provide enough energy to power 400,000 homes.
The 20-year power purchase agreements could be worth around $3 billion to the developer of the project, Vineyard Wind, which is a joint venture between Avangrid’s renewables business unit and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.
PURA can still modify the decision based on any exceptions it receives from involved parties in the coming days, but said it expects to issue a final decision on Aug. 14.
State environmental officials, armed with 2019 legislative permission to secure up to 2,000 megawatts worth of offshore wind, selected Park City Wind late last year in a competitive renewable energy bidding process.
While Vineyard Wind has not yet publicly revealed the price tag of Park City Wind — that information has thus far been redacted in documents filed with PURA — Avangrid executives have compared it to a similarly sized project the joint venture is developing, also off the coast of Massachusetts, that has a price tag of about $3 billion, Greentech Media reported in December.
It is not yet clear how the project will impact consumer electric bills. However, state officials said late last year that Vineyard Wind’s bid price was lower than any other publicly announced offshore wind project in North America.
Park City Wind has pledged a significant redevelopment of Bridgeport Harbor as a staging area for turbine construction and an operations and maintenance hub, and estimates the project’s overall direct economic impact to Connecticut at $890 million.
State officials have called the project a “significant step” towards meeting Connecticut’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.
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Author: By CNN
Pzena Investment Cuts Amgen, Halliburton
Richard Pzena (Trades, Portfolio) is the founder and Chief Investment Officer of Pzena Investment Management LLC. The hedge fund has an equity portfolio valued at $15.33 billion and composed of 169 stocks. It sold shares of the following stocks during the second quarter of 2020.
- Warning! GuruFocus has detected 6 Warning Signs with IPG. Click here to check it out.
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The Interpublic Group of Companies
The fund trimmed its position in The Interpublic Group of Companies Inc. (IPG) by 57.25%. The trade had an impact of -1.06% on the portfolio.
The holding company has a market cap of $7.16 billion and an enterprise value of $11.69 billion.
GuruFocus gives the company a profitability and growth rating of 7 out of 10. The return on equity of 17.93% and return on assets of 2.78% are outperforming 62% of companies in the media, diversified industry. Its financial strength is rated 4 out of 10. The cash-debt ratio of 0.2 is below the industry median of 0.88.
The largest guru shareholder of the company is John Rogers (Trades, Portfolio) with 2.38% of outstanding shares, followed by Pioneer Investments (Trades, Portfolio) with 1.69% and Pzena with 1.66%.
The fund reduced its Amgen Inc. (AMGN) holding by 51.33%. The portfolio was impacted by -0.87%.
The company, which operates in the biotechnology-based human therapeutics field, has a market cap of $144.09 billion and an enterprise value of $166.90 billion.
GuruFocus gives the company a profitability and growth rating of 9 out of 10. The return on equity of 70.81% and return on assets of 11.95% are outperforming 88% of companies in the drug manufacturers industry. Its financial strength is rated 4 out of 10. The cash-debt ratio of 0.33 is below the industry median of 0.87.
The largest guru shareholder of the company is PRIMECAP Management (Trades, Portfolio) with 3.14% of outstanding shares, followed by Jim Simons (Trades, Portfolio)’ Renaissance Technologies with 0.64% and Pioneer Investments (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.16%.
The fund curbed its position in KKR & Co Inc. (KKR) by 84.13%. The portfolio was impacted by -0.82%.
The investment firm has a market cap of $30.82 billion and an enterprise value of $71.79 billion.
GuruFocus gives the company a profitability and growth rating of 5 out of 10. The return on equity of -0.18% and return on assets of 0.03% are underperforming 63% of companies in the asset management industry. Its financial strength is rated 2 out of 10. The cash-debt ratio of 0.12 is below the industry median of 24.84.
Some notable guru shareholders are Jeff Ubben’s ValueAct Holdings with 5.32% of outstanding shares, Chuck Akre (Trades, Portfolio) with 1.69% and Diamond Hill Capital (Trades, Portfolio) with 1.34%.
The fund reduced its position in Omnicom Group Inc. (OMC) by 96.88%, impacting the portfolio by -0.64%.
The holding company has a market cap of $11.49 billion and an enterprise value of $15.56 billion.
GuruFocus gives the company a profitability and growth rating of 8 out of 10. The return on equity of 37.3% and return on assets of 3.86% are outperforming 69% of companies in the media, diversified industry. Its financial strength is rated 5 out of 10. The cash-debt ratio of 0.48 is above the industry median of 0.88.
The largest guru shareholder of the company is First Eagle Investment (Trades, Portfolio) with 1.73% of outstanding shares, followed by Pioneer Investments (Trades, Portfolio) with 1.32% and HOTCHKIS & WILEY with 0.45%.
The investment fund curbed its holding in McKesson Corp. (MCK) by 13.08%. The trade had an impact of -0.46% on the portfolio.
The company has a market cap of $25.73 billion and an enterprise value of $31.33 billion.
GuruFocus gives the company a profitability and growth rating of 7 out of 10. While the return on equity of 13.35% is outperforming the sector, the return on assets of 1.49% is underperforming 63% of companies in the medical distribution industry. Its financial strength is rated 6 out of 10. The cash-debt ratio of 0.43 is below the industry median of 0.63.
Other notable guru shareholders include Vanguard Health Care Fund (Trades, Portfolio) with 1.03% of outstanding shares, Seth Klarman (Trades, Portfolio)’s The Baupost Group with 1.03% and Larry Robbins (Trades, Portfolio) with 1.02%.
The investment fund cut its Halliburton Co. (HAL) position by 15.7%. The trade had an impact of -0.38% on the portfolio.
The oilfield-services company has a market cap of $12.74 billion and an enterprise value of $21.75 billion.
GuruFocus gives the company a profitability and growth rating of 6 out of 10. The return on equity of -51.56% and return on assets of -16.36% are underperforming 83% of companies in the oil and gas industry. Its financial strength is rated 4 out of 10. The cash-debt ratio of 0.17 is below the industry median of 0.38.
The largest guru shareholder of the company is Dodge & Cox with 5.57% of outstanding shares, followed by HOTCHKIS & WILEY with 1.39% and T Rowe Price Equity Income Fund (Trades, Portfolio) with 0.72%.
The investment fund cut its holding of Avangrid Inc. (AGR) by 40.05%. The trade had an impact of -0.37% on the portfolio.
The company has a market cap of $15.27 billion and an enterprise value of $24.22 billion.
GuruFocus gives the company a profitability and growth rating of 6 out of 10. The return on equity of 4.6% and return on assets of 2.06% are underperforming 72% of companies in the utilities, regulated industry. Its financial strength is rated 3 out of 10 with cash-debt ratio of 0.01.
Another notable guru shareholder is Simons’ firm with 0.38% of outstanding shares.
Disclosure: I do not own any stocks mentioned.
- Hussman Strategic Advisors Sells Facebook, Exits Gilead
- Elfun Trusts Trims PepsiCo, Gilead
- The Vanguard Health Care Fund Cuts Eli Lilly, Merck & Co.
Stock Market News for Aug 4, 2020
Wall Street closed higher on Monday to start August on a positive note after four consecutive months of rally. Investors’ confidence strengthened following a series of merger and acquisitions news and better-than-expected manufacturing data globally. All three major stock indexes ended in green.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) finished in positive note for two successive days after surging 0.9% or 236.08 points to close at 26,664.40. Notably, 20 components of the 30-stock blue-chip index ended in the green while 9 finished in red and one remained unchanged.
The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite ended in positive territory for four consecutive days to close at 10,902.80, surging 1.5% or 157.52 points. This marked a new closing high for the tech-heavy index while in intraday trading Nasdaq Composite attained a fresh all-time high at 10,927.56.
Meanwhile, the S&P 500 gained 0.7% to end at 3,294.61. The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) climbed 2.5% while the Real Estate Select Sector SPDR (XLRE) tumbled 1.6%. Notably, six out of eleven sectors of the benchmark index closed in positive territory while five in negative territory.
The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was down 0.7% to 24.28. A total of 9.8 billion shares were traded on Monday, lower than the last 20-session average of 10.5 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.94-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 2.47-to-1 ratio favored advancing issues.
On Jul 2, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT – Free Report) confirmed that the company is in talk with Chinese technology company ByteDance to acquire the operations of social app TikTok in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Notably, President Donald Trump has opposed the buyout proposal and has decided to ban TikTok.
Meanwhile, Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL – Free Report) has agreed to buy 6.6% stake in the home security firm ADT Inc. (ADT – Free Report) for $450 million. Moreover, Germany’s Siemens Healthineers has decided to takeover Varian Medical Systems Inc. (VAR – Free Report) in a $16.4 billion all-cash deal. Additionally, the news surfaced that a group of buyout investors mulling to offer a $20 billion bid to acquire Kansas City Southern (KSU – Free Report) .
Except ADT, all other stocks carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
On Aug 3, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported that the U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for July came in at 54.2, its highest reading since March 2019. The consensus estimate was 53.5 while June’s PMI was 52.6. Notably, any reading above 50 indicates expansion of manufacturing activities.
Moreover, July was the third consecutive months of manufacturing uptrend after the index attained an 11-year low of 41.5% in April. Furthermore, 13 of the 18 industries tracked by ISM expanded in July. Notably, the manufacturing sector constitutes 12% of the U.S. GDP.
The ISM reported that manufacturing production jumped to 62.1 in July from 57.3 in June. July’s reading was the highest since August 2018 buoyed by reopening of more factories. Meanwhile, manufacturing orders climbed to 61.5 in July from 56.4 in June, marking the highest level since September 2019. Employment index rose to 44.2 in July from 42.1 in June. However, the index is still below 50, implying job retrenchment in this sector.
On Aug 3, the IHS Markit reported that its preliminary purchasing managers’ index for the U.S. manufacturing sector rose to 50.9 in July from 49.8 in June, reflecting the U.S. manufacturing industries are turning out gradually.
In addition to the United States, the IHS Markit Eurozone manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) increased to 51.8 in July from 47.4 in June, marking its highest reading since February 2019. The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for China rose 52.8 in July from 51.2 in June.
The Department of Commerce reported that construction spending fell 0.7% in June while the consensus estimate was for an increase of 1.3%. However, May’s data was revised favorably from a decline of 2.1% reported earlier to a decline of 1.7%.
Residential or home building dropped 1.5% in June owing to a 3.6% decline in single-family home projects partially offset by a 3% rise in multi-family home building. Nonresidential construction increased by 0.2%.
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Millennials, Gen Zers say pandemic has derailed their financial independence
The coronavirus pandemic has abruptly upended Aidan Curran’s life this summer.
In early July, the 24-year-old got laid off from his job as an associate at a public relations firm in Washington, D.C. Before he lost his position, he was temporarily staying with his parents in Cape Cod because his office wasn’t going to reopen until Labor Day. But now he’s stuck paying nearly $1,400 in rent each month for an apartment he’s not living in. And his lease isn’t up until January.
He hasn’t received any money from unemployment over the past month, and still hasn’t gotten a stimulus check from the spring.
“It’s been an absolute nightmare,” says Curran, who had plans to attend law school but put those dreams on hold. “I keep applying for jobs, but have yet to get an interview. It’s tough to find a job that doesn’t already have a ton of applicants.”
Curran, like millions of other Americans, is facing an uncertain future as policymakers in Washington remain at odds over another stimulus package after the additional $600 in weekly unemployment benefits expired in July.
“It’s unfortunate that both Republicans and Democrats can’t come to a solution to help people like me,” says Curran, who is paying off student debt from his undergraduate degree. “The failure to get any unemployment because of the dilapidated and antiquated unemployment system has been a mess. I could really use that extra $600 right now.”
‘Insulin or groceries’:How reduced unemployment affects struggling Americans from California to Mississippi
There are two COVID Americas:One hopes for an extension of federal unemployment and stimulus. The other is saving and spending.
The coronavirus pandemic has created a new set of financial obstacles for young millennials and Gen Zers. Most are unsure how their generations can navigate through the worst global economic crisis since the 1930s.
About 59% of young Americans say the pandemic has derailed their goal of becoming financially independent from family or other support, according to a new report by The Harris Poll on behalf of TD Ameritrade.
“Even before the economic downturn, young Americans generally had anxiety about their finances due to stagnant wages, the rising cost of living and debt burdens. Now that’s been exacerbated by the pandemic,” says Keith Denerstein, director of investment products and guidance at TD Ameritrade. “But there’s no shame in turning to your parents or family for additional support.”
Even though nine in 10 Americans say that they and their parents want them to be financially independent, more than two thirds expressed anxiety about the pandemic’s effect on their finances. And 63% were concerned they may lose their job.
The study, which was given exclusively to USA TODAY, surveyed 2,002 Americans ages 15 to 29. They were polled on Feb. 20 to March 4, before the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, and then again in April once the shutdown was underway.
Lawmakers in Washington are working on a fifth round of stimulus relief, with Democrats and Republicans struggling to come to an agreement as vital lifelines like enhanced unemployment benefits and rent moratoriums come to a halt, leaving out-of-work Americans in limbo. Both parties included another round of $1,200 stimulus checks in their proposals.
About 71% of young Americans are worried about their generations’ ability to survive the financial downturn without government support, the data showed.
“For those who have had their income disputed through the termination of their employment, they have leaned on government stimulus to insure that their finances are close to where they were prior to the pandemic,” says Denerstein. “And they are using the stimulus money in the way we’d hope them to, whether that’s contributing to their savings, paying down debt or using it to cover their living expenses.”
To be sure, many young Americans were dependent on their family before the recession, the TD Ameritrade data shows. Just before the pandemic began, the first survey found half of young Americans still received financial assistance from their parents, grandparents or others by the time they turned 30, while the other half were already self-sufficient at that age.
About 1 in 4 still rely on their parents to cover their entire rent check. About 58% say their parents pay for all or a portion of their cell phones, and more than half pay for their insurance.
Young millennials in particular feel that the odds are against them, crippled by rising living costs and student loan debt. About 82% said their salary levels have remained the same while the cost of living rises, making it difficult to achieve financial independence. And about 42% say their student debt alone makes them think they’ll never be independent.
While some have shifted their investment strategies, the majority remain committed to retirement plans. And many have turned to investing to increase their net worth at an early age.
Following the economic downturn, about 40% have already put more money into savings and 35% started a side hustle for more income. Nearly a quarter bought investments, while 18% stopped investing in the stock market. About 31% moved back in with their parents.
Emily Parlapiano, 30, is one of those young Americans who used her stimulus check to get ahead on her retirement goals.
During her early 20s, she wasn’t maxing out her 401(k) account because of her student debt. To get her finances on track, she used the “avalanche method” to pay off her student loans, tackling the ones with the highest interest rates first. After she paid off her loans within four years, she upped her retirement contributions.
When the pandemic hit, Parlapiano was fortunate to have job security and put her $1,200 stimulus money toward maxing out her Roth IRA. She also recently moved in with her significant other, saving her $200 a month. Now she’s padding her emergency fund and stashing money away for a down payment on a future home.
“You have to stay steady, hopeful and positive. If you go into the doom and gloom phase, it’s hard to get out of that mindset,” says Parlapiano, who’s employed at a small, nonprofit advisory firm that works with fortune 500 companies on their social impact strategies. “Now I want to throw as much money as I can in my retirement accounts. This isn’t about the next three to five years. This is long-term investing.”