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Betacom expanding Bellevue footprint on heels of $15M raise

The telecommunications company, which moved its headquarters from Tampa, Florida, to Bellevue in 2019, aims to boost its private 5G network service......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsMay 26th, 2021

Pinnacle Financial expanding local footprint with Huntersville office

Pinnacle Financial Partners is close to opening its next office in the Charlotte area. Here's where it will go......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsSep 24th, 2021

G-III Apparel (GIII) to Acquire Sonia Rykiel Luxury Brand

G-III Apparel (GIII) agrees to buy the iconic European luxury fashion brand Sonia Rykiel. This will help the company boost its presence in the luxury space. G-III Apparel Group, Ltd. GIII anchored by global power brands, such as Donna Karan and DKNY looks well poised to capture any growth opportunity that comes its way. In a latest development, the company announced that it agreed to acquire an iconic European luxury fashion brand Sonia Rykiel. Collaboration with this brand will enable G-III Apparel to further reinforce its global footprint in the luxury space. The deal is likely to be concluded by the end of October this year.Sonia Rykiel is among the recognized figures of Parisian fashion who developed an iconic brand that defines the spirit of the modern woman. Founded in 1968, the Sonia Rykiel brand deals chiefly in clothing, accessories and fragrances. Per management, G-III Apparel intends to accelerate the relaunch of this brand with collections across several categories, mainly in Europe in the fall of next year.Management believes that there is a major growth opportunity to unlock the brand’s inherent potential. G-III Apparel expects to leverage the present executive management group and infrastructure in Europe coupled with its own supply-chain expertise to scale and elevate the Sonia Rykiel business across areas like apparel, accessories and several other lifestyle categories. The aforesaid collaboration will help the company expand its product and lifestyle categories as well as fetch higher sales.What’s More?G-III Apparel is armed with a robust portfolio of well-known brands, namely DKNY, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Karl Lagerfeld Paris. Management expects the annual net wholesale sales potential for these five brands to be $4 billion.The company is focused on incorporating a wider functionality in fabrics, intending to serve broader lifestyles. It is on track to add collections focusing on particular sports activities and high-performance fitness.G-III Apparel is also witnessing momentum in casual categories with a potential to expand into the outdoor and sports market. The shoes and handbag categories are also growing steadily. The jeans category is a bright spot too. With respect to athleisure and sportswear, the company is consistently expanding its collections to cash in on the consumers' growing demand.The company had also successfully launched the Karl Lagerfeld Paris women's brand across 75 doors at Macy's M. It remains on course to triple the distribution of its sportswear line to 250 doors by the end of fiscal 2022 and introduce a dress line to 75 doors by the forthcoming spring.In addition, G-III Apparel’s digital business is constantly making a significant contribution to its results. Digital sales of the company’s products have been accelerating for a while now. Management is on track to unveil the revamped websites of DKNY and Karl Lagerfeld Paris.It is continuously investing in data analytics capabilities to better know its customers across channels and boost their shopping experiences. The company has also been boosting its direct-to-consumer capabilities for some time now. Its restructured retail division is poised to attain profitability.Buoyed by such strengths, shares of this New York-based company, which currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), have increased 25.2% in the year-to-date period, outperforming the industry’s 11.4% rally. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Eye These Solid Picks TooRalph Lauren RL has a long-term earnings growth rate of 15% and a Zacks Rank of 1, currently.Steven Madden SHOO is presently Zacks #1 Ranked and has a long-term earnings growth rate of 15%. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Macys, Inc. (M): Free Stock Analysis Report Ralph Lauren Corporation (RL): Free Stock Analysis Report GIII Apparel Group, LTD. (GIII): Free Stock Analysis Report Steven Madden, Ltd. (SHOO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

TD SYNNEX (SNX) Partners With Zscaler For Zero Trust Security

TD SYNNEX (SNX) commences partnership with global cloud security-as-a-service provider Zscaler to leverage zero trust security solutions through the latter's Zero Trust Exchange platform. TD SYNNEX SNX recently announced its partnership with the global cloud security leader Zscaler ZS. Per the deal, TD SYNNEX’s business partners will be leveraging security solutions from Zscaler’s leading security platform, Zero Trust Exchange.Through this deal, TD SYNNEX’s security portfolio is likely to get a boost. This deal can offer more agility to its business partners as their network and security needs continue to evolve. This can also enhance their available options for speeding up their migration journey to zero trust architecture.Zscaler’s Zero Trust Exchange is a purpose-built cloud platform that reduces risks in digital businesses by ensuring safer digital transformation than traditional VPNs and firewalls. It allows direct and secure connections based on trust built upon users’ identity and contexts, such as their location, their device’s security posture, the content being exchanged and the application being requested. Currently, the platform is operating across 150 data centers worldwide.The latest partnership between TD SYNNEX and Zscaler reflects the reliability of the Zero Trust Exchange platform. This move will raise Zscaler’s global reach further, expanding its channel partnership capabilities.SYNNEX Corporation Price and Consensus SYNNEX Corporation price-consensus-chart | SYNNEX Corporation QuoteOn the other hand, it is remarkable that TD SYNNEX has been benefiting from consecutive deal wins just within a month of its formation following the merger of SYNNEX and Tech Data Corporation, in September first week. The company recently signed an agreement with a leading Israeli software provider, Indeni, to leverage automated network security solutions.Prior to that, it signed a distribution contract with Palo Alto Networks PANW to provide cybersecurity solutions to its India & SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation)-based customers. This marked the company's first contract win after its formation.The company continues to look ahead to boosting its organic growth with more strategic acquisitions and deal wins that complement and expand its existing capabilities. It is noteworthy that the merger of SYNNEX with Tech Data is expected to be significantly accretive to the former’s bottom line, and bring solid synergy benefits to its top line in the near terms.Zacks Rank & a Key PickTD SYNNEX currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).A better-ranked stock in the broader technology sector is Avnet AVT, sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The long-term earnings growth rate of Avnet is pegged at 25.4%. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Avnet, Inc. (AVT): Free Stock Analysis Report SYNNEX Corporation (SNX): Free Stock Analysis Report Palo Alto Networks, Inc. (PANW): Free Stock Analysis Report Zscaler, Inc. (ZS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Kraft Heinz"s (KHC) Hemmer Buyout to Grow Taste Elevation Platform

Kraft Heinz (KHC) will acquire the Brazil-based condiments and sauces company, Hemmer. The move will expand the company's footprint across emerging markets. The Kraft Heinz Company KHC is committed toward expanding the International Taste Elevation product platform and its footprint across emerging markets. Moving along these lines, the company signed an agreement to buy the Brazil-based condiments and sauces company — Companhia Hemmer Indústria e Comércio ("Hemmer").The move will widen consumers’ taste options in Brazil and diversify Kraft Heinz’s product portfolio. The buyout will further accelerate growth in the company’s condiments and sauces category. Hemmer will gain from Kraft Heinz’s distribution channel and go-to-market model, which includes its impressive foodservice channel in Brazil.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchFocused Growth EffortsIn September 2020, Kraft Heinz laid out a new operating model that incorporates five key elements — People with Purpose, Consumer Platforms, Ops Center, Partner Program and Fuel Our Growth. The Consumer Platforms comprises a portfolio of six consumer-driven platforms like Taste Elevation, Easy Meals Made Better as well as Real Food Snacking among others. In its last earnings call, management highlighted that it is realizing solid mix improvement in the higher margin Grow platforms, primarily the global Taste Elevation platform. Net sales in the company’s International Taste Elevation platform increased 16% in second-quarter 2021 from 2019 levels, on the back of distribution expansion, better marketing investments and solid innovations.Kraft Heinz is focused on accelerating its international growth strategy based around Taste Elevation and foodservice platform. In this regard, the company signed an agreement to buy sauces-focused business — Assan Foods — from the privately-held Turkish conglomerate, Kibar Holding in June 2021. Through this buyout, the company expects to accelerate its retail and foodservice growth across Europe, Middle East and Africa.Ops Center element will enable Kraft Heinz to establish an efficient, fast and integrated supply chain network. Management is on track to achieve $2 billion of gross productivity efficiencies through 2024. Partner Program element is designed to create solid customer partnerships and develop new strategic partnerships. The Fuel Our Growth strategy is aimed at investing in growth opportunities; solidifying its long-term market position as well as staying committed to boost shareholder returns. Also, this strategy will help the company manage its portfolio and accelerate its strategic plan, augment geographic presence, increase focus on growth areas as well as undertake sustainable pricing actions.The Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company’s shares have increased 4.8% so far this year compared with the industry’s 0.6% growth.Better-Ranked Food BetsDarling Ingredients Inc. DAR, currently sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 39.1%, on average. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Medifast, Inc. MED, currently carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 16%, on average.Sysco Corporation SYY, currently carrying a Zacks Rank #2, has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 13.3%, on average. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Darling Ingredients Inc. (DAR): Free Stock Analysis Report Sysco Corporation (SYY): Free Stock Analysis Report MEDIFAST INC (MED): Free Stock Analysis Report The Kraft Heinz Company (KHC): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Lockheed (LMT) Rewards Shareholders With 7.7% Dividend Hike

Lockheed Martin (LMT) continues to generate strong cash flow, and reward its shareholders through dividend payments and share buybacks. Lockheed Martin Corporation LMT announced that the board of directors has approved a 7.7% increase in the quarterly dividend rate. The revised quarterly dividend will be $2.80, up from the previous rate of $2.60. The company’s new annualized dividend rate is $11.2 and the current dividend yield is 3.3%, better than the Zacks S&P 500 composite’s 1.4%.Lockheed’s management has been annually raising the dividend rate and it belongs to an exclusive group of companies that have raised the dividend rate every year since 2003. The board of directors approved a dividend increase this month, leading to a whopping 244.6% total increase in annualized dividend over the last decade.Along with dividend payment, Lockheed’s management continues to increase shareholder value by repurchasing shares. In the first six months of 2021, the company repurchased shares worth $1.5 billion. The board authorized an additional $5 billion for share repurchases, which resulted in a total authorization under the repurchase program of nearly $6 billion.Can Lockheed Sustain Dividend Hikes?Lockheed has a platform-centric focus and leveraged presence in the Army, Air Force, Navy, and IT programs of the U.S. Department of Defense that guarantee a steady inflow of follow-on orders. The company continues to clinch big defense deals from the U.S. government and allied countries and as a consequence, it exited second-quarter 2021 with a record backlog of $141.7 billion.The projected fiscal 2022 defense budget has a provision for defense programs, which will benefit Lockheed. The budget has allotted $12 billion for the procurement of 85 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, an investment of $1 billion for the procurement of the AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense system and $0.56 billion for THAAD missiles. These allotments will assure regular contract flow for Lockheed.Apart from domestic orders, the company also enjoys the advantage of having a wide international customer base. In 2020, 25% of total net sales were from international customers. The company is focused on expanding its international footprint, which continues to support earnings.Courtesy of Lockheed’s global presence, strong backlog and contract wins, the company continues to generate strong operating cash flow, which provides assurance that it will be able to sustain shareholder-friendly moves in the future as well.Price MovementIn the past three months, Lockheed has outperformed the industry it belongs to.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks Rank & Key PicksLockheed currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the same industry include The Boeing Company BA, Textron Inc. TXT and Embraer S.A. ERJ, each currently having a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Boeing, Textron, and Embraer have a long-term (three to five years) earnings growth rate of 4%, 28.3%, and 17%, respectively.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 earnings of Boeing, Textron, and Embraer has increased 82%, 3.8%, and 59%, respectively, in the past 60 days. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report The Boeing Company (BA): Free Stock Analysis Report Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT): Free Stock Analysis Report EmbraerEmpresa Brasileira de Aeronautica (ERJ): Free Stock Analysis Report Textron Inc. (TXT): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Here"s Why Investors Should Hold EMCOR (EME) Stock Right Now

Solid construction services demand and focus on aggressive buyouts to drive EMCOR Group (EME) amid challenges associated with the U.S. Industrial Services unit. EMCOR Group, Inc.’s EME focus on acquisitions to broaden its footprint and solid demand for its services have been encouraging. Also, upbeat guidance for 2021 bodes well.Backed by these tailwinds, shares of this leading electrical and mechanical construction and facilities service provider have climbed 29.4% year to date, outperforming the Zacks Building Products - Heavy Construction industry’s 15.1% rally. The price performance was also backed by the company’s robust earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in 13 of the trailing 14 quarters. Earnings estimates for 2021 have moved up 4% over the past 30 days, depicting analysts’ optimism over its prospects.However, the negative impact of macroeconomic conditions within the oil and gas and related industrial markets is a concern.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchLet’s delve deeper into the major growth drivers of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Inorganic DriveEMCOR has a penchant for acquisitions and strategic alliances for bolstering inorganic growth as well as expanding market share. During the first six months of 2021, the company spent $57 million on the acquisition of three companies. EMCOR took over one company that provides mechanical services within the Southern region of the United States and another company that provides electrical construction services to a broad array of customers in the Midwestern region of the United States. The third buyout is that of a company that provides mobile mechanical services across North Texas, whose results of operations have been included under the U.S. building services segment. EMCOR’s second-quarter 2021 results include $53.8 million of revenues attributable to businesses acquired.These buyouts strengthened its overall results by adding new markets, opportunities and capabilities. The company plans to acquire more such companies in the future.Robust Demand For ServicesEMCOR’s domestic construction segments have been registering gains, given solid demand for its services. The company’s domestic construction segments experienced strong project growth in second-quarter 2021, with total Remaining Performance Obligations or RPOs having increased $301 million since Jun 30, 2020. EMCOR continues to see demand for electrical mechanical systems, both in new construction and retrofit projects. Throughout the second quarter of 2021, it experienced strong year-over-year growth in all sectors served, except hospitality.For second-quarter 2021, the U.S. Construction segment’s operating margins improved 20 basis points (bps) year over year to 8.4%, driven by broad-based business growth across trade offerings, end-market sectors and a vast geographic footprint. Despite being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company sustains its stability on robust performance, accretive acquisitions and demand for services.Upbeat ViewBacked by strong first and second-quarter results, the company lifted its view for 2021. The company now expects earnings per share within $6.65-$7.05 versus 6.35-$6.75 projected earlier. EMCOR raised its revenue guidance to nearly $9.5 billion for 2021 from the prior range of $9.2-$9.4 billion.Superior ROEEMCOR has a very strong return on equity (ROE) that is indicative of growth potential. The company’s ROE currently stands at 18.5%. This compares favorably with ROE of 12.9% for the industry it belongs to. This indicates efficiency in using shareholders’ funds and its ability to generate profit with minimum capital usage.HeadwindsCoronavirus-Related WoesThe company’s U.S. Industrial Services unit — which focuses on downstream, petrochemical, and oil and gas refining — has been facing maximum COVID-related woes over time. Its Industrial Services segment had a tough 2020, with U.S. Industrial Services revenues decreasing 26.7%. For second-quarter 2021 too, U.S. Industrial Services revenues declined 2.5% year over year owing to depressed demand for its service offerings within the oil and gas and related industrial markets, given the negative impact of macroeconomic conditions in the markets served by the company. For the second quarter, the segment incurred an operating loss of $0.2 million against an income of $3.3 million a year ago.Key PicksSome better-ranked stocks in the broader Construction sector include Altair Engineering Inc. ALTR, Quanta Services, Inc. PWR and KBR, Inc. KBR. While Altair sports a Zacks Rank #1, the other two stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).Altair, Quanta Services, and KBR’s earnings for 2021 are expected to rise 64.5%, 19.9%, and 24.9%, respectively. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Quanta Services, Inc. (PWR): Free Stock Analysis Report Altair Engineering Inc. (ALTR): Free Stock Analysis Report KBR, Inc. (KBR): Free Stock Analysis Report EMCOR Group, Inc. (EME): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Global Water Resources (GWRS) to Buy Las Quintas Serenas

Global Water Resources (GWRS) is set to further expand operations in Pima County, AZ through the acquisition of Las Quintas Serenas Water Company. Global Water Resources, Inc. GWRS announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Las Quintas Serenas Water Company, located near Tucson in Pima County, AZ. This acquisition will enhance the company’s service area by 2.5 square miles and add new 1,100 water service connections to the existing customer base.The Las Quintas Serenas Water acquisition is expected to close next month, subject to regulatory approval. The close proximity of the acquired assets to its existing operations in the region will allow the company to extend high-quality water services to new customers.Global Water Resources has plans to make the necessary investments in the acquired Las Quintas Serenas Water Company assets. The company is going to convert read meters to smart meters. Global Water Resources has been expanding its footprint in the Pima County through acquisitions. The acquisition of Las Quintas Serenas will be its sixth acquisition in Pima County.Fragmented Water IndustryPer the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports, more than 53,000 community water systems and 16,000 wastewater systems in the United States are providing water solutions to customers. This highly fragmented industry creates operational challenges, as a major portion of the existing water infrastructure in the United States is approaching the end of effective service life. At times, it becomes quite difficult for small service providers to make investments to upgrade the infrastructure.Consolidation Can Lead to Investment in Water SpaceConsolidation can provide a solution to this fragmented and aging water and wastewater infrastructure of the United States. Large water utilities with deep pockets can make the necessary investments, and provide high-quality water and wastewater services to customers. A substantial portion of potable water is wasted every day in the United States due to pipeline breaks. Timely repairs and investments can stop this wastage.American Water Works AWK is quite active in making acquisitions to expand operations and make the necessary investments to upgrade the acquired property. American Water Works has plans to invest $10.4 billion in the 2021-2025 time period and $22-$25 billion in the next decade. From the start of the year till Aug 1, the company expanded the customer base by 11,200 through organic means and acquisitions. On Sep 22, American Water Works’ California unit acquired the privately-held East Pasadena Water Company. California American Water, through this acquisition, will be providing water services to 3,000 homes and businesses in the region.Likewise, another water utility, Essential Utilities WTRG has not only expanded water and wastewater operations through acquisitions but also ventured into the natural gas distribution business through the acquisition of Peoples. It completed the acquisition of the wastewater system of the Village of Bourbonnais on Sep 14, 2021, which added 6,500 customers. The company plans to invest $3 billion through 2023 to fortify water and natural gas operations as well as efficiently serve the expanding customer base.California Water Service CWT has decided to invest in the range of $270-$300 million in 2021 and expand operations through strategic acquisitions. In August, the company received regulatory approval to acquire the water and wastewater systems serving the Preserve at Millerton.Price PerformanceShares of Global Water Resources have outperformed the industry in the past three months.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks RankThe company currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report American Water Works Company, Inc. (AWK): Free Stock Analysis Report California Water Service Group (CWT): Free Stock Analysis Report Global Water Resources, Inc. (GWRS): Free Stock Analysis Report Essential Utilities Inc. (WTRG): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Otis (OTIS) to Buy Remaining 49.99% Share in Zardoya Otis

Otis Worldwide (OTIS) announces a cash tender offer for acquiring the remaining interest in a Spain-based premier elevator business. Otis Worldwide Corporation OTIS, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Opal Spanish Holdings, S.A.U., has announced its intention of acquiring the remaining 49.99% share of Zardoya Otis, S.A. An offer price of EUR7.00 in cash represents a premium of 28.9% to Zardoya Otis’ one-month volume weighted average price. This implies a total equity value for Zardoya Otis, including Otis' existing interest, of EUR3.3 billion.The transaction aims to delist Zardoya Otis from the Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia Stock exchanges. The transaction is expected to close in second-quarter 2022, subject to the Spanish Securities Exchange Commission approval.Judy Marks, Otis' president and chief executive officer, said, "Zardoya Otis has been an integral part of Otis since 1972 and its products, services and geographic footprint are critical components of our long-term growth strategy."Post acquisition, Otis will streamline its corporate structure and generate operational efficiencies for both businesses. Otis expects Zardoya Otis to contribute 3-5 cents to 2022 earnings, depending upon the timing of the transaction’s closure and the pace of the acquisition of shares. Also, it is likely to contribute up to mid-single-digit 2023 adjusted earnings growth. Meanwhile, there is likely to be no significant change to Otis’ employment as it is already the majority holder of Zardoya Otis and has operational control.Otis has been strategically expanding its business reach to international markets through joint ventures and non-wholly owned subsidiaries. In Spain, it conducts operations through Zardoya Otis. Zardoya Otis manufactures, installs, and services elevators and elevator equipment as well as exports elevator equipment for installation by certain other subsidiaries outside the country.Also, it operates in China through two joint ventures namely, Otis Elevator (China) Investment Company Limited (“Otis China”) and Otis Electric Elevator Company Limited (“Otis Electric”). Established in 1998, Otis China manufactures, installs and services elevators, escalators as well as related equipment. Otis Electric — a subsidiary of Otis China — was established in 1997 for the purpose of manufacturing, installing, and servicing elevators, escalators as well as related equipment.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThe company’s shares have rallied 28% compared with the industry’s 11.3% growth in the year-to-date period. The solid price appreciation was mainly driven by an impressive first-half performance. The uptrend is mainly backed by solid organic sales in both New Equipment and Service segments, higher operating margins along with a lower effective tax rate. The company expects these factors to support earnings growth in the forthcoming quarters.Zacks Rank & Other Key PicksOtis currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Other top-ranked stocks in the same space include Armstrong World Industries, Inc. AWI, Owens Corning OC and TopBuild Corp. BLD. While Armstrong World sports a Zacks #1 Rank, Owens Corning and TopBuild carry a Zacks Rank #2. All the three companies’ earnings are likely to increase 16.3%, 68.1% and 47.1%, respectively, in 2021. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Armstrong World Industries, Inc. (AWI): Free Stock Analysis Report Owens Corning Inc (OC): Free Stock Analysis Report TopBuild Corp. (BLD): Free Stock Analysis Report Otis Worldwide Corporation (OTIS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

3 HMO Stocks That Outperformed the S&P Index in a Year"s Time

Membership growth, mergers and buyouts, and investment in technology are likely to aid health insurance companies like ANTM, MOH, and UNH to outperform the S&P Index. The health insurance industry more popularly called Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) has been gaining from mergers and acquisitions, solid revenues, investments in technology, diversified businesses, contract wins, strong Medicaid and Medicare businesses and cost-curbing measures.The companies delivered solid results in the first half of the year, which even made some of the leading insurers hike their 2021 guidance.The industry players are also constantly forging alliances to penetrate geographies and meet demands of the market. Other constant factors, such as aging U.S. population, solvency levels and demand for Medicare poise the industry participants well for growth. Full government backing related to the Affordable Care Act also helped the industry gain a sweet spot.This reform instituted by the then President Barack Obama back in March 2010, has been one of the major drivers for the industry despite inducing some challenges. And the current President Joe Biden continued supporting ACA, which came as a welcoming relief to the industry players. The government’s support for the ACA is aimed at bringing more Americans under the health insurance coverage. This will directly buoy the health insurers’ top line.Further Upside Left?The overall bullish scenario makes us optimistic about the health insurance industry’s consistent growth, which should boost prospects of its participating companies with sound business fundamentals.Here are some of the factors that will positively impact the companies.Consistent With Mergers & Acquisitions Strategy: The health insurers continue to intensify their focus on the M&A strategy, which helped them boost their business scale and expand their presence. These initiatives led to an improved quality of care and brought about diversification benefits.Growing Senior Population: With aging population in the United States and seniors accounting for a higher percentage of the total population, overall demand for health insurance among the aged will soar. Medicare Advantage (MA) is the private version of the government Medicare program. MA plans are attractive to seniors on the back of declining member premiums, new benefits and less attractive medigap options.Increased Automation:  The industry also joined the movement of digital revolution by embracing cutting-edge technology for operational use. It was slow in this transition but the coronavirus pandemic accelerated the process.Use of chatbots and AI-based voice, assistants, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR), mobile-based apps, robots, cloud computing, analytics among other technologies are expected to optimize healthcare delivery and workflow while minimizing unnecessary costs. This should lead to operational excellence and better customer experience. Insurers who can bridge the physical-virtual gap will be the frontrunners in the industry.Industry player UnitedHealth Group Inc. UNH leads the pack with a separate unit named OptumInsight, which offers software, data analytics and related services to healthcare providers.Rising Membership: The industry players are well-poised for growth on the back of several contract wins. Moreover, Biden allowed a Special Open Enrollment window on Feb 15 and extended the same to Aug 15. This gave Americans another chance to buy insurance coverage online on health exchanges. Biden's support for ACA led to a membership hike for companies like Centene Corporation CNC during the special enrollment period. This also made them raise their membership outlook for the current year. Per insurers, the current year might be the best selling phase for them. Insurers like UnitedHealth and Cigna Corp. CI are expanding their presence on the exchanges by tapping new areas.3 Stocks on WatchlistThe Zacks  HMO  industry, which is housed within the broader Zacks  Medical  sector, currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank #104. This places it in the top 41% of 252 Zacks industries.The Zacks HMO industry has grown 37.3% in a year’s time compared with the S&P Index’s rally of 39.4%.These health insurance stocks hold ample growth prospects to retain stability in the days ahead. Here are three stocks that presently have a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and managed to surpass the S&P Index in the past year. All the companies have a VGM Score of A. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Anthem Inc.’s ANTM strategic buyouts and collaborations and an improving top line along with the company’s expanded product portfolio should drive long-term growth. Its solid 2021 guidance impresses. Over the past 60 days, the stock has witnessed its 2021 earnings estimate move 0.2% north. In the past year, shares of the company have gained 54.8%.Molina Healthcare, Inc.’s MOH ability to engage in inorganic growth initiatives and capital deployment reflect an improved financial position. Its strong 2021 outlook encourages. Over the past seven days, the company has witnessed its 2022 earnings estimate move 1.5% north. Over the past year, the stock has surged 84.7%.UnitedHealth Group continued strong growth at Optum as well as UnitedHealthcare segments are driving revenues. Its favorable government business and a strong capital position are other positives. Over the past 30 days, the stock has witnessed its 2022 earnings estimate move 0.4% north. In the past year, shares of the company have surged 41.4%.Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH): Free Stock Analysis Report Molina Healthcare, Inc (MOH): Free Stock Analysis Report Cigna Corporation (CI): Free Stock Analysis Report Centene Corporation (CNC): Free Stock Analysis Report Anthem, Inc. (ANTM): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Airline Stock Roundup: RYAAY"s Bullish View for Traffic, AAL, JBLU in Focus

Ryanair (RYAAY) expects fiscal 2022 traffic in the range of 90-100 million compared with 27.5 million in fiscal 2021. Gol Linhas (GOL) boosts its liquidity position. In the past week, Ryanair Holdings RYAAY raised its 5-year traffic growth forecast from 33% to 50%. The European carrier now expects traffic to grow to more than 225 million guests per year by March 2026 compared with 200 million predicted earlier.The Latin American carrier Gol Linhas GOL was also in the news in the past week when it extended its agreement with American Airlines AAL. American Airlines will acquire a 5.2% stake in Gol Linhas. However, American Airlines’ alliance with JetBlue Airways JBLU seems to have run into rough weather with the Justice Department and officials in six states reportedly filing a lawsuit against the alliance on antitrust grounds.Recap of the Past Week’s Most Important Stories1.Ryanair, currently carrying a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), expects fiscal 2022 traffic in the range of 90-100 million compared with 27.5 million guests in fiscal 2021.The carrier aims to take delivery of 210 Boeing 737 aircraft over the next five years. The company expects these planes, which would lower costs and reduce emissions, to accelerate its post-COVID growth.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.2. Under this extended deal, Gol Linhas will receive an equity investment of $200 million (R$1.05 billion) from American Airlines. This additional liquidity is expected to strengthen Gol Linhas’ balance sheet. The new agreement expands beyond the terms of the existing codeshare partnership (which has been in place since February 2020) between the carriers. As a result of the code sharing pact, passengers of either carrier can purchase tickets of the connecting flights using one reservation. American Airlines, through this exclusive codeshare agreement, expects to increase commercial cooperation with the Brazilian carrier to accelerate growth and create a more seamless experience for customers.3. According to an update from the White House, travel restrictions on air passengers from countries like China, India, Britain and other European nations into the United States will be eased from November this year. Per White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients, foreign nationals will have to be fully vaccinated when they fly to the United States in November. They will have to demonstrate proof of vaccination before boarding. Further, the travelers have to test negative for the coronavirus, which they have to undergo within three days of their flight. Zients ruled out the need to quarantine for the fully-vaccinated passengers.The development is a major positive, especially for the Delta-variant-hit U.S. airlines. Many of the carriers expect third-quarter 2021 results to be dented by the spread of the Delta strain in the United States. Their bearish third-quarter views were discussed in detail in the previous week’s write-up. 4. The Justice Department believes that the alliance between American Airlines and JetBlue will reduce competition, leading to higher fares. Per Attorney General Merrick Garland, “In an industry where just four airlines control more than 80% of domestic air travel, American Airlines' alliance with JetBlue is, in fact, an unprecedented manoeuvre to further consolidate the industry."American and JetBlue vowed to fight the lawsuit and continue with their alliance unless directed otherwise by a court. The partnership was announced last year. JetBlue and American Airlines already started coordinating on flights in the Northeast. Garland is, however, of the view that “It would result in higher fares, fewer choices, and lower quality service if allowed to continue.”5. United Airlines UAL is expanding its footprint in Africa with a new service between Washington, D.C. and Lagos, Nigeria, set to be launched on Nov 29, subject to government approval. The airline will operate three weekly flights between the U.S. capital and the popular African destination. This is the company’s first ever nonstop service between Washington, D.C. and Nigeria.Price PerformanceThe following table shows the price movement of the major airline players over the past week and during the past six months.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThe table above shows that the airline stocks have traded in the green over the past week, aided by the announcement from the White House pertaining to the easing of international travel curbs. The NYSE ARCA Airline Index has increased 3.5% over the past week to $94.23. Over the course of six months, the sector tracker has decreased 6.6%.What's Next in the Airline Space?Investors will await more updates on the American Airlines-JetBlue partnership in the coming days. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Ryanair Holdings PLC (RYAAY): Free Stock Analysis Report United Airlines Holdings Inc (UAL): Free Stock Analysis Report JetBlue Airways Corporation (JBLU): Free Stock Analysis Report Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes S.A. (GOL): Free Stock Analysis Report American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

AmEx (AXP) and Extend Help Businesses Create Virtual Cards

American Express (AXP) joins Extend to make virtual cards available for small and mid-sized businesses. American Express Co. AXP is expanding the usage of virtual cards in the United States in its collaboration with Extend, a New York City-based fintech specializing in virtual cards.Per the pact, U.S. companies with an American Express Business Card can use Extend’s app and create virtual cards, also known as tokens.Last October, American Express extended the usage of virtual cards in the United States in collaboration with Coupa Pay. The easy acceptance of these cards prompted American Express to expand in the U.S market. Unlike a physical card that can be used over and over again, a virtual card is a unique 16-digit card number, created solely for a single use between a payer and a payee.The numerous benefits that it provides over physical cards make it an attractive option for easy payment. It can replace outdated and cumbersome paper checks, and the associated manual-process inefficiencies. These cards provide much more security than the physical cards as the 16-digit card number is unique for each payment and is for single use only. Since the card is not physical, it cannot be stolen or re-used. The card also expires once the maximum amount available on it is spent.The payment space was already shifting to digitization and the outbreak of COVID-19 only accelerated the whole process with e-commerce gaining prominence.Via the virtual card, American Express will be addressing the easy payment need for businesses that suffered a huge blow from consumer demand drying up on account of the coronavirus outbreak. This left the businesses cash strapped and therefore, instant payment settlement with the help of virtual cards can get the wheels of their businesses moving once again with the operating conditions improving gradually.Either paying their suppliers or employees, the virtual cards can replace the existing fragmented and manual business payment process of businesses. This can make every transactional step in the business-spend management process smarter and simpler. Also, businesses are eager to adopt these cards and thus, the number of companies making the move to virtual cards for payment processing will only increase in the times to come.Per a new Juniper Research report, the global value of virtual card transactions will reach $6.8 trillion in 2026, up from $1.9 trillion reported in 2021.American Express’ partnership with Extend reflects its strategy to fortify its footprint in the B2B payments space to better serve customers and offer the best possible digital payment solutions.Other players in the virtual card markets are WEX Inc. WEX, Marqeta, Inc. MQ, Mastercard Inc. MA and many others.American Express carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), currently. The stock has gained 38.5% year to date compared with the industry’s growth of 17.5%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Image Source: Zacks Investment Research More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Mastercard Incorporated (MA): Free Stock Analysis Report American Express Company (AXP): Free Stock Analysis Report WEX Inc. (WEX): Free Stock Analysis Report Marqeta, Inc. (MQ): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Top Analyst Reports for Disney, Adobe & Wells Fargo

Today's Research Daily features new research reports on 16 major stocks, including The Walt Disney Company (DIS), Adobe Inc. (ADBE), and Wells Fargo & Company (WFC). Thursday, September 23, 2021The Zacks Research Daily presents the best research output of our analyst team. Today's Research Daily features new research reports on 16 major stocks, including The Walt Disney Company (DIS), Adobe Inc. (ADBE), and Wells Fargo & Company (WFC). These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.You can see all of today’s research reports here >>>Shares of Disney have handily outperformed the Zacks Media industry over the past year (+44% vs. +21.9%). The Zacks analyst believes that an expanding international footprint and solid content portfolio has been boosting the Disney+ user growth.The launch of STAR+ in Latin America is expected to boost subscriber growth further. Revival of Parks, Experiences and Products businesses also holds promise. Higher programming costs at ESPN, heavy investments in ESPN+ and Disney+, and closure of cruise business are some of the major headwinds for the company.(You can read the full research report on Disney here >>>)Adobe shares have gained +39.8% in the last six months against the Zacks Software industry’s gain of +26.9%. The Zacks analyst believes that growth in emerging markets, solid adoption of Acrobat and improving average revenue per user are key growth catalysts for the company.The company’s Creative Cloud, Document Cloud and Adobe Experience Cloud drove the top-line growth in the fiscal third quarter. Adobe has significant exposure to Europe and the current the currency headwinds faced by American companies operating in Europe might impact the company’s fiscal 2021 results. Lower end-market demand and high acquisition expenses are other major headwinds.(You can read the full research report on Adobe here >>>)Shares of Wells Fargo have gained +6.3% in the past three months against the Zacks Major Regional Banks industry’s gain of +0.8%. The Zacks analyst believes that Wells Fargo continues to benefit from strong deposit growth, sturdy capital position and improving credit quality.Restructuring moves and cost-efficiency initiatives are likely to continue supporting the company’s revenues. Gradual economic recovery and continued government stimulus is expected to further improve the credit quality. Low interest rates and volatility in fee income are major headwinds though. Falling loans balance as well as lower mortgage servicing income are other concerns.(You can read the full research report on Wells Fargo here >>>)Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include BlackRock, Inc. (BLK), IHS Markit Ltd. (INFO) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX).Sheraz MianDirector of ResearchNote: Sheraz Mian heads the Zacks Equity Research department and is a well-regarded expert of aggregate earnings. He is frequently quoted in the print and electronic media and publishes the weekly Earnings Trends and Earnings Preview reports. If you want an email notification each time Sheraz publishes a new article, please click here>>> More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Wells Fargo & Company (WFC): Free Stock Analysis Report BlackRock, Inc. (BLK): Free Stock Analysis Report Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX): Free Stock Analysis Report The Walt Disney Company (DIS): Free Stock Analysis Report Adobe Inc. (ADBE): Free Stock Analysis Report IHS Markit Ltd. (INFO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Amazon (AMZN) Boosts Asia-Pacific Reach with New Zealand Region

Amazon's (AMZN) AWS plans to open a region in New Zealand by 2024. Amazon’s AMZN cloud computing arm Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) intends to set up an infrastructure region in Auckland, New Zealand, in a bid to expand its cloud footprint in the Asia Pacific.The new region will comprise three availability zones, which will aid AWS in delivering low latency and offering access to its robust cloud services portfolio that includes services like analytics, compute, database, Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, and storage, to customers in New Zealand.The company strives to deliver a secured data storage experience to the local customers in the AWS Asia Pacific (Auckland) region. The region will help customers in running their applications seamlessly.We believe that the new region will aid AWS in gaining traction among various customers, including big companies, start-ups, developers, government organizations and non-profit organizations in the country.The company is expected to open the underlined region in 2024.Amazon.com, Inc. Price and Consensus Amazon.com, Inc. price-consensus-chart | Amazon.com, Inc. QuoteGrowing Investment in New ZealandThe latest plan is an addition to the company’s growing investment in New Zealand.Notably, AWS is investing $5.3 billion in the Asia Pacific (Auckland) region, which is anticipated to create 1,000 jobs in the country.In addition to this, the launch of AWS Outposts, which deliver a hybrid experience by offering the same services, infrastructure and tools as AWS to any data center or on-premises facility, remains noteworthy.The unveiling of Amazon CloudFront edge locations is counted as another positive effort of AWS in the country.The company opened AWS offices in Auckland and Wellington in 2021.We believe that all the efforts will aid AWS in strengthening the presence in the booming cloud market of New Zealand.Expanding Asia-Pacific PresenceThe AWS Asia Pacific (Auckland) region will be an addition to the increasing number of AWS regions in the Asia Pacific. Apart from it, the company recently opened the second region in Japan, which is located in Osaka. The region comprises three availability zones.Notably, the new Osaka Region and its three availability zones are added to the existing eight AWS regions across the Asia Pacific, located in Beijing, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Ningxia, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo, comprising 25 availability zones altogether.The company is planning to launch a second AWS region in India in Hyderabad by mid-2022. Notably, the region will also be comprised of three availability zones.Additionally, the company is planning to set up a second AWS region in Australia’s Melbourne, which is expected to be operative in the second half of 2022. Per plans, the region will comprise three availability zones.AWS is planning to set up regions in Indonesia, Israel and the U.A.E. as well.Growing GloballyAWS’s latest move bodes well for its strong focus on fortifying the cloud footprint in international territories.Apart from the Asia Pacific, the company is gearing up to open a data center in Switzerland by the second half of 2022. Further, it intends to open AWS Regions in Spain and Switzerland.Currently, AWS operates 81 availability zones across 25 regions.We believe that the expanding global footprint will continue to aid Amazon in sustaining its solid cloud momentum and dominance over the booming cloud market.However, increasing competition from strong peers like Microsoft MSFT, Alphabet’s GOOGL Google Cloud and IBM’s IBM cloud division, who are also leaving no stone unturned to bolster their international presence on the back of their rising number of cloud regions and availability zones, poses threat to the leading position of AWS in the cloud market.Currently, Amazon carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report International Business Machines Corporation (IBM): Free Stock Analysis Report Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Newly discovered fossil footprints show humans were in North America thousands of years earlier than we thought

Researchers once thought humans couldn't have migrated down from Siberia into North America during the last ice age. New findings suggest otherwise. Some of the fossil footprints discovered in White Sands National Park. Courtesy of Sally Reynolds et al. Anthropologists found 60 fossilized human footprints in New Mexico that date back 23,000 years. The finding reveals humans occupied North America thousands of years earlier than we thought - and thrived on the continent during the last ice age. See more stories on Insider's business page. A new discovery offers definitive evidence that humans were in North America far earlier than archaeologists previously thought - a whopping 7,000 years earlier.Fossil footprints found on the shore of an ancient lake bed in New Mexico's White Sands National Park date as far back as 23,000 years ago, making them the oldest ever found in North America. That timing means humans occupied southern parts of the continent during the peak of the final ice age, which upends our previous understanding of when and how they moved south.The previous idea was that the first people to occupy North America crossed a land bridge that existed between modern-day Siberia and Alaska during the last ice age, between 26,500 and 19,000 ago. According to that theory, they would have had to settle near the Arctic because ice sheets covering Canada made it impossible for them to go south. Then later, once these glaciers melted between 16,000 and 13,500 years ago, the migration toward South America began. This new finding, however, "definitively places humans in North America at time when the ice sheet curtains were very firmly closed," Sally Reynolds, a paleoecologist at Bournemouth University in England and co-author of the new study, told Insider. David Bustos, the resources manager at White Sands National Park in New Mexico, discovered the tracks. Courtesy of Sally Reynolds et al. So most likely, Reynolds said, humans migrated south in multiple waves, and one of those was before the last ice age. Those early people may have even sailed down the Pacific coast. "Then more came down after the ice receded," Reynolds said.The finding was published Thursday in the journal Science, and the study also describes nearby tracks found from mammoths, dire wolves, and giant ground sloths - prey for ancient humans.The oldest known footprints in the Americas One of the oldest footprints discovered dates to about 23,000 years old. Courtesy of Sally Reynolds et al. Reynolds' team found 60 human footprints between 21,000 and 23,000 years old. The researchers estimated the tracks' age by dating microscopic seeds from an aquatic plant found in layers of lake sediment that sandwiched the prints."It's unequivocal evidence," Reynolds said. "The layers go seeds, footprints, seeds."The footprints are now the oldest in the Americas, taking over from a 15,600-year-old footprint found in Chile a decade ago.Most of the tracks belonged to teenagers and children, the team found, possibly indicating the youngsters played in the area while adults hunted and gathered.Reynolds said that before this finding, the earliest estimate as to when humans started occupying North America was 16,000 years ago.The only clue that people might have arrived earlier is a set of stone tools and artifacts found in remote Mexican cave. Archaeologists estimated that sediment ensconcing those artifacts was 32,000 years old, but that's not a trustworthy measure, Reynolds said. Artifacts can migrate up and down through sediment layers over time."Footprints, by contrast, are fixed on the landscape," Reynolds said. Humans could have traveled south by boat Researchers excavate human and animal trackways in White Sands National Park. Courtesy of Sally Reynolds et al. Reynolds said it's not yet clear how, exactly, humans traveled to the White Sands site - though there are several leading theories.One suggests they traveled down the west coast via an ice-free corridor of land. Another proposes that they came by boat, possibly sailing from modern-day Russia or Japan and then expanding south by hugging the Pacific Coast. Reynolds said she also thinks it's possible our ancestors might have crossed the continent then sailed down the Atlantic coast, before trekking to New Mexico. "There's this hovering question mark over the role of their seafaring skills," she said.Ancient humans in North America hunted giant sloths An artist's illustration of prehistoric humans in present-day New Mexico hunting a giant ground sloth. Alex McClelland / Bournemouth University This isn't the first remarkable discovery to come from the White Sands site."Its value goes far, far beyond the date of these new footprints," Reynolds said. Three years ago, her team uncovered a different set of human and animal tracks at the site dating back to about 15,500 years ago. Those footprints revealed an epic battle between predator and prey: A human was stalking a giant sloth."The human was walking right behind it," Reynolds said, adding, "and the sloth is absolutely not liking it."Giant ground sloths went extinct some 12,000 years ago. Around the same time, up to 90% of all large-bodied animals in the world, including mastodons, prehistoric horses, and ancient giant armadillos, also went extinct.Many archaeologists think that early humans in the Americas played an outsized role in that mass extinction there, given that it happened within a few millennia of their arrival."Humans show up and megafauna start dying," Reynolds said. "It seems like an obvious cause and effect relationship."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 23rd, 2021

4 Stocks to Watch in a Thriving Videogame Industry

High demand for videogames since the coronavirus outbreak has been boosting sales of consoles from Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) and Sony Corporation (SNE). The U.S. videogame industry has been doing great for quite some time. Although many had worried that that spending on videogames will slowdown as the economy reopens given that people will have more options for entertainment, that hasn’t happened.In fact, the optimism surrounding videogame sales is likely to continue. According to the latest report by the NPD Group, videogame sales increased once again in August.Videogame Sales RiseAccording to the latest report by the NPD Group, gamers spent $4.37 billion on videogames and accessories in August, increasing 7% year over year. On a year-to-date basis, consumer spending on videogames and accessories reached $37.9 billion, marking a whopping 13% jump from a year ago.Spending on hardware totaled $329 million, jumping 45% year over year. This was also the best August for hardware sales since 2008, when spending hit $395 million. On a year-to-date basis, spending on hardware increased 49%, reaching $3 billion.Sony Corporation’s SONY PlayStation 5 was the best-seller in terms of dollar sales. However, Nintendo Co.’s NTDOY Switch was the top-selling console in August.In terms of games, Electronic Arts Inc.’s EA Madden NFL 22 was the bestselling followed by Sony’s Ghost of Tsushima and Activision Blizzard, Inc.’s ATVI Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War.Videogame Market Looks PromisingThe videogame market holds immense potential for growth. It has been a great 2020 and 2021, with sales rising every month since the COVID-19 outbreak, except for a surprise decline in April.Also, new players are foraying into the market which proves that the industry is flourishing. Netflix, Inc. NFLX announced in July that it would be setting foot in the gaming market, as subscriber growth for the streaming giant is fast stagnating. This will only intensify competition in the market in the coming days.Experts had thought that the market would slow down once the economy reopens but sales have been a lot higher than the pre-pandemic and pandemic levels and the momentum is likely to stay. According to NPD Group’s Q2 2021 Games Market Dynamics: U.S., consumer spending on videogames in second-quarter 2021 increased 2% year over year to reach $14 billion. It is expected that the third quarter too will be a good one.Stocks to WatchThe videogame industry is seeing robust sales in2021, given that the pandemic is still keeping people indoors. This makes it an opportune time to invest in gaming stocks that are sure to benefit in the near term.Microsoft Corporation MSFT is one of the leading videogame makers and manufacturers of hardware and accessories. The company has been expanding its footprint in the industry and recently announced that it will be acquiring videogame maker ZeniMax Media.The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 8.4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 3.8% over the past 60 days. Microsoft carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Sony Corporation designs, manufactures and sells several consumer and industrial electronic equipment. The company’s product roster comprises audio and video equipment, televisions, displays, semiconductors, electronic components, gaming consoles, computers and computer peripherals, and telecommunication equipment. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for next year is 18.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 0.9% over the past 60 days.  Sony has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Activision Blizzard, Inc. is a leading developer and publisher of console, online and mobile games. The company’s Call of Duty is one of the most-popular gaming franchises globally. Its Overwatch League can be considered a pioneer of the e-sports concept.The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 10.4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 1.3% over the past 60 days. Activision Blizzardcarries a Zacks Rank #3.Electronic Arts, Inc. is a leading developer, marketer, publisher and distributor of interactive games (video game software and content). It distributes gaming content and services through multiple distribution channels as well as directly to consumers (online and wirelessly) through its online portals.The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 15.8%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 3.3% over the past 60 days.Electronic Arts has a Zacks Rank #3. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report Activision Blizzard, Inc (ATVI): Free Stock Analysis Report Netflix, Inc. (NFLX): Free Stock Analysis Report Electronic Arts Inc. (EA): Free Stock Analysis Report Nintendo Co. (NTDOY): Free Stock Analysis Report Sony Corporation (SONY): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Oil & Gas Stock Roundup Headlined by Chevron & Diamondback

Apart from Chevron (CVX) and Diamondback Energy (FANG) there was news from Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A), Helmerich & Payne (HP) and Suncor Energy (SU) during the week. It was a week when oil prices bounced back above $70 and natural gas futures registered their highest settlement since February 2014.On the news front, American biggie Chevron CVX broke down its future shift toward an environmentally friendly direction, while shale specialist Diamondback Energy FANG approved a new buyback plan.Overall, it was another good week for the sector. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures moved up 3.2% to close at $71.97 per barrel and natural gas prices gained 3.4% to reach $5.105 per million British thermal units (MMBtu). Overall, both commodities managed to maintain their forward momentum from the previous three weeks.Coming back to the week ended Sep 17, oil prices rose, underpinned by a report from the Energy Information Administration ("EIA") that showed draws in crude and fuel stockpiles. The commodity was also boosted by the major international forecasters’ encouraging view on oil demand growth next year.Natural gas climbed too, buoyed by the slow restoration of hurricane-affected operations, late-season hot weather and strong LNG export demand.Recap of the Week’s Most-Important Stories1.  At its recent environment-themed presentation titled Energy Transition Spotlight, Chevron said that it will invest 200% more in lower-carbon businesses in the next seven years but stopped short of committing any timeline toward achieving net-zero operations.The U.S. oil major set clear targets to ramp up renewable natural gas output to 40,000 million British thermal units (MMBtu) per day by 2030, while growing hydrogen production to 150,000 tons annually. Besides, the company is rapidly expanding its renewable fuels footprint with daily production capacity estimated to reach 100,000 barrels by the end of this decade, in addition to increasing carbon offsets to 25 million tons per year.As part of this plan, the American energy giant will invest $10 billion in clean energy through 2028, more than triple the $3 billion earmarked earlier. Of the total, $3 billion each will be spent on renewable fuels and carbon capture/storage/offsets, $2 billion on hydrogen, while $2 billion is planned to be used to reduce the emissions intensity of the company’s portfolio. (Key Highlights From Chevron's ESG Investor Day)2.   Shares of Diamondback Energy gained more than 3% on Sep 17, a day after the energy player stated that its plans to distribute 50% of free cash flow to investors were expedited. Beginning fourth quarter of this year, this Permian producer’s business will return free cash flow through its basic dividend and additional shareholder return methods.In order to support this return promise, the Midland, TX-headquartered independent energy firm’s board approved a new share repurchase program worth $2 billion, which was implemented with immediate effect. The move underscores the company’s sound financial position and its commitment to reward its shareholders.A much-improved commodity price scenario and the economic recovery contributed to the balance sheet strength of the energy companies like Diamondback. Benefiting from their robust fundamentals, their cash from operations is now covering capital spending. This provides a sustainable financial framework for these firms to increase cash returns to their shareholders. (Diamondback Shares Gain on $2B Buyback Acceleration)3.  Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) has made a final investment decision to construct an 820,000-tonne-per-year biofuels facility at the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Rotterdam in the Netherlands. When completed, the plant will be one of the largest in Europe for producing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel from trash.The new plant will help the Netherlands and the rest of Europe in meeting the globally mandated carbon reduction goals. It will also assist the Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) Europe-based energy multinational in meeting its objective of becoming a net-zero emissions energy firm by 2050, in line with society's progress toward the Paris Agreement's climate targets.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The biofuels plant in Rotterdam is anticipated to start producing in 2024. Using innovative technology created by Shell, it will manufacture low-carbon fuels such as renewable diesel from waste in the form of used cooking oil, waste animal fat, and other agricultural and manufacturing residual items. (Shell to Build Dutch Biofuels Facility to Cut Emissions)4.   Helmerich & Payne HP recently announced a strategic collaboration with The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (“ADNOC”) and its subsidiary ADNOC Drilling Company wherein ADNOC Drilling will purchase eight FlexRig land rigs from the contract drilling services provider for $86.5 million. Following this buyout, the company will make a $100-million cornerstone investment in ADNOC Drilling's recently announced initial public offering (“IPO”).Earlier, ADNOC expressed its plan to list a 7.5% minority stake in ADNOC Drilling on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in an IPO, reflecting the continuous development, strength and relevance in the Middle Eastern capital city's financial market. ADNOC, a renowned diversified energy and petrochemicals company, and Helmerich & Payne will remain ADNOC Drilling's dedicated, long-term stockholders.The above agreement will help Helmerich & Payne achieve its goal of deploying capital worldwide, especially in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) area, by boosting its entry into the lucrative and rapidly-rising Abu Dhabi market as a vital platform for further regional expansion. (Helmerich & Payne to Pump $100M Into ADNOC Drilling IPO)5.  Suncor Energy SU recently reached agreements with eight indigenous communities in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to buy the entire 15% equity stake in Canada's Northern Courier Pipeline Limited Partnership held by TC Energy TRPThe partnership, which comprises Suncor, three First Nations, and five Métis communities will hold a 15% interest in this pipeline asset worth roughly C$1.3 billion, which will generate long- term, consistent earnings that will aid the communities for decades ahead.Suncor will run the pipeline that connects its Fort Hills oil production in Alberta to its East Tank Farm asset after the acquisition is completed. Canada's premier integrated energy company stated that the collaboration is projected to generate gross revenues of around C$16 million per year for its partners and offer stable income. Subject to usual closing conditions and regulatory clearances, the deal is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2021. (Suncor, Indigenous Partners Buy Canadian Pipeline Stake)Price PerformanceThe following table shows the price movement of some major oil and gas players over the past week and during the last six months.Company    Last Week    Last 6 MonthsXOM              +2.2%                -4.1%CVX               +0.7%               -7.5%COP              +5.7%               +13.6%OXY               +7.8%               -7.4%SLB               +5.7%               -2.6%RIG                -4%                   -11.9%VLO               +3.5%               -12.5%MPC              +3.5%               +8.4%The Energy Select Sector SPDR — a popular way to track energy companies — was up 3.2% last week. The best performer was oil and gas producer Occidental Petroleum OXY whose stock climbed 7.8%.Over the past six months, the sector tracker has inched up 0.6%. Upstream biggie ConocoPhillips (COP) was the major gainer during the period, experiencing a 13.6% price appreciation.What’s Next in the Energy World?As the global oil consumption outlook strengthens amid tightening fundamentals, market participants will be closely tracking the regular releases to watch for signs that could further validate the upward momentum. In this context, the U.S. government’s statistics on oil and natural gas — one of the few solid indicators that come out regularly — will be on energy traders' radar. Data on rig count from the oilfield service firm Baker Hughes, which is a pointer to trends in U.S. crude production, is closely followed too. News related to coronavirus vaccine approval/rollout/distribution will be of utmost importance. Finally, investors will be keeping an eye on the health of China’s economy following the Evergrande crisis. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Chevron Corporation (CVX): Free Stock Analysis Report Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.A): Free Stock Analysis Report Helmerich & Payne, Inc. (HP): Free Stock Analysis Report Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY): Free Stock Analysis Report Suncor Energy Inc. (SU): Free Stock Analysis Report TC Energy Corporation (TRP): Free Stock Analysis Report Diamondback Energy, Inc. (FANG): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

AT&T (T) CEO Updates Shareholders, Expects Growth to Continue

AT&T's (T) network quality and go-to-market efforts have helped it to drive subscriber growth trends and lower churn. AT&T Inc.’s T chief executive officer, John Stankey, has provided an update to shareholders at the Goldman Sachs GS Communacopia Conference.Stankey said that the company has restructured its asset base to position its largest entities — AT&T Communications and WarnerMedia — to better capitalize on the long-term underlying tailwinds.After the close of the WarnerMedia-Discovery DISCA deal, AT&T Communications and Warner Bros. Discovery are likely to have the right capital structure and asset base to lead their respective industries.AT&T’s shares have lost 3.7% in the past year compared with the industry’s decline of 3.5%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThe telecom and media giant has started to witness early momentum in its core market areas, driven by strength in 5G, fiber, and HBO Max subscribers. However, it must continue to execute and cut additional costs to deliver on management’s long-term vision. AT&T needs to build upon its recent market momentum to improve its value proposition across all of its customer segments.In the wireless business, AT&T’s network quality and go-to-market efforts have helped it to drive subscriber growth trends and lower churn. The company intends to continue investing to deliver 5G capabilities for new use cases to its expanding customer base.AT&T continues to deploy fiber across its wired footprint. It is confident in its ability to reach almost 2.5 million incremental customer locations by the end of this year. Though the company has experienced some disruption in its supply chain, it maintains the long-term guidance of reaching 30 million locations by the end of 2025.The WarnerMedia-Discovery transaction is expected to be closed in mid-2022. Until then, AT&T remains focused on expanding HBO Max’s global footprint. HBO Max was launched in 39 Latin American territories in June and is set for launch in six European countries next month. AT&T expects to reach between 70 million and 73 million HBO Max and HBO subscribers worldwide by the end of this year.AT&T is aiming to increase efficiencies to lower operating costs, while focusing on 5G and fiber-based connectivity along with the expanded reach of software-based entertainment platforms.The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).A better-ranked stock in the broader industry is Qualcomm, Inc. QCOM, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Qualcomm delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 13.5%, on average. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS): Free Stock Analysis Report QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM): Free Stock Analysis Report AT&T Inc. (T): Free Stock Analysis Report Discovery, Inc. (DISCA): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Sonic (SAH) Revs Up Buyout Game, to Acquire RFJ Auto for $700M

The acquisition of RFJ Auto is expected to add $3.2 billion to Sonic's (SAH) annual revenues. Sonic Automotive SAH is set to acquire one of the notable U.S. dealership groups— RFJ Auto Partners— in a deal worth $700 million. The acquisition, which is scheduled for closure in December, marks one of the biggest deals in auto retail history and seeks to catapult Sonic into the top-five biggest dealership groups (by revenues) in the United States. RFJ Auto's portfolio of 33 dealerships across seven states generated $2.8 billion in revenues in 2020. The company boasts an impressive brand portfolio including Honda, Ford, Chevrolet, Lexus, Toyota, Buick, Dodge, Chrysler, Mazda, Jeep, Alfa Romeo, RAM, GMC, Nissan, Maserati, and Hyundai.The acquisition of RFJ Auto will add six new states (Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, and Washington) and five brands (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Mazda) to Sonic’s foothold and portfolio. Importantly, the deal is expected to add $3.2 billion to Sonic’s annual revenues. This marks a 30% rise in franchised dealership revenues above its prior target of achieving $25 billion in total sales by 2025. The transaction, which will be funded by a mix of cash and debt, is in sync with Sonic’s commitment to optimize its franchised dealership business, both through organic growth initiatives and strategic acquisitions. With the latest deal, Sonic seems to be back in full force to pursue acquisitions to enhance its brand portfolio and complement its overall growth strategy. In an interview with Automotive News in July, Sonic’s president Jeff Dyke stated:“We've just never been in a position in years to buy franchised stores from a financial perspective, and now we've really shored up our balance sheet. We're in great shape from a liquidity perspective and have plenty of access to capital. There are a lot of stores for sale."In July, Sonic—which currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy)— bolstered its dealership network in Colorado with the purchase of Subaru and Volkswagen franchises. Per Automotive News, these two franchises were Sonic’s first acquisitions since November 2014. Early this month, the company further expanded its dealership footprint in Colorado with the acquisitions of Audi Glenwood Springs and Glenwood Springs Volkswagen. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The latest megadeal is creating a lot of buzz, especially when its peers are also expanding their brand portfolio with big acquisitions this year. Last week, Group 1 Automotive GPI announced that it inked a deal (expected to close in November) to buy Prime Automotive Group assets for about $880 million. Lithia Motors LAD, which is constantly on a buyout binge, announced the acquisition of Troy-based Suburban Collection in April, representing one of the biggest acquisitions by the auto retailer. In fact, the spree of acquisitions has brought Lithia's total expected annualized revenues acquired in 2021 to $6.2 billion, keeping it well ahead of the schedule laid out in the five-year plan rolled out in July 2020. A few months back, AutoNation AN made its first franchised dealership acquisition since 2018 with the purchase of 11 stores and a collision center from Peacock Automotive Group. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report AutoNation, Inc. (AN): Free Stock Analysis Report Group 1 Automotive, Inc. (GPI): Free Stock Analysis Report Sonic Automotive, Inc. (SAH): Free Stock Analysis Report Lithia Motors, Inc. (LAD): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Supply chain tech company Blume Global expands Atlanta hiring after $500M valuation

A global supply chain technology company is expanding its Atlanta footprint after reaching a $500 million valuation.   Blume Global, based in Pleasanton, California, provides a cloud platform to help global logistics companies work more efficiently and reduce economic waste and carbon dioxide emissions. The company has 450 employees across San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Hong Kong, Bengalore and Europe.   At its 2018 launch, Blume Global had 90 employees.   Company CEO Pervinder Johar….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsSep 23rd, 2021

The federal funds rate is the benchmark interest rate that affects borrowing costs across the US economy

The federal funds rate is the interest banks charge each other for overnight loans. Set by the Federal Reserve, it's a basis for other interest rates. While it technically applies only to banks, the federal funds rate impacts interest rates on a variety of loans and investments. Richard Drew/Associated Press Set by the Federal Reserve, the federal funds rate is the interest banks charge each other to borrow money overnight. Changes in the federal funds rate impact the interest rates on consumer loans, credit cards, and bank accounts. The federal funds rate is the key tool the Federal Reserve uses to stimulate or slow down the economy. Visit Insider's Investing Reference library for more stories. The major mandate of the Federal Reserve - the central bank of the US - is to keep the nation's financial system solvent and manage its money supply (the amount of cash and readily available funds in circulation). It does this through a balancing act involving interest rates - specifically one called the federal funds rate. The federal funds rate ("fed funds rate," for short) is only used between banks; it's not an interest rate an individual can apply for or a financial account will earn. But it's a key benchmark. After the Fed sets it, the federal funds rate becomes the basis for interest charged on loans and credit card purchases, and the return offered by fixed-income investments, like bonds and annuities. The level of interest rates - how cheap or expensive it is to borrow money - affects business and consumer spending. So, through the federal funds rate, the Fed tries to keep the entire economy on course. Here's how it works, and the ways it can affect you.What is the federal funds rate?The federal funds rate, also known as the overnight rate, is the interest commercial banks charge when they lend money to one another for extremely short-term periods - literally, overnight. The Fed mandates this activity between banks to ensure they meet their reserve requirements. That is, it requires that each bank must maintain enough cash on hand, plus a reserve balance with the central bank, to cover a certain percentage of its deposits and other liabilities on every business day. These regulations are to make sure that a bank's account-holders always have ready access to their money. If banks are short on funds to maintain their reserve requirement, they borrow from another - at (or very close to) the fed funds rate.There are two types of federal funds rates:The federal funds effective rate is the weighted average of all the interest rates banks pay when they borrow from other banks in the country.The federal funds target rate is the rate set by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the monetary policy-making body of the Federal Reserve, to serve as the guidepost by which banks charge each other. Made up of the Fed's Board of Governors and five regional Federal Reserve Bank presidents, the FOMC meets at least eight times a year to decide the federal funds rate based on prevailing economic conditions.When people refer to the Fed "slashing the interest rate" or "raising interest rates," they usual mean the federal funds target rate.What is the current federal funds rate?On September 22, 2021, the Federal Reserve maintained the federal funds rate at a range of 0% to 0.25%. This remains unchanged from the first time the Fed lowered the benchmark rate to almost 0% on March 15, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fed funds rate averaged 5.59% from 1971 until 2020.How does the federal funds rate affect the economy?During its eight meetings a year, the FOMC can raise, lower, or keep the fed funds rate the same. But what motivates the committee to periodically change it? How does the Fed use it as an economy-adjusting tool?When it needs to stimulate economic growth - production, spending, expansion - the Fed lowers the fed funds rate. This move makes it cheaper for banks to borrow money and maintain their reserves. So these banks can then lend out their extra funds at lower financing costs, encouraging companies and individuals to take out loans to expand, invest, and buy things. It increases the money supply in the system, in technical terms.In contrast, when the Fed needs to slow down the economy - say, because prices are climbing too fast, causing rampant inflation - it raises the fed funds rate. To prevent their required reserve balance from going into the red, member banks have to pay more interest. They then raise their interest rates to clients, which tends to slow down any form of borrowing activity. When banks don't finance as much, the money supply contracts, and economic growth goes back to more sustainable levels. !function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(a){if(void 0!==a.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var e in a.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.getElementById("datawrapper-chart-"+e)||document.querySelector("iframe[src*='"+e+"']");t&&(t.style.height=a.data["datawrapper-height"][e]+"px")}}))}();How does the federal funds rate affect you?The federal funds rate is an interbank interest rate. But it has a ripple effect throughout people's financial lives, the interest they pay, and the money they earn. Among its effects:Prime rate: How the fed funds rate moves influences the movement of a number of interest rates, one of the most significant being the prime rate. The prime rate is the rate a bank can offer its best corporate or high-net-worth individual clients. Consumer loans and accounts: A shift in the prime rate influences consumer interest rates as well. When the prime rate rises or drops, you can expect a corresponding adjustment on the monthly charges of your personal loans, credit cards, and adjustable-rate mortgages. If they pay fluctuating interest, your bank accounts and CDs also earn more or less.US Treasuries and other bonds: Changes in the fed funds rate can be paralleled in the interest rates paid by newly issued Treasury notes and bonds. These in turn serve as a benchmark for corporate bond rates. Stocks: A decrease in the feds fund rate can send markets soaring, while an increase can push the markets to decline. Employment: When interest rates go down, it encourages consumers to buy more goods and services. In turn, this propels businesses to meet the demand by expanding production, hiring more workers, and raising wages.The financial takeawayThe federal funds rate is an important tool - the tool, some would say - the Federal Reserve uses to stimulate or slow down the economy. Not to mention, maintain the solvency and reliability of the nation's banks.Financial institutions, corporations, and individuals are all affected by the federal funds rate one way or another. There's not much you can do to alter the Fed's moves or even anticipate them, but it's good to understand how it can influence your daily life and finances. The Federal Reserve is the central bank of the US - here's why it's so powerful and how it affects your financial lifeWhy the Federal Reserve uses contractionary monetary policy to curb the inflation that accompanies an overheating economyWhat is a bond? How to earn a steady stream of income by loaning money to a business or governmentWhat is inflation? Why the cost of goods rise over time and what it means for the value of your moneyRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 22nd, 2021