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Tesla faces regulatory scrutiny over Autopilot update

In a letter to Tesla on Tuesday, the agency reminded the company that federal law requires automakers to initiate recalls if they find defects that pose a safety risk......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsOct 13th, 2021

Incyte"s (INCY) Going Gets Rough Despite Recent Approvals

Incyte (INCY) recent drug approvals fail to impress investors due to the FDA's warnings about increased risks of serious heart-related events, cancer, blood clots, and death for JAK inhibitors. The going has been rough for Incyte INCY of late.  While it recently won two back-to-back FDA approvals after suffering a setback earlier, investors do not seem much impressed.The FDA has approved a label expansion of its JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor, Jakafi (ruxolitinib). The drug can now be used for the treatment of chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after the failure of one or two lines of systemic therapy in adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older. The regulatory body also approved the cream formulation of ruxolitinib for the treatment of mild to moderate atopic dermatitis (AD). Ruxolitinib cream has been approved under the brand name Opzelura for the short-term and non-continuous chronic treatment of mild to moderate AD in non-immunocompromised patients 12 years of age and older.However, the FDA’s recent update on warnings about increased risks of serious heart-related events, cancer, blood clots, and death for JAK inhibitors like Pfizer’s PFE Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR and AbbVie’s ABBV Rinvoq, among others, that treat certain chronic inflammatory conditions seem to dampen hopes of other JAK inhibitors. While JAK inhibitors, Jakafi and Bristol Myers' BMY Inrebic (fedratinib), are not indicated for the treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions and are not part of the updates required for prescribing information for other inhibitors, there is a cloud of uncertainty regarding the same.Earlier, the FDA also issued a Complete Response Letter (CRL) for the biologics license application (BLA) for its intravenous PD-1 inhibitor, retifanlimab, for the treatment of adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal (SCAC) who have progressed on, or are intolerant of platinum-based chemotherapy.Jakafi is already approved for the treatment of polycythemia vera (PV) in adults who have had an inadequate response to or are intolerant of hydroxyurea, intermediate or high-risk myelofibrosis (MF), including primary MF, post-polycythemia vera MF and post-essential thrombocythemia MF in adults. It is also approved for the treatment of steroid-refractory acute GVHD in adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older.On a positive note, Jakafi sales recorded growth in the second quarter after a soft first quarter. The uptake of Pemazyre is also gaining traction. The company’s efforts to diversify its revenue base are encouraging as well. Earlier, Incyte and partner MorphoSys obtained the European Commission’s approval for tafasitamab under the brand name Minjuvi for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.But Incyte is heavily dependent on Jakafi for growth. Hence, if the label expansion does not contribute to sales or the company faces any slowdown in overall Jakafi sales, it will be detrimental to its prospects in the future.  Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. You know this company from its past glory days, but few would expect that it's poised for a monster turnaround. Fresh from a successful repositioning and flush with A-list celeb endorsements, it could rival or surpass other recent Zacks' Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in a little more than 9 months and Nvidia which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>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 Bristol Myers Squibb Company (BMY): Free Stock Analysis Report Pfizer Inc. (PFE): Free Stock Analysis Report Incyte Corporation (INCY): Free Stock Analysis Report AbbVie Inc. (ABBV): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 13th, 2021

Futures Rebound From Overnight Slide As Oil Keeps Rising

Futures Rebound From Overnight Slide As Oil Keeps Rising US equity-index futures erased earlier declines, rebounding from a loss of as much as 0.8% helped by the start of the European session and easing mounting concerns about stagflation from rising energy prices, signs of widening regulatory scrutiny by China, and the upcoming third-quarter earnings which is expected to post a sharply slower pace of growth and beats than recent record quarters. At 730am ET, Dow e-minis were up 5 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 7.25 points, or 0.16%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 46.75points, or 0.31%. Oiil rose 0.3% to $83.86/bbl while the dollar dipped and 10Y yield drifted back under 1.60%. Gains in tech stocks kept Nasdaq futures afloat on Tuesday, while energy names rose as Brent resumed gains, trading around $84/bbl on expectations that a power crisis from Asia to Europe will lift demand and tighten global balances. Higher oil prices and supply chain disruptions have set off alarm bells for businesses and consumers ahead of the third-quarter reporting season that kicks off on Wednesday with JPMorgan results.  "We believe that market participants could stay concerned over high energy prices translating into further acceleration in inflation, and thereby faster tightening by major central banks," said Charalambos Pissouros, head of research at JFD Group. In the pre-market, Tesla rose 0.7% after data showed the electric vehicle maker sold 56,006 China-made vehicles in September, the highest since it started production in Shanghai about two years ago. Oil firms including Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp gained 0.1% and 0.3%, respectively, as Brent crude hit a near-three year high on energy crunch fears. Here are the notable movers: China’s Internet sector is one of the “most undervalued” in Morningstar’s coverage, says Ivan Su, an analyst, adding that Tencent (TCEHY US) and Netease (NTES US) are top picks MGM Resorts (MGM US) rises 2% in U.S. premarket trading after stock was upgraded to outperform from neutral and price target more than doubled to a Street-high $68 at Credit Suisse Quanterix (QTRX US) jumped 20% in Monday postmarket trading after the digital-health company announced that its Simoa phospho-Tau 181 blood test has been granted breakthrough device designation by the U.S. FDA as an aid in diagnostic evaluation of Alzheimer’s disease Relay Therapeutics (RLAY US) fell 7% in Monday postmarket trading after launching a $350 million share sale via Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Cowen, Guggenheim Securities Westwater Resources (WWR US) rose as much as 26% in Monday postmarket trading after its board of directors approved construction of the first phase of a production facility in Alabama for battery ready graphite products TechnipFMC (FTI US) in focus after co. was awarded a substantial long-term charter and services contract by Petrobras for the pipelay support vessel Coral do Atlântico Fastenal, which was one of the first companies to report Q3 earnings, saw its shares fall 2.4% in premarket trading on Tuesday, after the industrial distributor said the Covid-related boost was fading. The company said growth in the quarter was slightly limited by either slower expansion or contraction in sales of certain products related to the pandemic, when compared to the previous year quarter. While there was an uptick in sales of certain Covid-related supplies, the unit price of many products was down significantly, the company said in a statement.  Third-quarter sales and profit were in line with the average analyst estimate "While investors want to believe the narrative that stock markets can continue to move higher, this belief is bumping up against the reality of how the continued rise in energy prices, as well as supply-chain pressures, are likely to impact company profit margins,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in London. In Europe, losses led by basic resources companies and carmakers outweighed gains for utilities and tech stocks, pulling the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down 0.1%. Metals miner Rio Tinto was among the worst performers, dropping 2.7%. European equities climbed off the lows having lost over 1% in early trade. Euro Stoxx 600 was down -0.35% after dropping as much as 1.3% initially, led by basic resources companies and carmakers outweighed gains for utilities and tech stocks. The DAX is off 0.3%, FTSE 100 underperforms in a quiet morning for news flow. Miners, banks and autos are the weakest sectors after China reported a sharp drop in auto sales; utilities, tech and real estate post modest gains. European tech stocks slide, with the Stoxx Tech Index dropping as much as 1.4% in third straight decline, as another broker downgrades TeamViewer, while Prosus and chip stocks come under pressure. TeamViewer shares fall as much as 5.1% after Deutsche Bank downgrades the remote software maker to hold from buy following recent guidance cut. Asian stocks fell, halting a three-day rally as uncertainty over earnings deepened amid elevated inflation, higher bond yields and the risk of a widening Chinese crackdown on private industry. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 1.2%, led by technology and communication shares. Alibaba plunged 3.9% following a rally over the past week, while Samsung Electronics tumbled to a 10-month low after at least five brokers slashed their price targets, as China’s power crisis is seen worsening supply-chain disruptions. “Given the run-up in tech so far, it’s not difficult for investors to harvest profits first before figuring out if techs can maintain their growth when yields rise,” said Justin Tang, head of Asian research at United First Partners. Shares in Hong Kong and the mainland were among the worst performers after Chinese authorities kicked off an inspection of the nation’s financial regulators and biggest state-run banks in an effort to root out corruption. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is down 12% from a February peak, with a global energy crunch lifting input prices and the debt crisis at China Evergrande Group weighing on the financial sector. Investors are waiting to see how this impacts earnings, according to Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia.  “Increasing concerns on inflation potentially being more persistent have started to show up,” he said. “This comes along with the global risk-off mood overnight, as investors look for greater clarity from the earnings season on how margins are holding up, along with the corporate economic outlook.” Japan’s Topix index also fell, halting a two-day rally, amid concerns about a global energy crunch and the possibility of a widening Chinese crackdown on private industry. The Topix fell 0.7% to 1,982.68 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 declined 0.9% to 28,230.61. SoftBank Group Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s drop, decreasing 2.4%. Out of 2,181 shares in the index, 373 rose and 1,743 fell, while 65 were unchanged. “Market conditions were improving yesterday, but pushing for higher prices got tough when the Nikkei 225 approached its key moving averages,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.  The Nikkei’s 75-day moving average is about 28,500 and the 200-day moving average is about 28,700, so some investors were taking profits, he said. Japan’s spot power price increased to the highest level in nine months, as the global energy crisis intensifies competition for generation fuel before the winter heating season. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index reversed an overnight gain as the greenback slipped against all of its Group-of-10 peers. Risk sensitive Scandinavian currencies led gains, followed by the New Zealand and Australian dollars. The pound was little changed while speculators ramped up wagers on sterling’s decline at the fastest rate in more than two years, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show, further breaking the link between anticipated rate increases and currency gains. The yen steadied after three days of declines. The Turkish lira extended its slide to a record low after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted at a possible military offensive into neighboring Syria. Fixed-income was quiet by recent standards: Treasury futures were off lows of the day, improving as S&P 500 futures pare losses during European morning, and as cash trading resumed after Monday’s holiday. The 10Y yield dipped from 1.61% to 1.59% after hitting 1.65% based on futures pricing on Monday, but the big mover was on the front end, where 2-year yields climbed as much as 4bps to 0.35% the highest level since March 2020 reflecting increased expectations for Fed rate hikes, as Treasury cash trading resumed globally. Two coupon auctions during U.S. session -- of 3-and 10-year notes -- may weigh on Treasuries however.  Treasury and gilt curves bull-flatten with gilts outperforming at the back end. Bunds have a bull-steepening bias but ranges are narrow. Peripheral spreads tighten a touch with long-end Italy outperforming peers. In commodities, Crude futures drift higher in muted trade. WTI is up 0.25% near $80.70, Brent trades just shy of a $84-handle. Spot gold remains range-bound near $1,760/oz. Base metals are mixed with LME lead and nickel holding small gains, copper and aluminum in the red. Looking at the day ahead, central bank speakers include the Fed’s Vice Chair Clarida,Bostic and Barkin, as well as theECB’s President Lagarde, Makhlouf, Knot, Villeroy, Lane and Elderson. Data highlights from the US include the JOLTS job openings for August, and the NFIB’s small business optimism index for September which came in at 99.1, below last month's 100.1. The IMF will be releasing their latest World Economic Outlook. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,351.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.6% to 454.90 MXAP down 0.9% to 194.41 MXAPJ down 1.0% to 635.42 Nikkei down 0.9% to 28,230.61 Topix down 0.7% to 1,982.68 Hang Seng Index down 1.4% to 24,962.59 Shanghai Composite down 1.2% to 3,546.94 Sensex little changed at 60,149.85 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,280.73 Kospi down 1.4% to 2,916.38 German 10Y yield fell 6 bps to -0.113% Euro up 0.1% to $1.1565 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $84.01/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,757.84 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.29 Top Overnight Headlines from Bloomberg The EU drew record demand for its debut green bond, in the sector’s biggest-ever offering. The bloc registered more than 135 billion euros ($156 billion) in orders Tuesday for a sale of 12 billion euros of securities maturing in 2037 Investors are dumping negative-yielding debt at the fastest pace since February as concerns about inflation and reduced central bank stimulus propel global interest rates higher French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled a 30-billion-euro ($35 billion) plan to create the high-tech champions of the future and reverse years of industrial decline in the euro area’s second-largest economy British companies pushed the number of workers on payrolls above pre-coronavirus levels last month, an indication of strength in the labor market that may embolden the Bank of England to raise interest rates. As the Biden administration and governments around the world celebrate another advance toward an historic global tax accord, an obscure legal question in the U.S. threatens to tear it apart Chinese property developers are suffering credit rating downgrades at the fastest pace in five years, as a recent slump in new-home sales adds to concerns about the sector’s debt woes German investor confidence declined for a fifth month in October, adding to evidence that global supply bottlenecks and a surge in inflation are weighing on the recovery in Europe’s largest economy Social Democrat Olaf Scholz’s bid to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor is running into its first test as tensions emerge in talks to bridge policy differences with the Greens and pro-business Free Democrats A more detailed breakdown of global markets from Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mostly lower following the indecisive mood stateside where the major indices gave back initial gains to finish negative amid lingering inflation and global slowdown concerns, with sentiment overnight also hampered by tighter Beijing scrutiny and with US equity futures extending on losses in which the Emini S&P retreated beneath its 100DMA. ASX 200 (-0.3%) was subdued as weakness in energy, tech and financials led the declines in Australia and with participants also digesting mixed NAB business survey data. Nikkei 225 (-0.9%) was on the backfoot after the Japan Center for Economic Research noted that GDP contracted 0.9% M/M in August and with retailers pressured after soft September sales updates from Lawson and Seven & I Holdings, while the KOSPI (-1.4%) was the laggard on return from holiday with chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix subdued as they face new international taxation rules following the recent global minimum tax deal. Hang Seng (-1.4%) and Shanghai Comp. (-1.3%) adhered to the downbeat picture following a continued liquidity drain by the PBoC and with Beijing scrutinising Chinese financial institutions’ ties with private firms, while default concerns lingered after Evergrande missed yesterday’s payments and with Modern Land China seeking a debt extension on a USD 250mln bond to avoid any potential default. Finally, 10yr JGBs eked minimal gains amid the weakness in stocks but with demand for bonds limited after the recent subdued trade in T-note futures owing to yesterday’s cash bond market closure and following softer results across all metrics in the 30yr JGB auction. Top Asian News Alibaba Stock Revival Halted on Concerns of Rising Bond Yields Iron Ore Rally Pauses as China Steel Curbs Cloud Demand Outlook China’s Star Board Sees Rough Start to Fourth Quarter: ECM Watch Citi Lists Top Global Stock Picks for ‘Disruptive Innovations’ European bourses kicked the day off choppy but have since drifted higher (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.4%; Stoxx 600 Unch) as the region remains on standby for the next catalyst, and as US earnings season officially kicks off tomorrow – not to mention the US and Chinese inflation metrics and FOMC minutes. US equity futures have also nursed earlier losses and reside in relatively flat territory at the time of writing, with broad-based performance seen in the ES (Unch), NQ (+0.2%), RTY (-0.2%), YM (Unch). From a technical standpoint, some of the Dec contracts are now hovering around their respective 100 DMAs at 4,346 for the ES, 14,744 for the NQ, whilst the RTY sees its 200 DMA at 2,215, and the YM topped its 21 DMA at 34,321. Back to Europe, cash markets see broad-based downside with the SMI (-0.1%) slightly more cushioned amid gains in heavyweight Nestle (+0.6%). Sectors kicked off the day with a defensive bias but have since seen a slight reconfiguration, with Real Estate now the top performer alongside Food & Beverages, Tech and Healthcare. On the flip side, Basic Resources holds its position as the laggard following yesterday's marked outperformance and despite base metals (ex-iron) holding onto yesterday's gains. Autos also reside at the bottom of the bunch despite constructive commentary from China's Auto Industry Body CAAM, who suggested the chip supply shortage eased in China in September and expected Q4 to improve, whilst sources suggested Toyota aims to make up some lost production as supplies rebound. In terms of individual movers, GSK (+2.3%) shares spiked higher amid reports that its USD 54bln consumer unit has reportedly attracted buyout interest, according to sources, in turn lifting the FTSE 100 Dec future by 14 points in the immediacy. Elsewhere, easyJet (-1.9%) gave up its earlier gains after refraining on guidance, and despite an overall constructive trading update whereby the Co. sees positive momentum carried into FY22, with H1 bookings double those in the same period last year. Co. expects to fly up to 70% of FY19 planned capacity in FY22. In terms of commentary, the session saw the Germany ZEW release, which saw sentiment among experts deteriorate, citing the persisting supply bottlenecks for raw materials and intermediate products. The release also noted that 49.1% of expects still expect inflation to rise further in the next six months. Heading into earnings season, experts also expect profits to go down, particularly in export-tilted sectors such a car making, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. State-side, sources suggested that EU antitrust regulators are reportedly likely to open an investigation into Nvidia's (+0.6% Pre-Mkt) USD 54bln bid from Arm as concessions were not deemed sufficient. Top European News Soybeans Near 10-Month Low as Supply Outlook Expected to Improve EasyJet Boosts Capacity as Travel Rebound Gathers Pace Currency Traders Are Betting the BOE Is About to Make a Mistake Citi Lists Top Global Stock Picks for ‘Disruptive Innovations’ In FX, the Buck has reclaimed a bit more lost ground in consolidatory trade rather than any real sign of a change in fundamentals following Monday’s semi US market holiday for Columbus Day and ahead of another fairly light data slate comprising NFIB business optimism and JOLTS. However, supply awaits the return of cash Treasuries in the form of Usd 58 bn 3 year and Usd 38 bn 10 year notes and Fed commentary picks up pace on the eve of FOMC minutes with no less than five officials scheduled to speak. Meanwhile, broad risk sentiment has taken a knock in wake of a late swoon on Wall Street to give the Greenback and underlying bid and nudge the index up to fresh post-NFP highs within a 94.226-433 band. NZD/AUD - A slight change in fortunes down under as the Kiwi derives some comfort from the fact that the Aud/Nzd has not breached 1.0600 to the upside and Nzd/Usd maintaining 0.6950+ status irrespective of mixed NZ electric card sales data, while the Aussie takes on board contrasting NAB business conditions and confidence readings in advance of consumer sentiment, with Aud/Usd rotating either side of 0.7350. EUR/CAD/GBP/CHF/JPY - All rangy and marginally mixed against their US counterpart, as the Euro straddles 1.1560, the Loonie meanders between 1.2499-62 with less fuel from flat-lining crude and the Pound tries to keep sight of 1.3600 amidst corrective moves in Eur/Gbp following a rebound through 0.8500 after somewhat inconclusive UK labour and earnings data, but hardly a wince from the single currency even though Germany’s ZEW survey missed consensus and the institute delivered a downbeat assessment of the outlook for the coming 6 months. Elsewhere, the Franc continues to hold within rough 0.9250-90 extremes and the Yen is striving to nurse outsize losses between 113.00-50 parameters, with some attention to 1 bn option expiries from 113.20-25 for the NY cut. Note also, decent expiry interest in Eur/Usd and Usd/Cad today, but not as close to current spot levels (at the 1.1615 strike in 1.4 bn and between 1.2490-1.2505 in 1.1 bn respectively). SCANDI/EM - The Nok and Sek have bounced from lows vs the Eur, and the latter perhaps taking heed of a decline in Sweden’s registered jobless rate, but the Cnh and Cny remain off recent highs against the backdrop of more Chinese regulatory rigour, this time targeting state banks and financial institutions with connections to big private sector entities and the Try has thrown in the towel in terms of its fight to fend off approaches towards 9.0000 vs the Usd. The final straw for the Lira appeared to be geopolitical, as Turkish President Erdogan said they will take the necessary steps in Syria and are determined to eliminate threats, adding that Turkey has lost its patience on the attacks coming from Syrian Kurdish YPG controlled areas. Furthermore, he stated there is a Tal Rifaat pocket controlled by YPG below Afrin and that an operation could target that area which is under Russian protection. However, Usd/Try is off a new ATH circa 9.0370 as oil comes off the boil and ip came in above forecast. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures are choppy and trade on either side of the flat mark in what is seemingly some consolidation and amid a distinct lack of catalysts to firmly dictate price action. The complex saw downticks heading into the European cash open in tandem with the overall market sentiment at the time, albeit the crude complex has since recovered off worst levels. News flow for the complex has also remained minimal as eyes now turn to any potential intervention by major economies in a bid to stem the pass-through of energy prices to consumers heading into winter. On that note, UK nat gas futures have been stable on the day but still north of GBP 2/Thm. Looking ahead, the weekly Private Inventory data has been pushed back to tomorrow on account of yesterday's Columbus Day holiday. Tomorrow will also see the release of the OPEC MOMR and EIA STEO. Focus on the former will be on any updates to its demand forecast, whilst commentary surrounding US shale could be interesting as it'll give an insight into OPEC's thinking on the threat of Shale under President Biden's "build back better" plan. Brent Dec trades on either side of USD 84/bbl (vs prev. 83.13-84.14 range) whilst WTI trades just under USD 81/bbl after earlier testing USD 80/bbl to the downside (USD 80-80.91/bbl range). Over to metals, spot gold and silver hold onto modest gains with not much to in the way of interesting price action, with the former within its overnight range above USD 1,750/oz and the latter still north of USD 22.50/oz after failing to breach the level to the downside in European hours thus far. In terms of base metals, LME copper is holding onto most of yesterday's gains, but the USD 9,500/t mark seems to be formidable resistance. Finally, Dalian and Singapore iron ore futures retreated after a four-day rally, with traders citing China's steel production regaining focus. US Event Calendar 6am: Sept. SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM 99.1,  est. 99.5, prior 100.1 10am: Aug. JOLTs Job Openings, est. 11m, prior 10.9m 11:15am: Fed’s Clarida Speaks at IIF Annual Meeting 12:30pm: Fed’s Bostic Speaks on Inflation at Peterson Institute 6pm: Fed’s Barkin Interviewed for an NPR Podcast DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap It’s my wife’s birthday today and the big treat is James Bond tomorrow night. However, I was really struggling to work out what to buy her. After 11.5 years together, I ran out of original ideas at about year three and have then scrambled round every year in an attempt to be innovative. Previous innovations have seen mixed success with the best example being the nearly-to-scale oil portrait I got commissioned of both of us from our wedding day. She had no idea and hated it at the closed eyes big reveal. It now hangs proudly in our entrance hall though. Today I’ve bought her a lower key gamble. Some of you might know that there is a US website called Cameo that you can pay famous people to record a video message for someone for a hefty fee. Well, all her childhood heroes on it were seemingly too expensive or not there. Then I saw that the most famous gymnast of all time, Nadia Comăneci, was available for a reasonable price. My wife idolised her as a kid (I think). So after this goes to press, I’m going to wake my wife up with a personalised video message from Nadia wishing her a happy birthday, saying she’s my perfect ten, and praising her for encouraging our three children to do gymnastics and telling her to keep strong while I try to get them to play golf instead. I’m not sure if this is a totally naff gift or inspired. When I purchased it I thought the latter but now I’m worried it’s the former! My guess is she says it’s naff, appreciates the gesture, but calls me out for the lack of chocolates. Maybe in this day and age a barrel of oil or a tank of petrol would have been the most valuable birthday present. With investor anticipation continuing to build ahead of tomorrow’s CPI release from the US, yesterday saw yet another round of commodity price rises that’s making it increasingly difficult for central banks to argue that inflation is in fact proving transitory. You don’t have to be too old to remember that back in the summer, those making the transitory argument cited goods like lumber as an example of how prices would begin to fall back again as the economy reopened. But not only have commodity aggregates continued to hit fresh highs since then, but lumber (+5.49%) itself followed up last week’s gains to hit its highest level in 3 months. Looking at those moves yesterday, it was a pretty broad-based advance across the commodity sphere, with big rises among energy and metals prices in particular. Oil saw fresh advances, with WTI (+1.47%) closing above $80/bbl for the first time since 2014, whilst Brent Crude (+1.53%) closed above $83/bbl for the first time since 2018. Meanwhile, Chinese coal futures (+8.00%) hit a record after the flooding in Shanxi province that we mentioned in yesterday’s edition, which has closed 60 of the 682 mines there, and this morning they’re already up another +6.41%. So far this year, the region has produced 30% of China’s coal supply, which gives you an idea as to its importance. And when it came to metals, aluminium prices (+3.30%) on the London Metal Exchange rose to their highest level since the global financial crisis, whilst Iron Ore futures in Singapore jumped +7.01% on Monday, and copper was also up +2.13%. The one respite on the inflation front was a further decline in natural gas prices, however, with the benchmark European future down -2.73%; thus bringing its declines to over -47% since the intraday high that was hit only last Wednesday. With commodity prices seeing another spike and inflation concerns resurfacing, this proved bad news for sovereign bonds as investors moved to price in a more hawkish central bank reaction. Yields in Europe rose across the continent, with those on 10yr bunds up +3.0bps to 0.12%, their highest level since May. The rise was driven by both higher inflation breakevens and real rates, and leaves bund yields just shy of their recent post-pandemic closing peak of -0.10% from mid-May. If they manage to surpass that point, that’ll leave them closer to positive territory than at any point since Q2 2019 when they last turned negative again. It was a similar story elsewhere, with 10yr yields on OATs (+2.6bps), BTPs (+3.9bps) and gilts (+3.1bps) likewise reaching their highest level in months. The sell-off occurred as money markets moved to price in further rate hikes from central banks, with investors now expecting a full 25 basis point hike from the Fed by the end of Q3 2022. It seems like another era, but at the start of this year before the Georgia Senate race, investors weren’t even pricing in a full hike by the end of 2023, whereas they’re now pricing in almost 4. So we’ve come a long way over 2021, though pre-Georgia the consensus CPI forecast on Bloomberg was just 2.0%, whereas it now stands at 4.3%, so it does fit with the story of much stronger-than-expected inflation inducing a hawkish response. Yesterday’s repricing came alongside a pretty minimal -0.15% move in the Euro versus the dollar, but that was because Europe was also seeing a similar rates repricing. Meanwhile, the UK saw its own ramping up of rate hike expectations, with investors pricing in at least an initial 15bps hike to 0.25% happening by the December meeting in just two months’ time. Overnight in Asia, stocks are trading in the red with the KOSPI (-1.46%), Shanghai Composite (-1.21%), Hang Seng (-1.20%), the Nikkei (-0.93%) and CSI (-0.82%) all trading lower on inflation concerns due to high energy costs and aggravated by a Wall Street Journal story that Chinese President Xi Jinping is increasing scrutiny of state-run banks and big financial institutions with inspections. Furthermore, there were signs of a worsening in the Evergrande debt situation, with the firm missing coupon payments on a 9.5% note due in 2022 and a 10% bond due in 2023. And there were fresh indications of a worsening situation more broadly, with Sinic Holdings Group Co. saying it doesn’t expect to pay the principal or interest on a $250m bond due on October 18. Separately in Japan, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday that he will raise pay for public workers and boost tax breaks to firms that boost wages to try and improve the country’s wealth distribution. Back to yesterday, and the commodity rally similarly weighed on thin-volume equity markets, though it took some time as the S&P 500 had initially climbed around +0.5% before paring back those gains to close down -0.69%. Before the late US sell-off, European indices were subdued, but the STOXX 600 still rose +0.05%, thanks to an outperformance from the energy sector (+1.49%), and the STOXX Banks Index (+0.13%) hit a fresh two-year high as the sector was supported by a further rise in yields. On the central bank theme, we heard from the ECB’s chief economist, Philip Lane, at a conference yesterday, where he said that “a one-off shift in the level of wages as part of the adjustment to a transitory unexpected increase in the price level does not imply a trend shift in the path of underlying inflation.” So clearly making a distinction between a more persistent pattern of wage inflation, which comes as the ECB’s recent forward guidance commits them to not hiking rates “until it sees inflation reaching two per cent well ahead of the end of its projection horizon and durably for the rest of the projection horizon”, as well as having confidence that “realised progress in underlying inflation is sufficiently advanced to be consistent with inflation stabilising at two per cent over the medium term”. Turning to the political scene, Brexit is likely to be in the headlines again today as the UK’s Brexit negotiator David Frost gives a speech in Lisbon where he’s expected to warn that the EU’s proposals on the Northern Ireland Protocol are insufficient. That comes ahead of a new set of proposals that are set to come from the EU tomorrow, with the two sides disagreeing on the extent of border controls required on trade from Northern Ireland with the rest of the UK. Those controls were put in place as part of the Brexit deal to prevent a hard border being put up between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, whilst also preserving the integrity of the EU’s single market. But the UK’s demands for adjustments have been met with opposition by the EU, and speculation has risen that the UK could trigger Article 16, which allows either side to take unilateral safeguard measures, if the protocol’s application “leads to serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade”. On the data front, there wasn’t much data to speak of with the US holiday, but Italy’s industrial production contracted by -0.2% in August, in line with expectations. To the day ahead now, andcentral bank speakers include the Fed’s Vice Chair Clarida,Bostic and Barkin, as well as theECB’s President Lagarde, Makhlouf, Knot, Villeroy, Lane and Elderson. Data highlights from the US include the JOLTS job openings for August, and the NFIB’s small business optimism index for September. In Europe, there’s also UK unemployment for August and the German ZEW Survey for October. Lastly, the IMF will be releasing their latest World Economic Outlook.     Tyler Durden Tue, 10/12/2021 - 07:56.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 12th, 2021

Here"s Why You Should Hold on to Illumina (ILMN) for Now

Investors are optimistic about Illumina (ILMN) owing to its strategic partnerships and wider market adoption of its products. Illumina, Inc. ILMN is well poised for growth in the coming quarters owing to greater market adoption of its NextSeq 1000 and 2000 platforms. The company’s notable partnerships instill optimism. Further, growth prospects in the multi-billion gene sequencing worldwide market look encouraging as well. However, delay in the acquisition of the GRAIL raises concerns. Stiff competition and escalating costs are other headwinds.Over the past year, the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has gained 20.2% against the 8.3% decline of the industry and the 29.7% rise of the S&P 500.The renowned life sciences company, which provides tools and integrated systems for analyzing genetic variation and function, has a market capitalization of $59.45 billion. Its second-quarter 2021 earnings per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 37.5%.Over the past five years, the company’s earnings grew 7.5%, compared to the industry’s 14.4% rise and the S&P 500’s 2.8% increase. The company’s long-term expected growth rate of 31.6% exceeds the industry’s long-term growth expectation of 19% and the S&P 500’s estimated 11.4% growth.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchLet’s delve deeper.Factors At PlayReproductive and Genetic Health Market Prospects High: Illumina is currently keeping well with its goals to strengthen its foothold in the multi-billion gene sequencing global market with some highly competitive products in its existing portfolio and pipeline. In the second quarter, the company noted that it has been making progress outside the United States to ensure that all expecting families have access to non-invasive prenatal tests (NIPT). Additionally, the company is seeing continued growth from the CE-IVD marked VeriSeq NIPT solution in Europe and Asia.Greater Market Adoption: The continued market adoption of Illumina’s NextSeq 1000 and 2000 platforms, and the NextSeq 550 system, raises optimism. The NextSeq Dx reported its highest shipment in the second quarter as the company witnessed a trend toward decentralization of clinical sequencing outside the United States. The company continued to experience strong customer demand for NovaSeq units. The NovaSeq shipments registered more than double growth in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the year-ago period.Partnerships Strengthen Business: We are upbeat about Illumina’s strategic partnerships with therapeutic and diagnostic service providers. During the second-quarter earnings update, Illumina confirmed the establishment of a global pathogen genomics initiative in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This collaboration is expected to help make the NGS technology and expertise accessible in areas of need. In April, the company entered into a partnership with Kartos Therapeutics to co-develop a TP53 CDx based on the content of Illumina’s CGP assay, TSO 500. Further, in March, the company and its strategic partner R-Pharm received medical device registration in Russia for Illumina NextSeq 550Dx platform and associated reagent kits.DownsidesEscalating Costs: Illumina registered a significant rise in operating costs in second-quarter 2021. Research and development expenses rose 30.3% year over year in the reported quarter. Meanwhile, selling, general and administrative expenses climbed 133.3%.GRAIL Acquisition Process Getting Tedious: At present, Illumina’s impending $7.1-billion acquisition of GRAIL is faced with regulatory complications. In April, the company filed an action in the General Court of the European Union asking to annul the European Commission’s decision asserting jurisdiction to review the acquisition mentioned above. In addition, in March, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) filed an admission complaint along with a federal court lawsuit to block the proposed acquisition of GRAIL. Apart from delaying the acquisition process, these regulatory complications are also incurring legal expenses for Illumina, thereby building pressure on the company’s bottom line.Tough Competition: Illumina faces stiff competition in the sequencing, SNP genotyping, gene expression and molecular diagnostics markets from notable players like Agilent Technologies, Inc. A. To compete effectively, the company must appropriately upgrade its organization and infrastructure and develop products with superior throughput, cost, and accuracy.Estimate TrendIllumina has been witnessing a positive estimate revision trend for 2021. Over the past 90 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for its earnings has moved north by 11.7% to $6.48.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its third-quarter 2021 revenues is pegged at $1.04 billion, suggesting a 30.9% rise from the year-ago reported number.Key PicksA few better-ranked stocks from the Medical- Biomedical and Genetics industry include  Horizon Therapeutics Public Limited Company HZNP and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated VRTX, each carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Horizon Therapeutics has a long-term earnings growth rate of 16.3%.Vertex Pharmaceuticals has a long-term earnings growth rate of 9.8%. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>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 Agilent Technologies, Inc. (A): Free Stock Analysis Report Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX): Free Stock Analysis Report Illumina, Inc. (ILMN): Free Stock Analysis Report Horizon Therapeutics Public Limited Company (HZNP): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 6th, 2021

Camber Energy: What If They Made a Whole Company Out of Red Flags? – Kerrisdale

Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake […] Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake in Viking Energy Group Inc (OTCMKTS:VKIN), an OTC-traded company with negative book value and a going-concern warning that recently violated the maximum-leverage covenant on one of its loans. (For a time, it also had a fake CFO – long story.) Nonetheless, Camber’s stock price has increased by 6x over the past month; last week, astonishingly, an average of $1.9 billion worth of Camber shares changed hands every day. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Is there any logic to this bizarre frenzy? Camber pumpers have seized upon the notion that the company is now a play on carbon capture and clean energy, citing a license agreement recently entered into by Viking. But the “ESG Clean Energy” technology license is a joke. Not only is it tiny relative to Camber’s market cap (costing only $5 million and granting exclusivity only in Canada), but it has embroiled Camber in the long-running escapades of a western Massachusetts family that once claimed to have created a revolutionary new combustion engine, only to wind up being penalized by the SEC for raising $80 million in unregistered securities offerings, often to unaccredited investors, and spending much of it on themselves. But the most fascinating part of the CEI boondoggle actually has to do with something far more basic: how many shares are there, and why has dilution been spiraling out of control? We believe the market is badly mistaken about Camber’s share count and ignorant of its terrifying capital structure. In fact, we estimate its fully diluted share count is roughly triple the widely reported number, bringing its true, fully diluted market cap, absurdly, to nearly $900 million. Since Camber is delinquent on its financials, investors have failed to fully appreciate the impact of its ongoing issuance of an unusual, highly dilutive class of convertible preferred stock. As a result of this “death spiral” preferred, Camber has already seen its share count increase 50- million-fold from early 2016 to July 2021 – and we believe it isn’t over yet, as preferred holders can and will continue to convert their securities and sell the resulting common shares. Even at the much lower valuation that investors incorrectly think Camber trades for, it’s still overvalued. The core Viking assets are low-quality and dangerously levered, while any near- term benefits from higher commodity prices will be muted by hedges established in 2020. The recent clean-energy license is nearly worthless. It’s ridiculous to have to say this, but Camber isn’t worth $900 million. If it looks like a penny stock, and it acts like a penny stock, it is a penny stock. Camber has been a penny stock before – no more than a month ago, in fact – and we expect that it will be once again. Company Background Founded in 2004, Camber was originally called Lucas Energy Resources. It went public via a reverse merger in 2006 with the plan of “capitaliz[ing] on the increasing availability of opportunistic acquisitions in the energy sector.”1 But after years of bad investments and a nearly 100% decline in its stock price, the company, which renamed itself Camber in 2017, found itself with little economic value left; faced with the prospect of losing its NYSE American listing, it cast about for new acquisitions beginning in early 2019. That’s when Viking entered the picture. Jim Miller, a member of Camber’s board, had served on the board of a micro-cap company called Guardian 8 that was working on “a proprietary new class of enhanced non-lethal weapons”; Guardian 8’s CEO, Steve Cochennet, happened to also be part owner of a Kansas-based company that operated some of Viking’s oil and gas assets and knew that Viking, whose shares traded over the counter, was interested in moving up to a national exchange.2 (In case you’re wondering, under Miller and Cochennet’s watch, Guardian 8’s stock saw its price drop to ~$0; it was delisted in 2019.3) Viking itself also had a checkered past. Previously a shell company, it was repurposed by a corporate lawyer and investment banker named Tom Simeo to create SinoCubate, “an incubator of and investor in privately held companies mainly in P.R. China.” But this business model went nowhere. In 2012, SinoCubate changed its name to Viking Investments but continued to achieve little. In 2014, Simeo brought in James A. Doris, a Canadian lawyer, as a member of the board of directors and then as president and CEO, tasked with executing on Viking’s new strategy of “acquir[ing] income-producing assets throughout North America in various sectors, including energy and real estate.” In a series of transactions, Doris gradually built up a portfolio of oil wells and other energy assets in the United States, relying on large amounts of high-cost debt to get deals done. But Viking has never achieved consistent GAAP profitability; indeed, under Doris’s leadership, from 2015 to the first half of 2021, Viking’s cumulative net income has totaled negative $105 million, and its financial statements warn of “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”4 At first, despite the Guardian 8 crew’s match-making, Camber showed little interest in Viking and pursued another acquisition instead. But, when that deal fell apart, Camber re-engaged with Viking and, in February 2020, announced an all-stock acquisition – effectively a reverse merger in which Viking would end up as the surviving company but transfer some value to incumbent Camber shareholders in exchange for the national listing. For reasons that remain somewhat unclear, this original deal structure was beset with delays, and in December 2020 (after months of insisting that deal closing was just around the corner) Camber announced that it would instead directly purchase a 51% stake in Viking; at the same time, Doris, Viking’s CEO, officially took over Camber as well. Subsequent transactions through July 2021 have brough Camber’s Viking stake up to 69.9 million shares (73% of Viking’s total common shares), in exchange for consideration in the form of a mixture of cash, debt forgiveness,5 and debt assumption, valued in the aggregate by Viking at only $50.7 million: Camber and Viking announced a new merger agreement in February 2021, aiming to take out the remaining Viking shares not owned by Camber and thus fully combine the two companies, but that plan is on hold because Camber has failed to file its last 10-K (as well as two subsequent 10-Qs) and is thus in danger of being delisted unless it catches up by November. Today, then, Camber’s absurd equity valuation rests entirely on its majority stake in a small, unprofitable oil-and-gas roll-up cobbled together by a Canadian lawyer. An Opaque Capital Structure Has Concealed the True Insanity of Camber’s Valuation What actually is Camber’s equity valuation? It sounds like a simple question, and sources like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance supply what looks like a simple answer: 104.2 million shares outstanding times a $3.09 closing price (as of October 4, 2021) equals a market cap of $322 million – absurd enough, given what Camber owns. But these figures only tell part of the story. We estimate that the correct fully diluted market cap is actually a staggering $882 million, including the impact of both Camber’s unusual, highly dilutive Series C convertible preferred stock and its convertible debt. Because Camber is delinquent on its SEC filings, it’s difficult to assemble an up-to-date picture of its balance sheet and capital structure. The widely used 104.2-million-share figure comes from an 8-K filed in July that states, in part: As of July 9, 2021, the Company had 104,195,295 shares of common stock issued and outstanding. The increase in our outstanding shares of common stock from the date of the Company’s February 23, 2021 increase in authorized shares of common stock (from 25 million shares to 250 million shares), is primarily due to conversions of shares of Series C Preferred Stock of the Company into common stock, and conversion premiums due thereon, which are payable in shares of common stock. This bland language belies the stunning magnitude of the dilution that has already taken place. Indeed, we estimate that, of the 104.2 million common shares outstanding on July 9th, 99.7% were created via the conversion of Series C preferred in the past few years – and there’s more where that came from. The terms of Camber’s preferreds are complex but boil down to the following: they accrue non- cash dividends at the sky-high rate of 24.95% per year for a notional seven years but can be converted into common shares at any time. The face value of the preferred shares converts into common shares at a fixed conversion price of $162.50 per share, far higher than the current trading price – so far, so good (from a Camber-shareholder perspective). The problem is the additional “conversion premium,” which is equal to the full seven years’ worth of dividends, or 7 x 24.95% ≈ 175% of face value, all at once, and is converted at a far lower conversion price that “will never be above approximately $0.3985 per share…regardless of the actual trading price of Camber’s common stock” (but could in principle go lower if the price crashes to new lows).6 The upshot of all this is that one share of Series C preferred is now convertible into ~43,885 shares of common stock.7 Historically, all of Camber’s Series C preferred was held by one investor: Discover Growth Fund. The terms of the preferred agreement cap Discover’s ownership of Camber’s common shares at 9.99% of the total, but nothing stops Discover from converting preferred into common up to that cap, selling off the resulting shares, converting additional preferred shares into common up to the cap, selling those common shares, etc., as Camber has stated explicitly (and as Discover has in fact done over the years) (emphasis added): Although Discover may not receive shares of common stock exceeding 9.99% of its outstanding shares of common stock immediately after affecting such conversion, this restriction does not prevent Discover from receiving shares up to the 9.99% limit, selling those shares, and then receiving the rest of the shares it is due, in one or more tranches, while still staying below the 9.99% limit. If Discover chooses to do this, it will cause substantial dilution to the then holders of its common stock. Additionally, the continued sale of shares issuable upon successive conversions will likely create significant downward pressure on the price of its common stock as Discover sells material amounts of Camber’s common stock over time and/or in a short period of time. This could place further downward pressure on the price of its common stock and in turn result in Discover receiving an ever increasing number of additional shares of common stock upon conversion of its securities, and adjustments thereof, which in turn will likely lead to further dilution, reductions in the exercise/conversion price of Discover’s securities and even more downward pressure on its common stock, which could lead to its common stock becoming devalued or worthless.8 In 2017, soon after Discover began to convert some of its first preferred shares, Camber’s then- management claimed to be shocked by the results and sued Discover for fraud, arguing that “[t]he catastrophic effect of the Discover Documents [i.e. the terms of the preferred] is so devastating that the Discover Documents are prima facie unconscionable” because “they will permit Discover to strip Camber of its value and business well beyond the simple repayment of its debt.” Camber called the documents “extremely difficult to understand” and insisted that they “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder. … Only after signing the documents did Camber and [its then CEO]…learn that Discover’s reading of the Discover Documents was that the terms that applied were the strictest and most Camber unfriendly interpretation possible.”9 But the judge wasn’t impressed, suggesting that it was Camber’s own fault for failing to read the fine print, and the case was dismissed. With no better options, Camber then repeatedly came crawling back to Discover for additional tranches of funding via preferred sales. While the recent spike in common share count to 104.2 million as of early July includes some of the impact of ongoing preferred conversion, we believe it fails to include all of it. In addition to Discover’s 2,093 shares of Series C preferred held as of February 2021, Camber issued additional shares to EMC Capital Partners, a creditor of Viking’s, as part of a January agreement to reduce Viking’s debt.10 Then, in July, Camber issued another block of preferred shares – also to Discover, we believe – to help fund Viking’s recent deals.11 We speculate that many of these preferred shares have already been converted into common shares that have subsequently been sold into a frenzied retail bid. Beyond the Series C preferred, there is one additional source of potential dilution: debt issued to Discover in three transactions from December 2020 to April 2021, totaling $20.5 million in face value, and amended in July to be convertible at a fixed price of $1.25 per share.12 We summarize our estimates of all of these sources of potential common share issuance below: Might we be wrong about this math? Absolutely – the mechanics of the Series C preferreds are so convoluted that prior Camber management sued Discover complaining that the legal documents governing them “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder.” Camber management could easily set the record straight by revealing the most up- to-date share count via an SEC filing, along with any additional clarifications about the expected future share count upon conversion of all outstanding convertible securities. But we're confident that the current share count reported in financial databases like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance significantly understates the true, fully diluted figure. An additional indication that Camber expects massive future dilution relates to the total authorized shares of common stock under its official articles of incorporation. It was only a few months ago, in February, that Camber had to hold a special shareholder meeting to increase its maximum authorized share count from 25 million to 250 million in order to accommodate all the shares to be issued because of preferred conversions. But under Camber’s July agreement to sell additional preferred shares to Discover, the company (emphasis added) agreed to include proposals relating to the approval of the July 2021 Purchase Agreement and the issuance of the shares of common stock upon conversion of the Series C Preferred Stock sold pursuant to the July 2021 Purchase Agreement, as well as an increase in authorized common stock to fulfill our obligations to issue such shares, at the Company’s next Annual Meeting, the meeting held to approve the Merger or a separate meeting in the event the Merger is terminated prior to shareholder approval, and to use commercially reasonable best efforts to obtain such approvals as soon as possible and in any event prior to January 1, 2022.13 In other words, Camber can already see that 250 million shares will soon not be enough, consistent with our estimate of ~285 million fully diluted shares above. In sum, Camber’s true overvaluation is dramatically worse than it initially appears because of the massive number of common shares that its preferred and other securities can convert into, leading to a fully diluted share count that is nearly triple the figure found in standard information sources used by investors. This enormous latent dilution, impossible to discern without combing through numerous scattered filings made by a company with no up-to-date financial statements in the public domain, means that the market is – perhaps out of ignorance – attributing close to one billion dollars of value to a very weak business. Camber’s Stake in Viking Has Little Real Value In light of Camber’s gargantuan valuation, it’s worth dwelling on some basic facts about its sole meaningful asset, a 73% stake in Viking Energy. As of 6/30/21: Viking had negative $15 million in shareholder equity/book Its financial statements noted “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going ” Of its $101.3 million in outstanding debt (at face value), nearly half (48%) was scheduled to mature and come due over the following 12 months. Viking noted that it “does not currently maintain controls and procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by the Company in the reports it files or submits under the Exchange Act are recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified by the Commission’s rules and forms.” Viking’s CEO “has concluded that these [disclosure] controls and procedures are not effective in providing reasonable assurance of compliance.” Viking disclosed that a key subsidiary, Elysium Energy, was “in default of the maximum leverage ratio covenant under the term loan agreement at June 30, 2021”; this covenant caps the entity’s total secured debt to EBITDA at 75 to 1.14 This is hardly a healthy operation. Indeed, even according to Viking’s own black-box estimates, the present value of its total proved reserves of oil and gas, using a 10% discount rate (likely generous given the company’s high debt costs), was $120 million as of 12/31/20,15 while its outstanding debt, as stated above, is $101 million – perhaps implying a sliver of residual economic value to equity holders, but not much. And while some market observers have recently gotten excited about how increases in commodity prices could benefit Camber/Viking, any near-term impact will be blunted by hedges put on by Viking in early 2020, which cover, with respect to its Elysium properties, “60% of the estimated production for 2021 and 50% of the estimated production for the period between January, 2022 to July, 2022. Theses hedges have a floor of $45 and a ceiling ranging from $52.70 to $56.00 for oil, and a floor of $2.00 and a ceiling of $2.425 for natural gas” – cutting into the benefit of any price spikes above those ceiling levels.16 Sharing our dreary view of Viking’s prospects is one of Viking’s own financial advisors, a firm called Scalar, LLC, that Viking hired to prepare a fairness opinion under the original all-stock merger agreement with Camber. Combining Viking’s own internal projections with data on comparable-company valuation multiples, Scalar concluded in October 2020 that Viking’s equity was worth somewhere between $0 and $20 million, depending on the methodology used, with the “purest” methodology – a true, full-blown DCF – yielding the lowest estimate of $0-1 million: Camber’s advisor, Mercer Capital, came to a similar conclusion: its “analysis indicated an implied equity value of Viking of $0 to $34.3 million.”17 It’s inconceivable that a majority stake in this company, deemed potentially worthless by multiple experts and clearly experiencing financial strains, could somehow justify a near-billion-dollar valuation. Instead of dwelling on the unpleasant realities of Viking’s oil and gas business, Camber has drawn investor attention to two recent transactions conducted by Viking with Camber funding: a license agreement with “ESG Clean Energy,” discussed in further detail below, and the acquisition of a 60.3% stake in Simson-Maxwell, described as “a leading manufacturer and supplier of industrial engines, power generation products, services and custom energy solutions.” But Viking paid just $8 million for its Simson-Maxwell shares,18 and the company has just 125 employees; it defies belief to think that this purchase was such a bargain as to make a material dent in Camber’s overvaluation. And what does Simson-Maxwell actually do? One of its key officers, Daryl Kruper (identified as its chairman in Camber’s press release), describes the company a bit less grandly and more concretely on his LinkedIn page: Simson Maxwell is a power systems specialist. The company assembles and sells generator sets, industrial engines, power control systems and switchgear. Simson Maxwell has service and parts facilities in Edmonton, Calgary, Prince George, Vancouver, Nanaimo and Terrace. The company has provided its western Canadian customers with exceptional service for over 70 years. In other words, Simson-Maxwell acts as a sort of distributor/consultant, packaging industrial- strength generators and engines manufactured by companies like GE and Mitsubishi into systems that can provide electrical power, often in remote areas in western Canada; Simson- Maxwell employees then drive around in vans maintaining and repairing these systems. There’s nothing obviously wrong with this business, but it’s small, regional (not just Canada – western Canada specifically), likely driven by an unpredictable flow of new large projects, and unlikely to garner a high standalone valuation. Indeed, buried in one of Viking’s agreements with Simson- Maxwell’s selling shareholders (see p. 23) are clauses giving Viking the right to purchase the rest of the company between July 2024 and July 2026 at a price of at least 8x trailing EBITDA and giving the selling shareholders the right to sell the rest of their shares during the same time frame at a price of at least 7x trailing EBITDA – the kind of multiples associated with sleepy industrial distributors, not fast-growing retail darlings. Since Simon-Maxwell has nothing to do with Viking’s pre-existing assets or (alleged) expertise in oil and gas, and Viking and Camber are hardly flush with cash, why did they make the purchase? We speculate that management is concerned about the combined company’s ability to maintain its listing on the NYSE American. For example, when describing its restruck merger agreement with Viking, Camber noted: Additional closing conditions to the Merger include that in the event the NYSE American determines that the Merger constitutes, or will constitute, a “back-door listing”/“reverse merger”, Camber (and its common stock) is required to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American, pursuant to the applicable guidance and requirements of the NYSE as of the Effective Time. What does it take to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American? There are several ways, but three require at least $4 million of positive stockholders’ equity, which Viking, the intended surviving company, doesn’t have today; another requires a market cap of greater than $75 million, which management might (quite reasonably) be concerned about achieving sustainably. That leaves a standard that requires a listed company to have $75 million in assets and revenue. With Viking running at only ~$40 million of annualized revenue, we believe management is attempting to buy up more via acquisition. In fact, if the goal is simply to “buy” GAAP revenue, the most efficient way to do it is by acquiring a stake in a low-margin, slow- growing business – little earnings power, hence a low purchase price, but plenty of revenue. And by buying a majority stake instead of the whole thing, the acquirer can further reduce the capital outlay while still being able to consolidate all of the operation’s revenue under GAAP accounting. Buying 60.3% of Simson-Maxwell seems to fit the bill, but it’s a placeholder, not a real value-creator. Camber’s Partners in the Laughable “ESG Clean Energy” Deal Have a Long History of Broken Promises and Alleged Securities Fraud The “catalyst” most commonly cited by Camber Energy bulls for the recent massive increase in the company’s stock price is an August 24th press release, “Camber Energy Secures Exclusive IP License for Patented Carbon-Capture System,” announcing that the company, via Viking, “entered into an Exclusive Intellectual Property License Agreement with ESG Clean Energy, LLC (‘ESG’) regarding ESG’s patent rights and know-how related to stationary electric power generation, including methods to utilize heat and capture carbon dioxide.” Our research suggests that the “intellectual property” in question amounts to very little: in essence, the concept of collecting the exhaust gases emitted by a natural-gas–fueled electric generator, cooling it down to distill out the water vapor, and isolating the remaining carbon dioxide. But what happens to the carbon dioxide then? The clearest answer ESG Clean Energy has given is that it “can be sold to…cannabis producers”19 to help their plants grow faster, though the vast majority of the carbon dioxide would still end up escaping into the atmosphere over time, and additional greenhouse gases would be generated in compressing and shipping this carbon dioxide to the cannabis producers, likely leading to a net worsening of carbon emissions.20 And what is Viking – which primarily extracts oil and gas from the ground, as opposed to running generators and selling electrical power – supposed to do with this technology anyway? The idea seems to be that the newly acquired Simson-Maxwell business will attempt to sell the “technology” as a value-add to customers who are buying generators in western Canada. Indeed, while Camber’s press-release headline emphasized the “exclusive” nature of the license, the license is only exclusive in Canada plus “up to twenty-five locations in the United States” – making the much vaunted deal even more trivial than it might first appear. Viking paid an upfront royalty of $1.5 million in cash in August, with additional installments of $1.5 and $2 million due by January and April 2022, respectively, for a total of $5 million. In addition, Viking “shall pay to ESG continuing royalties of not more than 15% of the net revenues of Viking generated using the Intellectual Property, with the continuing royalty percentage to be jointly determined by the parties collaboratively based on the parties’ development of realistic cashflow models resulting from initial projects utilizing the Intellectual Property, and with the parties utilizing mediation if they cannot jointly agree to the continuing royalty percentage”21 – a strangely open-ended, perhaps rushed, way of setting a royalty rate. Overall, then, Viking is paying $5 million for roughly 85% of the economics of a technology that might conceivably help “capture” CO2 emitted by electric generators in Canada (and up to 25 locations in the United States!) but then probably just re-emit it again. This is the great advance that has driven Camber to a nearly billion-dollar market cap. It’s with good reason that on ESG Clean Energy’s web site (as of early October), the list of “press releases that show that ESG Clean Energy is making waves in the distributive power industry” is blank: If the ESG Clean Energy license deal were just another trivial bit of vaporware hyped up by a promotional company and its over-eager shareholders, it would be problematic but unremarkable; things like that happen all the time. But it’s the nature and history of Camber/Viking’s counterparty in the ESG deal that truly makes the situation sublime. ESG Clean Energy is in fact an offshoot of the Scuderi Group, a family business in western Massachusetts created to develop the now deceased Carmelo Scuderi’s idea for a revolutionary new type of engine. (In a 2005 AP article entitled “Engine design draws skepticism,” an MIT professor “said the creation is almost certain to fail.”) Two of Carmelo’s children, Nick and Sal, appeared in a recent ESG Clean Energy video with Camber’s CEO, who called Sal “more of the brains behind the operation” but didn’t state his official role – interesting since documents associated with ESG Clean Energy’s recent small-scale capital raises don’t mention Sal at all. Buried in Viking’s contract with ESG Clean Energy is the following section, indicating that the patents and technology underlying the deal actually belong in the first instance to the Scuderi Group, Inc.: 2.6 Demonstration of ESG’s Exclusive License with Scuderi Group and Right to Grant Licenses in this Agreement. ESG shall provide necessary documentation to Viking which demonstrates ESG’s right to grant the licenses in this Section 2 of this Agreement. For the avoidance of doubt, ESG shall provide necessary documentation that verifies the terms and conditions of ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group, Inc., a Delaware USA corporation, having an address of 1111 Elm Street, Suite 33, West Springfield, MA 01089 USA (“Scuderi Group”), and that nothing within ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group is inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement. In fact, the ESG Clean Energy entity itself was originally called Scuderi Clean Energy but changed its name in 2019; its subsidiary ESG-H1, LLC, which presides over a long-delayed power-generation project in the small city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (discussed further below), used to be called Scuderi Holyoke Power LLC but also changed its name in 2019.22 The SEC provided a good summary of the Scuderi Group’s history in a 2013 cease-and-desist order that imposed a $100,000 civil money penalty on Sal Scuderi (emphasis added): Founded in 2002, Scuderi Group has been in the business of developing a new internal combustion engine design. Scuderi Group’s business plan is to develop, patent, and license its engine technology to automobile companies and other large engine manufacturers. Scuderi Group, which considers itself a development stage company, has not generated any revenue… …These proceedings arise out of unregistered, non-exempt stock offerings and misleading disclosures regarding the use of offering proceeds by Scuderi Group and Mr. Scuderi, the company’s president. Between 2004 and 2011, Scuderi Group sold more than $80 million worth of securities through offerings that were not registered with the Commission and did not qualify for any of the exemptions from the Securities Act’s registration requirement. The company’s private placement memoranda informed investors that Scuderi Group intended to use the proceeds from its offerings for “general corporate purposes, including working capital.” In fact, the company was making significant payments to Scuderi family members for non-corporate purposes, including, large, ad hoc bonus payments to Scuderi family employees to cover personal expenses; payments to family members who provided no services to Scuderi; loans to Scuderi family members that were undocumented, with no written interest and repayment terms; large loans to fund $20 million personal insurance policies for six of the Scuderi siblings for which the company has not been, and will not be, repaid; and personal estate planning services for the Scuderi family. Between 2008 and 2011, a period when Scuderi Group sold more than $75 million in securities despite not obtaining any revenue, Mr. Scuderi authorized more than $3.2 million in Scuderi Group spending on such purposes. …In connection with these offerings [of stock], Scuderi Group disseminated more than 3,000 PPMs [private placement memoranda] to potential investors, directly and through third parties. Scuderi Group found these potential investors by, among other things, conducting hundreds of roadshows across the U.S.; hiring a registered broker-dealer to find investors; and paying numerous intermediaries to encourage people to attend meetings that Scuderi Group arranged for potential investors. …Scuderi Group’s own documents reflect that, in total, over 90 of the company’s investors were non-accredited investors… The Scuderi Group and Sal Scuderi neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings but agreed to stop violating securities law. Contemporary local news coverage of the regulatory action added color to the SEC’s description of the Scuderis’ fund-raising tactics (emphasis added): Here on Long Island, folks like HVAC specialist Bill Constantine were early investors, hoping to earn a windfall from Scuderi licensing the idea to every engine manufacturer in the world. Constantine said he was familiar with the Scuderis because he worked at an Islandia company that distributed an oil-less compressor for a refrigerant recovery system designed by the family patriarch. Constantine told [Long Island Business News] he began investing in the engine in 2007, getting many of his friends and family to put their money in, too. The company held an invitation-only sales pitch at the Marriott in Islandia in February 2011. Commercial real estate broker George Tsunis said he was asked to recruit investors for the Scuderi Group, but declined after hearing the pitch. “They were talking about doing business with Volkswagen and Mercedes, but everything was on the come,” Tsunis said. “They were having a party and nobody came.” Hot on the heels of the SEC action, an individual investor who had purchased $197,000 of Scuderi Group preferred units sued the Scuderi Group as well as Sal, Nick, Deborah, Stephen, and Ruth Scuderi individually, alleging, among other things, securities fraud (e.g. “untrue statements of material fact” in offering memoranda). This case was settled out of court in 2016 after the judge reportedly “said from the bench that he was likely to grant summary judgement for [the] plaintiff. … That ruling would have clear the way for other investors in Scuderi to claim at least part of a monetary settlement.” (Two other investors filed a similar lawsuit in 2017 but had it dismissed in 2018 because they ran afoul of the statute of limitations.23) The Scuderi Group put on a brave face, saying publicly, “The company is very pleased to put the SEC matter behind it and return focus to its technology.” In fact, in December 2013, just months after the SEC news broke, the company entered into a “Cooperative Consortium Agreement” with Hino Motors, a Japanese manufacturer, creating an “engineering research group” to further develop the Scuderi engine concept. “Hino paid Scuderi an initial fee of $150,000 to join the Consortium Group, which was to be refunded if Scuderi was unable to raise the funding necessary to start the Project by the Commencement Date,” in the words of Hino’s later lawsuit.24 Sure enough, the Scuderi Group ended up canceling the project in early October 2014 “due to funding and participant issues” – but it didn’t pay back the $150,000. Hino’s lawsuit documents Stephen Scuderi’s long series of emailed excuses: 10/31/14: “I must apologize, but we are going to be a little late in our refund of the Consortium Fee of $150,000. I am sure you have been able to deduce that we have a fair amount of challenging financial problems that we are working through. I am counting on financing for our current backlog of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) projects to provide the capital to refund the Consortium Fee. Though we are very optimistic that the financial package for our PPA projects will be completed successfully, the process is taking a little longer than I originally expected to complete (approximately 3 months longer).” 11/25/14: “I am confident that we can pay Hino back its refund by the end of January. … The reason I have been slow to respond is because I was waiting for feedback from a few large cornerstone investors that we have been negotiating with. The negotiations have been progressing very well and we are close to a comprehensive financing deal, but (as often happens) the back and forth of the negotiating process takes ” 1/12/15: “We have given a proposal to the potential high-end investors that is most interested in investing a large sum of money into Scuderi Group. That investor has done his due-diligence on our company and has communicated to us that he likes our proposal but wants to give us a counter ” 1/31/15: “The individual I spoke of last month is one of several high net worth individuals that are currently evaluating investing a significant amount of equity capital into our That particular individual has not yet responded with a counter proposal, because he wishes to complete a study on the power generation market as part of his due diligence effort first. Though we learned of the study only recently, we believe that his enthusiasm for investing in Scuderi Group remains as strong as ever and steady progress is being made with the other high net worth individuals as well. … I ask only that you be patient for a short while longer as we make every effort possible to raise the monies need[ed] to refund Hino its consortium fee.” Fed up, Hino sued instead of waiting for the next excuse – but ended up discovering that the Scuderi bank account to which it had wired the $150,000 now contained only about $64,000. Hino and the Scuderi Group then entered into a settlement in which that account balance was supposed to be immediately handed over to Hino, with the remainder plus interest to be paid back later – but Scuderi didn’t even comply with its own settlement, forcing Hino to re-initiate its lawsuit and obtain an official court judgment against Scuderi. Pursuant to that judgment, Hino formally requested an array of documents like tax returns and bank statements, but Scuderi simply ignored these requests, using the following brazen logic:25 Though as of this date, the execution has not been satisfied, Scuderi continues to operate in the ordinary course of business and reasonably expects to have money available to satisfy the execution in full in the near future. … Responding to the post- judgment discovery requests, as a practical matter, will not enable Scuderi to pay Hino any faster than can be achieved by Scuderi using all of its resources and efforts to conduct its day-to-day business operations and will only serve to impose additional and unnecessary costs on both parties. Scuderi has offered and is willing to make payments every 30 days to Hino in amounts not less than $10,000 until the execution is satisfied in full. Shortly thereafter, in March 2016, Hino dropped its case, perhaps having chosen to take the $10,000 per month rather than continue to tangle in court with the Scuderis (though we don’t know for sure). With its name tarnished by disgruntled investors and the SEC, and at least one of its bank accounts wiped out by Hino Motors, the Scuderi Group didn’t appear to have a bright future. But then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new business was born: Scuderi Clean Energy, “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group, Inc. … formed in October 2015 to market Scuderi Engine Technology to the power generation industry.” (Over time, references to the troubled “Scuderi Engine Technology” have faded away; today ESG Clean Energy is purportedly planning to use standard, off-the-shelf Caterpillar engines. And while an early press release described Scuderi Clean Energy as “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group,” the current Scuderi/ESG Clean Energy, LLC, appears to have been created later as its own (nominally) independent entity, led by Nick Scuderi.) As the emailed excuses in the Hino dispute suggested, this pivot to “clean energy” and electric power generation had been in the works for some time, enabling Scuderi Clean Energy to hit the ground running by signing a deal with Holyoke Gas and Electric, a small utility company owned by the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (population 38,238) in December 2015. The basic idea was that Scuderi Clean Energy would install a large natural-gas generator and associated equipment on a vacant lot and use it to supply Holyoke Gas and Electric with supplemental electric power, especially during “peak demand periods in the summer.”26 But it appears that, from day one, Holyoke had its doubts. In its 2015 annual report (p. 80), the company wrote (emphasis added): In December 2015, the Department contracted with Scuderi Clean Energy, LLC under a twenty (20) year [power purchase agreement] for a 4.375 MW [megawatt] natural gas generator. Uncertain if this project will move forward; however Department mitigated market and development risk by ensuring interconnection costs are born by other party and that rates under PPA are discounted to full wholesale energy and resulting load reduction cost savings (where and if applicable). Holyoke was right to be uncertain. Though its 2017 annual report optimistically said, “Expected Commercial Operation date is April 1, 2018” (p. 90), the 2018 annual report changed to “Expected Commercial Operation is unknown at this time” – language that had to be repeated verbatim in the 2019 and 2020 annual reports. Six years after the contract was signed, the Scuderi Clean Energy, now ESG Clean Energy, project still hasn’t produced one iota of power, let alone one dollar of revenue. What it has produced, however, is funding from retail investors, though perhaps not as much as the Scuderis could have hoped. Beginning in 2017, Scuderi Clean Energy managed to sell roughly $1.3 million27 in 5-year “TIGRcub” bonds (Top-Line Income Generation Rights Certificates) on the small online Entrex platform by advertising a 12% “minimum yield” and 16.72% “projected IRR” (based on 18.84% “revenue participation”) over a 5-year term. While we don’t know the exact terms of these bonds, we believe that, at least early on, interest payments were covered by some sort of prepaid insurance policy, while later payments depend on (so far nonexistent) revenue from the Holyoke project. But Scuderi Clean Energy had been aiming to raise $6 million to complete the project, not $1 million; indeed, this was only supposed to be the first component of a whole empire of “Scuderi power plants”28 that would require over $100 million to build but were supposedly already under contract.29 So far, however, nothing has come of these other projects, and, seemingly suffering from insufficient funding, the Holyoke effort languished. (Of course, it might have been more investor-friendly if Scuderi Clean Energy had only accepted funding on the condition that there was enough to actually complete construction.) Under the new ESG Clean Energy name, the Scuderis tried in 2019 to raise capital again, this time in the form of $5 million of preferred units marketed as a “5 year tax free Investment with 18% cash-on-cash return,” but, based on an SEC filing, it appears that the offering didn’t go well, raising just $150,000. With funding still limited and the Holyoke project far from finished, the clock is ticking: the $1.3 million of bonds will begin to mature in early 2022. It was thus fortunate that Viking came along when it did to pay ESG Clean Energy a $1.5 million upfront royalty for its incredible technology. Interestingly, ESG Clean Energy began in late 2020 to provide extremely detailed updates on its Holyoke construction progress, including items as prosaic as “Throughout the week, ESG had met with and continued to exchange numerous e-mails with our mechanical engineering firm.” With frequent references to the “very fluid environment,” the tone is unmistakably defensive. Consider the September update (emphasis not added): Reading between the lines, we believe the intended message is this: “We didn’t just take your money and run – honest! We’re working hard!” Nonetheless, someone appears to be unhappy, as indicated by the FINRA BrokerCheck report for one Eric Willer, a former employee of Fusion Analytics, which was listed as a recipient of sales compensation in connection with the Scuderi Clean Energy bond offerings. Willer may now be in hot water: a disclosure notice dated 3/31/2021 reads: “Wells Notice received as a preliminary determination to recommend disciplinary action of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and recommendation without due diligence in the sale of bonds issued by Scuderi Holyoke,” with a further investigation still pending. We wait eagerly for additional updates. Why does the saga of the Scuderis matter? Many Camber investors seem to have convinced themselves that the ESG Clean Energy “carbon capture” IP licensed by Viking has enormous value and can plausibly justify hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental market cap. As we explained above, we find this thoroughly implausible even without getting into Scuderi family history: in the end, the “technology” will at best add a smidgen of value to some generators in Canada. But track records matter too, and the Scuderi track record of failed R&D, delays, excuses, and alleged misuse of funds is worth considering. These people have spent six years trying and failing to sell power to a single municipally owned utility company in a single small city in western Massachusetts. Are they really about to end climate change? The Case of the Fictitious CFO Since Camber is effectively a bet on Viking, and Viking, in its current form, has been assembled by James Doris, it’s important to assess Doris’s probity and good judgment. In that connection, it’s noteworthy that, from December 2014 to July 2016, at the very start of Doris’s reign as Viking’s CEO and president, the company’s CFO, Guangfang “Cecile” Yang, was apparently fictitious. (Covering the case in 2019, Dealbreaker used the headline “Possibly Imaginary CFO Grounds For Very Real Fraud Lawsuit.”) This strange situation was brought to light by an SEC lawsuit against Viking’s founder, Tom Simeo; just last month, a US district court granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC against Simeo, but Simeo’s penalties have yet to be determined.30 The court’s opinion provided a good overview of the facts (references omitted, emphasis added): In 2013, Simeo hired Yang, who lives in Shanghai, China, to be Viking’s CFO. Yang served in that position until she purportedly resigned in July 2016. When Yang joined the company, Simeo fabricated a standing resignation letter, in which Yang purported to “irrevocably” resign her position with Viking “at any time desired by the Company” and “[u]pon notification that the Company accepted [her] resignation”…Simeo forged Yang’s signature on this document. This letter allowed Simeo to remove Yang from the position of CFO whenever he pleased. Simeo also fabricated a power of attorney purportedly signed by Yang that allowed Simeo to “affix Yang’s signature to any and all documents,” including documents that Viking had to file with the SEC. Viking represented to the public that Yang was the company’s CFO and a member of its Board of Directors. But “Yang never actually functioned as Viking’s CFO.” She “was not involved in the financial and strategic decisions” of Viking during the Relevant Period. Nor did she play any role in “preparing Viking’s financial statements or public filings.” Indeed, at least as of April 3, 2015, Yang did not do “any work” on Viking’s financial statements and did not speak with anyone who was preparing them. She also did not “review or evaluate Viking’s internal controls over financial reporting.” Further, during most or all of the Relevant Period, Viking did not compensate Yang despite the fact that she was the company’s highest ranking financial employee. Nevertheless, Simeo says that he personally paid her in cash. Yang’s “sole point of contact” at Viking was Simeo. Indeed Simeo was “the only person at Viking who communicated with Yang.” Thus many people at Viking never interacted with Yang. Despite the fact that Doris has served as Viking’s CEO since December 2014, he “has never met or spoken to Yang either in person or through any other means, and he has never communicated with Yang in writing.” … To think Yang served as CFO during this time, but the CEO and other individuals involved with Viking’s SEC filings never once spoke with her, strains all logical credulity. It remains unclear whether Yang is even a real person. When the SEC asked Simeo directly (“Is it the case that you made up the existence of Ms. Yang?”) he responded by “invoking the Fifth Amendment.”31 While the SEC’s efforts thus far have focused on Simeo, the case clearly raises the question of what Doris knew and when he knew it. Indeed, though many of the required Sarbanes-Oxley certifications of Viking’s financial statements during the Yang period were signed by Simeo in his role as chairman, Doris did personally sign off on an amended 2015 10-K that refers to Yang as CFO through July 2016 and includes her complete, apparently fictitious, biography. Viking has also disclosed the following, which we believe pertains to the Yang affair (emphasis added): In April of 2019, the staff (the “Staff”) of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement notified the Company that the Staff had made a preliminary determination to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action against the Company, as well as against its CEO and its CFO, for alleged violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [laws that pertain to securities fraud] during the period from early 2014 through late 2016. The Staff’s notice is not a formal allegation or a finding of wrongdoing by the Company, and the Company has communicated with the Staff regarding its preliminary determination. The Company believes it has adequate defenses and intends to vigorously defend any enforcement action that may be initiated by the SEC.32 Perhaps the SEC has moved on from this matter and will let Doris and Viking off the hook, but the fact pattern is eyebrow-raising nonetheless. A similarly troubling incident came soon after the time of Yang’s “resignation,” when Viking’s auditing firm resigned, withdrew its recent audit report, and wrote a letter “advising the Company that it believed an illegal act may have occurred” – because of concerns that had nothing to do with Yang. First, Viking accounted for the timing of a grant of shares to a consultant in apparent contradiction of the terms of the written agreement with the consultant – a seemingly minor issue. But, under scrutiny from the auditor, Viking “produced a letter… (the version which was provided to us was unsigned), from the consultant stating that the Agreement was invalidated verbally.” Reading between the lines, the “uncomfortable” auditor suspected that this letter was a fake, created just to get him off Viking’s back. In another incident, the auditor “became aware that seven of the company’s loans…were due to be repaid” in August 2016 but hadn’t been, creating a default that would in turn “trigger[] a cross-default clause contained in 17 additional loans” – but Viking claimed it “had secured an oral extension to the loans from the broker-dealer representing the lenders by September 6, 2016” – after the loans’ maturity dates – “so the Company did not need to disclose ‘the defaults under these loans’ after such time since the loans were not in default.” It’s easy to see why an auditor would object to this attitude toward financial disclosure – no need to mention a default in August as long as you can secure a verbal agreement resolving it by September! Against this backdrop of disturbing behavior, the fact that Camber just dismissed its auditing firm three weeks ago on September 16th, even with delisting looming if the company can’t become current again with its SEC filings by November, seems even more unsettling. Have Camber and Viking management earned investors’ trust? Conclusion It’s not clear why, back in 2017, Lucas Energy changed its name to “Camber” specifically, but we’d like to think the inspiration was England’s Camber Castle. According to Atlas Obscura, the castle was supposed to help defend the English coast, but it took so long to build that its “advanced design was obsolete by the time of its completion,” and changes in the local environment meant that “the sea had receded so far that cannons fired from the fort would no longer be able to reach any invading ships.” Still, the useless castle was “manned and serviced” for nearly a century before being officially decommissioned. Today, Camber “lies derelict and almost unheard of.” But what’s in a name? Article by Kerrisdale Capital Management Updated on Oct 5, 2021, 12:06 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 5th, 2021

DeFi Platform "Compound" Mistakenly Distributes $90 Million In Free Tokens To Its Users

DeFi Platform 'Compound' Mistakenly Distributes $90 Million In Free Tokens To Its Users Christmas came early for some users of decentralized finance platform Compound this week, when a software bug resulted in $90 million in crypto being sent out randomly. The company's CEO was left "begging users" to send it back, according to Bloomberg. DeFi platforms, which have made it part of their perceived mission to try and deplatform traditional banks, will likely draw regulatory scrutiny and lose some favor in the court of public opinion due to the ordeal, which was widely publicized.  While advocates for DeFi cite code as the word of law, skeptics are quick to point out that this isn't much of an assurance when the code contains mistakes.  Andrew Park, a senior policy analyst for Americans for Financial Reform, said: “There are reasons to criticize the existing banking system, but there are a lot of safeguards in place to prevent these kinds of things from happening. If I have my money in Compound, how much faith am I going to have in that system now?” Another gaping hole in a DeFi project was exposed back in August, when $600 million in tokens was stolen before being returned by the hacker responsible. Compound allows "users to lend out cryptocurrencies and earn interest". It's run by a distributed network of users that use smart contracts. Its token, COMP, gives users a say on how the protocol works and trades at about $319 per coin. On Wednesday of last week, users approved an update to Compound's platform. CEO Robert Leshner then said on Twitter the bug had caused too much COMP to go to some users. He had no way of stopping or pausing the distribution of the tokens due to the decentralized nature of the platform. The excess tokens distributed were worth about $90 million. Leshner defended the platform after the incident: “This is not an event that calls into question whether DeFi can be operated safely. It’s a wake up call for decentralized, community-run protocols to improve the processes by which changes are introduced." “Open source, decentralized protocols are early & hard. But every hiccup leads to a more anti-fragile system," he concluded. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/04/2021 - 04:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 4th, 2021

Cathie Wood"s Ark Invest snapped up $55 million in Twitter stock after it rolled out its bitcoin-tipping feature

The Twitter bet reflects Wood's thinking that regulatory issues for digital assets will be manageable. Cathie Wood. Brendan McDermid/Reuters Cathie Wood's Ark Invest bought about 830,000 Twitter shares worth about $55 million on Thursday. She bought stock after the social-media company said it will let users send and get tips in bitcoin. The Twitter bet reflects Woods' thinking that regulatory issues for digital assets will be manageable. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Cathie Wood's Ark Invest bought about 830,000 Twitter shares worth $55 million Thursday after the social-a company rolled out a feature that enables users to send and receive tips in bitcoin.The investment firm's flagship fund ARK Innovation ETF purchased 661,141 shares in the company, while the ARK Next Generation Internet ETF picked up another 168,766 shares, according to a trade notification update.Cathie Wood's Twitter bet reflects her thinking that ongoing regulatory issues for digital assets will be manageable. Rule-enforcing agencies around the world have intensified their scrutiny of exchanges and cryptocurrencies as they have become more popular.In the US, Securities and Exchange Commission boss Chair Gary Gensler has taken a tough stance, saying recently that cryptocurrencies might not be a viable form of payment for long-term use. The SEC chairman has called for greater investor protection around the industry, stoking fears that Wall Street's top regulator is working overtime to create a set of rules that may limit innovation within the volatile cryptocurrency market.But Wood, whose investing strategy is centered around disruption innovation in tech, recently made a bullish prediction for bitcoin, saying it could hit as much as $500,000 in five years. The digital asset was trading at $42,563 Friday, 3.5% lower on the day, according to data from CoinDesk.Bitcoin tipping is not the only new feature Twitter flagged. The social network plans to allow its users to connect their crypto wallets to facilitate bitcoin tips, and to authenticate non-fungible tokens displayed on profiles as belonging to the account holder. There are no concrete plans for NFTs yet, but Twitter has said it's in the exploration process.Another new feature announced by Twitter is Super Follows, a monthly subscription service where creators charge a fee for access to premium content.Twitter was last trading at $66.72 per share on Friday, and is up 23% so far this year. Read More: Veteran professor Erik Gordon outlines why he doesn't expect a stock-market crash, calls Cathie Wood a dot-com 'throwback' for her grand claims, and warns against owning meme stocksRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

Healthcare stocks are the most shorted as sector faces increasing regulatory scrutiny, report says

Investors have increased short bets on healthcare stocks as the industry faces potentially more scrutiny from the Biden administra.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 20th, 2021

Facebook faces new regulatory backlash over data privacy

Facebook is facing renewed regulatory scrutiny around the world in the wake of new allegations over how it handles user data......»»

Category: topSource: moneyJun 4th, 2018

Worry Over Rising Costs Trips Up Twitter Stock

Twitter shares are taking a thumping in the wake of a report that cautions the company faces rising costs amid stiff competition and regulatory scrutiny......»»

Category: topSource: barronsSep 17th, 2018

Facial Recognition Apps For Home Quarantine A "Privacy Disaster": Report

Facial Recognition Apps For Home Quarantine A "Privacy Disaster": Report Authored by Daniel Yeng via The Epoch Times, A new report from the left-leaning Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology has warned state-level governments to avoid crossing into “new frontiers” of citizen surveillance following the increasing adoption of home quarantine apps in the country. Currently, South Australia, New South Wales, and Victoria are trialling such apps, which use geolocation and facial recognition technology to help monitor compliance with COVID-19 quarantine measures. For example, over 97,000 residents have already used Western Australia’s home quarantine app, the G2G pass. The report called on state governments to “regain the public’s trust” after police (in Queensland and Western Australia) were caught accessing data collected in COVID-19 contact tracing apps to assist in investigations. “It is important to learn the lessons of recent history and not allow moments of global crisis, like the pandemic, to reshape the way surveillance technology is used,” Peter Lewis, director of the Centre for Responsible Technology, said in a press release on Oct. 11. “Twenty years ago, the world responded to 9/11 and the threat of terror by forcing technology companies to access the search history of their users, something that had never been contemplated before. “Once this increased degree of surveillance was normalised, it was adopted by corporations like Google and Facebook to track users and to target ads, and by governments around the world to control their citizens. A child uses an Apple smartphone in this undated file image (PA) “While it is important to get quarantine models right, the idea that facial recognition technology should be the primary monitoring tool for home quarantine should be treated with real scepticism,” he said. Lewis called on governments to recognise the deficiencies in facial recognition technology and the risks it posed to privacy rights. The report stated that the increasing use of surveillance technology globally to monitor compliance was a “troubling trend” and warned of the “normalisation of surveillance culture.” It noted that while home quarantine was a preferred option over hotel quarantine—which can be costly and demanding on individuals—it was unclear whether governments had considered the full implications of using such technology, noting similar concerns with vaccine passport apps. “The most prominent case study for successful use of facial recognition to combat the pandemic comes from China, which should be taken with a grain of salt given the country’s history of privacy abuses,” the report stated. The Centre recommended that facial recognition be limited to single-use and for there to be precise expiration dates for any data collected. Further, the group called on state governments to update laws to cover facial recognition and stronger human rights protections. South Australia’s home quarantine app, Quarantine SA, is set to become the national model once trials are deemed successful. Residents entering home quarantine are required to download the app and will need to “check-in” with the app at random intervals during their quarantine period of two weeks. Users have just 15 minutes to respond to a random check-in notification (in Western Australia, this is just five minutes) by scanning their faces. If they miss a scan, they will receive a follow-up phone call from the Home Quarantine SA team to discuss the reason why. If the individual misses the phone call, a compliance officer may be sent to the approved address to check on their situation. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/16/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge20 hr. 15 min. ago

Walgreens (WBA) Hits 300M Milestone With Vitamin Angels

Walgreens (WBA) and Vitamin Angels are looking to hit a new goal of reaching 500 million women and children by the end of August 2025. Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. WBA recently announced that more than 300 million women and children worldwide have received life-changing vitamins and minerals through the eight-year partnership with Vitamin Angels. This milestone represents the commitment of both the companies to improve the health and well-being of women and children globally.Vitamin Angels is a charity that provides life-saving vitamins to mothers and children at risk of malnutrition.It is worth mentioning that Walgreens has helped millions of mothers and children at risk of malnutrition by offering life-saving nutrients. Moreover, with the achievement of 300 million milestones, the companies are looking to hit a new goal of reaching 500 million women and children by the end of August 2025, which is the end of Walgreens’ fiscal year.More on the NewsWalgreens has supported Vitamin Angels’ efforts to offer vitamins and minerals to malnourished women and children worldwide since 2013. Vitamin Angels helps populations at-risk, specifically pregnant women, new mothers and children below five, to gain access to life-changing vitamins and minerals.In September 2021, Walgreens and Vitamin Angels announced a new, prenatal vitamin pilot program in 16 Walgreens stores on the South and West Side of Chicago. This pilot program further solidifies the continued commitment to health equity, specifically as it relates to maternal health.Significance of the EffortsIn the United States, 25% of pregnant women experience limited access to prenatal vitamins and minerals due to insurance coverage gaps.  The population interested in the prenatal vitamin pilot program will get vouchers from a Walgreens community partner for a free six-month supply of prenatal vitamins.Generally, 1% of retail sales of select vitamins and supplements sold at Walgreens and on Walgreens.com supports mothers and children in the United States and worldwide. Vitamin Angels works directly with more than 2,000 program partners to put the vitamins directly in the hands of women and children to help meet the nutritional needs of underserved communities in the United States and around the world.Industry ProspectsPer a report by Grand View Research, the global prenatal vitamin supplement market size is expected to reach $673.8 million by 2025, at a CAGR of 8.6%.The factors driving the market are improper nutrition to the baby, rise in other congenital disabilities and increasing awareness regarding the advantages of prenatal supplements.Walgreens Developments in Health and Wellness SpaceIn April 2021, Walgreens launched No7 Beauty Company -- a consumer-led beauty business creating beauty brands for every skin type, ethnicity, age and texture that everyone can trust. No7 Beauty Company is positioned to develop omnichannel offerings with Walgreens retailers and other new and existing retail partners worldwide to offer consumers differentiated products and shopping experiences.During the July 2021 update, Walgreens also noted that more than 500 beauty brands are now available at Walgreens Boots, with 34 new brands launched in fiscal 2021.Developments by Other CompaniesAt present, Walgreens faces tough competition in the field of Health and Wellness space from competitors like Walmart Inc. WMT, The Kroger Co. KR and Rite Aid Corporation RAD.In September 2021, Walmart announced a new partnership with Epic to help make it simple for customers to live healthier. Epic’s platform will support all of Walmart’s health and wellness lines as it is rolled out and will first be implemented in four new Walmart Health Centers opening in Florida in early 2022.In August 2021, Kroger collaborated with Lyft Healthcare to provide access to discounted rides to and from COVID-19 vaccine appointments. The company also teamed up with local sports icon to drive awareness and access in the underserved communities. To date, the company has provided more than 6.7 million doses of the vaccine and continues to drive availability and education.During the June 2021 update, Rite Aid noted that the company is focused on women and children's health and has developed and provided resources pertaining to traditional alternative and lifestyle therapies to help women feel and look good. The company continues to witness growth in the front-end business with strength in key categories, such as vitamins, color cosmetics, and baby care, focused on enhancing the assortment for customers. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>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 Rite Aid Corporation (RAD): Free Stock Analysis Report Walmart Inc. (WMT): Free Stock Analysis Report The Kroger Co. (KR): Free Stock Analysis Report Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 15th, 2021

Deciphera (DCPH) Thrives on Qinlock, Overdependence a Woe

Deciphera's (DCPH) Qinlock is approved for treating advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumors. The drug has seen solid uptake since its launch. Heavy dependence on Qinlock for growth remains a concern. Deciphera Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s DCPH sole marketed drug, Qinlock, is approved for the treatment of adult patients with advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumors (“GIST”) who have received prior treatment with three or more kinase inhibitors, including Novartis’ NVS Gleevec (imatinib). The initial uptake of the drug has been strong since its approval in May 2020.The company submitted and received validation of a marketing authorization application for Qinlock in fourth-line GIST from the EMA. In September 2021, the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use rendered a positive opinion, recommending approval for Qinlock to treat the given indication. A potential EMA approval is expected later in 2021.Deciphera is also working to expand the label of Qinlock in second-line GIST. A phase III study — INTRIGUE —is comparing Qinlock to Pfizer’s PFE Sutent (sunitinib) in patients with second-line GIST. Top-line results from this study are expected later in the ongoing year. The company also plans to initiate a phase I/IIb study of Qinlock in combination with Mektovi (binimetinib), an approved MEK inhibitor, to address post-imatinib GIST patients in fourth-quarter 2021. Potential label expansion of the drug can boost sales and drive growth in the days ahead.Deciphera has a diverse pipeline, and is advancing multiple drug candidates in various stages of clinical development. The company is evaluating vimseltinib for the potential treatment of tenosynovial giant cell tumor. The company is also developing rebastinib, which is being studied in two phase Ib/II studies in combination with chemotherapy.Deciphera is evaluating its investigational ULK kinase inhibitor, DCC-3116, in a phase I study, to treat patients with advanced/metastatic tumors driven by mutations in RAS/RAF genes. The study is investigating DCC-3116 as a single agent and also in combination with Mekinist (trametinib), an FDA-approved MEK inhibitor.We note that Deciphera currently has only one approved product in its portfolio — Qinlock. This apart, all of its drug candidates, including vimseltinib, rebastinib and DCC-3116, are still in early stages of development. Hence, any regulatory setback for the candidates will be a setback for the company. Qinlock faces competition from Blueprint Medicines’ BPMC Ayvakit, which is approved for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic GIST, harboring a PDGFRA exon 18 mutation, including PDGFRA D842V mutations in adults. Several other companies are also developing drugs for the treatment of GIST. This too remains an overhang. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>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 Novartis AG (NVS): Free Stock Analysis Report Pfizer Inc. (PFE): Free Stock Analysis Report Blueprint Medicines Corporation (BPMC): Free Stock Analysis Report Deciphera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (DCPH): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 15th, 2021

Bitcoin breaks $60,000 for the first time since April as crypto ETFs look set for watershed SEC approval

Market sentiment is on the upturn as the SEC appears ready to allow the first US bitcoin futures ETF to start trading next week. Getty Bitcoin broke the $60,000 level on Friday for the first time since April as investors were encouraged by signs a futures ETF will soon be approved. The SEC is set to allow trading of the first US bitcoin futures ETF next week, Bloomberg reported. The digital coin rose as much as 5% to $60,343.07. It's now just 7.5% from a record high. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Bitcoin topped $60,000 for the first time since April on Friday as investors celebrated the prospect of the SEC approving the first US bitcoin futures ETF within days.The digital asset rose as much as 5% to $60,343.07, according to Bloomberg data, bringing it within 7.5% of its record price of $64,869.78. That takes bitcoin's year-to-date gains to roughly 107%.Market sentiment is on the upturn as the SEC is ready to allow the first US bitcoin futures ETF to start trading next week, according to Bloomberg.Anticipation has been further fuelled by the regulator approving Volt Equity's ETF last week, according to Will Hamilton, head of trading and research at digital asset management firm TCM Capital.Volt's ETF specifically tracks companies that have significant exposure to bitcoin, or generate most of their profit from bitcoin-related activities like mining, lending, or manufacturing mining equipment."It's a small step, but a very promising one," Hamilton said. "In essence, the SEC has given the nod, from an investor protection point of view, that investing in these heavily crypto-exposed companies is 'ok'."Separately, a direct update from the SEC seems to have contributed to Friday's moves. The regulator's investor education Twitter account posted a link to a June notice on Thursday, warning about the risks associated with investing in bitcoin."Before investing in a fund that holds Bitcoin futures contracts, make sure you carefully weigh the potential risks and benefits," the tweet said. Investors interpreted it as signalling the regulator will approve those types of funds at some point next week.On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he recognizes cryptocurrencies as a means of payment. And Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman admitted crypto is more than just a fad.Further, Coinbase proposed creating a special regulator as a potential solution to the lack of regulatory clarity and enforcement in crypto markets, as it believes digital assets need to be treated differently to stocks.Crypto traders seem to have brushed off comments from JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon that bitcoin is "worthless," and Bank of England's deputy governor Jon Cunliffe warning that the coin could trigger a 2008-level meltdown."Instead of scaremongering about bitcoin, certain officials should look closer to home," said Paolo Ardoino, chief technology officer at trading platform Bitfinex. "The unsustainable inflationary monetary policies of central banks will inevitably unravel."Read More: 2 ETF veterans-turned crypto investors break down why they think the SEC should approve a bitcoin ETF that invests in the digital currency itself instead of futures contracts - and share the 3 main pitfalls of a futures-based ETFRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

Bitcoin briefly hits $60,000 for the 1st time since April as crypto ETFs look set for watershed SEC approval

Market sentiment is on the upturn as the SEC appears ready to allow the first US bitcoin futures ETF to start trading next week. Getty Bitcoin touched $60,000 on Friday as investors awaited approval of a futures ETF tracking its price. The SEC is set to allow trading of the first US bitcoin futures ETF next week, Bloomberg reported. The digital coin hit a 24-hour high of $60,018, taking its year-to-date gains to around 104%. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Bitcoin briefly topped $60,000 for the first time since April on Friday, as investors celebrated the prospect of the SEC approving the first US bitcoin futures ETF within days.The digital asset hit a 24-hour high of $60,018, according to data from CoinGecko, nearing its record price of $64,895. That takes bitcoin's year-to-date gains to about 104%.Market sentiment is on the upturn as the SEC is ready to allow the first US bitcoin futures ETF to start trading next week, according to Bloomberg.Anticipation has been further fuelled by the regulator approving Volt Equity's ETF last week, according to Will Hamilton, head of trading and research at digital asset management firm TCM Capital.Volt's ETF specifically tracks companies that have significant exposure to bitcoin, or generate most of their profit from bitcoin-related activities like mining, lending, or manufacturing mining equipment."It's a small step, but a very promising one," Hamilton said. "In essence, the SEC has given the nod, from an investor protection point of view, that investing in these heavily crypto-exposed companies is 'ok'."Separately, a direct update from the SEC seems to have contributed to Friday's moves. The regulator's investor education Twitter account posted a link to a June notice on Thursday, warning about the risks associated with investing in bitcoin."Before investing in a fund that holds Bitcoin futures contracts, make sure you carefully weigh the potential risks and benefits," the tweet said. Investors interpreted it as signalling the regulator will approve those types of funds at some point next week.On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he recognizes cryptocurrencies as a means of payment. And Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman admitted crypto is more than just a fad.Further, Coinbase proposed creating a special regulator as a potential solution to the lack of regulatory clarity and enforcement in crypto markets, as it believes digital assets need to be treated differently to stocks.Crypto traders seem to have brushed off comments from JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon that bitcoin is "worthless," and Bank of England's deputy governor Jon Cunliffe warning that the coin could trigger a 2008-level meltdown."Instead of scaremongering about bitcoin, certain officials should look closer to home," said Paolo Ardoino, chief technology officer at trading platform Bitfinex. "The unsustainable inflationary monetary policies of central banks will inevitably unravel."Read More: 2 ETF veterans-turned crypto investors break down why they think the SEC should approve a bitcoin ETF that invests in the digital currency itself instead of futures contracts - and share the 3 main pitfalls of a futures-based ETFRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 15th, 2021

Coinbase Asks Congress To Create New Standalone Crypto Regulator

Coinbase Asks Congress To Create New Standalone Crypto Regulator Members of the crypto community have clashed with practically every major federal regulator, and even some state players (remember when the New York State Department of Financial Services rolled out its surprisingly restrictive Bitlicense?), while also taking on both chambers of Congress (during the battle over crypto taxes earlier this year). Each of these episodes has been accompanied by anxiety among members of the community and its lobbyists as they battled in the name of protecting the nascent industry from heavy-handed regulators who would stifle innovation. Given it's market position, Coinbase was a major player in all of these battles. And after so many negative encounters with regulators who are, first and foremost, in the pocket of the legacy financials services industry, which crypto implicitly disrupts, Coinbase has released a paper calling for the creation of a new 'crypto regulator' that would be solely responsible for governing the industry. Laws drafted in the 1930s to facilitate effective oversight of our financial system could not contemplate this technological revolution. Unveiled Thursday, Coinbase’s Digital Asset Policy Proposal asks Congress to pass legislation to regulate Marketplaces for Digital Assets (or MDAs, Coinbase's preferred term for crypto exchanges that offer trading and custody services along with borrowing and lending). Coinbase also raised the prospect of establishing a self-regulating organization for the industry, sort of like how Finra regulates broker-dealers in the traditional financial system. CoinDesk, the news site dedicated to crypto assets, first reported on Coinbase's plans last month. In the proposal, four "regulatory pillars" guide the process: regulating digital assets under an industry-specific framework, creating the new regulator, establishing fraud protections and disclosure requirements that become standard for the crypto business while promoting interoperability.   Most pointedly, the proposal is a direct rebuke to SEC chief Gary Gensler, who told members of the House Financial Services Committee that the SEC had 'all the authorities necessary' to regulate crypto, adding "we don't need another regulator." Ultimately, whether Coinbase succeeds or not will come down to Congress, which it is asking to pass a law to create the new crypto regulator and consolidate all the powers of industry regulation within one authority. “This is the kind of issue that requires legislative action,” Faryar Shirzad, Coinbase’s chief policy officer, said during a media preview call Thursday. “Our focus is very much on a legislative effort, which, from our sense of things, is inevitable.” Shirzad acknowledged that Coinbase faces headwinds in getting the federal government to adopt its proposal, but said it is imperative that political leaders consider designing a crypto regulatory regime from new cloth rather than trying to fit the industry into legal regimes designed in a pre-computer era. As Decrypt notes, Coinbase's call for a new "digital first" regulator is consistent with the worldview of the company's CEO Brian Armstrong, who has long been frustrated with the ways of Washington. As recounted in Kings of Crypto, a book about the early days of Coinbase, Armstrong concluded a 2018 trip to the Capitol by proposing to the company's lawyer that the laws governing securities and the SEC should be modernized or replaced. With the regulation-embracing Democrats in power, Coinbase's libertarian-oriented CEO Brian Armstrong would probably have a better shot at making his vision a reality if the GOP were to take back Congress in the midterms (and then the presidency in 2024). Maybe in the meantime, Coinbase can focus on improving its customer service. ,> Tyler Durden Thu, 10/14/2021 - 17:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 14th, 2021

Metro Phoenix Bank Reports Earnings of $1,927,000, or $0.51 per Diluted Share in 3Q 2021; Loan Growth (Net PPP) Is Flat at 0.70% for the Quarter; Asset Quality Remains Strong as Non-Performing Asset Ratio Is 0.00%

PHOENIX, Oct. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- MPB BHC, INC. (OTC:MPHX), the holding company for Metro Phoenix Bank ("Bank"), announced net income for quarter ending September 30, 2021 of $1,927,000, or $0.51 per diluted share, up from $1,703,000, or $0.45 per diluted share in second quarter 2021. Net income increased 18.88% from $1,621,000 in the third quarter of 2020. Metro Phoenix Bank's third quarter earnings reflect the positive impact of a fully funded allowance for loan & lease losses (ALLL) and strong SBA lending activity. Stephen P. Haggard, Bank President and Chief Executive Officer stated, "Although net loan growth was flat for the quarter, the lending team has done a very good job in protecting our baseline earning asset level while a commercial loan rate-refinance frenzy is occurring in our market. We will win on some of these and lose on some, but at this time we are maintaining a pricing discipline to keep our cumulative year-to-date net interest margin north of 4.00%. I believe that we are positioned well to hold off additional margin compression as we have deep vertical expertise in SBA lending and Outdoor Media lending, which are both more inelastic when it comes to interest rate sensitivity. However, that definitely is not the case when it comes to owner-occupied commercial real estate and quality C&I lending, which are both experiencing aggressive pricing competition. "At this stage, the remaining PPP loans are essentially a non-factor on the Bank's loan portfolio and income statement. We currently have less than $11 million on the books and we anticipate our PPP portfolio will be retired by year end. "Asset quality remains unchanged and the Bank is operating with an ALLL that has a surplus, or unallocated balance in the reserves. The portfolio appears to be performing well in light of the recent disruption created by the COVID-19 Delta variant. Mitigating the impact of the Delta surge is the fact that Arizona has essentially remained opened for business throughout this pandemic, which has led to robust economic growth for most well-managed and well-capitalized small- to medium-sized businesses and commercial real estate projects; staffing & supply chain issues appear to be the two common denominator threats affecting future operations. "In summary, our loan pipeline remains healthy, but production needs to account for new loan growth as well as replacing the payoffs that are occurring due to rate-refinance activity and underlying real estate loan collateral being sold in a very favorable cap rate market. Nonetheless, loan opportunities remain abundant as MPB focuses on continued quality loan growth." Third Quarter 2021 Highlights Net Income for the quarter was $1,927,000 or $0.51 per diluted share. ROA of 1.85% for the quarter ROE of 18.96% for the quarter NIM of 3.72% for the quarter, with the cost of funds increasing to 0.30%; relatively unchanged when compared to the linked quarter cost of funds of 0.29%. SBA Gains on Sale of $827,361 for the quarter. Provision Expense of $0 for the quarter. Efficiency Ratio of 50.27% for the quarter. Loan growth (net PPP) of 0.70% for the quarter. Deposit growth of 4.13% for the quarter. Non-Performing Asset Ratio is 0.00%, no significant change from the linked quarter. Balance Sheet Total assets grew by 4.04% to $411.4 million at September 30, 2021 and increased 27.07% compared to $323.8 million a year ago. Total loans decreased by 2.31% to $283.4 million at September 30, 2021 and increased 10.40% compared to $256.7 million a year ago. Excluding PPP loans of $10.9 million at the end of 3Q, loans increased 0.70% compared to 2Q and increased 26.80% compared to a year ago. Total deposits increased by 4.13% to $366.4 million at September 30, 2021 and increased 30.53% compared to $280.7 million a year ago. The allowance for loan losses totaled $3.755 million at September 30, 2021, or 1.32% of total loans. Excluding the PPP loan balance of $10.9 million, an adjusted allowance for loan losses equates to 1.38% of total loans. No material changes have occurred in the reported credit quality of the loan portfolio since the preceding quarter. Shareholders' equity increased to $41.37 million at September 30, 2021, from $39.45 million the preceding quarter and increased 10.67% compared to $37.38 million a year ago. At September 30, 2021, book value and tangible book value were $11.88 per share compared to $11.32 per share at June 30, 2021 and $10.74 per share a year ago. Capital Management The Bank's capital ratio exceeded the regulatory guidelines established under Section 201 of the Economic Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act. Effective January 2020, community banks are tested for capital health based on a single capital ratio, the Community Bank Leverage Ratio (CBLR). The Bank reported the following capital ratio: Regulatory Capital Ratios Bank09/30/21 Regulatory Minimum Requirement Community Bank Leverage Ratio 9.95% 8.50% About the Company Metro Phoenix Bank, Inc., established in 2007 and headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, is a full-service community bank that caters to small- to mid-sized businesses and real estate professionals. MPB offers commercial clients a variety of services ranging from Commercial Real Estate Lending, Outdoor Media Lending, SBA financing solutions, and a robust treasury management platform that includes a Homeowners Association (HOA)/Property Management specialty program. The bank holding company (MPB BHC, INC.) is traded over the counter as MPHX. For additional information, visit: www.metrophoenixbank.com. Forward-looking Statements This press release may include forward-looking statements about Metro Phoenix Bank. These statements involve certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the following factors: competition, fluctuations in interest rates, dependency on key individuals, loan defaults, geographical concentration, litigation and changes in federal laws, regulations, and interpretations thereof. All forward-looking statements included in this press release are based on information available at the time of the release. Metro Phoenix Bank assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement. Unaudited Summary Financial Information (dollars in thousands, except per share data or noted otherwise) For the Three months For the Nine months ended September 30, ended September 30, Year-End 2021 2020 2021 2020 2020 Summary Income Data.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaOct 14th, 2021

Commercial Metals Company Reports Record Fourth Quarter And Full Year Fiscal 2021 Results

IRVING, Texas, Oct. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Commercial Metals Company (NYSE:CMC) today announced financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter ended August 31, 2021.  Earnings from continuing operations were $152.3 million, or $1.24 per diluted share, on net sales of $2.0 billion, compared to prior year earnings from continuing operations of $67.8 million, or $0.56 per diluted share, on net sales of $1.4 billion.  For the full year, earnings from continuing operations were $412.9 million, or $3.38 per diluted share, compared to $278.3 million, or $2.31 per diluted share in the prior year. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, the Company recorded a net after-tax charge of $1.9 million related to the impairment of recycling assets.  Excluding this item, fourth quarter adjusted earnings from continuing operations were $154.2 million, or $1.26 per diluted share, compared to adjusted earnings from continuing operations of $95.3 million, or $0.79 per diluted share, in the prior year period.  "Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations", "core EBITDA from continuing operations", "adjusted earnings from continuing operations" and "adjusted earnings from continuing operations per diluted share" are non-GAAP financial measures. Details, including a reconciliation of each such non-GAAP financial measure, to the most directly comparable measure, prepared and presented in accordance with GAAP can be found in the financial tables that follow. Barbara R. Smith, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "CMC's performance during fiscal 2021 was exceptional. Our financial results once again demonstrate CMC's significantly enhanced earnings capabilities following several years of methodical strategic transformation.  Yesterday, we announced our first dividend increase in over a decade and a sizeable new share repurchase program, reflecting the board's confidence in the Company's enhanced financial position and future prospects.  We have built a strong operating platform that will allow us to continue pursuing value accretive growth, while returning a meaningful portion of free cash flow to investors and maintaining a high-quality balance sheet." Ms. Smith continued, "Looking at the quarter, I am extremely proud of the CMC team's execution on multiple fronts.  Commercially and operationally, we responded to robust market demand with record shipment and production levels at several of our steel mills.  This heightened activity did not detract from our ability to continue building for the future.  Our team in Europe successfully ramped up CMC's new rolling line, and we made meaningful progress at the future Arizona 2 micro mill site in North America. In addition, on September 29th we reached an agreement to sell our Rancho Cucamonga site for an expected $300 million, which will be reinvested directly into Arizona 2.  Importantly, we also maintained focus on keeping our employees safe, with several operations achieving record low incident rates during the year." The Company's liquidity position as of August 31, 2021 remained solid, with cash and cash equivalents of $497.7 million, and availability of $668.2 million under the Company's credit and accounts receivable facilities. On October 13, 2021, the board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.14 per share of CMC common stock payable to stockholders of record on October 27, 2021. This represents a 17% increase over the previous dividend. The dividend will be paid on November 10, 2021, and marks 228 consecutive quarterly dividend payments by the Company. Business Segments - Fiscal Fourth Quarter 2021 Review The North America segment generated record adjusted EBITDA of $212.0 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, an increase of 22% compared to $174.2 million in the prior year period.  This improvement was driven by increased margins across multiple products lines, coupled with higher shipments of steel products and raw materials.  These positive factors were partially offset by a year-over-year increase in controllable costs per ton of finished steel shipped, due largely to inflationary pressures for freight and steelmaking consumables.  Shipment volumes of finished steel, which include steel products and downstream products, increased by 2% from the prior year fourth quarter.  Demand for rebar from the mills remained relatively steady, but shipments declined modestly from the prior year due to a shift in mix toward merchant bar and wire rod.  Shipments of merchant and other products increased by 29% from the prior year, driven by the broad reopening of the U.S. economy.  Margins over scrap cost on steel products increased $103 per ton from the prior year period and $41 per ton compared to the prior quarter.  Market conditions were favorable for each of CMC's key products, leading to mill volume growth of 5% and an increase of $300 per ton in average selling price compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020.  Margin over scrap cost on downstream products declined compared to a year ago, driven by fulfillment of fabrication contracts that were booked prior to the fiscal 2021 increase in scrap costs.  Future pricing indicators on new work entering the backlog were positive during the quarter, as average price levels for bids and new awards increased significantly from the prior year quarter.  The Europe segment reported record adjusted EBITDA of $67.7 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, up 195% compared to adjusted EBITDA of $22.9 million for the prior year quarter.  The improvement was driven by a significant expansion in margin over scrap as well as volume growth, as demand for steel products from both the construction and industrial end markets were solid during the quarter.  Resilient construction activity supported a 16% increase in rebar shipments compared to a year ago, while the start-up of the third rolling line and the continuing manufacturing recovery in Poland and Central Europe drove 24% growth in volumes of merchant and other steel products.  Average selling price increased by $317 per ton compared to the prior year quarter, and $99 per ton sequentially. Outlook Ms. Smith said, "Based on our current view of the marketplace, we anticipate our strong operating and financial performance will continue in fiscal 2022.  Volumes should remain solid, supported by a replenished construction backlog in North America, as well as broad strength across key end markets in both North America and Europe." "In the first quarter of fiscal 2022, we expect finished steel volumes to follow typical seasonal patterns, which have historically declined modestly from our fourth quarter levels.  We expect first quarter margins to remain consistent with the historical high levels earned in the fourth quarter," Ms. Smith added. Conference Call CMC invites you to listen to a live broadcast of its fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 conference call today, Thursday, October 14, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. ET.  Barbara R. Smith, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer, and Paul Lawrence, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will host the call. The call is accessible via our website at www.cmc.com. In the event you are unable to listen to the live broadcast, the call will be archived and available for replay on our website on the next business day. Financial and statistical information presented in the broadcast are located on CMC's website under "Investors." About Commercial Metals Company Commercial Metals Company and its subsidiaries manufacture, recycle and fabricate steel and metal products and provide related materials and services through a network including seven electric arc furnace ("EAF") mini mills, two EAF micro mills, one rerolling mill, steel fabrication and processing plants, construction-related product warehouses, and metal recycling facilities in the U.S. and Poland. Forward-Looking Statements This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws with respect to general economic conditions, key macro-economic drivers that impact our business, the effects of ongoing trade actions, the effects of continued pressure on the liquidity of our customers, potential synergies and organic growth provided by acquisitions and strategic investments, demand for our products, metal margins, the effect of COVID-19 and related governmental and economic responses thereto, the ability to operate our steel mills at full capacity, future availability and cost of supplies of raw materials and energy for our operations, share repurchases, legal proceedings, the undistributed earnings of our non-U.S. subsidiaries, U.S. non-residential construction activity, international trade, capital expenditures, our liquidity and our ability to satisfy future liquidity requirements, estimated contractual obligations and our expectations or beliefs concerning future events. The statements in this release that are not historical statements, are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements can generally be identified by phrases such as we or our management "expects," "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "future," "intends," "may," "plans to," "ought," "could," "will," "should," "likely," "appears," "projects," "forecasts," "outlook" or other similar words or phrases, as well as by discussions of strategy, plans, or intentions. Our forward-looking statements are based on management's expectations and beliefs as of the time this news release was prepared. Although we believe that our expectations are reasonable, we can give no assurance that these expectations will prove to have been correct, and actual results may vary materially. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update, amend or clarify any forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events, new information or circumstances or any other changes. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations include those described in Part I, Item 1A, "Risk Factors" of our annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2020, and Part II, Item 1A, "Risk Factors" of our quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended February 28, 2021, as well as the following: changes in economic conditions which affect demand for our products or construction activity generally, and the impact of such changes on the highly cyclical steel industry; rapid and significant changes in the price of metals, potentially impairing our inventory values due to declines in commodity prices or reducing the profitability of our downstream contracts due to rising commodity pricing; impacts from COVID-19 on the economy, demand for our products, global supply chain and on our operations, including the responses of governmental authorities to contain COVID-19 and the impact of various COVID-19 vaccines; excess capacity in our industry, particularly in China, and product availability from competing steel mills and other steel suppliers including import quantities and pricing; compliance with and changes in existing and future laws, regulations and other legal requirements and judicial decisions that govern our business, including increased environmental regulations associated with climate change and greenhouse gas emissions; involvement in various environmental matters that may result in fines, penalties or judgments; potential limitations in our or our customers' abilities to access credit and non-compliance by our customers; activity in repurchasing shares of our common stock under our repurchase program; financial covenants and restrictions on the operation of our business contained in agreements governing our debt; our inability to close the sale of our Rancho Cucamonga property, including if the buyer were to terminate the purchase agreement during its 60 day due diligence review period; our ability to successfully identify, consummate and integrate acquisitions, and the effects that acquisitions may have on our financial leverage; risks associated with acquisitions generally, such as the inability to obtain, or delays in obtaining, required approvals under applicable antitrust legislation and other regulatory and third party consents and approvals; operating and startup risks, as well as market risks associated with the commissioning of new projects could prevent us from realizing anticipated benefits and could result in a loss of all or a substantial part of our investments; lower than expected future levels of revenues and higher than expected future costs; failure or inability to implement growth strategies in a timely manner; impact of goodwill impairment charges; impact of long-lived asset impairment charges; currency fluctuations; global factors, such as trade measures, military conflicts and political uncertainties, including the impact of the Biden administration on current trade regulations, such as Section 232 trade tariffs and quotas, tax legislation and other regulations which might adversely impact our business; availability and pricing of electricity, electrodes and natural gas for mill operations; ability to hire and retain key executives and other employees; competition from other materials or from competitors that have a lower cost structure or access to greater financial resources; information technology interruptions and breaches in security; ability to make necessary capital expenditures; availability and pricing of raw materials and other items over which we exert little influence, including scrap metal, energy and insurance; unexpected equipment failures; losses or limited potential gains due to hedging transactions; litigation claims and settlements, court decisions, regulatory rulings and legal compliance risks; risk of injury or death to employees, customers or other visitors to our operations; and civil unrest, protests and riots. COMMERCIAL METALS COMPANYFINANCIAL & OPERATING STATISTICS (UNAUDITED) Three Months Ended Year Ended (in thousands, except per ton amounts) 8/31/2021 5/31/2021 2/28/2021 11/30/2020 8/31/2020 8/31/2021 8/31/2020 North America Net sales $ 1,660,409 $ 1,558,068 $ 1,257,486 $ 1,195,013 $ 1,224,849 $ 5,670,976 $ 4,769,933 Adjusted EBITDA 212,018 207,330 171,612 155,634 174,219 746,594 661,176 External tons shipped Raw materials 331 368 302 330 300 1,331 1,229 Rebar 469 500 472 486 498 1,927 1,897 Merchant and other 302 289 268 264 234 1,123 919 Steel products 771 789 740 750 732 3,050 2,816 Downstream products 415 408 343 371 429 1,537 1,635 Average selling price per ton Raw materials $ 1,069 $ 949 $ 846 $ 630 $ 605 $ 877 $ 567 Steel products 900 794 695 612 600 752 618 Downstream products 1,014 963 929 934 970 961 975 Cost of raw materials per ton $ 805 $ 697 $ 629 $ 458 $ 427 $ 650 $ 402 Cost of ferrous scrap utilized per ton 434 369 344 266 237 355 238 Steel products metal margin per ton $ 466 $ 425 $ 351 $ 346 $ 363 $ 397 $ 380 Europe Net sales $ 368,290 $ 284,107 $ 202,066 $ 194,596 $ 179,855 $ 1,049,059 $ 699,140 Adjusted EBITDA 67,676 50,005 16,107 14,470 22,927 148,258 62,007.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaOct 14th, 2021

Republican who attended Mike Lindell"s 2020 conspiracy conference stripped of authority to oversee elections

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters allowed an unauthorized third-party to access to the state's voting machines as part of an effort to prove there was fraud. MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell, speaks to reporters outside federal court in Washington, Thursday, June 24, 2021. AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters spent weeks in hiding after attending Mike Lindell's conference. She is under investigation for allegedly allowing an outsider to access her county's voting equipment. Elections will now be overseen by former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican. A judge in Colorado on Wednesday issued an injunction that strips election authority from a local Republican official who allowed an unauthorized "consultant" to access voting machines - and then claimed to have found evidence of fraud at a conspiracy theory conference hosted by MyPillow founder Mike Lindell. Tina Peters, an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump, was elected to serve as Mesa County Clerk in 2018. The year following, her office admitted that it failed to count more than 500 ballots in a local election, leading Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, to require Peters' office to undergo remedial training.Following the 2020 election, Peters joined the former president's campaign to discredit his loss, despite President Joe Biden winning Colorado by a 13.5% margin. At Lindell's conference this summer, she claimed to present evidence that showed equipment from Dominion Voting Systems could be hacked to flip votes, despite the fact that equipment was never connected to the internet.It's what happened before attending that conference, however, that has led to Peters losing her authority to oversee elections in a case brought by the office of Colorado's Secretary of State. As detailed in the ruling from Mesa County District Court Judge Valerie J. Robison, Peters last March allowed an unauthorized consultant to access the county's voting machines, with one of her aides requesting that election department cameras be turned off for two weeks - long enough to allow that unauthorized third party to make a "forensic image" of the hard drive used by Dominion vote-tabulating equipment. That aide now faces criminal charges.Later, video of election staff and employees of Dominion Voting Systems performing a software update in Peters' office was leaked on social media, and with it the confidential passwords used to access voting machines. Mesa County's Republican-led Board of Commissioners elected, in August, to replace that equipment, which had been decertified following the unauthorized access.In her ruling, Robison said Peters and her aide had "neglected their duties by failing to take adequate precautions to protect confidential information, and committed wrongful acts by being untruthful." The decision comes after Peters spent weeks hiding in an undisclosed location provided by Lindell. She is currently under state and federal investigation.Mesa County's next election will be overseen by former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican appointed by Griswold's office.In a statement, Griswold praised Wednesday's decision, saying it would prevent peters from "further threatening the integrity of Mesa's elections."Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.comRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 13th, 2021

Tesla Must Answer For Failure to Recall Autopilot Software After Crashes

(DETROIT) — U.S. safety investigators want to know why Tesla didn’t file recall documents when it updated Autopilot software to better identify parked emergency vehicles, escalating a simmering clash between the automaker and regulators. In a letter to Tesla, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told the electric car maker Tuesday that it must recall… (DETROIT) — U.S. safety investigators want to know why Tesla didn’t file recall documents when it updated Autopilot software to better identify parked emergency vehicles, escalating a simmering clash between the automaker and regulators. In a letter to Tesla, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told the electric car maker Tuesday that it must recall vehicles if an over-the-internet update deals with a safety defect. “Any manufacturer issuing an over-the-air update that mitigates a defect that poses an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety is required to timely file an accompanying recall notice to NHTSA,” the agency said in a letter to Eddie Gates, Tesla’s director of field quality. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] The agency also ordered Tesla to provide information about its “Full Self-Driving” software that’s being tested on public roads with some owners. The latest clash is another sign of escalating tensions between Tesla and the agency that regulates vehicle safety and partially automated driving systems. In August the agency opened an investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot after getting multiple reports of vehicles crashing into emergency vehicles with warning lights flashing that were stopped on highways. The software can keep cars in their lane and a safe distance from vehicles in front of them. Messages were left early Wednesday seeking comment from Tesla. NHTSA opened a formal investigation of Autopilot after a series of collisions with parked emergency vehicles. The investigation covers 765,000 vehicles, almost everything that Tesla has sold in the U.S. since the start of the 2014 model year. Of the dozen crashes that are part of the probe, 17 people were injured and one was killed. According to the agency, Tesla did an over-the-internet software update in late September that was intended to improve detection of emergency vehicle lights in low-light conditions. The agency says Tesla is aware that federal law requires automakers to do a recall if they find out that vehicles have safety defects. The agency asked for information about Tesla’s “Emergency Light Detection Update” that was sent to certain vehicles “with the stated purpose of detecting flashing emergency vehicle lights in low light conditions and then responding to said detection with driver alerts and changes to the vehicle speed while Autopilot is engaged.” The letter asks for a list of events that motivated the software update, as well as what vehicles it was sent to and whether the measures extend to Tesla’s entire fleet. It also asks the Palo Alto, California, company whether it intends to file recall documents. “If not, please furnish Tesla’s technical and/or legal basis for declining to do so,” the agency asks. Philip Koopman, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, said NHTSA clearly wants Tesla to issue a recall. “They’re giving Tesla a chance to have their say before they bring the hammer down,” said Koopman, who studies automated vehicle safety. When automakers find a safety defect, they must tell NHTSA within five working days, and they’re required to do recalls. NHTSA monitors the recalls to make sure they cover all affected vehicles.. Automakers are required to notify all owners with letters explaining the repairs, which must be done at company expense. A public recall allows owners to make sure the repairs are done, and so people buying cars are aware of potential safety problems. NHTSA’s actions put all automakers on notice that when they do software updates via the internet, they have to be reported to the agency if they fix a safety problem. It’s another new technology that the agency has to deal with as numerous automakers follow Tesla with internet software capability. “Now every company has exposure every time they do an over-the-air update because NHTSA may come back weeks later and say ‘wait a minute, that was a stealth recall,’” Koopman said. Tesla has to comply with the request by Nov. 1 or face court action and civil fines of more than $114 million, the agency wrote. In a separate order to Tesla, NHTSA says that the company may be taking steps to hinder the agency’s access to safety information by requiring drivers who are testing “Full Self-Driving” software to sign non-disclosure agreements. The order demands that Tesla describe the non-disclosure agreements and say whether the company requires owners of vehicles with Autopilot to agree “to any terms that would prevent or discourage vehicle owners from sharing information about or discussing any aspect of Autopilot with any person other than Tesla.” Responses must be made by a Tesla officer under oath. If Tesla fails to fully comply, the order says the matter could be referred to the Justice Department. It also threatens more fines of over $114 million. Tesla has said that neither vehicles equipped with “Full Self-Driving” nor Autopilot can drive themselves. It warns drivers that they must be ready to intervene at all times. Shares of Tesla rose slightly in Wednesday morning trading. It was unclear how Tesla and CEO Elon Musk will respond to NHTSA’s demands. The company and Musk have a long history of sparring with federal regulators. In January, Tesla refused a request from NHTSA to recall about 135,000 vehicles because their touch screens could go dark. The agency said the screens were a safety defect because backup cameras and windshield defroster controls could be disabled. A month later, after NHTSA started the process of holding a public hearing and taking Tesla to court, the company agreed to the recall. Tesla said it would replace computer processors for the screens, even though it maintained there was no safety threat. Musk fought with the Securities and Exchange Commission over a 2018 tweet claiming that he had financing to take Tesla private, when that funding was not secured. He and the company agreed to pay $20 million each to settle allegations that he misled investors. Musk branded the SEC the “shortseller enrichment commission,” distorting the meaning of its acronym. Short sellers bet that a stock price will fall. The new demands from NHTSA signal a tougher regulatory stance under President Joe Biden on automated vehicle safety compared with the previous administrations. The agency had appeared reluctant to regulate the new technology for fear of hampering adoption of the potentially life-saving systems......»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 13th, 2021

VOXX International Corporation Reports Its Fiscal 2022 Second Quarter And Six-Month Financial Results

ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- YTD Highlights Net sales of $280.2 million, up $80.2 million or 40.1% - 1st half of Fiscal 2022 vs. 1st half of Fiscal 2021. Adjusted EBITDA of $14.6 million, up $3.9 million - 1st half of Fiscal 2022 vs. 1st half of Fiscal 2021. Shipments of new rear-seat entertainment solutions with Amazon Fire TV to Stellantis and Nissan began, with Ford scheduled to start in Q4 of Fiscal 2022. New distribution agreement with GalvanEyes approved by shareholders in August 2021. Acquisition of Onkyo's Home Entertainment A/V business completed in September 2021. VOXX International Corporation (NASDAQ:VOXX), a leading manufacturer and distributor of automotive and consumer technologies for the global markets, today announced its financial results for its Fiscal 2022 second quarter and six-months ended August 31, 2021. Commenting on the Company's Fiscal 2022 results year-to-date and continued business momentum, Pat Lavelle, President and Chief Executive Officer stated, "The VOXX team has done a good job navigating through what we believe was the worst of the supply chain shortfalls and we have the inventory on hand or in transit, to deliver for our customers. Excluding professional fees related to transactions which are now complete, our operations performed slightly better than the first half of Fiscal 2021, with Adjusted EBITDA up $3.9 million. We expect growth will continue in the second half of the year and to be up approximately 15% for the full fiscal year. We also expect good bottom-line performance, with extra investments in R&D to support new automotive OEM programs and future EyeLock business." Lavelle continued, "While the industry still faces supply chain constraints, I believe we have taken the right steps to offset the higher costs of doing business, providing us with more flexibility. New automotive OEM awards received and with more expected, expanded distribution within our Premium Audio group and the added contributions from our acquisition of Onkyo's home entertainment A/V business, and our new distribution agreement with GalvanEyes for EyeLock's biometrics products, all provide avenues for strong growth and improved bottom-line performance in the years ahead." Fiscal 2022 and Fiscal 2021 Second Quarter Comparisons Net sales in the Fiscal 2022 second quarter ended August 31, 2021, were $143.1 million as compared to net sales of $128.0 million in the Fiscal 2021 second quarter ended August 31, 2020, an increase of $15.1 million or 11.8%. Automotive Electronics segment net sales in the Fiscal 2022 second quarter were $45.8 million as compared to $32.6 million in the comparable year-ago period, an increase of $13.1 million or 40.2%. For the same comparable periods, OEM product sales were $16.4 million as compared to $10.7 million, an increase of $5.7 million or 53.1%. Aftermarket product sales for the Fiscal 2022 second quarter were $29.4 million as compared to $21.9 million, an increase of $7.4 million or 33.9%. Driving the year-over-year improvements were higher sales from the Company's DEI subsidiary, which was formed pursuant to our July 2020 acquisition, higher OEM sales for rear-seat entertainment solutions with Amazon's Fire TV, and an increase in sales for automotive safety and security products, among other factors. Consumer Electronics segment net sales in the Fiscal 2022 second quarter were $97.0 million as compared to $95.0 million in the comparable year-ago period, an increase of $2.0 million or 2.1%. For the same comparable periods, Premium Audio product sales were $76.1 million as compared to $69.3 million, an increase of $6.9 million or 9.9%. Driving the year-over-year improvements were higher sales from the Company's 11 Trading Company LLC subsidiary ("11TC"), higher sales of premium wireless speakers and wireless computer speakers, and an increase in sales within Europe. Other Consumer Electronics ("CE") product sales of $20.8 million and $25.7 million, declined by $4.9 million or 19.0% when comparing the Fiscal 2022 and Fiscal 2021 second quarter periods. The CE product sales declines were driven primarily by higher sales in Fiscal 2021 brought about by the COVID-19 environment as more people were working from home, as well as industrywide supply chain constraints. Biometrics segment net sales in the Fiscal 2022 and Fiscal 2021 second quarters were approximately $0.3 million, relatively flat for the comparable periods. The gross margin in the Fiscal 2022 second quarter was 26.0% as compared to 29.7% in the Fiscal 2021 second quarter, a decline of 370 basis points, or a $0.9 million decline in gross profit. The year-over-year decline in gross margin was primarily driven by global, industry-wide supply chain constraints. Automotive Electronics segment gross margin of 23.9% as compared to 20.6%, up 330 basis points. The year-over-year improvement was primarily related to sales of aftermarket products from the Company's DEI subsidiary and higher sales of OEM security and remote start products. Offsetting factors include the higher costs of materials and shipping, as well as start-up production costs related to new OEM rear-seat entertainment programs. Consumer Electronics segment gross margin of 26.9% as compared to 32.9%, down 600 basis points. The primary driver for the year-over-year declines were significant increases in container costs and surcharges, and sales of certain products through new distribution channels, the latter of which, positively impacted revenue and gross profit dollars, but led to lower gross margin. Sales of premium headphones and products sold through 11TC positively contributed to gross margin, and in Europe, gross margins improved primarily due to product mix. Biometrics segment gross margins of 30.4% as compared to 0.4%. The year-over-year improvement was primarily driven by price reductions in the Fiscal 2021 second quarter as new products were introduced to market. Total operating expenses in the Fiscal 2022 second quarter were $39.9 million as compared to $29.6 million in the comparable Fiscal 2021 period, an increase of $10.4 million. Selling expenses increased by $2.6 million when comparing the periods ended August 31, 2021, and August 31, 2020. This was primarily due to a $1.5 million increase in salary expenses and related payroll taxes due to the absence of COVID-19 related furloughs and salary and bonus reductions, and higher headcount related to the newly formed subsidiaries. Higher commissions as a result of an increase in net sales, as well as higher advertising expenses, digital payment fees and travel expenses comprised the majority of the remainder of the increase. General and administrative expenses increased by $2.5 million when comparing the periods ended August 31, 2021, and August 31, 2020. Higher salary and office expenses related to COVID-19 comprised $1.4 million of the year-over-year increase. The remainder was primarily related to higher professional fees, which increased by approximately $0.9 million for the comparable periods. Engineering and technical support expenses increased by $3.1 million when comparing the periods ended August 31, 2021 and August 31, 2020. The year-over-year increase was due to higher labor and related payroll taxes associated with the DEI subsidiary, research and development expenses to support a new automotive OEM program, product certification costs, the absence of companywide furloughs related to the COVID-19 environment, and reimbursements of engineering expenses in prior periods. The Company reported an operating loss in the Fiscal 2022 second quarter of $2.7 million as compared to operating income of $8.5 million in the Fiscal 2021 second quarter. Total other income, net, for the three-months ended August 31, 2021, was $1.8 million as compared to total other income, net, of $0.6 million for the three-months ended August 31, 2020. The primary drivers were a decline of $0.4 million in interest and bank charges, a $0.2 million improvement in equity in income of equity investees, which relates to higher sales and net income from the Company's 50% non-controlling interest in ASA Electronics, LLC ("ASA"), and a $0.6 million increase in other, net for the comparable periods, which relates to net foreign currency gains or losses, interest income, rental income, and other miscellaneous income and expense. Net income attributable to VOXX International Corporation in the Fiscal 2022 second quarter was $0.3 million as compared to net income attributable to VOXX International Corporation of $7.3 million in the comparable Fiscal 2021 period. The Company reported basic and diluted net income per share attributable to VOXX International Corporation of $0.01 in the Fiscal 2022 second quarter as compared to basic and diluted net income per common share attributable to VOXX International Corporation of $0.30 in the comparable Fiscal 2021 period. Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization ("EBITDA") in the Fiscal 2022 second quarter was $3.2 million as compared to EBITDA in the Fiscal 2021 second quarter of $13.5 million. Adjusted EBITDA in the Fiscal 2022 second quarter was $6.4 million as compared to Adjusted EBITDA in the Fiscal 2021 second quarter of $14.0 million. Fiscal 2022 and Fiscal 2021 Six-Month Comparisons Net sales in the Fiscal 2022 six-month period ended August 31, 2021, were $280.2 million as compared to net sales of $200.0 million in the Fiscal 2021 six-month period ended August 31, 2020, up $80.2 million or 40.1%. Automotive Electronics segment net sales in the Fiscal 2022 six-month period were $88.4 million as compared to $49.9 million in the comparable year-ago period, an increase of $38.5 million or 77.2%. For the same comparable periods, OEM product sales were $31.3 million as compared to $18.4 million, an increase of $12.9 million or 70.5%, and aftermarket product sales were $57.1 million as compared to $31.5 million, an increase of $25.6 million or 81.1%. Consumer Electronics segment net sales in the Fiscal 2022 six-month period were $191.1 million as compared to $149.5 million in the comparable Fiscal 2021 six-month period, an increase of $41.6 million or 27.8%. For the same comparable periods, Premium Audio product sales were $147.7 million as compared to $103.8 million, an increase of $43.9 million or 42.3%, and Other Consumer Electronics product sales declined were $43.3 million as compared to $45.7 million, a decline of $2.3 million or 5.1%. Biometrics segment net sales in the Fiscal 2022 six-month period were $0.5 million as compared to $0.4 million in the comparable Fiscal 2021 six-month period, an increase of $0.1 million or 27.2%. The gross margin in the Fiscal 2022 six-month period was 26.4% as compared to 29.0% in the Fiscal 2021 six-month period, a decline of 260 basis points, and a $15.8 million improvement in gross profit. Automotive Electronics segment gross margin of 25.4% as compared to 19.6%, up 580 basis points. Consumer Electronics segment gross margin of 26.7% as compared to 32.1%, down 540 basis points. Biometrics segment gross margins of 25.5% as compared to negative gross margin of -6.1%. Total operating expenses in the Fiscal 2022 six-month period were $77.0 million as compared to $57.6 million in the comparable Fiscal 2021 six-month period, an increase of $19.4 million. Within this and for the same six-month periods ended August 31, 2021 and August 31, 2020: Selling expenses increased by $5.5 million. General and administrative expenses increased by $6.3 million. Engineering and technical support expenses increased by $4.9 million. Acquisition costs increased by $2.7 million. The Company reported an operating loss in the Fiscal 2022 six-month period of $3.1 million as compared to operating income of $0.4 million in the comparable Fiscal 2021 six-month period. Total other income, net, for the six-month period ended August 31, 2021, was $4.5 million as compared to total other income, net, of $1.4 million for the six-month period ended August 31, 2020, an improvement of $3.1 million. Within this and for the same six-month periods ended August 31, 2020 and August 31, 2021: Interest and bank charges declined by $0.7 million. Equity in income of equity investee increased by $2.0 million. Other, net increased by $0.4 million. Net income attributable to VOXX International Corporation in the Fiscal 2022 six-month period was $3.0 million as compared to a net loss attributable to VOXX International Corporation of $0.9 million in the comparable Fiscal 2021 period. The Company reported basic and diluted net income per share attributable to VOXX International Corporation of $0.12 in the Fiscal 2022 six-month period as compared to a basic and diluted net loss per common share attributable to VOXX International Corporation of $0.04 in the comparable Fiscal 2021 period. Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization ("EBITDA") in the Fiscal 2022 six-month period was $9.6 million as compared to EBITDA in the Fiscal 2021 six-month period of $10.2 million. Adjusted EBITDA in the Fiscal 2022 six-month period was $14.6 million as compared to Adjusted EBITDA in the Fiscal 2021 six-month period of $10.7 million. Balance Sheet UpdateAs of August 31, 2021, the Company had cash and cash equivalents of $41.1 million as compared to $36.7 million as of May 31, 2021 and $59.4 million as of February 28, 2021. Total debt as of August 31, 2021, was $7.7 million as compared to $7.0 million as of May 31, 2021 and $7.1 million as of February 28, 2021. The increase in total debt is related to a Euro asset-based lending credit facility related to VOXX Germany. Total long-term debt, net of debt issuance costs as of August 31, 2021 was $5.2 million as compared to $5.3 million as of May 31, 2021 and $6.0 million as of February 28, 2021. Conference Call InformationVOXX International Corporation will be hosting its conference call and webcast on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Interested parties can participate by visiting www.voxxintl.com and clicking on the webcast in the Investor Relations section or via teleconference using the information below. Toll-free number: 877-303-9079 / International number: 970-315-0461 / Conference ID: 1156805 A webcast and teleconference replay will be available approximately one hour after the completion of the call. Replay Information Replay number: 855-859-2056 / International replay number: 404-537-3406 / Conference ID: 1156805 Non-GAAP MeasuresEBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are not financial measures recognized by GAAP. EBITDA represents net income (loss) attributable to VOXX International Corporation, computed in accordance with GAAP, before interest expense and bank charges, taxes, and depreciation and amortization. Adjusted EBITDA represents EBITDA adjusted for stock-based compensation expense, acquisition costs, certain non-routine legal and professional fees, and life insurance proceeds. Depreciation, amortization, and stock-based compensation are non-cash items. We present EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA in this Form 10-Q because we consider them to be useful and appropriate supplemental measures of our performance. Adjusted EBITDA helps us to evaluate our performance without the effects of certain GAAP calculations that may not have a direct cash impact on our current operating performance. In addition, the exclusion of certain costs or gains relating to certain events allows for a more meaningful comparison of our results from period-to-period. These non-GAAP measures, as we define them, are not necessarily comparable to similarly entitled measures of other companies and may not be an appropriate measure for performance relative to other companies. EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA should not be assessed in isolation from, are not intended to represent, and should not be considered to be more meaningful measures than, or alternatives to, measures of operating performance as determined in accordance with GAAP. About VOXX International CorporationVOXX International Corporation (NASDAQ: VOXX) has grown into a leader in Automotive Electronics and Consumer Electronics, with emerging Biometrics technology to capitalize on the increased need for advanced security. Over the past several decades, with a portfolio of approximately 35 trusted brands, VOXX has built market-leading positions in in-vehicle entertainment, automotive security, reception products, a number of premium audio market segments, and more. VOXX is a global company, with an extensive distribution network that includes power retailers, mass merchandisers, 12-volt specialists and many of the world's leading automotive manufacturers. For additional information, please visit our website at www.voxxintl.com. Safe Harbor StatementExcept for historical information contained herein, statements made in this release constitute forward-looking statements and thus may involve certain risks and uncertainties. All forward-looking statements made in this release are based on currently available information and the Company assumes no responsibility to update any such forward-looking statements. The following factors, among others, may cause actual results to differ materially from the results suggested in the forward-looking statements. The factors include, but are not limited to the: risk factors described in the Company's annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021, and other filings made by the Company from time to time with the SEC. The factors described in such SEC filings include, without limitation: the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the Company's results of operations, the Company's ability to realize the anticipated results of its business realignment; cybersecurity risks; risks that may result from changes in the Company's business operations; our ability to keep pace with technological advances; significant competition in the automotive electronics, consumer electronics and biometrics businesses; our relationships with key suppliers and customers; ...Full story available on Benzinga.com.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaOct 12th, 2021