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The List: First Coast LGBTQ+ businesses

Here are the First Coast's top LGBTQ-owned business on the First Coast......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJun 23rd, 2022

Volatility Reigns Supreme on Wall Street: Top 5 Picks for June

We have narrowed our search to five U.S. corporate behemoths (market capital > $50 billion). These are: MMM, CI, UNH, XOM and COP. Extreme volatility has gripped the U.S. stock markets and Wall Street remained capricious even after the first five months of 2022. A series of global headwinds like mounting inflation, slowing economic growth, concerns about a recession and a higher interest rate regime, tougher monetary policies adopted by major central banks and prolonged devastation of the supply-chain system have significantly dented market participants’ confidence.Higher commodity prices, especially prices of crude oil and natural gas, due to the lingering war between Russia and Ukraine and uncertainty about China’s recovery from the resurgence of COVID-19 and its economic prosperity in the near term made investors jittery.   Stock prices have corrected to a great extent so far this year. Major stock indexes are still well off from their recent highs. Several stocks are currently available at lucrative valuations. At this stage, it will be prudent to invest in fundamentally strong stocks with a favorable Zacks Rank. Five such stocks are — 3M Co. MMM, Cigna Corp. CI, UnitedHealth Group Inc. UNH, Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM and ConocoPhillips (COP).An Eventful MayThe last month was an eventful one for Wall Street. The Nasdaq Composite was in bear territory from March while the S&P 500 briefly fell into the bear market in May and is currently in the correction zone. The Dow, however, managed to stay out of the bear market and remained in correction territory.In May, the Dow registered the eighth consecutive weekly decline, its longest since April 1932. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite declined for the seventh straight week, marking their longest weekly losing streak since March 2001. However, in the last week, all three major stock indexes posted their best weekly performance since November 2020, thanks to a relief rally on Wall Street.At the end, May was evenly poised for investors. The Dow and the S&P 500 remained flat despite fluctuating significantly in most of the trading sessions. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.1%.Year to date, the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite – have declined 9.2%, 13.3% and 22.8%, respectively. At present, the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite are down 10.7%, 14.25 and 25.5%, respectively, from their recent highs.Solid Fundamentals of the U.S. EconomyIn 2022, the biggest drivers of the U.S. stock markets should be the nation’s strong economic fundamentals. The labor market has returned to the pre-pandemic level. Aggregate demand remained strong despite skyrocketing inflation. The two inflation measures — the CPI and PCE Price index Data — for April dropped marginally.The retail sales and industrial production data for April confirmed that both consumer spending and business investment remained solid amid difficulties. The ISM manufacturing and services indexes remained elevated despite some decline in April. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence index and the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index remained elevated too.Moreover, the U.S. economy will get more upside from the government’s infrastructure spending. On Nov 15, President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan infrastructure bill of $550 billion in addition to the previously approved funds of $450 billion for five years. Total spending may go up to $1.2 trillion if the plan is extended to eight years.Our Top PicksWe have narrowed our search to five U.S. corporate behemoths (market capital > $50 billion). These companies have robust business model diversified globally, strong financial position to sustain higher interest rate regime and globally acclaimed brand recognition.These companies have strong growth potential for the rest of 2022 and have seen positive earnings estimate revisions in the past 30 days. Each of our picks carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.The chart below shows the price performance of our five picks in the past three months.Image Source: Zacks Investment Research3M seems well-positioned to benefit from its solid product portfolio, marketing activities and shareholder-friendly policies. Healthy businesses in electronic materials, home improvement, manufacturing and healthcare IT will be tailwinds. MMM’s ability to generate strong cash flows adds to its strength. For 2022, it anticipates total revenue growth of 1-4%, with organic growth of 2-5%.In the long term, 3M intends to become more competent on the back of product-portfolio solidification. MMM’s household products like Nexcare, Post-it, Scotch, Scotch-Brite and Scotchgard are market leaders in their individual categories.3M has an expected earnings growth rate of 7.3% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 5.1% over the past 60 days.Cigna’s revenues have been increasing consistently for the past several years, driven by acquisitions, superior operating performance and, high-quality products and services portfolio. CI’s 2018 buyout of Express Scripts diversified its business by adding pharmacy benefits to insurance operations.Business streamlining by divesting Group Life and Disability insurance business will help Cigna focus on core growth areas. An expected increase in medical membership bodes well. For 2022, CI expects adjusted income from operations to be at least $22.40 per share.Cigna has an expected earnings growth rate of 10.7% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 0.7% over the past 60 days.UnitedHealth Group’s top line has been growing and the momentum should continue in the years ahead on the back of a strong market position and an attractive core business that continues to be driven by new deals, renewed agreements and expansion of service offerings.For this year, UNH expects revenues in the range of $317-$320 billion. UnitedHealth Group’s solid health services segment provides diversification benefits. UNH’s government business remains well-poised for growth. A sturdy balance sheet enables investments and prudent capital deployment through share buybacks and dividends.UnitedHealth Group has an expected earnings growth rate of 14.4% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 0.3% over the past 60 days.Exxon Mobil made multiple world-class oil discoveries at the Stabroek Block, located off the coast of Guyana. XOM raised the estimate for discovered recoverable resources from the Stabroek Block to approximately 10 billion oil-equivalent barrels. The WTI crude oil price is hovering well above $100 per barrel. The price is likely to remain elevated as the Russia-Ukraine clash has intensified.Exxon Mobil’s bellwether status and an optimal integrated capital structure, which have historically led to industry-leading returns make it a relatively lower-risk energy sector play. The integrated oil behemoth expects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in its upstream business. By the same time, XOM expects to reduce flaring and methane emissions by 40%.Exxon Mobil has an expected earnings growth rate of 89% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 37.8% over the past 30 days.ConocoPhillips holds the bulk of acres in the three big unconventional plays, namely Eagle Ford shale, Delaware basin and Bakken shale, which are rich in oil. COP also has a foothold in Canada’s oil sand resources and exposure to developments related to liquefied natural gas.ConocoPhillips announced an agreement to purchase all Royal Dutch Shell assets in the prolific Permian. The deal reflects COP’s aim of broadening its Permian presence. The transaction is highly accretive and involves the acquisition of roughly 225,000 net acres in the heart of the core Delaware basin.ConocoPhillips has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 24.9% over the past 30 days. How to Profit from the Hot Electric Vehicle Industry Global electric car sales in 2021 more than doubled their 2020 numbers. And today, the electric vehicle (EV) technology and very nature of the business is changing quickly. The next push for future technologies is happening now and investors who get in early could see exceptional profits. See Zacks' Top Stocks to Profit from the EV Revolution >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH): Free Stock Analysis Report Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): Free Stock Analysis Report ConocoPhillips (COP): Free Stock Analysis Report 3M Company (MMM): Free Stock Analysis Report Cigna Corporation (CI): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 1st, 2022

The US States And Metro Areas With The Most Family-Run Businesses

Is starting a business with your loved ones a good idea? If you’ve just finished HBO’s smash hit series Succession, you’d probably say no. But, thankfully, the Roy dynasty isn’t a fair reflection of family-run businesses in the USA! Research shows that US family enterprises are more successful than their non-family owned counterparts. They tend […] Is starting a business with your loved ones a good idea? If you’ve just finished HBO’s smash hit series Succession, you’d probably say no. But, thankfully, the Roy dynasty isn’t a fair reflection of family-run businesses in the USA! Research shows that US family enterprises are more successful than their non-family owned counterparts. They tend to generate higher profits and are less likely to be slowed down by internal conflicts. They’re also more dynamic. A study by accounting experts KPMG found that family firms are 42% more likely to implement business transformation strategies than non-family firms. 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 Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss 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); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more "Family businesses at their best are world-beating," says Professor Nigel Nicholson of London Business School. "The level of competition and distrust in non-family businesses is seriously problematic." Small business lender OnDeck recently took a closer look at family-run firms across the USA. They wanted to identify the states and metro areas where family companies are thriving. Ondeck's researchers looked at US Census Bureau data and put all their findings into the maps below. Here's a summary of what they tell us about family business in the USA. The US State With The Highest Percentage Of Family-Run Businesses South Dakota has the highest proportion (43%) of family-run businesses, according to the research from Ondeck. That figure more than doubles when looking at South Dakota's agricultural industry; an incredible 98% of farms in the state are family-owned. South Dakota even has a specialist business retreat centre where family farmers can strategize, bond, and work through any issues in a safe and neutral environment. It's called Paul Nelson Farm. And yes, it's owned by the Nelson family. Keeping It In The Family Idaho is another US state with a high percentage of family businesses; 42.3% of all companies in Idaho are family enterprises. Alaska (38.6%) and Nebraska (37.9%) come next, followed by Iowa (36.8%) and Arkansas (36.7%). US States With The Least Family Businesses The family business isn't big on the North East coast of the USA. All four states with the lowest percentage of family businesses are located in the North East region. New York has the lowest percentage overall. Only around 1 in 5 New York businesses (20.4%) belong to families. Family businesses aren't fairing much better in Massachusetts (20.8%), New Jersey (21.9%), or Connecticut (22.2%) Delaware (23.4%), Pennsylvania (24.8%), and New Hampshire are three more North-Eastern states where family businesses are the exception, rather than the rule. So why do family firms struggle to survive in this particular region of the USA? David Stark, a business restructuring specialist at Deloitte, explains: "States like New York are cosmopolitan areas full of highly educated, upwardly mobile professionals. These ambitious people want to make their own way." "With so many opportunities available to them, why would they choose to 'just' stay at home and run the family firm? It's one of the main reasons why few family businesses in New York have survived into the third generation." Family-Owned Businesses In The Metro Area The metro area of Lima, Ohio, is where family businesses are really thriving. More than one in two (56.2%) of all metro businesses are family owned. Mike Powell, operations manager of family-run Sign Solutions of Ohio, outlines why family  businesses do so well in Lima. "There's a real sense of community and togetherness in Lima," explains Mike. "We support each other. We work with each other, and all do business with each other. If one goes down, then that hurts the whole community." "Owning a small but successful family business is something to be really proud of in Lima,'' continues Mike. "It's a goal for many people." Once again, New York makes an appearance at the bottom of a list. Less than 1 in 10 (9.8%) businesses in the New York Metro area of Ithaca are family-owned. Spouse Owned Businesses In The USA Not every couple is cut out to go into business together. And there's no shame in admitting it. After all, we all need a little bit of space and independence. But for the couples who can live and work together, running a business is a rewarding experience, both personally and financially. Vicki Ashman co-founded a luxury underwear company with her husband. "It brought us closer together. We work so hard for each other. We're building a business and a life. It feels special," says Vicki. "But we learnt the hard way. I'd advise others to clearly define your roles from the start and do everything they can to separate work life from your home life." "It's unrealistic to expect that work discussions will be confined to office hours. But there are limits. 3 am in the morning is rarely a good time to discuss business!" This is something that the good folk of Idaho seem to have figured out. The gem state is the USA capital for spouse owned businesses. More than 1 in 3 companies (35.6%) in Idaho are run by spouse management teams. They include Grandma's Pantry in Pocatello, Idaho, a jelly and jam artisan bakery owned by Kimberly and Frank Zenger. "Pocatello is the perfect place for this kind of business," says Kimberly. "It's family-oriented, and I love that it's a city with a small-town feel. We couldn't be happier. Frank and I are building a self-sustaining business to pass on to our sons. It's the American dream." Things aren't so rosy for couples in New Hampshire. Only 8.6% of state businesses are owned and run by married couples. Check out the table below for a full breakdown of the results. Updated on May 31, 2022, 12:43 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: valuewalkMay 31st, 2022

These Are The Best States In America For A Marketing Career

Massachusetts is the best state for a marketing career, offering lots of opportunities in the field as well as high wages New York and Illinois take second and third, respectively Delaware, Colorado, and California also make the top ten Massachusetts is the best state for a marketing career, new research has revealed. A study by […] Massachusetts is the best state for a marketing career, offering lots of opportunities in the field as well as high wages New York and Illinois take second and third, respectively Delaware, Colorado, and California also make the top ten Massachusetts is the best state for a marketing career, new research has revealed. A study by digital marketing agency Hennessey Digital analyzed data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for marketing across the US to see which state offered the best marketing careers. 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 Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss 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); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The Best State For A Marketing Career It found that Massachusetts was the best state for a marketing career. The state offers excellent wages for a marketing manager with $183,200 on average and provides the highest amount of marketing job openings per 100,000 people when accounted for population with 82.76. The percentage of marketing jobs as a part of all employment in Massachusetts was more than double the national average, giving the state a location quotient score of 2.37 and ranking it top out of all 50 states. New York was the state that came second on the list, with annual average salaries for marketing managers and marketing associates sitting at $212,510 and $66,279 respectively. The state also had a high number of job openings for every 100,000 people with 77.82, showing that many marketing opportunities are available, like in Massachusetts. In third place was Illinois, which was found to be well rounded in the state, offering lots of opportunities in marketing and high wages and already a large variety of existing employment with a location quotient score of 2.01. The state was found to have good wages for marketing managers with a yearly average of $193,590 as well as an average of $58,939 for marketing associates. Delaware came in fourth place on the list, with the state having the highest annual average salary for marketing associates with $89,039. It also scored well for marketing manager salaries with $174,430. # State Annual Average (Marketing Manager) Annual Average (Marketing Associate) Marketing job openings Count Marketing job openings per 100,000 people Location quotient score 1 Massachusetts $183,200 $58,304 5,712 82.76 2.37 2 New York $212,510 $66,279 15,208 77.82 1.46 3 Illinois $193,590 $58,939 7,888 61.91 2.01 4 Delaware $174,430 $89,039 530 54.80 1.48 5 Washington $203,090 $82,636 4,920 64.61 1.04 6 New Jersey $210,520 $73,427 4,085 45.85 1.45 7 Colorado $196,880 $50,365 3,099 54.41 1.71 8 Minnesota $188,100 $72,819 2,635 46.96 1.34 9 California $201,650 $51,679 22,701 57.39 1.45 10 Connecticut $162,160 $63,593 1,821 50.97 1.68 The mountain west state of Colorado made its way into the top ten, coming in seventh place. Despite having the lowest average wages out of the top ten for marketing associates with $50,365, the state performed well in its existing marketing industry, receiving a location quotient score of 1.71. In ninth place was California, which boasted the highest amount of job openings in marketing with 22,701 at the time of the study. When accounted for population, it received a score of 57.39 job openings per 100,000 people. It also had the third-highest average salary for marketing managers in the top ten and the seventh-highest out of all 50 states with $201,650. On the other end of the spectrum, the study found that the three worst states for marketing were Mississippi, West Virginia, and Oklahoma. Mississippi’s annual average salary for marketing managers of $75,890 was over $125,000 a year less than New York. The bottom states ranked poorly on opportunities, and wages and generally lacked many jobs in the marketing field with only 13 job openings per 100,000 people and a location quotient score of 0.29. Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson from Hennessey Digital said: “It’s clear from these findings that the marketing industry in the US is very diverse, with states across the east and west coast offering premium wages and job opportunities in the field. More and more businesses are beginning to use marketing to its full potential. The data shows there is not only demand for it, but a great supply of potential careers for the next generation of prospects.” The study was conducted by leading digital marketing agency Hennessey Digital. Updated on May 18, 2022, 2:10 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: valuewalkMay 18th, 2022

Oil & Gas Stock Roundup Headlined by ExxonMobil & Shell"s Q1 Updates

Apart from ExxonMobil (XOM) and Shell (SHEL), there was news regarding Murphy Oil (MUR), Equinor (EQNR) and Petrobras (PBR) during the week. It was a week wherein oil prices lost more steam but natural gas futures rallied to their highest since 2008.On the news front, supermajors ExxonMobil XOM and Shell SHEL issued updates on their upcoming Q1 earnings. Announcements from Murphy Oil MUR, Equinor EQNR and Petrobras PBR also made it to the headlines.Overall, it was a mixed seven-day period for the sector. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures lost 1.2% to close at $98.26 per barrel but natural gas prices rose around 10% to end at $6.278 per million British thermal units (MMBtu). In particular, the oil market fell for the fourth time in five weeks.Coming back to the week ended Apr 8, oil prices fell further below $100 after a government report showed builds in crude and distillate stockpiles. The possible release of crude by the International Energy Agency into the commercial market also dragged prices down, while a stronger greenback, which can weaken dollar-denominated commodities like oil, played its part too.Meanwhile, natural gas finished up strongly, reflecting colder-than-normal weather, lower domestic output, strong LNG shipments and high coal prices.Recap of the Week’s Most-Important Stories1. ExxonMobil recently expressed optimism over the significantly higher oil and gas prices, contributing to its first-quarter 2022 upstream earnings.XOM expects its upstream business to generate a maximum of $2.7 billion in additional earnings in the first quarter sequentially. The integrated energy giant expects operating profits from oil and gas operations of up to $9.3 billion, the highest for any quarter since 2017.The company expects high oil and gas prices to boost earnings of its production business after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed the commodity prices significantly higher. The company projects operating results in the first quarter from the oil and liquids businesses to improve $1.9-$2.3 billion compared with the December-end quarter of 2021, thanks to an uptick in oil prices. The improvement in natural gas prices is likely to have contributed up to $400 million to upstream business profits, as estimated by ExxonMobil. (ExxonMobil Projects $9.3B Worth Upstream Earnings for Q1)2.   Shell said it would take a $4-5 billion hit in the first quarter of this year after ceasing operations in Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The company released a preliminary report for the January-March period wherein the London-based energy biggie informed that apart from the cost of exit, the charges include other associated effects like loss of value on assets, non-payment of obligations and other credit losses.Shell, however, maintained that the charges, which were previously thought to reach some $3.4 billion, won’t impact adjusted earnings. The company also warned about adverse working capital movements to the tune of $7 billion due to highly fluctuating oil and gas prices.On a positive note, the company expects surging commodity realizations to boost its first-quarter trading results, while its LNG unit is also set to benefit. Shell will separate its renewable energy business from the integrated gas segment, when it reports next month. (Shell Flags Possible $5B Q1 Hit From Russia Business)3   Murphy Oil announced that its board of directors approved a 17% increase in the annualized dividend rate to 70 cents per share, up from the prior annualized rate of 60 cents.The new quarterly dividend is payable Jun 1, 2022, to stockholders of record as of May 16, 2022. Murphy Oil has a long history of dividend payments and has paid dividends to shareholders consecutively since 1989. Since 2012, the Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) upstream operator has returned $3.9 billion to its shareholders through buybacks and dividend payouts. Murphy Oil’s new dividend yield will be 1.72% compared with the Zacks S&P 500 composite's average of 1.45%.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Stable operating expenses, systematic hedges and strong production volumes will provide enough funds to sustain the dividend hike over the long term. (Murphy Oil Rewards Shareholders With 17% Dividend Hike)4   Equinor received approval from the Canada government to proceed with the Bay du Nord development project to drive the Newfoundland and Labrador economy.Discovered in 2013, Bay du Nord is situated in the Flemish Pass region off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Once completed, it will be the first deepwater drilling site in Canada. The project, operated by Equinor, is currently expected to be valued at more than $12 billion.The project involves three light oil discoveries in the Flemish Pass Basin, with estimated recoverable resources of 300 million oil barrels. Additional discoveries in the area could increase the estimate significantly. Bay du Nord is expected to commence production as early as 2028. (Equinor Gets Approval for Canada's Bay du Nord Project)5.   Brazilian government-owned oil giant, Petrobras, declared that it found a new oil accumulation in the southern part of the Campos Basin. The oil accumulation was discovered in a wildcat well in the Alto de Cabo Frio Central block, at a distance of about 140 miles from Rio de Janeiro, the water depth of which is 1,833 meters.Petrobras took over the Alto de Cabo Frio Central block in October 2017 in the third bidding round of the National Agency for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP), under the production sharing regime, with Pré-Sal Petróleo S.A. as the manager. PBR, which is the operator of the block, owns a 50% stake.Petrobras has an impressive portfolio of investments, particularly in Brazil’s pre-salt reservoirs that lie below the Espírito Santo, Campos and Santos basins in deep and ultra-deep water. The company is the operator in most of these exploration areas and holds interests in them ranging from 20% to 100%. (Petrobras Unearths New Pre-Salt Oil in Campos Basin)Price PerformanceThe following table shows the price movement of some major oil and gas players over the past week and during the last six months.Company    Last Week    Last 6 MonthsXOM               +4.5%              +41.1%CVX                +3.5%              +58.6%COP               +2.5%              +39.3%OXY                +6.4%              +85.1%SLB                +2.1%              +31.1%RIG                 -4.1%               +12.1%VLO                +1.9%              +32.7%MPC               +2.5%              +34.6%The Energy Select Sector SPDR — a popular way to track energy companies — was up 3.2% last week. Over the past six months, the sector tracker has increased 41.1%.What’s Next in the Energy World?As the global oil consumption outlook strengthens amid tightening fundamentals, market participants will closely track the regular releases to watch for signs that could further validate the upward momentum. In this context, the U.S. Government’s statistics on oil and natural gas — one of the few solid indicators that come out regularly — will be on energy traders' radar. Data on rig count from the oilfield service firm Baker Hughes, which is a pointer to the trends in U.S. crude production, is closely followed too. News related to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine geopolitical conflict and the potential demand hit from the resurgence of new coronavirus cases in China will be other factors that will dictate the near-term price direction for oil. 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days Just released: Experts distill 7 elite stocks from the current list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys. They deem these tickers "Most Likely for Early Price Pops." Since 1988, the full list has beaten the market more than 2X over with an average gain of +25.4% per year. So be sure to give these hand-picked 7 your immediate attention. See them now >>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 Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): Free Stock Analysis Report Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. Petrobras (PBR): Free Stock Analysis Report Murphy Oil Corporation (MUR): Free Stock Analysis Report Equinor ASA (EQNR): Free Stock Analysis Report Shell PLC Unsponsored ADR (SHEL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksApr 12th, 2022

Edging Towards A Gold Standard

Edging Towards A Gold Standard Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, Commentators are trying to make sense of Russian moves... However, there is a back story which differs from much of the speculation, which this article addresses. The Russians have not put the rouble on some sort of gold standard. Instead, they have repeated the Nixon/Kissinger strategy which created the petrodollar in 1973 by getting the Saudis to agree to accept only dollars for oil. This time, nations deemed by Russia to be unfriendly will be forced to buy roubles – roughly 2 trillion by the EU alone based on last year’s natural gas and oil imports from Russia — driving up the exchange rate. The rouble has now doubled against the dollar from its low point of RUB 150 to RUB 75 yesterday in just over three weeks. The Russian Central Bank will soon be able to normalise the domestic economy by reducing interest rates and removing exchange controls. The Russians and Chinese will be acutely aware that Western currencies, particularly the yen and euro, are likely to be undermined by recent developments. The financial war, which has always been in the background, is emerging into plain sight and becoming a battlefield between fiat currencies, and it is full on. The winner by default is almost certainly gold, now the only reliable reserve asset for those not aligned with Russia’s “unfriendlies”. But it is still a long way from backing any currency. Putin is losing the battle for Ukraine President Putin is embattled. His army as let him down — it turns out that his generals lack the necessary leadership qualities, the squaddies are suffering from lack of food, fuel, and are suffering from frostbite. It is reported that one brigade commander, Colonel Yuri Medvedev, was deliberately run down by one of his own men in a tank, a measure of the chaos at the front line. And Putin is not the first national leader to have misplaced his confidence in military forces. Conventional wisdom (from Carl von Clausewitz, no less) suggested Putin might win the battle for Ukraine but would be unable to hold the territory. That requires the willingness of the population to accept defeat, and a lesson the Soviets had learned in Afghanistan, with the same experience repeated by America and the UK. But Putin has not even won the battle and word from the Kremlin is of accepting a face-saving fall-back position, perhaps taking Donetsk and the coast of the Sea of Azov to join it up with Crimea. There was little doubt that if Putin came under pressure militarily, he would probably step up the commodity and financial war. This he has now done by insisting on payments in roubles. The mistake made in the West was to believe that Russia must sell commodities, and even though sanctions harm the West greatly, the strategy is to put maximum pressure on the Russian economy for a quick resolution. It is obviously flawed because Russia can still trade with China, India, and other significant economies. And thanks to rising commodity prices the Russian economy is not in the bad place the West believed either. Besides nations representing 84% of the world’s population standing aside from the Western alliance’s sanctions and with some like India sorely tempted to buy discounted Russian oil, we would profit from paying attention to some very basic factors. Russia can certainly afford to sell oil at significant discounts to market prices, and there are buyers willing to break the American-led embargoes. The non-Western world is no longer automatically on-side with American hegemony; that is a rotting hulk which the Americans are desperately trying to keep afloat. Observing this, the Kremlin seems relaxed and has said that it is willing to accept currencies from its friends, but Western enemies (the “unfriendlies”) would have to pay for oil in roubles or, it has also been suggested, in gold. On 23 March the Kremlin drew up a list of these unfriendly countries, which includes the 27 EU members, Switzerland, Norway, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea. Payment in roubles is easy to understand. We can assume that all oil and natural gas long-term supply contracts with the unfriendlies have force majeure clauses, because that is normal practice. In the light of sanctions, the Russians are entitled to claim different payment terms. And it is this that the Russians are relying upon for insisting on payment in roubles. Germany, for example, would have to buy roubles on the foreign exchanges to pay for her gas. Buying roubles supports the currency, and this was the tactic that created the petrodollar in 1973 when Nixon and Kissinger persuaded the Saudis to take nothing else but dollars for oil. It was that single move which more than anything confirmed the dollar as the world’s international and reserve currency in the aftermath of the temporary suspension of the Bretton Woods Agreement. That’s not quite the objective here; it is to not only underwrite the rouble, but to drive it higher relative to other currencies. The immediate effect has been clear, as the chart from Bloomberg below shows. Having halved in value against the dollar on 7 March, all the rouble’s fall has been recovered. And that’s even before Germany et al buy roubles on the foreign exchanges to pay for Russian energy. The gold issue is more complex. The West has banned not only Russian transactions settling in their currencies but also from settling in gold. The assumption is that gold is the only liquid asset Russia has left to trade with. But just as ahead of the end of the cold war Western intelligence completely misread the Soviet economy, it could be making a mistake again. This time, intel seems to be misled by full-on Keynesian macro analysis, suggesting the Russian economy is vulnerable when it is inherently stronger in a currency shoot-out than even the dollar. There is no need for Russia to sell any gold at all. The Russian economy has a broadly non-interventionist government, a flat rate of income tax of 13%, and a government debt of 20% of GDP. There are flaws in the Russian economy, particularly in the lack of respect for property rights and the pervasive problem of the Russian Mafia. But in many respects, Russia’s economy is like that of the US before 1916, when the highest income tax rate was 15%. An important difference is that the Russian government gets substantial revenues from energy and commodity exports, taking its income up to over 40% of GDP. While export volumes of energy and other commodities are being hit by sanctions, their prices have risen substantially. But it remains to be seen what form of money or currency for future payments will be used for over $550bn equivalent of exports, while $297bn of imports will be substantially reduced by sanctions, widening Russia’s trade surplus considerably. Euros, yen, dollars, and sterling are ruled out, worthless in the hands of the Central Bank. That leaves Chinese renminbi, Indian rupees, weakening Turkish lira and that’s about it. It’s hardly surprising that Russia is prepared to accept gold. Putin’s view on the subject is shown in Figure 1 of stills taken from a Tik Tok video released last weekend. Furthermore, Russia’s official reserves are only a small part of the story. Simon Hunt of Simon Hunt Strategic Services, who I have found to be consistently well informed in these matters, is convinced based on his information that Russia’s gold reserves are significantly higher than reported — he thinks 12,000 tonnes is closer to the mark. The payment choice for those on Russia’s unfriendly list, if we rule out gold, is effectively of only one — buy roubles to pay for Russian energy. By sanctioning the world’s largest energy exporter, the effect on energy prices in dollars is likely to drive them far higher yet. Additionally, market liquidity for roubles is likely to be restricted, and the likelihood of a bear squeeze on any shorts is therefore high. The question is how high? Last year, the EU imported 155 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia, valued at about $180bn at current volatile prices. Oil exports from Russia to the EU were about 2.3 million barrels per day, worth an additional $105bn for a combined total of $285bn, which at the current exchange rate of RUB 75.5 is RUB 2.15 trillion. EU Gas consumption is likely to fall as spring approaches, but payments in roubles will still drive the exchange rate significantly higher. And attempts to obtain alternative sources of LNG will take time, be insufficient, and serve to drive natural gas prices from other suppliers even higher. For now, we should dismiss ideas over payments to the Russians in gold. The Russian gold story, initially at least, is a domestic issue. Though it might spill over into international markets. On 25 March, Russia’s central bank announced it will buy gold from credit institutions at a fixed rate of 5,000 roubles per gramme starting this week and through to 30 June. The press release stated that it will enable “a stable supply of gold and smooth functioning of the gold mining industry.” In other words, it allows banks to continue to lend money to gold mining and related activities, particularly for financing new gold mining developments. Meanwhile, the state will continue to accumulate bullion which, as discussed above, it has no need to spend on imports. When the RCB’s announcement was made the rouble was considerably weaker and the price offered by the central bank was about 20% below the market price. But that has now changed. Based on last night’s exchange rate of 75.5 roubles to the dollar (30 March) and with gold at $1935, the price offered by the central bank is at a premium of 7.2% to the market. Whether this opens the situation up to arbitrage from overseas bullion markets is an intriguing question. And we can assume that Russian banks will find ways of acquiring and deploying the dollars to do so through their offshore facilities, until, under the cover of a strong rouble, the RCB removes exchange controls. There is nothing in the RCB’s statement to prevent a Russian bank sourcing gold from, say, Dubai, to sell to the central bank. Guidance notes to which we cannot be privy may address this issue but let us assume this arbitrage will be permitted, because it might be difficult to stop. And if Russia does have undeclared bullion reserves more than those allegedly held by the US Treasury, then given that the real war is essentially financial, it is in Russia’s interest to see the gold price rise in dollars. Not only would Eurozone banks be scrambling to obtain roubles, but the entire Western banking system, which takes the short side of derivative transactions in gold will find itself in increasing difficulties. Normally, bullion banks rely on central banks and the Bank for International Settlements to backstop the market with physical liquidity through leases and swaps. But the unfortunate message from the West to every central bank not on Russia’s unfriendly list is that London’s or New York’s respect for ownership rights to their nation’s gold cannot be relied upon. Not only will lease and swap liquidity dry up, but it is likely that requests will be made for earmarked gold in these centres to be repatriated. In short, Russia appears to be initiating a squeeze on gold derivatives in Western capital markets by exploiting diminishing faith in Western institutions and their cavalier treatment of foreign property rights. By forcing the unfriendlies into buying roubles, the RCB will shortly be able to reduce interest rates back to previous policy levels and remove exchange controls. At the same time, the inflation problems faced by the West will be ameliorated by a strong rouble. It ties in with the politics for Putin’s survival. Together with the economic benefits of an improving exchange rate for the rouble and the relatively minor inconvenience of not being able to buy imports from the West (alternatives from China and India will still be available) Putin can retreat from his disastrous Ukrainian campaign. Senior figures in the Russian army will be disciplined, imprisoned, or disappear accused of incompetence and misleading Putin into thinking his “special operation” would be quickly achieved. Putin will absolve himself of any blame and dissenters can expect even greater clampdowns on protests. Russia’s moves are likely to have been thought out in advance. The move to support the rouble is evidence it is so, giving the central bank the opportunity to reverse the interest rate hike to 20% to protect the rouble. Foreign exchange controls on Russians can shortly be lifted. Almost certainly the consequences for Western currencies were discussed. The conclusion would surely have been that higher energy and other Russian commodity prices would persist, driving Western price inflation higher and for longer than discounted in financial markets. Western economies face soaring interest rates and a slump. And depending on their central bank’s actions, Japan and the Eurozone with negative interest rates are almost certainly most vulnerable to a financial, currency, and economic crisis. The impact of Russia’s new policy of only accepting roubles was, perhaps, the inevitable consequence of the West’s policies of self-immolation. From Russia’s failure in Ukraine, Putin appears to have had little option but to go on the offensive and escalate the financial, or commodity-currency war to cover his retreat. We can only speculate about the effect of a strong rouble on the international gold price, but if Russian banks can indeed buy bullion from non-Russian sources to sell to the RCB, it would mark a very aggressive move in the ongoing financial war. China’s position China will be learning unpalatable lessens about its ambition to invade Taiwan, and Taiwan will be encouraged mightily by Ukraine’s success at repelling an unwelcome invader. A 100-mile channel is an enormous obstacle for a Chinese invasion that Russia didn’t have to navigate before Ukrainian locals exploited defensive tactics to repel the invader. There can now be little doubt of the outcome if China tried the same tactics against Taiwan. President Xi would be sensible not to make the same mistake as Putin and tone down the anti-Taiwan rhetoric and try the softer approach of friendly relations and economic integration to reunite Chinese interests. That has been a costless lesson for China, but another consideration is the continuing relationship with Russia. The earlier Chinese description of it made sense: “We are not allies, but we are partners”. What this means is that China would abstain rather than support Russia in the various supranational forums where the world’s leaders gather. But she would continue to trade with Russia as normal, even engaging in currency swaps to facilitate it. More recently, a small crack has appeared in this relationship, with China concerned that US and EU sanctions might be extended to Chinese entities in joint ventures with Russian businesses linked to sanctioned oligarchs and Putin supporters. The highest profile example has been the suspension of a joint project to build a petrochemical plant in Russia involving Sinopec, because of the involvement of Gennady Timchenko, a close ally of Putin. But according to a report from Nikkei Asia, Sinopec has confirmed it will continue to buy Russian crude oil and gas. As always with its geopolitics, we can expect China to play its hand with great care. China was prepared for the consequences of US monetary policy in March 2020 when the Fed reduced its funds rate to zero and instituted quantitative easing of $120bn every month. By its actions it judged these moves to be very inflationary, and began stockpiling commodities ahead of dollar price rises, including energy and grains to project its own people. The yuan has risen against the dollar by about 11%, which with moderate credit policies has kept annualised domestic price inflation subdued to about 1% currently, while consumer price inflation in the West is soaring out of control. China is not therefore in the weak financial position of Russia’s “unfriendlies”; the highly indebted governments whose finances and economies are likely to be destabilised by rising energy prices and interest rates. But it does have a potential economic crisis on its hands in the form of a collapsing property market. In February, its response was to ease the credit restrictions imposed following the initial pandemic recovery in 2021, which had included attempts to deleverage the property sector. Property aside, we can assume that China will not want to destabilise the West by her own actions. The West is doing that very effectively without China’s assistance. But having demonstrated an understanding of why the West is sliding into an inflation crisis of its own making China will be keen not to make the same mistakes. Her partnership with Russia, as joint leaders in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, is central to detaching herself from what its Maoist economists forecast as the inevitable collapse of imperial capitalism. Having set itself up in the image of that imperialism, it must now become independent from it to avoid the same fate. Gold’s wider role in China, Russia, and the SCO Gold has always been central to China’s fallback position. I estimated that before permitting its own people to buy gold in 2002, the state had acquired as much as 20,000 tonnes. Subsequently, through the Shanghai Gold Exchange the Chinese public has taken delivery of a further 20,000 tonnes, mainly through imports from outside China. No gold escapes China, and the Chinese government is likely to have added to its hoard over the last twenty years. The government maintains a monopoly on refining and has stimulated the mining industry to become the largest national producer. Together with its understanding of the West’s inflationary policies the evidence is clear: China is prepared for a world of sound money with gold replacing the dollar’s hegemony, and it now dominates the world’s physical market with that in mind. These plans are shared with Russia, and the members, dialog partners and associates of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation — almost all of which have been accumulating gold reserves. Mine output from these countries is estimated by the US Geological Survey at 830 tonnes, 27% of the global total. The move away from pure fiat was confirmed recently by some half-baked plans for the Eurasian Economic Union and China to escape from Western fiat by setting up a new currency for cross-border trade backed partly by commodities, including gold. The extent of “off balance sheet” bullion is a critical issue, because at some stage they are likely to be declared. In this context, the Russian position is important, because if Simon Hunt, quoted above, is correct Russia could have more gold than the US’s 8,130 tonnes, which it is widely thought to overstate the latter’s true position. Furthermore, Western central banks routinely lease and swap their gold reserves, leading to double counting, which almost certainly reduces their actual position in aggregate. And if fiat currencies continue to decline we could find that the two ringmasters for the SCO have more monetary gold than all the other central banks put together — something like 30,000-40,000 tonnes for Chinese and Russian governments, compared with perhaps less than 20,000 tonnes for Russia’s adversaries (officially ,the unfriendlies own about 24,000 tonnes, but we can assume that at least 5,000 of that is double counted or does not exist due to leasing and swaps). The endgame for the yen and the euro Without doubt, the terrible twins in the major fiat currencies are the yen and the euro. They share much in common: negative interest rates, major commercial banks highly leveraged with asset to equity ratios averaging over twenty times, and central bank balance sheets overloaded with bonds which are collapsing in value. They now face rising interest rates spiralling beyond their control, the consequences of the ECB and Bank of Japan being trapped under the zero bound and being in denial over falling purchasing power for their currencies. Consequently, we are seeing capital flight, which has accelerated dramatically this month for the yen, but in truth follows on from relative weakness for both currencies since the middle of 2021 when global bond yields began rising. Statistically, we can therefore link the collapse of both currencies on the foreign exchanges with rising bond yields. And given that rising interest rates and bond yields are in their early stages, there is considerable currency weakness yet to come. Japan and its yen The Bank of Japan has publicly stated it would buy an unlimited amount of 10-year Japanese Government Bonds at a 0.25% yield to contain the bond sell-off. A higher yield would be more than embarrassing for the BOJ, already requiring a recapitalisation, presumably with its heavily indebted government stumping up the money. Figure 2 shows that the 10-year JGB yield is already testing the 0.25% yield level (charts from Bloomberg). Fig 2. JGB yields hits BoJ Limit and Yen collapsing As avid Keynesians, the BOJ is following similar policies to that of John Law in 1720’s France. Law issued fresh livres which he used to prop up the Mississippi venture by buying shares in the market. The bubble popped, the venture survived, but the livre was destroyed. Today, the BOJ is issuing yen to prop up the Japanese government bond market. As the issuer of the currency, the BOJ is by any yardstick bankrupt and in desperate need of new capital. Since it commenced QE in 2000, it has accumulated so much government and corporate debt, and even equities bundled into ETFs, that the falling value of the BOJ’s holdings makes its liabilities significantly greater than its assets, currently to the tune of about ¥4 trillion ($3.3bn). Ignoring the cynic’s definition of madness, the BOJ is doubling down on its commitment, announcing on Monday further unlimited purchases of 10-year JGBs at a fixed yield of 0.25%. In other words, it is supporting bond prices from falling further, echoing Mario Draghi’s “whatever it takes” and confirming its John Law policy. Last Tuesday’s Summary of Opinions at the Monetary Policy Meeting on March 17 and 18 had this gem: “Heightened geopolitical risks due to the situation surrounding Ukraine have caused price rises of energy and other items, and this will push down domestic demand while raising the CPI. Under the circumstances, it is necessary to improve labour market conditions and provide stronger support for wage increases, and therefore it is increasingly important that the bank persistently continue with the current monetary easing.” No, this is not satire. In other words, the BOJ’s deposit rate will remain negative. And the following was added from Government Representatives at the same meeting: “The budget for fiscal 2022 aims to realise a new form of capitalism through a virtual circle of growth and distribution and the government has been making efforts to swiftly obtain the Diet’s approval.” A virtuous circle of growth? It seems like intensified intervention. Meanwhile, Japan’s major banks with asset to equity ratios of over twenty times are too highly geared to survive rising interest rates without a bank credit crisis threatening to take them down. It is hardly surprising that international capital is fleeing the yen, realising that it will be sacrificed by the BOJ in the vain hope that it can continue to maintain bond prices far above where they should be. The euro system and its euro The euro system and the euro share similar characteristics to the BOJ and the yen: interest rates trapped under the zero bound, Eurozone G-SIBs with asset to equity ratios of over 20 times and market realities forcing interest rates and bond yields higher, as Figure 3 shows. Furthermore, Eurozone banks are heavily exposed to Russian and Ukrainian debt due to their geographic proximity. Fig 3: Euro declining as bond yields soar There are two additional problems for the Eurosystem not faced by the BOJ and the yen. The ECB’s shareholders are the national central banks in the euro system, which in turn have balance sheet liabilities more than their assets. The structure of the euro system means that in recapitalising itself the ECB does not have a government to which it can issue credit and receive equity capital in return, the normal way in which a central bank would refinance its balance sheet by turning credit into equity. Instead, it will have to refinance itself through the national central banks which being insolvent themselves in turn would have to refinance themselves through their governments. The second problem is a further complication. The euro system’s TARGET2 settlement system reflects enormous imbalances which complicates resolving a funding crisis. For example, on the last figures (end-February), Germany’s Bundesbank was owed €1,150 billion through TARGET2, while Italy owed €568 billion. It would be in the interests of a recapitalisation for the Italian government to want its central bank to write off this amount, while the Bundesbank is already in negative equity without writing off TARGET2 balances. Germany’s politicians might demand the balances owed to the Bundesbank be secured. This problem is not insoluble perhaps, but one can see that political and public wrangling over these imbalances will only serve to draw attention to the fragility of the whole system and undermine public trust in the currency. With Germany’s CPI now rising at 7.6% and Spain’s at 9.8%, negative deposit rates are wildly inappropriate. When the system breaks it can be expected to be sudden, violent and a shock to those in thrall to the euro system. Conclusion For decades, a showdown between an Asian partnership and hegemonic America has been building. We can date this back to 1983, when China began to accumulate physical gold having appointed the Peoples’ Bank for the purpose. That act was the first indication that China felt the need to protect itself from others as it ventured into capitalism. China has navigated itself through increasing American assertion of its hegemony and attempts to destabilise Hong Kong. It has faced obstacles to its lucrative export trade through tariffs. It has been cut off from Western markets for its advanced technology. China has resented having to use the dollar. After Russia’s ill-advised invasion of Ukraine, it now appears that the invisible war over global financial resources and control is intensifying. The fuse has been lit and events are taking over. The destabilisation of the yen and the euro are now as certain as can be. While the yen is the victim of John Law-like market-rigging policies and likely to go the same way as France’s livre, perhaps the greater danger is for the euro. The contradictions in its set-up, and the destruction of Germany’s sound money principals in favour of the inflationism of the PIGS was always going to be finite. The ECB has got itself into a ridiculous position, and no amount of conjuring and cajoling of financial institutions can resolve the ECB’s own insolvency and that of all its shareholders. History shows that there are two groups involved in a currency collapse. International holders take fright and sell for other currencies and assets they believe to be more secure. They drive the exchange rate lower. The second group is the public in a nation, those who use the currency for transactions. If they lose confidence in it, the currency can rapidly descend into worthlessness as ordinary people accelerate its disposal for anything tangible in a final crack-up boom. In the past, an alternative currency was always the sounder one, one backed by and exchangeable for gold coin. That is so long ago that we in the West have mostly forgotten the difference between money, that is gold and silver, and unbacked fiat currencies. The great unknown has been how much abuse of money and credit it would take for the public to relearn the difference. Cryptocurrencies have alerted us, but they are not a widely accepted medium of exchange and don’t have the legal standing of gold and gold substitutes. War is to be our wake-up call — financial rather than physical in character. Western central banks and their governments have been fiddling the books, telling us that currency debasement is good for us. That debasement has accelerated in recent years. But by upping the anti against Russia with sanctions that end up undermining the purchasing power of all the West’s major currencies, our leaders have called an end to the reign of fiat. Tyler Durden Sat, 04/02/2022 - 14:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeApr 2nd, 2022

Unwind And Recharge At These Corporate Retreats For Small Businesses

When planning a corporate retreat, small businesses have unique needs. They often don’t have the budget or staffing that larger corporations do, so they need to find retreats that value them. While plenty of fantastic resorts and getaways can accommodate large groups, we’ve compiled a list of the best corporate retreats for small businesses that […] When planning a corporate retreat, small businesses have unique needs. They often don’t have the budget or staffing that larger corporations do, so they need to find retreats that value them. While plenty of fantastic resorts and getaways can accommodate large groups, we’ve compiled a list of the best corporate retreats for small businesses that offer those four critical elements for your business. 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); Q4 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Benefits Of A Corporate Retreat There are many benefits that a small business can experience by booking a corporate retreat. It can be an opportunity for team members to get to know each other outside of work, build trust, and improve communication. According to Forbes, four critical elements for a successful company retreat are learning, sharing, bonding, and unifying. It can also be a chance for employees to learn new skills, recharge their batteries, and return to work feeling refreshed and motivated. A corporate retreat can help strengthen the company’s culture and bring employees together around shared goals. Research by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, in collaboration with British multinational telecoms firm BT, has found that workers are 13% more productive when happy. Getting along with our co-workers has a calming influence on the workplace. The sense of self-esteem and belonging from connecting to others can’t be overstated. Come For The Retreat Located just one hour from the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport, The Lodge at Stout’s Island is a world away from the ordinary. “Being from Wisconsin myself and having enjoyed retreats at Stout’s Island Lodge, I can recommend it for small to medium businesses looking for a pro-activity environment that’s not just centered around meetings. It’s set on an island, so there are a vast amount of adventure activities on offer, including rodeo games, scavenger hunts, croquet, swimming rugby, Elco cruises, and guided fishing,” comments Evan McCarthy, CEO of SportingSmiles LLC. Unplug At This Hawaiian Escape On the tranquil and untouched eastern coast of Molokai, Hawaii, is Pu’u O Hoku Ranch, a family-owned biodynamic and organic ranch and farm with a rustic retreat center. “Pu’u O Hoku” means “Hill of Stars,” It is located within 14,000 acres of protected land bathed in natural beauty. The island’s natural beauty is matched only by its historical significance to Native Hawaiians. Team building excursions to the historical Kalaupapa Peninsula or hiking through the Halawa Valley to Moa’ula Falls offers outdoor adventures away from the office. Hiking, swimming, stargazing, surfing, and witnessing a working ranch are all options. Pu’u O Hoku is one of the few islands where you can experience Hawaii as it once was. A Swarovski Crystal Resort Nestled in the heart of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley and just one hour from the city of Kamloops, Sparkling Hill Resort offers panoramic views of Okanagan Lake and the Monashee Mountains. This award-winning resort provides the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable corporate retreat. Mr. Gernot Langes-Swarovski, the patriarch of the Swarovski Crystal family, wanted to bring the European health and wellness experience to the rest of the world. He loved the natural beauty of the Okanagan where Sparkling Hill Resort now stands. Local real estate agent Andrew from Kamloops Living organized a retreat to Sparkling Hill for his real estate team. “The corporate retreats offer fun and energizing team-building opportunities. The hiking, yoga, and golfing options are just a few of the perks at this resort. Drive California Backroads At This VW Bus Retreat Picture a group of employees meeting in Newport Beach, where each is paired with their own vintage VW bus to drive. Then, after an orientation of their classic dub, they hit the road in a convoy of buses to Joshua Tree National Park for three nights of glamping under the stars. No significant highways for you. Instead, you’ll drive the California backroads, soaking up the sand and sun with your co-workers. Destinations include the Mojave Desert, Joshua Tree National Park, the famed California Highway 1, and more. Dylan from White Wolf Tours comments, “in the post-COVID era, we are noticing that employees value these travel memories and experiences vastly more than a fleece or mug with the company’s name on it.” “Do you remember when we took that vintage VW into the desert and…” continues Dylan. “Those are the team building (and family) memories we are looking to create while simultaneously satiating the work-from-home escape bug we see so many employees desperately seeking.” Come Together Dude Ranch Style Located less than a 1 ½ hour drive from Tucson in Sasabe, Arizona, Rancho de la Osa is an ideal team-building retreat to explore trails frequented by US Presidents and movie stars. The authentic, western-style ranch environment allows team members to connect relaxed and comfortable. “Guest ranches provide a unique and often new environment for team-building events and corporate retreats. Rancho de la Osa has a maximum of about 35 guests, so a ranch buyout is possible for the whole company or group to have the ranch to themselves. We customize our rates to meet the group’s needs, and they can be inclusive of lodging, meals, activities, and our group meeting space,” says Brook Grobosky, Director of Marketing and Customer Service, for the True Ranch Collection. “The ranch activities—which can be done as a group or split off into smaller groups—and its unique location can be a new experience for groups that stimulates connection and innovative thinking. With everything, including meals, on the property, there is little need for extra coordination for a group event,” continues Grobosky. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone Once a meeting site for revolutionary rebels and a vacation destination to four American presidents, The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa in Manchester, VT., offers team-building activities that center on its 914 acres of Green Mountain trails. This mountain retreat encourages team members to get out of their comfort zone with adrenaline-pumping experiences that expand horizons and teach new skills. From fly fishing, hiking, and falconry, to off-road driving lessons with Land Rover Experience Driving School, the outdoor activities are (almost) limitless at The Equinox. There’s also skiing, sleigh rides, snowmobiling, and much more for those searching for a winter retreat. The property is located less than four hours by car from Boston and New York City. Trade PowerPoint Presentations For Memorable Experiences Situated across 3,500 acres in Richmond, Rhode Island, The Preserve Sporting Club and Residences combines New England charm and modern luxury. Run-of-the-mill team-building retreats are taken to the next level with thrilling programming and memorable experiences. Teams can plan specialty executive and small group experiences like a signature scotch and cigar tasting in Safari tents, a round of sporting clays on 25-stations, or a private meal in one of three Instagram-famous hobbit houses. Likewise, companies can trade in the typical day of PowerPoint presentations for an afternoon spent hiking many trails, horseback riding, or fly-fishing with the team. Sail The San Francisco Bay A 3-day, 2-night adventure cruise aboard BluReverie Catamaran in San Francisco is an excellent choice as a team-building retreat. Guests will experience a luxurious 48-foot catamaran and all-inclusive dinner and drinks. The catamaran will sail in the San Francisco Bay, offering 360-degree views of the San Francisco skyline, relaxation on the beach at Angel Island, and spending a peaceful night in private cabins at anchor. An excellent way to build a team spirit within the group is to show them an insider tour of the boat’s inner workings and have them participate in a few hands-on tasks. Author the Author Casandra is the founder of Karpiak Caravan Adventure Family Travel and a mother to two adventurous young boys. Casandra is a family-focused adventure travel advocate. Updated on Apr 1, 2022, 12:51 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: valuewalkApr 1st, 2022

Jacobs (J) Wins Deal to Restore SBMT, Braces Clean Energy Goal

Jacobs Engineering Group's (J) expertise to advance Brooklyn's vital port facilities to support Empire Wind, Beacon Wind and the wider offshore wind industry. Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.’s J shares moved up 0.57% on Mar 29, after it announced that Empire Offshore Wind selected it for the detail design of New York's South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT). Empire Offshore Wind is a joint venture company between Equinor and BP p.l.c. BP.Per the architectural and engineering design services contract, Jacobs’ scope of work includes oversight for the modification of the existing bulkheads to strengthen and accommodate heavy lift operations. Also, the deal involves upland site redevelopment, coordination with the ongoing remediation efforts, dredging, a new green operations and maintenance facility, new docking facilities for crew transfer and service operation vessels, utility upgrade, permitting and construction support.Located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, the facility will serve as an operation and maintenance base and staging and assembly port for wind turbine installation. The terminal will help the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind offshore wind farms to develop the coast of Long Island, NY. Post completion, SBMT will reduce carbon emissions while providing clean energy to more than 2 million New York homes.Jacobs’ Buildings & Infrastructure Americas North Region’s senior vice president, Gary Morris, said, "Designing infrastructure to revitalize communities and help meet our future sustainability goals is at the core of our purpose. We share the mission of New York City and State to meet critical climate adaptation needs and to accelerate clean energy options through development of the SBMT."Engineering and design work began in March 2022, and construction work at SBMT is anticipated to start in the second half of 2023.Solid Project Execution: A BoonJacobs has been witnessing accelerating demand for consulting services for infrastructure, water, environment, space, broadband, cybersecurity and life sciences. Efficient project execution has been one of the primary factors driving Jacobs’ performance over the last few quarters. The company’s solid backlog level is a testimony to this fact.At first quarter fiscal 2022-end, it reported a backlog of $28 billion, up 12% year over year. This reflects persistent solid demand for Jacobs' consulting services. CMS backlog grew 11.5% year over year to $10.8 billion at fiscal first quarter-end, which provided strong visibility into the base business. The company’s overall 18-month qualified new business pipeline of more than $30 billion remains robust. This segment is benefiting from well-funded government programs and cyber, U.S. Department of Defense, mission-IT, space, nuclear as well as 5G-related projects.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchJ’s shares have gained 3.7% in the past six months compared with the Zacks Engineering - R and D Services industry’s 6.9% growth. Jacobs and other industry players are witnessing labor-related medical costs, IT-related investment costs and other investments expenses.Zacks Rank & Key PicksCurrently, Jacobs carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Fluor Corporation FLR — a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company — is gaining from the "Building a Better Future" initiative, which is focused on enhancing the markets outside the traditional oil and gas sector, fair and balanced commercial deals, financial discipline, and high-performing business culture. It has made significant progress toward strategic goals that comprise the reduction of outstanding debt by 30% and identified ways for more than $150 million in annual cost savings.FLR’s earnings estimates have increased to $1.34 per share from $1.12 over the past 30 days. The projected figure indicates 42.6% year-over-year growth.AECOM ACM — a Zacks Rank #2 company — is a leading solutions provider for supporting professional, technical and management solutions for diverse industries across end markets. ACM has been continuously focusing on delivering industry-leading margins and unlocking capital to promote growth as well as innovation. Also, focus on higher-margin and lower-risk Professional Services businesses bodes well.Over the past 30 days, AECOM’s earnings estimates for fiscal 2022 have increased from $3.35 to $3.40, indicating a 20.6% year-over-year rise. 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. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in 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 BP p.l.c. (BP): Free Stock Analysis Report Fluor Corporation (FLR): Free Stock Analysis Report AECOM (ACM): Free Stock Analysis Report Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (J): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMar 31st, 2022

U.S. Economy Firing on All Cylinders: 5 Top Picks

We have narrowed our search to five U.S. corporate behemoths as these companies have a well-established business model across the world. These are: CVX, XOM, DE, COST and AMD. The U.S. economy is going through an astonishing recovery from the coronavirus-ridden last two years. The labor market is gradually approaching the pre-pandemic period and the product market (both manufacturing and services segments) is witnessing expansionary activities.Higher activities in foreign trade are expected as the global economy is recovering from the pandemic. In the money market, the anticipation of a relatively hawkish Fed and a higher tax regime, after two years of a nearly 0% tax level, are unlikely to create market turbulence for a longer time.At this stage, it will be prudent to invest in a U.S. corporate behemoth with a favorable Zacks Rank and strong potential for 2022. Five of them are Chevron Corp. CVX, Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. AMD, Costco Wholesale Corp. COST and Deere & Co. DE.A Recovering Labor MarketThe U.S. labor market that suffered the most during the pandemic is quickly approaching the pre-pandemic level. The Department of Labor reported that nonfarm payrolls in January jumped to 467,000 compared with the consensus estimate of 116,000. Moreover, December and November’s data were revised upward to add a combined 709,000 more jobs to the previously released data.Importantly, the labor force participation rate finally broke the 61.9% barrier and grew 0.3% sequentially to 62.2%. The unemployment edged up to 4% in January from 3.9% in December. However, the long-term unemployment (the number of Americans out of work for at least six months) dropped 317,000 since December to 1.7 million in January.In January long-term unemployment was 25.9% of total unemployment compared with 31.7% in December, marking the largest monthly decline since March 2021. Notably, all these positives happened in the labor market at the peak of the Omicron infections of coronavirus.Strong GDP and Corporate EarningsIn the fourth quarter of 2021, U.S. GDP climbed 6.9% compared with the consensus estimate of 5.4%. In 2021, U.S. GDP surged 5.7%, marking its best performance since 1984. The momentum is likely to continue as the average estimate of 2022 is currently at 3.5%.Wall Street has seen solid fourth-quarter 2021 earnings results so far. Total earnings of the market’s benchmark the S&P 500 Index have skyrocketed in the two pandemic-ridden years of 2020 and 2021. Going forward this momentum is likely to continue. At present, total earnings and revenues of the S&P 500 Index have been estimated at 9.6% and 7.7%, respectively for 2022 and 9.6% and 5.5% in 2023.Robust Government SpendingThe U.S. economy will get more upside from the government’s infrastructure spending. On Nov 15, President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan infrastructure bill of $550 billion in addition to the previously approved funds of $450 billion for five years. Total spending may go up to $1.2 trillion if the plan is extended to eight years.The infrastructure development project will be a key catalyst for the U.S. stock markets in 2022. Various segments of the economy such as basic materials, industrials, utilities and telecommunications should benefit immensely with further job creation.Moreover, the White House has pressured on Congress to quickly pass legislation providing $52 billion to help computer chip manufacturers and ease the shortage of the components vital to many industries.Our Top PicksWe have narrowed our search to five U.S. corporate behemoths (market capital >$50 billion) as these companies have a well-established business model across the world. These stocks have strong growth potential for 2022 and have seen solid earnings estimate revisions within the last 30 days indicating strong business opportunities. Each of our picks carries either a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and a VGM Score of A or B. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The chart below shows the price performancew ofc our five picks in the past three months.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchChevron is one of the best-placed global integrated oil firms to achieve a sustainable production ramp-up. CVX’s existing project pipeline is one of the best in the industry, thanks to its premier position in the lucrative Permian Basin.Chevron’s Noble Energy takeover has expanded its footprint in the region and the DJ Basin. CVX now has access to Noble Energy’s low-cost, proven reserves along with cash-generating offshore assets in Israel — particularly the flagship Leviathan natural gas project — thereby boosting its footing in the Mediterranean.Zacks Rank #1 Chevron has an expected earnings growth rate of 36.2% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 6.2% over the last 7 days.Exxon Mobil made multiple world-class oil discoveries at the Stabroek Block, located off the coast of Guyana. XOM has raised the estimate for discovered recoverable resources from the Stabroek Block to approximately 10 billion oil-equivalent barrels.Exxon Mobile’s bellwether status and an optimal integrated capital structure, which have historically led to industry-leading returns make it a relatively lower-risk energy sector play. The integrated oil behemoth expects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in its upstream business. By the same time, XOM expects to reduce flaring and methane emissions by 40%.Zacks Rank #1 Exxon Mobile has an expected earnings growth rate of 29.9% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 4.6% over the last 7 days.Advanced Micro Devices is riding on robust performance from the Computing and Graphics, and Enterprise Embedded and Semi-Custom segments. AMD is benefiting from the strong sales of its Ryzen and EPYC server processors, owing to the increasing proliferation of AI and Machine Learning in industries like cloud, gaming and supercomputing.The growing clout of 7 nanometer products in the data center vertical, driven by work-from-home and online learning trends, is a key catalyst of Advanced Micro Devices. AMD has raised its 2021 guidance for revenues on the back of strong growth across all businesses.Zacks Rank #1 Advanced Micro Devices has an expected earnings growth rate of 43.4% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 20.5% over the last 7 days.Costco operates membership warehouses in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Australia, Spain, France, Iceland, China, and Taiwan. COST offers branded and private-label products in a range of merchandise categories.Costco’s growth strategies, better price management, decent membership trend and increasing penetration of e-commerce business reinforce its position. The strategy to sell products at discounted prices has helped Costco to draw customers seeking both value and convenience. These factors have been aiding in registering impressive sales numbers.Zacks Rank #2 Costco has an expected earnings growth rate of 14.3% for the current year (ending August 2022). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 0.2% over the last 7 days.Deere is likely to benefit from growth in non-residential investment and strong order activity from independent rental companies. Focus on investing in new products equipped with the latest technology will make farming automated, which will drive Deere's growth in the long haul.The ongoing rally in commodity prices will continue to fuel demand for agricultural equipment, encouraging farmers to boost spending on new farm equipment. Replacement demand triggered by the need to upgrade old equipment will continue to support DEs revenues.Zacks Rank #2 Deere has an expected earnings growth rate of 17% for the current year (ending October 2022). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 0.1% over the last 30 days. Just Released: Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top buy-and-hold tickers for the entirety of 2022? Last year's 2021 Zacks Top 10 Stocks portfolio returned gains as high as +147.7%. Now a brand-new portfolio has been handpicked from over 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank. Don’t miss your chance to get in on these long-term buysAccess Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 today >>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 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD): Free Stock Analysis Report Chevron Corporation (CVX): Free Stock Analysis Report Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): Free Stock Analysis Report Deere & Company (DE): Free Stock Analysis Report Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksFeb 7th, 2022

CSX"s Q4 Earnings & Revenues Beat Estimates, Increase Y/Y

CSX's Q4 results benefit from growth across all its businesses, and revenues from the July 2021 acquisition of Quality Carriers. CSX Corporation’s CSX fourth-quarter 2021 earnings of 42 cents per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny. The bottom line improved in double digits year over year owing to higher revenues.Total revenues of $3,427 million outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3296 million. The top line jumped 21.3% year over year owing to growth across all its businesses, and revenues from Quality Carriers, which the company acquired in July 2021.Fourth-quarter operating income climbed 12% to $1,366 million. Operating ratio (operating expenses as a percentage of revenues) deteriorated to 60.1% from 57% in the prior-year quarter, with operating expenses increasing 28% year over year. With respect to this metric, lower the value, the better.CSX expects capital expenditures to be approximately $2 billion in 2022.CSX Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise CSX Corporation price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | CSX Corporation QuoteSegmental PerformanceMerchandise revenues climbed 4% year over year to $1,937 million in the quarter under review. However, merchandise volumes dipped 3% from the year-ago period, primarily due to 23% drop in automotive volumes as a result of semiconductor shortage.Coal revenues ascended 39% year over year to $523 million in the reported quarter. Coal volumes decreased 2% with decline in domestic coal volumes due to lower shipments of utility coal resulting from an outage at a major coal-producing location.Intermodal revenues augmented 16% year over year to $551 million. Volumes were flat year over year. While domestic shipments fell due to supply constraints, international shipments rose owing to strong demand, inventory replenishments and growth in rail volumes from east-coast ports.Effective third-quarter 2021, CSX introduced a new segment — Trucking — which comprises the operations of Quality Carriers. Revenues from the segment totaled $210 million in the fourth quarter.Other revenues jumped 87% to $206 million in the reported quarter.Liquidity & Share BuybackCSX, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), exited the fourth quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $2,239 million compared with $3,129 million at the end of December 2020. Long-term debt totaled $16,185 million compared with $16,304 million at 2020-end. As of Dec 31, 2021, net cash provided by operating activities was $5,099 million compared with $4,263 million in the year-earlier period.As of Dec 31, 2021, CSX repurchased 90 million shares for $2,886 million.Sectorial SnapshotWithin the broader Transportation sector, J.B. Hunt Transport Services JBHT, United Airlines UAL and Delta Air Lines DAL recently reported fourth-quarter 2021 results.J.B. Hunt Transport Services, carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), reported fourth-quarter 2021 earnings of $2.28 per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.99. The bottom line surged 58.3% year over year on the back of higher revenues across all segments. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.J.B. Hunt’s operating revenues of $3,497 million also outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3,287.8 million. The top line jumped 27.7% year over year. Total operating revenues, excluding fuel surcharges, rose 21.7% year over year.United Airlines, carrying a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell), incurred a loss (excluding 39 cents from non-recurring items) of $1.60 per share in the fourth quarter of 2021, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $2.23. The amount of loss narrowed by 77.1% year over year.United Airlines’ operating revenues of $8,192 million also outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $7,930.9 million. The top line surged more than 100% year over year, with passenger revenues, accounting for 84% of the top line, soaring 185.4% to $6,878 million.Delta, carrying a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell), reported fourth-quarter 2021 earnings (excluding 86 cents from non-recurring items) of 22 cents per share, outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 15 cents. Results came against the year-ago quarter’s loss of $2.53 per share. Strong holiday travel demand and favorable pricing aided the December quarter’s results.Delta’s revenues came in at $9,470 million, which not only beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $9,232.1 million, but also soared in excess of 100% from the year-ago figure as people resorted to air travel during the holidays. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>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 CSX Corporation (CSX): Free Stock Analysis Report Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL): Free Stock Analysis Report United Airlines Holdings Inc (UAL): Free Stock Analysis Report J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. (JBHT): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 21st, 2022

Omicron Absenteeism Poses Fresh Test to U.S. Economic Strength

Several economists began the new year by downgrading their first-quarter forecasts With the omicron wave of the pandemic rapidly spreading across the U.S., the robust economic recovery is facing a new threat that policymakers have little control over: people calling in sick. What started as a series of holiday flight cancellations as pilots and other staff fell ill or were forced into quarantine is becoming a reality in factories, grocery stores and ports and again testing supply chains. The widespread absenteeism is already constraining output, and several economists began the new year by downgrading their first-quarter forecasts. Even if the hit is temporary, as most anticipate, the disruptions and closures are likely to slow the fragile rebound in some sectors and weigh on businesses’ future plans. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “You just don’t know when it’s going to hit you,” said James Beall, chief executive officer of the Washington, D.C.-area Ledo Pizza chain. On any given day last week, at least three of the company’s 110 locations were closed and as many as five were operating on reduced hours. “Our new normal is turning into another new normal.” Just how bad or enduring the omicron toll will be may take weeks to determine. The December jobs report released Friday, showing an unemployment rate at a fresh pandemic low of 3.9%, relied on data gathered mostly before the variant spread. Even the January numbers, due Feb. 4, are unlikely to reflect the entirety of the impact, which is more likely to be measured in lost output due to sick days than lost jobs. Nick Bunker, chief economist at online job-listing firm Indeed Inc., likens the impact of omicron to the blizzard of 1978, which dumped as much as four feet of snow on his native New England in less than 36 hours and yielded weeks of disruption but also a rapid recovery. Only unlike the blizzard and even previous waves of Covid-19, the variant has quickly become a national event, with new cases reaching as many as 1 million a day last week. That means “this big, very, very large sharp shock to the economy and the labor market specifically. But then the hope is that, like a storm, it ends and then there’s a return to prior trends,” Bunker said. “Things are only likely to get worse in the near term,” he wrote in a note to clients. Moreover, “the conventional wisdom that omicron presents no threat to the economy may prove too sanguine.” ‘Unprecedented’ Sick Days Staff shortages have continued to disrupt airlines, with Alaska Airlines saying that an “unprecedented” number of workers calling in sick caused it to cancel 10% of its flights for the rest of January. The real question for the industry is whether it will cause carriers to slow planned 2022 growth if it continues into February and beyond, said Conor Cunningham, an analyst with MKM Partners. “My expectation has been that other airlines will need to slow growth,” Cunningham said. Some hospitals are at a breaking point, dealing with more sick or exposed workers than at the worst of the pandemic. “We’ve had more staff out because they’ve tested positive and have contracted Covid than we did at the very beginning,” said Lynda Shrock, vice president of human resources at Logansport Memorial Hospital in Logansport, Indiana. Store Closures On Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, luxury retailers Gucci, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton have all reported cases among staff, according to Los Angeles County’s public list of workplace outbreaks. Walmart Inc. has closed at least 60 of its U.S. stores for deep cleanings. Apple Inc. locations have been shut temporarily in dozens of places from Alabama to Florida and New York. At West Coast ports, already facing logjams of imports, 160 longshoremen tested positive on Wednesday alone, said James McKenna, president of the Pacific Maritime Association, which negotiates labor agreements for 70 companies at 29 ports on the coast. That number understates the disruption. Hundreds more dock workers are staying home due to contact tracing, or awaiting tests, McKenna said. The backlogs of ships off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation’s busiest, are growing again, McKenna said. “This new variant is so transmittable that it has changed the game,” he said. In the auto sector, union officials and company representatives said the increase in sick days hasn’t affected production at General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis NV, owner of the Jeep and Ram brands. It may just be a matter time. In a call with reporters on Friday, Scott Keogh, chief executive officer of Volkswagen AG’s U.S. unit, said he was “100%” certain that the industry was about to face production disruptions due to omicron. “There is no flexible new normal” for assembling a car. While economists and investors expect the impact to be short-lived, its magnitude may be sizable. Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, cut his first-quarter prediction for annualized gross domestic production to close to 2%, down from about 5%. But he also raised his forecast for the second quarter, saying businesses and the economy are better prepared to face this new wave. “I don’t expect the virus to sustainably subtract from economic growth on net this year,” Zandi said. Though omicron could, he said, affect how the Federal Reserve views the recovery and when it acts to raise rates. Restaurants Struggle The variant is another blow to industries like hospitality that were struggling to come back to pre-pandemic employment levels, said Jerry Nickelsburg, faculty director of UCLA Anderson Forecast. That in turn will have a longer effect on growth because “those sectors will not recover as fast as we previously thought”. Marshall Weston, president and chief executive officer of the Restaurant Association of Maryland, said he had spent the week fielding calls from members who were closing their doors for good. “The recovery for restaurants appears to be going in reverse rather than moving forward,” Weston said. At Ledo Pizza in the D.C. area, CEO Beall is determined to keep a company his grandfather started in 1955 alive. He employs 1,300 fewer people than before Covid-19 and has adapted by using more automated online systems to field takeout orders and by simplifying the menu to ease the burden of kitchen staff. He’s also dealing with staff shortages at suppliers that have only gotten worse with omicron. That means getting smaller amounts of ingredients like mozzarella sticks and waiting longer to get them. “We’ve seen a lot of in 66 years,” Beall said. “But this is definitely different.” –With assistance from Joe Deaux, Leslie Patton, Gabrielle Coppola, Deena Shanker, Carey Goldberg, Justin Bachman, John Tozzi, David Welch, Keith Naughton and Augusta Saraiva......»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 13th, 2022

8 vegan and alt-meat food trends you won"t be able to escape this year

As more people seek out vegan foods, more are becoming available. This year will be no different, from "animal-free dairy" to plant-based fine dining. Food items from Chef Matthew Kenney's Liora restaurant.Courtesy of Liora As more people seek out vegan foods and alt-meat products, more are becoming available. This year will be no different, as vegan options become easier to find and food tech ushers in novel proteins. These are the trends to watch in 2022, from "animal-free dairy" to plant-based fine dining. We're in the midst of a food evolution — and a food revolution — as more people seek out plant-based foods and products. As vegan and related novel alternatives get better in taste, become more affordable, and have greater availability, a future of food that doesn't rely on animals and environmentally-destructive factory farming seems more attainable each year. And 2022 may be the greatest year yet to prove this to be true. There is a coalescence of factors contributing to the plant-based boom. Emerging food tech startups backed my powerhouse investors. An evolving dining scene that puts more plants — and less meat — on the menu. The availability of meat doppelgangers made to satisfy those who don't want to give up foods they know and love. These are to name a few. Read on to uncover some of the biggest plant-based and related food-tech trends you will see this year. 'Animal-free dairy' in more products"Animal-free dairy" sounds like an oxymoron. But food tech startup Perfect Day and its growing list of brands and brand partners might just be on the verge of ushering in an animal-free-dairy renaissance. Perfect Day's patented animal-free dairy proteins use a fermentation process rather than the traditional animal-required way, which is extracting from bovine milk. In 2020, Smitten Ice Cream became the first company to use animal-free dairy from Perfect Day in a commercial product. Subsequently, Perfect Day's own brand, Brave Robot, followed shortly after with pints sold at grocery stores and on its website. There's more to come, too. Wellness brand Natreve recently announced the launch of its animal-free whey protein powder, which says it will come to market in 2022. Another brand called Modern Kitchen launched its animal-free cream cheese spread in September 2021 and has started to sell it online.Brave Robot animal-free dairy ice cream, which uses Perfect Day animal-free dairy proteins.Brave RobotBut don't call these animal-free dairy products "plant-based" — they're not, since the animal-free dairy proteins are identical to those found in cow's milk. And while the proteins are vegan, it should be cautioned that those with a milk allergy should avoid them, according to Perfect Day. (They say those with lactose sensitivity or intolerance would be OK to consume.)Be on the lookout for Perfect Day continuing to launch its own consumer products through an arm called The Urgent Company, and for other brands to license the next-gen dairy ingredient. We may start to see some of these companies from partnerships with restaurants in 2022. Mycoprotiens increasingly used for alternative meats"Mycoptotien" sounds like a hyper food-techy thing, but its foundations are based on an organism more than a billion years old: fungi. Mycoprotiens are formed when fungi is placed in a fermentation tank — similar to tanks used to ferment beer — and fermented with glucose and other nutrients. The outcome is a doughy protein substance with a fibrous meat-like texture, which can be used as a key ingredient to create meat substitutes. Quorn, a popular brand of vegan and vegetarian foods, has long used mycoproteins in its products, like its vegetarian "chicken" nuggets. The Vegetarian Butcher, a plant-based meat alternative brand which was acquired by Unilever in 2018, is also using mycoproteins. With their rich nutritional profile, relatively inexpensive production, and a low environmental impact compared to animal-meat production, expect to see more plant-based brands opting to use mycoproteins for their alt-meats. We may also see mainstream consumer-packaged-goods juggernauts get into the mycoprotein game, either by snatching up plant-based mycoprotein startups or launching their own mycoprotein-based alt-meat brands. Mycoprotiens are considered vegan and plant-based. Cultivated meat actually coming to our plates Cultivated meat (also called cell-based meat, cell-cultured meat and a variety of other names) was once a moonshot idea for scientists trying to make meat without the animal. But in the last few years, cultivated meat producers have made strides to prove viability. With the impending FDA and USDA approval of cultivated meat, which some industry experts think could happen as soon as mid-year 2022, we'll begin to see these novel proteins in the form of fish, steak, chicken, and more start to be served.Eat Just's Good Meat cultivated chicken from Madame Fan in Singapore.Eat JustBrands will start to partner with select food-service outfits and chefs they trust with preparations of their cell-based meat. For example: Just Foods and its Good Meat cell-based meat brand — which is currently selling its cultivated chicken in Singapore — recently announced chef José Andrés has committed to selling Good Meat cultivated chicken at one of his US restaurants once regulatory approval is reached. Note that you won't see cultivated meat being labeled or called vegan or plant-based — it's neither, technically, since there's currently some animal involvement along the way, and the basis of the meat is made from animal cells, not plants.Restaurants pivoting to more veg-centric menus While we might not see restaurants doing drastic pivots to all plant-based menus, expect restaurants and chefs de-emphasizing meat — as well as adding and labeling vegan options on the menu. You'll also see more restaurants leading with these offerings and using it in marketing making it clear to consumers that they offer an inclusive dining experience, and that they're eager to use plant offerings as a competitive advantage against laggers.Plant-based fine diningWhat kind of food do you think of when you hear "fine dining"? An expertly cooked Kobe steak? A perfectly seared Bluefin Tuna? A Sweet Potato Gnocchi dish at Liora, a Chef Matthew Kenney restaurant in Baltimore.LioraIn 2022, chefs will increasingly redefine what luxury dining means with plants, not meat, at the center of the plate. While we've started to see highly regarded chefs go all-in on plant-based fine-dining — Alexis Gauthier's Gauthier Soho with fine dining French gastronomy, Daniel Humm's Eleven Madison Park, and Matthew Kenney, the unofficial father of vegan fine-dining with his empire of plant-based restaurants — expect to see more fine dining establishments make a pivot to de-emphasize meat, and offer thoughtful plant-based dishes that use creative house-made proteins.School cafeterias getting more healthful plant-food optionsPressure has been mounting for schools to add healthier food options in the cafeteria for kids—and specifically more plant-based options for both human and planetary health. The dependence of school lunches on animal products dates back to the 1980s, when a surplus of dairy and cattle formed the basis of the school menus we see today. Private businesses are heavily entrenched with the government's National School Lunch Program, making it challenging to displace legacy meat and dairy food options.But 2022 could be a historic year for school lunch reform. There is currently a bill in Congress that would provide a grant to school districts to add more plant-based options. We'll also see new programs and offerings driven both by nonprofits and private plant-based businesses. Dedicated vegan markets—both brick and mortar, and e-commerceWalk into any market and you'll surely find a small section carved out for vegan foods. An all-vegan shopping experience at a grocery store or local market, though, has been harder to come by — but that's changing. A host of all plant-based e-commerce stores have been popping up over the last several years, and in 2022, the brick-and-mortar experience for all plant-based neighborhood bodegas is not to be ignored. XMarket's plant-based store in the Hillcrest neighborhood in San Diego.XMarketPlantX, the e-commerce vegan foods and goods company, has started to slowly expand its in-person neighborhood markets, dubbed XMarket. Its largest store opened in November 2021 in San Diego, California, and the company already has several other locales in North America either open, or announced to be opening soon. Another, PLNT PWRD MRKT, which is focused on plant-based snacks and goods, recently opened in Montecito, California, making it the first-ever all vegan market on the California central coast. Expect to see more dedicated plant-based stores with a focus on vegan brand curation and in-store community experiences. Celebrity investment in vegan brands and alt-proteinsWhere celebrities and their investment firms put their dollars not only make headlines, but they're also signals to the market. The last few years have given rise to celebrities infusing investment dollars into plant-based and future food brands whose values align with their own — and where they see market opportunity. Leonardo DiCaprio is betting big on cultivated meat, with investments in 2021 in both Aleph Farms and Mosa Meat. He's also previously invested in Beyond Meat and plant-milk brand Califia Farms. Sean "Jay-Z" Carter was an early investor in allergen-safe vegan cookies Partake Foods, Impossible Foods, Simulate plant-based chicken nuggets, and Oatly. Drake invested in Daring Foods, a plant-based chicken company. Travis Barker invested in esteemed LA-vegan restaurant Crossroads. Post Malone's venture firm invested in Actual Veggies, a whole ingredient veggie patty company. The list goes on, and will only get bigger.Plant-based and food tech brands going publicThe last few years have seen banner IPOs from leading plant-based brands. In 2019, Beyond Meat went public with one of the most successful IPOs ever with a $1.5 billion valuation; just months later, it was worth more than $12 billion. Oatly went public in 2021 with a valuation of $10 billion. In the same year, Globally Local made history as the first vegan fast food-chain to go public (and it did so on the Toronto Stock Exchange). Expect to see vegan brands and food-tech companies going public in the US and in Canada in 2022. (To see which plant-based brands have gone public already, there's a helpful list on Vegreneur that tracks this activity.) Watch out too for the formation of, and activity from, plant-based and alt-protein-focused SPACs. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 4th, 2022

Choice Hotels (CHH) Expands in Nashville With New Hotel

Choice Hotels (CHH) boosts upscale brand presence In Tennessee with the opening of the Cambria Hotel Nashville Airport. Choice Hotels International, Inc.’s CHH Cambria brand recently announced the opening of the Cambria Hotel Nashville Airport in Nashville, TN. This marks the brand’s second property in the region after Cambria Hotel Nashville Downtown.Located at 44 Rachel Drive, Royal Park Owners Association, the 130-room upscale hotel provides guests access to amenities like fitness centers, on-site dining and multi-function indoor-outdoor meeting spaces (of approximately 7,000 square feet). It also offers convenient access to several shops, restaurants, art galleries, entertainment venues and corporations (including Nissan North America, HCA Healthcare, Dollar General Corp and Bridgestone Americas).With reference to the opening, Janis Cannon, senior vice president, upscale brands, Choice Hotels, stated, “We're pleased to welcome the Cambria Hotel Nashville Airport, which offers the best of both worlds to guests with its proximity to several leisure Music City attractions, professional sports teams, as well as area businesses.”Focus On Expansion Bodes WellChoice Hotels’ riveting growth potential depends on the continual expansion of its brands. In fact, the company’s portfolio of well-segmented brands is getting stronger. During third-quarter 2021, the company’s upscale portfolio reported impressive unit growth of 22% year over year, primarily driven by Cambria and the Ascend Hotel Collection. During the quarter, the Cambria brand continued its positive momentum with unit growth of more than 9% year over year. As of September end, the brand had 17 projects under active construction.Going forward, the company intends to strengthen its presence in Tennessee with a future property in Nashville's West End neighborhood along with Cambria Hotel Gatlinburg and Cambria Hotel Pigeon Forge. Also, it anticipates ramped-up expansion across major U.S. cities, including Austin, TX; Calabasas, CA; and Louisville, KY by 2021 end. The brand has more than 130 hotels (open or in the pipeline), thereby illustrating strong growth in its coast-to-coast expansion.Price performanceImage Source: Zacks Investment ResearchSo far this year, shares of the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained 34.8% compared with the industry’s 8% growth. The company is benefiting from continual expansion strategies through acquisitions and franchise agreements. Also, focus on the loyalty program bodes well. Going forward, the company continues to focus on expansion strategies, enhancement of the mid-scale brand as well as transformation and advancement of the Comfort brands to drive growth in the upcoming periods. Earnings estimates for 2021 have moved up in the past 30 days, depicting analysts’ optimism regarding the stock’s growth potential.Key PicksSome better-ranked stocks in the Consumer Discretionary sector include Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. HGV, Bluegreen Vacations Holding Corporation BVH and Camping World Holdings, Inc. CWH.Hilton Grand Vacations sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 411.1%, on average. Shares of the company have increased 55.3% so far this year. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Hilton Grand Vacations’ current financial-year sales and earnings per share (EPS) suggests growth of 222.1% and 170.8%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.Bluegreen Vacations flaunts a Zacks Rank #1. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 695%, on average. Shares of the company have surged 119.8% so far this year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Bluegreen Vacations’ current financial-year sales and EPS indicates growth of 27.5% and 199.3%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.Camping World carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The company benefits from the launch of a fresh peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace and a mobile service marketplace. It has been investing heavily in product development.Camping World has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 70.9%, on average. Shares of the company have appreciated 59.1% so far this year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CWH’s financial-year sales and EPS suggests growth of 25.9% and 77.1%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels. Investor Alert: Legal Marijuana Looking for big gains? Now is the time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $13.5 billion in 2021 to an expected $70.6 billion by 2028. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could kick start an even greater bonanza for investors. Zacks Investment Research has recently closed pot stocks that have shot up as high as +147.0%. You’re invited to immediately check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Choice Hotels International, Inc. (CHH): Free Stock Analysis Report Camping World (CWH): Free Stock Analysis Report Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. (HGV): Free Stock Analysis Report Bluegreen Vacations Holding Corporation (BVH): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 6th, 2021

Top 5 Picks to Gain From Wall Street"s Omicron-Relief Rally

We have applied our VGM Style Score to narrow the search to the five stocks that have strong growth potential for the rest of 2021. These are: XOM, DVN, BLDR, CAR and WLK. Wall Street rebounded on Nov 29, recovering to a large extent the lost ground that it suffered on Nov 26. U.S. stock markets resumed their northward journey as concerns regarding the omicron variant of coronavirus eased. Confidence of market participants buoyed up on some good news on the virus front and President Joe Biden’s assurance of no immediate lockdown.Investors’ sentiment bolstered on risky assets like equities, we have selected five stocks with a favorable Zacks Rank to tap the rally. These are — Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM, Avis Budget Group Inc. CAR, Builders FirstSource Inc. BLDR, Westlake Chemical Corp. WLK and Devon Energy Corp. DVN.Wall Street Rebounds as Virus Concern EaseOn Nov 29, stocks markets across the world recovered some lost ground after coronavirus-led market rout on Black Friday on Nov 26. The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite have rallied 0.7%, 1.3% and 1.9%, respectively. The CBOE VIX — Wall Street’s fear gauge — dropped nearly 20% to 22.96.Global stock markets plummeted on Nov 26, fearing a new lockdown as a new variant of coronavirus — Omicron — was detected in South Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that it could be more transmissible than the previous variants.Consequently, the Dow recorded its worst single-day drop since October 2020 and the biggest Black Friday selloff since 1931. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite posted the biggest Black Friday decline in history.Positive News SurfacesOn Nov 29, the South African doctor who first raised the alarm over the omicron variant described COVID-19 symptoms linked to  the new variant as “extremely mild.” A section of medical scientists, after analyzing early data, has concluded that omicron may turn out to be less infectious but more transmissible than the Delta.The same day, President Biden said that he doesn’t expect the United States to impose additional travel restrictions to stem the spread of the Omicron and any possibility of an immediate lockdown. “I don’t anticipate that at this point,” Biden said.Moreover, several biotech and pharmaceutical firms that have already received the FDA authorization for COVID-19 vaccines or are in the process of developing new vaccines said that they have already started R&D to modify their vaccines to combat Omicron. The new vaccines may be available in markets early next year.Strong Fundamentals of U.S. EconomyFundamentals of the U.S. economy remain robust. Both consumer spending and business spending remain strong despite mounting inflation and supply-chain disruptions. Manufacturing and services PMIs stayed elevated. The struggling labor market is showing a systematic recovery. The last-reported weekly jobless claims data for the week ended Nov 20, came in at the lowest level since Nov 15, 1969.Moreover, in its latest projection on Nov 24, the Atlanta Fed reported that the U.S. economy would grow by 8.4% in fourth-quarter 2021. U.S. GDP grew 6.4%, 6.7% and 2.1%, in the first, second and third quarters of this year, respectively.Total third-quarter earnings of the market's benchmark — the S&P 500 Index — are projected to jump 40.3% from the same period last year on 17.2% higher revenues. Moreover, in fourth-quarter 2021, total earnings of the S&P 500 Index are expected to up 19.4% year over year on 11.1% higher revenues.Our Top PicksSeveral good stocks are available for investment for the rest of this year. However, we have applied our VGM Style Score to narrow the search to the five stocks mentioned above. These stocks have strong growth potential for the rest of 2021 and have seen solid earnings estimate revisions within the past 30 days. Each of our picks sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and a VGM Score of A or B. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The chart below shows the price performance of our five picks in the past three months.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchExxon Mobil Corp. made multiple world-class oil discoveries at the Stabroek Block, located off the coast of Guyana. XOM has raised the estimate for discovered recoverable resources from the Stabroek Block to approximately 10 billion oil-equivalent barrels.Exxon Mobile’s bellwether status and an optimal integrated capital structure, which has historically produced industry-leading returns make it a relatively lower-risk energy sector play. The integrated oil behemoth expects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in its upstream business. By the same time, XOM expects to reduce flaring and methane emissions by 40%.Exxon Mobil has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 1% over the last 30 days. The stock price of XOM has advanced 11.7% in the past three months.Avis Budget Group provides car and truck rentals, car sharing, and ancillary services to businesses and consumers. The ability of Avis Budget Group to cater to a wide range of mobility demands helps it expand and strengthen its global foothold through organic growth.Avis Budget Group operates through distinct global brands that focus on different market segments and complement other brands in their respective regional markets. Fleet expansion and technology enhancement efforts by CAR are likely to enhance its offerings.  Avis Budget Group has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 7.6% over the last 7 days. The stock price of CAR has soared 240% in the past three months.Devon Energy Corp. aims for strong oil production from the Delaware Basin holdings. Devon Energy’s presence in Delaware has expanded due to its all-stock merger deal with WPX Energy. DVN is using new technology in production process to lower expenses.Devon Energy’s divestiture of Canadian and Barnett Shale gas assets will allow it to focus on its five high-quality oil-rich U.S. basins assets. DVN’s stable free cash flow generation allows it to pay dividend and buy back shares. Devon Energy has ample liquidity to meet near-term debt obligations.Devon Energy has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 0.9% over the last 7 days. The stock price of DVN has jumped 47.5% in the past three months.Builders FirstSource manufactures and supplies building materials, manufactured components, and construction services to professional homebuilders, sub-contractors, remodelers, and consumers in the United States. Builders FirstSource operates through four segments: Northeast, Southeast, South and West.Builders FirstSource benefits from its focus on cost synergies, strategic acquisition, and robust demand arising from solid housing and repair & remodeling activities. BLDR continues to focus on investing in innovations and enhancing digital solutions for its customers.  Builders FirstSource has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 31.1% over the past 30 days. The stock price of BLDR has climbed 34.5% in the past three months.Westlake Chemical is benefiting from synergies from the Axiall acquisition. The buyout has diversified its product portfolio and geographical operations. The NAKAN acquisition has also allowed Westlake Chemical to boost its compounding business globally. Further, Westlake Chemical sees favorable demand trends for polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride resin.Strong demand in the polyethylene business is likely to continue, especially in food packaging. Also, rising housing starts in the United States augur well for WLK’s downstream vinyl products business and domestic demand for PVC. Westlake Chemical should also benefit from its capacity expansion projects.Westlake Chemical has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 11.6% over the last 30 days. The stock price of WLK has surged 12.2% in the past three months. Tech IPOs With Massive Profit Potential: Last years top IPOs surged as much as 299% within the first two months. With record amounts of cash flooding into IPOs and a record-setting stock market, this year could be even more lucrative. See Zacks’ Hottest Tech IPOs Now >>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 Devon Energy Corporation (DVN): Free Stock Analysis Report Westlake Chemical Corporation (WLK): Free Stock Analysis Report Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): Free Stock Analysis Report Avis Budget Group, Inc. (CAR): Free Stock Analysis Report Builders FirstSource, Inc. (BLDR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 30th, 2021

I Tried Buying Only Used Holiday Gifts. It Changed How I Think About Shopping

Pre-owned or vintage gifts are often better for the environment, and won't run into the supply chain issues facing new goods made overseas. I love the double dopamine hit that comes from buying something new—the rush when you click “purchase,” and the second one when it arrives at your door and you tear open the box. And there are plenty of real benefits to our incredibly efficient online shopping network: grocery shipping is shrinking food deserts, rural communities with few store options can quickly and easily get items they otherwise couldn’t have, and the time we used to spend driving to stores and searching for things that may have been out of stock we can now spend more productively. But over the last few years, I’ve had a front-row seat to all the problems created by Americans’ obsession with shopping. I’ve seen cargo ships idling off the coast of Long Beach because the ports are so backlogged, containers stacked high as apartment buildings, the horizon a smoggy cloud of emissions. I’ve talked to truckers who spend weeks living out of their vehicles, prohibited from using the bathrooms at the warehouses where they’re waiting for hours to unload goods, all to get paid barely minimum wage. I’ve interviewed Amazon workers about the physical demands of packing goods in the fast-moving warehouses that provide much of the stuff we buy, and I’ve even undertaken the stressful toll of delivering Amazon packages myself. I’ve tried to look away as we devour resources like trees, water, and rare earth minerals in the pursuit of making more, more, more. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] This year, I was feeling too guilty to buy my family new holiday gifts from Amazon. COP26 reminded me that nearly half—45%—of greenhouse gas emissions come from the way we make and use products and food, meaning that this consumption that drives our economy is also choking the planet. And even as scientists try to capture our attention about the urgency of reducing emissions, we’re consuming more and more. U.S. shoppers spent a record $638 billion in October at stores and restaurants, up 22% from October 2019. Forecasters are predicting even more spending in a holiday season where some families may be seeing each other for the first time in two years. Read More: How American Shoppers Broke the Supply Chain Was there a way, I wondered, to keep getting that nice little feeling I get when I buy something without also ruining the planet? Advocates talk of a Circular Economy where, instead of buying things, using them, and throwing them away, we reduce what we buy and reuse a lot more stuff. Even big companies are eyeing the practice; Apple announced last week that it would allow customers to repair their own iPhones, a giant shift in how they approach devices. ThredUp, an online resale company was valued at $1.3 billion in its IPO in March, after GlobalData projected the market for secondhand goods would double to $64 billion by 2024. ThredUp says that if everyone bought one used item instead of a new one this holiday season, we’d save 4.5 billion pounds of carbon, the equivalent of planting 66 million trees, and 25 billion gallons of water. I’ve long tried to buy used clothes and acquire toys and other household items from sites like NextDoor, Craigslist, and Buy Nothing, a Facebook group where members of your community post things they no longer need and anyone can claim them. (Buy Nothing recently launched an app, too.) But gifting used is a whole new arena. Still, the U.S. drives the world’s largest share of consumption-related emissions, and many of the things we buy are purchased for the sake of giving a gift and will sit languishing in a closet, unused. Maybe it was time to expand the circular economy to gifting, too. Jeremy M. Lange for TIMENovember 20, 2021. Carrboro, North Carolina. Sarah Urquhart browses the aisles at CommunityWorx Thrift Shop. Sarah tries to avoid buying new items and typically shops for herself and friends at thrift stores throughout the area. The rise of pre-owned I’m not the only person thinking this way. TheRealReal, a luxury resale site, saw a 60% increase in orders with gift boxes from 2019 to 2020. Poshmark, a secondhand clothing site, has seen a 31% increase in vintage sales in men’s clothing from last year. ThredUp has seen orders increase 28% from the third quarter in 2020 to the same period this year. And eBay reported $19.5 billion in sales in the last quarter, up 9% compared to the same period in 2019. This is all happening at the same time that younger generations are embracing “vintage” and “pre-owned” and buying clothes on online resale sites like Depop, which was acquired by Etsy for $1.6 billon earlier this year. Buy Nothing groups now have 4.3 million participants across the country, having grown by about 2 million people during the pandemic. Stress about the supply chain has also contributed to this turn toward used stuff, says Jordan Sweetnam, eBay’s general manager of the North Americas market. “People who may have been on the fence about shopping pre-owned are going to go to a traditional retailer and just see empty shelves,” he says. Already, on eBay, sales of certified refurbished products are up 25% since June, he says. Baby Boomers may still balk at the idea of using someone’s old blender, he says, but Generation Z has no qualms buying used goods, whether it be clothes or electronics. Read More: Why Is Everything More Expensive Right Now? Let This Stuffed Giraffe Explain Supply chain bottlenecks coupled with a growing disgust with rampant consumerism motivated Maria Patterson to accelerate her practice of not buying anything new for the holidays. Patterson, a 29-year-old mom in Austin, Tex., usually makes a craft like hot sauce or recipe books or beeswax wraps and gives them to many of the people on her gift list. She used to buy some new items around the holidays, but this year, she’s trying to not buy anything at all. It’s easy to bake treats or give a friend a sweater of yours they’ve always admired, she says, or just give less stuff overall. “The world cannot continue with the level of consumption that it currently has,” she says. I don’t mind receiving used gifts: for my November birthday, I asked my parents to gift me a used hiking Deuter backpack in mint condition from Craigslist, saving hundreds of dollars in the process. I’m always scouring the “finds” section of NextDoor for free kid stuff that’s being given away so I don’t have to buy clothes that my son will outgrow in a matter of months; I got a giant Fisher Price Jumperoo on Buy Nothing that my son loved until we couldn’t tolerate the space it took up, and we gave it to the next family. But giving used stuff to other people seems different. Spending less money on a used gift somehow feels like indicating the receiver is less valuable to you, which of course is not the intent. People who grew up wearing used clothes for financial reasons say they don’t want to revisit the stigma of having old stuff. Plus I’ve gotten accustomed to the ease of buying something on Amazon, not having to pay for shipping, and knowing it will arrive in time for a birthday or special event. A few gifts were easy to find used. I got my brother a Red Sox collectible Monopoly set from eBay because he loves sports and playing board games. From Facebook Marketplace, I found a used bamboo balance board for a standing desk for my husband, who has been half-jokingly asking for a treadmill under his home standing desk. I found a toy wooden dinosaur at a neighbor’s “free store”—they put out stuff to give away daily—and resolved to wrap it for my son in an old Amazon box, which he would probably enjoy as much as the toy. Read More: Price Hikes Will Likely Continue Through the End of 2021, Fed Signals But when I started looking for specific items, shopping used started to get a lot harder. My dad’s sweaters are always getting holes, but buying a used sweater would probably just mean they’d get holes even more quickly. My husband needed new sleepwear, but even I felt a little weird about getting him used pajamas. My mom likes painting, but I didn’t think there was such a thing as used paint. My son needed some shoes because he had outgrown the old ones, but kids’ shoes take such a beating I wondered if I’d be able to find any used that weren’t falling apart. Besides, after years of shopping on Amazon, where items are listed with multiple pictures, from many angles, and now even include videos, the presentation on sites like ThredUp and eBay left me feeling a little cold. On ThredUp, sweaters are poised on white headless mannequin torsos, and bizarrely, the site doesn’t seem to have a Men’s section. I know free shipping is bad for the environment, since it incentivizes people to buy, buy, buy, but I couldn’t help but balk at the shipping rates on some items. One eBay seller wanted me to pay $21.15 for shipping alone, which probably accurately reflects the environmental cost, but was more than the item itself. I settled with what seemed to me like a compromise—I found some RockDove Memory Foam slippers for my husband, whose old ones came from Amazon and are currently in shreds—on eBay, but they were in new condition, according to the seller, with the tags still on. I bought them for less than they cost on Amazon, paid $2.99 for shipping, and tried not to think about whether they had fallen off the back of a truck. Jeremy M. Lange for TIMESarah Urquhart browses the aisles at CommunityWorx Thrift Shop. Sarah tries to avoid buying new items and typically shops for herself and friends at thrift stores throughout the area. What will happen to the U.S. economy? Of course, if Americans stop buying so much new stuff, the economy could crater, which is exactly what happened at the beginning of the pandemic when people hunkered down and didn’t go out. GDP growth fell 31% in the second quarter of 2020, as Americans stopped spending. Millions of people lost their jobs as economists wondered how bad things could get. If Americans stopped buying so much new stuff, a very similar situation could unfold, says William Emmons, the lead economist in the division of Supervision, Credit, and Learning at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Consumer spending drives nearly 70% of economic growth in the U.S., and while much of that is spending on services like meals out or massages, a big chunk of it is also all the stuff we buy for our homes and loved ones. With less consumer spending, there would be fewer jobs; Amazon alone employed 1.3 million people at the end of 2020. There would be less money created in the economy, and since so many government programs like the recent infrastructure bill are funded by taxing earnings, there might be less money for those programs, too. There’s a reason that federal policy in recessions has often been to give people stimulus money to spend—the government knows that increasing consumer spending will jumpstart the economy. Read More: 6 Things to Know (About Yourself) to Have a Successful Black Friday “The big rise in consumer spending we’re talking about may not be the best from its environmental consequences, and it is exacerbating distributional questions,” says William Emmons, the lead economist in the division of Supervision, Credit, and Learning at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. “But it may be the most feasible way to keep the motor running.” Sweetnam, of eBay, argues that if people started buying more used goods, other businesses would spring up to create value for the economy. There could be new businesses that sell used goods, that refurbish old clothes, that collect old products to make them new again. There are already companies that have succeeded in embracing the circular economy—Lehigh Technologies in Atlanta takes old tires and rubber waste and turns it into a type of rubber powder that can be used in construction. But economists say that just switching to a circular economy outright could be catastrophic in the short term because so much of economic growth right now depends on people buying lots and lots of new stuff. They say the best way to get people to stop buying so much wasteful stuff is to levy a carbon tax, which would make goods that have larger carbon footprints more expensive. Read More: ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Apps Are Taking Over Holiday Shopping Season. Here’s What to Know About the Risks Right now, says Mark Zandi, an economist at Moody’s Analytics, we’re not paying the true cost of the products we’re consuming. Since it is often cheaper to buy a new toy made from virgin materials in China and then shipped across the ocean than it is to buy a high-quality used toy from a stranger, that’s become the default way to shop, he says. A carbon tax could change that equation, by making people pay not just for the cost of the toy, but for the environmental cost of all the carbon its production generated. People will think twice about buying flights if they cost $600 instead of $300, he says, and the planet will benefit if the money raised is invested in new technology. A carbon tax would also save shoppers like me the headache of trying to figure out what gifts are more and less environmentally friendly. Buying your kid a used car might be worse for the planet than buying a new one, because older cars tend to have higher carbon emissions. “We just have to price carbon and if you do, the cost of things we spend money on that have a high carbon footprint will cost more, we will buy less of it,” Zandi says. “That’s the magic of our system: prices work.” Changing the way we shop Apple may be changing its approach by allowing customers to reuse and repair its devices, but there still isn’t a huge economy for buying high-quality used stuff. I felt guilty that I couldn’t find much used stuff that I felt comfortable gifting, but a nanny named Sarah Urquhart helped me realize that until companies fully embrace the circular economy, I would have to change how I bought gifts. Urquhart wasn’t always a nanny. She used to work at an Amazon call center. Saddened by the amount of waste she saw—of people endlessly buying things and returning them—she decided to change the way she shops. American affluence has meant most of us go into the holiday season in November and start thinking about what specific things our family members want and how to acquire them. It’s always been easy to make a list, and then tick the items off one by one, and online shopping has made it even easier. “It was just a culture I didn’t want to be a part of anymore,” Urquhart says. This year, she’s holding what she calls “Merry Thriftmas.” Buying used, she says, won’t work if you start shopping with specific gifts in mind. “If you’re only looking for that thing, you’re not going to be successful,” she says. Instead, she keeps an eye out year-round for used stuff that might appeal to a friend or family member, and then she sets it aside until the holidays. She doesn’t shop with a list of things her family members need; she keeps an open mind for things that might make her family laugh, or smile, or might make their life easier. Jeremy M. Lange for TIME. Urquhart bought a coffee mug that she says looks like her father in law. Sheet music that Ms. Urquhart collects to make wrapping paper with. She’s found some good gifts recently. There was a mug that looks exactly like her father-in-law, and a like-new Buzz Lightyear doll for the kids she nannies. She sanitized the doll, she says, “and it was the happiest kid I’d ever seen.” Her mother-in-law plays the piano, so she found some old sheet music to wrap her gift in—Urquhart hasn’t yet thrifted the right gift, though. Urquhart, who is also a member of her local Buy Nothing groups, says that giving used gifts can be much more satisfying than buying new. When she gives away and picks up things from Buy Nothing, she makes a connection to her neighbors that has much more longevity than her connection to a random box that arrives at her doorstep. She can now point to the houses where she’s picked something up or dropped something off. Finding the just the right unique used gift gives her even more of a dopamine hit than buying something new, she says. So does giving away something on Buy Nothing and learning that the person you gave it to really loves it. The day I talked to Urquhart, I gave away an agility ladder on my local Buy Nothing group that my husband bought to get in shape before our wedding, but had been sitting in our closet for a year. I dropped it through a gate on the way to pick up my son from daycare, and I got a message from the recipient telling me she works at a nursing home and was going to use it to help residents relearn how to step over things for fall prevention. Now, every time I pick up my son from daycare, I imagine elderly people gingerly stepping through my old bright yellow agility ladder—improving their fitness and unknowingly reducing carbon emissions all at once. It still makes me smile, which, you could argue, is the point of the holiday season.    .....»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 24th, 2021

Thanks to Wall Street for a Wonderful Rally YTD: 5 Top Picks

We have narrowed the search to five U.S. corporate behemoths that have skyrocketed more than 50% year to date. These are: GOOGL, TSLA, LOW, HD and XOM. Wall Street started 2021 from where it ended in 2020. Year to date, U.S. stock markets have seen an impressive rally after completing an astonishing 2020 despite being pandemic-ridden. Instead of the technology-driven rally like last year, Wall Street is witnessing a broad-based rally this year — across all segments (large, mid and small caps) and various sectors of the economy. Very few economists and financial analysts had anticipated such a powerful rally at the beginning of this year.At this stage, it will be prudent to invest in corporate giants that have popped in 2021 with a favorable Zacks Rank and strong upside left. Here are five such stocks — Tesla Inc. TSLA, Alphabet Inc. GOOGL, The Home Depot Inc. HD, Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM and Lowe's Companies Inc. LOW.Impressive 2021 So FarWall Street has had a dream run so far this year. The pandemic is not over yet and the resurgence of the Delta variant of coronavirus disrupted U.S. economic recovery this summer. To make the situation worse, inflation is currently at its peak in more than three decades thanks to prolonged global supply-chain bottleneck and acute labor shortage.Despite these headwinds, year to date, the three large-cap centric indexes — the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite — have surged 17%, 24.9% and 22.4%, respectively. The small-cap specific Russell 2000 and S&P 600 Index have advanced 17.9% and 28.1%, respectively. The mid-cap benchmark S&P 400 Index has surged 24.6% in the same period.Year to date, all 11 broad sectors of the market’s benchmark – S&P 500 Index – are in positive territory. Aside from the technology sector, cyclical sectors like energy, financials, consumer discretionary, materials and industrials have contributed significantly to the S&P 500 rally.The momentum of U.S. stocks markets is likely to continue and will pave the way for a year-end rally. Here are the reasons:Government’s Spending PlansOn Nov 15, President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan infrastructure bill of $550 billion in addition to the previously approved funds of $450 billion for five years. Total spending may go up to $1.2 trillion if the plan is extended to eight years.The infrastructure development project will be a major catalyst for the U.S. stock markets in 2022. Various segments of the economy such as basic materials, industrials, telecommunications and utilities will benefit immensely with more job creation for the economy.On Nov 19, the House of Representatives passed a massive $1.75 trillion social safety net and climate bill proposed by the Biden administration. The bill will now head toward the Senate. Moreover, the White House has put pressure on Congress to quickly pass legislation providing $52 billion to help computer chip manufacturers and ease a shortage of the components vital for a range of industries.Strong Projections for Holiday SalesThe National Retail Federation has projected November/December retail sales in 2021 to go up 8.5% to 10.5% from 2020. Deloitte forecasts retail sales growth of 7% to 9% during the November-to-January period.Digital Commerce 360 has estimated that holiday retail sales through all channels, including physical stores, will likely rise 9.4% during the season. KPMG expects 2021 U.S. holiday sales to be 7% higher than last year. Mastercard SpendingPulse forecasts a 7.4% year-over-year rise in U.S. holiday sales.Solid Growth of U.S. GDP and Corporate ProfitIn its latest projection on Nov 17, the Atlanta Fed reported that the U.S. economy will grow by 8.2% in fourth-quarter 2021. U.S. GDP grew 6.4%, 6.7% and 2%, in the first, second and third quarters of this year, respectively.As of Nov 17, total third-quarter earnings of the market's benchmark — the S&P 500 Index — are projected to jump 40.3% from the same period last year on 17.2% higher revenues. Moreover, in fourth-quarter 2021, total earnings of the S&P 500 index are expected to up 19.4% year over year on 11.1% higher revenues.Our Top PicksWe have narrowed the search to five U.S. corporate behemoths (market capital > $100 billion) that have skyrocketed more than 50% year to date. These stocks still have more upside left for the rest of 2021 and have seen positive earnings estimate revisions within the last 30 days. Each of our picks sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The chart below shows the price performance of our five picks year to date.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchAlphabet Inc. has been strongly emphasizing AI techniques and the home automation space that should aid business growth in the long term. Solid momentum across search, advertising, cloud and YouTube businesses aided the results of GOOGL. Further, the growing proliferation of consumer online activities and rising advertiser spending remained as tailwinds.Alphabet's robust cloud division continues to be the key catalyst. Expanding data centers will continue to bolster its presence in the cloud space. Further, major updates in its search segment are enhancing the search results. Moreover, GOOGL’s mobile search is constantly gaining traction.Alphabet has an expected earnings growth rate of 84% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 5.9% over the last 30 days. The stock price of GOOGL has soared 66.4% year to date.Tesla Inc. has acquired a substantial market share within the electric car segment. Increasing Model 3 delivery, which forms a significant chunk of TSLA’s overall deliveries, is aiding its top line. Along with Model 3, Model Y is contributing to its revenues.In addition to increasing automotive revenues, Tesla’s energy generation and storage revenues boost its earnings prospects. The automaker said that its overall deliveries surged 20% in the third quarter from its previous record in the second quarter, marking the sixth consecutive quarter-on-quarter gain.Tesla has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 9.7% over the last 30 days. The stock price of TSLA has jumped 57.2% year to date.The Home Depot Inc. is witnessing significant benefits from the execution of the “One Home Depot” investment plan, which focuses on expanding supply chain facilities, technology investments and enhancement to the digital experience.Amid the pandemic, customers have been increasingly blending the physical and digital elements of the shopping experience, making the interconnected One Home Depot strategy most relevant. The Home Depot is effectively adapting to the demand for renovations and construction activities, driven by prudent investments. HD is gaining from growth in Pro and DIY customer categories as well as digital momentum.The Home Depot has an expected earnings growth rate of 28.2% for the current year (ending January 2022). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 5.3% over the last 7 days. The stock price of HD has surged 53.8% year to date.Exxon Mobil Corp. made multiple world-class oil discoveries at the Stabroek Block, located off the coast of Guyana. XOM has raised the estimate for discovered recoverable resources from the Stabroek Block to approximately 10 billion oil-equivalent barrels.Exxon Mobile’s bellwether status and an optimal integrated capital structure, which has historically produced industry-leading returns make it a relatively lower-risk energy sector play. The integrated oil behemoth expects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in its upstream business. By the same time, XOM expects to reduce flaring and methane emissions by 40%.Exxon Mobil has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 0.2% over the last 7 days. The stock price of XOM has advanced 53.2% year to date.Lowe's Companies Inc. remains well-positioned to capitalize on the demand in the home improvement market backed by investments in technology, merchandise category and strength in Pro business. Management is committed toward expanding LOW’s market share and boosting the operating margin.Lowe's Companies new total home strategy, which includes providing complete solutions for various types of home repair and improvement, bodes well. The strategy is an extension of LOW’s retail-fundamentals approach.Lowe's Companies has an expected earnings growth rate of 33.8% for the current year (ending January 2022). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 4.2% over the last 7 days. The stock price of LOW has climbed 57% year to date. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 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 Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): Free Stock Analysis Report Lowe's Companies, Inc. (LOW): Free Stock Analysis Report The Home Depot, Inc. (HD): Free Stock Analysis Report Tesla, Inc. (TSLA): Free Stock Analysis Report Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 24th, 2021

Forget Q3, U.S. Economy Likely to Regain Pace in Q4: 5 Picks

We have applied our VGM Style Score to narrow down the search to five stocks. These are: NUE, UPS, GD, AZO and VLO. Wall Street has continued its strong recovery rally this month even though the U.S. economy grew just 2% in third-quarter 2021, after rising 6.4% and 6.7%, in the first and second quarter, respectively. The consensus estimate for the third quarter was 2.7%.Stock market performance is predominantly guided by future expectations and not by the past. The third quarter’s tepid GDP growth (although no way tepid if we consider historical U.S. GDP growth rate) was primarily owing to the rapid spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus, the gradual fading out of the pandemic-led fiscal stimulus, a massive spike in inflation rate due to supply-side bottlenecks and concerns about the Fed’s decision to taper monetary stimulus.Nevertheless, as we are approaching the end of the first month of the fourth quarter, several of the concerns mentioned above concerns have faded out. A series of economic data released in October reaffirms the strong fundamentals of the U.S. economy.A strong reduction of news cases of the Delta variant, robust third-quarter earnings results, expectations of sloid holiday season sales and readjustment by businesses with higher inflation this year should pave the way for strong fourth-quarter growth.U.S. Consumers Regain Confidence in EconomyThe Conference Board reported that U.S. consumer confidence index climbed to 113.8 in October from 109.8 in September, beating the consensus estimate of 107.5. The index rebounded after three consecutive months of decline.More importantly, the expectations sub-index (consumers’ outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions for the next 6 months) improved to 91.3 in October from 86.7 in September. A sharp reduction of new coronavirus cases, strong economic data and the gradual improvement in the labor market are the primary reasons for the index’s northbound move.The weekly jobless claims stayed at the low-end of the pandemic era over the last three months. Initial jobless claims fell below 300,000 in the last three reported weeks. This is the best level since Mar 14, 2020, just before the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States.Businesses Continue ExpansionThe Institute of Supply Management reported that both manufacturing and services PMIs showed exceptional results in September. Robust data for both manufacturing and services sectors will eventually lead to strong economic growth. Notably, the services sector accounts for 70% of the U.S. GDP while the manufacturing sector commands around 12% of economic activities.  Moreover, new orders for core capital goods (non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft) rose 0.8% in September to an all-time high. This metric is a closely watched proxy for a business investment plan. Shipments of core capital goods rose 1.4% in September. This metric is used to calculate equipment spending in GDP measurement.Expectations of Strong Holiday SalesRetail sales in September rose 0.7% in contrast to the consensus estimate of a decline of 0.1%. Year over year, retail sales climbed 13.9% in September. Core retail (excluding auto) sales in September rose 0.8%, beating the consensus estimate of 0.5%. ear over year, core retail sales jumped 15.6% in September.Retail sales rose steadily despite the termination of the weekly unemployment benefit on Sep 6. Consumer spending is likely to remain elevated as we are entering the holiday sales season. Holiday retail sales are likely to climb this year as projected by various major market researchers like Deloitte, Mastercard SpendingPulse, Bain and KPMG. Notably, consumer spending accounts for nearly 70% of U.S. GDP.Wall Street Likely to Fly HighWall Street regained its impressive momentum in October after a tumultuous September. Month to date, the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite, have rallied 5.6%, 6.7% and 6.9%, respectively. This performance is commendable as October is also known for its historically volatile trading pattern. In September, the three major stock indexes — the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite — plummeted 4.3%, 4.8% and 5.3%, respectively.Market valuation has already discounted the likelihood of the Fed starting to taper its monthly bond-buy program this year. The current projection by the CME FedWatch shows 7% probability that the central bank will hike the benchmark interest rate in early 2022. The Fed has maintained that rate hike is unlikely before the second half of 2022.Finally, robust U.S. corporate earnings in the first and second and third quarters have bolstered market participants’ confidence in U.S. equities. All three major stock indexes posted record-highs in October. Year to date, the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite have rallied 16.7%, 22.4% and 19.9%, respectively.Our Top PicksSeveral good stocks are available for investment for the rest of this year. However, we have applied our VGM Style Score to narrow down the search to five stocks. These stocks have strong growth potential for the rest of 2021 and have seen solid earnings estimate revisions within the past 7 days, indicating that the market currently expects these companies to do solid business in 2021.Each of our picks carries either a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and a VGM Score of A. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The chart below shows the price perfprmance of our five picks in the past month.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchNucor Corp. NUE is a leading producer of structural steel, steel bars, steel joists, steel deck and cold-finished bars in the United States. It operates through three segments: Steel Mills, Steel Products, and Raw Materials.The company has been seeing consistent momentum in the non-residential construction market. Demand in non-residential construction markets was strong in the most recent quarter. Nucor’s downstream products unit has been benefiting from continued strength in the non-residential construction markets.This Zacks Rank #1 company has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 1.7% over the last 7 days.United Parcel Service Inc. UPS is the world's largest express carrier and package delivery company. It has been benefited by high package delivery demand. Robust improvement in all products is likely to have driven revenues at the U.S. Domestic Package segment. Strong demand in Europe is likely to have aided the International Package unit.UPS disclosed its intention to be carbon neutral across scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in its global operations by 2050. Moreover, the company aims to bring about a 50% reduction in carbon dioxide per package delivered for its global small package operations It also aims to ensure that by 2035 all its facilities are powered by renewable electricity.This Zacks Rank #2 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 39% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 2% over the last 7 days.Valero Energy Corp. VLO is the largest independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products in the United States. Among all the independent refiners, Valero offers the most diversified refinery base with a capacity of 3.1 million barrels per day in its 15 refineries located throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.The majority of the company’s refining plants are situated in the Gulf coast area from where there is easy access to the export facilities. The company is poised to benefit from the new standard set by the International Maritime Organization.This Zacks Rank #2 company has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved more than 100% over the last 7 days.General Dynamics Corp. GD is engaged in mission-critical information systems and technologies, land and expeditionary combat vehicles, armaments and munitions, shipbuilding and marine systems, and business aviation.General Dynamics appears to be on track for the entry of the G700 jet into service in the fourth quarter of 2022. Its impressive backlog trends indicate solid demand for the company’s products, thereby bolstering its revenue generation prospects significantly.This Zacks Rank #2 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 4.8% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 0.3% over the last 7 days.AutoZone Inc. AZO is one of the leading specialty retailers and distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories in the United States. It operates in the Do-It-Yourself retail, Do-It-for-Me auto parts and products markets.AutoZone's high-quality products, store-expansion initiatives and omni-channel efforts to improve customer shopping experience are boosting its market share. The ramp up of e-commerce efforts including ship-to-home next day, buy online, pick-up in stores and commercial customer ordering are aiding AutoZone’s top-line growth. The solid reputation of the Duralast brand, competitive pricing and greater engagement from store-operating teams are supporting its growth.This Zacks Rank #2 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 2.5% for the current year (ending August 2022). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 0.9% over the last 7 days. Tech IPOs With Massive Profit Potential: Last years top IPOs surged as much as 299% within the first two months. With record amounts of cash flooding into IPOs and a record-setting stock market, this year could be even more lucrative. See Zacks’ Hottest Tech IPOs Now >>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 General Dynamics Corporation (GD): Free Stock Analysis Report Nucor Corporation (NUE): Free Stock Analysis Report United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS): Free Stock Analysis Report Valero Energy Corporation (VLO): Free Stock Analysis Report AutoZone, Inc. (AZO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 29th, 2021

CSX Surpasses Q3 Earnings & Revenue Estimates, Shares Gain

CSX's Q3 results benefit from growth across all its businesses and revenues from Quality Carriers. CSX Corporation’s CSX third-quarter 2021 earnings of 43 cents per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 38 cents. The bottom line surged 34.4% year over year owing to higher revenues.Total revenues of $3,292 million outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3030.9 million. The top line jumped 24.3% year over year owing to growth across all its businesses and revenues from Quality Carriers, which the company acquired in July. Following this better-than-expected third-quarter performance, despite supply chain disruptions and Delta-variant-led woes, shares of CSX gained 2.7% in after-market trading on Oct 20.Third-quarter operating income climbed 26% to $1,436 million. Operating ratio (operating expenses as a percentage of revenues) improved to 56.4% from 56.9% in the prior-year quarter despite operating expenses increasing 23% year over year. With respect to this metric, lower the value, the better.CSX continues to expect double-digit revenue growth (excluding benefits from Quality Carriers transaction) in 2021. Capital expenditures are still anticipated in the band of $1.7 billion-$1.8 billion for 2021.CSX Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise CSX Corporation price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | CSX Corporation QuoteSegmental PerformanceMerchandise revenues climbed 6% year over year to $1,881 million in the quarter under review. However, merchandise volumes dipped 2% from the year-ago period.Coal revenues ascended 39% year over year to $460 million in the reported quarter. Coal volumes rose 16% with increase in both domestic and export coal volumes.Intermodal revenues augmented 14% year over year to $509 million. Volumes increased 4% due to higher international shipments, thanks to strong demand, inventory replenishments and growth in rail volumes from east coast ports.Other revenues jumped 81% to $538 million in the reported quarter.Effective from third-quarter 2021, CSX introduced a new segment — Trucking — which comprises of the operations of Quality Carriers. Revenues from the segment totaled $200 million.Liquidity & Share BuybackThis Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company exited the third quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $2,179 million compared with $3,129 million at the end of December 2020. Long-term debt totaled $16,182 million compared with $16,304 million at 2020-end. As of Sep 30, 2021, net cash provided by operating activities was $3,819 million compared with $3,128 million in the year-earlier period.As of Sep 30, 2021, CSX repurchased 74 million shares for $2,316 million.Sectorial SnapshotWithin the broader Transportation sector, Delta Air Lines DAL, J.B. Hunt Transport Services JBHT and Kansas City Southern KSU recently reported third-quarter 2021 results.Delta, carrying a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell), reported third-quarter earnings (excluding $1.59 from non-recurring items) of 30 cents per share, outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 15 cents. Revenues of $9,154 million also beat Zacks Consensus Estimate of $8,370.6 million.J.B. Hunt, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), reported third-quarter earnings of $1.88 per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.77. Total operating revenues of $3144.8 million outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3002.1 million. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Kansas City Southern, carrying a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell), reported third-quarter earnings (excluding 31 cents from non-recurring items) of $2.02 per share, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.07. Quarterly revenues of $744 million, however, surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $725.9 million. 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 CSX Corporation (CSX): Free Stock Analysis Report Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL): Free Stock Analysis Report J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. (JBHT): Free Stock Analysis Report Kansas City Southern (KSU): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 21st, 2021

Is 2021 Shaping Up to be Another Banner Year for Dealership M&As?

There has been a flurry of deal making in the auto retail space of late. Kerrigan Advisers predicts that 2021 would mark the biggest year for dealership M&A activities in decades. A wave of consolidation is sweeping across the auto retail industry. While vehicle purchases by consumers took a hit last year amid pandemic woes, buy-sell agreements among dealerships remained brisk. Per Kerrigan Advisors, a number of acquisitions in the auto retail space hit 289 last year, up 24% from 2019 levels, and marked the highest count in years.The momentum continues this year, with dealership transactions up 27% year over year to 144 in first-half 2021, per Kerrigan. The dealership consulting firm expects a surge in deal making across the industry in the second half. Kerrigan predicts 350 total transactions this year. That would set a new record, and make 2021 the biggest and most memorable year for dealership merger & acquisition (M&A) activities in decades.Key Deals So Far in 2021A flurry of megadeals was witnessed in the auto retail industry, particularly in the last month. On Sep 13, Group 1 Automotive GPI announced that it has inked an agreement to acquire Prime Automotive Group for about $880 million. Per the deal, which is expected to close by late November 2021, Group 1 will be purchasing 30 dealership locations and three collision centers throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic region. The company has been a success in the North-Eastern United States for many years, and this opportunity will enable it to take advantage of the existing cost structure and further diversify its U.S. foothold. The acquisition will increase the company’s global dealership count to 220. Year to date, Group 1 has completed $570 million of acquired revenues, and the proposed transaction is expected to take its total acquired revenues to at least $2.4 billion.Ten days later, Sonic Automotive SAH announced its decision to buy RFJ Auto Partners in a deal worth $700 million. The acquisition seeks to catapult Sonic into the top-five biggest dealership groups (in terms of revenues) in the United States. RFJ Auto's portfolio of 33 dealerships across seven states generated $2.8 billion in revenues in 2020. The acquisition of RFJ Auto will add six new states (Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, and Washington) as well as five brands (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Mazda) to Sonic’s foothold and portfolio. Importantly, the deal is expected to add $3.2 billion to Sonic’s annual revenues. On Sep 29, Asbury Automotive Group ABG agreed to buy Larry H. Miller Dealerships, the eighth largest dealership in the United States, and Total Care Auto (TCA) in a $3.2-billion deal that is expected to close later this year. The Larry H. Miller Dealership acquisition seeks to add nearly $5.7 billion in expected annualized revenues, giving the company an edge to execute its five-year plan of generating $20 billion in annual revenues by 2025. Asbury claims to become the fourth-largest U.S. new vehicle retailer (in terms of revenues) after the deal closure. The acquired assets include 54 new and seven used vehicle dealerships as well as 11 collision centers. The buyout of TCA, a leading provider of service contracts and other vehicle protection products, will also enhance Asbury’s prospects.In April, Lithia Motors LAD — which has been on a long-standing buyout binge — announced the acquisition of Troy-based The Suburban Collection, which included 56 franchises, representing one of the biggest acquisitions by the auto retailer. The deal strengthened Lithia’s position in the North Central region and is expected to add $2.4 billion in the firm’s annualized revenues. Given Lithia’s spree of big and small deals this year, its total annualized revenues acquired in 2021 summed $6.2 billion.In April, AutoNation AN also announced a deal to purchase 11 stores and a collision center from Peacock Automotive Group. The deal marked the first franchised dealership buyout since 2018 and will add $380 million in annual revenues. The acquisition has expanded AutoNation's footprint from coast to coast to more than 325 locations. What’s Behind This M&A Frenzy?The process of buying cars has undergone a digital transformation, with online sales getting ever so popular, thanks to the pandemic. Auto dealers are ramping up their digital capabilities to make deals with customers and arrange for home deliveries of vehicles. The race to invest vast sums in the e-commerce platform has gathered steam and companies that won’t be making the necessary efforts to step up their online game will be left behind. Retailers are thus vying for a wider reach and greater scale amid the changing operating dynamics of the industry.In light of this scenario, big retailers that are flush with cash are seeking to scoop up smaller rivals in a hope that an increase in scale would help them lead digital transformation and boost competitive advantage. Dealers not only need to operate service departments with expensive and sophisticated equipment but are also supposed to have dual systems to service electric as well as conventional vehicles. As such, capital requirements have increased and the relatively smaller companies would rather accept the takeover proposal than spend huge sums of money to reorient their business model. It’s not just the big businesses taking over the smaller ones. Even Larry Miller chose to be acquired, realizing the importance of scale and synergies, and that it would be better poised to reach new heights as part of a bigger organization than its own.The dealership business is largely fragmented and dominated by small, individually-held operations. Per Kerrigan, the top 50 largest dealerships (in terms of new vehicle sales) in the United States accounted for just 16% of the nation’s total new vehicle sales last year. Some dealers are of the view that the only way to survive long term is to get bigger. Then of course, there are commercial, financial and operating synergy gains from such deals. In addition, a highly competitive auto retail market is resulting in lesser-known and smaller dealer groups exiting the industry.One of the dealership consulting firms Haig Partners sees Lithia’s deep focus on acquisitions as one of the catalysts for increased deal making across the industry. As we know, the company announced a five-year plan in July 2020 to generate $50 billion in revenues and $50 in earnings per share, primarily through acquisitions. Quoting Alan Haig, the president of Haig, “I think the CEOs of other public retailers said whoa that strategy makes a lot of sense.”  Also, increasing dealership profitability and better access to capital have further boosted M&A activities since late 2020.Merger Mania is Unlikely to Slow DownAsbury’s CEO Hult eyes more consolidation in the industry. The company remains committed to strategic buyouts that align with its customer-centric working model. Lithia has already been on an acquisition tear, in sync with its five-year plans. Sonic’s CEO Davi Smith also expects M&A activities to continue picking up. Certainly, a new era of dealership consolidation is underway. Erin Kerrigan, the MD of Kerrigan, is of the opinion, “that this is just the beginning of mega-transactions being announced over the next 12 months, assuming that the financial markets continue to support the financing of these kinds of acquisitions.” 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 AutoNation, Inc. (AN): Free Stock Analysis Report Group 1 Automotive, Inc. (GPI): Free Stock Analysis Report Sonic Automotive, Inc. (SAH): Free Stock Analysis Report Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (ABG): Free Stock Analysis Report Lithia Motors, Inc. (LAD): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 13th, 2021

Why Seasoned Investors are Retaining Hess Corp. (HES) Stock

Hess Corp. (HES) anticipates multibillions of exploration potential to be still left in Guyana. Hess Corporation HES is well poised to grow on the back of robust offshore Guyana oil reserves and solid midstream business. With rising commodity prices, its upstream unit will generate more profits.Hess Corp. — with a market cap of $25.7 billion — is a global integrated energy company. The New York-based firm is primarily involved in the exploration and production of oil as well as natural gas around the globe. Also, it has profitable gathering, compressing, and processing operations of natural gas and fractionating natural gas liquids.Courtesy of solid prospects, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock is worth holding on to at the moment.EstimatesThe Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 earnings per share stands at $2.16, signaling a massive improvement from last year’s loss of $2.93. The consensus estimate for 2021 revenues is pegged at $6.8 billion, indicating a rise from $4.8 billion in 2020.The company beat earnings estimates thrice in the last four quarters and met once, with an average surprise of 31.5%.Hess Corporation Price and EPS Surprise Hess Corporation price-eps-surprise | Hess Corporation QuoteMajor PositivesHess recently announced the 20th significant discovery in the Stabroek Block, located off the coast of Guyana. With the latest oil discovery at the Pinktail well, the company has added to its previously estimated 9 billion barrels of oil equivalent recoverable resources in the block. The discoveries made so far at the site have the potential of adding at least six FPSO vessels by 2027. It has Exxon Mobil Corporation XOM as the operator. With Liza phase 2 likely to come online in early-2022, Hess’ cash flow situation is expected to see a major improvement. It anticipates multibillions of exploration potential to be still left in Guyana.With WTI Crude price currently trading around the $76 per barrel mark, companies with exploration and production businesses are poised for massive year-over-year growth in the bottom line. Due to rising demand and inadequate supply, commodity prices are expected to remain high.Hess expects 2021 exploration and production capital and exploration expenditure to be $1.9 billion, of which the majority will likely be directed toward Guyana and Bakken. The company is focusing on preserving cash and implementing a cost-reduction program, through which it will likely boost profitability as well as cash margins. From 2017 through 2021, it decreased cash unit production costs by 20%. This trend will provide a northbound thrust to the company’s bottom line.DownsidesHowever, there are a few factors that are impeding the growth of the stock lately.As of Jun 30, 2021, Hess had only $2,430 million in cash and cash equivalents, way below long-term debt of $7,712 million. Its debt to capitalization of 56.4% is way above the industry average of 45.3%. This can affect the company's financial flexibility. Also, it expects 2021 net production (excluding Libya) to be 295,000 Boe/d, signaling a decline from the year-ago level of 331 Boe/d. This can reduce profits for the company. Nevertheless, we believe that a systematic and strategic plan of action will drive its long-term growth.Key PicksSome better-ranked players in the energy space include Extraction Oil & Gas, Inc. XOG and Cheniere Energy, Inc. LNG, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Extraction Oil & Gas’ bottom line for 2021 is pegged at $13.07 per share, indicating a massive improvement from last year’s loss of $2.54.Cheniere Energy’s bottom line for third-quarter 2021 is expected to surge 239.1% year over year. Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $2.4 trillion by 2028 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases. Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Recommendations from previous editions of this report have produced gains of +205%, +258% and +477%. The stocks in this report could perform even better.See these 7 breakthrough stocks now>>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 Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): Free Stock Analysis Report Hess Corporation (HES): Free Stock Analysis Report Cheniere Energy, Inc. (LNG): Free Stock Analysis Report Extraction Oil & Gas, Inc. (XOG): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 7th, 2021

Middleby (MIDD) Acquires Imperial, Expands Product Offerings

Middleby's (MIDD) acquisition of Imperial Commercial Cooking Equipment is likely to boost its product offerings in the commercial kitchen end market and expand its presence across the west coast. The Middleby Corporation MIDD yesterday announced that it has acquired Imperial Commercial Cooking Equipment. This marks the company’s second acquisition this year. The financial terms of the transaction were kept under wraps.The company’s shares gained 0.4% yesterday, closing the trading session at $173.77.Based in Corona, CA, Imperial manufactures ranges, ovens, countertop equipment, fryers, and other cooking products for use in the foodservice industry. The firm generates revenues of about $40 million on an annual basis.Inside the HeadlinesThe addition of Imperial’s strong product line, coupled with its innovative manufacturing processes and efficient team, is expected to strengthen Middleby’s product offerings in the commercial kitchen end market. Imperial’s solid footprint in the thriving fast-casual chain restaurant space will also act as a tailwind for the company’s brands.The buyout is likely to expand Middleby’s presence across the west coast and offer higher value to its domestic customers.Other Inorganic MovesMiddleby focuses on acquiring businesses to strengthen its product lines, solidify, and expand its presence across regions and expand its customer base. The company’s acquisition of Novy (July 2021) is likely to strengthen its product offerings in the residential built-in cooking market. Also, the Wild Goose Filling buyout (December 2020) has been boosting its growth opportunities in the canned beverages market. The United Foodservice Equipment Group acquisition (December 2020) has also been enhancing its foodservice equipment offerings in China.Acquired assets boosted Middleby’s sales by 1.8% and 2.2% in the first and second quarters of 2021, respectively.Zacks Rank, Price Performance and Earnings EstimatesMiddleby, with a market capitalization of $9.7 billion, currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). The company is poised to benefit from increasing orders for its product, robust backlog, acquired assets, and a focus on innovation in the quarters ahead. However, softness at the restaurant industry, owing to the lingering impacts of the pandemic, might continue to have a bearing on its near-term performance.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIn the past three months, its shares have gained 1.1% against the industry’s decline of 3.9%.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Middleby’s earnings is pegged at $8.37 for 2021 and $9.69 for 2022, reflecting growth of 1.9% and 4.1% from the respective 60-day-ago figures.Stocks to ConsiderSome better-ranked stocks from the same space are Kadant Inc KAI, EnPro Industries, Inc. NPO, and Welbilt, Inc. WBT. While Kadant currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), EnPro and Welbilt carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Kadant pulled off an earnings surprise of 22.26%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.EnPro pulled off an earnings surprise of 80.64%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.Welbilt pulled off an earnings surprise of 216.67%, on average, in the trailing four quarters. 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 The Middleby Corporation (MIDD): Free Stock Analysis Report Kadant Inc (KAI): Free Stock Analysis Report EnPro Industries (NPO): Free Stock Analysis Report Welbilt, Inc. (WBT): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 27th, 2021