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BenzingaEditorial

COVID-19 Has Hit the Auto Industry Hard- But EVs Even Harder

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Tesla Electric Vehicles

According to S&P Global, the coronavirus outbreak, which is wreaking havoc all over the globe and pretty much in any segment you can think of, has pushed the world’s economy into a global recession. Initial figures suggest that Chinese economy was hit far harder than estimated, but on a brighter note, there are signs that it is beginning to stabilize. They are quite shy for now, but something is better than nothing! Now, Europe and the United States are following a similar path. Increasing restrictions on person-to-person contacts have resulted in a collapsing demand that will push all activity sharply down before a recovery, hopefully, begins later in the year. The world’s largest economy, the US economy, is either in the process of entering a recession, or it has already entered one as the pandemics has severely disrupted economic activity and far more drastically than previously estimated. And the damage to economic activity is about to get even worse both in the United States and Europe. And as bad as things may seem for the automotive industry, they are even worse for electric vehicles and here is why.

Stopped production

Both European and US auto manufacturers have now halted production. The Europe market was already in a conundrum. It was also caught in the mid of a fire during the US-China trade war due to the complexity of its supply chain. Then there was the Brexit uncertainty. And to top it off, a weakened car demand in China due to an economic slowdown whose prospects still remain clouded. And now COVID-19 has ripped it apart as it forced Volkswagen  (OTC:VWAGY), Daimler AG (OTC:DMLRY) which owns Mercedes-Benz, Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft (OTC:BMWYY), Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE:FCAU), Renault SA (OTC:RNLSY) and even the Japanese giant Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM) to close down its European plants. The road ahead can only be downhill and experts even fear that this blow will result in a lost decade.

Low oil prices

As if COVID-19 hasn’t already taken a toll on the production of EVs considering all the above companies have invested heavily in this segment in an effort to combat Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and adhere to stricter EU legislation regarding zero-emissions, oil prices have never been lower and this will make things harder. The matured auto industry just gained an appealing advantage due to Russia-Saudi oil price war. Moreover, with the weakening economy and lost jobs, purchasing power will be severely damaged and we all know EVs are still a luxury option when compared to regular combustion vehicles- especially the oh-so-favourite pickup trucks. We can only put our hopes up in companies such as Worksport (OTC:FNHI) who make complex renewable technologies affordable as they are about to launch their solar technology tonneau-covers for pickup trucks.

Shifting the CO2 strategy?

BMW and Mercedes have announced they will add a range of plug-in hybrids as part of their strategy to meet the stricter EU regulations this year. Moreover, LMC Automotive predicts that they will even outsell EVs. Does this mean that automakers are backing off from their big debuts in EVs and turning to more realistic, not to say affordable costs of making, plug-in hybrids with combustion engines? It does make sense in a way as CEOs of above companies were openly scared about the costs of electrification which is why many of them opted for joint ventures. And even Honda’s Motor Co’s (NYSE:HMC) CEO expects hybrids to outperforms EVs. Well, BMW at least is using flexible manufacturing to produce all three types on the same assembly line so in a way it is more adaptable to whatever is ahead of us than everyone else who have EV-dedicated platforms.

Outlook

The Dow Jones industrial average suffered the worst decline in its history on Monday as stocks tumbled. Some estimates show that the US economy is at risk of losing as many as 1 million jobs in April. To give you an even clearer, idea, this would be even worse than any month 10 years ago during the Great Recession. This health hazard has taken quite a toll on automotive industry but even more so on the future of EVs and the overall economy. Maybe we could use some of Elon Musk’s flamboyance right about now as he even downplayed the coronavirus as Tesla’s factories are pretty much the only ones that are staying open during this nightmare the world has found itself in.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by Ivana Popovic who is a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . Ivana Popovic does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com Questions about this release can be send to ivana@iamnewswire.com

BenzingaEditorial

Closing a Light Earnings Week

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Stock Market Tumble

Recent earnings reports imply that the positive momentum that made its appearance early July is still in the air. Last week, Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE) and FedEx (NYSE: FDX) treated us with blockbuster results that confirmed the favorable trends, contributing to overall recovery of the U.S. economy.

This week, it was up to Nike’s (NYSE: NKE) deliver a blockbuster earnings report. Its shares surged and lifted the Dow Jones industrial average as the sports retailer smashed both revenue and profit expectations.

US stocks rose on Wednesday on strong earnings and progress on the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine as Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) announced it is starting the third phase of its candidate in a largest study to date that will enroll up to 60,000 participants.

On the other hand, this week was not so kind to Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) whose shares dropped after its Battery Day event on Tuesday failed to delight investors. Musk laid out a plan to get to a $25,000 EV it expects to begin selling in three years but without showing any tangible progress.

Gold fell but oil prices climbed. Oil’s international benchmark jumped 1%, to $42.15 per barrel as BP (NYSE: BP), Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A)(NYSE: RDS-B) and other European energy companies are restructuring their core business to dramatically reduce emissions while investing heavily in renewable energy. Meanwhile, the American oil giants Chevron (NYSE: CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) are going in a far different direction.

Although it’s premature, the early reports suggest there is hope for Q3 and improved outlook in a variety of sectors. As for the third quarter of 2020, total S&P 500 earnings are expected to decline 23.1% on 2.9% drop in revenues, which is an improvement from Q2 expectations and figures.

Next week, Thor Industries Inc (NYSE: THO), Conagra (NYSE: CAG), Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ) Bed Bath and Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY) will give their own contribution to solving the outlook puzzle.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

Vaccine Updates

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Corona Virus and the Stock Market

Besides saving lives and the global economy, we are expecting three things from the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine: safety, immunogenicity and efficacy. But we never had a 100 per cent efficacy when it comes to respiratory viruses, so anything between 50 and 100% will be the best we’ve got as the WHO believes everything above 50 per cent efficacy is acceptable. So, how far away are we from this goal?

Buoyed by positive results in its earlier studies, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) has now entered the final stage of clinical trials for its COVID-19 candidate. Although they started a couple of months behind others in the US, its trials will by far be largest with 60,000 enrolled participants.

The advantage of J&J candidate – one dose and no sub-zero storage temperatures

J&J’s vaccine is made with slightly different technology than others as it is modeled on its prior Ebola vaccine. It could result in considerable advantages over some of its competitors in terms of dosage and storage. But it’s up to Phase 3 trials that compare the effects of a vaccine with those of a placebo to determine if a single dose is indeed effective.

Disadvantages of Moderna and Pfizer candidates – significant logistics hurdle

Adenovirus vaccines must be kept refrigerated but not frozen, unlike the two front-runner vaccines, by Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE). These depend on bits of genetic material known as mRNA. Besides the freezing requirement that makes distribution problematic, there vaccines also need to be taken in two doses, a few weeks apart.

Side-effects

When participants received a dose more than double the strength of the current shot of Moderna vaccine, 20 per cent experienced significant adverse effects such as fever and severe headaches. AstraZeneca was forced to pause its study for the same reason. Although the trial resumed in the UK and elsewhere, the research remains on hold in the US.

Candidates – US

Johnson & Johnson is now the fourth company to begin large-scale clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, behind Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) and AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN). According to Anthony S. Fauci M.D., this is an unprecedented speed made possible by decades of progress in vaccine technology and a coordinated approach that expanded beyond the scientific community, supported by governments and industries.

Candidates- Global

Financial Times has reported that there is a total of more than 300 vaccine candidates, according to the World Health Organization. Less than half are being tested on humans. Only nine of those have reached phase 3 trails which is the final stage before possible implementation. One of the nine vaccines is UK’s Astrazaneca. Two of the most advanced US candidates come from pharmaceutical company Pfizer, in partnership with Germany’s BioNTech, and Moderna. Four vaccines are being produced in China by Sinovac Biotech and one in Russia by the Gamaleya Research Institute which just boarded the phase 3 train this month. Then, there are CanSino Biologics (OTC: CASBF) and Sinopharm (OTC: SHTDY), which has two different shots in development and one is being led by Johnson & Johnson. All nine have already signed purchase agreements with governments around the world.

Countries

According to data from Deutsche Bank, the UK has built the largest and most diversified vaccine portfolio, on a per-capita basis, having pre-ordered more than five doses per citizen spread across six leading vaccine candidates. It is closely followed by US, Canada and Japan.

When it comes to the overall spender, the US government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has distributed more than $10 billion in funding for vaccine candidates, either via direct financing or through vaccine procurement agreements.

Canada has allocated $1 billion to secure at least 154 million doses of a future vaccine, signing deals with Pfizer, Moderna Inc, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) and most recently, Sanofi (NASDAQ: SNY).

The goal

The stated objective of the AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech and J&J vaccines is to prevent the life-endangering symptoms of Covid-19. Their goal is to prevent people being admitted to hospital, going to intensive care and dying, as summarized by Andrew Pollard, who is leading the AstraZeneca trials at Oxford university. But preventing an asymptomatic infection entirely is likely to be a much bigger hurdle. Given the growing chorus of experts warning that vaccines will only offer a temporary immunity, making subsequent shots just as important. Only Johnson and Johnson and CanSino Biologics Inc are aiming for single dose shots.

If successful, Johnson & Johnson expects the first doses to be up for emergency use authorization from the US FDA at the beginning of  next year, while on track to make a billion doses a year. If this is the case, it would greatly help efforts to curb the pandemic.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

Four Evolving Lighting Companies

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Solar Stocks and Corona Virus

To run their operations, companies need lighting – among other things. Moreover, this lighting has to be energy-efficient to give the world a shot at taking control over climate change. LED lighting market has been intensively growing over the last decade. Its strength is a direct consequence from energy efficiency regulations and reduced technology costs. An average building uses about 15% of its energy for lighting therefore the savings potential of LED lighting across the globe is immense. But, lighting has expanded beyond its traditional purpose of illumination to add additional value such as sustainability. Consequently, it has also become a highly competitive market. Below are four companies that are well-positioned to benefit from this growing trend.

Acuity Brands

Unfortunately, Acuity Brands Inc (NYSE:AYI), the parent company of Acuity Brands Lighting was among the S&P 500’s biggest fallers on Wednesday September 23. The stock experienced a 2.56% decline to $98.07. But this is not the bigger picture as widespread adoption of Far-UVC lighting could create a large retrofit revenue opportunity for this industrial technology company. It is better to wait for October 8th for the company to announce its fourth quarter results to get a better idea of this prominent company.

Acuity Brands provides lighting products for the whole range of applications: from commercial to residential. Their customers are electrical distributors, electric utilities, retail home improvement centers, and lighting showrooms. Their offerings include luminaires, lighting controls, lighting components, and integrated lighting systems that use a combination of light sources. The majority of the firms’ revenue is generated in the United States, but it has operations across Europe and Asia as well, counting 12,000 associates.

Orion Energy Systems Inc

Orion Energy Systems Inc (NASDAQ:OESX) is the provider of LED lighting systems while implementing IoT systems and providing ongoing maintenance service. When the company reported its FY2021 first quarter results, it revealed it secured a contract with a large speciality retailer. The company just announced that its CFO William T. “Bill” Hull, plans to retire in November following its second quarter results, so it is in for a new chapter this year.

Cree Inc

The stock of Cree Inc (NASDAQ:CREE) is soaring and is possibly approaching a major achievement in its business. It provides lighting-class LED for power and radio-frequency applications with an international presence spanning across the United States, China and Europe.  On June 28th 2020, the US$6.6 billion market-cap company posted a loss of US$191.7 million for its most recent financial year. Although its shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 13% in the last month, they have received really good returns over the last five years. In fact, the share price was 154% higher on September 23rd. To some, the recent pullback isn’t surprising after such a fast rise. But this does not change the fact that Cree has rewarded its shareholders with a total shareholder return of 22% during the last twelve months.

Energy Focus

Energy Focus Inc (NASDAQ:EFOI) recently won a $4.8 million indefinite-quantity contract to provide LED lighting to U.S. Navy for its demanding exterior shipboard use. LED lights use up to 80% less energy than traditional lighting, while meeting the required illumination levels for combat, and general operations.

Additionally, Energy Focus also reported that it has gained the right to serve all government agencies in the U.S. Its patent- pending EnFocus™ lighting control platform embodies the true spirit of “Triple Bottom Line” benefits:  financial, environmental, and health, while being affordable and accessible. In other words, EnFocus™ can enhance occupant well-being and maximize energy savings while being affordable and without increasing security risk. The beauty of its model is that it can span across industries.

Outlook

The global LED lighting market was estimated to be $67,714.7 million in 2019. This is an increase of 3.2% from 2018. Over the last two years, we have observed major players either selling a part of their business or being acquired by another company. Smart LEDs are wanted for the controllability they offer. Companies are going a step forward with circadian lighting that supports well-being. Leading lighting players are also working with healthcare facilities to accelerate the use of UVC LEDs to eliminate the threat of infection arising from contact. Horticultural lighting also did great in terms of demand during the past few years. To cut the story short, there will be many new chapters ahead when it comes to lighting.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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