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Things Look Less Dim for Verizon Communications

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Apple Stock News

On Monday, the communications giant and parent company of Yahoo Finance revealed it has inked a new deal. Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ)  has acquired the pre-paid wireless leader Tracfone for $3.125 billion in cash and $3.125 billion in Verizon common stock. The agreement also includes up to an additional $650 million in future cash consideration related to the achievement of certain goals. Most importantly, this move is positioning Verizon to take advantage of the wireless market as it has now gained access Trafcone’s 21 million subscribers. Trafcone’s network expands over 90,000 retail locations all over the globe.

The pandemic brought not-so-good news to Verizon

Shares of the largest U.S. cell phone carrier did gain 2.48% in the past month. This is a stock that generates stable earnings growth and pays high dividends. But, its core business was severely hit by the pandemic. Moreover, COVID-19 only further amplified slower sales of smartphones and intense competition from rival carriers that the company was always struggling with last year.

Alleviating concerns

There is some concern about Verizon’s dividend yield which has been trapped at just over 4% for quite some time now and is lower than its nearest rival AT&T (NYSE: T) dividend yield of about 7%. But despite market challenges, there is plenty of free cash flow to cushion the blow. Unlike top rival AT&T, Verizon isn’t trying to digest a massive media business or build an EPS to stay roughly flat.

More than earnings growth

Verizon Communications has grown both its profit and its revenue over the last few years. But there is more to it than earnings growth. Last week, its board raised the quarterly dividend from 62.75 cents from 61.5 cents, which is 2% increase and more importantly, the 14th consecutive year of dividend increases. Moreover, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Verizon are set to resume discussions to invest more than $4 billion for a stake in India’s Vodafone Idea Ltd. With 5G, Verizon’s expansion into connected cars, Internet of Things devices, and ongoing fiber upgrades could easily be the source of fresh growth next year when the world hopefully leaves the pandemic behind.

The 5G Opportunity

The ultra-fast connectivity and massive capacity of 5G are believed to have an important role in our future. It is expected to contribute to manufacturing automation, cloud gaming, autonomous vehicles, drones, and remote health care services, among many others. Verizon has been investing heavily to support traffic growth across its networks while it continues to deploy more fiber and additional cell sites to expand its 5G rollout nationwide. The company has already launched 5G mobility service as well as %G home internet in some of the targeted 60 markets. It was the No. 1 winner in the government’s latest auction for spectrum useful for 5G services, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as announced on September 2. Verizon was the most successful bidder as it devoted $1.9 billion to captivate the 5G spectrum.  The company has ambitions to become a top mobile services provider in this space. This is ideal for devices using high-bandwidth services like streaming video. Such uses have seen a rise in demand dictated by the stay-in-place measures arising from the coronavirus pandemic. Winning a swath of spectrum will also bring Verizon closer to rival T-Mobile US (NASDAQ: TMUS), which dramatically increased its licensed holdings with the absorption of Sprint and its assets.

A less dim 2021?

Adam Koeppe, the senior vice president for technology strategy, architecture and planning recently stated that Verizon’s move to virtualized infrastructure is ongoing. This specific transaction is aligned with what Verizon does best, provide reliable wireless services while offering a top quality customer experience Hans Vestberg, Chairman and CEO of Verizon, emphasized that the company is pursuing this important strategic acquisition from a position of strength which is reflected in its strong and prudent financial profile. So, if there’s any consolation for this unprecedented year, it seems that 2021 will indeed be less dim.

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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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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Tesla Battery Day Didn’t Live Up to Expectations

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Tesla Electric Vehicles

As expected, Elon Musk made some big announcements on Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) Battery Day event and a drive-in movie/shareholders meeting. What Musk teased to be a ‘very insane’ development turned out to be a revolutionary battery but news also included eliminating cobalt use, a new Plaid powertrain for the Model S and a new cathode plant.

Most importantly, with the new battery technology, Tesla now has a new goal: a $25,000 car. The Battery Day was expected to ease threats from Tesla’s upcoming competitors: Nikola (NASDAQ: NKLA), Rivian, Hercules and Atlis. Atlis just announced a partnership with innovative tonneau-cover producer Worksport (OTC: WKSP) to enhance its tech-advanced electric truck with the TerraVis solar-charging system.

The EV game is heating up as traditional automakers such as General Motors (NYSE: GM), Ford (NYSE: F) and Volkswagen (OTC: VWAGY) are also seriously upgrading their game for the electric era.

The key takeaway is that Musk aims to achieve a complete vertical integration and that would put Tesla ahead of any potential competitors.

Battery Cells to Improve Range

Tesla currently gets its batteries from Panasonic Corporation (OTC: PCRFY) but in-house production has been on Musk’s to-do list for quite a while. Back in 2018, Musk said Panasonic’s pace slowed down Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y production. Tesla plans to manufacture its own batteries in the future. But, this battery will be “tabless” to improve the range and power of its vehicles. Being tabless means removing the tab that connects the cell and what is powering to make the battery up to six times more efficient and powerful by increasing the range by 16 percent. When it comes to range, every km counts.

Model S Plaid in 2021

The plaid powertrain also had its fair share of teases. But a plaid trim will cost more than other Tesla’s offerings as it is currently listed for $139,990. It will be available in its Model S but by the end of next year.

A New Cathode Plant

On its quest to reduce supply chain costs and simplify cathode production, Tesla will build a plant for its batteries. Although the location is unknown, Musk mentioned back in July that Tulsa, Oklahoma would be considered for future projects. It came second after Austin, Texas that Tesla chose for its next Gigafactory.

Eliminate Cobalt

Even though Tesla uses very little cobalt in its batteries, Musk already said in the past he wants to eliminate it entirely. Cobalt mining tends to violate human rights and it will become history for Tesla in the near-future.

A $25,000 EV

The final goal is to bring the selling price of Tesla’s models close enough to compete with that of traditional ICE vehicles so people can afford them. Reducing the cost of battery cells and packs is an essential step on this quest. But, this isn’t the first time Musk made this promise as back in 2018, he already said a $25,000 EV will be possible within three years.

Outlook – path towards affordability

Affordability is key to scale and Tesla has laid a clear path towards producing an affordable EV. But a battery prototype never appeared during the event and it remained unclear what has Tesla actually achieved. Elon Musk only delivered a promise of a revolutionary battery, but not the battery itself. Its specs appear to offer large performance gains in a few key areas. But several hundred investors sitting in their Teslas from a makeshift stage in the parking lot of the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, left without knowing how far has Tesla gone in realizing these upgrades. All EV players are promising revolutionary developments, but none of them has seen the light of the day yet. We don’t even know how well Tesla’s new cell scored at performance tests.

Meanwhile, traditional automakers have well-established systems, expertise and legacy. Tesla has yet to pass the test of time. Investors were underwhelmed by only hearing promises for developments that are far-off in the future. As a consequence, shares dropped 6.8% in the extended session.

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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