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BenzingaEditorial

Is AstraZeneca Still a Safe Bet?

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Corona Virus and the Stock Market

Since the beginning of the pandemic, AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) was among the likely winners in the COVID-19 vaccine race. The company has joined forces with the University of Oxford to develop its candidate, AZD1222. But investors recently got a bitter reminder of the difficulties and risks of clinical trials. AstraZeneca had to pause its trial after patient showed serious neurological symptoms on September 8th. Although the trial resumed after a few days, it was a wake up call for investors who are looking to profit from these efforts. Although adverse regulation are quite common in clinical trials, especially of that magnitude, it was still enough for its stock to drop about 8 percent. Fortunately, AstraZeneca’s stock rebounded relatively swiftly the next day as it became clear that the initial news wasn’t as damaging to the entire program as it initially seemed. For now, there’s no certain sign that there is something wrong with AZD1222. So this time, AstraZeneca pulled through.

Competitive landscape

Astrazeneca was fast out of the gate and was one of the first to start a phase 2/3 clinical trial back in May. It was seen as the promising candidate by both the U.S. government and the European Union. Only a few companies in this race received such support. Meanwhile, the trio Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE)-BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX)-Fosun Pharmaceutical (OTC: SFOSF) is going turbo to launch its candidate in the upcoming months. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) also as it launched its Phase III in Europe. The Sanofi (NASDAQ: SNY)- GSK (NYSE: GSK) duo plans to finalize its last stage by the end of the year. This race is going faster than Formula 1.

But this is a reminder that clinical trials inevitable come with potential pitfalls. Moreover, one obstacle is all it takes to sink a company’s stock.

The strength of AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca’s stock has benefitted from its vaccine development as its shares are up 7.7% year to date. But this isn’t that much because the company was doing more than fine before the pandemic struck. Over the trailing-12-month period, its sales were $25.7 billion resulting in a net income of $2.15 billion from multiple products and programs in its pipeline. In other words, even if it does not find a way to win COVID-19, AstraZeneca will be just fine.

Competitors

By contrast, the success of Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INO) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) greatly depends on the outcome of their COVID-19 efforts.

Inovio’s stock is up by 202.4% year to date. Moreover, its market cap skyrocketed from $325.37 million on January 2nd to $1.67 billion. The vaccine will literally make or brake Inovio as these gains have been almost entirely driven by its efforts to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. Its stock could easily burn in flames if any sort of obstacle arises. Moderna is in the same boat. Its shares are up by 199.1%, expanding its market cap from $6.47 billion to $23.11 billion in the same timeframe. Moreover, its cap seems too high for a clinical-stage biotech company, so its stock could could just as easily fall off a cliff if its efforts are unsuccessful.

COVID-19 investors

Just because AstraZeneca is the likely leader, it does not mean others such as Inovio and Moderna cannot launch successful vaccines But because of the uncertainties that plague clinical trials, along with the fact that neither of two has an approved and marketed product, both are high-risk and high-reward bets. Taking a small position and closely observing developments is always a possibility, but  AstraZeneca is a rare player that provides significant exposure to the coronavirus vaccine opportunity without the threat of its stock plummeting if the pharma giant doesn’t win the COVID-19 race.

A wake-up call

Leading U.S. and European pharma giants have pledged to keep safety as their priority while they develop their candidates. CEOs of nine biopharmaceutical companies pledged of scientific integrity. Putting it bluntly, they promised they will not succumb to political pressures to rush the process as the WHO’s chief referred to AstraZeneca’s pause as a ‘wake up call’.

Vaccines are always a risky scenario

The equation goes far beyond a company’s background, experience and experience. People’s immune systems respond to vaccines differently. Our immune systems are different. Previous infections and genetics can cause our immune system to respond differently. Moreover, the composition of our immune system changes throughout the course of our lives. Children are still developing so their systems are even more different than  that of adults. Lifestyle such as one’s diet, exercise, stress and harmful habits such as smoking all play a part in the response of our immune response to vaccination.

That is why extensive clinical trials with numerous stages are so important. They do not only ensure the vaccine’s safety and effectives, but whether the vaccine will work for different kinds of people. One’s medical history or age can make all the difference. The bottom line is that this is a very difficult quest. Traditional medicine still has so many things to discover when it comes to preserving and restoring our health, such as how to win and prevent cancer. Scientists are learning at an exponential pace but they are still are at the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to this brand-new virus that managed to put the whole world to a stop.

It’s like a game of chess…

Although AstraZeneca seems like a safer bet in comparison to its peers, portfolios and financial position don’t weigh as much in this battle. It’s like a game of chess: you only know what your next move is. You play for the present and do your best to predict the future, knowing it is impossible to predict what will happen even after two moves. Unfortunately, one wrong move can cost you the entire game. Therefore, the best strategy for all pharmaceutical companies in this race is to play silently and speak only when it’s time to say checkmate.

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

The EV Industry Is Worth More Than The Traditional Automakers

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Many things that were considered to be impossible actually happened in 2020. One of them is that electric vehicle makers became more valuable than traditional automakers and by about by about $100 billion, according to Barrons. EV makers are now worth about $1.3 trillion whereas traditional car makers combined have a market capitalization of about $1.2 trillion. This figure includes 100 auto makers around the globe with market caps ranging from $10 million all the way to Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA). Based on its fully diluted share count, Tesla is worth about $1 trillion.

This feat is even more impressive if you consider that this is a much smaller industry based on actual number of cars. The last year taught us that the connection between the stock market and the economy is imprecise at best. However, the fact that technology enabled batteries to overpass ICEs is the kind of disruption that investors look for. Even though Tesla is the main contributor to the value of the EV market, the overall image is just as impressive as three of the top five most valuable are EV makers, with Tesla being followed by NIO (NYSE: NIO) and BYD (OTC: BYDDF). As for traditional automakers, Volkswagen (OTC: VWAGY) and Toyota (NYSE: TM) are the most valuable ones with both undergoing serious investments into electrification.

Traditional automakers are going electric

On Friday, BMW said it aims to double its sales of fully-electric vehicles this year. Including plug-in hybrids, it aims for a 50 percent increase in sales of electrified vehicles versus 2020. It did not give sales volumes for its fully electric vehicles but in data released on Tuesday, BMW said it sold close to 193,000 electrified vehicles, including fully electric and plug-in hybris in 2020. As a reminder, Tesla delivered almost half a million all-electric models last year, which is 75% of General Motor’s (NYSE: GM) third-quarter deliveries.

The automotive industry is at an inflection point

BEVs take approximately 1% of the total market for light vehicles, but the figure rises to about 3% if we include hybrid and plug-in hybrids. Why exactly it takes a relatively small market share to disrupt an industry is a bit of a mystery, but one reason is that more investment capital tends to flow in when market share come is within the 3% to 5% range. As more capital drives more innovation and improvement, investors are lured by high growth rates, bringing in even more capital and this is how success is made. Over the past year, EV makers have raised more than $20 billion in fresh capital, which is a fraction of what traditional auto companies spend on plants and equipment. However, on a per car basis, the EV industry is investing at roughly 10 times the rate of the traditional industry. Add to this President Joe Biden’s aim of a carbon-free future by 2035 and the drive toward adoption of EVs which is already seeing impressive results in Europe, the all-electric future is around the corner.

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

Europe and EVs- A Blossoming Relationship

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Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) delivered around 96,000 units to the key European EV market in 2020. But in Europe, Tesla’s cars were overtaken in popularity by Volkswagen (OTC: VWAGY) and Renault (OTC: RNLSY). Sales of electric vehicles by European car makers accelerated rapidly in 2020 amid severe fines for car markers whose fleets don’t meet new emissions targets and generous incentives for buyers to trade in their ICE vehicles.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen reported it delivered 212,000 electric cars across the globe in 2020, which is 158% more than in the year prior. 134,000 of those vehicles were battery-electric vehicles, which grew 197% compared with 2019. Volkswagen also said that its ID. 3 model was the top-selling car in Sweden in December by absolute numbers. All-electric Volkswagen models were on top the Netherlands and Germany, taking approximately 23% of each country’s BEVs market.

Mercedes Benz

On January 8th, Mercedes-Benz-owner Daimler (OTC: DDAIF) said that the brand sold more than 160,000 plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles in 2020, representing growth of more than 228% from 2019. The share of EVs in Daimler’s sales mix rose drastically from 2% in 2019 to more than 7% in 2020. Also, Mercedes-Benz brand remained the world’s top-selling luxury carmaker for the fourth consecutive year.

Renault

Renault reported that it doubled its electric-vehicle sales in Europe. While group sales fell more than 21% in 2020, its EV sales grew 100% growth from 2019 to 115,888 vehicles. Moreover, total orders at the end of December 2020 were up by 14% compared to December 2019, which was attributed to new hybrid offerings. EVs were the only good news in an otherwise bleak 2020 for the French carmaker, which underperformed both global and European car markets. At the very least, Renault avoided fines as it met its 2020 EU emissions targets. On January 14th, its chief executive officer Luca de Meo will present a strategy update which is expected  to include reviving some older best-selling models as all-electric models.

BMW

BMW (OTC: BMWYY) which also owns Mini, said that its two brands combined sold 192,646 electric vehicles in 2020 marking an increase of nearly 32% from last year. BMW also met its 2020 EU emissions targets.

Takeaway

European governments have created generous incentives to speed up the adoption of EVs, making them much more affordable. Come 2025 when emission targets become more stricter and threat of fines for not respecting them even greater, Tesla will certainly be playing against fully-fit opponents and could even potentially struggle. An EV-only future looks closer than ever in Europe as the race is now on to challenge Tesla’s leadership.

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

Lenovo Makes Its Star Market Debut

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The COVID-19 pandemic had completely changed the way people work and learn. Operating from home actually turned around declining PC sales. Smartphones have been picking more and more market share from PCs and if there was no pandemic, this would probably still be the case. But instead of decreasing demand, there was record growth in PC sales as video collaboration software was needed to fulfill the need caused by closed offices and schools. The demand generated months and months of production. According to Reuters, sales of desktops, laptops, and tablets are expected to reach the level of 300 million shipments, the first time after its peak in 2008. This made all the PC manufacturers like Dell Technologies Inc. (NYSE: DELL), HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ), and Lenovo Group Ltd. (OTC: LNVGY) very happy.

Lenovo CDR story

China’s Lenovo Group is listed at the Hong Kong stock exchange, with about 12.04 billion shares outstanding in total as of January 12th. The company decided to issue Chinese Depository receipts (CDRs) which will be up to 10% of the total number of shares to be listed on the Star Market of the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The proceeds from the issuing of CDRs is planned to help the company’s research and development of new technologies, development of new products and solutions, and overall strategic investments in core segments. On Wednesday, the news caused to stock to drove the stock to its highest level since 2015.

The Star Market

The Star Market was launched in 2019 aiming for innovative technology companies that need more relaxed listing rules. In December, the Star Market counted 200 companies. A CDR or Chinese Depositary Receipt is a way for non-Chinese companies to list their shares in China. This is the equivalent to American depositary receipts (ADRs) which allow non-U.S. companies’ shares to trade on American exchange markets. Technically, CDRs and ADRs are not companies’ shares, but they represent an equity interest in a company. Besides Lenovo, an AI startup that specializes in facial recognition called Megvii Technology Ltd will also be among the first companies to benefit from this new structure.

Conclusion

Lenovo’s listing should be a breakthrough for Shanghai’s Science Technology and Innovation Board. Lenovo, a flagship of the Star Market, should attract much more followers and clear a path for many Chinese start-ups to raise capital in their home country. The company’s strong and growing global presence should continue to demonstrate the boom of China’s capital market and attract more investors to invest.

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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