Connect with us

BenzingaEditorial

Is AstraZeneca Still a Safe Bet?

Published

on

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

BenzingaEditorial

Plugging Into the Future

Published

on

Tesla Electric Vehicles

BNEF predicts that by 2040 EV sales will rise to nearly 60% of the global auto market. That is quite a difference compared to 2010, when annual sales were close to zero. With consumer becoming more aware and conscious, along with favorable market forces that are gaining momentum, EVs are quickly becoming the future of the automotive industry with many EV companies showing massive growth potential.

e-tractors

Ideanomics (NASDAQ: IDEX). has acquired 15% of California-based Solectrac, Inc. for $1.3 million, its very first US-based OEM, Solectrac develops, assembles and distributes 100% battery-powered electric tractors for agriculture and utility operations. With this investment in Solectrac, Ideanomics expands its global footprint in the EV industry through specialty commercial vehicles. Moreover, Ideanomics gained a seat on Solectrac’s Board of Directors. This opportunity will give Ideanmoics access to the global agricultural tractor market that is poised for rapid growth, although currently valued at $75 billion. The time has come to say goodbye to diesel tractors.

Solar powered EVs

Besides recently forming an agreement with Atlis Motor Vehicles, Worksport (OTC: WKSP) has announced today to engage Thermal Technology Services Canada to test the Company’s groundbreaking TerraVis™ solar panel technology and increase its efficiency. Increases in product efficiency of even a few per cent can make all the difference when it comes to the performance of an electric vehicle. Each additional mile counts and Worksport is set to deliver the most advanced product with solar technology, from which the technologically advanced and eagerly-anticipated for Atlis XT electric pickup truck can greatly benefit.

Traditional automakers are not wasting any time

General Motors (NYSE: GM) revived the Hummer for the 2022 GMC Hummer EV, a fully electric truck that is expected to arrive in dealership next year. Last week, GM unveiled its “Factory Zero” as it gave a new life to its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. The new GMC Hummer EV electric truck will be built in this all-electric factory, accompanied by the Cruise Origin, a self-driving EV designed by GM and Honda (NYSE: HMC). Last month, Ford (NYSE: F) also announced plans for a new factory at its large Rouge site in Dearborn, Michigan, that will build it’s the all-electric version of its legendary F-150 pickups.

New entrants are upping their game

Northeast Ohio-based Lordstown Motors (NASDAQ: RIDE), which purchased GM’s former Lordstown Assembly Complex and DiamondPeak Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: DHPC), a special purpose acquisition company, completed a merger that makes the EV startup a publicly traded company, effective Monday. The deal gives Lordstown the financing it needs to start production of its electric Endurance truck. It aims to deliver its truck by next September, the same time Rivian Automotive Inc., Tesla Inc.(NASDAQ: TSLA) and General Motors Co. plan to launch their own electric truck candidates.

Outlook

On Thursday, during the last presidential debate, former Vice President Joe Biden pledged to shift the U.S. economy away from oil. This goal is impossible to reach without a wider EV adoption as road transport accounted for almost 70% of America’s oil consumption in 2019. Therefore, market forces and green government policies can only accelerate the EV revolution, both in the United States and around the world, with Europe already being well on that path. A cleaner tomorrow where we will no longer have to choose between performance, economy and environmental sustainability is well underway.

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

Continue Reading

BenzingaEditorial

Solar Energy Is on Track To Become the New Energy King

Published

on

Solar Stocks and Corona Virus

When COVID-19 started its relentless march across the globe in March, there was some concern that it would put the solar industry to a halt. This fear was derived from the fact that residential solar sales are usually sold door-to-door as well as plant closures and increasing pandemic-related costs. But this scenario did not play out. In fact, the construction industry has been booming this year.

Innovation

The pandemic has also brought about some innovations that were a long time coming for solar energy. Residential solar companies were forced to adapt their sales to a digital framework. SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) is one of the leaders in this digital-first approach, but Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has also caught this wave. Moreover, when it reported its earnings last week, the company revealed it is aiming for its solar business to be just as strong as its main star, the EV business. Elon Musk announced that Tesla’s next ‘killer product’ is its Solar Roof, and that everyone will see why next year. But even Sunrun (NASDAQ:RUN) is adapting to a new normal with fewer physical touchpoints so competition will be intense.

Improved profitability

At the end of the day, the reason solar stocks are up this year is the improved financial performance. Canadian Solar (NASDAQ:CSIQ), JinkoSolar (NYSE:JKS), SolarEdge (NASDAQ:SEDG), and Enphase Energy (NASDAQ:ENPH), four of the biggest equipment suppliers in the industry have remained strong during the pandemic, with some companies also seeing margins increase.

But this piece of good news is a result of the industry focusing more on specializing rather than vertically integrating. For example, SunPower has spun off its development business, inverter manufacturing, and its solar manufacturing arm which led it to better financial results and better margins almost across the board.

Politics

Considering that Joe Biden has taken a clear polling lead over Donald Trump, the boost of solar stocks is not a surprise. Biden’s strategy is much more focused on clean energy than Trump’s, despite not being supportive of the “Green New Deal”.  The overall perception is that Biden will be good for the industry.

Affordability

Solar power is already the cheapest source of electricity in some parts of the world, according to a new report released on October 13th by the International Energy Agency (IEA). This was greatly enabled by governmental policies in more than 130 countries that aim to encourage the rise of renewables by reducing the cost of building new solar installations.

Outlook

As solar technology continues to improve and innovation continues to drive those costs down, solar is on track to become “the new king of electricity supply”. With global efforts to put climate change under control, the solar industry is expected to dominate over the next decade. The EU alone has set a goal to source 32 percent of its energy from renewables by 2030, therefore, the forecast for solar is sunny.

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

Continue Reading

BenzingaEditorial

Procter& Gamble Benefits From the Cleaning Boom

Published

on

Emerging Companies

On Tuesday, Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) managed to beat estimates and raised forecast amid strong demand for its household products. Its shares rose 2% in morning trading.

Key figures

Fiscal first-quarter sales rose 9% as the pandemic fuelled higher demand for cleaning and laundry products, exceeding the prior quarter’s 6% increase. Net sales amounted to $19.32 billion, topping expectations of $18.38 billion. Organic revenue, which strips out the impact of acquisitions, divestitures and foreign currency, also rose 9% in the quarter. This sales boost was enabled by stronger demand in P&G’s largest market, North America.

Sales growth resulted in a net income of $4.28 billion, or $1.63 per share. Not only is this figure higher than Refinitiv’s average of $1.42 per share, but it is also an improvement from last year’s $3.59 billion, or $1.36 per share, a year earlier.

Improved Forecast

Supported by these strong quarter results, P&G also raised its outlook for fiscal 2021. Overall sales growth is now expected in the range between 3% to 4%, up from its prior forecast of 1% to 3%. As for organic revenue, the forecasted range also improved from 2% to 4% to a new range between 4% and 5%. The outlook for its core earnings per share growth has also improved from prior forecast of 3% to 7%. While the early retirement of debt will reduce its net income up to 20 cents a share this fiscal year, core earnings per share are still forecasted to grow between 5% to 8%. As for the impact of after-tax foreign exchange impacts and freight costs, they are estimated to impact earnings at approximately $375 million.

The “antiseptic” cleaning boom

Although the laundry care and healthcare divisions were standout performers as consumers prioritized home cleaning spending, all of P&G’s five business segments enjoyed organic sales growth. Moreover, U.S. consumers did not opt for cheaper brands which was expected to the absence of a new stimulus package.

Fabric and home care, which includes Tide, saw the highest jump. Organic sales rose 14% in the quarter. The home care segment alone saw organic sales soar 30% due to a boost in demand for home cleaning products, like Mr. Clean.

Health care, which includes Oral-B,s saw a double-digit organic sales growth as more consumers bought its digestive and wellness products.

Its beauty segment saw organic sales growth of 7% with the launch of Safeguard hand soap and hand sanitizer as well as new products from Olay that lifted North American sales for skin and personal care. It’s already a known fact that skincare became the new “lipstick index” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organic sales for its grooming business rose 6% in the quarter. However, Gillette and Venus brands saw flat organic sales as men don’t appear to be shaving as much during the pandemic. But women’s razors and blades rose by single digits.

The company’s baby, health and family care segment reported organic sales growth of 4%, including Pampers diapers, paper towels and toilet paper.

Outlook

It didn’t take long for Procter & Gamble to leave its conservative fiscal 2021 outlook behind. As consumers spend more time in their households, watching TV and engaging with their social media profiles, P&G is putting more money into advertising to put its brands front and center. The overall image is that P&G’s strong results and growth were enabled by increase in sales volumes, but average prices also rose. P&G did a great job in catching the cleaning boom wave which is why the company expects only a modest slowdown from pandemic-influenced growth rates that result in spiking sales over the recent months.

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

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Submit an Article

Send us your details and the subject of your article and an IAM editor will be in touch with you shortly

Trending