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BenzingaEditorial

COVID-19 Might be Giving Unique Opportunities

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Stock Market Tumble

If we were to define “blue chips”, we should just name the well-established and financially-sound companies in the stock market that are the leaders, the advocates and representatives of an entire industry. Their attributes are that they are safe, stable, profitable, and long-lasting companies and this is why they are considered as relatively safe, low volatility investments. Due to historically posting steady earnings results year after year, blue chip companies are generally considered to be safer investments because of their ability to generate profits even during an economic downturn.

But this was before COVID-19 that caused some of the best businesses on the market are trading at massive discounts. And there are many blue-chip stocks which are in for an impressive Phoenix-like return once we leave these scary times behind us.

Disney

Disney (NYSE:DIS) shares are cheap for good reason as the things that made its business model so successful are what made it impossible to protect the company from the pandemics. The stock is trading 32% below its 52-week highs and the next several quarters will be incredibly rocky due to plunging revenues, unpredictable earnings, and so much uncertainty. But Disney will survive and it still has Bob Iger to count on as its executive chairman. The legendary House of Mouse ensured 7 billion of senior debt to smooth over daily cash flow damages as it is losing 30 million per day. And there still could be even lower buy-in price points as its theme parks and cruises are on lockdown and production over the world is halted. But investors know that Disney will reward them and the company should be able to hit the ground running as soon as it’s allowed to lace up those running shoes again. But until then, a 30% discount on this top-shelf stock is surely a rare scenario that can be taken advantage of!

Coca Cola

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) also added some debt cash to its balance sheet last month. Also, like Disney, it won’t be needing that $5 billion cash reserve anytime soon. But unlike Disney, Coca-Cola continues to generate substantial revenues even during these dark times as it is a dear companion in self-quarantine. If only Disney Plus made more of Disney’s overall business… It makes sense, as even though they are not existential goods, these goods are treats that help us feel better. Coca Cola has also differentiated itself from Disney in its unwavering commitment to strong dividend payments as it has boosted its annual payouts without fail in each of the last 57 years. And those include market crashes, recessions and crises of many sorts. But even if we consider the worst scenario since this is a unique situation the world has never found itself in, Coke’s board of directors could free up another $6.9 billions of annual cash flows if they break the trend and pause their dividend policy. But that’s highly unlikely to happen, and this 20% discount is a unique opportunity to entitle yourself to Coke’s 3.4% effective dividend yield. Just like Disney, Coca-Cola is sure to land on its feet when the economy and living in general restart.

General Motors 

Auto factories in the US won’t be opening any time soon. Like its peers, General Motors (NYSE:GM) has shut down its plants in Mid-March. And no one knows when will those factories reopen as the situation is being evaluated week to week. But along with negotiating with UAW, it is also in discussion with Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU) working on a plan to restart production while protecting workers. It may be months before things go back to ‘normal’ but then again, GM already survived the strike last year, and one that was the longest in 50 years. GM is been relatively silent, yet, it has assured its investors that it’s in better financial shape its rivals, at least for now. The company which once was the world’s largest motor-vehicle manufacturer has disclosed that it has drawn down its credit lines like Ford, but it didn’t suspend its dividend like Ford did. Is it “fake it until you make it” strategy or self-confidence with a background, only time will show!

COVID-19 has redefined blue chips?

A blue-chip company is considered to be a leading company in its sector as its final products or service is dominant in the market. And such a company is seen as relatively impervious to economic downturns, but there is no company that was unaffected by this unprecedented health crisis that has put half of the world’s population in lockdown. Even Big Tech such as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) suffered immense supply chain disruptions when China was on lockdown, not to mention the effect on revenue due to store closures. So, COVID-19 has annulled the “God-like” part of the blue-chip definition. The new heroes will be the companies which will be able to survive this pause which has been forced upon the economy and their status will ultimately depend on how quickly they can resume their operations once things restart. And if these companies have anything, it is reputation and the proof of withstanding the test of time and those speak for themselves.

COVID 19 didn’t only hit blue chips stocks here a few Small and Micro Caps to watch

We all know too well that there can be no light without darkness. Oil companies are collapsing but despite the dark days we are currently experiences as half of the world is on lockdown, the future of solar is bright – just as bright as you the Sun shining outside your window!  Many are struggling, even the giant First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) as back in February, it reported a terrible fourth quarter with a surprise loss and weak revenue as its own high expectations were too much and the company was overburdened with system development. But this is still a business in transition and a company making strategic changes in its core business. And many companies will have to face this scenario.

Renewables sector will expand

U.S.’ National Renewable Energy laboratory  has achieved a record in solar efficiency, more precisely the cell reached as high as 39.2 percent efficiency under unconcentrated solar conditions and as much as 47.1 percent using concentrated light. On the other side, SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ:SPWR), designer and manufacturer of silicon photovoltaic cells recently announced an expansion into New England, where it is slated to deliver approximately 11 MW of direct current solar power.

Meanwhile, JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE:JKS) announced total solar module shipments for FY 2019 of 14.3 GW in March, within its guidance and up 25.6% year-over-year (YOY).2

Inventions ahead

Moreover, there are innovative companies who are combining this sophisticated technology to change even other industries and our lives for the better. One example is Franchise Holdings International’s (OTC:FNHI) Worksport which made solar technology accessible and combined it with the auto industry with its TerraVis patent. This pioneering company is soon to launch the world’s first solar powered tonneau covers which will breathe in new life to any pickup truck! With solar costs continuously falling and therefore no longer being unaffordable, it’s no longer unlikely to imagine a future where almost everything will be powered by the Sun.

The renewables sector will keep growing only at a slower than expected pace. Solar panels as well as wind turbines are now producing electricity more cheaply compared to coal and natural gas. And this is an appeal both for electric utilities and investors so this investment can only become even more attractive with further inventions. Of course, the damage that the COVID-19 outbreak has made to the economy has taking a toll on this industry as well. But over the long run, rest assured that this sector should be well positioned.

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

Moderna Misses Expectations But Things Are More Than Fine

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Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) saw its stock jump on Thursday despite growing losses, after the Covid-19 vaccine-maker reported more than double the revenue Wall Street predicted. Moderna missed EPS expectations with revenue far surpassing analyst forecasts as the company first began to recognize revenue from sales of its COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020. The loss was simply a result of heavy investment to increase production of its COVID-19 vaccine.

The company has spent the past two months producing and shipping its much-awaited coronavirus vaccine but its fourth-quarter is merely the surface of its vaccine success. In 2021, Moderna plans to manufacture 600-700 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine but it should be able to expand its capacity to 1.4 billion doses in 2022 due to heavy capital investments, all of which should result in massive profits.

Q4 and FY 2020

For the fourth quarter ended December 31s, quarterly loss of $0.69 per share was below Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.25 but Moderna brought in $570.75 billion in sales. That crushed the average estimate of analysts surveyed by FactSet for $279.4 million andsurpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 74.76%. Just one year ago, revenues amounted to $14.06 million but until its mRNA-1273 coronavirus vaccine, the company had never brought an approved medicine to the market.

Losses grew to 69 cents per share after a 37-cent per-share loss in the year-ago period, whereas analysts expected a 34-cent loss. Although a big portion of revenue still came from the grant received from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to advance its Covid vaccine, for the first time,Moderna had product sales, and they amounted to $199.87 million as the company began recognizing Covid vaccine sales in December. Although losses widened in 2020, Moderna’s sales skyrocket to $803.4 million.

Possible threat

One of the biggest risks ahead for all vaccine makers is the prevalence of new coronavirus variants. To tackle this, Moderna is investigating two upgrades. The first is actually a third dose of vaccine that would increase neutralizing antibody levels to better fend off new strains. The second is a strain-specific upgraded version which has been moved into preclinical and phase 1 trials as of end of January. Moderna is designing it to target the. If successful, the company should be able to quickly adapt it to protect against future strainsalthough it is designed to target the South African variation.

Teenagers

In early December, Moderna began a phase 2/3 trial of its covid vaccine in young adults who are 12 to 17years old. The data will be reported in spring and should result in Emergency Use Authorization just in time for the back-to-school period in September. But as of last month, Moderna didn’t have enough adolescent volunteers.

Teens aren’t at the greatest risk from serious COVID-19 complications but they play a role in the transmission of the virus, so their vaccination is another  important element in containing the pandemic.

2021

The company expects $18.4 billion in full-year 2021 sales of its Covid vaccine. The figure is based on already inked advance purchase agreements but additional discussions are ongoing for both 2021 and 2022. That outlook shattered forecasts as analysts expected $11 billion. Furthermore, the company said it plans to make 700 million doses of its vaccine this year, while still working to bring that capacity up to 1 billion. In 2022, Moderna expects be able to produce 1.4 billion doses.

Chief Executive Stephane Bancel called 2020 a historic year for the company as it trailed Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) by a week in the U.S by gaining emergency use authorization. The vaccine is Moderna’s first commercial product with 32 million doses having been administered in the U.S. to millions of people around the world.

In 2020, Moderna went from knowing mRNA vaccines can be highly efficient it went to cash-flow generating commercial company that is helping save the world form the claws of an invisible enemy. The latest reported quarter ended a milestone year for the biotech company. 2020 was a year in which the world went dark but the pandemic helped Moderna shine as it provided us with a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. Since the beginning of 2021, its shares gained 38.6%, greatly exceeding S&P 500’s gain of 4.5%.

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

Li Did Good But Not Good Enough

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Li Auto Inc (NASDAQ: LI) earnings were good but guidance wasn’t good enough as Chinese electric-vehicle maker reported solid fourth-quarter numbers Thursday. Despite producing a surprise profit, stock reversed and Li wasn’t the only one. Nio Limited (NYSE) who is due to report Monday fell 9.7% and Xpeng Inc (NYSE: XPEV) lost 8.55% Thursday. Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) gave up 8.1%. Earlier this week, Texas-based Hyliion (Holdings Corporation (NYSE: HYLN), which makes EV powertrains for commercial fleets, reported a loss of 13 cents a share in the fourth quarter.

Figures

The results were a little confusing, but good as Li reported $636 million in sales as revenue jumped 39%, exceeding $604 million that analysts projected in sales. The company reported a loss from operations but a positive net income. Still, the loss from operations was about $12 million which is smaller than expected. Li Auto earnings came in at 2 cents a share whereas analysts expected a loss of 4 cents on a revenue of $565.5 million. The company also generated positive free cash flow. Investors like it when young companies demonstrate the ability to be self-funding by generating the cash they need to grow from their own operations.

Throughout the quarter, Li delivered 14,464 of its Li One SUV, its only vehicle in production which is technically a hybrid because it has a small gas engine to extend its range. This is 67% more than third quarter’s 8,660 with the total for 2020 being approximately 32,624 deliveries Its rival Nio (NYSE: NIO) sold 17,353 units in Q4 and 43,728 for the year, while Xpeng (NYSE: XPEV) sold 12,964 in Q4 and 27,041 for the year. What enabled Li to deliver a bottom-line profit from an operating loss is the required accounting of securities.

Outlook

Management expects first quarter revenue to come in the range of $450.6 million to $493.5 million. This range would represents a growth between 246% and 279% compared to previous fiscal year’s quarter. Deliveries are expected to be in the range between 10,500 and 11,500 vehicles, up 263%-297% compared to the same quarter last year but less than the fourth quarter which will make reaching analyst projections for 2021 sales projections more challenging. The company reported that January deliveries soared 356% YoY to 5,379 but that is below December 2020’s 6,126.

As the automotive industry is undergoing a once-in-a-century shift to smart EVs, the fourth quarter ended a big year for Li that grew significantly due to strong demand for its distinctive product offering and superior user experience. Government’s support for EVs also doesn’t hurt as to encourage adoption, not only are license plates guaranteed but they are also free.

The earnings provided a sigh of relief for investors as Li stock has had a rocky ride lately. As of Wednesday’s close, shares were down about 11% month to date.

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

Baidu Is Determined To Show It Has More to Offer

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For two decades, the 21-year-old company has been viewed as an online marketing tool that sells ads through its web search results. But now, the internet company is ready to show it has much more to offer. Last week, it reported fourth quarter earnings for 2020 that beat market expectations and revealed its ambitious plans to enter the EV land. Many years of investing in AI has finally started to pay off as Baidu is finally monetizing the technology used with smart devices. Company’s investments in non-core businesses iarealso helping it defend its core search platform from rivals Alibaba (NYSE: BABA), Tencent Holdings (OTC: TCEHY) and privately-ownedByteDance, whose products are just as popular.

The Chinese tech giant has recovered from the worst impact that the pandemic had on its business as advertising rebounded. Moreover, non-marketing revenue which excludes advertising and includes its cloud and autonomous driving business, grew 52% YoY. Baidu is also tapping into capital markets, including a potential second listing in Hong Kong. Baidu beefs up its autonomous and smart transport technology to tainto the EV market as it revealed back in January it would set up a smart electric vehicle (EV) company with Geely.

As the domestic economy recovers, the company want to tap into into the fast-growing electric-vehicle market to diversify revenue sources.

Figures

Full year revenue for 2020 amounted to $16.4 billion which is flat compared to 2019. Adjusted earnings of $3.08 per share versus analyst estimates of $2.79 per share came after revenues of $4.6 billion versus analyst estimates of $4.7 billion, according to FactSet.

The company provided guidance for the undergoing quarter that was ahead of analyst estimates. Revenue is expected to be in the $4.0 billion and $4.4 billion, representing a growth rate of 15% to 26% YoY, but it does not include potential contribution from its acquisition of live streaming app YY Live. The acquisition was announced last November and is expected to close in the first half of the year. The guidance is also based on the assumption that its core revenue will grow between 26% and 39% on a YoY basis.

EVs

Baidu places a lot of emphasis on its Apollo self-driving technology. Last month, the company formed a strategic partnership with the Chinese car company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to create a standalone electric car company. Baidu is the majority shareholder. Together, they aim to launch a smart EV model inthree years. Robin Li, Baidu’s CEO Li also said a brand name has been chosen but did not release it.

CNBC has confirmed Xia Yiping, co-founder of bike-sharing start-up Mobike, will be the CEO of the new entity. Xia previously worked at Fiat Chrysler (NYSE: FCAU) and Ford before co-founding a company that was part of China’s boom and eventual bust in shared bike start-ups.

Even Xiaomi is following Baidu’s EV footsteps as the Chinese search engine leader has been basking in newfound investor love as the next EV-maker wannabe. Unlike other EV makers, Baidu’s strategy is akin to Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android for smartphones.

Outlook

Baidu ended an unprecedented year on a solid note and showed it is recovering from the consequences of the global health crisis as its business benefited from an improving macroeconomic environment and the digitalization of businesses and lifestyles. Its commitment on innovation through technology is paying off for the Chinese tech giant. Baidu is well positioned as a leading AI company with a strong foundation to seize the enormous market opportunities in cloud services, autonomous driving, smart transportation, along with all kinds of new opportunities that AI will inevitably bring to the table. The online marketing company chose to be in the right place, at the right time.

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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