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2 “Strong Buy” Penny Stocks That Could Deliver Massive Returns

There’s a strong feeling growing among investors – of relief – that the new year will feature lower volatility than 2020. That along would be enough to boost spirits, but
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There’s a strong feeling growing among investors – of relief – that the new year will feature lower volatility than 2020. That along would be enough to boost spirits, but better yet, there is also a perception that the markets are going to drive higher in the new year.

Marko Kolanovic, JPMorgan’s well-known quant expert, sees the initial stages of a positive feedback loop, with lower volatility and systematic investment strategies coming together to drive gains, attracting more investors – and, in Kolanovic’s view, pushing the S&P 500 to 4,600 by year’s end. That will be a 25% increase for the index.

A general market environment like that is bound to produce plenty of stock winners, and Wall Street’s analysts are busy pointing them out. Among other things, they are tapping penny stocks, equities priced at less than $5 per share. Their rock-bottom starting price makes pennies the logical place to look for huge returns on investment. Although their risk factor is high, even a small gain in absolute numbers will turn into a massive percentage gain in share price.

Using TipRanks’ database, we identified two penny stocks the pros believe could see explosive gains in the coming months. Not to mention each one gets a “Strong Buy” consensus rating from the analyst community.

9 Meters Biopharma (NMTR)

Some biopharma companies take a broad-based approach, while others focus on a niche. 9 Meters is one of the latter, taking aim at unmet needs for gastrointestinal patients. The company’s development pipeline features drug candidates under investigation as treatments for short bowel syndrome (SBS) and celiac disease (CeD), two conditions that are both dangerous and difficult to treat.

Drilling down to pipeline details, 9 Meters’ flagship product, Larazotide, is in Phase 3 development for the treatment of CeD. CeD affects about 1% of the population, yet there are no approved therapies. Top-line data from the study is expected in the second half of 2021.

Furthermore, this past December, the company announced that it had entered an agreement with EBRIS, the European Biomedical Research Institute of Salerno, to investigate Larazotide as a potential treatment for respiratory complications due to COVID-19.

The other major drug in the company’s pipeline is NM-002, for SBS. The company has recently announced positive Phase 1b/2a results, with a measurable impact on disease symptoms from a compound that was well-tolerated by patients.

NMTR’s strong pipeline and $0.89 share price have scored it substantial praise from the pros on Wall Street.

One of these NMTR bulls is Truist’s Srikripa Devarakonda. Citing Larazotide as a key component of his bullish thesis, the analyst noted, “We acknowledge investors are likely to see a pivotal trial in a tough-to-crack Celiac disease program as high risk despite encouraging Ph2b data. We model $705M/$353M in peak unadjusted/adjusted sales and see potential upside of 400% - 1650% from positive Ph3 readout.”

Devarakonda also sees “significant unmet need in SBS” and continues to believe that “NM-002 has a differentiated profile vs. SOC.” His key takeaways from the recent Phase 1b/2a results include: “1) we believe that the drug showed early activity in SBS patients; all 9 patients showed meaningful reduction in total stool output volume; average TSO reduction was 42% from baseline; 2) responses occur rapidly, with effects on TSO seen within 48 hours of dosing; 3) safety profile looks favorable, we would like to see greater durability.”

To this end, Devarakonda rates NMTR shares a Buy along with a $5 price target. This figure conveys his confidence in NMTR’s ability to soar 462% in the coming year. (To watch Devarakonda’s track record, click here)

Turning now to the rest of the Street, other analysts are on the same page. With 4 Buys and no Holds or Sells, the word on the Street is that NMTR is a Strong Buy. Given its $4.33 average price target, upside of 386% could be in store for investors. (See NMTR stock analysis on TipRanks)

Orchard Therapeutics (ORTX)

Orchard Therapeutics takes the broad-based approach to the biopharma industry. The company is engaged in the development of gene therapies for rare, frequently terminal, diseases, including neurometabolic disorders, primary immune deficiencies, and blood disorders. The gene therapy approach uses blood stem cells to deliver corrected genetic information directly into the patient’s body.

Orchard’s pipeline demonstrates the diversity of disorders amenable to gene therapy – the company has no less than 12 drug candidates in development. Among these candidates, Libmeldy (OTL-200) stands out.

Libmeldy is in commercialization stages as a treatment for MLD (metachromatic leukodystrophy), a rare, mutation-based genetic disorder of the nervous system. Libmeldy, which is designed to treat children suffering from the infantile for juvenile forms of MLD by replacing the defective ARSA gene, received its approval for medical use in the EU in December 2020.

Wedbush analyst David Nierengarten notes the European approval of Libmeldy, and its implication for Orchard’s progress. He writes, “We look forward to the company’s commercial execution in the EU and an eventual 2022 approval in the US. Last month ORTX received IND clearance from the FDA for the program paving the way for discussions with the US regulators to decide a suitable path forward toward a BLA filing.”

"Net-net, with possibly two gene therapies approved in the next 12-18 months and a pivotal study beginning in a third (MPS-I), we think ORTX shares are undervalued at these levels," the analyst concluded.

In line with his bullish comments, Nierengarten rates ORTX as Outperform (i.e. Buy), and his $15 price target indicates a potential for 241% growth in the year ahead. (To watch Nierengarten’s track record, click here)

Do other analysts agree with Nierengarten? They do. Only Buy ratings, 3, in fact, have been issued in the last three months. Therefore, ORTX gets a Strong Buy consensus rating. At $15, the average price target indicates shares could appreciate by 241% in the year ahead. (See ORTX stock analysis on TipRanks)

To find good ideas for penny stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.

The post 2 “Strong Buy” Penny Stocks That Could Deliver Massive Returns appeared first on TipRanks Financial Blog.

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The Sycamore Gap: four other significant tree destructions from history

The emotional response to the loss of the Sycamore Gap is part of a long history of emblematic trees, their destruction and renewal

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Chris Frost/Shutterstock

The felling of a single sycamore tree prompted an outpouring of grief last week. The tree – known as the “Sycamore Gap” – had been an iconic landmark and its location, Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, is a protected Unesco world heritage site.

The Sycamore Gap was an inspiration to photographers and artists and a focal point for common rites of passage – proposals, family reunions, remembering the dead. Planted in the late 19th century, the roots of the Sycamore Gap tree reached deep into individual and collective memory. The legends associated with such trees connect us with the past and remind us that we live in their shadow.

The emotional response to the loss of the Sycamore Gap is part of a long history of emblematic trees, their destruction and renewal. Here are four other examples of emotional tree fellings from history.

1. The Holy Thorn of Glastonbury

According to legend, St. Joseph of Arimathea brought Christianity to England in the first century BC. After reaching Glastonbury in Somerset, he climbed Wearyall Hill, rested and thrust his staff into the ground.

By morning, a miraculous thorn had apparently taken root. This “holy thorn” bloomed not once, but twice a year. The apparent miracle lead Glastonbury to be described as “the holyest erth of Englande”.

Being rooted in the “holyest erth” was no guarantee that the holy thorn would be immune from attack, however. In 1647, the thorn was cut down by a Civil War soldier who deemed it a monument to Roman Catholicism and superstition.

A tree stump surrounded by ribbons.
The remains of the Holy Thorn tree. Avalon Dreaming/Shutterstock

In 1951, a new thorn was planted in its place, but in December 2010 this too was reduced to a stump. In language that echoed the legend of St. Joseph of Arimathea, the perpetrators were described by the director of Glastonbury Abbey, as “mindless vandals who have hacked down this tree” and “struck at the heart of Christianity”.

On April 1 2012, a sapling grafted from a descendant of the pre-1951 thorn was consecrated and planted, but two weeks later it too was damaged beyond recovery.

In May 2019 the landowner removed what remained of the thorn. But despite its chequered history, traditions associated with the holy thorn endure. After the damage caused to the Holy Thorn in 1647, cuttings were taken from which a tree now growing in Glastonbury Abbey is believed to descend. A branch of this thorn in bud has been sent to the British monarch every Christmas since.

2. One Tree Hill

A similarly chequered history belongs to the 125-year-old Monterey Pine which sat on top One Tree Hill or Maungakiekie in Auckland, New Zealand.

Like the Sycamore Gap tree, the pine was an iconic landmark, dominating the skyline. But it was also a focus of controversy as a culturally and spiritually significant place for the Māori and Pākehā people.

One tree hill in New Zealand.
One Tree Hill, also known as Maungakiekie. 780Moments/Shutterstock

The pine had been planted on the peak to replace a native tōtara tree, chopped down by a European settler. Twice – in 1994 and 1999 – attempts were made to destroy the tree as a protest against perceived injustices perpetrated against Māori people, before it was finally removed on safety grounds in 2000.

In 2016, at a dawn ceremony, nine young tōtara and pōhutukawa trees were planted on the hilltop, grown from parent trees on the maunga (the ancestral mountains of the Māori people), establishing a line of succession and memory.

3. Newton’s apple trees

There is a proliferation of “Newton’s apple” trees supposedly descended from the tree under which physicist Isaac Newton devised his law of universal gravity.

The original tree in his Woolsthorpe estate blew down in a gale, but scions (as at Glastonbury) were taken and grafted to create clones.

As a result, “Newton’s apple trees” are now found across the world, their roots connecting to create a library of human history and discovery.

4. The Shawshank Redemption white oak

In 2016, strong winds uprooted a majestic white oak in Mansfield, Ohio in the US, made famous by the 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption. Film fans were distraught and souvenir-hunters rushed to the site, removing parts of the fallen tree.

The white oak scene from The Shawshank Redemption.

A local craftsman reached an agreement with the landowner to keep the memory of the tree alive by using its wood to make furniture and fashion mementoes into which quotations from the film were carved. The tree stump itself has vanished beneath the crops that now grow in the field, but its emotional and cultural memory survives – like the Newton Apple Tree – embedded into objects that have been sold around the globe.

Throughout our history, trees have been assigned a religious and magical meaning, a medicinal purpose, a place in film and theatre and a functional value in agriculture and construction. Their branches and roots connect the brief history of humanity and the deeper history of our planet. No wonder then, that we feel their loss acutely.


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Helen Parish does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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How we hired 2023 Nobel laureate Anne L’Huillier – and why we knew she was destined for greatness

L’Huillier was busy teaching when she her Nobel prize was awarded.

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L'Huillier and her husband at the Nobel prize celebration in Lund. Sune Svanberg, CC BY-SA

Most of the atomic physics division at Lund University were assembled in a spacious room with a big screen to await the announcement of the 2023 Nobel laureates in physics from the Royal Academy of Sciences on October 3. Of course, the Nobel secrecy is perfect, but there was still some expectation in the air.

When the screen with the laureates appeared, and with our colleague Anne L'Huillier´s face included, the roar almost lifted the roof – the big lasers in the basement must have been brought out of alignment!

L'Huillier, however, was nowhere to be seen – she had been giving a lecture to students.

New laser facility

About 30 years ago, the atomic physics group in Lund was considering a new research orientation. We ultimately selected the field of high-power laser-matter interaction. For this purpose, we managed to acquire a quite unique laser in 1992 (called a terawatt laser), firing 10 ultrashort pulses per second.

This was possible thanks to good academic contacts with leading laser groups in the US and Europe, as well as with industrial partners. The generous support by the Wallenberg Foundation (a key player in Swedish research financing) secured the realisation of arguably the most attractive system at the time for performing advanced research in a novel field of atomic physics.

At this point, L'Huillier was an up and coming researcher in France. Only years earlier, in 1987, had she discovered that many different overtones of light arise when you transmit infrared laser light through a noble gas – as a result of the gas and laser interacting.

With our new facility, we were able to attract L´Huillier to come to Lund with her own dedicated experimental set-up. This came quite naturally since we had, as project preparation, also visited the CEA Saclay Center where she was employed. I also invited her to be one of the key speakers at the inauguration of our new facility in Lund.

When on site for the experiments, it immediately became clear to us that L'Huillier was an extremely talented physicist, both regarding experiments and theory, with great promise for the future. We published our first joint paper in 1993.

L'Huillier felt good about Lund and, for many different reasons, decided to stay on. At first, she was employed on a lectureship and later on a dedicated professorship, which we got funded. This was a strike of luck for Lund – L'Huillier could easily have obtained prestigious positions elsewhere.

L'Huillier.
L'Huillier. Sune Svanberg, CC BY-SA

She was also very dedicated to learning Swedish. That says a lot. In a small country like Sweden, the natural language in an international endeavour like science is English, but L'Huillier became absolutely fluent in our “exotic” language.

At an early stage, I transferred the leadership of the high-power Laser laboratory to L´Huillier and Claes-Göran Wahlström. With the help of many talented collaborators, the field has developed tremendously in Lund, making it one of the leading hubs in this fascinating research field.

L´Huillier energetically pursued her work with high harmonics and the associated formation of attosecond laser pulses. These were the areas for which she ultimately won the Nobel prize – work that has helped scientists gain a window into the high-speed world of electrons.

In particular, she could show that processes earlier considered to occur instantaneously in fact come about with an extremely short delay.

Modest and rigorous

L´Huillier is absolutely brilliant. Despite that, she has always had quite a low-key personality. She cares a lot for her collaborators and students. It is perhaps her modesty and lack of interest in fame and glamour that makes her such a great physicist. She doesn’t cut corners and has a deep, genuine interest in science.

She has been, and is, a true role model for young scientists – female and male alike – showing how excellent research can be combined with enthusiastic teaching.

L´Huillier eventually talked to the Royal Academy in Stockholm during a scheduled break in her class. She later joined our celebration party, beaming and extremely happy. Clearly this was the ultimate achievement, the diamond among the many other distinctions she had already received.

The celebrations went on all afternoon, together with university leadership and students alike. L´Huillier was in an endless row of interviews. Receiving the highest scientific award will certainly change her life, but I am sure that she will always remain the same generous and modest person that we all came to know her as.

Our warmest congratulations to our “own” Nobel laureate!

Sune Svanberg is an emeritus professor at Lund University, who received the initial funding for the build up of the Lund High Power Laser Facility.

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Guerilla gardening: how you can make your local area greener without getting into trouble

Many people are gardening on land that is not theirs – here are some things to consider to avoid getting into trouble.

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What are your rights if you want to become a guerrilla gardener? Goami/Shutterstock

When Richard Reynolds first started gardening around London’s streets, he was so worried he might be arrested that he worked under the cover of darkness. Reynolds was one of the UK’s first modern guerrilla gardeners, a movement that encourages people to nurture and revive land they do not have the legal rights to cultivate.

Gardening, in general, offers physical and mental health benefits. But as many as one in eight British households have no access to a garden or outdoor space of their own.

This issue is particularly pronounced among city dwellers, ethnic minorities and young people. A 2021 survey conducted in England revealed that those aged 16-24 were more than twice as likely to lack access to a garden or allotment compared to those aged over 65.


Quarter life, a series by The Conversation

This article is part of Quarter Life, a series about issues affecting those of us in our twenties and thirties. From the challenges of beginning a career and taking care of our mental health, to the excitement of starting a family, adopting a pet or just making friends as an adult. The articles in this series explore the questions and bring answers as we navigate this turbulent period of life.

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Guerrilla gardening is a particularly good option for these groups of people. It can involve planting herbs or vegetables for a whole community to enjoy, spreading seeds or plants, tidying weeds, or even something as simple as picking up litter.

But if you’re considering becoming a guerilla gardener, it’s important to understand your rights. Could you be arrested for it? And should you wait until after dark?

Can you be prosecuted?

It’s important to remember that much of the unused or abandoned land that is potentially suitable for guerilla gardening in towns and cities throughout the UK is owned by local councils. Common examples of such locations include broken pavements with missing slabs, wasteland and the central areas of roundabouts.

Although much of this land is already open for the public to walk over, actively gardening on it would become an act of trespass.

The law of trespass sounds scary. However, gardening on this land would be a breach of civil law rather than a crime. This means that most guerrilla gardeners are unlikely to receive a fine or a criminal record.

Landowners do have the legal right to use “reasonable force” to remove trespassers from their land. But, fortunately, it seems most councils have ignored guerrilla gardeners, having neither the time, money or inclination to bring legal action against them.

Colchester Council, for example, were unable to track down the identity of the “human shrub”, a mysterious eco-activist who restored the flowers in the city’s abandoned plant containers in 2009. The shrub returned again in 2015 and sent a gift of seeds to a local councillor.

In other areas of the UK, the work of guerilla gardeners has been cautiously welcomed by local councils. In Salford, a city in Greater Manchester, there is a formal requirement to submit an application and obtain permission to grow on vacant spots in the city. But the local authority tends not to interfere with illegal grow sites.

There seems to be an unwritten acceptance that people can garden wherever they want, given the abundance of available space and the lack of active maintenance. This also offers the additional advantage of saving both time and money for the local council.

You should still be careful about where you trespass though. In some areas, guerrilla gardening can lead to unwelcome attention. During the May Day riots of 2000, for example, guerrilla gardeners were accused of planting cannabis seeds in central London’s Parliament Square.

Gardening at night may draw the wrong attention too, particularly if you are carrying gardening tools that might be misunderstood by the police as threatening weapons.

How can you start?

There are many different types of guerrilla gardening that you could get involved in, from planting native plant species that benefit pollinators and other wildlife to tidying derelict land to create safer places for the local community.

One of the simplest forms of guerilla gardening is planting seeds. Some environmental projects circulate “seed bombs” and others use biodegradable “seed balloons” that are filled with helium and deflate after a day, distributing seeds by air.

Whatever you try, as a guerrilla gardener you shouldn’t harm the environment or spoil other people’s enjoyment of the space around you. Remember that weeds and wilderness have an environmental value too. And think carefully about the species you are going to plant so that you can protect local plants and wildlife.

A man dropping a seed bomb on the ground in front of a grey building.
Some projects circulate seed bombs. Miriam Doerr Martin Frommherz/Shutterstock

The most attractive species to humans might not provide the best home or food for wildlife. Some can even outcompete native plants and drive them towards extinction. Planting certain harmful, invasive or poisonous species like ragwort, knotweed or Himalayan balsam is even prohibited by law.

That said, some guerrilla gardeners have used social media to organise “balsam bashing” events, where people come together to pull up this harmful invasive plant.

Guerrilla gardening takes many forms and can bring great benefits for people and the environment. You’re unlikely to be arrested for planting and growing trees and other greenery in public spaces. But remember that these spaces should be shared with everyone, including your local wildlife.

Ben Mayfield does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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