Connect with us

Spread & Containment

3 “Perfect 10” Stocks to Hold Through 2020

3 "Perfect 10" Stocks to Hold Through 2020



After a series of ups and downs through most of June and July, making the stock index charts look like a saw, the S&P 500 is rising again. The index is holding above 3,200, giving investors reason to view that level as a new support. Where the upper resistance may lie, is anyone’s guess. At the start of the current rally, analysts placed it at 2,750 to 2,850 – but the index broke above that back in May.

Whether these movements in S&P are lasting or ephemeral, there will always be means to find profit in the markets. Investing is a long-term game, so finding stocks that are going to continue delivering returns six months or a year from now is a key to success. Every investor has his own investing strategy. While some investors like to read stock market news & analysis, others prefer to do their own stock analysis and research. One way or another, there is always room to improve. TipRanks has put together the Smart Score, to gather together data from 8 commonly used predictive factors, and distill them into a single score for every stock.

Opening up the database, we’ve picked out three stocks that have the coveted ‘Perfect 10’ Smart Score – a strong indicator of overperformance in the near future. Here are the details.

Group 1 Automotive (GPI)

First on our list today is Group 1, a major international auto retailer with a strong online presence. The company deals in new and used cars, luxury and bargain models, and also provides financing, maintenance, and repair services. Group 1 boasts a market cap of $1.3 billion, and operations across the US and in Europe and Latin America.

The first quarter, encompassing the coronavirus crisis, the economic crisis, and the various lockdown policies around the world, was understandably hard on Group 1. Sales were down, ancillary services were down, and potential customers were stuck at home while restrictions were placed on travel. It was hardly a profitable environment for an auto dealer. The company saw earnings drop by nearly half, from $3.01 to $1.66.

However, GPI has a Smart Score of 10, so clearly something is going right. JPMorgan analyst Rajat Gupta covers this stock, and in his recent note he maintained his Buy rating, laying out the cast for improved sales performance in the near future.

“While it is no surprise that sales are recovering across the board… the surprise to us was the faster than expected recovery in margins… GPI noted significantly improving market conditions and operating trends in May and June MTD vs March/April 2020 in the US. Since early May, revenue for new vehicle sales and service increased at a faster rate than associated costs driving a better than expected improvement in US profitability…”

To this end, Gupta rates GPI an Overweight (i.e. Buy) along with a $94 price target. This figure shows the extent of his confidence; it implies a 27% upside for the coming year. (To watch Gupta’s track record, click here)

Overall, the analyst corps is unanimous on GPI. The stock has 5 Buy ratings, making the consensus view a Strong Buy. Shares are selling for $74.14, and the average price target of $92.40 suggests it has room for nearly 25% growth. (See GPI stock analysis on TipRanks)


MTBC offers tech solutions for medical billing, transcription, and practice management to hospitals and physician practices. Despite having plenty of potential business upside during a major health crisis, MTBC has still felt the effects of the lockdowns and recessionary pressures – after all, much routine medical treatment was allowed to fall by the wayside during March and April.

The company’s operating loss gaped wider in the first quarter, with the EPS loss hitting 42 cents. That was only partly bad news, however, as that beat the forecast by 39%. Revenue was up 45% year-over-year, to $21.9 million.

Strong revenues will always boost a stock, as will beating the earnings estimates – but holding an in-demand niche lays a sound foundation. MTBC shares are up 52% since the February market crash, drastically outperforming all the major indexes. Clearly, investors see this company as a growth prospect.

Bill Sutherland, writing for Benchmark, is impressed by MTBC’s ability to compete in a crowded marketplace. He points out, “MTBC’s chief competitive advantage is its offshore operations, mainly based in Pakistan where professional labor costs are about 10% U.S. levels.” Turning to the future, Sutherland adds, “We see potential upside to our initial price target based on outperformance of our initial 2021 model, particularly if MTBC begins to see a meaningful acceleration in organic growth.”

Sutherland covers MTBC with a Buy rating and a $15 price target, implying an upside of 37% for the next 12 months. (To watch Sutherland’s track record, click here)

MTBC is another stock with a unanimous Strong Buy consensus. No fewer than 5 analysts have given the stock a thumbs-up recently. The average price target, at $13.46, suggests it has a one-year upside of 23% from the current share price of $10.95. (See MTBC stock analysis on TipRanks)

Franchise Group (FRG)

Our last "perfect 10" stock is a holding company, doing business through a group of subsidiaries. Franchise Group’s main subsidiary, and the main source of revenue, is Liberty Tax, the US’ third largest franchised tax preparation company.  Other subsidiaries include Buddy’s Home Furnishings, Sears Outlet, and The Vitamin Shoppe.

In June, FRG demonstrated its confidence, despite the pandemic. The company declared a regular quarterly dividend of 25 center per share. At $1 annualized, this gives a yield of 4.7%, more than double the average yield found among S&P companies – and clear attraction for the stock.

Covering the stock for B Riley FBR, analyst Scott Buck wrote: "Near term, we expect the underlying business to benefit from secular changes in consumer behavior following the rise of COVID-19 and from new operating efficiencies moving onto the shared services platform. In addition, we believe that the challenging macro environment for much of retail will likely provide opportunities for FRG to obtain new assets to enhance current concepts or add new businesses at attractive prices.”

To this end, Buck rates FRG a Buy along with a $30 price target, which implies an impressive 40% upside potential for the stock. (To watch Buck’s track record, click here)

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

The post 3 "Perfect 10" Stocks to Hold Through 2020 appeared first on TipRanks Financial Blog.

Read More

Continue Reading

Spread & Containment

Backlash forces Goldman Sachs CEO to give up side gig he absolutely loves

It was the day the music died at Goldman Sachs as the CEO reportedly packs in his side hustle.



Hey, Mr D.J.--get back to work!

Everyone knows that party can't get started until the DJ shows up. 

Weddings, private parties, holiday bashes, you need somebody to spin records, get people dancing and to make sure that nobody's car is blocking the driveway.

Related: Elon Musk takes a shot at Tesla's most prominent U.S. electric vehicle rival

Just think of some the legendary DJs, such as Grandmaster Flash, Frankie Knuckles, David Guetta, and, of course, DJ D-Sol.

Goldman CEO David Solomon drops the beat.

Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Casamigos

Wait, what? Who was that last guy?

Proceeds go to charities 

DJ D-Sol is the nom de disc of David Solomon, whose day job is chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs  (GS) - Get Free Report.

Solomon, 61, has performed a variety of high-profile gigs in recent years, including a performance last summer at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago.

However, the top executive has changed his tune and pulled the plug on his musical side hustle, according to the Financial Times.

His hobby reportedly hit a sour note in some circles within the company, who felt that his DJ schtick created a distraction from his work leading the Wall Street firm, the publication reported, citing people with knowledge of the decision. 

Some folks were uneasy about his decision in 2019 to perform at Tomorrowland, a Belgian music festival known for heavy drug taking.

Solomon, who was  named chief executive in 2018, also apologized to Goldman’s board in 2020 after he DJed at a 2020 event in the Hamptons resort area of New York that was criticized for blowing off social distancing rules during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

His interest in DJing started more than a decade ago when he was working on a financing deal for a Las Vegas casino. He has said that proceeds from his performance have gone towards charities combating addiction.

'Music not a distraction'

Few colleagues remarked on his hobby before he became CEO, but his decision to keep it up after taking over the top spot was controversial for some employees who felt it brought unwelcome attention. 

Amid all this, Solomon has been under fire from some investors over the bank's lackluster profits.

In the second quarter, Goldman posted its lowest quarterly profit in three years, as a costly retreat from consumer banking was compounded by the industry-wide slowdown in deals and trading

The investment bank posted better-than-expected third quarter earnings on Oct. 17, but booked more than $800 million in write downs linked to its real estate and home improvement lending divisions.

Goldman Sachs maintains that any controversy about Solomon's deejaying is just so much chin music.

"This is not news," spokesman Tony Fratto told the Financial Times. "David hasn’t publicly DJed an event in well over a year, which we have confirmed multiple times in the past."

"Music was not a distraction from David’s work," Fratto added. "The media attention became a distraction."

  • Action Alerts PLUS offers expert portfolio guidance to help you make informed investing decisions. Sign up now.

Read More

Continue Reading

Spread & Containment

The last holdout in housing data has turned; ‘recession watch’ for next 12 months remains

  – by New Deal democratLast month I wrote that:“the biggest news was what happened with units under construction. The total declined slightly, as…




 - by New Deal democrat

Last month I wrote that:

the biggest news was what happened with units under construction. The total declined slightly, as did single family units. But most significantly, for the first time since February 2021, multi-family units under construction also declined.

Why is this so important? Because, as this long term historical graph shows, total housing units under construction, although the most lagging of housing construction statistics, have also had to turn down before recessions begin. … multi-family units under construction, which typically turn after single family units, have also usually (except for 2008 and the pandemic) turned down before recessions have begun.

“It will take another couple of months’ worth of data to be more confident, but it certainly appears that the turn I have been waiting for in the housing market has finally happened. This is an important reason why, while I have removed the ‘recession warning’ from the end of last year, the ‘recession watch’ remains, pending a return down of several short leading indicators like vehicle sales and the stock market.”

So, let’s go directly to what happened with units under construction this month. 

Units under construction declined across the board. Total units declined 12,000 to 1.676 million, the lowest since April 2022. Single family units declined 5,000 to 674,000, the lowest since May 2021, and multi family units declined 7,000 to 986,000 for the 2nd decline in a row from July’s peak of 1.001 million:

With the addition of this month’s data, “it certainly appears that the turn I have been waiting for … has happened.”

Let’s update th more leading permits and starts.

Permits (gold) declined 68,000 to 1.473 million annualized. This number is about average for the last 12 months. The more leading and less noisy single family permits (red), however, rose 17,000 to 965,000, the highest since May 2022. Meanwhile the much noisier housing starts metric (blue) rose 81,000 to 1.358 million, still close to its low readings for the past 12 months:

Multi-family permits rose 12,000, and multi-family starts declined 75,000, both in ranges last seen at the beginning of 2021:

Finally, here is my updated graph of the YoY change in mortgage rates (blue, inverted, *10 for scale) vs. the YoY% change in housing permits (red):

As I have repeated for the last 10 or more years, interest rates lead housing permits. One year ago mortgage rates peaked at just over 7%. Just in the past few days, they have come within 0.1% of 8%. If this persists, we can expect permits to fall from about 1.4 million annualized to about 1.250 million in the next several months, which would be the lowest sinc 2019 except for the immediate pandemic lockdown months.

To reiterate: with increasing confidence I can say that the entire housing market has finally turned. If mortgage remains remain at their current levels, the likelihood of a recession at some point in the next 12 months has increased substantially. 

Read More

Continue Reading

Spread & Containment

COVID-19 vaccine mandates have come and mostly gone in the US – an ethicist explains why their messy rollout matters for trust in public health

Vaccine policies fall on a spectrum, from mandates to recommendations. Deciding what to use and when is not so much a science but a balancing act between…




Proof of COVID-19 vaccination was once required to access many venues during the pandemic. skaman306/Moment via Getty Images

Ending pandemics is a social decision, not scientific. Governments and organizations rely on social, cultural and political considerations to decide when to officially declare the end of a pandemic. Ideally, leaders try to minimize the social, economic and public health burden of removing emergency restrictions while maximizing potential benefits.

Vaccine policy is a particularly complicated part of pandemic decision-making, involving a variety of other complex and often contradicting interests and considerations. Although COVID-19 vaccines have saved millions of lives in the U.S., vaccine policymaking throughout the pandemic was often reactive and politicized.

A late November 2022 Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that one-third of U.S. parents believed they should be able to decide not to vaccinate their children at all. The World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund reported that between 2019 and 2021, global childhood vaccination experienced its largest drop in the past 30 years.

The Biden administration formally removed federal COVID-19 vaccination requirements for federal employees and international travelers in May 2023. Soon after, the U.S. government officially ended the COVID-19 public health emergency. But COVID-19’s burden on health systems continues globally.

I am a public health ethicist who has spent most of my academic career thinking about the ethics of vaccine policies. For as long as they’ve been around, vaccines have been a classic case study in public health and bioethics. Vaccines highlight the tensions between personal autonomy and public good, and they show how the decision of an individual can have populationwide consequences.

COVID-19 is here to stay. Reflecting on the ethical considerations surrounding the rise – and unfolding fall – of COVID-19 vaccine mandates can help society better prepare for future disease outbreaks and pandemics.

Ethics of vaccine mandates

Vaccine mandates are the most restrictive form of vaccine policy in terms of personal autonomy. Vaccine policies can be conceptualized as a spectrum, ranging from least restrictive, such as passive recommendations like informational advertisements, to most restrictive, such as a vaccine mandate that fines those who refuse to comply.

Each sort of vaccine policy also has different forms. Some recommendations offer incentives, perhaps in the form of a monetary benefit, while others are only a verbal recommendation. Some vaccine mandates are mandatory in name only, with no practical consequences, while others may trigger termination of employment upon noncompliance.

COVID-19 vaccine mandates took many forms throughout the pandemic, including but not limited to employer mandates, school mandates and vaccination certificates – often referred to as vaccine passports or immunity passports – required for travel and participation in public life.

Sign on window reading 'New York City requires you to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter this business,' with a person sitting at a desk inside the room
COVID-19 vaccine requirements were intended to protect the health and safety of the public. Seth Wenig/AP Photo

Because of ethical considerations, vaccine mandates are typically not the first option policymakers use to maximize vaccine uptake. Vaccine mandates are paternalistic by nature because they limit freedom of choice and bodily autonomy. Additionally, because some people may see vaccine mandates as invasive, they could potentially create challenges in maintaining and garnering trust in public health. This is why mandates are usually the last resort.

However, vaccine mandates can be justified from a public health perspective on multiple grounds. They’re a powerful and effective public health intervention.

Mandates can provide lasting protection against infectious diseases in various communities, including schools and health care settings. They can provide a public good by ensuring widespread vaccination to reduce the chance of outbreaks and disease transmission overall. Subsequently, an increase in community vaccine uptake due to mandates can protect immunocompromised and vulnerable people who are at higher risk of infection.

COVID-19 vaccine mandates

Early in the pandemic, arguments in favor of mandating COVID-19 vaccines for adults rested primarily on evidence that COVID-19 vaccination prevented disease transmission. In 2020 and 2021, COVID-19 vaccines seemed to have a strong effect on reducing transmission, therefore justifying vaccine mandates.

COVID-19 also posed a disproportionate threat to vulnerable people, including the immunocompromised, older adults, people with chronic conditions and poorer communities. As a result, these groups would have significantly benefited from a reduction in COVID-19 outbreaks and hospitalization.

Many researchers found personal liberty and religious objections insufficient to prevent mandating COVID-19 vaccines. Additionally, decision-makers in favor of mandates appealed to the COVID-19 vaccine’s ability to reduce disease severity and therefore hospitalization rates, alleviating the pressure on overwhelmed health care facilities.

However, the emergence of even more transmissible variants of the virus dramatically changed the decision-making landscape surrounding COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

The public health intention (and ethicality) of original COVID-19 vaccine mandates became less relevant as the scientific community understood that achieving herd immunity against COVID-19 was probably impossible because of uneven vaccine uptake, and breakthrough infections among the vaccinated became more common. Many countries like England and various states in the U.S. started to roll back COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

With the rollback and removal of vaccine mandates, decision-makers are still left with important policy questions: Should vaccine mandates be dismissed, or is there still sufficient ethical and scientific justification to keep them in place?

Vaccines are lifesaving medicines that can help everyone eligible to receive them. But vaccine mandates are context-dependent tools that require considering the time, place and population they are deployed in.

Though COVID-19 vaccine mandates are less of a publicly pressing issue today, many other vaccine mandates, particularly in schools, are currently being challenged. I believe this is a reflection of decreased trust in public health authorities, institutions and researchers – resulting in part from tumultuous decision-making during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Engaging in transparent and honest conversations surrounding vaccine mandates and other health policies can help rebuild and foster trust in public health institutions and interventions.

Rachel Gur-Arie does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Read More

Continue Reading