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JPMorgan: 2 Stocks to Snap Up Now (And 1 to Avoid)

JPMorgan: 2 Stocks to Snap Up Now (And 1 to Avoid)

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Times right now are unprecedented. The COVID-19 pandemic, the overarching government responses, the social and economic shutdowns – all are putting extraordinary pressures on financial markets. From the sudden equity collapse that started in late February, to the bear market rally we’re experiencing now, investors simply haven’t got the usual market signals they rely on.

Covering the overall situation, JPMorgan chief of Equity Strategy Dubravko Lakos-Bujas points out, “The sharp ~30% recovery in S&P 500 from the Mar 23 trough, even as earnings expectations and macro outlook were steadily being revised lower by the street, has come as a surprise to many.” Lakos-Bujas also notes that government stimulative policies have matched the extraordinary conditions with equally extraordinary liquidity injections – and that the fiscal and monetary stimulus has put a floor in the equity markets.

Looking ahead, the analyst says, “[We] have been arguing that this unprecedented stimulus and liquidity boom will outlast the health crisis. Our valuation models imply that the equity risk premia remains attractive…”

In line with JPM’s official analysis of market risks, the firm’s stock analysts have been picking possible winners – and losers. We’ve looked at three of those stocks through the lens of the TipRanks database, to find out what makes two of them compelling buys – and what makes the third a stock to avoid.

Federated Hermes (FHI)

We’ll start with a financial company. Federated Hermes is an asset management company, controlling an equity portfolio worth $68 billion and holding $606 billion in assets under management. AUM hit a record in the first quarter of this year.

While Q1 2020 saw EPS fall – the COVID-19 epidemic has been painful across the board – the 63 cents reported was still up 16% year-over-year. The company credits long-term assets for 56% of quarterly revenue.

Solid earnings support a reliable dividend. FHI has grown the payment slowly over recent years, and currently pays out 27 cents per share quarterly. At $1.08 annualized, this makes the dividend yield 5.1%, or more than double the average yield among peer financial sector stocks.

This company’s strong position has brought it to JPM’s attention. Analyst Ken Worthington upgraded the JPM view on FHI from Neutral to Buy. He set a $27 price target for the end of 2020, suggesting an upside potential here of 28%. (To watch Worthington’s track record, click here)

In his comments on the stock, Worthington wrote, “…Federated could keep more of the earnings driven by the massive increase in money market fund assets. We see the rest of Federated's business performing adequately and better than most, leveraging some good positioning, solid performance and its strengthening brand in ESG.”

Overall, Wall Street is cautious on FHI shares. The analyst corps has delivered 2 Buy ratings – but 4 Holds, making the analyst consensus rating a Moderate Buy. The average price target is $23.20, which indicates a modest upside of 10%. (See Federated Hermes stock analysis on TipRanks)

AbbVie, Inc. (ABBV)

Next up is a pharmaceutical company, one of Big Pharma’s major names. Pharmaceutical and biotech companies are known for their combination of high risk and high reward potential. The rewards and risks are both typified in Humira, the company’s successful immunosuppressive anti-inflammatory drug. Humira is expected to bring in ~40% of AbbVie’s 2020 drug division revenues – but with an expired patent, competition is growing. Last year, Humira accounted for 50% of drug revenues.

AbbVie is fortunate to have a strong product line-up, with new drugs Skyrizi and Rinvoq beating the expectations on their launches and projected to bring in $4.5 and $5 billion in revenue, respectively, by 2025.

The company saw solid earnings in 2019, and in Q1 2020, despite the coronavirus disruptions to economic activity, ABBV reported a substantial sequential earnings increase. EPS grew 9.5% to $2.42, and beat the forecast 6.6%.

Earnings growth has allowed ABBV to keep up a reliable dividend, one of the best in the pharmaceutical sector. The company has increased its dividend payment four times in the past three years, including in Q1 2020. The current payment is $4.72 annualized, with quarterly payments of $1.18. The yield is nearly 5.2%, which simply blows away the healthcare sector average yield of 1.75%.

Chris Schott, in his note on ABBV for JPM, sees a clear path forward for the company. He writes, “On the core portfolio, we anticipate ~9% annual growth in the company’s $30bn non-Humira business led by … Skyrizi and Rinvoq... ABBV’s pipeline represents another potential upside driver with little value being assigned to the company’s mid-stage assets… we see the company’s dividend as highly sustainable…”

In line with his comments, Schott initiates coverage of ABBV for JPM with a Buy rating. His $105 price target implies a healthy upside potential of 15%. (To watch Schott’s track record, click here)

The Wall Street view of ABBV shares is almost as bullish as Schott’s. The Moderate Buy consensus rating is based on 10 reviews, including 7 Buys and 3 Holds. Shares in this pharma giant are selling for $91.20, and the average price target of $101.13 suggests it has room for 11% growth this year. (See AbbVie stock analysis on TipRanks)

Quidel Corporation (QDEL)

Last up is a big player in the diagnostic healthcare segment. Quidel, and American company based in San Diego, operates worldwide. Earlier this month, Quidel scored a major coup: it received authorization from the US FDA, the regulatory body for the health care and pharmaceutical sector, to produce a COVID-19 antigen test.

This authorization shows up Quidel’s strength in the ‘Age of Corona:’ the company produces diagnostic tests, and those are in high demand. Such high demand that, while the markets generally turned bearing in February, QDEL shares started climbing – bringing year-to-date gains to 148%.

With earnings up and an approved authorization for development and production if a COVID-19 diagnostic test, it would seem that QDEL is primed for gains. And yet JPM says to sell this stock. Why the bearish call?

In short, Quidel’s recent steep share price gains have overvalued this stock. As 5-star analyst Tycho Peterson says in his review of QDEL shares, “…while not ruling out the COVID-19 antigen testing opportunity, we believe it may be overstated due to the nascent market, scale-up of competitive tests and potential for avaccine in 12-18 months, leaving us skeptical of the opportunity implied by the stock move.”

Peterson is careful not to blast the company, but he does downgrade his stance of QDEL from Neutral to Sell. His $158 price target projects a 15% downside for the shares this year. (To watch Peterson’s track record, click here)

The market’s collective wisdom agrees. QDEL has a Moderate Sell consensus rating, based on 2 Holds and 1 Sell rating. At $124, the average price target implies a 33% downside from the current share price of $186.05. (See Quidel stock analysis on TipRanks)

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 JPMorgan: 2 Stocks to Snap Up Now (And 1 to Avoid) appeared first on TipRanks Financial Blog.

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License Plates Could Be Printed On McDonald’s Bags To Stop Littering

License Plates Could Be Printed On McDonald’s Bags To Stop Littering

There’s been talk about McDonald’s in southwest Great Britain could print…

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License Plates Could Be Printed On McDonald's Bags To Stop Littering

There's been talk about McDonald's in southwest Great Britain could print car license plates on drive-thru bags to prevent customers from littering. 

"It's not clear exactly how the number plate would be printed on packaging, but it could be scanned onto the brown bags that contain the food," Daily Mail noted. 

Chris Howell, Swansea Council's head of waste, parks and cleansing, told a climate change corporate delivery committee meeting: 

"The Welsh Government has explored with McDonald's, or their franchises, whether or not they could print number plates of cars collecting takeaways from their drive-throughs with a view that that would discourage people from discarding their materials (litter)."

Howell said one of the biggest hurdles with fast-food companies is that if one chain adopts the climate initiative, customers will go to competitors that don't print license plates on bags. 

"If McDonald's do it, then people will just go to Burger King instead of McDonald's, because nobody wants to have their private details printed on that packaging." He added: "I think it's a really good idea but at the minute it's fraught with some difficulties." 

The nationalist political party in Wales, Plaid Cymru, first proposed the idea more than two years ago during the pandemic lockdown when party leaders noticed a spike in fast-food trash along city streets and highways. 

Welsh Government spokesperson told MailOnline:

"There are no current plans to introduce a requirement for drive-through restaurants to add vehicle registration details to fast food drive-through packaging.

"We are continuing to support Keep Wales Tidy with other initiatives to tackle roadside litter including their No Regrets campaign and their Adopt a Highway initiative."

Now 'the cat is out of the bag'. It's only a matter of time before governments start forcing fast-food companies to print license plate numbers on drive-thru bags. The dangers of this could be more surveillance, and who knows what corporations would do with license plate data if such a system were implemented. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/26/2022 - 18:00

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COVID Lockdown Protests Erupt In Beijing, Xinjiang After Deadly Fire

COVID Lockdown Protests Erupt In Beijing, Xinjiang After Deadly Fire

Protests have erupted in Beijing and the far western Xinjiang region…

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COVID Lockdown Protests Erupt In Beijing, Xinjiang After Deadly Fire

Protests have erupted in Beijing and the far western Xinjiang region over COVID-19 lockdowns and a deadly fire on Thursday in a high-rise building in Urumqi that killed 10 people (with some reports putting the number as high as 40).

Crowds took to the street in Urumqi, the capitol of Xinjiang, with protesters chanting "End the lockdown!" while pumping their fists in the air, following the circulation of videos of the fire on Chinese social media on Friday night.

Protest videos show people in a plaza singing China's national anthem - particularly the line: "Rise up, those who refuse to be slaves!" Others shouted that they did not want lockdowns. In the northern Beijing district of Tiantongyuan, residents tore down signs and took to the streets.

Reuters verified that the footage was published from Urumqi, where many of its 4 million residents have been under some of the country's longest lockdowns, barred from leaving their homes for as long as 100 days.

In the capital of Beijing 2,700 km (1,678 miles) away, some residents under lockdown staged small-scale protests or confronted their local officials over movement restrictions placed on them, with some successfully pressuring them into lifting them ahead of a schedule. -Reuters

According to an early Saturday news conference by Urumqi officials, COVID measures did not hamper escape and rescue during the fire, but Chinese social media wasn't buying it.

"The Urumqi fire got everyone in the country upset," said Beijing resident Sean Li.

According to Reuters

A planned lockdown for his compound "Berlin Aiyue" was called off on Friday after residents protested to their local leader and convinced him to cancel it, negotiations that were captured by a video posted on social media.

The residents had caught wind of the plan after seeing workers putting barriers on their gates. "That tragedy could have happened to any of us," he said.

By Saturday evening, at least ten other compounds lifted lockdown before the announced end-date after residents complained, according to a Reuters tally of social media posts by residents.

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/26/2022 - 12:00

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The Doctor Who Can Rebuild Trust: Joseph Ladapo

The Doctor Who Can Rebuild Trust: Joseph Ladapo

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Brownstone Institute,

If you are like me, you are exhausted…

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The Doctor Who Can Rebuild Trust: Joseph Ladapo

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Brownstone Institute,

If you are like me, you are exhausted of the lies. Every day seems to bring new revelations about how our lives came to be upended. The connections are becoming clearer between the pandemic response and the growing economic crisis, the ballooning debt, the growth of the surveillance state, the corruption and scams, chilling absence of integrity in public life, and, with the failure of FTX, the way in which an outright financial scam was integral to the calamity. 

While we await new revelations, depositions, coverups, pleas for amnesty, and bad economic news, whom can we trust? Is anyone telling the truth? 

Today was Anthony Fauci’s last White House press conference, and he spoke as if life is all normal and everything is fine. It’s as if the whole disaster never happened. He never locked anyone down, he says. He has happy for any investigations, he says, because he has nothing to hide. And then he ended with a final push for everyone to get booster #5 or whatever number we are on. 

It’s like we live in two universes: our own lives in which we read true things in some places, and official life, in which shills and publicists keep repeating the same nonsense over and over without flinching or providing anything like an honest account of these last three years. 

Perhaps for this reason – and also because by any historical standard this is a tremendous autobiography – reading Dr. Joseph Ladapo’s Transcend Fear is a welcome relief from the nonsense of our times. It is brutally honest. It is emotionally affecting. It is careful and precise but also deeply radical in its observations. If what’s called the “public health world” has lost touch with both the public and health, this book provides a path to restoring it. In short, it is a beautiful and inspiring experience. 

Dr. Ladapo is the Surgeon General of the State of Florida, picked by Governor Ron DeSantis to forge and explain the state’s health decisions and priorities to the public in the midst of a grave crisis. He has faced down the national press time and time again with Zen-like wisdom. He seems emotionally unflappable while also sticking to the science as he understands it. He is the only public health official in the country who has been upfront about the limits of the vaccines and warned healthy young people that they don’t need them. 

What we learn from this book is that he has been a warrior against pseudoscience from the very beginning of this pandemic and the government response. After the lockdowns, most scientists and health professionals fell silent, fearing reputational and financial loss. Dr. Ladapo was different, On March 24, 2020, still within the window of “15 Days to Flatten the Curve,” he wrote in USA Today:

We are fretting and we are fuming. As a country, we have been caught miserably flat-footed after receiving warnings about what lay ahead when cases of Covid-19 began exploding in Wuhan, China. Messages from local and state leaders about how to respond to the pandemic change almost daily—a sure sign they have no idea what they are doing. Shutdowns are happening here in California and in New York, and will probably spread to the rest of the nation….

Here’s the problem: Because of the (understandable) fear and hysteria of the moment, few US leaders are seriously talking about the endgame. The epidemiologic models I’ve seen indicate that the shutdowns and school closures will temporarily slow the virus’ spread, but when they’re lifted, we will essentially emerge right back where we started. And, by the way, no matter what, our hospitals will still be overwhelmed. There has already been too much community spread to prevent this inevitability. 

We don’t have a totalitarian government like China, and we value our civil liberties too much to take the measures (i.e., total lockdown) that would be needed to rapidly decrease the infection rate to zero. This means that, even with shutdowns, the virus will still spread. Unfortunately, this also means that rates of “community immunity,” often referred to as “herd immunity,” will slow. As a result, we will always be vulnerable to the virus spreading rapidly again as soon as shutdown measures are lifted, unless they are immediately reimplemented—over and over and over again.

Was he the first post-lockdown voice from public health profoundly to object in a public forum of this magnitude? Perhaps so. Consider the bravery and presence of mind it required to write those sentences. The entire country was on a wartime footing with unprecedented horribles taking place. The media was screaming “Run for your lives” but most of us weren’t even allowed out of our homes to do that. 

These were utterly crazy times. The whole world was going bonkers. And yet this man kept his cool. 

This book explains where his cool comes from. You see, he is the son of an immigrant from Nigeria, born 1979. A math and science whiz, he attended Wake Forest and then entered Harvard Medical School. While he was involved in his studies, he noted the existence of the Kennedy School of Government and enrolled there too. On graduation day, he was granted a MD plus a PhD in public policy. So essentially: the highest credentials in two fields that this country offers. He became professor of medicine at New York University and then the University of California, Los Angeles. 

The trouble was that none of his training had prepared him to deal with medical issues closer to home, namely his wife’s unrelenting migraines that often landed her in the hospital and his own underlying psychological fears of social interaction. The details are very painful and told in this book with disarming detail. Long story short: his search for answers led him toward alternative medical paths that eventually fixed both issues, and burned a lesson in his mind. Health is individual, and the right path is not the same for everyone and not always found in expertise as codified in the textbooks and institutions. 

It was soon after these difficult times that the pandemic broke and, along with it, the claims that the experts had all the answers in lockdowns and eventual universal mandates for vaccination. 

Dr. Ladapo had meanwhile developed the self-confidence to speak about such matters truthfully and fearlessly. And he never stopped. He wrote for every venue he could, month after month, urging an end to the lockdowns, a focus on therapeutics, attention to the science we had, and genuine concern for the health of actual individuals, who are not lab rats but people with human rights and freedom. 

Even though Dr. Joseph Ladapo is obviously a hero (and one for the ages, so far as I’m concerned), the prose here is remarkably lucid, humble, and precise. That’s why I say that the humane concern in this book is an inspiration. Moreover, reading it is a form of therapy because he connects with a common sense that we all had in 2019 before the world descended into utter madness. 

What’s more, this book shows a path forward not only for public health but for all of us as individuals. He urges personal reflection as the first step in recovery, overcoming whatever hidden fears we had that caused too many among us to go along with the preposterous parade of dangerous nonsense that controlled our lives for so long. 

In my own view, this book is a classic of our times. Its value added is not only the author’s credentials, though he has them galore, or even how it speaks so directly to issues that have profoundly affected all our lives. Its real value is as a model of autobiography that offers lessons for all of us without exception. 

We at Brownstone are deeply honored that Dr. Ladapo will be our dinner speaker at our annual conference and gala in Miami, December 3, 2022. There is still time to attend. You can register here

I write as Dr. Fauci just finished his last press conference without offering so much as a hint of apology for what has happened. Meanwhile, I’m sure Dr. Ladapo is tending to his work in Florida where he has been charged with dealing with public health policy with honesty, truth, and wisdom. I know who gets my vote for hero of the pandemic. 

Tyler Durden Fri, 11/25/2022 - 16:00

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