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Market Overview for Week of February 22, 2022

  What Happened in the Stock Market Last Week? Price Action Performance-wise, the NASDAQ 100 is down 1.71% for the week, the S&P 500 is down 1.58%,…

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What Happened in the Stock Market Last Week?

Price Action

Performance-wise, the NASDAQ 100 is down 1.71% for the week, the S&P 500 is down 1.58%, and Russell 2000 is down 1.03%. 

The three main US indexes: S&P 500 (SPY), NASDAQ 100 (QQQ), and Russell 2000 (IWM) are all at crucial levels right now. 

The relative underperformance of the QQQ and IWM against SPY is telling of the current weakness present in long-duration growth stocks and small-caps which are more hurt by reflation and rising interest rates, compared to “real-economy,” value-oriented blue chip stocks which are overrepresented in the S&P 500.

When comparing index price action, the core ideas of Dow Theory are good tools to apply and one of them is that when the market leader is making a move, the other index should confirm it. The market leader for nearly the entire bull market so far has been the QQQ, by a wide margin, and we’re seeing QQQ hang around its lows, with little evidence of buyer support forming.

 

Should we see a breakdown of that crucial low in the QQQ, we would like to see a corresponding break in SPY as confirmation.

Drama in the Ukraine

Tensions between the US and Russia are escalating. The US State Department is accusing Russia of planning an invasion of Ukraine. The US doesn’t like this because they’re a part of NATO, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which is a military alliance made up of dozens of countries and led by the US.

Russia wants guarantees that Ukraine won’t join NATO, and Ukraine wants to join NATO, which would benefit the US as it would strengthen NATO. 

As a result, two of the three global superpowers are at a standoff right now, which could lead to actual military conflict and the loss of lives. 

Tensions just escalated as of Friday evening as Biden said he’s convinced that Russia will invade imminently, within days. 

While we’re oversimplifying here, that’s pretty much the crux of it. Ignore the politicization of the event as some sort of personal vendetta Biden has against Russia or vice versa. That type of stuff doesn’t help you gauge the market impact of these events. 

Notably, Russia is one of the world’s largest oil producers and one of Europe’s biggest suppliers of natural gas. Military conflict could mean disruptions in shipments or production, which means more energy pain for Europe. If you’ve been following along, Europe is amidst an energy crisis right now, paying out the nose for fossil fuels like natural gas and heating oil. This could make things even worse for them if Russia decides to cut off supply to Europe. 

War or military conflict typically means volatility. And volatility leads to a flight to safety, so keep an eye on defensive assets like treasuries, defense contractors, utilities, and consumer staples.

Russian stocks have been selling off on the news, with the volatility of their stocks more than doubling since November 2021: 

The potential destabilizing effects to the global economy have also been taking a hit on US stocks, as can be seen in the S&P 500: 

Crude started the week with a multi-year high of $96, only to retreat later in the week to close out at $90.21. 

Troubles at DraftKings

DraftKings is the market leader in the brand new industry of legal US-based sports betting. The industry is massive and fiercely competitive, with the American Gambling Association estimating that there’s nearly 3,000 online gambling sites.

DraftKings was a huge post-COVID winner, seeing their stock rise from March 2020 lows of $10, to a March 2021 high of $74. Being a well-funded and household name, many chose them as a standalone winner in this new industry and the stock market rewarded them as such with lofty valuation multiples. 

But the company has been experiencing significant problems in the last year, just as many of their growth stock peers like Peloton (PTON) and Zoom Video (ZM) have.

DraftKings (DKNG) just reported earnings on Friday the 18th and the stock dropped 21%, with most citing the company’s negative guidance and high customer acquisition costs as the primary reason. 

 

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is a measure of how much marketing dollars it takes to get a new customer for your company. CAC is directly related to the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer, in other words, how much profit a company projects they make during their time as a customer of a company. Tons of effort is put into figuring out how to get the CAC to a level that is satisfactory relative to LTV, all while ensuring much of that LTV is front-loaded (the customer quickly pays them) to manage cash-flow concerns. 

This is the problem DraftKings is having. They’re paying too much in marketing/advertising dollars per customer they attract. You might have suspected this too, as the company’s promotions for new customers have been pretty extreme lately, offering free bets, large deposit bonuses, or betting lines that are extremely favorable to new customers. 

The result is that DraftKings’ expenses are rising while their negative cash flow growth is accelerating. This is the opposite trend that a company wants.

Furthermore, the company’s future guidance doesn’t look much better. Remember, the stock market is a discounting mechanism. Companies are valued based on projections of their profits in the future, not currently. Hence, future guidance is all-important and DraftKings disappointed the market. Their EBITDA (think of this as profit before taxes and other non-cash costs) guidance was below the expectations of the market and analysts. Missing expectations as a growth company means big pain.

Other Earnings Moves Last Week

DraftKings was the biggest headline this week, but fellow growth stock Roku (ROKU) made a similar move, dropping 22% on weak guidance to $112, putting the stock down nearly 80% from it’s all-time high of $490. Like DraftKings, it’s yet another lockdown winner experiencing big trouble post-reopening. 

Walmart (WMT) got a little bump in its stock price following a pretty positive report for the retail giant. Most notably in the report, Sam’s Club, which is their Costco-like warehouse store, jumped 10.4% in comparable sales.

Earnings This Week

Looking ahead to this week’s upcoming earnings reports, we’re going to hear from home improvement retailers Home Depot (HD) and Lowe’s (LOW), Chinese internet giant Alibaba(BABA), and a handful of retailers like TJ Maxx (TJX), Macy’s (M) and Foot Locker (FL). 

Here’s the full list of notable earnings reports for the coming week: 

Monday, February 21:

  • Market closed for George Washington’s birthday 

Tuesday, February 22:

  • Home Depot (HD)
  • Macy’s (M)

Wednesday, February 23:

  • Lowe’s (LOW)
  • TJ Maxx (TJX)
  • com (OSTK)

Thursday, February 24:

  • Alibaba (BABA)
  • Anheuser-Busch (BUD)
  • CBRE (CBRE)
  • Wayfair (W)
  • Newmont Mining (NEM)
  • Keurig Dr. Pepper (KDP)
  • Discovery (DISCA)
  • Papa John’s (PZZA)

Friday, February 25:

  • Icahn Enterprises (IEP)
  • Foot Locker (FL)

Upcoming Economic Data

New Home Sales: Thursday, February 24

The US housing market is still strong, likely driven by a combination of inflation and post-pandemic migration (home buyers are upsizing out of apartments or smaller homes). 

Last month’s data showed some YoY weakness in high-priced homes likely as a result of a widespread sentiment that prices are too high. While the real estate market is very hot, it doesn’t have the same “boom” sentiment that led to the housing crisis, which could potentially stall out home price growth. 

With that said, home sales are still increasing

Other Upcoming Economic Data:

Tuesday, February 22:

  • Consumer Confidence

Thursday, February 23:

  • Unemployment Data: Initial and Continuing Claims
  • New Home Sales

Friday, February 24:

  • Personal Consumption Data: Personal Income, Personal Spending, and the PCE Price Index (measure of inflation)

The post Market Overview for Week of February 22, 2022 appeared first on Warrior Trading.

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Government

40,000 National Guard Troops Face Unemployment As Vaccine Deadline Imminent

40,000 National Guard Troops Face Unemployment As Vaccine Deadline Imminent

Up to 40,000 Army National Guard troops – around 13% of the force…

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40,000 National Guard Troops Face Unemployment As Vaccine Deadline Imminent

Up to 40,000 Army National Guard troops - around 13% of the force - could be fired for not getting the mandated COVID-19 vaccine (which has limited efficacy against Omicron, doesn't stop transmission, has been linked to elevated heart problems, and has been mandated for a healthy demographic that rarely dies of the disease).

Michigan Army National Guard Sgt. Mark Abbott administers a COVID-19 vaccine

Guard soldiers have until Thursday to get the jab, according to the Associated Press, which notes that between 20% and 30% of Guard soldiers in six states remain unvaccinated.

"We’re going to give every soldier every opportunity to get vaccinated and continue their military career. Every soldier that is pending an exemption, we will continue to support them through their process," Lt. Gen. Jon Jensen, director of the Army National Guard, told AP. "We’re not giving up on anybody until the separation paperwork is signed and completed. There’s still time."

Last year, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered all service members to get the vaccine, with different branches maintaining different deadlines for the jab. The Army National Guard was given the maximum amount of time, largely because its roughly 330,000 soldiers are scattered throughout the country, including remote locations.

The Army Guard’s vaccine percentage is the lowest among the U.S. military — with all the active-duty Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps at 97% or greater and the Air Guard at about 94%. The Army reported Friday that 90% of Army Reserve forces were partially or completely vaccinated.

The Pentagon has said that after June 30, Guard members won’t be paid by the federal government when they are activated on federal status, which includes their monthly drill weekends and their two-week annual training period. Guard troops mobilized on federal status and assigned to the southern border or on COVID-19 missions in various states also would have to be vaccinated or they would not be allowed to participate or be paid. -AP

Complicating matters is a rule that Guard soldiers deployed on state active duty may not require a vaccination, depending on state-level mandates. 

According to the report, at least seven governors have asked Austin to reconsider, or drop, the vaccine mandate for National Guard members - with some having filed or joined lawsuits to that end.

Austin, apparently following his own special brand of science, told them to pound sand, saying that Covid-19 "takes our service members out of the fight, temporarily or permanently, and jeopardizes our ability to meet mission requirements," adding that troops will either need to get vaccinated or lose their Guard status.

"When you’re looking at, 40,000 soldiers that potentially are in that unvaccinated category, absolutely there’s readiness implications on that and concerns associated with that," said Jenson, adding "That's a significant chunk." 

AP reports that around 85% of Army Guard soldiers are fully vaccinated, while 87% are at least partially vaccinated.

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/26/2022 - 18:00

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Government

CDC Confirmed Post-Vaxx Death From Blood-Clotting Two Weeks Before Alerting Public: Emails

CDC Confirmed Post-Vaxx Death From Blood-Clotting Two Weeks Before Alerting Public: Emails

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times…

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CDC Confirmed Post-Vaxx Death From Blood-Clotting Two Weeks Before Alerting Public: Emails

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed in late 2021 that a person died from blood clotting after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine that had been linked with an increased risk of blood clotting, but did not alert the public for two weeks, newly obtained emails show.

A general view of the Centers for Disease Control headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., on April 23, 2020. (Tami Chappell/AFP via Getty Images)

Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, a CDC official, told colleagues at the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Dec. 2, 2021, “We have confirmed a 9th TTS death following Janssen vaccination,” according to emails obtained by The Epoch Times through a Freedom of Information Act request.

TTS refers to thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, a condition that features low platelet levels combined with blood clots.

Officials had recommended a nationwide pause on the administration of the vaccine, produced by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) subsidiary Janssen, in April 2021 after six women experienced TTS after J&J vaccination and three died. But they lifted the pause after determining the vaccine remained safe and effective.

The condition was not discussed much in the ensuing months, despite the CDC later reporting that five additional deaths occurred before Aug. 31, 2021. Shimabukuro gave a single update, in mid-October 2021, saying five total deaths had been reported.

That was until December 2021. Twelve days after Shimabukuro alerted colleagues of the ninth death, the FDA urged healthcare workers not to administer the vaccine to people with certain conditions because of the TTS risk. Two days after that, Dr. Isaac See, another CDC official, informed the public during a meeting that nine deaths had occurred post-vaccination.

It’s unclear when the CDC learned of the sixth, seventh, and eighth deaths.

The CDC takes reports made to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System and attempts to confirm the reports, including post-vaccination deaths. A higher number of post-vaccination TTS deaths have been reported to the system than the number the CDC has verified.

One day after Shimabukuro confirmed the ninth death, his message was forwarded by Dr. Amanda Cohn, another CDC official, to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

“See below, information on a 9th completely tragic death from TTS,” Cohn wrote.

Many thanks for letting us know … any tragic case,” Walensky responded.

The emails were partially redacted; one was fully redacted.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/26/2022 - 15:30

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Spread & Containment

Innovation Pharmaceuticals Inc (OTCMKTS: IPIX) Breaking Out as Biotech Reports Brilacidin Inhibits Omicron, Delta, Gamma and Alpha SARS-CoV-2 Variants Based on In Vitro Testing

Innovation Pharmaceuticals Inc (OTCMKTS: IPIX) is moving steadily northbound with power after the Company reported Brilacidin, its defensin-mimetic drug…

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Innovation Pharmaceuticals Inc (OTCMKTS: IPIX) is moving steadily northbound with power after the Company reported Brilacidin, its defensin-mimetic drug candidate exhibiting broad-spectrum antiviral activity, inhibited the Omicron and Delta variants of SARS-CoV-2 based on in vitro testing conducted in collaboration with (NIH) and (NIAID) scientists. Researchers at Rutgers University have also shown Brilacidin inhibited in vitro the Gamma and Alpha variants of SARS-CoV-2. Brilacidin has now been tested in vitro in seven SARS-CoV-2 strains (Omicron, Delta, Gamma, Alpha, Italian, Washington, Wuhan) and three human coronavirus (H-CoV) strains (OC43, 229E, and NL63), in addition to MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-1. Brilacidin has consistently inhibited all coronaviruses tested, independent of cell type, at generally attainable systemic concentrations (based on established human pharmacokinetics of IV-administered Brilacidin).  

Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, and increasingly their sub-variants, contain immunity-evading mutations. These mutations alter key parts of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein that attach to human cells, making the virus more transmissible and potentially more virulent. Unlike other antivirals, such as monoclonal antibodies, and most vaccines, Brilacidin has been shown not to target the Spike S1 and Spike RBD regions of SARS-CoV-2, acting instead through dual-acting neutralizing and blocking antiviral properties, able to target virus and host. These antiviral traits support Brilacidin’s ability to maintain its anti-coronavirus activity and suggest Brilacidin would be less subject to resistance. Taken together, the results from NIH/NIAID testing of Brilacidin are supportive of previously completed research and give the Company confidence in the compound’s antiviral potential. The Company remains active in pursuing additional government-based funding opportunities, as well as licensing partnerships, to advance Brilacidin in the highly attractive area of developing novel broad-spectrum medicines for treating viral diseases. Microcapdaily has been reporting on IPIX for a long time and we were there when the stock (then trading as CTIX) made a legendary run skyrocketing to $4.93 per share. 

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Innovation Pharmaceuticals Inc (OTCMKTS: IPIX) is a clinical stage pharmaceutical company developing innovative therapies with anti-infective, oncology, anti-inflammatory and dermatology applications. The Company owns the rights to Brilacidin, its lead drug in a new class of compounds called defensin-mimetics, and Kevetrin (thioureidobutyronitrile), its anti-cancer compound. Brilacidin is being studied by the Company, as well as other independent researchers, as a potential broad-spectrum antiviral therapeutic for the treatment of viruses including the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which is responsible for COVID-19. 

Brilacidin is Innovation Pharma’s lead drug candidate in its Host Defense Protein (HDP)-mimetic franchise. Brilacidin has been granted Fast Track designation by the FDA and currently is being evaluated in a randomized, placebo-controlled Phase 2 clinical trial in hospitalized COVID-19 patients (see NCT04784897). Two independent Machine Learning (AI) studies also identified Brilacidin as one of the most promising inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, based on Brilacidin’s molecular properties. Modeled after HDPs, the “front-line” of defense in the body’s innate immune system, it is a synthetic, non-peptidic small molecule that kills pathogens swiftly, significantly reducing the likelihood of drug resistance developing. Just as importantly, Brilacidin functions in a robust immunomodulatory capacity, lessening inflammation and promoting healing. 

Kevetrin is a small molecule that has demonstrated the potential of becoming a breakthrough cancer treatment by inducing activation of p53, a protein frequently referred to as the “Guardian of the Genome” due to its critical role in controlling cell mutations. In most cancers, regardless of origin, type, and location, the p53 pathway becomes inactivated (dysfunctional), thus preventing the body from performing its natural anti-tumor functions. The TP53 gene is the most studied gene of all time. Conducted at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating Kevetrin in treating Advanced Solid Tumors has been successfully completed, with patients showing good toleration and encouraging signs of potential therapeutic response. The Company has concluded its open-label, dose-escalation Phase 2a trial of Kevetrin in Platinum-Resistant/Refractory Ovarian Cancer. Highly encouraging preliminary data from the first patients treated in the trial showed modulation of the p53 protein in response to administration of Kevetrin. With a promising bioavailability profile, and to leverage its short half-life (the drug exits the body in approximately 8 to 10 hours), efforts are underway to develop Kevetrin as an oral anti-cancer agent (tablet or capsule) that can be administered daily, potentially even multiple times per day. The FDA has awarded Kevetrin Orphan Drug status for Ovarian Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, and Retinoblastoma, qualifying it for developmental incentives and an extra 7 years of market exclusivity upon drug approval. The FDA also has granted Kevetrin Rare Pediatric Disease designation for childhood Retinoblastoma. 

Microcapdaily has been covering IPIX for years starting with CTIX back in 2015 reporting on the stocks legendary run to $4.93 per share. We stated on CTIX back in the day: “As anyone in the industry knows, regulating the p53 pathway has long been the holy grail of cancer research and big pharma has spent hundreds of millions of dollars researching ways to achieve this with no success thus far. It seems Kevetrin(TM) has accomplished this; extensive preclinical research on Kevetrin shows the re-activation of p53 across a wide spectrum of cancer lines including colon, lung, breast and pancreatic cancers. The market potential for Kevetrin in treating drug-resistant cancers is worth $5 billion a year. Other cancers could easily represent an additional $5 billion annually, he adds.”

IPIX has established a valuable intellectual property portfolio: 

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IPIX

On June 23 IPIX reported Brilacidin, the Company’s defensin-mimetic drug candidate exhibiting broad-spectrum antiviral activity, inhibited the Omicron (B.1.1.529) and Delta (B.1.617.2) variants of SARS-CoV-2 based on in vitro testing conducted in collaboration with National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) scientists. Researchers at Rutgers University have also shown Brilacidin inhibited in vitro the Gamma (P.1) and Alpha (B.1.1.7) variants of SARS-CoV-2. Brilacidin has now been tested in vitro in seven SARS-CoV-2 strains (Omicron, Delta, Gamma, Alpha, Italian, Washington, Wuhan) and three human coronavirus (H-CoV) strains (OC43, 229E, and NL63), in addition to MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-1. Brilacidin has consistently inhibited all coronaviruses tested, independent of cell type, at generally attainable systemic concentrations (based on established human pharmacokinetics of IV-administered Brilacidin). Identifying COVID-19 countermeasures with novel mechanisms of action is vital. SARS-CoV-2 continues to evolve at an accelerated pace, raising questions as to what the dominant variant (or sub-variant) may be this fall and winter, when infections often spike — and if today’s COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics can maintain their effectiveness. 

Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, and increasingly their sub-variants, contain immunity-evading mutations. These mutations alter key parts of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein that attach to human cells, making the virus more transmissible and potentially more virulent. Unlike other antivirals, such as monoclonal antibodies, and most vaccines, Brilacidin has been shown not to target the Spike S1 and Spike RBD regions of SARS-CoV-2, acting instead through dual-acting neutralizing and blocking antiviral properties, able to target virus and host. These antiviral traits support Brilacidin’s ability to maintain its anti-coronavirus activity and suggest Brilacidin would be less subject to resistance. Related, results from new NIH/NIAID in vitro testing of Brilacidin in over 20 acutely infectious viruses, and from the Brilacidin Phase 2 COVID-19 clinical trial, are being prepared for publication. Findings from the Rutgers’ Brilacidin research can be accessed at the link below1 and build on earlier published Brilacidin research conducted by scientists at George Mason University and at University of Arizona and University of California-San Francisco. 

In 2021, the Company completed a Phase 2 clinical trial of Brilacidin (NCT04784897) for treatment of moderate-to-severe COVID-19 patients. While the trial did not meet its primary endpoint in reducing time to sustained recovery through day 29, certain patient subgroups did show treatment benefits of Brilacidin for that primary endpoint. For example, patients treated early from onset of symptoms achieved sustained recovery more quickly (Brilacidin 5-dose group vs pooled placebo, p=0.03). To date, only a modicum of success has been demonstrated by any company conducting clinical trials in moderate-to-severe hospitalized cases of COVID-19. A possible reason for this may be owing to frequent changes in the standard of care with patients receiving a cocktail of fluctuating concomitant medications, which complicates the interpretation of the clinical trial data and that of the new drug candidate being evaluated. Clinical observations of COVID-19 patients treated with Brilacidin further lead us to believe that higher and more frequent dosing of Brilacidin may be more appropriate to tackle this complex disease in the hospital setting. 

Taken together, the results from NIH/NIAID testing of Brilacidin are supportive of previously completed research and give the Company confidence in the compound’s antiviral potential. The Company remains active in pursuing additional government-based funding opportunities, as well as licensing partnerships, to advance Brilacidin in the highly attractive area of developing novel broad-spectrum medicines for treating viral diseases. 

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Currently trading at an $18 million market valuation IPIX has $8.7 million in the treasury, over $11 million in assets vs. $4.5 million in total liabilities. IPIX is CTIX reincarnated and this stock can move skyrocketing to $4.93 per share back in the day; a run we reported on from the beginning. IPIX is heating up and getting noticed by investors after the Company reported Brilacidin, its defensin-mimetic drug candidate exhibiting broad-spectrum antiviral activity, inhibited the Omicron and Delta variants of SARS-CoV-2 based on in vitro testing conducted in collaboration with (NIH) and (NIAID) scientists. Researchers at Rutgers University have also shown Brilacidin inhibited in vitro the Gamma and Alpha variants of SARS-CoV-2. Brilacidin has now been tested in vitro in seven SARS-CoV-2 strains (Omicron, Delta, Gamma, Alpha, Italian, Washington, Wuhan) and three human coronavirus (H-CoV) strains (OC43, 229E, and NL63), in addition to MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-1. Brilacidin has consistently inhibited all coronaviruses tested, independent of cell type, at generally attainable systemic concentrations (based on established human pharmacokinetics of IV-administered Brilacidin). We will be updating on IPIX when more details emerge so make sure you are subscribed to Microcapdaily so you know what’s going on with IPIX.

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Disclosure: we hold no position in IPIX either long or short and we have not been compensated for this article.

The post Innovation Pharmaceuticals Inc (OTCMKTS: IPIX) Breaking Out as Biotech Reports Brilacidin Inhibits Omicron, Delta, Gamma and Alpha SARS-CoV-2 Variants Based on In Vitro Testing first appeared on Micro Cap Daily.

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