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Three Software Investments to Buy as Technology Stocks Start to Fly

Three software investments to buy as technology stocks start to fly feature a a next-generation cyber security company, a provider of artificial intelligence…



Three software investments to buy as technology stocks start to fly feature a a next-generation cyber security company, a provider of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation capabilities, along with a fund that focuses on companies engaged in software applications, systems and information-based services.

The three software investments to buy allow investors to tap into technology stocks that are making a comeback so far this year. Despite headwinds of inflation, tight money, a brewing banking crisis and gridlock in Washington about raising the U.S. government’s debt ceiling, the technology-tilted NASDAQ has soared 26.60% year to date.

Investors who are wary of purchasing individual software stocks may prefer a fund, said Bob Carlson, a pension fund chairman who heads the Retirement Watch investment newsletter. One such fund that Carlson said he likes is Invesco Dynamic Software (PSJ), aimed at tracking the Dynamic Software Intellidex Index that consists of approximately 30 companies engaged in businesses related to software applications, systems and information services.

PSJ Ranks Among Three Software Investments to Buy

Bob Carlson, head of Retirement Watch, meets with Paul Dykewicz.

The index is updated quarterly to incorporate factors such as price momentum, earnings momentum, quality, management action and value. The fund’s turnover ratio is more than 200%.

About 49% of the fund is in its 10 largest positions. Top holdings recently were Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA), Forinet (NASDAQ: FTNT), Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: AITI), Cadence Design Systems (NASDAQ: CDNS) and The Trade Desk (NASDAQ: TTD).

PSJ lost 27.73% in 2022 but is up 11.91% so far in 2023 and 8.50% over the last 12 months. The fund also offers a modest dividend yield of 2.0%.

Chart courtesy of

Another fan of technology funds is Mark Skousen, PhD, an economist who serves as a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University and heads the Forecasts & Strategies investment newsletter. He recommended a technology fund in his newsletter that has climbed 27%, including dividends, so far this year.

Mark Skousen, head of Forecasts & Strategies, meets with Paul Dykewicz.

Skousen, who is a descendant of founding father, diplomat and inventor Benjamin Franklin, pointed out that the fund was heavily weighted in some of the strongest-rising technology stocks. One of those stocks is Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), a software development company in Redmond, Washington, that has jumped 34.49% so far this year.

CrowdStrike Gains Place Among Three Software Investments to Buy

CrowdStrike Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRWD), headquartered in Austin, Texas, is a next-generation protection, threat intelligence and services company. The company relocated from Sunnyvale, California, in December 2021, but still retains a significant business operation in Silicon Valley at its former headquarters.

CrowdStrike is considered to be a leader in cybersecurity for the endpoint market-phones and laptops. Microsoft also offers a cybersecurity solution but it is considered to be “inferior,” compared to CrowdStrike, said Michelle Connell, who heads the Dallas-based Portia Capital Management.

Even so, Microsoft’s status as a software industry “behemoth” is always a potential problem for competitors such as CrowdStrike, Connell continued. CrowdStrike’s revenue growth is expected to remain exceedingly high, with 35% growth expected in 2023, she added.

Michelle Connell heads Portia Capital Management.

“The company has 30% free cash flow margins,” Connell said. “While these are very rich, the company expects them to go even higher.”

CrowdStrike’s management is offering guidance of a 33% gain in cash flow margins this year. The company also has amassed a “huge war chest” of $2.7 billion in cash, Connell noted.

Plus, CrowdStrike’s business focus targets an area of technology that should continue to do well, no matter the economic environment, counseled Connell, who added that the company’s growth expectations are achievable.

Despite the company’s stock price advancing 37% year to date, its potential upside could be in excess of 25% during the next 18 to 24 months, Connell concluded. In addition, Connell advised dollar-cost-averaging and viewing CrowdStrike as a long-term holding.

Chart courtesy of

Potential risks for CrowdStrike include the possibility that its possession of what Connell called the “best solution” in the industry could change. For example, Microsoft could acquire one of CrowdStrike’s  smaller competitors, improve upon the product offering and gain market share, Connell cautioned.

“There’s a valuation risk here,” Connell said. “The stocks current price may be ahead of itself. However, the long-term opportunities seem to outweigh that.”

“We believe investors may not be appreciating how large and how profitable CrowdStrike can become over the long term, based on its strong growth and operating leverage potential,” according to the Chicago-based investment William Blair, which has an “outperform” rating on the stock.

Three Software Investments to Buy Include CCCS

CCC Intelligent Solutions Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: CCCS) , a Chicago-based software as a service (SaaS) platform for the property and casualty (P&C) insurance industry, recently held an event that included more than 500 customers across stakeholder segments to highlight its broad AI and automation capabilities. Plus, CCC Intelligent Solutions hosted an investor session that addressed the company’s recent innovation and highlighted the drivers supporting its long-term business fundamentals.

“Our customer conversations continued to highlight the value proposition afforded by the CCC connected ecosystem, while management’s tone continued to highlight the capabilities of its advanced analytics platform and claims automation efforts,” wrote Dylan Becker, a William Blair equity research analyst who covers software stocks. “The investor session also included deep dives into new emerging technologies like diagnostics, Estimate-STP, casualty and subrogation.”

CCC Intelligent Solutions seems well positioned to serve its customers due to its decade-plus-long investment in AI functionality and data scale across the automotive claims’ ecosystem, which can continue to drive ongoing future innovation and automation efforts, Becker wrote in a recent research note. Overall, Becker wrote that the conference gave him incremental confidence in the company’s ability to capitalize on the automotive claims digitization opportunity, which should drive a durable combination of top-line growth and margin expansion over time.

“This unique and differentiated data drives value across all stakeholders within the connected ecosystem from repair facilities to part providers and OEMs, as well as insurers, among others,” Becker continued. “We believe this will continue to drive deeper product adoption and broader platform value as the network effect of a connected stakeholder ecosystem continues to play out. Lastly, while the company is still in the early stages of overall AI adoption, encouragingly the company has analyzed more than 14 million cumulative claims across its AI tools to date, which we believe will continue to support growing adoption and model precision from these solutions over time.”

William Blair is retaining its “outperform” rating on the stock.

Chart courtesy of

“CCC delivered strong first-quarter results, highlighted by 10% year-over-year revenue growth and 39% adjusted EBITDA margin,” the company announced.

The company’s “solid start” to 2023 reflects its durable business model, ongoing innovation, and continued adoption of CCC solutions that help its clients address a growing number of the business challenges facing the P&C insurance economy, said Githesh Ramamurthy, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer.

CCC Intelligent Solutions’ shares trade at roughly seven times William Blair’s calendar 2024 revenue estimate, a discount to the peer group median of nine times. On an enterprise value (EV)/earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) basis, shares trade at 17 times the investment firm’s 2024 estimate, a discount to peers at 23 times.

“Overall, we believe the discount is unwarranted as CCC is well positioned in a resilient end-market offering mission-critical tools to drive business efficiency,” Becker wrote.

Analysis of U.S. Government Debt Ceiling Problem

The failure of the U.S. government to raise the debt ceiling thus far and risk possible default on its financial obligations would be the “ultimate gift” for China, warned the CEO and founder of deVere Group, one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory, asset management and fintech organizations. Nigel Green’s comments come as President Joe Biden, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other congressional leaders so far have been unable to successfully negotiate a heightened debt ceiling.

President Biden has been reluctant to give details about terms of possible compromise but has said he believed a deal can be reached. Democrats have demanded a “clean” increase in the ceiling without conditions to pay debts from spending and tax cuts approved by Congress. Republicans are saying they will not authorize any additional borrowing without an agreement to cut federal spending.

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, a default may occur as soon as June 1, causing a global economic catastrophe, if the limit is not raised by Congress before then. The deVere Group CEO Green cautioned that a default would upend the global financial system and likely be “worse” than the 2008 crash.

“It would cause upheaval on an unprecedented level,” Green said.

A default would lead to a decline in the value of the U.S. dollar and a loss of confidence in the U.S. financial system, Green said. As such, investors would seek alternative destinations for their capital, he added.

“China would move to position itself as a more stable and attractive investment option, attracting more international investment and capital inflows,” Green said. “In turn, this would boost the Chinese economy and financial markets.”

CDC Halts Weekly Reports of COVID-19 Vaccinations and Cases

The COVID-19 pandemic’s public health emergency status in the United States expired on May 11, 2023, while the World Health Organization earlier this month declared an end to what it began calling a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, 2020. However, the virus keeps killing Americas each week and remains a public health threat. Even though death rates are dropping, Dr. Robert Anderson, the chief of the mortality statistics branch at the National Center for Health Statistics, warned that COVID-19 deaths could top 100,000 in 2023.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported at least one vaccination against COVID-19 and its bivalent variant has been given to 270,227,181 people, or 81.4%, of the U.S. population, as of May 10. Those who have completed the primary COVID-19 doses totaled 230,637,348 of the U.S. population, or 69.5%, according to the agency.

Also as of May 10, the United States had given a bivalent COVID-19 booster to 52,996,306 people who are age 18 and up, equaling 20.5% of America’s population. Those reports are the last weekly updates that CDC officials plan to provide after the agency called an end to the U.S. public health emergency.

Medical studies have shown COVID-19 vaccinations help keep people healthy and reduce the morbidity caused by the virus. The markets should be helped by any incremental increase in consumer confidence that aids retail shopping, travel and other spending.

Russia’s War in Ukraine Remains a Fierce Firefight

Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine poses a lingering financial threat. News from the war zone reported that Russia largely has taken control of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin reportedly plans to use the city as a transportation hub to then seize other places in Ukraine’s industrial eastern region.

However, Ukrainian forces remain in the area, largely outside the city, and could pose a challenge to uproot completely. rces, said Yevgeny Prigozhin, the private militia’s leader.

Despite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky talking publicly of delaying Ukraine’s expected spring counteroffensive, his forces have made some incursions, said Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the private Wagner militia that has been doing some of Russia’s most effective fighting. Russia continues firing missiles at Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities.

The three software investments to buy are on an upward trend, despite economic uncertainty, inflation, tight money, a brewing banking crisis, gridlock in Washington about raising the U.S. government’s debt ceiling and the ongoing political risk from Russia’s relentless invasion of neighboring Ukraine in violation of international law.

Paul Dykewicz,, is an accomplished, award-winning journalist who has written for Dow Jones, the Wall Street JournalInvestor’s Business DailyUSA Today, the Journal omf Commerce, Crain Communications, Seeking Alpha, Guru Focus and other publications and websites. Paul can be followed on Twitter @PaulDykewicz, and is the editor and a columnist at and He also serves as editorial director of Eagle Financial Publications in Washington, D.C. In that role, he edits monthly investment newsletters, time-sensitive trading alerts, free weekly e-letters and other reports. Previously, Paul served as business editor and a columnist at Baltimore’s Daily Record newspaper and as a reporter at the Baltimore Business Journal. Plus, Paul is the author of an inspirational book, “Holy Smokes! Golden Guidance from Notre Dame’s Championship Chaplain,” with a foreword by former national championship-winning football coach Lou Holtz. The uplifting book is endorsed by Joe Montana, Joe Theismann, Ara Parseghian, “Rocket” Ismail, Reggie Brooks, Dick Vitale and many other sports figures. To buy signed and specially dedicated copies, call 202-677-4457.

The post Three Software Investments to Buy as Technology Stocks Start to Fly appeared first on Stock Investor.

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Beloved mall retailer files Chapter 7 bankruptcy, will liquidate

The struggling chain has given up the fight and will close hundreds of stores around the world.



It has been a brutal period for several popular retailers. The fallout from the covid pandemic and a challenging economic environment have pushed numerous chains into bankruptcy with Tuesday Morning, Christmas Tree Shops, and Bed Bath & Beyond all moving from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation.

In all three of those cases, the companies faced clear financial pressures that led to inventory problems and vendors demanding faster, or even upfront payment. That creates a sort of inevitability.

Related: Beloved retailer finds life after bankruptcy, new famous owner

When a retailer faces financial pressure it sets off a cycle where vendors become wary of selling them items. That leads to barren shelves and no ability for the chain to sell its way out of its financial problems. 

Once that happens bankruptcy generally becomes the only option. Sometimes that means a Chapter 11 filing which gives the company a chance to negotiate with its creditors. In some cases, deals can be worked out where vendors extend longer terms or even forgive some debts, and banks offer an extension of loan terms.

In other cases, new funding can be secured which assuages vendor concerns or the company might be taken over by its vendors. Sometimes, as was the case with David's Bridal, a new owner steps in, adds new money, and makes deals with creditors in order to give the company a new lease on life.

It's rare that a retailer moves directly into Chapter 7 bankruptcy and decides to liquidate without trying to find a new source of funding.

Mall traffic has varied depending upon the type of mall.

Image source: Getty Images

The Body Shop has bad news for customers  

The Body Shop has been in a very public fight for survival. Fears began when the company closed half of its locations in the United Kingdom. That was followed by a bankruptcy-style filing in Canada and an abrupt closure of its U.S. stores on March 4.

"The Canadian subsidiary of the global beauty and cosmetics brand announced it has started restructuring proceedings by filing a Notice of Intention (NOI) to Make a Proposal pursuant to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Canada). In the same release, the company said that, as of March 1, 2024, The Body Shop US Limited has ceased operations," Chain Store Age reported.

A message on the company's U.S. website shared a simple message that does not appear to be the entire story.

"We're currently undergoing planned maintenance, but don't worry we're due to be back online soon."

That same message is still on the company's website, but a new filing makes it clear that the site is not down for maintenance, it's down for good.

The Body Shop files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

While the future appeared bleak for The Body Shop, fans of the brand held out hope that a savior would step in. That's not going to be the case. 

The Body Shop filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the United States.

"The US arm of the ethical cosmetics group has ceased trading at its 50 outlets. On Saturday (March 9), it filed for Chapter 7 insolvency, under which assets are sold off to clear debts, putting about 400 jobs at risk including those in a distribution center that still holds millions of dollars worth of stock," The Guardian reported.

After its closure in the United States, the survival of the brand remains very much in doubt. About half of the chain's stores in the United Kingdom remain open along with its Australian stores. 

The future of those stores remains very much in doubt and the chain has shared that it needs new funding in order for them to continue operating.

The Body Shop did not respond to a request for comment from TheStreet.   

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Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder?

Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder?

Authored by Michael Barone via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The headlines coming out of the Super…



Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder?

Authored by Michael Barone via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The headlines coming out of the Super Tuesday primaries have got it right. Barring cataclysmic changes, Donald Trump and Joe Biden will be the Republican and Democratic nominees for president in 2024.

(Left) President Joe Biden delivers remarks on canceling student debt at Culver City Julian Dixon Library in Culver City, Calif., on Feb. 21, 2024. (Right) Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump stands on stage during a campaign event at Big League Dreams Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nev., on Jan. 27, 2024. (Mario Tama/Getty Images; David Becker/Getty Images)

With Nikki Haley’s withdrawal, there will be no more significantly contested primaries or caucuses—the earliest both parties’ races have been over since something like the current primary-dominated system was put in place in 1972.

The primary results have spotlighted some of both nominees’ weaknesses.

Donald Trump lost high-income, high-educated constituencies, including the entire metro area—aka the Swamp. Many but by no means all Haley votes there were cast by Biden Democrats. Mr. Trump can’t afford to lose too many of the others in target states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Majorities and large minorities of voters in overwhelmingly Latino counties in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley and some in Houston voted against Joe Biden, and even more against Senate nominee Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas).

Returns from Hispanic precincts in New Hampshire and Massachusetts show the same thing. Mr. Biden can’t afford to lose too many Latino votes in target states like Arizona and Georgia.

When Mr. Trump rode down that escalator in 2015, commentators assumed he’d repel Latinos. Instead, Latino voters nationally, and especially the closest eyewitnesses of Biden’s open-border policy, have been trending heavily Republican.

High-income liberal Democrats may sport lawn signs proclaiming, “In this house, we believe ... no human is illegal.” The logical consequence of that belief is an open border. But modest-income folks in border counties know that flows of illegal immigrants result in disorder, disease, and crime.

There is plenty of impatience with increased disorder in election returns below the presidential level. Consider Los Angeles County, America’s largest county, with nearly 10 million people, more people than 40 of the 50 states. It voted 71 percent for Mr. Biden in 2020.

Current returns show county District Attorney George Gascon winning only 21 percent of the vote in the nonpartisan primary. He’ll apparently face Republican Nathan Hochman, a critic of his liberal policies, in November.

Gascon, elected after the May 2020 death of counterfeit-passing suspect George Floyd in Minneapolis, is one of many county prosecutors supported by billionaire George Soros. His policies include not charging juveniles as adults, not seeking higher penalties for gang membership or use of firearms, and bringing fewer misdemeanor cases.

The predictable result has been increased car thefts, burglaries, and personal robberies. Some 120 assistant district attorneys have left the office, and there’s a backlog of 10,000 unprosecuted cases.

More than a dozen other Soros-backed and similarly liberal prosecutors have faced strong opposition or have left office.

St. Louis prosecutor Kim Gardner resigned last May amid lawsuits seeking her removal, Milwaukee’s John Chisholm retired in January, and Baltimore’s Marilyn Mosby was defeated in July 2022 and convicted of perjury in September 2023. Last November, Loudoun County, Virginia, voters (62 percent Biden) ousted liberal Buta Biberaj, who declined to prosecute a transgender student for assault, and in June 2022 voters in San Francisco (85 percent Biden) recalled famed radical Chesa Boudin.

Similarly, this Tuesday, voters in San Francisco passed ballot measures strengthening police powers and requiring treatment of drug-addicted welfare recipients.

In retrospect, it appears the Floyd video, appearing after three months of COVID-19 confinement, sparked a frenzied, even crazed reaction, especially among the highly educated and articulate. One fatal incident was seen as proof that America’s “systemic racism” was worse than ever and that police forces should be defunded and perhaps abolished.

2020 was “the year America went crazy,” I wrote in January 2021, a year in which police funding was actually cut by Democrats in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver. A year in which young New York Times (NYT) staffers claimed they were endangered by the publication of Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-Ark.) opinion article advocating calling in military forces if necessary to stop rioting, as had been done in Detroit in 1967 and Los Angeles in 1992. A craven NYT publisher even fired the editorial page editor for running the article.

Evidence of visible and tangible discontent with increasing violence and its consequences—barren and locked shelves in Manhattan chain drugstores, skyrocketing carjackings in Washington, D.C.—is as unmistakable in polls and election results as it is in daily life in large metropolitan areas. Maybe 2024 will turn out to be the year even liberal America stopped acting crazy.

Chaos and disorder work against incumbents, as they did in 1968 when Democrats saw their party’s popular vote fall from 61 percent to 43 percent.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times or ZeroHedge.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 23:20

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Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Place Without Evidence

Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Place Without Evidence

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




Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Place Without Evidence

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

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reviewed no data when deciding in 2023 to keep its COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place.

Doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in Washington in a file image. (Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

VA Secretary Denis McDonough said on May 1, 2023, that the end of many other federal mandates “will not impact current policies at the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

He said the mandate was remaining for VA health care personnel “to ensure the safety of veterans and our colleagues.”

Mr. McDonough did not cite any studies or other data. A VA spokesperson declined to provide any data that was reviewed when deciding not to rescind the mandate. The Epoch Times submitted a Freedom of Information Act for “all documents outlining which data was relied upon when establishing the mandate when deciding to keep the mandate in place.”

The agency searched for such data and did not find any.

The VA does not even attempt to justify its policies with science, because it can’t,” Leslie Manookian, president and founder of the Health Freedom Defense Fund, told The Epoch Times.

“The VA just trusts that the process and cost of challenging its unfounded policies is so onerous, most people are dissuaded from even trying,” she added.

The VA’s mandate remains in place to this day.

The VA’s website claims that vaccines “help protect you from getting severe illness” and “offer good protection against most COVID-19 variants,” pointing in part to observational data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that estimate the vaccines provide poor protection against symptomatic infection and transient shielding against hospitalization.

There have also been increasing concerns among outside scientists about confirmed side effects like heart inflammation—the VA hid a safety signal it detected for the inflammation—and possible side effects such as tinnitus, which shift the benefit-risk calculus.

President Joe Biden imposed a slate of COVID-19 vaccine mandates in 2021. The VA was the first federal agency to implement a mandate.

President Biden rescinded the mandates in May 2023, citing a drop in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. His administration maintains the choice to require vaccines was the right one and saved lives.

“Our administration’s vaccination requirements helped ensure the safety of workers in critical workforces including those in the healthcare and education sectors, protecting themselves and the populations they serve, and strengthening their ability to provide services without disruptions to operations,” the White House said.

Some experts said requiring vaccination meant many younger people were forced to get a vaccine despite the risks potentially outweighing the benefits, leaving fewer doses for older adults.

By mandating the vaccines to younger people and those with natural immunity from having had COVID, older people in the U.S. and other countries did not have access to them, and many people might have died because of that,” Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine on leave from Harvard Medical School, told The Epoch Times previously.

The VA was one of just a handful of agencies to keep its mandate in place following the removal of many federal mandates.

“At this time, the vaccine requirement will remain in effect for VA health care personnel, including VA psychologists, pharmacists, social workers, nursing assistants, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, peer specialists, medical support assistants, engineers, housekeepers, and other clinical, administrative, and infrastructure support employees,” Mr. McDonough wrote to VA employees at the time.

This also includes VA volunteers and contractors. Effectively, this means that any Veterans Health Administration (VHA) employee, volunteer, or contractor who works in VHA facilities, visits VHA facilities, or provides direct care to those we serve will still be subject to the vaccine requirement at this time,” he said. “We continue to monitor and discuss this requirement, and we will provide more information about the vaccination requirements for VA health care employees soon. As always, we will process requests for vaccination exceptions in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies.”

The version of the shots cleared in the fall of 2022, and available through the fall of 2023, did not have any clinical trial data supporting them.

A new version was approved in the fall of 2023 because there were indications that the shots not only offered temporary protection but also that the level of protection was lower than what was observed during earlier stages of the pandemic.

Ms. Manookian, whose group has challenged several of the federal mandates, said that the mandate “illustrates the dangers of the administrative state and how these federal agencies have become a law unto themselves.”

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 22:10

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