We’ve turned a new page on the calendar, Old Man ’20 is out the door, and there’s a feeling ‘21 is gonna be a good year – and so far, so good. The markets closed out 2020 with modest session gains to cap off larger annual gains. The S&P 500 rose 16% during the corona crisis year, while the NASDAQ, with its heavy tech representation, showed an impressive annual gain of nearly 43%. The advent of two viable COVID vaccines is fueling a surge in general optimism.Wall Street’s top analysts have been casting their eye at the equity markets, finding those gems that investors should give serious consideration in this new year. These are analysts with 5-star ratings from TipRanks database, and they are pointing out the stocks with Strong Buy ratings – in short, this is where investors can expect to find share growth over the next 12 months. We are talking returns of at least 70% over the next 12 months, according to the analysts. ElectraMeccanica Vehicles (SOLO)Electric vehicles, EVs, are growing more popular as consumers look for alternatives to the traditional internal combustion gasoline engine. While EVs simply move the source of combustion from under the hood to the electric power plant, they do offer real advantages for drivers: they offer greater acceleration, more torque, and they are more energy efficient, converting up to 60% of their battery energy into forward motion. These advantages, as EV technology improves, are starting to outweigh the drawbacks of shorter range and expensive battery packs.ElectraMeccanica, a small-cap manufacturer from British Columbia, is the designer and marketer of the Solo, a single-seat, three-wheel EV built for the urban commuter market. Technically, the Solo is classed as an electric motorcycle – but it is fully enclosed, with a door on either side, features a trunk, air conditioning, and a Bluetooth connection, and travels up to 100 miles on a single charge at speeds up to 80 miles per hour. The recharging time is low, less than 3 hours, and the vehicle is priced at less than $20,000.Starting in Q3 2020, the company delivered its first shipment of vehicles to the US, and expanded into six additional US urban markets, including San Diego, CA and Scottsdale and Glendale, AZ. ElectraMeccanica also opened four new storefronts in the US – 2 in Los Angeles, one in Scottsdale, and one in Portland, OR. In addition, the company has begun design and marketing work a fleet version of the Solo, to target the commercial fleet and car rental markets starting in the first half of this year.Craig Irwin, 5-star analyst with Roth Capital, is impressed by SOLO’s possible applications to the fleet market. He writes of this opening, “We believe the pandemic is a tailwind for fast food chains exploring better delivery options. Chains look to avoid third party delivery costs and balance brand identity implications of operator- vs. company-owned vehicles. The SOLO’s 100-mile range, low operating cost, and std telematics make the vehicle a good fit, in our view, particularly when location data can be integrated into a chain’s kitchen software. We would not be surprised if SOLO made a couple announcements with major chains after customers validate plans.”Irwin puts a Buy rating on SOLO, supported by his $12.25 price target which implies a 98% upside potential for the stock in 2021. (To watch Irwin’s track record, click here)Speculative tech is popular on Wall Street, and ElectraMeccanica fits that bill nicely. The company has 3 recent reviews, and all are Buys, making the analyst consensus a unanimous Strong Buy. Shares are priced at $6.19 and have an average target of $9.58, making the one-year upside 55%. (See SOLO stock analysis on TipRanks)Nautilus Group (NLS)Based in Washington State, this fitness equipment manufacturer has seen a massive stock gain in 2020, as its shares rocketed by more than 900% over the course of the year, even accounting for recent dips in the stock value. Nautilus gained as the social lockdown policies took hold and gyms were shuttered in the name of stopping or slowing the spread of COVID-19. The company, which owns major home fitness brands like Bowflex, Schwinn, and the eponymous Nautilus, offered home-bound fitness buffs the equipment needed to stay in shape.The share appreciation accelerated in 2H20, after the company’s revenues showed a recovery from Q1 losses due to the ‘corona recession.’ In the second quarter, the top line hit $114 million, up 22% sequentially; in Q3, revenues reached $155, for a 35% sequential gain and a massive 151% year-over-year gain. Earnings were just as strong, with the Q3 $1.04 EPS profit beating coming in far above the year-ago quarter’s 30-cent loss.Watching this stock for Lake Street Capital is 5-star analyst Mark Smith, who is bullish on this stock. Smith is especially cognizant of the recent dip in share price, noting that the stock is now off its peak – which makes it attractive to investors. “Nautilus reported blowout results for 3Q:20 with strength across its portfolio… We think the company has orders and backlog to drive high sales and earnings for the next several quarters and think we have seen a fundamental shift in consumers’ exercise-at-home behavior. We would view the recent pull back as a buying opportunity,” Smith opined.Smith’s $40 price target supports his Buy rating, and indicates a robust 120% one-year upside potential. (To watch Smith’s track record, click here)The unanimous Strong Buy consensus rating shows that Wall Street agrees with Smith on Nautilus’ potential. The stock has 4 recent reviews, and all are to Buy. Shares closed out 2020 with a price of $18.14, and the average target of $30.25 suggests the stock has room for ~67% upside growth in 2021. (See NLS stock analysis on TipRanks)KAR Auction Services (KAR)Last but not least is KAR Auction Services, a car auctioning company, which operates online and physical marketplaces to connect buyers and sellers. KAR sells to both business buyers and individual consumers, offering vehicles for a variety of uses: commercial fleets, private travel, even the second-had parts market. In 2019, the last year for which full-year numbers are available, KAR sold 3.7 million vehicles for $2.8 billion in total auction revenue.The ongoing corona crisis, with its social lockdown policies, put a damper on car travel and reduced demand for used vehicles across market segments. KAR shares slipped 13% in 2020, in a year of volatile trading. In the recent 3Q20 report, the company showed revenue of $593.6 million, down over 15% year-over-year. Third quarter earnings, however, at 23 cents per share profit, were down less, 11% yoy, and showed a strong sequential recovery from the Q2 EPS loss of 25 cents.As the new vaccines promise an end to the COVID pandemic later this year, and the lifting of lockdown and local travel restrictions, the mid- to long-term prospects for the second-hand car market and for KAR Auctions are brightening, according to Truist analyst Stephanie Benjamin.The 5-star analyst noted, “Our estimates now assume that the volume recovery occurs in 2021 vs. 4Q20 under our previous estimates… Overall, we believe the 3Q results reflect that KAR is well executing on the initiatives within its control, specifically improving its cost structure and transforming to a pure digital auction model.”Looking further ahead, she adds, “…delinquencies and defaults for auto loans and leases have increased and we believe will serve as a meaningful volume tailwind in 2021 as repo activity resumes. Additionally, repo vehicles generally require ancillary services which should yield higher RPU. This supply influx should also help moderate the used pricing environment and drive dealers to fill up their lots, which remain at three-year lows from an inventory standpoint.”In line with these comments, Benjamin sets a $32 price target, implying a high 71% one-year upside potential to the stock, and rates KAR as a Buy. (To watch Benjamin’s track record, click here)Wall Street generally is willing to speculate on KAR’s future, as indicated by the recent reviews, which split 5 to 1 Buy to Hold, and make the analyst consensus view a Strong Buy. KAR is selling for $18.61, and its $24.60 average price target suggests it has room to grow 32% from that level. (See KAR 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.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
Norway policy on Pfizer vaccine unchanged after alarm over deaths – Al Jazeera English
Norway will not change its policy on the use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine following deaths among highly frail recipients, but officials have said that health workers should properly assess patients before deciding whether to give them the jab.
As of January 14, 23 reports of deaths suspected to be associated with COVID-19 vaccines had been submitted to the Norwegian health registry.
Of the 13 cases analysed in detail so far, the concerned individuals were elderly, frail and had serious diseases, Camilla Stoltenberg, director of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI), told reporters on Monday.
“It is important to remember that about 45 people die every day in nursing homes in Norway, so it is not a given that this represents any excess mortality or that there is a causal connection,” she said.
Stoltenberg reiterated that the FHI’s guidelines on administering the vaccine remained the same, stating doctors should consider the overall health of their patients before giving them the jab.
“One should have an assessment of each and every one before offering the vaccine,” she said.
But, she added: “It’s not impossible that some of those who have gotten the vaccine are so frail that maybe you should have reconsidered and not given them the vaccine, because they are so sick that they might have become worse from the normal side effects as the body reacts and builds up immunity.”
News of the deaths had raised alarm over the safety of the vaccine.
BioNTech had earlier said that Norwegian health authorities changed their recommendation in relation to vaccination of the terminally ill.
But the company later retracted the statement following clarification from Norway. Pfizer did not have any immediate comment.
Norway’s death toll from the pandemic currently stands at 521 people, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
‘Very rare occurrences’
Norway is currently vaccinating residents of care homes, including those with serious underlying conditions.
An average of 400 people die each week in nursing homes and long-term care facilities in the Nordic country.
Common adverse reactions to messenger RNA vaccines – such as the Pfizer-BioNTech shot – include fever, nausea, and diarrhoea.
A number of countries, including Norway’s neighbours Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden, have also reported post-vaccination deaths, but no direct links to the vaccine have been established.
More than 48,000 people have been vaccinated in Norway so far.
PM eases restrictions
Norway has had one of the lowest infection rates in Europe during the pandemic, imposing tighter restrictions earlier than many other countries.
The 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants was at 157.95 in the week ending January 10, the fifth-lowest in Europe behind Iceland, Greece, Bulgaria and Finland, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Monday announced the easing of some coronavirus restrictions after extra measures put in place for two weeks appeared to have achieved the desired effect in slowing transmission.
But Solberg stressed that infection rates remained too high for comfort.
“Although the measures seem to be working, and the infection rates are somewhat lower, the situation is still uncertain,” she told parliament. “Infection rates are still too high but with common efforts, we can reduce the spread.”
Stocks Rise, Bonds Drop With Earnings Picking Up: Markets Wrap – Yahoo Canada Finance
The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The Latest on Senate confirmation hearings for President-elect Joe Biden’s nominees for his administration (all times local): 11:05 a.m. President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for national intelligence director says that the intelligence community under her watch would have a support role in assessing the threat coming from domestic extremists like the ones who stormed the U.S. Capitol this month. Avril Haines said at her Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday that the primary responsibility for U.S.-based threats belongs to the FBI and the Department Homeland Security. But she says she expects that intelligence agencies would be involved in those discussions, particularly if there are connections between Americans and foreign-based extremist groups. Haines called the events of Jan. 6 “truly disturbing” and said it was “eerie” coming to the Senate and seeing the National Guard deployed around Washington. ___ HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN’S CABINET PICKS: President-elect Joe Biden’s national security Cabinet may be bare on Day One of his presidency, but an inauguration eve spurt of Senate confirmation hearings suggests that won’t be the case for long. Read more: — Yellen urges Congress to do more to fight pandemic recession ___ HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON: 10:45 a.m. President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for national intelligence director says that perhaps no greater priority on the job right now is “building the trust and confidence necessary to protect the American people.” Avril Haines is vowing at her Senate intelligence committee confirmation hearing Tuesday to speak “truth to power” even when that truth is inconvenient or difficult. The comments signalled a course correction to the four years of the Trump administration, when President Donald Trump repeatedly attacked intelligence community assessments that he disagreed with — particularly about Russia. Haines also says the American people deserve a “government worthy of their trust” and that she will work to promote transparency in the intelligence community. 10:40 a.m. The Democratic vice chairman of the Senate intelligence committee is telling President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for national intelligence director that the intelligence community will have to “recover” from the experience of Donald Trump’s leadership. Sen. Mark Warner says that during the four years of the Trump administration, intelligence community officials willing to speak the truth were “vilified, reassigned, fired or retaliated against.” Warner told Avril Haines at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday that she will be expected to keep politics out of national security decision making. He says he expects to hear a strong statement of support for the professionalism of the intelligence community. ___ 10:30 a.m. One of President Donald Trump’s national intelligence directors is introducing President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for the job at her confirmation hearing. Dan Coats, a former Republican senator who held the post under Trump, is speaking Tuesday at Avril Haines’ confirmation hearing before the Senate intelligence community. His appearance is designed to show that Haines, who served in the Obama administration, has bipartisan support. He says Haines is committed to bringing “nonpoliticized truth to power” and restoring trust in confidence in the intelligence community. He calls Haines an “exceptional choice.” ___ 10 a.m. President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security will address the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol at the start of his Senate confirmation hearing. Alejandro Mayorkas says in prepared remarks released ahead of the Tuesday hearing that the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot was “horrifying” and authorities still have much to learn about what happened that day and what led to the insurrection. Mayorkas says that as secretary of Homeland Security he would do everything he can to ensure that “the tragic loss of life, the assault on law enforcement, the desecration of the building that stands as one of the three pillars of our democracy and the terror felt by you, your colleagues, staff, and everyone present, will not happen again.” If confirmed, the former federal prosecutor and senior Homeland Security official under President Barack Obama would be the first Latino and first immigrant to lead the department. He would lead one of the largest agencies in government to enforce the nation’s immigration laws and run the immigration services agency as well as the components such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the civilian cybersecurity agency. ___ 6:30 a.m. President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to be America’s top diplomat says he’s ready to confront challenges posed by China, Iran, North Korea and Russia. Secretary of State-designate Antony Blinken also says he’s committed to rebuilding the State Department after four years of atrophy under the Trump administration. Blinken is set to appear Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In testimony prepared for his appearance, Blinken says he sees a world of rising nationalism and receding democracy. He also says that mounting threats from authoritarian states are reshaping all aspects of human life, particularly in cyberspace. Blinken says American global leadership still matters and without it rivals will either step in to fill the vacuum or there will be chaos. He says neither choice is palatable. Blinken also promises to bring Congress in as a full foreign-policy partner, a subtle jab at President Donald Trump’s administration and its secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who routinely ignored or bypassed lawmakers in policy-making. ___ 6 a.m. President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for national intelligence director is planning to tell Senate lawmakers that intelligence and national security issues will not be politicized under her watch. Avril Haines faces a confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate intelligence committee. Haines will also tell lawmakers that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence must not shy away from “speaking truth to power” even if inconvenient or difficult. That’s according to excerpts of her prepared remarks released ahead of the hearing. Haines served in the Obama administration as deputy director of the CIA and deputy national security adviser. If confirmed, Haines would be tasked with restoring stability to an intelligence community that has been repeatedly denigrated by President Donald Trump. She would also be the first woman to hold the position. The Associated Press
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