Keith Speights


You can likely count on these dividends flowing for a long time to come.

Many investors buy dividend stocks for one reason: They want a reliable income stream.

Some stocks generate larger income streams, while others provide more reliability. If you’re looking for both, check out these three dividend stocks.

1. AbbVie

You just might drool over AbbVie’s (NYSE:ABBV) dividend yield of close to 5.2%. You’ll also almost certainly love the drugmaker’s dividend track record. AbbVie is a Dividend Aristocrat — a term for S&P 500 members that have increased their dividends for at least 25 consecutive years.

Could the looming entrance of biosimilar rivals to AbbVie’s top-selling drug Humira in the U.S. market threaten the company’s dividend? I don’t think so. First, Humira’s sales won’t totally evaporate overnight when biosimilars hit the U.S. market in 2023. More importantly, AbbVie has plenty of other products to generate revenue.

Rinvoq and Skyrizi appear to be worthy successors to Humira. AbbVie’s blood cancer drugs Imbruvica and Venclexta will continue to be huge winners. The company’s acquisition of Allergan earlier this year gave it several blockbuster franchises, notably including Botox. In addition, AbbVie’s pipeline features several promising candidates that could boost its fortunes down the road.

It isn’t likely that AbbVie will deliver jaw-dropping revenue and earnings growth with the coming challenges for Humira. However, investors should still be able to count on solid dividends from the company.

2. Brookfield Renewable Partners

Brookfield Renewable Partners (NYSE:BEP), on the other hand, is the kind of stock that should provide great dividends along with solid revenue and earnings growth. The company’s dividend yield currently stands north of 3.4%. Brookfield Renewable has increased its distribution by an average of 6% annually over the last two decades.

Growth shouldn’t be a problem for the company. Brookfield Renewable Partners is one of the world’s top providers of renewable power. It owns hydroelectric, solar, and wind facilities across four continents. The company currently can generate 18 gigawatts of renewable power but has a development pipeline that could double its capacity.

Many countries have established aggressive goals for carbon reduction, benefitting renewable power companies like Brookfield Renewable. It also helps that wind and solar are now the cheapest sources of bulk power generation, with costs even lower than natural gas.

There’s an alternative to Brookfield Renewable Partners that you might want to consider as well. Brookfield Renewable Corporation (NYSE:BEPC)is the same underlying business but is organized as a traditional corporation rather than a limited partnership (LP). This corporate structure eliminates some tax issues related to investing in an LP.

3. Innovative Industrial Properties

If you want a great dividend plus fantastic growth, Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR) could be just the ticket. The medical cannabis real estate investment trust (REIT) boasts a dividend yield of over 3%. Its stock has nearly doubled so far in 2020.

IIP has a solid revenue stream generated from more than 60 medical cannabis properties. It typically buys a property from a medical cannabis operator and then leases the property back to the operator. As a REIT, IIP must return at least 90% of its taxable income to shareholders in the form of dividends.

The company should be able to easily keep up its solid growth by conducting more sale-leaseback transactions. IIP’s tenants include several of the largest U.S. multistate cannabis operators. It won’t be surprising if the company expands its relationships with some of these big customers in the near future.

IIP also has opportunities to expand into additional markets. The company currently owns properties in 16 states, but with the recent U.S. elections, 35 states have now voted to legalize medical cannabis. IIP could be positioned to deliver even greater total returns than both AbbVie and Brookfield Renewable over the next few years.

Author: Keith Speights

Source: Fool: These 3 Dividend Stocks Are Practically Money Machines

The odds are against it, but if this happens, you can bet another market crash is on the way.

Aside from the coronavirus-fueled market meltdown earlier this year, the stock market has performed quite well during Donald Trump’s four years in office. It performed even better during the eight years that Joe Biden was vice president in the Obama administration. Since 1950, stocks have delivered solid gains on average regardless of which party’s candidate sits in the White House.

The truth is that neither the reelection of Trump nor the election of Biden will likely cause the stock market to plunge. But that doesn’t mean the possibility doesn’t exist for a major downturn on the horizon. Here’s the election scenario most likely to cause a stock market crash.


The most dreaded outcome of all

Wall Street absolutely abhors uncertainty. Therefore, the election outcome that would almost certainly cause stocks to sink is the one that gives the least amount of certainty for the U.S.

The obvious scenario is if there’s no clear winner in the presidential race. Investors definitely don’t want a repeat of 2000 where presidential election disputes ultimately had to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Believe it or not, though, there’s a potential way for things to shake out that would be even worse than the 2000 fiasco. Imagine that the results in at least one battleground state are in dispute — and the final vote including the disputed state(s) could cause a tie in the Electoral College.

If we really wanted to add to the chaos, throw in a situation where disputed results in one or more states also put the control of the U.S. Senate in question. With this level of political uncertainty, it’s easy to see how stocks could nose-dive.

How it could happen

Could this situation actually occur in the real world? It’s certainly unlikely. However, it’s also quite possible.

An unclear outcome in any of several big states with lots of electoral votes could put the presidential election in doubt. Pennsylvania, for example, could be the state that decides who occupies the White House for the next four years.

Let’s suppose that the election results in Pennsylvania are disputed. Also, assume that President Trump holds on to most of the states that he won in 2016. Importantly, put current toss-up states Florida, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas in Trump’s column. Let’s also stipulate that Trump wins the single electoral votes in the toss-up districts in Maine and Nebraska.

Now, suppose that Joe Biden holds on to most of the states that Hillary Clinton won in 2016. In addition, assume he picks up Arizona, Michigan, and Wisconsin (all states that Trump won four years ago).

This would give Biden 269 electoral votes. Trump would have 249 electoral votes. Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes are disputed in this scenario, yielding a possibility of an Electoral College tie depending on the final outcome for the state.

For what it’s worth, one sports betting site recently put the odds of such a tie at nearly 50-to-1. Those were roughly the same odds for Mine That Bird winning the Kentucky Derby in 2009 (and in case you don’t follow horse racing, Mine That Bird did exactly that).

What about control of the Senate? Disputed results in one or two key toss-up races could easily cause uncertainty about which party will hold a majority next year.

A potential strategy

Investors really don’t need to change anything about their current strategy even if this improbable (yet still plausible) scenario occurs. Any uncertainty would eventually be resolved. Stocks might fall, but they’d also likely rebound relatively quickly.

But if you like to prepare for the worst, there is a potential investing strategy that you could follow yet still remain invested in stocks. There are three kinds of stocks that should be good picks during times of heightened uncertainty:

Stocks of companies that sell must-have products.
Stocks of companies that have most of their revenue contracted.
Stocks of companies that are more heavily influenced by non-macroeconomic factors.

Dollar General (NYSE:DG) is a great example of a stock of a company that sells must-have products. The discount retailer’s sales soared earlier this year as Americans stocked up on staple goods during the pandemic lockdowns. Dollar General is a good safe-haven stock for nearly any kind of uncertain period. And with its aggressive expansion plans to open new stores, the stock should provide solid returns during less-tumultuous times as well.

Brookfield Renewable (NYSE:BEP) (NYSE:BEPC) is a renewable energy stock with 95% of its total power generation contracted out and a weighted-average remaining contract length of 15 years. The company’s cash flows should remain very stable over the long term. With demand for renewable energy rising, Brookfield Renewable should enjoy solid growth regardless of which party is in power in Washington, D.C.

Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) is a biotech stock whose fortunes hinge on the success of its coronavirus vaccine and not on what happens with the elections. The company expects to get the first look at late-stage clinical data for its vaccine candidate mRNA-1273 this month. If all goes well, Moderna could file for Emergency Use Authorization in the U.S. by late November. Even if there’s still uncertainty about who will be the next president or control the Senate at that point, the stock will almost certainly soar on good news for mRNA-1273.

Author: Keith Speights

Source: Fool: Here’s the Election Scenario Most Likely to Cause a Stock Market Crash

You won’t see many headlines about these stocks. But they’re well positioned to deliver big gains.

Of the thousands of stocks that investors can buy, only a relative few receive the lion’s share of attention. You can likely rattle off the names of several of these highly publicized stocks.

But it’s often the stocks that don’t receive as much attention that present the best opportunities. Few investors would think of these stocks right off the bat, but such stocks could be even bigger winners over the long run than many of the most well-known stocks. These three under-the-radar stocks especially stand out as great buys right now.

Cresco Labs

Canadian marijuana stocks tend to make headlines quite often. But several top U.S.-based cannabis operators are running circles around their counterparts from north of the border. Cresco Labs (OTC:CRLBF) is a great example.

Cresco reported record revenue of $94.3 million in the second quarter of 2020, more than triple the revenue generated in the prior-year period and a 42% increase from the previous quarter. The company isn’t profitable yet, but its bottom line continues to improve significantly. And it’s already consistently generating positive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).

What’s especially notable is that Cresco achieved quarter-over-quarter revenue growth of at least 30% in eight of the nine states where it currently operates. The lone exception was Massachusetts, which temporarily stopped recreational marijuana sales during part of Q2 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The cannabis markets in all the places where Cresco operates should continue to grow well into the future.

Cresco also has plenty of other states that it could target. That number seems likely to increase after Election Day, with Arizona and New Jersey voting on recreational marijuana legalization. It’s also possible that the vote in November could improve the prospects for changes to federal cannabis laws, proving even more opportunities for Cresco.

Dollar General

Many retailers are struggling because of the pandemic. Some of them were hurting even before the coronavirus outbreak, in part because of intense competition from Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT). There’s one retailer that has flourished in the shadow of these giants: Dollar General (NYSE:DG).

Dollar General’s net sales jumped 24% year over year in Q2 to $8.7 billion. Its earnings soared nearly 85% to $787.6 million. Even though customer traffic decreased due to the pandemic, the average amount spent per transaction rose.

The company’s success derives from its focus on the types of products consumers need, low prices, and the convenient locations of its stores (around three-quarters of Americans live within five miles of a Dollar General store). It continues to grow by launching new discount retail stores and improving the profitability of existing stores.

In the past, Dollar General has primarily focused on lower-income consumers. But the company recently announced a new store concept targeting suburban customers with household incomes between $50,000 and $125,000. Dollar General is opening its first two of these new stores close to Nashville, Tennessee, and plans to launch around 30 more by the end of 2021.

Shockwave Medical

Medical device makers with market caps of less than $3 billion don’t typically enjoy the limelight. Shockwave Medical (NASDAQ:SWAV) merits investors’ attention, though. Its shares have skyrocketed nearly 80% year to date. That gain is even more impressive considering that ShockWave lost half its market cap during the market meltdown earlier this year.

Unlike Cresco and Dollar General, Shockwave didn’t turn in an impressive Q2 performance. Sales were up by only 3% year over year to $10.3 million. The company’s bottom line went in the wrong direction with a net loss of $18.1 million. But these uninspiring results were caused by the pandemic and don’t diminish Shockwave’s prospects one bit.

Shockwave uses lithotripsy (an approach using sonic pressure waves that has been used for decades in treating kidney stones) to break up calcified plaque in blood vessels. The company’s intravascular lithotripsy (IVL) technology, which is safe and easy to use, could become a new standard of care in treating atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

Impressive growth could be right around the corner for Shockwave. The company expects to receive Food and Drug Administration approval for its coronary IVL system in treating clogged arteries prior to stenting in the first quarter of 2021. Shockwave is aggressively expanding its sales team to market the system next year. If all goes well, this medical device stock just might begin to capture more attention from investors as its sales boom.

Author: Keith Speights

Source: Fool: These 3 Under-the-Radar Stocks Are Great Buys Right Now

It’s a process of elimination.

The effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine has been impressive. Over 190 coronavirus vaccine candidates are in some stage of testing, according to the World Health Organization. Of those, 42 are being evaluated in clinical studies, and 10 have reached late-stage clinical trials.

While these numbers are remarkable, most of these experimental vaccines aren’t close to being ready for Americans to receive. There are only two coronavirus vaccines that could possibly meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization guidelines by the end of 2020.

Tight guidelines

Normally, vaccines must undergo a lengthy review process to secure FDA approval. However, the FDA can allow unapproved vaccines to be used in an emergency, such as in the event of an emerging infectious disease. The COVID-19 pandemic qualifies as a biological threat for which the FDA can grant emergency use authorization.

While the EUA process isn’t as stringent as a full FDA approval, the agency still wants to ensure that vaccines used to treat Americans meet safety and efficacy thresholds. Earlier this month, the FDA released rules for the biopharmaceutical industry to follow when seeking EUA for coronavirus vaccines.

The FDA stated that it “does not expect to be able to make a favorable benefit-risk determination that would support an EUA” without phase 3 data that included, among other factors, “a high proportion of enrolled subjects (numbering well over 3,000 vaccine recipients) followed for serious adverse events and adverse events of special interest for at least one month after completion of the full vaccination regimen.” In addition, the FDA’s guidance said that late-stage clinical data for coronavirus vaccine candidates “should include a median follow-up duration of at least two months after completion of the full vaccination regimen.”

An advisory committee consisting of infectious disease experts from outside the FDA will initially review any EUA filings for coronavirus vaccines. This committee will recommend whether or not the agency should grant EUA based on the safety and efficacy data in the regulatory submissions. The FDA doesn’t have to go along with the advisory committee recommendations, although it seems likely that it will because of concerns that the EUA process could be politicized.

Only two contenders

A drugmaker would need to file for EUA of a coronavirus vaccine candidate by late November to have a realistic chance of winning FDA authorization by the end of this year. At this point, there are only two vaccine candidates that could meet this deadline: Pfizer’s (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech’s (NASDAQ:BNTX) jointly produced BNT162b2 and Moderna’s (NASDAQ:MRNA) mRNA-1273.

Pfizer and BioNTech have repeatedly stated that they expect to report preliminary results from a phase 3 study of BNT162b2 this month. Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in September that his company would have enough data to submit for EUA of mRNA-1273 on Nov. 25, 2020.

What about the other eight COVID-19 vaccines in late-stage studies? Five are experimental vaccines developed by Chinese and Russian drugmakers that aren’t being tested in the U.S. Novavax has initiated a phase 3 study in the U.K. of its coronavirus vaccine candidate, but hasn’t begun a late-stage U.S. clinical trial yet.

That leaves only AstraZeneca’s (NYSE:AZN) AZD1222 and Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) JNJ-78436735. However, both U.S. late-stage studies for these vaccine candidates are paused while potential safety issues are investigated.

In September, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said that he thought his company could still have data before the end of the year to submit for regulatory review, but he probably expected the U.S. study would have resumed by now. The quoted timeline still wouldn’t have enabled AstraZeneca to actually secure FDA EUA before year-end.

J&J started its phase 3 study on Sept. 23, 2020 — later than the other late-stage candidates. It’s doubtful that the company would have been able to meet the FDA’s guidance for EUA submission even if its late-stage study had proceeded.

Automatic winners?

Should investors assume that Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna will automatically be the biggest winners in the coronavirus vaccine market? No. First, the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine candidates must first demonstrate that they’re safe and effective in their respective late-stage studies. They’ll then need to win FDA EUA. BNT162b2, mRNA-1273, or both could stumble along the way.

More importantly, there are likely to be waves of coronavirus vaccines. The first vaccines on the market won’t necessarily be the best. Others could follow that offer better safety or efficacy profiles, or more convenient administration, distribution, and storage.

Also, keep in mind that small biotech stocks could be bigger winners in terms of share performance than big pharma stocks. This could happen even if the small biotechs’ coronavirus vaccines don’t capture as much market share as big drugmakers’ vaccines do.

For now, though, Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna are clearly the leaders in the coronavirus vaccine race. If their vaccine candidates secure FDA EUA before the end of 2020, all three stocks should enjoy solid gains.

Author: Keith Speights

Source: Fool: Here Are the Only 2 Coronavirus Vaccines That Could Meet the FDA’s Authorization Guidelines by Year-End

With three important milestones just ahead, the biotech stock will likely soar or sink in the near future.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INO) tends to stir up strong feelings among investors. Bulls would be quick to point out that the stock is up over 430% so far this year, an impressive gain by any standard. Bears would likely counter that those gains were made in the first half of 2020. Inovio has lost much of its steam in recent months.

Regardless of what you think about Inovio, there’s no question that the next few weeks and months will be very important for the biotech stock. Here are three critical catalysts on the way for Inovio.


1. Start of phase 2/3 study of INO-4800

Inovio has repeatedly stated that it plans to begin a phase 2/3 study of coronavirus vaccine candidate INO-4800 in September. But the clock is ticking to meet that goal.

What’s the holdup? The company must first receive a thumbs-up from the Food and Drug Administration before it can advance INO-4800 into the next phase of clinical testing.

Inovio CEO Joseph Kim recently stated that the biotech will use the intermediary phase 2/3 process to determine what dose to administer to participants in the phase 3 portion. He said that the phase 3 part of the study is designed similarly to those of other COVID-19 vaccine candidates already in late-stage testing.

2. External funding deal

Inovio ended the second quarter in a pretty good cash position. The company reported nearly $372 million in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments as of June 30, 2020. However, Inovio’s expenses will be much higher if it conducts a large late-stage clinical trial for INO-4800 and manufactures large quantities of the vaccine to secure supply agreements.

The company will almost certainly need more money. Kim said at the Cantor 2020 Global Virtual Healthcare Conference last week that an external funding deal is on the way to support the phase 2/3 study of INO-4800. Perhaps most importantly, Kim stated that the company expects to announce third-party funding this month.

Several of Inovio’s rivals have secured funding from Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. government program established to accelerate the development of coronavirus vaccines. However, Inovio could be in discussions with other players to help fund its late-stage study. Based on Kim’s comments, investors shouldn’t have to worry about another stock offering. Kim said that the funding would be non-dilutive.

3. Key results for VGX-3100

With all of the buzz about INO-4800, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Inovio’s lead pipeline candidate is actually VGX-3100. And the company expects to announce important results for the DNA medicine soon.

Inovio should report results from the phase 3 study of VGX-3100 in treating human papillomavirus (HPV)-related precancerous cervical dysplasia in the fourth quarter of this year. Depending on those results, the company could be in a position to move forward with a regulatory filing next year.

That’s not the only upcoming milestone for VGX-3100. Inovio also expects to announce full data from its phase 2 clinical studies of VGX-3100 in treating HPV-related anal and vulvar dysplasia in Q4. The biotech already reported positive interim results from these studies.

Big news and big moves

Each of these three developments could provide significant catalysts for Inovio. If the company receives a green light from the FDA for advancing INO-4800 plus a major external funding deal over the next couple of weeks, the stock would likely soar. We could even see a short squeeze unfold, considering that around 31% of Inovio’s outstanding shares are sold short. Positive results for VGX-3100 later this year would be the icing on the cake.

On the other hand, investors won’t react very well if there are significant delays or bad news on any of these fronts. Inovio seems destined for big news and big moves — one way or the other.

Author: Keith Speights

Source: Fool: 3 Critical Catalysts on the Way for Inovio

Each of these biotech stocks has more than tripled year to date and could still have plenty of room to run.

How long does it take stocks to double? The S&P 500 index has delivered an average annual return of around 10%. That translates to roughly seven years for the index to double.

But some stocks can double in much less time. Quite a few coronavirus-focused stocks have at least doubled so far this year. These three coronavirus stocks have more than tripled year to date and might more than double again by the end of 2020.

1. Vaxart

You won’t find many stocks that have outperformed Vaxart (NASDAQ:VXRT) this year. Its shares have skyrocketed more than 2,000%, fueled by investors’ excitement about the company’s oral COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

Vaxart stock really took off in late June. That’s when its experimental COVID-19 vaccine was selected to be included in a nonhuman primate challenge study funded by Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. government program created to accelerate the development of coronavirus vaccines.

But Vaxart’s meteoric rise might be just getting started. The company announced on Monday that the Food and Drug Administration gave it a green light to initiate a phase 1 clinical study of its oral COVID-19 vaccine. Vaxart expects to begin enrollment this month. If the early stage trial goes well, don’t be surprised if its shares shoot up at least another 100% before 2021 rolls around.

2. Altimmune

Altimmune (NASDAQ:ALT) has delivered a year-to-date gain of more than 600%. The biotech stock was up by a whopping 1,400% by mid-July before it completed a $132 million public offering.

Like Vaxart, Altimmune’s appeal stemmed in large part from its unique COVID-19 vaccine candidate. In July, the company announced positive preclinical results for experimental intranasal coronavirus vaccine AdCOVID. Altimmune’s pipeline also includes another candidate targeting treatment of outpatients with early stage COVID-19, intranasal immune modulator T-COVID.

What could possibly cause Altimmune’s shares to double or more by the end of this year? In the fourth quarter, the company expects to report results from a phase 1/2 study of T-COVID that’s being funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. Altimmune also hopes to advance AdCOVID into phase 1 clinical testing in humans in Q4.

3. Inovio

Inovio Pharmaceuticals’ (NASDAQ:INO) shares have risen close to 240% so far in 2020. By late June, the stock was up by nearly 850%. However, Inovio gave up much of its big gain after announcing interim phase 1 results for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, INO-4800.

Those results weren’t bad. In fact, Inovio reported that 94% of the phase 1 study participants demonstrated overall immune responses after two doses of INO-4800. The investigational vaccine also appeared to be well-tolerated, with no serious adverse events. The problem was that industry observers wanted more details about immune responses than Inovio provided.

Don’t count Inovio out, though. The biotech has submitted a paper detailing its phase 1 results for peer review and expects publication in the coming weeks. Inovio awaits FDA clearance to begin phase 2/3 trials in the U.S., which it anticipates receiving in the near future. CEO Joseph Kim also recently stated that the company is “very confident” it will be able to line up external funding for its phase 2/3 studies.

Buyer beware

All three of these stocks have already hit peaks in recent months that reflect upside of more than 100%. Positive news for their respective COVID-19 programs could enable any or all of them to regain earlier levels and at least double by the end of 2020.

While Vaxart, Altimmune, and Inovio could all be huge winners, though, the stocks are also very risky. None has an approved product yet. Their fortunes rest largely on their COVID-19 programs, although all three biotechs also have other pipeline candidates. There’s a significant possibility that any of these companies could experience major clinical setbacks.

Author: Keith Speights

Source: Fool: These 3 Coronavirus Stocks Could More Than Double by the End of 2020

No worries needed with these stable dividend stars.

Some people like the excitement of buying and selling frequently. They’re always looking for the next hot growth stock in the latest arena generating the most buzz. But that’s not every investor’s cup of tea.

There are a lot of investors who simply want to find stocks that pay great dividends quarter in and quarter out. They want to invest in the kinds of stocks that you can leave alone for years — decades even — while they steadily make money. If you’re this kind of investor, here are three rock-solid dividend stocks that you can buy and hold practically forever.

1. Abbott Laboratories

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) pretty much has it all. For starters, the healthcare giant is a Dividend Aristocrat with 48 consecutive years of dividend increases. Abbott has paid a dividend every quarter since 1924. Its dividend yield currently stands at 1.4%. That’s not a spectacular level, but you can feel pretty good about the prospects of the dividend payments continuing to grow over time.

One big plus for Abbott is its diversification. The company is a market leader in branded generic medications, cardiovascular care, diabetes care, diagnostics, neuromodulation care, and nutritional products. This wide range of product offerings generated nearly $32 billion in revenue last year and profits of close to $3.7 billion.

Don’t think for a second that Abbott is a boring, low-growth kind of dividend stock, though. Wall Street analysts project the company will deliver average annual earnings growth of nearly 15% over the next five years. Abbott’s wildly successful Freestyle Libre continuous glucose monitoring system and its new COVID-19 diagnostics tests are just two of the company’s major growth drivers.

2. Brookfield Renewable

Brookfield Renewable (NYSE:BEP) (NYSE:BEPC) told its investors in 2019, “We are one of the few future-proof stocks today.” That statement was defensible then and still is now. The company owns over 5,300 renewable energy assets that should enjoy sustained and increasing demand.

You can own part of Brookfield Renewable in two ways — Brookfield Renewable Partners (a limited partnership) and Brookfield Renewable Corporation (a traditional corporate structure). Their underlying business is the same, and both entities pay the same dividend amount (referred to as a distribution because of the company’s roots as a limited partnership). However, because of share price differences, Brookfield Renewable Partners’ distribution yields 3.9% while Brookfield Renewable Corporation’s distribution yields nearly 3.5%.

The good news is that the dividends for both Brookfield Renewable stocks should continue to grow. The company targets long-term distribution growth between 5% and 9% per year. Its average distribution increase since 2000 is 6%.

3. Duke Energy

Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) is another utility stock that’s a great pick to buy and hold. It also offers an attractive dividend yield of nearly 4.8%. Duke’s dividend program has a fantastic track record, with the company paying a dividend for 94 consecutive years.

Granted, Duke Energy won’t deliver the kind of growth that some stocks will. But CEO Lynn Good reiterated in the company’s Q2 conference call that Duke should achieve its goal of generating long-term earnings-per-share growth between 4% and 6%. That’s not too shabby for a major utility company.

More importantly, Duke Energy should provide the kind of stability that income-seeking investors like. That’s the benefit of investing in a company that enjoys monopolies in its target markets and derives 95% of its earnings from those regulated markets.

Author: Keith Speights

Source: Fool: 3 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks That You Can Buy and Hold Forever

Robinhood investors like two fast-growing biotechs and one big pharma company that each have promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

Robinhood’s commission-free trades have attracted many investors. Millions of them are millennials jumping into investing for the first time.

With the COVID-19 pandemic raging on, you might expect that investors on Robinhood have looked at ways to profit from the coronavirus outbreak. And you’d be right.

At least nine stocks of companies with coronavirus programs rank in the top 100 most popular stocks on Robinhood’s trading platform. Here are the three most popular coronavirus stocks — and whether or not they’re smart picks to buy right now.


1. Moderna

Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) ranks as the most popular coronavirus stock of all on Robinhood. That’s not surprising considering the amount of attention the biotech stock has received in recent months.

In January, Moderna announced that it was moving forward quickly to develop a messenger RNA vaccine candidate to prevent infection by the novel coronavirus. By the middle of March, the National Institutes of Health was evaluating Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, in a phase 1 clinical study.

Today, Moderna is one of the leaders in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine. It kicked off a late-stage study on July 27 that should enroll around 30,000 participants. Moderna hopes to be in a position to seek FDA approval or Emergency Use Authorization by the end of this year.

2. Inovio

Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INO) takes the prize as the No. 2 most popular coronavirus stock for Robinhood investors. The biotech was better known for its late-stage cervical dysplasia candidate VGX-3100 coming into 2020. But, like Moderna, Inovio moved rapidly earlier this year to launch a COVID-19 vaccine program.

No other drugmaker claimed a vaccine candidate in phase 2 testing targeting any member of the coronavirus family other than Inovio until recently. Inovio’s research on INO-4700, a vaccine candidate for immunization against the coronavirus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), gave the company a great launching pad for its work on a vaccine candidate targeting novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

Inovio reported encouraging interim results from a phase 1 clinical study of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, INO-4800, on June 30. The small biotech hopes to advance INO-4800 to a phase 2/3 study later this summer.

3. Pfizer

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) is the highest-ranked big pharma with a COVID-19 vaccine candidate in development on the list of Robinhood’s 100 most popular stocks. But the big drugmaker comes in several spots behind Inovio to take third place for coronavirus stocks on the trading platform.

In March, Pfizer announced that it was teaming up with German biotech BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) to develop a COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The two companies had previously partnered to develop a messenger RNA influenza vaccine candidate.

Pfizer and BioNTech announced positive results from phase 1/2 studies of the BNT162 program in the U.S. and Germany in July. The companies selected a candidate, BNT162b2, to advance into pivotal phase 2/3 testing. They also won a major agreement with the U.S. government to supply 100 million doses of the vaccine for $1.95 billion plus a deal with Japan to supply 100 million doses for an undisclosed amount.

Are they buys?

Inovio is arguably the riskiest choice among these popular Robinhood coronavirus stocks. The biotech hasn’t provided all of the details yet from its phase 1 study of INO-4800. My view is that Inovio is definitely a stock to keep on your radar but not one to buy just yet.

Moderna is also risky, especially considering great growth expectations are already baked into its share price. However, I think that the chances of winning approval are pretty good now that mRNA-1273 is on phase 3 testing. Moderna could realistically achieve $15 billion or more in annual sales if the vaccine candidate is successful.

The rest of its pipeline of experimental mRNA therapies and vaccines would also likely be seen as more valuable if mRNA-1273 wins approval. I think that Moderna is a buy — but only for aggressive investors willing to take on considerable risk.

What about Pfizer? It’s the least risky of the three most popular coronavirus stocks on Robinhood. Pfizer has plenty of growth drivers even if BNT162b2 flops, including blood thinner Eliquis and rare-disease drug Vyndaquel. However, I expect that BNT162b2 will be successful in late-stage testing and will be yet another blockbuster for the big drugmaker.

Don’t worry that Pfizer’s growth has been anemic in recent years. The company’s Upjohn unit has held it back. But with a merger of Upjohn with Mylan on the way later this year, that shouldn’t be a problem for much longer. My take is that conservative investors should consider buying Pfizer.

Author: Keith Speights

Source: Fool: 3 Most Popular Coronavirus Stocks on Robinhood: Are They Buys?

These could very well be get-rich-quick stocks. Spoiler alert: They’re also very risky.

You could play it safe. Put your money in assets that aren’t likely to lose their value. Maybe you might opt to buy shares of utility companies that enjoy monopolies.

But not every investor wants to take the safe path that leads to smaller returns over the long run. Even normally risk-averse investors might want to take a walk on the wild side every now and then by buying stocks that hold the potential to deliver mouth-watering gains in a short period of time.

If you’re one of those kinds of investors, consider stocks of biotechs with promising COVID-19 programs. If their pipeline candidates are successful, these companies could generate a lot of money relatively quickly. Here are three coronavirus stocks that I think could especially make you a fast fortune.

1. Moderna

Everybody’s talking about Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA). And for good reason. The biotech ranks as a leader in the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Some might even view Moderna as the leader in the race.

The New England Journal of Medicine published data from a phase 1 study of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate mRNA-1273 last week. The results generated a lot of excitement. Every participant in the study who received mRNA-1273 had neutralizing antibodies (which can prevent infection by the novel coronavirus). Even more encouraging, the study participants’ levels of those neutralizing antibodies were higher than levels found in patients who recovered from COVID-19.

Moderna plans to kick off a phase 3 study of mRNA-1273 on July 27. If all goes well, the company could be on a fast path to winning FDA Emergency Use Authorization and full approval. Jefferies analyst Michael Yee thinks that Moderna’s COVID=19 vaccine could make over $5 billion per year if it wins approval.

Depending on what happens with other COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development, I suspect Yee’s estimate could be too conservative. Also, if mRNA-1273 proves to be both safe and effective, it should greatly increase investors’ appreciation of the rest of Moderna’s pipeline. Even though the biotech stock has soared so far this year, it should go a lot higher if the company’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate achieves its potential.

2. Novavax

Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) isn’t as far along in clinical development with its COVID-19 vaccine candidate as Moderna is. However, it’s not too far behind: The biotech expects to report preliminary results from the phase 1 part of its phase 1/2 study of NVX-CoV2373 later this month. If all goes well, Novavax will advance the vaccine candidate to phase 2 testing.

There has already been a lot of money bet on Novavax’s success. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) awarded up to $388 million for the development and production of NVX-CoV2373. The U.S. Department of Defense gave Novavax a contract worth up to $60 million to manufacture the vaccine for the military. Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s program to accelerate the development of COVID-19 vaccines, announced $1.6 billion in funding for NVX-CoV2373.

While Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine program has been in the limelight, the company has another pipeline candidate that could also be a big winner in the near future. Novavax announced positive late-stage results for flu vaccine candidate NanoFlu in March. Its next step is to file for FDA approval. If approved, NanoFlu could become a blockbuster.

3. Vaxart

Now for the most speculative of the group. Vaxart (NASDAQ:VXRT) hasn’t even advanced its COVID-19 vaccine candidate to clinical testing yet. But its shares have skyrocketed close to 4,000% so far this year. I think it’s possible that this could be just the beginning of a fantastic run for Vaxart.

Most COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development rely on injections. For that matter, most vaccines of any type are injected. Vaxart, however, focuses on oral vaccines. Not only would these vaccines be easier to swallow (pun fully intended) for many people who don’t like needles, they also can be stored at room temperature. Those are two huge advantages.

It’s not surprising that Vaxart’s oral COVID-19 vaccine candidate was selected to be part of a preclinical study in non-human primates that Operation Warp Speed is funding. Vaxart hopes to advance its candidate to a phase 1 clinical study later this year. If the company achieves success with its oral COVID-19 vaccine, that should open opportunities for its other oral vaccine candidates. Vaxart just might be the biggest winner of the three over the long run.

The operative word

Moderna, Novavax, and Vaxart could absolutely make you a fast fortune over the next few years. The operative word in that statement, though, is could.

All three of these biotechs still face significant risks. That’s especially true for Vaxart, which is well behind both Moderna and Novavax in terms of pipeline progress. You could potentially incur big losses with these stocks as quickly as you could make big gains (and perhaps even more quickly).

Risk is the trade-off you have to make to have an opportunity to achieve huge returns. Only aggressive investors should entertain the possibility of buying Moderna, Novavax, or Vaxart. If you want to play it safe (or at least safer), you’ll need to look at other stocks.

Author: Keith Speights

Source: Fool: 3 Coronavirus Stocks That Could Make You a Fast Fortune

Expecting a change in occupancy at the White House soon? These stocks should be right up your alley.

Former Vice President Joe Biden appears to be well ahead of President Donald Trump in the 2020 race for the White House. RealClearPolitics’ average of national polls shows Biden with a 9.6-point lead over Trump. Biden is also winning in the latest polls in several key swing states that are critical to Electoral College victory. Even GOP pollster Frank Luntz thinks the presidential race is “Joe Biden’s to lose.”

Who wins the presidency is important to investors because the candidates have different priorities. If you think Joe Biden will defeat Donald Trump in November, here are three great stocks to buy.


1. Renewable energy: Brookfield Renewable Partners

Joe Biden wants to put the U.S. on track to achieve “a 100% clean energy economy” by 2050 at the latest. To accomplish this, he plans to sign executive orders and push for Congress to pass legislation that establishes milestones for meeting key clean energy goals by 2025 if he’s elected as president.

Renewable energy stocks could be big winners under a Biden presidency. Brookfield Renewable Partners (NYSE:BEP) stands out as one stock positioned to perform especially well. Roughly three-quarters of the company’s funds from operations (FFO) comes from its hydroelectric facilities. However, Brookfield also owns solar and wind power generation operations. Its pending acquisition of Terraform will give it an even bigger presence in these arenas.

Brookfield Renewable’s goal is to generate total returns of between 12% and 15% annually. These returns include the company’s attractive dividend, which currently yields nearly 4.4%. I think Brookfield should be able to surpass its goal if Biden takes residency in the White House in 2021.

2. Infrastructure: Vulcan Materials

One of Biden’s top campaign promises is to “revitalize America’s infrastructure”. He wants to spend $1.3 trillion over a 10-year period on infrastructure projects. At the top of his list is repairing highways, roads, and bridges. Biden also wants to upgrade airports, rail infrastructure, and ports, as well as modernize schools across the country.

These infrastructure initiatives would almost certainly boost sales for Vulcan Materials (NYSE:VMC). The company ranks as the largest U.S. producer of construction aggregates such as crushed stone, sand, and gravel and is one of the top producers of construction materials including asphalt and ready-mixed concrete.

The states in which Vulcan operates are poised to generate 72% of the total U.S. population growth this decade. Nineteen of the 25 fastest-growing markets in the U.S. are served by Vulcan’s operations. It makes sense that these areas will be a primary focus of federal infrastructure initiatives.

3. Healthcare: UnitedHealth Group

Unsurprisingly, another major focus for a Biden administration would be healthcare. Biden was a champion for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when he was vice president. If he becomes president, Biden wants to protect and build upon the ACA, including giving Americans the option to buy a public health insurance plan similar to Medicare.

Such prospects could be music to the ears of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH). The nation’s largest health insurer benefited tremendously when the ACA was first enacted. Nearly 28% of UnitedHealth’s revenue currently stems from its Medicare programs, including Medicare Advantage, Medicare supplement, and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.

Other aspects of Joe Biden’s platform could also help UnitedHealth Group. His plans to lower prescription drug prices and promote the development of generic drugs would likely reduce the company’s expenses.

But what if President Trump is re-elected?

The U.S. presidential election is still four months away, though. That’s a long enough time that the political winds could change. It’s still quite possible that Joe Biden’s current lead could evaporate. How would these three stocks perform if President Trump is re-elected? Probably quite well.

Brookfield Renewable Partners appears to be in a good position to deliver strong total returns whichever candidate wins the presidency. Several key U.S. states along with major countries have renewable energy goals that work to the company’s benefit.

It’s a similar story for Vulcan Materials. Like Joe Biden, President Trump says that he wants a major infrastructure effort and is reportedly considering proposing spending close to $1 trillion.

UnitedHealth Group probably wouldn’t fare quite as well in a second Trump term as it would in a Biden administration. However, the health insurance stock has soared more than 80% since President Trump took office.

The bottom line is that if you think Joe Biden will defeat Donald Trump in November, Brookfield Energy Partners, Vulcan Materials, and UnitedHealth Group should be pretty good bets. And even if you’re wrong, all three stocks still have solid prospects.

Author: Keith Speights

Source: Fool: 3 Great Stocks to Buy If You Think Biden Will Beat Trump

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