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North Carolina drivers are in desperate need of gas and are forming long lines at gas stations just days after a hack shut down a crucial pipeline.

The Colonial Pipeline, which gives around 45% of gas for the East Coast, is a top pipeline for the state, according to Governor Roy Cooper.

The pipeline, which brings a large amount of gas from Texas to the Northeast, was not working on Monday night with the anticipated that it might return to a working state later in the week.

On Monday, Cooper put out a state of emergency “stopping motor vehicle fuel rules to ensure proper fuel supply supplies through the state.”

The “emergency declaration will help the state prepare for any possible fuel supply problems and ensure drivers have fuel,” Cooper said.

On May 7, Colonial Pipeline announced it was hit with a ransomware hack, which is an attack where the suspects takeover computer systems by encrypting the victim’s data, stopping networks, and then demand a ransom to unfreeze it.

Colonial Pipeline reported it was working to restore its IT systems. However, experts say Americans might still face higher gas prices as a result of the worst cyberattack against critical U.S. infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the company’s CEO, Joseph Blount, warned government officials this week to be ready for potential fuel shortages.

 

Author: Blake Ambrose
If you put $10,000 into Ocugen (OCGN) shares in 2020, that money would now be worth over $275,000 today. That is an astonishing ROI, but many people are hoping that Ocugen stock will go even higher. Ocugen has partnered with India’s Bharat Biotech to create its covid vaccine, COVAXIN. And recently, COVAXIN proved the ability to provide protection against all three U.K., Brazil, and Indian covid variants.

 

During an interim phase 3 trial, the vaccine showed 100% efficacy against severe COVID-19 cases. The vaccine is already approved for use within India. Ocugen plans to sell its vaccines in the U.S., but is coming up against roadblocks. Will Ocugen succeed and give investors another awesome ROI?

What’s the roadblock? 

Ocugen has all its eggs in one basket. The firm does not own COVAXIN — it just owns its U.S. only licensing rights. Therefore, the company’s success hinges on if it can sell the vaccine in time. It has no revenue otherwise, and its gene therapy candidates are only in their preclinical phase.

Biden has announced the nation is on track for a 70% vaccination rate by July 4. However, vaccination in certain states have fallen (or stayed low) because of concerns about the vaccine’s possible long-term side effects. Over 46% of people have already got one dose, and 32% are now fully vaccinated. 

Because of this, there is now an oversupply of covid vaccines in the country. So it is highly unlikely that Ocugen will sell 100 million doses as expected. COVAXIN is also not receiving Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. FDA. As of May 7, the company was still “preparing” its application for this authorization. The firm also does not have a manufacturer to produce the vaccine.

There is hope

But there is one path that could lead Ocugen to better territory. The company is in discussions with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). A covid vaccine that showed efficacy against all strains of the virus would definitely be helpful for national defense reasons. If the firm does get EUA, it intends to start researching the vaccine in children older than six months.

But then again, Ocugen gets just 45% of the profits from selling its vaccine, with the rest being sent to Bharat Biotech. Covid vaccines usually have a pre-tax profit margin of 30%. If you do the math, you can see that the company would earn just $0.11 for every $10 dose it sells (or $71 million for every 100 million doses). We also don’t know if its contracts will be a single one-time event or recurring.

The conclusion

Ocugen is simply too expensive with a value of $1.73 billion. If the company does succeed in selling hundreds of millions of doses of its product or goes on to validate its other candidates in trials, it might be a good buy. Investors are currently thinking too much about vaccine targets that might not happen. Leaving them disappointed.

 

Author: Scott Dowdy
The FAAMG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google) have been among the best performers of the previous five years amid the amazing advances in technology that have given a massive gain for these biggest of the big.But these gains, that investors have expected and loved, could now be at risk of a sharp down-turn if the Biden White House’s tax hikes start next year, Goldman Sachs strategist David Kostin is warning.

“If Biden’s tax plan were completely enacted, FAAMG 2022 earnings would lower by around 9% relative to expectations,” Kostin says. By contrast, the S&P 500’s numbers would be lowered by 8% under the new tax rate.

The Biden team is hoping to increase the corporate tax rate from Trump’s 21% to 28%.

He is also preparing an increase on the capital gains tax for the wealthiest Americans to 43.4%, including a surtax to pay for “infrastructure” changes. The current capital gains tax is at a top rate of 23.8%.

Kostin says these FAAMG stocks are vulnerable to any uptick in the capital gains tax.

“If the capital gains tax rate rises in 2022, investors who are subject to the new rate might choose to realize their gains in 2021 at the lower rate. The FAAMG stocks have grown by $5 trillion during the past 5 years, being 29% of the S&P 500 value increase during this time,” Kostin says.

Kostin continued, “The tax reform plan from President Biden would increase both capital gains and corporate tax rates and mean more risk for the FAAMG stocks.”

FAAMG fans seem to be ill-prepared for any change in the bottom line numbers under the new administration.

Goldman’s research has discovered that FAAMG stocks trade at a forward P/E multiple of 29 times, in contrast to 21 times for the other 495 stocks on the S&P 500. This is a 34% premium for the five largest stocks.

These stocks alone account for a shocking 21% of the S&P 500’s value. That’s not only much more than the long-time average of 14%, but also the 18% which was seen at the top of the tech bubble in 2000.

Author: Steven Sinclaire
The media loves promoting new trends for people to chase. Cryptocurrencies, SPACs, and other buzzy words are always in the headlines with lofty promises.

Investors can profit from some of these, but there are different markets that are stronger. Let’s look at three of them and see how they can be great investing options.

1. Fintech

The fintech market has digital-payment platforms and online banking services, along with cryptocurrency platforms. This market keeps expanding as people switch from cash to shop online more, and depend less and less on traditional banks.

Businesses are also beginning to see the value of streamlining their payments, integrating tools into mobile apps, and taking advantage of analytics to track their customers’ purchases. Allied Market Research predicts the mobile payment market to expand globally at a compound annual growth (CAGR) of 30.1% between last year and 2027 to reach $12.06 trillion.

Companies that might profit from this explosion are PayPal (PYPL), which has its popular online-payment platform that reaches 377 million accounts, and Square (SQ), which handles payments for merchants and allows consumers to make peer-to-peer payments through its app.

2. AI

The AI market is usually thought of as being only “smart robots” but its scope is actually much larger. AI services are now being used to calculate data for advertising platforms, processing large amounts of info to aid companies in making choices.

They can also power chatbots to help a company’s customer-support, or help optimize a company’s supply chain by finding inefficiencies, and increasing safety standards by finding hazards.

The global AI industry increased to $39.9 billion in 2019, as reported by Grand View Research, but might go even further with a CAGR of 42.2% through now and 2027.

My top stocks in this sector include NVIDIA (NVDA), which gives high-end GPUs for completing AI tasks, and Palantir (PLTR), which finds and processes data for federal agencies and corporate customers.

3. VR and AR

The virtual reality and augmented reality sectors are still small but they have both expanded and have great growth potential.

VR devices, which put users inside digital environments, can be used by more than just video games, simulations and even socialization. Facebook‘s Oculus system has a first-mover’s advantage in this sector, and its headsets might expand Facebook’s ecosystem beyond mobile devices.

AR devices, which push digital images onto real-world environments, can be used like heads-up displays for particular professions.

One company worth keeping an eye on in this market is Vuzix (VUZI), which mostly sells AR smartglasses to corporate customers. It is a small company but they have an early-mover’s advantage in the AR market, and might keep expanding as more people and companies get into AR glasses.

The global AR and VR markets might expand at a CAGR of 42.9% between 2020 and 2030, according to reports by Research and Markets, and become a $1.27 trillion sector. That is a bullish prediction suggesting that VR and AR devices might become the next big platforms after smartphones.

Author: Steven Sinclaire
The value of dogecoin (DOGE) fell from its record levels after Elon Musk appeared on Saturday Night, disappointing fans and investors who attempted to force the coin to reach $1.

Analysts had anticipated the Tesla (TSLA) CEO or as some call him, the “Dogefather,” to mention the crypto on the tv show and send prices upward, instead his mention of the coin crashed it almost 25% from $0.69 to $0.48 just a few minutes into his skit.

Dogecoin kept losing from its last week highs on Sunday, and is now trading at 33% lower at $0.47.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin (BTC-USD), which was chaotic in the past days and struggling to maintain its highs, was lower by 2.2% to $57,894.

Bucking the spiral, Ethereum (ETH-USD) — the second cryptocurrency after Bitcoin — increased on the decline, rising by 11% to get to a record of $3,958.

Cryptocurrencies have gained popularity in past months after many banks and popular investors threw their support behind crypto, sending prices skyward.

Last week, the Gemini crypto platform announced its support for dogecoin. This helped the meme-coin increase its market cap to $70bn to claim the title of the fourth-most valued coin

It took Amazon (AMZN) over ten years to give a 10,000% ROI to investors. But it only took dogecoin five months. It has increased by over 14,000% since the beginning of 2021.

Author: Steven Sinclaire

After being at an annual rate of 1.4% in the month of Jan. and 1.7% in Feb, inflation increased to 2.6% in March, causing some experts, including Warren Buffet himself to warn on the surging prices.

“We are witnessing significant inflation,” Warren Buffett said to attendees at his annual shareholder meeting. “We will raise prices. We are seeing suppliers raising prices, and it seems accepted.”

With everyone focusing on inflation, let’s look at four strategies you can use to worry less about its affects on your finances — and maybe even come out ahead — if inflation does skyrocket.

1. Increase your earnings

When inflation happens, you can see it in two ways: prices are increasing or the dollar is losing its value. Either way, earning more is always a pretty good solution.

If you are unemployed or have reduced hours, consider using your free time to develop your skills and position yourself for a larger income. This can mean freelancing or checking if it’s a good time for a career change to get an even larger salary.

2. Play the market

Stocks have normally beaten inflation to a large degree, making them among the strongest hedges against it.

You can benefit from inflation by investing in areas of the economy that might benefit from increasing prices, like tech, food, construction or energy. Companies like Procter & Gamble, Shake Shack and medical manufacturer McKesson all have raised their prices or are working on increasing them later this year.

Weigh the pros and cons of every stock, use apps, get involved online and get in the game.

3. Go metal

Inflation fears are always good for hard assets such as silver and gold. Both metals have done well over the previous five years, with the price of gold increasing by 44% over this time-span and silver’s going up by an even better 54%.

You can have precious metals directly by buying coins or bars, or take a more liberal approach and buy ETFs that hold the silver and gold for you.

4. Use real estate

Real estate has been among the most reliable investment plays an investor can make.

The housing market was on a serious upward path since around Q4 of 2011, when the median price was right above $221,000. At the end of this past quarter, it was $347,500.

If you have the money for a home purchase, start looking at mortgage rates today and find yourself the lowest rate possible. The best mortgage rates tend to go to people with the highest FICO score, so do everything you can to increase it.

If that is out of reach, you can instead buy into real estate without purchasing a property by investing in a real estate investment trust, or REIT for short.

Not everyone thinks inflation’s latest increase is a sign of terrible things to come. Buffett himself stated that it doesn’t seem to be stopping many Americans from spending.

So if you are doing well, you may want to ignore the bad news. Otherwise, these 4 tips will help you prepare for inflation.

Author: Scott Dowdy

For decades, every generation of CPU chips got faster and better because their most fundamental building block, called the transistor, got smaller.

The pace of that shrinking has slowed, but IBM on Thursday revealed that the industry has one more advance ahead of it.

IBM unveiled the world’s first 2-nanometer chip technology. The technology might reach as much as 45% faster than the current mainstream 7-nanometer cpus in today’s phones and laptops and up to 75% more power efficient.

The technology will possibly take several years to reach the market. Once a leading manufacturer, IBM now outsources its production to Samsung but maintains a research center in New York that creates test runs of chips and has deals with Intel to use its technology.

The 2-nanometer chips will beat the leading 5-nanonmeter chips, which are now showing up in smartphones such as the iPhone 12, with the 3-nanometer version expected to arrive after the 5-nanometer chips.

The technology IBM showed off is the most basic component of a CPU: a single transistor, which behaves as an on-off switch to produce 1s and 0s that form all computing.

Making these switches smaller means they can run faster and more efficiently, but it also gives problems as electrons leak during usage at such a small scale. Darío Gil, director of IBM Research, said to reporters that his team was able to use nanometer thin sheets of insulating material to prevent these leaks.

“In the end, there are transistors, and everything depends on if the transistor gets better or not. And it is not guaranteed there will be another transistor advance again. So it is a big deal when we get see there is another,” Gil said.

Author: Scott Dowdy
Are you thinking of going with the crowd that likes to ,,”sell in May and run away?” ,,

Don’t be so fast to embrace that saying. While there is data to support the theory that stocks don’t do well after May and October, some terrible years can change the average return during this time, to look downward. During a normal, bullish market, the next months could be as progressive as any other. And if you have the right stocks, it could be even more profitable.

So here are three of those types of stocks. Ones with great growth opportunities and are ripe for buying this month.

1. Entegris

For the first time in seven quarters, last month, Entegris’ (ENTG) earnings fell lower than analysts’ consensus estimates. Its Q1 top line was short from expectations too, though it grew by 24% y/y. The company’s Q2 predictions for earnings per share was between $0.77 and $0.82 on revenue of around $530 or $545 million is pretty much what analysts modeled, and well higher from last year’s numbers of $0.60 per share and sales at $448.4 million. But investors could not get over the earnings miss, maybe wondering if the company is being harmed by the chip shortage that is working against other companies.

It is a worry, however, that ignores the true dynamic of the low supply of semiconductors.

The shortage is connected to incredible global demand. This means Entegris is doing the same business it was doing before covid harmed supply lines. The firm is actually getting greater demand as users of its components try to offset the shortage by optimizing their yields and improving their current technologies; that is where an advanced process solutions provider like this one can change everything.

Despite last quarter’s not so great results, analysts say the company is on track to grow its revenue by almost 17% this year, with profits increasing by almost 25%.

2. Align Technology

Align Technology (ALGN) might not be a well-known name yet, but there is a good probability someone you know is using its product. It’s among the top companies making invisible braces. You may know it as Invisalign.

The coronavirus forced large problems onto the company as dentists contributed to the virus-reduction effort by only performing emergency procedures. Align Technology’s Invisalign requires a trip to a dentist to get your teeth scanned; it does not offer scanning through a “SmileShop” or through an at-home dental kit as competitors do.

Customers do seem to like having their dentists do this kind of work, however. With the COVID pandemic pulling back and dental practices getting back toward normal work, Align’s Q1 revenue was not just higher by 62%, but hit a record-breaking $895 million. Analysts say this growth level will continue for the rest of 2021, and while sales growth should eventually decrease in pace, the market is still seeking double-digit percentage growth through 2022. Profit growth could be even better.

The stock price is down by 7% from last week’s high, but that sell-off seems to be more like profit-taking than a reason to worry.

3. The Trade Desk

Finally, lets talk about The Trade Desk (TTD) and why you should add it to your list of stocks to invest in before May ends.

The Trade Desk gives the advertising industry a cloud-based solution that optimizes ad-buying. More than just buying traditional advertising, it uses consumer data and campaign management tools to guarantee that advertisers get the most bang for their buck.

 

Not only has covid not been an issue for the company, it has even accelerated The Trade Desk’s success. Last year, its revenue increased by 26%, almost doubling per-share profits. Analysts anticipate sales growth of 35% for 2021, with a rebounding economy helping out. While these analysts are also predicting an earnings lull in 2021, understand that this company has not failed to beat earnings estimates since 2017. The current outlook seems to underestimate what could happen.

However, the stock is having relatively bad performance since it reached a high in December. While most of the 28% price pullback since then can be said to be about profit-taking, it’s not like The Trade Desk is not doing great.

 

Author: Scott Dowdy
So far, over 2 million people have signed a petition for $2,000 monthly checks for every American citizen. This petition was created by Stephanie Bonin, a restaurant owner from Colorado, and was first put onto the website Change.org last year.In the petition description, she remarks that she is among the millions of people who fear for their financial future due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “With businesses closing across the nation, many are already jobless. This is catastrophic for American working families, mine included.”

“I’m asking for Congress to support families with a monthly $2,000 payment and continuing regular payments during the crisis,” said Bonin. “Otherwise, workers who have been laid off along with self-employed people and those dealing with lowered hours will struggle to afford food and rent,” she said.

“It took Congress nine months to pass a second stimulus, and moments to spend it. Another single check will not solve our issues – people are simply too far behind,” says Bonin.

The last check was sent out earlier this year.  The amount was $1,400 for every American. Since the spring of 2020, the IRS has given almost $800 billion in relief payments.

More than 75 Democrats have called for monthly checks. However, while liberals are calling for monthly checks, Republicans remain skeptical of the agenda, fearing what could also be forced into such legislation.

Author: Blake Ambrose
Dogecoin has almost doubled since April, rising more than 50% after a surge pushed by internet users tried to force the coin to $1, as plans for a “Doge Day” failed last month.

The meme-based crypto increased 55% to reach $0.68 on Wednesday morning, it is now at $0.65.

Dogecoin increased by 450% to an all-time high of $0.32 during April of this year.

Wednesday’s move pushed its market cap to more than $70bn to be the fourth-largest coin in terms of valuation. This is larger than the value of coronavirus vaccine maker Moderna (MRNA).

For context, Amazon (AMZN) took over a decade to give a 10,000% return. It has taken dogecoin only five months.

This comes after support for the two coins has increased. With popular exchange Gemini announcing on Wednesday that it will now support dogecoin, and eToro also adding the cryptocurrency to its online trading app this week.

Meanwhile, bitcoin (BTC-USD) has struggled to reach the record highs that it had last month. the leading crypto had a pullback of 2.9% to $54,564.

Ethereum (ETH-USD), which is the second popular crypto, was also down by more than 2% to $3,284 on Wednesday.

Author: Steven Sinclaire

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