30 Oct 2020

feedYahoo Finance

Cruise Ships Cleared by CDC to Plan Return to U.S. Waters

Cruise Ships Cleared by CDC to Plan Return to U.S. Waters(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that it would lift a ban on cruises in U.S. waters, even as government scientists warned that ships remain vulnerable to deadly Covid-19 outbreaks.The agency provided a list of detailed requirements that cruise lines must meet to resume U.S. operations -- meaning that ships could return to U.S. ports in the next few months."This framework provides a pathway to resume safe and responsible sailing," CDC Director Robert Redfield said in the statement.Yet with its statement Friday, the CDC said recent outbreaks show cruise travel "facilitates and amplifies" Covid-19 transmission even at reduced passenger capacities and would pose a risk of fueling spread without proper oversight.The decision, which comes as coronavirus cases are surging in several parts of the U.S., ends a ban that had been in place since March 14. The CDC last month had recommended extending the ban to February, but Vice President Mike Pence, who chairs the White House Coronavirus Task Force, overruled that proposal, according to two people familiar with the matter.Getting back to sea may not be simple. The initial phase will require cruise operators to "demonstrate adherence to testing, quarantine and isolation, and social distancing requirements to protect crew members while they build the laboratory capacity needed to test crew and future passengers," the agency said.Carnival Corp., the largest operator, gained as much as 12% in New York trading. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. was up as much as 7.4% while Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. rose 8.2%.Catastrophic ShutdownThe seven-month shutdown has been catastrophic for an industry that was booming before the pandemic struck. It has cost thousands of jobs and generated billions of dollars in losses. Since the end of January, the three biggest cruise lines, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian, have lost tens of billions of dollars in combined market capitalization.Since the order was imposed in March, the CDC has faced intense pressure by the world's biggest cruises lines and the White House to end it, Bloomberg reported.The cruise industry has gone on a blitz this year to convince the Trump administration to lift the order, doubling the number of lobbyists who targeted the White House, Congress and numerous federal agencies, disclosures show. Major cruise lines also have presented detailed plans to make ships safer from Covid-19, with recommendations that include sailing initially with fewer passengers, eliminating food buffets and requiring face masks and some testing for the virus onboard.The CDC can impose no-sail orders due to public health threats under federal law, but Pence and the task force view the CDC in an advisory role, along with other federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, according to a senior administration official who asked not to be named to discuss the task force's approach.That view has led the White House to clash with CDC cruise-ship experts and overrule them in some cases. Pence's decision last month to override extending the ban to February was first reported by Axios. The White House task force intervened similarly last spring to shorten an extension proposed by the CDC, according to three people familiar with the matter.Return UnclearIt's unclear when cruise lines will return to filling ships with passengers again at U.S. ports, despite the end of the no-sail order. Cruise lines had already voluntarily halted cruises until Oct. 31 and canceled many cruises planned for the rest of 2020. Carnival recently said that "November 2020 operations will not be feasible," but there's solid demand for bookings next year. "The company believes this demonstrates the long-term potential demand for cruising," Carnival said in an Oct. 12 statement.The CDC has made it clear cruises are a long way from being safe from coronavirus. As of Sept. 28, 124 cruise ships, or 82% of the U.S. fleet, had suffered Covid outbreaks, killing at least 41 people and sickening 3,689, the CDC said late last month. And recent cruises in other countries suffered Covid outbreaks despite implementing the same measures U.S. cruise lines are proposing.Paul Golding, an analyst with Macquarie Group, said the cruise lines face hard decisions irrespective of the CDC lifting the no-sail order. Rising Covid cases will weigh on consumer sentiment, he said. "It's not likely to be a watershed moment for cruise resumption," he said of the CDC decision.(Updates with details of plan from third paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

30 Oct 2020 7:00pm GMT

PetSmart Pulls Debt Deal for Chewy After Buyers Balk

PetSmart Pulls Debt Deal for Chewy After Buyers Balk(Bloomberg) -- PetSmart Inc. is shelving a $4.65 billion debt sale that would have helped finance its split from its online counterpart Chewy Inc. after struggling to get buyers on board.The company withdrew its joint junk bond and leveraged loan offering, citing market conditions, according to emailed comments from a PetSmart spokesman Friday. The financing, part of a plan to separate the companies led by private equity firm BC Partners, had yet to generate enough orders to match what it was trying to raise, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named discussing a private transaction.It's the latest transaction to be pulled in the high-yield market, where retail funds saw their first outflow in a month amid a larger selloff from a resurgent coronavirus. Investors had yet to warm up to the deal even after extracting more favorable terms from the BC Partners-led group earlier this week, Bloomberg reported.Representatives for Barclays Plc, which was leading the bond offering, and JPMorgan Chase & Co., which had led the loan, declined to comment. A spokesperson for BC Partners deferred a request for comment to PetSmart.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

30 Oct 2020 6:55pm GMT

3 Biotech Stocks in the Hunt for COVID-19 Vaccine; One Analyst Calls Them a ‘Buy’

3 Biotech Stocks in the Hunt for COVID-19 Vaccine; One Analyst Calls Them a ‘Buy’Nearly a year into a global pandemic the world is still on the back of its heels. In the face of ever increasing infection rates, world economies have slowed rapidly and unemployment has increased significantly, and now governments are reconsidering shutting down entire countries once again. At the same time, the federal government has failed to pass a second stimulus package to prop up individuals who have lost their jobs and may be facing homelessness, as well as the need to help state and local governments provide a backstop against their own losses.Given this backdrop, there is a lot riding on a potential vaccine and/or cure for COVID-19. There are many approaches that a lengthy list of varying companies are taking to bring their respective product to market.Any company that does successfully bring a product to market that helps in the fight against the virus may see a significant increase in revenues as well as an in-kind increase in profits. B. Riley Securities has highlighted three biotech companies that are approaching the virus from different directions. We ran the trio through TipRanks' database to see how B. Riley's recent analysis compared to other analysts' projections.Altimmune Inc. (ALT)Altimmune is a biopharmaceutical company that develops vaccines and immune modulating therapies. Fighting the virus is likely to need both approaches, a vaccine as well as an immune therapy. With this kind of focus, Altimmune's fortunes changed quickly with the onset of the COVID pandemic.Altimmune produces AdCovid, a single dose, intranasal vaccine to protect against COVID-19. As B. Riley analyst Mayank Mamtani points out, Altimmune's products "stands out in regards to lung specific IgA and CD8+ T-Cell responses" and further states that "In our view it blocks the virus at the source within the nose and respiratory tract." AdCovid's preclinical data shows a great deal of promise.ALT stock was trading around $2 per share back in January. Once the company got involved in the fight against COVID-19, the stock jumped up to a high of $33.00 per share, but is now trading at $11; still, this is a move of +450% year-to-date. Given what Altimmune has going for it, and the potential upside, this prompted Mamtani to give Altimmune a Buy rating in his recent analysis. The analyst has a price target of $31, suggesting a potential upside of 182% from current levels. (To watch Mamtani's track record, click here).As it turns out, there are 4 Buy ratings equating to a Strong Buy on ALT with a low price target of $31 (coming from B. Riley), an average Price target of $49 and a high price target of $80. The average Price Target equates to a potential upside move of 345%. (See ALT stock analysis on TipRanks)Arcturus Therapeutics (ARCT)Arcturus Therapeutics focuses on RNA medicines with a focus on respiratory diseases. COVID, as it may be, is a virus that attacks the respiratory system. Arcturus has a proprietary LNP delivery system that enables a safer, more deliverable method of bioavailable therapy. Regarding this method and Arcturus' product advancements to this, B. Riley's Mayank Mamtani noted, "Along with the proprietary LNP delivery platform, rapidly biodegradable LUNAR, alongside self-transcribing and replicating mRNA (STARR) technology, implies significant safety and durability advantage."Arcturus has a strong collaboration with Duke University and the Singapore Economic Development Corp to develop LUNAR-Cov19 (ARCT-021) -- a self-replicating mRNA vaccine the might be sufficient to address the Coronavirus outbreak. The potential COVID-19 vaccine is now in a Phase 1/2 trial, and upcoming clinical results are expected in 4Q20. Given the backing and the product development, there appears to be significant potential with this product.ARCT stock started the year at $10 per share but since has jumped to today's price of $53 this is a 430% year-to-date increase.Considering the potential for the drug making it to market, Mamtani gives ARCT a Buy rating along with an $82 price target. This equates to an upside potential of 52% from current levels.Overall, what does the street have to say about ARCT? There are a total of 6 Buy ratings and all add up to a Strong Buy consensus rating. With an average price target of $75.17, the stock is expected to rise nearly 39% over the next months. (See ARCT stock analysis on TipRanks)Heat Biologics Inc (HTBX)Heat Biologics is a biopharmaceutical that develops immunotherapies. In development is a T-Cell activation platform that is proprietary and is a strong contender in the fight against COVID-19.There are similarities to SARS-Cov-1 from 2003 and today's COVID-19. As it turns out, and as bad as it sounds, having previously contracted the original SARS-Cov-1 in 2003 would have been a good thing. Patients that recovered from the original SARS-Cov-1 and contracted the current COVID-19, are seeing long-lasting T-Cells memory and are generally asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. Given this, Heat Biologics is using an approach to mimics the original SARS-Cov-1 to provide immunity against COVID-19.Heat Biologics is in collaboration with Waisman Biomanufacturing to manufacture COVID-19 and are preparing to deliver its products to market. As B. Riley's Mamtani points out in his recent analysis, "we view single-dose format of gp96-IgG to serve as complementary to advanced C-19 vaccine candidates in developing combination-based approaches aimed at enhancing T cell immunity."Given the potential of the immunotherapies and T-Cell activation Platform and the partnership with Waisman Biomanufacturing, this prompted Mamtani to place, once again, a Buy rating on Heat Biologics shares. The analyst suggests that if everything goes as planned, HTBX will be a $4 stock in the next 12 months, implying nearly 245% return.As for other Wall Street analysts, there is only one additional rating on HTBX, which is also bullish. The average price target among the two stands at $4.50, which suggests a potential upside of a whopping 288%. (See HTBX stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for coronavirus 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.

30 Oct 2020 6:40pm GMT

feedGlobal Economy

Fed lowers bar for access to small-business lending programme

US central bank has come under pressure to boost usage of the lending facility

30 Oct 2020 3:59pm GMT

Eurozone economic rebound leaves output below pre-pandemic levels

Fresh social restrictions are likely to undermine recovery in the rest of the year

30 Oct 2020 12:54pm GMT

FirstFT: Today’s top stories

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30 Oct 2020 11:23am GMT