Apple’s fundamental and technical strengths do not match its high stock price Two papers presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress on Monday examined patients who were suffering health aftereffects of… Russia and Syria plan to sign an economic pact before the end of the year that is partly aimed at circumventing U.S. sanctions, Russia’s deputy prime minister said Monday as he led a high-level delegation on a visit to Damascus. Sep 07, 2020 (CDN Newswire via Comtex) —
MarketsandResearch.biz has published a new report titled, Global Folic Acid Tablets Market 2020 by Manufacturers,…
CUPERTINO, CA – OCTOBER 4, 2011: Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks introduces the new iPhone 4s at the … [+] company’s headquarters. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
The Wall Street Journal’s “Intelligent Investor” Jason Zweig discusses the age-old problem with successful growth companies in “Apple Still Wears the Market Crown.”
History is the key to understanding where Apple is now
Apple had a mixed beginning for many years, from the time Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne founded the company in 1976. Jobs, after departing in 1985, became CEO again in 1997.
For the first few years, he had to reformulate the company and begin his innovation successes. This graph shows Apple’s stock during the process and the eventual foundation in 2003 from which Jobs made Apple into a great growth company. Therefore, I have chosen December 31, 2003, as the best beginning for understanding Apple today.
Apple stock from 1995 through mid-2005
After a final Steve Jobs-influenced growth spurt, revenue growth slowed markedly. It was a natural development without Jobs’ innovative prowess.
(This graph uses a log scale, so the growth rate can be seen as a straight line.)
Apple’s historical growth: Total Revenues (index)
Gross profit margin
Jobs’ ability to maintain a high profit margin was always seen as an outstanding characteristic tied to his innovation. Without him, investors worried that the margin would shrink as products became tired.
The graph shows the gross profit margin (revenue minus direct product/service costs), while below Jobs’ highs, has been well maintained.
Apple historical growth: Gross profit margin
Slower revenue growth times profit margin equals slower profit growth
This graph comes as no surprise – high profits, but growing at a slower pace
Apple historical growth: Revenue and pretax income
Now to an investors’ favorite measure: Earnings per share
All things equal, earnings per share (EPS) should track profit growth. However, things can be done to tweak this growth higher. Here is the history.
Apple historical growth: Revenue, pretax income and EPS
Note the slightly less growth in Jobs’ years. The effect was due primarily to option pay (the EPS are “diluted” by the added shares from the underlying option shares). So, why the growth after Cook took over? That explanation comes below…
Debt becomes a financial tool
Once on a roll, Apple began to build sizeable cash reserves. So, no need to borrow. Additionally, to avoid draining the cash, Jobs paid no stock dividends and made no share repurchases.
Enter Cook and Wall Street advisers, and Apple begins to borrow – about $100 billion over three years. Since the end of 2017, borrowings have equaled bond repayments.
Apple historical data: Debt
Debt proceeds and cash balances start being spent to boost common share prices
Wall Street’s hands are clearly visible when those favorite three numbers (share price, EPS and dividend yield) get a little help from their financial maneuverings.
Apple historical data: Financial actions and effect on cash
While it may not have been designed this way, note that, at least coincidentally, bond proceeds covered dividend payments. And that means the cumulative share repurchases were paid for with cash. (Note that amount now totals over 1/3 $trillion.)
Apple historical data: Common stock repurchased and outstanding
Another view of share repurchases
Repurchasing by corporations was designed to help firms step into a weak period and help “stabilize” the share price (much like Wall Street does following an IPO). A key rule was no purchases could be done to move the stock price up. Later, particularly as option pay became popular, repurchasing was done in larger and larger amounts during normal market periods (still within the rules).
The primary benefit of doing these repurchases was to boost EPS growth by reducing the divisor – shares. With a cash-rich company like Apple, such a strategy was an easy decision.
The secondary benefit is a boost to share price, but not necessarily by share shrinkage, alone. Rather, it is increased EPS growth rate and the popular view that share repurchases are as good as dividends (perhaps more so because of avoiding taxes on dividend income).
Here, then, is what has happened to Apple…
Apple historical data: Repurchases, stock performance and EPS growth
And here is the quarterly pattern of repurchases compared to the stock’s performance. Note that “stabilization” seems to have become less a factor over the past couple of years.
Apple historical data: Quarterly share repurchases vs stock performance
A last issue that affects many companies, including Apple, is now part of growth history (in other words, it no longer carries an asterisk)
The December 2017 tax bill gave profitable companies a significant boost. While the effect on Apple is real, remember that it had nothing directly to do with management skills or company strengths.
Apple historical data: Tax provision and tax rate
The bottom line: Apple has done well under Tim Cook, but not better than under Steve Jobs, as some commentators have suggested
The important point of that statement is to remove any optimism surrounding Apple because of its pre-Tim Cook history. Yes, Apple is growing, but not as much as per share earnings imply – and certainly not in line with the stock price rise.
Therefore, now looks like an appropriate time to worry about Apple’s lack of nearby technical support, as shown in the graph below. And, if Apple reverses course, we can expect other growth stocks to get hit as well.
Apple’s dramatic runup leaves it at technical risk of…
Apple stock chart for YTD 2020, showing main moving averages
Author: John S. Tobey
Some COVID-19 patients suffer lung and heart damage, but there’s encouraging news for these ‘long haulers’
Up until she fell ill with COVID-19, Yvonne Cassidy, a New York-based novelist, said she thought there were only three types of COVID: “The mild version, the version that put you in hospital and the version that killed you. I didn’t know there were others like me, stuck on a post-COVID plateau, not sick anymore, but not better either.”
Two months after being diagnosed with coronavirus, she found it difficult to even walk one block. “It turned out we were a group who had a name: We were COVID long-haulers. The Mayo Clinic and medical journals had published pieces about us,” she said. “We had support groups on social media. We even had a hashtag. We were frustrated and afraid.”
“With my doctor’s guidance I introduced a very slow five-minute jog into my already slow walking schedule. The first time I did it, my chest burned and I doubled over, hands on knees, gasping for breath,” Cassidy, who had toyed with training for a marathon, wrote in an essay for MarketWatch. And today? “The goal isn’t 26 miles. Today’s goal was 30 minutes.”
Cassidy was fortunate. Some younger COVID-19 patients who were otherwise healthy have had blood clots and strokes. Many “long-haulers” — COVID-19 patients who have continued showing symptoms for months after the initial infection — report neurological problems including confusion, difficulty concentrating, heart and lung issues, fatigue, insomnia, plus loss of taste and/or smell.
“There is evidence now that the virus can directly attack heart muscle cells, and there’s also evidence that the cytokine storm that the virus triggers in the body not only damages the lungs, but can damage the heart,” according to John Swartzberg, a clinical professor emeritus of infectious diseases and vaccinology in the the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program.
“One thing we didn’t anticipate was that the virus seems to accelerate a great deal of scarring in the lungs,” he said in an interview with the university. “What we really fear is long-term shortness of breath that could extend anywhere from being very mild to severely limiting.” He found it “disturbing” that one report of CT scans of asymptomatic patients were left with some scar tissue.
Some of these symptoms can persist for months, according to the Mayo Clinic. “The virus can damage the lungs, heart and brain, which increases the risk of long-term health problems.” Most people recover completely within a few weeks, “but some people — even those who had mild versions of the disease — continue to experience symptoms after their initial recovery,” it added.
“Older people and people with many serious medical conditions are the most likely to experience lingering COVID-19 symptoms,” the clinic added. “Although COVID-19 is seen as a disease that primarily affects the lungs, it can damage many other organs as well. This organ damage may increase the risk of long-term health problems.”
Also see:Johns Hopkins scientists examining weird side effects of COVID-19 suggest one way coronavirus ‘gains a foothold in the body’
Although COVID-19 patients can suffer long-term lung and heart damage, there is some good news for these long haulers. There’s more evidence that such aftereffects improve over time, according to a paper by a team of researchers presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress, which studied patients in a COVID-19 “hot spot” in the Tyrolean region of Austria.
Some 86 patients out of a sample of 150 people were scheduled to return for evaluation 6, 12 and 24 weeks after their discharge from hospital. During these visits, clinical examinations, laboratory tests, arterial blood analysis of oxygen and carbon dioxide, lung function tests, computed tomography scans and echocardiograms (on the heart’s chambers and valves) were carried out.
At the time of their first visit, more than half of the patients had at least one persistent symptom, predominantly breathlessness and coughing, and computer tomography or CT scans showed lung damage in 88% of patients. However, by week 12 after discharge, symptoms improved and lung damage was reduced to 56%.
“The bad news is that people show lung impairment from COVID-19 weeks after discharge; the good news is that the impairment tends to ameliorate over time, which suggests the lungs have a mechanism for repairing themselves,” said Sabina Sahanic, a clinical Ph.D student at the University Clinic in Innsbruck and part of the team that carried out the study.
The average age of the 86 patients was 61 and 65% of them were male. Unlike Cassidy, nearly half of them were current or former smokers and 65% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were overweight or obese. Eighteen (21%) had been in an intensive care unitÜ, 16 (19%) underwent invasive mechanical ventilation, and the average length of stay in hospital was 13 days.
The CT scans indicated that overall lung damage decreased from week 6 to week 12. Damage from inflammation and fluid in the lungs caused by COVID-19 was present in 74 patients (88%) at 6 weeks and 48 patients (56%) at 12 weeks. “We did not observe any severe coronavirus-associated heart dysfunction in the post-acute phase,” Sahanic said.
“The findings from this study show the importance of implementing structured follow-up care for patients with severe COVID-19 infection,” she added. “Importantly, CT unveiled lung damage in this patient group that was not identified by lung function tests. Knowing how patients have been affected long-term by the coronavirus might enable symptoms and lung damage to be treated much earlier.”
This study is also supported by an article for primary-care physicians that was published last month in the British Medical Journal. It said that around 10% of patients who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 remain unwell beyond three weeks, and a smaller proportion for months. This was based on a study in which people log their ongoing symptoms on a smartphone app.
This percentage, however, is lower than that cited in many published observational studies. A recent U.S. study found that only 65% of people had returned to their previous level of health 14 to 21 days after a positive test, which has been the case with people who like Yvonne Cassidy who no longer have the virus, but have the antibodies.
Dr. Dixie Harris, a pulmonologist at the Intermountain Healthcare hospital system in Utah, told MarketWatch that coronavirus long haulers suffer shortness of breath, fatigue, memory issues, and even depression, but she too said there is “improvement over time.” She added, “Things such as prolonged symptoms — fatigue, that kind of thing — [have] been reported in MERS and SARS.”
In a second presentation to the European Respiratory Society International Congress on Monday, Yara Al Chikhanie, a Ph.D student at the Dieulefit Santé clinic for pulmonary rehabilitation and the Hp2 Lab at the Grenoble Alps University, France, said that the sooner COVID-19 patients started a pulmonary rehabilitation program after coming off ventilators, the better and faster their recovery.
She studied 19 patients who had spent an average of 3 weeks in intensive care and 2 weeks in a pulmonary ward before being transferred to the Dieulefit Santé clinic. The lack of physical movement in addition to severe infection and inflammation, lead to severe muscle loss, she said. The muscles for breathing are also affected. Most were unable to walk when they arrived at the clinic.
They underwent a test to see how far they could walk in six minutes. At the beginning, they were only able to walk barely a fifth of that distance on average, but after three weeks of pulmonary rehabilitation, this increased to an average of 43%. That is obviously still far from normal, but supervised rehabilitation helped to increase their lung capacity.
“The sooner rehabilitation started and the longer it lasted, the faster and better was the improvement in patients’ walking and breathing capacities and muscle gain,” Al Chikhanie said. “Patients who started rehabilitation in the week after coming off their ventilators progressed faster than those who were admitted after 2 weeks.”
COVID-19 has now killed at least 890,064 people worldwide, and 189,114 in the U.S., Johns Hopkins University says. As of Labor Day, the U.S. still has the world’s highest number of COVID-19 cases (6,292,206). Worldwide, there have been at least 27,208,206 confirmed cases, which mostly does not account for asymptomatic cases.
India has reported 4,204,613 COVID-19 cases, surpassing Brazil (with 4,137,521) as the country with the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the world behind the U.S. India has a rate of COVID-related death per 100,000 people of 5.3 and a case-fatality rate of 1.7%. In contrast, the U.S. has a fatality rate of 57.7 per 100,000 people and a case-fatality rate of 3%.
Author: Quentin Fottrell
Russian delegation in Syria to expand trade, economic ties
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) – Russia and Syria plan to sign an economic pact before the end of the year that is partly aimed at circumventing U.S. sanctions, Russia’s deputy prime minister said Monday as he led a high-level delegation on a visit to Damascus.
Yuri Borisov said the Russian side is expecting to sign the pact on his next visit in December, adding that it includes more than forty new projects in the energy sector, reconstruction of a number of power stations and offshore oil extraction.
The agreement, he added, would “outline a new framework for trade and economic ties between the two countries for the coming years” while providing relief from U.S. sanctions, which he said were “strangling” the Syrian people.
Borisov spoke at a joint press conference with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem in Damascus after the delegation met with Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Syria faces an unprecedented economic crisis after nearly a decade of civil war and Western sanctions. The economic and financial situation has been worsened by the financial crisis in neighboring Lebanon, Syria’s main link with the outside world and where many Syrians have their money. Syria is also grappling with a coronavirus outbreak.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is visiting Damascus for the first time since 2012, also attended the news conference.
Russia has been a close ally of Assad in Syria’s devastating nine-year civil war, lending his government vital military, economic and political support. Russian troops have been fighting alongside Syrian government forces since 2015, and President Vladimir Putin has visited the war-torn country twice, including in January this year.
With the help of Russia, as well as regional ally Iran and its proxy Lebanese militia Hezbollah, Assad has largely succeeded in crushing the armed rebellion against him. The rebels are confined to the northern Idlib province, where a truce has been in place for months.
But Syria has been ruined, the economy has spiraled out of control, and the country remains divided. Turkey-backed forces control a sliver of territory along the border, and U.S.-backed Kurdish forces control an oil-rich area in the northeast.
“We have to admit that most of the areas rich in oil and gas are outside the control of the Syrian government,” Borisov said Monday. “This fact prevents the Syrian government from trading in oil, given that it is an important source of revenue.”
“The same applies to agricultural lands,” he added. “After Syria used to export grain, it now imports it. … This harms food security.”
Borisov blamed the United States for the economic deterioration in Syria, which risks reversing the government’s recent military gains, calling U.S. policies “unconstructive.”
“The most important reason for the tragic situation in Syria is the devastating situation of the United States of America, in addition to the Kurds’ unwillingness to communicate with Damascus and hand over control to the legitimate government over agricultural areas and oil fields,” Borisov said.
Lavrov also criticized U.S. and Western sanctions on Syria, saying they are “trying to strangle the Syrian people.”
“Our visit to Syria focuses on the prospect of cooperation to develop relations between the two countries in light of new developments in the region,” he said.
The Syrian pro-government Al-Watan newspaper earlier quoted Syria’s ambassador to Russia, Riad Haddad, as saying that the Russian delegation’s visit “is of special importance, given the political and economic files that will be discussed.” Those include progress by a committee discussing possible amendments to the Syrian constitution and Western sanctions on Syria, as well as efforts to fight terrorism.
Talks between government, opposition and civil society delegations resumed in Geneva late last month on a possible new constitution for the country. The U.N.’s envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, has called the talks a prospective “door-opener” to a final resolution of Syria’s long-running conflict.
The pandemic forced the postponement of an earlier meeting in March.
Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.
Author: The Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com
Global Folic Acid Tablets Market 2020 Research Strategies, Trend and Future Development Status, Forecast by 2025
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