Trading on the U.S. election hasn’t really started yet: Pluribus Labs

Trading on the U.S. election hasn't really started yet: Pluribus Labs

Pluribus Labs Head of Strategy Greg Williamson suggests that trading on the U.S. election is yet to get fully underway. Homeowners are again starting to flock to the state-backed property insurer of last resort as the private market becomes economically stressed, the president of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. warned Wednesday. Stock futures traded mixed Wednesday evening, but mostly hugged the flat line as equity investors took a pause from the heavy selling earlier in the day. Bill Zito on the verge of a major move The revelations are the latest in a long list of blows for the city’s arts and live entertainment community. The housing market is on fire, a record jump in sales this summer. In July, 5.86 million existing homes sold, a nearly 25 percent increase. And the trend is expected to show it continued into August. The Federal Reserve also announced interest rates will stay a record low near or at zero for the next …

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Florida property insurance market is ‘unhealthy,’ Citizens chief warns

Florida property insurance market is ‘unhealthy,’ Citizens chief warns

TALLAHASSEE — Homeowners are again starting to flock to the state-backed property insurer of last resort as the private market becomes economically stressed, the president of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. warned Wednesday.

Citizens President and CEO Barry Gilway pointed to an “unhealthy” private market that is leading to increased policies at Citizens, with the problems due primarily to litigation and rises in costs of reinsurance, which insurance companies buy to help cover losses.

“The growth is becoming extraordinary,” Gilway said during an online meeting of the Citizens Board of Governors. “And you can gloss over these numbers, but the impact they have on the overall operations is significant.”

After peaking near 1.5 million policies in 2012, Citizens has spent years trying to shed policies and move them into the private market. A healthy number for Citizens is considered around 420,000 policies, or roughly the amount it had in 2019.

But Gilway said Citizens likely will be above 540,000 policies by the end of this year, moving from 4% of the market to 5%. In South Florida, Citizens will account for about 17% of the market.

With a number of major companies scaling back coverage in South Florida or deciding they won’t cover homes older than 10 years, the forecast has Citizens growing to 625,000 policies next year, or 6% of the market, Gilway said.

Citizens is back above 500,000 policies for the first time since 2015. Citizens stood at 499,056 policies as of Aug. 31, and Gilway said the company has been netting 2,500 to 3,000 new policies a week.

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“This is exacerbated because nobody’s leaving (Citizens), because there’s no capacity in the overall marketplace,” Gilway said.

Citizens’ rate proposals for 2021 are expected to be released before a December Board of Governors meeting.

Citizens is also expected by the December meeting to receive a study from Florida State University’s Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center that is looking at steps to further reduce exposure and actions the Legislature can take to slow the movement of policies from private insurers to Citizens.

While Citizens has a 10% cap on annual rate increases, excluding coverage changes and surcharges, private companies have been seeking rate increases of 12% to 30%.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation held a public hearing Tuesday on a proposal by First Community Insurance Co. to raise rates by an average of 24.5%.

Last year, the Citizens board approved a statewide average increase of 8.2% for homeowners, condominium owners and renters.


Author: Jim Turner

Stock market news live updates: Stock futures trade mixed after selloff

Stock market news live updates: Stock futures trade mixed after selloff


In the investing game, it’s not only about what you buy; it’s about when you buy it. One of the most common pieces of advice thrown around the Street, “buy low” is touted as a tried-and-true tactic.Sure, the strategy seems simple. Stock prices naturally fluctuate on the basis of several factors like earnings results and the macro environment, amongst others, with investors trying to time the market and determine when stocks have hit a bottom. In practice, however, executing on this strategy is no easy task.On top of this, given the volatility that has ruled the markets over the last few weeks, how are investors supposed to gauge when a name is flirting with a bottom? That’s where the Wall Street pros come in.These expert stock pickers have identified three compelling tickers whose current share prices land close to their 52-week lows. Noting that each is set to take back off on an upward trajectory, the analysts see an attractive entry point. Using TipRanks’ database, we found out that the analyst consensus has rated all three a Strong Buy, with major upside potential also on tap.Progenity (PROG)Offering clear and actionable genetic results, Progenity specializes in providing testing services. The company started trading on Nasdaq in June and saw its shares tumbling 44% since then. With shares changing hands for $8.11, several members of the Street recommend pulling the trigger before it heats up.Piper Sandler analyst Steven Mah points out that even against the backdrop of COVID-19, PROG managed to deliver with its Q2 2020 performance. “We are encouraged by the recovery in late Q2 2020 with 75,000 accessioned tests (~79,000 in Q1 2020), driven by noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) and carrier screening,” the analyst noted. Expounding on this, Mah stated, “Progenity did not provide guidance, but June test volumes of ~28,000 were strong (Q1 2020 monthly average was ~26,000) which we believe showcases the durability of its reproductive tests and the success that Progenity has in co-marketing and attaching carrier screening to the more essential NIPT. Of note, despite the pandemic disruptions, Progenity was able to maintain its leading pre-COVID test turnaround times.”Additionally, health insurer Aetna is temporarily extending coverage of average-risk NIPT until year-end as a result of the pandemic, with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) also expected to endorse average-risk in the future given its clinical utility, in Mah’s opinion.Reflecting another positive, the fourth generation NIPT (single-molecule counting assay) test was able to measure fetal fraction, a key milestone according to Mah, and will continue to be developed into 2021. As the technology could potentially be applied to DNA, RNA, epigenetic markers and proteins for additional clinical applications such as oncology, the analyst is looking forward to the completion of the preeclampsia verification in Q4 2020 and a possible 2H21 launch. “We believe preeclampsia (~2.3 billion serviceable market) is a major differentiator for Progenity, allowing them to cross-sell across the full-continuum of reproductive testing,” the analyst added.If that wasn’t enough, PROG signed its first GI Precision Medicine partnership agreement with a top-20 Pharma company in August. The Oral Biotherapeutic Delivery System (OBDS), an ingestible drug and device combination designed to precisely deliver biologics systemically through a needle-free liquid jet injection into the submucosal tissues of the small intestine, is set to be utilized as part of the collaboration. Mah commented, “We believe Progenity can sign additional Pharma deals and look forward to the newsflow coming out on this front.”To sum it all up, Mah said, “We believe Progenity shares are undervalued given the robust recovery in the core testing business and multiple upcoming growth catalysts.”To this end, Mah rates PROG an Overweight (i.e. Buy) along with a $17 price target. Should his thesis play out, a twelve-month gain of 105% could potentially be in the cards. (To watch Mah’s track record, click here)Are other analysts in agreement? They are. Only Buy ratings, 4, in fact, have been issued in the last three months. Therefore, the message is clear: PROG is a Strong Buy. Given the $13.33 average price target, shares could climb 60% higher in the next year. (See PROG stock analysis on TipRanks)Tactile Systems Technology (TCMD)Developing at-home therapy devices, Tactile Systems Technology wants to provide new treatments for lymphedema, which occurs when the lymphatic system is impaired, disrupting normal transport of fluid within the body, and chronic venous insufficiency. Down 52% year-to-date, its $32.67 share price lands close to its $29.47 52-week low. Thus, with business trends improving, the Street is pounding the table.Writing for Canaccord, analyst Cecilia Furlong acknowledges that the pandemic has hampered the company, with COVID-19 weighing on both volumes and sales. In the second half of March, volumes were down 50% compared to the first half of the month, and TCMD’s patient volumes in April and May remained challenged. That being said, trends started to improve at the end of May.“Going forward, given the vast majority of TCMD’s clinician customers practice in outpatient or office-based settings, we remain positive on TCMD’s ability to demonstrate better insulation against COVID impacts and likely experience a greater bounce-back relative to overall med-tech volume trends, with TCMD further benefitting from its expanding using of technology to remotely engage with clinicians and support patients,” Furlong explained.The analyst added, “Furthermore, recent trends among some providers to prescribe Flexitouch (an advanced intermittent pneumatic compression device to self-manage lymphedema and nonhealing venous leg ulcers) earlier along the therapy process, as a means to reduce in-person contact, could provide upside near term, as well as potentially transition to a longer-term tailwind.”On top of this, Furlong is also optimistic about new CEO Dan Reuvers and the reprioritization of the company’s investment and market development efforts. TCMD will shift focus away from its acquired Airwear product line, with it redirecting investments toward its Flexitouch and Entre (a pneumatic compression device used to assist in the home management of chronic swelling and venous ulcers associated with lymphedema and chronic venous insufficiency) products.“Given significant under-penetration in the lymphedema/phlebolymphedema market targeted by Flexitouch alongside the large patient population with limited treatment options today targeted by the firm’s Head & Neck platform, we view the combination of education and clinical data as key to further developing and penetrating these markets… Going forward, we expect management to continue to compile a broad base of clinical data to support reimbursement and drive broad adoption,” Furlong commented.All of this prompted Furlong to keep a Buy rating and $62 price target on the stock. This target conveys her confidence in TCMD’s ability to soar 90% in the next year. (To watch Furlong’s track record, click here)In general, other analysts are on the same page. With 3 Buy ratings and 1 Hold, the word on the Street is that TCMD is a Strong Buy. The $62.33 average price target brings the upside potential to 91%. (See TCMD stock analysis on TipRanks)uniQure N.V. (QURE)Last but not least we have uniQure, which delivers curative gene therapies that could potentially transform the lives of patients. Even though shares have fallen 44% year-to-date to $40, not much higher than its 52-week low of $36.20, multiple analysts still have high hopes.Representing SVB Leerink, 5-star analyst Joseph Schwartz acknowledges that shares struggled after news broke of its collaboration and licensing agreement with CSL Behring for AMT-061, QURE’s gene therapy for Hemophilia B, he argues the “shareholder base turnover is likely now complete as investors and QURE shift focus to next-in-line AMT-130, its AAV5 gene therapy for Huntington’s Disease (HD).”Schwartz further added, “With the M&A premium now out of the stock, we see the QURE’s current level as an attractive buying opportunity for those investors interested in the company’s up and coming CNS gene therapies, internal manufacturing, and robust intellectual property and knowhow.”Looking more closely at the agreement with CSL Behring, QURE will be tasked with the completion of the pivotal Phase 3 HOPE-B trial as well as the manufacturing process validation and manufacturing supply of AMT-061.According to management, 26-week Factor IX (FIX) data from all 54 patients enrolled in the trial remains on track, and topline data from the pivotal trial is still slated to read out by YE20. It should be mentioned that in a Phase 2b dose-confirmation study, QURE reported 41% FIX activity out to one year. Additionally, Schwartz points out that with HOPE-B progressing as planned, QURE has continued its manufacturing process validation work ahead of the anticipated BLA/MAA submissions in the U.S. and EU in 2021.On top of this, as part of the deal, QURE is eligible to receive more than $2 billion including a $450 million upfront cash payment, $1.6 billion in regulatory and commercial milestones and double-digit royalties ranging up to the low-twenties percentage of net product sales.“With a strengthened cash position, QURE is well funded to rapidly advance CNS assets including AMT-130 (AAV5 gene therapy for Huntington’s Disease (HD)) and AMT-150 (AAV gene therapy for Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 3/SCA3)…We continue to believe that as QURE’s CNS pipeline assets mature, the company could once again be an attractive partner to larger biopharma companies that have recently acquired many publicly traded gene therapy platforms with substantial manufacturing capabilities,” Schwartz noted.Everything that QURE has going for it convinced Schwartz to reiterate an Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating. Along with the call, he attached a $67 price target, suggesting 68% upside potential from current levels. (To watch Schwartz’s track record, click here)What does the rest of the Street have to say? 9 Buys and 3 Holds have been issued in the last three months, so the consensus rating is a Strong Buy. In addition, the $69.89 average price target indicates 75% upside potential. (See QURE stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for beaten-down 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.


Author: Emily McCormick·ReporterSeptember 24, 2020, 12:43 AM

Report: Florida Panthers trade of defenseman Mike Matheson to Pittsburgh for Patric Hornqvist

Report: Florida Panthers trade of defenseman Mike Matheson to Pittsburgh for Patric Hornqvist “in progress”

Former Florida Panthers goaltender Kevin Weekes lifted the hopes of many a Panthers fan when he tweeted the following at 11:17 a.m. this morning.

Patric Hornqvist, 33, has three years left to go on his current deal, which carries a $5.3 million cap hit. Mike Matheson, who was removed from the lineup after two dreadful qualifying round games against the New York Islanders, has an unpalatable six years remaining on his contract that comes with a $4.875 million AAV.

Hopes were high and then this happened…

I’m told there’s a “glitch” with the FLA/PIT trade. It was definitely in progress. We will see if it gets worked out.

Not sure what the hang up is, but this just turned up on twitter, so the “glitch” could be a rather simple one.

Per Penguins source, the reason for the trade holdup:

The Penguins have been unable to reach Patric Hornqvist to make sure he approves the trade to Florida.

While Hornqvist is six years older than Matheson he is still a useful NHLer, who put up 17 goals and 32 points in 52 games last season. Matheson, on the other hand, is a player who has regressed and looks more suited to playing in the AHL right now so this would be a huge win for new Florida GM Bill Zito.

Latest holdup update

It appears as if the Hornqvist/Matheson deal is being held up due to an insurance issue — the ability to fully insure contracts against injury.


Author: Todd Little

In NYC, coronavirus cancels Met Opera, Times Square in-person New Year’s Eve celebrations

In NYC, coronavirus cancels Met Opera, Times Square in-person New Year’s Eve celebrations

Times Square, which becomes a sea of people and confetti each Dec. 31, is going to be unrecognizable as Americans turn the calendar to 2021. And that’s just the latest change in what’s shaking out to be a different kind of winter for New York City.

Besides the announcement Wednesday of the largely virtual event on New Year’s Eve, the Metropolitan Opera said it was canceling its entire upcoming season.

For this year’s Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration, a “virtual world” and “complementary broadcast app” will be available to viewers, though there will still be a small group of in-person honorees, according to a statement Wednesday from event organizers. The announcement was accompanied by a 35-second video clip that shows an animated version of Times Square with the iconic ball drop. Organizers said they are still working through the specifics but that there will be a broadcast of the ball drop and some live entertainment elements in Times Square executed with safety in mind.

Around 1 million people usually attend the event, according to the Times Square Alliance. 

“Any opportunity to be live in Times Square will be predetermined and extremely limited due to COVID-19 restrictions,” Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, said in a statement. 

The Met Opera said it made its decision to cancel its 2020-21 season based on the advice of health officials and the group nature of its rehearsals and performances, according to a statement. The season typically runs from September through May. The organization added that it would not be safe to resume performances until a vaccine is widely available and when masks and social distancing are no longer required. 

When the city went into lockdown in March, the Met canceled its performances through December of this year.

People who bought tickets to various performances for the 2021-22 season will be automatically credited to their Met Opera accounts within the next 10 days, according to the organization. Money can also be donated or used to purchase tickets in the future. 

Also see: These N.Y. entrepreneurs did the unthinkable during COVID-19

Unions with members who work in Met productions were unhappy with the announcement and lamented that the organization had not worked harder to find alternate or hybrid-performance models.

The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), in a statement to its members obtained by MarketWatch, wrote that it was “disappointed that the Met has peremptorily announced this cancellation, rather than engaging with its artists or AGMA to find creative paths to create opera this spring.” It also called on the Met to “innovate and, just like other large and small arts organizations across the country have done, find ways to get our members back to work, even if they can’t physically be on the Met stage.”

The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Committee, whose nine members are part of the American Federal of Musicians Local 802 union, pointed out that other orchestras in the U.S. are adapting to the coronavirus pandemic and still connecting with their communities. 

“Simply stating that labor costs must be cut is not a solution or plan for the future; especially in light of the fact that no labor costs have been paid by the Met over the last seven months,” the committee said in a statement to MarketWatch. 

Read: Everything you need to know about what it would take for the FDA to approve a COVID-19 vaccine

Ned Hanlon, 36, is a bass in the Met Opera’s full-time chorus, and usually sings in roughly 170 performances a year. He has health insurance while the opera is shut down but is not being paid. 

“This is a devastating blow for all the artists that work at the Met,” Hanlon told MarketWatch. 

“I don’t know when I’m going to perform again,” he continued. “I love being on stage. That’s what I do. And we can’t right now.” 


Author: Azure Gilman

With thriving housing market, experts talk economic future

With thriving housing market, experts talk economic future

The housing market is on fire, a record jump in sales this summer. In July, 5.86 million existing homes sold, a nearly 25 percent increase. And the trend is expected to show it continued into August.

The Federal Reserve also announced interest rates will stay a record low near or at zero for the next few years. Those factors are driving up the value of homes.

Zillow says Florida homes are up 3.6%.

We spoke with one of our area’s top economists to find out what he believes our financial future holds.

Mortgage rates are down, and he housing market is heating up.

“When rates are down that low, I mean, the money is almost free,” said Tom Smythe, a FGCU professor of finance.

Smythe said there could be a downside.

“We’ve seen before sometimes the market gets a little bit ahead of itself,” Smythe said.

That’s the like the way it did in 2008 when the housing market collapsed and the great recession took hold of the economy.

“I think we’d have to see say 6 months from now if the housing market is still on sort of a steady sharp incline relative to what it is today,” Smythe said.

For John Silvia, Wells Fargo’s former chief financial officer, he doesn’t see that happening here in Florida.

“We have such a variety of properties and locations, plus, no matter how you say it, it’s a Sunshine State and has no income tax,” Silvia said. “That may seem incredibly simple, but for a lot of people, apartments and townhomes in the city, they can’t do that.”

Both economists told us what will put the country back on solid economic ground is a vaccine people can trust and effective as treatment for the coronavirus.

A difference between the recession in 2008 and in 2020 is that household income is relatively stable because of the stimulus and unemployment checks Americans received from the government.

Silvia also said a consequence of the current economic downturn is the fact that people have lost jobs that will never come back.

“I think for 80-90 percent of America, we’re recovering quite nicely,” Silvia said. “But the problem you run into is every recession means there are some people who are displaced.”



Trading on the U.S. election hasn't really started yet: Pluribus Labs

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