Morgan Stanley Bets on These 3 Stocks; Sees Over 40% Upside
Did the stock market’s epic rally just need a little breather? The last few weeks have seen stocks experience their first meaningful correction since the bull market kicked off in March. Now, the question swirling around the Street is, will the rally pick back up again, or is more downside on the way?According to Morgan Stanley’s chief U.S. equity strategist Mike Wilson, uncertainty regarding the presidential election and stalemate on the next stimulus package could lead to declines in September and October. “On the correction, there’s still downside as markets digest the risk of congressional gridlock on the next fiscal deal. While we think something will ultimately get done, it will likely take another few weeks to get it over the goal line,” he noted.However, Wilson argues the recent volatility in no way signals the end of the current bull market. “We think this correction is just that, a correction in a new bull market. It’s normal for markets to pullback after such an incredible run like we’ve experienced since March. Furthermore, when a new bull market coincides with a new economic cycle, the bull market usually runs for years, not months,” the strategist explained.Taking Wilson’s outlook to heart, our focus shifted to three stocks getting a thumbs up from Morgan Stanley. As the firm’s analysts see over 50% upside potential in store for each, we used TipRanks’ database to get the full scoop.Akero Therapeutics (AKRO)With its innovative medicines designed to restore metabolic balance and halt the progression of NASH, a severe form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, Akero Therapeutics wants to address the unmet medical needs of patients from all over the world. Based on the strength of its lead candidate, Morgan Stanley is pounding the table.Representing the firm, 5-star analyst Matthew Harrison tells clients that AKRO’s treatment for NASH, efruxifermin (EFX), has a “best-in-class profile.” EFX is the company’s lead asset and was designed to mimic the biological activity of fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), which regulates multiple metabolic pathways and cellular processes, to reduce liver fat and inflammation, reverse fibrosis, increase insulin sensitivity and improve lipoproteins.According to Harrison, NASH is a complex disease, with patients usually having multiple co-morbidities like obesity, type-2 diabetes, increased triglycerides, increased LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol. “A promising therapeutic solution would not only treat the multiple components of NASH but would also have an acceptable side effect profile given the potential co-morbidities,” the analyst explained.That’s where AKRO’s therapy comes in. “In June, Akero presented best-in-class data from its Phase 2a study. This data indicates that EFX improved the two liver histological endpoints recommended by the FDA along with resulting in weight loss, improving cardiovascular health (increasing good HDL cholesterol, decreasing triglycerides, not raising bad LDL cholesterol), and improving factors related to controlling blood glucose levels. This benefit/risk profile beats the competition,” Harrison stated.Looking at the indication as a whole, Harrison views NASH as a very large opportunity given that roughly 20 million people in the U.S. suffer from the condition.The analyst, however, acknowledges there are commercial hurdles. One of these is the fact that “NASH is currently undiagnosed in all but a very small percentage of the prevalent pool since diagnosis currently requires an invasive liver biopsy.” Therefore, along with demonstrating a positive benefit/risk profile, AKRO will need to find patients and secure payer support should the candidate receive FDA approval, in Harrison’s opinion.That said, Harrison believes AKRO is up for the task. “We believe that given EFX’s clean safety profile and broad-based effects, Akero will likely largely overcome these commercial hurdles,” he commented.Harrison added, “Importantly, since Akero’s treatment is injectable, we only assume the drug will penetrate into the population of the most sick patients where there are currently at least 400,000 patients diagnosed and seeking treatment in the U.S.” To this end, he assigns a 60% probability of success, and estimates unadjusted peak sales for the U.S. and the EU will land at $4.5 billion.Based on all of the above, Harrison rates AKRO an Overweight (i.e. Buy) along with a $70 price target. Should his thesis play out, a potential twelve-month gain of 93% could be in the cards. (To watch Harrison’s track record, click here)Are other analysts in agreement? They are. Only Buy ratings, 6, in fact, have been issued in the last three months. Therefore, the message is clear: AKRO is a Strong Buy. Given the $58.50 average price target, shares could rise 61% in the next year. (See AKRO stock analysis on TipRanks)TransDigm Group (TDG)Next up we have TransDigm Group, which is one of the top producers, designers and suppliers of highly engineered aerospace components, systems and subsystems. Its products are used on nearly all commercial and military aircrafts in service today. Given its ability to weather the COVID-19 storm, Morgan Stanley sees a bright future ahead.Morgan Stanley analyst Kristine Liwag stated, “We view TransDigm as the most defensible business model in commercial aerospace.” However, this is not to say the company hasn’t been confronted with serious challenges.Over the past few years, management has had to grapple with how to price its defense business, the sustainability of its pricing strategy in aerospace, the durability of its levered balance sheet and the ability to weather a downturn. That said, Liwag remains optimistic going forward. “TDG has overcome short thesis after short thesis in the past few years and we do not expect these concerns to repeat,” she noted.According to Liwag, TDG’s “ability to hold on to margins during a global pandemic” conveys its operating strength. To this end, her estimate for EBITDA margins is well above the rest of the Street’s. The analyst also points out that the company cut its SG&A expense by $89 million year-over-year in fiscal Q3 2020. “We assume the company will retain at least half of those savings, with the remainder returning in the form of variable selling expenses,” she said.Liwag added, “We are positive on TransDigm, particularly as recovery in global air traffic would be favorable for TransDigm’s core profit maker, the aftermarket. Additionally, we view it positively that TDG has the means to acquire weaker players.”Back in April, management raised $1.5 billion of additional debt to trim liquidity risks and provide an extra cushion. “A large debt load is part of management’s strategy to provide private equity like return for its shareholders. Historically, the company has used debt to acquire businesses with similar attributes to TDG’s portfolio of 90% proprietary products and 75% sole sourced. If passenger air traffic continues to normalize, we would expect TDG to use its incremental capital to acquire struggling businesses that fit its strategy,” Liwag commented.All of this prompted Liwag to leave her bullish call and $772 price target unchanged. This target conveys her confidence in TDG’s ability to climb 48% higher in the next year. (To watch Liwag’s track record, click here)Looking at the consensus breakdown, 7 Buys and 5 Holds have been published in the last three months. Therefore, TDG gets a Moderate Buy consensus rating. Based on the $500.58 average price target, shares are poised to stay range-bound for now. (See TDG stock analysis on TipRanks)Cemex SAB (CX)Cemex counts itself as one of the leading players in the building materials industry, with the company manufacturing and distributing cement, ready-mix concrete and aggregates. As its risk/reward profile has just gotten more positive, now could be the time to snap up shares, so says Morgan Stanley.Covering the stock for Morgan Stanley, analyst Nikolaj Lippmann believes that CX’s bullish guidance for the third quarter and FY20, which was significantly ahead of consensus, was “the catalyst that builds a bridge to a favorable risk-reward shift.” On top of this, the stock is trading at 6.4 2020e EV/EBITDA, which is cheap compared to its historical performance and its peers, according to the analyst.That being said, Lippmann argues “CX is mainly a good, strong deleveraging story with a call option on what could be an exceptional U.S. cement market if the U.S. Congress approves an infrastructure package in 2021… If we get a U.S. infrastructure package beyond 2020, it would add icing to the cake, we think, and take the market from good to possibly great.”Although a large multi-year package is dependent upon the outcomes of the U.S. presidential and congressional elections, even in the base case, Lippmann expects cement to show pricing power in the U.S.It should be noted that Lippmann thinks it’s possible the next year will be relatively uneventful, but in that case, he expects the industry to pause at 90% capacity utilization and grow from there. On top of this, pricing in Mexico has been holding up. This “limits the downside risk materially and helps skew the risk-reward positively,” in Lippmann’s opinion.What else is working in CX’s favor? The cement demand year-to-date has pleasantly surprised Lippmann, with upside seen during the first stage of the pandemic. He points to DIY and Department of Transportation maintenance work during periods of low traffic, and strong residential construction as the drivers of this demand.Everything that CX has going for it convinced Lippmann to rate the stock an Overweight (i.e. Buy). Along with the call, he attached a $6 price target, suggesting 50% upside potential. (To watch Lippmann’s track record, click here)Turning to the rest of the analyst community, opinions are split almost evenly. 6 Buys and 5 Holds add up to a Moderate Buy consensus rating. At $4.16, the average price target implies 4% upside potential. (See Cemex stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for 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.
Doctors aren’t pushing an ‘untested’ seasonal flu vaccine for the coronavirus
The claim: Doctors are pushing an ‘untested’ flu vaccine with a ‘very low strain’ of the coronavirus in it
As flu season nears, doctors around the country are advocating that people receive the seasonal influenza vaccine, which health experts say is more important than usual amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They say having more defenses against the seasonal flu will help put less strain on the medical system, which will then help the country have more capacity to combat the novel coronavirus.
But some claims on social media have advised against taking the vaccine by incorrectly conflating the flu shot with a potential vaccine for the coronavirus, the latter of which is still in development.
Facebook user Madyson Marquette on Sept. 15 posted what she said was an exchange with her son’s pediatrician regarding the flu shot. During the exchange, she said, her son’s doctor told her the strain of the flu for the shot was “Covid, but a very low strain of it.” The implication is that “Covid” is referring to the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, the disease that has killed nearly 200,000 Americans.
Marquette’s post says she told the doctor she wouldn’t give her child an “untested Covid flu shot.” She alleges the doctor said they were pushing it because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking them to.
“Wake UP and for all (that) is Holy DO NOT GIVE your children a Covid vaccine!!” her post said.
Marquette’s post had more than 7,000 shares as of Friday afternoon. She did not return a USA TODAY request for additional information.
More: How the CDC failed public health officials fighting the coronavirus
The coronavirus is not a strain of the flu, and it’s not in the flu shot
Both the seasonal flu and the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, are viruses that can cause fever, cough, shortness of breath and other symptoms.
But SARS-CoV-2 is not a strain of the flu. Instead, it’s part of a family of coronaviruses that includes some that give people upper respiratory illnesses. Experts say the novel coronavirus is also much deadlier than the seasonal flu.
This year’s flu shot neither contains the coronavirus, nor elements meant to protect people from it.
More: Data, data and more data will make a coronavirus vaccine safe, USA TODAY’s vaccine panel says
Each year, researchers update the flu shot in order to protect those who receive it from strains of the influenza virus. The shot protects against either three strains (trivalent) or four strains (quadrivalent). Changes for the 2020-2021 flu vaccine include modified components to combat some updated flu strains, but there are no additions to the shot listed to combat coronaviruses, according to the CDC’s website.
A Reuters fact-check that reviewed the contents of flu vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found none contained SARS-CoV-2 or other coronaviruses.
The FDA tests and approves all influenza vaccines, according to the CDC, meaning no child or adult would be offered an “untested” flu shot by a doctor.
The flu shot, explained: It’s crucial to get a flu shot this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, doctors say
Also, neither the CDC nor any physician is pushing a coronavirus vaccine because there isn’t one to push. The vaccine remains under development, and it’s unknown for sure when one will become widely available in the United States.
According to the New York Times’ Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker, 40 vaccines are in clinical trials on humans, and at least 92 are being tested on animals. Some vaccines in China and Russia have been approved for early or limited use, but none has reached the point of being administered to the American public.
Medical professionals have also debunked the idea that those who take the flu vaccine would be more likely to test positive for the coronavirus or become sick with it. According to the CDC, there’s no evidence that either would occur. The CDC also says the flu vaccine will not protect against catching the coronavirus.
Our ruling: False
While the exact wording of the verbal exchange between the author of the Facebook post and her son’s pediatrician is unknown, her post contains multiple false claims.
COVID-19 is not a strain of the flu — it’s a coronavirus — and would not be present in a seasonal flu vaccine. The current flu shot does not contain the novel coronavirus, nor is there evidence that receiving the shot would increase or decrease a person’s chances of catching COVID-19. Each flu shot is scrutinized and approved by the FDA, so it’s not “untested.” And, no coronavirus vaccine has made it beyond the clinical trial stage in the U.S., and is thus not available to the public at this point.
For those reasons, we rate this post as FALSE.
Our fact-check sources:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 12, 2018, When is flu season
USA Today, Aug. 17, A flu shot doesn’t always protect you, but amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Sept. 18, Coronavirus resource center
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Aug. 31, What is the difference between influenza (flu) and COVID-19?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Aug. 31, Influenza (flu): What you need to know for 2020-21
Reuters, Sept. 18, Fact-check: The flu vaccine is not an untested COVID-19
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sept. 10, Influenza (flu): How flu vaccines are made
USA Today, Sept. 17, Data, data and more data will make a coronavirus vaccine safe, USA TODAY’s vaccine panel says
The New York Times, Sept. 18, Coronavirus vaccine tracker
USA Today, April 1, Fact check: Getting the flu shot doesn’t make you more (or less) likely to get the coronavirus
Ian Richardson covers the Iowa Statehouse for the Des Moines Register. Reach him at email@example.com, or on Twitter at @DMRIanR.
Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.
Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Flu shot is not an ‘untested’ vaccine to fight COVID-19
Permian in for Bright Future and More
This article was first published on Rigzone here
Here are some of Rigzone’s top upstream stories during the last week, just in case you missed them…
Permian in for Prosperous and Bright Future
According to a new report from the Permian Strategic Partnership, the Permian Basin’s future is prosperous and bright. The report outlined that the region will remain an energy epicenter for decades to come but warned that investment was necessary.
Read full article here
Big Bank Makes Bullish Oil Prediction
Oil prices will get back up to $60 per barrel before the end of next year, Citigroup Inc outlined. The move may not last long though, according to Citi.
Read full article here
Oilfield Services Poised for Transformation
One of Rigzone’s regular market watchers predicts that lasting changes are likely on the horizon in the oilfield services and equipment industry.
Read full article here
BP and Shell Call on Texas to End Routine Flaring
Bloomberg reported that BP and Royal Dutch Shell urged Texas regulators to end the routine flaring of natural gas. The companies are calling for tougher rules than those proposed by the Railroad Commission of Texas, Bloomberg outlined.
Read full article here
Take control of your future.
Search THOUSANDS of Oil & Gas jobs on Rigzone.com Search Now >>
Petrofac Bags Multimillion Dollar Ithaca Deal
Petrofac’s Engineering and Production Services business has netted a multi-million dollar integrated services contract with Ithaca Energy. Under the new five-year deal, Petrofac will integrate operations, maintenance, engineering, construction and onshore and offshore technical support across Ithaca’s North Sea operated asset base.
Read full article here
Oil Price Adjustment Was Overdue
From a fundamental basis, the recent oil price adjustment that saw prices slip by over $5 per barrel was overdue, according to oil and gas analysts at Standard Chartered.
Read full article here
Apache and Total Evaluate Suriname Discovery
Apache and Total have updated the technical evaluation of their Kwaskwasi-1 discovery well in Block 58 offshore Suriname.
Read full article here
To contact the author, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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US carrier enters Gulf amid sanctions threats toward Iran
A US aircraft carrier passed the Strait of Hormuz to enter the Gulf Friday amid Washington threats to enforce “UN” sanctions without the backing of Security Council partners, the Navy announced.
A strike group led by the USS Nimitz and including two guided-missile cruisers and a guided-missile destroyer sailed into the Gulf to operate and train with US partners and support the coalition fighting the Islamic State group, the US 5th Fleet said in a statement.
“The Nimitz Strike Group has been operating in the 5th Fleet area of operations since July, and is at the peak of readiness,” said strike group commander Rear Admiral Jim Kirk.
The move came just days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed to enforce an arms embargo and other international sanctions against Iran which the US says will resume on Saturday.
On Tuesday Pompeo vowed that Washington would prevent Iran from purchasing Chinese and Russian military equipment, even as European allies disagreed with Washington’s stance.
“We are going to act in a way -– and we have acted in a way –- that will prevent Iran from being able to purchase Chinese tanks and Russian air defense systems and resell weapons to Hezbollah,”Pompeo said.
And on Wednesday he said the United States will enforce resumed United Nations sanctions on Iran starting next week, despite nearly the entire UN Security Council saying Washington does not have the grounds to do so.
“We’ll do all the things we need to do to make sure that those sanctions are enforced,” Pompeo said.
The United States regularly sends aircraft carrier groups into the Gulf for exercises and to support US and anti-IS coalition operations in Iraq and Syria.
But the Trump administration has sought to step up pressure on Tehran.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has stepped up its nuclear development activities since the United States unilaterally withdrew from the 2018 nuclear accord.
Washington says that despite its withdrawal, it has the right to force the UN to reimpose sanctions on Iran for violating the agreement.
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