New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he and hundreds of other city employees will go on furlough for a week in an effort to save money.
The maneuver comes as New York City faces budget shortfalls caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The city is facing a $9bn two-year revenue shortfall resulting from the economic shutdown in March and April.
The New York Times reported that the furlough will affect nearly 500 mayoral staff members and generate $860,000 in savings for the year.
Mr de Blasio said that his office had no plans to implement pay cuts for himself or other staff members.
“[There are no plans for pay cuts for any New York City employees right now, whether it’s City Hall or any place else, but we never know what the future brings,” he said. “We’re going to be in a horrible budget situation for years, so this borrowing capacity is to give us a fallback no matter what happens up ahead.”
Belarus activist shares ‘Alternative Nobel’ with 3 others
STOCKHOLM (AP) — A prominent Belarus opposition figure and an imprisoned Iranian human rights lawyer on Thursday were awarded the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes referred to as the “Alternative Nobel,” together with activists from Nicaragua and the United States.
Ole von Uexkull, the head of the Swedish Right Livelihood Foundation behind the prize, said that it “highlights the increasing threats to democracy globally. It is high time that all of us supporting democracy around the world stand up and support each other.”
The foundation cited 58-year-old human rights activist Ales Bialiatski and the non-governmental organization Human Rights Center Viasna which he heads, “for their resolute struggle for the realization of democracy and human rights in Belarus.”
In 2014, Bialiatski was released nearly three years into his prison sentence, ahead of schedule. He was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to 4 ½ years in prison in November 2011. Western governments criticized the trial as politically vindictive.
Bialiatski was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 and received an array of international awards while imprisoned. His group has provided legal assistance to thousands of Belarusians arrested or imprisoned for challenging President Alexander Lukashenko’s rule.
Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has defended activists, opposition politicians and women prosecuted for removing their headscarves, was given the award “for her fearless activism, at great personal risk, to promote political freedoms and human rights in Iran.”
Earlier this month, Sotoudeh was transferred from a prison cell to a hospital north of Tehran following a hunger strike for better prison conditions and the release of political prisoners amid the pandemic. She has since ended her hunger strike that began in mid-August.
The 57-year-old Sotoudeh was arrested in 2018 on charges of collusion and propaganda against Iran’s rulers and eventually was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes.
Created in 1980, the annual Right Livelihood Award honors efforts that the prize founder, Swedish-German philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull, felt were being ignored by the Nobel prizes.
The foundation also gave its 2020 award to Milton, Delaware-born U.S. civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson, 60, “for his inspiring endeavor to reform the U.S. criminal justice system and advance racial reconciliation in the face of historic trauma.”
The fourth winner was 61-year-old rights and environmental activist Lottie Cunningham Wren of Nicaragua “for her ceaseless dedication to the protection of indigenous lands and communities from exploitation and plunder.”
“Defying unjust legal systems and dictatorial political regimes, they successfully strengthen human rights, empower civil societies and denounce institutional abuses,” said von Uexkull, the foundation’s executive director and nephew of the founder.
The winners will each receive prize money of 1 million kronor ($110,100) and will be honored during a virtual award ceremony on Dec. 3.
Earlier recipients of the Right Livelihood Award include Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.
Stocks Climb With U.S. Futures on Stimulus Hopes: Markets Wrap
Goldman Sachs Predicts Over 40% Rally for These 3 Stocks
A new wave of optimism is splashing onto the Street. Investment firm Goldman Sachs just gave its three-month stock forecast a boost, lifting it from Neutral to Overweight, with it also projecting “high single-digital returns” for global stocks over the next year.What’s behind this updated approach? Goldman Sachs strategist Christian Mueller-Glissmann cites the impressive rebound in global earnings growth and reduced equity costs as the drivers of the estimate revision. On top of this, a “broader procyclical shift” in stocks and other assets could take place during the remainder of this year.“We have shifted more cyclical on sectors and themes tactically but still prefer growth vs. value on a strategic horizon… In the near-term, elevated uncertainty on U.S. elections and a better global growth outlook might benefit non-U.S. equities more, but in the medium term a large weight in structural growth stocks is likely to support the S&P 500,” Mueller-Glissmann noted.As for the “most important catalyst” that could spur growth optimism in the next year, the strategist points to additional clarity on when and how a COVID-19 vaccine will be available.Turning Mueller-Glissmann’s outlook into concrete recommendations, Goldman Sachs’ analysts are pounding the table on three stocks that look especially compelling. According to these analysts, each name is poised to surge in the 12 months ahead.Raytheon Technologies (RTX)First up we have Raytheon Technologies, which is an aerospace and defense company that provides advanced systems and services for commercial, military and government customers. While shares have stumbled in 2020, Goldman Sachs thinks the weakness presents a buying opportunity.Representing the firm, analyst Noah Poponak points out that RTX is “too high quality and well positioned of a company to trade at an 11% free cash flow yield on the fully aerospace-recovered and fully synergized 2023E free cash.”The analyst’s bullish outlook is largely driven by the company’s aerospace aftermarket (the secondary market that deals with the installation of equipment, spare parts, accessories and components after the sale of the aircraft by the original equipment manufacturer) business, which Poponak argues is “the best sub-market within Aerospace over the long-term.” This segment makes up roughly 45% of RTX’s aerospace revenue.Even though COVID-19 flight disruptions have weighed on this part of the business, Poponak points out total aircraft in service is down only 25% year-over-year, and flights have dipped less than 50%. He added, “China domestic traffic is now up year on year, and while international remains depressed, we believe the recovery in global air travel could be quicker from here than broad expectations for a recovery by 2023-2024.”Poponak highlights that in previous downturns, the aftermarket had to confront headwinds that arose from the increased use of parting out, inventory pooling and delayed aftermarket spending. “Even then, aftermarket grew at or faster than ASMs, and we believe there was pent-up demand heading into this downturn that support aftermarket tracking the recovery in global air travel. Long-term, we expect air traffic to grow 2X global GDP, as it has historically,” the analyst commented.Adding to the good news, the Geared Turbo Fan, which is a type of turbofan aircraft engine, product cycle could generate substantial revenue and EBIT growth at Pratt & Whitney, in Poponak’s opinion.“Given the high OE exposure to the A320neo, which has the strongest backlog of any aircraft in the market, we see Pratt OE revenue holding up better and recovering faster than peers. New GTF deliveries will drive expansion in the installed base for Pratt, which was declining for most of the 2000s. Despite the end of V2500 OE deliveries, that program is just moving into the sweet-spot for shop visits on the aftermarket side,” Poponak opined.What’s more, Poponak sees merger synergies as capable of fueling margin expansion and cash generation, with the historical synergy capture in the space implying that upside to guidance isn’t out of the question.In line with his optimistic approach, Poponak stays with the bulls. To this end, he keeps a Buy rating and $86 price target on the stock. Investors could be pocketing a gain of 49%, should this target be met in the twelve months ahead. (To watch Poponak’s track record, click here)In general, other analysts echo Poponak’s sentiment. 7 Buys and 2 Holds add up to a Strong Buy consensus rating. With an average price target of $78.63, the upside potential comes in at 36.5%. (See RTX stock analysis on TipRanks)Boeing (BA)Moving on to another player in the aerospace space, Boeing has also struggled on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, with it failing to match the pace of the broader market. That being said, Goldman Sachs has high hopes for this name going forward.Firm analyst Noah Poponak, who also covers RTX, points out that BA has already trimmed production rate plans by half, compared to the peak plan from before the COVID crisis and MAX grounding. A slower-than-anticipated air travel rebound could result in more reductions, but the analyst argues these would be much smaller than the reductions that have already been witnessed. He added, “Historically, the best buying opportunities in BA shares are right after it has capitulated to production rate cuts.”According to Poponak, compared to previous economic declines, the peak to trough in the current downturn is larger and faster, although this is partly related to the grounding of the 737 MAX in 2019. “We believe this will result in a less severe dislocation of supply and demand balance, and see deliveries recovering to 2018 levels by 2024 as global air travel recovers and airlines replace accelerated retirements,” he explained.As for how the company can fulfill its new production rate plan “given the mix of its backlog is so much more weighted to growth than replacement,” Poponak believes “the answer is that airlines during this downturn are revising that mix.” Since the pandemic’s onset, airlines have revealed higher aircraft retirement plans, and braced for less growth. “That means for a given revision in an airline’s order book, there is also a substantial mix shift toward replacement from growth within the new delivery numbers. Therefore, the backlog will not necessarily lose all of its growth orders,” the analyst stated.Additionally, following an uptick in aircraft order cancellations in March and April, the pace has slowed. “Even assuming another 200-plus unit cancellations this year, we estimate the 737 MAX would have nearly 6X years of production by the middle of the decade at our revised production rate estimates,” Poponak mentioned.When it comes to free cash flow, the analyst is also optimistic, with Poponak forecasting that BA will see positive free cash flow in 2021. “We think the market is underestimating the mid-cycle achievable aircraft unit cash margins across the major programs, extrapolating temporarily negative items into the future, and underestimating the degree of inventory unwind likely to occur in 2021,” he said.If that wasn’t enough, the MAX recertification could be a major possible catalyst. The company is working towards recertification and return to service, with Poponak expecting both to come before year-end.Taking all of the above into consideration, Poponak maintains a Buy rating and $225 price target. This target conveys his confidence in BA’s ability to climb 35% higher in the next year.Turning to the rest of the analyst community, opinions are mixed. With 8 Buys, 8 Holds and 1 Sell assigned in the last three months, the word on the Street is that BA is a Moderate Buy. At $192.40, the average price target implies 16% upside potential. (See Boeing stock analysis on TipRanks)Immatics (IMTX)Combining the discovery of true targets for cancer immunotherapies (therapies that utilize the power of the immune system) with the development of the right T cell receptors, Immatics hopes to ultimately enable a robust and specific T cell response against these targets. Based on its cutting-edge approach, Goldman Sachs counts itself as a fan.Writing for the firm, analyst Graig Suvannavejh notes that unlike CAR-T approaches, a T cell receptor (TCR)-based approach can go after targets inside the cell, and fight the 90% of cancers which are solid tumor in nature. The company is advancing two technologies: ACTengine, designed for personalized TCR-based cell therapies, and TCER, which targets TCR-based bispecific antibodies.ACTengine is the more advanced technology, with its four assets IMA201, a genetically engineered T cell product candidate that targets melanoma-associated antigen 4 or 8, IMA202, which targets melanoma-associated antigen 1, IMA203, which targets preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma (PRAME) and IMA204 that targets COL6A3 (found in a tumor’s stroma and is highly prevalent in the tumor microenvironment/TME in a broad range of cancers) expected to enter the clinic soon.Using the TCER platform, IMTX is developing IMA401 and IMA402, or “off-the-shelf” biologics consisting of a portion of the TCR which directly recognizes cancer cells and a T cell recruiter domain which recruits and activates the patient’s T cells.Speaking to the market opportunity, Suvannavejh mentioned, “Cancer immunotherapies have made great strides over the past decade, and in particular, advances seen with CAR-T have paved the way for cell therapy-based approaches… CAR-T, however, has to date only shown limited effect in treating cancers that are solid tumor in nature. With more than 90% of all cancers being solid tumors — with lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancers accounting for c.60% of the total — this is the opportunity for IMTX.” To this end, he believes cumulative 2035 sales could land at $15.5 billion for the ACTengine-based assets.Reflecting another positive, since 2017, IMTX has inked at least one significant partnership per year with top global biopharma companies. According to Suvannavejh, each provided non-dilutive funding opportunities.The analyst added, “…the ARYA Sciences Acquisition Corporation, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), merger that enabled IMTX to become a publicly traded entity brought in a deep roster of well-known, experienced healthcare-dedicated institutional investors. Taken together, we find these to be validating of IMTX’s longer-term prospects.”Looking ahead, the initial clinical data readouts for IMA201, IMA202 and IMA203, which are slated for Q1 2021, and investigational new drug (IND) application submissions for IMA204 and IMA401 in 2021 and YE2021, respectively, reflect key potential catalysts, in Suvannavejh’s opinion.Everything that IMTX has going for it convinced Suvannavejh to reiterate his Buy rating. Along with the call, he attached a $17 price target, suggesting 73% upside potential. (To watch Suvannavejh’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: IMTX is a Strong Buy. Given the $19 average price target, shares could soar 93% in the next year. (See Immatics 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.
Facebook removes Trump ads with baseless claims
Facebook said Wednesday that it had taken down ads from the Trump campaign that claimed without evidence that accepting refugees from abroad would increase risks related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We rejected these ads because we don’t allow claims that people’s physical safety, health, or survival is threatened by people on the basis of their national origin or immigration status,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said in a statement.
The ads included a video of Joe Biden talking about the border, overlaid with text about “the health risks” from an “increase in refugees.” It also alleged that Biden would increase the number of refugees arriving from Syria, Somalia and Yemen by 700 percent. The ads cited no sources.
The Trump campaign began running the ads Tuesday with at least 38 different versions before Facebook determined that the ads ran afoul of the company’s advertising policies.
One version was targeted at Facebook users in Florida and received 5,000 to 6,000 impressions before it was taken down, according to Facebook’s online ad library. Another version targeted people in North Carolina and received 60,000 to 70,000 impressions.
President Donald Trump’s campaign stood behind the ad, asserting again in a separate statement that if Biden were president and allowed in refugees, Americans would be exposed to further risk of Covid-19.
“When it comes to leading our nation through this crisis and delivering the Great American Comeback, Americans can rely on President Trump,” campaign spokesperson Courtney Parella said in the statement.
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