A top Trump administration health official has accused career government scientists of plotting against Donald Trump, as he encouraged the president’s supporters to arm themselves for the upcoming November election.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Michael Caputo said without evidence that health experts with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were harbouring a “resistance unit” to the president during a Facebook Live on Sunday, The New York Times reported.
In his Facebook Live, Mr Caputo claimed career scientists of “haven’t gotten out of their sweatpants except for meetings at coffee shops” to plot “how they’re going to attack Donald Trump,” according to The New York Times.
“There are scientists who work for this government who do not want America to get well, not until after Joe Biden is president,” he added, accusing these experts of “sedition”.
The CDC typically runs as an apolitical organisation with experts who’ve worked under multiple administrations. Its headquarters, located in Atlanta, Georgia, help the organisation stay away from the political bubble that is Washington DC.
No one with the organisation was mentioned by Mr Caputo except CDC Director Dr Robert Redfield.
“[Dr Redfield] is one of my closest friends in Washington,” Mr Caputo said. “He’s such a good man.”
Mr Caputo’s comments, which were made in a private event on his personal Facebook page to 5,000 friends, came after it was reported by Politico on Friday that top HHS appointees were interfering with the publication of CDC reports about the coronavirus pandemic.
Top House Democrats have now launched an investigation into the claims.
Mr Caupto also claimed during his Facebook Live that Mr Trump would win the presidential election in November but that Democratic candidate Joe Biden would be unlikely to concede.
“When Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin,” he said. “If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get.”
Besides claiming officials in the CDC were working against the president, Mr Caupto also said his family’s safety was at risk.
“You understand that they’re going to have to kill me, and unfortunately, I think that’s where this is going,” Mr. Caputo said.
In a statement, HHS called Mr Caputo a “critical, integral part of the president’s coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Mr Caputo is a 2016 Trump campaign veteran and loyalist who was then made an HHS spokesperson by the president in April. None of the claims the spokesperson made came with proof of actual “sedition” within the CDC, but it followed in the footsteps of claims the president has pushed in recent months.
In August, the president accused members of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of being in the “deep state” and working against his administration on coronavirus therapeutics and vaccine development. FDA Commissioner Dr Stephen Hahn denied the accusations.
Mr Caupto told The New York Times that he and his family have been “continually threatened” since joining the administration.
“This weighs heavily on us, and we deeply appreciate the friendship and support of President Trump as we address these matters and keep our children safe,” he added.
But he vowed to stay in his government position and assist the Trump administration.
“I’m not going anywhere … I swear to God, as God is my witness, I am not stopping.”
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3 ‘Strong Buy’ Stocks With Over 7% Dividend Yield
Markets are volatile, there can be no doubt. So far this month, the S&P 500 has fallen 9% from its peak. The tech-heavy NASDAQ, which had led the gainers all summer, is now leading the on the fall, having lost 11% since September 2. The three-week tumble has investors worried that we may be on the brink of another bear market.The headwinds are strong. The usual September swoon, the upcoming election, doubts about another round of economic stimulus – all are putting downward pressure on the stock markets.Which doesn’t mean that there are no opportunities. As the old saw goes, “Bulls and bears can both make money, while the pigs get slaughtered.” A falling market may worry investors, but a smart strategy can prevent the portfolio from losing too much long-term value while maintaining a steady income. Dividend stocks, which feed into the income stream, can be a key part of such a strategy.Using the data available in the TipRanks database, we’ve pulled up three stocks with high yields – from 7% to 11%, or up to 6 times the average dividend found on the S&P 500 index. Even better, these stocks are seen as Strong Buys by Wall Street’s analysts. Let’s find out why.Williams Companies (WMB)We start with Williams Companies, an Oklahoma-based energy company. Williams controls pipelines connecting Rocky Mountain natural gas fields with the Pacific Northwest region, and Appalachian and Texan fields with users in the Northeast and transport terminals on the Gulf Coast. The company’s primary operations are the processing and transport of natural gas, with additional ops in crude oil and energy generation. Williams handles nearly one-third of all US commercial and residential natural gas use.The essential nature of Williams’ business – really, modern society simply cannot get along without reliable energy sources – has insulated the company from some of the economic turndown in 1H20. Quarterly revenues slid from $2.1 billion at the end of last year to $1.9 billion in Q1 and $1.7 billion in Q2. EPS in the first half was 26 cents for Q1 and 25 cents for Q2 – but this was consistent with EPS results for the previous three quarters. The generally sound financial base supported the company’s reliable dividend. Williams has been raising that payment for the past four years, and even the corona crisis could not derail it. At 40 cents per common share, the dividend annualizes to $1.60 and yields an impressive 7.7%. The next payment is scheduled for September 28.Truist analyst Tristan Richardson sees Williams as one of the midstream sector’s best positioned companies.“We continue to look to WMB as a defensive component of midstream and favor its 2H prospects as broader midstream grasps at recovery… Beyond 2020 we see the value proposition as a stable footprint with free cash flow generation even in the current environment. We also see room for incremental leverage reduction throughout our forecast period on scaled back capital plans and even with the stable dividend. We look for modestly lower capex in 2021, however unlike more G&P oriented midstream firms, we see a project backlog in downstream that should support very modest growth,” Richardson noted.Accordingly, Richardson rates WMB shares as a Buy, and his $26 price target implies a 30% upside potential from current levels. (To watch Richardson’s track record, click here)Overall, the Strong Buy analyst consensus rating on WMB is based on 11 Buy reviews against just a single Hold. The stock’s current share price is $19.91 and the average price target is $24.58, making the one-year upside potential 23%. (See WMB stock analysis on TipRanks)Magellan Midstream (MMP)The second stock on our list is another midstream energy company, Magellan. This is another Oklahoma-based firm, with a network of assets across much of the US from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi Valley, and into the Southeast. Magellan’s network transports crude oil and refined products, and includes Gulf Coast export shipping terminals.Magellan’s total revenues rose sequentially to $782.8 in Q1, and EPS came in at $1.28, well above the forecast. These numbers turned down drastically in Q2, as revenue fell to $460.4 million and EPS collapsed to 65 cents. The outlook for Q3 predicts a modest recovery, with EPS forecast at 85 cents. The company strengthened its position in the second quarter with an issue of 10-year senior notes, totaling $500 million, at 3.25%. This reduced the company’s debt service payments, and shored up liquidity, making possible the maintenance of the dividend.The dividend was kept steady at $1.0275 per common share quarterly. Annualized, this comes to $4.11, a good absolute return, and gives a yield of 11.1%, giving MMP a far higher return than Treasury bonds or the average S&P-listed stock.Well Fargo analyst Praneeth Satish believes that MMP has strong prospects for recovery. “[We] view near-term weakness in refined products demand as temporary and recovering. In the interim, MMP remains well positioned given its strong balance sheet and liquidity position, and ratable cash flow stream…” Satish goes on to note that the dividend appears secure for the near-term: “The company plans to maintain the current quarterly distribution for the rest of the year.”In line with this generally upbeat outlook, Satish gives MMP an Overweight (i.e. Buy) rating, and a $54 price target that implies 57% growth in the coming year. (To watch Satish’s track record, click here)Net net, MMP shares have a unanimous Strong Buy analyst consensus rating, a show of confidence by Wall Street’s analyst corps. The stock is selling for $33.44, and the average price target of $51.13 implies 53% growth in the year ahead. (See MMP stock analysis on TipRanks)Ready Capital Corporation (RC)The second stock on our list is a real estate investment trust. No surprise finding one of these in a list of strong dividend payers – REITs have long been known for their high dividend payments. Ready Capital, which focuses on the commercial mortgage niche of the REIT sector, has a portfolio of loans in real estate securities and multi-family dwellings. RC has provided more than $3 billion in capital to its loan customers.In the first quarter of this year, when the coronavirus hit, the economy turned south, and business came to a standstill, Ready Capital took a heavy blow. Revenues fell by 58%, and Q1 EPS came in at just one penny. Things turned around in Q2, however, after the company took measures – including increasing liquidity, reducing liabilities, and increasing involvement in government-sponsored lending – to shore up business. Revenues rose to $87 million and EPS rebounded to 70 cents.In the wake of the strong Q2 results, RC also started restoring its dividend. In Q1 the company had slashed the payment from 40 cents to 25 cents; in the most recent declaration, for an October 30 payment, the new dividend is set at 30 cents per share. This annualizes to $1.20 and gives a strong yield of 9.9%.Crispin Love, writing from Piper Sandler, notes the company’s success in getting back on track.“Given low interest rates, Ready Capital had a record $1.2B in residential mortgage originations versus our $1.1B estimate. Gain on sale margins were also at record levels. We are calculating gain on sale margins of 3.7%, up from 2.4% in 1Q20,” Love wrote.In a separate note, written after the dividend declaration, Love added, “We believe that the Board’s actions show an increased confidence for the company to get back to its pre-pandemic $0.40 dividend. In recent earnings calls, management has commented that its goal is to get back to stabilized earnings above $0.40, which would support a dividend more in-line with pre-pandemic levels.”To this end, Love rates RC an Overweight (i.e. Buy) along with a $12 price target, suggesting an upside of 14%. (To watch Love’s track record, click here)All in all, Ready Capital has a unanimous Strong Buy analyst consensus rating, based on 4 recent positive reviews. The stock has an average price target of $11.50, which gives a 9% upside from the current share price of $10.51. (See RC stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for dividend 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.
Ring announces a new camera for the car that can record police interactions
Ring has announced a new security camera for the car called the Ring Car Cam, which can monitor vehicles while parked or in transit.
The camera has a feature called Traffic Stop, which prompts the camera to start recording and alerting designated contacts after hearing the trigger phrase “Alexa, I’m being pulled over.”
The launch comes as Ring’s partnerships with police departments across the US has drawn scrutiny from civil rights activists, lawmakers, and privacy advocates.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories and check out our list of everything Ring launched here.
Amazon-owned security camera maker Ring is launching a new device for the car that can monitor vehicles whether they’re parked or in transit, marking the company’s first major expansion outside of the home.
The $200 Ring Car Cam also includes a feature called Traffic Stop, which enables the device to record an interaction with police, alert designated contacts, and save the recording to the cloud by saying the phrase “Alexa, I’m being pulled over.”
The launch comes after Ring’s partnerships with hundreds of police departments across the United States has drawn scrutiny from civil liberties activists, privacy advocates, and lawmakers. At the same time, leaked law enforcement documents obtained by The Intercept have also shown that the FBI has raised concerns about Ring products being used to spy on police.
Jamie Siminoff, Ring’s founder, said the company has been transparent with customers about its relationship with law enforcement and pointed to the fact that Ring owners must choose to turn over footage to authorities if asked.
“We’ve been very proactive at reaching out to our customers with that and telling them about that,” Siminoff told Business Insider. “And I think they’re very comfortable with how we built this, and I think we have taken privacy to the next level.”
In addition to its Traffic Stop feature, the Ring Car Cam can also surveil your car while it’s parked to check for potential break-in or vandalism attempts. The camera can then send an alert to your phone via the Ring app if it picks up any unusual activity. While driving, the Car Cam can also request help from first responders if it detects that a severe accident has taken place.
Ring’s Car Cam has a physical shutter that disables the car’s interior video and auto when enabled. The company is also launching a smart car alarm for $60.
Car makers can also integrate with Ring so that owners can see auto-related alerts and other information within the Ring app. Tesla is among the first major carmakers to support this, as Ring says owners of Tesla’s 3, X, S, and Y vehicles will be able to access Tesla’s Sentry Mode within the Ring app.
The launch of Ring’s new auto products signals another push by Amazon to branch out of the home when it comes to its tech offerings. Last year, Amazon launched the Echo Buds, its first truly wireless earbuds with Alexa built-in, and in 2018 it unveiled the Echo Auto.
Ring’s Traffic Stop feature also comes months after protests against police brutality erupted across the United States after George Floyd died in police custody in May. At the time, a Siri shortcut that triggers your iPhone to record police interactions after reciting the phrase “Hey Siri, I’m getting pulled over” started to make the rounds after launching in 2018.
Read the original article on Business Insider
Favorable Mix Expected Ahead of iPhone 12 Launch, Says 5-Star Analyst
With the iPhone 12 launch around the corner, all eyes are on Apple (AAPL). The launch is set to come in the next quarter, and investors are eagerly waiting to see what the tech giant has up its sleeve.
5-star analyst Chris Caso, of Raymond James, tells clients that based on production checks conducted across the iPhone supply chain last week, total production estimates are in-line with the Street’s calls. That being said, he points to mix as a potential driver of significant upside.
“Current production plans suggest the most favorable mix we’ve ever seen for an iPhone launch, and the introduction of a fourth iPhone model at a price between iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro will also help to boost blended average selling prices (ASPs). While the stock has already had a strong run since our upgrade last summer, we don’t yet think all the benefits of what we expect to be a two-year 5G upgrade cycle are yet reflected in consensus estimates,” Caso commented.
According to Caso, these checks confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will feature four new models: an entry-level iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Max, Pro and Max Pro.
The sources couldn’t provide any insights on pricing, but the analyst expects the base model to start at $699, which is the same price as last year’s iPhone 11, only with a smaller screen. He also believes the Pro and Max Pro will remain “premium tier” phones, priced at $999 and $1,099, respectively. For the iPhone Max, AAPL will most likely price it at a modest premium to the base model, in the range of $799, in Caso’s opinion.
All in all, the checks indicate build plans to support production of roughly 75 million units for the launch, including 64 million new models.
Offering further explanation, Caso stated, “While we believe this is consistent with industry expectations, the mix assumptions driven by the initial build plans suggest a meaningful rise in blended ASPs. There’s no guarantee that current build plans will; reflect what consumers will actually buy, but the build plans provide insight into Apple’s expectations.”
On top of this, Caso thinks that Apple will build more aggressively on higher priced stock keeping units (SKUs) to make sure they are available for holiday purchases, with lower priced SKUs expected to sell out before Christmas.
As for mmWave, Caso argues “the mix is likely to be heavily weighted to U.S. sales, based on the assumption that Verizon will have mmWave on all models, and Verizon unit sales represent about 40% of the U.S. market.” He does, however, point out that he has confirmed mmWave will be supported on the Pro models, but “Verizon offering mmWave on the entry-level iPhone 12” is his “own assumption.”
Everything that AAPL has going for it convinced Caso to keep his Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating as is. Along with the call, he lifted the price target from $110 to $120, suggesting 7% upside potential. (To watch Caso’s track record, click here)
What does the rest of the Street have to say? 24 Buy ratings, 8 Holds and 3 Sells have been issued in the last three months. As a result, the consensus rating on AAPL is a Moderate Buy. In addition, the $122.04 average price target puts the upside potential at ~13%. (See Apple stock analysis on TipRanks)
To find good ideas for tech 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 analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
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