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Eurizon The Globe: The Narrow Soft-Landing Path

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Soft-Landing Path

The latest issue of ‘The Globe‘, Eurizon monthly publication describing the Company’s investment view. In this issue, a focus is dedicated to “the narrow soft-landing path”.


The macro picture is characterised by a sluggish decline of inflation and a slowdown of economic growth, that remains positive nonetheless.

The drop of inflation mostly reflects the reduction of energy prices, whereas core component price increases are still higher than in the pre Covid period. Economic activity, on the other hand, is slowing but still sufficiently strong to keep the labour market in expansionary territory.

In the eyes of the central banks, the downward trajectory of inflation is reassuring, although the slow pace of the decline and the resilience of economic growth suggest a still cautious approach to rates.

Consensus on the monetary market is mid way between the Fed staying on hold for the rest of the year or proceeding with one final 25 basis points hike between June and July. As regards the ECB, the monetary market is pricing in two 25 basis points hikes, one in June and one in July, after which the ECB will stay on hold. These expectations are consistent with a soft landing scenario for economic growth, to be verified in light of forthcoming data on inflation and economic growth.

China is not commanding much attention at present, confirmed to be back on the recovery after the scrapping of the “Zero Covid” policy, but without the excesses seen in the US and in the Eurozone. Russia’s war on Ukraine is also on the backburner , as the impact on oil and gas prices has decreased for some time.

Macro Economy

  • Economic growth slowing, but still positive, with inflation on the decline but still well above the central bank target rates
  • Monetary market futures are pricing in a completed monetary restriction cycle on the Fed’s part, with the ECB following by th e e nd of July.

Asset Allocation

  • The slowdown of the economy, easing inflation, and the forthcoming conclusion of the monetary restriction make the core bond markets appealing.
  • Risk assets offer appealing valuations, but could be confirmed volatile in waiting to assess the scope of the macro slowdown.

Fixed Income

  • Overweighting view confirmed on USA and German government bonds, that offer appealing yield to maturity and can provide protection in case of a macro slowdown.
  • Preference confirmed among spread bonds for Investment Grade and Emerging Market bonds, as opposed to lingering uncertainties in the High Yield segment. Neutral position on Italian government bonds.


  • Stock market valuations are at historically appealing levels, but the risk of a sharper than expected macro slowdown could generate volatility.


  • The lagged inflation cycle in the Eurozone compared to the US may result in the ECB’s monetary restriction proving longer tha n t he Fed’s, supporting the euro against the dollar.
  • Scenario uncertainties and the change at the helm of the Bank of Japan could be supportive factors for the yen.

Investment View

The baseline scenario points to slowing economic growth and declining inflation, albeit still higher than central bank target ra tes. In light of the present picture, we confirm our Overweight view on US and German government bonds, and our Neutral stance on stocks and sprea d b onds, that could continue to prove volatile in waiting to assess the scope of the macro slowdown.


Asset Classes Compared

Government rates rose back up in May, especially in the US on the shorter end of the maturity curve. Yield to maturity levels re main below the highs marked at the beginning of March in any case across maturities, and the US and German curves remain inverted. Eurozone and credit market spreads were little changed. Positive balance for the stock markets, close to their highs for the year. Dollar strengt hen ing, up to 1.07 against the euro.


Theme Of The Month: The Narrow Soft-Landing Path


Inflation is still the main variable in the spotlight for the macro scenario.

Price growth has evidently changed direction: inflation was at 10.6% in the Eurozone in October and is now at 7.0%; it was 9.1% in the US in June last year, and was at 4.9% in April 2023, the latest available reading. However, the normalisation process cannot be considered complete, as inflation is still well above the 2% mark, considered ideal by the central banks, and because the decline is almost exclusively due to the drop of commodity prices, while the core components remain under pressure.

The likeliest scenario is that the moderation of prices at the source, and energy prices in particular, will gradually dampen the other components. However, the disinflation process takes time, especially because economic activity is still expanding, and this allows the sectors that have incurred price increases in the past year to keep transferring them downstream.

The main element of reassurance is the fact that inflation at the source, i.e. on commodities, has eased for several months now. Proof is provided by the price of oil, that has been between 70 and 80 dollar per barrel for several months, and by low and still declining natural gas prices.


The luckily, or unfortunately, economic growth is standing up egregiously to the sharp monetary restriction implemented over the past year.

“Luckily” as no-one loves a recession. “Unfortunately” as with a slightly more pronounced slowdown of economic activity the inflation flare-up would already be over, with all the positive fallout this would have implied on the conduct of central banks. The soft-landing path is a narrow one, flanked by a hot economy on the one side, and the risk of a recession (hard landing) on the other.

However, data released over the past few months suggest that a soft landing is possible. For the US as well as for the Eurozone, growth estimates for 2023 have been systematically revised upwards since the beginning of the year, from the zero mark they had reached at the end of 2022.

However, a certain degree of uncertainty between a soft- and hard-landing outcome will linger for some. After the banking sector turbulences in mid-March, in the US the credit squeeze is adding its effects to the monetary restriction, while in the Eurozone the ECB has not yet closed its hike cycle. In these conditions, the risk of a sharp slowdown is not ruled out from forecasts, but only pushed back. Until the central banks announce that the fight against inflation has been won.


Monetary policy expectations reflect this still evolving context. The central banks consider the fight against inflation to be at an advanced stage, but not yet complete.

For what concerns the US, where fed funds rates are already above 5%, consensus estimates are mid-way between pricing in a Fed on hold for the rest of the year, and one final 25-basispoints rate increase in June or July. Future contracts point to a decline of rates to 3% in 2024, a normalisation that would be in order if inflation is under control by them. For the ECB, expectations point to two 25 basis points increases, followed by a hiatus for a few months, and a 2024, in this case as well, in the name of normalisation.

The shape of the bond rate curves is also consistent with this interpretation. Short- and medium-term rates have reached levels at which the monetary market prices in the end of the restriction, in the 5% area in the US, and in the 4% area in the Eurozone. Longer-term rates, at lower levels than short-term rates, are pricing in a normalisation of the monetary market rates in 2024, once inflation will have been defeated.

From the investor’s perspective, the short and medium ends of the bond curves are interesting to cash in, with relatively low volatility, abundantly positive yield-to-maturity levels. The long ends hold strong downside potential (capital gains) in the event of a hard landing of the economy.


Risk assets combine appealing valuations with a still uncertain macro context, that may rekindle volatility.

Among corporate bonds, Investment Grades offer an appealing risk-return profile with historically high yield-to-maturity levels and spreads that are already pricing in a certain degree of economic slowdown. High Yield bonds would be at greater risk of volatility in case of an adverse macro scenario materialising. Among spread bonds, appeal is found in those issued by the emerging economies, where the central banks hiked rates aggressively before the Fed and the ECB and now have room for accommodation in the event of a sharp slowdown of the economy.

For what concerns stocks, absolute valuations (price/earnings ratio) and relative valuations (risk premium versus the government benchmark) seem appealing in historical terms and consistent with medium-term returns in line with long-term averages. A potential extension of the monetary restriction or, by contrast, a sharp slowdown of the economy, may rekindle volatility, dampened of late by expectations for a soft-landing scenario to prevail.


The hot economy, i.e. the fast and inflationfuelling exit from the Covid-induced recession, supported the dollar, that strengthened both in 2021 and in 2022. There were two reasons behind the upswing: among the central banks of the advanced countries, the Fed was the one that led the way on interest rates; secondly, the uncertainty generated by the inflation flare-up enhanced the dollar’s role as a shelter currency.

As soon as the hot economy showed signs of abating, at the end of 2022, the dollar lost strength, although it has recently stopped declining.

Under our baseline scenario, that contemplates a gradual easing of inflation and an orderly slowdown of the economy, the decline of the dollar should resume, thanks to a lower level of uncertainty. On the other hand, the dollar could prove weaker under the alternative scenario as well, i.e. a hard landing of the economy, under which at some point the Fed could decide to cut rates sooner and more rapidly than the other central banks, also taking advantage of the weak exchange rate to support the national economy.

Silver’s Swoon Should Resume

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Gold and silver price Today

After a brief rally, U.S. nonfarm payrolls helped suppress silver’s momentum. Is there more downside ahead?

While the permabulls bought into the rate-cut hype, we warned on Apr. 14 that the fundamentals did not support their enthusiasm. We wrote:

Market participants are pricing in ~60 basis points of rate cuts. If those cuts get priced out, the market impact is similar to the Fed raising the U.S. federal funds rate (FFR). No matter how you slice it, no cuts means the FFR stays higher for longer, and a realization should have a profound impact on the PMs…..

Mining stocks are particularly vulnerable. The rate-cut optimism contrasts the realities on the ground, and market participants are overconfident because the Fed has been wrong more than it’s been right. However, we believe the QE bulls will suffer disappointment in the months ahead.

To that point, with investors erasing roughly two-thirds of the rate cuts priced in for December, the hawkish reset has unfolded as expected.

Please see below:

Fed Funds Futures

To explain, the black line above tracks the December Fed Funds Futures contract. And since the yield moves inversely to the price, the black line’s decent highlights how bank run fears have abated and economic reality is in style once again.  

Moreover, the metric should have more room to run. With inflation too high and the unemployment rate too low, the Fed needs to maintain its hawkish stance to find the right equilibrium. And we believe rate cuts will continue to get priced out as these realities become more obvious. 

Furthermore, while we have been consistent in our thesis that real interest rates need to rise to normalize inflation, Bank of America’s Chief Investment Strategist Michael Hartnett highlighted how the AI frenzy indicates inflation-adjusted yields are too low. He wrote:

“4% real yields popped internet bubble, 3% popped subprime, crypto crashed on real yield rip from -100bps to 150bps. But market telling you real rates may need to rise another 100-150 bps from here to pop ‘baby bubble’ in AI.”

Please see below:

real rates

To explain, the blue line’s movement on the right side of the chart shows how the U.S. 10-Year real yield soared by ~250 basis points in eight months. And unsurprisingly, the GDXJ ETF and silver suffered mightily along the way. Therefore, if resilient demand necessities another 100 to 150 basis point rise from here, silver could suffer a substantial drawdown

As further evidence, the Fed released its latest Beige Book on May 31. An excerpt read:

“Economic activity was little changed overall in April and early May. Four Districts reported small increases in activity, six no change, and two slight to moderate declines….. Employment increased in most Districts, though at a slower pace than in previous reports. Overall, the labor market continued to be strong, with contacts reporting difficulty finding workers across a wide range of skill levels and industries.”

In addition:

“Prices rose moderately over the reporting period, though the rate of increase slowed in many Districts. Contacts in most Districts expected a similar pace of price increases in the coming months. Consumer prices continued to move up due to solid demand and rising costs, though several Districts noted greater price sensitivity by consumers than in the prior report.”

So, while the inflation data was somewhat mixed, the report highlighted how economic growth and employment remained resilient. Consequently, demand destruction has not unfolded with a 5.25% FFR.

Fed Whispers

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said on May 31:

“I just think that we may have to go further. At this point, I don’t really necessarily see a compelling reason that we wouldn’t want to take another small step to counter some of that really embedded, stubborn inflationary pressure.”

Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said on May 30:

“However I look at it, it just looks like inflation is too high…. I believe you need to bring inflation down by bringing demand down.”

Yet, as we’ve stated repeatedly, he still sees resilient demand.

Please see below:

rate cuts

Similarly, while some Fed officials have advocated for a pause or not hiking at the June meeting, the overall hawkish message is clear. Remember, the crowd is still pricing in rate cuts. And if the Fed holds the FFR at 5.25% for the next seven months, it’s more hawkish than expected. Furthermore, we believe the FFR needs to rise further, and a realization should inflict plenty of pain on the PMs.

Again, we’ve noted on several occasions that the FFR has eclipsed the peak YoY core CPI in every tightening cycle since the 1950s. And with the latter peaking north of 6.6%, rate cuts are a fantasy, in our opinion. 

Overall, the Taylor Rule implies an FFR in the 5% to 7% range. And unless long-term interest rates rise substantially or a Black Swan event unfolds, a 6%+ FFR should materialize before it’s all said and done. As such, silver is unlikely to board the QE train anytime soon.

Will the Fed cut the FFR at some point over the next seven months?

Alex Demolitor

Precious Metals Strategist

Salesforce Called Out For Corporate Board Incest

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Salesforce earnings announcement

Washington, D.C. – Shareholder activists with the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP) will present a proposal at Salesforce Inc (NYSE:CRM)’s annual shareholder meeting Thursday addressing corporate board incest.

Forbidding Salesforce Directors To Sit On The Boards Of Other Companies

FEP’s proposal at Salesforce (Proposal #7) would forbid company directors from simultaneously sitting on the boards of directors of other companies. This is an important proposal as part of the fight against Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives must include breaking up the “cartel” of liberal activists occupying the boardrooms of American companies where they instill woke ideology that goes against their fiduciary duties.

“Almost every Salesforce director currently sits on the board of other companies and organizations, but it’s not just the board – a majority of Salesforce executives also currently sit on the boards of other companies and organization. In fact, nearly all large corporations are guilty of contributing to the corporate incest problem that’s plaguing the management of American business,” said FEP Associate Ethan Peck.

“We believe that the role of directors is to provide oversight of management independent of the interests of other companies and organizations,” said Peck. “There is a potential conflict of interest for directors to oversee management of more than one business or organization at the same time.”

“Currently, Salesforce is a contributor to this problem,” added Peck. “By adopting this proposal, the company can become a leader amongst other large corporations in prioritizing the interests of shareholders over the interests of the managerial class.”

More information about this proposal, as well as other key shareholder meetings and proxy votes for this week, can be found in FEP’s weekly proxy votes newsletter.

The Free Enterprise Project’s new Proxy Navigator Annual Voter Guide, which fleshes out the problem of corporate incest on pages 18-25, can be downloaded here.

To be notified when the companion Proxy Navigator app is available, subscribe here.

About the National Center for Public Policy Research

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations.

Meta’s Zuckerberg May Help NYC’s Subway Samaritan

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Subway Samaritan New York City Subway Case Subway Choker

Meta’s Zuckerberg May Help NYC’s Subway Samaritan; Reminds Public That Choke Holds Are Common And Not Deadly Force

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 5, 2023) – The report that Mark Zuckerberg Slams New York Times’ Claims He Was Choked out at Jiu-jitsu Tournament Last Month could help former marine Daniel Penny who has been charged with second-degree manslaughter as a result of using a choke hold to restrain Jordan Neely, a mentally unbalanced man with a criminal record of violence, who was reportedly threatening subway passengers, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

Subway Samaritan’s Defense

Banzhaf, who provided the legal analysis which helped keep “Subway Shooter” Bernhard Goetz from being convicted for shooting four Black youths on a New York City subway train after they asked him for money – and who correctly predicted outcomes of similar trials involving “Jacuzzi Shooter” Carl Rowan, Kyle Rittenhouse, Daniel Pantaleo, George Zimmerman, several police officers accused of killing George Zimmerman in Baltimore, and others – says that “Subway Samaritan” Penny can use the same defense, and has a much stronger case, than Goetz.

Banzhaf says that Penny would likely argue that he acted not only in his own self defense, but also in defense of others; an argument not available to Goetz. New York State’s § 35.15 recognizes the legal right of any person to use reasonable force to defend himself or others from what he reasonable believes is the prospect of “unlawful physical force.” This term could include many forms of unwanted touching, including groping, of the other passengers, and is not limited to force which might be harmful.

Since several other passengers have said that Neely was threatening them, and that they feared for their physical safety (much less feared a simple unwanted touching), it seems quite clear that Penny had a very reasonable belief that Neely was threatening “unlawful physical force” to at least some of the passengers.

Indeed, since the legal privileges of self defense and defense of others applies even if the belief of unlawful touching is incorrect but reasonable under the circumstances, Penny was fully justified in using force, says Banzhaf.

In any event, to find him guilty, a jury must unanimously conclude beyond any reasonable doubt that Penny’s belief was unreasonable; a finding highly unlikely here, especially since jurors are likely to be aware, in some cases from personal experience, of the dangers posed by the crazy people who frequent New York’s subways.

Any good samaritan such as Penny, coming to the aid of others, may use “reasonable force,” but generally not force which amounts to “deadly physical force,” to defend himself or others. The term “deadly physical force” is defined in New York as “physical force which, under the circumstances in which it is used, is readily capable of causing death or other serious physical injury.” [§10.00(11)]

But as Zuckerberg’s situation very dramatically illustrates, choke holds are very commonly used in jiu-jitsu, judo, MMA (mixed martial arts) and other tournaments, including many which involved children; although chokes are not permitted in judo tournaments for children under 13 years of age. If they were “readily capable of causing death,” choke holds obviously would not be taught to students and routinely used in matches.

Indeed, anyone who has watched judo matches in person or on television has probably seen at least one match which was ended by a choke hold which briefly incapacitated the opponent. More specifically, both choke holds which cut off breathing by compressing the windpipe, and those which cut off blood flow to the brain by compressing the carotid arteries, are expressly permitted by the rules in most tournaments.

So a choke hold does not necessarily constitute “deadly physical force,” especially since Penny – who, unlike police who have handcuffs and plastic tie restraints – had no other way to restrain Neely on a swaying train.

Restraining The Shooter

The very fact that two other passengers felt it both necessary and appropriate to help restrain Neely – despite the danger of physical harm to themselves, and the possibility that they might be charged as accessories if Penny were to be charged with a crime – strongly suggests that very forceful restraint (including a choke hold) was required, and was not “deadly physical force” “under the circumstances.”

Yes, of course, choke holds can kill in some circumstances, but so can pepper spray, Tasers, a blow with a police baton, on even a punch to the face or body, noted Banzhaf, and all are used when necessary by the police.

While so-called “choke holds” have been banned for some (but by no means not all) police, different considerations apply since police carry other weapons which they can use to defend themselves, and well as physical restraints such as handcuffs, and can also generally call for backup.

Here Penny had no other readily available ways to restrain Neely – who was still struggling despite the efforts of three men to protect other passengers by holding him down – and holding him by the neck is generally more effective, and less dangerous to any good samaritan, than trying to restrain a person by holding his hands, feet, or waist.

So Goetz, who was not protecting other passengers, acted alone and used an illegal gun to shoot four Black youths, fled the scene before police arrived, tried to hide in another state, and had made racially disparaging remarks about African Americans, was not even indicted by the first grand jury.

When public pressure forced a second grand jury to indict him, the Subway Shooter was acquitted of the two shooting-related charges (attempted-murder and first-degree-assault) after a criminal trial, but was found guilty of one charge which he could not be deny: criminal possession of a weapon (unlicensed gun) in the third degree.

Here, in stark contrast, Penny acted only after other passengers felt threatened, was aided by other passengers even at risk to their own physical safety and the risk of criminal charges, urged other passengers to call 911, remained at the scene and cooperated with police, and there is no evidence at all of racial animus.

Police familiar with the threatening situations on the subway, and who interviewed the passengers, did not detain Penny or even issue him a desk appearance ticket because they did not believe that a crime had been committed.

For all these many reasons, Banzhaf says that Penny’s defense is far stronger than the one he helped outline for Goetz.

If Penny is tried, at least one juror is likely to see it that way and to exercise his legal right to juror nullification; refuse to vote “guilty” despite the evidence and the judge’s charge.

Stocks To Still Extend S&P 500 Upswing

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

S&P 500

S&P 500 quickly dipped on NFPs, and was eagerly soon bought. Even 4,283 where I expected some resistance, didn‘t last too long. Best of all, it wasn‘t up to tech to do the heavy lifting – the rotations were strong on a daily basis, giving e.g. smallcaps best day in months. Industrials with materials and energy also played their part, making any Friday downswing impossible.

The beginning of next week though shouldn‘t be too easy. USD recovered after the debt ceiling bill relief, making for renewed daily rise in yields. The short end of the curve isn‘t indicating the Fed would cut any time soon (this disconnect in the bond market has to be worked on still, but the 6-m is acknowledging no rate cut as remotely near), and 10-y yield took NFPs as no questions asked proof of the real economy not doing so bad (ignore all prior revisions, incl. in hourly earnings).

Recession is though still coming – unrevised uneployment rose to 3.7% already, and earlier in the week manufacturing PMIs took another turn for the worse. The wealth of recession indicators agree, from M2, housing, forward earnings, bank lending, slowly deteriorating credit quality, but chiefly still declining LEIs and inverted yield curve. Thus far still, it looks to be a mild one, taking unemployment to high 4% values – unemployment or nominal wage pressures won‘t get as bad as during prior downturns.

Market breadth improved a lot on a daily basis, but the whole market remains selective, and in spite of the recent catch up by laggards, and driven by tech (the level of hype isn‘t that bad, but earnings have to play catch up to the elevated valuations, and also the post-debt ceiling deal rotation out of the sector didn‘t yet come even briefly.

To be clear, I expect tech FOMO to last a bit longer still), consumer discretionaries (neither AMZN nor TSLA are badly overextended), and communications (META is the prime correction candidate rather than NFLX), and NVDA is in a FOMO and valuation category of its own.

Sure that Treasury replenishing its TGA is a negative, but much depends where that bid for fresh Treasuries comes from. If from retail buyers liquidating deposits, then it‘s 100% bearish impact – if from banks drawing down reverse repos, then it‘s neutral. All in all, the net effect is going to be negative over the nearest months, but not nearly as negative as feared – look at the Chicago Financial Conditions Index only slowly rising, and as complacent as VIX.

So, there is still more ES upside, and I don‘t want to call for shorts and be forced to hold them just because the overwhelming majority of technical signs favor that (such as extremely poor financials‘ performance) the way I had done with the latest unhappy medium-term short – regardless of the great number of daily bullish calls outnumbering the bearish ones for that trade‘s duration, or the reassessments before the debt ceiling deal or as a minimum hedge call right after its announcement.

While this created a rare situation of my swing trades not having the latest one as a truly swing one, I‘ve reflected the situation of not all of you heeding / being practically able to take advantage of all the good calls given in the daily articles and Twitter / Telegram – I‘ll solve this by adding Monica‘s Intraday Signals to the existing line-up of services, which would focus on intraday ES trade calls with much real-time commentary.

It‘ll be about tight trade parameters with focus on high confidence setups, giving 2-4 entry – stop-loss – take profit signals (day orders) per week on average on top of commentary powering your own decisions – delivered via Telegram (closed group).

Current premium clients and those who left me during this long short, can get free subscription upon mailing me, if interested – details are both on my site and on my Patreon site. All future subscribers to premium daily analyses will get intraday signals on extra advantageous terms.

You can tell me already now what you think – I‘ll be grateful for that, my purpose is to serve you better. Let‘s make up for whatever we all lost – and if you were following the daily calls / tweaking them to your ends, let‘s broaden our arsenal!

Keep enjoying the lively Twitter feed via keeping my tab open at all times (notifications on aren’t enough) – combine with Telegram that always delivers my extra intraday calls (head off to Twitter to talk to me there), but getting the key daily analytics right into your mailbox is the bedrock.

So, make sure you‘re signed up for the free newsletter and make use of both Twitter and Telegram – benefit and find out why I’m the most blocked market analyst and trader on Twitter.

Let‘s move right into the charts (all courtesy of – today‘s full scale article contains 6 of them.

S&P 500 and Nasdaq Outlook

S&P 500

Time for decreasing momentum and consolidation of Friday‘s sharp gains – not yet a turnaround lower, but 4,283 test before heading for the 4,305 resistance (looking for increasingly active sellers there), with 4,335 being the ultimate test of this long advance off Oct lows on overall troubled breadth.

Gold, Silver and Miners


Gold and silver acted weaker than they should on Friday, but I‘m still not looking for breach of gold $1,930 – $1,950 , or silver $23.15 (I had to update the silver zone of $23.15 – $23.40 to its lower border only thanks to copper weakness).

Crude Oil

Crude Oil

Crude oil recovery needs to continue, taking it above $72.70 decisively – it won‘t be easy as the upside momentum could have been stronger following NFPs lifting up everything in sight.

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All essays, research and information represent analyses and opinions of Monica Kingsley that are based on available and latest data. Despite careful research and best efforts, it may prove wrong and be subject to change with or without notice.

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How To Turn Things Around With a Problem Employee… Starting Now

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Problem Employee Happy employees Care About Your Employees

Resigned to the dreaded task of letting a problem employee go? Not so fast, says Gary Harpst. There still may be a chance to turn things around—or at least make the experience less soul-crushing for you both.

The warning signs are all there. Your employee (let’s call him Jeremiah) is calling in “sick” a lot more than seems plausible. He’s missing performance goals. Even worse, more than one customer has complained about his attitude. To your dismay – because letting someone go is one of the most painful tasks a leader ever must do – it’s starting to look like an ugly firing is inevitable. But is it really?

Not necessarily, says Gary Harpst, who’s been a CEO for 40 years. When you approach your “Jeremiah” with openness, honesty, and genuine caring, the job can sometimes be salvaged. And if it can’t, the exit doesn’t have to be horribly traumatic.

“Ideally, an employer will broach a conversation on the day of the hiring that lays the groundwork for a peaceful exit,” says Harpst, author of Built to Beat Chaos: Biblical Wisdom for Leading Yourself and Others (Wiley, April 2023, ISBN: 978-1-3941584-0-9, $25.00). “Both parties agree that they’ll do their best to make things work—but if the job turns out not to be the right fit, they’ll do the best they can to make the departure as painless as possible for all concerned.

Tips To Turn Things Around With A Problem Employee

“Unfortunately, not everyone held that first-day conversation,” he adds. “Hindsight is, indeed, 20/20. So the question is, if a firing is looming, is it too late to turn things around?  Maybe not, as long as both of you are willing to tell the truth and hold yourselves accountable.” Harpst offers a few tips:

Hold An Honest Conversation With The Employee Now. (Better Late Than Never!)

Say, “Things are not going well right now, and if you don’t make some changes, we will have to terminate your employment. I don’t want this to happen, so let’s talk about how we can turn this around now.” Explain what the employee has done wrong. Own your part in the problems, whether it’s not being clear enough on expectations, letting issues slide, fudging the truth to alleviate discomfort, or something else.

Clearly Define Your Expectations. Be Sure The New Employee Has The Resources To Meet Them.

Make sure they know what you expect them to do and when they’re expected to do it. Ask them to repeat back what they heard so you’re on the same page. This sets them up for success from this point on. Lack of clarity is a huge driver of failure.

“This is also a good opportunity to create buy-in,” says Harpst. “Ask them if they think these expectations are doable and make sure they agree with the plan. You might also point out trainings or other resources that can help.”

After This Conversation, Hold Regular Face-to-face Check-ins. This Shows The Employee You Care.

Harpst asserts that leaders should view caring about people, not as a means to an end, but as worthwhile in itself. Build the kind of relationship where you know if there are any issues outside of work weighing on their mind and see if there is anything you can do to help. Also, hold them accountable if they drop the ball on something.

“These check-ins keep people on track, but they also build the bedrock of a solid relationship,” says Harpst. “They help you communicate that you actually do care about the person. They also create psychological safety and build trust, because you’re showing them again and again that you want to hear the truth. Even if things don’t work out, you’ll be glad you built this trust as it will make the exit easier on both of you.”

From This Point On, Stop Letting Problems Slide.

Good leaders are compassionate, which can make it difficult to let people go. When we care about people, we naturally want to give them another chance. Sometimes, though, “another chance” crosses the line into enabling. While kindness serves us well most of the time, there are some instances where we must prioritize the success of the team and remember that there are other people counting on us to keep things running smoothly. 

Communicate immediately when things aren’t going well. Ask the other party to do the same. You both want ample notice if you need to make a shift. The last thing you want to do is surprise the person with bad news. Make sure they can see this coming, and when it’s time to part ways, they’ll remember the warnings you gave along the way. 

Make Sure Honest Feedback And Accountability Are A Two-Way Street.

You’re telling the employee the truth, but, just as important, be clear that you want the truth from them. By encouraging feedback, you may discover there’s a deeper organizational problem driving their poor performance or something you could do better to support their success. Likewise, don’t just hold them accountable. Hold yourself accountable, too, and admit it when you mess up.

“Don’t let them shift blame onto your shoulders and escape accountability for their own actions, but also make sure you aren’t doing that either,” says Harpst.

If You Do Have To Fire The Employee, Do It With (Tough) Love.

Be clear that this conversation does not change your decision to let them go, but is about your helping them to be more successful in their next role. Harpst shares an example of an interaction he had with a former employee, David, who could not get along with others and was being terminated.  

“As CEO, I did not know David personally, but I felt I should do something for David,” he recounts. “There appeared from nowhere within me an agape-like interest in this person. I met with him and slowly and carefully related the feedback that others had provided me on how he interacted with them, his belligerence, uncooperativeness, and unwillingness to take input. I told him I had no motive other than to help him see himself as others see him. 

“David broke down in tears,” Harpst continues. “He said he didn’t realize he came across this way and that no one had told him that before. I gently pointed out that was not true. Many people had tried, but he could not ‘hear’ them. By the end of the conversation, David understood how he came across. He sincerely thanked me for helping him. He said it would change his approach in his next job. He seemed relieved and refreshed in his outlook by the end.”


Harpst says when we end a work relationship with this kind of exit feedback, it can transform a termination into a growth experience.  

“People are sometimes more willing to honestly listen once the decision has been made,” says Harpst. “Just make it clear that you have their best interests at heart. People will be grateful that you cared enough to speak up. Never burn bridges in relationships.

“In any case, treat people with integrity regardless of how they treat you,” he adds. “Regardless of how the employee responds to what you have to say, you need to feel that you did your best to be a caring leader.”

About the Author

Gary Harpst is the author of Built to Beat Chaos: Biblical Wisdom for Leading Yourself and Others. He is the founder and CEO of LeadFirst. LeadFirst was founded in 2000 (as Six Disciplines) with a mission of building effective leaders and helping small and mid-size companies manage change, grow, and execute.

About the Book:

Built to Beat Chaos: Biblical Wisdom for Leading Yourself and Others (Wiley, April 2023, ISBN: 978-1-3941584-0-9, $25.00) is available at bookstores nationwide,, and from major online booksellers.

About Wiley:

Wiley, a global research and learning company, helps people and organizations develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Our online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, combined with our digital learning, assessment, and certification solutions, help universities, learned societies, businesses, governments, and individuals increase the academic and professional impact of their work.

Senior Citizen Tax Rebate from Alaska: Apply by June 30

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Tax Rebate from Alaska

Some senior citizens in Alaska could soon get a tax rebate, but for this, they need to hurry to apply as the last date to apply is approaching fast. Specifically, this tax rebate from Alaska, called the 2023 Senior Citizen Hardship Sales Tax Rebate, is for Juneau residents, and the last date to apply is June 30, 2023.

Tax Rebate From Alaska: Who Will Get It?

Under the 2023 Senior Citizen Hardship Sales Tax Rebate, eligible applicants get an annual rebate on the sales tax paid on items that don’t qualify for a sales tax exemption under the Senior Citizen Sales Tax Exemption program.

To qualify for the tax rebate from Alaska, an applicant must be 65 or older, have a valid CBJ Senior Sales Tax Exemption Card, and have a gross income at or below 250% of the US Federal Poverty Guidelines for the State of Alaska. The authorities will send the rebates by September 30

The application form and more information on the tax rebate from Alaska are available at the Senior Citizen Tax Benefits page or City Hall. You can also contact the CBJ Sales Tax Office at or (907) 586-5215 ex. 4901.

Those who don’t have a CBJ Senior Sales Tax Exemption Card must apply for it as soon as possible. Juneau residents aged 65 years or older can apply for a Senior Sales Tax Exemption card.

The card enables senior citizens to get an exemption on SNAP-eligible food, CBJ water utilities, electricity, heating fuel, and garbage collection/landfill services. Moreover, the card works as a Capital Transit bus pass as well.

Senior citizens need to fill out an application to get the Sales Tax Exemption Card. The application must be submitted to the City and Borough of Juneau’s Sales Tax Office. The card costs $20. Applicants can contact the Sales Tax Office at (907) 586-5215 x4901 for more information on the Senior Citizen Exemption card.

Another Benefit For Senior Citizens

Apart from the tax rebate from Alaska, another benefit that is available to senior citizens is the Real Property Tax Exemption. The Senior Citizen Real Property Tax Exemption is available to those aged 65 on or before December 31 of the preceding year.

Eligible residents can get a real property tax exemption of up to the first $150,000 of assessed value. To qualify for the exemption, a senior citizen must own and occupy the residence, as well as be eligible for the Permanent Fund Dividend.

To apply for the exemption, applicants need to fill out the Senior Citizen/Disabled Veteran Real Property Tax Exemption Application. The application form must be submitted at the City and Borough of Juneau Assessor’s Office on or before March 31 of the year an applicant will first be eligible.

For more information on the Senior Citizen Real Property Tax Exemption, contact the Assessor’s Office at (907) 586-5215 x4906.

How Social Security Benefits are Calculated: All You Need to Know

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

How Social Security Benefits are Calculated

You work all your life so that you will have a comfortable retirement, and for most of us, Social Security is a crucial part of retirement planning. Thus, it is important to understand how retirement benefits work, and especially how Social Security benefits are calculated. Understanding how Social Security benefits are calculated helps you make more informed financial decisions.

Qualifying For Social Security

Before we detail how Social Security benefits are calculated, it is important for you to know that you need to accrue 40 credits to even qualify for Social Security benefits. Presently, i.e., in 2023, you need to earn wages and self-employment income of $1,640 to earn one credit.

Moreover, you could earn up to four credits in a year. To earn all four credits in a year, you need to earn $6,560 (in any period of that tax year). To earn 40 credits, you must meet the minimum wage or self-employment income for at least 10 years (which need not be consecutive). The credit system works the same way for self-employed and those who run their own business.

It must be noted that once you earn 40 credits, earning more credits will not boost your benefit payment. Understanding how Social Security benefits are calculated could help you to boost your benefits.

Before we move on, you must also know about Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME). Basically, AIME is used to determine the primary insurance amount (PIA), which in turn, helps to calculate an individual’s Social Security benefits. Simply, AIME approximates a person’s lifetime earnings using present wage levels as a benchmark.

How Are Social Security Benefits Calculated?

When discussing how Security benefits are calculated, we are not talking about the formula. Rather, we need to understand the components that go into calculating Social Security benefits. So, the following points will help you to understand how Social Security benefits are calculated:

Relation To Average Wages

Retirees need to know that the amount of benefits they get is directly related to the money they earn in their working life. When claiming the benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) adjusts your working life earnings to account for wage growth.

The SSA takes into consideration this adjusted wage to give you a percentage of it as your standard benefit. Retirees get this standard benefit at full retirement age (FRA).

If you claim the benefits before your full retirement age, you could be subject to early filing penalties of up to 30%, depending on how early you claimed the benefit. On the other hand, if you claim for benefits after full retirement age, then you could get late filing credits that will boost your benefits.

Your working life earnings are the biggest determinant of your retirement income, so you should always strive to increase earnings when possible.

Not All Earnings Years Count

The SSA doesn’t necessarily use every year’s earnings to calculate your AIME (average-indexed monthly earnings). The SSA considers the 35 years in which you made the most money.

So, if your working years are less than 35, then there will be some years when the SSA counts your earnings as $0 for the calculation of benefits. If your working years are more than 35, then the SSA won’t consider the years with lower earnings.

For example, you worked 36 years, and your lowest year’s earnings during that period was $10,000. The SSA won’t consider that year’s earnings of $10,000 to calculate your benefits.

So, it is important that you try to work for 35 years at least. Your benefits will be higher if you work for more years, which could eventually translate into higher benefits when you retire.

Beware Of The Wage Base Limit

Although the SSA considers the years with higher salaries, not all high earners get the benefit of those wages. This is due to the wage base limit.

You don’t have to pay Social Security taxes on the earnings above the wage base limit. Moreover, earnings more than the wage base limit aren’t considered for calculating benefits. The wage base limit is $160,200 in 2023.

So, no matter how big your paycheck is, it won’t boost your retirement money if it is more than the wage base limit.


Talking about the formula to calculate the benefits, you need to know that AIME (average-indexed monthly earnings) is divided into three parts, called bend points. These bend points are adjusted every year for inflation, and the benefit is the sum of these bend points.

The three bend points (for 2023) are:

  • 90% of the first $1,115 of AIME.
  • 32% of the earnings between $1,115 and $6,721
  • 15% of earnings above $6,721.

Let’s consider an example to understand the calculation better. Mr. A is 62-year-old and his total indexed earnings over his 35 highest-earning years were $2.5 million. In this case, AIME for Mr. A will be $5,952.38 ($2,500,000/420 work months).

The first bend point will be 90% of $1,115, or $1,003.50.

The second bend point will be 32% of $4,837.38 ($5,952.38 less $1,115), or $1,547.96.

Since Mr. A’s income is less than $6,721, the third bend point doesn’t apply.

Now, if we add the first two bend points, we get $2,551.46.

Benefits are rounded to the next-lowest dime, so Mr. A’s benefit payment will be $2,551.40.

Final Words

Although you now know the formula to calculate Social Security, actually calculating the benefits can be complicated. Instead of calculating, it is better for you to understand how your benefits are determined. Once you understand the above points, it will be easier to make your career choices, including how many years you should work and what salary to aim for.

Nordstrom’s Earnings Beat, A Rally In The Making

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Value Stocks Nordstrom

Key Points

  • Nordstrom shareholders were surprised to see the company report an earnings beat during the first quarter of 2023, especially as the broader industry suffers dire challenges. 
  • Management solutions to inventory and supply chain problems enabled gross margins to rise during the year, offsetting the industry-wide effects of slowing sales. 
  • JWN stock valuations are nearing a 2008 level, where analysts and management now believe it to be cheap enough to buy. Renewed dividend yields agree with just how cheap the company may be. 
  • Comparing technical patterns to the financial crisis, alongside earnings power, the 2009 rally could become the 2023 rally. 
  • 5 stocks we like better than Ralph Lauren
  • PVH: Is This Value Back In Style? 

Shares of Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) are trading higher by nearly 2% on Thursday’s trading session on the back of adjusted earnings per share beat. While analysts expected a loss of $0.11 per share, the company surprised investors and markets alike by reporting adjusted earnings per share of $0.07. However, not all of the metrics were as positive as the apparel industry is experiencing similarly dire challenges. Names like Victoria’s Secret (NYSE:VSCO) report similar slowdowns.

Investors have difficulty figuring out where the momentum lies, as diversified product names like Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS) seem immune to these headwinds. However, specialized brands like Ralph Lauren NYSE: RL also broke out of the industry’s contraction.

Despite a challenging year, Nordstrom’s board of directors approved a quarterly dividend payout of $0.19 per share. This agreed-upon payout would place Nordstrom’s dividend yield at nearly 5%, a yield not seen since the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis; this lookback period excludes the sell-offs experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As investors are handsomely rewarded for awaiting management’s next move toward a renewed vision, there is further supporting evidence for upside potential as management continues repurchasing cheap shares according to analyst price targets.

Industry Issues & Solutions

The broader apparel industry has been facing inventory issues, with disruptions in supply chains and shipping costs felt throughout 2020-2022. Today, consumer tastes change at an increasingly faster rate, primarily as the network effects of social media dissipate new styles and preferences.

When the economic powers of supply and demand come together, the apparel industry’s tightrope becomes apparent. Nordstrom’s management has taken on new initiatives, considering the problems these environments could bring onto the company’s margins. 

A dedicated space in the company’s earnings press release showcases some essential improvements. Reportedly, the company saw a 100-basis point (1%) improvement in supply chain costs, marking the third consecutive quarter of cost reductions.

Additionally, efficiency ratios improved as shipping delays were left further behind in the rear-view mirror, increasing productivity metrics in fulfillment centers and enabling quicker inventory turnover.

As a result of successfully navigating the inflationary environment and positively positioning the company for improved inventory management, gross margins increased by 1.1% during the year to finish the quarter at 33.8%.

Despite some positive core improvements in operations, Nordstrom’s superficial metrics and results showcased the reality that the industry has been facing. First quarter 2023 sales reported an 11.6% decrease from the same period a year prior, with gross merchandise value (GMV) decreasing by 11.9%.

Investors can lean on the fact that these are not company-specific trends but rather discretionary spending cyclicality at play and relatively lean on management effectiveness’s effects on offsetting these trends.

Buy the Dip?

Nordstrom stock is trading at prices not seen since the 2008 financial crisis (again excluding the COVID-19 effects), and its valuation multiples stay caught up. Sporting a 3.4x price-to-book value, multiple will place the company at valuations similar to those during the recession, despite having achieved significant improvements and developments since then. Nordstrom analyst ratings suggest a near 25% upside potential from today’s prices.

Analysts are not the only ones to point out the stock’s cheapness today, as management has repurchased up to three million shares from the open market during the year. Considering that the stock has been trading at similar levels to those where management deemed it cheap enough to buy at, investors today can gain the same exposure that insiders have enjoyed for the better part of 2022.

Furthermore, a near-high dividend yield suggests that the stock may be undervalued. Elevated dividend yields are cause for concern since they increase the risk of a payout slash. However, Nordstrom has reassured its latest dividend payout amount and thus dismissed these concerns. 

Technically speaking, the stock is also approaching its most substantial historical support level. During the 2008 crash, the company bottomed at $6.61 per share, during a year when it only generated $1.68 per share. Today, the stock is approaching these prices once again, during a year when it has earned investors nearly 50% of what the whole of the 2008 year generated.

Considering that management has guided investors to expect the full year 2023 adjusted earnings per share of $1.80 to $2.20, it would seem likely that the 2009 rally will be scratched for a 2024 rally. However, Christmas may come earlier this year. 

Should you invest $1,000 in Ralph Lauren right now?

Before you consider Ralph Lauren, you’ll want to hear this.

MarketBeat keeps track of Wall Street’s top-rated and best performing research analysts and the stocks they recommend to their clients on a daily basis. MarketBeat has identified the five stocks that top analysts are quietly whispering to their clients to buy now before the broader market catches on… and Ralph Lauren wasn’t on the list.

While Ralph Lauren currently has a “Moderate Buy” rating among analysts, top-rated analysts believe these five stocks are better buys.

The post Nordstrom’s Earnings Beat, A Rally In The Making appeared first on MarketBeat. Gets A Mouthful Of Profits: Shares Surge, More To Come

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Chewy Stock

Key Points

  • surges on improved profitability and raised guidance. 
  • Short covering is driving the rally, too and may lead to volatility. 
  • Analysts support the stock, their next move will decide where Chewy goes next. 
  • 5 stocks we like better than Chewy (NYSE:CHWY) delivered what investors have been waiting years to see; accelerating top-line growth, expanding margins, and a growing lever for profitability. The Q1 news has shares up more than 20%, which is a significant figure, and the analysts will propel it higher. They are recalculating their estimates and targets now, be sure there will be revisions and possible upgrades over the next few months.

The risk today is the short interest. The short interest is running hot at nearly 20% and a driving force in the post-earnings rally. The combination of high short-interest, bullish analysts’ sentiment, and market-beating results may lead to volatility, but the bottom is in, and the reversal is on Sparks A Short-Squeeze With Results And Guidance’s results are impressive because they are industry-leading, and is already the bulk of the market. The revenue of $2.78 billion is up 14.7% compared to last year and beat the consensus and the industry average. The gains were driven by an increase in customers, revenue per customer, and auto-ship, which is the largest segment of the business. 

The margin news is also impressive, with the gross margin up 90 basis points and the adjusted EBITDA margin 150. Gross margin came in at 28.4%, adjusted EBITDA margin at 4.0%, to drive positive net income and better than expected adjusted earnings.

The net income topped $22 million, up 20% YOY despite doubling share-based compensation expenses. More importantly, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income, indications of cash flow and FCF roughly doubled compared to last year. This performance level is expected to continue through the end of the year. 

The guidance is what got the post-release rally into overdrive. The company raised guidance for the year by 130 bps at the low end and may increase it again later this year. The $11.15 to $11.35 billion brackets the consensus but consensus is below the midpoint and offers significant outperformance on the bottom line. 

“ Net sales per active customer and Autoship customer sales also both reached new record highs for the company and continued to fuel customer loyalty and spend towards our platform,” said Sumit Singh, Chief Executive Officer of Chewy Outpaces Competitors

Competitors like Pet Meds Express (NASDAQ:PETS), Petco Health And Wellness (NASDAQ:WOOF) and The Wag Group (NASDAQ:PET) are growing their market share but not in the same way as

Chewy’s comprehensive approach to pet care allows it to dominate any vertical and is not afraid to enter new ones. This is why the analysts focus firmly on Chewy and why the market’s next move may come down to what they say next. 

As it is, the analysts rate the stock a Moderate Buy and have been firm in that sentiment all year. The price target was still trending lower ahead of the release but the trend was slowing and on the verge of a reversal. The most recent activity is an upgrade from Raymond James in early May to Outperform. They pegged the price at $36, which is below the consensus. The consensus still offers about a 15% upside after the 22% surge in price action. 

The Technical Outlook: Bottomed, Is Reversal Next? 

The action in Chewy stock has bottomed, and a reversal may be next. However, the 20% surge is driven by short-covering, so volatility may be expected. The question is if the market can get above the 150-day moving average. If it can, the reversal may gain momentum. If not, this market may remain range bound until more proof of improvements exists.   


Should you invest $1,000 in Chewy right now?

Before you consider Chewy, you’ll want to hear this.

MarketBeat keeps track of Wall Street’s top-rated and best performing research analysts and the stocks they recommend to their clients on a daily basis. MarketBeat has identified the five stocks that top analysts are quietly whispering to their clients to buy now before the broader market catches on… and Chewy wasn’t on the list.

While Chewy currently has a “Moderate Buy” rating among analysts, top-rated analysts believe these five stocks are better buys.

The post Gets A Mouthful Of Profits: Shares Surge, More To Come appeared first on MarketBeat.

Okta, Inc: When Great Results Aren’t Good Enough

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Otka Close Brothers FTSE 350 Canoo FOMC Statement Persimmon AutoNation best Performing Small-cap Stocks in Feb 2023 Worst Performing Small-cap Stocks in Feb 2023 Keywords Studios Purple Innovation Top 10 Holdings Of Cathie Wood

Key Points

  • Okta shares tanked on a double-downgrade despite solid results. 
  • The guidance was raised and should have the market moving higher. 
  • Valuation is a concern and may keep the stock range bound in 2023. 
  • 5 stocks we like better than Okta

Okta Inc (NASDAQ:OKTA) reported a blow-out quarter that should have the stock moving higher. Instead, the market is moving lower because of 2 analysts’ downgrades, which may start a new trend. As good as the Q1 results and outlook are, they include 1 thing that will keep this market capped for the foreseeable future: slowing growth.

With a valuation of 120X last year’s earnings, 100X this year’s, and 75X next’s, no amount of growth can keep this stock moving higher with growth slowing. What this means for investors is a period of consolidation. The stock is in a trading range and will most likely remain range bound until the revenue and earnings catch up with what the market has priced in. 

Who downgraded Okta, Inc, and why? The first is from JP Morgan Chase & Co. That firm did a double-downgrade from Overweight to Neutral, citing macro-economic growth pressures and valuation with the expectation the growth pressure will increase before it subsides.

The 2nd came from BMO, which cut the rating to Market Perform from Outperform, citing the same factors adding there is limited upside potential due to the price multiple. 

This means a cap on the stock price for the analyst community. The analysts had been increasing their price targets recently, but that is over. The consensus price target is below the pre-release action and heading lower now that the downgrades have begun. The post-release action has the market below the consensus, which suggests the bottom may be near, but there is still a significant amount of room for the stock to fall. 

Okta: Stumbles Into A Buying Opportunity 

Okta shares are down 20% in post-release, premarket trading due to the downgrades, not the results. The results have revenue at $518 million or up nearly 25% YOY. This is 150 basis points above the consensus and driven by a 26% increase in subscription revenue.

The margin news is equally good, with the GAAP losses narrowing nearly 50% and the adjusted profit reversing a loss in the prior year. That left the adjusted earnings at $0.22, up from -$-0.27 last year and a dime ahead of the consensus. 

The guidance is also favorable to investors, if not higher share prices. The company raised its range for Q2 and FY revenue and earnings to a range that is above expectations. However, among the factors that led to the downgrades are signs of slowing growth.

The company’s RPO or subscription backlog is up only 9% compared to the 26% subscription growth and 24.8% top-line growth, while the cRPO or RPO expected to be recognized this year is up only 20%. Those are still good metrics and have the company on track to grow into its valuation, but they are not enough to lead the market higher. 

Institutions Are A Headwind For Okta 

The institutions bought on balance in 2023, but the activity is muted compared to 2022 when they sold in large quantities. They may help support the market at the bottom of the trading range but should be expected to propel the stock higher, and they may provide resistance at the top of the trading range. 

The chart is consistent with range-bound trading. The post-release action confirms resistance at the range top, consistent with previous support levels. The next target is near recent lows at $68. If those don’t hold, the stock is heading toward the bottom of the range near the $50 level. 


Should you invest $1,000 in Okta right now?

Before you consider Okta, you’ll want to hear this.

MarketBeat keeps track of Wall Street’s top-rated and best performing research analysts and the stocks they recommend to their clients on a daily basis. MarketBeat has identified the five stocks that top analysts are quietly whispering to their clients to buy now before the broader market catches on… and Okta wasn’t on the list.

While Okta currently has a “Moderate Buy” rating among analysts, top-rated analysts believe these five stocks are better buys.

The post Okta, Inc: When Great Results Aren’t Good Enough appeared first on MarketBeat.

OraSure Technologies’ CFO Makes Bold Insider Purchase, Reigniting Investor Confidence

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

OraSure Technologies

Executive Kenneth McGrath’s $500,000 buy read as promising signal about future for diagnostic test developer

OraSure Technologies (NASDAQ:OSUR) saw a stock price re-rate on Thursday, climbing 11% after investors became aware of its CFO Kenneth McGrath buying shares in the diagnostic test developer.  This latest rally in OSUR stock, gives traders and investors hope that the strong momentum from the beginning of 2023 might return.

OSUR shares had mounted an impressive 54% rally for 2023 through to May 10, when the first-quarter results update spooked investors. 

The CFO’s trade was initially spotted on Fintel’s Insider Trading Tracker following the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Big Holdings Boost

In the Form 4 filing, McGrath, who assumed CFO duties in August 2022, disclosed buying 100,000 shares on May 30 in the approved trading window that was open post results.

McGrath on average paid $4.93 per share, giving the total transaction a value just shy of $500,000 and boosted his total share count ownership to 285,512 shares.

The chart below from the insider trading and analysis report for OSUR shows the share price performance and profit made from company officers in previous transactions:

OraSure Technologies

Prior to joining OraSure, McGrath had an impressive eight-year tenure at Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX), where he rose to the position of VP of Finance before departing. This is the first time that the CFO has bought stock in the company since August 2022. It is also worth noting that the purchase followed strong Q1 financial results, which exceeded Street forecasts.

Revenue Doubles

In its recently published Q1 update, OraSure Technologies told investors that it generated a whopping 129% increase in revenue to $155 million, surpassing analyst expectations of around $123 million. 

Notably, the revenue growth was driven primarily by the success of OraSure’s COVID-19 products, which accounted for $118.4 million in revenue for the quarter and grew 282% over the previous year.

The surge in revenue for this product was largely driven by the federal government’s school testing program, which led to record test volumes. However, it is important to note that demand for InteliSwab is expected to decline in Q2 2023, prompting OraSure to scale down its COVID-19 production operations. As part of its broader strategy to consolidate manufacturing, the company plans to close an overseas production facility.

While the COVID-19 products division has been instrumental in OraSure’s recent success, its core business delivered stable flat sales of $36.6 million during the quarter. 

In terms of net income, OraSure achieved an impressive result of $27.2 million, or $0.37 per share, in Q1, marking a significant improvement compared to the loss of $19.9 million, or a loss of $0.28 per share, in the same period last year. This result exceeded consensus forecasts of $0.16 per share. As of the end of the quarter, the company held $112.4 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Looking ahead to Q2, OraSure has provided revenue guidance in the range of $62 to $67 million, reflecting the lower order activity from the US government with $25 to $30 million expected sales for InteliSwab. The declining Covid related sales have been a core driver of the share price weakness in recent weeks.

While sales are likely to fall in the coming quarters, one positive for the company is its low debt balance during this period of rising cash rates. The chart below from Fintels financial metrics and ratios page for OSUR shows the cash flow performance of the business over the last five years.

OraSure Technologies

Analyst Opinions

Stephen’s analyst Jacob Johnson thinks that outside of Covid, OSUR continues to execute on several cost and partnership initiatives which he believes appears to be bearing fruit. Johnson pointed out that three partnerships were signed during the quarter.

The analyst thinks that the ex-Covid growth story will be the new focus for investors from now on. The brokerage maintained its ‘equal-weight’ recommendation and $6.50 target price on the stock, matching Fintel’s consensus target price, suggesting OSUR stock could rise a further 29% in the next 12 months. 

The post OraSure Technologies’ CFO Makes Bold Insider Purchase, Reigniting Investor Confidence appeared first on Fintel.

Best Retirement Advice I Received When I Was 10 Years Old

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

best retirement advice Retirement Fears Retirement And Health Care Costs Required Minimum Distribution Deadline

When I was ten, my grandfather – who was, at that time, a well-settled retiree,  shared some of the best retirement advice with me.  Although I didn’t understand much at that time, I knew they were meant to benefit me sooner or later.  They have stayed with me throughout my life, and as I grew older and learned more about finance and the importance of planning for the future, I realized how valuable his wisdom was. 

Through this article, I will walk you through the pieces of advice that have proven to be most impactful in securing my financial future. Read on and discover why they are crucial to consider as you prepare for retirement.

Start Saving Early

One of the best pieces of retirement advice that my grandfather shared was the importance of starting to save for retirement as early as possible. With the power of compounding interest, even small amounts of money saved early on can grow significantly over time. For example, if you start saving $200 per month for retirement from 25, you would have approximately $1,000,000 by the time you reach 67, assuming a 7% annual return on your investment.

Saving early allows you to take advantage of time, which is the most valuable asset when it comes to investing. The longer money is invested, the more potential there is for growth. This concept is known as the time value of money.

Diversification is another crucial aspect of retirement planning. My grandfather emphasized the importance of spreading investments across various assets to mitigate risk. By diversifying, you can protect your retirement savings from the potential negative impact of a single poorly performing investment.

In addition to spreading investments across different asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and real estate, it is also essential to diversify within each asset class. For example, investing in various stocks from different industries or regions can help reduce risk further.

Diversification is also directly proportional to your risk appetite. When you’re young, until your 40s, you would be inherently willing to take more risks. Hence, your portfolio can have as high as 70% equity. However, as you age and security takes priority, debt and mutual funds should dominate your portfolio.

Pay Yourself First

One effective strategy for ensuring consistent retirement savings is to automate the process. By setting up automatic contributions to a retirement account, you can eliminate the need for discipline and willpower to save consistently. This approach is known as the “pay yourself first” method and can be a powerful way to prioritize retirement savings.

Many employers offer automatic enrollment in retirement savings plans, such as 401(k) or 403(b) accounts. These employer-sponsored retirement savings plans allow employees to save and invest a portion of their paychecks before taxes are released.  Besides offering tax advantages, 401(k) and 403(b) can help grow your retirement savings over time. 

Another significant benefit of employer-sponsored retirement plans is the potential for employer-matching contributions. Many employers offer to match employee contributions up to a certain percentage or amount. You can earn “free money” for your retirement savings by contributing enough to receive the full employer match. 

For instance, you earn $50,000 annually, and your employer offers a 401(k) plan with a matching contribution of 100% up to 5% of your salary. In this scenario, you would be eligible for a maximum employer match of $2,500 per year (5% of $50,000). 

Besides leveraging 401(k) or 403(b) accounts, you can set up automatic transfers from your bank accounts to individual retirement accounts (IRAs) or other investment accounts.

Delay Social Security Benefits

Although it may be tempting to start collecting Social Security benefits as soon as one becomes eligible, waiting to claim can result in higher monthly benefits. For every year you delay claiming Social Security benefits beyond your full retirement age (which ranges from 65 to 67, depending on the year of birth), your benefits will increase by approximately 8% per year up to age 70.

By waiting to claim Social Security benefits, you can maximize your monthly benefits, which can provide a more substantial source of income during retirement. However, when deciding when to claim Social Security benefits, it is essential to consider personal circumstances, such as health and financial needs.

While Social Security can provide a foundation for retirement income, it is generally insufficient to cover an individual’s retirement expenses. The average Social Security retirement benefit in February 2023 was $1,782 per month. It is crucial to have additional sources of retirement income, such as personal savings and investments, to ensure a comfortable retirement.

Develop a Retirement Budget

Creating a realistic retirement budget is essential in preparing for a comfortable retirement. By estimating monthly expenses and comparing them to expected retirement income, you can identify potential shortfalls and make necessary adjustments.

When developing a retirement budget, it is essential to consider both fixed and variable expenses. Fixed expenses are those that will remain relatively constant, such as housing costs and insurance premiums. Variable expenses, on the other hand, may change based on lifestyle choices and can include expenses such as travel, dining out, and hobbies.

It is also crucial to factor in the potential for rising expenses due to inflation. Over time, the cost of goods and services tends to increase, which can impact the purchasing power of retirement income. Adjusting the retirement budget for inflation can help ensure a more accurate estimate of future expenses.

Plan for Healthcare Costs

Healthcare is often one of the most significant expenses retirees face, and planning for these costs in advance is essential. According to a 2022 study, a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2021 can expect to spend approximately $300,000 on healthcare throughout their retirement, excluding long-term care expenses.

To help cover healthcare costs in retirement, you should consider options such as Medicare, supplemental insurance policies, and health savings accounts (HSAs).

Moreover, long-term care planning is an often-overlooked aspect of retirement preparation.

The U.S.

Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 70% of individuals turning 65 will need some form of long-term care during their lifetime. Long-term care can be costly, with the average annual cost of a private room in a nursing home exceeding $100,000.

To help protect retirement savings from the potential financial burden of long-term care expenses, you should consider options such as long-term care insurance, hybrid life insurance policies with long-term care riders, or self-funding through dedicated savings and investments.

Create an Emergency Fund

Building an emergency fund is an essential part of retirement planning. An emergency fund is a financial safety net, helping you cover unexpected expenses without dipping into your retirement savings. Financial experts typically recommend having three to six months’ worth of living expenses in an easily accessible, liquid account, such as a savings account or money market fund.

For example, if your monthly expenses are $3,000, you should aim to have at least $9,000 to $18,000 in your emergency fund. By having a well-funded emergency reserve, you can avoid the need to withdraw from your retirement accounts prematurely, preserving your nest egg for the future.

Manage Debt Wisely

Effective debt management is crucial to successful retirement planning. High-interest debt, such as credit card debt, can hinder your ability to save and invest for retirement. By paying off high-interest debt as quickly as possible, you can free up more money to allocate toward your retirement savings. 

For instance, if you have $5,000 in credit card debt with an annual interest rate of 18%, you would pay approximately $900 in interest annually. You can redirect those interest payments toward your retirement savings by paying off this debt. This, in turn, may help increase your nest egg by thousands of dollars over time.

Understand and Monitor Investment Fees

This might sound trivial, but investment fees can eat into a sizeable portion of your returns. People often overlook the cost of investments while choosing an asset class. 

Even seemingly small fees can erode investment returns over time. For example, if you invest $100,000 in a mutual fund with a 1% fee, you would pay a $1,000 annual fee. Over 30 years, assuming a 7% annual return, the total amount paid in fees would be approximately $95,000.

By choosing low-cost investment options, such as index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), you can reduce the fees you pay and potentially increase your retirement savings. Reviewing investment account statements regularly and being aware of any fees associated with the investments held is essential.

Stay Flexible and Adapt

Retirement planning is not a one-time event but an ongoing process requiring regular evaluation and adjustment. As life circumstances, market conditions, and personal goals change, you must reassess and adjust your retirement strategy accordingly. By staying flexible and adapting to new situations, you can ensure that your retirement plan remains on track and continues to meet your evolving needs and objectives.

For example, you have been diligently saving for retirement by contributing to your 401(k) plan and investing in a diversified portfolio. Your initial retirement goal is to accumulate $1,000,000 in savings by turning 65.

However, when you turn 50, you experience several significant life changes. First, you get a substantial salary hike. Second, you and your spouse decide to downsize your home, which results in lower housing expenses. Finally, due to changing family circumstances, your expected financial responsibilities for your adult children’s education decrease. 

These changes present new opportunities to reassess and adjust your retirement strategy. With your increased salary and lower expenses, you may now have the capacity to contribute more to your 401(k) plan. This will potentially allow you to reach your retirement goal sooner or accumulate a larger nest egg. 

Besides the changes in personal circumstances, fluctuations in market conditions can also impact your retirement planning. For instance,  there is a prolonged economic downturn, and your investment portfolio declines in value. In this case, you may need to reevaluate your retirement timeline or adjust your investment strategy to ensure that you are always on track.

Start Now!

The retirement advice I received when I was just 10 has proven timeless and invaluable. Besides following the pearls of wisdom shared above, it is essential to consider personal circumstances and consult a financial professional to develop a customized retirement strategy that precisely meets your financial needs. It’s never too early or too late to begin planning for retirement. By taking a proactive approach to retirement planning, you can enjoy peace of mind as you know you are well-prepared for your golden years. 

To help ensure that retirement savings last, developing a withdrawal strategy that balances the need for income with the desire to preserve savings is essential. One commonly recommended strategy is the 4% rule, which suggests withdrawing 4% of the initial retirement portfolio value each year, adjusted for inflation. This approach is designed to help minimize the risk of quickly depleting savings.


1. How Much Money Should I Save For Retirement?

The amount an individual needs to save for retirement depends on various factors, such as desired lifestyle, expected expenses, and anticipated sources of retirement income. A common rule of thumb is to aim to replace 70-80% of pre-retirement income. However, it is essential to consider personal circumstances and preferences when determining an appropriate retirement savings goal.

2. When Should I Start Planning For Retirement?

It is never too early to start planning for retirement. The sooner you start saving and investing, the more time your money has to grow, thanks to the power of compounding interest! Additionally, an early start offers the opportunity to experiment with different saving and investment strategies, learn from experience, and adjust as required. 

This flexibility enables you to adapt to life changes, market fluctuations, and evolving financial goals. Consequently,  you cherish an increased chance of achieving a comfortable and financially secure retirement.

3. What Is The Best Way To Invest For Retirement?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The best investment strategy depends on your risk tolerance, investment goals, and time horizon. Generally, a diversified investment portfolio that includes a mix of stocks, bonds, and other asset classes is recommended for long-term retirement savings.

The post Best Retirement Advice I Received When I Was 10 Years Old appeared first on Due.

Gold And Dollar Dynamics Amid Job Surge And Federal Reserve Expectations

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Gold Price Forecast Debt Ceiling

Gold prices were on track for their most substantial weekly rise since early April on Friday, driven by a weaker dollar and growing optimism for a halt in the Federal Reserve’s tightening trajectory, which enhanced the appeal of the precious metal.

As of Friday, spot gold had risen by 0.1% to $1,980.49 per ounce, and U.S. gold futures were stable at $1,997.50. The precious metal had seen a 1.7% gain over the week, setting it up for its most profitable week since the week ending on April 7.

Gold Prices Could Nudge Higher

Analysts anticipate that the gold market’s positive sentiment may further drive prices upward. Edward Meir, a metals analyst at Marex, suggested that prices could nudge higher given expectations that the Federal Reserve may maintain a holding pattern in June.

Comments from Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Patrick Harker on Thursday fed into this optimism. Harker stated that despite the “disappointingly slow” pace of easing high inflation, U.S. central bankers should abstain from increasing interest rates at their forthcoming meeting.

Such comments have affected market predictions significantly. The probability of rates remaining the same in June has shot up to 71.5%. Given that gold does not generate interest, its allure diminishes in an environment of rising interest rates.

The value of the dollar also plays a significant role in gold’s appeal. The dollar index, which measures the dollar’s strength against a basket of other currencies, dipped to its lowest point in a week. A weaker dollar makes gold less costly for buyers trading in other currencies, enhancing its attractiveness as an investment

The U.S. political environment has also contributed to these market trends. The U.S. Senate recently approved bipartisan legislation, backed by President Joe Biden, to raise the government’s debt ceiling to $31.4 trillion. This crucial decision averted what could have been an unprecedented default in the country’s history.

U.S. Dollar Stabilizes

The U.S. dollar remained generally steady in fluctuating trade after the release of May’s non-farm payrolls reports on Friday, which indicated a significant surge in employment, albeit with an accompanying rise in the unemployment rate.

The report revealed a higher-than-expected increase in public and private sector payrolls, with a total addition of 339,000 jobs in May. The economists surveyed by Reuters had predicted an increase of 190,000 non-farm payrolls for May, a forecast based on the 253,000 rises observed in April.

The dollar index, a barometer measuring the U.S. currency against six other currencies, remained relatively stable at 103.58.

Prior to the release of the employment data by the U.S. Labor Department, the dollar was on track for its most substantial weekly decline since mid-January. This trend was largely due to the growing consensus among investors that the Federal Reserve would likely hold off on increasing interest rates this month. Such a decision would reduce the greenback’s attractiveness to non-U.S. investors.

The implications of the Federal Reserve’s stance on interest rates are reflected in the financial market predictions. Money markets now indicate a roughly 29% probability of a rate hike in June, a significant reduction from the near 70% odds predicted earlier in the week.

In the European market, the euro remained unchanged at $1.0762, close to its highest value in about a week. This stability is attributed to comments from the European Central Bank President, Christine Lagarde. On Thursday, Lagarde stated that further policy tightening was necessary, a statement that gave the euro a significant boost.

These factors combined, from gold’s appeal to currency fluctuations and employment data, present a complex but comprehensive picture of the current economic landscape. As the economic situation remains fluid, the outcomes will continue to depend heavily on central bank policies and other macroeconomic indicators. Investors, therefore, need to maintain a vigilant watch on these developments.

Methane Pyrolysis: Unlocking The Potential Of Turquoise Hydrogen Production

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Methane Pyrolysis Process

In the rapidly evolving landscape of hydrogen, the global push for low-carbon hydrogen production is accelerating the exploration of sustainable, scalable, and economically viable technologies.

While blue and green hydrogen have been spotlighted as the eminent options for medium and long-term decarbonization, the less-publicized turquoise hydrogen, generated via methane pyrolysis, has been advancing in terms of technology and commercial demonstrations. So, where does methane pyrolysis fit into the future hydrogen economy, and how significant will its role be?

This article explores this topic and delves into the various methane pyrolysis technologies, their benefits, drawbacks, and the key commercial activities shaping this industry. For a comprehensive exploration of methane pyrolysis as well as the blue hydrogen market, please see IDTechEx’s brand new market report, “Blue Hydrogen Production and Markets 2023-2033: Technologies, Forecasts, Players”.

A Comparison of Blue and Green Hydrogen

A Comparison of Blue and Green Hydrogen

The spectrum of hydrogen colors. Source: IDTechEx

In the hydrogen production spectrum, blue and green hydrogen have emerged as key solutions to a low-carbon future. Blue hydrogen is produced by reforming natural gas with steam or partially oxidizing it with oxygen while capturing and storing the CO2 emissions from the process.

On the other hand, green hydrogen is generated through the electrolysis of water powered by renewable energy sources such as wind or solar, rendering it carbon-free in terms of Scope 1 and 2 emissions.

Turquoise hydrogen, however, offers a different approach to hydrogen production. It is generated via methane pyrolysis, a process where methane is decomposed into hydrogen and solid carbon at high temperatures without releasing any direct CO2. This makes turquoise hydrogen a more environmentally friendly option than blue hydrogen, as it avoids the need for carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Compared to green hydrogen, the production of turquoise hydrogen is typically more cost-effective and easier to scale due to its reliance on the abundant and currently more affordable natural gas as a feedstock. In addition, the process is thermodynamically much less energy intensive than water electrolysis, requiring around seven times less energy per mole of H2 produced.

This is especially advantageous, considering that many methane pyrolysis process variations can be fully electrified, thus removing Scope 2 emissions. The use of biogas as a feedstock could potentially make the process carbon negative.

The process also results in a solid carbon by-product, which can potentially be utilized in various industries depending on its grade – rubber black is used as a reinforcement material for rubbers and specialty black can be used in the production of polymers, inks, coatings, battery materials and many other applications.

Research is also underway to investigate its use as a soil additive. Some methane pyrolysis processes can also produce hydrocarbons, graphite, or more advanced carbons like graphene. The generation of such products could yield useful revenue streams for pyrolysis plant operators.

The Spectrum of Methane Pyrolysis Processes

The Spectrum of Methane Pyrolysis Processes

Source: IDTechEx

IDTechEx identified three broad types of methane pyrolysis processes. Overall, these processes are all quite different in terms of their working principles, pros and cons, stages of development and the relative number of players developing them. Of course, there are more variations of these, such as the plasma-catalytic process.

  1. Thermal: non-catalytic thermal decomposition using very high temperatures (1000-1400°C). Heating is supplied via the reactor walls or heat exchange tubes (if combustion is used). Companies developing this process include BASF (resistive heating of reactor walls) and Ekona Power (heating by combustion of tail gases).
  2. Catalytic: thermocatalytic process that employs either a molten catalyst in a bubble column or catalyst particles in a fluidized bed reactor. Companies developing this process include C-Zero (molten salt catalyst) and Hazer Group (solid iron ore catalyst).
  3. Plasma: methane molecules are split by high-temperature plasma (via plasma torches) or microwave-generated low-temperature plasma. Companies developing this process include Monolith (high temperature) and Transform Materials (low temperature).

IDTechEx believes that plasma pyrolysis processes are by far the most advanced in terms of the stage of technological development and the number of players. They are also the most energy-efficient processes, as heat is delivered directly to the methane gas instead of the reactor or catalytic medium. In addition, the quality of carbon products is usually higher than that of other process types, although some catalytic processes can also produce quality products.

However, the process requires precise control of the plasma to not form side products since the methane radicals tend to combine into hydrocarbon molecules. Transform Materials utilized this behavior in their microwave process to generate acetylene – a valuable chemical used in the production of polymers like PVC and chemicals like butanediol.

Commercial Interest And Activity In Methane Pyrolysis

The companies developing methane pyrolysis span across multiple regions, with North America (primarily the US) and Europe (primarily the UK, France, and Germany) dominating development in terms of the number of players and their technological readiness levels (TRL). However, a few players do stand out in terms of commercializing their technologies.

Monolith is a US-based company and is probably the most advanced player on the market, as it has had an operating commercial-scale facility since 2020 (Olive Creek 1) that produces 5 kilotonnes of hydrogen and 15 kilotonnes of carbon black annually. The company is currently expanding this facility (Olive Creek 2) to produce 275 kilotonnes of low-carbon ammonia and 194 kilotonnes of carbon black.

The plant is scheduled for commissioning in 2023 and is expected to be the largest methane pyrolysis plant globally. Monolith has recently announced that its carbon black product will be used in Goodyear’s new ultra-high performance ElectricDrive™ GT tires.

As mentioned previously, Transform Materials is another US-based company with a microwave plasma process that can produce acetylene. The company positions itself as a provider of a clean acetylene process – an alternative to the existing carbon-intensive carbide and acetylene cracker processes.

Therefore, its process is likely of most interest to acetylene end-users, where hydrogen would be considered a valuable by-product. The company does not yet have a commercial plant, but it is generating lots of commercial interest from companies like DSM Nutritional Products.

Hazer Group is an Australian company commercializing its catalytic pyrolysis technology that uses iron ore pellets as the catalyst in a fluidized bed reactor. Its process generates a relatively high-purity graphite product that can be used in a wide range of applications, including lithium-ion batteries, if purified to the required degree.

The company is developing its first commercial plant in Australia at the Woodman Point Wastewater Treatment Facility, which will produce 100 tonnes of H2 annually and is scheduled for commissioning in H2 2023. Although this is still quite small in capacity compared to Monolith’s Olive Creek 1, the company is seeing lots of interest in its technology from multinational corporations like Engie and Chiyoda Corporation.

Several smaller players, such as Plenesys and Graforce, are developing more modularized pyrolysis processes that could be located close to customers’ facilities. This provides an alternative pathway to decentralized smaller-scale hydrogen production, which could compete with electrolysis in the future. However, commercial efforts using such plants are still relatively limited. More information on players and their activities can be found in IDTechEx’s report.

Outlook On Turquoise Hydrogen

Of course, the technology does come with some drawbacks. The need for methane (natural gas) is a shared challenge with blue hydrogen as it means hydrogen production will rely on natural gas. Additionally, the hydrogen yield per mole of natural gas used is lower than that of blue hydrogen processes, such as steam-methane or autothermal reforming (SMR & ATR).

There are also some challenges associated with the carbon by-product – off-take agreements can only be established for a quality carbon product; otherwise, the carbon would have to be sequestered underground. In addition, methane pyrolysis generates 3 kg of carbon black for every kg of hydrogen.

Therefore, pyrolysis plants would only be able to scale to very large scales (in the millions of tonnes of hydrogen) if suitable markets for the by-product are available – otherwise, the process economics may be prohibitive.

As seen in the article, many commercial efforts are taking place and many smaller to medium-sized companies are developing technologies. Each company has a different business model depending on the scale of its process and the type or purity of its carbon by-product.

Overall, IDTechEx believes that the use of methane pyrolysis will be rather limited in the hydrogen industry compared to blue and green hydrogen, at least in the medium term. The technologies still need to develop and be demonstrated at commercial scales. However, that does not mean that methane pyrolysis and turquoise hydrogen should be overlooked since various industries could benefit from such technologies.

IDTechEx’s new market report, “Blue Hydrogen Production and Markets 2023-2033: Technologies, Forecasts, Players”, analyzes and compares all these processes, providing insights on the activities of key players and their projects. It also includes 10-year market forecasts for the blue hydrogen industry broken down by technology, end-use and region.

About IDTechEx

IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its Research, Subscription and Consultancy products, helping you profit from emerging technologies. For more information, contact or visit

S&P 500 Rebound To Continue

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

S&P 500

S&P 500 bears made good progress initially as yesterday‘s data confirmed the hawkish Fed takeaway – yet my bond targets wenen‘t met, indicating that the field is now open to the bulls, which allowed me to call for ES going up all the way to the Sunday futures open in the low 4,240s.

Following today‘s non-farm payrolls, which I though expect to be revised lower in the upcoming months just as the prior months were, I‘m looking for Fed Jun 25 hike odds going up, and the talk about raising only in Jul to gradually die down.

Keep enjoying the lively Twitter feed via keeping my tab open at all times (notifications on aren’t enough) – combine with Telegram that always delivers my extra intraday calls (head off to Twitter to talk to me there), but getting the key daily analytics right into your mailbox is the bedrock.

So, make sure you‘re signed up for the free newsletter and make use of both Twitter and Telegram – benefit and find out why I’m the most blocked market analyst and trader on Twitter.

Let‘s move right into the charts (all courtesy of – today‘s full scale article contains 3 of them.

S&P 500 and Nasdaq Outlook

S&P 500

Solid volume, with daily animal spirits returning. What was beaten down to the proximity of supports (IWM, XLI, XRT, XLB), stabilized via some respectable upswings within respective ranges, and the ES rally got a distinctly less defensive posture than was the case on Wednesday.

What was driving the upswing and doing well before (AI connected tech, communications and consumer discretionaries), continued its bullish job; The key confirmation of a turn higher to continue, came from financials.

I‘m also looking for stocks to weather the stronger than expected (than even I expected – major banks were way more guarded) non-farm payrolls finely – and the instinctive dip reflecting better odds of Jun 25bp hike, was already bought really fast. Intraday consolidation followed by more upside is the theme of today.

4,247 with 4,236 are nearest supports, but the march towards 4,283 (more than Friday‘s job) would rightfully get more attention once the 4,247 resistance turning support is gone.

In case you took me up on the daily bullish calls, and noted the hedges idea from Sunday‘s extensive article, you benefited. And even more so in case you‘re combining the full scope of services with the Twitter feed.

market breadth

The market breadth for the whole S&P 500 and Nasdaq improved just enough yesterday to carry both sectors higher – as they consolidate sharp gains within their respective rotations. No warning sign of a crash today or Monday really.

Thank you for having read today‘s free analysis, which is a small part of my site‘s daily premium Monica’s Trading Signals covering all the markets you’re used to (stocks, bonds, gold, silver, miners, oil, copper, cryptos), and of the daily premium Monica’s Stock Signals presenting stocks and bonds only. Both publications feature real-time trade calls and intraday updates.

While at my site, you can subscribe to the free Monica‘s Insider Club for instant publishing notifications and other content useful for making your own trade moves.

Turn notifications on, and have my Twitter profile (tweets only) opened in a fresh tab so as not to miss a thing – such as extra intraday opportunities. Thanks for all your support that makes this great ride possible!

Thank you,

Monica Kingsley

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All essays, research and information represent analyses and opinions of Monica Kingsley that are based on available and latest data. Despite careful research and best efforts, it may prove wrong and be subject to change with or without notice.

Monica Kingsley does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. Her content serves educational purposes and should not be relied upon as advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind.

Futures, stocks and options are financial instruments not suitable for every investor. Please be advised that you invest at your own risk. Monica Kingsley is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading her writings, you agree that she will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make.

Investing, trading and speculating in financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Monica Kingsley may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in her writings, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice.

WARNING – Chatbots Can Tell The Truth

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Chatbots Artificial intelligence AI EPAM AI Act Slack threads

WARNING – Chatbots Can Tell The Truth; One Was Culture Cancelled For Providing Sound Health Advice

Chatbots Are Getting Cancelled

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 2, 2023) – Cancel culture has now killed off even a website chatbot even though it provided sound and valuable health advice, apparently because the information seemed to conflict with the position the organization was trying to promote, warns public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

The National Eating Disorders Association has taken down its chatbot because, in response to carefully worded questions by a self-described “fat activist,” it provided correct and healthful answers to simple questions about how to lose weight safety, apparently because this correct information might conflict with the group’s mission.

Banzhaf, who has been called “the Ralph Nader of Junk Food,” “The Man Who Is Taking Fat to Court,” “The Man Big Tobacco and Now Fast Food Love to Hate,” and the lawyer “Who’s Leading the Battle Against Big Fat,” notes that obesity from overeating (including binge eating) is – according to the AMA – a “disease,” and that most medical experts recommend slow weight loss by consuming fewer calories for people with this disease.

So, when the visitor to the Association’s site wrote: “You said that if I lose weight slowly that can be healthy. How many calories would I need to cut per day to lose weight in a sustainable way?,” the chatbot replied in a responsible and correct way that:

  • it varies from person to person, and depends on factors such as sex and age
  • that a loss of 1 or 2 pounds per week could be safe and sustainable
  • “I highly recommend consulting with a registered dietician or healthcare provider”

For providing that and other apparently sound advise regarding eating, the chatbot has been censored by removing it from the site, even though many human health professionals would have provided the same or similar responses, and the organization did not have enough volunteers to provide advice in response to questions without the help of a chatbot.

The group’s explanation seems to be that the advice might not be suitable for some visitors to the site. But failing to provide sound health and medical advice can be very harmful.

For example, a website promoting Black acceptance and fighting Black self hatred should not silence its chatbot simply because it warns that Black people are more subject to sickle cell anemia and several other medical problems than people of other races.

An organization seeking to encourage girls to become competitive athletes should not kill off a chatbot simply because it warns that a small number of female athletes have such a low percentage of body fat that they stop menstruating, or that female athletes are more likely to suffer tears of the ACL from jumping than male athletes.

Or, to provide a positive example, Internet web sites designed to support male homosexuals and their sexual interactions with other men felt it was their duty to warn their viewers about the dangers of AIDS, and how gay men were at such high risks from the deadly virus, even though some might perceive such language as pejorative or even as homophobic.

Although the contrary is often promoted by “fat activists” and by the “body positivity” movement, research suggests “that the “‘healthy obese’ person is nothing but a myth.” See: MEDICAL NEWS TODAY – Can you be healthy and have obesity? Not really, says major study

Chatbots, especially those which incorporate AI, may often provide truthful and helpful information – because they are able to draw upon and learn from tens of millions of sources of reliable information available on the Internet – which may seem to contradict the mission of an activist organization.

In such a situation, the chatbot should not just become a victim of the cancel culture just because of this conflict.

In such cases the burden should be on the organization to either explain why and how the chatbot is wrong – which can become very difficult as AI programs become more powerful and refined – or to adjust and/or explain its position which seems in contrast with the weight of opinion being expressed by the AI chatbot, suggests Prof Banzhaf.

Moreover, while education (by chatbots on websites for example) may have some impact on major public health disorders such a smoking and obesity, legal action is often far more effective than education; something clearly established by the major victories against smoking, and new emerging ones against obesity. See: Why “Suing the Bastards” Is More Efficient In Fighting Unhealthy Behaviors than Education

Top AI Apps Most Likely To Be Restricted Based On White House Guidelines

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

AI Apps Most Likely To Be Restricted Artificial Intelligence AI Most AI-Driven City

With The White House launching a new effort to reduce the risks of AI, Decluttr has analyzed which of the most popular AI apps are most likely to be restricted based on The White House guidelines to see if they track any of the following:

  • disability-related data
  • genomic data
  • biometric data
  • behavioral data
  • geolocation data
  • data related to interaction with the criminal justice system
  • relationship history
  • legal status such as custody and divorce information
  • home, work, or school environmental data

From there, we have determined the likelihood of the app being restricted or banned.

The Top 10 AI Apps Most Likely To Be Restricted

Rank App Name Disability-related data Genomic data Biometric data Behaviourdal data Gelocation data Interaction with the criminal justice system Relationship history Legal status Home/work/school data
1 Google Assistant     Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
2 Amazon Alexa     Yes Yes Yes   Yes Yes Yes
3 ELSA     Yes Yes Yes   Yes Yes  
4 eBay       Yes Yes   Yes Yes  
5 Hopper       Yes Yes Yes      
6 Siri     Yes   Yes   Yes    
7 Socratic – AI Educational App       Yes Yes        
8 Youper – AI Mental Health Support       Yes Yes        
9 Hound – Natural Voice AI Assistance       Yes Yes        
10 Face App – AI Selfie Editing App       Yes Yes        

Google Assistant Is Most Likely To Be Banned According To White House Restrictions

The virtual assistant software, Google Assistant, is the most likely to be banned according to The White House restrictions. It is one of the biggest offenders for collecting and sharing your data, including health, biometric, behavioral, geolocation, and much more.

While it’s not obvious, they may be tracking data related to interaction with the criminal justice system, relationship history, legal status such as custody and divorce information through applications such as audio, web browsing history and financial information.

To this end, automated systems that collect, use, share, or store data related to these sensitive domains should meet additional expectations, according to The White House.

Amazon Alexa Comes In 2nd For AI Apps That Could Be Banned By The White House

Personalized virtual assistant Amazon Alexa ranks next on the list, with the platform tracking relationship history, home, work, or school environmental data and biometric, behavioral, and geolocation data to name a few, which could put individuals at risk of a loss of privacy if the app does not meet White House regulations.

Teaching Tool ELSA Could Also Be Banned In The Future

In this race to track your data, other top AI giants such as ELSA – the English learning app is also collecting and sharing your behavioral data, legal status, geolocation and more. These apps may have to justify this collection of data in cases where it can be appropriately and meaningfully given in the near future, thanks to The White House regulations.

Liam Howley, Chief Marketing Officer at Decluttr, comments:

Many apps are now incorporating artificial intelligence into their systems, whether that’s streamlining processes or providing a personalized touch. Because it is advancing at breakneck speeds, regulations haven’t been fully put in place to address the risks around safety and privacy. However, you can still limit how much new AI apps are tracking your data by choosing the ‘ask app not to track’ option when downloading, or by blocking apps from tracking data in your settings.”

New Evidence Reveals Starvation Tactics And Other Human Rights Violations Used By Russian Forces To Break Ukrainian People

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Russia Starvation Tactics

Investigations being carried out by dedicated starvation unit led by British Barrister and world-leading Starvation expert

Russian Forces Use Starvation Tactics To Break Ukrainian People

A new investigation by a first-of-its-kind Starvation Mobile Justice Team, supporting Ukraine’s Office of the Prosecutor General’s (OPG) investigation into Russian starvation war crimes, has revealed starvation tactics used by Russian soldiers designed to break Ukrainian people.

As part of the UK, EU and US sponsored Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group (ACA), the international human rights law firm, Global Rights Compliance, led by Wayne Jordash KC – a world-leading British human rights barrister, has established Mobile Justice Teams (MJTs) which are providing critical support to the Ukrainian Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG) by assisting Ukrainian investigators and prosecutors on the ground as the conflict continues.

The teams bring together leading domestic and international experts in the field of international criminal law, mass atrocity crimes investigations and case-building, as well as providing support to victims and witnesses.

The dedicated Starvation Mobile Justice Team, part of the Mobile Justice Teams established by Global Rights Compliance, began its work in January 2023.

Since January 2023, the Starvation Mobile Justice Team, which is led by British barrister and world-leading Starvation expert, Catriona Murdoch, Partner at Global Rights Compliance, has been focused on investigating starvation and related violations across Ukraine with an initial focus on the Chernihiv region, which was besieged from late February 2022 to early April 2022.

Today, the Starvation Mobile Justice Team can reveal as part of its initial investigation, that there are numerous credible and actionable incidents recorded in Chernihiv alone that establish a track record of repeated and/or coordinated attacks, resulting in objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population being targeted.

These incidents identified by the Starvation Mobile Justice Team include reported air and artillery attacks on critical water infrastructure throughout Chernihiv and an attack resulting in civilian casualties close to a hospital where people were allegedly queuing for water.

Other incidents identified as part of their initial investigation include widespread shelling of residential areas, hospitals and supermarkets, as well as a merciless attack on a bread queue outside a supermarket in Chernihiv city, which occurred on 16 March 2022.

The Starvation Mobile Justice Team’s investigations on the bread queue attack, which build on an earlier investigation conducted by Truth Hounds, have established that between approximately 0730hrs and 0900hrs on 16 March 2022, two queues formed on either side of the SOYUZ store, totaling between 20 and 90 people.

These civilians were struck by high explosive fragmentation projectiles. SOYUZ was a widely known food store, as a place to collect bread deliveries directly from trucks if the store was closed.

The Starvation Mobile Justice Team has identified two weapons systems that may have been used in the attack – the 122mm GRAD rocket system, and a Howitzer – both of which are inaccurate area weapons.

A GRAD rocket, which can launch 40 rockets in 20 seconds, is designed to clear a 1km square block, meaning that firing into a densely populated residential urban area is likely to cause serious collateral damage among civilians and civilian objects. Evidence also indicates that Russian drones were in operation in the area around 16 March. The drones would have provided quality imagery to the Russian fire controller of the targets and therefore civilians being fired upon.

The toll on innocent Ukrainian civilians was severe, with approximately 20 civilians killed, 14 were killed on 16 March, and more died in hospital thereafter. Reports on the number of injured vary between 26 and 50 who were brought to nearby hospitals. The hospitals had also been attacked substantially impacting power supplies and thus creating challenging circumstances to treat those injured or dying.

The Tip Of The Iceberg

Commenting on the investigation of Russia’s starvation crimes in Ukraine, Catriona Murdoch Partner and Head of Starvation Portfolio at Global Rights Compliance commented:

“The starvation crimes we are investigating in Chernihiv are the tip of the iceberg in Putin’s calculated plan to terrorize, subjugate and kill Ukrainian people. Having recently visited the impact site of the bread queue attack in Chernihiv with our Starvation Mobile Justice Team and seen the progress the OPG has made in investigating the persistent attacks on civilians and critical infrastructure, we are confident that perpetrators can be identified.

“From our initial investigations into Russia’s starvation crimes in Ukraine, the evidence is pointing towards a deliberate plan carefully designed to undermine and attack the very foundation and societal fabric of Ukrainians, subjecting them to inhumane living conditions. It is imperative that these crimes are fully investigated so that we can create a bedrock of truth and a historical record which can be used both to counter Russia’s lies and to find justice for Ukraine’s victims and the survivors of these crimes.”

The Starvation Mobile Justice Team is formed of top international and Ukrainian experts who can rapidly deploy around the country to assist Ukraine’s investigators and prosecutors to collect and rigorously analyze evidence of starvation atrocities, ensuring the highest number of perpetrators are brought to account and innocent Ukrainian victims see the justice they deserve.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been associated with a wide range of other starvation-related tactics, including the siege of Mariupol, the obstruction of humanitarian access to Russian-occupied areas, the pillaging of agricultural machinery and harvests, the shelling of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, and the blockade of ports. Critical civilian infrastructure has also been routinely targeted, including electricity infrastructure, shelters, energy and water supplies.

This announcement from Global Rights Compliance comes in the week following the UN Protection of Civilians week and the 5th anniversary of the unanimous adoption of UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2417 (2018) which recognized the intrinsic link between conflict and hunger and unequivocally condemned the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare and the unlawful denial of humanitarian access.

Before the invasion, Ukraine had 8,000 prosecutors, but only the war crimes department and two units (Donetsk and Lugansk) had expertise in investigating war crimes. The establishment of the Starvation Mobile Justice Team by leading international human rights law firm, Global Rights Compliance, is part of the wider Mobile Justice Teams that are helping to support the Office of the Prosecutor General and their new department and nine regional offices with the expertise, experience and policies needed to help gather evidence for potential use to prosecute international crimes.

Global Rights Compliance is the only international firm of human rights lawyers that has been consistently operating in Ukraine since 2015, working with the OPG and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to document international crimes. The law firm has developed a series of toolkits, manuals and guides focused on building legal capacity in Ukraine to enable the documentation and investigation of international humanitarian law crimes.

Global Rights Compliance has unparalleled experience in starvation war crimes since 2017 and has worked closely with the Swiss government to secure the historic Rome Statute Starvation Amendment in December 2019, which for the first time, enabled the international investigation and prosecution of the war crime of starvation in domestic armed conflicts.

The Starvation Mobile Justice Team’s investigations are made possible due to funding from the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

US Stocks Climb As Debt Ceiling Deal Passes

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

debt ceiling debate
  • US stocks reach a nine-month high as US passes debt ceiling deal
  • Cautious outlook sees UK merger and acquisition activity drop to seven year low
  • Lagarde signals Eurozone inflation hasn’t peaked, warns further interest rate hikes are on the way
  • Brent crude moves higher but is still set to end the week down on demand concerns

US Stocks Hit A Nine-Month High On Debt Ceiling Deal

“US markets have touched a nine-month high, as US lawmakers voted to raise the debt ceiling and avoided a challenging default. The relief from investors showed up in both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite, with gains around 1% seen on each.

The deal clears the path to more normal business to resume, but the reason there hasn’t been more of a substantial bounce is because markets were very much betting that officials would indeed sort out the issue before default occurred. Some would say that faith was misguided, but there’s little to argue with now that both sides have agreed to sign on the dotted line.

The legislation will culminate in savings of $1.5trn over the next ten years. Asian equities are riding the wave of this development, with the Hang Seng index rising 2.2%. The spotlight will now pivot to focus on non-farm payroll data due from the US later today, with hiring expected to have cooled in May. This will be one of the last important data sets before officials decide if interest rates should continue to be pushed uphill or paused.

UK M&A Activity Drops

The broader optimism has also spilled over the UK, with the FTSE 100 opening up 38 points. UK-based vet pharma giant, Dechra Pharmaceuticals plc (LON:DPH), has agreed a £4.46bn bid from private equity firm EQT. This gives the firm an enterprise value of close to £5bn, and follows a period of uncertainty for the group after trading turned challenging because of destocking by wholesalers. The pet boom should broadly play into a positive story for Dechra, but the deal will end shareholders’ long-term bets on the company, but it will also remove doubt stemming from the sensitive share price.

Despite Dechra’s deal signaling otherwise, M&A activity in the UK has dropped to levels not seen since 2016. The total value of mergers and acquisitions, involving UK companies, halved to just under $90bn in the first five months of the year. Despite a concentrated spate of private equity approaches, the situation has become frosty.

This is a result of stronger and stickier inflation, as well as renewed pressure from competition authorities. The decision to block Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) takeover of Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) was largely seen to embody the challenge facing the UK. The region is seen by some as a less accommodating place in which to do big business, and this could have implications across UK valuations.

Companies that may, in theory, be prime takeover targets could have some of that premium taken away or muted, as investors think twice about the likelihood of bidders coming to the table in the current climate.

Eurozone’s Inflation Still Too High

The president of the European Central Bank has said inflation in the bloc is still too high. Despite a slowdown in consumer prices, it’s widely understood that overall inflation is still running far too hot, and the cooling effect of further interest rates are on the way. A major issue remains the tightness of the labor market, which gives employees powerful bargaining chips when it comes to wages, which ultimately feeds into increasing levels of cash in the economy.

Brent Crude Moves Higher

The resolution of the US debt crisis has seen Brent crude push up slightly, and is trading at around $75 a barrel. This is still down from $76 seen a week ago, with the tempered response in-line with overall demand concerns and an uncertain outlook for OPEC+ production policy. There have been very mixed signals from officials on the production front, and until a clear narrative is established, oil will struggle to find its landing point.”

Article by Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown

$1,000 New Mexico Rebate Checks Coming in Mid-June

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

New Mexico Tax Rebate

New Mexico rebate checks of up to $1,000 will soon start hitting the bank accounts of eligible taxpayers in about two weeks’ time. Last month, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham informed that the latest round of rebates would go out in mid-June.

Who Will Receive The Rebate Money?

New Mexico will use the fiscal year surplus from high oil prices to return over $673 million to eligible taxpayers in the form of a rebate. Eligible single filers will get $500, while married taxpayers filing jointly will get $1,000.

“Our state today is in a fantastic financial position, and it’s important to me that New Mexico’s families are sharing in that success,” Governor Grisham said when announcing the 2023 rebate.

New Mexico rebate checks will go out to residents who have filed their 2021 taxes. Also, they must not have been declared as a dependent on another taxpayer’s return. Those who have filed their 2021 New Mexico personal income tax return will get the rebate checks automatically.

Those who still need to file their 2021 return can do so until May 31, 2024, to claim the rebate checks. For married filing jointly, the rebate payment will be sent to the primary taxpayer listed on their 2021 state tax return.

Visit the state’s Taxation and Revenue website for more information on the New Mexico rebate checks. New Mexico sent out rebate checks last year as well. If you are eligible but haven’t yet received that rebate check, you need to contact the state’s taxation and revenue department.

New Mexico Rebate Checks: When To Expect Them

Recipients will receive the rebate either through direct deposit or paper check. The state is expected to send the direct deposits to bank accounts from June 16, while the paper checks will be issued in late June.

Those who have changed their banking information since filing their 2021 tax return will get their New Mexico rebate checks in the mail. There is no option to update the direct deposit information to get the rebate checks.

If a taxpayer has moved to a different address since filing their 2021 tax return, they will have to update their address by visiting the Taxpayer Access Point self-service portal on the state’s Taxation and Revenue Department. Also, taxpayers can submit a change of address form to the department.

Those not required to file income taxes because of their income level can apply for relief payments. The state’s Human Services Department will be responsible for managing the relief payments, which will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Funds for the relief payments are limited to $15 million.

Relief payments to non-filers will be issued in July. The state’s revenue department, however, recommends that non-filers should consider filing the state income tax return even if they aren’t required to.

DPAT Raises Private Funding To Enhance Web3.0 Ecosystem

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

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Accra, Ghana, June 2nd, 2023, Chainwire

DPAT, the first Web3 crowdsourcing platform designed to connect investors with real estate and infrastructure opportunities in major African cities, has announced the launch of its highly anticipated updated roadmap and revamped website.

Positioning itself as a bridge to new emerging economies, the Ethereum-backed Web3 investment platform is set to attract investors, crypto advocates, and entrepreneurs alike by offering a say in what gets built, by whom and for who in markets where they believe success is only lacking the right type of funding.

The road map for the Direct Property Africa Token (DPAT) project demonstrates its scope and endurance. Initially, focusing on 15 cities in 12 countries to establish systems, processes, and legal precedent. The project team will reinvest the funds received to support the ongoing development of custom solutions such as a seamless marketplace checkout and simple developer onboarding processes. 

Project Lead for DPAT, Mustafa A said: “The feedback from our community matters to us, and we have taken that into account. We continue to build applications with the end user in mind and revamping our website and processes to provide an enhanced user experience is a sign of things to come.”

Beyond the new website built to make it easier to navigate and access project information, the marketplace will help developers smoothly list their projects and engage with their community by offering rewards and equity-based NFTs to swiftly raise capital at prices that are competitive with banks and other traditional lenders. To further show its support to the African real estate industry, DPAT will work closely with agents and developers in project cities to increase knowledge, simplicity and security through implementation and integration of Web3 technology to digitise and update current business models.

The project is currently in its presale phase and shortly after completion in August, Direct Property Africa will roll out the NFT crowdsourcing marketplace and increase its core team. DPAT will initially launch on Uniswap and list on tier 1 centralized exchanges a few weeks later. With an ambitious road map, DPAT is on track to disrupt how developers finance projects and the community access African assets. All while showcasing a different side and image of the continent.

About Direct Property Africa Token (DPAT)

Direct Property Africa is a Web3 real estate and infrastructure ecosystem including a crowdsourcing marketplace for local developers to raise funding for projects in major African cities like Cape Town, Lagos and Accra with fractional ownership using asset-backed equity NFTs. DPAT is the utility token of the Direct Property Africa ecosystem offering rewards and privileges to holders.

Learn more about Direct Property Africa Token at 

Join the conversation on DPATs Discord, Telegram and follow on Twitter for latest project updates.


Dan Costea
Direct Property Africa Token (DPAT)

Pink Moon Studios Reveals ‘KMON: World of Kogaea’ Pioneering a New Era in Web3 Open-World Gaming

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Unveiling WoK copy 1685625198qoNTOvKmPp

Singapore, Singapore, June 2nd, 2023, Chainwire

Pink Moon Studios, a leading innovator in the Web3 gaming industry, is thrilled to announce the launch of their latest sensation, “KMON: World of Kogaea.” This immersive 3D open-world game, available initially to Kryptomon NFT holders, underscores Pink Moon Studios’ expertise in crafting groundbreaking NFT metaverse games, harnessing the power of state-of-the-art Web3 gaming technologies.

Unveiling Pink Moon Shards: Ultra-Exclusive NFT Rewards for “KMON: World of Kogaea” Players

Pink Moon Studios has orchestrated a series of immersive campaign activities to celebrate the game’s launch. Foremost among these is the introduction of the “Pink Moon Shards,” unique tokens crafted using ERC-1125 blockchain technology that will be only available by completing the quests players will be given in World of Kogaea during the Early-Community Preview events. Exclusive to the game’s Early-Community Preview launch events, these shards will serve as tradable NFTs, bringing unprecedented rewards to the players.

The Pink Moon Shards present a unique opportunity for players to later interact during the game’s official release with the “KMON Forge,” Pink Moon’s pioneering on-chain crafting system. This system allows players to craft limited-edition NFTs that can’t be found elsewhere in the game, offering holding players significant advantages throughout the KMON Game Saga. Following the game’s official release, the shards will be airdropped into the players’ wallets based on their performance and event participation.

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Brian Bento, the Chief Product Officer at Pink Moon Studios, shares his enthusiasm: “The launch of our initial community tech preview for ‘KMON: World of Kogaea’ is a monumental event we’ve eagerly awaited. It’s an invitation to our players to be the first to experience this new massive world we’ve brought to life. The unveiling of the exclusive Pink Moon Shards is equally exciting. These unique tokens represent a pioneering approach to in-game rewards, enhancing our players’ experience while enriching our gaming ecosystem. I’m ecstatic about what we’re bringing to the world of Web3 gaming, and I can’t wait to see our players dive into the captivating world of Kogaea to see what we have in store for them in the future.”

In addition to the exclusive shards, Pink Moon Studios will launch a vibrant community campaign spanning various social media platforms, in which participants will get an opportunity to win free Kryptomon NFTs for completing a few simple steps, providing a compelling incentive for players to engage in the celebration of the game’s official release. More information about the campaign can be found on the official website of KMON World of Kogaea.

Meet the Creators: Exclusive Live Streaming Event

To commemorate this exciting release, Pink Moon Studios will host an exclusive live-streaming event where the community can meet the team behind “KMON: World of Kogaea”. The creators will step into the world they’ve designed, exploring and experiencing it alongside community members while providing insights about the game’s creation and its unique Web3 gaming mechanics. This exclusive streaming event, which will feature Pink Moon Studios’ CEO Umberto Canessa Cerchi and other leadership members, will take place during the launch week. The exact date and time of the event will be announced in the next few days on the company’s official Facebook, Discord, and Telegram channels.

Revolutionizing the Gaming Industry with KMON Games

Since its inception, Pink Moon Studios has been at the forefront of innovation in the gaming landscape with its KMON Game Saga, all powered by the transformative potential of blockchain technology. This dynamic gaming universe allows players to breed, train, and battle with their NFT Kryptomon, forging unique digital companions.

The long-awaited “KMON: World of Kogaea” is a ground-breaking Web3 blockchain-enabled game that plunges players into an extraordinary 3D open-world metaverse experience, seamlessly integrating with the other two KMON games “Genesis”, its 2D casual training and battling game, and “Pink Moon”, the company’s AR treasure-hunt game. “World of Kogaea” offers players a multifaceted interaction with their Kryptomon NFTs across multiple platforms, propelling the gaming experience to unprecedented levels. 

The “KMON: World of Kogaea” launch is a testament to Pink Moon Studios’ robust capabilities and achievements in the Web3 gaming industry. As the world of blockchain technology continues to evolve, the gaming experiences offered by innovators like Pink Moon Studios promise to ascend to even more impressive heights. Umberto Canessa Cerchi, the CEO of Pink Moon Studios, expressed his excitement about the launch: “The unveiling of “KMON: World of Kogaea” marks a significant milestone for Pink Moon Studios and the Web3 gaming industry. This revolutionary game underscores our commitment to leveraging the power of blockchain technology and our groundbreaking Web3 gaming technologies to redefine the gaming landscape.”

Riding the Wave of Remarkable Success

Pink Moon Studios has already demonstrated significant success, amassing a noteworthy $11.4 million in two funding rounds and fostering a dedicated community of almost 450,000 members across various social platforms. This achievement reflects the company’s commitment to creating immersive gaming experiences and has drawn the attention of industry-leading partners, including Binance NFT, NFT, and others. Already during its first seven months of existence, Pink Moon Studios has generated over $18M in Kryptomon NFT transaction volumes alone, demonstrating its ability to fascinate the gaming community.

Beyond funding and partnerships, Pink Moon Studios’ relentless pursuit of innovation has led to the development of path-breaking technologies. These include the unique “Diamond Contract” and the on-chain “NFT Forging System,” allowing players to engage with their Kryptomon innovatively, fostering a unique digital bond.

Additionally, introducing its crypto and non-crypto user-friendly “Trainer Hub” and “KMarket” NFT marketplace has revolutionized how players buy and sell blockchain-based assets, providing seamless transactions without prior crypto knowledge or a crypto wallet.

The Dawn of a New Era in Gaming

The debut of “KMON: World of Kogaea” marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in gaming, promising even more thrilling, immersive, and engaging experiences. As Pink Moon Studios continues to redefine the gaming industry with its unique blend of cutting-edge technology and inventive gameplay, it’s well-positioned to become a trendsetter in the rapidly evolving world of digital entertainment.

“KMON: World of Kogaea” is just the beginning, and the gaming community eagerly awaits the new waves of innovation that Pink Moon Studios is set to bring in the years to come. The future is certainly promising for Pink Moon Studios as they continue their journey, redefining the gaming landscape and delivering unparalleled experiences to players around the globe.

About Pink Moon Studios

Pink Moon Studios, initially known as Kryptomon, is a cutting-edge technology company established in 2021, specializing in pioneering Web3 gaming solutions. Composed of a vibrant team of experienced developers and entrepreneurs, they harness the power of blockchain technology, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and augmented reality (AR) to reshape the gaming industry. Offering a suite of innovative services including the Diamond Contract, NFT Forging, Phygital NFTs, and the AR NFT Hunt, Pink Moon Studio aims to create immersive, engaging, and innovative gaming experiences that transcend traditional gaming boundaries. In addition to gaming innovation, Pink Moon Studio is deeply committed to social responsibility and environmental sustainability, indicating their dedication to driving positive change in the world. Their vision is not only to revolutionize gaming but also to foster a more responsible and sustainable future for the industry.


Chief Business Development Officer
Tomer Warschauer Nuni
Pink Moon Studios
‭+1 (347) 527-9811‬

Trinseo’s Dip, Has Something Changed Or Is It Just A Down Cycle

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Trinseo five major personality traits tech stocks Big Tech Earnings Best- And Worst-Performing Mega-Cap Stocks in March 2023

Key Points

  • Trinseo is trading at its lowest price per share since 2014; the losing track record comes amid the latest cyclical downturn in the company’s product demand. 
  • The latest blow to investor morale comes from a multi-million dollar loss stemming from non-core activities; some bulls may find hope that clearing these losses and returning to core operations will aid the stock’s valuation. 
  • The volume declines across products are industry-related, as other names suffer from similar symptoms. 
  • Analysts expect a more than double upside potential in this stock, as management turnaround initiatives could more than offset the effects of a down cycle. 
  • 5 stocks we like better than 3M

Shares of Trinseo (NYSE:TSE) have suffered a bearish spell since their initial decline in March 2021, where the stock traded at nearly $76 per share. Today, after an 83.5% decline two and a quarter years later, the company faces a tipping point where management must step up and define itself as a turnaround story or face investor backlash.

Now that the company has reported its second consecutive quarterly loss, and its management has failed to disclose information on a faulty facility that it recently acquired, investors with renewed risk appetites could gain exposure to a newborn cycle.

Despite management outlooks preparing investors for an even darker finish to 2023, it would be beneficial to dissect where exactly these losses are stemming from in an attempt to put together a more constructive image of the future. Moreover, trust and sentiment over the faulty Pennsylvania facility are undergoing remediation as Trinseo looks to increase its ESG scores through new partnerships.

Finally, from a financial standpoint, the business is also implementing new initiatives to increase its cash flow position, which will test long-term investor commitments. After all, analysts still stand by their view of a more than doubling potential in this stock. 

The Quarter Drawdowns 

Trinseo announced via its press release a worrisome start to the year, as first quarter 2023 net sales contracted by 28.2% to finish the period at $996 million. Management attributes these declines to lower volumes across global markets, increased costs, and an ill-timed natural gas hedge position. In addition, engineered Materials, a segment that provides solutions to consumer needs within electronics, building construction, and wellness applications, saw a 30% revenue decline.

What is more important to note in this segment is the $10 million loss from natural gas hedging, a losing activity expected to deliver further losses through the fourth quarter of 2023, accruing a total loss of $9 million per quarter. 

Some bulls may find hope in perspective, noting that these natural gas hedging losses are a non-core item in the business that is out of management’s control as the commodity’s volatility peaks and troughs in the market. What is more important is the core operations of the business, especially what the administration is taking responsibility and action for.

Even though net income (which includes the negative impact of hedging) posted a $49 million loss, free cash flow provided a favorable $24 million position to shareholders. Furthermore, it looks like management is beginning to implement a certain level of restructuring in the company, as it disposed of a Mexican facility, “Matamoros,” for a $19 valuation expected to close during the second quarter. 

Cycle Rebound

Considering that Trinseo’s customers are mostly – if not all – cyclical by nature, it would be expected that sales also suffer from a certain level of cyclicality. European sales declined by 22% annually as the region’s building and construction activity deteriorated. In the North American area, sales contracted by 14% due to a similar decline in construction activities and consumer durables, a trend reiterated by similar decreases in 3M NYSE: MMM. A 20% decline in APAC sales saw no difference, as they were also rooted in slowing demand for consumer electronics and durables. 

Just as Trinseo stock rose to its 2021 high due to increased activity across these segments, stock prices now see the opposite end of the cycle. This otherwise ordinary event is amplified by disappointed participants who kept previous performance as a benchmark for future business. Just as these regions and products posed as drivers of a dire quarter, they will be the same forces that will bring renewed growth and stability to Trinseo’s financials upon recovery. Management, however, is standing to act immediately.

Trinseo analyst ratings see a 129% upside from today’s prices, which may result from the following dynamics. Within management’s presentation, clearer pathways are laid out to achieve a better second half to 2023. First, a more than $100 million cash improvement is expected to come from working capital reductions, capital expenditure deferments, and a dividend reduction on top of the Mexican facility sale. While a dividend reduction will surely upset anxious investors, it will be the ultimate loyalty test as Trinseo looks to turn its position around.

Management is taking further action to elevate the company’s public persona, as it initiates a partnership with a polycarbonate dissolution facility in the Netherlands. This new facility will enable effective end-of-life plastic recycling, which may act as a potential boost to margins in the business.

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The post Trinseo’s Dip, Has Something Changed Or Is It Just A Down Cycle appeared first on MarketBeat.

Alibaba Unveils Its Spin-Off Plans

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Alibaba Stock

Key Points

  • Alibaba will spin off six of its businesses into stand-alone companies in the next six to 18 months.
  • Some businesses will be independent publicly traded companies distributed as a special dividend.
  • Alibaba is restructuring itself as a holding company and focusing on its core e-commerce business.
  • The company is complying with Chinese regulators cracking down on anti-competitive practices after paying a $2.8 billion fine in 2021.
  • 5 stocks we like better than Alibaba Group

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) announced in November 2022 that it would be spinning off six companies. Ali Baba has been referred to as the Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) of China. It is the second largest e-commerce company in China, behind Meituan.

Alibaba stated that it was restructuring as a holding company focused on capital management. The company seeks to focus on its core business and enhance shareholder returns.

Complying with Regulators

However, regulatory scrutiny is also a significant factor. The company paid RMB18.23 billion or $2.8 billion to settle anti-trust violations to Chinese regulators in 2021. The spin-offs will help Ali Baba comply with Chinese regulators regarding anti-monopoly regulations.

Several of the individual companies will be competing in the e-commerce platform space with PDD Holding Inc. (NASDAQ:PDD) and Inc. (NASDAQ:JD). The initial announcement sent shares higher to form a triangle top at $121.30 in January 2021.

The company disclosed more details on its spin-off plans in its Q4 2022 earnings release causing shares to gap and crap. Alibaba will retain complete control of its current e-commerce business. Here are the details of the six companies it plans to spin off.

Alibaba Cloud

As one of the largest cloud providers in the world, Alibaba Cloud also referred to as Aliyun, provides cloud and virtualization services to over 200,000 companies of all sizes throughout 200 countries and regions.

Some of its many services are storage, networking, serverless computing, big data, and machine learning artificial intelligence (AI). The service is secure and scalable. It generated  RMB186 billion in 2022. However, it faces challengers encroaching on its space, forcing it to cut prices on some of its cloud services by up to 50% to remain competitive.

Internet giant Tencent Holdings OTCMKTS: TCEHY has announced price cuts of up to 40% for its cloud service. China Mobile announced 60% price cuts for cloud services for a limited time. The cloud business generates 9% of Alibaba’s total revenues. Cloud Intelligence will be spun off as an independent public company as a dividend to shareholders in the next 12 months.

Ant Group

Alibaba had initially planned to spin off Ant Group in an IPO that regulators canceled within days of the IPO. It is a leading provider of financial services providing investing, wealth management, lending, payments and insurance services.

It has over one billion users in China. Ant Group generated RMB 1.25 trillion of $190.5 billion in revenues in 2022. The company plans to be spun off as a fully independent company in calendar year 2023.


Singapore-based Lazada is an e-commerce platform enabling sellers to sell products and services throughout Southeast Asia and its 600 million people. The company provides payment, delivery and support services. It generated RMB 120 billion or $18.6 billion in 2022.

Taobao and Small Business Group

Taobao is a Chinese marketplace started by Alibaba in 2003. It has over 600 registered users and 10 million active sellers. Tmall is a leading cross-border e-commerce platform with over 200 million users in China.

Alibaba will retain complete control of Taobao and Tmall as 100% owned core holdings. It generated $25 billion in free cash flow in fiscal 2023 and will be a primary source of funds.

Cainiao Smart Logistics Group

This company provides supply chain, delivery and logistics services to Taobao, Tmall, Alibaba International Digital Commerce Business Group (AIDC) and third-party customers. The company is expected to generate $10 billion in 2023, up from the $7 billion it generated in 2022. Alibaba holds a 67% interest in the company. Its IPO is targeted to complete in 12 to 18 months.


Freshippo is a brick-and-mortar grocery chain retail business with an IPO expected in six to 12 months. It has over 300 high-tech stores throughout China and offers delivery services. The company is expected to double its revenues to $1 billion in 2023, driven by the growth in online grocery shopping in China.

Alibaba Fiscal Q4 2023 Earnings

On May 18, 2023, Alibaba reported its fiscal Q4 2023 earnings. The company reported earnings-per-share (EPS) of RMB 10.71 per share, beating consensus analyst estimates by RMB 1.24). Revenues climbed 2% year-over-year (YoY) to RMB 208.2 billion, falling short of RMB 209.29 billion.

Alibaba analyst ratings and price targets can be found on MarketBeat.


Weekly Descending Triangle

The weekly candlestick chart formed the weekly descending triangle pattern after peaking at $121.30 in January 2023. Shares continued to make lower highs on bounces and lower lows on drops. The flat bottom trendline is $78.01, which was recently tested in May 2023. Incidentally, three weekly market structure low (MSL) triggers are $72.70, $88.48 and $105.05.

The weekly 20-period exponential moving average (EMA) has been falling at $89.90, followed by the weekly 50-period MA resistance at $91.83. The weekly stochastic has fallen below the oversold 20-band level. Pullback support levels are at $78.01, 85.76, 72.70 weekly market structure low (MSL) and $68.45

Should you invest $1,000 in Alibaba Group right now?

Before you consider Alibaba Group, you’ll want to hear this.

MarketBeat keeps track of Wall Street’s top-rated and best performing research analysts and the stocks they recommend to their clients on a daily basis. MarketBeat has identified the five stocks that top analysts are quietly whispering to their clients to buy now before the broader market catches on… and Alibaba Group wasn’t on the list.

While Alibaba Group currently has a “Buy” rating among analysts, top-rated analysts believe these five stocks are better buys.

The post Alibaba Unveils Its Spin-Off Plans appeared first on MarketBeat.

UiPath Stock Has Short-Term Pain for Long-Term AI Gain

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

AI Boom

Key Points

  • UiPath is the global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) power robotic process automation (RPA) and business process automation (BPA) solutions.
  • UiPath reported fiscal Q1  earnings beating analyst estimates by $0.02 on EPS, and revenues grew 18.2% to $289.6 million versus $271.24 million estimates.
  • Shares initially sold off on lowered fiscal Q2 2024 guidance, but the company raised fiscal full-year 2024 guidance prompting a rally afterward.
  • PATH shares trade at 46X forward earnings with an 8.27% short interest.
  • 5 stocks we like better than UiPath

UiPath Inc. (NASDAQ:PATH) shares took an initial dive on its fiscal Q1 earnings release. The culprit was lowered fiscal Q2 2024 revenue guidance that spooked investors. However, the company raised its fiscal full-year 2024 guidance, which the market overlooked on the initial gap down. UiPath is a benefactor in artificial intelligence (AI) adoption.

Enterprise AI platform provider Inc. (NYSE:AI) noted in its recent earnings report that the interest in AI among enterprises is unprecedented. Colgate Palmolive Co. (NYSE:CL) has more than 70 automation and expanded to broader platform capabilities migrating to an integrated platform to consolidate vendor spending and utilize governance capabilities. Notable new client wins in the quarter include Liberty Bank, New York City Health and Hospitals, Vermont Credit Union and Navia Benefit Solutions.

Google Bard Takes the Lead in the AI Wars

The AI wars continue to keep AI in the headlines. The battle between Microsoft Co. (NASDAQ:MSFT) with ChatGPT versus Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Google Bard AI continues to develop daily. Each company is trying to one-up the other.

While ChatGPT took the initial lead, its limitations regarding current and real-time information stick out like a sore thumb. Google’s search engine has much more relevant data than Microsoft’s Bing, giving Bard the edge regarding training data.

Chat-GPT’s Frustrating September 2021 Cut-Off Date Limitation

This is evident with Google’s launch of its Bard AI, having an edge regarding more current financial and stock market-related information. In contrast, the premium ChatGPT-4.0 continually and frustratingly points out that it can’t provide “real-time updates or analyze events” that occurred after its September 2021 cut-off date. Isn’t AI supposed to be “learning” new information constantly?

Bard Asserting Early Dominance

Google Bard AI takes the win regarding current and recent financial and business information. A simple query, “Why did PATH stock drop on its fiscal Q1 2024 earnings report?” will yield different results. Chat-GPT makes excuses and gives generic reasons for what may have caused the shortfall, while Bard AI provides specific bullet points and facts pulled from its earnings report.

Profitable and Growing

On May 24, 2023, UiPath released its fiscal first quarter 2024 earnings report for the quarter ending in April 2023. The company saw earnings-per-share (EPS) of $0.11, excluding non-recurring items, versus consensus analyst estimates of $0.02, beating by $0.09. Revenues rose 18.2% year-over-year (YoY) to $289.6 million, beating analyst estimates for $271.24 million. Annual run rate (ARR) grew 28% YoY to $1.248 billion. Net new ARR was $45 million. Dollar-based retention was 122%. This means existing clients are adding new products and services.

Co-CEO Comments

UiPath Co-founder and Co-CEO Daniel Dines added, “As a leader in AI-powered automation, customers are partnering with UiPath to harness the combination of generative AI and automation in an enterprise-grade platform,” He continued.

“For years UiPath has invested in ML models and domain-specific AI for understanding interfaces, mining tasks, and processing documents and communications. Combining this foundation with the recent advancements in generative AI further strengthens our platform, unlocking a new wave of opportunities to democratize automation, increasing the number of use cases and driving faster time to value and overall ROI.”

Mixed Guidance

UiPath lowered guidance for Q2 fiscal 2024 revenues between $279 million to $284 million versus $284.32 million consensus analyst estimates. The company expects ARR from $1.301 billion to $1.306 billion as of calendar year July 31, 2023. UiPath raised fiscal full-year 2024 revenues between $1.267 billion to $1.272 billion versus $1.25 billion consensus estimates. ARR is expected between $1.427 billion to $1.432 billion.   

UiPath analyst ratings and price targets can be found on MarketBeat.


Weekly Ascending Triangle

The weekly candlestick chart for PATH illustrates the weekly ascending triangle pattern. The triangle commenced on the swing low of $10.40 in October 2022. Share staged a rally to a high of $18.34 in January 2023.

The weekly stochastic oscillates from the 10-band to the 80-band peak before crossing back down. The stochastic coiled back up through the 60-band as shared surged again to test the $17.50 to $18.12 range four more times to put in a flat top trendline for the ascending triangle.

While triangles require a flat top and rising trendline, which illustrates the higher lows against a flat top, PATH fell below the rising triangle trendline towards $12.38 before bouncing on the weekly market structure low (MSL) breakout through $14.82 to $16.52, heading into earnings. The fiscal Q1 earnings release triggered a sell-off towards the $13.26 support level before a snapback bounce to $16. Pullback support levels are $15.42, $14.82 weekly MSL trigger, $14.02 and $13.26.

Should you invest $1,000 in UiPath right now?

Before you consider UiPath, you’ll want to hear this.

MarketBeat keeps track of Wall Street’s top-rated and best performing research analysts and the stocks they recommend to their clients on a daily basis. MarketBeat has identified the five stocks that top analysts are quietly whispering to their clients to buy now before the broader market catches on… and UiPath wasn’t on the list.

While UiPath currently has a “Hold” rating among analysts, top-rated analysts believe these five stocks are better buys.

The post UiPath Stock Has Short-Term Pain for Long-Term AI Gain appeared first on MarketBeat.

The Simple Lesson from Advance Auto Parts Disastrous Earnings Report

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Advance Auto Parts

As the economy continues to weaken, AAP stock looks undervalued for a reason

Advance Auto Parts (NYSE:AAP) delivered an earnings report that was a disaster by almost every measure, pulling down the entire auto parts sector as a result. That may be a buy-the-dip opportunity, but not likely for AAP stock. That’s because the results from Advanced Auto Parts is reinforcing a time-honored truth for investing in volatile markets: Buy the best and forget the rest. 

As of Thursday’s pre-market activity, AAP stock is down a further 2.5%, as it extends a more than 60% decline over the last 12 months.  

The auto parts sector has had tailwinds for the last three years. First, a global pandemic and supply chain disruptions effectively suspended new car sales and lifted the prices of used cars. This made keeping existing cars in top working order a priority. The perfect storm continued as consumers were lush with stimulus money and had a lot of time on their hands.

This trend has stayed in place even as the economy reopened due to the stickiness of inflation that was weighing on consumer budgets. But as the economy is starting to weaken, slices of the auto parts pie are getting smaller. And that means this is a time for investors to look for the sector leaders. Advanced Auto Parts doesn’t fit that description. 

Disastrous Earnings Report by Any Measure

Let’s start with what was, perhaps, the least bad news. The auto parts retailer had only a slight miss on the top line. Revenue came in at $3.42 billion which was below the $3.43 billion expected by analysts. In fairness, it was a 1.3% year-over-year gain from the $3.37 billion reported in the same quarter in 2022. 

That slight miss, however, was the highlight of the report. Earnings per share (EPS) came in at 72 cents. However, analysts were expecting EPS of $2.57. That could be excused, but the company also reduced its guidance for the full year on both the top and bottom lines. 

There was more bad news when it came to comparable store sales and margins, both of which were lower than expected. The company even took a pre-emptive step in cutting its dividend by over 80%. The move was made “to provide enhanced financial flexibility” for the remainder of the year. 

A Laggard Not a Leader

That’s plenty for investors to digest. But the report should be looked at in context of where Advanced Auto Parts stands within the sector.

On May 23, 2023, AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) beat on both the top and bottom lines and the company raised its earnings outlook for the remainder of the year.  A similar story emerged for O’Reilly Automotive (NASDAQ:ORLY). While its report was more mixed than that of AutoZone, it still reflects a company that is one of the leaders in the sector. Both stocks are clawing back this morning from Wednesday’s sector decline.

Advance Auto Parts vs Autozone vs OReilly

Advanced Auto Parts, by contrast, has always been a laggard in terms of revenue and earnings. Even before the pandemic, the company was lagging behind its competitors. In a weakening economy, that change is becoming more pronounced. 

The lesson for investors is that this is a time to buy the best. And when it comes to auto parts manufacturers, there are better options. Advanced Auto Parts has looked like an undervalued stock. Data from Fintel gives it a Value score of 81.21. The dividend was most likely the key reason for positive investor sentiment. But with that dividend being cut, one of the main reasons to own AAP stock goes away. 

The post The Simple Lesson from Advance Auto Parts Disastrous Earnings Report appeared first on Fintel.

Financial Advisor Scammers – How To Spot Them From A Mile Away

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

What To Do If Your 401(k) is Losing Money financial advisor scammers

Thousands of people fall victim to financial fraud every year, losing millions of dollars. According to the Federal Trade Commission, American consumers lost more than $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021 — that’s 70% more than in 2020.

A record number of nearly 2.8 million people reported fraud to the FTC in 2021 – the highest number since 2001. An average person lost $500 in these scams, 25% of which resulted in a financial loss.

These figures do not include identity theft reports or any other categories. Another 1.5 million Americans filed complaints related to “other” categories, such as credit reporting companies failing to investigate disputed information or debt collectors making false representations of the amount or status of debt in 2021. In addition, more than 1.4 million Americans reported being victims of identity theft. According to the FTC, both sums are records.

I think it’s safe to say that the number and sophistication of finanical scams are constantly increasing. The good news? By remaining skeptical and learning how to spot financial advisor scammers from a mile away you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

The appeal of “phantom riches.”

It would be great if we could build wealth, wouldn’t it? Of course. But, at the same time, it is this desire that makes people want to invest in high-return investments.

Unfortunately, scam artists also exploit this desire to build wealth to make money from their victims. Known as “phantom riches,” scammers entice investors into investing with the promise of wealth. A typical investment scam will include a substantial payoff or guaranteed returns, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

In a nutshell, this tactic consists of:

  • You make an emotional decision rather than a logical one because the scam artist promises riches.
  • Your money is invested, but you don’t get anything back. Due to the fact that the “riches” never existed in the first place, the scam artist cannot pay you.

You’re promised guaranteed returns.

Your potential rate of return will be influenced by the degree of risk associated with each investment. In most cases, if you keep your money perfectly safe, it will yield a low return. On the flip side, investments with high returns are associated with high risks, including a complete loss.

It’s typical or fraudsters to try to persuade investors that extremely high returns are “guaranteed” or “can’t miss.”

In short, in this scam, the clients’ greed and dreams of easy money are exploited. It is likely that an advisor is scamming you if he or she offers or guarantees returns higher than 12-15%. FYI, a typical U.S. stock market return over the last 85 years has been 9.5%. The return is not a “safe” one, since there have been many years when returns were negative.

During free events, you’re pressured to act quickly.

It may sound like a great night out if you’re invited to a free lobster dinner at a popular local restaurant. However, as soon as you hear the words “Act fast!” you should be ready to flee. As a general rule of thumb, never trust a financial advisor who uses high-pressure sales tactics.

It should be noted though, that free events aren’t always scams. To play it safe, before you RSVP, check out FINRA’s BrokerCheck, the CFP Board’s planners or the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors’ database to see the host’s credentials.

You’re contacted by a government agency you’re never heard of.

People who claim to be from government agencies often call, send emails, or send text messages posing as government officials — often out the blue. For the sake of sounding official, they may give you their employee ID number. Additionally, they might have information about you, such as your home address or name.

Sometimes they give you fake agency names, like the non-existent National Sweepstakes Bureau, that say they work for the Social Security Administration, the IRS, or Medicare. Also, they will give you an explanation as to why you need to send them money or provide them with your personal information right away. This is a call you should hang up on if you receive it. This is a scam.

The government will never call you, send you an email, or send a text message asking for money. That’s only something a scammer would do.

You “owe” taxes or your Social is in jeopardy.

Let’s say you’re at home watching a movie with your family. From out of nowhere, you receive a call from the IRS saying you owe taxes. There’s a claim that you need to pay now. If you don’t pay right away, the caller might threaten you with arrest or deportation. You might get your driver’s license revoked, too.

It’s possible the caller has some info about you, like your Social Security number. After all, it’s supposed to sound like the IRS is calling. However, this isn’t the IRS.

Even though most of these scams happen over the phone, you should also know that the IRS won’t email you, text you, or message you on social media. The IRS will mail you a notice if you owe taxes.

Similarly, if you receive a call, email, text, or social media message stating that your Social Security benefits will be terminated or your Social Security number suspended unless you pay immediately. You will be told that you must pay with gift cards, wire transfers, cryptocurrency, or cash mailed in.

There’s no need to worry about being threatened by the real Social Security Administration or having your number suspended.

A real Social Security Administration will not contact you, send you an email, send you a text message, or send you a direct message on social media requesting payment. No government agency will ever ask you to send money. Wiring money, using gift cards, using cryptocurrency, or sending cash is a scam. That call, email, text message, or direct message is a scam.

You’re encouraged to keep all your money in one spot.

We all know diversifying your portfolio makes sense, right? When your money is all in one stock, for example, and it tanks, it could be a disaster.

It’s possible your financial advisor has an ulterior motive if they’re recommending a certain investment. To protect your finances, a trustworthy financial advisor will always recommend a balanced portfolio.

You’ve been told that you won the lottery or a prize.

A lottery or prize scam usually involves scammers calling or emailing you, claiming that you’ve won a prize through a lottery or sweepstakes, and then requesting an upfront fee and tax payment. It is possible for them to claim to be from a federal agency in some cases.

You should never provide any personal or financial information to anyone you don’t know, including your credit card number or Social Security number. If they demand payment immediately, never pay an upfront fee for a prize

They’re selling you products you don’t want.

You should be cautious of anyone who tries to sell you or offers you financial services that you do not understand or need. You may need to question the education of an advisor if they recommend products that don’t fit your needs and your budget.

People you trust are promoting the investment.

Some con artists even get down on their knees and pray with their targets to win their trust, Michelle Singletary writes in the Washington Post.

As one example, a preacher was convicted of defrauding 1,600 non-profit and small churches of nearly $9 million.

Investors who don’t have much confidence in their investing knowledge or who don’t trust their own instincts have been taken advantage of by con artists for a long time, adds Singletary. In order to promote their scheme, crooks hire people who are trustworthy.

The scam is known as affinity fraud.

The word “con” in con man means “confidence.” Con artists gain people’s trust through affiliations with religious organizations or infiltrating a circle of family or friends you might not question.

Listening isn’t their priority.

A client-advisor relationship can often be viewed as one in which one person has all the answers and the other does not. Even though some truth lies in that characterization, an advisor-client relationship is worthless without listening to the client as well.

It is especially important for a person paid to provide advice on decision-making to take into account the individual’s particular needs and circumstances. It is important to ask yourself why a financial advisor is so determined to put your money into a certain investment.

Your money needs to be directly accessible to them.

You may find it incredibly convenient to hand your checkbook over to your financial advisor so they can handle your investments. However, it’s also transferring your checkbook to someone else. Whatever trust you have in your financial advisor, you’ve just paved the way for embezzlement.

As much as possible, keep control of your finances. Your financial advisor should guide you, not drive your finances.

Their abilities and credentials are misrepresented.

A good relationship with your financial advisor depends on your trust that they are better at investing money than you are. Consider asking friends and family for recommendations before hiring any professional.

Whatever method you use to locate a financial advisor, make sure you check their credentials to ensure they are legitimate. A good place to start is to search the list of professionals on the Certified Financial Planner Board. If you want to avoid a scammer, make sure they do not misrepresent their abilities and qualifications.


Investment scams: what are they?

Investors can be fooled by investment scams through websites, testimonials, and marketing materials.

One of the most popular investment scams is a Ponzi Scheme. The goal of this is to collect money from new investors in order to repay previous investors. Eventually, the money owed is more than the money being collected and the scheme collapses, leaving all investors out of pocket.

Investment scams can be much more complex today because of the internet and digital communication. Scams like these are so convincing that even professional investors have been duped by them.

Scammers often clone legitimate websites of legitimate firms or get you to invest in scam investments that offer much better returns than savings account rates.

How to spot a financial scam?

Keep an eye out for these warning signs that an investment deal might be a scam:

  • You get unsolicited calls, texts, emails, and knocks on your door.
  • When you can’t contact a financial advisor.
  • The only contact information they give you is a mobile number or a PO box.
  • Despite being told it’s low risk, you’re being offered a high return.
  • The advisor pressures you to act quickly.

How can you protect yourself from financial scams?

  • Keep an eye on your accounts. Make sure there are no unauthorized charges on your credit card and bank accounts. Monitoring your online or mobile banking accounts daily can help you catch fraud fast.
  • Take a look at your credit report. Make sure your Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit reports are up to date every year. You can get your free credit report every year from, but beware of lookalikes.
  • Keep track of your credit. If you want to be alerted to any activity related to your credit history and accounts, you might want to sign up for a credit monitoring service. You can use this to find out if someone is trying to steal your identity.
  • Don’t forget to change your passwords. Use different passwords on sensitive accounts, and don’t reuse them.
  • Be careful with online transactions. Use a secure connection when shopping online, and avoid public Wi-Fi.
  • Dispose of documents properly. Shred old bank statements or other papers with sensitive info like account numbers, social security numbers, personal identifiers, etc., before throwing them away.
  • All financial communication should be confirmed. Beware of scams like phishing, where scammers pretend to be banks and ask you to update or confirm your account info. Keep your account information safe by contacting your bank directly. Don’t forget the IRS won’t contact you via email, text, or social media to ask for personal info.

What’s the difference between consultants and advisors?

Consultants misleadingly call themselves experts to make it seem like they’re providing objective advice when they’re actually deceptive salespeople.

You should always be aware that anyone can call themselves a financial consultant since there aren’t many regulations. The result is that less ethical companies and individuals try to gain your trust and assets by falsely claiming that title.

Don’t forget that a consultant can help you make money decisions. However, they don’t have the certifications or licenses to provide financial advice or manage your money.

In other words, a consultant might not be authorized to manage your assets because they don’t have the right qualifications.

There’s no law that says consultants can advise you on the best option. As a rule of thumb, if a consultant appears to offer financial advice, they shouldn’t offer investment or financial advice.

What to do if you think you’ve been targeted?

Despite the fact that you may not be able to recover all of your losses, it’s imperative to report the crime as soon as possible. To get started, take the following steps:

Put together a fraud file.

Make a file with all the relevant documentation about the fraud and keep it somewhere safe. It should include the name, contact info, and website of the perpetrator. In addition, include the fraudster’s purported regulatory registration numbers, if available, and the timeline of events.

Be aware of your rights.

Victims of crimes have rights under federal and, in some cases, state laws. To better protect yourself, learn about your rights. To learn more about your rights as a crime victim and the resources available to you, contact the U.S. attorney’s office in your area, as well as the attorney general’s office in your state.

Inform regulators about fraud.

The federal, state, and national regulatory agencies for investment products and professionals may be able to assist. If possible, notify as many agencies as possible about the investment fraud.

  • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission: (800) SEC-0330 or submit a complaint.
  • FINRA: (844) 574-3577 or report a tip.
  • NASAA: (202) 737-0900 or send a complaint.
  • National Association of Insurance Commissioners: Contact your state insurance commissioner if you suspect fraud.
  • National Futures Association: (312) 781-1410 or file a complaint.
  • U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission: (866) 366-2382 or send an online tip or complaint.

Also, you might want to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or call them at (877) 382-4357. Fraud that is reported to the Consumer Sentinel database is tracked by law enforcement, which can stop ongoing fraud and stop such crimes from happening in the future. If you go through this process, your case will not be investigated criminally.

Report the fraud to law enforcement.

For the recovery process to begin, the responsible parties need to be investigated, and further damage to other individuals can be prevented by reporting the investment fraud to the police.

  • Local Law Enforcement: File a police report with your local law enforcement agency.
  • District Attorney: Get in touch with your local district attorney.
  • Attorney General: Report the fraud to the consumer protection and prosecution unit of your state’s attorney general.
  • Federal Law Enforcement: Submit your tip online or contact your local FBI office. You can also file a complaint through the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Take into account your options.

When assets are lost due to investment fraud, it can be difficult to recover them. The situation is not hopeless, however, as there are legitimate avenues to explore. An arbitration, mediation, or civil lawsuit may help you recoup some of your lost assets.

An experienced civil attorney can advise you on which remedies may be available to you depending on your case if you’re considering filing a lawsuit for financial fraud. Although civil lawsuits can take time and cost money, you should know that they can take a long time and cost a lot. In addition, you may have difficulty collecting even if you win.

The post Financial Advisor Scammers – How to Spot Them From a Mile Away appeared first on Due.

FTSE 350 Look Ahead: BATS, Inditex, Wizz Air, And More

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

British American Tobacco BATS

Look ahead to FTSE 350, other companies reporting & economic events from 5 – 9 June

  • Can British American Tobacco (LON:BATS) continue to drive growth from new products
  • Will Inditex (BME: ITX) remain in fashion with consumers?
  • Wizz Air (LON:WIZZ) recovery still has a long road ahead

British American Tobacco, Trading Statement, Tuesday 6 June

Matt Britzman, equity analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown:

“With a fresh CEO at the helm, the shift away from traditional combustibles looks set to continue at British American Tobacco (BATS). The new man in the hot seat, Tadeu Marroco, has over 30 years of experience in the business, so don’t expect any radical changes to the strategy.

Full-year results back in February pointed to continued growth in the new categories division, which houses heated tobacco and vape products. As it becomes harder to squeeze growth from the traditional tobacco portfolio, focus on the performance of the new categories division will continue to heat up. Profitability in this area is the next major milestone, now expected in 2024, earlier than initially expected.

The lack of buyback along with full-year results wasn’t met too kindly by markets, as debt reduction becomes a bigger priority. There was chatter that buybacks will be reassessed as the year progresses, so it’s something to watch for in next week’s trading update. For a business like BATS, returning cash is a big part of the near-term investment case, so decisions around its use have scope to move the dial.”

Inditex, Q1 Results, Wednesday 7 June

Aarin Chiekrie, equity analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown:

“Zara’s parent company, Inditex, seemed to do everything right last year. Sales and profits grew at double-digit rates, highlighting the success of the group’s strategy which prioritises closing smaller stores and focusing on bigger ones in prime locations. The tactic meant that store sales grew 23% despite stores falling by 10%, contributing to the group’s improved operating margins.

Next week’s results will give investors some steer as to how the latest Spring/Summer collections have been received by customers. The group’s relatively high price point compared to other high-street fashion chains raises some concerns, given the rising demands on consumers’ cash right now. If key brands like Zara, Pull & Bear or Bershka end up falling out of fashion, investors could see margins come under pressure.”

Wizz Air, Full Year Results, Thursday 8 June

Aarin Chiekrie, equity analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown:

“Wizz Air delivered some promising results last time out. Ticket pricing and demand remained strong across Wizz Air’s routes and, crucially, the group had the capacity to greet it. Investors saw passenger numbers jump nearly 60% to 12.4m in the third quarter which led to revenue more than doubling to around €912m.

Last analysts heard, Wizz Air are still on the hook for around £5m-worth of unpaid refunds as a result of delays and cancelations. It’ll be interesting to see if low costs continue to trump poor service, especially as consumers’ disposable incomes remain stretched by the cost-of-living crisis.

Operational adjustments have led to fewer flight disruption costs recently. A strengthening Euro has also offered some relief to inflating fuel costs, but these still rose by north of 60% last quarter, leading the group to expect an overall net loss in next week’s results.”

Among those currently scheduled to release results next week:


Sirius Real Estate Full Year Results


British American Tobacco* Trading Statement
Chemring Group Half Year Results
Paragon Banking Group Half Year Results
Warehouse REIT Full Year Results


discoverIE Group Q4 Results
Industria de Diseno Textil (Inditex)* Q1 Results
LXI REIT Q1 Results


Crest Nicholson Holdings Half Year Results
FirstGroup Full Year Results
Mitie Group Full Year Results
Wizz Air Holdings Full Year Results


No FTSE 350 Reporters

*Events on which HL will be updating investors

Pennon – Dry Weather Restricts Profit Pipeline

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Debt Ceiling Pennon

Pennon Group plc (LON:PNN)’s full-year underlying revenue rose 4.1% to £825.0m, reflecting contract wins by Pennon Water Services and a full twelve-month contribution from Bristol Water.

Underlying operating profit fell 35.5% to £153.1m due to higher power and inflation-related costs.

Free cash flow fell from an inflow of £11.9m to an outflow of £205.6m largely because of the higher investment levels made in the year to help boost water supplies, as well as increased interest payments. Net debt rose from £2.7bn to £3.0bn.

Revenue is expected to increase while power costs remain broadly flat in the new year. Overall, Pennon is expecting to see improvements in near-term earnings.

A final dividend of 29.77p per share takes the full-year total to 42.73p, representing a 10.9% increase on the prior year.

The shares were broadly flat following the announcement. 

Pennon’s Earnings

“Despite rising revenues, Pennon saw high power and inflation-related costs erode some of its full-year profits. Pennon provides water and wastewater services to businesses and individuals. In return for providing a reliable and affordable service, the regulator allows Pennon to earn an acceptable financial return. This oversight typically translates to relatively stable and predictable earnings – one of its main attractions.

But cashflows are getting squeezed by higher investment levels as the group aims to shore up its water supplies for the year. Unseasonably dry winter weather means the drought status in southwest England remains in place. As summertime nears, it’s touch-and-go whether reservoir levels will be sufficient to keep customers’ supplies running at full flow. If not, Pennon could find itself in the regulator’s firing line.”

For access to stock reports and articles please visit the Hargreaves Lansdown share research homepage or sign up to our updates here.

Article by Aarin Chiekrie, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown

OKX Proposes Industry-First BRC-30 Token Standard to Enable Bitcoin and BRC-20 Token Staking

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Discover the Power of BRC 30 Learn Now 1200x628 n 168562839915xuMuCflZ

SAN FRANCISCO, UNITED STATES, June 1st, 2023, Chainwire

  • With BRC-30, OKX Wallet users will soon be able to stake BRC-20 tokens and Bitcoin to earn passive income on their digital assets

OKX, a leading Web3 company, today introduced its proposal for a new, open-source BRC-30 protocol that enables staking of BRC-20 tokens and Bitcoin in order to earn BRC-30 tokens. The protocol is open-source and available for all developers to build upon.

OKX Wallet will add support for the BRC-30 standard according to the protocol, enabling users to earn passive income by staking BRC-20 tokens or Bitcoin on Web3 Earn without actively trading. This complements the existing range of curated DeFi earning products already available through the platform.

The introduction of BRC-30 and its staking functionalities is driven by OKX’s goal to provide users with additional opportunities to participate in the Bitcoin ecosystem and earn passive income.

OKX Chief Innovation Officer Jason Lau said: “We’re thrilled to have proposed and pioneered the BRC-30 standard to enable Bitcoin and BRC-20 token staking. With the OKX Wallet soon to incorporate BRC-30 support, users will be able to access Bitcoin staking and earn opportunities across multiple-chains. With the Bitcoin ecosystem seeing an explosion of new development, we’re proud to work with developers and projects across the community to contribute to the growth of the wider ecosystem.”

OKX is a longstanding supporter of Bitcoin, having integrated the Lightning Network to its centralized exchange over two years ago. OKX Wallet is also the first multi-chain wallet to support BRC-20 trading with the launch of its Ordinals Marketplace, as well as the viewing and transfer of Bitcoin Ordinals.

About OKX

A leading global technology company driving the future of Web3, OKX provides a comprehensive suite of products to meet the needs of beginners and experts alike, including the OKX Wallet, NFT Marketplace, DEX and Web3 Earn.

OKX partners with a number of the world’s top brands and athletes, including: English Premier League champions Manchester City F.C., McLaren Formula 1, The Tribeca Festival, golfer Ian Poulter, Olympian Scotty James, and F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo.

As a leader building innovative technology products, OKX believes in challenging the status quo. The company recently launched a global brand campaign entitled, The System Needs a Rewrite, which advocates for a new paradigm led by Web3 self-managed technology to replace existing centralized systems.

To learn more about OKX, download our app or visit:





When Law Students Were Winning Warriors, Not Wimpy Whiners

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Best States to Be a Lawyer Law Students

When Law Students Were Winning Warriors, Not Wimpy Whiners; How They Fought Corporate Power And Their Professors To Won Big At The Supreme Court

Law Students Are Portrayed As Wimpy Whiners

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 1, 2023) – All too often, the media portrays law students as wimpy whiners, afraid to speak out in class, needing animals to pet and play dough to cope, traumatized by having to study the law of rape, demanding relief from exams which cause stress, devastated by controversial speakers and even elections, and even afraid to hear words like “violated” (even as in “the law violated the Constitution”).

The “victories” they are brag about often involve nothing more than the passage of a campus resolution or a new course offering.

So it may be both refreshing and encouraging to read about how a small group of George Washington University [GWU] law students fought corporate power, governmental cowardliness, and even their own professors and law school alumni, to sue in their own names and win their own multi-million dollar case in the U.S. Supreme Court.

There the students won a David-v-Goliath victory which established the right of public interest organizations to challenge decisions harmful to the environment in federal court; a victory even more important and amazing since the Sierra Club had just lost a similar environmental standing case before the same justices.

A new article in The Corporate Crime Reporter explains “How Five Law Students Challenged Corporate Power” when their law school encouraged and permitted them to “start a group project targeting the corporate power of the nation’s railroads, and the failure of the government to protect the environment and challenge the nation’s oldest regulatory agency, the Interstate Commerce Commission,” reports public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who was their professor. As one of the then-students explains in the article:

“At the time, there was a radical transformation of how law was being taught . . . Despite powerful faculty and alumni opposition, we were very fortunate to have one teacher who was prepared to create an opportunity for students to challenge corporate power. . . . It was contentious and controversial because the year before, Professor John Banzhaf was denied tenure because he was teaching the law and allowing students to do things no law professor in the country was allowing students to do. And alumni didn’t like it because the students were going after their clients.”

“He had a history of this type of action and he brought that into his classroom. He was not the supervisor. We had the freedom to make a choice of what we wanted to do, how we wanted to go about it, the obligation was on us to do all of the work and to make these choices. He was available if you wanted to talk to him to get guidance or ideas. But he did not supervise. . . . That was radically different from what had occurred before in law schools. And frankly, it has not occurred since,” wrote former GWU law student Neil Proto.

Explaining the magnitude of what the students had been able to accomplish even before winning the Supreme Court’s famous SCRAP decision, Proto write: “The case reached the Supreme Court in February 1973 – fifty years ago. The railroads and the Commission requested that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court – Warren Burger – stay the injunction that was at issue and was costing the railroads millions of dollars a month. I’m still at the law school.”

Asked whether he had “seen anything in the country where law students overtly went after corporate interests?,” Proto replied: “No. Maybe it exists, but I haven’t found it. Where are the law students? When it comes to challenging corporate interests independent of their faculty or their alumni, they are nowhere to be found. Where are the law students?”

Prof Banzhaf adds his own voice. With some many law students noisily and even violently claiming they are trying to protect the environment and achieve other social justice goals, why have they all forgotten and failed to try using the tremendous but largely untapped power of legal activism to permit laymen to use the law for the public good, not just to staff law school clinics and serve as a stepping stone to a high-paid but low-satisfaction career using the law to serve a few rich and powerful clients, he asks.

Crypto Trading and Its Impact: Understanding the World of Cryptocurrency

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Crypto trading for beginners Crypto Regulation

Cryptocurrency has gained significant attention and popularity in recent years. With its decentralized nature and potential for high returns, crypto trading has become a subject of interest for investors and individuals seeking new opportunities.

In this article, we will explore the world of crypto trading, its impact on the economy, and the factors that contribute to its volatility. By understanding the intricacies of crypto trading, you can make informed decisions and navigate this dynamic market.


Cryptocurrency, a digital or virtual form of currency, operates on a technology called blockchain. It offers secure, peer-to-peer transactions without the need for intermediaries like banks.

Crypto trading refers to the act of speculating on the price movements of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, or others. Traders buy these digital assets at a low price, hold onto them, and sell when the price rises, aiming to generate profits. Before delving into the impact of crypto trading, it is essential to gain a thorough understanding of this realm.

Understanding Cryptocurrency and Crypto Trading

Cryptocurrency operates on decentralized networks, making it resistant to censorship and manipulation. It utilizes cryptographic techniques to secure transactions and control the creation of new units. Unlike traditional currencies, cryptocurrencies are not regulated by central authorities or influenced by monetary policies, inflation, or economic growth.

This decentralized nature allows for peer-to-peer transactions and removes the need for intermediaries like banks. Additionally, the rise of cryptocurrency has paved the way for various online platforms that enable betting online, providing individuals with an opportunity to participate in this innovative financial ecosystem and potentially profit from price fluctuations.

Volatility and Risk in Crypto Trading

One of the defining characteristics of the crypto market is its volatility. Cryptocurrencies can experience substantial price swings within short periods, presenting both opportunities and risks. The rapid changes in prices can lead to significant gains or losses for traders.

It is crucial to acknowledge the inherent volatility and implement risk management strategies while engaging in crypto trading. Without proper risk management, traders may face significant losses.

Economic Impact of Crypto Trading

The economic impact of cryptocurrency extends beyond individual trading activities. As the crypto market continues to grow, it garners attention from economists and investors alike. Cryptocurrencies have the potential to disrupt traditional financial systems and offer new possibilities for global transactions, remittances, and decentralized applications.

The value of a cryptocurrency can be influenced by factors such as supply and demand dynamics, technological advancements, regulatory changes, and market sentiment. The rise of cryptocurrencies has sparked debates among economists and policymakers regarding its potential long-term effects on the global economy.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Crypto Trading

Crypto trading presents various advantages for participants. Firstly, the crypto market offers high liquidity, allowing traders to buy and sell assets quickly without significant price impact. Additionally, the crypto market operates 24/7, enabling traders from different time zones to engage at their convenience.

Moreover, the potential for substantial returns attracts many individuals to explore this alternative investment avenue. However, it is important to acknowledge the potential disadvantages of crypto trading.

Market manipulation, regulatory uncertainties, and the risk of cybersecurity breaches are some of the challenges that traders may face. Therefore, conducting thorough research, staying updated on market news, and understanding the risks are crucial for successful crypto trading.

Technical Analysis in Crypto Trading

Technical analysis is a widely used tool in the crypto market. It involves analyzing historical price data and market trends to predict future price movements. Traders utilize various indicators, chart patterns, and statistical models to identify potential trading opportunities and manage risk.

Technical analysis provides valuable insights into market trends and patterns, especially in a highly volatile and dynamic market like cryptocurrency. By studying price charts and utilizing technical analysis tools, traders can make more informed decisions and potentially improve their trading strategies.

High-Frequency Crypto Trading

High-frequency crypto trading refers to executing a large number of trades within short timeframes. Traders aim to capitalize on small price discrepancies across different exchanges by making rapid buy-and-sell transactions.

This strategy relies on advanced technology and algorithms to automate trading decisions and execute trades quickly. While high-frequency trading can potentially generate profits, it requires substantial capital, advanced technology, and expertise.

Traders should also consider the risks involved, such as technical glitches, market manipulation, and regulatory challenges. Therefore, high-frequency trading is typically more suitable for experienced traders who have the necessary resources and expertise.


In conclusion, the world of cryptocurrency and crypto trading presents both opportunities and challenges for individuals seeking alternative financial avenues. Understanding the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency and the cryptographic techniques it utilizes is essential in grasping the potential of this digital asset class.

Crypto trading allows individuals to participate in this innovative financial ecosystem and potentially profit from price fluctuations. However, it is crucial to acknowledge the inherent volatility and risks associated with the crypto market. Implementing risk management strategies, conducting thorough research, and staying informed are vital for success in crypto trading.

The economic impact of cryptocurrency extends beyond individual trading activities. With the potential to disrupt traditional financial systems, cryptocurrencies offer new possibilities for global transactions and decentralized applications. Economists and investors closely monitor the development of cryptocurrencies and their effects on the global economy.

While crypto trading provides advantages such as high liquidity, accessibility, and the potential for substantial returns, it is important to be aware of the potential disadvantages, including market manipulation, regulatory uncertainties, and cybersecurity risks. Traders must approach the crypto market cautiously, conducting thorough due diligence and understanding the associated risks.

Technical Analysis

Technical analysis plays a significant role in crypto trading by providing insights into market trends and patterns. Traders can utilize various technical analysis tools to identify potential trading opportunities and manage risk effectively.

However, it is crucial to note that technical analysis should be used in conjunction with other fundamental and market analysis techniques, as it is not foolproof. High-frequency crypto trading, though potentially profitable, requires substantial capital, advanced technology, and expertise. It is a strategy more suitable for experienced traders who can navigate the associated risks and challenges.

To succeed in crypto trading, continuous learning, adaptability, and staying updated with the latest developments are key. The crypto market is ever-evolving, presenting both new opportunities and challenges.

By approaching crypto trading with caution, conducting thorough research, and maintaining a comprehensive understanding of market dynamics, individuals can navigate this dynamic landscape and potentially benefit from the opportunities it offers.

Article by Deanna Ritchie, ReadWrite

Lawmakers Sign Off On Law Enforcement Oversight Reforms

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Pelosi's Injuries Law Enforcement

Sunset legislation aims to make fundamental changes to operations at the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, which oversees licensure of law enforcement.

Building Public Confidence In Law Enforcement

AUSTIN, TX – Lawmakers took important steps this legislative session toward improving public confidence in law enforcement with the passage of a package of reforms aimed at increasing transparency and accountability at the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, the state agency responsible for licensing and certifying the nearly 115,000 peace officers, county jailers, telecommunicators and school marshals statewide.

Senate Bill 1445, authored by Sen. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney and sponsored in the House by Rep. Craig Goldman, R-Fort Worth, is the session’s Sunset legislation on TCOLE and extends the statutory authority for the agency another eight years until 2031.

The legislation has passed both chambers of the Legislature and has been sent to Gov. Greg Abbott for his consideration.

Building off a failed attempt to pass Sunset legislation two years ago, SB 1445 represents an attempt to make comprehensive reforms at a state agency whose approach to regulating law enforcement was “toothless,” “fundamentally broken,” and “largely ineffective,” according to findings in the legislative interim by staff at the Sunset Advisory Commission.

“By implementing a new misconduct reporting system, requiring a new licensing status database and removing the problematic ‘discharge’ separation categories on the F-5, the current TCOLE sunset legislation is leaps and bounds above what legislators considered two years ago,” said Texas 2036 Policy Advisor Luis Soberon.

“It represents a marked improvement as well over what was introduced at the start of this legislative session, thanks to the active involvement of bill authors, stakeholders and state leadership. SB 1445 makes excellent progress toward building the public’s confidence in law enforcement and establishing a regulatory structure rooted in good data, transparency and accountability. Texans, and the men and women of law enforcement who serve them, deserve nothing less than that.”

Major reforms that would be enacted by SB 1445 include the following:

  • Misconduct reporting & personnel files:

The bill defines misconduct for law enforcement professionals, and it requires local agencies to adopt a model policy on how misconduct is investigated. Misconduct would be reported to TCOLE and made available to law enforcement agencies who might consider hiring a licensee that’s the subject of the report. The bill also standardizes the personnel file that hiring agencies are required to check, and creates a new “licensing status database” as a repository of all officer personnel files.

  • Fit for Duty Exams & Emergency License Suspension:

The bill requires policies to ensure that officers are “fit for duty” based on medical and psychological exams. It separately gives TCOLE explicit authority to temporarily suspend a peace officer’s license if they are determined to be an imminent threat to the public health, safety or welfare.

  • Public facing database:

The bill requires TCOLE to develop a public-facing database where members of the public can view officers’ basic information, such as their licensing status, current employing agency and their completion of basic training requirements. The database allows agencies and officers to request exclusion from the database if they are engaged in sensitive law enforcement operations.

  • Checking national resources:

SB 1445 would require TCOLE and hiring law enforcement agencies to make a check to ensure that out-of-state officers who come to Texas have had a thorough review of their employment and licensing history in other states. The goal of these checks is to ensure that law enforcement agencies in Texas do not hire officers from other states who left their previous posts under questionable circumstances.

A Data-Driven Approach To Address Issues At TCOLE

Following the failure of the Sunset legislation two years ago, Texas 2036 undertook a data-driven approach to address issues at TCOLE. That effort culminated in our Texas Law Enforcement Data Landscape, which was issued last fall ahead of the release of the Sunset Commission’s second TCOLE review.

Ultimately, findings from the Texas 2036 data landscape helped inform the policy discussions that shaped SB 1445 as it moved through the legislative process.

In addition to the TCOLE Sunset efforts, the Legislature also passed SB 267 by Sen. Phil King, R-Weatherford, and Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock. This bill will require hundreds of law enforcement agencies to obtain an accreditation from a recognized accrediting body, ensuring adequate policies and procedures covering issues like use of force and personnel matters. The bill also provides for a grant program to help with the costs of obtaining accreditation.

This requirement will apply to law enforcement agencies with 20 or more peace officers, as well as school districts’ police departments. SB 267 awaits the Governor’s signature.

Texas 2036 will continue to monitor the implementation of this landmark legislation to ensure the public’s continued confidence in Texas’ law enforcement agencies and the men and women who work there.

For Texas to be the best place to live and work, public safety, which is predicated on trust in law enforcement, is critical. SB 1445 seizes the opportunity to strengthen the profession and better protect all Texans.

About Texas 2036

Texas 2036 is a nonprofit public policy organization building long-term, data-driven strategies to secure Texas’ prosperity through our state’s bicentennial and beyond. We offer nonpartisan ideas and modern solutions that are grounded in research and data on issues that matter most to all Texans. 

Stratasys And Desktop Metal To Merge

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Stratasys and Desktop Metal Nano Dimensions

Stratasys And Desktop Metal To Merge: A Milestone For Consolidation In Additive Manufacturing, Reports IDTechEx

In the past decade or so, the additive manufacturing industry has been characterized by an ever-increasing number of hardware players trying to capture their own share of the market.

While there were signs of consolidation in the early 2010s, given major moves by industry leaders like Stratasys Ltd (NASDAQ:SSYS) and 3D Systems Corp (NYSE:DDD), AM has instead seen a consistent stream of newcomers with their own innovative takes on AM, such that IDTechEx now segments their 3D printing hardware forecast by seventeen different categories to account for such diversity.

New entrants in AM have also been bolstered by ever-increasing amounts of funding, with IDTechEx tracking over USD$1.3 billion in publicly announced investment in 3D printing-related companies in 2022 (up from over USD$950 million in 2021).

Such expansion in the 3D printing industry, which IDTechEx has covered for nearly a decade, has led to hundreds of companies being featured in IDTechEx’s “3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing 2023-2033: Technology and Market Outlook” report.

The report features granular 10-year market forecasts with 17 hardware and 10 material segments, technology analyses, benchmarking studies on AM hardware and materials, and market discussions that look at the future of the 3D printing industry, forecast by IDTechEx to hit US$41 billion in 2033.

Part of this discussion looked at the high number of new players and technologies entering AM, which showed that AM space wasn’t yet consolidating to a small group of major players – rather, it was growing.

The Merger Of Stratasys and Desktop Metal

But that may change with this latest major news announcement. Two 3D printing industry titans, Stratasys and Desktop Metal Inc (NYSE:DM), announced their merger on May 25th, 2023, marking a significant milestone in the additive manufacturing industry.

The two companies struck an all-stock deal that values the combined company at USD$1.8 billion, expected to close in Q4 2023. Subject to final approvals, Stratasys shareholders are expected to own 59% of the combined entity, with Desktop Metal shareholders owning the other 41%.

In the past few years, both Stratasys and Desktop Metal have engaged significantly in M&A. The latter has acquired half a dozen companies, including ExOne and EnvisionTEC, to grow their technology portfolio well beyond metal additive manufacturing to include polymers, ceramics, and composites.

The former, strictly in the polymer space, has added three polymer technologies with their 2021 acquisitions of Xaar 3D, Origin, and RPS, and additionally expanded their polymer materials portfolio with the 2022 acquisition of Covestro’s AM business unit (itself formed from Covestro’s acquisition of DSM’s Resins and Functional Materials business).

However, this merger, which has been in the works for the past year, is by far the biggest transaction that Stratasys and Desktop Metal have undertaken in recent years – it’s arguably one of the most significant mergers ever in the 3D printing space.

Desktop Metal CEO and Chairman, Ric Fulop, stated, “We believe this is a landmark moment for the additive manufacturing industry. The combination of these two great companies marks a turning point in driving the next phase of additive manufacturing for mass production.

We are excited to complement our portfolio of production metal, sand, ceramic and dental 3D printing solutions with Stratasys’ polymer offerings. Together, we will strive to build an even more resilient offering with a diversified customer base across industries and applications to drive long-term sustainable growth.

We look forward to combining with Stratasys to deliver profitability while driving further innovation for a larger customer base and providing expanded opportunities for our employees.”

The Most Significant Results Of The Merger

The diversity of the combined company’s technology portfolio is one of the most significant results of the merger, putting them in direct competition against other AM hardware providers that offer both metal and polymer printers, such as 3D Systems and EOS. Desktop Metal and Stratasys will offer eight different additive technologies once merged, covering polymer, metal, ceramic, composite, wood, and sand materials.

“I’m excited about the technical synergies,” Fulop commented. “They’re significant. This merger will drive accelerated innovation. We have materials that will push PolyJet into mass production. We have synergies on software and go-to-market, we have 7,000 customers that will be introduced to a distribution network much larger than ours. This is a fantastic combination. I can’t imagine a better partnership.”

With such a major merger underway, it does beg the question of whether this is a turning point for additive manufacturing. Will this be the first of many consolidating moves in 3D printing, indicating that the industry is maturing? Still, it is difficult to place additive manufacturing, as an entire industry, at a certain stage of growth or maturity.

Numerous different 3D printing technologies all fall under the same additive manufacturing umbrella, each at different stages of maturity; while some technologies may be ripe for consolidation, others have barely begun growing.

So, while the Stratasys and Desktop Metal merger may signal a step change in M&A for AM, it may also just be one notable event during AM’s continued phase of expansion in hardware players. IDTechEx will continue to monitor whether 2023 heralds more major milestones for additive manufacturing players and any effects on the 3D printing landscape.

About IDTechEx

IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its Research, Subscription and Consultancy products, helping you profit from emerging technologies. For more information, contact or visit

Defensively Suspect S&P 500 Rebound

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

S&P 500

S&P 500 acted on Tuesday‘s tech internals clue, and its decline into the opening bell and early session was stopped by tech market breadth improving while the usual suspects (chiefly retail and materials) continued clear downtrends. Industrials, financials and Russell 2000 haven‘t so far broken below key respective lows.

Overall, the nature of the rebound was defensive (select tech, communications, utilities, staples and healthcare) did well, which together with bond market reprieve gives good odds of ES bulls not throwing in the towel today – tight range, possibly setting up for sell the debt ceiling bill news.

The sectors to be still in if looking for earnings justification, is communications and consumer discretionaries – similarly to Big Tech not bid up to the stratosphere on P/E count, these three (with non-banking financials) will be most resilient when tighter financial conditions following debt ceiling resolution strike.

Even the latest round of Fed speakers raised their case for bullish pause in June, claiming that Fed funds rate isn‘t yet at the terminal level, thereby making Jun 25bp hike not the base case scenario. Looking though at relative core inflation data stagnation (poor disinflation there), I don‘t think 25bp hike should be written off really – and as you‘ll read below on the job market data expectations, it‘s looking correct.

Keep enjoying the lively Twitter feed via keeping my tab open at all times (notifications on aren’t enough) – combine with Telegram that always delivers my extra intraday calls (head off to Twitter to talk to me there), but getting the key daily analytics right into your mailbox is the bedrock.

So, make sure you‘re signed up for the free newsletter and make use of both Twitter and Telegram – benefit and find out why I’m the most blocked market analyst and trader on Twitter.

Let‘s move right into the charts (all courtesy of – today‘s full scale article contains 3 of them.

S&P 500 and Nasdaq Outlook

S&P 500

Strong volume, but animal spirits aren‘t there, no strong base advance. Today‘s data should work in a hawkish Fed confirmation way, but the buyers will be able to close not only above 4,188, but also below 4,209 unless Big Tech erases at least half of its two-day decline. Odds are tech would accomplish that mission, but the weakening rotations wouldn‘t do all that much for the lagging sectors, keeping ES around the 4,198 level at best for any buyers out there.

market breadth

The market breadth for the whole S&P 500 is terrible, and even the Nasdaq breadth is unhealthy. I‘m giving limited mileage to the lower knot shown on the chart for S&P 500 stocks trading above their 50-day moving average.

Thank you for having read today‘s free analysis, which is a small part of my site‘s daily premium Monica’s Trading Signals covering all the markets you’re used to (stocks, bonds, gold, silver, miners, oil, copper, cryptos), and of the daily premium Monica’s Stock Signals presenting stocks and bonds only. Both publications feature real-time trade calls and intraday updates.

While at my site, you can subscribe to the free Monica‘s Insider Club for instant publishing notifications and other content useful for making your own trade moves.

Turn notifications on, and have my Twitter profile (tweets only) opened in a fresh tab so as not to miss a thing – such as extra intraday opportunities. Thanks for all your support that makes this great ride possible!

Thank you,

Monica Kingsley

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All essays, research and information represent analyses and opinions of Monica Kingsley that are based on available and latest data. Despite careful research and best efforts, it may prove wrong and be subject to change with or without notice.

Monica Kingsley does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. Her content serves educational purposes and should not be relied upon as advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind.

Futures, stocks and options are financial instruments not suitable for every investor. Please be advised that you invest at your own risk. Monica Kingsley is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading her writings, you agree that she will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make.

Investing, trading and speculating in financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Monica Kingsley may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in her writings, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice.

Say Hello To Tesla: A Low-Margin, Cyclical Car Company – Shortseller

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Tesla Inc TSLA

Stanphyl Capital’s commentary for the month ended May 31, 2023, discussing their short position in Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA).

In late-May leaked documents revealed that Tesla has conducted an egregious, multi-year cover-up of deadly safety problems caused by its (so-called) “Autopilot/Full Self-Driving” system, as well as sudden unintended acceleration.

I believe this will finally force regulators to demand a massive, multi-billion-dollar recall of both systems and, as importantly, destroy whatever goodwill remains towards this sleazily run company (except, of course, from the diminishing number of hardcore cult members who will deservedly go down with the ship).

More Margin-Slashing Price Cuts

Meanwhile, Tesla kicked off this quarter with even more worldwide margin-slashing price cuts on top of the massive, margin-destroying cuts it made in Q1. (And those cuts were on top of large cuts made in Q4 2022!)

Yet despite all those cuts, Tesla managed to deliver only around 4% more cars in Q1 than it did in the previous quarter (Q4 2022), and due to the aforementioned price slashing its earnings were atrocious—despite booking a massive amount of emission credit revenue, they were down 23% vs. Q1 2022 and 32% sequentially.

In fact, without a .15/share foreign currency loss improvement vs. Q4 2022, sequential earnings would have been down 46% (!) and revenue was also down sequentially. And as I believe those earnings are artificially high because Tesla deceptively under-amortizes its factories, we should also look at free cash flow, which dropped to just $400 million.  In other words, Tesla is no longer a “growth” company unless you define “growth” as declining earnings, declining revenue and declining free cash flow!

Most disturbingly for Tesla bulls, despite the massive price cuts vs. Q4 2022, at 1.8 million units the company is only guiding to 11% more delivery volume than Q4’s 405,000 annualized run-rate of 1.62 million. It’s also only guiding to 2% more production than Q4’s annualized rate of 1.76 million, so where will the “volume savings” to support price cuts come from? And what will Tesla do for its next “growth trick”? Sell cars at a loss? Sell a tiny subcompact beginning in 2025 with an even smaller margin?

Meanwhile the incumbent auto companies can better afford (earnings-wise) to slash prices on their EVs, as those prices can be cross-subsidized by their 95% of volume that comes from highly-profitable ICE vehicles, while Tesla now has nothing that’s “highly profitable.” Here from Automotive News is an excellent example of how OEMs will maintain high overall profitability despite losing money on EVs as they “scale” EV production to Tesla’s cost level:

Ford expect losses

So while Tesla may “win” an EV price war against other pureplay EV makers, it will lose that war against the incumbent OEMs. Goodbye “story-stock tech company” and hello “low-margin, cyclical car company” in an industry with single-digit PE ratios, and for Tesla that could mean as little as 8x $2.50/share in 2023 GAAP earnings = a stock price of $20/share vs. May’s close of $203.93. (And please don’t lecture me about Tesla’s “energy business,” which in Q1 accounted for just 6.5% of revenue and had just an 11% gross margin and likely nets in the low single digits as it’s an extremely competitive, low-margin industry.)

No Product Edge

Meanwhile, Tesla has objectively lost its “product edge,” with many competing cars now offering comparable or better real-world range, better interiors, similar or faster charging speeds and much better quality. (Tesla ranks near the bottom of Consumer Reports’ reliability survey.) And Tesla is opening its U.S. charging network to everyone (which it already does in much of Europe), eliminating the last reason to buy its now trailing-edge EVs.

In fact, Tesla is likely now the second, third or fourth choice for many EV buyers, and only maintains its volume lead though a short-lived edge in production capacity that will disappear over the next 12 to 36 months as competitors rapidly increase the ability to produce their superior EVs.

Tesla’s poorly-built Model Y faces competition from the much better made (and often just better) electric Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Ford Mustang Mach E, Cadillac Lyriq, Nissan Ariya, Audi Q4 e-tron, BMW iX3, Mercedes EQB, Chevrolet Blazer EV & Equinox EV, Volvo XC-40 Recharge and Polestar 3. And Tesla’s Model 3 now has terrific direct “sedan competition” from Volvo’s beautiful Polestar 2, BMW’s i4, Hyundai’s Ioniq 6 and Volkswagen’s ID.7, as well as multiple local competitors in China.

And in the high-end electric car segment worldwide the Porsche Taycan outsells the Model S, while the spectacular new BMW i7, Mercedes EQS and EQE, Audi e-Tron GT and Lucid Air make the Tesla look like a fast Yugo, while the extremely well reviewed new BMW iX, Mercedes EQS SUV and Audi Q8 eTron (as well as multiple new Chinese models) do the same to the Model X.

And oh, the joke of a “pickup truck” Tesla first previewed in 2019 (and still hasn’t shown in production-ready form) won’t be much of “growth engine” either, as by the time it’s in meaningful mass-production in 2024 it will enter a dogfight of a market vs. Ford’s hot-selling all-electric F-150 Lightning and GM’s fantastic 2023 electric Silverado (which already has nearly 200,000 reservations), while Rivian’s pick-up has gotten excellent reviews and Ram will also be out with a great electric truck in 2024.

Tesla is Blackberry

Indeed, for years I’ve said “Tesla is Blackberry” – the maker of a first-generation version of a product that—once the market was proven – would be supplanted into niche obscurity by newer, better versions, and now it’s finally happening.

I believe Musk knows this (hence his recent “Twitter buying distraction”), with VW Group, Hyundai/Kia, Ford, GM, Stellantis, BMW, Mercedes, BYD & other Chinese competitors and, in a few years, Toyota & Honda, stealing Tesla’s share and pounding its stock price into the low double-digits, where it will be valued as “just another car company.”

Meanwhile, the NHTSA has initiated the first of what will likely be multiple recalls of Tesla’s fraudulently named “Full Self Driving,” and in January it was revealed that Elon Musk personally directed its fake, fraudulent promotional video (something extremely similar to what Theranos did with its blood machines and Nikola with its truck), and that the DOJ is investigating him for it and so is the SEC.

The refund liability potential for Tesla for this is in the billions of dollars, and possibly even the tens of billions if a class action lawsuit proves that the cars involved were purchased solely due to the (fallacious) promise of “full self-driving.”

And, of course, there will be a massive “valuation reappraisal” for Tesla’s stock as the world wakes up to the fact that its so-called “autonomy technology” is deadly, trailing-edge garbage that Consumer Reports now ranks just seventh vs. competitors’ systems (behind Ford, GM, Mercedes, BMW, Toyota and Volkswagen) and Guidehouse Insights now rates dead last:

Tesla vs competitors

Meanwhile, the NHTSA continues to report a slew of Autopilot-related deaths (which, as noted earlier, Tesla has been doing its best to hid), yet Tesla has sold this trashy software for over six years now:

Tesla Self Driving

…and still promotes it on its website via the aforementioned completely fraudulent video! (For all Tesla-related deaths cited in the media—which is likely only a small fraction of those that have occurred—please see

Want to see another Elon Musk/Tesla deception summarized in a simple bar graph? In this recent Consumer Reports test, note which of these cars never comes close—in any environmental conditions—to meeting its claimed EPA range:

Tesla EV Range

Another favorite Tesla hype story has been built around so-called “proprietary battery technology.” In fact though, Tesla has nothing proprietary there—it doesn’t make them, it buys them from Panasonic, CATL and LG, and it’s the biggest liar in the industry regarding the real-world range of its cars. And if new-format 4680 cells enter the market, even if Tesla makes some of its own,  other manufacturers will gladly sell them to anyone, and BMW has already announced it will buy them from CATL and EVE.

So Here Is Tesla’s Competition In Cars…

(note: these links are regularly updated)

And In China…

Here’s Tesla’s Competition In Autonomous Driving; The Independents All Have Deals With Major OEMs…

Here’s Where Tesla’s Competition Will Get Its Battery Cells…

Here’s Tesla’s Competition In Charging Networks…

And Here’s Tesla’s Competition In Storage Batteries…


Mark Spiegel

Stanphyl Capital

Tesla Must End Its Complicity In China’s Ongoing Uyghur Genocide

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

how much elon musk makes a second Uyghur Genocide

WASHINGTON: The East Turkistan Government in Exile (ETGE) strongly condemn’s Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk’s recent meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang. Tesla’s expansion in China, its presence in East Turkistan (renamed Xinjiang), and its opposition to ‘decoupling’ raises alarms, especially considering the ongoing Uyghur Genocide and Uyghur Slave/Forced Labor in Tesla’s supply chains.

ETGE Calls For Elon Musk And Tesla To End Their Complicity In The Ongoing Uyghur Genocide

“Much of the lithium used in Tesla batteries originate from East Turkistan, where China is conducting an ongoing campaign of genocide and forced labor,” said Prime Minister Salih Hudayar of the East Turkistan Government in Exile. “Through their business relations with the China, Tesla is complicit in China’s ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples,” he added.

Recent investments of more than $2 billion in occupied East Turkistan’s lithium mines and refineries, including those backed by Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL), Tesla’s main supplier, are cementing the region’s position as the leading significant lithium producer despite an ongoing campaign of genocide and slave and forced labor against Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples.

“The alliance between Elon Musk and China’s genocidal regime highlights Tesla’s blatant lack of acknowledgment for the ongoing Uyghur Genocide and the slave labor of millions of innocent people, who are being exploited for the company’s benefit,” said ETGE President Ghulam Yaghma.

The East Turkistan Government in Exile calls on Elon Musk and Tesla to end their complicity in the ongoing Uyghur Genocide in East Turkistan and demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility and human dignity.

$1,000 Guaranteed Monthly Checks from Los Angeles County: Applications to Open Soon

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Guaranteed monthly checks from Los Angeles County Breathe guaranteed income program

A guaranteed income program in Los Angeles County will soon start accepting applications. Under the program, $1,000 guaranteed monthly checks from Los Angeles County will go to former foster children. The application for the program will open on June 20.

Guaranteed Monthly Checks From Los Angeles County: Who Will Get Them?

Los Angeles County’s guaranteed income program, Breathe, will select 200 applicants, who will receive guaranteed monthly checks from Los Angeles County of $1,000 for two years. The program aims “to provide its residents the chance to ‘breathe’ easier knowing they are more financially secure.”

Applications for the program will open on June 20 (6 a.m.) and will close on July 3 (11:59 p.m.). The money will go to LA County DCFS (Department of Children and Families) Foster Youth between the ages of 21 and 23.

To qualify for the guaranteed monthly check from Los Angeles County, an applicant must be at least 21 years old and must not have turned 24 before Sept. 1, 2023. Further, the applicant must have been in care on or after their 18th birthday (aka “aged out”).

Apart from these, applicants must have a household income at or below 100% of the area median income for a single-person household, while the income must be at or below 120% for a household of two or more persons.

Moreover, applicants must have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Those enrolled in any other guaranteed income program won’t qualify for the Breathe guaranteed income program.

Selected applicants will get the money through debit cards. It must be noted that applicants don’t need to have a bank account to participate in the program. Selected applicants will be contacted directly using the information they provided with the application.

Not A New Program

Los Angeles County’s Breathe guaranteed income program is not new. It was launched as a pilot project last year, where it selected 1,000 people who will get $1,000 every month for three years.

Last year, 1,000 applicants were selected randomly from the pool of eligible applicants. The program is now adding 200 more people, according to the Washington Examiner.

To gauge the outcome of the program, the University of Pennsylvania and other local and national research partners will carry out a randomized control study. The program randomly selects 2,000 applicants to participate in the research study only, i.e., they will not get a monthly payment.

These applicants will need to complete periodic surveys and interviews, and the information they give will be compared with the “treatment group” to determine the effectiveness of the program. Control group participants will receive a $30 gift card for each completed survey.

As per the program’s FAQ, some benefits the participants are already receiving could be affected. Thus, the participants will have an opportunity to talk to a benefits counselor regarding their situation, and then they can decide whether or not they want to participate.

Visit this link to get more information on Los Angeles County’s Breathe guaranteed income program.

Palantir: The “Sleeper” Play on the AI Revolution

This article was originally published on ValueWalk

Tech Stocks Strength Palantir

Key Points

  • Palantir’s Artificial Intelligence Platform (AIP) has the potential to be a massive product
  • Palantir reported its first GAAP profitable quarter earlier this month
  • With this momentum, the company’s AI strategy is to “take the entire market”
  • 5 stocks we like better than Palantir Technologies

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang calls ChatGPT’s November 2022 release the AI industry’s “iPhone moment,” triggering an arms race among tech firms, big and small. Microsoft quickly bought half of OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. At the same time, Google, Meta and Alibaba raced to develop their own competing AI language models.

However, many investors struggle to decipher the signal from the noise. Amid the frenzy, several companies are opportunistically cashing in on the fad. In contrast, others are legitimate players in what is bound to be a massive industry.

Palantir (NYSE:PLTR) emerges as a stalwart in the data analytics industry with extensive experience utilizing AI to solve complex data problems. The company has a long track record of dealing with massive datasets from secretive clients with sensitive data like the National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the US Army.

While the company has utilized AI since its start, it only recently started going all-in on generative AI models similar to ChatGPT. The firm recently announced its Artificial Intelligence Platform (AIP), which allows companies to connect AI models to their private data creating a real-time view of their business.

The powerful data analytics firm has thus far served as a “sleeper play” on AI, failing to participate in past rallies which saw big moves from stocks like NYSE: AI, Nvidia NASDAQ: NVDA, and Microsoft NASDAQ: MSFT.

But the tide is shifting. Multiple bullish catalysts are surfacing, including the company’s recent blockbuster earnings report and the “record demand” for its new tool, Artificial Intelligence Platform (AIP).

Q1 Earnings: Turning The Corner

Palantir reported Q1 earnings earlier this month to significant applause from investors as the stock surged more than 75% since the report’s release.

The company reported its first profitable quarter on a GAAP basis, earning $0.05 per share compared to a $0.23 per share in Q1 last year. They also reported a healthy 18% on the top line, logging $525 million in revenue. More significantly, the company expects to remain profitable for the rest of the year with a more impressive 25-30% growth in revenue.

Much of Palantir’s growth in Q1 was driven by Foundry, the company’s flagship data analytics product, which they recently released a completely revamped version of

AIP: Game Changer?

Palantir recently announced its newest product, Artificial Intelligence Platform (AIP), which CEO Alex Karp says the demand is like “nothing I’ve ever seen in 20 years of being involved in Palantir.”

AIP is a platform that allows clients to deploy language models similar to ChatGPT within an enterprise computer system with access to private data. While tools like ChatGPT are great, they’re trained on very general data. The idea behind AIP is for the model to access a company’s entire dataset, giving it a deep understanding of how the company works.

AIP aims to give clients a real-time display of every element of a business while setting ground rules and guardrails for what data the models can access and what they can do with it.

The company is slowly rolling out the platform, but it gave a demo to a large insurance company, and the chief data said it was “years ahead of anything they had seen.”

One of Palantir’s demos of AIP showed how it could help a manufacturing company respond to a hurricane near one of its distribution centers by deciding how many customer orders will be affected and how to react by rerouting trucks or canceling orders.

Palantir’s long-standing experience dealing with institutions like the Pentagon with very sensitive data gives it a significant advantage in setting guardrails and safeguarding client data from third-party language models.

Can Palantir Become an AI Leader?

While OpenAI is the talk of the town, a recently leaked Google memo tells a different story about AI dominance. The memo claims that the open source community is “lapping” both Google and OpenAI on AI model development and that proprietary models like GPT-3 and Google Bard will eventually have no advantage.

With this in mind, Palantir COO Shyam Sankar believes that the long-term corporate value is in the application of AI, not the development of it. Palantir is uniquely positioned because its advantage lies in maneuvering through intricate and enormous datasets from secretive organizations with sensitive data like the CIA.

For this reason, Alex Karp told investors on a recent conference call that the company’s AI strategy is to simply “take the whole market.”

Bottom Line

In the throes of the AI arms race, Palantir is emerging from its sleeper status, and the stock is on a hot run over the last few weeks. Between the promising 2023 outlook, the release of AIP, and further developments, Palantir stock will be volatile and conservative investors should tread carefully.

Palantir will reveal more information about AIP at its AIPCon event on June 1.

Should you invest $1,000 in Palantir Technologies right now?

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