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Staying Apart, Together: How to not feel powerless in the fight against COVID

, USA TODAY

Released 11: 00 a.m. ET July 11, 2020

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Editor’s Note: This is a record of USA TODAY’s newsletter Remaining Apart, Together, a manual to help us cope with a world altered by coronavirus. If you’d enjoy it on your inbox on Tuesdays and Saturdays, subscribe here.  

In times of societal upheaval and catastrophe, it’s easy to feel helpless. 

In particular,The COVID-19 pandemic has created its own unique way of making us feel unworthy and alone. The very best thing we can do to help fight would be to do this, to stay home and forgo normalcy and the conversation we crave. It is not anywhere near as busy as what our grandparents did serving in the armed forces overseas, coordinating scrap metal drives and working in factories. The version of the today — staying home, sporting a mask, remaining at least six feet apart from the neighbor on a walk — includes very little catharsis. 

However, the fantastic news is that can do more. Texting a buddy who lives is currently performing something. Purchasing takeout from a restaurant is something.  Donating to a food bank or a mutual aid fund is something. Video conversing with your grandparents is something. 

This week I found myself constantly texting friends and family who reside in Florida and Arizona constantly. I would like to pay for them to buy groceries delivered so that they do not need to go to the shop\. I want to send them memes to cheer them up.  I want to attempt to divert their children on Facetime for just 30 minutes in order that they could watch a TV series written for adults. 

The pandemic might have taken much from us, however, we still have a lot left to give to each other. And that may keep us going. 

Now’s inspiration

Need a little confidence in your life? The proprietors of the business that makes T-shirts bearing the slogan”Life Is Good” have been trying to inject positivity on the planet for more than 25 decades, and it was working. But then 2020 arrived. 

However, working with their workers and technologies to make the manufacture and distribution of their t-shirts secure, brothers and company co-founders Bert and John Jacobs managed to keep the company alive and avoid layoffs, a true achievement in this market. They talked with reporter Derek Catron concerning the narrative of the quarantine company, and it’s the sort of heartwarming tale we need right now:

“We introduced in nurses. We set up stations 10 feet apart,” Jacobs said, with staggered shifts.  “It’s been three months, and we do not have any cases. We’ve been fortunate so far.” … 

New designs include drawings of creatures together with the message”Wash your paws” or”Stay calm, stay cool, stay home.” A design for graduates bore the inscription,”Course of 2020:’Virtually’ the best class of all time.”

“That one went crazy,” Jacobs said.

Another home run: a baseball shirt with the concept,”Longest Rain Delay in History: 2020.” … 

“We’re blessed to have built up a community of that which we call’rational optimists,'” Jacobs said. “Our clients, like ourselves, realize that there are obstacles. … We like to say’Life is not easy, and life is not perfect. But life is great.'”

Read the full story here

Now’s reads

Today’s pet

Finnegan the rabbit want to remind you to eat your vegetables. 

“He’s a mini rex and very old, 12 years old” says his mom Linda Hug.  “He loves a pet and he loves kale.”

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2020/07/11/covid-how-not-feel-powerless-fight-against-pandemic/5415141002/

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Could Royal Caribbean Be a Millionaire-Maker Stock? | The Motley Fool

Cruise-line shares are rocky these days, but the 1 standout in sea could also be the 1 standout in your portfolio.

Investors in cruise-line stocks happen to be feeling seasick this year. Shares of Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL) are going into the weekend trading 61% lower year so far. If you think that’s rough sailing, then remember that Royal Caribbean inventory has actually held up better than both publicly traded peers: Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NASDAQ:NCLH) and bigger rival Carnival (NYSE:CCL) (NYSE:CUK) have cranked out year-to-date swoons of 72percent and 68 percent, respectively.

Asking if Royal Caribbean inventory is a millionaire manufacturer right now — together with the stocks clearly out of favor — may not look right. The question brings up the old joke. But this is not about looking back at the unkind first half of the year — will Royal Caribbean be a wealth creator in the long run? The answer will likely be more bullish than you probably believe.

Image source: Getty Images.

It is a floating casino

The rips against cruise lines generally, and Royal Caribbean in particular, are fairly well recognized. They are not sailing and that has been the situation since mid-March. With rare exceptions — Carnival’s Aida brand expects to begin sailing three boats out of Germany next month — we’re at least two more months off from a phased resumption of sea journey. Passengers have been irked by canceled voyages and hurt the industry’s cash flow; as tens of thousands were stuck on ships during the repatriation process without pay, the crisis has been worse for team members.

Cruises were hit hard by COVID-19, and the aftermath will not be pretty. It will be the last travel section to weigh anchor.

Together with coronavirus cases continued to rise from the U.S., gambling on a return to normalcy sooner rather than later is a risky bet. However, there’s also a whole lot to enjoy here, given Royal Caribbean’s depressed share prices in an otherwise buoyant sector\.

The business seems to get it. All three companies have raised tens of thousands of dollars arming them with the liquidity to get through this year. They are adjusting to the initial dip in need. Carnival declared on Friday that it will be disposing of 13 existing ships as it delays new boat deliveries.

The risks are there. But if you are the kind of risk-averse investor who would prefer to buy the leading player in an business rather than purchasing a laggard in a sector that is hot, you might locate Royal Caribbean inventory . It is not a coincidence that Royal Caribbean has held up better than Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival. It is not the player — that crown is worn by Carnival. However, it’s a fantastic thing Carnival relies on entry-level pricing to woo first-time cruise passengers, and which is going to be the hardest target market to sell cruise holidays to two or over the next year.

Royal Caribbean has commanded the thickest margins on the market. If we look out to 2022 — the year that analysts view a return to profitability for three players — Royal Caribbean will be the closest to its summit 2019 earnings. Royal Caribbean is at a distinctive scenario with its metrics that are top\. It’s going to bounce back \if things improve. The shakeout would eliminate some of its competitors, fostering its prospects at the expense of short-term results if conditions deteriorate.

These are scary times, between COVID-19 and the worldwide recession. But if you’d like to find a manufacturer one of the cruise-line stocks, it would be hard not to go with Royal Caribbean.


Rick Munarriz has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Carnival. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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‘High returns with low risk’: Why wildly unpredictable economic data is a reason to buy stocks, according to one Wall Street chief strategist

  • The Economic VIX – a gauge measuring GDP readings contrary to their historical average – suggests the stock market is poised for decades of solid profits, James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group, stated.
  • The judge last peaked at 3.5 after the financial crisis, well into its highest quartile. The coronavirus pandemic will continue to keep the metric over 13 for at least a calendar year, the strategist said in a note to customers.
  • Historically, the S&P 500’s average annualized one-quarter returns reached 21.2% whenever the Economic VIX sat in its upper quartile. When the gauge stood at its center two quartiles, the indicator just returned an average of 6.5%.
  • “An volatile Economic VIX is obviously disgusting,” Paulsen said, but investors eager to ride out the storm of adverse data are in for”an exceptional opportunity for high returns with low risk.”
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more tales .

An unconventional volatility gauge suggests the stock market is on the verge of enormous gains, James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group, stated.

Cboe’s VIX index – Wall Street’s favorite measurement for stock exchange price swings – has more than halved from the March highs. The stock market’s rally has similarly calmed after profits\. Volatility, on the other hand, is thought to notch a document, according to Paulsen.

The strategist created a metric – deemed the Economic VIX – for monitoring such macro swings by measuring past quarters’ gross domestic product growth against the historical average. The final post-war high was put in the aftermath of the fiscal crisis, when Paulsen’s gauge spiked as large as 3.5, nicely into its highest quartile.

The metric now sits just below the threshold for breaking in the maximum quartile and readings will soon soar past their previous peak. Even by summertime 2021, the Economic VIX will probably stay over ), Paulsen said in a note to clients.

Read : UBS lays out the way the 2nd-wave coronavirus lockdown could lead to a devastating situation for stocks – one Wall Street was warning about for months

The Leuthold Group

If history is anything to go by, the unprecedented economic shakeup must serve as a blessing for investors. Paulsen discovered that, when the Economic VIX sat above its highest quartile, the S&P 500’s average annualized one-quarter gains reached 21.2%. Returns fell to 6.5percent when the Economic VIX landed within its middle two quartiles, the strategist added.

The risk of investing also diminishes as volatility . After the volatility judge sits at its middle two quartiles, the S&P 500 registers a negative quarterly yield 35.7% of their time. In areas where the Economic VIX is at its greatest quartile, that frequency falls to 22.9%.

Read : Wall Street has been shaken to its core by a legion of Gen Z afternoon traders. From a casual hobbyist into a 20-year old running a 14,000-person platform, meet the new creation of retail investors.

The reasoning supporting the trend is relatively simple, Paulsen said. Forward-looking markets tend to dive before GDP readings emphasize a spike in market volatility. Stocks are already starting their rebound, once data begins to detail the degree of the economic fallout.

“Facing these circumstances, investors typically raise cash and scale exposure to risk assets,” the strategist said. “Fearful investor behaviors build future buying power, conservative company behaviours bring increased gain prospects, and aggressive policies usher in a brand new financial expansion.”

The cooling-down of the market’s rally can bring above-average returns, Paulsen added. Weakened economic volatility suggests a market”in the groove” and typically yields”widespread optimism among private-sector players regarding the market’s future,” he explained. Accordingly, the S&P 500 published one-quarter gains of 16.5percent when the Economic VIX dropped into its lowest quartile. 

Read : Purchase these 15 stocks that are protected from COVID-19 fallout and prepared to conquer the Industry even as virus cases spike, Evercore states

The US market will stay highly volatile throughout the next year, and also markets will probably thrive from the swings in GDP growth. Whether its heightened levels are kept by the Economic VIX through the rebound or tumbles into its lowest quartile, investors must settle in for gains, Paulsen said.

“An volatile Economic VIX is always unsettling, but at the post-war age, for stock investors with considerable fortitude, it’s provided an exceptional chance for high returns with low risk,” he added.

Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

A nationally mask-wearing mandate would accelerate the US’s economic recovery, Dallas Fed president states

The US formally ended its V-shaped recovery and has entered a lesser’recovery stage,’ Bank of America states

The top-ranked stock-picker in tiny companies has returned 13 times greater than his peers this season. He breaks down the 5 little-known stocks he is using to wager on the 5G and work-from-home revolutions.

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Jason Gough’s forecast: Humid and muggy day; scattered thunderstorms tonight

What was Tropical Storm Fay is no more, but we’re not done with rain for the day. Humidity will likely be with a push of energy coming in from the west through this afternoon and thick, we’re looking developing and dangling out to the evening\. Some of those will be open for business. We are back to greater coverage on Monday although A fracture of sorts comes tomorrow with a few isolated/widely scattered storms north of about Ballston Spa\. As the humidity and the warmth stays under control, from there, we dry out for a couple of days\. Since we turn toward next weekend, since we will be in our warmest period of this year, the two of those entities look to return.

If you are knowledgeable about southern Albany County, along the Greene County line, you know of areas like New Baltimore, Earlton, Alcove, even Beaver Dam Lake, where I fished many times as a kid. That’s the point where the remnants of Fay’s middle is located\. It is going to continue to drift through the day and with all its rains ahead of it, we’ll continue washing trend.

Temperatures are in the top 60s to the center 70s with plenty of humidity to move around. As we get deeper into the morning and with sunlight cooking things up skies will split up somewhat, we’ll set the stage. A few of these will probably be strong to severe with gusty wind and quite heavy rain.

It is important to note that we will have a lot of humidity throughout the day and within this setup, we could see what is called a wet microburst or two. It’s a highly localized rush of air from a storm which will do some damage.

Temperatures will top out at the 80s now but with those high dewpoints in the low and even a few mid-70therefore, the heat indicator will be into the centre 90s.

Once those storms quiet down after tonight, we’ll settle into a hot and muggy immediately with lows in the mid-60s into the low 70s.

Tomorrow

Some gradual relief in the humidity will evolve through the day as dewpoints eventually fall to the reduced 60s through the evening. We’ll have a mixture of clouds and sun with highs in the 80s once again and while we’ll not possess nearly the coverage of showers and storms as we will now, there’ll be a few which will pop up at the higher elevations north of Albany.

Monday into Wednesday

For Monday, more energy aloft will be put to sweep through. We’ll not have the warmth of now but there’ll still be enough to kick some rather nasty storms off as we get in the afternoon. Highs will top out at the top 70s to the middle 80s.

In the wake of these storms, we will find a bit more comfortable for Tuesday and Wednesday with reduced humidity and temps in the 70s to the center 80s. Tuesday still runs the risk of an isolated shower or two while Wednesday will probably be a dry, gorgeous moment.

As we close out the workweek, the heat and humidity look to return combined with some normal opportunities for scattered afternoon storms.

JasonsWeather

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Florida students work on patent for invention for the blind

By TONY MIXON and The Panama City News Herald

Associated Press

Saturday, July 11, 2020


PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) – Local high school students Jonathon Walker and Alex Johnson have been developing a device that turns text into braille for some time and now they’re working with a law firm to get a patent for it.

When the students first won the science fair in Pensacola several months back, the braille system was a mere prototype. It was too large in size for portable use and still had some cleaning up for it to be applicable in society.


Those days are now over.

After working for several months to improve their device, Walker and Johnson were able to shrink the size dramatically, but not hinder its performance. The cells they were using inside the device were about 30 centimeters in diameter and the improved device is using cells that are 10 centimeters in size.

The two Rutherford High students submitted their device with a video presentation to the national Invention Convention and were awarded the opportunity to receive a patent. That’s when it hit home for the both them.

“It was surprising and then it went from shocked to excited,” Walker said. “I wasn’t paying attention much to the award ceremony, but my parents were tuned in and it was a sense of relief because of all the hard work that went into it.”

“It felt good because it shows that a law firm believes it has some real world applicability to it,” Johnson said.

According to Walker and Johnson, they came up with about 11 different versions of the device until they settled onto the one they have now. They said they are close to getting the braille system to the point where somebody can speak into it and it will produce.

With both students having to juggle classes during the COVID-19 pandemic and finishing their project, Rutherford High School Principal Coy Pilson is proud of both Walker and Johnson.

“They’re wonderful young people and I probably would have quit,” Pilson said. “I don’t think they see challenges, they just see problems to solve.”

Pilson added that both students are conscience individuals and pointed to an instance where Walker was concerned about students having internet access during school closure.

Walker and Johnson even went as far as to use the school lab, but stayed on opposite sides of the room, so they could social distance. Even their video presentation to the national Invention Convention was done 6 feet apart.

Pilson added that both students are an example of what Rutherford has to offer and he’ll put his students up against anybody.

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.

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The destructive response to COVID: Maintaining a dignity of intelligence in a time of social modification

Both scientific and medical debate continues to unfold in not only the dubious nature of what we currently identify as COVID-19, but also – and more intensely perhaps – over the ongoing global response to the virus itself. At the same time, however, this ever-important issue of COVID lockdowns is being glossed over daily by the more sensationalized stories of racial protests.

In many ways, the protests provide an illegitimate cover; an unfortunate distraction of sorts which diverts the public’s attention away from the shoddy and unsustainable COVID precautions which clearly deserve to be further examined. Additionally, as is the classical tactic of any divisive agenda, the racial climate that we now find ourselves in has successfully (and incredulously) served to create even further partition between individuals, communities, groups, and even the very same ethnic races that have labored to overcome the oppression that has plagued the West for so long. Ironically, we now find ourselves regressing to knee-jerk policies that actually promotes egregation rather than protect against it.

Consequently, this new division in our society has delayed our collective resolve to soberly examine the destructive response to SARS-COV-2. According to a Pew Research Center poll from June 29th, there is a general trend of decreasing intensity when it comes to the public consumption of news around COVID-19. The Pew study specifically mentioned that

“the June survey, which took place as demonstrations following the killing of George Floyd were dominating headlines, shows a decrease in those paying very close attention to the COVID-19 outbreak. The 39% of U.S. adults reporting this highest level of engagement is down from 46% in late April and 57% in late March, when the outbreak was first forcing shutdowns around the country” (Pew Research Center, June 29). Similarly, an Ipsos Reid poll from June 18th concludes that “a majority of people in nine out of 16 major countries say there are much bigger issues to worry about than the coronavirus with all protests going on in the United States and elsewhere” (Ipsos Reid, June 18).

I would agree that this diversion has also served to not only redirect the public focus, but by its very insistence as an urgent ‘social’ issue has also served to entrench the public’s original perceptions and beliefs around COVID-19 without any further critical thinking.

In other words, by having to quickly readjust our concerns to the newly-created theatrics of racial demonstrations, we no longer have the time or sense of import to properly examine how the official responses to coronavirus are continuing – and will continue – to affect our civilization and our culture as a people. By default then, whatever we believed about COVID-19 before the racial unrest will simply remain our default perception, simply because we are now being encouraged to look in other directions. As such, the unspoken trend around the coronavirus at this point is that it no longer needs as much critical addressing and that we now simply need to acclimate to the “new normal.” In the meantime, it is worth taking a fresh look at where public opinion now rests in regards to the lockdown culture.

As far as perspectives around the COVID-19 lockdown responses are concerned, I see two variations of people that make up the general bulk of the public body.

The most visible segment are those who are clearly on board with the standardized precautions that were put in place; things like social distancing, mask-wearing, hand sanitizing, business closures and sheltering-in-place.

It would also seem evident that this group is considerably the larger of the two, given the findings of a Pew Research poll from back in April 16th. As the poll demonstrated,

“66% of Americans say they are more concerned that these (COVID) restrictions will be lifted too quickly, while 32% say they are more concerned they won’t be lifted quickly enough” (Pew Research Center, April 16).

Within this first group of people there exists a spectrum of belief as to how much precaution is actually necessary. Accordingly, some will rigidly adhere to whatever source of personal protection is available to them in order to avoid getting the virus, while others will appear to casually meander in and out of protective motions almost at random – donning masks when the moment “seems right” or else socially distancing from complete strangers, yet not for people that are more familiar to them. In some ways, a double-standard of protective behavior can be seen in this end of the precautionary spectrum even though, to some degree, they ultimately do believe in the risk of transmission and likewise believe that it should be avoided.

The second group of people is much less visible. In this group, the individuals have not necessarily bought into the official narrative of COVID-19 (much less the exhaustive protective measures to avoid getting it), yet they are largely seen to go along with the proverbial flow of everyone else for the reason that there appears to be no other appropriate recourse. As it is with any social animal, many of the people within this latter group do not see the sense in disrupting the established order and, for the sake of preservation of both the group and the self, are seen to blend in with the rest of the population while quietly (if not grudgingly) adhering to protective rituals whenever the situation demands it.

Like the first group, however, this second cluster of people has its own form of spectrum as well. On one end of the spectrum are those who, while not buying into the sensationalism around COVID-19, will nevertheless wear their masks and will keep their social distance merely to protect against disapproval from others. On the other end of the spectrum are those who, in recognizing the severe social deficits of such protective behaviors, actually do wish to demonstrate some form of resistance to the collective prescription. These are the individuals whose aim is specifically geared towards the education and redirection of the public’s response to the lockdown culture, and who are willing to actually speak out against it.

Regardless of where anyone happens to be on the spectrum, the underlying concern for a COVID skeptic is ultimately around the cost of social deviance and the price to be paid for visibly stepping out of line amidst the virtual tidal wave of COVID propaganda. Putting it simply, to not be part of the mainstream corona-collective brings with it the risk of a severe social backlash – primarily in the form of being accused as a ‘deviant’ and, by extension, as being categorically responsible for exacerbating the pandemic even further.

I would also argue that this identification and targeting of social deviance is enforced even further in times of civil urgency, as a recent situation in Australia appropriately demonstrates.

In response to a recent upsurge of reported coronavirus infections in the Australian state of Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews has been urging the public to comply with mobile COVID-testing initiatives that were recently rolled out in a few municipalities. In a press release on June 30th, the Premier lamented his finding that almost a thousand people had actually refused the request to be tested. Interestingly, the suggested reasons for such refusals were labelled as “lack of understanding about the dangers of the virus, privacy reasons to feeling uncomfortable about the invasiveness of a nose or throat swab test,” according to University of NSW epidemiologist Professor Mary-Louise McLaws, who was quoted in an article published in the newspaper, The Age, later in the day.

Never mind mentioning the possibility that some of these refusals were born out of an educated principle to deliberately not comply. Never mind the idea that some refusals were expressed specifically as a result of a citizen’s own personal research into the nature of the pandemic, and therefore had a constitutional right to refuse the test in the first place.

While the article does pay tribute to the ethical and constitutional problem of enforced COVID testing, there is an interesting caveat to this inconvenient freedom that is raised by Liberty Victoria spokesman Michael Stanton. While Stanton dutifully points to the importance of respecting people’s personal choice in the matter, he nevertheless reassures the public that the number of people who refused to be tested was pretty small by comparison, and therefore “statistically” insignificant. He added that “it would be too high a cost [on people’s personal liberties] to in effect forcibly require people to undertake a medical procedure against their will, especially when so many people are consenting.” In other words, as long as the majority is on board with the official WHO-endorsed narrative, then it’s not worth worrying about the smaller numbers of insubordinates (The Age, June 30th).

Unsurprisingly, the response to these acts of social deviances in the state of Victoria led to an exhibition of public shaming by the Premier himself, who essentially derided the 928 refusers as posing an irresponsible risk to the rest of the population while simultaneously praising the recent 21,000 consenters as making a “powerful contribution to our fight against this virus.”

In other words, we are watching the narrative unfold in such as to now ascribe a currency of morality to the decision of consenting versus refusing. Simply put, the idea is being generated that you are an irresponsible person for refusing to be tested, but that you are a morally righteous person for agreeing. Furthermore, the portrayal of urgency in Victoria is such that the public is arguably given little time to coherently reflect on the principled questions around mobile testing initiatives, and consequently have to make some pretty quick choices about it. Human nature being what it is, one is likely to justify the personal choices they make in any given situation – even if they find that they were rushed or cornered into doing so.

The result? A society that is divided even further based on moral ascriptions that do not critique; they merely assume.

The real problem, however, lies in the rapid way in which this moral ascription becomes an entrenched norm within a society. To be clear, it is not the social dictator or a nation’s commander-in-chief who successfully secures the public’s perspective on a matter; it is the public itself that decides its own fate. To be sure, the civil corporation that makes up a society is wholesale complicit in the shifting of that society’s norms. Simultaneously, any individual that chooses to resist such shifting norms is viewed as socially deviant and possibly even antisocial.

In a 2016 edition of Sociological Research, Tatyana Shipunova made the decisive point that:

“The social control of deviance, like everything connected with it (e.g., institutions, policies, government officials, specialists, professionals, strategies, methods, etc.) is given a special status because it “functions” for the betterment of society, removing (eliminating) or minimizing the harm of deviance. In this sense, social control acts as a moral idea with ‘ideological immunity.’ It is to be accepted prima facie, before the results (effects) of its institutions are known. Its expansion is theoretically limitless, since the variety of forms and types of behavior that may cause social discontent (‘social evil’) is infinite” (Shipunova, Sociological Research, 2016, p.32).

In short, the widespread behavior of the public in response to a new social doctrine (i.e. a warning given by “experts”) that leads to the overall shifting of a norm so that it goes from “new” to standard. The sooner it becomes entrenched, the more quickly the former standard will be forgotten. What may initially be regarded as an inconvenience is eventually accepted as a necessary shift in public life due to the “evils” that it is purportedly preventing. Appropriately, Shipunova observes that “it is at the micro level that social control really takes place.”

Finally, we see how profound a role the Internet itself plays in the formalizing of such new behaviors. Shipunova describes how the overall Internet infrastructure, “with its administrators, moderators, website owners, online communities, and individual users, controls the parameters of social sui generis reality by reflecting on this reality, modifying existing social norms, rules, and patterns of behavior that are first broadcast horizontally via virtual communication from one user to another, which then become internalized – and transforming these patterns into everyday praxis.” If this process is successful, it ultimately serves to “significantly modify social norms.”

With these things in mind, it is easier to observe how the public perception of lockdown measures has largely found itself in a decidedly consumer-oriented mentality – particularly since a robust sense of urgency has been applied to the situation. Consequently, anyone who finds themselves in a more open-minded frame of perspective faces the ever-challenging reality of being considered a risk to the rest of the society. Effectively, what was once considered a dystopian social practice has very quickly been adopted as “prima facie” prescriptions that carry incredible power on account of being so morally-infused, as they are.

As we find ourselves in such a rapidly-shifting global environment that appears to be hell-bent on distracting the masses, my recommendation is that we hold firm allegiance to our original sense of curiosity. We pay honorable tribute to our innate intelligence by not getting swept up in the pseudo-morality that is now so suddenly ascribed to these global events (particularly referring to the cementing of poorly-contrived COVID-consumer values through the unusual diversion to racial injustice issues).

More specifically, consider that the newly-charged racial demonstrations and behavioral modifications that are being urged on society are simply there to eliminate dissension. At the same time, however, they provide us with a unique opportunity to observe, learn, and be informed by. At the end of the day, it is up to us at the individual level, as to whether our learning has been fostered by an agenda of wanting to avoid deviance, or to instead search diligently for what is actually helping us move forwards as a society.

I urge us all to choose the latter.

Brett Jordan, BSW, MSW, RSW, is a Registered Social Worker who works in a hospital ER in Metro Vancouver. He writes predominantly on issues of spiritual, emotional and social phenomena.

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AngloGold Ashanti: Margin Expansion Set To Continue (NYSE:AU)

It’s been an exceptional first half of the year for the Gold Miners Index (GDX), and AngloGold Ashanti (AU) continues to lead the index with a 40% return year-to-date. The company has seen a massive improvement in margins over the past year, with all-in margins up 600 basis points year over year to 34%. Meanwhile, the company’s newest low-cost Obuasi mine and the recent gold price strength are expected to drive even further margin expansion, with the potential for all-in margins to reach 43% in FY-2021. This has prompted analysts to begin ratcheting up their earnings estimates, with the previously less desirable miner now offering immense value below $30.00. Based on the company’s industry-leading earnings growth rate and my expectations for another 900 basis points in margin expansion, I believe sharp pullbacks should provide buying opportunities for investors.

(Source: Company Presentation)

AngloGold Ashanti is a name I had previously shied away from since the 2016 bottom for gold (GLD) as the company’s relatively high costs and less favorable operating jurisdictions left it at the bottom of the barrel from an investment attractiveness standpoint. However, a $1,650/oz plus gold price has changed the thesis here, as has the company’s recent push to deleverage its balance sheet by shedding assets in Tier-3 jurisdictions. These recent sales have pulled the company’s net debt down to $1.6 billion before the benefit of the latest South African asset sale. Meanwhile, the company’s newest mine, Obuasi, is expected to lower all-in sustaining costs on a consolidated basis. This has made the company leaner and less weighted to Tier-3 jurisdictions at the same time as margins, and earnings per share (EPS) are seeing a massive boost thanks to the gold price. Let’s take a closer look below:

(Source: Barrick Gold Company Presentation)

AngloGold Ashanti reported annual EPS growth of 146% year over year in FY-2019, more than quadruple the sector average of 34%, with FY-2019 annual EPS coming in at $1.80. While this was great news for investors, it significantly dampened the outlook for FY-2020 annual EPS growth as the company was now up against extremely tough year-over-year comps. Based on March 2020 estimates, the company was expected to see annual EPS growth of just 10% year over year, with FY-2020 forecasts sitting at $1.98. However, the recent strength in the gold price has prompted analysts to race to raise their forecasts, with FY-2020 annual EPS estimates now sitting at $2.31, a massive increase from March levels. After factoring in these higher estimates, AngloGold Ashanti is now expected to enjoy annual EPS growth of 28% year over year, putting it back in line with the earnings growth rates we see from the top market performers historically.

(Source: YCharts.com, Author’s Chart)

If we look out further to the FY-2021 estimates, this growth is not expected to slow, with FY-2021 forecast currently sitting at $3.09, translating to 33% growth year over year. These forward growth rates place AngloGold Ashanti among an elite class of growth stocks for the next two years. This is evidenced by William O’Neil’s work, which has shown that the best-performing stocks in the market tend to have a minimum annual EPS growth rate of 25%, and the higher the growth, the better. The fact that AngloGold Ashanti is expected to enjoy these growth rates after lapping a year of 140% growth is outstanding, suggesting that we’re likely still in the earlier innings of this growth story for the stock. The main catalyst for this growth is the gold price which is a massive tailwind for AngloGold’s margins, but the lower-cost Obuasi mine that came online in December will be a tailwind as well, which we’ll discuss later:

(Source: YCharts.com, Author’s Chart)

While high earnings growth rates are great, it’s always essential to assess earnings quality, and earnings growth that comes as a result of cost-cutting measures or one-time asset sales is low-quality earnings growth. This is because cost-cutting and one-off items are not sustainable pillars of growth as there are only so many assets a company can sell off and only so many ways to cost cuts before the business begins to suffer. In AngloGold Ashanti’s case, the growth is high quality, and the massive margin expansion is evidence of this. As we can see below, the company’s all-in margins improved by 600 basis points in Q1 2020 to 34%, but these margin improvements came with an average realized selling price of $1,576/oz. Based on the recent spot price above $1,750/oz, we should see a further boost to all-in margin improvements above 40% by year-end. Therefore, this earnings growth looks quite sustainable with all-in margins breaking out to new highs from a multi-year range.

(Source: Company Presentation, Author’s Drawing)

As we can see in the below quant ratings for AngloGold Ashanti, the stock stacks up very favorably here as well, ranked 7th out of over 200 names in the Materials (XLB) sector. The stock’s current rating is 4.92 out of a best possible 5.0, scoring high on growth, momentum, and earnings revisions. Therefore, this is corroborating the strong earnings revisions shown above, as well as the industry-leading annual EPS growth.

(Source: Seeking Alpha Premium)

Circling back to Obuasi, the company’s newest mine in Ghana came online in December and is expected to ramp up to 375,000 ounces of gold production per year at all-in sustaining costs below $775/oz. While this is a nice boost to the company’s current 2.8 million-ounce production profile, the real benefit is on the cost side, as the company’s all-in sustaining costs are projected to remain around $1,050/oz. Based on Obuasi’s all-in sustaining costs of $775/oz or lower, and this mine making up roughly 13% of the company’s total gold production, we could see consolidated costs drop closer to $1,000/oz. This would transition AngloGold Ashanti from a high-cost producer to a producer with costs in line with the industry average, which should help the company command a higher multiple given that it’s one of the largest gold producers in the world. Therefore, if Obuasi can perform as expected, we should see an even further tailwind to margins.

(Source: Company Presentation)

Despite this exceptional growth story with average earnings growth of 30% for FY-2020 and FY-2021, AngloGold Ashanti is trading at only 14.4x forward earnings, a reasonable valuation for a high-growth company in a market where there’s a dearth of earnings growth in most sectors. As we can see from the chart below, the company previously traded at a forward earnings multiple closer to 19, and the range has been 11 to 19 if we exclude the mid-March market crash. Therefore, I would argue that AngloGold Ashanti is nowhere near expensive here, especially if $1,700/oz gold prices are here to stay.

(Source: YCharts.com)

Fortunately, the market seems to agree with this view, as we’ve seen a relentless bid under the stock since the mid-March lows. As we can see from the chart below, AngloGold Ashanti has broken out of a multi-year base near the $25.00 level, and this is a significant bullish development long term. Multi-year breakouts rarely fizzle out after a few months as they often last for several quarters, so the technical picture confirms the turnaround story here. Based on this massive breakout through a critical resistance level, I would expect the uptrend here to continue for a while. Therefore, I would view any 13% plus corrections as buying opportunities.

(Source: TC2000.com)

While AngloGold Ashanti may not be the most flashy name in the sector with slightly above-average costs and a few less favorable operating jurisdictions, I believe there is a place in a portfolio for Tier-2 gold producers as long as the price is right, and there’s a catalyst for further margin expansion. Given the company’s market-leading earnings growth rates and the further margin expansion I expect to see, we have a clear catalyst here for additional upside long term. Therefore, I see AngloGold Ashanti as a Hold currently, and I would view any dips below the $28.50 level as low-risk buying opportunities.

Disclosure: I am/we are long AU, GLD. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: Disclaimer: Taylor Dart is not a Registered Investment Advisor or Financial Planner. This writing is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an offer to sell, a solicitation to buy, or a recommendation regarding any securities transaction. The information contained in this writing should not be construed as financial or investment advice on any subject matter. Taylor Dart expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken based on any or all of the information on this writing.

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NY eases visitor ban aimed at curbing virus in nursing homes

By MARINA VILLENEUVE

Associated Press

Friday, July 10, 2020


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – Certain nursing homes in New York can enable visitors – with restrictions – starting July 15 since the condition eases a ban directed at restricting the spread of COVID-19 among vulnerable older residents.

Merely nursing homes and long-term maintenance centers with no new coronavirus cases among taxpayers and staffers at the past 28 days can allow restricted visits, say Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said Friday. The department said the policy of the state follows guidance\ and is limited with no staffing shortages which have examined all residents to nursing homes.


Health division spokeswoman Jill Montag said about 150 of those greater than 600 nursing homes in the country could be eligible to open up for people. Roughly 500 nursing homes had reported COVID-19 cases one of staffers in June, according to recently released information from the country, which doesn’t release data about the amount of cases at individual nursing homes.

Residents can have visits from up to two people at one time, and visitors must undergo temperature tests, wear face masks and maintain 6 feet (two meters) from residents throughout the visit. At least among the people need to be 18 years old, according to Zucker.

No more than 10percent of residents can have people at any one time, along with the nation’s rules restrict visitation to outside areas, weather allowing. Otherwise, visitation can be permitted inside a”well-ventilated space” up to 10 socially distanced individuals wearing face coverings.

The state banned people at nursing homes March 13 over fear of spreading the virus which took hold at a Washington nursing home in late February. The country reports at least 6,400 inhabitants with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 have expired in nursing homes, and it’s unclear how many have died in hospitals.

“I know how painful it’s been around for residents of these facilities to endure such a lengthy time period without seeing family and nearest and dearest, and my hope is that this adjustment to the visitation policy will provide some comfort to everybody,” Zucker said.

Nursing homes that enable visitors are required to send visitation plans to the state.

Long-term care ombudsmen, who advocate for residents, can once more visit nursing homes and long-term care facilities starting July 15 too. Ombudsmen must present the nursing home with a verified negative test result from inside the week, according to the state health department.

The country’s simplicity on customer restrictions comes as the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, daily fatalities and daily positive evaluation results have dropped since a summit in mid-April.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said hospitals confessed 87 COVID-19 patients for the first time Thursdayup from 73 the prior Thursday. Since mid-June, roughly 1 percent of people newly tested for COVID-19 in New York have tested positive.

Cuomo announced Friday that the state will also permit concession stands to open at state beaches starting July 12.

Cuomo, a Democrat, also said the state is sending Florida sufficient of remdesivir – an experimental medication administered through an IV which has shown promise against coronaviruses – to cure 280 patients during Saturday. The governor will help Florida since it awaits a shipment to arrive and said that the shipment will arrive Saturday.

“When New York was climbing the COVID mountain with no ending in sight and resources were scarce, we were incredibly moved by the generosity of nations across the country that stepped up to provide supplies and health care personnel in our time of need,” Cuomo said.

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.

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Charlize Theron not focused on dating, says Gwyneth Paltrow’s separate-home living’s ‘my kind of relationship’

Sorry folks, Charlize Theron is mentally inaccessible at the moment.

Even though she’s single, the Oscar winner doesn’t have any interest in pursuing a relationship of any type and opened up about what scenario she’d like to own in the unlikely event she does find someone to settle down with.

“I truly do think that women actually… make s–t happen for me personally,” that the 44-year-old informed E! News on Friday. “And I believe that this concept of relationships, sometimes we strategy… or society strategy [s] them in the sense of like,’Obviously, that’s something that you want and want.’ And that’s not been the situation for me personally.”

CHARLIZE THERON SAYS IT’S’A LITTLE HEARTBREAKING’ SHE WON’T GET TO STAR AS FURIOSA IN’MAD MAX’ PREQUEL

The celebrity recently fended off rumors she almost tied the knot with fellow actor and director Sean Penn during their relationship spell when she advised”The Howard Stern Show” that tales indicating they nearly wed were”such bull–” given the reality they dated for”barely a year”

Theron told listeners on Stern’s show that she does not need a man because the”good likes of [her] lifetime” are her two children, son Jackson, 8, and daughter August, 8 — and so, she’s”never been lonely.”

GWYNETH PALTROW CITES’POLARITY’ FOR DECISION NOT TO LIVE FULL-TIME WITH HUSBAND BRAD FALCHUK

Theron pressed the opinion in her conversation with E! News:”I do not feel like I am missing out on some thing in my entire life, it’s not something that I’m searching for right now.”

But, despite her leisurely approach to dating, Theron told the outlet to never eliminate the notion of her having a partner in the future.

Actress Charlize Theron referenced correct Gwyneth Paltrow the past arrangement of living in separate homes of husband Brad Falchuk.
(Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

MEGHAN MCCAIN DISMISSES GWYNETH PALTROW, BRAD FALCHUK’S PART-TIME LIVING SITUATION AS’RICH PEOPLE STUFF’

“I believe time will come,” she explained, announcing from the process that if she stumbles upon the”love of my life,” said gentleman could be relegated to living in a”home down the street.”

Theron pointed to Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk‘s progressive approach to their prior living arrangement that has seen its share of supporters and detractors.

BRAD FALCHUK ON WHY MOVING IN WITH GWYNETH PALTROW TOOK SO LONG:’DIVORCE IS TERRIBLE’

“I remember when Gwyneth Paltrow married her husband Brad and they lived in separate houses and people made such a stink about it,” Theron said. “And I was like,’That is my kind of relationship!'”

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Nuggets’ Malone hoping to have Jokic within days

5: 18 PM ET

  • Ohm YoungmisukESPN Staff Writer

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      Ohm Youngmisuk has insured the Giants, Jets and the NFL because 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for a decade\. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is now a graduate of Michigan State University.

      Follow him Twitter”  Ohm’s chat archive”

Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone said he expects to get star center Nikola Jokic back with the group within the next few days.

Jokic is healthy and retested negative, according to a source, but he did not travel with the Nuggets on their group flight to Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday due to travel problems.

The Nuggets went through their first practice in Orlando on Friday without the All-Star, but Malone hopes there won’t be that many more practices without Jokic.

“The expectation is that he’ll be here shortly,” Malone stated on a Zoom phone with reporters after practice at the Walt Disney World hotel. “I’ve spoken to him many times. I know he is looking forward to getting down here and excited. He is healthy, he feels fantastic, hopefully he’ll be here shortly within another couple of days.”

Sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst last month which Jokic tested positive for the coronavirus while in Serbia and that his return to the United States was briefly delayed. Jokic needed to make two coronavirus evaluations that are negative in Serbia where he had two \negative tests.

The Nuggets were subsequently one of teams to close their group centers before leaving for Florida last week following two members of their team’s 35-penis traveling celebration tested positive for the coronavirus, sources informed Wojnarowski.

“We do not have our entire team ,” Malone explained. “And we are not giving any information on that. We are waiting to get right down here. However, with all the players we have, we are treating it as a chance to get back into the gym to reconnect on the court, get some conditioning inside, get some competitive drills in and revisiting offensive and defensive fundamentals and foundational sections of our team.”

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