Weak Markets - Yom HaShoah

Business newspaper article

Today is Yom HaShoah when we remember our dead in the Holocaust. My maternal grandparents were driven from their home in the Sinnthal in Hessen, first to the old ghetto in Frankfurt, and then moved by humiliating cattle car to Belarus where they were shot. They didn't go to the USA as my other grandparents did, because they only had daughters, and didn't want to depend on sons-in-law. My murdered Opa was a veteran of the German Army as were almost all native-born Jews because Bismarck extended the draft to them when Germany was unified.

Today the Biden Administration revealed its planned changes in the corporate tax code, aimed at ending companies' ability to use loopholes to avoid US taxes by shifting profits overseas. The plan would raise $2.5 trillion over the next 15 years to boost clean energy, broadband, research, and infrastructure spending here. The corporate tax rate will go to 28% from the 21% it was lowered to by the Trump Administration but will remain lower than the 35% rate before 2017. It will also double the global minimum tax to 21% and make it harder to avoid. (Source: New York Times.)

The US Treasury Dept said there will also be a minimum 15% tax based on book value which the Wall Street Journal says is going to rope in fewer companies. It will only apply to companies with income of over $2 bn, rather than a mere $100 mn, the version from the Biden campaign

Today's markets are weak. There is plenty of news starting with Finland:

*Nokia today announced that DISH selected NOK’s NetGuard solution to assist with securing the US's first cloud-native, Open RAN-based 5G wireless network. Partnering with NOK will enable DISH to safeguard 5G network slices to be used for supporting enterprise and wholesale customers. Each 5G network slice can extend from the device through radio, access, transport, and core networks to each application server. Every path can be isolated and secured. Nokia’s NetGuard Security suite will be deployed within a cloud-native environment to provide security services through slice-specific Service Level Agreements (SLAs). NetGuard will back security orchestration, automation, and response capabilities needed to rapidly scale up networks and assess and efficiently resolve cyber incidents and security threats with a minimal manual intervention using automated tools, extended analytics, and integrated collaboration processes for an optimized user experience.

Separately, Nokia also said it would incorporate Intel's 3rd Generation Xeon scalable processors in its US AirFrame Cloud RAN and 5G Cloud Core data center systems to boost their computer capacity and speed while cutting energy consumption. This comes from a new partnership with Intel here. Nokia also resolved all its 2-yr patent litigation against Chinese Lenovo with a cross-license accord over infringement of 20 NOK video compression patents, to result in payments to the Finnish firm from the Chinese one. The amounts to be paid were not revealed. Nokia sued Lenovo in the US, Brazil, India, and Germany. NOK shares gained 1.25% at the US opening on this news pileup.

Plugged by Short Hill Capital's Steve Weiss on Halftime, Telefonaktiebolaget Ericsson (ERIC) rose 0.7%.

*Cameco CCJ reported on its 2020 results revealing a loss of $53 mn adjusted up to $66 mn. Its Cigar Lake mine suspended production and it bought 11.5 mn lbs of uranium to meet demand—at $40/lb or $465 mn overall. Its Cigar Lake uranium costs $15-16 to extract. It borrowed $400 mn to cover costs paying interest at 2.95%. It also doubled its stake in Global Laser Enrichment to 49%. Its partner is Silex. They issued results earlier but to view them you had to pay the sites where they were posted.

*British BAE Systems today reported that it won adaptive radiofrequency contracts from the US DoD Darpa arm to protect wideband receivers from interference using adaptive hardware signal filters and cancellors. The two contracts for wideband adaptive radio frequency (WARP) protection are worth $5 mn in total. Radiofrequency systems operate in a crowded electromagnetic spectrum subject to interference from both friendly and hostile sources. The first contract covers external interference while the second cover self-interference from STAR transmitters. BAESY is up 0.42%.

*Royal Dutch Shell revealed that it had suffered $200 mn in losses during the Texas gas outages but also said its upstream oil and gas units will produce a profit in the current quarter, the first since the Covid-19 pandemic began, thanks to higher commodity prices. The RDS-B shares we own gained 0.55% to $37.99 but the RDS-A shares rose 0.42% to $40.28. Where are market arbitrageurs when we need them? BP plc rose another 0.36% in sympathy.

*Tomra is still in the same twist with its TMRAF at $47.05, up 1.23% which the ADR, TMRAY is down 1.5% at $45.81.

*Alimentation Couche-Tard ANCUF is up 2.82% today after it announced it will sell 355 non-strategic sites last month. The Quebec firm was hit with some negative analyst reports but we opted to hang in there despite a poor quarterly. Now shopping and driving are reviving in North America boosting the sector.

*Chinese NIO announced its 100,000th vehicle sale in China but the stock fell 4.9% to $38.05 because China is raising interest rates to cool off the economy, while also attacking independent companies. Berkshire Hathaway's pick BYD, which we used to own when it was tipped by Fei Chen, sold twice as many electric cars as Nio and also makes hybrid cars. However, the sector was weak because of a new debt offering by Li Auto and market skepticism about Niu Tech's plans to sell its 2-wheel electric kick scooter in the US and Europe.

*Coupang lost traction because Sea Ltd Southeast Asia Amazon may be a threat to Korean CPNG.


*Britain ordered Astra-Zeneca to limit the use of its vaccine developed by Oxford University to inoculate people under 30 after the European Medicines Agency yesterday revealed that there may be a link between the jab and rare brain blood clots. AZN halted UK trials of the vaccine for children 6 to 17 years old. The share is down 0.85%.

*Glaxo stock rose to fill the gap, up 0.33%. GSK.

*The US Center for Disease Control now thinks that the UK B.1.1.7 variant is dominant in the US as well and may account for the nearly 20% increase in the 7-day average of cases vs the 14-day level.

*AbCellera Biologics of Canada reported that its bamlanivimab antibody therapy is highly potent against Covid-19 by blocking virus replication in the upper airway by binding to the spike protein. It should be administered with a second antibody to expand virus protection. It won in only 90 days US FDA approval as the 1st monoclonal antibody to treat the virus and is now approved in 15 countries. ABCL is up 1.83%. Zymeworks is down 1.5% for no reason except that ZYME is not ABCL.

*Israeli Compugen lose 3.3% on no news, except that it remains an outperform for SVB Leerink. CGEN.

*TEVA lost 0.5%. The reason may be that Netanyahu cannot find a majority... again.

*Enlivex rose 2.9% on no news. ENLV.

*Japanese Eisai fell another 2.14%. ESALYTakeda fell 2.7%, TAK. The yen is weak today.

*Spanish Grifols rose another 1% today despite its covid-19 failure with immunoglobulin. There are other illnesses GRFS may help with.

*Despite being the poster child for Irish offshore patents tax evasion, Bristol Myers BMY is still doing well in cancer research, now under a new deal with PsiOvusm


*French Lazard won an overweight rating from Morgan Stanley which boosted LAZ share price by 2%. The shares of its fund, Lazard Global Total Return & Income, LGI, rose 0.13%.

*British Atlantica Sustainable Infrastructure Fund AY lost 5.3% today. It is part-owned by Canada ute Algonquin AQN which only fell 1%. Ormat (Israel and Nevadan) fell 3% because another California geothermal firm, COSO, got AY investment. ORA had some bad apples who took bribes at a prior job.

*Investor of Sweden rose 0.55%. IVSBF has essentially disenfranchised its US shareholders by requiring that they provide a notarized document proving that they own their shares even when they have a brokerage account number for them. I wrote to the company complaining about vote blockage.

*Finnish counterpart Sampo Oyj is up 1.7%. SAXPY.

*China woes took down Prosus by 4.75% and Naspers by 5.25%. This ignores the whole global positions of PROSY and NPSNY by focusing on Tencent.

*Spanish Banco Santander is up another 1.44%. SAN.

*AIA Group, AAIGF, fell 1.23% on Hong Kong pressures despite its takeover of an Australian life insurance company from a bank. It does have a high p/e ratio of nearly 30%.

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