Disney to layoff about 32,000 workers in first half of 2021
Disney to layoff about 32,000 workers in first half of 2021
Earlier this month, Disney said it was furloughing additional workers from its theme park in Southern California due to uncertainty over when the state would allow parks to reopen.
Disney’s theme parks in Florida and those outside the United States reopened earlier this year without seeing new major coronavirus outbreaks but with strict social distancing, testing and mask use.
Disneyland Paris was forced to close again late last month when France imposed a new lockdown to fight a second wave of the coronavirus cases.
The company’s theme parks in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo remain open.
Disney did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on whether the 28,000 layoffs announced earlier were included in the latest figure, but a spokesperson for the company confirmed to Variety that the figure includes the previously announced number.
(This story corrects to “lay off” in the headline and the first paragraph)
(Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi) TRENDING 2 Stocks Flirting With a Bottom; Analysts Say ‘Buy’ When a stock starts dropping, investors have to ask two questions. First, why it’s dropping? Is something wrong with it? Or is it just facing a storm of circumstance, but is otherwise sound? If the latter, then the second question comes into play. Has this stock hit bottom?When a sound stock hits bottom, that’s a signal for investors to buy in. You can’t go wrong buying low and selling high, but you do have to know when ‘low’ is happening – otherwise you can miss your chance to maximize the profits.Wall Street’s analysts make their reputation by calling stocks right. Lately, some of these analysts have been tapping several apparent down-and-out equities as prime candidates for strong gains. These are stocks that, based on the TipRanks data, fit a profile: each has fallen on hard times during 2020; each has an average upside that starts north of 40%, and each has at least one analyst saying it’s likely to make radical gains in 2021.Benefitfocus (BNFT)We’ll start in the world of benefits management, an important sector that impacts a number of fields. Employers, insurance brokers, health plans, and retail partnerships all offer benefits to consumers of various stripes – and Benefitfocus offers a tech solution to make benefit administration easy. The company offers a software platform specifically designed to handle the HR and data aspects of benefits programs, from enrollment to management.This niche can be a two-edged sword, however. In good times, with benefit programs swinging, everyone will want in – but in bad times, Benefitfocus has found itself unable to regain traction. The company’s stock is down 42% year-to-date, and the third quarter results showed continuing year-over-year losses. Revenue is down 11% yoy, to $63.6 million, with declines across all of the company’s main segments: software revenue, subscription revenue, and platform revenue.At the same time, there were positive developments. Lincoln Financial Group and PayActive joined Benefitfocus as catalog suppliers, and the company held its first open enrollment with the University of Texas system. The company also ended Q3 with $176 million in cash on hand.These quarterly results came as Benefitfocus brought in new management. The company announced Stephen Swad as the new CEO, with his CFO position being filled by Alpana Wegner. In addition, the company announced new hires for the Chief Data Officer and EVP, Product & Engineering positions. These are major moves, that portend a new outlook at the top.Covering this stock for Piper Sandler, 5-star analyst Sean Wieland writes of BNFT: “With new mgmt at the helm, we sense a renewed energy moving the business forward. SaaS offerings are an area of focus, going head first into the B2B2C channel while de-emphasizing the direct to consumer business. Health of this customer base continues to trend above expectations, with a positive benefit fromgig workers, increasing net eligible lives 8.3% y/y to 18.2M. OEP fits into this positive narrative, as mgmt is happy with progress thus far, seeing continued strength as the selling season progresses.”Wieland’s bullish outlook is also supported by his Overweight (i.e. Buy) rating and $29 price target, which implies a 132% one-year upside. (To watch Wieland’s track record, click here)Overall, Wall Street appears to be in agreement with Wieland on BNFT. The stock has a Strong Buy consensus rating, based on 3 Buy reviews and 1 Hold. Shares are selling for $12.50 and the average price target, at $17.67, suggests room for a 41% upside in the next 12 months. (See BNFT stock analysis on TipRanks)Momo, Inc. (MOMO)Next up is Momo, the Chinese social media mobile app. This company offers customers a free smartphone app for social posting and instant messaging, and monetizes the service through the usual routs of third-party services and paid subscriptions for upgrades.Momo has badly underperformed this year, however, having lost 54% year-to-date. The company’s fiscal third-quarter came in below expectation, with earnings at 30 cents per share and revenues at $3.9 billion. These numbers were down significantly year-over-year, especially the EPS, which showed a 40% yoy drop. Revenue and earnings peaked in 4Q19, as the corona virus started to break out – and its has yet to recover.Like BNFT above, Momo has had management changes in the calendar third quarter. The company brought on board a new Executive Chairman as well as a new CEO. It is hoped that the new blood will bring new energy at the top. The new CEO, Li Wang, previously served as company COO since 2014.Leo Chiang, of Deutsche Bank, acknowledges that Momo is in a tight spot, but believes the company can chart a course out. “Momo app is navigating to focusing on content ecosystem, user engagement and community activity to revitalize middle and long tail users, instead of exploiting top paying cohort, whose spending sentiment has been impaired significantly post pandemic. The process has begun in early August and management expects it to last for 6 months. We believe it could lead to a healthier long-term prosperity for a social app,” Chiang noted.Chiang sets a $25 price target here, indicating a possible 68% upside potential, to go along with his Buy rating. (To watch Chiang’s track record, click here)The analyst consensus here is a Moderate Buy, based on 8 reviews that include 3 Buys and 5 Holds. The stock’s average price target of $21.49 suggests a 45% upside from the current share price of $14.83. (See MOMO stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for beaten-down stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment. 15h ago Electric-car stocks sold off on news of a probe in China, while Nikola failed to assuage investors on a proposed GM partnership. 11h ago To flesh out Biden’s tax plan, the Tax Policy Center (TPC) analyzed the many separate things that have been said about how tax rules would change. 2d ago MarketWatch I’m 65, have $500,000 in cash, no ‘impressive’ work résumé and am terrified of investing — can I retire? Now the bad news: – Other than anticipated Social Security (approximately $1,300/month if I wait until full retirement age, $1,200/month if I retire at 65), I have no pension or other income streams. – I don’t have an impressive work résumé that could lead to lucrative employment in retirement. Is there some way I can make $500,000 in savings last, especially given the abysmally low interest rate environment? 1d ago 3 Stocks Top Analysts Say Will Soar in 2021 Sentiment is on the rise as the annus horribilis 2020 winds to an end. There’s a feeling, after all we have been through over the past ten months, that things just can not get worse. And so, investors are looking forward to 2021.Two big factors in market uncertainty are on their way to resolving themselves. First, COVID-19 vaccines are in the works, and two major drug companies have announced that vaccines will be available in a matter of months. And second, Democrat Joe Biden will take office in the White House, with a strengthened GOP opposition in Congress. The prospect of relief from the coronavirus and a divided government unable to enact extreme or controversial measures promises us a degree of stability that will be welcome.A feeling of optimism and a perception that there are opportunities available, have Wall Street’s analysts tagging stocks for success. We’ve pulled up the TipRanks data on three stocks that high-rated analysts have tagged as potentially strong investments. These are buy-rated equities, with double-digit upside potential for the coming year.LendingTree, Inc. (TREE)First up is LendingTree, the online marketplace that connects borrowers and lenders. The company offers borrowers options to shop for competitive rates, loan terms, and various financing products. Among the offerings, from multiple financing sources, are credit cards, deposit accounts, and insurance products. LendingTree is based in North Carolina, with offices in New York, Chicago, and Seattle.In the third quarter, the company showed mixed fiscal results. Revenues were up sequentially, gaining 19% to reach $220 million – but earnings were down, both sequentially and year-over-year. At minus $1.33, the EPS was net-negative, and far below the year-ago quarter’s $1.70.Covering this stock for Needham, 5-star analyst Mayank Tandon – rated 66 overall out of more than 7,100 stock pros – is upbeat despite the recent turndown after the Q3 results. Tandon noted, “[We] remain positive on the shares of TREE LT as we believe that the company is well-positioned to generate strong and consistent revenue… Consumer revenue dropped 68% Y/Y as the pandemic constrained consumer credit originations, but trends improved on a sequential basis due to better personal loan volumes and a seasonal boost from the student loan business…””TREE’s diversified portfolio of personal finance products and the strong secular trends driving the shift of personal finance advertising and shopping to digital channels will help the company achieve its LT growth targets,” the analyst concluded. To this end, Tandon rates TREE a Buy, and sets a $375 price target. At current levels, his target suggests a 44% upside for the stock in 2021. (To watch Tandon’s track record, click here)LendingTree has a unanimous Strong Buy analyst consensus rating, based on 6 Buy reviews set in recent week. The stock’s average price target, $362, implies it has room for 39% growth from the current share price of $260.09. (See TREE stock analysis on TipRanks)Allegro MicroSystems (ALGM)Allegro MicroSystems is a semiconductor company and fabless manufacturer of integrated circuits for sensor systems and analyst power technologies. The company’s products are used in the automotive and industrial sectors, and include solutions for developing electric vehicle control systems. Allegro’s circuit chips can also be found in data centers and green energy applications.Allegro is new to the stock markets, having held its IPO just this past October. The stock debuted at $14 per share, and the company put 25 million shares up for offer. In its first day of trading, it closed at more than $17 per share, grossing over $440 million for the IPO. Since then, ALGM has gained 35% in less than four weeks of trading.Vijay Rakesh, 5-star analyst with Mizuho, is clearly bullish on this newly public company.“We believe Allegro is leading the early stages of a multi-decade transformation in sensing, automotive electrification, and power distribution, with substantial upside from its industry leadership in magnetic sensors, a differentiated Power IC roadmap, and fabless operating model. Allegro’s xMR sensors and power ICs drive technology platform leadership and enable better performance, accuracy, and control for the growing EV market and Industry 4.0 – key for next-generation electrified automotive powertrains, data centers, and factory automation,” Rakesh wrote.Along with his upbeat comments, Rakesh gives this stock a Buy rating and a $28 price target. His target implies an upside potential of ~17% for the next 12 months. (To watch Rakesh’s track record, click here)Overall, this chip maker is a Wall Street favorite. Out of 6 analysts polled in the last 3 months, all 6 are bullish on ALGM. With a return potential of ~18%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $28.29. (See ALGM stock analysis on TipRanks)American Well (AMWL)American Well, also called AmWell, connects patients, health care providers, and insurers to promote quality care outcomes in a digital world. The company boasts over 55 major insurers and more than 62,000 providers incorporating its service into their networks, giving access to more than 80 million potential patients.AmWell is another newcomer to the markets. This past September, the company held its IPO and raised more than $742 million. Over 41.2 million shares were sold, with the initial price of $18. This compared well to the 35 million shares and $14 to $16 price expected prior to the event. In its first quarter trading as a public company, AmWell reported several gains in key metrics. Revenue was up year-over-year, rising 80% to reach $62.6 million. The active provider total – more than 62,000 – represents a 930% increase in the past year, and shows strong growth for the company. And the company registered over 1.4 million patient visits during the quarter, a 450% increase from the year-ago quarter.Piper Sandler’s 5-star analyst Sean Wieland notes the importance of network growth for AMWL, writing in his note on the stock: “62K providers are using the AMWL Network, up almost 10x from a year ago. The increase was driven primarily by providers employed by, or affiliated with, AMWL’s health systems and payor clients… As the number of providers on the network grows, so does the value of the network; network expansion makes it easier for patients to find the right provider and for providers to find the right patient.”Wieland rates AMWL an Overweight (i.e. Buy), and his $44 price target indicates his confidence in an upside of 78% for the next 12 months. (To watch Wieland’s track record, click here)All in all, AMWL’s Moderate Buy consensus rating is based on 8 reviews, including 5 Buys and 3 Holds. The shares are selling for $24.71 and their average price target, at $35.86, represents a 45% upside potential. (See AMWL stock analysis at TipRanks)To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment. 8h ago American and Canadian governments provide many of the same types of services for those in retirement, but the subtle differences between the two countries are worth noting. 10h ago 3 Dividend Aristocrats For Safe Dividends And High Total Returns By Bob Ciura with Sure Dividend.The U.S. stock market has come roaring back from the lows seen in March and April, but the broader economy remains on unstable footing. The potential for a double-dip recession could bring about another downturn in the stock market. For risk-averse investors, it may make sense to buy high-quality dividend stocks in this climate of uncertainty.For this reason, we recommend income investors looking for stability, consider the Dividend Aristocrats. This is an exclusive list of 65 stocks in the S&P 500 Index, that have raised their dividends for at least 25 consecutive years. Such a long track record of annual dividend increases proves a company’s ability to withstand recessions.The following three stocks are all on the list of Dividend Aristocrats. In addition, they have high dividend yields well above the S&P 500 average, as well as reasonable valuations that could provide investors with high total returns in the years ahead.Undervalued Dividend Aristocrat 1: AbbVieAbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) is a healthcare giant with a focus on pharmaceuticals. Its most important individual product is Humira, a multi-purpose pharmaceutical that was the top-selling drug in the world last year. AbbVie was spun off from Abbott Laboratories (ABT), its former parent company which is also a Dividend Aristocrat. AbbVie has performed very well over the course of 2020.In the third quarter, AbbVie’s revenue of $12.9 billion increased 52% year-over-year. Revenue was boosted by the Allergan acquisition, as well as growth from new products. AbbVie earned $2.83 per share during the third quarter, up 21% from the previous year’s quarter. The company also raised full-year guidance and now expects 2020 adjusted earnings-per-share in a range of $10.47 to $10.49, which would make for another year of growth.AbbVie also raised its dividend by 10% in late October. The stock has a high dividend yield of 5.3%, making it an attractive mix of yield and growth. AbbVie stock also appears to be undervalued, trading for a price-to-earnings ratio of 9.4, using the midpoint of full-year adjusted EPS guidance. This is a fairly low multiple for a highly profitable and growing business.AbbVie’s low valuation is likely due to uncertainty regarding its flagship product Humira, which is now facing biosimilar competition in Europe and will lose patent protection in the U.S. in 2023. But AbbVie has long prepared for this by investing in its own new products, and by the Allergan acquisition. For example, AbbVie has seen strong growth from Imbruvica, which saw a 9% increase in sales last quarter. AbbVie also completed the $63 billion acquisition of Allergan which makes a broad line of popular aesthetics products such as Botox.Our fair value estimate for AbbVie stock is a P/E of 10.5, compared with a forward P/E of 8.4. This means that if AbbVie’s valuation expanded from 8.4 to 10.5 over the next five years, total returns (including EPS growth and dividends) could exceed 10% per year.Undervalued Dividend Aristocrat 2: Walgreens Boots AllianceWalgreens Boots Alliance (NYSE: WBA) is a major pharmacy retailer with nearly 19,000 stores in 11 countries. Walgreens Boots Alliance generates nearly $140 billion in annual revenue. Walgreens has been under pressure on many fronts, not just the coronavirus pandemic but also from a longer-running downturn for physical retail.Internet-based retailers such as Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) and many others have gradually taken market share from physical stores, as consumers have gravitated toward online shopping for the convenience. This trend was already taking place heading into 2020, and the coronavirus has only accelerated the shift to online shopping. Still, Walgreens remains highly profitable and continues to grow sales.On October 15th, 2020 Walgreens reported Q4 and full-year 2020 results for the period ending August 31st, 2020. For the quarter, sales increased 2.3% to $34.7 billion. On a per-share basis, adjusted EPS decreased -28.2% to $1.02, reflecting an estimated adverse impact of -$0.46 from the COVID-19 pandemic.For the fiscal year, sales increased 2.0% to $139.5 billion. Adjusted earnings-per-share totaled $4.74, down 21% year-over-year but ahead of previous guidance of $4.65 to $4.70. This included an estimated -$1.06 adverse impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. The company anticipates a recovery in the upcoming year, with fiscal 2021 guidance that calls for low single-digit growth in adjusted EPS.Continuing to grow sales and earnings, albeit at a modest rate, would still allow Walgreens to increase its dividend each year, as it has done for 45 consecutive years. Shares yield 4.5% currently, and the stock appears to be undervalued. With a forward P/E ratio of 7.9 compared with our fair value estimate of 10, we believe Walgreens stock can provide total returns of 13%-14% per year over the next five years.Undervalued Dividend Aristocrat 3: AT&TAT&T Inc (NYSE: T) is a telecommunications giant with a large offering of services including wireless, broadband, and pay TV. AT&T also operates the satellite television business DirecTV. The company has invested heavily to restore growth in recent years, including the massive ~$85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, which owns multiple valuable media properties including HBO, CNN, and the Warner Bros. production company.These efforts have been slow to materialize, as the coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted AT&T to start 2020. Still, AT&T generates a high level of cash flow, which allows it to pay down debt and pay dividends to shareholders. In the 2020 third quarter, AT&T generated revenue of $42.3 billion, along with operating cash flow of $12.1 billion. The company recorded more than 5 million total domestic wireless net adds along with over 1 million postpaid net additions. AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner should pay off in the long run, as it provides AT&T with valuable diversification. Going forward, AT&T will be an owner of content in addition to a distributor, which is increasingly important in the era of streaming and cord-cutting. Another promising growth catalyst is 5G rollout. AT&T now provides access to 5G to parts of over 350 U.S. markets.AT&T still expects free cash flow of at least $26 billion for the full year. AT&T’s net debt-to-EBITDA ratio was ~2.66x at the end of the quarter, indicating a manageable level of debt. This is crucial for AT&T’s ability to pay its dividend, which is presumably the biggest reason to own the stock. AT&T currently yields 7.3%, an extremely high yield considering the S&P 500 average yield is under 2%. In an environment of low interest rates, AT&T is a highly appealing stock for value investors. Plus, AT&T has increased its dividend for over 30 years in a row.The stock is also significantly undervalued in our view, trading at a forward P/E ratio of 8.9 compared with our fair value estimate of 11. This means valuation expansion could boost future shareholder returns by approximately 4.6% per year over the next five years. Including the 7.3% dividend yield and 3% expected annual earnings-per-share growth, expected returns could reach nearly 15% over the next five years.See more from Benzinga * Click here for options trades from Benzinga * Analysts React To Gap’s Earnings Miss, 20% Fall: Near-Term Visibility Diminished * 50 Stocks Moving In Wednesday’s Mid-Day Session(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved. 13h ago Investor’s Business Daily The Nasdaq hit a high as growth led Wednesday. AMD and Shopify are among several stocks flashing buy signals. But a key gauge suggests investors are getting excessively bullish. 4h ago Bitcoin fell more than $1000 dollars, it’s sharpest decline in almost three weeks, as panic gripped the markets. 4h ago Bitcoin Plunges Along With Other Coins (Bloomberg) — Bitcoin and other digital currencies plunged Thursday, a slide likely to stoke speculation about the durability of the boom in cryptocurrencies.Bitcoin slumped as much as 8.7%, the most since early August, while digital coins like Ether also tumbled. The Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index at one point slid more than 6%.“Conditions are very massively overbought and bound for a correction,” said Vijay Ayyar, head of business development with crypto exchange Luno in Singapore. “So I don’t think it’s unusual frankly.”Even with the retreat, Bitcoin has more than doubled this year and until recently was knocking on the door of the record high of $19,511 set in 2017. Crypto believers tout purchases by retail investors, institutions and even billionaires, as well as the search for a hedge against dollar weakness amid the pandemic, as reasons why the boom can last.Skeptics argue the cryptocurrency’s famed volatility portends a repeat of what happened three years ago, when a bubble burst spectacularly. Some see signs of retail investors piling in to chase momentum for fast gains, storing up an inevitable reckoning.Bitcoin dipped 5.4% as of 3:07 p.m. in Tokyo to about $17,856, while Ether was more than 8% lower at about $528.Concern about the possibility of tighter U.S. crypto rules, as well as profit taking, help explain Thursday’s price drop across most major digital assets, said Ryan Rabaglia, global head of trading at OSL brokerage in Hong Kong.“It’s also not unusual to see a short-term pullback following periods of significant, accelerated gains as traders look to take profits before resetting once volatility subsides,” he said. “Once the dust settles, we’re back to business as usual with all medium to long-term bullish indicators still in play.”Proponents of digital assets say the current focus on cryptocurrencies compared with three years ago is different because of growing institutional interest, for instance from the likes of Fidelity Investments and JPMorgan Chase & Co.Just this week, Van Eck Associates Corp. launched a Bitcoin exchange-traded note on the Deutsche Boerse Xetra exchange. In October, PayPal Holdings Inc. said it would allow its customers access to cryptocurrencies.There is also a buzz around Ethereum, the most-actively used blockchain in the world, which is set for a network upgrade that would allow it to process a similar number of transactions as Mastercard Inc. and Visa Inc. The shift to the new system could curb the total supply of Ether, whose price has quadrupled so far this year.Luno’s Ayyar said he expects Bitcoin to stabilize and achieve all-time highs. But that would be followed by a larger drop in the cryptocurrency, he said.(Updates with brokerage comment from the seventh paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P. 2h ago Timothy Vogus, a professor at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, reveals the ‘biggest thing people do wrong’ when walking into a showroom. 1d ago The company has said it will adjust its dividend downward next year, by the amount of the dividend investors will get from their new holdings of Viatris. 10h ago MarketWatch Jeremy Grantham, co-founder and chief investment strategist at Boston-based money manager Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co., has seen his fund badly trail the broader stock market in 2020. 15h ago JPMorgan analyst ‘skeptical’ that Nikola’s Badger pick-up truck initiative with GM will proceed Nikola (NKLA) shares on Wednesday sank as much as 16%, as several EV startups slumped from their recent rally, and JPMorgan analyst Paul Coster weighed in on the uncertainty surrounding Nikola and General Motors (GM) partnership which has yet to close next month. 12h ago Billionaire Steven Cohen Pulls the Trigger on These 2 Penny Stocks Which stocks are either a fan favorite or a must-avoid? Penny stocks. These tickers going for less than $5 apiece are particularly divisive on Wall Street, with those in favor as well as the naysayers laying out strong arguments.These names are too appealing for the risk-tolerant investor to ignore. Given the low prices, you get more for your money. On top of this, even minor share price appreciation can translate to massive percentage gains, and thus, major returns for investors.However, there is a but here. The critics point out that there could be a reason for the bargain price tag, whether it be poor fundamentals or overpowering headwinds.So, how are investors supposed to determine which penny stocks are poised to make it big? Following the activity of the investing titans is one strategy.Enter billionaire Steven Cohen. The legendary stock picker, who began his investing career at Gruntal & Co. where he managed proprietary capital for 14 years, founded S.A.C Capital Advisors in 1992. In 2014, his investment operations were converted to Point72 Asset Management, a 1,500-plus person registered investment advising firm. Throughout his career, Cohen has consistently delivered huge returns to clients, giving the Point72 Chairman, CEO and President guru-like status on the Street.Turning to Cohen for inspiration, we took a closer look at three penny stocks Cohen’s Point72 made moves on recently. Using TipRanks’ database to find out what the analyst community has to say, we learned that each ticker boasts Buy ratings and massive upside potential.Cocrystal Pharma (COCP)Working to bring targeted solutions to market, Cocrystal Pharma develops antiviral therapeutics for the treatment of serious or chronic viral diseases including influenza, hepatitis C, gastroenteritis caused by norovirus, as well as COVID-19. Based on the progress of its pipeline and $0.84 share price, some see significant gains in COCP’s future.Cohen is among those that have high hopes for this healthcare name. Pulling the trigger on COCP for the first time, Point72 purchased more than 2.8 million shares. The value of the firm’s new holding comes in at over $2.5 million.Meanwhile, 5-star analyst Raghuram Selvaraju, of H.C. Wainwright, tells clients to focus on COCP’s achievements over the last few months. In August, preclinical animal studies of coronavirus antiviral compounds, which constituted possible development candidates for the company, were published in the medical journal, Science Translational Medicine.It should be noted that as per license agreements with Kansas State University Research Foundation (KSURF), COCP has an exclusive, royalty-bearing right and license to certain antiviral compounds for humans and small molecule inhibitors against coronaviruses, picornaviruses and caliciviruses covered by patent rights controlled by KSURF. According to Selvaraju, the company wants to continue developing these compounds as treatments for coronavirus-related infections.On top of this, last month, Cocrystal released promising in vitro and seven-day toxicity data for its influenza A preclinical lead molecule, CC-42344, which is being evaluated in (IND)-enabling studies as a possible treatment for seasonal and pandemic influenza strain A. Management expects to wrap up the IND-enabling studies and the candidate to enter clinical trials in 2021.Looking more closely at CC-42344, Selvaraju points out that it is a “potent, broad spectrum inhibitor of the influenza replication enzyme targeting the PB2 subunit, and has strong synergistic effects when combined with approved influenza antiviral drugs including Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Xofluza (baloxavir).” He argues that as recent data demonstrates the drug retained single-digit nanomolar potency against baloxavir-resistant influenza A strain, it could “facilitate demonstration of CC-42344’s superiority when seeking FDA approval.”To this end, Selvaraju rates COCP a Buy along with a $4.50 price target. Should this target be met, a 417% upside potential could be in store. (To watch Selvaraju’s track record, click here)Overall, 2 Buys and no Holds or Sells have been assigned in the last three months. Therefore, the analyst consensus is a Moderate Buy. At $4.75, the average price target puts the upside potential at 452%. (See COCP stock analysis on TipRanks)DiaMedica Therapeutics (DMAC)Using its patented and licensed technologies, DiaMedica Therapeutics develops novel recombinant proteins to treat kidney and neurological diseases. Currently going for $4.3 apiece, this name has scored significant praise recently.Also reflecting a new position for Cohen’s firm, Point72 bought up 800,000 shares in the third quarter, with the value of the holding landing at $3.4 million.Writing for Guggenheim, 5-star analyst Etzer Darout points out that company’s lead drug, DM199, a synthetic Kallikrein-1 (KLK1) replacement therapy designed for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and acute ischemic stroke (AIS), is a key component of his bullish thesis. According to the analyst, early clinical data on DM199 in U.S. patients as well as porcine and human urinary-derived KLK1 in Asia serve as “clinical evidence of the role of KLK1 therapy and the potential for DM199 as a potentially differentiated therapy in CKD and stroke.”Going forward, the analyst believes the next clinical milestone for the therapy is proof-of-concept data in three CKD populations: patients with Immunoglobulin A Nephropathy (IgAN), hypertensive African Americans with APOL1 gene mutations (APOL1 HT AAs) and patients with diabetic kidney disease (DKD). That said, the main value driver is IgAN, in Darout’s opinion.“Competitor programs advancing in IgAN have demonstrated improvements in proteinuria with stable eGFR, two key markers of kidney function. However, early clinical experience suggests that DM199 has the potential to improve both eGFR and proteinuria which would be a significant upside case to our assumptions. If DM199 can demonstrate a ~25%-plus decrease in proteinuria and increase in eGFR (which early data suggests is achievable), it would increase our confidence that DM199 could become the standard of care across CKD indications beyond what we currently model,” Darout explained.Looking at the market opportunity, there are roughly 690,000 strokes in the U.S. per year (1.1 million strokes in the EU), of which, 87% are deemed ischemic strokes, says the American Heart Association (AHA). Additionally, in the U.S., 90% of acute ischemic stroke patients receive palliative care.Based on Darout’s estimates, if half of patients on palliative care are treated with DM199, AIS could be a $3-$5 billion opportunity for DMAC in the U.S.It should come as no surprise, then, that Darout stayed with the bulls. In addition to a Buy rating, he left a $16 price target on the stock. Investors could be pocketing a gain of 277%, should this target be met in the twelve months ahead. (To watch Darout’s track record, click here)What do other analysts have to say? 2 Buys and no Holds or Sells add up to a Moderate Buy analyst consensus. Given the $15 average price target, shares could soar 253% in the next year. (See DMAC stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for penny stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment. 2d ago