Archives June 2020

Property firm Capco buys Hong Kong tycoon’s stake in London rival Shaftesbury By Reuters


© Reuters.

By Samantha Machado

(Reuters) – Capital & Counties Properties (L:) has agreed to buy a 26.3% stake in London rival Shaftesbury (L:) from Hong Kong tycoon Samuel Tak Lee’s for 436 million pounds ($540.7 million), the real estate manager said on Monday.

Both Capco and Shaftesbury own large parts of the real estate in London’s West End central area. Capco is acquiring the stake from Veloqx, a trust fund set up by Tak Lee, for 540 pence per share, a discount of 13.9% to Shaftesbury’s closing share price on Friday.

Major British property deals have all but come to a standstill as the coronavirus outbreak has led to retailers and other business halting rental payments, and cast doubt on both current and future valuations of buildings and portfolios.

Capco shares rose 2.8% to 168 pence in early trade, while Shaftesbury, which rose as much as 3% on Friday, fell 0.5% after the deal was announced.

Capco said the deal, which is expected to be completed in two tranches, would be fully funded through its shopping and entertainment estate Covent Garden’s revolving credit facility of 705 million pounds.

“We consider the acquisition a shrewd move, utilising a strong balance sheet to capitalise on an attractive valuation,” Liberum analysts said in a note.

In order to deploy cash towards the deal, Capco will not complete the share buy-back of 100 million pounds to shareholders, the FTSE-250 listed company said.

Rothschild & Co was the lead financial adviser and sponsor for Capco on the deal.

Separately, Shaftesbury said Tak Lee has withdrawn all legal proceedings against it over allegations and claims related to a 2017 share placement conducted by the company.

($1 = 0.8063 pounds)

 

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





Original source link

The 10 best cars for new college grads


Students graduating from college in 2020 are entering the next stage of their lives at a very strange time. The coronavirus pandemic has rocked our way of life in a way that nobody could’ve predicted. Still, college grads have a lot to look forward to. Their careers will span many years, and we can say with some confidence that a pandemic won’t be happening during the most of those years.

Besides, no matter what the economy is doing, many college grads need a car. Shopping for the best cars while practicing social distancing is easier than you might think, especially with Autotrader’s Accelerate program. With Accelerate, you can apply for financing, determine the value of your trade-in and schedule a test drive from the comfort and safety of your home.

We have a few suggestions for new and used cars and SUVs for recent college graduates. These rides offer stylish looks, high-tech features, excellent fuel economy or some combination thereof. One thing they all have in common is affordable pricing.

Here are the 10 best cars for recent college graduates in 2020.

2011-2015 Chevrolet Volt

The first-generation Chevrolet Volt was a groundbreaking plug-in hybrid. A common complaint about it when it was new was its price, but depreciation has brought the Volt down to a price range that’s affordable for most recent college graduates. The Volt has an all-electric range of up to 38 miles, which is still pretty impressive today, meaning that if you have a place to plug in every day, you can do a lot of your driving around town without burning any gas at all. A Volt can be found for less than $10,000, making it a strong value in used PHEVs.

Also see: These 3 EVs are the lowest cost to own over 5 years

2012-2017 Fiat 500

As long as you don’t need a lot of back-seat passenger space, a used Fiat 500 can be a great little city car for college grads with an eye for style. This Fiat is a breeze to drive and park on urban roads thanks to its small footprint. The base engine doesn’t have much punch, but the available turbocharged engine gives the 500 some more guts while still being good on gas. For some fun in the sun, you can get a Cabrio convertible model with a roof that folds down. There’s even an all-electric 500e, but those can be hard to find depending on where you live. You can get a lot of style for your money, as used Fiat 500s often carry prices under $10,000. 

2015-2017 Ford Mustang

Few cars have a better smiles-per-gallon factor than the Ford
F,
-2.39%

Mustang, and early examples of the current generation of the iconic pony car can be found for less than $20,000. The V8-powered GT models are a riot, but the more affordable EcoBoost Mustangs strike a fantastic balance of performance and efficiency by making 300 horsepower and achieving more than 30 miles per gallon on the highway. Coupe or convertible, automatic or manual — no matter what configuration you go with, the Mustang is just plain cool. 

2016-2018 Honda Civic

The Honda Civic always comes up in conversations about practical, affordable compact cars, and with good reason. It’s a segment leader thanks to its safety, its reliability, its efficiency and its surprising level of refinement for the price. A used current-generation Honda
HMC,
-3.01%

Civic can be found pretty easily for less than $20,000, and it’s one of the best values in compact cars. College grads simply can’t go wrong going with a used Honda Civic to drive them into the next stage of life. 

Also read: The pros and cons of buying a certified used car

2018-2019 Hyundai Kona

The Hyundai Kona


Hyundai

The Hyundai
HYMTF,
-0.94%

Kona is a cute subcompact crossover with head-turning style and an equally attractive price tag. The Kona came out in 2018, but they’re already easy to find under the $20,000 mark. Tech-savvy college grads will appreciate the excellent UVO infotainment system, which comes standard with Android Auto, Apple
AAPL,
-0.09%

CarPlay and a USB port. It’s upgradable to a bigger 8-in unit that has even more features. The Kona is also available as a fully electric vehicle. While we think a nice pre-owned example will be the best value, the car is largely unchanged for 2020. If a new car is in your budget, the Kona works both ways. Nimble handling, a peppy available turbocharged engine and an eye-catching palette of available paint colors are just a few more things to love about the Kona. 

2012-2017 Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler has a well-deserved reputation as an off-road icon. Surveys have shown that it’s one of the top dream cars in America, and it’s more within reach than you might think. The current JL generation of the Wrangler is still a little pricey on the used market, but there are many used JK-generation Wranglers out there for under $20,000. The Wrangler finally got standard 4-wheel drive in 2012, which makes that a good model year to start your search. The Wrangler has unmatched off-road capabilities for your adventurous side, and it can also serve as a practical daily driver, especially the 4-door Wrangler Unlimited. 

2021 Kia Seltos

The Kia Seltos


Kia

The Kia Seltos is an all-new subcompact crossover that manages to be both cute and rugged. It has an affordable starting MSRP of $21,990, and even the higher-end trims with the optional turbocharged engine stay under the $30,000 mark. The Seltos has a bigger interior than you might expect for such a small SUV and a level of interior quality that might surprise you at this price point. One of our favorite things about the Seltos is that all-wheel drive is standard on almost every trim, giving you confidence-inspiring traction when the roads get slick. 

2020 Nissan Sentra

The Nissan
NSANY,
-5.42%

Sentra is all-new for 2020, and it’s a massive improvement over its aging predecessor. It gets a sharp new design inside and out that looks muscular on the outside and upscale on the inside. The Sentra offers a strong value with an affordable starting MSRP of $19,090 and generous standard technology that includes the Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of driver assistance tech, which includes automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and more. Even if you go up to the top SR trim of the Sentra’s range and add the optional Premium Package, pricing remains affordable in the mid-$20,000 range. 

See:5 important facts about car insurance no one ever tells you

2010-2015 Toyota Prius

We know it isn’t the most stylish car on the list, but a used Toyota
TM,
-1.83%

Prius is one of the best financial decisions a college grad can make. If you have student loan debt that you want to aggressively pay off, a used third-generation Prius can help you do that. A used third-gen Prius can easily be bought for less than $10,000, and you won’t be making a lot of trips to the gas station, as this car has a combined fuel economy rating of 50 mpg. But it’s not just the fuel economy that makes the Prius a practical choice. It’s also surprisingly roomy for a compact hatchback, and it has the stellar safety and reliability ratings you’d expect from a Toyota. 

Also on MarketWatch:8 affordable new cars that get at least 40 mpg

2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback

The Toyota Yaris


Toyota

The subcompact Toyota Yaris gets a hatchback variant for 2020, and it’s an affordable, practical car that would be a great choice as a new car for a college grad. It starts at just $17,750 and it only has two trim levels, making it an easy car to shop for. Upgrading to the XLE trim for an extra $1,000 nets you automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, automatic climate control, leatherette-trimmed seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio, cruise and phone controls. The Yaris hatchback delivers great fuel economy, agile handling and a solid predicted reliability rating.

Also see: 8 affordable new cars priced well below $20k



Original source link

Ford: Positioned To Benefit From Behavioral Shifts (NYSE:F)


Ford (F) was forced to enter survival mode amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With manufacturing facilities and dealerships being forced to shut down, management suspended Ford’s dividend, drew down on its existing lines of credit, cut the salaries of employees, including its top executives by 50% for at least five months, and raised $8 billion from the corporate debt market by offering bonds with interest rates ranging from 8.5% to 9.625%, which actually saw $40 billion worth of demand from investors. It is clear that management acted prudently to preserve cash and pivot operations to survive for the long term.

Recent Developments

According to the most recent data, the U.S. has passed the peak of new COVID cases and the economy has begun to slowly open back up. Stay at home orders are being lifted and all 50 states have begun to reopen in some way, but there are substantial variations in how states are reopening. It appears the worst is in the rear view mirror for Ford (no pun intended).

Source: NY Times

Re-Opening Plants

Ford has opened back up its U.S. assembly plants and only had a couple of hiccups so far. Ford has taken a number of precautions at these plants, including screening employees’ temperatures, but had to temporarily shut down two separate factories because employees tested positive for COVID-19. Thankfully for the workers and Ford, the stoppages were only brief and the plants were able to re-open quickly after people known to have been in close contact with the infected individuals were notified and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days and the plant underwent a deep clean. These protocols show that Ford may have some temporary shutdowns, but long term, it appears these plants will be able to pump out new vehicles.

Disinfecting Vehicles

During the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone’s worlds have been turned upside down and many usually simple tasks have been much more complicated. For example, people can no longer just carelessly order an Uber for fear that a prior passenger or driver could be a carrier for COVID-19. The police are not immune from this fear as well from criminals. This week, it was widely reported that Ford was able to develop a software update that can raise the interior temperature of police cruises to 133 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, which they’ve confirmed is sufficient to kill the virus.

Ford Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid AWD Saves Gas - Specs ...

Source: Caranddriver.com

Ford is working on developing software updates on the rest of Ford’s vehicles in the New York police fleet, which is a promising sign for Ford’s brand and for future sales. If Ford is able to bring this technology to all of its other vehicles, this could be a boon for its vehicle sales because those who would like to earn more money by driving for ride sharing would be more inclined to purchase these vehicles and police forces could also prefer these vehicles over other alternatives.

Behavioral Changes and CDC Recommendations

In my last article on Ford, on April 15th, I postulated that many city dwellers would begin an exodus to the suburbs and that public transit use (including ride sharing) would see a large decline. Recent polls have shown that about 40% of those living in cities have been considering fleeing the city and moving to the suburbs. With more companies adopting work from home on a permanent basis, I believe this will be an increasingly more realistic option.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

As of the last census data collected, from 2010, over 80% of the U.S. population lived in urban areas. If this polling proves out and individuals begin to move away from cities, this would be a boon for car sales as these new suburbanites would need to purchase cars. Moreover, as we enter the first phase of re-opening, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has issued guidance for businesses to discourage public transit and encouraged them to coax their workers to drive and cover parking expenses. With these recommendations, even workers that continue to commute into, and live in, cities will purchase vehicles to avoid potentially being exposed to COVID-19.

F-150 Sales

Ford debuted its F-150 in 2015 and its F-Series remains the best-selling pickup and vehicle in the U.S. Ford just announced that it will debut its new generation of F-150 cars on June 25th, which will be Ford’s first redesign of its F-150 series since 2015.

Source: Motortrend.com

Importantly, this launch will include a plug-in gasoline hybrid powertrain. In addition to providing better fuel efficiency, this truck will be helpful for construction workers, as it will provide more utility since it will be capable of delivering electricity to saws, drink coolers and other tools. With urbanites seemingly likely to flock to the suburbs, it appears likely that construction of new homes will pick up and this could further bolster demand for Ford’s newly refreshed F-150.

Conclusion

Ford’s stock was decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic and was already trading down from recent years amid its struggles in China. Last month Ford hit a 52-week low of $3.96 per share and has traded a bit up since then, trading currently at $5.71 per share.

Chart

Data by YCharts

Despite coming off a bit from its 52-week low, I believe Ford remains a great value. Ford’s net income last year was only a mere $47 million, so Ford does not look great on a price to earnings basis. However, as I previously noted, Ford’s net income was reduced because of $6 billion in one-time charges, including $3.2 billion of global redesign charges (which included prudently pivoting towards producing more profitable vehicles such as the F-150) and $2.5 billion of pension and OPEB remeasurement losses.

As such, I believe a more accurate measurement of Ford’s current value is to look at its historical price to sales ratio. As you can see from the chart below, Ford is trading at a near all-time low on this ratio.

Chart

Data by YCharts

Ford’s management took many prudent actions to preserve cash and keep Ford positioned to thrive in the post-COVID world. With economies beginning to re-open, I believe Ford will see a boom in sales due to behavioral shifts, including a mass exodus to the suburbs. At this price level, I believe Ford represents an asymmetric risk/reward investing opportunity.

This article was originally published on my exclusive marketplace service, Invest with a Stacked Deck.

Disclosure: I am/we are long F. 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.





Original source link

European shares rise in relief over Trump’s China response By Reuters


© Reuters. The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

(Reuters) – European shares edged closer to a three-month high on Monday on hopes of a post-coronavirus global recovery, with investors relieved that the U.S. response to China’s national security law on Hong Kong was not as bad as feared.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index () rose 1% by 0723 GMT and hovered near its strongest level since March 9, led by gains in banks (), miners () and travel & leisure stocks ().

U.S. President Donald Trump began the process of ending special treatment for Hong Kong to punish China on Friday, but did not mention actions that could undermine the Phase One trade deal.

Meanwhile, business activity surveys showed China’s factory activity grew at a slower pace in May but momentum in the services and construction sectors quickened as businesses emerged from shutdowns.

Euro zone manufacturing PMI numbers are due later in the day.

Among individual stocks, Italy’s Mediobanca (MI:) jumped 10% after billionaire Leonardo Del Vecchio confirmed he had asked for green light from the European Central Bank to increase his stake in the company.

UK fashion brand Ted Baker (L:) fell 6.7% as it rolled out plans to raise 95 million pounds ($117.84 million) through a stock issue to help it ride out the challenges posed by the coronavirus.

Markets in Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Norway are closed for Whit Monday holidays.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





Original source link

Preparing Chinese Holdings For Potential U.S. Action


By John Lin and Stuart Rae

Tensions between the US and China are flaring up again, but tariffs probably aren’t on the table this time. With pressure mounting on Chinese stocks listed in the US, including those widely held in emerging-market portfolios, investors need to consider how to prepare for the mounting risks.

Four months after the phase-one trade deal raised hopes of a US-China de-escalation, the pandemic has fueled fresh sparring between the superpowers. The US is pressing the World Health Organization to investigate China’s handling of the global outbreak. More measures are preventing US technological exports to China. Supply chains through China are being shaken up by unresolved political issues and corporate reconfigurations amid the global shutdowns.

These developments aren’t surprising. While both sides took a step back from the trade war, the US-China relationship may well be thorny for years to come. Investors should focus on the potential implications for their investment portfolios.

US Targets Chinese Companies

In late April, Chinese stocks began to make headlines in the US. The US Securities and Exchange Commission published a statement warning that Chinese companies could not be relied upon to provide transparent reports. Investors who are harmed by disclosure failures would have “substantially less access to recourse, in comparison to US domestic companies,” the SEC said.

Less than a month later, the US federal government retirement fund stopped plans to invest in Chinese companies. And on May 20, the Senate passed a bill that would bar foreign companies from US exchanges if they cannot prove that they aren’t controlled by a foreign government and if they do not allow greater US oversight of company financials. While this would only apply if the company isn’t compliant for three years, it could clearly lead to large Chinese companies being delisted from American exchanges. The China Securities Regulatory Commission said on May 24 that Chinese and US regulators have made “continuous efforts” to “enhance audit oversight cooperation” and that the Senate act would hurt both US and Chinese interests if enacted.

Some equity investors with Chinese holdings are concerned. Chinese stocks have become a growing component of international investment portfolios in recent years. MSCI has increased the weights of Chinese onshore stocks in its global and emerging-market indices. MSCI indices have 226 Chinese American depositary receipt (ADR) companies listed with a combined market cap of $966 billion. Shares of major companies that have become global household names, including Alibaba Group and NetEase, suddenly looked vulnerable to forces beyond their control.

Are Chinese Companies Less Transparent?

So are Chinese stocks really less transparent? The recent accounting scandal at Luckin Coffee (NASDAQ:LK), China’s largest coffee shop chain, has certainly put the spotlight on corporate China’s financial transparency. That’s why active investors must always properly research Chinese candidates to make sure that the most attractive businesses comply with rigorous accounting practices. In fact, we believe that China’s listing requirements are more stringent than widely perceived and some companies seek US listings to avoid tighter scrutiny at home.

Conflicting regulatory frameworks are also a source of discord. For example, three Chinese banks were held in contempt by a US court for failing to disclose information and violating North Korean sanctions in June 2019. Under US anti-terror law, these companies were obliged to disclose client information related to suspicious accounts. However, doing so would breach Chinese rules. Although there is currently no mechanism for resolving this type of technical regulatory conflict, recent reports suggest that US and Chinese officials are discussing potential solutions.

What about the withdrawal of federal pension investments from Chinese equities? We don’t think this is a material issue for Chinese stocks or investors because there is no significant investment in these stocks from federal pension investments. That said, the message aims to deter US investors from putting money in Chinese stocks.

How to Prepare for Potential Delisting

Delisting Chinese ADRs from US exchanges is a possibility. Even though it could dissuade companies in other countries from issuing shares in the US, the US political momentum to take action against Chinese companies is growing. So investors shouldn’t rule out the possibility of measures that could disrupt the normal trading of Chinese ADRs.

Investors can prepare for such a scenario without forfeiting exposure to Chinese shares. Today, more Chinese companies with ADRs are seeking dual listings in Hong Kong, and the Hang Seng Index is taking steps to make it easier for them to do so. The Chinese government is also encouraging companies to consider dual listings.

As Chinese ADRs establish their secondary listings in Hong Kong, one way investors can prepare is to swap US-listed Chinese holdings to Hong Kong shares. While this does incur switching costs, we think it can help avoid disruptions in Chinese equity exposure if Chinese shares in the US become illiquid.

Looking Beyond Political Tension

While the coronavirus crisis will likely fuel US-China friction in the months to come, we think equity investors shouldn’t let these tensions overshadow investment opportunities in China, where the economy is recovering and earnings have remained relatively resilient.

Of course, any company-in China and elsewhere-should be scrutinized for financial transparency. And investors cannot let their guard down about the potential political risks. For investors who want to capture the potential of China’s economic recovery and vibrant corporate sector, holdings of domestic Chinese A-shares can provide access to attractively valued stocks that are less exposed to unpredictable regulatory risk and international tensions.

The views expressed herein do not constitute research, investment advice or trade recommendations and do not necessarily represent the views of all AB portfolio-management teams.

Original post

Editor’s Note: The summary bullets for this article were chosen by Seeking Alpha editors.





Original source link