Stocks & Equities

Inovio Plunges On Interim Phase 1 Coronavirus Data; DNA Vaccine Shows 94% Response Rate

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc shares were moving to the downside Tuesday after the vaccine maker released interim Phase 1 data for the study that is evaluating its DNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Inovio’s Interim Phase 1 Efficacy, Safety Readouts: Announcing results from the first two cohorts of the Phase 1 trial, the Plymouth, Pennsylvania-based biotech said multiple immunology assays showed that 94% of participants demonstrated overall immunological response rates.

The readout includes humoral and cellular immune responses conducted for the 1 mg and 2 mg dose cohorts after two doses at week six…CLICK for complete article

83 Tons Of Fake Gold Bars: Gold Market Rocked By Massive China Counterfeiting Scandal

 

Over the years, we have periodically reported of the occasional gold bar discovered as counterfeit in Manhattan’s Diamond District which instead of containing the yellow precious metal would be filled with gold-plated tungsten or in some cases copper. The news would spark a brief wave of outrage, prompting physical gold holders to run ultrasound spot checks of their inventory, at which point interest would wane and why not: buyer, after all, beware in gold as in every other market, and if someone is spending thousands to buy fake gold, well that’s Darwinism in action.

Yet one market which seemed stubbornly immune to any counterfeiting was that of physical gold in China, which was odd considering that over the past decade China had emerged as the world’s biggest counterfeiter of various, mostly industrial metals used to secure bank loans, better known as “ghost collateral“, and which adding insult to injury, would frequently  be rehypothecated meaning often several banks would have claims to the same (fake) asset.

All that is about to change with the discovery of what may be one of the biggest gold counterfeiting scandal in recent history. And yes, not only does it involve China, but it emerges from a city that has become synonymous for all that is scandalous about China: Wuhan itself.

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The Federal Reserve disclosed Sunday afternoon the amounts and the company names of the corporate bonds that it started buying for the first time ever in the week ended Friday, June 19. They’re not even rounding errors on the Fed’s balance sheet. The purchases of individual corporate bonds amounted to $428 million (with an M). By comparison, in the week ended April 1, when the Fed was doing a lot of heavy breathing, it bought $362 billion (with a B) of Treasury securities.

In addition, the Fed said in the disclosure that it held a total of $6.8 billion in bond ETFs as of June 19, up from $1.5 billion a month ago.

These bond ETFs and individual corporate bonds combined account for 1/10th of 1% of the Fed’s $7.1 trillion in total assets.

The Fed buys these corporate bonds and bond ETFs in its Special Purpose Vehicle that it calls Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF). Like the Fed’s other alphabet-soup bailout SPVs, the SMCCF is an LLC entity…CLICK for complete article

E-Commerce Explodes As Boomers Go Digital

Things like test-driving, touching the fruit before you buy it, or even trying on clothes prior to purchase won’t be so important from here on out, thanks to a lockdown that has seen millions of Americans forced to work and stay at home to halt the advance of COVID-19 (rather unsuccessfully, it would seem).  During this time of lockdown, however, everyone–not just the younger generations–have used their spare time to hone online shopping skills.

That’s led to a wild uptick in ecommerce.

Amazon is still a leader in it, Walmart and Target are also catching up in online sales. But even the auto industry has now embraced digital platforms and ecommerce. It turns out, all it took to get people to buy cars sight unseen was a guarantee that they can return it (contactless) within a certain number of days, no strings attached.

New data from eMarketer estimates that more than 204 million people ages 14 and older will make an online purchase in 2020.

But the real disruptor for traditional retail is this bit of data: Two-thirds of those online shoppers will be 45 and older–an age group that hasn’t until now really taken to the idea that much.

The updated forecast, which factors in the pandemic’s effects, anticipates a 5.8% increase in the number of digital buyers 45 and older, up from 3.2%. This equates to nearly 5 million new users…CLICK for complete article

Heads up, investors: Wednesday’s selloff in the stock market may be the start of something bigger, for the five key reasons I cite below.

The good news is we’re not going to see a full retest of the March lows or anywhere near that kind of decline, thanks to several positive factors in the mix (also below).

The upshot: It’ll make sense to buy stocks after potential 5%-10% declines in the S&P 500 US:SPX, Dow Jones Industrial Average US:DJIA and Nasdaq US:COMP.

Here are some tactical suggestions. Read More

A volatile week for stocks

 

US index futures swung in an illiquid overnight session in which Bloomberg’s Richard Breslow said “volumes have been utterly abysmal”, concluding a volatile week for stocks, this time ignoring the resurgence in new virus infections across the country that sent them lower earlier in the week. European shares gained on low volumes, 10Y yields dropped by 1.5bps, while the dollar was unchanged.

And speaking of Breslow, he summarizes the overnight moves perfectly:

You know it’s going to be a tough day when the answer to the question of “why thus-and-so has done what it has, such as it has,” is simply, “because.” Ask for more color than that and you get a blank stare. Or, that the S&P 500 was up yesterday, so it’s sagging this morning.