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The Evolutionary Perspective
Daily Archives: February 24, 2020
Posted: February 24, 2020 at 5:44 am
In ways big and small, the coronavirus battering China and triggering fears of a global pandemic shares key hallmarks with the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) of 2002-03 even as the current outbreaks effects have become deadlier and farther-reaching.
China remains the epicenter of the disease, which has caused over 77,000 infections and more than 2,300 deaths, but has now spread to more countries and generated fears about global growth. Over the last few days, both South Korea and Italy reported large surges in the number of cases within their respective borders, while the death toll outside of China has risen.
According to Bill Frist, a physician and former majority leader of the U.S. Senate, the governments this time around has been more responsive. Also, rapid changes in technology have helped with the flow of information, and helped to identify and contain the disease.
As we see Chinas response now, reflecting on the pastin some ways there has been real progress, the Tennessee Republican, who traveled with a delegation to China during the SARS epidemic, told Yahoo Finance in a recent interview.
Yet an over-centralized Chinese government, combined with a lack of transparency, has been a point of criticism especially in health care, even with some notable improvements. And in both crises, a whistleblower doctor played a key role in forcing Beijings hand.
Nobody would budge [in 2002], until they heard from above, which is the same criticism we are hearing today, Frist added.
Back then it was all playing catch up, he said, recalling the confusion and chaos during SARS that led to higher infection rates.
There was simply a lack of knowledge of how to care for patients, there was a lack of protective clothing. Hospital administrators had never addressed anything like this in China, and therefore the real lethality of it was in the hospitals, Frist said.
The current list of countries impacted by COVID-19.
Although the worldwide impact of SARS was very limited, Chinas share of global growth was smaller in the early 2000s than it is currently. In 2020, the country is a bigger source of demand, and is integral to companies efforts to manufacture and supply goods to customers around the world.
What that means is aftershocks from the worlds second largest economy which has been mostly quarantined in ways forcing many multinational companies to curtail or shut down operations on the mainland have a much larger ripple effect.
The complexity of supply chains now versus 2003 is massive, Kim Tilley, a portfolio manager at Lazard Asset Management, told Yahoo Finance.
Which is evident in how volatile markets have become in the face of the outbreak. Its a reflection of how integral China and the Asia Pacific region are to global growth prospects, with major companies like Apple (AAPL) and Walmart (WMT) all warning about the potential hit to growth.
The developing [coronavirus] global health emergency is a new uncertainty and is causing an immediate, substantial decline in economic activity in China and across Asia, according to a letter from Lazard Asset Management last week.
Growth should continue in diversified economies where the number of cases is minimal, although the multinational businesses domiciled therein would still be exposed to impacts on their local operations and third party suppliers in affected countries, the firm wrote.
Chinas importance as a destination for global products has also greatly increased over this timeframe. Economies in Europe and Japan, which have been struggling to recover their potential since the (financial crisis), could be more vulnerable to economic disruption than the U.S. as a result, it added.
Brian Alster, general manager of Third Party Risk & Compliance at Dun & Bradstreet, said the impact to Chinas gross domestic product (GDP) could shave as much as 2-3 percentage points off their growth.
What that is going to lead to, is the smallest growth in GDP for China since 1991 [but] conversely, its going to have a relatively small impact on global GDP and U.S. growth, he said.
However, the virus is piling pressure on an already tense relationship between the U.S. and China, which sparked a change in how some companies viewed their supply chains. It has triggered what some analysts say is a decoupling between the worlds two largest economies, as companies look elsewhere to fill supply and demand needs.
MODERNIZATION AND RESPONSE
Meanwhile, China has become one of the worlds largest producers and exporters of pharmaceutical ingredients, which means travel restrictions and production stoppages may impact generic drugs.
Brad Loncar, a biotech investor with a Chinese ETF, told Yahoo Finance that one outcome of the outbreak could be a significant shift in how China views its own health sector.
This entire thing has been a test of the capability of the government. Its a very touchy subject, Loncar said.
The government is trying to prove that its capable of handling an emergency like this by itself. There has been some justified anger by the people there in the way it has been handled. The way government will respond is to have better facilities and plans going forward, thats why (health) will benefit a lot.
Yet according to Loncar, the crisis may shift the role China plays in the global economy from a cheap source of labor and parts, to a bigger player in the health sector. Beijing had already been modernizing its health care efforts, and the coronavirus may accelerate the process, the investor said.
The past decade for investing in China has all been about investing in consumer companies, Loncar added. Thats going to change as consumer companies are most likely to see lasting effects from this.
Anjalee Khemlani is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter:@AnjKhem
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Posted: at 5:44 am
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind- Indianapolis is getting ready to welcome thousands of basketball fans for the NBA All-Star game next season, but apparently some people want that to change.
"Chicago was cold, but Chicago is one of the best cities in the nation, we get that," Lajethro Jenkins said in a video tweeted out by Yahoo Sports NBA on Thursday. "But Indianapolis... why?!"
If you plan to post a video bashing a major US city... prepare for the backlash. Jenkins was about to receive his fair share.
What?! This is the Hoosier state man, we bleed basketball around here man! said Evansville resident Hunter Taylor in response to seeing the video. "Not only do you have the basketball state around here, but you've got all kinds of attractions around here.
In the tweet, Jenkins openly bashes Indiana before vowing to get a petition together to make the NBA move the game somewhere else.
"We have created a petition to get the next All-Star Game somewhere people actually give a single solitary [BLEEP] about visiting," Jenkins says in the video.
Yahoo Sports deleted the tweet a few hours later, but not before Hoosiers got a chance to see it for themselves.
Indianapolis, its the basketball center of the world," said Craig Knapp, who was also visiting the city. "I can't believe they wouldn't want to have the NBA All-Star game here.
Outrage from Hoosiers began pouring in. Even former Colt Pat McAfee tweeted, calling Yahoo Sports irrelevant.'
"They stood up and said no, we're not going to be made fun of as a city that's hosted more Final Fours and more major sporting events than arguably any city in the world," said Chris Gahl, Senior Vice President of Visit Indy.
Gahl says the tweet was probably just meant as a joke, but he's more excited about the response that came after.
"What we saw was Indianapolis residents take to social media, respond to this Yahoo Sports NBA tweet, and defend their city," Gahl said.
A few Hoosiers also made their own petition, asking for the NBA to ban Yahoo Sports and Jenkins from the All-Star Game.
It should definitely be here, All-Star game should definitely be here," said Austin Wulff, also in town visiting.
A tweet probably meant as a joke quickly took a wrong turn, and taught the internet that no one messes with Indiana and basketball.
"We care about basketball more here in the state of Indiana than youll find anywhere else, Taylor said.
The 2021 NBA All-Star Game is set to take place at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Valentines Day 2021.
Rohrabacher tells Yahoo he discussed pardon with Assange for proof Russia didn’t hack DNC email | TheHill – The Hill
Posted: at 5:44 am
Former California Rep. Dana RohrabacherDana Tyrone RohrabacherLawyers to seek asylum for Assange in France: report Rohrabacher tells Yahoo he discussed pardon with Assange for proof Russia didn't hack DNC email The Hill's Morning Report - Democrats duke it out during Nevada debate MORE (R) said Thursday that he discussed a possible presidential pardon with WikiLeaks founder Julian AssangeJulian Paul AssangeProtesters in UK call on government to refuse Assange extradition to US Prosecutor defends initial DOJ recommendation at Stone sentencing Lawyers to seek asylum for Assange in France: report MORE in exchange for proof that Russia didnt hack into the Democratic National Committees (DNC) email, Yahoo News reported.
Rohrabacher told Yahoo News that he held a three-hour meeting at the Ecuadorian Embassy in August 2017 when he informed Assange of the potential deal. The former congressman said he aimed to gather proof for a widely debunked theory that former DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was killed in Washington in 2016, leaked the information, rather than Russian intelligence agents hacking the system.
The theory would negate U.S. intelligence agencies and former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MOREs prosecutors conclusions that Russian operatives hacked the DNC email.
I spoke to Julian Assange and told him if he would provide evidence about who gave WikiLeaks the emails, I would petition the president to give him a pardon, Rohrabacher told Yahoo News. He knew I could get to the president.
He said in the interview that he wanted truthful information from Assange and was not pressuring him to lie.
The former congressman said he called then-White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE after the meeting, saying Kelly was courteous but made no commitment to bring it up with President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll MORE. He didnt speak to Kelly again on the matter and never had a direct discussion with the president.
Assanges lawyer Edward Fitzgerald told a London court in his clients extradition case against the U.S. that Trump had offered to pardon Assangeif he released information that said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC leaks.
White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamSupreme Court allows 'public charge' rule to take effect nationwide Pelosi blasts Trump's 'dangerous' pick for intelligence chief Lawyers to seek asylum for Assange in France: report MORE on Wednesday called Fitzgeralds claim complete fabrication.
The President barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than hes an ex-congressman, she said in a statement. Hes never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject. It is a complete fabrication and a total lie. This is probably another never ending hoax and total lie from the DNC.
Rohrabacher, who was defeated in the 2018 election, was known for defending Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinTrump's Intel moves spark Democratic fury Trump accuses Schiff of leaking information that Russia was helping Sanders Sanders is a risk, not a winner MORE and Trumpduringthe Russia investigations. He is now a consultant to the cannabis industry.
The DNC and the White House did not immediately return requests for comment.
Coronavirus, consumer sentiment, GDP, retail earnings: What to know in the week ahead – Yahoo Finance
Posted: at 5:44 am
Coronavirus developments, consumer sentiment surveys, the second print on fourth-quarter U.S. gross domestic product and a slew of corporate earnings results will draw investor focus this week.
Stock futures sank as trading began Sunday evening, indicating Wall Street was in for a rough ride after Mondays opening bell, as the viruss toll mounted outside of China. Italy and South Korea reported a surge in confirmed cases, while Iran also grappled with new infections and at least 5 deaths.
The mysterious infection roiled U.S. stocks at the end of last week amid a spike in new cases. It spurred jitters over the extent of the outbreak, both in its human impact on its effect on economic activity across the globe.
In the U.S., IHS Markits purchasing managers indices on Friday represented the first major economic data report to reflect a marked impact from the coronavirus, with the composite index for the services and manufacturing sectors dipping to the lowest level in seven years.
Amid the outbreak, two consumer sentiment surveys will be in focus this week. The Conference Board is due to release its February consumer confidence index at 10 a.m. ET Tuesday. Consensus economists expect the index will rise modestly relative to January, coming in at 132.0 versus 131.6 at the start of the year as a strong labor market helps offset fears over the coronavirus.
The Conference Boards consumer sentiment index has risen for three straight months between November and January.
The Conference Boards consumer confidence index should remain elevated in February. Jobless claims remain low and wages are slowly by steadily rising, Wells Fargo Securities economists wrote in a note Friday. Low gasoline prices, in the most simple of terms, mean more money in consumers pockets ... While the virus presents a risk, we do not expect it to meaningfully weigh on confidence in February.
The Conference Boards February report comes after the University of Michigans own closely watched sentiment index rose 1.1 points in February. While the two measures do not necessarily move in perfect lockstep, their trajectories tend to be similar.
The University of Michigans final revision for its February sentiment survey is due out Friday, with consensus economists expecting the index to be downwardly revised slightly to 100.7 from 100.9. At the time the first print was released earlier this month, the coronavirus was mentioned by just 7% of those surveyed when asked to explain their economic expectations.
On Thursday, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis will release its second estimate for fourth-quarter gross domestic product. Consensus economists expect the headline gauge of economic growth will remain unchanged, with GDP registering a 2.1% annualized, quarter over quarter increase.
Some economists, however, expect a mild downward revision.
We expect the BEA to lower its estimate for Q4 real GDP growth by 0.1 [percentage points] to 2.0%, Nomura economists wrote in a note Friday. Data on residential construction spending indicates a stronger increase in residential investment in Q4, relative to the BEAs estimates.
However, the January retail sales report included downward revisions to December and November data, suggesting that growth in personal consumption expenditures was likely less than the BEAs initial report, the economists continued. Moreover, incoming data on inventories suggest a small contribution from inventory buildup in Q4.
Low Section Of Young Man Holding Shopping Bags While Standing On Sidewalk
Additionally, one of the last economic data releases of the week will be personal consumption expenditures for January. Consensus economists expect headline PCE will have risen 1.8% over last year in January, picking up from Decembers 1.6% year on year pace.
Core personal consumption expenditures, the Federal Reserves preferred inflationary gauge that strips out volatile food and energy prices, likely rose 1.7% over last year in January. This would mark a slight increase over Decembers 1.6% rise.
Ahead of the core PCE report, other data reports tracking price trends including the consumer price index (CPI) and producer price index (PPI) for January showed upticks in subcomponents that could also push up core PCE. In the CPI report, shelter inflation stabilized after three straight months of weakness, and the PPI report showed price increases in financial services and health-care prices.
A number of major retail names will report results this week, including Macys, JCPenney, TJX Companies, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowes.
The results come on the heels of mixed to disappointing holiday sales and earnings results from big-box retailers including Target and Walmart, presaging potentially weaker results across the sector. And more broadly, the Census Bureaus January retail sales report revealed a 3.1% decline in sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores, underscoring pockets of weakness for department stores and other apparel retailers.
Other retailers outside of these spaces could fare better, however. Low interest rates, coupled with unseasonably warm weather in December and January, led to a much better-than-expected pick-up in the U.S. housing market, creating a potential tailwind for companies including Home Depot and Lowes. Each has so far outperformed against the S&P 500 for the year to date.
As of Friday, companies comprising more than 90% of the S&P 500s market capitalization had reported fourth quarter results. Earnings at that point had beaten on average by 4.7%, with 63% of companies topping their own bottom-line guidance, according to an analysis from Credit Suisse analyst Jonathan Golub. That compares with 5.2% and 71% over the past three years, he said.
Monday: Chicago Fed National Activity Index, January (-0.16 expected, -0.35 prior); Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index, February (0.0 expected, -0.2 prior)
Tuesday: FHFA House Price Index, December month on month (0.4% expected, 0.2% prior); S&P CoreLogic 20-City home price index, December month on month (0.45% expected, 0.48% prior); Conference Board Consumer Confidence, February (132.1 expected, 131.6 prior); Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index (13 expected, 20 prior)
Wednesday: MBA mortgage applications, week ended Feb. 21 (-6.4% prior); New home sales, January (710,000 expected, 694,000 prior)
Thursday: GDP annualized quarter on quarter, second print 4Q19 (2.2% expected, 2.1% prior); personal consumption, second print 4Q19 (1.8% expected, 1.8% prior); core personal consumption expenditures, second print 4Q19 (1.3% prior); Durable goods orders, January preliminary (-1.5% expected, 2.4% prior); Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, January preliminary (0.2% expected, -0.8% prior); Initial jobless claims, week ended February 22 (211,000 expected, 210,000 prior); Continuing jobless claims, week ended February 15 (1.726 million prior); Pending home sales month on month, January (2.0% expected. -4.9% prior); Kansas City Manufacturing Activity Index, February (-1 expected, -1 prior)
Friday: Advanced goods trade balance, January (-$68.5 billion expected, -$68.3 billion prior); Wholesale inventories, January preliminary (-0.2% prior); Personal income, January (0.3% expected, 0.2% prior); Personal spending, January (0.3% expected, 0.3% prior); PCE deflator month on month, January (0.1% expected, 0.3% prior); PCE deflator year on year, January (1.8% expected, 1.6% prior); PCE core deflator year on year, January (1.7% expected, 1.6% prior); MNI Chicago PMI, February (46.3 expected, 42.9 prior); University of Michigan Sentiment, February final (100.6 expected, 100.9 prior)
Monday: Shake Shack (SHAK), Palo Alto Networks (PANW), Intuit (INTU), HP Inc. (HPQ), Hertz (HTZ) after market close
Tuesday: Home Depot (HD), Macys (M) before market open; Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE) Salesforce (CRM), Smile Direct Club (SDC), GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH), WW International (WW), Planet Fitness (PLNT), The RealReal (REAL) after market close
Wednesday: Lowes (LOW), The TJX Companies (TJX), Wendys (WEN), Papa Johns (PZZA) before market open; Square (SQ), Etsy (ETSY), Booking Holdings (BKNG), Marriott International (MAR), Nutanix (NTNX) after market close
Thursday: Cronos Group (CRON), Best Buy (BBY), Crocs (CROX), ABInBev (ABI.BR), JCPenney (JCP), Sage Therapeutics (SAGE), TD Ameritrade (AMTD) before market open; Beyond Meat (BYND), iQIYI (IQ) Workday (WDAY), Dell Technologies (DELL), Autodesk (ADSK), VMWare (VMW), AMC Entertainment (AMC) after market close
Friday: Wayfair (W), Foot Locker (FL), Greenlane (GNLN) before market open
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance.Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck
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Originally posted here:
Posted: at 5:44 am
Warren Buffett just announced a major tweak to the format of Berkshire Hathaways (BRK-A,BRK-B) famed Annual Meeting, informing shareholders that vice chairs Ajit Jain and Greg Abel will take part in the question and answer session.
Ive had suggestions from shareholders, media and board members that Ajit Jain and Greg Abel our two key operating managers be given more exposure at the meeting. That change makes great sense. They are outstanding individuals, both as managers and as human beings, and you should hear more from them, Buffett wrote in his widely-read annual letter released on Saturday.
Every year, nearly 40,000 shareholders from across the globe descend on Omaha, Nebraska to listen to Buffett, 89, and his right-hand man Charlie Munger, 96, answer questions and deliver investing wisdom, life advice, and the occasional quip.
Ajit Jain, right, head of the Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group, plays bridge with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, a director of Berkshire, at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, Neb., Sunday, May 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
In recent years, though, especially with questions surrounding succession popping up, some have wondered why Jain and Abel havent been given more visibility at the annual meeting. According to Buffett, shareholders will be able to direct their questions to them.
They, like Charlie and me, will not have even a hint of what the questions will be. The journalists will alternate questions with those from the audience, who also can direct questions to any of the four of us. So polish up your zingers, he wrote.
Greg Abel of Berkshire Hathaway (AP)
Jain and Abel, who joined Berkshire in 1986 and 1992, respectively, were added to Berkshire Hathaways board in January 2018, after the board voted to increase the number of directors from 12 to 14. At the time, Jain became the vice-chairman of insurance operations, while Abel stepped into the role of vice-chairman of the non-insurance business operations.
This years meeting will take place on May 2. Yahoo Finance will have an exclusive livestream of the entire day.
Julia La Roche is a Correspondent at YahooFinance.Follow her on Twitter.
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Here is the original post:
Posted: at 5:44 am
LAS VEGAS The man who calls himself the Gypsy King became the king of boxing Saturday in a stellar performance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Pay little mind to the three heavyweight title belts that IBF-WBA-WBO champion Anthony Joshua added to his trophy case in December when he outpointed an out-of-shape Andy Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Arabia.
On Saturday, Fury showed Joshua, Deontay Wilder and every other fighter and fight fan in the world how it is done.
Joshua was timid, cautious and uninspired in his one-sided decision over a weight-addled Ruiz. Fury was bold, courageous and strong in going right after the man regarded by some as the biggest puncher in heavyweight history and chopping him down in seven one-sided rounds.
Fury knocked Wilder down with a sizzling right hand in the third and a crunching left to the body in the fifth, and had him staggering and wobbling around the ring for much of their heavily hyped fight for the WBC and lineal heavyweight championships.
After getting a disappointing split draw in their first fight on Dec. 1, 2018, Fury vowed to change his tactics. He changed his trainer, replacing Ben Davison, a close personal friend, with Javan SugarHill Steward, and said hed go forward and knock Wilder out. Fury is a consummate boxer and most laughed off his pre-fight words as nothing more than hype to sell a very popular pay-per-view fight.
That, though, is just what he did, and not without plenty of risk to his health. Wilder scored 41 knockouts in his first 43 fights en route to a 42-0-1 record and the WBC title.
British boxer Tyson Fury celebrates after defeating US boxer Deontay Wilder in the seventh round during their World Boxing Council (WBC) Heavyweight Championship Title boxing match at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on February 22, 2020. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)
Furys defense has always been stellar, but it was his offense that neutralized Wilders power Saturday. Fury came out of his corner at the opening bell and winged a right at Wilders head that whistled just past the Alabamans ear. That set the tone for the night, even if Wilder didnt know it at the time.
The 6-foot-9 Fury used everything in his arsenal. He was jabbing Wilder and keeping him from getting in punching range. He was throwing, and connecting, on the right hand regularly. And in the few times there were clinches, Fury smartly leaned his 273 pounds on Wilders back until referee Kenny Bayless broke it up.
He did everything that Joshua did not do in Saudi Arabia. Joshua won, but he didnt do anything to help the sport or to prove he was the best in the world. He was timid and cautious and unwilling to accept risk.
Until Joshua lost to Ruiz last June, hed been the top dog in the division because of his unbeaten record and his ability to fill stadiums. But his rise came when Fury was battling depression and had ballooned to 400 pounds and contemplated suicide.
Its almost a miracle that Fury was able to go from a suicidal coked out alcoholic into a near-perfect heavyweight fighting machine in less than two years.
He was fit, fast and smart and had a loud portion of the sell-out crowd of 15,816 in his corner. They paid a heavyweight record $16.9 million for the privilege to see his crowning achievement.
He came to the ring wearing a crown and carried on a throne and he showed himself to be the king of boxing, not just by the result but by the approach.
That is the kind of performance that wont just get his countrymen excited; its going to generate interest among fans all over the world.
Hes a witty, well-spoken man who worked tirelessly along with Wilder to sell the fight. He then went out and fought in a manner that made those who paid for it feel like they got their moneys worth, even despite the dreadful undercard that preceded it.
Fury holds all the cards now as hell move forward in an attempt to unify the belts. Joshua has a spring date with Kubrat Pulev in a mandatory defense hes expected to win. After that, all of the pressure will be on him to sign to fight Fury in a bout for the undisputed title.
Joshua lost his advantages not only when he got knocked out by Ruiz last year, but by his tentative approach in the rematch. If you watched that fight and then watched Saturdays Fury-Wilder fight, which guy would you pay to see fight again?
The heavyweight division is back and its Tyson Fury who is driving the train.
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Posted: at 5:44 am
With the horrific debacle of the Diamond Princess dominating headlines and cruise ships losing customers and canceling trips due to the coronavirus, its no wonder stocks of those companies have dropped some 20% year to date.
Its certainly not the best of times for the big three publicly traded cruise ship companies: Carnival Cruise Line (CCL)which operates the Diamond PrincessRoyal Caribbean (RCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH.) Still, reports of their demise, or even being in dire straits, are exaggerated I think.
To be sure Wall Street hassoured on the stocks. Uncertainty is one of the reasons we downgraded shares of cruise companies, says Tuna Amobi, analyst at CFRA. Norwegian, we have a strong sell. Royal we have a sell. Carnival we have a sell. We think this overhang will dampen investor sentiment.
And yet here is the indefatigable Richard Branson launching a brand new cruise ship line, named predictably, Virgin Voyages, in the teeth of the maelstrom. Bransons first ship, the Scarlet Ladycarrying 2,770 passengers and 1,160 crewwill reflect the usual Virgin hipness and will address some of the sustainability concerns that vex the business. All ships in Bransons planned fleet of four will be carbon neutral and will shun plastic and wasteful buffets.
Does Branson know something Wall Street doesnt? Could be.
Branson believes that the coronavirus, or more precisely COVID-19, is a temporary thing, and is so confident of that, he didnt even delay the launch, which he could have easily done.
Cruising is business with wind at its back, too. Before the coronavirus, some 32 million passengers were expected to set sail in 2020, two times the number of customers in 2009.
I find cruise ships to be super-cool, and I say that having never been on one. (Some day, some day.) Maybe it was watching The Love Boat when I was young, but really its the scale of the ships that I find so appealing. The biggest shipssome 300 of these behemoths sail the seasare over 1,000 feet long and 200 feet wide, weigh over 200,000 tons and carry 6,000 passengers, with the most luxurious having a like number of crew.
The companies are fascinating too. Did you know that both Norwegianwhich isnt really Norwegianand Carnival were founded by the same man, the late Ted Arison? And that Carnival, dually listed on the London Stock Exchange and the NYSE, is the only company included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100? The Arison family has made a fortune from Carnival, the biggest of the three companies with a market cap of some $30 billion. Teds son Mickey, former long-standing CEO of Carnival and owner of the Miami Heat, is worth $7.8 billion, according to Forbes.
Royal Caribbeanwhich really was Norwegian originally but is now based in Miamiis the second biggest company with a market cap of $22 billion. RCL ranks as the stock market star of the group, up 1094% since its IPO in 1993 (and remember thats after being down 20% this year) versus 666% for the S&P over the same period.
Norwegian Cruise Line on the other hand began as a single car-ship ferry between England and Gibraltar in the 1960s and would go on to own iconic ocean liners SS France and SS United States. In 2007, Leon Blacks Apollo Management bought a 50% stake in Norwegian for $1 billion with TPG coming in to take a stake as well. Norwegians stock has trailed the market since its IPO seven years ago.
The cruise ship business is no stranger to disasters both large and small. While nothing approaching the Titanic has occurred recently, there was the sinking of the Costa Concordia (operated by a subsidiary of Carnival) off the Italian coast in 2012, resulting in 32 fatalities. And seven years earlier Somali pirates attacked a small cruise ship, the Seabourn Spirit. They were fended off by the crew, who used a water hose and sonic cannon capable of causing permanent damage to hearing from a distance of more than 300 metres (984ft), but not before the pirates fired automatic weapons and RPGs wounding crew members. And then of course there are the myriad cases of Norovirus, E. coli and Legionnaires' disease that have coursed through these vessels, none though significant enough to hinder the inexorable growth of this business.
But COVID-19, and the floating petri dish otherwise known as the Diamond Princess, have been a real threat. (Confusion doesnt help. Like when officials from the CDC were arguing that U.S. citizens from the ship not be flown home while the State Department saying they should.)
I personally think this is a bigger deal to the travel industry than any event since 9/11, says James Hardiman, an analyst at Wedbush. That includes SARS, Ebola, Costa Concordia crash, spates of terrorism and the Arab Spring.
Miembros de la prensa se congregan cerca del barco Diamond Princess en Yokohama, Japn, el martes 11 de febrero de 2020. (AP Foto/Jae C. Hong)
By the way, its not just the Diamond Princess, where 634 of the 3,700 passengers and crew tested positive...so far, that has put the cruise ship business in a bad light. Dont forget the World Dream which was held in Hong Kong for four days when the company learned that three passengers who had sailed on the vessel earlier were confirmed to have the virus. The quarantine was lifted after all 1,800 crew members tested negative. Even worse: The so-called Pariah ship Westerdam, which was denied docking at five ports; in Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Guam because of fears of COVID-19. The ship was finally granted entry to Cambodia. None of the 2,000 passengers and crew were found to be infected.
Not surprisingly, the business is hunkering down. Norwegian just announced it was canceling all 40 cruises in Asia this summer. The Wall Street Journal reports that four-day cruises on Carnival ships are available for as little as $139 per person this month. My colleague Alexis Christoforous reports that Norwegian expects the epidemic to hurt full-year adjusted earnings by 75 cents a share and it sees capacity growth of 8.1% for the full year, down from its previous guidance of 8.7%. Royal Caribbean has said the epidemic would shave 65 cents a share off its per-share earnings this year. It has also canceled sailings in southeast Asia and modified itineraries.
Even with all that, at some point these stocks are a Buy, right?
Hardiman notes that if you had bought cruise ship stocks during previous crises you wouldve made money. To some degree, my projection that a year from now stocks would be higher is based on the idea the virus will get contained. It will still be an issue most of this year and to some degree next year, but if I can it see it as an issue start to subside, he says. In others, buying the stocks is a bet on COVID-19 abiding, which it will at some point.
Meanwhile, good news, the Diamond Princess, will be ready to sail in April, after a good cleaning Carnival insists.
Bet you could pick up a ticket on the cheap.
This article was featured in a Saturday edition of the Morning Brief on February 22, 2020. Get the Morning Brief sent directly to your inbox every Monday to Friday by 6:30 a.m. ET.Subscribe
Andy Serwer is editor-in-chief of Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter:@serwer.
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The ‘skull breaker challenge’ is trending on TikTok. Why doctors say it could be fatal. – Yahoo Food
Posted: at 5:44 am
A new dangerous trend taking over TikTok is now making headlines as parents across the globe warn of the severe harm it can cause.
The skull breaker challenge originated in Spain when two students began to film themselves executing the seemingly harmless move with an unsuspecting third participant. The trend captures three individuals standing in a row before jumping straight up. While the middle person is in the air, the two on the sides kick inwards to knock them off of their feet and onto their head.
However, its dangers quickly became evident as the middle participant continued to become the victim of injuries to the head, neck and wrist. At least two children in the United States have been hospitalized after attempting the challenge.
One viral video out of Venezuela, in particular, demonstrated how a person can sustain an injury from the stunt dubbed Rompecrneos in Spanish, meaning skull cracker when the student fell onto the back of his head on the ground outside of his school. Although the video has since been removed from social media, the video is archived on Twitter. Administrators of the school where it took place also took to social media to condemn it.
Recently, a video has been made viral on social networks, in which some baccalaureate students of our institution are exposed, making a game where the ... physical integrity of one of the young people would allegedly be put at risk. In the aforementioned video, the badge of the College is clearly distinguished, whose symbol represents the institutions, one of the schools tweets, translated in English, reads.
Despite the injuries that some international outlets reported, the school did not address any serious harm caused by the stunt, other than the alarm that the events occurred may cause. Still, the statement goes on to say, the parties involved (the students with their respective representatives) were summoned to the Directorate of the College to initiate the corresponding procedures, attached to the relevant legal provisions.
The Feb. 4 statement didnt prevent the trend from spreading, as it became popular in India, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S. Now, parents in the U.S. are doing their part to shed light on the severity of the stunt by posting warnings attached to photos of their injured children on Facebook.
I really contemplated posting this, but I feel there needs to be awareness of this malicious cruel viral prank, Arizona mother Valerie Hodson wrote on Facebook about her young son who was tricked in the stunt by two friends. He landed hard flat on his back and head, as he struggled to get up he lost consciousness, he fell forward landing on his face. The school monitor ran to his side, all the while the 2 boys were snickering and laughing as his stiff unconscious body lay on the asphalt. Fast forward at the hospital, he has a head injury, stiches [sic] in his face, severe cuts inside his mouth and 2 front teeth I have to keep on eye on. This apparently is a Tik Tok viral prank being filmed and gaining likes on social media.
Days later, a mom in Alabama posted a similar warning, this time asking for prayers for her son who had to get surgery on his wrist as a result of the TikTok prank.
The safety and well-being of our users is a top priority at TikTok, a TikTok spokesperson tells Yahoo Lifestyle. As we make clear in our Community Guidelines, we do not allow content that encourages, promotes, or glorifies dangerous challenges that might lead to injury, and we remove reported behavior or activity that violates our guidelines. To help keep our platform safe, we have introduced a slate of safety features geared towards enhancing our users experience, including tools for reporting inappropriate content and for managing privacy settings.
Videos of the skull breaker challenge on TikTok have been replaced by skull saver challenges, in which users are reenacting the challenge without the hazardous kick, as well as public service announcements about the dangerous stunt.
According to Nathan Richards, MD, a physician who specializes in internal medicine and pediatrics at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, both outcomes were better than the irreversible damage that can occur. The skull breaker challenge, he tells Yahoo Lifestyle, can even be fatal.
The skull breaker challenge is an emerging prank being propagated on social media that results in forceful trauma to the head and neck area. It can be associated with a variety of serious and even life-threatening injuries including, but not limited to, bruising, hematoma, skull fracture, neck strain, neck fracture, concussion and long term complications of concussion, bleeding in or around the brain, loss of consciousness, paralysis, and death, Richards explains. Although it can seem like a harmless prank to children and adolescents, they should be educated on the potential serious consequences of doing the skull breaker challenge.
Denise Klinkner, MD, a pediatric surgeon at the Mayo Clinic Childrens Center in Rochester, Minnesota adds that the person in the middle of the stunt will likely become injured even if prepared for what it entails. In spite of knowing this is the intent, the falling teen rapidly lands without blocking the fall, leading to at minimum a concussion, she says. If one is able, an outstretched hand to block the fall may lead to a broken wrist or arm.
As for why children and teens continue to take part in these challenges despite knowing the potential danger, Sabrina Sykes, PhD, a psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center writes that its all about the wow factor.
New online challenges routinely spring up and rapidly spread over social media, particularly among adolescents and young adults, Sykes explained in a blog post about the appeal of online challenges. Social media, in turn, offers instant popularity among peers in the form of likes and followers, providing peer acceptance, buoying the teens self-concept and, therefore, enhancing the draw to participate in these challenges.
She went on to credit the still-developing prefrontal cortex for an adolescents inability to manage their impulses or make responsible decisions, working in tandem with the very real fear of missing out. This means teens are highly motivated to engage in socially rewarding behavior and gravitate toward thrill-seeking, without focusing on potential risks or consequences, she wrote.
Still, parents and adults can intervene in their teens online behavior, according to Sykes, and take part in productive conversations that can improve a childs judgment.
Parents should familiarize themselves with social media platforms and engage their teen in conversations about online challenges, Sykes post reads. Remember that while teens continue to grow and navigate social relationships, through these conversations parents can foster the development of thoughtful and rational thinking skills, while also maintaining connection.
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Posted: at 5:44 am
The Green Bay Packers want to bring the NFL draft to Lambeau Field.
Despite earlier reports that the Packers had been awarded the draft for 2022, the team confirmed that no decision has been made yet on Saturday afternoon. They are, however, aggressively committed to landing a draft in the near future.
"The NFL has not awarded the 2022 NFL draft to the Packers or any other club at this time, but we remain aggressively committed, with members of our community, to bringing a draft to Green Bay in either 2022 or beyond," team president and CEO Mark Murphy said, via the Packers.
"We are excited for the opportunity and believe the Greater Green Bay area is well-positioned to host such a remarkable event with the continued evolution of Lambeau Field, the successful launch of Titletown and the upcoming completion of the state-of-the-art Resch Expo."
The Packers, per the report, have submitted bids to host the draft in either 2022 or 2024. Its used both the new Titletown development a 45-acre park and plaza with restaurants, hotels and more and the upcoming Resch Expo a 127,000 square-foot indoor arena next to Lambeau Field that is set top open next January to bolster its bids.
The draft this year is set to take place in Las Vegas ahead of the Raiders first season in the city this fall. It will take place in Cleveland and Kansas City in 2021 and 2023, respectively. The 2022 draft and all future drafts after the 2023 edition have yet to be announced.
The draft started rotating between cities again in 2015 after a lengthy stint in New York. It has since been held in Chicago, Philadelphia, AT&T Stadium in Dallas and in downtown Nashville.
Mason Crosby isnt going anywhere.
The longtime Packers kicker reached a three-year deal with Green Bay on Saturday, according to ESPNs Adam Schefter and Mike McCartney. The deal will keep him with the Packers through the 2022 season.
Crosby has spent all 13 years of his NFL career with the Packers, starting in 2007 after Green Bay selected him in the sixth round of the draft. The 35-year-old missed just one extra point last season and two field goal attempts.
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By Philip Pullella
BARI, Italy (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Sunday warned against "inequitable solutions" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East peace proposal.
Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
"The Mediterranean region is currently threatened by outbreaks of instability and conflict, both in the Middle East and different countries of North Africa, as well as between various ethnic, religious or confessional groups," Francis said.
"Nor can we overlook the still unresolved conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, with the danger of inequitable solutions and, hence, a prelude to new crises," he said.
The participants included Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the head of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, whose jurisdiction includes Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan.
It was believed to be the first time the pope, who has often defended both Palestinian rights and Israel's need for security, has spoken in public about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since Trump announced the plan on Jan. 28.
The plan would recognize Israel's authority over West Bank Jewish settlements and require Palestinians meet a series of conditions for a state, with its capital in a West Bank village east of Jerusalem.
Although Trump's stated aim was to end decades of conflict, his plan favored Israel, underlined by the Palestinians' absence from his White House announcement with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his side.
The Palestinians and Arab League foreign ministers have rejected the plan and the Palestinian Authority has cut all ties with the United States and Israel.
Palestinians, with broad international backing, want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state, while Israel views the whole city its "united and eternal" capital.
The pope expressed concern in 2018 when the United States announced the moving of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying the city's "status quo" should be respected. Francis has called for all to honor U.N. resolutions on the city.
"There is no reasonable alternative to peace, because every attempt at exploitation or supremacy demeans both its author and its target. It shows a myopic grasp of reality, since it can offer no future to either of the two," Francis said, speaking in general about the Middle East.
Francis again warned against populist politicians who he said used "demagogic terms" such as "invasion" when talking of migration.
"To be sure, acceptance and a dignified integration are stages in a process that is not easy. Yet it is unthinkable that we can address the problem by putting up walls," he said.
(Reporting By Philip Pullella. Editing by Jane Merriman)