Daily Archives: August 11, 2021

2021 has been a record year for the golf business – Yahoo Finance

Posted: August 11, 2021 at 12:46 pm

This article first appeared in the Morning Brief. Get the Morning Brief sent directly to your inbox every Monday to Friday by 6:30 a.m. ET. Subscribe

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

In August 2020, we wrote in The Morning Brief that the golf business was booming during the pandemic.

In August 2021, the industry only looks stronger.

Within the last week, we've seen golf's two biggest publicly-traded companies Titleist parent company Acushnet (GOLF) and Callaway Golf (ELY) report quarterly results. And these reports indicated that just about every benefit that accrued to the industry during the pandemic has only improved this year.

Golf requires two things that some consumers found abundant during the pandemic disposable income and idle time. The sport's earned reputation is shaped by there being only a select group of people with ample access to both. But during the pandemic, millions of consumers suddenly found themselves thrown into both categories.

The latest data from the National Golf Foundation shows that rounds played through June are up 23% year-to-date, and running 19% above the 2017-2019 average.

Rounds at public courses are also outpacing growth in rounds at private clubs, with public rounds played up 26% this year against a 13% increase in private loops. Data that confirms what your humble public-playing author finds out each weekend: you can't get a tee time anywhere these days.

"According to Golf Datatech, rounds played in June remained at an all-time high, and retail demand remains elevated," Callaway Golf CEO Chip Brewer said on the company's earnings conference call.

"More anecdotally," Brewer added, "private club memberships are also experiencing exceptional demand, with [waitlists] developing at many clubs across the U.S. and the U.K. With more options for activities opened this spring and summer compared to last year, we were cautious that there could have been a potential slowdown in golf participation and/or demand. However, thus far, we're pleased to report that we're not seeing this from our seat in the market." (Emphasis ours.)

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Ahead of second quarter earnings season, we argued in The Morning Brief that comparisons to 2019 would be key for businesses across the economy, with investors trying to make sense of which trends that took off during the pandemic would stick and which would fade away.

And Brewer's framing also shows how even those in the golf business were skeptical that 2020's rush into the sport would be sustained.

"So what we saw in the second half of 2020, rounds were up 25% versus the prior year," Acushnet CEO David Maher said on the company's earnings call.

"I think [2019] is a good baseline, right? We made the comment that rounds in the first half were up 20% over 2019. And just looking forward, I would think we'd see rounds of play up in the second half of this year in the 15% to 20% range versus 2019," he added.

As for how this boom has translated to the income statement for both companies, Callaway reported golf equipment revenues that rose 91% in the second quarter, while Acushnet said golf club sales rose 111% and golf ball revenues were up 98.1%. Adjusted EBITDA also rose sharply for both rising $94.7 million at Acushnet in the second quarter and by $135 million at Callaway.

Another development in the golf industry to watch will be Taylormade's potential move to public markets, following the company's recent sale to South Korea-based Centroid Investment Partners for just under $1.9 billion.

And as the world reopens and a new generation of golfers acquaints themselves with the sport's challenges and frustrations, the future for the game still looks bright.

And one key theme to watch is that "new participants are increasingly younger," Maher noted. "They're hooked on the game. They want to get better. We've talked about increased lessons throughout the industry in all markets, and that continues. And as a result, the game has become less intimidating and more welcoming."

By Myles Udland, reporter and anchor for Yahoo Finance Live. Follow him at @MylesUdland

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Truck driver shortage is about as bad as Ive ever seen: US Xpress CEO

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Truck driver shortage is about as bad as Ive ever seen: US Xpress CEO – Yahoo Finance

Posted: at 12:46 pm

The need for workers is weighing on the trucking industry, where freight operators are struggling to raise wages fast enough to find drivers.

Eric Fuller, the CEO of U.S. Xpress (USX), said that his company has doled out 30% to 35% in total pay increases over the last 12 months but suggested more may be needed.

The driver situation is about as bad as Ive ever seen in my career, Fuller told Yahoo Finance on Monday.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, the truck transportation industry lost 6% of its pre-pandemic labor force of 1.52 million workers. As of July, the industry had recovered about 63,000 of those lost jobs but still remains about 33,000 jobs short of employment levels in February 2020.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that employment levels in the truck transportation industry remains short of pre-pandemic levels. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Fuller said the expiration of unemployment benefits in some states have brought back some workers, but still worries that it may only get harder to recover the remaining shortfall.

Drivers have shown a stronger preference for jobs that allow them to spend more time with their families, meaning that jobs in manufacturing or construction may poach talent from U.S. Xpress and other trucking companies.

Maybe it will change things permanently, Fuller said, adding that the pool of prospective drivers may have morphed structurally.

Fuller said another 20% to 30% in wage increases may be needed to keep prospective drivers from taking other jobs, but said his company cant afford to make further pay raises in that range at the moment.

Still, U.S. Xpress ramped up spending on efforts to find prospective drivers, noting in its most recent earnings call that it had increased recruiting costs by about $3.5 million.

The increased expenses associated with higher wages and recruitment costs is bleeding down to companies and consumers who pay for shipping.

U.S. Xpress said spot rates, which are real-time quotes for the fee to move a shipment, remain high and look unlikely to abate anytime soon.

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Data from DAT Solutions showed flatbed rates rising 42% year-over-year, a trend that U.S. Xpress doesnt expect to last forever.

Without a doubt, a drop in the spot market is going to come. What remains to be seen is whether itll happen in the winter, spring, or summer of 2022, the company noted in its third-quarter industry forecast.

Still, Fuller said spot rates over the last seven to eight months have been priced at premiums as high as hes ever seen.

Rates and prices are definitely being passed along to the shipper, Fuller told Yahoo Finance.

Brian Cheung is a reporter covering the Fed, economics, and banking for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter @bcheungz.

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The Dip in These 2 Stocks Is a Buying Opportunity, Say Analysts – Yahoo Finance

Posted: at 12:46 pm

Successful market investing is all about finding opportunities, and buying into the right stocks at low prices. The only real trick to navigating the market is recognizing those opportunities, since low prices is a relative concept, not an absolute. A low price for a famously expensive stock like Amazon will still be in the thousands, while a low price for an obscure penny stock may be less than one dollar.

A look at stock charts will help to find companies whose shares are trading at a discount. Its a recognized strategy, and every investor knows about buying the dip and using a current low in a stocks trading price as a point of entry.

With this in mind, we scoured the TipRanks database and picked out 2 names which have been pinpointed by those in the know as representing a buying opportunity. Both are trading at relative low prices, and that comes with substantial upside potential. Let's take a closer look.

Opportunity Financial (OPFI)

Lets start in the fintech sector, where Opportunity Financial, or OppFi, provides a credit access platform for consumer use. Customers can download the app to their smartphone, and access credit through a completely digital process, with fast applications, fair and transparent decisions, and quality customer service. Among the services offered are loans and payroll-linked credit.

OppFi bases its business model on the large population estimated at 60 million of consumers who have difficulty accessing traditional sources of credit. These are people with regular work, but minimal savings and occasional financial emergencies that tap what resources they do have. OppFis target customer has an annual income less than $50K.

The need for credit in OppFis target population is apparent from the companys growth numbers. OppFi reported an 84% year-over-year growth in net originations during Q2, and a 28% yoy gain in revenue. It was a solid performance for a company that only went public this past July.

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That move to the public markets was accomplished via a SPAC merger. OppFi entered into a business combination with FG New America Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company, and the OPFI ticker started trading on July 21. Since then, however, the shares have dropped by 22%.

That drop opens up the opportunity for investors, according to D.A. Davidson analyst Christopher Brendler.

With the stock reaching a new low [concurrent with] encouraging 2Q results, we see a compelling buying opportunity as the stock is now ridiculously cheap. We project OppFi to grow revenue 112% and EPS 98% (2020A-2022E) yet the stock now trades under 10x 2022E EPS, Brendler opined.

In line with this view, Brendler rates OPFI shares a Buy, along with a $14 price target. Investors could be sitting on gains of ~72%, should Brendlers forecast play out over the coming months. (To watch Brendlers track record, click here)

This newly public stock has attracted some positive attention from Wall Street, with 3 Buy recommendations giving it a unanimous Strong Buy consensus rating. The shares are trading for $8.10, and their $13.83 average price target implies ~70% upside potential for the coming year. (See OPFI stock analysis on TipRanks)

Scorpio Tanker (STNG)

Now lets shift gears, and enter the world of international shipping. Scorpio Tanker is a shipping company in the oil and petrochemical business, operating a fleet of ocean-going tanker vessels in the Handymax, MR, and LR1 and LR2 size ranges. The MR and LR ships are commonly used general purpose oil tankers, and will carry both crude oil and refined products. They are capable of operating in most ports around the world but Scorpio also operates a large number of smaller Handymax vessels, giving it access to small ports as well.

The economic reopening, and the resumption of much trade, was positive for Scorpio, as investors turned bullish on shipping generally with the resumption of the global carrying trade. The company saw its share price rise steadily through the first half of this year, peaking in late June. Since then, the stock has pulled back by 38%.

That pullback has come as Scorpio reported a difficult second quarter. The company saw a net EPS loss of 97 cents, compared to the per-share profit of $2.40 reported in the year-ago quarter. Revenue came in at $139.4 million, down from $346.2 million in 2Q20. The losses, and the fall in revenue, reflect a lag inherent in shipping and supply chains; that is, orders placed dont get sent out immediately. It is one reason why, even though economies are reopening, the shipping industry is facing headwinds.

H.C. Wainwright analyst Magnus Fyhr remains unfazed, and notes that the tanker company is in a sound position to take advantage of an improving shipping environment later this year.

"...we believe a global economic recovery and rising vaccination rates should increase mobility levels and support stronger global oil demand in 2H21. In fact, following two months of decline, oil demand surged by an estimated 3.2 mb/d to 96.8 mb/d in June, with 2H21 on course to rise 4.6 mb/d versus 1H21 levels, to 98.7 mb/d," Fyhr noted.

The analyst continued, "With product tanker fundamentals starting to improve, we believe asset values should continue to strengthen and that an improving liquidity position should address any balance-sheet concerns. As a result, we continue to like STNG as a product tanker pure play and believe the recent pullback has created an attractive buying opportunity."

Based on the above, Fyhr rates STNG shares a Buy, and his $28 price target implies an upside of ~89% this year. (To watch Fyhrs track record, click here)

As for the rest of the Street, STNG has been assigned 5 Buys, 1 Hold and 2 Sells. This translates to a Moderate Buy consensus rating. The average price target lands at $21.88, and represents upside potential of ~47%. (See STNG stock analysis on 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.

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‘Inflation is here to stay’: financial adviser – Yahoo Finance

Posted: at 12:46 pm

The upward movement we're seeing in prices is not transitory and big tech will suffer from it, says one financial adviser.

"Wages are going up and typically what happens is they just dont go down over time. So they dont temporarily go up and go back down," Chris Payne of Payne Capital Management told Yahoo Finance Live.

"Even if youre going out to the grocery store, things are just more expensive. So not only do I think inflation is not transitory, I think its here to stay. And I really think it will impact different markets," he added.

Technology is the sector which could be impacted the most, he said.

"I think big tech is going to face the biggest headwind when it comes to inflation," said Payne.

"What we call long duration assets like pipelines, commodities what we call more value based I think those things are going to benefit from inflation," he added.

Payne's comments are in stark contrast with Fed Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's repeated comments that inflation is transitory.

Economists like Stephanie Roth from JPMorgan agree with the Fed.

"Inflation screams transitory when you look at the data," Roth told Yahoo Finance Live.

"You're starting to see signs that inflation is cooling. The data isn't particularly scary to us," she added.

"Certainly wage pressures have been high recently but we think that thats driven by a couple of factors," she added. "Unemployment benefits which are quite generous and are starting to roll off."

"Concerns around COVID thats certainly transitory," she said. "And then the child care issue also. As school starts to reopen we should see the wage pressures start to subside."

The core personal consumption expenditures price index (Core PCE, which excludes food and energy) increased 3.5% year over year in June. That's the highest reading since 1991.

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Ines is a markets reporter covering stocks from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre

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Inflation will pound this dollar store, and maybe its stock: Deutsche Bank – Yahoo Finance

Posted: at 12:46 pm

Stubbornly hot inflation will be unkind to the bottom line of Dollar Tree, warns Deutsche Bank.

Deutsche Bank analyst Krisztina Katai downgraded her rating on the dollar store to Hold from Buy on Monday, and slashed the price target to $102 from $129.

"We now see more balanced risk/reward, especially with renewed concerns around building inflationary pressures. We remain long-term believers in Dollar Tree's story including the ongoing turnaround at Family Dollar, however, we are incrementally concerned around accelerating cost pressures from both freight and wages, particularly in light of the Dollar Tree banner's fixed $1 price point which limits its ability to absorb higher costs through price increases, putting margins at risk," said Katai in a research note to clients.

Shares of Dollar Tree fell 2% to $97 in pre-market trading Monday. The stock has fallen 8% in the past six months as investors fret about the chain's profit margins amidst considerable inflation in labor and the supply chain. The business is essentially hamstrung in how it could respond to inflationary pressures given its model of selling products mostly at $1 and price sensitive shoppers.

Indications of stress on the model appeared on May 27, points out Katai. That's when Dollar Tree issued 2021 earnings guidance that was 8% shy of the mid-point of analyst estimates.

"Like most retailers, we are currently faced with higher freight costs, both international and domestic worker shortages, and uncertainty related to inflation," cautioned Dollar Tree CEO Mike Witynski on a call with analysts.

Katai now doesn't believe earnings estimates for Dollar Tree on the Street have bottomed. Further markdowns could impact the stock negatively.

"With the sequential worsening in ocean freight rates since the 1Q release we are no longer confident that negative earnings revisions are behind us," said Katai.

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Everywhere one looks inflation appears to be running hot right now as the U.S. economy powers back from the COVID-19 pandemic triggering shortages in everything from workers to raw materials.

The June Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased at its fastest pace in 13 years.

July's CPI will be released later this week. CPI excluding food and energy is expected to have risen by 4.3% in July over last year, pulling back just slightly from June's 4.5%. Core consumer prices are also estimated to have advanced for the fourteenth consecutive month, or by 0.5% after June's 0.9% monthly gain.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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Won’t get a COVID-19 vaccine? Some bosses may charge you $20 to $50 more for health insurance on every paycheck – Yahoo! Voices

Posted: at 12:46 pm

Tyson Foods, United Airlines, CNN, the U.S. military.

A wide variety of employers, including those four, impose COVID-19 vaccine mandates on their workers, and experts said theyll have a lot more company soon after the Food and Drug Administration gives the shots its full approval.

Some employers arent ready to impose mandates but may penalize workers for not getting vaccinated, possibly by requiring them to pay an insurance surcharge costing several hundred dollars a year.

I think theyve decided that in order to get that needle to move, they need to do something more, said Wade Symons, leader of the regulatory resources group at Mercer, an employee benefits consultancy.

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Other employers just ask nicely or stick with incentives, hoping not to scare workers off amid what HR leaders call The Great Resignation a pent-up flood of people quitting after holding onto their jobs during the pandemic.

The hodgepodge of vaccination strategies coincides with the surge of the delta variant, which is more contagious than earlier versions of the coronavirus and threatens to derail efforts to return to the office.

Here are some of the issues with vaccine mandates, which experts agree are legal as long as workers are provided accommodations for legitimate medical or religious objections:

If you work in a field that requires you to interact with the public, you are among those most likely to be required to be vaccinated, said Michael C. Schmidt, vice chair of law firm Cozen O'Connors labor and employment department.

This is particularly true of health care providers such as hospitals, many of which have historically required flu vaccinations.

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It may be true of other industries with workers in harms way such as meatpacking plants. Those facilities faced criticism over COVID-19 outbreaks in the early months of the pandemic because the employees typically work side by side. Tysons Food, which sells meat, ordered vaccinations for its workers.

In the travel sector, United Airlines is among the first major companies to issue a vaccine mandate to its employees. Flight attendants and gate agents are among workers who work directly with the public, putting themselves and travelers at risk.

What youre seeing is employers realizing that that resistance is softer than it might have been a few months ago as the delta variant gets more extreme, said Denise Rousseau, professor of organizational behavior and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College.

Yet many companies whose employees interact with the public don't require vaccination. Major retailers such as Walmart and Target havent issued mandates for store workers. Walmart requires vaccinations for employees at its headquarters in Arkansas and for some workers who travel regularly.

"We have an important role to play and believe the requirement for vaccinations for our leaders is key to driving toward an end to this pandemic," Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a memo to employees.

Yes. This could include a surcharge on your health insurance.

Mercers Symons said clients have asked him about how to charge unvaccinated employees more for their insurance to cover the costs of massive hospital bills.

Its something weve just started getting questions about in the last couple of weeks, Symons said. The number of questions has been surprising in the volume. This is something theyre more willing to take on. Its less than a mandate.

Symons estimated that some workers could face an additional $20 to $50 per paycheck, though he said he would expect it to be on the lower end of that scale.

That would translate into several hundred dollars annually in extra costs.

Unvaccinated folks have the potential to cost employers more from a health care cost perspective, so theyre feeling theyre justified in that additional surcharge, he said.

It would be akin to how some employers tack on a surcharge for workers who smoke cigarettes, Symons said, though he acknowledged that surcharges for the unvaccinated would probably be more controversial.

Insurance surcharges could turn out to be more effective than mandates, Carnegie Mellons Rousseau said.

People are loss-sensitive, she said. Losses are more painful than gains are good. If the incentives are experienced as a loss, theyll act to correct that loss.

Its highly likely. For now, COVID-19 vaccines remain authorized under emergency use regulations.

If the FDA grants full approval, it may lead to a flood of employers mandating shots since the agency's signoff would remove one of the arguments against requirements, experts speculated.

Emergency use status isnt enough to block mandates. A federal judge in Houston ruled against hospital employees who argued that they should not be subject to a mandate because the vaccine had been only authorized for emergency deployment.

The judge pretty handily rejected that claim, said Schmidt, the employment lawyer.

Tyson Foods team members receive COVID-19 vaccines Feb. 2 from health officials in Wilkesboro, N.C. Tyson Foods requires all of its U.S. employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Some employers have been reluctant to order vaccines until the shots have the same authorization as, say, over-the-counter medicine.

Theres no question there were some employers that recognized the uneasiness of the (emergency) status and were waiting and might still be waiting for approval, Schmidt said.

Possibly. In some cases, unions support mandates, including the AFL-CIO, which represents 56 unions accounting for more than 12 million workers.

Others, such as unions representing teachers, sheriffs deputies and state workers, have spoken up against mandates.

We have a right to bargain over a new work rule," said Debbie White, president of Health Professionals and Allied Employees, New Jerseys largest health care union.

Most union contracts will prevent employers from imposing mandates without negotiating, Schmidt said.

Definitely. Employers recognize that resistance is particularly strong in some quarters. Nearly 3 in 10 American adults havent gotten at least one dose of vaccine.

Because vaccinations have become a political issue for a portion of Americans who refuse them, employers could face mass resignations if they require shots. (Other employees are hesitant because of safety concerns and other fears.)

Thats particularly concerning for bosses since many are struggling with The Great Resignation a widespread departure of workers who held onto their positions during the pandemic but are ready to leave for something else now that the economy is picking up.

Given how many employers are grappling with worker shortages, they may want to avoid upsetting their staff.

Workers could be bluffing when they threaten to quit, but employers might still fold their cards.

What people say and what people do theres always a disparity, said Theresa McEndree, global head of marketing for Blackhawk Network, which consults with employers about worker incentives.

Employers may have to accept the inevitability that some people are as good as gone.

Ive heard employers saying that if this is a reason why someone is unwilling to come to work, then maybe we just have to live with them working somewhere else, Symons said, because some employers feel like they just need to get back to functioning as close to the way they did before.

This is also possible. Research shows that many vaccinated Americans are concerned about working alongside unvaccinated colleagues.

More than 62% of American workers want at least 8 in 10 of their co-workers to be vaccinated before theyll feel comfortable returning to the office, according to Blackhawk Network research.

In many cases, the answer is probably yes. For companies that dont want to force their workers to get vaccinated, incentives may do the trick.

History and data have shown that its more positive to reward good behavior than impose a punishment, McEndree said.

Of unvaccinated workers, 51% say a financial incentive from their employer would motivate them to start and complete the vaccine process, she said, summarizing Blackhawks research.

In this case, she said, money works.

Contributing: Lindy Washburn of NorthJersey.com

You can follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey and subscribe to our free Daily Money newsletter here for personal finance tips and business news every Monday through Friday morning.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Health insurance charge for not getting COVID vaccine? It could happen

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Won't get a COVID-19 vaccine? Some bosses may charge you $20 to $50 more for health insurance on every paycheck - Yahoo! Voices

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NYC’s vaccine mandate will test the authority of a 1905 Supreme Court case – Yahoo Finance

Posted: at 12:46 pm

Major employers and universities across the U.S. have comfortably relied on legal precedent that supports mandating a COVID-19 vaccine for workers and students. However, when New York City becomes the first government in the country to ban unvaccinated people from indoor restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues, it opens up a new legal debate.

On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the plan, which will go into effect on Aug. 16. Legal experts told Yahoo Finance that the rule will test the authority of a 1905 Supreme Court case that gave states a broad yet still limited right to uphold compulsory vaccination laws.

We should all keep in mind that the courts jurisprudence is still unsettled, Jim Oleske, professor at Lewis & Clark Law School, told Yahoo Finance. I think that no matter what [New York Citys] final rule looks like...it's going to get challenged.

While the New York City rule is scheduled to go into effect on Aug. 16, enforcement will begin Sept. 13 and will be up to the city's health department rather than the city's police force.

When announcing the rule, de Blasio said, This is going to be a requirement. The only way to patronize these establishments indoors, will be, if you're vaccinated at least one dose. The same for folks in terms of work they'll need at least one dose.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says NYC will mandate the COVID-19 vaccine to enter restaurants and fitness centers. (Photo by SBN/STAR MAX/IPx)

Legal scholars and practitioners say that while there's a strong foundation for states and local governments to adopt and enforce their own vaccination policies, the foundation isnt unshakable.

The coming challenges are expected to raise some of the arguments already brought against COVID-19 mandates in lawsuits across the country, and ultimately force courts to grapple with the 1905 Supreme Court decision, Jacobson v. Massachusetts. In Jacobson, the court said that states, under their police power, could require the smallpox vaccine.

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Jacobson is an old case, and how much force it will have, I think it depends, Oleske said.

Most ripe for debate, Oleske said, is whether state and local governments need to provide exceptions to mandatory vaccination policies either to protect the constitutional right to the free exercise of religion, or to protect the constitutional right under the Due Process clause to remain free from bodily interference.

University of California Hastings College of Law professor Dorit Rubinstein Reiss said another unsettled question is whether such government mandates are legal while inoculations remain under Emergency Use Authorization. Dr. Anthony Fauci told USA Today's editorial board on Friday that there will be a "flood" of vaccine mandates at schools and businesses after the vaccines receive full FDA approval.

She also expects debate over the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and whether it overrides a vaccine policy like New York City's, given that for places open to the public, like restaurants, fitness venues and entertainment spaces, it generally requires accommodations for people with disabilities.

"Those who cannot be vaccinated should not be punished for it," Reiss said. "I would be surprised if [New York City's] law did not include an exception."

While the CDC does not cite specific disabilities known to preclude people from getting a vaccine, the agency notes that some people may be allergic to ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccines. The agency also acknowledges it has limited or no vaccine safety data on individuals with certain underlying medical conditions, citing people with weakened immune systems, and more specifically, autoimmune conditions. Ultimately, the CDC says it recommends COVID-19 vaccination for "most people" with underlying medical conditions, especially those whose condition puts them at higher risk of severe infection.

Although the ADA does not name all impairments that qualify as disabilities, it does recognize HIV, specifically. The agency defines a person with a disability as "a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment."

Several COVID-19 era cases have begun to establish rules amid the pandemic's uncharted legal waters.

In April, the Supreme Court rejected Californias restriction on private gatherings because it didnt exempt religious gatherings. The case exemplifies how much deference the court has been willing to give to those who challenge the validity of a state law aimed at protecting public health, based on religious grounds. In its decision, the court pointed out that the case marked the fifth time it had rejected the Ninth Circuits analysis of Californias COVID restrictions on religious exercise.

A federal district court decision in Texas that dealt with a private employer mandate, rather than one issued by the government, could also have bearing on how courts handle complaints that vaccines have yet to receive full FDA approval. The Texas court dismissed claims of hospital employees who argued that because of the attenuated approval of vaccines, their employers' mandate forced them to either lose their jobs or unwillingly participate in a medical experiment. The case is unique in that it upheld an employer's rule despite no accommodation for workers who raised objections based on disability.

In another decision, handed down in August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld Indiana Universitys right to require student vaccinations for those on campus, reasoning that students could choose to remain unvaccinated and not attend, or another school.

Bill Gordon, a lawyer for King & Spalding who advises companies and individuals on state and local government rules, speculates that New York City may not be legally required to offer exceptions, specifically if its vaccination mandate is limited to restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues.

Like the Indiana case (which said students could choose not to attend the University), the argument will be that it's not necessary to go to a restaurant, and it's not necessary to go to a movie theater, he explained. That being said, it's possible that they will have had some limited exceptions.

Gordon added that if the legality of New York City's mandate were to be challenged in federal court, the analysis would probably look slightly different than the one in Jacobson.

Courts would likely use the rational basis test, Gordon said, referring to a minimum standard that requires governments to show that a law or ordinance is "rationally related" to a legitimate government interest. In 1905, the court required the ordinance to be "reasonable."

Rubinstein Reiss said at a minimum, under either standard, when a government seeks to make vaccination mandatory, she expects a medical exception to be a legal must.

"In terms of medical exemptions, Jacobson implied or strongly suggested that you may be required to give a medical exemption," Reiss said, emphasizing that the case left the door open for debate because it didn't deal directly with the question.

Beyond that, Oleske and Reiss say state and local vaccine mandates are likely going to need to include exceptions for those who decline vaccination on religious grounds.

If it does not include religious exemptions, there will almost certainly be constitutional claims brought under the Free Exercise Clause, Oleske said.

On more shaky ground, he said, will be any challenges claiming a general right to bodily integrity under the constitutions Due Process clause, which has been invoked in abortion and right to die cases.

"On that front, it's going to be very hard because the precedent from the Supreme Court has decided that issue, albeit in 1905," Oleske said.

Another issue that could open the door to legal challenges is how New York City goes about enforcing and penalizing its ban. City officials have yet to explain how they intend to enforce the rule or punish those who violate it. However, already settled in Jacobson was the state's right to impose a fine. The plaintiff who declined vaccination was fined $5, today's equivalent of approximately $150.

Alexis Keenan is a legal reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow Alexis on Twitter @alexiskweed.

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Delta variant: This is a wake-up call for everyone in the country, emergency physician says – Yahoo Finance

Posted: at 12:46 pm

With the Delta variant driving a surge in COVID-19 infections, accounting for more than 90% of new cases across the U.S., health officials warn the threat of the contagious variant is "serious" as infected patients crowd hospital beds in hard-hit regions.

I cannot emphasize enough how serious this situation is, Dr. Elizabeth Clayborne, emergency physician at UM Capital Region Medical Center, told Yahoo Finance Live, referring to the Delta variant. This is a wake-up call for everyone in the country regardless of where they live.

The daily average case count rose above 96,000 on Wednesday, about a 130% jump over the past two weeks, according to data compiled by the New York Times. And the daily average number of deaths are on the rise as well, climbing 65% in the past 14 days to 410, but still only a fraction of the total reported during the winter peak.

As it stands now, Florida and Texas account for about a third of new cases across the country. Texas recorded more than 15,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, its highest one-day total in six months, according to state data. Meanwhile, the Florida Hospital Association reported more than 17,000 new COVID-19 cases in the state and 11,515 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Wednesday, with 86% of inpatient ICU beds in use.

But its not just Florida and Texas that are seeing a rapid rise in cases fueled by the Delta Variant. States including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma and South Carolina have seen confirmed COVID-19 cases jump more than 100% in the past two weeks.

The Delta variant, which is driving the recent surge in cases, was first detected in India. The variant has now been identified in more than 130 countries and a recent internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) document warned its likely to cause more severe illness and is as contagious as chickenpox.

In prepared remarks on Tuesday, President Biden described the Delta variant as a largely preventable tragedy that will get worse before it gets better as he laid out plans to get more Americans vaccinated and stop the spread of COVID.

Story continues

Though vaccination numbers in the country are improving, only 49% of the population 12 years and older is fully vaccinated, and 58% have received one shot.

As an emergency room physician who continues to take care of patients on a daily basis who are testing positive for COVID this is a real threat, Clayborne added. Reach out to those members of your family or their friend circles who have not been vaccinated and encourage them to rethink that because it is very risky.

Seana Smith anchors Yahoo Finance Lives 3-5 p.m. ET program. Follow her on Twitter @SeanaNSmith

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Online car buying is booming, according to this auto dealer – Yahoo Finance

Posted: at 12:46 pm

More mobile consumers after getting a COVID-19 vaccine hasn't slowed the online car buying boom that the pandemic helped create.

At least that's a takeaway from the second quarter earnings out of online car-selling leader Carvana (CVNA).

Carvana said Thursday evening that it sold 107,815 retail units in the second quarter, up 96% from a year ago. It marked the company's first time selling over 100,000 units. The company saw a record level of gross profit per unit. Some $45 million in net income was the first-ever quarter for Carvana of positive net income.

"Five years ago, the year before we went public, we sold 18,000 cars in the full year. We just sold over five times that many in a single quarter," Carvana CEO Ernie Garcia remarked to analysts on a conference call.

Garcia added later on in the call, "I do think what characterizes this environment is you have very rapid vehicle price appreciation in both the wholesale market and the retail market. And it's unlike anything that I've at least ever seen in my career. So I think we've seen very dramatic price appreciation."

Here is how Carvana performed compared to Wall Street analyst forecasts for the second quarter:

Carvana shares rose 2% in Friday trading. The stock has been one of the best pandemic-related plays, with shares up nearly 100% over the past year. Shares of Carvana rival Vroom (VRM) have plunged 40% amid several operational miscues during the last 12 months.

Analysts generally stayed upbeat on Carvana's stock following the results, but several did point to a heightened valuation at current levels.

"While Carvana is uniquely positioned as the largest online used auto player with a significant first mover advantage and scale, risk/reward is balanced at current valuation," said Raymond James analyst Nicholas Bacchus in a research note to clients.

Story continues

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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Sea Ltd’s (NYSE:SE) Valuation looks Reasonable Despite the Share Price rallying over 600% in the last 18 months – Yahoo Finance

Posted: at 12:46 pm

This article originally appeared on Simply Wall St News.

Sea Ltd's ( NYSE:SE ) share price is back at all time highs ahead of the company's second quarter results which are due next week. The stock price is up 650% since March 2020 and some 2,000% in the last 3 years. When a stock experiences such a big rally, there's always a risk that it has become overvalued. Its even more important to look at the valuation when a company isnt profitable, as is the case with Sea.

Sea Ltd is based in Singapore, and operates an online gaming platform, e-commerce sites, and a fintech platform. The company has experienced phenomenal growth in the last few years, with revenue growing nearly 20 fold since 2015.

See our latest analysis for Sea

When we estimate Seas fair value using analyst estimates for revenue and earnings, we come to a value of $300.71 a share. The current price of $296.95 implies a 1.2% discount which suggests the stock is trading at a reasonable valuation. Ideally, investors would like to buy growth stocks like Sea at a wider discount which would offer a 'margin of safety' and more potential upside.

NYSE:SE Fair Value Estimate August 10th 2021

As you can see from the chart below, revenue growth has actually accelerated in the last few years. Over the last five years, revenue growth has averaged 73% a year, but over the last 24 months it has accelerated to 130%. Having said that, there has been some volatility from one quarter to the next, so we shouldnt expect the trajectory to continue each and every quarter.

NYSE:SE Earnings and Revenue Growth August 10th 2021

Looking to the future, analysts are expecting top line growth of 87% this year, 47% in 2022 and 31% in 2023. Those estimates appear quite conservative compared to historical rates of growth. In the 12 months to March, Seas net income loss was $1.7 billion on revenue of $5.4 billion - so the profit margin is currently minus 32%, although the company is already generating free cash flow. The profit margin is expected to improve steadily until the company breaks even in 2023, which should be achievable if expenses rise at a slower rate than revenue.

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What this means for you:

Sea Ltd is growing rapidly, yet doesn't appear overvalued at the current price. However, this is a high beta stock which means we should expect periods of volatility, and these periods may offer an entry point with a wider discount to fair value.

Sea will be reporting second quarter results on 16 August and analysts are expecting a loss per share of 53 cents, compared to a loss a year ago of 68 cents. Revenue for the quarter is expected to be about $1.94 billion, up 50% from a year ago.

The company has historically beaten revenue estimates in most quarters and missed EPS estimates in most quarters, so it wont be surprising to see this repeated. Nevertheless, another miss on the bottom line might create some volatility and a better entry point.

The results will also allow analsysts to update their forecasts which may affect the valuation. If our estimated intrinsic value changes it will be reflected here .

If you want to dive deeper into Sea, you'd also look into what risks it is currently facing. Every company has risks, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Sea you should know about.

If you are no longer interested in Sea, you can use our free platform to see our list of over 50 other stocks with a high growth potential

Simply Wall St analyst Richard Bowman and Simply Wall St have no position in any of the companies mentioned. This article is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com

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