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Wall Street Brunch- December 8

Dec. 08, 2020 8:58 AM ET49 Comments
Please Note: Blog posts are not selected, edited or screened by Seeking Alpha editors.


  • Please refrain from comments that are purely political. Thank you for your attention with this request.
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  • History is brought to you by www.history.com.
  • Happy Tuesday everyone. Make it a great day!
  • Apologies for the late Brunch offering. I am off today and slept in.

Let's start with a little history, shall we?

On this day in 1980, John Lennon, a former member of the Beatles, the rock group that transformed popular music in the 1960s, is shot and killed by an obsessed fan in New York City. The 40-year-old artist was entering his luxury Manhattan apartment building when Mark David Chapman shot him four times at close range with a .38-caliber revolver. Lennon, bleeding profusely, was rushed to the hospital but died en route. Chapman had received an autograph from Lennon earlier in the day and voluntarily remained at the scene of the shooting until he was arrested by police. For a week, hundreds of bereaved fans kept a vigil outside the Dakota–Lennon’s apartment building–and demonstrations of mourning were held around the world. John Lennon was one half of the singing-songwriting team that made the Beatles the most popular musical group of the 20th century. The other band leader was Paul McCartney, but the rest of the quartet–George Harrison and Ringo Starr–sometimes penned and sang their own songs as well. Hailing from Liverpool, England, and influenced by early American rock and roll, the Beatles took Britain by storm in 1963 with the single “Please Please Me.” “Beatlemania” spread to the United States in 1964 with the release of “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” followed by a sensational U.S. tour. With youth poised to break away from the culturally rigid landscape of the 1950s, the “Fab Four,” with their exuberant music and good-natured rebellion, were the perfect catalyst for the shift. The Beatles sold millions of records and starred in hit movies such as A Hard Day’s Night (1964). Their live performances were near riots, with teenage girls screaming and fainting as their boyfriends nodded along to the catchy pop songs. In 1966, the Beatles gave up touring to concentrate on their innovative studio recordings, such as 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, a psychedelic concept album that is regarded as a masterpiece of popular music. The Beatles’ music remained relevant to youth throughout the great cultural shifts of the 1960s, and critics of all ages acknowledged the songwriting genius of the Lennon-McCartney team. Lennon was considered the intellectual Beatle and certainly was the most outspoken of the four. He caused a major controversy in 1966 when he declared that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus,” prompting mass burnings of Beatles’ records in the American Bible Belt. He later became an anti-war activist and flirted with communism in the lyrics of solo hits like “Imagine,” recorded after the Beatles disbanded in 1970. In 1975, Lennon dropped out of the music business to spend more time with his Japanese-born wife, Yoko Ono, and their son, Sean. In 1980, he made a comeback with Double-Fantasy, a critically acclaimed album that celebrated his love for Yoko and featured songs written by her. John Lennon is memorialized in “Strawberry Fields,” a section of Central Park across the street from the Dakota that Yoko Ono landscaped in honor of her husband. (The Beatles channel on Sirius XM is my favorite. Huge Beatles fan)

On this day in 1941, Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress and a dedicated lifelong pacifist, casts the sole Congressional vote against the U.S. declaration of war on Japan. She was the only member of Congress to vote against U.S. involvement in both World Wars, having been among those who voted against American entry into World War I nearly a quarter of a century earlier. Rankin was a committed pacifist, and she cared little about the damage her beliefs caused her political career. Although some male representatives joined her in voting against World War I in 1917, many citizens saw her vote as evidence that a woman could not handle the difficult burdens of national leadership. Perhaps as a result, Montanans voted her out of office two years later. Ironically, Rankin won re-election to the House in 1940, just in time to face another vote on war. While her commitment to pacifism was politically harmful during World War I, Rankin knew that in the case of World War II, it would be downright suicidal. The surprise Japanese attack on the U.S. military base at Pearl Harbor was devastating, and zeal for revenge was at a fever pitch. The vast majority of Americans supported President Roosevelt’s call for a declaration of war. Rankin, however, believed that Roosevelt deliberately provoked the Japanese to attack because he wanted to bring the U.S. into the European war against Germany; she was determined not to cooperate with the president’s plan. After a 40-minute debate on the floor of the House, a roll call vote began. When her turn came, Rankin stood and said, “As a woman, I can’t go to war and I refuse to send anyone else.” When news of Rankin’s vote reached the crowd gathered outside the capitol, some patriots threatened to attack the Montana congresswoman, and police escorted her out of the building. Rankin was vilified in the press, accused of disloyalty, and called “Japanette Rankin,” among other impolite names. She stood her ground, however, and never apologized for her vote.

Now for some stock and investing news-

JPMorgan starts off coverage on DraftKings (DKNG -2.1%) with a Neutral rating. The firm lays out a series of positives on DKNG, including its position as a leader in the fast growing U.S. sports betting/iGaming industry and roots as a leader in daily fantasy sports that has resulted in first-mover advantages with branding, a targeted user base and a scalable technology/regulatory platform. "However, we believe these positives are balanced by our view that (1) DKNG's premium valuation multiple (~7.6x 2025E EV/sales) to both peers (3.4x 2025E EV/sales) and other high-growth consumer/internet stocks (average 5.1x 2025E EV/sales) may not be sustainable, (2) increasing competition in USSB/iGaming could elongate DKNG’s path to profitability, and (3) the pace and number of states that legalize OSB/iGaming may fall short of our expectations, reducing our TAM and DKNG’s revenue potential." (I have shares of $BETZ and disagree with the experts at JPM)

Microstrategy (NASDAQ:MSTR) is offering $400M in principal amount of convertible senior notes due 2025. The company intends to use the net proceeds to buy more Bitcoin (BTC-USD). CEO Michael Saylor earlier this year announced his intention to invest a sizable portion of his company's treasury assets in the cryptocurrency, initially buying $425M worth. The company on Friday evening announced the purchase of another $50M worth of Bitcoin.

Palantir Technologies (PLTR, +12%) is rallying in morning trading after it reportedly inks a 3-year contract with the FDA. The contract, to power drug review and inspections, is worth $44.4M.

I just stopped in on Wall Street Breakfast. Has there been a set-up change? I had to scroll back to the top to make sure that I was looking at WSB. Not sure I care for it.

General Electric (NYSE:GE) says it voluntarily pre-funded $2.5B in pension requirements into 2023 and repaid $1.5B of an intra-company loan to GE Capital, providing a $4B shot in the arm for its balance sheet. GE says the actions cut its pension deficit by $2.5B and reduced the intercompany balance, further simplifying the company. GE says it expects to generate $2.5B in industrial free cash flow during Q4 and positive free cash flow in 2021. (In 2021, GE will be more profitable than Tesla (?) )

Hindenburg Research posts a very detailed response via Twitter to the claims by Kandi Technologies Group (KNDI +17.4%) over the firm's negative report on the company. Hindenburg says Kandi failed to respond to its 25 questions and offered up a limited response to small selections of the report, which it says refuted nothing, mischaracterized the research and raised brand new issues. (Not sure that Kandi was required to answer any questions asked by Hindenburg Research. The stock is up pre-market.)

Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI) issues preliminary financial projections for 2021, including $1.08/share in dividends - a 3% Y/Y increase - and $1.2B in distributable cash flow in excess of discretionary capital spending and dividends. Kinder expects to generate $2.1B in attributable net income in 2021, $2B more than its 2020 forecast, due primarily to asset and goodwill impairments taken last year, and expects to generate $4.4B in DCF during 2021, 3% below its current 2020 forecast, affected by several factors including lower re-contracting rates on certain natural gas pipeline assets.

Where is Jon Corzine and is MF GLobal looking to buy shares of Bitcoin?

Where is Marissa Mayer and will she place the star on top of the Yahoo corporate Christmas tree again this year?

Where is Elizabeth Holmes and will she be singing "Silent Night" at the Theranos Christmas party?

Have a great day everyone. Stay safe out there.

This is the day The Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

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