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Wall Street Brunch- December 10

Dec. 10, 2020 7:20 AM ET89 Comments
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  • Happy Thursday everyone. Make it a great day!
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Let's start with a little history, shall we?

On this day in 1901, the first Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. The ceremony came on the fifth anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite and other high explosives. In his will, Nobel directed that the bulk of his vast fortune be placed in a fund in which the interest would be “annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” Although Nobel offered no public reason for his creation of the prizes, it is widely believed that he did so out of moral regret over the increasingly lethal uses of his inventions in war. Alfred Bernhard Nobel was born in Stockholm in 1833, and four years later his family moved to Russia. His father ran a successful St. Petersburg factory that built explosive mines and other military equipment. Educated in Russia, Paris, and the United States, Alfred Nobel proved a brilliant chemist. When his father’s business faltered after the end of the Crimean War, Nobel returned to Sweden and set up a laboratory to experiment with explosives. In 1863, he invented a way to control the detonation of nitroglycerin, a highly volatile liquid that had been recently discovered but was previously regarded as too dangerous for use. Two years later, Nobel invented the blasting cap, an improved detonator that inaugurated the modern use of high explosives. Previously, the most dependable explosive was black powder, a form of gunpowder. Nitroglycerin remained dangerous, however, and in 1864 Nobel’s nitroglycerin factory blew up, killing his younger brother and several other people. Searching for a safer explosive, Nobel discovered in 1867 that the combination of nitroglycerin and a porous substance called kieselguhr produced a highly explosive mixture that was much safer to handle and use. Nobel christened his invention “dynamite,” for the Greek word dynamis, meaning “power.” Securing patents on dynamite, Nobel acquired a fortune as humanity put his invention to use in construction and warfare. In 1875, Nobel created a more powerful form of dynamite, blasting gelatin, and in 1887 introduced ballistite, a smokeless nitroglycerin powder. Around that time, one of Nobel’s brothers died in France, and French newspapers printed obituaries in which they mistook him for Alfred. One headline read, “The merchant of death is dead.” Alfred Nobel in fact had pacifist tendencies and in his later years apparently developed strong misgivings about the impact of his inventions on the world. After he died in San Remo, Italy, on December 10, 1896, the majority of his estate went toward the creation of prizes to be given annually in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. The portion of his will establishing the Nobel Peace Prize read, “[one award shall be given] to the person who has done the most or best work for fraternity among nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” Exactly five years after his death, the first Nobel awards were presented. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences decides the prizes in physics, chemistry, and economic science; the Swedish Royal Caroline Medico-Surgical Institute determines the physiology or medicine award; the Swedish Academy chooses literature; and a committee elected by the Norwegian parliament awards the peace prize. The Nobel Prizes are still presented annually. Each Nobel carries a cash prize of nearly $1,400,000 and recipients also received a gold medal, as is the tradition.

On December 10, 1915, the 1 millionth Ford car rolls off the assembly line at the River Rouge plant in Detroit. No one paid much attention to the 1 million milestone. (“With twenty-five assembly plants…and with a big factory in Detroit assembling so many Ford cars a day,” said The Ford Times, “we passed the million mark without knowing it.”) The 10 millionth Ford, on the other hand, traveled back and forth from New York to San Francisco and from Los Angeles to Chicago in the summer of 1924, inspiring raucous celebrations everywhere it went. The company even made a movie of this goodwill tour, called “Fording the Lincoln Highway.” Along with the 15 millionth Ford in 1927 came another milestone: the company’s announcement that it was discontinuing its classic but no-longer–beloved Model T. Compared to that news, the release of the 20 millionth Ford was fairly dull: emblazoned with the words “TWENTY MILLIONTH” and the Ford logo on both sides and the top, that car went on a national barnstorming tour in 1931, then directly to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan

Now for some stock and investing news-

The $226B New York State Common Retirement Fund says it will eliminate many of its fossil fuel stocks in the coming years, as it plans to shift its investments to reach a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions portfolio by 2040, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said today. In addition to dropping oil, gas, oil services and pipeline companies, the fund will sell shares in other companies that contribute to global warming by 2040, the comptroller said. No official word yet, but it appear that the New York State Teachers Retirement Fund will follow this move.

SEC announces that General Electric (NYSE:GE) has agreed to pay a $200M penalty to settle charges for disclosure failures in its power and insurance businesses. “Investors are entitled to an accurate picture of a company’s material operating results. GE’s repeated disclosure failures across multiple businesses materially misled investors about how it was generating reported earnings and cash growth as well as latent risks in its insurance business.” said Stephanie Avakian, Director of the Division of Enforcement. Since investors are entitled to an accurate picture of a company's material operating results, the SEC should be very busy investigating some of the high-flying stocks featured daily on Seeking Tesla, I mean Seeking Alpha.

Read that Elon Musk lost $8.9 Billion yesterday in Tesla stock value. How long before Mr. Musk "leaks" an email to stop the damage that JPM's $90 price target for $TSLA has caused? Over/Under is 2 days on the "leaked" email.

A recent regulatory filing suggests that Resolute Investment Managers—ARK funds’ U.S. distributor—plans to take control of the company early next year. When Resolute acquired a minority stake in ARK in 2016, the deal also included an option that allows Resolute to purchase a controlling stake—if it wants—before the option expires in early 2021. ARK, which manages $30 billion in assets, including $15 billion across seven exchange-traded funds, has more than tripled its assets in the past year alone. Now, Resolute is exercising its option to own a bigger piece of the cake. Cathie Wood, ARK’s founder and CEO who owns 50% to 75% of the firm, is fighting the takeover. In a statement, Wood said she is “disappointed” about Resolute’s “unwelcome notice” of its intention to seize control of the business. “The remarkable success of our team is rooted firmly in a culture of transparency, collaboration, and employee ownership,” she wrote. “We do not believe that equity ownership by a party tangential to our business is in the best interest of ARK’s stakeholders.” Wood didn’t comment beyond the statement. (How could someone who is so intelligent agree to a deal that included an option that allows Resolute to purchase a controlling stake, if it wants, before the option expires in early 2021?) 

A few thoughts running through my head as I read of Cathie Wood possibly losing control of ARK Investing-

If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.

It is interesting to see the smartest person in the room discover that they are not the smartest person in the room.

Immutep (NASDAQ:IMMP) skyrockets post-market after reporting a statistically significant survival benefit in data from the ongoing Phase 2B AIPAC study evaluating its lead product candidate, eftilagimod alpha, in combination with paclitaxel chemotherapy in patients with metastatic breast cancer. The company says the results mark the first time an antigen presenting cell activator has shown an Overall Survival benefit in a randomized setting in metastatic breast cancer patients known to be insensitive to immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy.

Advancing its climate pledge commitment to be net-zero carbon by 2040, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced 26 new utility-scale wind and solar energy projects totaling 3.4 gigawatts (GW) of electricity production capacity, bringing its total investment in renewable energy in 2020 to 35 projects and more than 4 GW of capacity — the largest corporate investment in renewable energy in a single year. The 26 new wind and solar projects announced are located in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S. Amazon has now enabled wind and solar projects in California, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia. 

Airbnb (ABNB) has priced its initial public offering of ~51.32M Class A common stock, 50M of which are being sold by the company and ~1.32M by certain selling stockholders, at $68/share, above the expected range of $56-$60. Trading commences today on Nasdaq. 

Where is Jon Corzine and will MF Global be looking at property in Texas?

Where is Marissa Mayer and will her app get free advertising on Yahoo?

Where is Elizabeth Holmes and will she be sending out Christmas cards this year?

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.

Seeking Alpha's Disclosure: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. Any views or opinions expressed above may not reflect those of Seeking Alpha as a whole. Seeking Alpha is not a licensed securities dealer, broker or US investment adviser or investment bank. Our analysts are third party authors that include both professional investors and individual investors who may not be licensed or certified by any institute or regulatory body.

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