Ford stock could climb another 12% with a boost from its refreshed vehicle lineup and inflation, JP Morgan says.
In a note to clients on Friday, JP Morgan analysts led by Ryan Brinkman reiterated their “overweight” rating on shares of Ford and increased their price target to $18 from $16.
The price target represents a potential 12% jump from Thursday’s closing share price.
Brinkman and his team said they expect Ford to benefit from the improved availability of semiconductors, a strong price/mix due, at least in part, to inflationary forces, and its new electric vehicle lineup.
Brinkman said, “a plethora of factors including unprecedented fiscal stimulus and extraordinarily accommodating monetary policy in conjunction with the reopening of the economy” are helping boost prices for electric vehicles, which is a direct benefit to carmakers like Ford.
The JP Morgan team noted that “the offsetting impact of raw material costs” usually lags behind price increases. They gave the example of steel which usually is “locked in for several quarters in advance.”
Price increases are also a result of rising demand, according to JP Morgan. Inventories at the end of May stood at just a 23 day supply, a record low, the firm said.
Brinkman also noted rising reservations for Ford’s new vehicle lineup show the company has hit the mark with their offerings, and not just in the US but internationally as well-particularly in South America and China.
The new Bronco boasts more than 190,000 reservations to date, JP Morgan says, and the F-150 Lightning electric vehicle received 44,500 reservations “and counting” in less than 48 hours after its release, according to CEO Jim Farley.
The JP Morgan analysts said in their note that a refreshed F-150 has historically led to a “substantial improvement” in North American profitability.
JP Morgan used a 4.25x multiple on their 2022 EBITDAPO estimate to arrive at their $18 price target.
The analyst support for Ford comes as the company is set to release a new small pickup truck called the Maverick on Tuesday, June 8.
The team said the programs are likely contributing to the limited amount of workers currently searching for new jobs. But it noted that neither unemployment rates, earnings growth, nor participation levels are driving states to halt jobless aid early. “It therefore looks like politics, rather than economics, is driving early decisions to end these programs,” they wrote.
JPMorgan pointed out that many GOP states did not have more job openings than jobless people, which economists call a tight labor market.
According to estimates from Andrew Stettner of the left-leaning Century Foundation, 2.1 million workers will lose benefits completely. That’s because they’re on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), two federal programs that expand who’s eligible for unemployment and how long recipients can access benefits for.
Governors in those states have cited the increased benefits as disincentivizing a return to work, and have framed the cuts as a way to kickstart the economy and get workers back. But that’s leaving some workers in a precarious situation, as Insider reported; benefits will halt for many in a matter of weeks.
It also means that unemployed workers in different states will suddenly receive wildly differing amounts of money. States already had differing levels of basic unemployment benefits, and the federal benefits served to standardize those levels.
Now, however, workers in blue states – and the GOP-led states that haven’t opted to end their benefits early – will receive more than their peers simply by virtue of whomever their governor is.
Scott Heide, 35, is an unemployed worker in Florida, which has opted to only cut off the additional $300 in weekly benefits, not all federal programs. Even so, the move will drastically impact his ability to pay bills.
“I’m living in a Republican-controlled state,” Heide told Insider. He added: “If I was living in a Democratic controlled state, they don’t have that issue. We’re facing the consequences because of that.”
Americans are now holding a higher percentage of their net worth in stocks than ever before, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday based on data from JPMorgan and the Federal Reserve.
US households increased their equity holdings to a record 41% of their total financial assets in April.
Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, an analyst at JPMorgan, released the findings from data going back to 1952 that includes 401(k) retirement accounts. The analyst said appreciating share prices coupled with increased buying were the main factors for the elevated allocations.
The news comes just two weeks after FINRA announced margin debt – the amount of money investors borrow from their brokers – hit another record high in March, topping $822 billion.
The rise in interest in equity markets and the use of debt to invest in them comes amid a boom for retail traders.
New apps like Robinhood and Webull have taken the market by storm, adding millions of new investors and traders over the past few years.
Robinhood has grown so much it was able to more than triple the revenue it earns from payment for order flow in the first quarter of 2021.
The rise in revenue from active trading came after Robinhood added some 3 million new members in the first quarter of 2020 alone during the height of the pandemic, per Bloomberg.
A new study from the University of Western Australia found that trading activity among retail investors spiked during the pandemic as investors had more time and money to invest in online trading.
Robinhood and other trading apps have repeatedly graced the top of Apple and Google’s app stores amidst the meteoric rise in retail trading.
And while many market commentators are cheering the inclusive move, some have issued warnings.
Warren Buffett warned about the self-confident nature of Wall Street and the new breed of retail investors in Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting on Saturday.
“We were just as sure of ourselves, and Wall Street was, in 1989 as we are today. But the world can change in very, very dramatic ways,” the ‘oracle of Omaha’ said.
Bitcoin’s fast-growing popularity, increasingly elevated profile in corporate America and swelling market capitalization above $1 trillion have retail and Wall Street investors alike questioning if and when a bitcoin exchange-traded fund can be traded in the US. Those questions are currently before the Securities and Exchange Commission which is being asked in at least nine applications for the green light to launch what could be the first cryptocurrency ETF in the country.
The arrival of a bitcoin ETF in 2021 would follow this month’s start of trading in shares of Coinbase, the first cryptocurrency exchange to go public, as well as expanding acceptance of bitcoin as payment methods by companies including electric vehicle maker Tesla. Meanwhile, investment bank JP Morgan is preparing to introduce its first bitcoin fund for wealthy clients.
These and other bitcoin developments may signal the increased likelihood that a bitcoin ETF will gain approval, but the SEC has rejected other attempts.
Institutions “are getting in from hedge funds on Wall Street to PayPal, to Venmo, to Visa. So [the SEC] can’t really ignore this because the market is deciding that they want to be involved,” Ian Balina, founder and CEO of Token Metrics, a data-driven cryptocurrency investment research platform, told Insider.
Here are three hurdles and tailwinds that experts say stand in front of the first US bitcoin ETF:
1) Bitcoin volatility
The world’s most widely traded digital asset is well-known for its wild price swings, with gains or losses of 10% during a session not uncommon.
“The SEC has a difficult job balancing the clearly overwhelming desire for the market to have access to BTC via an ETF versus the inherent volatility that the asset class has at this stage in its life cycle,” George McDonaugh, co-founder of digital asset investment firm KR1, told Insider. “Volatility would be one of the major considerations. Bitcoin is very scarce and comparatively still a very young asset class. The volatility should dampen over time but that might be long after the market loses patience waiting for [a bitcoin ETF].”
Liquidity in the bitcoin market had also been a factor under consideration by the SEC.
“I think it’s less of a concern now [than] in the early days … and a lot of that is tied to institutional players coming into and creating depth and breadth in the market,” Matteo Dante Perruccio, president international of Wave Financial, a US-regulated digital asset manager, told Insider. “If it’s 90% retail investors in an asset and you open it up to a bigger universe of retail investors, I think that’s a really hard decision to make as a regulator. But it helps you have substantive institutional investors trading and involved in investing in it.”
“It’s fair to say if you look at the denials for the last several ETFs, you can see that there was concern among several of the commissioners that the bitcoin market was not sufficiently regulated and, in their view, was susceptible to manipulation,” and “when I say that I mean that manipulation would show up in prices,” Amy Doberman, a partner in the securities department at law firm WilmerHale, told Insider.
“I think what you’re going to see with the pending requests for approval is an argument that the market is far more developed than it was four or five years ago and that there’s a lot more price discovery available than there was even just a few years ago so that there will be the ability to reference actual trades and sufficient information to develop accurate prices,” said Doberman.
3) What’s on the SEC’s plate
The US lags behind other countries in approving bitcoin ETFs, with Canada this year approving the first publicly traded bitcoin ETF in North America, the Purpose Bitcoin ETF, as well as ethereum ETFs. Brazilian regulators have reportedly approved two bitcoin ETFs.
“People underestimate the Canadian approval,” said Wave Financial’s Perruccio, characterizing as “close cousins” the SEC’s relationship with the Canadian securities regulator. “The regulators have got to be talking a lot and … you always feel more comfortable in company when you are making these bold decisions,” and Canada’s regulator is considered as well-respected, he said. For a US bitcoin ETF, “I feel like it’s inevitable. It’s no longer ‘if’ but ‘when’ and I think the question of when is probably in 2021. That’s my prediction,” said Perruccio.
While bitcoin ETF applications pile up, the SEC and its new chairman Gary Gensler have a range of other issues they are working on. Gensler, who was confirmed as chairman earlier this month, is seen by some bitcoin ETF proponents as a cryptocurrency advocate stemming in part from his teachings at MIT on the subject.
Gensler “will have to decide what he wants to prioritize,” said Doberman. He’s “obviously very knowledgeable about cryptocurrencies and hopefully will bring an additional level of sophistication and appreciation for the currency to the table,” she said.
While he’s well-versed in the subject of cryptocurrencies, Gensler, who served as a chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under the Obama administration, will not just wave through bitcoin ETFs applications without scrutiny, said Noah Hamman, CEO of AdvisorShares, a firm that offers actively managed exchange-traded funds through its AdvisorShares Trust.
Gensler will be in the role “of looking at the rules and regs and deciding if either, one, something fits or two, do the rules and regs need to be modified to allow it to fit because it makes sense and it’s the right thing to do,” said Hamman. AdvisorShares does not have a bitcoin ETF filing with the SEC.
Quarterly revenue of $89.6 billion was higher than $77.3 billion expected in a consensus estimate from Yahoo Finance. Earnings of $1.40 per share trounced the average estimate of $0.56 per share.
“Our original view that the iPhone cycle would disappoint in the midst of COVID was clearly wrong. Not only has Apple done better than we expected on iPhone during the cycle but Mac and iPad have also materially outperformed our forecasts,” said Goldman Sachs equity analyst Rod Hall in a Thursday note in which he upgraded Apple to a neutral rating from sell. Apple’s results prompted other analysts to raise their price targets on the tech industry behemoth.
Apple shares advanced during Thursday’s session.
Here’s what three top Wall Street analysts had to say about Apple’s report.
Wedbush: “Cook & Co. Deliver a ‘Drop the Mic’ quarter
iPhone revenue beat Wedbush’s expectations by 17% “in a jaw-dropping performance as the iPhone 12 supercycle is playing out before our (and the Street’s) eyes,” wrote analyst Dan Ives.
The iPhone 12 will hand the baton to iPhone 13 in September as part of a multi-year 5G upgrade cycle, he said, adding that China remains the fuel in the iPhone 12 cycle, with no signs of slowing down based on its recent Asian supply chain checks and supported by Apple’s high-level outlook for the June quarter.
“Of course chip shortages will have a headwind for the next few quarters (roughly $3 billion to $4 billion headwind in the June quarter) for Apple like every technology/automotive player, but the reality is this product cycle is enabling Cook & Co. to achieve its next level of growth and monetization looking ahead,” wrote Ives.
Wedbush raised its price target $185 from $175, with a bull target of $225. It kept its outperform rating on the stock and said Apple remains on its “Best Ideas List” for 2021.
Goldman Sachs: Apple “materially beats in all segments”
In highlighting some of Apple’s figures, Goldman said iPhone revenue of $48 billion was 30% higher than its estimate, and continued work-from-home demand pushed Mac revenue up by 70% year over year to $9 billion, which was 2% higher than its forecast. It noted that Apple mentioned that both Macs and iPads remained supply constrained because of strong demand.
Analyst Rod Hall said since being added to Goldman’s Americas Sell List in mid-April 2020, Apple’s stock has surged 86% compared with the S&P 500’s gain of 49%.
“Our forecasts move up to match the beat and June revenue indications and are now closer to consensus. While we continue to believe current levels of demand are likely to be tough to sustain, we equally acknowledge that high-end consumers have proven far more resilient through the pandemic than we expected,” wrote Hall.
Goldman raised its 12-month price target to $130 from $83.
JP Morgan: “5G has more legs than one quarter”
Analyst Samik Chatterjee said the 5G iPhone cycle is not only spurring strong consumer upgrades and switches, it’s also positioning Apple for a higher share of the overall smartphone market. As well, Apple is likely to see further demand from customers and enterprise channels for Macs and iPads “much longer than investors presume at this time,” stemming from the changing landscape of where and how people work.
“We raise our revenue and earnings estimates for FY21 on the strength, but more importantly raise our out-year iPhone, Mac, iPad and Services revenue expectations as well, as we expect Apple to continue to build on the strength with stronger replacement cycle-led demand and greater Services opportunity on a larger installed base,” said Chatterjee.
The investment bank raised its price target to $165 from $150 and reiterated its overweight rating.
JP Morgan said it “misjudged” a deal to finance a breakaway league for 12 elite European soccer teams, which collapsed following furious backlash from fans.
The US investment bank committed more than $4 billion in debt finance over 23 years to the 12 founding teams of the league, some of the best in Europe. The debt was secured against broadcasting rights for the tournament, according to the Financial Times.
Twelve clubs announced plans to breakaway from the UEFA Champions League, the top European-wide competition, on Sunday. They would form their own Super League, they said, sparking outrage from fans, players, politicians, and even the UK royal family.
The plan quickly unraveled. By Wednesday all six UK clubs had pulled out. Italian teams AC Milan and Inter Milan, and Spain’s Atletico Madrid, said they would also withdraw.
The new competition planned to include Manchester United and Real Madrid, among other top clubs.
A JP Morgan spokesperson said: “We clearly misjudged how this deal would be viewed by the wider football community and how it might impact them in the future. We will learn from this.”
Critics said the scheme risked turning European soccer into a “money-grabbing” exercise similar to US sports leagues like the NFL, and undermined the ability for smaller clubs to beat the odds and win against top teams.
On Sunday, 12 top clubs from England, Italy, and Spain, including Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester United, announced plans to participate in the new, closed league. The announcement sparked a significant backlash in the sports community. Top players, as well as government officials, spoke out against the new league.
Fans also called for a boycott of services that would stream the Super League games, pointing fingers at Amazon and ESPN.
“To all footbalfans: if the SuperLeague arrives, refuse to choose the TVchannels they will use: If they cannot make money, JP Morgan and the greedy clubs will soon loose their appetite,” one Twitter user wrote.
Streaming rights to the European Super League could be a major boon to media groups like ESPN and Amazon Prime, likely on par with the NFL.
Amazon responded to claims the company would stream the Super League events and said it “understands and shares the concerns of fans.” The company said it has not been involved in any discussions about the new league.
A primary concern among fans was that the new league meant increased control over the game from American corporations. The Super League would be more reminiscent of US sports leagues than European ones, as the league would no longer regulate teams to lower levels based on their performance.
Some fans said JPMorgan was attempting to turn European soccer into a “money-grabbing” entity like the NFL.
JPMorgan Chase plans to offer its wealthy clients access to a stock strategy typically limited to institutional managers, offering them a chance to ride the wave created by a massive inflow of investors, Bloomberg first reported.
The bank has issued $15 million of structured notes that will allow clients to analyze trading patterns caused by big investors in the S&P 500 under the assumption that these whales may give rise to a new trend or create momentum, according to Bloomberg.
The notes offered by the bank, which carry maturities of up to five years, track the performance of the bank’s Kronos+ index that launched in December 2020, an SEC filing first viewed by Bloomberg showed. Kronos+ thus far has outperformed the benchmark.
According to the Bloomberg report, the gauge of the market tracked by the Kronos+ index hasn’t seen a loss since 2008, when it dropped 54%.
The newly available strategy is among the several that big-league clients can utilize to make sense of the market, especially during bouts of volatility.
JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon publicly defended voting rights, following Georgia’s new restrictive voting law, the Election Integrity Act of 2021. He was one of the first major business CEOs to speak out after the law was passed last week, according to CNN.
“We regularly encourage our employees to exercise their fundamental right to vote, and we stand against efforts that may prevent them from being able to do so,” the JPMorgan CEO told CNN.
The law requires ID numbers for absentee ballots, limits the use of ballot drop boxes, and bans people from providing food and water to voters in line. The law will likely impact Democratic districts and voters of color.
JP Morgan has more than 250,000 employees globally, and Dimon added, the company’s “employees span the United States and as state capitals debate election laws, we believe voting must be accessible and equitable.”
On Thursday, JPMorgan announced a new wave of investments as part of its $30 billion commitment to lift up Black, Latinx, and other underserved communities. Latinx is a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina to describe people of Latin American descent.
The plan, which was announced in October of last year, appears to be the largest US corporate commitment to racial equity in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, according to Insider research.
The latest round will focus on Black and brown entrepreneurs and small business owners, according to the financial giant.
“We look at diversity and inclusion as a business,” Brian Lamb, JPMorgan’s global head of diversity and inclusion, told Insider. “We want to drive sustainable change.”
The firm said it would commit $300 million to support underserved small businesses and an additional $42.5 million to its “Entrepreneurs of Color Fund,” a program that supports Black and brown founders.
The pandemic has devastated small businesses, especially those owned by people of color.
Black-owned businesses were more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to have closed during the pandemic, according to an August 2020 national study by the New York Fed. Some 41% of Black-owned businesses closed, and 32% of Latinx-owned businesses closed. Meanwhile, white-owned businesses fell by just 17%.
In addition, JPMorgan will be opening new branches, called “Chase Lounges,” in underserved areas including Harlem, New York, Chicago, and Atlanta. These branches will have resources for entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their companies.
The news follows JPMorgan’s announcement from earlier this week that it would invest $40 million in minority depository institutions (MDIs) and community development financial institutions (CDFIs). MDIs and CDFIs provide financial services in communities that are often underserved.
In October, the firm said it would commit $8 billion to help 40,000 Black and Latinx households access mortgages. The firm said it will help an additional 20,000 achieve lower mortgage payments by providing up to $4 billion in refinancing loans over the next five years.
Over the next five years, JPMorgan said it will finance 100,000 affordable rental units by providing $14 billion in new loans and equity investments, among other efforts.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Black, Hispanic, and Native American households are more likely than white households to be low-income renters, meaning there is a severe lack of affordable homes available to them.
“We’re going to track and report on our progress towards these commitments and ultimately hold our most senior level leaders accountable to the progress,” Lamb said.