Software Firm JFrog Hops 47% in Debut After $509 Million IPO


(Bloomberg) — JFrog Ltd., which makes tools for software developers, rose 47% in its trading debut Wednesday after its initial public offering raised $509 million.

The shares traded as high as $77.00 after the company priced about 11.6 million of them at $44 apiece. The stock closed at $64.79 in New York, giving the company a market value of $5.7 billion.

JFrog’s debut comes at a crowded week for technology listings. Snowflake Inc., which also went public Wednesday, more than doubled in value after pricing the biggest software IPO on record.

JFrog had planned to sell 8 million shares in the listing, while its investors would sell an additional 3.57 million shares, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The shares were offered at $39 to $41 each, a range that had been elevated earlier from $33 to $37.

JFrog’s co-founders and directors — Shlomi Ben Haim, Frederic Simon and Yoav Landman — are selling an aggregate of 1.44 million shares in the IPO.

“The need for software leases and software deployment is just getting higher and has crystallize and amplified by Covid,” JFrog Chief Executive Officer Ben Haim said in an interview on Wednesday. “We thought that this is the right timing to go public.”

With roots in Israel, JFrog didn’t initially get the attention it deserved from Silicon Valley, said Dharmesh Thakker, a general partner at Battery Ventures.

“Nobody really knew this sleepy little company with strong fundamentals,” said Thakker, who took a board observer seat at the company after investing. He said that he’s seeing more and more promising startups getting their start outside of the U.S.

Enthusiasm for JFrog is part of a broader excitement around cloud companies, Thakker said. He expects that many cloud businesses will benefit from the work-from-home environment, as large organizations move their software online.

The offering was led by Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. JFrog’s shares are trading on the Nasdaq Global Select market under the symbol FROG.

One San Francisco accountant finishes every client conversation with a discussion about what a Biden administration could mean for portfolios.

We’re seeing the potential start of an epic deluge of new stock from companies that are private and eager to cash out, and guess who will be the losers?

Nikola Corporation (NASDAQ: NKLA) were trading slightly higher Wednesday afternoon during another volatile trading day following allegations of fraud by short seller Hindenburg Research last week.Nikola bulls are hoping the share price has found support following news that both the SEC and the Department of Justice are probing the company, but former hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson believes the ultimate outcome for Nikola and its co-founder Trevor Milton will be a worst-case scenario.At this point, Nikola and Milton have responded to Hindenburg’s accusation of “a litany of material false statements made by Nikola’s Founder and Executive Chairman, Trevor Milton.”The electric vehicle developer said the Hindenburg report was timed opportunistically after the announcement of Nikola’s partnership with General Motors and the resulting positive stock reaction. Nikola called Hindenburg’s report “false and defamatory” in a Monday press release. The short report “was designed to provide a false impression to investors and to negatively manipulate the market in order to financially benefit short sellers, including Hindenburg itself,” according to Nikola’s statement. Nikola’s Rebuttal Lackluster? The initial Hindenburg report came out just a day after Nikola announced a $2-billion production deal with General Motors Company (NYSE: GM).Hindenburg has since responded to Nikola, claiming that the company’s rebuttal addressed only 10 out of 53 questions the short seller posed in the initial report.Nikola’s response didn’t debunk any of Hindenburg’s initial claims, the short seller said.”Instead it either confirmed or sidestepped virtually everything we wrote about, and in some cases raised new unanswered questions,” Hindenburg wrote in its response.Tilson Speculates About Criminal Charges: In his daily newsletter on Tuesday, Tilson said a friend told him this week he believes it’s only a matter of time before Nikola and Milton face criminal indictments.”I agree, and confidently predict that General Motors will end the partnership with Nikola that it announced last week, Nikola’s stock will collapse, and Milton will end up behind bars for securities fraud,” Tilson said.Nikola had not responded to a request for comment from Benzinga on Tilson’s statements at the time of publication Wednesday. On Monday, GM CEO Mary Barra said the company had a “very capable” team vet Nikola prior to the partnership being struck.On Wednesday, JPMorgan reiterated an Overweight rating on Nikola and said the company’s CFO Kim Brady told them that Nikola is experiencing “no loss of momentum with existing partners, prospective customers, suppliers and employees.”Benzinga’s Take: Nikola’s share price has taken a big hit from where it peaked following the GM deal announcement, but it is still a long way from a complete collapse, as Tilson predicts.The ultimate fate of the company hinges on whether Milton was being intentionally deceptive in his claims about the company and its technology or simply being aggressively optimistic about its future capabilities. NKLA Chart by TradingView new TradingView.widget( { “width”: 680, “height”: 423, “symbol”: “NASDAQ:NKLA”, “interval”: “D”, “timezone”: “Etc/UTC”, “theme”: “light”, “style”: “1”, “locale”: “en”, “toolbar_bg”: “f1f3f6”, “enable_publishing”: false, “allow_symbol_change”: true, “container_id”: “tradingview_e2f53” } ); Related Links:Why A Nikola Short Squeeze Could Be Coming ‘Very Soon’Nikola Sell-Off Accelerates Following Milton’s Response To Hindenburg ReportPhoto courtesy of Nikola. Latest Ratings for NKLA DateFirmActionFromTo Sep 2020RBC CapitalMaintainsSector Perform Aug 2020WedbushInitiates Coverage OnNeutral Aug 2020WedbushInitiates Coverage OnNeutral View More Analyst Ratings for NKLA View the Latest Analyst RatingsSee more from Benzinga * Nikola Short Sellers Pocket M On Hindenburg Sell-Off(C) 2020 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

Did the stock market’s epic rally just need a little breather? The last few weeks have seen stocks experience their first meaningful correction since the bull market kicked off in March. Now, the question swirling around the Street is, will the rally pick back up again, or is more downside on the way?According to Morgan Stanley’s chief U.S. equity strategist Mike Wilson, uncertainty regarding the presidential election and stalemate on the next stimulus package could lead to declines in September and October. “On the correction, there’s still downside as markets digest the risk of congressional gridlock on the next fiscal deal. While we think something will ultimately get done, it will likely take another few weeks to get it over the goal line,” he noted.However, Wilson argues the recent volatility in no way signals the end of the current bull market. “We think this correction is just that, a correction in a new bull market. It’s normal for markets to pullback after such an incredible run like we’ve experienced since March. Furthermore, when a new bull market coincides with a new economic cycle, the bull market usually runs for years, not months,” the strategist explained.Taking Wilson’s outlook to heart, our focus shifted to three stocks getting a thumbs up from Morgan Stanley. As the firm’s analysts see over 50% upside potential in store for each, we used TipRanks’ database to get the full scoop.Akero Therapeutics (AKRO)With its innovative medicines designed to restore metabolic balance and halt the progression of NASH, a severe form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, Akero Therapeutics wants to address the unmet medical needs of patients from all over the world. Based on the strength of its lead candidate, Morgan Stanley is pounding the table.Representing the firm, 5-star analyst Matthew Harrison tells clients that AKRO’s treatment for NASH, efruxifermin (EFX), has a “best-in-class profile.”  EFX is the company’s lead asset and was designed to mimic the biological activity of fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), which regulates multiple metabolic pathways and cellular processes, to reduce liver fat and inflammation, reverse fibrosis, increase insulin sensitivity and improve lipoproteins.According to Harrison, NASH is a complex disease, with patients usually having multiple co-morbidities like obesity, type-2 diabetes, increased triglycerides, increased LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol. “A promising therapeutic solution would not only treat the multiple components of NASH but would also have an acceptable side effect profile given the potential co-morbidities,” the analyst explained.That’s where AKRO’s therapy comes in. “In June, Akero presented best-in-class data from its Phase 2a study. This data indicates that EFX improved the two liver histological endpoints recommended by the FDA along with resulting in weight loss, improving cardiovascular health (increasing good HDL cholesterol, decreasing triglycerides, not raising bad LDL cholesterol), and improving factors related to controlling blood glucose levels. This benefit/risk profile beats the competition,” Harrison stated.Looking at the indication as a whole, Harrison views NASH as a very large opportunity given that roughly 20 million people in the U.S. suffer from the condition.The analyst, however, acknowledges there are commercial hurdles. One of these is the fact that “NASH is currently undiagnosed in all but a very small percentage of the prevalent pool since diagnosis currently requires an invasive liver biopsy.” Therefore, along with demonstrating a positive benefit/risk profile, AKRO will need to find patients and secure payer support should the candidate receive FDA approval, in Harrison’s opinion.That said, Harrison believes AKRO is up for the task. “We believe that given EFX’s clean safety profile and broad-based effects, Akero will likely largely overcome these commercial hurdles,” he commented.Harrison added, “Importantly, since Akero’s treatment is injectable, we only assume the drug will penetrate into the population of the most sick patients where there are currently at least 400,000 patients diagnosed and seeking treatment in the U.S.” To this end, he assigns a 60% probability of success, and estimates unadjusted peak sales for the U.S. and the EU will land at $4.5 billion.Based on all of the above, Harrison rates AKRO an Overweight (i.e. Buy) along with a $70 price target. Should his thesis play out, a potential twelve-month gain of 93% could be in the cards. (To watch Harrison’s track record, click here)Are other analysts in agreement? They are. Only Buy ratings, 6, in fact, have been issued in the last three months. Therefore, the message is clear: AKRO is a Strong Buy. Given the $58.50 average price target, shares could rise 61% in the next year. (See AKRO stock analysis on TipRanks)TransDigm Group (TDG)Next up we have TransDigm Group, which is one of the top producers, designers and suppliers of highly engineered aerospace components, systems and subsystems. Its products are used on nearly all commercial and military aircrafts in service today. Given its ability to weather the COVID-19 storm, Morgan Stanley sees a bright future ahead.Morgan Stanley analyst Kristine Liwag stated, “We view TransDigm as the most defensible business model in commercial aerospace.” However, this is not to say the company hasn’t been confronted with serious challenges.Over the past few years, management has had to grapple with how to price its defense business, the sustainability of its pricing strategy in aerospace, the durability of its levered balance sheet and the ability to weather a downturn. That said, Liwag remains optimistic going forward. “TDG has overcome short thesis after short thesis in the past few years and we do not expect these concerns to repeat,” she noted.According to Liwag, TDG’s “ability to hold on to margins during a global pandemic” conveys its operating strength. To this end, her estimate for EBITDA margins is well above the rest of the Street’s. The analyst also points out that the company cut its SG&A expense by $89 million year-over-year in fiscal Q3 2020. “We assume the company will retain at least half of those savings, with the remainder returning in the form of variable selling expenses,” she said.Liwag added, “We are positive on TransDigm, particularly as recovery in global air traffic would be favorable for TransDigm’s core profit maker, the aftermarket. Additionally, we view it positively that TDG has the means to acquire weaker players.”Back in April, management raised $1.5 billion of additional debt to trim liquidity risks and provide an extra cushion. “A large debt load is part of management’s strategy to provide private equity like return for its shareholders. Historically, the company has used debt to acquire businesses with similar attributes to TDG’s portfolio of 90% proprietary products and 75% sole sourced. If passenger air traffic continues to normalize, we would expect TDG to use its incremental capital to acquire struggling businesses that fit its strategy,” Liwag commented.All of this prompted Liwag to leave her bullish call and $772 price target unchanged. This target conveys her confidence in TDG’s ability to climb 48% higher in the next year. (To watch Liwag’s track record, click here)Looking at the consensus breakdown, 7 Buys and 5 Holds have been published in the last three months. Therefore, TDG gets a Moderate Buy consensus rating. Based on the $500.58 average price target, shares are poised to stay range-bound for now. (See TDG stock analysis on TipRanks)Cemex SAB (CX)Cemex counts itself as one of the leading players in the building materials industry, with the company manufacturing and distributing cement, ready-mix concrete and aggregates. As its risk/reward profile has just gotten more positive, now could be the time to snap up shares, so says Morgan Stanley.Covering the stock for Morgan Stanley, analyst Nikolaj Lippmann believes that CX’s bullish guidance for the third quarter and FY20, which was significantly ahead of consensus, was “the catalyst that builds a bridge to a favorable risk-reward shift.” On top of this, the stock is trading at 6.4 2020e EV/EBITDA, which is cheap compared to its historical performance and its peers, according to the analyst.That being said, Lippmann argues “CX is mainly a good, strong deleveraging story with a call option on what could be an exceptional U.S. cement market if the U.S. Congress approves an infrastructure package in 2021… If we get a U.S. infrastructure package beyond 2020, it would add icing to the cake, we think, and take the market from good to possibly great.”Although a large multi-year package is dependent upon the outcomes of the U.S. presidential and congressional elections, even in the base case, Lippmann expects cement to show pricing power in the U.S.It should be noted that Lippmann thinks it’s possible the next year will be relatively uneventful, but in that case, he expects the industry to pause at 90% capacity utilization and grow from there. On top of this, pricing in Mexico has been holding up. This “limits the downside risk materially and helps skew the risk-reward positively,” in Lippmann’s opinion.What else is working in CX’s favor? The cement demand year-to-date has pleasantly surprised Lippmann, with upside seen during the first stage of the pandemic. He points to DIY and Department of Transportation maintenance work during periods of low traffic, and strong residential construction as the drivers of this demand.Everything that CX has going for it convinced Lippmann to rate the stock an Overweight (i.e. Buy). Along with the call, he attached a $6 price target, suggesting 50% upside potential. (To watch Lippmann’s track record, click here)Turning to the rest of the analyst community, opinions are split almost evenly. 6 Buys and 5 Holds add up to a Moderate Buy consensus rating. At $4.16, the average price target implies 4% upside potential. (See Cemex 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.

My wife and I co-signed her nephew’s student loans so he could attend a small private college. You loaned money to your nephew by co-signing his loan with the expectation that he would finish college, get a job and repay it. In other words, you co-signed the loan so your nephew would make the investment in his own future.

European stocks slumped and U.S. stock futures weakened Thursday, with traders in Europe getting their first chance to react to the Federal Reserve’s decision and its cautious outlook on the world’s top economy.

(Bloomberg) — Richard Branson is the latest billionaire to join the blank-check listing party after he sold his space tourism business to one.VG Acquisition Corp. filed Wednesday to raise $400 million in a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. The company plans to sell 40 million units at $10 apiece, according to its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.The company said it would look at a host of businesses to target for a merger. The possibilities could be as varied as travel, financial services, music and renewable energy. it said.Branson, founder of the VG Acquisition, sold Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. in October to a blank-check company started by Chamath Palihapitiya and venture capital firm Hedosophia in a deal that set off this year’s SPAC listing spree.Branson and the management of VG Acquisition bought 11.5 million shares or 20% of the shares outstanding for $25,000 in a common payout known as founder shares or promote — a compensation to sponsors for finding a deal.Investment heavyweights like Bill Ackman have since set up their own SPACs. The $4 billion initial public offering by Ackman’s SPAC in July is the largest ever by a blank-check company.Buyout firm Apollo Global Management Inc. also filed Wednesday to raise $750 million through a blank-check company, Apollo Strategic Growth Capital.Credit Suisse Group AG is leading the offering by VG Acquisition. The company plans to list its units, consisting of one Class A ordinary share and one-third of a redeemable warrant, on the New York stock exchange under the symbol VGAC.U.Read more: Why Blank Check Companies (SPACs) Are Filling Up Fast: QuickTakeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

GE stock soared after CEO Larry Culp said Wednesday that he sees positive cash flow earlier than previously expected.

It’s a clear demonstration of continued strong investor interest in both cloud-based software stocks and companies with very high top-line growth rates.

Credit Suisse analyst Dan Levy increased his price target for Tesla stock to $400 from $280. That’s a 40% increase—and it works out to more than $100 billion in additional market value.

Vaxart (VXRT) began the week with a monster Monday session. Shares of the vaccine specialist surged by 47% after the biotech announced it had been given the go ahead from the FDA to commence the Phase 1 clinical trial of its oral COVID-19 vaccine candidate.The study will evaluate the vaccine’s effect on healthy adults between the ages of 18 to 55, examining the safety and reactogenicity of a two-dose regimen.The trial’s commencement couldn’t have come sooner for this high-flying coronavirus stock, as the small cap is significantly behind peers in the development of its COVID-19 vaccine program. However, based on the available pre-clinical data, B Riley FBR analyst Mayank Mamtani believes “the long awaited initiation clears the path for the ‘show me’ story” to make a mark in a crowded yet still “uncertain landscape.”The 5-star analyst further said, “Having demonstrated the potential to activate multiple arms of the immune system, i.e., serum neutralizing antibody, dose-dependent IgG, mucosal immune and cell-mediated CD4 and CD8 T cell responses, we believe VXRT likely emerges as a dominant player in the second wave of COVID-19 vaccines with the potential to induce sterilizing immunity, conferring a high degree of immune protection while also limiting the risk for transmission.”Vaxart’s rise in 2020 has been nothing less than a fairytale with shares up by 1950% so far. Yet, Mamtani urges investors pull the trigger on VXRT shares believing the “valuation disconnect relative to more advanced C-19 vaccine peers, presents an additional compelling buying opportunity.”Mamtani expects several 4Q catalysts to drive further share appreciation. These include “(1) incremental challenge data in hamsters and non-human primates (NHP); (2) in-human Ph. I proof-of-concept data informing dose selection; and (3) external Ph. III efficacy readouts (e.g., PFE/BNTX, MRNA, NVAX) informative of the value proposition of VXRT’s oral vaccine, which could then result in appropriate non-dilutive funding.”To this end, Mamtani reiterates a Buy rating on VXRT alongside a $22 price target, which implies a 207% upside. (To watch Mamtani’s track record, click here)Overall, it has been relatively quiet when it comes to other analyst activity. In the last three months, only 2 analysts have issued ratings. However, as they were both Buys, the word on the Street is that VXRT is a Moderate Buy. Based on the $19.50 average price target, shares could climb 169% higher in the next twelve months. (See Vaxart stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for healthcare 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 analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.

(Bloomberg) — Snowflake Inc.’s initial public offering isn’t just creating new fortunes, it’s adding to the wallets of some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names.Iconiq Capital, a multifamily office whose clients include Facebook Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg, LinkedIn Corp.’s Reid Hoffman and Twitter Inc.’s Jack Dorsey, took part in multiple Snowflake funding rounds beginning in 2017. Its 12% stake in the company, purchased for $245 million, was worth more than $4 billion at the initial offering price of $120. By the end of Wednesday, the same stake was worth a staggering $8.6 billion.Read more: Snowflake soars into tech big leagues with $73 billion valuationShares of the cloud-computing company surged as high as $319 in New York trading before dropping back to close at $253.93. That made it worth $70 billion, about as much as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and almost six times the $12.4 billion it was valued at in a February fundraising round.Cloud computing “is a secular trend right now,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mandeep Singh. “We have already seen Zoom, DocuSign and Datadog do well this year. Investors understand the cloud business model well and that makes a high-growth company like Snowflake attractive.”The San Mateo, California-based firm’s top executives also saw their wealth surge. Four of them — Frank Slootman, Bob Muglia, Michael Scarpelli and Benoit Dageville — now own stakes worth a combined $8 billion.Only one of them, Dageville, was a founder. His stake is smaller than Slootman’s, who joined as chief executive officer from ServiceNow Inc. last year.Concurrent with the IPO, former CEO Muglia sold half of his 8.1 million Snowflake shares to Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which is also investing an additional $250 million at the IPO price. Such deals aren’t typically part of Warren Buffett’s play book, although in 2018 Berkshire invested in the initial offering of Brazilian fintech StoneCo Ltd.Buffett’s move boosted the already sky-high institutional interest in the cloud-computing firm, Singh said. It “definitely validates the attractiveness of Snowflake’s IPO,” he said.So far it has been a winning bet for Buffett, with the value of Berkshire’s investment more than doubling by the end of the day.(Updates value of Iconiq’s stake in second paragraph and top executives’ in fifth.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) says it has noticed a troubling pattern with its work-from-home employees, particularly those who are of a younger age, Bloomberg reported Monday.What Happened: CEO Jamie Dimon told analysts Keefe, Bruyette & Woods in a private meeting that productivity was particularly affected on Mondays and Fridays, according to Bloomberg.”The WFH lifestyle seems to have impacted younger employees [at JPMorgan], and overall productivity and ‘creative combustion’ has taken a hit,” KBW Managing Director Brian Kleinhanzl wrote to clients in a note, citing the meeting with Dimon.JPMorgan spokesman Michael Fusco told Bloomberg that the productivity of employees was affected “in general, not just younger employees,” but added that younger workers “could be disadvantaged by missed learning opportunities” as they were not in offices.Why It Matters: The New York-based lender informed most senior sales staff and trading employees that they would be required to return to offices by Sept. 21, Bloomberg noted.Workers in other roles are reportedly being encouraged to return to their desks up to a maximum of half building capacity in New York.CEOs across the corporate world have a different take on the work from home environment.”I felt that, given a lot of our work could be done from home, it made sense for us to contribute to social distancing,” Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) CEO Sundar Pichai said in May in relation to the, Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos wrote in a note to employees in March, “Much of the essential work we do cannot be done from home.” The e-commerce giant purchased 900,000 square feet of office space in six cities in the United States last month.Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) has also been expanding its office space taking advantage of the pandemic. A company spokesperson said on the development that its offices are “vitally important to help accommodate anticipated growth and meet the needs of our employees that need or prefer to work from campus.”Price Action: JPMorgan traded nearly 0.3% higher at $102.80 in the pre-market session on Tuesday.See more from Benzinga * JPMorgan Removes Employees Who Pocketed COVID-19 Small Business Relief Funds: FT * Online Ad Giants Taboola, Outbrain Backtrack On Merger Plan * Unilever Pledges .2B To Eliminate Fossil Fuels From Cleaning Products Within A Decade(C) 2020 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

Jim Cramer shares stock market news including when to buy Snowflake shares, the new Apple Watch and Walmart+ launches to compete with Amazon Prime.

U.S. gold futures slipped 0.9% to $1,951.90. “Investors across the Asia-Pacific are perhaps not inspired by last night’s FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting, in which the central bank seems to be reluctant to add stimulus in view of improving fundamentals,” said Margaret Yang, a strategist with DailyFx, which covers currency, commodity and index trading. “This led to a stronger U.S. dollar, and a weaker gold price.”

Sumo Logic priced 14.8 million shares at $22 a share late Wednesday. It’s the third venture-backed software company to go public this week.

Stock futures were little changed as market participants continued to parse through the Federal Reserve’s September monetary policy announcement.

Berkshire Hathaway is the ultimate Warren Buffett stock. But is it a good buy? Here’s what the earnings and chart show for Berkshire stock.

Southwest Airlines Co said late Wednesday it temporarily grounded 130 Boeing 737-800 aircraft after it discovered discrepancies in aircraft weight data. In January, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it was seeking to fine Southwest $3.92 million for alleged weight infractions on 21,505 flights on 44 aircraft between May 1, 2018 and Aug. 9, 2018. The FAA alleged that Southwest operated the flights with incorrect operational empty weights, and center of gravity or moment data, which is used to determine how many passengers and how much fuel can be safely carried and where cargo should be located.

Assessing where the markets will go can sometimes seem like more art than science, and an arcane art at that. But the data is out there to make sense of the stock movements.The TipRanks Smart Score is a perfect example. Scanning through the whole of the database, and assembling the information for every stock according to 8 categories known to predict future share performance, the Smart Score combines those categories into a single score that allows investors to see at a glance how the stock is likely to move in the coming year.That score is given on a scale from 1 to 10, with low scores indicating likely underperformance of the broader market, and higher scores indicating overperformance. A perfect score, a 10, is a rare gift for a stock. It doesn’t necessarily mean that every factor aligns perfectly – but it does indicate a potentially bright future for the stock in question.Today, we’ve pulled up three ‘Perfect 10’ stocks, which are also fine defensive plays, with dividends yielding 5% or higher. At a time when volatility is returning to the markets, the combination of likely overperformance and a strong dividend return makes these stocks that investors should take notice of.AT&T, Inc. (T)The first stock on the list needs no introduction, as it is a blue-chip standby of the S&P 500 index. AT&T is giant by any standard: the world’s largest telecom company, the US’ largest provider of mobile and landline phone services, and an emerging player in the content streaming business.Telecommunications products became even more important than usual during the ‘corona half’ of 2020, and AT&T saw comparatively moderate losses in Q1 and Q2. EPS came in at 84 and 83 cents for the quarters, compared to 89 cents in 4Q19. Revenues, at $41 billion in Q2, were down 12% from the end of last year. In short, the company took a hit, but remains solidly profitable.AT&T used those profits, in part, to keep up the dividend payment. The company has a reputation as a dividend champion, with 17 years of reliable payments behind it and a penchant for high yields. The current dividend is 52 cents per share quarterly and was paid out in August. At $2.08 annualized, this dividend offers investors a yield of 7.14%. That’s more than triple ~2% found among T’s S&P peers.Ivan Feinseth, 5-star analyst with Tigress Financial, writes of AT&T, “The resiliency of AT&T’s wireless business should continue to produce positive near-term Business Performance and should continue to accelerate as the economy recovers […] The ongoing 5G rollout, together with AT&T’s ability to leverage its entertainment assets for an extremely high dividend yield, will drive long-term shareholder value creation, making the shares a compelling value…”The resiliency of AT&T’s wireless business should continue to produce positive near-term Business Performance and should continue to accelerate as the economy recovers.Feinseth does not set a specific price target, but he does rate the stock a Buy. (To watch Feinseth’s track record, click here)AT&T has 11 analyst ratings, split among 7 Buys, 3 Holds, and 1 Sell. This gives the stock a Moderate Buy from the analyst consensus. Shares are selling for $29.12, and the $33.78 average price target suggests it has a 16% one-year upside potential. (See AT&T stock analysis on TipRanks)Physicians Realty Trust (DOC)Next on today’s list is Physicians Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust that focuses on the acquisition, development, and management of healthcare properties. The properties are leased to healthcare delivery systems, hospitals, and physician practices. The company has a portfolio of properties across the lower 48 states, and boasts a market cap of nearly $3.85 billion.During a pandemic crisis, owning a network of clinics and hospitals is an obvious asset. DOC bears this out in its 1H20 quarterly reports. The company reported 26 and 27 cents EPS in Q1 and Q2, in line with the results from 2019. Revenue also remained stable, and at $104.75 million is Q2, is even up slightly from Q4 of last year.Maintaining revenues and profits makes it easy to maintain the dividend. DOC has a 7-year history of keeping up its dividend, and the current payment of 23 cents per common share quarterly gives an annualized payment of 92 cents and a yield of 5%.Covering the stock for B. Riley FBR, analyst Craig Kucera sees DOC as both a strong player in its own right and a harbinger for its sector.“…the portfolio performed quite well in 2Q20 and DOC has not taken any bad debt reserves as it expects the small number of tenants who have yet to pay 2Q20 rent to pay in fairly short order. 2Q20 results were ahead of expectations, and we anticipate management to build on its investment pipeline of acquisitions, new developments and mezzanine investments over the next several quarters… Given the strength of cash collections thus far in the healthcare REIT space relative to other REIT sectors and a rapidly opening healthcare economy, we anticipate multiple expansion in the sector,” Kucera wrote. To this end, Kucera rates DOC a Buy along with with a $21 price target. That target implies 14% growth from current levels. (To watch Kucera’s track record, click here)Overall, DOC’s Moderate Buy consensus rating is based on 7 Buys and 3 Holds. Shares are currently trading for $18.42, and the $20 average target suggests a 9% upside. (See DOC stock analysis on TipRanks)LyondellBasell (LYB)Last on today’s list is LyondellBasell, a multinational global chemical company, with corporate offices in the Netherlands, the UK, and Texas. LyondellBasell is the world’s largest owner of polyethylene and polypropylene technologies, and derives much income from licensing their production. The company is also heavily involved in the ethylene, propylene, and polyolefin markets.The economic shutdown – imposed against the coronavirus – hit hard at industrial manufacturers in the 1H20. LYB saw financial results drop sharply in both Q1 and Q2. Quarterly revenues fell from $8.2 billion at the end of 2019 to $5.6 billion in 2Q20, while EPS dropped from $1.91 to 71 cents over the same period. There are two positive notes: Q2 earnings beat the forecast by 16%, and the outlook for Q3 shows a sharp turn upward, with EPS forecast at $1.20.Earlier this month, LYB paid out its dividend at $1.05 per common share. This marked the seventh consecutive quarter that the dividend has been paid at this level – it is important to note that the company did not cut or suspend its the payment, even during the height of the corona crisis. At the current level, the dividend annualizes to $4.20 per common share, and gives a yield of 5.58%.Joining the bulls, JPMorgan analyst Jeffrey Zekauskas has upgraded his stance on LYB shares from Neutral to Overweight (i.e. Buy). His $88 indicates a 15% upside potential for the coming year. (To watch Zekauskas’ track record, click here)In his comments on the stock, Zekauskas pointed out that the social lockdown policies have worked in the company’s favor.“Domestic polyethylene (PE) demand has been growing in 2020 despite the recession and the quarantines, and the US producers have been successfully addressing the export markets. The effects of strong growth in the consumer and packaging markets have more than offset contraction in the industrial sectors… We think the efficient way of investing in the effects of these trends and changes in the petrochemical industry over the coming year is through Lyondell,” Zekauskas opined. Overall, LYB shares have a Moderate Buy from the analyst consensus, based on 11 reviews that include 4 Buys and 8 Holds. The shares are selling for $76.55 and have recently appreciated right through the average price target of $74.60. Is Zekauskas’ upgrade on the stock a harbinger of more to come? This is one that bears watching. (See LYB 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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