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My 2021 Portfolio
Albeit a week late, I want to share my 2021 portfolio for documentation purposes and for whoever is interested. I aimed to balance risk in this portfolio with some growth names and legacy plays. Down to brass tacks, I am putting my money in the highest quality companies (in my view) across a diverse set of industries I find attractive. Some of these names are overvalued in the short term. However, I have realized I am not in the business of beating Wall Street’s pricing, but would rather hold high-quality companies that I believe will grow faster that the market in the long term. In other words, I am totally fine paying a short-term premium for growth and quality. Below is a summary of the portfolio and big picture reasoning behind each investment. I'm definitely open to any feedback.
ARK Genomic Revolution ETF
Evolution Gaming Group
ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (BATS: ARKG) - Invests in companies advancing genomics. The companies held in ARKG may develop, produce or enable: CRISPR, Targeted Therapeutics, Bioinformatics, Molecular Diagnostics, Stem Cells, Agricultural Biology.
Innovative industry. Since 2003 the cost to sequence a human genome has dropped from nearly $3bn to less than $1,000. ARK believes that as costs continue to drop, genomic sequencing will become a standard of care in oncology. It will introduce more science into healthcare decision making, enable personalized medicine, and accelerate drug discovery. ARK estimates that genomic sequencing revenues will grow 43% at an annual rate, from $3.5bn last year to $21bn in 2024.
Cathie Wood. She’s a beast stock picker. Out of all the ETFs she runs, her closest competitor trailed by 60%. Her worst ETF still doubled investors' money. Her strategy is to make investments into companies that she considers incredibly transformational and she has seen success doing it.
CrowdStrike (NASDAQ: CRWD) - Cybersecurity technology company that provides endpoint security, threat intelligence, and cyber attack response services.
Best in class technology. Remember about a week ago a bunch of Russian hackers breached SolarWinds? The same hackers also tried to hack CrowdSrike at the same time but were unsuccessful. I’ve wandered on to a bunch of cybersecurity forums, and the general consensus is CrowdStrike has developed the best cybersecurity solution by miles. CRWD is the undisputed leader in cybersecurity.
“Pick-and-shovel” investment into the world’s increasing digitization. Even in the absence of COVID, cybersecurity remains a key component of the world’s increasing digitization as cyberthreats have been an ongoing issue from the onset of the internet. In the last decade we have seen a bunch of hacks where companies have exposed sensitive customer information. It seems companies are just starting to realize the importance of cybersecurity.
Disney (NYSE: DIS) - Worldwide entertainment company that you all are probably familiar with.
Reopening trade. In 2019, parks generated 45% of total operating income for DIS. Full reopening and attendance in parks will be slow, but certainly benefit DIS when it happens. The company has been executing on several other segments in the meantime (i.e. streaming). It has proved competitive, increasing the margin of safety if parks take longer to reopen.
Fast-growing streaming division. DIS has proved agile as it successfully launched a streaming service, Disney+, that has already gained 86mn+ subscribers which was the company’s original 5 year target. This is promising as it shows management can adapt to rapidly changing technology trends.
Enphase Energy (NASDAQ: ENPH) - Designs and manufactures software-driven home energy solutions that span solar generation, home energy storage and web-based monitoring and control.
Shift to clean energy; ENPH emerging as market leader. Going into 2021, sentiments towards solar have been at an all time high. This trend is expected to continue, especially after the Georgia run-off results. Solar firms are expected to benefit from extended tax incentives on both the consumer and producer ends.
Technological advantage. ENPH has developed the industry leading solution and is rapidly taking market share from its primary competitor, SolarEdge. Pricing reflects this, but it's expected to continue. Among key competitors, Enphase has been one of the lowest cost producers. Its low-cost structure is a major contributing factor to its improving margins.
Evolution Gaming Group (OTC: EVVTY) - Swedish company that develops, produces, markets and licenses integrated B2B live casino solutions for gaming operators.
Early mover advantage. Evolution’s lack of competition enables it to rapidly grow in new markets and create a loyal customer base, with high switching costs. The company has effectively grown EBITA margins from 41.6% in 1Q18 to 64.8% in 3Q20. Margin expansion is expected to continue.
Massive untapped markets. Europe is estimated to be around $2.5bn (EVVTY has 50% market share), Asian market is ~15x the size of Europe (150% YoY growth for EVVTY in Asia). North America’s market is ~$210mn, a 42% increase YoY, with NJ and PA the only states currently operating (NY looks promising). Management thinks the US will be the largest in the long-term.
Undetected from Wall Street. Evolution has almost no analyst coverage in the US and very minimal coverage in Europe, presenting opportunity for additional growth as institutional money managers recognize this opportunity and draw attention to the stock. Additionally, Evolution has a founder-led management team that is highly aligned with shareholders (mgmt owns over 30% of the stock).
Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) - Enables people to connect through devices. It’s products include Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and Oculus.
Zuck. It’s not a question of who is the next Jobs/Bezos/Gates/Zuck, because Zuck is super young. He has a history of being able to execute: IG acquisition / transition from desktop to mobile / denying multiple acquisition opportunities in his twenties.
Undervalued. FB is the cheapest among the FAANG stocks, yet has some of the highest growth rates. This is mainly because of its continuous political scandals. With Trump out of office, I think FB has a chance to stay out of trouble and start to realize higher multiples. The antitrust lawsuit is not a threat imo, it is actually an opportunity. If the govt forces FB to break up, we would get shares in the spin-offs, which would be valued at a higher multiple than FB. For example, if Instagram spun off from FB and traded at the same multiple as SNAP, Instagram’s market cap would be larger than FB’s.
Digitization of Real Estate (i.e. “iBuying”). Technology in RE is moving from being informational to transactional. Redfin’s iBuying service is dubbed “RedfinNow.” The service basically buys homes from sellers looking for a quick and convenient sale (close deals within 10-30 days). This segment isn’t profitable yet as it is just getting started, but promising as the management adapts to technology trends.
Inter-US Migration and housing outlook. People are moving out of the cities because of COVID / trying to avoid taxes / etc. which increases demand for Redfin’s services. With interest rates extremely low (and no expectation for them to increase), homebuying demand should continue to grow.
RDFN most attractively valued compared to Z and OPEN, with the most upside potential given its market cap ~$7bn. Some are predicting RDFN might start offering rental services as well. RDFN has the best LT margin potential.
Teladoc Health (NYSE: TDOC) - Provides virtual healthcare services on a B2B basis to its clients and provides services to consumers directly and through channel partners.
Competitive positioning in industry ripe for disruption. Healthcare is a huge market yet to be significantly disrupted. COVID has accelerated this disruption. Providers who were once opposed to telemedicine now realize its benefits and several regulatory changes are promising for telemedicines growth potential. Medicare and other government-sponsored coverage is expected to include telemedicine benefits, increasing TDOC’s TAM.
Livongo acquisition. From the consumer POV, this will increase access to healthcare at a lower cost. Teladoc will have access to a larger amount of data it can interpret to refine its services and monetization strategies.
Sea Ltd (NYSE: SE) - Digital entertainment, electronic commerce, and digital financial services. The Company operates three business segments: Garena, Shopee, and SeaMonkey. The Company’s digital entertainment business, Garena, is a global game developer and publisher with a presence in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Latin America. Garena provides access to mobile and personal computer online games. Shopee provides users with a shopping environment that is supported by integrated payment, logistics, fulfillment, and other value-added services. SeaMonkey business is a digital financial services provider. SeaMonkey offers e-wallet services, payment processing, credit related digital financial offerings, and other financial products.
Diversified consumer internet company with market-leading position. Sea caters to Southeast Asia and Taiwan, providing its online gaming, e-commerce, and payment platforms. Shopee has overtaken competitors, it is widening its market share lead. ESports is a rapidly growing market (15.7% YoY to $1.1bn in 2020) and Sea is outpacing market growth.
Pay for quality. The best companies keep going up for years in a row, and I think Sea is in the early stages of being classified as such a company. It’s worth $100bn but has effectively proved its ability to identify opportunities and expand business lines.
Still early stages of developing its consumer banking business, so we get the security of a bigger, established company with upside for an additional, lucrative business line such as fintech.
Waste Connections Inc. (NYSE: WCN) - Waste services company that provides non-hazardous waste collection, transfer, disposal and recycling services.
Recession resilient; re-opening trade. The waste management industry is recession resilient, it will always be around.
Non-hazardous waste collection. With a progressive government likely to push climate initiatives, recycling and non-hazardous waste collection are likely to benefit on the back end.
WCN has a large moat; there isn’t much of a competitive threat the way the industry operates. Management’s strategy is to generally only spend what FCF is available. This enables the company to make acquisitions while handling its debt load. Great for stable growth.
P.S. I have two other accounts - one with about 40 growth stocks and another with about 10 big names / ETFs. However, this portfolio has the largest allocation for 2021. My first time trying a more concentrated approach.
[End of Dragons] Ideas for 9 new Canthan elite specializations
Few new elite specialization ideas for the Canthan expansion, with no new weapon types involved:
Gain Elemental Enchantments and Weapon Swap instead of Elemental Attunements. Every time you use an individual weapon skill, it will automatically swap itself to the next element, using the cooldown of the previous skill. Use an elemental enchantment to refresh those cooldowns and force all your weapon skills to channel the same element at once. By default, the order followed by the automatic swap sequence is fire, water, wind, earth, and then fire again. This order can be customized through traits. Glyphs and traits relying on active attunements will use the active element of the fifth weapon skill as the reference instead.
You can wield the Longbow weapon in combat. All five longbow skills work as chain skills, giving them good synergy with the elemental enchantments mechanic.
Gain access to Mantra slot skills. Just like weapon skills, mantras gain different effects depending on their active element, which swaps automatically with every use.
Gain Spectres instead of Clones. Spectres are weaker than clones, but replicate themselves on destruction, reducing their size and power. A normal spectre will spawn two medium spectres, a medium spectre will spawn two small spectres, and a small spectre won't replicate any further. Shatter skills affect all spectres no matter their size, adjusting their strength to the size of each shattered spectre.
You can wield the Shortbow weapon in combat. All five shortbow skills work as channeled skills, employing multiple consecutive projectiles at once. Each of these projectiles is weaker individually, but their combined effect has the same strength as any common ranged weapon. When all the projectiles hit their target, the strength of the combined effects double.
Gain access to Shout slot skills. Shout effects are divided in three phases, each triggered by one of the three spectre sizes. The first phase is triggered by the mesmer and normal spectres, the second by medium spectres, and the third by small spectres. Completing the three phases will unlock an additional fourth effect, triggered by all spectres at once. Shouts are inspired by Canthan poetry, each phase covering one out of four verses.
Gain Plague Bomb, Toxic Pollen, Afflicted Miasma, Scarab Spore, and Plague Shroud instead of Death Shroud. Plague Bomb throws an explosive to the target area. Toxic Pollen, Afflicted Miasma, and Scarab Spore work as enchancements for your bombs. Activate and combine them to modify the effects of your plague bomb, leading to a total of eight possible combinations. Plague Shroud turns the necromancer into a walking combo field. All plague skills consume life force.
You can wield the Pistol weapons in combat. Pistol skills gain additional effects depending on the active plague enhancements.
Gain Dreadnought Suit and Phase Shield instead of tool belt skill five. Activate the Dreadnought Suit to drive your own combat armor, gaining alternate tool belt and weapon skills for all your engineering kits. Phase Shield will replace your endurance bar while the dreadnought suit is active, sacrificing dodge rolling in exchange of a bonus health bar.
You can wield the Mace weapons in combat. Mace skills are inspired by the core engineer Tool Kit utility skill, which has been removed and replaced by a new gadget elite skill. Additionally, maces are not exclusive for the dreadnought elite specialization, and once unlocked can be used by the core profession and any other elite specializations as well.
Gain access to one new healingengineering kit, one new utilitygadget, one new utility elixir, one new utility engineering kit, one new utility turret, and one new elite engineering kit. These new slot skills are exclusive for the dreadnought elite specialization.
Gain Pet Focus instead of Pet Swap. Both pets are deployed in combat simultaneously, pet focus letting you command the beast skills of one pet at a time.
You can wield the Shield weapon in combat. The fifth weapon skill turns defensive mode on and off, reducing your movement speed in exchange of alternate weapon skills. This affects the fourth shield skill, as well as all three skills from main-hand axe, main-hand spear, and main-hand sword.
Gain access to Venom slot skills. Venom effects are applied to the ranger, both pets, and up to four other nearby allies. Once used against a target enemy, their negative effects stack, increasing their strength the more hits the target receives.
Gain Shadow Blade and Shadow Strike instead of Steal. Shadow Blade summons an exact copy of the thief, with half the attributes and health. This shadow blade companion will follow the thief for ten seconds, mimicking all of his actions within a delay of two seconds. Shadow Strike commands the companion to shadowstep to the target foe and gain a stolen skill.
You can wield the Greatsword weapon in combat. The first weapon skill has five chain steps instead of the usual three. Weapon skills two to five gain stronger effects the further the chain progresses, and will not interrupt it when used. Successful hits by the shadow blade will count as a step forward for any chains on progress, greatsword or not.
Gain access to Stance slot skills. Stance effects are applied simultaneously to both the thief and the shadow blade.
Gain Virtue Attunement instead of Virtue Activation, Just was Xun Rao instead of Virtue of Justice, Resolute was Reiko instead of Virtue of Resolve, and Courageous was Ashu instead of Virtue of Courage. Attune to a virtue to strengthen its passive effect, disabling the effects of the other two virtues in the process.
You can wield the Warhorn weapon in combat. The warhorn gains alternate weapon skills depending on the active attunement.
Gain access to Spirit slot skills. Just like warhorn skills, spirits gain different effects depending on the active attunement.
Gain Wind Walk instead of dodge rolling. Hold the dodge key to dash instead of dodging, dash distance increasing the longer you hold down.
You can wield the Greatsword weapon in combat. Weapon skills two to five work as charge skills, gaining stronger effects the longer you hold down. Wind Walk does not cancel charge skills, giving it good synergy with greatsword skills.
Invoke the power of the legendary tengu windwalker, Tsuru Whitewing, and gain access to Legendary Windwalker slot skills. All five windwalker skills depict famous tengu paintings, representing different events across tengu history. Skills six to nine represent how each of the four tengu houses came to be, in turn inspired by the four winds. The elite skill, "The Great Wave off Shing Jea", represents the Great Tsunami itself, and the culmination of the tengu journey.
Gain Thunder Bell instead of Burst weapon levels 2 and 3. Thunder Bell summons a mystical cannon bundle, which can alternate between ranged and melee modes through weapon swap. Carry it on your left shoulder to fire thunderbolts against your enemies, or use both hands to wield it as a blunt weapon and crush them at close combat. Thunder Bell is considered a level 2 burst skill, and once activated, both the ranged and melee versions will replace the previous weapon bursts with their own level 3 burst skills.
You can wield the Staff weapon in combat. Weapon skills two to five work as sequence skills, unlocking additional skills on successful hits.
Gain access to Preparation slot skills. Preparations gain stronger effects depending on individual adrenaline thresholds.
Some lore tidbits, for those interested:
Elementalist - Skyfire: Ancient naga battlemages, brought back from the dead as the frozen waters of the Jade Sea brim with life once again. Horrorized at the woes of the modern world, they gather the Luxon clans and the kappa tribes for war.
Mesmer - Trickster: Members of the Jade Sisterhood, they run the brothels, casinos, and theatres of Kaineng City. They specialize on blackmail, bribery, and deception. Their influence seeps deep into the Canthan aristocracy, making them impervious to the law.
Necromancer - Apothecary: Cultists of the Am Fah, self-proclaimed freedom fighters for the lower classes and lesser races of the empire. They will stop at nothing to overthrow the emperor, resorting to biological terrorism if necessary. After all, they can always blame the Celestial Ministry.
Engineer - Dreadnought: The noble men and women who drive the war machines of the empire, their combat armors admired and feared by allies and enemies alike. Rumor says their cannons are powered by the spirits of ancient deities, imprisoned by the dark sorcerers of the empire.
Thief - Shadowblade: Assassins of the Obsidian Flame, gone rogue after the guild was disbanded by the Celestial Ministry. They wage a secret war against the empire's corruption, supported from the inside by the remaining loyalist factions. Their numbers are thin, but their resolve unshakeable.
Guardian - Spiritcaller: Forefront of the Celestial Ministry, guardians of tradition, followers of the old ways, and the last remaining ritualists of Cantha. Mouthpieces for the imperial propaganda, they channel the echoes of the fallen heroes of the empire, binding the spirits of criminals to their service.
Revenant - Windwalker: Elite tengu bodyguards and executioners, they pay for the crimes of their Sensali ancestors with lifetime service and utmost devotion to the human imperial throne, deeming their brothers beyond the sea as nothing but despicable traitors.
Warrior - Thunderlord: Warrior monks of the Sai Ling Order, they commune with the Great Celestials to channel their might, embarking on quests across the countryside in search of deeper enlightenment, vowing to, one day, become Closer to the Stars.
Bonus: New weapon types
Few new weapon type ideas, for a total of 18 ground weapons:
Bow: The Longbow and the Shortbow have been merged back into one single weapon type. The ranger is the only profession who can use both weapons, so his shortbow skills will be transformed into dagger skills, and his original dagger skills will be transformed into knuckles skills.
As part of a new player experience, each core profession would unlock some of the old and new weapon types for free, without any elite specialization requirements:
Elementalist: Greatsword, Polearm.
Mesmer: Pistol (main-hand), Warhorn.
Necromancer: Axe (off-hand), Polearm.
Engineer: Scepter, Knuckles (main-hand and off-hand), Focus.
Thief: Spear, Knuckles (main-hand and off-hand).
Revenant: Axe (main-hand), Mace (off-hand), Knuckles (main-hand and off-hand).
Further unlocks would become possible through either new elite specializations or additional updates to the core professions. Note that this section is independent from the new elite specialization ideas. Had these gathering dust for quite a while now, figured I'd rewrite and post them. Hope you liked the read! EDIT:Same thread at the official forums.
I work in a small bar in Reno. We’re away from the casinos downtown that attract the most tourists, but we’re tucked away near a couple of bigger, separate casinos. We’re a hole in the wall but we do get our share of people wandering in, taking a break from the busy, crowded casinos they’re staying in. We’re also on a couple of major bus routes, so we get locals of all classes and descriptions. Mostly, though, we’re pretty quiet. Especially these days. Shifts can be long and lonely. So I wasn’t entirely sure how to feel one night last week when, about ten minutes before I could have closed for the night and two hours after the last customer left, a woman walked into the bar. Two hours of doing nothing had made me eager to leave, but these days it’s hard to turn down even a few potential tip dollars. I bit down my irritation and greeted her with a smile. At least until I walked down the bar closer to her and got a good look at her face. She was obviously distressed. Not actively, maybe, but she wore the shadows of exhaustion like dark makeup smeared under her eyes. She was rail thin, unkempt. Dark curling hair in a ponytail that didn’t look like it had seen a brush in a while. Clothes that looked well worn and not well washed. I would have thought she was a tweaker - we get those pretty often too, it’s Reno - but her eyes were clear enough and she didn’t seem to have the shakes. She seemed utterly exhausted. She looked about thirty if you stood back and squinted. If you came close and met her eyes she looked about three hundred. But hey, I’m a professional. I set a coaster in front of her and asked what she wanted. “Shot of whiskey,” she said, and her voice rasped out of her like tires over gravel. “Highest proof you have.” We’re not a high class joint, but we have a decent 100 proof. I poured her a shot and slid it over, and the second it was in her reach it was down her throat, and the empty glass slid back to me. “Another one. Please.” Fair enough. But the second shot vanished as fast as the first. She gestured for a third one, but I poured it a little more slowly. “Bad day?” I asked, since acting like a therapist is, of course, part of the job. She snorted, threw down the third shot, and seemed to realize I wasn’t going to keep them coming so fast. She sighed. “Can I get the same thing on the rocks? I’m just staying up the road, I’m not driving.” I made the drink, feeling her eyes on me the whole time. This time I rang up the whole tab before I went back to her, and gave her the total. She slid a few big bills across to me, which confirmed at least that she wasn’t in withdrawal from anything, at least not for financial reasons. As she sipped her drink, I debated whether I could go back and sit at the end of the bar and stare at my phone some more without threatening my tip. She answered that for me by peering at me suddenly. “Do you think people have souls?” Oh boy. I put on that faux-thoughtful look I was so practiced at, the one that came to me the minute someone started spouting off about religion or politics or anything else I vowed not to have opinions about while I was on the clock. “I don’t know,” I said, my standard response. “I’m not really a philosopher.” She stared at me. “What do you think?” For the record, I hate that kind of thing so much. I work in customer service. If you’re not one of the regulars I’ve waited on for the two years I’ve worked here, then I have no beliefs or opinions or anything else. I am an empty vessel meant to provide thoughtful nods and lots of alcohol. That’s it. Still, she looked intense, and it was close enough to quitting time that I could be magnanimous. So I answered her for real. “I think...there’s something about humanity that makes us different. Millions of species of animals on the planet, and none of them come anywhere near us in terms of society and art and culture. There’s something special inside of us. You could call that a soul, I guess.” She nodded, looking satisfied. “You’re right. There is something inside of us. I don’t think it makes us special, though. I think it makes us damned.” Oookay. I drew back a little, grabbing a rag to polish an already clean spot on the back bar. “Yeah, I’m not very religious or whatever, so.” “I’m not talking about religion. I’m talking about what happens to us after we die.” My eyebrows rose. “Is that not religion?” “No. They’re wrong. Every one of them. Anyone who thinks we go to some shiny white afterlife, or a fiery hell, or we come back as a cow or whatever the fuck. Even the people who think we just dissolve into the air like pure energy. Even the people who think we die and that’s that, nothing but blackness and rest afterwards.” “All of them are wrong, huh? Doesn’t leave many options.” I don’t think she appreciated the lightness in my tone. But for fuck’s sake, I’m not paid to be a sounding board for people. Most of the time I just don’t care what my customers talk about. When they go right for the Big Issues I tend to blank out entirely. “I died almost a year ago,” she said, her voice sharp. Before I could gently peel her drink from her clenched hand, she went on. “I got revived, but I was clinically dead for almost ten minutes.” “Ah.” I smiled faintly. “I don’t know whether to say I’m sorry or congratulations on coming back.” “Don’t say anything. It’s the worst thing that ever happened to me. I saw it, lady. I know what happens when we die. And it’s worse than any hell you could imagine.” Admittedly, I was curious. Fifty-fifty on whether she was just a crackpot, but the tension in her voice and those shadows under her eyes...those were hard to deny. So I went ahead and asked. “So...you saw...what? The real hell?” “No. Hell is a fucking fairy tale. It’s bullshit. You know what happens to us when we die? Absolutely fucking nothing.” “And that’s…bad?” “I don’t mean nothing like everything goes black and that’s that. I mean nothing. It’s not like falling asleep, it’s not like a coma. Your body fucking dies, and your soul stays right where the fuck it is.” She took a deep draw of her whiskey. “I was dead for ten minutes. I died in the ambulance. Overdose,” she said, staring at me intently, waiting for me to judge it. I didn’t. I wasn’t thinking much except that I wished I’d closed ten minutes earlier that night. “I died with my eyes open. My body was gone, okay? Nothing, no feeling. No breath, no heartbeat. But I was stuck inside of it. I could see what was happening around me but not really understand it. I could hear things, but like I was underwater. And my...my soul or my energy or whatever the hell you want to call it...it knew. It understood. This was the beginning, not the end. I was going to be put in some cold storage, autopsied, dressed up fancy for some viewing, and put into the ground to rot. And I was going to be stuck inside of this prison for the whole thing. Our souls...we don’t leave. We don’t stop. We are going to last forever, stuck inside of rotting bodies buried in dark holes. No sights, no sounds, no chance to escape. It’s like…” She looked up at me suddenly, snapping her fingers impatiently. “What is it? That thing where the doctors think someone’s a vegetable but they’re awake and aware the whole time?” I shrugged. “I know what you’re talking about, though.” “It’s that. But it’s forever.” She downed her drink and slid the glass across the counter. “Think I’m crazy if you want to, but I know. I lived it. I remember everything.” I poured her a double, and poured a shot for myself. “Okay, but...there’s a lot of stories of people who died and came back, and I haven’t ever heard anything like that.” “I know. I’ve looked everywhere.” She scowled. “You know what I think? I think that knowing you’re going to spend eternity trapped in your own body is fucking traumatizing, so people who experience even a minute of it block it out when they come back. But unlike them, my brain fucking hates me.” Which, okay: mood. But jesus. “What about...I mean eventually your body’s not going to be there anymore.” “Something will. Dust. Ashes if you’re cremated. In a million years, little specks of fucking carbon atoms.” She sighed. “I was there for ten minutes, months ago. And I can’t forget it. I can’t....function, just about. I can’t stop thinking that there have been billions of people on this planet, that every inch of ground we walk on is probably holding some poor souls prisoner. I pass a cemetery and can practically hear them screaming to be let go. There’s no end. I can’t sleep, because I lay there in the dark and know that I’ll spend eternity just that way. Blind and deaf and incapable of moving. Forever. Do you even….ten minutes of it felt like a year. A month will be enough to drive someone crazy. And we’ll be there for an eternity.” She lofted her glass. “This, the drinking, is all I can do to make myself feel better for even an hour at a time. I swear, I’d be back on heroin in a second to try and forget it if I didn’t realize that I might overdose again, and end up in hell for good.” She shuddered. “I might have a few decades left in me, but it’s not like I can enjoy it. How could anyone?” I had no answers, of course. I didn’t believe her, not at the time. But she seemed utterly convinced, and it was a scary future to think about. She looked legit, like she hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in a year. Like she couldn’t eat, like she never smiled. She didn’t stay long. She had one more drink, which we sat through in silence. Then she pushed away from the bar, stumbled a little as she slid off the stool. “Want my advice?” she asked as she dropped more bills on the bar. “When it’s your time, do your best to die with your eyes open. Because it’s something, that blurry vision. It won’t last long before they shut your eyes for a viewing or tomb you in somewhere so black that it won’t matter. But it’s some kind of transition. The smallest kind of mercy. Considering everything, it’s the most you could hope for.” She seemed unsteady on her feet as she headed for the door. Not wasted, but not sober. I expect drinking so much since her overdose had driven her tolerance up through the roof. I want to say that I did the responsible thing and told her to wait, called her a cab, made extra sure she wasn’t driving. But that would have meant spending even a few minutes more with her, and I didn’t think I could handle that. So I let her leave. I closed the place up fast and left there. Figured I’d go home, watch some dumb youtube videos until she seemed distant and laughable, and then go to bed and forget it ever happened. Instead I lay there that night, still, in the darkness and the silence, and couldn’t stop thinking about being trapped that way for eternity. She was probably a nutcase. She had overdosed on heroin, she’d implied, so whatever she thinks she experienced had to be skewed. There were too many other stories out there, light at the end of the tunnel, that kind of thing. I had - I have - no reason to believe that this one woman alone in humanity has accessed some kind of truth about life and death. But I can’t stop thinking about it. I can’t let things get silent around me. I have to turn on a lamp to get any sleep at all. I’m scared of the dark now, scared of not being able to move. Terrified of death. There was an article on google news the day after she came in, about a pedestrian who had been hit by a car crossing against the light two blocks from my bar. I remember hearing the sirens going by, but that wasn't particularly notable on our street, and I'd been in a hurry to leave. I haven't looked into it. I don't know what I'm more scared of, the thought that it might be her, that me letting walk out meant it was my fault, that she had confessed her fears and then walked right into them again. Or that maybe, because it was quick, maybe she hadn't seen it coming. Maybe her eyes weren't open in the end.
It's time for holiday festivities! In addition, there are big changes to Elite and Boss monsters in this update. There are also revisions to the Ice Magic and Deer skills. And, of course, various other things as well. Read on for more info.
The holidays are upon us! While Alharth doesn't celebrate Christmas, it does celebrate Ri-Shin Day, and New Years' Day. Townsfolk who are your Friends will offer you gifts when you speak with them. (Make sure to have your favorite combat skills active in case they give you a piece of randomly-generated gear!) There's also a Ri-Shin festival waiting to happen in each city and township in the land, but they will need your help getting their trees assembled. Look for townsfolk in festive red Ri-Shin hats to get started. This year, there's also a new way for the community to work together. This is an experiment -- we've never tried anything like this before. You'll receive an introductory quest for this part of the event after you've assembled a few Ri-Shin trees. (If you're a Druid, you'll be briefed immediately upon login.)
High-Level Elite/Boss Changes
As mentioned in the last patch's notes, we're working on making high-level combat take longer. This will eventually include both solo and group combat, but we're focusing on group combat right now. Some of the big-picture details are in flux a bit as we experiment and see what's going to work (e.g. "how many Elites is a tank supposed to be able to handle at once?" answer: "we're not sure yet"). We've been improving the "tanky skills" in preparation for these longer fights, but it's been hard to get good tanking data because most high-level Elite monsters simply haven't needed a tank: a group of players could blast them to death in seconds. So it's time to make Elites live longer and see what happens! In this update, Elite/Boss monsters have a lot more health and armor, and Bosses deal less damage. We'll be watching your feedback (and our combat data logs) to try to figure out where to go from here. We may need to temporarily revert these changes, reduce them, increase them, or add more systems into the mix to address specific problems. Bosses (but not Elites) also deal less base damage than before. The actual amount varies by boss-tier and the bosses' personal stats, so it's hard to generalize, but at level 80 an "average boss" deals about 25% less base damage. Both Elites and Bosses deal less damage with their Rage attacks, also. The median reduction in rage-bonus-damage is about a 40%, but again it's hard to generalize too much. Here's some more details about the implementation.
Prior to level 35, elites/bosses have about the same overall health+armor, but some of their health has been switched to armor as a side-effect of the formulaic changes. This will make them a bit harder, so be careful!
Starting at about level 35, elites/bosses gain more health and armor than before. This increases fairly gradually until level 50, then it starts going up more quickly. By level 80, the total health+armor of most elites and bosses has almost doubled! (And a lot of that increase is in armor, which means the monster has more mitigation for longer.)
Elite/Boss Loot Changes
We've also added some additional rewards for killing Elites/Bosses. When you loot an Elite, you'll now automatically "find some Councils" on the corpse. The amount is based on the monster's level, with some random variance. Bosses also drop extra money in the form of Council Coinpurses. (And bosses with curses drop more money sacks.) Finally, the most deadly tiers of bosses have a higher chance to drop high-rarity gear. (These quick generalized changes were made because we didn't want to revise every monster's custom loot table just yet. But hey, maybe it's fun enough to remain permanent. Let us know what you think after you've had some time to try it out.)
Ice Magic Changes
Ice Magic is supposed to be a versatile wizarding toolkit: it can provide exceptional crowd control, potent survival tools, and decent damage, depending on which abilities you use. Its crowd-control abilities were already top-tier, so we've focused on other aspects of the skill in this update. There's a few nerfs and a lot of buffs. Fire Magic Over-synergy The biggest nerf to Ice Magic is actually a change to a Fire Magic treasure mod:
(Chest, Hands) "Calefaction causes target to take +45% damage from Cold for 12 seconds" => now +16% damage
We realized this mod was overpowered shortly after it was introduced, but it was a "let's wait and see if this is actually a serious problem" scenario. A lot of accidentally-overpowered treasure turns out to be fine, and sometimes an accident like that can really make everything "click" and help define a skill. But not this time. It was hamstringing our ability to make Ice Magic more powerful on its own, so it had to be reduced to a more reasonable level. (And it's still probably the most powerful cross-skill synergy mod in the game.) Cryogenic Freeze Cryogenic Freeze needs to take its rightful place in the Ice Magic survival toolbox. It has TREMENDOUS mitigation, and it's intended to be something of a "freebie" for Ice Mages: it's useful without needing to invest lots of treasure mods into it. The only cost is that you have to make room for it on your ability bar. (And treasure makes it more versatile and useful.) Of course, Cryogenic Freeze has the extreme down-side that you are completely frozen and cannot move. But now instead of a forced 10-second lockdown, you can control the duration precisely.
Cryogenic Freeze now lasts 20 seconds or until dispelled by using the ability again. The reuse timer is 20 seconds, which begins as soon as Cryogenic Freeze ends.
Power cost increased; all treasure effects recalculated in potency
Ice Armor, Ice Veins, and Shardblast Ice Armor has been buffed up a bit. We've also worked to make Ice Veins and Shardblast more useful. You can now use either one to reset Ice Armor's timer, allowing you to immediately put your armor back on. Which, in turn, allows you to take advantage of Ice Armor's healing mods again! This "Ice Armor loop" technique can be very powerful but requires a lot of treasure mods to reach full potential. It's also possible to use Ice Armor in a more passive role, and there are mods to support that style also (such as the ones that boost Cold damage).
Ice Armor: highest tier of ability has slightly higher mitigation (+27 vs crushing, slashing, piercing, and ice), and all tiers now grant extra mitigation from Elites (+54 additional at highest tier)
Ice Veins: power cost and base damage increased. All treasure potency recalculated
"Ice Armor restores 80 Power over 30 seconds" => "Ice Armor costs -19 Power and restores 51 Power after a 6-second delay"
"Ice Armor restores 170 Armor over 30 seconds" => "Ice Armor mitigates +16 Physical and Cold damage, and mitigates +32 more against Elite attacks"
"Ice Armor boosts Cold attack damage +34" => +50
"You regain 44 Health when using Ice Nova or Shardblast" => "Ice Nova and Shardblast deal +61 damage and cost -12 Power"
New treasure (off-hand): "Ice Veins heals +16 Health and resets the timer on Ice Armor (so it can be used again immediately)"
"Ice Veins heals 120 Health over 10 seconds" => 180 health over 10 seconds
Ice Veins is now marked as a Minor Heal ability (making it eligible for equipment that boosts Minor Heals).
New treasure (head): "Ice Armor instantly restores 80 health"
"Shardblast resets the timer on Ice Armor (so it can be used again immediately)" => "Shardblast deals +X% damage and resets the timer on Ice Armor (so it can be used again immediately)" *
Cold Sphere Changes Cold Sphere's old Rage attack (at high level) was a 10-second root. This was too much of a good thing and it's now a 5-second root at all levels. We've tried to make Cold Sphere useful in two different scenarios: for Ice Mages who are using a different skill as their primary damage source, they can invest in Cold Sphere mods to get a bit of extra damage on the side (plus its innate root is always handy). For players who ARE using Ice Magic as their primary damage-dealer, Cold Sphere's damage-boosting mods are often not worth using, but there's a new mod that gives it a Cold-vulnerability debuff. This makes Cold Sphere an interesting (but not mandatory) option for any Ice Mage.
Cold Sphere: increased base damage-boost of all pets level 50+. The "root" effect from their rage attack is reduced from 10sec (!) to 5sec
New treasure (chest): "Your Cold Sphere's attacks deal +24 damage and cause the targets to suffer +12% damage from future Cold attacks (non-stacking)"
New treasure (head, hands): "Your Cold Sphere's attacks deals +170 damage, but their Max Health is -80"
Other Ice Magic Changes Added a bit more damage overall. Nerfed one of Frostbite's mods, but don't be misled: it's still an extraordinarily good debuff. (And it will only become more powerful as combat duration increases! In fact, we may need to tone it down some more later.)
Ice Nova: power cost and base damage increased. All treasure potency recalculated
Frostbite ability: ability base damage increased slightly
"Frostbite deals +154 damage and raises the target's Max Rage by 79%, preventing them from using their Rage attacks as often" => "Frostbite deals +176 damage and raises the target's Max Rage by 33%, preventing them from using their Rage attacks as often"
"Freeze Solid resets the timer on Ice Spear (so it can be used again immediately)" => "Ice Nova deals +110 damage and reuse timer is -2 seconds" *
"Freeze Solid restores 161 armor to you after a 15 second delay" => "Freeze Solid restores 112 armor to you"
One-Tier Mods Changed\* You may notice a couple of asterisks above. Those are treasure mods that previously only had one "tier" of effect. The revised versions add more tiers to each mod, allowing the mods to become slightly more powerful at high level. This resulted in a slight quirk: pre-existing items with these mods are still stored as having the first tier of the mod. This means even high-level items will have the lowest-tier version of these mods. This isn't really a huge deal in terms of potency, but if you want to fix it, you can Transmute the mod off the item and then Transmute it back on -- it will be the appropriate tier when it's re-added. (And this month, Transmutation is cheap for the Ice Magic and Deer skills.)
The earliest animal forms were all experimental designs, and Deer was originally the prototypical "off-tank" skill. Then we decided that off-tanks weren't useful in a game without raids, so Deer was revised in a few other directions. But the most recent revision made Deer fairly tanky again, so let's build on that. Here's a fresh idea: what if Deer was like an "off-tank"? In old-school MMO terminology, an off-tank can act as a tank for an elite enemy (or multiple solo enemies), but may have trouble tanking some bosses -- although dedicated healers can help there. What makes them unique, though, is an ability to take over aggro for anyone... including a tank! (Hence the name "off-tank", because they can pull monsters off the tank.) We'll try to give Deer that ability and see what it's like. There's new treasure that gives you a new sidebar ability "Feign Injury", which "temp taunts" a target. Temp taunting works like regular taunting, except it decays at a rate of 20% per second. So a temp taunt of +10,000 would be 10,000 Taunt at first, then a second later would be recalculated as 8,000, then a second later as 6,400, etc. So this ability should help Deer get aggro from anyone, anywhere... at least for a few seconds. An off-tank should also have solid taunting and survivability, and deal decent damage. So that's what we'll try to do here. In addition, the Deer skill has always had incredible mobility (which is what makes them an interesting off-tank), and we want to keep that too. Rethinking Deer Pet Deer players can summon an ally deer to aid them. Previously these deer had an innate 300% taunt multiplier and were intended to be sort-of off-tanks themselves, sharing tanking duties with the player deer. We recently gave these summoned deer the benefits of our experimental genetics system, which could randomly give these pets incredible health and armor. Better for tanking! But yet... at high level, a well-equipped player deer can easily out-taunt and out-tank a pet deer. This just feels like an unwieldy design. We've dropped the idea that these pets are tanks, and focused them on damage. They no longer have an innate taunt bonus or souped-up genetics. However, they have higher base damage, and the pet's taunting-related treasure effects have been changed into a damage boost. There are also new treasure mods that summon additional deer for a few seconds at a time. This makes for a fun solo build, although it's somewhat mod-intensive and also pretty chaotic. But a fun kind of chaotic! (For those who don't want chaos, we've also bumped up Deer's more traditional murder methods.) It's useful to know that every attack your pet deer makes is considered a "deer kick". This is relevant for one specific treasure mod:
(Hands, Necklace) "Deer Kick implants insect eggs in the target. Future Deer Kicks by any deer cause target to take 310 Nature damage over 5 seconds"
This mod is unchanged, except that it no longer stacks more than four times: twice for each piece of equipment it can show up on. (That's *not* a limit of 4 stacks of damage, it's 4 stacks of the debuff that applies the damage!) Also, we've reworded the effect to clarify that pet deer can trigger the damage. Removed treasure mods We've tried hard to avoid breaking existing equipment by repurposing obsolete Deer effects with new ones. However, in one place this was impossible. A head-slot mod was removed without any replacement. If you had this mod on a piece of head gear, that item has become "Legacy", meaning it will stop working after a month. You can fix this by using a Transmutation table to remove the mod off of your helm, or you can speak to the Legacy Golem in Serbule to receive a randomly-generated replacement item. (Transmutation of Deer treasure is much cheaper this month, to help you adjust to these changes.) Specific Deer Changes
Doe Eyes: Power cost increased. Ability now resists more physical damage, especially against Elites, and lasts for 24 seconds instead of 10. (At level 77 it now gives 36 mitigation, plus 72 more vs. Elites)
"After using Doe Eyes, your next attack deals +169 damage" => "Doe Eyes reuse timer is -2 seconds, and after using Doe Eyes your next attack deals +190 damage"
"Doe Eyes heals 80 health" => "For 10 seconds after using Doe Eyes, you mitigate +36 from all attacks, and a further +72 from Elite attacks"
Ability "King of the Forest": base damage and Power cost increased slightly; all treasure stats tweaked slightly as a result
"King of the Forest gives you +15 mitigation of any physical damage for 20 seconds" => this effect was available on two slots, but only applied once. This was intentional at the time, but now we're trying to make all treasure mods stack together when possible. New (stacking) version: "King of the Forest mitigates +14 physical damage (Crushing, Slashing, Piercing) for 10 seconds. Against Elite enemies, mitigates +28 more"
"Cuteness Overload heals you for 114 health" => "Cuteness Overload Damage +270"
"Combo: Deer Bash+Any Melee+Any Melee+Deer Kick: final step hits all enemies within 5 meters and deals +100 damage." => deals +240 damage
Summoned Deer no longer have the benefits of the experimental genetics system, but have higher base damage
Summoned Deer no longer have an innate 300% taunt bonus
"Antler Slash has a 50% chance to restore 48 armor" => this effect has been replaced with an entirely unrelated effect. (head, chest): "You can use the Deer ability Feign Injury, and it temp-taunts +11300. (Equipping this item will teach you the ability if needed.)"
(Hands, Feet) "Deer Bash deals +120 damage and knocks the enemy backwards" => "Deer Bash has a 15% chance to summon a deer ally for 30 seconds"
New (ring): "Cuteness Overload deals +160 damage and knocks the target backwards"
New (Head, Necklace): "Pummeling Hooves deals +45 damage and has a 8% chance to summon a deer ally for 30 seconds"
"Antler Slash deals +X% damage" => "Antler Slash hits all enemies within 5 meters and taunts +Y". NOTE: this effect used to be available on two slots, Head and Hands. It is now only on Hands. See above about Legacy items.
"Psychic Mitigation +34 while Deer skill active" => "Psychic and Nature Mitigation +34 while Deer skill active"
"Nature Mitigation +34 while Deer skill active" => "Burst Evasion +8.5% while Deer skill active"
"Deer Kick Damage +85" => "Deer Kick Damage +45 and grants you -10% Fire Vulnerability for 10 seconds"
New: (main-hand) "Combo: Forest Challenge+Any Melee+Any Melee+Any Epic Attack: final step deals +150 damage and summons a deer ally for 30 seconds."
Live Event Token Prize Changes
We've revised some of Riston's special prizes so that they use abilities instead of items. For those that have already purchased a Vendor Fox in a Box or the Small Box of Space, the summoning item in your inventory has been converted to a skill book that will teach you the new ability. This skill book can only be used once, so use caution if you must transfer this skill book to another character on your account. Also with this change, you will have to purchase these items per character now if you wish to have it on more than one character on your account. Other important notes:
Once you learn the Vendor Fox in a Box ability, the ability requires you to have some type of crate in your inventory. Any crafted storage crate and most pet crates (when Animal Husbandry is released) will work to allow use of the ability. The crate will not be consumed. The cool down timer on the ability will reset in 2 real-time hours, but you still need to spend 2 hours in-game before you can use the ability again. (You can see that timer in your effects bar under the effect 'Boxed Fox'.)
Once you learn the Small Box of Space ability, there are no other requirements. Just use the ability to summon your storage box. The cool down timer for this ability has been extended to 90 minutes (from 60 minutes). The cool down timer on the ability will reset in 90 real-time minutes, but you still need to spend 90 minutes in-game before you can use the ability again. (You can see that timer in your effects bar under the effect 'Spaced Out'.)
As time goes by, we will slowly be adding more and more items, abilities and services to the game that will require Live Event Tokens. For this update, we have added a new 50 token prize! Find Riston in the Red Wing Casino to check it out!
Other Changes In This Update
Bug fix: Rabbit: "Bun-Fu Blast deals +80 damage and restores 44 Power after a 9-second delay" => this did not add damage to Bun-Fu Blast as expected
Bug fix: Rabbit: "Bun-Fu Blast deals +78 damage and hastens the current reuse timer of Bun-Fu Strike by 3 seconds" => this did not add damage to Bun-Fu Blast as expected
Good morning, hope everyone trades responsibly, let’s make some money!
Boeing Company (BA) - Air Lease (AL) updated on its order book deliveries, sales and new significant financing occurring in Q2; at the end of the quarter, its fleet was comprised of 301 owned aircraft and 81 managed aircraft, with 398 new aircraft on order from Boeing and Airbus (EADSY) set to deliver through 2026; it delivered one new Airbus A320neo aircraft from its order book, and sold four aircraft. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is facing calls from over 170 nonprofit groups to stop selling its talc-based Baby Powder worldwide, over concerns that it contains cancer-causing Asbestos, while some are also calling for the clearing of existing inventories. Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) Q3 20 (USD): Adj. EPS 0.83 (exp. 1.17), Revenue 34.6bln (exp. 34.36bln), FY20 Adj. EPS view 4.65-4.75 (exp. 5.42); Suspending share repurchase programme, raises quarterly dividend to USD 0.4675/shr, a 2.2% increase. US Retail Pharmacy SSS +3.0% (exp. +1.2%). Most significant COVID-19 impact was in the UK market which required a review resulting in a non-cash impairment charge of USD 2bln. Boots (UK) will be cutting around 4,000 jobs. Annual cost savings to be in excess of USD 2bln by FY2022.
Alphabet Inc (GOOG/GOOGL) said it has shut down its cloud project named “Isolated Region” and added that it was not weighing options to offer its cloud platform in China; earlier reports had stated that GOOG had shelved the project in China and other politically sensitive countries in May, partly due to rising geopolitical tensions and the pandemic; GOOG, however, added that the project’s shutdown was not due to either of those two reasons and that it has not offered cloud platform services in China. American Airlines Group (AAL) / United Airlines (UAL) have temporarily halted flights to Hong Kong after its government-imposed coronavirus testing requirements for airline crews, according to Politico. Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) June sales update saw comparable sales (ex-gasoline and FX) rose 13.6% in the June five-week period, accelerating from the +9.2% seen in May, beating forecasts for around 9% growth. Facebook, Inc. (FB) announced it is starting a chat with a business using QR codes, where people can scan QR codes businesses show at stores, product packaging or receipts to start a chat. It notes there are over 50mln WhatsApp Business app users globally every month. Gilead Sciences (GILD) plans to make more of its drug remdesivir available for Germany and Europe from the fall, and will decide how much each country gets based on the rate of infection; it added that it could increase its worldwide monthly production from currently 190,000 treatment cycles to two million treatment cycles in December. Remdesivir is currently the only drug granted a conditional marketing authorisation by the EU for its use in COVID-19 patients.Oracle Corp. (ORCL) (Information Technology/Application Software) has been awarded a cloud services agreement by the Canadian government.
S & P 500
Carnival Corp. (CCL) Aida cruises are to recommence sailing vacations in August. Ford Motor (F) said its China vehicle sales increased 3% in April-June from a year earlier, its first quarterly sales rise in China in almost three years; China sales grew by 158,589 units in Q2, attributed to the rise to a stronger vehicle line up and “strong demand following the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions”. Mylan NV (MYL) announced it received FDA approval for its Hulio, a biosimilar to AbbVie Inc. (ABBV) Humira, for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Twitter, Inc. (TWTR) has been accused of being biased against conservatives and demanded information about its reactions to two tweets by President Donald Trump; two GOP lawmakers allege TWTR’s content moderation was not neutral. Meanwhile, analysts at Citi note its shares overreacted to the potential subscription service reports yesterday. Analyst Jason Bazinet says although it makes sense, there are many unknowns, such as the price and whether or not it will have advertisements. The analyst highlights that a consumer survey shows roughly 10% of its respondents were willing to pay for a USD 5/mth plan without ads and more analytic services. Citi estimates if such a service were to occur, it would be priced at USD 20/year internationally and USD 60/year in the US, assuming a 5% penetration for base case and 10% for its bull case with advertisements, the analyst believes the revenue contribution would be limited. Citi maintain a neutral rating. United Continental Holdings (UAL) expects to recognise USD 300mln in employee separation charges in Q2, with USD 50mln to be in cash. ViacomCBS (VIAC) reached a deal to stream all the UEFA Champions League and Europa League matches starting in August.
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) Q1 20 (USD): Adj. EPS -1.96 (exp. -1.22), revenue 1.31bln (exp. 1.39bln). Announced it is to close 200 stores over two years as sales fell around 50% during pandemic; BBBY said it was not reporting comp sales due to temporary store closures. DocuSign (DOCU) had its PT upgraded at Wedbush to USD 240 (prev. USD 165, prev. closing price 206.35). The analyst “continues to believe DOCU’s deal flow is holding up well/stronger than expected in this Covid-19 pandemic environment which bodes well for strong underlying metrics/headline numbers during FY2Q”. DraftKings (DKNG) and Twin River Worldwide (TRWH) Mardi Gras Casino announced the opening of DKNG’s temporary sportsbook at the casino in Black Hawk, Colorado. Guests can place bets at the sportsbook from 10th July. Energy Transfer (ET) provided further clarification around news reports regarding the operations of the Dakota Access Pipeline, stating that it has never suggested that it would defy a court order. Rather, Dakota Access Pipeline was seeking appropriate relief from that order through the established legal process. Japan Display (6740 JT) : FY group net loss JPY 101.42bln (prev. net loss JPY 106.59bln), operating loss JPY 38.54bln (prev. loss JPY 27.23bln), recurring loss JPY 57.76bln (prev. JPY 40.37bln). Moderna (MRNA) announced a collaboration for large-scale commercial fill-finish manufacturing of its vaccine candidate with Rovi. PTC (PTC) expects to deliver fiscal third quarter 2020 ARR growth of 9% year over year, 10% in constant currency; and also expects to deliver double-digit revenue and free cash flow year-over-year growth for the fiscal third quarter 2020; it will report results on 29th July. Restaurant Brands (QSR) Burger King in the UK is warning of 1,600 potential job losses as it could close up to 10% of its restaurants SAP (SAP GY, SAP) – Q2 prelim: total revenue EUR 6.74bln, +2% (+1% non-IFRS), operating profit EUR 1.28bln, +55% YY (+8% non-IFRS), non-IFRS cloud revenue EUR 2.04bln +21% YY (19% non-IFRS). At present, cloud backlog seen at EUR 6.65bln, +20%, cloud backlog remains strong but cloud revenue in Q2 was impacted by lower pay-as-you-go transactional revenue given COVID-19. Reiterates FY20 outlook. For FY20: confirm non-IFRS revenue EUR 27.8-28.5bln vs. Prev. EUR 27.6bln, cloud revenue EUR 8.3-8.7bln vs. prev. EUR 7.0bln, operating profit EUR 8.1-8.7bln vs. Prev. EUR 8.2bln. Have seen a strong sequential improvement compared to Q1 regarding software license revenue. Q2 & H1 results will be released on 27th July. Siemens (SIE GY, SIEGY) – Are to spin off 55% of Siemens Energy to shareholders will equate to 1 Siemens Energy share for 2 Siemens shares. Initial listing of new shares is scheduled for 28th September 2020, will commence with a BBB rating at S&P. Siemens will retain a 35.1% stake in the spin-off and the Siemens pension trust an additional 9.9% stake, as such Siemens no longer has a controlling share. Further stake reductions could take place at a significant scale in the next 12-18 months. Separately, Co. are not planning any job reductions from COVID-19. For reference, in FY19 Siemens Energy generated revenue of circa EUR 29bln according to Siemens AG combined statements.
Additional US Equity Stories
Of note for Social Media names (FB, TWTR, SNAP), ByteDance is reportedly considering a change in the corporate structure to distance the app from China, and is also considering a TikTok HQ outside of China, according to WSJ. Peloton (PTON) new product will probably not be a rowing machine or exercise bike, its CFO announced, but it could potentially be a lower price treadmill. The CFO stated the co. believes “the running and boot camp category is two-to-three [times] the size of the bike category”, adding it is first and foremost on their minds, reports Barron’s. Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) CFO says towards the end of Q3 online volume sales reached Black Friday levels on a daily basis, and May sales increased almost 120%, with June sales growth even higher. Tesla (TSLA) CEO Musk announced the automaker was "very close" to developing fully autonomous vehicles and could work out the basics of that technology as soon as this year; he reiterated that the electric vehicle maker has solved most of the essential challenges toward achieving fully self-driven cars that needs no human behind the wheel. The Tesla and SpaceX chief was reaffirming a goal first expressed in 2019. Delta AIrlines (DAL) CEO reiterates urge for workers to consider voluntary departure., and announced it flew 20% of customers over the July 4th weekend.
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In addition to all the usual methods of payment that a player can use on Casino Friday, bitcoin payments are also accepted from players in certain jurisdictions. For example, Canadian bitcoin casino players using an eWallet. >>Collect Free Spins No Deposit Bonus<<
To ensure that withdrawals are credited to their accounts as speedily as possible, players should maintain up to date verification documents with the casino. If there are any documents outstanding, the withdrawal will remain in pending until they are received. Aside from the pending period, once a withdrawal is released it should appear in a players account within these timeframes:
e-wallets: instant – 24 hours
Debit or Credit Card: 2 – 5 days
Bank Transfer: 2 – 7 days
At Casino Friday there are multiple communication channels and an enthusiastic customer support team. Players who enjoy using Live Chat for instant support can access the functionality straight from the casino’s website. There are also telephone numbers for the support team listed on the site. For those who don’t require immediate assistance, or who just prefer email, the email team is available and promises fast turnaround times. One of the things that Casino Friday has emphasised is their dedication to a rewarding user experience. The team is trying hard to tailor a unique mix of personalised customer service representatives, loyalty programs, and retention strategies that will maximize player satisfaction.
TRUSTWORTHINESS OF CASINO FRIDAY
The casino utilizes some of the most reliable payment methods and uses 128 bit SSL Digital Encryption to ensure that all transactions are 100% secure. It will also be fully licensed with the Malta Gaming Authority and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission to ensure continuous auditing and trusted game play. >>Collect Free Spins No Deposit Bonus<<
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The casino is owned and operated by 1UP Entertainment BV with registered number 153120. We don’t have the casino license numbers yet as the applications are with the MGA and Kahnawake Commission. Here you can find the registered address of the company at 9 Abraham de Veerstraat, Willemstad, Curaçao.
It seems like Casino Friday is geared to set the online gambling community on fire with great customer service, ground-breaking game search tools, and a highly developed lobby of games. There also promises to be a world-class loyalty program where ‘every spin counts’ and “every bet brings players closer to the next level.” We think they’ve got some great concepts and that Casino Friday may usher in a few innovative tools that other online casinos will model in the future. >>Collect Free Spins No Deposit Bonus<<
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BetSafe Casino Full Review:
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[Lost in the Sauce] Trump admin hides Paycheck Protection program details; lawmakers benefit from loans
Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis. Title refers to: The Trump admin is blocking IGs from getting info on over $1 trillion in relief spending, including corporation bailouts. The admin is also withholding PPP info from Congress, meaning we don't know if Trump or his family took taxpayer money. Additionally, we learned that at least 4 members of Congress have benefited from PPP money, but aren't required to disclose it. Housekeeping:
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Inspectors general warned Congress last week that the Trump administration is blocking scrutiny of more than $1 trillion in spending related to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the previously undisclosed letter, Department of Treasury attorneys concluded that the administration is not required to provide the watchdogs with information about the beneficiaries of programs like the $500 billion in loans for corporations. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin refused to provide Congress with the names of recipients of the taxpayer-funded coronavirus business loans. After criticism, Mnuchin began to walk back his denial, saying he will talk to lawmakers on a bipartisan basis “to strike the appropriate balance for proper oversight” of PPP loans “and appropriate protection of small business information.” At least 4 lawmakers have benefited in some way from the Paycheck Protection program they helped create.Politico has been told there are almost certainly more -- but there are zero disclosure rules, even for members of Congress.
Republicans on the list include Rep. Roger Williams of Texas, a wealthy businessman who owns auto dealerships, body shops and car washes, and Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, whose family owns multiple farms and equipment suppliers across the Midwest. The Democrats count Rep. Susie Lee of Nevada, whose husband is CEO of a regional casino developer, and Rep. Debbie Mucarsel Powell of Florida, whose husband is a senior executive at a restaurant chain that has since returned the loan.
Mick Mulvaney dumped as much as $550,000 in stocks the same day Trump assured the public the US economy was 'doing fantastically' amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Mulvaney unloaded his holdings in three different mutual funds, each of which is primarily made up of US stocks. The next day, the value of the mutual funds tanked.
Cases rising in many states
Good summary: There was supposed to be a peak. But the stark turning point, when the number of daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S. finally crested and began descending sharply, never happened. Instead, America spent much of April on a disquieting plateau, with every day bringing about 30,000 new cases and about 2,000 new deaths. This pattern exists because different states have experienced the coronavirus pandemic in very different ways…The U.S. is dealing with a patchwork pandemic. As of Friday, coronavirus cases were significantly climbing in 16 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington. Oklahoma is experiencing a massive increase in coronavirus cases just days before Trump’s planned rally in Tulsa. In Tulsa county itself, 1 in roughly 390 people have tested positive. Yet Trump plans on cramming 20,000 people in an event with voluntary face mask policy and no social distancing. Attendees must sign a waiver that absolves the president’s campaign of any liability from virus-related illnesses.
On Monday, Pence lied saying that Oklahoma has “flattened the curve.” As you can see at any of the resources immediately below, this is not even close to true. Over the past 14 days, the state has seen a 124% increase in cases and reports 65% of ICU beds are in use.
Tulsa World Editorial Board: This is the wrong time and Tulsa is the wrong place for the Trump rally. "We don't know why he chose Tulsa, but we can’t see any way that his visit will be good for the city...Again, Tulsa will be largely alone in dealing with what happens at a time when the city’s budget resources have already been stretched thin."
Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that he is a victim of double standards when it comes to perception of his decision to resume campaign rallies in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, declaring that attempts to “covid shame” his campaign “won’t work!”
Resources to track increases: There are many different sites with various methods of visualizing the spread of coronavirus. Here are some that may be particularly useful this summer… Topos COVID-19 compiler homepage and graphs of each state since re-opening. How we reopen Safely has stats on each state’s progress towards meeting benchmarks to reopen safely (hint: almost none have reached all the checkpoints). WaPo has a weekly national map of cases/deaths; the largest regional clusters are in the southeast. On Monday, Trump twice said that “if we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any,” (video). Aside from the fact that cases exist even if we don’t test for them, we cannot explain the rising number of cases by increased testing capacity: In at least 14 states, the positive case rate is increasing faster than the increase in the average number of tests.
Reminder: In March Trump told Fox News that he didn't want infected patients from a cruise ship to disembark because it would increase the number of reported cases in the US. "I like the numbers being where they are," Trump said at the time. "I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn't our fault."
Fired scientist Rebekah Jones builds coronavirus dashboard to rival Florida’s… Her site shows thousands more people with the coronavirus, and hundreds of thousands fewer who have been tested, than the site run by the Florida Health Department.
Equipment and supplies
More studies prove wearing masks limits transmission and spread of coronavirus… One study from Britain found that routine face mask use by 50% or more of the population reduced COVID-19 spread to an R of less than 1.0. The R value measures the average number of people that one infected person will pass the disease on to. An R value above 1 can lead to exponential growth. The study found that if people wear masks whenever they are in public it is twice as effective at reducing the R value than if masks are only worn after symptoms appear. Meanwhile, Trump officials refuse to wear masks and Trump supporters copy his behavior… VP Mike Pence, leader of the coronavirus task force, published a tweet showing himself in a room full of Trump staffers, none wearing masks or practicing social distancing. Pence deleted the tweet shortly after criticism. A poll last week showed that 66% of likely-Biden-voters “always wear a mask,” while 83% of likely-Trump-voters “neverarely wear a mask.”
Trump’s opposition to face masks hasn’t stopped him from selling them to his supporters, though. The online Trump Store is selling $20 cotton American flag-themed face masks.
Yesterday, we learned that South Carolina Republican Rep. Tom Rice and family have tested positive for the coronavirus. Just two weeks ago, Rice was on the House floor and halls of the Capitol without wearing a mask.
Internal FEMA data show that the government’s supply of surgical gowns has not meaningfully increased since March… The slides show FEMA’s plan to ramp up supply into June and July hinges on the reusing of N95 masks and surgical gowns, increasing the risk of contamination. Those are supposed to be disposed of after one use. Nursing homes with urgent needs for personal protective equipment say they’re receiving defective equipment as part of Trump administration supply initiative. Officials say FEMA is sending them gowns that look more like large tarps -- with no holes for hands -- and surgical masks that are paper-thin. More than 1,300 Chinese medical-device companies that registered to sell PPE in the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic used bogus registration data… These companies listed as their American representative a purported Delaware entity that uses a false address and nonworking phone number. Florida is sitting on more than 980,000 unused doses of hydroxychloroquine, but hospitals don’t want it… Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered a million doses of the drug to show support for Trump, but very few hospitals have requested it.
Native American communities struggle
The CARES Act money for Native American tribes, meant to assist people during the pandemic, came with restrictions that are impeding efforts to limit the transmission of the virus. For instance, the funds can only be used to cover expenses that are "incurred due to the public health emergency." On the Navajo Nation, the public health emergency is inherently related to some basic infrastructure problems. 30% of Navajo don’t have running water to wash their hands, but the money can’t be used to build water lines. Federal and state health agencies are refusing to give Native American tribes and organizations representing them access to data showing how the coronavirus is spreading around their lands, potentially widening health disparities and frustrating tribal leaders already ill-equipped to contain the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has turned down tribal epidemiologists’ requests for data that it’s making freely available to states. A Hospital’s Secret Coronavirus Policy Separated Native American Mothers From Their Newborns… Pregnant Native American women were singled out for COVID-19 testing based on their race and ZIP code, clinicians say. While awaiting results, some mothers were separated from their newborns, depriving them of the immediate contact doctors recommend. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that state officials would investigate the allegations.
Personnel & appointees
Former IG Steve Linick told Congress he was conducting five investigations into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the State Department before he was fired. In addition to investigating Pompeo's potential misuse of taxpayer funds and reviewing his decision to expedite an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, Linick’s office was conducting an audit of Special Immigrant Visas, a review of the International Women of Courage Award, and another review "involving individuals in the Office of the Protocol."
Pompeo confidant emerges as enforcer in fight over watchdog’s firing: Linick testified that Undersecretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao, a decades-old friend of Pompeo’s, “tried to bully [him]” out of investigating Pompeo.
Trump has empowered John McEntee, director of the Presidential Personnel Office, to make significant staffing changes inside top federal agencieswithout the consent — and, in at least one case, without even the knowledge — of the agency head. Many senior officials in Trump's government are sounding alarms about the loss of expertise and institutional knowledge. Trump’s nominee for under secretary of defense for policy, retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, has a history of making Islamophobic and inflammatory remarksagainst prominent Democratic politicians, including falsely calling former President Barack Obama a Muslim. Amid racial justice marches, GOP advances Trump court pick hostile to civil rights.Cory Wilson, up for a lifetime seat on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, has denied that restrictive voting laws lead to voter suppression and called same-sex marriage “a pander to liberal interest groups.” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has indefinitely extended the terms of the acting directors of the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service, sidestepping the typical Senate confirmation process for those posts and violating the Federal Vacancies Reform Act,
Courts and DOJ
The Supreme Court declined on Monday to take a closer look at qualified immunity, the legal doctrine that shields law enforcement and government officials from lawsuits over their conduct. Developed in recent decades by the high court, the qualified immunity doctrine, as applied to police, initially asks two questions: Did police use excessive force, and if they did, should they have known that their conduct was illegal because it violated a "clearly established" prior court ruling that barred such conduct? In practice, however, lower courts have most often dismissed police misconduct lawsuits on grounds that there is no prior court decision with nearly identical facts. The Supreme Court ruled that federal anti-discrimination laws protect gay and transgender employees. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the court’s liberals in the 6 to 3 ruling. They said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination “because of sex,” includes LGBTQ employees.
Alito, writing more than 100 pages in dissent for himself and Thomas, accused the court's majority of writing legislation, not law. Kavanaugh wrote separately: "We are judges, not members of Congress...Under the Constitution and laws of the United States, this court is the wrong body to change American law in that way."
Just days before the SCOTUS opinion was released, the Trump administration finalized a rule that would remove nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people when it comes to health care and health insurance. The SCOTUS ruling may make it easier to challenge the changes made by Trump.
The Supreme Court also declined to take up California’s “sanctuary” law, denying the Trump administration’s appeal. This means that the lower court opinion upholding one of California's sanctuary laws is valid, limiting cooperation between law enforcement and federal immigration authorities. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, two of the Court's conservative members, supported taking up the case. A federal appeals court appeared unlikely Friday to stop a judge from examining why the Justice Department sought to walk away from its prosecution of Michael Flynn. "I don't see why we don't observe regular order," said Judge Karen Henderson. "Why not hold this in abeyance and see what happens?" Judge Robert Wilkins told Flynn's lawyer that if Sullivan doesn't let the government drop the case, "then you can come back here on appeal."
Good read: Fiona Hill on being mistaken as a secretary by Trump, her efforts to make sure he was not left alone with Putin, and what the US, UK and Russia have in common. “It’s spitting in Merkel’s face,” said Vladimir Frolov, a former Russian diplomat who’s now a foreign-policy analyst. “But it’s in our interests.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry welcomed Trump’s plan to withdraw more than a quarter of U.S. troops from Germany.
Op-Ed: Why cutting American forces in Germany will harm this alliance
According to a new book, the Secret Service had to seek more funding to cover the cost of protecting Melania Trump while she stayed in NYC to renegotiate her prenup - taxpayers paid tens of millions of dollars to allow her to get better terms. Additionally, NYPD estimated its own costs conservatively at $125,000 a day. Georgia election 'catastrophe' in largely minority areas sparks investigation. Long lines, lack of voting machines, and shortages of primary ballots plagued voters. As of Monday night, there were still over 200,000 uncounted votes. Fox News runs digitally altered images in coverage of Seattle’s protests, Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone Fox News Mocked After Mistaking Monty Python Joke for Seattle Protest Infighting In addition to holding a rally on the day after Juneteenth (originally scheduled the day of), Trump will be accepting the GOP nomination in Jacksonville on the 60th anniversary of “Ax Handle Saturday,” a KKK attack on African Americans. Environmental news:
Ruling against environmentalists, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the federal government has the authority to allow a proposed $7.5 billion natural gas pipeline to cross under the popular Appalachian Trail in rural Virginia.
Trump administration has issued a new rule blocking tribes from protecting their waters from projects like pipelines, dams, and coal terminals.
The EPA published a proposal in the Federal Register that critics described as an assault on minority communities coping with the public health legacy of structural racism. The rule would bar EPA from giving special consideration to individual communities that bear the brunt of environmental risks — frequently populations of color.
The Trump administration is preparing to drill off Florida’s coast, but says it will wait until after the November election to avoid any backlash from Florida state leaders.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection used emergency funding meant for migrant families and children to pay for dirt bikes, canine supplies, computer equipment and other enforcement related-expenditures… The money was meant to be spent on “consumables and medical care” for migrants at the border.
ACLU files lawsuit against stringent border restrictions related to coronavirus that largely bar migrants from entering the United States.
Under Trump’s leadership, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has mismanaged its finances so badly that it has sought an emergency $1.2 billion infusion from taxpayers. When Trump took office, USCIS inherited a budget surplus. A large amount of funding is drained by its deliberate creation of more busy work for immigrants and their lawyers — as well as thousands of USCIS employees. These changes are designed to make it harder for people to apply for, receive or retain lawful immigration status.
Asylum-seeking migrants locked up inside an Arizona ICE detention center with one of the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases say they were forced to clean the facility and are 'begging' for protection from the virus
ICE plans to spend $18 million on thousands of new tasers and the training to use them
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