03 April 2020Stock blogs
03 April 2020
Dave & Buster's Entertainment Inc. shares rallied in the extended session Thursday after the arcade-themed restaurant chain topped Wall Street estimates and announced measures to save money while its stores are closed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Dave & Buster's shares rallied 12% after hours, following a 6.1% decline in the regular session to close at $10.05. The company reported fourth-quarter net income of $25 million, or 80 cents a share, compared with $29.4 million, or 75 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose to $347.2 million from $331.8 million in the year-ago quarter. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of 69 cents a share on revenue of $344.5 million. Dave & Buster's said it temporarily furloughed its more than 15,000 hourly employees, reduced store management and corporate staff by 90%, cut senior management pay by 50%, and suspended board compensation for the rest of the year. Additionally, capital spending and new store construction has been halted along with dividends and share buybacks. On March 20, the company temporarily closed all of its 137 locations, and is currently in discussions with landlords and vendors to reduce expenses.
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03 April 2020
03 April 2020
03 April 2020
02 April 2020President Donald Trump on Thursday doubled-down on his claim that he brokered a deal under which Saudi Arabia and Russia would slow down their oil production.
02 April 2020
02 April 2020
02 April 2020
02 April 2020
02 April 2020
Whether instigated by external factors or the result of government decisions or policies, the devaluation of a currency has the potential to boost a country’s economic conditions. It’s not a permanent solution or the most viable way to put a country’s economy on track, but it works — mostly because a devalued currency encourages exports and slows down imports.
The loonie has been feeling down since the start of this month. Rather than staying at the optimal US $0.75 (which is still lower than the 2019 finish of US $0.77), the loonie is now at US $0.71. While a weak currency might not seem like a sign of strength, it has the potential to stabilize a country’s finances.
Given that one of the reasons it does that is by increasing exports, companies that earn the bulk of their revenues from foreign clients might see significant activity.
The number one export of the country is oil, and about half of the major exporters are energy companies. But since the energy sector has its own demons to deal with right now, we will stick with other sectors.An automotive part manufacturer
Vehicles and related parts are one of the major Canadian exports. Most of the players in the country are foreign automotive companies like Honda and General Motors. But one Canadian name that stands out among the rest is Magna International (TSX:MG)(NYSE:MGA). It’s a $13.6 billion automotive part company with active sales centres in over 27 countries.
The company markets itself as more than simply an automotive company. It’s a tech company with entrepreneurial leadership, giving the company its edge. The company made $39.4 billion worth of sales in 2019, a step down from the 2018 sales of $40.8 billion.
A significant portion of which happened outside the country — a trend that’s likely to continue and fasten as a result of the lousy loonie.
Magna is also a Dividend Aristocrat with a decade of increased dividends under its belt. In the past five years, it has increased its dividends by 60%. Currently, the yield has been pumped up to about 5%. The stock is trading at a $45 per share, at a 34% discount.A gold company
Precious metals are another major Canadian export. Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX)(NYSE:ABX) is an Ontario-based mining company that currently has a market cap of about $48.5 billion, making it one of the largest players in the game. It’s also a major gold exporter, and almost all the mines that the company operates are on foreign lands.
It’s one of the few companies that are regained their past value on the TSX, making it a rarity among the plunging stocks. Currently, the company is trading at $27.3 per share at writing.
It’s also a dividend payer, though the frequency and the payout are relatively inconsistent. On the other hand, it’s a decent grower, and you may expect some capital appreciation if you invest in this golden company.Foolish takeaway
A devalued home currency may give a boost to the country’s export, something the country desperately needs. Between the oil market plunge and the pandemic driving the economy to the ground, an increase in exports can be a ray of hope.
Savvy investors may wish to consider these export-based stocks for decent gains in the future.
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The post Lousy Loonie Could Rocket These 2 Stocks to the Stratosphere appeared first on The Motley Fool Canada.
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03 April 2020Personal Finance
03 April 2020
If the ever-evolving coronavirus situation has put a halt on your income or lowered it dramatically, don’t panic. Instead, it’s best to stay calm, rally your resources and come up with a strategy for your finances. If COVID-19 has affected your ability to pay your rent or mortgage, cover your other bills and put food on the table, here’s what you can do to get through this time:Re-Evaluate Your Finances
First, get a big-picture look at your financial situation. What are your basic living expenses, how much debt do you have, and will you be getting any financial assistance in the form of unemployment or disability checks?
Then, go through all your expenses and see what you can cut back on or get rid of entirely. “Now is a great time to go through your most recent billing statement and cancel any subscriptions or costs in order to lower your future spending,” says Logan Allec, founder of Money Done Right. “Also, think about canceling any spending that you can’t use now.” Some services might have been halted because of the coronavirus situation. For instance, your gym membership or yoga classes.
You’ll then want to see how you might go about lowering your existing expenses. Can you get a cheaper plan for your home internet, or reach out to your provider to see if they’re willing to offer a promo rate? If you’re new to this world of negotiating, come up with a basic script before giving them a call. Remember: It’s far better for them to keep you as a customer than to lose you entirely.
Last, go down the list of all your expenses and see how you can scale back. How can you save on groceries and entertainment at home? Instead of doling out cash on streaming entertainment services, can you download movies for free from your library?Check for Eviction Moratoriums
There might be an eviction moratorium where you live. In other words, if you’re unable to cover your rent because of the coronavirus, then you won’t be kicked out of your place. This is being rolled out at the city, county, or state level. There are different rules and terms depending on where you live, so you’ll have to check.
For instance, the governor of California has issued a statewide executive order that will protect tenants until May 31, 2020. That doesn’t mean you’re completely off the hook, though. In the Golden State, you’ll still need to pay your landlord for what’s owed. And in the state of New York, eviction moratoriums are in place until at least June 20th.Reach Out to Your Loan Servicer
If you’re a homeowner and have mortgage payments, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has suspended foreclosures on single-family homes that are FHA-insured for 60 days, effective March 18, 2020. More good news: If your home was in the process of a foreclosure, this would be halted.
Along the same lines, you can reach out to your gas and power companies to see if they’re waiving late fees or being more forgiving before shutting off your utilities.Contact Your Landlord as Soon as Possible
If you’re renting from somebody, reach out to them as soon as you can if you are concerned about your ability to pay next month’s rent, and be sure you understand any eviction freezes being considered by your state or local government, recommends Allec.
“As a landlord myself, I appreciate it when tenants are upfront with me about their situation and don’t try to hide it with bogus excuses.” Just like you’d like a heads-up before stuff hits the fan, letting your landlord know as soon as you can gives them time to prepare, and to come up with some sort of contingency plan.
If you’re able to cover some of your rent, you could try reaching out to your landlord, explaining your situation and why you’re not able to cover the next month’s rent. You’ll want to then ask if a temporary reduction in rent would be possible. Given the circumstances, your landlord might be amenable to this arrangement.
And if you’ve exhausted all the obvious avenues, see if your landlord would be open to bartering, suggests money coach and educator Sarah Von Bargen. “What skills do you have that might be useful to them?,” says Von Bargen, who is the founder of Yes and Yes. “Could you repaint an empty unit in the building or do some landscaping in exchange for cheap or free rent? If you rent from a large company, maybe they could use help with their website or social media.”Look for Relief
If you’ve lost a job or aren’t able to work due to circumstances prompted by the coronavirus, look toward forms of relief. Help is out there.
For instance, under the newly passed Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA), certain employers are required to provide their workers one of two things: 80 hours of paid sick leave if they’re unable to work because of a quarantine or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Or up to 80 hours of paid sick leave that’s equal to two-thirds of their pay because they were tending to someone under quarantine or someone with symptoms. An employee might also qualify for an additional 10 weeks of paid leave at two-thirds of his or her regular pay.
You might also qualify for disaster unemployment benefits. This extends to freelancers and self-employed folks, too. For instance, if you’ve lost your job, aren’t able to reach your place of work, or cannot work due to a disaster-related injury, you can apply for this form of unemployment. You’ll need to apply through your state’s unemployment office.
You’ll want to learn about other relief efforts based on the type of work you do and your industry. For instance, there are relief efforts for small businesses, freelancers, and artists. There are also relief efforts for different professions and industries. To name a few, those who work as bartenders and in the beauty industry.
While the reality of not being able to keep up with your bills because of the coronavirus can feel scary, remaining calm and looking at different solutions will help you swiftly navigate through rocky times.
Do you know of more helpful resources? Share them in the comments!
The post What to Do If You Can’t Cover Bills During Coronavirus appeared first on MintLife Blog.
02 April 2020
02 April 2020
Note: NerdWallet strongly discourages traveling in the near future while the coronavirus continues to spread. Check the CDC and State Department websites for current guidance and travel restrictions. Please use the content of this article only to help inform future travel plans. When the world can travel again after the coronavirus pandemic recedes, members of...
The article AAdvantage Members Can Now Earn Miles on All Alaska and Royal Air Maroc Flights originally appeared on NerdWallet.
02 April 2020
The COVID-19 crisis is sparing almost no one when it comes to finances. For some, stimulus checks and debt relief won’t be enough, and they’ll need to borrow money. Those already carrying personal loans may be looking for help with payments. While some personal loan lenders are tightening approval requirements, others have introduced low-rate, small-dollar loans...
The article COVID-19: Loan Options and Payment Relief originally appeared on NerdWallet.
02 April 2020
Freedom Mortgage is one of the leading lenders for VA loans in the U.S., but it also offers a variety of loan products for everyone from first time homebuyers to those in search of jumbo loans. Headquartered in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, Freedom Mortgage has been serving the United States mortgage community for 30 years. Following its recent acquisition of J.G. Wentworth Home Lending, Freedom Mortgage now employs over 5,400 employees who work together to service over $6 billion in mortgage loans.
Freedom is a great lender for those in search of government-backed loans with flexible qualification requirements. It may also be a good fit for those looking for conventional and jumbo mortgage options.Freedom Mortgage at a glance
Minimum and Maximum Loan Amount APY Range Terms Key Benefit Freedom Mortgage Not available Not available 15 and 30 years Flexible government-backed mortgage programs
Freedom Mortgage has an “A” rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and is licensed in all 50 states, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. This lender has a strong lineup of loan offerings that can fit many borrowers in any number of situations. It is an especially attractive choice for first time homebuyers because it strives to make homeownership a real possibility for more Americans, even those with low to moderate income or lower credit scores.
Beyond that, the company offers some unique service perks. After your loan closes, Freedom Mortgage activates what it calls the “Eagle Eye Pledge.” As part of this program, a loan servicer will contact you if rates drop, creating the opportunity to save you money on your monthly mortgage payment. It will also track the value of your home and if the value rises, you may be eligible to take out additional equity.Things to consider
While there are many different calculators to help figure out how much house you can afford and what terms are best, Freedom Mortgage does not disclose current APR rates for its various loan products. It also does not offer an online application, but if you fill out your basic information, a representative will call you back to complete the process.
Although the company is licensed to hold mortgages for any state, there are only 100 physical branches. You may have to travel a good distance if you want to meet and speak with someone in person.
Additionally, one civil suit has been reported against Freedom Mortgage for the intentional misreporting of race, ethnicity and sex between 2014 and 2017. It was ordered to pay $1.75 million in civil penalties and vastly improve its compliance management to eliminate future violations. There have been other more recent legal class action lawsuits proposed against Freedom Mortgage for fee-related issues, including “pay-to-pay” fees on mortgage payments that allegedly violate state and federal law.What you need to know
Freedom Mortgage is a leading VA lender in the nation and also specializes in FHA, USDA and conventional mortgages. As with most lenders, loan limits and APR will vary based on several factors, with credit score and debt-to-income (DTI) ratio appearing at the top of the list. Its terms are pretty standard throughout the industry with options for 15 and 30 years.
Before buyers begin their search for homes, Freedom Mortgage encourages them to pull their own credit score and contact a loan officer to get preapproved. One of the resources its web page offers is an application checklist that goes over all the documents you will need to complete the application. There is also a first time homebuyer checklist available, which goes over everything from where to start and what you want in a house to all the documents you’ll need along the way.Fees and penalties
The lender’s website does not offer a lot of hard numbers, and it is no different when it comes to their fees and penalties. In its closing cost explanations, Freedom Mortgage says it may have the following fees associated with its loans:
- Origination fee
- Application fee
- Underwriting fee
- Rate lock fee
- Ongoing fees
- Third-party fees
The collateral and criteria vary based on the loan product you are considering.VA loans
VA loans are especially attractive to those who qualify — mainly servicemembers, veterans and their families — because they require zero down and have no minimum credit score requirement, but you have to meet the Department of Veterans Affairs requirements to take advantage of this type of loan. If you qualify, the company offers competitive, low-interest VA rates and fast refinancing options.FHA loans
FHA loans can require as low as 3.5% down for borrowers with credit scores as low as 580, but these government-backed loans have other requirements and generally require the homeowner to purchase extra insurance to protect in cases of default.USDA loans
USDA loans are offered to those who live in rural areas who are purchasing a home to be their primary residence. The program “assists approved lenders in providing low- and moderate-income households the opportunity to own adequate, modest, decent, safe and sanitary dwellings as their primary residence in eligible rural areas. Eligible applicants may build, rehabilitate, improve or relocate a dwelling in an eligible rural area. The program provides a 90% loan note guarantee to approved lenders in order to reduce the risk of extending 100% loans to eligible rural homebuyers,” according to the US Department of Agriculture.
USDA loans are also easier to get approved for than conventional loans and they don’t require a down payment. Interest rates are usually fixed.Conventional loans
Conventional loans are not backed or insured by any government agency and are issued by a private lender. Your FICO score usually must be 620 or higher, and your total debt-to-income ratio cannot exceed 45%. There is also a maximum amount you can borrow based on your specific location. Loan terms can be 15 or 30 years and both fixed or adjustable interest rates are available. If you want to borrow more than your county’s limit, you can apply for a jumbo loan.
Just like the conventional loan, jumbo loans want no more than 45% DTI. Unlike conventional loans, lenders will typically want to see a credit score of 700 or 720 minimum. Both typically require a large down payment and a cash reserve.The bottom line
If you are looking for that in-person relationship with your loan officer, Freedom Mortgage may not be the choice for you, as it has limited physical branches. Banking and investment options are also not offered, so if you want a one-stop-shop, this isn’t it.
However, this particular lender has a reputation for being more flexible than others when approving homebuyers with lower credit scores. It aims to help as many people as possible realize their American dream. If you have less-than-perfect credit or have been turned down elsewhere, you may want to give Freedom Mortgage a chance.Related Articles
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We all have them in our lives: friends and family members who seem to have everything. They can feel impossible to shop for. But all is not lost. It’s easier than ever to buy outstanding gifts for even the most challenging recipient. Here are 25 practical, thoughtful ideas anyone will appreciate.