These five reopening stocks are being ignored by Wall Street


CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Monday pulled back the curtain on five under-the-radar reopening plays as the stock market anticipates a resurgence in the American economy, turning his attention from the most talked-about recovery stocks.

The reopening thesis was furthered by federal authorization of a coronavirus vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, the third inoculation to be distributed in the U.S.

“This is a less in-your-face, but possibly more potent, reopening [playbook] since they are being ignored, even though they should have a great year if we can just get back to normal by June,” the “Mad Money” host said. “At this point, the in-your-face reopening stocks — the cruises and the airlines — I mean, can we start swapping out of those and go into some less obvious.”

On the shopping list are fintech payments company Square, designer Ralph Lauren, cosmetics company Ulta Beauty, shopping center real estate investment trust Federal Realty and automaker Ford.

The more obvious reopening plays have been in cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean, and the airlines, like Delta. Investors will find stocks in these industries to carry risk via potential equity offerings, as Royal Caribbean announced Monday, or hobbled balance sheets.

As for his new recommendations, Cramer said he expects them to gain steam in the coming weeks.

“These aren’t exactly stealth reopening stocks,” he said. “They’re more like ‘The Purloined Letter,’ hidden in plain sight, and I bet they’ll seem a lot more obvious as they go higher in the next few months.”

The new suggestions come after the market rebounded Monday following a 3% decline in the S&P 500 over the past two weeks. The S&P 500 started the new week rallying 2.38% to close above 3,900. The 30-stock Dow index rose 603 points to close at 31,535.51, a 1.95% gain. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, after falling more than 6% in the past two weeks, surged 3% Monday to 13,588.83.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Saturday approved Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use. As opposed to the two-shot approach in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, JNJ’s will have fewer logistical challenges to overcome in distribution.

CEO Alex Gorsky told CNBC Monday morning that the company expects to deliver 100 million doses in the country by early summer and nearly 1 billion around the globe this year.

“That makes me think we’re much closer to the end of this long national nightmare, so it is time to unveil the less obvious reopening plays, if only because the more in-your-face ones feel a little bit overplayed,” Cramer said.

Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Ford.

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Melbourne’s Harry Potter reopening will be a ‘beacon of hope’


Callender, a high-end UK television and theatre producer who lives in New York, expects that themes such as the power of friendship, family and community will have an uplifting resonance for the return season.

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“One of the great things about Harry Potter as a character is that he faces obstacles through all the stories and he overcomes,” Callender says.

“Reopening in Melbourne is an affirmation that we can get through these troubled times, overcome hardships that are thrown our way and that the human spirit can survive.

“Seeing the play with a community of theatregoers together will be a very cathartic, healing experience. It’s also enormous fun and very entertaining. Although it explores some real themes, it’s just a glorious escape from the world outside.”

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opened in London in July 2016, moved to Broadway two years later and came to Melbourne in January 2019, followed later that year by San Francisco.

It was about to officially open in Hamburg two days before the pandemic hit last year and it shut down.

“As producers it’s been a heartbreaking time but also for all the actors and crew,” Callender says.

Actor Tom Wren, who plays Malfoy, says that as the world has changed, so has some of the play’s nuance.

“As we sat down at the table to read through the script again together for the first time, when we got to parts that deal with loneliness, isolation and parenting through a 2021 lens, it felt very fresh,” Wren says.

“There are parts in this that ring out in a completely new way. The lighting and blocking are all the same but our relationship to the content is different. I’ve done the show for over a year but I’ve never heard certain parts of the play illuminated as they are now. Different parts are singing out in new ways.”

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He expects that people who may have been swept away by the spectacle before may now also pick up on different aspects.

“It’s like seeing one of your best mates after not having seen them for a while and you’re still best mates but you’ve gone through something,” he says.

For Callender, it feels like an age since the team first met J.K. Rowling in 2014 to discuss the prospect of a play about Harry Potter’s son.

Once Rowling agreed and the play was written, the whole creative team gathered to be part of its evolution, including three workshops and “cloak and dagger” rehearsals of an obscurely named play so no one would know that the literary and entertainment phenomenon was finally coming to the stage.

He has fond memories of mounting the show in Melbourne and says he and co-producer Sonia Friedman are keen to return when possible with new shows.

“We’d come back to Melbourne and do theatre there in a minute with something else,” he says.

“It was a glorious experience, with a great production team, crew and some of the finest actors we’ve ever worked with.”

  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is scheduled to reopen at Princess Theatre on February 25. Harrypottertheplay.com

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Class warfare – The struggle over reopening Chicago’s schools | United States


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Chicago teachers, district talks in stalemate over COVID re-opening plan


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“We have yet to receive a formal response in writing today from CTU leadership. The ball is in their court,” Lightfoot and CPS CEO Janice Jackson said in a statement on Friday.

The two sides have been negotiating for months over a gradual reopening of schools, with teachers demanding stronger safety protocols to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in classrooms.

Over the last two weeks, tensions intensified when union membership voted not to return to schools until a deal was reached. Jackson then threatened to lock out 13,000 educators from their online systems if they refused to report to work.

The union has said teachers would stop working altogether, form picket lines and strike if the district retaliated against any members who refused to teach in school buildings.

On Friday evening, in a letter to parents, Lightfoot and Jackson outlined their final offer. They said agreements were reached earlier this week on health and safety protocols, ventilation in schools, testing, contact tracing and creating health committees.

The parties remained at odds on vaccinations for teachers and infection metrics used to decide when to close schools. Another sticking point was accommodations for teachers to work remotely if they have or live with people who have medical conditions, the district said.

Their final offer also included a new proposed phased-in reopening plan. Pre-kindergarten and special education students, who have opted to take some of their classes in-person, are to report to school next Tuesday.

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COVID-19: Boost for teachers’ vaccine hopes but uncertainty over schools reopening | Politics News


Teachers have a “good shout” to be “very high” on the next priority list for a coronavirus vaccine, the health secretary has told Sky News.

Matt Hancock said discussions are under way about which groups will be prioritised for vaccinations once the elderly and clinically extremely vulnerable have all been inoculated.

So far, more than five million people have had their first dose – with the UK government and devolved administrations aiming to hit 15 million by mid-February.

Live COVID updates from UK and around the world

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Most pupils are learning remotely at the moment

Asked about the second phase of the vaccines rollout, Mr Hancock said: “There is a perfectly reasonable debate to be had about who should go in what order next, where teachers have got a good shout to be very high on that list.”

Only vulnerable pupils and children of key workers are currently able to attend school, and the prospect of classrooms reopening again next month appears remote.

In a blow to parents, Mr Hancock said he wasn’t sure even if schools in England will reopen by Easter.

Asked if he could promise they will, he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “We have got to look at the data, we have got to look at the impact of the vaccination programme.

“The education secretary has said that we will ensure schools get two weeks’ notice of return.

“I don’t know whether it will be then or before then. We have got to watch the data.”

It comes as The Sunday Times reported the government is preparing to rule out children returning to the classroom after the February half-term holiday, with the prospect of home schooling continuing for several months.

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Hancock ‘worried’ about new COVID variants

The paper quoted a government source as saying: “We are in this for the long haul.”

Officials told Sky News it was too early to say when schools would re-open due to the “unpredictable” nature of the pandemic.

However it is understood that pupils are likely to return to the classroom based on the wider strategy in which restrictions are lifted.

More details are expected to be set out in the next two weeks.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We continue to keep plans for the return to school under review and will inform schools, parents and pupils of the plans ahead of February half term.”

They added: “We will continue to work to reopen schools as soon as possible.”

A classroom is set out with socially distanced seating for year 6 pupils but remains empty due to lack of pupils returning in that year group, at Greenacres Primary Academy in Oldham, northern England on June 18, 2020. (Photo by OLI SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
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The government said it wants schools back ‘as soon as possible’

The case for teachers and other professions who may be more at-risk of catching COVID-19 getting vaccinated sooner was also boosted in comments by Prof Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

He said one key piece of information scientists don’t know yet is how much the jabs stop someone passing on coronavirus.

“If studies do show they prevent transmission, it could be a whole new board game in terms of who you vaccinate and in what order,” Prof Harnden explained.

“But at the moment our clear focus is trying to prevent hospitalisations and deaths.”

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Hopes of reopening border to Sydney still alive, despite seven new NSW cases


Queensland requires declared hotspots to record 28 consecutive days without any unlinked cases before it will remove quarantine requirements for travellers.

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Although NSW health authorities no longer have to link cases within 48 hours under Queensland’s rules, the source of infection must still be found before travel restrictions can be eased.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young will also take into account the testing rates in declared hotspots, as well as sewage monitoring.

On Sunday, Ms Berejiklian said 12,764 tests had been carried out in the past 24-hour reporting period, which was well below the daily target of 20,000 to 30,000.

About 14,500 coronavirus tests were conducted on Saturday, down from 16,070 the day before.

Ms Berejiklian warned Sydney residents she would not ease restrictions on gatherings unless testing rates bounced back.

“All of us want to see those restrictions we have in place eased; all of us want to be confident we can go back to what we had before Christmas,” she said.

“That will only be possible if we get those high rates of testing to give our contact tracers and our health experts the confidence that we are on top of any unknown strains of the virus,” she said.

Queensland will next review its border closure with Greater Sydney on January 28.

Meanwhile, Queensland is on track to revert to pre-Christmas restrictions by the weekend, if the state can continue its run of zero locally acquired cases.

Monday marked 10 days since the last infectious case was out in the Greater Brisbane community – the partner of a hotel quarantine cleaner.

There has been no evidence that the highly contagious UK strain has spread through the community since then.

At the start of Brisbane’s latest outbreak, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said restrictions could revert to the way they were around Christmas if case numbers didn’t balloon.

“If we get this right, if we do everything we need to do, then come January 22, we can move back to the way we had been operating since December 1,” she said earlier this week.

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Showdown 2021: How to play both sides of the tug of war between stay-at-home and reopening stocks


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“We’ve seen in this market, with zero interest rates and really nothing else to buy, that some stocks just keep going up,” Schwartz said. “If you’re going to own these companies, don’t just buy them because of a theme, really understand it.”

There are some sectors that investors may have neglected in the coronavirus-related rally thus far that may have room to run.

Banks have grappled with low interest rates, higher credit costs and restrictions on dividends and stock buybacks during the pandemic, but now that loan-loss reserves have been built up and regulators are breathing easier, a 2021 renaissance isn’t out of the question.

A recent report from analysts at CIBC Capital Markets predicted financial stocks are likely to outperform in 2021, based in part on the anticipated arrival of a vaccine and a “large-scale reopening of economies” by the middle of the year.

“As such, we would expect an outflow away from the ‘stay-at-home’ trade … and into the ‘old economy’ names that have thus been avoided,” the analysts wrote.

Strategists at U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley saw things similarly in their 2021 investment outlook, favouring stocks that have traditionally done better early after a recession, such as smaller firms.

“The early-cycle playbook also favours high-quality cyclicals, such as U.S. and European financials, materials, and segments hard hit by COVID-19 lockdowns, such as travel and leisure,” a recent research piece from the bank stated.

But those predictions and any attempt to say for certain whether the stay-at-homes or the reopening stocks will prevail in 2021 need to be taken with a grain of salt. That’s because, for now at least, COVID-19 is still calling the shots.

Financial Post

• Email: gzochodne@nationalpost.com | Twitter:





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Up to 250 people, live performances allowed at worship services in Phase 3 of Singapore’s reopening


SINGAPORE: Up to 250 people will be allowed at worship services from Monday, as Singapore moves into Phase 3 of its reopening, said the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) in an advisory on Saturday (Dec 26).

This is an increase from the current 100.

These 250 people do not include religious and supporting workers, although they “should be kept to a minimum”, said MCCY.

Live performance elements will also be permitted during worship services, with the necessary safe management measures in place.

Singapore’s move into Phase 3 of its reopening on Dec 28 was announced about two weeks ago by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Under Phase 3, social gatherings of up to eight people will be allowed in public, up from the current five.

Singapore will also ease capacity limits in public places such as malls, attractions and places of worship, Mr Lee had said.

READ: In full: PM Lee’s address on the COVID-19 situation

WORSHIP SERVICES

For congregational services exceeding 50 people, worshippers have to be segregated into zones of a maximum of 50 people each, MCCY said.

Worship services must be kept as short as possible, and there should be no sharing of prayer and other common items such as holy books, prayer mats and the passing of offertory baskets.

All persons present must also wear a face mask at all times, MCCY said. 

“Each zone must be completely separated from another by either a physical solid partition (at least 1.8m high if not floor-to-ceiling, from wall-to-wall), or at least 3m physical spacing demarcated by continuous physical barriers,” the ministry added.

There should be no intermingling of individuals across zones, the ministry added.

Up to 10 people who are involved in conducting the worship service are allowed to remove their masks at any given time, of which up to five can unmask for singing. People should only unmask when required to perform their duties.

Members of the audience are not allowed to sing during the worship service.

MARRIAGE SOLEMNISATIONS

Religious organisations may continue to use places of worship to conduct marriage solemnisations for up to 100 attendees – excluding the solemniser and religious and supporting workers.

Attendees must maintain a 1m safe distance between groups except a core “wedding party”, which is allowed to comprise up to 20 people (including the couple and their two witnesses). 

No intermingling is allowed and there must not be any reception with food and drinks, or wedding celebrations that are not essential religious rites.

READ: First shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrives in Singapore

READ: Singapore can be air cargo hub for COVID-19 vaccines – Changi Airport, CAAS

FUNERALS

For funerals, wakes, installation of niches and post-funeral rites at places of worship, up to 30 attendees may be present at any time. This excludes religious and supporting workers. 

Live instrumental music (non-wind) is also permitted for funerals or post-funeral rites, subject to safe management measures.

Visits to columbaria at places of worship should be kept as short as possible, with no mingling between groups. 

READ: Commentary: Phase 3 will bring us much-needed closure to a difficult year

RECORDING AND BROADCAST OF RELIGIOUS SERVICES AND PRAYERS

Religious organisations that record or broadcast their services will be allowed to have up to 30 people on-location for those productions, of which up to 10 people can unmask at any one time.

If there is “live” singing during these recording or broadcast sessions, a maximum of five people present may be unmasked at any one time.

Those who are unmasked for singing must maintain at least 2m from other individuals. 

Time spent on location should be kept as short as possible, said MCCY, adding that there should be no cross deployment between locations and no socialising between breaks.

READ: Commentary: Our muted joy over Phase 3 is the true new normal​​​​​​​

OTHER RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES

Religious rites and other religious activities – such as pastoral services and religious classes – can be conducted so long as the groups do not exceed 50 people. 

This is also subject to the total premise cap of 150 people.

Each religious class must not exceed 50 people, including the religious worker or teacher.

In these settings, a “greater separation of 2m between groups of students attending religious classes” is encouraged, MCCY said.

Religious organisations must submit their safe management plans, including manpower deployment, at least three days before commencing Phase 3 activities.

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International flights return to Melbourne; Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has coronavirus; NSW quarantine bungle could threaten WA’s border reopening; UK gears up for huge vaccination plan; Freedom day in NSW and Victoria with restrictions eased


One of NSW’s top doctors is “very worried” residents in the former COVID-19 hotspot will let their guard down as restrictions ease, leading to fast-moving outbreaks within the state.

From today, NSW residents can enjoy standing drinks once again as the numbers of people allowed in bars and restaurants increases. A one person per two-square-metre rule will now apply at those venues along with weddings and funerals.

And, the freedom to party is back with 50 people allowed on a dancefloor.



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COVID-19: Lloyd Webber announces theatre reopening dates after coronavirus shutdown | Ents & Arts News



Andrew Lloyd Webber has announced dates for the reopening of his major theatres.

The composer said he was “hugely optimistic” about the return of audiences after the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, as he revealed most of his theatres would be open again by early next summer – more than a year since they were closed due to the pandemic.

He said previews of the new musical Cinderella would begin on 30 April at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in London’s West End.

The Phantom Of The Opera will return to the West End at Her Majesty’s Theatre in June 2021, while a musical adaptation of the Disney film Frozen will begin at the recently refurbished Theatre Royal Drury Lane in the spring.



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