Ford’s  (F) – Get Report new management and better than expected third-quarter earnings will provide a near-term catalyst for the auto-making giant, according to a Benchmark analyst, who upgraded the company to buy from hold.

Analyst Michael Ward also introduced a price target of $10 a share, which is 38% above Friday’s closing price of $7.25.

Shares of the Dearborn, Mich., company were up nearly 1% to $7.32 in premarket trading.

“Better-than-expected North American production, a positive shift in mix, and improving metrics in the auto-credit markets … are the primary drivers for better- than-expected earnings performance in the third quarter,” Ward said in a note to investors.

In addition, Ward said, “demand in China has been better than expected and expansion of the Lincoln brand should be a plus for Ford.”

In 2019, Ford produced 700,000 F-150 trucks in North America and another 350,000 Super Duty pickups, which Ward estimated accounted for about $40 billion of annual revenue.

“The conversion of two plants (Michigan and Hermosillo) from car production to trucks by the end of 2021, by our estimates, will lead to additional increases in truck mix,” he said.

Ward noted that Jim Farley took over as chief executive in October, and among his first moves was to appoint John Lawler as chief financial officer.

“Both Farley and Lawler, in our opinion, will be perceived as significant upgrades by the investment community and both are viewed positively with the Ford organization,” Ward said.

The analyst said that “the management changes along with new product momentum and the benefits of cost improvement actions, in our opinion, are positive variables for the stock.”

Ford is scheduled to report third-quarter results on Oct. 28.

HONG KONG, Oct 8 (Reuters)Top executives at BitMEX, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency derivatives exchanges, will step back from their roles, the company said on Thursday, a week after U.S. prosecutors filed criminal charges against them.

The company said last week it would “vigorously” fight the allegations after the U.S Department of Justice charged the exchange’s three founders, Arthur Hayes, Samuel Reed and Benjamin Delo with violating the federal Bank Secrecy Act. Gregory Dwyer, its first employee, was also charged.

Prosecutors said BitMEX had made itself a “vehicle” for money laundering and sanctions violations.

BitMEX said Hayes and Reed have “stepped back from all executive management responsibilities for their respective CEO and CTO roles with immediate effect,” adding they and Delo would not hold executive positions and that Dwyer would take a leave of absence from his role as head of business development.

Chief Operating Officer Vivien Khoo, will take over as chief executive. She previously held roles at Goldman Sachs and Hong Kong’s markets watchdog.

The statement said the management changes had been made with the “full approval” of the founders.

“These changes to our executive leadership mean we can focus on our core business of offering superior trading opportunities for all our clients,” David Wong, chairman of 100x Group, BitMEX’s parent, said in the statement.

Hayes and Delo did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent via their social media profiles and Reed could not be reached for comment. Dwyer’s lawyer, Sean Hecker, who earlier said his client would contest the charges, did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

BitMEX is one of the world’s largest bitcoin futures trading platforms, popular for its high liquidity and compliance requirements that are seen as less onerous than those for futures venues regulated in

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Julia Gonzalez to handle the marketing efforts for all personal lines accounts.
Julia Gonzalez to handle the marketing efforts for all personal lines accounts. (Powers Insurance & Risk Management)

POWERS Insurance & Risk Management, one of the largest family owned and operated independent insurance agencies in the bi-state region, recently hired Julia Gonzalez as Personal Lines Sales Marketer.

In this position, Gonzalez will handle the marketing efforts for all personal lines accounts. This includes developing new client lead opportunities, as well as managing client retention support programs.

Gonzalez has more than five years of experience in the insurance industry. She previously served in numerous capacities including as a licensed producer, insurance specialist, and customer service representative.

“Julia is a trained professional who has excellent communication skills that will definitely benefit our company,” said Powers Insurance & Risk Management’s President JD Powers. “Her insurance background and training capabilities make her a welcome asset to our growing team.”

POWERS Insurance & Risk Management provides personal and business insurance, surety, and risk management. The company, which was founded in 1991, is located at 6825 Clayton Ave. For more information, call (314) 725-1414 or visit http://www.powersinsurance.com.

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It’s been nearly four months since I last checked on Ares Management (ARES), and since then, the shares haven’t really budged at all. Since June 8th, the shares have returned about 2%, when dividends are factored in. While this performance may not be inspiring for some, I don’t believe it tells the full story.

As seen below, Ares Management is a relatively low-beta stock, which means that its stock price has swung relatively little compared to the rest of the market. For this reason, I believe Ares is a relatively good place for investors who are seeking a place to park cash, while remaining in equity market. In addition, I see upside potential from where the stock trades today; so let’s get started.

(Source: YCharts)

A Look Into Ares Management

Ares Management is a leading investment manager that has shown resiliency and an ability to thrive during recessions and the current pandemic-induced downturn. It was founded in 1997 that operates in the three segments of Credit, Private Equity, and Real Estate.

Ares currently has $106 billion in total FPAUM (fee-paying AUM), with about 75% of assets in credit-related investments, 16% in private equity assets, and the remaining 9% in Real Estate. It has a stable and high-quality investor base that includes pension funds, insurance companies, banks, sovereign wealth funds, and university endowments.

What I find impressive is that the Ares continued to grow FPAUM both sequentially and YoY, by 3.4% and 18%, respectively, in the latest quarter. This translated into a 26% YoY growth in FRE (fee-related earnings), as many of Ares’ funds are mature, and therefore have lower administrative and setup costs than newer funds. This translates into higher profitability, which is why FRE grew faster than FPAUM.

(Source: Company Earnings Presentation)

Overall, I see Ares as

Three of the most prolific enterprise blockchain builders shared a virtual stage last week as they delved into the inner workings of how they use the technology popularized by bitcoin. Unlike your typical blockchain and cryptocurrency event, the trio—Mariana Gomez de la Villa of Dutch bank ING Group, Jennifer Peve of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. (DTCC) and Xue Wang from the second-largest bank in the world, China Construction Bank—spoke directly to senior-level executives at some of the largest companies in the world, sharing best practices on how to use the technology that some believe is a threat to their very survival.

The panel, Enterprise Blockchain Leaders: Tales From The Crypto, was just a small part of a larger event hosted by Forbes about our annual Blockchain 50 list of billion-dollar companies investing serious capital in the technology, and the platforms they’re using. 

Ripple chief architect David Schwartz joined Axoni founder Greg Schvey and Hyperledger vice president Daniela Barbosa to talk about best practices of the companies they’ve seen building on their platforms, followed by a chat between ConsenSys founder Joe Lubin and R3 cofounder Todd McDonald about how the platforms their companies build on—Ethereum and Corda respectively—could change the very fabric of what central banks consider money.

Beyond the management tips though, two executives shared never-before-seen documents about how they vet projects and manage stakeholders, and every company has either already given away the code at the core of their projects or plans to do so. Since blockchain is only as