WASHINGTON — Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar recalled her husband’s and her father’s battles with COVID-19 Monday as she implored Americans to be vocal in their opposition to the “sham” confirmation hearings of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

“It’s personal,” Klobuchar said in a widely seen statement on the opening day of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings on Barrett, President Donald Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In a voice sometimes shaking with emotion, Klobuchar explained her opposition to Barrett by invoking the names of family members and fellow Minnesotans struck by the coronavirus, as well as of other state residents with pre-existing medical conditions.

Like other Democrats on the GOP-led panel, Klobuchar framed her opposition to Barrett in terms of her belief that the conservative judge would be a threat to women’s rights and the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, including its protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

She recalled her husband’s battle with COVID-19 early in the pandemic and her father’s fight with the virus in the nursing home in Minnesota.

While calling the hearing a “sham,” Klobuchar acknowledged that Democrats can do little to stop the Republican majority from confirming Barrett ahead of the Nov. 3 election. The “secret weapon,” she said, would be Americans “voting in droves” to show their disdain for a justice who could vote to kill the Affordable Care Act in the middle of a pandemic.

A GOP challenge to the health care law is expected before the high court in November.

Klobuchar, the only Minnesotan on the panel, criticized her Republican colleagues for forcing Barrett’s nomination through the approval process in short order. Democrats have argued that the same committee refused to consider Obama nominee Merrick Garland for nine months in 2016, saying they had to

The third-quarter reporting cycle is finally here. PACCAR Inc. PCAR is set to kick off the earnings season for the Auto-Tires-Trucks sector next week.

Per the Oct 9 Earnings Preview, the auto sector’s earnings tanked 123.5% on a 49.7% revenue slump during the second quarter. However, things seem to be gradually looking up for the sector. While earnings and revenues are expected to have declined in the September-end quarter as well, these declines are likely to be less severe. In the third quarter, overall earnings and revenues for the sector are projected to fall 35.1% and 4.8%, year over year.

Dismal Q2 Performance

The coronavirus outbreak hit the auto industry hard in the latter half of the first quarter and the second quarter. The pandemic hurt the industry significantly amid factory closures, low footfall at dealerships and supply-chain distortions. Depressed demand of vehicles amid waning consumer confidence has dented the margins of most automakers across the globe. Amid the coronavirus crisis-induced lockdown, with thousands of people working from homes, consumers had put off big-ticket purchases like cars, causing the global auto sales to plummet during the April-June period.

Per the S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis, U.S. auto sales plunged 33.3% year over year in the second quarter, with the overall non-seasonally adjusted U.S. vehicle sales for the period summing up to 2.95 million units, down from the 2019 figure of 4.42 million units. Notably, vehicle sales from each of the Detroit 3 carmakers — Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler — dropped year over year during the June-end quarter.

U.S. Auto Industry Gathered Momentum in Q3

The pandemic has significantly transformed the auto industry. With social distancing becoming the new normal, people are avoiding public transportation, which makes private transportation the need of the hour. Remarkably, U.S. auto sales are

Asset managers are hot properties at the moment. Activist investor Nelson Peltz has taken stakes in

Invesco

and

Janus Henderson Group,

pushing them to merge, while

Morgan Stanley

has agreed to pay $7 billion for

Eaton Vance.

One of the hottest in the industry should be AllianceBernstein. It offers a growth story and a nearly 9% yield.

“This is a unique company in the asset management industry,” says Alexander Blostein, an analyst at Goldman Sachs. “Not many companies are growing in the actively managed space.”

Yet AllianceBernstein generates little attention because of its partnership structure and thin public float. The public portion of the company,

AllianceBernstein Holding

(ticker: AB), owns 35%, while

Equitable Holdings

(EQH), the life insurer, holds the other 65%. The partnership units, now around $30, trade inexpensively at 11 times projected 2020 earnings of $2.67 a unit and 10 times estimated 2021 profits of $3.01.

Blostein, who has a Buy rating and $32 price target, says the distribution (the partnership equivalent of a dividend) offers “compelling income with some embedded growth.”

He sees 10% to 15% annual growth in earnings per unit in the coming years, after a mid-single gain in 2020, driven by organic growth and cost-cutting. Given the company’s structure, any earnings gains can be expected to flow through to investors in added distributions.

AllianceBernstein aims to save a projected $75 million to $80 million a year by 2025 by moving its headquarters to Nashville from Manhattan. (Its investment professionals can stay in New York.) That 2018 decision looks smart, given New York’s economic woes stemming from the pandemic.

Formed in 2000 from the merger of the growth-oriented

Alliance Capital Management

with the value-oriented Sanford Bernstein, AllianceBernstein runs $643 billion in institutional, retail, and high net-worth accounts. Nearly half, or $313 billion, is

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 25,076 confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, after adding 133 new cases. The test-positive rate was 1.4 percent. The state announced one new death, bringing the total to 1,118. There were 96 people in the hospital, seven in intensive care, and seven were on ventilators.

* * *

Will President Trump win Johnston? Can Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung unseat House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello? Who’s going to be the next mayor of Cranston?

With the general election just four weeks away, we’re giving you the chance to pick the winners of 61 races and one statewide ballot question, including the race for president, every mayoral matchup, and all of the contested seats in the General Assembly.

You can fill out an entry by clicking here.

We ended up with nearly 800 submissions for the primary contest, so our goal is top 1,000 entries this time around. The top 10 finishers will get a Rhode Map tote bag, and to up the ante a little bit, first place gets a $100 gift card to Frog & Toad, second place gets a $50 gift card, and third place gets a $25 gift card.

Feel free to vote early and often. And make sure you encourage your friends to fill out the form as well.

THE GLOBE IN RHODE ISLAND

⚓ Speaker Mattiello isn’t the one on trial this week, but Ed Fitzpatrick writes that his political future might be at stake depending on how political operative Jeff Britt’s case shakes out.

Amanda Milkovits reports that a new study shows health care costs increase up to 20-fold in the first six months after a gunshot injury versus the six months before.

⚓ This week’s Ocean State Innovators Q&A is with Rebecca L. Twitchell, president and

Video: Federal budget to ‘guide economy through the health crisis’ (Sky News Australia)

Federal budget to ‘guide economy through the health crisis’

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A measure of Australian business conditions rose in September to levels not seen since the coronavirus pandemic forced a nationwide lockdown, though overall levels were still the below long-run average, survey results showed on Monday.



a group of people walking down the street: Shoppers walk along a street in the central business district of Sydney


© Reuters/DAVID GRAY
Shoppers walk along a street in the central business district of Sydney


National Australia Bank’s index of business conditions rose 6 points to 0 from -6 in August.

The index has come a long way since hitting a trough of -34 in April at the height of the pandemic though it is still nowhere close to the long-run average of +6.

The survey’s measure of business confidence picked up too, but stayed in negative territory, climbing to -4 from -8 in August.

The improvement in conditions was driven by a rise in all three sub-components with trading and profitability in positive territory, likely reflecting improving activity as the economy opens up.

The employment index stayed negative, suggesting businesses were not yet ready to add new positions.

Forward orders rose to -7 while capacity utilisation edged up to 76.9%. This, in addition to still negative confidence, has seen capex stay in negative territory, NAB noted.

(Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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