On September 15, 2020, Kraft Heinz announced a new day at their investor conference. The session’s goal was to help investors understand the possibilities for the Company and share their plan for a turn around. The problem? The promise is scale and agility. The goal is growth; but the proof points are cost mitigation and manufacturing efficiency. My take? The strategy does not add up.

The Kraft Heinz case study is a great example of a company not being able to save their way to growth. While the presentation is wrapped in beautiful videos and testimonials, when you peel back the onion, the narrative does not pass the litmus test to drive value for shareholders. Instead, the biggest takeaway is the announcement to cut $2B in costs over five years with 350-400M$ in gross savings this year.

Background

Kraft merged with Heinz in 2015. Since the merger, the Kraft Heinz stock lost more than half its value. The quandary for investors is that while the market capitalization for Kraft is $40B, the debt load is nearly $30B. ( Kraft Heinz has written down its brands by $20B since February 2019.) The stock is down 35% year-over-year while the S&P 500 Packaged Foods & Meats index, for the same period, is up 22%.

The primary issue is growth. Kraft Heinz is partially owned by 3G Capital, a Brazilian investment firm, that along with Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, Inc, purchased Heinz in 2013. 3G, famous for zero-based budgeting to cut costs, saved money at Kraft Heinz by cutting jobs and

Investing in the stock market is a proven way to grow wealth over time, and the sooner you get started, the better. But deciding how to invest can be challenging. If you opt for a collection of individual stocks, you’ll need to spend time researching each company and making sure it’s the right fit for your portfolio. If you go with index funds, you won’t have to put in the same amount of legwork, but you may lose out on certain benefits that individual stocks have to offer.

For many investors, index funds are actually a good way to go. But here’s why you may want to hand-pick your stocks instead.

Bar graphs on laptop screen

Image source: Getty Images.

1. You can assemble a portfolio that best aligns with your strategy

Hand-picking your stocks allows you to choose companies that fit in with your personal investing strategy and appetite for risk. Say you’re really not keen on putting airline stocks in your portfolio because you think that’s a risky prospect given the hit the industry has taken during the coronavirus pandemic. If you buy S&P 500 index funds, you’ll be stuck with airline stocks in your portfolio, whether you like it or not. By choosing your own stocks, you avoid companies or industries you’d rather steer clear of.

2. You can avoid stocks that don’t align with your ethics

Some people buy stocks because they believe in a company’s growth potential. Other people buy stocks because they believe in the products or services being offered by a particular company, or because they believe in its mission. As just mentioned, when you buy index funds, you don’t get to dictate which stocks land in your portfolio and which don’t. This means that if you have a problem with a specific company from an ethical standpoint,

Oregon Ducks LB Sampson Niu may not play in 2020 for personal reasons originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

Oregon has already lost linebacker Troy Dye to the NFL but another contributor from the front seven may also not be in the lineup this season. 

Senior Sampson Niu did not participate in Oregon’s first day of training camp on Friday and may miss the 2020 college football season due to an undisclosed personal issue, head coach Mario Cristobal said following Friday’s practice.

“With Sampson there’s some things that he’s been taking care of and he’s a guy, I think we all know we all love him. Very tight and personal with him,” said Cristobal. 

“He may have some things to figure out personally and there’s a possibility he may not play this year. But until that’s confirmed I’ll like to grant him his space until we figure that out for him.”

Niu was a 247Sports four-star inside linebacker from the 2017 recruiting class and saw playing time in all three seasons in Eugene. 

As a freshman, Niu played in six games totaling eight tackles and one tackle-for-loss. Then as a sophomore, he played in all 13 games, making four starts, recording 23 tackles (11 solo), 3.0 tackles-for-loss and one sack. 

In 2019, Niu saw action in all 14 games recording 34 tackles (21 solo), one sack, one forced fumble and one interception. 

Niu saw reps with the ones during spring practice before the coronavirus halted all college football activities. With Niu away from the program momentarily, Cristobal said freshman Noah Sewell and redshirt sophomore MJ Cunningham saw time with the twos. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent]

 

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KEY POINTS

  • Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson has stepped down from Boeing’s 2021 crewed flight test
  • In a Twitter video, Ferguson stressed his dedication to the Starliner program and said it was a difficult decision
  • He will be replaced by a veteran NASA astronaut, giving the mission an all-NASA crew

The commander of the 2021 crewed Boeing flight test has stepped down from his position for “personal reasons.” He will be replaced by another veteran astronaut.

NASA and Boeing announced on Wednesday that astronaut Chris Ferguson will no longer be the commander of next year’s Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station (ISS). In their respective statements, both NASA and Boeing said Ferguson decided to step down from the mission for “personal reasons” but did not go into further details.

In a video Ferguson shared on Twitter, he stressed his dedication to the Starliner program, saying it was a difficult decision. He added that 2021 “is very important” for his family. 

“I have made several commitments which I simply cannot risk missing,” Ferguson said in the video. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m just not going into space next year.”

Although he too did not specify why he stepped down, a Boeing spokeswoman told Associated Press that one of the “commitments” was his daughter’s wedding.

“I’m taking on a new mission, one that keeps my feet planted here firmly on Earth and prioritizes my most important crew – my family,” Ferguson said in the tweet.

In the Boeing and NASA statements, Ferguson reiterated his confidence in the Starliner vehicle, calling it the “safest new crewed spacecraft ever fielded.” And even though he will not fly in the mission, he will remain active as the director of Mission Integration and Operations. This will be the first crewed mission of the Starliner

Aaron’s Inc. AAN is one of the stocks that have been doing well in the pandemic-ridden market, owing to the momentum in its business in the past two months. Despite the continuity of the COVID-19 outbreak-related woes, the company provided a business update for third-quarter 2020, revealing that solid performances across all products and categories as well as a strong customer base and robust lease portfolio have been contributing to third-quarter performance. As a result, management raised its earnings and sales guidance for the third quarter.

Further, the company has been in investors’ good books on its plans to spin-off into two independent publicly traded companies to sharpen focus and operational execution, while delivering long-term shareholder value. Also, strength in its Progressive business and progress on transformation initiatives for the Aaron’s business is keeping the stock going.

We note that shares of Aaron’s have gained 31.4% in the past three months despite the pandemic-related impacts on its business and the economy on the whole. Meanwhile, the industry has witnessed growth of 32.3% in the same period.

 

 

Factors Outlining the Growth Story

Robust Q3 Outlook: Driven by the aforementioned business momentum, Aaron’s anticipates revenues of $1-$1.02 billion for the third quarter, with adjusted earnings of $1.4-$.15 per share. Adjusted EBITDA is projected to be $140-$150 million. This suggests a rise from its earlier view of revenues of $950-$975 million and adjusted earnings of 80-90 cents per share. Segment-wise, revenues in the Progressive segment are envisioned to be $575-$585 million along with adjusted EBITDA of $100-$105 million. Further, invoice growth is likely to increase on a sequential basis to the tune of low to mid-single digits. Notably, strong invoice gain in the segment is likely to continue aiding growth in the quarter.

Moreover, revenues for the Aaron’s Business segment are forecast to