Day: January 16, 2021

WBA – Walgreens Statement in Support of President-Elect Biden's COVID-19 Update

DEERFIELD, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Following President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Update, Walgreens issued the following statement from John Standley, Walgreens president.

“Walgreens applauds President-elect Biden plan to accelerate vaccine distribution efforts by utilizing pharmacies across the country. With our nationwide footprint, extensive vaccine experience, trusted community presence and pharmacy expertise, Walgreens is well-positioned to administer COVID-19 vaccines and help our nation emerge from this pandemic.

While we have been vaccinating our most vulnerable population in long-term care facilities since late December, our team members embedded in the communities we serve stand ready, willing and able to vaccinate in our stores. We look forward to working with the president-elect to expand vaccines in a way that is convenient and equitable for all Americans.”

About Walgreens

Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) is included in the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA), a global leader in retail and wholesale pharmacy. As America’s most loved pharmacy, health and beauty company, Walgreens purpose is to champion the health and wellbeing of every community in America. Operating more than 9,000 retail locations across America, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Walgreens is proud to be a neighborhood health destination serving approximately 8 million customers each day. Walgreens pharmacists play a critical role in the U.S. healthcare system by providing a wide range of pharmacy and healthcare services. To best meet the needs of customers and patients, Walgreens offers a true omnichannel experience, with platforms bringing together physical and digital, supported by the latest technology to deliver high-quality products and services in local communities nationwide.

ALTA – Altabancorp (ALTA) Surges: Stock Moves 6.4% Higher

Altabancorp (ALTA Free Report) was a big mover last session, as the company saw its shares rise more than 6% on the day. The move came on solid volume too with far more shares changing hands than in a normal session. This breaks the recent trend of the company, as the stock is now trading above the volatile price range of $26.30 to $30.53 in the past one-month time frame.

The company has seen one positive estimate revision in the past few weeks, while its Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current quarter has also moved higher over the past few weeks, suggesting that more solid trading could be ahead for Altabancorp. So, make sure to keep an eye on this stock going forward to see if this recent jump can turn into more strength down the road.

Altabancorp currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) while its Earnings ESP is positive.

Investors interested in the Banks – West industry may consider First Hawaiian, Inc. FHB, which has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Zacks Names “Single Best Pick to Double”

From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all.

You know this company from its past glory days, but few would expect that it’s poised for a monster turnaround. Fresh from a successful repositioning and flush with A-list celeb endorsements, it could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in a little more than 9 months and Nvidia which boomed +175.9% in one year.

Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>

FFG – SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Monteverde & Associates PC Announces an Investigation of FBL Financial Group, Inc. – FFG

NEW YORK, Jan. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Juan Monteverde, founder and managing partner at Monteverde & Associates PC, a national securities firm rated Top 50 in the 2018 and 2019 ISS Securities Class Action Services Report and headquartered at the Empire State Building in New York City, is investigating FBL Financial Group, Inc. (“FFG” or the “Company”) (FFG) relating to its proposed acquisition by Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Company. Under the terms of the agreement, FFG shareholders will receive $56.00 in cash per share.

The investigation focuses on whether FBL Financial Group, Inc. and its Board of Directors violated securities laws and/or breached their fiduciary duties to the Company by 1) failing to conduct a fair process, and 2) whether and by how much this proposed transaction undervalues the Company.

Click here for more information: https://www.monteverdelaw.com/case/fbl-financial-group-inc. It is free and there is no cost or obligation to you.

About Monteverde & Associates PC

We are a national class action securities litigation law firm that has recovered millions of dollars and is committed to protecting shareholders from corporate wrongdoing. We were listed in the Top 50 in the 2018 and 2019 ISS Securities Class Action Services Report. Our lawyers have significant experience litigating Mergers & Acquisitions and Securities Class Actions. Mr. Monteverde is recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in Securities Litigation in 2013, 2017-2019, an award given to less than 2.5% of attorneys in a particular field. He has also been selected by Martindale-Hubbell as a 2017-2019 Top Rated Lawyer. Our firm’s recent successes include changing the law in a significant victory that lowered the standard of liability under Section 14(e) of the Exchange Act in the Ninth Circuit. Thereafter, our firm successfully preserved this victory by obtaining dismissal of a writ of certiorari as improvidently granted at the United States Supreme Court. Emulex Corp. v. Varjabedian, 139 S. Ct. 1407 (2019). Also, in 2019 we recovered or secured six cash common funds for shareholders in mergers & acquisitions class action cases.

If you own common stock in FBL Financial Group, Inc. and wish to obtain additional information and protect your investments free of charge, please visit our website or contact Juan E. Monteverde, Esq. either via e-mail at [email protected] or by telephone at (212) 971-1341.

Contact:
Juan E. Monteverde, Esq.

MONTEVERDE & ASSOCIATES PC
The Empire State Building
350 Fifth Ave. Suite 4405
New York, NY 10118
United States of America
[email protected]
Tel: (212) 971-1341

Attorney Advertising. (C) 2021 Monteverde & Associates PC. The law firm responsible for this advertisement is Monteverde & Associates PC (www.monteverdelaw.com).  Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome with respect to any future matter.

SOURCE Monteverde & Associates PC

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BTU – Peabody Announces Extended Early Tender Results Of Exchange Offer And Consent Solicitation, Further Extension Of Early Tender Date And Waiver And Satisfaction Of Minimum Tender Condition

ST. LOUIS, Jan. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Peabody (NYSE: BTU) today announced that as of 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on January 15, 2021 (the “Extended Early Tender Date“), at least $397.5 million in aggregate principal amount of its outstanding 6.000% Senior Secured Notes due 2022 (the “Existing Notes“), representing approximately 86.6% of the total outstanding principal amount of Existing Notes, had been validly tendered and not validly withdrawn in connection with Peabody’s previously announced offer to exchange (the “Exchange Offer“) any and all of its Existing Notes for (i) new 10.000% Senior Secured Notes due December 31, 2024 (the “New Co-Issuer Notes“) to be co-issued by PIC AU Holdings LLC, a Delaware limited liability company and an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Peabody, and PIC AU Holdings Corporation, a Delaware corporation and an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Peabody, and (ii) new 8.500% Senior Secured Notes due December 31, 2024 (the New Peabody Notes” and together with the New Co-Issuer Notes, the “New Notes“) to be issued by Peabody.

Peabody also announced the further extension of the Extended Early Tender Date to 11:59 p.m., New York City time, on January 25, 2021, which is the “Expiration Date” for the Exchange Offer.  Subject to satisfaction of the conditions to the Exchange Offer, each $1,000 principal amount of Existing Notes tendered on or prior to the Expiration Date will be exchanged into an amount of New Peabody Notes that, together with New Co-Issuer Notes received in exchange and the Pro Rata Payment (as defined below), will amount to $1,000 aggregate consideration received for each $1,000 of principal amount of Existing Notes tendered.  Accordingly, at the current exchange participation level of 86.6%, in exchange for each $1,000 principal amount of Existing Notes validly tendered and accepted by Peabody, participating Eligible Holders (as defined below) of Existing Notes will receive $488.06 principal amount of New Co-Issuer Notes, $488.24 principal amount of New Peabody Notes and a pro rata share per $1,000 principal amount of Existing Notes tendered by the New Early Tender Date of a cash payment of $9,420,000 equal to $23.70 in cash (the “Pro Rata Payment“), as well as the early tender premium of $10.00 in cash. 

Finally, Peabody announced that it has waived the minimum tender condition (the “Minimum Tender Condition“) of the Exchange Offer. The Minimum Tender Condition originally required that at least 95% of the aggregate outstanding principal amount of Existing Notes be validly tendered, and not validly withdrawn, prior to the Expiration Date.  Pursuant to the terms of the Amended and Restated Transaction Support Agreement (as defined below), with the approval of a majority of the Revolving Lenders (as defined below) and 66-2/3% of the Consenting Noteholders (as defined below), Peabody has waived the Minimum Tender Condition provided that at least 85% of the aggregate outstanding principal amount of Existing Notes be validly tendered, and not validly withdrawn, prior to the Expiration Date (the “New Minimum Tender Condition”).  Therefore, the New Minimum Tender Condition to the consummation of the Exchange Offer has been satisfied.  The remainder of the conditions to the consummation of the Exchange Offer described in the Offering Memorandum (as defined below) remain unchanged.

As of 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on January 8, 2021 (the “Withdrawal Deadline“), the right to withdraw tenders of Existing Notes and related consents expired. Accordingly, Existing Notes tendered for exchange may not be validly withdrawn and consents may not be revoked, unless required by applicable law or regulation, or Peabody determines in the future in its sole discretion to permit withdrawal and revocation rights.

Concurrently with the Exchange Offer, Peabody has been soliciting consents (the “Consent Solicitation“) from holders of Existing Notes to certain proposed amendments to the indenture governing the Existing Notes (the “Existing Indenture“) to (i) eliminate substantially all of the restrictive covenants, certain events of default applicable to the Existing Notes and certain other provisions contained in the Existing Notes Indenture, and (ii) release the collateral securing the Existing Notes and eliminate certain other related provisions contained in the Existing Notes Indenture (the “Existing Indenture Amendments“). The Existing Indenture Amendments require the consent of holders of a majority in aggregate principal amount of the outstanding Existing Notes, with the exception of the amendments to release all of the collateral securing the Existing Notes, which require the consent of holders of 66-2/3% in aggregate principal amount of the outstanding Existing Notes.  As of the Withdrawal Deadline, Peabody had received consents sufficient to approve the Existing Indenture Amendments and on January 8, 2021, together with the parties to the Existing Indenture, entered into a supplemental indenture containing such Existing Indenture Amendments, which amendments will not become operative until completion of the Exchange Offer.  Following the Existing Indenture Amendments becoming operative, any Existing Notes that remain outstanding following the completion of the Exchange Offer will no longer be secured or have the benefit of the restrictive covenants, events of default and other provisions referred to above.

Peabody is making the Exchange Offer and Consent Solicitation pursuant to the terms of and subject to the conditions set forth in the confidential offering memorandum and consent solicitation statement dated December 24, 2020 (as supplemented by Supplement No. 1 dated December 31, 2020, the “Offering Memorandum“).

Any Eligible Holder who validly tenders (and does not validly withdraw) their Existing Notes pursuant to the Exchange Offer will be deemed to have delivered their related consents to the Existing Indenture Amendments by effecting such tender. Eligible Holders will not be permitted to validly tender their Existing Notes without delivering the related consents to the Existing Indenture Amendments. The settlement date is currently expected to be the third business day following the Expiration Date (the “Settlement Date“). The Exchange Offer is conditioned on the satisfaction, or the waiver by Peabody, of certain conditions described in the Offering Memorandum and related Letter of Transmittal.

The Offering Memorandum and other documents relating to the Exchange Offer and Consent Solicitation will only be distributed to Eligible Holders of Existing Notes who complete and return an eligibility form confirming that they are either (a) a person that is in the United States and is (i) a “Qualified Institutional Buyer” as that term is defined in Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act“), or (ii) an institutional “accredited investor” (within the meaning of Rule 501(a)(1), (2), (3) or (7) under the Securities Act), or (b) a person that is outside the “United States” and is (i) not a “U.S. person,” as those terms are defined in Rule 902 under the Securities Act, and (ii) a “non-U.S. qualified offeree” (as defined in the Offering Memorandum) (such holders, the “Eligible Holders“).  Holders of Existing Notes who desire to obtain and complete an eligibility form should either visit the website for this purpose at https://gbsc-usa.com/eligibility/peabody or call Global Bondholder Services Corporation, the Information Agent and Exchange Agent for the Exchange Offer and Consent Solicitation at (212) 430-3774 (for banks and brokers) or (866) 470-4500 (toll free).

On December 24, 2020, Peabody entered into a Transaction Support Agreement (the “Transaction Support Agreement“) with certain of its subsidiaries, each of the revolving lenders under Peabody’s credit agreement (the “Revolving Lenders“), the administrative agent under Peabody’s credit agreement, and certain holders, or investment advisors, sub-advisors, or managers of discretionary accounts that hold the Existing Notes (the “Consenting Noteholders“), pursuant to which the parties agreed, among other things and subject to the terms thereof, to effectuate the Exchange Offer described herein.  On December 31, 2020, the same parties entered into an Amended and Restated Transaction Support Agreement (the “Amended and Restated Transaction Support Agreement“), which clarifies certain provisions detailed in the term sheet and descriptions of notes attached as exhibits to the Transaction Support Agreement.

In connection with the Exchange Offer and within 15 days of the Settlement Date, Peabody has agreed to make an offer to purchase up to $22.5 million in aggregate accreted value of the New Peabody Notes at a purchase price equal to 80% of the accreted value of the New Peabody Notes, plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any, to, but excluding, the applicable purchase date.

The New Notes have not been and will not be registered under the Securities Act, or any state securities laws.  Therefore, the New Notes may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an applicable exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act, and any applicable state securities laws.

The complete terms and conditions of the Exchange Offer are described in the Offering Memorandum.  Requests for documentation should be directed to Global Bondholder Services Corporation at (212) 430-3774 (for banks and brokers) or (866) 470-4500 (toll-free).

None of Peabody, its board of directors (or any committee thereof), the dealer manager, the information agent, the exchange agent, the trustee for the Existing Notes, the trustee for the New Peabody Notes, the trustee for the New Co-Issuer Notes or their respective affiliates is making any recommendation as to whether or not holders should exchange all or any portion of their Existing Notes in the Exchange Offer.

This announcement is not an offer to purchase or sell, a solicitation of an offer to purchase or sell or a solicitation of consents with respect to any securities.  The Exchange Offer is being made solely by the Offering Memorandum.  The Exchange Offer is not being made to holders of Existing Notes in any jurisdiction in which the making or acceptance thereof would not be in compliance with the securities, blue sky or other laws of such jurisdiction.

Peabody (NYSE: BTU) is a leading coal producer, serving customers in more than 25 countries on six continents. We provide essential products to fuel baseload electricity for emerging and developed countries and create the steel needed to build foundational infrastructure. Our commitment to sustainability underpins our activities today and helps to shape our strategy for the future. For further information, visit PeabodyEnergy.com.

Contact: 

Julie Gates 

314.342.4336   

Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the securities laws. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts. They often include words or variation of words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “seeks,” “estimates,” “projects,” “forecasts,” “targets,” “would,” “will,” “should,” “goal,” “could” or “may” or other similar expressions. Forward-looking statements provide management’s current expectations or predictions of future conditions, events or results. All statements that address operating performance, events, or developments that Peabody expects will occur in the future are forward-looking statements, including the Company’s ability to consummate the Exchange Offer and Consent Solicitation and the Company’s expectations regarding future liquidity, cash flows, mandatory debt payments and other expenditures. They may also include estimates of sales targets, cost savings, capital expenditures, other expense items, actions relating to strategic initiatives, demand for the company’s products, liquidity, capital structure, market share, industry volume, other financial items, descriptions of management’s plans or objectives for future operations and descriptions of assumptions underlying any of the above. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made and reflect Peabody’s good faith beliefs, assumptions and expectations, but they are not guarantees of future performance or events. Furthermore, Peabody disclaims any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, except as required by law. By their nature, forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause such differences include, but are not limited to, a variety of economic, competitive and regulatory factors, many of which are beyond Peabody’s control, including the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and factors that are described in Peabody’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2019, and other factors that Peabody may describe from time to time in other filings with the SEC. You may get such filings for free at Peabody’s website at www.peabodyenergy.com. You should understand that it is not possible to predict or identify all such factors and, consequently, you should not consider any such list to be a complete set of all potential risks or uncertainties. 

SOURCE Peabody

Related Links

www.peabodyenergy.com

MMM – 3M Stock Is Unloved and Underpriced. Here's Why It Could Shoot Up Higher.

Industrial stocks like 3M could be big beneficiaries when the U.S. economy finally reopens.

Angus Mordant/Bloomberg

Concerns about the state of the U.S. economy finally caught up to industrial stocks—but the sector still looks like it could be one of the big beneficiaries when the U.S. economy finally reopens.

It was a bad week for industrial stocks. The Industrial Select Sector SPDR exchange-traded fund (ticker: XLI) fell 0.9% this past week despite strong industrial production data on Friday, which showed a rise of 1.6%. But industrials really haven’t been the “It” sector for quite a while now. After surging 20% from Oct. 28 through Nov. 24, the Industrial ETF has been trading virtually sideways, dipping 0.5% through Friday’s close.

Still, it’s not time to give up on the sector. Low levels of inventory should support manufacturing, even amid the latest shutdowns. And economic activity should start picking up again in the next few months as people get vaccinated and relief checks hit consumer bank accounts, with more stimulus perhaps to come. What’s more, a weak dollar should also provide a boost.

“With domestic goods demand still elevated, inventory levels still looking very lean and the dollar weakening, the immediate outlook for the sector remains upbeat,” writes Capital Economics’ Michael Pearce of industrials.

Government handouts aren’t the only stimulus payments that will be hitting the economy in 2021. Jefferies strategist Sean Darby notes that the cash-to-asset ratio for S&P 500 companies, excluding financials, is at around 8%, near its highest level on record. That money will get spent—it’s just a question of where.

Buybacks are unlikely given the optics of repurchasing shares during a pandemic, Darby explains, so companies will be more likely to fund capital spending and research and development. And the money they spend will hit the economy at the same time as government and consumers open their wallets, providing a boost to industrials, among other sectors. “One of the unique features about this cycle is that every single balance sheet—government, household, corporate—is spending at the same time,” Darby writes. “This is extremely rare post a ‘credit shock.’”

But there’s a more immediate catalyst for industrial stocks—fourth-quarter earnings season. Consensus estimates are for earnings to drop 5.4% year over year for the roughly 100 industrial and chemical companies tracked by UBS strategist Ajit Agrawal, while the firm expects revenue to drop by just 0.3%. Its forecasts are based on macro data, including the price of the U.S. dollar, which fell during the fourth quarter and should provide a tailwind. Companies set up for a sales beat include Stanley Black & Decker (SWK), Illinois Tool Works (ITW), and Snap-On (SNA), the data show.

Investors looking to make a bet on an industrial bounceback could do worse than buy 3M (MMM). While it’s known as the maker of Post-it Notes, Scotch tape, and Ace bandages, 3M makes the adhesives, abrasives, and chemicals companies need to do what they do. Its stock has dropped 7.9% over the past 12 months, even as the Industrial Select Sector SPDR ETF has gained 6.3%. Wall Street is equally lukewarm on the company, with 72% of analysts rating the stock an equivalent of Neutral, and with more Sell equivalents than Buys.

Analysts have a good reason for shying away from 3M. The company has exposure to legislation regarding per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, contamination. Although 3M quit using the chemicals in the early 2000s, it could be held accountable for water contamination. That risk is particularly high now that the Democrats are set to control both houses of Congress.

That was the reasoning when Bank of America’s Andrew Obin cut the stock to Underperform from Neutral on Jan. 7. “We believe Democratic control of the relevant Senate Committee and the EPA will accelerate strict legislation on PFAS,” Obin wrote.

But with 3M scheduled to report earnings later this month, the stock could be set for a move higher. Deutsche Bank analyst Nicole DeBlase put a short-term Buy rating on the stock this past week, noting that 3M looks set to not only beat fourth-quarter earnings forecasts but to offer above-consensus guidance for 2021 as well. She expects 3M to forecast earnings of $9.55 to $9.85 for the year, better than expectations for $9.49. That, combined with the fact that hate for 3M is running high, sets the stock up for a nice move higher following its earnings report.

3M might also be setting up for a breakout to the upside, according to Phases & Cycles technical analyst Monica Rizk. The stock had been in a steady downtrend since peaking at $229.29 in February 2018, a trend that accelerated with the coronavirus meltdown. Since bottoming in March, however, 3M stock has broken that downtrend—and breached its 40-week moving average to the upside. Support now sits in the $158 to $160 range, with the next resistance level at $180.

If 3M can break through resistance, it could trade as high as $210, Rizk writes, a 27% rise from Friday’s close of $165.55.

See you on Jan. 26.

Read more Trader: Fear Comes to the Stock Market. What Comes Next.

Write to Ben Levisohn at Ben.Levisohn@barrons.com

XOM – The Dow Dropped Exxon Mobil in August. But as Oil Prices Rise, So Does Its Stock.

Illustration by Elias Stein

The day before the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped Exxon Mobil in August, the stock was trading under $40 and investors were betting that it would have to cut its dividend. One analyst even suggested that it merge with Chevron and change its name. But Exxon hasn’t faded into obscurity. Instead, the stock has started gaining new fans.

In just the past week, three analysts have upgraded Exxon to Buy ratings. One upgrade came from J.P. Morgan analyst Phil Gresh, who predicted the stock can rise to $56 from around $48.

Gresh admits he isn’t early to this call. The stock is up nearly 50% from its fall bottom, and recently rose for nine trading days in a row—a streak that ended on Friday on a report that the Securities and Exchange Commission was looking into Exxon’s valuation of some of its holdings. But Exxon still trails other oil producers.

“As measured by percentage of sell-side buy ratings, Exxon still has the worst sentiment of the global majors and remains near the low-end of its historical range,” Gresh writes. He doubts the dividend is in danger, even after Exxon loaded up on debt in 2020. Exxon’s decision to cut operating costs and reduce its drilling budget—along with oil prices rising—may mean it can cover its dividend with free cash flow, something it hasn’t done in two years.

Exxon’s gains depend on strong oil prices, he adds. If oil plunges, its debt, some $65 billion, means that it can’t simply ride the oil cycle higher as it might have a decade ago. But, he says, “We think Exxon understands this issue and will look to use excess cash to reduce debt if oil prices sustainably move above the low-$50s break-even.”

Next Week

Monday 1/18

Stock and fixed-income markets are closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Tuesday 1/19

Bank of America, Charles Schwab, Goldman Sachs Group, Halliburton, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Netflix, State Street, and Zions Bancorp report earnings.

Williams Cos. hosts a virtual environmental, social, and corporate governance event. The firm’s CEO, Alan Armstrong, along with senior leadership will discuss the company’s forward-looking strategy for sustainable operations.

Wednesday 1/20

Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the U.S. at noon in Washington, D.C.

Bank of New York Mellon, Citizens Financial Group, Discover Financial Services, Fastenal, Morgan Stanley, Procter & Gamble, U.S. Bancorp, United Airlines Holdings, and UnitedHealth Group report quarterly results.

The National Association of Home Builders releases its NAHB/ Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for January. Consensus estimate is for an 86 reading, matching the December data.

Thursday 1/21

The European Central Bank announces its monetary-policy decision. The ECB is unlikely to change the deposit facility rate, currently at a record-low negative 0.5%.

Baker Hughes, CSX, Fifth Third Bancorp, Intel, IBM, Northern Trust, PPG Industries, Travelers, Truist Financial, and Union Pacific announce earnings.

The Census Bureau reports new residential construction data for December. Economists forecast a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.56 million housing starts, slightly more than the November figure. Building permits are seen coming in at 1.6 million, just below the previous month’s data.

The Bank of Japan announces its monetary-policy decision. The central bank is expected to keep its key short-term rate unchanged at negative 0.1%. It has been five years since Japan first instituted negative interest rates to head off a deflationary spiral.

Friday 1/22

Huntington Bancshares, Kansas City Southern, Regions Financial, and Schlumberger hold conference calls to discuss quarterly results.

IHS Markit releases both the Manufacturing and Services Purchasing Managers’ indexes for January. Consensus estimate for the Manufacturing PMI is 56.5, while the Services PMI is expected to be 53.6. Both readings are slightly below the December data.

The National Association of Realtors reports existing-home sales for December. Economists forecast a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.4 million home sold, fewer than November’s 6.7 million. In November, the median existing-home price was $310,800, up 14.6% year over year.

Write to Avi Salzman at avi.salzman@barrons.com

PRCH – Porch Group boosts 2021 forecasts with new acquisitions, in wake of December SPAC deal

Porch Group, an online home services marketplace, hopes to make the relocation process a little less arduous for homebuyers and renters with new acquisitions seeking to expand its offerings.

The Seattle-based software maker, which began trading in late December via a blank check shell company, announced Thursday the acquisition of four businesses that it projects will increase its total addressable market to $320 billion, a 45% revision.

Dave Girouard, founder and CEO of Porch, in an appearance on CNBC Friday told Jim Cramer the business moves, which include a homeowners insurance provider, broadens the reach for the business-to-business-to-consumer operation.

“We really are making that experience for anyone that’s moving into a new home feel like it does to a CEO, where you get this corporate relocation and everything is just handled for you, and it’s magical,” said Girouard, who appeared on “Mad Money” after the stock market closed for trading. “We really think that should be the experience everybody has you know across the country.”

Porch acquired Homeowners of America, a Managing General Agent and insurance carrier hybrid insurance carrier, and V12, a marketing and data platform, for $122 million total, the company said in a news release. The digital marketplace also added two software companies to its portfolio to add home inspection and roofing services to its offerings.

Homeowners of America, which operates in six states and has licenses in 31, is a key asset expected to help Porch scale across the country.

The business moves prompted Porch to boost its revenue forecast for 2021 to $170 million, up from its initial projection of $120 million. The figure would represent a 134% year-over-year growth in revenue, the company said.

Porch is a software company serving businesses and contractors on the backend, which gives the company a channel to consumers each month to help provide homeowners with movers, insurance providers, electricity hookup and other duties related to the moving process, Girouard explained.

“We can help the consumer holistically, and by doing that these companies that we partner with these — 11,000 companies that we provide software to — you know, we make them look good, you know, to their customers and really stand out from their competition,” he said.

Porch.com merged with PropTech Acquisition Corp, a special purpose acquisition company, on Dec. 23 and began trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker PRCH the day after.

Since its debut, Porch shares are up 20%, closing the trading week at $17.81. Much of those gains came during the stock’s four-day winning streak, including Friday’s session, where it rallied nearly 40%.

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