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Featured
Vaporesso is taking actions to fight against the epidemic of COVID-19

SHENZHEN, China, April 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Vaporesso as a well-recognized vaping brand, which was created by the world-leading atomization company SMOORE in 2015, is taking action to assist its customers in getting through the tough start of 2020. Facing the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, Vaporesso has purchased over 100,000 masks and sent them to distributors, V shops, online influencers, and official website users for free.

Currently, Vaporesso is concerned with the emergence of epidemics overseas and has formulated a series of preventive measures for partners and customers.
Firstly, multiple online seminars have been held by Vaporesso to share information regarding China’s epidemic status and prevention measures after work resumption, clarifying how to run the business in the current circumstances.
Secondly, Vaporesso provides customers with information package services and uses several platforms like their website and social media accounts to distribute manuals and livestream to raise awareness about epidemic prevention.

Vaporesso is also concerned with the emotional well-being of its customers, they’re producing entertainment content and videos to show their support and urge people to “Stay safe! Together we will get through this!”.
Staying home with your OSMALL Kits
Vaporesso evoked people’s awareness of the importance of staying home. Allied with other online platforms, Vaporesso has more than 10,000 OSMALL kits prepared for its customers to help them chill during the staying. Available from April 15th to May 15th, vapers who have reached the legal vaping age can get a chance to receive the OSMALL for free.
Additional Initiatives above Vaporesso
As the parent company of Vaporesso, SMOORE is cooperating with AIM ImmunoTech during the critical period of the global fight against the epidemic, jointly entered into a Material Transfer and Research Agreement (MTA) and currently are developing the atomization treatment method of Ampligen drugs. Ampligen has potential as a prophylactic/early-onset therapeutic against COVID-19. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/aim-immunotech-shenzhen-smoore-technology-170000604.html?guccounter=1) It has been approved for ME / CFS in Argentina and has undergone phase 3 clinical trials in the United States.

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SOURCE VAPORESSO

Featured
Malaysia Bourse May Add To Its Winnings

(RTTNews) – The Malaysia stock market on Monday ended the two-day losing streak in which it had stumbled more than a dozen points or 0.85 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,370-point plateau and it may pick up steam on Tuesday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat on stimulus expectations and hopes that the U.S. economy will soon be re-opened. The European and U.S. markets were up and the Asian bourses are tipped to open in similar fashion.
The KLCI finished barely higher on Monday following mixed performances from the financial shares and plantation stocks.
For the day, the index rose 0.31 points or 0.02 percent to finish at the daily high of 1,370.16 after moving as low as 1,378.40. Volume was 5.157 billion shares worth 2.228 billion ringgit. There were 469 gainers and 396 decliners.
Among the actives, Petronas Dagangan plummeted 2.76 percent, while Digi.com surged 2.75 percent, Sime Darby plunged 2.50 percent, Sime Darby Plantations soared 1.91 percent, Malaysia Airports Holdings tanked 1.37 percent, Press Metal tumbled 1.33 percent, MISC spiked 1.28 percent, Tenaga Nasional skidded 0.82 percent IOI Corporation retreated 0.78 percent, CIMB Group jumped 0.57 percent, Maybank collected 0.54 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong climbed 0.49 percent, Hartalega Holdings declined 0.39 percent, Public Bank sank 0.38 percent, AMMB Holdings added 0.34 percent, Top Glove gained 0.28 percent, Axiata rose 0.27 percent, Petronas Chemicals and Maxis both lost 0.19 percent and Genting, Dialog Group, IHH Healthcare, Genting Malaysia and Hong Leong Bank all were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is broadly positive as stocks moved sharply higher on Monday, extending gains from the previous session.
The Dow added 358.51 points or 1.51 percent to end at 24,133.78, while the NASDAQ gained 95.64 points or 1.11 percent to 8,730.16 and the S&P 500 rose 41.74 points or 1.47 percent to 2,878.48.
The strength on Wall Street came after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans for a phased reopening of his state’s economy. Cuomo suggested the first phase, which involves low risk businesses in the manufacturing and construction sectors, could begin shortly after New York’s stay-at-home order expires on May 15.
Buying interest was also generated amid optimism about additional stimulus ahead of Federal Reserve and European Central Bank meetings later this week.
Crude oil prices tanked on Monday amid mounting fears that production cuts might not be enough to counter the huge fall in demand amid the coronavirus pandemic. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended down $4.16 or 24.6 percent at $12.78 a barrel.

Featured
South State and CenterState Announce Board of Directors of Combined Company

COLUMBIA, S.C. and WINTER HAVEN, Fla., April 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — South State Corporation (NASDAQ: SSB) (“South State”) and CenterState Bank Corporation (NASDAQ: CSFL) (“CenterState”) announced today the Board of Directors designated to serve the combined company upon completion of the merger. The Board of the new company will consist of 16 directors, eight current South State directors and eight current CenterState directors.

South State Directors

CenterState Directors

Robert R. Hill, Jr.

Jean E. Davis
Martin Bernard Davis
Robert H. Demere, Jr.
Cynthia A. Hartley
Robert R. Horger

John C. Pollok
Kevin P. Walker

John C. Corbett
John H. Holcomb, III
Charles W. McPherson

G. Ruffner Page, Jr.
Ernest S. Pinner
William Knox Pou, Jr.
David G. Salyers
Joshua A. Snively

Robert R. Hill, Jr., President and CEO of South State Corporation, will serve as Executive Chairman of the combined company. “Both CenterState and South State are fortunate to be supported by very strong board members. I am looking forward to working with a combined board of directors that brings diverse and valuable skill sets to the company. We are blending a complementary culture and a team of directors with similar values and a shared vision for South State,” said Hill.
John Corbett, CEO of CenterState Bank Corporation, will serve as CEO of the combined company. “We continue to make significant steps in bringing our two companies together, and designating the combined board is a meaningful step forward. These directors combine significant institutional knowledge from both companies with the capability to provide meaningful strategic counsel and oversight for the resulting company. I look forward to working with this team and benefitting from the guidance and counsel they will provide,” said Corbett.
The merger is expected to close in the third quarter of 2020, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of customary regulatory approvals and approval by the shareholders of each company.
For more information about the merger between South State and CenterState, visit BankingForward.com.
About South StateSouth State Corporation is a financial services company headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina with approximately $16.6 billion in assets. South State Bank, the company’s primary subsidiary, provides consumer, commercial, mortgage, and wealth management solutions throughout the Carolinas, Georgia and Virginia. South State has served customers since 1934.

About CenterStateCenterState operates as one of the leading Southeastern regional bank franchises headquartered in the state of Florida. Both CenterState and its nationally chartered bank subsidiary, CenterState Bank, N.A. (the “Bank”), are based in Winter Haven, Florida, between Orlando and Tampa. With over $18 billion in assets, the Bank provides traditional retail, commercial, mortgage, wealth management and SBA services throughout its Florida, Georgia and Alabama branch network and customer relationships in neighboring states. The Bank also has a national footprint, serving clients coast to coast through its correspondent banking division.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking StatementsStatements included in this communication, which are not historical in nature are intended to be, and are hereby identified as, forward looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provided by Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward looking statements are based on, among other things, management’s beliefs, assumptions, current expectations, estimates and projections about the financial services industry, the economy and South State. Words and phrases such as “may,” “approximately,” “continue,” “should,” “expects,” “projects,” “anticipates,” “is likely,” “look ahead,” “look forward,” “believes,” “will,” “intends,” “estimates,” “strategy,” “plan,” “could,” “potential,” “possible” and variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. South State cautions readers that forward looking statements are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict with regard to, among other things, timing, extent, likelihood and degree of occurrence, which could cause actual results to differ materially from anticipated results. Such risks, uncertainties and assumptions, include, among others, the following: (1) economic downturn risk, potentially resulting in deterioration in the credit markets, greater than expected noninterest expenses, excessive loan losses and other negative consequences, which risks could be exacerbated by potential negative economic developments resulting from federal spending cuts and/or one or more federal budget-related impasses or actions; (2) increased expenses, loss of revenues, and increased regulatory scrutiny associated with our total assets having exceeded $10.0 billion; (3) controls and procedures risk, including the potential failure or circumvention of our controls and procedures or failure to comply with regulations related to controls and procedures; (4) ownership dilution risk associated with potential acquisitions in which South State’s stock may be issued as consideration for an acquired company; (5) potential deterioration in real estate values; (6) the impact of competition with other financial institutions, including pricing pressures (including those resulting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) and the resulting impact, including as a result of compression to net interest margin; (7) credit risks associated with an obligor’s failure to meet the terms of any contract with the bank or otherwise fail to perform as agreed under the terms of any loan-related document; (8) interest risk involving the effect of a change in interest rates on the bank’s earnings, the market value of the bank’s loan and securities portfolios, and the market value of South State’s equity; (9) liquidity risk affecting the bank’s ability to meet its obligations when they come due; (10) risks associated with an anticipated increase in South State’s investment securities portfolio, including risks associated with acquiring and holding investment securities or potentially determining that the amount of investment securities South State desires to acquire are not available on terms acceptable to South State; (11) price risk focusing on changes in market factors that may affect the value of traded 14 instruments in “mark-to-market” portfolios; (12) transaction risk arising from problems with service or product delivery; (13) compliance risk involving risk to earnings or capital resulting from violations of or nonconformance with laws, rules, regulations, prescribed practices, or ethical standards; (14) regulatory change risk resulting from new laws, rules, regulations, accounting principles, proscribed practices or ethical standards, including, without limitation, the possibility that regulatory agencies may require higher levels of capital above the current regulatory-mandated minimums and including the impact of the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules and regulations, and the possibility of changes in accounting standards, policies, principles and practices, including changes in accounting principles relating to loan loss recognition (CECL); (15) strategic risk resulting from adverse business decisions or improper implementation of business decisions; (16) reputation risk that adversely affects earnings or capital arising from negative public opinion; (17) terrorist activities risk that results in loss of consumer confidence and economic disruptions; (18) cybersecurity risk related to the dependence of South State on internal computer systems and the technology of outside service providers, as well as the potential impacts of third party security breaches, subjects each company to potential business disruptions or financial losses resulting from deliberate attacks or unintentional events; (19) greater than expected noninterest expenses; (20) noninterest income risk resulting from the effect of regulations that prohibit financial institutions from charging consumer fees for paying overdrafts on ATM and one-time debit card transactions, unless the consumer consents or opts‑in to the overdraft service for those types of transactions; (21) excessive loan losses; (22) failure to realize synergies and other financial benefits from, and to limit liabilities associated with, mergers and acquisitions within the expected time frame; (23) potential deposit attrition, higher than expected costs, customer loss and business disruption associated with merger and acquisition integration, including, without limitation, and potential difficulties in maintaining relationships with key personnel; (24) the risks of fluctuations in market prices for South State common stock that may or may not reflect economic condition or performance of South State; (25) the payment of dividends on South State common stock is subject to regulatory supervision as well as the discretion of the board of directors of South State, South State’s performance and other factors; (26) operational, technological, cultural, regulatory, legal, credit and other risks associated with the exploration, consummation and integration of potential future acquisition, whether involving stock or cash consideration; (27) major catastrophes such as earthquakes, floods or other natural or human disasters, including infectious disease outbreaks, including the recent outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus, a respiratory illness, the related disruption to local, regional and global economic activity and financial markets, and the impact that any of the foregoing may have on South State and its customers and other constituencies; and (28) risks related to the proposed merger of South State and CenterState Bank Corporation (“CenterState”), including, among others, (i) the risk that the cost savings and any revenue synergies from the merger may not be fully realized or may take longer than anticipated to be realized, (ii) disruption to the parties’ businesses as a result of the announcement and pendency of the merger, (iii) the occurrence of any event, change or other circumstances that could give rise to the termination of the merger agreement between CenterState and South State, (iv) the risk that the integration of each party’s operations will be materially delayed or will be more costly or difficult than expected or that the parties are otherwise unable to successfully integrate each party’s businesses into the other’s businesses, (v) the failure to obtain the necessary approvals by the shareholders of South State or CenterState, (vi) the amount of the costs, fees, expenses and charges related to the merger, (vii) the ability of each of South State and CenterState to obtain required governmental approvals of the merger (and the risk that such approvals may result in the imposition of conditions that could adversely affect the combined company or the expected benefits of the transaction), (viii) reputational risk and the reaction of each company’s customers, suppliers, employees or other business partners to the merger, (ix) the failure of the closing conditions in the merger agreement to be satisfied, or any unexpected delay in closing the merger, (x) the possibility that the merger may be more expensive to complete than anticipated, including as a result of unexpected factors or events, (xi) the dilution caused by South State’s issuance of additional shares of its common stock in the merger and (xii) other factors that may affect future results of South State and CenterState, as disclosed in South State’s registration statement on Form S-4, as amended, Annual Report on Form 10-K, as amended, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and Current Reports on Form 8-K, and CenterState’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and Current Reports on Form 8-K, in each case filed by South State or CenterState, as applicable, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and available on the SEC’s website at https://www.sec.gov, any of which could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed, implied or otherwise anticipated by such forward-looking statements.
All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made and are based on information available at that time. South State does not undertake any obligation to update or otherwise revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, except as required by federal securities laws. As forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties, caution should be exercised against placing undue reliance on such statements.
Important Information About the Merger and Where to Find It
South State has filed a registration statement on Form S-4 and an amendment thereto with the SEC to register the shares of South State’s common stock that will be issued to CenterState’s shareholders in connection with the transaction.  The registration statement contains a joint proxy statement of South State and CenterState that also constitutes a prospectus of South State.  The registration statement on Form S-4, as amended, was declared effective by the SEC on April 20, 2020, and South State and CenterState commenced mailing the definitive joint proxy statement/prospectus to their respective shareholders on or about April 20, 2020.  INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT AND DEFINITIVE JOINT PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS (AS WELL ANY OTHER DOCUMENTS FILED WITH THE SEC IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSACTION OR INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE INTO THE DEFINITIVE JOINT PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS) BECAUSE SUCH DOCUMENTS CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING THE PROPOSED MERGER AND RELATED MATTERS.  Investors and security holders may obtain free copies of these documents and other documents filed with the SEC by South State or CenterState through the website maintained by the SEC at https://www.sec.gov or by contacting the investor relations department of South State or CenterState at:

South State Corporation

CenterState Bank Corporation

520 Gervais Street

1101 First Street South, Suite 202

Columbia, SC 29201-3046

Winter Haven, FL 33880

Attention:  Investor Relations

Attention:  Investor Relations

(800) 277-2175

(863) 293-4710

Participants in Solicitation
South State, CenterState and certain of their directors and executive officers may be deemed participants in the solicitation of proxies from the shareholders of each of South State and CenterState in connection with the merger.  Information regarding the directors and executive officers of South State and CenterState and other persons who may be deemed participants in the solicitation of the shareholders of South State or of CenterState in connection with the merger is contained in the definitive joint proxy statement/prospectus related to the proposed merger.  Information about the directors and executive officers of South State and their ownership of South State common stock can also be found in South State’s definitive proxy statement in connection with its 2019 annual meeting of shareholders, as filed with the SEC on March 6, 2019, and other documents subsequently filed by South State with the SEC, including, but not limited to, Amendment No. 1 to South State’s Annual Report on Form 10-K/A, as filed with the SEC on March 6, 2020.  Information about the directors and executive officers of CenterState and their ownership of CenterState common stock can also be found in CenterState’s definitive proxy statement in connection with its 2020 annual meeting of shareholders, as filed with the SEC on March 10, 2020, and other documents subsequently filed by CenterState with the SEC.  Additional information regarding the interests of such participants is included in the definitive joint proxy statement/prospectus and other relevant documents regarding the merger filed with the SEC.

Media Contacts:

Kellee McGahey

(843) 529-5574

Richard Murray

(205) 313-8103

 
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SOURCE CenterState Bank Corporation

Featured
Cognex Issues Q2 Guidance – Quick Facts

(RTTNews) – Cognex Corp. (CGNX) said it expects to report a decline in both revenue and earnings per share, excluding discrete tax items, for second quarter on both a year-on-year and sequential basis. The company said the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak has expanded and accelerated into second quarter as Cognex has noted lower demand for its products in certain industries, additional disruptions to the supply chain, longer customer delivery times, higher delivery costs, and further shutdowns of customer facilities.
For the first quarter, non GAAP net income per share was $0.11 compared to $0.17, prior year. On average, 13 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report profit per share of $0.08, for the quarter. Analysts’ estimates typically exclude special items.
First quarter revenue was $167.23 million, down 4% from prior year. Analysts expected revenue of $157.37 million for the quarter.

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Bed Bath & Beyond spikes 32% after reporting 85% surge in online sales (BBBY)

Photo by Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images
Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond jumped as much as 32% in Monday afternoon trading.
The company announced on Friday that it would be bringing back some employees after experiencing an 85% surge in online sales for the month of April to date.
The company is in the middle of a turnaround effort led by its new CEO, Mark Tritton.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond jumped as much as 32% in Monday afternoon trading to $6.89 a share. 
The company announced on Friday after the market close that it experienced an 85% surge in online sales for the month of April to date.
As Bed Bath & Beyond stores closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company turned 25% of its stores across the US and Canada into regional fulfillment centers, almost doubling its digital fulfillment capacity.

The company has also introduced curbside pick-up, contactless delivery, and curbside delivery services at a number of locations across the US and Canada. 
The retailer is in the middle of a turnaround effort led by its new CEO, Mark Tritton. 
Read more: ‘I’ve gone to cash’: Mark Cuban outlines his coronavirus investing strategy ahead of another ‘leg down’ in markets — and says now is the time to buy real estate
In a statement, the company said it was able to bring back several hundred associates from furlough “to support the enhanced regional fulfillment network and accelerate the introduction of new services for customers.” In addition, hundreds more new positions have been created in the Company’s ecommerce distribution centers to meet the increased demand across digital channels,” it added.
Bed Bath & Beyond also extended the temporary closure of all its retail stores until May 16.

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Verizon says it won't cancel people's plans or charge late fees through June 30 (VZ)

Mark Von Holden/AP Images for Verizon
Verizon will not charge late fees or shut off people’s service through June 30, the company announced Monday.
The offer extends to people with wireless plans, residential customers, and small businesses with fewer than 50 phone lines.
It’s meant to help people facing economic hardship during the COVID-19 outbreak. Customers have to notify Verizon ahead of time if they aren’t able to pay bills.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Verizon won’t shut off internet or phone service for customers unable to pay bills between now and June 30, nor will it charge late fees, the company announced Monday.
The measure is intended to help people keep their internet and phone connections while facing the financial crunch brought about by COVID-19, which has caused more than 20 million Americans to lose their job in the past month.
Individuals and small businesses with fewer than 50 phone lines are eligible. Verizon first announced the offer in mid-March and said it would span 60 days, but has since extended it through the end of June.

To take advantage of the offer, customers will have to notify Verizon ahead of time if they’re unable to pay bills. They can do so on Verizon’s site.
Verizon customers are currently unable to get internet repairs or installations, however — the company has suspended in-person service amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Billionaire Ray Dalio says there's a national emergency no one is talking about during the pandemic: America's jarring inequality

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
Billionaire Ray Dalio, founder of the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, recently spoke with the founder of Khan Academy, an education nonprofit that offers free courses on a range of topics.
In the online video interview, Dalio said the American dream is “lost” and “doesn’t exist” in today’s world. 
Inequality in education, as well as low incomes for many in the US, produces economic disparity, he said. 
Corporate leaders need to declare wealth inequality a national crisis, and policy makers and business leaders need to come together to find solutions, the billionaire said. 
This post is part of Business Insider’s ongoing series on Better Capitalism.
The billionaire hedge fund manager Ray Dalio says the American dream is “lost” or “doesn’t exist” right now and if leaders don’t act, the whole economic system of capitalism could collapse. 
In an online video chat with Sal Khan, the founder of the education nonprofit Khan Academy, Dalio said that policymakers need to take steps to increase access to education and boost incomes for low-income Americans, who are being disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“If you don’t have a situation where people have opportunity, you’re not only failing to tap all the potential that exists, which is uneconomic, you’re threatening the existence of the system and I think that’s coming to home very clearly with the downturn in the economy with this virus,” he said. 

Dalio himself comes from a lower middle class background, he said. The billionaire’s father was a jazz musician, and Dalio explained how it was, in part, a good public education in the 60s that allowed for his own personal success. 
“That notion of what was fair, equal opportunity on a broad basis, was what the American dream was,” he said on the video call on Thursday.
Today, that ability to rise from a lower middle class background through public education is lost, the founder of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates said.
“The American dream, it’s become lost or it certainly does not exist when we take education, for example,” he said.  
Income as a predictor of success in education is a big economic problem, Dalio said. 
Dalio went cite on to research he published on LinkedIn that shows that the top 40% of wealthy Americans spends, on average, five times more on their child’s education than the bottom 60%. 

And spending money on one’s education has a big impact on a student’s success. In a LinkedIn blog post, Dalio cited research that found students who come from families earning less than $20,000 score on average 260 points worse on the SAT (out of 1600) than students from families earning more than $200,000. 
“And the gap is increasing,” he wrote. 
Getting a college education has a significant impact on one’s earning potential. A bachelor’s degree is worth $2.8 million on average over a lifetime, according to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. Georgetown research also found that bachelor’s degree holders earn 31% more than those with an associate’s degree and 84% more than those with just a high school diploma.
“We can see there is not just a wealth gap, there’s an opportunity gap, and a productivity gap. And it’s a problem,” he said. “Something’s wrong.” 
Government and business leaders must declare inequality a national emergency and come together to form a plan, the billionaire said. 
Education is a part of the problem, but it’s not the whole problem, the billionaire wrote. In addition to calling for more federal funding of public schools, Dalio is asking lawmakers and corporate leaders to address low incomes in the US. 

“The pursuit of greater profits and greater company efficiencies has also led companies to produce in other countries and to replace American workers with cost-effective foreign workers, which was good for these companies’ profits and efficiencies but bad for the American workers’ incomes,” he wrote. 
Change, according to Dalio, requires a shift in thinking on the part of corporate leaders, as well as government leaders. 
“There need to be powerful forces from the top of the country that proclaim the income/wealth/opportunity gap to be a national emergency and take on the responsibility for reengineering the system so that it works better,” he wrote. 
Currently, policy makers pay too much attention to budgets relative to returns on investment, Dalio wrote. In other words, there’s too much short-term thinking and not enough long-term planning going on.
“So I believe the leadership should create a bipartisan commission to bring together skilled people from different communities to come up with a plan to reengineer the system to simultaneously divide and increase the economic pie better,” he wrote. 

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Airlines like American and United don't have concrete plans to ensure social distancing as passengers return to crowded flights (AAL, UAL, DAL, LUV)

Association of Flight Attendants
The number of Americans boarding commercial flights has risen steadily over the past five days, leading to an increase in reports of crowded flights on which social-distancing measures were impossible.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, the number of daily travelers passing through security checkpoints at commercial airports has climbed from 92,859 on Tuesday, April 21, to 128,875 on Sunday, April 26. The Sunday number was the highest since April 3.
The TSA numbers offer a virtual real-time look at travel demand and trends in the US as the coronavirus continues to inflict damage on the airline industry. During the same period in 2019, an average of more than 2 million daily travelers regularly passed through security checkpoints.

Airlines around the world have significantly reduced their capacity over the past two months as the coronavirus pandemic has led to plummeting travel demand. Many have suspended routes, canceled flights or frequencies, and grounded large portions of their fleets.
Demand remains low, including for future travel — airlines have reported virtually zero incoming revenue, which has led to flights operating just 5% to 10% full. The major US airlines have reduced their capacity 80% to 90% for May and June.
The reduced capacity, however, means that even a slight uptick in passengers could be significant, particularly as federal and state guidelines continue to stress maintaining social distancing as a way to slow the spread of the virus.
On an American Airlines flight last week from Miami to New York’s LaGuardia, which was 80% to 90% full, according to a passenger on board, only about half of the passengers wore masks.
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents flight attendants at about 20 airlines, said that the same thing has occurred on numerous flights over the past week.

Nelson posted a photo of a flight this weekend on Twitter, which showed a plane crowded with passengers not wearing masks. Nelson and the AFA have called for the Department of Transportation to require passengers to wear face coverings, and to prohibit non-essential travel until the spread of the virus can be contained.
Although several airlines have measures in place to facilitate social distancing, it was not clear how sustainable or effective they would be.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wearing masks or other face coverings may help prevent carriers of the virus from spreading it to others in close proximity, but maintaining at least six feet of distance between people is more effective.
Canada has required airline passengers and crews to wear face coverings in airports and on airplanes, but the US does not have similar regulations, and several of the anecdotes in recent days suggest that social-distancing practices are not always being facilitated or followed.
Delta has said it would block middle seats on its flights, and would prevent upgrades from being automatically assigned so that passengers would not end up seated directly next ot each other.

Although American Airlines also blocks some seats on flights, including middle seats and those adjacent to flight-attendant jump seats, the airline will assign those seats if the flight is nearing capacity, rather than bumping passengers, according to an internal document seen by Business Insider.
A spokesperson for American said that the airline is in close contact with the CDC and has been diligent about cleaning and disinfecting planes throughout the outbreak, and noted that the CDC does not require masks for passengers.
“Last month, in response to CDC social distancing guidelines, American began temporarily relaxed seating policies for customers on our flights and reduced onboard food and beverage service levels,” the spokesperson said. “To encourage social distancing, gate agents will reassign seats to create more space between customers.”
“American now also blocks 50% of standard middle seats and all seats adjacent to Flight Attendant jump seats on every flight across our system,” the spokesperson added. “Our team also monitors flights closely to maintain social distancing.”
United, meanwhile is blocking passengers from selecting certain seats to avoid people sitting directly next to each other — however, the airline will still assign those seats if a flight is relatively full.

Southwest, which does not assign seats on its flights, said that flight attendants were encouraging passengers to select seats spaced away from each other when possible.

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NOXXON Presents Latest Clinical Data From the Phase 1/2 NOX-A12 / Keytruda® Combination Trial in Colorectal and Pancreatic Cancer at the AACR Virtual Annual Meeting 2020

Regulatory News:
NOXXON Pharma N.V. (Paris:ALNOX) (Euronext Growth Paris: ALNOX), a biotechnology company focused on improving cancer treatments by targeting the tumor microenvironment (TME), announced today the presentation of the latest clinical results from the Phase 1/2 study with CXCL12 inhibitor, NOX-A12, and pembrolizumab in patients with microsatellite-stable, metastatic colorectal or pancreatic cancer at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Virtual Annual Meeting 2020. The data were presented in a short video with commentary by the first author, Dr. Niels Halama, from the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) in Heidelberg, Germany.
The data indicate that treatment with NOX-A12 plus pembrolizumab in the combination therapy part of the study resulted in stable disease in 25% of patients and prolonged time on treatment vs. prior therapy for 35% of patients. The safety profile of the combination therapy was consistent with that of pembrolizumab in advanced cancer patients. Comparison of tumor biopsies from before and after NOX-A12 monotherapy showed a trend towards agglomeration of T cells within tumors in about half of the patients where NOX-A12 had induced a Th1-type cytokine response. This agglomeration was accompanied by reduced distances between T cells and cancer cells, suggesting increased infiltration of effector immune cells into tumor tissue and a more effective immune response.
“Based on the fact that these indications have so far remained unaffected by checkpoint inhibitors, the outcome of this trial emphasizes the real potential NOX-A12 has on targeting the tumor microenvironment and enabling the intended mode of action of pembrolizumab,” said Aram Mangasarian, CEO of NOXXON. “These results provide a strong rationale for moving this program forward into a larger scale randomized trial with a less-advanced patient population, an opportunity we intend to pursue with a partner.”
“As a clinician who has worked with colorectal and pancreatic cancer patients, the data provide signals that support the potential impact of the combination of NOX-A12 with pembrolizumab, which is a significant step for these cancers with extremely limited options,” commented Dr. Jarl Ulf Jungnelius, CMO of NOXXON.

Access to AACR Virtual Annual Meeting 2020 is freely available upon registration. NOXXON’s abstract and a short video with commentary (presentation CT117) are now available online in the Virtual Poster Session section VPO.CT01 on the AACR website, as well as on the NOXXON website.
About NOXXON
NOXXON’s oncology-focused pipeline acts on the tumor microenvironment (TME) and the cancer immunity cycle by breaking the tumor protection barrier and blocking tumor repair. By neutralizing chemokines in the tumor microenvironment, NOXXON’s approach works in combination with other forms of treatment to weaken tumor defenses against the immune system and enable greater therapeutic impact. Building on extensive clinical experience and safety data, the lead program NOX-A12 has delivered top-line data from a Keytruda® combination trial in metastatic colorectal and pancreatic cancer patients and further studies are being planned in these indications. In September 2019 the company initiated an additional trial with NOX-A12 in brain cancer in combination with radiotherapy. The combination of NOX-A12 and radiotherapy has been granted orphan drug status in the US and EU for the treatment of certain brain cancers. The company’s second clinical-stage asset NOX-E36 is a Phase 2 TME asset targeting the innate immune system. NOXXON plans to test NOX-E36 in patients with solid tumors both as a monotherapy and in combination. Further information can be found at: www.noxxon.com
Keytruda® is a registered trademark of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp
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Disclaimer
Certain statements in this communication contain formulations or terms referring to the future or future developments, as well as negations of such formulations or terms, or similar terminology. These are described as forward-looking statements. In addition, all information in this communication regarding planned or future results of business segments, financial indicators, developments of the financial situation or other financial or statistical data contains such forward-looking statements. The company cautions prospective investors not to rely on such forward-looking statements as certain prognoses of actual future events and developments. The company is neither responsible nor liable for updating such information, which only represents the state of affairs on the day of publication.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200427005621/en/

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The Fed's 'QE4ever' stimulus will push stocks to record highs in 2021, says one of Wall Street's biggest bulls

Thomson Reuters
Amid “just horrible” economic data, the Federal Reserve’s latest bout of quantitative easing is setting up a strong backstop for the stock market, long-time bull Ed Yardeni told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Friday.
Yardeni Research sees the S&P 500 remaining near 2,900 by the end of the year before rocketing to a record 3,500 by the end of 2021.
The central bank’s “QE4ever” policy has no end date or limit, Yardeni said, and “very much reduces the likelihood” of stocks returning to late-March lows.
Investors should look to the timing of economic reopenings, he added, as a shutdown lasting through the summer threatens to punt a stock market rebound past 2021.
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Even as economic data “will continue to be just horrible,” the stock market will lean on Federal Reserve policy to surge through 2021, Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research, said Friday.
The central bank announced it would begin buying bonds on March 23, alleviating credit health stresses and signaling to investors the authority would do everything in its power to avoid a complete market collapse. The date also marked the stock market’s lowest level before rebounding from bearish territory amid the coronavirus threat.
The Fed’s policy, deemed “QE4ever” by Yardeni, could last for several more months as the outbreak lingers, he said on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.” Keeping such a backstop in place quashes risk of a second market slump even if economic data comes in worse than expected, Yardeni added.

“They didn’t put any end date on it. They didn’t put any limit on it,” he said. “If we have another opportunity for any downside, I think you’ll see more rebalancing which very much reduces the likelihood that we’ll be able to get back to the March 23 lows.”
Read more: RBC: The world’s biggest investors are piling into these 11 high-growth stocks to stay ahead of a market hammered by coronavirus fears
Yardeni Research sees the S&P 500 index remaining near 2,900 through the rest of the year, struggling to break through the threshold as economies grapple with the remainder of the coronavirus’ economic fallout. A reopening late in 2020 would give way to strong gains and push the index to a record 3,500 by the end of 2021, the long-time bull said.
With the Fed’s stimulus providing an indirect floor to equities, the economic reboot’s timing is the most important factor for reaching new highs next year, Yardeni added. Keeping the US locked down through the summer would delay a market upswing and cut even further into the economy already marred by mass unemployment and plunging demand. The next few weeks are critical to deciding whether the stock market can enjoy a quick recovery or sit stuck at its current levels for years, the analyst said.
“I would get very concerned if we keep this thing locked down past May,” Yardeni said. “We wouldn’t even be talking about a ‘U’-recovery. Something more like an ‘L’, and I certainly wouldn’t want to see that.”

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