SpaceX Brings About Revolution By Reusing Rocket Engine

Elon Musk, a visionary behind the creation of SpaceX is now basking in glory as SpaceX reuses a rocket engine creating history. He declared it as a massive revolution in spaceflight. SpaceX successfully launched used a portion of Falcon 9 rocket and reclaimed it again. The rocket launched a communication satellite for SES into the geosynchronous orbit. It landed on drone ship that was named as ‘Of Course I Love You’.

SpaceX quickly grew since its launch due to the increased demand for satellite launches. SES is one of the important clients for SpaceX as the Luxembourg-based company was using SpaceX services for quite some time. Allegedly, the cost of satellite launch was reduced for SES as it was the first client to launch a satellite using a reused rocket. It is most certainly a massive feat for the rocket launching company that is popular for its innovative technologies.

The launching mission opens up new doors for innovation as it is now possible to reuse an orbit class booster. It is one of the most expensive components of the rocket and reusability will ensure that the launching cost is massively reduced. Musk tweeted hearty congratulations for his team which made it possible. He also said that he hopes that the turnaround time will be reduced to 24 hours for the launches in the future.

Reusing rockets would help SpaceX to reduce the launching costs by 30%. Currently, SpaceX has quoted a starting price of $62 million for rocket launches, which is substantially lower than a majority of the competitors. Reusing rockets would also help the company to reduce the turnaround time. When the launch prices continue to fall, there will be more demand and a quicker turnaround time is beneficial for the company.

SpaceX will become busy as it has to deal with several more launches. The lowering launching cost and quicker turnaround time will make the company a favorite. Many satellite companies are already commercial customers of Space X. It is also hired for launching rockets for the US government including the legendary NASA.

The use of recycled rocket is a marvel for the eye as the rockets sent the nosecone worth $6 million back to earth safely using a parachute. The nosecone splits into two after 4 minutes of liftoff to expose the satellite. The fairing was equipped with thrusters and steerable parachute to land the nosecone safely back. After the initial success, SpaceX plans on six flights using recycled boosters just in this year. The booster used in the current mission was used previously to send food and supplies to the astronauts on the International Space Station.

The famed Falcon Heavy which was scheduled to fly in 2013 will be ready to fly in this year. Elon Musk also wants to experiment if his team can land the upper stage section of the rocket. He admitted that chances of success are very low, but it is worth trying. The company plans on reusing booster for a few different repeat flights.

Shot in the dark, Sturm Ruger Investors Digest Trump Win on Firearm Sales

While the subject dominated the speeches of politicians for all of 2016, gun control was rarely discussed during the presidential campaign. Now that voters have elected Donald Trump for the presidency of the United States, gunmakers are among the groups dealing with what their futures may hold.

One of those gun makers is Sturm Ruger & Co. (NYSE: RGR). Its third quarter results blew it out of the water. Its net sales for the nine months ended Oct. 1, were $502.5 million and its earnings per share were $3.48. That squashed the numbers for the same period during 2015, in which sales were $398.7 million, and its EPS were $2.33.

Naturally, Sturm Ruger’s stock rallied on the earning news, but that came to a screeching halt on the morning following the announcement that Donald Trump is the president-elect. While President Obama was widely known to be in favor of gun control measures that would restrict firearm purchases, that’s not the thought about Trump. Firearm sales spiked while the gun control talk made headlines, and gun makers like Sturm Ruger enjoyed the ride from people buying up the weapons before any restrictions began.

Sensing that buying spree coming to an end, investors are rearranging their positions in the space. Given the fall in firearm stock prices, now may be a good entry point.

For example, Investopedia points out that Sturm Ruger’s EV-to-FCF ratio of 14 makes it cheap.

Then take a  look at Sturm Ruger’s other fundamentals. It enjoys a relatively successful operating model that results in impressive profit margins. Over the past five years, its return on assets indicate that it has a good shot at maintaining impressive operating returns.
Analysts point out that its relatively high pre-tax margin suggests that it is tightly controlling its operating costs.

Sturm Ruger pays a $.41 per share dividend.

The main headwind for Sturm Ruger and its peers is Trump’s plans for gun control. Again, that headwind is mitigated by the unlikelihood that Trump would call for restrictions that would hamper consumers being able to buy firearms. In fact, the first 100-day plan that has bandied about since Trump won does not include any gun control measures.

One of the social issues that is a positive headwind for the firearm industry deals with concealed carry laws. As more states allow for the practice, the firearm industry is making guns that make it easy to carry guns on one’s person.

Sturm Ruger’s efforts in this space are reflected in its new product sales. Specifically, the LC9 was redesigned and contributed to the $58 million or 36% of firearm sales in the third quarter. However, the company says it expects new product sales to decrease in the fourth quarter, as sales of the AR-556 and the LC9s will no longer be included among the new products.

While Sturm Ruger enjoys strong fundamentals that make it an attractive buy, the slowdown in firearm sales should be factored into any stocl buying decision.

Alabama Payday Lender Ordered to Reimburse $32 Million

With the payday loan industry being placed under a greater microscope and numerous states introducing new laws and updates current regulation, a lot of payday loan stores are bearing the brunt.

One of the latest payday loan businesses to be caught violating lending laws is Alabama lender BamaCash. The company was ordered by a judge to reimburse customers $32 million following the discovery that it had maintained illegal dealings for six years.

According to State District Court Judge Francis Mathew of Alabama, BamaCash broke lending laws between 2006 and 2012. By the time it was discovered, a judge determined it violated lending laws in the state. Reportedly, tens of thousands of clients were “victimized” by the payday lender.

In 2007, the state legislature capped the costs of Alabama payday loans to $17.50 per $100 borrowed. It was discovered that BamaCash had modified its business model in order to avoid the new regulations. BamaCash was alleged to have charged “outrageous” interest rates on its payday loans. Moreover, the case had revealed that many of the borrowers were not permitted to pay back the loan ahead of time.

The unscrupulous business practices by BamaCash were unveiled by one employee, according to a 2012 court filing.

“We just basically don’t let anybody pay off [a loan]. … We tell them how their tax refund is better used at Wal-Mart … than at BamaCash, and we basically talk them into making a payment and continuing to be our customer.”

Mathew will still need to approve a plan by BamaCash to reimburse customers within 90 days. Once it is approved, a formal notification to customers will be issued. Although BamaCash could file an appeal, it is possible that it will refrain from doing so. Meanwhile, if customers feel they are entitled to a refund, they will need to contact the Attorney General’s office.

The case was initially launched by former Attorney General Lary Rite, who stepped down in 2014.

“This $32 million restitution judgment for Alabama consumers is a great step toward eliminating predatory business practices that prey on Alabama families,” Attorney General Balderas said Wednesday. “Our office is working expeditiously on a plan for Alabama consumers to receive their restitution. However, we are asking for consumers’ patience as we work through the legal process to get them what they are owed.”

BamaCash has 60 retail locations in Alabama, and an additional five stores in other states. BamaCash has been named one of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States today. It has been in operation since 1997.

Across North America and Europe, a growing number of payday loan establishments are being investigated by federal and state authorities. Also, many complaints are being submitted to the proper authorities over usurious rates and unfair lending practices that critics say make it impossible get out of debt.

North American and European officials are attempting to limit or restrict payday loan businesses’ access and reach with new rules and regulations. In the United Kingdom, for instance, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has scrutinized the payday loan industry so much that 70 percent of companies have exited the country.

Unemployment Benefits Applications Rise to Highest Since August

The number of Americans applying for jobless aid last week rose to the highest level seen since August, although total claims continued their run of coming in under 300,000.

Claims for unemployment benefits increased to a seasonally-adjusted 265,000 last week, the U.S. Labor Department said in Washington on Thursday. The figure, which reflects an increase of 7,000, surpassed analysts’ expectations of 256,000 in claims in a survey by Bloomberg. It was the highest level seen since early August.

However, the latest report showed that the streak of claims coming in below 300,000 was extended to the 87th consecutive week. This is the longest run of such happening since 1970.

In spite of the jobless claims coming in higher than expected, they were still not far removed from an average of 264,000 forecast for 2016. It also showed that employers have lessened their rate of firing.

“The level of claims remains extremely low, signaling that businesses are keen to hang onto staff, presumably because they are fundamentally quite optimistic about business conditions,” Pantheon Macroeconomics’ chief economist Ian Shepherdson said in a research note.

Applications for jobless aid is considered an indicator of rate of dismissals. Low totals show that many employers have cooled down on firing. Unemployment rate in September stood at 5 percent, not very far from what is considered full employment by economists, according to Arkansas Online.

The less-volatile measure of four-week average saw jobless aid claims add 4,750 to reach 257,750. It stood at 253,000 in the week before.

The number of Americans who continued to receive unemployment payments fell to 2.03 million, down by 14,000, in the week ended Oct. 22. That was the lowest seen since June 2000 and 7 percent lower than the number a year ago.

Total claims for the week before the one just reported by the Department of Labor was an unrevised 258,000. The number of jobless aid claims made reached an over four-decade low of 246,000 in the week ended Oct. 1.

Last week, the Commerce Department said the U.S. economy grew at the highest rate in two years during the third quarter. Hiring has, however, slowed in 2016.

This year, an average of 178,000 jobs have been added by employers on a monthly basis, compared to a monthly average of 229,000 in 2015.

Hiring data for October is scheduled to be released by the Labor Department on Friday.

In a survey by the data company FactSet, economists predicted an increase of 170,000 in jobs for October. They see the unemployment rate sliding to 4.9 percent.

The drop in unemployment insurance applications close to all-time lows have contributed to keep total jobless aid claims below the 300,000 mark for over one and half years. Improvement in the claim-filling process and reduction in benefits duration have also contributed, among other factors.

The Labor Department said there were no estimated claims for any state last week.

In a separate report released on Thursday, the department noted that productivity of U.S. workers improved at the highest rate in two years in the third quarter of this year. Labor costs also reduced.