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In economic relief talks, White House and Democrats continue trading proposals, insults

At the White House, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed that the administration had offered Pelosi an approximately $1.6 trillion package, much higher than many congressional Republicans would be able to support.

“It’s a good offer but it’s one Nancy Pelosi is not interested in,” McEnany said.

“Nancy Pelosi is not being serious. If she becomes serious then we can have a discussion,” McEnany said.

For her part, Pelosi (D-Calif.) criticized the GOP’s proposals as too stingy, contending that the administration is focused on protecting tax breaks for the wealthy instead of help for families and children in need. House Democrats had initially sought a $3.4 trillion spending package before bring the package down to around $2.2 trillion.

“This isn’t half a loaf, this is the heel of the loaf,” Pelosi said on Bloomberg TV of the White House proposal.

Nevertheless, Pelosi and Mnuchin were set to have another conversation Thursday afternoon, a day after they met in person for 90 minutes at the Capitol on Wednesday. The Wednesday meeting was their first in-person discussion since bipartisan coronavirus relief talks collapsed in early August.

Congress is set to adjourn at the end of this week through the election, but before they do Pelosi and Mnuchin are making one last try at a deal. They remained far apart and seemed almost to be forecasting failure, but talks continued and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he was hopeful it would lead to something.

“I’d like to see another rescue package,” McConnell said. “We’ve been trying for months to get there. I wish them well.”

While the talks continued, Democrats moved to press ahead with their own plan. Pelosi said she hoped for a House vote later Thursday on Democrats’ new $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill.

Republicans strongly oppose the bill. Democratic

Central Garden & Pet Company: Trading At Fair Value (NASDAQ:CENT)

After an impressive run-up in price, shares in Central Garden & Pet Company (CENT) are taking a breather, retracing from their 52-week highs, and currently trading at $37.8 per share.

The company has benefited from the change in consumer behavior as restrictions were placed to combat the spread of COVID. We have seen that strength translate to retailers such as The Home Depot (HD), Tractor Supply (TSCO), and competitor Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG), all showing impressive year-to-date results and pointing to an industry enjoying the tailwinds from a shift in discretionary spending towards categories such as gardening and pets, as consumers find themselves with more time spent at home.

As it relates to CENT, the company’s Q3 was its best-performing quarter in its history driven by robust consumer demand. The company ended the quarter with $495M in cash and a leverage ratio of 2.4x, within management’s targeted range.

While the company still expects strong demand in Q4, management guided for a slight earnings loss in Q4 as they increase levels of spending towards e-commerce, digital marketing, and cost control measures. As a result, management expects full-year EPS to be at or above $1.90, implying negative EPS of minus $0.08 in the upcoming quarter. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Q4 is the smallest earnings quarter for the company. For example, in Q4 of 2018 and 2019, the company did $0.03 and $0.04, respectively in diluted EPS.

From a valuation point of view, the company is trading at a forward P/E multiple of 19x, approximately in-line with its 5-year average of 22.8x. We believe CENT is trading at fair value and the stock price is already pricing in the favorable outlook for CENT’s business segments (mainly Pet products and Garden Products). We also believe revenue growth through acquisitions might be