|Day's Range||17.80 - 17.80|
(Bloomberg) -- The head of the World Health Organization called for nations around the globe to boost funding to fight the coronavirus while the outbreak is still mostly confined to China, and the airline industry forecast the first annual decline in global passenger demand in more than decade.Almost 60 police officers in Hong Kong are being quarantined after a colleague was infected. A report in the Washington Post described a dispute among U.S. officials over how to handle the evacuation of American patients from Japan.Hubei, the province at the center of the outbreak, reported a sharp drop in new cases, but another change in the way China diagnoses infections called into question the reliability of the data.The global death toll climbed to 2,129 and confirmed cases reached 75,730. Results from two early trials of treatments are expected in three weeks, the WHO said.Key DevelopmentsChina death toll rises to 2,118, with cases at 74,576Hubei adds 108 deaths, new cases up by 349; 1,209 dischargedInvestor anxiety rises as virus spreads outside ChinaJapan is becoming a new hotbed of casesClick VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the novel coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here.Disagreement Over Japan Patients Returned to U.S. (4:37 p.m. NY)Officials from the U.S. State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disagreed over how to handle 14 people from a cruise ship who tested positive for the coronavirus while in the process of being repatriated to the U.S., according to the Washington Post.According to the report, CDC officials wanted to wait and have the people who had tested positive for the virus travel separately from about 300 people being sent back to the U.S. after a long stint on a cruise ship where the virus broke out. State Department officials disagreed and pushed for the patients to be included.The group was eventually flown back together, and the patients are being treated. Fifty-Nine Hong Kong Police Are Quarantined (1:24 p.m. NY)A group of 59 Hong Kong police officers are being quarantined after a fellow officer preliminarily tested positive for the virus, the city’s police force said in a statement on Facebook.Two days before being tested because he was feeling sick, the police officer had a meal with the 59 other officers at a restaurant in Hong Kong.“After learning of the incident, the police have immediately arranged that all colleagues immediately stop police work, avoid contact with the public, and go home to wait for quarantine arrangements,” the department said in the statement.The officer works with a riot team in Hong Kong’s Eastern Police District. Members of the riot control unit that the sick officer is part of aren’t being considered close contacts subject to quarantine, the department said.Drug-Trial Results Expected in Three Weeks, WHO Says (11:53 a.m. NY)Preliminary results from two clinical trials of treatments prioritized by the World Health Organization are expected in three weeks, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva Thursday.One of the trials is for a pill combining the anti-retroviral medicines lopinavir and ritonavir, a brand-name combination of which is sold by AbbVie Inc. The second trial is testing the experimental injected drug remdesivir, which is being developed by Gilead Sciences Inc.The trials are being run in China, where health officials are seeking ways to treat patients infected with the coronavirus using existing and experimental therapies.Airlines Expect First Global Traffic Drop Since 2009 (11:20 a.m. NY)The airline industry expects the first annual decline in global passenger demand in 11 years, after tallying up the initial impact of the thousands of flights canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak in China.The estimate shaves about 4.7 percentage points off of a passenger-growth forecast issued just two months ago, with almost all of the impact in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the International Air Transport Association. That may be conservative: The projections assume the loss of demand will be limited to markets linked to China.The drop would be the first overall decline since the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Global passenger demand is now seen contracting by 0.6% this year, compared with a December forecast for 4.1% growth, IATA said.WHO Says More Funding Needed to Fight Virus (10:50 a.m. NY)The head of the World Health Organization urged countries to boost funding to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus, saying that the response to its call for $675 million has been limited.“This is the time to attack the virus while it is manageable,” Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing in Geneva Thursday.Tedros said he’s surprised donations have been low and that countries aren’t treating the outbreak seriously enough. If the response isn’t strong now, the spread outside of China, which so far has been manageable, may become a wider threat, he said. “The virus is very dangerous, and it’s public enemy No. 1.”Foxconn, Norwegian Cruise Warns on Virus Impact (7:57 a.m. NY)Apple Inc. supplier Foxconn said the virus will impact 2020 revenue. Separately, Norwegian Cruise Line said the outbreak has caused it to cancel, modify or redeploy 40 Asia voyages, hurting projected earnings. Earlier, Air France-KLM slumped after it said the outbreak will wipe as much as $216 million from earnings and Qantas Airways Ltd. said it is slashing capacity on international flights in Asia.Lenovo Group Ltd. warned of “short-term volatility and challenges” because of disruptions at its suppliers, but said most of its plants had re-started operations and demand should rebound once the outbreak stabilizes. A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S is also positioning itself for a “strong rebound” based on an expectation that the fallout of the coronavirus on global trade may soon peak.Goldman Sees High Risk of Stock Correction (7:36 a.m. NY)Investors may be underestimating the negative impact of the coronavirus on corporate earnings, which poses a threat to the stock market rally, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s chief equity strategist.While coronavirus fears triggered a worldwide sell-off in January, those losses proved short-lived. Global equities are trading near record highs on optimism that the impact from the epidemic will be limited and China will step up support for its economy. Goldman’s Peter Oppenheimer cautioned against complacency.“While a sustained bear market does not look likely, a near-term correction is looking much more probable,” Oppenheimer, chief global equity strategist at Goldman, wrote in a note.China Urges More Production Resumption (6:56 a.m. NY)Local governments should seek to increase the rate of resumed production, China Central Television reported, citing Premier Li Keqiang.Deutsche Bank Singapore Employee Infected (6:42 a.m. NY)An employee at Deutsche Bank’s Singapore office, located at One Raffles Quay, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The bank said it deep cleaned the office, and completed contact tracing when first notified.Baselworld Watch Fair Still On (6:52 p.m. HK)The watch industry trade fair will go ahead as scheduled in late April. Organizers are in contact with health authorities and will take precautions including more frequent cleaning and disinfecting.Hubei Asks Firms Not to Resume Work Before March 11 (6:14 p.m. HK)Producers of drugs, medical equipment and protective items are not subject to the requirement, according to a statement from the Hubei provincial government.All Westerdam Crew Tested Negative for Coronavirus (6:13 p.m. HK)The Cambodian Ministry of Health confirmed all 747 crew on board the Westerdam ship have tested negative for the coronavirus, according to an emailed statement from Holland America Line which owns the vessel.Separately, Dream Cruises said it will suspend the Genting Dream Cruise from Singapore until March 27.China Considers Prolonging Electric-Car Subsidies (6:10 p.m. HK)Beijing may extend subsidies for electric-vehicle purchases beyond this year in an effort to revive sales in the world’s biggest market, people familiar with the matter said. The move could add to state aid being considered in wake of virus.Policy makers have been discussing the possibility after China’s first annual decline in sales of new energy vehicles, according to the people. Though the talks predate the emergence of the coronavirus as a global threat, the outbreak has piled more pressure on the auto industry by causing production halts and keeping people away from showrooms.Iran Reports Three Confirmed Cases After Two Deaths (5:18 p.m HK)Iran reported three more cases, a day after confirming two people had died from the outbreak. Two residents in Qom and one in Arak and have been hospitalized, state-run Iranian Students News Agency said, citing the country’s health ministry.China Says 29 Foreigners Infected (4:51 p.m. HK)Ten people were diagnosed in the Hubei province, Ding Xiangyang, deputy secretary-general at the State Council said. Two foreign nationals have died and 18 have been discharged.Indonesia Cuts Rates, Lowers Growth Forecast (4:30 p.m. HK)Indonesia’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate after a three-month pause, and lowered the growth forecast as the spread of the coronavirus threatens the outlook for Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.South Korea Reports First Death (4:24 p.m. HK)South Korea reported its first fatality from the coronavirus as confirmed cases more than tripled within a day. The bulk of the increase is tied to a cluster from a religious sect and the outbreak has raised renewed concerns about the virus in the country after a lull in reported cases last week.South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the number of domestic cases had reached 104. The CDC didn’t provide many details on the fatality but gave its location as a hospital near Daegu, one of the country’s biggest cities where infections have been found among members of the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony, formerly known as Shincheonji Church of Jesus.The center said at least 28 new cases confirmed on Thursday involved those who attended church services with a person confirmed with the virus earlier this week. The pastor told JoongAng Ilbo newspaper in an interview that some 1,000 people attended the same service.Hubei Region Sells First Bonds Since Lockdown Began (3:46 p.m. HK)The Chinese province at the center of the outbreak sold about 10 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) of bonds in its first public fundraising effort since Beijing quarantined its capital.Japan Confirms Two From Cruise Died From Virus (2:14 p.m. HK)Japan confirmed two people who were on the cruise ship off Yokohama died from the novel coronavirus. The fatalities were a man and woman, both Japanese nationals in their 80s, who had existing medical conditions, NHK reported.The cruise ship has the most infections anywhere outside China, with more than 600 confirmed cases. Following 14 days of quarantine, Japan on Wednesday allowed passengers to start disembarking from the Diamond Princess liner, despite worries the country hasn’t done enough to prevent the spread of disease from the vessel.China Premier Says Don’t Halt Grain Planting (2:10 p.m. HK)Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told local governments to make sure farmers don’t miss the crucial grain planting season during a critical time for controlling the spread of coronavirus. Government officials are worried that the epidemic could spread to rural areas, where medical facilities are less developed than urban locales.“If we miss the planting season, we’ll be unable to make up for it, which will have an impact on the economic foundation and social stability of the whole year,” Li said in a release posted on the government’s website. “We are holding the rice bowl for 1.4 billion people in our own hands.”Fecal Transmission May Be Behind Virus’s Rapid Spread (12:37 p.m. HK)The novel coronavirus is shed in the feces of infected people, which may help explain why it’s spread so fast, according to Chinese researchers. The finding of live virus particles in stool specimens indicates a fecal-oral route for coronavirus, which may be why it’s caused outbreaks on cruise ships with an intensity often seen with gastro-causing norovirus, which also spreads along that pathway.Hong Kong Extends Work-From-Home for Civil Servants (12:23 p.m. HK)Hong Kong will extend work-from-home arrangements for civil servants to March 1 to reduce social contacts and the risk of spread of novel coronavirus in the community, according to an official statement. The government previously announced it would extend the work-from-home arrangement for civil servants to Feb. 23.U.S. Condemns China’s Expulsion of WSJ Reporters (11:04 a.m. HK)U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized China’s move to revoke the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal reporters over a controversial headline, a decision that comes as Beijing continues to lash out at countries that fault its handling of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.China Loan Rate Drops After Central Bank Eases Policy (9:48 a.m. HK)China’s banks lowered the benchmark borrowing costs for new corporate and household loans after Beijing slashed a range of policy rates this month to blunt the economic impact of a deadly virus outbreak. Earlier this month, the central bank cut the rates on its short-term funds and one-year loans to commercial lenders.Hubei Adds Fewer New Cases (7:50 a.m. HK)China’s Hubei province reported 349 additional confirmed cases for Feb. 19, a sharp drop from almost 1,700 the previous day. No explanation was given for the decline, although it came a day after national guidelines advised the province to only report two numbers in its overall count: confirmed cases and suspected cases. Prior to that, the province reported whether cases were confirmed via CT scans, or testing kits.China has faced questions about the transparency of its data as it repeatedly adjusts how it reports coronavirus cases. Last week, a shift in methods resulted in a surge of almost 15,000 new Hubei cases.(An earlier version of this story was corrected the story after an airline industry group revised its statement to say it would be first drop in travel since 2009, not 2003, in the 11:20 a.m. update)\--With assistance from Michelle Fay Cortez, Jason Gale, Peter Pae, Jihye Lee and Siddharth Dahiya.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Thomas Mulier in Geneva at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Adveith Nair at firstname.lastname@example.org;Jeff Sutherland at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
A venture capital firm tied to the largest health insurer in the U.S., UnitedHealth Group, has invested in a local startup working to avoid unnecessary drug costs.
Impressive 4th-quarter results and a projection for high top and bottom-line growth in 2020 make this stock attractive Continue reading...
Worth $23 billion today, former math professor Jim Simons has become one of the most successful money managers of all time. Following his departure from the world of academia in 1978, he helped jumpstart the quant investing revolution using a data-driven approach and predictive algorithms. Armed with the skills and experience acquired as a mathematician and code breaker, Simons founded hedge fund Renaissance Technologies out of a Long Island strip mall in 1982.Relying on an emotionless and hard data-focused strategy, his track record has surpassed that of other Wall Street greats like Steve Cohen, Ray Dalio and Warren Buffet, whose 20.5% annualized gains since 1965 pales in comparison to Simons’ 39% average return over the last 30 years. Additionally, since 1998, its Medallion Fund has seen annual returns reach 66% before fees.Even though Simons doesn’t manage the Medallion Fund anymore, he remains a key player at Renaissance. Regardless, the man that pioneered a fundamentally different way of thinking about investing has left a lasting impact. Currently, 31% of all stock trading is done by hedge funds and other quant investors, with much of their efforts modeled after his approach.It follows, then, that after Simons’ fund goes in on a particular name, Wall Street focus locks in. With this in mind, we used TipRanks’ Stock Screener tool to get all the data on three Buy-rated healthcare stocks Renaissance boosted its position in during the fourth quarter. Here’s what we found out.Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)Throughout the last 125 years, healthcare name Merck & Co. has become one of the major players in the space. While shares have slipped in the previous six months, Simons’ fund just pulled the trigger.According to the fund’s 13F filing, Renaissance bought 1,625,830 shares in the fourth quarter, reflecting a 41% increase. As its MRK stake now lands at 5,673,243, the total position is valued at almost $516 million.After its recent earnings release, analysts are also optimistic when it comes to Merck’s long-term growth prospects. In terms of non-GAAP EPS, the figure came in 1 cent ahead of the consensus at $1.16. Sales, however, missed the mark at $11.9 billion, which was $85 million below the Street’s prediction. MRK also revealed that it would be spinning off the women’s health, legacy brands and biosimilars into a NewCo.Weighing in on the company for Cantor Fitzgerald, Louise Chen writes that even though the print has caused investors to worry about slowing Keytruda sales, new data readouts for drugs that compete with MRK’s products and NewCo’s impact on EBITDA, the company is on track. The analyst highlights the fact that Keytruda, animal health, human health vaccines and overall worldwide sales all gained during the quarter. Not to mention through 2024, Merck expects solid revenue growth, which should accelerate thanks to the spin-off.“As a result of the incremental growth that NewCo is expected to achieve, combined with the benefit of ongoing operating efficiencies at MRK enabled by the spinoff, the company expects MRK and NewCo to realize higher combined non-GAAP EPS within 12-24 months post-spinoff,” Chen argued.Bearing this in mind, the analyst stayed with the bulls, reiterating an Overweight rating. At $107, the price target implies that a 30% twelve-month climb could be in the cards. (To watch Chen’s track record, click here)Meanwhile, Guggenheim’s Seamus Fernandez thinks the spin-off is the primary takeaway. “More important is today's news of the spin of the women's health, legacy brands and biosimilars into a NewCo, which we view as financially creative and potentially compelling, but further levers MRK to Keytruda. The strategic plan highlights MRK's conviction in its long-term growth prospects and, financially, we believe the decision makes sense long-term,” he explained. To this end, the five-star analyst left his Buy call and $105 price target as is. (To watch Fernandez’s track record, click here)Looking at the consensus breakdown, 6 Buys and 1 Hold add up to a Strong Buy consensus rating. With a $99.38 average price target, the upside potential is 21%. (See Merck stock analysis on TipRanks)AbbVie Inc. (ABBV)AbbVie is known for being a research-driven biopharma company developing treatments to improve the lives of patients around the world. In the most recent quarter, the famous quant shop bumped up its ABBV holding by 62% after it picked up almost 4.5 million shares. Valued at over $1.04 billion, its overall holding is now made up of 11.8 million shares.According to several members of the Street, the billionaire has more than enough reason to be optimistic. During the fourth quarter, management’s worldwide 2020 guidance for Skyrizi flew past the almost $1 billion consensus estimate at $1.2 billion. Not to mention for Rinvoq, more than 95% of commercial lives are now covered and both Imbruvica and Venclexta are still grabbing market share despite the steep competition. What’s more, ABBV unveiled 30 proof-of-concept candidates that could see data released in the coming three years.UBS analyst Navin Jacob points out that the print wasn’t all positive, citing the disappointing results for Orilissa and HCV, but stated that he is still very much on board. “Strong Q4 print and even stronger 1020 guide (in-light of ABBV's historical conservatism) provides confidence to back up TRx trends that we see weekly for Skyrizi and Rinvoq. We now expect ABBV to print more than $12 per share in 2021 EPS thus w/ dividend yield still at ~5% we think the stock will continue to work from here,” he explained.In addition, Jacob says that its early stage pipeline hasn’t been factored into his estimates, so a positive readout could lend itself to a re-rate. Based on all of the above factors, his recommendation remains a Buy. Adding to the good news, the analyst lifted the price target from $96 to $105, implying 12% upside potential. (To watch Jacob’s track record, click here)What do other analysts have to say about ABBV? It turns out that 5 out of 6 analysts that have published a recent review agree the stock is a Buy, making the consensus rating a Strong Buy. Given the $100.50 average price target, shares could surge 7% in the next twelve months. (See AbbVie stock analysis on TipRanks)Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY)Simons’ fund also made a substantial purchase of pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb shares during the fourth quarter. With 11.9 million shares added, an 84% increase in the position’s size, Renaissance now owns over 60 million shares. All in all, the holding is worth a whopping $3.9 billion.Taking a look at BMY’s most recent earnings release, the company’s overall performance didn’t disappoint. Sales results were solid, and it didn’t announce any major surprises in terms of its initial guidance after the Celgene acquisition was finalized.As the healthcare company has $30 billion year end 2019 net debt and $18 billion of 2020 adjusted EBITDA, J.P. Morgan analyst Chris Schott believes that this year, it should be able to start deploying capital again. “Along these lines, the company announced an incremental $5 billion share repo program today. Overall, we see fairly meaningful capital deployment capacity for BMY over time and believe further tuck-in business development would be well received by the Street as the company looks to further build out its pipeline,” he noted.On top of this, Schott argues BMY’s pipeline is especially promising. “From here, we see the BMY story largely driven by a range of expected 2020 pipeline readouts (additional Opdivo readouts, TYK-2 phase 3, CELG pipeline updates), which if successful we see translating to upside to what we view as conservative out-year expectations. While the company clearly faces a challenging 2026-plus LOE cycle longer-term, we believe the company has a window to address these headwinds through a mix of its internal pipeline and business development,” he stated.It makes sense, then, that Schott raised the price target from $70 to $74 in addition to reiterating his Overweight call. This new target conveys his confidence in BMY’s ability to rise 12% over the next year. (To watch Schott’s track record, click here)Turning now to the rest of the Street, a Moderate Buy analyst consensus breaks down into 4 Buys and 2 Holds assigned in the last three months. Should the average price target of $71.60 be met, an 8% twelve-month gain could be on the horizon. (See Bristol-Myers stock analysis on TipRanks)
AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV), a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, will participate in the Cowen 40th Annual Health Care Conference on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. Michael Severino, M.D., vice chairman and president and Robert A. Michael, executive vice president and chief financial officer, will present at 10:20 a.m. Central time.
A group of unions and consumer groups wrote to U.S. antitrust enforcers on Tuesday to oppose a proposed remedy that could lead to U.S. approval for AbbVie Inc's planned purchase of Allergan Plc . In its letter to the Federal Trade Commission, which is reviewing the merger to ensure it is legal, the groups argued that a plan for the companies to divest Allergan's brazikumab, which is being developed to treat ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, was inadequate to resolve antitrust concerns raised by the planned deal. AbbVie did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
AbbVie stock initially fell on its $63 billion plan to buy Botox-maker Allergan, which helps the pharmaceutical company diversify as Humira patents expire. So, is ABBV stock a buy right now?
Bob Doll, chief equity strategist at Chicago fund manager Nuveen, says markets are priced for good news. But he also doesn’t expect a recession.