Joblessness Surprise

Today's blog is focused on pharma, one of our holdings having produced a half-year report before the open today. Joblessness surprised the market, up 419,000 last week vs a consensus average forecast of 350,000, which caused Wall Street to reverse its rises this week but in the afternoon it turned bullish again. Despite higher production for the Emirates the price of oil rose sharply today. More output should cut prices.

Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash


But before getting into detailed numbers, it might be of interest to see news from other biotech companies we don't own. Here is the latest:

*Israeli researchers found that hyperbaric oxygen therapy reverses two biological signs of aging in human beings, a first finding that it is possible to target and reverse the aging process at the basic cellular level. This breakthrough in aging biotech research provides scientists with a new way to perhaps slow the aging process. Results were published in the peer-reviewed journal Aging. Patients aged 64 and older received a series of HBOT treatments. Blood tests taken during the study showed hyperbaric oxygen treatment reversed 2 common indicators of biological aging: the shortening of telomeres on chromosomes, and the accumulation of senescent cells. Telomeres are nucleotide sequences that protect the ends of chromosomes from deterioration or fusion with other chromosomes. When they shorten by 20 to 40 bases in a year, the oldster is likely to face illnesses that threaten life. So stopping and reversing telomere shortening is a key to slowing down biological aging. Senescent cells inhibit cell proliferation. Accumulated senescence cells lead to age-associated illnesses and conditions. In animal studies, eliminating senescence cells can reverse these effects.

*In the premarket Indian Globalization Capital stock rose 142%. It got a patent for using ultra-low or ascending dose hemp (THC) to treat Alzheimer's disease. It bought the THC project from U of South Florida in 2017, a year after USF made the patent application. Nobody knows if it works but some people believe in it.

*Swiss Roche reported early today on its HI results.

RHHBY had bipolar results in H1 Diagnostic product sales rose 49%, boosted by covid-19 and its acquisition of Genmab (adding cobas and GenMark lines) in April, and a jv with Regeneron. But Diagnostics operating cash flow rose 71% (in Swiss francs) YTD. But pharma sales dropped 7% globally and were down 53% (in Swiss Francs) in the US, the currency in which Roche reports (if only off 8% in dollars). Roche spent far more on pharma than diagnostics. However, North America was the weakest of the global pharma markets Roche sells to. It gained in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Roche needs to sell new pharma products like Gantenderumab (against Alzheimer's) but the analyst community is so divided on how the US FDA will react to its application that there were unusual changes made in the wire services early this morning, at Roche's request, as they were not authorized by conference call discussions. Generics are hurting sales of Tecentriq against various P53 cancers so new drugs against esophageal, colorectal, and breast cancers also led analysts to do battle.

Roche drugs against age-related macular degeneration, Hemlibra and Erumab against hemophilia, and Ocrevus against multiple sclerosis have widely divergent forecasts. Roche itself noted that Japan just approved its Ronaprup antibody combo and focused attention on Polivy against large B-cell diffuse lymphoma. It had modest sales YTD of only CF94 mn, no blockbuster yet. This is RHHBY's hope for zapping copy-cats of its 3 existing cancer best sellers. A key readout is coming within weeks, said Roche pharma head Bill Anderson, and lead to sales of up to $2b worldwide. It is now used those for those who failed 2 prior lymphoma therapies. Other hopes are for a spinal vascular atrophy drug. All in all, this is a complex company whose outlook is not obvious. Roche shares rose 1.06% at the open.

*The new combo in OTC drugs between British GSK and Swiss Novartis will be headed by Brian McNamara, an exec from NVS.

*BiolineRX gained 4.2%. today. It is Israeli but not connected to the hyperbaric oxygen trials. Its top research is in Motixafortide, a cancer therapy, and AGI-134, an immunotherapy treatment. BLRX.

*TEVA fell 1%. It still must face the charges it engaged in dangerous distribution of opioids.

*Tumor treating fields company Novocure fell 0.83% on Research Team, whoever they may be, cutting its rating to reduce. It is Israeli but HQ'd in (old) Jersey, a tax haven. NVCR.

*Biogen Idec which got a suspect license for treating Alzheimer's with Aduhelm from the FDA wound up only selling $1.5 mn of doses last month, well below forecast $2.35 mn. The uptake is slow because many treatment centers refuse to give oldsters the unproven drug. This puts its Japanese partner, Eisai, ESALY, on the hook. However, Eisai is a producer of many drugs so it is less risky than its US licensee. It is up 0.55% today because it is presenting next week about another Alzheimer's drug.

*Dr. Reddy's, no relation to Indian Globalization, nonetheless rose 1.06%. RDY.

*Genfit of France is up 4.04% on light volume. Je ne sais pas pourquoi. GNFT.

*Citi analysts put a buy on spin-off Organon & Co, OGN, which also boosted former parent, Merck.

*All other covid-19 hopefuls are buoyant because of JNJ's vaccine leading to GuillaumeBarre disease discovered by the EU.

*Thermo Electron, my largest US holding, is up 2.05%. It makes diagnositic tests. TMO.

Tech & Tel

*Mercado Libre, the Latin Amazon rival, rose 1.7% today after it made moves to offer its goods and finance in the US. MELI.

*Nokia fell 0.7%. It is Finnish and rose over Chinese sanctions against Ericsson. Both are chary of Chinese phone system risks. NOK.

*Vodafone further recovered despite a potential loss from its India joint venture, up 1.1% today. VOD.

*Multichoice, MCHOY, of South Africa, is up because it is pan-African. Other countries are more stable. It sells ads and cellphones throughout Africa.


*Israeli Delek (sold) is refinancing $1.22 bn of debt for its North Sea Ithaca sub. We sold because it didn't make sense to have bought it. DK.

*NIO fell 1.58% on news of Chinese debt excess. Most cars are bought with borrowed money.


*Orbia Advance, which still uses the ticker symbol MXCHF, announced it will pay a 4.98¢

*Fibra Uno, the Mexican REIT, gained 8.5% today. FBASF.

Other news

*Swedish Investor A/B (our proxy for a Sweden Fund which no longer exists) rose 1.45%. Its complex results came out Friday but I waited till the weekend to write them up. Others seem to have done so too. IVSBF is open to all but run by the Wallenberg banking clan.

*Gold wound up higher after Wall Street went back into bullish mode.

*CAE rose 5% after it was added to the TSX 60 index. 

Contrary to promises by my Mexican tech team I still cannot use my website to send blogs and collect payments. I have paid them in full but my job is not done. This is my third round of getting ...

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William K. 2 years ago Member's comment

So it seems that many stocks are doing well in spite of the unemployment jump. The amount was unclear, was it419,000 more! Or was that 419,000 instead of the anticipated 350,000? A bit of difference there.

William K. 2 years ago Member's comment

Hyperbaric OXYGEN!!! A little bit extra of the stuff that we need to breath. It is produced mostly by plants, including trees, except in areas deforested or burned off recently. Where else does it come from??? The oxygen store???