A Better Switch

Today the US market decided to rise because President Biden is pondering not linking his infrastructure project to a corporate tax increase. That means there will be a higher risk of inflation unless he finds another way to finance the deficit—meaning higher taxes on rich individuals. The impact will be the highest on those living in high tax states and cities (like me) who are currently not being targeted by the Administration for a tax hike under his promise during the campaign. So we are facing two alternative bad outcomes: either inflation, a general tax on all Americans, or high penalties for insisting on living in your hometown (me) which is expensive, and with high state and local taxes already.

Business newspaper article

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Moreover, the price of labor and oil is inching up today. WTI, the US benchmark is up $1.07 to $69.26. It was $68.6 yesterday. The labor market is tight with only 559,000 new hires in May, while the level of unemployment has dropped to 5.8%. That means wages will have to rise to lure these people back to the job.

Today's blog is short as a result of my email account going wrong on my laptop, absolutely tiny print, and no way to make it bigger. I tried to contact google but they wouldn't help although I subscribe to google for work support. 

It is Tien An Minh demonstration day today but China is not letting Hong Kongers gather, for fear of covid-19 or something else.

Drug dealers

Today is a great day for cancer fighters as the American Society of Clinical Oncology began its virtual congress which runs this weekend.

*British Astra-Zeneca reported early trial data on treating non-standard breast cancers with its Limpaza drug. Non-standard breast cancers are Her 2 negative or have BRCA 1 or 2 mutations. The initial outlook from phase I-2 trials wa that the drug cut recurrence or death by 42%. This sounded rather modest so initially the stock rose only 0.4% but now it is being examined by experts and AZN is up 0.95%. The data are all for 3 years maximum as that is how long the trial has gone on. 59 women who were given the drug died or had relapses in 3 years while 86 women who got the placebo died or had relapses.

*Alkermes of Ireland which we don't own, but which did a phase III trial of its Cabometys in combo with Bristol Myers Squibb's Opdivo (nivolumab) resulted in a statistically significant and clinically meaningful increase in quality-adjusted survival compared with sunitinib previously untreated advanced renal cell cancer. This is a new metric for time without symptoms of the cancer progressing or toxicity. ALKS has lost 50% or so YTD.

*Swiss Roche is up 1.67% because it is being touted here. RHHBY is the less visible European drug firm as it trades on the pinks. Fellow Swiss Novartis which is more liquid by far is up 0.64%. NVS.

*With a ruling on its Alzheimer's disease drug now set for Monday, Eisai ESALY rose 5.61% in Japan today. It is the partner with Biogen for the aducanumab treatment which the FDA must decide about by Monday. This is highly speculative. It would be great to have a drug but the data from its trials are not very strong. A more normal Japanese drug company, Takeda, TAK, is up 0.45% today Meanwhile Biogen rose 5.5%. 

*With Tel Aviv shut for the Muslim Sabbath (and a possible coalition government which will have to be nicer to Muslims to continue to run the country), our Bioline RX BLRX is up 2.91%. TEVA, however, is down 1%. Compugen CGEN fell 0.27% when it finally started trading today.

Oil and Autos

*Tesla is in the black because its leader is talking about moving its HQ to India. Elon Musk tends to think out loud. It gained 4.5% so far today. If he moves it to India he will not be in China. TSLA.

*BP, Shell RDS-B, and other oil firms from across the pond are lower because their benchmark did not jump today. The same does not hold for American oil companies.

*The exception is British Johnson-Matthey which soared nearly 2% (and briefly hit $100/sh) after it signed a deal with Nano One to create a lithium ion battery material joint venture. JMPLY is currently a refiner of platinum group metals which are recycled from auto exhausts. It is British. UK stocks are up today and so is sterling.

*As new Biden regulations here limit investment in Beijing-controlled Chinese stocks, NIO, not owned by the state but by a municipality in China, is up nearly 2%. It also gains from China problems with Tesla.

*Another winner is Canadian Solar, definitely Chinese but private. CSIQ is up 2.8%.

*Dutch Antillean Schlumberger Ltd, which had been a star all week, today fell 2.5% in the premarket to $35.6. SLB recovered most of the drop and is now down only 0.56% at $36.31.

*ABB of Switzerland, maker of auto electronics, is up 1.11% today. IVSBF.

*Cosan, which will spin off its gasoline-ethylene stations in Brazil and Argentina, has not indicated how listing Raizen will affect shares in CSAN itself. However, CSAN opened up 4.53% (it's now up 3.6%) so maybe we will get something.

*Algonquin, AQN, a Canada ute, is up 1%.

Tech & Tel

*Naspers of South Africa is up 2.5% on no news. NPSNY.

*Prosus of Holland, its Euroland version, is up 1.83%. PROSY.

*Spun off MultiChoice MCHOY, which sells cellphone and bank access in Africa, is up 1.2%.

*South Korean Coupang which had a too-high ipo price, today rose 0.54% in the permarket but now is down 0.78%. High volatility on Friday when foreign markets are shut for the weekend is usually from institutional buying. CPNG.

*Mercado Libre of Latin America is up 0.9% to $1336/sh. MELI.

*UK brokerage Hargreaves Lansdown recommends that Brits buy Verizon for income.


*Funds Japan Small Cap, JOF, up 1.2%, and Goldman Sachs Active Beta Japan Equity ETF GSJY, up 0.83%, are heralding higher yen or higher prices in Japan

*Fund management company Lazard is down 2% today while its fund of funds, Lazard Global Total Return ETF LGI is up 0.33%.

*Gold is up 0.75% as but fund SPDR Gold, GLD is up 1%. Inflation risks need to be covered.


*Nintendo, a Japanese maker of games, is up because it plans to offer a new and better Switch this autumn. The stock was picked by Abhimanyu Sisodia, our youngest reporter who is Indian but very plugged in. NTDOY.

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William K. 2 years ago Member's comment

Without higher taxes on some part of the economy the alternative is to "simply print more money."The problem with that is saddling unborn generations to a crushing load of debt, or, somehow, defaulting on the whole thing. That would have a rather big effect on a whole lot of the economy, probably similar to losing a big war, but without the chance of recovery, or freedom returning.

This once again demonstrates the need for another election option, "none of the above", telling all the parties that no candidates were acceptable and that they need to offer better choices. That vote of "NO CONFIDENCE" is available elsewhere and it works well, it is sorely needed in the USA.