Heavy News Day

Another heavy news day and a bunch of new highs in the tech sector-heavy Nasdaq, including my holding from the Dark Ages, Microsoft MSFT. For a long-term reporter on France (me) the big news today is that Pres. Emmanuel Macron plans to shut down the elite Ecole Nationale d'Administration, which trains people to run the French gov't from a campus near Versailles, a staple of the curious way la République differs from other countries. He graduated from ENA in 2004 but aims to undercut his alma mater to win support from the underclass and the “gilet jaunes” who blocked French highways. Getting into ENA for non-upper-educated students is virtually impossible.

The other big news is that South Koreans have voted down the Democrats led by PM Moon Jai-ha in landslide mayoralty contests in Seoul and Busan, the two largest cities there, which indicates trouble for the national elections to come. US job losses were up 744,000 vs a forecast of 694,000.

Business newspaper article

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Now for the blog for today starting with the drug sector:

*Sometimes companies just run into terrible luck, now the case for Astra-Zeneca, the UK drug firm. There now information supporting the worrying pileup of cases of blood clots among those getting its “Oxford” jab, and deaths from this, which has led to the ban on using it among people with lower risks for covid-19 (essentially young people, with different countries picking different age groups). But now a totally different AZN product is in trouble, its rozadustat which treats anemia from chronic kidney disease, allegedly with less heart risk than rival products. AZN's partner, San Francisco's FibroGen, yesterday admitted that it had manipulated safety data for the product in non-dialysis patients released by AZN to the US FDA 14 months ago. Rozadustat is an HF-PHI oral compound aimed at people whose kidney problems stop them from using erythropoietin, the standard of care. As many as 6 heart deaths per cohort more than was reported. A new FDA approval will come in mid-July, but meanwhile, AZN is selling the drug in China and the US. The Oxford side is being listed here as Vassitech which will aim to raise £425 mn plus. Yesterday British PM Boris Johnson visited the AZN Macclesfield plant and the result is that share price rose 2.32% to $49.54.

*Teva fell another 2.52% at the open today despite its launching a new do-it-yourself injectable version of its migraine drug, starting in Canada. The new jab lets patients with oddball requirements fill the syringe themselves. It also won okay in the EU for its asthma drugs Suffalair and Bropar Spiromax. It was written up for its acetazolamid for treating glaucoma and seizures. Yet the TEVA stock doesn't live up to its name, which means healthy in Hebrew. It is now down only 2.16%. Compugen CGEN of Israel gained another 3%.

*Chinese-American BeiGene, BGNE, dropped 1.43% today after its zanubrutinib drug failed a phase III trial for pulmonary disorders linked to covid-19.

*British Columbian Aurinia Pharma today presented new data on its Lupkyrus lupus drug. AUPH rose 2.2%. Bristol-Myers is funding its research in this areas.

*Novo Nordisk of Denmark thanks to its obesity target for diabetes drugs gained 1.34%. It was hit last week by problems at a French rival Servier. NVO is more ethical and has been selling insulin longer.

*India's Dr. Reddy's is up a half % today, perhaps coming out from purdah. RDY.


*Atlantica Sustainable Infrastructure plc, AY, today said it would buy a 49% stake in a 596 megaWatt US wind energy portfolio for $196.5 mn, now 5.9x earnings. AY is part-owned by ute Algonquin Power which mostly operates in North America. AY rose 2.92%. AQN gained 0.83%.

*Prosus, the Dutch spinoff of Naspers, today sold about 2% of its stake in Tencent Holdings of Hong Kong, the 2nd time it sold, at HK$595/sh. NPSNY gained 1.03% while PROSY gained 2.5%. However MultiChoice, MCHOY, the spun-off pan-African cell and ad vendor, dropped again, off 3% this week. TCEHY plummeted.

*Fibra Uno, the Mexican REIT, today rose 0.29% to a new US high at $1.2025, boosted by the strong Mexican peso. It is funded by debt mostly denominated in dollars. It has been higher in Mexico.

*SPDR Gold Trust gained 1.13% today on new interest in the barbaric relic. GLD.


*Energy Fuels, UUUU, gained 8.99% today on renewed interest in uranium and the rare earths it also produces. Voters in Greenland stopped plans by other companies to break the Chinese monopoly on rare earths by mining in their country, which actually sends the sands to China for processing. This boosted UUUU which is independent. It opened up 6% and has been rising all day.

*NIO, the Chinese electric car maker, rose 4.4% today on CEO William Li saying its new ET7 sedan will be “more competitive, more aggressive, and higher” than Tesla's Model 3. It also now has plans for more than 500 battery swap stations where they can be recharged using cheaper night rates.

*Schlumberger SLB stock crashed today at the open but now is down only 1.41%. The Dutch Antillean stock fell 1.33% yesterday after it was designated as a haven-based listing subject to the US and other taxes under an IMF program promoted by the US Administration.

*German ute Eon SE, EONGY, gained 1.33% because another US writer discovered its charms.

*Canadian Nutrien, which makes and sells fertilizers, will cut its greenhouse gas levels by 30% by 2030, according to its ESG report today. It also plans to launch “time-release” smart fertilizers to cut nitrogen contamination. The share fell as it also said it will report on Q1 May 3. Potash prices are rising thanks to Belarus increasing its price to $280/metric tonne. This may let NTR raise its prices too.

*Canadian Solar fell 1.82% despite CSIQ winning a first solar power contract from Japan.

*ABB of Switzerland, picked by me and Joe Shaefer separately last month, is planning a $4.3 bn stock buyback (137 mn shares at yesterday's closing price) for cancelation. Its share also gained because it did a deal with Amazon on electric vehicle controls. It opened higher but now is up ~1%. It does automation, electric equipment, and robotics. It used to be called Asea Brown Boveri and is a key holding of Investor A/B, IVSBF.


*AIG Asia, AAIGF, rose 6.32% today when Hong Kong resumed trading. (It shut not for Easter as I wrote wrongly last week, but for a Chinese holiday, tomb-sweeping day.)

*Lazard (LAZ) gained 0.25% today and its fund of funds, LGI, gained 0.51%.

*Mitsubishi (MSBHF) fell 0.32% today on yen weakness because Japan has a new round of covid-19 infections. Sumitomo Mitsui (SMFG) fell harder, down 1.93%.

*Banco Santander fell 1.13% despite being given an outperform rating by Crédit Suisse this week. SAN.

*Bank of Nova Scotia gained 0.23%. BNS.

*Panama's Banco Latino-Americano de Comercio Exterieur fell 1% over about Covid-19 spreads. BLX.


*Cosan, CSAN, the Brazilian conglomerate, gained another 4% at the opening and is now up 3.2%. No news. It is one of my picks for 2021.

*Mercado Libre, the Amazon of Latin America, gained 2.21% on hopes for more mail order and on-line sales after a new outbreak of Covid in Brazil and neighbors. MELI.

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