Sterling At Five-Year High

Today markets are mixed because of currency factors, with sterling bullishness against the dollar and the euro. The British currency is at a 5 year high. Short-term this hurts UK shares but longer-term the more international among them should gain. Britain's currency edge is based on its speedier vaccination program against Covid-19 than that of the EU it left.

Amazon is being sued for forcing advertisers on its sites to let it act as their seller, an antitrust violation.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


*Novacure, the developer of electric fields to block tumor growth, is doing a clinical trial with GT Medical Technologies' GammaTile Surgically-Targeted Radiation Therapy (START) in glioblastoma brain tumors. They will test NVCR Tumor Treating Fields by application 2 or more weeks before the start of START implantation. This is a phase II pilot study and will enroll about 55 US patients. GT is an FDA-cleared therapy for all kinds of brain tumors. NVCR is an Israeli company whose TTF was discovered by a Haifa technology professor which now is HQ'd in the UK Channel Islands for tax reasons. The new trial aims at determining progression-free survival at 6 months and 1 year, plus other risks. NVCR is now focusing on very hard-to-treat cancers. NVCR is up 2.1% at the news.

*Astra-Zeneca fell 0.75% because the British drug major's buy of US Alexion Pharma is being examined for AZN interfering with competition in its UK homeland. Other drug majors are mixed.

*Aurinia Pharma of Canada is up 1.82% on its good news for lupus sufferers. AUPH.

*Swiss Roche and Exelixis reported on their trial in prostate tumors using tecentriq from RHHBY and cabometryx from EXEL. The results were discouraging as only 27% of patients had partial remissions and only 2% complete ones. There will be a follow-up for about 16 months. EXEL stock fell 4.3% while RHHBY gained 0.9% because of EU approval for its venclyxto, developed with AbbVie to treat acute myeloid leukemia.

*Enlivex Therapeutics, ENLV, fell again despite its winning an Israeli research grant of another $1.1 mn in funding for its study of cytokine control plus immunotherapy in treating cancer.

*Esperion Therapeutics, ESPR-Q, fell despite an insider buying over $4 mn of its shares.

*Camada's Abcellera Bio gained 1.1% today because ABCL had fallen too far but it is still off 40% from its Jan. IPO.

*Israeli small caps are uppity with Compugen up 1.67% and Bioline RX up 0.33%. CGEN, BLRX. A new entrant in Tel Aviv, Scopus Bio, gained 100% yesterday as the FDA approved its RNA trial in non-Hodgkins Lymphoma to take place at the Los Angeles City of Hope.

*Japanese Eisai is down a fraction while Takeda is fell 0.72%. ESALY, TAK.

*French Genfit, my worst performing drug stock, gained 4.13% today after another stock for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis reported a disappointing result with hormone therapy. GNFT.

*Indian Dr. Reddy's is up nearly 1%. RDY has not found a cure for covid-19 but is a Sputnik V partner.

*TEVA fell some more over US negotiations on its opioid sale misdeeds.

*Canadian Zymeworks gained 0.04%. ZYME has mastered bispecific cancer therapy which I now learn AbCellera, ABCL, also of Vancouver, is aiming to also develop according to a mailing. ABCL is down 0.3%.

Autos and Energy

*Jim Kramer today issued a call for invesstors to sell NIO and by Tesla. Nio rose because it will double its China car production capacity on a deal with the Jianghuai, the city state which funds its plants. NIO was called a buy by brokers CLSAMizuho, and Nomura and a hold by Jefferies and Citi. TLSA fell 6.14%. The big news was Lordstown Motors running out of money. Who will be the buyer?

*GE is stopping its factoring finance for goods it sells. It is licensing our ABB Power Grids JV with Hitachi to make high voltage equipment without using sulfur hexafluoride. The companies are sharing intellectual property to reduce greenhouse gases in insulation and high voltage equipment.

*Both BP plc and Royal Dutch Shell B RDS-B shares are down with sterling today, down by around 1.5%.

*Also down is Energy Fuels, UUUU, by 0.7%.

*But AY, Atlantica Sustainable, is up 0.55%. AQNAlgonquin, which owns a chunk of it, is up 0.13%

*Finnish Nokia NOK is off fractionally, 0.6% but Swedish Ericsson ERIC is up 0.4%. UK Vodafone VOD fell 1.25%.

Tech & Tel

*BCE of Canada is up today.

*South Korean Coupang lost 3.4% today after rising yesterday on an anonymous buy article.CPNG.

*Latin American Mercado Libre, MELI, gained 1.1% today.

*Tomra is up in both versions, TMRAF by 5.16% and TMRAY by 3.74%, at $48.59 and $50.21 resp.

*Nokia is lower because it will sell broadband fiberoptic to Malaysia.

*Qualcomm is up on a congressional move to support the US chip industry with $52 bn. QCOM.


*Antofagasta in London rose 10.6% after a mistaken downgrade for the Chilean copper miner I noted yesterday. For historic reasons, ANFGF has its primary listing in London. We are ahead 300%.

*Despite a new rise in the gold price here, volatile Canadian Kirkland Lake Gold, KL, is down 0.21%.

*However SPDR Gold, GLD, is up 0.5% as the barbaric relic heads toward $1900/oz.


*CBOE Global Markets Inc is a gainer from the variable market treatment of different cryptocurrencies today. It has gained 18% this month to $111.51 after announcing that it would create a bitcoin ETF. The crypto exchange Coinbase was rated overweight by JP Morgan and rose 5% today.

*Finnish Sampo Oyj plans to sell a further 162 mn Nordea NRDBY shares to institutional investors. They cost euros 6.46 but were worth euros 7.68 at the end of March. SAXPY is down 0.76% on the news. Among the buyers probably is Blackrock, a 5%+ owner.

*Hong Kong's AIA AAIGF rose 0.5%. The insurer is diversifying regionally.

*Japanese Mitsubishi rose 2.08% today. Sumitomo Mitsui fell 0.3%. MSBHF, SMFG.

*Lazard, LAZ, the financial conglomerate, fell 1.25% today after it went ex-div but is up 80% YTD.

*Lazard Global Total Return & Income Fund, LGI, its US fund of funds, rose 0.2%.

*Dutch Prosus PROSY, a media holding firm, is up 1.66% as it will buy up to 45%+ of Naspers' ordinary shares because NPSNY cannot be bought by South African funds which already own too much under diversification rules. The duo is the largest owners of Tencent of Hong Kong and plenty more. NPSNY is up 2%.

*I bought more Banco Latino-Americano de Comercio Exterieur at $15.02/sh today. BLX.

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