S Uncertain Times

In the end, I sold my shares in Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard ANCUF yesterday as I reasoned that it is heavily into US highway food sales which will suffer from its pot line.

Here is Harvey Katz's take on markets today. He is the chief economist of Value Line:

"We think the elevated market volatility will last for weeks, most likely because the outlook for the Fed, the Omicron virus, and the economy (including inflation) may remain up in the air for a while. The fact that stocks had been priced for near-perfection before the likely revision in Fed thinking only increases the uneasiness among investors.

Conclusion: These are uncertain times, to be sure, and the danger of event risk is rising. In such times, sudden and poorly thought out investment moves can be counterproductive."

The chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency has warned that the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus is “probably the most significant threat we’ve had since the start of the pandemic”, as the number of daily infections in the UK soared to a record high." The number in the US will be even higher unless people wise up. Amazon was accused by the Guardian, a UK newspaper, of allowing its "smile " charity funding site to collect $40,000 on behalf of opponents of vaccination, anti-vaxers.

Today the market woke up to inflation risks and some hot favorites of the bull market crumbled. This was right after the debt ceiling was raised in the House of Representatives. Inflation was up 0.3% in November here.

The UK inflation rate last month was 5.1%, not a good omen.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

In my personal portfolio, the big loser was Microsoft MSFT which fell 2.2% on fear of price rises.

Another US stock I own, Medtronic MDT, fell after it got an FDA warning on problems with its plant in Northridge (CAL) which makes insulin delivery systems. The stock is off 6.44%.

Thermo Fisher Scientific TMO, my largest US holding (reduced now by a contribution to Harvard), was downgraded to buy from strong buy with a higher eps of $486, up a buck.

In my global portfolio, the winner today was Weyerhaeuser, a Canadian logging and lumber producer now rated buy, earlier rated hold, with a new eps forecast of 4.39 cents, up from 4.33.  That's US cents.

Utes and telcos

*Morgan Stanley tipped Qualcomm as a top price for the new year. It is up 22% YTD so I disagree. QCOM.

*Canada's Algonquin AQN fell fractionally after the cross-border ute said it would increase its CAPEX next year which might hurt its dividends. It predicts eps of 72 to 77 cents next year. The stock fell 1.21%. It was rated equal weight by Credit Suisse First Boston.

*Vodafone fell 23% at the open. It had gained from rumors it was being bid for but nobody did this year. VOD.

Energy

*Shell bought Savion's Missouri solar and storage assets for an undisclosed price. RDS-B.

*Schlumberger :td fe;; 2/51% in UK trading. SLB

*UUUU fell 3.23%. It is volatile.

Drug stocks

*Me and Cathie Wood both own two of the same stocks: Cerus CERS; and Compugen CGEN, the oversold Israeli small-cap, both of which are in the drug business. Compugen may be hurt by Ms Woods needing cash. It tends to track Teva. TEVA fell 2.5% today in London. It is down less far here, by 2.1% at the open.

*BiolineRX fell 4.5% today because its hot drug for Alzheimer's forgot to work. BLRX.

*Genfit rose 3.72% for no reason I know. GNFT.

*Vir Biotech gained 15% on hopes for its jab developed with Glaxo, sotrovimab which cuts covid infections. VIR.

*Eli Lilly was a top performer. The US firm gained 7.4%. LLY raised its outlook for the current year to $8.15-8.20 per share, vs an earlier forecast of $7.95. It also expects to sell more covid 19 drugs this year, but it said it would not sell as much next year. Instead, it will make money from other drug lines like weight loss bariatric treatments. For 2022 LLY expects to earn $27.8-28.3 bn, up from prior estimates of under $28. The stock rose 5% in the premarket.

*Exelixis of Israel gained after it announced the start of phase I trials of its XL092W immuno-oncology therapy. EXEL.

*Japanese Eisai, ESALY jumped 3.04%, I know not why.

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