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5 Vaccine Stocks to Buy Now

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COVID-19 treatments and vaccines are a KEY to any global recovery in 2021.

Let’s crack that book.

I. Time for a COVID-19 Update

I am doing this firsthand.

There are 32.2 million global COVID-19 cases, as of September 25th 2020.

Brazil has 4.657 million cases. With a total population of 211 million, that is a ~2.2% infection rate.

7.0 million (21.7%) COVID-19 cases were reported in the USA. With a USA population of 328 million, that is a ~2.1% infection rate.

There are 983K global deaths. 203K (20.6%) of those are in the USA.

I came back to the USA from Costa Rica on March 2nd. That country shut its borders beginning March 18th. There are now roughly 70K cases there. This makes up ~1.4% of their 5.0 million population.

Sweden counts 90K cases Putting its total population of 10.2 million into play, that is an infection rate of ~0.9%.

There has been lots written on both left and right about these facts, and what central Federal or State policies work better or worse.

After this review, it strikes me.

Smaller countries, less densely populated countries, are having an easier time of it. Just arguing from population infection rates alone, I can make that argument hold water.

It is really just about effectively staying away from other people.

But policy CAN do something very material. The fact that Mainland China — where this pandemic started — is not even close to any of these infection rates, needs to be noted and discussed.

The Chinese Government, operating in a very densely populated country, did a number of things very spot-on there.

Raging at that government must be the dead wrong answer. The USA and Brazil governments should have been closely cooperating with the Chinese government instead.

Look back in retrospective fashion. The U.S.-China trade war gets a harsh summary judgment, too.

The world’s major governments and their stricken populations would have surely saved TRILLIONS of dollars, following up from close Chinese cooperation and the COVID-19 health policy learning done there.

II. Plague, and the Fall of the Mongolian Empire

Using the longer lens of history, we know about the Mongolian Empire story…

By the time of Kublai Khan's death in 1294, the Mongol Empire had fractured into four separate empires, or khanates.

In 1335, the Il-Khan (Mongol) ruler of Persia and the Middle East, Abu Said, died of bubonic plague during a war with his northern cousins, the Golden Horde. This signaled the beginning of the end for Mongol rule in the region. An estimated 30% of Persia's people died of the plague in the mid-14th century.

 

  • The Ilkhanate (centered on Persia) disintegrated in the period 1335–1353
  • This weakness allowed the Han Chinese Ming Dynasty to take control in 1368
  • Russian princes also slowly developed independence over the 14th and 15th centuries, and the Mongol Empire finally dissolved there, too
  • The Golden Horde had broken into competing khanates by the end of the 15th century and was defeated and thrown out of Russia in 1480 by the Grand Duchy of Moscow
  • The Chagatai Khanate (today mostly Uzbekistan, southern Kazakhstan and western Tajikistan) lasted in one form or another until 1687


So, I conclude a few things.

(A) This COVID-19 pandemic is tied to humans interacting with animals in a Chinese wet market. That is a direct tie-in to those Mongol Empire times.

(B) Dissolving cooperation — decades in advance of the spread of bubonic plague — also hindered a pandemic response among the fighting factions across the Mongol empires.

The Spanish Flu of 1918 and the plague experience during the Mongolian empire time also shared one key similarity. The plague disease spread got stimulated by moving armies around, and housing them. Today, that is not happening. That is a positive.

Getting international political cooperation back on track is a key.

(C) Comparable COVID-19 infection and death rates are much, much lower.  

The Mongolian experience was orders of magnitude worse, particularly in terms of deaths.

(D) A COVID-19 vaccine is surely on the way, in a time span of months.

The Mongolian empire had no hope for a cure.

The most popular theory of how the plague ended is through the implementation of quarantines. The uninfected would typically remain in their homes and only leave when it was necessary. Those who could afford to do so would leave the more densely populated areas and live in greater isolation.

Effective ‘plague’ treatment with antiserum was initiated in 1896. This therapy was supplanted by sulphonamides in the 1930s and by streptomycin starting in 1947.

In modern times, with respect to COVID-19, there is science and medicine.

Murkily supported or hindered by their home government’s action or inactions, virus scientists are cooperating globally.

But the arrival of that vaccine, in significant quantities, looks further off than you might hope for.

According to Goldman Sachs on Sept. 25th--???

“The ‘super-forecasters’ in the Good Judgment Project now see a 53% probability that 25 million doses of an FDA-approved vaccine will be available by March 2021 (versus 69% two weeks ago).”

III. 11 COVID-19 Treatment and Vaccine Stocks

There are indeed a number of COVID-19 vaccines out there.

A crazy number, in fact.

For publicly traded companies, I found this Sept. 22nd vintage vaccine timeline from Bernstein helpful--

 

Next, a brief discussion of major stocks involved in this, or other treatments.

The COVID-19 sponsor companies are either in the Zacks Large Cap Pharma industry, or in Zacks Biomedical and Genetics industry.

I have listed shares in order of relevance to marketing COVID-19 products—

1. Gilead (GILD - Free Report) : Maker of Remdesivir (arguably the most promising treatment for COVID-19).

The stock price peaked at $84 in mid-April, amidst the quarantine frenzy.
More recently, the shares have gone down from $78 in mid-July to $62 now.

The shares pay a 4.4% annual dividend.

The Zacks Value score is A and Zacks Growth score is B.

It is currently a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold).

Biomedical and Genetics industry stocks are currently ranked #192 out of 251 (Bottom 24%). But we are in front of an earnings reporting season. Take that with a grain of salt.

2. Pfizer (PFE - Free Report) : At the top of the Bernstein list. Earliest vaccine approval is Q2-2021.  Shares reached $38 in May. They trade at $36 now.

The shares pay a 4.2% annual dividend.

The Zacks Value score is B and Zacks Growth score is D.

It is currently a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold).

Large Cap Pharma industry stocks are currently ranked #122 out of 251 (Top 49%). Again, we are in front of an earnings reporting season. Take that with a grain of salt.

3. Moderna (MRNA - Free Report) : Another Q2-2021 vaccine player. Market cap is a stunning $27 billion now. That is one market indicator of how valuable a COVID-19 vaccine may be.

However, this company does have 23 mRNA investigational candidates, with 13 candidates in clinical development stages.

mRNA is their focus.

Share prices spiked to over $90 in mid-July. They trade at $70 now. It is a worth momentum trading vaccine stock, according to the share price chart.

The shares pay no annual dividend.

The Zacks Value score is F and Zacks Growth score is D.

It is currently a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold).

Biomedical and Genetics industry stocks are currently ranked #192 out of 251 (Bottom 24%). But we are in front of an earnings reporting season. Take that with a grain of salt.

4. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) : They are working with Emergent. The COVID-19 candidate is a mid-2021 player.

Share prices topped at $155 in late April. They trade at $147 now. A tight range-trading beast.

The shares pay a 2.75% annual dividend.

The Zacks Value score is B and Zacks Growth score is C.

It is currently a Zacks #4 Rank (Sell). They report on Oct. 13th. That ranking goes stale in front of an EPS report.

Large Cap Pharma industry stocks are currently ranked #122 out of 251 (Top 49%). Again, we are in front of an earnings reporting season. Take that with a grain of salt.

5. Astra Zeneca (AZN - Free Report) : Our first non-U.S. stock on the Bernstein list. Working with Oxford University in the U.K. Mid-2021 is when that team could deliver a COVID-19 vaccine.

Share prices topped at a short, spike-y $60 in mid-July. They trade at $55 now. This is another tight range-trading Large Cap Pharma beast. $144B market cap with a low 0.50 stock market beta.

The shares pay a 1.60% annual dividend.

The Zacks Value score is C and Zacks Growth score is B.

It is currently a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold). They report on Oct. 22nd. That ranking goes stale in front of an EPS report.

Large Cap Pharma industry stocks are currently ranked #122 out of 251 (Top 49%). Again, we are in front of an earnings reporting season. Take that with a grain of salt.

 

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