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After the bulk of reporting in every quarterly earnings season we begin to worry. The great thing about any market is you can worry about either side of the trade. We can worry about things like what if it happens? Or alternatively, what if it doesn’t? “It” being the generic question.
Often it is better to worry and do nothing than to worry and do something. Please pass the beads. For example, what if growth is too much and there is inflation? Can there really be too much growth? What if growth is not good enough to cause inflation? You get the idea.
Besides weather-instigated human suffering in Texas last week wrought by inbred, insensitive politics and massive failures of leadership and judgment by elected officials, regulators, operators and voters, as market weeks go it was fairly quiet. We had time to worry.
Stocks largely stopped going up again and most indexes showed little losses on the week. The indexes and many sector and global ETF’s hit new 52-week highs and then rolled over. Should we worry? We are in a one-year bull run. What if it ends? What if it doesn’t?
Nothing much was trend changing last week. One thing that I always find worrisome is how often the consensus gets the qualitative direction of things correct but misses on timing and degree.
Until the market commits to a new behavior, which we don’t see so far technically, this is still a bull market. Lots of things could turn it the other way. Expectations and models not fulfilled mainly. The consensus expectations are so uniform, we should worry.
For an up-to-date analysis, see this week’s Healthcare Segment Scorecard below.
Healthcare (XLV) continues to underperform and the hole gets deeper. Looking at relative performance all of the healthcare sectors underperformed SPY, though negative momentum is off the worst levels.
Why are healthcare stocks taking such a beating right now? XLV is one of three S&P sectors trading below its 50-day EMA (exponential moving average), a sign that the selloff has extended beyond a short-term time frame which usually implies a deeper, longer period of underperformance.
In looking in the usual news sources, nobody has a great explanation. Providers ($DJUSHP) have taken some significant losses especially in managed care groups. CNBC opines some combination of Covid related losses and imagined political regulatory stress might be contributing. Whatever. None of this is new news so why now?
Big pharma ($DJUSPR) underperforms at about the same rate as Providers. Given the current circumstances that one is also not easy to rationalize.
A recent trend in the market at large is the outperformance of small and microcap stocks. Healthcare is no exception. About the only companies’ stock prices doing well are much higher risk and higher volatility stocks but could be similar to any young company with growth opportunity that has made its way into the public space by IPO, direct listing or SPAC. SPAC’s seem to be particularly attractive to small health tech and life sciences companies who lack revenue or lack resources for growth. Assess accordingly.
Topping the charts this week was ENDP – Endo Pharmaceuticals at +16.21%. Not sure why.
As I See It: I think the main thing to worry about is whether or not we should be worried. As previously noted either continuation of prior trends or even 5% pullbacks are reasonable ways for the stocks to recalibrate without changing the bullish trends. It’s worry season. And spring is coming soon.
February 15, 2021
Bob Teague, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Green Room Technologies
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