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U.S. Week Ahead (Mar 9-13): As Equities Tank, Corporate Events May Offer Critical Healthcare & Communications Updates

Posted March 6, 2020 at 12:53 pm
Steven Levine
Interactive Brokers

A long list of U.S. companies will be flocking to several industry conferences in the week ahead, amid a maelstrom of disruptions, including widespread global illnesses and advancing new technologies.

The heavy slate of events is set to include updates, discussions and outlooks on the communications, industrials, healthcare and consumer sectors, as fears about the novel coronavirus infect supply chains, and the increasing use of social commerce takes another swipe at traditional retailers.

The week gets underway Monday with Deutsche Bank’s three-day Media, Internet and Telecom Conference – to be held in Palm Beach, Florida.

March 9–11

  • Deutsche Bank’s Media, Internet and Telecom Conference (Palm Beach – The Breakers)

Eagerly awaited, nationwide rollouts of 5G connectivity have been widely expected to open-up a vast array of new services, including for broadband, mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as the necessary bandwidth and low latency for 3D and virtual reality (VR) applications.

communications stock down

Industry experts have long-anticipated that the advanced technology would help usher-in the arrival of commercial applications for autonomous and connected vehicles, for instance, as well as smart cities, and innovations in media.

However, the geopolitical fight to achieve dominance in these arenas has generally stunted momentum towards mass scale executions, while supply chain disruptions – primarily stemming from the COVID-19 contagion in South Korea, as well as U.S.-voiced security concerns in the Asia-Pacific region (notably about Chinese telecom equipment-maker Huawei) have thrown more fuel onto the fire.

Indeed, the semiconductor space, which is integral to the development of these emerging new technologies, appears to have suffered significant financial fallout from the past volatility.

global semiconductor market down

The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization, for example, said it expects sales in the global semiconductor market to have plunged nearly 13% to US$409bn in 2019, before recovering less than half that loss, or close to 6%, in the year ahead.

Meanwhile, as 5G takes a foothold in the communications sector, demand for mobile data, storage and supporting infrastructure has generally increased.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley noted that demand for mobile data is “booming, as more people connect to more devices that require greater speed and bandwidth.”

They highlighted that cellular towers, “while hardly glamorous, are the backbone behind these connections—and the rollout of 5G mobile internet connectivity will make them all the more indispensable. Meanwhile, the business models of these independent tower companies, or towercos, are tough to beat, given high barriers to entry, low operating costs and pricing power.”

Against this backdrop, AT&T (NYSE: T) said Tuesday that it is introducing its 5G network to an additional 22 markets, making its next-gen connectivity available in a total of 80 markets across the U.S.

The company, which completed its US$85.4bn purchase of Time Warner in 2018 – granting it stakes in HBO, Turner networks’ TNT, TBS, and CNN, as well as the TV and film production studio Warner Bros, among other media channels – is scheduled to attend Deutsche Bank’s Media, Internet and Telecom Conference.

In fact, AT&T CFO John Stephens is on the event’s agenda to give a keynote address on Tuesday, March 10 at 5:05pm ET.

He may also speak about AT&T’s role in combatting COVID-19 after one of its employees in San Diego received a “presumptive” positive test for the virus following personal travel to a high-risk region (currently China, South Korea, Italy and Iran) as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as Level 3.

As of Thursday, AT&T said the positive test had not yet been confirmed by the CDC.

Meanwhile, Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE: LGF.A) and Liberty Broadband Corporation (Nasdaq: LBRDA, LBRDK) are also listed among the conference’s attendees.

March 10–12

  • Barclays Global Healthcare Conference (Miami, FL)

Events in the week ahead will also feature Barclays’ Global Healthcare Conference, to be held in Miami.

The healthcare industry has generally exploded with opportunity, amid innovative developments – and disruptions – from technology.

Recent advances in telemedical technology, for example, have broadly redefined the sector, enabling a wider spectrum of patients – including the physically disabled, elderly, geographically remote and highly contagious –  to exploit the conveniences of personal communications such as email, phone and video communications, when seeking medical assistance and sharing files.

In fact, the global telemedicine market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 19% over a five-year period to 2022 (from a valuation of roughly US$29.6bn in 2017), according to a recent research report.

The anticipated uptick is due in large part to a likely rise in telemedicine adoption, as well as increasing cases of chronic diseases, growing geriatric population, government initiatives, and shortage of physicians.

Against this backdrop, companies engaged in providing telemedical services, as well as developing the sector’s supporting information and communications technology (ICT), could find themselves in a unique position to prosper financially from the unfortunate prospects of a COVID-19 pandemic.

Teladoc shares soar with RSI in overbought terriory

Teladoc Health (NYSE: TDOC), a virtual healthcare firm based in Purchase, New York, for example, has seen its shares surge around 171% from its latest 52-week low set in mid-April 2019 to late February 2020. The company’s shares in Friday’s intraday trading session were last up roughly 1.50% to US$136.39, while the broader S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq were each down around 2.0% on the day.

Moreover, U.S. employment in healthcare has generally surged.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the stellar headline number for total added nonfarm payrolls in February of 273k (vs ~175k expected) was underscored in large part by “notable” gains in healthcare and social assistance.

Employment in healthcare and social assistance increased by 32k and 25k, respectively, in February. Gains were recorded in offices of physicians (+10k), home health care services (+10k), hospitals (+8k), as well as in individual and family services (+18k).

Over the past 12 months, new jobs in healthcare have soared by 368k, while social assistance positions have risen by 191k.

Meanwhile, Barclays said its annual global healthcare conference will feature presentations, one-on-one meetings and group dinners from U.S. & international public companies, with roughly 190 firms scheduled to present. Speakers will comprise corporate CEOs from several industries, including biotechnology, healthcare facilities, managed care and specialty pharmaceuticals.

Investors tuned-into the corporate industry conferences in the week ahead may glean further updates on how trends in the communications, industrials, healthcare and consumer sectors are developing, as well as management responses to the novel coronavirus and associated consumer spending appetites.

Stay tuned for a rundown of additional events, including J.P. Morgan’s Industrials Conference, as well as BofA Securities’ 2020 Consumer & Retail Technology Conference.

In the meantime, select the Event Calendar option in the IBKR Trader Workstation for a full list of U.S. and global corporate events and earnings, dividend schedules, economic data, IPOs and more.

Disclosure: Interactive Brokers

The analysis in this material is provided for information only and is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security. To the extent that this material discusses general market activity, industry or sector trends or other broad-based economic or political conditions, it should not be construed as research or investment advice. To the extent that it includes references to specific securities, commodities, currencies, or other instruments, those references do not constitute a recommendation by IBKR to buy, sell or hold such investments. This material does not and is not intended to take into account the particular financial conditions, investment objectives or requirements of individual customers. Before acting on this material, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interactive Brokers, its affiliates, or its employees.

Disclosure: Author Security Holding: No Positions

The author does not hold any positions in the financial instruments referenced in the materials provided.

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