Global Pharma no longer threatened by US price controls
The global Healthcare sector has begun to rally hard after hitting an all-time low in terms of its recommended weight relative to benchmark. It had previously been ignored because it doesn’t fit well into the current debate about growth vs value. We think it is time for another look, chiefly because the risk of price controls on US prescription drugs is much lower than previously feared. There is no time for Congress to consider this legislation before the run-up to the mid-term elections, and politicians may find that public opinion has changed after the success of anti-Covid vaccines.
Earnings estimates need to be revised down
We have started to apply our probability approach to consensus earnings estimates. For Europe ex UK, we cover 45 industry groups as well as the index. There is still a 100% probability that consensus estimates for the index will be higher in 12 months’ time than they are now. But the average score for individual industry groups peaked in February and has started falling. There are eight industries where the probability of an increase is now less than 50%. More importantly, a downturn in the average industry score is normally a indicator that the index score is also about to decline.
New infections may be about to rise in Europe
The bond sell-off this week reflects a very bullish consensus about the pace of recovery from the pandemic, which we believe is not supported by the data. Daily infection rates have stopped falling in the EU and the governments of Germany, France and Italy may be forced to increase restrictions on mobility and economic activity. This would send a shockwave through bond markets – certainly in Europe and probably the US.