At reader request, here is the explanation for why we are again trying to buy a GDR in London, a reprint of an earlier article by Patti the Biotech Maven and me published last Nov. Since then the stock has become more liquid and visible in the US. Read more »
Another cheap common supplement in your medicine chest, vitamin C, turns out to be able to kill multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, at least in vitro, in a test tube, scientists have found. The discovery may herald a new way of trying to treat resistant TB, the study authors from Yeshiva University wrote in Nature Communications. About 650,000 people worldwide have multidrug-resistant TB.
Work is needed see if TB germs in a live mouse are also killed by vitamin C. Then it can be tested as a TB drug in humans. “While the findings of this study appear promising, further research to confirm the observations would be essential before Vitamin C can be used to supplement TB treatment” said Dr Ibrahim Abubakar, Head of TB at Public Health England to the BBC.
In the lab, vitamin C acted as a "reducing agent", triggering production of of reactive oxygen species called free radicals. The free radicals killed off the TB germs, even drug ones untreatable with conventional antibiotics like isoniazid. Lead investigator Dr William Jacobs, professor of microbiology and immunology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva U, said: "We have only been able to demonstrate this in a test tube, and we don't know if it will work in humans and in animals. "This would be a great study because we have strains of tuberculosis that we don't have drugs for, and I know that in the laboratory we can kill those strains with vitamin C. It also helps that we know vitamin C is inexpensive, widely available and very safe to use. At the very least, this work shows us a new mechanism that we can exploit to attack TB."
Vitamin C could be used alongside TB drugs. Alternatively, scientists could create new TB drugs that work by generating a big burst of free radicals. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, has many important functions in the body, including protecting cells and keeping them healthy. Good natural sources of the vitamin include oranges juice. Most people get all they need from their diet.
The news follows our report yesterday that in some cases, the advance of dementia and Alzheimer's disease can be controlled with vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid. These discoveries remind me of the miracle drug aspirin which reduces high blood pressure and platelet clotting, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
More today from Australia, Canada, Singapore, Britain, Ireland, Dubai, and Hollywood.
It's good Steven A. Cohen can afford a chauffeured car to take him from his hedge fund HQ in Greenwich CT to the US DA office in New York where negotiations are taking place over a potential grand jury subpoena on insider trading. The Metro North railway is out of operation following a crash of two trains during the rush hour last Friday just north of Fairfield. The highway is, however, jammed with commuters who normally travel by rail.
Since late last year I have been warning of the financial transaction tax planned by 11 European Union countries. Now that the mainstream press has taken on the issue of what is called "the Robin Hood tax", The Financial Times reports today that "momentum has stalled amid fierce opposition" even from the major supporting countries, meaning France and Germany.
Put a ribbon around your finger to remember to take vitamins. Do not forget to take your pills.
A cheap regimen of ordinary vitamins already used by millions is now being heralded by scientists as a way to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, which high-priced new drugs have not helped. Drug companies like Bristol-Myers, Pfizer, and Eli Lilly have spent billions of dollars researching potential failed dementia therapies but failed to find an effective treatment or preventative. Yesterday a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows that vitamins B6 and B12 combined with folic acid slowed atrophy of gray matter in brain areas affected by Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia mostly hit oldsters. As people live longer, the number afflicted by dementia conditions grows. Delaying dementia with a cheap bunch of vitamins may cut the rise in cases, which the World Health Organization predicted would more than triple from 36 million worldwide in 2010 to 115 million in 2050. The cost was estimated to have already hit $604 bn in 2010 by Alzheimer’s Disease International.
PNAS researchers tracked 156 people aged 70 and older who had mild memory loss and high levels of a protein, homocysteine, previously linked to dementia. Among people with elevated levels of the protein, the study found that the amount of gray matter declined 5.2% in those taking a placebo, vs only 0.6% in those who took the vitamin mixture. Study volunteers were given either a placebo or 0.5 milligrams of vitamin B12, 20 milligrams of vitamin B6 and 0.8 milligrams of folic acid.
The supplements cost about 30 cents/day and are readily available OTC in drug and health food stores.
“It’s the first and only disease-modifying treatment that’s worked,” said A. David Smith, pharmacology professor emeritus at Britain's Oxford U, the senior author of the study. “We have proved the concept that you can modify the disease.”
How can we benefit with a stock pick? Our answer for paid subscribers follows along with news from Ireland, Sweden, India, Britain, Colombia, India, Finland, Brazil, and Japan.
Stock Picks from Canada, Japan, and Mexico
It is not only over deficit country banks that Germany is out of phase with the rest of the European Union. Under its lapsed physicist Chancellor, Angela Merkel, Germany shut in its nuclear power plants and created solar power subsidies to replace the lost electricity after the Japanese nuclear disaster.
Now, with the EU planning to follow the US in imposing countervailing duties on Chinese solar panels allegedly being sold at treaty-violating prices below manufacturing costs, Germany has taken the lead in opposing them. Anti-dumping duties planned at 47% of value would reduce the logic of the improbable German program of going solar. Some euros 21 bn of Chinese solar products a year head for Europe, with Germany a main target.
Making it even harder for Brussels to prevail over Berlin, Germany runs a trade surplus with China despite the inflow of photovoltaics, because its capital goods exports to China are steady and growing.
On Friday your editor boldly predicted that Mexico would fail to achieve its target growth rate of 4% in Q1. Here is what Eduardo Garcia wrote today in www.sentidocomun.co.mx about the figures which came out later:
"Mexico grew 0.5% in Q1, the 15th sequential quarter of growth, but at the lowest level in 3 years. Mexico maintained its economic expansion this year, symbol of strength in Latin America's second largest economy facing global economic problems, but also a signal that the country is not immune to international problems."
More from the German-speaking solar business from Max Deml in Vienna, a new stock from Chris Loew in Japan, and news from Israel, Britain, India, Brazil, Canada, Belgium, Mexico, Portugal, and the USA.
Performance Tables Posted
Contrary to appearances, I did not have any influence on the reporters from Barron's writing favorably about a half dozen of our buy-rated shares and a major holding of another and the pending acquirer of yet another pick. Nor did I have any idea that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway had opened a large position in one of those shares (after we bought it, although he is not one of my subscribers.)
The reason that Global Investing picks turn up whenever institutional investors and others are interviewed about global stocks is that they are looking at the same foreign universe as our intrepid reporting team examine. We are in the same market as everyone else except when we buy local shares in Asia markets (which we do sometimes.)
To view the tables you are allowed to see, visit www.global-investing.com which is our website. Anyone can see the closed positions but the current holdings are how we make money for our subscribers, and only they can see the funds, ETFs, stocks, and bonds we recommend now.
Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United Statesm to quote the old saying. After years of outperformance since 2009, things are not looking as good down Mexico way. Carlos Slim Helu has been (again) overtaken as the world's richest man by Bill Gates. Mexico's National Statistic Bureau is expected to report disappointing growth figures for Q1, well below 4%, according to statistical experts. What is hurting Mexico is the poor performance of US industry, which outsources manufacturing to our southern neighbor.
When the US sneezes, Mexico catches a pneumonia.
But on the other hand, despite or because of the slowdown, Mexico is one of the few countries in the world undertaking serious economic reform, of everything from how its schools function to the telephony monopolies behind Señor Slim's fortune, from the state control of the oil industry to the national sport of tax evasion, even tackling the links between drug cartels and cops. Its government sets a good pace for changing old habits, an example for both the BRICs which are far less reformist and many developed countries. Including Los Estados Unidos which could learn from Mexican bipartisanship.
So we have an idea for a way to play Mexico today.
More for paid subscribers from Mexico, Switzerland, Colombia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, and Britain.
Our next-door neighbor Thomas Messer died yesterday. The Czechoslovakian-born art expert (whose college degree was in chemistry) was director of the Guggenheim Museum and arranged for its collection to be enhanced by, among other things, works that had been collected by Peggy Guggenheim who hated the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building on Fifth Avenue. Ms. Guggenheim said it looked like "a parking garage." Yet she and other collectors were persuaded by Mr Messer to lend and eventually donate 20th century masterpieces to the museum.
In our coop building, a committee of residents picks the pictures to hang on the wall at each floor. Our floor group picked prints of works by Mexican artists for our hallway and Mr. Messer was so upset at our selections that he refused to pay his share, but he did offer a beautifully framed but mushy painting by Dali to the group.
On the day of his death, a contemporary art sale at Christie's here made $495mn, the highest total in auction history. The sale included works by Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The sale established 16 new world auction records, with nine works selling for more than $10mn and 23 for more than $5mn. A Pollock drip painting, No. 19 (1948) made $58.4 mn, the highest ever paid for a Pollock.
So among the people in my building, whose advice should you have been listening to?
Sir Mervyn King, about to retire as governor of the Bank of England, told Reuters that most European central banks think the proposed European Union financial transaction tax is a bad idea. But despite their "enormous skepticism" about the FTT, his fellow-central bankers think there are political dangers if they go public about their concerns. So the warnings are coming from the private sector and governments outside the EU.
Today we have results from another bunch of our companies, again not brilliant, plus news from Switzerland, Israel, Sweden, Denmark, Brazil, India, Singapore, Britain, Belgium, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Spain, and Portugal.
I failed to mention on Tuesday, back from Europe, that there would be no newsletter on Wednesday because of the Jewish holiday of Pentacost, 50 days after Passover, which celebrates the giving of the Ten Commandments. The Christian holiday of Whitsun or Pentacost copies the Hebrew fete. I will get back to work on Thursday because Reform Jews only celebrate a single day for Shevuoth, since we now have an accurate calendar.
On Jewish holidays, trading volumes are usually lower, which can lead to big stock market moves.
Whole Paycheck in Europe
During my recent European visit, I ran into a Paris-based fund manager who had just booked a big paper gain on Wall Street with Whole Foods Market, a posh chain which opened in my neighborhood last summer. I made the standard USA crack about "Whole Paycheck Market" and the French analyst, who of course had done due diligence on the WFM Nasdaq share, had no idea what I was talking about. This is about to change.
While I doubt even its brash founder and CEO John Mackey would dare to try to beat the French by trying to sell fresh produce there at a premium price, Whole Foods is definitely going British. Last Sunday en route to Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill Gothic Georgian house in Twickenham, we went via Richmond, a smart suburb in Surrey. We could see a Whole Foods Market from the bus.
As is often the case when marketing concepts cross the pond, it has not been a slam-dunk for Mackey since WFM bought a defunct British 7-store chain called Fresh & Wild. Three have since been closed as unprofitable, but two others opened in Glasgow (Scotland) and Cheltenham (near London).
I am reminded of a share we recently sold which tried the reverse, Tesco. TSCDY set up greenfield stores in the US west under the Fresh & Easy marque, but now has reversed course and shuttered them.
Another retail concept stock I spotted in the London area was T.J. Maxx, peddler of top-label fashion, mixed with lots of cheap schmattes (Yiddish: rags), which opened in Lewisham, a rather downmarket suburb southeast of London.
The language is nearly the same but retailing is still very different in Britain.
More for paid subscribers from India, Israel, Britain, Ireland, Finland, Belgium, Sweden, Spain. Also note that my Spanish real estate paper has finally be posted on our website at www.global-investing.com where you can save a potential huge loss by spending a mere $19.95.