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Drugs, Tech and Record Lows | Calamatta Cuschieri

Drug trials fail, the EC ‘likes’ Microsoft-LinkedIn, and India’s rupee in focus

calamatta_cuschieri
Calamatta Cuschieri
24 November 2016, 10:55am
Eli Lilly shares plunged – hitting a two-year low of just above $64
Eli Lilly shares plunged – hitting a two-year low of just above $64
Unsuccessful drug trials and halted experimental therapy were the reasons Eli Lilly and Co and Juno Therapeutics Inc tumbled almost 12% and 30% on an intraday basis. The pharmaceuticals sector is no stranger to wild price swings but Wednesday’s moves were particularly brutal.

Eli Lilly shares plunged – hitting a two-year low of just above $64 – after the company’s treatment for Alzheimer-induced dementia failed to meet its primary target, or endpoint in pharma-speak. The company said per share earnings after tax should be 9 cents lower as a result. Several Wall Street analysts said the failure could also have negative repercussions on competitors who are developing solutions based on the same clinical hypothesis.

In even worse news, biotech company Juno Therapeutics said it had suspended a clinical trial of its experimental gene therapy for the second time in five months, after the death of two more patients. Known as the Rocket trial, the treatment involves re-engineering a patient’s cells in a lab in such a way that they would attack cancer cells, and then inject them back into the patient’s body.

Three patients died last July after severe brain swelling which at the time was attributed to the intense rounds of chemotherapy patients had to go through before receiving the re-engineered cells. No chemotherapy was administered to the two latest patients to die however, prompting fears that they were killed by the treatment itself.

Microsoft – LinkedIn Set to Happen

Microsoft has paid more than €2 billion in fines for what was deemed to be an abuse of its dominant market position
Microsoft has paid more than €2 billion in fines for what was deemed to be an abuse of its dominant market position
‘People close to the matter’ said on Wednesday that Microsoft looks set to gain approval from the European Commission for its buy of professional social network LinkedIn. Antitrust issues were raised after Microsoft announced its largest-ever acquisition back in June, mostly centered on the exchange of ‘big data’ which the company might use to squeeze out competitors and encroach on users’ privacy.

Redmond seems to have appeased regulators by ensuring it would still allow LinkedIn’s rivals to access legacy Microsoft software such as Outlook, and that it would give hardware makers the option of pre-installing other professional social networks on Windows computers.

Microsoft has paid more than €2 billion in fines for what was deemed to be an abuse of its dominant market position. Notoriously, the company was fined for pre-installing Internet Explorer as a default browser and not giving the consumer enough of a choice when choosing internet browsing software.

If you’re a bit of a techie, you’ll surely know the old adage: “Internet Explorer is the best browser to download a better browser”.

And if you ever feel you have been banned by mistake from some online forum, network game or even a social media website, well, you’re not alone. Twitter just banned its... ehm... co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey. The ban was, by Dorsey’s own admission just “an internal mistake”.

Someone at Twitter will now forever be remembered as “the guy who banned the CEO”. Locally, it’s like someone banning Moira Palmier from Are You Being Served. Now that would be funny.

Emerging Markets Feel the Trump-Brunt

The Indian currency yesterday hit a record low of just under 69 rupees to the dollar
The Indian currency yesterday hit a record low of just under 69 rupees to the dollar
Many emerging market currencies are selling off against the dollar in response to the rising odds for interest rate increases in the US brought about by expectations of a significant, fiscal, reflationary stance by the next US President. The Indian currency yesterday hit a record low of just under 69 rupees to the dollar.

Alarm bells are not just ringing yet though, as the Indian economy is in much better shape than 2013 when the rupee hits its then record low after the Fed announced it would end its asset purchase programme. Policy makers have since brought the current account deficit and inflation down to better levels, and have built up a significant amount of foreign exchange reserves in the process.

This article was issued by Andrew Martinelli, Trader at Calamatta Cuschieri. For more information visit, www.cc.com.mt. The information, view and opinions provided in this article is being provided solely for educational and informational purposes and should not be construed as investment advice, advice concerning particular investments or investment decisions, or tax or legal advice. Calamatta Cuschieri Investments Services Ltd has not verified and consequently neither warrants the accuracy nor the veracity of any information, views or opinions appearing on this website.

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