Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Health Care Bill Less Likely to Pass Soon: Investment Considerations

In the New York Times article Democrats May Limit Tax Increases for Health Care Plan, the real news is the likely acceptance by the President that this priority of his is going to involve a longer time line than he wishes:

But rather than repeating his demand that each chamber of Congress pass a health care bill before the August break, Mr. Obama emphasized the need to reach a final agreement by the end of the year. “So let’s fight our way through the politics of the moment,” he said. “Let’s pass reform by the end of this year.”

Despite White House insistence to the contrary, the end-of-year deadline suggested that Mr. Obama was backing away slightly from his timetable; previously he had called on Congress to send him legislation to sign by mid-October.

Given EBR's focus on generating income with one's capital (or else owning gold to profit from or at least keep up with inflation), it brings the reader's attention to Eli Lilly, which yields 5.9%, sells for 8 times this year's estimated earnings and has rising earnings estimates both for this year and next year. In addition, while its market cap is close to $40 B, a small number of super-giant pharma companies could acquire it. The long-term chart of LLY happens to stink, but yours truly owns it. The stock is back where it was a dozen years ago. A previously-miserably run company that appears to have stabilized is Bristol-Myers Squibb ("BMY"), which yields 6.2%.

This spring, EBR mentioned a small number of stocks with strong fundamentals and strong long-term and short-term charts. Amongst them was Teva ("TEVA"). Teva recently hit an all-time high, has a long-term growth rate in the high teens, yields as much as cash in the bank (1.2%), and sells at 12 times estimated next year's earnings. This has been a beautifully-run (Israeli) company that has delivered for shareholders while being uninvolved in the various shenanigans afflicting so much of American industry.

None of LLY, BMY or TEVA play the stock buyback game to a significant extent. Teva can win regardless of the fate of health care reform. It is felt at EBR that valuations on LLY and BMY are low enough that P/E risk is low even if "Obamacare" passes, and that if it fails, P/E and dividend yield could allow for substantial long-term returns to shareholders.

Note: The author of this post owns TEVA and LLY and may sell either without notice. None of the commentary herein constitutes advice to anyone to buy or sell any security.

Copyright (C) Long Lake LLC 2009

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