Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Why Apple Uses a Contract Manufacturing Model



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxTCNP82NmQ
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Remembering How Apple Created a Massive Market for Corning’s Gorilla Glass



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCbaWRS0hpw
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How Apple’s Inventory Management is So Lean



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJHa2O8t6uA
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Is Qualcomm Slowly Losing its Grip on the iPhone?



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuFGj8f92uI
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How Apple’s A-Chips Come From All Over the World



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GzNtOoQUkY
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Tech: How an iPhone Winds Up in Your Hands *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDUFNky-VsM
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Will Zika help or hurt health plans?

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Health insurers are starting to think about the impact of the Zika virus, which may arrive in force in the US over the coming months. Actuaries are looking for analogous examples for their models, such as other mosquito born illnesses including dengue fever.

Some insurers aren’t too concerned, according to Healthcare Finance News. Others are looking at reinsurance opportunities and considering premium increases.

Most Zika infections cause only mild illness, so the costs of treatment will be modest or zero much of the time. The real impact is likely to come from the cost of lifelong care for babies born with microcephaly or other problems, which could be millions of dollars per case.

But does that mean Zika will hurt health plans financially? Not necessarily.

For commercial health plans, maternal and newborn care is one of the largest categories of expenses. If a Zika epidemic looms, I would expect women to stop having babies, at least for a while. After all, in El Salvador the government has suggested women not become pregnant for the next two years.

If that happens, insurers will enjoy a windfall from avoided expenses that will show up right away. Meanwhile, the costs of Zika babies will be spread over many years and no doubt much of the cost will be shifted to Medicaid one way or the other.

Zika is a huge threat and we should be doing much more about it as a society. But health plans may not suffer as much as people assume.

Image courtesy of duntaro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

 



from Health Business Blog https://healthbusinessblog.com/2016/05/31/will-zika-help-or-hurt-health-plans/
via A Health Business Blog

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Best Way To Invest in Drug Discovery



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zh7Epo8zRA0
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The Best Way To Invest in Drug Development



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qn35rrr9vaU
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How To Invest in Drug Companies Seeking FDA Approval



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5Jps4drPbs
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Investing Battle: Stocks Vs. Bonds



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_U3Qv7EQO4
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5 Things to Know About Bonds



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZ4NGkD1-dg
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Municipal Bonds Explained



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmylCN_HePw
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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Healthcare: How To Invest In The Life Cycle Of A Drug *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8uvvI_J1O8
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Is Chipotle Headed for an Inventory Problem?



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7uqMU6mVBI
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Changing Standards for Chipotle: What “Food With Integrity” Looks Like Moving Forward



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUJHn5dsLvg
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How Has Chipotle’s Food Preparation Changed?



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCYR-fTUVZc
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Trouble ahead: Obese, diabetic 50 somethings heading for bleak senior years

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It’s not too late

Today’s middle-aged adults (50-64) are much fatter and more likely to have diabetes than their predecessors from 15 years ago. Obesity is up 25 percent, diabetes 55 percent and the percentage reporting being in very good or excellent health declined by 9 percent, according to the latest America’s Health Rankings Senior Report from the United Health Foundation.

At the state level, some of the changes were far more dramatic. Prevalence of diabetes among middle-aged Coloradans is up 138 percent, while obesity rates in Arizona are up by 96 percent.

The report warns that today’s middle-aged cohort is on track for an expensive and unhealthy experience when they hit the ranks of seniors by 2030.

The news isn’t all bleak. My home state of Massachusetts is rated the healthiest for seniors in the latest report (overtaking Vermont). Seniors here have become more physically active; many have stopped smoking. On the negative side the rate of flu vaccination dropped in Massachusetts. (Maybe it has something to do with the vaccine’s recent lack of effectiveness — I got the flu vaccine and the flu this past season.)

As usual, this year’s report is chock full of statistics and insights, with a variety of national indicators and state-by-state comparisons. And no surprise, the Southern states remain the unhealthiest –with Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas and West Virginia bringing up the rear.

It’s not too late for middle-aged Americans to improve their health and well-being. Reports like this may spur individuals, governments and private sector players into action. For the sake of seniors-to-be and the country as a whole, I sure hope it happens.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

 

 



from Health Business Blog https://healthbusinessblog.com/2016/05/26/trouble-ahead-obese-diabetic-50-somethings-heading-for-bleak-senior-years/
via A Health Business Blog

Chipotle’s Mission Statement and The Far Flung Ingredients In Your Burrito Bowl



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYmpxnuhYts
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How Chipotle Dealt With The Unexpected In Its Supply Chain



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKaYUt1Ctc0
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Chipotle’s Small Suppliers Encounter New Costs of Doing Business



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcD9tXb4CUI
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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Consumer Goods: From the Farm to Your Dinner Table – The Lifecycle of a Chipotle Burrito



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmoXO93x84g
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Best Quotes: "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself..."



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzHqDOwTJjw
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Best Quotes: “Stocks Go Down Faster Than They Go Up, But Go Up More Than They Go Down"



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94ElK7h52Dc
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Best Quotes: Warren Buffett’s 3 I’s of Every Business Cycle



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=resUIggMjDY
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Best Quotes: "I Came Here to Drink Milk and Kick Ass, and I've Just Finished My Milk"



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQarTjHQW6M
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Beware of “FANG”



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJUw7s_qYRg
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5 More Traits that the Top 3 Stocks of 2015 Shared



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMfQeDIEdIQ
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5 Traits that Run Through the Top 3 S&P Companies of 2015



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwaqVyIuDdQ
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Top 3 Performers of the S&P 500 in 2015



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBK_gjtLbPI
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What The Top 3 Stocks of 2015 Have In Common *** RULE BREAKER INVESTING ***



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4xdiMFn8EE
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Financials: The Most Important Financial Chart of the Past Century *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHQH8p5KiUs
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Monday, May 23, 2016

Tech: Wearables Update and A Special Guest *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7-qecQBD5g
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Canada is looking better and better

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O Canada!

In almost every election cycle people talk about moving to Canada if a presidential candidate they despise takes office. In practice few make the move. Things could be a little different this time around if a certain nationalist strongman comes to power.

But there’s something else to fear this year: the Zika virus. According to NIH director Tony Fauci, mosquitoes with Zika are likely to arrive in the US mainland within the next month or two. One species will be all over the South, another will come up the East Coast as far as New England.  Congress is dithering with the President’s request for funds to combat Zika’s spread and is toying with the idea of canceling Ebola funds to partially support the Zika fight. It’s pretty irresponsible.

In the past I would have assumed that Congress would get it’s act together and do the right thing. But after seeing some members unconcerned about preventing a default I no longer take good intentions and common sense for granted.

Zika is serious and its spread could have a big impact on economic growth. In El Salvador, the government has advised women not to get pregnant for the next two years, lest they give birth to babies with severe birth defects. Can you imagine the impact such an advisory would have in the US?

Image courtesy of Vlado at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.



from Health Business Blog https://healthbusinessblog.com/2016/05/23/canada-is-looking-better-and-better/
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Tribune Publishing Shares Pop After Another Offer from Gannett



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbIRzA_tNh0
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A New Horse to Yahoo’s Game



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjnHNYGUOqI
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Why Berkshire Hathaway Bought Into Apple



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNqgDM0cBU8
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A New Batter Steps Up to Yahoo’s Plate *** MARKET FOOLERY ***



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrhD7iYBO-E
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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Is A Never-Ending Cruise Retirement Right for You?



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1U0Ai2ym8o
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3 Peculiar Traits of Wealthy People: Not Caring What Everyone Ever Thinks of Them



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWXZykzpKjY
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3 Peculiar Traits of Wealthy People: Thinking in Different Time Periods Than Everyone Else



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmo567V3Dko
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Listener Question: Should I Diversify My IRA with Real Estate?



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3dGh9R986M
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3 Peculiar Traits of Wealthy People: A Hint of Sociopathy



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlerYZVddlU
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Friday, May 20, 2016

Why Royal Dutch Shell Probably Regrets its $70 billion BG Group Acquisition *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-49xbxKdHE
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Health Wonk Review is up at Boston Health News

Check out the latest edition of the Health Wonk Review over at Boston Health News. Tinker Ready has a great collection of posts about insurance, HIT, report cards, LGBT health and cancer.

And you won’t want to miss the beautiful collection of photos of the Sant Rafael Pavilion in Barcelona.



from Health Business Blog https://healthbusinessblog.com/2016/05/20/health-wonk-review-is-up-at-boston-health-news-6/
via A Health Business Blog

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Best Way to Invest in RNAi Drugs



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs-11SwueEA
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Could This Drug Class Change Medicine As We Know It?



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KgZQbmrHjg
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Beyond Belviq: The Real Promise in Arena Pharmaceticals’ Pipeline



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDjIRIqzpEI
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What Biotech Investors Need to Know About GPCRs



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lu8NYabVkKg
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Healthcare: Drawing Biopharma Concepts With A Crayon *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1bPq8R9PGc
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The false link between mental illness and gun violence

It would be nice if we could eliminate mass shootings by improving the mental health system, coaxing (or forcing) potential shooters into treatment before they have a chance to wreak havoc.  As the Washington Post (Most mass shooters aren’t mentally ill. So why push better treatment as the answer?) reports:

“It would be ridiculous to hope that doing something about the mental-health system will stop these mass murders,” said Michael Stone, a forensic psychiatrist at the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and author of “The Anatomy of Evil,” which examines the personalities of brutal killers. “It’s really folly.”

This seems pretty obvious, and yet Republican and Democratic leaders, along with the general public and the media seem to think mental illness is the root cause of shooting sprees and that improving the mental health system can fix the problem.

After mass shootings, reporters often jump quickly to mental illness as the cause. Remember after the Sandy Hook shooting when there was speculation that the shooter’s Asperger’s diagnosis was to blame?

Asperger’s? Are you kidding me?

The danger of our fixation on mental illness as the root cause of violence is that we end up stigmatizing people with mental illness –and developmental disorders– while ignoring more direct causes of gun violence, such as ready access to guns.

Mass shootings are rare outside the US. Is there someone who can tell me with a straight face that the difference is due to better mental health systems abroad?

Meanwhile, Australia has seen a major decrease in gun violence over the past 20 years since adopting strong gun control after a mass murder. That seems like a more evidence and logic based response than what we’ve tried here.

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

 



from Health Business Blog https://healthbusinessblog.com/2016/05/19/the-false-link-between-mental-illness-and-gun-violence/
via A Health Business Blog

How Apple’s Inventory Can Shed Light on the Genius of Tim Cook



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouVXfT8ij4o
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How Urban Outfitters and the Apparel Industry Is Leveraging Inventory to Boost Profitability



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFeroiRVNGk
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Why Inventory Should Matter to Every Consumer and Retail Investor



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpdPVyyeSDw
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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Consumer Goods: How Retailers Manage their Inventory *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLX-MOEuvk8
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Déjà Vu: P2P Lenders Didn’t Learn Anything from The Subprime Mortgage Crisis



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqwHdGsh5q0
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As Regulators Circle, Will LendingClub and On Deck Capital Be Able to Comply?



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oafoOIhGuN0
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Putting LendingClub’s Disastrous Month into Context



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPI_dJoMirQ
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Disrupting the Banking Industry Starts With Embracing This Reality



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28zTm4qYrB8
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Here's How LendingClub Stock Could Go From Bad to Worse



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSOT3qnSlL8
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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Consumer Goods: No, Streaming Isn’t Going to Kill Cable *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mA_Rxifkocw
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How Bank of America Came to Own Merrill Lynch



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spTgcsQ60CY
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The Fly in Bank of America’s Ointment



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bvz1nXfPYyI
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Bank of America’s Capital Punishment



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXxMRbSHE4Q
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Will Bank of America Go Back to Basic Banking?



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx7ZBO_hDf4
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The Decline in Bank of America’s Trading Revenue



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ci8bMam6zkQ
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Biosimilars are “me-too” drugs, not generics

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Time to take off the blinders

Generic drugs are the biggest success story in healthcare cost containment. This great success has fooled policymakers, journalists, health plans and others into thinking that the same model will tame spending on biologic drugs the same way it has for traditional, chemical based products.

The latest example can be found in the Wall Street Journal (Knockoffs of Biotech Drugs Bring Paltry Savings). The article blames the lack of savings on price increases by makers of the original products in the run-up to the introduction of competing products. That is happening, but it doesn’t get to the root cause of the situation.

The traditional generic market is about as close as the healthcare industry gets to economists’ fantasy world of perfect competition where there is no differentiation among products, there are a large number of producers, and buyers understand that the products are all the same. As a result, prices trend toward marginal cost and it is not uncommon to see price reductions of 90 percent or more. Sometimes it’s 99 percent.

Biotech is very different. The “generic” products are not generic at all, rather they are close but not exact copies that cannot be freely substituted for one another. The number of producers will be small because they must go through the expense of clinical trials. And if the companies are smart (they are) they will do their best to make sure buyers realize there are differences among the products. One clue is that the products are referred to as biosimilars not biogenerics.

As I’ve been writing for ten years, this doesn’t sound like the market for generic drugs. Rather it’s much more like the “me-too” phenomenon we saw in the 90s with blockbuster categories such as statins. When Lipitor came in as the fifth statin on the market it didn’t advertise itself as cheaper and undifferentiated. Rather it used clever trial design and sales and marketing tactics to climb to the top of the pile.

Why wouldn’t a biosimilar try the same approach if possible? So far new entrants are pricing themselves a bit lower than the original product but if they can come up with better data from a trial why not make the price higher instead?

If we take off our generics blinders we can come up with ways to control costs while encouraging innovation. Since 2006 (A better idea than biogenerics) I’ve suggested regulating the price of biotech drugs once their patents expire. I still think it’s a good idea.

Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.



from Health Business Blog https://healthbusinessblog.com/2016/05/11/biosimilars-are-me-too-drugs-not-generics/
via A Health Business Blog

Will Bank of America and Merrill Lynch Eventually Go Their Separate Ways? *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNamqFyY7tQ
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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

3 Stocks on Our Radar This Week



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYoKdMMPnhs
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Watch Out, Sally Hansen – KFC Is Coming Your Way



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8mvjoBgegE
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Why Halliburton and Baker Hughes are Both Down



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wbPJQnOgQM
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And That’s Why You Don’t Bet Too Much on a Short



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zq9qD740mBI
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Why TripAdvisor is Down This Quarter



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3rVjhN5vGI
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How Long-Term Investors Should Look at Guidance



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SA92p-zeWEU
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Earnings Highlights for CVS Health and MercadoLibre



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSk5CR70RG0
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Zillow Raises Guidance



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kehrg2MIHNY
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Activision-Blizzard Blows Expectations Out of the Water



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVu5RE2T_iA
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Lowered Q2 Guidance for Priceline



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3WpnKpiO4s
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Due diligence in middle market healthcare investing

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Due diligence

Private equity firms investing in middle market healthcare deals face serious challenges in commercial due diligence. There are many companies that appear attractive, with $5M+ EBITDA, increasing revenues and enticing stories of how industry dynamics, customer relationships, technology differentiation and management excellence will take them to the next level. In the $3 trillion US healthcare industry, there are numerous billion dollar niches offering strong returns to companies that ride the wave of transformation.

Generalist investors and even healthcare specialists need support when performing due diligence in the middle market. The companies are large enough that their businesses are often complex, but small enough that there is little public information about them. Often the management team and prior investors may not have a good sense of customer demand and competitors. In addition, investors face information asymmetry, making it difficult to discern whether the management team is as confident as they seem or whether they have sensed a peak and are trying to bail out at the top.

The Affordable Care Act has set off a tremendous era of change in the industry, and diligence needs to reflect the latest understanding of how the ecosystem is changing. For example, the shift from fee-for-service to value based payments upends many business models but enables new ones. Provider consolidation can dramatically change buying dynamics as sales move to the enterprise level. The growth of public health insurance exchanges increases health plans’ appetites for cost-saving approaches.

Middle market investors have to be savvy about how they invest resources in diligence, so they often turn to boutique consulting firms that provide high value at a moderate price. In our consulting practice at Health Business Group, some of my favorite work is helping middle market private equity firms and strategic buyers test investment hypotheses and improve clarity about a company’s prospects through commercial due diligence. We interview the company’s customers and competitors, consult with industry analysts, and leverage our internal knowledge base and expert network.

Over the years we’ve worked with private equity firms and strategic acquirers, performing diligence on everything from wound care to medical benefits management to teleradiology to medical cost containment to pharma sales and marketing to healthcare information technology.  Many of these deals have been completed and have resulted in long-term success. But we are unafraid to speak up and advise when a deal does not make sense, even when that’s not what our client wants to hear. Our closest relationships are with clients that we’ve steered away from bad deals.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

 



from Health Business Blog http://healthbusinessblog.com/2016/05/10/due-diligence-in-middle-market-healthcare-investments/
via A Health Business Blog

What April’s Unemployment Numbers Mean



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7w-CjvTnPHU
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Highlights from Tesla’s Earnings Call



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4-0wjjsovc
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Possible Trouble for Whole Foods



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWTHBAoQFsw
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Monday, May 9, 2016

One Stock Pick – Donny's Favorite Australian Company



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCr80NgzHCA
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How a 25-Year Bull Market Changes the Investing Mindset



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzVQJzanLFY
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What American Investors Need to Know About the Australian Market



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAes0cOB0yQ
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A Few Things Investors Should Know About Australia *** MARKET FOOLERY ***



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NtDp0ct0DQ
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Why Facebook is Planning a Stock Split



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4LoFWHZEeA
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What is a Stock Split and Why Do Companies Do Them?



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyMH8ViyLv8
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Why Are We Seeing Fewer Stock Splits?



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDYSQjJuxZs
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Friday, May 6, 2016

How Can the New York Times Survive in a Post-Print World?



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N6tF5W7c04
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Highlights from GrubHub’s Quarterly Earnings Report



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxyIrDnkfPE
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What Is Apple Thinking?



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcLjv2ZkPfs
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Apple Isn't Innovating Anymore, But It’s Still a Fantastic Company to Own *** MARKET FOOLERY ***



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0018GUeyhDY
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When To Sell a Stock - David Gardner, RBI Podcast



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Eft35KIZWw
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What Investors Need To Know About Sarepta and Gilead Sciences' "Bad News" *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***



from The Motley Fool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGvQAGmbciI
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Surgeons and truck drivers may soon have something in common

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Climbing into the future

Many Americans feel economically insecure.  Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have latched on to these feelings, and both fault free trade agreements for stripping the country of good, steady jobs. Trade agreements are a convenient scapegoat, but the big threat to jobs is technology, not trade.

Over the past decades, technology has reduced the need for labor in many fields. Robots can perform repetitive, manual work like welding cars. Enterprise software and databases have replaced paralegals and bookkeepers. Computers can answer the phone and provide customer service.

As great as these dislocations have been, much bigger change is on the horizon. For example, there are more than 3 million professional truck drivers in the US; the industry pays pretty well, especially for a job that doesn’t require a college education. But often lost in the discussion of driverless cars is the concept of driverless trucks. It might take 10 or even 20 years, but driverless trucks will eventually be the norm, lowering costs while putting millions of truck drivers out of work. (Driverless cars will throw all the Uber drivers out of work as well.)

Believe it or not, surgeons face a similar threat. Surgeons have long used robotic tools to assist them, but historically the tools relied on surgeons’ manual skills. That’s changing, even for challenging procedures.

A new study demonstrates that robots can be used for soft tissue surgeries, even though these are tricky compared with surgeries on solid structures such as bones.

From Johns Hopkins University:

The researchers developed a robotic surgical system called the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot, or STAR. It features a 3D imaging system and a near-infrared sensor to spot fluorescent markers along the edges of the tissue to keep the robotic suture needle on track. Unlike other robot-assisted surgical systems, it operates under the surgeon’s supervision, but without hands-on guidance. (emphasis mine)

The researchers compared STAR with expert surgeons using various methods:

“No significant differences in erroneous needle placement were noted among all surgical techniques,” the researchers wrote, “suggesting that STAR was as dexterous as expert surgeons in needle placement.”

The researchers say that the tools won’t replace humans but will “expand human capacity and capability.” How do they know that? I predict that in fact these robotic tools will cut down on the need for human surgeons.

Furthermore, once surgery robots get better than surgeons, robotic surgery will become the standard of care. It will be unethical to use a human surgeon when a safer, better alternative is available.

 

As a middle-aged management consultant with specialized knowledge and strong relationships, I’m not worried that robots are going to take my livelihood away. But I do worry a lot about the younger generation and wonder what will happen to their career prospects, economic growth, and our society.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

 



from Health Business Blog https://healthbusinessblog.com/2016/05/06/surgeons-and-truck-drivers-may-soon-have-something-in-common/
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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Here’s How Warren Buffett Feels about BNSF



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Warren Buffett’s Returns Hampered by Berkshire’s Size



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Is Berkshire Hathaway’s Growth Slowing Because of Its Success?



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Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger’s Remarkably Successful Approach to Buying Companies



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How Does Warren Buffett Think Investors Should Approach the Stock Market?



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Your Basic Guide to How Berkshire Hathaway Makes Money



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Consumer Stock Highlights From the Berkshire Hathaway Meeting



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What You Need to Know About the Comcast / DreamWorks Animation Deal



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Why a Combined Comcast and Dreamworks Is Greater Than The Sum of Its Parts



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Health Wonk Review is up at Wright on Health

Wright on Health hosts the latest incarnation of the Health Wonk Review blog carnival. It’s the Pivoting Toward the General Election edition. Interestingly, multiple posts focus on the same topic as mine: United Healthcare’s exit from the Obamacare marketplaces.

But beyond those posts you’ll see a lot of variety, along with a striking gallery of candidate photos!



from Health Business Blog https://healthbusinessblog.com/2016/05/05/health-wonk-review-is-up-at-wright-on-health-12/
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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Consumer Goods: Why Comcast Bought DreamWorks for $3.8 Billion *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***



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What We Know About Hulu’s TV Bundle



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What Under Armour Can Do About Blatant Copycat Company, Uncle Martian



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What You Need to Know About Baker Hughes and Halliburton Now that the Merger is Off



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Updates on the Halliburton-Baker Hughes Failed Merger *** MARKET FOOLERY ***



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Financials: Your 23-Minute Guide to Berkshire Hathaway's Annual Meeting *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***



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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

High Profits, Raised Guidance, and No Love From the Market for LinkedIn



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Panera Bread Posts Nice First Quarter Growth to Little Fanfare



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Chipotle’s First-Ever Quarterly Loss



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Why Coach is Up 13% This Quarter



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3 Stocks on Our Radar This Week



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Apple Down 11% After Decline of iPhone Sales



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Amazon.com Posts Most Profitable Quarter Yet



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Impressive First Quarter Earnings Report for Facebook



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Comcast Acquires DreamWorks Animation



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Rough Q1 Earnings for Gilead Sciences



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Carl Icahn Bailed on Apple, Is He Right?



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What’s Up With the Apple Watch?



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Apple Investors Should Be Excited About India



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How is Apple Doing in China?



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Apple’s Services Segment is Bigger Than We Thought



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Monday, May 2, 2016

Apple Sends Investors a $250 Billion Love Note



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Why We’re Not Freaking Out About iPhone Sales



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Ignore Apple’s Earnings Per Share Number



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What to Expect for Apple’s Margins Moving Forward



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Tech: Apple – Then and Now *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***



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Energy: Looking Back on Energy’s Glory Days and Predicting the Future *** INDUSTRY FOCUS ***



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