Milestones and COVID Tests

Hey Influence Traders,

It’s the weekend, which means it’s time for the Weekly Roundup.

A Changeup

Easter occurs at the start of Spring. 

Spring is a time of hope and new beginnings, so in that spirit we’re going to forgo the usual Weekend Round Up format and focus on a positive.

And perhaps stimulate a trading idea.

Milestones

The S&P 500 Index hit the 4,000 milestone for the first time this past week, and has now been up 4 out of the past 5 weeks.

The markets continue to roar.

The Labor Department noted in its monthly report that the U.S. added 916,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate dropped to 6%.

      • The addition of 916,000 jobs beat the expectation of 850,000.
      • Many analysts are anticipating that more American workers are returning to the workforce and that the numbers will be even better in April and May.
      • According to the report the “job growth in March was widespread, with the largest gains occurring in leisure and hospitality, public and private education and construction."
        • 110,000 additional construction jobs
        • 66,000 additional services sector jobs
        • 53,000 additional manufacturing jobs
        • 50,000 additional transportation and warehousing jobs

Despite the gains, the economy has a long way to go to reach the historically low pre-COVID unemployment rate of 3.5%.

Infrastructure

The big news of the week was infrastructure. 

President Biden’s proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan touches a broad swatch of American business.

Many sectors will benefit from the bill, including auto manufacturers, semiconductor makers and fiber-optic companies. 

Pharmaceutical developers are also going to do well particularly those deemed vital to addressing the pandemic and helping the country open back up. 

Pharmaceutical companies

The proposed bill includes $30 billion in funding aimed at reducing the risk of future pandemics.

Part of that measure will be to fast track the development of new technologies deemed critical to such efforts.

Many experts agree that mass, on-going testing is critical to controlling the spread of the virus and allowing people to move about more freely and confidently.

That has been difficult seeing that most testing is done through a medical provider and/or with a prescription.

But this week Abbott Laboratories (TICKER: ABT) received an FDA Emergency Use Authorization for its BinaxNOW™ Rapid Antigen Self Test.

That authorization permits the test to be used for asymptomatic, over-the-counter, non-prescription use.

The test can be used on adults and kids as young as 2 and will come in a two-count box, which allows test tracing.

Not only does the test allow for frequent testing, the results are available in 15 minutes.

The BinaxNOW self-test is identical to ABT’s professional-use test, which has been in use since August 2020, and which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has ordered 150 million units.

Abbot can now distribute its test to major food, drug and mass merchandiser retailers.

Abbott plans on producing 50 million tests per month.

Another benefit of the authorization is that the professional test will no longer require a prescription, which means that workplaces, schools and other organizations no longer need to work through a medical provider.

Cutting Through the Noise for You.

Frank

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