Corona Virus: Some Companies Profit when Citizens are Almost forced to Buy Their Products.

As millions of Americans stay home and worry about paying their bills,  other industries, such as online retail and delivery, pharmaceutical entities, and hedge fund handlers have much better prospects in a locked-down world.

Intercept  notes that “Pharmaceutical companies view Covid-19 as a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity,” said Gerald Posner, author of “Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America.”

“The ability to make money off of pharmaceuticals is already uniquely large in the U.S., which lacks the basic price controls other countries have, giving drug companies more freedom over setting prices for their products than anywhere else in the world. During the current crisis, pharmaceutical makers may have even more leeway than usual because of language industry lobbyists inserted into an $8.3 billion coronavirus spending package, passed last week, to maximize their profits from the pandemic.”

Here is an example of some companies doing well during the pandemic. The list appeared in an article in New York Magazine.    

(And there are always a few who somehow see trouble coming and find a way to profit from it. Take, for instance, Bill Ackman, the hedge fund manager. In mid-February, he started buying insurance on various bond indexes and spent $27 million. When the pandemic spread from Asia to the West, he cashed in and made a profit of $2.6 billion).

J.M. Smucker Co.

Restaurants and bars across America are closed, but people are still eating, and that has been good for the fortunes of companies like Smucker that make packaged food for the retail market. 

Citrix

As tens of millions of Americans have suddenly started working from home, the coronavirus crisis has provided opportunities to companies that sell remote–working technology, and Citrix is one of the most prominent players in that space. Its stock is up nearly 26 percent this year. Thriving for similar reasons: Zoom, the video-conference service now used by millions of workers who are naked from the waist down.

Clorox

Clorox sells bleach, a popular product right now. Clorox also has an advantage over other makers of consumer packaged goods: Clorox benefits from consumers’ desire for a known, trusted name when trying to kill the virus. It doesn’t hurt that Clorox has a sideline in packaged foods similar to those Smucker sells; if you buy Hidden Valley Ranch dressing or KC Masterpiece sauce, you’re purchasing a Clorox product.

Amazon

When you can’t go out to shop, you shop online, and Amazon has been adding staff to handle increased order volume as department stores like Nordstrom and Macy’s are closing all their locations. Amazon’s other core business, cloud computing, is shining. More activity moving online means more demand for cloud server space. Thriving for similar reasons: cloud service provider Akamai Technologies and data-center owners Equinix and Digital Realty Trust.

Netflix

Widespread stay-at-home orders could not have come at a better time for Netflix. Millions of citizens, stuck at home, are almost forced to watch Netflix and similar companies. As we have previously said, the quality of many of the movies is suspect—many productions originate in foreign countries where Netflix can buy them cheaply.  

Pharmaceuticals

Many pharmaceutical companies have stepped up efforts to produce vaccines in the hope to cash-in on the virus. 

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb says certain anti-viral and antibody drugs in development and testing will be our best bets for fighting the coronavirus before a vaccine is available. Regeneron developed antibody drugs that boost the immune system to help combat Ebola and MERS. The company says it should have one against the coronavirus ready for human trials early this summer. Gottlieb is hopeful about that, and so are investors; Regeneron stock is up nearly 37 percent this year.

Still, other companies regularly promote their products on national ads while simultaneously offering their sympathy for Corona Virus victims. 

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