Thursday, April 30, 2009

Enjoy the news and analysis but pay attention to the charts: this may be the turn in equities

The S&P 500 closed at 872.81 down 0.83.
From UnBiasedTrading:

It's just a small pattern on the hourly charts but deserves attention from market watchers, investors and traders. The S&P 500 reached the 884 Fibonacci level I've mentioned for many days, and also a projection that Andre Gratian had at 888. Now, I will not speak for Andre except to note that he's been tracking both Elliott Wave counts as well as the A/D line. What I can point out is that the market has turned back down under these levels (along with the Nasdaq 100 doing the same at 1409.71, and the QQQQ's doing similar with the $35 level described earlier this morning in the post about the P&F chart).

These levels "ring the bell" on a number of different methods so we should not be complacent about this. Some are analyzing a pullback to about 780/790, which could be 100 SPX points or 1,000 Dow points. That's significant enough by itself. There are even methods that suggest much lower levels. It's too soon to say which may prove correct, but either one should be unpalatable to investors or traders looking to preserve long-side profits or thinking about when to take defensive positions....MORE

Markets: A Look at the Charts.

Update here.

Original post.
The S&P 500 is trading around 874 with a few minutes to go.
First up, MarketBeat:
Technicians are grappling with the market’s recent upturn, trying to determine if the positive move will have legs.

Most broad market technical analysts prefer the S&P 500 to the Dow Jones Industrial Average when drawing their chart lines. For most of them, the level of 875 on the S&P 500 is seen as a key level. The measure crossed over 875 yesterday, but failed to close above it. Today, we’re seeing similar action, with the S&P 500 drifting lower after a strong opening.

It’s likely that the market will skirmish fiercely around that level today. A close above 875 would certainly prompt technical-minded traders to get into the market. Brown Brothers Harriman recommends “investors use a definitive close above 875 as a buy trigger” saying that a “standard projection” would take the S&P 500 to 925 with January’s high of 943 being a significant future landmark....MORE

From Bespoke Investment Group:

S&P 500 Breaks Another Resistance Level

...Since the March 9th low, the index is now up 33%. The next level of resistance is between 903 and 908, which is the 2008 closing level and a place where two peaks occurred late last year.


First Solar Rockets Higher; An Exception To The Rule (FSLR)

First Solar was recently trading at $188.50 up $36.83 (24.22%).
From Tech Trader Daily:

In an otherwise grim environment for the solar sector, First Solar (FSLR) yesterday posted stellar Q1 results, and provided the catalyst for today’s big jump in the company’s stock price. But be careful about extrapolating First Solar’s success to other solar companies: Unlike most of the industry, FSLR does not rely on polysilicon to produce its modules, which insulates the company from the volatile poly market. Among the company’s charms is the fact that it has been producing solar modules at a much lower cost than its silicon-based rivals - and in fact asserted on a conference call with the Street yesterday that its own approach would be competitive even if poly prices went to zero.

Meanwhile, note that the company on the call said that it has begun to seek a successor for CEO Michael Ahearn, who will eventually move into the chairman’s role and focus on lobbying for changes in government energy policy.

The analysts were for the most part falling all over themselves to heap praise on First Solar this morning; many raised price targets, most raised estimates, and even the bears conceded that the company produced a pretty impressive quarter....MORE
Here's the earnings call transcript at Seeking Alpha.

International Paper first-quarter profit grew 93% (Sweet Liquor Eases the Pain*)

From MarketWatch:

Bio-fuel tax credit provides a $540 million boots to earnings

International Paper Co. said its first-quarter net income increased by 93%, thanks to a large biofuel tax credit for powering its paper mills with "black liquor," a byproduct of its wood pulping process.

For the recent quarter, the Memphis-based paper company said it earned $257 million, or 61 cents a share, compared with $133 million, or 31 cents a share, in the year-ago period....MORE
*Phil Hartman as Troy McLure.
From The Simpsons, episode 1F05 :
"A few weeks ago, I was a washed-up actor with a drinking problem.
Then Brad Goodman came along and gave me this job and a can of fortified

[drinks from a can]

"Ah...Sweet Liquor Eases the Pain"

-- Troy McClure describes how self-help aided him, "Bart's Inner Child"

From April 17's
The Wonder of Regulation: "Black Liquor Tax Boondoggle
May Net Billions for Papermakers"
It's not exactly comforting to think of the implications for really
grand theft in the carbon biz.

Turnaround in uranium markets has begun

From the Financial Post:

To all those investors hanging on for uranium markets to turnaround, RBC Capital Markets analyst Adam Schatzker has a message: The wait is finally over.

"We believe that the uranium market is in the early stages of a bull market rally that could last three to four years," he said in a note to clients.

From recent trough levels, Mr. Schatzer noted uranium equities have recovered by about 225% but still remain about 68% below historic peak values. He thinks it will take about two years to reclaim those peaks and points to the looming supply/demand shortfall as one of the keys to recovery....MORE

First Menie, next Scotland – Trump expands. And The Donald, the Environmentalist

This is just an excuse to revisit one of my favorite posts from last year.
From The Scotsman:
DONALD Trump is poised to expand his global business empire by taking over recession-hit, high-profile developments in Scotland and elsewhere in Europe, The Scotsman can reveal.
The billionaire, who is behind the controversial £1 billion golf and housing development at the Menie estate in Aberdeenshire, is involved in "ongoing discussions" about a buy-out of several major projects in Scotland that have been stalled by the slump...
June 11, 2008
Tipping Point: Now Donald Trump Is an Environmentalist

From the WSJ's Wealth Report:

You know the green movement has reached its peak when Donald Trump proclaims himself an environmentalist.

Mr. Trump is trying to build a golf course on an unspoiled stretch of land in northern Scotland. Reflecting his usual penchant for modesty, Mr. Trump says the course will be the “best in the world,” and far superior to the legendary courses at St. Andrews....

...Mr. Trump attended a hearing on the proposal yesterday to try and save it. (Here’s the BBC article and video of Mr. Trump’s press conference). After a representative of the Scottish Wildlife Trust said Mr. Trump had ignored his own environmental consultants’ advice, Mr. Trump said he didn’t need to read the reports, since he was already an expert.

“I would consider myself an environmentalist in the true sense of the word,” Mr. Trump said, a comment that drew so much laughter from the public gallery that the inquiry chairman had to call for order....MORE

Dear Uncle Sugar: "Troubled VC sector wants aid to jumpstart IPOs"

From Reuters:
Venture capitalists, facing the industry's worst slump since the dotcom bubble burst, on Wednesday called for lower U.S. taxes and loosened listing rules to propel initial public offerings when the economy improves.

The National Venture Capital Association, the country's leading industry body, plans to lobby the government for lower taxes on capital gains. It will also urge the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to ease compliance requirements under Sarbanes-Oxley, to aid start-ups hoping to float shares.

Some investors at the NVCA's annual gathering in Boston on Wednesday said they don't see a full recovery in venture capital investment until 2010.

"I don't think we'll start seeing a true recovery until 2010," said Tom Crotty of Battery Ventures.

Venture capital investment crashed nearly 50 percent to $3 billion in the first quarter from the 2008 fourth quarter, according to the NVCA, amid a nationwide liquidity crunch.

U.S. initial public offerings virtually vanished in the same period and now represent just 13 percent of "exits" -- where venture capitalists cash out of firms they invest in -- versus about 56 percent in the 1990s.

Since "the 2000s, the IPOs have fallen off the cliff here, and now represent something like 13 percent of the exits," said Dixon Doll, outgoing chief executive of the NVCA.

He said venture capitalists have lost leverage with the corporations that buy out start-ups because they face no competition from IPOs. That has helped depress selling prices and hurt venture capitalists' bottom line....MORE

See also:
Startups Need Bridge Capital, Not Bailouts
Federal Funding May Be First And Last Resort For Cleantech. And: Milken on Capital Structure
Venture capital firm set to reap rewards on swine flu
Bessemer Venture Partners Anti-Portfolio

Top Public Pension Funds Shun Solar Stocks

One interpretation would be that the funds are underinvested and form a well of potential buying.
Another is that the public funds that are members of CERES are just a bunch of hypocrites.
From HedgeTracker:
A recent Public Pension Fund Study has revealed that top funds have limited exposure to leading US-listed Solar companies. While US politicians have been touting a clean-energy future, very little public pension investment dollars are being funneled into the most promising solar companies. Overall, the 11 pension funds reviewed by the study managed $227,226 million in US equities and only held a paltry $182 million in the Solar Sector as of 12/31/08....

...The top solar investors were CalPERS (Total of $51mn in FSLR, SPWR, ENER, & ESLR), State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (Total of $30mn in FSLR, ENER, & ESLR), the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (Total of $24mn in FSLR & SPRWA), and Florida State Board of Administration (Total of $23mn in FSLR, SPRWA & ENER). Notably, the New York State Teachers\' Retirement System was the only pension fund that had no exposure to any of the solar companies in the study....MORE
HT: SolarFeeds

The REAL Story on Moore's Law for Solar

From Scitizen:
All new industries seem to think they deserve a Moore's Law. The photovoltaic solar really, really thinks it deserves one, since it kind of sort of looks like a semiconductor business...

Photovoltaic Moore's Law Will Make Solar Competitive by 2015,, Understanding Moore̢۪s Law,, and Silicon Valley Starts to Turn Its Face to the Sun, NY Times.
However the nuances are mischevious. The cost implications of Moore's Law at heart are built around a constant rate of technology performance improvement (2x transistors every 2 years), implying certain cost improvements. PV's falling costs curves have had more variables at play. In fact, the real equivalent to Moore's Law in solar would be to say that cell efficiency or a similiar measure doubles every x years. Most people have tried to apply a Moore's Law like concept in solar directly to the cost curve, not the technology improvement curve. In fact, the solar costs "Moore's Law" that seemed the simplest was the idea that every doubling of industry size equaled 10% in cost reductions. But that is not a Moore's Law, that's mainly just a description of the supply curve shape and shift, it's a totally different animal.

I've been researching this topic for some time, trying to develop a simple conceptual model to understand falling solar cost curves and their impacts, and I update my cost analysis spreadsheets based on numerous inputs from energy companies, solar developers, solar integrators, as well as module manufacturers. I think I now have a simple, economically sound model with good explanatory power, that allows us to shed some light on why and how the cost curves fall.

We'll call it the Dikeman Solar Cost Model - DiSoCo Model, and it's somewhat simple and axiomatic: the value on the supply side = the value on the demand side, broken down into fixed, sticky, and variable components, by market segment.

Over the last couple of years, I'd argue that roughly half of the cost reduction in solar have come from massive increases in larger installations (primarily spreading NRE and installation cost across a larger projects at the installations, as well as dealing improved economics of scale in manufacturing), not really from solar costs themselves. And roughly the other half from actual technology cost reductions.

This is an important distinction as it means that arguably with say 2003 solar technology, if the subsidies and demand had been there to build a whole bunch of 10 MW PV farms, a similiar cost could have been achieved to today's costs, at least within striking distance (as opposed to a Moore's law industry where the fundamental technology performance curves would have been 8x better, with drastic cost improvements resulting). Technology costs haven't necessarily fallen as much as we think, so much as the scale has changed, making costs look like they've fallen a significant amount....MORE

Cap-and-Trade: Farmers at the Trough

Don't tax you,
Don't tax me,
Tax that fellow behind the tree
-Senator Russell Long

From the National Farmers Union:
In testimony before the House Committee on Small Business today National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said farmers and ranchers have a significant role to play in addressing the energy and environmental challenges facing our nation.

“NFU believes the flexibility of a cap and trade program holds the most promise in making actual greenhouse gas emissions reductions while mitigating the overall energy cost increases that would result from such a program,” Johnson said.

NFU policy supports a national, mandatory carbon emission cap and trade system, with an optional agricultural offset program, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “The income potential from an agriculture offset program is a real opportunity for our farmers and ranchers who will be faced with increased input costs,” Johnson said....MORE

How Ludicrous are Climate Change Meetings?

Via Environmental Capital:
...After the laughter died down, Mr. de Boer said the main achievement had been “to allow people to get comfortable” with one another and set the agenda for more meetings later this year.
Who are these people?
I am reminded of the response of the U.N. after the 2004 Asian tsunami:
     ...WFP (World Food Program) has "arrived"
in the capital with an "assessment and coordination team." The
following is no joke; no Diplomad attempt to be funny or clever:
The team has spent the day and will likely spend a few more setting
up their "coordination and opcenter" at a local five-star hotel.
And their number one concern, even before phones, fax and copy
machines? Arranging for the hotel to provide 24hr catering service.
USAID folks already are cracking jokes about "The UN Sheraton."
Meanwhile, our military and civilians, working with the super
Aussies, continue to keep the C-130 air bridge of supplies flowing
and the choppers flying, and keep on saving lives -- and without
24hr catering services from any five-star hotel . . . . The
contrast grows more stark every minute.
-Diplomad via the Volokh Conspiracy.

The American and Royal Australian Navies were actually saving lives:

Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia (Jan. 3, 2005) - Lt. Jody Weinstein helps an injured Indonesian woman into a medical evacuation vehicle after she was transported from a coastal village on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. Medical teams from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) set-up a triage site located on Sultan Iskandar Muda Air Force Base, in Banda Aceh, Sumatra. The two teams worked together with members of the Australian Air Force to provide initial medical care to victims of the Tsunami-stricken coastal regions. The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is currently operating in the Indian Ocean off the waters of Indonesia and Thailand. U.S. Navy photo by Photographers Mate Airman Jordon R. Beesley (RELEASED)


In all, the American Task Force numbered more than twenty ships, headed up by the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72 or "Abe"):

USS Abraham Lincoln follows hospital ship USNS Mercy to station near
Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia
USS Abraham Lincoln follows hospital ship USNS Mercy to station near Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia by simminch.
The USS Abraham Lincoln follows the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy after arriving on station near Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia, Feb. 3, 2005. The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group has been operating in the Indian Ocean off the waters of Indonesia in support of Operation Unified Assistance, the humanitarian relief effort to aid the victims of the tsunami.
-U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Gabriel R. Piper
I don't have much time for self-appointed "elites".

Gold falls on economic recovery hopes; copper rallies

Gold futures were recently down $16.30 at $884.20. Copper was up three cents or 1.55%.
From MarketWatch:
Gold futures fell Thursday, heading for their second monthly loss, as falling U.S. jobless claims and rising global stocks raised hopes for an economic recovery, reducing gold's investment appeal. Copper gained more than 2%.

U.S. stock futures moved higher, pacing gains in Asian and European markets, after the Federal Reserve said Wednesday the pace of economic contraction appears to be somewhat slower. First-time claims for state unemployment benefits fell to their lowest level since early April, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
Gold for June delivery lost $18.30, or 2%, to $882.20 an ounce in early North American electronic trading. The much less active May gold, the front-month contract, fell $17, or 1.9%, to $882.80.

Gold was "facing more headwinds on better stocks, less haven buyers," said George Gero, a precious-metals trader for RBC Capital Markets. However, "if there is a rally over $910, we could see a higher trading range.">>>MORE

The Fall of Natural Gas

From Money Morning Australia:

This commodity seems to have an endless bearish trend. All the other commodities (oil, gold, base metals, agricultural) have more or less benefited from a renewal of risk appetite among investors and eventually prices rebounded after the lows posted everywhere in last December. Prices had declined so sharply in just a few months that it created investment and trading opportunities.

This scenario has been similar for all commodities, except one: natural gas....

...Natural gas prices have been traditionally positively correlated with oil prices, but a clear discrepancy has appeared in last February between the two energy futures.

Click to enlarge

Indeed, oil prices (red line) have rebounded from February 18 whereas natural gas prices continued their fall....MORE
Environmental Capital points to a story in today's Wall Street Journal:
...U.S. natural-gas production has gone from bust to boom in just a few short years, thanks above all to new finds in shale, reports the WSJ: “There’s no dry hole here.” The ample supplies give the country plenty of energy options, but in the meantime have helped send prices plummeting—and also make clean-energy less competitive....

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mexico cuts confirmed flu deaths toll to seven, 159 "probable"

From AFP via the Philippine Inquirer:
Mexico on Tuesday revised downwards its confirmed death toll from a new strain of flu to seven from 20, Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova told reporters.

Cordova also raised the toll of "probable" deaths from the H1N1 virus to 159 from a previous figure of 152.

A total of 1,311 people remain in hospital after exhibiting symptoms of the flu, he said.

Cordova explained the change in the confirmed death toll by saying further, more rigorous tests had forced an official recount.

"Of 159 (probable) deaths, only seven have been confirmed," he told the journalists.

Under sharp questioning as to how such a discrepancy could have occurred, Cordova said -- to some confusion -- that 26 proven cases of swine flu had been detected, of which "seven corresponded beyond any doubt to deaths caused by the new virus."

He added: "This tallying task has in great part been carried out in conjunction with the WHO (World Health Organization). They only count as 'positives' confirmed cases."

Cordova said Mexican authorities were working with specialized laboratories in the United States and Canada to test suspected flu samples.

First Solar 1Q profit triples (FSLR)

The stock closed up $5.o1 during the regular session. In early after-hours trade it is up an additional $11.54 at $163.21.
From the AP:
First Solar Inc., the nation's largest solar panel maker, says its profit more than tripled in the first quarter despite tightened bank lending that has made it tough to fill orders....
From Reuters:

First Solar profit, revenue top Street, shares up

*First Solar Q1 EPS $1.99 vs $1.51 estimate

*Revenue more than doubled to $418.2 mln, above estimates

*Shares rise 5 percent in extended trade

LOS ANGELES, April 29 (Reuters) - First Solar Inc (FSLR.O) on Wednesday reported quarterly earnings and revenue that topped Wall Street estimates, sending the U.S. solar company's shares up 5 percent in extended trade....MORE

WHO Raises Pandemic Threat Level; Flu Stocks Drop

From USAToday:

Flu alert level raised; pandemic 'imminent'
he World Health Organization has just raised the flu threat level from phase 4 to phase 5, indicating a pandemic is "imminent."

Here's how the WHO explains phase 5:

"Phase 5 is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region. While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short."

Phase 5 is the second-highest alert level. Phase 6 indicates a bona fide pandemic....

From our Monday post "No need to worry anyone, but…. (WHO May Raise Pandemic Threat Level)":

...Alphaville relays the WHO graphic and a comment:


...Now, we suspect that equity markets have not quite grasped the seriousness of this situation. For example the World Bank estimated in 2008 that a flu pandemic - ie full-on Level 6 - could cost $3,000bn and result in a near 5 per cent drop in global GDP....MORE

From TickerSpy:

Swine Flu and Bird Flu Stocks (*RXFLU)

Today: -6.1%
1-month: +26.1%
All-time: -34.3%
Today vs S&P 500 : -7.8%
1-month vs S&P 500: +19.5%
All-time vs S&P 500: +6.2%

Overbought? Watch FOMC Announcement at 2:15. And: "A Breakout Would Be Good... Right?"

A twofer. First up, The Big Picture:

...The next chart is the S&P500 Index Divergence vs S&P500 MACD


Graphics courtesy of The Chart Store

Both of these suggest a pullback is possible; Given how stocks have traded on prior FOMC days, and the Dow up 175, this suggests caution may be warranted here . . .

And from Minyanville:
The last 6 times we had an FOMC meeting, the S&P 500 typically responded in joyous fashion, closing in positive territory 5 times, with an overall average of +2.4%.

But a cruel fact of life is that the hangover is never as much fun as the party, and over the next 2 days, the S&P was positive only 1 time out of 6, with an overall average of -1.6%. It would average -2.8% without including that one winning trade, which happened to give back all its gains and then some within 4 more sessions.

The futures have gapped up by +1% or more the morning of a scheduled meeting only twice before, on March 18, 2008 and January 28, 2009. Both times, the S&P managed to add an additional +1% or more during the day. But the harder you party, the worse the hangover (usually), and the next day the S&P was lower by more than -2.5% both times....MORE

Smart-Grid Technology Still Finding Favor With VCs (ENOC)

From the Wall Street Journal's Venture Capital Dispatch:
Technology to make the energy grid more intelligent continues to draw VCs’ interest despite what is almost surely a temporary downturn in cleantech investing.

Mayfield Fund Tuesday announced that it led a $10.7 million round of financing for CPower Inc. The company offers retailers, manufacturers and other large energy users a range of energy-management programs that can save power costs by shaving peak demand.

CPower, formerly called ConsumerPowerline, is a leading North American demand-response provider, whose venture backers include Bessemer Venture Partners. Competitors include publicly traded EnerNOC Inc., a venture-backed company that went public in 2007. Prior to its latest round, CPower had raised at least $17 million in venture capital....MORE

EnerNOC priced it's IPO at $26 in May of '07. Here's the chart, via Yahoo Finance:
Chart for EnerNOC, Inc. (ENOC)

Solar Thermal: Q&A With Ausra's Founder/Chief Science Officer

In the post immediately below I said "...Anyone who has looked at the technologies knows that solar thermal is the most efficient tech we have to turn sunlight into electricity, benefiting from the ability to generate electricity at night. "...
Here's someone who knows more about the subject than I do. From Scientific American:

The founder and chief scientific officer of Ausra weighs in on the hurdles facing his industry

What technical obstacles currently most curtail the growth of solar power (particularly solar thermal)? What are the prospects for overcoming them in the near future and the longer-term?

The biggest obstacles are ability to scale, long-term reliability and interruptibility due to clouds and the daily solar cycle. Ausra's core technology, the Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) system, is simple and robust. We are optimizing for the lowest cost of energy, not highest technical sophistication. This combination results in the best value to our customers and high reliability.

CLFR uses an array of relatively flat mirrors that reflect sunlight to boil water in elevated tubes, producing steam that drives turbines to generate electricity. CLFR is also the most land-efficient solar technology. By using nearly flat mirrors, water/steam heat transfer, and commodity materials, we are also able to achieve significant cost savings and rapid deployment. Additionally, by using our special reflector geometry, we are able to have a greater density of reflectors in the area and use about half of the ground area of competing technologies. Our systems produce steam for stand-alone, large-scale solar power plants as well as to augment energy output and reduce emissions at existing conventional power plants. The steam can also be used for industrial applications, such as food processing and enhanced oil recovery.

Unlike photovoltaic (PV) or other concentrated solar technologies, which lose output immediately when clouds come over, our technology has 20 to 30 minutes of stored capacity, so it can adjust to weather changes or other factors affecting the electric grid. CLFR hybrid plants (with natural gas boilers) can also provide firm capacity to the grid. We are currently proving our CLFR technology at our five-megawatt demonstration and test facility in Bakersfield, Calif. This is the first of its kind in the U.S. and the first large-scale solar thermal plant to go online in California in nearly 20 years....MORE

RENEWED ENERGY: Solar Seeks Special Place in Climate Bill (Rentseeking to the Fifth)

Just so we know the rules of the game, it's rentseeking raised to the fifth power.

1) Raise the price of electricity via cap and trade.
2) Directly subsidize the purchase of solar panels with a 30% investment tax credit or convertible ITC.
3) Mandate the use of the electricity produced by means of Renewable Portfolio Standards.

4) Feed In Tariff's to guarantee above-market prices paid for the electricity generated.
5) A special carve-out for solar panel manufacturers.

This last bit is just disgusting. Anyone who has looked at the technologies knows that solar thermal is the most efficient tech we have to turn sunlight into electricity, benefiting from the ability to generate electricity at night.

Because this is a political rather than a business/economic issue, we will repost our best observation on rentseeking, below. It is very dangerous to play a game without knowing the rules.

From the Wall Street Journal:
The solar industry, the smallest part of the U.S. renewable-energy sector, is seeking to boost its position through legislation being pushed in the U.S. Congress.

The industry's trade group, the Solar Energy Industries Association, or SEIA, wants Congress to carve out a special place for solar power if the government mandates that a certain amount of electricity come from renewable sources. Companies such as First Solar Inc. (FSLR) are also hoping for a share of the revenue that would be produced if companies were forced to buy allowances for emitting global-warming gases into the atmosphere.

"There are proposals on the table to invest revenues that might be generated from a cap-and-trade system or from an allocation system into renewable energy," Dennis Fitzgibbons, who recently became First Solar's first in-house Washington lobbyist after serving as a chief of staff on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in an interview earlier this month. "How that might be done is a matter of interest."...

...For years, the solar industry has lagged behind wind, because solar panels are relatively expensive. In 2007, solar energy accounted for just 1% of total renewable energy consumption, while wind accounted for 5%.

While state and federal tax incentives have helped, national climate-change legislation holds the potential to put the solar industry on better footing. Under a plan being pushed by Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., utilities would be required to buy electricity from renewable-energy producers at rates above their cost of production. The expense associated with more costly solar energy would be mitigated by handing out to utilities pollution allowances that would be required to buy the electricity...

...The solar industry is also hoping to benefit from a measure that would require as much as 25% of electricity come from renewable sources by 2025. Because of solar energy's expense, a such a policy would tend to bring the most benefit to energies such as wind, unless a special place is carved out for solar.

The SEIA is asking that Congress require 20% of the mandated renewable energy be reserved for distributed generation - an alternative to the big, centralized power plants. As a practical matter, that could lead to solar panels sprouting up in places such as parking lots and rooftops, rather than forming the basis for big generating facilities operated by utilities...MORE

HT: Environmental Capital

The first inductee into the prestigious Climateer "Our Hero" Hall of Fame (posted many, many times):

...This stuff is all political and investors must keep an ear to the political ground or risk tremendous losses. There are only two viable approaches to rentseeking investing and politicians,
buy 'em or play 'em.

We must have the mindset of the first recipient of the prestigious Climateer Investing "Our Hero" award, the 26th Secretary of War and Democrat and Republican (!) Senator from Pennsylvania:
I'll close with my standard quote, from Simon Cameron.
From our post on biofuels, March '07:
Finally for investors in rent-seeking organizations there is the real risk that the politicians will change the rules. Heed the words of Sen. Simon Cameron (R&D!-Pa.):
"The honest politician is one who when he is bought, will stay bought."

Our Hero
Simon Cameron

Akeena Solar: Q1 Revs Light; Q2 Guidance Below Ests And: First Solar Reports After Close (AKNS; FSLR)

Although the bigger event is FSLR's Q1, keeping an eye on AKNS is a shorthand way to follow the installers. AKNS is trading down a penny at $1.09, first Solar is up $8.16, trading at the day's high, $154.82.
From Tech Trader Daily:

Akeena Solar (AKNS) this morning posted Q1 revenue of $7.6 million, well below the Street consensus estimate of $9.2 million. The solar power installation company said that commercial sales remained “weak.” Akeena posted a loss in the quarter of 17 cents a share, one penny worse than expectations.

For Q2, the company sees revenue flat to slightly down compared to the $7.06 million reported a year ago; the Street has been expecting $10.47 million....MORE

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tracking the Swine Flu Outbreak: Tuesday. And: The Swine Flu Index (*RXFLU)

The Tickerspy Swine Flu and Bird Flu Stocks (*RXFLU) :

Today: 0.0%
1-month: +34.3%
All-time: -30.0%
Today vs S&P 500 : +0.4%
1-month vs S&P 500: +29.5%
All-time vs S&P 500: +11.5%

Index Description: These companies all produce or are investigating production of treatments and vaccines for swine flu, bird flu, and other similar flu-like diseases with pandemic potential. Also included are companies that produce flu diagnostic tests.

Index Components

The Wall Street Journal's Health blog was a bit slow out of the blocks but is now putting together a major blog effort on the pandemic:

This live blog will track developments throughout Tuesday related to swine flu, from The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires and other news services. For more coverage of the flu, see the Swine Flu page and the Health Blog. Also, see yesterday’s live blog and track human cases of swine flu with’s interactive map.

To follow this live blog day-to-day, please bookmark:


4:51 p.m.: Ascension Parochial School in Manhattan denies there is a swine flu outbreak. City Hall says Mayor Bloomberg “misspoke, and that there is only one suspected case at Ascension.

4 p.m.: Health officials on Tuesday said they expect the swine flu outbreak to widen in the U.S. beyond the 64 confirmed cases. “I really think we need to be prepared for the worsening of the situation,” said Rear Admiral Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at a Senate subcommittee hearing.

3:47 p.m.: Amy Merrick reports on pharmacy sales after the outbreak: Walgreen and Rite Aid said customers worried about swine flu are snapping up hand sanitizer, face masks and antiviral medications — in some cases causing a scramble to replenish supplies....MORE

Swine Flu: Live Blogging CDC’s Tuesday Call

Bearish Speculation on Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (POT)

From Schaeffers Trading Floor blog:
As Nick noted earlier, Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (POT) was targeted by a wave of put buying on Monday. During the course of the session, option traders on the International Securities Exchange (ISE) bought to open 1,382 puts, compared to 132 calls.

POT price chartYesterday's bearish bias stands in contrast to recent activity on the ISE, where POT has garnered a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 1.44. However, short-term option players are firmly aligned in the skeptics' camp, as the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) checks in at 1.26, just 1 percentage point from a new 52-week high....MORE

(DCCC Chairman) Van Hollen: "Climate bill could wait "

Update below.
From The Hill:

The House may not vote on a climate change bill this year, according to a high-ranking Democratic leader.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told The Hill on Monday that leaders could opt not to bring a climate measure to the floor if the bill has little chance of passing the Senate.
Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), had previously indicated they would pass a climate bill through the House by the August congressional recess.

The competing allegiances of Van Hollen — charged with leading Democrats into what is arguably their most challenging election cycle since 1994 and serving as a policy hand to Pelosi — were on display during his interview with The Hill.

Van Hollen, 50, became the highest-ranking House Democrat to say that even if an agreement is reached, the House may not vote on a cap-and-trade bill if the bill appears to have little hope of clearing the upper chamber.

“The first thing we need to do is see whether we can come together around a consensus position in the committees in the House, and that’s what we’re working on. And then, of course, if we were able to arrive at that, the question is whether you would take it to the floor, or do you wait to see if anything develops on the Senate side,” Van Hollen said.

“The chances of doing cap-and-trade in the Senate are much more difficult. We recognize that,” he added.

For a Democratic Caucus that has made the enactment of climate change legislation one of its highest priorities — Pelosi has called climate change the issue of her generation — the admission from a Democratic leader that the House may not vote on a long-awaited but controversial cap-and-trade bill this year is significant....MORE
From Greenwire via the New York Times:

House Democrats 'moving ahead' on climate bill, majority leader says

House Democrats will not abandon plans to pass global warming and energy legislation this year despite concerns that similar proposals may fail to win the 60 votes needed for Senate approval, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said today.

"I think we're moving on parallel tracks," the Maryland Democrat told reporters during his weekly briefing in the Capitol. "I don't want to imply that we're waiting for the Senate to act, because that would not be accurate."

He added, "We're moving ahead. We're trying to address this issue. It's a priority for the president. It's a priority for the speaker."...

...But another House Democratic leader raised the prospect this week of delaying floor action because of the Senate's obvious difficulty in moving legislation.

"The first thing we need to do is see whether we can come together around a consensus position in the committees in the House, and that's what we're working on," Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, who leads House Democrats' 2010 campaign operations, told The Hill newspaper in remarks published today. "And then, of course, if we were about to arrive at that, the question is whether you would take it to the floor, or do you wait to see if anything develops on the Senate side?"

"The chances of doing cap and trade in the Senate are much more difficult," Van Hollen added. "We recognize that."

Van Hollen's read on the Senate vote count mirrors comments from Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois earlier this month. Durbin said Democrats do not have 60 votes on global warming legislation, an acknowledgment of opposition from both Republicans and more than a dozen of his own moderate and conservative Democrats....

Update--from Environmental Capital:
Specter: What Will Pa. Senator’s Defection Mean for Climate Legislation?
Now that Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter has switched parties, Democrats can almost taste the filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate, pending (still) Al Franken’s eventual victory in Minnesota.

Getting 60 votes is crucial for all sorts of big-ticket legislation—especially climate change. But Sen. Specter’s support won’t come free.

Hailing from a coal-rich manufacturing state, Sen. Specter is especially sensitive to two issues when it comes to energy and environmental policy: American jobs and the future of coal.

Both in his own efforts—he co-sponsored climate-change legislation in 2007—and in dealing with others’, he’s made clear that his support is contingent on taking care of the folks back home, understandably enough. But that’s not necessarily what environmentalists—or many in the Democratic party – want to hear. Granted, that tune might change, if he faces the prospect of winning over Democratic voters in 2010—but it’s what he’s been dancing to so far.

Take coal....MORE

Oil, Metals, Hogs Drop on Outlook for Demand After Swine Flu

Monday morning I was asked why I had posted so many swine flu links over the weekend. The short answer is: "Because it could affect everything*, including every market".
Here are just a few, commodities, from Bloomberg:
Crude oil, industrial metals and hog futures dropped for a second day on speculation a global outbreak of swine flu will derail efforts to shore up economies, curbing demand for raw materials.

Hogs fell in Chicago trading on expectations that pork consumption will sag. Copper, aluminum and other metals retreated in London on the prospects for economic growth and crude oil weakened in New York on the outlook for air travel.

“It’s a worry about the global economy and demand,” said Charles Kernot, a commodities analyst at London-based Evolution Securities Ltd. “If it’s affected by the swine flu, stocks will build up and prices will fall. People are hedging their positions a bit, just in case it turns into a pandemic.”

The swine flu outbreak, which the World Health Organization says is no longer containable, threatens to end the 8.2 percent rally in commodity prices that began in March. Copper demand was already forecast by Macquarie Group Ltd. to shrink the most since 1975, while the International Energy Agency expects the first back-to-back drop in annual oil demand since 1983....MORE

*From "Grid: "Yeah but have you planned for this, Mr. Risk Modeler?"':

Last March, I began the post "Markets: I Scream, Triple Dip" by saying:

Among other duties (coffee A.M, turn out lights P.M.) I think of likely (and more importantly, unlikely) scenarios of where the markets might be heading....
Everybody starts with the basics, Tokyo earthquake, flu pandemic etc. but now it looks like it's back to the old algorithm....

Scantily clad animal-rights activists protest in Philippine zoo

Because of the late start, we'll go straight to market moving news. (right after this)
From ABS-CBN News:

In a bold campaign to help unhealthy animals at the Manila Zoo, four sexy animal rights group staffers willingly bared their skin on Tuesday to spread awareness about the ills of keeping animals in captivity.

Clad only in skimpy black bikinis and large, heart-shaped signs saying "Have a Heart, Boycott the Zoo", People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) volunteers Katrina Lugarkos, Leonika Recites, and Ashley Fruno stood in front of the zoo in the glaring noontime heat, giving out leaflets to passersby.

"We need to do what it takes to get people to pay attention, and if it means showing some skin, that's what we'll do. We think it's important to raise awareness on a very serious issue, and we thought using a fun, attention-grabbing way would be the best way to draw attention to the issue of these suffering animals in Manila Zoo," said Rochelle Regodon, PETA campaign manager....MORE

From GMA News:

PETA protest vs zoo draws huge crowd

...The Manila Zoo management argued that it has a team of experts that look after the animals’ welfare and that they are not doing anything illegal.

“Most of the animals were donated, mga inabandona. Ang purpose ng Manila Zoo is to educate the children. Sila (protesters), education ba ginagawa nila? Ang maghubad sa mga bata? Immorality iyon," said Dr. Agerico Sebation, one of Manila Zoo’s zoologists.

From the Spokane Spokesman-Review:

Filipino children look as scantily clad members of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, hold a protest in front of Manila’s Zoo, Philippines on Tuesday. The group is calling for a boycott of Manila Zoo for making animals live like prisoners behind bars. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Grid: Ultra-High Voltage Set to Go the Distance

For gridiots like me, reporting like this gets all kinds of mental gears turning.
From the Wall Street Journal:

UHV lines may be ideal for bringing electricity from remote areas. All eyes are on a big test in China.
China wants to use melting snow on the Tibetan Plateau to power neon lights more than a thousand miles away in Shanghai. And to make that vision a reality, it is dusting off a 40-year-old technology for moving electricity -- ultra-high-voltage power lines....
...UHV lines can not only carry more electricity than regular lines but also move it vast distances with less loss of power. That makes UHV ideal for bringing electricity from remote areas, such as hydropower projects in the foothills of the Himalayas, to China's eastern urban centers.

A number of countries gave the idea a test run decades ago, but improved technology has made it a lot more practical -- and attractive. Now China is betting that UHV can solve its massive energy dilemma. Most of the nation's resources, such as coal and hydropower, are located far from the booming cities that need electricity most. And trucking coal across the country, or building more power plants near cities, would make China's pollution even worse....

...Conventional transmission lines, which use alternating current, can carry up to 500 kilovolts of energy from power plants to substations for distribution. But they're limited in how far they can transmit power, typically up to about 530 miles. And they lose a significant amount of power -- about 7% of capacity -- in transit, requiring power plants to produce more electricity than is used....

...China currently has only one functioning UHV line, a 1,000-kilovolt AC pilot project that represents the highest-voltage system operating commercially anywhere in the world. The line connects two big power grids: one in Shanxi province in northern China, which relies heavily on coal-powered plants, and another in the central province of Hubei, which has abundant hydropower resources, including the Three Gorges dam, the world's biggest. The line enables power to be transferred between the grids whenever there is a shortfall in supply....MORE

Two companies that are almost guaranteed to be involved are Quanta Services (PWR) and General Cable (BGC).

Venture capital firm set to reap rewards on swine flu

From Reuters:
The swine flu outbreak is likely to benefit one of the most prolific and successful venture capital firms in the United States: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Thomson Reuters Private Equity Week reported on Friday.

Shares of the two public companies in the firm's portfolio of eight Pandemic and Bio Defense companies -- BioCryst Pharmaceuticals and Novavax -- jumped Friday on news that the swine flu killed a reported 60 people in Mexico and has infected people in the United States.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the virus appears to be susceptible to Roche's flu drug Tamiflu, also known as oseltamivir, but not to older flu drugs such as amantadine.

Roche said it has five million treatment courses of Tamiflu on stand-by for the WHO in its "Rapid Response Stockpile."

"Roche was contacted by the WHO and is prepared to immediately deploy the stockpile if requested. However, this request has not been made at this time," Roche spokesman Terry Hurley said.

Shares of Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG closed up 3.48 percent after falling sharply earlier in the week on a cancer drug disappointment, while shares of U.S. biotechnology company Gilead Sciences Inc, which gets royalties from Roche on Tamiflu sales, slipped 10 cents to $45.80 on Friday.

Shares of BioCryst, a maker of drugs that block key enzymes in viral diseases, jumped more than 26 percent on Friday to $2.21 per share. Viral vaccine maker Novavax rose more than 75 percent to $1.42 per share.

BioCryst CEO John Stonehouse said his company does not anticipate the use of its technology in treating this episode of swine flu....MORE

No need to worry anyone, but…. (WHO May Raise Pandemic Threat Level)

The first half of the headline is from FT Alphaville, the second from ScienceInsider:

The World Health Organization (WHO) is expected to raise the pandemic threat level of the current swine flu outbreak within an hour.

The Geneva-based organization planned to convene its Emergency Committee, called under the rules of the International Health Regulations, on Tuesday to reevaluate the threat level but bumped it up 1 day.

According to WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl, the committee is considering raising the pandemic threat level to 4 or 5. A change in the pandemic threat level "is not guaranteed," he said, "but there is a good likelihood something will happen."...

Alphaville relays the WHO graphic and a comment:


...Now, we suspect that equity markets have not quite grasped the seriousness of this situation. For example the World Bank estimated in 2008 that a flu pandemic - ie full-on Level 6 - could cost $3,000bn and result in a near 5 per cent drop in global GDP....MORE

Startups Need Bridge Capital, Not Bailouts

Heh! Great minds and all that.
[modest aren't we -ed]
From BusinessWeek:

There has been much discussion over whether the government's bailout money was well spent. Of particular interest to the venture capital community is the idea that—rather than spending billions of dollars on such banks as Citigroup (C) and Bank of America (BAC) and on automakers, including General Motors (GM)—Uncle Sam should invest in Silicon Valley-style innovation. The argument goes that the government could give a chunk of cash to venture capital firms to invest in the most promising startups. If those companies make it big, everyone wins.

It's a seductive idea on the face of it. And yes, funding entrepreneurship and innovation is a great way to create jobs. That said, injecting billions of dollars more into early-stage investments is not the way to go, in our humble opinion...

...Not a Venture Capital Bailout
In return, the government would benefit from any future success of those companies, just as investors in venture capital funds do. We propose that the government be given preference over existing investors when it comes to the fund's future returns. We also recommend that the individual companies taking advantage of the program offer the government warrants equal to 10% of the original loan amount—or, to put this another way, offer it the opportunity to buy a future additional equity stake at an agreed price. This ensures that a win for any of those companies also translates into a win for the government, whose loan guarantee will have made their success possible....MORE
*Compare with last Wednesday's "Federal Funding May Be First And Last Resort For Cleantech. And: Milken on Capital Structure":
...I personally believe that any assistance to VC's is repugnant. If there is to be such assistance the American taxpayer should participate in any upside to the same extent that other investors do, or perhaps more so, if the govvy guarantee is what makes the whole thing happen....

Soros pushes Powerspan to $50M for carbon capture

From VentureBeat:
A group of investors, including George Soros, has funneled $50 million into Powerspan, a company that devises ways to remove carbon dioxide from coal plant emissions. The Portsmouth, N.H.-based company says it will use the new money to set up its system at a utility-scale demo plant in Ohio.

Already, Powerspan is implementing its ammonia-based technology at a 120-megawatt demo plant that is slated to be operational by 2012. The company claims it will catch and sequester more than a million metric tons of carbon dioxide at this facility every year.

The processes used to remove carbon dioxide from emissions are extremely expensive — and in this case, capital-intensive. In order to make installation possible, companies involved in carbon sequestration are almost always forced to depend on both venture and government sources of support. That’s why most world governments offer tax credits and other incentives to encourage utilities to adopt this type of technology.

In the U.S., the recent economic stimulus bill has allocated $3.4 billion for research on carbon-based fuels like coal. The Department of Energy is also offering loans to companies looking to commercialize products that clean up these fuel sources. Powerspan says it plans to apply for both the federal grants and loans. And when the time comes to garner DOE support, the company is ahead of the game, having already worked with one of its labs to refine the carbon-capture systems it plans to market.

Powerspan also has the advantage of having friends in high places. George Soros is a name to be reckoned with, certainly. Tenaska Energy, AllianceBernstein, Persimmon Tree Capital, NGEN Partners, Beacon Group, Tremont Group, RockPort Capital Partners, Calvert, Angeleno Group, Fluor Corp. and FirstEnergy also participated in the recent round of financing. Carbon sequestration is one area of cleantech that is just beginning to grow — and considering how hard any money is to come by in the sector these days, $50 million is a pretty impressive head start....

Swine flu: Who actually benefits? - CSFB

See! It's not just me!* [okay, I'm sorry about the profiteering crack -ed].
From Notable calls:
Credit Suisse notes Roche and GSK could see an EPS benefit of ca 0.5% for every incremental
$200M of flu related sales. Roche/Chugai/Gilead are the most likely to benefit (through increased Tamiflu sales) although GSK may also gain (through increased Relenza sales). In the longer-term, companies with pandemic flu vaccine know how may be able to develop a pandemic vaccine, and we may also see an increase in overall influenza vaccines. The main pandemic and seasonal manufacturers are GSK, Sanofi- Aventis and Novartis....
...Notablecalls: OK, let's get something straight - NVAX, HEB, SVA etc. will all run on this swine flu hype but I strongly suggest you don't overstay your welcome in these. Yes, NVAX was a $10+ stock during the bird flu scare but that does NOT mean it will be a $10 stock again when pigs attack.

The real beneficiaries are likely to be the big players like Roche and GSK (GILD to some extent) but the stocks are just too sleepy to have any real actionable upside.

I see GILD up 3 pts early on - come on, this one has a $40+ bln. market cap. Get a grip, people.


*See yesterday's posts:
Trade the Flu! (Headlines at 12:05 a.m. EDT April 27, 2009)
Swine Flu Spreads Panic Over The Web
Swine Flu Links: U.S. Declares Flu Emergency

Solar: Searching for Deeper Pockets

From Dow Jones Clean Technology Insight via the Wall Street Journal:
Amid tight credit and tough market conditions, clean-technology companies without large backers are looking to better-capitalized suitors. This trend became apparent in the solar-power industry over the past few weeks.

"There are a lot of thinly capitalized developers who are struggling to figure out how to develop projects," says Arno Harris, chief executive of Recurrent Energy Inc., who sees that weakness as a buying opportunity.

San Francisco-based Recurrent acquired the solar assets of UPC Energy Group, which will give it a pipeline containing as many as 350 megawatts of potential new projects, 100 megawatts of which Recurrent plans to develop by 2012. One megawatt of power can provide electricity to between 460 and 900 homes depending on the region. The price of the acquisition wasn't disclosed.

Recurrent has a standing financial commitment from Hudson Clean Energy Partners, a private-equity firm in Teaneck, N.J. Hudson already committed $75 million to Recurrent in July 2008.

Act Solar Inc., whose technology boosts the power output of strings of solar panels, turned to National Semiconductor Corp. after terms of venture-capital lending became too onerous.

"We did have very good interest from the venture-capital community," says Andrew Foss, CEO of the Santa Clara, Calif., firm. "But as valuations were shrinking, their term sheets were ever more biting." The price of the Act Solar acquisition wasn't disclosed....MORE

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Trade the Flu! (Headlines at 12:05 a.m. EDT April 27, 2009)

This may be the sickest thing we've posted [other than profiteering from fear of global warming? -ed].
From Reuters:

Drug and vaccine makers on standby over swine flu

...Roche Holding AG's Tamiflu, known generically as oseltamivir, and GlaxoSmithKline Plc's Relenza, or zanamivir, are both recommended drugs for seasonal flu and have been shown to work against viral samples of the new disease....
...Making a vaccine against a new strain of flu takes months and vaccine companies said they were on standby to start the development process as soon as possible.

Leading flu vaccine manufacturers include Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi-Aventis SA, Glaxo, Novartis AG and Baxter International Inc....

And: Finance chiefs, markets keep wary eye on swine flu

From Bloomberg:

Mexico Peso Falls on Concern Swine Flu to Deepen Economic Slump

Russia Suspends Mexican, Some U.S. Meat Imports on Swine Flu

Australia, NZ Dollars Drop on Swine Flu, Recession Concerns

From the Washington Post:

Oil falls over 2 percent on flu fears

From Wang's Happy Trading:

Pandemic Plays

In the short term, we can be sure that travel will decrease. This means SELL the stock of airline companies. DAL, CAL, etc.

...Also, parts of the world with severe outbreaks will lose their tourism economy. Right now, Mexico is the center of the flu outbreak. The ETF for Mexico is EWW. We can expect EWW to decline relative to other regional ETF’s....

...Companies making influenza vaccines and antiviral agents will see buying interest. The Chinese biotech company SVA looks especially attractive as a pandemic play. Plays on antivirals are GSK and RHHBY. Good luck, and stay well....

From CNBC:

Asian Pharmas Rally on Flu Worries, Airlines Sink
From ClusterStock:

How To Trade The Swine Flu Pandemic

...Basically: go long face masks and short related developing countries.

In terms of buying opportunities, Helmsman’s Parry was advising his clients Monday morning in Asia to “break out the old SARS list of names that make face masks” for some short-term momentum, such as Japanese Hogy Medical (TYO:3593).

But the most likely securities to feel selling pressure are the emerging market ETFs. During the SARS crisis, U.S.-listed ETFs such as iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM), Vanguard Emerging Markets ETF (VWO), and Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets Domestic fund (EDD) were not yet thought up. Swine flu may pose the first serious challenge to these recently listed ETFs’ growth prospects....

And From Business Insider:
Swine Flu Stocks (BCRX, GILD, NVAX, NNVC, SVA)

From Bronte Capital:

Biota - a wild speculation
Biota is an Australian listed company. It has a share in a drug that cures influenza and almost certainly works on swine flu. The stock went about 60% today.

The drug (Relenza) is a true wonder except that it has several features that make it very difficult to market....
From: Midas Oracle:

Swine Flu Prediction Markets

will there be confirmed cases of swine flu on every continent by july 1?
From BioHealth Investor:
Swine Flu Treatment Stockpiles Released by CDC/DHS (RHHBY, GSK)