Serwer: Play drugs, not iPod clones
There's no gain in contesting Apple, but two medical outfits look attractive.
NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Okay does ANYONE think the Federal Reserve will do anything except leave interest rates alone this week? And will the price of oil and other commodities continue to plummet? Big deal questions....
REAL NETWORKS: The company coming out with a new player to compete with the iPod. (Working with SanDisk ... which is, I guess, disk free.) Going to be more closely linked to RNWK's Rhapsody online music service. Okay here's the rub, all of these plans to compete with iPod are like tiltin' at a windmill. Ain't going to happen people! Folks like iPods, ain't going to switch to no Zune (MSFT's (Charts) new playa.) So I don't think I would get Real (Charts) right now.
NOVARTIS: Want to focus on a couple of Euro drug stocks for y'all. I heard about this play over the weekend, and then I saw Bloomberg had a story on some of them which reinforced my point. And that point is, these stocks are relatively inexpensive on a historical basis. And no wonder, with all the money that has flowed into oil and commodity stocks, these guys have languished, that may be turning around now, (as energy stocks swoon, the money has to go somewhere.) Anyway, Bloomberg is reporting that these stocks are the cheapest they've been in 16 years. Bloomie points out that Novartis, Europe's Number 3 drugmaker, reported a 4.1 percent gain in in its second quarter as higher sales of its heart and cancer medicine offset costs related to its acquisition of Chiron. "The company said earnings and revenue will probably reach a record this year as it introduces four medicines with sales potential of more than $1 billion each." Stock (Charts) has already moved a bit.
FRESENIUS: Same kind of deal here as with Novartis. Fresenius Medical, based in Bad Homburg, Germany, (they bad!) makes kidney dialysis equipment which sadly is a growth business that does well in any environment. Company raised its earnings forecast for the year. Fresenius bought Renal Care Group recently. This stock has moved too lately. Trades here under the FMS (Charts) ticker.
LOOSE CHANGE: So I know I'm the last person on the planet, but I finally saw "Wicked." Very clever, the ultimate back story. Got me thinking, what other stories could you do this to?..... Only on the Upper West Side: Saw some girls with a lemonade stand, sayin' "Buy our lemonade, only $1 dollar to save Duh-far." Cute... And have you heard the new Ben Vaughn album: "Designs in Music." Very 1960s movie soundtrack. Think Bond.
E-mail Andy Serwer at firstname.lastname@example.org