Will CVS Health and Walgreens Survive?

Is it the single payer narrative being pushed by Democratic Presidential frontrunners? Is it the Amazon threat via its acquisitions of PillPack and Whole Foods that may displace traditional pharmacies? Is it the drug pricing pressures that are eroding margins and limiting margin expansion over time? Is it the secular decline in the physical footprint storefront retail space that’s hindering foot traffic and off-the-shelf purchases? Regardless of whether or not it’s singularly attributable to one of these factors or the culmination of all the aforementioned factors, CVS Health (CVS) and Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) are being pressured in many different directions. CVS and Walgreens have plummeted by 53% ($113 to $53) and 46% ($97 to $52), respectively from their multi-year highs. Over $110 billion in combined market capitalization has been erased from these two companies. With threats coming from all angles, will these two pharmaceutical supply chain heavyweights be able to not only survive but compete and revive their dominance in the marketplace?

Backdrop and Market Dynamics

The pharmaceutical supply chain cohort, specifically CVS and Walgreens, are simply unable to obtain firm footing in the backdrop of consolidation within the sector, negative legislative undertones, drug pricing pressures, rising insurance costs and a market that has lost patience with these stocks. All of these factors culminate into sub-par growth with a level of uncertainty as this sector continues to face headwinds from multiple directions. Many of the stocks that comprised this cohort presented compelling valuations in a very frothy market. This allure has been a value trap as these stocks continue to be a falling knife. It’s no secret that these companies have been faced with several headwinds that have negatively impacted the growth and the changing marketplace conditions have plagued these stocks. Continue reading "Will CVS Health and Walgreens Survive?"

CVS - Earnings Implosion And Opaque Near-Term

The pharmaceutical supply chain cohort is simply unable to obtain firm footing in the backdrop consolidation within the sector, legislative backdrop, drug pricing pressures, rising insurance costs and a market that has lost patience with these stocks. All of these factors culminate into sub-par growth with a level of uncertainty as this sector continues to face headwinds from multiple directions. Many of the stocks that comprised this cohort presented compelling valuations in a very frothy market. CVS Health (CVS) was one stock that stood out as compelling value sitting, near multi-year lows in December of 2018. During the market rebound in January and February, CVS began to appreciate to new highs moving from $63 in mid-January to $70 in mid-February or an 11% move to the upside. Upon the release of its Q4 earnings, the narrative quickly changed as the transition to growth and Aneta integration is proving to be much slower than investors had anticipated, yielding an opaque situation near term for the stock. CVS has a healthy balance sheet and growing its dividend while seizing partnerships and acquisitions to propel growth into the future. It’s no secret that these companies have been faced with several headwinds that have negatively impacted the growth and the changing marketplace conditions have plagued these stocks. Regardless, until growth is restored and Aneta is fully integrated to yield a fully functional bumper-to-bumper healthcare colossus, the stock remains range bound. However, the long-term picture looks rewarding for value investors as growth initiatives and acquisitions bear fruit.

Market Challenges

The political backdrop has been a major headwind for the entire pharmaceutical supply chain (i.e., drug manufacturers, pharmaceutical wholesalers, and pharmacies/pharmacy benefit managers). Exacerbating the political climate, the drug pricing debate continues to rage on throughout political and social media circles weighing on the sector. This backdrop erodes pricing power and margins of drugs that ultimately move from drug manufacturers to patients with insurers and other middlemen playing roles in the supply chain web. Continue reading "CVS - Earnings Implosion And Opaque Near-Term"

CVS: Successfully Fighting Back to 52-Week Highs

Back in August, I had written an article highlighting the pharmaceutical supply chain cohort, presenting the case that these stocks were inexpensive in a very frothy market. Specifically, I profiled McKesson (MCK), Cardinal Health (CAH), CVS Health (CVS) and Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) and made the case that these stocks presented compelling value investments as all were near multi-year lows. The four companies above have healthy balance sheets and growing dividends while seizing partnerships and acquisitions to propel growth into the future. It’s no secret that these companies have been faced with several headwinds that have negatively impacted the growth and the changing marketplace conditions have plagued these stocks. The political backdrop has been a major headwind for the entire pharmaceutical supply chain (i.e., drug manufacturers, pharmaceutical wholesalers, and pharmacies/pharmacy benefit managers). Exacerbating the political climate, the drug pricing debate continues to rage on throughout political and social media circles weighing on the overarching sector. This backdrop erodes pricing power and margins of drugs that ultimately move from drug manufacturers to patients with insurers and other middlemen playing roles in the supply chain web. In an effort to address these headwinds and restore growth, companies within this cohort have made bold moves such as CVS acquiring Aetna (AET) to form a colossus bumper-to-bumper healthcare company and Cardinal Health shelling out $6.1 billion to acquire Medtronic's Patient Care, Deep Vein Thrombosis and Nutritional Insufficiency business. The overall cohort has been making bold acquisitions, heeding the competitive threats from the likes of Amazon (AMZN), possess great balance sheets, growing dividends, share buyback programs and more often than not posting growth albeit slower growth. These stocks presented value that provided a margin of safety that were largely de-risked considering the multi-year lows. Relative to the frothy market, these stocks were very inexpensive and witnessed a nice resurgence since proposing these stocks as value plays. CVS and Walgreens have retraced their 52-week highs as of late moving from their August lows and posting a 25% ($64 to $80) and 24% ($66 to $82), respectively. Specifically, I’ll be highlighting CVS Health as a continued value play for a long-term investment.

CVS and Aetna Combination

To further boost long-term growth prospects and fend off potential competition, CVS made a move to acquire Aetna and creates the first through-in-through healthcare company, combining CVS's pharmacies and PBM platform with Aetna's insurance business. Collectively, the acquisition is valued at $78 billion between stock and cash. This new CVS will combine its existing pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) and retail pharmacies with the second largest diversified healthcare company. This is a bold and hefty price tag to pay yet may be necessary to compete in the increasingly competitive healthcare space in the face of drug pricing pressures. CVS is making a defensive yet necessary acquisition moving into the future. Continue reading "CVS: Successfully Fighting Back to 52-Week Highs"

Initiating a Position, Generating Income or Lowering Cost Basis - Covered Puts

Noah Kiedrowski - INO.com Contributor - Biotech


Levering cash with options

I’ve written numerous articles on options trading and how one can leverage options over the long-term to mitigate risk, generate income and accentuate returns. Leveraging options to supplement portfolio returns can make a meaningful impact on overall returns, especially over the long-term. Here, I’ll focus on covered puts, covered in the sense that one is backing his option contract with cash on hand. This strategy generates income in the form of a premium that’s received by the option seller. A topic that’s rarely covered is the different objectives or strategies and what to do about shares that are assigned from a covered put contract. Here, I’ll focus on covered puts and discuss the strategy involved before selling a put contract, objectives when engaging in these put options and if/when shares from the contract are assigned. Continue reading "Initiating a Position, Generating Income or Lowering Cost Basis - Covered Puts"

Drugstore Wars: Walgreen Vs. CVS

I hope I'm not dating myself too much, but I remember when the neighborhood chain drugstore was almost a one-stop shop for human needs.

For example, you dropped off your film to get developed. You could get the ointment for that embarrassing itch. You could even get a BLT and some fries. (Not necessarily in that order.)

The BLTs and fries are long gone, but the chain drugstore on the neighborhood corner has continued to evolve and embed itself into our daily lives. And it will continue to do so in an even bigger way going forward.

By far, the two biggest players in the drugstore space are Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) and CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS). If two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water, the remaining third is covered by these two companies. But which stock makes the most sense for your portfolio? Continue reading "Drugstore Wars: Walgreen Vs. CVS"

Article source: http://www.streetauthority.com/node/30454244