Of Mammoths, Mega-Mergers and Mar-a-Lago

This week, the market was dominated by … politics.

Now, if that proclamation is getting old, I recommend you just get used to it. Politics — and specifically the fate of President Trump’s pro-growth, lower-regulation, lower-tax agenda — continue to dominate the market zeitgeist.

And like it or not, there is no getting around the fact that as Trump’s agenda goes, so too goes the market.

Yet today, I want to depart a bit from the Trump fare and take you on a quick tour of some of the stories I found intriguing, and potentially investable, from an Uncommon Wisdom sort of way.

First off, as you may know, I’m a science and science-fiction kind of guy. I love intriguing possibilities that are on the forefront of scientific exploration.

I love this not just as an intellectual exercise, but also as it applies to possible investment opportunities. Well, this morning I saw one, literally mammoth-sized story, of just that sort.

Image credit: wikimedia

Rise of the ‘Mammophant’

A story in the UK’s The Guardian reported that the extinct woolly mammoth could actually be brought back to life … sort of.

Harvard University scientists say they are just two years away from creating a hybrid embryo, in which mammoth traits would be programmed into an Asian elephant.

But how do you create this “mammophant,” as the creature is being called? You do so by splicing preserved mammoth genes into the elephant DNA using a “Crispr,” which is a powerful gene-editing tool.

Now, if you think this is the beginning of a Michael Crichton novel, well, it sure does sound like that. But this is real, and something to watch as an investor.

The idea of gene splicing, medical genomics and gene therapy to treat disease is a burgeoning medical field. And if projects like the mammophant one at Harvard are successful, it will almost certainly help researchers dig into DNA for answers to human problems.

A Hostile Food Takeover

On Friday, Kraft Heinz (KHC) announced a proposed $143 billion merger with Unilever (UL). The deal would be one of the biggest ever, but it’s not big enough for UL.

In statement on the Kraft proposal, Unilever said the offer had basically undervalued the company.

Here’s the direct quote from the UL statement, as it appeared at CNBC:

“Unilever rejected the proposal as it sees no merit, either financial or strategic, for Unilever’s shareholders. Unilever does not see the basis for any further discussions.”

While this rejection seems pretty straight-up, Wall Street is betting a deal takes place. UL shares surged nearly 14% Friday while KHC shares were up about 11%.

Making the Case at Mar-a-Lago

I know I said we’d depart from the Trump fare for a moment. But since it’s such a dominant subject, and since it is literally so close to our Uncommon Wisdom Daily offices, I thought I’d return to the subject to close out the week.

On Saturday, the president will hold a rally at the Orlando-Melbourne International Airport. Presumably this rally is to whip up support for his administration, and to ostensibly celebrate the accomplishments the president has made in his first month in office.

Yet as I write this, President Trump has just landed at the Palm Beach International Airport. That’s really close to where I am right now.

In fact, Trump’s home away from the White House, his opulent Mar-a-Lago resort, is close enough for me to go have a quick lunch (although I haven’t actually done this).

So, from Mar-a-Lago to Melbourne, the president will be rallying his supportive troops, much like he did during the campaign.

Yet campaign-style stops in the first month in office are quite different than anything we’ve seen from other presidents in recent memory.

But then again, so is the near-13% jump in the Dow Jones Industrial Average since Election Day.

Have a wonderful week.

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If you would like to comment on this issue, or any of the issues we cover in the Afternoon Edition, all you have to do is leave me a comment on our website or send me an e-mail.

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The Dow notched its seventh-straight day of gains after spending most of the day just below the flat line. It got a boost from Boeing (BA), which gained 1.1% after President Trump visited its Charleston, S.C., facility on his way to Florida. Trump hinted that BA could soon see more plane purchases from the government. This helped nudge the Industrials 4 points (0.02%) higher.

• U.S. and Canadian employers can now post job openings to Facebook (FB). Mark Zuckerberg’s platform makes it easy to apply from the site or app, as it pre-populates the application with the user’s available work history. Unlike LinkedIn (LNKD), employers can post job ads on FB at no cost.

• UnitedHealth Group (UNH) shares fell 3.7% after the Justice Department said it is joining a lawsuit against the insurer. UNH denies the claim that it overcharged Medicare by hundreds of millions of dollars.

• Household debt nears record levels: A New York Fed report says American’s debt increased $460 billion to $12.6 trillion in 2016. That’s across all categories that it measures — home, student and auto loans as well as credit cards. Debt hit a record $12.7 trillion in 2008, a level we could see again in 2017 at the current growth rate.

Good luck and happy investing,

Brad Hoppmann
Publisher
Uncommon Wisdom Daily

Your thoughts on “Of Mammoths, Mega-Mergers and Mar-a-Lago”

  1. I think the Trump Administration should embrace Renewable energy. It is a HUGE employer. Far more than coal, fracking or Oil.

  2. It’s not ALL about money……Greed and corruption will be the downfall of mankind.
    I would rather enjoy clean water, clean air and a beautiful garden.

    This so-called president and his cronies are out to sabbotage the earth….it is the only place we have to live. The environment means nothing.

  3. So what’s there to celebrate? He’s done nothing to restrain spending or the growth of the leviathan. It’s all pompous boisterous showmanship and no substance.

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