We attended ASCO 2019. ASCO is the American Society of Clinical Oncology. ASCO hosts, next to many other activities around oncology, an annual meeting.
This meeting provides clinical updates and educational sessions for oncologists, nurses, researchers and everybody interested in oncology from around the world. The 2019 meeting hosted more than 40’000 participants, an increase of ca. 30% over the last 7 years. The growth of participants indicates the level of innovation and investments which flow into the sector. These aspects stayed the same compared to previous years. However, a lot of other things have changed in 2019.
In April, Healthcare rebounded after a subdued Q1, with the MSCI World Healthcare NR Index gaining 3.8% during the month. The MSCI World NR Index increased 4.7%. Re-opening/cyclical sectors suffered a temporary sharp selloff during the month. 10-year Treasury yields also backed down (from a peak of 1.74% at March-end to 1.64% today), potentially indicating some risk that it is too early to sound the all-clear on COVID-19.
Global equity markets remained volatile throughout the month due to news surrounding re-opening of economies, upward moving Treasury rates, fears of new COVID-19 waves and political/medical interfering with AstraZeneca’s vaccine. The MSCI World Healthcare NR Index gained 2.5% in March, while the MSCI World NR Index rose 3.3.
The MSCI World Healthcare NR Index returned -2.7% in February, while the MSCI World NR Index rose 2.6%. During the last week of the month, many sectors took a hit because of rising 10-year Treasury rates (now at their highest levels in a year), enhancing on one hand the attractiveness of bonds vs. Equities and on the other hand propelling cyclical stocks.