We attended the 36th annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference 2018 from January 8th to 11th in San Francisco.
Over the years the conference has developed into the single most important event for healthcare investors and sets the tone for the investment year. A common theme across the presentations and management conversations was the potential dynamics around the US tax system reform in an otherwise normalizing healthcare market environment.
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.