Credit Suisse is out with a "fat" report on obesity. Nearly 200 pages. But besides its size, the research also stands out as one of the most unique pieces of Wall Street analysis I've ever seen.
The firm assembled what it calls the "Obesity Team" made up not just of healthcare analysts, but also a whole bunch of consumer products analysts: 21 people in all.
The result is a comprehensive report that goes way beyond identifying all of the usual suspects in fat-fighting biopharmas for investors. It points out all sorts of somewhat counterintuitive investment ideas that could play a role in the obesity space that the team calls "The Credit Suisse Healthier 15." So, here are the stocks that made the cut:
- Allergan (AGN)
- Healthways (HWAY)
- Merck (MRK)
- Novo Nordisk (NVO)
- Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS)
- Life Time Fitness (LTM)
- Lululemon (LULU)
- Nike (NKE)
- UnderArmour (UA)
- CVS (CVS)
- General Mills (GIS)
- Safeway (SWY)
- Kellogg (K)
(Two companies not listed above are Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLKBF.OK) and Danone (GM:GPDNF).)
Credit Suisse says it has gone so far as to create a basket of 12 of those stocks for investors who "would like to play the healthier living theme." HWAY, LULU and Kuala Lumpur are the three left on the sidelines. But the full report names dozens of healthcare and consumer-related stocks that could benefit from the fight against fat.
The healthcare analysts estimate that the obesity drug and device market will grow from $55 billion this year to $73 billion in 2012. The report points out that worldwide the number of obese or overweight people (1.8 billion) now exceeds the number of underfed people (1.1 billion, according to the Worldwatch Institute). And while the U.S. is believed to be the fattest country in the world, CS says the obese population of China between 2005 and 2015 is expected to explode 347%!
Credit Suisse says the "Obesity Team" report is part of its "New Perspective Series" where "research analysts join together, often times with the help of our equity strategists, to craft in-depth thematic analysis highlighting the issues at hand and the companies poised to benefit." At a time when many firms are cutting back on or cutting out their equities research it looks like Credit Suisse is--at least in this respect--fattening up.