No better way to get your mind off losing your shirt in the stock market than going to see a movie about a virus pandemic that wipes out a goodly portion of the world's population, including Gwneyth Paltrow in the first 5 minutes of digital celluloid. (Minute 5.01 - Can I get my money back?).
Scientists race to find the problem and then a cure as civilized society begins to fray and collapse. The movie is fiction, but is shot in a documentary style. There are echoes of real events like the SARs virus, the London riots and the post-Katrina chaos.
"Contagion" is chock full of appealing but cliched stock characters: cheating blonde wives; devoted husbands; cute children; devoted public health doctors; scheming wiki-leaks-type bloggers; officious Homeland security officers; unscrupulous hedge fund operators; unruly rioters; and behind the scenes, powerful Congressmen ready to call a public hearing when anyone stumbles.
I'd give "Contagion" about a B-/C grade as a movie, about where I'd put the original "Wall Street" movie. But like "Wall Street", I think I'll remember the movie for a long time for its themes andbroad brush characters.
In the short run, I'll think twice before I eat Chinese. I'll be washing my hands regularly, maybe with an anti-bacterial soap. I'll be getting my flu shot early. And if my Congressman wants to disband the Center for Disease Control, I'll demand that he give up his taxpayer-paid health plan.
Investment spin: "Contagion" is a Time-Warner production. It earned about $14 million last week for a total take of $44 million.
My check of the local supermarket's shelves found anti-bacterial soaps branded by Dial, Purell and Lysol. (For what its worth, a 2006 Emory University study showed that washing with water worked better than the chemicals.)
I checked the Center for Disease Control's list of approved flu vaccines for this year. Their manufacturers are listed below. You can run the metrics on them.
Just my opinion.
PE, ttm = 12.46
Price / book = 0.99
Return on Equity = 7.94%
Health care products - two of these are foreign with multiple Pink Sheet Listings. You'll need to check 'em out.
Lysol hand soap
Reckitt-Benckiser Group --- RBGPY.PK - ADR
Price = $9.69
Yield = 3.6%
PE, ttm = ~14
Price / book = 4.3
Return on Equity = 32%
Dial Antibacterial Soap
Henkell AG -- HENKY.PK
Price = $41.56
Yield = 1.7%
PE, ttm = 10.65
Price book = 1.78
Return on Equity = 16.2%
Purell - Private to PFE to JNJ to Private
Johnson & Johnson --- JNJ
Price = $61.92
PE = 14.8
Price book = 2.78
Return on Equity = 20.2%
Approved flu vaccine makers, 2011
Novartis - NVS
GlaxoSmithKline - GSK
CSL Biotherapies - CSL Limited - CSL on the ASX
MedImmune - AstraZeneca - AZN