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Finance: Five emerging leadership stocks

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PHUKET: From a technical standpoint, the stock market is starting to look more and more like a strong bull market rather than another counter-trend rally, but we can’t be absolutely certain the worst is over – especially with earnings season underway, the ever present possibility of another black swan event, like the Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks, and some scheduled uncertainties such as the November US Presidential elections.

However, if the US markets or major market indices can break to new highs, I would expect a continuation of the bull market that would likely see the following stocks become leadership stocks for investors:

Small cap Ligand Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: LGND) is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing or acquiring technologies that help pharmaceutical companies discover and develop medicines.

While the biotech sector has given investors a less than stellar performance lately, Ligand Pharmaceuticals could have an action-packed 2016 with potentially five new product approvals from partners, advancements and expansion of its license portfolio and revenue growth forecasted to be approximately 60 per cent. The company will report Q1 earnings on May 4.

Large cap Broadcom Ltd (NASDAQ: AVGO) is a leading designer, developer and global supplier of a broad range of analog and digital semiconductor connectivity solutions. Last year, Avago bought Broadcom in a blockbuster US$37 billion merger that achieved commanding positions for the merged company in diversified sectors such as wireless, wired infrastructure, industrial markets and enterprise storage. On the negative side, some see the company as having too much debt from the recent merger ($14bn).

Mid cap Elbit Systems Ltd (NASDAQ: ESLT) is an international high technology company headquartered in Israel that is involved in a wide range of defense, homeland security and commercial programs throughout the world. In their March-issued earnings report, they expect further revenue and profit growth this year as the European defense market recovers. The migration crisis and security fears are creating big opportunities for the company, and Asia-Pacific remains strong with defense spending growing sharply in India and Australia.

Small cap Universal Display Corporation – NASDAQ: OLED – is a leading developer and deliverer of state-of-the-art, organic light emitting diode (OLED) technologies, materials and services to the display and lighting industries.

Some analysts have expressed growing excitement over a multi-year capacity expansion by OLED display manufacturers and there has been talk that Apple might move its iPhone to OLED-based screens from the current LCD materials.

On the negative side, Universal Display Corporation would have some over-dependence on mobile handset behemoths Apple and Samsung. Demand from both can be unpredictable and the company has a habit of giving guidance that’s too optimistic and leads to investor disappointment after earnings.

Large cap UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health care company whose UnitedHealthcare division provides health care coverage and benefits services. Its Optum division supplies information and technology-enabled health services. UnitedHealth Group recently surged to an all-time high after the company reported earnings on April 19 following a decision to exit most Obamacare exchanges in 2017.

At the same time, United Health Group is escalating an already aggressive effort to become a nationwide provider of medical care by targeting 75 markets across the country for expansion via its Optum healthcare services unit.

Again, earnings season is underway and there could still be plenty of surprises that either move individual stocks, sectors or the entire market in one direction or the other. Nevertheless, the above five stocks are at least worth having on your stock watchlist as they are potentially emerging as leadership stocks should the markets continue to power higher.

Is there room in your portfolio for the above potential leadership stocks?

Don Freeman, BSME, is president of Freeman Capital Management, a Registered Investment Advisor with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), based in Phuket. He has over 15 years’ experience working with expatriates, specializing in portfolio management, US tax preparation, financial planning and UK pension transfers. Call for a free portfolio review. Don can be reached at 089-970 5795 or email: freemancapital@gmail.com

— Don Freeman

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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