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My Super Bowl Is Next Week

Marc Lichtenfeld
by Marc Lichtenfeld, Chief Income Strategist

A Note From the Editorial Director: Marc Lichtenfeld has been racking up the frequent flier miles lately. In the past few weeks, he's been through Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Then he reported on Portugal's rebounding economy from Lisbon.

And next week he travels to San Francisco for the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. It's a can't-miss event for serious investors in biotech and other healthcare firms, and Marc is one of a small percentage of analysts to score an invite every year.

Perhaps he'll discover the next Celldex Therapeutics (Nasdaq: CLDX), which earned subscribers of Healthcare Profits Alert a tidy 420% gain in less than a year. He'll be reporting here next week on what he learns in Frisco, but his best insights will be reserved for his subscribers.

- Andrew Snyder


For me, the Super Bowl is next week. And it has nothing to do with the fact that my San Diego Chargers somehow sneaked into the NFL playoffs.

In fact, my Super Bowl has nothing to do with football.

You see, for a stock nerd like me, particularly one with an interest in healthcare, my Super Bowl refers to the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.

Every January, a few hundred companies are invited to present to the roughly 8,000 fund managers, analysts and other invitees. It's a tougher ticket to get than the real Super Bowl. Even if you're a millionaire, you can't go on StubHub or call your broker and score a pass to get in.

You basically have to be a big customer or prospect of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) to be invited.

Despite the fact that I do no investment banking or trading with JPMorgan, I have attended the conference every year since 2007.

Party Crashers

What makes it the Super Bowl of healthcare investing is that not only do the few hundred invited presenters and 8,000 invited guests show up in San Francisco, but so do hundreds of party-crashing companies and thousands of uninvited investors, analysts, executives, etc.

Because the conference is so important, companies that are not invited set up shop in hotel suites to meet with investors who are in town for the conference. And because there are so many such companies, uninvited investors show up to meet with these uninvited companies.

It means that the restaurants and hotels are swarming, mostly with men in suits, searching for the next great investment or looking to do a deal. I've seen deals get done standing in line at Starbucks and learned of many investment ideas over a beer or a burger.

In the past, I have met with executives of companies such as Nektar Therapeutics (Nasdaq: NKTR), Celldex Therapeutics (Nasdaq: CLDX) and Astex Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ASTX) - stocks that generated triple-digit wins for subscribers of my Healthcare Profits Alert.

This year, I plan on sitting in on presentations not only of exciting small biotech companies, but of some of the larger dividend-paying pharmaceutical companies. I'm excited to hear what the CEOs have to say, and also to measure the buzz in the room, talk to other investors and see what opportunities still exist.

Dividend stocks have had a big run up and I want to hear more from Big Pharma on prospects for growth and - importantly - cash flow to grow the dividend.

I'll be watching the presentations of some of The Oxford Club's current healthcare recommendations.

A Full Dance Card

Every day is jam-packed with meetings with CEOs, presentations, and drinks and dinners with hedge fund managers.

The best part is that you never know who you're going to meet.

One year, I randomly sat next to a prominent hedge fund manager who invests primarily in biotech. We became fast friends, and he has become a great source of information for me.

Last year, the CEO of a competitor of one of my recommendations sat next to me. We chatted for a while, and my suspicions were confirmed that his company's technology was nowhere near ready to hit the market.

So what does this mean for you?

It means that next week, I'll pass along the hottest stories and trends emerging out of San Francisco. Other than the occasional big announcement by an important company, there is not a lot of media coverage of the conference. So I'll be your eyes on the inside.

The conference also fuels months or even years of ideas that I follow up on and write about in Investment U, The Oxford Communiqué, The Oxford Income Letter and Healthcare Profits Alert.

Importantly, it gives me access to information that is not readily available anywhere else. The company's presentations are usually accessible online. What is not available to the general public are the breakout sessions - the Q-and-A's between investors and management. These sessions are usually private.

This provides me with an inside track on management's comfort addressing certain topics and sometimes even the theater of a confrontation between a short seller and a CEO.

So all this means that as an IU reader, you'll have access to the goings on at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference that will be tough to find anywhere else.

Watch this space next week.

Good investing,

Marc

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