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Moderna Analysis: Inside The Largest Biotech IPO In History

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Source: Motley Fool

Biotech company Moderna just went public last week, raising $604M in what was the largest biotech IPO of all time.

At a price of $23 per share, Moderna [MRNA] sold over 26M shares, putting their valuation at $7.5B. Even though they hit a rough patch shortly after, the IPO is the latest in a string of record-breaking biotech public offerings this year.

Moderna specializes in so-called messenger RNA therapy, which is a form of treatment that uses a patient’s own cells to fight diseases. Assuming Moderna’s medicine works, the world now has “revolutionary” and new treatments for cancer.

So far in 2018, investors have pumped $7.1B into 60 biotech companies this year. That makes 2018 the 2nd biggest year ever for biotech, just behind 2014.

Moderna’s funding history

The other biotech companies that banked on IPOs this year were Solid Biosciences (valuation of $546.4M), ARMA Biosciences ($497.7M), Homology Medicines ($577.3M) and Allogene Therapeutics ($2.2B).

The $7.5B valuation was higher than the $7.1B reached by the company earlier in May 2010 when it raised $125M from Merck. Other investors include Sequoia Capital China, EDBI and ArrowMark Partners.

Moderna was founded in 2010 and was valued at $10.5M by the end of that year.

In the last eight years, the company’s valuation has risen by a whopping 679x. The above chart by Pitchbook shows the astonishing rise in Moderna’s valuation over the years.

In January 2014 Moderna raised $135M at a valuation of $880M and was a unicorn within the next twelve months. Till date the company has raised around $1.7B.

What’s Moderna all about?

As mentioned, Moderna is in early stage development of creating medicine using messenger RNA. In less layman’s terms, this transports genetic information from DNA to body cells enabling the production of proteins to express these genes.

Moderna aims to engineer messenger RNA with patients that have genetic diseases. This will communication with cells and produce potentially life-changing proteins.

As for the stock dropping…

Post-IPO, MRNA lost 19% in the first day of trading, dropping to $18.8 per share.

However, CNBC’s stock expert Jim Cramer wasn’t too worried about the drop, citing the upside of the technology and overall investor bullishness.

“It’s recession-proof at a time when many investors are now worried about a slowdown,” Cramer said. “It’s got an exciting concept and you can argue that messenger-RNA-based medicine could revolutionize health care.”

There are still some concerns raised over investing in Moderna shares. Like several other biotech companies, Moderna is also years away from a marketable product.

So what say we? Well, the WealthLAB verdict says, sure there’s upside. But investors need to have a larger risk appetite to enter this stock.

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Stock Market Turbulence: 4 Ways To Mentally Prepare

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From October 1 to November 23 last year, the NASDAQ fell nearly 14% and the S&P 500 fell 10%.

Ouch!

Then over the last week in November, the S&P 500 rebounded 5%.

Whew!

Then it tumbled again, and wiped out its gain for the whole year.

Feel whipsawed? Sure.  We all do. It’s in our brains. The financial markets are only a few centuries old, but our brains are much older — and they were “built” by evolution, not by Apple or IBM. When fear strikes, as it does during a downturn in the market, our evolved instincts tell us to run, same as we would from a fire, a flood or a predator. Applied to the stock market, our primordial urge is to sell, and preserve what we have.

But that urge is hopelessly wrong.  It’s a false alarm, and a disastrous “choice” that can dwarf your portfolio forever. Both naïve and ostensibly savvy investors alike may obey that primitive instinct, cash out their portfolios with sighs of relief, and live to rue their decision. The day will come when the market comes roaring back, making new highs, as they cling to the proceeds of unwise sales, wondering when to buy back in — usually too late.  There’s a very expensive lesson in this: the people on the other side of those trades were wiser.

In Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes, Gary Belsky and Thomas Gilovich relate the cautionary tale of a broker’s experience in the 1987 stock market turbulence.  Over a hundred young clients called to sell all or part of their portfolio, hoping to stanch the bleeding. But two old hands over 80 called to buy. Experience beats intelligence.

How can we still our throbbing hearts as markets reverse or even tank, so we don’t sell in haste and regret it during the next market boom? Use the cultural wisdom already downloaded into your consciousness to mentally prepare for stock market reversals:

1. Listen to FDR.

“The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself,” Franklin Delano Roosevelt said in his 1933 inaugural address. FDR was speaking to the nation about The Great Depression, then at its depth after the 1929 stock market turbulence. Master politician, master crowd psychologist, and member of the wealthy elite, FDR knew his history. He knew that prosperity would return in time, as part of the natural ebb and flow of markets and economies — if the sociopolitical consequences of the Great Depression could be held in check.  In 1933, as in any market reversal, fear was his worst enemy.

2. Heed an ancient adage — and Lincoln.

“This too shall pass” is a renowned Persian, Hebrew and Turkish adage often misattributed to the King Solomon in the Bible. According to Sufi poets, the phrase was a passage etched upon a king’s ring. It was there to make him happy if he were sad and, sadly, to caution him that joy, too, is fleeting. But the most compelling recital of the phrase comes from President Abraham Lincoln: “It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: ‘And this, too, shall pass away.’ How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!”

3. Think like a mathematician.

“Invert, always invert,” said the mathematician Carl Jacobi. Mathematical inversion is a favored thinking tool for both Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett. It flips life’s problems up, down, around and backward until the answer presents itself unbidden. Buffett says, “It’s like singing country western songs backward. That way you can get your house back, your auto back, your wife back, and so forth.”

How can inversion be applied to market downturns and crashes? Invert the naïve impulse to sell into an informed decision to buy. Recognize that if you are wise enough to hold onto stocks for the long term, the price anyone would pay for them in a downturn is irrelevant. If you have wisely stored a cash hoard in anticipation of a downturn, you are not obliged to sell stocks in a down market to harvest cash. And because you are free to buy, the stocks are on sale! Buffett teaches: “Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.” But take caution not to buy too soon. Wait until the market bottoms, or in Wall Street parlance, “Don’t  try to catch a falling knife.”

4. Shakespeare was right.

Cowards die many times before their deaths, The valiant … but once,” wrote William Shakespeare. If you fear the market and keep most or all your money in cash or cash equivalents, inflation will, in the fullness of time, destroy your cash hoard. It’s financial death by a thousand inflationary cuts. Though the nominal two percent inflation rate is hardly noticeable day to day or even year to year, compounded over six decades, a dollar is only worth a dime.

If you are wise enough to invest, not play the market or buy and sell, but be brave and hold a steady course through storms and routs, diversified and shielded from taxes in a retirement account, you will find yourself a hero at retirement.  And, moreover, to your survivors when you are gone.

This article originally appeared on ValueWalk. Follow ValueWalk on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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Investing In Stocks: 5 Rookie Mistakes To Avoid At ALL COSTS

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There’s something about capital markets that captivates everyone: Some think stocks are an easy way to make a quick score. Others, on other hand, liken stock to gambling.

And then there are some who just don’t have a clue about stocks at all.

(Fret not, #WealthGANG, we’re here to serve!)

But why is the stock market so fascinating? What causes people to be completely overawed by it?

Despite the many myths, it is extremely easy to trade in the markets; you can actually get started on your smartphone for less than $10.

But to trade stocks successfully? Now that’s another story—despite what those in-their-20s Instagram crypto money managers and scammers want to tell you.

For all the myths, biases, (mis)beliefs and misconceptions, you can still hedge your bets by following a disciplined blueprint. In this case here, we will share with you what not to do.

Here are X common investor mistakes to avoid at all times.

Mistake #1: Thinking you can make a quick buck from Wall Street

This is probably the single biggest misconception about the stock market. Investor legends like Warren Buffett always maintain you need to invest over a long-term horizon to book big profits.

And even if you have stories like the ‘Teenage Bitcoin Millionaire,’ trust us on this one! They’re the exception, not the rule.

Mistake #2: Investing on impulse

Many investors jump into trading based on hype—kinda like Bitcoin, which surged to record highs in December before losing billions of dollars since, sometimes in 24-hour periods.

In other words, decision to enter the stock market’s based on an impulse. There’s no proper entry strategy and no exit strategy.

This is not how an investment decision should be made. Every investor should realize that investing in the stock market is a long-term play—it’s definitely NOT a get-rich-quick scheme.

“Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas.”

-Paul Samuelson

Mistake #3: Following the hot tip! 

Investors are all on the lookout for hot leads and stock market tips. But in reality, there aren’t any. This mistake is exactly how the “Wolf of Wall Street”got people onboard with his schemes.

Even if someone does have a hot tip, you have to watch out for human nature: People may skew positively towards stocks they own—and negatively towards the ones they don’t.

The reality is this: There are qualified analysts who spend all day researching market trends and metrics.

Investment managers and brokers then share these analyses with premium clients. Much more credible info, yes. However even after receiving this analysis, there is no guarantee the investor will see an ROI.

Warren Buffett is a firm believer that investors can grow wealth by just replicating the indices instead of looking for multi-baggers and stocks that are expected to crush the market.

“If stock market experts were so expert, they would be buying stock, not selling advice.”
Norman Ralph Augustine

Mistake #4: “Buy/Sell Strategy”

This is probably the biggest misconception of all. Many investors, impulsively, end up buying a stock just because they see the price surging. (Again, think Bitcoin in December.)

As the price continue to climb, they’ll sell the stock and make a huge profit. The so-called Buy-Hold-Sell Strategy

But that is not how the stock market works. (Buffett’s mantra is buy-hold-and don’t watch too closely.)

If you do buy a stock, hold it for some time and then sell…you don’t have any guarantees the stock will rise.

A better play—aside from Buffett’s, obviously—is the borderline cliched “Buy Low/Sell High” strategy. In this strategy, an investor buys a stock on the downslide instead of when the price is rising.

All the investor has to do is hold the stock until a price correction occurs. If the stock is fundamentally strong, the price will increase. This will be the time to sell it off and earn a profit.

“I will tell you how to become rich. Close the doors. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.” — Warren Buffett 

Mistake #5: No clear investment objective

Every investor should define, clearly, what his or her investment goals are.

The rule of thumb of investing is the higher the risk, the higher the return. So if the market return is less, then—needless to say—the risk involved is deemed less.

There are two forms of securities, generally: Stocks (equity) and bonds (debt).

Stocks

Equity stocks tend to have higher risks associated with them. However, there is a tremendous potential to earn capital gains from equity shares—but with the caveat that you should be prepared to lose your investment

Bonds

Bonds and fixed income instruments are relatively less risky than equity shares. They offer periodic returns in the form of interest but are still prone to market risk.

A short-term investor looking for minimal risk is better off buying treasury bills and government securities.

Whether it’s cashing out on tech stocks with high upside or just collecting tax-free yield from municipal bonds, your investments should be in line with your objective.

“You get recessions, you have stock market declines. If you don’t understand that’s going to happen, then you’re not ready, you won’t do well in the markets.” — Peter Lynch

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10 Stock Terms Every Newbie Investor Should Know

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Investing in the financial markets can seem quite tricky. There are far too many stories where people tried to play the stock market without much success. When the markets are on a roll, everyone wants a piece of the pie.

Here are 10 terms every investor cannot afford to miss.

Market Cap

The market capitalization of a stock is simply the total number of outstanding shares multiplied by the share price of the company. Companies are generally differentiated on the basis of market cap.

Small cap companies generally have a market cap of between $300M and $2B, while mid-caps are between $2B and $10B. Any company with a market cap over $10B is considered a large-cap. While small-cap and mid-cap stocks have historically outperformed large caps, they are also way riskier.

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