According to The Wall Street Journals "Heard on the Street" column, pet stocks, like VCA Antech (WOOF) and Idexx (IDXX), can endure tough mkts. This year, veterinary spending is expected to grow 7.9%, making up about 1/4 of the projected $38.4bn in total pet-industry spending. Over the past 30y, vet spending has been rising at about 6.6% a year, more than double the growth rates of GDP and general consumer expenditures, according to research by Ryan Daniels, of William Blair. Spending on pet medical care "is less discretionary than general consumer spending," says Mr. Daniels, who covers specialty health-care co's and cites the animal health-care sector as among his favorites.
The WSJ reports, citing ppl familiar with the matter, that Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) last night appeared close to purchasing a stable of household consumer brands from Pfizer (PFE) for about $16bn. Other suitors include Reckitt Benckiser and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
According to the NY Times, Phelps Dodge (PD) agreed to acquire two of the biggest nickel miners last night in a huge deal worth $40bn. The deal, for Inco (N) and Falconbridge (FAL), would create a mining behemoth that will reshape the industry as commodity prices continue to soar.