On Saturday night I was treated to a performance at the Richard Rogers Theater of Hamilton. It was weird, with a racially mixed cast all dressed in 18th century costumes and uniforms, singing hip-hop, a musical anachronism. I found myself looking forward to the commentary by George III who periodically appeared in his crimson robe and crown, but I realize now that he clicked with me because I can remember Beatlemania from my youth.
A key takeaway from the play: it is a pity that Alexander Hamilton didn’t have a personal lawyer like Trump’s Michael Cohen, who cleans up his messes with money and mistresses. Had there been a Cohen handy Hamilton would not have had to duel over his honesty with Aaron Burr.
Perhaps that is why the theater was packed.. My family group sat on the last row of the highest balcony at seats which were far from cheap. Before the performance and during the intermissions, the lighting man climbed up an down a metal ladder behind my seat. He remarked that his was the most important job in the performance—and indeed he did better than the sound man whose higher notes were drowned out by bass and bangs. Since my daughter has a Yale Drama School degree in lighting design we were all very pleased at this guy’s sense of his own importance.
Anachronisms can be useful. My volunteer work is being made marginally less boring by the fact that the Brazilian-born head of our local Sutton Area Community speaks always of “the Third Avenue” rather than dropping the article. I thought it was a trace of Portuguese but it turns out he is modeling his usage on Henry James’s Washington Square. He also goes to Latin Mass. I will adopt his usage for Third Avenue but not his religion.
The Dow was up on Monday but it may only be a respite. Retail sales are up. Foreign stocks were down as the dollar is listlessly falling against respectable currencies for some reason related to the weak dollar, something Jefferson promoted and Hamilton opposed.
The allegedly “failing” New York Times and New Yorker shared 3 Pulitzer prizes on Monday, on their coverage of sexual harassment and Me-too. This bodes ill for POTUS.
*Ecopetrol is delisting from the NYSE with effect April 27. This appears to be because it ended the line of its Spanish sub on which the EC listing was based. SELL. You don’t want to have to trade in Bogota, Cali, or Medillin! I sold at $21.1238/sh as the stock fell 2% earlier this week. As it is near its year’s high of $22.48 it is a good time to exit. The NYSE has suspended trading with effect from Friday. It also lost altitude because of the oil price falling but we made nearly 30% profit on our holding.
Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare
*Shire Pharma on Monday agreed to sell its oncology business to Servier for the equivalent of $2.4 bn, in part to stop the potential bid for SHPG of Ireland by Japanese Takeda. TKPYY cited its cancer drugs as one reason to bid for Shire. SHPG actually rose on Monday on the news but fell from its opening at $156.2/sh. Invesco of the UK owns 1% of Shire according to a new SEC filing.
*Roche got FDA clearance for its Cobas 6800/8800 CT/NG tests for sexually transmitted disease using urine specimens, swabs, and cervical smears to look for chlamydia, gonorrhea and other sexual plagues with a total time lapse of only 3 hours max if those being tested are in a clinical setting, which they often avoid. Viral load tests for potential donors would help particularly for people without symptoms. [The first tests should be on the two Russian prostitutes who may or may not have pee’d on each other according to in the presence of Donald Trump according to A Higher Loyalty by former FBI director James Comey. We know he doesn’t use condoms from “Stormy Daniels”.