Fear drives a lot of human activity, if not most of it. The current influenza epidemic is a case in point. Experts tell us that the flu is more contagious than the yearly seasonal flu but less dangerous. Nevertheless, people are buying face masks and disinfectants in increasing numbers. In a world where air travel moves viruses around faster we will see more frequent influenza epidemics. For the long term investor investment in disinfectants is a possibility. Also, it is useful to think about obsessive compulsiveness and investment.
In the days of the California Gold Rush it was often said that when others are digging for gold it is best to be selling picks and shovels. Likewise in a world of new flu strains and an international race to produce mega quantities of vaccine for influenza epidemics companies that produce sterilization gear, face masks, and disinfectants are thriving.
Companies such as Johnson and Johnson and much smaller Steris can be good companies to watch for investment in disinfectants and sanitizers. Everyone who makes facemasks will profit not only from the real need to protect against the spread of infection but also the fear factor. Here is where obsessive compulsiveness and investment comes in. We are not talking about the investor being obsessive compulsive, although that happens too. We are talking about the fear driven need to be clean, keep clean, repeatedly wash ones hands, etc. Obsessive compulsiveness and investment makes sense. Everyone needs to be wary of spreading and catching germs. The degree of fear we have for catching disease ranges from dangerous ignorance and not caring to abject fear of not cleaning the entire bathroom in order to wash ones hands.
Whether it is bathroom sanitizers, facemasks, or soapless hand cleaners obsessive compulsiveness and investment comes into play. Who makes the products and what will trigger the compulsion to buy in large quantities? Watching the evening news and talk shows will provide a clue as to what people are thinking of and what they are afraid of. Then you can capitalize on obsessive compulsiveness and investment opportunities.
The flu shot is also a case in point for obsessive compulsiveness and investment. The new A H1N1 flu strain is apparently less dangerous for older persons. The theory is that those over fifty have been infected by enough different flu strains over the years that they have picked up immunity that the younger set does not have. Nevertheless people who have probably already had the new flu will be getting flu shots anyway, driving up sales.
The influenza epidemic will go on for awhile as it is a totally new strain. The danger of this flu epidemic is typically exaggerated by the news media in search of “stories” and “news.” Also, the expected severe cases in this flu epidemic will be brought forward as harbingers of disaster around the corner further increasing obsessive compulsiveness and investment opportunities. It would be interesting to see a chart for sales of disinfectants and flu news. It is likely positive and very strong.
None of this is to downgrade the risk to susceptible individuals from infectious diseases but the highlight the opportunities for investment in disinfectants, obsessive compulsiveness and investment during and after this influenza epidemic.
What scares people is often good investment. These days investment in disinfectants, or the companies that make them, is a good idea.