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10 of The Best Canadian Dividend Stocks to Buy in October

One of the best ways to increase the value of a stock portfolio while protecting it from adverse market movements is to add Canadian dividend stocks. Particularly Canadian Dividend Aristocrats, that will provide income in any market environment. Many…

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One of the best ways to increase the value of a stock portfolio while protecting it from adverse market movements is to add Canadian dividend stocks. Particularly Canadian Dividend Aristocrats, that will provide income in any market environment.

Many investors first learning how to buy stocks in Canada want to know what the best options are today. This is why we decided to make a list of the top ten options in Canada.

This list of top Canadian dividend stocks takes 3 things into consideration

The growth, safety, and current yield of the dividend.

A high yielding income stock may be placed lower on this list due to safety, and a low yielding stock could be placed higher on this list due to the company's dividend growth.

Warning - The best dividend stocks don't always have the highest yield

A mistake that is made time and time again with dividend investors, particularly new ones that haven't been burnt yet, is having tunnel vision on the dividend yield. They ignore the dividend payout ratio or the financial health of the company, and instead chase high yields to generate larger passive income.

Unfortunately for many in early 2020, this strategy resulted in devastating consequences. We witnessed the quickest pace of dividend cuts in history, and many income stocks that were bloated in value due to their high yields saw their share prices collapse.

Chasing yield is one of the biggest and most common mistakes beginners make, and it is imperative you put the quality of the company at the top of your list, rather than how much it will pay you.

Is there an ETF to make dividend investing easier?

Many people who don't have the time to consistently monitor a dividend portfolio want to make their lives easier via an ETF. Fortunately, we have a plethora of them in Canada.

Whether it is Vanguard, Horizons, BMO or iShares, there are a wide variety of dividend ETFs Canadians can choose from to generate passive income in a single click. Some quick examples?

  • Horizons Active CDN Dividend ETF (TSE:HAL)
  • BMO Canadian Dividend ETF (TSE:ZDV)
  • S&P/TSX Canadian Dividend Aristocrats Index Fund (TSE:CDZ)
  • iShares Core S&P/TSX Composite High Dividend Index ETF (TSX:XEI)
  • iShares Canadian Select Dividend Index ETF (TSX:XDV)

It's important to note that these dividend ETFs do come with management fees, and need to be considered prior to purchasing.

If you're looking for the cream of the crop in terms of Canadian dividend stocks, you'll want to read this....

This list doesn't contain any stocks we have highlighted over at Stocktrades Premium on our Dividend Bull List. If you want the true best of the best, click here to get started for free

We highlight market-beating income stocks for over 1800 Canadians, and have nearly tripled the overall returns of the TSX Index since our inception.

We also have a game changing dividend safety screener that can help you make better decisions.

With that being said, lets look at some of the top dividend stocks in Canada right now.

What are the best dividend stocks in Canada?

10. Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS)

In reality, we could litter our top 10 list with Canada’s Big Five banks. They are among the most reliable income stocks in the world.

Lets start with a Canadian dividend stock that focuses on yield.

As of writing, the Bank of Nova Scotia’s (TSX:BNS) 4.5%~ yield is the highest of the Big 5 banks and National Bank.

The Bank of Nova Scotia has grown its dividend every year since 2010, during which time it averaged approximately 6% annual dividend growth. The bank first paid a dividend in 1833 and has never missed a dividend payment since.

It has also raised dividends in 43 of the past 45 years. The 2008 Financial Crisis halted all the dividend growth streaks of Canada’s Big Banks. However, not one cut the dividend. This is in stark contrast to what happened worldwide.

A similar phenomenon is happening today. European Banks have been forced to cut the dividend, and some US banks such as Wells Fargo have also cut in 2020. In Canada, it is steady as it goes.

However, there is one key difference. The Feds have asked Canada’s banks not to raise the dividend during the pandemic. There is no current risk of a dividend cut at the Bank of Nova Scotia, however the company will not maintain its current 10 year dividend growth streak because of the restrictions.

Banks like Royal Bank, Bank of Montreal, and Toronto Dominion Bank raised just prior to the pandemic, so their streaks will stay in tact. CIBC and Scotiabank were not as lucky.

But, don't let this discourage you. The Bank of Nova Scotia is still an excellent option for high yield seekers.

Buying the Big 5 bank that has the highest yield has proven to be a good idea historically, and locking in a yield over 4.5% at a time when the Canadian 10 year bond yield is extremely low is an opportunity too good to pass up.

Scotiabank has been mired in inconsistencies in the past and has struggled to keep up with the other major banks. This is primarily why it is currently the highest yielding. But there are signs the company is quickly turning the corner, and has been one of the best in terms of performance over the last year.

Scotiabank 10 year returns vs the TSX

TSE:BNS VS TSX

9. Magna International (TSE:MG)

Magna

Magna International (TSX:MG) is establishing itself as a strong dividend stock worthy of investors' consideration. It is one of the largest auto parts manufacturers in the world.

Magna supplies car companies with a wide range of parts, including many parts required for the production of electric vehicles and self driving cars. 

This exposure to EV vehicles is what many have overlooked in the past, thinking of Magna only as an archaic automobile parts manufacturer. This couldn't be farther from the truth.

However, auto parts are a cyclical business. To succeed in both navigating the cycles and maintaining a reliable dividend, you need strong management, ones that can build a balance sheet to withstand all economic conditions.

Magna has just that. The company has over a billion in cash and its debt is under 1.3 times its EBITDA at the time of writing.

Not only that, but Magna has proved in 2020 that it has an extremely resilient business.

While Magna suffered a loss in what was a quarter in which peak lockdowns were having significant impact on all companies, it quickly rebounded in the third and fourth quarters of 2020 to post positive net income, and has continued to do so to close out 2021.

With Magna’s exposure to the fast growing electric vehicle industry, the company is well positioned to overcome any market cycles and keep growing its dividend.

Forward estimates of Magna's earnings would lead to its payout ratio being in the sub 25% range.

Given this, Magna can be counted on to keep its dividend growth streak going. The company has a 11-year dividend growth streak and the dividend has grown by mid double digits on an annual basis over the last 5 years.

Magna is also trading at attractive valuations. Despite its recent run up in price, it's trading at under 10 times forward earnings. Which, despite being above historical averages, is a solid price to pay for the company considering its potential growth in the EV market.

Magna International 10 year returns vs the TSX

TSE:MG Vs TSX

8. Alimentation Couche-Tard (TSE:ATD.B)

Couche Tard stock

Alimentation Couche-Tard (TSE:ATD.B) is one of the best Canadian dividend stocks to buy today, yet it doesn't get much attention in the dividend world.

Why is that? Well, we'll get to that in a bit.

With a market cap in excess of $50B, Couche-Tard is one of the largest convenience store operators in the world, and has over 15,000 stores globally.

If you're from Eastern Canada, "Couche-Tard" will be a common name. However, the company tends to run under arguably its most popular brand, Circle K. 

Circle K is truly a global brand, selling gasoline, beverages, food, car wash services, tobacco, and so much more across North America and Europe, but also in countries like China, Egypt and Malesia.

Now that we know what the company does, lets move on to the dividend. Couche-Tard has been growing its dividend at an exceptional rate. In fact, the main reason Couche-Tard is on this list is because of its growth.

With an 11 year dividend growth streak, a 5 year dividend growth rate of over 22% and a payout ratio under 10%, this is a company that is in one of the best positions in the country to fuel dividend growth for investors.

With a yield of less than 1%, it's often overlooked by income seekers. However, we do have to take into consideration overall returns here. And if we do that, Couche-Tard is simply a no brainer.

With this type of dividend growth, its yield can only remain low if one thing is occurring, rapid share appreciation. And, this is 100% the case. In fact, a $10,000 investment in Couche-Tard just a decade ago is now worth over $100,000.

At that point, I don't care about the yield. I'll sell some shares and create my own dividend!

If there's one stock on this list that should make investors reconsider how important yield is to them, it's definitely Couche-Tard. The company is a more established blue-chip play now, so growth won't be as extensive, but it's still got a ton of room.

As a bonus, it's also one of our Foundational Stocks over at Stocktrades Premium. We give 3 of our 10 Foundational Stocks to members who sign up for free today. So, click here to get started!

Couche-Tard 10 year returns vs the TSX

TSE:ATD.B Stock Vs TSX

7. Metro (TSE:MRU)

metro dividend

Metro (TSE:MRU) is one of the largest grocers in the country, and is also one of the most reliable Canadian dividend stocks to own today.

Consumer staple stocks like grocery stores tend to be viewed as "boring" options. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, as growth stocks were out of control, defensive options like Metro were cast aside.

But, as we shift toward reopening and life gets back to normal, it's starting to get more attention, justifiably so.

In terms of dividend, Metro is tied for the 8th longest streak in the country with crude oil producer Imperial Oil and fellow retailer Empire Company. However, one of the clear differentiators between Empire and Metro is Metro's dividend growth.

With a 26 year dividend growth streak, the company also sports double digit 1 and 5 year growth rates. From a company operating in a mature sector like Metro, this is outstanding dividend growth.

With payout ratios in terms of earnings and free cash flows in the mid 20% range as well, this signals that the company shouldn't be slowing this dividend growth pace anytime soon.

The company is not a pure-play grocer either. It entered the pharmacy scene with a major acquisition of Jean Coutu in 2018, and overall it has one of the most dominant presences in Quebec out of all major grocery stores. The province currently holds over 70% of its owned and franchised food and drug stores.

You're not going to knock it out of the park with a company like Metro in terms of capital appreciation. But, you're going to get a reasonable mid 1% dividend yield and likely mid to high single digit growth.

Not every stock inside of your portfolio needs to be flashy. And, if the capital markets do take a hit like we witnessed in 2020, shareholders will be thankful, as its share price was largely unaffected.

Metro 10 year returns vs the TSX

TSE:MRU Vs TSX Index

6. Canadian Apartments REIT (TSE:CAR.UN)

canadian apartment properties reit

Canadian Apartments REIT (TSE:CAR.UN) is one of the largest residential real estate trusts in the country.

The trust has a dominant presence in the sector and is one of the most popular REITs in Canada.

You might be saying right now "well I'm not looking for the top REITs, I'm looking for the top dividend stocks!"

But the reality is, if you're looking to build a strong dividend portfolio, there is a good chance it's going to contain a portion of REITs for a few reasons.

For one, a real estate investment trust is forced to pay back a particular percentage (90%+) of its earnings to unitholders. Being a common shareholder of a stock, the dividend does not necessarily need to be placed highest on the totem pole.

And secondly, due to the fallout of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, inflation is going to be a long standing fear and overall concern when it comes to the deterioration of investor capital.

So, what performs exceptionally well in times of high/rapid inflation? Real estate. Which is one of the reasons why CAPREIT makes this list.

The company primarily engages in the acquisition and leasing of residential properties here in Canada. The company's portfolio contains both mid-tier and luxury properties, and generates the majority of its revenue from the Toronto and Greater Montreal regions.

CAPREIT is in one of the best financial positions out of all Canadian REITS, with a debt to gross book value under 40%, and its dividend accounts for less than 75% of funds from operations.

In 2020, the company was added to the the TSX 60 Index, which represents 60 of the biggest companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The REIT doesn't have the flashy yield that many others do in the mid 2% range. However, it's important to understand that while payout ratios were high and dividends were getting cut in the sector during the pandemic, CAPREIT was at no risk of cutting the distribution.

As mentioned at the start of the article, the reliability of a dividend is much more important than the overall yield.

CAPREIT 10 year returns vs the TSX

TSE:CAR.UN Vs TSX

5. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (TSE:CNQ)

CNRL stock

For the longest time, we avoided putting any Canadian oil producers on this list. But, the environment has certainly changed, and oil companies have a chance to perform exceptionally well over the next few years.

So, why Canadian Natural Resources (TSE:CNQ) and not a company like Suncor or Imperial Oil? Well, Canadian Natural has proven time and time again it is the best major oil and natural gas producer in the country.

The company has raised the dividend for more than 2 straight decades, and has double digit 1 and 5 year dividend growth rates. 

Despite major producers like Suncor and many junior producers slashing the dividend at a record pace, Canadian Natural managed to actually raise the dividend in the midst of a global pandemic and oil crisis.

The company is one of the lowest cost producers in Canada with breakeven prices in the $35~ WTI range. This makes the company extremely reliable in almost any price environment as cash flows will remain positive.

At $70 WTI, which would be considered the low point prediction by most analysts over the next few years, Canadian Natural will be able to generate a significant amount of free cash flow, and is in an outstanding position to return it back to shareholders.

New projects and expansion are likely to be put on the backburner as balance sheets are restored, and instead Canadian Natural will likely look to return capital to shareholders through increased and special dividends.

Despite the extremely bullish situation for Canadian Natural Resources, it isn't as high on this list as others. Why? 

The cyclical nature of the business makes it very difficult to profit from oil and gas companies over the long term. Timing a proper exit when the market begins to turn sideways or downwards is critical to outperforming.

Canadian Natural's share price still does have some upside here, but capital gains shouldn't be your focus with oil and gas producers. Instead, soak up the dividends during this oil and gas boom, and try to find an opportunity to exit when things calm down.

Canadian Natural Resources 10 year returns vs the TSX

TSE:CNQ Vs TSX

4. TC Energy (TSX:TRP)

TC Energy Logo

We can’t talk about the top dividend stocks in Canada without mentioning one of Canada’s pipelines. TC Energy (TSX:TRP) is the second-largest midstream company in the country and it owns a 20-year dividend growth streak. This is tied for the 13th longest dividend growth streak in the country.

The company provides 25% of North America's natural gas transmission and has over 93,300 km of natural gas pipelines.

Over the course of its dividend streak, it has averaged 7% dividend growth. The company has guided that it intends to grow the dividend 7% in 2021, and 5-7% in the years after that.

When the price of oil was crashing, the company continued to reiterate its dividend guidance. Now that we're are seeing the price of oil recover and the economy reopen, it's likely TC Energy, despite not being impacted as much by the price of oil as a producer, will still get some of the growing oil price tailwinds.

The company has a low-risk business model in which 95% of EBITDA is generated from regulated or long-term contracted assets. This is exactly why in the midst of the pandemic it stated that operations were relatively unaffected.

Many pipelines have take-or-pay contracts with producers. Which means regardless of product shipped, the pipeline gets paid. This creates extremely reliable cash flows and is why companies like TC Energy and Enbridge have some of the safest, most reliable dividends in the country.

The company currently yields over 5%, is trading at less than 15 times forward earnings and is set to benefit from an energy crisis that, for many analysts, feel is just getting started.

TC Energy 10 year returns vs the TSX

TSE:TRP Vs TSX Index

3. BCE (TSX:BCE)

BCE dividend

When it comes to moat and reach, BCE (TSX:BCE) ranks up there with the best. Is it the best telecom to own for overall growth? No. But, is it a dividend beast? Absolutely.

In fact, if you invested $10,000 into the company in the mid 1990's, it's looking like over $370,000 today if you had reinvested the dividends.

It is the largest telecommunications firm in the country and provides services to over 9.6 million customers across Canada in the form of its wireless, wireline and media segments.

It is the only one of Canada’s Big Three telecoms to have a strong presence from coast-to-coast. Rogers tends to have more exposure in the east, and Telus in the west.

BCE currently yields in the mid 5% range, which is right around the company's historical average. The company has a 12-year dividend growth streak over which time it has averaged approximately mid single digit dividend growth.

At first glance, the 12-year dividend growth streak might not seem that impressive considering the company’s long and storied history. However, the streak is a little misleading.

The company froze the dividend in 2008 when it was being taken private by a group led by the Ontario’s Teachers Plan.

However, the deal ultimately fell through and the company resumed growing the dividend. Since it went public in 1983, BCE has never missed a dividend payment, nor has it cut the dividend.

One of the biggest drawbacks with the company is the high payout ratios. Currently, the dividend accounts for more than 100% of earnings.

Although this is concerning, the rate as a percentage of cash flows drops considerably. Currently, the dividend accounts for only 93% of free cash flow. This is still high, but when we factor in the company's long standing history, I think they can make the ratios work.

BCE is neither cheap, nor expensive when compared historically or to its peers. Not surprising as BCE is one of the most consistent and reliable stocks in the country.

Don't expect earth shattering returns from the company's share price. But, own this one for a decade and reinvest the dividends, and you'll likely be happy.

BCE 10 year returns vs the TSX

TSE:BCE Vs TSX Index

2. Royal Bank of Canada (TSX:RY)

Royal Bank dividend

The Royal Bank of Canada (TSX:RY) is the largest bank in Canada and is among the largest companies in the country. It has been named Canada’s most valuable brand for six years running and is consistently among the best performing Big Five banks.

In fact, it has been the top performing Big Five bank over the past 3, 5, and 10-year periods. 

The company has operations in the capital markets via RBC Direct Investing, but also deals with commercial banking, retail banking and wealth management.

Given the strong results posted by Canada’s banks during this pandemic, we believe that it is only a matter of time before Canada’s Big Banks receive the green light to once again raise dividends. 

Today, the best positioned to do so is Royal Bank.

At 41%, RBC has the lowest payout ratio among its peers. It is also important to note, that the respectable payout ratio is on a trailing twelve-month basis, which means that it still includes some pandemic related quarters. So, you can expect this payout ratio to continue heading lower.

The company is the Canadian bank with the most geographical exposure, to over 37 countries in fact. This allowed the bank to perform exceptionally well during the pandemic as it was exposed to a variety of countries that were at different stages of recovery/lockdown, unlike a bank like TD Bank, which relies heavily on the United States.

There are rumors that interest rates are going to be on the rise sooner rather than later, as the Bank of Canada may have over estimated the impacts of the pandemic on the economy. In order to "cool" it off, they'll have to raise rates and slow borrowing. 

Financial companies perform best in rising rate environments, so there might be more room to run for Royal Bank, and other Canadian financial companies.

Royal Bank owns a 10-year dividend growth streak over which time it has grown the dividend by mid single digits annually. Now yielding in the low 3% range, the Royal Bank is deserving of its place among Canada’s top dividend stocks.

Royal Bank 10 year returns vs the TSX

TSE:RY Vs TSX

1. Fortis (TSX:FTS)

Fortis dividend

Fortis (TSX:FTS) has been a mainstay on our list of top dividend stock for years. As the largest utility company in the country, Fortis is arguably one of the most defensive stocks to own.

Fortis owns the second-longest dividend growth streak in Canada. At 48-years long, the company will be among the first Canadian stocks to reach Dividend King status – a prestigious status reserved for those who have raised the dividend for at least 50 consecutive years.

Given our current environment of uncertainty, dividend safety and reliability is the main reason why Fortis is our top dividend stock in Canada.

Throughout the past three, five, and ten-year time frames, Fortis has consistently raised the dividend by approximately 6%.

Further demonstrating its reliability, Fortis is one of the few companies which provides multi-year dividend growth targets.

Through 2024, Fortis expects to raise the dividend by 6% annually – inline with historical averages.

Unlike Royal Bank which would have benefitted from rising interest rates, a company like Fortis would be negatively impacted by interest rates. This is because utilities are a capital intensive industry, one that requires a lot of capital investments and debt to build infrastructure like power generation facilities and transmission lines.

However, Fortis's movement in price has been relatively unimpacted by rising rates, and likely won't be moving forward. That is a strong sign of confidence in the company.

$10,000 in Fortis in the mid 1990's is now over a quarter million dollars if you reinvested your dividends. The company has simply been an exceptional performer.

And, with a beta of 0.05, indicating this stock is 1/20th as volatile as the overall market, it seems to operate almost more like a bond.

Combine strong dividend growth with an attractive yield in the mid 3% range and you are looking at the top income stock to own in Canada today.

Not only can investors lock in a safe and attractive dividend, they can do so at respectable valuations.

Fortis 10 year returns vs the TSX

TSE:FTS Vs TSX Index

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Government

Parents were fine with sweeping school vaccination mandates five decades ago – but COVID-19 may be a different story

Public health experts know that schools are likely sites for the spread of disease, and laws tying school attendance to vaccination go back to the 1800s.

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Children and parents lined up for polio vaccines outside a Syracuse, New York school in 1961. AP Photo

The ongoing battles over COVID-19 vaccination in the U.S. are likely to get more heated when the Food and Drug Administration authorizes emergency use of a vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, expected later this fall.

California has announced it will require the vaccine for elementary school attendance once it receives full FDA approval after emergency use authorization, and other states may follow suit. COVID-19 vaccination mandates in workplaces and colleges have sparked controversy, and the possibility that a mandate might extend to younger children is even more contentious.

Kids are already required to get a host of other vaccines to attend school. School vaccination mandates have been around since the 19th century, and they became a fixture in all 50 states in the 1970s. Vaccine requirements are among the most effective means of controlling infectious diseases, but they’re currently under attack by small but vocal minorities of parents who consider them unacceptable intrusions on parental rights.

As a public health historian who studies the evolution of vaccination policies, I see stark differences between the current debates over COVID-19 vaccination and the public response to previous mandates.

Compulsory vaccination in the past

The first legal requirements for vaccination date to the early 1800s, when gruesome and deadly diseases routinely terrorized communities. A loose patchwork of local and state laws were enacted to stop epidemics of smallpox, the era’s only vaccine-preventable disease.

Vaccine mandates initially applied to the general population. But in the 1850s, as universal public education became more common, people recognized that schoolhouses were likely sites for the spread of disease. Some states and localities began enacting laws tying school attendance to vaccination. The smallpox vaccine was crude by today’s standards, and concerns about its safety led to numerous lawsuits over mandates.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld compulsory vaccination in two decisions. The first, in 1905, affirmed that mandates are constitutional. The second, in 1922, specifically upheld school-based requirements. In spite of these rulings, many states lacked a smallpox vaccination law, and some states that did have one failed to enforce it consistently. Few states updated their laws as new vaccines became available.

School vaccination laws underwent a major overhaul beginning in the 1960s, when health officials grew frustrated that outbreaks of measles were continuing to occur in schools even though a safe and effective vaccine had recently been licensed.

Many parents mistakenly believed that measles was an annoying but mild disease from which most kids quickly recovered. In fact, it often caused serious complications, including potentially fatal pneumonia and swelling of the brain.

With encouragement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all states updated old laws or enacted new ones, which generally covered all seven childhood vaccines that had been developed by that time: diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella. In 1968, just half the states had school vaccination requirements; by 1981, all states did.

Smiling boy rolls up his sleeve to get a shot from a nurse
Sometimes, students even received vaccinations from nurses at school. NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine, CC BY-ND

Expanding requirements, mid-20th century

What is most surprising about this major expansion of vaccination mandates is how little controversy it provoked.

The laws did draw scattered court challenges, usually over the question of exemptions – which children, if any, should be allowed to opt out. These lawsuits were often brought by chiropractors and other adherents of alternative medicine. In most instances, courts turned away these challenges.

There was scant public protest. In contrast to today’s vocal and well-networked anti-vaccination activists, organized resistance to vaccination remained on the fringes in the 1970s, the period when these school vaccine mandates were largely passed. Unlike today, when fraudulent theories of vaccine-related harm – such as the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism – circulate endlessly on social media, public discussion of the alleged or actual risks of vaccines was largely absent.

Through most of the 20th century, parents were less likely to question pediatricians’ recommendations than they are today. In contrast to the empowered “patient/consumer” of today, an attitude of “doctor knows best” prevailed. All these factors contributed to overwhelmingly positive views of vaccination, with more than 90% of parents in a 1978 poll reporting that they would vaccinate their children even if there were no law requiring them to do so.

Widespread public support for vaccination enabled the laws to be passed easily – but it took more than placing a law on the books to control disease. Vaccination rates continued to lag in the 1970s, not because of opposition, but because of complacency.

Thanks to the success of earlier vaccination programs, most parents of young children lacked firsthand experience with the suffering and death that diseases like polio or whooping cough had caused in previous eras. But public health officials recognized that those diseases were far from eradicated and would continue to threaten children unless higher rates of vaccination were reached. Vaccines were already becoming a victim of their success. The better they worked, the more people thought they were no longer needed.

In response to this lack of urgency, the CDC launched a nationwide push in 1977 to help states enforce the laws they had recently enacted. Around the country, health officials partnered with school districts to audit student records and provide on-site vaccination programs. When push came to shove, they would exclude unvaccinated children from school until they completed the necessary shots.

The lesson learned was that making a law successful requires ongoing effort and commitment – and continually reminding parents about the value of vaccines in keeping schools and entire communities healthy.

Add COVID-19 to vaccine list for school?

Five decades after school mandates became universal in the U.S., support for them remains strong overall. But misinformation spread over the internet and social media has weakened the public consensus about the value of vaccination that allowed these laws to be enacted.

adults and kids with signs protesting COVID-19 vaccines
Some anti-vaccination activists are vocal opponents of vaccine mandates for kids. Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

COVID-19 vaccination has become politicized in a way that is unprecedented, with sharp partisan divides over whether COVID-19 is really a threat, and whether the guidance of scientific experts can be trusted. The attention focused on COVID-19 vaccines has given new opportunities for anti-vaccination conspiracy theories to reach wide audiences.

[Over 115,000 readers rely on The Conversation’s newsletter to understand the world. Sign up today.]

Fierce opposition to COVID-19 vaccination, powered by anti-government sentiment and misguided notions of freedom, could undermine support for time-tested school requirements that have protected communities for decades. Although vaccinating school-aged children will be critical to controlling COVID-19, lawmakers will need to proceed with caution.

James Colgrove has received funding from the National Library of Medicine, the Greenwall Foundation, the Milbank Memorial Fund, and the William T. Grant Foundation.

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Spread & Containment

How Robots and A.I. are About To Change This $11 Trillion Industry Forever

TikTok’s nearly 700 million users seek medical advice from random individuals and charlatans, since anyone can claim to be a medical expert on this raging social media machine.
Dr. Google is also working overtime, receiving more than one billion…

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TikTok’s nearly 700 million users seek medical advice from random individuals and charlatans, since anyone can claim to be a medical expert on this raging social media machine.

Dr. Google is also working overtime, receiving more than one billion healthcare questions every day.

Web MD is recording over one billion searches a year, too.

When you combine this voracious hunger for digital diagnosis, symptom checkers and immediate medical assistance, with a global mobile app market whose revenues had already hit $365 billion in 2018, and are now on track to generate over $935 billion by 2023 ...

You get one of the best bets on disrupting the virtual medicine industry to date. You get Big Tech built by doctors for doctors in the Global Library of Medicine (GLM).

You get Cara, the new, sophisticated AI, powered by the unique Global Library of Medicine, that has been trained by hundreds of doctors to think just like them.


Cara will be launching at the end of November, marking the first time in our medical history that we can check our symptoms online, at the touch of a button, and truly trust what we are being told.

Over the past five years, Treatment.com (CSE: TRUE; OTC: TREIF) has been developing the world’s next-generation AI symptom checker, picking up where the billions of requests were left hanging by Google and WebMD … and certainly by TikTok.

Now, the app is about to launch as Treatment Mobile with an intelligent digital assistant, Cara, with over 400 diagnoses by a global team of hundreds of doctors who are adding more every day.

A Digital Fix for a Broken Healthcare System

An overwhelming majority of Americans find the healthcare system impossible to navigate.

Nearly three-quarters have no idea how they will afford their healthcare.

Those two facts have led to a shocking increase in at-home health solutions.

Need a healthcare big tech vendor who knows North American Healthcare

From 2019 to 2020--even before the COVID-19 outbreak--telemedicine grew by 46%.

In 2020 alone, wellness apps were downloaded 1.2 billion times.

Major investment into the telemedicine space combined with a massive increase in uptake and rapidly rising favor among consumers has seen telehealth increase 38X so far in 2021 from pre-COVID levels.

In April 2020, right at the start of the pandemic, telehealth use was 78X higher than in February 2020, according to McKinsey.

Total VC investment into the digital health space in H1 2021 was $14.7 billion. That’s more than VC investment for all of 2020, and twice the amount for 2019. That leads McKinsey to project that 2021 could see total investment in the sector hit $30 billion.

The bottom line is this: American healthcare is broken, and digital offerings are a major element of the fix. Cara steps in at exactly the right time to provide the first sophisticated AI that can help bring it all together. This is where big money is going in the healthcare sector.

The Digital Doctor Is In

Working with the University of Minnesota Medical School, Treatment.com (CSE: TRUE; OTC: TREIF) has gathered the best doctors and tech engineers that built the Global Library of Medicine (GLM) from around the world to teach Cara to do two things that no other digital health platform has been able to do successfully:

1) Think like a real doctor

2) Provide consumers with a personalized health assessment and full-on health management

Cara integrates everything by providing consumers with a bridge to wellness, telemedicine, pharma and health products ...


Cara asks you questions about your symptoms and then sorts through millions of pieces of information that include historical medical cases, demographic data and advances in medical knowledge. The end result is a more accurate recommendation than any other digital tool in the world.

Cara helps you understand what your symptom could be. It helps you monitor and track health changes and understand your general health and prevent illness. It gives you personalized support and follow-up and even allows you to track and manage your entire family.

And it can all be integrated with Apple Health Kit, Apple Watch and FitBit.

Treatment’s AI has been so effective, in fact, that the University of Minnesota Medical School licensed it to test medical students.

How Does Cara Make Money?

Treatment.com (CSE: TRUE; OTC: TREIF) plans to leverage its healthcare AI to build a multi-billion-dollar business.

The initial app will be free, but there is an impressive scalability here.

This is how the wildly lucrative world of apps works. Once the upfront costs of development and AI learning are paid for, it’s all revenue, all the time. And app revenue streams are recurring, which is exactly why the mobile app industry continues to surge.

Consumers will pay for recommendations through premium app subscriptions, and Treatment.com’s next move with Cara will be to add a series of paid plugins for everything from dermatology specialty segments, to cardiology.

Additionally, Treatment.com will seek health and wellness partners to integrate to access qualified referrals and improve efficiencies, while simultaneously reducing costs.

There are three revenue-generating avenues here: corporate licenses, health and wellness products and university medical school training.

But the biggest value here is that Cara is a goldmine of data …

Cara’s access to individualized health trends will help insurance providers and governments to provide better health services.

In healthcare, big data like this helps avoid preventable diseases by detecting them in their early stages.

The market for big data analytics in healthcare could be worth an astounding $68 billion by 2025, and Treatment.com will have a major advantage with Cara.

WebMD--a private company--is valued at $2.8 billion, and it doesn’t even have any AI to back it up.

Treatment.com, (CSE: TRUE; OTC: TREIF) which listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange on April 19th, 2021, is about to launch a healthcare app that could completely change the way we view and access healthcare.

Global Medical and AI Expertise

Founded by John Fraser and Dr. Kevin Peterson, Treatment.com International Inc. (CSE: TRUE)(OTC:TREIF) is a sophisticated big-tech setup from the roots up.

Fraser is a computer scientist and entrepreneur with a background in healthcare technology. He’s a 20-year IT software veteran who has done this before. He sold his first unicorn--Vision Share (now Abilities Network)--for over $1 billion.

Dr. Peterson is a leading doctor and tenured professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He was also the architect of an international disease surveillance and research system, the first such in the world.

Add to this a global team of doctors in the United States, Canada, Singapore, India, Ethiopia and South Africa and you have the makings of the most intelligent AI symptom checker and health care management platform on the planet.

Again, that’s why it’s been licensed to train medical students at the University of Minnesota.

The Next Healthcare Wave

The healthcare industry is overripe for disruption, and it’s being disrupted in waves.

The most recent wave saw Babylon Health, valued at $4.2 billion in its latest funding round, explode on the scene with an AI-powered platform for virtual clinical operations. Babylon is about to go public via a SPAC deal through a $4.2-billion merger with Alkuri Global Acquisition Corp., led by former Groupon executives.

It’s also been disrupted by Teladoc Health, the $25-billion telemedicine behemoth that has nicely rewarded investors. Investors who jumped in on this in early 2018 could have seen gains of over 1,500% by January this year.

When we miss one wave, we move on to the next because the healthcare industry is set to see wave after wave of disruption, and Cara comes next.

Set to launch by the end of October, Cara is about to go mainstream, and because of the global experts behind it, it stands a good chance of becoming the next app to go from zero to hero--and perhaps to billions.
Treatment.com International Inc. (CSE: TRUE; OTC: TREIF) has:

1) unfettered access to a data goldmine

2) A Global Library of Medicine (GLM) that is continually updated and referenced by its AI engine that will eventually scale up to all ~10,000 diseases known to man

3) Proprietary IP that could one day be worth billions of dollars

4) Massive growth runways

The next healthcare disruption is about empowering consumers to take better care--and control--of their health, and early-in investors may have a unique opportunity here with a new app that puts another big patch on a broken healthcare system.

Other companies looking to transform healthcare:

3D Signatures Inc. is a high-tech Canadian firm that has found itself in the center of two explosive sectors. It’s armed with an innovative new software platform which uses 3D analysis to target various diseases and help clinicians identify a diagnosis and optimize treatment plans. 3D Signatures’ software is saving doctors time which could be the difference of life and death for some patients.  3D Signatures sets itself apart from its competition through creating individualized treatment plans for patients. Using its mapping platform, the software can determine how a disease will progress and whether or not the patient will respond to treatment

3D Signatures’ broad scope and futuristic technology brings a promising opportunity to potential investors. It truly is at the forefront of a new era in medicine, and investors should not overlook this company’s massive potential.

CRH Medical Corporation specializes in products and services designed for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases in the United States, Canada, and internationally. With a long history within the space, CRH has positioned itself as a leader in the field, trusted by medical professionals all over the world.

CRH also made a majpr acquisition at the beginning of the year, buying out Anesthesia Care Associates, LLC, an Indiana-based gastroenterology anesthesia practice. The estimated $2.6 million deal will increase CRH’s footprint in the space, and has been well received by investors.

AEterna Zentaris Inc. (TSX:AEZS) is a major biopharmaceutical up and comer. The company has seen steady growth, and an array of new developments over the recent years. With a focus on oncology, endocrinology, and women's health solutions, AEterna has created a variety of new products, including Macrilen, the first and only FDA-approved oral test for the diagnosis of Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency.

Recently, AEterna received European approval to market Macrillen which has pushed its value even higher. Dr. Christian Strasburger, the Head of Clinical Endocrinology at Charité Unversitaetsmedizin Berlin and the principal investigator for macimorelin explained, “Clinical studies have demonstrated that macimorelin is safer and much simpler to administer than the current methods of testing for insulin-induced hypoglycemia, and is well-tolerated by patients and reliable in diagnosing the condition.”

Aptose Biosciences Inc. (TSX:APS) is a biotech company specializing in personalized therapies to address Canada’s unmet oncology needs. The company uses genetic and epigenetic profiles to gain insights into certain cancers and patient populations in order to develop new treatments within the space.

Aptose has an exclusive partnership with Ohm Oncology to develop, manufacture and commercialize APL-581 in order to treat hematologic malignancies and related molecules.

Toronto-based Field Trip Health (TSX:FTRP) is taking a three-pronged approach in their work in the transformative psychedelic medicine sector. Not only are they involved in drug development, but they’re also involved in manufacturing and run a number of treatment clinics.

Field Trip has hit the ground running. With clinics currently operating in Toronto, Los Angeles, and New York, they have plans to ramp up to 75 clinics – providing psychotherapy along with psychedelic treatments. As one of the frontrunners in this exciting new industry, investors are keeping a close eye on Field Trip.

By. Charles Kennedy

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UK Banks – Digital Dinosaurs

UK Banks – Digital Dinosaurs

Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com,

“Tuppence wisely invested in the bank…”

As UK bank reporting season kicks off, the dull, boring, predictable UK banks should look good. But the reality…

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UK Banks – Digital Dinosaurs

Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com,

“Tuppence wisely invested in the bank…”

As UK bank reporting season kicks off, the dull, boring, predictable UK banks should look good. But the reality is they are dinosaurs – their failure to digitise and evolve leaves them vulnerable to tech-savy FinTechs and Challenger filling their niche. If the future of modern finance is a Tech hypersonic missile… British Banks are still building steam trains. 

Today see’s the start of the UK bank reporting season. Yawn….

I wrote a piece for the Evening Standard y’day – Another set of numbers to disguise the rot. (I’ve reused some of it this morning – lazy, eh?) Exactly as I predicted in that note, Barclays came in strong this morning with a decent lift from its investment banking businesses. Lloyds and HSBC will also produce acceptable numbers and limited losses on post pandemic recovery.  The sector outlook looks positive, the regulator will allow them to increase dividends, and there is higher income potential from rising interest rates.

But… would you buy the UK banks?

They face substantial market and ongoing pandemic risk. The cost of economic reality falls heavy across them all. This morning the headlines are about Medical groups screaming out for a renewal of lockdown measures to protect the NHS – a move that will 100% nail-on recession and cause multiple small businesses to give up. The threat of recession in the UK is pronounced – exacerbated by global supply chain crisis and risks of policy mistakes. The worst outcome for banks would be stagflation resulting in exploding loan impairments.

Lloyds is the most vulnerable to the UK economy – hence it’s underperformed the others. Even without renewed Covid measures, potential policy mistakes by the Bank of England in raising interest rates too early, or by government by raising taxes and austerity spending, will hit business and consumer sentiment hardest, causing the stock prices to crumble back towards its low back in Sept 2020 when it hit £24.72. It’s got the largest mortgage exposure – but no one really expects a significant housing sell-off. (When no-one expects it – is when to worry!)

If you believe the UK’s economic potential is under-stated, then Lloyds has the best upside stock potential among the big three. If the economy recovers strongly, Lloyds goes up. If it stumbles, then so will Lloyds!

Barclays is a more difficult call. It’s a broader, more diversified name. It retains an element of “whoosh” from its markets businesses – which have delivered excellent returns from its capital markets businesses fuelled by low rates, but it also runs a higher-than-average reputational risk for generating embarrassing headlines. But, when the global economy normalises, higher interest rates will impact the fee income of all the investment banks, thus impacting Barclays to a greater extent than Lloyds. Barclay’s international business gives it some hedge against a UK economic slide.

HSBC is the most complex call. The UK banking operation is a rounding error compared to the Bank’s Hong Kong business. The bank is pivoting towards Asia, orbiting China and other high-growth Far East economies where it seeks to attract rising middle-class wealth. It’s underperformed due to a distaste among global investors for its China business, but also the perception it’s just too big a bank to manage effectively.

If its China strategy was to pay off, it will be a long-term winner. But that’s no means certain – Premier Xi’s crackdown on Chinese Tech threatens to morph into a China first policy, and the space for a strong foreign bank in China’s banking system looks questionable, even as the developing crisis in real-estate could pull it lower.

Ok – so good for UK banks…

Whatever the respective bank numbers show this week, the banks will remain core holdings for many investors. Generally, big banks are perceived to be “relatively” safe. Regulation has reduced their market risk profiles, and strengthened capital bases since the post-Lehman unpleasantness in 2008 which saw RBS rescued by government.

Conventional investment wisdom says the more “dull, boring and predictable” a bank is, the more valuable it will be perceived in terms of stable predictable dividends, sound risk management, and for not surprising investors. Strong banks are perceived to be less vulnerable to competition with deep moats around their business.

Since 2008 that’s changed – in ways the incumbent banks have completely missed. The costs of entry have tumbled as banking has evolved into a completely different service. New, more nimble Fin-Techs like Revolut, digital challenger banks such as Starling, and cheaper foreign competitors, including the Yanks, are not only eating their lunch, but dinner as well.

The old established UK banks don’t seem to have a clue it’s happening. These incumbent banks look like dinosaurs wondering what that bright shiny light getting bigger in the sky might be. Despite proudly boasting of hundreds years of history, they are constrained by old tech ledger systems and never built centralised data-lakes from their information on individuals or the financial behaviours of crowds to improve and develop their services and income streams.

The future of banking is going to be about Tech and how effectively banks compete in a marketplace of online digital facilities and services. Banks that you use tech smartly will see their costs tumble, freeing up resources to do more, better! (When I ran a major bank’s FIG (Financial Institutions Group) about 100 years ago – the best banks were those with lowest cost-to-income ratio!)

There is an excellent article outlining FinTechs and Challengers from Chris Skinner this morning: Europe’s Challenger Banks are Challenging (and worth more than the old names). Let me pluck a bite from his piece: “Revolut is the most valuable UK tech start-up in history and the eighth biggest private company in the world, worth an estimated US$33 billion, according to CB Insights. Revolut has more than 16 million customers worldwide and sees over 150 million transactions per month.”

The new generation of nimbler Fin Techs and Challengers can innovate product offerings with sophisticated new systems and software. In contrast, UK bank IT departments are engaged in digital archaeology.  I understand only 17% of Senior Tech positions are held by women. Within the banks, I’m told its still a boys club, where the best paid IT jobs are for ancient bearded D&D playing coders brought into to patch 50 year-old archaic systems. Legacy systems leave the big banks with impossible catch up costs.

It’s probably unfair to say the big UK banks don’t know what’s happening – their management can’t be that unaware? Surely not…. But…. Maybe..

Although the banks brag how well diversified they are with over 37% of UK board members female – how much have they really changed? Hiring on the basis of diversity is a fad. At the risk of lighting the blue-touch paper and this comment exploding in my face, I would hazard to suggest the appointment of senior ladies who’ve worked their way up the existing financial system simply risks confirmation-bias on how things are conventionally done in banking.

They might do better hiring outside movers and shakers – rather than listening to themselves.

The bottom line is its not just their failure to innovate tech that’s a crisis. Over the years the UK banks have become increasingly sclerotic – slow to shift and adapt. The middle to senior levels of banking are hamstrung by bureaucracy, a satisficing culture, stifled innovation, a compliance fearful mindset, and senior management fixated on impressing the regulators first and foremost.

If the future of modern finance is a Tech hypersonic missile… British Banks are still building steam trains.

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/22/2021 - 05:00

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