National Guard Response to COVID-19 Crisis Indicates Dividend Stocks to Buy

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Large-Cap Health Care Stocks

National Guard response to the COVID-19 crisis signals dividend stocks to buy in an unusual year plagued by the worst pandemic since the Spanish Flu in 1918 — even afflicting President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.

The National Guard response to the COVID-19 crisis has reached new highs in many states for the length of time and the number of citizen-soldiers and airmen who have been activated to serve. The large number of 2020 National Guard activations, particularly to address the COVID-19 crisis, has served as an early-warning indicator for which stocks to buy and sell before government-generated economic data can be compiled and disseminated.

Members of the National Guard, comprised of the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard, support combat missions, help with domestic emergencies, engage in humanitarian efforts and aid with homeland security operations, among other duties. The National Guard COVID-19 crisis response to address a global pandemic that has claimed more than 1 million lives worldwide so far may expand once a vaccine is readied for distribution.

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President Trump Said the U.S. Military is Ready to Help Distribute a Vaccine

“We have the military all set up, logistically,” to distribute 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine a day, said President Trump during a presidential debate against Democrat and former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday, Sept. 29, just two days before he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19. The Marine One helicopter flew President Trump to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for “a few days” of treatment on Friday, Oct. 2, at the advice of his doctors. He will be able to use the facility’s presidential suite to continue performing his duties while there.

President Trump, who also serves as Commander in Chief of the U.S. military, feels “fatigued” and has been injected with an 8 gram dose of an experimental Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) antibody drug combination that has been used to treat the virus in others, according to Navy Commander Sean Conley, the president’s physician. The president, who also has been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and daily aspirin, worked at the White House Friday before heading to Walter Reed, where he received Remdesivir therapy, according to a follow-up statement by Dr. Conley.

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife tested negative for COVID-19 on Friday morning, Oct. 2. Under the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Vice President Pence is not considered a close contact with any individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and does not need to quarantine, according to a statement from Jesse T. Schonau, MD, a White House physician.

National Guard Response to COVID-19 Crisis Has Not Prevented 208,000 U.S. Deaths

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The COVID-19 pandemic has killed 1,025,815 people and caused 34,471,204 cases worldwide, with 208,642 deaths among 7,328,273 cases in the United States, as of Oct. 2. According to Johns Hopkins University, America has suffered the most deaths and cases of any country from the virus that originated in Wuhan, China.

Two National Guard members are among the eight U.S. military deaths caused by COVID-19. Out of 46,346 cases reported among members of the U.S. military, 5,370 occurred with members of the National Guard, while the Army incurred the most, 17,312, followed by the Navy, 10,318, Air Force, 7,199, and Marine Corps, 5,800.

Chart courtesy of the United States Department of Defense

The National Guard accounts for 11.59% of the cases among the U.S. military, but 25% of the eight COVID-19 deaths. A 36-year-old staff sergeant in the California National Guard died on Aug. 20 from the coronavirus, while a 57-year-old physician assistant in the New Jersey National Guard on March 28 became the first U.S military member to succumb — just one week after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, but he had not yet been activated to assist in combating the pandemic. The overall U.S. death rate from COVID-19 cases is 3% but just 0.0001% among members of the military, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Tech. Sgt. Travis Pruett, 134th ARW Medical Technician, Tennessee Air National Guard, tests a patient at a COVID-19 drive-up testing station in Blount Co., Tenn. Apr. 9, 2020. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Kendra M. Owenby)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Guard Response to COVID-19 Crisis Supplemented by Navy Hospital Ship in New York

The Navy’s 1,000-bed Comfort hospital ship arrived in New York Harbor on March 30 from Norfolk, Virginia, and treated a total of 182 patients during a three-and-a-half week period to support domestic coronavirus response and to ease the pressure on local medical facilities by taking non-COVID cases. The ship arrived as New York became an epicenter of COVID-19 infections with patients requiring intensive-care-level treatment.

The cost of the Department of Defense (DoD) COVID-19 crisis response is mostly borne by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). For example, the DoD is reimbursed for all eligible costs of the activation of National Guard troops under Title 32.  A Presidential Memorandum issued on Aug. 22 calls for individual states to begin paying 25% of the cost, except for Texas and Florida, which will obtain 100% federal cost share through Dec. 31. Arizona, California, Connecticut and Louisiana continued to receive 100% federal cost share through Sept. 30, and then are subject to a 25% state cost share Oct. 1-Dec. 31.

For active duty troops providing medical support, FEMA reimburses DOD for all eligible costs. FEMA typically has required that states pay a 25% cost share for medical missions.

National Guard Response to the COVID-19 Crisis Extends Coast-to-Coast

The Washington National Guard set a record in June by activating 4,000 members, said Joe Siemandel, its public affairs officer. COVID-19 has kept the guard busy since the end of March, with its “biggest mission” consisting of assisting food banks, he added.

At the height of the crisis, 2,200 members had been activated for that duty, before cutting the number in half, Siemandel said. The tasks involve processing, packaging and distributing food.

Another important role has involved contact tracing to reach people who have tested positive or to advise those who may have been exposed to receive tests and then quarantine, Siemandel said. As of late September, the Washington National Guard had assembled 1.3 million testing kits.

Once assembled, the testing kits are shipped to county emergency management officials. The activated National Guard members also transferred ventilators and hospital beds between health care facilities in April, as well as delivered personal protective equipment (PPE) and disinfectant kits to senior living facilities.

The state’s National Guard also has brought COVID-19 test kits to rural counties that need them, as well as performed identification verification to assist the state Employment Security Department to prevent fraud when people make claims for unemployment.

New York National Guard Response to COVID-19 Crisis Starts in Outbreak Epicenter

The duration of the pandemic response of the past seven months alone likely is the longest ever for the New York National Guard, said Col. Richard Goldenberg, its public affairs officer.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo mobilized the state’s National Guard on March 10 to create a COVID-19 containment zone in New Rochelle, New York, using 4,456 members of the state’s Army and Air National Guard, along with the New York Naval Militia.

Jonathan Lewis, a resident of New Rochelle, said a one-mile radius containment area there may have been the first shutdown of a U.S. city before the practice became widely used within weeks. The National Guard helped to distribute food and water out of a local high school and performed deep cleaning of local buildings, Lewis said.

National Guard Response to COVID-19 Crisis Involved Use of a Drawbridge

A local park that only is accessible by a drawbridge turned into a drive-through testing center for people in New Rochelle who obtained an appointment, said Lewis, who added that he arranged to be tested twice and that the results were negative each time. The National Guard directed traffic and checked photo IDs to confirm the people arriving there had appointments, he added.

New York National Guard members also established an alternate care facility at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, staffed call centers for the Department of Health, distributed food, warehoused and transported medical supplies, assembled test kits, supported test sites and medical examiners, as well as distributed hand sanitizers, Col. Goldenberg said. The New York National Guard provided 480,767 man-days of support to the state between March 10 and Sept. 23, he added.

Cost of National Guard Response to COVID-19 Crisis Primarily Covered by the Federal Government  

Lt. Col. Brian L. Mason, public affairs officer of the Arkansas National Guard, said his state’s COVID-19 response required soldiers and airmen to assist with screening, testing, planning, analysis, warehousing and distribution, contact tracing, transportation and staffing the state veterans’ cemetery when grounds maintenance employees were quarantined. With diverse and sometimes unique skill sets, almost immediate availability and with long-standing partnerships, the state’s National Guard offered a unified and rapid response, he added.

“We still have nearly 40 soldiers and airmen supporting the Arkansas Department of Health and other state and local partners with the fight against the spread of COVID-19, and we will be there for as long as we’re needed,” Lt. Col. Mason said.

The total cost, as of Sept. 10, reached $1,856,010.05, Lt. Col. Mason said. There have been some smaller water-support missions that have been ongoing for quite some time to add another $750,000 to the total, he added.

As it stands, the COVID-19 and other missions are under the federally approved disaster declarations, so the reimbursement is 75% federal dollars, with the state responsible for the other 25%.

“We have certainly reached the high-water mark for State Active Duty missions in terms of longevity,” Lt. Col. Mason said. “No other previous mission has gone on longer.”

Arizona National Guard Response to COVID-19 Crisis Precedes Major Market Moves 

The Arizona National Guard was activated by the state’s governor on March 19 and has supported more than 3,880 missions related to its COVID-19 response, totaling 247,000-plus hours. Approximately 750 citizen-soldiers and airmen currently are assigned to COVID-19 support.

In mid-June, the Arizona National Guard had more than 2,500 Guardsmen activated, reaching the highest number for a domestic response in the state’s history, said 2nd Lt. Wes Parrell, deputy state public affairs officer of the Arizona National Guard Joint Force Headquarters. The number includes service members aiding COVID-19 response efforts, civil support to law enforcement and assistance to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol on the state’s Southwest Border Mission.

“This is also the longest continuous activation of our State Emergency Operations Center,” 2nd Lt. Parrell said. On Oct. 11, the Arizona National Guard will reach seven months of continuous service.

Georgia National Guard Response to COVID-19 Crisis Involves Disinfecting Nursing Home  

In one month, the Georgia Department of Defense swung from contingency planning for COVID-19 operations to launching 10 different missions at locations across the state. Georgia National Guardsmen have provided medical, logistical and security support statewide to increase COVID-19 testing.

Soldiers of the Atlanta-based Company C, 3rd Battalion 121st Infantry Regiment assist an infection control team in disinfecting a nursing home in Plains, Georgia. Photo courtesy of the Georgia National Guard

Ex-Army Paratrooper and National Guard Member Picks a Dividend Stock to Buy

Stock picker Jim Woods is a former U.S. Army infantryman and paratrooper, who also spent years in the National Guard, so he gained firsthand knowledge of what citizen-soldiers face when activated for emergencies.

Paul Dykewicz discusses stocks with Jim Woods before COVID-19 strikes.

Woods recommends Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), with its current dividend yield of 2.74%. It is among the companies testing what could become the first wave of COVID-19 vaccines. Johnson & Johnson has many revenue sources and that helps the stock to hold its value, even if the market falls. Plus, headlines of vaccine progress have been “very encouraging,” Woods wrote in the October 2020 issue of his Intelligence Report investment newsletter.

“It is now reasonable to believe that we will have at least one approved COVID-19 vaccine… before Election Day,” opined Woods, whose choice of JNJ has produced a total return of 4.45% in the past three months and 2.29% so far this year.

Vaccine approval would come in the form of an Emergency Use Authorization. Not only has the Trump administration indicated positive developments, but so have the heads of the big pharmaceutical companies that are developing and testing the urgently needed vaccines, noted Woods, who also writes the Successful Investing newsletter and the Bullseye Stock Trader advisory service.

Chart courtesy of www.stockcharts.com

National Guard Response to the COVID-19 Crisis Signals to Buy Pre-Dividend Stock

For investors seeking a pure play COVID-19 stock amid flu season and the growth of remote medicine, look no further than Teladoc Health Inc. (NYSE:TDOC), said Bryan Perry, who heads the Cash Machine investment newsletter and the Premium IncomeQuick Income Trader, Breakout Profits Alert and Hi-Tech Trader advisory services. As the biggest publicly traded virtual health care provider, TDOC is poised to gain further institutional ownership in the months ahead.

Paul Dykewicz interviews Bryan Perry at a MoneyShow.

The stock does not pay a dividend yet, but it is up 6.08% during the past three months and 164.69% so far this year. On Sept. 21, the D.A. Davidson investment firm launched coverage of Teladoc Health Inc. with a Buy rating and cited the company’s rapid growth and expanding market due to the pandemic.

“This is a pure play software company directly benefiting from COVID-19,” according to D.A. Davidson. “As a result, the company is growing over 60% organically, and the additions of acquisitions have further expanded markets and provided leverage to popular direct to consumer markets.”

Chart courtesy of www.stockcharts.com

Teladoc announced the acquisition of health care data provider Livongo Health Services Inc. (LVGO) on Aug. 5 for $18.5 billion to create a virtual health care juggernaut with tremendous long-term growth potential, Perry said.

National Guard Response to COVID-19 Crisis Signals Dividend Stocks to Buy

Hilary Kramer, host of the national radio program “Millionaire Maker” and head of the GameChangers and Value Authority advisory services, said the National Guard has been essential in enforcing quarantines and relieving the “economic dislocations” during health crises.

Kramer, whose premium advisory services include 2-Day TraderTurbo Trader, High Octane Trader and Inner Circlesaid the National Guard’s response to COVID-19 was “extremely robust.” But now that the testing programs are in place and personal protective equipment (PPE) supply centers are stocked, attention has shifted to managing local outbreaks when they happen, she added.

“When a vaccine is ready, the Guard will probably help distribute the shots as they have for centuries,” Kramer said. “But for now, as the Guard steps back, areas of the economy that bore the brunt of the crisis have space to heal. That’s where the investment opportunities are.”

Columnist Paul Dykewicz interviews money manager Hilary Kramer.

When travel normalizes, dividend stocks such as Air Lease Corp. (NYSE:AL) and business development companies like Apollo Investment Corp. (NASDAQ:AINV) that have significant interests in business travel could shine, Kramer said. Even though businesses may take years to fully recover, the stocks are trading at reduced levels and likely already have hit bottom.

“The worst is over, and any improvement will come as an enormous relief,” Kramer said.

Chart courtesy of www.stockcharts.com

Air Lease trades at a modest valuation of a 5.25 consensus forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio while offering a 1.94% dividend yield. The stock also trades at a relative discount after notching a 10.60% gain in the past three months, following a 33.71% year-to-date loss.

Chart courtesy of www.stockcharts.com

Apollo Investment Corp. (NASDAQ:AINV) pays an eye-popping dividend yield of 14.81% after its share price dropped amid the COVID-19 crisis. Its consensus forward P/E ratio of 4.87 is about as low as investors realistically can expect it to go. The stock has fallen 5.67% during the past three months and 43.41% so far this year.

National Guard Response to the COVID-19 Crisis Signals Gold Trust to Buy for Portfolio Protection

Pension fund Chairman Bob Carlson wrote in the October 2020 issue of his Retirement Watch investment newsletter that he is “riding gold’s rally” in his “Invest with the Winners” portfolio.

“In this portfolio, I use several investment models to analyze the performance of a group of ETFs that represent the major investment classes,” Carlson told me. “The models seek to identify the one ETF that has had strong recent performance and seems likely to continue that performance for a while. In the past, the portfolio has traded ETFs every two or three months.”

Bob Carlson answers questions from Paul Dykewicz in an interview before social distancing became the norm after the COVID-19 outbreak.

The investment models identified iShares Gold Trust (IAU) as the exchange-traded fund (ETF) to buy in early January and it has held the No. 1 spot ever since, said Carlson, who also is chairman of the Board of Trustees of Virginia’s Fairfax County Employees’ Retirement System with more than $4 billion in assets. Even though IAU currently does not pay a dividend, it is up 6.97% for the past three months and 24.90% thus far in 2020, while offering investors a measure of protection from any stock market plunges.

Income-seeking investors instead may want pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and its 4.18% dividend yield. It is one of the companies developing and testing a vaccine for the coronavirus. Pfizer also trades at a modest consensus forward P/E of 11.83.

Pfizer provides a “great opportunity to profit” with a stock paying a “high-dividend” yield, said Mark Skousen, PhD, a presidential fellow at Chapman University who recommends the position in his Forecasts & Strategies investment newsletter. Skousen, who also leads the Home Run TraderTNT TraderFive Star Trader and Fast Money Alert trading services, includes the stock among his five favorite undervalued, dividend-paying recommendations.

Pfizer Inc. has notched a total return of 6.52% during the past three months, rebounding from a year-to-date loss of 4.24%.

Chart courtesy of www.stockcharts.com

China’s lack of transparency about the initial severity of the COVID-19 crisis that began there has hurt its relationship with President Trump, who now is ailing from the virus personally. As President Trump conveyed during a contentious Sept. 29 presidential debate, members of the U.S. military are poised to help distribute a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as U.S. regulators approve it as part of Operation Warp Speed to produce and deliver 300 million doses starting within the next few months.

Paul Dykewicz, www.pauldykewicz.com, is an accomplished, award-winning journalist who has written for Dow Jones, the Wall Street JournalInvestor’s Business DailyUSA Today, the Journal of Commerce, Seeking Alpha, GuruFocus and other publications and websites. Paul, who can be followed on Twitter @PaulDykewicz, is the editor of StockInvestor.com and DividendInvestor.com, a writer for both websites and a columnist. He further is editorial director of Eagle Financial Publications in Washington, D.C., where he edits monthly investment newsletters, time-sensitive trading alerts, free e-letters and other investment reports. Paul previously served as business editor of Baltimore’s Daily Record newspaper. Paul also is the author of an inspirational book, “Holy Smokes! Golden Guidance from Notre Dame’s Championship Chaplain,” with a foreword by former national championship-winning football coach Lou Holtz. The book is endorsed by Joe Montana, Joe Theismann, Ara Parseghian, “Rocket” Ismail, Reggie Brooks, Dick Vitale and many others.

 

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