Investing in Funeral Related Companies as a Potential Hedge for Covid-19?

Does investing in funeral related companies provide a potential hedge to Covid-19? Some financial advisors and investors may expect these companies to outperform when deaths are increasing because it would increase the demand for services and products of these companies. We will take a look at four publicly traded funeral companies and analyze their performance year-to-date using the MacroRisk Analytics® platform.

The four funeral related companies that will be analyzed in this post are shown below.

Performance Year-to-date

First, let us take a look at the performance of the four funeral companies versus the S&P 500 Total Return Index from December 31, 2019 through November 23, 2020.

We can see that the stocks of the four companies have underperformed the S&P 500 TR Index (the bolded light blue line) during this time period. During March of 2020, the stocks, except STON, fell somewhat similarly to the market. However, the stocks have not recovered as quickly as the S&P 500 TR Index since then.

Down-market and Up-market Betas

The down-market beta measures the downside risk of an asset. It helps understand what happens to the asset when the benchmark goes down. A down-market beta less than one means that the asset tends to lose less value than the benchmark when the benchmark goes down.

The up-market beta measure the upside “risk,” or the “risk” of earning money. It shows what happens to the asset when the benchmark goes up. A value less than one means that the asset does not go up as much as the benchmark.

The down-market and up-market betas for the four companies are shown below. These are calculated using the past 11 months of daily returns as of November 23, 2020 (i.e., year-to-date).

All of the down-market betas are less than one demonstrating that the stocks of these companies lost less value than the S&P 500 TR Index when the index went down. To help interpret the down-market beta, consider the down-market beta of 0.5476 for StoneMor Partners. This means that over the period of analysis, if the S&P 500 TR Index goes down by one percent, the stock goes down by 0.5476% on average. Or, if the index goes down by 10%, the stock is expected to go down by 5.476%.

All of the up-market betas are also less than one meaning that the stocks did not go up as much as the index when the index had its up days. The up-market beta for StoneMor was even negative meaning that when the S&P 500 Index went up, the stock lost value.

Yes, on the days when the S&P 500 was down, the stocks lost less value than the index. However, to act as a hedge against a market driven by the Covid-19 developments, more downside protection is expected (lower down-market betas), or even negative down-market betas are preferred. Negative down-market betas would be situations when a stock increases when the S&P 500 goes down.


In this post, four funeral companies were analyzed to determine if they could be invested in as a potential hedge against Covid-19. The logic behind this notion is that there could be more deaths due to  Covid-19 which would increase the demand for services and products provided by these funeral related companies.

Given the performance of the companies in 2020 and their down-market and up-market betas, these companies do not seem to be good hedges against the market that has been partially driven by Covid-19 developments. The companies actually underperformed the S&P 500 Total Return Index and did not exhibit strong downside protection from December 31, 2019 through November 23, 2020.

This kind of analysis is possible thanks to MacroRisk Analytics. The platform provides economic analysis of portfolios and thousands of individual companies, ETFs, mutual funds, etc. because The Economy Matters®.

Tesla’s Exposures to the Economy – November 13, 2020 Update

This post will demonstrate Tesla’s exposures to 18 MacroRisk factors (i.e., economic factors) via the Eta® profile on the MacroRisk Analytics® platform as of November 13, 2020. Understanding these exposures can help financial advisors and investors identify potential economic risks the company is exposed to and invest accordingly. Since the information presented herein uses proprietary and patented analysis, a unique look at Tesla is provided unlike many other posts about Tesla.

An asset’s Eta profile is the combination of its 18 Eta measures. Each Eta measure is a description of how an asset typically responds to a specific change in the economy (based on recent history). Eta measures that are positive indicate that an asset increases in value when the corresponding MacroRisk factor rises; conversely, Eta measures that are negative indicate that an asset’s price decreases when the corresponding MacroRisk factor rises.

The Eta profile for Tesla as of November 13, 2020 is shown below.

The bigger the bar (up or down), the bigger the expected effect the particular economic factor has on Tesla’s stock price and vice versa. If a bar points up, Tesla’s stock is expected to increase if the particular economic factor increases and is expected to decrease if the economic factor decreases. If a bar points down, Tesla’s stock is expected to increase if the particular economic factor decreases and is expected to decrease if the economic factor increases. In other words, when Tesla’s economic factor sensitivity is aligned with what is happening with that economic factor, Tesla’s stock is expected to benefit from the change in that economic factor, and when they are not aligned or are not in the same direction, Tesla’s stock is expected to decrease from that economic factor change.

The table below identifies the exact exposures for each of the 18 MacroRisk factors shown in the previous graph.

The numbers in the table above show the expected effect on Tesla’s price given a one standard deviation increase in the economic factor. To help interpret one of the numbers above, Tesla’s Eta measure of 173.75 for M2 money supply means that if M2 money supply increases by one standard deviation, Tesla’s stock price is expected to increase by approximately 173.75 percent. On other hand, Its stock price is expected to decrease by 173.75 percent if there is a one standard deviation decrease in the economic factor. Definition for M2 money supply can be found here.

As of November 13, 2020, Tesla stock’s biggest exposure was to M2 money supply. We can see that over time M2 money supply has increased which might be a good driver for the stock price going forward. Here is the graph for M2 money supply since 1989.

Tesla also has high exposures to interest rates: short-, intermediate-, and long-term. It is expected to benefit from a decrease in intermediate-term government bond yields and from an increase in short- and long-term government bond yields.

To summarize, this post has shown Tesla’s sensitivities to 18 MacroRisk factors as illustrated on the MacroRisk Analytics platform. Using this information, investors can identify which economic factors are expected to have the biggest effects on Tesla’s stock price.

At, you are able to generate Eta profile reports for your portfolios as well as thousands of individual assets and much more. We also provide our “The Economy Matters®” reports on Interactive Brokers, FactSet, Capital IQ, and Refinitiv.

Economic Stats of Pharmaceutical Companies Developing a Covid-19 Vaccine

This post will analyze and compare some pharmaceutical companies developing a vaccine for Covid-19 from an economic perspective using the Eta® statistics on the MacroRisk Analytics® platform. These statistics can assist financial advisors and investors in understanding what economic forces have been driving the stock prices of these companies and how these companies compare in terms of economic risk.

According to a Forbes article dated June 16, 2020, the following five pharmaceutical companies are developing a Covid-19 vaccine:

The table above presents only some of the companies developing a vaccine for Covid-19. (Moderna is another company, for example, that is developing a vaccine but was not analyzed in this post because its stock does not have at least three years of trading history).

These five companies will be compared using the FiveRisks report by MacroRisk Analytics as of November 6, 2020.

Economic Climate Rating

The first statistic that will be analyzed is the economic climate rating. It is a star rating ranging from one to five stars. A rating of one means that the current economy is expected to not be suitable for the asset (i.e., the economy is expected to provide headwind). A rating of three means the economy is expected to be neutral for the asset. A rating of five means that the current economy is expected to be suitable for and benefit the asset (i.e., the economy is expected to provide tailwind). Here are the economic climate ratings for the five companies.

Novavax had the highest economic climate rating of four meaning the economy is expected to be somewhat favorable compared to other companies for which the economy is expected to be neutral.

MacroRisk Level

The second statistic is the MacroRisk Level (MRL) which measures how sensitive an asset is to changes in the economy. The lower the MRL, the lower the asset’s economic risk is expected to be and vice versa. Here are the MRLs for the five companies and also the median, average, minimum and maximum MRLs for the S&P 500 index for comparison.

As can be seen, Novavax stands out withs a very high MRL of 1983. This is higher than the maximum MRL of 930 in the S&P 500 Index as of November 6, 2020 illustrating the high level of economic risk associated with the stock of this company.

Economy’s Influence

The economy’s influence measures how much of the stock price of an asset is driven by changes in the economy rather than company specific information. The higher the value, the more the asset is driven by the economy and vice versa.

Johnson & Johnson as well as Pfizer have low economy’s influence statistics demonstrating that the stock prices of these companies are believed to be driven more by company specific information than what happens in the economy.

Eta® Value at Risk

The Eta Value at Risk statistic measures the expected percent change in the price of an asset, up or down, given an unexpected event that has a five percent probability of happening (whatever this event may be). This is a measure of risk. The lower the statistic, the lower the expected risk of an asset is believed to be and vice versa.

Again, Novavax illustrates high expected risk with the Eta Value at Risk of 48.9%. This means that given an unexpected event with a five percent probability, its stock price is expected to increase or decrease by 48.9%.

Down-market Beta

The down-market beta measures downside risk. It is the expected percent change in the value of an asset when the S&P 500 Index (in this case) drops. If the down-market beta is less than one, the asset is expected to lose less value than the S&P 500 when the S&P 500 drops. If the down-market beta is higher than one, the asset is expected to lose more value than the S&P 500 Index when the index drops. The lower the down-market beta, the less risky an asset is expected to be and vice versa.

In terms of the down-market beta, all of the subject companies except one have lower risk than the average company in the S&P 500. Novavax has somewhat higher risk than the average S&P 500 company with the down-market beta of 1.14 which means that if the S&P 500 Index drops by one percent, the stock price of Novavax is expected to drop by 1.14 percent (i.e., if the S&P 500 drops by 10%, Novavax is expected to drop by 11.4%).


The goal of this post was to provide some statistics to analyze some of the pharmaceutical companies currently developing a vaccine for Covid-19 from an economic perspective. These statistics show where these companies stand in terms of economic risk in relation to the S&P 500 Index.

The table below will summarize the statistics presented earlier in this post. These statistics are as of November 6, 2020.

The statistics shown in this post can be accessed through the MacroRisk Analytics platform. This platform helps analyze portfolios and thousands of companies, mutual funds, ETFs, etc. with the economy in mind because The Economy Matters®.

Our “The Economy Matters Reports” are also available through Interactive Brokers, FactSet, Capital IQ, and Refinitiv.

When so many stocks are down, which are undervalued? MacroRisk’s Relative Value Index can help.

The COVID-19 virus continues to spread around the world and seems to have “infected” investors with fear and panic. The market’s volatility has spiked, and major indexes around the world have dropped from their recent highs. In times like these, panic and emotion seem to drive the market swings rather than the underlying economic conditions. Some financial advisors and investors might be trying to take money off the table before they lose more while others jump at this opportunity to purchase assets at fire-sale prices.

To assist financial advisors and investors with investment analysis, we will provide a list of 20 NASDAQ stocks with high market cap and estimate how overvalued or undervalued these stocks are using the Relative Value statistic provided by the MacroRisk Analytics® platform because a reasonable question always arises: is what I plan to purchase undervalued, overvalued, or fairly valued? While typical  analytics products emphasize accounting analysis or technical ratios to determine price valuation, the MacroRisk Analytics platform provides “a better window on the future”®.  Its patented and proprietary tools can help investors take emotions out of the investment decision-making process and focus on how the underlying economic values of their investments, including most stocks and funds traded in the U.S. and Canada.  Of particular note is the “relative value statistic” which presents the extent to which an asset is under- or over-valued; this statistic compares the Eta® price (i.e., MacroRisk’s statistical estimate of an asset’s intrinsic price) to the corresponding market price of the asset.

MacroRisk’s Eta® price estimate is computed using advanced data analysis and considers the specific impacts of these 18 macroeconomic variables:

  1. Short-term government bond yield
  2. Intermediate-term government bond yield
  3. Long-term government bond yield
  4. Corporate bond (BAA) yield
  5. Unemployment rate
  6. Corporate cash flow
  7. Housing starts
  8. Auto sales
  9. New durable goods
  10. Gold index
  11. Energy prices
  12. CPI (inflation)
  13. Monetary base
  14. M2 Money
  15. Euro exchange rate
  16. FTSE 100
  17. Tokyo stock exchange
  18. Agricultural exports

Similar to how factors such as the number of bedrooms, number of baths, square footage, etc. determine the price  of a house, these 18 macroeconomic variables determine the intrinsic value estimate, the Eta® price of an asset.

The relative value statistic is interpreted as follows:

Relative Value by MacroRisk Analytics Valuation Expectation
<1 Expected to be overvalued
1 Expected to be fairly valued
>1 Expected to be undervalued

To illustrate the relative value score, consider the following list of 20 large cap NASDAQ stocks and their corresponding relative value statistics as of 3/16/2020:

Name Symbol Relative Value as of 3/16/2020
CME Group Inc CME 1.361
Exelon Corp EXC 1.306
CSX Corp CSX 1.202
The Kraft Heinz Co KHC 1.161
Automatic Data Processing Inc ADP 1.131
Pepsico Inc PEP 1.128
Mondelez International Inc MDLZ 1.108
Microsoft Corp MSFT 1.102
Intel Corp INTC 1.099
Starbucks Corp SBUX 1.082
Apple Inc AAPL 1.078
Nvidia Corp NVDA 1.057
Intuit Inc INTU 1.043
Analog Devices Inc ADI 1.034
Equinix Inc EQIX 1.027
Qualcomm Inc QCOM 1.016
Comcast Corp CMCSA 0.962
Texas Instruments Inc TXN 0.949
Cisco Systems Inc CSCO 0.948
Marriott International MAR 0.943

According to the current economic conditions, even with all the current social volatility disrupting markets, 16 out of these 20 stocks presented seem to be potential buy targets because their relative value statistics are over 1; their market prices are substantially below MacroRisk’s statistically based  intrinsic values estimates.

During turbulent times that we are currently experiencing, it is ever more important to keep emotions in check while investing. The relative value tool statistic allows investors to take a step back from the speculation going on in the world and focus on whether an asset is expected to be under- or over-valued based on the current economy. The relative value information presented for 20 NASDAQ stocks above uses the underlying economic conditions expected to drive the values of assets over the long-term.

When you are considering changing your holdings, whether in a crisis or not, the Relative Value Index can help pinpoint undervalued opportunities. provides relative value and other statistics as well as a selection of patented and  proprietary analysis tools for tens of thousands of stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, and other traded assets. The Relative Value Score for stocks and funds is also included in “The Economy Matters” reports available from numerous platforms.  Click here to see how MacroRisk Analytics can help you. 

Mr. Rolland Harris assisted with the preparation of this post.