How to profit from the “war on superbugs”

The prospects for the new prime minister, some tempting buys in Brexit-damaged property, and the best stocks to buy as scientists battle it out against drug-resistant antibiotics.


This week in MoneyWeek, we cast an eye over the prospects for the new prime minister, look at some tempting buys in Brexit-damaged property, and pick the best stocks to buy as scientists battle it out against drug-resistant antibiotics.

Plus, we explain the problems with Italy's broken banks, point out five "red flags" that can warn you which companies to avoid, and ask: should you buy housebuilders?

For access to all that and more, sign up to MoneyWeek magazine now.

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Theresa May: taking on the fat cats

The country's new prime minister, installed at breakneck speed after everyone else pulled out of the race, appears on the cover of this week's magazine, standing proud over a pile of defeated City fatcats. That might seem an odd image at first glance; more Jeremy Corbyn's style than Theresa May's, perhaps. But the new Conservative prime minister has pledged to tackle executive excess, make Britain a "fairer place" and even mandate workers' representatives on company boards. Matthew Partridge takes a deeper look at what we might expect to see from our new leader.

Profit from the fight against the "antibiotic apocalypse"

Antibiotics changed the face of medicine. Without them, there's "a good chance you wouldn't be here", says Andrew Loxley in this week's main feature.

Less than a century ago, before antibiotics were discovered, common infections could be and often were lethal. With antibiotics, all that changed. They are the original wonder drug. But precisely because of their efficacy, they've been over used; prescribed too often for minor ailments, with patients failing to use them properly. That's led to new strains of bacteria that are resistant to their effects. It's "a tale of how collective human selfishness and stupidity have brought us to the brink of disaster", says Andrew. But, he says, "there is hope and some potentially exciting profit opportunities".

"There are some promising technologies and unconventional therapies that might work", says Andrew. One example is battling bacteria with viruses, or "bacteriophages". Another is using bacteria themselves to produce antibiotics. It's fascinating stuff. And Andrew picks five of the best stocks that look best-placed to profit. Find out what they are by signing up to MoneyWeek magazine.

Where next for commercial property?

There's been some well-documented carnage in open-ended property funds in the wake of Britain's vote to leave the EU. Eight of them have frozen withdrawals in efforts to stem huge outflows of investor funds.

But David C Stevenson isn't sympathetic. "Why on earth put money into an illiquid asset class through a liquid fund?" he asks. "Any serious property funds investor" would suggest using closed-end funds "Where price discovery is almost instant". They are currently trading at big discounts to their net asset values, but they "won't need to sell any assets at fire-sale prices they aren't carrying a lot of debt, and they don't have the same redemption pressure that open-ended funds do". Whether to buy or not all depends on if you think "the property cycle is about to take another big downswing". Find out what David thinks with a subscription to the magazine.

What about housebuilders?

After the EU referendum, Britain's housebuilders took a severe beating, with share prices down by up to 26%. So "is there further to fall or is this a buying opportunity?" asks Sarah Moore. If you think it is but are wary of individual stocks, Sarah's got a suggestion for a good way into the sector as a whole.

Italy's broken banks, five red flags, and the ugly side of the beautiful game

Leaving aside Brexit, the biggest threat to the EU at the moment is the state of Italy's banks. They're on the brink of collapse, and EU rules forbid state bailouts. So, when will they fall, asks Simon Wilson in this week's investment briefing, and who will they take down with them?

"Knowing which shares to avoid is almost as important as being able to pick potentially profitable investments", says Matthew Partridge on his investment strategy page. But how do you do that? Matthew explains five "red flags" you should be watching out for when picking shares.

And whatever your views on football, there's no denying that England's top clubs are swimming in money right now, after signing "a new bumper package with Sky" for the TV rights, says Alex Williams on his share tips page. But football clubs are not known as sensible investments. Alex takes a look at the finance side of the game, plus, he rounds up the best share tips from the UK's financial press.

All that, plus our regular features, including five pages of travel, homes, toys and wine. Sign up here.

Ben Judge

Ben studied modern languages at London University's Queen Mary College. After dabbling unhappily in local government finance for a while, he went to work for The Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh. The launch of the paper's website,, in the early years of the dotcom craze, saw Ben move online to manage the Business and Motors channels before becoming deputy editor with responsibility for all aspects of online production for The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News websites, along with the papers' Edinburgh Festivals website.

Ben joined MoneyWeek as website editor in 2008, just as the Great Financial Crisis was brewing. He has written extensively for the website and magazine, with a particular emphasis on alternative finance and fintech, including blockchain and bitcoin. As an early adopter of bitcoin, Ben bought when the price was under $200, but went on to spend it all on foolish fripperies.