Want a word to sum up 2017? Try “uncertainty.”
Chris Newmarker, Managing EditorWall Street investors remain on a sugar high from the new Trump administration and Republican Congress. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up hundreds of points since President Donald Trump’s promise to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday that he wanted to massively reduce corporate taxes and “job-crushing regulations.”
For the most part, the medical device industry’s top executives have sounded positive about the situation during earnings calls with analysts. And when Medical Design & Outsourcing and MassDevice readers responded to an online survey about Trump and the Republicans, 42% said they would be good for medtech, versus 33% who thought they would be bad.
Medtech insiders are especially optimistic that the much-hated medical device excise tax will soon be dead for good. They see happy days ahead. “Fully repealing the medical device tax, establishing a more transparent and predictable regulatory process, lowering corporate taxes and properly reimbursing medical technologies would create an environment that allows this proud American industry to thrive,” Mark Leahey, president and CEO of the Medical Device Manufacturers Association, said in a statement after Trump’s address to Congress.
Here is one word, though, that sums up why the device industry should have some pause about the situation: “uncertainty.”
Over my 16 years as a journalist – 10 as a business journalist – I’ve learned that “uncertainty” is a toxic word. It’s the word executives and business owners use when they’re explaining why they aren’t hiring or building a new plant or investing in R&D or taking other risks.
There is a lot of uncertainty in the present political environment. Don’t take my word for it, either. Respected hedge fund manager Seth Klarman – ”The Oracle of Boston” – recently made waves with a private letter to investors, relayed by media outlets including CNBC and The New York Times. Klarman warned that Trump’s unpredictable style and protectionist trade talk create even more risk and uncertainty.
As the ancient Romans liked to say: “Fortune favors the brave.” But it is also smart to identify the unknowns out there, the hazards of the environment in which we are operating.
Here are 5 major uncertainties to keep an eye out for as the year progresses.