Quarterly financials are coming in thick and fast and a number of the US big firms, such as Pfizer [[21/07/05b]], Johnson & Johnson and Wyeth [[20/07/05b]], [[21/07/05a]], have reason to be pleased with their results. However, it is the biotech boys that have really caught investors’ eyes, notably Amgen [[20/07/05d]].
The firm’s stock jumped to an all-time high of over $83 per share after posting earnings that beat Wall Street estimates. Analysts like Amgen because its fundamentals look good and many feel the share price can go higher because the company has got a strong pipeline behind its revenues. Piper Jaffray raised its rating on Amgen’s stock to “outperform,” while Sanford Bernstein and Morgan Stanley have both upped their 12-month price targets.
Genentech also continues to impress after reporting a 73% boost rise in net income but the shine was taken off the results somewhat when the US Food and Drug Administration added a new warning to the firm’s psoriasis drug Raptiva [[12/07/05a]], [[22/07/05g]].
Over in Europe, Roche pleased investors after producing another set of better-than-expected first-half financials, boosted by its oncology portfolio [[20/07/05a]], while fellow Swiss company Novartis’ share price was up on strong earnings growth [[14/07/05b]], its $660 million purchase of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s US and Canadian over-the-counter business and the filing in the USA and Europe for approval to use Femara in the after-surgery treatment of postmenopausal women with early breast cancer [[15/07/05a]], [[11/07/05b]].
In Germany, Bayer benefitted from submitting a New Drug Application for renal drug Sorafenib [[12/07/05c]], getting the green light in Europe for a new indication for its intravenous version of the antibiotic Avelox [[19/07/05i]], and announcing that the company’s Factor Xa inhibitor, BAY 59-7939, for the prevention of venous thromboembolism, has moved into Phase III. France’s Sanofi-Aventis posted a solid set of results and analysts at Dryden Financial maintained its “buy” rating on the stock, though Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein stuck to “hold”, noting that sales of the cancer drug Taxotere were short of expectations [[19/07/05c]].
In the UK, GlaxoSmithKline was boosted by news that the FDA has decided that its top selling asthma drugs Advair and Serevent are safe enough to stay on the market [[14/07/05a]], and the news that shareholders at Corixa have approved GSK’s $300 million takeover proposal [[13/07/05g]]. Shire reiterated that it would not sue Teva, which has applied for approval in the USA to make a version of its best-selling hyperactivity Adderall XR, so investors were pleased that no costly court case is likely [[20/07/05g]].
Finally Goldman Sachs is keen on AstraZeneca as are analysts at Jyske Bank who maintain their “buy” rating on the stock, claiming that the depreciation in the company’s share price, following the withdrawal of the anticoagulant Exanta from the market, has been overdone as “AstraZeneca is witnessing healthy growth in its material products.” The uncertainty surrounding the anti-ulcerant Crestor has dissipated, following the encouraging announcements by the FDA, Jyske adds.