Cephalon Record Sales and Adjusted Net Income
Cephalon today reported 2009 net sales of $2.152 billion, an 11 percent increase compared to net sales of $1.943 billion for 2008. The company is introducing new guidance for 2010. Total sales guidance for 2010 is $2.610-$2.690 billion.
Cephalon has a growing presence in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Cephalon currently employs approximately 3,000 people in the United States and Europe. U.S. sites include the company's headquarters in Frazer, Pennsylvania, and offices, laboratories or manufacturing facilities in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Salt Lake City, Utah, and suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Merck Earnings Preview
This earnings preview is from Zacks Investment Research, according to IStockAnalyst.com: Merck is scheduled to report its fourth and 2009 results on Feb 16. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter and full year is pegged at a profit of 78 cents and $3.27 per share, respectively. Earnings estimates for the fourth quarter and 2009 have moved down over the past 30 days as 4 out of the 14 analysts lowered their estimates. In contrast, only 2 analysts raised their expectations.
For 2010, the current Zacks Consensus Estimate is $3.46 per share, representing an approximate growth of 5.8%. However, we witness a clear negative trend with respect to estimate revisions for 2010. Seven of the 17 analysts covering the stock have reduced their estimates over the past 30 days while only 1 analyst revised upward. We believe the loss of patent exclusivity of two of Merck's key drugs has prompted the analysts to lower estimates.
Boston Scientific 4th Qtr Results
Reported net loss for the fourth quarter of 2009 was $1.075 billion, or $0.71 per share. Reported net loss for the fourth quarter of 2008 was $2.394 billion, or $1.59 per share, which included a $2.613 billion, or $1.74 per share, goodwill write-down. Net sales for the fourth quarter of 2009 were $2.079 billion, as compared to net sales of $2.002 billion for the fourth quarter of 2008. Excluding the impact of foreign currency and net sales from divested businesses, net sales were flat with the prior period. Net sales for the full year 2009 were $8.188 billion, as compared to net sales of $8.050 billion for the full year 2008
The Company estimates net sales for the full year 2010 of between $8.100 billion and $8.500 billion. Adjusted earnings, excluding acquisition-related credits, restructuring and restructuring-related costs, and amortization expense, are estimated to range between $0.62 and $0.72 per share. The Company estimates net income on a GAAP basis of between $0.37 and $0.49 per share.
UnitedHealth Continues Dividend, Renews Buy Backs
UnitedHealth Group announced today that its Board of Directors, at its regular meeting on February 9, 2010, authorized payment of an annual dividend to shareholders for 2010. The dividend, $0.03 per share, will be paid on April 20, 2010, to all shareholders of record as of the close of business on April 6, 2010. The company also paid a $0.03 per share dividend in 2009. The Board also renewed and increased the Company’s Share Repurchase Program, under which up to 120 million shares of the Company’s common shares may now be repurchased.
UnitedHealth Group repurchased 74 million shares of stock at a weighted average purchase price of $24.26 per share in 2009. As of December 31, 2009, the Company had approximately 1.15 billion common shares outstanding.
Merck Settles Lawsuits Tied To Vioxx
Reuters reported that Merck has agreed to make corporate governance changes and create internal committees to address potential safety issues with its products under a proposed settlement of shareholders lawsuits related to its withdrawn Vioxx painkiller. Merck also agreed to amend its code of conduct and pay as much as $12.2 million in legal fees as part of the settlement, which resolves all derivative litigation against Merck over Vioxx. Many terms of the settlement, such as filling the position of chief medical officer and registering clinical trials with the government, have already been accomplished or are in the process of being completed, a Merck spokesman said.
The Superior Court of New Jersey approved the derivative lawsuit settlement on a preliminary basis on February 8, 2010. A hearing to determine whether the settlement should win final approval has been scheduled for March 22, in New Jersey Superior Court in Atlantic City.
Zacks Upgrades Cardinal Health
Benzinga is reporting that Zacks recently upgraded Cardinal Health to “Outperform" with a target price of $37 based on approximately 15.7x their fiscal 2011 EPS estimate of $2.36.
I like Cardinal Health. They have produced a ROE consistently in the teens over the past 10 years. Debt to Equity under 50%. Consistent dividends. Good, solid company. But, I am not comfortable with placing an almost 16 times earnings multiple on the company, especially using 2011 earnings.
Medtronic To Report Results Feb 23rd
Medtronic announced today it will report financial results for its third fiscal quarter on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010. The earnings news release will include summary financial information for Medtronic’s third quarter ended Jan. 29, 2010.
In November, 2009, Medtronic raised its fiscal 2010 earnings guidance to a range of $3.17 to $3.22 per share, up from prior guidance of $3.10 to $3.20 per share. The company also backed its goal of increasing sales by 5% to 8%, excluding the impact of foreign currency, for the second half of the fiscal year and beyond.
Abbott's New Cancer Test
A new diagnostic tool physicians can use to monitor patients for the most common form of ovarian cancer may soon be available in the United States. Abbott’s ARCHITECT HE4 assay uses a simple blood test to help in monitoring for the recurrence or progression of epithelial ovarian cancer. If approved, this important immunoassay would be the first automated HE4 test available in the United States.
"The ability to monitor the recurrence or progression of ovarian cancer is a critical part of patient care. The ARCHITECT HE4 assay has the potential to be a powerful tool for both physicians and patients in the management of the disease," said Michael Warmuth, senior vice president, diagnostics, Abbott.
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