On Aug 21, Zacks Investment Research upgraded
) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Why the Upgrade?
Amgen came out with strong second quarter results and an
improved outlook for 2014 on Jul 29. The biotech company's earnings
track record is impressive with the company delivering positive
earnings surprises in the last 4 quarters with an average beat of
11.1%. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock
Amgen's second quarter 2014 results were impressive with
earnings per share coming in at $2.37, well above the Zacks
Consensus Estimate of $1.99 and the year-ago earnings of $1.88.
Total revenues, which increased 11% to $5,180 million, also
surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4,875 million.
Amgen upped its 2014 guidance and now expects to earn $8.20 -
$8.40 per share on total revenues of $19.5 billion - $19.7 billion.
Earlier this year, the company had guided towards earnings of $7.90
- $8.20 per share on total revenues of $19.2 billion - $19.6
In addition to presenting second quarter results, Amgen
announced a restructuring plan which will see the company cutting
2,400-2,900 positions (12% - 15% of the total work force) starting
later this year and continuing through 2015. The job cuts will
mostly be in the U.S. While Amgen will close its facilities in the
states of Washington and Colorado, it will expand its presence in
the biotech hubs of South San Francisco, CA and Cambridge, MA. The
company's restructuring plan should make it leaner and more
Meanwhile, Amgen continues to progress with its pipeline.
Earlier in the month, the company announced positive encouraging
data from the phase III ASPIRE (C
rfilzomib, Lenalidomide, and Dexametha
one versus Lenalidomide and Dexamethasone for the treatment of
elapsed Multiple My
loma) study on multiple myeloma treatment, Kyprolis. Kyprolis
achieved the primary endpoint of the study - progression free
Kyprolis became a part of Amgen's portfolio following its Oct
2013 acquisition of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, which strengthened its
presence in the oncology market. Amgen intends to file for
regulatory approval on the basis of the ASPIRE data in the first
half of 2015.
The company remains on track to file for approval of evolocumab
(cholesterol management) in the third quarter. Amgen has already
filed for regulatory approval of ivabradine (chronic heart
Other Stocks to Consider
Apart from Amgen, Cambrex Corp. (
), China Biologic Products, Inc. (
) and Gilead Sciences Inc. (
) also carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and are worth
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