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Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day Highlights: Lamar Advertising, HDFC Bank, Medivation, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson - Press Releases

Posted
1/19/2012 8:30:00 AM
By: Zacks.com
Referenced Stocks:HDB;JNJ;LAMR;MDVN;PFE

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - January 19, 2012 - Zacks Equity Research highlights Lamar Advertising Co. ( LAMR ) as the Bull of the Day and HDFC Bank ( HDB ) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on Medivation, Inc. ( MDVN ), Pfizer Inc. ( PFE ) and Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ ).

Full analysis of all these stocks is available at http://at.zacks.com/?id=2678 .

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day :

Lamar Advertising Co. ( LAMR ) reported quite an improvement in the third quarter results with earnings per share of $0.04, exceeding the year-ago reported earnings of $0.01. Net revenue jumped 3.2% y/y and exceeded management's guidance by 1.3%. Moreover, the company's debt level plummeted in the quarter, bringing down the interest expense by 6.2%.

Accounting for these positive factors and anticipating further improvements in the advertising market in 2012 in the backdrop of reviving US economy, we upgrade our recommendation on Lamar from Neutral to Outperform. The Zacks estimate for 2012 also represents a significant increase.

The company is currently trading at a Price-to-Cash Flow (P/CF) multiple of 9.0x. We believe the company will outperform the broader market going forward. Our target price is $35.00, based on P/CF of 10.3x.

Bear of the Day :

HDFC Bank's ( HDB ) higher operating expenses were the headwind in the company's most recently reported quarter. The company is still exposed to threats related to higher cost of funds. Growing competition in the retail space with the re-entry of peers is an added future concern.

Our six-month target price of $25.00 per ADS equates to about 22.3x our earnings estimate for fiscal 2012. This target price implies an expected negative total return of 7.6% over that period. This is consistent with our long-term Underperform recommendation on the ADSs.

Additionally, the quantitative Zacks Rank for HDFC Bank is currently #4, indicating a likelihood of downward pressure on the ADSs over the near term.

Latest Posts on the Zacks Analyst Blog :

Pfizer, Medivation Call It Quits

Medivation, Inc. ( MDVN ) and Pfizer Inc. ( PFE ) are finally giving up on their efforts to develop Alzheimer's candidate, dimebon (latrepirdine), with the companies reporting disappointing results yet again on the candidate. This time, dimebon failed to achieve the co-primary endpoints in a phase III study, CONCERT, which was conducted in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease.

Medivation and Pfizer said that dimebon failed to achieve statistical significance for either of the two co-primary endpoints (Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale and Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study - Activities of Daily Living [ADCS-ADL])  of the study.

Expectations Were Already Low

The study results did not come as a huge surprise. We had low expectations from the CONCERT study given dimebon's dismal track record. Medivation and Pfizer had already suffered two major setbacks where dimebon's development program is concerned.

Way back in March 2010, dimebon had failed to achieve both its primary and secondary endpoints in a phase III study for Alzheimer's. Then, in April 2011, dimebon failed to achieve the primary endpoints in a phase III study for Huntington disease.

With dimebon failing in the CONCERT study, Medivation and Pfizer have decided to discontinue the development of the candidate for all indications, including an ongoing open label extension study in Alzheimer's disease.

End of the Road for Pfizer-Medivation Collaboration

The disappointing CONCERT data also marked the end of the collaboration agreement between Medivation and Pfizer for dimebon. Once again, the termination of the agreement did not surprise us - firstly, Pfizer already has another Alzheimer's candidate, bapineuzumab, in its portfolio that is being developed with Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ ).

Secondly, Medivation's future lies with its prostate cancer candidate, MDV3100, which delivered impressive interim data in Nov 2011. The company and partner Astellas could be in a position to file for US approval in 2012.

Our Take

The termination of the dimebon deal signifies yet another pipeline failure for Pfizer. At the time of signing the agreement, Pfizer had made a payment of $225 million to Medivation. As far as Medivation is concerned, the shares were not affected significantly by the CONCERT results - this indicates that expectations from this study and the candidate were already very low.

Investor focus had already shifted to MDV3100. Medivation and partner Astellas are all set to conduct a pre-NDA meeting with the FDA in early 2012. We believe the companies will file for regulatory approval soon thereafter and expect MDV3100 to hit the market in 2013.

Based on the data that we have seen so far, we believe MDV3100 has blockbuster potential and could be a game-changer for Medivation. We currently have Neutral recommendations on both Pfizer and Medivation. Both companies carry a Zacks #3 Rank (short-term Hold rating).

Get the full analysis of all these stocks by going to http://at.zacks.com/?id=2649 .

About the Bull and Bear of the Day

Every day, the analysts at Zacks Equity Research select two stocks that are likely to outperform (Bull) or underperform (Bear) the markets over the next 3-6 months.

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Updated throughout every trading day, the Analyst Blog provides analysis from Zacks Equity Research about the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.

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HDFC BANK LTD ( HDB ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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