The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Priceline, Groupon, Bayer, Johnson & Johnson and Alexion Pharmaceuticals

CHICAGO, Feb. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include the Priceline (Nasdaq: PCLN-Free Report), Groupon (Nasdaq: GRPN-Free Report), Bayer (OTC:BAYRY-Free Report), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ-Free Report) and Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALXN-Free Report).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)  

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Priceline Triumphant Again, Groupon Mixed

A tale of two Internet service firms -- both Priceline (Nasdaq: PCLN-Free Report) and Groupon (Nasdaq: GRPN-Free Report) reported Q4 earnings after the bell Thursday. While the travel booking website company put together a healthy beat on the top and bottom lines, the daily deals firm topped revenue estimates but was woefully short on earnings, based on charges we accounted for.

Analysts had expected Groupon to come close to profitability but reported EPS of -$0.12 (actual, after stock-based compensation). The company was shooting for its third consecutive positive earnings surprise, but it was not to be. Worldwide mobile transaction mix was up 10% in the quarter, however, and Groupon's revenues are up 20% year over year.

Priceline, on the other hand, continues to please investors with beating analyst estimates, as it has done for at least the last six quarters. Earnings of $8.04 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5%, and revenues of $1.54 billion in the quarter topped our expectations of $1.52 billion. Earnings also rose 25% year over year.

Groupon did give investors some things to look forward to in 2014, however: acquiring Korean e-commerce firm Ticket Monster and online fashion retailer ideeli should be accretive to Groupon's business. According to the 12 analysts currently following the company, 2014 should be its first year of profitability, at 8 cents per share for the full fiscal year.

Where Groupon saw weakness in the quarter was outside of North America and Europe: the Rest of World segment was down 11%. Also, with product head Jeffrey Holden recently having stepped down, perhaps investors are anticipating some tougher sledding ahead. Perhaps this is why, after initially trading up in the after-market, GRPN shares are down over 10%.

No such drama for Priceline; consistency almost always pays off. Shares of PCLN are up around 1.5% after hours, and now trade at a pretty hefty $1283.00 per share. Priceline is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock, and has grown nearly 83% in the past year.

Pipeline Progress at Bayer

Pipeline updates are highly awaited events in the pharma/biotech sector as they play an important role in deciding whether or not to invest in a particular company. Pipelines are of prime importance as far as pharma/biotech companies are concerned. These companies spend a significant amount in advancing their pipelines.

Earlier in the week, the HealthCare segment at Bayer (OTC:BAYRY-Free Report) announced the initiation of the phase III EINSTEIN CHOICE study (n=2,850) on Xarelto. The study will evaluate two doses (10 mg or 20 mg) of Xarelto versus acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) for the long-term, secondary prevention of symptomatic venous thromboembolism (VTE), including deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE).

The EINSTEIN CHOICE study will evaluate whether once-daily Xarelto is superior to ASA in the prevention of fatal or non-fatal symptomatic recurrent VTE, in patients who have finished anticoagulant treatment for 6 to 12 months for their index DVT or PE event.

We note that Xarelto is jointly developed by Bayer and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ-Free Report). The drug is marketed by Johnson & Johnson in the U.S. and by Bayer outside the U.S. Xarelto is approved for several indications including stroke prevention in nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, DVT, PE and reduction of the risk of recurrent DVT and PE. Bayer recorded Xarelto sales of €259 million for the third quarter of 2013.

Although Bayer and Johnson & Johnson has progressed well with Xarelto in several indications, they have really struggled with Xarelto in the acute coronary syndrome (ACS) indication in the U.S. Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued complete response letters (CRLs) to Xarelto's supplemental New Drug Applications (sNDA) in combination with standard antiplatelet therapy to reduce the risk of thrombotic cardiovascular events and stent thrombosis in patients suffering from ACS. The news came as a huge dissapoinment for both the companies. Bayer and Johnson & Johnson have earlier been subject to a series of setbacks regarding the ACS indication of Xarelto in the U.S.

Bayer currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks include Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALXN-Free Report), which holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

Zacks "Profit from the Pros" e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today.

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978. The later formation of the Zacks Rank, a proprietary stock picking system; continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros.  In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros.

Get the full Report on PCLN - FREE

Get the full Report on GRPN - FREE

Get the full Report on BAYRY - FREE

Get the full Report on JNJ - FREE

Get the full Report on ALXN - FREE

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/zacksresearch

Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts

Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.

Media Contact
Zacks Investment Research
800-767-3771 ext. 9339
support@zacks.com
http://www.zacks.com

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.



RELATED LINKS
http://www.zacks.com

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

 

PR Newswire Membership

Fill out a PR Newswire membership form or contact us at (888) 776-0942.

Learn about PR Newswire services

Request more information about PR Newswire products and services or call us at (888) 776-0942.