CHICAGO, June 12, 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 Clovis (Nasdaq:CLVS-Free Report), Biogen (Nasdaq:BIIB-Free Report), Halozyme (Nasdaq:HALO-Free Report), Ariad (Nasdaq:ARIA-Free Report) andChart Industries Inc. (Nasdaq:GTLS-Free Report).
Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:
Biotech Stock Roundup
Apart from the usual study results, last week's top stories include the lifting of clinical holds for two experimental treatments as well as the granting of fast track and orphan drug status to a couple of candidates.
Clovis (Nasdaq:CLVS-Free Report) Down on Safety Concerns: Clovis' shares slumped 19.9% on safety concerns about its experimental lung cancer treatment, CO-1686. Clovis had presented encouraging data on the treatment at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). However, about 22% of patients were found to have high sugar, which is associated with diabetes. Clovis is trying to bring its cancer treatment ahead of AstraZeneca which has a similar candidate in its portfolio. But safety concerns could put a lid on progress.
Another Hemophilia Win for Biogen (Nasdaq:BIIB-Free Report): Biogen now has another hemophilia treatment in its portfolio with the FDA approving Eloctate (hemophilia A). Hemophilia A, a rare, chronic, genetic disorder under which blood clotting ability is impaired, can lead to recurrent and extended bleeding episodes.
Earlier this year, Biogen's hemophilia B treatment Alprolix was approved in the U.S. A convenient dosing schedule (supported by a longer duration of action and a suitable safety profile) could help these products capture share from existing products in the hemophilia market.
FDA Lifts Clinical Hold, Halozyme (Nasdaq:HALO-Free Report) Soars: The FDA lifted its clinical hold on Halozyme's mid-stage study on PEGPH20 for pancreatic cancer. This removes uncertainty regarding this program which had run into trouble earlier this year due to safety concerns. The study will continue under a revised protocol. Shares were up 12%.
Partial Clinical Hold on Ariad (Nasdaq:ARIA-Free Report) Study Lifted: Ariad's investors finally had something to cheer about with the FDA lifting a partial clinical hold on the company's phase II study of Iclusig in patients with refractory metastatic and/or unresectable gastrointestinal stromal tumors. New patients can now be enrolled in this study. Ariad also presented initial data which indicate Iclusig's anti-tumor activity in patients with advanced GIST, particularly in patients with KIT exon 11 mutations. Shares were up 7.4%.
Chart Industries Downgraded to Strong Sell
Zacks Investment Research downgraded Chart Industries Inc. (Nasdaq:GTLS-Free Report) to a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) on Jun 10, 2014. Going by the Zacks model, companies holding a Zacks Rank #5 have strong chances of performing worse than the broader market.
Why the Downgrade?
Chart Industries reported disappointing results for first-quarter 2014. The company's earnings were 41 cents per share, down from 54 cents per share earned in the year-ago quarter. Also, the bottom-line result lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 62 cents per share.
Revenues decreased 3% year over year to $266.2 million due to weak performance in the BioMedical segment. Orders declined 8.6% sequentially while backlog inched down 1% at the quarter-end. Gross profit slipped 2.4% year over year with gross margin standing at 29.1%.
For 2014, Chart Industries revised its sales guidance downward to a range of $1.25−$1.3 billion from the prior expectation of $1.3−$1.35 billion. Earnings are anticipated to lie within $3.00−$3.40 per share, down from the $3.10−$3.50 range projected earlier.
Lower-than-expected results and lowered sales and earnings per share guidance for 2014 triggered downward revisions in the earnings estimates for Chart Industries. Over the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate has decreased 5.2% to $3.09 for 2014 and 5.5% to $3.99 for 2015. Also, the company has an Earnings ESP of -1.33% for second-quarter 2014 and -4.8% for full-year 2014.
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