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June 9, 2014
09:58 EDTLPL, SRE, LB, DG, ARCO, MTU, OXM, PFG, SJM, COF, STI, TCP, NVS, FDO, BMRN, GPREOn The Fly: Analyst Upgrade Summary
Arcos Dorados (ARCO) upgraded to Buy from Underperform at BofA/Merrill... BioMarin (BMRN) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse... Capital One (COF) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Nomura... Dollar General (DG) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies... Family Dollar (FDO) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies... J.M. Smucker (SJM) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Wells Fargo... L Brands (LB) upgraded to Perform from Underperform at Oppenheimer... Novartis (NVS) upgraded to Equalweight from Underweight at Barclays... Principal Financial (PFG) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley... Sempra Energy (SRE) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at ISI Group... TC PipeLines (TCP) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays... Oxford Industries (OXM) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Sidoti... LG Display (LPL) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie... SunTrust (STI) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette... Mitsubishi UFJ (MTU) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill...Green Plains (GPRE) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Stephens.
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September 27, 2015
18:48 EDTNVSNovartis reports updated Phase 3 data on Tafinlar-Mekinist for melanoma
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16:16 EDTNVSNovartis reports Phase 3 reults on Afinitor for neuroendocrine tumors
Novartis announced results of a Phase 3 pivotal study showing Afinitor, or everolimus, tablets reduced the risk of progression by 52% versus placebo in patients with advanced, progressive, nonfunctional neuroendocrine tumors of gastrointestinal or lung origin. Additionally, the data show everolimus, a mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor, extended median progression free survival by 7.1 months. Median PFS by central review was 11 months in the everolimus arm and 3.9 months in the placebo arm. Overall survival was a key secondary endpoint of the trial. While the OS data are not mature, the first interim analysis showed a trend favoring the everolimus arm, according to Novartis. Additional analyses are planned. Another secondary endpoint was best overall response rate. The study found that 64% of patients receiving everolimus experienced at least some degree of tumor shrinkage compared to 26% of those on placebo. Adverse events were consistent with the known safety profile of everolimus. The results of the RADIANT-4 study will serve as the basis of worldwide regulatory submissions for Afinitor for the treatment of advanced, progressive, nonfunctional GI and lung NET, Novartis said.
September 25, 2015
17:51 EDTSRESDG&E asks CPUC for approval to add some 2007 wildfire costs to rates
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16:43 EDTSJMKKR no longer holds stake in Smucker, lost right to designate board observer
On September 21, The J. M. Smucker Company (SJM) entered into an underwriting agreement, dated as of September 21, with Blue Holdings and Morgan Stanley with respect to a registered underwritten public offering of 8.28M shares of the company's common shares, to be sold by the selling shareholder. The common shares sold by the selling shareholder represent 100% of the ownership interests attributable to affiliates of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR). The secondary offering was completed on September 25. Upon completion of the secondary offering, KKR ceased to be the beneficial owner of any of the common shares and lost its right to designate a board observer.
07:22 EDTNVS, BMRNEuropean Society for Medical Oncology to hold a conference
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05:15 EDTNVSNovartis announces CHMP adopted positive opinion for Entresto
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September 24, 2015
18:38 EDTNVSNovartis CEO discusses drug pricing, paying doctors, Washington Post reports
Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez said in an interview with the Washington Post, "Drug pricing is a very complicated topic because we invest in high-risk activity... So when we price a drug, we price it based on the value it will bring into that marketplace, and also how its price compares to the other therapies currently on the market. There's been a lot of discussion about drug pricing. What we have to do is we have to shift that conversation away from the price toward the value. Like, what exactly is the value of this drug that is going to result in a positive outcome? And is society willing to pay for that drug? At Novartis, we take a little bit of a different approach than our peers. Not only are we a large, innovative drug manufacturer, but we also are the second largest generics manufacturer... I also believe at Novartis that the day that patents expire, it's our obligation to offer a low-cost version in a generic form." Discussing the practice of drug companies paying doctors to prescribe particular drugs, Jiminez said, "It's unfortunate, because that's a situation where society's expectations have changed to the point where even doing what's legal is not doing what's right. What we have to do is, we have to find new ways to educate physicians about our new drugs... We're looking at ways digitally to communicate with physicians and at some new tools, so we can stay ahead of the curve. So rather than wait for regulations to change, Novartis can step back and say, 'We're going to do what society would expect us to do, not just do what's legal.'" Reference Link
09:07 EDTNVSUnilife ammends clinical supply agreement with Novartis
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September 23, 2015
10:00 EDTLPLOn The Fly: Analyst Downgrade Summary
Today's noteworthy downgrades include: Baytex Energy (BTE) downgraded to Sector Performer from Outperformer at CIBC... CarMax (KMX) downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer... Cytec Industries (CYT) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies... LG Display (LPL) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill... Magna (MGA) downgraded to Sector Performer from Outperformer at CIBC... Norilsk Nickel (NILSY) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan... Sherwin-Williams (SHW) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Longbow... Volkswagen (VLKAY) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.
08:26 EDTBMRNBioMarin October volatility increases on wide-price movement
BioMarin October call option implied volatility is at 56, November is at 50; compared to its 52-week range of 33 to 64, suggesting large near term price movement.
08:19 EDTLPLLG Display downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
BofA/Merrill downgraded LG Display to Underperform following checks that indicate weaker than normal trends in second half sales volumes and blended ASPs.
06:29 EDTBMRNOrphan drug pricing concerns overdone, says Leerink
Leerink analyst Joseph Schwartz says his firm's Orphan Drug Payor survey contrasts with the recent bearish investor sentiment over the orphan drug business model. The survey of 30 payors indicates that the reimbursement landscape "remains highly favorable" for commercially insured patients and is able to withstand potential weakness caused by proposed changes to Medicare pricing, Schwartz tells investors in a research note. His analysis suggests a "surprisingly limited" impact to valuations of orphan drug companies should Medicare patients receive drug discounts. Schwartz views the pricing concerns stemming from Hillary Clinton's plan to combat high drug prices as overdone. He reiterates Outperform ratings on AMAG Pharmaceuticals (AMAG), BioMarin (BMRN), Raptor Pharmaceuticals (RPTP) and Retrophin (RTRX).
September 22, 2015
20:02 EDTBMRNClinton vows $250 cap on monthly drug costs in blast against biotechs, insurers
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton railed against biotech companies as well as health insurers at a community health care forum in Iowa on Tuesday. Clinton began her speech by praising the Affordable Care Act, but quickly noted that she wants to strengthen it due to what she called the rising cost of prescription drugs. She explained, "Our pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries deserve credit... [But] too often, these drugs cost a fortune. Now, sometimes there is a good reason for that. Scientific breakthroughs are often the result of major investment... so it may makes sense, for a short period of time, to have to charge a lot of money for a drug. But when a drug has no competition, when there aren't any other treatments that can do what it does, pharmaceutical companies can charge astronomical fees far beyond anything that it would take to recoup their investment, and far beyond what they charge consumers anywhere else in the world outside of America." Referencing the recent criticism against Turing Pharmaceuticals, Clinton went on to say that "pharmaceutical companies that acquire an existing affordable drug that people rely on, and then turn around and charge a fortune for it, [are just betting] on the fact that desperate people will find some way to pay for it." Preemptively responding to questions of whether greater regulation will dampen investment, Clinton commented that "some people worry that my proposals will threaten innovation, but I have designed a plan that will do exactly the opposite... Under my plan, drug companies that want to keep getting federal support will have to redirect more of their profits into meaningful investments in research and development." Clinton also criticized incremental drug improvements, saying that "too often, so-called new drugs are really old drugs that have just been tweaked a little bit, but then they're marketed as breakthrough drugs and they're sold for high prices." The Democratic candidate went on to condemn advertising in the drug industry, remarking that "I also want to tackle direct to consumer advertising... Other countries ban these ads because they are so often misleading. But at the very least, we shouldn't be encouraging them with corporate write-offs... Under my plan, we will instead use that taxpayer money to fund innovation... I would also like to make sure any ads the drug industry does run are approved by the FDA." Moving more broadly onto Medicaid and health insurers, Clinton stated, "I believe Medicare should be able to negotiate for lower prices for its members... I will require drug companies to provide higher rebates for prescription drugs to low income Medicare patients, just like they have to do for Medicaid patients... I think the insurance companies need to be put on notice." Providing more concrete details of her plan, Clinton concluded, "I will cap out of pocket drug costs for working families. You won't have to pay more than $250 a month for covered medications... Particularly for people who have a chronic illness. Also under my plan, you will be able to import cheaper drugs from other countries legally. If the medicine you need costs less in Canada, you should be able to buy it from Canada or any other country that meets our safety standards... I will also make sure we have more generics on the market [by boosting funding for] the FDA's office of generic drugs."
17:35 EDTBMRNHillary Clinton vows to cap out-of-pocket drug costs at $250 per month
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said in a tweet that, "Under my plan, I'll cap out-of-pocket drug costs for families. You won't have to pay more than $250/month for covered medications." Reference Link
12:22 EDTSJMConAgra falls after Q1 revenue significantly misses estimates
Shares of packaged food company ConAgra (CAG) are falling after the company's first quarter revenue fell significantly short of analysts' consensus estimates. WHAT'S NEW: This morning, ConAgra reported Q1 adjusted earnings per share of 45c, ahead of the consensus of 40c, and revenue of $2.79B, well short of expectations of $3.67B. ConAgra reported Q1 Consumer Foods sales of approximately $1.7B and Commercial Foods segment sales of $1.1B. The divestiture process for the private label operations is proceeding as planned, and the company expects to have an announcement on the outcome of this process later this fall. The company will assess opportunities to increase the dividend after it is further along with the strategic plan outlined at the end of fiscal 2015. WHAT'S NOTABLE: Looking ahead to Q2, the company expects diluted EPS, adjusted for items impacting comparability, to be approximately in line with year-ago comparable amounts, compared to consensus of 63c. Despite strong fundamentals and expectations for continued margin expansion, comparable operating profits for the Consumer Foods segment in the fiscal second quarter are expected to be negatively impacted by foreign exchange, as well as a planned increase in marketing investment. Profits for the Commercial Foods segment are expected to post an increase in profitability year-over-year in the fiscal second quarter. Expected contribution from the private label operations, which are now in discontinued operations, is included in this guidance. On its Q1 conference call, ConAgra said its private brands divestiture was "on track" and there was "a lot of interest" in it. Management noted that they were "aggressively" pursuing maximizing actions and making "good progress" on margin improvement efforts. They said they were committed to an investment grade rating, marketing investments will increase throughout the year, and results from the last six months indicate positivity going forward. They said the company took a $1.95B charge on private label business in Q1, but remain confident that they will realize a tax benefit from the capital loss. PRICE ACTION: In early afternoon trading, ConAgra fell $2.39, or about 5.64%, to $40.01 on heavy trading volume. Despite the pull back, the shares have gained approximately 19% over the past 12 months. OTHERS TO WATCH: Other companies in the packaged foods space include Boulder Brands (BDBD), down 0.5%, Pinnacle Foods (PF), down 2.5%, General Mills (GIS), up 0.6%, JM Smucker (SJM), down 3%, and TreeHouse Foods (THS), down 0.4%.
08:39 EDTSJMJ.M. Smucker 8.277M share Spot Secondary priced at $114.00
Morgan Stanley acted as sole book running manager for the offering.
08:23 EDTBMRNAnalysts say buy select biotech stocks ahead of Clinton drug plan
Ahead of Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton laying out her plan to tackle "price gouging" in the specialty drug market at an event in Iowa later today, analysts at research firms Jefferies and Piper Jaffray are recommending select biotech stocks that they view as buys amid the weakness in the space. DEBATE: Biotech stocks broadly declined yesterday, with the NASDAQ Biotechnology index (IBB) sliding roughly 4.4%, after privately-held Turing Pharmaceuticals made headlines by enacting a 5,000% price increase on a 62-year-old drug that fights complication of AIDS and cancer. Furor around the sudden price hike for Turing's Daraprim reignited a debate around drug prices that previously embroiled costly Hepatitis C drugs including AbbVie's (ABBV) Viekira Pak and Gilead's (GILD) Sovaldi and Harvoni. The news also follows Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders issuing a letter in August to Valeant (VRX) and Pfizer's (PFE) Hospira, in which he requested information on the "enormous" price increases of two drugs Valeant acquired earlier in the year. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sent the debate to center stage yesterday by criticizing the "outrageous" prices of specialty drugs and promising to lay out a plan today to tackle "price gouging" in the specialty drug market. Clinton's proposal, which she'll outline in a speech in Iowa later today, would force pharmaceutical companies to reinvest their profits into research, allow for more generic and imported drugs and allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug costs and cap out-of-pocket expenses, according to details of the plan shared with USA Today. Zeke Emanuel, chair of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, appeared on Nightly Business Report to discuss the problem of high drug prices and his suggested solutions. During his interview, Emanuel contended that giving Medicare the ability to negotiate drug prices may drive up prices for everyone else. DEFENSES: The Jefferies Biotechnology research team, led by Brian Abrahams, Eun Yang and Biren Amin, say their Washington D.C. consultants indicate the recent political rhetoric around drug pricing is unlikely to result in any substantive future policy changes that would impact biotech sector fundamentals. As such, they recommend using yesterday's selloff to buy select companies including Celgene (CELG), BioMarin (BMRN) and Alkermes (ALKS). Pricing concerns are nothing new, and will likely continue to be a headwind for the sector, the analysts tell investors in a research note. Hillary Clinton's proposal to combat drug pricing is likely to include "some combination of old and tried policies that have been out there for a few years," they write. The analysts also like shares of AMAG Pharmaceuticals (AMAG), Alder Biopharmaceuticals (ALDR) and Cempra (CEMP). Meanwhile, Piper Jaffray analyst Edward Tenthoff recommends buying shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) following yesterday's selloff. Tenthoff believes that drugs like Vertex's Orkambi will maintain premium pricing because of the disease modifying value to patients and payors. Orkambi is approved to treat cystic fibrosis in patients 12 years and older. The analyst reiterates an Overweight rating on Vertex with a $163 price target. DOWNGRADE: Brean Capital analyst Difei Yang downgraded Horizon Pharma (HZNP) to Hold saying "unsettling recent developments" make the stock's premium valuation no longer justified. The public discussion on high drug prices is a negative for the company while its attempt to acquire Depomed (DEPO) is unlikely to result in a completed deal, Yang tells investors in a research note. Further, Horizon's prescription trends are showing weakness, said Yang, who views the stock as more risky than in the past. PRICE ACTION: Horizon closed yesterday down $2.93, or 9.2%, at $28.99, while Vertex dropped $5.97, or 4.8%, to $118.19. A number of the biggest stocks in biotechnology were also weak yesterday, with Gilead sliding about 2.5%, Amgen (AMGN) dropping 2.3%, Celgene declining 2.8% and Biogen (BIIB) falling more than 5.5%.
08:00 EDTBMRNJefferies sees buying opportunities in select biotech names
Analysts at Jefferies say their Washington D.C. consultants indicate the recent political rhetoric around drug pricing is unlikely to result in any substantive future policy changes that would impact biotech sector fundamentals. As such, they recommend using yesterday's selloff to buy select companies including Celgene (CELG), BioMarin (BMRN) and Alkermes (ALKS). Pricing concerns are nothing new, and will likely continue to be a headwind for the sector, the analysts tell investors in a research note. Hillary Clinton's proposal to combat drug pricing is likely to include "some combination of old and tried policies that have been out there for a few years," they write. The analysts also like shares of AMAG Pharmaceuticals (AMAG), Alder Biopharmaceuticals (ALDR) and Cempra (CEMP). The Jefferies Biotechnology research team is led by Brian Abrahams, Eun Yang and Biren Amin.
07:43 EDTNVSDrug stocks could be hurt by focus on pricing, says Oppenheimer
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06:19 EDTNVSClinton to roll out plan to rein in prescription drug costs, USA Today reports
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