Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Ambac, Onyx Pharmaceuticals,
Pfizer and Wyeth
CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 06, 2008 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: Ambac Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: ABK), Onyx Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ONXX), Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and Wyeth (NYSE: WYE).
See the latest posts to the Analyst Blog here: http://www.zacks.com/blog/post_info.html?g=6
Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:
Breaking Down Ambac's News
Earlier today, Ambac Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: ABK) announced it would sell at least $1.5 billion in stock and convertible securities to help boost capital levels at its main insurance unit, which has been facing potential ratings downgrades. While this move should help to retain its current credit rating presently, it is abundantly clearly the market was not pleased.
- By selling $1.0 billion in new shares (using $10 per share), ABK would substantially dilute its shares outstanding -- basically a doubling.
- Considering that we are at the beginning of mortgage meltdown versus the trough, we view the $1.5 billion in additional capital as more of a "Band-aid effect" to the problem.
- ABK is also attempting to shore up its capital base by suspending new business in the riskiest segment of the market. While capital may improve from this action over time, earnings will be hampered over the near-term.
We rate the share of ABK a Sell. Our six-month target price is currently $7.65.
Downgrading Onyx Pharma to a Hold
Onyx Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ONXX) lost one key near-term catalyst due to the early termination of its phase III ESCAPE trial of Nexavar for lung cancer on Feb 18, 2008. The failure also cast shadow for Nexavar's long-term potential. Although worldwide Nexavar sales continued growth in 4Q07, U.S. sales has been under great pressure due to heavy competition in the kidney cancer market.
We believe Nexavar sales will continue to grow over the next several years since the label has expanded to liver cancer, but the potential has been limited without the indications of lung cancer and melanoma. Therefore, we maintain our Hold rating on Onyx shares with a price target of $31.
Although worldwide Nexavar sales continued its momentum in the fourth quarter of 2007, we see increase pressure on US sales of the drug in the U.S. kidney market. Competition is heavy and comes from Pfizer's (NYSE: PFE) Sutent and Wyeth's (NYSE: WYE) Torisel.
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