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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.

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.

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Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leonard Zacks. As a PhD in mathematics Len knew he could find patterns in stock market data that would lead to superior investment results. Amongst his many accomplishments was the formation of his proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, which 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.

The performance of the Zacks Rank portfolios for annual and year-to-date periods are the linked monthly total returns (price changes + dividends) of equal weighted hypothetical portfolios, consisting of those stocks with the indicated Zacks Rank, assuming monthly rebalancing and zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios. The hypothetical portfolios were created at the beginning of each month from January 1988 forward based on the values of the Zacks Rank available to Zacks' clients before the beginning of each month. The portfolios created monthly from 1988 through September 2006 exclude ADRs and are comprised of stocks that have the indicated Zacks Rank and were covered by at least two analysts at the time of the stocks inclusion in the portfolio. Starting in October 2006 and going forward, the portfolios are comprised of all stocks with the indicated Zacks Rank and do not exclude ADRs, which is more reflective of the list of stocks that customers will find on the Zacks web sites. These performance numbers have been audited from 1995 through 2003 by Virchow, Krause & Company, LLP.

Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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