The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Verizon Communications, Sanofi, Novo-Nordisk, Johnson & Johnson and Roche

      The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Verizon Communications, Sanofi,
                  Novo-Nordisk, Johnson & Johnson and Roche

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Dec. 14, 2012

CHICAGO, Dec. 14, 2012 /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 Verizon Communications Inc.
(NYSE:VZ), Sanofi (NYSE:SNY), Novo-Nordisk (NYSE:NVO), Johnson & Johnson
(NYSE:JNJ) and Roche (OTC:RHHBY).

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

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Verizon Expands 100G Technology

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) seems to be on an expansion spree as it
has extended its 100G network in the U.S. and Europe besides deploying 4G LTE
network in several U.S. markets. The rapidly growing telecom traffic demand is
forcing the company to expand its network infrastructure. The largest telecom
operator in the U.S. has expanded by a massive 20,921 kilometers in the U.S.
and by 2,600 kilometers in Europe.

In the U.S., Verizon has deployed its 100G technology in some select markets
like Atlanta-Tampa, Kansas-Dallas and Salt Lake City-Seattle, where data
demand is the highest. Alongside, within Europe, the company expanded its 100G
technology in two new routes including the lucrative London-Paris and
London-Frankfurt route.

100G or 100 Gigabyte Ethernet is a high speed computer network standard that
supports data transfer at a speed of 100GB per second, which is 10 times
better than the previous fastest Ethernet standard with a speed of 10GB per
second. 100G technology supports both fixed and wireless services to create a
high capacity network, which allows super-fast data transfer in multiple
locations.

In November, 2007, Verizon became the first operator in the U.S. to
successfully complete the trial of 100G technology. Several trials followed
and in March 2011, the company deployed the 100G network in Europe, thereby
expanding the infrastructure and performance for its customers. Following the
European launch, Verizon successfully launched the network technology in
several U.S. markets.

Sanofi Presents Positive Results

Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) recently announced positive results from a phase II trial
evaluating the efficacy of its hematology candidate, SAR302503 (selective JAK2
inhibitor) in three dose strengths (300 mg, 400 mg, and 500 mg) for the
reduction of spleen volume and improvement in constitutional symptoms in
intermediate-2 or high-risk primary or secondary myelofibrosis (MF) patients.
The data was presented at the American Society of Hematology's (ASH) annual
meeting.
 
The open label, randomized dose-ranging phase II trial evaluated SAR302503 in
31 patients. The candidate met the primary endpoint of reducing spleen volume.

Currently, the phase III JAKARTA trial, evaluating the use of SAR302503 in 289
patients, is underway. Initial data from the trial should be out by the second
quarter of 2013. Two dose strengths (400 mg and 500 mg) of SAR302503 are being
studied in the JAKARTA trial.

We are pleased with Sanofi's progress with its pipeline. Over the last few
months, several of Sanofi's pipeline candidates gained approval including US
approval of Aubagio (teriflunomide) for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis
(RMS) and US approval of Zaltrap (aflibercept) as a combination therapy for
treatment-experienced patients suffering from metastatic colorectal cancer.

We expect Sanofi to continue to contain operating costs in order to increase
earnings in the face of weakening sales of some of its biggest products. We
also expect the company to pursue bolt-on acquisitions.

Our Recommendation

Currently, we have a Neutral recommendation on Sanofi. Sanofi carries a Zacks
#2 Rank (Buy) in the short run.

Large-cap pharma stocks currently holding a Zacks #2 Rank include companies
like Novo-Nordisk (NYSE:NVO), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Roche
(OTC:RHHBY).

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