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Piper Jaffray Upgrades Amgen

Amgen (AMGN) posted 82 cents second-quarter earnings per share (GAAP), and sees 2005 EPS of $3.10-$3.20. Piper Jaffray upgraded the stock on the news.

Analyst Mark Karvosky upgrades Amgen to outperform from market perform, and ups his price target to $88 on strong business trends and increased visibility into Amgen's pipeline portfolio. He expects biotechnology to be a top-performing sector in the second half of 2005. Following strong second-quarter results, he thinks the company should be a core holding for those investors looking to benefit from a rally in biotech sector.

Karvosky notes second-quarter EPS on a non-GAAP basis totaled 88 cents, vs. his 68 cents estimate, driven by strong product trends, incremental margin improvement, and other factors.

He increased his $2.83 2005 EPS estimate to $3.14, and $3.14 2006 forecast to $3.53.

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