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Merrill Lynch Ups Celgene To Buy from Neutral

Merrill Lynch upgraded Celgene (CELG) to buy from neutral, citing the stock's valuation.

Analyst Thomas McGahren said he's been positive on Celgene for a while now, but it was too rich. He's upping his recommendation to a buy rating with a $65 target as the stock has drifted downward recently to a good entry point; the stock was off 20% following Oct. 3 news of a drug approval delay. He says the company is a profitable oncology-focused biotech offering a potential blockbuster franchise in Revlimid, Thalomid. He sees 54 cents 2005 earnings per share on revenue of $437 million, and $1.06 2006 earnings per share on revenue of $642 million. He says the $65 target is based on a p-e of 49 times 2007 earnings per share estimate of $1.60, discounted back one year at 20%.

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