Wachovia Upgrades Amgen to 'Outperform'

Analyst Martin Auster says the drugmaker is poised to deliver 20%+ growth in 2004

Wachovia upgraded Amgen (AMGN ) to outperform from market perform.

Analyst Martin Auster believes investors are focusing too much on the risks to Amgen's story, and ignoring the solid and visible growth trends. He says Amgen's issuance of 2004 guidance on Dec. 15 will likely serve as a pivot point for the stock, and he thinks an R&D analyst day, scheduled for the first quarter of 2004, will further re-invigorate investor enthusiasm for Amgen.

Auster notes Amgen is poised to deliver 20%+ growth in 2004; he believes this creates a compelling risk/reward scenario. He says on a valuation basis, Amgen compares favorably to biotech peers and large pharmaceuticals.

He upped the $2.38 2004 earnings per share estimate to $2.40. He has a $66 to $72 target range.

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