For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – October 21, 2009 – 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: Biogen Idec (BIIB), Elan (ELN), UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH), Forest Laboratories, Inc. (FRX) and Cypress Biosciences (CYPB).

Get the most recent insight from Zacks Equity Research with the free Profit from the Pros newsletter:

Here are highlights from Tuesday’s AnalystBlog:

Biogen Reports Higher Earnings

Today morning, Biogen Idec (BIIB) reported third quarter earnings per share of $1.12, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.02. The company reported earnings of 98 cents in the year-ago period. Revenues increased 3% to $1.12 billion, with Tysabri being the primary growth driver.

Tysabri sales came in at $207 million, up 21% from the prior period. The company estimates that as of the end of September 2009, about 46,200 patients were on commercial and clinical Tysabri therapy worldwide. This represents an increase from the 43,300 patients reported by the company in the second quarter of 2009.

Tysabri is an important growth driver and we expect the product, which is partnered with Elan (ELN), to cross $1 billion in worldwide sales in 2009.

UnitedHealth Ahead of Estimates

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) third quarter earnings came in at 89 cents per share, ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 76 cents. The earnings showed an improvement over the prior year EPS of 75 cents per share mainly due to an uptick in net earnings.

As reported by the company, earnings from operations (EBIT) were $1.5 billion and net earnings were $1.0 billion, an increase from $1.4 billion and $0.9 billion, respectively, in the prior-year quarters. Operating margin of 7.7% remained stable on a year over year basis.

Operating costs increased to $20.0 billion from $18.6 billion last year. The consolidated medical care ratio remained within the range of management expectations at 82.0%, up 30 basis points year over year. The increase includes the mix effect of an increased proportion of public and senior markets risk-based business year over year, as well as from elevated medical costs related to the H1N1 influenza virus.

UnitedHealth realized $90 million in net favorable development in its estimates of medical costs incurred during the quarter.

Forest Reports In-Line

This morning, Forest Laboratories, Inc. (FRX), reported earnings per share of 85 cents for the second quarter of fiscal 2010, in-line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Product sales increased 4% to $962.7 million.

Although Lexapro sales declined 3.1% to $566 million, Namenda, which is approved for the treatment of moderate and severe Alzheimer’s disease, delivered sales of $275.3 million, recording a growth of 11.9% from the year-ago period. Improved patient access and increased promotional efforts should help keep Namenda sales strong.

Bystolic, Forest’s beta-blocker for the treatment of hypertension, posted sales of $40.7 million. This was significantly higher than the year ago sales of $14.2 million. Contract revenue, consisting primarily of Benicar co-promotion income, increased 7.2% to $50.6 million.

Forest’s most recent product launch, Savella, which is approved for the management of fibromyalgia, posted sales of $10.2 million. The product, which has been developed in collaboration with Cypress Biosciences (CYPB), was launched in late April 2009. We believe Savella may have multi-hundred million dollar potential.

Want more from Zacks Equity Research? Subscribe to the free Profit from the Pros newsletter:

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.

Zacks “Profit from the Pros” e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today:

About Zacks 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 at

Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

Follow us on Twitter:

Join us on Facebook:

Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.

Mark Vickery
Web Content Editor



Zacks Investment Research