For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – March 19, 2010 – 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: Wal-Mart (WMT), Kimberly-Clark (KMB), Procter & Gamble (PG), Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY) and AstraZeneca Plc (AZN).

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Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

Initial Jobless Claims Down Again

Extended claims are very helpful from a humanitarian point of view at a time when there are five job seekers for every job opening. By the time people have been out of work for six months, it is highly likely that they have already drawn down their savings and run up their credit cards. That probably includes drawing on 401-k accounts. When people do that, the money withdrawn is taxable, and they have to pay a 10% penalty.

With one out of four homeowners with mortgages now underwater and millions more extremely close to “sea level,” the option of drawing on home equity is not open the way it had been in previous downturns. Thus without a paycheck, these people are left with no financial resources at all. That is clearly a severe hardship on the families involved.

However, it is also very bad news for the economy overall. The money from extended benefits tends to get spent quickly and spent on basic necessities. This means they can buy their groceries and other basic goods at Wal-Mart (WMT) instead of having to rely on already overstretched food banks. That helps keep people working at Wal-Mart. If they spend the money on toilet paper, it helps keep people working at Kimberly-Clark (KMB) or Procter & Gamble (PG).

Those people who are kept working in turn go out and spend money and keep other people working. In fact, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finds that, dollar for dollar, extended claims is among the most effective form of fiscal stimulus in keeping of creating jobs.

Boost for Bristol-Myers

Recently, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY) and AstraZeneca Plc (AZN) announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted their application for reviewing the combination of a fixed dose of Onglyza (saxagliptin) and metformin for treating patients suffering from type II diabetes. While Onglyza is already available for the treatment of diabetes, metformin is a widely-used generic diabetes pill.

Onglyza is co-developed by Bristol-Myers and AstraZeneca. The partners submitted a New Drug Application (NDA) to the U.S. regulatory authority for saxagliptin/metformin HCl extended-release tablets on Dec 29, 2009.

The NDA is based on bioequivalence data and data from the Onglyza late-stage clinical trial program. The data included studies on the co-administration of Onglyza and immediate release metformin, as an adjunct to diet and exercise, in adult patients suffering from type II diabetes. The subjects in the program were either treatment-naïve or their disease was inadequately controlled by metformin alone.

As a reminder, Onglyza, a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP IV) inhibitor, contributed approximately $4 million to sales in the most recent quarter (ended Dec 31, 2009). The drug has been submitted to regulatory authorities in more than 50 countries, and is approved in 38 countries and launched in the United States (the FDA approved Onglyza in July 2009), Canada , Mexico , Germany , UK and Denmark.

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