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Amgen stops bleeding – shares jump

By   /   Monday, July 28th, 2008  /   Comments Off on Amgen stops bleeding – shares jump

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Shares of Thousand Oaks-based Amgen continued to rise July 29, climbing $2.67, or 4.4 percent.

Amgen’s stock price began climbing after its top executives raised the 2008 earnings forecast at its quarterly earnings call, which occurred after the markets closed July 28.

Before the call, Amgen had performed strongly July 28, even as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 240 points. The company was the top gainer in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. Only nine other stocks in the index rose.

Sales of its top drug, Aranesp, which has been beleaguered by safety concerns, took a softer-than-expected blow. Profits beat analyst expectations.

Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology company, is Ventura County’s largest non-government employer and the Tri-Counties’ largest public company.

The bump from the Amgen’s quarterly earnings call comes shortly after its shares soared 16 percent – adding nearly $8 billion in market capitalization – in late July 25 trading.

Shares traded at a volume of about 65 million shares, roughly five times the stock’s normal volume.

The late Friday price jump followed an announcement of promising clinical results for denosumab, or D-mab, which analysts say could be the company’s next blockbuster drug.

Although sales of Aranesp, Amgen’s top-selling anemia drug, were down, sales were up across the rest of its drug portfolio. “Our overall financial performance is stronger than expected,” Chief Executive Officer Kevin Sharer told investors on the call.

Amgen had previously issued an upper revenue guidance of $14.6 billion, but raised that to $14.9 billion. It updated its best adjusted earnings per share estimate from $4.30 to $4.45.

Profit excluding certain costs clocked in at was $1.14, beating the $1.03 average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Amgen’s stock closed at $53.92 on Friday, hitting a peak of $62.50 in trading late July 25. The stock closed at $60.48 on July 28 and traded at $63.15 at 12:59 p.m. EST.

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