Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Stocks Drop; Biogen Up, Aflac Down

The leading stock indexes began Wednesday’s session slightly lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index both off about 0.3%.

Time Warner (TWX) is up about 4% in early trades, boosted by better-than-expected fourth-quarter profits, albeit on lower-than-expected revenue. The media company also said it’s raising its quarterly dividend by 11 cents a share, to 28.75 cents.

Cerner (CERN) stock is also up roughly 4% after it reported earnings. The hospital-information-technology vendor posted double-digit revenue gains from its two main segments as well as record bookings. As my colleague Johanna Bennett notes, Cerner has posted double-digit per-share earnings growth every quarter for several years as more health professionals and hospitals convert to electronic records. The company also noted it has significantly advanced its cloud-based services for physicians and population-health capabilities.

Biogen Idec (BIIB) is up about 6% after it closed a deal for a leading MS drug:

Biogen Idec�agreed to buy�Elan�Corp.’s�interest in Tysabri for $3.25 billion in cash, plus future contingent payments, gaining full control of the multiple sclerosis drug ahead of what the biopharmaceutical company expects will be expanded use of the drug.

Under the deal’s terms, Biogen will get full strategic, commercial and decision-making rights to Tysabri. When the deal closes, the previous collaboration agreement between the companies�under which world-wide Tysabri profits were split evenly�will be terminated.

The cash payment will come from Biogen’s existing cash reserves.��

As I noted earlier, shares of Ralph Lauren (RL) and Disney (DIS) are rising after positive earnings for both, with the fashion outfit up 8.5% and the media company gaining about 2%

Among the big decliners this morning are insurer Aflac (AFL), off about 5%, and Hain Celestial (HAIN). Aflac’s earnings beat estimates, but its full-year outlook came in under current expectations. Hain, meanwhile, saw its quarterly revenue come in below estimates, and it lowered its revenue outlook.


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