Acorda Therapeutics, The Medicines Co. and Shire Plc Could Be Big Movers in Healthcare Today

Today's movers in healthcare and biotechnology.

Feb 13, 2014 at 9:34AM

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Good morning, fellow Foolish investors! It's time to check in on the top stories in the health care sector this morning.

Acorda beats earnings estimates
Earnings in the health care sector continue to impress as Acorda Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ACOR) beat analysts' estimates this morning. Specifically, Acorda reported a fourth quarter earnings per share of $0.32, beating estimates by $0.03. Revenues also increased by a healthy 13.6% year over year due to stronger than expected sales of the company's flagship drug Ampyra.

Looking ahead, Acorda expects sales of Ampyra to grow another 11-13% this year, but costs associated with the company's six ongoing clinical studies will also increase markedly. 

Should you put Acorda on your watch list? I have liked this stock for a long time, but Wall Street's view has clearly differed from mine. Despite steadily growing revenues for Ampyra since its launch and making progress on the clinical trial front, the stock has lagged well behind the health care sector over the last year. Moreover, short sellers still hold close to 9% of outstanding shares. That said, you have to think that growth will eventually win out, and Acorda will see better times in terms of share price appreciation. So, stay tuned!

More bad news for The Medicines Co. 
When biotechs get an experimental drug or therapy rejected, it's fairly normal for analysts to lower their estimates for the company's shares. And that's exactly what's happening to The Medicines Co. (NASDAQ:MDCO) today following a negative vote by a U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, Advisory Committee for the company's experimental drug cangrelor.

Specifically, cangrelor was up for review as an intravenous antiplatelet in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention yesterday, where it received a 7-2 'no' vote. Although the FDA doesn't have to follow the committee's recommendation, it typically does. Final word from the FDA on the drug's fate is expected by April 30.

This morning Jefferies was among the first out of the gate to downgrade the stock, slicing its price target by 15% in the process. Shares are currently down over 10% in premarket trading. 

What's my take? Jefferies obviously believed a good chunk of the company's valuation moving forward was tied to cangrelor's commercial prospects, and by the looks of it, the market appears to agree with this assessment. So, you may want to wait until the smoke clears before trying to pick up shares on the cheap.

Shire rocks earnings estimates 
Irish biopharma Shire plc's (NASDAQ:SHPG) strategic decision to focus on drugs for rare diseases a few years back is paying dividends today -- quite literally. The company blew away Non-GAAP earnings per ADS estimates by 23% this morning, with fourth quarter earnings coming in at $2.26 per ADS. Revenue also beat estimates by $50 million.

Earnings came in much higher than expected because of double-digit growth in sales for most of the company's rare disease drugs, with overall annual sales growing by 19%.  Management also gave a rosy outlook for 2014 based on the acquisition of Viropharma and growing demand for the company's core products. Namely, Shire's management expects sales to continue to grow by double-digits this year, allowing them to increase the dividend by 15%.

What's my view? The market appears content to continue to pay a premium for earnings for orphan drugmakers like Shire. And unless there is a major policy change in the U.S. or EU in terms of pricing for these types of drugs, I expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future. As such, you might want to keep a close eye on Shire going forward.  

Healthcare stocks have been some of the best performers of late, but this stock could be even better. 
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George Budwell has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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