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In today's Motley Fool Take:

Im agining ImClone

By Alyce Lomax (TMF Lomax)

Cancer is never a good thing, but obviously, cancer treatments are. It's been hard to ignore the lure of cancer drugs over the last several days. Today, ImClone(Nasdaq: IMCL) shares leapt after the company reported stellar first-quarter profits, boosted by its launch of colon cancer drug Erbitux.

Yesterday, it was Genentech(NYSE: DNA) and OSI Pharmaceuticals(Nasdaq: OSIP), the latter rising astronomically on super-upbeat study results about its small-cell lung cancer drug, Tarceva.

ImClone reported net income of $62.7 million, or diluted earnings of $0.76 per share, compared to a net loss of $34.8 million, or $0.47 per share, in the same quarter last year. Revenues increased more than 500% to $109.6 million, compared to $19.6 million last year -- a taste of the payoff many investors have been waiting for. Sales included a $250 million milestone payment from partner Bristol-Myers Squibb(NYSE: BMY).

ImClone has, of course, carried more than its fair share of infamy. Its role in Martha Stewart's downfall is well-known. Investors are easily spooked by it, as was recently dramatized by its mysterious plunge before the FDA's approval of Erbitux. Our own Paul Elliott believed in the possibilities of the cancer treatment early on and has held on to his stake in ImClone through thick and thin.

If one thing's impressive, it's the rapid rate at which Erbitux has contributed to ImClone's fortunes. The FDA only just approved the drug in February, and with ImClone's first quarter ending March 31, it has quickly begun adding to earnings. In addition to the milestone payment and royalties, Erbitux sales totaled $17.5 million. Indeed, the company said in its statement, "We were pleased with the sales of Erbitux in just over five weeks of product shipments during the quarter, as they appear to indicate that physicians are rapidly integrating this first-of-its-kind antibody into patients' treatment regimens."

In pre-market trading, the stock skyrocketed 10%, but has since come down to earth -- the company said, not surprisingly, that it wouldn't be prudent to give guidance on revenues yet and that future earnings will be lower, though it expects to remain profitable.

Meanwhile, yesterday's Tarceva news showed up Erbitux to some extent -- that study implied Tarceva may extend life expectancy in lung cancer patients; both drugs, which treat cancer according to the same principles, will be studied for efficacy in different types of cancers.

Many people think too much enthusiasm is already priced into ImClone shares. They have risen 67%, more than doubling the company's market cap, since Erbitux was approved in late February. Today's preliminary surge was a knee-jerk reaction to an admittedly upbeat sign, but the reality is, the time this stock was a bargain seems long behind us.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any companies mentioned.

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Du Pont Doesn't Shock

By Alyce Lomax (TMF Lomax)

Surprise! DuPont(NYSE: DD) reported a 25% increase in its first-quarter earnings. While it's good news for DuPont, it's hardly unexpected, seeing as how the company just recently raised its earnings view. However, although there's a pretty marked lack of surprise, it does bode well for an improving economy.

It may feel like just yesterday that DuPont gave us the one-two punch of news in a single week, announcing layoffs followed quickly by a boost of its first-quarter view. (It wasn't yesterday, but it wasn't long ago -- April 14.) So, while today's news is indeed good, it's something that anyone paying attention to DuPont already expected.

Today, the chemicals giant reported first-quarter net income of $668 million, or $0.66 per share, compared to $535 million, or $0.53 per share, in the same quarter last year. If you take out the costs of legal expenses and some other onetime items, the company reported earnings of $0.96 per share, beating Wall Street's expectation of $0.95 per share. Consolidated net sales increased by 15%, to $8.1 billion.

However, upbeat earnings from companies like DuPont and its rival Dow Chemical(NYSE: DOW) tell us a lot about the economic climate. DuPont's range of businesses all delivered strong results, according to the company. And when chemicals manufacturers are boosting earnings and revenues, it means that the global economy is heating up. And if the global economy is heating up, that's good for all of us.

Investors obviously found little to be excited about with DuPont's earnings, as its shares sank just a tad in recent trading.

Regardless, these are signs that the economic rebound is alive and well. When it comes to DuPont itself, many investors are probably waiting for signs that the company's restructuring will leave it stronger than before.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any companies mentioned.

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Fi nding the Next Google

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMF Edible)

Things are going pretty well for paid search specialist FindWhat.com(Nasdaq: FWHT). Last night, the company posted first-quarter earnings of $0.16 a share on a 56% surge in revenues. Both beat FindWhat's earlier guidance. Despite the challenges of seasonality, the company has grown its top line for 18 consecutive quarters. Pre-tax profits have grown sequentially in four straight years.

Thanks to continued improvement in its core businesses and the successful digestion of recent acquisitions, the company is now looking to earn $1.08 per share in pre-tax profits on $174 million in revenues this year.

Raising guidance only to top it has been par for the course over the last few quarters. Sponsored search is surging in popularity, giving even the smallest advertiser the opportunity to land an interested lead for just pennies. That pocket change adds up.

Just ask Yahoo!(Nasdaq: YHOO). The Internet bellwether is huge, but it couldn't have amassed $197 million in free cash flow this past quarter without the help of its paid search subsidiary, Overture. Ask Jeeves(Nasdaq: ASKJ) also rocked the performance-based marketing world last week with its own healthy report.

Readers of Stocks 2004, meanwhile, are familiar with FindWhat. The stock has nearly doubled since being recommended at $14 a share just five months ago.

In addition to organic growth, the 141% top-line spurt that FindWhat is expecting this year assumes it closes a buyout of Europe's Espotting over the summer. That's not insignificant, as Espotting produced $30 million in revenues for the March quarter. That's more than FindWhat's $24.7 million for the same period, even though Espotting did so on leaner margins.

FindWhat may not stay hidden long. With Google continuing to make headway toward its anticipated IPO, it seems as if the market will only become more aware of the productive ways of the paid search niche.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Aristotle Munarriz has been a vocal fan of the paid search providers, but he does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story.

Qu ote of Note

"I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice." -- Abraham Lincoln

Mo re on Fool.com Today

Think coal is passe? Think again. James Early has a hip stock with cutting-edge technology in Heads-Up for Headwaters.... And who could forget the second part of Charly Travers' commentary? Read on in More Biotech IPOs.... Sector funds can be a lot more risky than they at first appear, according to our funds guru, Shannon Zimmerman. He's got the answers in Check Volatility at the Door.... And last but not least, our lady with all the personal finance answers, Dayana Yochim, shows you how to Read Your Banker's Mind.

In other news:

For a list of all our stories from today, see our Today's Headlines page.