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Before The Bell: Biotech Warnings; Paulson's Poker Face


Amgen and Johnny John may face more trouble; Paulson appears strong.


Morning Perspective: Biotech Warnings

According to Bloomberg, shares of Amgen (AMGN) rose in extended trading Friday after the company announced that U.S. regulators approved a revised warning for use of the anemia drugs Aranesp and Epogen. Recent studies showed the drugs "shortened overall survival" time in patients with certain tumors when dosed to a specific target level and that other patients had a higher risk of death. The warnings also apply to Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) Procrit. The U.S. FDA has scheduled a panel for March 13 to discuss further the benefits and risks of the drugs and some analysts expect AMGN and JNJ to face further restrictions. For more, read Biotech Specialist Professor David Miller's column Biotech Beat Down.

From the Bull Pen: Professor Miller acknowledged the tough conditions in the biotech space but did mention a possible play in Genentech (DNA); sell-stops can be set below $75.

From the Bear Cave: Bears can play the downside in JNJ (buy-stops above $64) and AMGN (buy-stops above $47).

Paulson's Poker Face

WSJ reports Secretary Treasurer Hank Paulson said he wasn't surprised by Friday's job numbers but they "weren't welcome." Paulson, speaking at a forum at Stanford University, said he knew "it would be a tough quarter" and reiterated previous statements that the housing correction continues to be the biggest downside risk for the U.S. economy. Paulson, however, repeated his vow not to bail out the investors, lenders, and speculators and said the administration is maintaining its goal of keeping struggling homeowners in their homes. Friday, the Labor Department reported nonfarm payrolls fell 63,000 in February. Read Professor Kevin Depew's Five Things You Need To Know.

From the Bull Pen: Given the market conditions, bulls see upside plays in the staples such as Procter & Gamble (PG). Professor Quint Tatro positively mentioned this stock Friday. Near-term sell-stops can be set below $64.

From the Bear Cave: Bears see more pain in the homebuilders and can play the downside in the homebuilders ETF (XHB); buy-stops above $19.50.

For more ideas, see Minyanville's Spotlight Stocks.

Quick Check Around the World

Happy Monday Minyans! Here's a look at the foreign markets.

Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +0.91%, Nikkei -1.96%, Sensex -0.52%, Taiwan -2.72% and Shanghai -3.59%.

A quick look towards Europe finds the CAC -0.21%, DAX -0.32%, FTSE -0.35%, ATX +0.13%, Swiss Mkt. -0.74% and Stockholm -0.80%.

As of 8:30 AM EST, S&P Futures are higher +3.90 to 1296; and Nasdaq Futures are up +4.25 to 1713.

A Look At Commodities

Commodities are lower. Crude oil is down -0.60 to 104.55. Gold is off -5.50 to 968.60. Silver is down -0.578 to 19.580, and copper is lower -10.55 to 382.65.

The dollar index is lower -0.115 to 72.912.

On the Radar


10:00 Wholesale Inventories: 0.5% cons

Click here for the full trading radar.

Welcome back, Minyans! Good luck and have a great day!


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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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