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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – April 13, 2012 – announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Eli Lilly and Company ( (LLY - Free Report) , Pfizer ( (PFE - Free Report) , Johnson & Johnson ( (JNJ - Free Report) , The TJX Companies Inc. ( (TJX - Free Report) and Macy’s Inc. ( (M - Free Report) .

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Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

FDA Approves Lilly’s Amyvid

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved Eli Lilly and Company’s ( (LLY - Free Report) radioactive diagnostic agent, Amyvid (florbetapir F 18 Injection). Amyvid has been designed to help detect the density of beta-amyloid plaques in patients (with cognitive impairment) who are being evaluated for Alzheimer's disease and other causes of cognitive decline.

While a negative scan would mean little to no amyloid plaques are present, a positive scan would point towards the presence of moderate to frequent plaques. It is to be noted that while moderate to frequent plaques are usually found in patients with Alzheimer’s, the same may also be in the case of patients with other neurologic conditions or in elderly people with normal cognition.

Amyvid became a part of Eli Lilly’s portfolio with its December 2009 acquisition of privately-held company, Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, Inc. In March 2011, Amyvid had received  a complete response letter (CRL) from the FDA. Prior to the CRL, the FDA’s Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee had voted against granting approval to Amyvid based on the submitted data.

In its CRL, the FDA had said that Eli Lilly needs to implement a reader training program which will help ensure accurate and consistent interpretation of existing Amyvid scans.

Our Take

Amyvid’s approval should provide Eli Lilly with a near-term revenue source. Moreover, it should fit well in Eli Lilly’s product portfolio as the company itself has been pursuing the development of treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile, Amyvid’s approval provides physicians an additional tool that can be used with other diagnostic options to evaluate a patient.

The worldwide Alzheimer’s disease market represents huge commercial potential with companies like Pfizer ( (PFE - Free Report) and Johnson & Johnson ( (JNJ - Free Report) working on developing treatments for the disease. Eli Lilly currently has a phase III Alzheimer’s disease candidate, solanezumab, in its pipeline.

We currently have a Neutral recommendation on Eli Lilly, which carries a Zacks #3 Rank (short-term Hold rating).

March Sales Spur TJX to Up Guidance

The off-price apparel and home fashions retailer The TJX Companies Inc. ( (TJX - Free Report) posted a 10% increase in comparable-store sales for the five-week period ended in March 31, 2012. Total sales for the month moved up 14% to $2.3 billion from $2.0 billion in March 2011.

March’s comparable-store sales exceeded management’s guidance on the back of strong customer traffic in the stores. The stores welcomed customers with a combination of contemporary and exciting fashion and brands available at lucrative prices.

Retail sales for the nine-weeks ended March 31, 2012, stood at $4.0 billion, which were 13.0% higher than $3.5 billion in the year-ago period. Same-store sales for the period increased 10% over the year-ago period.

Macy’s Inc. ( (M - Free Report) , a close competitor of TJX, also performed strongly in the month of March. Macy’s total sales grew 6.9% to $2.2 billion for the five-weeks ended March 31, 2012, while its sales climbed 7.3% for the month of March 2012 on a same-store basis.

Store Update

As of March 31, 2012, The TJX Companies Inc. operated 987 T.J. Maxx, 887 Marshalls, and 377 HomeGoods stores in the United States; 220 Winners, 86 HomeSense, and 12 Marshalls stores in Canada; and 333 T.K. Maxx and 24 HomeSense stores in Europe.


On the back of decent March sales, TJX raised its first quarter 2013 earnings estimate to be in the range of 51 cents to 52 cents compared with the previously-announced range of 45 cents to 47 cents. Fiscal 2013 earnings per share are expected to be in the range of $2.25-$2.35.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter 2013 is currently pegged at 52 cents and the full-year 2013 estimate is $2.36.

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