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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Canadian Solar, First Solar, SunPower, St. Jude Medical and Volcano

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – August 30, 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 Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ - Free Report) , First Solar Inc. (FSLR - Free Report) ,  SunPower Corporation (SPWR - Free Report) , St. Jude Medical, Inc. and Volcano Corp. .


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Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:


CSIQ to Develop and Run Twin Farms


Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ - Free Report) announced that its unit Canadian Solar Solutions Inc. has entered into an engineering, procurement and construction (“EPC”) contract with Canada-based solar farm Penn Energy Renewables Ltd.

Per the EPC contract, Canadian Solar will be entrusted with the duty to maintain and operate two new solar energy farms in Ontario, Canada. The construction work will begin in the third quarter of 2013. The combined capacity of these plants will be 18.7 MW. The plants are expected to come online during the summer of 2013, when demand for power generally peaks.

The photovoltaic technology aids in the generation of eco-friendly power and in the process lowers the emission of green house gases. The new solar plants are expected to reduce emission by 432,000 metric tons over a 20-year period and power 2,600 homes.

This fresh agreement came on the heels of a recent deal worth $48.4 million signed by the company to sell a utility-scale solar power plant to Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners. This plant is located in eastern Ontario and will be able to provide power to 1,200 homes.

The increasing use of renewable energy can be attributed to a growing awareness of the malaise of fossil fuels and pressure from the government to conform to strict environmental regulations and policies. We believe the cost of installation and operation of these solar plants compared to the plants using conventional sources of fossil fuel also plays a vital role in investment decisions.

The cost of operating the solar plants could be lowered if the solar panels used to generate energy have high conversion rates. The photovoltaic cell manufacturers throughout the globe are investing heavily on research and development work to achieve higher conversion rates. Canadian Solar is a frontrunner in the development of advanced solar panels. It has developed a new product which will be fully functional in areas having high ammonia exposure.

Canadian Solar currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating. The company’s peers in the in the photovoltaic space are First Solar Inc. (FSLR - Free Report) and SunPower Corporation (SPWR - Free Report)

Based in Ontario, Canada, Canadian Solar, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, development, manufacture and marketing of solar cell and solar module products that convert sunlight into electricity for various domestic and international uses.




FAME II Results Aid St. Jude


Medical devices major, St. Jude Medical, Inc. recently announced results from the FAME II (FFR-Guided (Fractional Flow Reserve) Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) Plus Optimal Medical Treatment versus Optimal Medical Treatment Alone in Patients with Stable Coronary Artery Disease) trial.

The study revealed that the FFR-guided treatment using St. Jude Medical’s PressureWire technology plus best available medical therapy helps curb healthcare costs and improves patient outcome.

FFR is an index that identifies and measures the severity of coronary artery narrowing. It specifically locates the coronary narrowing, responsible for occluding blood flow to a patient's heart muscle and directs surgeons to identify the lesions requiring stenting.

The company-sponsored FAME II trial evaluated the use of St. Jude’s PressureWire FFR devices (PressureWire Aeris or PressureWire Certus) during the treatment of patients with stable coronary artery disease. The objective of the trial was to study the role of FFR in treating this condition by comparing FFR-guided percutaneous coronary intervention (“PCI”) plus optimal medical therapy (“OMT”) with OMT alone.

The trial had enrolled 1,220 patients in 28 centers across the U.S., Europe and Canada since May 2010. Following the independent data safety monitoring board’s (“DSMB”) recommendation, the enrollment was stopped in January 2012.

Study Indicates Positive Results for St. Jude’s FFR

Results revealed that clinical outcomes are far more successful when patients are treated with the FFR-guided stenting along with the best available medical therapy, than with medical therapy (MT) alone. Results at the end of the trial enrolment indicated that the occurrence of primary end-point events such as urgent revascularization, cardiac arrest and death, were lower at 4.3% in patients treated with PCI plus MT than in patients treated with MT alone (12.7%).

Further, the study demonstrated that St. Jude’s PressureWire FFR measurement technology reduces the incidence of urgent revascularization by 86% for patients under FFR-guided treatment. However, there is no evidence that mortality rate or cardiac arrest is lower in patients with PCI plus MT than in MT alone. Findings suggest that the benefits of PCI plus MT might increase with time.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and also presented at the ESC Congress 2012 (European Society of Cardiology).

The FAME II results are in sharp contrast to the COURAGE (Clinical Outcomes Utilizing Revascularization and Aggressive Drug Evaluation) trial which reported that the outcomes of PCI plus MT and the MT alone were similar and the FFR technology is not required. The FAME II trial proves that the FFR measurement is beneficial in identifying patients who would benefit from medical treatment, thereby reducing the occurrence of primary end-point events.
Results from the original FAME trial showed that patients (with multivessel coronary disease) who received FFR-guided treatment experienced improved outcomes over time.

St. Jude reckons FFR and Optical Coherence Tomography (“OCT”), the two exciting emerging technologies, as being the most important growth drivers in its vascular business, allowing it to compete in a roughly $600 million market. One of St. Jude’s key competitors in the FFR space is Volcano Corp. . We currently have a Neutral recommendation on St. Jude, which carries a short-term Zacks #3 Rank (Hold).





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