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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Agilent Technologies, STMicroelectronics, Forest Laboratories, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals and ITT Educational Services

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – October 29, 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 Agilent Technologies Inc. (A - Free Report) , STMicroelectronics NV (STM - Free Report) , Forest Laboratories , Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (IRWD - Free Report) and ITT Educational Services, Inc.’s .

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Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Agilent to Showcase New EMPro 2012


Agilent Technologies Inc. (A - Free Report) will demonstrate the latest version of its flagship EMPro 2012 software at European Microwave Week.

Agilent’s EMPro 2012 will facilitate the designing of 3-D models by analyzing the electrical performance of radio frequency (RF) and other high-speed components. The latest EMPro coupled with Agilent’s Advanced Design System (ADS) software has the capabilities to improve performance and accelerate product development with the help of 3-D modeling.

Aerospace/Defense industry engineers and designers of antenna, high-speed connector, RF & microwave component, IC package and others use the EMPro 2012 software for analyzing the 3D electromagnetic (EM) effects of components such as RF IC packages, antennas, on-chip and off-chip embedded passives and printed circuit board (PCB) interconnects.

Simultaneously, STMicroelectronics NV (STM - Free Report) has selected Agilent’s EMPro 2012 software to develop their ESD structures. This will prove to be beneficial for Agilent going forward.

There is ample room for growth if Agilent plays to its strength and remains committed to its customers by providing world class, affordable test and measurement solutions. Agilent’s testing systems have proved to be effective in the past, enabling it to build a strong position for itself.

Agilent’s revenue in the third quarter was flat sequentially and up 1.9% year over year, short of management’s expectations of a 2-3% sequential increase ($1.77 billion to $1.79 billion). The Electronic Measurement segment contributed 49.0% of revenue. The weakness was on the computing/semiconductor side of the business.

The Life Sciences segment generated 23.0% of revenue, down 1.0% sequentially and up 2.1% from last year. The Chemical Analysis segment generated 22.0% of third quarter revenue, down 8.8% sequentially and 7.0% year over year. The sequential decline was largely because of weakness in food testing.

Currently, Agilent Technologies has a Zacks #4 Rank, implying a short-term Sell rating.



Earnings Scorecard: Forest Labs


Following the release of second quarter fiscal 2013 results, most of the analysts providing earnings estimates for Forest Laboratories have made downward revisions to their estimates for fiscal 2013. The downward revision in estimates is mainly in response to the company’s lowered guidance for fiscal 2013.

Second Quarter Fiscal 2013 Quarter Highlights

Forest Labs reported earnings per share of 8 cents in the second quarter of fiscal 2013, well below the year-earlier earnings of 91 cents per share. Results were hit by the loss of exclusivity on Lexapro.

Excluding acquisition-related amortization costs, second quarter fiscal 2013 earnings came in at 15 cents, down from 95 cents in the year-ago quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate was hinting towards breakeven earnings.

Second quarter revenues declined 34.9% to $760.6 million, with net sales falling 38.8% to $692.0 million. Total revenues missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $779 million.

A detailed discussion of second quarter fiscal 2013 results is available here: Earnings Decline at Forest Labs

Agreement of Estimate Revisions

There is a significant negative bias in earnings estimate revisions for Forest Labs for fiscal 2013. Following the release of second quarter fiscal 2013 results, all 12 analysts providing estimates for the stock lowered their estimates for fiscal 2013.

A similar trend is seen for fiscal 2014 as well with 19 of the 22 analysts providing estimates cutting their estimates with no movement in the opposite direction.

Forest Labs expects to earn 45 - 60 cents per share (excluding acquisition-related amortization), down from the earlier guidance of 95 cents - $1.10 per share.

With the entry of generic competition, Lexapro sales will continue declining. In addition to lower Lexapro sales, other factors expected to affect sales are lower than expected royalty income and the discontinuation of shipping of Levothroid.

However, more than the Lexapro impact, we were disappointed to see Forest Labs cut its revenue expectations for Namenda. The company now expects Namenda sales to grow 11% in fiscal 2013 instead of 17%. This means that Namenda s sales will be affected by about $85 million.

Forest Labs said that although sales in the retail segment were in line with expectations, long term care sales were below expectations. Long term care sales account for 35-40% of the company’s Namenda sales.

Meanwhile, Linzess, which gained FDA approval in August for the treatment (once-daily) of adults suffering from irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) or chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC), is expected to deliver sales of $25 million instead of $60 million.

The reduced forecast reflects a delay in the product launch due to the three-month extension of the FDA review period. Linzess is partnered with Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (IRWD - Free Report) .

Magnitude of Revisions

Estimates for fiscal 2013 have gone down by 43 cents following the release of second quarter fiscal 2013 results. The current Zacks Consensus Estimate is 25 cents. Fiscal 2014 estimates have been slashed by 28 cents to $1.27 per share. The reduction in fiscal 2014 estimates mainly reflects reduced expectations from Namenda.

Our Recommendation

We currently have a Neutral recommendation on Forest Labs, which carries a Zacks #3 Rank (short-term Hold rating). Forest Labs is facing tough times with Lexapro losing patent protection.

More than Lexapro’s genericization, the cut in Namenda’s guidance is disappointing as Namenda is currently the main contributor to the Forest Labs’ top line. Moreover, the performance of new products especially Teflaro, has been below expectations. However, we remain encouraged by Forest Labs’ progress with its pipeline candidates.


ITT Educational’s Weak Environment


ITT Educational Services, Inc.’s third quarter 2012 earnings of $1.83 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.75 by 4.6%. However, earnings for the quarter dropped 26.2% year over year due to lower revenue.                       

Quarterly revenue totaled $314.7 million, down 12.7% from the prior-year quarter due to weak enrollments. Total revenue also missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $316 million.

Quarter in Detail

The company witnessed a 17.1% year-over-year decline in total enrollment to 65,662 students. The overall decline in enrollment mainly resulted from a 15.8% drop in new enrollment to 19,298 students. New student enrollment witnessed a decline of 36% in Graphic Designs and criminal justice programs and a 12% drop in the drafting, network administration and electronics programs.



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