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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:FedEx, Alkermes, Biogen Idec, Perrigo and BioMarin Pharmaceutical

CHICAGO, Jan. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com 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 the FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX-Free Report), Alkermes (Nasdaq:ALKS-Free Report), Biogen Idec (Nasdaq:BIIB-Free Report), Perrigo Company Public Ltd. (NYSE:PRGO-Free Report) and BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (Nasdaq:BMRN-Free Report).

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Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:

FedEx Sells Debt, Plans Buyback

One of the leading freight forwarding companies, FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX-Free Report) has announced the sale of $2 billion senior notes and expects to buyback shares worth $2 billion with the initial repurchase of 11.4 million shares. The company expects the bond sale to facilitate its new share buyback program.  

Apart from offering debt to support investor return, FedEx has been opting for strategies that result in inorganic growth. The company has been implementing higher shipping rates, which remain imperative to revenue growth. Last year, the company provided rate hikes for 2014, including a 3.9% hike in shipping rates at FedEx Express for U.S. export and import services, effective Jan 6, 2014. We expect these initiatives to substantially better the company's earnings power over the next several years.

Further, the company is also banking on new business wins. In Sep 2013, FedEx won a $171 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense for small package delivery services for the military. This contract expires on Sep 30, 2014. FedEx also won a second defense contract worth $49.8 million for overpacking and transportation of perishable products for the Defense Commissary Agency and Defense Logistics Agency, effective Oct 1, 2013. Unless extended, the contract will expire on Sep 30, 2014.

FedEx currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Patent Allowance for Alkermes MS Candidate

Alkermes (Nasdaq:ALKS-Free Report) announced that it has received a notice of allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for U.S. patent  application 14/032,736 (prodrugs of fumarates and their use in treating various diseases). It covers Alkermes' early stage multiple sclerosis candidate ALKS 8700. The candidate is a small-molecule prodrug of monomethyl fumarate (MMF) being developed for treating patients suffering from multiple sclerosis.

The USPTO issues a notice of allowance only after the patent application is deemed fit enough to be granted a patent on its basis. Alkermes stated in its press release that it expects the above mentioned patent to be issued in the next few months. Furthermore, the patent is not expected to expire before 2033.

Alkermes intends to file an investigational new drug (IND) application for ALKS 8700 with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and move the candidate into phase I studies in mid-2014. The candidate is being developed under Alkermes' MMF program. The MMF produgs in this program, including ALKS 8700, are designed to offer advantages over Biogen Idec's (Nasdaq:BIIB-Free Report) oral MS treatment, Tecfidera.

Although pleased with the progress of ALKS 8700 we believe that investor focus will remain on Alkermes' late stage/mid stage candidates, such as ALKS 5461 for treating patients suffering from major depressive disorder, aripiprazole lauroxil (formerly known as ALKS 9070) and ALKS 3831 for treating schizophrenia among others. The pipeline at Alkermes has expanded significantly following its purchase of Elan's (now a wholly owned subsidiary of Perrigo Company Public Ltd. (NYSE:PRGO-Free Report) drug delivery unit.

Alkermes currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) reflecting short-term pressure on the stock. BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (Nasdaq:BMRN-Free Report) is an example of a better-ranked stock. It carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

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