For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL – November 6, 2012 – 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 Accuray Incorporated (ARAY), Varian Medical Systems Inc. (VAR), Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corporation (IART), Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) and Huntington Bancshares Incorporated (HBAN).
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Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:
FDA Clears Accuray’s CyberKnife M6
Renowned radiosurgery systems maker, Accuray Incorporated (ARAY) recently received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) 510(k) approval for its new Cybernife M6 Series. This innovative series is capable of treating large, complicated tumors (which were rendered untreatable earlier), thereby expanding the number of patients that can benefit from this treatment.
The CyberKnife M6 FIM and FM Systems feature the unique InCise Multileaf Collimator (“MLC”), specially designed for stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic body radiation therapy (:SBRT) treatments. The flexibility of MLC helps deliver precise and accurate radiation dosages from multiple angles in less time, and thus improves the efficacy and treatment outcomes in the field of radiation oncology.
Its special features include a 3D robot which can revolve around the patient in order to deliver non-isocentric, non-coplanar radiations to match the exact shape of the tumor. The InCise MLC’s capability is further enhanced when combined with CyberKnife's Synchrony System, which allows the CyberKnife M6 System to locate tumors while moving and instantly rectifying for their movement during treatment.
California-based Accuray is a global leader in the field of radiosurgery and provides non-surgical treatment option for patients diagnosed with cancer. Globally, more than 200,000 people have been treated with the company’s technology. Moreover, the acquisition of rival TomoTherapy has bolstered the company’s foothold in the radiation oncology space.
We believe that the FDA clearance of the unmatched CyberKnife M6 Series will further strengthen Accuray’s presence in the radiation oncolology market. In addition, the launch of the new TomoTherapy H Series, featuring the TomoHDA System, at the 54th Annual American Society for Radiation Oncology (:ASTRO) meeting is also slated to contribute to the company’s top-line growth.
However, despite improved sales in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region, the CyberKnife product line is currently facing shipment delays in Europe and a soft demand in the American region. The company reported that Cyberknife revenues in fiscal 2012 were lower by $37.6 million (down 27% year over year) than in fiscal 2011.
Accuray remains susceptible to the weak U.S. and European markets, reimbursement uncertainties and faces stiff challenges from competitive product offerings of Varian Medical Systems Inc. (VAR) and Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corporation (IART). We are currently Neutral on the stock, which carries a short-term Zacks #3 Rank (Hold rating).
Fifth Third Enjoys Positive Outlook
Fitch Ratings has maintained its Issuer Default Rating (:IDR) of “A-” on Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) last week, but with a positive outlook.
According to the rating agency, the positive outlook on the rating is a reflection of Fifth Third’s comparatively stronger earnings profile though, to some extent, this is marred by the company’s elevated credit risk.
Over the near term, the elevated level of problem assets that is reflected in Fifth Third’s weaker asset quality ratios is a concern and a hindrance to an upgrade in its rating. Encouragingly, however, the positive outlook implies that if Fifth Third can achieve improvements in its asset quality ratios along with continuation of better-than-average earnings as well as strong capital and liquidity profile, the rating could be upgraded a notch higher.
Moreover, the rating agency recognized that in spite of having elevated levels of nonperforming assets, which are ahead of the peer levels, losses are manageable at Fifth Third and lie close to the peer averages over the past year.
As a matter of fact, the rating is a testament of the company’s financial strength and its ability to pay back its borrowings. Therefore, enjoying higher ratings enable the company to issue debt at a lesser cost and hence are a positive for the company.
In addition, IDRs on 13 other large regional banks were reaffirmed by Fitch following a thorough review of the peer group, including Huntington Bancshares Incorporated (HBAN).
Fifth Third currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating. Considering the fundamentals, we also maintain a long-term Neutral recommendation on the shares.
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