The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Gilead Sciences, Euronet Worldwide, Moody's, FleetCor Technologies and American Express

Zacks

For Immediate Release
 
Chicago, IL – December 19, 2013 – 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 Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD-Free Report), Euronet Worldwide Inc. (EEFT-Free Report), Moody’s Corporation (MCO-Free Report), FleetCor Technologies Inc. (FLT-Free Report) and American Express Company (AXP-Free Report).
 
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Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:

Gilead’s Sovaldi Holds Promise
 
Pipeline updates are highly awaited events in the pharma/biotech sector as they play an important role in deciding whether or not to invest in a particular company. These updates provide information on experimental drugs and sometimes give an insight into the commercial potential of the candidate once it is successfully developed and commercialized.

Earlier this week, Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD-Free Report) announced that Health Canada has issued a Notice of Compliance for its chronic hepatitis C virus (:HCV) drug, Sovaldi. In May this year, Sovaldi’s marketing authorization application was submitted in Canada for the treatment of adults suffering from compensated liver diseases like cirrhosis. The indication also includes treatment of genotype 1 or 4 chronic hepatitis C (CHC) infection in combination with pegylated interferon and ribavirin and also genotype 2 or 3 CHC in combination with ribavirin.

Sovaldi is currently going through a reimbursement review process in Canada. Gilead expects to launch the drug in Canada early next year.

Current HCV therapy in Canada includes treatments of up to 48 weeks with a pegylated interferon/ribavirin-containing regimen. Sovaldi’s approval will bring down the duration of therapy to a minimum of 12 weeks. Approximately 250K people are estimated to be affected by chronic HCV in Canada alone.

The Notice of Compliance from the Canadian health authority came shortly after Gilead gained U.S. approval for Sovaldi as a combination therapy for treating patients suffering from chronic HCV, the primary reason behind liver cancer and liver transplantation in the U.S. Sovaldi is currently under review in the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Turkey.

Our Take

Sovaldi is an important product not only for Gilead but also for HCV patients who have postponed treatment as they await the launch of a better therapy. Sovaldi has many factors that should work in its favor – high cure rates, a short treatment period and reduction/elimination of the need for interferon injections. It has the potential to change the treatment paradigm in the HCV market.

Gilead carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
 
PayPal, epay Team Up
 
PayPal and epay, a unit of Euronet Worldwide Inc. (EEFT-Free Report) entered into an agreement whereby the latter will provide digital gift card content through the PayPal Digital Gift Store.

Euronet’s epay maximizes its revenues by providing global prepaid products with their distribution through network-enabling services. It delivers innovative solutions such as tailored electronic payment, for cash collection, a full reporting and settlement service and also full support to the marketing and distribution service.

PayPal has a large customer base across U.K., U.S. and Germany. This will help Euronet’s epay to expand its reach to millions of users in these regions through the proposed partnership. Also, the company is prudently capitalizing on the digital globally emerging market of digital gift cards.

The access to Euronet epay’s digital gift card content is kept very simple and user friendly through consumer PayPal accounts to maximize the sale of the products.

Euronet’s epay is linked with several global brands. The global presence combined with recent launches of several solution services have helped the company to be recognized as a leader in the digital gift card technology space.

epay is an important top line growth driver for Euronet. During the third quarter of 2013, the epay segment reported total revenues of $182.6 million, which increased 6% year over year. This announced partnership with PayPal is expected to enhance it further.

Among other financial service providers, Moody’s Corporation (MCO-Free Report) entered into a partnership agreement with Isenberg School of Management’s finance department to provide the faculty and students of the school with strategic resources.

Euronet presently carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Other top-ranked stocks that are worth considering include FleetCor Technologies Inc. (FLT-Free Report) and American Express Company (AXP-Free Report). While FleetCor carries the same Zacks Rank as Euronet, American Express sports a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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