The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: JPMorgan Chase, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, GlaxoSmithKline and Varian Medical System


For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL – September 26, 2013 – 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 JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM-Free Report), Fannie Mae (FNMA-Free Report), Freddie Mac (FMCC-Free Report), GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK-Free Report) and Varian Medical System (VAR-Free Report).
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Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:

JPMorgan Seeks Global Mortgage Settlement

In a desperate attempt to put to rest all probes and legal woes related to its mortgage practices preceding the financial crisis, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM-Free Report) is in negotiation with various agencies for a multi-billion dollar settlement. Though the exact amount that the company will be required to pay is not known, going by market rumors, it could range from $3 billion to $7 billion.

The global settlement deal will not only cover the investigations and the civil and criminal charges related to mortgages that JPMorgan is facing at present. All the other probes and cases related to the businesses that it acquired during the financial crisis will likely be included in the settlement as well.

The regulatory agencies that are involved in the settlement talks include the Department of Justice (:DOJ) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (:HUD) and the New York attorney general’s office.

The major cases and probes being conducted by these agencies include cases filed by the New York AG and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (:FHFA). These cases are primarily related to the mortgage-backed securities sold by JPMorgan to Fannie Mae (FNMA-Free Report) and Freddie Mac (FMCC-Free Report).

Apart from negotiating the penalty amount, the talks center on which pending investigations and cases will be the part of the settlement. Moreover, the terms of the settlement could require JPMorgan to provide financial compensation to distressed homeowners as well.

However, the terms of the settlement are yet not finalized and even the talks could be called off by any of the parties involved.

If the settlement comes through, it will likely be a major victory for the DOJ as this will be the single largest company settlement. Earlier in 2011, GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK-Free Report) had agreed to pay $3 billion to settle a wide range of charges, including the misuse of the Medicaid health-care program for the poor.

For JPMorgan, the settlement will be a major relief. Moreover, it will lower the company’s litigation ambiguity to a certain extent.

Presently, JPMorgan faces investigations from at least 7 federal agencies, various state regulators and a couple of foreign governments. In addition to mortgage-related investigations and cases, the company’s debt collection practices and recruitment of the offspring of Chinese bureaucrats are the other areas being probed.

Currently, JPMorgan carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Varian Unveils Oncology Software

The recent display of a new product by Varian Medical System (VAR-Free Report) at the 54th annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (:ASTRO) should further boost the positive trend demonstrated by VAR’s stock over the last couple of weeks.

Varian’s latest RapidPlan knowledge-based software provides standard of care models to clinicians to use as a baseline for formulating complex intensity-modulated radiotherapy (:IMRT) treatment plans for their patients. However, the product from the company’s Oncology Systems business is yet to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (:FDA) approval and is not yet available for sale.

The RapidPlan tool is integrated within Varian’s Eclipse treatment planning system, used for planning all types of external beam radiotherapy. The software helps automate an important part of the treatment planning process, thereby improving the quality and efficiency of care.

Similar products offered by the company include the RapidArc technology and the Smart Segmentation knowledge-based tool. Based on the cost effectiveness of the new softwares, management plans to create more knowledge-driven solutions for the entire oncology continuum.

Recently, VAR completed the first two planned installations of its Edge Radiosurgery Suite in Europe and the U.S. The Radiosurgery Suite is designed to perform advanced radiosurgery using real-time tumor tracking technology and motion management capabilities.
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