EPS growth for the group will accelerate in the back half of 2006 as we overcome a number of industry challenges which depressed admissions growth and increased bad debt expense. Historically, an acceleration in EPS growth has often acted as a catalyst for the stocks.
In an admission that could undermine one of its core defenses in Vioxx-related lawsuits, Merck (NYSE:MRK) said yesterday that it had erred when it reported in early 2005 that a crucial statistical test showed that Vioxx caused heart problems only after 18 months of continuous use.
Almost a half-dozen buyers are vying for Pfizer’s (NYSE:PFE) over-the-counter unit, which has about $3.9 bln in sales and a host of well-known brands, including Listerine, Sudafed allergy medicine, Visine eye drops, and Lubriderm skin lotion. Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) are among bidders in the second round.