Ebb & Flow

Last Thursday's 1Q earning miss by Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) was widely anticipated, according to buysiders surveyed by Ebb & Flow, which explains why the shares didn't fall on the news. Indeed, the price bounced on Friday as those in the know took advantage of the fact that the shares looked cheap despite the company's revenue problems.

In February and early March, the company's share price declined with the broader market and the AMEX Biotechnology Index, putting it off 20% for the year by March 9. But as the market and the BTK clawed back some of those losses in recent weeks, Amgen's shares remained off 24% for the year.

"The quarter was largely known to be a sloppy one," noted Kurt von Emster of venBio. "The company had telegraphed the weakness for Aranesp this past quarter, so it was not too out of left field."

Some sellside analysts hadn't changed their models, however, so Amgen's adjusted diluted EPS of $1.08 for the quarter missed the Street's estimate by $0.07. Revenues came in at $3.3 billion, rather than the $3.6 billion consensus estimate.

Sales of Aranesp darbepoetin alfa for anemia were $626 million in 1Q09, down 18% from $761 million in 1Q08. Amgen said sales continued to be negatively affected by label changes in the U.S. for all erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs).

Enbrel etanercept sales were down 20% to $758 million in North America. On the earnings call, Chairman, President and CEO Kevin Sharer attributed the soft sales to several factors, including the economic downturn in which "patients are sometimes postponing doctor visits, not always taking medicines on a prescribed schedule, and . . . are finding the copays difficult to afford." That has eroded the whole anti-TNF segment, he said.

Enbrel sales also had a $120 million one-time bump in the prior-year quarter

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