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Bruker Stock Outperforms Other BCW Index Firms in Q1; Illumina Leads Decliners

This story originally appeared in Biocommerce Week, a newsletter that has been discontinued.
 
Sparked by strong fourth-quarter results and a forecast of double-digit growth for 2007, shares of Bruker BioSciences rose 43 percent during the first quarter of 2007, outpacing the other 21 firms that comprise the BCW Index.
 
Bruker, Cepheid, and Affymetrix were the best performers for the quarter, while Illumina and Sequenom led decliners. Overall, the Index was up 3.2 percent for the quarter, providing better returns than the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which dropped .5 percent; the Nasdaq, which rose .9 percent; and the Nasdaq Biotech Index, which lost 3.6 percent during the period.
 


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Bruker’s shares gained 43 percent for the period between Dec. 29, 2006, and March 27, 2007 (see graph). The firm’s shares rose steadily throughout the quarter after it said in late January that it expected to report a 26 percent rise in fourth-quarter revenue. Bruker reported in late February that its Q4 revenues had risen 27 percent, and the firm forecast 10 percent revenue growth in 2007 (see BioCommerce Week 2/28/2007).
 
Bruker also realized roughly $16.9 million in net proceeds from the sale of 2.5 million shares of its stock (see BioCommerce Week 2/14/2007).
 
Cepheid’s shares also turned in a strong performance during the first quarter, rising nearly 33 percent. Though the firm posted flat fourth-quarter revenue, it forecast 2007 revenue growth of between 28 percent and 37 percent (see BioCommerce Week 2/28/2007).
 
During the first quarter, Cepheid acquired Sangtec Molecular Diagnostics for $27 million, giving it a portfolio of real-time PCR-based assay kits for a variety of infectious diseases that affect immunocompromised patients (see BioCommerce Week 2/21/2007). The firm intends to introduce Sangtec’s assays into the US market initially for research-use-only and eventually seek US Food and Drug Administration clearance for the tests.
 
Cepheid also settled a PCR patent dispute with Idaho Technology, resulting in a payment of $3.5 million to Idaho and a cross-licensing deal (see BioCommerce Week 1/17/2007). And two weeks ago the US Food and Drug Administration cleared Cepheid’s molecular diagnostic assay for meningitis (see BioCommerce Week 3/21/2007).
 
The other big gainer for the first quarter was Affymetrix, whose shares rose 28.3 percent. The firm’s shares got a boost late in the quarter from a jury award of $16.7 million in a patent dispute with Illumina (see BioCommerce Week 3/14/2007).
 
While the jury decision had a negative impact on Illumina’s shares, the firm’s stock had been declining steadily since late January. In early February Illumina reported that its fourth-quarter revenue had increased 163 percent (see BioCommerce Week 2/7/2007). However, its shares sank more than 15 percent in the two days following the release of those results as the firm’s earning-per-share forecast of $.86 for 2007 was significantly lower than the $1.13 previously expected by Wall Street analysts who cover the company.
 


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Overall, Illumina’s shares dropped 25.5 percent, leading the six firms in the Index whose shares lost value during the quarter (see graph). The next biggest decliner for the quarter was Sequenom, whose shares fell 21.2 percent.
 
Sequenom’s shares dropped steadily throughout the quarter, though it had not released any news that could be construed as negative. However, Lehman Brothers dumped 1 million shares of Sequenom stock in mid-January at a price of $4.55 per share.

 
 
BioCommerce Week Index of Diversified
Molecular Biology Tool Companies
Company
Ticker
Closing Price (March 27, 2007)
Starting Price
(Dec. 29, 2006)
% change
Affymetrix
AFFX
29.59
23.06
28.32
Agilent
A
33.63
34.85
-3.50
Applied Biosystems
ABI
30.08
36.69
-18.02
Beckman
BEC
63.00
59.8
5.35
Becton Dickinson
BDX
75.33
70.15
7.38
Bio-Rad
BIO
70.35
82.52
-14.75
Bruker
BRKR
10.73
7.51
42.88
Caliper
CALP
5.61
5.72
-1.92
Cepheid
CPHD
11.3
8.5
32.94
Illumina
ILMN
29.28
39.31
-25.52
Invitrogen
IVGN
63.73
56.59
12.62
Luminex
LMNX
14.22
12.7
11.97
MDS
MDZ
18.87
18.18
3.80
Millipore
MIL
72.28
66.6
8.53
PerkinElmer
PKI
24.08
22.23
8.32
Qiagen
QGEN
16.98
15.13
12.23
Sequenom
SQNM
3.69
4.68
-21.15
Sigma-Aldrich*
SIAL
41.76
38.86
7.46
Stratagene
STGN
8.41
7.44
13.04
Thermo
TMO
46.16
45.29
1.92
Third Wave
TWTI
5.00
4.81
3.95
Waters
WAT
58.25
48.97
18.95
BCW Index Average  
33.29
32.25
3.20
*The actual closing share price for Sigma-Aldrich on Dec. 29 was $77.72. The price in the chart has been adjusted to reflect a two-for-one stock split on Jan. 3.
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