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Illumina, Cepheid Top Gainers in Down Month for GWDN Index

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Sparked by preliminary fourth-quarter revenue results that surpassed analysts' consensus estimate and the launch of its new HiSeq 2000 sequencer, shares of Illumina jumped roughly 20 percent in the month of January.

The firm's stock was the top gainer for the month, followed by Cepheid (+18 percent) and Caliper Life Sciences (+17 percent).

Illumina said that it expects to report Q4 revenues of $176 million, above the roughly $168 million predicted by analysts. It also noted that 2010 revenues are expected to grow at least 20 percent.

The firm coupled that news at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference with the introduction of the HiSeq 2000, and said that China's BGI has ordered 128 of the new systems.

Illumina's shares climbed as high as $40.90 during the month before pulling back to its January close of $36.69.

Cepheid's shares rose from two catalysts during the month. First, it began the month by announcing that the US Food and Drug Administration had granted an Emergency Use Authorization for the firm's Xpert Flu A Panel test for identifying the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. A week later, its shares spiked after investment bank William Blair upgraded Cepheid's shares to "outperform" from "market perform."

Cepheid closed the month by reporting that its fourth-quarter revenues rose 30 percent to $49.2 million.

Caliper's shares climbed after the firm said it expects total revenues of $37.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2009, exceeding the company's revenue guidance of $33 to $35 million for the quarter.

Of the 33 firms that comprise the GWDN Index, 25 saw their stocks decline for the month of January. Accelr8 and Compugen tied for the biggest decliners in January, with both dropping 19 percent.

Compugen's pullback comes after a 20 percent run up in its stock price in December. Meanwhile, shares of Accelr8 fell after the firm said that it had begun a private sale of equity to qualified investors. However, it did not disclose how much it intends to raise through the sale or how many shares it intends to place in the offering.

Overall, the GWDN Index fell nearly 4 percent in January. In comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 3 percent, and the Nasdaq lost around 5 percent. The Nasdaq Biotech Index, however, climbed 2 percent.

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