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Waters

October was a tough month for tech stocks, and biotech stocks in particular. The GWDN Index fell 5 percent, with Affymetrix and Helicos recording the biggest declines for the month.

Despite the decline in instrument sales, company officials touted the relative success of Waters' five-year-old Acquity system, nine additional units of which were recently purchased by the FDA.

The firm's revenues beat analysts' estimates, as it sees a stabilization in its end markets.

The FDA Office of Regulatory Science will use the systems for safety monitoring research.

The bank also placed a $63 target on Waters' stock.

Two big recent proposed deals — a bid by Danaher to buy ABI/MDS mass-spec joint venture and MDS Analytical Technologies, and Agilent's bid for Varian — could signal a trend of consolidation in the proteomics.

Life Tech and Danaher provided some more rationale on their mass-spec deal, while Waters said a potential acquirer would have to pay "top dollar" for the company. Meanwhile, Agilent snags a big pharma deal for its 1290 UHPLC, and Thermo Fisher sees brighter skies ahead.

Instruments sales were down 8 percent, but its Acquity UPLC system continued to gain traction in the market, and its recently launched Synapt G2 is receiving as strong a reception as any instrument launched by Waters in recent years, company officials said.

Waters' revenues declined 9 percent year over year, while its adjusted EPS missed analysts' consensus estimate by a penny.

Despite the gyrations on Wall Street, the stocks of the largest mass spectrometer manufacturers rose an average of almost 48 percent for the first half of 2009, according to ProteoMonitor's sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News.

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