Market Focus

Merck

Promising news from Merck sent its shares to the top performing spot in both the Dow and the S&P 500 today. In a preliminary review of the company’s blood clot preventing drug, the FDA said the treatment should be approved. Merck also filed the first part of an application to market another drug, which treats advanced melanoma. On top of that, the company said it is pursuing strategic options for its animal health and consumer business and expects to complete any changes this year, which could include separating the units. The stock climbed 6.5% to $53.12.

Celgene

Celgene issued a 2014 earnings forecast that’s slightly below street estimates. It blamed the weaker guidance on collaboration-related payments to partners. The biotech company did, however, improve its long-term outlook for 2015 and 2017 because of current momentum for its blood cancer drug. Still shares fell nearly three percent to $164.90.

Clovis Oncology & Intercept Pharmaceuticals

Last week Intercept Pharmaceuticals saw its stock nearly quadrupled after positive drug trial results. A Citi analyst thinks Clovis Oncology could be the next biotech breakout. The analyst said the company has a lung cancer drug that looks promising and is better than what is on the market right now. Today, a dose of reality for Intercept as its shares plunged after the CEO said he may need a larger drug maker to help to bring its liver drug to the market. Shares of Clovis rose after that call up three percent to $76.26. Shares of Intercept plunged today, down 18 percent to $364.36.

Wendy’s

Wendy’s wowed investors when the fast-food chain predicted a fourth-quarter profit that’s above estimates. The company said it is being helped by upbeat same-restaurant-sales growth. Also, Wendy’s initiated a $275 million stock buyback plan. The stock popped nearly 6.5% to $8.98.

SodaStream

SodaStream’s shares plummeted after the company reported preliminary, lower- than-expected profits. The maker of the create-your-own soda machine blamed a weak U.S. holiday selling season and higher productions costs for the disappointing outlook. The stock fell about 26 percent to $36.94

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