An Earnings Tale of Two Biotechs: Gilead vs. Amgen

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Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) and Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) have both reported earnings. This is a definite difference in how the reports look, and it could throw a wild card report for the biotech sector on Wednesday.

Gilead’s earnings looked strong enough on the surface that you might think the shares would soar, but there may be some continued drug cost concerns that gives Uncle Sam a better argument that Gilead should be charging less for Sovaldi for hepatitis C.

Gilead reported earnings at $1.48 per share, way above the $0.89 per share estimate. Gilead reiterated its 2014 guidance. Sales were roughly $1 billion higher than expected after it showed revenues of $5 billion. The bulk of that driving agent was Sovaldi’s $2.3 billion in sales in its first full quarter, when analysts were expecting something closer to $1.4 billion.

Gilead shares rose 1.75% to $72.86 on the day, but the after-hours move after the stock was freed up from a stock halt was up 3.5% at $75.40. Again, the concern is likely one that its already high Sovaldi drug costs are simply price gouging.

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Amgen shares fell in the after-hours trading session due to earnings under its forecast. Adjusted earnings per share was $1.87, south of the estimates of $1.94 per share. Revenue was also light with 7% growth at $4.52 billion versus estimates of about $4.75 billion.

The good news is that Amgen did reiterate its 2014 forecast of $7.90 to $8.20 in earnings per share, versus a Thomson Reuters consensus of $8.16 per share. Revenue is being put at $19.2 billion to $19.6 billion, just shy of the $19.62 billion expected for the year.

Keep in mind that Amgen’s first quarter includes results for Onyx Pharmaceuticals, which it acquired on October 1, 2013. Amgen closed up almost 2% at $119.30 and the drop was almost 3% to $115.80 in the after-hours session.