Consumer Price Index growth slowed to 0.2 percent in February from 0.5 percent in the prior month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, stirring divergent anticipations of the likely timing of the Federal Reserve’s next move to curb inflation. The February bump was in line with the Wall Street consensus forecast.
One-month percent change in CPI, source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, March. 13 (Liu Yanchun/Medill)
The index increase was held back by a sharp price decline in the energy sector, with the adjusted gasoline index plummeting 0.9 percent after jumping 5.7 percent in January, and the fuel oil index falling 3.6 percent after a 9.5-percent hike a month earlier.
Illinois-based healthcare giant Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) announced Tuesday that it would pay up to $92 million to secure global commercialization rights for SurVeil, a Minnesota company’s drug-coated vascular balloon designed to treat peripheral artery disease, or PAD, a niche market already occupied by muscular competitors including Medtronic PLC (NYSE: MDT).
The worldwide peripheral vascular devices market is estimated to surge to $12.63 billion by 2022 from $9.09 billion in 2017, according to a report by Research and Markets. The drug-coated balloon, also known as a drug-eluting balloon, is an alternative therapy to the market-dominating drug-coated stents. SurVeil, currently in clinical trials, would be the first PAD-targeted drug-coated balloon in Abbott’s portfolio.
SurVeil’s developer, medical device company Surmodics Inc. (NASDAQ: SRDX), has been conducting a pivotal clinical trial that tests the new device against the In.PACT Admiral drug-coated balloon, the current U.S. market-leading product manufactured by Minnesota-based Medtronic, one of the major rivals of Abbott in vascular care.
Baxter International Inc. (NYSE: BAX), Deerfield-based medical product manufacturer, reported adjusted earnings that surpassed Wall Street expectations and declaraed an intention to continue share buybacks.
On a GAAP basis, the company lost $71 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a profit of $243 million, or 44 cents per share, in the prior-year quarter, a result caused by a charge of $322 million, or 58 cents per diluted share, related to the recent tax reform.
Stock of AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) soared 13.8 percent, hitting a five-year high, after the North Chicago-based biopharmaceutical company reported Friday quarterly adjusted earnings that beat Wall Street expectations and strong growth in sales of flagship drug Humira.
However, net earnings plunged 96.3 percent to $52 million, or 3 cents per diluted share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with $1.39 billion, or 85 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter. The dive was occasioned mainly by an estimated $4.5 billion tax charge on unrepatriated foreign income, pursuant to the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Excluding special items, the company’s fourth-quarter earnings jumped 21.6 percent to $2.40 billion, or $1.48 per diluted share, from $1.96 billion, or $1.20 per share, a year earlier, exceeding the consensus estimate of $1.45 per share compiled by Bloomberg. Quarterly net revenues rose 13.9 percent to $7.74 billion from $6.80 billion.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical makers, reported Tuesday a huge net loss occasioned by a tax charge on cash outside the United States, along with a healthy increase in adjusted quarterly earnings that slightly beat Wall Street expectations. The stock dropped 4.3 percent.
The New Jersey-based health care giant lost $10.7 billion in the fourth quarter, dragging earnings per share down to a loss of $3.99, compared with a gain of $3.81 billion and per-share earnings of $1.38 in the year-earlier quarter. The loss was caused mainly by a provisional charge of $13.6 billion for a liability under the new law that imposes a tax on previously unremitted foreign incomes.
The company holds $16 billion of cash overseas, with approximately $12 billion expected to be repatriated and allocated to fund domestic operations immediately, Chief Financial Officer Dominic Caruso said Tuesday in a conference call.