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U.S. stocks are mixed this afternoon, after a downwardly revised U.S. economic forecast from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) dampened a round of well-received earnings reports. Meanwhile, among the equities in focus are tech issue EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC), as well as drug makers Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:TEVA) and Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CBST), which have all attracted analyst attention.
- EMC is 1.1% higher at $28.83, and earlier notched a new two-year high of $29.59, after the company reported in-line second-quarter earnings and revenue, and upped its full-year profit guidance. In addition, EMC Corporation accelerated its stock repurchase program, and is fending off pressure from Elliott Management to spin off VMware, Inc. (NYSE:VMW). "I don't know another tech company that has [spun off one of its most strategic assets] and been successful," opined EMC CEO Joe Tucci in a conference call. On the analyst front, Piper Jaffray and FBN Securities are counting on higher highs for EMC, lifting their respective price targets on the stock to $33 and $29. In addition, the brokerage firms reiterated their "overweight" and "outperform" recommendations.
- Biotech stocks are on the Street's collective radar today, and TEVA is no exception. The shares were last seen 0.5% higher at $55.19, after Deutsche Bank launched coverage with a "buy" endorsement and $63 price target -- which would represent a new four-year high for the stock. Despite fighting in Gaza, Israel-based Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd (ADR) has moved steadily up the charts, and touched a three-year peak of $55.33 just yesterday. The company is slated to report second-quarter earnings before the open on Thursday, July 31, and has matched or exceeded analysts' bottom-line estimates in seven of the past eight quarters.
- Finally, fellow drug maker CBST is bucking the sector trend higher today, down 3.9% at $63.15. The firm last night confessed to weaker-than-expected second-quarter revenue, and received subsequent price-target cuts from Cantor (to $64 from $73) and Oppenheimer (to $83 from $86). In addition, JMP Securities downgraded Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc to "market perform" from "market outperform." From a broader technical perspective, the equity has shed 8.5% in 2014, but has found a foothold atop its 20-month moving average.