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Friday, July 17, 2009

Unemployment numbers increased or decreased in june & July?

June’s unemployment numbers increased in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

Maryland’s unemployment rate reached 7.3 percent in June, up from 7.2 percent in May, D.C. posted a 10.9 percent rate, up from 10.7 percent, and Virginia had a 7.2 rate, up from 7.1 percent.

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia are now saddled with double-digit unemployment rates, according to a report released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Michigan has far and away the worst jobless rate of any state, 15.2 percent as of June, the latest month for which figures are available. It's the first state to surpass 15 percent since West Virginia in 1984.

Three other states are above 12 percent: Rhode Island (12.4 percent), Oregon (12.2 percent) and South Carolina (12.1 percent).

North Dakota not only has the nation's smallest jobless rate, but it's also the only state below 5 percent, with an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent.

Here are the June unemployment rates from lowest to highest:

• North Dakota, 4.2 percent

• Nebraska, 5.0 percent

• South Dakota, 5.1 percent

• Utah, 5.7 percent

• Wyoming, 5.9 percent

• Iowa, 6.2 percent

• Oklahoma, 6.3 percent

• Montana, 6.4 percent

• Louisiana, 6.8 percent

• New Hampshire, 6.8 percent

• New Mexico, 6.8 percent

• Kansas, 7.0 percent

• Vermont, 7.1 percent

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Johnson & Johnson's ( JNJ ) Earnings report good or bad ?

Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) second-quarter profit declined nearly 4%, with sales hurt by unfavorable currency rates, generic competition for prescription drugs and tighter consumer spending.

Analysts and investors knew it would be a difficult quarter for the New Brunswick, N.J., maker of Tylenol and Band-Aid, but the results turned out better than Wall Street expected, helped by cost cuts and higher sales of some products. And J&J reiterated its full-year profit forecast despite incurring costs from recent acquisitions.

J&J shares rose 62 cents, or 1%, to $58.34 Tuesday morning.

"This was one of the most challenging quarters for year-over-year comparisons in our history," J&J Chief Financial Officer Dominic Caruso told analysts on a conference call. But he said the company was financially strong and well-positioned for long-term profitable growth.

Analysts said the upside came from cost controls, less harmful currency rates than expected, and higher-than-expected sales of some products, including the blockbuster drug Remicade for arthritis and other conditions. Leerink Swann analyst Rick Wise said results reflected "a very strong operational quarter."

J&J reported second-quarter net income of $3.2 billion, or $1.15 a share, compared with $3.3 billion, or $1.17 a share, a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected J&J to post second-quarter earnings of $1.11 a share.

Second-quarter sales declined 7.4% to $15.24 billion from $16.45 billion, but exceeded the Thomson estimate by about $200 million. The relatively stronger U.S. dollar accounted for 6 percentage points of the decline. J&J's U.S. sales dropped 6.7% while non-U.S. sales declined 8%.

J&J's pharmaceutical unit lost its status as the company's biggest, slipping below the medical-device and diagnostics unit for the first time in recent memory. Pharmaceutical sales dropped 13% to $5.5 billion, with U.S. sales declining 16.4% and non-U.S. sales down 8.7%. The pharma division was hurt by J&J's loss of market exclusivity for two of its top sellers, the antipsychotic Risperdal, whose sales dropped 66%, and epilepsy and migraine treatment Topamax, with sales down 73%.

Combined sales of anti-anemia drugs Procrit and Eprex declined 11.5% to $577 million, continuing a two-year trend of weakness sparked by safety concerns.

Another top J&J drug, however, had a rebound. The Remicade treatment for rheumatoid arthritis saw second-quarter sales rise 24% to $1.1 billion. Sales growth had slipped to just 3% for the first quarter, amid signs that high-priced biologics were feeling the pinch of tighter spending by patients. The second quarter's big gain could be a good sign for other biologics such as Abbott Laboratories' (ABT) Humira and Enbrel from Wyeth (WYE) and Amgen Inc. (AMGN). Schering-Plough Corp. (SGP) markets Remicade outside the U.S.

The device unit's sales dropped 3.1% to $5.89 billion. The DePuy division of the device unit, which makes joint-reconstruction and other products, had roughly flat sales of $1.3 billion. The Ethicon surgical-products unit saw sales rise 2.1% to $1.04 billion. Increased competition continued to hurt sales of J&J's drug-eluting stents.

J&J's consumer unit sales fell 4.5% to $3.85 billion. Sales dropped for baby care, oral care and skin-care products. But sales increased for wound care products.

Caruso said the weak economy continued to take a bite out of sales of J&J products that require consumers to pay out of pocket, including contact lenses to diabetes test strips.

J&J hopes an economic recovery and new pharmaceutical products will help it return to solid sales and earnings growth in future years. The company has had a flurry of new drug applications - with some approvals but other applications still pending.

And J&J continues to try to beef up its drug pipeline. This month, J&J has agreed to pay $1.5 billion for a minority stake in Elan Corp. (ELN) and control of Elan's rights to experimental Alzheimer's-disease drugs, and it closed its $1 billion acquisition of Cougar Biotechnology Inc., which is developing cancer drugs.

Monday, July 6, 2009

why did Bankruptcy court judge approve GM sale ?

A U.S. bankruptcy court judge has approved the sale of most of General Motors Corp.’s assets to a successor company.
Judge Robert Gerber of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on Sunday night approved the sale to NGMCO Inc., an entity funded by the U.S. Treasury Department. NGMCO will change its name to General Motors Co. and continue to operate under GM’s corporate and sub-brands, GM (NYSE: GM) said in a Monday release.
The company said the approval marks another step toward the launch of a new GM. The new company will acquire GM’s strongest operations and have a competitive operating cost structure, GM said in the release, partly because of recent agreements with the United Auto Workers and Canadian Auto Workers unions.
The new company’s common stock will be owned by:
• The Treasury Department — 60.8 percent
UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust — 17.5 percent
• Canadian and Ontario governments — 11.7 percent
• The old GM — 10 percent
In addition to this ownership mix, the old GM and the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust will hold warrants exercisable for 15 percent and 2.5 percent of the interests in the new GM, respectively.
The new GM will be based in Detroit and led by Fritz Henderson as CEO and Edward Whitacre Jr. as chairman.
“This has been an especially challenging period, and we’ve had to make very difficult decisions to address some of the issues that have plagued our business for decades. Now it’s our responsibility to fix this business and place the company on a clear path to success without delay,” Henderson said in the release.
The new GM will have lower leverage and a stronger balance sheet, the release said. That will enable it to reduce its risk, operate profitably at much lower sales volume and reinvest in the key areas of advanced technology and product development, the release said.
Gerber’s order includes a four-day stay before the sale can close. GM said it expects the sale to close in the near future.
The current GM will change its name to Motors Liquidation Co. Its retained assets will be wound down or sold, and a new board will oversee that process and the company’s liquidation under the court’s supervision.

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