IBO Stock Indexes Mixed in Greek Turmoil
Major US equity markets contracted roughly 2.0% or more on June 29 when Greece failed to reach an agreement with its international creditors. As a result, the country essentially defaulted on its $1.7 billion loan payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the following day. While discussions are expected to continue, Greece no longer has access to IMF resources from its existing bailout. In contrast, economic news in the US remained positive as the housing market and consumer spending data showed strength. For the month, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and NASDAQ declined 2.2%, 2.1% and 1.6%, respectively. For the first half of the year, the Dow has contracted 1.1%, while the S&P 500 and NASDAQ are up 0.2%, and 5.3%, respectively.
Laboratory Instruments and Products Stock Index
The Index rose 0.8% in June to close at 236.68 and is up 6.4% for the year. Despite missing fiscal third quarter adjusted EPS results on June 9, Enzo Biochem recorded the highest return for the month, climbing 24.7%. Quarterly sales for the company were negatively impacted by currency and timing of orders within its Life Sciences segment. For the first half of the year, shares are down 31.8% as a result of the overturned patent infringement ruling (see IBO 4/30/15).
NanoString Technologies also posted strong gains for the month, rising 9.8%, as the company presented positive results from three new Prosigna studies on June 1. Illumina, which climbed 6.0% for the month, traded at a record high of $22.75 on June 23 before retreating slightly. Thermo Fisher Scientific improved 1.0% on June 25 following the proposed acquisition of research chemical producer Alfa Aesar (see page 2). However, shares were roughly flat for the month.
The largest declines were recorded by Affymetrix and Agilent Technologies, which fell 6.9% and 6.3% for the month, respectively. Waters also declined in June as shares fell 3.9%. The company contracted 3.0% on June 25, the same day it announced the appointment of Christopher J. O’Connell as president and CEO (see page 2).
Aside from Enzo, only one other company reported earnings this month. On June 23, Kewaunee Scientific reported that fiscal fourth quarter EPS ending April 30 slumped 38% to $0.23 due to significant pricing pressure for laboratory furniture within the US and timing of international orders. Fiscal full-year EPS fell 10% to $1.33. Shares declined 1.3% for the month.
In other financial news, on June 1, VWR announced a public offering of 16 million shares to be sold by its indirect parent company Varietal Distribution, which, as of the end of 2014, owned 77.6% of the company. The offering was priced on June 3 at $26.25 per share, with an additional option for underwriters to purchase up to 2.4 million shares. Since the offering is not directly from VWR, the company will not receive any proceeds. Shares declined 5.3% the following day but rebounded slightly to end the month down 2.0%.
On June 4, FEI announced a 20% quarterly dividend increase to $0.30 per share. The company also reauthorized and increased its share repurchase program for up to two million shares. After purchasing 306,968 shares for $22.7 million in 2015, the company had roughly a million shares remaining under the previous repurchase plan. Shares advanced 1.6% for the month. Shares of Harvard Bioscience improved 1.8% for the month as the company was added to the Russell 3000 and Russell Global Indexes on June 26.
On June 15, Bruker President and CEO Frank H. Laukien expanded his holdings in the company to roughly 24%, as he purchased one million shares for nearly $19.5 million from his brother Joerg C. Laukien, who serves as executive chairman of Bruker BioSpin.
The only ratings change this month was on June 29, as UBS upgraded Becton, Dickinson from “Neutral” to “Buy.”
Diversified Instrumentation Stock Index
The Index fell 1.8% in June and is down 0.1% year to date to 183.83. The largest change in value was recorded by Teledyne Technologies, which advanced 4.1%, while Corning fell 5.7%. However, RBC Capital upgraded Corning on June 16 from “Sector Perform” to “Outperform,” with a $26 per share target. Corning also announced on June 30 that it reached an agreement to acquire Gerresheimer’s pharmaceutical glass tubing business.
On June 12, Janney Capital Markets reiterated its “Buy” rating on Danaher with a price target of $114 per share, which represents a 33% upside from current levels. The investment company cited strong earnings potential, especially from operational improvements.
All Asia Pacific equity markets declined in June, including a 7.3% and 4.3% decline for China’s Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Indexes, respectively. However, the two Indexes are up 32.2% and 11.2% year to date, respectively. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.6% in June but is up 16.0% for the first half of the year. For the month, prices for four of the seven Pacific Region companies in the IBO Stock Table declined. Precision System Science recorded the largest decline, falling 11.1%, while GL Sciences improved 0.7%.
In spite of better-than-expected manufacturing and service growth for the eurozone, European markets were pressured by the unresolved Greek debt negotiations. In June, the London FTSE 100 and German XETRA DAX fell 6.6% and 4.1%, respectively.
All UK-based companies in the IBO Stock Table contracted, except for Scientific Digital Imaging, which was unchanged. Oxford Instruments recorded the sharpest decline, falling 10.8%. The company dropped 7.9% on June 9 following disappointing fiscal 2015 results ending March 31 due to trade sanctions with Russia, weak Japanese demand and product delays (see IBO 6/15/15). As a result, adjusted full-year EPS contracted 29% to £0.48 ($0.71). However, Numis Securities upgraded the company on June 10 from “Add” to “Buy,” with a price target of GBX 1,200 ($18.32).
In contrast, on June 11, Halma reported that fiscal year adjusted EPS ending March 28 increased 9% to £0.31 ($0.46). The company also raised its annual dividend by 7% to £0.12 ($0.18). Yet shares were marginally lower for the month. On June 18, BNP Paribas upgraded Spectris from “Neutral” to “Outperform,” and raised its price target 5% to GBX 2,500 ($38.90). Prices were mixed for the other European companies in the IBO Stock Table, as Exiqon advanced 8.8% and Tecan slumped 11.1%.