Monday Morning’s Market Insights: Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (VRX), Advaxis, Inc. (ADXS), Seadrill Ltd (SDRL), Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc (HOT)


Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) was halted at 8:15 Eastern Time and is now down 5% in pre-market trading after news that CEO Micheal Pearson is stepping down. The company is actively looking for a replacement and Pearson will serve as CEO until then. The company also announced that hedge fund manager Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management LP will join its board of directors, as his fund has a major stake in the company. The stock is plunged over 700% YTD, with the past few months marked by fraud allegations, government investigations, partnership fall outs, and debt struggles.

CEO Pearson stated, “While I regret the controversies that have adversely impacted our business over the past several months, I know that Valeant is a strong and resilient company, and I am committed to doing everything I can to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership.”

According to TipRanks’ statistics, out of the 21 analysts who have rated the company in the past 3 months, 7 gave a Buy rating, 4 gave a Sell rating, and 10 remain on the sidelines. The average 12-month price target for the stock is $55.73, marking a 106% upside from where shares last closed.

Advaxis, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADXS) is up over 8% in pre-market trading after the company released data from its dose escalation study of ADXS-HER2 in canine osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer in dogs. The data reduced the occurrence of metastatic disease as well as prolonged survival when compared to the historical control group. Specifically, the median survival time for the treated dogs was 956 days vs the 423 day survival time of the historical control group. Following the study, Nicola Mason, PhD, BVetMed, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine stated, “This is promising and important research both for dogs and humans… I am very excited about these results and the potential this technology holds for treatment of cancer patients of either species.”

According to TipRanks, both analysts who have rated the company in the past 3 months gave a Buy rating. The average 12-month price target for the stock is $23, marking a 179% upside from where shares last closed.

Seadrill Ltd (NYSE:SDRL) is down close to 5% in pre-market trading due to an extended decline in crude oil prices. This news comes after Friday’s report of an increase in the number of U.S. oil drilling rigs, the first rise in 13 weeks. Oil prices have been slowly rising in the past few weeks due to hopes that major oil producers would come to an agreement on output levels in an attempt to stabilize supply.

Last week, the Federal Reserve indicated that U.S. interest rates may weaken the dollar, which would up demand for dollar-priced commodities. David Hufton of PMV Oil Associates stated, “A March 20 meeting in Moscow has changed into an April 17 meeting in Doha, which is only six weeks ahead of the next full OPEC meeting on June 2. Dollar strength that might reverse and a production freeze that might turn out to be an empty vessel are not the strongest foundations on which to be long oil at $40 a barrel.”

According to TipRanks’ statistics, out of the 4 analysts who have rated the company in the past 3 months, 2 gave a Sell rating while 2 remain on the sidelines. The average 12-month price target for the stock is $4.17, marking an 11% upside from where shares last closed.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc (NYSE:HOT) is up over 4% in pre-market trading following news of a merger agreement with Marriot International Inc worth $14.6 billion. The agreement states that each Starwood shareholder will receive $21 in cash and .80 shares of Marriot International Inc class a common stock for each share of Starwood. This is the second and higher bid from Marriot following another potential deal offered by Anbang, a Chinese insurance company. The merged hotel company will represent the world’s largest and combine Starwood’s higher end hotels with more budget friendly Marriot hotels such as the Courtyard by Marriot.

According to TipRanks, out of the 11 analysts who have rated the company in the past 3 months, 1 gave a Buy rating, 2 gave a Sell rating, and 8 remain on the sidelines.  The average 12-month price target for the stock is $71.90, marking an 11% downside from where shares last closed.