More Earnings; Hershey, OxyPete and Alexion

The favorable earnings parade continues. Today we got strong earnings reports from some of my favorite stocks like Hershey (HSY), Occidental Petroleum (OXY) and Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN).

With Halloween fast approaching, I guess this is good time to be in the candy biz. Just look at Hershey’s results. Their earnings soared 30% last quarter to $162 million or 71 cents a share. Excluding charges, Hershey made 73 cents a share, six cents more than consensus.

The stock is down a bit today which is due to the fact that Hershey’s sales number fell slightly. There’s no need for concern. The candy business is one of those sectors that thrives in good times and bad. Hershey remains a solid buy in my Blue Chip Growth service.

I recently downgraded Alexion Pharmaceuticals to a Hold but I didn’t want subscribers to my Emerging Growth service to leave it just yet. I’m glad we didn’t because the stock is up nicely today on a very good earnings report.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Thursday its third-quarter profit surged 36 percent on sales of its blood disorder treatment Soliris, its only marketed product.

The company earned $26.7 million, or 29 cents per share, up from profit of $19.7 million, or 23 per share, during the same period a year prior. Revenue, which all came from Soliris sales, rose 34 percent to $102.6 million from $76.5 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected profit of 21 cents per share on revenue of $98.3 million.

That’s a big earnings beat. The stock has been up by as much as 8% today. ALXN is still a Hold, but I may upgrade it soon.

Finally, OxyPete saw its earnings plunge 59%, but that was expected since oil was down last quarter from the year before. Still, there’s a lot to like about OXY. For one, oil prices are back up over $80 a barrel. The good news is that the company is expanding production. I also like the fact that they recently bought Citigroup’s Phibro commodities division. (That’s the unit that paid its senior exec $100 million.) I continue to rate OxyPete a buy in my Blue Chip Growth service.

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