Amgen Inc. shares lost $1.75 to $70.50 on Friday after MerrillLynch analyst Stuart Weisbrod lowered his intermediate-termrating to "neutral" from "above average."
Weisbrod based the change on last Thursday's announcementof a strategic marketing agreement between Immunex Corp.and Bristol-Myers Squibb. "It's a very good deal for Immunex,"said Weisbrod.
He predicted the agreement to develop and market Immunex'sPIXY321 blood cell growth factor would erode sales of Amgen'sNeupogen granulocyte colony stimulating factor.
Weisbrod raised his 12-month price objective for Immunex tothe high $80s. The Seattle company (NASDAQ:IMNX) lost 25cents on Friday, closing at $61.75, after gaining $10.51Wednesday and Thursday.
Weisbrod also lowered his long-term growth rate projection forThousand Oaks, Calif.-based Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) to 30percent from 35 percent. -- KB
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