AstraZeneca Loses Patent Fight and 4 Other Hot Stocks

The Honda Motor Co. (NYSE:HMC) has reported that its Chinese sales were down 6.6 percent for the month of March, and down 5.2 percent year over year for the first three months of 2013. It also rounded up a 15.6 decline in domestic sales for the first three months of the year over the same period of 2012. Sales topped out at 140,380 for the quarter in the world’s fastest growing auto market. The company had aimed for 25 percent growth in China for the year, equating to some 750,000 vehicles.

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It looks as though Toyota Motors (NYSE:TM) has missed its guidance for the month of March, for U.S. sales. Sales sat at 205,342, up 1 percent. First quarter sales reached 529,444, 10.1 percent over the same period last year. ”The auto industry continued its string of impressive monthly results, and at Toyota we had our best month since Cash for Clunkers in August of 2009,” said Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. “A strong first-quarter close and increased consumer confidence continue to position the auto industry as a leader in the economic recovery.” The numbers pushed Toyota to be the number 1 retail manufacturer for the month of March.

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Ford (NYSE:F) had a stellar month of March, with sales up 5.7 percent, beating estimates of 4.4 percent growth. The company moved  236,160 vehicles, with a strong lead by the Fusion model, which accounted for 30,284 of the total. Split by brand, Ford was up 6.9 percent, and Lincoln was up 22.5 percent, aided by refueled inventory levels that plagued the company earlier in the year. The F-Series truck line continued to perform solidly, with a 16 percent increase in sales. The month represented the best sales figures since May of 2007. Car sales were on par with a year ago, but trucks and utilities pushed the company to growth.

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A court has ruled that AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) does not have patent protection on its billion-dollar Pulmicort Repsules asthma treatment is invalid, which in turn allows Actavis (NYSE:ACT) the rights to produce a generic variety. Astrazeneca’s 2013 guidance will not be affected, but the move will likely hurt royalties coming from Teva’s (NYSE:TEVA) version of the same drug. AstraZeneca (among others) has also expressed intrest in putting in a bid for Optimer Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:OPTR), sending Optimer’s shares soaring over 18 percent.

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