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Executive Summary

Bindley Western shares climbed 2-1/2 on strong earnings forecasts to close an otherwise slow April on the "F-D-C" OTC Monthly Index at 12-1/2, representing a 25% gain. Prior to the April upswing, the Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical wholesaler had fluctuated in a narrow trading range near $10 a share for the past two months. Bindley recently reported a 78% jump in first quarter net earnings to $1.6 mil. on a 19.5% sales increase to $432.9 mil. In the comparable quarter a year ago, income was off nearly 25%. Value Line recently predicted continued strong gains for the rest of 1990 and forecast a 44 cents gain in earnings-per-share, to 85 cents compared with 41 cents last year. Bindley said it is "comfortable" with the predictions for its 1990 earnings per share. On May 5, the wholesaler announced a contract to be the primary pharmaceuticals supplier for Peyton Distributors, a unit of the Kroger food store chain. The deal is expected to bring in more than $150 mil. a year, Bindley said. Bindley helped boost the wholesaler component of the Index 3.5% for the month. Diversifieds and drug chains were also ahead. The 12 stocks on the diversified component were led by Pharmacia's 6% run-up on a 1-1/2 point gain to 25-1/4. Pharmacia is in the process of merging with Procordia and the food business of AB Volvo (see related T&G). Medicine Shoppe's gain of 3-1/2 to 25-1/2 led the three-stock chain component. The drug store chain recently reported strong sales and earnings gains for the second quarter and first half (ended March 31). Pharmaceutical stocks on the O-T-C index, in contrast, more closely tracked the broader indicators, dropping 1.8% during April. Decliners outnumbered gainers by three to one and six stocks were unchanged. By comparison, the Dow Jones Industrials fell 1.9% and the S&P 400 slid 2.2%. Chiron's gain (up 9.4% on a 2-1/2 point gain to 29-1/4) was fueled by anticipation of the U.S. marketing approval of the company's hepatitis C diagnostic test kit, which got the go-ahead from FDA on May 2. The Chiron test will be the first such test available to blood banks and centers in the U.S. Centocor, which reported positive results for its Centoxin gram negative sepsis treatment in an April 19 scientific journal, finished the month at 32-3/4, up 1-1/8. Rival Xoma ended April at 18-7/8, up 1/8. Xoma filed a patent infringement suit against Centocor on April 17, after being issued a broad patent for its product, Xomen-E5. Amgen and Genetics Institute, the index's other litigious biotech couple, moved in opposite directions: Amgen closed ahead 2-1/4 to 64, while Genetics Institute dropped 6.5% on a loss of 2-1/2 to 36-1/4.

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