Chin Up in the Downswing

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Bank of America, Medical Stocks Show Strength

April 20, 2009 06:45 PM
by Anne Szustek
Encouraging business and financial news of April 20, 2009: Bank of America and pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Co. both posted growth in first-quarter net income. Meanwhile, heart-valve manufacturer ATS Medical is looking increasingly healthy.

Bank of America Latest to Show Positive Q1 Numbers

Bank of America reported this morning that it nearly tripled its first-quarter net income year-on-year. Profits grew to $4.2 billion during the first three months of 2009, up from $1.2 billion during the first quarter of 2008.

Bank of America Chairman and CEO Kenneth D. Lewis said in a statement quoted by The New York Times’ DealBook blog, “The fact that we were able to post strong, positive net income for the quarter is extremely welcome news in this environment … It shows the power of our diversified business model as well as the ability of our associates to execute.”

Bank of America’s Q1 numbers were announced but a few days after fellow financial companies Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Regions Bank and Goldman Sachs posted strong first-quarter numbers.

Eli Lilly Posts Year-on-Year Gains

Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly & Co. reported first-quarter 2009 net income of $1.31 billion, up from the $1.06 billion the company pulled in first-quarter 2008. Eli Lilly also posted an increase in profits of 23 percent on the back of sales of the cancer drug Erbitux, which it acquired during the company’s Nov. 25 takeover of ImClone systems. According to Bloomberg, Lilly also confirmed profit forecasts for 2009 of $4 to $4.25 a share, paralleling analyst estimates of $4.14 per share, “excluding one-time items.”

Med-Tech Firm Bounces Back

Also on the health beat: in 2002, Plymouth, Minn.-based medical technology firm ATS Medical posted revenue of $13 million, compared to the $125 million in cash it had spent over the prior decade. Now, the company has rebounded, thanks in part to its sutureless heart valve. The 28-person company “now employs more than 200 people in Minnesota,” writes the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, “and more than 300 people worldwide.” Last year, ATS Medical raked in $68.5 million in revenue and is on pace to make possibly $80 million during 2009 and more than $100 million over the next year and a half to two years. One ticket to the company’s continued growth, during the recession and beyond, is that besides the West’s aging population, middle- and upper-income brackets in developing market economies are likely to consider health care options in the United States, as well as increasingly take up advanced medical technologies.

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