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Pfizer (PFE)

Company Profile : New York City-based Pfizer is a research-based global pharmaceutical company which discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines for humans and animals.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average component said recently that its board approved an 11.1% increase of its quarterly cash dividend to 20 cents a share from 18 cents.

>>Pfizer Boosts Quarterly Dividend by 11%

Pfizer said the dividend is payable on March 1, 2011 to shareholders of record on Feb. 4. The increased dividend will bring Pfizer's annualized yield to around 4.5% based on current share prices.

In Jim Cramer's annual analysis of Dow stocks and 2011 predictions he said this of Pfizer: "You can change the CEO, you can buy another company, but you can't buy growth and Pfizer doesn't have it. We've got a nice yield and that's going to buoy the stock, or at least keep it from going down much lower. But headway? Way too much off-patent exposure. They don't call it a cliff for nothing. The growth is so minuscule and the multiple will follow it down, despite the best efforts of a new CEO, who surely has to be better than the last one. I see the stock at $16 next year and it will, again, not be the Dow stock to own."

Pfizer is just one of two Dow stocks that hold value-focused Morningstar's highest five-star rating. The research firm says Pfizer's stock could rise 51% to $26 as fundamentals improve.

Pfizer's stock fell more than 5% over the past year despite being a consensus value pick on both the buy- and sell-side. It is the largest global drug company, having acquired Wyeth in October 2009. Pfizer's size, with 2009 revenue of $70 billion and a market value of $139 billion, affords it economies of scale. It has a large portfolio of patented drugs, providing what Morningstar refers to as a "wide economic moat," or sustainable competitive advantages.

On Jan. 4 Pfizer and clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Santaris Pharma announced an expansion of their collaboration directed to the development and commercialization of RNA-targeted medicines. Pfizer will pay Santaris Pharma $14 million for access to Santaris Pharma's technology in the field. Santaris Pharma will be eligible to receive milestone payments up to $600 million, along with royalties on sales of products for up to 10 new RNA targets.

The expanded alliance builds on an original collaboration, formed in January of 2009, between Santaris Pharma and Wyeth. Under the original terms, Santaris Pharma received an upfront payment of $7 million in cash and Wyeth made a $10 million equity investment in Santaris Pharma.

On Jan. 5 reports showed that an Alabama federal court plans to centralize more than 1,200 civil lawsuits against Pfizer regarding claims that its smoking-cessation drug Chantix can lead to suicide. Around 60% of the cases allege suicide, attempted suicide or other overt acts of injury, according to lead counsel for the plaintiffs.

Chantix has been approved in at least 86 countries as an aid for patients looking to quit smoking, the Reuters report said.

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