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FDA approves Amgen’s Xgeva for giant cell tumor of the bone

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. – The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug made by Amgen for treating a rare and usually noncancerous bone tumor, the agency said Thursday.

The FDA announced the approval of Xgeva (denosumab) for adults and some adolescents with giant cell tumor of the bone, also known as GCTB. In most cases, GCTB, which usually occurs in adults age 20 years to 40 years, does not spread to other parts of the body, but destroys bone tissue as it grows, causing pain, limited range of motion and fractures. In some rare cases, it can turn into a cancerous tumor and spread to the lungs, the FDA said.

"Today’s approval of Xgeva provides a needed treatment option for patients with GCTB who are not surgical candidates or who would otherwise have to undergo extensive, life-altering surgery," FDA Office of Hematology and Oncology Products director Richard Pazdur said. 

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Target holds annual shareholder meeting, increases dividend

BY Alaric DeArment

MINNEAPOLIS — Target Corp. has increased quarterly payments to shareholders to 43 cents per share, the mass merchandise retailer said.

The Minneapolis-based chain said the quarterly dividend represented a 19.4% increase over its previous dividend of 36 cents per share. The dividend will be payable Sept. 10.

The chain also had its annual shareholder meeting in Denver, where shareholders voted not to have an independent chairman or make changes to the company’s electronics recycling policy. Shareholders elected each of the 12 board members for a one-year term and ratified the appointment of Ernst & Young as the independent registered accounting firm for 2013, as well as for a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation.

"At Target, we have a long-standing commitment to strong corporate governance and take the feedback we receive from shareholders very seriously," Target board lead director James Johnson said. "We appreciate the thoughtful and constructive discussions we have with our shareholders on an ongoing basis."

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Consumer confidence, high spending fuel retail sales

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — Retail sales are up nearly 5% from one year ago, according to the latest numbers from the Department of Commerce.

Amid improved consumer confidence and higher spending, May retail sales — which exclude cars, gas stations and restaurants — increased 4.8% from May 2012 and 0.6% from last month.

"The American consumer continues to drive the U.S. economy," said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, a Washington-based trade group. "In spite of fluctuating gas prices, severe weather in much of the country and fiscal policy uncertainty, consumers continue to demonstrate an inherent resiliency and flexibility. We should never underestimate the role and strength of the American shopper or the retailers that serve them."

Stores that specialize in heath and personal care had sales increase by 0.5% since last May and by 0.2% since last month, while building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers saw sales increase by 9.3% since last May and by 0.9% since last month. General merchandise stores experienced a 2.3% sales increase since last May and a 0.5% increase since last month.

Some analysts expect retail sales to remain under pressure, but still increase.

"We continue to believe that consumer spending and retail sales growth will remain modest during the balance of 2013 due to fiscal restraint-oriented pressure on personal income," Guggenheim Securities analyst John Heinbockel wrote in a note to investors following the release of the Commerce Department numbers. "There will likely, however, be a weather-driven pick-up in the next month or two on a catch-up in summer seasonal spending. In a modest growth environment, we favor share gaining consumables-driven retailers like the dollar stores."


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