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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo,U.S. Bancorp, PNC Financial Services Group and Repros Therapeutics

CHICAGO, Aug. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include the JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM-Free Report), Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC-Free Report), U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB-Free Report), PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE:PNC-Free Report) and Repros Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq:RPRX-Free Report).

Zacks Investment Research, Inc., www.zacks.com.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Banks Face Cyber Attack – Russian Motives at Work?

Cyber vulnerability of the U.S. banks has been exposed once again. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM-Free Report) and at least four other big banks became targets of cyber attack earlier this month. The names of other banks were not known.

Penetrating the so-called secured networks and firewalls of banks, the hackers siphoned large quantities of information that included customers' checking and savings account data. Further, the victims might include European bank customers too.

Notably, no financial losses to the customers have been reported so far. Hence, the primary motive behind the attack is debatable. Though most cyber attacks are aimed at financial gains, at times these have political motives too.

On speculations that hackers attacked the U.S. banks as retaliation against recent sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is probing the attacks. Further, the sophistication and other technical details of the cyber onslaught point at some government link.

Nevertheless, investigations are still on and hackers from Russia or other Eastern European countries are also being considered as possible suspects. Other than the FBI, the National Security Agency (NSA) too, is part of the investigations.

According to the law enforcement agencies, attacks were directed from computers in Latin America and other regions using Russian servers. A software fault called 'zero-day,' which allows hackers the remote connection of a computer, was utilized to penetrate the security systems. According to security specialists, such sophistication is beyond the ability of common hackers.

The financial sector has always been a key target for cyber attacks, given the fact that the entire nation's economy is dependent on them. The U.S. banking sector has experienced frequent assaults of the like (mainly for financial gains), despite some of the large banks spending hundreds of millions of dollar to safeguard their customer data and other information.

Over the past couple of years, banks have been a prey of politically motivated cyber attacks from Iran. In 2012, such attacks knocked out websites of several banks including JPMorgan, Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC-Free Report), U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB-Free Report) and The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE:PNC-Free Report).

With deluge of cyber assaults on the U.S. banks, computer intelligence has become a rising menace for the financial industry. As a result, the need to invest in cyber security has also increased. JPMorgan is estimated to spend more than $250 million annually in this regard, apart from building a dedicated team of about 1,000 employees focused on cyber security, by the end of this year.

Most banks, in order to tackle cyber attacks, are tightening Internet security, developing strategies to upgrade computer systems and also increasing cooperation with other countries. Further, companies offering internet security will be encouraged to develop new and innovative products to counteract such attacks.

While mere listing and coding of security loopholes will not prevent future cyber attacks, it should serve as a stepping stone toward solving the extremely complex situation. Training and know-how on security matters are extremely crucial since users often unknowingly guide hackers through their actions.

Repros Reports Encouraging Late-Stage Data on Androxal

Repros Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq:RPRX-Free Report) announced positive top-line data on its secondary hypogonadism candidate, Androxal, from a pivotal phase III study. Repros had initiated two identical, 17-week, double-blind ZA-304 and ZA-305 studies to compare the safety and efficacy of Androxal with a testosterone replacement therapy (topical gel) and placebo in restoring and maintaining testicular function.

ZA-305 Study Data

The ZA-305 study was the first of the two identical pivotal studies. In the study, Androxal demonstrated superiority on several assessments including the two co-primary endpoints and several secondary endpoints. In patients receiving Androxal, percent change in sperm concentration from baseline was found to be unchanged. In contrast, in the testosterone gel arm, patients experienced a median 33% decrease from their baseline concentration.

Additionally, a significantly higher proportion of men exhibited mean sperm concentration ≥ 10 million/mL in the Androxal arm as compared to testosterone gel and placebo.

Repros expects to submit a New Drug Application (NDA) to the FDA for Androxal for the secondary hypogonadism indication by the end of this year. We note that an advisory panel meeting could be scheduled prior to the FDA's final decision. If approved, Androxal has the potential to become the first drug specifically targeting secondary hypogonadism. We expect investor focus to remain on Androxal updates including data from the ZA-304 study.

Repros is a biopharmaceutical company which carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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