Amgen's stock buyback plan could boost shares

Amgen (AMGN) said on Monday its board of directors had authorized repurchases of up to $5 billion in company common stock. That's on top of the approximately $1.2 billion remaining under its previous stock buyback plan. This new authorization, Amgen said in a statement, reflects its confidence in its long-term prospects. Well, at least someone has confidence.

Amgen has been hit with several problems recently, not the least of which are the declining sales of its blockbuster anemia drugs Aranesp and Epogen due to safety concerns. Meanwhile, two investigational drugs Amgen has pinned its hope on have met with study results and / or regulatory setbacks. To top it all off, Amgen is the subject of a lawsuit from 15 states regarding kickback schemes.