Zacks Investment Research Upgrades AstraZeneca (AZN) to Hold
Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Wednesday morning.
According to Zacks, “AstraZeneca is one of the key players in the global cardiovascular market. However, AstraZeneca’s core products like Nexium, Seroquel and Crestor are facing generic competition, which is hurting sales. The diabetes franchise also faces stiff competition. Nonetheless, AstraZeneca’s newer drugs like Tagrisso and Brilinta should keep contributing to the top line. Meanwhile, cost-cutting initiatives should drive the bottom line. AstraZeneca also has a promising late-stage pipeline that includes immuno-oncology candidates. Imfinzi, approved for bladder cancer and currently being evaluated for multiple cancers, is a key drug in the pipeline. AstraZeneca announced many positive developments on the regulatory and pipeline front in 2017. Shares have outperformed the industry in the past one year. Estimate movement has been mixed ahead of Q4 earnings release. The company has a positive record of earnings surprises in the recent quarters.”
A number of other analysts also recently issued reports on the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised AstraZeneca from a neutral rating to an overweight rating in a research report on Friday, December 29th. BMO Capital Markets set a $38.00 target price on AstraZeneca and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 15th. Leerink Swann lifted their target price on AstraZeneca from $31.00 to $34.00 and gave the company a market perform rating in a research report on Monday, October 23rd. Citigroup raised AstraZeneca to a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 18th. Finally, Cowen reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $37.00 target price on shares of AstraZeneca in a research report on Tuesday, October 17th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $34.20.
AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 9th. The company reported $1.12 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.57 by $0.55. AstraZeneca had a return on equity of 34.02% and a net margin of 15.90%. The firm had revenue of $6.23 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $6 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.32 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.4% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts expect that AstraZeneca will post 1.88 EPS for the current year.
A number of institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of AZN. Russell Investments Group Ltd. grew its holdings in AstraZeneca by 198.9% during the third quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 1,856,140 shares of the company’s stock worth $62,883,000 after purchasing an additional 1,235,239 shares during the period. Sector Gamma AS bought a new position in AstraZeneca during the third quarter worth about $25,094,000. Janus Henderson Group PLC grew its holdings in AstraZeneca by 5,754.0% during the third quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 726,599 shares of the company’s stock worth $24,617,000 after purchasing an additional 714,187 shares during the period. Voya Investment Management LLC grew its holdings in AstraZeneca by 38.2% during the second quarter. Voya Investment Management LLC now owns 2,395,465 shares of the company’s stock worth $81,661,000 after purchasing an additional 662,481 shares during the period. Finally, Point72 Asset Management L.P. grew its holdings in AstraZeneca by 103.1% during the third quarter. Point72 Asset Management L.P. now owns 1,224,939 shares of the company’s stock worth $41,501,000 after purchasing an additional 621,831 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 14.75% of the company’s stock.
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AstraZeneca Company Profile
AstraZeneca PLC (AstraZeneca) is a biopharmaceutical company. The Company focuses on discovery and development of products, which are then manufactured, marketed and sold. The Company focuses on three main therapy areas: Oncology, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Disease (CVMD) and Respiratory, while selectively pursuing therapies in Autoimmunity, Infection and Neuroscience.
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