Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Novartis is facing challenging business conditions due to generic competition and weakness in the Alcon business. Generic competition for Gleevec, Exelon Patch, Diovan and Exforge; increased spending related to the ongoing launches of Entresto and Cosentyx; the restructuring plan for Alcon; and unfavorable currency fluctuations will continue to dampen the company’s performance in the upcoming quarters. Nevertheless, the company enjoys a strong presence in the oncology market with drugs like Afinitor, Exjade, Jakavi and Zykadia.  We are also impressed by the company’s efforts to strengthen its biosimilars portfolio.”

Several other brokerages have also recently weighed in on NVS. Argus reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Novartis AG in a report on Thursday, August 25th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Novartis AG in a report on Tuesday, July 19th. Chardan Capital began coverage on shares of Novartis AG in a report on Tuesday. They set a “buy” rating and a $95.00 price objective on the stock. Bank of America Corp. reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Novartis AG in a report on Tuesday, July 12th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. reissued a “neutral” rating on shares of Novartis AG in a report on Tuesday, May 24th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating, five have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $91.83.

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Shares of Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) opened at 81.06 on Wednesday. The stock has a market cap of $193.02 billion, a P/E ratio of 28.94 and a beta of 0.58. Novartis AG has a 52-week low of $69.90 and a 52-week high of $95.11. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $80.80 and its 200 day moving average is $78.33.

Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, July 19th. The company reported $1.23 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.18 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $12.47 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $12.33 billion. Novartis AG had a net margin of 13.84% and a return on equity of 15.33%. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.25 earnings per share. Analysts forecast that Novartis AG will post $4.73 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in NVS. Integrated Investment Consultants LLC raised its position in Novartis AG by 6.3% in the second quarter. Integrated Investment Consultants LLC now owns 1,240 shares of the company’s stock worth $102,000 after buying an additional 74 shares during the period. Whitnell & Co. raised its position in Novartis AG by 14.6% in the second quarter. Whitnell & Co. now owns 1,410 shares of the company’s stock worth $116,000 after buying an additional 180 shares during the period. Iowa State Bank purchased a new position in Novartis AG during the second quarter worth $122,000. M&R Capital Management Inc. purchased a new position in Novartis AG during the second quarter worth $122,000. Finally, WFG Advisors LP raised its position in Novartis AG by 8.9% in the second quarter. WFG Advisors LP now owns 1,624 shares of the company’s stock worth $134,000 after buying an additional 133 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 9.78% of the company’s stock.

About Novartis AG

Novartis AG is a holding company. The Company specializes in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of a range of healthcare products led by pharmaceuticals, including eye care products. Its portfolio includes medicines, eye care and generic pharmaceuticals. The Company’s segments include Pharmaceuticals, Alcon and Sandoz.

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