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.”

Other equities analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. Citigroup Inc. reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of Novartis AG in a report on Tuesday, May 24th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Novartis AG in a report on Thursday, May 26th. Bank of America Corp. reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Novartis AG in a report on Tuesday, July 12th. Argus reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Novartis AG in a report on Thursday, August 25th. Finally, Chardan Capital began coverage on Novartis AG in a report on Tuesday. They issued a “buy” rating and a $95.00 target price on the stock. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating, five have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $91.83.

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

Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 19th. The company reported $1.23 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.18 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $12.47 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $12.33 billion. Novartis AG had a return on equity of 15.33% and a net margin of 13.84%. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.25 EPS. On average, equities research analysts expect that Novartis AG will post $4.73 EPS for the current year.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Acadian Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Novartis AG during the first quarter worth about $1,234,000. First Financial Corp IN boosted its stake in shares of Novartis AG by 6.5% in the first quarter. First Financial Corp IN now owns 6,445 shares of the company’s stock worth $467,000 after buying an additional 395 shares during the last quarter. Fox Run Management L.L.C. bought a new stake in shares of Novartis AG during the first quarter worth about $290,000. Dividend Asset Capital LLC boosted its stake in shares of Novartis AG by 40.5% in the first quarter. Dividend Asset Capital LLC now owns 4,860 shares of the company’s stock worth $352,000 after buying an additional 1,400 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Kelman Lazarov Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Novartis AG during the first quarter worth about $515,000. 9.78% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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