AstraZeneca (AZN) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Monday.

According to Zacks, “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 quite a few positive developments on the regulatory and pipeline front in 2017, which has led shares to outperform 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.”

Several other equities research analysts have also weighed in on AZN. Leerink Swann reiterated a “market perform” rating and issued a $36.00 price objective (up from $33.00) on shares of AstraZeneca in a research note on Thursday. Cowen reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $37.00 price objective on shares of AstraZeneca in a research note on Tuesday, October 17th. Credit Suisse Group upgraded AstraZeneca from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research note on Monday, October 16th. BMO Capital Markets set a $38.00 price objective on AstraZeneca and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 10th. Finally, BNP Paribas upgraded AstraZeneca from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research note on Monday, September 25th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $34.48.

AstraZeneca (NYSE AZN) traded up $0.37 during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $35.44. The stock had a trading volume of 2,527,300 shares, compared to its average volume of 3,250,638. AstraZeneca has a 52 week low of $26.51 and a 52 week high of $35.92. The company has a market cap of $88,700.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 25.31, a P/E/G ratio of 2.62 and a beta of 0.76. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.09, a quick ratio of 0.72 and a current ratio of 0.94.

AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 9th. The company reported $1.12 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the 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 company had revenue of $6.23 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $6 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $1.32 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 9.4% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts expect that AstraZeneca will post 1.9 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in AZN. Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its position in AstraZeneca by 6.1% during the 2nd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 195,965 shares of the company’s stock worth $6,681,000 after acquiring an additional 11,311 shares during the last quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors grew its position in AstraZeneca by 1.7% during the 2nd quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 52,400 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,786,000 after acquiring an additional 900 shares during the last quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. grew its position in AstraZeneca by 140.0% during the 2nd quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 15,487 shares of the company’s stock worth $527,000 after acquiring an additional 9,035 shares during the last quarter. Advisor Group Inc. grew its position in AstraZeneca by 2.3% during the 2nd quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 63,139 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,123,000 after acquiring an additional 1,399 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC grew its position in AstraZeneca by 10.9% during the 2nd quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 1,623,086 shares of the company’s stock worth $55,331,000 after acquiring an additional 159,015 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 14.76% 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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