Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) Lifted to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “Vertex beat both earnings and sales estimates in fourth-quarter 2017. Positive data read-outs and regulatory approvals in 2017 increased the eligible patient population for its two CF drugs, Kalydeco & Orkambi, which backed sales growth. Vertex’s CF pipeline is also quite strong with a broad portfolio of next-generation CF correctors.  A tezacaftor/ivacaftor combo medicine is expected to be approved in February, which will be a significant contributor to growth in 2018. Investor focus is on the triple combination CF regimens, which are crucial for long-term growth, as they have the potential to treat up to 90% of CF patients. The stock has also shot up significantly in the past year. However, Vertex faces some challenges with respect to commercialization of Orkambi in ex-U.S. markets due to re-imbursement hurdles. Also, competitive pressure is rising in the CF market with many other companies developing triple combo CF medicines.”

A number of other brokerages also recently issued reports on VRTX. Maxim Group restated a “buy” rating and issued a $195.00 price target on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a research report on Thursday, October 26th. Deutsche Bank initiated coverage on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Tuesday, December 12th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $175.00 price objective for the company. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Friday, October 27th. Oppenheimer lifted their price objective on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals from $175.00 to $190.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 4th. Finally, Bank of America reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $180.00 price objective on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Tuesday, January 23rd. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and twenty-five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Vertex Pharmaceuticals presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $180.07.

Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) traded up $1.36 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $152.96. 2,717,959 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 2,178,976. The firm has a market cap of $38,393.16, a P/E ratio of 147.08, a P/E/G ratio of 2.21 and a beta of 1.61. Vertex Pharmaceuticals has a 1 year low of $84.39 and a 1 year high of $174.96. The company has a quick ratio of 4.58, a current ratio of 4.79 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.01.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, January 31st. The pharmaceutical company reported $0.61 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.53 by $0.08. The firm had revenue of $651.63 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $592.49 million. Vertex Pharmaceuticals had a net margin of 10.59% and a return on equity of 11.02%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 42.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.35 EPS. sell-side analysts expect that Vertex Pharmaceuticals will post 1.63 earnings per share for the current year.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals announced that its board has initiated a stock buyback program on Wednesday, January 31st that permits the company to repurchase $500.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the pharmaceutical company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, EVP Amit Sachdev sold 46,172 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, January 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $158.65, for a total value of $7,325,187.80. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 57,835 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,175,522.75. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Paul M. Silva sold 2,098 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, February 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $163.08, for a total transaction of $342,141.84. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 17,923 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,922,882.84. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 403,165 shares of company stock valued at $62,154,183. Company insiders own 1.80% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Jennison Associates LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 19.0% in the 3rd quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 6,017,766 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $914,941,000 after buying an additional 962,644 shares during the last quarter. Point72 Asset Management L.P. boosted its holdings in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 8,061.1% in the 3rd quarter. Point72 Asset Management L.P. now owns 909,230 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $138,239,000 after buying an additional 898,089 shares during the last quarter. Assenagon Asset Management S.A. boosted its holdings in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 9,422.3% in the 3rd quarter. Assenagon Asset Management S.A. now owns 893,380 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $135,829,000 after buying an additional 883,998 shares during the last quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership boosted its holdings in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 90.1% in the 4th quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership now owns 1,203,221 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $180,315,000 after buying an additional 570,287 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its holdings in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 1,191.3% in the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 448,975 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $57,860,000 after buying an additional 414,206 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 92.81% of the company’s stock.

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Vertex Pharmaceuticals Company Profile

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated is engaged in discovering, developing, manufacturing and commercializing medicines for serious diseases. The Company is focused on developing and commercializing therapies for the treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF) and advancing its research and development programs in other indications.

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