AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) Downgraded to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday morning, reports. They currently have $59.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “AstraZeneca’s products like Nexium, Crestor and Seroquel are facing generic competition, which is hurting sales. The diabetes franchise also faces stiff competition while pricing pressure is hurting sales in the respiratory unit. Also, the coronavirus outbreak may hurt its profits in 2020. Nonetheless, AstraZeneca’s newer drugs, mainly cancer medicines Lynparza, Tagrisso and Imfinzi, should keep driving revenues in 2020. Its pipeline is strong with abundance of pipeline catalysts lined up for 2020. Several launches are underway across each of the therapeutic areas. Cost-cutting efforts should drive earnings. Its shares have outperformed the industry this year so far. The company has a mixed record of earnings surprises in the recent quarters. Estimates have gone up ahead of Q2 earnings release.”

A number of other research firms also recently commented on AZN. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an equal weight rating on shares of AstraZeneca in a research report on Wednesday, May 6th. Cowen lifted their target price on AstraZeneca from $55.00 to $60.00 in a research report on Wednesday, June 10th. Guggenheim reissued a buy rating on shares of AstraZeneca in a research report on Friday, May 29th. Oddo Bhf downgraded AstraZeneca from a buy rating to a reduce rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 24th. Finally, Barclays reiterated an overweight rating on shares of AstraZeneca in a research note on Monday, April 27th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $61.00.

Shares of NYSE AZN opened at $55.78 on Wednesday. The business has a 50-day moving average of $54.53 and a two-hundred day moving average of $50.30. The company has a market capitalization of $146.39 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 67.20, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.65 and a beta of 0.55. AstraZeneca has a 1 year low of $36.15 and a 1 year high of $64.94. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.32, a current ratio of 0.75 and a quick ratio of 0.57.

AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, July 30th. The company reported $0.48 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.44 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $6.28 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $6.27 billion. AstraZeneca had a return on equity of 37.83% and a net margin of 8.36%. The firm’s revenue was up 9.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.73 earnings per share. As a group, equities research analysts expect that AstraZeneca will post 2.04 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a semi-annual dividend, which will be paid on Monday, September 14th. Shareholders of record on Friday, August 14th will be given a dividend of $0.45 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, August 13th. This represents a yield of 2.5%. AstraZeneca’s payout ratio is 106.29%.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Capital International Investors lifted its holdings in AstraZeneca by 23.4% in the 1st quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 28,325,620 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,265,021,000 after purchasing an additional 5,375,926 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in AstraZeneca by 49.5% in the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 6,675,134 shares of the company’s stock worth $298,112,000 after acquiring an additional 2,211,519 shares during the period. Wellington Management Group LLP raised its holdings in AstraZeneca by 3.3% in the 1st quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 67,358,391 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,008,227,000 after acquiring an additional 2,163,500 shares during the last quarter. Jennison Associates LLC lifted its stake in shares of AstraZeneca by 5.9% during the 1st quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 38,802,123 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,732,903,000 after purchasing an additional 2,148,165 shares during the period. Finally, Invesco Ltd. lifted its stake in shares of AstraZeneca by 24.2% during the 1st quarter. Invesco Ltd. now owns 10,826,008 shares of the company’s stock worth $483,490,000 after purchasing an additional 2,106,066 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 16.84% of the company’s stock.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca PLC discovers, develops, and commercializes prescription medicines in the areas of oncology, cardiovascular, renal and metabolism, respiratory, autoimmunity, infection, neuroscience, and gastroenterology worldwide. Its marketed products include Arimidex, Casodex/Cosudex, Calquence, Faslodex, Imfinzi, Iressa, Lynparza, Nolvadex, Tagrisso, and Zoladex for oncology diseases; Atacand1/Atacand HCT/Atacand Plus, Brilinta/Brilique, Crestor, Plendil, Seloken/Toprol-XL, Tenormin, and Zestril for cardiovascular diseases; and Bydureon, Byetta, Farxiga/Forxiga, Kombiglyze XR, Komboglyze, Onglyza, Qtern, Symlin, Xigduo, and Xigduo XR for metabolic diseases.

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