Analysts Chime In on Big Pharma Ahead of Earnings

PFE said it would delay raising drug prices after a Trump tweet

by Karee Venema

Published on Jul 11, 2018 at 10:51 AM

Analysts are weighing in on big pharma today, with AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) among the names in the spotlight. Attention for the former is more upbeat, while notes for the latter are tilted toward the skeptical side -- even after both stocks' recent run up the charts.

Diving deeper, J.P. Morgan Securities said strong quarterly earnings results for drug companies will likely be offset the recent strength in the U.S. dollar. The brokerage firm believes Pfizer will be among those most negatively impacted by forex issues, while Abbvie -- and Eli Lilly (LLY) -- will see a more modest headwinds.

Elsewhere, SunTrust Robinson expressed concern over Pfizer's announcement that it will delay hiking drug prices for up to six months, after its CEO talked to President Donald Trump following a scathing POTUS tweet. The brokerage firm maintained its "hold" rating on PFE stock, while saying to accumulate shares of ABBV -- which it rates a "buy" -- given the latter's volume-driven sales growth on new products.

At last check, PFE was trading down 0.5% at $37.23, with traders also reacting to news the big-cap pharma name plans to split into three companies in order to separate its consumer healthcare business, which it's been trying to sell since 2017. More broadly, the shares have been swinging higher since their early May lows, up 8.4%.

ABBV, meanwhile, has plunged 2.5% today to trade at $96.35. News the company's cancer drug, Imbruvica, failed in a late-stage study is offsetting the upbeat analyst attention, with the shares on track to snap their eight-day win streak -- their longest since March 2017. Nevertheless, the drug stock is still churning below its 200-day moving average, which has kept a tight lid on the equity since mid-June.

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