AstraZeneca share price outperforms as Jefferies lifts stance on pharmco

Analysts argue drugmaker is ‘at a turning point’

AstraZeneca share price outperforms as Jefferies lifts stance on pharmco

Jefferies has hiked its rating and price target on AstraZeneca (LON:AZN), arguing that the blue-chip pharmco is ‘at a turning point,’ Proactive Investors reports. The comments mark a boost for the FTSE 100 drugmaker which last month unveiled a drop in full-year revenue as it continued to suffer pressure from cheaper generics.

AstraZeneca’s share price has been little changed in today’s session, having shed 0.24 percent to 4,855.50p as of 15:07 GMT. The shares are nevertheless outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 having lost as much as 1.34 percent to 7,068.02 points, pressured by Federal Reserve worries and a hefty fall in Micro Focus (LON:MCRO). The pharmco’s shares have lost just under one percent of their value over the past year, as compared with a near five-percent dip in the Footsie.

Jefferies upbeat on pharmco

Jefferies lifted its rating on AstraZeneca from ‘hold’ to ‘buy’ today, while also hiking its price target on the shares from 5,075p to 5,600p. Proactive investors quoted the analysts as saying in a note to clients that accelerating new product launches and improving margins should deliver over 20-percent growth in core earnings per shares in the mid-term.

The broker further argues that several years of rebuilding the pipeline was now coming to fruition for the drugs firm as new product launches start to build momentum.

“Recovering growth, driven by the underlying business warrants a modest mid-term premium valuation,” Jefferies concluded.

Other analysts on AstraZeneca

Societe Generale reaffirmed the FTSE 100 group as a ‘buy’ last week, without specifying a price target on the shares, while Liberum continues to see the pharmco as a ‘hold,’ with a valuation of 5,000p. According to MarketBeat, AstraZeneca currently has a consensus ‘buy’ rating and an average price target of 5,296.57p.

As of 15:08 GMT, Monday, 19 March, AstraZeneca plc share price is 4,861.50p.

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