AstraZeneca share price: Barclays flags strong growth after 2017
AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) deserves a premium rating for the strong growth which will emerge after 2017, Barclays analysts have said. The upbeat comments come ahead of the pharmco’s full-year results this week.
AstraZeneca’s share price has been little changed this morning, having lost 0.24 percent to 4,493.00p, as of 08:21 GMT. The shares are slightly outperforming the benchmark FTSE 100 index which currently stands 0.74 percent lower at 6,015.20 points. In the year-to-date, the pharmco’s shares have fallen 2.66 percent, as compared with a 3.61-percent dip in the Footsie.
Barclays reiterated its ‘equal weight’ rating on AstraZeneca yesterday, keeping its price target on the stock at 5,000p.
“Focus remains on pipeline, not near-term numbers,” the bank’s analyst Mark Purcell was quoted as saying, adding that Barclays expects the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker to report fourth-quarter earnings per share of $0.99 (69p), versus a company-supplied consensus of $0.96 (67p).
“The key focus remains execution on the oncology pipeline and emerging competitive data, given that the standard of care continues to shift quickly especially in immune-oncology, potentially impacting fast-followers like AstraZeneca,” Purcell pointed out. “We believe that AstraZeneca deserves a premium multiple for the strong growth that emerges post 2017.”
AstraZeneca, which is battling a decline in some of its top-selling drugs amid competition from cheaper generics, has identified oncology as one of its key growth fields, having promised investors to deliver $45 billion of annual revenues by 2023.
Analysts at Deutsche Bank are also upbeat on the London-listed pharmco, reiterating their ‘buy’ rating on the company today, with a price target of 5,700p. JPMorgan Chase & Co meanwhile has reaffirmed its ‘neutral’ stance on the drugmaker, with a valuation of 4,500p.
AstraZeneca will update investors on its full-year results on Thursday, while blue-chip peer GlaxoSmithKline (LON:GSK) reports tomorrow.
As of 09:04 GMT, Tuesday, 02 February, AstraZeneca plc share price is 4,477.00p.