Novartis (NYSE:NVS) Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Novartis (NYSE:NVS) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Friday, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $100.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Novartis’ second-quarter earnings and sales beat estimates on solid performance of key drugs like Cosentyx, Entresto and Lutathera. The Sandoz business also performed well on strong uptake of biosimilars. The increase in guidance was encouraging as well. New launches like Zolgensma and Piqray should boost performance in the second half of the year. Novartis has restructured the business to focus on becoming a core drug-focused company, powered by data and digital technologies, given the challenging business conditions. The company recently spun off its eye-care unit, Alcon, into a new company. However, the generic division, Sandoz, also suffered a blow, when the FDA issued a CRL to its generic, Advair Diskus. Generic competition for key drugs is also a concern. Shares have outperformed the industry in the year so far.”

Several other equities analysts have also recently issued reports on NVS. Guggenheim upgraded Novartis from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $79.16 price objective on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, April 24th. Liberum Capital upgraded Novartis from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, April 25th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised their price objective on from GBX 2,300 ($30.05) to GBX 2,900 ($37.89) and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research note on Friday, July 5th. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $165.00 target price on Caterpillar and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 10th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating, seven have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $88.24.

Shares of NVS opened at $94.04 on Friday. The stock’s fifty day moving average price is $90.56. Novartis has a 12-month low of $71.33 and a 12-month high of $95.00. The company has a market capitalization of $214.65 billion, a PE ratio of 18.48, a PEG ratio of 2.20 and a beta of 0.59. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43, a current ratio of 0.94 and a quick ratio of 0.74.

Novartis (NYSE:NVS) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 18th. The company reported $1.34 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.20 by $0.14. Novartis had a return on equity of 18.55% and a net margin of 23.27%. The firm had revenue of $11.76 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $11.45 billion. During the same period last year, the business posted $1.29 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.7% on a year-over-year basis. Sell-side analysts predict that Novartis will post 4.99 EPS for the current year.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Primecap Management Co. CA lifted its stake in Novartis by 4.2% in the first quarter. Primecap Management Co. CA now owns 23,857,216 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,293,633,000 after buying an additional 969,985 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC lifted its stake in Novartis by 23.7% in the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 8,678,552 shares of the company’s stock valued at $834,356,000 after buying an additional 1,662,505 shares during the last quarter. Mawer Investment Management Ltd. lifted its stake in Novartis by 19.2% in the first quarter. Mawer Investment Management Ltd. now owns 5,680,653 shares of the company’s stock valued at $546,138,000 after buying an additional 916,167 shares during the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC lifted its stake in Novartis by 11.1% in the first quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 3,717,495 shares of the company’s stock valued at $357,400,000 after buying an additional 371,396 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Lazard Asset Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Novartis by 407.4% during the first quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC now owns 2,525,897 shares of the company’s stock valued at $242,839,000 after purchasing an additional 2,028,045 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 11.88% of the company’s stock.

About Novartis

Novartis AG researches, develops, manufactures, and markets healthcare products worldwide. The company's Innovative Medicines segment offers patented prescription medicines for patients and healthcare providers. It also provides ophthalmology, neuroscience, immunology, hepatology and dermatology, respiratory, cardio-metabolic, and established medicine products.

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