Analysts at Piper Jaffray Cos. initiated coverage on shares of Astrazeneca PLC (NYSE:AZN) in a report issued on Friday. The firm set an “overweight” rating on the stock.

A number of other research firms have also recently issued reports on AZN. Beaufort Securities reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Astrazeneca PLC in a research report on Thursday, August 11th. Citigroup Inc. reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Astrazeneca PLC in a research report on Saturday, June 25th. Jefferies Group raised shares of Astrazeneca PLC from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, September 12th. Shore Capital reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Astrazeneca PLC in a research report on Wednesday, July 20th. Finally, Argus initiated coverage on shares of Astrazeneca PLC in a research report on Tuesday, July 12th. They set a “hold” rating on the stock. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating, eleven have issued a buy rating and three have given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $37.49.

Astrazeneca PLC (NYSE:AZN) traded down 0.88% during trading on Friday, reaching $33.98. The company had a trading volume of 2,313,602 shares. Astrazeneca PLC has a one year low of $26.97 and a one year high of $35.04. The company has a market capitalization of $85.97 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 38.83 and a beta of 0.77. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $33.48 and a 200 day moving average price of $30.46.

Astrazeneca PLC (NYSE:AZN) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 28th. The company reported $0.83 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.76 by $0.07. The business had revenue of $5.60 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.56 billion. Astrazeneca PLC had a net margin of 9.23% and a return on equity of 28.02%. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 4.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.21 earnings per share. Analysts expect that Astrazeneca PLC will post $2.97 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a dividend, which was paid on Monday, September 12th. Investors of record on Friday, August 12th were issued a $0.44 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, August 10th. Astrazeneca PLC’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 78.29%.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Forester Capital Management LTD increased its position in Astrazeneca PLC by 68.4% in the first quarter. Forester Capital Management LTD now owns 3,200 shares of the company’s stock valued at $109,000 after buying an additional 1,300 shares during the period. First Interstate Bank increased its position in shares of Astrazeneca PLC by 233.3% in the second quarter. First Interstate Bank now owns 3,900 shares of the company’s stock valued at $118,000 after buying an additional 2,730 shares during the last quarter. Synovus Financial Corp increased its position in shares of Astrazeneca PLC by 29.7% in the second quarter. Synovus Financial Corp now owns 4,372 shares of the company’s stock valued at $132,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares during the last quarter. Fifth Third Bancorp increased its position in shares of Astrazeneca PLC by 2.3% in the second quarter. Fifth Third Bancorp now owns 4,631 shares of the company’s stock valued at $140,000 after buying an additional 103 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Integrated Investment Consultants LLC increased its position in shares of Astrazeneca PLC by 6.1% in the second quarter. Integrated Investment Consultants LLC now owns 4,756 shares of the company’s stock valued at $144,000 after buying an additional 275 shares during the last quarter. 11.39% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Astrazeneca PLC Company Profile

AstraZeneca PLC (AstraZeneca) is a biopharmaceutical company. The Company focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in various therapy areas, including respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune disease (RIA), cardiovascular and metabolic disease (CVMD) and oncology, as well as in infection, neuroscience and gastrointestinal areas.

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