Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Novartis has a strong oncology portfolio of drugs like Afinitor, Exjade, Jakavi, Zykadia, Tasigna, Jadenu, and the recently approved Kisqali. The recent approval of Kymriah for acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a major boost for Novartis given the potential in the CAR T therapy space.Growth drivers like Cosentyx and Entresto, more than offset the impact of generic erosion, mainly due to Glivec. Cosentyx hit blockbuster status in 2016. Earlier, Novartis announced that it is mulling strategic options for its lagging eye-care unit Alcon which includes retaining the business, or a separation via capital market transactions such as a spin-off or an initial public offering. The company will elaborate on its plans for Alcon by end of the year. We are also impressed by the progress in the biosimilars portfolio as the company is on track to launch five more biosimilars by 2020. Shares of the company have outperformed the industry so far in 2017.”

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. TheStreet raised shares of Novartis AG from a c+ rating to a b rating in a research report on Friday, June 2nd. Barclays PLC upgraded shares of Novartis AG from an underweight rating to an equal weight rating in a report on Thursday, June 22nd. Cowen and Company set a $77.00 price target on shares of Novartis AG and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, July 11th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Novartis AG from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Saturday, August 5th. Finally, Leerink Swann restated a market perform rating and issued a $83.00 price target on shares of Novartis AG in a report on Thursday, June 22nd. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company. Novartis AG presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $85.12.

Shares of Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) opened at 86.16 on Thursday. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $84.30 and its 200-day moving average is $80.50. The stock has a market capitalization of $201.86 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.46 and a beta of 0.74. Novartis AG has a 12-month low of $66.93 and a 12-month high of $86.90.

Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 18th. The company reported $1.22 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.16 by $0.06. The firm had revenue of $12.24 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $12.20 billion. Novartis AG had a net margin of 13.52% and a return on equity of 15.51%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.23 EPS. On average, analysts expect that Novartis AG will post $4.75 earnings per share for the current year.

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In related news, major shareholder Bioventures Ltd Novartis acquired 266,667 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, July 5th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $15.00 per share, with a total value of $4,000,005.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Company insiders own 0.01% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in NVS. BlackRock Inc. acquired a new stake in Novartis AG during the first quarter worth about $210,378,000. Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its stake in Novartis AG by 42,797.5% during the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 1,914,516 shares of the company’s stock worth $159,821,000 after buying an additional 1,910,053 shares during the period. Janus Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in Novartis AG by 34,406.2% during the first quarter. Janus Capital Management LLC now owns 1,759,816 shares of the company’s stock worth $130,696,000 after buying an additional 1,754,716 shares during the period. FMR LLC boosted its stake in Novartis AG by 172.1% during the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 2,294,782 shares of the company’s stock worth $191,546,000 after buying an additional 1,451,441 shares during the period. Finally, Principal Financial Group Inc. purchased a new position in Novartis AG during the second quarter worth about $71,606,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 10.93% of the company’s stock.

About Novartis AG

Novartis AG is a holding company, which provides healthcare solutions. The Company is engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of a range of healthcare products led by pharmaceuticals. The Company’s segments include Innovative Medicines, Sandoz, Alcon and Corporate activities.

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Analyst Recommendations for Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS)

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