AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “AstraZeneca is one of the key players in the global cardiovascular market. However, AstraZeneca’s core products like Nexium, Seroquel and Crestor are facing generic competition, which is hurting sales. The diabetes franchise also faces stiff competition. Nonetheless, AstraZeneca’s newer drugs like Tagrisso and Brilinta should keep contributing to the top line. Meanwhile, cost-cutting initiatives should drive the bottom line. AstraZeneca also has a promising late-stage pipeline that includes immuno-oncology candidates.  Imfinzi, approved for bladder cancer and currently being evaluated for multiple cancers, is a key drug in the pipeline. AstraZeneca announced many positive developments on the regulatory and pipeline front in 2017. Shares have outperformed the industry in the past one year. Estimate movement has been mixed ahead of Q4 earnings release. The company has a positive record of earnings surprises in the recent quarters.”

A number of other analysts also recently weighed in on AZN. Cowen reissued a “hold” rating and set a $37.00 target price on shares of AstraZeneca in a research report on Tuesday, October 17th. Credit Suisse Group raised shares of AstraZeneca from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research report on Monday, October 16th. BNP Paribas raised shares of AstraZeneca from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research report on Monday, September 25th. BMO Capital Markets set a $38.00 target price on shares of AstraZeneca and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 31st. Finally, Liberum Capital downgraded shares of AstraZeneca from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, September 14th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $34.20.

AstraZeneca (AZN) traded up $0.25 during trading hours on Wednesday, reaching $35.65. 3,017,976 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 2,561,584. The firm has a market cap of $90,281.55, a P/E ratio of 12.78, a PEG ratio of 3.42 and a beta of 0.72. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.09, a current ratio of 0.94 and a quick ratio of 0.72. AstraZeneca has a twelve month low of $26.51 and a twelve month high of $35.92.

AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) last released its earnings results on Thursday, November 9th. The company reported $1.12 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.57 by $0.55. The business had revenue of $6.23 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $6 billion. AstraZeneca had a net margin of 15.90% and a return on equity of 34.02%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.32 EPS. research analysts expect that AstraZeneca will post 1.88 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Fisher Asset Management LLC grew its position in shares of AstraZeneca by 4.7% during the 3rd quarter. Fisher Asset Management LLC now owns 11,601,573 shares of the company’s stock worth $393,061,000 after buying an additional 519,717 shares during the period. Wells Fargo & Company MN lifted its holdings in shares of AstraZeneca by 7.6% in the 3rd quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 4,406,824 shares of the company’s stock worth $149,303,000 after purchasing an additional 310,389 shares in the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of AstraZeneca by 7.1% in the 3rd quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 3,026,781 shares of the company’s stock worth $102,643,000 after purchasing an additional 199,519 shares in the last quarter. Capital Bank & Trust Co lifted its holdings in shares of AstraZeneca by 2.1% in the 3rd quarter. Capital Bank & Trust Co now owns 2,730,208 shares of the company’s stock worth $92,499,000 after purchasing an additional 57,353 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Dimensional Fund Advisors LP lifted its holdings in shares of AstraZeneca by 18.3% in the 3rd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 2,558,882 shares of the company’s stock worth $86,695,000 after purchasing an additional 395,699 shares in the last quarter. 14.75% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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AstraZeneca Company Profile

AstraZeneca PLC (AstraZeneca) is a biopharmaceutical company. The Company focuses on discovery and development of products, which are then manufactured, marketed and sold. The Company focuses on three main therapy areas: Oncology, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Disease (CVMD) and Respiratory, while selectively pursuing therapies in Autoimmunity, Infection and Neuroscience.

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