Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “AstraZeneca’s core products like Nexium, Crestor and Seroquel are facing generic competition, which is hurting sales growth. The diabetes franchise also faces stiff competition while pricing pressure is hurting sales in the Respiratory franchise. Nonetheless, AstraZeneca’s newer drugs like Lynparza, Tagrisso and Brilinta should keep contributing to the top line while several launches are underway across each of the therapeutic areas, Oncology, CV metabolism and Respiratory. Meanwhile, cost-cutting initiatives should drive the bottom line. AstraZeneca also has a promising late-stage pipeline that includes immuno-oncology candidates. Imfinzi is a key drug in the pipeline. AstraZeneca’s shares have outperformed the industry this year. The company has a positive record of earnings surprises in the recent quarters. Estimates have remained stable ahead of the company’s Q3 earnings release. “

A number of other analysts have also recently weighed in on AZN. ValuEngine raised shares of AstraZeneca from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Saturday, July 28th. Guggenheim assumed coverage on shares of AstraZeneca in a report on Monday, October 8th. They set a buy rating on the stock. Finally, Jefferies Financial Group cut shares of AstraZeneca from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, August 16th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $40.34.

AZN stock opened at $39.21 on Tuesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.08, a quick ratio of 0.54 and a current ratio of 0.72. AstraZeneca has a twelve month low of $31.99 and a twelve month high of $40.16. The company has a market cap of $98.66 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 10.85, a P/E/G ratio of 2.08 and a beta of 0.58.

AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 26th. The company reported $0.69 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.31 by $0.38. AstraZeneca had a net margin of 11.98% and a return on equity of 29.89%. The company had revenue of $5.16 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.09 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.87 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.1% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, analysts predict that AstraZeneca will post 1.67 earnings per share for the current year.

In other AstraZeneca news, major shareholder Plc Astrazeneca bought 246,666 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 28th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $15.00 per share, with a total value of $3,699,990.00. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Cornerstone Wealth Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of AstraZeneca by 13.0% in the 3rd quarter. Cornerstone Wealth Management LLC now owns 64,546 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,872,000 after acquiring an additional 7,441 shares during the period. Huntington National Bank increased its holdings in shares of AstraZeneca by 66.4% in the 3rd quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 5,345 shares of the company’s stock valued at $212,000 after acquiring an additional 2,132 shares during the period. Aperio Group LLC increased its holdings in shares of AstraZeneca by 4.5% in the 3rd quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 1,009,314 shares of the company’s stock valued at $39,939,000 after acquiring an additional 43,540 shares during the period. Hardman Johnston Global Advisors LLC increased its holdings in shares of AstraZeneca by 8.6% in the 3rd quarter. Hardman Johnston Global Advisors LLC now owns 1,337,279 shares of the company’s stock valued at $52,916,000 after acquiring an additional 106,320 shares during the period. Finally, Bristol Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of AstraZeneca in the 3rd quarter valued at $324,000. 16.00% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

AstraZeneca Company Profile

AstraZeneca PLC discovers, develops, and commercializes prescription medicines for the treatment of oncology, cardiovascular and metabolic, respiratory, gastrointestinal, neuroscience, and infection diseases worldwide. Its marketed products include Arimidex, Casodex/Cosudex, Calquence, Faslodex, Imfinzi, Iressa, Lynparza, Nolvadex, Tagrisso, and Zoladex for oncology diseases; Atacand1/Atacand HCT/Atacand Plus, Brilinta/Brilique, Crestor2, Plendil, Seloken/Toprol-XL4, Tenormin5, and Zestril6 for cardiovascular diseases; and Bydureon, Byetta, Farxiga/Forxiga, Kombiglyze XR, Komboglyze, Onglyza, Qtern, Symlin, Xigduo, and Xigduo XR for metabolic diseases.

Featured Article: Should You Consider an Index Fund?

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on AstraZeneca (AZN)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN)

Receive News & Ratings for AstraZeneca Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for AstraZeneca and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.