AbbVie Inc. (ABBV) Raised to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday. The firm currently has a $72.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s target price would suggest a potential upside of 11.51% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “AbbVie’s key drug Humira has been performing well and sales should continue to be driven by growing awareness, favorable clinical data, additional indications and expansion into new markets. Moreover, products like Viekira and Imbruvica have diversified AbbVie’s revenue base. Imbruvica has multi-billion dollar potential and AbbVie is exploring the potential to expand Imbruvica’s label into solid tumors and autoimmune diseases. AbbVie has a deep and promising pipeline and is also working on expanding its portfolio though additional deals. However, Viekira is facing intense pricing pressure and competition in the HCV market. Additionally, quite a few companies are working on bringing Humira biosimilars to market. Amgen’s biosimilar version of Humira received FDA approval in Sep 2016. Abbvie could see some of its dominant share in the arthritis market contract when Amgen’s new drug is launched.”

A number of other research analysts have also weighed in on the company. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $78.00 target price on shares of AbbVie in a report on Tuesday. Vetr upgraded AbbVie from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $72.59 price target for the company in a research report on Thursday, September 8th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded AbbVie from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and dropped their price target for the company from $75.00 to $73.00 in a research report on Thursday, September 8th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Raymond James Financial Inc. started coverage on AbbVie in a research report on Thursday, September 1st. They set an “outperform” rating and a $82.00 price target for the company. Finally, Jefferies Group reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of AbbVie in a research report on Thursday, August 25th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating, nine have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $70.68.

AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) opened at 64.57 on Wednesday. AbbVie has a 1-year low of $45.45 and a 1-year high of $68.12. The company has a market cap of $105.15 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.62 and a beta of 1.49. The company’s 50-day moving average is $64.97 and its 200 day moving average is $62.23.

AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) last posted its earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $1.26 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.20 by $0.06. The business earned $6.43 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $6.20 billion. AbbVie had a return on equity of 161.46% and a net margin of 23.11%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 17.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.08 EPS. On average, equities analysts predict that AbbVie will post $4.81 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, November 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, October 14th will be paid a dividend of $0.57 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, October 12th. This represents a $2.28 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.53%. AbbVie’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 65.71%.

In other news, insider Laura J. Schumacher sold 50,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.00, for a total transaction of $3,250,000.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 144,138 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $9,368,970. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. BB&T Securities LLC boosted its stake in shares of AbbVie by 46.4% in the first quarter. BB&T Securities LLC now owns 1,379,549 shares of the company’s stock valued at $78,799,000 after buying an additional 436,945 shares during the last quarter. AXA boosted its stake in AbbVie by 74.3% in the first quarter. AXA now owns 3,061,184 shares of the company’s stock worth $174,855,000 after buying an additional 1,304,557 shares in the last quarter. Orbis Allan Gray Ltd bought a new stake in AbbVie during the first quarter worth approximately $281,766,000. Adage Capital Partners GP L.L.C. boosted its stake in AbbVie by 15.2% in the first quarter. Adage Capital Partners GP L.L.C. now owns 2,634,632 shares of the company’s stock worth $150,490,000 after buying an additional 348,015 shares in the last quarter. Finally, LPL Financial LLC boosted its stake in AbbVie by 81.1% in the first quarter. LPL Financial LLC now owns 1,005,738 shares of the company’s stock worth $58,855,000 after buying an additional 450,370 shares in the last quarter. 68.36% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

AbbVie Company Profile

AbbVie Inc (AbbVie) is a research-based biopharmaceutical company. The Company develops and markets therapies that address a range of diseases. The Company operates in pharmaceutical products segment. Its products are focused on treating conditions, such as chronic autoimmune diseases, in rheumatology, gastroenterology and dermatology; oncology, including blood cancers; virology, including hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease; metabolic diseases, including thyroid disease and complications associated with cystic fibrosis, as well as other serious health conditions.

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