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Astrazeneca (AZN) Gains But Lags Market: What You Should Know

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Astrazeneca (AZN - Free Report) closed the most recent trading day at $50.70, moving +0.36% from the previous trading session. The stock lagged the S&P 500's daily gain of 0.71%. At the same time, the Dow added 0.56%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.95%.

Heading into today, shares of the pharmaceutical had lost 6.89% over the past month, lagging the Medical sector's loss of 1.41% and the S&P 500's gain of 0.17% in that time.

Investors will be hoping for strength from AZN as it approaches its next earnings release. On that day, AZN is projected to report earnings of $0.53 per share, which would represent year-over-year growth of 17.78%. Our most recent consensus estimate is calling for quarterly revenue of $7.01 billion, up 5.2% from the year-ago period.

It is also important to note the recent changes to analyst estimates for AZN. These revisions help to show the ever-changing nature of near-term business trends. As such, positive estimate revisions reflect analyst optimism about the company's business and profitability.

Based on our research, we believe these estimate revisions are directly related to near-team stock moves. We developed the Zacks Rank to capitalize on this phenomenon. Our system takes these estimate changes into account and delivers a clear, actionable rating model.

The Zacks Rank system, which ranges from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell), has an impressive outside-audited track record of outperformance, with #1 stocks generating an average annual return of +25% since 1988. Within the past 30 days, our consensus EPS projection has moved 2.74% higher. AZN is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold).

Investors should also note AZN's current valuation metrics, including its Forward P/E ratio of 19.38. For comparison, its industry has an average Forward P/E of 13.94, which means AZN is trading at a premium to the group.

Also, we should mention that AZN has a PEG ratio of 1.38. This metric is used similarly to the famous P/E ratio, but the PEG ratio also takes into account the stock's expected earnings growth rate. The Large Cap Pharmaceuticals was holding an average PEG ratio of 2.06 at yesterday's closing price.

The Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry is part of the Medical sector. This group has a Zacks Industry Rank of 105, putting it in the top 42% of all 250+ industries.

The Zacks Industry Rank gauges the strength of our individual industry groups by measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the groups. Our research shows that the top 50% rated industries outperform the bottom half by a factor of 2 to 1.

You can find more information on all of these metrics, and much more, on Zacks.com.


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