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What's in the Cards for AstraZeneca (AZN) in Q2 Earnings?

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AstraZeneca (AZN - Free Report) will report second-quarter 2021 results on Jul 29. In the last reported quarter, the company delivered an earnings surprise of 14.08%.

The company’s earnings beat estimates in three of the past four quarters and missed the same once, with the average earnings surprise being 5.25%.

Shares of AstraZeneca have gained 16.4% so far this year compared with the industry’s increase of 11.7%.

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Factors at Play

Sales of AstraZeneca’s newer medicines, mainly cancer drugs — Lynparza, Tagrisso and Imfinzi — and diabetes medicine Farxiga are expected to have driven the company’s top line in the second quarter.

Sales of Tagrisso are likely to have been higher in the second quarter on the back of continued underlying demand growth and strong uptake in the first-line setting. Moreover, approval in China for treating early-stage lung cancer is likely to have brought additional revenues.

Sales of Lynparza, which is marketed in collaboration with Merck (MRK - Free Report) , are likely to have been driven by expanded use in prostate cancer and first-line ovarian cancer.

Second-quarter sales of Imfinzi are likely to have benefited from strong demand trends in the United States, especially in lung cancer indications. Meanwhile, strong uptake of Calquence in leukemia patients is likely to have brought additional revenues during the quarter.

AstraZeneca’s other major drugs like Fasenra and Farxiga are likely to have contributed to sales growth in the soon-to-be-reported quarter. Label expansion of Farxiga as a treatment for chronic kidney disease in the United States in April is likely to have boosted sales of the drug. However, Brilinta sales might have been hurt due to pricing pressure in China as well as the impact of COVID-19.

Product sales of some drugs, especially Pulmicort, in the past few quarters were hurt due to COVID-19 related disruptions. The trend is likely to have continued in the second quarter of 2021.

Sales of AstraZeneca’s COPD drug Symbicort is likely to have declined during the soon-to-be reported quarter due to increasing generic competition.

Sales of AstraZeneca’s major legacy drugs have been declining due to rising generic competition. The trend is likely to have continued in the second quarter.

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine brought $275 million in revenues during the first quarter. The company received authorization for the vaccine in additional countries during the second quarter. Strong demand for the vaccine amid the pandemic is likely to have generated higher sales in the second quarter.

Investors will likely focus on updates related to the vaccine on the second-quarter earnings call. They may ask questions on the probable timeline for authorization of the vaccine in the United States.

Recent Development

Last week, the company completed the acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals. The company may provide an updated guidance for 2021 on the earnings call to include the impact of the acquisition. The company may provide its guidance for COVID-19 vaccine sales for 2021 on the call.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively predict an earnings beat for AstraZeneca this time around. The combination of a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) increases the odds of an earnings beat. But that is not the case here.

Earnings ESP: AstraZeneca has an Earnings ESP of 0.00%. This is because both the Most Accurate Estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate are pegged at 45 cents per ADS. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Zacks Rank: AstraZeneca has a Zacks Rank #3.

AstraZeneca PLC Price and EPS Surprise

AstraZeneca PLC Price and EPS Surprise

AstraZeneca PLC price-eps-surprise | AstraZeneca PLC Quote

Stocks to Consider

Here are some large drug/biotech stocks that have the right combination of elements to beat on earnings this time around:

AbbVie (ABBV - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +0.86% and a Zacks Rank #3. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Pfizer (PFE - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +2.33% and a Zacks Rank #3.

In-Depth Zacks Research for the Tickers Above

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AstraZeneca PLC (AZN) - free report >>

Pfizer Inc. (PFE) - free report >>

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) - free report >>

AbbVie Inc. (ABBV) - free report >>