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How Will Drug Stocks BIIB, ABT, NVS Perform in Q1 Earnings?

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With the Q1 earnings season gaining momentum, focus will be on the medical sector which is facing challenges in the form of growing political pressure on drug prices, currency headwinds, biosimilar and generic competition as well as European pricing pressure. Stressed balance sheets and other broad-based factors could continue to hurt the performance of the sector.

However, all is not lost. As per our Earnings Trends report, the Medical sector is expected to witness earnings growth of 0.9% and revenue growth of 9.1% in the first quarter of 2016. It is one of the six sectors that are anticipated to record earnings growth this season.

As of Apr 15, 35 S&P 500 members have released their first quarter results. On the whole, the picture is not encouraging with total earnings expected to decline 10.1% on a year-over-year basis.

What to Expect from these Drug Stocks?

With industry bellwether Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ - Free Report) first-quarter earnings surpassing expectations and the company raising its outlook for the year, will other major drug companies follow suit?

Earnings releases and guidance of the likes of Abbott Laboratories (ABT - Free Report) , Biogen Inc. (BIIB - Free Report) , and Novartis AG (NVS - Free Report) have always held investors’ attention. Let’s have a look at how these companies are expected to perform when they come up with their releases this week.

First on our list is the manufacturer of a diversified line of health care products, Abbott Labs. The company is expected to face challenging conditions in Venezuela (which has been a historically good market for the company) due to factors like high inflation, increasing price and margin controls, regulations on imports, and slowing demand.

Its reporting segments include Established Pharmaceuticals Division, Medical Devices, Diagnostics and Nutrition. The company expects first-quarter sales to decline in the low single digits, reflecting a 6% negative currency impact. Earnings per share for the first quarter are projected around 38–40 cents.

Abbott Labs is scheduled to report first-quarter results before the opening bell on Apr 20. Though the company has beaten estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, its Earnings ESP of 0.00% and a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) make surprise prediction difficult this quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is 39 cents per share (read more: Will Currency Woes Hurt Abbott Labs' Q1 Earnings?).




A well-known name in the multiple sclerosis market (MS), Biogen is set to report first-quarter results on Apr 21, before the market opens. The company’s positive Earnings ESP and Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) make us confident of an earnings beat this quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is $4.48 per share.

Focus will remain on the performance of MS drug, Tecfidera, and recently launched hemophilia drugs, Eloctate and Alprolix (read more: Will MS Franchise Sales Boost Biogen's 1Q Earnings?).


Novartis, which is a well known name in the oncology market, expects 2016 to be transformational year.

In a bid to revamp its struggling Alcon business, Novartis announced that its ophthalmic pharmaceuticals business will be moved to the pharmaceuticals division. Consequently, the Alcon division will focus solely on the surgical and vision care businesses. Meanwhile, Novartis’ generic arm, Sandoz, with a strong biosimilar portfolio and pipeline, should offset the weakness in the Alcon segment.

However, the company is expected to face headwinds in the form of generic competition for some products as well as negative currency movement. Notably, unfavorable currency movement is estimated to impact sales by 5% in the first quarter. Focus should remain on the sales ramp up of newly launched drugs, Entresto, Glatopa and Cosentyx.

This Zacks Rank #3 stock is scheduled to report first-quarter results on Apr 21 (read more: Will Weak Alcon Sales Hurt Novartis' Q1 Earnings?).


So, do check back on our full earnings release articles on these stocks to see how they’ve finally fared.

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