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Alexion (ALXN) Q1 Earnings: Can the Stock Pull a Surprise?

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Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALXN - Free Report) is scheduled to report first-quarter 2017 results on Apr 27, before the opening bell.

In the last reported quarter, Alexion delivered in-line earnings. Alexion posted an average positive earnings surprise of 2.82% over the four trailing quarters.

Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

A look at Alexion’s share price movement year to date shows that the stock has underperformed the Zacks classified Medical - Biomedical and Genetics  industry. Its shares have declined 3%, as against the industry’s gain of 2.3%.

 Factors Likely to Impact Q1 Results

Alexion continues to identify and treat a consistently high number of new patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) with Soliris across its 50-country operating platform.

Alexion is also working on the launches of both Strensiq and Kanuma. While on one hand,  Strensiq continues to perform well with revenues benefiting from a growing number of patients (both children as well as adults with pediatric onset disease) owing to HPP disease awareness and diagnostic initiatives. These initiatives are leading to steady identification of new patients with hypophosphatasia (HPP). The company expects Strensiq to be a strong additional growth driver in the first quarter of 2017 and beyond.

On the other hand, Kanuma continues to progress with the early stages of its launch in the U.S. and Germany with new patients starting on treatment. In order to reach out to more patients with lysosomal acid lipase deficiency (LAL-D), diagnostic and disease education programs are currently underway.

Alexion continues to progress with in-country funding processes in additional EU countries for both the products in 2017.

However, with Soliris accounting for majority of revenues at Alexion, the company relies heavily on the drug for growth. Moving ahead, Soliris’ below-par performance of the product might hurt the stock badly as it is Alexion’s key growth driver. The drug is witnessing challenges in Latin America.

What Our Model Indicates

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Alexion is likely to beat earnings this quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) to be able to beat earnings.

However, that is not the case here, as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: Alexion has a negative Earnings ESP 1.91%. The Most Accurate Estimate is $1.03 and the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged higher at $1.05. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Zacks Rank: Alexion’s Zacks Rank #3 increases the predictive power of ESP, but its negative 1.91% ESP makes our surprise prediction difficult.

Note that we caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or 5 (Sell-rated) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

Stocks That Warrant a Look

Here are some other pharma stocks that you may want to consider, as our model shows that they too have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter.

Amgen Inc. (AMGN - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +1.99% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is scheduled to release results on Apr 26. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +4.63% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is scheduled to release results on May 2.

Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ICPT - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +9.13% and a Zacks Rank #3.  The company is expected to release results on May 4.

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