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5 Drug/Biotech Stocks Likely to Beat Q4 Earnings Estimates

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The Medical sector has witnessed a fairly good run in this earnings cycle so far. Per the Earnings Trend report (published last week), 76.9% of the companies have reported earnings in this sector, which comprises pharma, biotech and medical devices companies. Out of these, 77.5% beat on earnings and 72.5% beat on revenues resulting in a blended beat of 55%. Earnings are up 8.2% and sales grew 6.6% year over year.

Several big drug/biotech companies, including Eli Lilly, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Biogen, Amgen and Gilead Sciences GILD, have reported fourth-quarter results so far and the performance has been mixed. Bellwether Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) reported mixed results for the fourth quarter as it beat estimates for earnings but missed the same for sales, while the guidance for 2020 was pretty ho-hum. Eli Lilly reported strong fourth-quarter results, beating estimates on both counts. Swiss pharma Novartis reported disappointing results for the quarter as it missed both sales and earnings estimates. Nevertheless, the company provided an encouraging guidance for 2020. Glaxo too missed on earnings and sales.

On the biotech front, Amgen and Alexion came out with strong numbers for the fourth quarter, beating both sales and earnings expectations. However, both companies issued a lackluster 2020 view. Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. also beat on both metrics and provided an encouraging outlook for the next quarter. Gilead reported mixed results, beating sales estimates on a strong HIV franchise. However, it missed on earnings and the outlook for 2020 was bleak as well.

Overall, the annual guidance provided by most companies is disappointing, thanks to the decline in the legacy drug sales and pipeline setbacks, which might have dragged down their margins. Nevertheless, quite a few small drug/biotech companies are yet to report results. Let us find out what is in store for these players.

How to Pick Probable Q4 Winners?

There are quite a few drug/biotech companies poised to beat on fourth-quarter earnings. However, given the large number of drug/biotech entities, the task of selecting stocks with possibilities to surpass expectations appears quite daunting.

With the help of the Zacks Stock Screener, we have zeroed in on five drug/biotech stocks that have a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) and a positive Earnings ESP. This is a valuable tool for investors looking for stocks with the maximum potential to beat estimates. Our research shows that with this combination, chances of a positive surprise are as high as 70%. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

5 Stocks Poised to Outperform

Clovis Oncology, Inc. CLVS has an Earnings ESP of +0.81% and a Zacks Rank #2. It is scheduled to release earnings on Feb 24. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Immunomedics, Inc. IMMU has an Earnings ESP of +3.37% and a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fourth-quarter 2019 loss stands at 45 cents.

vTv Therapeutics Inc. VTVT has an Earnings ESP of +47.37% and a Zacks Rank #2. The company’s earnings trumped estimates in three of the last four quarters, the average positive surprise being 12.12%.

Perrigo Company plc PRGO has an Earnings ESP of +3.22% and a Zacks Rank #2. The company’s earnings beat estimates in three of the last four quarters and missed in one. The four-quarter beat is 7.70%, on average.

Eton Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ETON has an Earnings ESP of +17.24% and a Zacks Rank #2.

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