Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Amgen (AMGN) to Buy

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday. The brokerage presently has a $194.00 price target on the medical research company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective suggests a potential upside of 15.38% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Amgen’s newer drugs – Prolia, Xgeva, Kyprolis – are performing well.  Amgen is also progressing with its pipeline and expects approval and launch of migraine candidate, Aimovig this year. Amgen’s restructuring plan is making it leaner and more cost efficient. Lower taxes and share buybacks should provide some bottom-line support in 2018. Amgen’s shares have outperformed the industry this year so far. However, Amgen has some challenges in store, given slowdown in sales of mature drugs like Enbrel, Aranesp and Neulasta, which are facing an array of branded and generic competitors. Volume growth of new drugs may not be enough to offset the lost sales due to the decline in mature brands. Meanwhile, uptake of key new drug, Repatha has been slow due to payer restrictions. However, estimates have gone up ahead of the Q1 earnings release. Amgen has a positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters.”

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Several other equities research analysts have also weighed in on AMGN. Oppenheimer set a $205.00 target price on Amgen and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, December 12th. Goldman Sachs lowered Amgen from a “conviction-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, December 15th. Citigroup lowered Amgen to a “neutral” rating in a research report on Monday, December 18th. Mizuho set a $192.00 target price on Amgen and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, December 22nd. Finally, Piper Jaffray reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Amgen in a research report on Tuesday, January 2nd. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have assigned a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $190.57.

Shares of NASDAQ AMGN opened at $168.14 on Thursday. Amgen has a 1-year low of $152.16 and a 1-year high of $201.23. The company has a current ratio of 5.49, a quick ratio of 5.17 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.35. The firm has a market capitalization of $125,031.95, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.37, a P/E/G ratio of 2.13 and a beta of 1.36.

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The medical research company reported $2.89 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $3.03 by ($0.14). Amgen had a return on equity of 30.87% and a net margin of 8.66%. The company had revenue of $5.80 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.84 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $2.89 earnings per share. Amgen’s quarterly revenue was down 2.7% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts anticipate that Amgen will post 13.25 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Amgen declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase plan on Thursday, February 1st that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the medical research company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are usually a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In related news, EVP Sean E. Harper sold 1,525 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $185.62, for a total transaction of $283,070.50. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Insiders have sold 4,575 shares of company stock worth $838,064 over the last three months. Corporate insiders own 0.19% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in AMGN. Baker Ellis Asset Management LLC bought a new position in Amgen during the third quarter valued at about $108,000. Phocas Financial Corp. bought a new position in Amgen during the second quarter valued at about $110,000. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC boosted its stake in Amgen by 110.7% during the fourth quarter. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC now owns 647 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $113,000 after buying an additional 340 shares in the last quarter. Taylor Hoffman Wealth Management acquired a new position in shares of Amgen in the 4th quarter valued at $127,000. Finally, Salem Investment Counselors Inc. boosted its position in shares of Amgen by 4.7% in the 2nd quarter. Salem Investment Counselors Inc. now owns 809 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $139,000 after purchasing an additional 36 shares during the period. 79.53% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Amgen

Amgen Inc is a biotechnology company. The Company discovers, develops, manufactures and delivers various human therapeutics. It operates in human therapeutics segment. Its marketed products portfolio includes Neulasta (pegfilgrastim); erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), such as Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa) and EPOGEN (epoetin alfa); Sensipar/Mimpara (cinacalcet); XGEVA (denosumab); Prolia (denosumab); NEUPOGEN (filgrastim), and other marketed products, such as KYPROLIS (carfilzomib), Vectibix (panitumumab), Nplate (romiplostim), Repatha (evolocumab), BLINCYTO (blinatumomab), IMLYGIC (talimogene laherparepvec) and Corlanor (ivabradine).

Analyst Recommendations for Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN)

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