Astrazeneca PLC (AZN) Upgraded to Buy at Natixis

Natixis upgraded shares of Astrazeneca PLC (NYSE:AZN) from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Wednesday, Marketbeat.com reports.

AZN has been the topic of a number of other reports. Leerink Swann restated an outperform rating and issued a $36.00 price target (up from $33.00) on shares of Astrazeneca PLC in a research report on Wednesday, May 17th. Barclays PLC restated an overweight rating on shares of Astrazeneca PLC in a research report on Monday, July 3rd. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Astrazeneca PLC from a strong-buy rating to a sell rating in a research report on Monday, July 17th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Astrazeneca PLC from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Monday, July 24th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) restated a sell rating on shares of Astrazeneca PLC in a research report on Thursday, July 13th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $33.60.

Shares of Astrazeneca PLC (NYSE AZN) opened at 32.25 on Wednesday. The company has a 50-day moving average of $30.20 and a 200-day moving average of $31.61. The stock has a market capitalization of $81.66 billion, a PE ratio of 21.15 and a beta of 0.74. Astrazeneca PLC has a 12 month low of $25.55 and a 12 month high of $35.60. Astrazeneca PLC also was the recipient of some unusual options trading activity on Thursday. Traders bought 21,026 call options on the company. This represents an increase of 777% compared to the typical daily volume of 2,397 call options.

Astrazeneca PLC (NYSE:AZN) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 27th. The company reported $0.87 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.41 by $0.46. Astrazeneca PLC had a net margin of 17.80% and a return on equity of 35.90%. The firm had revenue of $5.05 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.04 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.83 EPS. The firm’s revenue was down 9.9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts expect that Astrazeneca PLC will post $1.85 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently announced a None dividend, which will be paid on Monday, September 11th. Shareholders of record on Friday, August 11th will be paid a dividend of $0.44 per share. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, August 9th. This represents a yield of 2.98%. Astrazeneca PLC’s payout ratio is 44.92%.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in AZN. Meeder Asset Management Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Astrazeneca PLC in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $105,000. Salem Investment Counselors Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Astrazeneca PLC in the 1st quarter worth approximately $107,000. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC grew its stake in shares of Astrazeneca PLC by 3,782.0% in the 1st quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC now owns 3,882 shares of the company’s stock worth $121,000 after purchasing an additional 3,782 shares during the last quarter. WFG Advisors LP grew its stake in shares of Astrazeneca PLC by 36.0% in the 2nd quarter. WFG Advisors LP now owns 3,716 shares of the company’s stock worth $127,000 after purchasing an additional 984 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Parallel Advisors LLC grew its stake in shares of Astrazeneca PLC by 27.1% in the 1st quarter. Parallel Advisors LLC now owns 4,526 shares of the company’s stock worth $138,000 after purchasing an additional 964 shares during the last quarter. 14.18% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Astrazeneca PLC

AstraZeneca PLC (AstraZeneca) is a biopharmaceutical company. The Company focuses on discovery and development of products, which are then manufactured, marketed and sold. The Company focuses on three main therapy areas: Oncology, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Disease (CVMD) and Respiratory, while selectively pursuing therapies in Autoimmunity, Infection and Neuroscience.

Analyst Recommendations for Astrazeneca PLC (NYSE:AZN)

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