Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:LGND) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:LGND) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Thursday, October 12th. The brokerage currently has a $165.00 price objective on the biotechnology company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 14.64% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Ligand’s Captisol formulation technology has resulted in partnerships with several leading drug companies like Novartis and Amgen that provide it with funds in the form of milestone and royalty payments. Moreover, with regard to Ligand's internal pipeline, there are several candidates in development that could bring in future licensing opportunities. Nonetheless, Ligand’s entry into the Medical Devices Segment with the acquisition of multiple programs owned by CorMatrix is also encouraging. Shares of Ligand have outperformed the broader industry this year so far. However, the company derives a substantial portion of its revenues from royalties associated with the sales of Promacta and Kyprolis. Any setback related to either of these two products could have a substantial impact. Estimates have remained stable ahead of the Q3 earnings. The company has a mixed record of earnings surprises in the recent quarters.”

A number of other analysts have also weighed in on LGND. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, June 22nd. BidaskClub raised shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note on Friday, June 23rd. Deutsche Bank AG reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $103.00 target price (up previously from $100.00) on shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Monday, July 17th. Roth Capital raised their target price on shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals from $120.00 to $135.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, August 8th. Finally, TheStreet upgraded shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals from a “c” rating to a “b-” rating in a report on Monday, August 7th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, three have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $144.20.

Shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:LGND) traded up 0.40% during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $143.93. The stock had a trading volume of 132,753 shares. The stock has a market capitalization of $3.03 billion, a P/E ratio of 351.05 and a beta of 1.01. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $137.91 and a 200-day moving average of $122.00. Ligand Pharmaceuticals has a 52 week low of $87.50 and a 52 week high of $144.86.

Ligand Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:LGND) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Monday, August 7th. The biotechnology company reported $0.67 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.25 by $0.42. Ligand Pharmaceuticals had a net margin of 7.39% and a return on equity of 5.05%. The business had revenue of $28.00 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $24.40 million. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.50 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 43.6% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts predict that Ligand Pharmaceuticals will post $2.95 earnings per share for the current year.

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In other news, CEO John L. Higgins sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $130.00, for a total value of $650,000.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 144,171 shares in the company, valued at approximately $18,742,230. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, VP Charles S. Berkman sold 18,625 shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $126.96, for a total transaction of $2,364,630.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 24,423 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,100,744.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 37,208 shares of company stock worth $4,733,796. Insiders own 14.70% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Strs Ohio boosted its position in Ligand Pharmaceuticals by 225.0% in the 2nd quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 1,300 shares of the biotechnology company’s stock valued at $157,000 after buying an additional 900 shares during the period. First Mercantile Trust Co. lifted its position in shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals by 1.6% in the 2nd quarter. First Mercantile Trust Co. now owns 1,310 shares of the biotechnology company’s stock worth $159,000 after purchasing an additional 20 shares during the period. Stephens Inc. AR lifted its position in shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals by 62.6% in the 1st quarter. Stephens Inc. AR now owns 1,611 shares of the biotechnology company’s stock worth $171,000 after purchasing an additional 620 shares during the period. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals in the 1st quarter worth approximately $174,000. Finally, Teacher Retirement System of Texas purchased a new stake in shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $203,000.

About Ligand Pharmaceuticals

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Ligand) is a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on developing and acquiring technologies that help pharmaceutical companies discover and develop medicines. The Company is involved in the development and licensing of biopharmaceutical assets. The Company employs research technologies, such as nuclear receptor assays, high throughput computer screening, formulation science, liver targeted pro-drug technologies and antibody discovery technologies to assist companies in their work toward obtaining prescription drug approvals.

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