Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) Shares Gap Up Following Analyst Upgrade

Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) gapped up before the market opened on Friday after Morgan Stanley raised their price target on the stock from $198.00 to $200.00. The stock had previously closed at $171.87, but opened at $172.99. Morgan Stanley currently has an overweight rating on the stock. Vertex Pharmaceuticals shares last traded at $165.25, with a volume of 1707286 shares traded.

Several other analysts have also recently commented on the company. Bank of America boosted their price target on Vertex Pharmaceuticals from $180.00 to $197.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday. HC Wainwright reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $103.00 price target on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a research report on Thursday. Citigroup reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a research report on Thursday. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $191.00 price target (up from $184.00) on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a research report on Thursday. Finally, Leerink Swann reiterated an “outperform” rating and set a $190.00 price target (up from $175.00) on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a research report on Thursday. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and twenty-five have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $180.07.

In other news, CEO Jeffrey M. Leiden sold 125,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, December 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $141.35, for a total transaction of $17,668,750.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 237,407 shares in the company, valued at approximately $33,557,479.45. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP Amit Sachdev sold 15,085 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, January 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $170.00, for a total value of $2,564,450.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 54,248 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $9,222,160. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 387,873 shares of company stock valued at $59,388,995. Company insiders own 1.80% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Achmea Investment Management B.V. lifted its stake in Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 68.0% during the 2nd quarter. Achmea Investment Management B.V. now owns 8,668 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $1,116,000 after acquiring an additional 3,507 shares in the last quarter. Picton Mahoney Asset Management acquired a new position in Vertex Pharmaceuticals during the 3rd quarter worth about $13,077,000. IFM Investors Pty Ltd acquired a new position in Vertex Pharmaceuticals during the 3rd quarter worth about $1,064,000. Janus Henderson Group PLC lifted its stake in Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 1,191.3% during the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 448,975 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $57,860,000 after acquiring an additional 414,206 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Icon Advisers Inc. Co. lifted its stake in Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 93.1% during the 3rd quarter. Icon Advisers Inc. Co. now owns 54,463 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $8,281,000 after acquiring an additional 26,253 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 93.15% of the company’s stock.

The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.01, a current ratio of 4.79 and a quick ratio of 3.14. The company has a market cap of $40,330.00, a P/E ratio of 85.25, a PEG ratio of 2.05 and a beta of 1.61.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, January 31st. The pharmaceutical company reported $0.61 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.53 by $0.08. Vertex Pharmaceuticals had a return on equity of 11.02% and a net margin of 10.59%. The firm had revenue of $651.63 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $592.49 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.35 EPS. Vertex Pharmaceuticals’s revenue was up 42.1% on a year-over-year basis. analysts expect that Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated will post 1.54 EPS for the current year.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals declared that its board has initiated a stock buyback program on Wednesday, January 31st that permits the company to buyback $500.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the pharmaceutical company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

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Vertex Pharmaceuticals Company Profile

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated is engaged in discovering, developing, manufacturing and commercializing medicines for serious diseases. The Company is focused on developing and commercializing therapies for the treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF) and advancing its research and development programs in other indications.

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