Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) Rating Increased to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Saturday, February 10th.

According to Zacks, “Vertex beat both earnings and sales estimates in fourth-quarter 2017. Positive data read-outs and regulatory approvals in 2017 increased the eligible patient population for its two CF drugs, Kalydeco & Orkambi, which backed sales growth. Vertex’s CF pipeline is also quite strong with a broad portfolio of next-generation CF correctors.  A tezacaftor/ivacaftor combo medicine is expected to be approved in February, which will be a significant contributor to growth in 2018. Investor focus is on the triple combination CF regimens, which are crucial for long-term growth, as they have the potential to treat up to 90% of CF patients. The stock has also shot up significantly in the past year. However, Vertex faces some challenges with respect to commercialization of Orkambi in ex-U.S. markets due to re-imbursement hurdles. Also, competitive pressure is rising in the CF market with many other companies developing triple combo CF medicines.”

Several other equities analysts have also recently weighed in on the company. Morgan Stanley raised their price target on Vertex Pharmaceuticals from $198.00 to $200.00 and gave the company an overweight rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Bank of America lifted their target price on Vertex Pharmaceuticals from $180.00 to $197.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Thursday, February 1st. HC Wainwright reiterated a hold rating and issued a $103.00 target price on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a report on Thursday, February 1st. Citigroup reiterated a buy rating on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a report on Thursday, February 1st. Finally, BMO Capital Markets raised their price target on Vertex Pharmaceuticals from $184.00 to $191.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, February 1st. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and twenty-five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $183.11.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) traded down $0.22 during midday trading on Friday, reaching $160.72. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,001,900 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,965,125. The stock has a market cap of $40,650.00, a PE ratio of 154.54, a PEG ratio of 2.29 and a beta of 1.61. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.01, a current ratio of 3.28 and a quick ratio of 3.14. Vertex Pharmaceuticals has a fifty-two week low of $84.39 and a fifty-two week high of $174.96.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, January 31st. The pharmaceutical company reported $0.61 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.53 by $0.08. The business had revenue of $651.63 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $592.49 million. Vertex Pharmaceuticals had a return on equity of 11.02% and a net margin of 10.59%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 42.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.35 EPS. equities analysts predict that Vertex Pharmaceuticals will post 1.67 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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

In related news, SVP Paul M. Silva sold 4,213 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, February 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $153.41, for a total transaction of $646,316.33. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO Jeffrey M. Leiden sold 125,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, December 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $141.35, for a total value of $17,668,750.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 237,407 shares in the company, valued at $33,557,479.45. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 448,320 shares of company stock valued at $69,007,823. Corporate insiders own 1.80% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Achmea Investment Management B.V. grew 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 valued at $1,116,000 after purchasing an additional 3,507 shares during the last quarter. Picton Mahoney Asset Management purchased a new stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in the third quarter worth about $13,077,000. IFM Investors Pty Ltd purchased a new stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in the third quarter worth about $1,064,000. Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 1,191.3% in the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 448,975 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $57,860,000 after buying an additional 414,206 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Icon Advisers Inc. Co. boosted its stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 93.1% in the third quarter. Icon Advisers Inc. Co. now owns 54,463 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock worth $8,281,000 after buying an additional 26,253 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 94.10% of the company’s stock.

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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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