Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) Lowered to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Vertex beat both earnings and sales estimates in fourth-quarter 2017. Vertex’ efforts to get its two CF drugs — Kalydeco & Orkambi — approved for additional indications are encouraging. 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. However, competitive pressure is rising in the CF market with many companies developing triple CFTR combinations for CF. These can pose competition to Vertex’s triple combos. These companies are also expected to release data from their triple combo studies in CF patients this year. Meanwhile, the company  faces many challenges with respect to commercialization of Orkambi in ex-U.S. markets. Orkambi’s reimbursement in France remains a key to sales growth in 2018. “

VRTX has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Barclays increased their price target on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals from $180.00 to $200.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Thursday, February 1st. HC Wainwright restated a “hold” rating and issued a $103.00 target price on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a report on Thursday, February 1st. Robert W. Baird restated a “buy” rating on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a report on Friday, October 27th. Citigroup restated a “buy” rating on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a report on Thursday, February 1st. Finally, Maxim Group restated a “buy” rating and issued a $195.00 target price on shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a report on Wednesday, January 31st. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and twenty-five have given a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $183.11.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) traded down $0.22 during trading hours on Tuesday, hitting $160.72. 1,001,900 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,982,132. Vertex Pharmaceuticals has a 1 year low of $84.39 and a 1 year high of $174.96. The company has a current ratio of 3.28, a quick ratio of 3.14 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.01. The stock has a market capitalization of $41,060.00, a PE ratio of 154.54, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.29 and a beta of 1.61.

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

Vertex Pharmaceuticals declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback program on Wednesday, January 31st that allows the company to buyback $500.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the pharmaceutical company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, CFO Thomas Graney sold 777 shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $149.95, for a total transaction of $116,511.15. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, CEO Jeffrey M. Leiden sold 125,000 shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals 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 transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 237,407 shares in the company, valued at approximately $33,557,479.45. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 448,320 shares of company stock worth $69,007,823 in the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 1.80% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of VRTX. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its position in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 3.6% during the 2nd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 282,815 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $36,445,000 after purchasing an additional 9,882 shares during the period. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. raised its position in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals by 27.5% during the 2nd quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. now owns 6,469 shares of the pharmaceutical company’s stock valued at $834,000 after purchasing an additional 1,397 shares during the period. Sterling Capital Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals during the 2nd quarter valued at $260,000. Achmea Investment Management B.V. raised its position in shares of 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 period. Finally, Quantitative Systematic Strategies LLC bought a new stake in shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals during the 3rd quarter valued at $377,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 94.10% of the company’s stock.

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About Vertex Pharmaceuticals

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX)

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