Given the meltdown we’ve seen across the entire market over the past 16 weeks, many investors may be overlooking company-specific and industry-specific news. One of those pieces of news? That a swath of pharmaceutical stocks are raising their prices in the new year.
Pharmaceutical stocks and biotech companies are interesting plays in any market, partly due to their secular business nature. Meaning that, recession or boom, consumers need treatment. Whether it’s as large as open heart surgery or small as a Tylenol, we pay for healthcare when we need it. For as secular as the group can be though, it has been under tremendous volatility lately.
With that in mind, almost 40 companies started of 2019 with a series of prices hikes. The average raise was roughly 6.3%. So who were these companies and how do we trade their stocks?
Let’s look at a few of those pharmaceutical stocks.
Allergan (NYSE:AGN) is known for its vast drug and treatment portfolio. However, at the turn of the year, Allergan raised prices on 51 of its products. That’s just over half of its portfolio. Of those 51 products, 27 of them saw an increase of 9.5%. The rest were bumped by 4.9%.
All that said, Allergan makes the case that it’s not a money-hungry cash grab. Rather, the company says it should not see any net gains as a result of the price hikes because it’s providing higher rebates and discounts to its distributors.
Allergan may say that, but investors sure wish it would help. Analysts expect sales to fall 1.7% this year and another 1.6% next year. On the earnings front, expectations call for a 90-basis-point gain this fiscal year before a 0.7% decline in 2019. Essentially, estimates call for flat earnings growth overall from fiscal 2017