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Jefferies upgrades AstraZeneca rating to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’ as it believes drugmaker “is at a turning point”

The US broker also raised its target price for the FTSE 100-listed firm to 5,600p, up from 5,075p previously, with the shares trading at 4,865p in mid-morning trading

AstraZeneca plant
Jefferies' analysts pointed out that several years of rebuilding the pipeline is now coming to fruition for AstraZeneca

Jefferies International gave AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN) a shot in the arm on Monday, upgrading its rating for the drugmaker to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’ as it believes the firm “is at a turning point.”

The US broker also raised its target price for the FTSE 100-listed firm to 5,600p, up from 5,075p previously, with the shares trading at 4,865p in mid-morning trading.

READ: AstraZeneca pushes back timeline for MYSTIC phase III lung cancer clinical trial

In a note to clients, Jefferies’ analysts said: “ Accelerating new product launches and improving margins should deliver over 20% CORE EPS growth in the midterm.”

They noted that 2018 is the nadir for AstraZeneca’s CORE EPS, pressured by increased new drug launch spending and the final Crestor generic overhang.

The analysts added: “As one-off externalisation contributions decline CORE EPS quality is also improving, whilst the dividend once again becomes covered by the underlying business.”

They pointed out that several years of rebuilding the pipeline is now coming to fruition for the drugs firm as new product launches start to build momentum.

The analysts concluded: “Recovering growth, driven by the underlying business warrants a modest mid-term premium valuation.”

Quick facts: AstraZeneca

Price: 8509 GBX

LSE:AZN
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £111.66 billion
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