Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (LGND) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:LGND) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Ligand’s Captisol formulation technology has resulted in partnerships with several leading drug companies like Novartis and Amgen that provide it with funds in the form of milestone and royalty payments. Moreover, with regard to Ligand's internal pipeline, there are several candidates in development that could bring in future licensing opportunities. Nonetheless, Ligand’s entry into the Medical Devices Segment with the acquisition of multiple programs owned by CorMatrix is also encouraging. Shares of Ligand have outperformed the broader industry this year so far. However, the company derives a substantial portion of its revenues from royalties associated with the sales of Promacta and Kyprolis. Any setback related to either of these two products could have a substantial impact. Estimates have remained stable ahead of the Q3 earnings. The company has a mixed record of earnings surprises in the recent quarters.”

Other equities analysts have also issued research reports about the company. HC Wainwright reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $157.00 target price on shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Thursday, October 5th. TheStreet raised Ligand Pharmaceuticals from a “c” rating to a “b-” rating in a research note on Monday, August 7th. ValuEngine raised Ligand Pharmaceuticals from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 10th. Stephens reissued an “overweight” rating and issued a $137.00 target price (up previously from $125.00) on shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Wednesday, August 9th. Finally, BidaskClub raised Ligand Pharmaceuticals from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note on Friday, June 23rd. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $133.25.

Ligand Pharmaceuticals (LGND) traded up 0.08% on Tuesday, reaching $142.50. The company had a trading volume of 55,853 shares. The company has a market capitalization of $3.00 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 347.56 and a beta of 1.01. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $133.65 and its 200-day moving average price is $119.79. Ligand Pharmaceuticals has a 12 month low of $87.50 and a 12 month high of $143.25.

Ligand Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:LGND) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Monday, August 7th. The biotechnology company reported $0.67 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.25 by $0.42. Ligand Pharmaceuticals had a return on equity of 5.05% and a net margin of 7.39%. The business had revenue of $28.00 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $24.40 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.50 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 43.6% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts predict that Ligand Pharmaceuticals will post $2.95 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other Ligand Pharmaceuticals news, CEO John L. Higgins sold 5,483 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $125.00, for a total value of $685,375.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 144,654 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $18,081,750. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, CEO John L. Higgins sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $130.00, for a total value of $650,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 144,171 shares in the company, valued at approximately $18,742,230. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 37,208 shares of company stock worth $4,733,796 in the last three months. Insiders own 14.70% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in LGND. Strs Ohio increased its holdings in shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals by 225.0% in the second quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 1,300 shares of the biotechnology company’s stock worth $157,000 after acquiring an additional 900 shares in the last quarter. First Mercantile Trust Co. increased its holdings in shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals by 1.6% in the second quarter. First Mercantile Trust Co. now owns 1,310 shares of the biotechnology company’s stock worth $159,000 after acquiring an additional 20 shares in the last quarter. Stephens Inc. AR increased its holdings in shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals by 62.6% in the first quarter. Stephens Inc. AR now owns 1,611 shares of the biotechnology company’s stock worth $171,000 after acquiring an additional 620 shares in the last quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals in the first quarter worth about $174,000. Finally, Teacher Retirement System of Texas bought a new stake in shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals in the second quarter worth about $203,000.

About Ligand Pharmaceuticals

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Ligand) is a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on developing and acquiring technologies that help pharmaceutical companies discover and develop medicines. The Company is involved in the development and licensing of biopharmaceutical assets. The Company employs research technologies, such as nuclear receptor assays, high throughput computer screening, formulation science, liver targeted pro-drug technologies and antibody discovery technologies to assist companies in their work toward obtaining prescription drug approvals.

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