Amgen Inc. (AMGN) Rating Increased to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Friday morning. They currently have $199.00 price objective on the medical research company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Amgen beat expectations for both earnings and sales in the third quarter of 2017 and raised its earnings guidance for 2017 supported by effective cost management. Amgen’s newer drugs – Prolia, Xgeva, Vectibix, Nplate and Sensipar – are performing well. Amgen is also progressing with its pipeline including biosimilar drugs. Additionally, Amgen’s restructuring plan is making it leaner and more cost efficient. Amgen’s shares have outperformed the industry this year so far. However, the company has some challenges in store, given the presence of biosimilar competition and slowdown in sales of mature drugs. While Neupogen is already facing U.S. biosimilar competition, Neulasta and Epogen could start facing the same next year. Also the softness in Enbrel sales due to stiff competitive and pricing pressure is a key cause for concern. Meanwhile, uptake of key new drug Repatha has been slow due to payer restrictions.”

Several other research firms have also recently commented on AMGN. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reissued an outperform rating and set a $203.00 target price (up previously from $189.00) on shares of Amgen in a research note on Wednesday, July 26th. ValuEngine raised shares of Amgen from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, July 6th. BMO Capital Markets cut shares of Amgen from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 26th. Mizuho reissued a buy rating and set a $198.00 target price (up previously from $183.00) on shares of Amgen in a research note on Thursday, September 28th. Finally, Argus raised their target price on shares of Amgen from $180.00 to $195.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. Twelve research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eleven have given a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Amgen currently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $190.03.

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) opened at 174.59 on Friday. Amgen has a 12 month low of $133.64 and a 12 month high of $191.10. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $184.70 and its 200 day moving average is $172.36. The firm has a market capitalization of $127.39 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.90 and a beta of 1.36.

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The medical research company reported $3.27 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $3.11 by $0.16. The firm had revenue of $5.77 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.75 billion. Amgen had a net margin of 35.54% and a return on equity of 29.90%. Amgen’s quarterly revenue was down .7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $3.02 EPS. Equities analysts predict that Amgen will post $12.67 earnings per share for the current year.

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The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 8th. Investors of record on Friday, November 17th will be issued a dividend of $1.15 per share. This represents a $4.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.64%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, November 16th. Amgen’s dividend payout ratio is currently 41.63%.

Amgen announced that its board has approved a stock repurchase program on Wednesday, October 25th that authorizes the company to buyback $5.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the medical research company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, EVP Sean E. Harper sold 1,525 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $185.95, for a total transaction of $283,573.75. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Company insiders own 0.19% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Jackson Grant Investment Advisers Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Amgen by 0.6% during the first quarter. Jackson Grant Investment Advisers Inc. now owns 636 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $104,000 after purchasing an additional 4 shares during the period. Financial Advisory Service Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Amgen by 0.3% during the second quarter. Financial Advisory Service Inc. now owns 1,974 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $340,000 after purchasing an additional 5 shares during the period. Capital Advisors Ltd. LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Amgen by 0.6% during the second quarter. Capital Advisors Ltd. LLC now owns 1,103 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $190,000 after purchasing an additional 7 shares during the period. Ballentine Partners LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Amgen by 0.3% during the second quarter. Ballentine Partners LLC now owns 3,441 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $620,000 after purchasing an additional 9 shares during the period. Finally, Hudock Capital Group LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Amgen by 0.5% during the second quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 1,921 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $330,000 after purchasing an additional 10 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 78.13% of the company’s stock.

Amgen Company Profile

Amgen Inc is a biotechnology company. The Company discovers, develops, manufactures and delivers various human therapeutics. It operates in human therapeutics segment. Its marketed products portfolio includes Neulasta (pegfilgrastim); erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), such as Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa) and EPOGEN (epoetin alfa); Sensipar/Mimpara (cinacalcet); XGEVA (denosumab); Prolia (denosumab); NEUPOGEN (filgrastim), and other marketed products, such as KYPROLIS (carfilzomib), Vectibix (panitumumab), Nplate (romiplostim), Repatha (evolocumab), BLINCYTO (blinatumomab), IMLYGIC (talimogene laherparepvec) and Corlanor (ivabradine).

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