With Covid Uncertainty Looming, is Pfizer a Buy for 2023?

Covid is Still a Global Problem


The price of Pfizer stock is declining in the opening days of January as analysts prepare for the anticipated failure of the Covid vaccination and antiviral medication this year.

After a Bank of America Securities analyst downgraded Pfizer shares on January 4, shares fell (PFE). In contrast to analysts polled by FactSet, he anticipates a $32 billion fall in overall sales this year. That came after the Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer’s booster shot for kids under five, developed in collaboration with BioNTech (BNTX).

However, it is still unknown what advantages the upgraded booster will have for younger people. The modified shot resulted in a four-fold rise in antibodies able to combat the BA.4 and BA.5 strains of the omicron variety in adults aged 55 and over. However, Pfizer and BioNTech did not make that comparison for younger persons.

Antiviral Drug

But things are improving in other places. The respiratory syncytial virus vaccine from Pfizer was given a priority assessment by the FDA last month for older persons. RSV is a respiratory infection that frequently affects infants and elderly people. Additionally, Pfizer just received a priority review from the FDA for its pneumococcal vaccination for kids and newborns. This would defend against pneumonia-causing respiratory viruses.

On a Covid antiviral tablet, Pfizer and Clear Creek Bio are also working together. It would expand on Pfizer’s work with Paxlovid if it were effective. The only two Covid medications that are currently approved are Paxlovid and Lagevrio. Lagevrio is produced by Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Merck (MRK). Pfizer is negotiating the transition from government to commercial market purchases for its current Covid medications.

Recently, Pfizer reported a beat-and-raise quarter. It projects that sales of the Covid vaccination would total $34 billion this year, an increase of $2 billion from its previous projection. The business reaffirmed its forecast for $22 billion in Paxlovid sales. All of this occurred when Pfizer completed the acquisition of migraine assets from Biohaven Pharmaceutical as well as Global Blood Therapeutics (BHVN).

The business also disclosed plans to establish a new business with Roivant Sciences (ROIV) to market a medication that is currently being developed for ulcerative colitis.

Is PFE Stock a Buy or a Sell at the Moment, Then?

Fundamentals of Pfizer Stock: Strong Earnings

Pfizer’s adjusted earnings for the third quarter increased by 40% to $1.78 per share, well-exceeding expectations. Revenues of $22.64 billion decreased by 6% but still exceeded estimates. Sales of the Covid vaccination, Comirnaty, and Paxlovid totaled $11.92 billion.

Sales of the anti-pneumonia vaccine Prevnar and the blood thinner Eliquis increased by 9% and 11%, respectively. Ibrance, a cancer medication, saw a 7% decline in revenue to $1.28 billion.

Overall, the third quarter’s revenues didn’t match the investment guidelines set forth by CAN SLIM.

For the fourth quarter, sales are predicted to increase by around 2% to $24.37 billion. Additionally, analysts surveyed by FactSet anticipate adjusted earnings of $1.07 per share, a penny lower than last year.

Annual Metrics for Pharmaceutical Companies

In 2021, Pfizer’s sales increased by 95% to $81.29 billion. Vaccines and its cancer treatment business were among its top sellers. Sales of vaccines totaled $42.63 billion.

However, Pfizer’s revenue from immunology and inflammation declined by 3% to $4.43 billion. Enbrel, a medication for inflammatory diseases co-developed by Amgen (AMGN), saw a 12% decline in sales to $1.19 billion.

According to FactSet’s survey of analysts, Pfizer will generate 2022 earnings of $6.47 per share, excluding certain adjustments, an increase of 46%. According to analysts, revenues will increase by almost 23% to $100.2 billion.

Pfizer projects sales of $99.5 billion to $102 billion and adjusted earnings per share of $6.40 to $6.50. Included in that are $22 billion from Paxlovid and $34 billion from Comirnaty.

News About Pfizer Stock and Covid

The business has modified its original Covid vaccination to add a component that targets more recent omicron subvariants known as BA.4 and BA.5. The upgraded booster continues to make an effort to prevent the original Covid strain. The FDA just approved that booster for kids as young as 6.

However, there are a few issues with this. First, human test results from an older version of the omicron-blocking booster and laboratory research served as the foundation for the authorizations.

Second, a less prevalent variant of omicron is blocked by the new booster dose. The BQ.1.1 subvariant, which is more recent and now accounts for 34.4% of instances, is prominent in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. BA.5 is far behind at 3.7%.

However, recent research at the University of Texas Medical Branch found no significant reaction against the BQ.1.1 strain, according to CNBC. Pfizer and BioNTech claim that the revised booster has generated antibodies against newer omicron iterations.

Pfizer studied Paxlovid, an antiviral medication, on unvaccinated Covid patients who were at high risk of contracting severe illnesses. When patients began receiving treatment within three days of the onset of symptoms, hospitalizations were reduced by 89%. No Paxlovid patients passed away.

The outcomes were superior to Lagevrio from Merck and Ridgeback, which decreased hospitalizations by 30%.

Along with Clear Creek Bio, Pfizer is developing another oral antiviral.

Other PFE News

Last month, Pfizer reported that patients with relapsed cancer or cancer that had not responded to prior treatments had a 61% response rate to the experimental multiple myeloma therapy. Patients with advanced diseases who had had a lot of pretreatment also showed the medicine to be safe.

Pfizer shares increased as a result of the RSV vaccine news. The FDA’s priority evaluation might result in the vaccine being approved in May. For persons 60 years of age and older, it would offer protection against respiratory infection. Pfizer is also developing a mother vaccination to protect infants against RSV.

The RSV vaccine was about 86% effective in older persons. In the first 90 days of a newborn’s life, its maternal vaccine was similarly 81.8% effective.

According to recent reports from Pfizer and Valneva (VALN), participants who received the Lyme disease vaccination still possessed virus-blocking antibodies six months after receiving it. A three-dose series of shots performed better than a two-dose series.

Technical Analysis: Buy Point is Near for PFE Stock

According to MarketSmith.com, Pfizer stock is currently trading below both its 200-day and 50-day moving lines.

Currently, shares are settling with a buy target of 61.81.

Pfizer’s stock has a Composite Rating of 75 out of a maximum of 99. The metric compares a stock’s primary growth indicators against all other equities. According to IBD Digital, leading stocks often have Composite Ratings of 95 or above.

The Relative Strength Rating for Pfizer stock is 47 out of a maximum of 99. According to its RS Rating, Pfizer’s stock has had a performance over the past year that places it in the bottom half of all equities.

The pharmaceutical company has an EPS Rating of 93 out of a maximum of 99, which is a profitability metric.

So, should I buy or sell PFE stock?

According to CAN SLIM investing guidelines, PFE stock is not a buy now. When Pfizer shares fell below its 50-day line, at least one metric indicated that it was time to sell.  Investors are eagerly monitoring the RSV vaccine, which may launch concurrently with a competitor from GSK (GSK).

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