Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (VRX) And Illumina, Inc. (ILMN) Are On The Move; Analysts Skeptical

With too many press releases to keep track of, here’s a running tab of the updates which we find most relevant for the healthcare sector. Most important so far are the Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) agreement to sell its Dendreon cancer business to Chinese conglomerate Sanpower, and Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ:ILMN) preliminary 4Q16 results. Let’s take a closer look:

Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc

Valeant shares are up nearly 7%, as of this writing, following the news that the company plans to sell its Dendreon business for $820 million to Chinese conglomerate Sanpower. Despite the positive news, Canaccord analyst Neil Maruoka remains neutral, reiterating a Hold rating on the stock, with a price target of $17.

Maruoka wrote, “Valeant kicked its year off with a number of positive announcements ahead of its JP Morgan presentation on Tuesday. The company has reported its first major asset sales for combined proceeds of ~$2.1 billion, the first steps in an effort to de-lever the balance sheet. Concurrently, Valeant provided incrementally positive product updates, including Phase III data from the second pivotal trial of psoriasis drug IDP-118 and expanded parameters for its Bausch & Lomb ULTRA for Presbyopia contact lenses.”

“On balance, we view the divestitures to be positive as Valeant’s total debt burden, now sitting at $28.3 billion or 6.9x net debt to adjusted EBITDA, remains the most pressing issue weighing on the company’s share price. Nonetheless, we believe that Valeant still needs to achieve larger asset sales (at decent valuations) to really move the needle on its balance sheet,” the analyst concludes.

According to, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Neil Maruoka has a yearly average return of -29.5% and a 22% success rate. Maruoka has a -32.6% average return when recommending VRX, and is ranked #4274 out of 4347 analysts.

Out of the 12 analysts polled by TipRanks (in the past 3 months), 1 rates VRX a Buy, 8 rate the stock a Hold and 3 recommend to Sell. With a return potential of 31%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $21.1.

Illumina, Inc.

Yesterday, Illumina announced preliminary 4Q16 revenue of ~$619 million, implying 5% y/y growth, above consensus of $611.3 million. The company also provided 2017 revenue growth guidance of 10-12% y/y, which implies revenue of $2.64-2.69 billion, compared to consensus of $2.65 billion. Moreover, the company unveiled a new high-throughput sequencing platform, NovaSeq, expected to begin shipment this quarter. Illumina believes the NovaSeq platform will eventually enable the $100 genome, an industry milestone. Illumina shares reacted to the news, rising nearly 17% to $165.51.

Cantor analyst Bryan Brokmeier commented, “While we are encouraged by the release of the new sequencing platform, we remain cautious until we have greater confidence in the company’s ability to deliver sustainable double-digit growth over the long-term.”

As such, Brokmeier reiterated a Neutral rating on shares of Illumina, with a price target of $155, which represents a slight downside potential from current levels. Brokmeier has a yearly average return of -2.3% and a 45% success rate. Brokmeier has a -19.7% average return when recommending ILMN, and is ranked #3710 out of 4347 analysts.

The overwhelmingly majority of analyst still say Illumina is a “Hold.” The average forecast is for the stock to hit $146 in the coming months, according to data compiled by TipRanks.

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