Eli Lilly Drops 5% On Weak 2Q Sales; Analyst Says Hold

Shares of Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) fell 5.4% on Thursday after the drugmaker disappointed its investors with lower-than-expected 2Q sales. Its revenues of $5.5 billion declined 2.4% year-over-year and fell short of the analysts’ estimates of about $5.8 billion.

The pharma giant witnessed decreased buying and a delay in new patient prescription trends, which took a toll on its revenues, offsetting the gain from product stocking in the first quarter.

However, increased demand for its diabetes drug, Trulicity, helped Lilly to post upbeat earnings of $1.89 per share in 2Q, as compared to the analysts’ estimates of $1.56 per share.

Eli Lilly also raised its full-year earnings forecast to $7.20 – $7.40 per share, as compared to the prior earnings range of $6.70 – $6.90 per share.

Lilly’s CEO David A. Ricks stated that “the COVID-19 pandemic continues to strain healthcare systems around the world and has decreased new patient starts for some of Lilly’s medicines.” However, he also mentioned that “We expect growth in new prescription volume for our key growth products in the second half of 2020, and we remain confident in our outlook for the year.”

Analyst Vamil Divan of Mizuho Securities maintained his Buy rating with a price target of $164 (7.2% upside potential). Divan said, “we believe more important than the results from a single quarter during this volatile time is news that their drug Jardiance met the primary endpoint in a large outcomes study of patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, opening up a large new market opportunity for the product and potentially driving further upside in the shares.”

Currently, the Street has a cautiously optimistic outlook on the stock. The Moderate Buy analyst consensus is based on 4 Buys and 3 Holds. The average price target of $172.86 implies an upside potential of about 13%. (See LLY stock analysis on TipRanks).

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