Pfizer held its analyst day yesterday and the stock closed at a new multi-year low. This morning the shares are under a little bit of pressure again as analyst reaction to the event pours in.
In a quick-take interview on "Squawk on the Street" Wednesday morning (see video clip), Credit Suisse pharma analyst Catherine Arnold said, "I think the reality is that the era of trust and patience is gone."
That sentiment is reflected in at least a few analyst commentaries on Pfizer this morning.
Miller Tabak healthcare analyst Les Funtleyder writes in a research note to clients this morning, "In a case of moral relativism, investors still prefer current management over previous management which isn't saying much, but patience is wearing thin."
Bernstein's Tim Anderson put out a note titled, "Pfizer: If Your Expectations Were Low, the Analyst Day Was Fine." Anderson is calling the company's rebuilding strategy a "brick by brick" tack. He writes, "If anything, management seemed to have even more conviction in this approach, which at least some have felt lacks a sense of 'urgency' ."
And Seamus Fernandez at Leerink Swann writes, "Yesterday's analyst meeting featured several late-stage (drug development) pipeline products, but there was little concrete evidence that PFE is on track to generate excess shareholder returns."
But not everyone is bearish.
Barbara Ryan at Deutsche Bank, who has been telling clients to buy PFE for quite some time, is not wavering. She calls her note, "Pfizer: Between a rock and a hard cash place". Ryan maintains the nearly six percent dividend yield is attractive. And she writes, "As investors are pricing in the hit from Lipitor (going generic in 2-3 years) but not the (drug development) pipeline, or the potential for cash to be converted into future revenues and EPS, we see these as likely catalysts for upside."
And Jim Kelly at Goldman Sachs is also reiterating a Buy rating on PFE. He says, "Pfizer boasts the broadest and potentially deepest pipeline in the industry. We expect a significant amount of drug development news flow in 2008, at major medical meetings."
First up could be the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference in early June. Pfizer said yesterday it has submitted about a hundred abstracts (study results) for this year's meeting. For a major pharmaceutical company that up until a couple of years ago had little, if anything, going on in oncology, that's approaching a Genentech -type number. In addition, Pfizer announced yesterday that it's creating a separate business unit devoted specifically to cancer. Officials said they're in the process of hiring someone to run it.
Goldman has done and wants to do more investment banking for PFE. Credit Suisse and GS make a market in the stock and a GS Director is also on the Board at PFE. Bernstein and DB also make a market in the stock and own at least one percent of the shares. In addition, someone on the Bernstein research team owns the stock, Deutsche and Credit Suisse want to bank PFE and Leerink Swann may trade in the shares.
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