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AstraZeneca (AZN): Today's Pre-Market Leader Stock

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

Trade-Ideas LLC identified AstraZeneca ( AZN) as a pre-market leader candidate. In addition to specific proprietary factors, Trade-Ideas identified AstraZeneca as such a stock due to the following factors:

  • AZN has an average dollar-volume (as measured by average daily share volume multiplied by share price) of $742.0 million.
  • AZN traded 89,446 shares today in the pre-market hours as of 7:24 AM.
  • AZN is up 2.4% today from yesterday's close.

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More details on AZN:

AstraZeneca PLC is engaged in the discovery, development, and commercialization of medicines for cardiovascular and metabolic disease; oncology; respiratory, inflammation, and autoimmunity; and infection, neuroscience, and gastrointestinal disease areas worldwide. The stock currently has a dividend yield of 3.5%. AZN has a PE ratio of 39.4. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate AstraZeneca a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

The average volume for AstraZeneca has been 4.2 million shares per day over the past 30 days. AstraZeneca has a market cap of $101.2 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 19% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreetRatings.com Analysis:

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates AstraZeneca as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • AZN's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 5.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.9%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.48, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels.
  • The gross profit margin for ASTRAZENECA PLC is currently very high, coming in at 90.79%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, AZN's net profit margin of 7.66% significantly trails the industry average.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, AZN's share price has jumped by 55.59%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Looking ahead, the stock's sharp rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • ASTRAZENECA PLC has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past two years. However, we anticipate this trend to reverse over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ASTRAZENECA PLC reported lower earnings of $2.04 versus $4.94 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.22 versus $2.04).

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