Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) - Get Report fourth-quarter results largely came in-line with Wall Street expectations, but investors were looking to see whether its Medical Devices unit can begin to provide growth in 2017.
The New Brunswick, N.J.-based company earned $1.58 a share, excluding items on $18.11 billion in revenue. Analysts surveyed by Yahoo! Finance expected the company to earn $1.56 a share on $18.28 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter.
In addition, J&J said it would divest its diabetes care option, as it looks to reconfigure its portfolio for future growth.
Shares were falling 2.3% to $111.28 in early Tuesday trading, following the results.
Barclays Capital Markets analyst Geoff Meacham expected to see a sequential uptick in the unit for the fourth-quarter at $6.4 billion, down 0.6% from the year ago quarter. That would've been up 3.7% from the third quarter, "as deductibles have typically been met at this point," Meacham noted. The analyst has a $125 price target on shares.
Investors have been looking for further clues on a potential acquisition of Swiss biopharmaceutical company Actelion Pharmaceuticals, following months of press reports.
Morgan Stanley analyst David R. Lewis noted that while the market for Actelion's key drug, Uptravi, which is used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), may be seen as having a limited market, that may not be the case.
"Further, J&J thinks long-term and management may see this market and asset as having a longer tail than investors perceive," Lewis wrote in a note to clients. "We see evidence this market is under penetrated but are mixed on the deal because break-even 4-year returns require aggressive cuts to justify the $28BN valuation cited in the recent media report - that would be a lot of capital to commit without addressing near-term growth concerns."
As was the case with the third-quarter, investors wanted to see any impact to Remicade (its rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease drug) from competition, Wells Fargo analyst Larry Biegelsen noted.
Over the past 12 months, shares of Johnson & Johnson gained nearly 18% excluding dividends, compared to the near 19% gain in the S&P 500.
Here are three ETFs that may benefit if investors decide they ultimately like Johnson & Johnson's fourth-quarter results.
Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund
Wells Fargo's Biegelsen wondered whether the company's earnings guidance for 2017 reaches high single digits. "We expect 2017 EPS guidance will reflect mid- to high-single digit growth, including both FX headwind and biosimilar Remicade competition," Biegelsen wrote to clients ahead of earnings.
Biegelsen has an outperform rating on J&J and a price target range between $127 and $129.
iShares U.S. Healthcare ETF
Morgan Stanley's Lewis noted that Actelion is a surprise potential target for J&J, citing its potential valuation and limited growth impact. However, with a potential deal looming, Lewis noted J&J's thinking might include "passable financial returns; an under diagnosed market and more meaningful clinical intersection." The firm has an equal weight rating and a $125 price target on shares.
Vanguard Health Care ETF
Jefferies analyst Dr. Jeffrey Holford wanted to hear more on the company's acquisition strategy as it goes forward.
"With biosimilars and generics expected to drag the next few years, we expect JNJ will continue look to M&A to augment growth," Holford wrote in a note to clients. "Whilst this should ultimately drive better growth, we believe that investors will not reward the shares for this initially." Jefferies has a $110 price target and a hold rating on shares of J&J.