Illumina Surges After Strong Earnings, Price Target Upgrades

Illumina stock traded higher Friday on price target upgrades by analysts after the gene sequencing firm reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter sales and revenue.
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Shares of Illumina  (ILMN) - Get Report jumped over 20% Friday after the sequencing firm reported fourth-quarter earnings that topped estimates which prompted a string of analyst upgrades.

Shares of the San Diego company spiked 20.78% to $545 at the last check. The stock surged 16%, the most since Jan. 2017, Bloomberg reported.

Analysts at Piper Sandler and Evercore both raised its price targets on the stock buoyed by the results.

Illumina posted fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.22 a share on revenue of $953 million, compared to analyst estimates of earnings of $1.1 a share and revenue of $900.9 million.

Revenue remained flat at $953 million. Free cash flow increased to $891 million from $842 million in the year-ago period.

"We also had record orders in the quarter, including record sequencing instrument orders and the second-highest quarter for NovaSeq instrument orders," said Chief Executive Francis deSouza, in a statement. "Our business delivered strong sequential growth in the second half of 2020 and we expect continued recovery from the pandemic in 2021.”

Illumina said its expected revenue for fiscal 2021 to grow between $3.79 billion-$3.89 billion, indicating a surge of 17-20% compared with the year-ago period. 

Piper Sandler's analyst Steven Mah said that the results and forecast showed a rebound in strength for gene sequencing with an upside to 2021 numbers as the recovery has been stronger than expected.

Mah raised his target on Illumina to a Street-high of $510 from $415,

"COVID-19 sequencing to identify new strain variants could be a potential source of upside with clinical testing an area of continued growth, " he added.

Evercore’s analyst Vijay Kumar also raised his price target on Illumina to $350 from $270 due to strong clinical revenues and boosted first-quarter sales guidance.

For fiscal 2021, Illumina expects adjusted earnings between $5.10 a share to $5.35 a share.