AstraZeneca PLC (AZN): Today's Featured Drugs Loser

AstraZeneca ( AZN) pushed the Drugs industry lower today making it today's featured Drugs loser. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.1%. By the end of trading, AstraZeneca fell $2.55 (-5.5%) to $43.36 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 8.3 million shares of AstraZeneca exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.6 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $43-$43.57 after having opened the day at $43.30 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $45.91. Other company's within the Drugs industry that declined today were: Repligen Corporation ( RGEN), down 40.2%, Transcept Pharmaceuticals ( TSPT), down 15.6%, Cytokinetics ( CYTK), down 13.3%, and China Shenghuo Pharmaceutical Holdings ( KUN), down 11.9%.

AstraZeneca PLC engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of prescription medicines for gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, oncology, and infectious diseases worldwide. AstraZeneca has a market cap of $59.22 billion and is part of the health care sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.3, equal to the average drugs industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 0.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there is one analyst that rates AstraZeneca a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and four rate it a hold.

TheStreet 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, notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the positive front, Amarin Corporation ( AMRN), up 17.2%, Neptune Technologies & Bioressources ( NEPT), up 14%, Incyte ( INCY), up 13%, and Ampio Pharmaceuticals ( AMPE), up 12%, were all gainers within the drugs industry with Novo Nordisk A/S ( NVO) being today's featured drugs industry winner.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the drugs industry could consider SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF ( XPH) while those bearish on the drugs industry could consider ProShares UltraShort Nasdaq Biotech ( BIS).
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