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 2.1%. By the end of trading, AstraZeneca fell 57 cents (-1.3%) to $45.01 on average volume. Throughout the day, 2.2 million shares of AstraZeneca exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.6 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $44.71-$45.11 after having opened the day at $44.87 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $45.58. Other company's within the Drugs industry that declined today were: Ampio Pharmaceuticals ( AMPE), down 14.5%, Complete Genomics ( GNOM), down 13%, Prima Biomed Ltd. ADR ( PBMD), down 10.3%, and MEI Pharma ( MEIP), down 10%.

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 $57.72 billion and is part of the health care sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.2, below the average drugs industry P/E ratio of seven and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 2.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there is one analyst that rates AstraZeneca a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and seven rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates AstraZeneca as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its 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, AVI BioPharma ( AVII), up 530.5%, Peregrine Pharmaceuticals ( PPHM), up 23%, Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners ( CPRX), up 21.9%, and Affymax ( AFFY), up 19.2%, were all gainers within the drugs industry with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ( TEVA) 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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