AstraZeneca (AZN) Stock Higher Over Pfizer (PFE) Takeover Talk As Earnings Drop

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of AstraZeneca Plc  (AZN) are up 3.10% to $69.88 as Pfizer (PFE) takeover talk grows even though the biopharmaceutical company reported lower first quarter earnings.

First quarter profit excluding certain items declined 16% to $1.95 billion, or $1.17 a share, from $2.32 billion, or $1.41 a share.

Analysts expected $1.21 a share, based on the average of 14 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Sales were up 3% at constant exchange rates to $6.42 billion. That compares with the $6.39 billion average estimate of 16 analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

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TheStreet Ratings team rates ASTRAZENECA PLC as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate ASTRAZENECA PLC (AZN) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

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