Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX) bounced more than 7% higher last week in anticipation of the company's first-quarter earnings results, which are due out Tuesday before the opening bell. And investors would do well to lock in those gains now and move on to stocks with better growth prospects.
Valeant's stock price has been sawed in half, a decline caused by self-inflicted wounds, including the company's warning it could default on its debt because it couldn't file its financials on time. With the arrival of new CEO Joseph Papa, those fears have been put to rest.
But the stock, which trades below all key moving averages, still appears toxic. And that's even with Valeant losing some 90% of its market cap in 10 months.
Valeant's fundamentals are frightening. The company had over $31 billion in long-term debt at the end of 2015. With the company now under pressure to lower its drug prices, Valeant will struggle not only to service its massive debt, but it will have trouble paying for R&D to fuel its pipeline.
The beleaguered Botox maker has received multiple default notices, including one last Thursday relating to two senior note indentures because it has delayed filing its 10-Q with the Securities and Exchange Commission and quarter-end disclosures with Canadian regulators.
Valeant stock rose last week, perhaps in applause because it will finally do what all public companies are expected to do: announce a quarterly report. The standards for the stock have been lowered.
Tuesday's report is Valeant's second quarterly result since its pricing and compliance scandals unfolded. "Less bad" is the best investors should hope for.
For the quarter that ended in March, Wall Street expects the company to deliver earnings of $1.37 per share on revenue of $2.36 billion, translating to a year-over-year decline of 42% and a rise of 8.6%, respectively. For the full year ending in December, earnings are projected to decline 16.6% year over year to $8.47 per share, while full-year revenue of $10.86 billion would mark a 3.4% rise from the year-ago quarter.
Valeant shares closed Friday at $28.87, down 1.84%. The shares have gotten crushed this year, plunging 71%, compared with a 2.7% rise in the S&P 500 (SPX) . Over the past 12 months, Valeant shares have cratered almost 90%, while the S&P 500 index has declined only 0.71%.
Valeant stock has rallied some 22.5% from its 52-week low of $23.55, so taking profits ahead of Tuesday's results is the smart play. Then wait for management to issue guidance.