MML Investors Services LLC lowered its position in shares of AstraZeneca plc (NYSE:AZN) by 11.3% during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 51,683 shares of the company’s stock after selling 6,556 shares during the period. MML Investors Services LLC’s holdings in AstraZeneca were worth $1,963,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Other hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Squarepoint Ops LLC acquired a new position in AstraZeneca during the 4th quarter worth approximately $439,000. Logan Capital Management Inc. raised its stake in AstraZeneca by 8.4% during the 4th quarter. Logan Capital Management Inc. now owns 27,097 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,029,000 after buying an additional 2,096 shares during the period. Cullen Capital Management LLC raised its stake in AstraZeneca by 11.4% during the 4th quarter. Cullen Capital Management LLC now owns 117,105 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,448,000 after buying an additional 12,020 shares during the period. D. E. Shaw & Co. Inc. acquired a new position in AstraZeneca during the 4th quarter worth approximately $10,276,000. Finally, Sphera Funds Management LTD. acquired a new position in AstraZeneca during the 4th quarter worth approximately $19,560,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 18.31% of the company’s stock.
A number of research firms recently weighed in on AZN. Zacks Investment Research downgraded AstraZeneca from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 20th. Main First Bank reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of AstraZeneca in a research note on Tuesday, March 19th. HSBC reaffirmed a “sell” rating on shares of AstraZeneca in a research note on Thursday, February 28th. Deutsche Bank reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of AstraZeneca in a research note on Tuesday, February 26th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group reaffirmed a “sell” rating on shares of AstraZeneca in a research note on Tuesday, February 26th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company. AstraZeneca presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $45.50.
AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 14th. The company reported $1.58 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.73 by $0.85. The firm had revenue of $6.42 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $6.33 billion. AstraZeneca had a return on equity of 32.47% and a net margin of 9.76%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 11.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $1.30 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts predict that AstraZeneca plc will post 1.79 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently disclosed a semiannual dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, March 27th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 1st will be paid a $0.95 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, February 28th. This is an increase from AstraZeneca’s previous semiannual dividend of $0.45. This represents a dividend yield of 4.64%. AstraZeneca’s dividend payout ratio is 53.76%.
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AstraZeneca PLC discovers, develops, and commercializes prescription medicines for the treatment of oncology, cardiovascular and metabolic, respiratory, gastrointestinal, neuroscience, and infection diseases worldwide. Its marketed products include Arimidex, Casodex/Cosudex, Calquence, Faslodex, Imfinzi, Iressa, Lynparza, Nolvadex, Tagrisso, and Zoladex for oncology diseases; Atacand1/Atacand HCT/Atacand Plus, Brilinta/Brilique, Crestor2, Plendil, Seloken/Toprol-XL4, Tenormin5, and Zestril6 for cardiovascular diseases; and Bydureon, Byetta, Farxiga/Forxiga, Kombiglyze XR, Komboglyze, Onglyza, Qtern, Symlin, Xigduo, and Xigduo XR for metabolic diseases.
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