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Is a Beat in the Cards for AbbVie (ABBV) in Q1 Earnings?

Zacks Equity Research
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We expect AbbVie Inc. ABBV to beat expectations when it reports first-quarter 2018 results on Apr 26, before the market opens. Last quarter, the company delivered a positive earnings surprise of 2.78%.

Shares of AbbVie have marginally outperformed the industry so far this year. While the stock has declined 4.1%, the industry has decreased 4.3%.


Notably, AbbVie’s earnings history is quite impressive with the pharmaceuticals company having outpaced estimates in all the last four quarters with an average beat of 1.81%.

Let’s see, how things are shaping up for the company this quarter.

Factors to Consider

AbbVie expects first-quarter 2018 earnings in the range of $1.77-$1.79 per share. Revenues are estimated to grow in a mid-teen range on an operational basis. Foreign exchange is anticipated to gain a 3% favorable impact on sales in the period to be reported.

The company’s key drug, Humira, is likely to remain a key growth driver in the first quarter, backed by strong demand trends for the drug. AbbVie expects Humira sales to reflect a rise in the low-teens band in the imminent earnings release while internationally, the growth rate is projected in a mid-single-digit range, operationally. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Humira is pegged at $4.7 billion.

Significantly, on first-quarter conference call, investors’ focus will also be on the performance level as well as the label expansion updates of AbbVie’s another cancer drug, Imbruvica. The drug has been recording strong sales since the past few quarters, a trend that we expect to continue even in the quarter to be reported. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Imbruvica stands at $759 million.

Other drugs, namely Duopa and Creon are also likely to maintain an encouraging performance in the soon-to-be-reported quarter.

However, AbbVie’s Hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment, Viekira, will continue to see declining sales, affected by an intense pricing and competitive pressure in the HCV market.

Moreover, in March 2018, AbbVie’s rovalpituzumab tesirine or Rova-T fell short of expectations in a phase II TRINITY study, evaluating it in third-line therapy for later small cell lung cancer (SCLC). On first-quarter conference call, we expect management to provide updates on the same.

Notably, AbbVie’s eight-week, pan-genotypic, ribavirin-free, once-daily HCV treatment, Mavyret, secured an approval in the United States, EU, Canada as well as Japan in the second half of 2017. Importantly, Mavyret recorded $500 million global sales last year. The initial uptake of the drug has been commendable and we expect its higher sales in the first quarter as well.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model shows that the stock is likely to beat on earnings this quarter as it has the right combination of the two key ingredients — a positive Earnings ESP and a favorable Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) — for this to happen.

Zacks ESP: AbbViehas an Earnings ESP of +0.06%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is $1.80 per share. A positive ESP indicates a likely earnings surprise. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Zacks Rank: AbbViehas a Zacks Rank #3, which increases the predictive power of ESP and together with a positive ESP, chances of the stock beating estimates in its upcoming release are always pegged higher.

We caution against the Sell-rated stocks (#4 or 5) going into an earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

Other Stocks That Warrant a Look

Here are a couple of other health care stocks worth considering with the right combination of elements to also surpass estimates this time around:

Pfizer Inc. PFE is scheduled to release results on May 1. The company has an Earnings ESP of +1.36% and a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company BMY is scheduled to report earnings on Apr 26. The company has an Earnings ESP of +0.82% and a Zacks Rank of 3.

Celgene Corporation CELG is slated to announce financial figures on May 4. The company has an Earnings ESP of +0.63% and is a Zacks #3 Ranked player.

AbbVie Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

AbbVie Inc. Price and EPS Surprise | AbbVie Inc. Quote


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