With earning season just starting to be in full gear, everybody on Wall Street is looking for the earnings angle, and it seems like almost every firm we cover here at 24/7 Wall Street has one. One of the best sectors to look for earnings triumphs is the biotech sector. Strong prescription trends, especially on a new product, can really jack up earnings for a company.
A research note from biotech boutique Leerink notes that on an overall basis the analysts are bullish on large-cap biotechs in front of second-quarter earnings. Despite Fed chair Janet Yellen’s comments on the industry, many of the top names are expected to have a solid earnings reporting season.
The Leerink team mentioned four specific top names that may have the ability to beat current earnings expectations. We have one caveat on this matter. Betting on earnings upsides to these top biotech stocks would only be suitable for investors with a very aggressive risk profile. It should go without saying that any earnings disappointment, or poor forward guidance, could significantly damage the stocks of any of these companies.
Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) is one of the mega cap biotechs that Leerink thinks could rebound from a very soft first quarter. Over the past five years, the company has had free cash flow of at least $3 billion a year. Over the past decade, the company has grown after-tax profit by 14% compounded annually.
The primary focuses at Amgen from a pipeline standpoint are results from the interim analysis of phase-3 ASPIRE data for Kyprolis and regulatory update of the PCSK9 program. Both could be huge for the stock. Investors are paid a 2% dividend. The Leerink price target is $125, and the Thomson/First Call consensus target is $132.82 Amgen shares traded at $117.15 Wednesday.