Analysts Keep Stacking Up Higher Targets and Expectations for Eli Lilly

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Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) is one of the better pharmaceutical stocks, as far as performers in 2017 top picks at JPMorgan. Its shares were last seen up 17% year to date. Now the pharma giant was reiterated with an Overweight rating at JPMorgan. More importantly, the firm raised its price target to $100 from $85 in Tuesday’s call.

What investors should know is that this is not the only positive analyst call from recent days and weeks. Eli Lilly’s closest competitor in year-to-date performance is Abbott Labs at 4%, and rival performance was seen as follows: Johnson & Johnson up 8%, Merck up 7%, Pfizer up almost 6% and Bristol-Myers Squibb down 7% so far.

According to JPMorgan, Eli Lilly has a brighter future than in the past couple of years after drugs experienced patent expirations. The firm has a more bullish sales outlook for new Eli Lilly drugs. Positives include diabetes drugs Jardiance and Trulicity, and the firm talked up two drugs that are expected to be on the market quite soon: baracitinib as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and abemaciclib as a treatment for breast cancer.

Tuesday’s report called Eli Lilly one of pharma’s best positioned stocks in its coverage universe. The broad scale of recently launched drugs and more later-stage pipeline assets are all adding up to an expected margin expansion for Eli Lilly.

24/7 Wall St. recently saw several other analysts and market pundits act positively toward Eli Lilly. The Thomson Reuters consensus analyst target price from sell-side analysts was listed as $85.85 at the end of January, though it was up in the $90s for most of 2016.

Just last week Barclays gave positive comments to support its Overweight rating, and the firm raised its price target to $90 from $85. Two drivers were an expected FDA approval for Eli Lilly’s rheumatoid arthritis drug and the coming Phase 3 data from a cancer study due in June.

Morgan Stanley talked up Eli Lilly’s Trulicity as rapidly gaining share in the GLP-1 category with the category gaining 27% year over year, but with Trulicity having growth at over 100% with a rising market share. That share price was last seen at 31%, compared with the following from peers:

  • Novo Nordisk’s Victoza share at 47%
  • AstraZeneca’s Byetta/Bydureon at about 17%
  • GlaxoSmithKline’s Tanzeum at about 5%
  • Sanofi’s Soliqua at about 1%

Jim Cramer on CNBC has been positive on Eli Lilly as well, more or less noting that it was the go-to pharma stock that investors put capital into after any pullback in its share price.

Back on March 9, 2017, Jefferies reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target price up to $97 from $95.

Shares of Eli Lilly were last seen trading up 0.5% at $85.86 on Tuesday morning. Its 52-week range is $64.18 to $86.72, and the consensus analyst price target was $88.30.