Novartis A.G. (NYSE: NVS) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Merrill Lynch on September 10. Its local-currency price objective in Swiss francs was raised to CHF100 from CHF85. In New York, Novartis ADSs closed at $81.78 on Friday and were indicated up 1% at $82.66 on the call. They have a 52-week range of $72.30 to $94.19.
The Merrill Lynch team sees a new product cycle driving earnings growth for Novartis, with 10% earnings per share growth from 2020 to 2023. The firm also noted that an Alcon spin-out in the first half of 2019 is a likely positive event. Novartis’s ADSs were last seen down 2.6% so far in 2018.
Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Merrill Lynch on September 10 as well. The firm raised its local currency price objective to EUR95 from EUR80, noting that Sanofi is approaching a growth inflection. Sanofi ADSs closed at $42.09 on Friday and were indicated at $42.75 on Monday. The 52-week range is $37.43 to $50.65.
On Sanofi, Merrill Lynch feels a value of 11 times earnings is too low for its growth. Drivers there are in Dupixent, vaccines and consumer increasing into 2019. Sanofi’s ADSs are still up about 10% from their prices at the start of summer, but they are down about 2% from the start of 2018.
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) was raised to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan on September 5. While price target data was not available, the upside is viewed as coming from 5G, and the report noted that its networks business and digital services have the most earnings momentum.
Ericsson’s ADSs have been challenging new highs not seen since the first half of 2016. With its ADSs at $8.60 on last look, the 52-week range is $5.52 to $8.79. That said, its consensus target price is down at $8.10, as many firms have maintained a somewhat cautious stance on the company. The ADSs were last seen up over 28% year to date.
Vodafone Group PLC (NASDAQ: VOD) has seen two positive analyst calls on the wireless and telecom asset in September. Bernstein raised it to Outperform from Market Perform on September 5. Then on September 6, Citigroup raised it to Buy from Neutral and noted that its shares have even further to run despite many problem areas. With an ADS price of $21.75, Vodafone has a 52-week range of $21.13 to $32.75 and a consensus analyst target just above $26. Vodafone was last seen down a sharp 32% year to date.