Investing

Earnings Previews: AbbVie, Humana, Marathon Petroleum, Novartis

U.S. equity markets opened mixed on Monday, with the Dow Jones industrials lagging and the tech-heavy Nasdaq adding about 1.5% in the early going. The blue-chippers were weighed down by Dow (the chemicals company), Visa, Caterpillar and Walgreens.

In earnings reports released Monday morning, defense contractor L3Harris beat on profits but missed on sales and issued downside guidance for the current fiscal year. Citrix reported a beat on both the top and bottom lines but has accepted an offer to be taken private for $13 billion, a price that some investors think is not enough.

After markets close Monday and before they open on Tuesday, these five firms are set to share quarterly results: Enterprise Products, Exxon Mobil, NXP Semiconductors, Sirius XM and UPS. We also have previewed earnings from five companies posting results after markets close on Tuesday: Alphabet, AMD, GM, PayPal and Starbucks.

Here is a look at four firms scheduled to report results first thing Wednesday morning.

AbbVie

Pharmaceuticals giant AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) posted an all-time high share price last week, and shares have added more than 39% over the past 12 months. In January of next year, AbbVie’s blockbuster Humira anti-inflammatory drug will get competition from an Amgen competitor biosimilar drug. Other biosimilars are also expected to enter the fray. Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal expects the Amgen drug to capture 30% of sales by the end of 2023. AbbVie is expected to sell about $21 billion worth of Humira in the 2021 fiscal year.

Brokerage firms remain solidly bullish on AbbVie, with 18 of 24 putting Buy or Strong Buy ratings on the stock and another five giving the shares a Hold rating. At a recent price of around $136.60 a share, the implied gain based on a median price target of $145 is 6.1%. At the high price target of $172, the implied gain is 25.9%.

Estimates for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 call for revenue of $14.96 billion, which would be up 4.3% sequentially and 7.9% year over year. Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) are pegged at $3.28, down 1.3% from the prior quarter but up about 11% year over year. For the full year, analysts are looking for EPS of $12.72, a gain of 20.4% year over year, and sales of $56.24 billion, up nearly 23%.

AbbVie stock trades at about 10.7 times expected 2021 EPS, 9.7 times estimated 2022 earnings of $13.98 and 11.4 times estimated 2023 earnings of $11.93 per share. The stock’s 52-week range is $101.86 to $138.30. AbbVie pays an annual dividend of $5.64 (yield of 4.09%). Total shareholder return over the past year is 39.5%.

Humana

Health insurance giant Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) warned earlier this month that it had cut its Medicare Advantage membership growth estimate for 2022 by nearly half, from a prior range of 325,000 to 375,000 to a new range of 150,000 to 200,000. The company also reaffirmed its EPS guidance for 2022, noting that it still expected growth to be at the low end of its expected range of 11% to 15%. The shares took a beating and dropped nearly 21% in a week. For the past 12 months, Humana shares have added about 1.5% to their price.

Either analysts did not take the company seriously or they wanted to wait to see what the fourth quarter looked like. Of 25 analysts covering the stock, 16 have a Buy or Strong Buy rating and the other nine have a Hold rating on the shares. All were published before the company issued its warning. At a share price of around $386.40, the upside potential to a median price target of $488 is 26.3%. At the high price target of $540, the upside potential is nearly 40%.

Consensus estimates call for fourth-quarter revenue of $21.282 billion, up 2.8% sequentially and 11.6% higher year over year. Adjusted EPS are expected to tumble by 76% sequentially to $1.16. In the year-ago quarter, Humana reported an adjusted loss of $2.30 per share. For full fiscal 2021, analysts’ consensus estimates call for EPS of $20.55, up 9.6%, on revenue of $83.02 billion, up 7.6%.

Humana stock trades about 18.9 times expected 2021 EPS, 16.3 times estimated 2022 earnings of $23.84 and 14.4 times estimated 2023 earnings of $26.83 per share. The stock’s 52-week range is $351.20 to $475.44. Humana pays an annual dividend of $2.80 (yield of 0.73%). Total shareholder return over the past year is 1.7%.

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