Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report report published on Monday, July 10th.

According to Zacks, “2017 is a challenging year for the company. Novartis’ eye care division, Alcon, is facing weakness due to lower surgical equipments sales owing to intense competition faced by intraocular lens and a slowdown in demand for equipment purchases. Hence, Novartis is mulling strategic options for Alcon which includes retaining the business to separation via a capital markets transaction such as a spin-off or an initial public offering. The company will throw light on its plans for Alcon later in 2017. The company is also facing generic competition for some of its key drugs. Nevertheless, we are impressed by the progress in biosimilars portfolio. The company is, however, facing significant pricing pressures in the U.S. due to a delay in the launch of Glatopa 40mg which in turn will impact the second-quarter results. Shares of the company have underperformed the industry.”

Several other research firms have also weighed in on NVS. Leerink Swann reissued a market perform rating and issued a $83.00 target price on shares of Novartis AG in a research note on Thursday, June 22nd. Credit Suisse Group lowered Novartis AG from a neutral rating to an underperform rating and set a $82.25 target price on the stock. in a research note on Wednesday, July 5th. Barclays PLC raised Novartis AG from an underweight rating to an equal weight rating in a research note on Thursday, June 22nd. J P Morgan Chase & Co reissued a neutral rating on shares of Novartis AG in a research note on Thursday, June 22nd. Finally, TheStreet raised Novartis AG from a c+ rating to a b rating in a research report on Friday, June 2nd. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $81.71.

Novartis AG (NVS) traded down 0.62% on Monday, reaching $84.44. 1,305,992 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. Novartis AG has a 52 week low of $66.93 and a 52 week high of $86.90. The firm has a market capitalization of $197.83 billion, a P/E ratio of 30.83 and a beta of 0.73. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $83.64 and a 200 day moving average of $78.07.

Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, July 18th. The company reported $1.22 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.16 by $0.06. Novartis AG had a return on equity of 15.51% and a net margin of 13.52%. The firm had revenue of $12.24 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $12.20 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.23 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 1.8% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts expect that Novartis AG will post $4.75 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, major shareholder Bioventures Ltd Novartis purchased 266,667 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, July 5th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $15.00 per share, for a total transaction of $4,000,005.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. 0.01% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Lebenthal Asset Management LLC increased its position in shares of Novartis AG by 1.3% in the fourth quarter. Lebenthal Asset Management LLC now owns 59,654 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,345,000 after buying an additional 791 shares in the last quarter. LeJeune Puetz Investment Counsel LLC purchased a new stake in Novartis AG during the fourth quarter valued at $517,000. Heritage Way Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in Novartis AG during the fourth quarter valued at $1,776,000. PagnatoKarp Partners LLC purchased a new stake in Novartis AG during the fourth quarter valued at $1,343,000. Finally, GSB Wealth Management LLC purchased a new stake in Novartis AG during the fourth quarter valued at $307,000. Institutional investors own 11.27% of the company’s stock.

Novartis AG Company Profile

Novartis AG is a holding company, which provides healthcare solutions. The Company is engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of a range of healthcare products led by pharmaceuticals. The Company’s segments include Innovative Medicines, Sandoz, Alcon and Corporate activities.

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Analyst Recommendations for Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS)

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