Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report published on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Sales in J&J’s domestic Pharma segment have decelerated this year as a number of key growth drivers like Remicade and Concerta are facing competition.  However, J&J is optimistic that sales growth will accelerate in 2H. We believe that new drugs like Xarelto, Stelara, Darzalex, and Imbruvica remain the key to growth. Meanwhile, share buybacks and restructuring initiatives should provide bottom-line support. J&J is also making rapid progress with its pipeline and line extensions. However, J&J’s shares have underperformed the industry this year so far. Headwinds like negative currency movement, generics, pricing pressure and soft global market conditions remain. Sluggish growth in the Consumer segment is also a concern. Meanwhile, HCV sales continue to decline amid intense competition.  Estimates have remained mostly stable ahead of the Q3 results. J&J has a positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters.”

Several other analysts have also issued reports on the stock. UBS AG restated a buy rating and issued a $148.00 price objective (up from $136.00) on shares of Johnson & Johnson in a report on Wednesday, July 19th. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) lowered shares of Johnson & Johnson from a neutral rating to a sell rating and boosted their price objective for the company from $125.00 to $130.00 in a report on Wednesday, September 20th. BMO Capital Markets restated a buy rating and issued a $145.00 price objective on shares of Johnson & Johnson in a report on Friday, September 1st. Alembic Global Advisors lowered shares of Johnson & Johnson from a neutral rating to an underweight rating in a report on Friday, July 21st. Finally, BidaskClub upgraded shares of Johnson & Johnson from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a report on Saturday, June 17th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $134.79.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE JNJ) traded up 0.02% on Wednesday, hitting $133.22. 2,469,506 shares of the stock were exchanged. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $132.23 and its 200 day moving average price is $129.87. Johnson & Johnson has a 52-week low of $109.32 and a 52-week high of $137.08. The firm has a market cap of $357.56 billion, a PE ratio of 22.54 and a beta of 0.78.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 18th. The company reported $1.83 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.79 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $18.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $18.94 billion. Johnson & Johnson had a net margin of 22.52% and a return on equity of 26.76%. Johnson & Johnson’s revenue was up 1.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $1.74 EPS. Equities research analysts forecast that Johnson & Johnson will post $7.18 earnings per share for the current year.

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The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, September 12th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, August 29th were given a dividend of $0.84 per share. This represents a $3.36 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.52%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, August 25th. Johnson & Johnson’s dividend payout ratio is presently 56.76%.

In other news, VP Paulus Stoffels sold 102,692 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $133.14, for a total transaction of $13,672,412.88. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 230,342 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $30,667,733.88. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, VP Dominic J. Caruso sold 82,591 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, July 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $136.72, for a total value of $11,291,841.52. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 226,693 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $30,993,466.96. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.19% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of JNJ. Bouchey Financial Group Ltd lifted its stake in Johnson & Johnson by 5.8% during the first quarter. Bouchey Financial Group Ltd now owns 3,167 shares of the company’s stock worth $394,000 after purchasing an additional 175 shares during the last quarter. Dynamic Advisors Solutions LLC lifted its stake in Johnson & Johnson by 0.3% during the first quarter. Dynamic Advisors Solutions LLC now owns 19,487 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,427,000 after purchasing an additional 56 shares during the last quarter. Lynch & Associates IN lifted its stake in Johnson & Johnson by 0.9% during the first quarter. Lynch & Associates IN now owns 92,869 shares of the company’s stock worth $11,567,000 after purchasing an additional 826 shares during the last quarter. Koshinski Asset Management Inc. lifted its stake in Johnson & Johnson by 24.6% during the first quarter. Koshinski Asset Management Inc. now owns 15,127 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,884,000 after purchasing an additional 2,988 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Quadrant Capital Group LLC lifted its stake in Johnson & Johnson by 14.5% during the first quarter. Quadrant Capital Group LLC now owns 13,240 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,632,000 after purchasing an additional 1,679 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 65.90% of the company’s stock.

About Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson is a holding company, which is engaged in the research and development, manufacture and sale of a range of products in the healthcare field. It operates through three segments: Consumer, Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices. Its primary focus is products related to human health and well-being.

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