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Why Bausch Health Companies Inc. Stock Slumped in October

By George Budwell – Nov 13, 2018 at 8:00AM

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Bausch's comeback hit a minor stumbling block last month. Here's why.

What happened

Bausch Health Companies Inc. (BHC -0.86%), a branded and generic pharmaceutical company, saw its stock drop by an unsightly 16.3% during the month of October, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. What scared investors away?

Bausch's stock apparently fell victim to the marketwide slump last month. The drugmaker, after all, didn't report any market-moving news over the course of October, and Bausch's shares largely traded in lockstep with the broader biopharmaceutical industry.   

A green chalkboard chart showing a positive trend turning negative.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Prior to this double-digit downturn, Bausch's stock was in the middle of a yearlong rally, sparked by the company's name change (formerly Valeant Pharmaceuticals), as well as its vastly improving fundamentals. 

Now what

Bausch recently posted its third straight quarter of organic revenue growth, with total sales  climbing by 3% year over year (excluding divestitures and the impact of unfavorable foreign exchange rates) during the third quarter of 2018. That's great news for shareholders.

The big deal is that the company is starting to show tangible signs of actually being able to address its monstrous debt load via organic growth, rather than continually selling off key assets. Not long ago, after all, Wall Street was openly questioning whether Bausch would be forced to sell either its Bausch+Lomb or Salix segments, which would have drastically dampened its appeal as a viable comeback story. 

Bausch isn't out of the woods quite yet, however. The company remains mired in debt ($24.7 billion) and its low single-digit revenue growth implies that this particular headwind won't dissipate anytime soon. Thus, this mid-cap biopharma stock is arguably only suited for aggressive investors comfortable with high levels of risk.


George Budwell has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Bausch Health Companies. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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