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Why AbbVie's Stock Sank in the First Half of 2019

By George Budwell - Jul 4, 2019 at 12:35PM

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AbbVie's stock has been hit hard by Humira's loss of exclusivity in Europe and the biotech's megamerger with Allergan.

What happened

Biopharma giant AbbVie ( ABBV 2.10% ) has had an absolutely regrettable year. Through the course of the first six months of the year, the drugmaker's shares have lost a breathtaking 21.2% of their value, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Why did investors give AbbVie's stock the cold shoulder in the first half of 2019? Two reasons. First off, the company's flagship arthritis medication Humira saw its European sales take a big hit following the introduction of biosimilar competition. Second, AbbVie decided to address Humira's patent cliff by acquiring Botox maker Allergan ( AGN ) for a whopping $63 billion.

A man with a laptop folded over his head, holding a sign that reads "help!"

Image Source: Getty Images.

So what

AbbVie's massive drop-off this year might be a blessing in disguise. After all, the company's shares are now trading at less than eight times next year's projected earnings, and its dividend yield has ballooned to a sky-high 5.77% in response to this double-digit downturn.

Topping it off, AbbVie also grabbed an FDA approval for its next-generation immunology drug Skyrizi earlier this year. While Skyrizi won't be a panacea for AbbVie's patent woes, it should at least help to blunt the impact of Humira's ongoing battle with biosimilars. Stated simply, AbbVie's stock might have fallen too far too fast in 2019.

Now what

Is AbbVie a bargain? The answer to this question ultimately depends on how this megamerger with Allergan pans out. Wall Street wasn't initially sold on the deal due to the lack of any clear-cut synergies between the two companies and the fact that Allergan has been dealing with its own patent problems of late.

However, this tie-up does dilute Humira's overall importance from a revenue generation standpoint, and that's a big positive. AbbVie, in turn, might turn out to be an outstanding bargain if management can somehow mesh together two drastically different product portfolios while also maintaining the company's status as a Dividend Aristocrat in the years to come. That's a tall order based on how things stand now, but it's not an impossible feat, either.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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Stocks Mentioned

AbbVie Inc. Stock Quote
AbbVie Inc.
ABBV
$121.35 (2.10%) $2.50
Allergan plc Stock Quote
Allergan plc
AGN

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