Pfizer (PFE 0.91%) has had its ups and downs as a company, but one prognosticator thinks it's got more of the former than the latter coming up. Truist Securities managing director and analyst Gregg Gilbert initiated coverage on the stock Friday with an unhesitant buy recommendation at a price target of $42 per share. 

Pfizer is a major pharmaceutical company of long standing, but it has attracted more than its usual interest lately because of what many experts consider to be its leading position in the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus vaccine "race." Its BNT162b2, being developed with Germany's BioNTech, has shown significant promise in early stage testing, and is now in the thick of a crucial phase 2/3 trial.

A scientist working on a lab sample.

Image source: Getty Images.

But a sprawling, veteran company like Pfizer is about far more than a single vaccine candidate for the big global health scourge. Gilbert is particularly impressed by what he calls the company's "large and interesting pipeline," which in his view gives it a better chance than its peers to meaningfully grow its fundamentals. The company has an impressive range of candidate drugs, a clutch of which have the potential to be blockbusters.

The analyst is also encouraged by the company's financial position, which he describes as "strong."

According to data published in The Wall Street Journal, Gilbert's price target is close to the average ($41.27) among prognosticators tracking the company. Those targets range from a low of $35 per share to a high of $53.

Perhaps the Truist Securities analyst's bullishness had an effect on the stock Friday. It closed 2% higher on the day (to land at $38.18), trouncing the incremental 0.3% gain of the S&P 500 index.