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Why Has Pfizer Stock Floundered?

By Keith Speights and Brian Orelli, PhD - Feb 23, 2021 at 8:15AM

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There are two main reasons. At least one of them, though, isn't a problem anymore.

Last year, the major market indexes skyrocketed. But not Pfizer (PFE 1.55%). The big pharma stock actually fell slightly. And the downtrend has continued into this year. In this Motley Fool Live video, recorded on Feb. 17, Fool.com contributors Keith Speights and Brian Orelli answer a viewer's question about why Pfizer stock has floundered.

Keith Speights: Ben asked the question, "Why is it that Pfizer," ticker there is PFE, "Why is it that Pfizer is down?" I have not looked at Pfizer stock this morning Let's see what's going on.

Brian Orelli: Maybe he's talking about for the last year and a half. [laughs] It has not done anything.

Speights: It's actually up a little this morning, but OK.

Orelli: [laughs] Ben maybe asking about the general in why isn't it responding to the COVID--

Speights: I think I could field that question, Brian, and you joined in, but yeah. [laughs] There are a couple of reasons Pfizer has been down, let's say, like you say, Brian, over the last year or two.

One of the big reasons is that Pfizer has been just weighed down by their legacy drugs, Lyrica, other drugs that have lost patent exclusivity, and it's really just weighed on their revenue growth, earnings growth, and that's been a big problem. That's not an issue for Pfizer anymore though because they spun off that business, the Upjohn unit and merged it with Mylan last year, and so that's not an issue for Pfizer going forward.

Another reason Pfizer has been down is that they've had some clinical setbacks. They really had high hopes for breast cancer drug Ibrance, and early breast cancer setting, and had a couple of clinical studies that didn't pan out so well, and so that's been another negative impact on the stock.

But for the long term for Pfizer, I think it looks better than it's looking quite a while now. They've got their COVID vaccine, like I said, the Upjohn unit that's no longer part of Pfizer. They've got some other drugs that are generating fast growth. I think that's why Pfizer was down, but I think Pfizer is in much better position to move higher now. What do you think, Brian?

Orelli: The Upjohn, if I'm remembering correctly, I'm not a Pfizer shareholder, the Upjohn unit's investors got shares of that Upjohn unit. Is that correct?

Speights: That's right. Pfizer shareholders got shares.

Orelli: Of their new company.

Speights: VTRS. I don't know how they pronounce it. I'm assuming is Viatris (VTRS 1.06%) so if I'm getting that wrong, I'm sorry. Ticker there's VTRS but yeah, Pfizer shareholders did get shares in the new company.

Orelli: Yeah. So you have to factor that in when you're looking at Pfizer charts, but that valuation went away from the valuation of Pfizer's stock.

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Stocks Mentioned

Pfizer Inc. Stock Quote
Pfizer Inc.
PFE
$54.55 (1.55%) $0.83
Viatris Inc. Stock Quote
Viatris Inc.
VTRS
$11.96 (1.06%) $0.12

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