Things are looking up for Johnson & Johnson. At least that's the opinion of J.P. Morgan analysts, who upgraded the company's shares for the first time in almost four years, Reuters says. "The good news is that fundamentals are on the upswing at J&J," J.P. Morgan's Michael Weinstein said in his upgrade note.
The upgrade to "overweight" comes as J&J ($JNJ). announced its buyout of the Swiss device maker Synthes would close Thursday--and that the deal would immediately boost company profits. The $19.7 billion deal, engineered by new CEO Alex Gorsky, will add 3 cents to 5 cents per share to 2012 earnings, J&J said.
Previously, the company had said the deal would cut EPS by 22 cents, Bloomberg reports. The company decided to use more of its overseas cash to finance the deal, Piper Jaffray's Matt Miksic told Reuters, which could offer a tax benefit. "This represents an upside surprise relative to prior guidance," Wells Fargo analyst Larry Biegelsen said in a note (as quoted by the news service).
Weinstein leaned on positive news from the pharma side in his upgrade note. J&J's drug business has weathered generic competition well, he said. Plus, it will benefit from newly launched drugs, such as the prostate cancer treatment Zytiga, which got a boost from new data at the recent American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. Overall, Weinstein looks for pharma growth of 10% during the second half of this year.
It's a definite change of scenery, Weinstein said. "The last time J&J grew its topline organically anywhere close to 5% was 2007," Weinstein wrote (as quoted by Reuters). "[B]efore the macro meltdown, before 4 of its 5 largest drugs went generic ... and before McNeil stumbled through a series of recalls."