Hedge funds put bucks behind Pfizer

Suddenly, Pfizer is the belle of the hedge-fund ball. Reuters reports that "some of the savviest" of hedge funds are eyeing the company, now that it has on hand the new drugs and vaccines it bought along with Wyeth. Apparently, these professional investors believe the rationale around that $68 billion deal: That Wyeth's products will make up for Lipitor's fall off the patent cliff.

As Reuters notes, it's something of a change for Pfizer, which hasn't been on Wall Street's A-list for some time now. Over the last decade, Pfizer shares have actually lost ground. But with Wyeth in the fold, the company is moving up in the ranks, attracting interest from such well-known hedge-fund managers as John Paulson of Paulson & Co. and David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital. In fact, 11 of the 30 biggest equity-oriented funds bought Pfizer shares in the fourth quarter.

The buys are a vote of confidence for Pfizer's long-term prospects; with earnings expected to stay relatively flat over the next few years, shares aren't expected to soar in the short term. But what about down the road? "We're looking for good results from late-stage trials of new drugs and for earnings growth to kick in in 2013 and 2014," one asset manager says.

- read the Reuters story

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