Woe is Pfizer, analysts say

Pfizer shares hit a 10-year low yesterday. And who can blame investors who sold, considering the Eeyore tone Wall Street analysts took after the drugmaker announced its falling sales and earnings? Here are a few choice quotes:

  • "Other than for an attractive dividend yield, we do not believe Pfizer needs to be owned." -- Steve Scala, Cowen & Co.
  • "After missing consensus estimates by $0.05, the earnings call did little to ease investors' minds." -- Tony Butler, Lehman Brothers
  • "I'm not sure any real progress can happen this year." -- Linda Bannister, Edward Jones
  • And the big winner: "Unless Kindler's plan is to tank revenue, I would say his plan is not working." -- Les Funtleyder, Miller Tabak & Co.

You'll all recall that CEO Jeff Kindler caught a lot of flak when he presented his plans for 2008 to analysts. Not aggressive enough. No pizazz. And (this was a biggie) no mega-acquisitions. Deutsche Bank's Barbara Ryan is still harping on that, saying, "Recent actions to significantly reduce corporate overhead...are clearly a positive, but need to be followed by strategic initiatives, namely acquisitions."

Now, Ryan may get more of the former before she gets the latter: Kindler said during yesterday's earnings call that he'd adjust the size of the company to match sales--even if sales don't grow the way he wants them to. And of course it's easier to cut jobs than it is to engineer R&D breakthroughs. Particularly at Pfizer, where the "track record at inventing new medicines is awful," according to Forbes. But Kindler, like Winnie-the-Pooh facing his friend the despairing donkey, is undaunted. He even used the word "exciting" when describing the company's oncology pipeline.

- read the story at Forbes
- check out the WSJ Health Blog coverage
- find Pharmalot's take
- see the item at PharmaGossip

ALSO: Avant Immunotherapeutics is pocketing a $40 million upfront fee and a $10 million equity stake from Pfizer in exchange for the worldwide rights to Avant's experimental brain cancer vaccine. Report

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