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 flakÂ 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.
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
Is Pfizer's CEO as bold as promised? Pfizer report
Pfizer's Kindler leaves analysts feeling flat. Kindler report
Pfizer, Roche suffer as big drugs falter. Pfizer report
Pfizer's Kindler can't quash mega-deal talk. Deal report