Actavis wins more hearts on Wall Street as 'top 4' Morgan Stanley pick

Actavis CEO Brent Saunders

Bill Ackman may be selling down the Actavis ($ACT) share he acquired when his plan to force an Allergan sale to Valeant ($VRX) failed. But for other investors, now's a good time to buy the Dublin drugmaker's stock, as far as Morgan Stanley is concerned.

The investment firm named the "pharma powerhouse"--newly bulked up after swallowing Allergan--as one of its favorite healthcare stocks, noting that the deal should boost branded pharma earnings to about 77% of 2016 EPS--up from the 56% they would have hit were Allergan not in the picture.

"We believe Actavis stands at a unique cross-section between both specialty and major pharmaceuticals," they wrote, as quoted by TheStreet.

They're not the only ones. Since the companies agreed to join hands last November, CEO Brent Saunders has been touting the one-time generics specialist's newfound breadth in branded pharma sales, predicting those revenues would double this year.

The company even plans to adopt Allergan's moniker in the not-too-distant-future, a move Saunders said would "provide an umbrella of exceptional brand equity for an expanded and even more relevant global brand pharmaceutical portfolio" and "communicate unequivocally what we stand for in the brand pharmaceutical space."

So far, the drugmaker's branded sales have come through, increasing to $1.7 billion in Q1 from $572 million in the year-ago period. Allergan's branded business chipped in with $258 million in sales, and branded assets from prior buy Forest Labs--including Alzheimer's drug Namenda, antidepressant Viibryd, blood pressure treatment Bystolic and GI therapy Linzess--came up big, too.

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