Beginning Price: 1484.50 pence
Ending Price: 1347 pence
As February dawned at GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), CEO Andrew Witty gave investors a pep talk. This would be the year that GSK returned to real sales growth--none of the "underlying" kind of growth you talk about during the worst of the patent cliff. "We feel like we are moving into a new era," Witty said at the time.
But the stars aligned in a different direction. Deep price cuts in Europe and generic competition in the U.S. offset solid growth in emerging markets and consumer healthcare, pushing second- and third-quarter revenues down instead of up. "[N]o cause for optimism," Witty said about Europe, adding that he hoped it wasn't "the new normal."
GSK has made forward strides--both in wrapping up old problems and taking on new opportunities. But since a high in August, the company's London-traded shares have been moving downward, with a big slide around the time those disappointing Q3 sales were announced. The question now is whether Witty's sunny outlook returns by year's end--and whether investors come along for the ride.
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