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Drug Stocks Q1 Earnings Preview: AEGR, AERI, MACK, PRTA

The going has been quite satisfactory as we stand in the thick of the first earnings season of the year. As per our Earnings Trends report, approximately 209 S&P 500 companies (52.4% of the index’s total market capitalization) have reported results so far. Of these, 47.8% have reported positive surprises for both earnings and revenues, which is possibly due to already lowered expectations. On the other hand, estimates for the second quarter continue to move south, although not as severely as in the fourth quarter. Earnings for this quarter are, however, still expected to decline 8% on a year-over-year basis, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of a bottom-line decline for the index.

What Should You Expect from These Drug Stocks?

For the medical sector, which is one of the few sectors slated to record earnings growth this season, things are definitely looking up. The sector expects an increase of 2.3% in earnings and 9.1% in revenues for the first quarter of 2016.

Johnson & Johnson JNJ kick-started the season on a positive note, wherein its earnings surpassed expectations and the company raised its outlook for the year. Abbott Laboratories ABT followed suit, while biotech major, Biogen Inc. BIIB reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

For the next week, quite a few companies are scheduled to release results. Let’s find out what’s in store for these companies.

Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. AEGR is expected to report first-quarter 2016 results on May 2. Although Aegerion sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), the company’s Earnings ESP of 0.00% makes surprise prediction difficult. The company has an impressive track record, having beaten estimates in each of the last four trailing quarters with a positive average surprise of 62%. However, the launch of PCSK9 inhibitors – Repatha and Praluent – in the U.S. has dampened Juxtapid sales and will continue to do so in the upcoming quarters, thereby hurting Aegerion’s revenues. (Read more: Aegerion: Can the Stock Surprise in Q1 Earnings?)

Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc. AERI is also scheduled to report first-quarter 2016 results on May 2, after the market closes. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), which when combined with its 0.00% ESP, makes surprise prediction difficult. Aerie’s performance over the last four quarters (on an average) has been disappointing. The company does not have any approved product in its portfolio yet. Investors are, thus, expected to focus on pipeline updates on its lead candidates – Rhopressa and Roclatan. (Read more: Aerie: Can the Stock Pull a Surprise in Q1 Earnings?)

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. MACK is another company slated to report first-quarter 2016 results on May 2. The company has beaten estimates in two of the last four trailing quarters with an average positive earnings surprise of 6.41%. However, the combination of Merrimack’s Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and 0.00% ESP makes surprise prediction difficult. We expect investors to focus on the performance of Onivyde. (Read more: Merrimack Q1 Earnings: What's Ahead for the Stock?)

Prothena Corporation plc PRTA is expected to report first-quarter 2016 results on May 3. Prothena’s track record has been has mixed so far. The company currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) and 0.00% Earnings ESP, which makes it unlikely for the company to beat estimates this quarter. With no approved product in its portfolio yet, focus should remain on pipeline updates by the company. (Read more: Prothena: What's Ahead for the Stock in Q1 Earnings?)

So stay tuned and check later on our full write-up on earnings releases of these stocks!

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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
JOHNSON & JOHNS (JNJ): Free Stock Analysis Report
ABBOTT LABS (ABT): Free Stock Analysis Report
BIOGEN INC (BIIB): Free Stock Analysis Report
AEGERION PHARMA (AEGR): Free Stock Analysis Report
AERIE PHARMACT (AERI): Free Stock Analysis Report
PROTHENA CP PLC (PRTA): Free Stock Analysis Report
MERRIMACK PHAR (MACK): Free Stock Analysis Report
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