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Will the Pfizer share price feel healthier after Q4 earnings?

The Pfizer [PFE] share price has had a shaky start to 2022, but promising fourth-quarter figures could give it a lift this week.

The pharmaceuticals giant is expected to report a 106% hike in year-over-year revenues and a 107% climb in adjusted earnings when it announces its Q4 results on 8 February. Wall Street analysts forecast that Pfizer will post revenues of $24.2bn and earnings per share of $0.87.

The Pfizer share price is expected to climb after the results, helped by demand for Covid vaccines and booster shots as countries ramped up their efforts to prevent the spread of the omicron variant.

Analysts expect the Comirnaty Covid vaccine, which is now being administered to children over five years old, to account for $12.3bn worth of revenue in Q4. In comparison, it generated $154m a year earlier when the vaccine rollout began. Some believe the vaccine may have contributed as much as $15.3bn this quarter, which if confirmed could give a further boost to the Pfizer stock price.

Pfizer stocks are expected to have been helped by robust demand for other pharmaceuticals in its portfolio, including blood clot medication Eliquis and rare disease drug Vyndaqel.

The company also made a series of acquisitions in the fourth quarter, including Arena, a clinical stage company that develops innovative potential therapies for the treatment of several immuno-inflammatory diseases.

The Pfizer share price has been volatile

Over the past 12 months the Pfizer stock price has surged 58.7% to close at $53.38 on 4 February. During that period, it plunged to $32.35 in March and soared to $60.79 in mid-December amid demand for booster vaccines and the outbreak of the rapidly spreading omicron variant.

However, the Pfizer share price has dropped 8.9% since the start of the year as fears of the variant have subsided. In comparison, shares in its competitors AstraZeneca [AZN] and Moderna [MRNA] have plunged 4.3% and 35.8%, respectively, over the same period.

Despite the current tailwind of the Covid pandemic, investors are concerned about the long-term impact for the Pfizer stocks as demand for vaccines subsides, despite the ongoing threat of new variants.

A move towards the treatment of Covid rather than immunisation may be the answer for the company. The Pfizer share price has been helped by demand for Paxlovid, its new oral treatment for Covid-19. Pfizer hopes to produce up to 120 million courses of the drug this year, and analysts are expecting approximately $21.2bn in sales in 2022, according to City Index.


Total sales of oral COVID treatment Paxlovid expected in 2022


Pfizer adjusted full-year forecast after Q3 beat expectations

In its third quarter Pfizer’s revenues and profits both exceeded forecasts. Its revenues soared 130% to $24.1bn and adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.34, up 127.1% from $0.59 in the same period in 2020.

Pfizer also said it expected full-year revenue from its Covid-19 vaccine to total $36bn, up from its previous forecast of $33.5bn. Following these promising results, the company raised its full-year profit guidance to between $4.13 and $4.18 per share.

The Pfizer share price jumped 4.1% on the day the results were announced. With the Q4 outlook similarly positive, investors will be hoping for a repeat performance.

Comirnarty and Paxlovid will be big earners

According to CNN, analysts expect Pfizer to post earnings per share of $0.87 and revenues of $24.2bn in the third quarter.

Zacks analysts expect strong performance from Comirnaty and Eliquis but higher R&D costs due to spending on Covid-19 vaccines to target the omicron variant as well as other mRNA programmes. If it meets or exceeds forecasts for the sales of key products like the Covid-19 vaccine and Paxlovid, the Pfizer share price is likely to rise higher after the announcement.

Management will be quizzed on the outlook for Covid vaccines in 2022, as well as future tie-ups with BioNTech such as a shingles vaccine.

Looking further forward, according to MarketScreener, analysts have a consensus ‘outperform’ rating on the stock and an average target price of $58.07.

BMO Capital has a $76 price target, with analyst Evan Seigerman believing that Pfizer could be the first pharma company to break $100bn revenues thanks to demand for Paxlovid. Seigerman believes the Covid drug could rake in $30bn this year, while consensus forecasts expect $20bn.

Although the outlook for the pandemic is uncertain, the Pfizer share price is set to remain in good shape for a while yet.

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