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Walgreens Boots Alliance gains on JP Morgan upgrade amid new CEO era

EditorYael Jeanne Klempner
Published 10/23/2023, 06:54 PM
© Reuters.
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Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) gained 3.7% in early trading Monday following a rare upgrade of the pharmacy giant - its first of the year.

JP Morgan analysts upgraded the stock to Overweight from Neutral with a price target of $30, up from $27.

With Tim Wentworth assuming the role of CEO, the analysts see a "new era" for the company.

"We believe that Wentworth’s background within healthcare services, most recently Express Scripts and Cigna (NYSE:CI), suit him very well to manage WBA and work with key stakeholders," the analysts commented. "We believe the management combination of Wentworth and Driscoll (President of US Healthcare) should enable the company to propel it’s relationnships across healthcare."

The analysts highlight that while serving as CEO of Express Scripts from 2016 to 2018, the company consistently either met or exceeded adjusted EPS expectations in every quarter.

They add that the FY24 guidance has effectively communicated the various factors influencing the overall performance, with a particular focus on cost targets and the prospect of a smoother year ahead.

Meanwhile, the cash flow outlook is anticipated to see enhancements in FY24, with expectations of a potential dividend reduction already factored in and a strong emphasis on prioritizing debt reduction.

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