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Gilead Sciences Stock Surges on HIV Treatment Trial Success

Vials of liquid on a white table and the logo of Gilead Sciences

Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD) saw its stock jump nearly 10% yesterday after announcing groundbreaking results from its HIV treatment trial. The biopharmaceutical company revealed 100% efficacy in its Phase 3 HIV prevention trial, marking the first trial showing zero infections. 

Given the stock's underperformance this year, this news is a significant relief for investors. Let's delve into the trial's details, the stock's recent performance, and its future prospects.

Gilead's Lenacapavir Trial: A Potential Game-Changer

Gilead's trial found zero cases of HIV infection among 2,134 women who received lenacapavir versus several cases among those on Gilead’s current HIV pills, Truvada and Descovy. Truvada was the first pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment approved by the FDA. However, more testing is needed before lenacapavir can seek FDA approval. Another Phase 3 trial targeting men who have sex with men and other groups is expected to yield results late this year or early next year.

Dr. Linda-Gail Bekker, head of the Desmond Tutu HIV Center, hailed lenacapavir as a potential game-changer for HIV prevention globally.

Breaking Above Resistance: Gilead's Stock Momentum Shift

The positive news comes at a critical time for Gilead. The stock has been in a steep selloff this year, down over 15% YTD and trading well below its 200-day SMA. The recent announcement has, however, helped GILD break above its downtrend resistance and surpass its 50-day and 20-day declining SMAs, signaling a potential shift in momentum.

Going forward, it will be vital to see whether the stock can convert its downtrend resistance into support, as it aims to stage a turnaround and build a base towards its 200-day SMA.

Gilead has significantly lagged its sector, with the iShares Biotechnology ETF (NASDAQ: IBB) almost flat YTD and consolidating near its 52-week highs. This recent breakthrough could be the catalyst Gilead needs to reverse its downward trend and pair its losses versus the benchmark and its sector.

Balancing Fundamentals and Sentiment: Gilead's Growth Potential

Despite its recent struggles, Gilead presents an attractive proposition for growth investors seeking income. The stock boasts a hefty dividend yield of 4.5% and is projected to grow earnings by 92.8% this year. Analysts are optimistic, with a consensus price target of $83.47, indicating almost 22% upside. Eighteen analysts rate the stock as a Hold. Following the trial news, Robert W. Baird reaffirmed its neutral rating and set a price target of $80, forecasting a nearly 16% upside. The stock is a favorite amongst institutions, boasting 83.6% institutional ownership. Over the previous twelve months, total institutional inflows have been $37.7 billion versus just $4.1 billion in outflows. 

Navigating a Pivotal Moment: Gilead Sciences' Future Prospects

Gilead Sciences' recent trial success in HIV prevention is a promising development that could mark a turning point for the stock. While the stock has underperformed the broader sector this year, the breakthrough in the HIV treatment trial and subsequent price surge suggest the potential for recovery. With strong fundamentals, a solid dividend yield, and optimistic analyst projections, Gilead Sciences is a stock to watch closely as it navigates this pivotal moment. Investors should monitor whether GILD can sustain this momentum and convert resistance into support, paving the way for a sustained upward trend.

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