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Pfizer’s Earnings Should Be Great. Why the Focus Could Shift.

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Pfizer is scheduled to report its earnings before the market opens on Tuesday.
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There’s no mystery about what 2022 will bring for Pfizer : Enormous, record-shattering revenues. What happens after that—an issue likely to come to the fore on Tuesday—is the real question.

Not only is the company continuing to sell tens of billions of dollars worth of its Covid-19 vaccine, but Pfizer (ticker: PFE) is now also selling the leading antiviral treatment for the coronavirus.

Analysts expect those two products alone to bring in $56.8 billion in revenues combined, pushing the company’s total 2022 projected sales to $103.2 billion, according to FactSet. That would be up substantially: For 2021, analysts expect Pfizer to report total sales of $81.8 billion, including $36.5 billion worth of Covid-19 vaccines sales and $99 million worth of its Covid-19 antiviral, which the Food and Drug Administration authorized at the end of December.

But when Pfizer reports financial results for the fourth quarter of 2021 before the market opens on Tuesday, investors will be focused on the company’s plans for after the pandemic windfall eases.

“As the pandemic path has been more than difficult to predict, so too could PFE’s revenue opportunity over the medium to long term,” wrote Oppenheimer healthcare equity strategist Jared Holz in an email to investors on Sunday night. “The remainder of the PFE business is likely to come back to focus and it is possible the Street starts to look at the stock ex-covid numbers.”

Pfizer shares are up 52.2% over the last 12 months, but have fallen along with the rest of the market so far this year, for a loss of 10.3% in 2022. The stock trades at 8 times the per-share earnings expected over the next 12 months, below its 5-year average of 12.2 times earnings, according to FactSet.

Analysts expect Pfizer to report $24.2 billion in revenues for the fourth quarter of 2022, and earnings of $0.87 per share. The stock was up 0.3% in premarket trading on Monday after falling 0.7% during Friday’s session.

The company will also likely update its projected Covid-19 vaccine and therapeutic sales for 2022 on Tuesday.

In November, Barron’s argued that Pfizer’s success developing the Covid-19 antiviral Paxlovid showed that the company’s strategy of shedding ancillary businesses to focus on developing and new drugs was paying off, and that the stock was a good long-term play.

Last week, Pfizer and its partner BioNTech (BNTX) announced that they were seeking FDA authorization to administer their Covid-19 vaccine to children aged 6 months through four years. The FDA’s vaccines advisors will meet to consider the application next week.

Pfizer will hold an investor call on Tuesday at 10 a.m. Eastern time to discuss its financial results.

Write to Josh Nathan-Kazis at

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