Buffet Radar: Buy AstraZeneca (AZN)
AstraZeneca PLC $AZN sells branded drugs across several major therapeutic classes. The company focuses on five critical therapeutic areas, namely oncology, cardiovascular, renal, and metabolic (CVRM) diseases, respiratory & immunology (R&I), vaccines & immune therapies (V&I), and rare diseases.
The respiratory market has been particularly affected by COVID-19 due to respiratory physicians focusing on the pandemic, a reduction in patients attending hospital visits, and self-isolation reducing exacerbation rates. However, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, AZN's product sales increased by 13% in 2021.
The top-selling products during the year were Fasenra, Symbicort (budesonide/formoterol), and Breztri (budesonide/glycopyrrolate/ formoterol). Most of the company’s sales come from international markets, with the United States representing nearly one-third of its sales.
During times of slowing growth and wide macro-headwinds, AZN is a good company in the portfolio. As high-interest rates affect growth companies' valuation and people start spending less on discretionary products, companies like AstraZeneca, which operates in the defensive sector, become appealing to investors. AstraZeneca's stock is up 18% YTD, which reflects the company’s value proposition in a challenging environment.