Shares of Johnson & Johnson jumped 1.9% in midday trade Monday, after J.P. Morgan turned bullish on the health care products company for the first time in 4 years on the belief that the recent weakness in fundamentals is on the verge of bottoming. Analyst Michael Weinstein raised his rating to overweight after being at neutral since April 2013. He listed his stock price target to $140, which is about 11% above current levels, from $133. J&J's stock had fallen 4.1% since the March 15 record close through Friday, with most of the losses coming with the selloff after disappointing first-quarter results on April 18. Weinstein expects the second quarter to be "just as challenging," but said he believes sentiment, which is currently "particularly negative," will begin to turn as fundamentals improve in the second half of the year. "We recognize that this is a notably contrarian call today," Weinstein wrote in a note to clients. "But...once J&J gets the second quarter behind it, [year-over-year comparisons] ease considerably, new products should get approved, and clinical read-outs become potential catalysts for an improving pharma business and a reacceleration of top-line growth." The stock has gained 11% over the past 12 months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has rallied 20%.
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