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Merck KGaA: stock falls with Bank of America downgrade

( - On Tuesday Bank of America downgraded its rating on Merck KGaA, adopting a "neutral" stance, against "buy" previously, in particular citing valuation matters.

The broker - which is however still sticking to its target price of 155 euros - explains that, after outperforming the European pharmaceutical sector by around 45% since mid-2020, the stock's P/E is now trading at a premium of 25% relative to its peers.

Another argument forwarded by the broker is the prospect of a loss of exclusivity on Mavenclad, the German group's treatment against multiple sclerosis, which it believes could occur as early as 2026 or 2027.

BofA also points out a target pipeline that is considered ambitious, with Merck valuing its projects under development at around two billion euros through to 2022, while the consensus is more cautious, expecting less, at 1.6 billion euros.

Note that the share fell by over 5% yesterday, closing at about 139 euros.

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