A 3x Expected Rise In Mounjaro Sales Is Likely To Drive Eli Lilly's Q1

Eli Lilly stock (NYSE: LLY) will report its Q1 results on Tuesday, April 30. The pharmaceutical giant is expected to garner $8.9 billion in sales and $2.46 in adjusted earnings per share, per the consensus estimates. All eyes will be on Eli Lilly’s diabetes drug – Mounjaro – and its weight-loss drug – Zepbound. In this note, we discuss some of the trends that are likely to drive Eli Lilly’s results.

Firstly, let us look at its stock performance. Eli Lilly has been a great wealth creator in recent years, with its stock seeing stellar gains of 330% from levels of $170 in early January 2021 to around $730 now. This compares with an increase of about 35% for the S&P 500 over this roughly three-year period. Admirably, LLY stock has outperformed the broader market in each of the last three years. Returns for the stock were 64% in 2021, 32% in 2022, and 59% in 2023. In comparison, returns for the S&P 500 have been 27% in 2021, -19% in 2022, and 24% in 2023.

In fact, consistently beating the S&P 500 — in good times and bad — has been difficult over recent years for individual stocks; for other heavyweights in the Health Care sector including UNH, JNJ, and MRK, and even for the megacap stars GOOG, TSLA, and MSFT. In contrast, the Trefis High Quality (HQ) Portfolio, with a collection of 30 stocks, has outperformed the S&P 500 each year over the same period. Why is that? As a group, HQ Portfolio stocks provided better returns with less risk versus the benchmark index; less of a roller-coaster ride, as evident in HQ Portfolio performance metrics.

Given the current uncertain macroeconomic environment with geopolitical tensions and elevated interest rates, could LLY see a strong jump? Eli Lilly’s valuation is largely dependent on future pipeline potential rather than its current earnings, and despite its large move, the $825 average of analysts’ price estimates is over 10% above its current market price of around $730.

Looking at the previous quarter, Eli Lilly’s revenue of $9.4 billion reflected a solid 28% y-o-y growth. This can be attributed to market share gains for some of its drugs, including Mounjaro, Verzenio, and Jardiance. Mounjaro saw a massive 8x surge in sales to $2.2 billion. Verzenio sales were also up a solid 42% y-o-y to $1.1 billion. Eli Lilly also saw its adjusted gross margin expand by 180 bps to 82.3% in Q1. Higher revenues and margin expansion resulted in a 19% growth in adjusted earnings to $2.49 per share. The earnings figure included a charge of $0.62 per share related to acquired in-process research and development.

Coming to the latest quarter, the company’s relatively new products should continue to drive the sales growth. Eli Lilly is expected to post over 3x y-o-y rise in Mounjaro sales to around $2 billion. Verzenio sales should also see strong growth to levels of over $1 billion. Eli Lilly expects its 2024 sales to be in the range of $40.4 billion and $41.6 billion, and its earnings to be in the range of $12.20 and $12.70 on a per share and adjusted basis. This marks a significant uptick from its sales of $34.1 billion and adjusted EPS of $6.32 in 2023.

Overall, Eli Lilly appears to be set to deliver a strong quarter, led by its diabetes and obesity drugs. Although the stock has seen a sharp rally in recent years, it may see even higher levels if the company were to raise its earnings outlook.

While LLY stock may see higher levels, it is helpful to see how Eli Lilly peers fare on metrics that matter. You will find other valuable comparisons for companies across industries at Peer Comparisons.

Returns Apr 2024
MTD [1]
2024
YTD [1]
2017-24
Total [2]
 LLY Return -6% 26% 896%
 S&P 500 Return -3% 6% 127%
 Trefis Reinforced Value Portfolio -6% 1% 615%

[1] Returns as of 4/25/2024
[2] Cumulative total returns since the end of 2016

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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