Aerie Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AERI) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Aerie reported mixed results for the fourth quarter. Though earnings missed estimates, Rhopressa sales comfortably beat estimates and doubled sequentially. The solid uptake in prescription volumes should propel Rhopressa sales further, as glaucoma is one of the largest segments in the global ophthalmic market. The FDA approval of its second candidate, Rocklatan, a once-daily, quadruple-action fixed-dose combination of Rhopressa and Xalatan has further boosted the company’s portfolio. Shares have underperformed the industry in the past six months. While the glaucoma market holds potential, Aerie faces stiff competition from existing players and new ones like Vyzulta   among others.”

A number of other research firms also recently weighed in on AERI. Canaccord Genuity cut their target price on Aerie Pharmaceuticals from $86.00 to $73.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research report on Tuesday, March 5th. ValuEngine upgraded Aerie Pharmaceuticals from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, March 1st. BidaskClub upgraded Aerie Pharmaceuticals from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 31st. Oppenheimer set a $64.00 target price on Aerie Pharmaceuticals and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 26th. Finally, Cantor Fitzgerald set a $85.00 target price on Aerie Pharmaceuticals and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 26th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $77.36.

Shares of NASDAQ:AERI traded down $0.34 during trading on Friday, reaching $47.17. 9,890 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 704,706. The company has a market cap of $2.16 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of -10.14 and a beta of 0.97. Aerie Pharmaceuticals has a 52 week low of $32.18 and a 52 week high of $74.75.

In related news, insider Casey C. Kopczynski sold 11,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $46.17, for a total transaction of $507,870.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 97,243 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,489,709.31. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. 10.53% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in AERI. State Board of Administration of Florida Retirement System raised its position in Aerie Pharmaceuticals by 3.6% in the fourth quarter. State Board of Administration of Florida Retirement System now owns 19,031 shares of the company’s stock valued at $687,000 after purchasing an additional 660 shares during the last quarter. Putnam Investments LLC raised its position in Aerie Pharmaceuticals by 177.0% in the third quarter. Putnam Investments LLC now owns 45,748 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,816,000 after purchasing an additional 29,231 shares during the last quarter. Pearl River Capital LLC bought a new position in Aerie Pharmaceuticals in the fourth quarter valued at about $59,000. Handelsbanken Fonder AB raised its position in Aerie Pharmaceuticals by 19.2% in the fourth quarter. Handelsbanken Fonder AB now owns 393,300 shares of the company’s stock valued at $14,198,000 after purchasing an additional 63,300 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Suffolk Capital Management LLC raised its position in Aerie Pharmaceuticals by 10.9% in the fourth quarter. Suffolk Capital Management LLC now owns 230,149 shares of the company’s stock valued at $8,308,000 after purchasing an additional 22,679 shares during the last quarter.

Aerie Pharmaceuticals Company Profile

Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc, an ophthalmic pharmaceutical company, focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialization of first-in-class therapies for the treatment of glaucoma and other eye diseases. Its lead product is Rhopressa, a once-daily eye drop to reduce elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with glaucoma or ocular hypertension.

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