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Novo Drops as JPMorgan Says Rivals Gain Ground: Copenhagen Mover

Novo Drops as JPMorgan Says Rivals Gain Ground
An employee holds oral insulin pills, produced by Novo Nordisk A/S, at the company's research and development unit in Malov. Photographer: Anders Boggild/Novo Nordisk via Bloomberg

Novo Nordisk A/S fell the most in 11 days in Copenhagen trading after JPMorgan Chase & Co. said investors are underestimating the extent to which the world’s largest maker of diabetes medicines is losing ground to rivals.

Novo fell as much as 1.9 percent, the most since March 7. The stock retreated 1.5 percent to 984 kroner at 10:56 a.m. in the Danish capital, with trading volume at 27 percent of the three-month daily average. The stock underperformed the Stoxx Health Care index of 35 companies, which lost 0.1 percent.

Last month, U.S. regulators rejected Novo’s Tresiba insulin, marking a set setback for the Bagsvaerd, Denmark-based company’s contest with Sanofi to dominate the diabetes market. JPMorgan today cut its recommendation on Novo shares to underweight from neutral, citing the rejection as well as “limited commercial upside” for the use of Novo’s liraglutide product as a treatment against obesity.

“Both these factors seem to be under-appreciated by the market,” Richard Vosser, a JPMorgan analyst, said in a note. “In fact, Novo’s recent share price rally suggests investors remain in denial that Novo’s fundamentals have deteriorated.”

Novo’s share fell 13 percent on Feb. 11, the day after the Tresiba rejection. Since then, the stock gained 7.6 percent through last week’s close.

The share will probably drop by the third quarter, when Novo will have released obesity data for its liraglutide product, according to the JPMorgan analyst.

“We expect investors to reassess the risk reward of owning Novo shares, with the likely conclusion, in our view, that they should take profits,” Vosser said. “We’ve already reached that conclusion and, hence downgrade to underweight.”

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