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Is the CSL share price a buy after the coronavirus volatility?

biotech shares

The CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) share price is down around 20% over the past month.

The healthcare giant hasn’t been as affected as much as some of the other blue chip shares such as Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) which is down around 33% over the past month.

CSL is now a lot bigger than CBA and I think it could stay like that. CBA is facing a number of uncertainties over the coming months with the economic disruption to most of the country.

But I don’t think CSL is going to be as affected as much or as long as the banks, or most other blue chips in my opinion.

CSL hasn’t yet given an update with the coronavirus spreading significantly across the western world.

In the half-year result the company upgraded its FY20 profit outlook so that it was in the range of approximately US$2.11 billion to US$2.17 billion, which would be growth of 10% to 13%.

CSL has previously said that because this coronavirus is quite different to the influenza virus it’s not a core area of focus for CSL or Seqirus, though it is looking into “possible adjacencies in expertise, technologies and facilities that might be able to contribute to the global effort.”

It has partnered with the University of Queensland’s COVID-19 vaccine development program. It will provide technical expertise as well as a donation of Seqirus’ proprietary adjuvant technology to their pre-clinical development program. Adjuvants are used in vaccines to create a stronger immune response and to speed vaccine production and output. The University of Queensland will use the adjuvant to test the viral protein they are developing with their molecular clamp technology.

However, the research program is just starting and it will be some months before the success of the program will be known.

Foolish takeaway

CSL is trading at 28x FY22’s estimated earnings. I think that’s how far ahead you need to look before the global economy may be back to normal. I think the combination of lower share price and lower interest rate makes CSL a decent long-term buy today. But I think there are shares out there with better growth prospects.

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Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of CSL Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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