A new month is underway for CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) shares today after an abysmal October for the biotech heavyweight. At the end of yesterday, Australia's third most valuable listed company tallied up a monthly share price decline of 7.4%, settling at $232.35.
The tenth month of 2023 was unkind to other ASX healthcare shares (and markets more broadly) as well, with stalwarts, such as Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH) and Sonic Healthcare Ltd (ASX: SHL), suffering decreases in share price.
In any event, CSL shares were tenderised last month, arguably led by speculation around weight-loss drugs. The question is then: what could be awaiting shareholders this month?
The month ahead for CSL shares
For those CSL investors who can appreciate quieter times, you could be in luck.
The past few months have been almost non-stop action at the plasma medical products company.
In August, investors were supplied with the latest full-year results. Then, CSL shares went ex-dividend in September. Finally, October gave rise to the fluster from new research showing possible uses of semaglutide in chronic kidney disease — as well as capital markets day to boot.
In contrast, the November schedule is entirely uneventful. No dividend dates, no annual general meeting, and no quarterly results. Does that mean we won't hear a peep from anyone about CSL shares? Maybe… though, it is unlikely.
It's fair to say that weight-loss drugs have the investing world captivated. Every person and their dog are vigorously trying to establish the next area of disruption caused by GLP-1 receptor agonists, such as Ozempic.
Findings of a safety review conducted by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) into GLP-1s are expected this month. The medical body has decided to see whether there is any causal relationship following a number of reports of "suicidal thoughts and self-injury" among people taking the medicine.
Notably, the EMA determined on 27 October 2023 that there was no supporting link between GLP-1 drugs and thyroid cancer. The review was prompted by a publication in 2022 suggesting a possible increased risk among people taking GLP-1 agonists for type 2 diabetes.
There's a good chance investors will be on the lookout for information relating to the drug's application in medical areas where CSL operates.
Beyond this month
Looking further out than November, a handful of analysts expect upside to CSL shares.
Now trading on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of around 33 times, is the biotech company 'cheap'? Marcus Today analyst Matt Lattin considers it a buy, referencing improving gross margins and a diverse strategy.
CSL expects to grow its net profit after tax (NPAT) by between 13% to 17% in FY2024. At the midpoint, this would value CSL shares at approximately 24 times FY24 earnings.