Can Walgreen Keep Rebounding in 2013?


As 2013 begins, now's a good time to look at the future prospects for the stocks you own. If you don't know where a company's headed in the next year and beyond, then it's impossible to make an informed decision about whether you should add the stock to your portfolio -- or sell it if you already own it.

Today, I'll look at Walgreen . The drugstore chain bounced back in 2012 after having faced a huge strategic challenge, but it's still working hard to repair the damage. Below, you'll learn more about Walgreen's prospects for 2013.

Stats on Walgreen

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Source: Yahoo Finance.

Will Walgreen fill investors' prescriptions for growth in 2013?
Analysts have mixed feelings about Walgreen. Their target price for the stock isn't very ambitious, implying just a 5% gain from current share-price levels. Yet, with solid earnings growth and modest increases in sales, Walgreen should look better fundamentally as the year goes on.

Despite a resilient stock price, Walgreen is still struggling to get over the impact of the customers it lost during its dispute with pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts . With revenue from its fiscal first quarter down almost 5% from the year-ago quarter, and earnings plunging 25%, Walgreen hasn't been able to earn back former customers' loyalty.

You can tell just how big a deal the Express Scripts fiasco continues to be by looking at competitors' results. Rite Aid managed to earn a profit for the first quarter in five years thanks to the customers it gained from Walgreen. Meanwhile, CVS Caremark is pushing ahead in its efforts to retain its share of former Walgreen customers.

Still, Walgreen will press ahead in two major ways that are important for investors. First, Walgreen has an impressive 36-year dividend-increase streak that it should maintain easily. Second, its acquisition of Alliance Boots gives it growth opportunities in Europe, which is currently hard-hit by economic woes, but which should rebound, and give Walgreen the chance to boost its global presence.

Walgreen will have to work hard to recover; but with the right moves, it should be able to succeed. Meanwhile, with its 3% dividend, investors have every incentive to be patient holding the stock.

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The article Can Walgreen Keep Rebounding in 2013? originally appeared on

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool owns shares of Express Scripts. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Express Scripts. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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.

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