Glenview's Robbins says talk of Amazon's entering pharma is overblown

FILE PHOTO: An Inc driver stands next to an Amazon delivery truck in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 21, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Glenview Capital Management Chief Executive Larry Robbins said on Monday at the Sohn Investment Conference in New York that he still likes a trio of stocks he already owns, citing CVS Health Corp CVS.N, McKesson Corp MCK.N and Express Scripts Holdings ESRX.O.

He also said speculation that Inc AMZN.O might be looking to enter the pharmacy business and possibly threaten these companies' business is overblown.

Amazon has not made significant hires in the pharmacy business and does not have the licenses needed to enter the business, Robbins said. Amazon’s entry into the business of selling medications, is “neither imminent, assured, nor likely to succeed,” he said.

Speculation mounted late last year that the online retail giant might be ready to target pharmacies and the selling of drugs next after buying grocer Whole Foods earlier in 2017.

The speculation about Amazon has weighed on CVS’s stock price. But Robbins was confident his stock picks could rise.

Within two year, Robbins said, Express Scripts’ stock could climb 69 percent while McKesson’s stock could post returns of 136 percent and CVS could climb 96 percent. “Amazon fears are dramatically overblown,” he said.

Reporting by Jennifer Ablan and Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Leslie Adler