Zacks Investment Research Lowers Abbott Laboratories (ABT) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Over the past three months, Abbott has been trading above the broader industry. Abbott’s second-quarter 2017 performance was promising. The raised guidance is indicative of brighter prospects. In fact, the guidance raise was backed by the company’s expectations to gain more synergies from the St. Jude merger. Overall, we look forward to Abbott’s plans to expand in core therapeutic areas. Recently, the company's  FreeStyle Libre Flash received the FDA approval. Also, the company has received FDA approval for magnetic resonance-conditional labeling for its Ellipse implantable cardioverter defibrillator recently. On the flip side, Abbott’s sluggish pediatric business in China continues to dent growth. Management is also concerned about the economic problems in Venezuela that are expected to remain unresolved for some time. Meanwhile, we await the closing of the Alere buyout, slated for close on Oct 3.”

A number of other analysts have also recently issued reports on the company. BidaskClub raised Abbott Laboratories from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a report on Saturday, June 17th. Jefferies Group LLC restated a buy rating and issued a $58.00 target price on shares of Abbott Laboratories in a research note on Thursday, June 29th. TheStreet upgraded Abbott Laboratories from a c+ rating to a b rating in a research note on Monday, July 3rd. Wells Fargo & Company restated an outperform rating and issued a $54.00 target price (up from $47.50) on shares of Abbott Laboratories in a research note on Friday, June 30th. Finally, Cowen and Company restated an outperform rating and issued a $55.00 target price (up from $48.00) on shares of Abbott Laboratories in a research note on Friday, July 14th. Eight investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company. Abbott Laboratories presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $54.94.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE ABT) opened at 54.65 on Thursday. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $52.59 and a 200-day moving average price of $48.14. Abbott Laboratories has a 12 month low of $37.38 and a 12 month high of $55.43. The company has a market cap of $94.95 billion, a PE ratio of 76.54 and a beta of 1.06.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 20th. The healthcare product maker reported $0.62 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.60 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $6.64 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $6.63 billion. Abbott Laboratories had a return on equity of 14.43% and a net margin of 4.96%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 24.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.55 EPS. Equities analysts predict that Abbott Laboratories will post $2.49 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, October 13th will be issued a $0.265 dividend. This represents a $1.06 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.94%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, October 12th. Abbott Laboratories’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 149.30%.

In other Abbott Laboratories news, insider Stephen R. Fussell sold 196,550 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $49.50, for a total value of $9,729,225.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 221,488 shares in the company, valued at approximately $10,963,656. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, insider Brian J. Blaser sold 15,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, July 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.00, for a total value of $750,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 143,154 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,157,700. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 333,310 shares of company stock valued at $16,857,255. Company insiders own 0.76% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ABT. Heritage Trust Co lifted its holdings in Abbott Laboratories by 10.1% in the 2nd quarter. Heritage Trust Co now owns 2,175 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock worth $106,000 after buying an additional 200 shares during the period. Winfield Associates Inc. lifted its holdings in Abbott Laboratories by 3.9% in the 2nd quarter. Winfield Associates Inc. now owns 2,382 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock worth $116,000 after buying an additional 89 shares during the period. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. lifted its holdings in Abbott Laboratories by 17.7% in the 2nd quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. now owns 2,463 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock worth $120,000 after buying an additional 370 shares during the period. V Wealth Management LLC purchased a new stake in Abbott Laboratories in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $127,000. Finally, JFS Wealth Advisors LLC lifted its stake in shares of Abbott Laboratories by 349.0% in the 2nd quarter. JFS Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 2,694 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock valued at $131,000 after purchasing an additional 2,094 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 71.50% of the company’s stock.

Abbott Laboratories Company Profile

Abbott Laboratories is engaged in the discovery, development, manufacture and sale of a range of healthcare products. The Company operates through four segments: Established Pharmaceutical Products, Diagnostic Products, Nutritional Products and Vascular Products. Its Established Pharmaceutical Products include a range of branded generic pharmaceuticals manufactured around the world and marketed and sold outside the United States.

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