Abbott Laboratories (ABT) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday morning. They currently have $67.00 price objective on the healthcare product maker’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Post a better-than-expected result by Abbott in the first quarter 2018; we are once again upbeat about the strong and consistent EPD and Medical Devices performance by the company. Also, solid contributions from Diagnostics and Nutrition business encourage us. Within Structural Heart, strong uptake of MitraClip therapy post the national reimbursement approval in Japan also buoys optimism. Abbott continues to benefit from a strong integration synergy of St. Jude Medical. We are also impressed by Abbott’s Alere buyout. Synergies from this consolidation in the form of revenues from Rapid Diagnostics have been driving the company’s growth. Meanwhile, the company’s emerging market performance has been extremely promising on several strategic developments. Over the past three months, Abbott has been outperforming its broader industry. On the flip side, sluggish pediatric vascular business in the United States continues to dent growth.”

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Several other brokerages have also recently issued reports on ABT. Barclays boosted their price target on Abbott Laboratories from $66.00 to $70.00 and gave the company an overweight rating in a research report on Thursday, January 25th. Guggenheim restated a buy rating and issued a $72.00 price target on shares of Abbott Laboratories in a research report on Thursday, January 25th. Royal Bank of Canada restated a buy rating and issued a $67.00 price target on shares of Abbott Laboratories in a research report on Thursday, January 25th. Leerink Swann restated a market perform rating and issued a $68.00 price target (up previously from $60.00) on shares of Abbott Laboratories in a research report on Thursday, January 25th. Finally, Citigroup boosted their price target on Abbott Laboratories from $59.00 to $64.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 30th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have given a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $67.00.

Abbott Laboratories stock opened at $58.84 on Friday. Abbott Laboratories has a fifty-two week low of $42.88 and a fifty-two week high of $64.60. The company has a quick ratio of 1.86, a current ratio of 2.26 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.87. The stock has a market capitalization of $103,365.51, a PE ratio of 23.54, a PEG ratio of 1.72 and a beta of 1.49.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, April 18th. The healthcare product maker reported $0.59 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.58 by $0.01. Abbott Laboratories had a return on equity of 14.53% and a net margin of 1.67%. The business had revenue of $7.39 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $7.28 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.48 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 16.7% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts expect that Abbott Laboratories will post 2.86 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, May 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, April 13th will be given a dividend of $0.28 per share. This represents a $1.12 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.90%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, April 12th. Abbott Laboratories’s payout ratio is 44.80%.

In other Abbott Laboratories news, EVP Stephen R. Fussell sold 13,313 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.84, for a total transaction of $836,588.92. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 152,343 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,573,234.12. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Brian J. Blaser sold 27,733 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, January 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.26, for a total value of $1,726,656.58. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 156,587 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,749,106.62. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 124,261 shares of company stock worth $7,559,987 in the last quarter. 0.74% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. IFG Advisory LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Abbott Laboratories in the 4th quarter worth approximately $2,824,000. Rowland & Co. Investment Counsel ADV acquired a new stake in shares of Abbott Laboratories in the 4th quarter worth approximately $102,000. Icon Wealth Partners LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Abbott Laboratories in the 4th quarter worth approximately $102,000. SWS Partners acquired a new stake in shares of Abbott Laboratories in the 4th quarter worth approximately $104,000. Finally, Cerebellum GP LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Abbott Laboratories in the 4th quarter worth approximately $133,000. Institutional investors own 72.32% of the company’s stock.

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Abbott Laboratories Company Profile

Abbott Laboratories discovers, develops, manufactures, and sells health care products worldwide. The company's Established Pharmaceutical Products segment offers branded generic pharmaceuticals for the treatment of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency; irritable bowel syndrome or biliary spasm; intrahepatic cholestasis or depressive symptoms; gynecological disorders; hormone replacement therapy; dyslipidemia; hypertension; hypothyroidism; Ménière's disease and vestibular vertigo; pain, fever, and inflammation; migraines; and anti-infective clarithromycin, as well as provides influenza vaccine and products that regulate physiological rhythm of the colon.

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