Abbott Laboratories (ABT) Rating Increased to Buy at 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 released on Friday morning. The firm currently has $58.00 target price on the healthcare product maker’s stock.

According to Zacks, “In 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, its FreeStyle Libre received the reimbursement approval in the United Kingdom as well as Health Canadian License. Also, the company has received FDA approval for Full MagLev HeartMate 3 Left Ventricular Assist Device 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 the end of third quarter.”

Several other research firms also recently commented on ABT. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a hold rating and issued a $53.00 price target on shares of Abbott Laboratories in a research report on Friday, September 1st. Stifel Nicolaus reiterated a buy rating and issued a $58.00 price target on shares of Abbott Laboratories in a research report on Friday, July 21st. Barclays PLC reiterated an overweight rating and issued a $57.00 price target (up previously from $52.00) on shares of Abbott Laboratories in a research report on Saturday, July 22nd. Citigroup Inc. began coverage on shares of Abbott Laboratories in a research report on Thursday, August 17th. They issued a neutral rating and a $53.00 price target for the company. Finally, Cowen and Company reiterated a buy rating and issued a $55.00 price target on shares of Abbott Laboratories in a research report on Thursday, August 17th. Six analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Abbott Laboratories has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $52.71.

Shares of Abbott Laboratories (ABT) opened at 52.625 on Friday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $50.15 and a 200-day moving average of $47.04. The firm has a market cap of $91.43 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 73.704 and a beta of 1.06. Abbott Laboratories has a 1-year low of $37.38 and a 1-year high of $52.78.

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

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The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, October 13th will be paid a dividend of $0.265 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, October 12th. This represents a $1.06 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.02%. Abbott Laboratories’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 149.30%.

In other news, insider Stephen R. Fussell sold 196,550 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.50, for a total transaction of $9,729,225.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 221,488 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $10,963,656. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Brian J. Blaser sold 15,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, July 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.00, for a total transaction of $750,000.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 143,154 shares in the company, valued at $7,157,700. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 218,150 shares of company stock worth $10,811,179. Corporate insiders own 0.76% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Heritage Trust Co grew its stake in shares of Abbott Laboratories by 10.1% during the 2nd quarter. Heritage Trust Co now owns 2,175 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock worth $106,000 after purchasing an additional 200 shares during the period. Winfield Associates Inc. grew its stake in shares of Abbott Laboratories by 3.9% during the 2nd quarter. Winfield Associates Inc. now owns 2,382 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock worth $116,000 after purchasing an additional 89 shares during the period. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. grew its stake in shares of Abbott Laboratories by 17.7% during the 2nd quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. now owns 2,463 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock worth $120,000 after purchasing an additional 370 shares during the period. V Wealth Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Abbott Laboratories during the 2nd quarter worth $127,000. Finally, JFS Wealth Advisors LLC grew its stake in shares of Abbott Laboratories by 349.0% during the 2nd quarter. JFS Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 2,694 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock worth $131,000 after purchasing an additional 2,094 shares during the period. 71.50% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Abbott Laboratories

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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