Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) to “Buy”

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report released on Tuesday, October 31st. The brokerage currently has $61.00 target price on the healthcare product maker’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Abbott exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate on both earnings and sales front in the third quarter. We are optimistic about the strong and consistent EPD and Medical Devices performance. However, these were to some extent offset by sluggish Nutrition business. The company continues to benefit from the recently completed St. Jude Medical buyout. Meanwhile, Alere acquisition close is an upside too. Through 2017, Abbott is effectively focusing on core therapeutic areas. Recently, its FreeStyle Libre Flash received the FDA approval. Also, it has received approval for MR-conditional labeling for Ellipse ICD. Also, emerging market performance remains promising on several new strategic developments. Hence, in the past three months, Abbott is trading above the broader industry. On the flip side, sluggish pediatric nutrition business in some global markets continues to dent growth. Also the economic problems in Venezuela are expected to remain unresolved.”

A number of other equities analysts also recently issued reports on ABT. Barclays PLC increased their price objective on Abbott Laboratories from $57.00 to $60.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Thursday, September 28th. Stifel Nicolaus raised their price target on Abbott Laboratories from $58.00 to $63.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Thursday, October 19th. BMO Capital Markets restated a hold rating and set a $53.00 price target on shares of Abbott Laboratories in a report on Monday, October 2nd. BidaskClub downgraded Abbott Laboratories from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Sunday, August 6th. Finally, Cowen and Company reissued a buy rating on shares of Abbott Laboratories in a research report on Sunday, September 24th. Seven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $56.81.

Shares of Abbott Laboratories (ABT) opened at $54.80 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $95,384.93, a P/E ratio of 22.74, a PEG ratio of 2.05 and a beta of 1.06. Abbott Laboratories has a 52 week low of $37.38 and a 52 week high of $56.69. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.72, a quick ratio of 2.26 and a current ratio of 2.69.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 18th. The healthcare product maker reported $0.66 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.65 by $0.01. Abbott Laboratories had a return on equity of 13.98% and a net margin of 8.37%. The firm had revenue of $6.83 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $6.72 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.59 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 28.8% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts forecast that Abbott Laboratories will post 2.5 EPS for the current year.

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The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, October 13th will be given a dividend of $0.265 per share. This represents a $1.06 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.93%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, October 12th. Abbott Laboratories’s dividend payout ratio is currently 83.47%.

In related news, insider Jaime Contreras sold 52,700 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, September 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.97, for a total transaction of $2,738,819.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 58,739 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,052,665.83. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Daniel Gesua Sive Salvadori sold 96,603 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, October 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.21, for a total value of $5,430,054.63. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 142,082 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,986,429.22. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 408,313 shares of company stock worth $21,205,356. Corporate insiders own 0.76% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Waldron LP lifted its holdings in shares of Abbott Laboratories by 41.0% in the 1st quarter. Waldron LP now owns 10,042 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock worth $442,000 after buying an additional 2,922 shares during the period. Grandfield & Dodd LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Abbott Laboratories by 153.4% in the 1st quarter. Grandfield & Dodd LLC now owns 36,957 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock worth $1,641,000 after buying an additional 22,374 shares during the period. Tocqueville Asset Management L.P. lifted its holdings in shares of Abbott Laboratories by 1.2% in the 1st quarter. Tocqueville Asset Management L.P. now owns 1,027,791 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock worth $45,644,000 after buying an additional 12,528 shares during the period. Atwood & Palmer Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Abbott Laboratories by 157.5% in the 1st quarter. Atwood & Palmer Inc. now owns 3,270 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock worth $145,000 after buying an additional 2,000 shares during the period. Finally, Coconut Grove Bank lifted its holdings in shares of Abbott Laboratories by 13.6% in the 1st quarter. Coconut Grove Bank now owns 14,560 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock worth $647,000 after buying an additional 1,745 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 70.64% 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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