Abbott's ( ABT) stock was upgraded by analysts at UBS to a neutral rating from reduce after the health care giant agreed to sell its diagnostics business to GE ( GE) for about $8 billion.

"We view several of the decisions that ABT has made over the last 5 years as being in line with the company's strategic plan of truly becoming a growth company, but the willingness to sell this core asset base is to us a major positive in terms of corporate governance and strategic direction," wrote medical supplies analyst Kenneth Weakley in a research report Friday.

GE is also acquiring Abbott's in vitro diagnostic and point-of-care businesses for approximately three times estimated 2006 sales for those assets, the analyst notes.

"We remain concerned about the political environment for ABT as the issue of price controls for Medicare is far from settled," Weakley wrote. However, he believes the company's growth profile has been improving.

Among Abbott's major moves, the analyst notes the company's spin-off Hospira hospital supply business in 2004, its early 2006 acquisition of Guidant's vascular business for drug-eluting stents, as well as its acquisition of Kos Pharmaceuticals late last year.

Weakley raised his price target on the stock to $53 from $43. Shares were trading 1.3% higher to $53.46 Friday morning.

UBS makes a market in Abbott's stock.

More from Stocks

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Is a Rock Star: Kiss Icon Gene Simmons

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Is a Rock Star: Kiss Icon Gene Simmons

The Best Investment Advice? Stay Diversified

The Best Investment Advice? Stay Diversified

Attention 60 Minutes: Google Isn't the Only Big-Tech Monopoly

Attention 60 Minutes: Google Isn't the Only Big-Tech Monopoly

Listen: Should You Buy Cisco Now?

Listen: Should You Buy Cisco Now?

Amazon Could Devastate Walgreens and Rite Aid by Getting Into Pharmacy Business

Amazon Could Devastate Walgreens and Rite Aid by Getting Into Pharmacy Business