Abbott Laboratories Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (ABT)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) has been reitereated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of A. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share and increase in net income. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
    • ABT's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 5.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.6%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
    • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.65, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.02, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
    • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
    • ABBOTT LABORATORIES has improved earnings per share by 41.8% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, ABBOTT LABORATORIES increased its bottom line by earning $2.99 versus $2.96 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.05 versus $2.99).
    • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Pharmaceuticals industry. The net income increased by 43.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $863.82 million to $1,240.12 million.

Abbott Laboratories engages in the discovery, development, manufacture, and sale of health care products worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.8, equal to the average drugs industry P/E ratioand above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Abbott has a market cap of $96.04 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 7.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

You can view the full Abbott Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.
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