NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- This article is the first of a series that will give you further information on stocks that are highly rated by TheStreet staff. During the last 40 years I have reviewed many rating systems, some which led me to follow stocks I might have otherwise overlooked. Most lists cannot address the widely different investment needs and risk tolerances of the individual investor.Before you start using any rating list you need to first identify whether you are a growth, value, income or momentum investor. A stock that might be suitable for your tax-deferred IRA may be totally unsuitable for your taxable accounts. Here is a link to a video I made that further explains some investment issues: The 3 Stages of Investing. This series is designed to expand on each highly rated issue to give you additional information to make an informed decision whether this highly rated stock might be suitable for your own portfolio. Abbott Laboratories ( ABT) has been given an A+ rating by the staff of TheStreet. Recently the stock has been a little flat and about a month ago was trading at close to the same price it trades today. The good news is that over the past six months Abbot Labs has outpaced the overall market as measured by the Value Line Index. While the Index is down 2% of the period Abbott Labs is up 9%:
Barchart computes a technical support level at 65.17 and the stock recently traded at 65.42 which is above its 50 day moving average of 64.61.
A+ TheStreet staff rating Analysts project revenue to be down 11.40% this year and down another 2.20% next year Earnings estimated to be down 4.30% this year but up 4.50% next year Novartis: A- TheStreet staff rating Analysts project revenue will be down 2.00% this year but up .90% next year Earnings estimated to be down 5.60% this year and up 3.60% next year Merck A+ TheStreet staff rating Analysts project revenue to be down 1.80% this year and down another 2.60% next year Earnings are estimated to be up 1.10% this year but down 2.40% next year Summary: TheStreet staff seems to rate all the major pharmaceutical stocks very highly but Abbott Labs is the only one that analysts predict will have increases in revenue, earnings and total return for both this year and the next. If you want a pharma in your portfolio this is a good choice. The steadily increasing and above-average dividend makes this an ideal stock for a conservative IRA that is on a dividend reinvestment program. Growth investors should be looking for stocks that analysts project will have increases of at least 10% in revenue, earnings and total return and this stock falls short from those benchmarks. Conservative investors should like the improving moving averages and turtle channels. This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.