Abbott Laboratories (ABT): Today's Featured Health Care Laggard

Editor's Note: 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.

Abbott Laboratories ( ABT) pushed the Health Care sector lower today making it today's featured Health Care laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.3%. By the end of trading, Abbott Laboratories fell 69 cents (-1.1%) to $65.32 on average volume. Throughout the day, 6.8 million shares of Abbott Laboratories exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7.6 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $64.88-$66.03 after having opened the day at $66.01 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $66.01. Other companies within the Health Care sector that declined today were: Rigel Pharmaceuticals ( RIGL), down 34.6%, CombiMatrix Corporation ( CBMX), down 25.5%, Idera Pharmaceuticals ( IDRA), down 21.7%, and ARCA biopharma ( ABIO), down 15.6%.
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Abbott Laboratories engages in the discovery, development, manufacture, and sale of health care products worldwide. Abbott Laboratories has a market cap of $104.59 billion and is part of the drugs industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 17.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are six analysts that rate Abbott Laboratories a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Abbott Laboratories as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and reasonable valuation levels. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the health care sector could consider Health Care Select Sector SPDR ( XLV) while those bearish on the health care sector could consider ProShares Ultra Short Health Care ( RXD).

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