NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's now been two full quarters since healthcare conglomerate Abbott Laboratories ( ABT) effectively separated itself from its drug business -- spinning off that segment into a new entity called AbbVie ( ABBV).The spin-off, which was originally announced in late 2011, was a long-anticipated move, for which Abbott investors cheered. It came with plenty of expectations that the remaining portion of Abbott, which consists of the devices business, would post stronger growth results. But since the separation took effect in January of this year, questions have been raised as to which of the two companies presents the better value. Shares of AbbVie, which have soared more than 30% on the year, have been one of the best performers within the sector. Abbott, meanwhile, has posted gains of 16%. It's not a terrible performance, but the stock has lagged behind Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) and Medtronic ( MDT). Although second-quarter earnings results were better than expected, I didn't see enough to buy shares of Abbott today with my own money.
The medical devices business, where Abbott competes head-on with Johnson & Johnson, continues to struggle, registering no growth whatsoever. By contrast, Johnson & Johnson posted 12% growth in devices. I'm not going to bore you with details here about Johnson & Johnson's organic vs. non-organic growth. I've already written about it at length. But suffice it to say, even on an organic basis, Johnson & Johnson's 2% growth still outperformed Abbott. Here again, for Abbott, it's a familiar dance. While the company does show solid improvements and strong momentum in its nutrition business, it's hard to recommend the stock, especially when the devices business, Abbott's largest division, is posting mediocre results. Meanwhile, revenue in Established Pharmaceuticals, or what the company calls "branded generics," was down 2% (as reported). Follow @saintssense This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.