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Why Is Abbott (ABT) Up 3.6% Since Last Earnings Report?

A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Abbott (ABT). Shares have added about 3.6% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Abbott due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

Abbott Posts Q1 Earnings Beat, Reiterates '19 EPS View

Abbott reported first-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings from continuing operations of 63 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.3%. The bottom line improved 6.8% year over year and remained above the company’s guided range of 60-62 cents. Reported earnings from continuing operation in the quarter came in at 38 cents, a 65.2% surge from the year-ago quarter.

First-quarter worldwide sales came in at $7.54 billion, up 1.9% year over year on a reported basis. The top line remained above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $7.47 billion.

On an organic basis (adjusting for the impact of foreign exchange as well as certain acquisitions and divestments), sales increased 7.1% year over year in the reported quarter.

Quarter in Detail

Abbott operates through four segments, namely Established Pharmaceuticals Division (EPD), Medical Devices, Nutrition and Diagnostics.

In the first quarter, EPD sales dropped 4.9% on a reported basis (improved 5.4% on an organic basis) to $992 million. This included an 10.3% adverse impact from currency fluctuations. Sales in the key emerging markets declined 5.2% year over year on a 12.5% adverse impact of foreign exchange. Organically, sales improved 7.3% in this market.

The Medical Devices business sales increased 5.5% on a reported basis to $2.89 billion. On an organic basis, sales grew 9.5%.

Cardiovascular and Neuromodulation sales reportedly (up 3.6% on an organic basis) rose 0.2% on double-digit growth in Electrophysiology, Heart Failure, Structural Heart and Diabetes Care. In Electrophysiology, growth was led by strong performance in cardiac mapping and ablation catheters.

Within Structural Heart, the company registered 15% organic growth on a year-over-year basis driven by strong performance in several product areas across Abbott's broad portfolio, including MitraClip device.

Diabetes Care sales improved 34.4% (up 42% organically), buoyed consistent consumer uptake of FreeStyle Libre, the revolutionary continuous glucose monitoring system of Abbott.

Nutrition sales were up 2% year over year on a reported basis (up 6.7% on an organic basis) to $1.79 billion. Pediatric Nutrition sales increased 6.7% on an organic basis. Adult Nutrition sales were up 6.8% organically.

Diagnostics sales were up a marginal 0.2% year over year on a reported basis (up 4.4% on a comparable operational basis) to $1.84 billion. Core Laboratory Diagnostics sales grew 9.9% while Molecular Diagnostics slipped 5.1%, on an organic basis. Point of Care Diagnostics sales were down 4.2%. Rapid Diagnostics sales declined 1.4% on an organic basis in the first quarter affected by a difficult comparison versus the first-quarter of 2018 when sales were abnormally high due to a strong flu season.

2019 Guidance

Adjusting for certain net specified items for the full year, adjusted earnings from continuing operations are reiterated in the band of $3.15-$3.25. The Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.20 remains within this projected range.

The company has also provided second-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings per share outlook. It expects to report adjusted earnings from continuing operations in the range of 79-81 cents. The consensus mark of 81 cents falls at the upper end the predicted range.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

In the past month, investors have witnessed a downward trend in fresh estimates.

VGM Scores

At this time, Abbott has a strong Growth Score of A, though it is lagging a bit on the Momentum Score front with a B. Charting a somewhat similar path, the stock was allocated a grade of C on the value side, putting it in the middle 20% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of B. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.


Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions indicates a downward shift. Notably, Abbott has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.

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