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Abbott (ABT) Beats on Earnings & Sales in Q1, View Upped

Abbott Laboratories ABT reported first-quarter 2016 earnings of 41 cents per share, above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 39 cents but lower than the year-ago figure of 47 cents.

Abbott Laboratories (ABT) Street EPS & Surprise Percent - Last 5 Quarters | FindTheCompany

In the reported quarter, sales came in at $4.9 billion, down 0.2% year over year (on a reported basis), but above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.8 billion. Sales were impacted by unfavorable foreign exchange movement of 5.3% during the quarter.

The Quarter in Detail

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

EPD sales dipped 1% to $888 million, including the negative impact of 12% due to currency fluctuations. Sales in key emerging markets climbed 11.9% on an operational basis driven by double-digit growth in India across several core therapeutic areas, including women's health, gastroenterology and cardio-metabolics.

The Medical Devices business generated sales of $1.2 billion, down 2.4% year over year. Sales at the Diabetes Care and Vascular businesses were down 9.1% and 1.9%, respectively, while Medical Optics was up 3.2%. Sales of MitraClip increased in double digits. Abbott’s peripheral stent, Suepra, approved for the treatment of blockages in the superficial femoral artery and proximal popliteal artery in the upper leg, drove growth at the endovascular business. Abbott has filed for regulatory approval of Absorb in Japan and the U.S. in 2015. In Mar 2016, an independent FDA advisory committee gave a positive review on Absorb. Meanwhile, uptake of new cataract products in the premium intraocular lens segment boosted sales. However, sales of diabetes care were impacted by competition and market dynamics.

The Nutrition business inched up 0.1% year over year to $1.7 billion. Pediatric Nutrition sales were up 4.4% on an operational basis. Growth was driven by strong demand for Eleva in the premium segment of the Chinese market, and a strong performance in Russia and across several countries in Latin America. Growth in the U.S. markets was driven by the uptake of several recently launched infant and toddler non-GMO products. Adult Nutrition sales were up 4.3% on an operational basis led by improvement of Ensure in the retail and institutional segments of the market.

Diagnostics business sales grew 2.3% year over year to $1.1 billion. Core Laboratory sales and Point-of-Care Diagnostics sales increased 2.1% and 8.8%, respectively. Molecular Diagnostics sales dipped 2.8% as performance in the U.S. was hurt by the planned scale-down of the genetics business.

2016 Outlook

Abbott Labs upped its guidance for 2016 and now expects earnings per share in the range of $2.14 to $2.24, against the previous expectation of $2.10–$2.20 per share (excluding specified items). The Zacks Consensus Estimate stands at $2.16.

Our Take

First-quarter results came in better than expected driven by product launches – Eleva in China, MitraClip, Freestyle Libre in Europe and Supera peripheral stent in the U.S. The raised guidance was also encouraging, reflecting strong underlying demand.

Abbott Labs currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other well-placed stocks in the health care sector include Novo Nordisk A/S NVO, Eli Lilly and Company LLY and Johnson & Johnson JNJ. All three stocks carry the same rank as Abbott Labs.

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