Buy Abbott (ABT) Stock Ahead of Earnings on Coronavirus Testing Push?

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bbott Laboratories ABT stock has surged over 40% since March 23, as part of the broader market comeback. On top of that, the FDA has approved two different Abbott coronavirus tests. So now the question for investors is should they consider buying ABT shares with the firm set to report its Q1 fiscal 2020 financial results on Thursday, April 16?

Abbott’s portfolio includes diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals, and branded generic medicines. The company’s Q4 revenue jumped 7% to $8.3 billion, with medical device sales up 9.7% and established pharmaceuticals up 7.8%.

Coronavirus

On the coronavirus front, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two different Abbott coronavirus tests, via emergency use authorization. The company’s ID NOW COVID-19 is a point-of-care test that can detect the virus in as little as five minutes and provide negative results within 13 minutes.

Abbott had shipped 566,000 of its ID NOW COVID-19 tests as of April 11, which are made for its ID NOW rapid portable testing instrument used at urgent care clinics, hospital emergency departments, and other locations. The company said a statement that a “majority of these tests have been sent to outbreak hotspots and we’ve asked that customers prioritize frontline health care workers and first responders.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abbott also noted that it’s currently manufacturing 50,000 tests per day and plans to “increase ID NOW manufacturing capacity to 2 million tests a month by June and are working to expand beyond that.”

Meanwhile, ABT had shipped more than 1 million tests designed for its large, high-volume laboratory instrument, called the m2000 to customers across the U.S. Abbott said it was “also shipping these tests to customers throughout the world” and noted that there are “approximately 200 m2000 instruments in hospital, academic center and reference labs throughout the U.S.”

Outlook

Looking ahead, our current Zacks estimates call for Abbott’s adjusted Q1 earnings to slip 8% to $0.58 a share, on 2.4% lower sales to reach $7.36 billion. Abbott has also seen its earnings estimate revisions turn completely negative recently, with its first quarter consensus estimate down 17% and its fiscal 2020 EPS estimate off 14.7% from where it was 60 days ago.

Abbott is currently a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and is set to report its Q1 fiscal 2020 results before the market opens on Thursday, April 16. ABT shares jumped over 4% during regular trading Tuesday as part of the broader market rally.

Clearly, ABT stock could continue to climb and benefit from its coronavirus testing. But it might be best to wait for updates on its earnings call, with Abbott stock once again near its highs.

That said, Abbott appears as though it could be a longer-term buy, alongside other healthcare, biotech, and pharmaceutical giants such as Johnson & Johnson JNJ, Eli Lilly LLY, and others. Abbott shares have crushed its industry—which currently rests in the top 16% of our more than 250 Zacks industries—over the last three years.

Plus, it has consistently raised its dividend payout, with its current quarterly payout up over 12% at $0.36 a share. ABT’s dividend yield sits at 1.62% right now, to easily top the 10-year U.S. treasury’s 0.75%.

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