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Abbott Laboratories Jumps on 1st-Quarter Results

- By Alberto Abaterusso

Shares of the U.S. health care company Abbott Laboratories (ABT) jumped 0.55% to $76.80 in premarket trading on Wednesday following the release of first-quarter results for fiscal 2019.

The Lake Bluff, Illinois-based company posted adjusted earnings of 63 cents per diluted share, or 6.8% higher year-over-year, beating estimates by 1 cent. GAAP earnings per share were 38 cents, or 65.2% higher.

Sales increased 2% from the prior-year quarter to $7.54 billion, beating expectations by $50 million.

The Nutrition and Medical Devices segments drove the sales growth, offsetting an underperforming Established Pharmaceuticals segment. The Nutrition segment was up 2% to $1.792 billion, the Diagnostics segment was slightly higher to $1.841 billion and the Medical Devices segment grew 5.5% to $2.895 billion. The Established Pharmaceuticals segment fell 4.9% to $992 million.

CEO Miles D. White commented on the first-quarter results: "All of our key long-term growth drivers are performing well and we're targeting another year of strong sales and earnings growth."

For full-year 2019, the company expects to report earnings per share of between $1.95 and $2.05 and non-GAAP earnings per share of between $3.15 and $3.25.

The company also released its expectations for earnings for the second quarter: GAAP earnings per share are predicted to be within 47 cents and 49 cents, while non-GAAP earnings per share are forecasted to range between 79 cents and 81 cents.

On May 15, Abbott will pay its 381st quarterly dividend, distributing 32 cents per share to shareholders of record April 15. The ex-dividend date is scheduled for April 12. The forward dividend yield is 1.65% versus an industry median of 1.48%. The ratio is based on the share price at market close Tuesday.

Abbott Labs has increased its dividend payout 47 consecutive times over the past 47 years.

Abbott is part of the Standard & Poor's 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index.

After a 6% increase this year, the share price was $76.4 at close on Tuesday for a market capitalization of about $134.16 billion on the New York Stock Exchange.

The 52-week range is $56.81 to $80.74. The price-book ratio is 4.39 versus an industry median of 3.06, and the price-sales ratio is 4.42 versus an industry median of 3.15.

The stock has underperformed the S&P 500 index by about 10.4% so far this year.

Disclosure: I have no position in security mentioned.

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This article first appeared on GuruFocus.