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Why Abbott Laboratories Shot Higher Today

By Eric Volkman – Oct 20, 2021 at 4:34PM

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All four of the company's divisions posted strong growth, but one in particular was a standout.

What happened

Abbott Laboratories (ABT 0.39%) easily surmounted Hump Day, rising by 3.4% and trouncing the S&P 500 index's gain as it did so. The reason was the company's impressive third quarter, the results of which were published that morning.

So what

For the quarter, Abbott posted year-over-year sales growth of 23%, as its top line landed at $10.9 billion. Non-GAAP (adjusted) net income ballooned even more, expanding by 43% to just over $2.5 billion ($1.40 per share).

Medical professional holding dollar sign paperweight.

Image source: Getty Images.

Both headline figures were miles above the average analyst expectations. Collectively, prognosticators tracking the healthcare company estimated that it would earn a bit more than $9.4 billion on the top line and post an adjusted net profit of $0.93.

Not surprisingly, the most robust growth among the four Abbott business units was recorded by diagnostics. After all, the company has done very well with its COVID-19 testing products. Diagnostics' sales shot 48% higher during the quarter to take second place among the four with over $3.9 billion in revenue. Even without the COVID-19 tests, the unit would have done well, with a 14% rise in sales.

Two other divisions also posted double-digit increases at around the 15% mark -- medical devices and established pharmaceuticals (branded generics sold outside the U.S. market). The fourth unit, nutrition, enjoyed a nearly 10% gain, producing $2.1 billion in sales. 

Now what

With such better-than-expected performance at its back, Abbott is confidently and significantly raising its profitability guidance. The company now expects that it will post a per-share, adjusted net profit of $5.00 to $5.10 for the entirety of 2021. Previously, it was guiding for $4.30 to $4.50. For comparison, that figure for 2020 was $3.65.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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