There's one big problem with consistently delivering stellar growth: If you ever falter, investors won't be happy. Thankfully, that doesn't seem to be a problem for Abbott Labs
The company's earnings for the quarter came in at $0.92 per share, excluding a gain from a patent settlement with Medtronic
Sales were only 3.5% higher, but considering the economic environment, including an unfavorable 4.9% effect on sales because of a stronger dollar, that's not too shabby. Abbott is also dealing with generic competition for anti-seizure medicine Depakote, which shrank sales by three percentage points.
Anti-inflammatory Humira is still growing like gangbusters. Sales were up 24% year over year, handily beating Johnson & Johnson's
While it's great to see Humira continuing to plug along -- it's on track to grow 28% to 30% this year, excluding the impact of the exchange rates -- it's also somewhat of a curse. Through the first three quarters of the year, Humira made up more than 17% of total sales. That's not quite as bad a problem as Pfizer
To help counteract that possibility, Abbott has become a serial acquirer, topping off last month by purchasing Solvay's pharmaceutical business. With free cash flow of almost $5.6 billion per year through June, and $6.9 billion in the bank, Abbott can easily afford to continue to diversify -- a good move for companies and investors alike.