Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Wednesday. The brokerage currently has a $53.00 price target on the healthcare product maker’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would suggest a potential upside of 9.94% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “For the majority of last one month, Abbott is trading above the broader Medical Products industry. We are optimistic about the company’s strong and consistent EPD and Medical Devices performance in the last reported first quarter. Overall, the company stands to benefit from the ongoing integration and synergy achievement of St. Jude. We are also looking forward to the company’s plans to focus on selling portfolio in core therapeutic areas. Very recently, Abbott also received CE mark for its TactiCath Sensor and Confirm Rx ICM products which is quite encouraging. The company also launched science-based nutrition drinks for better recovery from surgeries. On the flip side, Abbott’s sluggish pediatric business in China continues to hamper growth. Management is also concerned about the on-going economic problem in Venezuela that is expected to remain unresolved in the coming quarters.”

A number of other analysts have also issued reports on the stock. Morgan Stanley reissued an “equal weight” rating and set a $42.00 target price on shares of Abbott Laboratories in a research note on Wednesday, April 19th. Barclays PLC upped their price objective on shares of Abbott Laboratories from $50.00 to $52.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 20th. Cowen and Company reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and issued a $48.00 price objective on shares of Abbott Laboratories in a research note on Saturday, April 22nd. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $52.00 price objective (up from $51.00) on shares of Abbott Laboratories in a research note on Saturday, March 11th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets lowered shares of Abbott Laboratories from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $48.00 price objective for the company. in a research note on Tuesday, March 14th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eleven have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. Abbott Laboratories has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $49.50.

Analyst Recommendations for Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT)

Shares of Abbott Laboratories (ABT) opened at 48.21 on Wednesday. Abbott Laboratories has a 52-week low of $36.76 and a 52-week high of $48.38. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $45.07 and a 200 day moving average of $42.97. The stock has a market capitalization of $83.66 billion, a PE ratio of 50.17 and a beta of 1.08.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, April 19th. The healthcare product maker reported $0.48 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.43 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $6.34 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $6.16 billion. Abbott Laboratories had a net margin of 6.74% and a return on equity of 14.91%. The business’s revenue was up 29.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.41 earnings per share. Analysts forecast that Abbott Laboratories will post $2.47 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, July 14th will be given a dividend of $0.265 per share. This represents a $1.06 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.20%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, July 12th. Abbott Laboratories’s payout ratio is 110.42%.

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In other Abbott Laboratories news, insider Stephen R. Fussell sold 196,550 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, June 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $46.00, for a total transaction of $9,041,300.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 221,488 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $10,188,448. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Roger Bird sold 5,600 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, April 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $43.82, for a total transaction of $245,392.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 51,313 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,248,535.66. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 206,902 shares of company stock valued at $9,497,761. Insiders own 0.76% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in Abbott Laboratories by 2,803.1% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 105,724,808 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock valued at $4,695,239,000 after buying an additional 102,083,010 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in Abbott Laboratories by 23.8% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 126,545,892 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock valued at $5,619,903,000 after buying an additional 24,357,363 shares during the last quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP raised its stake in Abbott Laboratories by 112.7% in the first quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 36,441,509 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock valued at $1,618,368,000 after buying an additional 19,309,345 shares during the last quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA raised its stake in Abbott Laboratories by 51.5% in the first quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 51,895,715 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock valued at $2,304,690,000 after buying an additional 17,633,631 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Norges Bank purchased a new stake in Abbott Laboratories during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $598,897,000. 71.53% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Abbott Laboratories

Abbott Laboratories is engaged in the discovery, development, manufacture and sale of a range of healthcare products. The Company operates through four segments: Established Pharmaceutical Products, Diagnostic Products, Nutritional Products and Vascular Products. Its Established Pharmaceutical Products include a range of branded generic pharmaceuticals manufactured around the world and marketed and sold outside the United States.

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