Abbott Laboratories Sees Unusually High Options Volume (NYSE:ABT)

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Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) was the target of some unusual options trading activity on Wednesday. Traders purchased 103,854 call options on the stock. This represents an increase of approximately 756% compared to the average volume of 12,138 call options.

In other news, EVP Andrea F. Wainer sold 3,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, December 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $142.50, for a total transaction of $427,500.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, VP Philip P. Boudreau sold 8,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $126.49, for a total transaction of $1,011,920.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 75,177 shares of company stock worth $10,185,128 in the last 90 days. Company insiders own 1.50% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Bedel Financial Consulting Inc. increased its stake in Abbott Laboratories by 3.2% in the fourth quarter. Bedel Financial Consulting Inc. now owns 2,496 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock worth $351,000 after purchasing an additional 77 shares during the period. Webster Bank N. A. increased its stake in shares of Abbott Laboratories by 0.8% during the fourth quarter. Webster Bank N. A. now owns 10,473 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock valued at $1,474,000 after buying an additional 78 shares during the period. Meitav Dash Investments Ltd. increased its stake in shares of Abbott Laboratories by 0.8% during the third quarter. Meitav Dash Investments Ltd. now owns 10,250 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock valued at $1,218,000 after buying an additional 80 shares during the period. Thoroughbred Financial Services LLC increased its stake in shares of Abbott Laboratories by 0.6% during the third quarter. Thoroughbred Financial Services LLC now owns 13,051 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock valued at $1,541,000 after buying an additional 81 shares during the period. Finally, Main Street Financial Solutions LLC increased its stake in shares of Abbott Laboratories by 1.3% during the second quarter. Main Street Financial Solutions LLC now owns 6,490 shares of the healthcare product maker’s stock valued at $752,000 after buying an additional 83 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.47% of the company’s stock.

Shares of ABT opened at $129.65 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $229.26 billion, a PE ratio of 32.17, a P/E/G ratio of 2.41 and a beta of 0.72. The business has a fifty day moving average of $132.37 and a 200 day moving average of $125.89. Abbott Laboratories has a 52-week low of $105.36 and a 52-week high of $142.60. The company has a quick ratio of 1.42, a current ratio of 1.83 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.50.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 19th. The healthcare product maker reported $1.40 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.94 by $0.46. Abbott Laboratories had a return on equity of 28.39% and a net margin of 17.12%. The company had revenue of $10.93 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.56 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.98 earnings per share. Abbott Laboratories’s revenue was up 23.4% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, research analysts anticipate that Abbott Laboratories will post 5.06 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Abbott Laboratories announced that its board has authorized a share repurchase program on Friday, December 10th that allows the company to repurchase $5.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the healthcare product maker to buy up to 2.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, February 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, January 14th will be paid a $0.47 dividend. This is a positive change from Abbott Laboratories’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.45. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, January 13th. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.45%. Abbott Laboratories’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 44.67%.

Several equities research analysts recently issued reports on ABT shares. SVB Leerink reissued a “market perform” rating and issued a $140.00 target price (up from $128.00) on shares of Abbott Laboratories in a report on Thursday, October 21st. Redburn Partners started coverage on shares of Abbott Laboratories in a report on Thursday, October 14th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $132.28 price objective for the company. Raymond James cut their price objective on shares of Abbott Laboratories from $150.00 to $134.00 in a report on Thursday, December 23rd. Cowen increased their price objective on shares of Abbott Laboratories from $140.00 to $150.00 in a report on Monday. Finally, Atlantic Securities raised shares of Abbott Laboratories from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and set a $144.00 price objective for the company in a report on Wednesday, October 27th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the company. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, the stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $137.23.

About Abbott Laboratories

Abbott Laboratories engages in the discovery, development, manufacture, and sale of a broad and diversified line of health care products. It operates through the following segments: Established Pharmaceutical Products, Nutritional Products, Diagnostic Products, and Medical Devices. The Established Pharmaceutical Products segment refers to the international sales of a line of branded generic pharmaceutical products.

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