Technically, Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) stock is trading at half of its 52-week high.
But only technically.
Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) stock hit a high in October of last year of 72.47, but when the new year hit, the company split in two, spinning its drug assets into AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV). Investors that continued to hold AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV) stock and Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) stock are looking at a combined value above $80 per share.
Off the drugs
Without its drug division, first-quarter earnings required a little juggling to compare apples to apples. Diluted earnings per common share from continuing operations, excluding specified items — wow, that’s a mouthful — increased 5% compared to the same metric as the year-ago quarter. Basically, the company is pretending like it didn’t own AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV) and then backing out special items from both quarters.
The nutrition business helped drive sales up 3.5% at constant currency. Sales of baby formula and the like were up 9% at constant currencies. Diagnostics were up 6.4% year over year, ignoring currency changes.
Dragging down sales were medical devices, which saw sales drop 3% at constant currency. Much of the decline came from sales of its drug-eluting stent and related products, which fell 15% in the U.S. compared to the first quarter of 2012. U.S. sales are being dragged down by pricing pressure as it competes with Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE:BSX) and decreased usage by the doctors. Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE:BSX) reported a similar experience with U.S. sales of drug-eluting stents down a whopping 33%.
Outside the U.S. sales of the segment actually increased 6.7% thanks to launches into new territories. It’s easy to see growth when the comparing quarter has zero sales. Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE:BSX) wasn’t able to manage that, international sales were down 6.5%
You’ll recall that Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) saw the writing on the walls and exited the drug-eluting stent business altogether. One has to wonder how long Abbott will give it. Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) stock might actually go up if the company followed Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)’s lead.