Abbott Strengthens on Q4 Results

From the world of medicine, Abbott Park, Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) was basking in the glow of fourth-quarter financial results, and riding them to higher stock prices.

Fourth-quarter worldwide sales of $8.3 billion increased 7.1% on a reported basis and 8.5% on an organic basis.

Reported diluted EPS from continuing operations under GAAP was $0.59 in the fourth quarter. Adjusted diluted EPS from continuing operations, which excludes specified items, was $0.95, an increase of 17.3% versus prior year.

The company foresees even brighter things ahead: full-year 2020 guidance points to organic sales growth of 7-8% which excludes the impact of foreign exchange, and diluted EPS from continuing operations on a GAAP basis of $2.35 to $2.45.

Projected full-year adjusted diluted EPS from continuing operations are $3.55 to $3.65, reflecting double-digit growth at the mid-point.

Moreover, Medical Devices sales increased 9.7% on a reported basis and 11.3% on an organic basis in the fourth quarter. Sales performance was led by double-digit organic sales growth in Heart Failure, Electrophysiology, Structural Heart and Diabetes Care.

According to CEO Miles White, "Our focus on organic growth is driving top-tier performance. We're entering 2020 with very good momentum and targeting continued strong growth."

Last month, ABT increased its quarterly dividend to $0.36 per share from $0.32 per share, an increase of 12.5%. Abbott's cash dividend is payable Feb. 14, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Jan. 15.

Shares hiked $2.55, or 2.8%, to $92.28