I recommend you add a diversified health care company to your portfolio: Abbott Laboratories (ABT); the Chicago-based firm offers medical testing, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, nutritional products and related services, notes Mike Larson, growth and income expert and editor of Safe Money Report.
You may be familiar with its Similac baby formula and Pedialyte beverages. It also makes FreeStyle Libre glucose monitoring systems, Gallant implantable heart defibrillators and Influvac flu vaccines.
Abbott has also been at the forefront of COVID-19. You know about Moderna (MRNA) and Pfizer (PFE) and other companies that made vaccines. What you might not know is that Abbott was in the background making rapid COVID-19 tests.
Its ID NOW molecular test and the BinaxNOW antigen test allow for faster diagnoses than other tests that require lab work. Naturally, testing demand fell this spring after vaccinations ramped up. Abbott even idled a pair of Maine production lines and an Illinois manufacturing plant. But with the Delta variant and other strains driving new infections, test sales are once again ramping up.
Now, too, it looks like longer-term COVID-19 testing demand is here to stay. That’s because employers, schools, sports leagues, governments and others are looking to get more workers back in the office and back on the field. Rapid testing will help that.
But Abbott isn’t a one-trick pony. That’s why second-quarter sales jumped more than 39% year over year to $10.2 billion. The results easily beat the average forecast of $9.69 billion. Sales in non-COVID-19 operations also rose 11% from 2019’s pre-pandemic levels.
Moreover, driven by growth in all four business segments, adjusted earnings more than doubled to $1.17 per share. This beat analysts’ $1.02-per-share estimate. Abbott currently pays a dividend of 45 cents per share per quarter. That’s good for a yield of about 1.4% at recent prices. Its payout is also up a hefty 25% from 2020.
Add in the fact ABT has earned a “Buy” grade from our Weiss Ratings system since February 2018, and you can see why it makes an attractive addition to your Safe Money Portfolio.