Stefanie Kammerman, the Stock Whisperer, to tell you the Whisper of the Week: GLD and SLV in my week...
This Pharma Is Different from the Rest
08/02/2012 5:35 pm EST
Although the sector has enough issues to make MoneyShow's Jim Jubak, also of Jubak's Picks, a skeptic, this company has a promising event on the horizon that could drive shares higher.
I can’t say that I’m a big fan of Abbott Laboratories (ABT)—mostly because I’m not a big fan of big drug companies in general.
Because these companies are seeing a steady stream of big moneymaking drugs go off patent, they’ve been aggressive buyers of small companies with new potential blockbuster products.
And frankly, when I have a choice between buyers and sellers in a seller's market, I’ll always go with the seller—an Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN), for instance, recently purchased by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY).
In fact, I’ve damned Abbott Laboratories with faint praise, even as I continued to own the shares in my Jubak’s Picks portfolio. I once wrote, as I remember, "Where else in this market can you think of to put your money?"
Abbott shares yield 3.08% today, when the ten-year US Treasury is yielding 1.48%. And last time I looked, the drug company and the US government had the same AA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s. I’d argue that if either credit rating is too generous, it’s not the one for the profit-making drug company.
For the next few months, I’m going to be playing a lot of defense—and so are a lot of investors. I think that makes the shares of a 3% yielding, solid blue-chip drug company even more valuable than it was way back in September 2010, when I first bought Abbott shares for the portfolio.
So today, August 2, I’m keeping the stock in the portfolio, even though it has reached my $65 a share target price. In fact, I'm increasing my target price to $72 a share by the time later this year, when the company splits into two companies, with the spinoff of the drug business into a new company to be called AbbVie.
Investors who are still holding the stock at the spinoff date will get shares of both AbbVie, the drug company that will own Abbott’s blockbuster Humira, and the company that will continue to do business under the Abbott name. The latter will own the company’s current diagnostics, medical devices, and nutritionals businesses.
When Abbott reported its second-quarter earnings on July 18, it beat Wall Street earnings estimates by a penny, as earnings climbed 9.8% from the second quarter of 2011. Revenue climbed 2% from that year-earlier period. Excluding the effects of the stronger dollar, revenue would have been up 6.7%.
Gross margins climbed to 63.3% for the quarter, a big jump from the 60.2% gross margin in the second quarter of 2011. The big strength in the quarter was in sales of Humira, up 16%, and nutritionals up 11% year to year.
I’ve got a 27.8% gain (plus dividends) in Abbott Laboratories since I added it to Jubak’s Picks on September 24, 2010.