Abbott Laboratories Beats Forecasts on Higher Profit

It fell just short of estimates on sales and narrowed its outlook

By Christopher Freeburn, InvestorPlace Writer

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) said on Wednesday it earned $1.94 billion during the third quarter, compared to just $303 million in the same period last year. Adjusted EPS came in at $1.30, exceeding the $1.28 that Wall Street was looking for, The Wall Street Journal noted.

The drugmaker posted lower sales for the quarter, down 0.4% to $9.77 billion. That missed the $9.94 billion that analysts had expected.

Should I Buy Abbott Labs? 3 Pros, 3 Cons
Should I Buy Abbott Labs? 3 Pros, 3 Cons

Company officials said they anticipated 2012 earnings of between $5.06 and $5.08 a share. That was a more focused outlook compared to earlier guidance of between $5 and $5.10 a share.

Investors weren’t impressed and sent Abbott shares down more than 2% in Wednesday morning trading.

Company-branded drug sales increased 2.4% over last year, while sales of generic medications in international markets declined 7.3%. Sales of laboratory products rose 1.7%, while nutritional products sales gained 4.5% compared to 2011.

Abbott pared its expenses during the quarter. Overall operating costs fell 16% compared to last year, while product costs slid 6.9% and selling and administrative expenses tumbled 31%.

Abbott will split into two companies on Jan. 1, with Abbott Laboratories continuing its medical device business and AbbVie taking over pharmaceutical operations.

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