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Stock Analysis: Abbott Laboratories (ABT)

Linked here is a detailed quantitative analysis of Abbott Laboratories (ABT). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:

Company Description: Abbott Laboratories is a diversified life science company that is planning to split into two publicly traded companies, one in diversified medical products and the other in research-based pharmaceuticals.

Fair Value: In calculating fair value, I consider the NPV MMA Differential Fair Value along with these four calculations of fair value, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description:

1. Avg. High Yield Price
2. 20-Year DCF Price
3. Avg. P/E Price
4. Graham Number

ABT is trading at a discount to only 3.) above. Since ABT's tangible book value is not meaningful, a Graham number can not be calculated. The stock is trading at a 18.7% premium to its calculated fair value of $55.21. ABT did not earn any Stars in this section.

Dividend Analytical Data: In this section there are three possible Stars and three key metrics, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description:

1. Free Cash Flow Payout
2. Debt To Total Capital
3. Key Metrics
4. Dividend Growth Rate
5. Years of Div. Growth
6. Rolling 4-yr Div. > 15%

ABT earned three Stars in this section for 1.), 2.) and 3.) above. A Star was earned since the Free Cash Flow payout ratio was less than 60% and there were no negative Free Cash Flows over the last 10 years. The stock earned a Star as a result of its most recent Debt to Total Capital being less than 45%. ABT earned a Star for having an acceptable score in at least two of the four Key Metrics measured. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1926 and has increased its dividend payments for 40 consecutive years.

Dividend Income vs. MMA: Why would you assume the equity risk and invest in a dividend stock if you could earn a better return in a much less risky money market account (MMA) or Treasury bond? This section compares the earning ability of this stock with a high yield MMA. Two items are considered in this section, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description:

1. NPV MMA Diff.
2. Years to > MMA

ABT earned a Star in this section for its NPV MMA Diff. of the $1,193. This amount is in excess of the $500 target I look for in a stock that has increased dividends as long as ABT has. The stock's current yield of 3.07% exceeds the 2.42% estimated 20-year average MMA rate.

Memberships and Peers: ABT is a member of the S&P 500, a Dividend Aristocrat, a member of the Broad Dividend Achievers™ Index and a Dividend Champion. The company's peer group includes: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY) with a 4.2% yield, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) with a 3.5% yield, and Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) with a 4.0% yield.

Conclusion: ABT did not earn any Stars in the Fair Value section, earned three Stars in the Dividend Analytical Data section and earned one Star in the Dividend Income vs. MMA section for a total of four Stars. This quantitatively ranks ABT as a 4-Star Strong stock.

Using my D4L-PreScreen.xls model, I determined the share price would need to increase to $93.45 before ABT's NPV MMA Differential decreased to the $500 minimum that I look for in a stock with 40 years of consecutive dividend increases. At that price the stock would yield 2.2%.

Resetting the D4L-PreScreen.xls model and solving for the dividend growth rate needed to generate the target $500 NPV MMA Differential, the calculated rate is 3.4%. This dividend growth rate is lower than the 6.9% used in this analysis, thus providing a margin of safety. ABT has a risk rating of 1.25 which classifies it as a Low risk stock.

ABT is the best of breed pharmaceutical company with its wide array of patent-protected drugs, diagnostics business, nutritional division and vascular group. Effective January 1, 2013, ABT will spin off its R&D-based drug business in the form of shares of a new publicly traded firm called Abbvie. Some analysts believe the spin-off will result in higher valuations for each company, with investors better able to focus and appreciate the respective growth potential of each firm.

With its strong financials and excellent management team, ABT is in a position to support and continue to grow its dividend. I will continue to add to my position when it is trading at or below my calculated fair value of $55.21 and as my allocation allows.

Disclaimer: Material presented here is for informational purposes only. The above quantitative stock analysis, including the Star rating, is mechanically calculated and is based on historical information. The analysis assumes the stock will perform in the future as it has in the past. This is generally never true. Before buying or selling any stock you should do your own research and reach your own conclusion. See my Disclaimer for more information.

Full Disclosure: At the time of this writing, I was long ABT (5.1% of my Dividend Growth Portfolio) and also held positions in JNJ. See a list of all my dividend growth holdings here.

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