Abbott Laboratories is nothing if not consistent. The pharmaceuticals and medical technologies giant has steadily increased dividends for more than a decade. Abbott achieved 16% earnings growth last quarter and boosted its dividend by 11%, but it's now trading at just 13 times earnings, compared with 19 times earnings one year ago. That's still a slight premium to its industry, but Abbott deserves it -- the stock has returned 4% over the last five years, vs. an average of 0.2%.
Investors balked when Abbott announced slowing sales of its blockbuster anti-inflammatory drug, Humira, but prescriptions have since rebounded. "We continue to have a high degree of confidence in management's ability to achieve the recently revised 2009 guidance of 15-20% growth for the drug," noted Cowen & Co. analyst Sara Michelmore in a recent report. "With the shares discounting a significant slowdown for Humira, we believe the risk/reward is attractive at these levels."
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