Abbott's results a litmus test for COVID-19 testing demand

(Reuters) – Investors will be squarely focused on Abbott Laboratories results on Tuesday to assess the impact of swift vaccination rollout on demand for the company’s COVID-19 tests.

FILE PHOTO – Boxes of Abbott’s heart stents are pictured inside a store at a hospital in New Delhi, India, April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Diagnostic test makers such as Abbott, Becton Dickinson and Quest Diagnostics Inc have relied on brisk sales of COVID-19 molecular and antigen tests to offset soft demand for routine testing and medical devices due to pandemic-induced restrictions on movement.

“I think the investor and Street conversations and concerns are that because of vaccination trends, because of the reopening and trajectory of many economies around the world, especially the U.S., are we going to need all these tests?,” Credit Suisse analyst Matt Miksic said.

Quest, which is set to report its quarterly results on April 22, said in February that it was expecting demand for its COVID-19 tests to shrink in the year as vaccination efforts ramp up.

For 2021, Abbott has forecast sales of about $6.5 billion to $7 billion from its COVID-19 tests, up from nearly $4 billion last year.

THE CONTEXT

Abbott and Quest have been investing heavily to develop tests that are more accurate with shorter turn-around times.

Abbott currently has U.S. authorization for several tests including its $5 portable antigen test called BinaxNOW, which last month received U.S. clearance for over-the-counter, at-home use in people without symptoms.

Sustained demand for these tests has come under question since the United States began to roll out multiple vaccine candidates, including two-shot vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Inc.

THE FUNDAMENTALS

** Abbott is expected to report a 38.3% rise in revenue to $10.69 billion when it reports first-quarter earnings on April 20, according to the mean estimate from 18 analysts, based on Refinitiv data.

** The mean analyst estimate for earnings is $1.27 per share. For the same quarter last year, the company reported earnings of 65 cents per share.

WALL STREET SENTIMENT

** The current average analyst rating on Abbott shares is “buy”, with 10 analysts rating it “strong buy”, eight “buy”, four “hold” and one “sell”.

** Wall Street’s median 12-month price target is $137, up from $122 in January.

** The company’s shares have gained about 14% so far this year.

QUARTER ENDING EPS ESTIMATE ($) ACTUAL EPS ($) BEAT, MET,

MISSED

Dec. 31 2020 1.35 1.45 Beat

Sep. 30 2020 0.91 0.98 Beat

Jun. 30 2020 0.42 0.57 Beat

Mar. 31 2020 0.58 0.65 Beat

Source: Read Full Article