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Author: BuildMWell Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 1692  
Subject: Re: Earnings Check? Date: 3/12/2012 4:20 PM
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ROCKJCP SAYS, "ABT @58.15 P/E 12.44 YLD 3.52 All very good numbers with room to the upside."

BUT, if you click on the (ABT) symbol next to the board name, you will find the P/E ratio noted as 19.25. This apparently assumes earnings of $2.87/share with the present price at $58.20/share.

The "experts" have put out a consensus trailing earnings estimate of $5.01/share and $5.32/share for the forward earnings. This puts the P/E ratio at 10.94:1 to 11.62:1. So, it is all about what one believes and who one trusts to get the numbers right. The low EPS that created the 19.25:1 P/E is based on the "Oops!" that ABT reported in 2011. The present quarter's earnings were low and the reasons have been explained by management. However, the numbers are what they are and the 19.25 P/E ratio is accurate if we agree to ignore all of the positive aspects of the future earnings potential of Abbott Labs. One bad quarter does not guarantee a bad company.

Actually, the more people who choose to believe that ABT's true P/E ratio is close to 20:1, the better for us buyers of the stock. Sooner or later, Mr. Market will wake up and realize ABT is under valued by a large margin. Or, we may wake up and realize we have been overly zealous in our EPS expectations. Time will tell because the earnings will be what Abbott reports them to be. That assumes we believe management will give us the correct numbers.

It seems to me there is a great deal of assumin' and believin' goin' on around this old market.
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