Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) and Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) are both large-cap medical companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their institutional ownership, risk, earnings, profitability, dividends, valuation and analyst recommendations.

Dividends

Johnson & Johnson pays an annual dividend of $3.36 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.5%. Abbott Laboratories pays an annual dividend of $1.06 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.2%. Johnson & Johnson pays out 56.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Abbott Laboratories pays out 149.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Johnson & Johnson has increased its dividend for 44 consecutive years and Abbott Laboratories has increased its dividend for 54 consecutive years. Johnson & Johnson is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and lower payout ratio.

Profitability

This table compares Johnson & Johnson and Abbott Laboratories’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Johnson & Johnson 22.52% 26.76% 13.19%
Abbott Laboratories 4.96% 14.43% 6.47%

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Johnson & Johnson and Abbott Laboratories’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Johnson & Johnson $72.53 billion 4.93 $25.15 billion $5.92 22.48
Abbott Laboratories $23.61 billion 3.53 $5.14 billion $0.71 67.69

Johnson & Johnson has higher revenue and earnings than Abbott Laboratories. Johnson & Johnson is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Abbott Laboratories, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Risk and Volatility

Johnson & Johnson has a beta of 0.78, indicating that its share price is 22% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Abbott Laboratories has a beta of 1.07, indicating that its share price is 7% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current recommendations and price targets for Johnson & Johnson and Abbott Laboratories, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Johnson & Johnson 3 7 9 0 2.32
Abbott Laboratories 0 3 9 0 2.75

Johnson & Johnson currently has a consensus target price of $132.12, suggesting a potential downside of 0.73%. Abbott Laboratories has a consensus target price of $52.58, suggesting a potential upside of 9.41%. Given Abbott Laboratories’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Abbott Laboratories is more favorable than Johnson & Johnson.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

66.1% of Johnson & Johnson shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 71.0% of Abbott Laboratories shares are held by institutional investors. 0.2% of Johnson & Johnson shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 0.8% of Abbott Laboratories shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

Johnson & Johnson beats Abbott Laboratories on 9 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson is a holding company, which is engaged in the research and development, manufacture and sale of a range of products in the healthcare field. It operates through three segments: Consumer, Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices. Its primary focus is products related to human health and well-being. The Consumer segment includes a range of products used in the baby care, oral care, skin care, over-the-counter pharmaceutical, women’s health and wound care markets. The Pharmaceutical segment is focused on five therapeutic areas, including immunology, infectious diseases, neuroscience, oncology, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. The Medical Devices segment includes a range of products used in the orthopedic, surgery, cardiovascular, diabetes care and vision care fields. Its research facilities are located in the United States, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

About Abbott Laboratories

Abbott Laboratories is engaged in the discovery, development, manufacture and sale of a range of healthcare products. The Company operates through four segments: Established Pharmaceutical Products, Diagnostic Products, Nutritional Products and Vascular Products. Its Established Pharmaceutical Products include a range of branded generic pharmaceuticals manufactured around the world and marketed and sold outside the United States. Its Diagnostic Products include a range of diagnostic systems and tests. Its Nutritional Products include a range of pediatric and adult nutritional products. Its Company’s Vascular Products include a range of coronary, endovascular, vessel closure and structural heart devices for the treatment of vascular disease. The Company, through St. Jude Medical, Inc., also offers products, such as rhythm management products, electrophysiology products, heart failure related products, vascular products, structural heart products and neuromodulation products.

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