Abbott Laboratories Draws DOJ Scrutiny Before Earnings

ABT has a generally dismal history of post-earnings reactions

Digital Content Manager
Jan 23, 2023 at 10:06 AM
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Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) is under the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) microscope, after the Wall Street Journal reported the DOJ's consumer-protection branch is conducting a criminal investigation into the baby formula supplier's Michigan plant.

The news following the company's recall of infant formula products last year, due to reports of bacterial infections in babies. A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspection also revealed cracks in equipment, lack of appropriate hand washing, and additional evidence of bacterial contamination. 

This scrutiny comes ahead of the company's fourth-quarter earnings call, with results due out before the open on Wednesday, Jan. 25. The security has a generally dismal history of post-earnings reactions, finishing six of eight next-day sessions lower, which includes a 6.5% dip in October. This time around, markets are pricing in a 3.5% move for the shares, regardless of direction -- higher than the 2.6% swing it averaged in the past two years.

The equity was last seen down 0.5% to trade at $113.33, with support from its 20-day moving average, as well as the $111 region. Abbot Laboratories stock snapped a four-day win streak in the previous session, though, and still carries a 10% year-over-year deficit. 

Options traders lean firmly bearish toward ABT. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the security sports a 50-day put/call volume ratio of 1.41 stands in the 86th percentile of its annual range.

Options look like a solid way to take advantage of Abbott Laboratories stock's next move, per its Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 25% that sits in the relatively low 27th percentile of readings from the past year. Simply put, options traders are now pricing in low volatility expectations.  


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