Whisper Number: How Will Abbott Lab Investors React to Earnings?

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Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) is expected to report earnings on Wednesday, January 22. The whisper number is $0.60, two cents ahead of the analysts’ estimate. Whispers range from a low of $0.58 to a high of $0.65. ABT has a 49 percent positive surprise history, having topped the whisper in 18 of the 37 earnings reports for which we have data.

Earnings history:

- Beat whisper: 18 qtrs
- Met whisper: 4 qtrs
- Missed whisper: 15 qtrs

Our primary focus is on post earnings price movement. Knowing how likely a stock’s price will move following an earnings report can help you determine the best action to take (long or short). In other words, we look at what happens when the company beats or misses the whisper number expectation.

The table below indicates the average post earnings price movement within a one and thirty trading day timeframe.

ABT114A

The strongest price movement of -1.3 percent comes within thirty trading days when the company reports earnings that beat the whisper number, and -0.7 percent within thirty trading days when the company reports earnings that miss the whisper number. The overall average price move is ‘negative’ (beat the whisper number and see weakness, miss and see weakness) when the company reports earnings.

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