JP Morgan Upgrades Abbott Labs

Analyst Michael Weinstein likes the drug maker's pipeline and thinks sales and earnings will continue to grow through 2005

J.P. Morgan upgraded Abbott Labs (ABT ) to buy from long-term buy.

Analyst Michael Weinstein is raising his 12.5% projected long-term growth rate to 14.0%. He says he sees ample room for upside as the pipeline develops and as sales and EPS growth accelerate in 2003, 2004 and 2005. He cites D2E7 for rheumatoid arthritis, ABT627 for prostate cancer and ABT 773, a ketolide antibiotic.

Weinstein says the increasing pharmaceutical percentage of the company's business, driven by an accelerating pharmaceutical growth rate, should contribute to a multiple expansion and rising stock price.

He sees $1.88 2001 EPS, and $2.25 EPS for 2002. He also raised his $2.51 2003 estimate to $2.56, and raised the $2.85 2004 EPS estimate to $2.92 Weinstein set a $63 12-month target.