Strong Pharmaceutical Sales Send Johnson & Johnson Handily Past Wall Street Estimates

Health care conglomerate Johnson & Johnson reported its third-quarter earnings results before the opening bell today, topping Wall Street's expectations and boosting its guidance slightly from its previous forecast.

According to the press release, for the quarter J&J delivered an increase in sales of 3.1% to $17.6 billion while adjusted EPS rose to $1.36, $0.04 higher than the consensus figure and a nearly 9% improvement from the year-ago period.

Leading the charge for J&J was its pharmaceutical division, which demonstrated year-over-year sales growth of 10.8%. This can be attributed to double-digit international sales growth of 14% (excluding negative currency effects) and impressive year-over-year growth in its oncology and immunology divisions, which jumped by 56.2% and 12.4%, respectively. Most notably, advanced prostate cancer drug Zytiga grew sales by 75.1% worldwide while blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease drug Remicade, which accounts for 24% of J&J's total pharmaceutical sales, saw sales increase 6.2%.

On the flip side, negative currency effects and weaker medical device sales kept J&J's results from being truly great. Despite acquiring Synthes for $19.7 billion last year, J&J's medical device and diagnostic segment sales dipped 2% globally, hurt most by its U.S. consumers who chose to hold off on elective procedures. The company's diabetes care and diagnostic segments were the biggest drag, down 11.4% and 10.5%, respectively.

Nonprescription drugs, responsible for most of J&J's roughly four dozen product recalls over the past four years, saw sales jump 18% in the U.S. and 6.4% worldwide as more products returned to stores. Overall, the consumer health business, which also makes dental, wound and skin care items such as the Aveeno and Neutrogena lines, posted a 0.8% sales increase, to $3.61 billion.

Looking forward, J&J slightly boosted its full-year EPS forecast to a range of $5.44-$5.49 from its second-quarter forecast that had called for EPS in the range of $5.40-$5.47.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Dividends: The oft-traveled path to riches
One of the best parts of owning big pharma stocks is their attractive dividends, but smart investors know the importance of diversifying -- seeking high-yielding stocks from multiple industries. The Motley Fool's special free report "Secure Your Future With 9 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks" outlines the Fool's favorite dependable dividend-paying stocks across all sectors. Grab your free copy by clicking here.

The article Strong Pharmaceutical Sales Send Johnson & Johnson Handily Past Wall Street Estimates originally appeared on

Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.The Motley Fool owns shares of, and recommends Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read Full Story