(Corrects that sales fell 2 percent in quarter, not 7 percent,and that oncology drug sales rose 24 pct, not 26 pct)
Oct 29 (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc reportedbetter-than-expected third-quarter earnings on Tuesday, helpedby costs cuts and growing sales of recently approved cancermedicines.
The largest U.S. drugmaker said it earned $2.59 billion, or39 cents per share in the quarter, compared with $3.21 billion,or 43 cents per share, in the year-earlier period.
Excluding special items, Pfizer earned 58 cents per share.Analysts, on average, expected 56 cents per share, according toThomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Global company sales fell 2 percent to $12.64 billion, hurtby generic competition for cholesterol fighter Lipitor and othermedicines. Wall Street had expected sales of $12.7 billion.
Sales of its oncology drugs jumped 24 percent in the quarterto $407 million, in contrast to declining sales of Pfizer'sarray of specialty care and primary care medicines.
Its shares were little changed in premarket trading. (Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe andMaureen Bavdek)
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