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AbbVie 1Q earnings top analyst estimates

NORTH CHICAGO (AP) -- AbbVie Inc. topped Wall Street expectations in its first three months as a standalone company and shares bounced within a penny of a record high Friday.

On Jan. 1 Abbott Laboratories completed the spinoff of AbbVie, which markets the company's branded prescription drugs, including the blockbuster anti-inflammatory drug Humira.

First-quarter revenue rose 3.7 percent to $4.33 billion, driven by a 16 percent jump in sales of Humira. The injectable medication is used to treat a number of inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and Crohn's Disease.

The company reported earnings of $968 million, or 60 cents per share, in the first quarter. That compared with $883 million, or 56 cents per share, in the year-earlier period.

Stripping out one-time charges, the company earned 68 cents per share, topping Wall Street expectations by a penny, according to a poll of analysts by FactSet. The company just edged out revenue projections as well.

CEO Richard Gonzalez said the quarter was weighed down by patent expirations on its cholesterol pills TriCor and Trilipex. The drugs are designed to raise "good" HDL cholesterol while reducing triglycerides and "bad" LDL cholesterol.

"The business generated strong sales growth despite loss of exclusivity in our lipid franchise, which speaks to the foundation of AbbVie's product portfolio," Gonzalez said in a company release.

Shares of AbbVie rose more than 3 percent, or $1.50, to $45.74. In early trading, shares traded for one cent below the all-time high of $46.32, set on Tuesday.