By Scott Kanowsky
Investing.com -- AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN) has raised its guidance for full-year income per share, citing strong returns in its third quarter, but warned that the outlook may face a larger impact from foreign exchange headwinds than it previously predicted.
The Cambridge, UK-based drugmaker said it now expects annual core earnings per share at constant exchange rates to increase in the "high twenties to low thirties percentage" range. It had initially predicted that the figure would tick up in the "mid-to-high twenties percentage" band.
Shares in the company edged higher in early dealmaking on Thursday.
"AstraZeneca continues to see the benefit of our sustained investment in R&D, with 19 major regulatory approvals since our last earnings call," said chief executive officer Pascal Soriot in a statement.
"Additionally, recent encouraging data for several of our pipeline programs have given us the confidence to proceed with additional late-stage clinical trials as we maintain our focus on delivery of our growth ambitions."
In the third quarter, sales climbed by 19% at constant exchange rates compared to same period last year to $11 billion, above analysts' estimates. Core EPS also jumped 70% to $1.67, also beating forecasts.
However, AstraZeneca flagged that annual core EPS would now incur a "mid-to-high single-digit" hit if currencies - particularly the surging US dollar - remain at their October 31 spot rates in November and October. Prior guidance had expected an impact in the mid-single digits.
Total revenue is also seen as being negatively affected in the mid-single-digit range.