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Johnson & Johnson Earnings Point to New 52-Week High

Paul Ausick

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) reported first-quarter results before markets opened Tuesday. The health care giant reported quarterly adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.54 on revenue of $18.1 billion. In the same period a year ago, J&J reported EPS of $1.44 on revenue of $17.5 billion. First-quarter results also compare to the consensus estimates for EPS of $1.48 on revenue of $18.0 billion.

The company's adjusted earnings excluded $300 million for a one-time tax benefit, partially offset by other charges. Adjusted net profit totaled $4.4 billion, up 7.8% year-over-year for the quarter.

J&J boosted its earnings guidance for the full year from an adjusted EPS range of $5.75 to $5.85 to a new range of $5.80 to $5.90. The consensus estimate had called for EPS of $5.83 on revenues of $74.22 billion.

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The firm's CEO said:

Johnson & Johnson delivered strong first-quarter results driven by successful new product launches and the continued growth of key products. … We also advanced our near-term priorities and long-term growth drivers, positioning us well to deliver sustainable results.

Worldwide consumer sales dropped 3.2% year over year to $3.6 billion, including a negative currency impact of 2.6%. Pharmaceutical sales rose 10.8% to $7.5 billion. Medical devices and diagnostics sales were flat at $7.1 billion. The negative currency exchange impact on total revenues was 1.8% in the quarter.

Primary contributors to the jump in pharmaceutical sales were the company's psoriasis treatment, an antipsychotic for schizophrenia treatment, a treatment for HIV and new products, including its hepatitis C drug.

J&J has been one of the best performing stocks in the Dow Jones Industrials so far this year, up about 6%. Only drug maker Merck & Co. (MRK) and heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), up 11% and 13% respectively, are performing better. The DJIA is down about 2.3% year to date.

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Shares traded about 2.2% higher in the premarket Tuesday, at $99.25 in a 52-week range of $82.07 to $99.38. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $101.10 before the results were announced.

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