J&J beats quarterly expectations, shares jump

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday reported better-than-expected second quarter profit as sales of pharmaceuticals surged 20 percent, and its shares rose more than 4 percent.

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The healthcare conglomerate also expressed confidence that last week’s finding by a Missouri jury that J&J’s talc-based products caused cancer, and an order to pay a record $4.69 billion (3.56 billion pounds) to defendants, would not stand.

“We are confident that there are multiple grounds for reversal of this jury verdict and that, ultimately, the case will be reversed,” Chief Executive Alex Gorsky said on a call with analysts. He said the products do not contain asbestos or cause ovarian cancer.

Morningstar analyst Damien Conover said he expects J&J to be aggressive in fighting these lawsuits, “and the final related payments will not cause a major impact to its valuation.”

J&J shares were up 3.2 percent at $128.70 after earlier climbing as much as 4.6 percent - the biggest one-day percentage gain in over two years.

Gorsky acknowledged that sales growth in the consumer products division and some segments of medical devices were disappointing. New drugs and those in development “position us well to outgrow the market for many years to come,” he said.

Net earnings rose to $3.95 billion, or $1.45 per share, from $3.83 billion, or $1.40 per share, a year earlier.

Total sales rose 10.6 percent to $20.83 billion, topping analysts’ estimates of $20.39 billion.

J&J lowered its full-year sales forecast to $80.5 billion to $81.3 billion from $81.0 billion to $81.8 billion, citing a strengthening dollar for the trim.

J&J narrowed its 2018 adjusted earnings forecast, raising the midpoint by 2 cents. It now expects $8.07 to $8.17 per share, up from its prior view of $8.00 to $8.20.

Excluding items, the company reported a profit of $2.10 per share, beating analysts’ average estimate by 3 cents.

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