J&J beats forecasts, helped by new medicines

April 15, 2014
Products made by Johnson & Johnson for sale on a store shelf in Westminster
Products made by Johnson & Johnson for sale on a store shelf in Westminster, Colorado April 14, 2009. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

(Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson (NYS:JNJ) reported quarterly earnings well above Wall Street expectations, as strong sales of new prescription drugs offset weak sales of consumer products, and slightly raised its full-year profit view.

J&J on Tuesday said it earned $4.73 billion (2.82 billion pounds), or $1.64 per share, in the first quarter. That compared with $3.5 billion, or $1.22 per share, in the year-ago quarter, when the diversified healthcare company took a big litigation charge.

Excluding special items, J&J earned $1.54 per share. Analysts, on average, were expecting $1.48 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Sales rose 3.5 percent to $18.1 billion in the quarter, topping Wall Street forecasts of $18 billion.

J&J says it now expects full-year earnings of $5.80 to $5.90 per share, up from its prior forecast of $5.75 to $5.85 per share given in January.

Global sales of prescription drugs jumped almost 11 percent to $7.5 billion. Sales of Simponi, a drug for rheumatoid arthritis, rose 9.3 percent to $259 million, while sales of psoriasis treatment Stelara soared 32 percent to $456 billion.

(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson, Editing by Franklin Paul)