Updated from 11:13 a.m. EDT

Drugmaker

Abbott Laboratories

(ABT) - Get Report

reported a 7.3% rise in its second-quarter earnings, meeting Wall Street estimates as a sharp increase in its sales of hospital products aided results.

Abbott reported second-quarter earnings of 44 cents a share, meeting the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by

First Call/Thomson Financial

. The company's second-quarter 1999 earnings were 41 cents a share. Net earnings rose to $685 million from $645 million in the same period last year.

The Abbott Park, Ill.-based company said that its worldwide sales rose 3.4% year over year in the quarter, even as overall sales were negatively impacted by 1.4% due to a stronger exchange rate for the U.S. dollar.

The company's sales growth was largely driven by a sharp 17.4% jump in sales of hospital products, which includes such items as intravenous equipment and suction devices. The segment accounted for about $659 million in the quarter. Pharmaceutical products sales rose 3.5% to $563 million, international sales rose 3.2% to $807 million, and diagnostic product sales rose 0.2% to $761 million.

Abbott also boosted its research and development spending by 13.7% to $362 million. During the quarter, the company received

Food and Drug Administration

approval for Mobic, an ostheoarthritis drug, and FDA approval to jointly market its Gengraf immunosuppressant drug for kidney, liver and heart transplants.

"We significantly increased our R&D spending to support our growing pipeline of promising drug candidates and, through business alliances, continued to access promising technologies," said Miles D. White, chairman and chief executive of Abbott, in a statement.

Worldwide sales for the quarter rose 3.4% to $3.37 billion vs. $3.26 billion in the second quarter of 1999. Sales for

TAP Pharmaceutical Products

, the company's joint venture with Japan's

Takeda Chemical Industries

, rose 21.1% to $839 million, but were reported separately from Abbott's net sales. Abbott's portion of the TAP sales would have added 1.7% to sales growth, the company said.

Abbott finished regular trading up 1 9/16, or 3.7%, at 44 5/16.