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AbbVie Tops Q4 Profit Forecast, Sees Solid 2020 as New Drugs Boost Sales

AbbVie shares jumped higher Friday after a stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings report and robust 2020 profit guidance.

AbbVie Inc.  (ABBV) - Get Free Report posted stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Friday, and forecast solid 2020 profits, as rising cancer drug sales helped offset flat revenues from its Humira rheumatoid arthritis treatment.

AbbVie said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in December were pegged at $2.28 per share, up 20% from the same period last year and firmly ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $2.19 per share. Group revenues, AbbVie said, rose 4.8% to $8.7 billion, essentially matching analysts' estimates.

Looking into the 2020 financial year, AbbVie said it seel adjusted earnings in the region of $9.61 to $9.71 per share, firmly ahead of the Refinitiv forecast of $9.48 per share. Revenue growth, the company said, should hit 8% on an operational basis. 

AbbVie Q4 Earnings graphic

"Our strong performance this quarter completes another excellent year for AbbVie," said CEO Richard Gonzalez. "The launches of Skyrizi and Rinvoq are going extremely well, and we are entering 2020 with substantial momentum. We also look forward to completing the planned Allergan acquisition in the first quarter."  

AbbVie shares were marked 4.6% higher in early Friday trading following the earnings release to change hands at $91.22 each, a move that would extend the stock's six-month gain to around 40% and value the North Chicago, Illinois-based drugmaker at just under $135 billion.

AbbVie's rheumatoid arthritis treatment, Humira, held revenues flat to last year at $4.92 billion despite increasing competition from generic rivals, while sales of Imbruvica, its cancer treatment, rose 29% to $1.3 billion. The drugmaker also said two of its key new treatments, Skyrizi and Rinvoq, could bring in as much as $1.7 billion in sales this year.