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Bristol-Myers Squibb Tops Forecasts By a Penny

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Report

, the nation's third-largest drug company, said Wednesday that strong sales of its diabetes drug


helped the company to post fourth-quarter results that beat Wall Street's estimates by a penny.

Earnings for the fourth quarter increased 13% to $1.2 billion, or 59 cents a share, 1 cent more than the 58 cents forecast for the quarter by the consensus of 25 analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

. In the same period one year ago, the company reported net income of $1.05 billion, or 52 cents a share. Earnings per share for the full year increased 15% to $2.36.

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Sales rose 8% to $5.5 billion in the fourth quarter, excluding businesses sold in 2000 and foreign exchange.

The company suffered a setback during the fourth quarter when it lost patent protection over its cancer drug


, and so was expected to lose some of its profits to copycat medicine makers.

Bristol-Myers' stock closed at $66.25 Tuesday on the

New York Stock Exchange