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Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) - Get Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Report posted stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings Thursday, and lifted its full-year profit guidance even as Opdivo sales growth slowed notably from its 2018 pace.

Bristol-Myers said non-GAAP earnings for the three months ending in September came in a $1.17 per share, up 7.4% from the same period last year and 10 cents ahead of the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues, Bristol-Myers said, rose 5.4% to $6 billion and again topped analysts' estimates of $5.89 billion tally. Sales of Opdivo grew 1.3% to $1.817 billion, a far cry from the 42% growth rate the group's blockbuster cancer treatment notched over the same period last year. 

Looking into the final months of the year, Bristol-Myers said it sees 2019 non-GAAP earnings in the region of $4.25 to $4.35 per share, a five cent improvement from its prior guidance, while lowering its GAAP earnings forecast to $3.46 to $3.56 per share

"In the third quarter, we delivered strong business performance and made important progress with our pipeline, including the potential to bring our dual Immuno-Oncology combination to patients with lung cancer, a disease where the unmet need remains high," said CEO Giovanni Caforio. "With strong momentum in our R&D and commercial organizations, I am looking forward to the tremendous opportunity when Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene come together as one, to deliver innovative medicines and transform patients' lives."

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Bristol-Myers shares rose 1.51% on Thursday to $57.73.