Walgreens Boots Alliance

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA - Get Report) posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings Thursday, and confirmed the group's full-year profit guidance, as comparable U.S. pharma sales beat Wall Street forecasts. 

Walgreens said GAAP earnings for the three months ending in May, the Dow component's fiscal third quarter, came in at $1.47 per share, 8.9% higher than the same period last year and 4 cents ahead of the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues, Walgreens said, rose 0.7% to $34.6 billion, narrowly topping analysts' estimates of $34.334 billion. U.S. pharma sales, Walgrees said, rose 4.3% while comparable sales rose 6%, as the company's biggest revenue-generator filed 290.7 million prescriptions for customers, up nearly 2% from last year.

Walgreens also reiterated its full-year guidance for EPS growth in the region of 7% to 12%, when compared to its 2018 fiscal year, and said it had made continued progress in cost-cutting and strategic goals.

"Following a difficult second quarter, we made progress in the third quarter against the strategic goals we set, and are pleased to report an improvement in our U.S. comparable growth compared with the first half of the year," said CEO Stefano Pessina. "We will continue our aggressive response to rapidly shifting trends, and have already seen improved U.S. retail sales and prescription growth and are making good progress in implementing our Transformational Cost Management Program. Together, this gives us the confidence to reiterate the fiscal 2019 guidance we previously provided."

Walgreens shares were marked 3.15% higher at start of trading following the earnings release to change hands at $54.20 each, a move that would still leave the with a year-to-date decline of around 21%.