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Eli Lilly Shares Edge Higher After Stronger-Than-Expected 2020 Earnings Forecast

Eli Lilly sees Trulicity and Taltz sales supporting 2020 sales growth, and forecasts stronger-than-expected earnings in the coming financial year.

Eli Lilly & Co.  (LLY) - Get Eli Lilly and Company Report shares traded higher Tuesday after the drugmaker confirmed its 2019 earnings guidance and said revenues will continue to grow in the coming year.

Lilly said it sees 2020 revenues in the region of $23.6 billion to $24.1 billion, pegging a compound annual growth rate of 7%,  with non-GAAP earnings in the range of $6.70 to $6.80 per share, topping the Refinitv forecast of $6.63 per share. The group also reaffirmed its 2019 earnings guidance, which it had improved in October, at a range of $5.75 to $5.85 per share.

 "Lilly is in the early phase of an exciting period of prolonged growth for the company, driven by an expanding portfolio of new medicines focused on diabetes, oncology, immunology, and neuroscience," said CEO David Ricks, Lilly's chairman and chief executive officer. "With an attractive commercial portfolio and limited patent exposure through the latter half of the upcoming decade, we are well positioned to deliver sustainable volume-based revenue growth and drive further operating margin expansion." 

"As we continue to invest in our innovation-based strategy, we are confident in our ability to discover and develop important new medicines for patients," he added.

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Eli Lilly shares were marked 1.15% higher following the financial update to  change hands at 124.29 each, a move that would bump the stock's six-month gain to around 9.5%.

Lilly posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings in October, and boosted its full-year profit guidance thanks in part to growth in sales for the drugmaker's newer medicines.

Eli Lilly said earnings for the three months ending in September came in at $1.48 per share, up 6.5% from the same period last year and 8 cents ahead of the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues, Eli Lily said, rose 3% to $5.477 billion, Eli Lilly said, a figure that came in just below analysts' estimates.

Trulicity, the group's diabetes treatment, has seen sales rise 28% so far this to just under $3 billion, while its severe plaque psoriasis drug Talz has booked a 50% gain from 2018 to book nine-moth sales of $340 million.