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Johnson & Johnson Tops Q4 Earnings Forecast; Will Publish Vaccine Update 'Soon'

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said the group "continues to progress our COVID-19 vaccine candidate and look forward to sharing details from our Phase 3 study soon."

Johnson & Johnson Inc.  (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson Report posted stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Tuesday and said it would provide an update on its vaccine development progress "soon".

Johnson & Johnson said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in December were pegged at $1.86 cents per share, down 1.1% from the same period last year but four cents head of the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues, Johnson & Johnson said, rose 8.3% to $22.5 billion, again besting analysts' estimates of a $21.67 billion tally.

The consumer brands and healthcare group said it sees adjusted earnings growth of 16.4% for the 2021 year, or $9.40 to $9.60 per share, alongside sales growth of around 8.8%.

"Our notable full year performance reflects the continued confidence from patients, physicians, customers and consumers in our life-enhancing products and medicines, particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic," said CEO Alex Gorsky. 

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'I'm incredibly proud of our Johnson & Johnson teams around the world for going above and beyond to meet stakeholder needs. These efforts, and our commitment to families around the world as the largest broad-based healthcare company, enabled us to lead in the fight against COVID-19," he added. "We continue to progress our COVID-19 vaccine candidate and look forward to sharing details from our Phase 3 study soon. Johnson & Johnson was built for times like these, and I am extremely confident in our ability to deliver lasting value and continued innovation in 2021 and for years to come."  

Johnson & Johnson shares were marked 3.6% higher in early trading immediately following the earnings release to change hands at $171.45 each, extending the stock's six-month gain to around 15%.

Pharmaceutical sales lead the group's sector gains, rising 16.3% from last year to $12.27 billion, driven by solid revenues from its Stelara treatment for immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, and Imbruvica, its blood cancer drug.

That helped offset a 0.7% slide in medical device revenues, which came in at $6.59 billion, and a modest 1.4% gain for consumer health sales, at $3.62 billion.