Johnson & Johnson Tops Q4 Earnings Forecast, But Light Revenue, Remicade Sales Hit Shares

Johnson & Johnson said sales of its key arthritis treatment, Remicade, slipped 16% from last year, pressuring overall revenues and clouding a fourth quarter earnings beat.

Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Report posted stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Wednesday, but slipping remicade sales hit the healthcare group's revenue growth, sending shares modestly lower in early trading.

Johnson & Johnson said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in December came in at $1.88 per share, down 4.6% from last year but one penny ahead of the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues, Johnson & Johnson said, rose 1.5% from last year to $20.7 billion, a figure that fell just shy of analysts' estimates of a $20.8 billion tally.

Johnson & Johnson said it sees 2020 operational sales in the region of $85.8 billion to $86.6 billion and adjusted earnings in the range of $9.00 to $9.15 per share.

"We delivered strong underlying sales and earnings growth in 2019, driven by the strength of our Pharmaceutical business, accelerating performance in our Medical Devices business and improved profitability in our Consumer business," said CEO Alex Gorsky. "As we enter into 2020 and this next decade, our strategic investments focused on advancing our pipelines and driving innovation across our entire product portfolio, position us well to deliver long-term sustainable growth and value to our shareholders."

Johnson & Johnson shares were marked 1.65% lower in early trading following the earnings release to change hands at $146.78, a move that trims the stock's six-month gain to around 14.5%.

Remicade, Johnson & Johnson's arthritis treatment, saw sales decline 16% from last year to $1.02 billion, the company said, while overall sales at its pharmaceutical division rose 3.5% to $10.55 billion just shy of the Refinitiv forecast of $10.63 billion.