Drugmaker

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 70 cents a share, in line with the estimate of the 24 analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

. But the results are a penny below its year-ago earnings.

Last year's fourth-quarter earnings figure excluded charges for Year 2000-related sales, the settlement of litigation and added-back charges for manufacturing asset impairment. Including those charges, the figure was 61 cents a share.

The company, which makes the ever-popular antidepressant Prozac, said that its schizophrenia treatment, Zyprexa, became the company's top selling product in the fourth quarter.

Lilly said it is expecting first-quarter earnings in the range of 71 cents to 73 cents. That's on the low end of expectations. The First Call eight-analyst estimate for the quarter is currently 73 cents a share.

This week has brought a flurry of earnings reports from Lilly's competitors. Earlier this week,

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

, the nation's second-biggest drugmaker, posted a 14% rise in fourth-quarter earnings, putting it in line with analysts' forecasts of 75 cents a share. Revenue rose 28% to $11.4 billion. And

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

beat Wall Street estimates by a penny.

Lilly closed at $82.75 yesterday, off its 52-week high of $109. It has climbed back some from a major selloff in the summer that came after the drugmaker lost a lawsuit that prevented it from staving off an early introduction of generic versions of Prozac.