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Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) slightly exceeded third-quarter earnings forecasts Tuesday, posting a 14% year-over-year profit gain as rising sales offset currency weakness.

The New Brunswick, N.J., medical supplies company said third-quarter earnings rose to 89 cents a share, compared with the 88-cent consensus forecast compiled by

Thomson/First Call

. Sales rose 4.6% to $7.2 billion, while earnings gained 13.8% to $1.3 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30.

"I am pleased with our ability to continue to deliver solid profits and improved operating margins despite intense competition and the negative impact of a weakening euro on our international sales," said CEO Ralph S. Larsen.

It said medical supplies sales gained 4.2% to $2.5 billion, boosted by products including the BX Velocity stent, an intravascular device to keep coronary arteries open. The company's Cordis stent division is in tight competition with







"Of particular note is the excellent growth in our coronary stent business due to the very successful launch of the Bx Velocity stent," said Larsen in a statement.

Consumer sales rose 1% to $1.7 billion, with a 2% gain in U.S. sales and a 7% overseas gain, which was entirely offset by negative currency translation. The company makes Tylenol and Motrin painkillers, and Neutrogena soap, among others.