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Walgreens Lifts Profit Guidance Under New CEO Brewer; Shares Surge

Walgreens, the top performing Dow component this year, lifted its fiscal 2022 profit forecast after the first quarterly earning report under new CEO Rosalind Brewer.

Walgreens Boots Alliance  (WBA)  boosted its full-year profit guidance Wednesday following the first quarterly earnings report under new CEO Rosalind Brewer. 

Walgreens said total adjusted earnings for the three months ending on February 28, the Dow component's fiscal second quarter, were pegged at $1.40 per share, down 8% from the same period last year. Adjusted earnings fell 10.1% to $1.26 per share, Walgreens said. It was not immediately clear if the figures were comparable to last year's figures or the Street consensus forecast.

Group revenues, Walgreens said, 4.6% to $32.8 billion, although the figure was not directly comparable to analysts' forecasts.

Looking into the second half of its financial year, Walgreens Boots said it expects "mid-to-high single digit growth in constant currency adjusted EPS", up from a forecast of "low single-digit' growth earlier this year. 

“Overall, we have achieved a good financial quarter with results well ahead of expectations, despite significant impacts from COVID-19, and we have raised our full-year EPS guidance. I am optimistic about our ability to drive sustainable, long-term value for our shareholders, while acknowledging that there is still work to be done to stabilize the base business,” said CEO Brewer, who was appointed to succeed Stefano Pessina on March 15. “I will continue to review closely all our initiatives, strategies and opportunities to capitalize fully on the incredible potential in front of us."

"Our team will move swiftly and decisively to best serve the needs of our patients, customers and communities around the world, at this critical time and beyond,” Brewer added.

Walgreens shares were marked 6.1% higher in early trading Wednesday to change hands at $546.14 each, a move that would extend the stock's year-to-date gain past 40.5%, making it the top-performing stock on the Dow Jones Industrial Average so far this year.   

Walgreens said it has administered more than 8 million COVID vaccines, with around half of that total from the month of March alone, as well as 5 million tests. 

The group also said its $6.5 billion sale of its healthcare distribution business to AmerisourceBergen Corp. (ABC)  would close later this year.