Updated at 10:59 am EST
CVS Health Corp. (CVS) posted better-than-expected first quarter earnings Wednesday, while boosting its full-year profit guidance, as Aetna continued to power gains in the group's healthcare benefit division and retail traffic held up well despite slowing Covid testing and vaccinations.
CVS said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in March were pegged at $2.22 per share, up 8.8% from the same period last year and firmly ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $2.15 per share. Group revenues, CVS said, rose 11.1% from last year to $76.8 billion, again topping analysts' estimates of a $75.4 billion tally.
Same sore sales were up 10.7% from last year, CVS said, while pharmacy store sales rose 10.1%, both benefiting from the group's administering of 8 million Covid vaccinations and a further 6 million tests over the three month period.
Looking into the 2022 financial year, CVS said its target range for adjusted earnings improved to $8.20 to $8.40 per share, up from its December forecast of of $8.10 to $8.30 per share and revenues of between $304 billion to $309 billion.
"Our strategy improves access to affordable, convenient and personalized health care, which benefits consumers and shareholders,." said CEO Karen Lynch. "We once again showed the power of our purpose and potential, building on our strong momentum and raising full-year guidance as a result."
CVS shares were marked 1.8% higher in early Wednesday trading following the earnings release to change hands at $97.85 each, a move that would trim the stock's year-to-date decline to around 6.2%.
Pharmacy Services revenues rose 9% to $39.46 billion, CVS said, , "primarily driven by increased pharmacy claims volume, growth in specialty pharmacy and brand inflation, partially offset by continued client price improvements." Retail sales rose 4.9% to $24.4 billion
The group's healthcare benefits division saw sales rise 12.8% to $23.1 billion as it added Aetna's operations to its legacy business.