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CVS Falls Despite Guidance

The drugstore giant's 2004 profit forecast beats the consensus estimate by a penny a share.
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fell Monday, even though the drugstore giant's 2004 profit guidance was slightly better than analysts' consensus estimate.

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CVS was off 71 cents, or 2.1%, to $33.55, after the company said it expected to earn $2.14 to $2.18 a share on revenue of $28 billion. The consensus forecast is $2.17, according to Thomson First Call.

The Woonsocket, R.I.-based company said it expects "healthy growth" over 2003. CVS recently forecast earnings of $1.95 to $2.00 share for the current year. Analysts are expecting $1.98 a share. The company will announce current-quarter and full-year 2003 earnings on Feb. 12.

CVS plans to add 250 new or relocated stores in 2004, on top of the more than 4,100 it currently operates.