Slumping Prozac sales continue to drag down profits at

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Report

.

Reporting before the market opened Thursday, the drugmaker posted fourth-quarter net income of $656.2 million, or 60 cents per share, compared to net income of $767.3 million, or 70 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Earnings matched reduced Wall Street analyst estimates.

TheStreet Recommends

Lilly's sales in the fourth quarter totaled $2.83 billion, a 5% decrease from sales of $2.98 billion in the fourth quarter last year.

Prozac accounted for much of the drop-off. Sales of the antidepressant fell 66% to $275.4 million in the quarter because of competition from cheaper, generic versions of the drug that hit the market in August.

Lilly reiterated weak financial guidance for this year, expecting to earn between $2.70 per share and $2.80 per share in 2002, compared to $2.76 per share in 2001. The drugmaker also said it expects first-quarter earnings between 56 cents per share and 58 cents per share, compared to 74 cents per share in the first quarter of 2001.

Analysts are looking for 2002 earnings of $2.73 per share and first-quarter earnings of 61 cents per share, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

Shares of Lilly closed Wednesday at $75.77 per share.