Abbott Labs Stands by Profit Forecast

At a meeting held today for investors and financial analysts, Abbott Laboratories ( ABT) provided a business and product update and stood by its earlier forecasts for the second quarter and fiscal year.

The pharmaceuticals company repeated its earlier earnings projection of $2.20 to $2.25 a share for the year and its profit guidance of 51 cents to 53 cents a share for the second quarter, excluding one-time charges.

On average, analysts polled by Thomson First Call expect Abbott to earn 52 cents in the second quarter and $2.21 for the full year.

The company said it has a "strong pipeline of near-term opportunities," with about 14 projected regulatory filings for additional indications for existing drugs and new compounds through 2006.

Abbott also raised its 2003 sales expectations for Humira, a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, to $250 million from the old prediction of more than $200 million.

Shares of Abbott were up 46 cents, or 1%, to $44.01 in recent New York Stock Exchange trading.

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