There are big companies, there are diverse companies, and there's Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ).

Although it isn't the only company to have wide and varied operations, J&J certainly holds its own in terms of bulk -- more than 200 operating companies, revenue of $47.3 billion last year, and a market cap of nearly $190 billion.

Now the time has come again for investors and Wall Street to wade through the numbers of this vast health-products empire. The New Brunswick, N.J., company reports third-quarter earnings Oct. 18, and analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call will be looking for a profit of 86 cents a share on sales of $12.5 billion. A year ago, the company earned 78 cents a share and had sales of $11.6 billion.

Almost assuredly, J&J's massive scale means that some areas will lead while others lag. Plus, its assorted business lines have plenty of competitors out there hoping to nibble at its market share when they can.

For instance, some J&J drugs with generic or brand-name competition are feeling a pinch. Generic versions of the pain patch Duragesic are set to lop off 72% of the product's U.S. sales in the third quarter, according to analyst Glenn Novarro of Banc of America Securities. Sales of the patch should be down 29% worldwide because of generic competition, and oral-contraceptive sales will take a hit as well, he says.

Band-Aids and Tylenol

Elsewhere, global sales of the anemia drug Procrit will be down 2% to $867 million in the third quarter, according to Rick Wise of Bear Stearns. Procrit competes with Epogen, Amgen's ( AMGN) version of the same drug, and Aranesp, another Amgen drug for treating anemia in kidney-disease and cancer patients.

Also, the company's Alzheimer's drug Razadyne, heart-failure drug Natrecor, painkiller Ultracet and anti-infective drug Sporanox are all expected to be a drag on sales growth, Wise says.

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