Cardinal Health ( CAH) said fiscal first-quarter revenue climbed 9% as demand strengthened for its health-care products and services, but the top line was a little short of Wall Street's expectations. Revenue for the quarter ended Sept. 30 rose to $19.4 billion from $17.8 billion in the prior year. The company earned $228.3 million, or 53 cents a share, compared with $213.3 million, or 49 cents a share, a year ago. On a continuing operations basis, the Dublin, Ohio, company earned 54 cents in the first quarter. Prior to equity compensation expenses and various special items, Cardinal would have earned 75 cents. Cardinal reiterated its fiscal 2006 earnings outlook of $3.30 to $3.55 a share, excluding items and certain costs. Over the long term, Cardinal expects earnings per share before items to grow 12% to 15% a year. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were looking for a first-quarter profit of 72 cents and sales of $19.6 billion. The consensus earnings estimate for fiscal 2006 is $3.40 a share.