Abbott Laboratories' ( ABT) second-quarter profits dropped from last year, but beat analysts' estimates, and the drug and device maker raised its guidance for 2006. Shares of Abbott rose 3.5% to $46.28 following the earnings report and outlook. The company earned 40 cents a share, down from 56 cents a share in the second quarter of last year. Excluding certain items, such as charges related to its acquisition of Guidant's vascular-technology business, but including stock-compensation expenses, Abbott earned 62 cents a share in the second quarter. That was better than its previous guidance of between 56 cents and 58 cents a share and exceeded Wall Street's consensus target of 57 cents. Sales came in at $5.5 billion for the quarter, 0.4% lower than the year-ago period. U.S. pharmaceutical sales took a hit, falling 21.9% from last year. At the same time, sales of medical products, such as those from its vascular, nutritionals, molecular and point-of-care businesses, increased almost 18%. "Our long-term growth outlook remains promising as we continue to enhance the mix of our large and diverse portfolio with higher-growth opportunities," said Miles White, Abbott's chairman and CEO. Abbott raised its full-year earnings guidance to $2.49 to $2.53 a share, compared with its prior outlook of between $2.44 and $2.50. Abbott also provided, for the first time, projections for the third quarter, saying it should earn 57 cents to 59 cents a share, excluding certain items, but including stock-compensation costs. The company expects to take charges of 32 cents a share this year for the acquisition of Guidant's vascular business and previously announced cost-reduction measures. Including the items, Abbott sees earnings under generally accepted accounting principles reaching $2.17 to $2.21 this year and 52 cents to 54 cents a share for the third quarter. Separately, Abbott said the Food and Drug Administration cleared its Cell-Dyn Ruby blood-analysis device.