Abbott Laboratories ( ABT) hit estimates with quarterly and annual earnings Wednesday, and the results showed strong sales were bolstered by multi-indicated Humira. Shares of the Abbott Park, Ill.-based company, which guided a few pennies shy of expectations for the first quarter of next year but in line for overall 2008, were trading down $1.72, or 3%, at $55.78. Abbott reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.5 billion, or 93 cents a share, on net sales of $7.22 billion, vs. $1.15 billion, or 75 cents a share, on revenue of $6.22 billion in the year-ago quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for 92 cents a share on revenue of $6.96 billion. For the year, the company said that before items it earned $3.6 billion, or $2.84 a share, on revenue of $25.91 billion, vs. $1.7 billion, or $2.53 a share, on revenue of $22.48 billion in 2006 on the same basis. (Those results factor out the acquisitions of Kos Pharmaceuticals and Guidant's coronary stent operations.) Annual results just beat the Thomson Financial consensus target of $2.83 a share on revenue of $25.5 billion. The pharmaceutical and medical device company recently received U.S. and E.U. approval of Humira for psoriasis. The drug, already approved for other indications such as arthritis, brought in $954 million in sales in the fourth quarter, an increase of 53.9% year over year, supporting pharmaceutical sales, which rose 19% to $4.2 billion. Quarterly sales of the company's HIV drug Kaletra grew 25% to $371 million, and sales of cholesterol drug TriCor rose 20% to $392 million. Sales of coronary stents, used to prop open clogged arteries, rose 45% from the comparable 2006 period to $183 million. In November, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended approval of Abbott's Xience drug-eluting stent, which came by way of the acquisition of Guidant's coronary stent operations a year ago. The agency isn't bound to follow panel recommendations but usually does. Abbott also received approval for its fully-automated blood-screening test in January. The product is used for viruses associated with several diseases including human T-cell leukemia and neurological disorders. Looking ahead, the company expects adjusted earnings between 61 cents and 63 cents a share (58 cents to 60 cents on a GAAP basis) for the first quarter, and $3.20 to $3.25 a share ($3.12 to $3.17 on a GAAP basis) for 2008. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial are looking for 65 cents a share for the quarter, and $3.22 a share for the year.
Stocks soar as the gross domestic product rises at an annualized rate of 3.5% in the third quarter and continuing jobless claims fall. Gregg Greenberg recaps the action in The Real Story video (above).