Cost control and strategy paid off for Becton Dickinson ( BDX), which beat fiscal first-quarter estimates Thursday and gave an updated 2008 forecast. "Disciplined expense management enables us to offset the challenges of raw material price increases and manufacturing start-up costs related to increasing capacity to meet growing demand," CEO Edward Ludwig said in an earnings release. Shares of the Franklin Lakes, N.J.-based medical technology company rose $3.45, or 4%, to $88.09 in morning trading. Becton Dickinson said Thursday that it earned $271.5 million, or $1.07 a share, on revenue of $1.7 billion for its first quarter of 2008, vs. $142.8 million, or 56 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for $1.03 a share on revenue of $1.65 billion. Sales in the company's medical segment increased 10% to $909 million, bolstered by pharmaceutical systems and diabetes care products. Sales in the diagnostics segment grew 18% to $523 million, helped by TriPath Imaging, which the company acquired in the first quarter of the prior year. Revenue from the company's biosciences segment also increased 18% to $274 million. Looking ahead, the company expects earnings per share from continuing operations to increase to a range of $4.26 to $4.34 for full-year 2008 -- an 11% to 13% increase compared to 2007 adjusted earnings. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial are looking for $4.28 a share in 2008 on revenue of $6.9 billion.
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).