J&J Slumps on Soft Outlook

Updated from 3:12 p.m. EST

Johnson & Johnson's ( JNJ) shares closed to the downside Tuesday amid a weak forecast from the company and a down day overall for the U.S. stock market.

The New Jersey-based drug and consumer-products giant predicted earnings for 2009 of $4.45 to $4.55 a share, which excludes the impact of certain items, but includes a reduction of 3 cents to 5 cents from the pending acquisition of Mentor ( MNT). On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are calling for $4.61.

J&J's outlook came as the company reported fourth-quarter earnings of $2.7 billion, or 97 cents a share. Before items, the company would have earned 94 cents, 2 cents better than expectations. In the same quarter last year, J&J had a profit of $2.4 billion, or 82 cents a share.

Worldwide sales in the quarter fell 4.9% year over year to $15.2 billion, a decline that was primarily attributable to unfavorable exchange rates, and missed Wall Street's $15.9 billion consensus estimate. Sales rose 4.3% for the full year to $63.7 billion, and adjusted earnings were $4.55 a share.

Shares of J&J closed down 69 cents, or 1.2%, to $56.75, after at one point being one of only four stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average that was up for the day, along with Merck ( MRK), AT&T ( T) and Verizon ( VZ).

J&J peers Pfizer ( PFE) and Procter & Gamble ( PG) were slightly lower.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.

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