Updated from 8:48 a.m. EST

Abbott Laboratories ( ABT) matched Wall Street's fourth-quarter earnings estimates Wednesday and reiterated its forecast for double-digit profit growth in 2009.

The diagnostics, medical devices and drug maker reported net income for the fourth quarter of $1.54 billion, or 98 cents a share, compared with net income of $1.2 billion, or 77 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Excluding special items, Abbott reported a 14% increase in earnings per share to $1.06 in the fourth quarter, in line with the Street's consensus estimate.

Fourth-quarter revenue rose 10% to $7.95 billion, essentially matching the consensus analyst forecast of $8 billion. Abbott reported revenue of $7.22 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Abbott reiterated its 2009 earnings forecast, first offered Jan. 12, in the range of $3.65 to $3.70 a share on both a GAAP and adjusted basis. At the time, Wall Street was expecting earnings of $3.66 a share.

The midpoint of Abbott's guidance represents 10% growth over 2008 adjusted earnings of $3.32 a share.

Abbott's 2009 earnings outlook includes the company's planned $2.8 billion purchase of eye care company Advanced Medical Optics ( EYE).

The bullish forecast offered by Abbott management stands in contrast with diversified health care giant Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), which said Tuesday that this year's revenue would fall from the reported 2008 level, the company's first annual revenue decline in 75 years. Johnson & Johnson blamed the recession, which is forcing consumers to spend less on health care products, both prescription drugs and consumer products.

Returning to Abbott's fourth-quarter results, worldwide pharmaceutical sales increased nearly 10% to $4.6 billion, supported by strong growth in drugs like Humira, Niaspan and the TriCor/Trilipix franchise. Global sales of Humira, a rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis drug, totaled $1.3 billion in the quarter.

Worldwide medical product sales rose almost 16%, led by 59% sales growth in global vascular sales to $663 million, including the Xience V drug-eluting stent. Global nutritional sales rose 11% to $1.3 billion.

Shares of Abbott were up 3.5% at $50.94 in recent trading.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.