(Update: Adds insight into falling revenues, prior J&J announcements, and adds stock price.)

Its profit may have dipped because of slower sales this quarter, and currency exchanges didn't help, but Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) still beat analysts' estimates.

On Tuesday, Johnson & Johnson said it earned $3.21 billion, or $1.15 a share, in the quarter on sales of $15.24 billion, which were down 7.4% from the year-earlier period.

The company earned $3.33 billion, or $1.17 a share, in the year-earlier second quarter. The second quarter 2008 total also included a one-time $40 million R&D charge.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected the New Jersey-based health industry bellwether to post earnings of $1.11 a share on revenue of $15.02 billion this quarter.

Revenue slowed thanks largely to a drop in prescription drug sales and increasing competition from generics. The giant healthcare conglomerate, known for making a diverse line of products, including Band-Aids and Listerine, said worldwide pharmaceutical sales fell 13.3% compared to the year-ago quarter.

Though worldwide consumer sales also dropped, the company pointed to stronger sales for items like Listerine, along with an uptick in skin care lines Neutrogena and Aveeno, as key product-growth drivers in the quarter. The company also slashed marketing and R&D costs by 12.9% and 13.6%, respectively, against the year-ago quarter.

Johnson & Johnson also confirmed its 2009 guidance, saying that earnings would land between $4.45 and $4.55 a share for the year after excluding certain items.

Last week, Johnson & Johnson completed its near $1 billion acquisition of Cougar Technology. Before that, Johnson & Johnson entered into an agreement to buy Elan's ( ELN) stake in the Alzheimer drug market.

Shares of Johnson & Johnson were up 0.7%, or 43 cents, at $58.15 just after the opening bell.
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