Express Scripts Boosted by Generic Drugs

ST. LOUIS ( TheStreet) -- Generic drugs boosted pharmacy benefit manager Express Script's ( symbol) second-quarter earnings.

The slight 1.1% increase led the company to raise its full-year guidance, sending shares up 2% to $73.15 in after-market trading.

During the quarter, Express Scripts earned $192.3 million, or 75 cents a share, compared with $190.2 million, or 76 cents, in the year-ago period.

Excluding expenses related to the acquisition of WellPoint's pharmacy benefit management business, earnings were actually 88 cents a share, beating Wall Street's forecast by a penny.

Revenue dropped slightly to $5.5 billion from $5.53 billion last year.

Looking forward, the company now expects full-year earnings in the range of $3.72 to $3.82 a share, up from prior forecast of $3.67 to $3.77 a share.

On Wednesday, WellPoint ( WLP) said quarterly profit fell to $693.5 million, or $1.43 per share, from $750.5 million, or $1.44 per share in the year-earlier period, as it battles rising unemployment numbers.

Express Script's rival UnitedHealth ( UNH) said last week that its profit more than doubled in the second quarter despite a decrease in commercial enrollment.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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