Hospira Inc (HSP.N) on Wednesday reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly net profit, driven by positive results for the prostate cancer treatment oncolytic docetaxel in the United States.
Second-quarter net income was $143.6 million, or 85 cents per diluted share, compared with $83.5 million, or 49 cents per diluted share.
Earnings per share, excluding items, were 94 cents. On that basis, analysts on average were expecting 79 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales in the quarter rose 10 percent to $1.06 billion.
The specialty pharmaceutical and medication delivery company said it now forecasts full year sales growth of 7 percent to 9 percent, but that higher growth would be offset by lower-than-anticipated gross margins.
The company said it expects full-year adjusted diluted earnings per share between $3.90 and $4.00, which would be 18 percent to 21 percent over year-ago levels.
"With its market-leading position in a high-barrier-to-entry segment of the generic market and several major product launches over the next 18 months, we continue to see several years of strong EPS growth ahead of Hospira," JP Morgan wrote in a research note, adding that it maintains its "overweight" rating on the stock, which is trading 11 times its 2012 earnings estimate.
Its shares were bid at $53.60, up from Tuesday's close of $52.10 on the New York Stock Exchange.