Shares of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) were moving higher Tuesday, lately up 2.1 percent at $113.25 a share, hitting a record high, after the pharmaceutical and health and wellness company reported a rise in first-quarter sales and higher-than-expected earnings of $1.54 per share, with adjusted diluted earnings per share coming to $1.68 for the quarter.
Sales rose 0.6 percent to $17.48 billion the first quarter, the company announced Tuesday, reflecting a 7.2 increase in domestic sales but a 6 percent decrease in international sales. It said those numbers were affected by the strong dollar and the currency devaluation in Venezuela, with international sales hit with a negative currency impact of 6.6 percent. Net earnings fell to $4.29 billion the first quarter of this year, from $4.32 billion a year earlier.
J&J also readjusted its sales estimate for the year from $71.2 billion to $71.9 billion, up from the $70.8 billion to $71.5 billion it predicted in January. The New Jersey-based company also adjusted its expected earnings-per-share range for the year to $6.53 to $6.68, from the previously anticipated range of $6.43 to $6.58.
Those forecasts are based on the assumption that Remicade, Johnson & Johnson's arthritis medication, will not see competition hit the market this year, Dominic Caruso, the company's chief financial officer, told Bloomberg Go, even though the Food and Drug Administration this month approved Inflectra, a similar drug.
"We are off to a strong start to the year, supported by our first-quarter underlying sales growth," Alex Gorsky, J&J's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.
Gorsky touted Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceuticals business, which makes Tylenol, as delivering "impressive levels of growth," and said the company was seeing "improvement" and "momentum" in its consumer and medical device sectors, respectively.
In its 2015 annual report, J&J said it expected to deliver “above-industry growth” in pharmaceuticals due to investment in research and development, as well as a “demonstrated record of disciplined acquisitions and licensing deals, and strong in-market performance.” Last year, pharmaceuticals accounted for 45 percent of Johnson & Johnson's $70 billion in sales.