Abbot Laboratories Inc. reported on Wednesday its earnings in the first quarter of 2008 rose 34 percent off strong sales of its medical products abroad.

The pharmaceutical company said its net income was $937.9 million or 60 cents per share compared to a net income last year of $697.5 million or 45 cents per share.

It also reported that earnings totaled $987.7 million or 63 cents per share excluding special items or acquisitions costs.

The results were better than those expected by analysts. Revenue rose 14 percent to $6.77 billion when in the same period last year the revenue was of $5.95 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial said their forecasts of earnings per share were 62 cents on revenue of $6.53 billion.

The health products maker said its global sales of prescription drugs jumped 14.3 percent to $3.85 billion, while sales of diagnostics were up 17.1 percent to $832 million. According to the reports the company had benefits from its best-seller drug Humira used to treat arthritis.

Humira surged nearly 54 percent worldwide to $878 million during the first-quarter as the drug is used in numerous countries and was recently approved for use in Japan.

Abbot said it expects full year earnings of $3.20 or $3.25 per share excluding special items, and for the second quarter profit the company forecast between 78 cents and 80 cents per share.

Shares of Abbot Laboratories on Wednesday were down by 53 cents to $51.40 during afternoon trading.