Abbott, Novartis post double-digit profit hikes

Profits are way up at both Abbott Laboratories and Novartis, continuing--so far--pharma's strong showing this quarter. Boosted by strong sales of Humira, its rheumatoid arthritis med, and by international sales and their attendant exchange-rate gains, Abbott saw its net rise to $1.32 billion, or 85 cents per share, on $7.31 billion in sales, compared with a profit of $988.7 million during the same quarter last year. Analysts had expected EPS of 79 cents and revenues of $7.23 billion. Overall, domestic sales rose 5 percent, while international sales leapt by a whopping 24 percent. The company raised its full-year EPS forecast to between $3.24 and $3.28 from $3.20 to $3.25.

Meanwhile, Novartis posted a 17 percent rise in net income on the back of recent acquisitions and strong sales. Profits grew to $2.3 billion, up from $1.9 billion year-over-year, while sales rose 14 percent to $10.7 billion. And that sales growth came in part from stronger-than-expected numbers from the company's pharma division. Vacccines and diagnostics grew at a respectable clip, too, but overall U.S. sales fell by 3 percent because of generic competition and the loss of Zelnorm, which was withdrawn last year.

- read the Abbott news at the Financial Times
- see the Novartis report in the Chicago Tribune