Johnson & Johnson Growth Stalls

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Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) reported third-quarter 2013 results before markets opened Tuesday morning. The health care giant posted quarterly adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.36 on revenue of $17.58 billion. In the same period a year ago, J&J reported EPS of $1.25 on revenue of $17.05 billion. Third-quarter results also compare to the consensus estimates for EPS of $1.32 on revenue of $17.46 billion.

The company’s adjusted earnings excluded $900,000 in after-tax charges related to the J&J’s acquisition of Synthes, in-process R&D and an increase in the accrual for litigation expenses.

J&J boosted its earnings guidance for the full year from an adjusted EPS range of $5.40 to $5.47 to a new range of $5.44 to $5.49. The consensus estimate had called for EPS of $5.46 on revenues of $70.81 billion. For the first nine months of the year, the company has posted revenues of $52.96 billion and diluted adjusted EPS of $4.28.

The firm’s CEO said:

Our third-quarter results reflect the solid, demonstrable results in achieving our near-term priorities while also advancing our longer term strategic growth drivers. Our key products and successful new product launches delivered strong growth. We continue to progress our pipelines with a number of regulatory approvals, the submission of new drug applications, and execution of strategic collaborations.

Worldwide consumer sales rose 0.8% year-over-year to $3.61 billion, including a negative currency impact of 1.2%. Pharmaceutical sales rose 9.9% to $7.04 billion. Medical devices and diagnostics sales fell 2% to $6.93 billion. The negative currency exchange impact on total revenues was 1.6% in the quarter.

Although sales totals were higher in each of the company’s segments, year-over-year growth did not match second-quarter growth in any of them. Consumer sales in the second quarter were up 1.1%, drug sales were up 11.7%, and devices and diagnostics sales were up 9.6%. For all the happy talk, this is not a good sign.

Shares are trading about 1% higher in the premarket Tuesday morning, at $91.45 in a 52-week range of $68.51 to $94.42. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $94.10 before these results were announced.