Drug, device sales power Johnson & Johnson in first quarter

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Big jumps in sales of prescription drugs and medical devices helped Johnson & Johnson boost its first-quarter profit nearly 7%, blowing past Wall Street forecasts. The healthcare giant raised its financial forecasts for 2021.

The one weak spot in the results J&J reported today was a small drop in consumer health sales, which saw a surge in 2020’s first quarter, when nervous consumers stocked up on over-the-counter medicines as the coronavirus pandemic set in and lockdowns began.

Meanwhile, the world’s biggest maker of health care products awaits word from regulators on when it can resume the rollout of its COVID-19 vaccine. The one-dose shot, seen as crucial for vaccinating people in remote areas and poor countries, is being scrutinized due to a tiny number of unusual blood clots in people receiving it.

Johnson & Johnson reported first-quarter net income of $6.2 billion, or $2.32 per share, up 6.9% from $5.8 billion, or $2.17 per share, a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings amounted to $6.92 billion, or $2.59 per share. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $2.31 per share.

The company reported revenue of $22.32 billion, well above the $21.82 billion projected on Wall Street, according to a survey by Zacks expected.

J&J said it now expects full-year earnings in the range of $9.42 to $9.57 per share, up from $9.40 to $9.60 in its January forecast. It anticipates revenue in the range of $90.6 billion to $91.6 billion, up from the January forecast of $90.5 billion to $91.7 billion.

Johnson & Johnson shares have climbed just over 3% since the beginning of the year. The stock has increased 7% in the last 12 months.

Shares fell slightly before the opening bell today with markets down.