Johnson & Johnson beats 3rd quarter profit views, hikes 2020 forecast

Johnson & Johnson hikes its 2020 forecast after a strong third quarter. PHOTO CREDIT: Wilfredo Lee

Johnson & Johnson boosted revenue slightly and doubled its third-quarter profit, mainly due to a $4 billion charge for litigation costs in the year-ago quarter. The health care giant handily beat Wall Street expectations and raised its financial forecast for the year.

Meanwhile, the New Brunswick, N.J.-based company disclosed late Monday that it had to temporarily pause its huge, late-stage study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine “due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.” Such pauses are not unusual in big studies, and it’s unknown whether the participant got J&J’s shot or a placebo.

The world’s biggest maker of health care products today reported net income of $3.55 billion, or $1.33 per share, up 103% from $1.75 billion, or 66 cents per share, in 2019’s third quarter.

Excluding one-time gains and expenses, adjusted net income, was $5.87 billion, or $2.20 per share, up from $5.67 billion, or or $2.12 per share, a year earlier.

The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.99 per share.

Johnson & Johnson posted revenue of $21.08 billion in the period. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $20.53 billion.

J&J said it expects adjusted full-year earnings in the range of $7.95 to $8.05 per share, up from its July forecast for $7.75 to $7.95. The company forecast revenue in the range of $81.2 billion to $82 billion, up from $79.9 billion to $81.4 billion.

Johnson & Johnson shares have risen 4% since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has risen slightly more than 9%. The stock has climbed 18% in the past 12 months.