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J&J Raises Underlying Guidance After Strong Q4, but Legal Risks Linger

J&J Earnings Beat, Revenue Misses In Q4 - Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) raised its guidance for underlying earnings and revenue after a strong fourth quarter on Wednesday but was unable to stop reported earnings slumping due to costs related to opioid- and talc-related lawsuits.

The company announced fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.88 a share for the quarter, 1c ahead of forecasts, but reported earnings tumbled by 54% to only 66c. Revenue also fell short of forecasts slightly at $20.75 billion.

EPS were down from $1.97 a year ago, while revenue edged up from $20.39 billion.

The company now expects underlying earnings of a range between $8.62 and $8.67 for 2019, up from a range of $8.53-$8.63 previously. Chief executive Alex Gorsky pointed to "underlying growth in Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices, as well as continued optimization in our Consumer business" as the reasons.

However, J&J warned that it can't give forecasts for GAAP line items such as net profit because it is "unable to predict with reasonable certainty the ultimate outcome of legal proceedings, unusual gains and losses, acquisition-related expenses and purchase accounting fair value adjustments without unreasonable effort."

The outlook still threatens to be a drag on its performance in 2020, according to analyst Haris Anwar.

"It’s tough for investors to focus on J&J’s fundamentals when the company is facing thousands of lawsuits in the U.S. over product safety and marketing practices for a range of products including baby powder and opioids," Anwar said. "In addition to these legal issues, there is a good amount of political uncertainty related to the U.S. presidential election that makes healthcare stocks a risky trade in 2020."

J&J (NYSE:JNJ) stock hit a new record high on Tuesday and finished up 2.3% for the year to date.

J&J follows other major Healthcare sector earnings this month

On October 31, 2019, Novocure Ltd reported third quarter EPS of $0.02 on revenue of $92.06M, was in comparison with a forecasts for EPS of $-0.04 on revenue of $86.94M.

ABIOMED earnings beat analysts' expectations on January 13, with third quarter EPS of $1.09 on revenue of $221.6M. analysts forecast EPS of $1.07 on revenue of $226.67M

Stay up-to-date on all of the upcoming earnings reports by visiting's earnings calendar

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