Johnson & Johnson Third-Quarter Sales Top Views

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) reported better than expected quarterly earnings, boosted by surging sales of a new drug for hepatitis C that are expected to evaporate in coming months due to competition from a more potent and convenient combination treatment.

The diversified healthcare company on Tuesday said it earned $4.75 billion, or $1.66 per share, in the third quarter. That compared with $2.98 billion, or $1.04 per share, in the year-earlier period, when J&J took special charges related to legal expenses and merger-related costs.

Excluding special items, J&J earned $1.50 per share. Analysts on average expected $1.45 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Company sales rose 5.1 percent to $18.47 billion, topping the average analyst estimate of $18.38 billion.

J&J said it now expects full-year earnings, excluding special items, of $5.92 to $5.97 per share. In July, it had previously forecast $5.85 to $5.92 per share.