Abbott 2013 earnings forecast tops Street view

Abbott Laboratories Inc , which spun off its branded prescription drugs business earlier this month, on Wednesday forecast 2013 earnings above Wall Street expectations.

Abbott said it expects earnings for the full year, excluding special items, of $1.98 to $2.04 per share. Analysts, on average, have forecast $1.95, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The suburban Chicago company issued the forecast as it reported fourth-quarter results.

Abbott, which sells medical devices, diagnostics, nutritional products and generic medicines, spun off its patent-protected drugs into a separate company, AbbVie Inc , which began trading at the beginning of the year.

Abbott said global sales of branded drugs that now belong to AbbVie rose 7.4 percent to $5.14 billion in the fourth quarter. The rise would have been 8.5 percent if not for the stronger dollar, which lowers the value of sales in overseas markets.

(Reporting By Ransdell Pierson; editing by John Wallace)