Johnson & Johnson beats forecast, takes new charge for recalled hips

Johnson & Johnson reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday, fueled by rebounding sales of prescription drugs and demand for its medical devices, but took another big special charge for its recalled artificial hips.

The diversified healthcare company on Tuesday said it earned $2.6 billion, or 91 cents per share. That compared with $218 million, or 8 cents per share, in the year-ago period when the company took charges of more than $3 billion, including $800 million for medical costs related to recalls of defective "metal-on-metal" hip replacement devices made by its DePuy Orthopedics unit.

Excluding special items, J&J earned $1.19 per share. Analysts, on average, expected $1.17 per share.

Global revenue rose 8 percent to $17.56 billion, below Wall Street expectations of $17.7 billion.

(Reporting By Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)