Johnson & Johnson Sees Better Times Ahead Despite Dollar-Driven Declines

Image: Johnson & Johnson.

Healthcare conglomerate Johnson & Johnson caters to the healthcare needs of customers across the globe, with a strong presence in pharmaceuticals, consumer products, and medical devices. Coming into Tuesday morning's second-quarter financial report, J&J investors were aware that the strength of the U.S. dollar would hurt its overall results, but they also wanted to see how well the company could do at producing operational growth across its three major segments. Somewhat surprisingly, J&J produced its strongest performance from its consumer segment, bucking a trend that has recently seen the pharmaceutical business dominate the company's overall results. Let's look more closely at Johnson & Johnson's latest results and why investors should expect better things from the healthcare giant in the future.

Johnson & Johnson's dollar defeat continuesAs we've seen in previous quarters, Johnson & Johnson's results weren't pretty from a headline-number perspective. Revenue dropped 8.8% to $17.79 billion, and after making changes to reflect certain extraordinary items, adjusted net income fell 6.3% to $4.81 billion. That resulted in adjusted earnings of $1.71 per share, down from last year's $1.78 per share results for the second quarter. As poor as its results look, J&J did manage to surpass consensus estimates among investors following the stock on both measures.

A deeper look at J&J's numbers reveals more useful information about how the quarter went. Across the company, currency impacts cost J&J nearly eight percentage points of revenue growth, meaning that on an operational basis, the healthcare specialist suffered only a 0.9% decline in sales. Moreover, two of the company's three segments saw positive operations growth.

What might come as a surprise to many investors is that the best operational performance came from the consumer products segment, with gains of 2.7% in the U.S. and 2.1% internationally before factoring in a huge currency-caused headwind. Women's health and over-the-counter products saw the biggest gains in the segment, while declines in wound-care and baby and skin care held back the division's overall growth.

J&J's pharmaceutical segment continued to post operational gains, but they only amounted to 1% in the second quarter. Oncology and cardiovascular drugs contributed strongly to the company's overall performance in the pharma space, but the infectious-diseases subcategory suffered huge declines as competing products from other manufacturers became available. The medical device segment, meanwhile, kept trailing the pack, but its operational declines of 4.7% came almost entirely from the impact of the sale of J&J's Ortho Diagnostics unit last year.

Geographically, J&J's results from last quarter got turned on their head. The Western Hemisphere posted operational declines even as Europe and Asia-Pacific/Africa gave the company modest growth.

Better news ahead for J&J? CEO Alex Gorsky tried to keep big-picture perspective on the results, pointing to "our passion to deliver transformational new medicines and products [that] reflects the ongoing commitment of our dedicated employees to improve health and well-being." Gorsky noted that J&J's size is part of what makes its positive performance possible, suggesting that he'll be reluctant to consider a breakup of the company into its component parts.

Johnson & Johnson also gave investors good news going forward, with a boost in earnings guidance. J&J now expects to earn between $6.10 and $6.20 per share in 2015, up from its prior range of $6.04 to $6.19 per share. Still, traders weren't entirely sure how to interpret J&J's results, initially sending the stock modestly higher in pre-market trading following the announcement but then letting those gains give way to a small decline after an hour of activity.

From a longer-term perspective, Johnson & Johnson continues to focus on growth across its business lines, and despite the strength of consumer products this quarter, the pharmaceutical arena still appears to have the best prospects for fast future growth. The stock's 3% dividend yield should also provide some incentive to shareholders to stick with J&J even as it battles the dollar's big downward impact on its financials.

The article Johnson & Johnson Sees Better Times Ahead Despite Dollar-Driven Declines originally appeared on

Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright 1995 - 2015 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.