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Pfizer's (PFE) Stock Gains in Pre-Market on Q1 Earnings Beat

Pfizer Inc.’s PFE shares were up in pre-market trading on the company’s first quarter results. While the company's earnings per share of 67 cents were well above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 55 cents, revenues of $13 billion soared past the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $11.9 billion.

The company recorded earnings growth of 32% and revenue growth of 20% from the year-ago period.

This is Pfizer's first earnings report after the company called off the Allergan plc AGN deal.

Hospira, Cancer Drugs, Vaccines Perform Well

While currency movement cut Pfizer’s first quarter revenues by 7% ($729 million), operational growth was 26% ($2.9 billion). International revenues declined 1% to $6.4 billion. Meanwhile, U.S. revenues grew 49% to $6.6 billion.

Although the standalone Global Established Pharmaceutical (GEP) segment recorded a decline in revenues, the Global Innovative Pharmaceutical (GIP), Global Oncology, Consumer Healthcare and Global Vaccines segments recorded growth.

The standalone GEP segment recorded a 7% decline in revenues, which came in at $4.8 billion. Factors like the presence of generic competition for Zyvox IV and Lyrica in certain developed EU markets affected revenues.

GIP segment revenues grew 18% to $3.6 billion reflecting the strong performance of Lyrica, Xeljanz and Chantix in the U.S., Enbrel in most international markets and Eliquis across the world.

Consumer Healthcare revenues grew 2% to $822 million. Nexium 24HR and Advil demand in the U.S. remained strong.

Global Oncology revenues increased 90% to $1 billion with performance being driven by Xalkori, Sutent and Ibrance.

Global Vaccine revenues grew 18% to $1.6 billion. Prevnar 13 was positively impacted by continued strong uptake among adults reflecting the success of commercial programs, as well as the timing of government purchases for the pediatric indication.

Selling, informational and administrative (SI&A) expenses grew 9% to $3.4 billion during the quarter. R&D expenses decreased 8% to $1.7 billion.

2016 Guidance Raised

Pfizer now expects to earn $2.38 - $2.48 per share on revenues of $51 billion - $53 billion. The company had previously guided towards earnings of $2.20 - $2.30 per share on revenues of $49 billion - $51 billion in 2016.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings and revenues are currently $2.29 per share and $51.3 billion, respectively.

Pfizer expects SI&A spend of $13.7 billion - $14.7 billion (old guidance: $13.2 billion - $14.2 billion) and R&D spend of $7.4 billion - $7.8 billion (old guidance: $7.3 billion - $7.8 billion).

Our Take

Pfizer’s first quarter results surpassed expectations by a huge margin. Earnings were boosted by higher revenues, a lower share count and a lower tax rate. The company’s raised outlook is also above current expectations.

While we believe genericization, unfavorable currency movement and the expiration of a few co-promotion agreements will continue to hamper top-line growth, cost-cutting efforts and share buybacks should help Pfizer achieve its earnings guidance. Moreover, the Hospira acquisition has significantly expanded Pfizer's sterile injectable and biosimilar capabilities and will boost sales further. Pfizer has also gained access to Hospira’s lucrative biosimilar portfolio of both marketed and pipeline assets.

Pfizer is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. Some better-ranked stocks in the large cap pharma sector include Johnson & Johnson JNJ and Novo Nordisk A/S NVO -- both are Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stocks.

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