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Three Things You Need to Know From AbbVie Inc (ABBV)’s Q2 Earnings

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It’s easy to forget that AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV) is technically only seven-months old. This pharmaceutical baby has taken some mighty big steps in 2013 so far, though, after its spin-off by Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT). The stock is up over 25% this year.

AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV)

AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV) announced its second-quarter earnings before the market opened on Friday. Shares climbed a little in early trading on a day when the major indexes opened in the red. Here are the three most important things you need to know from the company’s earnings announcement.

1. The operative words are “better than expected.”
Wall Street loves to hear those three magical words: “better than expected.” AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV) repeated the words a few times with its latest financial results.

The company reported revenue of $4.69 billion, up 4.4% year over year. CEO Richard Gonzalez noted that this growth was better than AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV) expected. It was also better than the $4.54 billion that analysts expected.

Earnings also surprised on the upside. AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV) recorded adjusted earnings of $0.82 per diluted share. That was better than the company’s previous guidance. It was also better than the consensus Wall Street estimate of $0.79 per share.

GAAP earnings of $0.66 per diluted share did come in lower than the $0.80 per share reported in the second quarter of 2012, when the company was still part of Abbott. However, special items, including intangible asset amortization, separation costs from Abbott’s spin off of the new company, continued restructuring costs, and upfront payments related to a recent collaboration with Alvine Pharmaceuticals, accounted for the decrease.

Probably the best “better-than-expected” news of all was that AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV) raised its full-year earnings guidance. The company now expects adjusted earnings to be in the $3.07 to $3.13 per-share range. AbbVie previously projected diluted earnings between $3.03 and $3.13 per share.

2. Humira is still humming along.
AbbVie’s biggest moneymaker, Humira, continues to rake in cash. Sales for the drug during the second quarter topped $2.6 billion. That’s up 12.1% from the same quarter last year. U.S. sales for Humira were even stronger, with 16% year-over-year growth.

This sustained growth comes in the face of new competition from Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE)‘s Xeljanz. Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) had hopes that its oral rheumatoid arthritis drug could quickly steal market share away from Humira, which must be injected. However, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) executive Geno Germano stated that the first months of sales for Xeljanz have gotten off to a slower start than the company expected.

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