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Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY): Will The Big Bets Pay Off?

Eli Lilly & Co (LLY)Tomorrow, Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) will release its latest quarterly results. The key to making smart investment decisions on stocks reporting earnings is to anticipate how they’ll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you’ll be less likely to make an uninformed kneejerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

The pharmaceutical industry has a lot of opportunities for growth right now, and Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) has done its best to claim its share of those opportunities. But Lilly faces a tough road in building up its pipeline to offset the impact of expiring patent protection on some of its blockbuster drugs. Let’s take an early look at what’s been happening with Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) over the past quarter and what we’re likely to see in its quarterly report.

Stats on Eli Lilly

Analyst EPS Estimate $1.05
Change From Year-Ago EPS 14%
Revenue Estimate $5.66 billion
Change From Year-Ago Revenue 1.1%
Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters 3

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Will Lilly deliver healthy results this quarter?
In recent months, analysts have gotten more optimistic about Lilly’s earnings prospects. They’ve made a $0.07 per share increase both to their first-quarter and full-year 2013 estimates, helping to send the stock to about a 10% gain since mid-January.

The toughest obstacle for big pharma lately has been the wave of patent expirations hitting the industry. Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) has had to deal with the loss of Lipitor, which produced more than $130 billion in lifetime sales, as well as several other important drugs in its lineup. Fellow giant Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) had to lower its 2013 forecast when its Singulair patent protection expired. Yet even with the whole industry facing the patent cliff, Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) is having to deal with expiring patents on drug after drug, including Zyprexa in 2011 and Cymbalta at the end of this year, and its pipeline hasn’t delivered on its full promise to replace those lost sales.

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