Analysts had been expecting the company to earn of $1.22 per share, but the company surpassed those estimates, with a reported $1.26 per share for its first quarter. First quarter earnings were also on par with the $1.22 it reported during the first quarter of 2008.
Looking at its full year 2009, Johnson & Johnson confirmed its guidance between $4.45 and $4.55 per share. This is in-line with the $4.49 that analysts had been expecting.
While it turned out to be a pretty strong quarter for the company, one weak spot was its sales. Analysts had expected the company to report sales of $15.4 billion, but actual sales came in a little below at $15 billion during the quarter. The $15 billion marks a 7.2% drop in year over year sales, but JNJ stated that currency impact accounted for 6% of the decline.
In its attempt to battle the current recession that has gripped the country, the company stated that it had been able to successfully reduce its spending more than 10% on research, sales, general and administrative expenses.
While it is always nice to see earnings growth, in today's economic landscape what is most important is living up to expectations, and that is exactly what Johnson & Johnson did this quarter, and then some.
Today's earnings were widely anticipated since Johnson & Johnson is a component of the Dow Jones industrial Average and the first major health care company to report its first quarter earnings, so it could be a good sign of things to come.
Early morning traders have rewarded the stock, pushing shares up over 3% in premarket trading.