AstraZeneca stock popped Friday after the drugmaker beat Wall Street’s first-quarter expectations on the back of strong sales for cancer-treating drugs.
The company’s coronavirus vaccine also contributed $275 million in sales. But raised guidance for 2021 excludes the impact of the vaccine. AstraZeneca (AZN) sells its Covid vaccine outside the U.S. Chief Executive Pascal Soriot says the pandemic slowed the diagnosis and treatment of many conditions.
“We expect the impact of Covid to reduce and anticipate a performance acceleration in the second half of 2021,” he said in a written statement.
In premarket trading on the stock market today, AstraZeneca stock jumped 4% near 53.40.
AstraZeneca Stock Jumps On Strong Beat
For the first quarter, AstraZeneca reported $7.32 billion in sales, up 15%. Excluding the impact of exchange rates, sales climbed 11%. That number easily topped the average forecast of AstraZeneca stock analysts for $6.99 billion in sales.
Core earnings of $1.63 per share surged 55%. In constant currency, earnings increased 53%. On a reported basis, earnings doubled to $1.19 per share and soared 97% in constant currency. AstraZeneca stock analysts called for earnings of 66 cents a share.
The pharma company noted strong growth for its cancer drugs, which jumped 20% to $3.02 billion in the first quarter. New cardiovascular and rhythm management treatments brought in nearly $1.31 billion in sales, rising 19%. But sales of respiratory and immunology drugs fell 1% to $1.55 billion.
For the year, AstraZeneca expects total revenue to increase by a low-teens percentage and core earnings of $4.75-$5 per share. AstraZeneca stock analysts modeled a 33% decline in earnings to $2.68 a share and 17% sales growth to $31.1 billion.
The guidance excludes the impact of Covid vaccine sales and the looming acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN). The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.
Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.
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