On Thursday, drugmaker Wyeth (NYSE: WYE ) reported third-quarter results that included several positive trends that has the stock headed back in the right direction. Heading into the day, the stock was trading more than 20% off of June's 52-week high. Fortunately, the market was impressed enough to push shares 3% higher yesterday.
After adjusting for non-routine items, the company reported a 7% spike in earnings per share on a 9% increase in net revenue compared with a year ago. There was a 4% increase in net revenue from the company's top-selling drug, the anti-depressant Effexor. More impressive were the Nos. 2 and 3 sellers, Prevnar and Enbrel. Net revenue for Prevnar, a vaccine for infants, grew by 24%. For Enbrel, a medication for inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis that Wyeth markets with Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN ) , net revenue increased by 39%. These three drugs now account for 38% of Wyeth's total net revenue.
Revenue grew for all three of Wyeth's businesses, including 11% in its animal health business. Wyeth is not the only large-cap pharmaceutical company experiencing an improvement in that business. On Wednesday, Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) reported a 13% growth in quarterly revenue in its animal health business. Apparently Fido and Max are getting older, too.
These strong results by Wyeth, coupled with a reasonable valuation of its common stock, enabled it to increase its share repurchase authorization to $5 billion. This move toward buying back depressed shares is similar to one Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ) recently made to buy back $2 billion worth of its common stock as part of a $10 billion share repurchase program.
Wyeth continues to be one of big pharma's most reliable performers from an operations standpoint, and the latest quarter is an outstanding example of its consistency.
For related Foolishness: