What happened

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) stock outpaced the market last month, gaining 10% compared to a 3.6% increase in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The uptick pushed the drug giant's shares ahead of the market so far in 2018, with its 12% gain equating to about double the S&P 500's increase.

^SPX Chart

^SPX data by YCharts.

So what

Investors pushed Pfizer's stock higher late in the month in response to the company's second-quarter earnings report. That announcement showed a modest sales uptick despite the loss of patent protection for its blockbuster Viagra drug. Newer products like Prevnar and Eliquis filled that sales void and a lower tax liability allowed adjusted earnings to rise by 19%.

Many different types of pills on a blue background

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Pfizer reduced several of its short-term financial targets in late July, but only to account for unfavorable foreign currency moves. Over the long term, executives are bullish about its pipeline of as many as 15 potential blockbuster drugs that could be approved for commercial use between now and 2022. CEO Ian Read called that portfolio "the largest and most promising array of late-stage prospects" that Pfizer has had in decades, and investors incorporated that optimism into a rising stock price last month.

Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.