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CVS Health Beats Expectations in Q1 Due to COVID-19 Fears

By Keith Speights - May 6, 2020 at 10:59AM

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Consumers stocking up to prepare for pandemic lockdowns helped boost the healthcare giant's sales.

CVS Health (CVS 1.38%) reported its first-quarter results before the market opened on Wednesday, announcing revenue up 8.3% year over year to $66.8 billion. That well exceeded the average analysts' estimate of $66.04 billion. On the bottom line, the healthcare giant posted GAAP earnings per share (EPS) of $1.53, and adjusted EPS of $1.91, topping the analysts' consensus forecast of $1.63. 

The company reported that revenue for its pharmacy services segment increased by 4.2% year over year in Q1 to nearly $35 billion. Revenue from the company's retail/long-term care segment jumped 7.7% to $22.7 billion. Both segments saw higher sales in part as a result of consumers refilling prescriptions early and more frequently choosing to buy 90-day supplies of drugs in preparation for pandemic-related lockdowns. Its retail business also benefited from increased consumer health and general merchandise sales, which were also driven primarily by the COVID-19 pandemic.

CVS pharmacy store

Image source: CVS Health.

CVS Health's healthcare benefits segment, which includes large health insurer Aetna, generated revenue of $19.2 billion in the first quarter, up 7.4% year over year. This growth was largely fueled by Aetna's government products and a positive impact from the reinstatement of the Affordable Care Act's health insurance fee for 2020. 

While some companies in the healthcare sector have withdrawn all of their 2020 guidance, CVS Health confirmed parts of its previously stated outlook. The company continues to expect full-year GAAP diluted EPS will be between $5.47 and $5.60 with adjusted EPS between $7.04 and $7.17. CVS also projects full-year cash flow will be between $10.5 billion and $11 billion. 

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