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2 Green Flags in Johnson & Johnson's Latest Earnings Report

By Cory Renauer - Feb 6, 2021 at 5:59AM

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Strong pharmaceutical sales and an impressive growth forecast gave investors reasons to smile.

What did we learn about the world's largest healthcare company when it kicked off the sector's earnings season? 

In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on Jan. 29, healthcare and cannabis bureau chief Corinne Cardina and writer Cory Renauer discuss Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ -0.98%) latest earnings call. Here's what they had to say about the most important highlights.

Corinne Cardina: Cory, what did we learn from Johnson & Johnson's earnings when they reported this week? Fools, the way we've outlined this is to give two green flags and one red or yellow flag. We want to try to stay optimistic, so two green, one red or yellow, and then we will discuss if it looks like a buy. Cory, what are some green flags from Johnson & Johnson's earnings?

Cory Renauer: The biggest green flag in Johnson & Johnson's earnings were pharmaceutical sales that grew 16% year over year to $12.3 billion. That's a majority, I think it's around 60% of the company's total revenue now. It's not just one drug that's driving them forward either. Darzalex, a multiple myeloma drug that launched about five years ago. It jumped 50% year over year to an annualized $5 billion in the fourth quarter. Just like that, they added $2.5 billion in annual revenue from one drug. There are quite a few other drugs that have launched recently that might do as well.

Cardina: Is there a second green flag?

Renauer: Any up for the second green flag?

Cardina: Yeah.

Renauer: I haven't seen this before. I'm not sure how this game works actually. For the second green flag, this year the company expects sales to grow by 8.8% year over year, which for a company with total revenue of $44 billion? For a company with this much revenue, that is a lot of growth. The company expects adjusted earnings to grow by 16.4% this year, and those figures don't include potential sales of the coronavirus vaccine that will most likely generate a great deal of revenue, even if the company doesn't technically earn any money on the bottom line from it.

Cardina: Because they're still going to be recouping the money it cost to produce the vaccine, and then there's the question of sales after the pandemic is under control, and they may start earning a profit on that.

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