What happened

A convincing earnings beat on a very bullish day for the stock market was the powerful tailwind behind AstraZeneca's (AZN -0.83%) nearly 7% price gain Thursday. The company unveiled its third-quarter results, and investors clearly liked what they saw.

So what

For the period, AstraZeneca's total revenue was $10.98 billion. That was a very strong 19% higher than in the same quarter last year, thanks in no small part to sales growth in all of the company's disease areas in the first nine months of this year.

AstraZeneca is also reaping the fruits of its $39 billion acquisition of Alexion, a peer pharmaceutical company, in a deal that closed last July. Seventy-two days' worth of Alexion revenue was counted in the third quarter of 2021, compared to 92 days in the same period this year.

Further down the profit and loss statement, AstraZeneca's net income saw a dramatic improvement, flipping to a $1.64 billion ($1.06 per share) profit from the year-ago loss of $1.65 million. Meanwhile, the company's "core" -- i.e.,  non-GAAP (adjusted) per share net income rose by 70% to $1.67.

That bottom-line performance was miles better than analysts had expected. Collectively, those pundits were modeling core per-share earnings of only $0.77. The beat wasn't as dramatic on the revenue front, but it was nevertheless impressive, as the prognosticators were estimating $10.78 billion.

Another factor pushing the company's stock higher on Thursday was the announcement by its CEO Pascal Soriot that it is no longer pursuing approval for its Covid vaccine, known as Vaxzevria, in the U.S. Soriot said this was due to a decline in demand for coronavirus jabs, in a market that is well served by currently authorized or approved products.

Now what

Finally, AstraZeneca also raised its guidance for the entirety of 2022. The company believes that core per-share earnings should rise at a percentage rate in the high 20s to low 30s on the back of total revenue advancing in the low 20s.