On the surface it seems ludicrous. Yesterday Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) announced that sales were up almost 8% year over year for the first quarter and upped its full-year non-GAAP earnings guidance, yet its stock closed down for the day.

If you dig a little deeper into the earnings statement, the reason becomes clear -- most of that growth came from the weak dollar pushing year-over-year overseas growth into the double-digit percentages. Excluding currency effects, sales were up just 2.6% year over year in the first quarter. Not horrible, especially in this environment, but no reason for the stock to soar, either.

Consumer sales -- over-the-counter drugs and other products like lotions and mouthwash -- had a pretty decent quarter, growing almost 10% year over year, excluding currency effects. Getting to sell Pfizer's (NYSE: PFE) Zyrtec over the counter certainly helped boost this category.

Sales of drugs that require a prescription, on the other hand, weren't looking so hot. A 37% increase in sales of anti-inflammatory Remicade -- thanks in large part to international marketing partner Schering-Plough's (NYSE: SGP) contribution of 410% growth year over year -- wasn't enough to overcome decreases in other major brands. As one would expect -- given the troubles J&J and Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN) have had with their anemia drugs -- sales of Procrit fell 27% year over year at constant currencies for the quarter. Sales of heartburn medication Acipex also got hammered this quarter, thanks to launches of generic versions of Wyeth (NYSE: WYE) and Nycomed's heartburn medication, Protonix.

Medical devices landed somewhere in the middle, sporting a 1.4% year-over-year increase in sales excluding currency effects. Sales of drug-eluting stents were down, as J&J doubled its U.S. competition when Medtronic's (NYSE: MDT) stent was approved mid-quarter, but things are looking good for the company's contact lenses, minimally invasive surgery products, and products for diabetics.

While it's appropriate to discount J&J's currency movements when trying to figure out how fast the company is growing, the fact remains that the company really did bring all that additional cash into its coffers. Given its track record of making good strategic acquisitions, I expect it'll take the cash and grow it wisely before investors want it back (when the dollar moves in the other direction).

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Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Pfizer is also a recommendation of Inside Value. The Fool has a disclosure policy.