First, let's address the quarter that was. Revenue growth wasn't great (up about 3%), though adjusted earnings did beat estimates and constituted about 10% growth from last year. Lipitor sales rose once again (by 9% this time), and I'm sure folks will be paying even more attention to this as generic versions of Merck's
Pfizer also talked a bit more about its plans for spending up to $34 billion over the next couple of years. Half of this will be directed toward the betterment of the business in the form of product (and perhaps company) acquisitions. The other half will go toward share repurchases over the next two years. For a little perspective, that's equal to about 10% of today's market cap.
While Pfizer has a number of products in late-stage development, all eyes are going to be fixed on the upcoming rollout of Exubera, the company's inhaled insulin product. Not only are shareholders in Pfizer and partner Nektar
As I see it, you only need pretty minimal expectations for Pfizer to look like an interesting stock at today's levels. There's a generous and secure dividend, plenty of cash to recharge the pipeline, and a pretty good history of performance. Put it together, and I'd argue that these shares are at least worth some due diligence for those interested in a health-care stock idea.
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).