Bulls and bears alike had something to love about Pfizer's
The good news: Pfizer beat analysts' expectations for both revenue and adjusted earnings, even if only by a little.
The bad news: Revenue was still lower than the year-ago quarter, and adjusted earnings per share were way down -- $0.51, compared to $0.62 in the third quarter last year. Don't be fooled by the "profit jumps 26%" headlines. That figure represents GAAP earnings compared to the year-ago quarter, and it included an insane number of one-time charges, including a $900 million lawsuit settlement.
Of course, the company has an excuse. Revenue was essentially flat if you ignore currency changes and product returns. That metric doesn't exactly scream, "Buy me," but at least it's not headed in the wrong direction. Pfizer's more like Johnson & Johnson
On the expenses side of the equation, Pfizer's cost-cutting measures seem to be working. The company managed a 6% reduction in adjusted selling, informational, and administrative expenses -- SI&A? -- while spending on research and development was cut by 8% after adjustments.
But the cost-cutting couldn't save the company's adjusted earnings from a year-over-year decline. You can blame that one on Wyeth.
"But the company didn't close its acquisition until after the third quarter ended," you say? True. But the preparation for the acquisition, including increasing its interest payments, and paying higher taxes as a result of various decisions on financing the Wyeth purchase, killed this quarter's earnings.
Expect a lot more of the blame-Wyeth game in the quarters to come.
Is Pfizer a value or a value trap as it integrates Wyeth? Let us know in the comments below.
Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Pfizer is a recommendation of the Inside Value newsletter. Johnson & Johnson is a selection of the Income Investor newsletter. The Fool has a disclosure policy.