Health and Science

J&J beats fourth-quarter earnings expectations, will release Covid vaccine data 'soon'

Key Points
  • The drug and and consumer products company reported adjusted earnings of $1.86 per share, higher than the $1.82 expected in a survey of analysts by Refinitiv.
  • Fourth-quarter revenue was $22.48 billion versus $21.67 billion expected.
Johnson & Johnson CFO Joseph Wolk on Q4 earnings beat
Johnson & Johnson CFO Joseph Wolk on Q4 earnings beat

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that beat Wall Street's expectations. The company also said it would release key details on its coronavirus vaccine "soon."

Here's how J&J did compared with what Wall Street expected, according to average estimates compiled by Refinitiv:

  • Adjusted EPS: $1.86 per share versus $1.82 expected.
  • Revenue: $22.48 billion versus $21.67 billion expected.

"I'm incredibly proud of our Johnson & Johnson teams around the world for going above and beyond to meet stakeholder needs," CEO Alex Gorsky said in a press release. "We continue to progress our COVID-19 vaccine candidate and look forward to sharing details from our Phase 3 study soon."

J&J's share price was essentially flat in premarket trading following the report.

J&J's pharmaceutical business, which is working on a coronavirus vaccine, generated $12.26 billion in revenue, a 16% year-over-year increase as demand rose for its prescription drugs. The company's consumer unit, which makes products such as Listerine, generated $3.6 billion in revenue, up 1.4% from a year earlier. Its medical device unit generated $6.58 billion, a 0.7% decrease.

The company forecasted an adjusted profit for 2021 of $9.40 to $9.60 per share and sales ranging from $90.5 billion to $91.7 billion.

J&J is expected to release data from its phase three trial testing its Covid-19 vaccine as early as this week.

U.S. officials and Wall Street analysts are eagerly anticipating the federal authorization of J&J's vaccine, which could happen as early as next month. Unlike Pfizer's and Moderna's authorized vaccines, which require two doses given about three to four weeks apart, J&J's requires only one dose. That means patients will not have to come back for another dose, simplifying logistics for health-care providers.

J&J Chief Financial Officer Joseph Wolk told CNBC on Tuesday the company expects the phase three trial data to be "robust." He said it's possible there may be differences in results for people tested in places like South Africa, where there is a new, highly contagious strain of the virus.

Moderna said Monday it is working on a booster shot to guard against the strain found in South Africa after it found its current vaccine appeared to be less effective.

"It's going to be very inclusive in terms of having certain ethnicities [such as] Blacks, Hispanics and the elderly," Wolk said on "Squawk Box." "Because it's so diverse because of the geographic representation that could provide a lot of insights."