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Pfizer beats profit estimates, raises 2017 earnings forecast

[NEW YORK] Pfizer Inc's quarterly profit beat market estimates, partly helped by higher-than-expected sales of its blockbuster pneumonia vaccine Prevnar, and the company also raised its full-year earnings forecast.

Shares of the largest US drugmaker were up marginally at US$35.24 in premarket trading on Tuesday.

Pfizer sold US$1.52 billion worth of Prevnar in the third quarter, down nearly 1 per cent from a year earlier, but ahead of analysts' estimate of US$1.46 billion, as compiled by Barclays.

The vaccine, which accounted for 11.5 per cent of Pfizer's total revenue, has fueled Pfizer's growth until the last few quarter, when its sales has shrunk.

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"Prevnar was a notable beat this quarter," Credit Suisse analyst Vamil Divan said in a client note.

"We view these results as refreshingly boring and, given how biopharma stocks have reacted this quarter to disappointing results or product announcements, we think boring is a good thing right now." Pfizer has been under increasing pressure from investors and Wall Street to pull off a large deal to help reignite growth and the Street will look for commentary on acquisitions during the company's conference call, analysts said.

Sales of Pfizer's breast cancer treatment, Ibrance, surged nearly 60 per cent to US$878 million, but fell short of market estimates of US$914 million. Ibrance faces competition from Novartis' recently approved drug Kisqali.

Pfizer's total revenue rose 1 per cent, increasing for the first time in four quarters, to US$13.17 billion, in line with market estimates.

Net income more than doubled to US$2.84 billion, or 47 cents per share. Excluding one-time items, Pfizer earned 67 cents per share, beating analysts average estimate of 64 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company raised the midpoint of its full-year adjusted earnings forecast by 3 cents to a range of US$2.58 to US$2.62 per share. It tightened its revenue forecast to US$52.4 billion to US$53.1 billion, from US$52 billion to US$54 billion.