Pfizer surprises with robust earnings Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer surprised investors with its latest quarterly earnings, reporting higher profits and increased revenue.

The world's biggest drug company said this week it had logged impressive sales in its most recent financial quarter. Company officials also unveiled an aggressive plan aimed at boosting revenue after its patent ends on the blockbuster cholesterol lowering drug Lipitor.

The New York Times reports investors largely cheered the company's results, as robust sales helped propel earnings above analysts' expectations. After posting the solid financial results on Tuesday, in fact, the company's stock was one of the only ones on the Dow Jones to rise in trading, climbing more than 0.35 percent to roughly $19.35 per share.

Pfizer said it earned $17.2 billion in revenue during its third fiscal quarter, which represented a 7 percent uptick from the same period in 2010. Moreover, company officials affirmed adjusted income climbed 11 percent to $4.82 billion, and that its net income was up 60 percent through the beginning of the year compared to the same point in 2010.

The company reported its adjusted total costs hit $9.9 billion in the quarter, up 3 percent from 2010. After excluding the unfavorable impact of foreign exchange, however, the company said its adjusted total costs declined by 6 percent. Pfizer executives have implemented an exacting business cost reduction plan that has helped to trim expenses and improve efficiency, according to chief executive Ian Read.

"Overall, I am very pleased with our financial performance despite the impact of product losses of exclusivity totaling approximately $950 million this quarter and the challenges posed by current global market and economic conditions," he said in a statement. "Excluding the impact of product losses of exclusivity, all of our businesses generated revenue growth while effectively managing their cost structures."

Bolstered by the strong earnings, Pfizer chief financial officer Frank D'Amelio said the firm was reaffirming its 2012 financial targets, as it foresees earnings growth in emerging markets. The U.S. market now represents a smaller percentage of the company's total sales, but executives said they believed they could drive further growth by achieving business cost reductions.

"Given our solid performance so far this year, our continued confidence in the business within the current environment and our financial flexibility, we are narrowing the range of many of our 2011 financial guidance components and reaffirming our 2012 financial targets," D'Amelio said.

Pfizer's third quarter sales were $770 million higher than analysts projected, according to The Times.

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