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Lilly's Shares Rise on Robust 2019 View, Dividend Hike

Eli Lilly & Company 's LLY provided better-than-expected financial outlook for 2019 at its investor meeting. This indicates that the company is poised to record another strong year.

Lilly expects revenues to be between $25.3 billion and $25.8 billion in 2019, representing mid-single-digit growth. Revenue growth is expected to be driven by higher demand for its newer medicines including Trulicity, Jardiance, Taltz, Verzenio as well as newly launched migraine drug, Emgality as some older drugs (like erectile dysfunction drug, Cialis) lose patent exclusivity.

Lilly has launched 10 medicines over the past five years, which were developed in-house or in-licensed from external partners. These new drugs are expected to account for 45% of Lilly's pharmaceuticals sales in 2019.

Earnings per share are expected to be $5.90 to $6.00 in 2019, excluding approximately 8 cents per share for the non-controlling interest in Elanco Animal Health Inc. ELAN . Lilly divested its Elanco animal health unit as an independent publicly traded company - Elanco Animal Health Incorporated - via an initial public offering (IPO) of a minority stake this year.

Lilly's revenue and earnings guidance range for 2019 was above market expectations as well as the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $24.9 billion and $5.79 per share, respectively.

Shares of Lilly were up almost 3% on Wednesday in response to the encouraging forecast. Lilly's shares have rallied 29.2% this year so far compared with the industry 's increase of 2.4%.

Lilly raised its long-term revenue growth expectations as well. The company now expects annual revenue growth of at least 6% during the 2015-2020 period, up from 5% expected previously. For its Pharmaceuticals unit, Lilly expects 7% growth over the same time period. The company re-affirmed its 2018 EPS expectation in the range of $5.55 to $5.60.

Lilly also reviewed its financial performance at the meeting and highlighted promising pipeline opportunities. It expects U.S. regulatory action for nasal glucagon for hypoglycemia and lasmiditan for acute migraine in 2019 as well as line extension approvals for several medicines.

Separately, Lilly also announced a 15% increase in its dividend to 64.5 cents per share based on its growth prospects.

Meanwhile, Lilly's chief executive officer (CEO) Dave Ricks spoke about competition in the migraine space in an interview to CNBC. Emgality, a CGRP antibody, faces intense competition from Amgen AMGN /Novartis' and Teva's TEVA CGRPs, Aimovig and Ajovy, respectively. Both were approved by the FDA in mid-2018.

Ricks said it will be a "horse race" between the three companies to capture market share. However, he sounded confident that some of their skills in reaching consumers will help it in this regard.

Lilly currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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